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treasure, or mere curiosities, will be of use in the ordinary commerce of life, and, at the same time, perpetuate the glories of her Majesty's reign, reward the labours of her greatest subjects, keep alive in the people a gratitude for public services, and excite the emulation of posterity. To these generous purposes nothing can so much contribute as medals of this kind, which are of, undoubted authority, of necessary use and observation, not perishable by time, nor confined to any certain place; properties not to be found in books, statues, pictures, buildings, or any other monuments of illustrious actions.
No. 97. THURSDAY, JULY 2.
--Miserum est post omnia perdere naulum. Juv.
I was left a thousand pounds by an uncle, and being a man, to my thinking, very likely to get a rich widow, I laid aside all thoughts of making my fortune any other way, and without loss of time made my applications to one who had buried her husband about a week before. By the help of some of her she friends, who were my relations, I got into her company when she would see no man beside myself and her lawyer, who is a little, rivelled, spindle-shanked gentleman, and married to boot, so that I had no reason to fear him. Upon my first seeing her, she said in conversation within my hearing, that she thought a pale complexion the most agreeable either in man or woman; now, you must know, sir, my face is as white as chalk. This gave me some encouragement, so that to mend the matter, I bought a fine flaxen long wig that cost me thirty guineas, and found an opportunity of seeing her in it the next day. She then let drop some expressions about an agate snuff-box. I immediately took the hint and bought one, being unwilling to omit anything that might make me desirable in her eyes. I was betrayed after the same manner into a brocade waistcoat, a sword-knot, a pair of silver-fringed gloves, and a diamond ring. But whether out of fickleness, or a design upon me, I cannot tell; but I found by her discourse, that what she liked one day she disliked another: so that in six months' space I was forced to equip myself above a dozen times. As
I told you before, I took her hints at a distance, for I couldnever find an opportunity of talking with her directly to the point. All this time, however, I was allowed the utmost familiarities with her lap-dog, and have played with it above. an hour together, without receiving the least reprimand, and had many other marks of favour shown me, which I thought amounted to a promise. If she chanced to drop her fan, she received it from my hands with great civility. If she wanted anything, I reached it for her. I have filled her tea-pot above an hundred times, and have afterwards received a dish of it from her own hands. Now, sir, do you judge if after such encouragements she was not obliged to marry me. forgot to tell you that I kept a chair by the week, on purpose to carry me thither and back again. Not to trouble you with a long letter, in the space of about a twelvemonth, I have run out of my whole thousand pound upon her, having laid out the last fifty in a new suit of clothes, in which I was resolved to receive her final answer, which amounted to this, that she was engaged to another; that she never dreamt I had any such thing in my head as marriage; and that she thought I had frequented her house only because I loved to be in company with my relations. This, you know, sir, is using a man like a fool, and so I told her; but the worst of it is, that I have spent my fortune to no purpose. All, therefore, that I desire of you is, to tell me whether, upon exhibiting the several particulars which I have here related to you, I may not sue her for damages in a court of justice. Your advice in this particular will very much oblige "Your most humble admirer,
Before I answer Mr. Softly's request, I find myself under a necessity of discussing two nice points; first of all, what it is, in cases of this nature, that amounts to an encouragement; and, secondly, what it is that amounts to a promise. Each of which subjects requires more time to examine than I am at present master of. Besides, I would have my friend Simon consider, whether he has any counsel that would undertake his cause in forma pauperis, he having unluckily disabled himself, by his own account of the matter, from prosecuting his suit any other way.
In answer, however, to Mr. Softly's request, I shall ac
quaint him with a method made use of by a young fellow in King Charles the Second's reign, whom I shall here call Silvio, who had long made love, with much artifice and intrigue, to a rich widow, whose true name I shall conceal under that of Zelinda. Silvio, who was much more smitten with her fortune than her person, finding a twelvemonth's application unsuccessful, was resolved to make a saving bargain of it, and since he could not get the widow's estate into his possession, to recover at least what he had laid out of his own in the pursuit of it.
In order to this he presented her with a bill of costs; having particularized in it the several expenses he had been at in his long perplexed amour. Zelinda was so pleased with the humour of the fellow, and his frank way of dealing, that, upon the perusal of the bill, she sent him a purse of fifteen hundred guineas, by the right application of which, the lover, in less than a year, got a woman of greater fortune than her he had missed. The several articles in the bill of costs I pretty well remember, though I have forgotten the particular sum charged to each article.
Laid out in supernumerary full-bottom wigs.
