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rank they are, are entitled, in consideration of their sex, not only to an attentive, but an officious good breeding from men. Their little wants, likings, dislikes, preferences, antipathies, and fancies, must be officiously attended to, and, if possible, guessed at and anticipated, by a well bred man. You must never usurp to yourself those conveniences and gratifications which are of common right, such as the best places, the best dishes, &c. but on the contrary, always decline them yourself, and offer them to others, who in their turns will offer them to you; so that upon the whole, you will, in your turn, enjoy your share of the common right. It would be endless for me to enumerate all the particular circumstances, in which a well bred man shows his good breeding, in good company; and it would be injurious to you to suppose, that your own good-sense will not point them out to you; and then your own good nature will recommend, and your self interest enforce the pratice.
There is a third sort of good breeding, in which people are the most apt to fail, from a very mistaken notion, that they cannot fail at all. I mean with regard to ones most familiar friends and acquaintances, or those who really are our inferiors; and there, undoubtedly, a greater degree of ease is not only allowable, but proper, and contributes much to the comforts of a private social life. But ease and freedom have their bounds, which must by no means be violated. A certain degree of negligence and carelessness becomes injurious and insulting, from the real or supposed inferiority of the persons; and that delightful liberty of conversation, among a few friends, is soon destroyed, as liberty often has been, by being carried to licentiousness. But example explains things best, and I will put a pretty strong case. Suppose you and me alone together; I believe you will allow that I have as good a right to unlimited freedom, in your company, as either you or I can possibly have in any other; and I am apt to believe, too, that you would indulge me in that freedom as far as any body would. But notwithstanding this, do you imagine that I should think there were no bounds to that freedom? I assure you I should not think so and I take myself to be as much tied down, by a certain degree of good manners to you, as by other degrees of them to other people. The most familiar and intimate habitudes, connexions and friendships, require a degree of good breeding, both to preserve and cement them. The best of us have our bad sides; and it is as imprudent as it is ill bred, to
exhibit them. I shall not use ceremony with you; it would be misplaced between us; but I shall certainly observe that degree of good breeding with you, which is, in the first place, decent, and which, I am sure, is absolutely necessary, to make us like one another's company long.
XXII.—Address to a young Student.
YOUR parents have watched over your helpless infancy, and conducted you, with many a pang, to an age at which your mind is capable of manly improvement. Their solicitude still continues, and no trouble nor expense is spared, in giving you all the instructions and accomplishments which may enable you to act your part in life, as a man of polished sense and confirmed virtue. You have, then, already contracted a great debt of gratitude to them. You can pay it by no other method, but by using properly the advantages which their goodness has afforded you.
If your own endeavours are deficient, it is in vain that you have tutors, books, and all the external apparatus of literary pursuits. You must love learning, if you would possess it. In order to love it, you must feel its delights; in order to feel its delights, you must apply to it, however irksome at first, closely, constantly, and for a considerable time. If you have resolution enough to do this, you cannot but love learning; for the mind always loves that to which it has been so long, steadily, and voluntarily attached. Habits are formed, which render what was at first disagreeable, not only pleasant, but necessary.
Pleasant indeed, are all the paths which lead to polite and elegant literature. Yours then, is surely a lot particularly happy. Your education is of such a sort, that its principal scope is, to prepare you to receive a refined pleasure during your life. Elegance, or delicacy of taste, is one of the first objects of classical discipline and it is this fine quality, which opens a new world to the scholar's view. Elegance of taste has a connexion with many virtues, and all of them virtues of the most amiable kind. It tends to render you at once good and agreeable: you must therefore be an enemy to your own enjoyment, if you enter on the discipline which leads to the attainment of a classical and liberal education, with reluctance. Value duly the opportunities you enjoy, and which are denied to thousands of your fellow creatures.
Without exemplary diligence you will make but a contemptible proficiency. You may, indeed, pass through the forms of schools and universities; but you will bring nothing away from them, of real value. The proper sort and degree of diligence, you cannot possess, but by the efforts of your own resolution. Your instructer may indeed confine you within the walls of a school, a certain number of hours. He may place books before you, and compel you to fix your eyes upon them; but no authority can chain down your mind. Your thoughts will escape from every external restraint, and, amidst the most serious lectures, may be ranging in the wild pursuits of trifles and vice. Rules, restraints, commands, and punishments, may, indeed, assist in strengthening your resolution; but without your own voluntary choice, your diligence will not often conduce to your pleasure or advantage. Though this truth is obvious, yet it seems to be a secret to those parents who expect to find their son's improvement increase, in proportion to the number of tutors, and external assistance which their opulence has enabled them to provide. These assistances, indeed, are sometimes afforded chiefly, that the young heir to a title or estate may indulge himself in idleness and nominal pleasures. The lesson is construed to him, and the exercise written for him by the private tutor, while the hapless youth is engaged in some ruinous pleasure, which, at the same time, prevents him from learning any thing desirable, and leads to the formation of destructive habits, which can seldom be removed.
