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The Title I have confer'd upon my Book, gives me Authority to make as long a Preface as I please; for a Long Preface is a true Amusement.
However I have ventured to put one here, under the Apprehension that it will be very necessary toward the understanding of the Book; tho' the Generality of Readers are of Opinion, that a Preface, instead of setting off the Work, does but expose the Vanity of the Author.
A good General of an Army, is less embarrass'd at the Head of his Troops, than an ill Writer in the Front of his Productions. He knows not in what Figure to dress his Countenance. If he puts on a Fierce and Haughty look, his Readers think themselves obliged to lower his Topsail, and bring him under their Sterns: If he affects an Humble Sneaking Posture, they slight and despise him: If he boasts the Excellency of his Subject, they believe not a Syllable of what he says: If he tells them there is little or nothing in't, they take him at his Word; and to say nothing at all of his Work, is an unsufterable Imposition upon an Author.
I know not what Success these Papers will find in the World; but if any amuse themselves in Criticizing upon them, or in Reading them, my Design is answer'd.
I have given the following Thoughts the Name of Amusements; you will find them Serious, or Comical, according to the Humour I was in when I wrote them; and they will either Divert you, Instruct you, or Tire you, after the Humour you are in when you read them.
T'other Day one of the Imaginary Serious Wits, who thought it a Weakness in any Man to laugh: Seeing a Copy of this Book; at the opening of it, fell into a Passion, and Wrinkling up his Nostrils like a heated Stallion that had a Mare in the Wind, said, The Book was unworthy of the Title; for Grave Subjects, should be treated with Decorum, and 'twas to profane Serious Matters, to blend them with Comical Entertainments. What a Mixture is here says he!
This Variety of Colours, said I to my Censurer, appears very Natural to me; for if one strictly examines all Mens Actions and Discourses, we shall find that Seriousness and Merriment are near Neighbours, and always live together like Friends, if Sullen Moody Sots do not set them at Variance. Every Day shews us, that Serious Maxims, and Sober Counsels, often proceed out of the Mouths of the Pleasantest Companions, and such as affect to be always Grave and Musing, are then more Comical than they think themselves.
My Spark push'd his Remonstrance further: Are not you ashamed, continued he, to Print Amusements? Don't you know, that Man was made for Business, and not to sit amusing himself like an Owl in an Ivy-Bush? To which I answer'd after this manner.
The whole Life of Man is but one entire Amusement: Vertue only deserves the Name of Business, and none but they that practise it can be truly said to be employed, for all the World beside are Idle.
One Amuses himself by Ambition, another by Interest, and another by that Foolish Passion Love. Little Folks Amuse themselves in Pleasures, Great Men in the Acquisition of Glory, and I am Amused to think that all this is nothing but Amusement.
Once more, the whole Transactions of our Lives, are but meer Amusements, and Life it self is but an Amusement in a continued Expectation of Death.
Thus much for Serious Matters: Let us now make haste to Pleasantry.
I have a great mind to be in Print; but above all, I would fain be an Original, and that is a true Comical Thought: When all the Learned Men in the World are but Translators, is it not a Pleasant Jest, that you should strive to be an Original! You should have observed your Time, and have come into the World with the Ancient Greeks for that purpose; for the Latines themselves are but Copies.
This Discourse has mightily discouraged me. Is it true then that there is such an Embargo laid upon Invention, that no Man can produce any thing that is perfectly New, and intirely his own? Many Authors, I confess, have told me so: I will enquire further about it, and if Sir Roger, Mr. Dryden, and Mr. Durfey Confirm it, then I will Believe it.
What need all this Toyl and Clutter about Original Authors and Translators? He who Imagines Briskly, Thinks Justly, and Writes Correctly, is an Original in the same things that another had thought before him. The Natural Air, and Curious Turn he gives his Translations, and the Application wherewith he graces them, is enough to perswade any Sensible Man, that he was able to think and perform the same things, if they had not been thought and done before him, which is an advantage owing to their Birth, rather than to the Excellency of their Parts beyond their Successors.
Some of our Modern Writers, that have built upon the Foundation of the Ancients, have far excell'd in disguising their Notions, and improving the first Essays, that they have acquir'd more Glory, and Reputation, than ever was given to the Original Authors: Nay, have utterly effaced their Memories.
Those who Rob the Modern Writers, study to hide their Thefts; those who filch from the Ancients, account it their Glory. But why the last should be more Reproach'd than the former, I cannot imagine, since there is more Wit in disguising a Thought of Mr. Lock's, that in a lucky Translation of a Passage from Horace. After all, it must be granted, that the Genius of some Men can never be brought to Write correctly in this Age, till they have form'd their Wits upon the Ancients, and their Gusts upon the Moderns; and I know no reason, why it should be their Disparagement, to capaciate themselves by these Helps to serve the Publick.
Nothing will please some Men, but Books stuff'd with Antiquity, groaning under the weight of Learned Quotations drawn from the Fountains: And what is all this but Pilfering. But I will neither Rob the Ancient, nor Modern Books, but Pillage all I give you from the Book of the World.
The Book of the World is very Ancient, and yet always New. In all Times, Men, and their Passions, have been the Subjects. These Passions were always the same, tho' they have been delivered to Posterity in different Manners, according to the different Constitution of Ages; and in all Ages they are Read by every one, according to the Characters of their Wit, and the Extent of their Judgment.
Those who are qualified to Read and Understand the Book of the World, may be beneficial to the Publick, in communicating the Fruit of their Studies; but those that have no other knowledge of the World, but what they collect from Books, are not fit to give Instructions to others.
If the World then is a Book that ought to be read in the Original: One may as well compare it to a Country that one cannot know, nor make known to others, without Traveling through it himself. I began this Journey very Young: I always loved to make Reflections upon every thing that presented it self to my View: I was amused in making these Reflections: I have amused my self in Writing them: And I wish my Reader may Amuse himself in Reading them.
Some will think it another Amusement to find a Book without a Dedication, begging the Protection of a Mighty Patron, and by some fulsome kind of Flattery, expose the Great Man, the Author intended to praise; but that I have avoided, by sending the Brat naked into the World to shift for it self. It was not design'd to give any Man Offence. Innocent Mirth, compounded with Wholsome Advice, is the whole Burthen it travails with; and therefore the Author flatters himself with the hopes of pleasing all Men: Which is a Pitch if his Book arrives to, will be the greatest Amusement in the World.
There is no Amusement so entertaining and advantageous, as improving some of our Leisure Time in Traveling. If any Man for that reason has an Inclination to divert himself, and Sail with me round the Globe, to supervise almost all the Conditions of Humane Life, without being infected with the Vanities, and Vices that attend such a Whimsical Perambulation; let him follow me, who am going to Relate it in a Stile, and Language, proper to the Variety of the Subject: For as the Caprichio came Naturally into my Pericranium, I am resolv'd to pursue it through Thick and Thin, to enlarge my Capacity for a Man of Business.
Where then shall we begin? In the Name of Mischief what Country will first present it self to my Imagination? He Bien! I have hit upon't already: Let's Steer for the Court, for that's the Region which will furnish us with the finest Lessons for our Knowledge of the World.
The Court is a Country abounding with Amusements. The Air they breath there, is very fine and subtile; only for about three parts and a half of four in the Year, 'tis liable to be Infected with Gross Vapours full of Flattery and Lying. All the Avenues leading to it are Gay, Smiling, Agreeable to the Sight, and all end in one and the same Point, Honour, and Self-Interest.
Here Fortune keeps her Residence, and seems to expect that we make our Addresses to her, at the bottom of a long Walk, which lies open to all Comers and Goers. One would be apt to think at first sight, that he might reach the End on't, before he could count Twenty; but there are so many By-Walks and Allies to cross, so many Turnings and Windings to find out, that he is soon convinced of his Mistake. 'Tis contrived into such an Intricate Maze and obscure manner, that the Straitest Way is not always the Nearest. It looks Gloriously in the Country, but when you approach it, its Beauty diminishes.
After all the Enquiry I have made about it, I am not able to satisfie your Curiosity, whether the Ground it stands upon be firm and solid. I have seen some New Comers tread as confidently upon it, as if they had been Born there; but quickly found they were in a New World, where the tottering Earth made them Giddy and Stumble: For tho' they knew Good and Evil were equally useful to their Advancement, yet were so confounded, to know which of the two they ought to employ to make their Fortunes, that for want of understanding only that pretty knack, they made a Journey to Court only to go back again, and report at Home they had the Honour of seeing it. On the other side, I have seen some Old Stagers walk upon Court Ground, as gingerly as upon Ice, or a Quagmire: And with all the Precaution and Fear imaginable, lest they should fall from a great Fortune by the same Defects that rais'd them: And not without cause, for the Ground is Hard in some Places, and Sinks in others; but all People covet to get upon the highest Spot, to which there is no coming but by one Passage, and that is so narrow, that no Ambitious Pretender can keep the Way, without Justling other People down with his Elbows: And the further Mischief on't is, that those that keep their Feet, will not help up those that are fallen: For 'tis the Genius of a true Courtier not to lend a Hand, or part with a Farthing to one that wants every thing; but will give any thing to him that wants nothing: Or rather will lay up for a Rainy Day, because what he sees befal another to Day, may be his own Turn to Morrow.He a stout Heart should have, and Steady Head, That in a dangerous Slipery Path does tread; And 'tis the Court that Slipery Place I call, Where all Men Slip, and very few but fall.
The Difficulties we meet with in this Country, are very surprizing; for he takes the longest Way about, that keeps the old Track of Honesty and True Merit; for where the Address of some, does not help to make the Fortune of others, immediately to Eclipse his Desert, Calumny raises the thickest Clouds, Envy the Blackest Vapours, and the Candidate is lost in the Fog of Competitors, and must hide himself behind a Favourites Recommendation, if ever he hopes to obtain what he seeks for: So that Vertue is no longer Vertue, nor Vice Vice, but every thing is confounded and eaten up by particular Interests.
A new comer, with his Pockets well lined, is always welcome to any Court in Christendom, and every thing is provided for him without his own Trouble. He neither Acts nor Speaks, and yet they admire him as a very Wise Man: First, because he is so Foolish to hear them Talk Impertinently, and next because there is no little Wisdom in his Modesty and Silence; for had he Acted or Spoke never so little, they wou'd soon have found out the Coxcomb.
He that holds a Courtier by the Hand, has a Wet Eel by the Tail. He no sooner thinks he is sure of him, but he has lost him. Tho' you presented him in the Morning, he will forget you at Night, and utterly Renounce you the Day following. A profest Courtier, tho he never aims at the Peace of God, is past any Man's Understanding. He is incomparably skill'd in Modish Postures, and Modeling his Looks to every occasion: Profound and Impenetrable, can Dissemble when he does Ill Offices, Smile an Enemy to Death, Frown a Friend into Banishment, put a Constraint upon his Natural Temper, act against his own Inclination, Disguise his Passions, Rail against his own Principles, Contradict his own Opinion, and by a Brillant Humour, convert a Friendly Openness and Sincerity, into a Sly Chicanry and Falshood.
Is it not a great Amusement, that a Man which can subsist upon his own, should throw himself into the two great Plagues of Mankind, Expectation and Dependance, and spend his Life in an Anti-chamber, a Court-Yard, or a Stair-Case, where he finds no Advantage or Content; but is also hindred from finding it elsewhere.
Is it not strange, I say, to see a great Man that lives and is respected in his own Country like a Prince, Haunt the Court to make himself little by Comparison, and bow to those little Animals at the Palace, whose Creeping, Cringing, and long Services, are all the Merits they can pretend to. Let the Courtiers value themselves upon their refined Pleasures, their Power and Interest: Their being able to do Good by Chance, and Evil by Inclination; yet he that is under no Necessity of living precariously, or mending his present Circumstances, 'tis an Amusement to see him Dance Attendance for a single Office at Court, that has so many at his own Disposal in the Country.
And now let's take our Leave of all the Courts in Europe, and hoist Sail for London, the Chiefest City in all Christendom, where we shall find Matter enough to Amuse our selves, tho' we should live as long as Mathusela.
London is a World by it self. We daily discover in it more New Countries, and surprizing Singularities, than in all the Universe besides. There are among the Londoners so many Nations differing in Manners, Customs, and Religions, that the Inhabitants themselves don't know a quarter of them. Imagine then what an Indian wou'd think of such a Motly Herd of People, and what a Diverting Amusement it would be to him, to examine with a Traveller's Eye, all the Remarkable Things of this Mighty City. A Whimsy now takes me in the Head, to carry this Stranger all over the Town with me: No doubt but his Odd and Fantastical Ideas, will furnish me with Variety, and perhaps with Diversion.
Thus I am resolv'd to take upon me the Genius of an Indian, who has had the Curiosity to Travel hither among us, and who had never seen any thing like what he sees in London. We shall see how he will be amazed at certain things, which the Prejudice of Custome makes to seem Reasonable and Natural to us.
To diversifie the Stile of my Narration, I will sometimes make my Traveller speak, and sometimes I will take up the Discourse my self. I will represent to my self the abstracted Ideas of an Indian, and I will likewise represent ours to him. In short, taking it for granted, that we two understand one another by half a Word, I will set both his and my Imagination on the Ramble. Those that won't take the Pains to follow us, may stay where they are, and spare themselves the trouble of reading further in the Book; but they that are minded to Amuse themselves, ought to attend the Caprice of the Author for a few Moments.
I will therefore suppose this Indian of mine, dropt perpendicularly from the Clouds, and finds himself all on the sudden in the midst of this Prodigious and Noisy City, where Repose and Silence dare scarce shew their Heads in the Darkest Night. At first Dash the confused Clamours near Temple-Bar, Stun him, Fright him, and make him Giddy.
He sees an infinite Number of differenr Machines, all in violent Motion. Some Riding on the Top, some Within, others Behind, and Jehu in the Coach-Box before, whirling some Dignify'd Villain towards the Devil, who has got an Estate by Cheating the Publick. He Lolls at full Stretch within, and half a Dozen Brawny Bulk-begotten Footmen behind. Some Carry, others are Carry'd: Make Way there, says a Gouty-Leg'd Chairman, that is carrying a Punk of Quality to a Mornings Exercise: Or a Bartholomew-Baby Beau, newly Launch'd out of a Chocolate-House, with his Pockets as empty as his Brains. Make Room there, says another Fellow driving a Wheel-Barrow of Nuts, that spoil the Lungs of the City Prentices, and make them Wheeze over their Mistresses, as bad as the Phlegmatick Cuckolds their Masters do, when call'd to Family Duty. One Draws, another Drives. Stand up there, you Blind Dog, says a Carman, Will you have the Cart squeeze your Guts out? One Tinker Knocks, another Bawls, Have you Brass Pot, Iron Pot, Kettle, Skillet, or a Frying-Pan to mend: Whilst another Son of a Whore yells louder than Homer's Stentor, Two a Groat, and Four for Six Pence Mackarel. One draws his Mouth up to his Ears, and Howls out, Buy my Flawnders, and is followed by an Old Burly Drab, that Screams out the Sale of her Maids and her Sole at the same Instant.
Here a Sooty Chimney-Sweeper takes the Wall of a Grave Alderman; and a Broom-Man Justles the Parson of the Parish. There a Fat Greasie Porter, runs a Trunk full Butt upon you, while another Salutes your Antlers with a Flasket of Eggs and Butter. Turn out there you Country Put, says a Bully with a Sword two Yards long jarring at his Heels, and throws him into the Channel. By and by comes a Christning, with the Reader and the Midwife strutting in the Front, and Young Original Sin as fine as Fippence, followed with the Vocal Musick of Kitchen-Stuff ha' you Maids; and a Damn'd Trumpeter calling in the Rabble to see a Calf with Six Legs and a Top-knot. There goes a Funeral, with the Men of Rosemary after it, licking their Lips after their three Hits of White, Sack, and Claret at the House of Mourning, and the Sexton walking before, as Big and Bluff as a Beef-Eater at a Coronation. Here's a Poet scampers for't as fast as his Legs will carry him, and at his Heels a Brace of Bandog Bayliffs, with open Mouths ready to Devour him, and all the Nine Muses. Well, say I to the Indian; And how do you like this Crowd, Noise, and Perpetual Hurry?
I admire and tremble, says the poor Wretch to me. I admire that in so narrow a Place, so many Machines, and so many Animals, whose Motions are so directly Opposite or Different, can move so dexterously, and not fall foul upon one another. To avoid all this danger, shews the Ingenuity of you Europeans; but their Rashness makes me tremble, when I see Brute heavy Beasts hurry through so many Streets, and run upon slippery uneven Stones, where the least false Step brings them within an Ace of Death.
While I behold this Town of London, continues our Contemplative Traveller, I fancy I behold a Prodigious Animal. The Streets are as so many Veins, wherein the People Circulate. With what Hurry and Swiftness is the Circulation of London perform'd? You behold, say I to him, the Circulation that is made in the Heart of London, but it moves more briskly in the Blood of the Citizens, they are always in Motion and Activity. Their Actions succeed one another with so much Rapidity, that they begin a Thousand Things before they have finish'd one, and finish a thousand others before they have begun them.
