Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

tion, and that grounded upon the principles of reason, not the impulses of instinct.

'It is from the common prejudices which men receive from their parents, that hatreds are kept alive from one generation to another; and when men act by instinct, hatreds will descend when good offices are forgot

of gay desires, appears unreasonable to the son. There are so few who can grow old with a good grace, and yet fewer who can come slow enough into the world, that a father, were he to be actuated by his desires, and a son, were he to consult himself only, could neither of them behave himself as he ought to the other. But when reason inter-ten. For the degeneracy of human life is poses against instinct, where it would carry such, that our anger is more easily transeither out of the interests of the other, there ferred to our children than our love. Love arises that happiest intercourse of good always gives something to the object it deoffices between those dearest relations of lights in, and anger spoils the person against human life. The father, according to the whom it is moved of something laudable in opportunities which are offered to him, is him; from this degeneracy, therefore, and throwing down blessings on the son, and the a sort of self-love, we are more prone to son endeavouring to appear the worthy off-take up the ill-will of our parents, than to spring of such a father. It is after this follow them in their friendships. manner that Camillus and his first-born 'One would think there should need no dwell together. Camillus enjoys a pleasing more to make men keep up this sort of reand indolent old age, in which passion is lation with the utmost sanctity, than to exsubdued, and reason exalted. He waits the amine their own hearts. If every father day of his dissolution with a resignation remembered his own thoughts and inclinamixed with delight; and the son fears the tions when he was a son, and every son reaccession of his father's fortune with dif-membered what he expected from his fidence, lest he should not enjoy or become it as well as his predecessor. Add to this, that the father knows he leaves a friend to the children of his friends, an easy landlord to his tenants, and an agreeable companion to his acquaintance. He believes his son's behaviour will make him frequently remembered, but never wanted. This commerce is so well cemented, that without the pomp of saying, “Son, be a friend to such a one when I am gone;" Camillus knows, being in his favour is direction enough to the grateful youth who is to succeed him, without the admonition of his mentioning it. 'DEAR FRANK,-If the pleasures, which These gentlemen are honoured in all their I have the grief to hear you pursue in town, neighbourhood; and the same effect which do not take up all your time, do not deny the court has on the manners of a kingdom, your mother so much of it as to read setheir characters have on all who live with-riously this letter. You said before Mr. in the influence of them.

'My son and I are not of fortune to communicate our good actions or intentions to so many as these gentlemen do; but I will be bold to say, my son has, by the applause and approbation which his behaviour towards me has gained him, occasioned that many an old man besides myself has rejoiced. Other men's children follow the example of mine, and I have the inexpressible happiness of overhearing our neighbours, as we ride by, point to their children, and say, with a voice of joy, "There they go.

[ocr errors]

"You cannot, Mr. Spectator, pass your time better than in insinuating the delights which these relations well regarded bestow upon each other. Ordinary passages are no longer such, but mutual love gives an importance to the most indifferent things, and a merit to actions the most insignificant. When we look round the world and observe the many misunderstandings which are created by the malice and insinuation of the meanest servants between people thus related, how necessary will it appear that it were inculcated that men would be upon their guard to support a constancy of affec

father, when he himself was in a state of dependence, this one reflection would preserve men from being dissolute or rigid in these several capacities. The power and subjection between them, when broken, make them more emphatically tyrants and rebels against each other, with greater cruelty of heart, than the disruption of states and empires can possibly produce. I shall end this application to you with two letters which passed between a mother and son very lately, and are as follows:

Letacre, that an old woman might live very well in the country upon half my jointure, and that your father was a fond fool to give me a rent charge of eight hundred a year to the prejudice of his son. What Letacre said to you upon that occasion, you ought to have borne with more decency, as he was your father's well-beloved servant, than to have called him a country-put. In the first place, Frank, I must tell you, I will have my rent duly paid, for I will make up to your sisters for the partiality I was guilty of, in making your father do so much as he has done for you. I may, it seems, live upon half my jointure! I lived upon much less, Frank, when I carried you from place to place in these arms, and could neither eat, dress, or mind any thing for feeding and tending you, a weakly child, and shedding tears when the convulsions you were then troubled with returned upon you. By my care you outgrew them, to throw away the vigour of your youth in the arms of harlots, and deny your mother what is not yours to detain. Both your sisters are crying to see the passion which I smother; but if you please to go on thus like a gentle

man of the town, and forget all regards to old fellow shall wear this or that sort of cut yourself and family, I shall immediately in his clothes with great integrity, while all enter upon your estate for the arrear due to me, and without one tear more, contemn you for forgetting the fondness of your mother, as much as you have the example of your father. O Frank, do I live to omit writing myself, your affectionate mother,

'A. T.' 'MADAM,-I will come down to-morrow and pay the money on my knees. Pray write so no more. I will take care you never shall, for I will be for ever hereafter your most dutiful son, F. T.

