L O I T E R E R.
"Speak of us as we are."
PRINTED FOR THE AUTHOR,
And sold by C. S. RANN, OXFORD;
Mess. EGERTONS, Whitehall, LONDON; Mess. PEARSON
And ROLLASON, BIRMINGHAM; Mr. W. MEYLER, Grove,
BATH; AND Mess. COWSLADE and SMART, READING.
L O I T E R E R.
SATURDAY, October 3, 1789.
Phœbe save; novus ingreditur tua templa Sacerdos.
THE Editor this day entreats the Attention of the Public; and hopes, as they have shewn so much favour to the lucubrations of Mr. Loiterer, that they will now extend the same indulgence to the labours of his pen, while he relates the cause, which obliges him to take it up.
Mr. Loiterer, though on the whole a very good sort of Man, partakes a little too much of the hereditary indolence of his family; and I have frequently found it extremely difficult to get the papers from him in proper time. I had therefore great reason to apprehend that a Journey to London, as removing him at so great a distance from the place of publication, might be prejudicial, if not to his existence in a public character, at least to that regularity (I say it meo periculo) which he has hitherto maintained. — For two weeks, however, I was agreeably deceived, and really began to conclude that my apprehensions were groundless; when the morning, in which I expected the stock of amusement for this day, arrived without it: Another, and another passed. In short, it was not so late as on Thursday last, that I received the following letter, which though written in the familiare, and I am sure not with the intention of being published, yet as Mr. Loiterer always writes agreeably, I shall take the liberty of inserting.
London, Sept. 30th
SIR,I DARE say you are much surprised at my silence; but my whole time has been so much engrossed by enjoying the society of a few friends, whom chance had here thrown in my way, and visiting the sights and amusements, of which this place is so fertile, that I have had no opportunities for composition. How the World will admit of these excuses I cannot pretend to determine; but flatter myself that they will be inclined to grant some allowances to the calls of friendship and the impulses of curiosity; in spite of which I have made two or three attempts to be very agreeable.
As Travels are at present the fashionable Study, it was at first my intention to have given some account of my own Travels up to Town: Nor did I see any reason why The Loiterer ‘s Journey in a Stage-Coach should not have afforded as much entertainment to the World in general, as Mr. Such-a-one’s Tour in a Post-Chaise. But upon a closer consideration of the subject, I found it impossible to compose a relation, either enriched with luxuriance of description, or diversified by variety of incident; Both of which indispensable ornaments a peculiarity of circumstances entirely precluded. For the road from Oxford to London is so well known, that a description of it would be both useless and uninteresting; and indeed if this was not the case, yet the wonderful rapidity, and close construction of our modern Stages, admit neither of much contemplation of object, or latitude of prospect. — And as to Incidents; few, I believe, can be expected in a Country, which abounds with smooth roads, good accommodations, and populous neighbourhoods; and I have found by experience, that it is possible to stop at in an Inn without encountering Adventures.
I therefore abandoned this design, purposing to select another subject; but I deferred it so long, that at length despair roused me from the inactive state, into which I had sunk; and I returned to my lodgings last night, fully determined to compose a Loiterer. But to no purpose did I turn over and over again the leaves of my memorandum book; in vain did I have recourse to my faithful friend Horace, to whom I am frequently indebted for a hint: No suitable subject occurred; the clock struck eleven and for the first time in my life I threw down Horace with disgust.
In this dilemma I accidentally cast my eyes on an Elbow Chair, which stood in one corner of the room: A lucky thought instantly darted across my brain; and I exclaimed, “Why should I not dream!” As no time was to be lost; I lighted my lamp, extinguished my candles, and sat down in my elbow chair, firmly resolved to dream a very entertaining Vision. For some time I amused myself with the pleasing idea of all those Temples, Groves, and Deities, to whose acquaintance I was just on the point of being introduced. But unfortunately the first, grand requisite was wanting; for the agitation of my mind was so great, that I could not sleep. After tossing about therefore for almost a couple of hours, I resumed my seat at the table, and have written to You, Mr. RANN, desiring you to select for this week’s amusement the communications of those correspondents, whom your judgement mostly approves of.
I am, Sir, Yours, &c.
