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ation, you will find that I am almost ruined by my friends. . From my earliest days I was reckoned one of the best-natured fellows in the world; and, at school, though I must confess I did not acquire so much learning as many of my companions; yet, even there, I was remarkable for the acquisition of friends. Even there, too, I acquired them at some expence ; I was flogged, I dare say, an hundred times, for the faults of others, but was too generous ever to peach; iny companions were generous fellows too ; but it always happened, I don't know how, that my generosity was on the losing side of the adventure.: · I had not been above three years at college, when the death of an uncle put me in possession of a very considerable estate. As I was not violently inclined towards literature, I soon took the opportunity, which this presented me, of leaving the university, and entering upon the world. I put myself under the tuition of one of my companions, who generally spent the vacations, and indeed some of the terms too, in London ; and took up my residence in that city. There I needed not that propensity which I have told you I always possessed, to acquire a mul. titude of friends ; I found myself surrounded by them in every tavern and coffee-house about town. But I soon experienced, that though the commodity was plenty, the price was high. Besides a consider. able mortgage on my estate, of which one of my best friends contrived to possess himself, I was obliged to expose my life in a couple of duels, and had very near lost it by disease, in that course of friendship which I underwent in the metropolis. All this was more a social sacrifice to others than a gratification to myself. Naturally rather of a sober disposition, I found more frequently disgust than pleasure amidst those scenes of dissipation in which I was engaged. I was often obliged to roar out a catch expressive of our happiness, at the head of a long table in a tavern, though I would almost have exchanged my place for the bench of a galley-slave ; and to bellow for a bumper, when I would as soon have swallowed the bitterest drug in the shop of my apothecary.
From this sort of bondage I contrived to emanci. pate myself by matrimony. I married the sister of one of my friends, a girl good-natured and thoughtless like myself, with whom I soon after retired into the country, and set out upon what we thought a sober, well-regulated plan. The situation was so distant, as to be quite out of the reach of my former towncompanions ; provisions were cheap, and servants faithful : in short, every thing so circumstanced, that we made no doubt of living considerably within our income. Our manner of life, however, was to be as happy as prudent. By the improvement of my estate, I was to be equally amused and enriched; my skill in sportinanship (for I had acquired that science to great perfection at the university) was to procure vigour to my constitution, and dainties to my table ; and, against the long nights of winter,' we were provided with an excellent neighbourhood.
The last-mentioned article is the only one which we have found come entirely up to our expectations. My talent for friend making has indeed extended the limits of neighbourhood a good deal farther than the word is commonly understood to reach. The parish, which is not a small one,—the country, which is proportionally extensive, comes all within the denomi. nation of neighbourhood with us; and my neighbour Goostry, who pays mé an annual sporting visit of several weeks, lives at least fifty miles off.
Some of those neighbours, who always become friends at my house, have endeavoured to pay me for their entertainment with their advice as to the culti.
vation of my farm, or the management of my estate ; but I have generally found their counsel, like other friendly exertions, put me out of pocket in the end, Their theories of agriculture failed in my practice of them; and the ingenious men they recommended to me for tenants, seldom paid their rent by their ingenuity. One gentleman, in particular, was so much penetrated by my kindness and hospitality, that he generously communicated to me a project he had formed, which he shewed me to be infallible, for acquiring a great fortune in a very short time, and offered me an equal share in the profits, upon my advancing the sum of five hundred pounds, to enable him to put his plan more speedily into exccution. But, about a twelvemonth after, I was in. formed that his project had miscarried, and that my five hundred pounds were lost in the wreck of it. This gentleman is almost the only one of my friends, who, after having been once at my house, does not chuse to frequent it again.
My wife is not a whit less happy in acquiring friends than myself. Besides all her relations, of whom (for I chose a woman of family) she has a very great number, every lady she meets at visits, at church, or at the yearly races in our country-town, is so instantaneously charmed with her manners and conversation, that she finds it impossible to leave our part of the country without doing herself the pleasure of waiting on Mrs. Hearty at her own house. Mrs. Hearty's friends are kind enough to give advice too, as well as mine. After such visits, I generally find some improvement in the furniture of my house, the dress of my wife, or the livery of my servants.
The attentions of our friends are sometimes car. ried farther than mere words or visits of compliment ; yet, even then, unfortunately, their favours are just so many taxes upon us. When I receive a present of a delicate salmon, or a nice haunch of venison, it is but a signal for all my good neighbours to come and eat at my expence ; and some time ago, when a ne. phew of my wife, settled abroad, sent me an hogshead of excellent claret, it cost me, in entertainments for the honour of the liquor, what might have purchased a tun from the wine-merchant.
After so many instances in which my friendships were hurtful to my fortune, I wished to hit on the way of making some of them beneficial to it. For this purpose, my wife and I have, for a good while past, been employed in looking out for some snug office, or reversion, to which my interest with several powerful friends might recommend me. But, some. how or other, our expectations have been always disappointed ; not from any want of inclination in our friends to serve us, as we have been repeatedly assured, but from various unforeseen accidents, to which expectations of that sort are particularly liable. In the course of these solicitations, I was led to engage in the political interests of a gentleman, on whose influence I built the strongest hopes of success in my own schemes ; and I flattered myself, that, from the friendly footing on which I stood with my neighbours, I might be of considerable service to him. This, indeed, he is extremely ready to acknowledge, though he has never yet found an opportunity of returning the favour ; but, in the mean time, it kept my table open to all his friends, as well as my own, and cost me, besides, a head-ach twice a week during the whole period of the can. vas.
In short, Mr. Mirror, I find I can afford to keep myself in friends no longer. I mean to give them warning of this my resolution as speedily as possible. Be so good, therefore, as inform such of them as read your paper, that I have shut my gates, locked my cellar, turned off my cook, disposed of my dogs, forgot my acquaintance, and am resolved hencefor. ward, let people say of me what they will, to be no one's friend but my own.
I am, &c.
No 79. TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 1789.
Tanto major fama sitis est quam virtutis. .
JUVENAL, Sat. 10. To the Author of the MIRROR.
SIR, There is, perhaps, no character in the world more frequent than that of your negatively good men ; people who strictly conform to the laws of decency and good order in society, whose conduct is squared to the rules of honesty and morality, and yet who never did one virtuous or laudable action from the day of their birth. Men of this sort seem to consi. der life as a journey through a barbarous country, occupied by savages, and overspread with dan. gers in every quarter. Their only wish is to steer the safest course, to escape any hidden snares of precipices, and to avoid exasperating the enemy; but to win them by offices of kindness, or attach them by real services, they consider as a fruitless waste of time, a needless expence, and often a dan. gerous experiment.