THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO
SELECTIONS FROM STEELE'S
CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE TATLER
STEELE'S CONTRIBUTIONS TO
WITH AN INTRODUCTION AND NOTES
L. E. STEELE, M.A.
TRINITY COLLEGE, DUBLIN
MACMILLAN AND CO., LIMITED
NEW YORK I THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
All rig/ifx >VAV; TVV/
GLASGOW: PRINTED AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS
BY ROBERT MACLEHOSE AND CO.
I. MR. BlCKERSTAFF ON HlMSELF, - 1
'' II. MEMORIES OF HIS CHILDHOOD, .... 4
III. A VISIT TO A FRIEND, ----- g
IV. A VISIT TO DON SALTERO'S, - - - - - 13 *""
** V. FASHIONABLE HOURS, - - 19
VI. FASHIONABLE AFFECTATIONS, - - 22
VII. ADVICE TO LADIES ON EXERCISE AND EDUCATION, 26
VIII. ON LADIES' DRESS, - ..... 30
IX. THE TRUMPET CLUB AND ITS MEMBERS, - 33-*"
X. ON THE LOTTERY, - 37
XI. ON DUELLING, - - 42
XII. ON THE ART OF GROWING OLD, - - - 45
XIII. THE SACHEVERELL TRIAL, AND OTHER THINGS, 49
XIV. ON LONG-WINDED PEOPLE, 53
XV. BETTERTON THE ACTOR, - - - 56
XVI. DON QUIXOTE IN THE COFFEE-HOUSES, - - - 60-**
XVII. ON SATIRE, - . - 64
XVIII. ON NOBLE INDEPENDENCE, - - - 68
XIX. ON DISAPPOINTED AMBITION, ----- 72
XX. ON JUDICIOUS FLATTERY, 75
NOTES, ... go
INDEX TO NOTES, ......'.. 122
IT has been the curious fate of at least three men, whose
greatness is associated with the eighteenth century, to
have had their memories undeservedly injured through
the hostility, the mistakes, or the supercilious regard
of a succession of more or less adverse critics; and it
has been the good fortune of some writers of our own
day to be in a position, with fuller knowledge te^faand,
to vindicate their characters, or greatly to modify the
harsh opinions we had been led to form of them, through
the carelessness, or something worse, of previous bio
graphers. Of these three, Eichard Steele is one ; and
as to the two others, we now know that Eichard
Brinsley Sheridan was not quite so contemptible in
life and end as we had thought, and that the moral
obliquity of Warren Hastings existed in the biased
imagination of Lord Macaulay.
Strangely enough it is from Lord Macaulay's mis
chievous picturesqueness that Steele also has suffered ;
but not perhaps to so great an extent from this, as
from the pitying affection with which Thackeray regards
him. We have only to read the Essay on Addison of
viii THE TATLER.
the one and Esmond or the Lecture on Steele 1 of the other
to appreciate how far the popular conception of Steele's
character is due to these two writers. But " the whirli
gig of time brings his revenges," and Steele need now
no longer be for us "the rake" of Macaulay, "whose
life was spent in sinning and repenting," or the "Poor
Dick " of Thackeray, but a man of high, generous, and
chivalric actions; a faithful and lovable friend; and,
despite the faults generally associated with enthusiastic
and impulsive natures, an honest champion of what was
pure and good, and that too in a generation which
esteemed but lightly those things which are of good
Although Steele speaks of himself as an "English
man, born in Ireland," there is reason to believe that
he was more of an Irishman than this statement would
seem to imply, for there is not much doubt that he
was connected with a family of Steeles of Cheshire,
which had settled in the country before the middle of
the seventeenth century, and had already given a Lord
Chancellor to the High Court of Justice in Ireland.
In the year 1672, on the 12th of March, when London
was still staggering from the two awful blows of the
Great Plague and the Great Fire, Kichard Steele was
born in the sister capital of Dublin, not far from that
1 See English Humourists of the Eighteenth Century.
2 To his two latest biographers, Mr. Austin Dobson and especi
ally Mr. George A. Aitken, we are indebted for this better and
truer view of Steele's character. The present editor would here
acknowledge his indebtedness to the former's Richard Steele in
the "English Worthies" series and the Selections in the "Clar
endon Press" volume, and to the latter's admirable Life of Steele,
2 vols., 1889.
spot where Dean Swift had been born five years pre
viously ; and the record of his baptism may still be read
in the register of St. Bride's Parish. But with this
event his connection with Ireland may be said to have
begun and closed. Steele's father, like Swift's, was a
Dublin attorney ; apparently well-to-do, for he possessed
a country house at Monkstown in the neighbourhood
of Dublin, and at one time held the office of sub-sheriff
of the county of Tipperary. He died when his son
was but five years of age, and there is reason to believe
that Richard's mother, whom her son describes as "a
very beautiful woman of a noble spirit," 1 soon followed
her husband to the grave. The facts that survive of
Steele's early life are very few, and there is nothing
to tell of him until he entered the famous Charterhouse
School in 1684. It was here that the most memorable
of literary friendships an almost life-long one was
formed, when Joseph Addison joined the school nearly
two years after; and it is pleasant to imagine Steele,
with his experience of school life and his kindly heart,
helping to make the first few trying weeks of a " new
boy's" existence tolerable to the shy and somewhat
sedate son of Lancelot Addison, the Dean of Lichfield.
It is easy to perceive from Steele's writings that he
took advantage of the excellent classical training which
the Charterhouse offered, and although not the scholar
which Addison proved to be, it was with no bad result
that Dr. Thomas Walker, the headmaster, administered
those floggings of which Steele frequently speaks in
In due time Steele went to Christ Church, Oxford,
iSee Essay IL, p. 6, 1. 11.
X THE TATLER.
matriculating with an exhibition, in 1690, and then
rejoined his friend, who had already preceded him by
two years, at the University. But the quiet of an
Oxford scholar's life, so dear to Addison, was not to
Steele's taste, and early in the year 1694, with char
acteristic impulsiveness, he took the curious step of
enlisting in a regiment of Horse Guards then under
the command of the Duke of Ormond, who, through
the influence of Henry Gascoigne, Steele's uncle and
the Duke's private secretary, had frequently befriended
the boy. Now it is not to be supposed that this act
involved any social hardships, for Ormond's regiment
consisted chiefly of young men of birth and station
who in those days eagerly sought service in the various
regiments ; and so we are not surprised to find that
about a year later Steele obtained a commission in Lord
Cutts' regiment of Coldstream Guards, and some time
after was promoted to a captaincy in Lord Lucas's
With the facts of Steele's military life, which lasted
nearly twenty years, we need not trouble ourselves,
except to note that his duties as a soldier did not pre
vent him from laying the foundation of that fame, as
poet, as playwright, and above all as essayist, which
we, as "heirs of all the ages," so richly enjoy. Like
Addison, Steele began his literary career with a poem.
The Procession, written on the occasion of the death of
Queen Mary, is not particularly interesting, and his
second work, a prose one, seems first to have attracted
public attention. That work, The Christian Hero, pub
lished in 1701 and dedicated to Lord Cutts, was not
originally intended for publication, but was written in
the midst of the temptations of his soldier's life "to
fix upon his own mind a strong impression of virtue
and religion." The story of the little book and its
fate must be read elsewhere; it is here sufficient to
remember that it bears the stamp of sincerity and
goodness, and that several of its passages and senti
ments were afterwards embodied in the Taller and
Spectator. He was not, however, yet to develop the
gift by which we know him best, and as if to try his
hand at all forms of literature, he devoted the next
four years to the production of three comedies, The
Funeral, The Lying Lovers, and The Tender Husband.
Although of considerable merit, their success was not
great, and that chiefly for a reason which reflects much
credit on Steele; they were too moral. A generation
which enjoyed the evil in the comedies of Congreve
and Farquhar was not prepared to welcome plays which
had for their avowed object the elevation of the stage.
Many years later Steele wrote another comedy, The
Conscious Lovers, in which he returns to the denunciation
of the practice of duelling, against which he had, in
the meantime, spoken so bravely in the Tatler. 1 In
1707 he obtained the post of editor of the London
Gazette, a Government appointment, which gave him
access to political news of much use in his work as a
The story of the foundation of the Tatler, though
familiar, must be told once more. It was a new de
parture in periodical literature ; and it is well to
remember that its novelty was entirely due to the
energy and ingenuity of Steele. With one exception,
1 See Essay xi. and notes.
xii THE TATLER.
there is nothing in common between the many period
icals which preceded Steele's venture and the Taller.
That one exception is Defoe's Review, a journal which
was published in 1704, and outlived both the Taller
and Guardian. But even between these the difference
is great. Defoe's journal is mainly devoted to political
news, and a very small portion of the paper to social
questions. The exact reverse is the case with Steele's
here the element of news ic quite secondary, and as the
work progresses it soon disappears, while the social
element predominates from the beginning. Steele, as
the publication grows, leaves no doubt as to his aims :
"The general purpose of this paper is to expose the
false arts of life, to pull off the disguises of cunning,
vanity, and affectation, and to recommend a general
simplicity in our dress, our discourse, our behaviour,"
an intention otherwise expressed in the familiar words
of No. 89 of the Taller. 1 With such serious object in
view he needed, at first, to be cautious lest his readers
should suspect him of posing as a preacher and a
moralist; and so the whole framework of the Taller
is conceived in a spirit of delightful and attractive
pleasantry. The title is chosen, as he merrily says, " in
honour of the fair sex " ; the name of Isaac Bickerstaff,
under which he writes, is borrowed from a practical
joke which, for many a day, entertained the country ;
and the character of Isaac is drawn as that of a kindly
and harmless old gentleman, "now past his grand
climacteric, being sixty-four years of age," " a philo
sopher, an humourist, an astrologer, and a censor."
It is well to bear in mind that incident which gave
J See Essay i., p. 3, 11. 12-19.
Steele his nom de guerre. The seventeenth century had
seen a curious revival of the so-called science of astrology,
and prominent amongst its professors was a quack who
called himself John Partridge. Originally a shoemaker,
he became a vendor of medicines, then an astrologer,
and finally a compiler of prophetical Almanacks. His
roguish impostures proved most profitable, and his
success speedily induced others to imitate him, until
the country was annually flooded with these ridiculous
compilations. Becoming more and more audacious,
he finally foretold the deposition and death of the
French king. It was an opportunity for the wits not
to be lost, and Swift seized it. With the good object
of stamping out this folly he published in January,
under the name of Isaac Bickerstaff, Esq., his famous
Predictions for the year 1708, in which he solemnly fore
told the death of Partridge, " upon the 29th of March
next, about eleven at night, of a raging fever " ; which
was followed up at the proper time by a circumstantial
account of Partridge's death. It was useless to pro
test ; there were too many friends in league with Swift
bent on keeping up the fun. So admirably was their
gravity maintained that their victim's actual decease was
largely credited, and the result was the cessation of the
Almanacks. The name of Bickerstaff, which Swift is said
to have taken from a London shopman, thus became
known throughout England, and its popularity sug
gested its appropriation by Steele.
The Taller was first published April 12th, 1709, and
its numbers continued to appear on every Tuesday,
Thursday, and Saturday, until January 2nd, 1711.
From our standpoint, accustomed as we are to the great
xiv THE TATLER.
journals of the nineteenth century, it was an insig
nificant production, a single sheet, and the charge one
penny. It ran for 271 numbers, and of these Steele
wrote 188, Addison 42, and it is thought that 3 6" may
be attributed to the two friends jointly ; other writers
contributed the balance, Swift amongst the number. 1
Once Steele had started in this path his energy was
immense. Not alone do we owe to him the creation
of the Taller, Guardian, and Spectator, but seven other
journals were initiated and for the most part written
by him the Englishman, Lover, Reader, Town Talk,
Tea-Table Chit Chat, Plebeian, and Theatre. But his fame
was established by the Tatter, and in that work we
must seek for him at his best ; just as we find Addison
at his best in the Spectator. , In addition to his literary
labours, he took upon himself the burdens of theatrical
management and of politics. He sat in Parliament,
first for Stockbridge, then for Boroughbridge, and finally
for Wendover, the last famous as the first seat held by
Edmund Burke. In 1715 George I. honoured him with
knighthood, and nine years later he retired in broken
health, after a life full of excitement, much storm, and
hard work, to Carmarthen, where he died from paralysis
on September 1st, 1729, in his fifty-eighth year, having
" retained his cheerful sweetness of temper to the last."
Sir Kichard Steele was twice married, first to a widow,
Mrs. Stretch, 2 and secondly to Mary Scurlock. If we
1 When first published the Latin mottoes only, appeared over
the Tatlers ; the English mottoes were added by other hands,
and are not to be relied 011 as either literal or even correct trans
lations in all cases.
2 The discovery of the name of Steele's first wife is due to
Mr. Aitken. Her maiden name was Margaret Ford.
wish to know how courteous, how kindly, how loving
a man Steele was we cannot do better than read those
entertaining letters in which he poured forth his daily
thoughts to his second wife.
It used to be the fashion, when comparing Addison's
position as a writer with that of Steele, to place the
former on so high a pinnacle, that the originator of
the form of literature which gave Addison his oppor
tunity, suffered undue depreciation. Addison is un
questionably the greater man and the greater writer;
Steele never attains to the polished style or the majestic
rhetoric of Addison ; he is at times careless to incorrect
ness ; but he has, what we miss in the other, a spon
taneity, a naturalness, a geniality, which constitute the
great charm of his writing. He is not a whit behind
Addison in moral tone and in humour; they both
raise their voices with equal vigour in condemnation
of the evils of their day the gambling, the debauchery,
the duelling, and the shams of fashionable life; their
humour is equally good and equally characteristic.
Let us see how competent critics judge Steele.
Here is what Gay, his contemporary, said of him :
"His writings have set all our wits and men of letters
upon a new way of thinking, of which they had little
or no notion before ; and though we cannot say that
any of them have come up to the beauties of the
original, I think we may venture to affirm that every
one of them writes and thinks much more justly than
they did some time since." Again, Leigh Hunt writes:
" I prefer open-hearted Steele with all his faults, to
Addison with all his essays." Mr. Austin Dobson
sympathetically says, when contrasting Addison and
xvi THE TATLER.
Steele: "For words which the heart finds when the
head is seeking; for phrases glowing with the white
heat of a generous emotion ; for sentences which throb
and tingle with manly pity or courageous indignation,
we must go to the essays of Steele." And finally, Mr.
Aitken, Steele's latest and best biographer, writes : " In
his ever lovable writings he always kept before him
the highest aims, endeavouring, in whatever shape
he might adopt for the expression of his thoughts, to
reform manners and help in raising mankind to a higher
In the following selections chronological order of
publication is not followed. The first two Essays are
those in which Steele, under the thin disguise of Isaac
Bickerstaff, tells us something of his own life ; and in
Nos. II. and in. we are charmed by his pathos. Then
follow Essays mostly directed against the follies of his
time ; Essays, like No. vn. and No. XL, in which
his common-sense advice is given or his honest protest
made ; No. IX., in which we have what we may con
sider the first draft of the famous Spectator Club, and
which, along with Nos. XII. and xiv., illustrates
Steele's humour; and finally four Essays, Nos. XVIL,
xviii. , xix., and xx., in which he appears in his
more serious and philosophic mood.
As we read these, and many more of their kind in
the volumes of the Tatler, we feel that of " the trium
virate of Addison, Steele, and Swift," the frankest, the
most genial, and most human, is he that created the
Tatler, and gave to the world the first sketch of the
immortal Sir Roger de Coverley.
I. MB. BICKERSTAFF ON HIMSELF.
No. 89.] Thursday, November 3, 1709.
Rura mihi placeant, riguique in vallibus ainnes,
Flumina amem sylvasque inglorius
Virg. Qeorg. ii. 485.
My next desire is, void of care and strife,
To lead a soft, secure, inglorious life;
A country cottage near a crystal flood,
A winding valley, and a lofty wood. DRYDE.V.
Grecian Coffee-house, November 2.
I HAVE received this short epistle from an unknown hand.
" I have no more to trouble you with than to desire 10
you would in your next help me to some answer to the
inclosed concerning yourself. In the mean time I con
gratulate you upon the increase of your fame, which you
see has extended itself beyond the bills of mortality."
"That the country is barren of news l*as been the
excuse, time out of mind, for dropping a correspondence
with our friends in London ; as if it were impossible out
of a coffee-house to write an agreeable letter. I am too
ingenuous to endeavour at the covering of my negligence 20
with so common an excuse. Doubtless, amongst friends,
bred, as we have been, to the better knowledge of books
2 THE TATLER.
as well as men, a letter dated from a garden, a grotto, a
fountain, a wood, a meadow, or the banks of a river, may
be more entertaining than one from Tom's, Will's, White's,
or St. James's. I promise, therefore, to be frequent for
the future in my rural dates to you. But for fear you
should, from what I have said, be induced to believe I
shun the commerce of men, I must inform you, that there
is a fresh topic of discourse lately arisen amongst the
ingenious in our part of the world, and is become the
10 more fashionable for the ladies giving in to it. This we
owe to Isaac Bickerstaff, who is very much censured by
some, and as much justified by others. Some criticise
his style, his humour, and his matter ; others admire the
whole man. Some pretend, from the informations of their
friends in town, to decypher the author ; and others con
fess they are lost in their guesses. For my part, I must
own myself a professed admirer of the paper, and desire you
to send me a complete set, together with your thoughts of
the squire and his lucubrations."
20 There is no pleasure like that of receiving praise from
the praiseworthy ; and I own it a very solid happiness,
that these my lucubrations are approved by a person of
so fine a taste as the author of this letter, who is capable
of enjoying the world in the simplicity of its natural
beauties. This pastoral letter, if I may so call it, must
be written by a man who carries his entertainment wherever
he goes, and is undoubtedly one of those happy men who
appear far otherwise to the vulgar. I dare say, he is
not envied by the vicious, the vain, the frolic, and the
30 loud ; but is continually blessed with that strong and
serious delight, which flows from a well-taught and liberal
mind. With great respect to country sports, I may say,
this gentleman could pass his time agreeably, if there
were not a hare or a fox in his county. That calm and
elegant satisfaction which the vulgar call melancholy is
the true and proper delight of men of knowledge and
MR. BICKERSTAFF ON HIMSELF. 3
virtue. What we take for diversion, which is a kind of
forgetting ourselves, is but a mean way of entertainment,
in comparison of that which is considering, knowing, and
enjoying ourselves. The pleasures of ordinary people jire
in thefc passions ; but the seat of this delight is in the
reason and understanding. Such a frame of mind raises
that sweet enthusiasm, which warms the imagination at
the sight of every work of nature, and turns all round
you into a picture and landscape. I shall be ever proud of
advices from this gentleman ; for I profess writing news 10
from the learned, as well as the busy world.
As for my labours, which he is pleased to inquire after, j
if they can but wear one impertinence out of human life,
destroy a single vice, or give a morning's cheerfulness to
an honest mind ; in short, if the world can be but one
virtue the better, or in any degree less vicious, or receive
from them the smallest addition to their innocent diversions ;
I shall not think my pains, or indeed my life, to have been
spent in vain.
Thus far as to my studies. It will be expected I should 20
in the next place give some account of my life. I shall
therefore, for the satisfaction of the present age, and the
benefit of posterity, present the world with the following
abridgement of it.
It is remarkable, that I was bred by hand, and ate
nothing but milk until I was a twelvemonth old ; from
which time, to the eighth year of my age, I was observed
to delight in pudding and potatoes ; and indeed I retain
a benevolence for that sort of food to this day. I do not
remember that I distinguished myself in any thing at 30
those years, but by my great skill at taw, for which I
was so barbarously used, that it has ever since given me
an aversion to gaming. In my twelfth year, I suffered
very much for two or three false concords. At fifteen I
was sent to the University, and staid there for some time ;
but a drum passing by, being a lover of music, I enlisted
4 THE TATLER.
myself for a soldier. As years came on, I began to examine
things, and grew discontented at the times. This made
me quit the sword, and take to the study of the occult
sciences, in which I was so wrapped up, that Oliver
Cromwell had been buried, and taken up again, five years
before I heard he was dead. This gave me first the
reputation of a conjurer, which has been of great disad
vantage to me ever since, and kept me out of all public
employments. The greater part of my later years has been
10 divided between Dick's coffee-house, the Trumpet in Sheer-
lane, and my own lodgings.
II. MEMOEIES OF HIS CHILDHOOD.
No. 181.] June 6, 1710.
Dies, ni fallor, adest, quern semper acerbum.
Semper honoratum, sic dii voluistis, habebo.
Virg. ^En. v. 49.
And now the rising day renews the year,
A day for ever sad, for ever dear. Dry den.
From my own Apartment, June 5.
THERE are those among mankind, who can enjoy no relish
of their being, except the world is made' acquainted with all
that relates to them, and think every thing lost that passes
20 unobserved ; but others find a solid delight in stealing by
the crowd, and modelling their life after such a manner, as
is as much above the approbation as the practice of the
vulgar. Life being too short to give instances great enough
of true friendship or good will, some sages have thought it
pious to preserve a certain reverence for the manes of their
deceased friends ; and have withdrawn themselves from the
rest of the world at certain seasons, to commemorate in their
own thoughts such of their acquaintance who have gone
before them out of this life. And indeed, when we are
MEMORIES OF HIS CHILDHOOD. 5
advanced in years, there is not a more pleasing entertain
ment, than to recollect in a gloomy moment the many we
have parted with, that have been dear and agreeable to us,
and to cast a melancholy thought or two after those, with
whom, perhaps, we have indulged ourselves in whole nights
of mirth and jollity. With such inclinations in my heart I
went to my closet yesterday in the evening, and resolved to
be sorrowful ; upon which occasion I could not but look with
disdain upon myself, that though all the reasons which I
had to lament the loss of many of my friends are now as 10
forcible as at the moment of their departure, yet did not my
heart swell with the same sorrow which I felt at the time ;
but I could, without tears, reflect upon many pleasing
adventures 1 have had with some, who have long been
blended with common earth. Though it is by the benefit
of nature, that length of time thus blots out the violence of
afflictions ; yet, with tempers too much given to pleasure,
it is almost necessary to revive the old places of grief in our
memory ; and ponder step by step on past life, to lead the
mind into that sobriety of thought which poises the heart, 20
and makes it beat with due time, without being quickened
with desire, or retarded with despair, from its proper and
equal motion. When we wind up a clock that is out of order,
to make it go well for the future, we do not immediately set
the hand to the present instant, but we make it strike the
round of all its hours, before it can recover the regularity of
its time. Such, thought I, shall be my method this evening ;
and since it is that day of the yt.ir which I dedicate to the
memory of such in another life as I much delighted in when
living, an hour or two shall be sacred to sorrow and their 30
memory, while I run over all the melancholy circumstances
of this kind which have occurred to me in my whole life.
The first sense of sc-row I ever knew was upon the death
of my father, at which time I was not quite five years of
age ; but was rather amazed at what all the house meant,
than possessed with a real understanding why nobody was
6 THE TATLER.
willing to play with me. I remember I went into the room
where his body lay, and my mother sat weeping alone by it.
I had my battledore in my hand, and fell a beating the
coffin, and calling Papa ; for, I know not how, I had some
slight idea that he was locked up there. My mother catched]
me in her arms, and, transported beyond all patience of the
silent grief she was before in, she almost smothered me in
her embraces ; and told me in a flood of tears, " Papa could
not hear me, and would play with me no more, for they were
10 going to put him under ground, whence he could never come
to us again." She was a very beautiful woman, of a noble
spirit, and there was a dignity in her grief amidst 'all the
wildness of her transport ; which, methought, struck me
with an instinct of sorrow, that, before I was sensible of
what it was to grieve, seized my very soul, and has made
pity the weakness of my heart ever since. The mind in
infancy is, methiriks, like the body in embryo ; and receives
impressions so forcible, that they are as hard to be removed
by reason, as any mark with which a child is born is to be
20 taken away by any future application. Hence it is that
good-nature in me is no merit ; but having been so fre
quently overwhelmed with her tears before I knew the cause
of any affliction, or could draw defences from my own
judgment, I imbibed commiseration, remorse, and an un
manly gentleness of mind, which has since insnared me into
ten thousand calamities ; and from whence I can reap no
advantage, except it be, that, in such a humour as I am now
in, I can the better indulge myself in the softness of
humanity, and enjoy that sweet anxiety which arises from
30 the memory of past afflictions.
We, that are very old, are better able to remember things
which befell us in our distant youth, than the passages of
later days. For this reason it is, that the companions of my
strong and vigorous years present themselves more im
mediately to me in this office of sorrow. Untimely and
unhappy deaths are what we are most apt to lament ; so
MEMORIES OF HIS CHILDHOOD. 7
little are we able to make it indifferent when a thing
happens, though we know it must happen. Thus we groan
under life, and bewail those who are relieved v from it.
Every object that returns to our imagination raises different
passions, according to the circumstance of their departure.
Who can have lived in an army, and in a serious hour reflect
upon the many gay and agreeable men that might long have
flourished in the arts of peace, and not join with the
imprecations of the fatherless and widow on the tyrant to
whose ambition they fell sacrifices ? But gallant men, who 10
are cut off by the sword, move rather our veneration than
our pity ; and we gather relief enough from their own
contempt of death, to make that no evil, which was ap
proached with so much cheerfulness, and attended with so
much honour. But when we turn our thoughts from the
great parts of life on such occasions, and instead of lamenting
those who stood ready to give death to those from whom
they had the fortune to receive it ; I say, when we let our
thoughts wander from such noble objects, and consider the
havock which is made among the tender and the innocent, 20
pity enters with an unmixed softness, and possesses all our
souls at once.
Here (were there words to express such sentiments with
proper tenderness) I should record the beauty, innocence,
and untimely death, of the first object my eyes ever beheld
with love. The beauteous virgin ! how ignorantly did she
charrn, how carelessly excel 1 Oh death ! thou hast right to
the bold, to the ambitious, to the high, and to the haughty ;
but why this cruelty to the humble, to the meek, to the
undiscerning, to the thoughtless ? Nor age, nor business, 30
nor distress, can erase the dear image from my imagination.
In the same week, I saw her dressed for a ball, and in a
shroud. How ill did the habit of death become the pretty
tiifler ? I still behold the smiling earth A large train of
disasters were coming on to my memory, when my servant
knocked at my closet-door, and interrupted me with a letter,
8 THE TATLER.
attended with a hamper of wine, of the same sort with that
which is to be put to sale on Thursday next, at Garraway's
coffee-house. Upon the receipt of it, I sent for three of my
friends. We are so intimate, that we can be company in
whatever state of mind we meet, and can entertain each
other without expecting always to rejoice. The wine we
found to be generous and warming, but with such a heat as
moved us rather to be cheerful than frolicksome. It
revived the spirits, without firing the blood. We com-
10 mended it until two of the clock this morning ; and having
to-day met a little before dinner, we found, that though we
drank two bottles a man, we had much more reason to
recollect than forget what had passed the night before.
III. A VISIT TO A FEIEND.
No. 95.] November 17, 1709.
Interea dulces pendent circum oscula nati,
Casta pudicitiam servat domus.
Virg. Georg. ii. 523.
His cares are eas'd with intervals of bliss ;
His Httle children, climbing for a kiss,
Welcome their father's late return at night.
From my own Apartment, November 1G.
20 THERE are several persons who have many pleasures and en
tertainments in their possession, which they do not enjoy. It
is, therefore, a kind and good office to acquaint them with
their own happiness, and turn their attention to such instances
of their good fortune as they are apt to overlook. Persons
in the married state often want such a monitor ; and pine
away their days, by looking upon the same condition in
anguish and murmur, which carries with it in the opinion of
others a complication of all the pleasures of life, and a retreat
from its inquietudes.
A VISIT TO A FRIEND. 9
I am led into this thought by a visit I made an old friend,
who was formerly my school-fellow. He came to town last
week with his family for the winter, and yesterday morning
sent me word his wife expected me to dinner. I am, as it
were, at home at that house, and every member of it knows
me for their well-wisher. I cannot indeed express the pleas
ure it is, to be met by the children with so much joy as I am
when I go thither. The boys and girls strive who shall come
first, when they think it is I that am knocking at the door ;
and that child which loses the race to me runs back again to 10
tell the father it is Mr. Bickerstatf. This day I was led in
by a pretty girl, that we all thought must have forgot me ;
for the family has been out of town these two years. Her
knowing me again was a mighty subject with us, and took
up our discourse at the first entrance. After which, they
began to rally me upon a thousand little stories they heard
in the country, about my marriage to one of my neighbour's
daughters. Upon which the gentleman, my friend, said,
" Nay, if Mr. Bickerstaff marries a child of any of his old
companions, I hope mine shall have the preference ; there is 20
Mrs. Mary is now sixteen and would make him as fine a
widow as the best 01 ihern. But I know him too well ; he is
so enamoured with the very memory of those who flourished
in our youth, that he will not so much as look upon the
modern beauties. I remember, old gentleman, how often
you went home in a day to refresh your countenance and
dress when Teraminta reigned in your heart. As we came
up in the coach, I repeated to niy wife some of your verses
on her." With such reflections on little passages which
happened long ago, we passed our time, during a cheerful 30
and elegant meal. After dinner his lady left the room, as
did also the children. As soon as we were alone, he took me
by the hand ; " Well, my good friend," says he, " I am
heartily glad to see thee ; I was afraid you would never have
seen all the company that dined with you to-day again. Do
not you think the good woman of the house a little altered
10 THE TATLER.
since you followed her from the play-house, to find out who
she was, for me ? " I perceived a tear fall down his cheek as
he spoke, which moved me not a little. But, to turn the
discourse, I said, " She is not indeed quite that creature she
was, when she returned me the letter I carried from you ;
and told me, ' she hoped, as I was a gentleman, I would be
employed no more to trouble her, who had never offended me;
but would be so much the gentleman's friend, as to dissuade
him from a pursuit, which he could never succeed in.' You
10 may remember, I thought her in earnest ; and you were forced
to employ your cousin Will, who made his sister get acquainted
with her, for you. You cannot expect her to be for ever
fifteen." " Fifteen ! " replied my good friend : " Ah ! you
little understand, you that have lived a bachelor, how great,
how exquisite a pleasure there is, in being really beloved !
It is impossible, that the most beauteous face in nature should
raise in me such pleasing ideas, as when I look upon that
excellent woman. That fading in her countenance is chiefly
caused by her watching with me, in my fever. This was fol-
20 lowed by a fit of sickness, which had like to have carried
her off last winter. I tell you sincerely, I have so many ob
ligations to her, that I cannot, with any sort of moderation,
think of her present state of health. But as to what you
say of fifteen, she gives me every day pleasures beyond what
I ever knew in the possession of her beauty, when I was in
the vigour of youth. Every moment of her life brings me
fresh instances of her complacency to my inclinations, and
her prudence in regard to my fortune. Her face is to me
much more beautiful than when I first saw it ; there is no
30 decay in any feature, which I cannot trace, from the very
instant it was occasioned by some anxious concern for my
welfare and interests. Thus, at the same time, methinks,
the love I conceived towards her for what she was, is height
ened by my gratitude for what she is. The love of a wife is
as much above the idle passion commonly called by that
name, as the loud laughter of buffoons is inferior to the
A VISIT TO A FRIEND. 11
elegant mirth of gentlemen. Oh I she is an inestimable
jewel. In her examination of her household affairs, she
shows a certain fearfulness to find a fault, which makes her
servants obey her like children ; and the meanest we have
has an ingenuous shame for an offence, not always to be seen
in children in other families. I speak freely to you, my old
friend; ever since her sickness, things that gave me the
quickest joy before, turn now to a certain anxiety. As the
children play in the next room, I know the poor things by
their steps, and am considering what they must do, should 10
they lose their mother in their tender years. The pleasure I
used to take in telling my boy stories of battles, and asking
my girl questions about the disposal of her baby, and the
gossiping of it, is turned into inward reflection and melan
He would have gone on in this tender way, when the good
lady entered, and with an inexpressible sweetness in her
countenance told us, " she had been searching her closet for
something very good, to treat such an old friend as I was."
Her husband's eyes sparkled with pleasure at the cheerful- 20
ness of her countenance ; and I saw all his fears vanish in
an instant. The lady observing something in our looks
which showed we had been more serious than ordinary,
and seeing her husband receive her with great concern under
a forced cheerfulness, immediately guessed at what we had
been talking of ; and applying herself to me, said, with a
smile, " Mr. Bickerstaff, do not believe a word of what he
tells you, I shall still live to have you for my second, as
I have often promised you, unless he takes more care of him
self than he has done since his coming to town. You must 30
know, he tells me that he finds London i"s a much more
healthy place than the country; for he sees several of his old
acquaintance and school-fellows are here young fellows \\itli
fair full-bottomed periwigs. I could scarce keep him in this
morning from going out open-breasted." My friend, who is
uhvays extremely delighted with her agreeable humour,
12 THE TATLER.
made her sit down with us. She did it with that easiness
which is peculiar to women of sense; and to keep up the
good humour she had brought in with her, turned her raillery
upon me. " Mr. Bickerstaff, you remember you followed me
one night from the play-house ; suppose you should carry me
thither to-morrow night, and lead me into the front box/ 3
This put us into a long field of discourse about the beauties,
who were mothers to the present, and shined in the boxes
twenty years ago. I told her, " I was glad she had transferred
10 so many of her charms, and I did not question but her eldest
daughter was within half-a-year of being a toast."
We were pleasing ourselves with this fantastical prefer
ment of the young lady, when on a sudden we were alarmed
with the noise of a drum, and immediately entered my little
godson to give me a point of war. His mother, between
laughing and chiding, would have put him out of the room ;
but 1 would not part with him so. I found, upon conversa
tion with him, though he was a little noisy in his mirth,
that the child had excellent parts, and was a great master of
20 all the learning on the other side eight years old. I per
ceived him a very great historian in ^Esop's Fables : but he
frankly declared to me his mind, " that he did not delight in
that learning, because he did not believe they were true" ; for
which reason I found he had very much turned his studies, for
about a twelvemonth past, into the lives and adventures of
Don Belianis of Greece, Guy of Warwick, the Seven Champ
ions, and other historians of that age. I could not but observe
the satisfaction the father took in the forwardness of his son ;
and that these diversions might turn to some profit, I found
30 the boy had made remarks, which might be of service to him
during the course of his whole life. He would tell you the
mismanagements of John Hickerthrift, find fault with the
passionate temper in Be vis of Southampton, and loved Saint
George for being the champion of England ; and by this
means had his thoughts insensibly moulded into the notions
of discretion, virtue, and honour. I was extolling his ac-
A VISIT TO A FRIEND. 13
complishments, when the mother told me, "that the little
girl who led me in this morning was in her way a better
scholar than he. Betty/' said she, " deals chiefly in fairies
and sprights; and sometimes in a winter-night will terrify
the maids with her accounts, until they are afraid to go up
I sat with them until it was very late, sometimes in merry,
sometimes in serious discourse, with this particular pleasure,
which gives the only true relish to all conversation, a sense
that every one of us liked each other. I went home, con- 10
sidering the different conditions of a married life and that of
a bachelor ; and I must confess it struck me with a secret con
cern, to reflect, that whenever I go off I shall leave no traces
behind me. In this pensive mood I returned to my family ;
that is to say, to my maid, my dog, and my cat, who only
can be the better or worse for what happens to me.
IV. A VISIT TO DON SALTERO'S.
No. 34.] June 28, 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. 20
White's Chocolate-house, June 25.
HAVING taken upon me to cure all the distempers which
proceed from affections of the mind, I have laboured, since
I first kept this public stage, 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 the sight of the people ; but
must be so just to my patients as to declare, they have
testified under their hands, their sense of my poor abilities,
and the good I have done them, which I publish for the 30
14 THE TATLER.
benefit of the world, and not out of any thoughts of private
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 public 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
10 is, to guide and not mislead us. Ever since she took the
liquor, which I call " BickerstafFs 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
cosmetic 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
20 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 good
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
30 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 Depingle's ; there were
two of them, namely, Damia and Clidamira, (I assure you
A VISIT TO DON SALTERO'S. 15
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
To put them to the trial, " Look ye," said I, " I must not
rashly give my judgment in matters of this importance ; 10
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 curtsied low enough to me) and began. Never,
were two in the world so equally matched, 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 will fire
the house." Both smiled ; for, by the bye, there is no carry
ing a metaphor too far, when a lady's charms are spoken
of. Somebody, I think, has called a fine woman dancing, " a 20
brandished torch of beauty." These rivals moved with such
an agreeable freedom, that you would believe their gesture
was the necessary effect of the music, 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 half-hour ; and, I protest, I saw no
manner of difference in their perfections, until they came up
together, and expected sentence. " Look ye, ladies," said I, 30
" 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 showing an equal
merit to what she pretends to. Therefore, Cliduinira, you
are a pretty ; but, Damia, you are a very pretty lady : for "
16 THE TATLER.
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."
Being of a very spare and hective constitution, I am forced
to make frequent journeys of a mile or two for fresh air ;
and indeed by this last, which was no farther than the
village of Chelsea, I am farther convinced of the necessity of
10 travelling to know the world ; for, as it is usual with young
voyagers, as soon as they land upon a shore, to begin their
accounts of the nature of the people, their soil, their govern
ment, their inclinations, and their passions ; so really I
fancied I could give you an immediate description of this
village, from the five fields where the robbers lie in wait,
to the coffee-house where the Literati sit in council. A
great ancestor of ours by the mother's side, Mr. Justice
Overdo (whose history is written by Ben Jonson), met with
more enormities by walking incognito than he was capable
20 of correcting ; and found great mortifications in observing
also persons of eminence, whom he before knew nothing of.
Thus it fared with me, even in a place so near the town as
this. When I came into the coffee-house, I had not time
to salute the company, before my eye was diverted by ten
thousand gimcracks round the room, and on the ceiling.
When my first astonishment was over, comes to me a sage
of a thin and meagre countenance ; which aspect made me
doubt, whether reading or fretting had made it so philo
sophic : but I very soon perceived him to be of that sect
30 which the ancients call Gingivistse ; in our language, tooth-
drawers. I immediately had a respect for the man ; for
these practical philosophers go upon a rational hypothesis,
not to cure, but take away the part affected. My love of
mankind made me very benevolent to Mr. Salter ; for such
is the name of this eminent barber and antiquary. Men
are usually, but unjustly distinguished rather by their
A VISIT TO DON SALTERO'S. 17
fortunes than their talents, otherwise this personage would
make a great figure in that class of men which I distinguish
under the title of Odd Fellows. But it is the misfortune of
persons of great genius to have their faculties dissipated
by attention to too many things at once. Mr. Salter is an
instance of this : if he would wholly give himself up to
the string, instead of playing twenty beginnings to tunes, he
might, before he dies, play Roger de Caubly quite out. I
heard him go through his whole round, and indeed I think
he does play the merry " Christ Church Bells " pretty justly ; 10
but he confessed to me, he did that rather to show he was
orthodox, than that he valued himself upon the music itself.
Or, if he did proceed in his anatomy, why might he not hope
in time to cut off legs, as well as draw teeth ? The particu
larity of this man put me into a deep thought, whence it
should proceed, that of all the lower order, barbers should
go further in hitting the ridiculous than any other set of
men. Watermen brawl, cobblers sing : but why must a
barber be for ever a politician, a musician, an anatomist, a
poet, and a physician ? The learned Vossius says his barber 20
used to comb his head in Iambics. And indeed, in all
ages, one of this useful profession, this order of cosmetic
philosophers, has been celebrated by the most eminent hands.
You see the barber in Don Quixote is one of the principal
characters in the history ; which gave me satisfaction in the
doubt, why Don Saltero writ his name with a Spanish ter
mination : for he is descended in a right line, not from John
Tradescant, as he himself asserts, but from that memorable
companion of the knight of Mancha. And I hereby certify
all the worthy citizens who travel to see his rarities, that 30
his double-barrelled pistols, targets, coats of mail, his
Sclopeta and sword of Toledo, were left to his ancestor by
the said Don Quixote, and by the said ancestor to all his
progeny down to Don Saltero. Though I go thus far in
favour of Don Saltero's great merit, I cannot allow a liberty
he takes of imposing several names (without my licence) on
18 THE TATLER.
the collections he has made, to the abuse of the good people
of England ; one of which is particularly calculated to deceive
religious persons, to the great scandal of the well-disposed,
and may introduce heterodox opinions. He shows you a
straw-hat, which I know to be made by Madge Peskad,
within three miles of Bedford ; and tells you, " It is Pontius
Pilate's wife's chambermaid's sister's hat." To my knowledge
of this very hat it may be added, that the covering of straw
was never used among the Jews, since it was demanded of
10 them to make bricks without it. Therefore this is really
nothing but, under the specious pretence of learning and
antiquities, to impose upon the world. There are other
things which I cannot tolerate among his rarities : as,
the china figure of a lady in the glass-case ; the Italian
engine for the imprisonment of those who go abroad with
it : both which I hereby order to be taken down, or else he
may expect to have his letters patent for making punch
superseded, be debarred wearing his muff next winter, or
ever coming to London without his wife. It may perhaps
20 be thought, I have dwelt too long upon the affairs of this
operator ; but I desire the reader to remember, that it is
my way to consider men as they stand in merit, and not
according to their fortune or figure ; and if he is in a coffee
house at the reading hereof, let him look round, and he will
find, there may be more characters drawn in this account
than that of Don Saltero ; for half the politicians about him,
he may observe, are by their place in nature, of the class of
ON FASHIONABLE HOURS. 19
V. ON FASHIONABLE HOUES.
No. 263.] December 14, 1710.
Minimi contentos nocte Britannos.
Juv. Sat. ii. 161.
Britons contented with the shortest night.
From my own Apartment, December 13.
AN old friend of mine being lately come to town, I went
to see him on Tuesday last about eight o'clock in the
evening, with a design to sit with him an hour or two,
and talk over old stories ; but, upon enquiry after him, I
found he was gone to bed. The next morning, as soon as
I was up and dressed, and had despatched a little busi
ness, I came again to my friend's house about eleven 10
o'clock, with a design to renew my visit ; but, upon asking
for him, his servant told me he was just sat down to dinner.
In short, I found that my old-fashioned friend religiously
adhered to the example of his forefathers, and observed
the same hours that had been kept in the family ever since
It is very plain, that the night was much longer for
merly in this island than it is at present. By the night,
I mean that portion of time which nature has thrown into
darkness, and which the wisdom of mankind had formerly 20
dedicated to rest and silence. This used to begin at eight
o'clock in the evening, and conclude at six in the morning.
The curfew, or eight o'clock bell, was the signal through
out the nation for putting out their candles and going to
Our grandmothers, though they were wont to sit up the
last in the family, were all of them fast asleep at the
same hours that their daughters are busy at crimp and
basset. Modern statesmen are concerting schemes, and
engaged in the depth of politics, at the time when their 30
20 THE TATLER.
forefathers were laid down quietly to rest, and had nothing
in their heads but dreams. As we have thus thrown
business and pleasure into the hours of rest, and by that
means made the natural night but half as long as .it should
be, we are forced to piece it out with a great part of the
morning ; so that near two-thirds of the nation lie fast
asleep for several hours in broad day light. This irregu
larity is grown so very fashionable at present, that there
is scarce a lady of quality in Great Britain that ever saw
10 the sun rise. And, if the humour increases in proportion
to what it has done of late years, it is not impossible but
our children may hear the bellman going about the streets
at nine o'clock in the morning, and the watch making
their rounds until eleven. This unaccountable disposition
in mankind to continue awake in the night, and sleep in
the sunshine, has made me enquire, whether the same
change of inclination has happened to any other animals ?
For this reason, I desired a friend of mine in the country
to let me know, whether the lark rises as early as he
20 did formerly ; and whether the cock begins to crow at
his usual hour. My friend answered me, "that his poultry
are as regular as ever, and that all the birds and beasts
of his neighbourhood keep the same hours that they have
observed in the memory of man ; and the same which,
in all probability, they have kept for these five thousand
If you would see the innovations that have been made
among us in this particular, you may only look into the
hours of colleges, where they still dine at eleven, and
30 sup at six, which were doubtless the hours of the whole
nation at the time when those places were founded. But
at present, the courts of justice are scarce opened in
Westminster-hall at the time when William Bufus used
to go to dinner in it. All business is driven forward.
The land-marks of our fathers, if I may so call them, are
removed, and planted further up into the day ; insomuch,
ON FASHIONABLE HOURS. 21
that I am afraid our clergy will be obliged, if they expect
full congregations, not to look any more upon ten o'clock in
the morning as a canonical hour. In my own memory, the
dinner has crept by degrees from twelve o'clock to three,
and where it will fix nobody knows.
I have sometimes thought to draw up a memorial in
the behalf of Supper against Dinner, setting forth, that
the said Dinner has made several encroachments upon the
said Supper, and entered very far upon his frontiers ;
that he has banished him out of several families, and in 10
all has driven him from his headquarters, and forced him
to make his retreat into the hours of midnight ; and, in
short, that he is now in danger of being entirely con
founded and lost in a breakfast. Those who have read
Lucian, and seen the complaints of the letter T against S,
upon account of many injuries and usurpations of the same
nature, will not, I believe, think such a memorial forced
and unnatural. If dinner has been thus postponed, or, if
you please, kept back from time to time, you may be
sure that it has been in compliance with the other 20
business of the day, and that supper has still observed a
proportionable distance. There is a venerable proverb,
which we have all of us heard in our infancy, of " putting
the children to bed, and laying the goose to the fire."
This was one of the jocular sayings of our forefathers,
but may be properly used in the literal sense at present.
Who would not wonder at this perverted relish of those who
are reckoned the most polite part of mankind, that prefer
sea-coals and candles to the sun, and exchange so many
cheerful morning hours, for the pleasures of midnight 30
revels and debauches 1 If a man was only to consult his
health, he would choose to live his whole time, if possible,
in daylight ; and to retire out of the world into silence
and sleep, while the raw damps and unwholesome vapours
fly abroad, without a sun to disperse, moderate, or control
them. For my own part, I value an hour in the morning
22 THE TATLER.
as much as common libertines do an hour at midnight.
When I find myself -awakened into being, and perceive
my life renewed within me, and at the same time see the
whole face of nature recovered out of the dark, uncomfort
able state in which it lay for several hours, my heart
overflows with such secret sentiments of joy and gratitude,
as are a kind of implicit praise to the great Author of
Nature. The mind, in these early seasons of the day, is so
refreshed in all its faculties, and borne up with such new
10 supplies of animal spirits, that she finds herself in a state of
youth, especially when she is entertained with the breath of
flowers, the melody of birds, the dews that hang upon the
plants, and all those other sweets of nature that are peculiar
to the morning.
It is impossible for a man to have this relish of being,
this exquisite taste of life, who does not come into the world
before it is in all its noise and hurry ; who loses the rising
of the sun, the still hours of the day, and, immediately upon
his first getting up, plunges himself into the ordinary cares
20 or follies of the world.
VI. FASHIONABLE AFFECTATIONS.
No. 77.] October 5, 1709.
Quicquid agunt homines
.... nostri est farrago libelli. Juv. Sat. I 85, 86.
Whatever good is done, whatever ill,
By human kind, shall this collection fill.
From my own Apartment, October 5.
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 at present I
am obliged to undertake for their reformation. They have
30 generally taken up a kind of inverted ambition, and affect
FASHIONABLE AFFECTATIONS. 23
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, sanguine, and healthy look, who entertained us
with an account of his diet-drink ; though, to my knowledge,
he is as sound 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 10
want of stomach or rest every day until 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 public. About five years ago,
I remember, it was the fashion to be short-sighted. 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 20
every quarter of the pit and side-boxes. However, that ]
mode of infirmity is out, and the age has recovered its sight: j
but the blind seemed to be succeeded by the lame, and a
jaunty limp is the present beauty. I think I have formerly
observed, 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 genteely 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 30
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
24 THE TATLER.
a race of lispers, fine persons, who took an aversion to
particular letters in our language. Some never uttered the
letter H ; and others had as mortal an aversion to S.
Others have had their fashionable defect in their ears, and
would make you repeat all you 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
10 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 so
over complaisantly, that this martial prince gave him so
great a box on the ear, as set all the heads of the court
This humour takes place in our minds as well as bodies.
I know at this time a young gentleman, who talks atheisti-
20 cally all day in coffee-houses, and in his degrees of under
standing 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
Of the like turn are all 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
30 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 are as fond as an alderman. I do not know but some
times these pretences may arise from a desire to conceal a
contrary defect than that 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
FASHIONABLE AFFECTATIONS. 25
desire us to take his sword from him when he grew fuddled,
for it was his misfortune to be quarrelsome.
There are many, many of these evils, which demand my
observation ; but because I have of late been thought some
what 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
and the like particulars, I take to proceed from that noble
thirst of fame and reputation which is planted in the hearts 10
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 praise-worthy. As the
desire of fame in men of true wit and gallantry shows itseli
in proper instances, the same desire in men who have the
ambition without proper faculties, runs wild and discovers
itself in a thousand extravagancies, by which they wouki
signalize themselves from others, and gain a set of admirers.
When I was a middle-aged man, there were many societies 20
of ambitious young men in England, who, in their pursuits
after fame, were every night employed in roasting porters,
smoking cobblers, knocking down watchmen, overturning
constables, breaking windows, blackening signposts, and the
like immortal enterprises, that dispersed their reputation
throughout the whole kingdom. One could hardly find a
knocker at a door in a whole street after a midnight
expedition of these beaux esprits. I was lately very much
surprised by an account of my maid, who entered my
bed-chamber this morning in a very great fright, and told 30
me, she was afraid my parlour was haunted ; for that she
had found several panes of my windows broken, and the
floor strewed with half-pence. I have not yet a full light
into this new way, but am apt to think, that it is a generous
piece of wit that some of my contemporaries make use of, to
break windows, and leave money to pay for them.
26 THE TATLER.
VII. ADVICE TO LADIES ON EXERCISE AND
No. 248.] November 9, 1710.
Media sese tulit obvia silva
Virginis os habitumque gerens.
Yirg. JSn. i 314.
Lo ! in the deep recesses of the wood,
Before my eyes a beauteous form appears,
A virgin's dress, and modest looks she wears.
From my own Apartment, November 8.
IT may perhaps appear ridiculous, but I must confess,
this last summer, as I was riding in Enfield-chase, I met
a young lady whom I could hardly get out of my head,
10 and for ought I know, my heart, ever since. She was
mounted 011 a pad, with a very well-fancied furniture.
She set her horse with a very graceful air ; and, when I
saluted her with my hat, she bowed to me so obligingly
that whether it was her civility or beauty that touched
me so much, I know not ; but I am sure I shall never
forget her. She dwells in my imagination in a figure so
much to her advantage, that if I were to draw a picture of
youth, health, beauty, or modesty, I should represent any
or all of them, in the person of that young woman.
20 I do not find that there are any descriptions in the
ancient poets so beautiful as those they draw of nymphs
in their pastoral dresses and exercises. Virgil gives Venus
the habit of a Spartan huntress when she is to put ^Eneas
in his way, and relieve his cares with the most agreeable
object imaginable. Diana and her train are always de
scribed as inhabitants of the woods, and followers of the
chase. To be well diverted, is the safest guard to inno
cence ; and, methinks, it should be one of the first things
to be regarded among people of condition, to find out
30 proper amusements for young ladies. I cannot but think
ADVICE TO LADIES ON EXERCISE. 27
this of riding might easily be revived among them, when
they consider how much it must contribute to their
beauty. This would lay up the best portion they could
bring into a family, a good stock of health, to transmit to
their posterity. Such a charming bloom as this gives the
countenance, is very much preferable to the real or affected
feebleness or softness, which appear in the faces of our
The comedy, called, The Ladies' Cure, represents the \
affectation of wan looks and languid glances to a very JO
entertaining extravagance. There is, as the lady in the
play complains, something so robust in perfect health,
that it is with her a point of breeding and delicacy to
appear in public with a sickly air. But the natural gaiety
and spirit which shine in the complexion of such as form
to themselves a sort of diverting industry, by choosing
recreations that are exercises, surpass all the false orna
ments and graces that can be put on by applying the
whole dispensary of a toilet. A healthy body, and a
cheerful mind, give charms as irresistible as inimitable. 20
The beauteous Dyctinna, who came to town last week, has,
from the constant prospect in a delicious country, and the
moderate exercise and journeys in the visits she made
round it, contracted a certain life in her countenance, which
will in vain employ both the painters and the poets to
represent. The becoming negligence in her dress, the severe
sweetness of her looks, and a certain innocent boldness in
all her behaviour, are the effect of the active recreations I
am talking of.
But instead of such, or any other as innocent and 30
pleasing method of passing away their time with alacrity,
we have many in town who spend their hours in an
indolent state of body and mind, without either recreations
or reflections. I am apt to believe there are some parents
imagine their daughters will be accomplished enough, if
nothing interrupts their growth, or their shape. According
28 THE TATLER.
to this method of education, I could name you twenty
families, where all the girls hear of, in this life, is,, that it
is time to rise and come to dinner, as if they were so in
significant as to be wholly provided for when they are fed
It is with great indignation that I see such crowds of
the female world lost to human society, and condemned
to a laziness, which makes life pass away with less relish
than in the hardest labour. Palestris, in her drawing-room,
10 is supported by spirits to keep off the returns of spleen and
melancholy, before she can get over half of the day for want
of something to do, while the wench in the kitchen sings and
scours from morning to night.
The next disagreeable thing to a lazy lady, is a very
busy one. A man of business in good company, who
gives an account of his abilities and despatches, is hardly
more insupportable than her they call a notable woman,
and a manager. Lady Good-day, where I visited the
other day, at a very polite circle, entertained a great lady
20 with a recipe for a poultice, and gave us to understand,
that she had done extraordinary cures since she was last
in town. It seems a countryman had wounded himself
with his scythe as he was mowing, and we were obliged
to hear of her charity, her medicine, and her humility,
in the harshest tone and coarsest language imaginable.
What I would request in all this prattle is, that our
females would either let us have their persons, or their
minds, in such perfection as nature designed them.
The way to this is, that those who are in the quality of
30 gentlewomen, should propose to themselves some suitable
method of passing away their time. This would furnish
them with reflections and sentiments proper for the
companions of reasonable men, and prevent the unnatural
marriages which happen every day between the most
accomplished women and the veriest oafs, the worthiest
men and the most insignificant females. Were the general
ADVICE TO LADIES ON EXERCISE. 29
turn of women's education of another kind than it is at
present, we should want one another for more reasons
than we do as the world now goes. The common design
of parents, is to get their girls off as well as they can ;
and they make no conscience of putting into our hands a
bargain for our whole life, which will make our hearts
ache every day of it. I shall, therefore, take this matter
into serious consideration, and will propose, for the better
improvement of the fair sex, a Female Library. This
collection of books shall consist of such authors as do not 10
corrupt while they divert, but shall tend more immedi
ately to improve them as they are women. They shall be
such as shall not hurt a feature by the austerity of their
reflections, nor cause one impertinent glance by the
wantonness of them. They shall all tend to advance the
value of their innocence as virgins, improve* their under
standing as wives, and regulate their tenderness as
parents. It has been very often said in these lucubra
tions, " that the ideas which most frequently pass through
our imaginations, leave traces of themselves in our 20
countenances." There shall be a strict regard had to this
in my Female Library, which shall be furnished with
nothing that shall give supplies to ostentation or imperti
nence ; but the whole shall be so digested for the use of
my students, that they shall not go out of character in
their enquiries, but their knowledge appear only a culti
30 THE TATLER.
VIII. ON LADIES' DRESS.
No. 151.] March 28, 1710.
Ni vis boni
In ipsa inesset forma, heec formam extinguerent. Ter.
These things would extinguish beauty, if there were not an innate
pleasure-giving energy in beauty itself.
From my own Apartment, March 27.
WHEN artists would expose their diamonds to an advantage,
they usually set them to show in little cases of black velvet.
By this means the jewels appear in their true and genuine
lustre, while there is no colour that can infect their bright-
10 ness, or give a false cast to the water. When I was at the
opera the other night, the assembly of ladies in mourning
made me consider them in the same kind of view. A dress
wherein there is so little variety shows the face in all its
natural charms, and makes one differ from another only as it
is more or less beautiful. Painters are ever careful of
offending against a rule which is so essential in all just re
presentations. The chief figure must have the strongest
point of light, and not be injured by any gay colourings that
may draw away the attention to any less considerable part of
20 the picture. The present fashion obliges everybody to be
dressed with prtJpfiety, and makes the ladies' faces the prin--
objectsfol sight. Every beautiful person shines out in
the excelleinsrWith which nature has adorned her; gaudy
ribbons and glaring colours being now out of use, the sex has
no opportunity given them to disfigure themselves, which
they seldom fail to do whenever it lies in their power. When
a woman comes to her glass, she does not employ her time in
1 making herself look more advantageously what she really is ;
I but endeavours to be as much another creature as she pos-
30 sibly can. Whether this happens because they stay so long,
and attend their work so diligently, that they forget the
faces and persons which they first sat down with, or, what-
ON LADIES' DRESS. 31
ever it is, they seldom rise from the toilet the same women
they appeared when they began to dress. What jewel can
the charming Cleora place in her ears that can please her be
holders so much as her eyes ? The cluster of diamonds upon
the breast can add no beauty to the fair chest of ivory which
supports it. It may indeed tempt a man to steal a woman,
but never to love her. Let Thalestris change herself into
a motley party-coloured animal : the pearl necklace, the
flowered stomacher, the artificial nosegay, and shaded furbe
low, may be of use to attract the eye of the beholder, and 10
turn it from the imperfections of her features and shape.
But if ladies will take my word for it (and as they dress
to please men, they ought to consult our fancy rather than
their own in this particular,) I can assure them, there is
nothing touches our imagination so much as a beautiful
woman in a plain dress. There might be more agreeable
ornaments found in our own manufacture, than any that
rise out of the looms of Persia.
