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Title: Polite Conversation in Three Dialogues

Author: Jonathan Swift

Editor: George Saintsbury

Release date: August 26, 2019 [eBook #60186]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by MWS and the Online Distributed Proofreading
Team at (This file was produced from
images generously made available by The Internet
Archive/American Libraries.)



Chiswick Press Editions



This Edition is limited to Five Hundred copies, viz.:

50 on Japanese Vellum, numbered 1 to 50.

450 on Handmade paper, numbered 51 to 500.

This is No. 438.


Ionathan Swift S. T. D.

Decanus Ecclesia Cathedralis Sancti Patricy Dublin.

Carolus Jervacius Pictor Reg. Pinxit. Geo. Vertue Londini Sculpsit






Editor’s Introduction vii
Introduction to the Dialogues 3
Dialogue I. 53
Dialogue II. 127
Dialogue III. 173
Illustrative Notes 191




In some ways nothing could be a better introduction to the “Polite Conversation” than the account of it which Mr. Thackeray has given in his “English Humourists” (though under the head of Steele, not Swift), as illustrating the society of the period. That account is in its way not much less of a classic than the immortal original itself, and it is purely delightful. But it neither deals nor pretends to deal with the whole of the subject. Indeed, the idea of Swift’s character which the “Conversation” gives does not square altogether well with the view—true, but one-sided—which it suited Mr. Thackeray to take of Swift.

The “Conversation” appeared very[viii] late in Swift’s life, and he himself derived no pecuniary benefit from it. He had, with that almost careless generosity which distinguished him side by side with an odd kind of parsimony, given the manuscript to a not particularly reputable protégée of his, Mrs. Barber, about 1736, and its first edition—a copy of which, presented to me by my friend Mr. Austin Dobson no small number of years ago, is here reproduced—bears date 1738, and was published in London by Motte and Bathurst. The composition, however, dates, as is known to a practical certainty, many years earlier. It is beyond any reasonable doubt identical with the “Essay on Conversation” which Swift noted as written or planned in 1708-10. The nom de guerre on the title-page and to the introduction is Simon Wagstaff, one of the literary family of Staffs fathered by Swift and Steele in “Tatler” times. The manners are evidently those of Queen Anne’s day, and the whole chronology of the introduction[ix] (which, it will be seen, has all Swift’s mock carefulness and exactitude) is adjusted to the first decade of the eighteenth century. A hundred years later Scott (whose own evident relish for the “Conversation” struggled somewhat with a desire to apologise for its coarseness to the decencies even of his own day), hazarded the opinion that the abundance of proverbial expressions must be set down to the Dean’s own fancy, not to actual truth of reporting. It is always with great diffidence that I venture to differ with Sir Walter; but I think he was wrong here. One piece of indirect evidence—the extreme energy with which Chesterfield, at no very distant date from the publication, but after a lapse of fully a generation from the probable composition of the dialogues, inveighs against this very practice—would seem to be sufficient to establish its authenticity. For polite society, where its principles are not, as they generally are, pretty constant, is never so[x] bitter as against those practices which were the mode and are now démodés.

But if anyone thinks this argument paradoxical, there are plenty more. The conversation of the immortal eight corresponds exactly to that of the comedies of the time, and the times just earlier, which were written by the finest gentlemen. It meets us, of course less brilliantly put, in the “Wentworth Papers” and other documents of the time; and its very faults are exactly those which Steele and Addison, like their predecessors of the other sex in the Hotel Rambouillet sixty or seventy years earlier, were, just when these dialogues were written, setting themselves to correct. We know, of course, that Swift moved in a world of middle and even not always upper middle class society, as well as in the great world; and that, perhaps, at the date of the actual composition of this piece, he had not reached his fullest familiarity with the latter. But I have myself very little doubt that the dialogues express[xi] and were fully justified by the conversation he had actually heard among the less decorous visitors at Temple’s solemn board, in the livelier household of Lord Berkeley, in the circles of Ormond and Pembroke, and during his first initiation after 1707 in London society proper. How far he may have subsequently polished and altered the thing it is impossible to say; that he had done so to some extent is obvious from such simple matters as the use of the word “king” instead of “queen,” from the allusions to the “Craftsman,” and others. I doubt whether the picture became substantially false till far into the reign of George II., if it even became so then.

There are those, of whom, as Mr. Wagstaff would himself say, “I have the honour to be one,” who put the “Polite Conversation” in the very front rank of Swift’s works. It is of course on a far less ambitious scale than “Gulliver;” it has not the youthful audacity and towering aim of the “Tale of a Tub;”[xii] it lacks the practical and businesslike cogency of the “Drapier;” the absolute perfection and unrivalled irony of the “Modest Proposal” and the “Argument against abolishing Christianity.” But what it wants in relation to each of these masterpieces in some respects it makes up in others; and it is distinctly the superior of its own nearest analogue, the “Directions to Servants.” It is never unequal; it never flags; it never forces the note. Nobody, if he likes it at all, can think it too long; nobody, however much he may like it, can fail to see that Swift was wise not to make it longer. One of its charms is the complete variation between the introduction and the dialogues themselves. The former follows throughout, even to the rather unnecessary striking in with literary quarrels, the true vein of Swiftian irony, where almost every sentence expresses the exact contrary of the author’s real sentiments, and where the putative writer is made to exhibit himself as ridiculous[xiii] while discoursing to his own complete satisfaction. It exhibits also, although in a minor key, the peculiar pessimism which excites the shudders of some and the admiration of others in the great satires on humanity enumerated above.

But the dialogues themselves are quite different. They are, with the exception of the lighter passages in the “Journal to Stella,” infinitely the most good-natured things in Swift. The characters are scarcely satirized; they are hardly caricatured. Not one of them is made disagreeable, not one of them offensively ridiculous. Even poor Sir John Linger, despite the scarce concealed scorn and pity of his companions and the solemn compassion of good Mr. Wagstaff, is let off very easily. The very “scandal-mongering” has nothing of the ferocity of the “Plain Dealer” long before, and the “School for Scandal” long after it; the excellent Ladies Smart and Answerall tear their neighbours’ characters to pieces with much relish but[xiv] with no malignity. The former, for all her cut-and-dried phrases, is an excellently hospitable hostess, and “her own lord” is as different as possible from the brutal heroes of Restoration comedy, and from the yawning sour-blooded rakes of quality whom a later generation of painters in words and colours were to portray. There is, of course, not a little which would now be horribly coarse, but one knows that it was not in the least so then. And in it, as in the scandal-mongering, there is no bad blood. Tom and the Colonel and Lord Sparkish are fine gentlemen with very loose-hung tongues, and not very strait-laced consciences. But there is nothing about them of the inhumanity which to some tastes spoils the heroes of Congreve and of Vanbrugh.

As for “Miss,” no doubt she says some things which it would be unpleasant to hear one’s sister or one’s beloved say now. But I fell in love with her when I was about seventeen, I think; and from that day to[xv] this I have never wavered for one minute in my affection for her. If she is of coarser mould than Millamant, how infinitely does she excel her in flesh and blood—excellent things in woman! She is only here—“this ‘Miss’ of our heart, this ‘Miss’ of our soul,”—here and in a letter or two of the time. The dramatists and the essayists and the poets made her a baggage or a Lydia Languish, a Miss Hoyden or a minx, when they tried her. Hogarth was not enough of a gentleman and Kneller not enough of a genius to put her on canvas. When the regular novelists began, sensibility had set its clutch on heroines. But here she is as Swift saw her—Swift whom every woman whom he knew either loved or hated, and who must, therefore, have known something about women, for all his persistent maltreatment of them. And here, as I have said, the maltreatment ceases. If the handling is not very delicate, it is utterly true, and by no means degrading. There is even dignity in Miss. For all her[xvi] romps, and her broad speeches, and her more than risky repartees, she knows perfectly well how to pull up her somewhat unpolished admirers when they go too far. And when at three o’clock in the morning, with most of the winnings in her pocket, she demurely refuses the Colonel’s escort (indeed it might have had its dangers), observing, “No, Colonel, thank you; my mamma has sent her chair and footmen,” and leaves the room with the curtsey we can imagine, the picture is so delightful that unholy dreams come upon one. How agreeable it would have been to hire the always available villains, overcome those footmen, put Miss in a coach and six, and secure the services of the also always available parson, regardless of the feelings of my mamma and of the swords of Tom and the Colonel, though not of Miss’s own goodwill! For I should not envy anyone who had tried to play otherwise than on the square with Miss Notable.

For Mr. Wagstaff’s hero I have, as no[xvii] doubt is natural, by no means as much admiration as for his “heroin.” Mr. Thomas Neverout is a lively youth enough, but considerably farther from the idea—and that not merely the modern idea—of a gentleman, than Miss with all her astounding licence of speech is from the idea—and that not merely the modern idea—of a lady. It is observable that he seldom or never gets the better of her except by mere coarseness, and that he has too frequent recourse to the expedient which even Mr. Wagstaff had the sense to see was not a great evidence of wit, the use of some innuendo or other, at which she is obliged to blush or to pretend want of understanding. At fair weapons she almost always puts him down. In fact, the Colonel, though not precisely a genius, is the better fellow of the two. I do not know whether it was intentional or not, but it is to be observed that my Lord Sparkish, though quite as “smart” in the new-old sense of which this very[xviii] work is the locus classicus, as the two commoners, is cleaner by a good deal in his language. It is unlike Mr. Wagstaff’s usual precision of information that he gives us no details about Lady Answerall. If there is any indication to show whether she was wife or widow, I have missed it in many readings; but I think she, though still young, was the eldest of the three ladies, and she certainly was handsome. Lady Smart I take to have been plain, from her disparaging reference to Miss: “The girl’s well enough if she had but another nose.” I resent this reference to a feature which I am sure was charming (it was probably retroussé; it was certainly not aquiline); and as Lady Smart was clearly not ill-natured, it follows that she must have been herself either a recognized beauty or not beautiful. We should have had some intimation of the former had it been the case, so I incline to the latter. She had children, and was evidently on the best of terms with her husband, which is very satisfactory.


If it were not for Miss and the dinner—two objects of perennial interest to all men of spirit and taste—I am not sure that I should not prefer the introduction to the conversations themselves. It is indispensable to the due understanding of the latter, and I cannot but think that Thackeray unjustifiably overlooked the excuse it contains for the somewhat miscellaneous and Gargantuan character of the feast which excited his astonishment and horror. But it would be delightful in itself if we were so unfortunate as to have lost the conversations, and, as I have already said, its delight is of a strangely different kind from theirs. Although there are more magnificent and more terrible, more poignant and more whimsical examples of the marvellous Swiftian irony, I do not know that there is any more justly proportioned, more exquisitely modulated, more illustrative of that wonderful keeping which is the very essence and quiddity of the Dean’s humour.


Some things have been lately said, as they are always said from time to time, about the contrast between the Old humour and the New. The contrast, I venture to think, is wrongly stated. It is not a contrast between the old and the new, but, in the first place, between the perennial and the temporary, and in the second between two kinds of humour which, to do them justice, are both perennial enough—the humour which is quiet, subtle, abstracted, independent of catchwords and cant phrases, and the humour which is broad, loud, gesticulative, and prone to rely upon cant phrases and catchwords. Swift has illustrated the two in the two parts of this astonishing book, and whoso looks into the matter a little narrowly will have no difficulty in finding this out. Far be it from me to depreciate the “newer” kind, but I may be permitted to think it the lower. It is certainly the easier. The perpetual stream of irony which Swift pours out here in so quiet yet so steady a flow, is[xxi] the most difficult of all things to maintain in its perfection. Not more, perhaps, than half-a-dozen writers in all literature, of whom the three chiefs are Lucian, Pascal, and Swift himself, have been quite masters of it, and of these three Swift is the mightiest. Sink below the requisite proportion of bitterness and the thing becomes flat; exceed that proportion and it is nauseous. Perhaps, as one is always fain to persuade oneself in such cases, a distinct quality of palate is required to taste, as well as a distinct power of genius to brew it. It is certain that though there are some in all times who relish this kind of humour (and this is what gives it its supremacy, for examples of the other kind are, at other than their own times, frequently not relished by anybody), they are not often found in large numbers. The liquor is too dry for many tastes; it has too little froth, if not too little sparkle for others. The order of architecture is too unadorned, depends too much upon[xxii] the bare attraction of symmetry and form, to charm some eyes. But those who have the taste never lose it, never change it, never are weary of gratifying it. Of irony, as of hardly any other thing under the sun, cometh no satiety to the born ironist.

It may be well to end this brief preface by a few words on the principles of editing which I have adopted. There is no omission whatever, except of a very few words—not, I think, half a score in all—which were barely permissible to mouths polite even then, and which now are almost banished from even free conversation. Nor have even these omissions been allowed to mutilate the passages in which they occur; for on Mr. Wagstaff’s own excellent principle, the harmless necessary “blank, which the sagacious reader may fill up in his own mind,” has replaced them.

In respect of annotation the methods of the collection in which this book appears did not permit of any very extensive[xxiii] commentary; and I could not be sorry for this. Anything like full scholia on the proverbs, catchwords, and so forth used, would be enormously voluminous, and a very dull overlaying of matter ill-sortable with dulness. Besides, much of the phraseology is intelligible to anybody intelligent, and not a very little is not yet obsolete in the mouths of persons of no particular originality. You may still hear men and women, not necessarily destitute either of birth, breeding, or sense, say of such a thing that “they like it, but it does not like them,” that such another thing “comes from a hot place,” with other innocent clichés of the kind. But in some places where assistance seemed really required I have endeavoured to give it. Among such cases I have not included the attempt to identify “the D. of R.,” “the E. of E.,” “Lord and Lady H.,” etc. I am afraid it would be falling too much into the humour of good Mr. Wagstaff himself to examine with the help of much Collins the various[xxiv] persons whose initials and titles might possibly correspond with these during the nearly sixty years between Mr. Wagstaff’s coming of age and the appearance of his work at the Middle Temple Gate in Fleet Street. The persons named at full length are generally, if not universally real, and more or less well known. Enough to inform or remind the reader of these has, I hope, been inserted in the Notes. But the fact is, that, like most great writers, though not all, Swift is really not in need of much annotation. It is not that he is not allusive—I hardly know any great writer who is not—but that his allusions explain themselves to a reader of average intelligence quite sufficiently for the understanding of the context, though not, it may be, sufficiently to enable him to “satisfy the examiners.” It does not, for instance, matter in the least whether the “infamous Court chaplain,” who taught the maids of honour not to believe in Hell was Hoadley, or who he was. His cap[xxv] may even have fitted several persons at different times. In such a display of literary skill at arms as this the glitter of the blade and the swashing blow of its wielder are the points of interest, not the worthless carrion into which it was originally thrust. But “worthless carrion” is not Polite Conversation: so let me leave the reader to what is.[1]

George Saintsbury.

[1] The piece is on the whole fairly well printed; but the speeches are sometimes wrongly assigned. Attention is called to this in the notes; but the real speaker is generally evident.


A Complete


Of Genteel and Ingenious


According to the Most

Polite Mode and Method


At COURT, and in the BEST
COMPANIES of England.



Printed for B. Motte, and C. Bathurst, at
the Middle Temple-Gate in Fleet-Street.




As my Life hath been chiefly spent in consulting the Honour and Welfare of my Country for more than Forty Years past, not without answerable Success, if the World and my Friends have not flattered me; so, there is no Point wherein I have so much labour’d, as that of improving and polishing all Parts of Conversation between Persons of Quality, whether they meet by Accident or Invitation, at Meals, Tea, or Visits, Mornings, Noons, or Evenings.

I have passed perhaps more time than any other Man of my Age and Country in Visits and Assemblees, where the polite Persons of both Sexes distinguish themselves; and could not without much Grief observe how frequently both Gentlemen and Ladies are at a Loss for[4] Questions, Answers, Replies and Rejoinders: However, my Concern was much abated, when I found that these Defects were not occasion’d by any Want of Materials, but because those Materials were not in every Hand: For Instance, One Lady can give an Answer better than ask a Question: One Gentleman is happy at a Reply; another excels in a Rejoinder: One can revive a languishing Conversation by a sudden surprizing Sentence; another is more dextrous in seconding; a Third can fill the Gap with laughing, or commending what hath been said: Thus fresh Hints may be started, and the Ball of Discourse kept up.

But, alas! this is too seldom the Case, even in the most select Companies: How often do we see at Court, at public Visiting-Days, at great Men’s Levees, and other Places of general Meeting, that the Conversation falls and drops to nothing, like a Fire without Supply of Fuel; this is what we ought to lament; and against this dangerous Evil I take upon me to affirm, that I have in the following Papers provided an infallible Remedy.


It was in the Year 1695, and the Sixth of his late Majesty King William, the Third, of ever glorious and immortal Memory, who rescued Three Kingdoms from Popery and Slavery; when, being about the Age of Six-and-thirty, my Judgment mature, of good Reputation in the World, and well acquainted with the best Families in Town, I determined to spend Five Mornings, to dine Four times, pass Three Afternoons, and Six Evenings every Week, in the Houses of the most polite Families, of which I would confine myself to Fifty; only changing as the Masters or Ladies died, or left the Town, or grew out of Vogue, or sunk in their Fortunes, (which to me was of the highest moment) or because disaffected to the Government; which Practice I have followed ever since to this very Day; except when I happened to be sick, or in the Spleen upon cloudy Weather; and except when I entertained Four of each Sex at my own Lodgings once a Month, by way of Retaliation.

I always kept a large Table-Book in my Pocket; and as soon as I left the Company, I immediately entered the choicest Expressions that passed during[6] the Visit; which, returning Home, I transcribed in a fair Hand, but somewhat enlarged; and had made the greatest Part of my Collection in Twelve Years, but not digested into any Method; for this I found was a Work of infinite Labour, and what required the nicest Judgment, and consequently could not be brought to any Degree of Perfection in less than Sixteen Years more.

Herein I resolved to exceed the Advice of Horace, a Roman Poet, (which I have read in Mr. Creech’s admirable Translation) That an Author should keep his Works Nine Years in his Closet, before he ventured to publish them; and finding that I still received some additional Flowers of Wit and Language, although in a very small Number, I determined to defer the Publication, to pursue my Design, and exhaust, if possible, the whole Subject, that I might present a complete System to the World: For, I am convinced by long Experience, that the Critics will be as severe as their old Envy against me can make them: I foretel, they will object, that I have inserted many Answers and Replies which are neither witty, humorous, polite, or[7] authentic; and have omitted others, that would have been highly useful, as well as entertaining: But let them come to Particulars, and I will boldly engage to confute their Malice.

For these last Six or Seven Years I have not been able to add above Nine valuable Sentences to inrich my Collection; from whence I conclude, that what remains will amount only to a Trifle: However, if, after the Publication of this Work, any Lady or Gentleman, when they have read it, shall find the least thing of Importance omitted, I desire they will please to supply my Defects, by communicating to me their Discoveries; and their Letters may be directed to Simon Wagstaff, Esq; at his Lodgings next Door to the Gloucester-Head in St. James’s-street, (they paying the Postage). In Return of which Favour, I shall make honourable Mention of their Names in a short Preface to the Second Edition.

In the mean time, I cannot but with some Pride, and much Pleasure, congratulate with my dear Country, which hath outdone all the Nations of Europe in advancing the whole Art of Conversation[8] to the greatest Height it is capable of reaching; and therefore being intirely convinced that the Collection I now offer to the Public is full and complete, I may at the same time boldly affirm, that the whole Genius, Humour, Politeness and Eloquence of England are summed up in it: Nor is the Treasure small, wherein are to be found at least a Thousand shining Questions, Answers, Repartees, Replies and Rejoinders, fitted to adorn every kind of Discourse that an Assemblee of English Ladies and Gentlemen, met together for their mutual Entertainment, can possibly want, especially when the several Flowers shall be set off and improved by the Speakers, with every Circumstance of Preface and Circumlocution, in proper Terms; and attended with Praise, Laughter, or Admiration.

There is a natural, involuntary Distortion of the Muscles, which is the anatomical Cause of Laughter: But there is another Cause of Laughter which Decency requires, and is the undoubted Mark of a good Taste, as well as of a polite obliging Behaviour; neither is this to be acquired without much Observation, long Practice, and a sound Judgment:[9] I did therefore once intend, for the Ease of the Learner, to set down in all Parts of the following Dialogues certain Marks, Asterisks, or Nota-bene’s (in English, Markwell’s) after most Questions, and every Reply or Answer; directing exactly the Moment when One, Two, or All the Company are to laugh: But having duly considered, that the Expedient would too much enlarge the Bulk of the Volume, and consequently the Price; and likewise that something ought to be left for ingenious Readers to find out, I have determined to leave that whole Affair, although of great Importance, to their own Discretion.

The Readers must learn by all means to distinguish between Proverbs and those polite Speeches which beautify Conversation: For, as to the former, I utterly reject them out of all ingenious Discourse. I acknowledge indeed, that there may possibly be found in this Treatise a few Sayings, among so great a Number of smart Turns of Wit and Humour, as I have produced, which have a proverbial Air: However, I hope, it will be considered, that even these were not originally Proverbs, but the genuine[10] Productions of superior Wits, to embellish and support Conversation; from whence, with great Impropriety, as well as Plagiarism (if you will forgive a hard Word) they have most injuriously been transferred into proverbial Maxims; and therefore in Justice ought to be resumed out of vulgar Hands, to adorn the Drawing-Rooms of Princes, both Male and Female, the Levees of great Ministers, as well as the Toilet and Tea-table of the Ladies.

I can faithfully assure the Reader, that there is not one single witty Phrase in this whole Collection, which hath not received the Stamp and Approbation of at least one hundred Years, and how much longer, it is hard to determine; he may therefore be secure to find them all genuine, sterling, and authentic.

But before this elaborate Treatise can become of universal Use and Ornament to my native Country, Two Points, that will require Time and much Application, are absolutely necessary.

For, First, whatever Person would aspire to be completely witty, smart, humourous, and polite, must by hard Labour be able to retain in his Memory[11] every single Sentence contained in this Work, so as never to be once at a Loss in applying the right Answers, Questions, Repartees, and the like, immediately, and without Study or Hesitation.

And, Secondly, after a Lady or Gentleman hath so well overcome this Difficulty, as to be never at a Loss upon any Emergency, the true Management of every Feature, and almost of every Limb, is equally necessary; without which an infinite Number of Absurdities will inevitably ensue: For Instance, there is hardly a polite Sentence in the following Dialogues which doth not absolutely require some peculiar graceful Motion in the Eyes, or Nose, or Mouth, or Forehead, or Chin, or suitable Toss of the Head, with certain Offices assigned to each Hand; and in Ladies, the whole Exercise of the Fan, fitted to the Energy of every Word they deliver; by no means omitting the various Turns and Cadence of the Voice, the Twistings, and Movements, and different Postures of the Body, the several Kinds and Gradations of Laughter, which the Ladies must daily practise by the Looking-Glass, and consult upon them with their Waiting-Maids.


My Readers will soon observe what a great Compass of real and useful Knowledge this Science includes; wherein, although Nature, assisted by a Genius, may be very instrumental, yet a strong Memory and constant Application, together with Example and Precept, will be highly necessary: For these Reasons I have often wished, that certain Male and Female Instructors, perfectly versed in this science, would set up Schools for the Instruction of young Ladies and Gentlemen therein.

I remember about thirty Years ago, there was a Bohemian Woman, of that Species commonly known by the name of Gypsies, who came over hither from France, and generally attended Isaac the Dancing-Master when he was teaching his Art to Misses of Quality; and while the young Ladies were thus employed, the Bohemian, standing at some distance, but full in their Sight, acted before them all proper Airs, and turnings of the Head, and motions of the Hands, and twistings of the Body; whereof you may still observe the good Effects in several of our elder Ladies.

After the same manner, it were much[13] to be desired, that some expert Gentlewomen gone to decay would set up publick Schools, wherein young Girls of Quality, or great Fortunes, might first be taught to repeat this following System of Conversation, which I have been at so much pains to compile; and then to adapt every Feature of their Countenances, every Turn of their Hands, every Screwing of their Bodies, every Exercise of their Fans, to the Humour of the Sentences they hear or deliver in Conversation. But above all to instruct them in every Species and Degree of Laughing in the proper seasons at their own Wit, or that of the Company. And, if the Sons of the Nobility and Gentry, instead of being sent to common Schools, or put into the Hands of Tutors at Home, to learn nothing but Words, were consigned to able Instructors in the same Art, I cannot find what Use there could be of Books, except in the hands of those who are to make Learning their Trade, which is below the Dignity of Persons born to Titles or Estates.

