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naturally upon the force the superior part of mankind may have upon the spirits of such as, like this watchman, may be very near the standard of geese, and you may add to this, practical observations, how, in all ages and times, the world has been carried away by odd unaccountable things, which one would think would pass upon no creature which had reason; and, under the symbol of this goose, you may enter into the manner and method of leading creatures with their eyes open through thick and thin, for they know not what, they know not why.
“ All which is humbly submitted to your Spectatorial wisdom, by,
“ MICHAEL GANDER.”
** MR. SPECTATOR, “ I HAVE for several years had under my care the government and education of young ladies, which trust I have endeavoured to discharge with due regard to their several capacities and fortunes. I have left nothing undone to imprint in every one of them an humble courteous mind, accompanied with a graceful becoming mien, and have made them pretty much acquainted with the household part of family affairs; but still I find there is something very much wanting in the air of my ladies, different from what I have observed in those who are esteemed your fine-bred women. Now, Sir, I must own to you, I never suffered my girls to learn to dance; but since I have read your discourse of dancing, where you have described the beauty and spirit there is in regular motion, I own myself your convert, and resolve for the future to give my young ladies that accomplishment. But upon imparting
my design to their parents, I have been made very uneasy for some time, because several of them have declared, that if I did not make use of the master they recommended, they would take away their children. There was colonel Jumper's lady, a colonel of the train-bands, that has a great interest in her parish; she recommends Mr. Trott for the prettiest master in town; that no man teaches a jig like him; that she has seen him rise six or seven capers together with the greatest ease imaginable ; and that his scholars twist themselves more ways than the scholars of any master in town; besides there is Madam Prim, an alderman's lady, recommends a master of their own name, but she declares he is not of their family, yet a very extraordinary man in his way ; for, besides a very soft air he has in dancing, he gives them a particular behaviour at a tea-table, and in presenting their snuff-box; teaches to twirl, slip, or flirt a fan, and how to place patches to the best advantage, either for fat or lean, long or oval faces; for my lady says there is more in these things than the world imagines. But I must confess, the major part of those I am concerned with leave it to me. I desire therefore, according to the enclosed direction, you would send your correspondent who has writ to you on that subject to my house. If proper application this way can give innocence new charms, and make virtue legible in the countenance, I shall spare no charge to make my scholars, in their very features and limbs, bear witness how careful I have been in the other parts of their education.
" I am, SIR,
“ RACHAEL WATCHFUL.”
No. 377. TUESDAY, MAY 13, 1712.
Quid quisque vitet, nunquam homini satis
HOR. CAR. ii. 13. 13.
We unprovided are undone. LOVE was the mother of poetry, and still produces, among the most ignorant and barbarous, a thousand imaginary distresses and poetical complaints. It makes a footman talk like Oroondates, and converts a brutal rustic into a gentle swain. The most ordinary plebeian or mechanic in love bleeds and pines away with a certain elegance and tenderness of sentiments which this passion naturally inspires.
These inward languishings of a mind infected with this softness have given birth to a phrase which is made use of by all the melting tribe, from the highest to the lowest I mean that of 'dying for love.'
Romances, which owe their very being to this passion, are full of these metaphorical deaths. Heroes and heroines, knights, squires, and damsels, are all of them in a dying condition. There is the same kind of mortality in our modern tragedies, where every one gasps, faints, bleeds, and dies. Many of the poets, to describe the execution which is done by this passion, represent the fair sex as basilisks, that destroy with their eyes; but I think Mr. Cowley has, with greater justness of thought, compared a beautiful woman to a porcupine, that sends an arrow from every part.
I have often thought that there is no way so effectzal for the cure of this general infirmity, as a man's
reflecting upon the motives that produce it. When the passion proceeds from the sense of any virtue or perfection in the person beloved, I would by no means discourage it; but if a man considers that all his heavy complaints of wounds and deaths rise from some little affectations of coquetry, which are improved into charms by his own fond imagination, the very laying before himself the cause of his distemper may be sufficient to effect the cure of it.
It is in this view that I have looked over the several bundles of letters which I have received from dying people, and composed out of them the following bilî of mortality, which I shall lay before my reader without any further preface, as hoping that it may be useful to him in discovering those several places where there is most danger, and those fatal arts which are made use of to destroy the heedless and unwary.
Lysander, slain at a puppet-show on the third of September.
Thyrsis shot from a casement in Piccadilly.
T. S. wounded by Zelinda's scarlet stocking, as she was stepping out of a coach.
Will Simple, smitten at the opera by the glance of an eye that was aimed at one who stood by him.
Tho. Vainlove, lost his life at a ball.
Tim. Tattle, killed by the tap of a fan on his left shoulder by Coquetilla, as he was talking carelessly with her in a bow-window.
Sir Simon Softly, murdered at the play-house in Drury-lane by a frown.
Philander, mortally wounded by Cleora, as she was adjusting her tucker.
Ralph Gapely, esq. hit by a random-shot at the
F. R. caught his death upon the water, April the Ist.
W. W. killed by an unknown hand that was playing with the glove off upon the side of the front box in Drury-lane.
Sir Christopher Crazy, Bart. hurt by the brush of a whale-bone petticoat.
Sylvius, shot through the sticks of a fan at St. James's church.
Damon, struck through the heart by a diamond necklace.
Thomas Trusty, Francis Goosequill, William Meanwell, Edward Callow, Esqrs. standing in a row, fell all four at the same time, by an ogle of the widow Trapland.
Tom Rattle, chancing to tread upon a lady's tail as he came out of the playhouse, she turned full upon him, and laid him dead upon the spot.
Dick Tastewell, slain by a blush from the queen's box in the third act of the Trip to the Jubilee.
Samuel Felt, haberdasher, wounded in his walk to Islington, by Mrs. Susanna Cross-stitch, as she was clambering over a stile.
R. F. T. W. S. I. M. P. &c. put to death in the last birth-day massacre.
Roger Blinko, cut off in the twenty-first year of his age by a white-wash.
Musidorus, slain by an arrow that flew out of a dimple in Belinda's left cheek.
Ned Courtly, presenting Flavia with her glove, which she had dropped on purpose, she received it, and took away his life with a courtesy.
John Gosselin, having received a slight hurt from a pair of blue eyes, as he was making his escape, was despatched by a smile.
Strephon killed by Clarinda as she looked down into the pit.