The first step towards virtue that I have observed in young men of condition that have run into excesses, has been that they had a regard to their quality and reputation in the management of their vices. Narrowness in their circumstances has made many youths, to supply themselves as debauchees, commence cheats and rascals. The father who allows his son to his utmost ability avoids this latter evil, which, as to the world, is much greater than the former. But the contrary practice has prevailed so much among some men, that I have known them deny them what was inerely necessary for education suitable to their quality. Poor young Antonio is a lamentable instance of ill-conduct in this kind. The young man did not want natural talents; but the father of him was a coxcomb, who affected being a fine gentleman so unmercifully, that he could not endure in his sight, or the frequent mention of one, who was his son, growing into manhood, and thrust. ing him out of the gay world. I have often thought the father took a secret pleasure in reflecting that when that fine house and seat came into the next hands, it would revive his memory, as a person who knew how to enjoy them, from observation of the rusticity and ignorance of his successor. Certain it is, that a man may, if he will, let his heart close to the having no regard to any thing but his dear self, even with exclusion of his very children. I recom. mend this subject to your consideration, and am, "Sir, your most humble servant,

« T. B.'

. London, September 26, 1712. (MR. SPECTATOR,

I AM just come from Tunbridge, and have, since my return, read Mrs. Matilda Mohair's letter to you: she pretends to make a mighty story about the diversion of swinging in that place. What was

done, was only among relations; and no man swung any woman who was not a second cousin at farthest. She is pleased to say, care was taken that the gallants tied the ladies' legs before they were wafted into the air. Since she is so spiteful, I will tell you the plain truth : there was no such nicety observed, since we were all, as I just now told you, near relations; but Mrs. Mohair herself has been swung there, and she invents all this malice because it was observed she had crooked leg's, of which I was an eye-witness. Your humble servant,


Tunbridge, September 26, 1712. "MR. SPECTATOR,

"WE have just now read your paper, containing Mrs. Mohair's letter. It is an invention of her own from one end to the other; and I desire you will print the inclosed letter by itself, and shorten it so as to come within the compass of your half sheet. She is the most malicious minx in the world, for all she looks so innocent. Do not leave out that part about her being in love with her father's butler, which makes her shun men; for that is the truest of it all, • Your humble servant,

SARAH TRICE. « P. S. She has crooked legs.

Tanbridge, September 26, 1712. I MR. SPECTATOR,

* ALL that Mrs. Mohair is so vexed at against the good company of this place is, that we all know she has crooked legs. This is certainly true, I do not care for putting my name, because one would not be in the power of the creature.

* Your humble servant unknown,'

. Tunbridge, September 26, 1712. "MR. SPECTATOR,

• THAT insufferable prude Mrs. Mohair, who has told such stories of the company here, is with child, for all her nice airs and her crooked legs. Pray be sure to put her in for both those two things, and you will oblige every body here, especially « Your humble servant,



'Ουτός εσί γαλεώτης γέρων


A cunning old fox this!

A FAVOUR well bestowed is almost as great an honour to him who confers it, as to him who receives it. What indeed makes for the superior reputation of the patron in this case is, that he is always surrounded with specious pretences of unworthy candidates, and is often alone in the kind inclination he has towards the well deserving. Justice is the first quality in the man who is in a post of direction ; and I remember to have heard an old gentleman talk of the civil wars, and in his relation give an account of a general officer, who with this one quality, without any shining endowments, became so popularly beloved and honoured, that all deci. sions between man and man were laid before him by the parties concerned in a private way; and they would lay by their animosities implicitly if he bid them be friends, or submit themselves in the wrong without reluctance, if he said it, without waiting the

judgment of courts-martial. His manner was to keep the dates of all commissions in his closet, and wholly dismiss from the service such who were deficient in their duty; and after that took care to prefer according to the order of battle. His familiars were his entire friends, and could have no interested views in courting his acquaintance ; for his affection was no step to their preferment, though it was to their reputation. By this means a kind aspect, a salutation, a smile, and giving out his hand, had the weight of what is esteemed by vulgar minds more substantial. His business was very short, and he who had nothing to do but justice, was never affronted with a request of a familiar daily visitant for what was due to a brave man at a distance. Extraordinary merit he used to recommend to the king for some distinction at home, till the order of battle made way for his rising in the troops. Add to this, that he had an excellent manner of getting rid of such whom he observed were good at a halt, as his phrase was. Under this description he comprehended all those who were contented to live without reproach, and had no promptitude in their minds towards glory. These fellows were also recommended to the king, and taken off the general's hands into posts.wherein diligence and common honesty were all that were necessary. This general had no weak part in his line, but every man had as much care upon him, and as much honour to lose as himself. Every officer could answer for what passed where he was, and the general's presence was never necessary any where, but where he had placed himself at the first disposition, except that accident happened from extraordinary efforts of the enemy which he could not fore. see ; but it was remarkable, that it never fell out from failure in his own troops. It must be confessed the world is just so much out of order, as an unwor

. thy person possesses what should be in the direction of him who has better pretensions to it.

Instead of such a conduct as this old fellow used to describe in his general, all the evils which have ever happened among mankind have arose from the wanton disposition of the favours of the powerful. It • is generally all that men of modesty and virtue can

do, to fall in with some whimsical turn in a great man, to make way for things of real and absolute service. In the time of Don Sebastian of Portugal, or some time since, the first minister would let nothing come near him but what bore the most profound face of wisdom and gravity. They carried it so far, that, for the greater shew of their profound knowledge, a pair of spectacles tied on their noses, with a black ribbon around their heads, was what completed the dress of those who made their court at his levee, and none with naked noses were admitted to his presence. A blunt honest fellow, who had a command in the train of artillery, had attempted to make an impression upon the porter day after day in vain, until at length he made his appearance in a very thoughtful dark suit of clothes, and two pair of spectacles on at once. He was conducted from room to room, with great deference to the minister ; and carrying on the farce of the place, he told his excellency that he had pretended in this manner to be wiser than he really was, but with no ill intention ; but he was honest Such-a-one of the train, and he came to tell him thit they wanted wheel-barrows and pick-axes. The thing happened not to displease, the great man was seen to smile, and the successful officer was reconducted with the same profound ceremony out of the house.

When Leo. X. reigned Pope of Rome, his holiness, though a man of sense, and of an excellent taste of letters, of all things affected fools, buffoons, humourists, and coxcombs: whether it were from vanity, and


« ElőzőTovább »