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and propositions: as an instance of which, take the following most obvious and easy one.- -A and B are partners against C and D. A and B have scored 3, and want to save their Lurch. C and D are at short can'ye and consequently both sides play for two points. C has the deal, and turns up the Knave of Hearts. C asks his partner D, who refuses. B has the lead, and runs his strong suit, Spades, two rounds, with Ace and King. A discards his weakest suit, Diamonds. Then B forces his partner. A leads a strong Club, which B refuses. A forces B, who by leading Spades plays into A's hand, who returns a Club, and so they get to a Saw between them. After this A leads through C's Honours. B finesses the Ten and plays a Spade, which A trumps. Now B by laying behind C's King and Knave of trumps makes the Ten-ace with Ace and Queen; and A having the long Trump brings in his thirteenth Club. Consequently A and B get a slam against their Adversa. ries C and D, and score a single game towards the rubbers.
Since therefore this science is attended with so much difficulty, the necessity of a school for whist is very evident and if the plan of education, above propo. sed, was put into execution, I will venture to pro nounce, that young ladies, who can now scarce be trusted at any game beyond one and thirty Bone-Ace, or beat the Knave out of Doors with the maid-servants, would be qualified at twelve years old to make one at any card-table in town; and would even beat their mammas, who have not had the same advantage of education. Many a husband, and many a parent, I am sure, have had reason to lament, that their wives and daughters have not had the happiness of so early an instruction in this branch of female knowledge: and I make no doubt, but several boarding-schools will be set up, where young ladies may be taught
Whist, Brag, and all kinds of card-work. How many ladies, for want of such a school, are at present shut' out from the best company, because they know no more of the game, than what is called White-Chapel play! In order therefore to remedy this deficiency as far as possible, I would further recommend it to Mr. Hoyle or some other eminent artist, (in imitation of Messieurs Hart and Dukes, who profess to teach growngentlemen to dance) to advertise, that grown Gentlewomen may be taught to play at whist in the most pri. vate and expeditious manner; so that any lady, who never before took a card in hand, may be enabled in a very short time to play a rubber at the most fashionable routs and assemblies.
N° 61. THURSDAY, MARCH 27, 1755.
E'en Heav'n we covet by preposterous rules,
IT is observed by the French, that a cat, a priest, and an old woman are sufficient to constitute a religious sect in England. So universally, it seems, are learning and genius diffused through this island, that the lowest plebeians are deep casuists in matters of faith as well as politics; and so many and wonderful are the new lights continually breaking in among us, that we daily make fresh discoveries, and strike out unbeaten paths to future happiness. The above observation of our neighbours is in truth rather too full for a priest
is so far from necessary, that a new species of doctrine would be better received by our old women, and other well disposed good people, from a layman. The most extraordinary tenets of religion are very successfully propagated under the sanction of the leathern apron instead of the cassock: every corner of the town has a barber, mason, bricklayer, or some other handicraft teacher; and there are almost as many sects in this metropolis, as there are parish-churches.
As to old women, since the passions of females are stronger in youth, and their minds weaker in age, than those of the other sex, their readiness in embracing any principles of religion, pressed on them with particular earnestness and vehemence, is not very wonderful. They hope, by the most rigid demeanor in the decline of life, to make amends for that unbounded loose given to their passions in their younger years. The same violence, however, commonly accompanies them in religion, as formerly actuated them in their pleasures; and their zeal entirely eats up their charity. They look with a malevolent kind of pity on all who are still employed in worldly undertakings," carry prayer-books in their pockets," and piously damn all their relations and acquaintance with texts of scripture. I know an old gentlewoman of this cast, who has formed herself as a pattern of staid behaviour; and values herself for having given up at three-score the vanities of sixteen. She denounces heavy judgments on all frequenters of publick diversions, and forebodes the worst consequences from every party of pleasure. I have known her foretell the ruin of her niece from a country dance: nay, she can perceive irregular desires flaming from a gay coloured top-knot, and has even descried adultery itself lurking beneath the thin veil of a worked apron, or beaming from a diamond girdle-buckle.
But we might perhaps suffer a few good old ladies to go to heaven their own way, if these sects were not
pernicious on many other accounts. Such strange doctrines are very apt to unsettle the minds of the common people, who often make an odd transition from infidelity to enthusiasm, and become bigots from arrant free-thinkers: Their faith however, it may be well imagined, is not a saving faith; as they are worked up to an adoration of the Creator, from the same slavish principle that induces the Indians to worship the Devil. It is amazing how strongly fear operates on these weak creatures, and how easily a canting, whining rascal can mould them to his purpose. I have known many a rich tradesman wheedled and threatened out of his subsistence, and himself and unhappy family at last lectured into the work-house. Thus do these vile hypocrites turn a poor convert's head to save his soul; and deprive him of all happiness in this world, under pretence of securing it to him eternally in the next.
Nothing can do religion more injury than these solemn mockeries of it. Many of these sects consist almost entirely of battered prostitutes, and persons of the most infamous character. Reformation is their chief pretence: wherefore, the more abandoned those are, of whom they make proselytes, the more they pride themselves on their conversion. I remember a debauched young fellow, who pretended a sudden amendment of his principles, in order to repair his shattered fortune. He turned Methodist, and soon began to manifest a kind of spiritual fondness for a pious sister. He wooed her according to the directions of the rubric, sent her sermons instead of billet-doux, "greeted her with an holy kiss," and obtained his mistress by appearing in every respect a thorough devoteè. But alas! the good gentleman could never be prevailed on to comply with religious ordinances, or appear any more at church or meeting, after the performance of the marriage ceremony. The lowest of
the vulgar also, for their peculiar ends, frequently become sectaries. They avail themselves of a mock conversion to redeem their lost characters, and, like criminals at Rome, make the church a sanctuary for villainy. By this artifice they recommend themselves to the charity of the weak but well-meaning christians, and often insinuate themselves as servants into Methodist families.
Le Sage, with his usual humour, represents Gil Blas as wonderfully charmed with the seeming sanctity of Ambrose de Lamela, when he took him into service: and Gil Blas is even not offended at his remissness the very first night, when his new servant tells him, that it was owing to his attending his devotions. But it soon appears, that this sly valet had been employed in concerting the robbery of his master. A due attention to religion is so rare a quality in all ranks of people, that I am far from blaming it in servants; but when I see their religion shewing itself in laziness, and observe them neglecting their common business under the pretext of performing acts of supererogation, I am apt to question their sincerity, and to take every servant of that kind for a mere Saint Ambrose. An old Moravian aunt of mine, of whom I have formerly made worthy mention, would never have any servants, who did not belong to the society of the United Brethren. But so little did the good lady's endeavours to preserve virtue and a spirit of devotion in her house succeed, that the generality of the men fell into evil courses, and most of the pious sisterhood left the family with big bellies.
I would not be thought to deny my fellow-subjects full liberty of conscience, and all the benefits of the Toleration Act; yet I cannot help regarding these weak, if not ill-meant divisions from the established church, as a dangerous kind of free-thinking: not so shocking indeed, as the impious avowal of atheism