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SIR T is with very great pleasure I take an Opportunity
owe You, for the Place You allow me in your Friendship and Familiarity, I will not acknowledge to You that I have often had You in my Thoughts, when I have endeavoured to Draw, in some parts of these Discourses, the Character of a Good natured, Honest and Accomplished Gentleman, But such Representations give my Reader an Idea of a Person blameless only, or only laudable for such Perfections as extend no farther than to his own private Advantage and Reputation.
But when I speak of You, I Celebrate One who has had the Happiness of possessing also those Qualities which make a Man useful to Society, and of having had Opportunities of Exerting them in the most conspicuous Manner,
The Great Part You had, as British Embassador, in Procuring and Cultivating the Advantageous Commerce between the Courts of England and Portugal, has purchased You the lasting Esteem of all who understand the Interest of either Nation,
Those Personal Excellencies which are over-rated by the ordinary World, and too much neglected by Wise Men, You have applied with the justest Skill and Judgment. The most graceful Address in Horsemanship, in the Use of the Sword, and in Dancing, has been employed by You as lower Arts, and as they have occasionally served to cover, or introduce the Talents of a skilful Minister,
But your Abilities have not appeared only in one Nation. When it was your Province to Act as Her Majesty's Minister at the Court of Savoy, at that time encamped, You accompanied that Gallant Prince thro' all the vicissitudes of His Fortune, and shared, by His IV.
Side, the Dangers of that Glorious Day in which He recovered His Capital. As far as it regards Personal Qualities, You attained, in that one Hour, the highest Military Reputation. The Behaviour of our Minister in the Action, and the Good Offices done the Vanquished in the Name of the Queen of England, gave both the Conqueror and the Captive the most lively Examples of the Courage and Generosity of the Nation He represented.
Your Friends and Companions in your Absence frequently talk these Things of You, and You cannot hide from us, (by the most discreet Silence in any Thing which regards your self) that the frank Eater tainment we have at your Table, your easie Condescension in little Incidents of Mirth and Diversion, and general Complacency of Manners, are far from being the greatest Obligations we have to You. I do assure You there is not one of your Friends has a Greater Sense of your Merit in general, and of the Favours You every Day do us, than,
most Humble Servant,
No. 474, y (STEELE]
Wednesday, September 3, 1712. No. 474.
Wednes Asperitas agrestis & inconcinna. Hor.
day, d Mr. SPECTATOR,
Sept. 3, g
from the Center of Business and Pleasure, my Uneasiness in the Country where I am, arises rather from the Society than the Solitude of it. To be obliged to receive and return Visits from and to a Circle of Neighbours, who through Diversity of Age or Inclinations, can neither be entertaining or serviceable to us, is a vile Loss of Time, and a Slavery from which a Man should deliver himself, if possible. For why must I lose the remaining Part of my Life, because they have thrown away the former Part of theirs ? It is to me an unsupportable Affliction, to be tormented with the Narrations of a Set of People, who are warm in their Expressions, of the quick Relish of that Pleasure which their Dogs and Horses have delicate Taste of
I do also in my Heart detest and abhor that damnable Doctrine and Position of the Necessity of a Bumper, though to one's own Toast; for though 'tis pretended that these deep Politicians are used only to inspire Gaiety, they certainly drown that Chearfulness which would survive a moderate Circulation. If at these Meetings it were left to every Stranger either to fill his Glass according to his own Inclination, or to make his Retreat when he finds he has been sufficiently obedient to that of others, these Entertainments would be governed with more good Sense, and consequently with more good Breeding, than at present they are. Indeed where
No. 474. any of the Guests are known to measure their Fame Wednes- or Pleasure by their Glass, proper Exhortations might day, be used to these to push their Fortunes in this Sort Sept. 3, 1712.
of Reputation; but where 'tis unseasonably insisted on to a modest Stranger, this Drench may be said to be swallowed with the same Necessity, as if it had been tendered in the Horn for that Purpose, with this aggravating Circumstance, that it distresses the Entertainer's Guest in the same Degree as it relieves his Horses.
To attend without Impatience an Account of five-barr'd Gates, double Ditches and Precipices, and to survey the Orator with desiring Eyes, is to me extremely difficult but absolutely necessary, to be upon tolerable Terms withi him : But then the occasional Burstings out into Laughter," is of all other Accomplishments the most requisite. I confess at present I have not the Command of these Convulsions, as is necessary to be good Company: therefore I beg you would publish this Letter, and let me be known all at once for a queer Fellow, and avoided. It is monstrous to me, that we, who are given to Reading and calm Conversation, should ever be visited by these Roarers: But they think they themselves, as Neighbours, may come into our Rooms with the same Right that they and their Dogs hunt in our Grounds.
Your Institution of Clubs I have always admir'd, in which you constantly endeavoured the Union of the metaphorically Defunct, that is, such as are neither serviceable to the busy and enterprizing Part of Mankind, nor entertaining to the Retir'd and Speculative. There should certainly therefore in each County be established a Club of the Persons whose Conversations I have described, who for their own private, as also the publick Emolument, should exclude, and be excluded all other Society. Their Attire should be the same with their Huntsmen's, and none should be admitted into this green Conversation Piece, except he had broke his Collar-bone thrice. A broken Rib or two might also admit a Man without the least Opposition. The President must necessarily have broken his Neck, and have been taken up dead once
or twice: For the more Maims this Brotherhood shall No. 474. have met with, the easier will their Conversation flow Wednes. and keep up: and when any one of these vigorous day, Invalids had finished his Narration of the Collar-bone, 1712. this naturally would introduce the History of the Ribs. Besides, the different circumstances of their Falls and Fractures would help to prolong and diversify their Relations. There should also be another Club of such Men, who have not succeeded so well in maiming in themselves, but are however in the constant Pursuit of these Accomplishments. I would by no Means be suspected by what I have said to traduce in general the Body of Fox-hunters; for whilst I look upon a reasonable Creature full Speed after a Pack of Dogs, by Way of Pleasure, and not of Business, I shall always make honourable Mention of it.
But the most irksome Conversation of all others I have met with in the Neighbourhood, has been among two or three of your Travellers, who have overlooked Men and Manners, and have passed thro' France and Italy with the same Observation that the Carriers and Stage Coachmen do through Great Britain; that is, their Stops and Stages have been regulated according to the Liquor they have met with in their Passage. They indeed remember the Names of Abundance of Places, with the particular Fineries of certain Churches: But their distinguishing Mark is certain Prettinesses of foreign Languages, the Meaning of which they could have better express'd in their own. The Entertainment of these fine Observers Shakespear has described to consist
Io talking of the Alps and Apennincs,
The Pyrenæn, and the River Po.
Now this is worshipful Society.
stuffed with Bread - to dispense my Favours, or make my way through them