Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

thought in her heart. The first images I discovered in it were fans, silks, ribbons, laces, and many other gewgaws, which lay so thick together, that the whole heart was nothing else but a toy-shop. These all faded away and vanished, when immediately I discerned a long train of coaches and six, equipages and liveries, that ran through the heart one after the other in very great hurry for above half an hour together. After this, looking very attentively, I observed the whole space to be filled with a hand of cards, in which I could see distinctly three mattadors. There then followed a quick succession of different scenes. A play-house, a church, a court, a puppet-show, rose up one after another, till at last they all of them gave place to a pair of new shoes, which kept footing in the heart for a whole hour. These were driven off at last by lap-dog, who was succeeded by a guinea-pig, a squirrel, and a monkey. I myself, to my no small joy, brought up the rear of these worthy favourites. I was ravished at being so happily posted and in full possession of the heart : but as I saw the little figure of myself simpering, and mightily pleased with its situation, on a sudden the heart methought gave a sigh, in which, as I found afterwards, my little representative vanished; for upon applying my eye I found my place taken up by an ill-bred, awkward puppy, with a money-bag under each arm. This gentleman, however, did not keep his station long before he yielded it up to a wight as disagreeable as himself, with a white stick in his hand. These three last figures represented to me in a lively manner the conflicts in Aurelia's heart between Love, Avarice, and Ambition. For we jostled one another out by turns, and disputed the point for a great while. But at last, to my unspeakable satisfaction, I saw myself entirely settled in it. I was so transported with my success, that I could not forbear hugging my dear piece of crystal, when to my unspeakable mortification I awaked, and found my mistress metamorphosed into a pillow.

“This is not the first time I have been thus disappointed.

"O venerable Nestor, if you have any skill in dreams, let me know whether I have the same place in the real heart that I had in the visionary one: to tell you truly, I am perplexed to death between hope and fear. I was very sanguine till eleven o'clock this morning, when I overheard an unlucky old woman telling her neighbour that dreams always

went by contraries. I did not, indeed, before much like the crystal heart, remembering that confounded simile in Valentinian, of a maid, “as cold as crystal, never to be thawed.' Besides, I verily believe if I had slept a little longer, that awkward whelp with his money-bags would certainly have made his second entrance. If you can tell the fair one's mind, it will be no small proof of your art, for I dare say it is more than she herself can do. Every sentence she speaks is a riddle, all that I can be certain of is, that I am her and

“ Your humble servant,

PETER PUZZLE."

[blocks in formation]

I HAVE lately entertained my reader with two or three letters from a traveller, and may possibly, in some of my future papers, oblige him with more from the same hand. The following one comes from a projector, which is a sort of correspondent as diverting as a traveller: his subject having the same grace of novelty to recommend it, and being equally adapted to the curiosity of the reader. For my own part, I have always had a particular fondness for a project, and may say, without vanity, that I have a pretty tolerable genius that way myself, I could mention some which I have brought to maturity, others which have miscarried, and many more which I have yet by me, and are to take their fate in the world when I see a proper juncture. I had a hand in the landbank, and was consulted with upon the reformation of man

I have had several designs upon the Thames and the New River, not to mention my refinements upon lotteries and insurances, and that never-to-be-forgotten project, which if it had succeeded to my wishes, would have made gold as plentiful in this nation as tin and copper. If my countrymen have not reaped any advantages from these my designs, it was not for want of any good will towards them. They are obliged to me for my kind intentions as much as if they had taken effect. Projects are of a two-fold nature: the first arising from public-spirited persons, in which number I declare myself: the other proceeding from a regard to our private interest, of which nature is that in the following letter.

ners.

“SIR,

A man of your reading knows very well that there were a set of men, in old Rome, called by the name of Nomenclators, that is, in English, men who could call every one by his name. When a great man stood for any public office, as that of a tribune, a consul, or a censor, he had always one of these Nomenclators at his elbow, who whispered in his ear the name of every one he met with, and by that means enabled him to salute every Roman citizen by his name when he asked him for his vote. To come to my purpose, I have with much pains and assiduity qualified myself for a Nomenclator to this great city, and shall gladly enter upon my office as soon as I meet with suitable encouragement. I will let myself out by the week to any curious gentleman or foreigner. If he takes me with him in a coach to the ring, I will undertake to teach him, in two or three evenings, the names of the most celebrated persons who frequent that place. If he plants me by his side in the pit, I will call over to him, in the same manner, the whole circle of beauties that are disposed among the boxes, and, at the same time, point out to him the persons who ogle them from their respective stations. I need not tell you that I may be of th same use in any other public assembly. Nor do I only profess the teaching of names, but of things. Upon the sight of a reigning beauty, I shall mention her admirers, and discover her gallantries, if they are of public notoriety. I shall likewise mark out every toast, the club in which she was elected, and the number of votes that were on her side. Not a woman shall be unexplained that makes a figure either as a maid, a wife, or a widow. The men too shall be set out in their distinguishing characters, and declared whose properties they are. Their wit, wealth, or good humour, their persons, stations, and titles, shall be described at large.