They are equally uncapable both of Attention and Patience, and tho' nothing is more quick, than the Effects of Hearing and Seeing; yet they don't allow themselves time either to Hear or See; but like Moles, work in the Dark, and Undermine one another.
All their Study and Labour is either about Profit, or Pleasure; and they have Schools for the Education of their Stalking-Horses, which they call Apprentices in the Mystery of Trade. A Term unintelligible to Foreigners, and that none truly understand the Meaning of, but those that practice it.
Some call it Over-witting those they deal with, but that's generally denied as a Heterodox Definition; for Wit was never counted a London Commodity, unless among their Wives, and other City Sinners; and if you search all the Warehouses and Shops, from White-Chappel Bars, to St. Clement's, if it were to save a Man's Life, or a Womans Honesty, you cannot find one Farthing worth of Wit among them.
Some derive this Heathenish Word Trade from an Hebrew Original, and call it Over-Reaching, but the Jews deny it, and say the Name and Thing is wholly Christian; and for this Interpretation quote the Authority of a London Alderman, who sold a Jew five Fats of Right-handed Gloves, without any Fellows to them, and afterwards made him purchase the Left-handed ones to Match them, at double the Value.
Some call Trade, Honest Gain, and to make it more Palatable, have lacker'd it with the Name of Godliness; and hence it comes to pass, that the Generality of Londoners are accounted such Eminent Professors; but of all Guessers, he comes nearest the Mark, that said Trade was playing a Game at Losing Loadum, or dropping Fools Pence into Knaves Pockets, till the Sellers were Rich, and the Buyers were Bankrupts.
About the Middle of London, is to be seen a Magnificent Building, for the Accommodation of the Lady Trade, and her Heirs and Successors for ever, so full of Amusements about Twelve a Clock every Day, that one would think all the World was converted into News-Mongers and Intelligencers, for that's the first Salutation among all Mankind that frequent that Place. What News from Scandaroon and Aleppo? says the Turkey Merchant. What Price bears Currants at Zant? Apes at Tunis? Religion at Rome? Cutting a Throat at Naples? Whores at Venice? And the Cure of a Clap at Padua?
What News of such a Ship? says the Insurer. Is there any hope of her being Cast away, says the Adventurer, for I have Insured more by a Thousand Pounds, than I have in her? So have I through Mercy, says a second, and therefore let's leave a Letter of Advice for the Master, at the New Light-House at Plimouth, that he does not fail to touch at the Goodwin-Sands, and give us Advice of it from Deal, or Canterbury, and he shall have another Ship for his Faithful Service as soon as he comes to London.
I have a Bill upon you, Brother, says one Alderman to another. Go Home, Brother, says the other, and if Money and my Man be Absent, let my Wife pay you out of her Privy-Purse, as your Good Wife lately paid a Bill at Sight for me, I thank her Ladyship.
Hark you, Mr. Broker, I have a Parcel of excellent Log-Wood, Block-Tin, Spiders Brains, Philosophers Guts, Don Quixot's Windmills, Hens-Teeth, Ell-Broad Pack-Thread, and the Quintescence of the Blue of Plumbs. Go you Puppy, you are fit to be a Broker, and don't know that the Greshamites buy up all these Rarities by Wholesale all the Year, and Retail them out to the Society every first of April.
Hah, Old Acquaintance! Touch Flesh: I have have been seeking thee all the Change over. I have a pressing Occasion for some Seeds of Sedition, Jacobite Rue, and Whig Herb of Grace, Can'st furnish me? Indeed lau, No; saith the Merchant. I have just parted with them to the several Coffee-Houses about the Town, where the respective Merchants meet that Trade in those Commodities; but if you want but a small Parcel, you may be supplied by Mrs. Bald--n, or Da--y and his Son-in-Law Bell and Clapper, and most Booksellers in London and Westminster. Da, da, I'll about it immediately. Stay a little Mr. —, I have a Word in private to you. If you know any of our Whig Friends that have occasion for any Stanch Votes for the Choice of Mayors or Sheriffs, that were Calculated for the Meridian of London, but will serve indifferently for any City, or Corporation in Europe, our Friend Mr. Pats—l has abundance that lie upon his Hands, and will be glad to dispose of them a good Pennyworth. Enough said, They are no Winters Traffick, for tho' Mayors and Woodcocks come in about Michaelmas, they don't lay Springes for Sheriffs till about Midsummer, and then we'll talk with him about those weighty Matters.
There stalks a Sergeant and his Mace, smelling at the Merchants Backsides, like a Hungry Dog for a Dinner.
There walks a Publick Notary tied to an Inkhorn, like an Ape to a Clog, to put off his Heathen-Greek Commodities, Bills of Store, and Charter Parties.
That Wheezing Sickly Shew with his Breeches full of the Prices of Male and Female Commodities, Projects, Complaints, and all Mismanagements from Dan to Beersheba, is the Devil's Broker, and may be spoken withal every Sunday from Eleven in the Morning, till Four in the Afternoon, at the next Quakers Meeting, to his Lodging, and not after; for the rest of his time on that Day he employs in adjusting his Accompts, and playing at Back-Gammon with his Principal.
There goes a Rat-catcher in state, Brandishing his Banner like a Blackamore in a Pageant on the Execution-Day of Rost Beef, Greasie Geese, and Custards.
And there Sneaks a Hunger-starv'd Usurer in quest of a Crasie Citizen for Use and Continuance-Money, which the other shuns as carefully as a Sergeant, or the Devil.
Now say I to my Indian, Is not all this Hodge-Podge a Pleasant Confusion, and a Perfect Amusement? The Astonish'd Traveller reply'd, Without doubt the Indigested Chaos was but an imperfect representation of this congregated Huddle. But that which most Amuses my Understanding, is to hear 'em speak all Languages, and talk of nothing but Trucking, and Bartering, Buying and Selling, Borrowing and Lending, Paying and Receiving, and yet I see nothing they have to dispose of unless those that have them, sell their Gold Chains, the Braziers their Leathern Aprons, the Young Merchants their Swords, or the Old Ones their Canes and Oaken-Plants, that support their Feeble Carcases. That doubt, quoth I to my inquisitive Indian, is easily solved, for tho their Grosser Wares are at Home in their Store-Houses, they have many Things of Value to Truck for, that they always carry about them: As Justice for Fat Capons to be delivered before Dinner. A Reprieve from the Whipping-Post, for a Dozen Bottles of Claret to drink after it. Licences to sell Ale for a Hogshead of Stout to his Worship; and leave to keep a Coffee-House, for a Cask of Cold Tea to his Lady. Name but what you want, and I'll direct you to the Walks where you shall find the Merchants that will Furnish you. Would you buy the Common Hunt, the Common Cryers, the Bridge-Master's, or the Keeper of Newgate's Places? Stay till they fall, and a Gold-Chain, and a Great Horse will direct you to the Proprietors. Would you buy any Naked Truth, or Light in a Dark-Lanthorn? Look in the Wet-Quakers Walk. Have you occasion for Comb-Brushes, Tweezers, Cringes, or Complements, A la mode? The French Walk will supply you. Want you Old Cloaks, Plain Shooes, or Formal Gravity? You may fit your self to a Cows-Thumb among the Spaniards.
Have you any Use in your Country for Upright Honesty, or Downright Dealing? You may buy plenty of them both among the Stock-Jobbers, for they are dead Commodities, and that Society are willing to quit their Hands of them.
Would you lay out your Indian Gold for a New Plantation? Enquire for the Scotch Walk, and you buy a Good Pennyworth in Darien: Three of your own Kings, for as many New Hats, and all their Nineteen Subjects into the Purchase, to be delivered at the Scotch East-India Office, by Parson Pattison, or their Secretary Wisdom Webster. If you want any Tallow, Rapparee's Hides, or Popish Massacres, enquire in the Irish Walk, and you cannot lose your Labour: But I am interrupted.
Look! Yonder's a Jew treading upon an Italian's Foot, to carry on a Sodomitical Intrigue, and Bartering their Souls here, for Fire and Brimstone in another World.
See, there's a Beau that has Play'd away his Estate at a Chocolate-House, going to Sell himself to Barbadoes, to keep himself out of Newgate, and from Scandalizing his Relations at Tyburn.
There's a Poet Reading his Verses, and squeezing his Brains into an Amorous Cits Pockets, in hopes of a Tester to buy himself a Dinner.
Behind that Pillar is a Welch Herald deriving a Merchant's Pedigree from Adam's Great-Grandfather, to entitle him to a Coat of Arms, when he comes to be Alderman.
But now the Change began to empty so fast, I thought 'twas time to troop off to an Eating-House; but my Indian pull'd me by the Sleeve to satisfie his Curisioty, why they stain'd such stately Pillars with so many Dirty Papers. I told him, they were Advertisements. Why, says he, don't they put them into the Post-Boy? Can't the Folks in this Country read it? Pray let me know the Contents of some of these Scrawls.
Why first here is a Ship to be sold, with all her Tackle and Lading. There are Vertuous Maidens that are willing to be Transported with William Penn into Merriland, for the Propogation of Quakerism. In another is a Tutor to be Hired, to instruct any Gentleman's, or Merchant's Children in their own Families: And under that an Advertisement of a Milch-Ass, to be sold at the Night-Mans in White-Chappel.
In another Colume in a Gilded-Frame was a Chamber-Maid that wanted a Service; and over her an Old Batchelor that wanted a House-keeper. On the sides of these were two lesser Papers, one containing an Advertisement of a Red-Headed Monkey lost from a Seed-Shop in the Strand, with two Guineas Reward to him or her that shall bring him Home again with his Tail and Collar on. On the other side was a large Folio fill'd with Wet and Dry Nurses; and Houses to be Lett; and Parrots, Canary-Birds, and Setting-Dogs to be sold.
The Way to my Lodging lay through Cheapside, but dreading the Canibal Man-catchers at the Counter-Gate, that suck the Blood, and pick the Bones of all the Paupers that fall into their Clutches; nay, are worse than Dogs, for they'll Devour one another; I Tack'd about, and made a Trip over Moor-fields, and Visited our Friends in Bedlam.
A Pleasant Piece it is, and abounds with Amusements; the first of which is the Building so stately a Fabrick for Persons wholly unsensible of the Beauty and Use of it: The Outside is a perfect Mockery to the Inside, and admits of two Amusing Queries: Whether the Persons that ordered the Building it, or those that Inhabit it, were the Maddest? And whether the Name and Thing be not as disagreeable as Harp and Harrow? But what need I wonder at that, since the whole is but one Intire Amusement: Some were Preaching, and others in full Cry a Hunting. Some were Praying, others Cursing and Swearing. Some were Dancing, others Groaning. Some Singing, others Crying, and all in perfect Confusion. A sad Representation of the greater Chimerical World, only in this there's no Whoring, Cheating, nor Sleeping, unless after the Platonick Mode in Thought, for want of Action. Here were Persons Confined that having no Money nor Friends, and but a small Stock of Confidence, run Mad for want of Preferment. A Poet that for want of Wit and Sense, run Mad for want of Victuals, and a Hard-favour'd Citizens Wife, that lost her Wits because her Husband kept a Handsome Mistress.
In this Apartment was a Common Lawyer Pleading; in another a Civilian Sighing; a third enclosed a Jacobite Ranting against the Revolution; and a fourth a Morose Melancholy Whig, bemoaning his want of an Office, and complaining against Abuses at Court, and Mismanagements.
Missing many others, whom I thought deserved a Lodging among their Brethren, I made Enquiry after them, and was told by the Keeper, they had many other Houses of the same Foundation in the City, where they were disposed of till they grew Tamer, and were qualified to be admitted Members of this Soberer Society. The Projectors, who are generally Broken Citizens, were coop'd up in the Counters and Ludgate. The Beaus, and Rakes, and Common Mad Gilts, that labour under a Furor Uterini in Bridewell, and Justice Long's Powdering-Tub; and the Vertuosi were confined to Gresham-College. Those, continued he, in whose Constitutions Folly has the Ascendant over Frenzy, are permitted to Reside, and be Smoaked in Coffee-Houses; and those that by the Governors of this Hospital, are thought Utterly Incurable, are shut up with a pair of Foils, a Fiddle, and a Pipe, in the Inns of Court and Chancery; and when their Fire and Spirits are exhausted, and they begin to Dote, they are removed by Habeas Corpus into a certain Hospital built for that purpose near Amen-Corner.
Walking from hence, I had leisure to ask my Indian his Opinion of these Amusements, who after the best manner his Genius would suffer him, harangued upon Deficiency of Sence, as the only Beneficial Quality, since the bare pretence to Wit was attended by such Tragical Misfortunes, as Confinement to Straw, Small Drink, and Flogging.
Hearing a Noise as we approached near Cripplegate Church, my Curiosity lead me into the Inside of it, where Mr. Sm—ys was Holding-forth against all the Vices of the Age, but Whoring and Midwifery; for such a stretch of Extravagancy had lost both his own and his Wifes Fees at Christenings, and Stuffing their Wembs at Churchings: And you know none but Poets and Players decry their own way of Living. He was very Heavenly upon Conjugal Duties and Chastity, for a reason you may imagine: Press'd Filial Obedience and Honesty, with as much Vigour, as if his own Sons had been his Auditors: But above all, laid out himself as powerfully in exciting his Hearers to be Charitable to the Poor, as if himself had been the Judas and the Bag-bearer. Now
I that am always more scared at the sight of a Sergeant, or Bayliff, than at the Devil and all his Works, was mortally frighted in my Passage through Barbican and Long-Lane, by the Impudent Ragsellers, in those Scandalous Climates, who laid hold of my Arm to ask me, What I lack'd? At first it made me Tremble worse than a Quaker in a Fit of Enthusiasm, imagining it had been an Arrest; but their Rudeness continuing at every Door, relieved me from those Pannick Fears; and the next rhat attack'd my Arm with What ye buy, Sir, What ye lack? I threw him from my Sleeve into the Kennel, saying, Tho' I want nothing out of your Shops, methinks you all want good Manners and Civility, that are ready to tear a New Sute from my Back, under pretence of selling me an Old one: Avant Vermin, your Cloaths smell as rankly of Newgate and Tyburn, as the Bedding to be sold at the Ditchside near Fleet-Bridge, smells of a Bawdy-House and Brandy.
Smithfield would next have afforded us variety of Subjects to descant upon; but it being neither Bartholomew-Fair Time, nor Market-Day, I shall adjourn that View to another opportunity; and now proceed to,
A magnificent Building, which is Open to all the World, and yet in a Manner is shut up, by the Prodigious Concourse of People, who Crowd and Sweat to get in or out, and happy are they that don't leave their Lives, Estates, nor Consciences behind them.
Here we entred into a great Hall, where my Indian was surprized to see, in the same Place, Men on the one side with Bawbles and Toys, and on the other taken up with the Fear of Judgment, on which depends their inevitable Destiny.
In this Shop are to be sold Ribbons and Gloves, Towers and Commodes, by Word of Mouth: In another Shop Lands and Tenements are disposed of by Decree.
On your Left Hand you hear a nimble Tongu'd Painted Sempstress, with her Charming Treble, Invite you to buy some of her Knick-Knacks: And on your Right, a Deep-mouth'd Cryar commanding Impossibilities, viz. Silence to be kept among Women and Lawyers. What a Fantastical Jargon does this Heap of Contrarieties amount to?
While our Traveller is making his Observations upon this Motly Scene, he's frighted at the Terrible Approaches of a Multitude of Men in Black Gowns, and Round Caps, that make between them a most Hideous and Dreadful Monster, call'd Pettyfogging, of which there is such store in England, that the People think themselves obliged to pray for the Egyptian Locusts, and Catterpillars, in exchange for this kind of Vermin. And this Monster bellows out so pernicious a Language, that one Word alone is sufficient to ruine whole Families.
At certain Hours appointed, there appears Grave and Dauntless Men, whose very Sight is enough to give one a Quartan-Ague, and who lays this Monster on his Back.
Scarce a Day passes over their Heads, but they rescue out of his greedy Jaws some Thousand of Acres half devoured.
This Cursed Petty-Fogging is much more to be feared than Injustice it self. The latter openly undoes us, and affords us at least this Comfort, That we have a Right to bewail our selves; but the former by its Dilatory Formalities, rob tis of all we have, and tells us for our Eternal Despair, that we suffer by Law.
Justice, if I may so express my self, is a Beautiful Young Virgin Disguis'd, brought on the Stage by the Pleader, Pursued by the Artorney, Cajol'd by the Counsellor, and Defended by the Judge.
Some Pert Critick will tell me now that I have lost my way in Digressions. Under favour, this Critick is in the wrong Box, for Digressions properly belong to my Subject, since they are all nothing but Amusements; and this is a Truth so uncontested, that I am resolved to continue them.
