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The concomitant charges of the cellar, you will imagine, are no less extravagant; and, indeed, it is not enough, that we abound in the best French and Italian wines, (which, by the bye, are purchased on the fpot at an extraordinary price) but we must have several other kinds of the highest value, and confequently of the most delicious flavour; and though but a taste of each has been fipped round by the comp. y, the fame bottles muft never be brought a fecond time upon the table, but are fecured as perquifites by the butler, who fells them to the merchant, who fells them back again to my lord. Befides these, his lordship has lately been at an immenfe charge in raifing a Pinery, in order to try the experiment of making Cyder of Pine-apples; which he hopes to do at little more than treble the expence of Champagne. To this article I might alfo add the charge of his Ice-houses: for although these are stored with an homecommodity, originally of no value; yet I may venture to fay, that every drop of water comes as dear to us, as the most coftly of our wines.
butler out of livery, and his two underbutlers, are Frenchinen: the clerk of the kitchen is a Frenchman: and Monfieur Fricando, the head-cook, to be fure is a Frenchman. This gentleman never foils his fingers in touching the least bit of any thing; but gives his orders (like a general) to four fubalterns, who are likewife Frenchmen. baker, the confectioner, the very foullions, and even the fellow that looks after the poultry, are, all of them, Frenchmen. Thefe, you may be fure, are maintained at very high falaries: and though Monfieur Fricando had the pay of a captain in a marching regiment, my lord was forced to double his wages at the beginning of the war, and allow him the free exercife of his religion, to prevent his leaving the kingdom.
I am forry to add, that this pride of keeping a table has vifibly impaired my lord's fortunes; and this very fummer he has been obliged to fell all the timber on his eftate, as I may fay, to keep up his kitchen fire. The only fatisfaction, which he can poffibly reap from all this expence, is the vanity of having it faid, that nobody treats fo elegantly as his lordship; and now and then perhaps reading in the news-papers, that fuch a day the right honourable gave a grand entertainment at his house in
As all our liquors, I have told you, are of foreign growth, and all our dishes diftinguished by foreign titles, you will readily conceive, that our houshold is chiefly compofed of foreigners. The Maitre d bôtel is a Frenchman: the &c.
-, at which were prefent the principal officers of ftate and foreign miniiters. I am, Sir, your humble servant,
No CXXXVIII. THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 1756.
SERVATA SEMPER LEGE ET RATIONE LOQUENDI.
YOUR TALK TO DECENCY AND REASON SUIT,
N the comedy of the Frenchman in London, which we are told was acted at Paris with univerfal applaufe for several nights together, there is a character, of a rough Englishman, who is reprefented as quite unfkilled in the graces of converfation; and his dialogue confifts almost entirely of a repetition of the common falutation of How do you do? How do you do?' Our nation has, indeed, been generally suppos ed to be of a fullen and uncommunicative difpofition; while, on the other
de chambre. We may frequently fee a couple of French barbers accotting each other in the street, and paying their compliments with the fame volubility of fpeech, the fame grimace and action, as two courtiers on the Thuilleries.
I shall not attempt to lay down any particular rules for converfation, but rather point out fuch faults in difcourfe and behaviour, as render the company of half mankind rather tedious than amufing. It is in vain, indeed, to look for converfation, where we might expect to find it in the greatest perfection, among perfons of fashion: there it is almolt annihilated by univerfal cardplaying, infomuch that I have heard it given as a reafon, why it is impoffble for our prefent writers to fucceed in the dialogue of genteel comedy, that our people of quality fcarce ever meet but to game. All their difcourfe turns upon the odd trick and the four honours: and it is no lefs a maxim with the votaries of Whift than with thofe of Bacchus, that talking fpoils company.
Every one endeavours to make himfelf as agreeable to fociety as he can ; but it often happens, that thofe, who moft aim at thining in converfation, overfhoot the mark. Though a man fucceeds, he should not (as is frequently the cafe) engrofs the whole talk to him. felf; for that destroys the very effence of converfation, which is talking together. We should try to keep up convertation like a ball banded to and fi from one to the other, rather than feize it all to ourselves, and drive it before us like a foot-ball. We should likewife be cautious to adapt the matter of our difcourfe to our company; and not talk Greek before ladies, or of the latt new furbelow to a meeting of country justices.
But nothing throws a more ridiculous air over our whole converfation, than certain peculiarities eafily acquired, but very difficultly conquered and difcarded. In order to difplay thefe abfurdities in a truer light, it is my prefent purpose to enumerate fuch of them as are most commonly to be met with; and first to take notice of thole buffoons in fociety, the Attitudinarians and Faceakers. These accompany every word with a peculiar grimace or gefture: they affent with a fhrug, and contrad & with a twisting of the neck; are angry with a wry mouth, and pleafed in a caper or
a minuet step. They may be confidered as fpeaking Harlequins; and their rules of eloquence are taken from the pofture-matter. Thefe fhould be condemned to converfe only in dumb fhew with their own perfon in the lookingglass; as well as the Smirkers and Smilers, who fo prettily fet off their faces, together with their words, by a je-nefai quoi hetween a grin and a dimple. With thefe we may likewife rank the afected tribe of Mimics, who are conftantly taking off the peculiar tone of voice or gefture of their acquaintance: though they are fuch wretched imitators, that (like bad painters) they are frequently forced to write the name under the picture, before we can discover any likeness.
Next to thefe, whofe elocution is abforbed in action, and who converse chiefly with their arms and legs, we may confider the profeffed fpeakers. And first, the Emphatical; who fque :ze, and prefs, and ram down every fyllable with exceffive vehemence and energy. These orators are remarkable for their distinct elocution and force of expreffion: they dwell on the important particles of and the, and the fignificant conjunctive and; which they feem to hawk up, with much difficulty, out of their own throats, and to cram them, with no less pain, into the ears of their auditors. These should be fuffered only to fyringe (as it were) the ears of a deaf man, through an hearing trumpet: though I mult confefs, that I am equally offended with the Whisperers or Low Speakers, who seem to fancy all their acquaintance deaf, and come up fo close to you, that they may be faid to meafure nofes with you, and frequently overcome you with the exhalations of a powerful breath. I would have thefe oracular gentry obliged to talk at a distance through a fpeakingtrumpet, or apply their lips to the walls of a whifpering gallery. The Wits, who will not condeícend to utter any thing but a bon mot, and the Whiftlers or Tune-hummers, who never articulate at all, may be joined very agreeably together in concert: and to thefe tinkling cymbals I would alfo add the foundingbrafs; the Bawler who inquires after your health with the bellowing of a town-crier.
The Tatlers, whofe pliable pipes are admirably adapted to the foft parts of convertation, and fweetly prattling 2 Q
· out of fashion,' make very pretty mufic from a beautiful face and a female tongue: but from a rough manly voice and coarte feature, mere nonfenfe is as harth and diffonant as a jig from an Hurdy Gurdy. The Swearers I have fpoken of in a former paper; but the Half-Sw arers, who split, and mince, and fritter their oaths into gad's bud, ad's fisb and demmee; the Gothic Humbuggers, and thote who nick-name God's creatures,' and call a man a cabbage, a crab, a queer cub, an odd fish, and an unaccountable mufkin, fhould never come into company winout an interpreter. But I will not tire my reader's patience by pointing out all the pefts of converfation; nor dwell particularly on the Senfibles, who pronounce doginatically on the moft trivial points, and speak in sentences; the Wonderers, who are always wondering what o'clock it is, or wondering whether it will rain or no, or wondering when the moon changes; the Phraseologifts, who explain a thing by all that, or enter into particulars with this and that and t'other; and lastly, the Silent Men, who feem afraid of opening their mouths, left they fhould catch cold; and literally obferve the precept of the Gospel, by letting their converfation be only yea yea, and nay nay.