“I have a wife who is a Nomenclatress, and will be ready, on any occasion, to attend the ladies. She is of a much more communicative nature than myself, and is acquainted with all the private history of London and Westminster, and ten miles round. She has fifty private amours which nobody yet knows anything of but herself, and thirty clandestine marriages that have not been touched by the tip of a tongue. She will wait upon any lady at her own lodgings, and talk by the clock after the rate of three guineas an hour.

N. B. She is a near kinswoman of the author of the New Atalantis.

I need not 'recommend to a man of your sagacity the usefulness of this project, and do therefore beg your encouragement of it, which will lay a very great obligation upon

“ Your humble servant."

After this letter from my whimsical correspondent, I shall publish one of a more serious nature, which deserves the utmost attention of the public, and in particular of such who are lovers of mankind. It is on no less a subject than that of discovering the longitude, and deserves a much higher name than that of a project, if our language afforded any such term. But all I can say on this subject will be superfluous, when the reader sees the names of those persons by whom this letter is subscribed, and who have done me the honour to send it me. I must only take notice, that the first of these gentlemen is the same person who has lately obliged the world with that noble plan, entitled, A Scheme of the Solar System, with the Orbits of the Planets and Comets belonging thereto. Described from Dr. Halley's accurate Table of Comets, Philosoph. Transact. No. 297, founded on Sir Isaac Newton's wonderful discoveries, by Wm. Whiston, M. A. To Nestor Ironside, Esq., at Button's Coffee-house, near

Covent Garden.

London, July 11, 1713. Having a discovery of considerable importance to communicate to the public, and finding that you are pleased to concern yourself in anything that tends to the common benefit of mankind, we take the liberty to desire the insertion of this letter into

your

Guardian. We expect no other recommendation of it from you, but the allowing of it a place in so useful a paper. Nor do we insist on any protection from

you, if what we propose should fall short of what we pretend to; since any disgrace, which in that case must be expected, ought to lie wholly at our own doors, and to be

“SIR,

entirely borne by ourselves, which we hope we have provided for by putting our own names to this

paper. “ 'Tis well known, sir, to yourself, and to the learned, and trading, and sailing world, that the great defect of the art of navigation is, that a ship at sea has no certain method, in either her eastern or western voyages, or even in her less distant sailing from the coasts, to know ber longitude, or how much she is gone eastward or westward; as it can easily be known in any clear day or night, how much she is gone northward or southward: the several methods by lunar eclipses, by those of Jupiter's satellites, by the appulses of the moon to fixed stars, and by the even motions of pendulum clocks and watches, upon how solid foundations soever they are built, still failing in long voyages at sea when they come to be practised; and leaving the poor sailors to the great inaccuracy of a long-line, or dead reckoning This defect is so great, and so many ships have been lost by it, and this has been so long and so sensibly known by trading nations, that great rewards are said to be publicly offered for its supply. We are well satisfied, that the discovery we have to make as to this matter is easily intelligible by all, and readily to be practised at sea as well as at land; that the latitude will thereby be likewise found at the same time; and that with proper charges it may be made as universal as the world shall please; nay, that the longitude and latitude may be generally hereby determined to a greater degree of exactness than the latitude itself is now usually found at sea. So that on all accounts we hope it will appear very worthy the public consideration. We are ready to disclose it to the world, if we may be assured that no other persons shall be allowed to deprive us of those rewards which the public shall think fit to bestow for such a discovery; but we do not desire actually to receive any benefit of that nature, until Sir Isaac Newton himself, with such other proper persons as shall be chosen to assist him, have given their opinion in favour of this discovery. If Mr. Ironside pleases so far to oblige the public as to communicate this proposal to the world, he will also lay a great obligation on, “His very humble servants,

WILL. WHISTON,
HUMPHRY DITTON.”

« ForrigeFortsæt »