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perfections which you possess, whether you
Your janty air and easy motion, the volubility of your discourse, the suddenness of your laugh, the management of your snuff-box, with the whiteness of your hands and teeth, (which have justly gained you the envy of the most polite part of the male world, and the love of the greatest beauties in the female,) are entirely to be ascribed to your own personal genius and application.
You are formed for these accomplishments by a happy turn of nature, and have finished yourself in them by the utmost improvements of art. A man that is defective in either of these qualifications (whatever may be the secret ambition of his heart) must never hope to make the figure you have done among the fashionable part of his species. It is therefore no wonder we see such multitudes of aspiring young men fall short of you in all these beauties of your character, notwithstanding the study and practice of them is the whole business of their lives. But I need not tell you that the free and disengaged behaviour of a fine gentleman makes as many awkward beaux, as the easiness of your favourite hath made insipid poets.
At present you are content to aim all your charms at your own spouse, without farther thought of mischief to any others of the sex.
I know you
had formerly a very great contempt for that pedantic race of mortals who call themselves philosophers; and yet, to your honour be it spoken, there is not a sage of them all could have better acted up to their precepts in one of the most important points of life; I mean, in that generous disregard of popular opinion which you showed some years ago, when you chose for your wife an obscure young woman, who doth not indeed pretend to an ancient family, but has certainly as many forefathers as any lady in the land, if she could but reckon up their names. I must own, I conceived very extraordinary
you from the moment that you confessed your age, and from eight-and-forty (where you had stuck so many years), very ingeniously stepped into your grand climacteric. Your deportment has since been very venerable and becoming. If I am rightly informed, you make a regular appearance every quarter-sessions among your brothers of the
quorum; and, if things go on as they do, stand fair for being a colonel of the militia. I am told that your time passes away as agreeably in the amusements of a country life, as it ever did in the gallantries of the town; and that you now take as much pleasure in the planting of young trees, as you did formerly in the cutting down of your old ones.
In short, we hear from all hands that you are thoroughly reconciled to your dirty acres, and have not too much wit to look into your own estate.
After having spoken thus much of my patron, I
must take the privilege of an author in saying something of myself. I shall therefore beg leave to add, that I have purposely omitted setting those marks to the end of every paper, which appeared in my former volumes, that you may have an opportunity of showing Mrs. Honeycomb the shrewdness of your conjectures, by ascribing every speculation to its proper author: though you know how often many profound critics in style and sentiments have very judiciously erred in this particular before they were let into the secret.
THE SPECTATOR. THE BOOKSELLER TO THE READER.
In the sixth hundred and thirty-second number of the Spectator the reader will find an account of the rise of this eighth and last volume. [The eighth volume here alluded to comprized the last eighty papers, Nos. 556–635.]
I have not been able to prevail upon the several gentlemen who were concerned in this work to let me acquaint the world with their names.
• After the Spectator had been laid down about a year and a half, in which interval the Guardian, and its sequel, the Englishman, were published, 'an attempt was made to revive it, at a time,' (in the opinion of the writer, whose words are here quoted) by no means favorable to literature, when the succession of a new family to the throne, filled the nation with anxiety, discord, and confusion. Either the turbulence of the times, or the satiety of the readers, put a stop to the publication after an experiment of eighty numbers, which were afterwards collected into this 8th volume, perhaps more valuable than any one of those that went before it.
* Addison produced more than a fourth part, and the other contributors are by no means unworthy of appearing as his associates.
“The time that had passed during the suspension of the Spectator, though it had not lessened Addison's power of humour, seems to have increased his disposition to seriousness; the proportion of his religicus to his comic papers is greater than in the former series. The Spectator, from its recommencement, was published only three times a-week, and no discriminative marks were added to the papers. To Addison, Mr. Tickell has ascribed twenty-three; Nos. 556, 557, 558, 559, 561, 562, 565, 567, 568, 169, 571, 574, 575, 579, 680, 582, 583, 584, 585, 590, 591, 598, and 600.'-Johnson's Lives of English Poets, vol. ii. p. 380, 8vo. ed. 1781.