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a way to employ the most idle part of the kingdom; I mean that part of mankind who are known by the name of women's men or beaus, &c. Mr. Spectator, you are sensible these pretty gentlemen are not made for any manly employments, and for want of business are often as much in the vapours as the ladies. Now what I propose is this, that since knotting is again in fashion, which has been found a very pretty amusement, that you would recommend it to these gentle
men as something that may make them useful to the ladies 10 they admire.
And, since 'tis not inconsistent with any game or other diversion, for it may be done in the play-house, in their coaches, at the tea-table, and in short, in all places where they come for the sake of the ladies (except at church; be pleased to forbid it there to prevent mistakes), it will be easily complied with. 'Tis besides an employment that allows, as see by the fair sex, of many graces, which will make the beaus more readily come into it; it shews a white hand and diamond ring to great advantage; it leaves the eyes at full
liberty to be employed as before, as also the thoughts, and the 20 tongue. In short, it seems in every respect so proper, that 'tis
needless to urge it farther, by speaking of the satisfaction these male knotters will find, when they see their work mixed up in a fringe, and worn by the fair lady for whom and with whom it was done. Truly, Mr. Spectator, I cannot but be pleased I have hit upon something that these gentlemen are capable of; for 'tis sad so considerable a part of the kingdom (I mean for numbers) should be of no manner of use. I shall not trouble you farther at this time, but only to say, that I am always your
reader, and generally your admirer, C. B. 30
*P. S.—The sooner these fine gentlemen are set to work the better; there being at this time several fine fringes that only stay for more hands.'
I shall in the next place present my reader with the description of a set of men who are common enough in the world, though I do not remember that I have yet taken notice of them, as they are drawn in the following letter.
*MR. SPECTATOR, “Since you have lately, to so good purpose, enlarged upon conjugal love, it is to be hoped you'll discourage every practice that
rather proceeds from a regard to interest than to happiness. Now you cannot but observe, that most of our fine young ladies readily fall in with the direction of the graver sort, to retain in their service, by some small encouragement, as great a number as they can of supernumerary and insignificant fellows, which they use like whifflers", and commonly call Shoeing-horns. These are never designed to know the length of the foot, but only, - when a good offer comes, to whet and spur him up to the
point. Nay, 'tis the opinion of that grave lady, Madam Match10 well, that 'tis absolutely convenient for every prudent family to
have several of these implements about the house, to clap on as occasion serves, and that every spark ought to produce a certificate of his being a shoeing-horn, before he be admitted as a shoe. A certain lady, whom I could name if it was necessary, has at present more shoeing-horns of all sizes, countries, and colours, in her service than ever she had new shoes in her life. I have known a woman make use of a shoeing-horn for several years, and finding him unsuccessful in that function,
convert him at length into a shoe. I am mistaken if your 20 friend Mr. William Honeycomb was not a cast shoeing-horn
before his late marriage. As for myself, I must frankly declare to you, that I have been an arrant shoeing-horn for above these twenty years. I served my first mistress
that capacity above five of the number, before she was shod. I confess, though she had many who made their applications to her, I always thought myself the best shoe in her shop, and it was not till a month before her marriage that I discovered what I
This had like to have broke my heart, and raised such suspicions in me, that I told the next I made love to, upon 30 receiving some unkind usage from her, that I began to look
upon myself as no more than her shoeing-horn. Upon which my dear, who was a coquette in her nature, told me I was hypochondriacal, and that I might as well look upon myself to be an egg or a pipkin. But in a very short time after she gave me to know that I was not mistaken in myself. It would be tedious to recount to you the life of an unfortunate shoeinghorn, or I might entertain you with a very long and melancholy relation of my sufferings. Upon the whole, I think, Sir, it
would very well become a man in your post to determine in 40 what cases a woman may be allowed with honour to make
use of a shoeing-horn, as also to declare whether a maid on this side five-and-twenty, or a widow who has not been three years in that state, may be granted such a privilege, with other difficulties which will naturally occur to you upon that subject.
• I am Sir, with the most profound veneration, 0.
No. 557. On Polite Conversation ; letter of the Ambassador of
Virg. Æn. i. 665.
agreeable as that of the man of integrity, who hears without any 10 intention to betray, and speaks without any intention to deceive.
Among all the accounts which are given of Cato, I do not remember one that more redounds to his honour, than the following passage related by Plutarch. As an advocate was pleading the cause of his client before one of the prætors, he could only produce a single witness in a point where the law required the testimony of two persons ; upon which the advocate insisted on the integrity of that person whom he had produced: but the prætor told him that where the law required two witnesses he would not accept of one, though it were Cato himself.
Such a speech from a person 20 who sat at the head of a court of justice, while Cato was still living,
shews us, more than a thousand examples, the high reputation this great man had gained among his contemporaries upon the account
of his sincerity.
When such an inflexible integrity is a little softened and qualified by the rules of conversation and good breeding, there is not a
shining virtue in the whole catalogue of social duties. A man, however, ought to take great care not to polish himself out of his veracity, nor to refine his behaviour to the prejudice of his virtue.
treated in the most elegant sermon is exquisitely
subject 30 of the
British preachern, I shall beg leave to transcribe
or three sentences, as a proper introduction to a very curious letter, which I shall make the chief entertainment of this speculation.
• The old English plainness and sincerity, that generous in
out of it two
HOW IT STRIKES A STRANGER.
tegrity of nature, and honesty of disposition, which always argues true greatness of mind, and is usually accompanied with undaunted courage and resolution, is in a great measure lost among us.
•The dialect of conversation is now-a-days so swelled with vanity and compliment, and so surfeited (as I may say) of expressions of kindness and respect, that if a man that lived an age or two ago should return into the world again, he would really want a dictionary to help him to understand his own language, and to
know the true intrinsic value of the phrase in fashion; and would 10 hardly, at first, believe, at what a low rate the highest strains and
expressions of kindness imaginable do commonly pass in current payment: and when he should come to understand it, it would be a great while before he could bring himself, with a good countenance and a good conscience, to converse with men upon equal terms, and in their own way.'
I have by me a letter which I look upon as a great curiosity, and which may serve as an exemplification to the foregoing passage, cited out of this most excellent prelate. It is said to have
been written in King Charles II's reign by the ambassador of Ban20 tam, a little after his arrival in England n.
MASTER. “The people where I now am have tongues further from their hearts than from London to Bantam, and thou knowest the inhabitants of one of these places do not know what is done in the other. They call thee and thy subjects barbarians, because we speak what we mean; and account themselves a civilised people, because they speak one thing and mean another: truth they call barbarity, and falsehood politeness. Upon my first landing, one who
was sent from the king of this place to meet me, told me, That 30 he was extremely sorry for the storm I had met with just before
my arrival. I was troubled to hear him grieve and afflict himself upon my account; but in less than a quarter of an hour he smiled, and was as merry as if nothing had happened. Another who came with him, told me, by my interpreter, He should be glad to do me any service that lay in his power. Upon which I desired him to carry one of my portmantuas for me ; but instead of serving me according to his promise, he laughed, and bid another do it. I lodged, the first week, at the house of one who desired me to think
myself at home, and to consider his house as my own. Accordingly I the next morning began to knock down one of the walls of it, in order to let in the fresh air, and had packed up some of the household goods, of which I intended to have made thee a present; but the false varlet no sooner saw me falling to work, but he sent word to desire me to give over, for that he would have no such doings in his house. I had not been long in this nation, before I was told by one, for whom I had asked a certain favour from the
chief of the king's servants, whom they here call the Lord Trea10 surer, that I had “ eternally obliged him.” I was so surprised at
this gratitude, that I could not forbear saying, “What service is there which one man can do for another, that can oblige him to all eternity!” However, I only asked him for my reward, that he would lend me his eldest daughter during my stay in this country; but I quickly found that he was as treacherous as the rest of his countrymen.
‘At my first going to court, one of the great men almost put me out of countenance, by asking ten thousand pardons of me for
only treading by accident upon my toe. They call this kind of lie 20 a compliment; for when they are civil to a great man, they tell
him untruths, for which thou wouldst order any of thy officers of state to receive a hundred blows upon his foot. I do not know how I shall negotiate any thing with this people, since there is so little credit to be given to them. When I go to see the king's scribe, I am generally told that he is not at home, though perhaps I saw him go into his house almost the very moment before. Thou wouldst fancy that the whole nation are physicians, for the first question they always ask me, is, How I do: I have this
question put to me above a hundred times a day. Nay, they are 30 not only inquisitive after my health, but wish it in a more solemn
manner, with a full glass in their hands, every time I sit with them at table, though at the same time they would persuade me to drink their liquors in such quantities as I have found by experience will make me sick. They often pretend to pray for thy health also in the same manner; but I have more reason to expect it from the goodness of thy constitution, than the sincerity of their wishes. May thy slave escape in safety from this double-tongued race of men, and live to lay himself once more at thy feet in thy royal city of Bantam.'