It would be another infinite Advantage, that, by cultivating this Science, we should wholly avoid the Vexations[14] and Impertinence of Pedants, who affect to talk in a Language not to be understood; and whenever a polite Person offers accidentally to use any of their Jargon-Terms, have the Presumption to laugh at Us for pronouncing those Words in a genteeler Manner. Whereas, I do here affirm, that, whenever any fine Gentleman or Lady condescends to let a hard Word pass out of their Mouths, every syllable is smoothed and polished in the Passage; and it is a true Mark of Politeness, both in Writing and Reading, to vary the Orthography as well as the Sound; because We are infinitely better Judges of what will please a distinguishing ear than those, who call themselves Scholars, can possibly be; who, consequently, ought to correct their Books, and Manner of pronouncing, by the Authority of Our Example, from whose lips they proceed with infinitely more Beauty and Significancy.

But, in the mean time, until so great, so useful, and so necessary a Design can be put in execution, (which, considering the good Disposition of our Country at present, I shall not despair of living to see) let me recommend the following[15] Treatise to be carried about as a Pocket-Companion, by all Gentlemen and Ladies, when they are going to visit, or dine, or drink Tea; or where they happen to pass the Evening without Cards, (as I have sometimes known it to be the Case upon Disappointments or Accidents unforeseen) desiring they would read their several Parts in their Chairs or Coaches, to prepare themselves for every kind of Conversation that can possibly happen.

Although I have in Justice to my Country, allowed the Genius of our People to excel that of any other Nation upon Earth, and have confirmed this Truth by an Argument not to be controlled, I mean, by producing so great a Number of witty Sentences in the ensuing Dialogues, all of undoubted Authority, as well as of our own Production; yet, I must confess at the same time, that we are wholly indebted for them to our Ancestors; at least, for as long as my memory reacheth, I do not recollect one new Phrase of Importance to have been added; which Defect in Us Moderns I take to have been occasioned by the Introduction of Cant-Words in the Reign of King Charles the Second.[16] And those have so often varied, that hardly one of them, of above a Year’s standing, is now intelligible; nor any where to be found, excepting a small Number strewed here and there in the Comedies and other fantastick Writings of that Age.

The Honourable Colonel James Graham, my old Friend and Companion, did likewise, towards the End of the same Reign, invent a Set of Words and Phrases, which continued almost to the Time of his Death. But, as those Terms of Art were adapted only to Courts and Politicians, and extended little further than among his particular Acquaintance (of whom I had the Honour to be one) they are now almost forgotten.

Nor did the late D. of R—— and E. of E—— succeed much better, although they proceeded no further than single Words; whereof, except Bite, Bamboozle, and one or two more, the whole Vocabulary is antiquated.

The same Fate hath already attended those other Town-Wits, who furnish us with a great Variety of new Terms, which are annually changed, and those of the last Season sunk in Oblivion. Of these[17] I was once favoured with a compleat List by the Right Honourable the Lord and Lady H——, with which I made a considerable Figure one Summer in the Country; but returning up to Town in Winter, and venturing to produce them again, I was partly hooted, and partly not understood.

The only Invention of late Years, which hath any way contributed towards Politeness in Discourse, is that of abbreviating or reducing Words of many Syllables into one, by lopping off the rest. This Refinement, having begun about the Time of the Revolution, I had some Share in the Honour of promoting it, and I observe, to my great Satisfaction, that it makes daily Advancements, and I hope in Time will raise our Language to the utmost Perfection; although, I must confess, to avoid Obscurity, I have been very sparing of this Ornament in the following Dialogues.

But, as for Phrases, invented to cultivate Conversation, I defy all the Clubs of Coffee-houses in this town to invent a new one equal in Wit, Humour, Smartness, or Politeness, to the very worst of my Set; which clearly shews, either that[18] we are much degenerated, or that the whole Stock of Materials hath been already employed. I would willingly hope, as I do confidently believe, the latter; because, having my self, for several Months, racked my Invention (if possible) to enrich this Treasury with some Additions of my own (which, however, should have been printed in a different Character, that I might not be charged with imposing upon the Publick) and having shewn them to some judicious Friends, they dealt very sincerely with me; all unanimously agreeing, that mine were infinitely below the true old Helps to Discourse, drawn up in my present Collection, and confirmed their Opinion with Reasons, by which I was perfectly convinced, as well as ashamed, of my great Presumption.

But, I lately met a much stronger Argument to confirm me in the same Sentiments: For, as the great Bishop Burnet, of Salisbury, informs us in the Preface to his admirable History of his own Times, that he intended to employ himself in polishing it every Day of his Life, (and indeed in its Kind it is almost equally polished with this Work of mine:)[19] So, it hath been my constant Business, for some Years past, to examine, with the utmost Strictness, whether I could possibly find the smallest Lapse in Style or Propriety through my whole Collection, that, in Emulation with the Bishop, I might send it abroad as the most finished Piece of the Age.

It happened one Day as I was dining in good Company of both Sexes, and watching, according to my Custom, for new Materials wherewith to fill my Pocket-Book, I succeeded well enough till after Dinner, when the Ladies retired to their Tea, and left us over a Bottle of Wine. But I found we were not able to furnish any more Materials, that were worth the Pains of transcribing: For, the Discourse of the Company was all degenerated into smart Sayings of their own Invention, and not of the true old Standard; so that, in absolute Despair, I withdrew, and went to attend the Ladies at their Tea. From whence I did then conclude, and still continue to believe, either that Wine doth not inspire Politeness, or that our Sex is not able to support it without the Company of Women, who never fail to lead[20] us into the right Way, and there to keep us.

It much encreaseth the Value of these Apophthegms, that unto them we owe the Continuance of our Language, for at least an hundred Years; neither is this to be wondered at; because indeed, besides the Smartness of the Wit, and Fineness of the Raillery, such is the Propriety and Energy of Expression in them all, that they never can be changed, but to Disadvantage, except in the Circumstance of using Abbreviations; which, however, I do not despair, in due Time, to see introduced, having already met them at some of the Choice Companies in town.

Although this Work be calculated for all Persons of Quality and Fortune of both Sexes; yet the Reader may perceive, that my particular View was to the Officers of the Army, the Gentlemen of the Inns of Courts, and of Both the Universities; to all Courtiers, Male and Female, but principally to the Maids of Honour, of whom I have been personally acquainted with two-and-twenty Sets, all excelling in this noble Endowment; till for some Years[21] past, I know not how, they came to degenerate into Selling of Bargains, and Free-Thinking; not that I am against either of these Entertainments at proper Seasons, in compliance with Company, who may want a Taste for more exalted Discourse, whose Memories may be short, who are too young to be perfect in their Lessons. Or (although it be hard to conceive) who have no Inclination to read and learn my Instructions. And besides, there is a strong Temptation for Court-Ladies to fall into the two Amusements above-mentioned, that they may avoid the Censure of affecting Singularity, against the general Current and Fashion of all about them: But, however, no Man will pretend to affirm, that either Bargains or Blasphemy, which are the principal Ornaments of Free-Thinking, are so good a Fund of polite Discourse, as what is to be met with in my Collection. For, as to Bargains, few of them seem to be excellent in their kind, and have not much Variety, because they all terminate in one single Point; and, to multiply them, would require more Invention than People have to spare. And, as to Blasphemy or[22] Free-Thinking, I have known some scrupulous Persons, of both Sexes, who, by a prejudiced Education, are afraid of Sprights. I must, however, except the Maids of Honour, who have been fully convinced, by an infamous Court-Chaplain, that there is no such Place as Hell.

I cannot, indeed, controvert the Lawfulness of Free-Thinking, because it hath been universally allowed, that Thought is free. But, however, although it may afford a large Field of Matter; yet in my poor Opinion, it seems to contain very little of Wit or Humour; because it hath not been antient enough among us to furnish established authentick Expressions, I mean, such as must receive a Sanction from the polite World, before their Authority can be allowed; neither was the Art of Blasphemy or Free-Thinking invented by the Court, or by Persons of great Quality, who, properly speaking, were Patrons, rather than Inventors of it; but first brought in by the Fanatick Faction, towards the end of their Power, and, after the Restoration, carried to Whitehall by the converted Rumpers, with very good Reasons; because they knew, that K. Charles the[23] Second, who, from a wrong Education, occasioned by the Troubles of his Father, had Time enough to observe, that Fanatick Enthusiasm directly led to Atheism, which agreed with the dissolute Inclinations of his Youth; and, perhaps, these Principles were farther cultivated in him by the French Huguenots, who have been often charged with spreading them among us: However, I cannot see where the Necessity lies, of introducing new and foreign Topicks for Conversation, while we have so plentiful a Stock of our own Growth.

I have likewise, for some Reasons of equal Weight, been very sparing in Double Entendres; because they often put Ladies upon affected Constraints, and affected Ignorance. In short, they break, or very much entangle, the Thread of Discourse; neither am I Master of any Rules, to settle the disconcerted Countenances of the Females in such a Juncture; I can, therefore, only allow Inuendoes of this Kind to be delivered in Whispers, and only to young Ladies under Twenty, who, being in Honour obliged to blush, it may produce a new Subject for Discourse.


Perhaps the Criticks may accuse me of a Defect in my following System of Polite Conversation; that there is one great Ornament of Discourse, whereof I have not produced a single Example; which, indeed, I purposely omitted for some Reasons that I shall immediately offer; and, if those Reasons will not satisfy the Male Part of my gentle Readers, the Defect may be supplied in some manner by an Appendix to the Second Edition; which Appendix shall be printed by it self, and sold for Sixpence, stitched, and with a Marble Cover, that my Readers may have no Occasion to complain of being defrauded.

The Defect I mean is, my not having inserted, into the Body of my Book, all the Oaths now most in Fashion for embellishing Discourse; especially since it could give no Offence to the Clergy, who are seldom or never admitted to these polite Assemblies. And it must be allowed, that Oaths, well chosen, are not only very useful Expletives to Matter, but great Ornaments of Style.

What I shall here offer in my own Defence upon this important Article, will, I hope, be some Extenuation of my Fault.


First, I reasoned with my self, that a just Collection of Oaths, repeated as often as the Fashion requires, must have enlarged this Volume, at least, to Double the Bulk; whereby it would not only double the Charge, but likewise make the Volume less commodious for Pocket-Carriage.

Secondly, I have been assured by some judicious Friends, that themselves have known certain Ladies to take Offence (whether seriously or no) at too great a Profusion of Cursing and Swearing, even when that Kind of Ornament was not improperly introduced; which, I confess, did startle me not a little; having never observed the like in the Compass of my own several Acquaintance, at least for twenty Years past. However, I was forced to submit to wiser Judgments than my own.

Thirdly, as this most useful Treatise is calculated for all future Times, I considered, in this Maturity of my Age, how great a Variety of Oaths I have heard since I began to study the World, and to know Men and Manners. And here I found it to be true what I have read in an antient Poet.


“For, now-a-days, Men change their Oaths,
As often as they change their Cloaths.”

In short, Oaths are the Children of Fashion, they are in some sense almost Annuals, like what I observed before of Cant-Words; and I my self can remember about forty different Sets. The old Stock-Oaths I am confident, do not mount to above forty five, or fifty at most; but the Way of mingling and compounding them is almost as various as that of the Alphabet.

Sir John Perrot was the first Man of Quality whom I find upon Record to have sworn by G—’s W—s. He lived in the Reign of Q. Elizabeth, and was supposed to have been a natural Son of Henry the Eighth, who might also have probably been his Instructor. This Oath indeed still continues, and is a Stock-Oath to this Day; so do several others that have kept their natural Simplicity: But, infinitely the greater Number hath been so frequently changed and dislocated, that if the Inventors were now alive, they could hardly understand them.

Upon these Considerations I began to apprehend, that if I should insert all the Oaths as are now current, my Book[27] would be out of Vogue with the first Change of Fashion, and grow useless as an old Dictionary: Whereas, the Case is quite otherways with my Collection of polite Discourse; which, as I before observed, hath descended by Tradition for at least an hundred Years, without any Change in the Phraseology. I, therefore, determined with my self to leave out the whole System of Swearing; because, both the male and female Oaths are all perfectly well known and distinguished; new ones are easily learnt, and with a moderate Share of Discretion may be properly applied on every fit Occasion. However, I must here, upon this Article of Swearing, most earnestly recommend to my male Readers, that they would please a little to study Variety. For, it is the Opinion of our most refined Swearers, that the same Oath or Curse, cannot, consistent with true Politeness, be repeated above nine Times in the same Company, by the same Person, and at one Sitting.

I am far from desiring, or expecting, that all the polite and ingenious Speeches, contained in this Work, should, in the general Conversation between Ladies[28] and Gentlemen, come in so quick and so close as I have here delivered them. By no means: On the contrary, they ought to be husbanded better, and spread much thinner. Nor, do I make the least Question, but that, by a discreet thrifty Management, they may serve for the Entertainment of a whole Year, to any Person, who does not make too long or too frequent Visits in the same Family. The Flowers of Wit, Fancy, Wisdom, Humour, and Politeness, scattered in this Volume, amount to one thousand, seventy and four. Allowing then to every Gentleman and Lady thirty visiting Families, (not insisting upon Fractions) there will want but little of an hundred polite Questions, Answers, Replies, Rejoinders, Repartees, and Remarks, to be daily delivered fresh, in every Company, for twelve solar Months; and even this is a higher Pitch of Delicacy than the World insists on, or hath Reason to expect. But, I am altogether for exalting this Science to its utmost Perfection.

It may be objected, that the Publication of my Book may, in a long Course of Time, prostitute this noble Art to mean and vulgar People: But, I answer;[29] That it is not so easy an Acquirement as a few ignorant Pretenders may imagine. A Footman can swear; but he cannot swear like a Lord. He can swear as often: But, can he swear with equal Delicacy, Propriety, and Judgment? No, certainly; unless he be a Lad of superior Parts, of good Memory, a diligent Observer; one who hath a skilful Ear, some Knowledge in Musick, and an exact Taste, which hardly fall to the Share of one in a thousand among that Fraternity, in as high Favour as they now stand with their Ladies; neither hath one Footman in six so fine a Genius as to relish and apply those exalted Sentences comprised in this Volume, which I offer to the World: It is true, I cannot see that the same ill Consequences would follow from the Waiting-Woman, who, if she hath been bred to read Romances, may have some small subaltern, or second-hand Politeness; and if she constantly attends the Tea, and be a good Listner, may, in some Years, make a tolerable Figure, which will serve, perhaps, to draw in the young Chaplain or the old Steward. But, alas! after all, how can she acquire those hundreds of[30] Graces and Motions, and Airs, the whole military Management of the Fan, the Contortions of every muscular Motion in the Face, the Risings and Fallings, the Quickness and Slowness of the Voice, with the several Turns and Cadences; the proper Junctures of Smiling and Frowning, how often and how loud to laugh, when to jibe and when to flout, with all the other Branches of Doctrine and Discipline above-recited?

I am, therefore, not under the least Apprehension that this Art will be ever in Danger of falling into common Hands, which requires so much Time, Study, Practice, and Genius, before it arrives to Perfection; and, therefore, I must repeat my Proposal for erecting Publick Schools, provided with the best and ablest Masters and Mistresses, at the Charge of the Nation.

I have drawn this Work into the Form of a Dialogue, after the Patterns of other famous Writers in History, Law, Politicks, and most other Arts and Sciences, and I hope it will have the same Success: For, who can contest it to be of greater Consequence to the Happiness of these Kingdoms, than all[31] human Knowledge put together. Dialogue is held the best Method of inculcating any Part of Knowledge; and, as I am confident, that Publick Schools will soon be founded for teaching Wit and Politeness, after my Scheme, to young People of Quality and Fortune, I have determined next Sessions to deliver a Petition to the House of Lords for an Act of Parliament, to establish my Book, as the Standard Grammar in all the principal Cities of the Kingdom where this Art is to be taught, by able Masters, who are to be approved and recommended by me; which is no more than Lilly obtained only for teaching Words in a Language wholly useless: Neither shall I be so far wanting to my self, as not to desire a Patent granted of course to all useful Projectors; I mean, that I may have the sole Profit of giving a Licence to every School to read my Grammar for fourteen Years.

The Reader cannot but observe what Pains I have been at in polishing the Style of my Book to the greatest Exactness: Nor, have I been less diligent in refining the Orthography, by spelling the Words in the very same Manner[32] that they are pronounced by the Chief Patterns of Politeness, at Court, at Levees, at Assemblees, at Play-houses, at the prime Visiting-Places, by young Templers, and by Gentlemen-Commoners of both Universities, who have lived at least a Twelvemonth in Town, and kept the best Company. Of these Spellings the Publick will meet with many Examples in the following Book. For instance, can’t, han’t, sha’nt, didn’t, coodn’t, woodn’t, isn’t, e’n’t, with many more; besides several Words which Scholars pretend are derived from Greek and Latin, but not pared into a polite Sound by Ladies, Officers of the Army, Courtiers and Templers, such as Jommetry for Geometry, Verdi for Verdict, Lierd for Lord, Larnen for Learning; together with some Abbreviations exquisitely refined; as, Pozz for Positive; Mobb for Mobile; Phizz for Physiognomy; Rep for Reputation; Plenipo for Plenipotentiary; Incog for Incognito; Hypps, or Hippo, for Hypocondriacks; Bam for Bamboozle; and Bamboozle for God knows what; whereby much Time is saved, and the high Road to Conversation cut short by many a Mile.


I have, as it will be apparent, laboured very much, and, I hope, with Felicity enough, to make every Character in the Dialogue agreeable with it self, to a degree, that, whenever any judicious Person shall read my Book aloud, for the Entertainment and Instruction of a select Company, he need not so much as name the particular Speakers; because all the Persons, throughout the several Subjects of Conversation, strictly observe a different Manner, peculiar to their Characters, which are of different kinds: But this I leave entirely to the prudent and impartial Reader’s Discernment.

Perhaps the very Manner of introducing the several Points of Wit and Humour may not be less entertaining and instructing than the Matter it self. In the latter I can pretend to little Merit; because it entirely depends upon Memory and the Happiness of having kept polite Company. But, the Art of contriving, that those Speeches should be introduced naturally, as the most proper Sentiments to be delivered upon so great Variety of Subjects, I take to be a Talent somewhat uncommon, and a Labour that few People could hope to succeed in unless[34] they had a Genius, particularly turned that way, added to a sincere disinterested Love of the Publick.

Although every curious Question, smart Answer, and witty Reply be little known to many People; yet, there is not one single Sentence in the whole Collection, for which I cannot bring most authentick Vouchers, whenever I shall be called; and, even for some Expressions, which to a few nice Ears may perhaps appear somewhat gross, I can produce the Stamp of Authority from Courts, Chocolate-houses, Theatres, Assemblees, Drawing-rooms, Levees, Card-meetings, Balls, and Masquerades, from Persons of both Sexes, and of the highest Titles next to Royal. However, to say the truth, I have been very sparing in my Quotations of such Sentiments that seem to be over free; because, when I began my Collection, such kind of Converse was almost in its Infancy, till it was taken into the Protection of my honoured Patronesses at Court, by whose Countenance and Sanction it hath become a choice Flower in the Nosegay of Wit and Politeness.

Some will perhaps object, that when[35] I bring my Company to Dinner, I mention too great a Variety of Dishes, not always consistent with the Art of Cookery, or proper for the Season of the Year, and Part of the first Course mingled with the second, besides a Failure in Politeness, by introducing Black Pudden to a Lord’s Table, and at a great Entertainment: But, if I had omitted the Black Pudden, I desire to know what would have become of that exquisite Reason given by Miss Notable for not eating it; the World perhaps might have lost it for ever, and I should have been justly answerable for having left it out of my Collection. I therefore cannot but hope, that such Hypercritical Readers will please to consider, my Business was to make so full and compleat a Body of refined Sayings, as compact as I could; only taking care to produce them in the most natural and probable Manner, in order to allure my Readers into the very Substance and Marrow of this most admirable and necessary Art.

I am heartily sorry, and was much disappointed to find, that so universal and polite an Entertainment as Cards, hath hitherto contributed very little to the[36] Enlargement of my Work; I have sate by many hundred Times with the utmost Vigilance, and my Table-Book ready, without being able in eight Hours to gather Matter for one single Phrase in my Book. But this, I think, may be easily accounted for by the Turbulence and Justling of Passions upon the various and surprising Turns, Incidents, Revolutions, and Events of good and evil Fortune, that arrive in the course of a long Evening at Play; the Mind being wholly taken up, and the Consequence of Non-attention so fatal.

Play is supported upon the two great Pillars of Deliberation and Action. The Terms of Art are few, prescribed by Law and Custom; no Time allowed for Digressions or Tryals of Wit. Quadrille in particular bears some Resemblance to a State of Nature, which, we are told, is a State of War, wherein every Woman is against every Woman: The Unions short, inconstant, and soon broke; the League made this Minute without knowing the Ally; and dissolved in the next. Thus, at the Game of Quadrille, female Brains are always employed in Stratagem, or their Hands in Action.[37] Neither can I find, that our Art hath gained much by the happy Revival of Masquerading among us; the whole Dialogue in those Meetings being summed up in one sprightly (I confess, but) single Question, and as sprightly an Answer. Do you know me? Yes, I do. And, Do you know me? Yes, I do. For this Reason I did not think it proper to give my Readers the Trouble of introducing a Masquerade, meerly for the sake of a single Question, and a single Answer. Especially, when to perform this in a proper manner, I must have brought in a hundred Persons together, of both Sexes, dressed in fantastick Habits for one Minute, and dismiss them the next.

Neither is it reasonable to conceive, that our Science can be much improved by Masquerades; where the Wit of both Sexes is altogether taken up in continuing singular and humoursome Disguises; and their Thoughts entirely employed in bringing Intrigues and Assignations of Gallantry to an happy Conclusion.

The judicious Reader will readily discover, that I make Miss Notable my Heroin, and Mr. Thomas Never-out[38] my Hero. I have laboured both their Characters with my utmost Ability. It is into their Mouths that I have put the liveliest Questions, Answers, Repartees, and Rejoynders; because my Design was to propose them both as Patterns for all young Batchelors and single Ladies to copy after. By which I hope very soon to see polite Conversation flourish between both Sexes in a more consummate Degree of Perfection, than these Kingdoms have yet ever known.

I have drawn some Lines of Sir John Linger’s Character, the Derbyshire Knight, on purpose to place it in Counter-view or Contrast with that of the other Company; wherein I can assure the Reader, that I intended not the least Reflexion upon Derbyshire, the Place of my Nativity. But, my Intention was only to shew the Misfortune of those Persons, who have the Disadvantage to be bred out of the Circle of Politeness; whereof I take the present Limits to extend no further than London, and ten Miles round; although others are please to compute it within the Bills of Mortality. If you compare the Discourses of my Gentlemen and Ladies with those of Sir[39] John, you will hardly conceive him to have been bred in the same Climate, or under the same Laws, Language, Religion, or Government: And, accordingly, I have introduced him speaking in his own rude Dialect, for no other Reason than to teach my Scholars how to avoid it.

The curious Reader will observe, that when Conversation appears in danger to flag, which, in some Places, I have artfully contrived, I took care to invent some sudden Question, or Turn of Wit, to revive it; such as these that follow. What? I think here’s a silent Meeting! Come, Madam, A Penny for your Thought; with several other of the like sort. I have rejected all provincial or country Turns of Wit and Fancy, because I am acquainted with a very few; but, indeed, chiefly because I found them so very much inferior to those at Court, especially among the Gentlemen-Ushers, the Ladies of the Bed-Chamber, and the Maids of Honour; I must also add, the hither End of our noble Metropolis.

