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nounced amidst the heat and inadvertency of dis
• I shall only mention another occasion wherein he made use of the same 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 former, though they do it more innocently; 1 mean that dull generation of storytellers. My friend got together about half a dozen of his acquaintance who were infected with this strange malady. The first day, one of them sitting down entered upon the siege of Namur, which lasted till four o'clock, their time of parting. 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 stayed together. The third day was engrossed after the same manner by a story of the same length. They at last began to reflect 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 years.
· As you have somewhere declared, that extraordinary 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, Sir, &c.
No. 372. WEDNESDAY, MAY 7.
-Pudet hæc opprobria nobis
May 6, 1712. I Am sexton of the parish of Covent Garden, and complained to you some time ago, that as I was tolling into prayers at eleven in the morning, crowds of people of quality hastened to assemble at a puppet-show on the other side of the garden. I had at the same time a very great disesteem for Mr. Powell and his little thoughtless commonwealth, as if they had enticed the gentry into those wanderings: but let that be as it will, I am now convinced of the honest intentions of the said 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 stageplay, 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 diversion and pleasure pay a tax to labour and industry. I have been told, also, that all the time of Lent, in Roman Catholic countries, the persons of condition administer to the necessities of the poor, and attend 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 Punchinello for knowing what to do with themselves. Since the case is so, I desire only you would entreat 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 their luxury and superfluity would atone, in some measure, for the wanton use of the rest of their fortunes. It would not, methinks, be amiss, if the ladies, who haunt the cloisters and passages of the playhouse, were, upon every offence, obliged to pay to this excellent institution of schools of charity: this method would make offenders themselves do service to the public, but in the mean time, I desire you would publish this voluntary reparation which Mr. Powell does our parish for the noise he has made in it by the constant rattling
coaches, drums, trumpets, triumphs and battles. The destruction of Troy, adorned with highland dances, are to make up the entertainment of all who are so well disposed as not to forbear a light entertainment, for no other reason but that it is to do a good action. I am, sir, • Your most humble servant,
RALPH BELLFRY.' · I am credibly informed, that all the insinuations which a certain writer made against Mr. Powell at the Bath are false and groundless.? (See No. 277.)
• My employment, which, is that of a broker, leading 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 dark camblet trimmed with black, and mourning gloves and hat-bands, who meet on certain days and at each tavern successively, and keep a sort of moving club. Having often met with their faces, and observed a certain slinking way in their dropping in one after another, I had the curiosity to inquire into their characters, being the rather moved to it by their agreeing in the singularity of their dress; and I find, upon due examination, they are a knot of parish clerks, who have taken a fancy to one another, and perhaps settle the bills of mortality over their half-pints. I have so great a value and veneration for any who have but even an assenting Amen in the service of religion, that I am afraid lest these persons should incur some scandal by this practice; and would therefore have them, without raillery, advised to send the Florence and pullets home to their own houses, and not pretend to live as well as the overseers of the poor. I am, sir,
"Your most humble servant,
May 6. •1 was last Wednesday night at a tavern in the city among a set of men who call themselves The Lawyers' Club. You must know, sir, this club consists only of attorneys; and at this meeting every one proposes the cause he has then in
hand to the board, upon which each member gives his judgment according to the experience he has met with. If it happens that any one puts a case of which they have had no precedents, it is noted down by their clerk, Will Goosequill, who registers all their proceedings, that one of them may go the next day with it to a counsel. This indeed is commendable, and ought to be, the principal end of their meeting; but had you been there to have heard them relate their methods of managing a cause, their manner of drawing out their bills, and, in short, their arguments upon the several ways of abusing their clients, with the applause that is given to him who has done it most artfully, you would before now have given your remarks on them. They are so conscious that their discourses ought to be kept a secret, that they are very cautious of admitting any person who is not of their profession. When any who are not of the law are let in, the person who introduces him, says he is a very honest gentleman, and he is taken in, as their cant is, to pay costs. I am admitted upon the recommendation of one of their principals, as a very honest good natured fellow, that will never be in a plot, and only desires to drink his bottle and smoke his pipe. You have formerly remarked upon several sorts of clubs, and as the tendency of this is only to increase fraud and deceit, I hope you will please to take notice of it.
· I am, with respect, sir,
-H. R.' STEELE.
T. VOL. VIII.