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There are some topics which may be introduced, at that season, in which both town and country-ladies are qualified to join, though even of them I would recommend a sparing and moderate use; I mean those little lectures on morality, sometimes known by the name of scandal. In these the town ladies, however, have some advantage, as their subjects are often such as may be reckoned fair game, persons of whom the world has a right to talk, and who seem to act as if they wished to be talked of. These notorious offenders against decency and decorum, of which there are always some instances in great towns, may be compared to certain atrocious criminals, whom the law has ordered to be sent, after execution, to Surgeons-hall : their characters may be dissected at all tea-tables, without any danger of the crime of defamation. But the beauty of a country town or village is rarely so unguarded in her con. duct as to give this licence to the tongues of her neighbours, who are, therefore, generally obliged to resort to the whispering of little private anecdotes and family secrets, which I very much doubt if they be legally entitled to do, at least except in cases of great necessity, as on a rainy Sunday, or where the party consists but of two, who can neither play cribbage, piquet, or backgammon.

Somewhat a-kin to the lovers of detraction are the offence-takers, a species of people I have observed more common in the country than in populous cities. They are deeply versed in the science of precedency, in the etiquette of paying and returning visits, in the ceremonial of drinking healths, and of acknowledging bows and curtsies. I have been astonished to find the circle of my acquaintance so circumscribed as I have sometimes experienced, when I have happened to take up my head-quarters at a gentleman's, who could only accompany me to the houses of one-half of the neighbourhood, having contrived to be totally estranged from the other by neglects of himself, affronts to his wife, squabbles about dancing at annual balls, or toasts at countrymeetings after the second bottle.

This disease of offence-taking is particularly epidemic in some places every seventh year, or sometimes it returns a little sooner by royal proclamation. As this summer may probably be the season of its recurring with violence, I take the present opportunity of warning my readers against the company of the infected ; and even to these a regimen of temper and good-manners may be found a very powerful and salutary alterative. The feelings of an offence-taker are always very disagreeable ; and, as to the external effects of this mental malady, whether it go off in oblique reflections, or break out into scurrility and abuse, I need not, I fancy, enlarge on the danger of their consequences. To gentlemen concerned in politics and electioneering, I would particularly observe, that the period of their canvass is not the proper time for indulging any such freedoms in conversation or behaviour. When the contest is deter. mined, the losers have some sort of privilege for railing; the successful candidates, as things go nowa-days, should keep all their foul language for that place to which the suffrages of their constituents are to send them.

No. CVI. SATURDAY, MAY.13.

Di tibi divitias dederant, artemque fruendi.

HOR.

THE importance of education to fit men for the world has been universally seen and acknowledged ; but I think it has not been always sufficiently attended to, as necessary to fit men for retiring from the world; as qualifying them to act their part with propriety when they retreat from the business of life, and to enjoy themselves, when enjoyment becomes their object. There is a certain time of life, when almost every man wishes to escape from the hurry and bustle of the world, and to taste the sweets of retirement and repose ; but how few are there, who, when they have arrived at that period which they fixed for this retreat, and have put their designs in execution, meet with that enjoyment which they looked for! Instead of pleasure, they find satiety, weariness, and disgust; time becomes a heavy burden upon them, and in what way they may kill the tedious hours, grows, at length, their only object. But had these men received a good education, they would never be at a loss how to fill up their time; rich fields of entertainment would open to them from various sources. Company and conversation would receive a finer relish ; books would give perpetual enjoyments ; the gay prospects of the country, the romantic scenes which it affords, the adorning and beautifying those scenes, and the culture of all the elegant arts, would make that fortune, which many possess without knowing how to use, the minister of every thing that can afford delight.

I believe it may be true, that neither learning, nor a taste for the elegant arts, is requisite to enable a person engaged in the ordinary business of life, to

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succeed in his profession ; and, while so engaged, the occupations of that profession will prevent his feeling any vacuity or suffering any inconvenience from his ignorance and want of refinement. But when such a person has acquired a fortune, and given up business, I have often observed, that, from this uncultivated state of mind, he is at a loss how to enjoy himself or his riches. He either becomes a prey to chagrin and ennui, or he gives himself up to the coarsest intemperance ; or, should he wish to figure as a man of taste or fashion, he receives but little entertainment himself, and his attempts are so absurd and preposterous, as to make him the object of scoff and ridicule to others.

Drexelius, was put early to business : his whole learning consisted in being able to read English, to write and keep accounts. He got soon into a very good branch of trade ; his attention was unremitted ; and his economy was equal to his attention. His labours, far from being a burden upon him, only gave him an exertion of mind, which kept him in an equal and unceasing flow of spirits. By the time he was fifty, Drexelius had acquired a fortune equal to that of the richest of his fellow-citizens. He now began to think seriously of enjoying it. The resolution which he had early formed of retiring to the country when he should have acquired a fortune, and which had supported him during the labours of acquiring it, he now determined to put in practice. He, therefore, wound up his business, sold off his stock, and purchased an estate in the country. The novelty of the situation, and the flattering thought that he was proprietor of so many acres, supported him for a while. But he soon began to find, that the fields, and woods, and rivers, gave him no sort of pleasure. He could receive no amusement from farming, and books he was unable to enjoy. A volume of the Spectator, recommended to him by

the clergyman of the parish, lay half-read upon the chimney-piece ; and the prospects which he heard others admire, appeared to him not more beautiful than the front of the Exchange, or the pavement of the street on which he used to tread. Tired, therefore, of the country, and weary of every thing, he began to long for the town which he had abandoned, and to become again a frequenter of the 'Change. Accordingly he hired a house in town, and resolved to spend in it the winter-months at least. But the town had now also lost its charms, and he found it impossible to recover them. He had no longer business to occupy his mind : when he rose in the morning, he knew not what to do ; he had no bargains to settle, and no ships to insure. His acquaintance around him were busy, while he was idle; he found himself alone in the midst of a crowd, an uninterested spectator of what used to employ him: Change of situation, therefore, gave him no relief, for the town was now as dull as the country. The purchase he had made was a dear one: upon his estate, which had cost him more at first than he intended to give for it, he was obliged to build a house, and to make some other improvements, the expence of which; like that of all other buildings and improvements, greatly exceeded what their owner had made his account with. This, however, was little to one of Drexelius's fortune. On former occasions, he had lost more upon one adventure in trade, without being much affected by the loss; but then he had different objects to interest him, and he expected to make up by other adventures what he had lost upon one ; now he had nothing else to think of but the daily expenditure. This took possession of his imagination ; he thought he saw poverty and ruin before him ; and his health began to sink under the vexations of his mind. In vain did his friends represent to him the greatness of his fortune ; that

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