« AnteriorContinuar »
for help, and question not but he will either avert or turn them to my advantage.--Though I know neither the time nor the manner of the death I am to die, I am not at all solicitous about it; because I am sure that he knows them both, and that he will not fail to comfort and support me under them.
No. VIII. FRIDAY, MARCH 9.
At Venus obscuro gradientes aere sepsit,
They march obscure, for Venus kindly shrouds
I SHALL here communicate to the world a couple of letters, which I believe will give the reader as good an entertainment as any that I am able to furnish him with; and therefore shall make no apology for them.
( To the Spectator.
I AM one of the directors of the Society for the Reformation of Manners, and therefore think my
self a proper person for your correspondence. I " have thoroughly examined the present state of reli"gion in Great Britain, and am able to acquaint you • with the predominant vice of every market town in " the whole island. I can tell you the progress that (virtue has made in all our cities, boroughs, and cor"porations; and know as well the evil practices that
are committed in Berwick or Exeter, as what is done in my own family. In a word, Sir, I have my correspondents in the remotest parts of the nation, who send me up punctual accounts from time to time of all the little irregularities that fall under " their notice in their several districts and divisions.
• I am no less acquainted with the particular quarters and regions of this great town than with the different parts and distributions of the whole nation. I can describe every parish by its impieties, and can tell
you in which of our streets lewdness prevails, which • gaming has taken possession of, and where drunken
ness has got the better of them both. When I am disposed to raise a fine for the poor, I know the lanes and alleys that are inhabited by common
When I would encourage the hospital of · Bridewell, and improve the hempen manufacture, I am very well acquainted with all the haunts and resorts of female night-walkers. • After this short account of myself, I must let you know that the design of this paper is to give you • information of a certain irregular assembly, which ? I think falls very properly under your observation,
especially since the persons it is composed of are criminals too considerable for the animadversions
of our society. I mean, Sir, the Midnight Mask, (which has of late been very frequently held in one
of the most conspicuous parts of the town, and which " I hear will be continued with additions and improvesments. As all the persons who compose this law
les assembly are masked, we dare not attack any of them in our way, lest we should send a Woman of
Quality to Bridewell, or a Peer of Great Britain to - the Counter! besides that, their numbers are so 6 very great, that I am afraid they would be able to
routour whole fraternity, though we were accompased with all our guard of constables. Both these
reasons, which secure them from our authority, • make them obnoxious to yours; as both their dis
guise and their numbers will give no particular person reason to think himself affronted by you.
If we are rightly informed, the rules that are observed by this new society are wonderfully contrivred for the advancement of cuckoldom. The wo
men either come by themselves, or are introduced by friends, who are obliged to quit them upon their
first entrance, to the conversation of any body that o addresses himself to them. There are several
rooms where the parties may retire, and, if they - please, shew their faces by consent. Whispers,
squeezes, nods, and embraces, are the innocent free
doms of the place. In short, the whole design of this • libidinous assembly seems to terminate in assigna5 tions and intrigues; and I hope you will take effec« tual methods by your public advice and admonitions, ' to prevent such a promiscuous multitude of both
sexes from meeting together in so clandestine a
o I am
Your humble servant
Not long after the perusal of this letter, I received another
upon the same subject; which by the date and style of it, I take to be written by some young Templar.
Middle-Temple, 1710-11, "WHEN a man has been guilty of any vice or folly, I think the best atonement he can make for it, 6 is to warn others not to fall into the like. In order
to this I must acquaint you, that some time in February last I went to the Tuesday's masquerade.
Upon my first going in I was attacked by half a • dozen of female Quakers, who seemed willing to
adopt me for a brother, but upon a nearer exami• nation I found they were a sisterhood of coquettes
disguised in that precise habit. I was soon after taken out to dance, and, as I fancied, by a woman of the first quality; for she was very tall, and moved gracefully. As soon as the minuet was over we ogled one another through our masks; and as I am very well read in Waller, I repeated to her the four following verses, out of his poem to Vandyke:
The heedless lover does not know
' I pronounced these words with such a languishing « air, that I had some reason to conclude that I had I made a conquest.
She told me that she hoped my face was not a kin to my tongue; and looking upon her watch, I accidentally discovered the figure of a coronet on the back part of it. I was so transported with the thought of such an amour, that I plied her from one room to another with all the gallantries I could invent; and at length brought things to so happy an issue, that she gave me a private meeting the next day, without page or footman, coach or equipage. My heart danced in
raptures; but I had not lived in this golden dream " above three days, before I found good reason to wish 6 that I had continued true to my laundress. I have
since heard, by a very great accident, that this fine lady does not live far from Covent-Garden, and that I am not the first cully whom she has passed herself upon
for a countess.
· Thus, Sir, you see how I have mistaken a cloud for a Juno: and if you can make any use of this • adventure, for the benefit of those who may possibly
be as vain young coxcombs as myself, I do most • heartily give you leave.
I am, Sir,
« B. L.'
No. IX. SATURDAY, MARCH 10.
-Tigris agit ravida cum tigride pacem
Tiger with tiger, bear with bear, you'll find
MAN is said to be a sociable animal, and, as an instance of it, we may observe, that we take all occasions and pretences of forming ourselves into those little nocturnal assemblies which are commonly known by the name of Clubs. When a set of men find themselves agree in any particular, though ever so trivial, they establish themselves into a kind of fra. ternity, and meet once or twice a week upon the account of such a fantastic resemblance.
I know a considerable market-town, in which there was a club of fat men, that did not come together, as you may well suppose, to entertain one another with sprightliness and wit, but to keep one another in countenance; the