The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 5/Tatler Number 258

THE TATLER. No. 258.


Saturday, Dec. 2, 1710.


TO ISAAC BICKERSTAFF ESQUIRE[1].


Sir,

Nov. 22, 1710.


DlNING yesterday with Mr. South-British and Mr. William North-Briton, two gentlemen, who before you ordered it otherwise, were known by the names of Mr. English and Mr. William Scot: among other things, the maid of the house, who in her time, I believe, may have been a North British warmingpan, brought us up a dish of North British collops. We liked our entertainment very well; only we observed the tablecloth, being not so fine as we could have wished, was North British cloth. But the worst of it was, we were disturbed all dinner time by the noise of the children, who were playing in the paved court at North British hoppers; so we paid our North Briton sooner than we designed, and took coach to North Britain yard, about which place most of us live. We had indeed gone afoot; only we were under some apprehensions, lest a North British mist should wet a South British man to the skin. We think this matter properly expressed, according to the accuracy of the new style, settled by you in one of your late papers. You will please, to give your opinion upon it to,

Sir,

Your most humble servants,

J. S. M. P. N. R.

  1. "Steele, the rogue, has done the impudentest thing in the world: he said something in a Tatler, that we ought to use the word Great Britain, and not England, in common conversation, as, 'the finest lady in Great Britain,' &c. Upon this, Rowe, Prior, and I, sent him a letter, turning this into ridicule. He has to day printed the letter, and signed it J. S. M. P. and N. R. the first letters of all our names." Journal to Stella, Dec. 2, 1710. The dean observes, in another place, "The modern phrase 'Great Britain is only to distinguish it from Little Britain, where old clothes and old books are to be bought and sold." Letter to Alderman Barber, Aug. 8, 1738.