By way of Digression, I must here inform you, that in all those Places of my Voyage, where the Indian perplexes me with his Questions, I will drop him, as I have already done, to pursue my own Reflexions: Upon this Condition however, that I may be allowed to take him up again, when I am weary of Travelling alone. I will likewise make bold to quit the Metaphor of my Voyage, whenever the Fancy takes me; for I am so far from confining my self like a Slave to one particular Figure, that I will keep the Power still in my Hands, to change if I think fit at every Period, my Figure, Subject, and Stile, that I may be less tiresom to the Modern Reader; for I know well enough, that Variety is the Predominant Taste of the present Age.
Altho' nothing is durable in this Transitory World, yet 'tis observ'd, that this Saying proves false in Westminster-Hall, where there are things of eternal continuance, as Thousands have found true by Woful Experience, I mean Chancery Suits. Certain Sons of Parchment, call'd Sollicitors and Barristers, make it their whole Business to keep the Shuttle-Cock in motion, and when one Hand is weary of it, they Play it into another. 'Tis the chiefest part of their Religion to keep up and animate the Differences among their Clyents, as it was with the Vestal Virgins in the Days of Yore, to maintain the Sacred Fire.
'Tis a most surprizing thing that notwithstanding all the Clamour, Squaling, and Bawling there is in the Courts, yet you shall have a Judge now and then take as Comfortable a Nap upon the Bench, as if he was at Church; and every Honest Christian has reason to pray, that as often as a Cause comes to be heard, the Judges of Ancient Times were Awake, and the Modern Fast Asleep.
However this must be said for them, that they are Righteous enough in their Hearts; but the Devil on't is, that they can't tell which way to take to instruct themselves in the Merits of the Cause. The Contending Parties are suspected by them, the Solicitor embroils them, the Counsellor Deafens them, the Attorney Importunes them, and (is it not a sad thing?) the Shee-Sollicitor Distracts them. Well! Let what will happen on't, give me for my Money the Female Sollicitor.
A certain Judge in the Days of Yore, made his Boasts one Day, that the most Charming Woman in the World, was not able to make him forget that he was a Judge. Very likely, Sir, said a Gentleman to him; but I'll lay Twenty to One on Nature's side. The Magistrate was a Man before he was a Judge. The first Motion he finds is for the Shee Solicitor, and the Second is for Justice.
A very Beautiful Countess went to a Morose Surly Judge's Chamber, to prepossess him in Favour of a very Unrighteous Cause, and to Sollicite for a Colonel, against a Tradesman that Sued him.
This Tradesman happened rhat very Moment to be in his Lordship's Closet, who found his Cause to be so Just, and Clear, that he could not forbear to promise him to take care he should carry the Day.
The Words were no sooner out of his Mouth, but our Charming Countess appear'd in the Anti-Chamber. The Judge immediately run as fast as his Gouty Legs would give him leave to meet her Ladyship. Her Eyes, her Air, her Graceful Deportment, the Sound of her Voice, so many Charms in short, pleaded so powerfully in her Favour, that at the first Moment he found the Man too Powerful for the Judge, and he promised our Countess, that the Collonel should gain his Cause. Thus you see the Poor Judge engaged on both sides. When he came back to his Closet, he found the Tradesman reduc'd to the last Despair. I saw her, cries the Fellow as it were out of his Wits. I saw the Lady that solicits against me, and Lord what a Charming Creature she is? I am undone my Lord, my Cause is lost and ruin'd! Why, says the Judge, not yet recovered from his Confusion, imagine your self in my Place, and tell me if 'tis possible for frail Man to refuse any thing that so Beautiful a Lady asks? As he spoke these Words, he pull'd a Hundred Pistols out of his Pocket, which amounted to the Sum the Tradesman sued for, and gave them to him. By some means or other the Countess came to the knowledge of it; and as she was Vertuous even to a Scruple, she was afraid of being too much obliged by so Generous a Judge, and immediately sent him a Hundred Pistoles. The Colonel full as Gallant as the Countess was Scrupulous, paid her the Sum aforesaid; and thus every one did as he ought to do. The Judge was afraid of being Unjust, the Countess feared to be too much obliged, the Collonel paid, and the Tradesman was satisfied: Or according to our old English Adage, all was well, Jack had Joan, and the Man had his Mare again.
Shall I give you my Opinion of this Judge's Behaviour. The first Motion he found in himself, was for the Charming Sollicitrix, which I cannot Excuse him for; and the second was for Justice, for which I Admire him.
While I thus amus'd my self, my Traveller is lost in a Fog of Black-Gowns; let us go and find him. Oh yonder he is at the farther end of the Hall, I call to him, he strives to come to me, but his Breath fails him, the Crowd over-presses him, he's carried down the Stream, he Swims upon his Elbows to get to Shoar.
At last half Spent, and dripping from every Pore in his Body, he comes up to me, and all the Relation I could get from him of what he had seen, was; Oh this Counfounded Country! Let us get out of it as soon as possibly we can, and never see it more.
Come, come, says I to him, let's go and Refresh our selves after this Fatigue; and to put the Idea of the Hall out of our Heads, let's go this Evening into the Delicious Country of Opera.
The Play-House is an Inchanted Island, where nothing appears in Reality what it is, nor what it should be. 'Tis frequented by Persons of all Degrees and Qualities whatsoever, that have a great deal of Idle Time lying upon their Hands, and can't tell how to employ it worser. Here Lords come to Laugh, and to be Laugh'd at for being there, and seeing their Qualities ridicul'd by every Triobolary Poet. Knights come hither to learn the Amorous Smirk, the A la mode Grin, the Antick Bow, the Newest-Fashion'd Cringe, and how to adjust his Phiz, to make himself as Ridiculous by Art, as he is by Nature.
Hither come the Country Gentlemen to shew their Shapes, and trouble the Pit with their Impertinence about Hawking, Hunting, and their Handsome Wives, and their Housewifery.
There sits a Beau like a Fool in a Frame, that dares not stir his Head, nor move his Body, for fear of incommoding his Wig, ruffling his Cravat, or putting his Eyes, or Mouth out of the Order his Maitre de Dance had set it in, whilst a Bully Beau comes Drunk into the Pit, Screaming out, Dam me, Jack, 'tis a Confounded Play, let's to a Whore and spend our time better.
Here the Ladies come to shew their Cloaths, which are often the only things to be admir'd in or about 'em. Some of them having Scab'd, or Pimpled Faces, wear a Thousand Patches to hide them, and those that have none, scandalize their Faces by a Foolish imitation. Here they shew their Courage by being unconcerned at a Husband being Poison'd, a Hero being Kill'd, or a Passionate Lover being Jilted: And discover their Modesties by standing Buff at a Baudy Song, or a Naked Obscene Figure. By the Signs that both Sexes hang out, you may know their Qualities or Occupations, and not mistake in making your Addresses.
Men of Figure and Consideration, are known by seldom being there, and Men of Wisdom and Business, by being always absent. A Beau is known by the Decent Management of his Sword-Knot, and Snuff-Box. A Poet by his Empty Pockets: A Citizen by his Horns and Gold Hatband: A Whore by a Vizor-Mask: And a Fool by Talking to her. A Play-House Wit is distinguish'd by wanting Understanding; and a Judge of Wit by Nodding and Sleeping, till the falling of the Curtain, and Crowding to get out awake him.
I have told you already, that the Play-House was the Land of Enchantment, the Country of Metamorphosis, and performed it with the greatest speed imaginable. Here in the Twinkling of an Eye, you shall see Men transform'd into Demi-Gods: And Goddesses made as true Flesh and Blood, as our Common Women. Here Fools by Slight of Hand, are converted into Wits. Honest Women into Errant Whores, and which is most miraculous, Cowards into Valiant Hero's, and Rank Cocquets and Jilts into as Chaste and Vertuous Mistresses, as a Man would desire to put his Knife into.
Let us now speak a Word or so, of the Natives of this Country, and the Stock of Wit and Manners by which they Maintain themselves, and Ridicule the whole World besides. The People are all somewhat Whimsical, and Giddy-Brain'd: When they Speak, they Sing, when they Walk, they Dance, and very often do both when they have no mind to it.
The Stage has now so great a share of Atheism, Impudence, and Prophaneness, that it looks like an Assembly of Demons, directing the Way Hellward; and the more Blasphemous the Poets are, the more are they admired, even from Huffing Dryden, to Sing-Song Durfey, who always Stutters at Sence, and speaks plain when he Swears G— Dam me. What are all their New Plays but Damn'd Insipid Dull Farces, confounded Toothless Satyr, or Plaguy Rhiming Plays, with Scurvy Heroes, worse than the Knight of the Sun, or Amadis de Gaul. They are the errantest Plagiaries in Nature, and like our Common News-Writers, steal from one another.
When any Humour Takes in London, they Ride it to Death before they leave it. The Primitive Christians were not Persecuted with half that Variety, as the poor Unthinking Beaux are tormented with upon the Theatre.
Character they supply with a Smutty Song, Humour with a Dance, and Argument with Lightning and Thunder, which has often reprieved many a Scurvy Play from Damning.
A Huge great Muff, and a Gaudy Ribbon hanging at a Bully's Backside, is an Excellent Jest; and New Invented Curses, as Stap my Vitals, Damn my Diaphragma, Slit my Wind-Pipe; Rig up a New Beau, tho' in the Main 'tis but the same everlasting Coxcomb; and there's as much difference between their Rhimes, and Solid Verse, as between the Royal Psalmist, and Hopkins and Sternhold, with their Collars of Ay's and Eeke's about them.
'Tis a hard Matter to find such things as Reason, Sense, or Modesty, among them; for the Mens Heads are so full of Musick, that you can have nothing from them but empty Sounds; and the Women are so Light, they may easily be blown up or down like a Feather.
We have divers sorts of Walks about London, in some you go to see and be seen, in others neither to see nor to be seen, but like a Noun Substantive to be Felt, Heard, and Understood.
The Ladies that have an Inclination to be Private, take Delight in the Close Walks of Spring-Gardens, where both Sexes meet, and mutually serve one another as Guides to lose their Way, and the Windings and Turnings in the little Wildernesses, are so intricate, that the most Experienc'd Mothers, have often lost themselves in looking for their Daughters.
From Spring-Garden we set our Faces towards Hide-Park, where Horses have their Diversion as well as Men, and Neigh and Court their Mistresses almost in as intelligible a Dialect. Here People Coach it to take the Air, amidst a Cloud of Dust, able to Choak a Foot Soldier, and hinder'd us from seeing those that come thither on purpose to shew themselves: However we made hard shift to get now and then a Glance at some of them.
Here we saw much to do about nothing; a World of Brave Men, Gilt-Coaches, and Rich Liveries. Within some of them were Upstart Courtiers, blown up as big as Pride and Vanity could swell them to; sitting as Upright in their Chariots, as if a Stake had been driven through them. It would hurt their Eyes to exchange a Glance upon any thing that's Vulgar, and that's the Reason they are so sparing of their Looks, that they will neither Bow nor move their Hats to any thing under a Duke or a Dutchess; and yet if you examine some of their Originals; a Covetous, Soul-less Miser, or a great Oppressor, laid the Foundation of their Families, and in their Retinue there are more Creditors than Servants.
See, says my Indian, what a Bevy of Gallant Ladies are in yonder Coaches; some are Singing, others Laughing, others Tickling one another, and all of them Toying and devouring Cheese-Cakes, March-Pane, and China Oranges. See that Lady says he, was ever any thing so black as her Eye, and so clear as her Forehead? One would Swear her Facc had taken its Tincture from all the Beauties in Nature; and yet perhaps, answered I to my Fellow Traveller, all this is but Imposture; she might, for ought we know, go to Bed last Night as ugly as a Hagg, tho' she now appears like an Angel: and if you did but see this Puppet taken to pieces, her whole is but Paint and Plaster. From hence we went to take a Turn in the Mall.
When we came into these Pleasant Walks, my Fellow Traveller was Ravish'd at the most agreeable Sight in Nature. There were none but Women there that Day as it happened, and the Walks were covered with them.
I never, said he to me Laughing, beheld in my Life so great a Flight of Birds. Bless me, how Fine and Pretty they are.
Friend, reply'd I to him in the same Metaphor, these are Birds to Amuse one, that change their Feathers two or three times a Day.
They are Fickle and Light by Inclination, Weak by Constitution, but never weary of Billing and Chirping.
They never see the Day till the Sun is just going to Set, they Hop always upright with one Foot upon the Ground, and touch the Clouds with their proud Toppings. In a word, the generality of Women are Peacocks when they Walk; Water-Wagtails when they are within Doors, and Turtles when they meet Face to Face.
This is a bold Description of them, says my Indian. Pray tell me, Sir, says he, is this Portrait of them after Nature? Yes, without Question, answer'd I, but I know some Women that are Superior to the rest of their Sex, and perhaps to Men also. In relation to those, I need not say much to distinguish them from the rest, for they'll soon distinguish themselves by their Vertuous Discourse and Deportment.
Nothing is so hard to be Defined as Women, and of all Women in the World none are so undefinable as those of London.
The Spanish Women are altogether Spanish, the Italians altogether Italians, the Germans altogether Germans, the French Women always like themselves; but among the London Women we find Spaniards, Italians, Germans, and French, blended together into one individual Monopoly of all Humours and Fashions.
Nay, how many different Nations are there of our English Ladies. In the first place there is the Politick Nation of your Ladies of the Town. Next the Savage Nation of Country Dames. Then the Free Nation of the Coquets. The Invisible Nation of the Faithful Wives, (the worst Peopled of all.) The Good-Natur'd Nation of Wives that Cuckold their Husbands, (they are almost forced to Walk upon one anothers Heads, their Numbers are so prodigious.) The Warlike Nation of Intriguing Ladies. The Fearful Nation of —, but there are scarce any of them left. The Barbarous Nation of Mothers-in-Law. The Haughty Nation of Citizens Wives, that are Dignified with a Title. The Strowling Nation of your regular Visitants, and the Lord knows how many more: Not to reckon the Superstitious Nation that run after Conjurers and Fortune-Tellers. 'Tis pitty this latter sort are not lock'd up in a Quarter by themselves, and that the Nation of Cunning Women are not rooted out that abuse them, and set them upon doing some things, which otherwise they would not.
I have suffer'd my self to be carried too far by my Subject. 'Tis a strange thing that we cannot talk of Women with a Just Moderation: We either talk too much, or too little of them: We don't speak enough of Vertuous Women, and we speak too much of those that are not so.
Men would do Justice to 'em all, if they could talk of them without Passion; but they scarce speak at all of those that are Indifferent: They are prepossessed for them they Love, and against them by whom they cannot make themselves to be Beloved.
They rank the latter in the Class of Irregular Women, because they are Wise, and indeed Wiser than they would have them be. The Railing of the Men ought to be the Justification of the Women; but it unluckily falls out, that one half of the World take delight to raise Scandalous Stories, and t'other half in believing them.
Slander has been the Product of all Times, and all Countries; it is very near of as Ancient standing in the World, as Vertue. Defamation ought to be more severely punish'd than Theft. It does more Injury to Civil Societies, and 'tis a harder matter to secure one's Reputation from a Slanderer, than one's Money from a Robber.
All the World are agreed, that both one and the other are Scoundrels, yet for all that we esteem 'em when they excel in this Art. A Nice and a Witty Railer is the most agreeable Person in Conversation; and he that Dexterously picks another Man's Pocket, as your Quacks and Attornies, draws the Veneration even of those who live by Cutting of Purses.
When one observes in what Reputation both of them live, one would be apt to say, That 'tis neither Defamation, nor Robbery, that we blame in others; but only their Awkardness and want of Skill. They are punish'd for not being able to arrive at the Perfection of their Art.
Come, come, says my Indian, you ramble from your Subject; you speak of Back-Biting in General, whereas at present we are only talking of that Branch of it which belongs to Women. I would bring you back to that Point, which puts me in mind of certain Laws, which was heretofore proposed by a Legislator of my Country. One of these Laws gave permission for one Woman to Slander another; in the first place, because it is impossible to prevent it; and besides, because in Matters of Gallantry, she that accuses her Neighbour, might her self be accused of it in her turn, pursuant to the Ancient and Righteous Law of returning a Rowland for an Oliver.
But how would you have a Woman quit Scores with a Man, who has publish'd disadvantageous Stories of her? Must she serve him in the same kind? By all means: For if Men think it a piece of Merit to Conquer Women, and Women place theirs in well defending themselves, she that gets a Lover sings a Triumph; and she that Loves, confesses her self to be Conquered.
If it were true, that the Ladies were more Weak than we are, their Fall would be more excusable; but I think we are Weaker than our Wives, since we expect they should pardon us in every thing, and we will pardon nothing in them. One would think that when a Man had got a Woman into a Matrimonial Noose, 'twas enough for her to be wholly his: And by the same Reason should not the Man be wholly hers? What a Tyranny is this in the Men, to monopolize Infidelity to themselves?
