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"'admonitions. I thought therefore fit to acquaint
with a convenient mechanical way, which may • easily prevent or correct staring, by an optical con• trivance of new perspective glasses, short and com• modious like opera-glasses, fit for short-sighted
people as well as others, these glasses making the • objects appear, either as they are seen by the naked
eye, or more distinct, though somewhat less than • life, or bigger and nearer. A person may, by the • help of this invention, take a view of another, witho out the impertinence of staring ; at the same time • it shall not be possible to know whom or what he • is looking at. One may look towards his right or • left hand when he is supposed to look forwards : « this is set forth at large in the printed proposals for
the sale of these glasses, to be had at Mr, Dillon's « in Long-Acre, next door to the White-Hart. Now, • Sir, as your Spectator has occasioned the publish• ing of this invention for the benefit of modest
spectators, the inventor desires your admonitions • concerning the decent use of it; and hopes by
your recommendation, that for the future beauty may
be beheld without the torture and confusion 6 which it suffers from the insolence of starers. By this means you
will relieve the innocent from an ino sult which there is no law to punish, though it is a greater offence than many which are within the cognizance of justice.
• I am, Sir,
( ABRAHAM SPY.
No. CCLI. TUESDAY, DECEMBER 18.
..Linguæ centum sunt, oraque centum,
........A hundred mouths, a hundred tongues,
THERE is nothing which more astonishes a foreigner, and frights a country 'squire, than the cries of London. My good friend Sir Roger often declares, that he cannot get them out of his head, or go to sleep for them, the first week that he is in town. On the contrary, Will Honeycomb calls them the Ramage de la Ville, and prefers them to the sounds of larks and nightingales, with all the music of the fields and woods. I have lately received a letter from some very odd fellow upon this subject, which I shall leave with my reader without saying any thing further of it.
SIR, • I AM a man of all business, and would willingly • turn my head to any thing for an honest livelihood. + I have invented several projects for raising many • millions of money without burdening the subject, " but I cannot get the parliament to listen to me, o who look upon me, forsooth, as a crack, and a pro• jector ; so that despairing to enrich either myself
or my country by this public-spiritedness, I would • make some proposals to you relating to a design
which I have very much at heart, and which may
procure me a handsome subsistence, if you will be • pleased to recommend it to the cities of London rand Westminster.
• The post I would aim at, is to be comptrollergeneral of the London cries, which are at present
• under no marrer of rules or discipline. I think I I am pretty well qualified for this place, as being a • man of very strong lungs, of great insight into all • the branches of our British trades and manufac. • tures, and of a competent skill in music.
• The cries of London may be divided into vocal and instrumental. As for the latter, they are at • present under a very great disorder. A freeman • of London has the privilege of disturbing a whole (street for an hour together, with the twanking of a • Lrass kettle or a frying-pan. The watchman's • thump at midnight starties us in our beds, as much • as the breaking in of a thief. The sow-gelder's • horn has indeed something musical in it, but this ( is seldom heard within the liberties. I would there
fore propose, that no instrument of this nature • should be made use of, which I have not tuned and • licensed, after having carefully examined in what ' manner it may affect the ears of her majesty's • liege subjects.
• Vocal cries are of a much larger extent, and in• Jeed so full of incongruities and barbarisms, that
we appear a distracted city to foreigners, who do • not comprehend the meaning of such enormous
cutcrics. Milk is generally sold in a note above E • la, and in sounds so exceeding shrill, that it often • sets our teeth on edge. The chimney-sweeper is • confined to no certain pitch: he sometimes utters • himself in the deepest base, and sometimes in the « sharpest treble ; sometimes in the highest, and
sometimes in the lowest note of the gamut. • The same observation might be made on the re• tailers of small-coal, not to mention broken glas
ses or brick-dust. In these therefore, and the « like cases, it should be my care to sweeten and • mellow the voices of these itinerant tradesmen, be• fore they make their appearance in our streets, as I also to accommodate their cries to their respective
wares : and to take care in particular, that those
! may not make the most noise who have the least s to sell, which is very observable in the venders of • card-matches, to wilon I cannot but apply the old
proverb of “ Much cry but little wool," 6 Some of these last-mentioned musicians are so very loud in the sale of these trifling manufactures, " that an honest splenetic gentleman of iny acquain
tance bargained with one of them never to ( in the street where he lived: but what was tie ef* fect of this con* ? why, the whole tribe of card• match-makers which trent that quarter; passed
by his door the very next day, in hopes of being • bought off after the same manner.
" It is another great imperfection in our London cries, that there is no just time or measure observled in them. Our news should indeed be published
in a very quick time, because it is a commodity
that will not keep cold. It should not, however, « be cried with the same precipitation as fire ; yet » this is generally the case. A bloody battle alarms
the town from one end to another in an instant. • Every motion of the French is published in so great
a hurry, that one would think the enemy were at our gates.
This likewise I would take upon me to 5 regulate in such a manner, that there should be
some distinction made between the spreading of a « victory, a march, or an encampment, a Dutch, a • Portuguese, or a Spanish mail. Nor must I omit
under this head those scessive alarms with which • several boisterous rustics infest our streets in turnip
; and which are more inexcusable, because + these are wares which are in no dinger of cooling upon their hands. • There are others who affect a very slow time, and are, in my opinion, much more tunable than the • former; the cooper in particular swells his last • note in an hollow voice, that is not without it's har 6 mony ; nor can I forbear being inspired with a most • agreeable melancholy, when I hear that sad and • solemn air with which the public are very often ask• ed, if they have any chairs to mend? Your own ' memory may suggest to you many other lamentable • ditties of the same nature, in which the music is . wonderfully languishing and melodious.
• I am always pleased with that particular time of " the year which is proper for the pickling of dill and • cucumbers; but alas, this cry, like the song of the
nightingale, is not heard above two months. It I would therefore be worth while to consider, whether • the same air might not in some cases be adapted o to other words.
• It might likewise deserve our most serious consi• deration, how far, in a well-regulated city, those « humorists are to be tolerated, who, not contented ( with the traditional cries of their forefathers, have • invented particular songs and tunes of their own : * such as was, not many years since, the pastry
man, commonly known by the name of the Colly• Molly-Puff; and such as is at this day the vender • of powder and wash-balls, whos if I am rightly • informed, goes under the name of Powder Watt.
• I must not here omit one particular absurdity which runs through this whole vociferous genera• lion, and which renders theircries very often not only • incommodious, but altogether useless to the public;
I mean, that idle accomplishment which they all o of them aim at, of crying as not to be under• stood. Whether or no they have learned this from • several of our affected singers, I will not take upon
me to say ; but most certain it is, that people know " the wares they deal in rather by their tunes than by • their words ; insomuch that I have sometimes seen
a country boy run out to buy apples of a bellows' mender, and gingerbread from a grinder of knives and scissars. Nay, so strangely infatuated are some very eminent artists of this particular grace in