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depths of eternity. When I lay me down to sleep, I recommend myself to his care; when I awake, I give myself up to his direction. Amidst all the evils that threaten me, I will look to him for help, and question not but he will either avert them, or turn them to my advantage. Though I know neither the time nor the manner of the death I am to die, I am not at all solicitous about it; because I am sure that he knows them both, and that he will not fail to comfort and support me under them.
No. 8. FRIDAY, MARCH 9.
At Venus obscuro gradientes aëre sepsit,
VIRG. Æn. 1. 416.
I SHALL here communicate to the world a couple of letters, which I believe will give the reader as good an entertainment as any that I am able to furnish him, and therefore shall make no apology for them.
'I am one of the directors of the society for the reformation of manners, and therefore think myself a proper person for
your correspondence. I have thoroughly examined the present state of religion in Great Britain, and am able to acquaint you with the predominant vice of every market-town in the whole island. I can tell
progress that virtue has made in all our cities, boroughs, and corporations; and know as well the evil practices
that are committed in Berwick or Exeter, as what is done iw my own family. In a werd, sir, I have my correspondents in the remotests parts of the nation, who send me up punctual accounts from time to time, of all the little irregularities that fall under their notice in their several districts and divisions.
'I am no less acquainted with the particular quarters and regions of this great town, than with the different parts and distributions of the whole nation. I can describe every parish by its impieties, and can tell you in which of our streets lewdness prevails, which gaming has taken the possession of, and where drunkenness has got the better of them both. When I am dis posed to raise a fine for the poor, I know the lanes and allies tha: are inhabited by common swearers.
When I would encourage the hospital of Bridewell, and improve the hempen manufacture, I am very well acquainted with all the haunts and resorts of female night-walkers.
After this short account of myself, I must let you know, that the design of this paper is to give you information of a certain irregular assembly which I think falls very properly under your observation, especially since the persons it is composed of are criminals too considerable for the animadversions of our society I mean, sir, the midnight mask, which has of late been very fre quently held in one of the most conspicuous parts of the town, and which I hear will be continued with additions and improve ments." As all the persons who compose this lawless assembly are masqued, we dare not attack any of them in our way, lest we
hould send a woman of quality to Bridewell, or a peer of Great Britain to the Counter; besides, their numbers are so very great, that I am afraid they would be able to rout our whole fraternity, though we were accompanied with all our guard of constables
Both these reasons, which secure them from our authority, make them obnoxious to yours; as both their disguise and their numbers will give no particular person reason to think himself affront
ed by you.
If we are rightly informed, the rules that are observed by this new society, are wonderfully contrived for the advancement of cuckoldom. The women either come by themselves, or are introduced by friends, who are obliged to quit them, upon their first entrance, to the conversation of any body that addresses himself to them. There are several rooms where the parties may retire, and, if they please, shew their faces by consent.
Whispers, squeezes, nods, and embraces, are the innocent freedoms of the place. In short, the whole design of this libidi. nous assembly, seems to terminate in assignatious and intrigues ; and I hope you will take effectual methods, by your public ad. vice and admonitions, to prevent such a promiscuous multitude of both sexes from meeting together in so clandestine a manner.
Your humble servant,
Not long after the perusal of this letter, I received another uron the same subject; which, by the date and style of it, I take to be written by some young Templar.
Middle Temple, 1710-11. SIR, When a man has been guilty of any vice or folly, I think t! best atonement he can make for it, is to warn others not into the like. In order to this, I must acquaint you time in February last, I went to the Tuesda' Upon my first going in, I was attacked by quakers, who seemed willing to adopt me
a nearer examination, I found they were a sisterhood of coquettes disguised in that precise habit. I was soon after taken out to dance, and, as I fancied, by a woman of the first quality, for she was very tall, and moved gracefully. As soon as the minuet was over, we ogled one another through our masques; and as I am very well read in Waller, I repeated to her the four following verses out of his poem of Vandyke.
I pronounced these words with such a languishing air, that I had some reason to
conclude had made a conquest. She told me that she hoped my face was not akin to my tongue; and looking upon her watch, I accidentally discovered the figure of a coronet on the back part of it. I was so transported with the thought of such an amour, that I plied her from one room to another with all the gallantries I could invent; and at length brought things to so happy an issue, that she gave me a private meeting the next day, without page or footman, coach or equipage. My heart danced in raptures ; but I had not lived in this golden dream above three days, before I found good reason to wish that I had continued true to my laundress. I have since heard, by a very great accident, that this fine lady does not live far from Covent Garden, and that I am not the first cully whom she has passed herself upon for a countess.
* Thus, sir, you see how I have mistaken a cloud for a Juno; and if you can make any use of this adventure, for the benefit of those who may possibly be as vain young coxcombs as myself, I do most heartily give you leave. I am, Sir,
Your most humble admirer,
I design to visit the next masquerade myself, in the same habit I wore at Grand Cairo ;' and till then shall suspend my judgment of this midnight entertainment.
No. 9. SATURDAY, MARCH 10.
-Tigris agit rabidâ cum tigrido pacem
Juv. Sat. xv. 163.
Man is said to be a sociable animal, and, as an instance of it, we may observe, that we take all occasions and pretences of forming ourselves into those little nocturnal assemblies, which are commonly known by the name of clubs. When a set of men find themselves agree in any particular, though never so trivial, they establish themselves into a kind of fraternity, and meet once or twice a week, upon the account of such a fantastic resemblance. I know a considerable market-town, in which there was a club of fat men, that did not come together (as you may well suppose) to entertain one another with sprightliness and wit, but to keep one another in countenance; the room where the club met was something of the largest, and had two entrances, the one by a door of a moderate size, and the other by a pair of folding doors. If a candidate for this corpulent club could make his entrance through the first, he was looked upon as unqualified ; but if he stuck in the passage, and could not force his way through it, the folding doors were immediately thrown open for his reception and he was saluted es a brother. I have heard that this club
| V. No. 1.--C.
2 The original folio hid the following notice: * Letters for the Sp.ec tator to be left with Mr. Buckley at the Dolphin in Little Britain