« ZurückWeiter »
and fall above thirty degrees. About ten years ago it shot up to a very great height, insomuch that the female part of our species were much taller than the men.
The women were of such an enormous stature that we appeared as grasshoppers before them.”—Spectator, No. 98, June 22, 1711.
It need scarcely be told that Addison is the author of this paper. The high head-dress he here refers to is the commode, (called by the French fontange,) a kind of headdress worn by the ladies at the time mentioned, which by means of wire bore up the hair and fore-part of the cap, consisting of many folds of fine lace, to a prodigious height. The transition from this to the opposite extreme was very abrupt and sudden. [For a companion to these incommodious commodes, see the full-bottomed wig of the same period, described at our page 704.]
OPEN SHOPS IN LONDON.
“As for the article of building, I intend, hereafter, to enlarge upon it; having lately observed several warehouses, nay, private shops, that stand upon Corinthian pillars, and whole rows of tin pots showing themselves through a sash window.”—Tatler, No. 162.
From the foregoing it is evident that “pillars and sash windows” were considered by the humorous writer as an unlicensed innovation, in the situations there alluded to. The shops in London did not begin to be enclosed and glazed, as at present, until about the year 1710; and at this day in many parts of the continent the shops very generally remain entirely open.
MISS AND MISTRESS.
Ar the period of the publication of the Tatlers we find many unmarried females addressed by the title of Mistress. Miss, a contraction of Mistress, appears in Miege's French Dictionary, 1688; but in 1709 the appellation of Miss seems to have had idea of levity and childishness annexed to it, and to have been given only to girls not yet in their teens, or to indiscreet and inconsiderate young women. In Tatler, No. 9, the giddy Pastorella is styled Miss, but in No. 10 it is Mrs. Jenny Distaff, and she was only turned of twenty. Tatler, No. 33, a young lady ridiculed for her unbecoming
and injudicious head-dress is styled Miss Gruel. But in Tatler, No. 139, it is Mistress, and not Miss, Alice; and the same observation occurs in Tatler, No. 175, and in Tatler, No. 189, and in Spectator, No. 796. Depingle is named Madam in No. 7, and it is Madam Distaff in Tatler, No. 140. A young lady of nineteen is called Mistress in Spectator, No. 534. We meet with a Miss Liddy in Spectator, No. 306, and the title of honour given to her elder sister is Madam Martha, but her precise age is not mentioned.
In the original letters to the Tatler and Spectator, printed by Charles Lilly, there is a table of the titles
and distinctions of women, from which what follows is extracted.-
“Let all country gentlewomen, without regard to more or less fortune, content themselves with being addressed by the title of Mistress.
“Let Madam govern independently in the city, &c.
“Let no woman assume the title of Lady without adding her name, to prove her right to it. Titles, flowing from real honour, support themselves. Let no woman, after the known age of twenty-one, presume to admit of her being called Miss, unless she can fully prove she is one out of her sampler. Let every common maid-servant be plain Jane, Doll, or Sue; and let the better born and higher placed be distinguished by Mrs. Patience, Mrs. Prue, or Mrs. Abigail."
This antiquated beau, described in Spectator, No. 2, under the name of Will. Honeycomb, is designed for a Major Cleland, of the Life Guards, whose son, a writer of considerable ability, was the author of many political tracts, and for several years a principal supporter of the newspaper called the Public Advertiser, when politics ran high under the administration of the Earl of Bute, and subsequently. It is to be lamented, as well on his own account as on that of morality, that his fame as a sensible and accomplished writer, possessing so great a diversity of talent that there is scarcely à subject which he has not treated, should have been obscured by the publication of a very immoral work,' which
Alluding to that elegantly written but obscene work, F. H., or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure.
was, however, the production of his early youth. The character of the father is very justly delineated by Addison.
The eighth volume of the Spectator is dedicated to William Honeycomb, Esq.
ADDISON's opinion of Rowe is thus reported by Dr. Warburton:
“Rowe, in Mr. Pope's opinion, maintained a decent character, but had no heart. Mr. Addison was justly offended with some behaviour which arose from this want, and estranged himself from him, which Rowe felt very severely. Mr. Pope, their common friend, knowing this, took an opportunity, at some juncture of Addison's advancement, to tell him how poor Rowe was grieved at his displeasure, and what satisfaction he felt at his good fortune, which he expressed so naturally that he (Mr. Pope) could not but think him sincere. Mr. Addison replied, “I do not suspect that he feigned; but the levity of his heart is such that he is struck with any new adventure; and it would affect him just in the same manner if he heard I was going to be hanged.”—Mr. Pope said he could not deny but Addison understood Rowe well.”
MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT IN 1715-16.
STEELE wittily described the House of Commons at this time as consisting very much of silent people oppressed by the choice of a great deal to say, and of eloquent people ignorant that what they said was nothing to the purpose.
Of the course of Addison's familiar day, before his marriage, Pope his given a detail. He had in the house with him Budgell and perhaps Philips. His chief companions were Steele, Budgell, Pastoral Philips, (Walter) Cary, Davenant, and Colonel Brett. He used to breakfast with one or other of these at his lodgings in St. James's Place. Then, after studying all the morning, dined at a tavern, and spent the evening at Button's.
BUTTON had been a servant in the Countess of Warwick's family, and under the patronage of Addison, kept a coffeehouse on the south side of Russel Street, about two doors from Covent Garden. Here it was that the wits of that time used to assemble. It is said, that when Addison had suffered any vexation from the Countess he would withdraw the company from Button's.
THE COUNTESS OF WARWICK.
THE precise time when Addison was introduced to the Warwick family, in the capacity of tutor [if ever he was so] to the young earl
, is not ascertained. From the commencement, however, it is related, he had begun to conceive an attachment to the Countess. His extreme diffidence made his advances very timorous. She is said to have discovered his passion, and amused herself with it, before he assumed courage enough to declare himself her admirer. As his reputation and importance in the state advanced he ventured to solicit her with more confidence, and at last prevailed.
It has been said that Addison first discovered his addresses would not be unacceptable, from the manner of her receiving such an article in the newspapers, of his own inserting, at which, when he read it to her, he affected to be much astonished.
In a MS. letter of Dr. Cheyne to Lord Harley, dated August 9, 1716, is the following anecdote :-"Lady Warwick’s marriage with Mr. Addison is upon terms; he giving £4000 in lieu of some estate she loses for his sake."
1 There is no actual evidence that Addison was ever tutor to the Earl of Warwick, although his fortunes were at times so low that he was not unlikely to have accepted such an appointment had it presented itself. The Earl of Warwick was only nine years old (in 1708) when the well-known Letters were addressed to him by Addison; and it is quite evident that, being Under Secretary of State at the time, he was not his tutor then, nor was he likely to have been afterwards. Tonson (as reported by Dr. Johnson from Spence) says “he formed the design of getting that lady from the time when he was first recommended into the family.”_See Lives of the Poets, i. 144, &c.
ADDISON was married to the Countess of Warwick Aug. 2nd, 1716, and they spent their honey-moon in Paris. In an unpublished letter of Mr. James Craggs, jun., dated Sept. 23, 1716, we are told that “the ladies are very airy, very much painted and powdered, and very fair drinkers.”
“ The weather, hitherto very fine, is grown very rainy ; which makes Mr. Addison, my Lady Warwick, and Lord Warwick very peevish.”
KENSINGTON. AFTER his marriage, it is reported. of Addison that he used frequently to go to a coffee-house at Kensington, to drink his solitary glass, and thus endeavour to forget his domestic uneasiness : and when at home that he used to retire to the picture-gallery at Holland House, now called the Long Room, to seek repose and the solace of strong waters. The tradition is that he placed a bottle and a glass at each end of it, and so alternately exercised his lips and his legs. That he must have been very popular at Kensington is evident from the places in the vicinity named after him.
ADDISON'S BENEVOLENCE TO MILTON'S DAUGHTER. ADDISON's respect for Milton evinced itself in the following instance of kindness to one of his children. Hearing that Mrs. Clark, Milton's daughter, was yet living, he one day sent for her. On being introduced to Addison, he told her, “ that he knew who she was upon the first sight of her, by the similitude of her countenance with her father's picture.” He had desired her, if she had any papers of her father's, she would bring them with her, as an evidence of her being Milton's daughter ; but on seeing her, he said,
Madam, you need no other voucher; your face is a sufficient testimonial who you are;' and he then made her a handsome present of a purse of guineas, with a promise of procuring for her an annual provision for her life; but he dying soon after, she lost the benefit of this generous design.