Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

terly spoiled a piece of the first muslin. Pray, Sir, tell me what I shall do. And talk a little against such unreasonable visiting in your next paper; though I would not have her affronted with me for a great deal, for sincerely I love her and her children, as well, i think, as a neighbour can, and she buys a greåt many things in a year at my shop. But I would beg her to .consider, that she uses me unmercifully, though I believe it is only for want of thought. But I have twenty things more to tell you besides all this : there is a handsome gentleman that has a mind (I dont question) to make love to me; but he can't get the opportunity

O dear, here she comes again ; I must conclude.

“ Your's, &c.

66 PATIENCE.”

Indeed, it is well enough, as it happens, that she is come to shorten this complaint, which I think is full long enough already, and probably would otherwise have been as long again. However, I must confess, I cannot help pitying my correspondent's case, and in her behalf, exhort the visitor to remember and consider the words of the wise man, Withdraw thy foot from the house of thy neighbour, lest he grow weary

ofthee and so hate thee. It is, I believe, a nice thing and very difficult, to regulate our visits in such a manner as never to give offence, by coming too seldom, or too often, or departing too abruptly, or staying too long. However, in my opinion, it is safest for most people, in a general way, who are unwilling to disoblige, to visit seldom, and tarry but a little while in a place ; notwithstanding pressing invitations, which are many times insincere. And though more of your company should be really desired; yet in this case, too much reservedness' is a fault more easily excused than the contrary.

Men are subject to various inconveniences merely through lack of a small share of courage, which is a quality very necessary in the common occurrences of life, as well as in a battle. How many impertinences do we daily suffer with great uneasiness, because we bave not courage enough to discover our dislike? And why may not a man use the boldness and freedom of telling his friends that their long visits sometimes incommode him? On this occasion, it may be entertaining to some of my readers, if I acquaint them with the Turkish manner of entertaining visitors, which I have from an author of unquestionable veracity : who assures us, that even the Turks are not so ignorant of civility and the arts of endearment, but that they can practise them with as much exactness as any other nation, whenever they have a mind to show themselves obliging.

“ When you visit a person of quality (says he) and having talked over your business, or the compliments, or whatever concern brought you thither, he makes a sign to have things served in for the entertainment, which is generally a little sweatmeat, a dish of sherbet, and another of coffee ; all which are immediately brought in by the servants, and tendered to all the guests in order, with the greatest care and awfulness imaginable. At last comes the finishing part of your entertainment, which is perfuming the beards of the company ; a ceremony which is performed in this

They have for the purpose a small silver chafing dish, covered with a lid full of holes, and fixed upon a handsome plate. In this they put some fresh coals, and upon them a piece of lignum aloes, and shutting it up, the smoke immediately ascends with a grateful odour through the holes of the cover. This smoke is held under every one's chin, and offered as it were a sacrifice to his beard. The bristly idol soon receives the reverence done to it, and so greedily takes in and incorporates the gummy steam, that it re

manner.

[ocr errors]

tains the savour of it, and may serve for a nosegay a good while after.

“ This ceremony may perhaps seems ridiculous at first hearing ; but it passes among the Turks for an high gratification. And I will say this in its vindication, that its design is very wise and useful. For it is understood to give a civil dismission to the visitants, intimating to them, that the master of the house has business to do, or some other avocation, that permits them to go away as soon as they please ; and the sooner after this ceremony the better. By this means you may, at any time, without offence, deliver yourself from being detained from your affairs by tedious and unseasonable visits; and from being constrained to use that piece of hypocrisy, so common in the world, of pressing those to stay longer with you, whom perhaps in your heart you wish a great way off, for having troubled you so long already.”

Thus far my author. For my own part, I have taken such a fancy to this Turkish custom, that for the future I shall put something like it in practice. I have provided a bottle of right French brandy for the men, and citron water for the ladies. After I have treated with a dram, and presented a pinch of my best snuff, I expect all company will retire, and leave me to pursue my studies for the good of the public.

ERTISEMENT.

I give notice that I am now actually compiling, and design to publish in a short time, the true history of the rise, growth, and progress of the renowned Tiff Clubb. All persons who are acquainted with any facts, circumstances, characters, translations, &c. which will be requisite to the perfecting and embellishing of the said work, are desired to communicate the same to the author, and direct their letters to be left with the printer hereof.

The letter signed Would-be-something is come to hand.

THE BUSY-BODY.No. V.

From Tuesday, February 25, to Tuesday, March 4,

1728-9.

Vos, O patricius sanguis, quos vivere fas est,
Occipiti caeco, posticae occurite sannae.-PERSIUS.

This paper being designed for a terror to evil doers, as well as a praise to them that do well, I am lifted

up with secret joy to find that my undertaking is approved, and encouraged by the just and good, and that few are against me but those who have reason to fear me.

There are little follies in the behaviour of most men, which their best friends are too tender to acquaint them with ; there are little vices and small crimes which the law has no regard to or remedy for; there are likewise great pieces of villainy sometimes so craftily accomplished, and so circumspectly guarded, that the law can take no hold of the actors. All these things, and all things of this nature, come within my province as Censor, and I am determined not to be negligent of the trust I have reposed in myself, but resolve to execute my office diligently and faithfully.

And that all the world may judge with how much humanity, as well as justice, I shall behave in this office; and that even my enemies may be convinced I take no delight to rake into the dunghill lives of viscious men; and to the end that certain persons may be a little eased of their fears, and relieved from the terrible palpitations they have lately felt and suffered, and do still suffer; I hereby graciously pass an act of general oblivion, for all offences, crimes, and misde. meanors, of what kind soever, committed from the beginning of the year 1681, until the day of the date of my first paper, and promise only to concern myself

with such as have been since and shall hereafter be committed. I shall take no notice who has (heretofore) raised a fortune by fraud and oppression, nor who by deceit and hypocrisy ; what woman has been false to her good husband's bed, nor what man has, by barbarous usage or neglect, broke the heart of a faithful wife, and wasted his health and substance in debauchery ; what base wretch has betrayed his friend, and sold his honesty for gold, nor what baser wretch first corrupted him, and then bought the bargain : all this, and much more of the same kind, I shall forget, and pass over in silence ; but then it is to be observed, that I expect and require a sudden and general amendment.

These threatenings of mine, I hope will have a good effect, and, if regarded, may prevent abundance of folly and wickedness in others, and at the same time, save me abundance of trouble ; and that people may not flatter themselves with the hope of concealing their loose misdemeanors from my knowledge, and in that view persist in evil doing, I must acquaint them, that I have lately entered into an intimacy with the extraordinary person, who some time since wrote me the following letter; and who, having a wonderful faculty, that enables him to discover the most secret iniquity, is capable of giving me great assistance in my designed work of reformation.

“ Mr. Busy Body,

" I rejoice, Sir, at the opportunity you have giyen me to be serviceable to you, and, by your means, to this province. You must know, that such have been the circumstances of my life, and such were the marvellous occurrences of my birth, that I have not only a faculty of discovering the actions of persons, that are absent or asleep, but even of the devil himself, in many of his secret workings, in the various shapes, ha,

« ZurückWeiter »