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No lady upon earth, continued my visionary correspondent, knew how to put off her damaged wine or women with more art than she. When these grew flat, or those paltry, it was but changing the names; the wine becaine excellent, and the girls agreeable. She was also possessed of the engaging leer, the chuck under the chin, winked at a double-entendre, could nick the opportunity of calling for something comfortable, and perfectly understood the discreet moments when to withdraw. The gallants of these times pretty much resembled the bloods of ours; they were fond of pleasure, but quite ignorant of the art of refining upon it: thus a court-bawd of those tiines resembled the common lowlived harridan of a modern bagnio. Witness, ye powers of debauchery, how often I have been prefent at the various appearances of drunkenness, riot, guilt, and brutality! A tavern is the true picture of human infirmity; in history we find only one side of the age exhibited to our view; but in the accounts of a tavern we see every age equally absurd and equally vicious.
Upon this lady's decease the tavern was successively occupied by adventurers, bullies, pimps, and game sters. Towards the conclusion of the reign of Henry VII. gaming was more universally practised in England than even now. Kings themselves have been know to play off at Primero, not only all the money and jewels they could part with, but the very images in churches. The last Henry played away, in this very room, not only the four great bells of St, Paul's cathedral, but the fine image of St. Paul, which stood upon the top of the spire, to Sir Miles Partridge, who took them down the next day, and fold them by auction. Have you then any cause to regret being born in the times you now live ? or do you still believe that human nature continues to run on declining every age ?
If we observe the ac
tions of the busy part of mankind, your ancestors will be found infinitely more grofs, servile, and even dishonest, than you. If, forsaking history, we only trace them in their hours of amusement and diffipation, we hall find them more sensual, more entirely devoted to pleasure, and infinitely more selfith.
The last hoftess of note I find upon record was Jane Roule. She was born among the lower ranks of the people ; and by frugality and extreme complaisance contrived to acquire a moderate fortúne : this she might have enjoyed for many years, had fhe not unfortunately quarrelled with one of her neigha bours, a woman who was in high repute for fanctity: through the whole parish. In the times of which I speak two women feldom quarrelled, that one did not accuse the other of witchcraft, and she who first contrived to vomit crooked pins was sure to come off victorious. The scandal of a modern tea-table differs widely from the scandal of former times,: the fascination of a lady's eyes at present is regarded as à compliment; but if a lady formerly should be accused of having witchcraft in her eyes, it were much better both for her soul and body that she had no
In short jane Roufe was accused of witchcraft and though she made the best defence she could, it was all to no purpose ; she was taken from her own bar to the bar of the Old-Bailey, condemned, and executed accordingly. These were times indeed ! when even women could not fcold in safety.
Since her time the tavern underwent several revolutions, according to the spirit of the times, or the disposition of the reigning monarch. It was this day a brothel, and the next a conventicle for enthufiasts. It was one year noted for harbouring whigs, and the next infamous for a retreat to tories. Some years ago it was in high vogue, but at present it seems
eyes at all.
declining. This only may be remarked in general that whenever taverns flourish most, the times are then most extravagant and luxurious.--->" Lord ! “! Mrs. Quickly," interrupted I, “ you have really “ deceived me; I expected a romance, and here you
have been this half hour giving me only a de“ 'scription of the spirit of the times : if you have “ nothing but tedious remarks to communicate, seek “ some other hearer; I am determined to hearken S only to stories." • I had scarcely concluded, when my eyes and ears seemed open to my landlord, who had been all this while giving me an account of the repairs he had made in the house; and was now got into the story of the cracked glass in the dining-room.
E S S A Y VI.
AM fond of amusement in whatever company it is to be found ; and wit, though dressed in rags, is ever pleasing to me. I went some days ago to take a walk in St. James's Park, about the hour in which company leave it to go to dinner. There were but few in the walks, and those who stayed seemed by their looks rather more willing to forget that they had an appetite than gain one. I sat down on one of the benches, at the other end of which was seated a man in very shabby clothes.
We continued to groan, to hem, and to cough, as usual upon fuch occations; and at last ventured upon conversation. I beg pardon, fir,” cried I, “ but I think I have seen you before; your face is
familiar to me. Yes, sir,” replied he," I have “ a good familiar face, as my friends tell me.
s as well known in every town in England as the s dromedary, or live crocodile. You must underŞt stand, fir, that I have been these fixteen years “ Merry Andrew to a puppet-show; last Bartholo
my matter and I quarrelled, beat each “ other, and parted; he to sell his puppets to the “ pincushion-makers in Rosemary-lane, and I to « ftarve in St. James's Park.”
" I am sorry, fir, that a person of your appear” ance should labour under any difficulties." “ fir," returned he, my appearance is FX at your service; but, though I cannot boast of “ eating much, yet there are few that are merrier : “ if I had twenty thousand a year I should be very
merry; and, thank the Fates, though not worth a “ groat, I am very merry still. If I have three
pence in my pocket, I never refused to be my " three halfpence; and if I have no money, I never “ fcorn to be treated by any that are kind enough “ to pay my reckoning. What think you, fir, of a “ steak and a tankard? You shall treat me now ; “ and I will treat you again when I find you in the “ Park in love with eating, and without money to
pay for a dinner.'
As I never refuse a small expense for the sake of a merry companion, we instantly adjourned to a neighbouring ale-house, and in a few moments had a frothing tankard, and a smoaking steak spread on the table before us. It is impossible to express how much the sight of such good cheer improved my companion's vivacity. I like this dinner, fir,” says he, * for three reasons: first, because I am naturally “ fond of beef; secondly, because I am hungry;
and, thirdly and lastly, because I get it for no
thing: no meat eats so sweet as that for which we $ do not pay."
He therefore now fell-to, and his appetite seemed to correspond with his inclination. After dinner was over, he observed that the steak was tough ; " and yet fir," returns he, “bad as it was, it “ seemed a rump-steak to me. O the delights of os poverty and a good appetite ! We beggars
are the “ very foundlings of nature; the rich she treats like
an arrant step-mother; they are pleased with no" thing; cut a steak from what part you will, and “ it is insupportably tough; dreis it up with pickles, « and even pickles cannot procure them an appetite. 16 But the whole creation is filled with good things “ for the beggar; Calvert's butt out-tastes Cham
pagne, and Sedgeley's homebrewed exceis Tokay. “ Joy, joy, my blood, though our estates lie no " where, we have fortunes wherever we go. If an " inundation sweeps away half the grounds of Corn56 wall, I am content; I have no lands there: if the "s stocks fink, that gives me no uneasiness; I am no « Jew.” The fellow's vivacity, joined to his poverty, I own, raised my curiofity to know something of his life and circumstances; and I entreated, that he would indulge my desire.-" That I will, fir," said he, s and welcome ; only let us drink to prevent our “ sleeping; let us have another tankard while we “ are awake; let us have another tankard; for, ah, “ how charming a tankard looks when full !"
- You must know then, that I am very well de“ scended; my ancestors have made fome noise in or the world; for my mother cried oysters, and my 6 father beat a drum: I am told we have even had " some trumpeters in our family. Many a noble
man cannot show so respectful a genealogy: but or that is neither here nor there; as I was their only 6. child, my father designed to breed me up to his
own employment, which was that of a drummer
to a puppet-show. Thus the whole employment “ of my younger years was that of interpreter to