« ПредишнаНапред »
house, and is said to have been one of the first productions of his pen after he had entered his new residence.
AFTER the quarrel between Addison and Pope, a variety of lesser critics rose up against the latter. These authors, with their works, would probably have shortly sunk to oblivion, had not Mr. Pope himself taken a curious sort of pride and pleasure in collecting them as they appeared. He had them bound up in volumes of all sizes, twelves, octavos, quartos, and folios; to which he has prefixed this motto from JobBehold, my desire is that mine adversary had written a book. Surely I would take it upon my shoulder, and bind it as a crown to me." Chap. xxxi. ver. 35.
These libellers being mostly anonymous, Mr. Pope to each libel wrote the name of the composer, with occasional remarks. This collection was in being in the year 1769.
[The reader who is interested in the details of this quarrel between Pope and Addison, will find them at large in Kippis's Biographia Britannica, in an article attributed to Judge Blackstone; Johnson's Lives of the Poets; D'Israeli's Quarrels of Authors; Roscoe's Life of Pope; Drake's Essays; Miss Aikin's Life of Addison, [which gives some new evidence in favour of Addison's integrity in the matter;] and, last not least, in Mr. Macaulay's brilliant Essay.]
SIR RICHARD STEELE'S FULL-BOTTOMED WIG.
WHEN the Spectator wrote, large full-bottomed wigs were worn by all men of fashion. They probably answered to the high commodes of the ladies. It is said those long_perukes were invented by a French barber, whose name was Duviller, in order to conceal a deformity in the shoulder, either of the Dauphin or the Duke of Burgundy; hence they were likewise called Duvillers. They had been long used in France, and were introduced into England soon after the Restoration, where they continued to be worn by men of fashion in 1709. A wig of this sort was an expensive part of dress. Duumvir's "fair wig" cost forty guineas. (Tatler, No. 54. See also Life of Colley Cibber.) It appears from a curious note of Sir John Hawkins, in his "History of Music," vol. iv. page 447, that it was common, about this time, for gentlemen to comb
their wigs even in public places, and that they carried their combs in their pockets to display this act of gallantry. The following passage in Tatler, No. 38, alludes to this odd custom: "Thou dear Will Shoestring! How shall I draw thee? Thou dear outside! Will you be combing your wig, playing with your box, or picking your teeth, &c. ?"
Old Richard Nutt, one of the first printers of the Tatlers, used to say that Steele paid fifty pounds per annum to his barber, and that he never rode out on airing, which he did often, but in a black full-bottomed dress periwig, the price of one of which, at that time, nearly amounted to this sum.
ONE evening after Addison and Steele had been toasting the immortal memory of King William pretty freely, at a Whig club held at a tavern in Shoe Lane, the waiters were hoisting him into a hackney-coach, with some labour and pains, when a Tory mob was passing by, and their cry was, Down with the rump, &c. Up with the rump," cried Sir Richard to the waiters, " or I shall not get home to-night."
STEELE'S DUEL. THE TWENTY-FIFTH TATLER.
STEELE was in the Coldstream regiment under Colonel Cutts, when a brother officer communicated to him an intention of challenging a person who had fallen under his displeasure, and was diverted from his purpose by what Steele said to him on the subject. Some of this young officer's companions
led him afterwards into a belief that Steele's decision of this affair had been warped by his partiality for the real or supposed offender, whose character had eventually been raised at the expense, as they said, of the other's honour. This villanous or ill-judged misrepresentation produced a challenge on Steele himself, who was just at the time recovering from a fever, and endeavoured by raillery and reasoning to divert it in vain. Confiding in his own superiority, and imagining he could chastise the youth's insolence without endangering his life, he ultimately accepted the challenge, in contradiction to his avowed principles and his heart. They met by appointment; and Steele's buckle breaking as he tightened his shoe, he took occasion to urge this fresh disadvantage, and renewed his endeavours to induce the challenger to desist, with as
little success as before. He parried his adversary's thrusts for some time; but at last, in a well-meant attempt to disable him, he unfortunately ran the young man through the body, who lingered some time in danger of his life from the wound, but in the end happily recovered. Lord Cutts, who was at this time Steele's colonel, espoused his cause very warmly when this affair was much agitated, and while the youth continued in a desperate condition. It is supposed to have been during this painful interim that Steele put together the materials for his twenty-fifth number of the Tatler, although the paper was not published till nearly two years afterwards.1
STEELE'S FIRST DRAMATIC PRODUCTION.
THE Funeral, or Grief à la Mode, was played at Drury Lane in 1702. It is very sprightly and full of telling hits. Sidney Smith delighted in the following passage, and used to think it Addison's, but it was no doubt Steele's own. It occurs in a scene where the undertaker reviews his regiment of mourners, and singles out for indignant remonstrance one provokingly hale, well-looking mute. "You ungrateful scoundrel, did I not pity you, take you out of a great man's service, and show you the pleasure of receiving wages? Did I not give you ten, then fifteen, now twenty shillings a week to be sorrowful? And the more I give you, I think the gladder you are!"-Quart. Rev. cxcii.
