Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

attentive hearers, are the audience one ought to expect in churches. I am, sir, member of a small pious congregation near one of the north gates of this city ; much the greater part of us indeed are females, and used to behave ourselves in a regular attentive manner, till very lately one whole aisle has been disturbed by one of these monstrous starers ; he is the head taller than any one in the church; but for the greater advantage of exposing himself, stands upon a hassock, and commands the whole congregation, to the great annoyance of the devoutest part of the auditory; for what with blushing, confusion, and vexation, we can neither mind the prayers nor sermon. Your animadversion upon this insolence would be a great favour to,

SIR,
Your most humble servant,

s. c.'

I have frequently seen of this sort of fellows, and do think there cannot be a greater aggravation of an offence, than that it is committed where the criminal is protected by the sacredness of the place which he violates. Many reflections of this sort might be very justly made upon this sort of behaviour, but a starer is not usually a person to be convinced by the reason of the thing; and a fellow that is capable of shewing an impudent front before a whole congregation, and can bear being a public spectacle, is not so easily rebuked as to amend by admonitions. If, therefore, my correspondent does not inform me, that within seven days after this date the barbarian does not at least stand upon his own legs only, without an eminence, my friend Will Prosper* has promised to take an hassock opposite to him, and

* See Spect. No. 19. W. Prosper, an honest tale-bearer, &c.

nance.

stare against him in defence of the ladies. I have given him directions, according to the most exact rules of optics, to place himself in such a manner, that he shall meet his eyes wherever he throws them. I have hopes, that when Will confronts him, and all the ladies, in whose behalf he engages him, cast kind looks and wishes of success at their champion, he will have some shame, and feel a little of the pain he has so often put others to, of being out of counte

It has, indeed, been time out of mind generally remarked, and as often lamented, that this family of Starers have infested public assemblies. I know no other way to obviate so great an evil, except, in the case of fixing their eyes upon women, some male friend will take the part of such as are under the oppression of impudence, and encounter the eyes of the Starers wherever they meet them. While we suffer our women to be thus impudently attacked, they have no defence, but in the end to cast yielding glances at the Starers. In this case, a man who has no sense of shame, has the same advantage over his mistress, as he who has no regard for his own life has over his adversary. While the generality of the world are fettered by rules, and move by proper and just methods; he who has no respect to any of them, carries away the reward due to that propriety of behaviour, with no other merit, but that of having neglected it.

I take an impudent fellow to be a sort of outlaw in good breeding, and therefore what is said of him no nation or person can be concerned for. For this reason one may be free upon him. I have put myself to great pains in considering this prevailing quality, which we call impudence, and have taken notice that it exerts itself in a different manner, according to the different soils wherein such subjects of these dominions as are masters of it, were born. Impudence in an Englishman is sullen and insolent; in a Scotchman it is untractable and rapacious ; in an Irishman absurd and fawning: as the course of the world now runs, the impudent Englishman behaves like a surly landlord, the Scot like an ill-received guest, and the Irishman like a stranger, who knows he is not welcome. There is seldom any thing entertaining either in the impudence of a South or North Briton; but that of an Irishman is always comic. A true and genuine impudence is ever the effect of ignorance without the least sense of it. The best and most successful starers now in this town, are of that nation; they have usually the advantage of the stature mentioned in the above letter of my correspondent, and generally take their stands in the eye of women of fortune ; insomuch that I have known one of them, three months after he came from plough, with a tolerable good air, lead out a woman from a play, which one of our own breed, after four years at Oxford, and two at the Temple, would have been afraid to look at.

I cannot tell how to account for it, but these people have usually the preference to our own fools, in the opinion of the sillier part of womankind. Perhaps it is that an English coxcomb is seldom so obsequious as an Irish one; and when the design of pleasing is visible, an absurdity in the way toward it, is easily forgiven.

But those who are downright impudent, and go on without reflection that they are such, are more to be tolerated, than a set of fellows amoug us who profess impudence with an air of humour, and think to carry off the most inexcusable of all faults in the world, with no other apology than saying in a gay tone, ‘ I put an impudent face upon the matter.' No; no man shall be allowed the advantages

of impudence, who is conscious that he is such. If he knows he is impudent, he may as well be otherwise ; and it shall be expected that he blush, when he sees he makes another do it. For nothing can atone for the want of modesty: without which beauty is ungraceful, and wit detestable.

R.

No 21. SATURDAY, MARCH 24, 1710-11,

Locus est et pluribus umbris.

HOR. 1 Ep. v. 25.
There's room enough, and each may bring his friend.

CREECH.

I AM sometimes very much troubled, when I reflect upon the three great professions of divinity, law, and physic; how they are each of them overburdened with practitioners, and filled with multitudes of ingenious gentlemen that starve one another.

We may divide the clergy into generals, field officers, and subalterns. Among the first we may reckon bishops, deans, and archdeacons. Among the second are doctors of divinity, prebendaries, and all that wear scarfs. The rest are comprehended under the subalterns. As for the first class, our constitution preserves it from any redundancy of incumbents, notwithstanding competitors are numberless. Upon a strict calculation, it is found that there has been a great exceeding of late years in the second division, several brevets have been granted for the converting of subalterns into scarf-officers; insomuch, that within my memory the price of lutestring is raised above two-pence in a yard. As for the subalterns, they are not to be numbered. Should our clergy once enter into the corrupt practice of the laity, by the splitting of their freeholds, they would be able to carry most of the elections in England.

The body of the law is no less incumbered with superfluous members, that are like Virgil's army, which he tells us was so crowded, many of them had not room to use their weapons. This prodigious society of men may be divided into the litigious, and peaceable. Under the first are comprehended all those who are carried down in coach-fulls to Westminster-hall, every morning in term time. Martial's description of this species of lawyers is full of humour:

Iras et verba locant.'

Men that hire out their words and anger;' that are more or less passionate according as they are paid for it, and allow their client a quantity of wrath proportionable to the fee which they receive from him. I must, however, observe to the reader, that above three parts of those whom I reckon among the litigious are such as are only quarrelsome in their hearts, and have no opportunity of shewing their passion at the bar. Nevertheless as they do not know what strifes may arise, they appear at the hall every day, that they may shew themselves in a readiness to enter the list, whenever there shall be occasion for them.

The peaceable lawyers are, in the first place, many of the benchers of the several inns of court, who seem to be the dignitaries of the law, and are endowed with those qualifications of mind that accomplish a man rather for a ruler than a pleader.

« PředchozíPokračovat »