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THE GREAT CANARD.'
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 staid 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.
'I am, Sir, &c.'
No. 403. The Spectator notes down the various comments which
be heard on the false news reaching London of the death of
Hor, Ars Poet. 142. When I consider this great city in its several quarters and divisions, I look upon it as an aggregate of various nations distinguished from each other by their respective customs,
manners, and interests. The courts of two countries do not 20 so much differ from one another, as the court and city in their
peculiar ways of life and conversation. In short, the inhabitants of St. James's, notwithstanding they live under the same laws, and speak the same language, are a distinct people from those of Cheapside, who are likewise removed from those of the Temple on the one side, and those of Smithfield on the other, by several climates and degrees in their way of thinking and conversing together.
For this reason, when any public affair is upon the anvil, I love to hear the reflexions that arise upon it in the several dis30 tricts and parishes of London and Westminster, and to ramble
up and down a whole day together, in order to make myself acquainted with the opinions of my ingenious countrymen. By
this means I know the faces of all the principal politicians within the bills of mortality; and as every coffee-house has some particular statesman belonging to it, who is the mouth of the street where he lives, I always take care to place myself near him, in order to know his judgment on the present posture of affairs. The last progress that I made with this intention was about three months ago, when we had a current report of the king of France's death. As I foresaw this would produce a new face
of things in Europe, and many curious speculations in our 10 British coffee-houses, I was very desirous to learn the thoughts of our most eminent politicians on that occasion.
That I might begin as near the fountain-head as possible, I first of all called in at St. James's, where I found the whole outward room in a buz of politics. The speculations were but very indifferent towards the door, but grew finer as you advanced to the upper end of the room, and were so very much improved by a knot of theorists who sat in the inner room, within the steams of the coffee-pot, that I there heard the whole Spanish mon
archy disposed of, and all the line of Bourbon provided for, in 20 less than a quarter of an hour.
I afterwards called in at Giles's, where I saw a board of French gentlemen sitting upon the life and death of their Grand Monarque. Those among them who had espoused the whig interest very positively affirmed, that he departed this life about a week since; and therefore proceeded without any further delay to the release of their friends in the galleys, and to their own re-establishment : but, finding they could not agree among themselves, I proceeded on my intended progress.
Upon my arrival at Jenny Man's, I saw an alert young fel30 low that cocked his hat upon a friend of his who entered just
at the same time with myself, and accosted him after the following manner : “ Well, Jack, the old prig is dead at last. Sharp's the word. Now or never, boy. Up to the walls of Paris directly.' With several other deep reflexions of the same nature.
I met with very little variation in the politics between Charing Cross and Covent Garden. And, upon my going into Will's, I found their discourse was gone off from the death of the French king to that of Monsieur Boileau, Racine, Corneille,"
and several other poets, whom they regretted upon this occa40 sion, as persons who would have obliged the world with very
noble elegies on the death of so great a prince, and so eminent a patron of learning.
At a coffee-house near the Temple, I found a couple of young gentlemen engaged very smartly in a dispute on the succession to the Spanish monarchy. One of them seemed to have been retained as advocate for the Duke of Anjou, the other for his Imperial Majesty n. They were both for regulating the title to that kingdom by the statute-laws of England;
but, finding them going out of my depth, I passed forward to 10 Paul's church-yard, where I listened with great attention to
a learned man, who gave the company an account of the deplorable state of France during the minority of the deceased king.
I then turned on my right hand into Fish-street; where the chief politician of that quarter, upon hearing the news, (after having taken a pipe of tobacco, and ruminated for some time), "If,' says he, “the king of France is certainly dead, we shall have plenty of mackerel this season; our fishery will not be
disturbed by privateers, as it has been for these ten years past.' 20 He afterwards considered how the death of this great man
would affect our pilchards, and, by several other remarks, infused a general joy into his whole audience.
I afterwards entered a by coffee-house that stood at the upper end of a narrow lane, where I met with a non-juror, engaged very warmly with a lace-man who was the great support of a neighbouring conventicle.
