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because neither of them found himself in | face, and by a little aggravation of the feathe wrong by it. Upon which we made tures to change it into the Saracen's Head. the best of our way to the assizes. I should not have known this story, had not The court was sat before Sir Roger came; the innkeeper, upon Sir Roger's alighting, but notwithstanding all the justices had told him in my hearing, that his honour's taken their places upon the bench, they head was brought back last night with the made room for the old knight at the head alterations that he had ordered to be made of them; who for his reputation in the coun- in it. Upon this, my friend, with his usual try took occasion to whisper in the judge's cheerfulness, related the particulars aboveear, that he was glad his lordship had mentioned, and ordered the head to be met with so much good weather in his cir- brought into the room. I could not forbear cuit.' I was listening to the proceeding of discovering greater expressions of mirth the court with much attention, and infinitely than ordinary upon the appearance of this pleased with that great appearance of so- monstrous face, under which, notwithstandfemnity which so properly accompanies ing it was made to frown and stare in a such a public administration of our laws; most extraordinary manner, I could still when after about an hour's sitting, I ob- discover a distant resemblance of my old served, to my great surprise, in the midst friend. Sir Roger, upon seeing me laugh, of a trial, that my friend Sir Roger was desired me to tell him truly if I thought it getting up to speak. I was in some pain possible for people to know him in that disfor him, until I found he had acquitted guise. I at first kept my usual silence; but himself of two or three sentences, with a upon the knight's conjuring me to tell him look of much business and great intrepidity. whether it was not still more like himself Upon his first rising the court was hushed, than a Saracen, I composed my counteand a general whisper ran among the coun-nance in the best manner I could, and retry people, that Sir Roger was up.' The plied, that much might be said on both speech he made was so little to the purpose, that I shall not trouble my readers with an account of it; and I believe was not so much designed by the knight himself to inform the court, as to give him a figure in my eye, and keep up his credit in the country.
These several adventures, with the knight's behaviour in them, gave me as pleasant a day as ever I met with in any of my travels. L.
I was highly delighted when the court No. 123.] Saturday, July 21, 1711. rose to see the gentlemen of the country gathering about my old friend, and striving who should compliment him most; at the same time that the ordinary people gazed upon him at a distance, not a little admiring his courage that was not afraid to speak to the judge.
In our return home we met with a very odd accident; which I cannot forbear relating, because it shows how desirous all who know Sir Roger, are of giving him marks of their esteem. When we arrived upon the verge of his estate, we stopped at a little inn to rest ourselves and our horses. The man of the house had, it seems, been formerly a servant in the knight's family; and to do honour to his old master, had, some time since, unknown to Sir Roger, put him up in a sign-post before the door; so that the knight's head had hung out upon the road about a week before he himself knew any thing of the matter. As soon as Sir Roger was acquainted with it, finding that his servant's indiscretion proceeded wholly from affection and good-will, he only told him that he had made him too high a compliment; and when the fellow seemed to think that could hardly be, added with a more decisive look, that it was too great an honour for any man under a duke; but told him at the same time, that it might be altered by a very few touches, and that he himself would be at the charge of it. Accordingly they got a painter by the knight's directions to add a pair of whiskers to the
Doctrina sed vim promovet insitam,
Hor. Lib. 4. Od. iv. 33,
As I was yesterday taking the air with my friend, Sir Roger, we were met by a fresh-coloured ruddy young man who rid by us full speed, with a couple of servants behind him. Upon my inquiry who he was, Sir Roger told me that he was a young gentleman of considerable estate, who had been educated by a tender mother that lived not many miles from the place where we were. She is a very good lady, says my friend, but took so much care of her son's health that she has made him good for nothing. She quickly found that reading was bad for his eyes, and that writing made his head ache. He was let loose among the woods as soon as he was able to ride on horseback, or to carry a gun upon his shoulder. To be brief, I found, upon my friend's account of him, that he had got a great stock of health, but nothing else; but that if it were a man's business only to live, there would not be a more accomplished young fellow in the whole country.
