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dled majesty, the place of his residence being very unfit for a lady's personal appearance. “I am your most constant reader and admirer,
“ N. R.”
DEAR NESTOR, " It is a well-known proverb, in a certain part of this kingdom," love me, love my dog;” and I hope you will take it as a mark of my respect for your person, that I here bring a bit for
lion. What follows being secret history, it will be printed in other papers; wherein the lion will publish his private intelligence.
* * * "
WEDNESDAY, JULY 29.
Nothing lovelier can be found
A Bit for the Lion.
As soon as you have set up your unicorn, there is no question but the ladies will make him push very furiously at the men; for which reason I think it is good to be beforehand with them, and make the lion roar aloud at female irregularities. Among these, I wonder how their gaming has so long escaped your notice. You who converse with the sober family of the Lizards, are perhaps a stranger to these viragos; but what would you say, should you see a sparkler shaking her elbow for a whole night together, and thumping the table with a dice-box? or how would you like to hear the good' widow lady herself returning to her house at midnight, and alarming the whole street with a most enormous rap, after having sat up until that time at crimp or ombre? Sir, I am the husband of one of these female gamesters, and a great loser by it both in my rest and my pocket. As my wife reads your papers, one upon this subject might be of use both to her, and
" Your humble servant."
I should ill deserve the name of GUARDIAN, did I not caution all my fair wards against a practice, which, when it runs to excess, is the most shameful, but one, that the female world can fall into. The ill consequences of it are more than can be contained in this paper. However, that I may proceed in method, I shall consider them, First, as they relate to the mind; Secondly, as they relate to the body.
Could we look into the mind of a female gamester, we should see it full of nothing but trumps and mattadores. Her slumbers are haunted with kings, queens, and knaves. The day lies heavy upon her until the play-season returns, when, for half a dozen hours together, all her faculties are employed in shuffling, cutting, dealing, and sorting out a pack of cards, and no ideas to be discovered in a soul which calls itself rational, excepting little square figures of painted and spotted paper. Was the understanding, that divine part in our composition, given for such a use? Is it thus that we improve the greatest talent human nature is endowed with? What would a superior Being think, were he shown this intellectual faculty in a female gamester, and at the same time told that it was by this she was distinguished from brutes, and allied to an
When our women thus fill their imaginations with pips and counters, I cannot wonder at the story I have lately heard of a new-born child, that was marked with a five of clubs.
Their passions suffer no less by this practice than their understandings and imaginations. . What hope
and fear, joy and anger, sorrow and discontent, break out all at once in a fair assembly, upon so noble an occasion as that of turning up a càrd? who can consider, without a secret indignation, that all those affections of the mind, which should be consecrated to their children, husbands, and parents, are thus vilely prostituted and thrown away upon a hand at loo? For my own part, I cannot but be grieved when I see a fine woman fretting and bleeding inwardly from such trivial motives; when I behold the face of an angel agitated and discomposed by the heart of a fury.
Our minds are of such a make, that they naturally give themselves up to every diversion which they are inuch accustomed to, and we always find that play, when followed with assiduity, engrosses the whole wo
She quickly grows uneasy in her own family, takes but little pleasure in all the domestic, innocent endearments of life, and grows more fond of Pam than of her husband. My friend Theophrastus, the best of husbands and of fathers, has often complained to me, with tears in his eyes, of the late hours he is forced to keep, if he would enjoy his wife's conversation. When she returns to me with joy in her face, it does not arise, says he, from the sight of her husband, but from the good luck she has had' at cards. On the contrary, says he, if she has been a loser, I am doubly.a sufferer by it. She comes home out of humour, is angry with every body, displeased with all I can do or say, and in reality for no other reason but because she has been throwing away my estate. What charming bedfellows and companions for life are men likely to meet with, that chuse their wives out of such women of
vogue and fashion? what a race of worthies, what patriots, what heroes must we expect from mothers of this make?
I come in the next place to consider the ill consequences which gaming has on the bodies of our female adventurers. It is so ordered, that almost every thing which corrupts the soul, decays the body. The beau
ties of the face and mind are generally destroyed by the same means. This consideration should have a particular weight with the female world, who were designed to please the eye, and attract the regard of the other half of the species.
Now there is nothing that wears out a fine face like the vigils of the card-table, and those cutting passions which naturally attend them. Hollow eyes, haggard looks, and pale complexions, are the natural indications of a female gamester. Her morning sleeps are not able to repair her midnight watchings. I have known a woman carried off half dead from basset, and have many a time grieved to see a person of quality gliding by me in her chair at two o'clock in the morning, and looking like a spectre amidst a glare of flambeaux. In short, I never knew a thorough-paced female gamester hold her beauty two winters together.
But there is still another case in which the body is more endangered than in the former. All play debts must be paid in specie, or by an equivalent. The man that plays beyond his income pawns his estate; the woman must find out something else to mortgage when her pin-money is gone: the husband has his lands to dispose of, the wife her person. Now when the female body is once dipped, if the creditor be very importunate, I leave my reader to consider the consequences.
No. 121. THURSDAY, JULY 30.
Hinc exaudiri gemitus, iræque leonum.
VIRG. Roarings of the Lion, "OLD NESTOR, “EVER
VER since the first notice you gave of the erection of that useful monument of yours in Button's coffeehouse, I have had a restless ambition to imitate the renowned London 'prentice, 'and boldly venture my hand down the throat of your lion. The subject of this letter is a relation of a club whereof I am a member, and which has made a considerable noise of late, I mean the Silent Club. The year of our institution is 1694, the number of members twelve, and the place of our meeting is Dumb's Alley, in Holborn. We look upon ourselves as the relics of the old Pythagoreans, and have this maxim in common with them, which is the foundation of our design, that “talking spoils company.” The president of our society is one who was born deaf and dumb, and owes that blessing to nature, which in the rest of us is owing to industry alone. I find upon enquiry, that the greater part of us are married men, and such whose wives are remarkably loud at home: hither we fly for refuge, and enjoy at once the two greatest and most valuable blessings, company and retirement. When that eminent relation of yours, the Spectator, published his weekly papers, and gave us that remarkable account of his silence (for you must know, though we do not read, yet we inspect all such useful essays) we seemed unanimous to invite him to partake of our secrecy; but it was unluckily objected that he had just then published a discourse of his at his own club, and had not arrived to that happy inactivity of the tongue, which we expected from a man of his understanding. You will wonder, perhaps, how we managed this debate, but it will be easily accounted for, when I tell you that our fingers are as nimble and as infallible interpreters of our thoughts as other men's tongues are; yet, even this mechanic eloquence is only allowed upon the weightiest occasions. We admire the wise institutions of the Tarks, and other eastern nations, where all commands are performed by officious mutes, and we wonder that the polite courts of christendom should come so far short of the majesty of the barbarians. Ben Jonson has gained an eternal reputation among us by his play, called The Silent Woman. Every