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o'clock in the morning at Garraway's, by twelve at Will's, and before two at the Smyrna. When Peter has thus effectually launched a secret, I have been very well pleased to hear people whispering it to one another at second hand, and spreading it about as their own; for you must know, Sir, the great incentive to whispering is the ambition which every one has of being thought in the secret, and being looked upon as a man who has access to greater people than one would imagine. After having given you
this account of Peter Hush, I proceed to that virtuous lady, the 10 old Lady Blast, who is to communicate to me the private trans
actions of the crimp table, with all the arcana of the fair sex. The Lady Blast, you must understand, has such a particular malignity in her whisper, that it blights like an easterly wind, and withers every reputation that it breathes upon. She has a particular knack at making private weddings, and last winter married above five women of quality to their footmen. Her whisper can blast the character of an innocent young woman, or fill a healthful young fellow with a variety of distempers. She
can turn a visit into an intrigue, and a distant salute into an 20 assignation. She can beggar the wealthy, and degrade the noble.
In short, she can whisper men base or foolish, jealous or illnatured, or, if occasion requires, can tell you the slips of their great grandmothers, and traduce the memory of honest coachmen that have been in their graves these hundred years. By these and the like helps, I question not but I shall furnish out a very handsome news-letter. If you approve my project, I shall begin to whisper by the next post, and question not but every one of my customers will be very pleased with me, when
he considers that every piece of news I send him a word in his 30 ear, and lets him into a secret.
'Having given you a sketch of this project, I shall, in the next place, suggest to you another for a monthly pamphlet, which I shall likewise submit to your Spectatorial wisdom. I need not tell you, Sir, that there are several authors in France, Germany, and Holland, as well as in our own country, who publish every month what they call “An account of the works of the learned," in which they give us an abstract of all such books as are printed in Europe. Now, Sir, it is my design to publish every month,
“ An account of the works of the unlearned.” Several late pro40 ductions of my own countrymen, who many of them make an eminent figure in the illiterate world, encourage me in this undertaking. I may, in this work, possibly make a review of several pieces which have appeared in the foreign Accounts above-mentioned, though they ought not to have been taken notice of in works which bear such a title. I may likewise take into consideration such pieces as appear from time to time under the names of those gentlemen who compliment one another in public assemblies, by the title of “learned gentlemen.” Our party
authors will also afford me a great variety of subjects, not to 10 mention editors, commentators, and others, who are often men
of no learning, or, what is as bad, of no knowledge. I shall not enlarge upon this hint; but, if you think any thing can be made of it, I shall set about it with all the pains and application that so useful a work deserves.
. I am ever, C.
• Most worthy, Sir, &c.'
No. 481. Coffee-house Debates ; the quarrel between Count Rechteren and M. Mesnager.
Hor. Sat. i. 7. 19.
It is something pleasant enough to consider the different notions which different persons have of the same thing. If
men of low condition very often set a value on things which 20 are not prized by those who are in an higher station of life, there
are many things these esteem which are of no value among persons of an inferior rank. Common people are, in particular, very much astonished when they hear of those solemn contests and debates which are made among the great upon the punctilios of a public ceremony; and wonder to hear that any business of consequence should be retarded by those little circumstances, which they represent to themselves as trifling and insignificant. I am mightily pleased with a porter's decision in one of Mr.
Southern's plays ", which is founded upon that fine distress of 30 a virtuous woman's marrying a second husband while her first
was yet living. The first husband, who was supposed to have been dead, returning to his house after a long absence, raises
THE QUARREL AT UTRECHT.
a noble perplexity for the tragic part of the play. In the mean while, the nurse and the porter conferring upon the difficulties that would ensue in such a case, honest Sampson thinks the matter may be easily decided, and solves it very judiciously by the old proverb, that, if his first master be still living, The man must have his mare again. There is nothing in my time which has so much surprised and confounded the greatest part of my honest countrymen, as the present controversy between Count
Rechteren and Monsieur Mesnagers, which employs the wise heads 10 of so many nations, and holds all the affairs of Europe in suspense.
Upon my going into a coffee-house yesterday, and lending an ear to the next table, which was encompassed with a circle of inferior politicians, one of them, after having read over the news very attentively, broke out into the following remarks. I am afraid,' says he, 'this unhappy rupture between the footmen at Utrecht will retard the peace of Christendom. I wish the Pope may not be at the bottom of it. His Holiness has a very good hand at fomenting a division, as the poor Swiss Cantons have
lately experienced to their cost. If Monsieur What d'ye call 20 him's domestics will not come to an accommodation, I do not know how the quarrel can be ended but by a religious war.'
