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break out, upon some slight contradiction, into such terms of rudeness as can never be perfectly forgotten. Whoever converses with him, lives with the suspicion and solitude of a man that plays with a tame tiger, always under a necessity of watching the moment in which the capricious savage shall begin to growl.
It is told by Prior, in a panegyric on the earl of Dorset, that his servants used to put themselves in his way when he was angry, because he was sure to recompense them for any indignities which he made them suffer. This is the round of a passionate man's life; he contracts debts when he is furious, which his virtue, if he has virtue, obliges him to discharge at the return of reason. He spends his time in outrage and acknowledgment, injury and reparation. Or, if there be any who hardens himself in oppression, and justifies the wrong, because he has done it, his insensibility can make small part of his praise, or his happiness: he only adds deliberate to hasty folly, aggravates petulance by contumacy, and destroys the only plea that he can offer for the tenderness and patience of mankind.
Yet, even this degree of depravity we may be content to pity, because it seldom wants a punishment equal to its guilt. Nothing is more despicable or more miserable than the old age of a passionate man. When the vigor of youth fails him, and his amusements pall with frequent repetition, his occasional rage sinks by decay of strength into peevishness; that peevishness, for want of novelty and variety, becomes habitual; the world falls off from around him, and he is left as Homer expresses it, φθινύθων φίλον κηρ to devour his own heart in solitude and contempt.
No. 12. SATURDAY, APRIL 28, 1750.
-Miserum parvâ stipe focilat, ut pudibundos
-Tu mitis, & acri
Asperitate carens, positoque per omnia fastu,
LUCANUS ad PISONEM.
Unlike the ribald whose licentious jest
No social care the gracious lord disdains;
Love prompts to love, and rev'rence rev'rence gains,
TO THE RAMBLER.
As you seem to have devoted your labors to vira
tue, I cannot forbear to inform you of one species of cruelty with which the life of a man of letters perhaps does not often make him acquainted; and which, as it seems to produce no other advantage to those that practise it than a short gratification of thoughtless vanity, may become less common when it has been once exposed in its various forms, and its full magnitude.
I am the daughter of a country gentleman, whose family is numerous, and whose estate, not at first sufficient to supply us with affluence, has been lately so much impaired by an unsuccessful law-suit, that all the younger children are obliged to try such means, as their education affords them, for procuring the necessaries of life. Distress and curiosity
concurred to bring me to London, where I was received by a relation with the coldness which misfortune generally finds. A week, a long week, I lived with my cousin, before the most vigilant inquiry could procure us the least hopes of a place, in which time I was much better qualified to bear all the vexations of servitude. The first two days she was content to pity me, and only wished I had not been quite so well bred; but people must comply with their circumstances. This lenity, however, was soon at an end; and, for the remaining part of the week, I heard every hour of the pride of my family, the obstinacy of my father, and of people better born than myself that were common servants.
At last, on Saturday noon, she told me, with very visible satisfaction, that Mrs. Bombasine, the great silk-mercer's lady, wanted a maid, and a fine place it would be, for there would be nothing to do but to clean my mistress's room, get up her linen, dress the young ladies, wait at tea in the morning, take care of a little miss just come from nurse, and then sit down to my needle. But madam was a woman of great spirit, and would not be contradicted, and therefore I should take care, for good places were not easily to be got.
With these cautions I waited on madam Bombasine, of whom the first sight gave me no ravishing ideas. She was two yards round the waist, her voice was at once loud and squeaking, and her face brought to my mind the picture of the full moon. the young woman, says she, that are come to offer yourself? It is strange when people of substance want a servant, how soon it is the town-talk. But they know they shall have a belly-full that live with
Not like people at the other end of the town, we dine at one o'clock. But I never take any body without a character; what friends do you come of? I then told her that my father was a gentleman, and that we had been unfortunate.-A great misfortune indeed, to come to me, and have three meals a day!
So your father was a gentleman, and you are a gentlewoman I suppose-such gentlewomen!-Madam, I did not mean to claim any exemptions, I only answered your inquiry-Such gentlewomen! people should set their children to good trades, and keep them off the parish. Pray go to the other end of the town, there are gentlewomen, if they would pay their debts: I am sure we have lost enough by gentlewomen. Upon this, her broad face grew broader with triumph, and I was afraid she would have taken me for the pleasure of continuing her insult; but happily the next word was, Pray, Mrs. gentlewoman, troop down stairs.-You may believe I obeyed her.
I returned and met with a better reception from my cousin than I expected; for while I was out, she had heard that Mrs. Standish, whose husband had lately been raised from a clerk in an office, to becommissioner of the excise, had taken a fine house, and wanted a maid.
To Mrs. Standish I went, and, after having waited six hours, was at last admitted to the top of the stairs, when she came out of her room, with two of her company. There was a smell of punch. So, young woman, you want a place whence do you come?-From the country, madam.-Yes, they all come out of the country. And what brought you to town, a bastard? Where do you lodge? At the Seven-Dials. What, you never heard of the found
ling-house! Upon this, they all laughed so obstreperously, that I took the opportunity of sneaking off in the tumult.
I then heard of a place at an elderly lady's. She was at cards; but in two hours, I was told, she would speak to me. She asked me if I could keep an account, and ordered me to write. I wrote two lines out of some book that lay by her. She wondered what
people meant, to breed up poor girls to write at that rate. I suppose, Mrs. Flirt, if I was to see your work, it would be fine stuff!-You may walk. I will not have love-letters written from my house to every young fellow in the street.
Two days after, I went on the same pursuit to Lady Lofty, dressed as I was directed, in what little ornaments I had, because she had lately got a place at court. Upon the first sight of me, she turns to the woman that showed me in. Is this the lady that wants a place? Pray what place would you have, Miss? a maid of honor's place? Servants now-a-days!-Madam I heard you wanted-Wanted what? Somebody finer than myself? A pretty servant indeed-I should be afraid to speak to her-I suppose, Mrs. Minx, these fine hands cannot bear wetting-A servant indeed! Pray move off-I am resolved to be the head person in this house-You are ready dressed, the taverns will be open.
I went to inquire for the next place in a clean linen gown, and heard the servant tell his lady, there was a young woman, but he saw she would not do. I was brought up, however. Are you the trollop that has the impudence to come for my place? What, you have hired that nasty gown, and are come to steal a better. Madam, I have another, but being obliged to walkThen these are your manners, with your blushes and