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it was a great injustice to tax princes of forgetting themselves in their high fortunes, when there were so few that could with constancy bear the favour of their very creatures.'
My author in these, loose hints has one passage that gives us a very lively idea of the un. common genius of PHARAMOND.' He met with one man whom he had put to all the usual proofs he had made of those he had a mind to know thoroughly, and found him for his purpose. In discourse with him one day, he gave him an opportunity of saying how much would satisfy all his wishes. The prince immediately revealed himself, doubled the sum, and spoke to him in this man
have twice what you desired, by the favour of PHARAMOND; but look to it, that you are satisfied with it, for it is the last you shall ever receive. I from this moment consider you as mine ; and to make you truly so, I give you my royal word
shall never be greater or less than you are at present. Answer me not (concluded the prince smiling), but enjoy the fortune I have put you in, which is above my own condition; for you have hereafter nothing to hope or to fear.
His majesty having thus well chosen and bought a friend and companion, he enjoyed alternately all the plea. sures of an agreeable private man and a great and powerful monarch: he gave himself, with his companion, the name of the merry tyrant ; for he punished his courtiers
: for their insolence and folly, not by an act of public disfavour, but by humorously practising upon their imaginations. If he observed a man untractable to his infe. riors, he would find an opportunity to take some favourable notice of him, and render him insupportable. He knew all his awn looks, words, and actions had their in terpretations; and his friend Monsieur Eucrate (for so he was called) having a great soul without ambition, he could communicate all his thoughts to him, and fear no artful use would be made of that freedom.
It was no small delight when they were in private, to reflect upon all which had passed in public.
PHARAMOND would often, to satisfy a vain fool of power in his country, talk to him in a full court, and with one whisper make him despise all his old friends and acquaintance. He was come to that knowledge of men, by
long observation, that he would profess altering the whole mass of blood in some tempers, by 'thrice speaking to them. As fortune was in his
himself constant entertainment in managing the mere followers of it with the treatnient they deserved. He would, by a skilful cast of his
and half a smile, make two fellows who hated, embrace, and fall upon each other's necks with as much eagerness as if they followed their real in. clinations, and intended to stifle one another. When he was in high good humour, he would lay the scene with EUCRATE, and on a public night exercise the passions of his whole court. He was pleased to see an haughty beauty watch the looks of the man she had long despised, from observation of his being taken notice of by PHARAMOND; and the lover conceive higher hopes, than to follow the woman he was dying for the day before. In a court, where men speak affection in the strongest terms, and dislike. in the faintest, it was a comical mixture of incidents to see disguises thrown aside in one case, and increased on the other, according as favour or disgrace attended the respective objects of mens approbation or disesteem. PHARAMOND, in his mirth
the meanness of mankind, used to say, “ As he could take away a man's five senses, he could give him an hundred. The man in disgrace shall immediately lose all his natural endowments, and he that finds favour have the attributes of an angel." He would carry it so far as to say,
" It should not be only so in the opinion of the lower part of his court, but the men themselves shall think thus meanly or greatly of themselves, as they are out or in the good graces of a court.”
A monarch who had wit and humour like PHARAMOND, must have pleasures which no man else can ever have opportunity of enjoying. He gave fortune to none but those whom he knew could receive it without transport : He made a noble and generous use of his observations; and did not regard his ministers as they were agreeable to himself, but as they were useful to his kingdom : by this means the king appeared in every
officer of state, and no man had a participation of the power, who had not a similitude of the virtue of PHARAMOND. R.
See nos 84, 97, &c.
NO. 77.-TUESDAY, MAY 29. 1711.
(B8 MR E. BUDGELL.]
Non convivere licet, nec urbe tota
ho are so near, and yet so distant too?
ABSENCE IN COMPANY.
My friend Will HONEYCOMB is one of those sort of men who are very often absent in conversation, and what the French call a reveur and a distrait. A little before our club-time last night, we were walking together in Somerset garden, where Will had picked up a small pebble of so odd a make, that he said he would present it to a friend of his, an eminent virtuoso. After we had walked some time, I made a full
face towards the west ; which will knowing to be my usual method of asking what's o'clock, in an afternoon, immediately pulled out his watch, and told me we had seven minutes good. We took a turn or two more ; when to my great surprise I saw him squir away his watch a considerable way into the Thames, and with great sedateness in his looks put up the pebble he had before found in his fob. As I have naturally an aversion to much speaking, and do not love to be the messenger of ill news, especially when it comes too late to be useful, I left him to be convinced of his mistake in due time, and continued my walk, reflecting on these little absences and distractions in mankind, and resolving to make them the subject of a future speculation.
I was the more confirmed in my design, when I considered that they were very often blemishes in the characters of men of excellent sense ; and helped to keep up the reputation of that Latin proverb, which Mr DRYDEN has translated in the following lines :
Great wit to madness sure is near ally'd,
And thin partitions do their bounds divide. My reader does, I hope, perceive that I distinguish a man who is absent, because he thinks of something else,
from one who is absent, because he thinks of nothing at all: the latter is too innocent a creature to be taken no? tice of; but the distractions of the former may, I believe, be generally accounted for from one of these reasons.
Either their minds are wholly fixed on some particular science, which is often the case of mathematicians and other learned men; or are wholly taken up with some violent passion, such as anger, fear, or love, which ties the mind to some distant object'; or lastly, these distractions proceed from a certain vivacity and fickleness in a man's temper, which, while it raises up
infinite numbers of ideas in the mind, is continually pushing it ong without allowing it to rest on any particular image. Nothing therefore is more un'natural than the thoughts and conceptions of such a man, which are seldom occasioned either by the company he is in, or any of those objects which are placed before him. While you fancy he is admiring a beautiful woman, it is an even wager that he is solving a proposition in Euclid : and while you may imagine he is reading the Paris Gazette,- it is far from being impossible, that he is pulling down and rebuilding the front of his country-house.
At the same time that I am endeavouring to 'exposed this weakness in others, I shall readily confess that I once laboured under the same infirmity myself. The inethod: I took to conquer it was a firmʻresolution to learn something from whatever I was obliged to see or hear. There is a way of thinking, if a man can attain to it, by which he may strike somewhat out of any thing. I can at present observe those starts of good sense and struggles of unimproved reason in the conversation of a clown, with as much satisfaction as the most shining periods of the most finished orator; and can make a shift to command my attention at a puppet-show or an opera, as well as at Hamlet or Othello. I always make one of the company
I am in ; for though I say little myself, my attention to others, and those nods of approbation which I never bestow unmerited, sufficiently shew that I am among them. . Whereas Will HONEYCOMB, though a fellow of good sense, is every day doing and saying a hundred things which he afterwards confesses, with a well-bred frankness, were somewhat mal à propos, and undesigned.
I chanced the other day to go into a coffee-house, where Will was standing in the midst of several audi. tors whom he had gathered round him, and was giving them an account of the person and character of MOLL Hinton. My appearance before him just put him in mind of me, without making him reflect that I was actually present. So that keeping his eyes full upon me, to the great surprise of his audience, he broke off his first harangue, and proceeded thus :" Why now,
" there's my friend (mentioning me by my name); he is a fellow that thinks a great deal, but never opens his mouth ; I warrant you he is now thrusting his short face
coffee-house about Change. I was his bail in The time of the Popish plot, when he was taken
for a Jesuit.” If he had looked on me a little longer, he had certainly described me so particularly, without ever considering what led him into it, that the whole company must necessarily have found me out ; for which rea. son, remembering the old proverb, Out of sight out of mind, I left the room; and upon meeting him an hour afterwards, was asked by him, with a great deal of good humour, in what part of the world I had lived, that he had not seen me these three days.
Monsieur Bruyere has given us the character of an absent man, with a great deal of good humour, which he has pushed to an agreeable extravagance : with the heads of it I shall conclude my present paper.
“MENALCAS (says that excellent author) comes down in a morning, opens his door to go out, but shuts it again, because he perceives that he has his night-cap on; and examining himself further, finds that he is but half sha. ved, that he has stuck his sword on his right side, that his stockings are about his heels, and that his shirt is over his breeches. When he is dressed, he goes to court, comes into the drawing-room, and walking bolt upright under a branch of candlesticks, his wig is caught up by one of them, and hangs dangling in the air. All the courtiers fall a laughing, but MENALCAS laughs louder
of them, and looks about for the person that is the jest of the company. Coming down to the court gate he finds a coach, which taking for his own he whips into it; and the coachman drives off, not doubting but