When this happy Art of polite Conversing shall be thoroughly improved, good Company will be no longer pestered with dull, dry, tedious Story-tellers, nor[40] brangling Disputers: For, a right Scholar, of either Sex, in our Science, will perpetually interrupt them with some sudden surprising Piece of Wit, that shall engage all the Company in a loud Laugh; and, if after a Pause, the grave Companion resumes his Thread in the following Manner; Well, but to go on with my Story; new Interruptions come from the Left to the Right, till he is forced to give over.

I have made some few Essays toward Selling of Bargains, as well for instructing those, who delight in that Accomplishment, as in compliance with my Female Friends at Court. However, I have transgressed a little in this Point, by doing it in a manner somewhat more reserved than as it is now practiced at St. James’s. At the same time, I can hardly allow this Accomplishment to pass properly for a Branch of that perfect polite Conversation, which makes the constituent Subject of my Treatise; and, for which I have already given my Reasons. I have likewise, for further Caution, left a Blank in the critical Point of each Bargain, which the sagacious Reader may fill up in his own Mind.


As to my self, I am proud to own, that except some Smattering in the French, I am what the Pedants and Scholars call, a Man wholly illiterate, that is to say, unlearned. But, as to my own Language, I shall not readily yield to many Persons: I have read most of the Plays, and all the miscellany Poems that have been published for twenty Years past. I have read Mr. Thomas Brown’s Works entire, and had the Honour to be his intimate Friend, who was universally allowed to be the greatest Genius of his Age.

Upon what Foot I stand with the present chief reigning Wits, their Verses recommendatory, which they have commended me to prefix before my Book, will be more than a thousand Witnesses: I am, and have been, likewise, particularly acquainted with Mr. Charles Gildon, Mr. Ward, Mr. Dennis, that admirable Critick and Poet, and several others. Each of these eminent Persons (I mean, those who are still alive) have done me the Honour to read this Production five Times over with the strictest Eye of friendly Severity, and proposed some, although very few, Amendments, which I gratefully accepted, and do here publickly[42] return my Acknowledgment for so singular a Favour.

And here, I cannot conceal, without Ingratitude, the great Assistance I have received from those two illustrious Writers, Mr. Ozel, and Captain Stevens. These, and some others, of distinguished Eminence, in whose Company I have passed so many agreeable Hours, as they have been the great Refiners of our Language; so, it hath been my chief Ambition to imitate them. Let the Popes, the Gays, the Arbuthnots, the Youngs, and the rest of that snarling Brood burst with Envy at the Praises we receive from the Court and Kingdom.

But to return from this Digression.

The Reader will find that the following Collection of polite Expressions will easily incorporate with all Subjects of genteel and fashionable Life. Those, which are proper for Morning-Tea, will be equally useful at the same Entertainment in the Afternoon, even in the same Company, only by shifting the several Questions, Answers, and Replies, into different Hands; and such as are adapted to Meals will indifferently serve for Dinners or Suppers, only distinguishing between[43] Day-light and Candle-light. By this Method no diligent Person, of a tolerable Memory, can ever be at a loss.

It hath been my constant Opinion, that every Man, who is intrusted by Nature with any useful Talent of the Mind, is bound by all the Ties of Honour, and that Justice which we all owe our Country, to propose to himself some one illustrious Action, to be performed in his Life for the publick Emolument. And, I freely confess, that so grand, so important an Enterprize as I have undertaken, and executed to the best of my Power, well deserved a much abler Hand, as well as a liberal Encouragement from the Crown. However, I am bound so far to acquit my self, as to declare, that I have often and most earnestly intreated several of my above-named Friends, universally allowed to be of the first Rank in Wit and Politeness, that they would undertake a Work, so honourable to themselves, and so beneficial to the Kingdom; but so great was their Modesty, that they all thought fit to excuse themselves, and impose the Task on me; yet in so obliging a Manner, and attended with such Compliments on my poor Qualifications, that[44] I dare not repeat. And, at last, their Intreaties, or rather their Commands, added to that inviolable Love I bear to the Land of my Nativity, prevailed upon me to engage in so bold an Attempt.

I may venture to affirm, without the least Violation of Modesty, that there is no Man, now alive, who hath, by many Degrees, so just Pretensions as my self, to the highest Encouragement from the Crown, the Parliament, and the Ministry, towards bringing this Work to its due Perfection. I have been assured, that several great Heroes of antiquity were worshipped as Gods, upon the Merit of having civilized a fierce and barbarous People. It is manifest, I could have no other Intentions; and, I dare appeal to my very Enemies, if such a Treatise as mine had been published some Years ago, and with as much Success as I am confident this will meet, I mean, by turning the Thoughts of the whole Nobility and Gentry to the Study and Practice of polite Conversation; whether such mean stupid Writers, as the Craftsman and his Abettors, could have been able to corrupt the Principles of so many hundred thousand Subjects, as, to the Shame[45] and Grief of every whiggish, loyal, and true Protestant Heart, it is too manifest, they have done. For, I desire the honest judicious Reader to make one Remark, that after having exhausted the Whole[2] In sickly payday (if I may so call it) of Politeness and Refinement, and faithfully digested it in the following Dialogues, there cannot be found one Expression relating to Politicks; that the Ministry is never mentioned, nor the Word King, above twice or thrice, and then only to the Honour of Majesty; so very cautious were our wiser Ancestors in forming Rules for Conversation, as never to give Offence to Crowned Heads, nor interfere with Party Disputes in the State. And indeed, although there seem to be a close Resemblance between the two Words Politeness and Politicks, yet no Ideas are more inconsistent in their Natures. However, to avoid all Appearance of Disaffection, I have taken care to enforce Loyalty by an invincible Argument, drawn from the very Fountain of this noble Science, in the following short Terms, that ought[46] to be writ in Gold, Must is for the King; which uncontroulable Maxim I took particular Care of introducing in the first Page of my Book; thereby to instil early the best Protestant Loyal Notions into the Minds of my Readers. Neither is it meerly my own private Opinion, that Politeness is the firmest Foundation upon which Loyalty can be supported: For, thus happily sings the Divine Mr. Tibbalds, or Theobalds, in one of his Birth-Day Poems.

“I am no Schollard; but I am polite:
Therefore be sure I am no Jacobite.”

Hear likewise, to the same purpose, that great Master of the whole Poetick Choir, our most illustrious Laureat Mr. Colly Cibber.

“Who in his Talk can’t speak a polite Thing,
Will never loyal be to George our King.”

I could produce many more shining Passages out of our principal Poets, of both Sexes, to confirm this momentous Truth. From whence, I think, it may be fairly concluded, that whoever can most contribute towards propagating the Science contained in the following Sheets,[47] through the Kingdoms of Great-Britain and Ireland, may justly demand all the Favour, that the wisest Court, and most judicious Senate, are able to confer on the most deserving Subject. I leave the Application to my Readers.

This is the Work, which I have been so hardy to attempt, and without the least mercenary View. Neither do I doubt of succeeding to my full Wish, except among the Tories and their Abettors; who being all Jacobites, and, consequently Papists in their Hearts, from a Want of true Taste, or by strong Affectation, may perhaps resolve not to read my Book; chusing rather to deny themselves the Pleasure and Honour of shining in polite Company among the principal Genius’s of both Sexes throughout the Kingdom, than adorn their Minds with this noble Art; and probably apprehending (as, I confess nothing is more likely to happen) that a true Spirit of Loyalty to the Protestant Succession should steal in along with it.

If my favourable and gentle Readers could possibly conceive the perpetual Watchings, the numberless Toils, the frequent Risings in the Night, to set[48] down several ingenious Sentences, that I suddenly or accidentally recollected; and which, without my utmost Vigilance, had been irrecoverably lost for ever: If they would consider with what incredible Diligence I daily and nightly attended at those Houses, where Persons of both Sexes, and of the most distinguished Merit, used to meet and display their Talents; with what Attention I listened to all their Discourses, the better to retain them in my Memory; and then, at proper Seasons, withdrew unobserved, to enter them in my Table-Book, while the Company little suspected what a noble Work I had then in Embryo: I say, if all these were known to the World, I think, it would be no great Presumption in me to expect, at a proper Juncture, the publick Thanks of both Houses of Parliament, for the Service and Honour I have done to the whole Nation by my single Pen.

Although I have never been once charged with the least Tincture of Vanity, the Reader will, I hope, give me leave to put an easy Question: What is become of all the King of Sweden’s Victories? Where are the Fruits of them at[49] this Day? or, of what Benefit will they be to Posterity? were not many of his greatest Actions owing, at least in part, to Fortune? were not all of them owing to the Valour of his Troops, as much as to his own Conduct? could he have conquered the Polish King, or the Czar of Muscovy, with his single Arm? Far be it from me to envy or lessen the Fame he hath acquired; but, at the same time, I will venture to say, without Breach of Modesty, that I, who have alone with this Right-hand subdued Barbarism, Rudeness, and Rusticity, who have established and fixed for ever the whole System of all true Politeness and Refinement in Conversation, should think my self most inhumanely treated by my Country-men, and would accordingly resent it as the highest Indignity, to be put upon the level, in point of Fame, in After-ages, with Charles the Twelfth, late King of Sweden.

And yet, so incurable is the Love of Detraction, perhaps beyond what the charitable Reader will easily believe, that I have been assured by more than one credible Person, how some of my Enemies have industriously whispered[50] about, that one Isaac Newton, an Instrument-maker, formerly living near Leicester-Fields, and afterwards a Workman at the Mint in the Tower, might possibly pretend to vye with me for Fame in future times. The Man it seems was knighted for making Sun-Dials better than others of his Trade, and was thought to be a Conjurer, because he knew how to draw Lines and Circles upon a Slate, which no body could understand. But, adieu to all noble Attempts for endless Renown, if the Ghost of an obscure Mechanick shall be raised up to enter into competition with me, only for his Skill in making Pot-hooks and Hangers with a Pencil, which many thousand accomplished Gentlemen and Ladies can perform as well with a Pen and Ink upon a Piece of Paper, and, in a manner, as little intelligible as those of Sir Isaac.

My most ingenious Friend already mentioned, Mr. Colly Cibber, who does too much Honour to the Laurel Crown he deservedly wears (as he hath often done to many Imperial Diadems placed on his Head) was pleased to tell me, that, if my Treatise were formed into a Comedy, the Representation, performed[51] to Advantage on our Theatre might very much contribute to the Spreading of polite Conversation among all Persons of Distinction through the whole Kingdom.

I own, the Thought was ingenious, and my Friend’s Intention good. But, I cannot agree to his Proposal: For, Mr. Cibber himself allowed, that the Subjects handled in my Work, being so numerous and extensive, it would be absolutely impossible for one, two, or even six Comedies to contain them. From whence it will follow, that many admirable and essential Rules for polite Conversation must be omitted.

And here let me do justice to my Friend Mr. Tibalds, who plainly confessed before Mr. Cibber himself, that such a Project, as it would be a great Diminution to my Honour, so it would intolerably mangle my Scheme, and thereby destroy the principal End at which I aimed, to form a compleat Body or System of this most useful Science in all its Parts. And therefore Mr. Tibbalds, whose Judgment was never disputed, chose rather to fall in with my Proposal mentioned before, of erecting[52] publick Schools and Seminaries all over the Kingdom, to instruct the young People of both Sexes in this Art, according to my Rules, and in the Method that I have laid down.

I shall conclude this long, but necessary Introduction, with a Request, or indeed rather, a just and reasonable Demand from all Lords, Ladies, and Gentlemen, that while they are entertaining and improving each other with those polite Questions, Answers, Repartees, Replies, and Rejoinders, which I have with infinite Labour, and close Application, during the Space of thirty-six Years, been collecting for their Service and Improvement, they shall, as an Instance of Gratitude, on every proper Occasion, quote my Name, after this or the like manner. Madam, as our Master Wagstaff says. My Lord, as our Friend Wagstaff has it. I do likewise expect, that all my Pupils shall drink my Health every Day at Dinner and Supper during my Life; and that they, or their Posterity, shall continue the same Ceremony to my not inglorious Memory, after my Decease, for ever.

[2] This Word is spelt by Latinists, Encyclopædia; but the judicious Author wisely prefers the Polite Reading before the Pedantick.





The MEN.




Lord Sparkish meeting Col. Atwit.

Col. Well met, my Lord.

Ld. Sparkish. Thank ye, Colonel. A Parson would have said, I hope we shall meet in Heaven. When did you see Tom Neverout?

Col. He’s just coming towards us. Talk of the Devil——

[Neverout comes up.

Col. How do you do, Tom?

Neverout. Never the better for you.

Col. I hope, you’re never the worse. But where’s your Manners? Don’t you see my Lord Sparkish?

Neverout. My Lord, I beg your Lordship’s Pardon.

Ld. Sparkish. Tom, how is it, that you[56] can’t see the Wood for Trees? What Wind blew you hither?

Neverout. Why, my Lord, it is an ill Wind blows nobody good; for it gives me the Honour of seeing your Lordship.

Col. Tom, you must go with us to Lady Smart’s to Breakfast.

Neverout. Must? Why, Colonel, Must’s for the King.

[Col. offering in Jest to draw his Sword.

Col. Have you spoke with all your Friends?

Neverout. Colonel, as you’re stout, be merciful.

Ld. Sparkish. Come, agree, agree; the Law’s costly.

[Col. taking his Hand from the Hilt.

Col. Well, Tom, you are never the worse Man to be afraid of me. Come along.

Neverout. What, do you think, I was born in a Wood, to be afraid of an Owl?

I’ll wait on you. I hope Miss Notable will be there; egad she’s very handsome, and has Wit at Will.

Col. Why every one as they like; as the good Woman said, when she kiss’d her Cow.


[Lord Smart’s House; they knock at the Door; the Porter comes out.

Ld. Sparkish. Pray, are you the Porter?

Porter. Yes, for Want of a better.

Ld. Sparkish. Is your Lady at Home?

Porter. She was at Home just now; but she’s not gone out yet.

Neverout. I warrant, this Rogue’s Tongue is well hung.

[Lady Smart’s Antichamber.

Lady Smart and Lady Answerall at the Tea-table.

Lady Smart. My Lord, your Lordship’s most humble Servant.

Ld. Sparkish. Madam, you spoke too late; I was your Ladyship’s before.

Lady Smart. Oh! Colonel, are you here!

Col. As sure as you’re there, Madam.

Lady Smart. Oh, Mr. Neverout! what, such a Man alive!

Neverout. Ay, Madam; alive, and alive like to be, at your Ladyship’s Service.

Lady Smart. Well: I’ll get a Knife, and nick it down, that Mr. Neverout[58] came to our House. And pray, What News Mr. Neverout?

Neverout. Why, Madam, Queen Elizabeth’s dead.

Lady Smart. Well, Mr. Neverout, I see you are no Changeling.

[Miss Notable comes in.

Neverout. Miss, your Slave: I hope your early Rising will do you no Harm. I hear you are but just come out of the Cloth-Market.

Miss. I always rise at Eleven, whether it be Day or no.

Col. Miss, I hope you are up for all Day?

Miss. Yes, if I don’t get a Fall before Night.

Col. Miss, I heard you were out of Order; pray, how are you now?

Miss. Pretty well, Colonel, I thank you.

Col. Pretty and well, Miss! that’s Two very good things.

Miss. I mean, I am better than I was.

Neverout. Why then, ’tis well you were sick.

Miss. What, Mr. Neverout; you take me up, before I’m down.


Lady Smart. Come, let us leave off Children’s Play, and come to Push-pin.

Miss [to Lady Smart.] Pray, Madam, give me some more Sugar to my Tea.

Col. Oh! Miss, you must needs be very good-humour’d, you love sweet things so much.

Neverout. Stir it up with the Spoon, Miss; for the deeper the sweeter.

Lady Smart. I assure you, Miss, the Colonel has made you a great Compliment.

Miss. I am sorry for it; for I have heard say, that complimenting is lying.

Lady Smart [to Ld. Sparkish.] My Lord, methinks the Sight of you is good for sore Eyes; if we had known of your Coming, we would have strown Rushes for you: How has your Lordship done this long time?

Col. Faith, Madam, he’s better in Health, than in good Conditions.

Ld. Sparkish. Well; I see there’s no worse Friend than one brings from Home with one; and I am not the first Man has carry’d a Rod to whip himself.

Neverout. Here’s Miss, has not a Word to throw at a Dog. Come; a Penny for your Thoughts.


Miss. It is not worth a Farthing; for I was thinking of you.

[Col.——rising up.——

Lady Smart. Colonel, Where are you going so soon? I hope you did not come to fetch Fire.

Col. Madam, I must needs go Home for half an Hour.

Miss. Why, Colonel, they say, the Devil’s at Home.

Lady Answerall. Well, but sit while you stay; ’tis as cheap sitting as standing.

Col. No, Madam; while I’m standing I’m going.

Miss. Nay, let him go; I promise him, we won’t tear his Cloaths to hold him.

Lady Smart. I suppose, Colonel, we keep you from better Company; I mean only as to myself.

Col. Madam, I am all Obedience.

[Col. sits down.

Lady Smart. Lord, Miss, how can you drink your Tea so hot? Sure your Mouth’s pav’d.

How do you like this Tea, Colonel?

Col. Well enough, Madam; but methinks it is a little more-ish.

Lady Smart. Oh, Colonel! I understand[61] you. Betty, bring the Canister: I have but very little of this Tea left; but I don’t love to make two Wants of one; want when I have it, and want when I have it not. He, he, he, he.


Lady Answ. [to the Maid.] Why, sure, Betty, you are bewitch’d; the Cream is burnt to.

Betty. Why, Madam, the Bishop has set his Foot in it.

Lady Smart. Go, you Girl, and warm some fresh Cream.

Betty. Indeed, Madam, there’s none left; for the Cat has eaten it all.

Lady Smart. I doubt, it was a Cat with Two Legs.

Miss. Colonel, Don’t you love Bread and Butter with your Tea?

Col. Yes, in a Morning, Miss: For they say, Butter is Gold in a Morning, Silver at Noon, but it is Lead at Night.

Neverout. Miss, the Weather is so hot, that my Butter melts on my Bread.

Lady Answ. Why, Butter, I’ve heard ’em say, is mad twice a Year.

Ld. Sparkish. [to the Maid.] Mrs. Betty, how does your Body Politick?

Col. Fie, my Lord; you’ll make Mrs. Betty blush.


Lady Smart. Blush! ay, blush like a blue Dog.

Neverout. Pray, Mrs. Betty, Are not you Tom Johnson’s Daughter?

Betty. So my Mother tells me, Sir.

Ld. Sparkish. But, Mrs. Betty, I hear you are in Love.

Betty. My Lord, I thank God, I hate nobody; I am in Charity with all the World.

Lady Smart. Why, Wench, I think, thy Tongue runs upon Wheels this Morning: How came you by that Scratch on your Nose? Have you been fighting with the Cats?

Col. [to Miss.] Miss, When will you be married?

Miss. One of these Odd-come-shortly’s, Colonel.

Neverout. Yes; they say, the Match is half made, the Spark is willing, but Miss is not.

Miss. I suppose, the Gentleman has got his own Consent for it.

Lady Answ. Pray, My Lord, did you walk through the Park in this Rain?

Ld. Sparkish. Yes, Madam; we were neither Sugar nor Salt; we were not afraid the Rain would melt us. He, he, he. [Laugh.


Col. It rain’d, and the Sun shone at the same time.

Neverout. Why, then the Devil was beating his Wife behind the Door, with a Shoulder of Mutton. [——Laugh.——

Col. A blind Man would be glad to see that.

Lady Smart. Mr. Neverout, methinks you stand in your own Light.

Neverout. Ah! Madam, I have done so all my Life.

Ld. Sparkish. I’m sure he sits in mine: Prythee, Tom, sit a little farther: I believe your Father was no Glasier.

Lady Smart. Miss, dear Girl, fill me out a Dish of Tea, for I’m very lazy.

[Miss fills a Dish of Tea, sweetens it, and then tastes it.

Lady Smart. What, Miss, Will you be my Taster?

Miss. No, Madam; but, they say, ’tis an ill Cook, that can’t lick her own Fingers.

Neverout. Pray, Miss, fill me another.

Miss. Will you have it now, or stay till you get it?

Lady Answ. But, Colonel, they say, you went to Court last Night very drunk:[64] Nay, I’m told for certain, you had been among Philistines: No Wonder the Cat wink’d, when both her Eyes were out.

Col. Indeed, Madam, that’s a Lye.

Lady Answ. ’Tis better I should lye, than you should lose your good Manners: Besides, I don’t lie; I sit.

Neverout. O faith, Colonel, you must own you had a Drop in your Eye: When I left you, you were half Seas over.

Ld. Sparkish. Well, I fear, Lady Answerall can’t live long, she has so much Wit.

Neverout. No; she can’t live, that’s certain; but she may linger Thirty or Forty Years.

Miss. Live long; ay, longer than a Cat, or a Dog, or a better thing.

Lady Answ. Oh! Miss, you must give your Vardi too!

Ld. Sparkish. Miss, Shall I fill you another Dish of Tea?

Miss. Indeed, my Lord, I have drank enough.

Ld. Sparkish. Come, it will do you more good than a Month’s Fasting; here, take it.

Miss. No, I thank your Lordship; enough’s as good as a Feast.


Ld. Sparkish. Well; but if you always say No, you’ll never be married.

Lady Answ. Do, my Lord, give her a Dish; for, they say, Maids will say No, and take it.

Ld. Sparkish. Well; and I dare say, Miss is a Maid in Thought, Word, and Deed.

Neverout. I would not take my Oath of that.

Miss. Pray, Sir, speak for yourself.

Lady Smart. Fie, Miss; they say, Maids should be seen, and not heard.

Lady Answ. Good Miss, stir the Fire, that the Tea-Kettle may boil.—You have done it very well; now it burns purely. Well, Miss, you’ll have a chearful Husband.

Miss. Indeed, your Ladyship could have stirr’d it much better.

Lady Answ. I know that very well, Hussy; but I won’t keep a Dog, and bark myself.

Neverout. What! you are sick, Miss.

Miss. Not at all; for her Ladyship meant you.

Neverout. Oh! faith, Miss, you are in Lob’s-pound; get out as you can.

Miss. I won’t quarrel with my Bread[66] and Butter for all that: I know when I’m well.

Lady Answ. Well; but Miss——

Neverout. Ah! dear Madam, let the Matter fall; take Pity on poor Miss; don’t throw Water on a drownded Rat.

Miss. Indeed, Mr. Neverout, you should be cut for the Simples this Morning: Say a Word more, and you had as good eat your Nails.

Ld. Sparkish. Pray, Miss, will you be so good as to favour us with a Song?

Miss. Indeed, my Lord, I can’t; for I have a great Cold.

Col. Oh! Miss, they say, all good Singers have Colds.

Ld. Sparkish. Pray, Madam, does not Miss sing very well?

Lady Answ. She sings, as one may say, my Lord.

Miss. I hear, Mr. Neverout has a very good Voice.

Col. Yes; Tom sings well; but his Luck’s naught.

Neverout. Faith, Colonel, you hit yourself a devilish Box on the Ear.

Col. Miss, Will you take a Pinch of Snuff?

Miss. No, Colonel; you must know,[67] I never take Snuff, but when I’m angry.

Lady Answ. Yes, yes, she can take Snuff; but she has never a Box to put it in.

Miss. Pray, Colonel, let me see that Box.

Col. Madam, there’s never a C upon it.

Miss. May be there is, Colonel.

Col. Ay; but May-bees don’t fly now, Miss.

Neverout. Colonel, why so hard upon poor Miss? Don’t set your Wit against a Child: Miss, give me a Blow, and I’ll beat him.

Miss. So she pray’d me to tell you.

Ld. Sparkish. Pray, my Lady Smart, What Kin are you to Lord Pozz?

Lady Smart. Why, his Grandmother and mine had Four Elbows.

Lady Answ. Well, methinks here is a silent Meeting. Come, Miss, hold up your Head, Girl; there’s Money bid for you.

[—Miss starts

Miss. Lord, Madam, you frighten me out of my Seven Senses!

Ld. Sparkish. Well, I must be going.

Lady Answ. I have seen hastier People than you stay all Night.


Col. [to Lady Smart.] Tom Neverout and I are to leap To-morrow for a Guinea.

Miss. I believe, Colonel, Mr. Neverout can leap at a Crust better than you.

Neverout. Miss, your Tongue runs before your Wit; nothing can tame you but a Husband.

Miss. Peace! I think I hear the Church Clock.

Neverout. Why you know, as the Fool thinks——

Lady Smart. Mr. Neverout, your Handkerchief’s fallen.

Miss. Let him set his Foot on it, that it mayn’t fly in his Face.

Neverout. Well, Miss——

Miss. Ay, ay; many a one says well, that thinks ill.

Neverout. Well, Miss; I’ll think of this.

Miss. That’s Rhime, if you take it in Time.

Neverout. What! I see you are a Poet.

Miss. Yes; if I had but the Wit to show it.

Neverout. Miss, Will you be so kind as to fill me a Dish of Tea?

Miss. Pray, let your Betters be serv’d[69] before you; I am just going to fill one for myself; and, you know, the Parson always christens his own Child first.

Neverout. But I saw you fill one just now for the Colonel: Well, I find kissing goes by Favour.

Miss. But pray, Mr. Neverout, What Lady was that you were talking with in the Side-Box last Tuesday?

Neverout. Miss, can you keep a Secret?

Miss. Yes, I can.

Neverout. Well, Miss; and so can I.

Col. Odds-so! I have cut my Thumb with this cursed Knife!

Lady Answ. Ay; that was your Mother’s Fault, because she only warn’d you not to cut your Fingers.

Lady Smart. No, no;’tis only Fools cut their Fingers; but wise Folks cut their Thumbs.——

Miss. I’m sorry for it, but I can’t cry.

Col. Don’t you think Miss is grown?

Lady Answ. Ay; ill Weeds grow apace.

[——A Puff of Smoke comes down the Chimney.——

Lady Answ. Lord, Madam, Does your Ladyship’s Chimney smoke?


Col. No, Madam; but they say, Smoke always pursues the Fair, and your Ladyship sat nearest.

Lady Smart. Madam, Do you love Bohea Tea?

Lady Answ. Why, Madam, I must confess I do love it; but it does not love me.

Miss. [to Lady Smart.] Indeed, Madam, your Ladyship is very sparing of your Tea: I protest, the last I took, was no more than Water bewitch’d.

Col. Pray, Miss, if I may be so bold, What Lover gave you that fine Etuy?

Miss. Don’t you know? then keep Counsel.

Lady Answ. I’ll tell you, Colonel, who gave it her; it was the best Lover she will ever have while she lives; her own dear Papa.

Neverout. Methinks, Miss, I don’t much like the Colour of that Ribbon.

Miss. Why then, Mr. Neverout, do you see, if you don’t much like it, you may look off of it.

Ld. Sparkish. I don’t doubt, Madam, but your Ladyship has heard, that Sir John Brisk has got an Employment at Court.


Lady Smart. Yes, yes; and I warrant, he thinks himself no small Fool now.

Neverout. Yet, Madam, I have heard some People take him for a wise Man.

Lady Smart. Ay, ay; some are wise, and some are other-wise.

Lady Answ. Do you know him, Mr. Neverout?

Neverout. Know him! ay, as well as the Beggar knows his Dish.

Col. Well; I can only say, that he has better Luck than honester Folks: But pray, How came he to get this Employment?

Ld. Sparkish. Why, by Chance, as the Man kill’d the Devil.

Neverout. Why, Miss, you are in a brown Study; What’s the Matter? Methinks you look like Mum-Chance, that was hang’d for saying nothing.

Miss. I’d have you to know, I scorn your Words.

Neverout. Well; but scornful Dogs will eat dirty Puddings.

Miss. Well; my Comfort is, your Tongue is no Slander. What! you would not have one be always on the high Grin.


Neverout. Cry, Map-sticks, Madam; no Offence, I hope.

[——Lady Smart breaks a Tea-cup.——

Lady Answ. Lord, Madam, How came you to break your Cup?

Lady Smart. I can’t help it, if I would cry my Eyes out.

Miss. Why, sell it, Madam, and buy a new one with some of the Money.

Col. ’Tis a Folly to cry for spilt Milk.

Lady Smart. Why, if Things did not break or wear out, how would Tradesmen live?

Miss. Well; I am very sick, if any body car’d for it.

Neverout. Come, then, Miss, e’en make a Die of it, and then we shall have a Burying of our own.

Miss. The Devil take you, Neverout, besides all small Curses.

Lady Answ. Marry, come up, What, plain Neverout! methinks you might have an M under your Girdle, Miss.

Lady Smart. Well, well, naught’s never in Danger; I warrant, Miss will spit in her Hand, and hold fast. Colonel, do you like this Bisket?


Col. I’m like all Fools; I love every Thing that’s good.

Lady Smart. Well, and isn’t it pure good?

Col. ’Tis better than a worse.

[——Footman brings the Colonel a Letter.——

Lady Answ. I suppose, Colonel, that’s a Billet-doux from your Mistress.

Col. Egad, I don’t know whence it comes; but whoe’er writ it, writes a Hand like a Foot.

Miss. Well, you may make a Secret of it, but we can spell, and put together.

Neverout. Miss, What spells B double Uzzard?

Miss. Buzzard in your Teeth, Mr. Neverout.

Lady Smart. Now you are up, Mr. Neverout, Will you do me the Favour, to do me the Kindness, to take off the Tea-kettle?

Ld. Sparkish. I wonder what makes these Bells ring.

Lady Answ. Why, my Lord, I suppose, because they pull the Ropes.

[Here all laugh.

[——Neverout plays with a Tea-cup.——


Miss. Now a Child would have cry’d half an Hour before it would have found out such a pretty Plaything.

Lady Smart. Well said, Miss: I vow, Mr. Neverout, the Girl is too hard for you.

Neverout. Ay, Miss will say any Thing but her Prayers, and those she whistles.

Miss. Pray, Colonel, make me a Present of that pretty Penknife?

Ld. Sparkish. Ay, Miss, catch him at that, and hang him.

Col. Not for the World, dear Miss; it will cut Love.

Ld. Sparkish. Colonel, you shall be married first, I was just going to say that.

Lady Smart. Well, but for all that, I can tell who is a great Admirer of Miss: Pray, Miss, how do you like Mr. Spruce? I swear I have often seen him cast a Sheep’s Eye out of a Calf’s Head at you: Deny it if you can.

Miss. Oh! Madam; all the World knows, that Mr. Spruce is a general Lover.

Col. Come, Miss, ’tis too true to make a Jest on.

[——Miss blushes.——


Lady Answ. Well, however, Blushing is some Sign of Grace.

Neverout. Miss says nothing; but I warrant she pays it off with Thinking.

Miss. Well, Ladies and Gentlemen, you are pleas’d to divert yourselves; but, as I hope to be sav’d, there’s nothing in it.

Lady Smart. Touch a gall’d Horse, and he’ll wince: Love will creep where it dare not go: I’d hold a hundred Pound Mr. Neverout was the Inventor of that Story; and, Colonel, I doubt you had a Finger in the Pye.

Lady Answ. But, Colonel, you forgot to salute Miss when you came in; she said you had not been here a long time.

Miss. Fie, Madam! I vow, Colonel, I said no such thing; I wonder at your Ladyship!

Col. Miss, I beg your Pardon——

[Goes to salute her, she struggles a little.——

Miss. Well, I had rather give a Knave a Kiss, for once, than be troubled with him; but, upon my Word, you are more bold than welcome.


Lady Smart. Fie, fie, Miss! for Shame of the World, and Speech of good People.

[Neverout to Miss, who is cooking her Tea and Bread and Butter.

Neverout. Come, come, Miss, make much of naught; good Folks are scarce.

Miss. What! and You must come in with your Two Eggs a Penny, and Three of them rotten.

Col. [to Ld. Sparkish.] But, my Lord, I forgot to ask you, How you like my new Cloaths?

Ld. Sparkish. Why, very well, Colonel; only, to deal plainly with you, methinks the worst Piece is in the Middle.

[——Here a loud Laugh, often repeated.——

Col. My Lord, you are too severe on your Friends.

Miss. Mr. Neverout, I’m hot; are you a Sot?

Neverout. Miss, I’m cold; are you a Scold? Take you that.

Lady Smart. I confess, that was home. I find, Mr. Neverout, you won’t give your Head for the washing, as they say.

Miss. Oh! he’s a sore Man, where the[77] Skin’s off. I see, Mr. Neverout has a Mind to sharpen the Edge of his Wit, on the Whetstone of my Ignorance.

Ld. Sparkish. Faith, Tom, you are struck! I never heard a better Thing.

Neverout. Pray, Miss, give me Leave to scratch you for that fine Speech.

Miss. Pox on your Picture; it cost me a Groat the drawing.

Neverout. [to Lady Smart.] ’Sbuds, Madam, I have burnt my Hand with your plaguy Tea-kettle.

Lady Smart. Why, then, Mr. Neverout, you must say, God save the King.

Neverout. Did you ever see the like?

Miss. Never, but once, at a Wedding.

Col. Pray, Miss, how old are you?

Miss. Why, I’m as old as my Tongue, and a little older than my Teeth.

Ld. Sparkish. [to Lady Ans.] Pray, Madam, is Miss Buxom married? I hear, ’tis all over the Town.

Lady Answ. My Lord, she’s either married, or worse.

Col. If she ben’t marry’d, at least she’s lustily promis’d. But, is it certain, that Sir John Blunderbuss is dead at last?

Ld. Sparkish. Yes; or else he’s sadly wrong’d, for they have bury’d him.


Miss. Why, if he be dead, he’ll eat no more Bread.

Col. But, is he really dead?

Lady Answ. Yes, Colonel; as sure as you’re alive——

Col. They say, he was an honest Man.

Lady Answ. Yes, with good looking to.

[——Miss feels a Pimple on her Face.——

Miss. Lord! I think my Goodness is coming out. Madam, will your Ladyship please to send me a Patch?

Neverout. Miss, if you are a Maid, put your Hand upon your Spot.

Miss. ——There——

[Covering her Face with both her Hands.——

Lady Smart. Well, thou art a mad Girl.

[Gives her a Tap.

Miss. Lord, Madam; is that a Blow to give a Child?

[——Lady Smart lets fall her Handkerchief, and the Colonel stoops for it.——

Lady Smart. Colonel, you shall have a better Office.

Col. Oh! Madam, I can’t have a better, than to serve your Ladyship.


Col. [to Lady Sparkish.] Madam, has your Ladyship read the new Play, written by a Lord? it is call’d, Love in a Hollow Tree.

Lady Sparkish. No, Colonel.

Col. Why, then your Ladyship has one Pleasure to come.

[——Miss sighs.——

Neverout. Pray, Miss, why do you sigh?

Miss. To make a Fool ask, and you are the first.

Neverout. Why, Miss, I find there is nothing but a Bit and a Blow with you.

Lady Answ. Why, you must know, Miss is in Love.

Miss. I wish, my Head may never ake till that Day.

Ld. Sparkish. Come, Miss, never sigh, but send for him.

——Lady Smart and Lady Answerall speaking together.] If he be hang’d, he’ll come hopping; and if he be drown’d, he’ll come dropping.

Miss. Well, I swear, you’d make one die with laughing.

[——Miss plays with a Tea-cup, and Neverout plays with another.——


Neverout. Well; I see, one Fool makes many.

Miss. And you’re the greatest Fool of any.

Neverout. Pray, Miss, will you be so kind to tie this String for me with your fair Hands? it will go all in your Day’s Work.

Miss. Marry, come up, indeed; tie it yourself, you have as many Hands as I; your Man’s Man will have a fine Office truly: Come, pray, stand out of my spitting Place.

Neverout. Well; but, Miss, don’t be angry.

Miss. No; I was never angry in my Life but once, and then nobody car’d for it; so I resolv’d never to be angry again.

Neverout. Well; but if you’ll tie it, you shall never know what I’ll do for you.

Miss. So I suppose, truly.

Neverout. Well; but I’ll make you a fine Present one of these Days.

Miss. Ay; when the Devil’s blind; and his Eyes are not sore yet.

Neverout. No, Miss; I’ll send it you To-morrow.

Miss. Well, well: To-morrow’s a new[81] Day; but I suppose, you mean, Tomorrow-come-never.

Neverout. Oh! ’tis the prettiest Thing: I assure you, there came but Two of them over in Three Ships.

Miss. Would I could see it, quoth blind Hugh. But why did you not bring me a Present of Snuff this Morning?

Neverout. Because, Miss, you never ask’d me; and ’tis an ill Dog that’s not worth whistling for.

Ld. Sparkish. [to Lady Answ.] Pray, Madam, how came your Ladyship last Thursday to go to that odious Puppet-show?

Col. Why, to be sure, her Ladyship went to see, and to be seen.

Lady Answ. You have made a fine Speech, Colonel: Pray, what will you take for your Mouth-piece?

Ld. Sparkish. Take that, Colonel: But, pray, Madam, was my Lady Snuff there? They say, she is extremely handsome.

Lady Smart. They must not see with my Eyes, that think so.

Neverout. She may pass Muster well enough.

Lady Answ. Pray, how old do you take her to be?


Col. Why, about Five or Six and Twenty.

Miss. I swear, she’s no Chicken; she’s on the wrong Side of Thirty, if she be a Day.

Lady Answ. Depend upon it, she’ll never see Five and Thirty, and a Bit to spare.

Col. Why, they say, she’s one of the chief Toasts in Town.

Lady Smart. Ay, when all the rest are out of it.

Miss. Well; I wou’dn’t be as sick as she’s proud, for all the World.

Lady Answ. She looks, as if Butter wou’dn’t melt in her Mouth; but I warrant, Cheese won’t choak her. I hear, my Lord What-d’ye-call-him is courting her.

Ld. Sparkish. What Lord d’ye mean, Tom?

Miss. Why, my Lord, I suppose, Mr. Neverout means the Lord of the Lord knows what.

Col. They say, she dances very fine.

Lady Answ. She did; but, I doubt, her Dancing Days are over.

Col. I can’t pardon her, for her Rudeness to me.


Lady Smart. Well; but you must forget and forgive.

[——Footman comes in.——

Lady Smart. Did you call Betty?

Footman. She’s coming, Madam.

Lady Smart. Coming! ay, so is Christmas.

[——Betty comes in.——

Lady Smart. Come, get ready my Things. Where has the Wench been these Three Hours?

Betty. Madam, I can’t go faster than my Legs will carry me.

Lady Smart. Ay, thou hast a Head, and so has a Pin. But, my Lord, all the Town has it, that Miss Caper is to be married to Sir Peter Giball; one thing is certain, that she hath promis’d to have him.

Ld. Sparkish. Why, Madam, you know Promises are either broken or kept.

Lady Answ. I beg your Pardon, my Lord; Promises and Pye-crust are made to be broken.

Lady Smart. Nay, I had it from my Lady Carry-lye’s own Mouth. I tell you my Tale, and my Tale’s Author; if it be a Lye, you had it as cheap as I.


Lady Answ. She and I had some Words last Sunday at Church; but, I think, I gave her her own.

Lady Smart. Her Tongue runs like the Clapper of a Mill; she talks enough for herself and all the Company.

Neverout. And yet she simpers like a Firmity-Kettle.

[——Miss looking in a Glass.——

Miss. Lord, how my Head is drest To-day!

Col. Oh, Madam! a good Face needs no Band.

Miss. No; and a bad one deserves none.

Col. Pray, Miss, where is your old Acquaintance, Mrs. Wayward?

Miss. Why, where should she be? You must needs know; she’s in her Skin.

Col. I can answer that: What if you were as far out as she’s in?——

Miss. Well, I promis’d to go this Evening to Hyde-Park on the Water; but, I protest, I’m half afraid.

Neverout. Never fear, Miss; you have the old Proverb on your Side, Naught’s ne’er in Danger.


Col. Why, Miss, let Tom Neverout wait on you; and then, I warrant, you’ll be as safe as a Thief in a Mill; for you know, he that’s born to be hang’d, will never be drowned.

Neverout. Thank you, Colonel, for your good Word; but, faith, if ever I hang, it shall be about a fair Lady’s Neck.

Lady Smart. Who’s there? Bid the Children be quiet, and not laugh so loud.

Lady Answ. Oh, Madam! let’ em laugh; they’ll ne’er laugh younger.

Neverout. Miss, I’ll tell you a Secret, if you’ll promise never to tell it again.

Miss. No, to be sure; I’ll tell it to nobody but Friends and Strangers.

Neverout. Why, then, there’s some Dirt in my Tea-cup.

Miss. Come, come; the more there’s in’t, the more there’s on’t.

Lady Answ. Poh! you must eat a Peck of Dirt before you die.

Col. Ay, ay; it goes all one way.

Neverout. Pray, Miss, What’s a Clock?

Miss. Why, you must know, ’tis a Thing like a Bell; and you are a Fool that can’t tell.

Neverout. [to Lady Answ.] Pray,[86] Madam, do you tell me; for I have let my Watch run down.

Lady Answ. Why, ’tis half an Hour past Hanging-time.

Col. Well; I am like the Butcher, that was looking for his Knife, and had it in his Mouth: I have been searching my Pockets for my Snuff-box, and, egad, here ’tis in my Hand.

Miss. If it had been a Bear, it would have bit you, Colonel: Well, I wish, I had such a Snuff-box.

Neverout. You’ll be long enough before you wish your Skin full of Eyelet-Holes.

Col. Wish in one Hand,——

Miss. Out upon you: Lord, what can the Man mean?

Ld. Sparkish. This Tea’s very hot.

Lady Answ. Why, it came from a hot Place, my Lord.

[——Colonel spills his Tea.——

Lady Smart. That’s as well done as if I had done it myself.

Col. Madam, I find, you live by ill Neighbours; when you are forc’d to praise yourself.

Lady Smart. So they pray’d me to tell you.


Neverout. Well, I won’t drink a Drop more; if I do, ’twill go down like chopt Hay.

Miss. Pray, don’t say No, till you are ask’d.

Neverout. Well, what you please, and the rest again.

[——Miss stooping for a Pin.——

Miss. I have heard ’em say, that a Pin a Day is a Groat a Year. Well, as I hope to be married, forgive me for swearing; I vow, ’tis a Needle.

Col. Oh! the wonderful Works of Nature: That a black Hen should have a white Egg!

Neverout. What! you have found a Mare’s Nest; and laugh at the Eggs.

Miss. Pray, keep your Breath to cool your Porridge.

Neverout. Miss, there was a very pleasant Accident last Night in St. James’s Park.

Miss. [to Lady Smart.] What was it your Ladyship was going to say just now?

Neverout. Well, Miss; tell a Mare a Tale——

Miss. I find, you love to hear yourself talk.


Neverout. Why, if you won’t hear my Tale, kiss my, &c.

Miss. Out upon you, for a filthy Creeter!

Neverout. What, Miss! must I tell you a Story, and find you Ears?

Ld. Sparkish. [to Lady Smart.] Pray, Madam, don’t you think Mrs. Spendal very genteel?

Lady Smart. Why, my Lord, I think she was cut out for a Gentlewoman, but she was spoil’d in the Making: She wears her Cloaths, as if they were thrown on her with a Pitch-Fork; and, for the Fashion, I believe they were made in the Reign of Queen Bess.

Neverout. Well, that’s neither here nor there; for you know, the more careless, the more modish.

Col. Well, I’d hold a Wager, there will be a Match between her and Dick Dolt; and I believe, I can see as far into a Millstone as another Man.

Miss. Colonel, I must beg your Pardon a Thousand Times; but they say, An old Ape has an old Eye.

Neverout. Miss, what do you mean! you’ll spoil the Colonel’s Marriage, if you call him old.


Col. Not so old, nor yet so cold. You know the rest, Miss.

Miss. Manners is a fine Thing, truly.

Col. Faith, Miss, depend upon it, I’ll give you as good as you bring: What! if you give a Jest, you must take a Jest.

Lady Smart. Well, Mr. Neverout, you’ll ne’er have done till you break that Knife; and then the Man won’t take it again.

Miss. Why, Madam, Fools will be medling; I wish, he may cut his Fingers; I hope, you can see your own Blood without fainting.

Neverout. Why, Miss, you shine this Morning like a —— Barn-door; you’ll never hold out at this Rate; pray, save a little Wit for To-morrow.

Miss. Well, you have said your Say; if People will be rude, I have done; my Comfort is, ’twill be all one a thousand Year hence.

Neverout. Miss, you have shot your Bolt: I find, you must have the last Word.—Well, I’ll go to the Opera To-night.—No, I can’t neither, for I have some Business—and yet I think I must, for I promis’d to squire the Countess to her Box.


Miss. The Countess of Puddledock, I suppose.

Neverout. Peace, or War, Miss?

Lady Smart. Well, Mr. Neverout, you’ll never be mad, you are of so many Minds.

[——As Miss rises, the Chair falls behind her.——

Miss. Well; I shan’t be Lady-Mayoress this Year.

Neverout. No, Miss; ’tis worse than that; you won’t be marry’d this Year.

Miss. Lord! you make me laugh, tho’ I a’n’t well.

[——Neverout, as Miss is standing, pulls her suddenly on his Lap.——

Neverout. Now, Colonel, come, sit down on my Lap; more Sacks upon the Mill.

Miss. Let me go; ar’n’t you sorry for my Heaviness?

Neverout. No, Miss; you are very light; but I don’t say, you are a light Hussy. Pray, take up the Chair for your Pains.

Miss. ’Tis but one body’s Labour, you may do it yourself: I wish, you would be quiet, you have more Tricks than a Dancing Bear.


[——Neverout rises to take up the Chair, and Miss sits in his.——

Neverout. You wou’dn’t be so soon in my Grave, Madam.

Miss. Lord! I have torn my Petticoat with your odious Romping; my Rents are coming in; I’m afraid, I shall fall into the Ragman’s Hands.

Neverout. I’ll mend it, Miss.

Miss. You mend it! go, teach your Grannam to suck Eggs.

Neverout. Why, Miss, you are so cross, I could find in my Heart to hate you.

Miss. With all my Heart; there will be no Love lost between us.

Neverout. But, pray, my Lady Smart, does not Miss look as if she could eat me without Salt?

Miss. I’ll make you one Day sup Sorrow for this.

Neverout. Well, follow your own Way, you’ll live the longer.

Miss. See, Madam, how well I have mended it.

Lady Smart. ’Tis indifferent, as Doll danc’d.

Neverout. ’Twill last as many Nights as Days.


Miss. Well, I knew, I should never have your good Word.

Lady Smart. My Lord, my Lady Answerall and I was walking in the Park last Night till near Eleven; ’twas a very fine Night.

Neverout. Egad so was I; and I’ll tell you a comical Accident; egad, I lost my Under-standing.

Miss. I’m glad you had any to lose.

Lady Smart. Well, but what do you mean?

Neverout. Egad, I kick’d my Foot against a Stone, and tore off the Heel of my Shoe, and was forc’d to limp to a Cobler in the Pall Mall, to have it put on. He, he, he.

[All laugh.

Col. Oh! ’twas a delicate Night to run away with another Man’s Wife.

[——Neverout sneezes.——

Miss. God bless you, if you ha’n’t taken Snuff.

Neverout. Why, what if I have, Miss?

Miss. Why, then, the Duce take you.

Neverout. Miss, I want that Diamond-Ring of yours.

Miss. Why, then, Want’s like to be your Master.


[——Neverout looking at the Ring.——

Neverout. Ay, marry, this is not only but also; where did you get it?

Miss. Why, where ’twas to be had; where the Devil got the Friar.

Neverout. Well; if I had such a fine Diamond-Ring, I woudn’t stay a Day in England: But you know, far-fetch’d and dear-bought is fit for Ladies. I warrant, this cost your Father Twopence half-penny.

[——Miss sitting between Neverout and the Colonel.——

Miss. Well; here’s a Rose between Two Nettles.

Neverout. No, Madam; with Submission, here’s a Nettle between Two Roses.

[——Colonel stretching himself.——

Lady Smart. Why, Colonel, you break the King’s Laws; you stretch without a Halter.

Lady Answ. Colonel, some Ladies of your Acquaintance have promis’d to breakfast with you, and I am to wait on them; what will you give us?

Col. Why, faith, Madam, Batchelors Fare; Bread and Cheese, and Kisses.


Lady Answ. Poh! what have you Batchelors to do with your Money, but to treat the Ladies? you have nothing to keep but your own Four Quarters.

Lady Smart. My Lord, has Captain Brag the Honour to be related to your Lordship?

Ld. Sparkish. Very nearly, Madam; he’s my Cousin-German quite remov’d.

Lady Answ. Pray, is he not rich?

Ld. Sparkish. Ay, a rich Rogue, Two Shirts and a Rag.

Col. Well, however, they say, he has a great Estate, but only the Right Owner keeps him out of it.

Lady Smart. What Religion is he of?

Ld. Sparkish. Why, he is an Anythingarian.

Lady Answ. I believe, he has his Religion to chuse, my Lord.

[——Neverout scratches his Neck.——

Miss. Fie, Mr. Neverout, ar’n’t you asham’d! I beg Pardon for the Expression, but I’m afraid, your Bosom-friends are become your Back-biters.

Neverout. Well, Miss, I saw a Flea once on your Pinner, and a L—— is a Man’s Companion, but a Flea is a Dog’s[95] Companion: However, I wish, you would scratch my Neck with your pretty white Hand.

Miss. And who would be Fool then? I wou’dn’t touch a Man’s Flesh for the Universe: You have the wrong Sow by the Ear, I assure you! that’s Meat for your Master.

Neverout. Miss Notable, all Quarrels laid aside, pray, step hither for a Moment.

Miss. I’ll wash my Hands, and wait on you, Sir; but, pray, come hither, and try to open this Lock.

Neverout. We’ll try what we can do.

Miss. We:——What, have you Pigs in your Belly?

Neverout. Miss, I assure you, I am very handy at all Things.

Miss. Marry, hang them that can’t give themselves a good Word: I believe, you may have an even Hand to throw a L—— in the Fire.

Col. Well, I must be plain; here’s a very bad Smell.

Miss. Perhaps, Colonel, the Fox is the Finder.

Neverout. No, Colonel; ’tis only your Teeth against Rain: But[96]——

Miss. Colonel, I find, you would make a very bad poor Man’s Sow.

[——Colonel coughing.——

Col. I have got a sad Cold.

Lady Answ. Ay; ’tis well if one can get any thing these hard Times.

Miss. [to Col.] Choak, Chicken; there’s more a hatching.

Lady Smart. Pray, Colonel, how did you get that Cold?

Ld. Sparkish. Why, Madam, I suppose, the Colonel got it, by lying a Bed barefoot.

Lady Answ. Why, then, Colonel, you must take it for better for worse, as a Man takes his Wife.

Col. Well, Ladies, I apprehend you without a Constable.

Miss. Mr. Neverout! Mr. Neverout! come hither this Moment!

Lady Smart. [imitating her.] Mr. Neverout, Mr. Neverout! I wish, he were tied to your Girdle.

Neverout. What’s the Matter! whose Mare’s dead now?

Miss. Take your Labour for your Pains; you may go back again, like a Fool, as you came.


Neverout. Well, Miss; if you deceive me a second time, ’tis my Fault.

Lady Smart. Colonel, methinks your Coat is too short.

Col. It will be long enough before I get another, Madam.

Miss. Come, come; the Coat’s a good Coat, and come of good Friends.

Neverout. Ladies, you are mistaken in the Stuff; ’tis half Silk.

Col. Tom Neverout, you are a Fool, and that’s your Fault.

[——A great Noise below.——

Lady Smart. Hey! what a Clattering is here; one would think, Hell was broke loose.

Miss. Indeed, Madam, I must take my Leave, for I a’n’t well.

Lady Smart. What! you are sick of the Mulligrubs, with eating chopt Hay.

Miss. No, indeed, Madam; I’m sick and hungry, more need of a Cook than a Doctor.

Lady Answ. Poor Miss, she’s sick as a Cushion, she wants nothing but stuffing.

Col. If you are sick, you shall have a Caudle of Calf’s Eggs.

Neverout. I can’t find my Gloves.


Miss. I saw the Dog running away with some dirty thing awhile ago.

Col. Miss, you have got my Handkerchief; pray, let me have it.

Lady Smart. No, keep it, Miss; for they say, Possession is Eleven Points of the Law.

Miss. Madam, he shall ne’er have it again; ’tis in Hucksters Hands.

Lady Answ. What! I see ’tis Raining again.

Ld. Sparkish. Why, then, Madam, we must do, as they do in Spain.

Miss. Pray, my Lord, how is that?

Ld. Sparkish. Why, Madam, we must let it rain.

[——Miss whispers Lady Smart.——

Neverout. There’s no Whispering, but there’s Lying.

Miss. Lord! Mr. Neverout, you are as pert as a Pearmonger this Morning.

Neverout. Indeed, Miss, you are very handsome.

Miss. Poh! I know that already; tell me News.

[——Somebody knocks at the Door.—— Footman comes in.

Footman. [to Col.] An please your[99] Honour, there’s a Man below wants to speak to you.

Col. Ladies, your Pardon for a Minute.

[Col. goes out.

Lady Smart. Miss, I sent yesterday to know how you did, but you were gone abroad early.

Miss. Why, indeed, Madam, I was hunch’d up in a Hackney-Coach with Three Country Acquaintance, who call’d upon me to take the Air as far as Highgate.

Lady Smart. And had you a pleasant Airing?

Miss. No, Madam; it rain’d all the Time; I was jolted to Death, and the Road was so bad, that I scream’d every Moment, and call’d to the Coachman, Pray, Friend, don’t spill us.

Neverout. So, Miss, you were afraid, that Pride wou’d have a Fall.

Miss. Mr. Neverout, when I want a Fool, I’ll send for you.

Ld. Sparkish. Miss, didn’t your Left Ear burn last Night?

Miss. Pray, why, my Lord?

Ld. Sparkish. Because I was then in some Company where you were extoll’d to the Skies, I assure you.


Miss. My Lord, that was more their Goodness, than my Desert.

Ld. Sparkish. They said, that you were a complete Beauty.

Miss. My Lord, I am as God made me.

Lady Smart. The Girl’s well enough, if she had but another Nose.

Miss. Oh! Madam, I know I shall always have your good Word; you love to help a lame Dog over the Style.

[——One knocks.——

Lady Smart. Who’s there? you’re on the wrong Side of the Door; come in, if you be fat.

[——Colonel comes in again.——

Ld. Sparkish. Why, Colonel, you are a Man of great Business.

Col. Ay, ay, my Lord, I’m like my Lord Mayor’s Fool; full of Business, and nothing to do.

Lady Smart. My Lord, don’t you think the Colonel mightily fall’n away of late?

Ld. Sparkish. Ay; fall’n from a Horse-load to a Cart-load.

Col. Why, my Lord, egad I am like a[101] Rabbit, fat and lean in Four-and-twenty Hours.

Lady Smart. I assure you, the Colonel walks as strait as a Pin.

Miss. Yes; he’s a handsome-body’d Man in the Face.

Neverout. A handsome Foot and Leg: God-a-mercy Shoe and Stocking!

Col. What! Three upon One! that’s foul Play: This wou’d make a Parson swear.

Neverout. Why, Miss, what’s the Matter? You look as if you had neither won nor lost.

Col. Why, you must know, Miss lives upon Love.

Miss. Yes; upon Love and Lumps of the Cupboard.

Lady Answ. Ay; they say, Love and Peas-porridge are two dangerous Things; one breaks the Heart, and the other the Belly.

Miss. [imitating Lady Answerall’s Tone.] Very pretty! One breaks the Heart, and the other the Belly.

Lady Answ. Have a Care; they say, mocking is catching.

Miss. I never heard that.

Neverout. Why, then, Miss, you have[102] a Wrinkle——more than ever you had before.

Miss. Well; live and learn.

Neverout. Ay; and be hang’d, and forget all.

Miss. Well, Mr. Neverout, take it as you please; but I swear, you are a saucy Jack, to use such Expressions.

Neverout. Why, then, Miss, if you go to that, I must tell you, there’s ne’er a Jack but there’s a Jill.

Miss. Oh! Mr. Neverout; every body knows that you are the Pink of Courtesy.

Neverout. And, Miss, all the World allows, that you are the Flower of Civility.

Lady Smart. Miss, I hear there was a great deal of Company where you visited last Night: Pray, who were they?

Miss. Why, there was old Lady Forward, Miss To-and-again, Sir John Ogle, my Lady Clapper, and I, quoth the Dog.

Col. Was your Visit long, Miss?

Miss. Why, truly, they went all to the Opera; and so poor Pilgarlick came Home alone.

Neverout. Alack a day, poor Miss! methinks it grieves me to pity you.


Miss. What, you think, you said a fine Thing now; well, if I had a Dog with no more Wit, I would hang him.

Ld. Smart. Miss, if it be Manners, may I ask, which is oldest, you or Lady Scuttle?

Miss. Why, my Lord, when I die for Age, she may quake for Fear.

Lady Smart. She’s a very great Gadder abroad.

Lady Answ. Lord! she made me follow her last Week through all the Shops like a Tantiny Pig.

Lady Smart. I remember, you told me, you had been with her from Dan to Beersheba.

[——Colonel spits.——

Col. Lord! I shall die; I cannot spit from me.

Miss. Oh! Mr. Neverout, my little Countess has just litter’d; speak me fair, and I’ll set you down for a Puppy.

Neverout. Why, Miss, if I speak you fair, perhaps I mayn’t tell Truth.

Ld. Sparkish. Ay, but Tom, smoke that, she calls you Puppy by Craft.

Neverout. Well, Miss, you ride the Fore-horse To-day.


Miss. Ay, many a one says well, that thinks ill.

Neverout. Fie, Miss! you said that once before; and, you know, Too much of one Thing is good for nothing.

Miss. Why, sure, we can’t say a good Thing too often.

Ld. Sparkish. Well, so much for that, and Butter for Fish; let us call another Cause: Pray, Madam, does your Ladyship know Mrs. Nice?

Lady Smart. Perfectly well, my Lord; she’s nice by Name, and nice by Nature.

Ld. Sparkish. Is it possible, she could take that Booby Tom Blunder for Love?

Miss. She had good Skill in Horse-flesh, that could chuse a Goose to ride on.

Lady Answ. Why, my Lord, ’twas her Fate; they say, Marriage and Hanging go by Destiny.

Col. I believe she’ll never be burnt for a Witch.

Ld. Sparkish. They say, Marriages are made in Heaven; but I doubt, when she was married, she had no Friend there.

Neverout. Well, she’s got out of God’s Blessing into the warm Sun.


Col. The Fellow’s well enough, if he had any Guts in his Brains.

Lady Smart. They say, thereby hangs a Tale.

Ld. Sparkish. Why, he’s a mere Hobbledehoy, neither a Man nor a Boy.

Miss. Well, if I were to chuse a Husband, I would never be married to a little Man.

Neverout. Pray, why so, Miss? for they say, of all Evils we ought to chuse the least.

Miss. Because Folks would say, when they saw us together, There goes the Woman and her Husband.

Col. [to Lady Smart.] Will your Ladyship be on the Mall To-morrow Night?

Lady Smart. No, that won’t be proper; you know, To-morrow’s Sunday?

Ld. Sparkish. What then, Madam! they say, the better Day, the better Deed.

Lady Answ. Pray, Mr. Neverout, how do you like Lady Fruzz?

Neverout. Pox on her! she’s as old as Poles.

Miss. So will you be, if you ben’t hang’d when you’re young.

Neverout. Come, Miss, let us be[106] Friends: Will you go to the Park this Evening?

Miss. With all my Heart, and a Piece of my Liver; but not with you.

Lady Smart. I’ll tell you one thing, and that’s not two; I’m afraid I shall get a Fit of the Headach To-day.

Col. Oh! Madam, don’t be afraid, it comes with a Fright.

Miss. [to Lady Answ.] Madam; one of your Ladyship’s Lappets is longer than t’other.

Lady Answ. Well, no Matter; they that ride on a trotting Horse will ne’er perceive it.

Neverout. Indeed, Miss, your Lappets hang worse.

Miss. Well, I love a Lyar in my Heart, and you fit me to a Hair.

[——Miss rises up.——

Neverout. Duce take you, Miss! you trod on my Foot: I hope you don’t intend to come to my Bedside.

Miss. In Troth, you are afraid of your Friends, and none of them near you.

Ld. Sparkish. Well said, Girl! [giving her a Chuck.] Take that; they say, a[107] Chuck under the Chin is worth Two Kisses.

Lady Answ. But, Mr. Neverout, I wonder why such a handsome, strait, young Gentleman as you, do not get some rich Widow.

Ld. Sparkish. Strait! Ay, strait as my Leg, and that’s crooked at Knee.

Neverout. Faith, Madam, if it rain’d rich Widows, none of them would fall upon me. Egad, I was born under a Threepenny Planet, never to be worth a Groat.

Lady Answ. No, Mr. Neverout; I believe you were born with a Cawl on your Head; you are such a Favourite among the Ladies: But what think you of Widow Prim? she’s immensely rich.

Neverout. Hang her! they say, her Father was a Baker.

Lady Smart. Ay; but it is not what is she? but what has she? now-a-days.

Col. Tom, faith, put on a bold Face for once, and have at the Widow. I’ll speak a good Word for you to her.

Lady Answ. Ay; I warrant, you’ll speak one Word for him, and two for yourself.

Miss. Well; I had that at my Tongue’s End.


Lady Answ. Why, Miss, they say, good Wits jump.

Neverout. Faith, Madam, I had rather marry a Woman I lov’d, in her Smock, than Widow Prim, if she had her Weight in Gold.

Lady Smart. Come, come, Mr. Neverout; Marriage is honourable, but Housekeeping is a Shrew.

Lady Answ. Consider, Mr. Neverout, Four bare Legs in a Bed; and you are a younger Brother.

Col. Well, Madam; the younger Brother is the better Gentleman: However, Tom, I would advise you to look before you leap.

Ld. Sparkish. The Colonel says true: Besides, you can’t expect to wive and thrive in the same Year.

Miss. [shuddering.] Lord! there’s somebody walking over my Grave.

Col. Pray, Lady Answerall, where was you last Wednesday, when I did myself the Honour to wait on you? I think, your Ladyship is one of the Tribe of Gad.

Lady Answ. Why, Colonel, I was at Church.

Col. Nay, then will I be hang’d, and my Horse too.


Neverout. I believe her Ladyship was at a Church with a Chimney in it.

Miss. Lord, my Petticoat! how it hangs by Jommetry.

Neverout. Perhaps the Fault may be in your Shape.

Miss. [looking gravely.] Come, Mr. Neverout, there’s no Jest like the true Jest; but, I suppose, you think my Back’s broad enough to bear every Thing.

Neverout. Madam, I humbly beg your Pardon.

Miss. Well, Sir, your Pardon’s granted.

Neverout. Well, all Things have an End, and a Pudden has two, up-up-on my-my-my Word. [stutters.]

Miss. What! Mr. Neverout, can’t you speak without a Spoon?

Ld. Sparkish. [to Lady Smart.] Has your Ladyship seen the Duchess since your falling out?

Lady Smart. Never, my Lord, but once at a Visit; and she look’d at me, as the Devil look’d over Lincoln.

Neverout. Pray, Miss, take a Pinch of my Snuff.

Miss. What! you break my Head, and give me a Plaister; well, with all my Heart; once, and not use it.


Neverout. Well, Miss; if you wanted me and your Victuals, you’d want your Two best Friends.

Col. [to Neverout.] Tom, Miss and you must kiss, and be Friends.

[Neverout salutes Miss.

Miss. Any thing for a quiet Life: my Nose itch’d, and I knew I should drink Wine, or kiss a Fool.

Col. Well, Tom, if that ben’t fair, hang fair.

Neverout. I never said a rude Thing to a Lady in my Life.

Miss. Here’s a Pin for that Lye; I’m sure Lyars had need of good Memories. Pray, Colonel, was not he very uncivil to me but just now?

Lady Answ. Mr. Neverout, if Miss will be angry for nothing, take my Council, and bid her turn the Buckle of her Girdle behind her.

Neverout. Come, Lady Answerall, I know better Things; Miss and I are good Friends; don’t put Tricks upon Travellers.

Col. Tom, not a Word of the Pudden, I beg you.

Lady Smart. Ah, Colonel! you’ll never be good, nor then neither.


Ld. Sparkish. Which of the Goods d’ye mean? good for something, or good for nothing?

Miss. I have a Blister on my Tongue; yet, I don’t remember, I told a Lye.

Lady Answ. I thought you did just now.

Ld. Sparkish. Pray, Madam, what did Thought do?

Lady Answ. Well, for my Life, I cannot conceive what your Lordship means.

Ld. Sparkish. Indeed, Madam, I meant no Harm.

Lady Smart. No, to be sure, my Lord! you are as innocent as a Devil of Two Years old.

Neverout. Madam, they say, ill Doers are ill Deemers: but I don’t apply it to your Ladyship.

[Miss mending a Hole in her Lace.

Miss. Well, you see, I’m mending; I hope I shall be good in time; look, Lady Answerall, is not it well mended?

Lady Answ. Ay, this is something like a Tansy.

Neverout. Faith, Miss, you have mended it, as a Tinker mends a Kettle; stop one Hole, and make two.


Lady Smart. Pray, Colonel, are not you very much tann’d?

Col. Yes, Madam; but a Cup of Christmas Ale will soon wash it off.

Ld. Sparkish. Lady Smart, does not your Ladyship think, Mrs. Fade is mightily alter’d since her Marriage?

Lady Answ. Why, my Lord, she was handsome in her Time; but she cannot eat her Cake, and have her Cake: I hear she’s grown a mere Otomy.

Lady Smart. Poor Creature! the Black has set his Foot upon her already.

Miss. Ay! she has quite lost the Blue on the Plumb.

Lady Smart. And yet, they say, her Husband is very fond of her still.

Lady Answ. Oh! Madam; if she would eat Gold, he would give it her.

Neverout. [to Lady Smart.] Madam, have you heard, that Lady Queasy was lately at the Playhouse incog.?

Lady Smart. What! Lady Queasy of all Women in the World! Do you say it upon Rep?

Neverout. Poz, I saw her with my own Eyes; she sat among the Mob in the Gallery; her own ugly Fiz: And she saw me look at her.


Col. Her Ladyship was plaguily bamb’d; I warrant, it put her into the Hipps.

Neverout. I smoked her huge Nose, and egad she put me in mind of the Woodcock, that strives to hide his long Bill, and then thinks nobody sees him.

Col. Tom, I advise you hold your Tongue; for you’ll never say so good a Thing again.

Lady Smart. Miss, what are you looking for?

Miss. Oh! Madam; I have lost the finest Needle——

Lady Answ. Why, seek till you find it, and then you won’t lose your Labour.

Neverout. The Loop of my Hat is broke; how shall I mend it? [he fastens it with a Pin.] Well, hang them, say I, that has no Shift.

Miss. Ay, and hang him, that has one too many.

Neverout. Oh! Miss; I have heard a sad Story of you.

Miss. I defy you, Mr. Neverout; nobody can say, Black’s my Eye.

Neverout. I believe, you wish they could.

Miss. Well; but who was your[114] Author? Come, tell Truth, and shame the Devil.

Neverout. Come then, Miss; guess who it was that told me; come, put on your Considering-cap.

Miss. Well, who was it?

Neverout. Why, one that lives within a Mile of an Oak.

Miss. Well, go hang yourself in your own Garters; for I’m sure, the Gallows groans for you.

Neverout. Pretty Miss! I was but in Jest.

Miss. Well, but don’t let that stick in your Gizzard.

Col. My Lord, does your Lordship know Mrs. Talkall?

Ld. Smart. Only by Sight; but I hear she has a great deal of Wit; and egad, as the Saying is, Mettle to the Back.

Lady Smart. So I hear.

Col. Why Dick Lubber said to her t’other Day, Madam, you can’t cry Bo to a Goose: Yes, but I can, said she; and, egad, cry’d Bo full in his Face: We all thought we should break our Hearts with laughing.

Ld. Sparkish. That was cutting with a Vengeance: and pr’ythee how did the Fool look?


Col. Look? Egad he look’d for all the World like an Owl in an Ivy Bush.

[A Child comes in screaming.

Miss. Well, if that Child was mine, I’d whip it till the Blood came; Peace, you little Vixen! if I were near you, I would not be far from you.

Lady Smart. Ay, ay; Batchelors Wives and Maids Children are finely tutor’d.

Lady Answ. Come to me, Master; and I’ll give you a Sugar-Plumb. Why, Miss, you forgot that ever you was a Child yourself. [She gives the Child a Lump of Sugar.] I have heard ’em say, Boys will long.

Col. My Lord, I suppose you know, that Mr. Buzzard has married again?

Lady Smart. This is his Fourth Wife; then he has been shod round.

Col. Why, you must know, she had a Month’s Mind to Dick Frontless, and thought to run away with him; but her Parents forc’d her to take the old Fellow for a good Settlement.

Ld. Sparkish. So the Man got his Mare again.

Ld. Smart. I’m told he said a very[116] good thing to Dick; said he, You think us old Fellows are Fools; but we old Fellows know young Fellows are Fools.

Col. I know nothing of that; but I know, he’s devilish old, and she’s very young.

Lady Answ. Why, they call that a Match of the World’s making.

Miss. What if he had been young, and she old?

Neverout. Why, Miss, that would have been a Match of the Devil’s making; but when both are young, that’s a Match of God’s making.

[Miss searching her Pockets for her Thimble, brings out a Nutmeg.

Neverout. Oh! Miss, have a Care; for if you carry a Nutmeg in your Pocket, you’ll certainly be marry’d to an old Man.

Miss. Well, and if ever I be marry’d, it shall be to an old Man; they always make the best Husbands; and it is better to be an old Man’s Darling than a young Man’s Warling.

Neverout. Faith, Miss, if you speak as you think, I’ll give you my Mother for a Maid.


[Lady Smart rings the Bell. Footman comes in.

Lady Smart. Harkee, you Fellow; run to my Lady Match, and desire she will remember to be here at Six, to play at Quadrille: D’ye hear, if you fall by the Way, don’t stay to get up again.

Footman. Madam, I don’t know the House.

Lady Smart. Well, that’s not for Want of Ignorance; follow your Nose; go, enquire among the Servants.

[Footman goes out, and leaves the Door open.

Lady Smart. Here, come back, you Fellow; why did you leave the Door open? Remember, that a good Servant must always come when he’s call’d, do what he’s bid, and shut the Door after him.

[The Footman goes out again, and falls down Stairs.

Lady Answ. Neck or nothing; come down, or I’ll fetch you down: Well, but I hope, the poor Fellow has not sav’d the Hangman a Labour.

Neverout. Pray, Madam, smoke Miss[118] yonder biting her Lips, and playing with her Fan.

Miss. Who’s that takes my Name in vain?

[She runs up to them, and falls down.

Lady Smart. What, more falling! do you intend the Frolick should go round?

Lady Answ. Why, Miss, I wish you may not have broke her Ladyship’s Floor.

Neverout. Miss, come to me, and I’ll take you up.

Lady Sparkish. Well, but without a Jest, I hope, Miss, you are not hurt.

Col. Nay, she must be hurt for certain; for you see, her Head is all of a Lump.

Miss. Well, remember this, Colonel, when I have Money, and you have none.

Lady Smart. But, Colonel, when do you design to get a House, and a Wife, and a Fire to put her in?

Miss. Lord! who would be marry’d to a Soldier, and carry his Knapsack?

Neverout. Oh! Madam: Mars and Venus, you know.

Col. Egad, Madam, I’d marry To-morrow,[119] if I thought I could bury my Wife just when the Honey-Moon is over; but they say, A Woman has as many Lives as a Cat.

Lady Answ. I find, the Colonel thinks, a dead Wife under the Table is the best Goods in a Man’s House.

Lady Smart. O but, Colonel, if you had a good Wife, it would break your Heart to part with her.

Col. Yes, Madam; for they say, he that has lost his Wife and Sixpence, has lost a Tester.

Lady Smart. But, Colonel, they say, that every marry’d Man should believe there’s but one good Wife in the World, and that’s his own.

Col. For all that, I doubt, a good Wife must be bespoke, for there is none ready made.

Miss. I suppose, the Gentleman’s a Woman-Hater; but, Sir, I think, you ought to remember, that you had a Mother: And pray, if it had not been for a Woman, where would you have been, Colonel?

Col. Nay, Miss, you cry’d W——e first, when you talk’d of the Knapsack.

Lady Answ. But I hope you won’t[120] blame the whole Sex, because some are bad.

Neverout. And they say, he that hates Woman, suck’d a Sow.

Col. Oh! Madam; there’s no general Rule without an Exception.

Lady Smart. Then, why don’t you marry, and settle?

Col. Egad, Madam, there’s nothing will settle me but a Bullet.

Ld. Sparkish. Well, Colonel, there’s one Comfort, that you need not fear a Cannon-Bullet.

Col. Why so, my Lord?

Ld. Sparkish. Because they say, he was curs’d in his Mother’s Belly, that was kill’d by a Cannon-Bullet.

Miss. I suppose, the Colonel was cross’d in his first Love, which makes him so severe on all the Sex.

Lady Answ. Yes; and I’ll hold a hundred to one, that the Colonel has been over Head and Ears in Love with some Lady, that has made his Heart ake.

Col. Oh! Madam, We Soldiers are Admirers of all the fair Sex.

Miss. I wish, I could see the Colonel in Love, till he was ready to die.


Lady Smart. Ay; but I doubt, few People die for Love in these days.

Neverout. Well, I confess, I differ from the Colonel; for I hope to have a rich and a handsome Wife yet before I die.

Col. Ay, Tom; live Horse, and thou shalt have Grass.

Miss. Well, Colonel; but whatever you say against Women, they are better Creatures than Men; for Men were made of Clay, but Woman was made of Man.

Col. Miss, you may say what you please; but, faith, you’ll never lead Apes in Hell.

Neverout. No, no; I’ll be sworn Miss has not an Inch of Nun’s Flesh about her.

Miss. I understumble you, Gentlemen.

Neverout. Madam, your humble-cum-dumble.

Ld. Sparkish. Pray, Miss, when did you see your old Acquaintance Mrs. Cloudy? You and She are Two, I hear.

Miss. See her! marry, I don’t care whether I ever see her again, God bless my Eye-sight.

Lady Answ. Lord! why she and you were as great as two Inkle-weavers. I’ve[122] seen her hug you, as the Devil hug’d the Witch.

Miss. That’s true; but I’m told for certain, she’s no better than she should be.

Lady Smart. Well, God mend us all; but you must allow, the World is very censorious: I never heard that she was a naughty Pack.

Col. [to Neverout.] Come, Sir Thomas, when the King pleases; when do you intend to march?

Ld. Sparkish. Have Patience. Tom, is your Friend Ned Rattle marry’d?

Neverout. Yes, faith, my Lord; he has tied a Knot with his Tongue, that he can never untie with his Teeth.

Lady Smart. Ay; marry in Haste, and repent at Leisure.

Lady Answ. Has he got a good Fortune with his Lady? for they say, Something has some Savour, but Nothing has no Flavour.

Neverout. Faith, Madam, all he gets by her, he may put into his Eye, and see never the worse.

Miss. Then, I believe, he heartily wishes her in Abraham’s Bosom.

Col. Pray, my Lord, how does Charles Limber and his fine Wife agree?


Ld. Sparkish. Why, they say, he’s the greatest Cuckold in Town.

Neverout. Oh! but my Lord, you should always except my Lord-Mayor.

Miss. Mr. Neverout!

Neverout. Hay, Madam, did you call me?

Miss. Hay; why, Hay is for Horses.

Neverout. Why, Miss, then you may kiss——

Col. Pray, my Lord, what’s a Clock by your Oracle?

Ld. Sparkish. Faith, I can’t tell, I think my Watch runs upon Wheels.

Neverout. Miss, pray be so kind to call a Servant to bring me a Glass of Small Beer: I know you are at Home here.

Miss. Every Fool can do as they’re bid: Make a Page of your own Age, and do it yourself.

Neverout. Chuse, proud Fool; I did but ask you.

[Miss puts her Hand to her Knee.

Neverout. What! Miss, are you thinking of your Sweet-Heart? is your Garter slipping down?

Miss. Pray, Mr. Neverout, keep your[124] Breath to cool your Porridge; you measure my Corn by your Bushel.

Neverout. Indeed, Miss, you lye.——

Miss. Did you ever hear any thing so rude?

Neverout. I mean, you lye——under a Mistake.

Miss. If a thousand Lyes could choak you, you would have been choaked many a Day ago.

[Miss tries to snatch Neverout’s Snuff-box.

Neverout. Madam, you miss’d that, as you miss’d your Mother’s Blessing.

[She tries again, and misses.

Neverout. Snap short makes you look so lean, Miss.

Miss. Poh! you are so robustious, you had like to put out my Eye: I assure you, if you blind me, you must lead me.

Lady Smart. Dear Miss, be quiet; and bring me a Pin-cushion out of that Closet.

[Miss opens the Closet Door, and squalls.

Lady Smart. Lord bless the Girl! what’s the Matter now?


Miss. I vow, Madam, I saw something in black, I thought it was a Spirit.

Col. Why, Miss, did you ever see a Spirit?

Miss. No, Sir; I thank God, I never saw any thing worse than myself.

Neverout. Well, I did a very foolish thing yesterday, and was a great Puppy for my Pains.

Miss. Very likely; for, they say, many a true Word’s spoke in Jest.

[Footman returns.

Lady Smart. Well, did you deliver your Message? You are fit to be sent for Sorrow, you stay so long by the Way.

Footman. Madam, my Lady was not at Home, so I did not leave the Message.

Lady Smart. This is it to send a Fool of an Errand.

Ld. Sparkish. [looking at his Watch.] ’Tis past Twelve a Clock.

Lady Smart. Well, what is that among all us?

Ld. Sparkish. Madam, I must take my Leave: Come, Gentlemen, are you for a March?

Lady Smart. Well, but your Lordship[126] and the Colonel will dine with us To-day; and, Mr. Neverout, I hope, we shall have your good Company: There will be no Soul else, besides my own Lord and these Ladies; for every body knows, I hate a Croud; I would rather want Vittles than Elbow-Room: We dine punctually at Three.

Ld. Sparkish. Madam, we’ll be sure to attend your Ladyship.

Col. Madam, my Stomach serves me instead of a Clock.

[Another Footman comes back.

Lady Smart. Oh! you are the t’other Fellow I sent: Well, have you been with my Lady Club? You are good to send of a dead Man’s Errand.

Footman. Madam, my Lady Club begs your Ladyship’s Pardon; but she is engaged To-night.

Miss. Well, Mr. Neverout, here’s the Back of my Hand to you.

Neverout. Miss, I find, you will have the last Word. Ladies, I am more yours than my own.



Lord Smart and the former Company at Three a Clock coming to dine.

[After Salutations.

Lord Smart. I’m sorry I was not at Home this Morning when you all did us the Honour to call here: But I went to the Levee To-day.

Ld. Sparkish. Oh! my Lord; I’m sure the Loss was ours.

Lady Smart. Gentlemen and Ladies, you are come to a sad dirty House; I am sorry for it, but we have had our Hands in Mortar.

Ld. Sparkish. Oh! Madam; your Ladyship is pleas’d to say so, but I never saw any thing so clean and so fine; I profess, it is a perfect Paradise.


Lady Smart. My Lord, your Lordship is always very obliging.

Ld. Sparkish. Pray, Madam, whose Picture is that?

Lady Smart. Why, my Lord, it was drawn for me.

Ld. Sparkish. I’ll swear, the Painter did not flatter your Ladyship.

Col. My Lord, the Day is finely clear’d up.

Ld. Smart. Ay, Colonel; ’tis a pity that fair Weather should ever do any Harm. [To Neverout.] Why, Tom, you are high in the Mode.

Neverout. My Lord, it is better be out of the World, than out of the Fashion.

Ld. Smart. But, Tom, I hear, You and Miss are always quarrelling; I fear, it is your Fault; for I can assure you, she is very good-humour’d.

Neverout. Ay, my Lord; so is the Devil when he’s pleas’d.

Ld. Smart. Miss, what do you think of my Friend Tom?

Miss. My Lord, I think, he’s not the wisest Man in the World; and truly, he’s sometimes very rude.

Ld. Sparkish. That may be true; but,[129] yet, he that hangs Tom for a Fool, may find a Knave in the Halter.

Miss. Well, however, I wish he were hang’d, if it were only to try.

Neverout. Well, Miss, if I must be hang’d, I won’t go far to chuse my Gallows; it shall be about your fair Neck.

Miss. I’ll see your Nose Cheese first, and the Dogs eating it: But, my Lord, Mr. Neverout’s Wit begins to run low, for I vow, he said this before: Pray, Colonel, give him a Pinch, and I’ll do as much for you.

Ld. Sparkish. My Lady Smart, your Ladyship has a very fine Scarf.

Lady Smart. Yes, my Lord; it will make a flaming Figure in a Country Church.

[Footman comes in.

Footman. Madam, Dinner’s upon the Table.

Col. Faith, I’m glad of it; my Belly began to cry Cupboard.

Neverout. I wish I may never hear worse News.

Miss. What! Mr. Neverout, you are in great Haste; I believe, your Belly thinks your Throat’s cut.


Neverout. No, faith, Miss; Three Meals a Day, and a good Supper at Night, will serve my Turn.

Miss. To say the Truth, I’m hungry.

Neverout. And I’m angry, so let us both go fight.

[They go in to Dinner, and after the usual Compliments, take their Seats.

Lady Smart. Ladies and Gentlemen, will you eat any Oysters before Dinner?

Col. With all my Heart. [Takes an Oyster.] He was a bold Man, that first eat an Oyster.

Lady Smart. They say, Oysters are a cruel Meat, because we eat them alive: Then they are an uncharitable Meat, for we leave nothing to the Poor; and they are an ungodly Meat, because we never say Grace.

Neverout. Faith, that’s as well said, as if I had said it myself.

Lady Smart. Well, we are well set, if we be but as well serv’d: Come, Colonel, handle your Arms; shall I help you to some Beef?

Col. If your Ladyship please; and, pray, don’t cut like a Mother-in-Law, but send me a large Slice; for I love to[131] lay a good Foundation. I vow, ’tis a noble Sirloyn.

Neverout. Ay; here’s cut, and come again.

Miss. But, pray, why is it call’d a Sirloyn?

Ld. Sparkish. Why, you must know, that our King James the First, who lov’d good Eating, being invited to Dinner by one of his Nobles, and seeing a large Loyn of Beef at his Table, he drew out his Sword, and in a Frolic knighted it. Few People know the Secret of this.

Ld. Sparkish. Beef is Man’s Meat, my Lord.

Ld. Smart. But, my Lord, I say, Beef is the King of Meat.

Miss. Pray, what have I done, that I must not have a Plate?

Lady Smart. [to Lady Answ.] What will your Ladyship please to eat?

Lady Answ. Pray, Madam, help yourself.

Col. They say, Eating and Scratching wants but a Beginning: If you will give me Leave, I’ll help myself to a Slice of this Shoulder of Veal.

Lady Smart. Colonel, you can’t do a[132] kinder thing: Well, you are all heartily welcome, as I may say.

Col. They say, there are Thirty-and-two good Bits in a Shoulder of Veal.

Lady Smart. Ay, Colonel; Thirty bad Bits, and Two good ones: you see, I understand you; but I hope, you have got one of the two good ones.

Neverout. Colonel, I’ll be of your Mess.

Col. Then, pray, Tom, carve for yourself: They say, Two Hands in a Dish, and One in a Purse: Hah, said I well, Tom?

Neverout. Colonel, you spoke like an Oracle.

Miss. [to Lady Answ.] Madam, will your Ladyship help me to some Fish?

Ld. Smart. [to Neverout.] Tom, they say, Fish should swim thrice.

Neverout. How is that, my Lord?

Ld. Smart. Why, Tom, first it should swim in the Sea, (do you mind me?) then it should swim in Butter; and at last, Sirrah, it should swim in good Claret. I think, I have made it out.

Footman. [to Ld. Smart.] My Lord, Sir John Linger is coming up.

Ld. Smart. God so! I invited him to[133] dine with me To-day, and forgot it: Well, desire him to walk in.

[Sir John Linger comes in.

Sir John. What! are you at it? Why, then, I’ll be gone.

Lady Smart. Sir John, I beg you will sit down: Come, the more the merrier.

Sir John. Ay; but the fewer the better Cheer.

Lady Smart. Well, I am the worst in the World at making Apologies; it was my Lord’s Fault: I doubt you must kiss the Hare’s Foot.

Sir John. I see you are fast by the Teeth.

Col. Faith, Sir John, we are killing that, that would kill us.

Ld. Sparkish. You see, Sir John, we are upon a Business of Life and Death: Come, will you do as we do? You are come in Pudden-Time.

Sir John. Ay; this would you be doing if I were dead. What! you keep Court-Hours I see: I’ll be going, and get a Bit of Meat at my Inn.

Lady Smart. Why, we won’t eat you, Sir John.

Sir John. It is my own Fault; but[134] I was kept by a Fellow who bought some Derbyshire Oxen from me.

Neverout. You see, Sir John, we stay’d for you, as one Horse does for another.

Lady Smart. My Lord, will you help Sir John to some Beef? Lady Answerall, pray, eat, you see your Dinner: I am sure, if we had known we should have such good Company, we should have been better provided; but you must take the Will for the Deed. I’m afraid you are invited to your Loss.

Col. And, pray, Sir John, how do you like the Town? You have been absent a long Time.

Sir John. Why, I find, little London stands just where it did when I left it last.

Neverout. What do you think of Hannover-Square? Why, Sir John, London is gone out of Town since you saw it.

Lady Smart. Sir John, I can only say, you are heartily welcome; and I wish I had something better for you.

Col. Here’s no Salt; Cuckolds will run away with the Meat.

Ld. Smart. Pray, edge a little, to make more Room for Sir John: Sir John, fall to, you know Half an Hour is soon lost at Dinner.


Sir John. I protest I can’t eat a Bit, for I took Share of a Beef-stake and Two Muggs of Ale with my Chapman, besides a Tankard of March Beer, as soon as I got out of Bed.

Lady Answ. Not fresh and fasting, I hope?

Sir John. Yes, faith, Madam; I always wash my Kettle before I put the Meat in it.

Lady Smart. Poh! Sir John; you have seen Nine Houses since you eat last: Come, you have kept a Corner of your Stomach for a Piece of Venison-Pasty.

Sir John. Well, I’ll try what I can do, when it comes up.

Lady Answ. Come, Sir John, you may go further, and fare worse.

Miss. [to Neverout.] Pray, Mr. Neverout, will you please to send me a Piece of Tongue?

Neverout. By no means, Madam; one Tongue’s enough for a Woman.

Col. Miss, here’s a Tongue that never told a Lye.

Miss. That was, because it could not speak. Why, Colonel, I never told a Lye in my Life.


Neverout. I appeal to all the Company, whether that be not the greatest Lye that ever was told.

Col. [to Neverout.] Pr’ythee, Tom, send me the Two Legs and Rump and Liver of that Pigeon; for, you must know, I love what nobody else loves.

Neverout. But what if any of the Ladies should long? Well, here take it, and the D—l do you good with it.

Lady Answ. Well; this Eating and Drinking takes away a body’s Stomach.

Neverout. I am sure I have lost mine.

Miss. What! the Bottom of it, I suppose.

Neverout. No, really, Miss; I have quite lost it.

Miss. I should be very sorry a poor body had found it.

Lady Smart. But, Sir John, we hear you are marry’d since we saw you last: What! you have stolen a Wedding it seems.

Sir John. Well; one can’t do a foolish thing once in one’s Life, but one must hear of it a hundred times.

Col. And pray, Sir John, how does your Lady unknown?

Sir John. My Wife’s well, Colonel;[137] and at your Service in a civil way. Ha, ha. [he laughs.

Miss. Pray, Sir John, is your Lady tall or short?

Sir John. Why, Miss, I thank God, she is a Little Evil.

Ld. Sparkish. Come, give me a Glass of Claret.

[Footman fills him a Bumper.

Ld. Sparkish. Why do you fill so much?

Neverout. My Lord, he fills as he loves you.

Lady Smart. Miss, shall I send you some Cowcomber?

Miss. Madam, I dare not touch it; for they say, Cowcombers are cold in the third Degree.

Lady Smart. Mr. Neverout, do you love Pudden?

Neverout. Madam, I’m like all Fools, I love every thing that is good; but the Proof of the Pudden is in the Eating.

Col. Sir John, I hear you are a great Walker when you are at Home.

Sir John. No, faith, Colonel; I always love to walk with a Horse in my Hand: But I have had devilish bad Luck in Horse-flesh of late.


Ld. Smart. Why then, Sir John, you must kiss a Parson’s Wife.

Lady Smart. They say, Sir John, that your Lady has a great deal of Wit.

Sir John. Madam, she can make a Pudden; and has just Wit enough to know her Husband’s Breeches from another Man’s.

Lady Smart. My Lord Sparkish, I have some excellent Cyder, will you please to taste it?

Ld. Sparkish. My Lord, I should like it well enough, if it were not so treacherous.

Ld. Smart. Pray, my Lord, how is it treacherous?

Ld. Sparkish. Because it smiles in my Face, and cuts my Throat. [Here a loud laugh.]

Miss. Odd-so! Madam; your Knives are very sharp, for I have cut my Finger.

Lady Smart. I am sorry for it; pray, which Finger? (God bless the Mark.)

Miss. Why, this Finger: No, ’tis this: I vow I can’t find which it is.

Neverout. Ay; the Fox had a Wound, and he could not tell where, &c. Bring some Water to throw in her Face.

Miss. Pray, Mr. Neverout, did you ever[139] draw a Sword in Anger? I warrant you would faint at the Sight of your own Blood.

Lady Smart. Mr. Neverout, shall I send you some Veal?

Neverout. No, Madam; I don’t love it.

Miss. Then pray for them that do. I desire your Ladyship will send me a Bit.

Ld. Smart. Tom, my Service to you.

Neverout. My Lord, this Moment I did myself the Honour to drink to your Lordship.

Ld. Smart. Why then that’s Hartfordshire Kindness.

Neverout. Faith, my Lord, I pledged myself, for I drank twice together without thinking.

Ld. Sparkish. Why then, Colonel, my humble Service to You.

Neverout. Pray, my Lord, don’t make a Bridge of my Nose.

Ld. Sparkish. Well, a Glass of this Wine is as comfortable as Matrimony to an old Woman.

Col. Sir John, I design one of these Days to come and beat up your Quarters in Derbyshire.

Sir John. Faith, Colonel, come and welcome; and stay away, and heartily[140] welcome: But you were born within the Sound of Bow Bell, and don’t care to stir so far from London.

Miss. Pray, Colonel, send me some Fritters.

[Colonel takes them out with his Hand.

Col. Here, Miss; they say, Fingers were made before Forks, and Hands before Knives.

Lady Smart. Methinks this Pudden is too much boil’d.

Ld. Answ. Oh! Madam, they say, a Pudden is Poison when it’s too much boil’d.

Neverout. Miss, shall I help you to a Pigeon? Here’s a Pigeon so finely roasted, it cries, Come eat me.

Miss. No, Sir; I thank you.

Neverout. Why, then you may chuse.

Miss. I have chosen already.

Neverout. Well, you may be worse offer’d, before you are twice marry’d.

[The Colonel fills a large Plate of Soupe.

Ld. Smart. Why, Colonel, you don’t mean to eat all that Soupe?

Col. O my Lord, this is my sick Dish; when I am well, I’ll have a bigger.


Miss [to Col.] Sup, Simon; very good Broth.

Neverout. This seems to be a good Pullet.

Miss. I warrant, Mr. Neverout knows what’s good for himself.

Ld. Sparkish. Tom, I shan’t take your Word for it; help me to a Wing.

[Neverout tryes to cut off a Wing.

Neverout. Egad I can’t hit the Joint.

Ld. Sparkish. Why, then, think of a Cuckold.

Neverout. Oh! now I have nick’d it.

[Gives it Ld. Sparkish.

Ld. Sparkish. Why, a Man may eat this, tho’ his Wife lay a dying.

Col. Pray, Friend, give me a Glass of Small Beer, if it be good.

Ld. Smart. Why, Colonel, they say, there is no such thing as good Small Beer, good Brown Bread, or a good Old Woman.

Lady Smart. [to Lady Answ.] Madam, I beg your Ladyship’s Pardon; I did not see you when I was cutting that Bit.

Lady Answ. Oh! Madam; after you is good Manners.


Lady Smart. Lord! here’s a Hair in the Sauce.

Ld. Sparkish. Then set the Hounds after it.

Neverout. Pray, Colonel, help me however to some of that same Sauce.

Col. Come; I think you are more Sauce than Pig.

Ld. Smart. Sir John, chear up: My Service to you: Well, what do you think of the World to come?

Sir John. Truly, my Lord, I think of it as little as I can.

Lady Smart [putting a Scewer on a Plate.] Here, take this Scewer, and carry it down to the Cook, to dress it for her own Dinner.

Neverout. I beg your Ladyship’s Pardon; but this Small Beer is dead.

Lady Smart. Why, then, let it be bury’d.

Col. This is admirable Black Pudden: Miss, shall I carve you some? I can just carve Pudden, and that’s all; I am the worst Carver in the World; I should never make a good Chaplain.

Miss. No, thank ye, Colonel; for they say, those that eat Black Pudden will dream of the Devil.


Ld. Smart. O, here comes the Venison-Pasty: Here, take the Soupe away.

Ld. Smart. [He cuts it up, and tastes the Venison.] ’Sbuds! this Venison is musty.

[Neverout eats a Piece, and it burns his Mouth.

Ld. Smart. What’s the Matter, Tom? You have Tears in your Eyes, I think: What dost cry for, Man?

Neverout. My Lord, I was just thinking of my poor Grandmother; She died just this very Day Seven Years.

[Miss takes a Bit, and burns her Mouth.

Neverout. And, pray, Miss, why do you cry too?

Miss. Because you were not hang’d the Day your Grandmother died.

Ld. Smart. I’d have given Forty Pounds, Miss, to have said that.

Col. Egad, I think, the more I eat, the hungrier I am.

Ld. Sparkish. Why, Colonel, they say, one Shoulder of Mutton drives down another.

Neverout. Egad, if I were to fast for my Life, I would take a good Breakfast[144] in the Morning, a good Dinner at Noon, and a good Supper at Night.

Ld. Sparkish. My Lord, this Venison is plaguily pepper’d; your Cook has a heavy Hand.

Ld. Smart. My Lord, I hope, you are Pepper-proof: Come, here’s a Health to the Founders.

Lady Smart. Ay; and to the Confounders too.

Ld. Smart. Lady Answerall, does not your Ladyship love Venison?

Lady Answ. No, my Lord, I can’t endure it in my Sight, therefore please to send me a good Piece of Meat and Crust.

Ld. Sparkish [drinks to Neverout.] Come, Tom; not always to my Friends, but once to you.

Neverout [drinks to Lady Smart.] Come, Madam; here’s a Health to our Friends, and hang the rest of our Kin.

Lady Smart [to Lady Answ.] Madam, will your Ladyship have any of this Hare?

Lady Answ. No, Madam; they say, ’tis melancholy Meat.

Lady Smart. Then, Madam, shall I send you the Brains? I beg your Ladyship’s[145] Pardon; for they say, ’tis not good Manners to offer Brains.

Lady Answ. No, Madam; for perhaps it will make me hare-brain’d.

Neverout. Miss, I must tell you one thing.

Miss [with a Glass in her Hand.] Hold your Tongue, Mr. Neverout; don’t speak in my Tip.

Col. Well, he was an ingenious Man, that first found out Eating and Drinking.

Ld. Sparkish. Of all Vittles Drink digests the quickest: Give me a Glass of Wine.

Neverout. My Lord, your Wine is too strong.

Ld. Smart. Ay, Tom; as much as you are too good.

Miss. This Almond Pudden was pure good; but it is grown quite cold.

Neverout. So much the better, Miss; cold Pudden will settle your Love.

Miss. Pray, Mr. Neverout, are you going to take a Voyage?

