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Friends and Neighbours.. I know a Maiden Aunt of a great Family, who is one of these Antiquated Sibyls, that forebodes and prophesies from one end of the Year to the other. She is always seeing Apparitions, and hearing Death-Watches; and was the other Day almost frighted out of her Wits by the great House-Dog, that howled in the Stable at a time when she lay ill of the Tooth-ach., Such an extravagant Caft of Mind engages Multitudes of People, not only in impertinent Terrors, but in supernumerary Duties of Life; and arises from that Fear and Ignorance which are natural to the Soul of Man. The Horror with which we entertain the Thoughts of Death (or indeed of any future Evil) and the uncertainty of its Approach, fill a melancholy Mind with innumerable Apprehensions and Suspicions, and consequently dispose it to the Observation of such groundless Prodigies and Predistions. For as it is the chief Concern of Wife Men to retrench the Evils of Life by the Reasonings of Philo.. fophy; it is the Employment of Fools to multiply them by the Sentiments of Superstition.
FOR my own Part, I should be very much troubled were I endowed with this Divining Quality, though it fhould inform me truly of every thing that can befal me.. I would not anticipate the Relish of any Happiness, nor feel the Weight of any Misery, before it actually arrives.
I know but one way of fortifying my Soul against these gloomy Presages and Terrors of Mind, and that is, by securing to my self the Friendship and Protection of that Being who disposes of Events, and governs Futurity.. He sees, at one View, the whole Thread of my Existence, not only that part of it which I have already passed through, but that which runs forward into all the Depths of Eternity. When I lay me down to Sleep, I recommend my self to his Care; when I awake, I give my self up to his Direction. Amidst all the Evils that threaten. me, I will look up to him for Help, and question not but. he will either avert them, or turn them to my Advantage.. Though I know neither the Time nor the Manner of the Death I am to die, I am not all solicitous about it; because I am sure that he knows them both, and that he will Hot fail to comfort and support me under them.
At Venus obfcuro gradientes aëre sepsit,
good an Entertainment as any that I am able to furnish him with, and therefore fhall inake no Apology for them.
To the SPECTATOR, C.. SIR, 6 I Am one of the Directors of the Society for the Re« formation of Manners, and therefore think
my • self a proper Person for your Correspondence. I have
thoroughly examined the present State of Religion in • Great Britain, and am able to acquaint you with the < predominant Vice of every Market-Town in the whole • Inand. I can tell you the Progress that Virtue has « made in all our Cities, Boroughs, and Corporations; and s know as well the evil Practices that are committed in « Berwick or E ter, as what is done in my own Family.' • In a word, Sir, I have my Correspondents in the re<motest Parts of the Nation, who send me up punctu
al Accounts from time to time of all the little Irregu.. larities that fall under their Notice in their feveral Di. strict's and Divisions,
"I am no less acquainted with the particular Quarters and Regions of this great Town, than with the different Parts and Distributions of the whole Nation. I.
describe every Parish by its Impieties, and can tell you in which of our Streets Lewdness prevails, which Gaming has taken the Possession of, and where Drunkenness has got the better of them both. When I am
disposed to raise a Fine for the Poor, I know the Lanes • and Allies that are inhabited by common Swearers. « When I would encourage the Hospital of Bridewell · and improve the Hempen Manufacture, I am very • well acquainted with all the Haunts and Resorts of • Female Night-walkers.
* AFTEŘ this short Account of my self, I must let you know, that the Design of this paper is to give you • Information of a certain irregular Assembly which I • think falls very properly under your Observation, espe
cially since the Persons it is composed of are Criminals
too considerable for the Animadversions of our Society. · I mean, Sir, the Midnight Masque, which has of late • been very frequently held in one of the most conspicu.
ous Parts of the Town, and which I hear will be con• tinued with Additions and Improvements. As all the • Persons who compose this lawless Assembly are mas• qued, we dare not attack any of them in our Way, left
we should send a Woman of Quality to Bridewell, or a • Peer of Great Britain to the Counter: Besides that, their • Numbers are so very great, that I am afraid they would • be able to rout our whole Fraternity, though we were
accompanied with all our Guard of Constables. Both • these Reasons, which secure them from our Authority, • make them obnoxious to yours; As both their Disguise • and their Numbers will give no particular Person Rea.. • fon to think himself affronted by you.
