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which has always in it something melancholy or terrifying; so that the killing on the stage does not seem to have been avoided only as an indecency, but also as an improbability.
Nec pueros coram populo Medea trucidet;
Medea must not draw her murd'ring knife,
About the time that several of our sex were taken into this kind of service, the ladies likewise brought up the fashion of receiving visits in their beds. It was then looked upon as a piece of illbreeding for a woman to refuse to see a man, because she was not stirring; and a porter would have been thought unfit for his place, that could have made so awkward an excuse. As I love to see every thing that is new, I once prevailed upon my friend Will Honeycomb to carry me along with him to one of these travelled ladies, desiring him at the same time to present me as a foreigner who could not speak English, that so I might not be obliged to bear a part in the discourse. The lady, though willing to appear undressed, had put on her best looks, and painted herself for our reception. Her hair appeared in a very nice disorder, as the night-gown which was thrown upon her shoulders was ruffled with great care. For my part, I am so shocked with every thing which looks immodest in the fair sex, that I could not
I have now gone through the several dramatic ventions which are made use of by the ignorant gets to supply the place of tragedy, and by the ful to improve it; some of which I could wish tirely rejected, and the rest to be used with vation. It would be an endless task to consider edy in same light, and to mention the inmerable shifts that small wits put in practice to se a laugh. Bullock in a short coat, and Norris a long one, seldom fail of this effect. In ordiry comedies, a broad and a narrow brimmed hat forbear taking off my eye from her when she different characters. Sometimes the wit of the moved in her bed, and was in the greatest confune lies in a shoulder-belt, and sometimes in asion imaginable every time she stirred a leg or an Er of whiskers. A lover running about the stage, arm. As the coquettes who introduced this custom h his head peeping out of a barrel, was thought grew old, they left it off by degrees; well knowery good jest in King Charles the Second's ing, that a woman of threescore may kick and e, and invented by one of the first wits of that tumble her heart out, without making any imBut because ridicule is not so delicate as pressions. passion, and because the objects that make us hare infinitely more numerous than those that e us weep, there is a much greater latitude for c than tragic artifices, and by consequence a h greater indulgence to be allowed them.
in the story of a lady's being got with child by one of these her hand-maids, I cannot tell; but I think at present the whole race of them is extinct in our own country.
No 45. SATURDAY, APRIL 21, 1711.
Sempronia is at present the most professed admirer of the French nation, but is so modest as to admit her visitants no further than her toilet. It is a very odd sight that beautiful creature makes, when she is talking politics with her tresses flowing about her shoulders, and examining that face in the glass, which does such execution upon all the male standers-by. How prettily does she divide her discourse between her woman and her visitants? What sprightly transitions does she make from an opera or a sermon, to an ivory comb or a pin-cushion? How have I been pleased to see her interrupted in an account of her travels, by a message to her footman; and holding her tongue in the midst of a moral reflection, by applying the tip of it to a patch?
Natio comoda est
There is nothing which exposes a woman to greater dangers, than that gaiety and airiness of temper which are natural to most of the sex. It should be therefore the concern of every wise and virtuous woman to keep this sprightliness from degenerating into levity. On the contrary, the whole
is nothing which I desire more than a safe onourable peace, though at the same time ry apprehensive of many ill consequences may attend it. I do not mean in regard to olitics, but to our manners. What an inunof ribbons and brocades will break in upon hat peals of laughter and impertinence shall exposed to? For the prevention of these discourse and behaviour of the French is to make evils, I could heartily wish that there was an the sex more fantastical, or (as they are pleased to parliament for prohibiting the importation term it) more awakened, than is consistent either nch fopperies. with virtue or discretion. To speak loud in public female inhabitants of our island have al-assemblies, to let every one hear you talk of things received very strong impressions from this that should only be mentioned in private, or in us nation, though by the length of the war whisper, are looked upon as parts of a refined ere is no evil which has not some good at-education. At the same time a blush is unfashiongit) they are pretty well worn out and for-able, and silence more ill-bred than any thing that
Iremember the time when some of our can be spoken. In short, discretion and modesty, red country women kept their valet de which in all other ages and countries have been e, because, forsooth, a man was much more regarded as the greatest ornaments of the fair sex, bout them than one of their own sex. I are regarded as the ingredients of narrow converhave seen one of these male Abigails trip-sation, and family behaviour.
out the room with a looking-glass in his Some years ago I was at the tragedy of Macbeth, nd combing his lady's hair a whole morn- and unfortunately placed myself under a woman ether. Whether or no there was any truth of quality that is since dead; who, as I found by eorge Etherege, in his comedy of The Comical Re- the noise she made, was newly returned from France. A little before the rising of the curtain,'
Love in a Tub.
