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the following letter from an artist, who is now taken up with this invention, and conceals his true name under that of Dædalus.
Knowing that you are a great encourager of ingenuity, I think fit to acquaint you, that I have made a considerable progress in the art of flying. I flutter about my room two or three hours in a morning, and when my wings are on, can go above an hundred yards at a hop, step, and jump. I can fly already as well as a Turkey-cock, and improve every day. If I proceed as I have begun, I intend to give the world a proof of my proficiency in this art. Upon the next public thanksgiving-day, it is my design to sit astride the dragon upon Bow steeple, from whence, after the first discharge of the Tower guns, I intend to mount into the air, fly over Fleet Street, and pitch upon the May-pole in the Strand. From thence, by a gradual descent, I shall make the best of my way for St. James's Park, and light upon the ground near Rosamond's pond. This, I doubt not, will convince the world that I am no pretender; but before I set out, I shall desire to have a patent for making of wings, and that none shall presume to fly under pain of death, with wings of any other man's making. I intend to work for the court myself, and will have journeymen under me to furnish the rest of the nation. I likewise desire, that I may have the sole teaching of persons of quality, in which I shall spare neither time nor pains till I have made them as expert as myself. I will fly with the women upon my back for the first fortnight. I shall appear at the next masquerade, dressed up in my feathers and plumage like an Indian prince, that the quality may see how pretty they will look in their travelling habits. You know, sir, there is an unaccountable prejudice to projectors of all kinds, for which reason, when I talk of practising to fly, silly people think me an owl for my pains; but, sir, you know better things. I need not enumerate to you the benefits which will accrue to the public from this invention, as how the roads of England will be saved when we travel through these new high-ways, and how all familyaccounts will be lessened in the article of coaches and horses. I need not mention posts and packet-boats, with many other conveniences of life, which will be supplied this way. In
short, sir, when mankind are in possession of this art, they will be able to do more business in threescore and ten years, than they could do in a thousand by the methods now in use. I therefore recommend myself and art to your patronage, and am,
"Your most humble servant."
I have fully considered the project of these our modern Dædalists, and am resolved so far to discourage it, as to prevent any person from flying in my time. It would fill the world with innumerable immoralities, and give such occasions for intrigues as people cannot meet with who have nothing but legs to carry them. You should have a couple of lovers make a midnight assignation upon the top of the monument, and see the cupola of St. Paul's covered with both sexes like the outside of a pigeon-house. Nothing would be more frequent than to see a beau flying in at a garret window, or a gallant giving chase to his mistress, like a hawk after a lark. There would be no walking in a shady wood without springing a covey of toasts. The poor husband could not dream what was doing over his head: if he were jealous, indeed, he might clip his wife's wings, but what would this avail when there were flocks of whore-masters perpetually hovering over his house? What concern would the father of a family be in all the time his daughter was upon the wing! every heiress must have an old woman flying at her heels. In short, the whole air would be full of this kind of gibier, as the French call it. I do allow, with my correspondent, that there would be much more business done than there is at present. However, should he apply for such a patent as he speaks of, I question not but there would be more petitions out of the city against it, than ever yet appeared against any other monopoly whatsoever. Every tradesman that cannot keep his wife a coach could keep her a pair of wings, and there is no doubt but she would be every morning and evening taking the air with them.
I have here only considered the ill consequences of this invention in the influences it would have on love affairs: I have many more objections to make on other accounts; but these I shall defer publishing till I see my friend astride the dragon.
No. 113. TUESDAY, JULY 21.
Institui, currente rotâ, cur urceus exit? HOR.
I LAST night received a letter from an honest citizen, who, it seems, is in his honey-moon. It is written by a plain man on a plain subject, but has an air of good sense and natural honesty in it, which may, perhaps, please the public as much as myself. I shall not, therefore, scruple the giving it a place in my paper, which is designed for common use, and for the benefit of the poor as well as rich.
"GOOD MR. IRONSIDE,
Cheapside, July 18.
I have lately married a very pretty body, who being something younger and richer than myself, I was advised to go a wooing to her in a finer suit of clothes than I ever wore in my life; for I love to dress plain, and suitable to a man of my rank. However, I gained her heart by it. Upon the wedding-day, I put myself, according to custom, in another suit, fire-new, with silver buttons to it. I am so out of countenance among my neighbours, upon being so fine, that I heartily wish my clothes well worn out. I fancy everybody observes me as I walk the street, and long to be in my old plain gear again. Besides, forsooth, they have put me in a silk night-gown and a gaudy fool's cap, and make me now and then stand in the window with it. I am ashamed to be dandled thus, and cannot look in the glass without blushing to see myself turned into such a pretty little master. They tell me I must appear in my wedding-suit for the first month at least; after which I am resolved to come again to my everyday clothes, for at present every day is Sunday with me. Now, in my mind, Mr. Ironside, this is the wrongest way of proceeding in the world. When a man's person is new and unaccustomed to a young body, he does not want anything else to set him off. The novelty of the lover has more charms than a wedding-suit. I should think, therefore, that a man should keep his finery for the latter seasons of marriage, and not begin to dress till the honey-moon is over. I have observed at a lord-mayor's feast, that the sweetmeats do not make their appearance until people are cloyed with beef
and mutton, and begin to lose their stomachs. But, instead of this, we serve up delicacies to our guests when their appetites are keen, and coarse diet when their bellies are full. As bad as I hate my silver-buttoned coat and silk nightgown, I am afraid of leaving them off, not knowing whether my wife won't repent of her marriage when she sees what a plain man she has to her husband. Pray, Mr. Ironside, write something to prepare her for it, and let me know whether you think she can ever love me in a hair button. I am," &c. "P. S. I forgot to tell you of my white gloves, which they say, too, I must wear all the first month."
My correspondent's observations are very just, and may be useful in low life; but to turn them to the advantage of people in higher stations, I shall raise the moral, and observe something parallel to the wooing and wedding-suit, in the behaviour of persons of figure. After long experience in the world, and reflections upon mankind, I find one particular occasion of unhappy marriages, which, though very common, is not very much attended to. What I mean is this. Every man in the time of courtship, and in the first entrance of marriage, puts on a behaviour like my correspondent's holiday-suit, which is to last no longer than till he is settled in the possession of his mistress. He resigns his inclinations and understanding to her humour and opinion. He neither loves, nor hates, nor talks, nor thinks in contradiction to her. He is controlled by a nod, mortified by a frown, and transported by a smile. The poor young lady falls in love with this supple creature, and expects of him the same behaviour for life. In a little time she finds that he has a will of his own, that he pretends to dislike what she approves, and that instead of treating her like a goddess, he uses her like a woman. What still makes the misfortune worse, we find the most abject flatterers degenerate into the greatest tyrants. This naturally fills the spouse with sullenness and discontent, spleen and vapour, which, with a little discreet management, make a very comfortable marriage. I very much approve of my friend Tom Truelove in this particular. Tom made love to a woman of sense, and always treated her as such during the whole time of courtship. His natural temper and good breeding hindered him from doing anything
disagreeable, as his sincerity and frankness of behaviour made him converse with her, before marriage, in the same manner he intended to continue1 to do afterwards. Tom would often tell her, "Madam, you see what a sort of man I am. If you will take me with all my faults about me, I promise to mend rather than grow worse. I remember Tom was once hinting his dislike of some little trifle his mistress had said or done; upon which she asked him how he would talk to her after marriage, if he talked at this rate before? "No, madam, (says Tom,) I mention this now, because you are at your own disposal; were you at mine, I should be too generous to do it." In short, Tom succeeded, and has ever since been better than his word. The lady has been disappointed on the right side, and has found nothing more disagreeable in the husband than she discovered in the lover.
No. 114. WEDNESDAY, JULY 22.
Alveos accipite, ceris opus infundite.
Fuci recusant, apibus conditio placet. PHED.
I THINK myself obliged to acquaint the public, that the lion's head, of which I advertised them about a fortnight ago, is now erected at Button's coffee-house, in Russel Street, Covent Garden, where it opens its mouth at all hours for the reception of such intelligence as shall be thrown into it. It is reckoned an excellent piece of workmanship, and was designed by a great hand in imitation of the antique Egyptian lion, the face of it being compounded out of that of a lion and a wizard. The features are strong and well furrowed. The whiskers are admired by all that have seen them. It is planted on the western side of the coffee-house, holding its paws under the chin upon a box, which contains everything that he swallows. He is, indeed, a proper emblem of Knowledge and Action, being all head and paws.
I need not acquaint my readers, that my lion, like a moth or book-worm, feeds upon nothing but paper, and shall only beg of them to diet him with wholesome and substantial food. I must, therefore, desire, that they will not gorge him either with nonsense or obscenity; and must likewise insist, that
1 Better strike out-to continue.