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As one intended first, not after made Occasionally. And, to consummate all, Greatness of mind, and nobleness, their seat Build in her loveliest, and create an awe About her, as a guard angelic plac'd.'
No. 103.] Tuesday, December 6, 1709.
-He nugæ seria ducunt
In mala, derisum semel, exceptumque sinistre.
These toys will once to serious mischiefs fall, When he is laugh'd at, when he's jeer'd by all.
From my own Apartment, December 5. THERE is nothing gives a man a greater satisfaction, than the sense of having despatched a great deal of business, especially when it turns to the public emolument. I have much pleasure of this kind upon my spirits at present, occasioned by the fatigue of affairs which I went through last Saturday. It is som time since I set apart that day for examining the pretensions of several who had applied to me for canes, perspective-glasses, snuff-boxes, orangeflower waters, and the like ornaments of life. In order to adjust this matter, I had before directed Charles Lillie, of Beaufort-buildings, to prepare a great bundle of blank licences in the following words:
Hor. Ars Poet. ver. 452. good company without it.
The same form, differing only in the provisos, will serve for a perspective, snuff-box, or perfumed handkerchief. I had placed myself in my elbow-chair at the upper-end of my great parlour, having ordered Charles Lillie to take his place upon a joint-stool, with a writing-desk before him. John Morphew also took his station at the door; I having, for his good and faithful services, appointed him my chamberkeeper upon court-days. He let me know, that there was a great number attending without. Upon which I ordered him to give notice, that I did not intend to sit upon snuff-boxes that day; but that those who appeared for canes might enter. The first presented me with the following petition, which I ordered Mr. Lillie to read.
to a cane from his youth, it is now become as necessary to him as any other of his limbs.
"That, a great part of his behaviour depending upon it, he should be reduced to the utmost necessities if he should lose the use of it.
'To Isaac Bickerstaff, Esquire, Censor of Great Britain.
'The humble petition of Simon Trippit, " Showeth,
That your petitioner having been bred up
"That the knocking of it upon his shoe, leaning one leg upon it, or whistling with it on his mouth, are such great reliefs to him in conversation, that he does not know how to be
'That he is at present engaged in an amour, and must despair of success if it be taken from him.
'You are hereby required to permit the bearer of this cane to pass and repass through the streets and suburbs of London, or any place within ten miles of it, without let or molesta-himself able to go alone. tion, provided that he does not walk with it under his arm, brandish it in the air, or hang it on a button: in which case it shall be forfeited; and I hereby declare it forfeited to any one who shall think it safe to take it from him.
'Your petitioner, therefore, hopes, that, the premises tenderly considered, your worship will not deprive him of so useful and so necessary a support.
'And your petitioner shall ever, &c.'
Upon the hearing of his case, I was touched with some compassion, and the m so, when, upon observing him nearer, I found he was a Prig. 1 bid him produce his cane in court, which he had left at the door. He did so, and I finding it to be very curiously clouded, with a transparent amber head, and a blue ribband to hang upon his wrist, I immediately ordered my clerk, Lillie, to lay it up, and deliver out to him a plain joint, headed with walnut; and then, in order to wean him from it by degrees, permitted him to wear it three days in a week, and to abate proportionably until he found
The second who appeared came limping into the court: and setting forth in his petition many pretences for the use of a cane, I caused them to be examined one by one; but finding him in different stories, and confronting him with several witnesses who had seen him walk upright, I ordered Mr. Lillie to take in his cane, and rejected his petition as frivolous.
A third made his entry with great difficulty, leaning upon a slight stick, and in danger of falling every step he took. I saw the weakness of his hams; and bearing that he had married a young wife about a fortnight before, I bid him leave his cane, and gave him a new pair of crutches, with which he went off in great vigour and alacrity. This gentleman was succeeded by another, who seemed very much pleased while his petition was reading, in which he had represented, That he was extremely afflicted with the gout, and set his foot upon the ground with the caution and dignity which accompany that distemper. I suspected him for an impostor, and having ordered him to be searched, I committed him into the hands of doctor Thomas Smith in King-street, my own corn-cutter, who attended in an outward room, and wrought so speedy a cure upon him, that I thought fit to send him also away without his cane.1
While I was thus dispensing justice, I heard
a noise in my outward room; and enquiring what was the occasion of it, my door-keeper told me, that they had taken up one in the very fact as he was passing by my door. They immediately brought in a lively fresh-coloured young man, who made great resistance with hand and foot, but did not offer to make use. of his cane, which hung upon his fifth button Upon examination, I found him to be an Oxford scholar, who was just entered at the Temple. He at first disputed the jurisdiction of the court; but being driven out of his little law and logic, he told me very pertly, that he looked upon such a perpendicular creature as man to make a very imperfect figure without a cane in his hand. It is well known,' says he, we ought, according to the natural situation of our bodies, to walk upon our hands and feet; and that the wisdom of the ancients had described man to be an animal of four legs in the morning, two at noon, and three at night; by which they intimated, that the cane might very properly become part of us in some period of life.' Upon which I asked him, whether he wore it at his breast to have it in readiness when that period should arrive?' My young lawyer immediately told me, he had a property in it, and a right to hang it where he pleased, and to make use of it as he thought fit, provided that he did not break the peace with it;' and further said,' that he never took it off bis button, unless it were to lift it up at a coachman, hold it over the head of a drawer, point out the circumstances of a story, or for other services of the like nature, that are all within the laws of the land.' I did not care for discouraging a young man, who, I saw, would come to good; and, because his heart was set upon his new purchase, I only ordered him to wear it about his neck, instead of hanging it upon his button, and so dismissed him.
There were several appeared in court, whose pretensions I found to be very good, and, therefore, gave them their licences upon paying their fees; as many others had their licences renewed, who required more time for recovery of their lameness than I had before allowed them.
Having despatched this set of my petitioners, there came in a well-dressed man, with a glass tube in one hand, and his petition in the other. Upon bis entering the room, he threw back the right side of his wig, put forward his right leg, and advancing the glass to his right eye, aimed it directly at me. In the mean while, to make my observations also, I put on my spectacles; in which posture we surveyed each other for some time. Upon the removal of our glasses, I desired him to read his petition, which he did very promptly and easily; though at the same time it set forth, that he could see nothing distinctly, and was within very few degrees of being utterly blind; concluding
with a prayer, that he might be permitted to strengthen and extend his sight by a glass.' In answer to this, I told him, he might sometimes extend it to his own destruction. As you are now,' said I, ' you are out of the reach of beauty; the shafts of the finest eyes lose their force before they can come at you; you cannot distinguish a toast from an orange-wench; you can see a whole circle of beauty without any interruption from an impertinent face to discompose you. In short, what are snares for others' My petitioner would hear no more, but told me very seriously, Mr. Bickerstaff, you quite mistake your man; it is the joy, the pleasure, the employment of my life, to frequent public assemblies, and gaze upon the fair. In a word, I found his use of a glass was occasioned by no other infirmity but his vanity, and was not so much designed to make him see, as to make him be seen and distinguished by others. I, therefore, refused him a licence for a perspective, but allowed him a pair of spectacles, with full permission to use them in any public assembly, as he should think fit. He was followed by so very few of this order of men, that I have reason to hope this sort of cheats is almost at an end.
The orange-flower-men appeared next with petitions, perfumed so strongly with musk, that I was almost overcome with the scent; and for my own sake was obliged forthwith to licence their handkerchiefs, especially when I found they had sweetened them at Charles Lillie's, and that some of their persons would not be altogether inoffensive without them. John Morphew, whom I have made the general of my dead men, acquainted me, that the petitioners were all of that order, and could produce certificates to prove it, if I required it.' I was so well pleased with this way of their embalming themselves, that I commanded the abovesaid Morphew to give it in orders to his whole army, that every one, who did not surrender himself up to be disposed of by the upholders, should use the same method to keep himself sweet during his present state of putrefaction.
I finished my session with great content of mind, reflecting upon the good I had done; for, however slightly men may regard these particulars, and little follies in dress and behaviour, they lead to greater evils. The bearing to be laughed at for such singularities, teaches us insensibly an impertinent fortitude, and enables us to bear public censure for things which more substantially deserve it. By this means they open a gate to folly, and oftentimes render a man so ridiculous, as to discredit his virtues and capacities, and unqualify them fron doing any good in the world. Besides, the giving into uncommon habits of this nature, is a want of that humble deference which is due to mankind, and, what is worst of all, the
No. 104.] Thursday, December 8, 1709.
-Garrit aniles Ex re fabellas
with her on several subjects, I could not but
Hor. ii. Sat. vi. 78. He tells an old wife's tale very pertinently. From my own Apartment, December 5. My brother Tranquillus being gone out of town for some days, my sister Jenny sent me word she would come and dine with me, and therefore desired me to have no other company. I took care accordingly, and was not a little pleased to see her enter the room with a decent and matron-like behaviour, which I thought very much became her. I saw she had a great deal to say to me, and easily discovered in her eyes, and the air of her countenance, that she had abundance of satisfaction in her heart, which she longed to communicate. However, I was resolved to let her break into her discourse her own way, and reduced her to a thousand little devices and intimations to bring me to the mention of her husband. But, finding I was resolved not to name him, she began of her own accord. My husband,' said she, " gives his humble service to you,' to which I only answered, 'I hope he is well;' and, without waiting for a reply, fell into other subjects. She at last was out of all patience, and said, with a smile and manner that I thought had more beauty and spirit than I had ever observed before in her, 'I did not think, brother, you had been so ill-natured. You have seen, ever since I came in, that I had a mind to talk of my husband, and you will not be so kind as to give me an occasion.' I did not know,' said I, but it might be a disagreeable subject to you. You do not take me for so old-fashioned a fellow as to think of entertaining a young lady with the discourse of her husband. I know, nothing is more acceptable than to speak of one who is to be so, but to speak of one who is so! indeed, Jenny, I am a better bred man than you think me.' She showed a little dislike at my raillery; and, by her bridling up, I perceived she expected to be treated hereafter not as Jenny Distaff, but Mrs. Tranquillus. I was very well pleased with this change in her humour; and, upon talking |
We discoursed very long upon this head, which was equally agreeable to us both; for, I must confess, as I tenderly love her, I take as much pleasure in giving her instructions for her welfare, as she herself does in receiving them. I proceeded, therefore, to inculcate these sentiments, by relating a very particular passage that happened within my own knowledge.
certain indication of some secret flaw in the mind of the person that commits them. When I was a young man, I remember a gentleman of great integrity and worth was very remarkable for wearing a broad belt and a hanger, instead of a fashionable sword, though in all other points a very well-bred man. I suspected him at first sight to have something wrong in him, but was not able for a long while to discover any collateral proofs of it. I watched him narrowly for six-and-thirty years, when at last, to the surprise of every body but my. self who had long expected to see the folly break out, he married his own cook-maid.
There were several of us making merry at a friend's house in a country village, when the sexton of the parish church entered the room in a sort of surprise, and told us, that as he was digging a grave in the chancel, a little blow of his pick-axe opened a decayed coffin, in which there were several written papers.' Our curiosity was immediately raised, so that we went to the place where the sexton had been at work, and found a great concourse of people about the grave. Among the rest, there was an old woman, who told us, the person buried there was a lady whose name I do not think fit to mention, though there is nothing in the story but what tends very much to her honour. This lady lived several years an exemplary pattern of conjugal love, and, dying soon after her husband, who every way answered her character in virtue and affection, made it her death-bed request,' that all the letters which she had received from him, both before and after her marriage, should be buried in the coffin with her.' These, I found upon examination, were the papers before us. Several of them had suffered so much by time, that I could only pick out a few words; as my soul! lilies! roses! dearest angel! and the like. One of them, which was legible throughout, ran thus.
It filled the whole company with a deep melancholy, to compare the description of the letter with the person that occasioned it, who was now reduced to a few crumbling bones, and a little mouldering heap of earth. With much ado I decyphered another letter, which began with, My dear, dear wife.' This gave me a curiosity to see how the style of one written in marriage differed from one written in courtship. To my surprise, I found the fondness rather augmented than lessened, though the panegyric turned upon a different accomplishment. The words were as follow:
'Before this short absence from you, I did not know that I loved you so much as I really do; though, at the same time, I thought I loved you as much as possible. I am under great apprehension, lest you should have any
uneasiness whilst I am defrauded of my share in it, and cannot think of tasting any pleasures that you do not partake with me. Pray, my dear, be careful of your health, if for no other reason, but because you know I could not outlive you. It is natural in absence to make professions of an inviolable constancy; but towards so much merit, it is scarce a virtue, especially when it is but a bare return to that of which you have given me such continued proofs ever since our first acquaintance. I am, &c.'
'If you would know the greatness of my love, consider that of your own beauty. That blooming countenance, that snowy bosom, that graceful person, return every moment to my imagination: the brightness of your eyes hath hindered me from closing mine since I last saw you. You may still add to your beauties by a smile. A frown will make me the most
wretched of men, as I am the most passionate No. 105.] Saturday, December 10, 1709.
Sheer lane December 9.
As soon as my midnight studies are finished I take but a very short repose, and am again up at an exercise of another kind; that is to say, my fencing. Thus my life passes away in a restless pursuit of fame, and a preparation to defend myself against such as attack it. This anxiety, in the point of reputation, is the peculiar distress of fine spirits, and makes them liable to a thousand inquietudes, from which men of grosser understandings are exempt; so that nothing is more common, than to see one part of mankind live at perfect ease under such circumstances as would make another part of them entirely miserable.
This may serve for a preface to the history" of poor Will Rosin, the fiddler of Wapping, who is a man as much made for happiness and a quiet life, as any one breathing; but has been lately entangled in so many intricate and unreasonable distresses, as would have made him, had he been a man of too nice honour, the most wretched of all mortals. I came to the
A son of sir Thomas Chicheley, one of king William's adinirals, assured the very respectable communicator of this note, that the lady here alluded to was his mother, and that the letters were genuine.
It happened that the daughter of these two excellent persons was by when I was reading this letter. At the sight of the coffin, in which was the body of her mother, near that of her father, she melted into a flood of tears. As I had heard a great character of her virtue, and observed in her this instance of filial piety, I could not resist my natural inclination of giving advice to young people, and therefore addressed myself to her. Young lady,' said I, you see how short is the possession of that beauty, in which nature has been so liberal to you. You find the melancholy sight before you is a contradiction to the first letter that you heard on that subject; whereas, you may observe, the second letter, which celebrates your mother's constancy, is itself, being found in this place, an argument of it. But, madam, I ought to caution you, not to think the bodies that lie before you your father and your mother. Know, their constancy is rewarded by a nobler union than by this mingling of their ashes, in a state where there is no danger or possibility of a second separation.'
knowledge of his affairs by mere accident. Se- matrimony with Mrs. Winifred Dimple, spin veral of the narrow end of our lane having ster, of the same parish. Hereupon Mrs. Rosin made an appointment to visit some friends was far gone in that distemper which well-gobeyond Saint Katharine's, where there was to verned husbands know by the description of, be a merry-meeting, they would needs take I am I know not how; and Will soon unwith them the old gentleman, as they are derstood, that it was his part to enquire into pleased to call me. I, who value my company the occasion of her melancholy, or suffer as by their good-will, which naturally has the the cause of it himself. After much importusame effect as good-breeding, was not too nity, all he could get out of her was, 'that stately, or too wise, to accept of the invitation. she was the most unhappy and the most wicked Our design was to be spectators of a sea-ball; of all women, and had no friend in the world to which I readily consented, provided I might to tell her grief to.' Upon this, Will doubled be incognito, being naturally pleased with the his importunities; but she said, 'that she survey of human life in all its degrees and cir- should break her poor heart, if he did not take cumstances. In order to this merriment, Will a solemn oath upon a book, that he would not Rosin, who is the Corelli of the Wapping side, be angry; and that he would expose the person as Tom Scrape is the Bononcini, was imme- who had wronged her to all the world, for the diately sent for; but, to our utter disappoint- ease of her mind, which was no way else to ment, poor Will was under an arrest, and desired be quieted.' The fiddler was so melted, that the assistance of all his kind masters and mis-he immediately kissed her, and afterwards the
book. When his oath was taken, she began
tresses, or he must go to jail. The whole
no worse; but, before he could reply, ' nay,'
Mr. William Rosin, of the parish of Saint Katharine, is somewhat stricken in years, and married to a young widow, who has very much the ascendant over him; this degenerate age being so perverted in all things, that, even in the state of matrimony, the young pretend to govern their elders. The musician is extremely fond of her; but is often obliged to lay by his fiddle, to hear louder notes of hers, when she is pleased to be angry with him: for, you are to know, Will is not of consequence enough to enjoy her conversation but when she chides him, or makes use of him to carry on her amours: for she is a woman of stratagem; and even in that part of the world, where one would expect but very little gallantry, by the force of natural genius, she can be sullen, sick, out of humour, splenetic, want new clothes, and more money, as well as if she had been bred in Cheapside, or Cornhill. She was lately under a secret discontent, upon account of a lover she was like to lose by his marriage; for her gal- | lant, Mr. Ezekiel Boniface, had been twice asked in the church, in order to be joined in
Mrs. Rosin was so very loud and public in her invectives against Boniface, that the parents of his mistress forbade the banns, and his match was prevented; which was the whole design of this deep stratagem. The father of Boniface brought his action of defamation, arrested the fiddler, and recovered damages. This was the distress from which he was relieved by the company; and the good husband's air, history, and jollity upon his enlargement, gave occasion
That Wapping and Redriffe should be noted as places of musical entertainment, or that any persons inhabiting either should be celebrated as musical performers, may at this day seem strange: but the reader is to know, that in those suburbs there were formerly places of public resort, called music houses; one in particular in Wapping, of which and others of them sir John Hawkins, in his His
tory of Music,' has given a curious account. There was another at Shadwell, as may be inferred from the present name of a spot there, called Music-house-court. At these places we must suppose that there were some performers of comparative excellence, and that Will Rosin, whoever he was, was one of them.