“Given from our Court
at the Devil-Tavern,
March 15, 1712.”
[Footnote 1: Turkish Sweating Baths. The Hummums “in Covent Garden was one of the first of these baths (bagnios) set up in England.”]
* * * * *
No. 348. Wednesday, April 9, 1712. Steele.
Invidiam placare paras virtute relicta?
I have not seen you lately at any of the Places where I visit, so that I am afraid you are wholly unacquainted with what passes among my part of the World, who are, tho I say it, without Controversy, the most accomplished and best bred of the Town. Give me leave to tell you, that I am extremely discomposed when I hear Scandal, and am an utter Enemy to all manner of Detraction, and think it the greatest Meanness that People of Distinction can be guilty of: However, it is hardly possible to come into Company, where you do not find them pulling one another to pieces, and that from no other Provocation but that of hearing any one commended. Merit, both as to Wit and Beauty, is become no other than the Possession of a few trifling Peoples Favour, which you cannot possibly arrive at, if you have really any thing in you that is deserving. What they would bring to pass, is, to make all Good and Evil consist in Report, and with Whispers, Calumnies and Impertinencies, to have the Conduct of those Reports. By this means Innocents are blasted upon their first Appearance in Town; and there is nothing more required to make a young Woman the object of Envy and Hatred, than to deserve Love and Admiration. This abominable Endeavour to suppress or lessen every thing that is praise-worthy, is as frequent among the Men as the Women. If I can remember what passed at a Visit last Night, it will serve as an Instance that the Sexes are equally inclined to Defamation, with equal Malice, with equal Impotence. Jack Triplett came into my Lady Airy’s about Eight of [the] Clock. You know the manner we sit at a Visit, and I need not describe the Circle; but Mr. Triplett came in, introduced by two Tapers supported by a spruce Servant, whose Hair is under a Cap till my Lady’s Candles are all lighted up, and the Hour of Ceremony begins: I say, Jack Triplett came in, and singing (for he is really good Company)