Silence Dogood essay 13: "Sir, In Persons of a contemplative Disposition, the most indifferent Things provoke the Excercise of the Imagination ..."
In the penultimate Silence Dogood essay, published in the 17-24 September 1722 issue of The New-England Courant, Dogood recounts how she had innocently wandered the streets of downtown Boston on a pleasant moon-lit evening. On the sojourn, she found "various Company to observe, and various Discourse to attend to." The first group who "rally'd" her was a mix of women and men. The conversation was chaotic (a "Confusion of Tongues"), and Dogood playfully has one member of the part call her own gender and identity into question, saying "That tho' I wrote in the Character of a Woman, he knew me to be a Man.". As she continued on her way, she met up with a group of "Night-Walkers" and their prospective short-term employers, a group of sailors. Her use of maritime terms to describe this meeting once again demonstrates Franklin's skillful application of language to drolly describe a scene:
"I met a Crowd of Tarpolins and their Doxies, link'd to each other by the Arms, who ran (by their own Account) after the Rate of Six Knots an Hour, and bent their Course towards the Common. Their eager and amorous Emotions of Body, occasion'd by taking their Mistresses in Tow, they call'd wild Steerage: And as a Pair of them happen' to trip and come to the Ground, the Company were call'd upon to bring to, for that Jack and Betty were founder'd.
To examine the entire newspaper, please see the online display of The New-England Courant, Number 60, 17-24 September 1722.
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