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I hoe, and he that is my true love, come after me and mow." "Will you believe me? I looked back, and saw him behind me, as plain as eyes could see him. After that, I took a clean shift, and turned it, and hung it upon the back of a chair; and very likely my sweetheart would have come and turned it right again, (for I heard his step) but I was frightened, and could not help speaking, which broke the charm, I likewise stuck up two Midsummer men, one for myself, and one for him. Now if his had died away, we should never have come together: but I assure you his blowed and turned to mine. Our maid Betty tells me, that if I go backwards without speaking a word into the garden upon Midsummer Eve, and gather a rose, and keep it in a clean sheet of paper, without looking at till Christmas day, it will be as fresh as in June; and if I then stick it in my bosom, he that is to be my husband will come and take it out. If I am not married before the time come about again, I will certainly do it; and only mind if Mr. Blossom is not the
I have tried a great many other fancies, and they have all turned out right. Whenever I go to lye in a strange bed, I always tye my garter nine times round the bed-post, and knit nine knots in it, and say to myself, "This knot I knit, this knot I tye, to see my love as he goes by, In his apparel and array, as he walks in every day." I did so last holidays at my uncle's; and to be sure I saw Mr. Blossom draw my curtains, and tuck up the clothes at my bed's feet. Cousin Debby was married a little while ago, and she sent me a piece of Bride-Cake to put under my pillow; and I had the sweetest dream-I thought we were going to be married together. I have, many is the time, taken great pains to pare an apple whole, and afterwards flung the peel over my head; and it always falls in the shape of the first letter of his surname or
christian name. I am sure Mr. Blossom loves me, because I stuck two of the kernels upon my forehead, while I thought upon him and the lubberly squire my papa wants me to have: Mr. Blossom's kernel stuck on, but the other dropt off directly.
Last Friday, Mr. Town, was Valentine's day; and I'll tell you what I did the night before. I got five bay-leaves, and pinned four of them to the four corners of my pillow, and the fifth to the middle; and then, if I dreamt of my sweetheart, Betty said we should be married before the year was out. But, to make it more sure, I boiled an egg hard, and took out the yolk, and filled it up with salt: and when I went to bed, eat it shell and all, without speaking or drinking after it, and this was to have the same effect with the bay-leaves. We also wrote our lovers names upon bits of paper, and rolled them up in clay, and put them into water; and the first that rose up, was to be our Valentine. Would you think it? Mr. Blossom was my man: and 1 lay abed and shut my eyes all the morning, till he came to our house; for I would not have seen another man before him for all the world.
Dear Mr. Town, if you know any other ways to try our fortune by, do put them in your paper. My mamma laughs at us, and says there is nothing in them; but I am sure there is, for several misses at our boarding-school have tried them, and they have all happened true: and I am sure my own sister Hetty, who died just before Christmas, stood in the church-porch last Midsummer Eve to see all that were to die that year in our parish; and she saw her own apparition.
Your humble servant,
N° 57. THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 1755.
Now this is Worshipful Society !
THERE is no phrase in the whole vocabulary of modern conversation, which has a more vague signification than the words "Good Company." People of fashion modestly explain it to mean only themselves; and, like the old Romans, look on all others as Barbarians. Thus a star or a ribband, a title or a place denotes good company; and a man rises in the esteem of the polite circle according to his rank or his rentroll. This way of reasoning is so well known and so generally adopted, that we are not surprised to hear polite persons complain at their return from the play, that the house was very much crowded, but that there was no company though indeed, I could not help smiling at a lady's saying she preferred St. James's Church to St. George's, because the pews were commonly filled with better company.
I propose at present to consider this comprehensive term, only as it respects a society of friends, who meet in order to pass their time in an agreeable manner. To do this the more effectually, I shall take a cursory view of the several methods now in vogue, by which a set of acquaintance endeavour to amuse each other. The reader will here meet with some very extraordinary inventions for this purpose; and when he
has fixed his choice, may try to introduce himself into that company he likes best.
There is a great demand for wit and humour in some parts of this metropolis. Among many he is reckoned the best company, who can enliven his conversation with strokes of facetiousness, and (in Shakspeare's words) set the table on a roar.'
wit and humour do not always fall to the share of those who aim at shining in conversation, our jokers and witlings have wisely devised several mechanical ways of gaining that end. I know one, who is thought a very facetious fellow by the club of which he is a member, because every night, as soon as the clock strikes twelve, he begins to crow like a cock. Another is accounted a man of immense humour, for entertaining his friends with a burlesque hornpipe; and a third has the reputation of being excellent company by singing a song, and at the same time playing the tune upon the table with his knuckles and elbows. Mimicry is in these societies an indispensable requisite in a good companion. Imitations of the actors and other well known characters are very much admired; to which they have given the appellation of taking off. But the mimic is by no means limited to an imitation of the human species; for an exact representation of the brute creation will procure him infinite applause. Very many of these wits may be met with in different quarters of the town; and it is but a week ago, since I was invited to pass the evening with a society, which, after a display of their several talents, I found to consist of a dog, a cat, a monkey, an ass, and a couple, of dancing bears.
I cannot help looking with some veneration on the wit exerted in societies of this sort, since it has the extraordinary quality of never creating either disgust or satiety. They assemble every night, tell the same stories, repeat the same jokes, sing the same songs;
and they are every night attended with the same applause and merriment. Considering how much their wit is used, it is surprising that it should not be worn out. Sometimes, however, one of the society makes a new acquisition, which is immediately thrown into the common stock of humour, and constantly displayed as part of the entertainment of the evening. A gentleman of this cast lately shewed me with great joy the postscript of a letter, in which his correspondent promised him huge fun the next time he should see him, for he had got two new stories, and three or four excellent songs from one of the actors.
These are certainly very agreeable methods of passing the evening, and must please all persons, who have any relish for wit and humour. But these powers of entertaining are not every where the standard of good company. There are places in which he is the best company, who drinks most. A boon companion lays it down as a rule, that "talking spoils conversation." A bumper is his argument; and his first care is to promote a brisk circulation of the bottle. He shews his esteem for an absent friend by toasting him in a bumper extraordinary; and is frequently so good and loyal a subject, as to drink his majesty's health in half-pints. If he is desired to sing a catch, he still keeps the main point in view, and gives a song wrote in so ingenious a style, that it obliges the company to toss off a glass at the end of every stanza. If he talks, it is of
healths five fathom deep," or a late hard bout with another set of jolly fellows; and he takes care, by a quick round of toasts, to supply the want of other conversation.
I have ever thought the invention of toasts very useful and ingenious. They at once promote hard drinking, and serve as a kind of memorial of every glass that has been drank: They also furnish those with conversation, who have nothing to say; or at least, by banishing all other topics, put the whole