there is so little pleasure in inquiries that so nearly concern ourselves (it being the worst way in the world to fame, to be too anxious about it) that upon the whole I resolved for the future to go on in my ordinary way; and without too much fear or hope about the business of reputation, to be very careful of the design of. my actions, but very negligent of the consequences of them.

It is an endless and frivolous pursuit to act by any other rule, than the care of satisfying our own minds in what we do. One would think a silent man, who concerned himself with no one breathing, should be very little liable to misrepresentations; and yet I remember I was once taken up for a Jesuit, for no other reason but my profound taciturnity. It is from this misfortune, that, to be out of harm's way, I have ever since affected crowds. He who comes into assemblies only to gratify his curiosity, and not to make a figure, enjoys the pleasures of retirement in a more exquisite degree than he possibly could in his closet: the lover, the ambitious, and the miser, are followed thither by a worse crowd than any they can withdraw from. To be exempt from the passions with which others are tormented, is the only pleasing solitude. I can very justly say with the sage, "I am never less alone than when alone."

I have indulged my silence to such an extravagance, that the few who are intimate with me answer my smiles with concurrent sentences, and argue to the very point I shaked my head at, without my speaking. Will Honeycomb was very entertaining the other night at a play, to a gentleman who sat on his right hand, while I was at his left. The gentleman believed Will was talking to himself, when upon my looking with great approbation at a young thing in a box before us, he said, "I am quite of another opinion. She has, I will allow, a very pleasing aspect, but, methinks, that simplicity in her countenance is rather childish than innocent." When I observed her a second time, he said, "I grant her dress is very becoming, but perhaps the merit of that choice is owing to her mother; for though," continued he," "I allow a beauty to be as much to be commended for the elegance of her dress, as a wit for that of his language, yet if she has stolen the colour of her ribands from another, or had advice about her trimmings, I shall not allow her the praise of dress, any more than I would call a plagiary an author." When I threw my eye towards the next woman to her, Will spoke what I looked, according to his romantic imagination, in the following manner:

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What a bloom in that person! How is the whole woman expressed in her appearance! Her air has the beauty of motion, and her look the force of language."

Behold, you who dare, that charming virgin; behold the beauty of her person chastised by the inAs I am insignificant to the company in public nocence of her thoughts. Chastity, good-nature, and places, and as it is visible I do not come thither as affability, are the graces that play in her countemost do, to show myself, I gratify the vanity of all nace; she knows she is handsome, but she knows who pretend to make an appearance, and have often she is good. Conscious beauty adorned with conas kind looks from well-dressed gentlemen and la-scious virtue! What a spirit is there in those eyes! dies, as a poet would bestow upon one of his audience. There are so many gratifications attend this public sort of obscurity, that some little distastes I daily receive have lost their anguish; and I did, the other day, without the least displeasure, overhear one say of me, "that strange fellow;" and another answer, "I have known the fellow's face these twelve years, and so must you; but I believe you are the first ever asked who he was." There are, I must confess, many to whom my person is as well known as that of their nearest relations, who give themselves no farther trouble about calling me by my name or quality, but speak of me very currently by the appellation of Mr. What-d'ye-call-him. To make up for these trivial disadvantages, I have the highest satisfaction of beholding all nature with an unprejudiced eye; and having nothing to do with men's passions or interests, I can, with the greater sagacity, consider their talents, manners, failings, and merits.

It was prudence to turn away my eyes from this object, and therefore I turned them to the thoughtless creatures who make up the lump of that sex, and move a knowing eye no more than the portraiture of insignificant people by ordinary painters, which are but pictures of pictures.