Neverout. Why do you ask, Miss?

Miss. Because you have laid in so much Beef.

Sir John. You Two have eat up the whole Pudden betwixt you.


Miss. Sir John, here’s a little Bit left; will you please to have it?

Sir John. No, thankee; I don’t love to make a Fool of my Mouth.

Col. [calling to the Butler.] John, is your Small Beer good?

Butler. An please your Honour, my Lord and Lady like it; I think it is good.

Col. Why then, John, d’yesee? if you are sure your Small Beer is good, d’yemark? Then, give me a Glass of Wine.

[All laugh.

[Colonel tasting the Wine.

Ld. Smart. Sir John, how does your Neighbour Gatherall of the Peak? I hear, he has lately made a Purchase.

Sir John. Oh, Dick Gatherall knows how to butter his Bread, as well as any Man in Darbyshire.

Ld. Smart. Why, he us’d to go very fine, when he was here in Town.

Sir John. Ay; and it became him, as a Saddle becomes a Sow.

Col. I know his Lady, and I think she is a very good Woman.

Sir John. Faith, she has more Goodness in her little Finger, than he has in his whole Body.


Ld. Smart. Well, Colonel, how do you like that Wine?

Col. This Wine should be eaten; it is too good to be drunk.

Ld. Smart. I’m very glad you like it; and pray don’t spare it.

Col. No, my Lord; I’ll never starve in a Cook’s Shop.

Ld. Smart. And pray, Sir John, what do You say to my Wine?

Sir John. I’ll take another Glass first; second Thoughts are best.

Ld. Sparkish. Pray, Lady Smart, you sit near that Ham; will you please to send me a Bit?

Lady Smart. With all my Heart. [She sends him a Piece.] Pray, my Lord, how do you like it?

Ld. Sparkish. I think it is a Limb of Lot’s Wife. [He eats it with Mustard.] Egad, my Lord, your Mustard is very uncivil.

Ld. Smart. Why uncivil, my Lord?

Ld. Sparkish. Because it takes me by the Nose, egad.

Lady Smart. Mr. Neverout, I find you are a very good Carver.

Col. O Madam, that is no Wonder; for you must know, Tom Neverout carves a Sundays.


[Neverout overturns the Salt-celler.

Lady Smart. Mr. Neverout, you have overturn’d the Salt, and that’s a Sign of Anger: I’m afraid, Miss and You will fall out.

Lady Answ. No, no; throw a little of it into the Fire, and all will be well.

Neverout. O Madam, the falling out of Lovers, you know.

Miss. Lovers! very fine! fall out with Him! I wonder when we were in!

Sir John. For my Part, I believe, the young Gentlewoman is his Sweetheart; there’s so much Fooling and Fidling betwixt them: I’m sure, they say in our Country, that — — — is the Beginning of Love.

Miss. I own, I love Mr. Neverout, as the Devil loves Holy Water; I love him like Pye, I’d rather the Devil had him than I.

Neverout. Miss, I’ll tell you one thing.

Miss. Come, here’s t’ ye, to stop your Mouth.

Neverout. I’d rather you would stop it with a Kiss.

Miss. A Kiss! marry come up, my dirty Cousin; are you no sicker? Lord,[149] I wonder what Fool it was that first invented Kissing!

Neverout. Well, I’m very dry.

Miss. Then you’re the better to burn, and the worse to fry.

Lady Answ. God bless you, Colonel; you have a good Stroke with you.

Col. O Madam; formerly I could eat all, but now I leave nothing; I eat but one Meal a Day.

Miss. What! I suppose, Colonel, that’s from Morning till Night.

Neverout. Faith, Miss; and well was his Wont.

Ld. Smart. Pray, Lady Answerall, taste this Bit of Venison.

Lady Answ. I hope, your Lordship will set me a good Example.

Ld. Smart. Here’s a Glass of Cyder fill’d: Miss, you must drink it.

Miss. Indeed, my Lord, I can’t.

Neverout. Come, Miss; better Belly burst, than good Liquor be lost.

Miss. Pish! well in Life there was never any thing so teizing; I had rather shed it in my Shoes: I wish it were in your Guts, for my Share.

Ld. Smart. Mr. Neverout, you han’t tasted my Cyder yet.


Neverout. No, my Lord: I have been just eating Soupe; and they say, if one drinks in one’s Porridge, one will cough in one’s Grave.

Ld. Smart. Come, take Miss’s Glass, she wish’d it was in your Guts; let her have her Wish for once: Ladies can’t abide to have their Inclinations cross’d.

Lady Smart [to Sir John.] I think, Sir John, you have not tasted the Venison yet.

Sir John. I seldom eat it, Madam: However, please to send me a little of the Crust.

Ld. Sparkish. Why, Sir John, you had as good eat the Devil as the Broth he’s boil’d in.

Col. Well, this Eating and Drinking takes away a body’s Stomach, as Lady Answerall says.

Neverout. I have dined as well as my Lord Mayor.

Miss. I thought I could have eaten this Wing of a Chicken; but my Eye’s bigger than my Belly.

Ld. Smart. Indeed, Lady Answerall, you have eaten nothing.

Lady Answ. Pray, my Lord, see all the Bones on my Plate: They say, a Carpenter’s known by his Chips.


Neverout. Miss, will you reach me that Glass of Jelly?

Miss [giving it to him.] You see, ’tis but ask and have.

Neverout. Miss, I would have a bigger Glass.

Miss. What! you don’t know your own Mind; you are neither well, full nor fasting; I think that is enough.

Neverout. Ay, one of the Enough’s; I am sure it is little enough.

Miss. Yes; but you know, sweet Things are bad for the Teeth.

Neverout [to Lady Answ.] Madam, I don’t like that Part of the Veal you sent me.

Lady Answ. Well, Mr. Neverout, I find you are a true Englishman; you never know when you are well.

Col. Well, I have made my whole Dinner of Beef.

Lady Answ. Why, Colonel, a Belly-full’s a Belly-full, if it be but of Wheat-straw.

Col. Well, after all, Kitchen-Physic is the best Physic.

Ld. Smart. And the best Doctors in the World are Doctor Dyet, Doctor Quiet, and Doctor Merryman.


Ld. Sparkish. What do you think of a little House well fill’d?

Sir John. And a little Land well till’d?

Col. Ay; and a little Wife well will’d?

Neverout. My Lady Smart, pray help me to some of the Breast of that Goose.

Ld. Smart. Tom, I have heard, that Goose upon Goose is false Heraldry.

Miss. What! will you never have done stuffing?

Ld. Smart. This Goose is quite raw: Well, God sends Meat, but the Devil sends Cooks.

Neverout. Miss, can you tell which is the white Goose, or the gray Goose the Gander?

Miss. They say, a Fool will ask more Questions than the wisest body can answer.

Col. Indeed, Miss, Tom Neverout has posed you.

Miss. Why, Colonel, every Dog has his Day; but, I believe, I shall never see a Goose again without thinking on Mr. Neverout.

Ld. Smart. Well said, Miss; faith. Girl, thou hast brought thyself off cleverly. Tom, what say you to that?


Col. Faith, Tom is nonplust; he looks plaguily down in the Mouth.

Miss. Why, my Lord, you see he is the provokingest Creature in Life; I believe there is not such another in the varsal World.

Lady Answ. Oh, Miss! the World’s a wide Place.

Neverout. Well, Miss, I’ll give you Leave to call me any thing, if you don’t call me Spade.

Ld. Smart. Well, but, after all, Tom, can you tell me what’s Latin for a Goose.

Neverout. O my Lord, I know that; why Brandy is Latin for a Goose, and Tace is Latin for a Candle.

Miss. Is that Manners, to shew your Learning before Ladies? Methinks you are grown very brisk of a sudden; I think the Man’s glad he’s alive.

Sir John. The Devil take your Wit, if this be Wit; for it spoils Company: Pray, Mr. Butler, bring me a Dram after my Goose; ’tis very good for the Wholsoms.

Ld. Smart. Come, bring me the Loaf; I sometimes love to cut my own Bread.

Miss. I suppose, my Lord, you lay longest a Bed To-day.


Ld. Smart. Miss, if I had said so, I should have told a Fib; I warrant you lay a Bed till the Cows came Home: But, Miss, shall I cut you a little Crust now my Hand is in?

Miss. If you please, my Lord, a Bit of Under-crust.

Neverout. [whispering Miss.] I find, you love to lie under.

Miss. aloud [pushing him from her.] What does the Man mean! Sir, I don’t understand you at all.

Neverout. Come, all Quarrels laid aside: Here, Miss, may you live a thousand Years.

[He drinks to her.

Miss. Pray, Sir, don’t stint me.

Ld. Smart. Sir John, will you taste my October? I think it is very good; but I believe not equal to yours in Darbyshire.

Sir John. My Lord, I beg your Pardon; but they say, the Devil made Askers.

Ld. Smart. [to the Butler.] Here, bring up the great Tankard full of October for Sir John.

Col. [drinking to Miss.] Miss, your Health; may you live all the Days of your Life.

Lady Answ. Well, Miss, you’ll certainly[155] be soon marry’d; here’s Two Batchelors drinking to you at once.

Lady Smart. Indeed, Miss, I believe you were wrapt in your Mother’s Smock, you are so well belov’d.

Miss. Where’s my Knife? Sure I han’t eaten it. Oh! here it is.

Sir John. No, Miss; but your Maidenhead hangs in your Light.

Miss. Pray, Sir John, is that a Darbyshire Compliment? Here, Mr. Neverout, will you take this Piece of Rabbit that you bid me carve for you?

Neverout. I don’t know.

Miss. Why, take it, or let it alone.

Neverout. I will.

Miss. What will you?

Neverout. Why, I’ll take it, or let it alone.

Miss. You are a provoking Creature.

Sir John [talking with a Glass of Wine in his Hand.] I remember a Farmer in our Country——

Ld. Smart [interrupting him.] Pray, Sir John, did you ever hear of Parson Palmer?

Sir John. No, my Lord; what of him?

Ld. Smart. Why, he used to preach over his Liquor.


Sir John. I beg your Pardon; here’s your Lordship’s Health: I’d drink it up, if it were a Mile to the Bottom.

Lady Smart. Mr. Neverout, have you been at the new Play?

Neverout. Yes, Madam; I went the first Night.

Lady Smart. Well; and how did it take?

Neverout. Why, Madam, the Poet is damn’d.

Sir John. God forgive you! that’s very uncharitable: you ought not to judge so rashly of any Christian.

Neverout [whispers Lady Smart.] Was ever such a Dunce? How well he knows the Town! see, how he stares like a Stuck-Pig! Well, but, Sir John, are you acquainted with any of our fine Ladies yet? any of our famous Toasts?

Sir John. No; damn your Fireships, I have a Wife of my own.

Lady Smart. Pray, my Lady Answerall, how do you like these preserv’d Oranges?

Lady Answ. Indeed, Madam, the only Fault I find is, that they are too good.

Lady Smart. O Madam; I have heard ’em say, that too good is stark naught.


[Miss drinking Part of a Glass of Wine.

Neverout. Pray, let me drink your Snuff.

Miss. No, indeed; you shan’t drink after me, for you’ll know my Thoughts.

Neverout. I know them already; you are thinking of a good Husband: Besides, I can tell your Meaning by your Mumping.

Lady Smart. Pray, my Lord, did not you order the Butler to bring up a Tankard of our October to Sir John? I believe, they stay to brew it.

[The Butler brings up the Tankard to Sir John.

Sir John. Won’t your Ladyship please to drink first?

Lady Smart. No, Sir John; ’tis in a very good Hand; I’ll pledge you.

Col. [to Ld. Smart.] My Lord, I love October as well as Sir John; and I hope, you won’t make Fish of one, and Flesh of another.

Ld. Smart. Colonel, you’re heartily welcome. Come, Sir John, take it by Word of Mouth, and then give it the Colonel.

[Sir John drinks.


Ld. Smart. Well, Sir John, how do you like it?

Sir John. Not as well as my own in Darbyshire; ’tis plaguy small.

Lady Smart. I never taste Malt Liquor; but they say, ’tis well hopt.

Sir John. Hopt! why, if it had hopp’d a little further, it would have hopp’d into the River. O my Lord, my Ale is Meat, Drink and Cloth; it will make a Cat speak, and a wise Man dumb.

Lady Smart. I was told, ours was very strong.

Sir John. Ay, Madam, strong of the Water; I believe the Brewer forgot the Malt, or the River was too near him: Faith, it is mere Whip-Belly-Vengeance; he that drinks most has the worst Share.

Col. I believe, Sir John, Ale is as Plenty as Water at your House.

Sir John. Why, faith, at Christmas we have many Comers and Goers; and they must not be sent away without a Cup of Christmas Ale, for fear they should —— behind the Door.

Lady Smart. I hear, Sir John has the nicest Garden in England; they say, ’tis kept so clean, that you can’t find a Place where to spit.


Sir John. O Madam; you are pleased to say so.

Lady Smart. But, Sir John, your Ale is terrible strong and heady in Derbyshire, and will soon make one drunk and sick; what do you then?

Sir John. Why, indeed, it is apt to fox one; but our Way is, to take a Hair of the same Dog next Morning.——I take a new-laid Egg for Breakfast; and, faith, one should drink as much after an Egg as after an Ox.

Ld. Smart. Tom Neverout, will you taste a Glass of the October?

Neverout. No, faith, my Lord; I like your Wine, and I won’t put a Churle upon a Gentleman; your Honour’s Claret is good enough for me.

Lady Smart. What! is this Pigeon left for Manners? Colonel, shall I send you the Legs and Rump?

Col. Madam, I could not eat a Bit more, if the House was full.

Ld. Smart [carving a Partridge.] Well; one may ride to Rumford upon this Knife, it is so blunt.

Lady Answ. My Lord, I beg your Pardon; but they say, an ill Workman never had good Tools.


Ld. Smart. Will your Lordship have a Wing of it?

Ld. Sparkish. No, my Lord; I love the Wing of an Ox a great deal better.

Ld. Smart. I’m always cold after Eating.

Col. My Lord, they say, that’s a Sign of long Life.

Ld. Smart. Ay; I believe I shall live till all my Friends are weary of me.

Col. Pray, does any body here hate Cheese? I would be glad of a Bit.

Ld. Smart. An odd kind of Fellow dined with me t’other Day; and when the Cheese came upon the Table, he pretended to faint; so somebody said, Pray, take away the Cheese; No, said I; pray, take away the Fool: Said I well?

[Here a large and loud Laugh.

Col. Faith, my Lord, you serv’d the Coxcomb right enough; and therefore I wish we had a Bit of your Lordship’s Oxfordshire Cheese.

Ld. Smart. Come, hang Saving; bring us a Halfporth of Cheese.

Lady Answ. They say, Cheese digests every thing but itself.

[A Footman brings a great whole Cheese.


Ld. Sparkish. Ay; this would look handsome, if any body should come in.

Sir John. Well; I’m weily rosten, as they sayn in Lancashire.

Lady Smart. Oh! Sir John; I wou’d I had something to brost you withal.

Ld. Smart. Come; they say, ’tis merry in Hall, when Beards wag all.

Lady Smart. Miss, shall I help you to some Cheese? or will you carve for yourself?

Neverout. I’ll hold Fifty Pounds, Miss won’t cut the Cheese.

Miss. Pray, why so, Mr. Neverout?

Neverout. Oh there is a Reason, and you know it well enough.

Miss. I can’t for my Life understand what the Gentleman means.

Ld. Smart. Pray, Tom, change the Discourse; in Troth you are too bad.

Col. [whispers Neverout.] Smoke Miss; faith, you have made her fret like Gum Taffety.

Lady Smart. Well, but Miss; (hold your Tongue, Mr. Neverout) shall I cut you a Piece of Cheese?

Miss. No, really, Madam; I have dined this half Hour.


Lady Smart. What! quick at Meat, quick at Work, they say.

[Sir John nods.

Ld. Smart. What! are you sleepy, Sir John? do you sleep after Dinner?

Sir John. Yes, faith; I sometimes take a Nap after my Pipe; for when the Belly is full, the Bones will be at Rest.

Ld. Smart. Come, Colonel; help yourself, and your Friends will love you the better. [To Lady Answ.] Madam, your Ladyship eats nothing.

Lady Answ. Lord, Madam, I have fed like a Farmer; I shall grow as fat as a Porpoise; I swear my Jaws are weary of chawing.

Col. I have a Mind to eat a Piece of that Sturgeon; but fear it will make me sick.

Neverout. A rare Soldier indeed! Let it alone, and I warrant it won’t hurt you.

Col. Well; but it would vex a Dog to see a Pudden creep.

[Sir John rises.

Ld. Smart. Sir John, what are you doing?

Sir John. Swolks, I must be going,[163] by’r Lady; I have earnest Business; I must do as the Beggars do, go away when I have got enough.

Ld. Smart. Well, but stay till this Bottle’s out; you know, the Man was hang’d that left his Liquor behind him: And besides, a Cup in the Pate is a Mile in the Gate; and a Spur in the Head is worth two in the Heel.

Sir John. Come then; one Brimmer to all your Healths. [The Footman gives him a Glass half full.] Pray, Friend, what was the rest of this Glass made for? An Inch at the Top, Friend, is worth two at the Bottom. [He gets a Brimmer, and drinks it off.] Well, there’s no Deceit in a Brimmer, and there’s no false Latin in this; your Wine is excellent good, so I thank you for the next, for I am sure of this: Madam, has your Ladyship any Commands in Darbyshire? I must go Fifteen Miles To-night.

Lady Smart. None, Sir John, but to take Care of Yourself; and my most humble Service to your Lady unknown.

Sir John. Well, Madam, I can but love and thank you.

Lady Smart. Here, bring Water to wash; tho’, really, you have all eaten so[164] little, that you have no need to wash your Mouths.——

Ld. Smart. But, pr’ythee, Sir John, stay awhile longer.

Sir John. No, my Lord; I am to smoke a Pipe with a Friend before I leave the Town.

Col. Why, Sir John, had not you better set out To-morrow?

Sir John. Colonel, you forget To-morrow is Sunday.

Col. Now I always love to begin a Journey on Sundays, because I shall have the Prayers of the Church, to preserve all that travel by Land, or by Water.

Sir John. Well, Colonel; thou art a mad Fellow to make a Priest of.

Neverout. Fie, Sir John, do you take Tobacco? How can you make a Chimney of your Mouth?

Sir John [to Neverout.] What! you don’t smoke, I warrant you, but you smock. (Ladies, I beg your Pardon.) Colonel, do you never smoke?

Col. No, Sir John; but I take a Pipe sometimes.

Sir John. I’faith, one of your finical London Blades dined with me last Year in Darbyshire; so, after Dinner, I took[165] a Pipe; so my Gentleman turn’d away his Head: So, said I, What, Sir, do you never smoke? So, he answered as you do, Colonel; No, but I sometimes take a Pipe: So, he took a Pipe in his Hand, and fiddled with it till he broke it: So, said I, Pray, Sir, can you make a Pipe? So, he said No; so, said I, Why, then, Sir, if you can’t make a Pipe, you should not break a Pipe; so, we all laugh’d.

Ld. Smart. Well; but, Sir John, they say, that the Corruption of Pipes is the Generation of Stoppers.

Sir John. Colonel, I hear, you go sometimes to Darbyshire; I wish you would come and foul a Plate with me.

Col. I hope, you’ll give me a Soldier’s Bottle.

Sir John. Come, and try. Mr. Neverout, you are a Town-Wit, can you tell me what kind of Herb is Tobacco?

Neverout. Why, an Indian Herb, Sir John.

Sir John. No,’tis a Pot Herb; and so here’s t’ye in a Pot of my Lord’s October.

Lady Smart. I hear, Sir John, since you are married, you have forsworn the Town.


Sir John. No, Madam; I never forswore any thing but building of Churches.

Lady Smart. Well; but, Sir John, when may we hope to see you again in London?

Sir John. Why, Madam, not till the Ducks have eat up the Dirt; as the Children say.

Neverout. Come, Sir John; I foresee it will rain terribly.

Lady Smart. Come, Sir John, do nothing rashly; let us drink first.

Ld. Sparkish. I know Sir John will go, tho’ he was sure it would rain Cats and Dogs: But pray, stay, Sir John; you’ll be time enough to go to Bed by Candle-light.

Ld. Smart. Why, Sir John, if you must needs go; while you stay, make good Use of your Time: Here’s my Service to you, a Health to our Friends in Darbyshire: Come, sit down; let us put off the evil Hour as long as we can.

Sir John. Faith, I could not drink a Drop more, if the House was full.

Col. Why, Sir John, you used to love a Glass of good Wine in former Times.

Sir John. Why, so I do still, Colonel; but a Man may love his House very[167] well, without riding on the Ridge: Besides, I must be with my Wife on Tuesday, or there will be the Devil and all to pay.

Col. Well, if you go To-day, I wish you may be wet to the Skin.

Sir John. Ay; but they say, the Prayers of the Wicked won’t prevail.

[Sir John takes Leave, and goes away.

Ld. Smart. Well, Miss, how do you like Sir John?

Miss. Why, I think, he’s a little upon the silly, or so: I believe, he has not all the Wit in the World; but I don’t pretend to be a Judge.

Neverout. Faith, I believe, he was bred at Hogs-Norton, where the Pigs play upon the Organs.

Ld. Sparkish. Why, Tom, I thought You and He were Hand and Glove.

Neverout. Faith, he shall have a clean Threshold for me; I never darkned his Door in my Life, neither in Town nor Country; but he’s a quere old Duke by my Conscience; and yet, after all, I take him to be more Knave than Fool.

Lady Smart. Well, come; a Man’s a Man, if he has but a Nose on his Head.


Col. I was once with Him and some other Company over a Bottle; and, egad, he fell asleep, and snor’d so hard, that we thought he was driving his Hogs to Market.

Neverout. Why, what! you can have no more of a Cat than her Skin; you can’t make a Silk Purse out of a Sow’s Ear.

Ld. Sparkish. Well, since he’s gone, the Devil go with him and Sixpence; and there’s Money and Company too.

Neverout. Faith, he’s a true Country Put. Pray, Miss, let me ask you a Question?

Miss. Well; but don’t ask Questions with a dirty Face: I warrant, what you have to say will keep cold.

Col. Come, my Lord, against you are disposed; Here’s to all that love and honour you.

Ld. Sparkish. Ay, that was always Dick Nimble’s Health. I’m sure you know he’s dead.

Col. Dead! Well, my Lord, you love to be a Messenger of ill News: I’m heartily sorry; but, my Lord, we must all die.

Neverout. I knew him very well: But, pray, how came he to die?


Miss. There’s a Question! you talk like a Poticary: Why, because he could live no longer.

Neverout. Well; rest his Soul: We must live by the Living, and not by the Dead.

Ld. Sparkish. You know, his House was burnt down to the Ground.

Col. Yes; it was in the News: Why Fire and Water are good Servants, but they are very bad Masters.

Ld. Smart. Here, take away, and set down a Bottle of Burgundy: Ladies, you’ll stay, and drink a Glass of Wine before you go to your Tea.

[All taken away, and the Wine set down, &c.

[Miss gives Neverout a smart Pinch.

Neverout. Lord, Miss, what d’ye mean! D’ye think I have no Feeling?

Miss. I’m forc’d to pinch, for the Times are hard.

Neverout [giving Miss a Pinch.] Take that, Miss; what’s Sauce for a Goose is for a Gander.

Miss [screaming.] Well, Mr. Neverout, if I live, that shall neither go to Heaven nor Hell with you.


Neverout [takes Miss’s Hand.] Come, Miss; let us lay all Quarrels aside, and be Friends.

Miss. Don’t be so teizing! You plague a body so!——Can’t you keep your filthy Hands to yourself?

Neverout. Pray, Miss, where did you get that Pick-Tooth Case?

Miss. I came honestly by it.

Neverout. I’m sure it was mine, for I lost just such a one; nay, I don’t tell you a Lye.

Miss. No; if You lye, it is much.

Neverout. Well; I’m sure ’tis mine.

Miss. What! you think every Thing is yours, but a little the King has.

Neverout. Colonel, you have seen my fine Pick-Tooth Case; don’t you think this is the very same?

Col. Indeed, Miss, it is very like it.

