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of this that men mistake in this case, and in common life, a wild extravagant pencil for one that is truly bold and great, an impudent fellow for a man of true courage and bravery, hasty and unreasonable actions for enterprises of spirit and resolution, gaudy colouring for that which is truly beautiful, a false and insinuating discourse for simple truth elegantly recommended. The parallel will hold through all the parts of life and painting too; and the virtuosos above-mentioned will be glad to see you draw it with your terms of art. As the shadows in a pic, ture represent the serious or melancholy, so the lights du the bright and lively thoughts. As there should be but one forcible light in a picture which should catch the eye and fall on the hero, so there should be but one object of our love, even the Author of nature. These and the like reflections well im, proved, might very much contribute to open the beauty of that art, and prevent young people from being poisoned by the ill gusto of an extravagant workman that should be imposed upon us.
I am, SIR,
Your most humble servant,' IMR, SPECTATOR,
! Though I am a woman, yet I am one of those who confess themselves highly pleased with a speculation you obliged the world with some time ago, from an old Greek poet you call Simonides, in relation to the several natures and distinctions of our own sex. I could not but admire how justly the characters of women in this age, fall in with the times of Simonides, there being no one of those sorts I have not at some time or other of my life met with a sample of. But, sir, the subjects of this present address, are a set of women, comprehended, I think, in the ninth species of that speculation, called
the Apes; the description of whom I find to be, "That they are such as are both ugly and ill-natured, who have nothing beautiful themselves, and endeavour to detract from, or ridicule every thing that appears so in others.' Now, sir, this sect, as I have been told, is very frequent in the great town where you live; but as my circumstance of life obliges me to reside altogether in the country, though not many miles from London, I cannot have met with a great number of them, nor indeed is it a desirable acquaintance, as I have lately found by experience. You must know, sir, that at the beginning of this summer a family of these apes came and settled for the season not far from the place where I live. As they were strangers in the country, they were visited by the ladies about them, of whom I was one, with an humanity usual in those who pass most of their time in solitude. The apes lived with us very agreeably our own way until towards the end of the summer, when they began to belhink themselves of returning to town; then it was, Mr. Spectator, that they began to set themselves about the proper and distinguishing business of their character; and as it is said of evil spirits, that they are apt to carry away a piece of the house they are about to leave, the apes, without regard to common mercy, civility, or gratitude, thought fit to mimic and fall foul on the faces, dress, and behaviour of their innocent neighbours, bestowing abominable censures and disgraceful appellations, commonly called nick-names, on all of them; and in short, like true fine ladies, made their honest plainness and sincerity matter of ridicule. I could not but acquaint you with these grievances, as well at the desire of all the parties injured, as from my own inclination. I hope, sir, if you cannot propose intirely to reform this evil, you will take such notice of it in some of
your future speculations, as may put the deserving part of our sex on their guard against these creatures ; and at the same time the apes may be sensible, that this sort of mirth is so far from an innocent diversion, that it is in the highest degree that vice which is said to comprehend all others.
I am, sir,
Your humble servant,
N° 245. TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 1711.
Ficla voluptatis causâ sint proxima veris.
HOR. Ars poet. v.338.
There is nothing which one regards so much with an eye of mirth and pity as innocence, when it has in it a dash of folly. At the same time that one esteems the virtue, one is tempted to laugh at the simplicity which accompanies it. When a man is made up wholly of the dove, without the least grain of the serpent in his composition, he becomes ridiculous in many circumstances of life, and very often discredits his best actions. The Cordeliers tell a story of their founder St. Francis, that as he passed the streets in the dusk of the evening, he discovered a young fellow with a maid in a corner; upon which the good man, say they, lifted up his hands to heaven with a secret thanksgiving, that there was still so much Christian charity in the world. The innocence of the saint made him mistake the kiss of the lover, for the salute of charity. I am heartily concerned when I see a virtuous man without a com
petent knowledge of the world, and if there be any use in these my papers, it is this, that without representing vice under any false alluring notions, they give my reader an insight into the ways of men, and represent human nature in all its changeable colours. The man who has not been engaged in any of the follies of the world, or, as Shakspeare expresses it, • hackney'd in the ways of men,' may here find a picture of its follies and extravagancies. The virtuous and the innocent may know in speculation what they could never arrive at by practice, and by this means avoid the snares of the crafty, the corruptions of the vicious, and the reasonings of the prejudiced. Their minds may be opened without being vitiated.
It is with an eye to my following correspondent, Mr. Timothy Doodle, who seems a very well-meaning man, that I have written this short preface, to which I shall subjoin a letter from the said Mr. Doodle.
'I could heartily wish that you would let us know your opinion upon several innocent diversions which are in use among us, and which are very proper to pass away a winter night for those who do not care to throw away their time at an opera, or at the play-kouse. I would gladly know in particular, what notion you have of hot-cockles ; as also, whether you think that questions and commands, mottoes, similies and cross purposes, have not more mirth and wit in them than those public diversions which are grown so very fashionable among us. If you would recommend to our wives and daughters, who read your papers with a great deal of pleasure, some of those sports and pastimes that may be practised within doors, and by the fire
side, we who are masters of families should be hugely obliged to you. I need not tell you that I would have these sports and pastimes not only merry but innocent; for which reason I have not mene tioned either whisk or lanterloo, nor indeed so much as one-and-thirty. After having communicated to you my request upon this subject, I will be so free as to tell you how my wife and I pass away these tedious winter evenings with a great deal of pleasure, Though she be young and handsome, and good-humoured to a miracle, she does not care for gadding abroad like others of her sex. There is a very friendly man, a colonel in the army, whom I am mightily obliged to for his civilities, that comes to see me almost every night; for he is not one of those giddy young fellows that cannot live out of a play-house. When we are together, we very often make a party at Blind-man's Buff, which is a sport that I like the better, because there is a good deal of exercise in it. The colonel and I are blinded by turns, and you would laugh your heart out to see what pains my dear takes to hoodwink us, so that it is impossible for us to see the least glimpse of light. The poor colonel sometimes hits his nose against a post, and makes us die with laughing. I have generally the good luck not to hurt myself, but am very often above, half an hour before I can catch either of them; for you must know we hide ourselves up and down in corners, that we may have the more sport. I only give you this hint as a sample of such innocent diversions as I would have you recommend; and am,
Most esteemed sir,