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Greek as a learned tongue, - excited a distrust that would have been
fatal to the success of his fraud, even with the credulous, if he had
not forced himself to give colour to his story by acting the savage in
men's eyes. But he must really, it was thought, be a savage who fed upon
roots, herbs, and raw flesh. He made, however, so little by the
imposture, that he at last confessed himself a cheat, and got his living
as a well-conducted bookseller's hack for many years before his death,
in 1763, aged 84. In 1711, when this jest was penned, he had not yet
publicly eaten his own children, i.e. swallowed his words and declared
his writings forgeries. In 1716 there was a subscription of £20 or £30 a
year raised for him as a Formosan convert. It was in 1728 that he began
to write that formal confession of his fraud, which he left for
publication after his death, and whereby he made his great public
appearance as Thyestes.

This jest against Psalmanazar was expunged from the first reprint of the
_Spectator_ in 1712, and did not reappear in the lifetime of Steele
or Addison, or until long after it had been amply justified.]

* * * * *

No. 15. Saturday, March 17, 1711. Addison.

'Parva leves capiunt animos ...'


When I was in _France_, I used to gaze with great Astonishment at the
Splendid Equipages and Party-coloured Habits, of that Fantastick Nation.
I was one Day in particular contemplating a Lady that sate in a Coach
adorned with gilded _Cupids_, and finely painted with the Loves of
_Venus_ and _Adonis_. The Coach was drawn by six milk-white Horses, and
loaden behind with the same Number of powder'd Foot-men. Just before the
Lady were a Couple of beautiful Pages, that were stuck among the
Harness, and by their gay Dresses, and smiling Features, looked like the
elder Brothers of the little Boys that were carved and painted in every
Corner of the Coach.

The Lady was the unfortunate _Cleanthe_, who afterwards gave an Occasion
to a pretty melancholy Novel. She had, for several Years, received the
Addresses of a Gentleman, whom, after a long and intimate Acquaintance,
she forsook, upon the Account of this shining Equipage which had been
offered to her by one of great Riches, but a Crazy Constitution. The
Circumstances in which I saw her, were, it seems, the Disguises only of
a broken Heart, and a kind of Pageantry to cover Distress; for in two
Months after, she was carried to her Grave with the same Pomp and
Magnificence: being sent thither partly by the Loss of one Lover, and
partly by the Possession of another.

I have often reflected with my self on this unaccountable Humour in
Woman-kind, of being smitten with every thing that is showy and
superficial; and on the numberless Evils that befall the Sex, from this
light, fantastical Disposition. I my self remember a young Lady that was
very warmly sollicited by a Couple of importunate Rivals, who, for
several Months together, did all they could to recommend themselves, by
Complacency of Behaviour, and Agreeableness of Conversation. At length,
when the Competition was doubtful, and the Lady undetermined in her
Choice, one of the young Lovers very luckily bethought himself of adding
a supernumerary Lace to his Liveries, which had so good an Effect that
he married her the very Week after.

The usual Conversation of ordinary Women, very much cherishes this
Natural Weakness of being taken with Outside and Appearance. Talk of a
new-married Couple, and you immediately hear whether they keep their
Coach and six, or eat in Plate: Mention the Name of an absent Lady, and
it is ten to one but you learn something of her Gown and Petticoat. A
Ball is a great Help to Discourse, and a Birth-Day furnishes
Conversation for a Twelve-month after. A Furbelow of precious Stones, an
Hat buttoned with a Diamond, a Brocade Waistcoat or Petticoat, are
standing Topicks. In short, they consider only the Drapery of the
Species, and never cast away a Thought on those Ornaments of the Mind,
that make Persons Illustrious in themselves, and Useful to others. When
Women are thus perpetually dazling one anothers Imaginations, and
filling their Heads with nothing but Colours, it is no Wonder that they
are more attentive to the superficial Parts of Life, than the solid and
substantial Blessings of it. A Girl, who has been trained up in this
kind of Conversation, is in danger of every Embroidered Coat that comes
in her Way. A Pair of fringed Gloves may be her Ruin. In a word, Lace
and Ribbons, Silver and Gold Galloons, with the like glittering
Gew-Gaws, are so many Lures to Women of weak Minds or low Educations,
and, when artificially displayed, are able to fetch down the most airy
Coquet from the wildest of her Flights and Rambles.

