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is very happy for Sir Roger that the merchant paid so dear for his ambition. It is the misfortune of many other gentlemen to turn out of the seats of their ancestors, to make way for such new masters as have been more exact in their accounts than themselves; and certainly he deserves the estate a great deal better who has got it by his industry, than he who has lost it by his negligence.'
No. 175. THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 1711.
Proximus à tectis ignis defenditur ægrè.
OVID. REM. AM. 625. To save your house from neighb'ring fire is hard. TATE.
I SHALL this day entertain my readers with two or three letters I have received from my correspondents the first discovers to me a species of females which have hitherto escaped my notice, and is as follows:
66 MR. SPECTATOR,
"I am a young gentleman of a competent fortune, and a sufficient taste of learning, to spend five or six hours every day very agreeably among my books. That I might have nothing to divert me from my studies, and to avoid the noises of coaches and chairmen, I have taken lodgings in a very narrow street not far from Whitehall; but it is my misfortune to be so posted, that my lodgings are directly op
posite to those of a Jezebel. You are to know sir, that a Jezebel, so called by the neighbourhood from displaying her pernicious charms at her window, appears constantly dressed at her sash, and has a thousand little tricks and fooleries to attract the eyes of all the idle young fellows in the neighbourhood. I have seen more than six persons at once from their several windows observing the Jezebel I am now complaining of. I at first looked on her myself with the highest contempt, could divert myself with her airs for half an hour, and afterwards take up my Plutarch with great tranquillity of mind; but was a little vexed to find that in less than a month she had considerably stolen upon my time, so that I resolved to look at her no more. But the Jezebel, who, as I suppose, might think it a diminution to her honour, to have the number of her gazers lessened, resolved not to part with me so, and began to play so many new tricks at her window, that it was impossible for me to forbear observing her. I verily believe she put herself to the expense of a new wax baby on purpose to plague me; she used to dandle and play with this figure as impertinently as if it had been a real child: sometimes she would let fall a glove or a pin-cushion in the street, and shut or open her casement three or four times in a minute. When I had almost weaned myself from this, she came in her shift-sleeves, and dressed at the window. I had no way left but to let down my curtains, which I submitted to, though it considerably darkened my room, and was pleased to think that I had at last got the better of her; but was surprised the next morning to hear her talking out of her window quite across the street, with another woman that lodges over me. I am since informed that she made her a visit, and 10
got acquainted with her within three hours after the fall of my window-curtains.
"Sir, I am plagued every hour in the day, one way or other, in my own chambers; and the Jezebel has the satisfaction to know, that though I am not looking at her, I am listening to her impertinent dialogues, that pass over my head. I would immediately change my lodgings, but that I think it might look like a plain confession that I am conquered; and besides this, I am told that most quarters of the town are infested with these creatures. If they are so, I am sure it is such an abuse, as a lover of learning and silence ought to take notice of.
"I am, Sir, yours," &c.
I am afraid by some ines in this letter, that my young student is touched with a distemper which he hardly seems to dream of, and is too far gone in it to receive advice. However, I shall animadvert in due time on the abuse which he mentions, having myself observed a nest of Jezebels near the Temple, who make it their diversion to draw up the eyes of young Templars, that at the same time they may see them stumble in an unlucky gutter which runs under the window.
66 MR. SPECTATOR,
"I have lately read the conclusion of your fortyseventh speculation upon butts with great pleasure, and have ever since been thoroughly persuaded that one of those gentlemen is extremely necessary to enliven conversation. I had an entertainment last week upon the water for a lady to whom I make my addresses, with several of our friends of both sexes. To divert the company in general, and to show my mistress in particular my genius for rail
lery, I took one of the most celebrated butts in town along with me. It is with the utmost shame and confusion that I must acquaint you with the sequel of my adventure. As soon as we were got into the boat, I played a sentence or two at my butt which I thought very smart, when my ill genius, who I verily believe inspired him purely for my destruction, suggested to him such a reply, as got all the laughter on his side. I was dashed at so unexpected a turn; which the butt perceiving, resolved not to let me recover myself, and pursuing his victory, rallied and tossed me in a most unmerciful and barbarous manner till we came to Chelsea. I had some small success while we were eating cheesecakes; but coming home, he renewed his attacks with his former good fortune, and equal diversion to the whole company. In short, sir, I must ingenuously own that I was never so handled in all my life; and to complete my misfortune, I am since told that the butt, flushed with his late victory, has made a visit or two to the dear object of my wishes, so that I am at once in danger of losing all my pretensions to wit, and my mistress into the bargain. This, sir, is a true account of my present troubles, which you are the more obliged to assist me in, as you were yourself in a great measure the cause of them, by recommending to us an instrument, and not instructing us at the same time how to play upon it.
"I have been thinking whether it might not be highly convenient, that all butts should wear an inscription affixed to some part of their bodies, showing on which side they are to be come at, and that if any of them are persons of unequal tempers, there should be some method taken to inform the world at what time it is safe to attack them, and when you
had best to let them alone. But, submitting these matters to your more serious consideration, "I am, Sir, yours," &c.
I have, indeed, seen and heard of several young gentlemen under the same misfortune with my present correspondent. The best rule I can lay down for them to avoid the like calamities for the future, is thoroughly to consider, not only, whether their companions are weak, but whether themselves are wits.
The following letter comes to me from Exeter, and being credibly informed that what contains is matter of fact, I shall give it my reader as it was
66 MR. SPECTATOR,
"You were pleased in a late speculation to take notice of the inconvenience we lie under in the country, in not being able to keep pace with the fashion. But there is another misfortune which we are subject to, and is no less grievous than the former, which has hitherto escaped your observation. I mean, the having things palmed upon us for London fashions, which were never once heard of there.
"A lady of this place had some time since a box of the newest ribands sent down by the coach. Whether it was her own malicious invention, or the wantonness of a London milliner, I am not able to inform you; but, among the rest, there was one cherry-coloured riband, consisting of about half a dozen yards, made up in the figure of a small headdress. The aforesaid lady had the assurance to affirm, amidst a circle of female inquisitors, who were present at the opening of the box, that this was the