But if Men will be slandering Women, let them vent their Fury against those only that are ugly, for that is neither Slandering nor Calumniating, tho' it be a Crime the Ladies will never forgive; for the Generality of them are more Jealous of the Reputation of their Beauties, than of their Honours, and she that wants a whole Morning at least to bring her Face to perfection, would be more concern'd to be surpriz'd at her Toilet, than to be taken in the Arms of a Gallant.
I am not at all surprized at this Notion, for the chief Vertue in the Ladies Catechism is to please; and Beauty pleases Men more effectually than Wisdom. One Man loves Sweetness and Modesty in a Woman; another loves a Jolly Damsel with Life and Vigour; but Agreeableness and Beauty Relishes with all Humane Pallats.
A Young Woman who has no other Portion than her hopes of Pleasing, is at a loss what Measures to take that she may make her Fortune. Is she Simple, we despise her: Is she Vertuous we don't like her Company. Is she a Coquet, we avoid her: Therefore to succeed well in the World, 'tis necessary that she be Vertuous, Simple, and a Coquet all at once. Simplicity Invites us, Coquetry Amuses, and Vertue Retains us.
'Tis a hard matter for a Woman to escape the Censures of the Men. 'Tis much more so to guard themselves from the Womens Tongues. A Lady that sets up for Vertue, makes her self envied; she that pretends to Gallantry, makes her self despised; but she that pretends to nothing, escapes Contempt and Envy, and saves her self between two Reputations.
This Management surpasses the Capacity of a Young Woman: Those that are Young and Handsome, are exposed to two Temptations: To preserve themselves from them they want the Assistance of Reason; and 'tis their Misfortune that Reason comes not in to their Relief, till their Youth and Beauty, and the Danger is gone together. Tell us why should not Reason come as soon as Beauty, since one was made to defend the other?
It does not depend upon a Woman to be Handsome; the only Beauty that all of them might have, and some of them, to speak Modestly, think fit to part with, is Chastity; but of all Beauties whatsoever, 'tis the easiest to lose.
She that never was yet in Love, is so asham'd of her first Weakness, that she would by all means conceal it from her self: As for the second, she desires to conceal it from others; but she does not think it worth the while to conceal the third from any Body.
When Chastity is once gone, 'tis no more to be retriev'd than Youth. Those that have lost their Chastities, assumes an affected one, which is much sooner provoked than that which is real: Of which we had an Experiment in the Close Walk at the Head of Rosamond's Pond, where for one poor Equivocal Word, a Brisk She was ready to tear a Gentleman's Cravat off; who after a further Parley, discover'd her self to be sensible of some things which she ought to have been ignorant of, to have maintained her affected Modesty.
A Lady of this Character was sitting on the side of this Pond upon the Grass with her Younger Sister newly come out of the Country, to whom a Spark sitting by, entertain'd her with a Relation of an Amorous Adventure between my Lord —, and my Lady Love it; but expressing himself in such Obscene Ambiguous Terms, that a Woman that did not know What was What, could as soon fly with a Hundred Weight of Lead at her Heels, as tell what to make of it: The more obscurely the Gentleman told his Story, the more attentively did our Young Creature listen to it, and discover'd her Curiosity by some simple harmless Questions. The Elder of the two Sisters desirous to let the Gentleman, and others that sate by them, understand that she had more Modesty than her Younger Sister, cryed out, Oh fie, Sister, fie; Can you hear such a wicked Story as this without Blushing?
Alas, Sister, says the Young Innocency, I don't yet know what it is to Blush, or what it is you mean by it!
The Gentleman soon took the Hint, and whispering the Elder Sister in the Ear, she immediately sends Home the Young Ignorant Creature by her Footman, and Trig'd away Hand in Hand with the Gentleman. Her cunning Management, shew'd her an Experienc'd Coquet, who observ'd a sort of Decorum, to Usher in a greater Liberty.
Every thing is managed in good Order, by a Woman that knows her Company, and understands her Business. He that loses his Money out of Complaisance, yields place to him who lends the Lady his Coach to take the Air in. The Young Heir begins where the Ruin'd Cully ended. He that pays for the Collation, is succeeded by another that Eats it; and when my Lord comes in at the Gate, poor Sir John must Scamper out at the Window.
The Green Walk afforded us variety of Discourses from Persons of both Sexes. Here walk'd a Beau Bareheaded by a Company of the Common Profession in Dishabilie, and Night-Dresses; either for want of Day Cloths, or to shew they were ready for Business.
Here walk'd a French Fop with both his Hands in his Pockets, carrying all his Pleated Coat before, to shew his Silk Breeches.
There were a Cluster of Senators talking of State Affairs, and the Price of Corn, and Cattle, and were disturb'd with the Noisy Milk Folks, crying, A Can of Milk, Ladies; a Can of Red Cows Milk, Sir.
Here were a Beavy of Bucksom Lasses complaining of the Decay of Trade, and Monopilies; and there Vertuous Women, Railing against Whores, their Husbands, and Coquetry.
And now being weary of Walking so long, we reposed our selves upon one of the Benches, and digesting several Dialogues between the Modest Ladies and Coquets, made this Observation.
That tho' the Coquets were despised by the generality of Ladies, yet they immitate them to a Hairs Breadth in their whole Conduct. They learn of them the Winning Air, the Bewitching Glance, the Amorous Smirk, and the Sullen Pout. They Talk, and Dress, and Patch like them: They must needs go down with the Stream. It is the Coquets that Invent the New Modes and Expressions; every thing is done for them, and by them; tho' with all these Advantages, there is a vast difference between the one and the other. The Reputation of Vertuous Women is more solid; that of Coquets is more extended. But
I am sensible I have made too long a stay in this part of my Voyage. A Man always Amuses himself longer with the Women, than he is willing. Well, since we are here, let's shew our Indian the Horse-Guards, the Country of Gallantry.
In our Way thither, was nothing worth our Observation, unless 'twas the Bird-Cage, inhabited by Wild-Fowl; the Ducks begging Charity, the Black-Guard Boys robbing their own Bellies to relieve them, and an English Dog-Kennel Translated into a French Eating-House.
Let's enter into this Brave Country, and see —: But what is there to be seen here? Gallantry and Bravery which was formerly so well Cultivated, so Flourishing and Frequented by many Persons of Honour, is at present Desolate, Unmanur'd, and Abandoned! What a Desert 'tis become! Alass, I can see nothing in it but a Disbanned Soldier mounted upon a Pedestal, standing Centinel over the Ducks and Wild-Geese, and to prevent an Invasion by O—'s Spanish Pilgrims, or Webster's Darcinus.
Why, says my Indian, is that a Soldier? He has ne'er a Sword, and is Naked.
I suppose, reply'd I to the Indian, since the Peace he has Pawn'd his Sword to buy him Food; and for his being Naked, who regards it? What signifies a Soldier in Time of Peace? Pish, a Soldier Naked, is that such a Wonder? What are they good for else but Hanging, or Starving, when we have no occasion for them; as has been learnedly determined by the Author of that Original Amusement, Arguments against a Standing Army.Our God, and Soldier, we alike Adore, Just at the Brink of Danger, not before; After Deliverance, they are alike requited, Our God's Forgotten, and our Soldier's Slighted.
Come, this is a Melancholy Country, let's leave Amusing our selves about Gallantry and Bravery, and all at once, like Men that have nothing to Do, nor nothing to Have, take a Trip into the Land of Marriage, and see Who and Who are together: But first, What are those Soldiers doing? They look like Brave Fellows.
They are, (says I) drawn up to Prayers; and would be brave Men indeed, if they were half as good at Praying, and Fighting, as they are at Cursing and Swearing.
'Tis a difficult Task to speak so of Marriage, as to please all People. Those who are not Noos'd in the Snare, will thank me for giving a Comical Description of it. The Grand Pox eat this Buffoon, says the Serious Wary Husband; if he was in my Place, he wou'd have no more Temptation to Laugh, than to Break his Neck. If I Moralize gravely upon the Inconveniences of Matrimony, those that have a Longing to enter into that Honourable State, will complain that I disswade them from so Charming a Condition. How then shall I order my Discourse? For I am in a great Perplexity about it.
A certain Painter made a Picture of Hymen for a young Lover. I wou'd have him drawn, says this Passionate Gentleman, with all the Graces your utmost Skill can bestow upon him: Above all, remember that Hymen ought to be more Beautiful than Adonis: You must put into his Hands a Flambeau more Brillant than that of Love. In short, give him all the Charms that your Imagination and Colours can bestow. I will pay you for your Picture, according as I find you use my Friend Hymen. The Painter who was well acquainted with his Generous Temper, was not wanting, you may be sure, to answer his Expectations, and brought him Home the Piece the Evening before he was Married. Our young Lover was not at all satisfied with it. This Figure, says he, wants a certain Gay Air, it has none of those Charms and Agreements. As you have Painted him, he makes but a very indifferent Appearance, and therefore you shall but be indifferently paid.
The Painter who had as much Presence of Mind, as Skill in his Profession, took a Resolution what to do that very Moment. You are in the right on't, Sir, said he, to find fault with my Picture, it is not yet dry: This Face is Soak'd, and to deal freely with you, the Colours I use in Painting, don't appear worth a Farthing at first. I will bring you this Table some Months hence, and then you shall pay me, as you find it pleases you: I am confident it will appear quite another thing then. Sir, your Humble Servant, I have no occasion for Money.
The Painter carried his Piece Home; our young Lover was Married the next Day, and some Months went over his Head before the Painter appear'd. At last he brings the Picture with him, and our young Husband was surpriz'd when he saw it. You promis'd, says he, that time wou'd mend your Picture, and you are as good as your Word. Lord, what a difference there is? I swear I scarce know it now I see it again. I admire to see what a strange effect a few Months have had upon your Colours; but I admire your Ingenuity much more. However, Sir, I must take the freedom to tell you, That in my Opinion his Looks are somewhat of the Gayest, these Eyes are too Brisk and Lively: Then to deal plainly with you, the Fires of Hymen ought not to be altogether so bright as those of Love; for his is a Solid but Heavy Fire. Besides, the Disposition of your Figure, is somewhat to Free, and Chearful, and you have given him a certain Air of Wantonness, which let me tell you, Sir, does not at all sit well upon . . . . . In short, this is none of Hymen.
Very well, Sir, said the Painter; what I foresaw is now come to pass. Hymen at present is not so beautiful in your Idea, as in my Picture. The Case is mightily alter'd from what it was three Months ago. 'Tis not my Picture, but your Imagination that is changed: You were a Lover then, but now a Husband.
I understand you very well, says the Husband interrupting him, Let us drop that Matter. Your Picture now pleases, and here is more Money for it than you could reasonably have expected. By no means says the Painter, you must excuse me there; but I will give you another Picture, wherein by certain Optick Rules and Perspectives, it shall be so contrived, as it shall please both the Lovers and the Husbands, and perform'd it accordingly, placing it at the end of a Long-Gallery, upon a kind of an Alcove; and to come to this Alcove, one must first pass over a very Slippery Step. On this side of it was the Critical Place where the Piece look'd so Lovely and Delicious; but as soon as you were gone beyond it, it made a most lamentable Figure.
If you understand how difficult a thing it is to paint Matrimony to the Gust of all People, pray suspend your Censure here, I am going to Present my Picture, chuse what Light you please to view it in.
To come back to my Travelling Stile, I must tell you at first Dash that Marriage is a Country that Peoples all others: The Commonalty are more fruitful there than the Nobility, the reason of which perhaps is, That the Nobility take more delight to Ramble Abroad, than stay at Home. Marriage has this peculiar Property annext to it, that it can alter the Humours of those that are setled in it. It frequently transforms a Jolly Fellow into a Meer Sot, it often melts down a Beau into an errant Sloven; and on the other Hand it so happens sometimes, that a Witty Vertuous Woman will improve a Dull Heavy Country Booby, into a Man of Sence and Gallantry.
People Marry for different Motives: Some are lead by Portion, and others by Reason; the former without knowing what they are going to do, and the latter knowing no more, but that the thing must be done.
There are Men in the World so weary of Quiet and Indolence, that they Marry only to divert themselves. In the first place the Choice of a Woman employs them for some time: Then Visits and Interviews, Feasts and Ceremonies; but after the last Ceremony is over, they are more Tired and Weary than ever.
How many Hundred Married Couples do we see, who from the second Year of their coming together, have nothing more in Common than their Names, their Quality, their Ill Humour and their Misery.
I don't wonder there are so many Unhappy Matches, since Folks Marry rather wholly of their own Heads, or wholly by those of others. A Man that Marries of his own Head, not seeing that in his Spouse, which all the World sees in her, is in danger of seeing much more in her, than others ever did.
Another that has not Courage enough to trust his own Judgment, fairly applies himself to the next Match-Maker in the Neighbourhood, who knows to a Tittle the exact Rates of the Market, and the Current Price of Young Women that are fit to Marry. These Marriage Hucksters, or Wife-Brokers, have an admirable Talent to sort Conditions, Families, Trades, and Estates: In short, every thing together, except Humours and Inclinations, about which they never trouble themselves.
By the Procurement of these experienc'd Matrons, a Marriage is struck up like a Smithfield Bargain: There is much Higling and Wrangling for t'other Ten Pound. One side endeavours to raise, and the other to beat down the Market Price. At last, after a World of Words spent to fine purpose, they come to a Conclusion.
Others that have not time to Truck and Bargain so, go immediately to a Scrivener's to find out a Rich Widow, as they go to the Office of Intelligence to hearken out a Service.
It is not altogether the Match-makers Fault, if you are deceived in your Woman. She gives you an account of her Portion to a Farthing: You examine nothing but the Articles relating to the Family and the Fortune; the Woman is left in the Margin of the Inventory, and you find her too much at long run.
After all that I have said, I am not afraid to advance this Proposition; that 'tis possible for those that Marry to be Happy. But you must call it Trucking or Bartering, and not Marrying, to take a Woman meerly for her Fortune, and reckon her Perfections by the Number of Pounds she is like to bring with her. Nor is it to Marry but to Please one's self, to choose a Wife as we do a Tulip, meerly for her Beauty. It is not to Marry, but to Doat at a certain Age, to take a Young Woman only for the sake of her Company.
What is it then to be Marry'd? Why, 'tis to choose with Circumspection, and Deliberation, by Inclination, and not by Interest, such a Woman as will chuse you after the same manner.
Besides other things in common with all the World, the Country of Marriage has this Particular to it self; That Strangers have a desire to Settle there, and the Natural Inhabitants wou'd be Banish'd out of it with all their Hearts.
A Man may be Banish'd out of this Country by certain things call'd Separation; but the true way of getting out of it is by Widdow-hood, and is much to be preferred before Separation; for the Separated are Savage Animals, uncapable of the prettiest Ties of Society. The usual Causes of Separation is assign'd as the Fault of the Wife, but often the Husband is the occasion that the Wife is in the Fault; and he himself is a Fool to proclaim to the World that his Wife has made a false Step.
It will be expected now, that I speak a few Words of Widdowhood. 'Tis a Copious and Fertile Subject that's certain: but a Man may burn his Fingers by medling with it. For if I describe them but as little concern'd for the Death of their Husbands, I shall offend the Rules of Decency and good Manners, and if I exaggerate their Afflictions, I shall offend the Truth.
Whatever our Railers pretend to the contrary, I say there's no Widdowhood without a sprinkling of Sorrow in it. Is it not a very Sorrowful Condition to be obliged to Counterfeit a perpetual Sorrow? A very Doleful Part this, that a Widdow must plhy, who would not give the World occasion to Talk of her.
There are some Widdows in the World so mightily befriended by Providence, that their Sighs and Tears cost them nothing I know one of a contrary Temper to this, who did honestly all that in her lay to afflict her self; but Nature it seems had denied her the Gift of Tears. She desir'd to raise the Compassion of her Husband's Relations, for her All depended on them.
One Day her Brother-in-Law, who lamented exceedingly, reproach'd her for not having shed one Tear. Alass, reply'd the Widow to him, my Poor Heart is so over-whelm'd with this unexpected Calamity, that I am, as it were become insensible by it. Great Sorrows are not felt at first; but I am sure mine will Kill me in the End.
I know very well, said her Brother-in-Law to her, that Griefs too great don't make themselves at first to be perceived; and I know as well, that Violent Griefs don't continue long. Thus, Madam, you will be strangely surprized, that the Grief of your Widdowhood will be past before you are aware.
Another Widow was reduced to the last pitch of Despair, nor was it without a very Sorrowful Occasion. She had lost upon the same Day the Best Husband, and the prettiest little Lap-Dog in London. This double Widdowhood had brought her to so low a Condition, that her Friends were afraid of her Life. They durst not speak to her of Eating and Drinking; nay, they durst not so much as offer to Comfort her. 'Tis a dangerous Matter, you know, to combat a Woman's Grief. The best way is to let Time and their Natural Inconstancy work it off. However to accustom our Widdow by little and little to support the Idea of her Two Losses, a Good Friend spoke to her first of her Little Dog. At the bare Name of Dony, there was such a Howling and Crying, such Tearing of Hair, and Beating of Breasts; in short, such a Noise, and such a Pother, that one would have thought Heaven and Earth had been coming together. At last she fainted away. Well, says this Prudent Friend of hers, God be prais'd I was so happy as not to mention her Husband to her, for then she had certainly Died upon the Spot.
