« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
mind; which, without being sometimes moved, by these means, may possibly contract a dulness and insensibility.
• One of the greatest writers our nation ever produced observes, that a boy who forms parties, and makes himself popular in a school or a college, would act the same part with equal ease in a senate or a privy-council; and Mr. Osborne, speaking like a man versed in the ways of the world, affirms, that the well laying and carrying on of a design to rob an orchard, trains up a youth insensibly to caution, secrecy, and circumspection, and fits him for matters of greater impor
In short, a private education seems the most natural method for the forming of a virtuous man; a public education for making a man of business. The first would furnish out a good subject for Plato's republic, the latter a member for a community overrun with artifice and corruption.
'It must, however, be confessed, that a person at the head of a public school has sometimes so many boys under his direction, that it is impossible he should extend a due proportion of his care to each of them. This is, however, in reality, the fault of the age, in which we often see twenty parents, who, though each expects his son should be made a scholar, are not contented all together to make it worth while for any man of a liberal education to take upon him the care of their instruction.
'In our great schools, indeed, this fault has been of late years rectified, so that we have at present not only ingenious men for the chief masters, but such as have proper ushers and assistants under them. I must nevertheless own, that for want of the same encouragement in the coun
try, we have many a promising genius spoiled and abused in those little seminaries.
'I am the more inclined to this opinion, having myself experienced the usage of two rural masters, each of them very unfit for the trust they took upon them to discharge. The first imposed much more upon me than my parts, though none of the weakest, could endure; and used me barbarously for not performing impossibilities. The latter was of quite another temper; and a boy who would run upon his errands, wash his coffeepot, or ring the bell, might have as little conversation with any of the classics as he thought fit. I have known a lad at this place excused his exercise for assisting the cook-maid; and remember a neighbouring gentleman's son was among us five years, most of which time he employed in airing and watering our master's grey pad. I scorned to compound for my faults by doing any of these elegant offices, and was accordingly the best scholar, and the worst used of any boy in the school.
'I shall conclude this discourse with an advantage mentioned by Quintilian, as accompanying a public way of education, which I have not yet taken notice of; namely, that we very often contract such friendships at school, as are a service to us all the following parts of our lives.
'I shall give you, under this head, a story very well known to several persons, and which you may depend upon as real truth.
Every one, who is acquainted with Westminster school, knows that there is a curtain which used to be drawn across the room, to separate the upper school from the lower. A youth happened, by some mischance, to tear the above-men
tioned curtain. The severity of the master* was too well known for the criminal to expect any pardon for such a fault; so that the boy, who was of a meek temper, was terrified to death at the thoughts of his appearance, when his friend who sat next to him bade him be of good cheer, for that he would take the fault on himself. He kept his word accordingly. As soon as they were grown up to be men, the civil war broke out, in which our two friends took the opposite sides; one of them followed the parliament, the other the royal party.
As their tempers were different, the youth who had torn the curtain endeavoured to raise himself on the civil list, and the other, who had borne the blame of it, on the military. The first succeeded so well that he was in a short time made a judge under the protector. The other was engaged in the unhappy enterprise of Penruddock and Groves in the West. I suppose, sir, I need not acquaint you with the event of that undertaking. Every one knows that the royal party was routed, and all the heads of them, among whom was the curtain champion, imprisoned at Exeter. It happened to be his friend's lot at that time to go the western circuit. The trial of the rebels, as they were then called, was very short, and nothing now remained but to pass sentence on them; when the judge hearing the name of his old friend, and observing his face more attentively, which he had not seen for many years, asked him, if he was not formerly a Westminster-scholar? By the answer, he was soon convinced that it was his former generous friend; and without saying any thing more at that time made the best of his way to London, where, em
ploying all his power and interest with the protector, he saved his friend from the fate of his unhappy associates.
The gentleman whose life was thus preserved by the gratitude of his school-fellow, was afterwards the father of a son, whom he lived to see promoted in the church, and who still deservedly fills one of the highest stations in it.'* X.
No. 314. FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 1711-12,
Tandem desine matrem
HOR. 1 Od. xxiii.
Attend thy mother's heels no more,
Feb. 7, 1711-12.
'I AM a young man about eighteen years of age, and have been in love with a young woman of the same age about this half year. I go to see her six days in the week, but never could have the happiness of being with her alone. If any of her friends are at home, she will see me in their company; but if they be not in the way, she flies to her chamber. I can discover no signs of her aversion: but either a fear of falling into the toils of matrimony, or a childish timidity, deprives us of an interview apart, and drives us upon the difficulty of languishing out our lives in fruitless
The gentleman here alluded to was colonel Wake, father to Dr. Wake, bishop of Lincoln, and afterwards archbishop of Canterbury. As Penruddock in the course of the trial takes occasion to say, he sees judge Nicholas on the bench,' it is most likely that he was the judge of the assize, who tried this cavalier.
expectation. Now, Mr. Spectator, if you think us ripe for economy, persuade the dear creature, that to pine away into barrenness and deformity under a mother's shade, is not so honourable, nor does she appear so amiable, as she would in full bloom.
[There is a great deal left out before he concludes.]
Your humble servant,
If this gentleman be really no more than eighteen, I must do him the justice to say, he is the most knowing infant I have yet met with. He does not, I fear, yet understand, that all he thinks of is another woman: therefore, until he has given a further account of himself, the young lady is hereby directed to keep close to her mother. THE SPECTATOR.
I cannot comply with the request in Mr. Trot's letter; but let it go just as it came to my hands for being so familiar with the old gentleman, as rough as he is to him. Since Mr. Trot has an ambition to make him his father-in-law, he ought to treat him with more respect; besides, his style to me might have been more distant than he has thought fit to afford me: moreover, his mistress shall continue in her confinement, until he has found out which word in his letter is not rightly* spelt.
< MR. SPECTATOR,
'I SHALL ever own myself your obliged humble servant, for the advice you gave me con
* In the original publication in folio, it is printed 'wrightly,' the mis-spelt word, probably, in Mr. Trot's letter.