In compliance with the request of Mr. Loiterer, I have carefully perused the several letters, which we have received, and have preferred the following, as being the only one in our possession, which was written by a Lady; And if half our Readers are Men of as much Gallantry as myself, and Mr. L. they will not think that I have abused the confidence, which he reposed in me.
To the AUTHOR of the LOITERER.
Dear Sir,I HAVE always considered a Periodical Work, as a very useful, and necessary publication. For to omit all the amusement it dispenses, and all the morality it contains, I look upon the Author of it as a confidential friend, to whom we Women in particular can entrust our trifling narratives, whose advise we can demand on any occasion, and to whom we may unburden all those little griefs and complaints, which though not sufficiently important to awaken the attention of the public, are yet of too much consequence to be entirely concealed. With this view, Mr. Loiterer, I write to You; and after the recital, though you may not call my situation unhappy, at least you will allow it to be distressing.
My father was a respectable Attorney in a Country Town. I was the youngest of four daughters; and though his business enabled us to live genteelly enough for our situation; yet the expenses of so large a family, and the too ample fortunes which had already been given to my three eldest Sisters, who were married, prevented him at his death from making any great provision for his youngest daughter. I was nineteen, when this melancholy event took place; and I must confess it affected me very much: For I had not only lost a kind, indulgent parent, but was reduced to much narrower circumstances than I had any reason to expect. For some time I resided alternately with my Sisters; till at the end of two years, I accepted the offer of a wealthy Tradesman, though a few years older than myself. I will not be so uncandid as not to confess, that Interest had at first some share in inducing me to enter the matrimonial state with Mr. Simple; for the match was not only very advantageous in itself as presenting me a pleasing prospect of ease and plenty, but as affording an asylum from the insulting behaviour of my Sisters, who now began to talk of expenses and dependence. In a short time, however, the tender regard, which my husband expressed for me, and a just consideration of his disinterested Affection, excited my gratitude, and esteem for him; and if I never loved him with that passionate ardour, which Young People are apt to entertain, I believe that through the course of fifteen years I have never given him any serious cause to complain of my conduct.
And to do my husband Justice, Mr. Loiterer, I must say that he is very kind and attentive to me. He possesses a great deal of good-nature, and a perfect evenness of temper. His business is extensive, and he is too much interested in the welfare of his children, to diminish it by any neglect on his part: The consequence of which is, we grow richer every day, and of course more respected. — But amongst all these good qualities, there is one peculiarity, which gives me great concern. He has, Sir, no will of his own. Now I confess, that this at first sight appears to be absurd; and is what most wives would esteem a happiness rather than a misfortune: But I will trust I shall be able to convince you that it is not so.
A habit of contradiction is both unpleasant, and ungentle. My husband is well acquainted with the truth of this; and therefore to avoid all appearance of ill- breeding, quietly acquiesces with every body’s opinion. But surely, Mr. Loiterer, it is proper sometimes to have an opinion of one’s own: Because we must not flatly tell a person that he is wrong, may we not civilly say, that we differ from him in such particulars? If contradiction betrays arrogance and ill manners, a perpetual acquiescence is equally the sign of folly and servility. How frequently do I hear Mr. Simple uttering the most palpable contrarieties during his attendance in the Shop: How frequently am I compelled to blush for him in company. If one person says the day is hot, and another that the air is cold; if a third declares that it is fine, and a fourth that it is cloudy; he thinks exactly the same with every one of them, though he sees the sun shine at that moment in a clear open sky. To add to my shame, some of our acquaintance have discovered this accommodating disposition of my husband, and frequently amuse themselves by making him agree in the most contradictory points. There, Sir, I see their nods and winks, and yet can take no notice of them; nay I am often obliged to leave the room confused and mortified. If I afterwards tell him that he has been the sport of the company, he is of the same opinion; he thinks exactly as I do, that to be the object of laughter is despicable; and agrees with me in the necessity of altering his conduct — but this he never has done, and I am afraid never will do.
I must beg your pardon, however, Mr. Loiterer, for having troubled you so long with matrimonial concerns; but as none of your predecessors have refused to become mediators between Man and Wife, I hope You will excuse me. — Besides, as my husband always reads your work, this may possible have some effect on him; and when he sees how ridiculous his behaviour appears in print, he may at length be prevailed on to have a will of his own.
I am, Dear Sir,
Your constant Reader,
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