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name who justled him as he came out from the opera; but before he would proceed, he begged his lordship, that he would not deny him the honour of making him his second. The English lord, to avoid being drawn into a very foolish affair, told him, he was under
engagements for his two next duels to a couple of particular friends. Upon which the genileman immediately withdrew, hoping his lordship would not take it ill if he meddled no farther in an aflair from whence he himself was to receive no advantage. The beating down this false notion of honour, in
, so vain and lively a people as those of France, is deservedly looked upon as one of the most glorious parts of their present king's reign. It is pity but
. the punishment of these mischievous notions shuuld have in it some particular circumstances of shame and infanıy; that those who are slaves to them may see, that, instead of advancing their reputations, they lead them to ignominy and dishonour.
Death is not sufficient to deter men who make it their glory to despise it; but if every one that fought a duel were to stand in the pillory, it would quickly lessen the number of these imaginary men of honour, and put an end to so absurd a practice.
When honour is a support to virtuous principles, and runs parallel with the laws of God and our country, it cannot be too much cherished and encouraged: but when the dictates of honour are contrary to those of religion and equity, they are the greatest depravations of human nature, by giving wrong ambitions and false ideas of what is good and laudable; and should therefore be exploded by all governments, and driven out as the bane and plague of human society.
No 100. MONDAY, JUNE 25, 1711.
Nil ego contulerim jucundo sanus amico.
HOR. 1. Sat. v. 44. The greatest blessing is a pleasant friend. A MAN advanced in years, that thinks fit to look back upon his former life, and calls that only life which was passed with satisfaction and enjoyment, excluding all parts which were not pleasant to him, will find himself very young, if not in his infancy. Sickness, ill-humour, and idleness, will have robbed him of a great share of that space we ordinarily call our life. It is therefore the duty of every man that would be true to himself, to obtain, if possible, a disposition to be pleased, and place himself in a constant aptitude for the satisfactions of his Being. Instead of this, you hardly see a man who is not uneasy in proportion to bis advancement in the arts of life. An affected delicacy is the common improvement we meet with in those who pretend to be refined above, others. They do not aim at true pleasures themselves, but turu their thoughts upon observing the false pleasures of other men. Such people are valetudinarians in society, and they should no mor: come into company than a sick man should come into the air. If a man is too weak to bear what is a refreshment to men in health, he must still kesp his chamber. When any one in Sir Roger's company complains he is out of order, he immediately calls for some posset-drink for him; for which reason that sort of people who are ever bewailing their constitution in other places are the cheerfullest imaginable when he is present.
It is a wonderful thing that so many, and they not reckoned absurd, shall entertain those with whom they converse by giving them the liistory of their pains and aches; and imagine such narrations their quota of the conversation. This is of all other the meanest help to discourse; and a man must not think at all, or think himself very insignie : ficant, when he finds an account of his head-ach answered by another's asking what news in the last mail ? Mutual good-humour is a dress we ought to appear in whenever we meet, and we should make no mention of what concerns ourselves, without it be of matters wherein our friends ought to rejoice: but indeed there are crowds of people who put themselves in no method of pleasing themselves or others; such are those whom we usually call'indolent persons. Indolence is, methinks, an intermediate state between pleasure and pain, and very much unbecoming any part of our life after we are out of the nurse's arms. Such an aversion to labour creates a constant weariness, and one would think should make existence itself a burden. The indolent man descends from the dignity of his nature, and makes that being which was rational merely vegetative. His life consists only in the mere increase and decay of a body, which, with
а relation to the rest of the world, might as well have been uninformed, as the habitation of a reasonable miod,
Of this kind is the life of that extraordinary couple Harry Tersett and his lady. Harry was in the days of his celibacy one of those pert creatures who have much vivacity and little understanding ; Mrs. Rebecca Quickly, whom he married, had all that the fire of youth and a lively manner could do towards making an agreeable woman.
These two people of seeming merit feil into each other's arms; and passion being sated, and no reason or goodsense in either to succeed it, their life is now at a stand; their meals are insipid, and their time tedious; their fortune has placed them above care, and their loss of taste reduced them below diversion. When we talk of these as instances of inexistence, we do not mean, that in order to live, it is necessary we should always be in jovial crews, or crowned with chaplets of roses, as the merry fellows among the ancients are described; but it is intended, by considering these contraries to pleasure, indolence, and too much delicacy, to slew that it is prudence to preserve a disposition in ourselves to receive a certain delight in all we hear and see.
This portable quality of good-humour seasons all the parts and occurrences we meet with, in such a manner, that there are no moments lost; but they all
pass with so much satisfaction, that the heaviest of loads (when' it is a load), that of time, is never felt by us.
Varilas has this quality to the highest perfection, and communicates it wherever he appears. The sad, the merry, the severe, the melancholy, shew a new cheerfulness when he comes amongst thein.
At the same time no one can repeat any thing that Varilas has ever said that deserves repetition ; but the man has that innate goodness of temper, that he is welcome to every body, because every man thinks he is so to him. He does not seem to contribute any thing to the mirth of the company; and yet upon reilection you find it all happened by his being there. I thought it was whimsically said of a gentleman, that if Varilas had wit, it would be the best wit in the world. It is certain, when a well-corrected lively imagination and good-breeding are added to a sweet disposition, they qualify it to be one of the greatest blessings, as well as pleasures of life.
Men would come into company with ten times the pleasure they do, if they were sure of bearing nothing which would shock them, as well as expected what would please them. When we know every person that is spoken of is represented by one who has no ill-will, and every thing that is mentioned described by one that is apt to set it in the best light, the entertainment must be delicate because the cook has nothing brought to his hand but what is the most excellent in its kind. Beautiful pictures are the entertainments of pure minds, and deformities of the corrupted. It is a degree towards the life of angels, when we enjoy conversation wherein there is nothing presented but in its excellence : and a degree towards that of demons, wherein nothing is shewn but in its degeneracy:
N° 101. TUESDAY, JUNE 26, 1711.
Romulus, et Liber pater, et cum Castore Pollur,
HOR. Ep. 1. l. 2. v. 5.
Edward and Henry, now the boast of fame,
Censure,' says a late ingenious author *, ' is the tax a man pays to the public for being eminent.' It is a folly for an eminent man to think of escaping it, and a weakness to be affected with it. All the illustrious persons of antiquity, and indeed of every age in the world, have passed through this fiery persecution. There is no defence against reproach but obscurity ; it is a kind of concomitant to greatness, as satires and invectives were an essential part of a Roman triumph.
If men of eminence are exposed to censure on one hand, they are as much liable to fiattery on the other. If they receive reproaches which are not due to them, they likewise receive praises which they do not deserve. In a word, the man in a high post is never regarded with an indifferent eye, but always considered as a friend or an enemy. For this reason persons in great stations have seldom their true characters drawn till several years after their deaths. Their personal friendships and
* Swift, vol, v, p. 459. edit. 1801.