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“ fined to a degree of purity.” On the contrary, when the ingenious particles rise with the vital liquor, they produce an abstraction of the rational part of the soul, which we commonly call madness. The verity of this hypothesis is justified by the symptoms, with which the unfortunate Edmund Curll bookseller has been aflicted, ever since his swallowing the poison at the Swan tavern in Fleet street. For though the neck of his retort, which carries up the animal spirits to the head, is of an extraordinary length; yet the said animal spirits rise muddy, being contaminated with the infammable particles of this uncommon poison.
The symptoms of his departure from his usual temper of mind were at first only speaking civilly to his customers, singeing a pig with a new purchased libel, and refusing two-and-nine-pence for sir Richard Blackmore's Essays.
As the poor man's frenzy increased, he began to void his excrements in his bed, read Rochester's bawdy Poems to his wife, gave Oldmixon a slap on the chops, and would have kissed Mr. Pemberton's a— by violence.
But at last he came to such a pass, that he would dine upon nothing but copper-plates, took a clyster for a whipt syllabub, and made Mr. Lintot eat a suppository for a radish with bread and butter.
We leave it to every tender wife to imagine, how sorely all this amicted poor Mrs. Curll: at first she privately put a bill into several churches, desiring the prayers of the congregation for a wretched stationer distempered in mind. But when she was sadly convinced, that his misfortune was publick to all the world, she writ the following letter to her good neighbour Mr. Lintot.
A true Copy of Mrs. Curll’s Letter to Mr. LINTOT.
WORTHY MR. LINTOT,
“ YOU and all the neighbours know too well the
frenzy, with which my poor man is visited. I never “ perceived he was out of himself, till that melancholy “ day, that he thought he was poisoned in a glass of “ sack ; upon this he ran vomiting all over the house,
nay, in the new-washed dining-room. Alas! this " is the greatest adversity, that ever befel my poor
man, since he lost one testicle at school by the bite « of a black boar. Good Lord! if he should die, « where should I dispose of the stock ? unless Mr. “ Pemberton or you would help a distressed widow : “ for God knows, he never published any books that « lasted above a week, so that if we wanted daily “ books, we wanted daily bread. I can write no « more, for I hear the rap of Mr. Curll's ivory-headed
cane upon the counter. Pray recommend me to
your pastrycook, who furnishes you yearly with “ tarts in exchange for your paper, for Mr. Curll has
disobliged ours since his fits came upon him ;“ before thar, we generally lived upon baked meats. “ He is coming in, and I have but just time to put “ his son out of the way, for fear of mischief: so “ wishing you a merry Easter, I remain your
« Most humble servant,
“ C. CURLL."
“P. S. As to the report of my poor husband's “ stealing o'calf, it is really groundless, for he always “ binds in sheep.”
But return we to Mr. Curll, who all Wednesday continued outrageously mad. On Thursday he had a lucid interval, that enabled him to send a general summons to all his authors. There was but one porter, who could perform this office, to whom he gave the following bill of directions, where to find them. This bill, together with Mrs. Curll's original letter, lie at Mr. Lintot's shop to be perused by the curious.
Instructions to a Porter how to find Mr. CURLL'S
“ AT a tallow-chandler's in Petty France, half way « under the blind arch: ask for the historian.
“ At the Bedstead and Bolster, a musick-house in “ Moorfields, two translators in a bed together.
“ At the Hercules and Still in Vinegar yard, a " schoolmaster with carbuncles on his nose.
“ At a blacksmith's shop in the Friers, a pindarick « writer in red stockings.
“ In the Calendar-mill-room at Exeter-change, a composer of meditations. “At the three Tobacco-pipes in Dog and Bitch
yard, one that has been a parson, he wears a blue “ camblet coat trimmed with black: my best writer
against revealed religion.
“At Mr. Summers, a thief-catcher's, in Lewkner's “ lane, the man who wrote against the impiety of “ Mr. Rowe's plays.
" At the Farthing-pye-house in Tooting fields, “ the young man, who is writing my new pastorals.
“At the laundress's, at the Hole in the Wall in “ Cursitor's alley, up three pair of stairs, the author
“ of my Church History,--if his flux be over-you
may also speak to the gentleman, who lies by him “ in the Rock bed, my index-maker.
“ The cook's wife * in Buckingham court; bid « her bring along with her the similes, that were lent “ her for her next new play.
“ Call at Budge row for the gentleman, you used "to go to in the cockloft; I have taken away the “ ladder, but his landlady has it in keeping,
“ I don't much care if you ask at the Mint for the “ old beetlebrowed critick, and the purblind poet at “ the alley over against St. Andrew's, Holborn. But “ this as you have time.”
All these gentlemen appeared at the hour appointed in Mr. Curll's dining-room, two excepted; one of whom was the gentleman in the cockloft, his landlady being out of the way, and the Gradus ad Parnassum taken down; the other happened to be too closely watched by the bailiffs.
They no sooner entered the room, but all of them showed in their behaviour some suspicion of each other; some turning away their heads with an air of contempt: others squinting with a leer, that showed at once fear and indignation, each with a haggard abstracted mien, the lively picture of scorn, solitude, and short commons. So when a keeper feeds his hungry charge of vultures, panthers, and of Libyan leopards, each eyes his fellow with a fiery glare: high hung, the bloody liver tempts their maw. housewife stands before her pales, surrounded by her geese; they fight, they hiss, they cackle, beat their wings, and down is scattered as the winter's snow, for a poor grain of oat, or tare, or barley. Such looks shot through the room transverse, oblique, direct; such was the stir and din, till Curll thus spoke (but without rising from his closestool :)
Or as a
* Mrs. Centlivre.
“ Whores and authors must be paid beforehand to
put them in good humour; therefore here is half a “ crown apiece for you to drink your own healths, “ and confusion to Mr. Addison, and all other success“ ful writers.
“ Ah gentlemen! what have I not done, what “ have I not suffered, rather than the world should “ be deprived of your lucubrations; I have taken “ involuntary purges, I have been vomited, three "times have I been caned, once was I hunted, twice “ was my head broke by a grenadier, twice was I “ tossed in a blanket; I have had boxes on the ear,
siaps on the chops; I have been frighted, pumped,
kicked, slandered, and beshitten. - I hope, gen" tlemen, you are all convinced, that this author of “ Mr. Lintot's could mean nothing else but starving
you, by poisoning me. It remains for us to con“sult the best and speediest method of revenge.”
He had scarce done speaking, but the historian proposed a history of his life. The Exeter-exchangegentlemen was for penning articles of his faith. Some pretty smart pindarick, says the red-stocking poet, would effectually do his business. But the indexmaker said, there was nothing like an index to his Homer.
After several debates, they came to the following resclutions :
“ Resolved, That every member of this society, “ according to his several abilities, shall contribute