The next Day the Name of Dony set her Tears a running in so great plenty, that it was hoped the Spring would stop of it self, and the above-mentioned Zealous Friend, thought she might now venture to administer some Consolation to her.
Alass, says she, if the bare Name of Dony gives you so much Affliction, what might we not fear from you, should we talk to you of your Dear Husband? But God forbid I should do that. Ah Poor Dony! To be Mow'd down thus in the Flower of Youth and Beauty! Well, Madam, you'll never have such another pretty Creature again. But 'tis happy for the Dog that he's Dead, for you cou'd never have Lov'd him longer that's certain! Is it possible for a Woman to love any thing after she has lost her Husband?
After this manner it was that this Discreet Gentlewoman very dexterously mingled the Idea of the Husband with that of Dony, well knowing that as two Shoulders of Mutton drive down one another, so two powerful Griefs destroy one another by making a Diversion. She observed that at the Name of Dony, her Tears redoubled, which stopt short at the Name of Husband: It was without question, a sort of a Qualm. Every Body knows that Tears are a Tribute we owe, and only pay to ordinary Griefs. However it was, our poor Afflicted Widow passed several Days and Nights in this sad Alternative of Weeping for her Dog, and Lamenting her Husband.
At last her Good Friend enquired all over the Town for a Pretty Dog; and it was her good Luck to light upon one much Finer and Prettier than Dony of Happy Memory, and presented it to our Widdow, who burst into a fresh Stream of Tears as she accepted it. This Beautiful New-comer, so strangely insinuated himself into her Good Affections, that within Eight Days he had got the Ascendant of her Heart, and Dony was no more thought of, then if he had never had a Being there. Observe now what a Consequence our Widows Friend drew from it.
If a New Dog has put a stop to her Tears, perhaps a New Husband will have the same Operation upon her Qualms. But Alass, the one was not to be so easily effected as the other. The New Dog so play'd his Cards, that he effaced the Memory of his Predecessors in Eight Days; but it was above Three Long Tedious Months, before our Widow could be brought to take a New Husband into her Bed.
Now tho' I left my self full power to drop my Indian Traveller as often as I saw convenient, yet I have no intention to lose him out of my Sight; for I have occasion for him to authorize certain Odd Fances that come into my Head, concerning Philosophy and Physick, which are the next Countries I design to visit.
In this Country every thing is obscure, their Habitations, their Looks, their Language, and their Learning. 'Tis a long time ago since they undertook to cultivate the Country of Science; but the only Thing they have made clear and undeniable, is, that One and One makes Two: And the Reason why this is so clear, is because it was known by all Men before they made a Science of it.
Their Geometricians work upon so solid a Foundation, that as soon as ever they have well laid the first Stone, they carry on their Buildings without the least fear, so high as the Atmosphere; but their Philosophers build those haughty Edifices they call Systems, upon a quite different Bottom.
They lay their Foundation in the Air, and when they think they are come to solid Ground, the Building disappears, and the Architects tumble down from the Clouds.
This Country of Experimental Philosophy, is very Amusing, and their Collections of Rarities exceeds that of John Tradusken, for here are the Galls of Doves, the Eye-Teeth of Flying Toads, the Eggs of Ants, and the Eyes of Oysters. Here they weigh the Air, measure Heat, Cold, Dryness, and Humidity, great Discoveries for the publick advantage of Mankind. Without giving ourselves the trouble to make use of our Senses, we need but only cast our Eyes upon a Weather-Glass, to know if 'tis Hot or Cold, if it Rains, or is Fair Weather.
Tempted by these Noble Curiosities, I desired the favour of seeing some of the Gentlemen they called Improvers of Nature, and immediately they shewed me an Old Bard cutting Asp Leaves into Tongues, which were to be fastened in the Mouths of Flowers, Fruits, Herbs, and Seeds, with design to make the whole Creation Vocal. Another was Dissecting Atomes, and Mites in Cheese, for the improvement of the Anatomical Science, and a third was transfusing the Blood of an Ass into an Astrological Quack; of a Sheep into a Bully; and of a Fish into an Exchange-Woman, which had all the desired Effects; the Quack prov'd a Sot, the Bully a Coward, and the Tongue-Pad was Silent. All Prodigies in Nature, and none miscarried in the Operation.
In another Apartment were a curious Collection of Contemplative Gentlemen, that had their Employments severally assign'd them. One was Chewing the Cud upon Dr. Burnet's New System of the World, and making Notes upon it in Confutation of Moses and all the Antidiluvian Historians. Another was Reconciling the Differences among Learned Men, as between Aristotle and Des Cartes, Cardan and Copernicus, William Penn and Christianity, Mr. Edwards and Arabick: Determining the Controversy between the Acidists and Alkalists, and putting a Period to the Abstruse Debates between the Engineers and Mouse-Trap Makers.
If any one ask me, which of these Disputants has Reason of his side, I will say that some of them have the Reason of Antiquity, the other the Reason of Novelty; and in Matters of Opinion, these two Reasons have a greater influence upon the Learned, than Reason it self.
Those that set up for finding the North-West Passage into the Land of Philosophy, would with all their Hearts, if it were possible, follow these two Guides all at once, but they are afraid to travel in a Road where they talk of nothing but Accidents and Privation, Hecceities and Entelechias. Then they find themselves all on the sudden seized with Hot and Cold, Dry and Moist, penetrated by a subtile Matter, encompassed with Vortexes, and so daunted by the fear of a Vacuum, that it drives them back, instead of encouraging them to go forward.
A Man need not lay it much to Heart that he never Travel'd through this Country; for those that have not so much as beheld it at a distance, know as much of it almost, as those that have spent a great deal of Money and Time there; but one of their Arts I admire above all the rest, and that is, when they have Consumed their Estates in trifling Experiments, to perswade themselves they are now as Rich, and Eat and Drink as Luxuriously as ever; they view a single Shilling in a Multiplying Glass, which makes it appear a Thousand, and view their Commons in a Magnifying Glass, which makes a Lark look as big as a Turkey-Cock, and a Three-penny Chop as large as a Chine of Mutton.
Before I let my Traveller pass from this place to Physick, 'twill not be amiss to make him remark, That in the Country of Science and the Court, we lose our selves; that we don't search for our selves in Marriage; that in the Walks and among Women we find our selves again; but seldom or never come back from the Kingdom of Physick.
The first thing remarkable in the Country of Physick, is, that it is situate upon the Narrow Passage from this World to the other. 'Tis a Clymaterick Country, where they make us Breath a Refreshing Air, but such a one as is a great Enemy to the Natural Heat, and those that Travel far in this Climate, throw away a World of Money in Drugs, and at last Die of Hunger.
The Language that is spoken here, is very Learned; but the People that speak it are very Ignorant.
In other Countries we learn Languages to be able to express what we know in clear and intelligible Terms; but it looks as if Physicians learnt their Gibberish for no other purpose, than to embroil what they do not understand.
How I pitty a Patient of good Sence that falls into their Hands? He is obliged at once to Combat the Arguments of the Doctor, the Disease it self, the Remedies, and Emptiness. One of my Friends, whom all this together had thrown into a Dilyrium, had a Vision in his Fever which sav'd him his Life. He fancied he saw a Feaver under the Shape of a Burning Monster, that press'd hard upon a Sick Man, and every Minute got Ground of him, till a Man who look'd like a Guide, came and took him by the Wrist to help him over a River of Blood. The poor Patient had not Strength enough to cross the Stream and so was Drown'd. The Guide used means to get himself paid for his Pains, and immediately run after another Sick Man, who was carried down a Stream of Carduus Posset-Drink, Barly-Broth, and Water-Gruel. My Friend advised by this Vision, discarded his Doctor, and 'twas this that did his Business; for when he was by himself, there was no Body to hinder him from recovering. The Absence of Physicians, is a Soveraign Remedy to him that has not Recourse to a Quack.
These Gentlemen of the Faculty, are Pensioners to Death, and Travel Day and Night to enlarge that Monarch's Empire; for you must know, notwithstanding Distemper'd Humours make a Man Sick, 'tis the Physician that has the Honour of Killing him, and expects to be well paid for the Job, by his Relations that lay in wait for his Life to share his Fortune: So that when a Man is ask'd how such a one Died, he is not presently to answer according to Corrupt Custome, that he Died of a Feaver or Pleurisy; but that he Died of the Doctor.
See a Consult of them marching in State to a Patient, attended by a Diminitive Apothecary, that's just Arse high, and fit to give a Clyster. How Majesterially they look, and talk of the Patient's Recovery, when they themselves are but Death in a Disguise, and bring the Patient's Hour along with them. While the Patient breaths and Money comes, they are still Prescribing; but when they have sent the Patient hence, like a Rat with a Straw in's Arse; they'll say his Body was as Rotten as a Pear, and 'twas impossible to Save him. Cruel People, that are not contented to take away a Man's Life, and like the Hangman, be Paid when they have done; but must Persecute him in the Grave too; and Blast his Honour, to excuse their Ignorance.
It were to be wish'd that every Physician might be obliged to Marry; for its highly reasonable, that those Men should beget Children to the State, who every Day rob the King of so many of his Subjects.
In this Land of Physick they have erected themselves a College, for the Improvement of the Mystery of Man-Slaughter; which may be call'd their Armory; for here are their Weapons and Utensils forged, and a Company of Men attending to Kill Poor Folks out of meer Charity.
In one part of their Convent, is a Chymical Elabaratory, where some were Calcining Calves-Brains, to supply those of the Society that wanted. Some fixing Volatile Wits, and others Rarifying Dull ones. Some were playing Tricks with Mercury, promising themselves vast Advantages from the Process; but after they had Resolv'd the Viscous Matter, and brought the Materia Prima into the Coppel, all went away in a Fume, and the Operator had his Labour for his Travel.
In another place were Apothecaries preparing Medicines. The Outsides of their Pots were Gilded, with the Titles of Preservatives, Cordials, and Panpharmacons; but in the Inside were Poysons, or more Nauseous Preparations. However of all our late pretended Alchimists, commend me to the Apothecaries, as the Noblest Operators and Chimists; for out of Toads, Vipers, and a Sir Reverence it self, they will fetch ye Gold ready Minted, which is more than ever Paracelsus himself pretended to.
Here were also Chirurgeons in great Numbers, talking hard Words to their Patients, as Solution of Continuity, Dislocations, Fractures, Amputation, Phlebotomy, and spoke Greek Words, without understanding the English of them. One of the Gravest among them, propounded this Question to the rest. Suppose a Man falls from the Main-Yard, and lies all Bruised upon the Deck; Pray what is the First Intention in that Case? A Brisk Fellow answers: You must give him Irish Slate quantum sufficit, and Embrocate the Parts affected Secundum Artem. At which I seeming to Smile, another Reprimands me, saying, What do you Laugh at, Sir, the Man's i'th right on't. To whom I reply'd, With Reverence to your Age and Understanding, Sir, I think he's in the wrong; for if a Man falls from the Main-Yard, the first Intention is, To take him up again.
Among all these People every thing is made a Mystery, to detain their Patients in Ignorance, and keep up the Market of Physick; but were not the very Terms of Art, and Names of their Medicines sufficient to fright away any Distempers, 'tis to be feared their Remedies would prove worse than the Disease.
That nothing might be wanting in this Famous College, there were others that like Porters and Plaisterers stood ready to be Hired, as Corn-Cutters, and Tooth-Drawers. The One of which will make you Halt before the best Friend you have; and if you do but Yawn, the other Knaves will be examining your Grinders; Depopulate your Mouths, and make you Old before your time, and take as much for Drawing out an Old Tooth, as would buy a Sett of New ones.
An Ill Accident happened while we were viewing the Curiosities of this College. A Boy had swallowed a Knife, and the Members of the College being sitting, he was brought among them, if it were possible to be Cured. The Chirurgeons claim'd the Patient as belonging to their Fraternity, and one of them would have been poking a Cranes Bill down his Throat to pluck it up again, but the Doctors would not suffer him.
After a long Consultation, one of the two Remedies was agreed on, viz. That the Patient should swallow as much Aqua fortis, as would dissolve the Knife into Minute Particles, and bring it away by Seige; but the other Remedy was more Philosophical, and therefore better approv'd, and that was to apply a Loadstone to his Arse, and so draw it out by a Magnetick Attraction; but which of the two was put in practice I know not, for I did not stay to see the Noble Experiment, tho' my particular Friend Dr. W—d was the first that proposed that Remedy, and he is no Quack I assure you.
Not but that there are some Quacks as Honest Fellows as you would desire to Piss upon. This Foreigner here for instance, is a Man of Conscience, that will take you but Half a Crown a Bottle for as good Lambs-Conduit Water as ever was in the World. He pretends it has an Occult Quality that Cures all Distempers. He Swears it, and Swears like T. O. on the right side of the Hedge, since this very Individual Water has Cured him of Poverty, which comprehends all Diseases.
'Tis with Physicians in London, as with Almanacks, the Newest are the most Consulted; but then their Reign like that of an Almanack, concludes with the Year.
When a Sick Man leaves all for Nature to do, he hazards much. When he leaves all for the Doctor to do, he hazards more: And since there is a Hazard both ways, I would much sooner chuse to rely upon Nature; for this, at least, we may be sure of, That she acts as Honestly as she can, and that she does not find her Account in prolonging the Disease.
I pardon those that are brought to the Extremity of their Lives, to Resign themselves to the Doctors, as I pardon those that are at the Extremity of their Fortune to abandon themselves to Poetry, or Gaming.
Gaming is an Estate to which all the World has a Pretence, tho' few espouse it that are willing to keep either their Estates, or Reputations. I knew two Middlesex Sharpers not long ago, which Inherited a West-Country Gentlemen's Estate; who, I believe, wou'd have never made them his Heirs in his last Will and Testament.
Lantrillou is a kind of a Republick very ill ordered, where all the World are Hail Fellow well met; no distinction of Ranks, no Subordination observed. The greatest Scoundrel of the Town with Money in his Pockets, shall take his Turn before the best Duke or Peer in the Land, if the Cards are on his side.
From these Priviledg'd-Places, not only all Respect and Inferiority is Banish'd; but every thing that looks like Good Manners, Compassion, or Humanity: Their Hearts are so Hard and Obdurate, that what occasions the Grief of one Man, gives Joy and Satisfaction to his next Neighbour.
The Græcians met together in former Times, to see their Gladiators shew their Valour; that is, to Slash and Kill one another; and this they called Sport? What a Cursed Barbarity was this? But are we a Jot Inferiour to them in this respect, who Christen all the Disorders of Lansquenet by the Name of Gaming, or to use the Gamesters own Expression, where a Parcel of Sharks meet, To Bite one anothers Heads off.
It happened one Day, that my Traveller dropt into a Chocolate-House in Covent-Garden, where they were at this Noble Recreation. He was wonderfully surprized at the Odness of the Sight. Set your self now in the room of a Superstitious Indian, who knows nothing of our Customs at Play, and you will agree that his Notions, as Abstracted and Visionary as they may seem, have some Foundations in Truth. I present you here with his own Expressions as I found them set down in a Letter which he sent into his own Country.
The English pretend that they they Worship but one God, but for my Part, I don't believe what they say: For besides several Living Divinities, to which we may see them daily offer their Vows, they have several other Inanimate ones to whom they pay Sacrifices, as I have observed at one of their Publick Meetings, where I happened once to be.
In this Place there is a great Altar to be seen, built round and covered with a Green Whachum, lighted in the midst, and encompassed by several Persons in a sitting Posture, as we do at our Domestick Sacrifices.
At the very Moment I came into the Room, one of those, who I supposed was the Priest, spread upon the Altar certain Leaves which he took out of a little Book that he held in his Hand. Upon these Leaves were represented certain Figures very awkardly Painted; however they must needs be the Images of some Divinities; for in proportion as they were distributed round, each one of the Assistants made an Offering to it, greater or less, according to his Devotion. I observed that these Offerings were more considerable than those they make in their other Temples.
After the aforesaid Ceremony is over, the Priest lays his Hand in a trembling manner, as it were, upon the rest of the Book, and continues some time in this posture seized with Fear, and without any Action at all: All the rest of the Company, attentive to what he does, are in Suspence all the while, and unmovable, like himself. At last every Leaf which he returns to them, these unmovable Assistants are all of them in their Turn possest by different Agitations, according to the Spirit which happens to seize them: One joyns his Hands together, and Blesses Heaven, another very earnestly looking upon his Image, Grinds his Teeth; a third Bites his Fingers and stamps upon the Ground with his Feet. Every one of them, in short, make such extraordinary Postures and Contortions, that they seem to be no longer Rational Creatures. But scarce has the Priest returned a certain Leaf, but he is likewise seised by the same Fury with the rest. He tears the Book, and devours it in his Rage, throws down the Altar, and Curses the Sacrifice. Nothing now is to be heard but Complaints and Groans, Cries and Imprecations. Seeing them so Transported, and so Furious, I judge that the God they Worship is a Jealous Deity, who to Punish them for what they Sacrifice to others, sends to each of them an Evil Demon to Possess him.
