felf with fo much diligence to my ftudies, that there are very few celebrated books, either in the learned or the modern tongues, which I am not acquainted with.

Upon the death of my father, I was refolved to travel into foreign countries, and therefore left the univerfity, with the character of an odd unaccountable fellow, that had a great deal of learning, if I would but fhew it. An infatiable thirft after knowledge carried me into all the countrics of Euroje, in which there was any thing new or ftrange to be feen; nay, to fuch a degree was my curiofity raifed, that having read the controverfies of fome great men concerning the antiquities of Egypt, I made a voyage to Grand Cairo, on purpofe to take the measure of a pyramid: And, as foon as I had fet myself right in that particular, returned to my native country with great fatisfaction.

I have paffed my latter years in this city, where I am frequently feen in moft public places, though there are not above half a dozen of my felect friends that know me; of whom my next paper fhall give a more particular account, There is no place of general refort, wherein I do not often make my appearance; fometimes I am feen thrusting my head into a round of politicians at Will's, and liftening with great attention to the narratives that are made in thofe little circular audiences. Sometimes I fmoke a pipe at Child's, and, whilft I feem attentive to nothing but the Poftman, overhear the converfation of every table in the room. I appear on Sunday nights at St. James's coffee-houfe, and fometimes join the little committee of politics in the inner-room, as one who comes there to hear and improve. My face is likewise very well known at the Grecian, the Cocoa-Tree, and in the theatres both of Drury-Lane and the Hay-Market. I have been taken for a merchant upon the Exchange for above these ten years, and fometimes pafs for a few in the affembly of

A 2


[ocr errors]

ftock-jobbers at Jonathan's: In fhort, wherever
fee a cluster of people, I always mix with them,
though I never open my lips but in my own club.

Thus I live in the world rather as a fpectator of
mankind, than as one of the fpecies, by which.
means I have made myfelf a speculative statesman,
foldier, merchant, and artifan, without ever med-
ling with any practical part in life. I am very well
verfed in the theory of a husband or a father, and
can difcern the errors in the economy, bufiness,
and diverfion of others, better than those who are
engaged in them; as ftanders-by discover blots,
which are apt to escape those who are in the game.
I never efpoufed any party with violence, and am
refolved to obferve an exact neutrality between the
Whigs and Tories, unless I fhall be forced to declare
myself by the hoftilities of either fide. In fhort, I
have acted in all the parts of my life as a looker-on,
which is the character I intend to preferve in this


I have given the Reader juft fo much of my hiftory and character, as to let him fee I am not altogether unqualified for the bufinefs I have undertaken. As for other particulars in my life and adventures, I fhall infert them in following papers, as I fhall fee occafion. In the mean time, when I confider how much I have feen, read, and heard, I begin to blame my own taciturnity; and, fince I have neither time nor inclination to communicate the fulness of my heart in fpeech, I am refolved to do it in writing, and to print myfelf out, if poffible, before I die. I have been often told by my friends, that it is pity fo many ufeful difcoveries which I have made fhould be in the poffeffion of a filent man. For this reafon, therefore, I fhall publish a fheet-full of thoughts every morning, for the benefit of my contemporaries; and if I can any way contribute to the diverfion or improvement of the country in which I live, I fhall leave it, when I am fummoned

[ocr errors]

fummoned out of it, with the fecret fatisfaction of thinking that I have not lived in vain.

There are three very material points which I have not spoken to in this paper; and which, for feveral important reafons, I must keep to myfelf, at least for fome time: I mean, an account of my name, my age, and my lodgings. I muft confefs, I would gratify my reader in any thing that is reasonable; but as for thefe three particulars, though I am fenfible they might tend very much to the embellifhment of my paper, I cannot yet come to a refolution of communicating them to the public. They would indeed draw me out of that obfcurity which I have enjoyed for many years, and expofe me in public places to feveral falutes and civilities, which have been always very difagreeable to me; for the greatest pain I can fuffer, is the being talked to, and being stared at. It is for this reafon likewife, that I keep my complexion and drefs as very great fecrets; though it is not impoffible, but I may make difcoveries of both in the progrefs of the work I have undertaken.

