Abbildungen der Seite
PDF

heartilv; and my father and mother were for it a great while, but now they say I can do better; but I think I cannot. They bid me not love him, and I cannot unlove him. What must I do? Speak quickly. • BIDDY DOW-BAKE.”

“Feb. 19, 1712. “DEAR SPEc,-I have loved a lady entirely for this year and a half, though for a at part of the time (which has contriuted not a little to my Po) I have been debarred the liberty of conversing with her. The grounds of our difference was this; that o we had enquired into each other's circumstances, we found that at our first setting out into the world, we should owe five hundred pounds more than her fortune would.. off. My estate is seven hundred pounds a-year, besides the benefit of tin mines. Now, dear Spec, upon this state of the case, and the lady’s positive declaration that there is still no other objection, I beg you will not fail to insert this, with your opinion, as soon as possible, whether this ought to be esteemed a just cause or impediment why we should not be joined; and you will for ever oblige yours

sincerely, DICK LOVESICK.’

* PostSCRIPT. ‘Sir, if I marry this lady by the assistance of your opinion, you may expect a favour for it.”

“Mr. SPECTAtoR,--I have the misfortune to be one of those unhappy men who are distinguished by the name of discarded lovers; but I am the less mortified at my disgrace, because the young lady is one of those creatures who set up for negligence of men, are forsooth the most rigidly virtuous in the world, and yet their nicety will permit them at the command of parents to go to bed to the most utter 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 an 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 those 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:

“SIR,--I hope you will not think it is any manner of disrespect to your person or merit, that the intended nuptials between us are interrupted. My father says he has a much better offer for me than you can make, and has ordered me to break off the treaty between us. If it had proceeded, I should have behaved myself with all suit

[blocks in formation]

‘MR, SPECTAtoR,—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 to tale-bearing, that he disturbs both himself and all our neighbourhood. 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 neighbour. You will hereby oblige several who will be glad to find a reformation in their grey-haired friend: and how becoming will it be for him, instead of pouring forth words at all adventures, to set a watch before the door of his mouth, to refrain his tongue, to check its impetuosity, and guard o: the sallies of that little pert, forward, busy person; which, under a sober conduct, might prove a useful member of society! In compliance with those intimations, I have taken the liberty to make this address to you. I am, sir, your most obscure servant

PHILANTHROPOS.”

“Mr. Spectator, 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 correspondents as seem to be of no use but to the printer.

“It is further our humble request, that you would substitute advertisements in the É. of such epistles; and that in order

ereunto 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 favour of your petitioners. And your petitioners, &c.’

.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, February 26, 1711-12.

Nec Veneris pharetris macer est, aut lampade fervet:
Inde faces ardent, veniunt a dote sagittae.
Juv. Sat, vi. 137.

He sighs, adores, and courts her ev'ry hour: Who would not do as much for such a dower? Dryden. “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 fortunestealers. You must know, sir, I am one who liye 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 of any sudden surprise. There were, two or three nights ago, some fiddles heard in the street, which I am afraid rtend me no good: not to mention a tall rishman, that has been seen walking beo

fore my house more than once this winter. My kinswoman likewise informs me that the girl has talked to her twice or thrice of a gentleman in a fair wig, and that she loves to go to church more than ever she did in her life. She gave me the slip about a week ago, upon which my whole house was in alarm. I immediately despatched a hue and cry after her to the 'Change, to her mantua-maker, and to the ...i. dies that visit her; but after above an hour’s search she returned of herself, having been takin; a walk, as she told me, by Rosamond’s pond. I have hereupon turned off her woman, doubled her guards, and given new instructions to my relation, who, to give her her due, keeps a watchful eye over all her motions. This, sir, keeps me in perpetual anxiety, and makes me very often watch when my daughter sleeps, as I am afraid she is even with me in her turn. Now, 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 on 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 fortune-hunters 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 P. himself with a ladder of ropes, and by that means very often enters upon the premises.

The same art of scaling has likewise been practised with §. 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 every woman, that falls in his way will do him as much justice as he does himself. When an heiress sees 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 a neighbouring 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.

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 to the quarry. Suffenus has combed and powdered at the ladies for thirty years together; and taken his stand in a side-box, until he has grown wrinkled under their eyes. He is now laying the same snares for the present generation of beauties, which he practised on their mothers. Cottilus, after having made his application to more than you meet with in Mr. Cowley's ballad of mistresses, was at last smitten with a city lady of 20,000l. sterling; but died of old age before he could bring matters to bear. Nor must I here omit my worthy friend Mr. Honeycomb, who has often told us in the club, that for twenty years successively upon the death of a childless rich man, he immediately drew on his boots, called for his horse, and made up to the widow. When he is rallied upon his ill success, Will, with his usual gaiety, tells us, that he always found her pre-engaged.