Thus the working of my own mind is the general entertainment of my life: I never enter into the commerce of discourse with any but my particular friends, and not in public even with them. Such a habit has perhaps raised in me uncommon reflections; but this effect I cannot communicate but by my writings. As my pleasures are almost wholly confined to those of the sight, I take it for a peculiar happiness that I have always had an easy and familiar admittance to the fair sex. If I never praised or flattered, I never It is remarkable, that those who want any one belied or contradicted them. As these compose half sense, possess the others with greater force and vi- the world, and are, by the just complaisance and vacity. Thus my want of, or rather resignation of gallantry of our nation, the more powerful part of speech, gives me the advantages of a dumb man. I our people, I shall dedicate a considerable share of have, methinks, a more than ordinary penetration in these my speculations to their service, and shall lead seeing; and flatter myself that I have looked into the young through all the becoming duties of virthe highest and lowest of mankind, and made shrewd ginity, marriage, and widowhood. When it is a guesses, without being admitted to their conversa- woman's day, in my works, I shall endeavour at a tion, at the inmost thoughts and reflections of all style and air suitable to their understanding. When whom I behold. It is from hence that good or ill I say this, I must be understood to mean, that I shall fortune has no manner of force towards affecting my not lower but exalt the subjects I treat upon. Disjudgment. I see men flourishing in courts, and lan-course for their entertainment is not to be debased, guishing in jails, without being prejudiced, from their circumstances, to their favour or disadvantage; but from their inward manner of bearing their condition, often pity the prosperous, and admire the unhappy.

Those who converse with the dumb, know from the turn of their eyes, and the changes of their countenance, their sentiments of the objects before them.

but refined. A man may appear learned without talking sentences, as in his ordinary gesture he dis covers he can dance, though he does not cut capers. In a word, I shall take it for the greatest glory of my work, if among reasonable women this paper may furnish tea-table talk. In order to it, I shall treat on matters which relate to females, as they are concerned to approach or fly from the other sex, or as

they are tied to them by blood, interest, or affection. a nearer inquiry I found the sparrows put the same Upon this occasion I think it but reasonable to declare, that whatever skill I may have in speculation, I shall never betray what the eyes of lovers say to each other in my presence. At the same time I shall not think myself obliged by this promise to conceal any false protestations which I observe made by glances in public assemblies but endeavour to make both sexes appear in their conduct what they are in their hearts. By this means, love, during the time of my speculations, shall be carried on with the same sincerity as any other affair of less consideration. As this is the greatest concern, men shall be from henceforth liable to the greatest reproach for misbehaviour in it. Falsehood in love shall hereafter bear a blacker aspect than infidelity in friend-proceeds from fountains and cascades will be more ship, or villainy in business. For this great and good end, all breaches against that noble passion, the cement of society, shall be severely examined. But this, and all other matters loosely hinted at now, and in my former papers, shall have their proper place in my following discourses. The present writing is only to admonish the world, that they shall not find me an idle but a busy Spectator.-R.

No. 5.1 TUESDAY, MARCH 6, 1710-11. Spectatum admissi risum teneatis?-HOR. Ars. Poet. ver. 5. Admitted to the sight, would you not laugh?

AN opera may be allowed to be extravagantly lavish in its decorations, as its only design is to gratify the senses, and keep up an indolent attention in the audience. Common sense however requires, that there should be nothing in the scenes and machines which may appear childish and absurd. How would the wits of King Charles's time have laughed to have seen Nicolini exposed to a tempest in robes of ermine, and sailing in an open boat upon a sea of pasteboard? What a field of raillery would they have been led into, had they been entertained with painted dragons spitting wildfire, enchanted chariots drawn by Flanders' mares, and real cascades in artificial landscapes? A little skill in criticism would inform us, that shadows and realities ought not to be mixed together in the same piece; and that the scenes which are designed as the representations of nature should be filled with resemblances, and not with the things themselves. If one would represent a wide champaign country filled with herds and flocks, it would be ridiculous to draw the country only upon the scenes, and to crowd several parts of the stage with sheep and oxen. This is joining together inconsistencies, and making the decoration partly real, and partly imaginary. I would recommend what I have here said to the directors, as well as to the admirers, of our modern opera.

