[Footnote 1: Richard Estcourt, born at Tewkesbury in 1688, and educated in the Latin school there, stole from home at the age of 15 to join a travelling company of comedians at Worcester, and, to avoid detection, made his first appearance in woman’s clothes as Roxana in Alexander the Great. He was discovered, however, pursued, brought home, carried to London, and bound prentice to an apothecary in Hatton Garden. He escaped again, wandered about England, went to Ireland, and there obtained credit as an actor; then returned to London, and appeared at Drury Lane, where his skill as a mimic enabled him to perform each part in the manner of the actor who had obtained chief credit by it. His power of mimicry made him very diverting in society, and as he had natural politeness with a sprightly wit, his company was sought and paid for at the entertainments of the great. Dick Estcourt was a great favourite with the Duke of Marlborough, and when men of wit and rank joined in establishing the Beefsteak Club they made Estcourt their Providore, with a small gold gridiron, for badge, hung round his neck by a green ribbon. Estcourt was a writer for the stage as well as actor, and had shown his agreement with the Spectators dramatic criticisms by ridiculing the Italian opera with an interlude called Prunella. In the Numbers of the Spectator for December 28 and 29 Estcourt had advertised that he would on the 1st of January open the Bumper Tavern in James’s Street, Westminster, and had laid in
neat natural wines, fresh and in perfection; being bought by Brooke and Hellier, by whom the said Tavern will from time to time be supplied with the best growths that shall be imported; to be sold by wholesale as well as retail, with the utmost fidelity by his old servant, trusty Anthony, who has so often adorned both the theatres in England and Ireland; and as he is a person altogether unknowing in the wine trade, it cannot be doubted but that he will deliver the wine in the same natural purity that he receives it from the said merchants; and on these assurances he hopes that all his friends and acquaintance will become his customers, desiring a continuance of their favours no longer than they shall find themselves well served.
This is the venture which Steele here backs for his friend with the influence of the Spectator.]
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No. 265. Thursday, January 3, 1712. Addison.
Dixerit e multis aliquis, quid virus in
Adjicis? et rabidae tradis ovile lupae?
One of the Fathers, if I am rightly informed, has defined a Woman to be [Greek: xoon philokosmon], an Animal that delights in Finery. I have already treated of the Sex in two or three Papers, conformably to this Definition, and have in particular observed, that in all Ages they have been more careful then the Men to adorn that Part of the Head, which we generally call the Outside.