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

[blocks in formation]

is daily employed in throwing darts and kindling flames. But as for widows, they are such a subtle 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 an 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 comes 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 comprehen;

* See Grey's edit. of Hudibras, vol. 1. part i. canto iii. v. 212, 213.

No. 312.] Wednesday, Feb. 27, 1711-12.

Quod huic officium, quae laus, quod decus erit tanti, quod adipisci cum dolore corporis velit, qui dolorem summum malum sibi persuaserit 2 Quam porro quis ignominium, quam turpitudinem non pertulerit, ut effugiat dolorem, si id summum malum esse decreverit. Tully.

What duty, what praise, or what honour 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 determined it to be the chief evil?

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 befal ourselves, great and lamentable when they befal 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 less sensible of his own misery, and are inclined 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 contagion, does but pamper himself up for a sacrifice, and contract in himself a greater aptitude to misery by attempting to escape it. A gentleman, where I happened to be last night, fell into a discourse which I thought showed a good discerning in him. He took notice, that whenever men have looked into their heart for the idea of true excellence in human nature, they have found it to consist 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. It is certainly the proper education we should give ourselves to be prepared for the ill events and accidents we are to meet with in a life sentenced to be a scene of sorrow; but instead of this expectation, we soften ourselves with prospects 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 behaviour, either in prosperity or adversity, 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 E.P. Pompey, when he came to hodes, had a curiosity to visit the famous philosopher Possidonius; but finding him in his sick bed, he bewailed the misfortune that he 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 impertinent and troublesome as you please, I shall never own that thou art an evil.”

“MR. SPECTAtoR,-Having seen in several of your papers a concern for the honour of the clergy, and their doing every thing as becomes their character, and par

ticularly performing the public service with a due zeal and devotion; I am the more encouraged to lay before them by your means, several expressions used by some of them in their prayers before sermon, which I am not well satisfied in. As their giving some titles and epithets to great men, which are indeed due to them in their several ranks and stations, but not properly used, I think, in our prayers. Is it not contradiction to say, illustrious, right reverend, and right honourable poor sinners? These distinctions are suited only to our state here, and have no place in heaven; we see they are omitted in the Liturgy: which, I think, the clergy should take for their pattern in their own forms of devotion.* There is anothel 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 we can find, and cur 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 mind to let us know who gave him his scarf, he speaks a parenthesis to the Almighty. “Bless, as I am in duty bound to pray, the right honourable the countess;” is not that as much as to say, “Bless, her, for thou knowest I am her chaplain?” Your humble foot, &

[blocks in formation]

* In the original folio edition of this paper, there was the following passage, after the above sentence.

[Another expression which I take to be improper, is this, ‘the whole race of mankind,” when they pray for all men; for race signifies lineage or descent; and if the race of mankind may be used for the present generation, (though, I think, not very fitly) the whole race takes in all from the beginning to the end of the world. I do not remember to have met with that expression, in their sente, any where but in the old version of Psalm xiv, which those men, I suppose, have but little esteem for. And some, when they have prayed for all schools and nurseries of good learning and true religion, especially the two universities, add these words, ‘Grant that from them, and all other places dedicated to thy worship and service, may come forth such persons,’ &c. But what do they mean by all other places? It seems to me, that this is either a tautology, as being the same with all schools and nurseries before expressed, or else it runs too far; for there are several places dedicated to the * service, which cannot properly be intended here.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

readers that it comes from the same hand with that of last Thursday. * * * * * “SIR,--I send you according to my promise, some farther thoughts on the éducation of youth, in which I intend to discuss that famous question, “Whether the education at a public school, or under a private tutor, is to be preferred 2* “As some of the greatest men in most ages have been of very different opinions in this matter, I shall give a short account of what I think may be best urged on both sides, and afterwards 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 F.' themselves; and Plutarch, in the ife 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 .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; and a F. school, manly assurance, and an early nowledge in the ways of the world. “Mr. Locke, in his celebrated treatise of 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 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 neighbours, and to engage them in conversation with men of H. 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, many possibly contract a dulness and insensibility.

• One of the greatest writers our nation ever produced, observes, that a boy who forms F. and makes himself popular in a school or a college would act the same part with ...'. 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 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 of a community overrun with artifice and corruption. “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 altogether to make it worth while for any man of a liberal education to take upon him the care of their instruction. “In our great schools, indeed, this fault has been of te 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. 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 a lad at this place excused his exercise for assisting the cook-maid; and remember a neighbouring gentleman’s son was among us five years, most of which time he employed in airing and watering our master's gray o: 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

[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »