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speed after a pack of dogs by way of pleasure, and not of business, I shall always make honourable mention of it.
"But the most irksome conversation of all others I have met with in the neighbourhood, has been among two or three of your travellers who have overlooked men and manners, and have passed through France and Italy with the same observation that the carriers and stage-coachmen do through Great Britain; that is, their stops and stages have been regulated according to the liquor they have met with in their passage. They indeed remember the names of abundance of places, with the particular fineries of certain churches; but their distinguishing mark is certain prettiness of foreign languages, the meaning of which they could have better expressed in their own. The entertainment of these fine observers Shakspeare has described to consist
In talking of the Alps and Apennines,
and then concludes with a sigh,
Now this is worshipful society!
"I would not be thought in all this to hate such honest creatures as dogs; I am only unhappy that I cannot partake in their diversions. But I love them so well, as dogs, that I often go with my pockets stuffed with bread to dispense my favours, or make my way through them at neigh.. bours' houses. There is in particular a young hound of great expectation, vivacity, and enterprise, that attends my flights wherever he spies me. This creature observes my countenance, and behaves himself accordingly. His mirth, his frolic, and joy, upon the sight of me, has been observed, and I have been gravely desired not to encourage him so much, for it spoils his parts; but I think he shews them sufficiently in the several boundings, friskings, and scourings, when he makes his court to me; but I foresee in a little time he and I must keep company with one another only, for we are fit for no other in these parts. Having informed you how I do pass my time in the country where I am, I must proceed to tell you how I would pass it, had I such a fortune as would put me above the observance of ceremony and custom.
My scheme of a country life, then, should be as follows. As I am happy in three or four very agreeable
friends, these I would constantly have with me; and the freedom we took with one another at school and the university, we would maintain and exert upon all occasions with great courage. There should be certain hours of the day to be employed in reading, during which time it should be impossible for any one of us to enter the other's chamber, unless by storm. After this, we would communicate the trash or treasure we had met with, with our own reflections upon the matter; the justness of which we would controvert with good-humoured warmth, and never spare one another out of that complaisant spirit of conversation, which makes others affirm and deny the same matter in a quarter of an hour. If any of the neighbouring gentlemen, not of our turn, should take it in their heads to visit me, I should look upon these persons in the same degree enemies to my particular state of happiness, as ever the French were to that of the public, and I would be at an annual expense in spies to observe their motions. Whenever I should be surprised with a visit, as I hate drinking, I would be brisk in swilling bumpers, upon this maxim, that it is better to trouble others with my impertinence, than to be troubled myself with theirs. The necessity of an infirmary makes me resolve to fall into that project; and as we should be but five, the terrors of an involuntary separation, which our number cannot so well admit of, would make us exert ourselves in opposition to all the particulars mentioned in your institution of that equitable confinement. This my way of life I know would subject me to the imputation of a morose, covetous, and singular fellow. These and all other hard words, with all manner of insipid jests, and all other reproach, would be matter of mirth to me and my friends: besides, I would destroy the application of the epithets morose and covetous, by a yearly relief of my undeservedly necessitous neighbours, and by treating my friends and domestics with a humanity that should express the obligation to lie rather on my side; and as for the word singular, I was always of opinion every man must be so, to be what one would desire him. "Your very humble servant,
*This letter was probably written by Steele's fellow-collegian and friend, the Rev. Mr. Richard Parker. This accomplished scholar was
"About two years ago I was called upon by the younger part of a country family, by my mother's side related to me, to visit Mr. Cambell, the dumb man; for they told me that that was chiefly what brought them to town, having heard wonders of him in Essex. I, who always wanted faith in matters of this kind, was not easily prevailed on to go; but, lest they should take it ill, I went with them; when, to my surprise, Mr. Campbell 'related all their past life; in short, had he not been prevented, such a discovery would have come out as would have ruined the next design of their coming to town, viz. buying wedding clothes. Our names -though he never heard of us before and we endeavoured to conceal- -were as familiar to him as to ourselves. To be sure, Mr. Spectator, he is a very learned and wise man. Being impatient to know my fortune, having paid my respects in a family Jacobus, he told me (after his manner) among several other things, that
in a year and nine months I should fall ill of a new fever, be given over by my physicians, but should with much difficulty recover; that, the first time I took the air afterward, I should be addressed to by a young gentleman of a plentiful fortune, good sense, and a generous spirit. Mr. Spectator, he is the purest man in the world, for all he said is come to pass, and I am the happiest she in Kent. I have been in quest of Mr. Campbell these three months, and cannot find him out. Now, hearing you are a dumb man too, I thought you might correspond, and be able to tell me something; for I think myself highly obliged to make his fortune, as he has mine. It is very possible your worship, who has spies all over this town, can inform for many years vicar of Embleton, in Northumberland, a living in the gift of Merton-college, where he and Seele lived in the most cordial familiarity. Not relishing the rural sports of Bamboroughshire, he declined the interchange of visits with most of the hospitable gentlemen in his neighbourhood: who, invigorated by their diversions, indulged in copious meals, and were apt to be vociferous in their mirth, and over-importunate with their guests, to join in their conviviality.
