and the height of the jest is only in the very point | sweetness, that the confession which she uttered, that heads are broken. I am confident were there so as to be heard where I sat, appeared an act of & scene written, wherein Penkethman should break humiliation more than she had occasion for. The his leg by wrestling with Bullock, and Dicky come truth is, her beauty had something so innocent, in to set it, without one word said but what should and yet so sublime, that we all gazed upon her be according to the exact rules of surgery in mak- like a phantom. None of the pictures which we ing this extension, and binding up the leg, the behold of the best Italian painters have anything whole house should be in a roar of applause at the like the spirit which appeared in her countenance, dissembled anguish of the patient, the help given at the different sentiments expressed in the several by him who threw him down, and the handy ad- parts of Divine service. That gratitude and joy dress and arch looks of the surgeon. To enu- at a thanksgiving, that lowliness and sorrow at merate the entrance of ghosts, the embattling of the prayers for the sick and distressed, that triarmies, the noise of heroes in love, with a thou- umph at the passages which gave instances of the sand other enormities, would be to transgress the Divine mercy, which appeared respectively in her bounds of this paper, for which reason it is possi- aspect, will be in my memory to my last hour. I ble they may have hereafter distinct discourses: protest to you, Sir, she suspended the devotion of not forgetting any of the audience who shall set every one around her; and the ease she did every; up for actors, and interrupt the play on the stage; thing with soon dispersed the churlish dislike and and players who shall prefer the applause of fools, hesitation in approving what is excellent, too freto that of the reasonable part of the company.-T. quent among us, to a general attention and entertainment in observing her behavior. All the while that we were gazing at her, she took notice of no object about her, but had an art of seeming awkwardly attentive, whatever else her eyes were accidentally thrown upon. One thing, indeed, was particular, she stood the whole service, and never kneeled or sat: I do not question but that was to show herself with the greater advantage, and set forth to better grace her hands and arms, lifted up with the most ardent devotion; and her bosom, the fairest that ever was seen, bare to ob servation; while she, you must think, knew nothing of the concern she gave others, any other than as an example of devotion, that threw herself out, without regard to dress or garment, all contrition, and loose of all worldly regards, in ecstasy

No. 503.] TUESDAY, OCTOBER 7, 1712.
-Delo omnes dehine ex animo mulieres.
TER. Eun. act. ii. sc. 3.

From henceforward I blot out of my thoughts all memory of devotion. Well; now the organ was to play

of womankind.


a voluntary, and she was so skillful in music, and so touched with it, that she kept time not only with some motion of her head, but also with a different air in her countenance. When the music was strong and bold, she looked exalted, but serious; when lively and airy, she was smiling and gracious; when the notes were more soft and lan

"You have often mentioned with great vehemence and indignation the misbehavior of people at church but I am at present to talk to you on that subject, and complain to you of one, whom at the same time I know not what to accuse of, ex-guishing, she was kind and full of pity. When cept it be looking too well there, and diverting the she had now made it visible to the whole congreeyes of the congregation to that one object. How-gation, by her motion and ear, that she could ever, I have this to say, that she might have dance, and she wanted now only to inform us that stayed at her own parish, and not come to perplex she could sing too; when the psalm was given those who are otherwise intent upon their duty. out, her voice was distinguished above all the rest, "Last Sunday was sevennight I went into a or rather people did not exert their own, in order church not far from London-bridge; but I wish I to hear her. Never was any heard so sweet and had been contented to go to my own parish, I am so strong. The organist observed it, and he sure it had been better for me; I say I went to thought fit to play to her only, and she swelled church thither, and got into a pew very near the every note, when she found she had thrown us all pulpit. I had hardly been accommodated with a out, and had the last verse to herself in such a seat, before there entered into the aisle a young manner as the whole congregation was intent lady in the very bloom of youth and beauty, and upon her, in the same manner as you see in the dressed in the most elegant manner imaginable. cathedrals they are on the person who sings alone Her form was such that it engaged the eyes of the the anthem. Well; it came at last to the sermon, whole congregation in an instant, and mine among and our young lady would not lose her part in the rest. Though we were all thus fixed upon that either; for she fixed her eye upon the preacher, her, she was not in the least out of countenance, and as he said anything she approved, with one or under the least disorder, though unattended by of Charles Mather's fine tablets she set down the any one, and not seeming to know particularly sentence, at once showing her fine hand, the gold where to place herself. However, she had not in pen, her readiness in writing, and her judgment the least a confident aspect, but moved on with in choosing what to write. To sum up what I the most graceful modesty, every one making way intend by this long and particular account, I mean until she came to a seat just over against that in to appeal to you, whether it is reasonable that which I was placed. The deputy of the ward sat such a creature as this shall come from a jaunty n that pew, and she stood opposite to him, and part of the town, and give herself such violent at a glance into the seat, though she did not ap-, airs, to the disturbance of an innocent and inoffenDear the least acquainted with the gentleman, sive congregation, with her sublimities. The fact, was let in, with a confusion that spoke much I assure you, was as I have related: but I had dmiration at the novelty of the thing. The like to have forgot another very considerable parervice immediately began, and she composed ticular. As soon as church was done, she immemerself for it with an air of so much goodness and diately stepped out of her pew, and fell into the


