« PreviousContinue »
for this purpose.
world where they may be furnished with almost every thing that is necessary for life. If a man has pains in his head, cholics in his bowels, or spots in his clothes, he may here meet with proper cures and remedies. If a man would recover a wife or a horse that is stolen or strayed; if he wants new sermons, electuaries, asses milk, or any thing else, either for his body or his mind, this is the place to look for them in.
The great art in writing advertisements, is the finding out a proper method to catch the reader's eye ; without which a good thing may pass over unobserved, or be lost among commissions of bankrupt. Asterisks and hands were formerly of great use
Of late years, the N. B. has been much in fashion; as also little cuts and figures, the invention of which we must ascribe to the author of spring-trusses. I must not here omit the blind Italian character, which being scarce legible, always fixes and detains the eye, and gives the curious reader something like the satisfaction of prying into a secret.
But the great skill in an advertiser, is chiefly seen in the style which he makes use of. He is to mention the universal esteem, or general reputation,' of things that were never heard of. If he is a physician or astrologer, he must change his lodgings frequently, and (though he never saw any body in them besides his own family) give public notice of it, “For the information of the Nobility and Gentry.' Since I am thus usefully employed in writing criticisms on the works of these diminutive authors, I must not pass over in silence an advertisement which has lately made its appearance, and is written altogether in a Ciceronian
It was sent to me, with five shillings, to be inserted among my advertisements; but as it is a pattern of good writing in this way, I shall give it a place in the body of my paper.
“ The highest compounded Spirit of Lavender, the most
glorious (if the expression may be used) enlivening scent and flavour that can possibly be, which so raptures the spirits, delights
and gives such airs to the countenance, as are not to be imagined but by those that have tried it. The meanest sort of the thing is admired by most gentlemen and ladies : but this far more, as by far it exceeds it, to the gaining among all a more than common esteem. It is sold (in neat flint bottles fit for the pocket) only at the Golden Key, in Wharton's Court, near Holborn Bars, for 3s. 6d. with directions."
At the same time that I recommend the several flowers in which this spirit of lavender is wrapped up, (if the expression may be used) I cannot excuse my fellow labourers for admitting into their papers several uncleanly advertisements, not at all proper to appear in the works of polite writers. Among these I must reckon the . Carminative wind-expelling Pills.' If the doctor bad called them his Carminative Pills, he had done as cleanly as any one could have wished; but the second word entirely destroys the decency of the first. There are other absurdities of this nature so very gross, that I dare not mention them; and shall therefore dismiss this subject, with a public admonition to Michael Parrot; that he do not presume any more to mention a certain worm he knows of, which, way,
grown seven foot in my memory; for if I am not much mistaken, it is the same that was but nine foot long about six months ago.
By the remarks I have here made, it plainly appears, that a collection of advertisements is a kind of miscellany; the writers of which contrary to all authors, except men of quality, give money to the booksellers who publish their copies. The genius of the bookseller is chiefly shown in his method of ranging and digesting these little tracts. The last paper I took up in my hands, places them in the following order :
The true Spanish blacking for shoes, &c.
. The present State of England, &c.
A COMMISSION of bankrupt being awarded against B. L. bookseller, &c.
No. 226. TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 1710.
-Juvenis quondam, nunc Fremina Cæneus,
From my own Apartment, September 18. It is one of the designs of this paper to transmit to pos terity an account of every thing that is monstrous in my own times. For this reason I shall here publish to the world the life of a person who was neither man nor woman, as written by one of my ingenious correspondents, who seems to have imitated Plutarch in that multifarious erudition, and those occasional dissertations, which he has wrought into the body of his history. The life I am putting out, is that of Margery, alias John Young, commonly known by the name of Dr. Young, who (as the town very well knows) was a woman that practised physic in man's clothes, and after having had two wives and several children, died about a month since.
1 V. The original advertisements which accompanied the Tatler in Nichols's ed., and many in this.-6.
“I Here make bold to trouble you with a short account of the famous Dr. Young's life, which you 'may call (if you please) a second part of the farce of the Sham Doctor. This perhaps will not seem so strange to you, who (if I am not mistaken) hare somewhere mentioned with honour your sister Kirleus' as a practitioner both in physic and astrology : but in the common opinion of mankind, a she-quack is altogether as strange and astonishing a creature as a Centaur that practised physic in the days of Achilles, or as King Phys in the Rehearsal. Æsculapius, the great founder of your art, was particularly famous for his beard, as we may conclude from the behaviour of a tyrant, who is branded by Heathen historians as guilty both of sacrilege and blasphemy, having robbed the statue of Æsculapius of a thick bushy golden beard, and then alleged for his excuse, ' That it was a shame the son should have a beard when his father Apollo had none.' This latter instance, indeed, seems something to favour a female professor, since (as I have been told) the ancient statues of Apollo are generally made with the head and face of a woman : nay, I have been credibly informed by those who have seen them both, that the famous Apollo in the Belvidere did very much resemble Dr. Young. Let that be as it will, the Doctor was a kind of Amazon in physic, that made as great devastations and slaughters as any of our chief heroes in the art, and was as fatal to the English in these our days, as the famous Joan d'Are was in those of our forefathers.
"I do not find any thing remarkable in the life I am about to write, till the year 1695, at which time the doctor, being about twenty-three years old, was brought to bed of a bastard child. The scandal of such a misfortune gave so great uneasiness to
1 There were two she quacks of this name, Susannah and Mary, who ndvertised upon one another.-G.
pretty Mrs. Peggy, (for that was the name by which the doctor was then called) that she left her family, and followed her lover to London, with a fixed resolution, some way or other, to recover her lost reputation : but instead of changing her life, which one would have espected from so good a disposition of mind, she took it in her head to change her sex. This was soon done by the help of a sword, and a pair of breeches. I have reason to believe, that her first design was to turn man-midwife, having herself had some experience in those affairs : but thinking this too narrow a foundation for her future fortune, she at length bought her a gold button coat, and set up for a physician. Thus we see the same fatal miscarriage in her youth made Mrs. Young a doctor, that formerly made one of the same sex a pope.
“The doctor succeeded very well in his business at first, but very often met with accidents that disquieted him. As he wanted that deep magisterial voice which gives authority to a prescription, and is absolutely necessary for the right pronouncing of those words, Take these pills,' he unfortunately got the nickname of The Squeaking Doctor.' If this circumstance alarmed the doctor, there was another that gave him no small disquiet, and
very much diminished his gains. In short, he found himself run down as a superficial prating quack, in all families that had at the head of them a cautious father, or a jealous husband. These would often complain among one another, that they did not like such a smock-faced physician ; though in truth, had they known how justly he deserved that name, they would rather have · favoured his practice, than have apprehended any thing from it.
Such were the motives that determined Mrs. Young to change her condition, and take in marriage a virtuous young woman, who lived with her in good reputation, and made her the father of a very pretty girl. But this part of her happiness was soon after destroyed by a distemper which was too hard for our phy