True Happiness is of a retired Nature, and an Enemy to Pomp and Noise;
it arises, in the first place, from the Enjoyment of ones self; and, in
the next, from the Friendship and Conversation of a few select
Companions. It loves Shade and Solitude, and naturally haunts Groves and
Fountains, Fields and Meadows: In short, it feels every thing it wants
within itself, and receives no Addition from Multitudes of Witnesses and
Spectators. On the contrary, false Happiness loves to be in a Crowd, and
to draw the Eyes of the World upon her. She does not receive any
Satisfaction from the Applauses which she gives her self, but from the
Admiration which she raises in others. She flourishes in Courts and
Palaces, Theatres and Assemblies, and has no Existence but when she is
looked upon.

_Aurelia_, tho' a Woman of Great Quality, delights in the Privacy of a
Country Life, and passes away a great part of her Time in her own Walks
and Gardens. Her Husband, who is her Bosom Friend and Companion in her
Solitudes, has been in Love with her ever since he knew her. They both
abound with good Sense, consummate Virtue, and a mutual Esteem; and are
a perpetual Entertainment to one another. Their Family is under so
regular an Oeconomy, in its Hours of Devotion and Repast, Employment and
Diversion, that it looks like a little Common-Wealth within it self.
They often go into Company, that they may return with the greater
Delight to one another; and sometimes live in Town not to enjoy it so
properly as to grow weary of it, that they may renew in themselves the
Relish of a Country Life. By this means they are Happy in each other,
beloved by their Children, adored by their Servants, and are become the
Envy, or rather the Delight, of all that know them.

How different to this is the Life of _Fulvia_! she considers her Husband
as her Steward, and looks upon Discretion and good House-Wifery, as
little domestick Virtues, unbecoming a Woman of Quality. She thinks Life
lost in her own Family, and fancies herself out of the World, when she
is not in the Ring, the Play-House, or the Drawing-Room: She lives in a
perpetual Motion of Body and Restlessness of Thought, and is never easie
in any one Place, when she thinks there is more Company in another. The
missing of an Opera the first Night, would be more afflicting to her
than the Death of a Child. She pities all the valuable Part of her own
Sex, and calls every Woman of a prudent modest retired Life, a
poor-spirited, unpolished Creature. What a Mortification would it be to
_Fulvia_, if she knew that her setting her self to View, is but exposing
her self, and that she grows Contemptible by being Conspicuous.

I cannot conclude my Paper, without observing that _Virgil_ has very
finely touched upon this Female Passion for Dress and Show, in the
Character of _Camilla_; who, tho' she seems to have shaken off all the
other Weaknesses of her Sex, is still described as a Woman in this
Particular. The Poet tells us, that, after having made a great Slaughter
of the Enemy, she unfortunately cast her Eye on a _Trojan_ [who[1]] wore
an embroidered Tunick, a beautiful Coat of Mail, with a Mantle of the
finest Purple. _A Golden Bow_, says he, _Hung upon his Shoulder; his
Garment was buckled with a Golden Clasp, and his Head was covered with
an Helmet of the same shining Mettle_. The _Amazon_ immediately singled
out this well-dressed Warrior, being seized with a Woman's Longing for
the pretty Trappings that he was adorned with:

'... Totumque incauta per agmen
Fæmineo prædæ et spoliorum ardebat amore.'

This heedless Pursuit after these glittering Trifles, the Poet (by a
nice concealed Moral) represents to have been the Destruction of his
Female Hero.


[Footnote 1: that]

* * * * *

No. 16 Monday, March 19. Addison

Quid verum atque decens curo et rogo, et omnis in hoc sum.


I have receiv'd a Letter, desiring me to be very satyrical upon the
little Muff that is now in Fashion; another informs me of a Pair of
silver Garters buckled below the Knee, that have been lately seen at the
Rainbow Coffee-house in _Fleet-street_; [1] a third sends me an heavy
Complaint against fringed Gloves. To be brief, there is scarce an
Ornament of either Sex which one or other of my Correspondents has not
inveighed against with some Bitterness, and recommended to my
Observation. I must therefore, once for all inform my Readers, that it
is not my Intention to sink the Dignity of this my Paper with
Reflections upon Red-heels or Top-knots, but rather to enter into the
Passions of Mankind, and to correct those depraved Sentiments that give
Birth to all those little Extravagancies which appear in their outward
Dress and Behaviour. Foppish and fantastick Ornaments are only
Indications of Vice, not criminal in themselves. Extinguish Vanity in
the Mind, and you naturally retrench the little Superfluities of
Garniture and Equipage. The Blossoms will fall of themselves, when the
Root that nourishes them is destroyed.

