Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

6

come inepurselves, there is one which stands always empty to carry off our dead men, for so we call all those fragments and tatters with which the room is strewed, and which we pack up togetherin bundles and put into the aforesaid coach: it is no small diversion for us

to meet the next night at some member's chamber, ' where every one is to pick out what belonged to her • from this confused bundle of filks, ftuffs, laces, and • ribbons. I have hitherto given you an account of our • diversion on ordinary club-nights ; but must acquaint

you further, that once a month we demolish a prude, that is, we get

fome
queer

formal creature in among us, and unrig her in an instant. Our last month's prude was so armed and fortified in whalebone and buckram, that we had much ado to come at her ; but you would

have died with laughing to have seen how the sober · aukward thing looked when she was forced out of her

intrenchments. In short, sir, it is impossible to give you a true notion of our sport, unless you would come one night amongst us; and though it be directly against the rules of our society to admit a male visitant, we re

pose so much confidence in your silence and taciturnity, • that it was agreed by the whole club, at our last meeting, to give you entrance for one night as a spectator.

6

[ocr errors]

• I am your humble servant,

* Kitty TERMAGANT.

* P. S. We shall demolish a prude next Thursday.'

Though I thank Kitty for her kind offer, I do not at present find in myself any inclination to venture my perTon with her and her romping companions. I should regard myself as a second Clodius, intruding on the mylterious' rights of the Bona Dea, and should apprehend being demolished as much as the prude.

The following letter comes from a gentleman, whose taste I find is much too delicate to endure the least advance towards romping. I may perhaps hereafter improve upon the hint he has given me, and make it the fubject of a whole Spectator ; in the mean time take it as it-follows in his own words.

Mr. SPECTATOR, • IT is my misfortune to be in love with a young creature who is daily committing faults, which ' though they give me the utmost uneasiness, I know ! not how to reprove her for, or even acquaint her with. . She is pretty, dresses well, is rich, and good-humoured; • but either wholly neglects, or has no notion of that "which polite people have agreed to distinguish by the name of delicacy. After our return from a walk the other day, she threw herself into an elbow-chair, and profeffed before a large company, that she was all

over in a sweat." She told me this afternoon that “ her stomach aked ;" and was complaining yesterday at ' dinner of something that “ stuck in her teeth." I • treated her with a basket of fruit last summer, which • The eat so

very greedily, as almost made me resolve never to see her more. In short, sir, I begin to trem" ble whenever I see her about to speak or move. As "she does not want sense, if she takes these hints I am happy; if not, I am more than afraid, that these things which shock me even in the behaviour of mistress, will appear insupportable in that of a wife.

am, Sir, yours, &c.' My next letter comes from a correspondent whom I cannot but very much value upon the account which she gives of herself.

« Mr. SPECTATOR,

I AM happily arrived at a state of tranquillity, • which few people envy, I mean that of an old maid ; • therefore being wholly unconcerned in all that medley • of follies which our sex is apt to contract from their

filly fondness of yours, I read your railleries on us • without provocation. I can say with Hainlet,

-Man delights not me, « Nor woman neither"• Therefore, dear fir, as you never spare your own

sex, do not be afraid of reproving what is ridiculous in ours, and

you

will oblige at least one woman, whois
• Your humble servant,

• SUSANNA Frost.'

[ocr errors]

a

[ocr errors]

• Mr. SPECTATOR, I AM wife to a clergyman, and cannot help thinking that in your tenth or tithe character of woman' kind you meant myself, therefore I have no quarrel ' against you for the other nine characters.

• Your humble servant, X.

• A. B.'

N° 218.

Friday, November

9.

Quid de

quoque viro, & cui dicas, fæpe caveto.

Hor. Ep. 18. lib. 1. ver. 68. -Have a care Of whom you talk, to whom, and what, and where.

Poole.

