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she broke out into a loud soliloquy, When will the dear witches enter?' and immediately upon their first appearance, asked a lady that sat three boxes from her on her right hand, if those witches were not charming creatures. A little after, as Betterton was in one of the finest speeches of the play, she shook her fan at another lady who sat as far on the left hand, and told her with a whisper that might be heard all over the pit, We must not expect to see Balloon to-night. Not long after, calling out to a young baronet by his name, who sat three seats before me, she asked him whether Macbeth's wife was still alive; and before he could give an answer, fell a talking of the ghost of Banquo. She had by this time formed a little audience to herself, and fixed the attention of all about her. But as I had a mind to hear the play, I got out of the sphere of her impertinence, and planted myself in one of the remotest corners of the pit.
This pretty childishness of behaviour is one of the most refined parts of coquetry, and is not to be attained in perfection by ladies that do not travel for their improvement. A natural and unconstrained behaviour has something in it so agreeable, that it is no wonder to see people endeavouring after it. But at the same time it is so very hard to hit, when it is not born with us, that people often make themselves ridiculous in attempting it. A very ingenious French author tells us, that the ladies of the court of France, in his time, thought it ill-breeding, and a kind of female pedantry, to pronounce an hard word right; for which reason they took frequent occasion to use hard words, that they might show a politeness in murdering them. He further adds, that a lady of somè quality at court, having accidentally made use of a hard word in a proper place, and pronounced it right, the whole assembly was out of countenance for her.
I must however be so just to own, that there are many ladies who have travelled several thousands of miles without being the worse for it, and have brought home with them all the modesty, discretion, and good sense, that they went abroad with. As, on the contrary, there are great numbers of travelled ladies, who have lived all their days with in the smoke of London. I have known a woman that never was out of the parish of St. James's, betray as many foreign fopperies in her carriage, as she could have gleaned up in half the countries of Europe.
Non bene junctarum discordia semina rerum. OVID. Met. 1. i. ver. 9. The jarring seeds of ill-consorted things. WHEN I want materials for this paper, it is my custom to go abroad in quest of game; and when I meet any proper subject, I take the first opportunity of setting down an hint of it upon paper. At the same time I look into the letters of my correspondents, and if I find any thing suggested in them that may afford matter of speculation, I likewise enter a minute of it in my collection of materials. By this means I frequently carry about me a whole sheetful of hints, that would look like a rhapsody of nonsense to any body but myself. There is nothing in them but obscurity and confusion, raving and inconsistency. In short, they are my speculations in the first principles, that
(like the world in its chaos) are void of all light, distinction, and order.
About a week since there bappened to me a very odd accident, by reason of one of these my papers of minutes which I had accidentally dropped at Lloyd's coffee-house, where the auctions are usually kept. Before I missed it, there were a cluster of people who had found it, and were diverting themselves with it at one end of the coffeehouse. It had raised so much laughter among them before I had observed what they were about, that I had not the courage to own it. The boy of the coffee-house, when they had done with it, carried it about in his hand, asking every body if they had dropped a written paper; but nobody challenging it, he was ordered by those merry gentlemen who had before perused it, to get up into the auction pulpit, and read it to the whole room, that if any one would own it, they might. The boy accordingly mounted the pulpit, and with a very audible voice read as follows:
Sir Roger de Coverley's country seat.... Yes, for I hate long speeches........Query, if a good Christian may be a conjurer....Childermas-day, saltseller, house-dog, screech-owl, cricket....Mr. Thomas Incle of London, in the good ship called the Achilles. Yarico.... Egrescitque medendo.... Ghosts.... The Lady's library....Lion by trade a tailor........ Dromedary called Bucephalus....Equipage the lady's summum bonum....Charles Lillie to be taken notice of....Short face a relief to envy.... Redundancies in the three professions....King Latinus a recruit....Jew devouring a ham of bacon.... Westminster-abbey....Grand Cairo.......... Procrastination....April fools.... Blue boars, red lions, hogs in armour....Enter a King and two Fiddlers solus....Admission into the Ugly club.... Beauty how improvable.... Families of true and false humour....The parrot's school-mistress.... Face half Pict half British....No man to be an hero of a tragedy under six foot....Club of sighers....Letters from flower-pots, elbow-chairs, tapestry-figures, lion, thunder....The bell rings to the puppet-show....Old woman with a beard married to a smock-faced boy....My next coat to be turned up with blue....Fable of tongs and gridiron....Flower dyers....The soldier's prayer.... Thank ye for nothing, says the gally pot....Pactolus in stockings with golden clocks to them.... Bamboos, cudgels, drum-sticks....Slip of my landlady's eldest daughter....The black mare with a star in her forehead....The barber's pole....Will Honeycomb's coat-pocket.... Cæsar's behaviour and my own in parallel circumstances....Poem in patch-work....Nulli gravis est percussus Achilles. ....The female conventicler....The ogle-master.