I shall therefore, as I have said, apply my Remedies to the first Seeds
and Principles of an affected Dress, without descending to the Dress it
self; though at the same time I must own, that I have Thoughts of
creating an Officer under me to be entituled, _The Censor of small
Wares_, and of allotting him one Day in a Week for the Execution of such
his Office. An Operator of this Nature might act under me with the same
Regard as a Surgeon to a Physician; the one might be employ'd in healing
those Blotches and Tumours which break out in the Body, while the other
is sweetning the Blood and rectifying the Constitution. To speak truly,
the young People of both Sexes are so wonderfully apt to shoot out into
long Swords or sweeping Trains, bushy Head-dresses or full-bottom'd
Perriwigs, with several other Incumbrances of Dress, that they stand in
need of being pruned very frequently [lest they should [2]] be oppressed
with Ornaments, and over-run with the Luxuriency of their Habits. I am
much in doubt, whether I should give the Preference to a Quaker that is
trimmed close and almost cut to the Quick, or to a Beau that is loaden
with such a Redundance of Excrescencies. I must therefore desire my
Correspondents to let me know how they approve my Project, and whether
they think the erecting of such a petty Censorship may not turn to the
Emolument of the Publick; for I would not do any thing of this Nature
rashly and without Advice.

There is another Set of Correspondents to whom I must address my self,
in the second Place; I mean such as fill their Letters with private
Scandal, and black Accounts of particular Persons and Families. The
world is so full of Ill-nature, that I have Lampoons sent me by People
[who [3]] cannot spell, and Satyrs compos'd by those who scarce know how
to write. By the last Post in particular I receiv'd a Packet of Scandal
that is not legible; and have a whole Bundle of Letters in Womens Hands
that are full of Blots and Calumnies, insomuch that when I see the Name
_Caelia, Phillis, Pastora_, or the like, at the Bottom of a Scrawl, I
conclude on course that it brings me some Account of a fallen Virgin, a
faithless Wife, or an amorous Widow. I must therefore inform these my
Correspondents, that it is not my Design to be a Publisher of Intreagues
and Cuckoldoms, or to bring little infamous Stories out of their present
lurking Holes into broad Day light. If I attack the Vicious, I shall
only set upon them in a Body: and will not be provoked by the worst
Usage that I can receive from others, to make an Example of any
particular Criminal. In short, I have so much of a Drawcansir[4] in me,
that I shall pass over a single Foe to charge whole Armies. It is not
_Lais_ or _Silenus_, but the Harlot and the Drunkard, whom I shall
endeavour to expose; and shall consider the Crime as it appears in a
Species, not as it is circumstanced in an Individual. I think it was
_Caligula_ who wished the whole City of _Rome_ had but one Neck, that he
might behead them at a Blow. I shall do out of Humanity what that
Emperor would have done in the Cruelty of his Temper, and aim every
Stroak at a collective Body of Offenders. At the same Time I am very
sensible, that nothing spreads a Paper like private Calumny and
Defamation; but as my Speculations are not under this Necessity, they
are not exposed to this Temptation.

In the next Place I must apply my self to my Party-Correspondents, who
are continually teazing me to take Notice of one anothers Proceedings.
How often am I asked by both Sides, if it is possible for me to be an
unconcerned Spectator of the Rogueries that are committed by the Party
which is opposite to him that writes the Letter. About two Days since I
was reproached with an old Grecian Law, that forbids any Man to stand as
a Neuter or a Looker-on in the Divisions of his Country. However, as I
am very sensible [my [5]] Paper would lose its whole Effect, should it
run into the Outrages of a Party, I shall take Care to keep clear of
every thing [which [6]] looks that Way. If I can any way asswage private
Inflammations, or allay publick Ferments, I shall apply my self to it
with my utmost Endeavours; but will never let my Heart reproach me with
having done any thing towards [encreasing [7]] those Feuds and
Animosities that extinguish Religion, deface Government, and make a
Nation miserable.

What I have said under the three foregoing Heads, will, I am afraid,
very much retrench the Number of my Correspondents: I shall therefore
acquaint my Reader, that if he has started any Hint which he is not able
to pursue, if he has met with any surprizing Story which he does not
know how to tell, if he has discovered any epidemical Vice which has
escaped my Observation, or has heard of any uncommon Virtue which he
would desire to publish; in short, if he has any Materials that can
furnish out an innocent Diversion, I shall promise him my best
Assistance in the working of them up for a publick Entertainment.

