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month. In the mean time, all accounts agree, that the enemy are very backward in their preparations, and almost incapable of defending themselves against an invasion, by reason of the general murmurs of their own people; which they find, are no way to be quieted, but by giving them hopes of a speedy peace. When these letters were despatched, the Marshal de Thesse was arrived at Genoa, where he has taken much pains to keep the correspondents of the merchants of France in hopes, that measures will be found out to support the credit and commerce between that state and Lyons; but the late declaration of the agents of Monsieur Bernard, that they cannot discharge the demands made upon them, has quite dispirited all those who are engaged in the remittances of France.
From my own Apartment, April 15.
It is a very natural passion in all good members of the commonwealth, to take what care they can of their families; therefore I hope the reader will forgive me, that I desire he would go to the play called the Stratagem this evening, which is to be acted for the benefit of my near kinsman, Mr. John Bickerstaff.* I protest to you, the gentleman has not spoken to me to desire this favour; but I have a respect for him, as well in regard to consanguinity, as that he is an intimate friend of that famous and heroic actor, Mr. George Powel; who formerly played Alexander the Great in all places, though he is lately grown so reserved, as to act it only on the stage.
* A real player of that name.
N° 4. TUESDAY, APRIL 19, 1709.
Quicquid agunt homines
nostri est farrago libelli.
Juv. Sat. i. 85, 86.
Whate'er men do, or say, or think, or dream, Our motley paper seizes for its theme. "It is usual with persons who mount the stage for the cure or information of the crowd about them, to make solemn professions of their being wholly disinterested in the pains they take for the public good. At the same time, those very men who make harangues in plush doublets, and extol their own abilities and generous inclinations, tear their lungs in vending a drug, and show no act of bounty, except it be, that they lower a demand of a crown to six, nay, to one penny. We have a contempt for such paltry barterers, and have therefore all along informed the publick, that we intend to give them our advices for our own sakes, and are labouring to make our lucubrations come to some price in money, for our more convenient support in the service of the publick. It is certain that many other schemes have. been proposed to me, as a friend offered to show me a Treatise he had writ, which he called, "The whole Art of Life; or, The introduction to great Men, illustrated in a Pack of Cards." But, being a novice at all manner of play, I declined the offer. Another advised me, for want of money, to set up my coach, and practise physic; but, having been bred a scholar, I feared I should not succeed that way neither; therefore resolved to go on in my present project. But you are to understand, that I shall not pretend to raise a credit to this work upon the weight of my politic news only, but as my Latin
sentence in the title-page informs you, shall take any thing that offers for the subject of my discourse. Thus new persons, as well as new things, are to come under my consideration; as when a Toast or Wit is first pronounced such, you shall have the freshest advice of their preferment from me, with a description of the Beauty's manners, and the Wit's style, as also in whose places they are advanced: for this town is never good-natured enough to raise one without depressing another. But it is my design to avoid saying any thing of any person, which ought justly to displease; but shall endeavour, by the variety of the matter and style, to give entertainment for men of pleasure, without offence to those of business.".
White's Chocolate-house, April 18.
All hearts at present pant for two ladies only, who have for some time engrossed the dominion of the town. They are indeed both exceeding charming, but differ very much in their excellencies. The beauty of Clarissa is soft, that of Chloe piercing. When you look at Clarissa, you see the most exact harmony of feature, complexion and shape; you find in Chloe nothing extraordinary in any one of those particulars, but the whole woman irresistible. Clarissa looks languishing; Chloe kissing; Clarissa never fails of gaining admiration; Chloe of moving desire. The gazers at Clarissa are at first unconcerned, as if they were observing a fine picture; they who behold Chloe, at the first glance discover transport, as if they met their dearest friend. These different perfections are suitably represented by the last great painter Italy has sent us, Mr. Jervas. Clarissa is by that skilful hand placed in a manner that looks artless, and innocent of the torments she gives; Chloe is drawn with a liveliness that shows she is conscious of, but not affected with, her per
fections. Clarissa is a shepherdess, Chloe, a country girl. I must own, the design of Chloe's picture shows to me, great mastery in the painter; for nothing could be better imagined than the dress he has given her, of a straw-hat and a ribbon, to represent that sort of beauty which enters the heart with a certain familiarity, and cheats it into a belief that it has received a lover as well as an object of love. The force of their different beauties is seen also in the effects it makes on their lovers. The admirers of Chloe are eternally gay and well-pleased; those of Clarissa melancholy and thoughtful. And as this passion always changes the natural man into a quite different creature from what he was before, the love of Chloe makes coxcombs; that of Clarissa madmen. There were of each kind just now in this room. Here was one that whistles, laughs, sings, and cuts capers, for love of Chloe. Another has just now writ three lines to Clarissa, then taken a turn in the garden, then came back again, then tore his fragment, then called for some chocolate, then went away without it.
Chloe has so many admirers in the house at present, that there is too much noise to proceed in my narration; so that the progress of the loves of Clarissa and Chloe, together with the bottles that are drunk each night for the one, and the many sighs which are uttered, and songs written on the other, must be our subject on future occasions.
Will's Coffee-house, April 18.
Letters from the Hay-market inform us, that, on Saturday night last, the opera of Pyrrhus and Demetrius was performed with great applause. This intelligence is not very acceptable to us friends of the theatre; for the stage being an entertainment of the reason and all our faculties, this way of being pleased with the suspense of them for three hours
together, and being given up to the shallow satisfaction of the eyes and ears only, seems to arise rather from the degeneracy of our understanding, than an improvement of our diversions. That the understanding has no part in the pleasure is evident, from what these letters very positively assert, to wit, that a great part of the performance was done in Italian: and a great critick* fell into fits in the gallery, at seeing, not only time and place, but languages and nations, confused in the most incorrigible manner. His spleen is so extremely moved on this occasion, that he is going to publish another treatise against operas, which, he thinks, have already inclined us to thoughts of peace, and if tolerated, must infallibly dispirit us from carrying on the war. He has communicated his scheme to the whole room, and declared in what manner things of this kind were first introduced. He has upon this occasion considered the nature of sounds in general, and made a very elaborate digression upon the London Cries, wherein he has shown, from reason and philosophy, why oysters are cried, card-matches sung, and turneps and all other vegetables neither cried, sung, nor said, but sold, with an accent and tone neither natural to man nor beast. This piece seems to be taken from the model of that excellent discourse of Mrs. Manly† the school-mistress, concerning samplers. Advices from the upper end of Piccadilly say, that May Fair is utterly abolished; and we hear Mr. Penkethman has removed his ingenious company of strollers to Greenwich.
other letters from Deptford say, the company is only making thither, and not yet settled; but that several heathen gods and goddesses, which are to descend
* John Dennis.
+ See, in Dr. King's works, vol. II. 8vo. edit. 1776, "An Essay on the Invention of Samplers, by Mrs. Arabella Manly, School-mistress at Hackney."