she broke out into a loud soliloquy, When will are my speculations in the first principles, that the dear witches enter?' and immediately upon (like the world in its chaos) are void of all light, their first appearance, asked a lady that sat three distinction, and order. boxes from her on her right hand, if those witches About a week since there happened to me a were not charming creatures. A little after, as very odd accident, by reason of one of these my Betterton was in one of the finest speeches of the papers of minutes which I had accidentally dropped play, she shook her fan at another lady who sat at Lloyd's coffee-house, where the auctions are as far on the left hand, and told her with a whis-usually kept. Before I missed it, there were a per that might be heard all over the pit, 'We must cluster of people who had found it, and were dinot expect to see Balloon to-night.' Not long verting themselves with it at one end of the coffeeafter, calling out to a young baronet by his name, house. It had raised so much laughter among them g who sat three seats before me, she asked him whe-before I had observed what they were about, that spe ther Macbeth's wife was still alive; and before he I had not the courage to own it. The boy of the could give an answer, fell a talking of the ghost coffee-house, when they had done with it, carried of Banquo. She had by this time formed a little it about in his hand, asking every body if they had, audience to herself, and fixed the attention of all dropped a written paper; but nobody challenging about her. But as I had a mind to hear the play, it, he was ordered by those merry gentlemen who I got out of the sphere of her impertinence, and had before perused it, to get up into the auction planted myself in one of the remotest corners of pulpit, and read it to the whole room, that if any the pit. one would own it, they might. The boy accord. ingly mounted the pulpit, and with a very audible di voice read as follows:
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 agree. Sir Roger de Coverley's country-seat-Yes, for s able, that it is no wonder to see people endeavour. I hate long speeches-Query, if a good Christian ing after it. But at the same time it is so very hard may be a conjurer-Childermas-day, saltseller, to hit, when it is not born with us, that people house-dog, screech-owl, cricket-Mr. Thomas Inoften make themselves ridiculous in attempting it. cle of London, in the good ship called the Achilles. A very ingenious French author tells us, that the Yarico-Egrescitque medendo-Ghosts--The Lady's shah ladies of the court of France, in his time, thought library-Lion by trade a tailor-Dromedary called it ill-breeding, and a kind of female pedantry, to Bucephalus-Equipage the lady's summum bonum▬▬ pronounce a hard word right; for which reason Charles Lillie to be taken notice of-Short face a they took frequent occasion to use hard words, that relief to envy-Redundancies in the three profes they might show a politeness in murdering them. sions-King Latinus a recruit-Jew devouring a He further adds, that a lady of some quality at ham of bacon—Westminster-abbey—Grand Cairo. court, having accidentally made use of a hard word Procrastination-April fools-Blue boars, red lions, in a proper place, and pronounced it right, the hogs in armour-Enter a King and two Fiddlers whole assembly was out of countenance for her. solus-Admission into the Ugly club-Beauty how
I must however be so just to own, that there are improvable-Families of true and false humour-many ladies who have travelled several thousands The parrot's school-mistress--Face half Pict half of miles without being the worse for it, and have British-No man to be an hero of a tragedy under brought home with them all the modesty, discre-six foot-Club of sighers-Letters from flowertion, and good sense, that they went abroad with. pots, elbow-chairs, tapestry-figures, lion, thunder. As, on the contrary, there are great numbers of The bell rings to the puppet-show-Old woman travelled ladies, who have lived all their days with- with a beard married to a smock-faced boy-My in the smoke of London. I have known a woman next coat to be turned up with blue-Fable of that never was out of the parish of St. James's, be- tongs and gridiron-Flower dyers-The soldier's tray as many foreign fopperies in her carriage, as prayer-Thank ye for nothing, says the gallypot. she could have gleaned up in half the countries of Pactolus in stockings with golden clocks to them. Europe. 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 patchwork-Nulli gravis est percussus Achilles-The fe male conventicler-The ogle-master.
N° 46. MONDAY, APRIL 23, 1711.
Non bene junctarum discordia semina rerum.
The reading of this paper made the whole coffeehouse very merry; some of them concluded it was
WHEN I want materials for this paper, it is my written by a madman, and others by somebody er,
custom to go abroad in quest of game; and when
that had been taking notes out of the Spectator.
clock in his stockings. A young Oxford scholar, also brought over with me a new flying ogle fit for 15, th who chanced to be with his uncle at the coffee- the ring; which I teach in the dusk of the evening, ghhouse, discovered to us who this Pactolus was: and or in any hour of the day, by darkening one of by that means turned the whole scheme of this wor- my windows. I have a manuscript by me, called methy citizen into ridicule. While they were making The Complete Ogler, which I shall be ready to ese their several conjectures upon this innocent paper, show you on any occasion. In the mean time, I I reached out my arm to the boy as he was coming beg you will publish the substance of this letter in out of the pulpit, to give it me; which he did ac-an advertisement, and you will very much oblige, wer cordingly. This drew the eyes of the whole comere pany upon me; but after having cast a cursory cofe glance over it, and shook my head twice or thrice at the reading of it, I twisted it into a kind of match, and lighted my pipe with it. My profound of the silence, together with the steadiness of my counteamenance, and the gravity of my behaviour during this whole transaction, raised a very loud laugh on all sides of me; but as I had escaped all suspicion of being the author, I was very well satisfied, and applying myself to my pipe and the Postman, took no further notice of any thing that passed
N° 47. TUESDAY, APRIL 24, 1711.
Ride, si sapis
Laugh, if you're wise.
about me. MR. HOBBS, in his Discourse of Human Nature, My reader will find, that I have already made which, in my humble opinion, is much the best of ase of above half the contents of the foregoing all his works, after some very curious observations paper; and will easily suppose, that those subjects upon laughter, concludes thus: The passion of which are yet untouched, were such provisions as laughter is nothing else but sudden glory arising I had made for his future entertainment. But as I from some sudden conception of some eminency in have been unluckily prevented by this accident, I ourselves, by comparison with the infirmity of sball only give him the letters which related to the others, or with our own formerly; for men laugh two last hints. The first of them I should not have at the follies of themselves past, when they come published, were I not informed that there is many suddenly to remembrance, except they bring with an husband who suffers very much in his private them any present dishonour.' affairs by the indiscreet zeal of such a partner as is hereafter mentioned; to whom I may apply the hear a man laugh excessively, instead of saying he barbarous inscription quoted by she Bishop of Salis-is very merry, we ought to tell him he is very bury in his travels: Dum nimiu via est, facta proud. And indeed, if we look into the bottom stimpia:Through too much piety she became of this matter, we shall meet with many observaimpious.' tions 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
According to this author, therefore, when we
Tax one of those unhappy men that are plagued with a gospel-gossip, so common among dissenters petticoats, that the heir of the family might have especially friends). Lectures in the morning, an opportunity of joking upon him, and diverting church-meetings at noon, and preparation sermons himself with his absurdities. For the same reason, 1 night, take up so much of her time, it is very idiots are still in request in most of the courts of are she knows what we have for dinner, unless Germany, where there is not a prince of any great when the preacher is to be at it. With him come magnificence, who has not two or three dressed, atribe, all brothers and sisters it seems; while distinguished, undisputed fools in his retinue, whom thers, really such, are deemed no relations. If the rest of the courtiers are always breaking their at any time I have her company alone, she is a jests upon.
The Dutch, who are more famous for their inmere sermon pop-gun, repeating and discharging Texts, proofs, and applications so perpetually, that dustry and application, than for wit and humour, however weary I may go to bed, the noise in my hang up in several of their streets what they call ead will not let me sleep till towards morning. the sign of the Gaper, that is, the head of an idiot The misery of my case, and great numbers of such dressed in a cap and bells, and gaping in a most vifferers, plead your pity and speedy relief: other immoderate manner. This is a standing jest at se must expect, in a little time, to be lectured, Amsterdam. reached and prayed into want, unless the hapness of being sooner talked to death prevent it.
'I am, &c.
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
The second letter, relating to the ogling-master, a couple of humorous lines, which are part of a translation of a satire in Monsieur Boileau :
Thus one fool lolls his tongue out at another,
Tax an Irish gentleman that have travelled many
ears for my improvement; during which time I Mr. Hobbs' reflection gives us the reason why Lave accomplished myself in the whole art of the insignificant people above mentioned are stirgling, as it is at present practised in the polite rers-up of laughter among men of a gross taste: ations of Europe. Being thus qualified, I intend, but as the more understanding part of mankind do 3 the advice of my friends, to set up for an ogling- not find their risibility affected by such ordinary aster. I teach the church ogle in the morning, objects, it may be worth the while to examine and the playhouse ogle by candle-light. I have into the several provocatives of laughter, in men of superior sense and knowledge.
Dr. Barnett's Letters, &c. It. 1.
In the first place I must observe, that there is a of mirth in conversation, that it is impossible for set of merry drolls, whom the common people of a club or merry meeting to subsist without them; all countries admire, and seem to love so well, I mean those honest gentlemen that are always that they could eat them,' according to the old exposed to the wit and raillery of their well proverb: I mean those circumforaneous wits whom wishers and companions; that are pelted by men, every nation calls by the name of that dish of meat women, and children, friends and foes, and, in a which it loves best: in Holland they are termed word, stand as butts in conversation, for every one Pickled Herrings; in France, Jean Potages; in to shoot at that pleases. I know several of these Italy, Maccaronies; and in Great Britain, Jack butts who are men of wit and sense, though by Puddings. These merry wags, from whatsoever some odd turn of humour, some unluckly cast in food they receive their titles, that they may make their person or behaviour, they have always the their audiences laugh, always appear in a fool's misfortune to make the company merry. The truth coat, and commit such blunders and mistakes in of it is, a man is not qualified for a butt, who has every step they take, and every word they utter, not a good deal of wit and vivacity, even in the as those who listen to them would be ashamed of ridiculous side of his character. A stupid butt is But this little triumph of the understanding, only fit for the conversation of ordinary people: under the disguise of laughter, is no where more men of wit require one that will give them play, visible than in that custom which prevails every and bestir himself in the absurd part of his beha where among us on the first day of the present viour. A butt with these accomplishments fremonth, when every body takes it in his head to quently gets the laugh of his side, and turns the make as many fools as he can. In proportion as ridicule upon him that attacks him. Sir John there are more follies discovered, so there is more Falstaff was an hero of this species, and gives a laughter raised on this day than on any other in good description of himself in his capacity of a the whole year. A neighbour of mine, who is a butt, after the following manner: Men of all haberdasher by trade, and a very shallow con- sorts,' says that merry knight, 'take a pride to ceited fellow, makes his boast that for these ten gird at me. The brain of any man is not able to lay years successively he has not made less than an invent any thing that tends to laughter more than 2nd hundred April fools. My landlady had a falling-I invent, or is invented on me. I am not only t out with him about a fortnight ago, for sending witty in myself, but the cause that wit is in other every one of her children upon some sleeveless men.' errand, as she terms it. Her eldest son went to buy an halfpennyworth of inkle at a shoemaker's; the eldest daughter was despatched 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 him. This empty fellow has laughed upon these conceits ever since.
N° 48. WEDNESDAY, APRIL 25, 1711.
Through various shapes he often finds access.
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 Mr correspondents take it ill if I do not, from the name of Biters: a race of men that are per- time to time, let them know I have received their petually employed in laughing at those mistakes letters. The most effectual way will be to publish which are of their own production. 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.
• See No. 504, and Tat. No. 12. Rowe produced a comedy the subject, with the title of The Biter;' which, however, added nothing to his reputation as an author,
Per multas aditum sibi sæpe figuras
MAY IT PLEASE YOUR DEFORMITIES,
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 artifical fool. It is, indeed, very possible, that the persons we laugh at may in the 'I HAVE received the notification of the honour main of their characters be much wiser men than you have done me, in admitting me into your ourselves; but if they would have us laugh at them, society. I acknowledge my want of merit, and they must fall short of us in those respects which for that reason shall endeavour at all times to make stir up this passion. up my own failures, by introducing and recomI am afraid I shall appear too abstracted in my mending to the club persons of more undoubted speculations, if I show that when a man of wit qualifications than I can pretend to. I shall next makes us laugh, it is by betraying some oddness or week come down in the stage coach, in order to infirmity in his own character, or in the represen- take my seat at the board; and shall bring with tation which he makes of others; and that when me a candidate of each sex. The persons I shall we laugh at a brute, or even at an inanimate present to you, are an old beau and a modern thing, it is at some action or incident that bears a Pict. If they are not so eminently gifted by naremote analogy to any blunder or absurdity in rea-ture as our assembly expects, give me leave to sonable creatures. say their acquired ugliness is greater than any that
But to come into common life: I shall pass by has ever appeared before you. The beau has va the consideration of those stage coxcombs that are ried his dress every day of his life for these thirty able to shake a whole audience, and take notice years past, and still added to the deformity he of a particular sort of men who are such provokers
was born with. The Pict has still greater merit
TO THE PRESIDENT AND FELLOWS OF THE
which I shall present her to your consideration temper, and will my mind for ever from a folly.
'Your most humble servant.'
'I am, GENTLEMEN,
'Your most obliged humble servant,
6 THE SPECTATOR.
Epping, April 18.
'P. S. I desire to know whether you admit We have your papers here the morning they come
To show you there are among us of the vain weak
Your most frightful admirer,
AD your discourse upon affectation,* and the remarks made in it examined my own o strictly, that I thought I had found out its ecret avenues, with a resolution to be aware n for the future. But, alas! to my sorrow anderstand that I have several follies which
N° 49. THURSDAY, APRIL 26, 1711.
· Hominem pagina nostra sapit.
know the root of. I am an old fellow, remely troubled with the gout; but having a strong vanity towards being pleasing in
Men and their manners I describe.
s of women, I never have a moment's case, Ir is very natural for a man who is not turned for
8. See also No. 404, No. 460, and No. 515.