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admirers, and take more care of us who don't love them.
I am, sir, yours, T. T*'
*** Adv. This is to give notice, that the three critics who lust Sunday settled the chardsters of my lord Rochester and Boileau, in the yard of a coffee-house in Fuller's Rents, will aneet this next Sunday at the same time and place, to finish the merits of several dramatic writers : and will also make an end of the nature of true sublime.
NO 88. MONDAY, JUNE 11, 1711.
Quid domini facient, audent cum tulia fures ??
VIRG. Ecl. jj. 16. What will not masters do, when servants thus presume MR. SPECTATOR,
May 30, 1711. I have no small value for your endeavours to lay before the world what may escape their observation, and yet highly conduces to their service. You have, I think, succeeded very well on many subjects; and seem to have been conversant in very different scenes of life. But in the considerations of mankind, as a Spectator, you should not omit circumstances which relate to the inferior part of the world, any more than those which concern the greater. There is one thing in particular which I wonder you have not touched upon, and that is the general corruption of manners in the servants of Great Britain. I am a man that have travelled and seen many nations, but have for seven years last past resided constantly in London, or within twenty miles of it. In this time I have contracted a numerous acquaintance among the best sort of people, and have hardly found one of them happy in
* Mr. Eusden, afterwards poet laureat,
their servants. This is matter of
great astonishment to foreigners, and all such as have visited foreign countries; especially since we cannot but observe,
: that there is no part of the world where servants have those privileges and advantages as in England. They have no where else such plentiful diet; large wages, or indulgent liberty. There is no place wherein they labour less, and yet where they are so little respectful, more wasteful, more negligent, or where they so frequently change their masters. To this I attribute, in a great measure, the frequent robberies and losses which we suffer on the higheroad and in our own houses. That indeed which gives me the present thought of this kind is, that a careless groom of mine has spoiled me the prettiest pad in the world with only ricting him ten miles; and I assure you, if I were to make a register of all the horses I have known thus abused by negligence of servants, the number would mounta regiment. I wish you would give us your observations, that we may know how to treat these rogues, or that we masters may enter into measures to reform them. Pray give us a speculation in general about servants,
P.S. Pray do not omit the mention of grooms in particular.
The honest gentleman, who is so desirous that I should write a satire upon grooms, has a great deal of reason for his resentment; and I know no evil which touches all mankind so much as this of the misbehaviour of servants.
The complaint of this letter runs wholly upon men-servants; and I can attribute the licentiousness which has at present prevailed among them, to nothing but what an hundred before me have ascribed it to, the custom of giving board-wages. This one instanee of false æconomy is sufficient to de.. bauch the whole nation of servants, and makes them as it were but for some part of their time in that quality. They are either attending in places where they meet and run into clubs, or else if they wait at taverns, they eat after their masters, and reserve their wages for other occasions. From hence it arises, that they are but in a lower degree what their masters themselves are; and usually affect an imitation of their manners: and you have in liveries, beaux, fops, and coxcombs, in as high perfection as among people that keep equipages. It is a common humour among the retinue of people of quality, when they are in their revels, that is when they are out of their masters' sight, to assume in a humorous way
the names and titles of those whose liveries they wear. By which means characters and distinctions become so familiar to them, that it is to this, among other causes one may impute a certain insolence among our servants, that they take no notice of any gentleman, though they know him ever so well, except he is an acquaintance of their master's.
My obscurity and taciturnity leave me at liberty, without scandal, to dine if I think fit at a common ordinary, in the meanest as well as the most sumptuous house of entertainment. Falling in the other day at a victualling-house near the house of peers, I heard the maid come down and tell the landlady at the bar, that my lord bishop swore he would throw her out at the window, if she did not bring up more mild beer, and that my lord duke would have a double mug of purl. My surprise was increased, in hearing loud and rustic voices speak and answer to each other upon the public affairs, by the names of the most illustrious of our nobility ; till of a sud
; den one came running in, and cried the house was rising: Down came all the company together and away! The ałehouse was immediately filled with clamour, and scoring one mug to the marquis of such a place, oil and vinegar to such an earl, three quarts to my new lord for wetting his title, and so
forth*. It is a thing too notorious to mention the crowds of servants, and their insolence, near the courts of justice, and the stairs towards the suprenie assembly, where there is an universal mockery of all order, such riotous clamour and licentious confusion, that one would think the whole nation lived in jest, and that there were no such thing as rule and distinction among us.
The next place of resort, wherein the servile world are let loose, is at the entrance of Hyde-Park, while the gentry are at the Ring. Hither people bring their lacqueys out of state, and here it is that all they say at their tables, and act in their houses, is communicated to the whole town.
There are men of wit in all conditions of life; and mixing with these people at their diversions, I have heard coquettes and prudes as well-rallied, and insolence and pride exposed (allowing for their want of education) with as much humour and good sense, as in the politest companies. It is a general observa. tion, that all dependents run in some measure into the manners and behaviour of those whom they
You shall frequently, meet with lovers and men of intrigue among the lacqueys as well as at White's or in the side-boxes. I remember some years ago an instance of this kind. A footman to a colonel of the guards used frequently, when bis master was out of the way, to carry on amours and make assignations in his master's clothes. The fellow had a very good person, and there are very many women that think no further than the outside of a gentleman : besides which, he was almost as learned a man as the colonel himself: I say, thus qualified, the fellow could scrawl billet-dour so well, and furnish a conversation on the common topics, that he had, as they call it, a great deal of good business on his hands. · It happened one day, that coming down a tavern stairs in his master's fine guard-coat with a well-dressed woman masked, he met the co
* This mock parliament exists to the present time at a public-house. near Westminster-Hall,
lonel coming up with other company; but with a ready assurance be quitted his lady, came up to him and said, “Sir, I know you have too much respect for yourself to cane ine in this honourable habit. But you see there is a lady in the case, and I hope on that score also, you
put off ger till I have told
all another time. After a little pause the colonel cleared up bis countenance, and with an air of familiarity whispered his man apart, Sirrah, bring the lady with you to ask parHon for you:' then aloud, 'Look to it, Will, I'll never forgive you else.” The fellow went back to his mistress, and telling her, with a loud voice and an oath, that was the honestest fellow in the world, conveyed her to an hackney-coach.
But the many irregularities committed by servants in the places above-mentioned, as well as in theatres, of which master are generally the occasions, are too various not to need being resumed on another occasion.