The truth of it is, since my residing in these parts I have seen and heard innume rable instances of young heirs and elder
had not he been comforted by the daily visits and conversation of his friend. As they were one day talking together with their usual intimacy, Leontine, considering how incapable he was of giving his daughter a proper education in his own house, and Eudoxus reflecting on the ordinary behaviour of a son who knows himself to be the heir of a great estate, they both agreed upon an exchange of children, namely, that the boy should be bred up with Leontine as his son, and that the girl should live with Eudoxus as his daughter, until they were each of them arrived at years of discretion. The wife of Eudoxus, knowing that her son could not be so advantageously brought up as under the care of Leontine, and considering at the same time that he would be perpetually under her own eye, was by degrees prevailed upon to fall in with the project. She therefore took Leonilla, for that was the name of the girl, and educated her as her own daughter. The two friends on each side had wrought themselves to such an habitual tenderness for the children who were under their direction, that each of them had the real passion of a father, where the title was but imaginary. Florio, the name of the young heir that lived with Leontine, though he had all the duty and affection imaginable for his supposed parent, was taught to rejoice at the sight of Eudoxus, who visited his friend very frequently, and was dictated by his natural affection, as well as by the rules of prudence, to make himself esteemed and beloved by Florio. The boy was now old enough to know his supposed father's circumstances, and that therefore he was to make his way in the world by his own industry. This consideration grew stronger in him every day, and produced so good an effect, that he applied himself with more than ordinary attention to the pursuit of every thing which Leontine recommended to him. His natural abilities, which were very good, assisted by the directions of so excellent a counsellor, enabled him to make a quicker progress than ordinary through all the parts of his education. Before he was twenty years of age, having finished his studies and exercises with great applause, he was removed from the university to the inns of court, where there are very few that make themselves considerable proficients in the studies of the place, who know they shall arrive at great estates without them. This was not Florio's case; he found that three hundred a year was but a poor estate for Leontine and himself to live upon, so that he studied without intermission till he gained a very good insight into the constitution and laws of his country.
I should have told my reader, that whilst Florio lived at the house of his foster-father, he was always an acceptable guest in the family of Eudoxus, where he became acquainted with Leonilla from her infancy.
Eudoxus and Leontine began the world with small estates. They were both of them men of good sense and great virtue. They prosecuted their studies together in their earlier years, and entered into such a friendship as lasted to the end of their lives. Eudoxus, at his first setting out in the world, threw himself into a court, where by his natural endowments and his acquired abilities he made his way from one post to another, until at length he had raised a very considerable fortune. Leontine on the contrary sought all opportunities of improving his mind, by study, conversation, and travel. He was not only acquainted with all the sciences, but with the most eminent professors of them throughout Europe. He knew perfectly well the interest of its princes, with the customs and fashions of their courts, and could scarce meet with the name of an extraordinary person in the Gazette whom he had not either talked to or seen. In short, he had so well mixed and digested his knowledge of men and books, that he made one of the most accomplished persons of his age. During the whole course of his studies and travels he kept up a punctual correspondence with Eudoxus, who often made himself acceptable to the principal men about court by the intelligence which he received from Leontine. When they were both turned of forty, (an age in which, according to Mr. Cowley, there is no dallying with life,') they determined, pursuant to the resolution they had taken in the beginning of their lives, to retire, and pass the remainder of their days in the country. In order to this, they both of them married much about the same time. Leontine, with his own and wife's fortune, bought a farm of three hundred a year, which lay within the neighbourhood of his friend Eudoxus, who had purchased an estate of as many thousands. They were both of them fathers about the same time, Eudoxus having a son born to him, and Leontine, a daughter; but to the unspeakable grief of the latter, his young wife (in whom all his happiness was wrapt up,) died in a few days after the birth of her daughter. His affliction would have been insupportable,
His acquaintance with her by degrees grew of that care which they had bestowed upon
gaining an heiress of so great a fortune, and No. 124.] Monday, July 23, 1711.
Μιγα βιβλίον, μέγα κακον,
A great book is a great evil.