This, I know, is a very harsh doctrine to womankind, who
are carried away with everything that is showy, and with 20
what delights the eye, more than any other species of living
creatures whatsoever. Were the minds of the sex laid open,
we should find the chief idea in one to be a tippet, in another
a muff, in a third a fan, and in a fourth a farthingale. The
memory of an old visiting lady is so filled with gloves, silks,
and ribbons, that I can look upon it as nothing else but
a toy-shop. A matron of my acquaintance, complaining of
her daughter's vanity, was observing, that she had all of a
sudden held up her head higher than ordinary, and taken an
air that showed a secret satisfaction in herself, mixed with a 30
scorn of others. " I did not know," says my friend, "what
to make of the carriage of this fantastical girl, until I was
informed by her eldest sister, that she had a pair of striped
garters on." This odd turn of mind often makes the sex un
happy, and disposes them to be struck with everything that
makes a show, however trifling and superficial.
32 THE TATLER.
Many a lady has fetched a sigh at the toss of a wig, and
been ruined by the tapping of a snuff-box. It is impossible
to describe all the execution that was done by the shoulder-
knot while that fashion prevailed, or to reckon up all the
maidens that have fallen a sacrifice to a pair of fringed
gloves. A sincere heart has not made half so many con
quests as an open waistcoat; and I should be g]ad to see
an able head make so good a figure in a woman's company as
a pair of red heels. A Grecian hero, when he was asked
10 whether he could play upon the lute, thought he had made a
very good reply, when he answered, " No ; but I can make a
great city of a little one." Notwithstanding his boasted
wisdom, I appeal to the heart of any toast in town, whether
she would not think the lutenist preferable to the statesman ?
I do not speak this out of any aversion that I have to the
sex ; on the contrary, I have always had a tenderness for
them ; but, I must confess, it troubles me very much to see
the generality of them place their affections on improper
objects, and give up all the pleasures of life for gewgaws and
Mrs. Margery Bickerstaff, my great aunt, had a thousand
pounds to her portion, which our family was desirous of
keeping among themselves, and therefore used all possible
means to turn off her thoughts from marriage. The method
they took was, in any time of danger, to throw a new gown
or petticoat in her way. When she was about twenty-five
years of age, she fell in love with a man of an agreeable
temper and equal fortune, and would certainly have married
him, had not my grandfather, sir Jacob, dressed her up in a
30 suit of flowered satin ; upon which she set so immoderate a
value upon herself, that the lover was contemned and dis
carded. In the fortieth year of her age she was again
smitten ; but very luckily transferred her passion to a tippet,
which was presented to her by another relation who was in
the plot. This, with a white sarsenet hood, kept her safe in
the family until fifty. About sixty, which generally pro-
ON LADIES' DRESS. 33
duces a kind of latter spring in amorous constitutions, my
aunt Margery had again a colt's tooth in her head; and
would certainly have eloped from the mansion-house, had
not her brother Simon, who was a wise man and a scholar,
advised to dress her in cherry-coloured ribbons, which was
the only expedient that could have been found out by the
wit of man to preserve the thousand pounds in our family,
part of which I enjoy at this time.
This discourse puts me in mind of a humourist mentioned
by Horace, called Eutrapelus, who, when he designed to do a 10
man a mischief, made him a present of a gay suit; and
brings to my memory another passage of the same author,
when he describes the most ornamental dress that a woman
can appear in, with two words, simplex munditiis, which I
have quoted for the benefit of my female readers.
IX. THE TEUMPET CLUB AND ITS MEMBERS.
No. 132.] February 11, 1710.
Habeo senectnti magnam gratiam, quae mihi sermonis aviditatem
auxit, potionis et cibi sustulit. lull. De Senect.
I am much beholden to old age, which has increased my eagerness
for conversation, in proportion as it has lessened my appetites of
hunger and thirst. 20
Shire-Lane, February 10.
AFTER having applied my mind with more than ordinary
attention to my studies, it is my usual custom to relax and
unbend it in the conversation of such as are rather easy
than shining companions. This I find particularly necessary
for me before I retire to rest, in order to draw my slumbers
upon me by degrees, and fall asleep insensibly. This is the
particular use I make of a set of heavy honest men, with
whom I have passed many hours with much indolence,
though not with great pleasure. Their conversation is a kind 30
34 THE TATLER.
of preparative for sleep : it takes the mind down from its
abstractions, leads it into the familiar traces of thought, and
lulls it into that state of tranquillity, which is the condition
of a thinking man, when he is but half awake. After this,
my readers will not be surprised to hear the account which I
am about to give of a club of my own contemporaries, among
whom I pass two or three hours every evening. This I look
upon as taking my first nap before I go to bed. The truth
of it is, I should think myself unjust to posterity, as well as
10 to the society at the Trumpet, of which I am a member, did
not I in some part of my writings give an account of the
persons among whom I have passed almost a sixth part of
my time for these last forty years. Our club consisted
originally of fifteen ; but, partly by the severity of the law
in arbitrary times, and partly by the natural effects of old
age, we are at present reduced to a third part of that
number ; in which, however, we have this consolation, that
the best company is said to consist of five persons. I must
confess, besides the aforementioned benefit which I meet
20 with in the conversation of this select society, I am not the
less pleased with the company, in that I find myself the
greatest wit among them, and am heard as their oracle in all
points of learning and difficulty.
Sir Jeffery Notch, who is the oldest of the club, has been
in possession of the right-hand chair time out of mind, and
is the only man among us that has the liberty of stirring
the fire. This, our foreman, is a gentleman of an ancient
family, that came to a great estate some years before he had
discretion, and run it out in hounds, horses, and cock-
30 fighting ; for which reason he looks upon himself as an
honest, worthy gentleman, who has had misfortunes in the
world, and calls every thriving man a pitiful upstart.
Major Matchlock is the next senior, who served in the last
civil wars, and has all the battles by heart. He does not
think any action in Europe worth talking of since the fight
of Marston Moor ; and every night tells us of his having
THE TRUMPET CLUB AND ITS MEMBERS. 35
been knocked off his horse at the rising of the London
apprentices ; for which he is in great esteem among us.
Honest old Dick Reptile is the third of our society. He is
a good-natured indolent man, who speaks little himself, but
laughs at our jokes ; and brings his young nephew along
with him, a youth of eighteen years old, to show him good
company, and give him a taste of the world. This young
fellow sits generally silent ; but whenever he opens his
mouth, or laughs at any thing that passes, he is constantly
told by his uncle, after a jocular manner, " Ay, ay, Jack, you 10
young men think us fools ; but we old men know you are."
The greatest wit of our company, next to myself, is a
bencher of the neighbouring inn, who in his youth frequented
the ordinaries about Charing Cross, and pretends to have
been intimate with Jack Ogle. He has about ten distichs of
Hudibras without book, and never leaves the club until he
has applied them all. If any modern wit be mentioned, or
any town -frolic spoken of, he shakes his head at the dulness
of the present age, and tells us a story of Jack Ogle.
For my own part, I am esteemed among them, because 20
they see I am something respected by others ; though at the
same time I understand by their behaviour, that I am con
sidered by them as a man of a great deal of learning, but no
knowledge of the world ; insomuch, that the major some
times, in the height of his military pride, calls me the
Philosopher : and Sir Jeffery, no longer ago than last
night, upon a dispute what day of the month it was then in
Holland, pulled his pipe out of his mouth, and cried, " What
does the scholar say to it ? "
Our ci[ub meets precisely at six o'clock in the evening ; but I 30
did not come last evening until half an hour after seven, by
which means I escaped the battle of Naseby, which the
major usually begins at about three quarters after six : I
found also, that my good friend the bencher had already
spent three of his distichs ; and only waited an opportunity
to hear a sermon spoken of, that he might introduce the
36 THE TATLER.
couplet where "a stick" rhymes to "ecclesiastic." At my
entrance into the room, they were naming a red petticoat
and a cloak, by which I found that the bencher had been
diverting them with a story of Jack Ogle.
I had no sooner taken my seat, but Sir Jeffery, to show
his good-will towards me, gave me a pipe of his own
tobacco, and stirred up the fire. I look upon it as a point of
morality, to be obliged by those who endeavour to oblige
me ; and therefore, in requital for his kindness, and to set
10 the conversation a-going, I took the best occasion I could to
put him upon telling us the story of old Gauntlett, which he
always does with very particular concern. He traced up his
descent on both sides for several generations, describing his
diet and manner of life, with his several battles, and
particularly that in which he fell. This Gauntlett was a
game cock, upon whose head the knight, in his youth, had
won five hundred pounds, and lost two thousand. This
naturally set the major upon the account of Edge-hill fight,
and ended in a duel of Jack Ogle's.
20 Old Reptile was extremely attentive to all that was said,
though it was the same he had heard every night for these
twenty years, and, upon all occasions, winked upon his
nephew to mind what passed.
This may suffice to give the world a taste of our innocent
conversation, which we spun out until about ten of the
clock, when my maid came with a lantern to light me home.
I could not but reflect with myself, as I was going out, upon
the talkative humour of old men, and the little figure which
that part of life makes in one who cannot employ his natural
30 propensity in discourses which would make him venerable.
I must own, it makes me very melancholy in company, when
I hear a young man begin a story ; and have often observed,
that one of a quarter of an hour long in a man of five-and-
twenty, gathers circumstances every time he tells it, until it
grows into a long Canterbury tale of two hours by that time
he is threescore.
THE TRUMPET CLUB AND ITS MEMBERS. 37
The only way of avoiding such a trifling and frivolous old
age is, to lay up in our way to it such stores of knowledge
and observation, as may make us useful and agreeable in our
declining years. The mind of man in a long life will become
a magazine of wisdom or folly, and will consequently dis
charge itself in something impertinent or improving. For
which reason, as there is nothing more ridiculous than an
old trifling story-teller, so there is nothing more venerable,
than one who has turned his experience to the entertainment
and advantage of mankind. 10
In short, we, who are in the last stage of life, and are apt
to indulge ourselves in talk, ought to consider, if what we
speak be worth being heard, and endeavour to make our
discourse like that of Nestor, which Homer compares to the
flowing of honey for its sweetness.
I am afraid I shall be thought guilty of this excess I am
speaking of, when I cannot conclude without observing, that
Milton certainly thought of this passage in Homer, when, in
his description of an eloquent spirit, he says,
His tongue dropped manna. 20
X. ON THE LOTTERY.
No. 124] January 24, 1710.
Ex humili magna ad fastigia rerum
Extollit, quoties voluit fortuna jocari.
Juv. Sat. iii. 39.
Fortune can, for her pleasure, fools advance,
And toss them on the wheels of chance. Dry den.
From my own Apartment, January 23.
I WENT on Saturday last to make a visit in the city ; and
as I passed through Cheapside, I saw crowds of people
turning down towards the Bank, and struggling who
38 THE TATLER.
should first get their money into the new-erected lottery.
"Tt gave mFlT~^eiat_.notiQlL-fl|Zt^6 credit of our present-
\government and administration, to find people press_as
eagerly to pay money as theywould 'to receive it ; and,
at the "same 'time, a due respeclT~toT~that boo!y~of men
who have found out so pleasing an expedient for carrying
on the common cause, that they have turned a tax into
)a__diversion. The cheerfulness or~spiiil, and the hupuu oT""
/ success, which this project has occasioned in this great city,
1^ lightens the burden of the war, and put me in mind of
^sonie games, which, they say, were invented by wise men,
who were lovers of their country, to make their fellow-
citizens undergo the tediousness and fatigues of a long
siege. I think there is a kind of homage due to Fortune,
if I may call it so ; and that I should be wanting to my
self, if I did not lay in my pretences to her favour, and
pay my compliments to her by recommending a ticket to
her disposal. For this reason, upon my return to my
lodgings, I sold off a couple of globes and a telescope,
20 which, with the cash I had by me, raised the sum that
was requisite for that purpose. I find by my calculations,
that it is but an hundred and fifty thousand to one
against my being worth a thousand pounds per annum
for thirty-two years ; and if any plumb in the city will
lay me an hundred and fifty thousand pounds to twenty
shillings, which is an even bet, that I am not this for
tunate man, I will take the wager, and shall look upon
him as a man of singular courage and fair dealing ; having
given orders to Mr. Morphew to subscribe such a policy
30 in my behalf, if any person accepts of the offer. I must
confess, I have had such private intimations from the
twinkling of a certain star in some of my astronomical
observations, that I should be unwilling to take fifty
pounds a year for my chance, unless it were to oblige a
particular friend. My chief business at present is to
prepa.re my mind for this change of fortune : for as Seneca,
ON THE LOTTERY. 39
who was a greater moralist, and a much richer man than
I shall be with this addition to my present income, says
" Munera ista Fortunes putatis ? Insidice sunt" " What we
look upon as gifts and presents of Fortune, are traps and
snares which she] lays for the unwary." I am arming
myself against her favours with all my philosophy ; and
that I may not lose myself in such a redundance of
unnecessary and superfluous wealth, I have determined
to settle an annual pension out of it upon a family of
Palatines, and by that means give these unhappy strangers 10
a taste of British property. At the same time, as I have
an excellent servant-maid, whose diligence in attending
me has increased in proportion to my infirmities, I shall
settle upon her the revenue arising out of the ten pounds,
and amounting to fourteen shillings per annum ; with
which she may retire into Wales, where she was born a
gentlewoman, and pass the remaining part of her days in
a condition suitable to her birth and quality. It was
impossible for me to make an inspection into my own
fortune on this occasion, without seeing, at the same time, 20
the fate of others who are embarked in the same adven
ture. And indeed it was a great pleasure to me to observe,
that the war, which generally impoverishes those who
furnish out the expense of it, will by this means give
estates to some, without making others the poorer for it.
I have lately seen several in liveries, who will give as
good of their own very suddenly ; and took a particular
satisfaction in the sight of a young country wench, whom
I this morning passed by as she was whirling her mop
with her petticoats tucked up very agreeably, who, if 30
there is any truth in my art, is within ten months of being
the handsomest great fortune in town. I must confess,
I was so struck with the foresight of what she is to be,
that I treated her accordingly, and said to her " Pray,
young lady, permit me to pass by." I would for this
reason advise all masters and mistresses to carry it with
40 THE TATLER.
great moderation and condescension towards their servants
until next Michaelmas, lest the superiority at that time
should be inverted. I must likewise admonish all my
brethren and fellow-adventurers to fill their minds with
proper arguments for their support and consolation in
case of ill-success. It so happens in this particular, that
though the gainers will have no reason to rejoice, the losers
will have no reason to complain. I remember, the day
after the thousand pound prize was drawn in the penny
10 lottery, I went to visit a splenetic acquaintance of mine,
who was under much dejection, and seemed to me to have
suffered some great disappointment. Upon enquiry, I
found he had put two-pence for himself and his son into
the lottery, and that neither of them had drawn the
thousand pound. Hereupon this unlucky person took
occasion to enumerate the misfortunes of his life, and con
cluded with telling me that he never was successful in
any of his undertakings. I was forced to comfort him with
the common reflection upon such occasions, that men of
20 the greatest merit are not always men of the greatest
success, and that persons of his character must not expect to
be as happy as fools. I shall proceed in the like manner with
my rivals and competitors for the thousand pounds a year,
which we are now in pursuit of ; and that I may give
general content to the whole body of candidates, I shall
allow all that draw prizes to be fortunate, and all that miss
them to be wise.
I must not here omit to acknowledge that I have
received several letters upon this subject, but find one
30 common error running through them all, which is, that
the writers of them believe their fate in these cases
depends upon the astrologer, and not upon the stars ; as
in the following letter from one who, I fear, flatters him
self with hopes of success, which are altogether groundless,
since he does not seem to me so great a fool as he takes
himself to be.
ON THE LOTTERY. 41
" Coming to town, and finding my friend Mr.
Partridge dead and buried, and you the only conjurer in
repute, I am under a necessity of applying myself to
you for a favour, which, nevertheless, I confess it would
better become a friend to ask, than one who is, as I
am, altogether a stranger to you ; but poverty, you know,
is impudent ; and as that gives me the occasion, so that
alone could give me the confidence to be thus unfortunate.
" I am, Sir, very poor, and very desirous to be other- 10
wise : I have got ten pounds, which I design to venture
in the lottery now on foot. What I desire of you is,
that by your art, you will choose such a ticket for me as
shall arise a benefit sufficient to maintain me. I must
beg leave to inform you, that I am good for nothing, and
must therefore insist upon a larger lot than would satisfy
those who are capable, by their own abilities, of adding
something to what you should assign them ; whereas I
must expect an absolute independent maintenance, because,
as I said, I can do nothing. It is possible, after this free 20
confession of mine, you may think I do not deserve to be
rich ; but I hope you will likewise observe, I can ill afford
to be poor. My own opinion is, that I am well qualified
for an estate, and have a good title to luck in a lottery ;
but I resign myself wholly to your mercy, not without
hopes that you will consider the less I deserve, the greater
the generosity in you. If you reject me, I have agreed
with an acquaintance of mine to bury me for ten pounds.
I once more recommend myself to your favour, and bid you
adieu ! " 30
I cannot forbear publishing another letter which I have
received, because it redounds to my own credit, as well as
to that of a very honest footman.
42 THE TATLER.
''Jan. 23, 1710.
" MR. BlCKERSTAFF,
"I am bound in justice to acquaint you that I put
an advertisement into your last paper about a watch that
was lost, and was brought to me on the very day your
paper came out, by a footman ; who told me, that he
would not have brought it if he had not read your
discourse on that day against avarice ; but that since he
had read it, he scorned to take a reward for doing what
10 in justice he ought to do.
"I am, Sir, your most humble Servant,
XI. ON DUELLING.
No. 25.] June 6, 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.
White's Chocolate- House, June 6.
A LETTER from a young lady, written in the most passionate
terms, wherein she laments the misfortune of a gentleman,
20 her lover, who was lately wounded in a duel, has turned
my thoughts to that subject, and inclined me to examine
into the causes which precipitate men into so fatal a folly.
And as it has been proposed to treat of subjects of gallantry
in the article from hence, and no one point in nature is more
proper to be considered by the company who frequent this
place than that of duels, it is worth our consideration to
examine into this chimerical groundless humour, and to lay
every other thought aside, until we have stripped it of all
its false pretences to credit and reputation amongst men.
ON DUELLING. 43
But I must confess, when I consider what I am going
about, and run over in my imagination all the endless crowd
of men of honour who will be offended at such a discourse ;
I am undertaking, methinks, a work worthy an invulnerable
hero in romance, rather than a private gentleman with a
single rapier ; but as 1 am pretty well acquainted by great
opportunities with the nature of man, and know of a truth
that all men fight against their will, the danger vanishes,
and resolution rises upon this subject. For this reason, I
shall talk very freely on a custom which all men wish 10
exploded, though no man has courage enough to resist it.
But there is one unintelligible word, which I fear will
extremely perplex my dissertation, and I confess to you I
find very hard to explain, which is the term " satisfaction."
An honest country gentleman had the misfortune to fall
into company with two or three modern men of honour,
where he happened to be very ill treated; and one of the
company, being conscious of his offence, sends a note to him
in the morning, and tells him, he was ready to give him
satisfaction. "This is fine doing," says the plain fellow ; " last 20
night he sent me away cursedly out of humour, and this
morning he fancies it would be a satisfaction to be run
through the body ! "
As the matter at present stands, it is not to do handsome
actions denominates a man of honour ; it is enough if he
dares to defend ill ones. Thus you often see a common
sharper in competition with a gentleman of the first rank ;
though all mankind is convinced, that a fighting gamester is
only a pickpocket with the courage of a highwayman. One
cannot with any patience reflect on the unaccountable 30
jumble of persons and things in this town and nation, which
occasions very frequently, that a brave man falls by a hand
below that of a common hangman, and yet his executioner
escapes the clutches of the hangman for doing it. I shall
therefore hereafter consider, how the bravest men in other
ages and nations have behaved themselves upon such inci-
44 THE TATLER,
dents as we decide by combat ; and show, from their practice,
that this resentment neither has its foundation from true
reason or solid fame ; but is an imposture, made of cowardice,
falsehood, and want of understanding. For this work, a
good history of quarrels would be very edifying to the
public, and I apply myself to the town for particulars and
circumstances within their knowledge, which may serve to
embellish the dissertation with proper cuts. Most of the
quarrels I have ever known, have proceeded from some
10 valiant coxcomb's persisting in the wrong, to defend some
prevailing folly, and preserve himself from the ingenuous
ness of owning a mistake.
By this means it is called " giving a man satisfaction," to
urge your offence against him with your sword. ... If the
contradiction in the very terms of one of our challenges were
as well explained and turned into downright English, would
it not run after this manner?
" Your extraordinary behaviour last night, and the
20 liberty you were pleased to take with me, makes me this
morning give you this, to tell you, because you are an ill-
bred puppy, I will meet you in Hyde-park an hour hence ;
and because you want both breeding and humanity, I desire
you would come with a pistol in your hand, on horseback,
and endeavour to shoot me through the head, to teach you
more manners. If you fail of doing me this pleasure, I shall
say you are a rascal, on every post in town : and so, sir,
if you will not injure me more, I shall never forgive what
you have done already. Pray, sir, do not fail of getting
30 every thing ready ; and you will infinitely oblige, sir, your
most obedient humble servant, etc."
ON THE ART OF GROWING OLD. 45
XII. ON THE ART OF GROWING OLD.
No. 266.] December 21, 1710.
Rideat, et pulset lasciva decentius setas. Hor. Ep. ii. 2. ult.
Let youth more decent in their follies scoff
The nauseous scene, and hiss thee reeling off. Francis.
From my own Apartment, December 20.
IT would be a good appendix to "The Art of Living and
Dying," if any one would write " The Art of Growing Old,"
and teach men to resign their pretensions to the pleasures
and gallantries of youth, in proportion to the alteration they
find in themselves by the approach of age and infirmities.
The infirmities of this stage of life would be much fewer, if 10
we did not affect those which attend the more vigorous and
active part of our days ; but instead of studying to be wiser,
or being contented with our present follies, the ambition of
many of us is also to be the same sort of fools we formerly
have been. I have often argued, as I am a professed lover of
women, that our sex grows old with a much worse grace
than the other does ; and have ever been of opinion, that
there are more well -pleased old women, than old men. I
thought it a good reason for this, that the ambition of the
fair sex being confined to advantageous marriages, or shin- 20
ing in the eyes of men, their parts were over sooner, and
consequently the errors in the performances of them. The
conversation of this evening has not convinced me of the
contrary ; for one or two fop-women shall not make a balance
for the crowds of coxcombs among ourselves, diversified
according to the different pursuits of pleasure and business.
Returning home this evening a little before my usual
hour, I scarce had seated myself in my easy chair, stirred
the fire, and stroked my cat, but I heard somebody come
rumbling up stairs. I saw my door opened, and a human 30
figure advancing towards me, so fantastically put together,
46 THE TATLER.
that it was some minutes before I discovered it to be my old
and intimate friend, Sam Trusty. Immediately I rose up,
and placed him in my own seat ; a compliment I pay to few.
The first thing he uttered was, "Isaac, fetch me a cup of
your cherry-brandy before you offer to ask any question."
He drank a lusty draught, sat silent for some time, and at
last broke out : " I am come," quoth he, " to insult thee for
an old fantastic dotard, as thou art, in ever defending the
women. I have this evening visited two widows, who are
10 now in that state I have often heard you call an ' after-life ' ;
I suppose you mean by it, an existence which grows out
of past entertainments, and is an untimely delight in the
satisfactions which they once set their hearts upon too much
to be ever able to relinquish. Have but patience," continued
he, "until I give you a succinct account of my ladies, and of
this night's adventure. They are much of an age, but very
different in their characters. The one of them, with all the
advances which years have made upon her, goes on in a
certain romantic road of love and friendship which she fell
20 into in her teens ; the other has transferred the amorous
passions of her first years to the love of cronies, pets, and
favourites, with which she is always surrounded ; but the
genius of each of them will best appear by the account of
what happened to me at their houses. About five this after
noon, being tired with study, the weather inviting, and time
lying a little upon my hands, I resolved, at the instigation
of my evil genius, to visit them ; their husbands having
been our contemporaries. This I thought I could do without
much trouble ; for both live in the very next street. I went
30 first to my lady Camomile ; and the butler, who had lived long
in the family, and seen me often in his master's time, ushered
me very civilly into the parlour, and told me though my lady
had given strict orders to be denied, he was sure I might be
admitted, and bid the black boy acquaint his lady that I was
come to wait upon her. In the window lay two letters, one
broke open, the other fresh sealed with a wafer : the first
ON THE ART OF GROWING OLD. 47
directed to the divine Cosmelia, the second to the charming
Lucinda ; but both, by the indented characters, appeared to
have been writ by very unsteady hands. Such uncommon
addresses increased my curiosity, and put me upon asking
my old friend the butler, if he knew who those persons
were ? " Very well," says he, " that is from Mrs. Furbish to
my lady, an old school-fellow and great crony of her lady
ship's ; and this the answer." I enquired in what county
she lived. ' Oh dear ! " says he, " but just by in the neigh
bourhood. Why, she was here all this morning, and that 10
letter came and was answered within these two hours.
They have taken an odd fancy, you must know, to call one
another hard names ; but, for all that, they love one another
hugely." By this time the boy returned with his lady's
humble service to me, desiring I would excuse her ; for she
could not possibly see me, nor any body else, for it was
" Methinks," says I, " such innocent folly as two old
women's courtship to each other, should rather make you
merry than put you out of humour." " Peace, good Isaac," 20
says he, " no interruption, I beseech you. I got soon to Mrs.
Feeble's ; she that was formerly Betty Frisk ; you must
needs remember her ; Tom Feeble of Brazen Nose fell in
love with her for her fine dancing. Well, Mrs. Ursula,
without further ceremony, carries me directly up to her
mistress's chamber, where I found her environed by four of
the most mischievous animals that can ever infest a family :
an old shock dog with one eye, a monkey chained to one side
of the chimney, a great grey squirrel to the other, and a
parrot waddling in the middle of the room. However, for a 30
while, all was in a profound tranquillity. Upon the mantel-
tree, for I am a pretty curious observer, stood a pot of lam-
betive electuary, with a stick of liquorice, and near it a phial
of rose-water, and powder of tutty. Upon the table lay a
pipe filled with betony and colt's- foot, a roll of wax-candle,
a silver spitting-pot, and a Seville orange. The lady was
48 THE TATLER.
placed in a large wicker-chair, and her feet wrapped up in
flannel, supported by cushions ; and in this attitude, would
you believe it, Isaac, she was reading a romance with
spectacles on. The first compliments over, as she was in
dustriously endeavouring to enter upon conversation, a
violent fit of coughing seized her. This awaked Shock,
and in a trice the whole room was in an uproar ; for the dog
barked, the squirrel squealed, the monkey chattered, the
parrot screamed, and Ursula, to appease them, was more
10 clamorous than all the rest. You, Isaac, who know how any
harsh noise affects my head, may guess what I suffered from
the hideous din of these discordant sounds. At length all
was appeased, and quiet restored : a chair was drawn for me,
where I was no sooner seated, but the parrot fixed his horny
beak, as sharp as a pair of shears, in one of my heels, just
above the shoe. I sprung from the place with an unusual
agility, and so, being within the monkey's reach, he snatches
off my new bob-wig, and throws it upon two apples that
were roasting by a sullen sea-coal fire. I was nimble enough
20 to save it from any further damage than singeing the fore-
top. I put it on ; and composing myself as well as I could,
I drew my chair towards the other side of the chimney.
The good lady, as soon as she had recovered breath,
employed it in making a thousand apologies, and, with great
eloquence, and a numerous train of words, lamented my
misfortune. In the middle of her harangue, I felt some
thing scratching near my knee, and feeling what it should
be, found the squirrel had got into my coat pocket. As I
endeavoured to remove him from his burrow, he made his
30 teeth meet through the fleshy part of my fore finger. This
gave me an inexpressible pain. The Hungary water was
immediately brought to bathe it, and goldbeaters' skin
applied to stop the blood. The lady renewed her excuses ;
but being now out of all patience, I abruptly took my leave,
and hobbling down stairs with heedless haste, I set my foot
full in a pail of water, and down we came to the bottom
ON THE ART OF GROWING OLD. 49
together." Here my friend concluded his narrative, and,
with a composed countenance, I began to make him com
pliments of condolence ; but he started from his chair, and
said, " Isaac, you may spare your speeches, I expect no reply.
When I told you this, I knew you would laugh at me ; but
the next woman that makes me ridiculous shall be a young
XIII. THE SACHEVERELL TRIAL, AND OTHER
No. 142.] March 7, 1709.
Shire-Lane, March 6.
ALL persons who employ themselves in public, are still
interrupted in the course of their affairs ; and, it seems, the 10
admired cavalier Nicolim himself is commanded by the
ladies, who at present employ their time with great assiduity
in the care of the nation, to put off his day until he shall
receive their commands, and notice that they are at leisure
for diversions. In the mean time it is not to be expressed,
how many cold chickens the fair-ones have eaten since this
day sevennight for the good of their country. This great
occasion has given birth to many discoveries of high moment
for the conduct of life. There is a toast of my acquaintance
who told me, " she had now found out, that it was day before 20
nine in the morning " ; and I am very confident, if the affair
hold many days longer, the ancient hours of eating will be
revived among us, many having by it been made acquainted
with the luxury of hunger and thirst.