Gilt paper in letters, and billet-doux with perfumed wax. A ream of sonnets and love verses, purchased at different times of Mr. Triplett at a crown a sheet.
To Zelinda two sticks of May cherries.
Last summer, at several times, a bushel of peaches. Three porters whom I planted about her to watch her motions.
The first, who stood sentry near her door.
The second, who had his stand at the stables where her coach was put up.
The third, who kept watch at the corner of the street where Ned Courtall lives, who has since married her.
Two additional porters planted over her during the whole month of May.
Five conjurors kept in pay all last winter.
Spy-money to John Trott her footman, and Mrs. Sarah Wheedle her companion.
A new Conningsmark blade to fight Ned Courtall.
To Zelinda's woman (Mrs. Abigal) an Indian fan, a dozen
pair of white kid gloves, a piece of Flanders laçe, and fifteen guineas in dry money.
Secret service-money to Betty at the ring.
Ditto, to Mrs. Tape the mantua-maker.
THE first who undertook to instruct the world in single papers, was Isaac Bickerstaffe of famous memory. A man nearly related to the family of the Ironsides. We have often smoked a pipe together, for I was so much in his books, that at his decease he left me a silver standish, a pair of spectacles, and the lamp by which he used to write his lucubrations.
The venerable Isaac was succeeded by a gentleman of the same family, very memorable for the shortness of his face and of his speeches. This ingenious author published his thoughts, and held his tongue, with great applause, for two years together.
I, Nestor Ironside, have now for some time undertaken to fill the place of these my two renowned kinsmen and predecessors. For it is observed of every branch of our family, that we have all of us a wonderful inclination to give good advice, though it is remarked of some of us,' that we are apt on this occasion rather to give than take.
Hovever it be, I cannot but observe with some secret pride, that this way of writing diurnal papers has not succeeded for any space of time in the hands of any persons who are not of our line. I believe I speak within compass, when I affirm that above a hundred different authors have endeavoured after our family-way of writing: some of which have been writers in other kinds of the greatest eminence in the kingdom; but I do not know how it has happened, they have none of them hit upon the art.2 Their projects have always
Some of us.] Humorously glancing at the quickness with which himself and his friend Steele had resented the advice, as one may say, of the Examiner.
This, the reader sees is in the old style of—quasitam meritis sume
dropt after a few unsuccessful essays. It puts me in mind of a story which was lately told me1 by a pleasant friend of mine, who has a very fine hand on the violin. His maidservant seeing his instrument lying upon the table, and being sensible there was music in it, if she knew how to fetch it out, drew the bow over every part of the strings, and at last told her master she had tried the fiddle all over, but could not for her heart find whereabout the tune lay.
But though the whole burden of such a paper is only fit to rest on the shoulders of a Bickerstaffe or an Ironside, there are several who can acquit themselves of a single day's labour in it with suitable abilities. These are gentlemen whom I have often invited to this trial of wit, and who have several of them acquitted themselves to my private emolument, as well as to their own reputation. My paper among the republic of letters is the Ulysses his bow, in which every man of wit or learning may try his strength. One who does not care to write a book without being sure of his abilities, may see by this means if his parts and talents are to the public taste.
This I take to be of great advantage to men of the best sense, who are always diffident of their private judgment, till it receives a sanction from the public.
superbiam: but the boast is so true, that it stands uncontradicted to our days; when the list of competitors, here given in, has been prodigiously increased, and is still increasing; and yet, this way of writing is as much the family-secret as ever. But how should it be otherwise? He, who invents a species of polite composition, must needs be inimitable, unless he have the disadvantage of living in a barbarous age, or unless his rivals be very much his superiors in ability; neither of which exceptions can be pleaded in the present case. For, otherwise, the very consideration of originality decides the question in favour of the inventor; of whom, besides, it may be presumed, that he had a genius singularly turned to the cultivation of what he first conceived.
This modern story is, in fact, the old Lesbian fable of Lucian, concerning the lyre of Orpheus; but finely varied and improved. - Mr. Addison, I have observed from many passages in his works, was a great reader and admirer of Lucian; and very naturally so: because, of all the ancients, he is the only one that had any considerable tincture of that elegant humour which our countryman so highly relished, and so perfectly possessed. In other respects, the writings of that ingenious libertine must have been peculiarly offensive to our author, and are, indeed, the very reverse of his own.
2 "Ulysses his bow."-See what Dr. Wallis nas said against this use of his.-De Adjectivis, c. 5.