Why truly,' says a wiseacre that sat by him, 'were I as the king of France, I would scorn to take part with the footmen of either side; here's all the business of Europe stands still, because Monsieur Mesnager's man has had his head broke. If Count Rectrum had given them a pot of ale after it, all would have been well, without any of this bustle ; but they say he is a warm man, and does not care to be made mouths at.'
Upon this, one that had held his tongue hitherto, began to 30 exert himself; declaring that he was very well pleased the pleni
potentiaries of our Christian princes took this matter into their serious consideration ; for that lacqueys were never so saucy and pragmatical as they are now-a-days, and that he should be glad to see them taken down in the treaty of peace, if it might be done without prejudice to the public affairs.
One who sat at the other end of the table, and seemed to be in the interests of the French king, told them that they did not take the matter right, for that his most Christian majesty did
not resent this matter because it was an injury done to Monsieur 40 Mesnager's footmen; for, says he, what are Monsieur Mesnager's
footmen to him ? but because it was done to his subjects. “Now,' says he, 'let me tell you, it would look very odd for a subject of France to have a bloody nose, and his sovereign not to take notice of it. He is obliged in honour to defend his people against hostilities; and if the Dutch will be so insolent to a crowned head, as in any wise to cuff or kick those who are under his protection, I think he is in the right to call them to an account for it.'
This distinction set the controversy upon a new foot, and 10 seemed to be very well approved by most that heard it, till a
little warm fellow, who declared himself a friend to the house of Austria, fell most unmercifully upon his Gallic majesty, as encouraging his subjects to make mouths at their betters, and afterwards screening them from the punishment that was due to their insolence. To which he added, that the French nation was so addicted to grimace, that if there was not a stop put to it at the general congress, there would be no walking the streets for them in a time of peace, especially if they continued masters
of the West Indies. The little man proceeded with a great deal 20 of warmth, declaring that, if the allies were of his mind, he
would oblige the French king to burn his galleys, and tolerate the Protestant religion in his dominions, before he would sheath his sword. He concluded with calling Monsieur Mesnager an insignificant prig.
The dispute was now growing very warm, and one does not know where it would have ended, had not a young man about one-and-twenty, who seems to have been brought up with an eye to the law, taken the debate into his hand, and given it as
his opinion, that neither Count Rechteren nor Monsieur Mes30 nager had behaved themselves right in this affair.
Rechteren,' says he, 'should have made affidavit that his servant had been affronted, and then Monsieur Mesnager would have done him justice by taking away their liveries from them, or some other way that he might have thought the most proper; for let me tell you, if a man makes a mouth at me, am not to knock the teeth out of it for his pains. Then again, as for Monsieur Mesnager, upon his servants being beaten, why, he might have had his action of assault and battery. But as the case now stands, if will have
I think they ought to
opinion, 40 bring it to referees.'
I heard a great deal, more of this conference, but I must confess with little edification ; for all I could learn at last from these honest gentlemen was, that the matter in debate was of too high a nature for such heads as theirs, or mine, to comprehend.-0.
Knotting recommended to idle young men ; Letter on
VIRG. Æn, ix. 617. As I was the other day standing in my bookseller's shop, a pretty young thing, about eighteen years of age, stept out of her coach, and brushing by me, beckoned the man of the shop
to the further end of his counter, where she whispered some10 thing to him with an attentive look, and at the same time
presented him with a letter : after which, pressing the end of her fan upon his hand, she delivered the remaining part of her message, and withdrew. I observed, in the midst of her discourse, that she flushed, and cast an eye upon me over her shoulder, having been informed by my bookseller that I was the man of the short face whom she had so often read of. Upon her passing by me, the pretty blooming creature smiled in my face, and dropt me a curtsey. She scarce gave me time
to return her salụte, before she quitted the shop with an easy 20 scuttle, and stepped again into her coach, giving the footmen
directions to drive where they were bid. Upon her departure my bookseller gave me a letter superscribed, “To the ingenious Spectator,' which the young lady had desired him to deliver into my own hands, and to tell me that the speedy publication of it would not only oblige herself, but a whole tea-table of my friends. I opened it therefore, with a resolution to publish it, whatever it should contain, and am sure, if any
my readers will be so severely critical as not to like it, they would have been as well pleased with it as myself
, had they seen the 30 face of the pretty scribe.
'London, Nov. 1712. MR. SPECTATOR, 'You are always ready to receive any useful hint or proposal, and such, I believe, you will think one that may put you in