that Cadaroque shall be my upholsterer....He was going on, but the intended discourse was interrupted by Minucio, who sat near him, a small philosopher, who is also somewhatof a politician; one of those who sets up

for knowledge by doubting, and has no other way of making himself considerable, but by contradicting all he hears said. He has, besides much doubt and spirit of contradiction, a constant suspicion as to state affairs. This accomplished gentleman, with a very awful brow, and a countenance full of weight, told Timoleon, that it was a great misfortune men of letters seldom looked into the bottom of things. Will any man, continued he, persuade me, that this was not from the beginning to the end, a concerted affair? Who can convince the world, that four kings shall come over here, and lie at the Two Crowns and Cushion, and one of them fall sick, and the place be called King-street, and all this by mere accident! No, no: to a man of very small penetration it appears, that Tee Yee Neen Ho Ga Row, emperor of the Mohocks, was prepared for this adventure beforehand. I do not care to contradict any gentleman in his discourse ; but I must say, however Sa Ga Yeath Rua Geth Ton and E Tow Oh Koam, might be surprised in this matter; nevertheless, Ho Nec Yeth Taw No Row knew it before he set foot on the English shore.

Timoleon looked stedfastly at him for some time, then shaked his head, paid for his tea, and marched off. everal who sat round him, were in their turns attacked by this ready disputant. A gentleman who was at some distance, happened in discourse to say it was four miles to Hammersmith. I must beg your pardon, says Minucio, when we say a place is so far off, we do not mean exactly from the spot of earth we are in, but from the town where we are ; so that you must begin your account from the end of Piccadilly; and if you do so, I will lay any man ten to one, it is not above three good miles off. Another, about Minucio's level of understanding began to take him up in this important argument, and maintained, that considering the way from Pimlico at the end of St. James's Park, and the crossing from Chelsea by Earl's Court, he would stand to it, that it was füli four miles. But Minucio replied with great vehemence, and seemed so much to have the better of the dispute, that his adversary quitted the field, as well as the oth sat till I saw the table almost all vanished, where, for want of discourse, Minucio asked me, how I did? To which I answered, very well. That is very much, said he; I assure you, you look paler than ordinary. Nay, thought I, if he will not allow me to know whether I am well or not, there is no staying for me neither. Upon which I took my leave, pondering as I went home at this strange poverty of imagination, which makes men run into the fault of giving contradiction. They want in their minds entertainment for themselves or their company, and therefore build all they speak upon what is started by others; and since they cannot improve that foundation, they strive to destroy it. The only way of dealing with these people is to answer in monosyllables, or by way of question: When one of them tells you a thing that he thinks extraordinary, I go no farther than, Say you so, Sir? indeed! Heyday! or, is it come to that? These little rules, which appear but silly in the repetition, have brought me with great tranquillity to this age. And I have made it an observation, that as assent is more agreeable than flattery, so contradiction is more odious than calumny.


« Mr. BICKERSTAFF's aerial messenger has - brought him a report of what passed at the auction “ of pictures which was in Somerset-house yard on " Monday last, and finds there were no screens pre

sent, but all transacted with great justice.

« N. B. All false buyers at auctions being employ“ed only to hide others, are from this day forward “ to be known in Mr. Bickerstaff's writings by the h word Screens."


Quod quisque vitet, nunquam homini satis
Cautum est in horas...........


From my own Apartment, May 15. WHEN a man is in a serious mood, and ponders upon his own make, with a retrospect to the actions of his life, and the many fatal miscarriages in it, which he owes to ungoverned passions, he is then apt

to himself, that experience has guarded him against such errors for the future : but nature often recurs in spite of his best resolutions, and it is to the very end of our days a struggle between our reason and our temper, which shall have the empire over us. However, this is very much to be helped by circumspection, and a constant alarm against the first onsets of passion. As this is in general a necessary care to make a man's life easy and agreeable to himself, so it is more particular the duty of such as are engaged in friendship, and more near commerce with others. Those who have their joys, have also their griess in proportion, and none can extremely exalt or depress friends but friends. The harsh things which come from the rest of the world, are received and repulsed with that spirit which every honest man bears for his own vindication ; but unkindness in words or actions among friends, affects us at the first instant in the inmost recesses of our souls. Indifierent people, if I may

[blocks in formation]


so say, can wound us only in heterogeneous parts, maim us in our legs or arms; but the friend can make no pass but at the heart itself. On the other side, the most impotent assistance, the mere well wishes of a friend, gives a man constancy and courage against the most prevailing force of his enemies. It is here only a man enjoys and suffers to the quick. For this reason, the most gentle behaviour is absolutely necessary to maintain friendship in any degree above the common level of acquaintance. But there is a relation of life much more near than the most strict and sacred friendship, that is to say, marriage. This union is of too close and delicate a nature to be easily conceived by those who do not know that condition by experience. Here a man should, if possible, soften his passions; if not for his own case, in compliance to a creature formed with a mind of a quite different make from his own. I am sure, I do not mean it an injury to women, when I say there is a sort of sex in souls. I am tender of offending them, and know it is hard not to do it on this subject; but I must go on to say, that the soul of a man, and that of a woman, are made very unlike, according to the employments for which they are designed. The ladies will please to observe, I say, our minds have different not superior qualities to theirs. The virtues have respectively a masculine and a feminine cast. What we call in men wisdom, is in women prudence. It is a partiality to call one greater than the other. A prudent woman is in the same class of honour as a wise man, and the scandals in the way of both are equally dangerous. But to make this state any thing but a burthen, and not hang a weight upon our very beings, it is very proper each of the couple should frequently remember, that there are many things which grow out of their very natures that are pardonable, nay becoming, when considered as such, but without that, reflection must give the quickest pain and vexation. To manage well a great family,


is as worthy an instance of capacity, as to execute a great employment; and for the generality, as women perform the considerable part of their duties, as well as men do theirs; so in their common behaviour, those of ordinary genius are riot more trivial than the common rate of men ; and, in my opinion, the playing of a fan is every whit as good an entertainment as the beating of a snuff-box.

But however I have rambled in this libertine manper of writing by way of essay, I now sat down with an intention to represent to my readers, how pernicious, how sudden, and how fatal, surprises of passion are to the mind of man; and that in the more intimate commerces of life they are more liable to arise, cven in our most sedate and indolent hours. Occurrences of this kind have had very terrible effects; and when one reflects upon them, we cannot but tremble to consider what we are capable of being wrought up to against all the ties of nature, love, honour, reason, and religion, though the man who breaks through them all, had an hour before he did so, a lively and virtuous sense of their dictates. When unhappy catastrophes make up part of the history of princes and persons who act in high spheres, or are represented in the moving language, and well-wrought scenes of tragedians, they do not fail of striking us with terror; but then they affect us only in a transient manner, and pass through our imaginations, as incidents in which our fortunes are too humble to be concerned, or which writers form for the ostentation of their own force ; or, at most, as things fit rather to exercise the powers of our minds, than to create new habits in them. Instead of such high passages, I was thinking it would be of great use (if any body could hit it) to lay before the world such adventures as befal persons not exalted above the common level. This, methought, would better prevail upon the ordinary race of men, who are so prepossessed with outward appearances, that they

« VorigeDoorgaan »