There appears, methinks, something very venerable in all
assemblies : and I must confess, I envied all who had youth
and health enough to make their appearance there, that they
had the happiness of being a whole day in the best company
in the world. During the adjournments of that awful court,
a neighbour of mine was telling me, that it gave him a 30
50 THE TATLER.
notion of the ancient grandeur of the English hospitality, to
see Westminster-Hall a dining-room. There is a cheerful
ness in such repasts, which is very delightful to tempers
which are so happy as to be clear of spleen and vapour ; for,
to the jovial, to see others pleased is the greatest of all
But, since age and infirmities forbid my appearance at
such public places, the next happiness is to make the best
use of privacy, and acquit myself of the demands of my
10 correspondents. The following letter is what has given me
no small inquietude, it being an accusation of partiality, and
disregard to merit, in the person of a virtuoso, who is the
most eloquent of all men upon small occasions, and is the
more to be admired for his prodigious fertility of invention,
which never appears but upon subjects which others would
have thought barren. But in consideration of his uncommon
talents, I am contented to let him be the hero of my next
two days, by inserting his friend's recommendation of him at
20 "Nando's, Feb. 28, 1709.
" DEAR COUSIN,
" I am just come out of the country, and upon perusing
your late lucubrations, I find Charles Lillie to be the darling
of your affections ; that you have given him a place, and
taken no small pains to establish him in the world ; and, at
the same time, have passed by his name-sake, at this end of
the town, as if he was a citizen defunct, and one of no use in
a commonwealth. I must own, his circumstances are so good,
and so well known, that he does not stand in need of having
30 his fame published to the world ; but, being of an ambitious
spirit, and an aspiring soul, he would be rather proud of the
honour, than desirous of the profit, which might result from
your recommendation. He is a person of a particular genius,
the first that brought toys in fashion, and baubles to
perfection. He is admirably well versed in screws, springs,
and hinges, and deeply read in knives, combs, or scissors,
THE SACHEVERELL TRIAL. 51
buttons, or buckles. He is a perfect master of words, which,
uttered with a smooth voluble tongue, flow into a most
persuasive eloquence ; insomuch, that I have known a
gentleman of distinction find several ingenious faults with a
toy of his, and show his utmost dislike to it, as being either
useless or ill-contrived ; but when the orator, behind the
counter, had harangued upon it for an hour and a half,
displayed its hidden beauties, and revealed its secret per
fections, he has wondered how he had been able to spend so
great a part of his life without so important a utensil. I 10
will not pretend to furnish out an inventory of all the
valuable commodities that are to be found at his shop.
" I shall content myself with giving an account of what I
think most curious. Imprimis, his -pocket-books are very
neat and well contrived, not for keeping bank-bills, or
goldsmiths notes, I confess ; but they are admirable for
registering the lodgings of Madonas, and for preserving
letters from ladies of quality. His whips and spurs are so
nice, that they will make one that buys them ride a fox
hunting, though before he hated noise and early rising, and 20
was afraid of breaking his neck. His seals are curiously
fancied, and exquisitely well cut, and of great use to
encourage young gentlemen to write a good hand. Ned
Puzzle-post has been ill used by his writing master, and
writ a sort of Chinese, or downright Scrawlian ; however,
upon his buying a seal of my friend, he is so much improved
by continual writing, that it is believed in a short time one
may be able to read his letters, and find out his meaning,
without guessing. His pistols and fusees are so very good,
that they are fit to be laid up among the finest china. Then 30
his tweezer-cases are incomparable : you shall have one not
much bigger than your finger, with seventeen several
instruments in it, all necessary every hour of the day, during
the whole course of a man's life. But if this virtuoso excels
in one thing more than another, it is in canes. He has spent
his most select hours in the .knowledge of them ; and is
52 THE TATLER.
arrived at that perfection, that he is able to hold forth upon
canes longer than upon any one subject in the world. In
deed, his canes are so finely clouded, and so well made up,
either with gold or amber heads, that I am of the opinion
it is impossible for a gentleman to walk, talk, sit, or stand,
as he should do, without one of them. He knows the value
of a cane, by knowing the value of the buyer's estate. Sir
Timothy Shallow has two thousand pounds per annum, and
Tom Empty, one. They both at several times bought a cane
10 of Charles : sir Timothy's cost ten guineas, and Tom Empty's
five. Upon comparing them, they were perfectly alike. Sir
Timothy, surprised there should be no difference in the
canes, and so much in the price, comes to Charles : ' Charles,'
says he, 'you have sold me a cane here for ten pieces, and
the very same to Tom Empty for five.' * Sir Timothy,' says
Charles, ' I am concerned that you, whom I took to under
stand canes better than any baronet in town, should be so
overseen ! ' ' Why, sir Timothy, your's is a true Jambee,
and esquire Empty's only a plain Dragon.'
20 "This virtuoso has a parcel of Jambees now growing in
the East Indies, where he keeps a man on purpose to look
after them, which will be the finest that ever landed in
Great Britain, and will be fit to cut about two years hence.
Any gentleman may subscribe for as many as he pleases.
Subscriptions will be taken in at his shop at ten guineas
each joint. They that subscribe for six shall have a Dragon
gratis. This is all I have to say at present concerning
Charles's curiosities ; and hope it may be sufficient to
prevail with you to take him into your consideration, which
30 if you comply with, you will oblige
"Your humble servant."
N.B. "Whereas there came out, last term, several gold
snuff-boxes, and others : this is, to give notice, that Charles
will put out a new edition on Saturday next, which will be
the only one in fashion until after Easter. The gentleman
that gave fifty pounds for the box set with diamonds, may
THE SACHEVERELL TRIAL. 53
show it until Sunday night, provided he goes to church ; but
not after that time, there being one to be published on
Monday, which will cost fourscore guineas.
XIV. ON LONG-WINDED PEOPLE.
No. 264.] December 16, 1710.
Favete linguis. Hor. Od. iii. 2. 2.
Favour your tongues.
From my own Apartment, December 15.
BOCCALINI, in his " Parnassus," indicts a laconic writer for
speaking that in three words which he might have said in
two, and sentences him for his punishment to read over all
the works of Guicciardini. This Guicciardini is so very 10
prolix and circumstantial in his writings, that I remember
our countryman, doctor Donne, speaking of that majestic
and concise manner in which Moses has described the
creation of the world, adds, " that if such an author as
Guicciardini were to have written on such a subject, the
world itself would not have been able to have contained the
books that gave the history of its creation."
I look upon a tedious talker, or what is generally known
by the name of a story-teller, to be much more insufferable
than even a prolix writer. An author may be tossed out of 20
your hand, and thrown aside when he grows dull and tire
some ; but such liberties are so far from being allowed
towards your orators in common conversation, that I have
known a challenge sent a person for going out of the room
abruptly, and leaving a man of honour in the midst of a dis
sertation. This evil is at present so very common and
epidemical, that there is scarce a coffee-house in town that
has not some speakers belonging to it, who utter their
political essays, and draw parallels out of Baker's "Chronicle,"
54 THE TATLER.
to almost every part of her majesty's reign. It was said of
two ancient authors, who had very different beauties in their
style, " that if you took a word from one of them, you only
spoiled his eloquence ; but if -you took a word from the other,
you spoiled his sense." I have often applied the first part of
this criticism to several of these coffee-house speakers whom
I have at present in my thoughts, though the character that
is given to the last of those authors, is what I would recom
mend to the imitation of my loving countrymen. But it is
10 not only public places of resort, but private clubs and con
versations over a bottle, that are infested with this loquacious
kind of animal, especially with that species which I compre
hend under the name of a story-teller. I would earnestly
desire these gentlemen to consider, that no. point of wit or
mirth at the end of a story can atone for the half hour that
has been lost before they come at it. I would likewise lay
it home to their serious consideration, whether they think
that every man in the company has not a right to speak as
well as themselves ? and whether they do not think they
20 are invading another man's property, when they engross the
time which should be divided equally among the company to
their own private use ?
What makes this evil the much greater in conversation is,
that these humdrum companions seldom endeavour to wind
up their narrations into a point of mirth or instruction,
which might make some amends for the tediousness of them ;
but think they have a right to tell any thing that has
happened within their memory. They look upon matter
of fact to be a sufficient foundation for a story, and give
30 us a long account of things, not because they are entertaining
or surprising, but because they are true.
My ingenious kinsman, Mr. Humphry Wagstaff, used to
say, "the life of man is too short for a story-teller."
Methusalem might be half an hour in telling what o'clock
it was : but as for us postdiluvians, we ought to do every
thing . in haste ; and in our speeches, as well as actions,
ON LONG-WINDED PEOPLE. 55
remember that our time is short. A man that talks for a
quarter of an hour together in company, if I meet him
frequently, takes up a great parti of my span. A quarter of
an hour may be reckoned the eight-and-fortieth part of a
day, a day the three hundred and sixtieth part of a year,
and a year the threescore and tenth part of life. By this
moral arithmetic, supposing a man to be in' the talking
world one third part of the day, whoever gives another a
quarter of an hour's hearing, makes him a sacrifice of more
than the four hundred thousandth part of his conversable 10
I would establish but one great general rule to be observed
in all conversation, which is this, " that men should not talk
to please .themselves, but those that hear them." This would
make them consider, whether what they speak be worth
hearing ; whether there be either wit or sense in what they
are about to say ; and, whether it be adapted to the time
when, the place where, and the person to whom, it is spoken.
For the utter extirpation of these orators and story
tellers, which I look upon as very great pests of society, 20
I have invented a watch which divides the minute into
twelve parts, after the same manner that the ordinary
watches are divided into hours : and will endeavour to get
a patent, which shall oblige every club or company to pro
vide themselves with one of these watches, that shall lie
upon the table, as an hour-glass is often placed near the
pulpit, to measure out the length of a. discourse.
I shall be willing to allow a man one round of my watch,
that is, a whole minute, to speak in ; but if he exceeds that
time, it shall be lawful for any of the company to look upon 30
the watch, or to call him down to order.
Provided, however, that if any one can make it appear
he is turned of threescore, he may take two, or, if he pleases,
three rounds of the watch without giving offence. Provided,
also, that this rule be not construed to extend to the fair
sex, who shall still be at liberty to talk by the ordinary
56 THE TATLER.
watch that is now in use. I would likewise earnestly
recommend this little automaton, which may be easily
carried in the pocket without any incumbrance, to all such
as are troubled with this infirmity of speech, that upon
pulling out their watches, they may have frequent occasion
to consider what they are doing, and by that means cut the
thread of the story short, and hurry to a conclusion. I
shall only add, that this watch, with a paper of directions
how to use it, is sold at Charles Lillie's.
10 I am afraid a Tatler will be thought a very improper
paper to censure this humour of being talkative ; but I
would have my readers know that there is a great difference
between tattle and loquacity, as I shall show at large in a
following lucubration ; it being my design to throw away a
candle upon that subject, in order to explain the whole art
of tattling in all its branches and subdivisions.
XV. BETTEETON THE ACTOE.
No. 167.] May 4, 1710.
Segnius irritant animos demissa per aurem,
Quam quae sunt oculis subjecta fidelibus.
Hor. Ars Poet. 180.
. . . What we hear
20 "With weaker passion will affect the heart,
Than when the faithful eye. beholds the part, Francis.
From my own Apartment^ May 2.
HAVING received notice, that the famous actor, Mr. Better-
ton was to be interred this evening in the cloisters near
Westminster-abbey, I was resolved to walk thither ; and
see the last office done to a man whom I had always very
much admired, and from whose action I had received more
strong impressions of what is great and noble in human
nature, than from the arguments of the most solid philo-
BETTERTON THE ACTOR, - 57
sophers, or the descriptions of the most charming poets I
had ever read. As the rude and untaught multitude are
no way wrought upon more effectually, than by seeing
public punishments and executions ; so men of letters and
education feel their humanity most forcibly exercised, when
they attend the obsequies of men who had arrived at any
perfection in liberal accomplishments. Theatrical action is
to be esteemed as such, except it be objected that we cannot
call that an art which cannot be attained by art. Voice,
stature, motion, and other gifts, must be very bountifully 10
bestowed by nature, or labour and industry will but push
the unhappy endeavourer in that way the further off his
Such an actor as Mr. Betterton ought to be recorded
with the same respect as Roscius among the Romans. The
greatest orator has thought fit to quote his judgment, and
celebrate his life. Roscius was the example .to all that
would form themselves into proper and winning behaviour.
His action was so well adapted to the sentiments he ex
pressed, that the youth of Rome thought they wanted only 20
to be virtuous, to be as graceful in their appearance as
Roscius. The imagination took a lovely impression of what
was great and good ; and they, who never thought of
setting up for the art of imitation, became themselves
There is no human invention so aptly calculated for the
forming a free-born people as that of a theatre. Tully
reports, that the celebrated player of whom I am speaking,
used frequently to say, " The perfection of an actor is only
to become what he is doing." Young men, who are too 30
unattentive to receive lectures, are irresistibly taken with
performances. Hence it is, that I extremely lament the
little relish the gentry of this nation have, at present, for
the just and noble representations in some of our tragedies.
The operas, which are of late introduced, can leave no
trace behind them that can be of service beyond the present
58 THE TATLER.
moment. To sing and to dance, are accomplishments very
few have any thoughts of practising ; but to speak justly,
and move gracefully, is what every man thinks he does
perform, or wishes he did.
I have hardly a notion, that any performer of antiquity
could surpass the action of Mr. Betterton in any -of the
occasions in which he has appeared on our stage. The
wonderful agony which he appeared in, when he examined
the circumstance of the handkerchief in Othello ; the mix-
10 ture of love that intruded upon his mind, upon the innocent
answers Desdemona makes, betrayed in his gesture such a
variety and vicissitude of passions, as would admonish a
man. to be afraid of his own heart ; and perfectly convince
him, that it is to" stab it, to admit that worst of daggers,
jealousy. Whoever reads in his closet this admirable scene,
will find that he cannot, except he has as warm an imagina
tion as Shakespeare himself, find any but dry, incoherent,
and broken sentences : 'but a reader that has seen Betterton
act it, observes, there could not be a word added ; that
20 longer speeches had been . unnatural, nay, impossible, in
Othello's circumstances. The charming passage in the same
tragedy, where he tells the manner of winning the affection
. of his mistress, was urged with so moving and graceful an
energy, that, while I walked in the cloisters, I thought of
him with the same concern as if I waited for the remains
of a person who had in real life done all that I had seen
him represent. The gloom of the place, and faint lights
before the ceremony appeared, contributed to the melancholy
disposition I was. in; and I began to be extremely afflicted,
30 that Brutus and Cassius had any difference ; that Hotspur's
gallantry was so unfortunate ; and that the mirth and good
humour of Falstaff could not exempt him from the grave.
Nay, this occasion, in me who look upon the distinctions
amongst men to be merely scenical, raised reflections upon
the emptiness of all human perfection and greatness in
general ; and I could not but regret, that the sacred heads
BETTERTON THE ACTOR. 59
which lie buried in the neighbourhood of this little portion
of earth, in which my poor old friend is deposited, are
returned to dust as well as he, and that there is no differ
ence in the grave between the imaginary and the real
monarch. This made me say of human life itself with
To-morrow, to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in a stealing pace from day to day
To the last moment of recorded time !
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools 10
To their eternal night ! Out, out, short candle,
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more.
The mention I have here made of Mr. Betterton, for
whom I had, as long as I have known any thing, a very
great esteem and gratitude for the pleasure he gave me,
can do him no good ; but it may possibly be of service to
the unhappy woman he has left behind him, to have it
known, that this great tragedian was never in a scene half 20
so moving, as the circumstances of his affairs created at
his departure. His wife, after a cohabitation of forty years
in the strictest amity, has long pined away with a sense
of his decay, as well in his person as his little fortune ;
and, in proportion to that, she has herself decayed both in
her health and reason. Her husband's death, added to her
age and infirmities, would certainly have determined her life,
but that the greatness of her distress has been her relief,
by a present deprivation of her senses. This absence of
reason is her best defence against age, sorrow, poverty, 30
and sickness. I dwell upon' this account so distinctly, in
obedience to a certain great spirit who hides her name,
and has by letter applied to me to recommend to her some
object of compassion, from whom she may be concealed.
This, I think, is a proper occasion for exerting such
heroic generosity ; and as there is an ingenuous shame in
60 THE TATLER.
those who have known better fortune, to be reduced to
receive obligations, as well as a becoming pain in the truly
generous to receive thanks ; in this case both those delicacies
are preserved ; for the person obliged is as incapable of
knowing her benefactress, as her benefactress is unwilling
to be known by her.
XVI. DON QUIXOTE IN THE COFFEE-HOUSES.
No. 178.] May 30, 1710.
Shire-Lane, May 29.
WHEN we look into the delightful history of the most
ingenious Don Quixote of the Mancha, and consider the
10 exercises and manner of life of that renowned gentleman, we
cannot but admire the exquisite genius and discerning spirit
of Michael Cervantes ; who has not only painted his ad
venturer with great mastery in the conspicuous parts of his
story, which relate to love and honour ; but also intimated
in his ordinary life, in his economy and furniture, the in
fallible symptoms he gave of his growing frenzy, before he
declared himself a Knight Errant. His hall was furnished
with old lances, halberds, and morions ; his food, lentils ;
his dress, amorous. He slept moderately, rose early, and
20 spent his time in hunting. When by watchfulness and
exercise he was thus qualified for the hardships of his
intended peregrinations, he had nothing more to do but to
fall hard to study ; and before he should apply himself to
the practical part, get into the methods of making love and
war by reading books of knighthood. As for raising tender
passions in him, Cervantes reports that he was wonderfully
delighted with a smooth intricate sentence ; and when they
listened at his study-door, they could frequently hear him
read aloud, " The reason of the unreasonableness, which
30 against my reason is wrought, doth so weaken my reason, as
DON QUIXOTE IN THE COFFEE-HOUSES. 61
with all reason I do justly complain of your beauty." Again,
he would pause until he came to another charming sentence,
and, with the most pleasing accent imaginable, be loud at a
new paragraph : " The high heavens, which with your
divinity, do fortify you divinely with the stars, make you
deserveress of the deserts that your greatness deserves."
With these and other such passages, says my author, the
poor gentleman grew distracted, and was breaking his brains
day and night to understand and unravel their sense.
As much as the case of this distempered knight is re- 10
ceived by all the readers of his history as the most incurable
and ridiculous of all frenzies ; it is very certain, we have
crowds among us far gone in as visible a madness as his,
though they are not observed to be in that condition. As
great and useful discoveries are sometimes made by acci
dental and small beginnings, I came to the knowledge of the
most epidemic ill of this sort, by falling into a coffee-house,
where I saw my friend the upholsterer, whose crack towards
politics I have heretofore mentioned. This touch in the
brain of the British subject, is as certainly owing to the 20
reading newspapers, as that of the Spanish worthy above-
mentioned to the reading works of chivalry. My contem
poraries, the novelists, have, for the better spinning out
paragraphs, and working down to the end of their columns,
a most happy art in saying and unsaying, giving hints of
intelligence, and interpretations of indifferent actions, to the
great disturbance of the brains of ordinary readers. This way
of going on in the words, and making no progress in the sense,
is more particularly the excellency of my most ingenious and
renowned fellow-labourer, the Post-man : and it is to this 30
talent in him that I impute the loss of my upholsterer's
intellects. That unfortunate tradesman has, for years past,
been the chief orator in ragged assemblies, and the reader in
alley coffee-houses. He was yesterday surrounded by an
audience of that sort, among whom I sat unobserved, through
the favour of a cloud of tobacco, and saw him with the
62 THE TATLER.
Post-man in his hand, and all the other papers safe under his
elbow. He was intermixing remarks, and reading the Paris
article of May the thirtieth, which says, "That it is given
out that an express arrived this day with advice, that the
armies were so near in the plain of Lens, that they cannon
aded each other." "Ay, ay, here we shall have sport."
" And that it was highly probable the next express would
bring us an account of an engagement.'' " They are welcome
as soon as they please." " Though some others say that the
10 same will be put off until the second or third of June, because
the Marshall Viilars expects some further reinforcements
from Germany, and other parts, before that time." " What
does he put it off for ? Does he think our horse is not
marching up at the same time ? But let us see what he says
further." "They hope that Monsieur Albergotti, being
encouraged by the presence of so great an army, will make
an extraordinary defence." " Why then, I find Albergotti
is one of those that love to have a great many on their side.
.Nay, I say that for this paper, he makes the most natural
20 inferences of any of them all." " The elector of Bavaria, being
uneasy to be without any command, has desired leave to
come to court, to communicate a. certain project to his
majesty. Whatever it be, it is said, that prince is suddenly
expected ; and then we shall have a more certain account of
his project, if this report has any foundation." "Nay, this
paper never imposes upon us ; he goes upon sure grounds ;
for he will not be positive the elector has a project, or that
he will come, or if he does come at all ; for he doubts, you
see, whether the report has any foundation."
30 What makes this the more lamentable is, that this way of
writing falls in with the imaginations of the cooler and duller
part of her majesty's subjects. The being kept up with one
line contradicting another; and the whole, after many
sentences of conjecture, vanishing in a doubt whether there
is any thing at all in what the person has been reading, puts
an ordinary head into a vertigo, which his natural dulness
DON QUIXOTE IN THE COFFEE-HOUSES. 63
would have secured him from. Next to the labours of the
Post-man, the upholsterer took from under his elbow honest
Ichabod Dawks's Letter, and there, among other speculations,
the historian takes upon him to say, " That it is discoursed
that there will be a battle in Flanders before the armies
separate, and many will have it to be to-morrow, the great
battle of Ramillies being fought on a Whitsunday." A
gentleman, who was a wag in this company, laughed at the
expression, and said, " By Mr. Dawks's favour, I warrant
you, if we meet them on Whitsunday or Monday we shall 10
not stand upon the day with them, whether it be before or
after the holidays." An admirer of this gentleman stood up,
and told a neighbour at a distant table the conceit ; at which
indeed we were all very merry. These reflections, in the
writers of the transactions of the times, seize the noddles of
such as were not born to have thoughts of their own, and
consequently lay a weight upon every thing which they read
in print. But Mr. Dawks concluded his paper with a
courteous sentence, which was very well taken and applauded
by the whole company. " We wish," says he, " all our 20
customers a merry Whitsuntide and many of them." Honest
Ichabod is as extraordinary a man as any of our fraternity,
and as particular. His style is a dialect between the famili
arity of talking and writing, and his letter such as you
cannot distinguish whether print or manuscript, which gives
us a refreshment of the idea from what has been told us from
the press by others. This wishing a good Tide had its effect
upon us, and he was commended for his salutation, as
showing as well the capacity of a bell-man as a historian.
My distempered old acquaintance read, in the next place. 30
the account of the affairs abroad in the Courant : but the
matter was told so distinctly, that these wanderers thought
there -was no news in it ; this paper differing from the rest,
as a history from a romance. The tautology, the contra
diction, the doubts, and wants of confirmations, are what
keep up imaginary entertainments in empty heads and
64 THE TATLER.
produce neglect of their own affairs, poverty, and bankruptcy,
in many of the shop -statesmen ; but turn the imaginations
of those of a little higher orb into deliriums of dissatis
faction, which is seen in a continual fret upon all that
touches their brains, but more particularly upon any advan
tage obtained by their country, where they are considered
as lunatics, and therefore tolerated in their ravings.
What I am now warning the people of is, that the news
papers of this island are as pernicious to weak heads in
10 England, as ever books of chivalry to Spain ; and therefore
shall do all that in me lies, with the utmost care and
vigilance imaginable, to prevent these growing evils.
XVII. ON SATIRE.
No. 242.] October 26, 1710.
Tarn patiens urbis, tarn ferrens ut teneat se?
Juv. Sat. i. 30.
To view so lewd a town, and to refrain,
"What hoops of iron could my spleen contain? Dryden.
IT was with very great displeasure I heard this day a man
say of a companion of his, with an air of approbation, " You
know Tom never fails of saying a spiteful thing. He has
2Q a great deal of wit, but satire is his particular talent. Did
you mind how he put the young fellow out of countenance
that pretended to talk to him ? " Such impertinent
applauses, which one meets with every day, put me upon
. considering, what true raillery and satire were in themselves ;
and this, methought, occurred to me from reflection upon
the great and excellent persons that were admired for talents
this way. When I had run over several such in my thoughts,
I concluded, however unaccountable the assertion might
appear at first sight, that good-nature was an essential
ON SATIRE. 65
quality in a satirist, and that all the sentiments which are
beautiful in this way of writing, must proceed from that
quality in the author. Good nature produces a disdain of ^/
all baseness, vice, and folly : which prompts them to express
themselves with smartness against the errors of men, with
out bitterness towards their persons. This quality keeps
the mind in equanimity, and never lets an offence unseason
ably throw a man out of his character. When Virgil said,
" he that did not hate Bavius might love Maevius/' he was
in perfect good humour ; and was not so much moved at 10
their absurdities, as passionately to call them sots, or block
heads in a direct invective, but laughed at them with a
delicacy of scorn, without any mixture of anger.
The best good man with the worst-natur'd muse,
was the character among us of a gentleman as famous for
his humanity as his wit.
The ordinary subjects for satire are such as incite the
greatest indignation in the best tempers, and consequently
men of such a make are the best qualified for speaking of
the offences in human life. These men can behold vice and 20
folly, when they injure persons to whom they are wholly
unacquainted, with the same severity as others resent the
ills they do to themselves. A good-natured man cannot
see an overbearing fellow put a bashful man of merit out
of countenance, or out-strip him in the pursuit of any
advantage, but he is on fire to succour the oppressed, to
produce the merit of the one, and confront the impudence
of the other.
The men of the greatest character in this kind were
Horace and Juvenal. There is not, that I remember, one ill- 30
natured expression in all their writings, nor one sentence
of severity, which does not apparently proceed from the
contrary disposition. Whoever reads them, will, I believe,
be of this mind ; and if they were read with this view, it
might possibly persuade our young fellows, that they may
66 THE TATLER.
be very witty men without speaking ill of any but those
who deserve it. But, in the perusal of these writers, it may
not be unnecessary to consider, that they lived in very
different times. Horace was intimate with a prince of
the greatest goodness and humanity imaginable, and his
court was formed after his example : therefore the faults
that poet falls upon were little inconsistencies in behaviour,
false pretences to politeness, or impertinent affectations of
what men were not fit for. Vices of a coarser sort could
10 not come under his consideration, or enter the palace of
Augustus. Juvenal, on the other hand, lived under
Domitian, in whose reign every thing that was great and
noble was banished the habitations of the men in power.
Therefore he attacks vice as it passes by in triumph, not
as it breaks into conversation. The fall of empire, contempt
of glory, and a general degeneracy of manners, are before
his eyes in all his writings. In the days of Augustus, to
have talked like Juvenal had been madness ; or in those
of Domitian, like Horace. Morality and virtue are every
20 where recommended in Horace, as became a man in a polite
court, from the beauty, the propriety, the convenience of
pursuing them. Vice and corruption are attacked by
Juvenal in a style which denotes, he fears he shall not be
heard without he calls to them in their own language, with
a barefaced mention of the villanies and obscenities of his
This accidental talk of these two great men carries me
from my design, which was to tell some coxcombs that run
about this town with the name of smart satirical fellows,
30 that they are by no means qualified for the characters they
pretend to, of being severe upon other men ; for they want
good -nature. There is no foundation in them for arriving
at what they aim at ; and they may as well pretend to
natter as rally agreeably, without being good-natured.
There is a certain impartiality necessary to make what a
man says bear any weight with those he speaks to. This
ON SATIRE. 67
quality, with respect to men's errors and vices, is never
seen but in good-natured men. They have ever such a
frankness of mind, and benevolence to all men, that they
cannot receive impressions of unkindness without mature
deliberation ; and writing or speaking ill of a man upon
personal considerations, is so irreparable and mean an injury,
that no one possessed of this quality is capable of doing it :
but in all ages there have been interpreters to authors when
living, of the same genius with the commentators into whose
hands they fall when dead. I dare say it is impossible for 10
any man of more wit than one of these to take any of the
four-and-twenty letters, and form out of them a name to
describe the character of a vicious man with greater life,
but one of these would immediately cry, " Mr. Such-a-one is
meant in that place." But the truth of it is, satirists
describe the age, and backbiters assign their descriptions to
In all terms of reproof, when the sentence appears to arise
from personal hatred or passion, it is not then made the
cause of mankind, but a misunderstanding between two 20
persons. For this reason the representations of a good-
natured man bear a pleasantry in them, which shows there
is no malignity at heart, and by consequence they are
attended to by his hearers or readers, because they are
unprejudiced. This deference is only what is due to him ;
for no man thoroughly nettled can say a thing general
enough, to pass off with the air of an opinion declared, and
not a passion gratified. I remember a humorous fellow at
Oxford, when he heard any one had spoken ill of him, used
to say, " I will not take my revenge of him until I have 30
forgiven him." What he meant by this was, that he would
not enter upon this subject until it was grown as indifferent
to him as any other : and I have by this rule, seen him more
than once triumph over his adversary with an inimitable
spirit and humour ; for he came to the assault against a man
full of sore places and he himself invulnerable.
