Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

stranger that can be proposed to them. As to me, | myself, I was introduced by the father of my mistress; but find I owe my being at first received to a comparison of my estate with that of a former lover, and that I am now in like manner turned off to give way to a humble servant still richer than I am. What makes this treatment the more extravagant is, that the young lady is in the management of this way of fraud, and obeys her father's orders on these occasions without any manner of reluctance, but does it with the same air that one of your men of the world would signify the necessity of affairs for turning another out of office. When I came home last night, I found this letter from my mistress :

[blocks in formation]

"There is an elderly person lately left off business and settled in our town, in order, as he thinks, to retire from the world; but he has brought with him such an inclination for talebearing, that he disturbs both himself and all our neighborhood. Notwithstanding this frailty, the honest gentleman is so happy as to have no enemy at the same time he has not one friend who will venture to acquaint him with his weakness. It is not to be doubted, but if this failing were set in a proper light, he would quickly perceive the indecency and evil consequences of it. Now, Sir, this being an infirmity, which I hope may be corrected, and knowing that he pays much deference to you, I beg that when you are at leisure to give us a speculation on gossiping, you would think of my neighbor. You will hereby oblige several who will be glad to find a reformation in their gray-haired friend: and how becoming will it be for him, instead of pouring forth words at all ad

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

"This is to petition you in behalf of myself and many more of your gentle readers, that at any time when you may have private reasons against letting us know what you think yourself, you would be pleased to pardon us such letters of your correspondent as seem to be of no use but to the printer.

"It is further our humble request, that you would substitute advertisements in the place of such epistles; and that in order hereunto Mr. Buckley may be authorized to take up of your zealous friend Mr. Charles Lillie, any quantity of words he shall from time to time have occasion for.

"The many useful parts of knowledge which may be communicated to the public this way will, we hope, be a consideration in favor of your petitioners.

"And your Petitioners," etc.

Note. That particular regard be had to this petition; and the papers marked letter R. may be carefully examined for the future.-T.

No. 311.] TUESDAY, FEB. 26, 1711-12. Nec Veneris pharetris macer est, aut lampade fervet; Inde faces ardent, veniunt a dote sagittæ. Juv., Sat. vi, 137. He sighs, adores, and courts her ev'ry hour: Who would not do as much for such a dower?-DEZDEK, "MR. SPECTATOR,

"I AM amazed that, among all the variety of characters with which you have enriched your speculations, you have never given us a picture of those audacious young fellows among us who commonly go by the name of the fortune-stealers. You must know, Sir, I am one who live in a continual apprehension of this sort of people, that lie in wait, day and night, for our children, and may be considered as a kind of kidnappers within the law. I am the father of a young heiress, whom I begin to look upon as marriageable, and who has looked upon herself as such for above these six years. She is now in the eighteenth year of her age. The fortune-hunters have already cast their eyes upon her, and take care to plant themselves in her view whenever she appears in any public assembly. I have myself caught a young jackanapes, with a pair of silver-fringed gloves, in the very fact. You must know, Sir, I have kept her as a prisoner of state ever since she was in her teens. Her chamber-windows are cross-barred; she is not permitted to go out of the house but with her keeper, who is a staid relation of my own; I have likewise forbid her the use of pen and ink, for this twelvemonth last past, and do not suffer a band-box to be carried into her room before it has been searched. Notwithstanding these precautions, I am at my wit's end for fear any sudden surprise. There were, two or three nights ago, some fiddles heard in the street, which f an afraid portend me no good; not to mention a tall Irishman, that has been seen walking before my

