"When we first take our place about a man, the receptacles of the pericranium are immediately searched. In his, I found no one ordinary trace of thinking; but strong passion, violent desires, and a continued series of different changes, had torn it to pieces."
— Steele, Sir Richard (1672-1729)
She half consents who silently denies;
entered Philander, who is the most skilful of all men in an address to women. He is arrived at the perfection of that art which gains them, which is, to talk like a very miserable man, but look like a very happy one. I saw Dictinna blush at his entrance, which gave me the alarm; but he immediately said something so agreeable on her being at study, and the novelty of finding a lady employed in so grave a manner, that he on a sudden became very familiarly a man of no consequence; and in an instant laid all her suspicions of his skill asleep, as he almost had done mine, till I observed him very dangerously turn his discourse upon the elegance of her dress, and her judgment in the choice of that very pretty mourning. Having had women before under my care, I trembled at the apprehension of a man of sense, who could talk upon trifles, and resolved to stick to my post with all the circumspection imaginable. In short, I prepossessed her against all he could say to the advantage of her dress and person; but he turned again the discourse, where I found I had no power over her, on the abusing her friends and acquaintance. He allowed indeed, that Flora had a little beauty, and a great deal of wit; but then she was so ungainly in her behaviour, and such a laughing hoyden—Pastorella had with him the allowance of being blameless: but what was that towards being praiseworthy? To be only innocent, is not to be virtuous. He afterwards spoke so much against Mrs. Dipple's forehead, Mrs. Prim's mouth, Mrs. Dentifrice's teeth, and Mrs. Fidget's cheeks, that she grew downright in love with him: for it is always to be understood, that a lady takes all you detract from the rest of her sex to be a gift to her. In a word, things went so far, that I was dismissed, and she will remember that evening nine months, from the 6th of April, by a very remarkable token. The next, as I said, I went to was a common swearer: never was creature so puzzled as myself when I came first to view his brain; half of it was worn out, and filled up with mere expletives, that had nothing to do with any other parts of the texture; therefore, when he called for his clothes in a morning, he would cry, 'John—?' John does not answer. 'What a plague! Nobody there? What the devil, and rot me! John, for a lazy dog as you are.' I knew no way to cure him, but by writing down all he said one morning as he was dressing, and laying it before him on the toilet when he came to pick his teeth. The last recital I gave him of what he said for half an hour before, was, 'What, a pox rot me! Where is the washball? Call the chairmen: damn them, I warrant they are at the ale-house already! Zounds, and confound them.' When he came to the glass, he takes up my note—'Ha! this fellow is worse than me: what, does he swear with pen and ink?' But reading on, he found them to be his own words. The stratagem had so good an effect upon him, that he grew immediately a new man, and is learning to speak without an oath, which makes him extremely short in his phrases; for, as I observed before, a common swearer has a brain without any idea on the swearing side; therefore my ward has yet mighty little to say, and is forced to substitute some other vehicle of nonsense to supply the defect of his usual expletives. When I left him, he made use of, 'Oddsbodikins!' 'Oh me!' and, 'Never stir alive!' and so forth; which gave me hopes of his recovery. So I went to the next I told you of, the gamester. When we first take our place about a man, the receptacles of the pericranium are immediately searched. In his, I found no one ordinary trace of thinking; but strong passion, violent desires, and a continued series of different changes, had torn it to pieces. There appeared no middle condition; the triumph of a prince, or the misery of a beggar, were his alternate states. I was with him no longer than one day, which was yesterday. In the morning at twelve, we were worth four thousand pounds; at three, we were arrived at six thousand; half an hour after, we were reduced to one thousand; at four of the clock, we were down to two hundred; at five, to fifty; at six, to five; at seven, to one guinea; the next bet, to nothing: this morning, he borrowed half a crown of the maid who cleans his shoes; and is now gaming in Lincoln's Inn Fields among the boys for farthings and oranges, till he has made up three pieces, and then he returns to White's into the best company in town." This ended our first discourse; and it is hoped, you will forgive me, that I have picked so little out of my companion at our first interview. In the next, it is possible he may tell me more pleasing incidents; for though he is a familiar, he is not an evil spirit.
See The Tatler. By Isaac Bickerstaff Esq. Dates of Publication: No. 1 (Tuesday, April 12, 1709.) through No. 271 (From Saturday December 30, to Tuesday January 2, 1710 [i.e. 1711]). <Link to ESTC>
Collected in two volumes, and printed and sold by J. Morphew in 1710, 1711. Also collected and reprinted as The Lucubrations of Isaac Bickerstaff, Esq.
Consulting Donald Bond's edition of The Tatler, 3 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987). Searching and pasting text from The Lucubrations of Isaac Bickerstaff Esq: Revised and Corrected by the Author (London: Printed by John Nutt, and sold by John Morphew, 1712): <Link to Vol. 1><Vol. 2><Vol. 3><Vol. 4><Vol. 5>. Some text also from Project Gutenberg digitization of 1899 edition edited by George A. Aitken.