I have thus shewed you what Judgment an Indian would be apt to pass upon the Transports he finds in our Gamesters. What wou'd he not have thought then, if he had seen any of our Gaming Ladies there.
'Tis certain that Love it self as extravagant as it is, never occasion'd so many Disorders among the Women, as the unaccountable Madness of Gaming. How come they to abandon themselves thus to a Passion that discomposes their Minds, their Healths, their Beauty, that Ruines—What was I going to say? But this Picture does not shew them to Advantage, let us draw a Curtain over it.
In some Places they call Gaming-Houses Academies; but I know not why they should inherit that Honourable Name, since there's nothing to be learn'd there, unless it be Slight of Hand, which is sometimes at the Expence of all our Money, to get that of other Mens by Fraud and Cunning.
The Persons that meet are generally Men of an Infamous Character, and are in various Shapes, Habits, and Employments. Sometimes they are Squires of the Pad and now and then borrow a little Money upon the King's High-Way, to recruit their Losses at the Gaming-House, and when a Hue and Cry is out, to apprehend them, they are as safe in one of these Houses, as a Thief in a Mill, and practise the old Trade of Cross-biting Cullies, assisting the Frail square Dye with high and low Fullums, and other Napping Tricks, in comparison of whom the common Bulkers, and Pick-Pockets, are a very honest Society.
How unaccountable is this way to Beggary, that when a Man has but a little Money, and knows not where in the World to compass any more, unless by hazarding his Neck for't, will try an Experiment to leave himself none at all: Or, he that has Money of his own, should play the Fool, and try whether it shall not be another Man's. Was ever any thing so Nonsensically Pleasant?
One idle day I ventur'd into one of these Gaming-Houses, where I found an Oglio of Rakes of several Humours, and Conditions met together. Some that had lost were Swearing, and Damning themselves, and the Devil's Bones, that had left them never a Penny to bless their Heads with. One that had play'd away even his Shirt and Cravat, and all his Clothes but his Breeches, stood shivering in a Corner of the Room, and another comforting him, and saying, Dam me Jack, who ever thought to see thee in a State of Innocency: Cheer up, Nakedness is the best Receipt in the World against a Fevor, and then fell a Ranting, as if Hell had broke loose that very Moment.
What the Devil have we here to do, says my Indian, do's it Rain Oaths and Curses in this Country? I see Gamesters are Shipwrackt before they come to understand their Danger, and loose their Clothes before they have paid their Taylors. They should go to School in my Country to learn Sobriety and Vertue. I told him, instead of Academies, these Places should be call'd Cheating-Houses: Whereupon a Bully of the Blade came strutting up to my very Nose, in such a Fury, that I would willingly have given half the Teeth in my Head for a Composition, crying out, Split my Wind-pipe, Sir, you are a Fool, and don't understand Trap, the whole World's a Cheat.
The Play-House cheats you of your time, and the Tradesmen of your Money, without giving you either Sense or Reason for't. The Attorney picks your Pocket, and gives you Law for't; the Whore picks your Purse, and gives you the Pox for't it; and the Poet picks your Pocket, and gives you nothing for it. Lovers couzen you with their Eyes, Orators with their Tongues, the Valiant with their Arms, Fidlers with their Fingers, Surgeons with Wooden Legs, and Courtiers and Songsters, empty your Pockets, and give you Breath and Air for it: And why should not we Recruit by the same Methods that have Ruin'd us.
Our Friends, continued he, gives us good Advice, and would fain draw us off from the Course we are in, but all to no purpose: We ask them what they would have us do? Money we have none, and without it there is no Living: Should we stay till it were brought, or come alone? How would you have a poor Individuum Vagum live? that has neither Estate, Office, Master, nor Friend to maintain him: And is quite out of his Element, unless he be either in a Tavern, a Bawdy-House, or a Gaming Ordinary. No, we are the Men, says he, that Providence has appointed to live by our Wits, and will not want while there is Money above Ground. Happy Man catch a Mackeril. Let the Worst come to'th Worst, a Wry Mouth on the Tripple Tree, puts an end to all Discourse about us.
From the Gaming-House we took our Walk through the Streets, and the first Amusements we Encountred, were the Variety and contradictory Language of the Signes, enough to perswade a Man there were no Rules of Concord among the Citizens. Here we saw Joseph's Dream, the Bull and Mouth, the Hen and Razor, the Ax and Bottle, the Whale and Crow, the Shovel and Boot, the Leg and Star, the Bible and Swan, the Frying-Pan and Drum, the Lute and Tun, the Hog in Armour, and a thousand others that the wise Men that put them there can give no Reason for.
Here walk'd a Fellow with a long white Rod on his Shoulder, that's asham'd to cry his Trade, though he gets his Living by it; another bawling out TODD's Four Volumes in Print, which a Man in Reading of, wou'd wonder that so much Venom should not tear him to pieces, but that some of the ancient Moralists have observed, that the Rankest Poyson may be kept in an Asses Hoof, or a Fool's Bosom. Some say, the first Word he spoke was Rascal, and that if he lives to have Children, they will all speak the same Dialect, and have a Natural Antipathy to Eggs, because their Father was palted with hundreds of them, when he was dignified on the Pillory.
Other Amusements presented themselves as thick as Hops, as Moses Pictur'd with Horns on his Head, to keep Cheapside in Countenance. Bishop Overal's Convocation Book Carved over the Dean of St. P—l's Stall in that Cathedral. Here sate a Fellow selling little Balls to take the Stains out of the Citizens Wives Petticoats, that should have been as big as Foot-Balls, if applied to that purpose. Under that Bulk was a Prejector clicking off his Swimming Girdles, to keep up Merchants Credits from sinking. A pretty Engine to preserve Bankers and Ensurers from Breaking, and prevent publishing it in the Gazette, when they are Broke; that they will pay all their Debts as far as it may stand with their Convenience.
In that Shop was an indebted Lord talking of his Honour, and a Tradesman of his Honesty, things that every Man has, and every thing is, in some Disguise or other, but duly consider'd, there are scarce any such things In the World, unless among Pawn-Brokers, Stock-Jobbers, and Horse-Coursers; so that the Lord and Tradesman were discoursing about nothing; and signified no more, than the Parson's Preaching against Covetousness to the Maim'd, Blind, and superannuated Soldiers in Chelsey-College, nor Dr. Salmon's prescribing Cow Heels to a Married Couple, as a conglutinating Aliment. But there the Weaver had the Ascendant of the Doctor.
As we pass'd along, I could not forbear looking into some of the Shops, to see how the Owners imployed themselves in the Absence of Customers, and in a Barber's Shop I saw a Beau so overladen with Wig, that there was no difference between hls Head, and the Wooden one that stood in the Window. The Fop it seems, was newly come to his Estate, though not to the years of Discretion, and was singing the Song, Happy is the Child whose Father is gone to the Devil, and the Barber all the while keeping time on his Cittern; for you know a Cittern and a Barber is as natural as Milk to a Calf, or the Beares to be attended by a Bag-piper.
In the Scrivener's Shop I saw a company of Sparks that were selling their Wives and their Portions, and Purchasing Annuities; and Old Ten- in-the-Hundred-Fathers, Damning themselves to raise their Posterities. In the Tobacconist's Shops Men were sneezing and spawling, as if they were all Clapt, and under a Salivation for the cure on't. They that smoak'd it, were persecuting others to follow their Example, and they that snuff'd it up in Powder, were drawing upon themselves the Incommodies of all Age, in the perpetual Annoyance of Rheum and Drivel.
Pursuing my Voyage through the City, and casting a Leere into the Shops of the Rich Drapers, Mercers, and Lacemen, I saw them haunted by many People in Want, especially young Heirs newly at Age, and Spendthrifts, that came to borrow Money of them. Alas, said the Traders, Times are Dead, and little Money stirring. All we can do, is to furnish you with what the Shop affords; and if a Hundred Pound or two in Commodities will do you any good, they are at your Service. These the Gallants take up at an excessive Rate, to sell immediately for what they can get: and the Trader has his Friend to take them off Underhand at a third part of the Value, by way of helping Men in Distress. These are they that inveagle unthinking Animals, into all sorts of extravagant Expences, and ruin them Insensibly under colour of Kindness and Credit: For they set every thing at double the Value; and if you keep not touch at your Day, your Persons are imprisoned, your Goods seized, and your Estates extended. And they that help'd to make you Princes before, are now the forwardest to put you into the Condition of Beggars.
Among other Amusements, let us speak a Word or two of Lombard-street, where Luxury seems to carry us to Peru, where you behold their Magazines, Ingots of Gold and Silver as big as Pigs of Lead; and your Ladies after they have travell'd thither with some liberal Interloper, carry home with them more than their Husbands are worth, and drag at their long Tails the whole Substance of a Herd of Creditors. Here are Jewels and Pearls, Rubies and Diamonds, Broad Pieces, Guineas, Lewis d'Or's, Crown Pieces, and Dollars without Number: Nay, in some of their Shops is nothing to be seen, or Sold, but great heaps of Money; that would tempt a Man to think, the whole Indies were emptied into one single Shop 'tis so full of Gold and Silver; and yet it often happens, that he that is possest of all this vast Treasure, is not worth a brass Farthing. To Day his Counters bend under the weight of Cash, and to Morrow the Shop is shut up, and you hear no more of our Goldsmith, till you find him in a Gazette, torn to pieces by a Statute of Bankrupt: And he and his Creditors made a Prey by a parcel of devouring Vermin, call'd Commissioners.
The Neighbouring Country is Stocks-Market, where you see a large Garden, Paved with Pibble Stones in all the Beds and Allies; indifferently open to all Comers and Goers, and yet bears as good Herbs, Fruits, and Flowers, as any in the World. Here is Winter dress'd in the Livery of Summer. Every day a Crop is gather'd, and every Night are stockt up in Baskets, till the next days Sun does open them.
About this Garden great Numbers of Nymphs reside, who each of them live in their respective Tubs: They have not only that in common with Diogenes, but like that Philosopher also, they speak out freely to the first Comer whatever comes uppermost. A further Description I would give you of their Parts, and Persons, but that I cannot endure the smell of the Serjeants at the Counter-Gate, who stink worse than old Ling, or Assa fætida, and would poyson the Country, if this pleasant Garden was not an Antidote against their Infection. And therefore I'll go back again into the Country of
Where being arriv'd I am in a Wood, there are so many of them I know not which to enter. Stay, let me see! Where the Sign is Painted with a Woman's Hand in't, 'tis a Bawdy-House. Where a Man's, it has another Qualification; but where it has a Star in the Sign, 'tis Calculated for every Leud purpose.
Every Coffee-House is Illuminated both without and within Doors; without by a fine Glass-Lanthorn, and within by a Woman so Light and Splendid, you may see through her without the help of a Perspective. At the Bar the good Man always places a charming Phillis or two, who invite you by their Amorous Glances into their smoaky Territories, to the loss of your Sight.
This is the Place where several Knights Errant come to seat themselves at the same Table, without knowing one another, and yet talk as familiarly together, as if they had been of many years Acquaintance. They have scarce look'd about them, when a certain Liquor as Black as Soot, is handed to them, which being Foppishly fumed into their Noses, Eyes, and Ears, has the Vertue to make them Talk and Prattle together of every thing but what they should do. Now they tell their several Adventures by Sea, and Land. How they Conquer'd the Gyant, were overcome by the Lady, and bought a pair of wax'd Boots at Northampton, to go a Wooing in. One was commending his Wife, another his Horse, and the third said he had the best smoak'd Beef in Christendom. Some were discoursing of all sorts of Government, Monarchical, Aristocratical, and Democratical. Some about the choice of Mayors, Sheriffs, and Aldermen, and others of the Transcendent Vertues of Vinegar, Pepper, and Mustard. In short, I thought the whole Room was a perfect Resemblance of Dover -Court, where all Speak, but no body heard nor answer'd.
To the Charms of Coffee, the wiser sort joyn'd Spirit of Clary, Usquebaugh, and Brandy, which compleatly Enchants the Knights: By the force of these Soporiferous Enchantments, you shall find one Snoaring heartily on a Bench, another makes Love to beautiful Phillis at the Bar; and the third as valiant as Orlando Furioso, goes to signalize his Valour in scouring the Streets.
I should never have done, if I should attempt to run through all the several Countries within the Walls of London; as the long Robe, the Sword, the Treasury. Every State, in brief, is like a separate Country by its self, and has its particular Manners and Gibberish.
Here you may view the Fruitful Country of Trade, that has turn'd Leather Breeches into Gold Chains, blue Aprons into Fur Gowns, a Kitchinstuff Tub into a gilded Chariot, a Dray-man into a Knight, and Noblemen's Palaces into Shops and Ware-Houses.
Here is also the Barren Country of the Philosopher's-Stone, inhabited by none but Cheats in the Operation, Beggars in the Conclusion, and now is become almost Desolate, till another Age of Fools and Knaves do People it. To this may be added the Cold Country of the News-Mongors, that Report more than they hear, affirm more than they know, and swear more than they believe, that Rob one another, and lye in Sheets for want of a Coverlid. The Hot Country of the Disputers, that quarrel and raise a Dust about nothing. The Level Country of Bad Poets, and Presbyterian Parsons: One of which is maintain'd by a good stock of Confidence, and by the other Flattery and Canting. The Desert uninhabited Country of Vertuous Women. The Conquer'd Country of Coquets, and an infinite Number of others; not to reckon the Lost Country inhabited by Strowlers, who aim at nothing but to lead others out of their way. They are of easie access, but 'tis dangerous to Traffick with them. Some of them have the Art to please without Management, and to love without Loving.
But how have I forgot my own Dear Country, that is consecrated to Bacchus; that abounds with Nectar, the Wonder working Liquor of the World; that makes a Poet a Prince in's own Conceit; a Coward Valiant, and a Beggar as Rich as an Alderman. Here I live at Ease, and in Plenty, Swagger and Carouze, Quarrel with the Master, Fight the Drawer, and never trouble my self about paying the Reckoning, for one Fool or other pays it for me. A Poet that has Wit in his Head, never carries Money in his Breeches, for fear of creating a New Amusement.
In Leicester-Fields, I saw a Mountebank on the Stage, with a Congregation of Fools about him, who like a Master in the Faculty of Lying, gave them a History of his Cures, beyond all the Plays and Farces in the World. He told them of Fifteen Persons that were Run clear through the Body, and glad for a matter of three Days together, to carry their Puddings in their Hands; but in Four and twenty Hours he made'em as whole as Fishes, and not so much as a Scar for a Remembrance of the Orifice. If a Man had been so bold as to ask him when, and where? his Answer would have been ready without Studying; that it was some Twelve hundred Leagues off in Terra Incognito, by the Token, that at the same time he was Physician in Ordinary to a great Prince, that dy'd about Five and twenty years ago, and yet the Quack was not Forty.
All these Subjects, though very Amusing, were not equally Edifying, and therefore in my Voyage towards the City, I call'd in at a Quaker's Meeting, where a Fellow was talking Nonsence as confidently, as if he had had a Parent for it, and confirm'd the Popish Maxim, That Ignorance is the Mother of Devotion. The Women were the Oddest Creatures in the World, neither Flesh nor Fish; but like Frogs, only their lower Parts were Man's Meat.
From thence I sailed into a Presbyterian Meeting near Covent-Garden, where the Vociferous Holder-forth was as bold and Saucy, as if the Deity and all Mankind had owed him Money. He was shewing the way to be Rich when Taxes rise, and Trading falls, and Descanting upon all Humours and Manners. He (says the Tubster) that would be Rich according to the Practice of this wicked Age, must play the Thief or the Cheat; he that would Rise in the World, must turn Parasite, or Projector. He that Marries, ventures for the Horn, either before, or afterwards. There is no Valour without Swearing, Quarrelling, or Hectoring. If you are Poor, no body owns you. If Rich, you'll know no body. If you dye young, what pity 'twas they'l say, that he should be cut off in his Prime. If Old, he was e'en past his best; there's no great Miss of him. If you are Religious, and frequent Meetings, the World will say you are a Hypocrite: And if you go to Church, and don't make a liberal Contribution to us, we say you are a Papist. To which I make bold to add, If you are Gay and Pleasant, you pass for a Buffoon; and if Pensive and Reserv'd, you are taken to be Sour and Censorious. Courtesy is call'd Colloguing and Currying of Favour: Downright Honesty and Plain-Dealing, is interpreted to be Pride and Ill Manners: And so I took my leave of Dr. —
And Peep'd into a Fine Church in my Way to Fleet-street, where a huge double Belly'd Doctor, was so full of his Doubtlesses, that he left no room for one Grain of Scepticism, and made me so perfect a Dogmatist, that I made these Innocent Reflections. The Doctor is very Fat, Doubtless he is Rich. He looks very Grum and Surly, Doubtless he is not the best Humour'd Man in the World; but I soon gave over these Remarks; for being a Stranger to his Worship, Doubtless I might have been sometimes in the Right, and Doubtless I should sometimes have been in the Wrong; and therefore I removed my Corps to another Church in my Road to London.