Duncan Campbell announced himself to the public as a Scotch highlander, gifted with the second-sight. He was, or pretended to be, deaf and dumb, and succeeded in making a fortune to himself, by practising for some years on the credulity of the vulgar in the ignominious character of a fortune-teller.
me how to send to him. If y you can, I beseech you be as speedy as possible, and you will highly oblige
"Your constant reader and admirer,
Ordered, That the inspector I employ about wonders inquire at the Golden-Lion, opposite to the Half-Moon tavern in Drury-lane, into the merit of this silent sage, and report accordingly.
N° 475. THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 1712.
Quæ res in se neque consilium, neque modum
TER. Eun. act i. sc. 1. The thing that in itself has neither measure nor consideration, counsel cannot rule.
T is an old observation, which has been made of politicians who would rather ingratiate themselves with their sovereign, than promote his real service, that they accommodate their counsels to his inclinations, and advise him to such actions only as his heart is naturally set upon. The privy-counsellor of one in love must observe the same conduct, unless he would forfeit the friendship of the person who desires his advice. I have known several odd cases of this nature. Hipparchus was going to marry a common woman; but being resolved to do nothing without the advice of his friend Philander, he consulted him upon the occasion. Philander told him his mind freely, and represented his mistress to him in such strong colours, that the next morning he received a challenge for his pains, and before twelve o'clock was run through the body by the man who had asked his advice. Celia was more prudent on the like occasion. She desired Leonilla to give her opinion freely upon the young fellow who made his addresses to her. Leonilla, to oblige her, told her with great frankness, that she looked upon him as one of the most worthless- Celia, foreseeing what a character she was to expect, begged her not to go on, for that she had been privately married to him above a fortnight. The truth of it is, a woman seldom asks advice before she has bought her wedding clothes. When she has made her own
N 475. choice, for form's sake, she sends a congé d'élire to her friends.
If we look into the secret springs and motives that set people at work on these occasions, and put them upon asking advice which they never intend to take; I look upon it to be none of the least, that they are incapable of keeping a secret which is so very pleasing to them. A girl longs to tell her confidante, that she hopes to be married in a little time; and, in order to talk of the pretty fellow that dwells so much in her thoughts, asks her very gravely, what she would advise her to do in a case of so much difficulty. Why else should Melissa, who had not a thousand pounds in the world, go into every quarter of the town to ask her acquaintance, whether they would advise her to take Tom Townly, that made his addresses to her with an estate of five thousand a year? It is very pleasant, on this occasion, to hear the lady propose her doubts; and to see the pains she is at to get over them.
I must not here omit a practice that is in use among the vainer part of our own sex, who will often ask a friend's advice in relation to a fortune whom they are never like to come at. Will Honeycomb, who is now on the verge of threescore, took me aside not long since, and asked me in his most serious look, whether I would advise him to marry my Lady Betty Single, who, by the way, is one of the greatest fortunes about town. I stared him full in the face upon so strange a question; upon which he immediately gave me an inventory of her jewels and estate, adding that he was resolved to do nothing in a matter of such consequence without my approbation. Finding he would have an answer, I told him if he could get the lady's consent he had mine. This is about the tenth match which, to my knowledge, Will has consulted his friends upon, without ever opening his mind to the party herself.
I have been engaged in this subject by the following letter, which comes to me from some notable young female scribe, who, by the contents of it, seems to have carried matters so far, that she is ripe for asking advice; but as I would not lose her good-will, nor forfeit the reputation which I have with her for wisdom, I shall only communicate the letter to the public, without returning any answer