Obrazy na stronie

men are composed the numerous fraternity of the shabby-genteel, who are the chief support of the clothiers in Monmouth-Street, and the barbers in Middle-Row.

Women are naturally so fond of ornament, that it is no wonder we should meet with so many secondhand gentry in that sex. Hence arise the red-armed belles that appear in the park every Sunday; hence it is, that sacks and petenlairs may be seen at Moorfields and White-Chapel; and that those, who are ambitious to shine in diamonds, glitter in paste and Scotch pebbles. When I see the wives and daughters of tradesmen and mechanics make such attempts at finery, I cannot help pitying their poor fathers and husbands; and at the same time am apt to consider their dress as a robbery on the shop. Thus, when I observe the tawdry gentility of a tallow-chandler's daughter, I look upon her as hung round with long sixes, short eights, and rush-lights; and when I contemplate the awkward pride of dress in a butcher's wife, I suppose her carrying about her sirloins of beef, fillets of veal, and shoulders of mutton. I was vastly diverted with a discovery I made a few days since. Going upon some business to a tradesman's house, I surprised in a very extraordinary dishabille two females, whom I had been frequently used to see strangely dizened out in the Mall. These fine ladies, it seems, were no other than my honest friends daughters; and one, who always dresses the family dinner, was genteely employed in winding up the jack, while the other was up to the elbows in soapsuds.

A desire of grandeur and magnificence is often absurd in those who can support it; but when it takes hold of those, who can scarce furnish themselves with necessaries, their poverty, instead of demanding our pity, becomes an object of ridicule. Many families among those, who are called middling people,

are not content without living elegantly as well as comfortably, and often involve themselves in very comical distresses. When they aim at appearing grand in the eye of the world, they grow proportionably mean and sordid in private. I went the other day to dine with an old friend; and as he used to keep a remarkable good table, I was surprised that I could scarce make a meal with him. After dinnerhe rung the bell, and ordered the chariot to be got ready at six; and then turning to me with an air of superio rity, asked if he should set me down. Here the riddle was out; and I found that his equipage had eat up his table, and that he was obliged to starve his family to feed his horses.

I am acquainted at another house, where the master keeps an account against himself. This account is exactly stated in a large ledger-book. What he saves from his ordinary expence he places under the title of Debtor, and what he runs out is ranged under Creditor. I had lately an opportunity of turning over this curious account, and could not help smiling at many of the articles. Among the rest, I remember the following, with which I shall present the reader.


Dined abroad all this week....My Wife ill....Saw no Company....Saved seven Dinners, &c.

Kept Lent, and saved in Table-Charges the Expence of four Weeks.

Bated from the Baker's Bill half a Crown.

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Saved in Apparel, by my Family continuing to wear Mourning three Months longer than was requisite for the Death of an Aunt.

Received 11.10s. of the Undertaker, in lieu of a Scarf, Hat-band, and Gloves.


Went to the Play with my Wife and Daughters...... Sat in the Boxes, instead of the Gallery, as usual. ....Mem. To go to no more Plays this Year. Invited Sir Charles Courtly and Major Standard to Dinner....Treated with Claret, and two Courses, in order to appear handsome. Mem. To be denied to every body before Dinner-time for these next three Weeks.

Sunday....my Wife had a Rout....Lost at Whist thir

ty Guineas....Card-money received, Fifty Shillings ....N. B. My Wife must be ill again.

Gave at Church to a Brief for a terrible Fire, Sixpence....Charity begins at home.

I should be sorry to have this method of ballancing accounts become general. True economy does not merely consist in not exceeding our income, but in such a judicious management of it, as renders our whole appearance equal and consistent. We should laugh at a nobleman, who, to support the expence of running horses, should abridge his set to a pair; and, that his jockies might come in first for the plate, be content to have his family dragged to his country-seat, like servant-maids in the Caravan. There are many well-meaning people, who hav the pride of living in a polite quarter of the town, though they are distressed even to pay the taxes; and nothing is more common than to see one particular room in an house furnished like a palace, while the rest have scarce the necessary accommodations of an inn. Such a conduct appears to me equally ridiculous with that of the Frenchman, who (according to the jest) for the sake of wearing ruffles, is contented to go without a shirt.

This endeavour to appear grander than our circumstances will allow, is no where so contemptible as among those men of pleasure about town, who have not fortunes in any proportion to their spirit.

Men of quality have wisely contrived, that their sins should be expensive: for which reason those, who with equal taste have less money, are obliged to be economists in their sins, and are put to many little shifts to appear tolerably profligate and debauched. They get a knowledge of the names and faces of the most noted women upon town, and pretend an intimate acquaintance with them; though they know none of that order of ladies above the draggle-tailed prostitutes who walk the Strand. They talk very familiarly of the Kings-arms, and are in raptures with Mrs. Allan's claret; though they always dine snugly at a chop-house,and spend their evening at an ale-house or cyder-cellar. The most ridiculous character I know of this sort is a young fellow, the son of a rich tobacconist in the city, who (because it is the fashion) has taken a girl into keeping. He knows the world better than to set her up a chariot, or let her have money at her own disposal. He regulates her expences with the nicest economy, employs every morning in setting down what is laid out upon her, and very seriously takes an account of rolls and butter, two-pence....for ribband, one shilling and four pence ....pins, an half-penny, &c. &c. Thus does he reconcile his extravagance and frugality to each other; and is as penurious and exact as an usurer, that he may be as genteel and wicked as a lord.


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A GENTLEMAN of my acquaintance lately laid before me an estimate of the consumption of bread and cheese, cakes, ale, &c. in all the little towns near London every Sunday. It is incredible how many thousand buns are devoured in that one day at Chelsea and Paddington, and how much beer is swallowed at Islington and Mile-End. Upon the whole I was vastly entertained with a review of this estimate; and could not help approving the observation of Tom Brown," that the Sabbath is a very fine institution, since the very breaking it is the support of half the villages about our metropolis."

Our common people are very observant of that part of the commandment, which enjoins them to do no manner of work on that day; and which they also seem to understand as a licence to devote it to pleasure. They take this opportunity of thrusting their heads into the pillory at Georgia, being sworn at Highgate, and rolling down Flamstead Hill, in the park at Greenwich. As they all aim at going into the country, nothing can be a greater misfortune to the meaner part of the inhabitants of London and Westminster, than a rainy Sunday; and how many honest people would be baulked of a ride once a week, if the legislature was to limit the hired one-horse chaises working on that day to a certain number, as well as the hackney coaches?

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