house more than once this winter. My kinswoman at the ladies for thirty years together; and taken likewise informs me, that the girl has talked to his stand in a side-box, until he has grown her twice or thrice of a gentleman in a fair wig, wrinkled under their eyes. He is now laying the and that she loves to go to church more than ever same snares for the present generation of beauties she did in her life. She gave me the slip about a which he practiced on their mothers. Cottilus, week ago, upon which my whole house was in after having made his applications to more than alarm. I immediately dispatched a hue and cry you meet with in Mr. Cowley's ballad of misafter her to the 'Change, to her mantuamaker, and tresses, was at last smitten with a city lady of £20,to the young ladies that visit her; but after above an 000 sterling; but died of old age before he could hour's search she returned of herself, having been bring matters to bear. Nor must I here omit my taking a walk, as she told me, by Rosamond's worthy friend Mr. Honeycomb, who has often pond. I have hereupon turned off her woman, told us in the club, that for twenty-years succesdoubled her guards, and given new instructions sively, upon the death of a childless rich man, he to my relation, who, to give her her due, keeps a immediately drew on his boots, called for his watchful eye over all her motions. This, Sir, horse, and made up to the widow. When he keeps me in a perpetual anxiety, and makes me is rallied upon his ill-success, Will, with his usual very often watch when my daughter sleeps, as I gayety, tells us, that he always found her pream afraid she is even with me in her turn. Now, engaged. Sir, what I would desire of you is, to represent to this fluttering tribe of young fellows, who are for making their fortunes by these indirect means, that stealing a man's daughter for the sake of her portion is but a kind of a tolerated robbery, and that they make but a poor amends to the father, whom they plunder after this manner, by going to bed with his child. Dear Sir, be speedy in your thoughts upon this subject, that, if possible, they may appear before the disbanding of the

army.

"I am, Sir,

"Your most humble Servant,
"TIM. WATCHWELL."

Themistocles, the great Athenian general, being asked whether he would rather choose to marry his daughter to an indigent man of merit, or to a worthless man of an estate, replied, that he should prefer a man without an estate to an estate without a man. The worst of it is, our modern fortunehunters are those who turn their heads that way, because they are good for nothing else. If a young fellow finds he can make nothing of Coke and Littleton, he provides himself with a ladder of ropes, and by that means very often enters upon the premises.

The same art of scaling has been likewise practiced with good success by many military engineers. Stratagems of this nature make parts and industry superfluous, and cut short the way to

riches.

Nor is vanity a less motive than idleness to this kind of mercenary pursuit. A fop, who admires his person in a glass, soon enters into a resolution of making his fortune by it, not questioning but! that every woman that falls in his way will do him as much justice as he does himself. When an heiress secs a man throwing particular graces into his ogle, or talking loud within her hearing, she ought to look to herself; but if withal she observes a pair of red heels, a patch, or any other particularity in his dress, she cannot take too much care of her person. These are baits not to be trifled with, charms that have done a world of execution, and made their way into hearts which have been thought impregnable. The force of a man with these qualifications is so well known, that I am credibly informed there are several female undertakers about the 'Change, who, upon the arrival of a likely man out of the neighboring kingdom, will furnish him with a proper dress from head to foot, to be paid for at a double price on the day of marriage.

Widows are indeed the great game of your fortune-hunters. There is scarce a young fellow in the town, of six feet high, that has not passed in review before one or other of these wealthy relicts. Hudibras's Cupid, who

-took his stand Upon a widow's jointure land,"

Is daily employed in throwing darts, and kindling flames. But as for widows, they are such a subtile generation of people, that they may be left to their own conduct; or if they make a false step in it, they are answerable for it to nobody but themselves. The young, innocent creatures who have no knowledge and experience of the world, are those whose safety I would principally consult in this speculation. The stealing of such a one should, in my opinion, be as punishable as a rape. Where there is no judgment there is no choice; and why the inveigling a woman before she is come to years of discretion should not be as criminal as the seducing of her before she is ten years old, I am at a loss to comprehend.-L.

No. 312.] WEDNESDAY, FEB. 27, 1711–12.

Quod huic officium, quæ laus, quod decus erit tanti, quod
adipisci cum dolore corporis velit, qui dolorem summum
malum sibi persuaserit? Quam porro quis ignominiam,
quam turpitudinem non pertulerit, ut effugiat dolorem, si
id summum malum esse decreverit?-TULL.
What duty, what praise, or what honor will he think worth
enduring bodily pain for, who has persuaded himself that
pain is the chief evil? Nay, to what ignominy, to what
baseness, will he not stoop, to avoid pain, if he has deter-
mined it to be the chief evil?

