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one as I ought; and if it were not for a few books, which I delight in, I should be at this hour a novice to all common
Would it not be worth your while to lay down rules for behaviour in this case, and tell people, that we fair ones expect honest plain answers as well as other people? Why must I, good Sir, because I have a good air, a fine complexion, and am in the bloom of my years, be misled in all my actions; and have the notions of good and ill confounded in my mind, for no other offence, but because I have the advantages of beauty and fortune? Indeed, Sir, what with the silly homage which is paid us by the sort of people I have above spoken of, and the utter negligence which others have for us, the conversation of us young women of condition is no other than what must expose us to ignorance and vanity, if not vice. All this is humbly submitted to your spectatorial wisdom, by Sir,
- Your humble servant,
• SHARLOT WEALTHY." “ MR. SPECTATOR,
Will's Coffee-house. Pray, Sir, it will serve to fill up a paper if you put in this; which is only to ask, whether that copy of which is a paraphrase of Isaiah, in one of your speculations, is not written by Mr. Pope? Then you get on another line, by putting in, with proper distances, as at the end of a letter.
“ I am, Sir, your humble servant,
• ABRAHAM DAPPERWIT." “ MR. DAPPERWIT, “I am glad to get another line forward, by saying that excellent piece is Mr. Pope's ; and so, with proper distances, “ I am, Sir, your humble servant,
56 THE SPECTATOR." " MRSPECTATOR, " I was a wealthy grocer in the city, and as fortunate as diligent; but I was a single man, and you know there
One in particular came to my shop, who I I wished might, but was afraid never would, make a gro. cer's wife.
thought, however, to take an effectual way of courting, and sold to her at less price than I bought, that I might buy at less price than I sold. She, you may
be sure, often came and helped me to many customers at the same rate, fancying I was obliged to her. You must needs think this was a good living trade, and my riches must be vastly improved. In fine, I was nigh being declared bankrupt, when I declared myself her lover, and she herself married. I was just in a condition to support 'myself, and am now in hopes of growing rich by losing my customers.
" JEREMY COmFit.” “ MR. SPECTATOR, "I am in the condition of the idol you was once pleased to mention, and bar-keeper of a coffee-house. I believe it is needless to tell you the opportunities I must give, and the importunities I suffer. But there is one gentleman who besieges me as close as the French did Bouchain. His gravity makes him work cautious, and his regular approaches denote a good engineer. You need not doubt of his oratory, as he is a lawyer; and especially since he has had so little use of it at Westminster, he may spare the more for me.
" What then can weak woman do? I am willing to surrender, but he would have it at discretion, and I with discretion. In the mean time, whilst we parley, our several interests are neglected. As his siege grows stronger, my tea grows weaker: and while he pleads at my bar, none come to him for counsel but in forma pauperis. Dear Mr. Spectator, advise him not to insist upon hard articles, nor by his irregular desires contradict the well-meaning lines of his countenance. If we were agreed, we might settle to something, as soon as we could determine where we should get most by the law-at the coffee-house or at Westminster.
6. Your humble servant,
“ LUCINDA PARLEY."
A Minute from Mr. John Sly. “ The world is pretty regular for about forty rod east and ten west of the observatory of the said Mr. Sly; but he is credibly informed, that when they are got beyond the
pass into the Strand, or those who move city-ward are got within Temple-bar, they are just as they were before. It is therefore humbly proposed, that moving sentries may
be appointed all the busy hours of the day between the Exchange and Westminster, and report what passes to your honour, or your subordinate officers, from time to time.”
Ordered, That Mr. Sly name the said officers, provided he will answer for their principles and morals.
N° 535. THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 1712.
HOR. 1. Od. xi. 7.
upon the subject of hope in general. I design this paper as a speculation upon that vain and foolish hope, which is misemployed on temporal objects, and produces many sorrows and calamities in human life.
It is a precept several times inculcated by Horace, that we should not entertain a hope of any thing in life which lies at a great distance from us. The shortness and uncertainty of our time here makes such a kind of hope unreasonable and absurd. The grave lies unseen between us and the object which we reach after. Where one man lives to enjoy the good he has in view, ten thousand are cut off in the pursuit of it.
