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unpolished females, who came only to eat cheesecakes and see the cascades and fire-works, the liquor did not stir beyond Modesty; with many it has crept up to Indiscretions: and with some it has advanced to Loose Behaviour. We had no opportunity to try our thermometer in the dark walks: but with some subjects we have plainly perceived the liquor hastening up towards Innocent Freedoms, as they were retiring to these walks from the rest of the company; while with others who have gone the same way, it has only continued to point (as it did at the beginning of our observations) at Gallantry. One young lady in particular we could not help remarking, whom we followed into Vauxhall, gallanted by an officer. We were glad to see, at her first going in, that the liquor, though it now and then faintly aspired to Indiscretions, still gravitated back again to Modesty: after they had taken a turn or two in the walks, we perceiv ed it fluctuating between Innocent Freedoms and Loose Behaviour; after this we lost sight of them for some time; and at the conclusion of the entertainment (as we followed them out) we could not without concern observe, that the liquor was hastily bubbling up to a degree next to Impudence.
Besides the experiments on those ladies, who frequent the public places of diversion, we have been no less careful in making remarks at several private routs and assemblies. We were here at first very much surprised at the extreme degree of cold, which our thermometer seemed to indicate in several ladies, who were seated round the card-tables; as we found not the least alteration in it either from the young or old: but we at last concluded, that this was owing to their love of play, which had totally absorbed all their other passions. We have, indeed, more than once perceived, that when a lady has risen from cards after so much ill luck as to have involved herself in a debt
of honour to a gentleman, the thermometer has been surprisingly affected; and as she has been handed to her chair, we have known the liquor, which before was quite stagnate, run up instantaneously to the degree of Gallantry. We have also been at the trouble to try its efficacy in the Long Rooms at Bath, Tunbridge, Cheltenham, &c. and we have found, that these places have brought about surprising changes in the constitutions of those sick ladies, who go thither for the benefit of the waters.
Having thus sufficiently proved the perfection of our thermometer, it only remains to acquaint my readers, that Mr. Ayscough will be ready to supply the public with these useful instruments, as soon as the town fills. In the mean time, I would advise those ladies, who have the least regard for their characters, to reflect that the gradations, as marked on our thermometer, naturally lead to each other; that the transitions from the lowest to the highest are quick and obvious; and that though it is very easy to advance, it is impossible to recede. Let them, therefore, be careful to regulate their passions in such a manner, as that their conduct may be always consistent with decency and honour, and (as Shakspeare says)" not stepping o'er the bounds of modesty." I shall conclude with observing, that these thermometers are designed only for the ladies: for though we imagined at first, that they might serve equally for the men, we have found reason to alter our opinion; since in the course of several fruitless experiments on our own sex, there has scarce appeared any medium in them between Modesty and Impudence. W.
No. LXXXVI. THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 18.
...........Via sacra, sicut meus est mos,
I range in quest of knowledge ev'ry street,
To Mr. Town.
IT has been generally imagined, that learning is - only to be acquired in the closet, by turning over a great number of pages: for which reason men have been assiduous to heap together a parcel of dusty volumes, and our youth have been sent to the universities as if knowledge was shut up in a library, and chained to the shelves together with the folios. This prejudice has made every one over-look the most obvious and ready means of coming at literature; while (as the Wise Man has remarked) "Wisdom crieth "without; she uttereth her voice in the streets; she "crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the open"ings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words "and no man regardeth her." Every lane teems with instruction, and every alley is big with erudition: though the ignorant or curious passer-by shuts his eyes against that universal volume of arts and sciences, which constantly lies open before him in the highways and bye-places; like the laws of the Romans, which were hung up in the public streets.
You must know, Mr. Town, that I am a very hard student; and have perhaps gleaned more knowledge from my reading, than any of our poring fellows of colleges, though I never was possessed of so much as an horn-book. In the course of my studies I have followed the examples of the ancient peripateticks, who
used to study walking: and as I had the advantage to be brought up a scholar, I have been obliged, like the Lacedemonian children, to the public for my education. My first relish for letters I got by conning over those elegant monosyllables, which are chalked out upon walls and gates, and which (as pretty books for children are adorned with cuts) are generally enforced and explained by curious hieroglyphics in caricatura. I soon made a farther progress in the alphabet by staring up at the large letters upon play-bills, and advertisements for stage-coaches and waggons; until at length I was enabled to make out the inscriptions upon signs, bills on empty houses, and the titles on rubric-posts. From these I proceeded gradually to higher branches of literature; and my method has since been to visit the philobiblian libraries, and other learned stalls, and the noble collections at Moor-fields; in which choice repositories I have with infinite pleasure and advantage run over the elaborate system of ancient divines, politicians and philosophers, which have escaped the fury of pastry-cooks and trunk-makers. As for the modern writings of pamphleteers and magazine-compilers, I make it my business to take my rounds every morning at the open shops about the Royal Exchange; where I never fail to run through every thing, fresh as it comes out. Thus, for example, I make a shift to squint over the first page of the Connoisseur, as it lies before me at Mrs. Cook's; at the next shop I steal a peep at the middle pages; at another proceed on to the fourth or fifth; and perhaps return again to conclude it at Mrs. Cook's. By the same means, I am myself become a Connoisseur likewise; and you will be surprised when I assure you, that I have a great variety of the finest prints and paintings, and am master of a more curious set of nick-nacks, than are to be found in Sir Hans Sloane's collection. For, as I constantly survey the windows
of every print shop and attend every auction, I look upon every curiosity as actually in my possession; and you will agree with me, that while I have the opportunity of seeing them, the real owners cannot have more satisfaction in locking them up in cabinets and
It is recorded of Democritus, that he transcribed a system of ethics from the columns of Acicaurus in Babylonia. In like manner you will conclude, that the knowledge, which I have thus picked out of the streets, has been very extensive: I have gone through a complete course of physick by perusing the learned treatise of Dr. Rock and other eminent practitioners, pasted up at the entrance of alleys and bye-places: I have learned at every corner, that the scurvy is a popular disease,.....that the bloody flux cannot be cured by any of the faculty, except the gentlewoman at the blue posts in Hayden Yard.....that nervous diseases were never so frequent....and that the royal family and most of our nobility are troubled with corns.....I was completely grounded in politics by stopping at Temple-Bar every morning to the great emolument of the hackney-coachmen upon their stands. But above all, I have acquired the most sublime notions of religion, by listening attentively to the spirited harangues of our most eminent field-preachers: and I confess myself highly obliged to the itinerant missionaries of Whitefield, Wesley, and Zinzendorff, who have instructed us in the new-light from empty barrels and joint stools. Next to these, I have received great improvements from the vociferous retailers of poetry; as I constantly used to thrust myself into the circle gathered round them, and listen to their ditties, until I could carry away both the words and the tune. I have likewise got some notion of the drama by attending the theatres; though my finances were too scanty for me ever to get admittance even among the gods in the