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The case of Ebenezer is a very common one, and is always cured by neglect. These fantastical returns of affection proceed from a certain vanity in the other sex, supported by a perverted taste in ours. I must publish it as a rule, that no faults which proceed from the will, either in a mistress or a friend, are to be tolerated: but we should be so complaisant to ladies, as to let them displease when they aim at doing it. Pluck up a spirit, Ebenezer ; recover the use of your judgment, and her faults will appear, or her beauties vanish. Her faults begin to please me as well as my own,' is a sentence very prettily put into the mouth of a lover by the comic poet* : but he never designed it for a maxim of life, but the picture of an imperfection. If Ebenezer takes my advice, the same temper which made her insolent to his love, will make her submissive to his indifference.
I cannot wholly ascribe the faults mentioned in the second letter, to the same vanity or pride in companions who secretly triumph over their friends, in being sharp upon them in things where they are most tender. But when this sort of behaviour does not proceed from that source, it does from barrenness of invention, and an inability to support a conversation in a way less offensive. It is the same poverty which makes men speak or write smuttily, that forces them to talk vexingly. As obscene language is an address to the lewd for applause, so aré sharp allusions an appeal to the ill-natured. But mean and illiterate is that conversation, where one man exercises his wit to make another exercise his patience.
ADVERTISEMENT. Whereas Plagius has been told again and again, both in public and in private, that he preaches Congreve ; see • The Way of the World,' act i. sc. 3.
excellently well, and still goes on to preach as well as ever, and all this to a polite and learned audience: this is to desire, that he would not hereafter be so eloquent, except to a country congregation; the proprietors of Tillotson's Works having consulted the learned in the law, whether preaching a sermon they have published, is not to be construed publishing their copy?
Mr. Dogood is desired to consider, that his story is severe upon a weakness, and not a folly.
N° 270. SATURDAY, DECEMBER 30, 1710.
Cum pulchris tunicis sumet nova consilia et spes.
HoR. 1 Ep. xviii. 33.
From my own Apartment, December 29. ACCORDING to my late resolution, I take the holidays to be no improper season to entertain the town with the addresses of my correspondents. In my walks every day there appear all round me very great offenders in the point of dress. An armed tailor had the impudence yesterday in the Park to smile in my face, and pull off a laced hat to me, as it were. in contempt of my authority and censure. However, it is a very great satisfaction that other people, as well as myself, are offended with these improprieties. The following notices, from persons of different sexes and qualities, are a sufficient instance how useful my Lucubrations are to the public.
Jack's Coffee-house, near Guildhall, Dec. 27. · COUSIN BICKERSTAFF, ' It has been the peculiar blessing of our family to be always above the smiles or frowns of fortune, and, by a certain greatness of mind, to restrain all irregular fondnesses or passions. From hence it is, that though a long decay, and a numerous descent, have obliged many of our house to fall into the arts of trade and business, no one person has ever made an appearance that betrayed our being unsatisfied with our own station of life, or has ever affected a mien or gesture unsuitable to it.
• You have, up and down in your writings, very justly remarked, that it is not this or the other profession or quality among men that gives us honour or esteem, but the well or ill behaving ourselves in those characters. It is, therefore, with no small concern, that I behold in coffee-houses and public places my brethren, the tradesmen of this city, put off the smooth, even, and ancient decorum of thriving citizens for a fantastical dress and figure improper for their persons and characters, to the utter destruction of that order and distinction, which of right ought to be between St. James's and Milkstreet, the Camp and Cheapside.
'I have given myself some time to find out how distinguishing the frays in a lot of muslins, or drawing up a regiment of thread laces, or making a panegyric on pieces of sagathy or Scotch plaid, should entitle a man to a laced hat or sword, a wig tied up with ribands, or an embroidered coat. The college say, this enormity proceeds from a sort of delirium in the brain, which makes it break out first about the head, and, for want of timely remedies, appears by pretty ornaments on the buttons, buttonholes, garterings, sides of the breeches, and the like. I beg the favour of you to give us a discourse wholly upon the subject of habits, which will contribute to the better government of conversation among us, and in particular oblige, Sir,
upon the left thigh, and from thence, in little mazes and windings, run over the whole body, as
Your affectionate cousin,
• To Isaac BICKERSTAFF, Esquire, Censor of
GREAT BRITAIN, • The humble Petition of Ralph Nab, Haberdasher
of Hats, and many other poor Sufferers of the same Trade,
Sheweth, • That for some years last past the use of gold and silver galloon upon hats has been almost universal; being undistinguishably worn by soldiers, esquires, lords, footmen, beaux, sportsmen, traders, clerks, prigs, smarts, cullies, pretty fellows, and sharpers.
• That the said use and custom has been two ways very prejudicial to your petitioners. First, in that it has induced men, to the great damage of your petitioners, to wear their hats upon their heads; by which means the said hats last much longer whole, than they would do if worn under their arms. Secondly, in that very often a new dressing and a new lace supply the place of a new hat, which grievance we are chiefly sensible of in the spring-time, when the company is leaving the town; it so happening commonly, that a hat shall frequent, all winter, the finest and best assemblies without any ornament at all, and in May shall be tricked up with gold or silver, to keep company with rustics, and ride in the rain. All which premises your petitioners hum
bly pray you to take into your consideration, and either to appoint a day in your Court of Honour, when all pretenders to the galloon may enter their claims, and have them approved or rejected, or to give us such other relief as to your great wisdom shall seem meet. And your petitioners, &c.'
Order my friend near Temple-bar, the author of the hunting-cock, to assist the court when the petition is read, of which Mr. Lillie to give him notice. To Isaac BICKERSTAFF, Esquire, Censor of
GREAT BRITAIN. “The humble Petition of ELIZABETH SLENDER,
Spinster, Sheweth, * That on the twentieth of this instant December, her friend, Rebecca Hive, and your petitioner, walking in the Strand, saw a gentleman before us in a gown, whose periwig was so long, and so much powdered, that
your petitioner took notice of it, and said, “she wondered that lawyer would so spoil a new gown with powder.” To which it was answered, that he was no lawyer, but a clergyman. Upon a wager of a pot of coffee we overtook him, and your petitioner was soon convinced she had lost.
Your petitioner, therefore, desires your worship to cite the clergyman before you, and to settle and adjust the length of canonical periwigs, and the quantity of powder to be made use of in them, and to give such other directions as you shall think fit.
And your petitioner, &c.' Query. Whether this gentleman be not chaplain to a regiment, and, in such case, allow powder accordingly?