The reading of this paper made the whole coffeehouse very merry; some of them concluded it was written by a madman, and others by somebody that had been taking notes out of the Spectator. One who had the appearance of a very substantial citizen told us, with several political winks and nods, that he wished there was no more in the paper than what was expressed in it: that for his part, he looked upon the dromedary, the gridiron, and the barber's pole, to signify something more than what was usually meant by those words; and that he thought the coffee-man could not do better than to carry the paper to one of the secretaries of state. He further added, that he did not like the name of the outlandish man with the golden
A young Oxford scholar, his uncle at the coffeeto this Pactolus was: and whole scheme of this worWhile they were making pon this innocent paper, the boy as he was coming it me; which he did ace eyes of the whole comer having cast a cursory my head twice or thrice twisted it into a kind of pe with it. My profound steadiness of my counte7 my behaviour during this a very loud laugh on all d escaped all suspicion of s very well satisfied, and pipe and the Postman, of any thing that passed that I have already made contents of the foregoing uppose, that those subjects 1, were such provisions as
e entertainment. But as I
vented by this accident, I etters which related to the
of them I should not have
nformed that there is many s very much in his private zeal of such a partner as to whom I may apply the oted by the Bishop of Salis· Dum nimia via est, facta 00 much piety she became
appy men that are plagued o common among dissenters Lectures in the morning, n, and preparation sermons much of her time, it is very we have for dinner, unless to be at it. With him come and sisters it seems; while e deemed no relations. If er company alone, she is a , repeating and discharging ications so perpetually, that v go to bed, the noise in my sleep till towards morning. , and great numbers of such ity and speedy relief; othera little time, to be lectured, d into want, unless the hap= talked to death prevent it. 'I am, &c. R. G.'
MR. HOBBS, in his Discourse of Human Nature,
all his works, after some very curious observations
According to this author, therefore, when we hear a man laugh excessively, instead of saying he is very merry, we ought to tell him he is very proud. And indeed, if we look into the bottom of this matter, we shall meet with many observations to confirm us in his opinion. Every one laughs at somebody that is in an inferior state of folly to himself. It was formerly the custom for every great house in England to keep a tame fool dressed in petticoats, that the heir of the family might have an opportunity of joking upon him, and diverting himself with his absurdities. For the same reason, idiots are still in request in most of the courts of Germany, where there is not a prince of any great magnificence, who has not two or three dressed, distinguished, undisputed fools in his retinue, whom the rest of the courtiers are always breaking their jests upon.
The Dutch, who are more famous for their industry and application, than for wit and humour, hang up in several of their streets what they call the sign of the Gaper, that is, the head of an idiot dressed in a cap and bells, and gaping in a most immoderate manner. This is a standing jest at Amsterdam.
Thus every one diverts himself with some person or other that is below him in point of understanding, and triumphs in the superiority of his genius, whilst he has such objects of derision before his eyes. Mr. Dennis has very well expressed this in relating to the ogling-master, a couple of humorous lines, which are part of a translation of a satire in Monsieur Boileau:
-man that have travelled many wement; during which time I myself in the whole art of resent practised in the polite Being thus qualified, I intend, friends, to set up for an ogli.gchurch ogle in the morning, ogle by candle-light. I have
tt's Letters, &c. Let. 1.
Thus one fool lolls his tongue out at another,
Mr. Hobbs's reflection gives us the reason why the insignificant people above mentioned are stirrers-up of laughter among men of a gross taste: but as the more understanding part of mankind do not find their risibility affected by such ordinary objects, it may be worth the while to examine into the several provocatives of laughter, in men of superior sense and knowledge.