This Paper my Reader will find was intended for an answer to a Multitude
of Correspondents; but I hope he will pardon me if I single out one of
them in particular, who has made me so very humble a Request, that I
cannot forbear complying with it.


March 15, 1710-11.


'I Am at present so unfortunate, as to have nothing to do but to mind
my own Business; and therefore beg of you that you will be pleased to
put me into some small Post under you. I observe that you have
appointed your Printer and Publisher to receive Letters and
Advertisements for the City of _London_, and shall think my self very
much honoured by you, if you will appoint me to take in Letters and
Advertisements for the City of _Westminster_ and the Dutchy of
_Lancaster_. Tho' I cannot promise to fill such an Employment with
sufficient Abilities, I will endeavour to make up with Industry and
Fidelity what I want in Parts and Genius. I am,


Your most obedient servant,

Charles Lillie.'


[Footnote 1: The _Rainbow_, near the Inner Temple Gate, in Fleet Street,
was the second Coffee-house opened in London. It was opened about 1656,
by a barber named James Farr, part of the house still being occupied by
the bookseller's shop which had been there for at least twenty years
before. Farr also, at first, combined his coffee trade with the business
of barber, which he had been carrying on under the same roof. Farr was
made rich by his Coffee-house, which soon monopolized the _Rainbow_. Its
repute was high in the _Spectator's_ time; and afterwards, when
coffee-houses became taverns, it lived on as a reputable tavern till the
present day.]

[Footnote 2: that they may not]

[Footnote 3: that]

[Footnote 4: _Drawcansir_ in the Duke of Buckingham's _Rehearsal_
parodies the heroic drama of the Restoration, as by turning the lines in
Dryden's 'Tyrannic Love,'

Spite of myself, I'll stay, fight, love, despair;
And all this I can do, because I dare,


I drink, I huff, I strut, look big and stare;
And all this I can do, because I dare.

When, in the last act, a Battle is fought between Foot and great

'At last, Drawcansir comes in and Kills them all on both Sides,'
explaining himself in lines that begin,

Others may boast a single man to kill;
But I the blood of thousands daily spill.]

[Footnote 5: that my]

[Footnote 6: that]

[Footnote 7: the encreasing]

* * * * *

No. 17. Tuesday, March 20, 1711. Steele.

'... Tetrum ante Omnia vultum.'


Since our Persons are not of our own Making, when they are such as
appear Defective or Uncomely, it is, methinks, an honest and laudable
Fortitude to dare to be Ugly; at least to keep our selves from being
abashed with a Consciousness of Imperfections which we cannot help, and
in which there is no Guilt. I would not defend an haggard Beau, for
passing away much time at a Glass, and giving Softnesses and Languishing
Graces to Deformity. All I intend is, that we ought to be contented with
our Countenance and Shape, so far, as never to give our selves an
uneasie Reflection on that Subject. It is to the ordinary People, who
are not accustomed to make very proper Remarks on any Occasion, matter
of great Jest, if a Man enters with a prominent Pair of Shoulders into
an Assembly, or is distinguished by an Expansion of Mouth, or Obliquity
of Aspect. It is happy for a Man, that has any of these Oddnesses about
him, if he can be as merry upon himself, as others are apt to be upon
that Occasion: When he can possess himself with such a Chearfulness,
Women and Children, who were at first frighted at him, will afterwards
be as much pleased with him. As it is barbarous in others to railly him
for natural Defects, it is extreamly agreeable when he can Jest upon
himself for them.

Madam _Maintenon's_ first Husband was an Hero in this Kind, and has
drawn many Pleasantries from the Irregularity of his Shape, which he
describes as very much resembling the Letter Z. [1] He diverts himself
likewise by representing to his Reader the Make of an Engine and Pully,
with which he used to take off his Hat. When there happens to be any
thing ridiculous in a Visage, and the Owner of it thinks it an Aspect of
Dignity, he must be of very great Quality to be exempt from Raillery:
The best Expedient therefore is to be pleasant upon himself. Prince
_Harry_ and _Falstaffe_, in _Shakespear_, have carried the Ridicule upon
Fat and Lean as far as it will go. _Falstaffe_ is Humourously called
_Woolsack_, _Bed-presser_, and _Hill of Flesh_; Harry a _Starveling_, an
_Elves-Skin_, a _Sheath_, a _Bowcase_, and a _Tuck_. There is, in
several incidents of the Conversation between them, the Jest still kept
up upon the Person. Great Tenderness and Sensibility in this Point is
one of the greatest Weaknesses of Self-love; for my own part, I am a
little unhappy in the Mold of my Face, which is not quite so long as it
is broad: Whether this might not partly arise from my opening my Mouth
much seldomer than other People, and by Consequence not so much
lengthning the Fibres of my Visage, I am not at leisure to determine.
However it be, I have been often put out of Countenance by the Shortness
of my Face, and was formerly at great Pains in concealing it by wearing
a Periwigg with an high Foretop, and letting my Beard grow. But now I
have thoroughly got over this Delicacy, and could be contented it were
much shorter, provided it might qualify me for a Member of the Merry
Club, which the following Letter gives me an Account of. I have received
it from _Oxford_, and as it abounds with the Spirit of Mirth and good
Humour, which is natural to that Place, I shall set it down Word for
Word as it came to me.