The matter in debate was whether the late French king was most like Augustus Cæsar, or Nero. The controversy was carried on with great heat on both
sides, and, as each of them looked upon me very frequently 30 during the course of their debate, I was under some apprehen
sion that they would appeal to me; and therefore laid down my penny at the bar, and made the best of my way to Cheapside.
I here gazed upon the signs for some time before I found one to my purpose. The first object I met in the coffee-room was a person who expressed a great grief for the death of the French king; but, upon his explaining himself, I found his sorrow did not arise from the loss of the monarch, but for his having sold out of the bank about three days before he heard the news of it:
upon which a haberdasher, who was the oracle of the coffee40 house, and had his circle of admirers about him, called several to witness that he had declared his opinion above a week tefore, that the French king was certainly dead; to which he added, that, considering the late advices we had received from France, it was impossible that it could be otherwise. As he was laying these together, and dictating to his hearers with great authority, there came in a gentleman from Garraway's, who told us that there were several letters from France just come in, with advice that the king was in good health, and was gone out a-hunting
the very morning the post came away; upon which the haber10 dasher stole off his hat that hung upon a wooden peg by him,
and retired to his shop with great confusion. This intelligence put a stop to my travels, which I had prosecuted with so much satisfaction; not being a little pleased to hear so many different opinions upon so great an event, and to observe how naturally upon such a piece of news every one is apt to consider it with a regard to his particular interest and advantage.-L.
No. 407. On Gesture, Action, and Delivery; neglect of them by public speakers in England. Abest facundis gratia dictis.
OVID, Met. xiii. 127. Most foreign writers who have given any character of the English nation, whatever vices they ascribe to it, allow in general
that the people are naturally modest. It proceeds perhaps from 20 this our national virtue, that our orators are observed to make
use of less gesture or action than those of other countries. Our preachers stand stock still in the pulpit, and will not so much as move a finger to set off the best sermons in the world. We meet with the same speaking statues at our bars, and in all public places of debate. Our words flow from us in a smooth continued stream, without those strainings of the voice, motions of the body, and majesty of the hand, which are so much celebrated in the orators of Greece and Rome. We
can talk of life and death in cold blood, and keep our temper 30 in a discourse which turns upon everything that is dear to us.
Though our zeal breaks out in the finest tropes and figures, it is not able to stir a limb about us. I have heard it observed more than once by those who have seen Italy, that an travelled Englishman cannot relish all the beauties of Italian
pictures, because the postures which are expressed in them are often such as are peculiar to that country. One who has not seen an Italian in the pulpit, will not know what to make of that noble gesture in Raphael's picture of St. Paul preaching at Athens, where the apostle is represented as lifting up both his arms, and pouring out the thunder of his rhetoric amidst an audience of Pagan philosophers.
It is certain that proper gestures and vehement exertions of the voice cannot be too much studied by a public orator. 10 They are a kind of comment to what he utters, and enforce
every thing he says with weak hearers better than the strongest argument he can make use of. They keep the audience awake, and fix their attention to what is delivered to them, at the same time that they shew the speaker is in earnest, and affected himself with what he so passionately recommends to others. Violent gesture and vociferation naturally shake the hearts of the ignorant, and fill them with a kind of religious horror. Nothing is more frequent than to see women weep and trem
ble at the sight of a moving preacher, though he is placed 20 quite out of their hearing; as in England we very frequently see
people lulled asleep with solid and elaborate discourses of piety, who would be warmed and transported out of themselves by the bellowings and distortions of enthusiasm.
If nonsense, when accompanied with such an emotion of voice and body, has such an influence on men's minds, what might we not expect from many of those admirable discourses which are printed in our tongue, were they delivered with a becoming fervour, and with the most agreeable graces of voice and gesture?
We are told that the great Latin orator very much impaired his health by his laterum contentio, this vehemence of action, with which he used to deliver himself. The Greek orator was likewise so very famous for this particular in rhetoric, that one of his antagonists, whom he had banished from Athens, reading over the oration which had procured his banishment, and seeing his friends admire it, could not forbear asking them, if they were so much affected by the bare reading of it, how much more would they have been alarmed, had they heard him actually throwing out such a storm of eloquence n ?
How cold and dead a figure in comparison of these two