trick upon the audience that Sir Martin Mar-all* practised upon his mistress; for though they flew in sight, the music proceeded from a concert of flageo. lets and bird-calls, which were planted behind the scenes. At the same time I made this discovery, I found by the discourse of the actors, that there were great designs on foot for the improvement of the opera; that it had been proposed to break down a part of the wall, and to surprise the audience with a party of a hundred horse, and that there was actually a project of bringing the New-river into the house, to be employed in jets-d'eau and water-works. This project, as I have since heard, is postponed till the summer season, when it is thought the coolness that acceptable and refreshing to people of quality. In the mean time, to find out a more agreeable entertainment for the winter season, the opera of Rinaldo is filled with thunder and lightning, illuminations and fire-works, which the audience may look upon without catching cold, and indeed without much danger of being burnt; for there are several engines filled with water, and ready to play at a minute's warning, in case any such accident should happen. However, as I have a very great friendship for the owner of this theatre, I hope that he has been wise enough to insure his house before he would let this opera be acted in it.

It is no wonder that those scenes should be very surprising, which were contrived by two poets of different nations, and raised by two magicians of different sexes. Armida (as we are told in the argument) was an Amazonian enchantress, and poor Signior Cassani (as we learn from the persons represented) a Christian conjuror (Mago Christiano).

must confess I am very much puzzled to find how an Amazon should be versed in the black art, or how a good Christian, for such is the part of the magician, should deal with the devil.

To consider the poet after the conjurers, I shall give you a taste of the Italian from the first lines of his preface: "Eccoti, benigno lettore, un parto di poche sere, che se ben nato di notte, non è però aborto di tenebre, mà si farà conoscere figlio d'Apollo con qualche raggio di Parnasse:" "Behold, gentle reader, the birth of a few evenings, which, though it be the offspring of the night, is not the abortive of darkness, but will make itself known to be the son of Apollo, with a certain ray of Parnassus.” He afterwards proceeds to call Mynheer Handel the Orpheus of our age, and to acquaint us, in the same sublimity of style, that he composed this opera in a fortnight. Such are the wits to whose tastes we so ambitiously conform ourselves. The truth of it is, the finest writers among the modern Italians express themAs I was walking in the streets about a fortnight selves in such a florid form of words, and such teago, I saw an ordinary fellow carrying a cage full of dious circumlocutions, as are used by none but little birds upon his shoulder; and, as I was won-pedants in our own country; and at the same time dering with myself what use he would put them to, he was met very luckily by an acquaintance, who had the same curiosity. Upon his asking what he had upon his shoulder, he told him that he had been buying sparrows for the opera. "Sparrows for the opera,' says his friend, licking his lips; "what! are they to be roasted?"-" No, no," says the other, "they are to enter towards the end of the first act, and to fly about the stage."

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fill their writings with such poor imaginations and conceits, as our youths are ashamed of before they have been two years at the university. Some may be apt to think that it is the difference of genius which produces this difference in the works of the two nations; but to show that there is nothing in this, if we look into the writings of the old Italians, such as Cicero and Virgil, we shall find that the English writers, in their way of thinking and expressing themselves, resemble those authors much more than

This strange dialogue awakened my curiosity so far, that I immediately bought the opera, by which means I perceived the sparrows were to act the part A comedy by J. Dryden, borrowed from Quinault's Amant of singing birds in a delightful grove; though upon | Indiscret, and the Etourdi of Moliere.

vice and folly than men of slower capacities. There is no greater monster in being, than a very ill man of great parts. He lives like a man in a palsy, with

the modern Italians pretend to do. And as for the poet himself, from whom the dreams of this opera are taken, I must entirely agree with Monsieur Boileau, that one verse in Virgil is worth all the clin-one side of him dead. While perhaps he enjoys the quant or tinsel of Tasso.