68 THE TATLER.
There is no possibility of succeeding in a satirical way of
writing or speaking, except a man throws himself quite out
of the question. It is great vanity to think any one will
attend to a thing, because it is your quarrel. You must
make your satire the concern of society in general if you
would have it regarded. When it is so, the good-nature
of a man of wit will prompt him to many brisk and dis
dainful sentiments and replies, to which all the malice in
the world will not be able to repartee,
XVIII. ON NOBLE INDEPENDENCE.
No. 251.] November 15, 1710.
10 Quisnam igitur liber ? Sapiens, sibique imperiosus ;
Quern neque pauperies, neque mors, nee vincula terrent :
Responsare cupidinibus, contemnere honores
Fortis, et in seipso totus teres atque rotundus,
Extern! ne quid valeafc per leve morari ;
In quern manca ruit semper fortuna. Hor. Sett. ii. 7. 83.
Who then is free? The wise, who well maintains
An empire o'er himself ; whom neither chains
Nor want, nor death, with slavish fear inspire,
Who boldly answers to his warm desire,
20 Who can ambition's vainest gifts despise,
Firm in himself who on himself relies,
Polish'd and round who runs his proper course,
And breaks misfortune with superior force. Francis.
From my own Apartment, November 15.
IT is necessary to an easy and happy life, to possess our
minds in such a manner as to be always well satisfied with
our own reflections. The way to this state is to measure our
actions by our own opinion, and not by that of the rest of
the world. The sense of other men ought to prevail over us
30 in things of less consideration, but not in concerns where
truth and honour are engaged. When we look into the
ON NOBLE INDEPENDENCE. 69
bottom of things, what at first appears a paradox is a plain
truth ; and those professions, which, for want of being duly
weighed, seem to proceed from a sort of romantic philosophy,
and ignorance of the world, after a little reflection, are so
reasonable, that it is direct madness to walk by any other
rules. Thus to contradict our desires, and to conquer the
impulses of our ambition, if they do not fall in with what we
in our inward sentiments approve, is so much our interest,
and so absolutely necessary to our real happiness, that to
contemn all the wealth and power in the world, where they 10
stand in competition with a man's honour, is rather good
sense than greatness of mind.
Did we consider that the mind of a man is the man him
self, we should think it the most unnatural sort of self-
murder to sacrifice the sentiment of the soul to gratify the
appetites of the body. Bless us ! is it possible, that when
the necessities of life are supplied, a man would flatter to be
rich, or circumvent to be powerful ! When we meet a poor
wretch, urged with hunger and cold, asking an alms, we are
apt to think this a state we could rather starve than submit 20
to : but yet how much more despicable is his condition, who is
above necessity, and yet shall resign his reason and his
integrity to purchase superfluities ! Both these are abject
and common beggars ; but sure it is less despicable to beg
a supply to a man's hunger than his vanity. But custom
and general prepossessions have so far prevailed over an un
thinking world, that those necessitous creatures, who cannot
relish life without applause, attendance, and equipage, are
so far from making a contemptible figure, that distressed
virtue is less esteemed than successful vice. But if a man's 30
appeal, in cases that regard his honour, were made to his
own soul, there would be a basis and standing rule for our
conduct, and we should always endeavour rather to be, than
appear honourable. Mr. Collier in his " Essay on Fortitude,"
has treated this subject with great wit and magnanimity.
" What," says he, " can be more honourable than to have
70 THE TATLER.
courage enough to execute the commands of reason and con
science ; to maintain the dignity of our nature, and the
station assigned us ? to be proof against poverty, pain, and
death itself ? I mean so far as not to do any thing that is
scandalous or sinful to avoid them. To stand adversity
under all shapes with decency and resolution ! To do this, is
to be great above title and fortune. This argues the soul of
a heavenly extraction, and is worthy the offspring of the
10 What a generous ambition has this man pointed to us?
When men have settled in themselves a conviction, by such
noble precepts, that there is nothing honourable which is not
accompanied with innocence ; nothing mean but what has
guilt in it : I say, when they have attained thus much,
though poverty, pain, and death, may still retain their
terrors, yet riches, pleasures, and honours, will easily lose
their charms, if they stand between us and our integrity.
What is here said with allusion to fortune and fame, may
as justly be applied to wit and beauty ; for these latter are
20 as adventitious as the other, and as little concern the essence
of the soul. They are all laudable in the man who possesses
them, only for the just application of them. A bright imag
ination, while it is subservient to an honest and noble soul,
is a faculty which makes a man justly admired by mankind,
and furnishes him with reflections upon his own actions,
which add delicates to the feast of a good conscience : but
when wit descends to wait upon sensual pleasures or promote
the base purposes of ambition, it is then to be contemned in
proportion to its excellence. If a man will not resolve to
30 place the foundation of his happiness in his own mind, life is
a bewildered and unhappy state, incapable of rest or tran
quillity. For to such a one, the general applause of valour,
wit, nay of honesty itself, can give him but a very feeble
comfort ; since it is capable of being interrupted by any one
who wants either understanding or good-nature to see or
acknowledge such excellencies. This rule is so necessary,
ON NOBLE INDEPENDENCE. 71
that one may very safely say, it is impossible to know any
true relish of our being without it. Look about you in
common life among the ordinary race of mankind, and you
will find merit in every kind is allowed only to those who
are in particular districts or sets of company ; but, since men
can have little pleasure in these faculties which denominate
them persons of distinction, let them give up such an empty
pursuit, and think nothing essential to happiness but what is
in their own power ; the capacity of reflecting with pleasure
on their own actions, however they are interpreted. 10
It is so evident a truth, that it is only in our own bosoms
we are to search for any thing to make us happy, that it is,
methinks, a disgrace to our nature to talk of taking our
measures from thence only, as a matter of fortitude. When
all is well there, the vicissitudes and distinctions of life are
the mere scenes of a drama ; and he will never act his part
well, who has his thoughts more fixed upon the applause of
the audience than the design of his part.
The life of a man who acts with a steady integrity, with
out valuing the interpretation of his actions, has but one 20
uniform regular path to move in, where he cannot meet
opposition, or fear ambuscade. On the other side, the least
deviation from the rules of honour introduces a train of
numberless evils, and involves him in inexplicable mazes.
He that has entered into guilt has bid adieu to rest ; and
every criminal has his share of the misery expressed so
emphatically in the tragedian,
Macbeth shall sleep no more !
It was with detestation of any other grandeur but the
calm command of his own passions, that the excellent Mr. 30
Cowley cries out with so much justice :
If e'er ambition did my fancy cheat
With any thought so mean as to be great,
Continue, heaven, still from me to remove
The humble blessings of that life I love i
72 THE TATLER,
XIX. ON DISAPPOINTED AMBITION.
No. 202.] July 25, 1710.
Est Ulubris, animus si te non deficit tequus.
Hor. Ep. i. xi ver. ult.
True happiness is to no spot confin'd
If you preserve a firm and equal mind,
'Tis here, 'tis there, and everywhere.
From my own Apartment, July 24.
THIS afternoon I went to visit a gentleman of my acquaint
ance at Mile-End ; and passing through Stepney church
yard, I could not forbear entertaining myself with the
10 inscriptions on the tombs and graves. Among others, I
observed one with this notable memorial :
"Here lies the body of T. B."
This fantastical desire of being remembered only by the
two first letters of a name, led me into the contemplation
of the vanity and imperfect attainments of ambition in
general. When I run back in my imagination all the men
whom I have ever known and conversed with in my whole
life, there are but very few who have not used their
faculties in the pursuit of what it is impossible to acquire ;
20 or left the possession of what they might have been, at
their setting out, masters, to search for it where it was out
of their reach. In this thought it was not possible to forget
the instance of Pyrrhus, who proposing to himself in dis
course with a philosopher, one, and another, and another
conquest, was asked, what he would do after all that?
"Then," says the king, "we will make merry." He was
well answered, "What hinders your doing that in the
condition you are already ?" The restless desire of exerting
themselves above the common level of mankind is not to
30 be resisted in some tempers ; and minds of this make may
ON DISAPPOINTED AMBITION. 73
be observed in every condition of life. Where such men
do not make to themselves, or meet with employment, the
soil of their constitution runs into tares and weeds. An
old friend of mine, who lost a major's post forty years ago,
and quitted, has ever since studied maps, encampments,
retreats, and countermarches ; with no other design but to
feed his spleen and ill-humour, and furnish himself with
matter for arguing against all the successful actions of
others. He that, at his first setting out in the world, was
the gayest man in our regiment ; ventured his life with 10
alacrity, and enjoyed it with satisfaction ; encouraged men
below him, and was courted by men above him, has been
ever since the most froward creature breathing. His warm
complexion spends itself now only in a general spirit of
contradiction : for which he watches all occasions, and is in
his conversation still upon sentry, treats all men like enemies,
with every other impertinence of a speculative warrior.
He that observes in himself this natural inquietude,
should take all imaginable care to put his mind in some
method of gratification ; or he will soon find himself grow 20
into the condition of this disappointed major. Instead of
courting proper occasions to rise above others, he will be
ever studious of pulling others down to him : it being the
common refuge of disappointed ambition, to ease themselves
by detraction. It would be no great argument against
ambition, that there are such mortal things in the dis
appointment of it ; but it certainly is a forcible exception,
that there can be no solid happiness in the success of it.
If we value popular praise, it is in the power of the meanest
of the people to disturb us by calumny. If the fame of 30
being happy, we cannot look into a village, but we see
crowds in actual possession of what we seek only the
appearance. To this may be added, that there is I know
not what malignity in the minds of ordinary men, to oppose
you in what they see you fond of ; and it is a certain ex
ception against a man's receiving applause, that he visibly
74 THE TATLER.
courts it. However, this is not only the passion of great
and undertaking spirits ; but you see it in the lives of
such as, one would believe, were far enough removed from
the ways of ambition. The rural esquires of this nation
even eat and drink out of vanity. A vain-glorious fox-
hunter shall entertain half a county, for the ostentation
of his beef and beer, without the least affection for any
of the crowd about him. He feeds them, because he thinks
it a superiority over them that he does so ; and they devour
10 him, because they know he treats them out of insolence.
This indeed is ambition in grotesque ; but may figure to
us the condition of politer men, whose only pursuit is
glory. When the superior acts out of a principle of vanity,
the dependant will be sure to allow it him ; because he
knows it destructive of the very applause which is courted
by the man who favours him, and consequently makes him
But as every man living has more or less of this in
centive, which makes men impatient of an inactive con-
20 dition, and urges men to attempt what may tend to their
reputation, it is absolutely necessary they should form to
themselves an ambition, which is in every man's power to
gratify. This ambition would be independent, and would
consist only in acting what, to a man's own mind, appears
most great and laudable. It is a pursuit in the power of
every man, and is only a regular prosecution of what he
himself approves. It is what can be interrupted by no
outward accidents ; for no man can be robbed of his good
intention. One of our society of the Trumpet therefore
30 started last night a notion, which I thought had reason
in it. "It is, rnethinks," said he, "an unreasonable thing,
that heroic virtue should, as it seems to be at present, be
confined to a certain order of men, and be attainable by
none but those whom fortune has elevated to the most
conspicuous stations. I would have every thing to be
esteemed as heroic, which is great and uncommon in the
ON DISAPPOINTED AMBITION. 75
circumstances of the man who performs it." Thus there
would be no virtue in human life, which every one of the
species would not have a pretence to arrive at, and an
ardency to exert. Since fortune is not in our power, let
us be as little as possible in hers. Why should it be
necessary that a man should be rich, to be generous ? If
we measured by the quality and not the quantity of
things, the particulars which accompany an action is what
should denominate it mean or great. The highest station
of human life is to be attained by each man that pretends 10
to it : for every man can be as valiant, as generous, as
wise, and as merciful, as the faculties and opportunities
which he has from heaven and fortune will permit. He
that can say to himself, "I do as much good, and am as
virtuous as my most earnest endeavours will allow me,"
whatever is his station in the world, is to see himself
possessed of the highest honour. If ambition is not thus
turned, it is no other than a continual succession of anxiety
and vexation. But when it has this cast, it invigorates
the mind ; and the consciousness of its own worth is a 20
reward, which is not in the power of envy, reproach, or
detraction, to take from it. Thus the seat of solid honour
is in a man's own bosom ; and no one can want support
who is in possession of an honest conscience, but he who
would suffer the reproaches of it for other greatness.
XX. ON JUDICIOUS FLATTERY.
No. 208.] August 8, 1710.
Si dixeris aestuo, sudat. Juv, Sat. iii. 103.
... If you complain of heat
They rub th' unsweating brow and swear they sweat.
From iny own Apartment, August 7.
AN old acquaintance, who met me this morning, seemed 30
overjoyed to see me, and told me I looked as well as he had
76 THE TATLER.
known me do these forty years : " but," continued he, " not
quite the man you were, when we visited together at Lady
Brightly's. Oh ! Isaac, those days are over. Do you think
there are any such fine creatures now living, as we then
conversed with?" He went on with a thousand incoherent
circumstances, which, in his imagination, must needs please
me ; but they had quite the contrary effect. The flattery
with which he began, in telling me how well I wore, was
not disagreeable ; but his indiscreet mention of a set of
10 acquaintance we had out-lived, recalled ten thousand things
to my memory, which made me reflect upon my present
condition with regret. Had he indeed been so kind as,
after a long absence, to felicitate me upon an indolent and
easy old age ; and mentioned how much he and I had to
thank for, who at our time of day could walk firmly, eat
heartily, and converse cheerfully, he had kept up my
pleasure in myself. But of all mankind, there are none so
shocking as these injudicious civil people. They ordinarily
begin upon something that they know must be a satisfaction ;
20 but then, for fear of the imputation of flattery, they follow
it with the last thing in the world of which you would
be reminded. It is this that perplexes civil persons. The
reason that there is such a general outcry among us against
flatterers is, that there are so very few good ones. It is the
nicest art in this life, and is a part of eloquence which does
not want the preparation that is necessary to all other parts
of it, that your audience should be your well-wishers ; for
praise from an enemy is the most pleasing of all commenda
30 It is generally to be observed, that the person most
agreeable to a man for a constancy is he that has no shining
qualities, but is a certain degree above great imperfections ;
whom he can live with as his inferior, and who will either
overlook, or not observe his little defects. Such an easy
companion as this either now and then throws out a little
flattery, or lets a man silently flatter himself in his superi-
ON JUDICIOUS FLATTERY. 77
ority to him. If you take notice, there is hardly a rich man
in the world, who has not such a led friend of small
consideration, who is a darling for his insignificancy. It is
a great ease to have one in our own shape a species below us,
and who, without being listed in our service, is by nature of
our retinue. These dependants are of excellent use on a
rainy day, or when a man has not a mind to dress ; or to
exclude solitude, when one has neither a mind to that or to
company. There are of this good-natured order, who are so
kind as to divide themselves, and do these good offices to 10
many. Five or six of them visit a whole quarter of the
town, and exclude the spleen, without fees, from the families
they frequent If they do not prescribe physic, they can
be company when you take it. Very great benefactors
to the rich, or those whom they call people at their ease,
are your persons of no consequence. I have known some
of them, by the help of a little cunning, make delicious
flatterers. They know the course of the town, and the
general characters of persons ; by this means they will
sometimes tell the most agreeable falsehoods imaginable. 20
They will acquaint you, that such a one of a quite contrary
party said, "That though you were engaged in different
interests, yet he had the greatest respect for your good
sense and address." When one of these has a little cunning,
he passes his time in the utmost satisfaction to himself and
his friends ; for his position is never to report or speak a
displeasing thing to his friend. As for letting him go on in
an error, he knows, advice against them is the office of
persons of greater talents and less discretion.
The Latin word for a flatterer, assentator, implies no more 30
than a person, that barely consents ; and indeed such a one
if a man were able to purchase or maintain him, cannot be
bought too dear. Such a one never contradicts you ; but
gains upon you, not by a fulsome way of commending you in
broad terms, but liking whatever you propose or utter ; at
the same time, is ready to beg your pardon, and gainsay
78 THE TATLER.
you, if you chance to speak ill of yourself. An old lady
is very seldom without such a companion as this, who can
recite the names of all her lovers, and the matches refused
by her in the days when she minded such vanities, as she is
pleased to call them, though she so much approves the
mention of them. It is to be noted that a woman's flatterer
is generally elder than herself ; her years serving at once to
recommend her patroness's age, and to add weight to her
complaisance in all other particulars.
10 We gentlemen of small fortunes are extremely necessitous
in this particular. I have indeed one who smokes with me
often ; but his parts are so low, that all the incense he does
me is to fill his pipe with me, and to be out at just as many
whiffs as I take. This is all the praise or assent that he
is capable of ; yet there are more hours when I would rather
be in his company than in that of the brightest man I know.
It would be a hard matter to give an account of this
inclination to be flattered ; but if we go to the bottom of it,
we shall find, that the pleasure in it is something like that
20 of receiving money which we lay out. Every man thinks
he has an estate of reputation, and is glad to see one that
will bring any of it home to him. It is no matter how
dirty a bag it is conveyed to him in, or by how clownish a
messenger, so the money be good. All that we want, to be
pleased with flattery, is to believe that the man is sincere
who gives it us. It is by this one accident, that absurd
creatures often outrun the most skilful in this art. Their
want of ability is here an advantage ; and their bluntness,
as it is the seeming effect of sincerity, is the best cover to
Terence introduces a flatterer talking to a coxcomb, whom
he cheats out of a livelihood ; and a third person on the
stage makes on him this pleasant remark, " This fellow has
an art of making fools madmen." The love of flattery is,
indeed, sometimes the weakness of a great mind ; but you
see it also in persons, who otherwise discover no manner
OX JUDICIOUS FLATTERY. 79
of relish of any thing above mere sensuality. These latter
it sometimes improves ; but always debases the former. A
fool is in himself the object of pity, until he is flattered.
By the force of that, his stupidity is raised into affectation,
and he becomes of dignity enough to be ridiculous. I
remember a droll, that upon one's saying, " The times are so
ticklish, that there must great care be taken what one says
in conversation "; answered with an air of surliness and
honesty, "If people will be free, let them be so in the
manner that I am, who never abuse a man but to his face." 10
He had no reputation for saying dangerous truths ; therefore
when it was repeated, " You abuse a man but to his face ? "
"Yes," says he, " I flatter him."
It is indeed the greatest of injuries to flatter any but the
unhappy, or such as are displeased with themselves for some
infirmity. In this latter case we have a member of our
club, who, when Sir Jeffery falls asleep, wakens him with
snoring. This makes Sir Jeffery hold up for some moments
the longer, to see there are men younger than himself
among us, who are more lethargic than he is. 20
When flattery is practised upon any other consideration,
it is the most abject thing in nature ; nay, I cannot think of
any character below the flatterer, except he that envies him.
You meet with fellows prepared to be as mean as possible
in their condescensions and expressions ; but they want
persons and talents to rise up to such a baseness. As a
coxcomb is a fool of parts, so is a flatterer a knave of parts.
The best of this order, that I know, is one who disguises
it under a spirit of contradiction or reproof. He told an
arrant driveller the other day, that he did not care for being 30
in company with him, because he heard he turned his absent
friends into ridicule. And upon Lady Autumn's disputing
with him about something that happened at the Revolution,
he replied with a very angry tone, " Pray, madam, give me
leave to know more of a thing in which I was actually
concerned, than you who were then in your nurse's arms."
MR. BICKERSTAFF ON HIMSELF. No. 1.
P. I, 1. 7. Grecian Coffee-House. In the first number of The
Taller, published on Tuesday, April 12, 1709, Steele, when
describing the character and aims of the new paper, states that
"all accounts of gallantry, pleasure and entertainment shall be
under the article of White's Chocolate House ; poetry, under that
of Will's Coffee-house ; learning, under the title of the Grecian ;
foreign and domestic news, you will have from St. James's Coffee
house ; and what else I have to offer on any other subject shall
be dated from my own apartment." The Grecian Coffee-house
was situated in a small street off the Strand, known as Devereux
Court, closed in 1843. It was the favourite resort of the more
staid and learned men of the period. Here Sir Isaac Newton
had drunk coffee, Addison was a constant visitor, and in later
times Goldsmith played his flute.
1. 8. from an unknown hand ; there is another letter, a charm-
ing one, from this country friend in No. 112 of The Tatler.
1. 14. bills of mortality : these were the earliest form of the
record of births, deaths, and marriages in the British Isles, and
were published weekly. In the Plague year, 1665, Pepys, in an
entry under September, thus refers in his Diary to them, " To
the Tower, and there sent for the weekly Bill and find 8,252 dead
in all, and of these 6,978 of the Plague." It was not until 1836
that a reliable record was kept, when the Registrar-General's
Department was instituted. The earliest attempt to compile
such statistics is said to have been due to Cromwell, Henry VIII. 's
minister. This passage then would mean, that Bickerstaff's name
is more widely known than the mere record of his birth in the
' bills of mortality ' could make it.
1. 18. out of a coffee-house, i.e. except from a coffee-house. The
first coffee-house in England was not in London, but in Oxford,
PP. 1-2.] MR. BICKERSTAFF ON HIMSELF. 81
where a Jew named Jacobs established one ; this was in 1650.
Two years later Mr. Edwards, a merchant, brought with him
from Smyrna to London a Syrian youth named Pasqua Rosee, to
prepare coffee for his private consumption. Shortly afterwards
he allowed Pasqua to start a coffee-house in St. Michael's Alley,
Cornhill ; and this was the first of those houses which rapidly
became such centres of social life and political influence in the
eighteenth century. Amongst the virtues which Pasqua, in his
amusing advertisement, claims for the novel beverage are that
" it much quickens the spirits, and makes the heart lightsome ;
it is good against sore eyes, and the better if you hold your
head over it, and take in the steam that way." Pope refers to
its exhilarating influence in his lines to Henry Cromwell :
" While Coffee shall to British nymphs be dear,
While fragrant steams the bended head shall cheer."
1. 20. to endeavour at the covering, to attempt to conceal or
1. 21. common, common-place.
P. 2, 1. 1. a grotto ; an Italian word derived through the
Latin from the Greek Kpwn-Tr) (pron. krupte), a vault. The
artificial taste of the eighteenth century gave rise to a somewhat
childish eccentricity in the matter of landscape gardening.
Pope's garden at Twickenham is a well-known instance. Here,
within the limited space of five acres, he had "a grove, an
orangery, a wilderness, a mount, a bowling green," besides other
features; but the favourite object of his attention was the famous
'grotto,' which was nothing but an underground tunnel, the
walls of which were thickly covered with shells, stones, fossils,
and other natural curiosities.
1. 3. Tom's, i.e. Tom's Coffee-house. One of the most popular
of the many London coffee-houses. It was situated at No. 17
Russell Street, Co vent Garden ; the house did not disappear until
1865, although it had then long ceased to be a coffee-house.
Will's, "The father of the modern Club." It was a coffee
house kept by one William Urwin, and situated, like Tom's, in
Russell Street. It was Dryden's favourite resort. Here he had
the place of honour by the fire in winter, and on summer days
he sat in a corner of the balcony overlooking the street ; these
places he called his "winter and summer seats." It was to this
coffee-house that Pope, then only twelve years of age, was taken,
in response to earnest entreaties, to see his great master Dryden,
whom he afterwards described as a "plump man, with a down
look, and not very conversible.'
White's, i.e. White's Chocolate-house, established in 1698, in
St. James's Street, and close to St. James's Palace. At this
house the famous White's Club had its origin, which, after
82 NOTES. [PAGES
Addison and Steele had passed away, developed into one of the
greatest gambling clubs in the country. Amongst the original
members were the Earl of Chesterfield, the noted letter-writer
and Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, and Colley Gibber, the only
actor ever elected a member. Swift condemned it as "the bane
of half the English nobility."
1. 4. St. James's, a coffee-house frequented by the Whigs from
the time of Queen Anne, until it was finally closed in 1806.
When Mr. Spectator (Spectator, No. 403) goes his rounds of the
coffee-houses to ascertain the truth about the report of the
French king's death, he says, "that I might begin as near the
fountain-head as possible, I first of all called in at St. James's
where I found the whole outward room in a buzz of politics."
And so Steele selects it as a locality from which foreign news
was to be obtained for The Tatler. This coffee-house was
memorable later on as the place where Goldsmith's poem
Retaliation originated, and was read by its author. Johnson,
Garrick, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Burke, Goldsmith, and others
dined here together. Goldsmith was generally the last of the
party to appear, and on one occasion each member of the
company wrote an epitaph on "the late Dr. Goldsmith." At
their next meeting Goldsmith, in retaliation, produced his poem,
in which he sketched the various members of the party.
1. 9. ingenious, the intellectual people, the wits. The word
was often, at this period, confused with ' ingenuous. '
1. 11. Isaac Bickerstaff. For origin of this name, see Intro
1. 12. justified, vindicated, defended. Cf. Milton, Par. Lost, I. :
" . . . assert Eternal Providence,
And justify the ways of God to men."
1. 18. a complete set. The Tatler was published on Tuesday,
Thursday, and Saturday, the days upon which our ancestors
could post their letters for the country : and thus the paper
contained the latest news for the country subscribers. See
1. 19. lucubrations, a clumsy word from the Latin lucubro
(connected with lux = light), to work by candle-light ; hence, a
work composed by lamp-light, or in retirement, was called a
1. 28. the vulgar, i.e. the generality of people. The word has
changed its meaning since the eighteenth century. Then it
meant no more than 'the people,' and preserved its close relation
ship with its Latin original, rulgus, the multitude, having no sug
gestion of vulgarity.
1. 29. the frolic, i.e. gay and thoughtless people. The word
frolic was originally an adjective, and was borrowed from the
2-4. J MR. BICKERSTAFF ON HIMSELF. 83
Dutch in the sixteenth century (vrolijlc, merry). It is now
obsolescent as an adjective, less rare as a substantive, but
common as a verb. For its use as an adjective, cf. Milton,
" The frolic wind that breathes the wind " ;
and Scott, Lady of the. Lake,
" 'Tis now a seraph bold with touch of fire,
"Pis now the brush of Fairy's frolic wing. ;>
1. 35. elegant, refined ; from Lat. eligo, to select.
P. 3, L 10. advices, communications.
1. 13. impertinence, an unpleasant or intrusive element. The
word properly means an irrelevancy, from Lat. in and pertVMO t
not to belong to.
1. 25. It is remarkable, etc. The conclusion of this essay is
particularly interesting, as, while ostensibly a sketch of the
imaginary Isaac BickerstajFs life, it contains an outline of
Steele's own career, and should be studied from this point of
view. For further allusions to personal incidents see following
1. 31. taw, a Dutch word for a special kind of marble. Dutch
marbles were in former days in much repute.
1. 32. barbarously used, severely punished. Steele (Spectator,
No. 157), in after years, vigorously protested against the cruel
floggings to which schoolboys were subject in the eighteenth
century. "Men were flogged into drill and discipline, they
were flogged into courage, they were flogged into obedience ;
boys were flogged into learning, 'prentices into diligence;
women were flogged into virtue. Father Stick has still his
disciples, but in the last century he was king" (Besant, London).
1. 34. false concords, i.e. grammatical errors in his Latin
exercises. Steele himself did not enter the Charterhouse until
his thirteenth year, i.e. in 1684.
1. 35. the University. Steele did not matriculate at Christ
Church, Oxford, until in his eighteenth year. Addison, who
was his junior by six weeks, entered Magdalen College, Oxford,
at the early age of fifteen. Steele, like Isaac Bickerstaff, left
without taking a degree, and, like him too, immediately enlisted
on leaving the University. See Introduction.
P. 4, 1. 3. the occult sciences, the principal being astrology and
alchemy. The former, an application of astronomical facts for
purposes of prediction, had its origin in the East in very remote
times, the Egyptians and Chaldeans, and later the Romans,
being noted experts. The first half of the seventeenth century
saw an extraordinary revival of the superstition. James I.,
Charles I., and even Oliver Cromwell are said to have consulted
84 NOTES. [PAGES
astrologers. It is worth noticing that Morin, the last of the
great astrologers, died in 1656, ten years after the supposed
birth of Isaac Bickerstajf, who is stated to have been sixty-four
years of age in 1709, and was therefore born in 1646. Alchemy
was the art by which it was pretended that gold and silver could
be made out of the baser metals, the so-called philosopher's stone
being the agent in the imposture. It is an interesting fact in
this connection that Steele himself, before he married for the
first time in 1705, was actually engaged in making chemical
experiments in pursuit of the philosopher's stone (see Aitken's
Life of Steele, Vol. I., p. 143).
1. 4. Oliver Cromwell. The Protector died on the 3rd of
September, 1658, and was buried in Henry VII. 's beautiful
chapel in Westminster Abbey. After the Restoration, Charles
II. directed that the body should be disinterred and hung on a
gallows at Tyburn. After this the remains, with the exception
of the head, were buried at the foot of the gallows. The head
was fixed upon a pole at Westminster Hall. Very recently
(1895) a head, stated on good grounds to have been that of
Oliver Cromwell, has been brought to light in London : a portion
of an iron spike which had been thrust through the skull is still
1. 7. conjurer, used here in its original sense of wizard,
magician. Cf. Beaumont and Fletcher, The Woman-Hater :
" Now do I
Sit like a conjurer within my circle,
And these the devils that are raised about me."