In the first place I must observe, that there is a set of merry drolls, whom the common people of all countries admire, and seem to love so well, that they could eat them,' according to the old proverb: I mean those circumforaneous wits whom every nation calls by the name of that dish of meat which it loves best: in Holland they are termed Pickled Herrings; in France, Jean Potages; in Italy, Maccaronies; and in Great Britain, Jack Puddings. These merry wags, from whatsoever food they receive their titles, that they may make their audiences laugh, always appear in a fool's coat, and commit such blunders and mistakes in every step they take, and every word they utter, as those who listen to them would be ashamed of. But this little triumph of the understanding, under the disguise of laughter, is no where more visible than in that custom which prevails every where among us on the first day of the present month, when every body takes it in his head to make as many fools as he can. In proportion as there are more follies discovered, so there is more laughter raised on this day than on any other in the whole year. A neighbour of mine, who is a haberdasher by trade, and a very shallow conceited fellow, makes his boast that for these ten years successively he has not made less than an hundred April fools. My landlady had a fallingout with him about a fortnight ago, for sending every one of her children upon some sleeveless errand, as she terms it. Her eldest son went to buy an halfpennyworth of inkle at a shoemaker's; the eldest daughter was dispatched half a mile to see a monster; and, in short, the whole family of innocent children made April fools. Nay, my landlady herself did not escape hin. This empty fellow has laughed upon these conceits ever since.
This art of wit is well enough, when confined to one day in a twelvemonth; but there is an ingenious tribe of men sprung up of late years, who are for making April fools every day in the year. These gentlemen are commonly distinguished by the name of Biters *: a race of men that are perpetually employed in laughing at those mistakes which are of their own production.
Thus we see, in proportion as one man is more refined than another, he chooses his fool out of a
lower or higher class of mankind, or, to speak in a more philosophical language, that secret elation or pride of heart, which is generally called laughter, arises in him, from his comparing himself with an object below him, whether it so happens that it be a natural or an artificial fool. It is, indeed, very possible, that the persons we laugh at may in the main of their characters be much wiser men than ourselves; but if they would have us laugh at them, they must fall short of us in those respects which stir up this passion.
I am afraid I shall appear too abstracted in my speculations, if I show that when a man of wit makes us laugh, it is by betraying some oddness or infirmity in his own character, or in the representation which he makes of others; and that when we laugh at a brute, or even at an inanimate thing, it is at some action or incident that bears a remote analogy to any blunder or absurdity in reasonable creatures.
But to come into common life: I shall pass by the consideration of those stage coxcombs that are able to shake a whole audience, and take notice of a particular sort of men who are such provokers *See No 504, and Tat. No 12. Rowe produced a comedy on the subject, with the title of 'The Biter;' which, however, added nothing to his reputation as an author.
of mirth in conversation, that it is impossible for a club or merry meeting to subsist without them; I mean those honest gentlemen that are always exposed to the wit and raillery of their wellwishers and companions; that are pelted by men, women, and children, friends and foes, and, in a word, stand as butts in conversation, for every one to shoot at that pleases. I know several of these butts who are men of wit and sense, though by some odd turn of humour, some unlucky cast in their person or behaviour, they have always the misfortune to make the company merry. The truth of it is, a man is not qualified for a butt, who has not a good deal of wit and vivacity, even in the ridiculous side of his character. A stupid butt is only fit for the conversation of ordinary people : men of wit require one that will give them play, and bestir himself in the absurd part of his behaviour. A butt with these accomplishments frequently gets the laugh of his side, and turns the ridicule upon him that attacks him. Sir John Falstaff was an hero of this species, and gives a good description of himself in his capacity of a butt, after the following manner: Men of all sorts,' says that merry knight, take a pride to gird at me. The brain of any man is not able to invent any thing that tends to laughter more than I invent, or is invented on me. I am not only witty in myself, but the cause that wit is in other men.'
N° 48. WEDNESDAY, APRIL 25, 1711.
Per multas aditum sibi sæpe figuras
My correspondents take it ill if I do not, from time to time, let them know I have received their letters. The most effectual way will be to publish some of them that are upon important subjects: which I shall introduce with a letter of my own that I writ a fortnight ago to a fraternity who thought fit to make me an honorary member.
TO THE PRESIDENT AND FELLOWS OF THE UGLY CLUB.
'MAY IT PLEASE YOUR DEFORMITIES,
I HAVE received the notification of the honour you have done me, in admitting me into your society. I acknowledge my want of merit, and for that reason shall endeavour at all times to make up my own failures, by introducing and recommending to the club persons of more undoubted qualifications than I can pretend to. I shall next week come down in the stage-coach, in order to take my seat at the board; and shall bring with me a candidate of each sex. The persons I shall present to you, are an old beau and a modern Pict. If they are not so eminently gifted by nature as our assembly expects, give me leave to say their acquired ugliness is greater than any that has ever appeared before you. The beau has varied his dress every day of his life for these thirty years past, and still added to the deformity he was born with. The Pict has still greater merit towards us, and has, ever since she came to years of discretion, deserted the handsome party, and taken all possible pains to acquire the face in
to your consideration | temper, and will my mind for ever from a folly. For the charity received, I return my thanks this
ed humble servant,
in this case a woman's - witness of my qualifiwhether they insist upon ks, or chin; to which I sier to lean to my left De I am in all respects - and mirth, I will keep - All the favour I will m the first woman who
"Your most humble servant.'
'Epping, April 18.
w whether you admit We have your papers here the morning they come out, and we have been very well entertained with your last, upon the false ornaments of persons who ong us of the vain weak speculation come very seasonably among us is, that represent heroes in a tragedy. What made your y and fortitude enough we have now at this place a company of strollers, ing to be thought so; I who are very far from offending in the impertinent your interest, and re- splendour of the drama. They are so far from fallclub. If my own wording into these false gallantries, that the stage is here in its original situation of a cart. Alexander the Great was acted by a fellow in a paper cravat. The next day the Earl of Essex seemed to have no distress but his poverty; and my Lord Foppington the same morning wanted any better means to show himself a fop, than by wearing stockings of different colours. In a word, though they have had a full barn for many days together, our itinerants are still so wretchedly poor, that without you can prevail to send us the furniture you forbid at the playhouse, the heroes appear only like sturdy beggars, and the heroines gipsies. We have had but one part, which was performed and dressed with propriety, and that was Justice Clodpate. This was so well done, that it offended Mr. Justice Overdo, who, in the midst of our whole audience, provoked, that he told them, if they would move was (like Quixote in the puppet-show) so highly compassion, it should be in their own persons, and not in the characters of distressed princes and potentates. He told them, if they were so good do it at the end of bridges or church-porches, in at finding the way to people's hearts, they should their proper vocation of beggars. This, the justice says, they must expect, since they could not be contented to act heathen warriors, and such fellows as Alexander, but must presume to make a mockery of one of the quorum. 'Your servant.'
od company and agreeake and keep the upper deed I think they want after as ugly a manner re your thoughts of my Add to my features the is full half-yard, though of it till you gave one If I knew a name ugly
above-described face, I my unspeakable misfory disagreeable prettiness ke one for me that signithe world. You underwring it in with my being,
rightful admirer, and servant,
upon affectation *, and in it examined my own nought I had found out its a resolution to be aware But, alas! to my sorrow have several follies which of. I am an old fellow, with the gout; but having owards being pleasing in Ever have a moment's ease, high-heeled shoes, with a p. Two days after a seto a friend's house in the I should see ladies; and sance crippled myself to y sumptuous table, agreed reception, were but so ions to the torment I was family observed my conthe queen's health, he in le company, with his own Eo an old pair of his own before fine ladies, to me oxcomb) was suffered with they admit the help of men mity. The return of ease ough obligation laid on me, lieved my body from a dis°404 N° 460, and N° 515.
IT is very natural for a man who is not turned for mirthful meetings of men, or assemblies of the fair sex, to delight in that sort of conversation which we find in coffee-houses. Here a man of my temper is in his element; for if he cannot talk, he can Still be more agreeable to his company, as well as pleased in himself, in being only an hearer. It is a secret known but to few, yet of no small use in the conduct of life, that when you fall into a man's conversation, the first thing you should consider is, whether he has a greater inclination to hear you, or that you should hear him. The latter is the more general desire, and I know very able flatterers that never speak a word in praise of the persons from whom they obtain daily favours, but still practise a skilful attention to whatever is uttered by those with whom they converse. We are very curious to observe the behaviour of great men and their clients; but the same passions and interests move men in lower spheres; and I (that
have nothing else to do but make observations) see somely, without launching into expense; and exeris in every parish, street, lane, and alley of this po- many noble and useful qualities, without appearpulous city, a little potentate that has his courting in any public employment. His wisdom and and his flatterers who lay snares for his affection knowledge are serviceable to all that think fit to and favour, by the same arts that are practised make use of them; and he does the office of a upon men in higher stations. counsel, a judge, an executor, and a friend to all his acquaintance, not only without the profits which attend such offices, but also without the deference and homage which are usually paid to them. The giving of thanks is displeasing to him. The greatest gratitude you can show him, is to let him see you are the better man for his services; and that yo are as ready to oblige others, as he is to oblige you.