w

IT is a very melancholy reflection, that men are usually so weak, that it is absolutely necessary for them to know sorrow and pain, to be in their right senses. Prosperous people (for happy there are none) are hurried away with a fond sense of their present condition, and thoughtless of the mutability of fortune. Fortune is a term which we must use in such discourses as these, for what is wrought by the unseen hand of the Disposer of all things. But methinks the disposition of a mind which is truly great, is that which makes misfortunes and sorrows little when they befall ourselves, great and lamentable when they befall other men. The most unpardonable malefactor in the world going to his death, and bearing it with composure, would win the pity of those who should behold him; and this not because his calamity is deplorable, but because he seems himself not to deplore it. We suffer for him who is

We must, however, distinguish between fortune-hunters and fortune-stealers. The first are those assiduous gentlemen who employ their whole lives in the chase, without ever coming at the quarry. Suffenus has combed and powdered Grey's edit. of Hudibras, vol. i, part i, canto iii, p. 212, 213.

The name of the widow here alluded to was Tomson. See

should not hear a discourse from him: "But you
may," answered Possidonius; and immediately
entered into the point of stoical philosophy, which
says, pain is not an evil. During the discourse,
upon every puncture he felt from his distemper,
he smiled and cried out, "Pain, pain, be as im-
pertinent and troublesome as you please, I shall
never own that thou art an evil.”
"MR. SPECTATOR,

less sensible of his own misery, and are inclined | sick bed, he bewailed the misfortune that he to despise him who sinks under the weight of his distresses. On the other hand, without any touch of envy, a temperate and well governed mind looks down on such as are exalted with success, with a certain shame for the imbecility of human nature, that can so far forget how liable it is to calamity as to grow giddy with only the suspense of sorrow, which is the portion of all men. He, therefore, who turns his face from the unhappy man, who will not look again when his eye is cast upon modest sorrow, who shuns affliction like a conta- "Having seen in several of your papers a con gion, does but pamper himself up for a sacrifice, cern for the honor of the clergy, and their doing and contract in himself a greater aptitude to mis- everything as becomes their character, and par ery by attempting to escape it. A gentleman, ticularly performing the public service with a due where I happened to be last night, fell into a dis-zeal and devotion; I am the more encouraged to course which I thought showed a good discerning lay before them, by your means, several expresin him. He took notice, that wherever men have sions used by some of them in their prayers looked into their heart for the idea of true excel-fore sermon, which I am not well satisfied in. lence in human nature, they have found it to con sist in suffering after a right manner, and with a good grace. Heroes are always drawn bearing sorrows, struggling with adversities, undergoing all kinds of hardships, and having, in the service of mankind, a kind of appetite to difficulties and dangers. The gentleman went on to observe that it is from this secret sense of the high merit which there is in patience under calamities, that the writers of romances, when they attempt to furnish out characters of the highest excellence, ransack nature for things terrible; they raise a new creation of monsters, dragons, and giants; where the danger ends, the hero ceases: when he has won an empire, or gained his mistress, the rest of his story is not worth relating. My friend carried his discourse so far as to say, that it was for higher beings than men to join happiness and greatness in the same idea; but that in our condition we have no conception of superlative excellence, or heroism, but as it is surrounded with a shade of distress.

I

T.

[ocr errors]

Your humble Servant,

"J. O."

