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even rudeness, which from an equal we may easily pardon, from a superior becomes a serious injnry. When my school companion Marcus was a plain fellow like myself, I could have waited for him half an hour after the time of appointment, and laughed at his want of an apology when we met. But now that he is become a great man, I count the minutes of my attendance with impatience ; and, when he swaggers up to his elbow.chair without an acknowledgement, I hate him for that arrogance which I think he assumes, and almost hate myself for bearing it as I do. The truth is, Marcus was born in the rank, but without the sensibilities, of a gentleman; a want, which no office in the state, no patent of dignity, can ever supply. If the term were rightly understood, I might confine my admonitions on the subject of this paper to three words, · Be a gentle• man. The feelings of this character, which in point of manners, is the most respectable of any, will be as immediately hurt by the idea of giving uneasiness by his own behaviour, as of suffering uncasiness from the behaviour of another.
No 92. SATURDAY, MARCH 25, 1780.
LOOKING from the window of a house where I was visiting some mornings ago, I observed, on the opposite side of the street, a sign-post, ornamented with some little busts and bronzes, indicating a person to live there, by trade a Figure-maker. On re. marking to a gentleman who stood near me, that this was a profession I did not recollect having heard of before, my friend, who has a knack of drawing observations from trifles, and, I must confess, is a little inclined to take things on their weak side, re. plied, with a sarcastic smile, that it was one of the most common in life. While he spoke, a smart young man, who has lately set up a very showy equi. page, passed by in his carriage at a brisk trot, and bowed to me, who have the honour of a slight acquaintance with him, with that air of civil consea. quence which puts one in mind of the notice a man thinks himself entitled to. • That young gentleman,' said my friend, is a Figure-maker, and the chariot • he drives in is his sign.post. You might trace the • brethren of this trade through every street, square, 6 and house in town. Figure-making is common to.
all ranks, ages, tempers, and situations : there are • rich and poor, extravagant and narrow, wise and • foolish, witty and ridiculous, eloquent and silent, • beautiful and ugly Figure-makers. In short, there
is scarce any body such a cipher from Nature, as 'not to form some pretensions to making a figure in spite of her.
The young man who bowed to you is an extra* vagant Figure-maker, more remarkable from being * successor to a narrow one. I knew his father well,
and have often visited him in the course of money. 'transactions, at his office, as it was called, in the
garret-story of a dark airless house, where he sat, • like the Genius of Lucre, brooding in his hole
over the wealth his parsimony had acquired him. "The very ink with which he wrote was adulterated . with water, and he delayed mending his pen till the • characters it formed were almost illegible. Yet he • too had great part of his enjoyment from the opi"nion of others, aud was not insensible to the plea'sures of Figure-making. I have often seen him in • his threadbare brown coat, stop on the street to wait the passing of some of his well-dressed debtors, that he miglit have the pleasure of insulting them with the intimacy to which their situations entitled • him; and I once knew him actually lend a large 'sum, on terms less advantageous than it was his 'custom to insist upon, merely because it was a • Peer who wanted to borrow, and that he had ap• plied in vain to two right honourable relations of • immense fortune.
• His son has just the same desire of shewing his • wealth that the father had; but he takes a very • different method of displaying it. Both, however, • display, not enjoy, their wealth, and draw equal • satisfaction from the consequence derived from it • in the opinion of others. The father kept guineas • in his coffers which he never used ; the son changes, • indeed, the species of property, but has just as little • the power of using it. He keeps horses in his
stable, mistresses in lodgings, and servants in livery, • to no better purpose than his father did guineas. • He gives dinners, at which he eats made dishes • that he detests, and drinks Champaigne and Bure • gundy, instead of his old beverage of port and
punch, till he is sick, because they are the dishes
and drink of great and rich men. The son's situaction has the advantage of brilliancy, but the fa• ther's was more likely to be permanent; he was • daily growing richer with the aspect of poverty ; « his son is daily growing poorer, with the appear• ance of wealth.
• It is impossible to enumerate the pranks which • the sudden acquisition of riches, joined to this • desire of Figure-making, sets people a.playing. • There is nothing so absurd or extravagant, which • riches, in the hands of a' weak man, will not tempt • him to commit, from the mere idea of enjoying • his money in the way of exhibition. Nay, this will • happen to persons of whose sense and discretion the a world had formerly a high opinion, even where that • opinion was a just one ; for wealth often makes • fools where it does not find them.'-My friend, happening to cast his eye towards me at that mo. ment, discovered a smile on my countenance : • You are thinking now,' said he, that you and I 'could endure being left twenty or thirty thousand * pounds notwithstanding the truth of my observa. 'tion.'-. It would spoil your lecture,' I replied ; . but you may go on in the mean time.' -He took the pinch of snuff which my remark had stopped in its progress towards his nose, and went on.
From this motive of Figure-making,' continued he, turning to the ladies of the company, · Beauty • puts on her airs, and Wit labours for a bon mot, till • the first becomes ugly, and the latter tiresome. • You may have frequently observed Betsy Ogle, in . a company of her ordinary acquaintance, look • charmingly, because she did not care how she look. *ed, till the appearance of a gentleman, with a fine • coat or a title, has set her a-tossing her head, rol
‘ling her eyes, biting her lips, twisting her neck,
and bringing her whole figure to bear upon him, till the expression of her countenance became per• fect folly, and her attitudes downright distortion. • In the same way our friend Ned Glib, (who has * more wit than any man I know, could he but
learn the economy of it,) when some happy strokes • of humour have given him credit with himself and • the company, will set out full tilt, mimicking, • caricaturing, punning, and story-telling, till every • body present wishes him dumb, and looks grave in ' proportion as he laughs.
• That wit and beauty should be desirous of mak. • ing a figure, is not to be wondered at, admiration • being the very province they contend for. That • folly and ugliness should thrust themselves forward to • public notice, might be matter of surprise, did we • not recollect that their owners most probably think • themselves witty and handsome. In these, indeed, • as in many other instances, it unfortunately hap
pens, that people are strangely bent upon making la figure in those very departments, where they • have least chance of succeeding.
• But there is a species of animal, several of whom 6 must have fallen under the notice of every body • present, which it is difficult to class, either among • the witty or the foolish, the clever or the dull, the 6 wise or the mad, who, of all others, have the greate 6 est propensity to Figure-making. Nature seems to • have made them up in haste, and to have put the • different ingredients, above referred to, into their 'composition at random. They are more common • in such a place as this, than in a more extensive sphere ; like some vermin, that breed in ponds and rivulets, which a larger stream or lake would de. stroy. Our circle is just large enough to give their talents room, and small enough to be affected by