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No. DLXVIII. FRIDAY, JULY 16.
Dum recitas, incipit esse tuus. Mart.
Reciting makes it thine.
I WAS yesterday in a coffee-house not far from the Royal Exchange, where I observed three persons in close conference over a pipe of tobacco; upon which, having filled one for my own use, I lighted it at the little wax-candle that stood before them; and after having thrown in two or three whiffs amongst them, sat down and made one of the company. I need not tell my reader, that lighting a man's pipe at the same candle, is looked upon among brother smokers as an overture to conversation and friendship. As we here laid our heads together in a very amicable manner, being intrenched under a cloud of our own raising, I took up the last Spectator, and casting my eye over it, ' The Spectator,' says I, ' is very witty to-day;' upon which a lusty lethargic old gentleman, who sat at the upper-end of the table, having gradually blown out of his mouth a great deal of smoke, which he had been collecting for some time before, ' Ay,' says he, ' more witty than wise I am afraid.' His neighbour, who sat at his right hand, immediately coloured, and being an angry politician, laid down his pipe with so much wrath that he broke it in the middle, and b'y that means furnished ma with a- tobacco-stopper. I took it up very sedately, and looking him full in the face, made use of it from time to time all the while he was speaking: 'This fellow,' says he, ' can't for his life keep out of politics. Do you see how he abuses four great men here J' I fixed my eye very attentively on the paper, and asked him if he meant those who were represented by asterisks. 'Asterisks,' says he, 'do you call them J they are all of them stars. He might as well put garters to 'em. Then, pray, do you mind the two or three next lines: ch-rch and p-dd-ng in the same sentence! Our clergy are very much beholden to him.' Upon this the third gentleman, who was of a mild disposition, and, as I found, a whig in his heart, desired him not to be too severe upon the Spectator neither; ' For,' says he, ' you find he is very cautious of giving offence, and has therefore put two dashes into his pudding.' 'A tig for his dash,' says the angry politician. 'In his next sentence he gives a plain innuendo, that our posterity will be in a sweet p-ckle. What does the fool mean by his pickle? Why does he not write it at length, if he means honestly? I have read over the whole sentence,' says I, 'but I look upon the parenthesis in the belly of it to be the most dangerous part, and as full of insinuations as it can hold.' ' But who,' says I, ' is my lady Q«p~t--s?' 'Ay, answer that if you can, Sir,' says the furious statesman to the poor whig that sat over against him. But without giving him time to reply, l I do assure you,' says he, ' were I my lady Q—p—t~s, I would sue him for scandalum magnatum. What is the world come to? Must every body be allowed to ?' He had by this time filled a new pipe, and applying it to his lips, when we expected the last word of his sentence, put us off with a whiff of tobacco; which he redoubled with so much rage and trepidation, that he almost stifled the whole company. After a short pause, I owned that I thought the Spectator had p;one too far in writing so many letters of my lady Q—p—t—s's name ; ' but however,' says I, 'he has made a little amends for it in his next sentence, where he leaves a blank space without so much as a consonant to direct us. 'i mean,' says I, ' after those words, The fleet, that used to be the terror of the
ocean, should be wind-bound for the sake of a J
after which ensues a chasm, that in my opinion looks modest enough.' 'Sir,' says my antagonist, 'you may *
easily know his meaning by his gaping; I suppose he designs his chasm, as you call it, for an hole to creep out at, but I believe it will hardly serve his turn. Who can endure to see the great officers of state, the B—y's and T--t's treated after so scurrilous a manner?' 'I can't for my life,' says I, 'imagine who they are the Spectator means!' 'No!' says he, 'Your humble servant, Sir!' Upon which he flung himself back in his chair after a contemptuous manner, and smiled upon the old lethargic gentleman on his left hand, who I found was his great admirer. The whig, however had begun to conceive a good-will towards me, and seeing my pipe out, very generously offered me the use of his box; but I declined it with great civility, being obliged to meet a friend about that time in another quarter of the city.
At my leaving the coffee-house, I could not forbear reflecting with myself upon that gross tribe of fools who may be termed the Over-wise, and upon the difficulty of writing any thing in this censorious age, which a weak head may not construe into private satire and personal reflection.
A man who has a good nose at an innuendo, smells treason and sedition in the most innocent words that can be put together, and never sees a vice or folly stigmatized, but finds out one or other of his acquaintance pointed at by the writer. I remember an empty pragmatical fellow in the country, who upon reading over the Whole Duty of Man, had written the names of several persons in the village at the side of every sin which is mentioned by that excellent author; so that he had converted one of the best books in the world into a libel against the 'squire, churchwardens, overseers of the poor, and all other the most considerable persons in the parish. This book, with these extraordinary marginal notes, fell accidentally into the hands of one who had never seen it before; upon which there arose a current report that some body had written a book against the 'squire and the whole parish. The minister of the place having at that time a controversy with some of his congregation upon the account of his tithes, was under some suspicion of being the author, till the good man set the people right, by shewing them that the satircal passages might be applied to several others of two or three neighbouring villages, and that the book was writ against all the sinners in England.
No. DLXIX. MONDAY, JULY 19.
Reges dicunter multis ugere culullis
Et torqnerre roern, quem perspexisse laborant,
An sit amicitia dignus Hoc.
Wise were the kings, who never chose a friend,
NO vices are so incurable as those which men are apt to glory in. One would wonder how drunkenness should have the good luck to be of this number. Anacharsis, being invited to a match of drinking at Corinth, demanded the prize very humorously, because he was drunk before any of the rest of the company: for, says he, when we run a race, he who arrives at the goal first is entitled to the reward: on the contrary, in this thirsty generation, the honour falls upon him who carries off the greatest quantity of liquor, and knocks down the rest of the company. I was the other day with honest Will Funnell the West Saxon, who was reckoning up how much liquor had passed through him in the last twenty years of his life, which, according to his computation, amounted to twenty-three hogsheads of October, four tuns of port, half a kilderkin of small beer, nineteen barrels of cider, and three glasses of champaigne; besides which he had assisted at four hundred bowls of punch, not to mention sips, drams, and whets without number. I question not but every reader's memory will suggest to him several ambitious young men, who are as vain in this particular as Will Funnell, and can boast of as glorious exploits.
Our modern philosophers observe, that there is a general decay of moisture in the globe of the earth. This they chiefly ascribe to the growth of vegetables, which incorporate into their own substance many fluid bodies that never return again to their former nature: but with submission, they ought to throw into their account those innumerable rational beings which fetch their nourishment chiefly out of liquids; especially when we consider that men, compared with their fellow-creatures, drink much more than comes to their share.
But however highly this tribe of people may think of themselves, a drunken man is a greater monster than any that is to be found among all the creatures which God has made; as indeed there is no character which appears more despicable and deformed, in the eyes of all reasonable persons, than that pf a drunkard. Bonosus, one of our own countrymen, who was addicted to this vice, having set up for a share in the Kotnan Empire, and being defeated in a great battle, hanged himself. When he was seen by the army in this melancholy situation, notwithstanding he had behaved himself very bravely, the common jest was, that the thing they saw hanging upon the tree before them, was not a man but a bottle.
This vice has very fatal effects on the mind, the body, and fortune of the person who is devoted to it.