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you are too wise to think that a real commendation of a woman. Were it not rather to be wished we improved in our own sphere, and approved ourselves better daughters, wives, mothers, and friends ?
'I can't but agree with the judicious trader in Cheapside (though I am not at all prejudiced in his favour) in recommending the study of arithmetic; and must dissent even from the authority which you mention when it advises the making our sex scholars. Indeed a little more philosophy, in order to the subduing our passions to our reason, might be sometimes serviceable, and a treatise of that nature I should approve of, even in exchange for “Theodosius; or, the Force of Love”; but as I well know you want not hints, I will proceed no further than to recommend the Bishop of Cambray's “Education of a Daughter,"l as it is translated into the only language I have any knowledge of, though perhaps very much to its disadvantage. I have heard it objected against that piece, that its instructions are not of general use, but only fitted for a great lady; but I confess I am not of that opinion; for I don't remember that there are any rules laid down for the expenses of a woman, in which particular only I think a gentlewoman ought to differ from a lady of the best fortune, or highest quality, and not in their principles of justice, gratitude, sincerity, prudence, or modesty. I ought perhaps to make an apology for this long epistle, but as I rather believe you a friend to sincerity, than ceremony, shall only assure you I am,
i Fénélon died in 1715.
No 96. Wednesday, June 20, 1711
- Amicum Mancipium domino, et frugi
- Hor., 2 Sat. viii. 3. · Mr. SPECTATOR, 'I HAVE frequently read your discourse upon T servants, and as I am one myself, have been
much offended, that in that variety of forms wherein you considered the bad, you found no place to mention the good. There is, however, one observation of yours I approve, which is, that there are men of wit and good sense among all orders of men; and that servants report most of the good or ill which is spoken of their masters. That there are men of sense who live in servitude, I have the vanity to say I have felt to my woeful experience. You attribute very justly the source of our general iniquity to board-wages, and the manner of living out of a domestic way: but I cannot give you my thoughts on this subject any way so well, as by a short account of my own life to this the forty-fifth year of my age; that is to say, from my being first a foot-boy at fourteen, to my present station of a nobleman's porter in the year of my age above mentioned.
Know then, that my father was a poor tenant to the family of Sir Stephen Rackrent : Sir Stephen put me to school, or rather made me follow his son Harry to school, from my ninth year; and there, though Sir Stephen paid something for my learning, I was used like a servant, and was forced to get
See No. 88.
what scraps of learning I could by my own industry, for the schoolmaster took very little notice of me. My young master was a lad of very sprightly parts; and my being constantly about him and loving him, was no small advantage to me. My master loved me extremely, and has often been whipped for not keeping me at a distance. He used always to say, that when he came to his estate I should have a lease of my father's tenement for nothing. I came up to town with him to Westminster school; at which time he taught me, at night, all he learnt, and put me to find out words in the dictionary when he was about his exercise. It was the will of Providence that Master Harry was taken very ill of a fever, of which he died within ten days after his first falling sick. Here was the first sorrow I ever knew; and I assure you, Mr. Spectator, I remember the beautiful action of the sweet youth in his fever, as fresh as if it were yesterday. If he wanted anything, it must be given him by Tom: when I let anything fall through the grief I was under, he would cry, “Do not beat the poor boy: give him some more julep for me; nobody else shall give it me.” He would strive to hide his being so bad, when he saw I could not bear his being in so much danger, and comforted me, saying, “Tom, Tom, have a good heart.” When I was holding a cup at his mouth he fell into convulsions; and at this very time I hear my dear master's last groan. I was quickly turned out of the room, and left to sob and beat my head against the wall at my leisure. The grief I was in was inexpressible; and everybody thought it would have cost me my life. In a few days my old lady, who was one of the housewives of the world, thought of turning me out of doors, because I put her in mind of her son. Sir Stephen proposed putting me to 'prentice, but my lady being an excellent manager, would not let her husband throw away his money in acts of charity. I had sense enough to be under the utmost indignation, to see her discard with so little concern one her son had loved so much; and went out of the house to ramble wherever my feet would carry me.
"The third day after I left Sir Stephen's family, I was strolling up and down the walks in the Temple. A young gentleman of the House, who (as I heard him say afterwards) seeing me half starved and well dressed, thought me an equipage ready to his hand, after very little inquiry more than “Did I want a master ?” bid me follow him: I did so, and in a very little while thought myself the happiest creature in this world. My time was taken up in carrying letters to wenches, or messages to young ladies of my master's acquaintance. We rambled from tavern to tavern, to the playhouse, the Mulberry Garden, and all places of resort; where my master engaged every night in some new amour, in which and drinking he spent all his time when he had money. During these extravagances I had the pleasure of lying on the stairs of a tavern half a night, playing at dice with other servants, and the like idlenesses. When my master was moneyless, I was generally employed in transcribing amorous pieces of poetry, old songs, and new lampoons. This life held till
i The Mulberry Garden, on the site of Buckingham Palace and Gardens, was a place of public entertainment under the Stuarts. Besides Sir Charles Sedley's comedy, The Mulberry Garden,' Etherege, Wycherley, and Shadwell chose the Mulberry Garden for scenes in their plays. It was closed about 1674 ; in 1668 Pepys called it 'a very silly place, worse than Spring Garden, and but little company.'
my master married, and he had then the prudence to turn me off because I was in the secret of his intrigues.
'I was utterly at a loss what course to take next; when at last I applied myself to a fellow-sufferer, one of his mistresses, a woman of the town. She happening at that time to be pretty full of money, clothed me from head to foot; and knowing me to be a sharp fellow, employed me accordingly. Sometimes I was to go abroad with her, and when she had pitched upon a young fellow she thought for her turn, I was to be dropped as one she could not trust. She would often cheapen goods at the New Exchange; and when she had a mind to be attacked, she would send me away on an errand. When an humble servant and she were beginning a parley, I came immediately, and told her Sir John was come home; then she would order another coach to prevent being dogged. The lover makes signs to me as I get behind the coach, I shake my head it was impossible: I leave my lady at the next turning, and follow the cully to know how to fall in his way on another occasion. Besides good offices of this nature, I writ all my mistress's love-letters; some from a lady that saw such a gentleman at such a place in such a coloured coat, some showing the terror she was in of a jealous old husband, others explaining that the severity of her parents was such (though her fortune was settled) that she was willing to run away with such a one though she knew he was but a younger brother. In a word, my half education and love of idle books, made me outwrite all that made love to her by way of epistle; and as she was extremely cunning, she did well enough in company by a skilful affectation of the greatest