• IF we are rightly informed, the Rules that are ob• ferved by this new Society are wonderfully contrived • for the Advancement of Cuckoldom. The Women ei• ther come by themselves, or are introduced by Friends, ' who are obliged to quit them, upon their first Entrance, • to the Conversation of any Body that addresses himself • to them. There are several Rooms where the Parties
may retire, and, if they please, shew their Faces by Con• fent. Whispers, Squeezes, Nods, and Embraces, are < the innocent Freedoms of the Place. In short, the • whole Design of this libidinous Assembly, seems to ter• minate in Asignations and Intrigues; and I hope you • will take effečtual Methods, by your publick Advice
and Admonitions, to prevent such a promiscuous Mul
titude of both Sexes from meeting together in so clani deftine a Manner. I am
Your humble Servant,
Not long after the Perusal of this Letter, I received another upon the fame Subject; which by the Date and Style of it, I take to be written by fome young Templer. S IR,
Middle-Temple, 1710-11. a
Folly, I think the best Atonement he can I make for it, is to warn others not to fall into the like. " In order to this I must acquaint you, that some time • in February last I went to the Tuesday's Masquerade.
Upon my first going in I was attacked by half a Dozen • female Quakers, who seemed willing to adopt me for
a Brother; but upon a nearer Examination I found they • Were a Sisterhood of Coquets disguised in that precife « Habit. I was soon after taken out to dance, and, as I • fancied, by a Woman of the first Quality, for she was very
tall, and moved gracefully. As soon as the Minuet · was over, we ogled one another through our Masques; • and as I am very well read in Waller, I repeated to her the four following Verses out of his Poem to Vandike.
The heedless Lover does not know
Enquires her Name that has his Heart. ' pronounced these Words with such a languishing Air « that I had some Reason to conclude I had made a Con
queft. She told me that the hoped my Face was not. • akin to my Tongue; and looking upon her Watch, I • accidentally discovered the Figure of a Coronet on the • back Part of it. I was so transported with the Thought • of such an Amour, that I plied her from one Room to • another with all the Gallantries I could invent; and at length brought things to so happy an Iffue, that the
gave me a private Meeting the next Day, without Page
or Footmalı, Coach or Equipage, My Heart danced in « Raptures; but I had not lived in this golden Dream a
bove three Days before I found good Reason to with: « that I had continued true to my Laundress. I have • since heard, by a very great Accident, that this Fine • Lady does not live far from Covent-Garden, and that I am not the first Cully whom she has passed her self upon for a Countess.
THUS, Sir, you see how I have mistaken a Cloud • for a Juno; and if you can make any use of this Ad• venture, for the Benefit of those who may possibly be as • vain young Coxcombs as my felf, I do moft heartily give you Leave. I am, SIR, Tour most humble Admirer,
B. L. I design to visit the next Masquerade my self, in the same Habit I wore at Grand Cairo; and till then shall suspend my Judgment of this Midnight Entertainment.
Saturday, March 10.
Tigris agit rabida cum tigride pacem Perpetuam, savis inter se convenit urfis
Juv.. AN is said to be a Sociable Animal, and, as an In
stance of it, we may observe, that we take all
Occasions and Pretences of forming our selves into those little Nocturnal Assemblies, which are commonly known by the Name of Clubs. When a Sett of Men find themfelves agree in any Particular, tho'never so trivial, they establish themselves into a kind of Fraternity, and meet once or twice a week, upon the Account of such a Fantastick Resemblance. I know a considerable MarketTown, in which there was a Club of fat Men, that did not come together (as you may well suppose) to entertain one another with Sprightliness and Wit, but to keep