Изображения страниц

miliar spirit that did not think him worthy | being really so? Come to us; forget the to receive the whole story. But in truth gigglers; let your inclination go along with whisperers deal only in half accounts of you, whether you speak or are silent; and what they entertain you with. A great help let all such women as are in a clan or sisto their discourse is, That the town says, terhood go their own way; there is no room and people begin to talk very freely, and for you in that company who are of the they had it from persons too considerable common taste of the sex. to be named, what they will tell you when things are riper.' My friend has winked upon me any day since I came to town last, and has communicated to me as a secret, that he designed in a very short time to tell me a secret; but I shall know what he means, he now assures me, in less than a No. 149.] Tuesday, August 21, 1711. fortnight's time.

For women born to be controll'd
Stoop to the forward and the bold;
Affect the haughty and the proud.
The gay, the frolic, and the loud."


Cui ut manu sit quem esse dementem velit,
Quem sapere, quem sanari, quem ia morbum injici,
Quem contra amari, quem accersiri, quem expeti.
Creil. apud Tull.

Who has it in her pow'r to make men mad,
Or wise, or sick, or well: and who can choose
The object of her appetite at pleasure.

THE following letter, and my answer, shall take up the present speculation.

But I must not omit the dearer part of mankind, I mean the ladies, to take up a whole paper upon grievances which concern the men only; but shall humbly propose, that we change fools for an experiment only. A certain set of ladies complain they are frequently perplexed with a visitant, who affects to be wiser than they are; which character he hopes to preserve 'MR. SPECTATOR,-I am the young by an obstinate gravity, and great guard widow of a country gentleman, who has against discovering his opinion upon any left me entire mistress of a large fortune, Occasion whatsoever. A painful silence which he agreed to as an equivalent for the has hitherto gained him no farther advan- difference in our years. In these circumtage, than that as he might, if he had be- stances it is not extraordinary to have a haved himself with freedom, been excepted crowd of admirers; which I have abridged against, but as to this and that particular, in my own thoughts, and reduced to a couhe now offends in the whole. To relieve ple of candidates only, both young, and these ladies, my good friends and corre- neither of them disagreeable in their perspondents, I shall exchange my dancing sons: according to the common way of outlaw for their dumb visitant, and assign computing, in one the estate more than dethe silent gentleman all the haunts of the serves my fortune, in the other my fortune dancer; in order to which, I have sent more than deserves the estate. When I them by the penny-post the following let-consider the first, I own I am so far a ters for their conduct in their new conver-woman I cannot avoid being delighted with


the thoughts of living great; but then he ‘SIR,—I have, you may be sure, heard seems to receive such a degree of courage from the knowledge of what he has, he of your irregularities without regard to my observations upon you; but shall not treat looks as if he was going to confer an obligayou with so much rigour as you deserve. If tion on me; and the readiness he accosts you will give yourself the trouble to repairing a repetition of the same things he has me with, makes me jealous I am only hearto the place mentioned in the postscript to said to a hundred women before. When I this letter, at seven this evening, you will be conducted into a spacious room, well-consider the ether, I see myself approachlighted, where there are ladies and music.ed with so much modesty and respect, and You will see a young lady laughing next the window to the street; you may take her cut, for she loves you as well as she does any man, though she never saw you before. She never thought in her life, any more than yourself. She will not be surprised when you accost her, nor concerned when you leave her. Hasten from a place

where you are laughed at, to one where you will be admired. You are of no consequence, therefore go where you will be welcome for being so. Your humble ser


'SIR,―The ladies whom you visit, think a wise man the most impertinent creature living, therefore you cannot be offended that they are displeased with you. Why will you take pains to appear wise, where you would not be the more esteemed for

such a doubt of himself, as betrays, methinks, an affection within, and a belief at the same time that he himself would be the only gainer by my consent. What an of both! but since that is impossible, I beg unexceptionable husband could I make out to be concluded by your opinion. It is absolutely in your power to dispose of, your

most obedient servant,


MADAM,-You do me great honour in your application to me on this important occasion; I shall therefore talk to you with the tenderness of a father, in gratitude for do not seem to make any great distinction your giving me the authority of one. You between these gentlemen as to their persons; the whole question lies upon their circumstances and behavicur. İf the one

* Waller.

is less respectful because he is rich, and the other more obsequious because he is not so, they are in that point moved by the same principle, the consideration of fortune, and you must place them in each other's circumstances before you can judge of their inclination. To avoid confusion in discussing this point, I will call the richer man Strephon, and the other Florio. If you believe Florio with Strephon's estate would behave himself as he does now, Florio is certainly your man; but if you think Strephon were he in Florio's condition, would be as obsequious as Florio is now, you ought for your own sake to choose Strephon; for where the men are equal, there is no doubt riches ought to be a reason for preference. After this manner, my dear child, I would have you abstract them from their circumstances; for you are to take it for granted, that he who is very humble only because he is poor, is the very same man in nature, with him who is haughty because he is rich.

"When you have gone thus far, as to consider the figure they make towards you; you will please, my dear, next to consider the appearance you make towards them. If they are men of discerning, they can observe the motives of your heart: and Florio can see when he is disregarded only upon account of fortune, which makes you to him a mercenary creature; and you are still the same thing to Strephon, in taking him for his wealth only; you are therefore to consider whether you had rather oblige, than receive an obligation.

The marriage-life is always an insipid, a vexaticus, or a happy condition. The first is, when two people of no genius or taste for themselves meet together upon such a settlement as has been thought reasonable by parents and conveyancers, from an exact valuation of the land and cash of both parties. In this case the young lady's person is no more regarded, than the house and improvements in purchase of an estate: but she goes with her fortune, rather than her fortune with her. These make up the crowd or vulgar of the rich, and fill up the lumber of human race, without beneficence towards those below them, or respect towards those above them; and lead a despicable, independent, and useless life, without sense of the laws of kindness, good-nature, mutual offices, and the elegant satisfactions which flow from reason and virtue.

other's person and conduct. In company they are in a purgatory, when only together in a hell.

The happy marriage is where two persons meet and voluntarily make choice of each other, without principally regarding or neglecting the circumstances of fortune or beauty. These may still love in spite of adversity or sickness: the former we may in some measure defend ourselves from, the other is the portion of our very make. When you have a true notion of this sort of passion, your humour of living great will vanish out of your imagination, and you will find love has nothing to do with state. Solitude, with the person beloved, has a pleasure, even in a woman's mind, beyond show or pomp. You are therefore to consider which of your lovers will like you best undressed, which will bear with you most when out of humour; and your way to this is to ask of yourself, which of them you value most for his own sake? and by that judge which gives the greater instances of his valuing you for yourself only.

After you have expressed some sense of the humble approach of Florio, and a little disdain at Strephon's assurance in his address, you cry out, What an unexceptionable husband could I make out of both!" It would therefore, methinks, be a good way to determine yourself. Take him in whom what you like is not transferable to another; for if you choose otherwise, there is no hope your husband will ever have what you liked in his rival; but intrinsic qualities in one man may very probably purchase every thing that is adventitious in another. In plainer terms: he whom you take for his personal perfections will sooner arrive at the gifts of fortune, than he whom you take for the sake of his fortune, attain to personal perfections. If Strephon is not as accomplished and agreeable as Florio, marriage to you will never make him so: but marriage to you may make Florio as rich as Strephon. Therefore to make a sure purchase, employ fortune upon certainties, but do not sacrifice certainties to fortune. I am, your most obedient, humble servant.' T.

No. 150.] Wednesday, August 18, 1711.
Nil habet infelix paupertas durius in se,
Quam quod ridiculos homines facit.-

"The vexatious life arises from a conJuv. Sat. iii. 152. junction of two people of quick taste and Want is the scorn of every wealthy fool, resentment, put together for reasons well And wit in rags is turn'd to ridicule.--Dryden. known to their friends, in which special As I was walking in my chamber the care is taken to avoid (what they think the morning before I went last into the counchief of evils) poverty, and ensure to them try, I heard the hawkers with great veheriches, with every evil besides. These mence crying about a paper, entitled, The good people live in a constant constraint Ninety-nine Plagues of an Empty Purse. before company, and too great familiarity I had indeed sometime before observed, alone. When they are within observation that the orators of Grub-street had dealt they fret at each other's carriage and very much in plagues. They have albehaviour; when alone they revile each ready published in the same month, The

part of their character, while they are endeavouring to establish another.

Yet however unaccountable this foolish custom is, I am afraid it could plead a long prescription; and probably gave too much occasion for the vulgar definition still remaining among us of a heathen philosopher.

Plagues of Matrimony, The Plagues of a Single Life, The Nineteen Plagues of a Chambermaid, The Plagues of a Coachman, The Plagues of a Footman, and The Plague of Plagues. The success these several plagues met with, probably gave occasion to the above-mentioned poem on an empty purse. However that be, the same noise so frequently repeated under my win- I have seen the speech of a Terræ-filius, dow, drew me insensibly to think on some spoken in King Charles the Second's of those inconveniences and mortifications reign; in which he describes two very emiwhich usually attend on poverty, and, in nent men, who were perhaps the greatest short, gave birth to the present specula- scholars of their age; and after having tion: for after my fancy had run over the mentioned the entire friendship between most obvious and common calamities which them, concludes, that they had but one men of mean fortunes are liable to, it de- mind, one purse, one chamber, and one scended to those little insults and con-hat.' The men of business were also intempts, which though they may seem to fected with a sort of singularity little better dwindle into nothing when a man offers to describe them, are perhaps in themselves more cutting and insupportable than the former. Juvenal with a great deal of humour and reason tells us, that nothing bore harder upon a poor man in his time than the continual ridicule which his habit and dress afforded to the beaux of Rome:

[blocks in formation]

Want is the scorn of ev'ry wealthy fool,

And wit in rags is turn'd to ridicule.-Dryden.

than this. I have heard my father say, that a broad-brimmed hat, short hair, and unfolded handkerchief, were in his time absolutely necessary to denote a notable man;' and that he had known two or three, who aspired to the character of a 'very notable,' wear shoe-strings with great suc


To the honour of our present age it must be allowed, that some of our greatest geniuses for wit and business have almost entirely broke the neck of these absurdities.

Victer, after having despatched the most important affairs of the commonwealth, has appeared at an assembly, where all the ladies have declared him the genteelest man in the company; and in Atticus, though every way one of the greatest geniuses the lar in his dress or carriage to denote his age has produced, one sees nothing particupretensions to wit and learning: so that at present a man may venture to cock up his hat, and wear a fashionable wig, without being taken for a rake or a fool.

The medium between a fop and a sloven is what a man of sense would endeavour to keep; yet I remember Mr. Osborn advises his son to appear in his habit rather above than below his fortune; and tells him that he will find a handsome suit of clothes always procures some additional respect. I have indeed myself observed, that my banker ever bows lowest to me when I wear my full-bottomed wig; and writes me 'Mr. or Esq.' according as he sees me dressed. I shall conclude this paper with an adventure which I was myself an eye-witness

It must be confessed that few things make a man appear more despicable, or more prejudice his hearers against what he is going to offer, than an awkward or pitiful dress: insomuch that I fancy, had Tully himself pronounced one of his orations with a blanket about his shoulders, more people would have laughed at his dress than have admired his eloquence. This last reflection made me wonder at a set of men, who without being subjected to it by the unkindness of their fortunes, are contented to draw upon themselves the of very lately. ridicule of the world in this particular. II happened the other day to call in at a mean such as take it into their heads, that celebrated coffee-house near the Temple. the first regular step to be a wit is to com- I had not been there long when there came mence a sloven. It is certain nothing has in an elderly man very meanly dressed, and so much debased that, which must have sat down by me; he had a thread-bare been otherwise so great a character; and I loose coat on, which it was plain he wore know not how to account for it, unless it to keep himself warm, and not to favour may possibly be complaisance to those nar- his under suit, which seemed to have been row minds who can have no notion of the, at least its contemporary: his short wig and same persons possessing different accom- hat were both answerable to the rest of his plishments; or that it is a sort of sacrifice

* Advice to a Son, by Francis Osborn, Esq. Part. 1.

which some men are contented to make to calumny, by allowing it to fasten on one sec. 2

wife. According to his description, a man of wit, when he could have wenches for crowns a-piece which he liked quite as well, would be so extravagant as to bribe servants, make false friendships, fight relations: I say, according to him, plain and simple vice was too little for a man of wit and pleasure; but he would leave an easy and accessible wickedness, to come at the same thing with only the addition of certain falsehood and possible murder. Will thinks the town grown very dull, in that we do not hear so much as we used to do of those coxcombs, whom, (without observing it,) he describes as the most infamous rogues in nature, with relation to friendship, love, or conversation.

apparel. He was no sooner scated than he | liveliness, who would converse with you, called for a dish of tea; but as several gen-receive kind offices of you, and at the same tlemen in the room wanted other things, time debauch your sister, or lie with your the boys of the house did not think themselves at leisure to mind him. I could observe the old fellow was very uneasy at the affront, and at his being obliged to repeat his commands several times to no purpose; until at last one of the lads presented him with some stale tea in a broken dish, accompanied with a plate of brown sugar; which so raised his indignation, that after several obliging appellations of dog and rascal, he asked him aloud before the whole company, 'Why he must be used with less respect than that fop there?' pointing to a well-dressed young gentleman who was drinking tea at the opposite table. The boy of the house replied with a good deal of pertness, that his master had two sorts of customers, and that the gentleman at the other table had given him many a sixpence for wiping his shoes.' By this time the young Templar, who found his honour concerned in the dispute, and that the eyes of the whole coffee-house were upon him, had thrown aside a paper he had in his hand, and was coming towards us, while we at the table made what haste we could to get Pleasure, when it is a man's chief puraway from the impending quarrel, but were posc, disappoints itself; and the constant all of us surprised to see him as he ap- application to it palls the faculty of enjoyproached nearer to put on an air of defer- ing it, though it leaves the sense of our inaence and respect. To whom the old man bility for that we wish, with a disrelish of said, Hark you, sirrah, I will pay off your every thing else. Thus the intermediate extravagant bills once more, but will take seasons of the man of pleasure are more effectual care for the future, that your pro-heavy than one would impose upon the digality shall not spirit up a parcel of rascals to insult your father.

Though I by no means approve either the impudence of the servants or the extravagance of the son, I cannot but think the old gentleman was in some measure justly served for walking in masquerade, I mean appearing in a dress so much beneath his quality and estate.


[blocks in formation]

I KNOW no one character that gives reason a greater shock, at the same time that it presents a good ridiculous image to the imagination, than that of a man of wit and pleasure about the town. This description of a man of fashion, spoken by some with a mixture of scorn and ridicule, by others with great gravity as a laudable distinction, is in every body's mouth that spends any time in conversation. My friend Will Honeycomb has this expression very frequently; and I never could understand by the story which follows, upon his mention of such a one, but that his man of wit and pleasure was either a drunkard, too old for wenching, or a young lewd fellow with some

When pleasure is made the chief pursuit of life, it will necessarily follow that such monsters as these will arise from a constant application to such blandishments as naturally root out the force of reason and reflection, and substitute in their place a general impatience of thought, and a constant pruriency of inordinate desire.

vilest criminal. Take him when he is awaked too soon after a debauch, or disappointed in following a worthless woman without truth, and there is no man living whose being is such a weight or vexation as his is. He is an utter stranger to the pleasing reflections in the evening of a wellspent day, or the gladness of heart or quickness of spirit in the morning after profound sleep or indolent slumbers. He is not to be at ease any longer than he can keep reason and good sense without his curtains; otherwise he will be haunted with the reflection, that he could not believe such a one the woman that upon trial he found her. What has he got by his conquest, but to think meanly of her for whom a day or two before he had the highest honour? And of himself for perhaps wronging the man whom of all men living he himself would least willingly have injured?

