« VorigeDoorgaan »
pressions as encouragements to expect from them any instance of friendship.
Thus are the true causes of living, and the solid pleasures of life, lost in show, imposture, and impertinence. As for my part, I think most of the misfortunes in families arise from the trifling way the women have in spending their time, and gratifying only their eyes and ears, instead of their reason and understanding.
A fine young woman, bred under a visiting mother, knows all that is possible for her to be acquainted with by report, and sees the virtuous and the vicious used so indifferently, that the fears she is born with are abated, and desires indulged, in proportion to her love of that light and trifling conversation. I know I talk like an old man; but I must go on to say, that I think the general reception of mixed company, and the pretty fellows that are admitted at those assemblies, give a young woman so false an idea of life, that she is generally bred up, with a scorn of that sort of merit in a man, which only can make her happy in marriage; and the wretch to whose lot she falls, very often receives in his arms a coquette, with the refuse of an heart long before given away to a coxcomb.
*** Having received from the society of Upholders sundry complaints of the obstinate and refractory behaviour of several dead persons, who have been guilty of very great outrages and disorders, and by that means elapsed the proper time of their interment; and having on the other hand received many appeals from the aforesaid dead persons, wherein they desire to be heard before such their interment; I have set apart Wednesday, the twenty-first instant, as an extraordinary court-day for the hearing of both
parties. If, therefore, any one can alledge why they, or any of their acquaintance, should or should not be buried, I desire they may be ready with their witnesses at that time, or that they will for ever after hold their tongues.
N. B. This is the last hearing on this subject.
N° 110. THURSDAY, DECEMBER 22, 1709.
Quæ lucis miseris tam dira cupido ?
VIRG. Æn, vi. 721, Gods! can the wretches long for life again?
Sheer-lane, December 21. As soon as I had placed myself in my chair of judicature, I ordered my clerk. Mr. Lillie, to read to the assembly, who were gathered together according to notice, a certain declaration, by way of charge,
of my session, which tended only to this explanation, that as other courts were often called to demand the execution of persons dead in law; so this was held to give the last orders relating to those who are dead in reason.
The solicitor of the new company of Upholders near the Hay-market appeared in behalf of that useful society, and brought in an accusation of a young woman, who herself stood at the bar before me. Mr. Lillie read her indictment, which was in substance, “ That, whereas, Mrs. Rebecca Pindust, of the parish of Saint Martin in the Fields, had, by the use of one
instrument called a looking-glass, and by the further use of certain attire, made either of cambric, muslin, or other linen wares, upon her head, attained to such an evil art and magical force in the motion of her eyes and turn of her countenance, that she the said Rebecca had put to death several young men of the said parish; and that the said young men had acknowledged in certain papers, commonly called love-letters, which were produced in court, gilded on the edges, and sealed with a particular war, with certain amorous and inchanting words wrought upon the said seals, that they died for the said Řebecca: and, whereas the said Rebecca persisted in the said evil practice; this way of life the said society construed to be, according to former edicts, a state of death, and demanded an order for the interment of the said Rebecca.”
I looked upon the maid with great humanity, and desired her to make answer to what was said against her. She said, “ It was indeed true, that she had practised all the arts and means she could, to dispose of herself happily in marriage, but thought she did not come under the censure expressed in my writings for the same; and humbly hoped I would not condemn her for the ignorance of her accusers, who, according to their own words, bad rather represented her killing, than dead.” She further alleged, “ That the expressions mentioned in the papers written to her were become mere words, and that she had been always ready to marry any of those who said they died for her; but that they made their escape, as soon as they found themselves pitied or believed." She ended her discourse, by desiring I would for the future settle the meaning of the words “ I die,” in letters of love.
Mrs. Pindust behaved herself with such an air of innocence, that she easily gained credit, and was ac
quitted. Upon which occasion, I gave it as a standing rule, “ that any person, who in any letter, bil, let, or discourse, should tell a woman he died for her, should, if she pleased, be obliged to live with her, or be immediately interred upon such their own eonfession, without bail or mainprize.".
It happened, that the very next who was brought be. fore me was one of her admirers, who was indicted upon
head. A letter, which he acknow. l'edged to be his own hand, was read, in which were the following words, “Cruel creature, I die for you." It was observable that he took snuff all the time his accusation was reading. I asked him, “ how he came to use these words, if he were not a dead man?" He told me, “ he was in love with the lady, and did not know any
way of telling her so; and that all his acquaintance took the same method." Though I was moved with compassion towards him, by reason of the weakness of his parts, yet for example-sake I was forced to answer, “ Your sentence shall be a warning to all the rest of your companions, not to tell lies for want of wit.” Upon this, he be: gan to beat his snuff-box with a very saucy air; and opening it again, “ Faith, Isaac," said he, “thou art a very unaccountable old fellow-Pr’ythee, who gave thee power of life and death? What a-pox hast thou to do with ladies and lovers? I suppose thou wouldst have a man be in company with his mistress, and say nothing to her. Dost thou call breaking a jest, telling a lie? Ha? is that thy wisdom, old stiftrump, ha?” He was going on with this insipid common-place mirth, sometimes opening his box, sometimes shutting it, then viewing the picture on the lid, and then the workmanship of the hinge, when, in the midst of his eloquence, I ordered his box to be taken from him; upon which he was immediately struck speechless, and carried off stone dead.
The next who appeared was a hale old fellow of sixty. He was brought in by his relations, who desired leave to bury him. Upon requiring a distinct account of the prisoner, a credible witness deposed, “ that he always rose at ten of the clock, played with his cat until twelve, smoaked tobacco until one, was at dinner until two, then took another pipe, played at back-gammon until six, talked of one Madam Frances, an old mistress of his, until eight, repeated the same account at the tavern until ten, then returned home, took the other pipe, and then to bed.” I asked him, “ what he had to
for himself?” -“ Aš to what,” said he, “ they mention concerning Madam Frances-_'
I did not care for hearing the Canterbury tale, and, therefore, thought myself seasonably interrupted by a young gentleman, who appeared in the behalf of the old man, and prayed an arrest of judgement ; “ for that he the said young man held certain lands by his the said old man's life.” Upon this, the solicitor of the Upholders took an occasion to demand him also, and thereupon produced several evidences that witnessed to his life and conversation. It appeared, that each of them divided their hours in matters of equal moment and importance to themselves and to the public. They rose at the same hour: while the old man was playing with his cat, the young one was looking out of his window; while the old man was smoaking his pipe, the young man was rubbing his teeth; while one was at dinner, the other was dressing; while one was at back-gammon, the other was at dinner; while the old fellow was talking of Madam Frances, the young one was either at play, or toasting women whom he never