1. 10. Dick's coffee-house, in Fleet Street, called so after Dick
Turner, the proprietor. The house itself was an old one. It
was originally the printing office where Richard Tottel, printer
to Edward VI., Mary, and Elizabeth, published, in 1557, the
first English collection of songs and sonnets, better known as
TotteVs Miscellany. It was in this house that Cowper, the poet,
many years after, developed his first attack of insanity. He
here read a letter in a newspaper which he imagined had been
written with the object of driving him to commit suicide.
The Trumpet. See Essay 9 and notes.
Sheer-lane, otherwise spelled Shire-lane, near Temple Bar.
MEMORIES OF HIS CHILDHOOD. No. 2.
P. 4, 1. 17. no relish of their being, no pleasure in life.
1. 23. instances, proofs, evidence.
1. 25. manes, the spirits. It was the name generally applied
by the Romans to souls when separated from the body. The
4-7.] MEMORIES OF HIS CHILDHOOD. 85
origin of the word is unknown. The inscriptions on Roman
tombs begin with the letters D.M., i.e. Dis Manibus, to remind
the living that the grave was sacred to the departed, and should
not sacrilegiously be disturbed.
1. 27. commemorate, to recall with solemnity. The word
commemoration is still used ecclesiastically for days upon which
the acts of saints are recalled to memory, and in universities for
days upon which a founder's name is recalled with gratitude.
P. 5, 1. 15. by the benefit of, by the kindness or goodness of.
1. 20. poises the heart, places a poise or weight upon the heart,
and so checks its excited and unnatural action.
1. 33. The first sense of sorrow, etc. Although Isaac Bicker-
s^a/f nominally speaks here, this passage has always been accepted
as a touching reference by Steele to his own early sorrow on the
death of his father.
1. 34. my father, Richard Steele, a Dublin solicitor, of Moun-
taine (the present Monkstown), Co. Dublin, and Sub-Sheriff of
the Co. Tipperary in 1672.
P. 6, 1. 2. my mother. The maiden name of Steele's mother
was Elinor Sheyles. She was a widow when Steele's father
married her, having been first the wife of Thomas Symes of
1. 3. battledore, a distortion of the original word, and now still
further incorrectly spelled battledoor. It is a corruption of a
Provenpal word batedor, a washing-beetle ; from battre, to beat,
and -dor, a form of the Latin suffix -tor, expressing the agent.
fell a beating, a in such expressions is equivalent to on.
1. 31. We, that are very old. Isaac Bickerstaff was now sixty-
five years of age. See note p. 4, 1. 3.
1. 32. passages, incidents.
1. 35. ofllce. Steele uses the word in the sense of an act of
worship. It is still used ecclesiastically in this sense, as in
'offices for the dead.'
P. 7,1. 5. passions, emotions. The word had a wider meaning
than it has now. See Locke, On the Unman Understanding :
" Some sort of passions arising from them (i.e. the actions of the
mind), such as is the satisfaction or uneasiness arising from any
1. 26. ignorantly, unconsciously, unwittingly. In this sense it
occur sin the Authorized Version of the Bible, Acts, xvii. 23 :
"Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, Him declare I unto
1. 27. carelessly, free from any conscious effort or anxiety to
86 NOTES. [PAGES
1. 30. thoughtless, not in our modern sense, with a suggestion
of unkindness, but unsuspecting, unconscious.
P. 8, 1. 2. Garraway's coffee-house. Situated in Change
Alley. This was one of the most popular of the coffee-houses.
The original proprietor was Thomas Garway or Garraway, who
dealt in tobacco and coffee, and here tea was sold for the first
time in England. It became famous as a place of resort during
the exciting times of the South Sea Bubble. It was a favourite
locality with Dean Swift when in London.
1. 4. we can be company, i.e. we can be companionable.
1. 11. We drank two bottles a man. The two blots upon the
moral history of the eighteenth century were the drinking and
gambling habits of the nation. "It was about this time that
England began to drink hard, and she continued to do so for
about a hundred years " (Besant, London}. All classes drank ;
and although Steele and even Addison sometimes exceeded, they,
and most of the greater literary men, were sober in comparison
with the society in which they lived.
A VISIT TO A FRIEND. No. 3.
P. 8, 1. 20. entertainments, sources of enjoyment.
1. 28. complication, from Lat. con, together, and plico, to
weave ; the modern word is generally employed in the sense of
unpleasant or difficult entanglement ; here means merely a
blending, an intertwining.
P. 9, 1. 14. mighty subject, a subject of great interest.
1. 21. Mrs. Mary. The use of titles Mrs. and Miss, as denoting
married and unmarried women respectively, is comparatively
modern. In former times Mrs., in addition to its present
application, was descriptive of young unmarried ladies, who
were addressed as Madam, Miss being reserved for little girls
under ten. Thus in Shakspere's Merry Wives of Windsor, the
mother and daughter are Mistress Page and Mistress Anne Page.
Steele before his marriage to Mary Scurlock addresses her as
Mrs. Scurlock ; and Hester Johnson (Stella) is always spoken of
by Dean Swift as Mrs. Johnson.
1. 28. in the coach, i.e. either in the mail-coach or the stage
coach. The mail coaches generally started from London at
eight o'clock in the evening, and the charge was fourpeiice a mile
for passengers. The ordinary stage-coach carried passengers for
threepence a mile.
P. 10, 1. 1. play-house, an old-fashioned word for the theatre ;
so the actors were called players. The hours for theatrical
7-12,] A VISIT TO A FRIEND. 87
performances have been gradually getting later. The play at
the Elizabethan theatre commenced at three o'clock. In 1663,
on the first play-bill issued at Drury Lane Theatre, the hour
is still three o'clock.
1. 21. so many obligations to her, so deeply indebted to her.
1. 22. moderation, i.e. of anxiety.
1. 27. complacency to my inclinations, consideration for my
P. n, 1. 3. Tearfulness, reluctance, shrinking from.
1. 4. the meanest, the humblest member of our household.
1. 8. quickest joy, most lively pleasure (A.-S. cwic, alive). The
use of the word quick, as equivalent to swift, expeditious, is
secondary and modern.
1. 13. baby, a doll ; so called because originally made to repre
sent a baby.
1. 14. the gossiping of it, the prattle about the doll.
1. 26. applying herself to me, addressing me.
1. 34. full-bottomed periwigs were wigs which fell down
behind over the neck and back. Periwig is derived from the
Dutch form of the French word ptrruque, a wig. Wigs, in the
Elizabethan period, were worn by actors only, and so HnmUt
(Act in., sc. ii. ) describes a bad actor as a "robustious, periwig-
pated knave." They did not appear as an ordinary head-dress
until the time of Charles II. ; and until early in the reign of
George III., when the fashion changed, they were universally
worn by the better classes. In 1765 the Master Perruquiers of
London presented a petition to the king to beg him to revive the
fashion. They were never worn by the working classes, who tied
their hair behind.
1. 3."). open-breasted, i.e. with the waistcoat open, so as to
display the shirt, a fashion at one time in vogue amongst the
young men of Steele's day. In Tatter No. 246 Steele describes
a "fat fellow," who, " out of an affectation of youth, wore his
breast open in the midst of winter," and he writes to beg of him
" to button his waistcoat from collar to waistband."
P. 12, 1. 1. easiness, ease of manner.
1. 6. the front box. It was the custom in the earlier part of
the eighteenth century for ladies to occupy the front boxes of the
theatre, while gentlemen sat in the side-boxes.
1. 11. toast, from the Old French tostee, scorched bread (Lat.
torreo = to parch). A recognized beauty was called a fonsf,
because her health Avas frequently drunk amongst the fashionable
gentlemen about town. The origin of the term is amusingly,
but incorrectly, given in Tathr No. 24. The true origin of this
use of the word is from the custom of placing a piece of
88 NOTES. [PAGES
toasted bread or biscuit in the bowl ; the drink so treated was
called a toast, and finally the person whose health was drunk
received the title. Compare Sheridan, School for Scandal :
" Let the toast pass,
Drink to the lass,
I warrant she'll prove an excuse for the glass ! "
1. 12. fantastical preferment, whimsical commendation or praise
of the young lady.
1. 15. a point of war, a military term, long since obsolete, for
martial music ; a military air. The word point, as employed by
musicians, is derived from the points or dots which formerly
represented musical notes. Its use still survives in the word
1. 19. parts, natural gifts or abilities. Compare "theporfoand
merits of Sir Roger " (Spectator, No. 2) and Essay 20, p. 79, 1. 27 :
" A coxcomb is a fool of parts, so is a flatterer a knave of ^ar^s."
1. 21. JEsop's Fables ; ^sop or ^Esopus, a Phrygian who lived
about the middle of the sixth century B.C. His place of birth,
like that of Homer, is uncertain. He is commonly accepted as
the originator of that particular form of moral tale which in all
ages has proved most popular. He took up his residence at the
court of the Lydian king, Croesus, where he made the acquaint
ance of Solon. While on a visit to Athens during the rule of
Pesistratus, he wrote his famous fable of Jupiter and the Frogs, as
a warning to the citizens.
1. 25. adventures of Don Belianis of Greece, etc. These
stories and romances formed the chief literature of the poorer
classes in England during the eighteenth century. They were
published in single pamphlets of from sixteen to twenty- four
pages, with rough woodcuts, and were known as ' chap-books,'
so called because they were sold throughout the country by
chapmen, or pedlars. They continued to be largely read until
the beginning of the nineteenth century, when the Penny
Magazine and Chambers' Tracts and Miscellanies killed them.
1. 26. Guy of Warwick, the famous hero of Warwickshire, said to
have lived in the reign of Athelstane. His so-called armour,
of gigantic proportions, is still preserved in Warwick Castle.
1. 28. forwardness, not, as now, an unpleasant obtrusiveness,
but satisfactory progress in his studies.
1. 32. John Hickerthrift, better known as Tom Hickathrift,
and probably a real personage, was famous for his gigantic
strength. His feats, which excited the astonishment of the
people of Cambridge and Norfolk, are duly chronicled in a
curious chap-book under the title of The Pleasant and Delightful
History of Thomas Hickathrift. A large grave is still shown in
Tilney churchyard, Norfolk, as the burial-place of this hero.
12-16.] A VISIT TO A FRIEND. 89
1. 33. Bevis of Southampton is stated in the chap-books to
have lived in the reign of Edgar, and the scene of his heroic
deeds is laid partly in England and partly in the Holy Land.
St. George. It is impossible to say when St. George was adopted
as the champion of England. The earliest record of his adven
tures states that he was born in Cappadocia, in Asia Minor, and
places the scenes of his well-known adventures in the East ; but
the chap-book, in which Mr. Bickerstaff' s little friend delighted,
gives the place of his birth as Coventry, and thus makes him an
P. 13, 1. 9. conversation : the word was not employed in the
eighteenth century in the restricted sense in which we now use it,
but implied general intercourse and association with our fellow-
creatures. Of. Locke On Education: "Conversation, when they
(i.e. young people) come into the world, soon gives them a
A VISIT TO DON SALTERO'S. No 4.
P. 13, 1. 26. mountebanks, quacks, from Italian montambanco,
i.e. one who mounts upon a bench to commend and sell his medi
cines. Cf. Hamlet, iv. vii., where Laertes, in reference to his
poisoned sword, says, " I bought an unction of a mountebank."
P. 14, 1. 30. detraction, a prevalent habit of malicious gossip.
1. 35. madam Depingle's, the house of a fashionable lady of
P. 15, 1. 4. Pretty and Very Pretty Fellows, see Tatlers, Nos. 21
and 24, where Steele had defined these varieties of fops and
' ladies' men. '
1. 11. kit, a small fiddle ; from the Lat. cithara, a lyre or lute,
1. 15. Isaac, a famous French dancing-master of Steele's day.
" And /A'mr'.s rigadoon shall live as long
As Raphael's painting, or as Virgil's song."
1. 27. rigadoon, a lively and fashionable dance of the period,
performed by two persons ; it was introduced from the south of
France. The word is etymologically connected with the English
P. 16, 1. 6. hective, heated, feverish.
1. 0. village of Chelsea, formerly a village about two miles from
London, situated to the west of the city and on the river bank ;
famous for the Hospital for old soldiers founded by Charles II.
The name may possibly be derived from Chexd (as in Chesil
Beach), a strand formed of pebbles cast up by the sea, and cy, an
90 NOTES. [PAOES
island. Sir Thomas More, who lived here in the fifteenth cen
tury, spelled the name as ChdcJiith.
1. 15. the five fields, formerly a rural district west of London, in
fested until the beginning of this century with footpads and robbers ;
upon which Eaton and Belgrave Squares are now built. It adjoins
Hyde Park, and is now the fashionable locality known as Belgravia.
1. 16. the coffee-house where the Literati, etc., see note below,
1. 1 7. Mr. Justice Overdo, a character in Ben Jonson's play of
Bartholomew Fair. The incident referred to is the amusing one
in Act ii., sc. i. , where Overdo goes disguised to the Fair to
detect crime on his own account, and is subsequently mistaken
for a cut-purse, and unmercifully beaten.
1. 19. incognito, disguised, unrecognized ; an Italian word,
from Lat. incognitus, unknown.
1. 23. the coffee-house : the famous coffee-house opened in 1690
at Chelsea, and known as Don Saltero's. The proprietor was a
man named Salter, humorously called Don Saltero, who, in order
to attract guests, had converted his house into a museum. He had
been a servant to Sir Hans Soane, founder of the museum still
existing in Lincoln's Inn Fields, who had presented Salter with
a number of curiosities from his surplus collection. Salter
was a barber, a dentist, and a performer on the fiddle, which
facts will explain Steele's references below. (See note, p. 18, 1. 21.)
The house was situated in Cheyne Walk, not far from that in
which Carlyle lived in our time. Salter's curious collection was
sold by auction in 1799.
1. 25. gimcracks : the word originally meant a spruce, pert
boy (gim, neat, crack, a young dandy), and subsequently anything
showy, a toy (Century Dictionary).
1. 30. Gingivistse, a humorous title for dentists, formed from
the Latin gingiva, the gum.
P. 17, 1. 8. Roger de Caubly, i.e. Sir Roger de Coverley. This
very old and well-known dance tune is said to have been named
after a knight who lived in the time of Richard I. , who is referred
to by older writers as Roger of Caulverley. The employment of
the name by Steele and Addison as that of the hero of the
Spectator Club is well known.
1. 10. " Christ Church Bells," the popular catch written by Dr.
Aldrich, who was Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, when Steele
was a student at that college.
1. 14. The particularity, the particular qualities or peculiarities.
1. 20. Vossius ; Isaac Vossius, a learned Dutchman of Leyden,
who settled in England in 1670. Charles II. made him a Canon
of Windsor, where he died in 1688, the year of Pope's birth.
16-18.] A VISIT TO DON SALTEKO'S. 91
1. 21. comb his head in Iambics, i.e. with the rhythmical
beat or movement of the iambic metre.
1. 24. the barber in Don Quixote, Master Nicholas, the
amusing character in Cervantes' work. See Don Quixote, chap. v.
1. 27. John Tradescant, the Tradescants, father and son, both
named John, were Dutch by descent. The elder Tradescant is
supposed to have come to England about the end of Queen Eliza
beth's reign. They were both industrious collectors of objects
of natural history. Their collection was bequeathed to Isaac
Ashmole, and formed the nucleus of the Askmolean Museum at
1. 31. his Sclopeta and sword of Toledo, a sclopeta or sclopette
(in old French escopetie), was a kind of hand-gun which came
into use in the fourteenth century. It is said to have been
especially used in later times by the Spaniards in their American
conquests. Toledo was world-renowned in the Middle Ages for
P. 1 8, 1. 6. within three miles of Bedford. This district has
long been famous for its manufacture of straw hats.
1. 13. among his rarities. In the auction catalogue printed
on the occasion of the sale of Salter's collection, among a host of
other curious objects the following are noted : a petrified crab
from China, Queen Katherine's wedding shoes, a starved swallow,
William the Conqueror's family sword, Mary. Queen of Scot's
pincushion, and serpents' tongues.
1. 15. engine, a contrivance, instrument (Lat. inrjenium).
1. 17. patent for making punch. Don Saltero was noted for
his skill in mixing punch, a favourite drink of the eighteenth
century, having been introduced by our navy from India towards
the close of the seventeenth century. The earliest printed refer
ence to it is in Fryer's Travels (1672), where the well-known
derivation of the word from the Hindustani paunch, ' five ' (in
reference to its Jive ingredients), is given.
1. 18. muff. The muff, in Steele's day, was largely worn by
men of fashion. Salter carried a grey muff, which he generally
held across his face in winter as a characteristic affectation.
1. 19. without his wife. This was a severe penalty for Salter,
whose wife was a terrible shrew, and from whom he was glad to
escape for a time.
1. 21. this operator. Salter thus describes, in doggerel verse,
his own accomplishments :
' ' Through various employs I've passed,
A scraper, virtuoso, projector,
Tooth-drawer, trimmer, and at last
I'm now a gimcrack whim collector."
92 NOTES. [PAGES
FASHIONABLE HOURS. No. 5.
P. 19, 1. 14. observed the same hours, etc. See notes below,
p. 20, 11. 29, 30.
1. 23. The curfew, from Old French covrefeu, 'fire-cover,' an
extinguisher employed in putting out the fires. It is often
erroneously stated that the practice of putting out the house
fires at a fixed hour was introduced by William the Conqueror.
The custom probably prevailed in Saxon times, and certainly
existed in nearly every European country in very early ages. It
was a precautionary measure to ensure the personal safety of the
citizen, by compelling him to keep indoors and go to bed im
mediately after dark, at a period when police did not exist and
robbers and assassins were numerous. In earlier times in Eng
land the curfew bell was rung at seven o'clock ; but, later on,
eight, and in some localities nine, were the hours. In Scotland
ten o'clock was the customary hour. A bell was also rung in the
morning as a signal for rising. At Ludlow, in Shropshire, this
bell is still rung at six, and the curfew at nine.
1. 28. crimp and basset. These were fashionable card games.
Basset was an Italian game, introduced into France by Cardinal
Mazarin in the time of Louis XIV., and thence brought to the
court of Charles II. by some of the French ladies who came to
England during that monarch's reign.
P. 20, 1. 9. lady of quality. A lady of high social position.
1. 12. bellman. A parish official, whose duty it was to act as
inspector of the watchmen and awake the citizens in case of fire
by ringing his hand-bell. By day he perambulated the town
with his bell, advertising sales and giving notice of weddings,
funerals, and other local events. The bellman was sometimes an
original character, and adopted the practice of writing and pub
lishing doggerel verses, which he distributed amongst the citizens
at Christmas time, and for which he received gifts in return ;
hence the phrase ' bellman's verse ' as equivalent to ' bad poetry.'
Shakspere refers to this official in Macbeth, Act II., sc. ii. :
" It was the owl that shrieked,
The fatal bellman, which gives the sternest good-night."
1. 13. watch, i.e. the watchmen. The first attempt to establish
a regular system of night police was when Henry III., in 1253,
instituted the night watchman, who continued in existence until
1830, when Sir Robert Peel established the present metropolitan
police. The old London watchman carried a cresset or iron cage
fixed at the end of a pole, in which a piece of resin -soaked rope
burned. In James I. 's time he was equipped with a horn lantern
and a spear. As the watchmen were almost always old and
decrepit, men their incompetency became proverbial, and they
19-22.] FASHIONABLE HOURS. 93
were the victims of endless practical jokes. In Hanoverian times
they were called 'Charlies.' Shakspere gives us a delightfully
amusing picture of their methods in the proceedings of Dogberry,
Verges, and their associates in Much Ado About Nothing.
1. 29. hours of colleges, these were the hours at which the
people of the Tudor period ate their chief meals ; a period at
which a number of the Oxford and Cambridge colleges were
founded. In Norman times breakfast was at nine and dinner at
1. 30. hours of the whole nation. In Steele's day the ordinary
dinner-hour with people of good position was two o'clock, but
the fashionable class was beginning to adopt three, four, and five
as the hours ; and even seven was not considered too late. In
the middle of the seventeenth century, to which period Isaac
Bickerstajf's memory almost carries him, twelve was the time for
dinner, and to this older custom he alludes in 11. 3 and 4, p. 21.
1. 33. Westminster-hall, the great hall originally erected by
William Rufus in 1097, and rebuilt by Richard II. in 1397 as the
dining-hall of the royal palace of Westminster. The palace
itself existed as early as the time of Canute, and was enlarged by
subsequent kings, notably by Edward the Confessor and William
the Conqueror. It was partly burned down on three occasions,
in 1263, 1299, and in 1512, when it finally fell into ruins. The
roof beams of the great hall, tradition says, are made of Irish
oak brought from the woods of Shillelagh, Co. Wicklow.
When William Rufus used to go to dinner in it, i.e. at eleven
o'clock, the hour for dinner in Norman times. See note, 1. 29.
P. 21, 1. 3. In my own memory. We must remember that
Isaac. Bickerstajf, when The Tatler started, in 1709, is supposed
to have been sixty-four years of age.
1. 15. Lucian, a Greek satirist and wit of the second century
after Christ. Steele's allusion is to a work of his known as
Judicium Vocalium, in which he represents the encroachment of
the letter T on other letters, chiefly on S, in such words as a-fjiJ&pov,
-irpdaaw, CTVKOV, which afterwards came to be spelled Tr)fj.epov,
TrpaTTu, TVKOV. Addison published a little work on these lines,
The Humble Petition of ' Which' and ' What,' in which he repre
sents these parts of speech as protesting against the encroachments
of the relative that.
1. 29. sea-coals, coals which have been carried by sea from the
collieries, as all coal, when practicable, was in those days. So
Mistress Quickly, in Shakspere's Henri/ IV., Part 2, Act n. i. 92,
when claiming her money from Falstaff, says, " thou didst swear
... sitting in my Dolphin-Chamber, at a round table, by a ,sea-
P. 22, 1. 7. implicit, implied.
94 NOTES. [PAGES
FASHIONABLE AFFECTATIONS. No. 6.
P. 23, 1. 3, sanguine, ruddy, florid.
1. 4. diet-drink, i. e. the regimen which he, as a valetudinarian,
followed, in drinking only stated quantities and at fixed hours.
1. 12. Lady Dainty. See note, p. 27, 1. 9.
1. 15. become her table, act in a becoming and genteel way at
1. 20. tubes, i.e. spy-glasses, a short form of telescope. Opera-
glasses had not then, of course, been invented.
1. 21. the pit. This part of the theatre had, in Steele's time,
become, from being the cheapest and most unfashionable, a
fashionable place. In the Elizabethan theatre there were no
seats here, and it was frequented by the commonest people, to
whom Hamlet alludes contemptuously as ' the groundlings. '
1. 25. prig, a pert, conceited coxcomb ; from A.S. priccian, to
pick out, steal ; hence one who assumes a position to which he is
not entitled, a pretender, upstart.
1. 26. worn upon a button, suspended from a button of the coat
by a silk cord passed through a hole near the handle of the cane.
1. 29. a Gascon general. The people of Gascony are said to
have been exceptionally boastful, and hence we get the word
gasconnade, to boast, to brag. Readers of Dumas' novel, The
Three Musketeers, will remember the boastful and quarrelsome
character of D'Artagnan, the young Gascon soldier.
1. 36. Before the limpers came in. All these fashionable affec
tations have had their analogue in modern times, such as ' the
Alexandra limp,' 'the Grecian bend,' and the affectation intro
duced by the late Lord Randolph Churchhill of omitting to
pronounce the final g in such words as singing, talking, etc.
P. 24, 1. 11. Alexander the Great had a wry neck. See Plut
arch's Life of Alexander: ''The statues that gave the best
representation of Alexander's person were those of Lysippus (by
whom alone he would suffer his image to be made), those pecu
liarities which many of his friends used to affect to imitate, the
inclination of his head a little on one side towards his left shoulder,
and his melting eye, having been expressed by this artist with
1. 14. so over complaisantly, in so exaggerated a manner, in his
efforts to please.
1. 20. in his degrees of understanding, as far as his abilities
1. 25. of the like turn, of the same character.
23-26.] FASHIONABLE AFFECTATIONS. 95
1. 36. a very fearful complexion, a very timid nature or dis
position ; complexion literally means an interweaving (Lat. con
axid- plico), and hence, as applied to a man's nature or character,
the result of the blending and intertwining of his characteristics
and idiosyncrasies. The word is now generally restricted to the
physical blendings of colour, texture, etc., which mark the hue
and appearance of the face.
P. 25, 1. 20. societies of ambitious young men, an ironical
allusion to the bands of riotous young men, who by their
blackguard conduct made the life of the London streets after
dark, intolerable. Chief amongst them were the Mohocks, of
which Steele gives a description in No. 324 of the Spectator.
1. 24. blackening signposts, i.e. disfiguring the signboards of the
tradesmen. Addison's first contribution to The Taller (No. 18)
was a protest against the increase of signposts in the London
1. 28. beaux esprits, wits, used ironically.
1. 33. floor strewed with half-pence ; one of the pursuits of
these fast and rowdy young men was the breaking of windows at
night by flinging half-pence at them ; they were known as
Nickers, and are referred to by Gay in his poem of Trivia :
" His scattered pence the flying Nicker flings,
And with the copper sliow'r the casement rings. "
ADVICE TO LADIES ON EXERCISE AND EDUCATION.
P. 26. This very charming essay is one in which Steele appears
as a man of ideas much in advance of the time, and to a certain
extent he anticipates the suggestions of another century for a
more sensible system in the education of women.
1. 8. Enfleld-chase : Enfield, 11 miles north of the London
General Post-Office. Here in after days Isaac D'Israeli was born,
and Keats and Captain Marryat were educated. Charles and
Mary Lamb lived here in 1829 in a house which the former
describes as a " gambogish-coloured house at the Chase side."
The word Cha.se (cf. Hatfield Chase, Cannock Chase) in English
place-names, recalls the time when the districts were forested
and the game preserved. Enfield Chase was part of the Great
Middlesex forest, fragments of which still survive in Hyde
Park and High gate Woods.
1. 9. a young lady, generally supposed to have been Elizabeth
Malyn, who afterwards became Lady Cathcart, by her marri;ige
with Lord Cathcart, her third husb;md. She subsequently
married a Col. Maguire of Tempo, a place near Enniskillen. One
of the conditions of this marriage was that she should not be
96 NOTES. [PAGES
asked to live in Ireland ; but her husband, under the pretence of
taking her for a pleasure excursion in a boat, carried her to Tempo,
where he kept her confined, and treated her barbarously, in order
to secure a considerable property which she possessed. She
obtained her liberty on the death of Col. Maguire. Her story
has been embodied in Miss Edgeworth's novel, Castle Rackrent.
1. 11. pad, a contraction for pad-nag, i.e. a small horse for the
path or road. The word still survives in foot-pad, a robber on
the high road.
well-fancied furniture, i.e. tastefully designed trappings.
So, in Hamlet, Polonius advises his son Laertes : ' ' costly thy
habit as thy purse can buy, but not expressed in fancy,'' i.e.
without judgment or taste.
1. 22. Venus. The incident of Venus disguised as a Spartan
huntress is told in the JEneid, Book I., line 315 and following
1. 27. diverted, occupied.
1. 29. people of condition, of good social position.
P. 27, 1. 9. The Ladies Cure. A comedy written by Colley
Gibber in the year 1707. Its full title is The Double Gallant :
or the Sick Lady's Cure. The humour of the play turns on the
successful efforts of her friends to cure the affectation of Lady
Dainty, who considers it fashionable to cultivate delicacy, for
as she says, " to be always in health is as vulgar as to be always
in humour, and would equally betray one's want of wit and
breeding." See reference to Lady Dainty, p. 23, 1. 12.
1. 19. dispensary of a toilet, i.e. all the various scents and
cosmetics which constituted the toilet requisites of a fashionable
lady of Steele's time. Pope (Rape of the Lock, Canto I.,
11. 121-138) describes in humorous verses the toilet of Belinda,
the heroine of the poem :
" And now unveil'd the toilet stands display 'd,
Each silver vase in mystic order laid.
This casket India's glowing gems unlocks
And all Arabia breathes from yonder box.
The Tortoise here and Elephant unite,
Transform'd to combs the speckled and the white ;
Here files of pins, extend their shining rows,
Puffs, Powders, Patches, Bibles, Billet-doux."
1. 26. becoming negligence in her dress : cf, Herrick, The
Poetry of Dress :
" A sweet disorder in the dress
Kindles in clothes a wantonness."
P. 28, 1. 10. spleen, melancholy, depression of spirits. The
26-31.] ADVICE TO LADIES ON EXERCISE. 97
vapours, humours, and spleen were little ailments from which the
fashionable people of the time appear to have suffered much, to
judge from the constant references to them in eighteenth century
literature, and were chiefly traceable to the idleness inseparable
from fashionable leisure. The word spleen is from the Greek
<nr\rjv (pronounced splen), a small gland which according to
ancient belief was the seat of melancholy.
1. 17. notable woman, one skilled in household matters. The
word is pronounced with a short o sound.
1. 35. oaf, a fool, a simpleton. The word is a form of elf.