After having been thus particular upon myself, I fhall, in to-morrow's paper, give an account of thofe gentlemen who are concerned with me in this work; for, as I have before intimated, a plan of it is laid, and concerted (as all other matters of importance are) in a Club. However, as my friends have engaged me to stand in the front, those who have a mind to correfpond with me, may direct their letters to the SPECTATOR, at Mr. Buckley's in LittleBritain. For I muft further acquaint the Reader, that, though our club meets only on Tuflays and Thurfdays, we have appointed a committee to fit every night, for the inspection of all fuch papers as may contribute to the advancement of the public weal.


[blocks in formation]

No 2.


--Aft alii fex

Et plures uno conclamant ere.

[ocr errors]

Juv. Sat. vii. ver. 167.

Six more at least join their consenting voice.


HE firft of our fociety is a gentleman of Worcefterfbire, of ancient defcent, a Baronet, his name Sir ROGER DE COVERLY. His great-grandfather was inventor of that famous country-dance which is called after him. All who know that fhire are very well acquainted with the parts and merits of Sir ROGER. He is a gentleman that is very fingular in his behaviour, but his fingularities proceed from his good sense, and are contradictions to the manners of the world, only as he thinks the world is in the wrong. However this humour creates him no enemies, for he does nothing with fournefs or obftinacy; and his being unconfined to modes and forms, makes him but the readier and more capable to pleafe and oblige all who know him. When he is in town, he lives in Soho-Square. It is faid, he keeps himself a bachelor by reafon he was croffed in love by a perverse beautiful widow of the next county to him. Before this disappointment, Sir ROGER was what you call a Fine Gentleman, had often fupped with my Lord Rochester and Sir George Etherege, fought a duel upon his first coming to town, and kicked Bully Dawson in a public coffee-house for calling-him youngster. But being ill-ufed by the above-mentioned widow, he was very ferious for a year and a half; and though, his temper being naturally jovial, he at last got over it, he grew careless of himself, and never dreffed afterwards.

terwards. He continues to wear a coat and doublet of the fame cut that were in fashion at the time of his repulfe, which, in his merry humours, he tells us, has been in and out twelve times fince he firft wore it. It is faid Sir ROGER grew humble in his defires after he had forgot this cruel beauty, infomuch that, it is reported, he has frequently offended in point of chastity with beggars and gipfies: But this is looked upon by his friends rather as matter of rallery than truth. He is now in his fifty-fixth year, chearful, gay, and hearty; keeps a good house both in town and country; a great lover of mankind; but there is fuch a mirthful caft in his behaviour, that he is rather beloved than efteemed. His tenants grow rich, his fervants look fatisfied, all the young women profefs love to him, and the young men are glad of his company: When he comes into a house he calls the fervants by their names, and talks all the way up ftairs to a vifit. I must not omit, that Sir ROGER is a juftice of the Quorum; that he fills the chair at a quarter-feffion with great abilities, and three months ago gained univerfal applaufe by explaining a paffage in the game-act.

The gentleman next in esteem and authority among us, is another bachelor, who is a member of the Inner-Temple; a man of great probity, wit, and understanding; but he has chofen his place of refidence rather to obey the direction of an old humourfome father, than in pursuit of his own inclinations. He was placed there to study the laws of the land, and is the moft learned of any of the house in thofe of the ftage. Ariftotle and Longinus are much better understood by him than Littleton or Coke. The father fends up every poft queftions relating to marriage-articles, leafes, and tenures, in the neighbourhood; all which queftions he agrees with an attorney to anfwer and take care of in the lump. He is studying the paffions themselves, when


« VorigeDoorgaan »