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The cunning man looked a little four, upon which Betty jogged her mistress, who gave t'other guinea ; and he made her understand, she should positively have two more, but shaked his head, and hinted, that they should not live long with her. The widow sighed, and gave him t'other half-guinea. After this prepossession, all that she had next to do, was
to make sallies to our end of the town, and find out who it is her fate to have. There are two who frequent this place, whom she takes to be men of vogue, and of whom her imagination has given her the choice. They are both the appearances of fine gentlemen, to such as do not know when they see persons of that turn; and indeed they are industrious enough to come at that character, to deserve the reputation of being such. But this town will not allow us to be the things we seem to aim at, and are too discerning to be fobbed off with pretences. One of these pretty fellows fails by his laborious exactness; the other, by his as much studied negligence. Frank Careless, as soon as his valet has helped on and adjusted his clothes, goes to his glass, sets his wig awry, tumbles his cravat, and, in Thort, undresses himself to go into company. Will. Nice is fo little satisfied with his dress, that all the time he is at a visit, he is still mending it, and is for that reason the more insufferable; for he who studies carelessness, has, at least, his work the sooner done of the two. The widow is distracted whom to take for her first man ;
for Nice is every way so careful, that she fears his length of days; and Frank is so loose, that she has apprehensions for her own health with him. I am puzzled how to give a just idea of them; but, in a word, Careless is a coxcomb, and Nice a fop; both, you'll say, very hopeful candidates for a gay woman just set at liberty. But there is a whisper, her maid will give her to Tom Terrour the gamester .... he'll certainly succeed if he is introduced; for nothing so much prevails with the vain part of that sex, as the glory of deceiving them who have deceived others.
MR. BICKERSTAFF'S EXTRAORDINARY CURES-ON THE AFFEC
TATION OF FAULTS AND IMPERFECTIONS
AVING taken upon me to cure all the distempers
which proceed from affections of the mind, I have laboured since I first kept this publick stage, to to do all the good I could, and have perfected
many cures at my own lodgings, carefully avoiding the common method of mountebanks, to do their most eminent operations in sight of the people; but must be fo just to my patients as to declare, they have testified under their hands, their senfe of my poor abilities, and the good I have done them, which I publish for the benefit of the world, and not out of any thoughts of private advantage.
I have cured fine Mrs. Spy of a great imperfection in her eyes, which made her eternally rolling them from one coxcomb to another in publick places, in so languishing a manner, that it at once lessened her own power, and her beholders vanity. Twenty drops of my ink, placed in certain letters on which she attentively looked for half an hour, have restored her to the true use of her sight, which is to guide and not mislead us.
Ever since she took the liquor, which I call Bickerstaff's Circumspection-Water, she looks right forward, and can bear being looked at for half a day without returning one glance. This water has a peculiar virtue in it, which makes it the only true cosmetick or beauty-wash in the world : the nature of it is such, that if you go to a glass, with a design to admire your face, it immediately changes it into downright deformity. If you consult it only to look with a better countenance upon your friends, it immediately gives an alacrity to the visage, and new grace to the whole person. There is indeed a great deal owing to the constitution of the person to whom it is applied : it is in vain to give it when the patient is in the rage of the distemper; a bride in her first month, a lady soon after her husband's being knighted, or any person of either sex who has lately obtained any new fortune or preferment, must be prepared some time before they use it. It has an effect upon others, as well as the patient, when it is taken in due form. Lady Petulant has by the use of it cured her husband of jealousy, and Lady Gad her whole neighbourhood of detraction.
The fame of these things, added to my being an old fellow, makes me extremely acceptable to the fair sex. You would hardly believe me, when I tell you there is not a man in town so much their delight as myself. They make no more of visiting me than going to Madam D’Epingle's.
There were two of them, namely, Damia and Clidamira (I assure you women of distinction) who came to see me this morning in their way to prayers, and being in a very diverting humour (as innocence always makes people cheerful), they would needs have me according to the distinction of pretty and very pretty fellows, inform them if I thought either of them had a title to the very pretty among those of their own sex; and if I did, which was the more deserving of the two ?