A MAN who publishes his works in a volume, has an infinite advantage over one who communicates his writings to the world in loose tracts and single pieces. We do not expect to meet with any thing in a bulky volume, till after some heavy preamble, and several words of course, to prepare the reader for what follows. Nay, authors have established it as a kind of rule, that a man ought to be dull sometimes; as the most severe reader makes allowances for many rests and nodding-places in a voluminous writer. This gave occasion to the famous Greek proverb, which I have chosen for my motto, that ‘A great book is a great evil.”
On the contrary, those who publish their thoughts in distinct sheets, and as it were by piece-meal, have none of these advantages. We must immediately fall into our subject, and treat every part of it in a lively manner, or our papers are thrown by as dull and insipid. Our matter must lie close together, and either be wholly new in itself, or in the turn it receives from our expressions. Were the books of our best authors thus to be retailed to the public, and every page submitted to the taste of forty or fifty thousand readers, I am afraid we should complain of many flat expressions, trivial observations, beaten topics, and common thoughts, which go off very well in the lump. At the same time, notwithstanding some papers may be made up of broken hints and irregular sketches, it is often expected that every sheet should be a kind of treatise, and make out in thought what it wants in bulk: that a point of humour should be worked up in all its parts; and a subject touched upon in its most essential articles, without the repetitions, tautologies, and enlargements, that are indulged to longer labours. The ordinary writers of morality prescribe to their readers after the Galenic way; their medicines are made up in large quantities. An essay-writer must practise in the chymical method, and give the virtue of a full draught in a few drops. Were all books reduced thus to their quintessence, many a bulky author would make his appearance in a penny paper. There would be scarce such a thing in nature as a folio; the works of an age would be contained on a few shelves; not to mention millions of volumes that would be utterly annihilated.
I cannot think that the difficulty of furnishing out separate papers of this nature, has hindered authors from communicating
But besides such as are moles through
their thoughts to the world after such a
The many letters which come to me from persons of the best sense in both sexes, (for may pronounce their characters from their way of writing) do not a little encourage me in the prosecution of this my undertaking; besides that my bookseller tells me, the demand for these my papers increases daily. It is at his instance that I shall continue my rural speculations to the end of this month; several having made up separate sets of them, as they have done before of those relating to wit, to operas, to points of morality, or subjects of humour.
I am not at all mortified, when sometimes I see my works thrown aside by men of no taste nor learning. There is a kind of heaviness and ignorance that hangs upon the minds of ordinary men, which is too thick for knowledge to break through. Their souls are to be enlightened.
might help the eye of a man, could be of
-Nox atra cava circumvolat umbra. Virg. Æn. ii. 360. Black night enwraps them in her gloomy shade. To these I must apply the fable of the mole, that after having consulted many oculists for the bettering of his sight, was at last provided with a good pair of spectacles; but upon his endeavouring to make use of them, his mother told him very prudently, 'That spectacles, though they
No. 125.] Tuesday, July 24, 1711.
Ne, pueri, ne tanta animis assuescite bella,
My worthy friend Sir Roger, when we are talking of the malice of parties, very frequently tells us an accident that hap pened to him when he was a school-boy, which was at the time when the feuds Iran high between the Round-heads and Cavaliers. This worthy knight, being then but a stripling, had occasion to inquire which was the way to St. Anne's Lane; upon which the person whom he spoke to, instead of answering his question, called him a young popish cur, and asked him who had made Anne a saint? The boy, being in some confusion, inquired of the next he met, which was the way to Anne's Lane; but was called a prick-eared cur for his pains, and instead of being shown the way, was told that she had been a saint before he was born, and would be one after he was hanged. Upon this," says Sir Roger, I did not think fit to repeat the former questions, but going into every lane of the neighbourhood, asked what they called the name of that lane? By which ingenious artifice he found out the place he inquired after without giving offence to any party. Sir Roger generally closes this narrative with reflections on the mischief that parties do in the country; how they spoil a good neighbourhood, and make honest gentlemen hate one another; besides that they manifestly tend to the prejudice of the land-tax, and the destruction of the game.
There cannot a greater judgment befal a country than such a dreadful spirit of division as rends a government into two
distinct people, and makes them greater | which at present prevails amongst all strangers and more averse to one another, ranks and degrees in the British nation. than if they were actually two different As men formerly became eminent in learnnations. The effects of such a division are ed societies by their parts and acquisipernicious to the last degree, not only with tions, they now distinguish themselves by regard to those advantages which they the warmth and violence with which they give the common enemy, but to those pri- espouse their respective parties. Books vate evils which they produce in the heart are valued upon the like considerations. of almost every particular person. This An abusive, scurrilous style, passes for sainfluence is very fatal both to men's morals tire, and a dull scheme of party notions is and their understanding; it sinks the vir- called fine writing. tue of a nation, and not only so, but destroys even common sense.
There is one piece of sophistry practised by both sides, and that is the taking any scandalous story that has been ever whispered or invented of a private man, for a known undoubted truth, and raising suitable speculations upon it. Calumnies that have been never proved, or have been often refuted, are the ordinary postulatums of these infamous scribblers, upon which they proceed as upon first principles granted by all men, though in their hearts they know they are false, or at best very doubtful. When they have laid these foundations of scurrility, it is no wonder that their superstructure is every way answerable to them. If this shameless practice of the present age endures much longer, praise and reproach will cease to be motives of action in good men.
Plutarch says, very finely, that a man should not allow himself to hate even his enemies, because,' says he, if you indulge this passion in some occasions, it will rise of itself in others; if you hate your enemies, you will contract such a vicious habit of mind, as by degrees will break out upon those who are your friends, or those who are indifferent to you.' I might here There are certain periods of time in all observe how admirably this precept of governments when this inhuman spirit premorality (which derives the malignity of vails. Italy was long torn to pieces by the hatred from the passion itself, and not from Guelfes and Gibellines, and France by those its object) answers to that great rule which who were for and against the league: but it was dictated. to the world about an hun-is very unhappy for a man to be born in such dred years before this philosopher wrote;* a stormy and tempestuous season. It is the but instead of that, I shall only take notice, restless ambition of artful men that thus with a real grief of heart, that the minds breaks a people into factions, and draws of many good men among us appear several well-meaning persons to their insoured with party-principles, and alienated terest by a specious concern for their counfrom one another in such a manner, as try. How many honest minds are filled seems to me altogether inconsistent with with uncharitable and barbarous notions, the dictates either of reason or religion. out of their zeal for the public good? Zeal for a public cause is apt to breed pas- What cruelties and outrages would they sions in the hearts of virtuous persons, to not commit against men of an adverse parwhich the regard of their own private in-ty, whom they would honour and esteem, terest would never have betrayed them. if, instead of considering them as they are represented, they knew them as they are? Thus are persons of the greatest probity seduced into shameful errors and prejudices, are made bad men even by that noblest of principles, the love of their country. I cannot here forbear mentioning the famous Spanish proverb, If there were neither fools nor knaves in the world, all people would be of one mind.'
If this party spirit has so ill an effect on our morals, it has likewise a very great one upon our judgments. We often hear a poor insipid paper or pamphlet cried up, and sometimes a noble piece depreciated, by those who are of a different principle from the author. One who is actuated by this spirit is almost under an incapacity of discerning either real blemishes or beauties. A man of merit in a different principle, is like an object seen in two different mediums, that appears crooked or broken, however straight and entire it may be in itself. For this reason there is scarce a person of any figure in England, who does not go by two contrary characters, as opposite to one another as light and darkness. Knowledge and learning suffer in a particular manner from this strange prejudice,
For my own part I could heartily wish that all honest men would enter into an association, for the support of one another against the endeavours of those whom they ought to look upon as their common enemies, whatsoever side they may belong to. Were there such an honest body of neutral forces, we should never see the worst of men in great figures of life, because they are useful to a party; nor the best unregarded, because they are above practising those methods which would be grateful to
* Viz. by Jesus Christ. See Luke vi. 27–32 &c.
A furious party spirit, when it rages in its full violence, exerts itself in civil war and bloodshed; and when it is under its greatest restraints naturally breaks out in falsehood, detraction, calumny, and a partial administration of justice. In a word, it fills a nation with spleen and rancour, and extinguishes all the seeds of goodnature, compassion, and humanity.