Here a very Genteel Reader, to shew himself Frenchify'd, instead of reading Porage, after our Old Honest English Custom, gave it an A la Mode Turn, and pronounc'd it Pottaugsh; whereas to have been more Modish in his Tongue, as well as his other Parts, he might have called it a Dish of Soop.
Before Sermon began, the Clark in a Slit Stick (contrived for that purpose at a Serious Consult by the Famous Architects and Engineers, Sir C. W. and Col. Pickpeper) handed up to the Pulpit a Number of Prayer-Bills, containg the Humble Petitions of divers Devoto's, for a supply of what they wanted, and the removal of their Afflictions.
One was a Bill from a Courtier, that having a good Post, desired he might keep it for his Life, without being call'd to an Account for Neglect, or Mismanagement; and that he might continue without controul, God's Servant in Ordinary, and the King's Special Favourite.
A Young Virgin, apprehensive of her Wants, and Weaknesses, being about to enter into the Holy State of Matrimony, prayed for proportionable Gifts and Graces, to enable her for such an Under-Taking.
Some Pray'd for Good Matches for their Daughters, and good Offices for their Sons; others beg'd Children for themselves: And sure the Husband that allows his Wife to ask Children Abroad, will be so Civil as to take them Home when they are given him.
Now came abundance of Bills from such as were going Voyages to Sea, and others that were taking long Journeys by Land; both Praying for the Gift of Chastity for their Wives, and Fidelity for their Prentices, till they should return again. Then the Bills of Complaint coming in thick and threefold, Humbly shewing that many Citizens Wives, had hard Hearts, Undutiful Husbands, and Disobedient Children, which they heartily Pray'd to be quit of; I discharg'd my Ears from their Attendance on so Melancholy a Subject, and employed my Eyes on the variety of Diverting Faces in the Gallery.
Where you might see in one Pew, a Covey of Handsome, Bucksome, Bona Roba's, with High-Heads, and all the Mundus Muliebris of Ornament and Dress about them, as Merry as Hawks in a Mew, as Airy as their Fans, and as Light as a Beaux Head, or his Feather.
In another Pew was a Nest of such Hard-favour'd She's, that you would have blest your self. Some with their Faces so Pounced and Speckled, as if they had been Scarified, and newly pass'd the Cupping-Glass; with a World of little Plasters, Large, Round, Square, and briefly cut out into such variety, that it would have posed a good Mathematician to have found out another Figure. They employ'd themselves while the Bills were reading, about —Hush, hush.
The Wou'd be Bishop is beginning, and 'tis a sign of a Clown, as well as an Atheist, Ludere cum Sanctis; for tho' I expose the Foppery of Persons, I have a great Veneration for Holy Offices. Our Doctor, I Grant it, has some of the Qualifications of an All-Souls Candidate, Bene Vestiti & Mediocriter Docti; and in good earnest fills a Pulpit very well; but that he so often hauls in his Common-Place Book by Neck and Shoulders; that he cloys his Auditors with that unpalatable Ragoust, called in Latin Cramben Biscoctum, and in plain English, Twice-boil'd Cabbage; for having in every Harangue, let the Subject be what it will, Marshal'd his Discourse by the help of the Warlike Josephus, and by the Assistance of the Learned Grotius, and Pious Dr. Hammond our own Countryman, puzzled Aquinas, confuted Bellarmin, and Baffled Origen, pass we on (says he) to the next thing as considerable.
The Clark is such an Affected C. C. C—, that he Sings out of Tune, says out of Order, and does nothing as he should do: For instead of saying, Amen, he Screams out A Main, which had like to put me into a Confounded Fit of Laughter; for a Spark who had been Over-night at 7 or 11, falling Asleep in the Church, and being waked by the Noise of A Main, he starts up, and cries out aloud, I'll Set you Half a Crown
Crowding to get out to breath my Spleen at this Adventure, I put the Bilk upon a Pick-Pocket; who measuring my Estate by the Length and Bulkiness of my New Wig, which (God knows) is not paid for, he made a Dive into my Pocket, but encountring a Disappointment, Rub'd off, Cursing the Vacuum; and I as heartily laughing at his Folly, that could think a Poet ever went to Church, when he had Money to go to a Tavern. Poets are better Principled than to hoard up Trash; and could they as well secure themselves from the Flesh and the Devil, as they do from the World, there would not be a Hairs breadth 'twixt them and Heaven.
Now I cross'd the way to a Booksellers, in hopes to get a Dinner and a Bottle; but the Stingy Curr pop't me off with a Dish of Coffee, and the old Talk that Trading was Dead, that they suffer'd for other Mens Works as well as their own; and in short, finding not a Penny to be screw'd out of the Prig, I pursued my Voyage to the City; but it happening to Rain, to shelter my self from it, I run my Face into
Here was a Confounded Noise of Descents, Pedigrees, Genealogies, Coat Armour, Bearings, Additions, Abatements, and a deal of that insignificant Jargon. While I was listening to this Gibberish, in comes a Fellow with a Role of Parchment in his Hand, to be made a Gentleman, and to have a Coat of Arms finely Painted to hang up in his Dining-Room till his Wife Died, and then to be transported on the Outside and Front of the House, to Invite a Rich Widdow to Marry him.
My Father, says he, has bore Arms for His Majesty, in many Honourable Occasions of Watching and Warding; and has made many a Tall Fellow speak to the Constable at all Hours of the Night. My Uncle was the first Man that ever was of the Honourable Order of the Black-Guard: And we have had five Brave Commanders of our Family, by my Father's side, that have served the State in the Quality of Marshal's Men, and Thief Takers, and gave His Majesty a fair Account of all the Prisoners that were taken by them: And by my Mothers side, it will not be denied, but that I am Honourably Descended; for my Grandmother was never without a Dozen Chamber-Maids and Nurses in Family. Her Husband wore a Sword by his Place, for he was Deputy-Marshal; and to prove my self a Man of Honour, I have here a Testimonial in my Hand, in Black and White; and in my Pocket brave Yellow-Boys, to pay for a Coat of Arms: Which being produced and Finger'd by the Herald, he immediately assign'd him a Coat, viz. A Gibbet Erect, with a Wing Volant. A Ladder Ascendant. A Rope Pendant, and a Marshal's Man Swinging at the end on't.
I am Sandalized, says my Indian, at your Custome in London, in making every Saucy Jack, a Gentleman.
And why are you not as well offended, reply'd I to my Indian, to hear almost every Gentleman call one another Jack, and Tom, and Harry They first dropt the Distinction, Proper to Men of Quality, and Scoundrels took it up and bestowed it upon themselves; and hence it is, that a Gentleman is sunk into plain Jack, and Jack is rais'd into Gentleman.
In Days of Yore, a Man of Honour was more Distinguishable by his Generosity and Affability, than by his Lac'd Liveries; but too many of them having degenerated into the Vices of the Vulgar Fry, Honour is grown Contemptible, the Respect that is due to their Births, is lost in a Savage Management, and is now assumed by every Scoundrel.
The Cobler is Affronted, if you don't call him Mr. Translator. The Groom Names himself Gentleman of the Horse, and the Fellow that carries Guts to the Bears, writes himself one of His Majesty's Officers. The Page calls himself a Child of Honour, and the Foot-Boy stiles himself my Ladies Page. Every Little Nasty Whore takes upon her the Title of Lady, and every Impudent Broken-Mouth'd Manteau-Maker, must be call'd Madam Theodosia Br—. Every Dunce of a Quack, is call'd a Physician. Every Gown-Man, a Counseller. Every Silly Huff, a Captain. Every Gay thing, a Chevalier. Every Parish Reader, a Doctor: And every Writing Clerk in the Office, Mr. Secretary: Which is all but Hypocrisie and Knavery in Disguise; for nothing is now called by its right Name.
The Heralds I see have but little to do, Honour and Arms which used to employ all Men of Birth and Parts, is now almost dwindled into an Airy Nothing: Let us then go and see how the World wags in the City Circle.
I have given my Traveller Walking enough from Country to Country, let us save him the trouble now of Beating the Hoof, and shew him the rest of the World as he sits in his Chair.
To be acquainted with all the Different Characters of it, it will be sufficient for him to frequent certain Numerous Assemblies, a sort of City Circle, they are set up in imitation of the Circle at Court.
The Circle in Foreign Courts is a Grave Assembly, but ill seated upon Low Stools set in a Round. Here all Women Talk, and none of them Listen. Here they make a Pother about nothing. Here they Decide all things, and their most diversified Conversations are a sort of Roundeaus that end either in Artificial Slanders, or gross Flattery, but this being in no wise applicable to the English Court, I shall wave a further Description of it, and come to
Which is a Familiar Assembly, or a General Council of the Fair and Charming-Sex, where all the Important Affairs of their Neighbors are largely discuss'd, but Judged in an Arbitrary Manner, without hearing the Parties speak for themselves. Nothing comes amiss to these Tribunals. Matters of High, and no Consequence, as Religion, and Cuckoldom, Commodes and Sermons, Polliticks and Gallantry, Receipts of Cookery and Scandal, Coquettry and Preserving, Jilting and Laundry; in short every thing is subject to the Jurisdiction of this Court, and no Appeal lies from it.
A Venerable Old Gentlewoman, call'd Madam Whimsey, whose Relations are dispersed into all Corners of the Earth, is President of this Board. She is Lineally Descended from the Maggots of the South, an Illustrious and Ancient Family, that were a Branch of the Wag-Tails of the East, who boast themselves Descended in a Right Line from Madam Eve. Here are to be found as many Different Opinions as there are Heads in the Room. The same Judge is sometimes Severe, and sometimes Indulgent, sometimes Grave and sometimes Trifling, and they Talk exactly there, as I do in my Amusements.
They pass in a Moment from the most Serious, to the most Comical Strain; from the greatest things to the smallest; from a Duke, to a Chimney-Sweeper; from a Council of War to a Christning, and sometimes a sudden Reflexion upon a Womans Head-Dress, hinders the Decision of a Case of Conscience under Examination.
In this Country Twenty several Sentences are pronounced all at once. The Men Vote when they can, the Women as often as they please. They have two Votes for one. The great Liberty that is allowed in the City Circle, invites all sorts of Persons to come thither to see and to be seen. Every one talks according to his Designs, his Inclination, and his Genius. The Young Folks talk of what they are now a doing; the Old Fellows Talk of what they have done in the Days of Queen Dick; and your Sots and Coxcombs of what they have a design to do, tho' they never go about it.
The Ambitious Rail at the Sluggards as a Company of Idle Fellows that take up a room in the World, and do nothing? The Sluggards return back the Compliment to the Ambitious, that they trouble all the World with their Plots to advance themselves and ruine others. The Tradesman Curses War from the bottom of his Heart, as that which spoils Commerce, Depopulates Countries, and destroys Mankind; and the Soldier wishes those that had a Hand in making the Peace, were at the Devil.
The Vertuoso despises the Rich for making such a bustle about so Foolish and Pale-faced a Mettal as Gold. The Rich laugh at Learning, and Learned Men, and cry, A Fig for Aristotle and Des Cartes. Your Men of Gravity and Wisdom forsooth, rail at Love as the most Foolish and Impertinent Trifling thing in the World; and the Lover fattens himself with his own Fancies, and laughs at Wisdom as a Sower and Severe thing that is not worth the Pursuit. Those that are Unmarried fall foul upon the Jealous-Pated Husbands, as Men that create their own Troubles. And those that are Married justify their own Prudent Conduct in endeavouring to prevent their own Dishonour.
A Young forward Puppy full of Vigour and Health, seem'd to intimate by his Discourse, that he thought himself Immortal. Well, says he, I have drank my Gallon of Claret every Night this Seven Years, and yet the Devil of a Feaver or any other Disease dares Attack me, tho' I always keep two or three Sins going at once. Before George I think our Family's made of Iron. There's that Old Prig my Father (a Plague on him) turn'd of Seventy, and yet he's as sound as a Roach still. He'll ride you Forty Mile out-right at a Fox-Chase. Small-Beer be my Portion here and hereafter, if I believe he'll ever have the Good Manners to troop off.
A Grave Old Gentleman offended at this Rude and Frothy Discourse gave his Whiskers a Twirl, and thus repremanded our Saucy Whipper-Snapper. Know Boy, cries he to him in an Angry Tone: Know, Sirrah, that every Age stands upon the same Level as to the Duration of Life. A Man of Fourscore is Young enough to Live, and an Infant but of Four Days Birth, is Old enough to Die.
I apprehend your Meaning, Old Gentleman, says our Young Prig to him, well enough. You are Young enough to Live to Day, and Old enough to Die to Morrow.
Those whom you have hitherto heard, talk'd only to let the Company see what they were: The rest both in their Conversation and Manners, appear'd directly contrary to what they were.
You admire the Gay Noisy Impertinence of that Country Wit yonder, that tells so many Pleasant Stories, and sets all the Company a Laughing. Don't be mistaken in him, he's the Dullest Rogue alive, if you strip him of what he has Plunder'd from others.
All his Jests and Repartees he Purloin'd from his Fathers Chaplain; they are the effect of his Memory, and not of his Invention.
That other Spark there sets up for a Wit, and has some Sence to't. Pray mind that Worshipful Lump of Clay, that Inanimate Figure that lolls in the Elbow-Chair; he takes no manner of Notice of what is said in the Company. By his Plodding Starch'd Solemn Looks, you would conclude that Business of Importance, and Affairs of State, took up all his Thoughts, and that his Head was brim full of Dispatches, Negotiations, Decrees, Orders of Council, and the Lord knows what. I'll tell you what; he's the Emptiest, Dullest, Shallowest Monster, within the Bills of Mortality. He's equally incapable of Business and Pleasure: He'll take you a Nap over a Game at Cards, and Yawn and Stretch at the most diverting Comedy: Nay, under the Pulpit when the Parson has Preach'd all the Dogs out o'th' Church. He Dreams as he Walks, and the Sot when he's a Sleep, differs from the Sot when Waking, as a Nine-Pin when it is up, differs from a Nine-Pin when its down. He has a Considerable Post in the Government, and a Pretty Wife, and minds them both alike? 'Tis pity he has not a Deputy to officiate for him.
That Young Creature there by the Window, at the bare mention of the Word Love, Starts, and Trembles, as if a Demi-Culvirin were shot off at her Ear. Her Vertuous Mother has told her such terrible Stories about it, that the Poor Fool believes she hates it. And do you think, Sir, she'll hate it to the end of the Chapter? That's not so certain, I dare not engage for it. A Woman that hates Love before she knows what it is, is not in danger to hate it very long.
Perhaps I explain things after a Freer manner than I ought, and Unmask too many Faces in my Circle; but if I were never so much inclined to spare them, and they themselves had Address enough to conceal their own Defects: I see a Lady of great Penetration coming into the Room, who will decipher them more Unmercifully than I can.
Now she has Seated her self. Observe what a Modest Air she has? How Critically she draws off her Gloves? How Artfully she manages her Fan? And if she lift up her Eyes, 'tis only to see whether other Women are as Handsome and as Modest as her self. She has so much Vertue the World says, that she can't endure any that have a less share on't than her self. What is harder still, those that have more Vertue than she, do equally displease her. 'Tis for this reason she spares no Body.
I ask'd a Lady of the same Character t'other Day, how it came to pass that her Exhortations were half Godliness, and half Slander? Bless me, crys she, Slander! What mean you by the Word? 'Tis enough to give one the Spleen, or an Augue Fit. The Truth on't is, I am sometimes obliged to accommodate my self to the Taste of the World, to Season my Remonstrances with a little Satyr, for the World expects we should make every thing agreeable, even Connection it self. We must sometimes give a little Slip from Morality, to bring in a few Strokes of Satyr. Speak more Honestly, Madam, says I to her, and confess that you bring in one stroke of Morality, to countenance the making of a Thousand Scandalous Reflexions.
Very well, replies the Indian to me, I find the Londoners are as Comical in their Garbs, as affected in their Discourses. They would think themselves dishonour'd to appear in a Suit they wore last Year. According to the Rule of Fashions, this Furious Beau the next Year must make but a Scurvy Figure; but I pardon them for following the Custom of their Country. I put so ill a Construction upon their Curiosity, I will not hereafter Judge of the Hearts of Women by the Steps I see them make.
As for that Beau yonder, I have a great Curiosity to know whither his Inside answers his Outside. Not a Word has drop'd from him as yet; but surely the Oracle will open Anon. The Ladies that encompass him, said I to my Curious Traveller, are as impatient to hear him Talk, as you can be. Therefore let us listen.