I HAPPENED the other day, as my way is, to stroll into a little coffee-house beyond Aldgate, and as I fat there, two or three very plain sensible men were talking of the SPECTATOR. One faid, that he had that morning drawn the great benefit-ticket; another wished he had ; but a third shaked his head and said, it was pity that the writer of that paper was such a sort of man, that it was no great matter whether he had it or no. He is, it seems, faid the good man, the most extravagant creature in the world; has run through vast sums, and yet

been in continual want; a man, for all he talks so well of economy, unfit for any of the offices of life by reason of his profufenefs. It would be an unhappy thing to be his wife, his child, or his friend ; and yet he talks as well of those duties of life as any one. Much reflection has brought me to so easy a contempt for every thing which is false, that this heavy accusation gave me no inanner of uneasiness ; but at the same time it threw me into deep thought upon the subject of fame in general; and I could not but pity such as were so weak, as to value what the common people say out of their

own talkative temper, to the advantage or diminution of those whom they mention, without being moved either by malice or good-will

. It will be too long to expatiate upon the sense all mankind have of fame, and the inexpressible pleasure which there is in the approbation of worthy men, to all who are capable of worthy actions ; but methinks one may divide the generał word fame into three different species, as it regards the different orders of mankind who have any thing to do with it. Fame therefore may be divided into glory, which respects the hero; reputation, which is preferved by every gentleman ; and credit, which must be supported by every tradesman. These possessions in fame are dearer than life to those characters of men, or rather are the life of these characters. Glory, while the hero pursues great and noble enterprises, is impregnable; and all the assailants of his renown do but shew their pain and impatience of its brightness, without throwing the least fhade upon it. If the foundation of an high nanie be virtue and service, all that is offered against it is but rumour, which is too short-lived to stand

- ир

in competition with glory, which is everlatting. Reputation, which is the portion of every man w

who would live with the elegant and knowing part of mankind, is as stable as glory, if it bé as well founded ; and the common cause of human society is thought concerned when we hear a man of good behaviour calumniated: besides which, according to a prevailing custom amongst us, every man has his defence in his own arm : and proach is soon checked, put out of countenance, and overtaken by disgrace.

The most unhappy of all men, and the most exposed to the malignity and wantonness of the common voice, is the trader. Credit is undone in whispers. The traderman's wound is received from one who is more private and more cruel than the ruffian with the lanthornanddagger. The manner of repeating a man's name, -As ; " Mr.

Cash, Oh! do you leave your money at his shop?

Why? do you know Mr. Searoom ? He is indeed a ge“ neral merchant.” I say, I have seen, from the iteration of aman's name, hiding one thought of him, and explaining what you hide, by saying something to his advantage when

you speak, a merchant hurt in his credit ; and him who every day he lived, literally added to the value of his native country, undone by one who was only a burden and a blemish to it. Since every body who knows the world is sensible of this great evil, how careful ought a man to be in his language of a merchant ? It may possibly be in the power of a very shallow creature to lay the ruin of the best family in the most opulent city; and the more fo, the more highly he deserves of his country ; that is to say, the farther he places his wealth out of his hands, to draw home that of another climate.

In this case an ill word may change plenty into want, and by a rash sentence a free and generous fortune may in a few days be reduced to beggary. How little does a giddy prater imagine, that an idle phrase to the disfavour of a merchant may be as pernicious in the consequence, as the forgery of a deed to bar an inheritance would be to a gentleman ? Land stands where it did before a gentleman was calumniated, and the state of a great action is just as it was before calumny was offered to diminish it, and there is time, place and occasion expected to unravel all that is contrived against those characters; but the trader who is ready only for probable demands upon him, can have no armour against the inquisitive, the malicious, and the envious, who are prepared to fill the cry to his difhonour. Fire and sword are flow engines of destruction, in comparison of the babbler in the case of the merchant.

For this reason I thought it an imitable piece of humanity of a gentleman of my acquaintance, who had great variety of affairs, and used to talk with warmth enough against gentlemen by whom he thought himself ill dealt with ; that he would never let any thing be urged against a merchant, with whom he had any difference, except in a court of justice. He used to say, that to speak ill of a merchant, was to begin his suit with judgment and execution. One cannot, I think, say more on this occasion, than to repeat, that the merit' of the merchant is above that of all other subjects ; for while he is untouched in his credit, his hand-writing is a more portable coin for the service of his fellow-citizens, and his word the gold of Ophir to the country wherein he resides.

T. VOL.III,

I

« VorigeDoorgaan »