'I will bring down new hoods for my sisters. Pray let all be forgotten.' T.

the rest of the world are degenerated irto buttons, pockets, and loops unknown to their ancestors. As insignificant as even this is, if it were searched to the bottom, you perhaps would find it not sincere, but that he is in the fashion in his heart, and holds out from mere obstinacy. But I am running from my intended purpose, which was to celebrate a certain particular manner of passing away life, in contradiction to no man, but with a resolution to contract none of the exorbitant desires by which others are enslaved. The best way of separating a man's self from the world, is to give up the desire of being known to it. After a man has preserved his innocence, and performed all duties incumbent upon

No. 264.] Wednesday, January 2, 1711-12. him, his time spent in his own way is what

-Secretum iter et fallentis semita vitæ.
Hor. Lib. 1. Ep. xviii. 103.
ADAPTED.

makes his life differ from that of a slave. If they who affect show and pomp knew how many of their spectators derided their In public walks let who will shine or stray, trivial taste, they would be very much less I'll silent steal through life in my own way. elated, and have an inclination to examine IT has been from age to age an affectation the merit of all they have to do with: they to love the pleasure of solitude, among those would soon find out that there are many who cannot possibly be supposed qualified who make a figure below what their fortune for passing life in that manner. This people or merit entitles them to, out of mere choice, have taken up from reading the many agree- and an elegant desire of ease and disinable things which have been written on that cumbrance. It would look like romance to subject, for which we are beholden to ex- tell you in this age, of an old man who is cellent persons who delighted in being re- contented to pass for a humourist, and one tired, and abstracted from the pleasures who does not understand the figure he ought that enchant the generality of the world. to make in the world, while he lives in a This way of life, is recommended indeed lodging of ten shillings a week, with only with great beauty, and in such a manner as one servant; while he dresses himself acdisposes the reader for the time to a pleas-cording to the season in cloth or in stuff, ing forgetfulness, or negligence of the particular hurry of life in which he is engaged, together with a longing for that state which he is charmed with in description. But when we consider the world itself, and how few there are capable of a religious, learned, or philosophical solitude, we shall be apt to change a regard to that sort of solitude, for being a little singular in enjoying time after the way a man himself likes best in the world, without going so far as wholly to withdraw from it. I have often observed, there is not a man breathing who does not differ from all other men, as much in the sentiments of his mind as the features of his face. The felicity is, when any one is so happy as to find out and follow what is the proper bent of his genius, and turn all his endeavours to exert himself according as that prompts him. Instead of this, which is an innocent method of enjoying a man's self, and turning out of the general tracks Of all men who affect living in a particuwherein you have crowds of rivals, there lar way, next to this admirable_character, are those who pursue their own way out of a sourness and spirit of contradiction. These men do every thing which they are able to support, as if guilt and impunity could not go together. They choose a thing only because another dislikes it; and affect forsooth an inviolable constancy in matters of no manner of moment. Thus sometimes an

and has no one necessary attention to any thing but the bell which calls to prayers twice a-day: I say it would look like a fable to report that this gentleman gives away all which is the overplus of a great fortune by secret methods to other men. If he has not the pomp of a numerous train, and of professors of service to him, he has every day he lives the conscience that the widow, the fatherless, the mourner, and the stranger bless his unseen hand in their prayers. This humourist gives up all the compliments which people of his own condition could make him, for the pleasure of helping the afflicted, supplying the needy, and befriending the neglected. This humourist keeps to himself much more than he wants, and gives a vast refuse of his superfluities to purchase heaven, and by freeing others from the temptations of worldly want, to carry a retinue with him thither.

I am the most enamoured of Irus, whose condition will not admit of such largesses, and who perhaps would not be capable of making them if it were. Irus, though he is now turned of fifty, has not appeared in the world in his real character since five-andtwenty, at which age he ran out a small patrimony, and spent some time after with

I have an inclination to print the following letters; for I have heard the author of them has somewhere or other seen me, and by an excellent faculty in mimickry my correspondents tell me he can assume my air, and give my taciturnity a slyness which diverts more than any thing I could say if I were present. Thus I am glad my silence is

He has carried his skill in imitation so far, as to have forged a letter from my friend Sir Roger in such a manner, that any one but I who am thoroughly acquainted with him, would have taken it for genuine.

'MR. SPECTATOR,-Having observed in Lilly's grammar how sweetly Bacchus and Apollo run in a verse; I have (to preserve to the aid of my profession of the theatre. the amity between them) called in Bacchus So that while some people of quality are bespeaking plays of me to be acted on such a day, and others, hogsheads for their houses against such a time; I am wholly employed Sir, I have sent you Sir Roger de Coverley's in the agreeable service of wit and wine. letter to me, which pray comply with in favour of the Bumper tavern. Be kind, for you know a player's utmost pride is the approbation of the Spectator. I am your admirer, though unknown,

rakes who had lived upon him. A course of sensible citizen, or scholar that knew the ten years time passed in all the little alleys, world. These are the great circumstances by-paths, and sometimes open taverns and in the life of Irus, and thus does he pass streets of the town, gave Irus a perfect skill away his days a stranger to mankind; and in judging of the inclinations of mankind, at his death, the worst that will be said of and acting accordingly. He seriously con-him will be, that he got by every man who sidered he was poor, and the general hor- had expectations from him, more than he ror which most men have of all who are in had to leave him. that condition. Irus judged very rightly, that while he could keep his poverty a secret, he should not feel the weight of it; he improved this thought into an affectation of closeness and covetousness. Upon this one principle he resolved to govern his future life; and in the thirty-sixth year of his age he repaired to Long-lane, and looked upon several dresses which hung there de-atoned for to the good company in town. serted by their first masters, and exposed to the purchase of the best bidder. At this place he exchanged his gay shabbiness of clothes fit for a much younger man, to warm ones that would be decent for a much older one. Irus came out thoroughly equipped from head to foot, with a little oaken cane, in the form of a substantial man that did not mind his dress, turned of fifty. He had at this time fifty pounds in ready money; and in this habit, with this fortune, he took his present lodging in St. John-street, at the mansion-house of a tailor's widow, who washes, and can clear-starch his bands. From that time to this he has kept the main stock, without alteration under or over to the value of five pounds. He left off all his old acquaintance to a man, and all his arts of life, except the play of back-gammon, upon which he has more than bore his charges. Irus has, ever since he came into this neighbourhood, given all the intimations he skilfully could of being a close hunks with money: nobody comes to visit him, he receives no letters, and tells his money morning and evening. He has from the public papers a knowledge of what generally passes, shuns all discourses of money, but shrugs his shoulders when you talk of securities; he denies his being rich with the air which all do who are vain of being so. He is the oracle of a neighbouring justice of the peace, who meets him at the coffee-house; the hopes that what he has must come to somebody, and that he has no heirs, have that effect wherever he is known, that he has every day three or four invitations to dine at different places, which he generally takes care to choose in such a manner as not to seem inclined to the richer man. All the young men respect him, and say he is just the same man he was when they were boys. He uses no artifice in the world, but makes use of men's designs upon him to get a maintenance out of them. This he carries on by a certain peevishness, (which he acts very well) that no one would believe could possibly enter into the head of a poor fellow. His mien, his dress, his carriage, and his language, are such, that you would be at a loss to guess whether in the active part of his life he had been a

RICHARD ESTCOURT.’

'To Mr. Estcourt,

At his house in Covent Garden.

'Coverley, Dec. 18, 1711. 'OLD COMICAL ONE,-The hogsheads of neat port came safe, and have gotten thee good reputation in these parts; and I am glad to hear, that a fellow who has been laying out his money ever since he was born, for the mere pleasure of wine, has bethought himself of joining profit and pleasure together. Our sexton (poor man) having received strength from thy wine since his fit of the gout, is hugely taken with it; he says it is given by nature for the use of families, and that no steward's table can be without it; that it strengthens digestion, excludes surfeits, fevers, and physic; which green wines of any kind cannot do. Pray get a pure snug room, and I hope next term to help fill your bumper with our people of the club; but you must have no bells stirring when the Spectator comes; I forbore ringing to dinner while he was down with me in the country. Thank you for the little hams and Portugal onions; pray keep some always by you. You know my supper is only good Cheshire cheese, best mustard, a golden pippin, attended with a pipe of John Sly's best. Sir Harry has stolen all

