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the whole room. He had no sooner seated himself at the upper end of the high table, but he called for a clean pipe, a paper of tobacco, a dish of coffee, a wax candle, and the Supplement, with such an air of cheerfulness and good humour, that all the boys in the coffee-room (who seemed to take pleasure in serving him) were at once employed on his several errands, insomuch that nobody else could come at a dish of tea, till the knight had got all his conveniencies about him.
No. 271. THURSDAY, JANUARY 10.
Mille trahens varios adverso sole colores. VIRG.
I RECEIVE a double advantage from the letters of my correspondents: first, as they show me which of my papers are most acceptable to them; and in the next place, as they furnish me with materials for new speculations. Sometimes, indeed, I do not make use of the letter itself, but form the hints of it into plans of my own invention; sometimes I take the liberty to change the language or thought into my own way of speaking and thinking, and always (if it can be done without prejudice to the sense) omit the many compliments and applauses which are usually bestowed upon me.
Besides the two advantages above-mentioned, which I receive from the letters that are sent me, they give me an opportunity of lengthening out my paper by the skilful management of the subscribing part at the end of them, which perhaps does not a little conduce to the ease, both of myself and reader.
Some will have it, that I often write to myself, and am the only punctual correspondent I have. This objection would indeed be material, were the letters I communicate to the public stuffed with my own commendations, and if, instead of endeavouring to divert or instruct my readers, I admired in them the beauty of my own performances. But I shall leave these wise conjectures to their own imaginations, and produce the three following letters for the entertainment of the day.
I was last Thursday in an assembly of ladies, where there were thirteen different coloured hoods. Your Spec
tator of that day laying upon the table, they ordered me to read it to them, which I did with a very clear voice, till I came to the Greek verse at the end of it. I must confess, I was a little startled at its popping upon me so unexpectedly; however, I covered my confusion as well as I could, and after having muttered two or three hard words to myself, laughed heartily, and cried, 'A very good jest, faith! The ladies desired me to explain it to them; but I begged their pardon for that, and told them, that if it had been proper for them to hear, they may be sure the author would not have wrapt it up in Greek. I then let drop several expressions, as if there was something in it that was not fit to be spoken before a company of ladies. Upon which the matron of the assembly, who was dressed in a cherry-coloured hood, commended the discretion of the writer, for having thrown his filthy thoughts into Greek, which was likely to corrupt but few of his readers. At the same time, she declared herself very well pleased, that he had not given a decisive opinion upon the new-fashioned hoods; 'For, to tell you truly, (says she,) I was afraid he would have made us ashamed to show our heads.' Now, sir, you must know, since this unlucky accident happened to me in a company of ladies, among whom I passed for a most ingenious man, I have consulted one who is very well versed in the Greek language, and he assures me upon his word, that your late quotation means no more, than that 'manners, and not dress, are the ornaments of a woman.' If this comes to the knowledge of my female admirers, I shall be very hard put to it to bring myself off handsomely. In the mean while I give you this account, that you may take care hereafter not to betray any of your well-wishers into the like inconveniencies. It is in the number of these that I beg leave to subscribe myself,
Your readers are so well pleased with your character of Sir Roger de Coverley, that there appeared a sensible joy in every coffee-house, upon hearing the old knight was come to town. I am now with a knot of his admirers, who make it their joint request to you, that you would give us public notice of the window or balcony where the knight intends to make his appearance. He has already given great
satisfaction to several who have seen him at Squire's Coffeehouse. If you think fit to place your short face at Sir Roger's left elbow, we shall take the hint, and gratefully acknowledge so great a favour.