Pleasure scizes the whole man who addicts himself to it, and will not give him leisure for any good office in life which contradicts the gaiety of the present hour. You may indeed observe in people of pleasure a certain complacency and absence of all severity, which the habit of a loose unconcerned life gives them; but tell the man of pleasure your secret wants, cares, or sorrows, and you will find that he has given up the delicacy of his passions to the cravings of his appetite. He little knows the

perfect joy he loses, for the disappointing gratifications which he pursues. He looks at Pleasure as she approaches, and comes to him with the recommendation of warm wishes, gay looks, and graceful motion; but he does not observe how she leaves his presence with disorder, impotence, down cast shame, and conscious imperfection. She makes our youth inglorious, our age shameful.

such a time, unmercifully calumnious at such a time; and from the whole course of his applauded satisfactions, unable in the end to recollect any circumstance which can add to the enjoyment of his own mind alone, or which he would put his character upon, with other men. Thus it is with those who are best made for becoming pleasures; but how monstrous is it in the generality of mankind who pretend this Will Honeycomb gives us twenty intima- way, without genius or inclination towards tions in an evening of several hags whose it! The scene then is wild to an extravabloom was given up to his arms; and would gance: this is, as if fools should mimic madraise a value to himself for having had, as men. Pleasure of this kind is the intemthe phrase is, 'very good women." Will's perate meals and loud jollities of the comgood women are the comfort of his heart, mon rate of country gentlemen, whose and support him, I warrant, by the memory practice and way of enjoyment is to put an of past interviews with persons of their con-end as fast as they can to that little particle dition. No, there is not in the world an of reason they have when they are sober. occasion wherein vice makes so fantastical These men of wit and pleasure despatch a figure, as at the meeting of two old people their senses as fast as possible by drinking who have been partners in unwarrantable until they cannot taste, smoking until they pleasure. To tell a toothless old lady cannot see, and roaring until they cannot that she once had a good set, or a defunct hear. T. wencher that he once was the admired thing of the town, are satire instead of applauses; but on the other side, consider the old age of those who have passed their days in labour, industry, and virtue, their decays make them but appear the more venerable, and the imperfections of their bodies are beheld as a misfortune to human society that their make is so little durable.

But to return more directly to my man of wit and pleasure. In all orders of men, wherever this is the chief character, the person who wears it is a negligent friend, father, and husband, and entails poverty on his unhappy descendants. Mortgages, diseases, and settlements, are the legacies a man of wit and pleasure leaves to his family. All the poor rogues that make such lamentable speeches after every sessions at Tyburn, were, in their way, men of wit and pleasure before they fell into the adventures which brought them thither.

No. 152.] Friday, August 24, 1711.

Οιη περ φύλλων γενικ, τοιηδε και ανδρας.
Hom. I. vi. 146
Like leaves on trees the race of man is found.


THERE is no sort of people whose conversation is so pleasant as that of military men, who derive their courage and magnanimity from thought and reflection. The many adventures which attend their way of life, makes their conversation so full of incidents, and gives them so frank an air in speaking of what they have been witnesses of, that no company can be more amiable than that of men of sense who are soldiers. There is a certain irregular way in their narrations or discourse, which has something more warm and pleasing than we meet among men who are used to adjust and methodise their thoughts.

Irresolution and procrastination in all a man's affairs, are the natural effects of I was this evening walking in the fields being addicted to pleasure. Dishonour to with my friend Captain Sentry, and I could the gentleman and bankruptcy to the trader, not, from the many relations which I drew are the portion of either whose chief pur-him into, of what passed when he was in pose of life is delight. The chief cause that the service, forbear expressing my wonder, this pursuit has been in all ages received that the fear of death,' which we, the rest with so much quarter from the soberer part of mankind, arm ourselves against with so of mankind, has been that some men of much contemplation, reason, and philosogreat talents have sacrificed themselves to phy, should appear so little in camps, that it. The shining qualities of such people common men march into open breaches, have given a beauty to whatever they were meet opposite battalions, not only without engaged in, and a mixture of wit has re- reluctance but with alacrity. My friend commended madness. For let any man answered what I said in the following manwho knows what it is to have passed much ner: What you wonder at may very natime in a series of jollity, mirth, wit, or turally be the subject of admiration to all humorous entertainments, look back at who are not conversant in camps; but when what he was all that while a doing, and he a man has spent some time in that way of will find that he has been at one instant life, he observes a certain mechanic coursharp to some man he is sorry to have of age which the ordinary race of men become fended, impertinent to some one it was cru-masters of from acting always in a crowd. elty to treat with such freedom, ungracefully They see, indeed, many drop, but then noisy at such a time, unskilfully open at they see many more alive; they observe

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »