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that she had left the good man at home, and brought away her gallant. I saw a third, at some distance, with a little withered face peeping over her shoulder, whom I could not suspect for any but her spouse, till, upon her setting him down, I heard her call him dear pug, and found him to be her favorite monkey. A fourth brought a huge bale of cards along with her; and the fifth a Bologna lapdog; for her husband, it seems, being a very bulky man, she thought it would be less trouble for her to bring away little Cupid. The next was the wife of a rich usurer, loaded with a bag of gold; she told us that her spouse was very old, and by the course of nature, could not expect to live long; and that to show her tender regard for him, she had saved that which the poor man loved better than his life. The next came towards us with her son upon her back, who we were told, was the greatest rake in the place, but so much the mother's darling, that she left her husband behind, with a large family of hopeful sons and daughters, for the sake of this graceless youth.
"It would be endless to mention the several persons, with their several loads, that appeared to me in this strange vision. All the place about me was covered with packs of ribbands, broaches, embroidery, and ten thousand other materials, sufficent to have furnished a whole street of toyshops. One of the women, having an husband who was none of the heaviest, was bringing him off upon her shoulders, at the same time that she carried a great bundle of Flanders lace under her arm; but finding herself so overloaden that she could not save both of them, she dropped the good man, and brought away the bundle. In short, I found but one husband among this great mountain of baggage, who was a lively cobler, that kicked and spurred all the while his wife was carrying him off, and, as it was said, had scarce passed a day in his life, without giving her the discipline of the strap.
"I cannot conclude my letter, dear Spec, without tel ling thee one very odd whim in this my dream. I saw methought, a dozen women employed in bringing
off one man: I could not guess who it should be, till, upon his nearer approach, I discovered thy short phiz. The women all declared that it was for the sake of thy works, and not thy person, that they brought thee off, and that it was on condition that thou shouldst continue the Spectator. If thou thinkest this dream will make a tolerable one, it is at thy service, from, dear Spec, thine, sleeping and waking,
The ladies will see by this letter, what I have often told them, that Will is one of those old fashioned men of wit and pleasure of the town, who show their parts by raillery on marriage, and one who has often tried his fortune in that way, without success. I cannot, however, dismiss this letter, without observing, that the true story on which it is built, does honor to the sex; and that, in order to abuse them, the writer is obliged to have recourse to dream and fiction.
XXI.-On good Breeding.-CHESTERFIELD.
A FRIEND of yours and mine has very justly defined good breeding to be," the result of much good sense, some good nature and a little self denial, for the sake of others, and with a view to obtain the same indulgence from them." Taking this for granted (as I think it cannot be disputed) it is astonishing to me, that any body, who has good sense and good nature, can essentially fail in good. breeding. As to the modes of it, indeed, they vary according to persons, places and circumstances, and are only to be acquired by observation and experience; but the substance of it is every where and eternally the same. Good manners are, to particular societies, what good morals are to society in general-their cement and their security. And as laws are enacted to enforce good morals, or at least to prevent the ill effects of bad ones; so there are certain rules of civility,universally implied and received, to enforce good manners, and punish bad ones. And indeed, there seems to me to be less difference both between the crimes and punishments,than,at first,one would imagine. The immoral man, who invades another's prop
erty, is justly hanged for it; and the illbred man, who, by his ill manners,invades and disturbs the quiet and comforts of private life, is, by common consent, as justly banished society. Mutual complaisances, attentions, and sacrifices of little conveniences, are as natural an implied compact between civilized people, as protection and obedience are between kings and subjects; who ever, in either case, violates that compact, justly forfeits all advantages arising from it. For my own part, I really think that, next to the consciousness of doing a good action, that of doing a civil one is one of the most pleasing; and the epithet which I should covet the most, next to that of Aristides, would be that of wellbred. Thus much for good breeding, in general; I will now consider some of the various modes and degrees of it.
Very few, scarcely any, are wanting in the respect which they should show to those whom they acknowledge to be highly their superiors; such as crowned heads, princes, and public persons of distinguished and eminent posts. It is the manner of showing that respect which is different. The man of fashion and of the world, expresses it in its fullest extent; but naturally, easily and without concern: Whereas, a man who is not used to keep good company, expresses it awkwardly; one sees that he is not used to it, and that it costs him a great deal; but I never saw the worst bred man living, guilty of lolling, whistling, scratching his head, and such like indecencies, in company that he respected. In such companies therefore, the only point to be attended to is, to show that respect, which every body means to show, in an easy, unembarrassed, and graceful manner. This is what observation and experience must teach you.
In mixed companies, whoever is admitted to make part of them, is for the time at least, supposed to be upon a footing of equality with the rest; and, conse quently, as there is no one principal object of awe and respect, people are apt to take a greater latitude in their. behavior, and to be less upon their guard; and so they may, provided it be within certain bounds, which are, upon no occasion, to be transgressed. But upon these
occasions, though no one is entitled to distinguished marks of respect, every one claims, and very justly, every mark of civility and good breeding. Ease is allowed, but carelessness and negligence are strictly for bidden. If a man accosts you, and talks to you ever dully or frivolously, it is worse than rudeness, is brutality, to show him by a manifest inattention to what he says, that you think him a fool, or a blockhead, and not worth hearing. It is much more so with regard to women, who, of whatever 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 wellbred 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 practice.
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 one's 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 freedem 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 lib
erty 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-KNOX.
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 endeavors 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,