Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

termed Pickled Herrings; in France, Jean Pottages; in Italy, Maccaronies; and in Great Britain, Jack Puddings. These merry Wags, from whatsoever Food they receive their Titles, that they may naake their Audiences laugh, always appear in a Fool's Coat, and commit such Blunders and Mistakes in every step they take, and every Word they utter, as those who listen to them would be ashamed of.

BUT this little Triumph of the Understanding, under the Disguise of Laughter, is no where more visible than in that Custom which prevails every where among us on the First Day of the present Month, when every Body takes it in his Head to make as many Fools as he can. In proportion as there are more Follies discovered, so there is more Laughter raised on this Day than on any other in the whole Year. A Neighbour of mine, who is a Haberdasher by Trade, and a very shallow conceited Fellow, makes his Boasts that for these Ten Years successively he has not made less than an Hundred April Fools. My Landlady had a falling out with him about a Fortnight ago, for sending every one of her Children upon some sleeveless Errand, as she terms it. Her eldest son went to buy an Half-penny worth of Inkle at a Shoemaker's; the eldest Daughter was dispatched half a Mile to see a Monster; and in short, the whole Family of innocent Children made A. pril Fools. - Nay my Landlady her self did not escape: him. This empty Fellow has laughed upon these Conceits ever since.

THIS Art of Wit is well enough, when confined to one Day in a Twelve-month; but there is an ingeniousTribe of Men sprung up of late Years, who are for making April Fools every Day in the Year. These Gentlemen are commonly distinguish'd by the Name of Biters; a Race of Men that are perpetually employed in laughing at those Mistakes which are of their own Production.

THUS we see, in proportion as one Man is more refined than another, he chuses his Fool out of a lower or higher Class of Mankind; or, to speak in a more Philosophical Language, That fecret Elation and Pride of Heart, which is generally called Laughter, arises in him from his comparing himself with an Object below him, whether it so happens that it be a Natural or an Artificial Fool. It is indeed very poslible, that the Persons we laugh at may

in the main of their Characters be much wiser Men than our selves; but if they would have us laugh at them, they must fall short of us in those Respects which stir up

this Passion.

I am afraid I shall appear too Abstracted in my Speculations, if I shew that when a Man of Wit makes us laugh, it is by betraying some Oddness or Infirinity in his own Character, or in the Representation which he makes of others; and that when we laugh at a Brute or even at an inanimate thing, it is at some Action or Incident that bears a remote Analogy to any Blunder or Absurdity in reasonable Creatures.

BUT to come into common Life: I shall pass by the Consideration of those Stage Coxcombs that are able to shake a whole Audience, and take Notice of a particular sort of Men who are such Provokers of Mirth in Conver. sation, that it is impossible for a Club or Merry-meeting to subsist without them; I mean those honest Gentlemen that are always exposed to the Wit and Raillery of their Well-wishers and Companions; that are pelted by Men, Women, and Children, Friends and Foes, and, in a Word, stand as Butts in Conversation, for every one to shoot at that pleases. I know several of these Butts who are Men of Wit and Sense, though by some odd Turn of Humour, fome unlucky Calt in their Person or Behaviour, they have always the Misfortune to make the Company merry. The Truth of it is, a Man is not qualified for a Butt, who has not a good deal of Wit and Vivacity, even in the ridiculous Side of his Character. A ftupid Butt is only fit for the Conversation of ordinary People: Men of Wit require one that will give them Play, and bestir himself in the absurd Part of his Behaviour. A Butt with these Ac. complishments frequently gets the Laugh of his side, and turns the Ridicule upon him that attacks him. Sir John Falstaff was an Hero of this Species, and gives a good Description of himself in his Capacity of a Butt, after the following manner; Men of all sorts(says that merry Knight) take a Pride to gird at me. The Brain of Man is not able to invent any thing that tends to Laughter more than tinvent, or is invented on me. I am not only Witty in my self, but the Cause that Wit is , in other Men,

С Wednesday,

N° 48.

Wednesday, April 25.

MY

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Per multas aditum fibi fæpe figuras
Repperit -

Ovid.
Y Correspondents take it ill if I do not, from
Time to Time, let them know I have received

their Letters. The most effectual Way will be to publish some of them that are upon important Subjects; which I shall introduce with a Letter of my own that I writ a Fortnight ago to a Fraternity who thought fit to make me an Konorary Member.

To the President and Fellows of the Ugly Club.
May it please your Deformities,

I Have received the Notification of the Honour you • I acknowledge my Want of Merit, and for that Reason • shall endeavour at all Times to make up my own Fai.

lures, by introducing and recommending to the Club • Persons of more undoubted Qualifications than I can

pretend to. I shall next Week come down in the Stage • Coach, in order to take my Seat at the Board; and shall • bring with me a Candidate of each Sex. The Persons

I shall present to you, are an old Beau and a modern Pilt. If they are not so eminently gifted by Nature as • our Assembly expects, give me leave to say their acqai• red Ugliness is greater than any that has ever appeared • before you. The Beau has varied his Dress every Day • of his Life for these thirty Years last paft, and still ad• ded to the Deformity he was born with. The Pict has • ftill

greater Merit towards us, and has, ever since she came to Years of Discretion, deserted the handsome Par. • ty, and taken all possible Pains to acquire the Face in • which I shall present her to your Consideration and Fa. vour. I am, Gentlemen, Your most. Obliged Humble Servant,

The SPECTATOR: P.S. 'I desire to know whether you admit People of Quality,

Mr,

Mr. SPECTATOR,

April 17. 'T:

O shew you there are among us of the vain weak

• Sex, some that have Honesty and Fortitude enough to dare to be ugly, and willing to be thought fo;

I apply my self to you, to beg your Interest and Re• commendation to the Ugly Club. If my own Word “will not be taken, (tho' in this case a Woman's may) . I can bring credible Witness of my Qualifications for

their Company, whether they insist upon Hair, Fore''head, Eyes, Cheeks, or Chin; to which I must add, " that I find it easier to lean to my left Side, than my • right. I hope I am in all Respects agreeable: And for • Humour and Mirth, I'll keep up to the President him' self. All the Favour I'll pretend to is, that as I am the « first Woman has appeared desirous of good Company " and agreeable Conversation, I may take and keep the upper

End of the Table. And indeed I think they want a Carver, which I can be after as ugly a Manner as they can wish. I desire your Thoughts of my Claiin as soon as you can. Add to my Features the Length of

my Face, which is full half Yard; tho' I never knew • the Reason of it till you gave one for the Shortness of

yours. If I knew a Name ugly enough to belong to o the above described Face, I would feign one; but, to 'my unspeakable Misfortune, my Name is the only disa• greeable Prettiness about me; so pr’ythee make one for « me that signifies all the Deformity in the World : You o understand Latin, 'but be sure bring it in with my being, in the Sincerity of my Heart, Your most frightful Admirer,

and Servant,

Hecatilla. Mr. SPECTATOR; your Discourse

upon

Affe&tation, and from • the Remarks made in it examined my own Heart • so strictly, that I thought I had found out its most fe

cret Avenues, with a Resolution to be aware of them • for the future. But alas! to my Sorrow I now under5. ftand, that I have several Follies which I do not know

'I Read

the.

ver

• the Root of. I am an old Fellow, and extreamly trou• bled with the Gout; but having always a strong Vanie ty towards being pleasing in the Eyes of Women, I ne

have a Moment's Ease, but I am mounted in high• heeled Shooes with a glased Wax-leather Instep. Two Days

after a severe Fit I was invited to a Friend's House • in the City, where I believed I should see Ladies; and

with my usual Complaisance cripled my self to wait upon them: A very sumptuous Table, agreeable Com

pany, and kind Reception, were but so many imporstunate Additions to the Torment I was in. A Gentle

man of the Family observed my Condition; and foon • after the Queen's Health, he in the Presence of the • whole Company, with his own Hands degraded me into

an old Pair of his own Shoes. This Operation, before fine Ladies, to me (who am by Nature a Coxcomb)

was suffered with the same. Reluctance as they adınit • the Help of Men in their greatest Extremity. The Re

turn of Èase made me forgive the rough Obligation laid

upon me, which at that time relieved my Body from a • Diftemper, and will

my Mind for ever from a Folly. For the Charity received I return my Thanks this way.

Your most Humble Servant.
S I R,

Epping, April 18.
WE have your Papers here the Morning they come

out, and we have been very well entertained • with your last, upon the false Ornaments of persons • who represent Heroes in a Tragedy. What made your • Speculation come very seasonably among us is, that we • have now at this place a Company of Strolers, who are

very far from offending in the impertinent Splendor of • the Drama. They are so far from falling into these • false Gallantries, that the Stage is here in its Original « Situation of a Cart. Alexander the Great was acted by

a Fellow in a Paper Cravat. The next Day, the Earl

of Essex seemed to have no Distress but his Poverty : . And my Lord Foppington the fame Morning wanted any « better means to Thew himself a Fop, than by wearing

Stockings of different colours. In a Word, tho' they « have had a full Barn for many Days together, our Iti.

nerants are still so wretchedly poor, that without you

1

[ocr errors]
« НазадПродовжити »