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really nothing but, under the specious pretence of learning and antiquities, to impose upon the world. There are other things which I cannot tolerate among his rarities : as, the china figure of a lady in the glass-case: the Italian engine for the imprisonment of those who go abroad with it: both which I hereby order to be taken down, or else he may expect to have his letters-patent for making punch superseded, be debarred wearing his muff next winter, or ever coming to London without his wife. It may perhaps be thought I have dwelt too long upon the affairs of this operator; but I desire the reader to remember, that it is my way to consider men as they stand in merit, and not according to their fortune or figure; and if he is in a coffee-house at the reading hereof, let him look round, and he will find, there may be more characters drawn in this account than that of Don Saltero; for half the politicians about him, he may observe, are, by their place in nature, of the class of tooth-drawers.
N° 35. THURSDAY, JUNE 30, 1709.
Quicquid agunt homines
JUV. Sat. I. 85, 86.
Grecian Coffee-house, June 28. There is an habit or custom which I have put my patience to the utmost stretch to have suffered so lang, because several of my intimate friends are in the guilt; and that is, the humour of taking snuff, and looking dirty about the mouth by way of ornament.
My method is, to dive to the bottom of a sore before I pretend to apply a remedy. For this reason, I sat by an eminent story-teller and politician, who takes half an ounce in five seconds, and has mortgaged a pretty tenement near the town, merely to improve and dung his brains with this prolific powder. I observed this gentleman, the other day, in the midst of a story, diverted from it by looking at something at a distance, and I softly hid his box. But he returns to his tale, and, looking for his box, he cries, “ And so, Sir-" Then, when he should have taken a pinch, “ As I was saying " says he, “has nobody seen my box?" His friend beseeches him to finish his narration: then he proceeds; “And so, Sir where can my box be?” Then turning to me,
Pray, Sir, did you see my box?” “ Yes, Sir,” said I, “ I took it to see how long you could live without it." He resumes his tale, and I took notice that his dulness was much more regular and fluent than before. A pinch supplied the place of
As I was saying,” and “ So, Sir;" and he went on currently enough in that style which the learned cail the insipid. This observation easily led me into a philosophic reason for taking snuff, which is done only to supply with sensations the want of reflection. This I take to be an répoua, a nostrum ; upon which I hope to receive the thanks of this board : for as it is natural to lift a man's hand to a sore, when you fear any thing coming at you ; so when a person feels his thoughts are run out, and he has no more to say, it is as natural to supply his weak brain with powder at the nearest place of access, viz. the nostrils. This is so evident, that nature suggests
the use according to the indigence of the persons who take this medicine, without being prepossessed with the force of fashion or custom. For example ; the native Hibernians, who are reckoned not much unlike the antient Bæotians, take this specific for emptiness in the head, in greater abundance than any other nation under the sun.* The learned Sotus, as sparing as he is in his words, would be still more silent if it were not for this powder.
However low and poor the taking of snuff argues a man to be in his own stock of thoughts, or means to employ his brains and his fingers ; yet there is a poorer creature in the world than he, and this is a borrower of snuff; a fellow that keeps no box of his own, but is always asking others for a pinch. Such poor rogues put me always in mind of a common phrase among school-boys when they are composing their exercise, who run to an upper scholar,
Pray give me a little sense.' But of all things commend me to the ladies who are got into this pretty help to discourse. I have been these three years persuadiny Sagissa * to leave it off; but she talks so much, and is so learned, that she is above contradiction. However, an accident the other day brought that about, which my eloquence could never accomplish.' She had a very pretty fellow in her closet, who ran thither to avoid some company that came to visit her : she made an excuse to go in to him for some implement they were talking of. Her cager gallant spatched a kiss; but, being unused to snuff, some grains from off her
* The ingenious lady here alluded to, under the name of Sagissa, a diminutive from the word Sage, was probably Mrs. De la Riviere Manley, who provoked Sieele by the liberties she bad taken with his character in lier « Secret Memoirs from the “ New Atalantis, &c.”
upper lip made him sneeze aloud, which alarmed the visitants, and has made a discovery, that protound reading, very much intelligence, and a general knowledge of who and who are together, cannot fill her vacant hours so much, but she is sometimes obliged to descend to entertainments less intellectual.
White's Chocolate-house, June 29. I know no manner of news from this place, but that Cynthio, having been long in despair for the incxorable Clarissa, lately resolved to fall in love with the good old way of bargain and sale, and has pitched upon a very agreeable young woman.
He will undoubtedly succeed; for he accosts her in a strain of familiarity, without breaking through the deference that is due to a woman whom a would choose for his life *. I have hardly ever heard rough truth spoken with a better grace than in this his letter.
“ Madam, " I writ to you on Saturday by Mrs. Lucy, and give you this trouble to urge the same request I made then, which was, that I may be permitted to wait upon you.
I should be very far froin desiring this, it it was a transgression of the most severe rules to allow it: I know you are very much above the little arts which are frequent in your sex, of giving unnecessary torments to their admirers; therefore hope you will do so much justice to the generous passion I have for you, as to let me have an opportunity of acquainting you upon what notives i pretend to your good opinion. I shall not
* Lord Hinchinhroke married Lady Elizabeth Pop'am, only dughter of Alexander Popham, Esq. of Littlecote, la Wiltshire.
trouble you with my sentiments until I know how they will be received ; and as I know no reason why difference of sex should make our language to each other differ from the ordinary rules of riglit reason, I shall affect plainness and sincerity in my discourse to you, as much as other lovers do perplexity and rapture
Instead of saying I shall die for you, I profess I should be glad to lead my life with you : you are
as beautiful, as witty, as prudent, and as good-humoured, as any woman breathing ; but, I must confess to you, I regard all these excellences as you will please to direct them for my happiness or misery. With me, Madan, the only . lasting motive to love is the hope of its becoming mutual. I beg of you to let Mrs. Lucy send me word when I may attend you. I promise you I will talk of nothing but indifferent things; though, at the same time, I know not how I shall approach you in the tender moment of first seeing you, after this declaration of, Madam, your most obedient, and most faithful humble servant, &c.”
Will's Coffee-house, June 29. Having taken a resolution, when plays are acted next winter by an entire good company, to publish observations from time to time on the performance of the actors, I think it but just to give an abstract of the laws of action, for the help of the less learned part of the audience, that they may rationally enjoy so refined and instructive a pleasure as a just representation of human life. The great errors in playing are admirably well exposed in Hamlet's directions to the actors who are to play in his supposed tragedy ; by which we shall form our future judgments on their behaviour, and for that reason you bave the discourse as follows: