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• shall fingle out those who take delight in forting a • Company that has something of Burlesque and Ridicule ' in its Appearance. I shall make my self underitood is by the following Example. One of the Wits of the last • Age, who was a Man of a good Estate, thought he I never laid out his Money better than in a Jeít. As he ' was one Year at the Bath, observing that in the great • Confluence of fine People, there were several among • them with long Chins, a part of the Visage by which
he himself was very much distinguished, he invited to ' dinner half a Score of these remarkable Persons who • had their Mouths in the Middle of their Faces. They • had no sooner placed themselves about the Table, but • they began to stare upon one another, not being able ' to imagine what had brought them together. Our Eng• lish Proverb says,
'Tis merry in the Hall,
When Beards wag all. * It proved so in the Assembly I am now speaking of, who * seeing so many Peaks of faces agitated with Eating, • Drinking and Discourse, and observing all the Chins * that were present meeting together very often over the
• Centre of the Table, every one grew sensible of the .Jeft, and came into it with so much Good-humour, that
* they lived in strict Friendship and Alliance from that • day forward.
6THE same Gentleman some time after packed toge"ther a Set of Oglers, as he called them, consisting of “ such as had an unlucky Cast in their Eyes. His Divero'fion on this Occasion was to see the cross Bows, mis• taken Signs, and wrong Connivances that passed amidit 's so many broken and refracted Rays of Sight.
"TH'E third Feast which this merry Gentleman exhi• bited was to the Stammerers, whom he got together in a • sufficient Body to fill his Table. He had ordered one of • his Servants, who was placed behind a Screen, to write
down their Table-Talk, which was very easy to be • done without the help of Short-hand. It appears by
the Notes which were taken, that tho' their Conversa• tion never fell, there were not above twenty Words fpoken during the first Course; that upon serving up the fe
'cond, one of the Company was a quarter of an Hour in • telling them, that the Ducklings and Asparagus were • very good ; and that another took up the same time • in declaring himself of the fame Opinion. This Jest • did not, however, go off so well as the former for ' one of the Guests being a brave Man, and fuller of • Resentment than he knew how to express, went out of ' the Room, and sent the facetious Inviter a Challenge
in Writing, which, though it was afterwards droppd ' by the Interposition of Friends, put a stop to these lu• dicrous Entertainments.
' NOW, Sir, I dare say you will agree with me, that " as there is no Moral in these Jests, they ought to be • discouraged, and looked upon rather as pieces of Un. • luckiness than Wit. However, as it is natural for one • Man to refine upon the Thought of another, and im. • pollible for any single Person, how great foever his Parts s may be, to invent an Art, and bring it to its utmost • Perfection ; I shall here give you an Account of an • honest Gentleman of my Acquaintance, who upon hear. • ing the Character of the Wit above-mentioned, has him. • self assumed it, and endeavoured to convert it to the • Benefit of Mankind. He invited half a dozen of his • Friends one Day to Dinner, who were each of them • famous for inserting several redundant Phrases in their • Discourse, as, d'y' hear me, d'ye see, that is, and so Sir. • Each of the Guests making frequent use of his par. ticular Elegance, appeared lo ridiculous to his Neigh. • bour, that he could not but reflect upon himself as ap. • pearing equally ridiculous to the rest of the Company: • By this means, before they had fat long together, every • one talking with the greatest Circumspection, and care
fully ayoiding his favourite Expletive, the Conversation ' was cleared of its Redundancies, and had a greater • Quantity of Sense, tho' less of Sound in it.