[blocks in formation]

I am engaged in this speculation by a sight which I lately met with at the opera. As I was standing in the hinder part of a box, I took notice of a little cluster of women sitting together in the prettiest coloured hoods that I ever saw. One of them was blue, another yellow, and another philomot; the fourth was of a pink colour, and

No. 265.] Thursday, January 3, 1711-12. the fifth of a pale green. I looked with

Dixerit e multis aliquis, quid virus in angues Adjicis? et rabida tradis ovile lupa? Ovid de Art. Am. Lib. iii. 7. But some exclaim; what frenzy rules your mind? Would you increase the craft of womankind? Teach them new wiles and arts? as well you may Instruct a snake to bite, or wolf to prey. Congreve. ONE of the fathers, if I am rightly informed, has defined a woman to be

Xoxo, an animal that delights in finery. I have already treated of the sex in two or three papers, conformably to this definition; and have in particular observed, that in all ages they have been more careful than the men to adorn that part of the head which we generally call the outside.

This observation is so very notorious, that when in ordinary discourse we say a man has a fine head, a long head, or a good head, we express ourselves metaphorically, and speak in relation to his understanding; whereas when we say of a woman, she has a fine, a long, or a good head, we speak only in relation to her commode.

It is observed among birds, that nature has lavished all her ornaments upon the male, who very often appears in a most beautiful head-dress: whether it be a crest, a comb, a tuft of feathers, or a natural little plume, erected like a kind of pinnacle on the very top of the head. As nature on the contrary has poured out her charms in the greatest abundance upon the female part of our species, so they are very assiduous in bestowing upon themselves the finest garnitures of art. The peacock, in all his pride, does not display half the colours that appear in the garments of a British lady, when she is dressed either for a ball or birth-day.

But to return to our female heads. The ladies have been for some time in a kind of moulting season with regard to that part of their dress, having cast great quantities of riband, lace, and cambric, and in some measure reduced that part of the human figure to the beautiful globular form, which is natural to it. We have for a great while expected what kind of ornament would be substituted in the place of those antiquated commodes. Our female projectors were all the last summer so taken up with the improvement of their petticoats, that they had not time to attend to any thing else; but having at length sufficiently adorned their lower parts, they now begin to turn their thoughts upon the other extremity, as well remembering the old kitchen proverb, 'that if you light the fire at both ends, the middle will shift for itself,'

as much pleasure upon this little partycoloured assembly, as upon a bed of tulips, and did not know at first whether it might not be an embassy of Indian queens; but upon my going about into the pit, and taking them in front, I was immediately undeceived, and saw so much beauty in every face, that I found them all to be English. Such eyes and lips, cheeks and foreheads, could be the growth of no other country. The complexion of their faces hindered me from observing any farther the colour of their hoods, though I could easily perceive by that unspeakable satisfaction which appeared in their looks, that their own thoughts were wholly taken up on those pretty ornaments they wore upon their heads.

I am informed that this fashion spreads daily, insomuch that the Whig and Tory ladies begin already to hang out different colours, and to show their principles in their head-dress. Nay if I may believe my friend Will Honeycomb, there is a certain old coquette of his acquaintance, who intends to appear very suddenly in a rainbow hood, like the Iris in Dryden's Virgil, not questioning but that among such a variety of colours she shall have a charm for every heart.

My friend Will, who very much values himself upon his great insight into gallantry, tells me, that he can already guess at the humour a lady is in by her hood, as the courtiers of Morocco knew the disposition of their present emperor by the colour of the dress which he put on. When Melesinda wraps her head in flame colour, her heart is set upon execution. When she covers it with purple, I would not, says he, advise her lover to approach her; but if she appears in white, it is peace, and he may hand her out of her box with safety.

Will informs me likewise, that these hoods may be used as signals. Why else, says he, does Cornelia always put on a black hood when her husband is gone into the country?

