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sions increase, and down she tumbles on the floor, where she lies quite dead, in spite of what the whole family, from the nursery to the kitchen, could do for her relief.
While every servant was thus helping or lamenting their mistress, he, fixing his cheek to hers, seemed to be following in a trance of sorrow, but secretly whispers her, “My dear,
, this will never do; what is within my power and fortune you may always command, but none of your artifices. You are quite in other hands than those you passed these pretty passions upon.” This made her almost in the condition she pretended; her convulsions now came thicker, nor was she to be held down. The kind man doubles his care, helps the servants to throw water in her face by full quarts, and when the sinking part of the fit came again, “Well, my dear,” said he, “I
, applaud your action, but I must take my leave of you till you are more sincere with me.
Farewell for ever. You shall always know where to hear of me, and want for nothing.” With that he ordered the maids to keep plying her with hartshorn while he went for a physician. He was scarce at the stair-head when she followed, and pulling him into a closet, thanked him for her cure, which was so absolute that she gave me this relation herself, to be communicated for the benefit of all the voluntary invalids of her sex.
As bad as the world is, I find by very strict observation upon virtue and vice, that if men appeared no worse than they really are, I should have less work than I am at present obliged to undertake for their reformation. They have generally taken up a kind of inverted ambition, and affect even faults and imperfections of which they are innocent. The other day, in a coffee-house, I stood by a young heir, with a fresh, fanguine, and healthy look, who entertained us with an account of his ... diseases and diet drink, though, to my knowledge, he is as found as any of his tenants.
This worthy youth put me into reflections upon that subject, and I observed the fantastical humour to be so general, that there is hardly a man who is not more or less tainted with it. The first of this order of men are the valetudinarians, who are never in health, but complain of want of stomach or rest
every day till noon, and then devour all which comes before them. Lady Dainty is convinced that it is necessary for a gentlewoman to be out of order, and to preserve that character, she dines every day in her closet at twelve, that she may become her table at two, and be unable to eat in publick. About five years ago, I remember it was the fashion to be short-fighted. A man would not own an acquaintance until he had first examined him with his glass. At a lady's entrance into the play-house, you might see tubes immediately levelled at her from every quarter of the pit and side-boxes. However, that mode of infirmity is out, and the age has recovered its sight; but the blind seem to be succeeded by the lame, and a jaunty limp is the present beauty. I think I have formerly observed that a cane is part of the dress of a prig, and always worn upon a button for fear he should be thought to have an occasion for it, or be esteemed really, and not genteelly, a cripple. I have considered, but could never find out the bottom of this vanity. I, indeed, have heard of a Gascon general, who, by the lucky grazing of a bullet on the roll of his stocking, took occasion to halt all his life after. But as for our peaceable cripples, I know no foundation for their behaviour, without it may be supposed that, in this warlike age, some think a cane the next honour to a wooden leg. This sort of affectation I have known run from one limb or member to another. Before the limpers came in, I remember a race of lispers— fine persons, who took an aversion to particular letters in our language; some never uttered the letter h, and others as mortal an aversion to s. Others have had their fashionable defect in their ears, and would make you repeat all
said twice over. I know an ancient friend of mine, whose table is every day surrounded with flatterers, that makes use of this, sometimes as a piece of grandeur, and at others as an art to make them repeat their commendations. Such affectations have been, indeed, in the world in ancient times, but they fell into them out of politic 'ends. Alexander the Great had a wry neck, which made it the fashion in his court to carry their heads on one side when they came into the presence. One who thought to outshine the whole court, carried his head fo over-complai
santly, that this martial prince gave him so great a box on the ear, as set all the heads of the court upright.
This humour takes place in our minds as well as bodies. I know at this time a young gentleman who talks atheistically all day in coffee-houses, and in his degrees of understanding sets
up for a free-thinker, though it can be proved upon him he says his prayers every morning and evening; but this class of modern wits I shall reserve for a chapter by itself.
Of the like turn are your marriage-haters, who rail at the noose, at the words “ for ever and aye,” and at the same time are secretly pining for some young thing or other, that makes their hearts ache by her refusal. The next to these are such as pretend to govern their wives, and boast how ill they use them, when, at the same time, go to their houses, and you shall see them step as if they feared making a noise, and as fond as an alderman. I do not know but sometimes these pretences may arise from a desire to conceal a contrary defect than they set up for. I remember when I was a young fellow, we had a companion of a very fearful complexion, who, when we sat in to drink, would desire us to take his sword from him when he grew fuddled, for it was his miffortune to be quarrelsome.
There are many of these evils which demand my observation, but because I have of late been thought too satirical, I shall give them warning, and declare to the whole world that they are not true, but false, hypocrites, and make it out that they are good men in their hearts. The motive of this monstrous affectation, in the above-mentioned, I take to proceed from that noble thirst of fame and reputation which is planted in the hearts of all men. As this produces elegant writings and gallant actions in men of great abilities, it also brings forth spurious productions in men who are not capable of distinguishing themselves by things which are really praiseworthy. As the desire of fame in men of true wit and gallantry shows itself in proper instances, the fame desire, in men who have ambition without proper faculties, runs wild, and discovers itself in a thousand extravagances, by which they would signalize themselves from others, and gain a set of admirers. When I was a middle-aged man, there were many societies of ambitious