Your most devoted humble servant,
Knowing you are very inquisitive after everything that is curious in nature, I will wait on you, if you please, in the dusk of the evening, with my show upon my back, which carry about with me in a box, as only consisting of a man, a woman, and an horse. The two first are married, in which state the little cavalier has so well acquitted himself, that his lady is with child. The big-bellied woman, and her husband, with their whimsical palfrey, are so very light, that when they are put together into a scale, an ordinary man may weigh down the whole family. The little man is a bully in his nature; but when he grows choleric, I confine him to his box till his wrath is over, by which means I have hitherto prevented him from doing mischief. His horse is likewise very vicious, for which reason I am forced to tie him close to his manger with a packthread. The woman is a coquette: she struts as much as it is possible for a lady of two foot high, and would ruin me in silks, were not the quantity that goes to a large pincushion sufficient to make her a gown and petticoat. She told me the other day, that she heard the ladies wore coloured hoods, and ordered me to get her one of the finest blue. I am forced to comply with her demands whilst she is in her present condition, being very willing to have more of the same breed. I do not know what she may produce me, but provided it be a show I shall be very well satisfied. Such novelties should not, I think, be concealed from the British Spectator; for which reason, I hope you will excuse this presumption in,
"Your most dutiful, most obedient,
and most humble servant,
No. 275. TUESDAY, JANUARY 15.
-Tribus Anticyris caput insanabile― Juv.
I WAS yesterday engaged in an assembly of virtuosos, where one of them produced many curious observations which he had lately made in the anatomy of an human body. Another of the company communicated to us several wonderful discoveries, which he had also made on the same subject, by the help of very fine glasses. This gave birth to a great variety of uncommon remarks, and furnished discourse for the remaining part of the day.
The different opinions which were started on this occasion, presented to my imagination so many new ideas, that by mixing with those which were already there, they employed my fancy all the last night, and composed a very wild, extravagant dream.
I was invited, methought, to the dissection of a beau's head and of a coquette's heart, which were both of them laid on a table before us. An imaginary operator opened the first with a great deal of nicety, which, upon a cursory and superficial view, appeared like the head of another man; but upon applying our glasses to it, we made a very odd discovery, namely, that what we looked upon as brains, were not such in reality, but an heap of strange materials wound up in that shape and texture, and packed together with wonderful art in the several cavities of the skull. For, as Homer tells us, that the blood of the gods is not real blood, but only something like it; so we found that the brain of a beau is not a real brain, but only something like it.
The pineal gland, which many of our modern philosophers suppose to be the seat of the soul, smelt very strong of essence and orange-flower water, and was encompassed with a kind of horny substance, cut into a thousand little faces or mirrors, which were imperceptible to the naked eye; insomuch, that the soul, if there had been any here, must have been always taken up in contemplating her own beauties.
We observed a large antrum or cavity in the sinciput, that was filled with ribbons, lace, and embroidery, wrought together in a most curious piece of network, the parts of which were likewise imperceptible to the naked eye. Another of these antrums or cavities was stuffed with invisible
billet-doux, love-letters, pricked dances, and other trumpery of the same nature. In another we found a kind of powder, which set the whole company a sneezing, and by the scent discovered itself to be right Spanish. The several other cells were stored with commodities of the same kind, of which it would be tedious to give the reader an exact inventory.
There was a large cavity on each side of the head which I must not omit. That on the right side was filled with fictions, flatteries, and falsehoods, vows, promises, and protestations; that on the left with oaths and imprecations. There issued out a duct from each of these cells, which ran into the root of the tongue, where both joined together, and passed forward in one common duct to the tip of it. We discovered several little roads or canals running from the ear into the brain, and took particular care to trace them out through their several passages. One of them extended itself to a bundle of sonnets and little musical instruments. Others ended in several bladders, which were filled with wind or froth. But the large canal entered into a great cavity of the skull, from whence there went another canal into the tongue. This great cavity was filled with a kind of spongy substance, which the French anatomists call galimatias; and the English,
The skins of the forehead were extremely tough and thick, and what very much surprised us, had not in them any single blood-vessel that we were able to discover either with or without our glasses; from whence we concluded, that the party, when alive, must have been entirely deprived of the faculty of blushing.
The os cribriforme was exceedingly stuffed, and in some places damaged with snuff. We could not but take notice in particular of that small muscle, which is not often discovered in dissections, and draws the nose upwards, when it expresses the contempt which the owner of it has, upon seeing anything he does not like, or hearing anything he does not understand. I need not tell my learned reader, that this is that muscle which performs the motion so often mentioned by the Latin poets, when they talk of a man's cocking his nose, or playing the rhinoceros.
We did not find anything very remarkable in the eye, saving only that the musculi amatorii, or, as we may translate it into English, the ogling muscles, were very much worn