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viour, could not raise this man above being received only upon the foot of contributing to mirth and diversion. But he was as easy under that condition, as a man of so excellent talents was capable; and since they would have it, that to divert was his business, he did it with all the seeming alacrity imaginable, though it stung him to the heart that it was his business. Men of sense, who could taste his excellencies, were well satisfied to let him lead the way in conversation, and play after his own manner; but fools, who provoked him to mimicry, found he had the indignation to let it be at their expense who called for it, and he would show the form of conceited heavy fellows as jests to the company at their own request, in revenge for interrupting him from being a companion to put on the character of a jester.
What was peculiarly excellent in this memorable companion, was, that in the accounts he gave of persons and sentiments, he did not only hit the figure of their faces, and manner of their gestures, but he would in his narration fall into their very way of thinking, and this when he recounted passages wherein men of the best wits were concerned, as well as such wherein were represented men of the lowest rank of understanding. It is certainly as great an instance of self-love to a weakness, to be impa: tient of being mimicked, as any can be imagined. There were none but the vain, the formal, the proud, or those who were incapable of amending their faults, that dreaded him ; to others he was in the bighest degree pleasing ; and I do not know any sa. tisfaction of any indifferent kind I ever tasted so much, as having got over an impatience of my seeing myself in the air he could put me when I have displeased him. It is indeed to his exquisite talent this way, more than any philosophy I could read on
the subject, that my person is very little of my care; and it is indifferent to me what is said of my shape, my air, my manner, my speech, or my address. It is to poor Eastcourt I chiefly owe that I am arrived at the happiness of thinking nothing a diminution to me, but what argues a depravity of my
It has as much surprised me as any thing in nature, to have it frequently said, that he was not a good player : but that must be owing to a partiality for former actors in the parts in which he succeeded them, and judging by comparison of what was liked before, rather than by the nature of the thing. When a man of his wit and smartness could put on an utter absence of common sense in his face, as he did in the character of Bullfinch in the Northern Lass, and an air of insipid cunning and vivacity in the character of Pounce in The Tender Husband, it is folly to dispute his capacity and success as he was an actor.
Poor Eastcourt ! let the vain and proud be at rest, thou wilt no more disturb their admiration of their dear selves ; and thou art no longer to drudge in raising the mirth of stupids, who know nothing of thy merit, for thy maintenance.
It is natural for the generality of mankind to run into reflexions upon our mortality, when disturbers o the world are laid at rest, but to take no notice when they who can please and divert are pulled from us. But for my part, I cannot but think the loss of such talents as the man of whom I am speaking was master of, a more melancholy instance of mortality than the dissolution of persons of never so high characters in the world, whose pretensions were that they were noisy and mischievous.
But I must grow more succinct, and, as a Spectaior, give an account of this extraordinary man, who, in
his way, never had an equal in any age before him, or in that wherein he lived. I speak of him as a companion, and a man qualified for conversation. His fortune exposed him to an obsequiousness towards the worst sort of company, but his excellent qualities rendered him capable of making the best figure in the most refined. I have been present with him among men of the most delicate taste a whole night, and have known him (for he saw it was desired) keep the discourse to himself the most part of it, and maintain his good-humour with a countenance, in a language so delightful, without offence to any person or thing upon earth, still preserving the distance his circumstances obliged him to; I say, I have seen him do all this in such a charming manner, that I am sure none of those I hint at will read this, without giving him some sorrow for their abundant mirth, and one gush of tears for so many bursts of laughter. I wish it were any honour to the pleasant creature's memory, that my eyes are too much suffused to let me go on
*** The following severe passage in this number of the Spectator in folio, apparently levelled at Dr. Radcliffe, was suppressed in all the subsequent editions ;
It is a felicity his friends may rejoice in, that he had his senses, and used them as he ought to do, in his last moments. It is remarkable, that his judgment was in its calm perfection to the utmost article; for when his wife, out of her fondness, desired she might send for a certain illiterate humourist (whom he had accompanied in a thousand mirthful moments, and whose insolence makes fools think he assumes from conscious merit), he answered, “Do what you please, but he won't come near me." Let poor Eastcourt's negligence about this message convince the unwary of a triumphant empiric's igno. rance and inhumanity.'
N° 469, THURSDAY, AUGUST 28, 1712.
Detrahere aliquid alteri, et hominem hominis incommodo suum
augere commodum, magis est contra naturam quàm mors,
tiply his own conveniences by the inconveniences of an.
I AM persuaded there are few men, of generous principles, who would seek after great places, were it not rather to have an opportunity in their hands of obliging their particular friends, or those whom they look upon as men of worth, than to procure wealth and honour for themselves. To an honest mind, the best perquisites of a place are the advantages it gives a man of doing good.
Those who are under the great officers of state, and are the instruments by which they act, have more frequent opportunities for the exercise of compassion and benevolence, than their superiors theinselves. These men know every little case that is to come before the great man, and, if they are possessed with honest minds, will consider poverty as a recommendation in the person who applies himself to them, and make the justice of his cause the most powerful solicitor in his behalf. A man of this temper, when he is in a post of business, becomes a blessing to the public. He patronises the orphan and the widow, assists the friendless, and guides the ignorant. He does not reject the person's preten
sions, who does not know how to explain them, or refuse doing a good office for a man because he cannot pay the fee of it. In short, though he regulates himself in all his proceedings by justice and equity, he finds a thousand occasions for all the good-natured offices of generosity and compassion,
A man is unfit for such a place of trust, who is of a sour untractable nature, or has any other passion that makes him uneasy to those who approach hiin. Roughness of temper is apt to discountenance the timorous or modest. The proud man discourages those from approaching him, who are of a mean condition, and who most want his assistance. The impatient mạn will not give himself time to be informed of the matter that lies before him. An officer, with one or more of these unbecoming qualities, is sometimes looked upon as a proper person to keep off impertinence and solicitation from his superior; and this is a kind of merit, that can never atone for the injustice which may very often arise from it.
There are two other vicious qualities, which render a man very unfit for such a place of trust. The first of these is a dilatory temper, which commits innumerable cruelties without design. The maxim which several have laid down for a man's conduct in ordinary life, should be inviolable with a man in office, never to think of doing that to-morrow which may be done to-day. A man who defers doing what ought to be done, is guilty of injustice so long as he defers it. The dispatch of a good office is very often as beneficial to the solicitor as the good office itself. In short, if a man compared the inconveniences which another suffers by his delays, with the trifling motives and advantages which he himself may reap by them, he would never be guilty of a fault which very often does an irreparable prejudice to a person