Miss. Ay; what he says, you’ll swear.

Neverout. Well; but I’ll prove it to be mine.

Miss. Ay; do if you can.

Neverout. Why, what’s yours is mine, and what’s mine is my own.

Miss. Well, run on till you’re weary, nobody holds you.


[Neverout gapes.

Col. What, Mr. Neverout, do you gape for Preferment?

Neverout. Faith, I may gape long enough, before it falls into my Mouth.

Lady Smart. Mr. Neverout, my Lord and I intend to beat up your Quarters one of these Days: I hear, you live high.

Neverout. Yes, faith, Madam; live high, and lodge in a Garret.

Col. But, Miss, I forgot to tell you, that Mr. Neverout got the devilishest Fall in the Park To-day.

Miss. I hope he did not hurt the Ground: But how was it, Mr. Neverout? I wish I had been there, to laugh.

Neverout. Why, Madam, it was a Place where a Cuckold has been bury’d, and one of his Horns sticking out, I happened to stumble against it; that was all.

Lady Smart. Ladies, let us leave the Gentlemen to themselves; I think it is Time to go to our Tea.

Lady Answ. & Miss. My Lords and Gentlemen, your most humble Servant.

Ld. Smart. Well, Ladies, we’ll wait on you an Hour hence.


[The Gentlemen alone.

Ld. Smart. Come, John, bring us a fresh Bottle.

Col. Ay, my Lord; and, pray, let him carry off the dead Men (as we say in the Army.)

[Meaning the empty Bottles.

Ld. Sparkish. Mr. Neverout, pray, is not that Bottle full?

Neverout. Yes, my Lord; full of Emptiness.

Ld. Smart. And, d’ye hear, John? bring clean Glasses.

Col. I’ll keep mine; for I think, the Wine is the best Liquor to wash Glasses in.



The Ladies at their Tea.

Lady Smart. Well, Ladies; now let us have a Cup of Discourse to ourselves.

Lady Answ. What do you think of your Friend, Sir John Spendall?

Lady Smart. Why, Madam,’tis happy for him, that his Father was born before him.

Miss. They say, he makes a very ill Husband to my Lady.

Lady Answ. But he must be allow’d to be the fondest Father in the World.

Lady Smart. Ay, Madam, that’s true; for they say, the Devil is kind to his own.

Miss. I am told, my Lady manages him to Admiration.


Lady Smart. That I believe; for she’s as cunning as a dead Pig; but not half so honest.

Lady Answ. They say, she’s quite a Stranger to all his Gallantries.

Lady Smart. Not at all; but, you know, there’s none so blind as they that won’t see.

Miss. O Madam, I am told, she watches him, as a Cat would watch a Mouse.

Lady Answ. Well, if she ben’t foully belied, she pays him in his own Coin.

Lady Smart. Madam, I fancy I know your Thoughts, as well as if I were within you.

Lady Answ. Madam, I was t’other Day in Company with Mrs. Clatter; I find she gives herself Airs of being acquainted with your Ladyship.

Miss. Oh, the hideous Creature! did you observe her Nails? they were long enough to scratch her Granum out of her Grave.

Lady Smart. Well, She and Tom Gosling were banging Compliments backwards and forwards; it look’d like Two Asses scrubbing one another.

Miss. Ay, claw me, and I’ll claw thou:[175] But, pray, Madam; who were the Company?

Lady Smart. Why, there was all the World, and his Wife; there was Mrs. Clatter, Lady Singular, the Countess of Talkham, (I should have named her first;) Tom Goslin, and some others, whom I have forgot.

Lady Answ. I think the Countess is very sickly.

Lady Smart. Yes, Madam; she’ll never scratch a grey Head, I promise her.

Miss. And, pray, what was your Conversation?

Lady Smart. Why, Mrs. Clatter had all the Talk to herself, and was perpetually complaining of her Misfortunes.

Lady Answ. She brought her Husband Ten Thousand Pounds; she has a Town-House and Country-house: Would the Woman have her —— hung with Points?

Lady Smart. She would fain be at the Top of the House before the Stairs are built.

Miss. Well, Comparisons are odious; but she’s as like her Husband, as if she were spit out of his Mouth; as like as[176] one Egg is to another: Pray, how was she drest?

Lady Smart. Why, she was as fine as Fi’pence; but, truly, I thought, there was more Cost than Worship.

Lady Answ. I don’t know her Husband: Pray, what is he?

Lady Smart. Why, he’s a Concealer of the Law; you must know, he came to us as drunk as David’s Sow.

Miss. What kind of Creature is he?

Lady Smart. You must know, the Man and his Wife are coupled like Rabbets, a fat and a lean; he’s as fat as a Porpus, and she’s one of Pharaoh’s lean Kine: The Ladies and Tom Gosling were proposing a Party at Quadrille, but he refus’d to make one: Damn your Cards, said he, they are the Devil’s Books.

Lady Answ. A dull unmannerly Brute! Well, God send him more Wit, and me more Money.

Miss. Lord! Madam, I would not keep such Company for the World.

Lady Smart. O Miss, ’tis nothing when you are used to it: Besides, you know, for Want of Company, welcome Trumpery.

Miss. Did your Ladyship play?


Lady Smart. Yes, and won; so I came off with Fidlers Fare, Meat, Drink, and Money.

Lady Answ. Ay; what says Pluck?

Miss. Well, my Elbow itches; I shall change Bed-fellows.

Lady Smart. And my Right Hand itches; I shall receive Money.

Lady Answ. And my Right Eye itches; I shall cry.

Lady Smart. Miss, I hear your Friend Mistress Giddy has discarded Dick Shuttle: Pray, has she got another Lover?

Miss. I hear of none.

Lady Smart. Why, the Fellow’s rich; and I think she was a Fool to throw out her dirty Water before she got clean.

Lady Answ. Miss, that’s a very handsome Gown of yours, and finely made; very genteel.

Miss. I’m glad your Ladyship likes it.

Lady Answ. Your Lover will be in Raptures; it becomes you admirably.

Miss. Ay; I assure you I won’t take it as I have done; if this won’t fetch him, the Devil fetch him, say I.

Lady Smart [to Lady Answ.] Pray,[178] Madam, when did you see Sir Peter Muckworm?

Lady Answ. Not this Fortnight; I hear, he’s laid up with the Gout.

Lady Smart. What does he do for it?

Lady Answ. Why I hear he’s weary of doctoring it, and now makes Use of nothing but Patience and Flannel.

Miss. Pray, how does He and my Lady agree?

Lady Answ. You know, he loves her as the Devil loves Holy Water.

Miss. They say, she plays deep with Sharpers, that cheat her of her Money.

Lady Answ. Upon my Word, they must rise early that would cheat her of her Money; Sharp’s the Word with her; Diamonds cut Diamonds.

Miss. Well, but I was assur’d from a good Hand that she lost at one Sitting to the Tune of a hundred Guineas; make Money of that.

Lady Smart. Well, but do you hear, that Mrs. Plump is brought to Bed at last?

Miss. And, pray, what has God sent her?

Lady Smart. Why, guess, if you can.

Miss. A Boy, I suppose.


Lady Smart. No, you are out; guess again.

Miss. A Girl then.

Lady Smart. You have hit it; I believe you are a Witch.

Miss. O Madam; the Gentlemen say, all fine Ladies are Witches; but I pretend to no such thing.

Lady Answ. Well, she had good Luck to draw Tom Plump into Wedlock; she ris’ with her —— upwards.

Miss. Fie, Madam! what do you mean?

Lady Smart. O Miss; ’tis nothing what we say among ourselves.

Miss. Ay, Madam; but they say, Hedges have Eyes, and Walls have Ears.

Lady Answ. Well, Miss, I can’t help it; you know, I am old Tell-Truth; I love to call a Spade a Spade.

Lady Smart [mistakes the Tea-tongs for the Spoon.] What! I think my Wits are a Wool-gathering To-day.

Miss. Why, Madam, there was but a Right and a Wrong.

Lady Smart. Miss, I hear, that You and Lady Coupler are as great as Cup and Can.


Lady Answ. Ay, Miss; as great as the Devil and the Earl of Kent.

Lady Smart. Nay, I am told, you meet together with as much Love, as there is between the old Cow and the Hay-stack.

Miss. I own, I love her very well; but there’s Difference betwixt staring and stark mad.

Lady Smart. They say, she begins to grow fat.

Miss. Fat! ay, fat as a Hen in the Forehead.

Lady Smart. Indeed, Lady Answerall, (pray, forgive me) I think, your Ladyship looks thinner than when I saw you last.

Miss. Indeed, Madam, I think not; but your Ladyship is one of Job’s Comforters.

Lady Answ. Well, no matter how I look; I am bought and sold: but really, Miss, you are so very obliging, that I wish I were a handsome young Lord for your Sake.

Miss. O Madam, your Love’s a Million.

Lady Smart [to Lady Answ.] Madam, will your Ladyship let me wait on you to the Play To-morrow?


Lady Answ. Madam, it becomes me to wait on your Ladyship.

Miss. What, then, I’m turn’d out for a Wrangler.

[The Gentlemen come in to the Ladies to drink Tea.

Miss. Mr. Neverout, we wanted you sadly; you are always out of the Way when you should be hang’d.

Neverout. You wanted me! Pray, Miss, how do you look when you lye?

Miss. Better than you when you cry. Manners indeed! I find, you mend like sour Ale in Summer.

Neverout. I beg your Pardon, Miss; I only meant, when you lie alone.

Miss. That’s well turn’d; one Turn more would have turn’d you down Stairs.

Neverout. Come, Miss; be kind for once, and order me a Dish of Coffee.

Miss. Pray, go yourself; let us wear out the oldest first: Besides, I can’t go, for I have a Bone in my Leg.

Col. They say, a Woman need but look on her Apron-string to find an Excuse.

Neverout. Why, Miss, you are grown[182] so peevish, a Dog would not live with you.

Miss. Mr. Neverout, I beg your Diversion; no Offence, I hope: but truly in a little time you intend to make the Colonel as bad as yourself; and that’s as bad as bad can.

Neverout. My Lord, don’t you think Miss improves wonderfully of late? Why, Miss, if I spoil the Colonel, I hope you will use him as you do me; for, you know, love me, love my Dog.

Col. How’s that, Tom? Say that again: Why, if I am a Dog, shake Hands, Brother.

[Here a great, loud, long Laugh.

Ld. Smart. But, pray, Gentlemen, why always so severe upon poor Miss? On my Conscience, Colonel and Tom Neverout, one of you two are both Knaves.

Col. My Lady Answerall, I intend to do myself the Honour of dining with your Ladyship To-morrow.

Lady Answ. Ay, Colonel; do if you can.

Miss. I’m sure you’ll be glad to be welcome.

Col. Miss, I thank you; and, to reward[183] You, I’ll come and drink Tea with you in the Morning.

Miss. Colonel, there’s Two Words to that Bargain.

Col. [to Lady Smart.] Your Ladyship has a very fine Watch; well may you wear it.

Lady Smart. It is none of mine, Colonel.

Col. Pray, whose is it then?

Lady Smart. Why, ’tis my Lord’s; for they say, a marry’d Woman has nothing of her own, but her Wedding-Ring and her Hair-Lace: But if Women had been the Law-Makers, it would have been better.

Col. This Watch seems to be quite new.

Lady Smart. No, Sir; it has been Twenty Years in my Lord’s Family; but Quare put a new Case and Dial-Plate to it.

Neverout. Why, that’s for all the World like the Man who swore he kept the same Knife forty Years, only he sometimes changed the Haft, and sometimes the Blade.

Ld. Smart. Well, Tom, to give the Devil his Due, thou art a right Woman’s Man.


Col. Odd-so! I have broke the Hinge of my Snuff-box; I’m undone beside the Loss.

Miss. Alack-a-day, Colonel! I vow I had rather have found Forty Shillings.

Neverout. Why, Colonel; all that I can say to comfort you, is, that you must mend it with a new one.

[Miss laughs.

Col. What, Miss! you can’t laugh, but you must shew your Teeth.

Miss. I’m sure you shew your Teeth when you can’t bite: Well, thus it must be, if we sell Ale.

Neverout. Miss, you smell very sweet; I hope you don’t carry Perfumes.

Miss. Perfumes! No, Sir; I’d have you to know, it is nothing but the Grain of my Skin.

Col. Tom, you have a good Nose to make a poor Man’s Sow.

Ld. Sparkish. So, Ladies and Gentlemen, methinks you are very witty upon one another: Come, box it about; ’twill come to my Father at last.

Col. Why, my Lord, you see Miss has no Mercy; I wish she were marry’d;[185] but I doubt, the grey Mare would prove the better Horse.

Miss. Well, God forgive you for that Wish.

Ld. Sparkish. Never fear him, Miss.

Miss. What, my Lord, do you think I was born in a Wood, to be afraid of an Owl?

Ld. Smart. What have you to say to that, Colonel?

Neverout. O my Lord, my Friend the Colonel scorns to set his Wit against a Child.

Miss. Scornful Dogs will eat dirty Puddens.

Col. Well, Miss; they say, a Woman’s Tongue is the last thing about her that dies; therefore let’s kiss and Friends.

Miss. Hands off! that’s Meat for your Master.

Ld. Sparkish. Faith, Colonel, you are for Ale and Cakes: But after all, Miss, you are too severe; you would not meddle with your Match.

Miss. All they can say goes in at one Ear, and out at t’other for me, I can assure you: Only I wish they would be quiet, and let me drink my Tea.

Neverout. What! I warrant you think[186] all is lost, that goes beside your own Mouth.

Miss. Pray, Mr. Neverout, hold your Tongue for once, if it be possible; one would think, you were a Woman in Man’s Cloaths, by your prating.

Neverout. No, Miss; it is not handsome to see one hold one’s Tongue: Besides, I should slobber my Fingers.

Col. Miss, did you never hear, that Three Women and a Goose are enough to make a Market?

Miss. I’m sure, if Mr. Neverout or You were among them, it would make a Fair.

[Footman comes in.

Lady Smart. Here, take away the Tea-table, and bring up Candles.

Lady Answ. O Madam, no Candles yet, I beseech you; don’t let us burn Day-Light.

Neverout. I dare swear, Miss, for her Part, will never burn Day-Light, if she can help it.

Miss. Lord, Mr. Neverout, one can’t hear one’s own Ears for you.

Lady Smart. Indeed, Madam, it is Blind-Man’s Holiday; we shall soon be all of a Colour.


Neverout. Why, then, Miss, we may kiss where we like best.

Miss. Fogh! these Men talk of nothing but kissing.

[She spits.

Neverout. What, Miss, does it make your Mouth water?

Lady Smart. It is as good be in the Dark as without Light; therefore pray bring in Candles: They say, Women and Linen shew best by Candle-Light: Come, Gentlemen, are you for a Party at Quadrille?

Col. I’ll make one with you three Ladies.

Lady Answ. I’ll sit down, and be a Stander-by.

Lady Smart. [to Lady Answ.] Madam, does your Ladyship never play?

Col. Yes; I suppose her Ladyship plays sometimes for an Egg at Easter.

Neverout. Ay; and a Kiss at Christmas.

Lady Answ. Come, Mr. Neverout; hold your Tongue, and mind your Knitting.

Neverout. With all my Heart; kiss my Wife, and welcome.


[The Colonel, Mr. Neverout, Lady Smart and Miss go to Quadrille, and sit till Three in the Morning.

[They rise from Cards.]

Lady Smart. Well, Miss, you’ll have a sad Husband, you have such good Luck at Cards.

Neverout. Indeed, Miss, you dealt me sad Cards; if you deal so ill by your Friends, what will you do with your Enemies?

Lady Answ. I’m sure ’tis time for honest Folks to be a-bed.

Miss. Indeed my Eyes draws Straw.

[She’s almost asleep.

Neverout. Why, Miss, if you fall asleep, somebody may get a Pair of Gloves.

Col. I’m going to the Land of Nod.

Neverout. Faith, I’m for Bedfordshire.

Lady Smart. I’m sure I shall sleep without rocking.

Neverout. Miss, I hope you’ll dream of your Sweetheart.

Miss. Oh, no doubt of it: I believe I shan’t be able to sleep for dreaming of him.


Col. [to Miss.] Madam, shall I have the Honour to escort you?

Miss. No, Colonel, I thank you; my Mamma has sent her Chair and Footmen. Well, my Lady Smart, I’ll give you Revenge whenever you please.

[Footman comes in.

Footman. Madam, the Chairs are waiting.

[They all take their Chairs, and go off.







Page 5, l. 1. 1695.—This date, and the previous “more than forty years past,” are of course adjusted to the date of the book’s appearance. See Introduction for its probable chronology.

Page 5, l. 18. For “because” I am half inclined to read “became”—a very likely misprint.

Page 6, ll. 4-10. “Twelve ... Sixteen.”—This would bring us to 1723, which may or may not mark the date of a version of the “Conversation.” The first “Twelve” would almost exactly coincide with the “Essay on Conversation” referred to above.

Page 12, l. 18. “Isaac the Dancing-Master.”—Called by Steele in “Tatler,” No. 34, “my namesake Isaac.” He is best known by Soame Jenyns’ couplet:—

“And Isaac’s rigadoon shall live as long
As Raphael’s painting or as Virgil’s song.”

He was, as became his profession, a Frenchman. Southey refers to him in “The Doctor.”

Page 16, l. 6. “Comedies and other fantastick Writings.”—Where they will be found, as the ingenious Mr. Wagstaff says, “strewed here and there.”

Pages 16, 17.—“Graham. D. of R. E. of[194] E. Lord and Lady H.”—I do not know that attempts at identifying these shadowy personages would be very wise. But the date assigned to the Colonel is one of the marks of long incubation. “Towards the end” of Charles II.’s reign would be about 1684. A fine gentleman of that day might very well have been Mr. Wagstaff’s “companion” had the latter written in 1710—less well had he written a quarter of a century later.

Page 18, l. 24.—Swift, like a good Tory and Churchman, never forgave Burnet.

Page 21, l. 2. “Selling of Bargains” is the returning of a coarse answer to a question or other remark. So in Dorset’s charming poem about “This Bess of my heart, this Bess of my soul.”

Page 24, l. 26. “Great Ornaments of Style,” or, as it hath been put otherwise, “a grand set-off to conversation.”—Observe that in these passages as to Free-Thinking and Oaths, Swift maintains his invariable attitude as to profanity.

Page 25, last line. “Poet.”—I know him not, if he ever existed save as a maggot of Swift’s brain.

Page 26, l. 13. “Sir John Perrot.”—Deputy of Ireland and a stout soldier, but an unlucky politician. He died in the Tower, where he is not unlikely to have had leisure and reason to perfect himself in commination.

Page 31, l. 16. “Lilly.”—The Latin grammarian, of course, not the astrologer.

Page 32, l. 12. “e’n’t” I presume to be identical with ain’t.

Page 36, l. 21. It may seem strange that[195] Mr. Wagstaff, who loves not books and scholars, should refer to a grave philosopher. But fine gentlemen in his youth had to know or seem to know their Hobbes.

Page 38, l. 26. “Please.”—sic in orig.

Page 41.—In this page Swift strikes in with his friends against the “dunces.” One may suspect that Tom Brown was in the first draught, and perhaps Dennis, Ward and Gildon being added later.

Page 42, l. 6.—Ozell, the translator of Rabelais. Stevens I do not know or have forgotten, and the “Dunciad” knows him not.

Page 44, l. 26. “The Craftsman.”—This must be one of the latest additions, the “Craftsman” being the organ of Pulteney and the Opposition in the great Walpolian battle.

Page 46, ll. 11, 17. “Another for Alexander!

Page 50, l. 21. “Those of Sir Isaac.”—Mr. Craik and others have noticed that Swift’s grammar, especially in unrevised pieces, is not always impeccable. But this, like other things in this Introduction, is clearly writ in character, the character of the more polite than pedantic Wagstaff.

Page 56, l. 26. “Wit at Will.”—Readers of the minor and even of the greater writers of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries will remember the interminable jingles and plays on these two words wherever they could be introduced. The phrase “Wit at will” survived most of its companions as a catchword.

Page 58, l. 3. “Queen Elizabeth’s dead.”—A[196] minute philosopher might be pleased with the inquiry when Queen Anne superseded her gracious predecessor in this phrase. Naturally that time had not come when the “Conversation” was first planned.

Page 59, l. 2. “Push-pin.”—Allusions to this old children’s game are very common in the seventeenth century; rare, I think, in the eighteenth.

Page 64, l. 20. “Vardi.”—See Introduction, p. 32, where the form is “Verdi.”

Page 65, l. 28. “Lob’s pound” means an inextricable difficulty. In Dekker’s paraphrase of the “Quinze Joyes du Mariage,” it is used to render the French dans la nasse.

Page 72, l. 1. I do not understand “Map-sticks.”

Page 76, ll. 3, 4. “Cooking.”—I.e. (as I suppose), putting the bread-and-butter in the tea. I believe this atrocious practice is not absolutely obsolete yet.

Page 76, last line but one. “Head for the washing.”—I think this is quite dead in English; laver la tête is of course still excellent French for to scold or rate.

Page 79, l. 3. “A Lord.”—Lord Grimstone, whose production made the wits merry for a long time. He is Pope’s “booby Lord,” and this absurd play (which, however, he is said to have written at the age of 13), was reprinted in his despite by the Duchess of Marlborough, with whom he had an election quarrel. Lady Sparkish is in orig., but is probably a slip for Lady Answerall.


Page 82, l. 23. “The Lord of the Lord knows what.”—A peerage revived with slightly altered title by Peter Simple’s shipmates in favour of “the Lord Nozoo.”

Page 103, l. 4. “Ld. Smart.”—Erratum for “Ld. Sparkish.”

Page 103, l. 13. “Tantiny Pig.”—The pig usually assigned as companion to St. Anthony.

Page 105, l. 26. “Poles.”—St. Paul’s.

Page 109, l. 4. “Jommetry.”—See Introduction.

Page 110, l. 7.—I do not know the origin of Miss’s catchword. Julia, the heroine of Dryden’s “Amboyna,” had used it beforehand.

Page 111, l. 25. “Tansy” has two senses, a plant and a sort of custard. The reader may choose which suits the circumstances best for metaphorical explanation.

Page 112, l. 11. “Otomy,” for “anatomy,” “skeleton.”

Page 114, l. 17. “Ld. Smart” again for “Ld. Sparkish;” at the foot of the next page for “Lady Smart.”

Page 117, last line. “Smoke,” “look at;” later, “twig.”

Page 118, l. 13. “Lady Sparkish,” probably for “Lady Smart,” as being hostess.

Page 121, last line. “Inkle.”—Ribbon or tape.

Page 129, l. 8. Scott has borrowed this vigorous protest of Miss in one of his private letters.

Page 131, l. 7. “Ld. Sparkish” should evidently be “Ld. Smart.”

Page 135, l. 14. “Kept a Corner for a Venison[198] Pasty.”—Which Dr. Goldsmith remembered in immortal verse.

Page 140, l. 12. I do not know whether this speech was meant for Lord Sparkish or Lady Answerall.

Page 143, ll. 1, 3. An unnecessary double entry, but right in the attribution.

Page 145, l. 9. “In my Tip,” “as I am drinking.”

Page 161, l. 4. “Weily rosten,” should probably be “brosten,” i.e., “well-nigh burst.”

Page 162, l. 9. Lord Smart might make this speech; but from the answer it would seem to be his Lady’s.

Page 165, l. 13.—I don’t know whether Swift, who never forgot his feud with “Cousin Dryden,” was indulging in a half-gird at “The corruption of a poet is the generation of a critic.”

Page 176, l. 8. “Concealer.”—A brilliant pun on “Counsellor.”

Page 181, l. 24. “A Bone in my Leg.”—This odd phrase for a peculiar cramp in the leg is not dead yet.

Page 183, l. 21. “Quare.”—David Q., died in 1724. He had invented repeaters, and throughout the eighteenth century was what Tompion was later among watchmakers, what Joe Manton was long among gunmakers, a name to conjure with and to quote.

Page 184, l. 24. “Box it about; ’twill come to my Father.”—The famous Jacobite cant-phrase for breeding disturbance in hopes of a fresh Revolution.