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ders: I attempted, by laughing myself, to excite at least a smile, but the devil a cheek could I perceive wrinkled into sympathy; I found it would not do. All my goodhumour now became forced; my laughter was converted into hysteric grinning; and, while I pretended spirits, my eye showed the agony of my heart: in short, the lady came with an intention to be displeased, and displeased she was; my fame expired; I am here, and the tankard is no more !)»
WHEN Catharina Alexowna was made empress of Russia, the women were in an actual state of bondage ; but she undertook to introduce mixed assemblies, as in other parts of Europe; she altered the women's dress by substituting the fashions of England; instead of furs, she brought in the use of taffeta and damask; and cornets and commodes instead of caps of sable. The women now found themselves no longer shut up
separate apartments, but saw company, visited each other, and were present at every entertainment.
But as the laws to this effect were directed to a savage people, it is amusing enough to see the manner in which the ordinances ran. Assemblies were quite unknown among them ; the czarina was satisfied with introducing them, for she found it impossible to render them polite. An ordinance was therefore published according to their notions of breeding, which, as it is a curiosity, and has never before been printed that we know of, we shall give our readers.
« I. The person at whose house the assembly is to be kept, shall signify the same by hanging out a bill, or by giving some other public notice, by way of advertisement, to persons of both sexes.
« II. The assembly shall not be open sooner than four or five o'clock in the afternoon, nor continue longer than ten at night.
« III. The master of the house shall not be obliged to meet his guests, or conduct them out, or keep them company; but, though he is exempt from all this, he is to find them chairs, candles, liquors, and all other necessaries that company may ask for: he is likewise to provide them with cards, dice, and every necessary
for gaming « IV. There shall be no fixed hour for coming or going away; it is enough for a person to appear in the assembly.
« V. Every one shall be free to sit, walk, or game, as he pleases; nor shall any one go about to hinder him, or take exceptions at what he does, upon pain of emptying the great eagle (a pint bowl full of brandy): it shall likewise be sufficient, at entering or retiring, to salute the company.
« VI. Persons of distinction, noblemen, superiour officers, merchants and tradesmen of note, head workmen (especially carpenters), and persons employed in chancery, are to have liberty to enter the assemblies; as likewise their wives and children.
« VII. A particular place shall be assigned the footmen, except those of the house,' that there may be room enough in the apartments designed for the assembly.
« VIII. No ladies are to get drunk upon any pretence whatsoever ; nor shall gentlemen be drunk before nine.
« IX. Ladies who play at forfeitures, questions and commands, etc. shall not be riotous : no gentleman shall attempt to force a kiss, and no person shall offer to strike a woman in the assembly, under pain of future exclusion.»
Such are the statutes upon this occasion, which in their very appearance carry an air of ridicule and satire. But politeness must enter every country by degrees; and these rules resemble the breeding of a clown, awkward but sincere.
SUPPOSED TO BE WRITTEN BY THE ORDINARY OF NEWGATE.
Man is a most frail being, incapable of directing his steps, unacquainted with what is to happen in this life; and
perhaps no man is a more manifest instance of the truth of this maxim, than Mr. The. Cibber, just now gone out of the world. Such a variety of turns of fortune, yet such a persevering uniformity of conduct, appears in all that happened in his short span, that the whole may be looked upon as one regular confusion: every action of his life was matter of wonder and surprise, and his death was an astonishment.
This gentleman was born of creditable parents, who gave him a very good education, and a great deal of good learning, so that he could read and write before he was sixteen. However, he early discovered an inclination to follow lewd courses; he refused to take the advice of his parents, and pursued the bent of his inclination; he played at cards on Sundays; called himself a gentleman ; fell out with his mother and laundress; and even in these early
days his father was frequently heard to observe, that young The.-would be hanged.
As he advanced in years, he grew more fond of pleasure; would eat an ortolan for dinner, though he begged the guinea that bought it; and was once known to give three pounds for a plate of green peas, which he had collected over-night as charity for a friend in distress: he ran into debt with every body that would trust him, and none could build a sconce better than he; so that at last his creditors swore with one accord, that The.-would be hanged.
But as getting into debt by a man who had no visible means but impudence for subsistence, is a thing that every reader is not acquainted with, I must explain that point a little, and that to his satisfaction.
There are three ways of getting into debt; first, by pushing a face; as thus : You, Mr. Lutestring, send me home six yards of that paduasoy, damme ;-—but, harkee, don't think I ever intend to pay you for it, damme.» At this the mercer laughs heartily; cuts off the paduasoy, and sends it home; nor is he, till too late, surprised to find the gentleman had said nothing but truth, and kept his word.
The second method of running into debt is called fineering; which is getting goods made up in such a fashion as to be unfit for every other purchaser ; and if the tradesman refuses to give them credit, then threaten to leave them upon his hands.
But the third and best method is called, « Being the good customer.» The gentleman first buys some trifle, and pays for it in ready money; he comes a few days after with nothing about him but bank bills, and buys, we will suppose, a sixpenny tweezer-case; the bills are too great to be changed, so he promises to return punctually the day after and pay for what he has bought. In this promise he is punctual, and this is repeated for eight or ten times, till his face is well known, and he has got at last the character of a good customer: by this means he gets credit for something considerable, and then never pays for it.
In all this, the young man who is the unhappy subject of our present reflections was very expert; and could face, fineer, and bring custom to a shop with any man in England: none of his companions could exceed him in this ; and his very companions at last said, that The.would be hanged.
As he grew old he grew never the better : he loved ortolans and green peas as before ; he drank gravy-soup when he could get it, and always thought his oysters tasted best when he got them for nothing, or which was just the same, when he bought them upon tick : thus the old man kept up the vices of the youth, and what he wanted in power he made up by inclination; so that all the world thought, that old The.—would be hanged.
And now, reader, I have brought him to his last scene ; a scene where, perhaps, my duty should have obliged me to assist.
You expect, perhaps, his dying words, and the tender farewell he took of his wife and children ; you expect an account of his coffin and white gloves, his pious ejaculations, and the papers he left behind him. In this I cannot indulge your curiosity; for, oh! the mysteries of Fate, The.—was drowned !
Reader,» as Hervey saith, «pause and ponder ; and ponder and pause; who knows what thy own end may be ! »