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Spectator, No. 631, HAD occasion to go a few miles out of town, some 1.
days since, in a stage coach, where I had for my fel! low-travellers, a dirty beau, and a pretty young Quaker woman. Having no inclination to talk much at that time, I placed myself backward, with a design to survey them, and pick a speculation out of my two companions. Their different figures were sufficient of themselves to draw my attention.
2. The gentleman was diressed in a suit, the gronnd whereof had been black, as I perceived from some few spaces that had escaped the powder which was incorporated with the greatest part of his coat ; his perywig, which cost no small sum, was after so slovenly a manner cast over his sholders, that it seemed not to have been combed since the year 1712 ; his linnen, which was not much conçealed, was daubed with plain Spanish from the chin to the lowest button, and the diamond upon his finger (which naturally dreaded the water) put me in mind how it sparkled amidst the rubbish of the mine where it was first discovered.
3. On the other hand, the pretty Quaker appeared in all the elegance of cleanliness. Not a speck was to be found on her. A clear, clean oval face, just edged about with little thin plaits of the purest cambric, received great advantages from the shade of her black hood; as did the whiteness of her arms from that sober-colored stuff in which she had clothed herself. The plainness of her dress was very well suited to the simplicity of her phrases, all which put tcgether, though they could not give me a great opinion of her religion, they did cf her innocence.
4. This adventure occasioned my throwing together a few hints upon cleanliness, whieh I shall consider as one of the half virtues, as Aristotle calls them, and shall recominend it under the three following heads : As it is a mark of politeness; as it produceth love ; and as it bears analosy to the purity of the mind.
5. First it is a mark of politeness. It is universally agreed upon, that no one, unadorned with this virtuc, can go into company without giving a manifest offence. The easier or higher any one's fortune is, this duty rises proortionably. The different nations of the world are as
much distinguished by their cleanliness, as by their arts and sciences. The more any country is civilized, the more they consult this part of politeness. We need but compare our ideas of a female Hotentot with an English beauty, to be satisfied of the truth of what hath been advanced.
6. In the next place, cleanliness may be said to be the foster-mother of love. Beauty, indeed, most commonly produces that passion in the mind, but cleanliness preserves it. An indifferent face and person, kept in perpetual neatness, hath won many a heart from a pretty slattern. Age itself is not unamiable, while it is preserved clean and unsullied: like a piece of metal constantly kept smooth and bright, we look on it with more pleasure than on a new vessel that is cankered with rust.
7. I might observe further, that as cleanliness renders us agreeable to others, so it makes us easy to ourselves; that it is an excellent preservative of health ; and that several vices destructive both to mind and body, are inconsistent with the habit of it. By these reflections I shall leave to the leisure of my readers, and shall observe in the third place, that it bears a great analogy with purity of mind, and naturally inspires refined sentiments and passions.
8. We find, from experience, that through the prevalence of custom, the most vicious actions lose their horror by being made familiar to us, On the contrary, those who live in the neighborhood of good examples, fly from the first appearance of what is shocking.
It fares with us much after the same manner as our ideas. Our senses, which are the inlets to all the images conveyed to the mind, can only transmit the impression of such things as usually surround them; so that pure and unsullied thoughts are naturally suggested to the mind, by those objects that perpetually encompass us, when they are beautiful and elegant in their kind.
9. In the East, where the warmth of the climate makes cleanliness more immediately necessary than in colder countries, it is made one part of their religion; the Jewish law and the Mahometan, which in some things, copies after it) is filled with bathings, purifications, and other rites of the like nature. Tho' there is the above named convenient reason to be assigned for these ceremonies
the chief intention, undoubtedly, was to tipify inward purity and cleanliness of heart by those outward washings.
10. We read several injunctions of this kind in the book of Deuteronomy, which confirm this truth, and which are but ill accounted for by saying, as some do, that they were only instituted for convenience in the desert, which otherways could not have been habitable for so many years.
il. I shall conclude this essay with a story which I have somewhere read in an account of Mahometan superstition. A Dervise of great sanctity one morning had the misfortunc as he took up a crystal cup, which was consecrated to the prophet, to let it fall upon the ground, and dash it in pieces. His son coming in some time after, he stretched out his hand to bless him as his manner was every morning; but the youth going out stumbled over the threshold and broke his arm. As the old man wondered at these events, a caravan passed by in its way from Mecca. The Dervise approached it to beg a blessing, but as he stroked one of the holy camels, he received a kick from the beast that sorely bruised him. His sorrow and amasement increased upon him, till he recollected, that through hurry and inadvertency, he had that morning come abroad without washing his. hands.
