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as if it were not infinitely more honourable to be a good-natured man than a wit. Where there is this little petulant humour in an author, he is often very mischievous without designing to be so. For which reason I always lay it down as a rule, that an indiscreet man is more hurtful than an ill-natured one; for as the one will only attack his enemies and those he wishes ill to, the other injures indifferently both friends and foes. I cannot forbear, on this occasion, transcribing a fable out of Sir Roger L'Estrange, which accidentally lies before me.-A company of waggish boys were watching of frogs at the side of a pond, and still as any of them put up their heads, they would be pelting them down again with stones. "Children," says one of the frogs, "you never consider, that though this be play to you, 'tis death to us."

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As this week is in a manner set apart and dedicated to serious thoughts, I shall indulge myself in such speculations as may not be altogether unsuitable to the season; and in the mean time, as the settling in ourselves a charitable frame of mind is a work very proper for the time, I have in this paper endeavoured to expose that particular breach of charity which has been generally overlooked by divines, because they are but few who can be guilty of it.

* Just published, Æsop Naturalized: being a Collection of Fables, from Æsop, Lockman, &c. The third edition, with above 50 new titles, 8vo. printed for D. Midwinter, at the Three Crowns, St. Paul's Churchyard. Spect. in folio.

The week before Easter.


u By Addison, dated, it seems, from Chelsea. See final note to No. 7, on Addison's signatures.

No. 24. WEDNESDAY, MARCH 28, 1711.

Accurrit quidam notus mihi nomine tantùm,
Arreptaque manu, Quid agis, dulcissime, rerum?
HOR. 1. Sat, ix. &

Comes up a fop (I knew but by fame),

And seiz'd my hand, and called me by name-
-My dear!-how dost?

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THERE are in this town a great number of insignificant people, who are by no means fit for the better sort of conversation, and yet have an impertinent ambition of appearing with those to whom they are not welcome. If you walk in the Park, one of them will certainly join with you, though you are in company with ladies; if you drink a bottle, they will find your haunts. What makes such fellows the more burdensome is, that they neither offend or please so far as to be taken notice of for either. It is, I presume, for this reason that my correspondents are willing by my means to be rid of them. The two following letters are writ by persons who suffer by such impertinence. A worthy old bachelor, who sets in for his dose of claret every night at such an hour, is teased by a swarm of them; who, because they are sure of room and good fire, have taken it in their heads to keep a sort of club in his company; though the sober gentleman himself is an utter enemy to such meetings.


'THE aversion I for some years have had to clubs in general, gave me a perfect relish for your speculation on that subject; but I have since


See Spect. Nos. 9, 474, &c.

been extremely mortified by the malicious world's ranking me amongst the supporters of such impertinent assemblies. I beg leave to state my case fairly; and, that done, I shall expect redress from your judicious pen.

'I am, Sir, a bachelor of some standing, and a traveller; my business, to consult my own humour, which I gratify without controlling other people's; I have a room and a whole bed to myself: and I have a dog, a fiddle, and a gun; they please me, and injure no creature alive. My chief meal is a supper, which I always make at a tavern. I am constant to an hour, and not ill-humoured; for which reasons, though I invite nobody, I have no sooner supped, than I have a crowd about me of that sort of good company that know not whither else to go.. It is true every man pays his share; yet, as they are intruders, I have an undoubted right to be the only speaker, or at least the loudest; which I maintain, and that to the great emolument of my audience. I sometimes tell them their own in pretty free language; and sometimes divert them with merry tales, according as I am in humour. I am one of those who live in taverns to a great age, by a sort of regular intemperance; I never go to bed drunk, but always flustered; I wear away very gently; am apt to be peevish, but never angry. Mr. Spectator, if you have kept various company, you know there is in every tavern in town some old humourist or other, who is master of the house as much as he that keeps it. The drawers are all in awe of him; and all the customers who frequent his company yield him a sort of comical obedience. I do not know but I may be such a fellow as this myself. But I appeal to you, whether this is to be called a club, because

so many impertinents will break in upon me, and come without appointment? Clinch, of Barnet,* has a nightly meeting, and shews to every one that will come in and pay; but then he is the only actor. Why should people miscall things? If his is allowed to be a consort, why may not mine be a lecture? However, Sir, I submit to you, and am,


'SIR, your most obedient, &c.


'You and I were pressed against each other last winter in a crowd, in which uneasy posture we suffered together for almost half an hour. I thank for all you your civilities ever since, in being of my acquaintance wherever you meet me. But the other day you pulled off your hat to me in the Park, when I was walking with my mistress. She did not like your air, and said she wondered what strange fellows I was acquainted with. Dear Sir, consider it as much as my life is worth, if she should think we were intimate; therefore, I earnestly entreat you for the future to take no manner of notice of,

SIR, your obliged and humble servant,

A like impertinence is also very troublesome to the superior and more intelligent part of the fair sex. It is, it seems, a great inconvenience, that those of the meanest capacities will pretend to make visits, though indeed they are qualified rather to add to the furniture of the house (by filling an empty chair) than to the conversation they come

See No. 21, note on the diversion he exhibited, constantly advertised under the name of a consort; not a concert.

into when they visit. A friend of mine hopes for redress in this case, by the publication of her letter in my paper; which she thinks those she would be rid of will take to themselves. It seems to be written with an eye to one of those pert, giddy, unthinking girls, who, upon the recommendation only of an agreeable person and a fashionable air, take themselves to be upon a level with women of the greatest merit.


'I take this way to acquaint you with what common rules and forms would never permit me to tell you otherwise; to wit, that you and I, though equals in quality and fortune, are by no means suitable companions. You are, it is true, very pretty, can dance, and make a very good figure in a public assembly; but, alas! madam, you must go no further; distance and silence are your best recommendations; therefore let me beg of you never to make me any more visits. You come in a literal sense to see one, for you have nothing to say. I do not say this, that I would by any means lose your acquaintance; but I would keep it up with the strictest forms of good-breeding. Let us pay visits, but never see one another. If you will be so good as to deny yourself always to me, I shall return the obligation by giving the same orders to my servants. When accident makes us meet at a third place, we may mutually lament the misfortune of never finding one another at home, go in the same party to a benefit play, and smile at each other, and put down glasses as we pass in our coaches. Thus we may enjoy as much of each other's friendship as we are capable for there are some people who are to be

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