satisfaction of luxury, of wealth, of ambition, he has But to return to the sparrows: there have been lost the taste of good-will, of friendship, of innocence. so many flights of them let loose in this opera, that Scarecrow, the beggar in Lincoln's-inn-fields, who it is feared the house will never get rid of them; and disabled himself in his right leg, and asks alms all that in other plays they may make their entrance in day to get himself a warm supper and a trull at night, very wrong and improper scenes, so as to be seen is not half so despicable a wretch as such a man of flying in a lady's bed-chamber, or perching upon a sense. The beggar has no relish above sensations; king's throne-besides the inconveniences which the he finds rest more agreeable than motion; and while heads of the audience may sometimes suffer from he has a warm fire and his doxy, never reflects that them. I am credibly informed, that there was once he deserves to be whipped. Every man who termia design of casting into an opera the story of Whit-nates his satisfactions and enjoyments within the tington and his Cat, and that, in order to it, there supply of his own necessities and passions is, says had been got together a great quantity of mice; but Sir Roger, in my eye, as poor a rogue as Scarecrow. Mr. Rich, the proprietor of the playhouse, very pru-" But," continued he, “for the loss of public and dently considered that it would be impossible for the private virtue, we are beholden to your men of fine cat to kill them all, and that consequently the princes parts forsooth; it is with them no matter what is of the stage might be as much infested with mice, as done, so it be done with an air. But to me, who am the prince of the island was before the cat's arrival so whimsical in a corrupt age as to act according to upon it; for which reason he would not permit it to nature and reason, a selfish man, in the most shining be acted in his house. And indeed I cannot blame circumstance and equipage, appears in the same conhim; for, as he said very well upon that occasion, I dition with the fellow above-mentioned, but more do not hear that any of the performers in our opera contemptible in proportion to what more he robs the pretend to equal the famous pied piper,† who made public of, and enjoys above him. I lay it down all the mice of a great town in Germany follow his therefore for a rule, that the whole man is to move music, and by that means cleared the place of those together; that every action of any importance is to little noxious animals. have a prospect of public good: and that the general tendency of our indifferent actions ought to be agreeable to the dictates of reason, of religion, of good-breeding; without this, a man, as I have before hinted, is hopping instead of walking, he is not in his entire and proper motion."

Before I dismiss this paper, I must inform my reader, that I hear there is a treaty on foot between London and Wiset (who will be appointed gardeners of the playhouse) to furnish the opera of Rinaldo and Armida with an orange-grove: and that the next time it is acted, the singing-birds will be personated by tom-tits, the undertakers being resolved to spare neither pains nor money for the gratification of the audience.-C.

No. 6.1 WEDNESDAY, MARCH 7, 1710-11.
Credebant hoe grande nefas, et morte piandum,
Si javenis vetulo non assurrexerat

Juv. Sat. xiii. 54.

Twas impious then (so much was age rever'd)
For youth to keep their seats when an old man appear'd.

I KNOW no evil under the sun so great as the abuse of the understanding, and yet there is no one vice more common. It has diffused itself through both sexes, and all qualities of mankind, and there is hardly that person to be found, who is not more concerned for the reputation of wit and sense, than of honesty and virtue. But this unhappy affectation of being wise rather than honest, witty than good-natured, is the source of most of the ill habits of life. Such false impressions are owing to the abandoned writings of men of wit, and the awkward imitation of the rest of mankind.

For this reason Sir Roger was saying last night, that he was of opinion none but men of fine parts deserved to be hanged. The reflections of such men are so delicate upon all occurrences which they are concerned in, that they should be exposed to more than ordinary infamy and punishment for offending against such quick admonitions as their own souls give them, and blunting the fine edge of their minds in such a manner, that they are no more shocked at

Rinaldo, an opera, 8vo. 1711. The plan by Aaron Hill; the Italian words by Sig. G. Rossi; and the music by Handel. June 26, 1294, the rats and mice by which Hamelen was infested, were allured, it is said, by a piper, to a contiguous

nver, in which they were all drowned.

: London and Wise were the Queen's gardeners at this time.