Scene between Gen. SAVAGE and MISS WALSINGHAM;
Tuhich the courtship is carried on in such an ambiguous manner, that the General mistakes her consent to marry his son CAPT. SAVAGE, for consent to marry himself. Miss Wal. GENERAL SAVAGE, your most hum
ble servant. Gen. Sav. My dear Miss Walsingham, it is rather cruel that
you should be left at home by yourself, and yet greatly rejoiced to find you at present without company.
Miés IVal. I can't but think myself in the best company when I have the honor of your conversation, General.
Gen. You flatter me too much Madam ; yet I am come to talk to you on a serious affair; an affair of importance to me and yourself. Have you leisure to favor me with a short audience, if I beat a parley?
Mise Wal. Any thing of importance to you, Sir, is always sufficient to command my leisure.
Tis as the Captain suspected-[aside.
Gen. You tremble my lovely girl, but don't be alarined for tho my business is of an important nature, I hope it will not be of a disagreeable one.
Miss Wal. And yet I am greatly agitated-[aside.
Gen. Soldiers, Miss Walsingham, are said to be generally favored by the kind protection of the ladies.
Miss Wal. The ladies are not without gratitude, Sir, to those who devote their lives peculiarly to the service of their country. ✓ Gen. Generously said, Madam. Then give me leave without any masked battery, to ask if the heart of an honest soldier is a prize worthy your acceptance ?
Miss Wal. Upon my word, Sir, there is no masked battery in this question.
Gen. I am as fond of a coup-de-main, Madam, in love as in war, and hate the tedious method of sapping a town, when there is a possibility of entering it sword in hand.
Miss Wal. Why really, Sir, a woman may as well know her own mind when she is first summoned by the trumpet of a lover, as when she undergoes all the tiresome formality of a siege. You see I have caught your own mode of conversing, General.
Gen. And a very great compliment I consider it, Madam. But now that you have candidly confessed an acquaintance with your own mind, answer me with that frankness for which every body admires you so much : Have you any objecuions to change the name of Walsingham ?
Miss Wal. Why then, frankly, General, I say, no.
Gen. I'd sooner see my son run away in the day of batcle-I'd sooner think Lord Russell was bribed by Lewis XIV; and sooner vilify the memory of Algernon Sidney.
Miss Wal. How unjust it was ever to suppose the General a tyrannical father aside.
Gen. You have told me condesceridingly, Miss Walsingham, that you have no objection to change your name. I have but one question more to ask.
Miss Wal. Pray propose it, Sir.
Gen. Would the name of Savage be disagreeable to you? spark frankly again, any dear girl.
Miss Wal. Why, then again, I frankly say, no.
Gen. You are too good to me. Torrington thought I should meet with a repulse.-[aside.
Miss Wal. Have you communicated this business to the Captain, Sir ?
Gen. No, my dear madam, I did not think that at all necessary. I propose that he shall be married in a few days.
Miss Wal. What, whether I will or not?
Miss Wal. I must be consulted, however, about the day, General; but nothing in my power shall be wanting to make him happy
Gen. Obliging loveliness!
Miss Wal. You may imagine, that if I had not been previously imprest in favor of your proposal, it would not have met my concurrence so readily.
Gen. Then you own I had a previous friend in the garrison.
Miss Wal. I don't blush to acknowledge it, Sir, when I consider the accomplishments of the object.
Gen. O, this is too much, madam ; the principal merit of the object is his passion for Miss Walsingham.
Miss Wal. Don't say that, General, I beg of you ; for I don't think there are many women in the kingdom who could behold him with indifference.
Gen. Ah, you flattering angel ! and yet, by the memory of Marlborough, my lovely girl, it was the idea of a pre-pos. session on your part, which encouraged me to hope for a favorable reception.
Miss Wal. Then I must have been very indiscreet, for I labored to conceal that pre-possession as much as possible.
Gen. You could not conceal it from me ; the female heart is a field I am thoroughly acquainted with.
Mis: Wal. I doubt not your knowledge of the female heart, General : tut as we now understand one another so perfectiy, you will give me leave to retire.
Gen. One word, ny dear creature, and no more : I shall wait on you some time to-cay abcut the recessiry settlement.
Miss Wal. You must do as you please, General ; you are invincible in every thing.
Gen. And if you please, we will keep erary thing a prcfound secret, till the articles are all settled, and the definitive treaty easy for execution.