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to method, abused the other with the titles of rogue, villain, bearskin-man, and the like. Whereupon fatisfaction was demanded and accepted; fo, forth the major marched, commanding his adversary to follow him. To a most spacious room in the seriff's house, near the place of quarrel, they come, where, having due regard to what you have lately published, they resolved not to shed one another's blood in that barbarous manner you prohibited, yet, not willing to put up affronts without satisfaction, they stripped, and in decent manner fought full fairly with their wrathful hands. The combat lasted a quarter of an hour, in which time victory was often doubtful, and many a dry blow was strenuously laid on each fide, till the major, finding his adversary obstinate, unwilling to give him further chastisement, with most shrill voice cried out, “I am satisfied; enough!” Whereupon the combat ceased, and both were friends immediately.'
“ Thus the world may see how necessary it is to encourage those men, who make it their business to instruct the people in everything necessary for their preservation. I am informed a body of worthy citizens have agreed on an address of thanks to you for what you have writ on the foregoing subject, whereby they acknowledge cne of their highly-esteemed officers preserved from death.
“ Your humble servant,
“ A. B.” I fear the word “bear” is hardly to be understood among the polite people; but I take the meaning to be, that one who ensures a real value upon an imaginary thing, is said to sell a bear, and is the same thing as a promise among courtiers, or a vow between lovers. I have writ to my brother to hasten to town, and hope that printing the letters directed to him, which I know not how to answer, will bring him speedily, and therefore I add also the following:
66 MR. BICKERSTAFF,
“ July 5, 1709. “ You have hinted a generous intention of taking under your consideration, the whisperers without business and laughers without occasion; as you tender the welfare of your country, I entreat you not to forget or delay so publick-spirited a work, Now or never is the time. Many other calamities may cease with the war, but I dismally dread the multiplication of these mortals under the ease and luxuriousness of a settled peace, half the blessings of which may be destroyed by them. Their mistake lies certainly here, in a wretched belief, that their mimickry passes for real business or true wit. Dear sir, convince them that it never was, is, or ever will be, either of them; nor ever did, does, or to all futurity ever can, look like either of them ; but that it is the most cursed disturbance in nature which is possible to be inflicted on mankind, under the noble definition of a sociable creature. In doing this, sir, you will oblige more humble servants than can find room to fubscribe their names.”
In pursuance to my last date from hence (White's chocolatehouse), I am to proceed on the accounts I promised of several personages among the men whose conspicuous fortunes, or ambition in showing their follies, have exalted them above their fellows. The levity of their minds is visible in their every word and gesture, and there is not a day passes but puts me in mind of Mr. Wycherley's character of a coxcomb, “He is ugly all over, with the affectation of the fine gentleman.” Now, though the women may put on softness in their looks, or affected severity, or impertinent gaiety, or pert smartness, their self-love cannot, under any of these disguises, appear so invincible as that of the men. You may easily take notice, that, in all their actions, there is a secret approbation, either in the tone of their voice, the turn of their body, or cast of their eye, which shows that they are extremely in their own favour.
Take one of your men of business: he shall keep you halfan-hour with your hat off, entertaining you with his consideration of that affair you spoke of to him laft, until he has drawn a crowd that observes you in this grimace; then, when he is publick enough, he immediately runs into secrets and falls a whispering. You and he make breaks with adverbs, as, “ But
however, thus far ;” and then you whisper again, and so on, till they who are about you are dispersed, and your busy man's vanity is no longer gratified by the notice taken of what importance he is, and how inconsiderable you are, for your pretender to business is never in secret, but in public.
There is my dear Lord Nowhere, of all men the most gracious and most obliging, the terror of all valets de chambre, whom he oppresses with good breeding, in inquiring for my good lord and for my good lady's health. This inimitable courtier will whisper a privy counsellor's lacquey with the utmost goodness and condescension, to know when they next sit; and is thoroughly taken up, and thinks he has a part in a secret, if he knows that there is a secret, what it is, he will whisper you,“ that time will discover;" then he shrugs, and calls you back again——“Sir, I need not say to you that these things are not to be spoken of--and hark’ee, no names, I would not be quoted.” What adds to the jest is, that his emptiness has its moods and seasons, and he will not condescend to let you into these, his discoveries, except he is in very good humour or has seen somebody of fashion talk to you. He will keep his nothing to himself, and pass by and overlook as well as the best of them, not observing that he is insolent when he is gracious, and obliging when he is haughty. Shew me a woman so inconsiderable as this frequent character. But
my mind (now I am in) turns to many no less observable. Thou dear Will Shoestring! I profess myself in love with thee! How shall I speak to thee? how shall I address thee? how shall I draw thee? thou dear outside! be combing your wig, playing with your box, or picking your teeth ? or choosest thou rather to be speaking—to be speaking for thy only purpose in speaking—to shew your teeth ? Rub them no longer, dear Shoestring : do not premeditate murder : do not for ever whiten: oh! that for my quiet and his own they were rotten.
But I will forget him and give my hand to the courteous Umbra. He is fine man indeed, but the soft creature bows below my apron-string before he takes it; yet after the first ceremonies, he is as familiar as my physician, and his insignifi
cancy makes me half ready to complain to him of all I would to my doctor. He is so courteous, that he carries half the messages of ladies' ails in town to their midwives and nurses. He understands, too, the art of medicine, as far as to the cure of a pimple or a rash. On occasions of the like importance, he is the most assiduous of all men living, in consulting and searching precedents from family to family; then he speaks of his obsequiousness and diligence in the style of real services. If you fneer at him, and thank him for his great friendship, he bows and says “Madam, all the good offices in my power, while I have any knowledge or credit, shall be at your service.” The consideration of so shallow a being, and the intent application with which he pursues trifles, has made me carefully reflect upon that sort of men we usually call an impertinent; and I am, upon mature deliberation, so far from being offended with him, that I am really obliged to him ; for though he will take you aside and talk half an hour upon matters wholly insignificant with the most folemn air, yet I consider that these things are of weight in his imagination, and he thinks he is communicating what is for my service. If, therefore, it be a just rule to judge of a man by his intention, according to the equity of good breeding, he that is impertinently kind or wise, to do you service, ought in return to have a proportionable place, both in your affection and esteem, so that the courteous Umbra deserves the favour of all his acquaintance; for though he never served them, he is ever willing to do it, and believes he does it.
As impotent kindness is to be returned with all our abilities to oblige, so impotent malice is to be treated with all our force to depress it. For this reason, Fly-Blow (who is received in all the families in town through the degeneracy and iniquity of their manners) is to be treated like a knave, though he is one of the weakest of fools : he has by rote and at secondhand all that can be said of any man of figure, wit, and virtue in town,
Name a man of worth, and this creature tells you the worst passage of his life. Speak of a beautiful woman, and this puppy will whisper the next man to him, though he has nothing to say of her. He is a Ay that feeds on the fore
part, and would have nothing to live on if the whole body were in health. You may know him by the frequency of pronouncing the particle but; for which reason I never heard him spoke of with common charity without using my but against him. For a friend of mine saying the other day, “Mrs. Distaff has wit, good humour, virtue, and friendship,” this oaf added, “but she is not handsome.” Coxcomb ! the gentleman was saying what I was, not what I was not.'
N.B.It is to be noted that when any part of this paper appears dull, there is a design in it.