STEELE'S COMEDY OF THE TENDER HUSBAND."
STEELE surprised Addison with a dedication of this play, (published 1703,) and afterwards acquainted the public that he owed some of the most interesting scenes of it to his friend.
ANECDOTE OF SIR RICHARD STEELE.2
FEW people were greater admirers of prudence and economy than Sir Richard Steele was in precept, yet nothing could be more disagreeable to his temper than the practice of either. A turn naturally gay and expensive frequently reduced him to difficulties, and exposed him to some circumstances rather painful to a disposition so delicate and refined.
1 See note, ante, p. 328.
This anecdote first appeared in the Court Magazine, 1761.
Among the number of people who were highly charmed with his conversation and writings, none professed a greater admiration of both than a Lincolnshire baronet, who usually sat at Button's. This gentleman possessed a very large fortune, had great interest, and more than once solicited Sir Richard Steele to command his utmost ability, and he should think himself under no little obligation. These offers, though made with the most seeming cordiality, Sir Richard, at the time, declined, with a grateful politeness peculiar to himself, having no immediate need of the gentleman's assistance. But some instance of extravagance having once reduced him to the necessity of borrowing a sum of money to satisfy an importunate creditor, he thought this a very proper opportunity of calling on his friend, and requesting the loan of a hundred pounds for a few days. The gentleman received him with much civility and respect, began to renew his offers of service, and begged Sir Richard would give him some occasion to show his friendship and regard." Why, sir," says Sir Richard, "I came for that very purpose, and if you can lend me a hundred pounds for a few days I shall consider it as a singular favour." Had Sir Richard clapped a pistol to his breast, and made a peremptory demand of his money, that gentleman could not have appeared in a greater surprise than at this unexpected request. His offers of friendship had been only made on a supposition of their never being accepted, and intended only as so many baits for Sir Richard's intimacy and acquaintance; of which the gentleman, while it cost him nothing, was particularly proud. Recovering, however, from his surprise, he stammered out, "Why, really, Sir Richard, I would serve you to the utmost of my power, but at present I have not twenty guineas in the house.' Sir Richard, who saw through the pitiful evasion, was heartily vexed at the meanness and excuse.- "And so, sir," says he,
you have drawn me in to expose the situation of my affairs, with a promise of assistance, and now refuse me any mark of your friendship or esteem. A disappointment I can bear, but must by no means put up with an insult; therefore be so obliging as to consider whether it is more agreeable to comply with the terms of my request, or to submit to the consequences of my resentment.' Sir Richard spoke this in so determined a tone, that the baronet was startled, and said, seeming to recollect himself, "Lord, my dear Sir Ri
chard, I beg ten thousand pardons; upon my honour, I did not remember-bless me, I have a hundred-pound note in my pocket, which is entirely at your service. So saying, he produced the note, which Sir Richard immediately put up, and then addressed him in the following manner : Though I despise an obligation from a person of so mean a cast as I am satisfied you are, yet, rather than be made a fool, I choose to accept of this hundred pound, which I shall return when it suits my convenience. But, that the next favour you confer may be done with a better grace, I must take the liberty of pulling you by the nose,1 as a proper expedient to preserve your recollection;"—which Sir Richard accordingly did, and then took his leave, whilst the poor baronet stood surprised at the oddity of his behaviour, and heartily ashamed at the meanness of his own.
ADDISON'S LOAN TO STEELE.
STEELE built and inhabited, for a few years, an elegant house, which he called by the name of the Hovel, at Hampton-Wick, adjoining the palace. Not long after the dedication referred to below,2 (1711,) being embarrassed by his vanity of profusion, or his imprudence of generosity, he borrowed a thousand pounds of Addison on this house and its furniture, giving bond and judgment for repayment of the money at the end of twelve months. On the forfeiture of the bond, Addison's attorney proceeded to execution. The house and furniture were sold; the surplus Addison remitted to Steele, with a genteel letter,3 stating the friendly reason of this extraordinary procedure, viz. to awaken him, if possible,
This nose-pulling spoils the story, which else is credible enough.—ED. 2 See Steele's Dedication to the fourth volume of the Tatler, which is dated "From the Hovel at Hampton-Wick, April 7, 1711."
3 This statement, which is on the authority of Victor, differs materially from that given by Savage to Dr. Johnson, and there is a discrepancy in the dates. Steele, according to his own letter, referred to at our p. 373, repaid Addison the borrowed thousand pounds in 1708. Probably he only gave him his bond and called that payment, and Addison may have waited patiently, till seeing voluntary repayment hopeless, he entered up judgment, in preference to letting some less friendly creditor anticipate him. That Steele was in great trouble for money in 1709 appears from his letter to the Earl of Halifax, dated Oct. 6th. Addison's presumed harshness in exacting repayment is told with some asperity by Dr. Johnson, and satisfactorily defended by Macaulay, p. 45. See Lives of the Poets, and Croker's Boswell, vol. viii. p. 22.