Chaucer speaks of a simple person as being elvish. Cf. Gold
smith, She Stoops to Conquer: "You great ill-fashioned oaf,
with scarce sense enough to keep your mouth shut. "
P. 29, 1. 9. a Female Library. In the year 1714 Steele actually
carried out this project in publishing a book in three volumes,
entitled The Ladies' Library. It consists of a series of selections
from the works of various religious and educational writers,
such as Jeremy Taylor, Tillotson, and Locke. To each of the
volumes he prefixed a dedication, and throughout the work
introduced explanatory notes. The third volume is dedicated to
his wife in a very interesting and noble preface. The sources of
the materials are not acknowledged, but have since been traced,
with few exceptions.
1. 14. impertinent, unseemly. See note p. 3, 1. 13.
ON LADIES' DRESS. No. 8.
P. 30, 1. 9. infect, i.e. affect harmfully, spoil, destroy.
1. 10. cast, tinge, shade of colour. Cf. Hamlet, m. i. : "The
native hue of resolution is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of
water, the lustre of a diamond.
1. 11. ladies in mourning. The English court went into
mourning at this time for Louis, the son of the Dauphin, who
died March 3, 1710.
P. 31, 1. 9. flowered stomacher, a wide embroidered belt.
furbelow, a flounce. The origin of the word is unknown,
but it appears in Spanish and Italian as/ar&e/a, of which our
word would appear to be a corruption. The ladies' dresses of
the period were flounced to the waist.
1. 23. tippet, a band of cloth or fur for the neck.
1. 24. farthingale, a petticoat extended by hoops. The word
is a corruption of the Old French rerdugal/e, from the Spanish
lerdurjo, a young shoot or rod, which might be bent easily to
98 NOTES. [PAGES
form a hoop. Sir Roger de Coverley (Spectator, No. 109), allud
ing to this extraordinary fashion, says: "My grandmother
appears as if she stood in a large drum. "
1. 27. toy-shop, where knick-knacks were sold, as in the shops
of Charles Lillie and Charles Mathers, referred to in Essay No.
13. See note, p. 50, 11. 23, 26.
P. 32, 1. 3. shoulder-knot, a fashion first adopted by men in
the time of Charles II., consisting of a bunch of ribbons or lace
worn on the shoulder.
1. 5. fringed gloves, i.e. with silver fringe round the wrists of
1. 7. open waistcoat. See note on p. u, 1. 35.
1. 9. A Grecian hero. The reference is to Themistocles, who,
when a boy, refused to learn any accomplishments. When, in
after years, he was asked whether he could play on the lute, he
retorted "that he certainly could not make use of any stringed
instrument, but could only, were a small city put into his hands,
make it great and glorious" (Plutarch's Life, of Themistocles,
1. 9. a pair of red heels, a reference to the fashion of having
shoes made with crimson-coloured heels.
1. 19. gewgaws, toys, playthings. The word is etymologically
connected with give, and is a reduplicated form of the A.-S. gifu,
a gift (Skeat).
1. 35. sarsenet or sarcenet, a kind of thin silk of Eastern origin,
so called from the Saracens, the old name for the people of the
P. 33, 1. 1. latter spring. This expression occurs in Henry
IV., Part 1, i. ii., where Prince Hal, addressing Falstaff, says :
" Farewell, thou latter spring! farewell, All-hallow'n summer !"
1. 2. a colt's tooth in her head, i.e. in her old age she again
acquired a taste for youthful pleasures. Thus we speak of a
person fond of sweetmeats as having a sweet tooth.
1. 10. Eutrapelus, a character in Horace's Epistles (i. 18) :
" There was one Eutrapelus, who, if he wanted to do a man a
mischief, would send him costly dresses ; for he knew that the
silly, happy fool would, with new dresses, assume forthwith new
notions and new hopes. "
1. 14. simplex munditiis. See Horace, Odes, Bk. i. 5, where
the poet asks Pyrrha, one of his old loves : ' ' GUI flavam relic/as
comam, simplex munditiis ?" ' Who now will bind thy golden
locks neat and elegant without the aid of art or effort ? ' The
Ehrase is difficult to render in English, which Milton, who trans
ited this ode, gives as ' plain in thy neatness. '
31-35.] THE TRUMPET CLUB AND ITS MEMBERS. 99
THE TRUMPET CLUB AND ITS MEMBERS. No. 9.
P. 33, 1. 24. easy ... companions, such as demand no mental effort
in the entertaining of them.
P. 34, 1. 1. preparative, preparation.
1. 2. abstractions, the higher regions of thought.
traces, tracts, paths.
1. 10. the Trumpet, the well-known Trumpet Tavern, in Shire
Lane, Fleet Street. The place was originally a coffee-house, The
Cat and Fiddle, kept by one Christopher Katt, a pastry-cook.
Here the famous Kit-Kat Club held its meetings, having acquired
its title from a humorous distortion of the proprietor's name.
It was subsequently changed to Duke of York Tavern.
1. 15. in arbitrary times, during the troubled period of the
latter portion of the seventeenth century, associated with the
change from the Stuart to the Orange dynasty.
1. 29. run it out, i.e. ran through his fortune by indulging his
taste for hunting and cock-fighting.
1. 36. Marston Moor, fought July 4, 1644, when the Parliamentary
army, under Cromwell, defeated the Royalists, commanded by the
Marquis of Newcastle and Prince Rupert. At this time there
were many noisy frequenters of the coffee-houses who claimed to
have fought in the Civil Wars. They were known as " Rufflers."
P. 35, 1. 1. rising of the London apprentices. This event
occurred in 1647, when they forced their way into the House
of Commons with a petition for redress of grievances. These
apprentices were the boys and young men in the employ of the
great London commercial companies, such as the Fishmongers,
Goldsmiths, Haberdashers, etc., which sprang into existence in
the reign of Elizabeth. In early Elizabethan days the appren
tices were distinguished by wearing "blue cloaks in summer,
and blue gowns in winter, with breeches and stockings of white
broad cloth and flat hats" (Stow, Survey of London). They
entered upon their apprenticeship at the age of fourteen, having
previously received their education at the free schools of the
Companies, and were for the rest of their lives looked after by
their employers. For an interesting account of the London
apprentices in the time of James I., see Scott's Fortunes ofXi<i<l,
and as an illustration of their power in the cities, the historical
action of the apprentices at the Siege of Derry will readily
1. 13. bencher of a neighbouring inn, a senior member of an
Inn of Court, such as Lincoln's Inn and Gray's Inn, London, and
King's Inn, Dublin. The benchers of an Inn of Court make all
the necessary regulations for the government of the body to
100 NOTES. [PAGES
which they belong, and have the power to admit to the Bar.
The title of Bencher is derived from the raised benches upon
which they sit in Hall.
1. 14. ordinaries, taverns where a regular meal or table d'hdte
was served at an ordinary or customary hour. The word was
originally applied to the meal itself ; e.g. Tatler No. 135 :
"When I was a young man about this town, I frequented the
ordinary of the Black Horse in Holborn."
Charing Cross. This locality preserves in its name the memory
of the old village of Charryng, a word which some derive from
A.-S. cerran, to turn (from its situation at the tumor bend of th3
Thames), and others consider to be a corruption of la chere
Reim, the village of the Blessed Virgin. The present cross was
erected in 1865 in place of the original one, placed there by
Edward I. in 1290, and destroyed by the Puritans in 1647. The
original cross marked the spot where the body of Queen Eleanor
rested for the fifteenth and last time during its progress from
Hornby, near Lincoln, where she had died, to Westminster
Abbey, each resting-place having been sanctified by a similar
1. 15. Jack Ogle, a noted duellist and gambler. It is told of
him that on one occasion he lost his military cloak, having staked
it at play, and that he actually appeared on the parade ground,
when his troop was mustered, with his landlady's red flannel
petticoat as a substitute. This incident is referred to below,
p. 36, 1. 2.
ten distichs of Hudibras, i.e. ten couplets from the famous
mock-heroic poem written by Samuel Butler (1612-1680) as a
satire upon the sects of the Presbyterians and Independents
amongst the Parliamentary party during the civil wars. It was
a favourite poem with Charles II. A distich is a verse of two
1. 21. I am something respected, I am somewhat, or to a
certain extent, respected.
1. 32. battle of Naseby, fought June 14, 1645, when the
Royalists, commanded by Charles I. and Prince Rupert, were
defeated by the Parliamentarians under Cromwell and Fairfax.
1. 36. introduce the couplet, etc. The verse referred to is the
well-known one in Hudibras, Part I. , Canto i. , 1. 11:
" And Pulpit, Drum Ecclesiastic,
Was beat with fist, instead of a Stick,"
in which Butler describes the noisy preachers amongst the Parlia
P. 36, 1. 2. red petticoat and a cloak. See note, p. 35, 1. 15.
35-S7.] THE TRUMPET CLUB AND ITS MEMBERS. 101
1. 8. to be obliged by those, etc., to consider myself as under
an obligation to those who endeavour to oblige me, to be indebted
to ; cf . " to those hills we are obliged for all our metals " (Bentley).
1. 18. Edge-hill fight, the indecisive battle of Edgehill, near
Kineton, Warwickshire, fought October 23, 1642, between the
Royalists and Parliamentarians.
1.26. my maid came with a lantern. This proceeding was very
necessary in the days of Mr. Bickerstajf, as no effective method
of lighting the streets had been devised ; a few miserable oil
lamps, at considerable distances apart, were all that the citizens
of London had to rely on for guidance through the ill-paved
streets, then infested by highwaymen. In the year 1736 one
thousand street lamps alone supplied the public with light over
the whole of London. We must also remember that there was
no systematic scavenging of the streets, and so heaps of refuse
and pools of stagnant water constituted serious dangers to the
1. 30. venerable, respected.
1. 35. a long Canterbury Tale, i.e. a tale as long as one of those
told by a pilgrim in Geoffrey Chaucer's famous Canterbury Tales.
P. 37, 1. 5. magazine, a store-house. Addison, in reference to
Westminster Abbey, speaks of it as " this great magazine of
mortality " (Spectator No. 26).
1. 14. Nestor was King of Pylos and Messenia, and one of the
heroes of the Trojan War. Homer describes him as the greatest
of the generals of that struggle. He lived to be ninety years of
age, and was famous and respected for the wisdom which a life
of wide experience had given him. Pope translates the lines of
Homer in which the eloquence of Nestor is described, thus :
" Experienc'd Nestor, in persuasion skill'd,
Words sweet as honey from his lips distill *d."
Pope's Homer, Book I.
1. 19. an eloquent spirit. This is a reference to Milton's lines
descriptive of the fallen angel Belial ( Paradise Lost, Bk. n. , 1. 112):
Dropt manna, and could make the worse appear
The better reason, to perplex and dash
ON THE LOTTERY. No. 10.
P. 37, 1. 29. Cheapside, known as ' Chepe ' in earlier days, the
main thoroughfare between St. Paul's Cathedral and the Bank of
England ; so called from the great cheap (A.-S. cedpian, ' to buy')
102 NOTES. [PAGES
or market established in this district in very early times. So far
back as the fourteenth century it was a recognized place of trade,
for John Lydgate, the monk of Bury, in his curious work,
The. London Lickpenny, describes, when on a visit to London,
" Then to the Chepe I began me drawne
Where moch people I saw for to stand.
One offred me velvet, sylke, and lawne ;
An other he taketh me by the hande,
* Here is Parys thread, the finest in the land. ' "
In this street stood the famous Mermaid Tavern in which Shak-
spere, Ben Jonson, Sir Walter Raleigh, and others, met as
members of a club which they had established in 1603.
1. 30. The Bank, i.e. the Bank of England in Threadneedle St.,
humorously known as 'the Old Lady of Threadneedle St.'
This, the largest establishment of its kind in the world, was
founded in 1694, on a plan projected by Mr. Patterson, a Scotch
P. 38, 1. 1. the new-erected lottery, i.e. the first State lottery
of the year 1710. Steele, in two other Tatlers (Nos. 170 and
203), gives full details of the public lotteries of the time, and
Addison (Spectator No. 191) gives a very amusing account of the
incidents of one. These should be read in this connection. The
first State lottery was established by Queen Elizabeth in 1567,
with the object of raising money for the construction of harbours
and other piiblic works, when the shares were ten shillings each,
and the prizes of various kinds, such as "money, plate, and
certain sorts of merchandise." The spirit of gambling was so
encouraged by this device that at last the Government abolished
them in 1826. They still exist in some Continental countries.
1. 2. our present government and administration. The Whigs,
headed by the Duke of Marlborough and Lord Godolphin, were
in office in January, 1710, when this Essay was written. In
February the trial of Dr. Sacheverell (see Essay 13 and Notes)
for his attack upon the Government took place, and in August
Godolphin was compelled to resign.
1. 10. burden of the war, i.e. the War of the Spanish Succession,
in which the Allies, viz. , the Emperor, the States of Holland, and
England, united to check the ambition of Louis XIV. of France.
The war closed with the Peace of Utrecht in 1713.
1. 16. lay in my pretences, etc., i.e. if I did not stake some
thing when claiming her favour ; lay = to stake.
1. 17. recommending 1 , entrusting.
1. 19. globes and a telescope, instruments which Isaac Sicker-
staff, as an astrologer, would naturally possess. See note,
Essay I. , p. 4, 1. 3.
37-40.] ON THE LOTTERY. 103
1. 22. an hundred and fifty thousand to one. The conditions
of this State Lottery of 1710, known as ' the Million Lottery,'
were as follows : tickets to the number of 150,000 were issued at
10 each ; every purchaser was entitled to nine per. cent, per
annum for 32 years, in addition to his chance of one of the 3750
prizes, varying from 1000 to 5. Even those who were
unsuccessful received 14/- per annum for 32 years for each blank
drawn. This will explain Isaac Bicker staff ' s calculations, and the
allusion, p. 39, 1. 15, to the settlement of 14/- per annum on his
1. 24. plumb, now generally spelled plum, a sum of 100,000;
the expression is here equivalent to ' wealthy man. ' The origin
of the word is unknown.
1. 29. Mr. Morphew, at whose shop near Stationers' Hall The
Tatler was sold, and who received advertisements for insertion
in the paper.
to subscribe such a policy, i.e. to sign such an undertaking or
1. 32. twinkling of a ... star. See note, p. 4, 1. 3.
1. 36. Seneca ; Lucius Annasus Seneca, the Latin philosophic
writer, who was born at Cordova early in the first century of the
Christian era. He was for four years preceptor to Nero, but his
good advice failed in the case of that infamous man. Having
fallen under the suspicion of the emperor, he was commanded to
destroy himself, which he proceeded to do by opening a vein ;
this method failing, he drank a dose of poison, but that too
failing, he was suffocated.
P. 39, 1. 10. Palatines, the name given to the German settlers
1. 14. revenue arising out of the ten pounds, the price of one
share in the lottery. See note, p. 38, 1. 22.
1. 24. furnish out, supply. See Hamlet, Act i., scene ii., 180 :
" . . . the funeral baked meats
Did coldly furnish forth the marriage table."
1. 26. Several in liveries, i.e. servants.
' 1. 27. who will give as good of their own very suddenly, i.e.
who will be in position to give estates away by their sudden
acquisition of wealth.
1. 31. my art, my skill as an astrologer. See Essay 1, Note,
p. 4, 1. 3.
ten months, the time which would elapse before the drawing
of the lottery, which took place at Michaelmas, 1710, this Essay
being dated in January of that year.
P. 40, 1. 5. proper, suitable.
104 NOTES. [PAGES
1. 9. penny lottery: this lottery was drawn in 1699, when
tickets at one penny each were issued for a single prize of
1000. The drawing took place at the Theatre Royal in Dorset
1. 26. allow, admit, acknowledge. Cf. Pope, Essay on
" The power of music all our hearts allow,
And what Timotheus was, is Dryden now."
P. 41, 1. 2. Mr. Partridge, the almanac maker, whose death did
not actually occur until 1714. This reference to his being 'dead
and buried ' is but to keep up the jest originated by Dean Swift.
1. 14. arise, give rise to, produce.
ON DUELLING. No. 11.
P. 42, 1. 20. A duel. This essay is the first of seven contribu
tions to The Tatler, in which Steele showed his true manliness in
protesting against the prevailing custom of deciding quarrels by
having recourse to sword or pistol. It is known that in early
life, probably while in the army, Steele, after every honourable
effort to avoid it, fought a duel, in which he had the misfortune
dangerously to wound a young man who had challenged him.
From that time out he seized every opportunity to denounce the
practice. The other six essays on this subject are Tatlers Nos.
26, 28, 29, 31, 38, and 39.
1. 24. from hence, i.e. from White's Chocolate-House. See
note p. 2, 1. 3.
1. 27. chimerical, imaginary, and hence wild ; from the Greek
xi/j.cupa (chirnsera), a she-goat. The Chimsera was an imaginary
monster, with the body of a goat, the fore part of a lion, and the
hinder part of a dragon, destroyed by the hero Bellerophon
mounted on the winged horse Pegasus.
1. 29. pretences, claims.
P. 43, 1. 6. rapier, a long, light sword.
1. 25. denominates, marks, or is characteristic of.
1. 26. a common sharper. The coffee-houses and taverns of
the eighteenth century were infested with swindlers, whom the
prevalent habit of gambling attracted to these haunts. There are
constant allusions in the literature of the time to these gentry
under the slang names of Rooks, Pads, Huffs, Rufflers, etc.
1. 35. hereafter consider, etc. Steele does not appear to have
fulfilled this intention.
4046.] ON DUELLING. 105
P. 44, 1. 3. imposture, something imposed or thrust upon us.
1. 8. proper cuts, suitable illustrations.
1. 22, Hyde-park, one of the great London parks. The origin
of the name carries us back to very early times. There were
two ancient manors, known as Neyte and Hyde, attached as
lands to the Abbey of Westminster, which, after the dissolution
of the monasteries, in the reign of Henry VIII., became Crown
lands. The present Hyde Park represents the latter of these
manors ; the neighbouring Knightsbridge is a corruption of
Neytesbridge. Hyde Park is a portion of the great Middlesex
ON THE ART OF GROWING OLD. No. 12.
P. 45, 1. 5. "The Art of Living and Dying," an allusion to
Jeremy Taylor's works on Holy Living and Holy Dying. Taylor,
afterwards Bishop of Down, Connor, and Dromore, and Vice-
Chancellor of the University of Dublin, was the son of a barber
in Cambridge, and was born in 1613. He was educated in the
Grammar School and afterwards in Caius College, where he was
a contemporary of Milton, George Herbert, Edmund Waller,
and Thomas Fuller.
1. 7. pretensions, claims.
1. 21. their parts, i.e. the parts they play in the drama of life.
This comparison of man's life with the play upon the stage is
common with writers, the well-known speech of the melancholy
Jaques, beginning: " All the world's a stage, and all the men
and women merely players " (As You Like It, u. vi. 142) being
a case in point.
1. 25. coxcombs. The word is a corruption of cock's comb, which
the professional fool was accustomed to wear in his cap, and
hence the word was applied to a conceited dunce (Century
P. 46, 1. 2. Sam Trusty. Under this name Steele is supposed
to allude to a certain intimate friend of his, one Jabez Hughes,
whose "brother, John Hughes, is said to have been the author of
several letters in The Taller, notably one in No. 73 signed Will
1. 8. dotard, an old man imbecile through age ; from the
French radoter, to rave, wander in mind. The termination -ard
is characteristic of a series of similar words, invariably employed
in a contemptuous sense, such as coward, sluggard, wizard, etc.
1.10. ' after-life. ' Isaac Bickerstaff employs this- phrase in the
sense of the latter years of life after youth is passed. In No.
306 of The Spectator, a young lady who has been disfigured by
106 NOTES. [PAGES
small-pox writes deploring her fate, and says : " Consider the
woman I was did not die of old age, but I was taken off in the
prime of youth, and according to the course of nature may have
forty years after-life, to come."
1. 20. in her teens, the years of life from thirteen to nineteen
inclusive, so called from the termination -teen in these words.
1. 21. cronies, old gossiping women. The word is formed
from the Celtic crone, an old woman, and that again is from the
Irish word crion, withered, old (Skeat).
1. 23. genius, disposition, character. In the expression ' evil
genius,' a few lines below, the word is employed in the sense of
1. 33. to be denied, i.e. that admission should be denied or
refused to visitors, she being 'not at home' to friends at that
1. 34. the black boy. The employment of negroes as servants
was at this time common in England. We must remember that
slavery still existed, and that not until the year 1772 was the
sale of a negro made illegal. It is therefore not surprising to
find the following among the advertisements in the Tatler : "A
black Indian boy, twelve years of age, fit to wait on a gentle
man, to be disposed of at Dennis's Coffee-house, in Finch Lane,
near the Royal Exchange." There is an interesting letter, pur
porting to have been written by a black boy, in Tatler No. 245
P. 47, 1. 2. indented, irregular.
1. 14. hugely, greatly. In Spectator No. 108, Will Wimble,
writing to Sir Roger de Coverley, describes how Sir John
Wimble's eldest son, at school at Eton, ' ' takes to his learning
1. 17. opera-night. See note, p. 57, 1. 35.
1. 23. Brazen Nose, now spelled 'Brasenose,' the Oxford
College, founded in 1509. The popular derivation of the name
connects it with the beak-shaped brazen knocker over the main
entrance, but it probably gains its title from the Hall of the
College having been originally a brew-house, and the word a
corruption of bracinum-house, from Latin bracinum, malt.
1. 28. shock dog, a rough coated dog. The word shock is ety-
mologically connected with shaggy. In Pope's Rape, of the, Lock,
Shock is the name of Belinda's dog :
" . . . when Shock, who thought she slept too long,
Leap'd up, and wak'd his mistress with his tongue."
The word was also spelled shouyh, as in Macbeth, in. i. 94 :
" shoughs, water-rugs, and demi-wolves."
1. 31. mantel-tree, the beam which supports the brick-work
46-43.] ON THE ART OF GROWING OLD. 107
above a fire-place, and projects, forming a mantel or covering
over the grate ; tree, in older English, had the meaning of
1. 32. lambetive electuary, a compound of honey, sugar, and
other sweet substances, in which medicines could be concealed,
made palatable, and thus licked up, without being detected.
Lambative or lambetive is from the Lat. lambo, to lick, and
c/t'cf'iiary, from the Greek exAei'xw (pron. ekliko), to lick up; the
phrase is therefore redundant.
1. 33. stick of liquorice, used for the relief of coughs and colds,
or for the removal of the unpleasant taste of medicines from
the mouth. Liquorice, or more correctly licorice, is prepared from
the juice of a leguminous plant largely grown on the Continent,
especially in Spain. It is also cultivated in one or two English
localities, particularly at Pontefract in Yorkshire, which is an
important centre for the importation and manufacture of licorice,
whence it gets its name of 'Pomfret cake.' The word is derived
from the Greek J\VKVS (pron. glukus), sweet, and pifa (pron. riza),
root. The roots are first crushed in mills and then boiled, and
after evaporation the thick, sweet, and somewhat astringent
residuum is manufactured into the well-known substance.
1. 34. powder of tutty. Tutty is an impure oxide of zinc,
collected from the chimneys of smelting furnaces and used medi
cinally in soothing irritated or raw surfaces on the flesh. The
word is etymologically connected with the French toucher, to
touch or paint over.
a pipe filled with betony and colt's-foot. These herbs were
smoked, betony as a cure for headache and colt's-foot as a
specific for coughs. Betony is a woodland plant common in some
parts of England, but rare in Ireland. Colt's-foot is the well-
known, yellow-flowered, large-leaved plant. The botanical
name, tussilago, for the latter, points to its use ; from Lat. tussis,
1. 35. roll of wax-candle, i.e. a roll of wax taper.
P. 48, 1. 7. in a trice, instantly ; a corruption of the Spanish
phrase, en un tris, in the brief moment occupied in snapping a
piece of glass (Skeat) ; commonly derived from the English thrice,
i.e. while one would count three.
1. 15. sheers, scissors.
1. 18. bob-wig, a short wig, having the ends of the hairs turned
up into short curls or 1><>1>*.
1. 19. sea-coal fire. See note, p. 21, 1. 29.
1. 31. the Hungary water, a perfume composed principally of
spirits of wine, rosemary, and lavender, and supposed to have
healing properties when used as an embrocation.
108 NOTES. [PAGES
1. 32. goldbeaters' skin, a thin membrane obtained from the
outer skin of the intestines of the larger animals, and employed
by gold-beaters to cover the leaves of gold in the final stage of
the process of gold-beating.
P. 49, 1. 2. make him compliments of condolence, offer him
expressions of sympathy.
THE SACHEVERELL TRIAL, AND OTHER THINGS.
P. 49, 1. 9. still interrupted, constantly interrupted.
" And still they dream that they shall still succeed,
And still are disappointed." Coirper.
1. 11. cavalier Nicolini, a famous Italian opera singer, whose
proper name was Nicolino Grimaldi. He came to England in
1708, and sang first in the opera of Camilla. He enjoyed the
friendship of Addison and Steele : the latter gives him much
praise both as an actor and a singer (Tatler No. 115). He
appears to have been a man of high and generous character, as
one would expect a friend of Steele and of Addison to have been.
1. 13. to put off his day, etc., i.e. to postpone the day upon
which he next sings in opera, to enable them (the ladies) " to
employ their time in the care of the nation " by regularly
attending the trial of Dr. Sacheverell.
1. 16. this day sevennight, the trial had been in progress for
over a week. See following note.
1. 17. This great occasion, the occasion of the famous Sach
everell trial, which commenced on February 27th, and closed
March 23rd, 1710. Dr. Sacheverell was rector of St. Saviour's
Church, Southwark, and having been appointed to preach before
the Lord Mayor in St. Paul's Cathedral, he seized the oppor
tunity to make a violent attack upon Lord Godolphin and the
Government then in power. He was consequently impeached
and brought to trial before the peers in Westminster Hall, and
finally suspended from preaching for three years, his sermon
being burned by the common hangman. Popular feeling was
entirely in sympathy with Sacheverell, and the Government was
shortly afterwards compelled to resign.
1. 18. of high moment, of great importance.
1. 19. toast, a reigning beauty. See note, p. 12, 1. 11.
1. 22. ancient hours of eating. See notes, Essay 5, p. 20,
11. 29, 30, 33.
48-51.] THE SACHEVERELL TRIAL. 109
1. 29. that awful court, i.e. the House of Lords sitting in
Westminster Hall ; awful, imposing, impressive.
P. 50, 1. 2. Westminster-Hall a dining-room. The spectators
at the Sacheverell trial brought their luncheons with them, and
so were able to retain their places throughout the day. The
same custom prevailed during the still more famous trial of
Warren Hastings in the same Hall nearly sixty years later.
1. 4. spleen and vapour. See note, p. 28, 1. 10.
1. 12. virtuoso, properly one devoted to the fine arts ; here
applied to a seller of fine art objects.
1. 20. Nando's, a coffee-house in Fleet Street. The house was
an old one, having been erected in the time of James I.
1. 23. Charles Lillie, a well-known toyman and vendor of art
objects and bric-a-brac.
1. 26. his name-sake, Charles Mathers, another well-known
toyman, who had his shop next door to Nando's, at the Inner
Temple Gate, Fleet Street.
1. 28. a commonwealth, a community.
1. 33. particular, peculiar, exceptional.
P. 51,1. 10. utensil, formerly any implement or tool ; now
limited in application to vessels, such as kitchen utensils, etc. ;
from Lat. utor, to use.
1. 11. furnish out, supply, provide.
1. 14. Imprimis, in the first place, first of all.
1. 15. contrived, designed, planned.
1. 16. goldsmiths' notes, receipts for money lent on interest to
the Goldsmiths, who from the year 1386, and for many centuries,
were the chief bankers of London ; these receipts became in time
negotiable as bank-notes. The custom of issuing receipts as
bank-notes was common amongst the bankers of the eighteenth
1. 19. nice, elegant, chaste, dainty. The word in Old English
had originally the force of ignorant, weak, foolish, and thus
Chaucer employs it: "But say that we ben wise and nothing
nice." It then acquired the meaning of trivial, slight, unim
portant, and so Shakspere (Romeo and Juliet) says: "The
letter was not nice, but full of charge, of dear import"; and
subsequently, through a series of changes, eventually came to
mean fastidious, exacting, discriminating, as applied to a person,
and choice, select, elegant, as applied to things.
1. 21. curiously fancied, carefully and elegantly designed.
Curious formerly meant careful : "We all should be curious and
watchful against vanities" (Jeremy Taylor).
1. 22. of great use to encourage, etc., the fact of possessing
110 NOTES. [PAGES
such elegant seals would induce young gentlemen to write more
frequently, so as to have the pleasure of using them ; this would
naturally lead to an improvement in their hand-writing.
1. 29. fusee, a kind of light musket ; the word was otherwise
spelled fusil, and in this form still exists in fusileers and
1. 31. tweezer-cases. A tweezer-case was a small pocket-case
containing pen-knives, scissors, and various every-day requisites.
A surgeon's case of instruments was formerly known as a tweese,
the word being a corruption of the French etui, a case of instru
ments ; then the instruments themselves came to be called
P. 52, 1. 3. clouded. Malacca canes were artificially coloured,
and the process was known as ' clouding. '
well made up, handsomely mounted.
I. 18. overseen, mistaken, deceived :
" Yet reason tells us parents are o'erseen,
When with too strict a rein they do hold in
Their child's affections. " Jeremy Taylor.
