Widow's coffee-house, I shall from hence give you some account of the behaviour of our hackneycoachmen since my last. These indefatigable gentlemen, without the least design, I dare say, of selfinterest or advantage to themselves, do still ply as volunteers day and night for the good of their country. I will not trouble you with enumerating many particulars, but I must by no means omit to inform you of an infant about six foot* high, and between twenty and thirty years of age, who was seen in the arms of a hackney-coachman, driving by Will's coffee-house in Covent-Garden, between the hours of four and five in the afternoon of that very day wherein you published a memorial against them. This impudent young cur, though he could not sit int a coach-box without holding, yet would he venture his neck to bid defiance to your spectatorial authority, or to any thing that you countenanced. Who he was I know not, but I heard this relation this morning from a gentleman who was an eye-witness of this his impudence; and I was willing to take the first opportunity to inform you of him, as holding it extremely requisite that you should nip him in the bud. But I am myself most concerned for my fellow-templars, fellow-students, and fellow-labourers in the law, I mean such of them as are dignified and distinguished under the denomination of hackneycoachmen. Such aspiring minds have these ambitious young men, that they cannot enjoy themselves out of a coach-box. It is, however, an unspeakable comfort to me that I can now tell you that some of them are grown so bashful as to study only in the night-time or in the country. The other night I spied one of our young gentlemen very diligent at his lucubrations in Fleet-street; and, by the way, I + Intended it seems for an. See the preceding note.


should be under some concern less this hard student should one time or other crack his brain with studying, but that I am in hopes nature has taken care to fortify him in proportion to the great undertakings he was designed for. Another of my fellow-templars on Thursday last was getting up into his study at the bottom of Gray's-inn-lane, in order, I suppose, to contemplate in the fresh air. Now, Sir, my request is, that the great modesty of these two gentlemen may be recorded as a pattern to the rest, and if you would but give them two or three touches with your own pen, though you might not perhaps prevail with them to desist entirely from their meditations, yet I doubt not but you would at least preserve them from being public spectacles of folly in our streets. I say, two or three touches with your own pen; for I have really observed, Mr. Spec, that those Spectators which are so prettily laced down the sides with little c's, how instructive soever they may be, do not carry with them that authority as the others. I do again therefore desire, that, for the sake of their dear necks, you would bestow one penful of your own ink upon them. I know you are loath to expose them; and it is, I must confess, a thousand pities that any young gentleman, who is come of honest parents, should be brought to public shame. And indeed I should be glad to have them handled a little tenderly at the first; but if fair means will not prevail, there is then no other way to reclaim them but by making use of some wholesome severities; and I think it is better that a dozen or two of such good-for-nothing fellows should be made examples of, than that the reputation of some hundreds of as hopeful young gentlemen as myself should suffer through their folly. It is not, how. for me to direct you what to do; but, in short, if our coachmen will drive on this trade, the very


first of them that I do find meditating in the street, I shall make bold to "take the number of his chambers*," together with a note of his name, and dispatch them to you, that you may chastise him at your own discretion.

I am, dear Spec, for ever yours,

Esq. if you please.

'P. S. Tom Hammercloth, one of our coachmen, is now pleading at the bar at the other end of the room, but has a little too much vehemence, and throws out his arms too much to take his audience with a good grace.'

To my loving and well-beloved John Sly, haberdasher of hats, and tobacconist, between the cities of London and Westminster.

Whereas frequent disorders, affronts, indignities, omissions, and trespasses, for which there are no remedies by any form of law, but which apparently disturb and disquiet the minds of men, happen near the place of your residence; and that you are, as well by your commodious situation, as the good parts with which you are endowed, properly qualified for the observation of the said offences; I do hereby authorize and depute you, from the hours of nine in the morning until four in the afternoon, to keep a strict eye upon all persons and things that are conveyed in coaches, carried in carts, or walk on foot from the city of London to the city of Westminster, or from the city of Westminster to the city of London, within the said hours. You are therefore not to depart from your observatory at the end of Devereux-court during the said space of each day, but to observe the behaviour of all persons who are

* An allusion to the usual and prudent precaution of taking the number of a hackney-coach before entrance.

[ocr errors]

suddenly transported from stamping on pebbles to sit at ease in chariots, what notice they take of their foot acquaintance, and send me the speediest advice, when they are guilty of overlooking, turning from, or appearing grave and distant to, their old friends. When man and wife are in the same coach, you are to see whether they appear pleased or tired with each other, and whether they carry the due mean in the eye of the world, between fondness and coldness. You are carefully to behold all such as shall have addition of honour or riches, and report whether they preserve the countenance they had before such addition. As to persons on foot, you are to be attentive whether they are pleased with their condition, and are dressed suitable to it; but especially to distinguish such as appear discreet, by a low-heel shoe, with the decent ornament of a leather garter* ; to write down the names of such country gentlemen as, upon the approach of peace, have left the hunting for the military cock of the hat; of all who strut, make a noise, and swear at the drivers of coaches to make haste, when they see it is impossible they should pass; of all young gentlemen in coach boxes, who labour at a perfection in what they are sure to be excelled by the meanest of the people. You are to do all that in you lies that coaches and passengers give way according to the course of business, all the morning in term-time towards Westminster, the rest of the year towards the Exchange. Upon these directions, together with other secret articles herein enclosed, you are to govern yourself, and give advertisement thereof to me, at all convenient

It has been said that there is an allusion here to a very worthy gentleman of fortune, bred to the law, who had chambers in Lincoln's-inn. His name was Richard Warner, the younger son of a banker, who, though he always wore leather garters, in no other instance affected singularity. For a more particular ac count of him, see Anecdotes of W. Bowyer, 4to. p. 409.

and spectatorial hours, when men of business are to Hereof you are not to fail. Given under

be seen.

my seal of office.




N° 527. TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 1712.

Facilè invenies et pejorem, et pejùs moratam;
Meliorem neque tu reperies, neque sol videt.

PLAUTUS in Stichor.

You will easily find a worse woman; a better the sun never shone upon.

I AM SO tender of my women-readers, that I cannot defer the publication of any thing which concerns their happiness or quiet. The repose of a married woman is consulted in the first of the following letters, and the felicity of a maiden lady in the second. I call it a felicity to have the addresses of an agreeable man; and I think I have not any where seen a prettier application of a poetical story than that of his, in making the tale of Cephalus and Procris the history picture of a fan in so gallant a manner as he addresses it. But see the letters.


It is now almost three months since I was in town about some business; and the hurry of it being over, I took coach one afternoon, and drove to see a relation, who married about six years ago a wealthy citizen. I found her at home, but her husband gone to the Exchange, and expected back within an hour at the farthest. After the usual salutations of kindness, and a hundred questions about friends in the country, we sat down to piquet,

« ForrigeFortsett »