While the honest knight was thus bewildering himself in good starts, I looked attentively upon him, which made him, I thought, collect his mind a little. "What I aim at," says he, "is to represent, that I am of opinion, to polish our understandings, and neglect our manners, is of all things the most inexcusable. Reason should govern passion, but instead of that, you see, it is often subservient to it; and as unaccountable as one would think it, a wise man is not always a good man." This degeneracy is not only the guilt of particular persons, but also at some times of a whole people; and perhaps it may appear upon examination, that the most polite ages are the least virtuous. This may be attributed to the folly of admitting wit and learning as merit in themselves, without considering the application of them. By this means it becomes a rule, not so much to regard what we do, as how we do it. But this false beauty will not pass upon men of honest minds, and true taste. Sir Richard Blackmore says, with as much good sense as virtue," It is a mighty shame and dishonour to employ excellent faculties and abundance follies. The great enemy of mankind, notwithstandof wit, to humour and please men in their vices and ing his wit and angelic faculties, is the most odious after to say, very generously, that he undertook the being in the whole creation." He goes on soon hands of ravishers, to restore them to their sweet writing of his poem "to rescue the Muses out of the and chaste mansions, and to engage them in an emought to be the purpose of every man who appears ployment suitable to their dignity.' This certainly in public, and whoever does not proceed upon that foundation, injures his country as far as he succeeds in his studies. When modesty ceases to be the chief ornament of one sex, and integrity of the other, society is upon a wrong basis, and we shall be ever

after without rules to guide our judgment in what is really becoming and ornamental. Nature and reason direct one thing, passion and humour another. To follow the dictates of these two latter, is going into a road that is both endless and intricate; when we pursue the other, our passage is delightful, and what we aim at easily attainable.

I do not doubt but England is at present as polite a nation as any in the world; but any man who thinks, can easily see, that the affectation of being gay and in fashion, has very near eaten up our good sense, and our religion. Is there any thing so just as that mode and gallantry should be built upon exerting ourselves in what is proper and agreeable to the institutions of justice and piety among us? And yet is there any thing more common, than that we run in perfect contradiction to them? All which is supported by no other pretension, than that it is done with what we call a good grace.

family affairs, a little boy at the lower end of the table told her, that he was to go into join hand on Thursday. Thursday!" says she, "No, child, if it please God, you shall not begin upon Childermasday; tell your writing-master that Friday will be soon enough." I was reflecting with myself on the oddness of her fancy, and wondering that any body would establish it as a rule, to lose a day in every week. In the midst of these my musings, she desired me to reach her a little salt upon the point of my knife, which I did in such a trepidation and hurry of obedience, that I let it drop by the way; at which she immediately startled, and said it fell towards her. Upon this I looked very blank; and observing the concern of the whole table, began to consider myself, with some confusion, as a person that had brought a disaster upon the family. The lady, however, recovering herself after a little space, said to her husband with a sigh, "My dear, misfortunes Nothing ought to be held laudable or becoming, never come single." My friend, I found, acted but but what nature itself should prompt us to think so. an under part at his table, and being a man of more Respect to all kind of superiors is founded, I think, good-nature than understanding, thinks himself upon instinct; and yet what is so ridiculous as age? obliged to fall in with all the passions and humours I make this abrupt transition to the mention of this of his yoke-fellow. "Do not you remember, child,” vice more than any other, in order to introduce a says she, "that the pigeon-house fell the very afterlittle story, which I think a pretty instance, that the noon that our careless wench spilt the salt upon the most polite age is in danger of being the most vicious. table?" "Yes," says he, 66 my dear, and the next "It happened at Athens, during a public repre- post brought us an account of the battle of Almanza." sentation of some play exhibited in honour of the The reader may guess at the figure I made, after commonwealth, that an old gentleman came too late having done all this mischief. I dispatched my dinfor a place suitable to his age and quality. Many ner as soon as I could, with my usual taciturnity; of the young gentlemen, who observed the difficulty when, to my utter confusion, the lady seeing me and confusion he was in, made signs to him that they quitting my knife and fork, and laying them across would accommodate him if he came where they sat. one another on my plate, desired me that I would The good man bustled through the crowd accord-humour her so far as to take them out of that figure, ingly; but when he came to the seats to which he was invited, the jest was to sit close and expose him, as he stood, out of countenance, to the whole audience. The frolic went round the Athenian benches. But on those occasions there were also particular places assigned for foreigners. When the good man skulked towards the boxes appointed for the Lacedemonians, that honest people, more virtuous than polite, rose up all to a man, and with the greatest respect received him among them. The Athenians being suddenly touched with a sense of the Spartan virtue and their own degeneracy, gave a thunder of applause; and the old man cried out, The Athenians understand what is good, but the Lacedemonians practise it.' "—R.