The rational intercourse kept up by conversation, is one of our principal, distinctions from brutes. We should therefore endeavour to turn this peculiar talent to our advantage, and confider the organs of fpeech as the inftruments of understanding: we should be very careful not to use them as the weapons of vice, or tools of folly, and do our ut moft to unlearn any trivial or ridiculous habits, which tend to leffen the value of fuch an inestimable prerogative. It is, indeed, imagined by fome philofophers, that even birds and beafts (though
without the power of articulation) per- ́ fectly understand one another by the founds they utter; and that dogs, cats, &c. have each a particular language to themfelves, like different nations. Thus it may be fuppofed, that the nightingals of italy have as fine an ear for their own native wood-notes, as any Signor or Signora for an Italian Air; that the boars of Weftphalia gruntie as expreffively through the nose, as the inhabitants in High German; and that the frogs in the dykes of Holland croak as intelligibly, as the natives jabber their Low Dutch. However this may be, we may confider thofe, whose tongues hard. ly feem to be under the influence of reafon, and do not keep up the proper converíation of human creatures, as imitating the language of different animals. Thus, for instance, the affinity between Chatterers and Monkeys, and Praters and Parrots, is too obvious not to occur at once: Grunters and Growlers may be justly compared to Hogs: Snarlers are Curs; and the Spitfire Paffionate are a fort of wild Cats, that will not bear ftroaking, but will purr when they are pleated. Complainers are Screech-owls; and Story-tellers, always repeating the fame duil note, are Çuckows. Parts, that prick up their ears at their own hideous braying, are no better than Affes; Critics in general are venomous Serpents, that delight in hiffing; and fome of them, who have got by heart a few technical terms without knowing their meaning, are no other than Magpies. I myself, who have crowed to the whole town for near three years pait, may perhaps put my readers in mind of a Dunghill Cock: but as I muft acquaint them, that they will hear the laft of me on this day fortnight, I hope they will then confider me as a Swan, who is fuppofed to fing sweetly at his dying moments.
N° CXXXIX. THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 1756.
NOW TO THE UTMOST ALL YOUR LABOURS CHARGE,
ing him of my defign to finish with the next number; and have received the following anfwer from him, which I fhall lay before my readers.
T was not without some regret, that I received advice of your intentions to bid adieu to the public: for, as you had been fo kind as to introduce me to their notice, I began to indulge all the weaknefs and vanity of a young author; and had almoft perfuaded myself, that I was the principal fupport of your papers. Conscious of my own importance, I expect that you will do me the justice to acknowledge, how much you are indebted to the affiftance of your very ingenious Coufin; and I care not how many compliments you pay me on my wit and learning; but at the fame time I muft beg leave to put in a caveat againft your difpofing of me in what manner you yourself please. Writers of effays think themselves at liberty to do what they will with the characters they have introduced into their works; as writers of tragedy, in order to heighten the plot, have often brought their heroes to an untimely end, when they have died quietly many years before in their beds; or as our chronicles of daily occurrences put a duke to death, give away an heiress in marriage, or fhoot off an admiral's leg, whenever they please. Mr. Addifon, while he was carrying on the Spectator, faid, ' he would kill Sir Roger de Coverley, that nobody else might murder him. In like manner, my dear Coufin, you may perhaps take it into your head to cut me off: you may make an end of me by a cold caught in partridge hooting, or break my neck in a ftag-hunt. Or you may rather chufe to fettle me perhaps with a rich old country dowager, or prefs me into the army, or clap me on board of a man of war. But I defire that you will not get
permit me to affure your readers, that I am alive and merry; and this is to let them know that I am in good health at this prefent writing.
Your papers, I affure you, have made a great noife in the country, and the moft intelligent among us read you with as much fatisfaction as the Evening Poft, or the Weekly Journals. I know more than one fquire, who takes them in conftantly with the Magazines; and I was told by the poft master of a certain town, that they came down every week, under cover, to the butler of a member of parliament. There is a club of country parfons, who meet every Saturday at a neighbouring market-town, to be shaved and exchange fermons they have a fubfcription for books and pamphlets; and the only periodical works ordered in by them are the Connoiffeur, and the Cri tical and Monthly Reviews. I was lately introduced to this fociety, when the converfation happened to turn upon Mr. Town. A young curate, just come from Oxford, faid he knew you very well at Chrift Church, and that you was a comical dog: but a Cantab. declared, no lefs pofitively, that you was either a penfioner of Trinity, or a fellow of Bennet College. Feople, indeed, are very much perplexed about the real author: fome affirm, that you are a nobleman; and others will have it, that you are an actor: fome fav you are a young lawyer, fome a phyfician, some a parfon, and fome an old woman.
