No. 323 [from The Spectator] by Joseph Addison

Story type: Essay

No. 323
Tuesday, March 11, 1712. Addison.

Modo Vir, modo Foemina. [1]

Virg.

The journal with which I presented my Reader on Tuesday last, has brought me in several Letters, with Accounts of many private Lives cast into that Form. I have the Rakes Journal, the Sots Journal, the Whoremasters Journal, and among several others a very curious Piece, entituled, The Journal of a Mohock. By these Instances I find that the Intention of my last Tuesdays Paper has been mistaken by many of my Readers. I did not design so much to expose Vice as Idleness, and aimed at those Persons who pass away their Time rather in Trifle and Impertinence, than in Crimes and Immoralities. Offences of this latter kind are not to be dallied with, or treated in so ludicrous a manner. In short, my Journal only holds up Folly to the Light, and shews the Disagreeableness of such Actions as are indifferent in themselves, and blameable only as they proceed from Creatures endow’d with Reason.

My following Correspondent, who calls her self Clarinda, is such a Journalist as I require: She seems by her Letter to be placed in a modish State of Indifference between Vice and Virtue, and to be susceptible of either, were there proper Pains taken with her. Had her Journal been filled with Gallantries, or such Occurrences as had shewn her wholly divested of her natural Innocence, notwithstanding it might have been more pleasing to the Generality of Readers, I should not have published it; but as it is only the Picture of a Life filled with a fashionable kind of Gaiety and Laziness, I shall set down five Days of it, as I have received it from the Hand of my fair Correspondent.

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Dear Mr. SPECTATOR,

You having set your Readers an Exercise in one of your last Weeks Papers, I have perform’d mine according to your Orders, and herewith send it you enclosed. You must know, Mr. SPECTATOR, that I am a Maiden Lady of a good Fortune, who have had several Matches offered me for these ten Years last past, and have at present warm Applications made to me by a very pretty Fellow. As I am at my own Disposal, I come up to Town every Winter, and pass my Time in it after the manner you will find in the following Journal, which I begun to write upon the very Day after your Spectator upon that Subject.

TUESDAY Night. Could not go to sleep till one in the Morning for thinking of my Journal.

WEDNESDAY. From Eight till Ten, Drank two Dishes of Chocolate in Bed, and fell asleep after em.

From Ten to Eleven. Eat a Slice of Bread and Butter, drank a Dish of Bohea, read the Spectator.

From Eleven to One. At my Toilet, try’d a new Head. Gave Orders for Veny to be combed and washed. Mem. I look best in Blue.

From One till Half an Hour after Two. Drove to the Change. Cheapned a Couple of Fans.

Till Four. At Dinner. Mem. Mr. Froth passed by in his new Liveries.

From Four to Six. Dressed, paid a Visit to old Lady Blithe and her Sister, having before heard they were gone out of Town that Day.

From Six to Eleven. At Basset. Mem. Never set again upon the Ace of Diamonds.

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THURSDAY. From Eleven at Night to Eight in the Morning. Dream’d that I punted to Mr. Froth.

From Eight to Ten. Chocolate. Read two Acts in Aurenzebe [2] abed.

From Ten to Eleven. Tea-Table. Sent to borrow Lady Faddles Cupid for Veny. Read the Play-Bills. Received a Letter from Mr. Froth. Mem. locked it up in my strong Box.

Rest of the Morning. Fontange, the Tire-woman, her Account of my Lady Blithe’s Wash. Broke a Tooth in my little Tortoise-shell Comb. Sent Frank to know how my Lady Hectick rested after her Monky’s leaping out at Window. Looked pale. Fontange tells me my Glass is not true. Dressed by Three.

From Three to Four. Dinner cold before I sat down.

From Four to Eleven. Saw Company. Mr. Froths Opinion of Milton. His Account of the Mohocks. His Fancy for a Pin-cushion. Picture in the Lid of his Snuff-box. Old Lady Faddle promises me her Woman to cut my Hair. Lost five Guineas at Crimp.

Twelve a-Clock at Night. Went to Bed.

FRIDAY. Eight in the Morning. Abed. Read over all Mr. Froths Letters. Cupid and Veny.

Ten a-Clock. Stay’d within all day, not at home.

From Ten to Twelve. In Conference with my Mantua-Maker. Sorted a Suit of Ribbands. Broke my Blue China Cup.

From Twelve to One. Shut my self up in my Chamber, practised Lady Betty Modely’s Skuttle.

One in the Afternoon. Called for my flowered Handkerchief. Worked half a Violet-Leaf in it. Eyes aked and Head out of Order. Threw by my Work, and read over the remaining Part of Aurenzebe.

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From Three to Four. Dined.

From Four to Twelve. Changed my Mind, dressed, went abroad, and play’d at Crimp till Midnight. Found Mrs. Spitely at home. Conversation: Mrs. Brilliants Necklace false Stones. Old Lady Loveday going to be married to a young Fellow that is not worth a Groat. Miss Prue gone into the Country. Tom Townley has red Hair. Mem. Mrs. Spitely whispered in my Ear that she had something to tell me about Mr. Froth, I am sure it is not true.

Between Twelve and One. Dreamed that Mr. Froth lay at my Feet, and called me Indamora. [3]

SATURDAY. Rose at Eight a-Clock in the Morning. Sate down to my Toilet.

From Eight to Nine. Shifted a Patch for Half an Hour before I could determine it. Fixed it above my left Eye-brow.

From Nine to Twelve. Drank my Tea, and dressed.

From Twelve to Two. At Chappel. A great deal of good Company. Mem. The third Air in the new Opera. Lady Blithe dressed frightfully.

From Three to Four. Dined. Miss Kitty called upon me to go to the Opera before I was risen from Table.

From Dinner to Six. Drank Tea. Turned off a Footman for being rude to Veny.

Six a-Clock. Went to the Opera. I did not see Mr. Froth till the beginning of the second Act. Mr. Froth talked to a Gentleman in a black Wig. Bowed to a Lady in the front Box. Mr. Froth and his Friend clapp’d Nicolini in the third Act. Mr. Froth cried out Ancora. Mr. Froth led me to my Chair. I think he squeezed my Hand.

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Eleven at Night. Went to Bed. Melancholy Dreams. Methought Nicolini said he was Mr. Froth.

SUNDAY. Indisposed.

MONDAY. Eight a-Clock. Waked by Miss Kitty. Aurenzebe lay upon the Chair by me. Kitty repeated without Book the Eight best Lines in the Play. Went in our Mobbs to the dumb Man [4], according to Appointment. Told me that my Lovers Name began with a G. Mem. The Conjurer was within a Letter of Mr. Froths Name, etc.

Upon looking back into this my Journal, I find that I am at a loss to know whether I pass my Time well or ill; and indeed never thought of considering how I did it before I perused your Speculation upon that Subject. I scarce find a single Action in these five Days that I can thoroughly approve of, except the working upon the Violet-Leaf, which I am resolved to finish the first Day I am at leisure. As for Mr. Froth and Veny I did not think they took up so much of my Time and Thoughts, as I find they do upon my Journal. The latter of them I will turn off, if you insist upon it; and if Mr. Froth does not bring Matters to a Conclusion very suddenly, I will not let my Life run away in a Dream.
Your humble Servant,
Clarinda.

To resume one of the Morals of my first Paper, and to confirm Clarinda in her good Inclinations, I would have her consider what a pretty Figure she would make among Posterity, were the History of her whole Life published like these five Days of it. I shall conclude my Paper with an Epitaph written by an uncertain Author [5] on Sir Philip Sidney’s Sister, a Lady who seems to have been of a Temper very much different from that of Clarinda. The last Thought of it is so very noble, that I dare say my Reader will pardon me the Quotation.

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On the Countess Dowager of Pembroke.
Underneath this Marble Hearse
Lies the Subject of all Verse,
Sidney’s Sister, Pembroke’s Mother:
Death, ere thou hast kill’d another,
Fair, and learn’d, and good as she,
Time shall throw a Dart at thee.

[Footnote 1: A quotation from memory of Virgil’s Et juvenis quondam nunc foemina. AEn. vi. 448.]

[Footnote 2: Dryden’s.]

[Footnote 3: The heroine of Aurengzebe.]

[Footnote 4: Duncan Campbell, said to be deaf and dumb, and to tell fortunes by second sight. In 1732 there appeared Secret Memoirs of the late Mr. D. Campbell…. written by himself… with an Appendix by way of vindicating Mr. C. against the groundless aspersion cast upon him, that he but pretended to be deaf and dumb.]

[Footnote 5: Ben Jonson.]

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