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evil which touches all mankind so much, as this of the misbehaviour of servants.
The complaint of this letter runs wholly upon men-servants; and I can attribute the licentiousness which has at present prevailed among them, to nothing but what an hundred before me have ascribed it to, the custom of giving board-wages : this one instance of false economy is sufficient to debauch the whole nation of servants, and makes them as it were but for some part of their time in that quality. They are either attending in places where they meet and run into clubs, or else, if they wait at taverns, they eat after their masters, and reserve their wages for other occasions. From hence it arises, that they are but in a lower degree what their masters themselves are, and usually affect an imitation of their manners : and you have in liveries beaux, fops, and coxcombs, in as high perfection as among people that keep equipages. It is a common humour among the retinue of people of quality, when they are in their revels, that is when they are out of their masters' sight, to assume in an humorous way the names and titles of those whose liveries they wear. By which means characters and distinctions become so familiar to them, that it is to this, among other causes, one may impute a certain insolence among our servants, that they take no notice of any gentleman though they know him ever so well, except he is an acquaintance of their master's.
My obscurity and taciturnity leave me at liberty, without scandal, to dine, if I think fit, at a common ordinary, in the meanest as well as the most sumptuous house of entertainment. Falling in the other day at a victualling-house near the House of Peers, I heard the maid come down and tell the landlady at the bar, that my Lord Bishop swore he would throw her out at 1 window if she did not bring up more mild beer, and that my Lord Duke would have a double mug of purl. My surprise was increased, in hearing loud and rustic voices speak and answer to each other upon the public affairs, by the names of the most illustrious of our nobility; till of a sudden one came running in, and cried the House was rising. Down came all the company together, and away. The ale-house was immediately filled with clamour, and scoring one mug to the marquis of such a place, oil and vinegar to such an earl, three quarts to my new lord for wetting his title, and so forth. It is a thing too notorious to mention the crowds of servants, and their insolence, near the Courts of Justice, and the stairs towards the Supreme Assembly; where there is an universal mockery of all order, such riotous clamour and licentious confusion, that one would think the whole nation lived in jest, and there were no such thing as rule and distinction among us.
The next place of resort, wherein the servile world are let loose, is at the entrance of Hyde Park, while the gentry are at the Ring. Hither people bring their lackeys out of state, and here it is that all they say at their tables and act in their houses is communicated to the whole town. There are men of wit in all conditions of life; and mixing with these people at their diversions, I have heard coquettes and prudes as well rallied, and insolence and pride exposed (allowing for their want of education), with as much humour and good sense as in the politest companies. It is a general obser1 •Of the’ (folio).
2 See No. 15.
vation, that all dependants run in some measure into the manners and behaviour of those whom they serve. You shall frequently meet with lovers and men of intrigue among the lackeys, as well as at White's? or in the side boxes. I remember some years ago an instance of this kind. A footman to a captain of the guard used frequently, when his master was out of the way, to carry on amours and make assignations in his master's clothes. The fellow had a very good person, and there are very many women that think no further than the outside of a gentleman; besides which, he was almost as learned a man as the colonel himself. I say, thus qualified, the fellow could scrawl billetsdoux so well, and furnish a conversation on the
1 White's Chocolate-House, St. James's Street, was established about 1698. It soon became a fashionable gaming-house, or, as Swift says, the common rendezvous of infamous sharpers and noble cullies. In the first number of the Tatler, Steele announced that • all accounts of gallantry, pleasure, and entertainment shall be under the article of White's Chocolate-House. The house was burnt down in 1733, and when rebuilt it became a club.
2 At the beginning of the eighteenth century the side boxes were used by gentlemen, and the front ones by ladies. So Pope (* Rape of the Lock,' v. 14) says
Why round our couches crowd the white-gloved beaux ?
Why bows the side box from its inmost rows?' Cf., too, the Spectator, No. 311: Suffenus has combed and powdered at the ladies for thirty years together, and taken his stand in a side box, till he has grown wrinkled under their eyes'; and No. 377 : «W.W., killed by an unknown hand, that was playing, with the glove off, upon the side of the front box in Drury Lane.' Later in the century, the front and side boxes came to be used indifferently by ladies and gentlemen (Dobson). Gay (• Eclogues : The Toilette') following Pope, says
Side boxes watch my restless eyes,
common topics, that he had, as they call it, a great deal of good business on his hands. It happened one day, that coming down a tavern stairs in his master's fine guard-coat, with a well-dressed woman masked, he met the colonel coming up with other company; but with a ready assurance he quitted his lady, came up to him, and said, 'Sir, I know you have too much respect for yourself to cane me in this honourable habit; but you see there is a lady in the case, and I hope on that score also you will put off your anger till I have told you all another time. After a little pause the colonel cleared up his countenance, and with an air of familiarity whispered his man apart, “Sirrah, bring the lady with you to ask pardon for you’; then aloud, 'Look to it, Will. I'll never forgive you else.' The fellow went back to his mistress, and telling her with a loud voice and an oath, “That was the honestest fellow in the world,' conveyed her to an hackney-coach.
But the many irregularities committed by servants in the places above mentioned, as well as in the theatres, of which masters are generally the occasions, are too various not to need being resumed on another occasion. So Gay ("Hare and Many Friends') says
· And when a lady's in the case,
You know all other things give place.' 2 • Dropt, near the playhouse in the Haymarket, a bundle of horse-whips, designed to belabour the footmen in the upper gallery, who almost every night this winter have made such an intolerable disturbance that the players could not be heard, and their masters were forced to hiss 'em into silence. Whoever has taken up the said whips is desired to leave 'em with my Lord Rake's porter, several gentlemen resolving to exercise 'em on their backs the first frosty morning' (Female Tatler, Dec. 9, 1709). 3 See No. 96.
No 89. Tuesday, June 12, 1711
-Petde hinc, juvenesque senesque,
—PER., Sat. v. 64. S my correspondents upon the subject of love are n very numenus, it is my design, if possible, to
range them under several heads, and address myself to them at vifferent times. The first branch of them, to whose Sırvice I shall dedicate this paper, are those that have to do with women of dilatory tempers, who are for pinning out the time of courtship to an immoderae length without being able either to close with thir lovers or to dismiss them. I have many letters b; me filled with complaints against this sort of women. In one of them no less a man than a brother of the coiff4 tells me that he began his suit vicessimo nono Caroli secundi, before he had been a twelvemonth at the Temple; that he prosecuted it for many yers after he was called to the Bar; that at present heis a serjeant-at-law; and, notwithstanding he hoped hat matters would have been long since brought to an issue, the fair one still demurs. I am so well pleased with this gentleman's phrase that I shall distinguish this sect of women by the title of Demurrers. I findby another letter, from
1 A serjeant-at-aw.