II. 18, 19. Jambee ... Dragon. These were names for special
kinds of walking-sticks. A Jambee was a stick made from the
young sucker of the bamboo, while a Dragon was a small malacca
cane of a deep red colour (Dobson).
1. 32. came out, i.e. came into fashion.
1. 36. box set with diamonds, i.e. a snuff-box which he might
display in church.
ON LONG-WINDED PEOPLE. No. 14.
P. 53, 1. 7. Boccalini, an Italian lawyer and politician, born
at Loreto in 1556. He is best known as a satirical writer, and
chiefly by his work, News from Parnassus, to which Steele here
alludes. His writings were principally attacks upon Spain,
which in his day was the dominant power in Europe : he died in
laconic, brief, pithy, sententious. The Laconians or Spartans
were noted for their brief manner of speech, and hence the word.
1. 10. Guicciardini, an Italian politician and historian, born at
Florence in 1482. He was the political servant of several
successive members of the Medici family, and when he retired
from public life, devoted his remaining years to the writing of a
history of his own times. The work is remarkable for its
wearisome prolixity, extending, as it does, through twenty
volumes. There is a humorous story told by Lord Macaulay in
51-56.] ON LONG-WINDED PEOPLE. Ill
his Essay on Burleigh, of a criminal in Italy who was given a
choice of punishment between the galleys or the reading of
Guicciardini's History ; he chose the latter, but had to give up
in despair, and so went patiently to the galleys.
1. 12. doctor Donne ; this reference occurs in one of Donne's
Sermons fii. 239). Dr. John Donne (1573-1631) a poet and divine
of James I.'s reign. His boyhood was noted for its extraordinary
precocity. He entered the University of Oxford when only ten
years of age. He is best remembered for his Satires, and for the
far-fetched thoughts and quaint fantastic language of his writings,
which have entitled him to be considered the founder of the
school of English satirists and so-called metaphysical poets.
1. 29. Baker's "Chronicle." Readers of the Spectator will re
member that this work was a favourite one with Sir Roger de
Coverley (Spectator No. 269). Sir Richard Baker's Chronicle
of the Kings of England from the Times of the Romans Government
unto the death of King James was published in 1641.
P. 54, 1. 2. two ancient authors. It is impossible to say
definitely to which two Steele's quotation refers. The contrast
might suggest Livy and Tacitus or Herodotus and Thucydides.
1. 24. humdrum, droning, long-winded ; from hum, a dull
noise, and drum, a droning noise (Skeat).
1 32. Mr. Humphry Wagstaff. This is supposed to be a refer
ence to Dean Swift. In No. 9 of The Taller Steele quotes some
lines from Swift's poem "Description of Morning," and attributes
them to "his ingenious kinsman, Mr. Humphry WagstafF." It
is reasonably certain that the present allusion is to one of Swift's
1 35. postdiluvians, those who have lived since the Flood, and
who have not been so long-lived as Methuselah and the rest of
P. 55, 1. 3. span, life; an allusion to the words of the Psalmist :
" Thou hast made my days, as it were, a span long."
1. 26. hour-glass ... placed near the pulpit. Hour-glasses are
said to have been invented at Alexandria in the third century.
As pieces of pulpit furniture they came into general use in the
sixteenth century, when sermons were very much longer than
they are now-a-days. They were placed in a framework project
ing from the pulpit, and at the left hand of the preacher, whose
discourse not infrequently extended over two turns of the glass.
Although Steele speaks of them as being " often placed near the
pulpit," they were rapidly passing out of use in his day.
1. 33. turned of threescore, has passed the age of sixty.
P. 56, 1. 2. automaton, a self-acting machine ; from the Greek
at/ros (pron. autos), self, and ^oret'w (pron. mateuo), to act.
112 NOTES. [PAGES
1. 9. Charles Lillie's. See note, p. 50, 1. 23.
1. 10. improper, unsuitable.
1. 13. in a following lucubration. This intention Steele carried
out in a most amusing paper, Tatler No. 268 ; and he again
reverts to the subject in two numbers of the Guardian (Nos. 42
1. 14. throw away a candle upon that subject, i.e. expend some
artificial light in writing an article on the subject.
BETTERTON THE ACTOR. No. 15.
P. 56, 1. 23. Mr. Betterton. In two earlier numbers of the
Tatler (Nos. 1 and 71) Steele gives most interesting accounts of
two performances of this great actor. In the former number he
describes how Betterton, at the age of seventy-four, acted the
youthful part of Valentine in Congreve's Love for Love with
astonishing vigour, and in the latter with what freshness he
played the part of Hamlet. Thomas Betterton, who was born in
1635, was of humble origin, his father having been a cook in the
royal kitchen in the time of Charles I. A bookseller named
Rhodes, to whom young Betterton had been apprenticed, acquired
an interest in a theatre in Drury Lane ; this gave the young
actor his first opportunity, and he rapidly rose to eminence. He
is said to have been the first to introduce movable scenery on the
stage. His last appearance was on Thursday, April 18, 1710,
and in less than a fortnight he died. He was buried, as Steele
here relates, in the east cloister of Westminster Abbey, where a
stone without inscription marks his grave.
1. 27. from whose action, from whose acting.
P. 57, 1. 4. public punishments and executions. It was not
until the year 1868 that the public execution of criminals ceased
in England. The place of execution in London was generally
Tyburn, but from 1783 to 1868 in front of Newgate Prison.
Capital punishment, which in Steele's day was inflicted for many
crimes, was restricted in 1861 to those persons found guilty of
treason and wilful murder.
1. 15. Roscius among the Romans. Quintus Roscius, a cele
brated Roman actor, who lived in the first century before the
Christian era : he died about 61 B.C. He was a personal friend
of Cicero, and in the latter's writings he is referred to in several
passages. There is a story told that Cicero and Roscius used
frequently to contend as to which could best express the same
thought, the one in speech, the other by gesture. It is inter
esting to note in this day of high rewards for good acting that
Roseius received about 35 a day for his performances.
56-59.] BETTERTON THE ACTOR, 113
1. 15. The greatest orator, Marcus Tullius Cicero, born 106 B.C.,
assassinated B.C. 43.
1. 33. relish, taste, appreciation.
1. 34. just, correct, realistic, life-like.
1. 35. The operas, which are of late introduced. Steele here
alludes to the introduction of Italian opera into England which
took place shortly after the opening of the Haymarket Theatre
in 1705, for which purpose this theatre was built. The perform
ances to our ears would have been strange, for the principal
parts alone were taken by Italians, the minor parts and chorus
by English, and each sang in their own language. Less than a
year after the date of this Essay in The Tatler the greatest event
in the history of opera in England occurred, when on February
24, 1711, Handel produced his great opera of Rincddo at the
Haymarket Theatre, to which Addison refers in No. 5 of the
P. 58, 1. 9. the handkerchief in Othello. See Othello, Act v. ,
sc. ii. The character of Desdemona is said to have been the first
female part acted by a woman on the English stage.
1. 12. vicissitude, change, alternation, not necessarily for the
worse, as the word implies now-a-days.
1. 21. The charming passage, the well-known speech in which
Othello pleads his cause before the Venetian Senate (Othello,
Act i., sc. iii., 128).
I. 28. ceremony, here used for the funeral procession.
II. 30, 32. Brutus and Cassius, etc., allusions to Shakspere's
plays of Julius Gcesar, in which Brutus and Cassius, of Henry
IV. (Part i.), in which Hotspur, of Henry IV. (Parts i. and n.)
and Merry Wives of Windsor, in which Falstaff, appear.
1. 34. scenical, theatrical, and hence superficial, specious, false.
1. 36. sacred heads, i.e. of the many English sovereigns buried
in Westminster Abbey.
P. 59, 1. 6. Macbeth. See Act v., sc. v. This passage from
Macbeth is quoted by Steele with very curious inaccuracy. The
original runs thus :
" To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle !
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more."
1. 19. the unhappy woman, i.e. Betterton's widow. She had
114 NOTES. [PAGES
been a Mrs. Mary Saunderson, and an admirable actress, par
ticularly of Shaksperiaii parts. Both Betterton and his wife,
in an age when the morality of the stage was not what it is now,
set in their unblemished lives high examples of nobility and
excellence. She died in the following year (1711) and was
buried beside her husband in the cloisters of Westminster.
1. 23. with a sense of his decay, when she realized that her
husband was failing in strength and that his means were
1. 27. determined, terminated, ended.
1. 31. so distinctly, thus particularly.
1. 32. a certain great spirit. It is doubtful to whom Steele
here alludes. The most probable suggestion is that the good and
beautiful Lady Elizabeth Hastings is referred to, whom Steele
praises o nobly under the name of Aspasia in Tatler No. 49,
and in reference to whom he employs the memorable phrase "to
love her is a liberal education." Some, however, have thought
that because Queen Anne conferred a pension of 100 upon Mrs.
Betterton after Betterton's death, this may be Steele's modest
account of a share which he had in recommending the widow to
the Queen's consideration.
DON QUIXOTE IN THE COFFEE-HOUSES. No. 16.
P. 60, 1. 9. the Mancha, i.e. La Mancha, a province of the
north-west of Spain.
1. 12. Michael Cervantes, his full name was Miguel de Cer
vantes Saavedra. He was born in 1547, and died the same year
as Shakspere, 1616, being seventeen years older than our poet.
In early life he was a soldier and fought in the famous naval
battle of Lepanto (1571), where he lost his left hand. His
literary fame rests on two works, Galatea, a long pastoral romance,
and The Adventures of Don Quixote de la Mancha, the first part
of which was published in 1605, and the second in 1615. Galatea
was written to win the admiration of the lady whom he event-
ualty married. Don Quixote was written with the object of
discrediting the wild romances then much read in Spain. See
note, p. 64, 1. 10.
1. 15. economy. The arrangements and management of his
1. 17. Knight Errant. One of the many classes of knights of
feudal times : some undertook to protect pilgrims, some the
defence or recovery of the Holy Sepulchre, but the Knight
59-62.] DON QUIXOTE IN THE COFFEE-HOUSES. 115
Errant wandered over all lands seeking adventures. The order
of knighthood probably originated in the eleventh or twelfth
1. 18. halberds. A halberd was a lance-like weapon, the head
of which was a combination of spear and battle-axe, and so might
be used in thrusting and hacking.
morion, an open helmet without either visor or beaver ;
probably derived from the Spanish morra, the crown of the head.
1. 22. peregrinations, wanderings ; from Lat. per, through,
and ager, land.
1. 25. books of knighthood. Books dealing with the adven
tures of the famous knights of Christendom, such as those of
Amadis of Gaul, Palmerin of England, and a host of others. For
the names of the books read by Don Quixote, see the amusing
sixth chapter of the Adventures, where the Curate and Master
Nicholas the Barber destroy the knight's library.
1. 26. Cervantes reports, etc. See Don Quixote, Part i.,
chap. i. , where the quotation is stated to be from the works of
the "famous Feliciano de Sylva."
P. 61, 1. 17. by falling into, in happening to visit.
1. 18. the upholsterer, this reference is to the character of the
political upholsterer which Addison had introduced in No. 155
of the Tatler.
crack, craze ; the word was also used in the sense of a crazed
person, a lunatic, e.g. "the Parliament, who look upon me as a
crack and a projector" (Addison).
1. 19. This touch, affection, ailment. The word is used in tin's
sense by Shakspere in the well-known line, "one touch of nature
makes the whole world kin" (Troilm and Grenada, in. iii.).
1. 23. the novelists, here used merely in the sense of news
paper writers who retail what is novel. The English novel was
not, of course, yet in existence.
1. 30. the Post-man, a well-known newspaper of Steele's day.
1. 31. alley coffee-houses. The humbler class of coffee-houses
in the poorer parts of London.
P. 62, 1. 5. the plain of Lens, the plain to the north of the
town of Mons, in Hainault, not many miles from the scene of
MarllioroiiLrirs brilliant campaign in the previous year (1709),
and the field of Malplaquet.
1. 11. Marshall Villars, one of the most distinguished of the
French generals in the War of the Spanish Succession.
1. 1"). Monsieur Albergottl, one of the French generals of
Louis XIV. He was l><>sic ^vd in the town of Douay by the
Allies in 1710, and compelled to surrender.
116 NOTES. [PAOES
1. 20. the elector of Bavaria, the ally of Louis XIV. in the
War of the Spanish Succession.
1. 36. vertigo, a giddiness, confusion. From Lat. verto, to turn.
P. 63, 1. 3. Ichabod Dawks's Letter, the name of a small news
paper of the day.
1. 7. battle of Ramillies. This famous victory of Marlborough
was won on Whitsunday, May 12, 1706.
1. 10. we shall not stand upon the day, we shall not be par
ticular as to the day. Cf. Macbeth, Act in., sc. iv., 1. 118 :
" Stand not upon the order of your going,
But go at once !"
1. 13. conceit, a whimsical idea or thought. So Pope, Essay
on Criticism, when condemning those critics who care merely for
the far-fetched eccentric thoughts expressed in a poem, says :
" Some to conceit alone their taste confine,
And glitt'ring thoughts struck out at ev'ry line."
1. 15. noddles, the heads; a diminutive formed from M.E.
knod, a knob, ball (Skeat).
1. 22. our fraternity, i.e. of newspaper writers.
1. 23. as particular, as peculiar, odd.
1. 25. whether print or manuscript. Some of the newspapers
of the day, such as Ichabod Dawks's Letter, had a portion of
their news printed as reproduction of manuscript (Dobson).
1. 26. a refreshment, a re'chaujfe or re-hash of the news already
published in other papers.
1. 31. the Courant, the Daily Courant, a whig newspaper of
Steele's day, and the first daily paper published in England.
P. 64, 1. 10. books of chivalry to Spain, the extravagant
romances of knight-errantry of the sixteenth century, which
Cervantes, considering them as destructive of the moral and
intellectual character of his fellow-countrymen, ridiculed out of
existence by showing their effect in the case of the crazed Don
Quixote. See note, p. 60, 1. 25.
ON SATIRE. No. 17.
P. 64, 1. 22. pretended, presumed, dared,
impertinent applauses, inappropriate, ill-deserved praise.
P. 65, 1. 8. When Virgil said. This saying occurs in Virgil's
Third Eclogue, and refers to two petty and spiteful poets of the
time of Augustus Csesar, who took delight in attacking the
reputation of the great writers of the period.
62-68.] ON SATIRE. 117
1. 15. the character among us, etc. In this epigram the witty
Earl of Rochester (1647-1680) describes the character of the Earl
of Dorset, the author of the well-known song, To all you Ladies
now on Land, written at sea just before a naval engagement with
the Dutch. A somewhat similar epigram was applied to Dr.
Arbuthnot, of whom it was said that "he liked an ill-natured
jest the best of any good-natured man in the kingdom."
1. 27. produce, here used in its literal sense, to lead forth ;
hence to indicate, display.
1. 29. of the greatest character in this kind, i.e. of the greatest
reputation in this form of satire.
1. 30. Horace, the Latin poet and satirist who was born in
B.C. 65 and died B.C. 8, when he had nearly completed his 57th
year. His Satires, of which there are two books, are considered
the finest portion of his works.
Juvenal is said to have been born about the year 40 A.D. in
the reign of Caligula, and to have died at the age of 80 in the
reign of Hadrian, but much uncertainty exists as to the exact
dates. While the writings of Horace are distinguished by
brilliancy and playfulness, those of Juvenal are marked by
earnest thought and dignified rhetoric.
P. 66, 1. 4. a prince of the greatest goodness, Augustus Csesar,
the friend and patron of Horace.
1. 7. falls upon, attacks.
1. 8. false pretences to politeness, i.e. false claims to be con
sidered learned and cultured ; politeness in Steele's day denoted
rather the attainments which mark the man of cultured mind
than gentle manners ; cf. Johnson, Preface to Shakspere, " the
polite are ever catching modish innovations. "
1. 12. Domitian, Titus Flavius Domitianus, the Roman
emperor, son of the emperor Vespasian, who reigned from
81 A.D. to 96 A.D., when he was put to death in his own apart
ments by the members of a conspiracy roused to action by his
cruelties. His reign is memorable as that in which Britain was
finally conquered by the Romans under Agricola, and for one of
the most terrible of the persecutions of the Christians.
1. 15. conversation, in its original and wider sense of inter
course with our fellow-creatures.
1. 34. rally, to banter, chaff; the word is a form of rail, to
P. 67, 1. 13. with greater life, with greater accuracy.
P. 68, 1. 9. repartee ; the use of this word as a verb is unusual ;
it is an anglicized form of the French repartic, a witty reply.
118 NOTES. [PAGI
ON NOBLE INDEPENDENCE. No. 18.
P. 69, 1. 13. the mind of a man, etc. Milton (Par. Lost, Bk.
I. 253) expresses a somewhat similar idea :
" The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven."
1. 25. than his vanity, i.e. than to or for his vanity.
1. 26. prepossessions, prejudice in favour of.
1. 34. Mr. Collier, the Rev. Jeremy Collier (1650-1726) who
became famous as a political writer, after the Revolution, when
he directed his great controversial powers against the govern
ment of William III. Steele here quotes from one of his Essays
upon Several Moral Subjects. His real fame rests upon the noble
protest which, in 1698, he entered against the immorality of the
plays which Congreve, Farquhar, and other writers of the
Restoration period had made fashionable on the English stage.
This work was entitled: A short view of the Immorality and
Profaneness of the English Stage, together with the, sense of
Antiquity upon this argument. It roused all sober and thinking
men to side with him, and led to a great improvement in the
tone of the English Drama. Steele, in his comedy of The Lying
Lover, by attempting to mingle what was serious with the
elements of a comedy, aimed at carrying into practice the
suggestions of Collier towards the creation of a purer and more
P. 70, 1. 6. decency, decorum, dignity. Cf. Addison, Spec
tator, 279 : " Sentiments which raise laughter can very seldom
be admitted with any decency in an Heroic poem. "
1. 20. adventitious, incidental, superficial.
1. 22. only for the just application of them, only so far as they
are rightly employed.
1. 26. delicates, delicacies, dainties.
1. 27. wit, intellectual gifts.
P. 71, 1. 4. allowed only to those, admitted to exist only in
1. 6. denominate, mark them out, distinguish.
1. 15. distinctions, social and class distinctions.
1. 20. interpretation of his actions, i.e. the motives which
others ascribe to his actions.
1. 24. inexplicable, intricate, lit. that which cannot be un
woven or disentangled (Latin ex and plico).
1. 27. tragedian, i.e. a writer of tragedy, and not, as now, a
tragic actor. For the passage from which Steele quotes see
Macbeth, Act u., sc. ii., 1. 43.
69-73.] ON NOBLE INDEPENDENCE. H9
1. 30. Mr. Cowley. The lines are to be found in Cowley's
Essay, No. 6, Of Greatness. Abraham Cowley (1618-1667), a
poet whose works are now little read. His longest poem is an
unfinished one entitled Davideis, which recounts the deeds of
King David. His Essays, in which Cowley's great learning and
deep philosophic thought are found, rank in point of excellence
with similar productions of the best writers.
ON DISAPPOINTED AMBITION. No. 19.
P. 72, 1. 8. Mile-End, a district in the east of London, situated
between Whitechapel and Bow, and now densely populated. In
former days the place was a favourite country retreat, and here
the well-to-do citizens had their summer gardens and many of
them residences. Bethnal Green and Hoxton were similar rural
districts at this time, and much frequented.
Stepney churchyard, the churchyard of the old parish
church of Stepney, another district in the east end, and about
two and a half miles east of St. Paul's Cathedral. The church
was built in the fourteenth century. It is a very old tradition
that all children born at sea belong to Stepney parish :
" He who sails on the wide sea
Is a parishioner of Stepney." Old Rhyme.
1.23. Pyrrhus, King of Epirus, born B.C. 318, died B.C. 273.
The philosopher here referred to is Cineas his friend and adviser.
See Plutarch's Lives.
1. 28. condition, position in life. Cf. Pope, Essay on Man :
" Honour and shame from no condition rise ;
Act well your part, there all the honour lies."
P. 73, 1. 5. and quitted, retired from the army.
1. 10. our regiment. If Steele is here describing some friend
of his, we must remember that he may have known him, either
when he was serving as a gentleman volunteer in the Guards, or
when he held the captaincy in Lord Lucas's Fusileers (see
1. 13. His warm complexion, his energetic nature. See note,
p. 24, 1. 36.
1. 1 9. put his mind in some method of gratification, direct his
thoughts and energy towards something which may be a source
of pleasure to him, and so keep his mind from brooding.
1. 22. courting proper occasions, seeking suitable opportunities.
1. 33. I know not what, some element of ; a literal translation
of the French idiom, je ne sais quoi.
120 NOTES. [PAGES
P. 74, 1. 2. undertaking spirits, adventurous spirits.
1. 6. for the ostentation of, for the sake of displaying.
1. 11. may figure to us, may serve to illustrate for us.
1. 12. politer, more cultured.
1. 26. regular prosecution, lawful pursuit ; Lat. prosequor, to
1. 29. the Trumpet. See Essay 9 and notes.
P. 75, 1. 3. a pretence to arrive at, and an ardency to exert,
a possibility of attaining to, and an enthusiasm in putting into
1. 10. pretends to it, aims at, lays claim to ; Lat. prcetendo, to
spread before, hold out (as an aim).
1. 18. turned, directed.
1. 19. cast, character. See note, p. 30, 1. 10.
ON JUDICIOUS FLATTERY. No. 20.
P. 76, 1. 5. incoherent circumstances, disconnected facts and
1. 6. in his imagination, as he imagined.
1. 24. the nicest art, an art of the most refined and delicate
character. See note, for this use of nice, p. 51, 1. 19.
1. 34. easy companion. See note, p. 33, 1. 24.
P. 77, 1. 2. a led friend, a hanger-on, a follower.
1. 3. a darling for his insignificancy, a favourite on account of
1. 9. There are of, there are those of.
1. 18. the course of the town, what is going on in the town in
the way of incident or gossip.
1. 30. the Latin word for a flatterer. Cf. Trench, Study of
Words : " Thus, all of us have felt the temptation of seeking to
please others by an unmanly assenting to their opinion, even
when our own independent convictions did not agree with theirs.
The existence of such a temptation, and the fact that too many
yield to it, are declared in the Latin for a flatterer, assentalor,
that is an assenter, one who has not courage to say No when a
Yes is expected from him."
1. 34. gains upon you, wins your confidence and friendship.
P. 78, 1. 12. his parts are so low, his ability is of so low an
74-79.] ON JUDICIOUS FLATTERY. 121
1. 21. an estate of reputation, is in possession of credit or
1. 31. Terence introduces, etc. ; in his comedy of Etmuchus,
where Gnatho the Parasite thus expresses himself on the art of
nattering (Act n., sc. iii.) : " There is a class of men who strive
to be first in everything, but are not ; to these I make my court ;
whatever they say, I commend ; if they contradict that self-same
thing, I commend again. Does any one deny ? I deny ; does any
one affirm ? I affirm. "
1. 36. discover, exhibit, show.
P. 79, 1. 6. a droll, an amusing fellow, a wag. The word is of
Scandinavian origin, and originally meant 'a merry imp' (Danish,
1. 7. ticklish, critical, sensitive. Cf. Bacon, Essay, Of Seditions
and Troubles : ' ' Princes had need in tender matter and ticklish
time to beware what they say."
1. 17. Sir Jeffery, Sir Jeffery Notch, a member of the Trumpet
Club. See Essay 9.
1. 18. hold up, i.e. resist sleep.
1. 30. an arrant driveller, a downright fool. The word arrant
is another form of errant, roving, wandering. From the fact that
the word was most frequently used as a prefix to words indicative
of bad character, such as an errant thief, an errant rogue, it
gradually assumed the quality of these words itself, and came to
mean notorious, abject.
1. 33. the Revolution, of 1688, when the Stuart dynasty, repre
sented by James II., was succeeded by the collateral branch
represented by William, Prince of Orange.
INDEX TO NOTES
yEsop, 12. 21.
After-life, 46. 10.
Albergotti, Monsieur, 62. 15.
Alexander the Great,. 24. 11.
Apprentices, London, 35. 1.
Bank, the, 37. 30.
Bassett, 19. 28.
Bavaria, elector of, 62. 20.
Bellman, 20. 12.
Betterton, Thomas, 56. 23.
Be vis of Southampton, 12.
Bickerstaff, Isaac, 2. 11.
Bills of Mortality, i. 8.
Bob-wig, 48. 18.
Bocsalini, 53. 7.
Brasenose College, 47. 23.
Brutus, 58. 30.
Canterbury tale, 36. 35.
Cassius, 58. 30.
Caubly, Roger de, 17. 8.
Cervantes, 60. 12.
Charing-Cross, 35. 14.
Cheapside, 37. 29.
Chelsea, 16. 9.
Christ Church Bells, 17. 10.
Chronicle, Baker's, 53. 29,
Coaches, 9. 28.
Colleges, hours of, 20. 29.
Collier, Mr., 69. 34.
Colt's tooth, a, 33. 2.
Complexion, 24. 36.
Conceit, 63. 13.
Courant, the, 63. 31.
Cowley, Mr., 71. 30.
Coxcombs, 45. 25.
Crimp, 19. 28.
Curfew, the, 19. 23.
Dainty, Lady, 23. 12.
Depiiigle, 14. 35.
Dick's Coffee-house, 4. 10.
Diet- drink, 23. 4.
Domitian, 66. 12.
Donne, doctor, 53. 12.
Dragon, 52. 19.
Drinking habits, 8. 11.
Duelling, 42. 20.
Edge-hill, 36. 18.
Electuary, 47. 32.
Enfield-chase, 26. 8.
Eutrapelus, 33. 10.
Executions, public, 57. 4.
INDEX TO NOTES.
Farthingale, 31. 24.
Fields, the five, 16. 15.
Furbelow, 31. 9.
Fusee, 51. 29.
Oarraway's, 8, 2.
Gascon, 23. 29.
Gimcracks, 16. 25.
Goldsmith's notes, 51. 16.
Grecian, the, i. 7.
Guicciardini, 53. 10.
Guy of Warwick, 12. 26.
Hastings, Lady Elizabeth,
Hickerthrift, John, 12. 32.
Horace, 65. 30.
Hours for dining, 20. 30.
Hour-glasses, 55. 26.
Hours of theatres, 10. 1.
Hudibras, 35. 15.
Hungary water, 48. 31.
Hyde-Park, 44. 22.
Ichabod Dawks's Letter, 63.
Isaac, 15. 15.
Jambee, 52. 18.
Jeffery, Sir, 79. 17.
Juvenal, 65. 30.
Kit, 15. 11.
Knight-errant, 60. 17.
Ladies' cure, The, 27. 9.
Lens, plain of, 62. 5.
Library, a Female, 29. 9.
Lillie, Charles, 50. 23.
Limpers, 23. 36.
Lotteries, 38. 1.
Lottery, Penny, 40. 9.
Lucian, 21. 15.
Lucubrations, 2. 19.
Macbeth, 59. 6.
Mancha, the, 60. 9.
Manes, 4. 25.
Marston Moor, 34. 36.
Mathers, Charles, 50. 26.
Mile-end, 72. 8.
Morphew, Mr., 38. 29.
Mountebanks, 13. 26.
Muffs, 1 8. 18.
Nando's, 50. 20.
Naseby, 35. 32.
Negroes, 46. 34.
Nestor, 37. 14.
Nice, 51. 19.
Nickers, 25. 33.
Nicolini, 49. 11.
Oaf, 28. 35.
Ogle, Jack, 35. 15.
Oliver Cromwell, 4. 4.
Open-breasted, n. 35.
Operas, 57. 35.
Ordinaries, 35. 14.
Othello, 58. 9.
Overdo, Justice, 16. 17.
Palatines, 39. 10.
Partridge, Mr., 41. 2.
Periwigs, n. 34.
Play-house, 10. 1.
Point of war, 12. 15.
INDEX TO NOTES.
Post-man, the, 61. 30.
Punch, 1 8. 17.
Pyrrhus, 72. 23.
Ramillies, battle of, 63. 7.
Revolution, the, 79. 33.
Rigadoon, 15. 27.
Roscius, 57. 15.
Sacheverell trial, 49. 17-
St. George, 12. 33.
St. James's, 2. 4.
Sclopeta, 17. 31.
Seneca, 38. 36.
Sheer-lane, 4. 10.
Sheyles, Elinor, 6. 2.
Shoulder-knot, 32. 3.
Spleen, 28. 10.
Stepney, 72. 8.
Taylor, Jeremy, 45. 5.
Terence, 78. 31.
Toast, 12. 11.
Tom's Coffee-house, 2. 3.
Toy-shop, 31. 27.
Tradescant, 17. 27.
Trumpet Club, 34. 10.
Trusty, Sam, 46. 2.
Tutty, 47. 34.
Tweezer-case, 51. 31.
Venus, 26. 22.
Villars, Marshal, 62. 11.
Virgil, 65. 8.
Vossius, 17. 20.
Wagstaff, Mr. Humphrey,
Watch, the, 20. 13.
Westminster Hall, 20. 33.
White's, 2. 3.
William Rufus, 20. 33.
Will's Coffee-house, 2. 3.
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