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questions, and every reply or answer ; directing exactly the moment when one, two, or all the company are to laugh : but, having duly considered that this expedient would too much enlarge the bulk of the volume, and consequently the price, and likewise that something ought to be left for ingenious readers to find out, I have determined to leave that whole affair, although of great importance, to their own discretion.

The reader must learn by all means to distinguish between proverbs and those polite speeches which beautify conversation ; for, as to the former, I utterly reject them out of all ingenious discourse. I acknowledge, indeed, that there may possibly be found in this treatise a few sayings, among so great a number of smart turns of wit and humour as I have produced, which have a proverbial air; however, I hope it will be considered that even these were not originally proverbs, but the genuine productions of superior wits, to embellish and support conversation ; whence, with great impropriety as well as plagiarism, (if you will forgive a hard word,) they have most injuriously been transferred into proverbial maxims ; and therefore, in justice, ought to be resumed out of vulgar hands, to adorn the drawing-rooms of princes both male and female, the levees of great ministers, as well as the toilet and tea-table of the ladies.

I can faithfully assure the reader that there is not one single witty phrase in this whole collection which has not received the stamp and approbation of at least one hundred years, and how much longer it is hard to determine ; he may therefore be secure to find them all genuine, sterling, and authentic.

But, before this elaborate treatise can become of uni.


versal use and ornament to my native country, two points, that will require much time and much application, are absolutely necessary.

For, first, whatever person would aspire to be completely witty, smart, humorous, and polite, must, by hard labour, be able to retain in his memory every single sentence contained in this work, so as never to be once at a loss in applying the right answers, questions, repartees, and the like, immediately, and without study or hesitation.

And, secondly, after a lady or gentleman has so well overcome this difficulty as never to be at a loss upon any emergency, the true management of every feature, and almost every limb, is equally necessary; without which an infinite number of absurdities will inevitably

For instance, there is hardly a polite sentence in the following dialogues which does not absolutely require some peculiar graceful motion in the eyes, or nose, or mouth, or forehead, or chin, or suitable toss of the head, with certain offices assigned to each hand ; and in ladies, the whole exercise of the fan, fitted to the energy of every word they deliver ; by no means omitting the various turns and cadence of the voice, the twistings, and movements, and different postures of the body, the several kinds and gradations of laughter, which the ladies must daily practise by the lookingglass, and consult upon them with their waiting-maids.

My readers will soon observe what a great compass of real and useful knowledge this science includes; wherein, although nature, assisted by genius, may be very instrumental, yet a strong memory and constant application, together with example and precept, will be highly necessary.



The Men.
Sir John LINGER.
Colonel ATwit.

The Ladies.

Lord Sparkish and Colonel Atwit meet in the morning upon

the Mall: Mr. Neverout joins them : they all go to breakfast at lady Smart's. Their conversation over their tea.

Col. WELL met, my

lord. Spark. Thank ye, colonel. A parson would have said, I hope we shall meet in heaven. When did you see Tom Neverout?

Col. He's just coming toward us. Talk of the devil

NEVEROUT comes up.
Col. How do you do, Tom?
Never. Never the better for you.

Col. I hope you are never the worse : but pray where's your manners ? Don't you see my lord Sparkish ?

Never. My lord, I beg your lordship's pardon.

Spark. Tom, how is it that you can't see the wood for trees? What wind blew you hither ?

Never. Why, my lord, it is an ill wind blows nobody good ; for it gives me the honour of seeing your lordship.

Col. Tom, you must go with us to lady Smart's to breakfast. Never. Must! why, colonel, must's for the king.

[Col. offering, in jest, to draw his sword. Col. Have you spoke with all your friends ? Never. Colonel, as you are stout be merciful. Spark. Come, agree, agree; the law's costly.

[Col. taking his hand from his hilt. Col. Well, Tom, you are never the worse man to be afraid of me. Come along.

Never. What ! do you think I was born in a wood, to be afraid of an owl? I'll wait on you. I hope Miss Notable will be there ; 'egad, she's very handsome, and has wit at will.

Col. Why, every one as they like, as the good woman said when she kiss'd her cow.

LORD SMART's House : they knock at the door ; the

Porter comes out.

Spark. Pray are you the porter ?
Porter. Yes, for want of a better.
Spark. Is your lady at home?

Porter. She was at home just now, but she's not gone out yet.

Never. I warrant this rogue's tongue is well hung.

LADY SMART'S Ante-chamber.

LADY SMART and LADY ANSWERALL at the Tea-table.

Lady S. My lord, your lordship’s most humble servant.

Spark. Madam, you spoke too late ; I was your ladyship's before.

Lady S. Oh ! colonel, are you here?
Col. As sure as you're there, madam.

Lady S. O, Mr. Neverout! What, such a man alive!

Never. Ay, madam, alive, and alive like to be, at your ladyship's service.

Lady S. Well, I'll get a knife, and nick it down, that Mr. Neverout came to our house. And pray, what news, Mr. Neverout ?

Never. Why, madam, queen Elizabeth's dead.

Lady S. Well, Mr. Neverout, I see you are no changeling.

Miss NOTABLE comes in.

Never. Miss, your slave : I hope your early rising will do you no harm. I find you are but just come out of the cloth market.

Miss. I always rise at eleven, whether it be day or


Col. Miss, I hope you are up for all day.
Miss. Yes, if I don't get a fall before night.

Col. Miss, I heard you were out of order ; pray how are you now?

Miss. Pretty well, colonel, I thank you.

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