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of the men of genius and learning, who have now any figure in the British nation. . For my own part, I often flatter myself with the honourable mention which will then be made of me; and have drawn up a paragraph in my own imagination, that I fancy will not be altogether unlike what will be found in some page or other of this imaginary historian.

“It was under this reign,” says he, “that the Spectator published those little diurnal essays which are still extant. We know very little of the name or person of this author, except only that he was a man of a very short face, extremely addicted to silence, and so great a lover of knowledge, that he made a voyage to Grand Cairo for no other reason but to take the measure of a pyramid. His chief friend was

one sir Roger de Coverley, a whimsical country knight, and a Templar, whose name he has not transmitted to us. He lived as a lodger at the house of a widow-woman, and was a great humorist in all parts of his life. This is all we can affirm with any certainty of his person and character. As for his speculations, notwithstanding the several obsolete words and obscure phrases of the age in which he lived, we still understand enough of them to see the diversions and characters of the English nation in his time : not but that we are to make allowance for the mirth and humour of the author, who has doubtless strained many representations of things beyond the truth. For if we interpret his words in their literal meaning, we must snppose that women of the first quality used to pass away whole mornings at a puppetshow: that they attested their principles by their patches : that an audience would sit out an evening to hear a dramatical performance written in a language which they did not understand: that chairs and flower-pots were introduced as actors upon the British stage : that a promiscuous assembly of men and women were allowed to meet at midnight in masks within the verge of the court; with many improbabilities of the like nature. We must therefore in these and the like cases suppose, that these remote hints and allusions aimed at some certain follies which were then in vogue, and which at present we have not any notion of. We may guess by several passages in the speculations, that there were writers who endeavoured to detract from the works of this author; but as nothing of this nature is come down to us, we cannot guess at any objections that could be made to his paper. If we consider his style with that indulgence which we must show to old English writers, or if we look into the variety of his subjects, with those several critical dissertations, moral reflections.”

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The following part of the paragraph is so much to my advantage, and beyond any thing I can pretend to, that I hope my reader will excuse me for not inserting it.

FRIDAY, June 29, 1711.

It would be a noble improvement, or rather a recovery of what we call good-breeding, if nothing were to pass amongst us for agreeable which was the least transgression against that rule of life called decorum, or a regard to decency. This would command the respect of mankind, because it carries in it deference to their good opinion, as humility lodged in a worthy mind is always attended with a certain homage, which no haughty soul, with all the arts imaginable, will ever be able to purchase. Tully says, virtue and decency are so nearly related, that it is difficult to separate them from each other but in our imagination. As the beauty of the body always accompanies the health of it, so certainly is decency concomitant to virtue. As beauty of body, with an agreeable carriage, pleases the eye, and that pleasure consists in that we observe all the parts with a certain elegance are proportioned to each other ; so does decency of behaviour which appears in our lives, obtain the approbation of all with whom we converse, from the order, consistency, and moderation of our words and actions. This flows from the reverence we bear towards every good man, and to the world in general; for to be negligent of what any one thinks of you, does not only show you arrogant but abandoned. In all these considerations we are to distinguish how one virtue differs from another. As it is the part of justice never to do violence, it is of modesty never to commit offence. In this last particular lies the whole force of what is called decency; to this purpose that excellent moralist above-mentioned talks of decency; but this quality is more easily comprehended by an ordinary capacity, than expressed with all his eloquence. This decency of behaviour is generally transgressed among all orders of men; nay, the very women, though themselves created it as it were for ornament, are often very much mistaken in this ornamental part of life. It would methinks be a short rule for behaviour, if every young lady in her dress, words, and actions, were only to recommend herself as a sister, daughter, or wife, and make herself the more esteened in one of those characers. The care of themselves, with regard to the families in which women are born, is the best motive for their being courted to come into the alliance of other houses. Nothing can promote this end more than a strict preservation of decency.

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SATURDAY, June 30, 1711.

My friend Will Honeycomb values himself very much upon what he calls the knowledge of mankind, which has cost him

many disasters in his youth; for Will reckons every misfortune that he has met with among the women, and every rencounter among the men, as parts of his education; and fancies he should never have been the man he is, had he not broke windows, knocked down constables, and disturbed honest people with his midnight serenades. The engaging in adventures of this nature Will calls the studying of mankind; and terms this knowledge of the town, the knowledge of the world. Will ingeniously confesses, that for half his life his head ached every morning with reading of men over-night; and at present comforts himself under certain pains which he endures from time to time, that without them he could not have been acquainted with the gallantries of the age. This will looks upon as the learning of a gentleman, and regards all other kind of science as the accomplishments of one whom he calls a scholar, a bookish man, or a philosopher.

For these reasons Will shines in mixed company, where he has the discretion not to go out of his depth, and has often a certain way of making his real ignorance appear a seeming one. Our club however has frequently caught him tripping, at which times they never spare him. For as Will often insults us with the knowledge of the town, we sometimes take our revenge upon him by our knowledge of books.

He was last week producing two or three letters which he writ in his youth to a coquette lady. The raillery of them was natural, and well enough for a mere man of the town; but very unluckily, several of the words were wrong spelt. Will laughed this off at first as well as he could; but finding himself pushed on all sides, and especially by the Templar, he told us with a little passion, that he never liked pedantry in spelling, and that he spelt like a gentleman and not like a scholar. Upon this Will had recourse to his old topic of showing the narrow-spiritedness, the pride, and ignorance of pedants; which he carried so far, that, upon my retiring to my lodgings, I could not forbear throwing together such reflections as occurred to me upon that subject.

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