As their giving some titles and epithets to great, men, which are indeed due to them in their sev eral ranks and stations, but not properly used, I think, in our prayers. Is it not contradiction te say, illustrious, right reverend, and right honora ble poor sinners? These distinctions are suited only to our state here, and have no place in heaten; we see they are omitted in the liturgy; which, I think, the clergy should take for their pattern in their own formis of devotion. There is another expression which I would not mention, but that I have heard it several times before a learned congregation, to bring in the last petition of the prayer in these words, O let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak but this once;' as if there was no difference between Abraham's interceding for Sodom, for which he had no warrant, as can find, and our asking those things which we are required to pray for; they would therefore have much more reason to fear his anger if they did not make such petitions to him. There is another pretty fancy. When a young man has a It is certainly the proper education we should mind to let us know who gave him his scarf, he give ourselves, to be prepared for the ill events speaks a parenthesis to the Almighty, Bless, a and accidents we are to meet with in a life sen- am in duty bound to pray, the right-honorable tenced to be a scene of sorrow; but instead of the countess;' is not that as much as to say this expectation, we soften ourselves with pros-Bless her, for thou knowest I am her chaplain pects of constant delight, and destroy in our minds the seeds of fortitude and virtue, which should support us in hours of anguish. The constant pursuit of pleasure has in it something insolent and improper for our being. There is a pretty sober liveliness in the Ode of Horace to Delius, where he tells him, loud mirth, or immoderate sorrow, inequality of behavior either in adversity or prosperity, are alike ungraceful in man that is born to die. Moderation in both circumstances is peculiar to generous minds. Men of that sort ever taste the gratifications of health, and all other advantages of life, as if they were liable to part with them, and when bereft of them, resign them with a greatness of mind which shows they know their value and duration. . The contempt of pleasure is a certain preparatory for the contempt of pain. Without this, the mind is, as it were, taken suddenly by an unforeseen event; but he that has always, during health and prosperity, been abstinent in his satisfactions, enjoys, in the worst of difficulties, the reflection, that his anguish is not aggravated with the comparison of past pleasures which upbraid his present condition. Tully tells us a story after Pompey, which gives us a good taste of the pleasant manner the men of wit and philosophy had in old times, of alleviating the distresses of life by the force of reason and philosophy. Pompey, when he came to Rhodes, had a curiosity to visit the famous philosopher Possidonius; but finding him in his

[ocr errors]

No. 313.] THURSDAY, FEB. 28, 1711-12.

Exigite ut mores teneros ceu pollice ducat,
Ut si quis cera vultum facit-

Juv., Sat. vii, 27.
Bid him beside his daily pains employ,
To form the tender manners of the boy,
And work him, like a waxen babe, with art,
To perfect symmetry in every part.-CH. DEYDEN.
I SHALL give the following letter no other re
commendation than by telling my readers that

*In the original publication of this paper in folio, the was the following passage, left out when the papers we printed in volumes in 1712

[Another expression which I take to be improper, is this for race signifies lineage or descent; and if the race of m "the whole race of mankind," when they pray for all men kind may be used for the present generation (though, I thin not very fitly), the whole race takes in all from the beginn to the end of the world. I don't remember to have Es with that expression, in their sense, anywhere but in the version of Psalm xiv, which those men, I suppose, have little esteem for. And some, when they have prayed f schools and nurseries of good learning, and true reli especially the two universities, add these words, "Grant tis from them, and all other places dedicated to thy wo and service, may come forth such persons," etc. But do they mean by all other places? It seems to me, that is either a tautology, as being the same with all schools nurseries before expressed, or else it runs too far; for the are several places dedicated to the divine service, which ca not properly be intended here,]-Spectator in folio.

it comes from the same hand with that of last
Thursday.
"SIR,

"I send you, according to my promise, some further thoughts on the education of youth, in which I intend to discuss that famous question, 'Whether the education of a public school, or under a private tutor, is to be preferred?'

"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 liberal education to take upon him the care of their in

"As some of the greatest men in most ages have been of very different opinions in this mat-struction. ter, I shall give a short account of what I think may be best urged on both sides, and afterward leave every person to determine for himself.

"It is certain from Suetonius, that the Romans thought the education of their children a business properly belonging to the parents themselves; and Plutarch, in the Life of Marcus Cato, tells us, that as soon as his son was capable of learning, Cato would suffer nobody to teach him but himself, though he had a servant named Chilo, who was an excellent grammarian, and who taught a great many other youths.

"On the contrary, the Greeks seemed more inclined to public schools and seminaries.

"A private education promises, in the first place, virtue and good breeding; a public school, manly assurance, and an early knowledge in the ways of the world.

