« ElőzőTovább »
cap and the cowl will fall under the same contempt; and the vulgar will tell us to our faces, that we shall have no authority over them but from the force of our arguments and the sanctity of our lives.”
N° 498. WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 1, 1712.
-Frustra retinacula tendens
VIRG. Georg. i. 514.
But force along the trembling charioteer.—DRYDEN, “ TO THE SPECTATOR-GENERAL or GREAT BRITAIN.
" From the farther end of the Widow's Coffee-bouse
in Devereux-court, Monday evening, twenty-eight
minutes and a half past six. “ DEAR DUMB, N short to use no farther preface, if I should tell you
come to set down his fare, which has consisted of two or three very fine ladies, hand them out, and salute every one of them with an air of familiarity, without giving the least offence, you would perhaps think me guilty of a gasconade. But to clear myself from that imputation, and to explain this matter to you, I assure you that there are many illustrious youths within this city, who frequently recreate themselves by driving of a hackney-coach ; but those whom, above all others, I would recommend to you, are the young gentlemen belonging to the inns of court. We have, I think, about a dozen coachmen, who have chambers here in the Temple ; and, as it is reasonable to believe others will follow their example, we may perhaps in time (if it shall be thought convenient) be drove to Westminster by our own fraternity, allowing every fifth person to apply his meditations this way, which is but a modest computation, as the humour is now likely to take. It is to be hoped, likewise, that there are in the other nurseries of the law to be found a proportionable number of these hopeful plants, springing up to the everlasting renown of their native country. Of how long standing this humour has been, I know not. The first time I had
any particular reason to take notice of it was about this time twelvemonth, when, being upon Hampstead-heath with some of these studious young men, who went thither purely for the sake of contemplation, nothing would serve them but I must go through a course of this philosophy too; and, being ever willing to embellish myself with any commendable qualification, it was not long ere they persuaded me into the coach-box; nor indeed much longer, before I underwent the fate of my brother Phaeton; for, having drove about fifty paces with pretty good success, through my own natural sagacity, together with the good instructions of my tutors, who, to give them their due, were on all hands encouraging and assisting me in this laudable undertaking; I say, Sir, having drove about fifty paces with pretty good success, I must needs be exercising the lash ; which the horses resented so ill from my hands, that they gave a sudden start, and thereby pitched me directly upon my head, as I
well remembered about half an hour afterward; which not only deprived me of all the knowledge I had gained for fifty yards before, but had like to have broke my neck into the bargain. After such a severe reprimand, you may imagine I was not very easily prevailed with to make a second attempt : and indeed, upon mature deliberation, the whole science seemed, at least to me, to be surrounded with so many difficulties, that, notwithstanding the unknown advantages which might have accrued to me thereby, I gave over all hopes of attaining it; and I believe had never thought of it more, but that my memory has been lately refreshed by seeing some of these ingenious gentlemen ply in the open streets, one of which I saw receive so suitable a reward to his labours, that though I know you are no friend to storytelling, yet I must beg leave to trouble you with this at large.
“About a fortnight since, as I was diverting myself with a pennyworth of walnuts at the Temple-gate, a lively young fellow in a fustian jacket shot by me, beckoned a coach, and told the coachman he wanted to go as far as Chelsea. They agreed upon the price, and this young gentleman mounts the coach-box: the fellow, staring at him, desired to know if he should not drive until they were out of town. No, no,' replied he. He was then
going to climb up to him, but received another.check, and was then ordered to get into the coach, or behind it, for that he wanted no instructors; “but be sure you dog you, says he, do not you bilk me.'