They all Compliment, and address their Discourses to him. What Answers does he make them? Sometimes Yes, and sometimes No, and sometimes Nothing at all. He speaks to one with his Eyes, to another with his Head, and Laughs at a third with so Mysterious an Air, that 'tis believed there is something extraordinary meant by it. All the Company are of Opinion that he has Wit in abundance. His Physiognomy Talks, his Air Perswades, but all his Eloquence lies in the Fine Outside he makes; and as soon as the Spark has shew'd himself, he has concluded his Speech. 'Tis a thousand pitties that Nature had not time enough to finish her Workmanship, Had she bestowed never so little Wit upon an Outside so Prepossessing us in his Favour, the Idlest Tales from his Mouth wou'd have pass'd for the most Ingenious Story in the World.
But our Ladies now begin to be weary of holding a longer Discourse with their Idol, All of 'em resolv'd, if they must speak, to speak with some Body that would answer them again, and not with a Statue. Our Beau retires into the next Chamber, intent upon nothing but how to display his Charms to the best advantage. He is at first view enamour'd with a Pretty Lady whom he saw in the Room. He Besieges her with his Eyes, he Ogles at her, he Prims and Plumes himself, and at last he Boards her.
This Lady is very Reserved, and tho' our Gentleman appear very Charming to her, yet she is not surprized at the first sight of him. 'Tis nothing but her Curiosity which makes her hazard meeting him in the Field. With this Intention she listens to what our Adventurer has to say to her. In short, this was the success of his Affair with her.
He found himself mightily at a loss how to Cope with this Lady. She had an inexhaustible Source of Wit, and would not be paid with Gracious Nods and Smiles, but as we see there are a Hundred Witty Women in the World, that are not displeas'd with a fair Outside; our Confident Spark flatter'd himself, that if he cou'd but once perswade the Lady that he was in Love with her, the Garrison wou'd immediately surrender. To effect this he employ'd the Finest Turns of Eloquence, and the most touching Expressions of the Mute Language; but this Fair Lady made as if she did not understand him. What should he now do to explain himself more clearly to her. He had a Diamond-Ring of a considerable Value upon his Finger, and found himself put to't to contrive a Piece of Gallantry A la Mode, to present it to her. Thus Playing with his Hand, and holding it so that he might shew his Diamond more advantageously to the Eyes of the Fair Indifferent, he plays with it: She turns her Head, first on one side, then on the other side. This Unconcernedness mortified him extreamly; yet still he kept on his Shew, which is always the last Refuge of a Coxcomb. He is Astonish'd to find a Woman insensible to such a Beau as himself, and to such a Diamond as his was; but this made no Impression on the Lady, who still continued Inexorable and Cruel.
At the very Moment he despair'd of his Enterprize, this Cruel, this Insensible seiz'd him hastily by the Hand, to look nearer at the Diamond, from which she first turn'd her Eyes: What a Blessed turn of the Scene was this to a Dejected Lover! He reassumes his Courage, and to make a Declaration of his Passion for once and all, he takes the Ring from his Finger, and after a Thousand Cringes and Grimaces, Presents her with it. The Lady takes it in her Hand, and holds it close to her Eyes, to view it more carefully: He redoubles his Hope and Assurance, and thought he had a Right to Kiss that Hand, that had received his Diamond. The Lady was so taken up in looking at it, that she was not at leisure to think of being angry at this Freedom; but on the contrary smiled, and without any more Ceremony put the Ring upon her Finger.
Now it is that our Lover thinks himself secure of Victory, and transported with Joy, proposes the Hour and Place of Meeting. Sir, says this Lady coldly to him, I am Charm'd with this Diamond; and the reason why I have accepted it without Scruple, is because it belongs to me. Yes, Sir, this Diamond is mine; my Husband took it from off my Toilet some Three Months ago, and made me afterwards believe he had lost it. That cannot be, replys our Fop, it was a Marchioness that exchang'd it with me for something that shall be Nameless.
Right, right, continues the Woman, my Husband was acquainted with this Marchioness, he Truck'd with her for my Diamond, the Marchioness Truck'd with you for it, and I take it for nothing; tho if I were of a Revengeful Nature, my Husband very well deserves, that I should give the same Price for it, as he received from the Marchioness. At this unexpected Blow, our Fine Thing stood Confounded and Astonish'd; but I can now forgive his being Mute upon so Odd an Occasion. A Man of Wit and Sence could hardly avoid it.
That Great Lord yonder, was Bred and Born a Lord: His Soul is full as Noble as his Blood, his Thoughts as high as his Extraction. I Esteem, but don't Admire his Lordship; but the Man, who by his Merits and Vertues raises himself above his Birth and Education, I both Esteem and Admire.
Why then should you, whose Virtues equal your Fortune, conceal the Meanness of your Original, which raises the Lustre of your Merit? And as for you that have no other Merit to boast of, but that of advancing your Fortune; never be ashamed to own the Meanness of your former Life: We shall better esteem the Merit of your Elevation.
Look, yonder goes a Man, says one, that takes upon him so much of the Lord, that one would think he had never been any thing else. It often happens, that by our Over-acting of Matters, the World discovers we were not always the Men we appear.
While I made my Reflections, my Indian was likewise busie in making his. He did not so much wonder at the Man in the Embroidered Coat, who did not know himself, as at the Assembly, who likewise seem'd not to know him. He was treated with the Respect due to a Prince; these are not Civilities, but downright Adorations. What cannot you be content, says our Indian, cannot you be content to Idolize Riches that are useful to you? Must you likewise Idolize the Rich, who will never do you a Farthings-worth of Kindness?
I confess, continued he, that I cannot recover out of this Astonishment. I see another Man of a very good Look come into the Circle, and no body takes the least Notice of him. He has seated himself and Talks, and very much to the purpose too, and yet no one will vouchsafe him a Hearing. I observe, the Company Files off from him by degrees, to another part of the Room, and now he is left alone by himself. Wherefore say I to my self, Do they shun him thus? Is his Breath Contagious, or has he a Plague-Sore running upon him?
At the same time I took Notice, That these Deserters had flock'd about the Gay Coxcomb in the laced Suite, whom they worshipp'd like a little God. By this I came to understand, that the Contagious Distemper the other Man was troubled with was his Poverty.
Oh Heavens! says the Indian, falling all on the sudden into an Enthusiastick Fit, like that wherein you saw him in his Letter; Oh Heavens! Remove me quickly out of a Country, where they shut their Ears to the wholsom Advice, and sage Instructions of a Poor Man, to lissen to the Nonsensical Chat of a Sot in Gawdy Cloathes. They seem to refuse this Philosopher a Place among Men, because his Apparel is but indifferent, while they Rank that Wealthy Coxcomb in the Number of the Gods. When I behold this Abominable Sight, I cou'd almost pardon those that grow Haughty and Insolent upon Prosperity. This latter Spark a little while ago was less than a Man among you, at present you make a sort of a Deity of him. If the Head of their new Idol should grow Giddy, he may e'en thank those who Incense him at this abominable Rate.
There are among us in my Country, continues he, a sort of People who Adore a certain Bird, for the Beauty and Richness of its Feathers. To justifie the Folly wherein their Eyes have engaged them, they are perswaded that this proud Animal has a Divine Spirit that Animates him. Their Error is infinitely more excusable than yours; for in short, this Creature is Mute, but if he could Talk, like your Brute there in the Rich Embroidery, they would soon find him out to be a Beast, and perhaps would forbear to Adore him.
This sudden Transport, carry'd our well-meaning Traveller a little too far. To oblige him to drop his Discourse, I desir'd him to cast his Eyes upon a certain Gentleman in the Circle, who deserved to have his Veil taken off with which he covered himself, to procure the Confidence of Fools. Examine well this serious Extravagant. The Fool's Bawble he makes such a pother with, is his Probity, an amiable thing indeed, if his Heart were affected by it; but 'tis only the Notion of it that has Fly-blown his Head. Because, forsooth, it has not yet appear'd in his Story, that he is a Notorious Cheat and Falsifier, upon the Merit of this Reputation, the Insect thinks himself the most Virtuous Man in the World. He demands an Implicite Faith to all he says. You must not question any thing he is pleas'd to affirm, but must pay the same Deference to his Words, as to the Sacred Oracles of Truth it self. If he thinks fit to assert that Romulus and Remus were Grand Children to John of Gaunt, 'tis a Breach of Good Manners to enquire into their Pedigrees.
If any Difference happens, he pretends his Word is a Decree, from which you cannot Appeal without Injustice. He takes it for a high Affront, if you do but ask him to give you the common Security. All the Universe must understand that his Verbal Promise is worth a thousand Pounds. He would fain have perswaded his Wifes Relations to have given him her in Marriage upon his bare Word, without making a Settlement. He affects to be exactly Nice to a Tittle in all his Expressions, and if you think it impossible to find a Model of this impracticable Exactness, he tells you that you may find it in him, all his Words you ought to believe to a Hairs breadth: Nothing less, and nothing beyond it. If ever he gives you liberty to Stretch a little, it must be in his Commendation. Let the Conversation turn upon what Subject it pleases, be it of War, or of Religion, Morality, or Politicks, he will perpetually thrust his Nose into it, though he is sure to be laughed at for his Pains, and all to make a fine Parade of his own good Qualities and Vertues.
A certain Lady for Instance, after she had effectually proved that all Gallantry, and Sincerity, was extinct among the young Fellows of this Age, corrected her self pleasantly in this manner. I am in the wrong Gentlemen, says she, I am in the wrong, I own it. There is such a thing as Sincerity still among the Men: They speak all that they think of us Women.
Upon the bare Mention of the Word Sincerity, our Gentleman thought he had a fair opportunity to enlarge upon his own. Every Man, says he, has his particular Faults My Fault is to be too Sincere.
Soon after this, the Discourse fell upon other Matters, as want of Compassion and Charity in the Rich. What an excess of Barbarity crys our Man of Honour, is this? For my part, I always fall into the opposite Extream. I melt at every thing, I am too Good in my Temper, but 'tis a Fault I shall never Correct in my self. To make short, another who towards the Conclusion of his Story, happen'd accidentally to let the Word Avarice drop from him, found himself interrupted by our Modest Gentleman, who made no difficulty to own that Liberality was his Vice. Ah Sir, replied the Man coldly, who was interrupted, you have three great Vices, Sincerity, Goodness, and Liberality. This excess of Modesty in you, which makes you own these Vices, give me to understand Sir, that you are Masters of all the contrary Vertues.
In my Opinion now, this was plucking off the Vizor of our Sir Formal. This was discharging a Pistol at his Breast: One would have thought it wou'd have went to the very Heart of him. In the mean time he did not so much as feel the Blow; the Callus of his Vanity had made him invulnerable, he takes every thing you say to him in good part. Call him in an Ironical manner, the Great Heroe of Probity, he takes you in the Litteral Sense. Tell him in the plain Language of T. O. that he's a confounded Rascal, Oh Sir, says he, your humble Servant, you are disposed to be merry I find: thus he takes it for Raillery.
These Raillers have a fine time on't you see, to Jest upon a Man of so Oily a Temper. What a Vexation is it to your Gentlemen that speak sharp and witty Things, to level them at so supple a Slave. All the Pleasure wou'd be to touch him to the Quick, to confound his Vanity. Wit does but hazard it self by Attacking him in the Face, there's nothing to be got by it: Vanity is a Wall of Brass.
But I find nothing will be lost. There sits a Gentleman in the corner of a quite different Temper, who takes every thing upon himself, that was meant to another. He Blushes, he grows Pale, he's out of Countenance; at last quits the Room, and as he goes out, threatens all the Company with his Eyes. What does the World think of this holding up the Buckler, they put but a bad Construction upon it, and say that his Conscience is Ulcerated, that you cannot touch any String, but it will answer to some painful place. Touch a Gall'd Horse and He'll Wince. In a word, he's wounded all over, because he's all over Sensible of Pain.
These are two Characters that seem to be directly opposite; however, it were easie to prove that these two are the same at Bottom. What's this Bottom? Divine it if you can: One Word wou'd not be sufficient to explain it clearly to you, and I am not at leisure to give you any more. I perceive a Man coming into the Room whom I am acquainted with, he will interrupt me without Remorse. I had better be beforehand with him, and hold my Tongue.
Silence Gentlemen, Silence, and see you shew due Respect. You will immediately see one of those Noble Lords who believe that all is due to them, and that they owe nothing to any Body. When my Lord enter'd, every one put on a demure Look, and he himself came in with a Smiling look, like a true Polititian. Immediately he makes a thousand Protestations of Friendship to every one; but at the same time that he promises you his Service, he looks as Pale as a Scotchman, when he offers you his Purse.
He is scarce sate down in his Chair, but he embroiles the Conversation. He talks to four several Persons about four several Affairs at once: He puts a Question to one Man, without waiting for an Answer of another: He proposes a Doubt, Treats it, and resolves it all by himself. He's not weary of Talking, though all the Company be of hearing him. They steal off by degrees, and so the Circle ended.
The Publick is a great Spectacle always New, which presents it self to the Eyes of private Men, and Amuses them. These private Men are so many diversified Spectacles, that offer themselves to the Publick View, and Divert it. I have already as it were in Minature, shew'd some few of these small inconsiderable private Spectacles. My Fellow Traveller not content with this, still demands of me, that I should speak a few Words more of the Publick.
The Publick is a Prince of which all those Hold, that aim at Honour, Reputation and Profit. Those Sordid Mean-Spirited Souls, that don't take any Pains to merit its Approbation, are at least afraid of its Hatred, and Contempt. The Right we assume to our selves to Judge of every thing, has produc'd abundance of Vertues, and stifled abundance of Crimes.
The Publick has a Just, a Solid, and Penetrating Discernment: In the mean time, as 'tis wholly composed of Men; so there's a great deal of the Man very often in its Judgments. It suffers it self to be Prepossessed as well as a Private Person, and afterwards prepossesseth us by the Ascendant it hath had over us for many Ages.
The Publick is a true Misanthrope, it is neither guilty of Complaisance, nor Flattery; nor does it seek to be Flatter'd. It runs in Crowds to Assembles, where it hears Truths of it self, and each of the Particulars that compose the whole Body, love rather to see themselves Jeer'd, than to deprive themselves of the Pleasure of seeing others Jeer'd.
The Publick is the Nicest and most Severe Critick in the World; yet a Dull Execrable Ballad, is enough to Amuse it for a whole Year. It is both Constant and Inconstant. One may truly affirm, that since the Creation, the Publick Genius has never changed. This shews its Constancy; but it is fond of Novelties, it daily changes all its Fashions of acting, its Language and its Modes. A Weather-Cock is not more Inconstant. It is so Grave it strikes a Terror upon those that Talk to it, and yet so Trifling that a Band, or a Cravat put the wrong way, sets the whole Auditory a Laughing.
The Publick is served by the greatest Noblemen: What Grandeur is there? And yet it depends upon those that serve it: How Little it is?
The Publick is, if I may allow my self the Expression, always at Man's Estate, for the Solidity of its Judgment, and yet an Infant, whom the errantest Scoundrel of a Jack-Pudding, or a Merry-Andrew, shall lead from one end of the Town to the other. 'Tis an Old Man, who shews his Dotage by Murmuring without knowing what he would have, and whose Mouth we cannot stop, when he has once began to Talk.
I should never have done, were I minded to set down all the Contrarieties that are to be found in the Publick, since it possesses all the Vertues, and all the Vices, all the Forces, and all the Infirmities of Mankind.
Let us reassume our Gravity to consider the Real Grandeur of the Publick. 'Tis out of it we see every thing proceeds, which is of any Consideration in the World: Governors to Rule Provinces, Judges to Regulate them, Warriers to Fight, and Heroes to Conquer. After these Governors, these Judges, these Warriers, and these Heroes, have Gloriously signaliz'd themselves in all Parts, they all come to meet again at Court; where Interpidity it self Trembles, Fierceness is Softned, Gravity Rectified, and Power Disappears.
There those that are distinguish'd in other Places, like so many Sovereigns; among the Crowd of Courtiers, become Courtiers themselves; and after they have drawn the Eyes of so many Thousands after them, think it their Glory to be look'd upon by One from whom those Illustrious Stars derive their Splendour, and are never so near their Meridian, as when the Monarch, that Spring of Glory, shines upon them, and Communicates some Beams of his Magnificence to them.
As his very Looks raise the Merit of the greatest Actions, every one is Jealous of him who endeavours to attract them to himself; but for all that, they are so Complaisant, that they don't neglect to Caress the Man of whom they are Jealous.
However, there are some Elevated Souls that have infinitely rais'd themselves about those Court Infirmities. Real Heroes and Brave Men indeed! Who are no more grieved at the Glory of others, than to share the Light of the Sun in Common with them.
I own indeed, says my Indian, in taking his leave of me, that England produces some of these perfect Englishmen, whose Reputations have reached our Parts of the World; but it was to see something Greater than this, that I undertook this Voyage; and consider how I reason'd with my self as I pass'd the Ocean. England abounds with Illustrious Men, and tho' there may be Animosities among them; yet they all unanimously now agree to Reverence and Respect the King alone: And must not he be an Extraordinary Man?FINIS.