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was to the unconscionable taylor, who, favouring the application through charitable motives, made him a suit for twenty pounds, which ready money.would have procured for seven.
Thus equipped, he wheedled himself into the society of men celebrated for dignities, learning, and fortune, where he was the more welcome, as no exceptions could be taken to his connections, and he was careful to exert his talents in conversation and pliability. “In all his actions," says our authority, “ he is so careful, whether walking, standing, eating, or sitting, to clothe them with such a mean and grace, as may evince, that he not only reverenceth his superiors, but adores them." Equal skill appeared in his connection with the fair sex: assiduity, and the art of pleasing, according to the bias of the party to be won, distinguished him. Thus, at length, he was enabled either to obtain employment, a rich heiress or widow, or at the least to live well at the expence of his patrons.
Another character existed under the title of Town-gallant, who differed from the genteel Town-shift in many particulars: the gallant had plenty of money, and might be of a respectable, if not a noble descent; but the qualifications mentioned were not those by which he wished to be distinguished - vanity, folly, debauchery, and profaneness, were the vices courted by this “silly huffing thing, who, in truth, appears to have had
little else than 'pop and bounce' in his composition. To trace him ab origine -- his breeding was under the wings of a too indulgent mother, who took a world of pains to make him a fool, and attained her end at the age of discretion ; being at this sage period of life a mere bundle of vanity, or a kind of walking exchange, composed of various new and ridiculous fashions; he might be estimated with the greatest accuracy by the value of his clothes.” The grand object of his life was making love; and such appeared, from his own account, to be his success in this way, that when a virgin of thirteen was mentioned, he boldly swore miracles had not ceased. An inn vective uttered against that inconsiderable animal, called a husband, gave him infinite delight, because it contributed to support his utter aversion to matrimony.
The great aim of the Town-gallant was to excite surprise by the eccentricity of his new oaths, invented on every occurrence of his life. Each of his acts he declared to be that of a gentleman ; and, to create respect, he bestowed feigned honours on his humble companions, who, in return, gave him the title of a man of blood; he was saucy with his superiors, and blustered “ like the four cardinal winds in painting; but if you begin to be as high as he, strait the bubble breaks, and then, with an ill-shaped fawning cringe, he swears -- 1, good sir, I ever honoured
you; but you are a passionate gentleman, and will not understand a jest. He placeth his very essence in his outside, and his only prayers are, that his father may go to the devil expeditiously, and his estate hold out to keep his miss and himself in good equipage.”
“ Till noon he lies a-bed to digest his overnight's debauchery, and having dressed himself, he first trails along the street, observing who observes him, and from his up-rising, gets just time enough to the French ordinary to sup le pottage, eat beuf à la mode, and drink briskly of Burgundy. After this, a coach is called for, to rattle his more rattle head to the play-house, where he advances into the middle of the pit, struts about a while to render his good parts more conspicuous, pulls out his comb, curries his wig, hums the orange-wench to give her her own unreasonable rates for a little fruit; alas, how can she live else, giving at least forty pound per annum for liberty to tread and foul those seats the silken petticoats and gaudy pantaloons do sit on. Immediately presenting the best moiety of his purchase to the next vizor mask, he resigned himself to sleep, but roused suddenly by the petulant pinch of some neighbouring wench, he suddenly proclaims his pretensions to wit and criticism, by loudly damning the play, with a most tragical face. A disturbance in the streets towards morning, caused by the gallant and his associates when issuing from a house
of ill fame, serves to draw the attention of the aged watchmen, whose lanterns broken upon their heads, serves as a signal for demolishing windows, and exciting the terrors of sleeping females and children, whose cries, united with the thunder of their execrations, fill the neighbourhood with horror.” To conclude the character of this description of wretches, the author declares they professed themselves atheists, both in word and deed - smiling at the name of the devil, bursting with laughter when they heard of spirits and apparitions, and maintaining with oaths that there were no other angels than those in petticoats, denying any essential difference between good and evil, and deeming conscience a check suited merely to frighten children.
The manners of the itinerant Quack of those days are accurately described by this writer, particularly their operations on stages in public places, which were exactly similar to such as may have been seen by the reader on Tower-hill and in Moorfields, before those places were converted to their present uses.
One of their more private artifices was that of imposing themselves on the ignorant as persons of learned education, through the medium of scraps of Latin, and curing authors to write for them cases, without other origin than the composer's brain, and prefixing to them an engraving of their portraits, generally adorned with the doctor's gown
those they distributed liberally, and the effect corresponded with their wishes.
“I have heard some mountebanks, in a rhodomontado humour, swear,” says our author, “he deserves not to practise physic that cannot at any time plentifully supply his necessities with money gotten out of a brickbat pulverised; so it is generally known how a heel-maker, arrived to an estate of many thousands, by selling barley-water, with a few drops of spirits of salt in it. It is strange that persons should suffer their purses to be emptied, and their bodies anatomised by an huddle of such wheedling empirics as the hatband-maker once of Moorfields, the gunsmith in Barbican, and that old doating piece of nonsense in Southwark.”
The custom of coining copper and base metal tokens, bearing the devices of the tradesmen who issued them, which were intended as substitutes for money during the interregnum, was extended into the reign of Charles II., when no scarcity of coin existed. The King issued a proclamation in 1672 to suppress this pernicious practice, which states that several
persons had presumed to cause certain pieces of brass, copper, and other base metal, to be stamped with their private stamps, which they imposed upon poor people for pence, halfpence, or farthings, having at the same time bought in and hoarded up the small silver coins, to produce an artificial scarcity. To remedy this eyil, the King, commanded a large coinage of