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The moral of this dance does, I think, very aptly « recommend modesty and discretion to the female
But as the best institutions are liable to corruptions, so, Sir, I must acquaint you, that very great
abuses are crept into this entertainment. I was o amazed to see my girl handed by, and handing (young fellows with so much familiarity; and I could I not have been thought it had been in the child. • They very often made use of a most impudent and
lascivious step called Setting, which I know not how I to describe to you, but by telling you that it is the 6 very reverse of back to back. At last an impudent • young dog bid the fidlers play a dance called Mol. • Pately, and after having made two or three capers, ( ran to his partner, locked his arms in hers, and 6 whisked her round cleverly above ground in such a .manner, that I, who sat upon one of the lowest
benches, saw further above her shoe than I can
think fit to acquaint you with. I could no longer o endure these enormities; wherefore, just as my girl I was going to be made a whirligig, I ran in, seized on the child, and carried her home. "Sir, I am not yet old enough to be a fool, I suppose
this diversion might be at first invented to keep up ( a good understanding between young men and wo
o men, and so far I am not against it; but I shall, - I never allow of these things. I know not what you
I will say to this case at present, but am sure that o had you been with me, you would have seen matter • of great speculation.
6 Yours, &c.
I must confess I am afraid that my correspondent had too much reason to be a little out of humour at * the treatment of his daughter; but I conclude that he
would have been much more so, had he seen one of those kissing dances in which Will Honeycomb as-sures me they are obliged to dwell almost a minute on the fair one's lips, or they will be too quick for the music, and dance quite out of time.
I am not able, however, to give any final sentence against this diversion; and am of Mr. Cowley's opinion, that so much of dancing, at least, as belongs to the behaviour of an handsome carriage of the body, is extremely useful, if not absolutely necessary
We generally form such ideas of people at first sight, as we are hardly ever persuaded to lay aside afterwards : for this reason, a man would wish to have nothing disagreeable or uncomely in his approaches, and to be able to enter a room with a good grace.
I might add, that a moderate knowledge in the lit. tle rules of good-breeding gives a man some assurance, and makes him easy in all companies. For want of this, I have seen a professor of a liberal science at a loss to salute a lady ; and a most excellent mathematician not able to determine whether he should stand or sit while my lord drank to him.
It is the proper business of a dancing-master to re.. gulate these matters; though I take it to be a just observation, that unless you add something of your own to what these fine gentlemen teach you, and which they are wholly ignorant of themselves, you will much sooner get the character of an affected fop, than of a well bred man.
As for Country-Dancing, it must indeed be confessed that the great familiarities between the two sexes on this occasion may sometimes produce very dangerous consequences; and I have often thought that few ladies hearts are so obdurate as not to be melted by the charms of music, the force of motion, and an. handsome young fellow who is continually playing be
fore her eyes, and convincing them that he has the perfect use of all his limbs.
But as this kind of dance is the particular invention of our own country, and as every one is more or less a proficient in it, I would not discountenance it; but rather suppose it may be practised innocently by others, as well as myself, who am often partner to my landlady's eldest daughter.
POSTSCRIPT. Ilaving heard a good character of the collection of " pictures which is to be exposed to sale on Friday next; and concluding from the following letter, that the person who collected them is a person of no unelegant taste, I will be so much his friend as to publish it, provided the reader will only look upon it as filling the place of an advertisement.
From the Three Chairs in the Piazza, Covent-Gar
May 16, 1711. " AS you are a Spectator, I think we, who make it
our business to exhibit any thing to public view, ought " to apply ourselves to you for your approbation. I < have travelled Europe, to furnish out a show for yoll,
and have brought with me what has been admired o in every country through which I passed. You have
declared in many papers, that your greatest delights are those of the eye, which I do not doubt but I ( shall gratify with as beautiful objects as yours e. over beheld. If castles, forests ruins, fine women, " and graceful men, can please you, I dare promise " you much satisfaction, if you will appear at my auc
tion on Friday next. A sight is, I suppose, as grateful to a Spectator, as a treat 'to another per.
(son, and therefore I hope you will pardon this in, rvitation from,
No. LXVIII. FRIDAY, MAY 18.
Nos duo turba sumus.............
We two are a multitude.
ONE would think that the larger the company is in which weare engaged, the greater variety of thoughts and subjects would be started in discourse; but, instead of this, we find that conversation is never so much strained and confined as in numerous assemblies. When a multitude meet together upon any subject of discourse, their debates are taken up chiefly with forms and general positions : nay, if we come into a more contracted assembly of men and women, the talk generally runs upon the weather, fashions, news, and the like public topics. In proportion as conversation gets into clubs and knots of friends, it descends into particulars, and grows more free and communicative : but the most open, instructive, and unreserved discourse, is that which passes between two persons who are familiar and intimate friends. On these occasions, a man gives a loose to every passion and every thought that is uppermost, discovers his most retired opinions of persons and things, tries the beauty and strength of his sentiments, and exposes his whole soul to the examination of his friend. Tully was the first who observed, that friendship improves happiness and abates misery, by the doubling of our joy and dividing of our grief; a thought in which he hath been followed by all the essayers upon friendship, that have written since his time. Sir Francis Bacon has finely described other advantages, or, as he calls them fruits of friendship; and indeed there is no subject of morality which has been better handled and more exhausted than this. Among the several fine things which have been spoken of it, I shall beg leave to quote some out of a very ancient author, whose book would be regarded by our modern wits as one of the most shining tracts of morali. ty that is extant, if it appeared under the name of a Confucius, or of any celebrated Grecian philosopher: I mean the little apocryphal treatise entitled, The Wisdom of the Son of Sirach. How finely has he de. scribed the art of making friends, by an obliging and affable behaviour; and laid down that precept which a late excellent author has delivered as his own, . That we should have many well-wishers, but few • friends?' Sweet language will multiply friends; 6 and a fair speaking tongue will increase kind greet. (ings. Be in peace with many, nevertheless have but
one counsellor of a thousand. With what prudence does he caution us in the choice of our friends; and with what strokes of nature, I could almost say of humour, has he described the behaviour of a treacherous and self-interested friend ? « If thou would get a
friend prove him first, and be not hasty to credit • him: for some man is a friend for his own occca6 sion, and will not abide in the day of thy trouble.
And there is a friend, who being turned to enmity ( and strife will discover thy reproach.' 'Again, . Some friend is a companion at the table, and will < not continue in the day of thy affliction: but in thy • prosperity he will be as thyself, and will be bold over