But the principal obstacle to your improvement at school, especially if you are too plentifully supplied with money, is a perverse ambition of being distinguished as a boy of spirit, in mischievous pranks, in neglecting the tasks and lessons, and for every vice and irregularity which the puerile age can admit. You will have sense enough, Į hope, to discover, beneath the mask of gaiety and good nature, that malignant spirit of detraction which endeavours to render the boy who applies to books, and to all the duties and proper business of school, ridiculous. You will see, by the light of your reason, that the ridicule is misapplied. You will discover, that the boys who have recourse to ridicule, are, for the most part, stupid, unfeeling, ignorant, and vicious. Their noisy folly, their bold confidence, their contempt of learning, and their defiance of authority,
are, for the most part, the genuine effects of hardened insensibility. Let not their insults and ill treatment dispirit you; if you yield to them, with a tame and abject submission, they will not fail to triumph over you with additional insolence. Display a fortitude in your pursuits, equal in degree to the obstinacy in which they persist in theirs. Your fortitude will soon overcome theirs, which is, indeed, seldom any thing more than the audacity of a bully. Indeed, you cannot go through a school with ease to yourself and with success, without a considerable share of courage. I do not mean that sort of courage which leads to battles and contentions, but which enables you to have a will of your own, and to pursue what is right, amidst all the persecutions of surrounding enviers, dunces, and detractors. Ridicule is the weapon made use of at school, as well as in the world, when the fortresses of virtue are to be assailed. You will effectually repel the attack by a dauntless spirit and unyielding perseverance. Though numbers are against you, yet with truth and rectitude on your side, you may, though alone, be equal to an army.
By laying in a store of useful knowledge, adorning your mind with elegant literature, improving and establishing your conduct by virtuous principles, you cannot fail of being a comfort to those friends who have supported you, of being happy within yourself, and of being well received by mankind. Honour and success in life will probably attend you. Under all circumstances, you will have an eternal source of consolation and entertainment, of which no sublunary vicissitude can deprive you. Time will show how much wiser has been your choice, than that of your idle companions, who would gladly have drawn you into their association, or rather into their conspiracy, as it has been called, against good manners, and against all that is honourable and useful. While you appear in society as a respectable and valuable member of it, they will, perhaps, have sacrificed at the shrine of vanity, pride, and extravagance, and false pleasure, their health and their sense, their fortune and their characters.
XXIII.-Advantages of, and Motives to, Cheerfulness.
CHEERFULNESS is in the first place the best promoter of health. Repinings, and secret murmurs of the heart, give imperceptible strokes to those delicate fibres of which the vital parts are composed, and wear out the
machine insensibly; not to mention those violent ferments which they stir up in the blood, and those irregular, disturbed motions which they raise in the animal spirits. I scarce remember, in my own observation, to have met with many old men, or with such who, (to use our English phrase) wear well, that had not at least a certain indolence in their humour, if not more than ordinary gaiety and cheerfulness of heart. The truth of it is, health and cheerfulness mutually beget each other, with this difference, that we seldom meet with a great degree of health, which is not attended with a certain cheerfulness, but very often see cheerfulness, where there is no great degree of health.
Cheerfulness bears the same friendly regard to the mind as to the body; it banishes all anxious care and discontent, soothes and composes the passions, and keeps the soul in a perpetual calm.
If we consider the world in its subserviency to man, one would think it was made for our use; but if we consider it in its natural beauty and harmony, one would be apt to conclude it was made for our pleasure. The sun, which is the great soul of the universe, and produces all the necessaries of life, has a particular influence in cheering the mind of man, and making the heart glad.
Those several living creatures which are made for our service or sustenance, at the same time either fill the woods with their music, furnish us with game, or raise pleasing ideas in us by the delightfulness of their appearance. Fountains, lakes, and rivers, are as refreshing to the imagination, as to the soil through which they pass.
There are writers of great distinction, who have made it an argument for Providence, that the whole earth is covered with green, rather than with any other colour, as being such a right mixture of light and shade, that it comforts and strenghtens the eye, instead of weaking or grieving it. For this reason, several painters have a green cloth hanging near them, to ease the eye upon, after too great an application to their colouring. A famous modern philosopher accounts for it in the following manner:-all colours that are most luminous, overpower and dissipate the animal spirits which are employed in sight; on the contrary, those that are more obscure, do not give the animal spirits a sufficient exercise; whereas, the rays that produce in us the idea of green, fall upon the eye in such a due proportion, that they give the animal spirits their proper play, and by keep