No. 7.1 THURSDAY, MARCH 8, 1710-11.
Somnia, terrores magicos, miracula, sagas,
Nocturnos lemures, portentaque Thessala rides?
HOR. 2 Ep. ii. 208.

Visions and magic spells can you despise,
And laugh at witches, ghosts, and prodigies?
GOING yesterday to dine with an old acquaintance,
I had the misfortune to find his whole family very
much dejected. Upon asking him the occasion of
it, he told me that his wife had dreamt a strange
dream the night before, which they were afraid por-
tended some misfortune to themselves or to their
children. At her coming into the room, I observed
a settled melancholy in her countenance, which I
should have been troubled for, had I not heard from
whence it proceeded. We were no sooner sat down,
but after having looked upon me a little while, "My
dear," says she, turning to her husband, "you may
now see the stranger that was in the candle last
night." Soon after this, as they began to talk of

and place them side by side. What the absurdity was which I had committed I did not know, but I suppose there was some traditionary superstition in it; and therefore, in obedience to the lady of the house, I disposed of my knife and fork in two parallel lines, which is the figure I shall always lay them in for the future, though I do not know any reason for it.

It is not difficult for a man to see that a person has conceived an aversion to him. For my own part, I quickly found, by the lady's looks, that she regarded me as a very odd kind of fellow, with an unfortunate aspect. For which reason I took my leave immediately after dinner, and withdrew to my own lodgings. Upon my return home, I fell into a profound contemplation on the evils that attend these superstitious follies of mankind; how they subject us to imaginary afflictions, and additional sorrows, that do not properly come within our lot. As if the natural calamities of life were not sufficient for it, we turn the most indifferent circumstances into misfortunes, and suffer as much from trifling accidents as from real evils. I have known the shooting of a star spoil a night's rest; and have seen a man in love grow pale, and lose his appetite, upon the plucking of a merry-thought. A screech-owl at midnight has alarmed a family more than a band of robbers; nay, the voice of a cricket hath struck more terror than the roaring of a lion. There is nothing so inconsiderable, which may not appear dreadful to an imagination that is filled with omens and prognostics. A rusty nail, or a crooked pin, shoot up into prodigies.

I remember I was once in a mixed assembly, that was full of noise and mirth, when on a sudden an old woman unluckily observed, there were thirteen of us in company. This remark struck a panic into

several who were present, insomuch that one or two of the ladies were going to leave the room; but a friend of mine taking notice that one of our female companions was big with child, affirmed there were fourteen in the room, and that, instead of portending one of the company should die, it plainly foretold one of them should be born. Had not my friend found this expedient to break the omen, I question not but half the women in the company would have fallen sick that very night.

An old maid that is troubled with the vapours produces infinite disturbances of this kind among her friends and neighbours. I know a maiden aunt of a great family, who is one of these antiquated sybils, that forebodes and prophesies from one end of the year to the other. She is always seeing apparitions, and hearing death-watches; and was the other day almost frighted out of her wits by the great house. dog that howled in the stable, at a time when she lay ill with the tooth-ache. Such an extravagant cast of mind engages multitudes of people, not only in impertinent terrors, but in supernumerary duties of life; and arises from that fear and ignorance which are natural to the soul of man. The horror with which we entertain the thoughts of death (or indeed of any future evil,) and the uncertainty of its approach, fill a melancholy mind with innumerable apprehensions and suspicions, and consequently dispose it to the observation of such groundless prodigies and predictions. For as it is the chief concern of wise men to retrench the evils of life by the reasonings of philosophy; it is the employment of fools to multiply them by the sentiments of superstition.