'Most Profound Sir,

Having been very well entertained, in the last of your Speculations
that I have yet seen, by your Specimen upon Clubs, which I therefore
hope you will continue, I shall take the Liberty to furnish you with a
brief Account of such a one as perhaps you have not seen in all your
Travels, unless it was your Fortune to touch upon some of the woody
Parts of the _African_ Continent, in your Voyage to or from _Grand
Cairo_. There have arose in this University (long since you left us
without saying any thing) several of these inferior Hebdomadal
Societies, as _the Punning Club_, _the Witty Club_, and amongst the
rest, the _Handsom Club_; as a Burlesque upon which, a certain merry
Species, that seem to have come into the World in Masquerade, for some
Years last past have associated themselves together, and assumed the
name of the _Ugly Club_: This ill-favoured Fraternity consists of a
President and twelve Fellows; the Choice of which is not confin'd by
Patent to any particular Foundation (as _St. John's_ Men would have
the World believe, and have therefore erected a separate Society
within themselves) but Liberty is left to elect from any School in
_Great Britain_, provided the Candidates be within the Rules of the
Club, as set forth in a Table entituled _The Act of Deformity_. A
Clause or two of which I shall transmit to you.

I. That no Person whatsoever shall be admitted without a visible
Quearity in his Aspect, or peculiar Cast of Countenance; of which the
President and Officers for the time being are to determine, and the
President to have the casting Voice.

II. That a singular Regard be had, upon Examination, to the Gibbosity
of the Gentlemen that offer themselves, as Founders Kinsmen, or to the
Obliquity of their Figure, in what sort soever.

III. That if the Quantity of any Man's Nose be eminently
miscalculated, whether as to Length or Breadth, he shall have a just
Pretence to be elected.

_Lastly_, That if there shall be two or more Competitors for the same
Vacancy, _caeteris paribus_, he that has the thickest Skin to have the

Every fresh Member, upon his first Night, is to entertain the Company
with a Dish of Codfish, and a Speech in praise of _Æsop_; [2] whose
portraiture they have in full Proportion, or rather Disproportion,
over the Chimney; and their Design is, as soon as their Funds are
sufficient, to purchase the Heads of _Thersites, Duns Scotus, Scarron,
Hudibras_, and the old Gentleman in _Oldham_, [3] with all the
celebrated ill Faces of Antiquity, as Furniture for the Club Room.

As they have always been profess'd Admirers of the other Sex, so they
unanimously declare that they will give all possible Encouragement to
such as will take the Benefit of the Statute, tho' none yet have
appeared to do it.

The worthy President, who is their most devoted Champion, has lately
shown me two Copies of Verses composed by a Gentleman of his Society;
the first, a Congratulatory Ode inscrib'd to Mrs. _Touchwood_, upon
the loss of her two Fore-teeth; the other, a Panegyrick upon Mrs.
_Andirons_ left Shoulder. Mrs. _Vizard_ (he says) since the Small Pox,
is grown tolerably ugly, and a top Toast in the Club; but I never hear
him so lavish of his fine things, as upon old _Nell Trot_, who
constantly officiates at their Table; her he even adores, and extolls
as the very Counterpart of Mother _Shipton_; in short, _Nell_ (says
he) is one of the Extraordinary Works of Nature; but as for
Complexion, Shape, and Features, so valued by others, they are all
meer Outside and Symmetry, which is his Aversion. Give me leave to
add, that the President is a facetious, pleasant Gentleman, and never

Online LibraryRichard SteeleThe Spectator, Volumes 1, 2 and 3 With Translations and Index for the Series → online text (page 12 of 228)