" THE fame well-meaning Gentleman took occafion, ' at another time, to bring together such of his Friends, • as were addicted to a foolith habitual Custom of Swear. ing. In order to Thew them the Absurdity of the • Practice, he had recourse to the Invention above-men• tioned, having placed an Amanuensis in a private Part 1 of the Room. After the second Bottle, when Men open
• their Minds without Reserve, my honest Friend began • to take notice of the many sonorous but unneceffary • Words that had passed in his House fince their fitting • down at Table, and how much good Conversation they • had loft by giving way to such superfluous Phrases. • What a Tax, says he, would they have raised for the
Poor, had we put the Laws in Execution upon one
another ? Every one of them took this gentle Reproof ' in good part. Upon which he told them, that know• ing their Conversation would have no Secrets in it,
he had order'd it to be taken down in Writing, and • for the Humour-fake would read it to them, if they • pleased. There were ten Sheets of it, which might have • been reduced to two, had there not been those abomi. • nable Interpolations I have before mentioned. Upon
the reading of it in cold Blood, it looked rather like a • Conference of Fiends than of Men. In short, every one
trembled at himself upon hearing calmly what he had 6 pronounced amidst the Heat and Inadvertency of
" I shall only mention another Occasion wherein he • made use of the fame Invention to cure a different kind • of Men, who are the Pests of all polite Conversation,
and murder Time as much as either of the two for• mer, though they do it more innocently ; I mean that • dull Generation of Story-tellers. My Friend got toge• ther about half a dozen of his Acquaintance, who were • infected with this strange Malady. The first Day one • of them fitting down, entered upon the Siege of Na. • mur, which lasted till four o'Clock, their time of part• ing. The second Day a North-Briton took possession • of the Discourse, which it was impossible to get out of • his hands so long as the Company staid together. The • third Day was engrossed after the fame manner by a • Story of the same length. They at last began to re«flect upon this barbarous way of treating one another, • and by this means awakened out of that Lethargy • with which each of them had been seized for several
AS you have somewhere declared, that extraordi• nary and uncommon Characters of Mankind are the • Game which you delight in, and as I look upon you to
• be the greatest Sportsman, or, if you please, the Nimrod . among this Species of Writers, I thought this Discovery :? would not be unacceptable to you.
I am, I
N° 372. Wednesday, May 7.
- Pudet hæc opprobria nobis
. May 6, 1712. • Am Sexton of the Parish of Covent-Garden, and • I complained to you some time ago, that as I was
tolling into Prayers at Eleven in the Morning, • Crowds of people of Quality haftened to assemble at a • Puppet-show on the other side of the Garden. I had at • the same time a very great Disefteem for Mr. Powell and • his little thoughtless Commonwealth, as if they had • enticed the Gentry into those Wandrings:But let that be • as it will, I am now convinced of the honest Intentions • of the faid Mr. Powell and Company; and send this to • acquaint you, that he has given all the Profits which • shall arise to-morrow Night by his Play to the use of • the poor Charity-Children of this Parish. I have been • informed, Sir, that in Holland all Persons who set up • any Show, or act any Stage-Play, be the Actors either of • Wood and Wire, or Flesh and Blood, are obliged to pay • out of their Gain such a Proportion to the honest and • industrious Poor in the Neighbourhood: By this means • they make Diverfion and Pleasure pay a Tax to Labour • and Industry. I have been told also, that all the time ' of Lent, in Roman-Catholick Countries, the Persons • of Condition administred to the Necessities of the Poor,
and attended the Beds of Lazars and diseased Persons. • Our Protestant Ladies and Gentlemen are so much to seek • for proper ways of passing time, that they are obliged
' to Punchinelle for knowing what to do with themselves. . Since the Case is so, I desire only you would intreat our
People of Quality, who are not to be interrupted in • their Pleasure to think of the Practice of any moral • Duty, that they would at least fine for their Sins, and • give something to these poor Children ; a little out of o their Luxury and Superfluity, would atone, in some 6 measure, for the wanton use of the rest of their For« tunes. It would not, methinks, be amiss, if the Ladies, 6 who haunt the Cloisters and Passages of the Play-house,
were upon every Offence obliged to pay to this excelo lent Inititution of Schools of Charity : This Method I would make Offenders themselves do Service to the • Publick. But in the mean time I desire you would pubolish this voluntary Reparation which Mr. Powell does • our Parish, for the Noise he has made in it by the con• ftantrattling of Coaches, Drums, Trumpets, 'Triumphs, • and Battles. The Destruction of Troy adorned with High• land Dances, are to make up the Entertainment of all S who are so well disposed as not to forbear a light En. • tertainment, for no other Reason but that it is to do a - good Action.
I am, SIR,
• I am credibly informed, that all the Insinuations s which a certain Writer made against Mr. Powell, at the • Bath, are false and groundless.
Mr. SPECTATOR, M Y Employment, which is that of a Broker, lead
Mi ing me often into Taverns about the Exchange, • has given me occasion to observe a certain Enormity, ' which I shall here submit to your Animadversion. In " three or four of these Taverns, I have, at different
times, taken notice of a precise Set of People with grave • Countenances, short Wigs, black Clothes, or darks: • Camblet trimm'd with black, and mourning Gloves and • Hatbands, who meet on certain Days at each Tavern successively, and keep a sort of moving Club. Haying