For my own part. I should be very much troubled were I endowed with this divining quality, though it should inform me truly of every thing that can befal me. I would not anticipate the relish of any happiness, nor feel the weight of any misery, before it actually arrives.

I know but one way of fortifying my soul against these gloomy presages and terrors of mind, and that is, by securing to myself the friendship and protection of that Being, who disposes of events, and governs futurity. He sees, at one view, the whole thread of my existence, not only that part of it which I have already passed through, but that which runs forward into all the depths of eternity. When I lay me down to sleep, I recommend myself to his care; when I awake, I give myself up to his direction. Amidst all the evils that threaten me, I will look up to him for help, and question not but he will either avert them, or turn them to my advantage. Though I know neither the time nor the manner of the death I am to die, I am not at all solicitous about it; because I am sure that he knows them both, and that he will not fail to comfort and support me under


No. 8.] FRIDAY, MARCH 9, 1710-11. At Venus obscuro gradientes aere sepsit, Et multo nebulæ circum Dea fudit amictu, Cernere ne quis eos VIRG. Æn. i. 415. They march obscure, for Venus kindly shrouds With mists their persons, and involves in clouds.-DRYDEN. I SHALL here communicate to the world a couple of letters, which I believe will give the reader as good an entertainment as any that I am able to fur nish him with, and therefore shall make no apology for them :

for the reformation of manners, and therefore think myself a proper person for your correspondence. I have thoroughly examined the present state of religion in Great Britain, and am able to acquaint you with the predominant vice of every market-town in the whole island. I can tell you the progress that virtue has made in all our cities, boroughs, and corporations; and know as well the evil practices that are committed in Berwick or Exeter, as what is done in my own family. In a word, Sir, I have my correspondents in the remotest parts of the nation, who send me up punctual accounts from time to time of all the little irregularities that fall under their no. tice in their several districts and divisions.

"I am no less acquainted with the particular quarters and regions of this great town, than with the different parts and distributions of the whole nation. I can describe every parish by its impieties, and can tell you in which of our streets lewdness prevails; which gaming has taken the possession of; and where drunkenness has got the better of them both. When I am disposed to raise a fine for the poor, I know the lanes and alleys that are inhabited by common swearers. When I would encourage the hospital of Bridewell, and improve the hempen manufacture, I am very well acquainted with all the haunts and resorts of female night-walkers.

"After this short account of myself, I must let you know, that the design of this paper is to give you information of a certain irregular assembly, which I think falls very properly under your observation, especially since the persons it is composed of are criminals too considerable for the animadversions of our society. I mean, Sir, the Midnight Mask, which has of late been frequently held in one of the most conspicuous parts of the town, and which I hear will be continued with additions and improvements: as all the persons who compose this lawless assembly are masked, we dare not attack any of them in our way, lest we should send a woman of quality to Bridewell, or a peer of Great Britain to the Compter : besides, their numbers are so very great, that I am afraid they would be able to rout our whole fraternity, though we were accompanied with our guard of constables. Both these reasons, which secure them from our authority, make them obnoxious to yours; as both their disguise and their numbers will give no particular person reason to think himself affronted by you.

"If we are rightly informed, the rules that are observed by this new society are wonderfully contrived for the advancement of cuckoldom. The women either come by themselves, or are introduced by friends who are obliged to quit them, upon their first entrance, to the conversation of any body that addresses himself to them. There are several rooms where the parties may retire, and, if they please, show their faces by consent. Whispers, squeezes, nods, and embraces, are the innocent freedoms of the place. In short, the whole design of this libidinous assembly seems to terminate in assignations and intrigues; and I hope you will take effectual methods, by your public advice and admonitions, to prevent such a promiscuous multitude of both sexes from meeting together in so clandestine a manner.

"I am your humble servant, and fellow labourer,

"T. B."

Not long after the perusal of this letter, I received another upon the same subject; which, by the date and style of it, I take to be written by some young

"TO THE SPECTATOR, &c. "SIR,-I am one of the directors of the society Templar:

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