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The Scandalous Club.
nation wrong when he pulled him out of the pond,' and caused it to be entered in their books— That Sir Edward was but an indifferent Justice of the Peace.'”
Sometimes religious subjects are touched upon. The following may be interesting at the present day
“ There happened a great and bloody fight this week, (July 18th 1704), between two ladies of quality, one a Roman Catholic, the other a Protestant; and as the matter had come to blows, and beauty was concerned in the quarrel, having been not a little defaced by the rudeness of the scratching sex, the neighbours were called in to part the fray, and upon debate the quarrel was referred to the Scandalous Club. The matter was this :
« The Roman Catholic lady meets the Protestant lady in the Park, and found herself obliged every time she passed her to make a reverent curtsey, though she had no knowledge of her or acquaintance with her. The Protestant lady received it at first as a civility, but afterwards took it for a banter, and at last for an affront, and sends her woman to know the meaning of it. The Catholic lady returned for answer that she did not make her honours to the lady, for she knew no respect she deserved, but to the diamond cross she wore about her
neck, which she, being a heretic, did not deserve to wear. The Protestant lady sent her an angry message, and withal some reflecting words upon the cross itself, which ended the present debate, but occasioned a solemn visit from the Catholic lady to the Protestant, where they fell into grievous disputes; and one word followed another till the Protestant lady offered some indignities to the jewel, took it from her neck and set her foot upon it—which so provoked the other lady that that they fell to blows, till the waiting-women, having in vain at. tempted to part them, the footmen were fain to be called in. After they were parted, they ended the battle with their other missive weapon, the tongue--and there was all the eloquence of Billingsgate on both sides more than enough. At last, by the advice of friends it was, as is before noted, brought before the Society.”
The judgment was that for a Protestant to wear a cross was a “ridiculous, scandalous piece of vanity”-that it should only be worn in a religious sense, and with due respect, and is not more fitting to be used as an ornament than “a gibbet, which, worn about the neck, would make but a scurvy figure.”
Most of the stories show the democratic tendencies of the writer, for instance,
Advice to Husbands.
“A poor man's cow had got into a rich man's corn, and he put her into the pound; the poor man offered satisfaction, but the rich man insisted on unreasonable terms, and both went to the Justice of the Peace. The Justice advised the man to comply, for he could not help him ; at last the rich man came to this point; he would have ten shillings for the damage. “And will you have ten shillings,' says the poor man, ‘for six pennyworth of damage?' 'Yes, I will,' says the rich man.
Then the devil will have you,' says the poor man. 'Well,' says the rich man, 'let the devil and I alone to agree about that, give me the ten shillings.'”
“A gentleman came with a great equipage and a fine coach to the Society, and desired to be heard. He told them a long story of his wife; how ill-natured, how sullen, how unkind she was, and that in short she made his life very uncomfortable. The Society asked him several questions about her, whether she was
“ Unfaithful ? No.
“A Gossip ? No.
“But still she was an ill wife, and very bad wife, and he did not know what to do with her. At last one of the Society asked him, “If his worship was a good husband,' at which being a little surprised, he could not tell what to say. Whereupon the Club resolved,
“1. That most women that are bad wives are made so by their husbands. 2. That this Society will hear no complaint against a virtuous bad wife from a vicious good husband. 3. He that has a bad wife and can't find the reason of it in her, 'tis ten to one that he finds it in himself.”
Sometimes correspondents ask advice as to which of several lovers they should choose. The following applicants have a different grievances.
“Gentlemen.—There are no less than sixty ladies of us, all neighbours, dwelling in the same village, that are now arrived at those years at which we expect (if ever) to be caressed and adored, or, at least flattered. We have often heard of the attempts of whining lovers; of the charming poems they had composed in praise of their mistresses' wit and beauty (tho' they have not had half so much of either of them as the meanest in our company), of the passions of their love, and
Old Maid's Application.
that death itself had presently followed upon a denial. But we find now that the men, especially of our village, are so dull and lumpish, so languid and indifferent, that we are almost forced to put words into their mouths, and when they have got them they have scarce spirit to utter them. So that we are apt to fear it will be the fate of all of us, as it is already of some, to live to be old maids. Now the thing, Gentlemen, that we desire of you is, that, if possible, you would let us understand the reason why the case is so mightily altered from what it was formerly ; for our experience is so vastly different from what we have heard, that we are ready to believe that all the stories we have heard of lovers and their mistresses are fictions and mere
banter.” • The case of these ladies is indeed to
be pitied, and the Society have been further informed that the backwardness or fewness of the men in that town has driven the poor ladies to unusual extremities, such as running out into the fields to meet the men, and sending their maids to ask them; and at last running away with their fathers' coachmen, prentices, and the like, to the particular scandal of the town.
The Society concluded that the ladies should leave the village “famous for having more