"Mr. Locke, in his celebrated treatise on education, confesses that there are inconveniences to be feared on both sides: If,' says he, I keep my son at home, he is in danger of becoming my young master; if I send him abroad; it is scarce possible to keep him from the reigning contagion of rudeness and vice. He will perhaps be more innocent at home, but more ignorant of the world, and more sheepish when he comes abroad.' However, as this learned author asserts that virtue is much more difficult to be obtained than a knowledge of the world, and that vice is a more stubborn, as well as a more dangerous fault than sheepishness, he is altogether for a private education; and the more so, because he does not see why a youth, with right management, might not attain the same assurance in his father's house, as at a public school. To this end, he advises parents to accustom their sons to whatever strange faces come to the house to take them with them when they visit their neighbors, and to engage them in conversation with men of parts and breeding,

"It may be objected to this method, that conversation is not the only thing necessary: but that unless it be a conversation with such as are in some measure their equals in parts and years, there can be no room for emulation, contention, and several of the most lively passions of the mind; which, without being sometimes moved by these means, may possibly contract a dullness 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 importance.

"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.

"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 country, 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 coffee-pot, or ring the bell, might have as little conversation with any of the classics as he thought fit. I have known å lad at this place excused his exercise for assisting the cook-maid; and remember a neighboring gentleman's son was among us five years, most of which time he employed in airing and watering our master's gray 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-mentioned 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.

[ocr errors]

As their tempers were different, the youth who had torn the curtain endeavored 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,

* Busby.

"MR. SPECTATOR,

among whom was the curtain champion, impri- | shall continue in her confinement, until he ha soned at Exeter. It happened to be his friend's found out which word in his letter is not rightly lot at that time to go the western circuit. The spelt. 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 anything more at that time, made the best of his way to London, where employing 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 afterward 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.

"I shall ever own myself your obliged, humb servant, for the advice you gave me concernin my dancing; which, unluckily, came too late: f as I said, I would not leave off capering until had your opinion of the matter. I was at o famous assembly the day before I received yo papers, and there was observed by an old gent man, who was informed I had a respect for daughter. He told me I was an insignifica little fellow, and said, that for the future he wou take care of his child, so that he did not dou but to cross my amorous inclinations. The la is confined to her chamber, and for my part, I ready to hang myself with the thoughts that have danced myself out of favor with her fab I hope you will pardon the trouble I give; but sh take it for a mighty favor, if you will give me little more of your advice to put me in a right to cheat the old dragon and obtain my mistre

No. 314.] FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 29, 1711-12.I am once more, Sir,

[blocks in formation]

"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 matri. mony, or a childish timidity, deprives us of an interview apart, and drives us upon the difficulty of languishing out our lives in fruitless 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 honorable, nor does she appear so amiable, as she would in full bloom. There is a great deal left out before he concludes.]

"Mr. Spectator, your humble Servant,
"BOB HARMLESS."

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; beside, his style to me might have been more distant than he has thought fit to afford me: moreover, his mistress

*The gentleman here alluded to was Colonel Wake, father to Dr. Wake, bishop of Lincoln, and afterward 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.

"Your obliged, humble Servant,

"JOHN TROT

"York, Feb. 23, 1711-12 "Let me desire you to make what alterati you please, and insert this as soon as possi Pardon mistakes by haste."

I never do pardon mistakes by haste.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors]

"N. B. THE SPECTATOR

and love fighting as well as any man in Engla You are to know that I am naturally bra delighted with battles on the stage. I give y This gallant temper of mine makes me extrem this trouble to complain to you that Nicolini fused to gratify me in that part of the opera which I have most taste. I observe it is beco a custom, that whenever any gentlemen are parti larly pleased with a song, at their crying Encore,' or Altro Volto,' the performer is obliging as to sing it over again. I was at the op the last time Hydaspes was performed. At that p of it where the hero engages with the lion, graceful manner with which he put that terri monster to death gave me so great a pleasure, at the same time so just a sense of that gent man's intrepidity and conduct, that I could forbear desiring a repetition of it, by crying Altro Volto,' in a very audible voice; and friends flatter me that I pronounced those wo with a tolerable good accent, considering that but the third opera I had ever seen in my, Yet, notwithstanding all this, there was so regard had to me, that the lion was carried and went to bed, without being killed any m not understand a word of what Mr. Nicolinis that night. Now, Sir, pray consider that I to this cruel creature; beside, I have no ear

*In the original publication in folio, it is printed T ly," the mis-speit word probably in Mr. Trot's letter.

« PředchozíPokračovat »