Such are my friend Honeycomb's dreams of gallantry. For my own part, I impute this diversity of colours in the hoods to the diversity of complexion in the faces of my pretty countrywomen. Ovid, in his Art of Love, has given some precepts as to this particular, though I find they are different from those which prevail among the moderns. He recommends a red striped silk to the pale complexion; white to the brown, and dark to the fair. On the contrary, my friend Will, who pretends to be a greater

master in this art than Ovid, tells me, that the palest features look the most agreeable in white sarsenet; that a face which is overflushed appears to advantage in the deepest scarlet; and that the darkest complexion is not a little alleviated by a black hood. In short, he is for losing the colour of the face in that of the hood, as a fire burns dimly, and a candle goes half out, in the light of the sun. This,' says he, 'your Ovid himself has hinted, where he treats of these matters, when he tells us that the blue water-nymphs are dressed in skycoloured garments; and that Aurora, who always appears in the light of the rising sun, is robed in saffron.'

Whether these his observations are justly grounded I cannot tell; but I have often known him, as we have stood together behind the ladies, praise or dispraise the complexion of a face which he never saw, from observing the colour of her hood, and [he] has been very seldom out in these his guesses.

As I have nothing more at heart than the honour and improvement of the fair sex, I cannot conclude this paper without an exhortation to the British ladies, that they would excel the women of all other nations as much in virtue and good sense, as they do in beauty: which they may certainly do, if they will be as industrious to cultivate their minds, as they are to adorn their bodies. In the mean while I shall recommend to their most serious consideration the saying of an old Greek poet:

Γυναικι κόσμος ο τροπος, κ' ου χρυσία.

C.

[blocks in formation]

No vice or wickedness which people fall into from indulgence to desires which are natural to all, ought to place them below the compassion of the virtuous part of the world; which indeed often makes me a little apt to suspect the sincerity of their virtue, who are too warmly provoked at other people's personal sins. The unlawful commerce of the sexes is of all others the hardest to avoid; and yet there is no one which you shall hear the rigider part of womankind speak of with so little mercy. It is very certain that a modest woman cannot abhor the breach of chastity too much; but pray let her hate it for herself, and only pity it in others, Will Honeycomb calls these over-offended ladies, the outrageously virtuous.

I do not design to fall upon failures in

general, with relation to the gift of chastity, but at present only enter upon that large field, and begin with the consideration of poor and public whores. The other evening, passing along near Covent-garden, I was jogged on the elbow as I turned into the piazza, on the right hand coming out of James-street, by a slim young girl of about seventeen, who with a pert air asked me if I was for a pint of wine. I do not know but I should have indulged my curiosity in having some chat with her, but that I am informed the man of the Bumper knows me; and it would have made a story for him not very agreeable to some part of my writings, though I have in others so frequently said, that I am wholly unconcerned in any scene I am in but merely as a Spectator. This impediment being in my way, we stood under one of the arches by twilight; and there I could observe as exact features as I had ever seen, the most agreeable shape, the finest neck and bosom; in a word, the whole person of a woman exquisitely beautiful. She affected_to_allure me with a forced wantonness in her look and air; but I saw it checked with hunger and cold; her eyes were wan and eager, her dress thin and tawdry, her mien genteel and childish. This strange figure gave me much anguish of heart, and to avoid being seen with her, I went away, but could not forbear giving her a crown. The poor thing sighed, courtesied, and with a blessing expressed with the utmost vehemence, turned from me. This creature is what they call 'newly come upon the town,' but who falling, I suppose, into cruel hands, was left in the first month from her dishonour, and exposed to pass through the hands and discipline of one of those hags of hell whom we call bawds. But lest I should grow too suddenly grave on this subject, and be myself outrageously good, I shall turn to a scene in one of Fletcher's plays, where this character is drawn, and the economy of whoredom most admirably described. The passage I would point to is in the third scene of the second act of the Humorous Lieutenant. Leucippe, who is agent for the king's lust, and bawds at the same time for the whole court, is very pleasantly introduced, reading her minutes as a person of business, with two maids, her under secretaries, taking instructions at a table before her. Her women, both those under her present tutelage, alphabetically set down in her book; and and those which she is laying wait for, are as she is looking over the letter C in a muttering voice, as if between soliloquy and speaking out, she says,

Her maidenhead will yield me; let me see now;
She is not fifteen they say; for her complexion-
Cloe, Cloe, Cloe, here I have her,
Cloe, the daughter of a country gentleman;
Her age upon fifteen. Now her complexion,
A lovely brown; here 'tis ; eyes black and rolling,
The body neatly built; she strikes a lute well,
Sings most enticingly. These helps consider'd,

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »