« VorigeDoorgaan »
the fame figure as the bags that were really filled with money, had been blown up with air, and called into my memory the bags full of wind, which Homer tells us his hero received as a prefent from Eolus. The great heaps of gold on either fide the throne now appeared to be only heaps of paper, or little piles of notched flicks, bound up together in bundles like Bath-faggots.
Whilft I was lamenting this fudden defolation that had been made before me, the whole fcene vanished: In the room of the frightful spectres, there now entered a fecond dance of apparitions, very agreeably matched together, and made up of very amiable phantoms. The first pair was Liberty with Monarchy at her right hand; the fecond was Moderation, leading in Religion; and the third a person whom I had never feen, with the genius of Great Britain. At the first entrance the Lady revived, the bags fwelled to their former bulk, the piles of faggots and heaps of paper changed into pyramids of guineas and for my own part, I was fo tranfported with joy, that I awaked, though, I must confefs, I would fain have fallen afleep again to have clofed my vifion, if I could have done it.
Monday, March 5.
-Egregii mortalem altique filenti?
HOR. Sat. 6. 1. 2 v. 58.
One of uncommon filence and reserve.
AN author, when he first appears in the world, is
very apt to believe it has nothing to think of but his performances. With a good fhare of this vanity in my heart, I made it my business these three days to liften after my own fame; and as I have fometimes met with circumstances which did not difplease me, I have been encountered by others which gave me as much mortification. It is incredible to think how empty I have in this time obferved fome part of the fpecies to be, what mere blanks they are when they first come abroad
in the morning, how utterly they are at a ftand until they are a fet a-going by fome paragraph in a news-paper: fuch perfons are very acceptable to a young author, for they defire no more in any thing but to be new to be agreeable. If I found confolation among fuch, I was as much difquieted by the incapacity of others. These are mortals who have a certain curiofity without power of reflection, and perufed my papers like fpectators rather than readers. But there is fo little pleasure in inquiries that fo nearly concern ourselves (it being the worst way in the world to fame, to be too anxious about it) that upon the whole I refolved for the future to go on in my ordinary way; and without too much fear or hope about the bufinefs of reputation, to be very careful of the defign of my actions, but very negligent of the confequences of them.
It is an endless and frivolous purfuit to act by any other rule than the care of fatisfying our own minds in what we do. One would think a filent man, who concerned himself with no one breathing, fhould be very little liable to mifinterpretations; and yet I remember I was once taken up for a Jefuit, for no other reafon but my profound taciturnity. It is from this misfortune, that o be out of harm's way, I have crowds. He who comes into a fince affected blies only to gratify his curiofity, and not to make a figure, enjoys the pleasures of retirement in a more exquifite degree than he poffibly could in his clofet; the lover, the ambitious, and the mifer, are followed thither by a worfe crowd than any they can withdraw from. To be exempt from the paffions with which others are tormented, is the only pleafing folitude. I can very justly fay with the ancient fage, "I am never lefs alone than when alone." As I am infignificant to the company in public places, and as it is vifible I do not come thither, as moft do, to fhew myself; I gratify the vanity of all who pretend to make an appearance, and have often as kind looks from well-drefs'd Gentlemen and Ladies, as a poet would, bestow upon one of his audience. There are fo many gratifications attend this public fort of obfcurity, that fome little diftaftes I daily receive have loft their anguif; and I did the other day, without the lealt
difpleafure, overhear one fay of me, "That strange fel"low ;" and another answer, "I have known the fellow's "face these twelve years, and fo muft you; but I believe 86 you are the first ever asked who he was.' There are, I must confefs, many to whom my perfon is as well known as that of their nearest relations, who give themfelves no farther trouble about calling me by my name or quality, but fpeak of me very currently by Mr. What d'ye call him.
To make up for thefe trivial difadvantages, I have the high fatisfaction of beholding all nature with an unprejudiced eye; and having nothing to do with mens paffions or interefts, I can with the greater fagacity confider their talents, inanners, failings, and merits.
It is remarkable that those who want any one fenfe poffefs the others with greater force and vivacity. Thus my want of, or rather refignation of, fpeech, gives me all the advantages of a dumb man. I have, methinks, a more than ordinary penetration in feeing; and flatter myself that I have looked into the highest and loweft of mankind, and make fhrewd gueffes, without being admitted to their converfation, at the inmost thoughts and reflections of all whom I behold. It is from hence that good or ill fortune has no manner of force towards affecting my judgment. I fee men flourishing in courts, and languifhing in jails, without being prejudiced from their circumstances to their favour or difadvantage; but from their inward manner of bearing their condition, often pity the profperous, and admire the unhappy.
Those who converfe with the dumb, know from the turn of their eyes, and the changes of their countenance, their fentiments of the objects before them. I have indulged my filence to fuch an extravagance, that the few who are intimate with me, anfwer my fmiles with concurrent fentences, and argue to the very point I shaked my head at, without my fpeaking. Will Honeycomb was very entertaining the other night at a play, to a Gentleman who fat on his right hand, while I was at his left. The Gentleman believed Will was talking to himself, when upon my looking with great approbation at a young thing in a box before us, he faid,
I am quite of another opinion. She has, I allow, a very "pleafing afpect, but methinks that fimplicity in her coun66 tenance is rather childish than innocent.' When I obferved her a fecond time, he said, "I grant her dress is very becoining, but perhaps the merit of that choice is owning to her mother; for though, continued he, I al"low a beauty to be as much to be commended for the "elegance of her drefs, as a wit for that of his language; yet if she has ftolen the colour of her ribbands from an"other, or had advice about her trimmings, I fhall not al"low her the praife of drefs, any more than I would call a plagiary an author." When I threw my eye towards the next woman, to her, Will spoke what I looked, according to his romantic imagination, in the following
"Behold, you who dare, that charming virgin; behold "the beauty of her person chastifed by the innocence of
her thoughts. Chastity, good-nature, and affability, are "the graces that play in her countenance; fhe knows fte "is handfome, but the knows the is good. Conf.ious beauty "adorned with confcious virtue.! What a fpirit is there "in thofe eyes! What a bloom in that perfon! How is "the whole woman expreffed in her appearance! her air "has the beauty of motion, and her look the force of lan"guage."
It was prudence to turn away my eyes from this object, and therefore I turned them to the thoughtless creatures who make up the lump of that fex, and move a knowing eye no more than the portraitures of infignificant people by ordinary painters, which are but pictures of pictures.
Thus the working of my own mind is the general entertainment of my life; I never enter into the commerce of difcourfe with any but my particular friends, and not in public even with them. Such an habit has perhaps raised in me uncommon reflections; but this effect I cannot communicate but by my writings. As my pleasures are almoft wholly confined to thofe of the fight, I take it for a peculiar happiness that I have always had an eafy and familiar admittance to the fair fex. If I never praised or flattered, I never belyed or contradicted them. As thefe compofe half the world, VOL. I. B
and are, by the juft complaifance and gallantry of our na tion, the more powerful part of our people, I fhall dedicate a confiderable fhare of thefe my fpeculations to their fervice, and fhall lead the young through all the becoming duties of virginity, marriage, and widowhood. When it is a woman's day, in my works, I fhall endeavour at a tile and air fuitable to their understanding. When I fay this, I must be understood to mean, that I fhall not lower but exalt the fubjects I treat upon. Difcourfe for their entertainment, is not to be debased but refined. A man may appear learned without talking fentences, as in his ordinary gesture he difcovers he can dance though he does not cut capers. In a word, I fhall take it for the greatest glory of my work, if among reasonable women this paper may furnish Tea-Table Talk. In order to it, I shall treat on matters which relate to females, as they are concerned to approach or fly from the other fex, or as they are tied to them by blood, intereft, or affection. Upon this occafion I think it but reasonable to declare, that whatever skill I may have in fpeculation, I fhall never betray what the eyes of lovers fay to each other in my prefence. At the fame time I shall not think myself obliged, by this promife, to conceal any falfe proteftations which I obferve made by glances in public aflemblies; but endeavour to make both fexes appear in their conduct. what they are in their hearts. By this means, love, during the time of my fpeculations, fhall be carried on with the fame fincerity as any other affairs of lefs confideration. As this is the greatest concern, men fhall be from henceforth liable to the greatest reproach for misbehaviour in it. Falfehood in love fhall hereafter bear a blacker afpect, than infidelity in friendship, or villany in bufinefs. For this great and good end, all breaches against that noble. paffion, the cement of fociety, fhall be feverely examined. But this, and all other matters loofely hinted at now, and in my former papers, fhall have their proper place in my following difcourfes; the prefent writing is only to admonish the world, that they fhall not find me an idle but a bufy Spectator.