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posterity. That dedication of Steele's to his wife is an artificial performance, possibly; at least, it is written with that

informed on things this night which expressly concern your obedient husband,

Rich. STEELE." 6 To MRS. STEELE. “ Eight o'clock, Fountain Tavern,

Oct. 22, 1707. "My Dear,— I beg of you not to be uneasy; for I have done a great deal of business to-day very successfully, and wait an hour or two about my Gazette.

“ Dec, 22, 1707. “MY DEAR, DEAR WIFE, - I write to let you know I do not come home to dinner, being obliged to attend some business abroad, of which I shall give you an account (when I see you in the evening), as becomes your dutiful and obedient husband.”


Jan. 3, 1707--8. "DEAR PRUE,- I have partly succeeded in my business to-day, and inclose two guineas as earnest of more. Dear Prue, I cannot come home to dinner. I languish for your welfare, and will never be a moment care. less more.

Your faithful husband,” &c.

“Jan. 14, 1707-8. “ DEAR WIFE, - Mr. Edgecombe, Ned Ask, and Mr. Lumley have desired me to sit an hour with them at the George,' in Pall Mall, for which I desire your patience till twelve o'clock, and that you will go to bed," &c.

Gray's Inx, Feb. 3, 1708. “Dear PRUE, – If the man who has my shoemaker's bill calls, let hini be answered that I shall call on him as I come home. I stay here in order to get Jonson to discount a bill for me, and shall dine with him for that end. He is expected at home every minute.

Your most humble, obedient servant,” &c.

“Tennis-COURT, COFFEE-HOUSE, May 5, 1708. "DEAR WIFE, - I hope I have done this day what will be pleasing to Fou; in the meantime shall lie this night at a baker's, one Leg, over against the Devil Tavern,' at Charing Cross. I shall be able to confront the fools who wish me uncasy, and shall have the satisfaction to see thee cheerful and at ease.

" If the printer's boy be at home, send him hither; and let Mrs. Todd send by the boy my night-gown, slippers, and clean linen. You shall hear from me early in the morning,” &c.

Dozens of similar letters follow, with occasional guineas, little parcels of tea, or walnuts, &c. In 1709 the Tatler made its appearance. The following curious note dates April 7th, 1710 :

"I inclose to you [ Dear Prue 'l a receipt for the saucepan and spoon, and a note of 231. of Lewis's, which will make up the 501. I promised for your ensuing occasion.

“I know no happiness in this life in any degree comparable to the degree of artifice which an orator uses in arranging a statement for the House, or a poet employs in preparing a sentiment in verse or for the stage. But there are some 400 letters of Dick Steele's to his wife, which that thrifty woman preserved accurately, and which could have been written but for her and her alone. They contain details of the business, pleasures, quarrels, reconciliations of the pair; they have all the genuineness of conversations; they are as artless as a child's prattle, and as confidential as a curtain-lecture. Some are written from the printing-office, where he is waiting for the proof-sheets of his Gazette, or his Tatler ; some are written from the tavern, whence he promises to come to his wife - within a pint of wine,” and where he has given a rendezvous to a friend, or a money-lender : some are composed in a high state of vinous excitement, when his head is flustered with burgundy, and his heart abounds with amorous warmth for his darling Prue: some are under the influence of the dismal headache and repentance next morning: some, alas, are froin the lock-up house, where the lawyers liave impounded him, and where he is waiting for bail. many years of the poor fellow's career in these letters. In September, 1707, from which day she began to save the letters, he married the beautiful Mistress Scurlock. You have his passionate protestations to the lady; his respectful proposals to her mamma; his private prayer to Heaven when the union so ardently desired was completed; his fond professions of contrition and promises of amendment, when, immediately after his marriage there began to be just cause for the one and need for the other.

Captain Steele took a house for his lady upon their marriage, “the third door from Germain Street, left hand of Berry Street," and the next year he presented his wife with a country-house at Hampton. It appears she had a chariot and pair, and sometimes four horses : he himself enjoyed a little horse for his own riding. IIe paid, or promised to pay, his barber fifty pounds a year, and always went abroad in a laced coat and a large black buckled periwig, that must have cost somebody fifty

pleasure I have in your person and society. I only beg of you to add to your other charms a fearfulness to see a man that loves you in pain and uneasiness, to make me as happy as it is possible to be in this life. Rising, little in a morning, and being disposed to a cheerfulness . . . . would not be amiss."

in another, he is found excusing his coming home, being " invited to supper to Mr. Boyle's.” “ Dear Prue,” he says on this occasion, "do not send after me, for I shall be ridiculous."

guineas. He was rather a well-to-do gentleman, Captain Steele, with the proceeds of his estates in Barbacoes (left to him by his first wife), his income as a writer of the Gazette, and his office of gentleman waiter to his Royal Highness Prince George. His second wife brought him a fortune too. But it is melancholy to relate, that with these houses and chariots and horses and income, the Captain was constantly in want of money, for which his belovedl bride was asking as constantly. In the course of a few pages we begin to find the shoemaker calling for money, and some directions from the Captain, who has not thirty pounds to spare. He sends his wife, the beautifullest object in the world," as he calls her, and evidently in reply to applications of her own, which have gone the way of all waste paper, and lighted Dick's pipes, which were smoked a hundred and forty years ago

- he sends his wife now a guinea, then a hait-guinea, then a couple of guineas, then half a pound of tea; and again no money and no tea at all, but a proinise that his darling Prue shall have some in a day or two: or a request, perhaps, that she will send over his night-gown and shaving-plate to the temporary lodging where the nomadic Captain is lying, hidden from the bailiff's. Oh! that a Christian hero and late Captain in Lucas's should be afraid of a dirty sheriff's officer! That the pink and pride of chivalry should turn pale before a writ! It stands to record in poor Dick's own handwriting - the queer collection is preserved at the British Museum to this present day - that the rent of the nuptial house in Jermyn Street, sacred to unutterable tenderness and Prue, and three doors from Bury Street, was not paid until after the landlord had put in an execution on Captain Steele's furniture. Addison sold the house and furniture at Hampton, and, after deducting the sum in which his incorrigible friend was indebted to him, handed over the residue of the proceeds of the sale to poor Dick, who wasn't in the least angry at Addison's summary proceeding, and I dare say was very glad of any sale or execution, the result of which was to give him a little ready money. Having a small house in Jermyn Street for which he couldn't pay, and a country-louse at Hampton on which he had borrowed money, nothing must content Captain Dick but the taking, in 1712, a much finer, larger, and grander house, in Bloomsbury Square; where his unhappy landlord got no better satisfaction than his friend in St. James's, and where it is recorded that Dick, giving a grand entertainment, had a half-dozen queer-looking fellows in livery to wait upon his noble guests, and confessed that his servants were bailiffs to a man.

"I fared like a (listressed prince, the kindly prodigal writes, generously complimenting Addison for his assistance in the Tatler, — " I fared like a distressed prince, who calls in a powerful neighbor to his aid. I was undone by my auxiliary; when I had once called him in, I could not subsist without dependence on him.” Poor, needy Prince of Bloomsbury! think of him in his palace, with his allies from Chancery Lane ominously guarding him.

All sorts of stories are told indicative of his recklessness and his good humor. One narrated by Dr. Hoadly is excecilingly characteristic; it shows the life of the time: and our poor friend very weak, but very kind both in and out of his cups.

"My father," says Dr. John Hoadly, the Bishop's son, “ when Bishop of Bangor, was, by invitation, present at one of the Whig meetings, held at the “ Trumpet,' in Shire Lane, when Sir Richard, in his zeal, rather exposed himself, having the double duty of the day upon him, as well to celebrate the immortal memory of King William, it being the 4th November, as to drink his friend Addison up to conversation pitch, whose phlegmatic constitution was hardly warmed for society by that time. Steele was not fit for it. Two remarkable circumstances happened. John Sly, the batter of facetious memory, was in the house; and John, pretty mellow, took it into his head to come into the company on his knees, with a tankard of ale in his hand to drink off to the immortal memory, and to return in the same manner. Steele, sitting next my father, whispered him - Do langh. It is humanity to laugh. Sir Richard, in the evening, being too much in the same condition, was put into a chair, and sent home. Nothing would serve him but being carried to the Bishop of Bangor's, late as it was. However, the chairmen carried him home, and got him up stairs, when his great complaisance would wait on them down stairs, which he did, and then was got quietly to bed.”

There is another amusing story which, I believe, that renowned collector, Mr. Joseph Miller, or his successors, hare incorporated into their work. Sir Richard Steele, at a time when he was much occupied with theatrical affairs, built himself a pretty private theatre, and, before it was opened to his friends and guests, was anxious to try whether the hall was well adapted for hearing. Accordingly be placed himself in the most remote part of the gallery, and begged the carpenter who liad built the house to speak up from the stage. The man at first said that he was unaccustomed to public speaking, and did not know what to say to his honor; but the good-natured knight called out to him to say whatever was uppermost; and, after a moment, the carpenter began, in a voice perfectly audible: - Sir Richard Steele!” he said, “ for three monthis past me and my men has been a working in this theatre, and we've never seen the color of your honor's money: we will be very much obliged if you'll pay it directly, for until you do we won't drive in another nail." Sir Richard said that his friend's elocution was perfect, but that he didn't like his subject much.

* Of his famous Bishop, Steele wrote,

“ Virtue with so much ease on Bangor sits,

All faults he pardons, though he none commits."

The great charm of Steele's writing is its naturalness. He wrote so quickly and carelessly, that he was forced to make the reacler his confi lant, and had not the time to deceive him. He baci a small share of book-learning, but a vast acquaintance with the world. He had known men and taverns. He had lived witli gownsmen, with troopers, with gentlemen ushers of the Court, with men and women of fashion ; with authors and wits, with the inmates of the spunging-houses, and with the frequenters of all the clubs and coffee-houses in the town. He was liked in all company because he liked it; and you like to see his enjoyment as you like to see the glee of a boxful of children at the pantomime. He was not of those lonely ones of the earth whose greatness obliged them to be solitary ; on the contrary, he admired, I think, more than any man who ever wrote; and full of hearty applause and sympathy, wins upon you by calling you to share his delight and good humor. His laugh rings tluough the whole house. He must have been invaluable at a tragedy, and have cried as much as the most tender young lady in the boxes. He has a relish for beauty and goodness wherever he meets it. He admired Shakspeare affectionately, and more than any man of his time; and, according to liis generous expansive nature, called upon all his company to like what he liked himself. He did not damn with faint praise : he was in the world and of it; and his enjoyment of life presents the strangest contrast to Swift's savage indignation and Addison's lonely serenity:*

Permit me to read to you * llere we have some of his later letters:


“HAMPTON COURT, March 16, 1716-17. "DEAR PRCE, - If you have written anything to me which I should have received last night, I beg your pardon ihat I cannot answer till the

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