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light in complying with every thing that is agreeable to him, and accordingly waited on him to the coffee-house, where his venerable figure drew upon us the eyes of the whole room. He had no suoner seated himself at the upper end of the high table, but he called for a clean pipe, a paper of tobacco, a dish of coffee, a wax candle, and the Supplement, with such an air of cheerfulness and good humour, that all the boys in the coffee-room (who seemed to take pleasure in serving him) were at once employed on his several errands, insomuch that nobody else could come at a dish of tea, till the knight had got all his conveniences about him. L.
No. 271. THURSDAY, JANUARY 13.
Mille trahens varios adverso sole colores.
VIRG. Æn. iv. 701
Drawing a thousand colours from the light.
I RECEIVE a double advantage from the letters of my correspondents: first, as they shew me which of my papers are most acceptable to them; and in the next place, as they furnish me with materials for new speculations. Sometimes, indeed, I do not make use of the letter itself, but form the hints of it into plans of my own invention; sometimes I take the liberty to change the language or thought into my own way of speaking and thinking, and always (if it can be done without prejudice to the sense) omit the many compliments and applauses which are usually bestowed upon me.
Besides the two advantages above-mentioned, which I receive from the letters that are sent me, they give me an opportunity of
and students of Gray's Inn. Squire was a “noted coffee man' who died in 1717.--*
lengthening out my paper by the skilful management of the subscribing part at the end of them, which perhaps does not a little conduce to the ease, both of myself and reader.
Some will have it, that I often write to myself, and am the only punctual correspondent I have. This objection would indeed be material, were the letters I communicate to the public stuffed with my own commendations, and if, instead of endeavouring to divert or instruct my readers, I admired in them the beauty of my own performances. But I shall leave these wise conjectures to their own imaginations, and produce the three following letters for the entertainment of the day.
"I was last Thursday in an assembly of ladies, where there were thirteen different coloured hoods. Your Spectator of that day lying upon the table, they ordered me to read it to them, which I did with a very clear voice, till I came to the Greek verse at the end of it. I must confess, I was a little startled at its popping upon me so unexpectedly; however, I covered my confusion as well as I could, and after having muttered two or three hard words to myself, laughed heartily, and cried, ' A very good jest, faith!' The ladies desired me to explain it to them; but I begged their pardon for that, and told them, that if it had been proper for them to hear, they may be sure the author would not have wrapt it up in Greek. I then let drop several expressions, as if there was something in it that was not fit to be spoken before a company of ladies. Upon which the matron of the assembly, who was dressed in a cherry-coloured hood, commended the discretion of the writer, for having thrown his filthy thoughts into Greek, which was likely to corrupt but few of his readers.
1 V. Nichols's Note to No. 212 of the Tatler.---C.
At the same time, she declared herself very well pleased, that he had not given a decisive opinion upon the new-fashioned hoods;
For to tell you truly, (says she,) I was afraid he would have made us ashamed to shew our heads.' Now, sir, you must know since this unlucky accident happened to me in a company of ladies, among whom I passed for a most ingenious man, I have consulted one who is very well versed in the Greek language, and he assures me upon his word, that your late quotation means no more,
than that 'manners, and not dress, are the ornaments of a woman.' If this comes to the knowledge of my female admirers, I shall be very hard put to it to bring myself off handsomely. In the mean while I give you this account, that you may take care hereafter not to betray any of your well-wishers into the like inconveniences. It is in the number of these that I beg leave to subscribe myself,
66 TOM TRIPPIT."
“ MR. SPECTATOR, “Your readers are so well pleased with your character of Sir Roger de Coverley, that there appeared a sensible joy in every coffee-house, upon hearing the old knight was come to town. I am now with a knot of his admirers, who make it their joint request to
that you would give us public notice of the window or balcony where the knight intends to make his appearance He has already given great satisfaction to several who have seen him at Squire's Coffee-house. If you think fit to place your short face at Sir Roger's left elbow, we shall take the hint, and gratefully acknowledge so great a favour.
“I am, sir,
Sir, “ KNOWING you are very inquisitive after every thing that is
curious in nature, I will wait on you, if you please, in the dusk of the evening, with my show upon my back, which I carry about with me in a box, as only consisting of a man, a woman, and an horse. The two first are married, in which state the little cavalier has so well acquitted himself, that his lady is with child. The big-bellied woman and her husband, with their whimsical palfry, are so very light, that when they are put together into a scale, an ordinary man may weigh down the whole family. The little man is a bully in his nature; but when he grows choleric, I confine him to his box till his wrath is over, by which means I have hitherto prevented him from doing mischief. His horse is likewise very vicious, for which reason I am forced to tie him close to his manger with a packthread. The woman is a coquette: she struts as much as it is possible for a lady of two foot high, and would ruin me in silks, were not the quantity that goes to a large pincushion sufficient to make her a gown and petticoat. She told me the other day, that she heard the ladies wore coloured hoods, and ordered me to get her one of the finest blue. I am forced to comply with her demands while she is in her present condition, being very willing to have more of the same breed. I do not know what she may produce me, but provided it be a show I shall be very well satisfied. Such novelties should not, I think, be concealed from the British Spectator; for which reason, I hope you will excuse this presumption in " Your most dutiful, most obedient,
"and most humble servant, S. T.”
· Three dwarfs ; a very little man, with a woman and horse of correr ponding dimensions were on exhibition about this time.-G.
No. 275. TUESDAY, JANUARY 15.
Tribus Anticyris caput insanabile.
HOR. Ars Poet. 300.
A head no hellebore can cure.
'I was yesterday engaged in an assembly of virtuosos, where one of them produced many curious observations which he had lately made in the anatomy of an human body. Another of the company communicated to us several wonderful discoveries, which he had also made on the same subject, by the help of very fine glasses. This gave birth to a great variety of uncommon remarks, and furnished discourse for the remaining part of the day.
The different opinions which were started on this occasion, presented to my imagination so many new ideas, that by mixing with those which were already there, they employed my fancy all the last night, and composed a very wild extravagant dream.
I was invited, methought, to the dissection of a beau's head and of a coquette's heart, which were both of them laid on a table before us. An imaginary operator opened the first with a great deal of nicety, which, upon a cursory and superficial view, appeared like the head of another man; but upon applying our glasses to it, we made a very odd discovery, namely, that what we looked upon as brains; were not such in reality, but an heap of strange materials wound up in that shape and texture and packed together with wonderful art in the several cavities of the skull For, as Homer tells us, that the blood of the gods is not real
* This paper and 281 its sequel, probably suggested to Mr. G. Alexan der Stevens, the first idea of his Lecture on Heads, which with suitable variations and improvements, furnished, for a long time, an elegant rational amusement to the public, and in the end, abundantly rewarded the pains, expense, and ingenuity, of the lecturer.-C.