It happens likewise unluckily, that one hope no sooner dies in us but another rises up in its stead.
We are apt to fancy that we shall be happy and satisfied if we possess ourselves of such and such particular enjoyments; but either by reason of their emptiness, or the natural inquietude of the mind, we have no sooner gained one point, but we extend our hopes to another. We still find new inviting scenes and landscapes lying behind those which at a distance terminated our view.
The natural consequences of such reflections are these; that we should take care not to let our hopes run out into too great a length; that we should sufficiently weigh the objects of our hope, whether they be such as we may reasonably expect from them what we propose in their
fruition, and whether they are such as we are pretty sure of attaining, in case our life extend itself so far. 'If we hope for things which are at too great a distance from us, it is possible that we may be intercepted by death in our progress
, towards them. If we hope for things of which we have not thoroughly considered the value of, our disappointment will be greater than our pleasure in the fruition of them. If we hope for what we are not likely to possess, we act and think in vain, and make life a greater dream and shadow than it really is.
Many of the miseries and misfortunes of life proceed from our want of consideration, in one or all of these particulars. They are the rocks on which the sanguine tribe of lovers split, and on which the bankrupt, the politician, the alchymist, and projector, are cast away in every age. Men of warm imaginations and towering thoughts are apt to overlook the goods of fortune which are near them, for something that glitters in the sight at a distance; to neglect solid and substantial happiness, for what is showy and superficial; and to contemn that good which lies within their reach, for that which they are not capable of attaining. Hope calculates its schemes for a long and durable life; presses forward to imaginary points of bliss; grasps .at impossibilities; and consequently very often ensnares men into beggary, ruin, and dishonour.
What I have here said may serve as a moral. to an Arabian fable, which I find translated into French by Monsieur Galland. The fable has in it such a wild but natural simplicity, that I question not but my reader will be as much pleased with it as I have been, and that he will consider himself, if he reflects on the several amusements of hope which have sometimes passed in his mind, as a near relation to the Persian glassman.
Alnaschar, says the fable, was a very idle fellow that never would set his hand to any business during his father's life. When his father died, he left him to the value of a hundred drachmas in Persian money. Alnaschar, in order to make the best of it, laid it out in glasses, bottles, and the finest earthen-ware. These he piled up in a large open basket, and, having made choice of a very little shop, placed the basket at his feet; and leaned his back upon the wall, in expectation of customers. As he sat in this
posture, with his eyes upon the basket, he fell into a most amusing train of thought, and was overheard by one of his neighbours, as he talked to himself in the following manner : “ This basket,” says he,“ cost me at the wholesale merchant's a hundred drachmas, which is all I have in the world. I shall quickly make two hundred of it, by selling it in retail. These two hundred drachmas will in a very
little while rise to four hundred, which of course will amount in time to four thousand. Four thousand drachmas cannot fail of making eight thousand. As soon as by this means I am master of ten thousand, I will lay aside my trade of a glass-man, and turn jeweller. I shall then deal in diamonds, pearls, and all sorts of rich stones. When I have got together as much wealth as I well can desire, I will make a purchase of the finest house I can find, with lands, slaves, eunuchs, and horses. I shall then begin to enjoy myself, and make a noise in the world. I will not however stop there, but still continue my traffic, until I have got together a hundred thousand drachmas. When I have thus made myself master of a hundred thousand drachmas, I shall naturally set myself on the foot of a prince, and will demand the grand vizier's daughter in marriage, after having represented to that minister the information which I have received of the beauty, wit, discretion, and other high qualities which his daughter pos
I will let him know, at the same time, that it is my intention to make him a present of a thousand pieces of gold on our marriage night. As soon as I have married the grand vizier's daughter, I will buy her ten black eunuchs, the youngest and the best that can be got for money. I must afterward make my father-in-law a visit, with a great train and equipage. And when I am placed at his right hand, which he will do of course, if it be only to honour his daughter, I will give him the thousand pieces of gold which I promised him; and afterward to his great surprise, will present him another purse of the same value, with some short speech: as, 'Sir, you see I am a man of my word : I always give more than I promise.'
“When I have brought the princess to my house, I shall take particular care to breed in her a due respect for me before I give the reigns to love and dalliance. To this end, I shall confine her to her own apartment, make