. The fellow thereupon surrendered his whip, scratched his head, and crept into the coach. Having myself occasion to go into the Strand about the same time, we started both together; but the street being very full of coaches, and he not so able a coachman as perhaps he imagined himself, I had soon got alittle way before him; often, however, having the curiosity to cast my eye back upon him, to observe how he behaved himself in this high station ; which he did with great composure, until he came to the pass, which is a military term the brothers of the whip have given to the strait at St. Clement's church. When he was arrived near this place, where are always coaches in waiting, the coachmen began to suck
up the muscles of their cheeks, and to tip the wink upon each other, as if they had some roguery in their heads, which I was immediately convinced of; for he no sooner came within reach, but the first of them with his whip took the exact dimension of his shoulders, which he very ingeniously called endorsing: and indeed, I must say, that every one of them took due care to endorse him as he came through their hands. He seemed at first a little uneasy under the operation, and was going in all haste to take the numbers of their coaches; but at length, by the mediation of the worthy gentleman in the coach, his wrath was assuaged, and he prevailed upon to pursue his journey; though I thought they had clapped such a spoke in his wheel, as had disabled him from being a coachman for that day at least: for I am only mistaken, Mr Spec., if some of these endorsements were not wrote in so strong a hand that they are still legible. Upon my inquiring the reason of this unusual salutation, they told me, that it was a custom among them, whenever they saw a brother tottering or unstable in his post, to lend him a hand, in order to settle him again therein. For my part, I thought their allegations but reasonable, and so marched off. Besides our coachmen, we abound in divers other sorts of ingenious robust youth, who, I hope, will not take it ill if I defer giving you an account of their several recreations to another opportunity. In the mean time, if you would but bestow a lit
tle of your wholesome advice upon our coachmen, it might perhaps be a reprieve to some of their necks. As I understand you have several inspectors under you, if you would but send one amongst us here in the Temple, İ suaded he would not want employment. But I leave this to your own consideration, and am, Sir,
“ Your humble servant,
66 Moses GREENBAG. "P.S. I have heard our critics in the coffee-houses hereabout talk mightily of the unity of time and place. According to my notion of the matter, I have endeavoured at something like it in the beginning of my epistle. I de. sire to be informed a little as to that particular. In my next I design to give you some account of excellent watermen, who are bred to the law, and far outdo the land students above-mentioned.”
N° 499. THURSDAY, OCTOBER 2, 1712.
PERS. Sat. i. 40.
half year, that he had a great mind to try his hand at a Spectator, and that he would fain have one of his writing in my works. This morning I received from him the following letter, which, after having rectified some little orthographical mistakes, I shall make a present of to the public :
“ DEAR SPEC., “ I was about two nights ago in company with very agreeable young people of both sexes, where, talking of some of your papers which are written on conjugal love, there arose à dispute among us, whether there was not more bad husbands in the world than bad wives. A gentleman, who was advocate for the ladies, took this occasion to tell us the story of a famous siege in Germany, which I have since found related in my historical dictionary, after the following manner :- When the Emperor Conrade the Third had besieged Guelphus, duke of Bavaria, in the city of
Hensberg, the women, finding that the town could not possibly hold out long, petitioned the emperor that they might depart out of it, with so much as each of them could carry. The emperor, knowing that they could not convey away many of their effects, granted them their petition: when the women, to his great surprise, came out of the place with every one her husband upon her back. The emperor was so moved with the sight, that he burst into tears : and, after having very much extolled the women for their conjugal affection, gave the men to their wives, and received the duke into his favour.
“ The ladies did not a little triumph at this story, asking us at the same time, whether in our consciences we believed that the men of any town in Great Britain would, upon the same offer, and at the same conjuncture, have loaden themselves with their wives ; or rather, whether they would not have been glad of such an opportunity to get rid of them? To this my very good friend, Tom Dapperwit, who took upon him to be the mouth of our sex, replied that they would be very much to blame if they would not do the same good office for the women, considering that their strength would be greater and their burdens lighter. As we were amusing Ourselves with discourses of this nature, in order to pass away the evening, which now begins to grow tedious, we fell into that laudable and primitive diversion of questions and commands. I was no sooner vested with the regal authority, but I enjoined all the ladies, under pain of my displeasure, to tell the company ingenuously, in case they had been in the siege abovementioned, and had the same offers made them as the good women of that place, what every one of them would have brought off with her, and have thought most worth the saving? There were several merry answers made to my question, which entertained us till bed time. This filled my mind with such a huddle of ideas, that upon my going to sleep, I fell into the following dream:
"I saw a town of this island, which shall be nameless, invested on every side, and the inhabitants of it so straitened as to cry for quarter. The general refused any other terms than those granted to the above-mentioned town of Hensberg, namely, that the married women might come out with what they could bring along with them. Imme