To put them to the trial, “Look ye,” faid I, “ I must not rashly give my judgment in matters of this importance. Pray let me see you dance, I play upon the kit.” They immediately fell back to the lower end of the room (you may be sure they curt’sy'd low enough to me) and began. Never were two in the world fo equally match'd, and both scholars to my namesake Isaac. Never was man in so dangerous a condition as myself, when they began to expand their charms. “Oh! ladies, ladies,” cried I, “not half that air—you'll fire the house." Both smiled, for by the bye, there is no carrying a metaphor too far when a lady's charms are spoke of. Somebody, I think, has call’d a fine woman dancing a brandished torch of beauty. These rivals moved with such an agreeable freedom, that you would believe their gesture was the necessary effect of the musick, and not the product of skill and practice. Now Clidamira came on with a crowd of graces, and demanded my judgment with so sweet an air —And she had no sooner carried it, but Damia made her utterly forgot by a gentle sinking and a rigadoon step. The contest held a full halfhour, and I proteft, I saw no manner of difference in their perfections till they came up together, and expected sentence. Look ye, ladies,”
" said I, “I see no difference in the least in your performance; but you Clidamira seem to be so well satisfied that I shall determine for you, that I must give it to Damia, who stands with so much diffidence and fear, after shewing an equal merit to what she pretends to. Therefore, Clidamira, you are a pretty, but, Damia, you are a very pretty lady. For,” said I, “beauty loses its force, if not accompanied with modesty. She that has an humble opinion of herself will have everybody's applause, because she does not expect it, while the vain creature loses approbation through too great a sense of deserving it.”
The generality of mankind are so very fond of this world, and of staying in it, that a man cannot have eminent skill in any one art but they will, in spite of his teeth, make him a physician also, that being the science the worldlings have most need of. I pretended, when I first set up, to astrology only, but I am told I have deep skill also in medicine. I am applied to now by a gentleman for my advice in behalf of his wife, who, upon the least matrimonial difficulty, is excessively troubled with fits, and can bear no manner of passion without falling into immediate convulsions. I must confess it is a case I have known before, and remember the party, was recovered by certain words pronounced in the midst of the fit by the learned doctor who performed the cure. These ails have usually their beginning from the affections of the mind, therefore you must have patience to let me give you an instance whereby you may discern the cause of the distemper, and then proceed in cure as follows:
A fine town-lady was married to a gentleman of ancient descent in one of the counties of Great Britain, who had good
humour to a weakness, and was that sort of person of whom it is usually said, “he is no man's enemy but his own;" one who had too much tenderness of foul to have any authority with his wife, and she too little sense to give him authority for that reason. His kind wife observed this temper in him, and made proper use of it; but knowing it was below a gentlewoman to wrangle, she resolved upon an expedient to save decorum, and wear her dear to her point at the same time
; she therefore took upon her to govern him by falling into fits whenever she was repulsed in a request or contradicted in a discourse. It was a fifh-day, when, in the midst of her hufband's good humour at table, she bethought herself to try her project. She made signs that she had swallowed a bone. The man grew pale as ashes, and ran to her assistance, calling for drink. “No, my dear," said she, recovering, “it is down, don't be frightened.” This accident betrayed his softness enough. The next day she complained, “a lady's chariot, whose husband had not half his estate, had a crane neck, and hung with twice the air that her's did.” He answered, “ Madam, you know my income, you know I have lost two coach-horses this spring-_-" Down she fell. “ Hartshorn! Betty, Susan, Alice, throw water in her face.” With much care and pains she was at last brought to herself, and the vehicle in which she visited was amended in the nicest manner to prevent relapses, but they frequently happened during that husband's whole life, which he had the good fortune to end in a few years after. The disconfolate soon pitched upon a very agreeable successor, whom the very prudently designed to govern by the same method. This man knew her little arts, and resolved to break through all tenderness and be abfolute master as soon as occasion offered. One day it happened that a discourse arose about furniture. He was very glad of the occasion, and fell into an invective against china, protesting he would never let five pounds more of his money be laid out that way as long as he breathed. She immediately fainted. He starts up as amazed, and calls for help. The maids ran to the closet. -He chafes her face, bends her forward, and beats the palms of her hands. Her convul