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These Whetters are a people I have considered with much pains; and find them to differ from a sect I have hitherto spoken of called Snuff-takers, only in the expedition they take in destroying their brains; the Whetter is obliged to refresh himself every moment with a liquor, as the Snuff-taker with a powder. As for their harmony in the evening, I have nothing to object, provided they remove to Wapping, or the Bridge-foot, where it is not to be supposed that their vociferations will annoy the studious, the busy, or the contemplative. I once had lodgings in Gray’s-Inn, where we had two hard students, who learned to play upon the hautboy ; and I had a couple of chamber-fellows over my head not less diligent in the practice of back-sword and single-rapier. I remember these gentlemen were assigned by the Benchers the two houses at the end of the terrace-walk, as the only places fit for their meditations. Such students as will let none improve but themselves, ought indeed to have their proper
distances from societies. The gentlemen of loud mirth above mentioned I take to be, in the quality of their crime, the same as Eaves-droppers; for they who will be in your company whether you will or no, are to as great a degree offenders, as they who hearken to what passes without being of your company at all. The ancient punishment for the latter, when I first came to this town, was the blanket, which I humbly conceive, may be as justly applied to him that bawls, as to him that listens. It is therefore provided for the future, that, except in the long vacation, no retainers to the law, with dulcimer, violin, or any other instrument, in any tavern, within a furlong of an Inn of Court, shall sing any tune, or pretended tune whatsoever, upon pain of the blanket, to be administered, according to the discretion of all such peaceable people as shall be within the annoyance. And it is further directed, that all clerks who shall offend in this kind, shall forfeit their indentures, and be turned over as assistants to the clerks of parishes within the bills of mortality, who are hereby empowered to demand them accordingly.
I am not to omit the receipt of the following letter, with a night-cap from my Valentine; which night-cap, I find, was finished in the year 1588, and is too finely wrought to be of any modern stitching. Its antiquity will better appear by my Valentine's own words:
SIR, “ Since you are pleased to accept of so mean a present as a night-cap from your Valentine, I have sent you one, which I do assure you has been very much esteemed of in our family; for my great grandmother's daughter, who worked it, was maid of honour to queen Elizabeth, and had the misfortune to lose her life by pricking her finger in the making of it, of which she bled to death, as her tomb now at Westminster will show. For which reason, myself, nor none of my family, have loved work ever since ; otherwise
should have had one, as you desired, made by the hands of, Sir,
“ Your affectionate VALENTINE.” “ To the Right Worshipful ISAAC BICKERSTAFF,
Esquire, Censor of Great Britain, and Governor of the Hospital erected, or to be erected, in Moor
fields. “ The petition of the inhabitants of the parish of Gotham, in the county of Middlesex,
“ Humbly showeth, " That whereas it is the undoubted right of your said petitioners to repair on every Lord's day to a
chapel of ease in the said parish, there to be instructed in their duties in the known or vulgar tongue; yet so it is, may it please your worship, that the preacher of the said chapel has of late given himself wholly up to matters of controversy, in no wise tending to the edification of your said petitioners; and in handling, as he calls it, the same, has used divers hard and crabbed words ; such as, among many others, are orthodox and heterodor, which are in no sort understood by your said petitioners ; and it was with grief of heart, that your petitioners beg leave to represent to you, that, in mentioning the aforesaid words or names, the latter of which, as we have reason to believe, is
he will fall into ravings and foamings, ill becoming the meekness of his office, and tending to give offence and scandal to all good people.
“ Your petitioners further say, that they are ready to prove the aforesaid allegations; and therefore humbly hope, that from a true sense of their condition, you will please to receive the said preacher into the hospital, till he shall recover a right use of his senses.
“ And your petitioners," &e
his deadly enemy,
No. 142. TUESDAY, MARCH 7, 1709-10.
SHEER-LANE, MARCH 6. ALL persons who employ themselves in public, are still interrupted in the course of their affairs : and it seems, the admired Cavalier Nicolini himself is commanded by the ladies, who at present employ their time with great assiduity in the care of the nation, to put off his day till he shall receive their commands, and notice that they are at leisure for diversions. In the mean time it is not to be expressed how many cold chickens the fair-ones have eaten since this day sevennight for the good of their country. This great occasion has given birth to many discoveries of high moment for the conduct of life.' There is a Toast of my acquaintance told me, • She had now found out, that it was day before nine in the morning ;' and I am very confident, if the affair hold many days longer, the ancient hours of eating will be revived among us, many having by it been made acquainted with the luxury of hunger and thirst.
There appears, methinks, something very venerable in all assemblies: and I must confess, I envied all who had youth and health enough to make their appearance there, that they had the happiness of being a whole day in the best company in the world. During the adjournments of that awful court, a neighbour of mine was telling me, that it gave him a notion of the ancient grandeur of the English hospitality, to see Westminster-hall a dining
There is a cheerfulness in such repasts which is very delightful to tempers which are so happy as to be clear of spleen and vapour; for to the jovial, to see others pleased is the greatest of all pleasures.
But since age and infirmities forbid my appearance at such public places, the next happiness is to make the best use of privacy, and acquit myself of the demands of my correspondents. The following letter is what has given me no small inquietude, it being an accusation of partiality, and disregard to merit, in the person of a Virtuoso; who is the most eloquent of all men upon small occasions, and is the more to be admired for his prodigious fertility of invention, which never appears but upon subjects which others would have thought barren. But, in consideration of his uncommon talents, I am contented to let him be the hero of my next two days, by inserting his friend's recommendation of him at large.
DEAR COUSIN, “ I am just come out of the country, and, upon perusing your late Lucubrations, I'find Charles Lillie to be the darling of your affections ; that you have given him a place, and taken no small pains to establish him in the world; and at the same time have passed by his name-sake at this end of the town, as if he was a citizen defunct, and one of no use in a commonwealth. I must own, his circumstances are so good, and so well known, that he does not stand in need of having his fame published to the world; but, being of an ambitious spirit, and an aspiring soul, he would be rather proud of the honour, than desirous of the profit, which might result from your recommendation. He is a person of a particular genius, the first that brought