In the place I most usually frequent, men differ rather in the time of day in which they make a figure, than in any real greatness above one another. I, who am at the coffee-house at six in the morning, know that my friend Beaver the haberdasher has a levee of more undissembled friends and admirers, than most of the courtiers or generals of Great Britain. Every man about him has, perhaps, a newspaper in his hand; but none can pretend to guess what step will be taken in any one court of Europe, till Mr. Beaver has thrown down his pipe, and declares what measures the allies must enter into upon this new posture of affairs. Our coffee-house is near one of the inns of court, and Beaver has the audience and admiration of his neighbours from six till within a quarter of eight, at which time he is interrupted by the students of the house; some of whom are ready dressed for Westminster at eight in a morning, with faces as busy as if they were retained in every cause there; and others come in their night-gowns to saunter away their time, as if they never designed to go thither. I do not know that I meet, in any of my walks, objects which move both my spleen and laughter so effectually, as those young fellows at the Grecian, Squire's, Searle's, and all other coffee-houses adjacent to the law, who rise early for no other purpose but to publish their laziness, One would think these young virtuosos take a gay cap and slippers, with a scarf and party-coloured gown, to be ensigns of dignity; for the vain things approach each other with an air, which shows they regard one another for their vestments. I have observed, that the superiority among these proceeds from an opinion of gallantry and fashion. The gentleman in the strawberry sash, who presides so much over the rest, has, it seems, subscribed to every opera this last winter, and is supposed to receive favours from one of the actresses.
When the day grows too busy for these gentlemen to enjoy any longer the pleasures of their dishabille, with any manner of confidence, they give place to men who have business or good sense in their faces, and come to the coffee-house either to transact affairs, or enjoy conversation. The persons to whose behaviour and discourse I have mot regard, are such as are between these two sorts of men; such as have not spirits too active to be happy and well pleased in a private condition, nor complexions too warm to make them neglect the duties and relations of life. Of these sort of men consist the worthier part of mankind; of these are all good fathers, generous brothers, sincere friends, and faithful subjects. Their entertainments are derived rather from reason than imagination; which is the cause that there is no impatience or instability in their speech or action. You see in their countenances they are at home, and in quiet possession of the present instant as it passes, without desiring to quicken it by gratifying any passion, or prosecuting any new design. These are the men formed for society, and those little communities which we express by the word neighbourhood.
In the private exigencies of his friends, he lend, at legal value considerable sums, which he migh highly increase by rolling in the public stocks. He does not consider in whose hands his money wil improve most, but where it will do most good.
Eubulus has so great an authority in his little diurnal audience, that when he shakes his head a any piece of public news, they all of them appear dejected; and, on the contrary, go home to the dinners with a good stomach and cheerful aspect when Eubulus seems to intimate that things go well Nay, their veneration towards him is so great, that when they are in other company they speak and act after him; are wise in his sentences, and are no sooner sat down at their own tables, but they hope or fear, rejoice or despond, as they saw him do a the coffee-house. In a word, every man is Eubulus as soon as his back is turned.
Having here given an account of the several reigns that succeed each other from day-break till dinner time, I shall mention the monarchs of the afternoon on another occasion, and shut up the whole series of them with the history of Tom the Tyrant *; who, as first minister of the coffee-house takes the government upon him between the hours of eleven and twelve at night, and gives his orden in the most arbitrary manner to the servants be low him, as to the disposition of liquors, coal, and cinders.
No 50. FRIDAY, APRIL 27, 1711.
Nunquam aliud natura, aliud sapientia dixit.
Good taste and nature always speak the same.
WHEN the four Indians kings were in this coun
The waiter of that coffee-house, nick-named Sir Thomas
+ Swift writes thus to Stella, in his Journal, under date 25th April, 1711. The Spectator is written by Steele, with Addi son's help; 'tis often very pretty. Yesterday it was made of dian, supposed to write his travels into England. I repent he a noble bint I gave him long ago for his Tatlers, about an Inever had it. I intended to have written a book on that subI believe he has spent it all in one paper, and all the underhints there are mine too; but I never see him or addison. See Swift's Works, vol. xv. p. 32, 33, edit. 1801. See also Tat. No 171.
The coffee-house is the place of rendezvous to all that live near it, who are thus turned to relish calm and ordinary life. Eubulus presides over the mid-ject. dle hours of the day, when this assembly of men meet together. He enjoys a great fortune hand