N. B. There are in the play of the Self-Tormentor of Terence, which is allowed a most excellent comedy, several incidents which would draw tears from any man of sexse, and not one which would move his laughter Spec. in folio, No. 521.

This speculation, No. 502, is controverted in the
Guard, No. 59, by a writer under the fictitious
name of John Lizard; perhaps Dr. Edw. Young.
Ꭲ .

finest pitty-patty air, forsooth, wonderfully out of ❘ not serve an honest gentleman who wants wit for countenance, tossing her head up and down, as his ordinary occasions; therefore it is absolutely she swam along the body of the church. I, with necessary that the poor in imagination should have several others of the inhabitants, followed her out, something which may be serviceable to them at all and saw her hold up her fan to a hackney coach hours upon all common occurrences. That which at a distance, who immediately came up to her, we call punning is therefore greatly affected by and she whipped into it with great nimbleness, men of small intellects. These men need not be pulled the door with a bowing mien, as if she had concerned with you for the whole sentence; but been used to a better glass. She said aloud, 'You if they can say a quaint thing, or bring in a word know where to go,' and drove off. By this time which sounds like any one word you have spoken the best of the congregation was at the church- to them, they can turn the discourse, or distract door, and I could hear some say, 'A very fine you so that you cannot go on, and by consequence, lady; others, I'll warrant you, she is no better if they cannot be as witty as you are, they can than she should be' and one very wise old lady hinder your being any wittier than they are. Thus, said, she ought to have been taken up.' Mr. if you talk of a candle, he "can deal" with you; Spectator, I think this matter lies wholly before and if you ask him to help you to some bread, a you: for the offense does not come under any law, punster should think himself very "ill-bred" if though it is apparent this creature came among us he did not; and if he is not as "well-bred" as youronly to give herself airs, and enjoy her full swing self, he hopes for "grains" of allowance. If you in being admired. I desire you will print this, do not understand that last fancy, you must recol that she may be confined to her own parish; for lect that bread is made of grain; and so they go I can assure you there is no attending anything on forever, without possibility of being exhausted. else in a place where she is a novelty. She has been talked of among us ever since, under the name of the phantom: but I would advise her to come no more; for there is so strong a party made by the women against her, that she must expect they will not be excelled a second time in so outrageous a manner, without doing her some insult. Young women, who assume after this rate, and affect exposing themselves to view in congregations at the other end of the town, are not so mischievous, because they are rivaled by more of the same ambition, who will not let the rest of the company be particular; but in the name of the whole congregation where I was, I desire you to keep these agreeable disturbances out of the city, where sobriety of manners is still preserved, and all glaring and ostentatious behavior, even in things laudable, discountenanced. I wish you may never see the phantom, and am,

There are another kind of people of small faculties, who supply want of wit with want of breeding; and because women are both by nature and education more offended at anything which is immodest than we men are, these are ever harping upon things they ought not to allude to, and deal mightily in double meanings. Every one's own observation will suggest instances enough of this kind without my mentioning any; for your double meaners are dispersed up and down through all parts of the town or city where there are any to offend, in order to set off themselves. These men are mighty loud laughers, and held very pretty gentlemen with the sillier and unbred part of wo mankind. But above all already mentioned, or any who ever were, or ever can be in the world, the happiest and surest to be pleasant, are a sort of people whom we have not indeed lately heard much of, and those are your "biters."


Sir, your most humble Servant,


No. 504.] WEDNESDAY, OCT. 8, 1712.
Lepus tute es, et pulpamentum quæris.

A biter is one who tells you a thing you have no reason to disbelieve in itself, and perhaps has given you, before he bit you, no reason to disbe lieve it for his saying it; and if you give him credit, laughs in your face, and triumphs that he has deceived you. In a word, a biter is one who thinks you a fool, because you do not think him a knave. This description of him one may insist upon to be a just one; for what else but à degree of knavery is it, to depend upon deceit for what you gain of another, be it in point of wit, or interest, or anything else?

This way of wit is called "biting," by a metaphor taken from beasts of prey, which devour harmless and unarmed animals, and look upon

TER. Eun. act. iii. sc. 1. You are a hare yourself, and want dainties, forsooth. Ir is a great convenience to those who want wit to furnish out a conversation, that there is something or other in all companies where it is wanted substituted in its stead, which, according to their taste, does the business as well. Of this nature is the agreeable pastime in country halls of cross-them as their food wherever they meet them. The purposes, questions and commands, and the like. sharpers about town very ingeniously understood A little superior to these are those who can play themselves to be to the undesigning part of manat crambo, or cap verses. Then above them are kind what foxes are to lambs, and therefore used such as can make verses, that is, rhyme; and the word biting, to express any exploit wherein among those who have the Latin tongue, such as they had overreached any innocent and inadver used to make what they call golden verses. Com- tent man of his purse. These rascals, of late years, mend me also to those who have not brains enough have been the gallants of the town, and carried for any of these exercises, and yet do not give up it with a fashionable haughty air, to the discour their pretensions to mirth. These can slap you on agement of modesty, and all honest arts. Shallow the back unawares, laugh loud, ask you how you fops, who are governed by the eye, and admire do with a twang on your shoulders, say you are dull everything that struts in vogue, took up from the to-day, and laugh a voluntary to put you in humor; sharpers the phrase of biting, and used it upea not to mention the laborious way among the minor all occasions, either to disown any nonsensical poets, of making things come into such and such stuff they should talk themselves, or evade the a shape, as that of an egg, a hand, an ax, or any- force of what was reasonably said by others. thing that nobody had ever thought on before, for Thus, when one of these cunning creatures was that purpose, or which would have cost a great entered into a debate with you, whether it was deal of pains to accomplish, if they did. But all practicable in the present state of affairs to aethese methods, though they are mechanical, and complic sech a proposition, and you thought he may be arrived at with the smallest capacity, do had destroyed his side of the question,

the anguish of the present evil, whereas the former are very often pained by the reflection on what is passed, and the fear of what is to come. This fear of any future difficulties or misfortunes is so natural to the mind, that were a man's sorrows and disquietudes summed up at the end of his life, it would generally be found that he had suffered more from the apprehension of such evils as never happened to him, than from those evils which had already befallen him. To this we may add, that among those evils which befall us, there are many which have been more painful to us in the prospect, than by their actual pressure.

This natural impatience to look into futurity, and to know what accidents may happen to us hereafter, has given birth to many ridiculous arts and inventions. Some found their prescience on the lines of a man's hand, others on the features of his face; some on the signatures which nature has impressed on his body, and others on his own hand-writing: some read men's fortunes in the stars, as others have searched after them in the entrails of beasts, or the flights of birds. Men of the best sense have been touched more or less with To put an end to this silly, pernicious, frivolous these groundless horrors and presages of futurity, way at once, I will give the reader one late instance upon surveying the most indifferent works of naof a bite, which no biter for the future will ever ture. Can anything be more surprising than to be able to equal, though I heartily wish him the consider Cicero, who made the greatest figure at sarne occasion. It is a superstition with some the bar and in the senate of the Roman commonsurgeons who beg the bodies of condemned male- wealth, and at the same time outshined all the factors, to go to the jail, and bargain for the car-philosophers of antiquity in his library and in his cass with the criminal himself. A good honest retirements, as busying himself in the college of fellow did so last sessions, and was admitted to augurs, and observing with a religious attention the condemned men on the morning wherein they after what manner the chickens pecked the several died. The surgeon communicated his business, grains of corn which were thrown to them? and fell into discourse with a little fellow, who refused twelve shillings, and insisted upon fifteen for his body. The fellow who killed the officer of Newgate, very forwardly, and like a man who was willing to deal, told him, "Look you, Mr. Surgeon, that little dry fellow, who has been half starved all his life, and is now half dead with fear, cannot answer your purpose. I have ever lived high and freely, my veins are full, I have not pined in imprisonment; you see my crest swells to your knife; and after Jack Catch has done, upon my honor you will find me as sound as ever a bullock in any of the markets. Come, for twenty shillings I am your man." Says the surgeon, "Done, there is a guinea." This witty rogue took the money, and as soon as he had it in his fist, cries, Bite; I am to be hanged in chains."-T.

Notwithstanding these follies are pretty well worn out of the minds of the wise and learned in the present age, multitudes of weak and ignorant persons are still slaves to them. There are numberless arts of prediction among the vulgar, which are too trifling to enumerate; and infinite observations of days, numbers, voices, and figures, which are regarded by them as portents and prodigies. In short, everything prophesies to the superstitious man; there is scarce a straw, or a rusty piece of iron, that lies in his way by accident.

It is not to be conceived how many wizards, gipseys, and cunning men, are dispersed through all the counties and market-towns of Great Britain, not to mention the fortune-tellers and astrologers, who live very comfortably upon the curiosity of several well-disposed persons in the cities of London and Westminster.


[ocr errors]

as soon as you looked with an earnestness ready to lay hold of it, he immediately cried, "Bite," and you were immediately to acknowledge all that 1 part was in jest. They carry this to all the extravagance imaginable; and if one of these witlings knows any particulars which may give authority to what he says, he is still the more ingenious if he imposes upon your credulity. I remember a remarkable instance of this kind. There came up a shrewd young fellow to a plain young man, his countryman, and taking him aside with a grave concerned countenance, goes on at this rate: "I see you here, and have you heard nothing out of Yorkshire? You look so surprised you could not have heard of it—and yet the particulars are such that it cannot be false: I am sorry I am got into it so far that I now must tell you; but I know not but it may be for your service to know. On Tuesday last, just after dinner-you know his manner is to smoke-opening his box, your father fell down dead in an apoplexy." The youth showed the filial sorrow which he ought-upon which the witty man cried, "Bite; there was nothing in all this."

No. 505.] THURSDAY, OCTOBER 9, 1712.

Non habeo denique nauci Marsum augurem,
Non vicanos aruspices, non de circo astrologos,
Non Isiacos conjectores, non interpretes somuium,
Non enim sunt ii, aut scientia, aut arte divini,
Sed superstitiosi vates, impudentesque harioli,
Aut inertes, aut insani, aut quibus egestas imperat:
Qui sui quæstus causa fictas suscitant sententias:
Qui sibi semitam non sapiunt, alteri monstrant viam :
Quibus divitias pollicentur, ab iis drachmam petunt:
De divitiis deducant drachmam, reddant cætera.


Augurs and soothsayers, astrologers,
Diviners, and interpreters of dreams,
I ne'er consult, and heartily despise:
Vain their pretense to more than human skill:
For gain, imaginary schemes they draw;
Wand'rers themselves, they guide another's steps:
And for poor sixpence promise countless wealth.
Let them, if they expect to be believed,
Deduct the sixpence, and bestow the rest.

THOSE who have maintained that men would be more miserable than beasts, were their hopes confined to this life only, among other considerations take notice that the latter are only afflicted with

Among the many pretended arts of divination, there is none which so universally amuses as that by dreams. I have indeed observed in a late speculation, that there have been sometimes, upon very extraordinary occasions, supernatural revelations made to certain persons by this means; but as it is the chief business of this paper to root out popular errors, I must endeavor to expose the folly and superstition of those persons, who, in the common and ordinary course of life, lay any stress upon things of so uncertain, shadowy, and chimerical a nature. This I cannot do more effectually than by the following letter, which is dated from a quarter of the town that has always been the habitation of some prophetic Philomath: it having been usual, time out of mind, for all such people as have lost their wits, to resort to that place either for their cure or for their instruction:

"MR. SPECTATOR, Moorfields, Oct 4, 1712.
"Having long considered whether there be any

This censure of Cicero seems to be unfounded; for it is

said of him that he wondered how one augur could meet another without laughing in his face.

I have somewhere met with a fable that made Wealth the father of Love. It is certain a mind ought at least to be free from the apprehensions of want and poverty, before it can fully attend to all the softnesses and endearments of this passion;

It is not sufficient, to make a marriage happy, that the humors of two people should be alike. I could instance a hundred pair, who have not the least sentiment of love remaining for one another, yet are so alike in their humors, that if they were not already married, the whole world would design them for man and wife.

trade wanting in this great city, after having sur- | cellent discourses which have been marked with veyed very attentively all kinds of ranks and pro- the letter X :fessions, I do not find in any quarter of the town an oneiro-critic, or, in plain English, an interpreter of dreams. For want of so useful a person, there are several good people who are very much puzzled in this particular, and dream a whole year together without being ever the wiser for it. I notwithstanding we see multitudes of married hope I am pretty well qualified for this office, hav-people, who are utter strangers to this delightful ing studied by candlelight all the rules of art passion, amidst all the affluence of the most plen which have been laid down upon this subject. tiful fortunes. My great uncle by my wife's side was a Scotch highlander, and second-sighted. I have four fingers and two thumbs upon one hand, and was born on the longest night of the year. My Christian and surname begin and end with the same letters. I am lodged in Moorfields, in a house that for these fifty years has been always tenanted by a conjurer. "If you had been in company, so much as myself, with ordinary women of the town, you must know that there are many of them who every day in their lives, upon seeing or hearing of anything that is unexpected, cry, My dream is out;' and cannot go to sleep in quiet the next night, until something or other has happened which has expounded the visions of the preceding one. There are others who are in very great pain for not being able to recover the circumstances of a dream, that made strong impressions upon them while it lasted. In short, Sir, there are many whose waking thoughts are wholly employed on their sleeping ones. For the benefit, therefore, of this curious and inquisitive part of my fellow-subjects, I shall in the first place tell those persons what they dreamed of, who fancy they never dream at all. In the next place I shall make out any dream, upon hearing a single circumstance of it; and, in the last place, I shall expound to them the good or bad fortune which such dreams portend. If they do not presage good luck, I shall desire nothing for my pains; not questioning at the same time, that those who consult me will be so reasonable as to afford me a moderate share out of any considerable estate, profit, or emolument, which I shall thus discover to them. I interpret to the poor for nothing, on condition that their names may be inserted in public advertisements, to attest the truth of such my interpretations. As for people of quality, or others who are indisposed, and do care to come in person, I can interpret their dreams by seeing their water. I set aside one day in the week for lovers; and interpret by the great for any gentlewoman who is turned of sixty, after the rate of half-a-crown per week, with the usual allowances for good luck. I have several rooms and apartments fitted up at reasonable rates, for such as have not conveniences for dreaming at "TITUS TROPHONIUS. "N. B. I am not dumb."

their own houses.

No. 506.] FRIDAY, OCTOBER 10, 1712.

Candida perpetuo reside, Concordia, lecto,
Tamque pari semper sit Venus æqua jugo.
Diligat illa senem quondam; sed et illa marito,
Tunc quoque cum fuerit, non videatur anus.
MART. 4 Epig. xiii. 7.

Perpetual harmony their bed attend,
And Venus still the well-match'd pair befriend!
May she, when time has sunk him into years,
Love her old man, and cherish his white hairs;
Nor he perceive her charms through age decay,
But think each happy sun his bridal day!
THE following essay is written by the gentleman
to whom the world is obliged fo
everal ex-

The spirit of love has something so extremely fine in it, that it is very often disturbed and lost, by some little accidents, which the careless and unpolite never attend to, until it is gone past recovery.

Nothing has more contributed to banish it from a married state, than too great a familiarity, and laying aside the common rules of decency. Though I could give instances of this in several particu lars, I shall only mention that of dress. The beaux and belles about town, who dress purely to catch one another, think there is no further occa sion for the bait, when their first design has sue ceeded. But beside the too common fault in point of neatness, there are several others which I do not remember to have seen touched upon, but in one of our modern comedies, where a French woman offering to undress and dress herself before the lover of the play, and assuring his [her] mistress that it was very usual in France, the lady tells her that it is a secret in dress she never knew before, and that she was so unpolished an English woman, as to resolve never to learn even to dress before her husband.

There is something so gross in the carriage of some wives, that they lose their husbands' hearts for faults which, if a man has either good nature or good breeding, he knows not how to tell them of. I am afraid, indeed, the ladies are generally most faulty in this particular, who, at their first giving in to love, find the way so smooth and pleasant, that they fancy it is scarce possible to be tired in it.

There is so much nicety and discretion required to keep love alive after marriage, and make conversation still new and agreeable after twenty or thirty years, that I know nothing which seems readily to promise it, but an earnest endeavor to please on both sides, and superior good sense on the part of the man.

By a man of sense, I mean one acquainted with business and letters.

A woman very much settles her esteem for a man, according to the figure he makes in the world, and the character he bears among his own sex. As learning is the chief advantage we have over them, it is, methinks, as scandalous and inexcusable for a man of fortune to be illiterate, as for a woman not to know how to behave herself on the most ordinary occasions. It is this which sets the two sexes at the greatest distance: a woman is vexed and surprised, to find nothing more in the conversation of a man than in the common tattle of her own sex.

Some small engagement at least in business, not only sets a man's talents in the fairest light, and allots him a part to act in which a wife cannot

Grief A la-mode," by Steele.


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

well intermeddle, but gives frequent occasions for | No. 507.] SATURDAY, OCTOBER 11, 1712. those little absences, which, whatever seeming uneasiness they may give, are some of the best preservatives of love and desire.

The fair sex are so conscious to themselves, that they have nothing in them which can deserve entirely to engross the whole man, that they heartily despise one, who, to use their own expressions, is always hanging at their apron strings.

Defendit numerus, junctæque umbone phalanges.
Juv. Sat. ii. 46.
Preserv'd from shame by numbers on our side.

Lætitia is pretty, modest, tender, and has sense enough; she married Erastus, who is in a post of some business, and has a general taste in most parts of polite learning. Lætitia, wherever she visits, has the pleasure to hear of something which was handsomely said or done by Erastus. Erastus since his marriage, is more gay in his dress than ever, and in all companies is as complaisant to Lætitia as to any other lady. I have seen him give her her fan, when it has dropped, with all the gallantry of a lover. When they take the air together, Erastus ts continually improving her thoughts, and with a turn of wit and spirit which is peculiar to him, giving her an insight into things she had no notions of before. Lætitia is transported at having a new world thus opening to her, and hangs upon the man that gives her such agreeable informations. Erastus has carried this point still further, as he makes her daily not only fond of him, but infinitely more satisfied with herself. Erastus finds a justness or beauty in whatever she says or observes that Lætitia herself was not aware of; and by his assistance she has discovered a hundred good qualities and accomplishments in herself, which she never before once dreamed of. Erastus, with the most artful complaisance in the world, by several remote hints, finds the means to make her say or propose almost whatever he has a mind to, which he always receives as her own discovery and gives her all the reputation of it.

THERE is something very sublime, though very fanciful, in Plato's description of the Supreme Being; that "truth is his body, and light his shadow." According to this definition, there is nothing so contradictory to his nature as error and falsehood. The Platonists had so just a notion of the Almighty's aversion to everything which is false and erroneous, that they looked upon truth as no less necessary than virtue to qualify a human soul for the enjoyment of a separate state. For this reason, as they recommended moral duties to qualify and season the will for a future life, so they prescribed several contemplations and sciences to rectify the understanding. Thus, Plato has called mathematical demonstrations the cathartics or purgatives of the soul, as being the most proper means to cleanse it from error, and to give it a relish of truth; which is the natural food and nourishment of the understanding, as virtue is the perfection and happiness of the will.

There are many authors who have shown wherein the malignity of a lie consists, and set forth in proper colors the heinousness of the offense. I shall here consider one particular kind of this crime, which has not been so much spoken to; I mean the abominable practice of party-lying. This vice is so very predominant among us at present, that a man is thought of no principles who does not propagate a certain system of lies. The coffee-houses are supported by them, the press is choked with them, eminent authors live upon them. Our bottle conversation is so infected with them, that a party-lie is grown as fashionable an entertainment as a lively catch or merry story. The truth of it is, half the great talkers in the na

Erastus has a perfect taste in painting, and carried Lætitia with him the other day to see a col-tion would be struck dumb were this fountain of lection of pictures. I sometimes visit this happy discourse dried up. There is, however, one adcouple. As we were last week walking in the long vantage resulting from this detestable practice; gallery before dinner, "I have lately laid out some the very appearances of truth are so little regarded, money in paintings," says Erastus; "I bought that lies are at present discharged in the air, and that Venus and Adonis purely upon Lætitia's judg- begin to hurt nobody. When we hear a party ment; it cost me threescore guineas, and I was this story from a stranger, we consider whether he is a morning offered a hundred for it." I turned to whig or a tory that relates it, and immediately ward Lætitia, and saw her cheeks glow with conclude they are words of course, in which the pleasure, while at the same time she cast a look honest gentleman designs to recommed his zeal, upon Erastus, the most tender and affectionate I without any concern for his veracity. A man is ever beheld. looked upon as bereft of common sense, that gives credit to the relations of party-writers; nay, his own friends shake their heads at him, and consider him in no other light than as an officious tool, or a well meaning idiot. When it was formerly the fashion to husband a lie, and trump it up in some extraordinary emergency, it generally did execution, and was not a little serviceable to the faction that made use of it; but at present every man is upon his guard; the artifice has been too often repeated to take effect.

I have frequently wondered to see men of probity, who would scorn to utter a falsehood for their own particular advantage, give so readily into a lie when it is become the voice of their faction, notwithstanding they are thoroughly sensible of it as such. How is it possible for those who are men of honor in their persons, thus to become notorious liars in their party? If we look into the bottom of this matter, we may find, I think, three reasons for it, and at the same time discover the insufficiency of these reasons to justify so criminal a practice.

In the first place, men are apt to think that the guilt of a lie, and consequently the punishment, may be very much diminished, if not wholly worn

Flavilla married Tom Tawdry; she was taken with his laced coat and rich sword-knot; she has the mortification to see Tom despised by all the worthy part of his own sex. Tom has nothing to do after dinner, but to determine whether he will pare his nails at St. James', White's, or his own house. He has said nothing to Flavilla since they were married which she might not have heard as well from her own woman. He however takes great care to keep uphatever Flavilla happens to the saucy ill-natured authority of a husband. assert, Tom immediately contradicts with an oath by way of preface, and, My dear, I must tell you you talk most confoundedly silly." Flavilla had a heart naturally as well disposed for all the tenderness of love as that of Lætitia; but as love seldom continues long after esteem, it is difficult to determine, at present, whether the unhappy Flavilla hates or despises the person most whom she is obliged to lead her whole life with.-X.


« VorigeDoorgaan »