The fubjects of your papers have of ten been wrested to various interpretations by our penetrating geniuses; and you have hardly drawn a character, that has not been fixed on one or other of the greatest perfonages in the nation. I once heard a country justice exprefs his wonder, that you was not taken up, and fet on the pillory; and I myself, by fome of my rural intelligence, have brought upon you the refentment of fea.;
veral honeft fquires, who long to horsewhip the fcoundrel for putting them in print. Others again are quite at a lefs how to pick out your meaning, and in vain turn over their Bailey's dictionary for an explanation of feveral fashionable phrafes; which, though they have enriched the town language, have not yet made their way into the dialect of the country. Many exquisite strokes of humour are alfo loft upon us, on account of our distance from the fcene of action; and that wit, which is very brifk and lively upon the fpot, often lofes much of it's fpirit in the carriage, and fometimes wholly evaporates in the poft-bag.
You moralifts are very apt to flatter yourfelves, that you are doing a vaft deal of good by your labours: but whatever reformation you may have worked in town, give me leave to tell you, that you have fometimes done us harm in the country, by the bare mention of the vice and follies now in vogue. From your intelligence, fome of our most polite ladies have learned, that it is highly genteel to have a route; and fome have copied the fashion fo exactly, as to play at cards on Sundays. Your papers upon drefs fet all our belles to work in following the mode: you no fooner took notice of the cocked hats, but every hat in the parish was turned up behind and before; and when you told us, that the town beauties went naked, our rural damfels immediately began to throw off their cloaths. Our gentlemen have been alfo taught by you all the new arts of betting and gaming: and the only coffee-houfe in one little town, where the mot topping inhabitants are used to meet to pay at draughts and backgammon, has, from the great increase of gamefters who refort to it, been elegantly chrillened by the name of White's.
As to the fmall fhare which I myfelf have had in your work, you may be fure every body here is hugely delighted with it; at least you may be fure, that I will tay nothing to the contrary. I have done my belt to contribute to the enter tainment of your readers: and, as the name of Steele is not forgotten in the Spectator, though Addifon has run away with almost all the honour, I am in hopes, that whenever the great Mr. Town is mentioned, they may poffibly think at the fame time on your affectionate Coufin and Coadjutor, VILLAGE,
After this account, which my Coufin has fent me, of the reception I have met with in the country, it will be proper to fay fomething of my reception here in town. I fhall therefore confider myself in the threefold capacity of Connoiffeur, Critic, and Cenfor General. As a Connoiffeur, in the confined fense of the word, I must own I have met with feveral mortifications. I have neither been made F. R. S. nor even a member of the Academy of Bourdeaux or Peterburgh. They have left me out of the lift of Trustees to the British Mufæum; and his Majesty of Naples, though he prefented an Account of the Curiofities
found in Herculaneum' to each of the universities, never fent one to me. I have not been celebrated in the Philofophical Tranfactions, or in any of our Magazines of Arts and Sciences; nor have I been tiled très-illufire or très scavant in any of the foreign Mercuries or Journals Literaires. Once, indeed, I foothed myfelf in the vain thoughts of having been diftinguished by the great Swedith Botanit, Linnæus, under the title of Eruditiffimus Urbanus, which I conceived to be the name of Town latinized; but, to my great difappointment, I afterwards difcovered, that this was no other than the learned naturalift, Mr. Sylvanus Urban, author of the Gentleman's Magazine. This neglec of me, as a Connoiffeur, I can attribute to no other caufe, than to my not having made myself known by my Mufæum, or Cabinet of Curiofities: and, to fay the truth, I am not worth a farthing in antique coins; nor have I fo much as one fingle fhell or butterfly. All my complaints against the modern innovations of Tafte have been therefore diffegarded: and with concern I ftill fee the Villas of our citizens fantaftically adorned with Chinese palings, and our ftreets incumbered with fuperb colonades, porticos, Gothic arches, and Venetian windows, the ordinary decorations of the fhops of our tradefmen.
Nor have I, as a Critic, met with greater fuccefs or encouragement, in my endeavours to reform the prefent Tatte in literature. I expected to have the privilege of eating beef gratis every night at Vauxhall, for advising the garde poets to put a little meaning into their forgs but, though I was there feveral nights this fummer, I could not fry (with Caffio) of any of their productions, this is a more exquifite fong