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becoming, that there is no enduring either of them. It has therefore been generally my choice to mix with cheerful ugly creatures, rather than gentlemen who are graceful enough to omit or do what they please; or beauties who have charms enough to do and say what would be disobliging in any but themselves.
Diffidence and presumption, upon account of our persons, are equally faults; and both arise from the want of knowing, or rather endeavouring to know ourselves, and for what we ought to be valued or neglected. But indeed I did not imagine these little considerations and coquetries could have the ill consequence as I find they have by the following letters of my correspondents, where it seems duty is thrown into the account, in matters of sale, to those who receive no favour from the charmers :
June 4. ' AFTER I have assured you I am in every re
spect one of the handsomest young girls about town, I need be particular in nothing but the make of my face, which has the misfortune to be exactly oval. This I take to proceed from a temper that naturally inclines me both to speak and to hear.
With this account you may wonder how I can have the vanity to offer myself as a candidate, which I now do, to a society where the Spectator and Hecatissa? have been admitted with so much applause. I don't want to be put in mind how very defective I am in everything that is ugly; I am too sensible of my own unworthiness in this particular, and therefore I only propose myself as a foil to the club.
1 See No. 48.
"You see how honest I have been to confess all my imperfections, which is a great deal to come from a woman, and what, I hope, you will encourage with the favour of your interest.
There can be no objection made on the side of the matchless Hecatissa, since it is certain I shall be in no danger of giving her the least occasion of jealousy; and then, a joint-stool in the very lowest place at the table is all the honour that is coveted by Your most humble and obedient Servant,
‘P.S.-I have sacrificed my necklace to put into the public lottery against the common enemy. And last Saturday, about three o'clock in the afternoon, I began to patch indifferently on both sides of my face.' 1
· Mr. SPECTATOR,
London, June 7, 1711. UPON reading your late dissertation concerning
Idols, I cannot but complain to you that there are, in six or seven places of this city, coffee-houses kept by persons of that sisterhood. These idols sit and receive all day long the adoration of the youth within such and such districts; I know, in particular, goods are not entered as they ought to be at the custom-house, nor law reports perused at the Temple, by reason of one beauty who detains the young merchants too long near 'Change, and another fair one who keeps the students at her house when they should be at study. It would be worth your while to see how the idolaters alternately offer in
1 See No. 81.
cense to their idols, and what heart-burnings arise in those who wait for their turn to receive kind aspects from those little thrones, which all the company but these lovers call the Bars. I saw a gentleman turn as pale as ashes because an idol turned the sugar in a tea-dish for his rival, and carelessly called the boy to serve him, with a “Sirrah ! why don't you give the gentleman the box to please himself?” Certain it is, that a very hopeful young man was taken with leads in his pockets below bridge, where he intended to drown himself, because his idol would wash the dish in which she had just before drank tea before she would let him use it.
'I am, sir, a person past being amorous, and do not give this information out of envy or jealousy, but I am a real sufferer by it. These lovers take anything for tea and coffee; I saw one yesterday surfeit to make his court; and all his rivals, at the same time, loud in the commendation of liquors that went against everybody in the room that was not in love. While these young fellows resign their stomachs with their hearts, and drink at the idol in this manner, we who come to do business or talk politics are utterly poisoned; they have also drams for those who are more enamoured than ordinary; and it is very common for such as are too low in constitution to ogle the idol upon the strength of tea, to fluster themselves with warmer liquors; thus all pretenders advance, as fast as they can, to a fever or a diabetes. I must repeat to you that I do not look with an evil eye upon the profit of the idols or the diversions of the lovers; what I hope from this remonstrance is only that we plain people may not be served as if we were idolaters; but that from the time of publishing this in your paper the idols would mix ratsbane only for their admirers, and take more care of us who don't love them. I am, Sir, yours,
N° 88. Monday, June 11, 1711
Quid domini facient, audent cum talia fures ?
-VIRG., Eclog. iii. 16.
· Mr. SPECTATOR,
May 30, 1711. (I HAVE no small value for your endeavours to I lay before the world what may escape their
observation, and yet highly conduces to their service. You have, I think, succeeded very well on many subjects, and seem to have been conversant in very different scenes of life. But in the considerations of mankind, as a Spectator, you should not omit circumstances which relate to the inferior part of the world any more than those which concern the greater. There is one thing in particular which I wonder you have not touched upon, and that is, the general corruption of manners in the servants of Great Britain. I am a man that have travelled and seen many nations, but have for seven years last past resided constantly in London or within twenty miles of it; in this time I have contracted a numerous
1 This letter is ascribed to Laurence Eusden (1688–1730), who was made Poet-Laureate by the Duke of Newcastle in 1718. Afterwards he became a clergyman in the Church of England. Gray says that he was a person of great hopes in his youth, though at last he turned out a drunken person.'
acquaintance among the best sort of people, and have hardly found one of them happy in their servants. This is matter of great astonishment to foreigners, and all such as have visited foreign countries; especially since we cannot but observe that there is no part of the world where servants have those privileges and advantages as in England. They have nowhere else such plentiful diet, large wages, or indulgent liberty; there is no place wherein they labour less, and yet where they are so little respectful, more wasteful, more negligent, or where they so frequently change their masters. To this I attribute, in a great measure, the frequent robberies and losses which we suffer on the high-road and in our own houses. That indeed which gives me the present thought of this kind is, that a careless groom of mine has spoiled me the prettiest pad in the world with only riding him ten miles; and I assure you, if I were to make a register of all the horses I have known thus abused by negligence of servants, the number would mount a regiment. I wish you would give us your observations, that we may know how to treat these rogues, or that we masters may enter into measures to reform them. Pray give us a speculation in general about servants, and you make me
Philo-BRITANNICUS. * Pray do not omit the mention of grooms in particular.'
This honest gentleman, who is so desirous that I should write a satire upon grooms, has a great deal of reason for his resentment; and I know no