Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

study, eat, drink, and sleep in it; insomuch that I may be said for these last three years to have lived in a pair of scales. I compute myself, when I am in full health, to be precisely two hundred weight, falling short of it about a pound after a day's fast, and exceeding it as inuch after a very full meal; so that it is my continual employment to trim the balance between these two volațile pounds in my constitution. In my ordinary meals I fetch myself up to two hundred weight and half a pound; and if after having dined I find myself fall short of it, 1 drink just so much small beer, or eat such a quantity of bread, as is sufficient to make me weight. In my greatest excesses I do not transgress more than the other half pound; which, for my health's sake, I do the first Monday in every month. As soon as I find myself duly poised after dinner, I walk till I have perspired five ounces and four scruples; and when I discover, by my chair, that I am so far reduced, I fall to my books, and study away three ounces more. As for the remaining parts of the pound, I keep no account of them. I do not dine and sup by the clock, but by my chair; for, when that informs me my pound of food is exhausted, I conclude myself to be hungry, and lay in another with all diligence. In my days of abstinence I lose a pound and a half, and on solemn fasts ain two pound lighter than on other days in the year.

I allow myself, one night with another, a quarter of a pound of sleep, within a few grains more or less; and if upon my rising I find that I have not consumed my whole quantity, I take out the rest in my chair. Upon an exact calculation of what I expended and received the last year, which I always register in a book, I find the medium to be two hundred weight, so that I cannot discover that I am impaired one ounce in my

health

health during a whole twelvemonth. And yet, sir, notwithstanding this my great care to ballast myself equally every day, and to keep my body in its proper poise, so it is, that I find myself in a sick and languishing condition. My complexion is grown very sallow, my pulse low, and my body hydropical. Let me therefore beg you, sir, to consider me as your patient, and to give me more certain rules to walk by than those I have already observed, and you will very much oblige

Your humble servant.'

This letter puts me in mind of an Italian epitaph written on the monument of a Valetudinarian ; Stavo ben, ma per star meglio, sto qui.

ADDION.

LÆTITIA AND DAPHNE.

No. 33.

A FRIEND of mine has two daughters, whom I will call Lætitia and Daphne: the former is one of the greatest beauties of the age in which she lives, the latter no way remarkable for any charms in her person. Upon this one circumstance of their outward form, the good and ill of their life seems to turn. Lætitia has not, from her very childhood, heard any thing else but commendations of her features and complexion; by which means she is no other than nature made her, a very beautiful outside. The consciousness of her charms has rendered her insupportably vain and insolent, towards all who have to do with her. Daphne, who was alınost twenty before one civil thing had ever been said to her, found herself obliged to acquire some

04

accom

accomplishments to make up for the want of those at. tractions which she saw in her sister. Poor Daphne was seldom submitted to in a debate wherein she was concerned; her discourse had nothing to recommend it but the good sense of it, and she was always under a necessity to have very well considered what she was to say before she uttered it: while Lætitia was listened to with partiality, and approbation sat in the countenances of those she conversed with, before she communicated what she had to say. These causes have produced suitable effects, and Lætitia is as insipid a companion as Daphne is an agreeable one. Lætitia, confident of favour, has studied no arts to please ; Daphne, despairing of any inclination towards her person, has depended only on her merit. Lætitia has always something in her air that is sullen, grave, and disconsolate. Daphne has a countenance that appears cheerful, open, and unconcerned. A young gentleman saw Lætitia this winter at a play, and became her captive. His fortune was such, that he wanted very little introduction to speak his sentiments to her father. The lover was admitted with the utmost freedom into the family, where a constrained behaviour, severe looks, and distant civilities, were the highest favours he could obtain of Lætitia ; while Daphne used him with the good humour, familiarity, and innocence of a sister : insomuch that he would often say to her, “Dear Daphne, wert thou but as handsome as Lætitia". She received such language with that ingenuous and pleasing mirth which is natural to a woman without design. He still sighed in vain for Lætitia, but found certain relief in the agreeable conversation of Daphne. At length, heartily tired with the haughty impertinence of Lætitia, and charmed with the repeated instances of good-hu

mour

66

mour he had observed in Daphne, he one day told the latter that he had something to say to her he hoped she would be pleased with-o’Faith, Daphne,” continued he, “ I am in love with thee, and despise thy sister sincerely.” The manner of his declaring himself gave his mistress occasion for a very hearty laughter.“

Nay,” says he, “ I knew you would laugh at me, but I will ask

your

father.” He did so : the father received his intelligence with no less joy than surprise, and was very glad lie had now no care left but for his Beauty, which he thought he could carry to market at his leisure. I do not know any thing that has pleased me so much a great while, as this conquest of my friend Daphne's. All her acquaintance congratulated her upon her chance-medley, and laugh at that premeditating murderer her sister.

STEELE,

A LADY'S LIBRARY. No. 37.

Some months ago my friend sir Roger, being in the country, inclosed a letter to me, directed to a certain lady whom I shall here call by the name of Leonora, and, as it contained matters of consequence, desired me to deliver it to her with my own hand. Accordingly I waited upon her ladyship pretty early in the morning, and was desired by her woman to walk into her lady's library, till such time as she was in readiness to receive me. The very sound of a lady's library, gave me a great curiosity to see it; and as it was some time before the lady came to me, I had an opportunity of turning over a great many of her books, which were ranged together in a very beautiful order. 'At the end of the

folios (which were finely bound and gilt) were great jars of china placed one above another in a very noble piece of architecture. The quartos were separated from the octavos by a pile of smaller vessels, which rose in a delightful pyramid. The octavos were bounded by tea-dishes of all shapes, colours, and sizes, which were so disposed on a wooden frame, that they looked like one continued pillar indented with the finest strokes of sculpture, and stained with the greatest variety of dyes. That part of the library which was designed for the reception of plays and pamphlets, and other loose papers, was inelosed in a kind of square, consisting of one of the prettiest grotesque works that I ever saw, and made up of scaramouches, lions, monkeys, mandarins, trees, shells, and a thousand other odd figures in china ware.

In the midst of the room was a little japan table, with a quire of gilt paper upon it, and on the paper a silver snuff-box made in the shape of a little book. I found there were several other counterfeit books upon the upper shelves, which were carved in in wood, and served only to fill up the numbers like fagots in the muster of a regiment. I was wonderfully pleased with such a mixt kind of furniture, as seemed very suitable both to the lady and the scholar, and did not know at first whether I should fancy myself in a grotto, or in a library.

Upon my looking into the books, I found there were some few which the lady had bought for her own use, but that most of them had been got together, tither because she had heard them praised, or because she had seen the authors of them. Among several that I examined, I very well remember these that follow,

Ogleby's Virgil.

Dryden's

« PředchozíPokračovat »