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to the young ladies that visit her; but after above an hour's search she returned of herself, having been taking a walk, as she told me, by Rosamond's Pond. I have hereupon turned off her woman, doubled her guards, and given new instructions to my relation, who, to give her her due, keeps a watchful eye over all her motions. This, Sir, keeps me in a perpetual anxiety, and makes me very often watch when my daughter sleeps, as I am afraid she is even with me in her turn. Now, Sir, what
I would desire of you is, to represent to this fluttering tribe 10 of young fellows who are for making their fortunes by these
indirect means, that stealing a man's daughter for the sake of her portion is but a kind of a tolerated robbery; and that they make but a poor amends to the father, whom they plunder after this manner, by marrying his child.
Dear Sir, be speedy in your thoughts on this subject, that, if possible, they may appear before the disbanding of the army.
I am, Sir,
"TIM. WATCHWELL.' Themistocles, the great Athenian general, being asked whether he would chuse to marry his daughter to an indigent man of merit, or to a worthless man of an estate, replied, That he should prefer a man without an estate, to an estate without a
The worst of it is, our modern fortune-hunters are those who turn their head that way, because they are good for nothing else. If a young fellow finds he can make nothing of Coke and Littleton », he provides himself with a ladder of ropes, and by that means very often enters upon the premises.
same art of scaling has likewise been practised with good 30 success by many military engineers. Stratagems of this nature
make parts and industry superfluous, and cut short the way to
Nor is vanity
a less motive than idleness to this kind of mercenary pursuit. A fop who admires his person in a glass, soon enters into a resolution of making his fortune by it, not questioning but every woman that falls in his way will do him
he does himself.
When an heiress sees a man throwing particular graces into his ogle, or talking loud within her hearing, she ought to look to herself; but if withal
she observes a pair of red heels, a patch, or any other particularity in his dress, she cannot take too much care of her person. These are baits not to be trifled with, charms that have done a world of execution, and made their way into hearts which have been thought impregnable. The force of a these qualifications is so well known, that I am credibly informed there are several female undertakers about the Change, who, upon the arrival of a likely man out of a
kingdom, will furnish him with proper dress from head to foot, 10 to be paid for at a double price on the day of marriage.
We must however distinguish between fortune-hunters and fortune-stealers. The first are those assiduous gentlemen who employ their whole lives in the chace without ever coming at
Suffenus has combed and powdered at the ladies for thirty years together, and taken his stand in a side-box, till he is grown wrinkled under their eyes. He is now laying the same snares for the present generation of beauties, which he practised on their mothers. Cottilus, after having made his
applications to more than you meet with in Mr. Cowley's bal20 lad of mistresses n, was at last smitten with a city lady of 20,00ol. sterling, but died of old
could bring matters to bear. Nor must I here omit my worthy friend Mr. Honeycomb, who has often told us in the club, that for twenty years successively, upon the death of a childless rich man, he immediately drew on his boots, called for his horse, and made up to the widow. When he is rallied
his success, Will, with his usual gaiety, tells us that he always found her pre-engaged.
Widows are indeed the great game of your fortune-hunters. 30 There is scarce a young fellow in the town of six foot high,
that has not passed in review before one or other of these wealthy relicts. Hudibras's Cupido, who
took his stand
Upon a widow's jointure land, is daily employed in throwing darts, and kindling flames.
But as for widows, they are such a subtle generation of people, that they may be left to their own conduct; or, if they make a false step in it, they are answerable for it to nobody but themselves. The young innocent creatures who have no knowledge and experience of the world, are those whose safety I would principally consult in this speculation. The stealing of such an one should in my opinion be as punishable as an assault. Where there is no judgment, there is no choice; and why the inveigling a woman before she is come to years of discretion should not be as criminal as the seducing of her before she is ten years old, I am at a loss to comprehend.-L.
No. 371. On Whimsical Notions and Practical Jokes.
Jamne igitur laudas, quod de sapientibus unus
Juv. Sat. x. 28. I shall communicate to my reader the following letter for the entertainment of this day.
'SIR, “You know very well that our nation is more famous for that sort of men who are called “whims” and “humourists,” than any other country in the world; for which reason it is observed that our English comedy excels that of all other nations in the novelty and variety of its characters.
* Among those innumerable sets of whims which our country produces, there are none whom I have regarded with more curiosity than those who have invented any particular kind of diversion for the entertainment of themselves or their friends.
My letter shall single out those who take delight in sorting a 20 company that has something of burlesque and ridicule in its
appearance. I shall make myself understood by the following example. One of the wits of the last age, who was a man of a good estate, thought he never laid out his money better than in a jest. 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 mid
dle of their faces. They had no sooner placed themselves 30 about the table, but they began to stare upon one another,
not being able to imagine what had brought them together. Our English proverb says,
'Tis merry in the hall
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 jest, and came into it with so much good humour, that they lived in strict friendship and alliance from that day forward.
•The same gentleman some time after packed together a set of oglers, as he called them, consisting of such as had an unlucky 10 cast in their eyes. His diversion on this occasion was to see
the cross bows, mistaken signs, and wrong connivances n that passed amidst so many broken and refracted rays of sight.
"The third feast which this merry gentleman exhibited 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 though their con
versation never fell, there were not above twenty words spoken 20 during the first course; that upon serving up the second, 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 same 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 dropped by the interposition of friends, put a
stop to these ludicrous entertainments. 30
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 unluckiness than wit. However, as it is natural for one man to refine upon the thought of another, and impossible for any single person, how great soever his parts 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 hearing the character of the wit above-mentioned, has himself assumed it, and en
deavoured to convert it to the benefit of mankind. He invited 40 half a dozen of his friends one day to dinner, who were each
» « d’ye see,”
of them famous for inserting several redundant phrases in their discourse, as “D'ye hear me,”
,” “that is," "and so, Sir.” Each of the guests making frequent use of his particular elegance appeared so ridiculous to his neighbour, that he could not but reflect upon himself as appearing equally ridiculous to the rest of the company: by this means, before they had sat long together, every one talking with the greatest circumspection, and carefully avoiding his favourite expletive, the conversation was
cleared of its redundancies, and had a greater quantity of sense, 10 though less of sound in it.
'The same well-meaning gentleman took occasion, at another time, to bring together such of his friends as were addicted to a foolish habitual custom of swearing. In order to shew them the absurdity of the practice, he had recourse to the invention above-mentioned, having placed an amanuensis in a private part 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 unnecessary words that had
passed in his house since their sitting down at table, and how 20 much good conversation they had lost 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, knowing their conversation would have no secrets in it, he had ordered it to be taken down in writing, and, for the humour's sake, 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
abominable interpolations I have before mentioned. Upon the 30 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 pronounced amidst the heat and inadvertency of discourse.
'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; I mean that dull generation of story-tellers. My friend got
together about half a dozen of his acquaintance who were in40 fected with this strange malady. The first day, one of them