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HAD occasion to go a few miles out of town, some
low-travellers a dirty beau, and a pretty young Quakerwoman. Having no inclination to talk much at that time, I placed myself backward, with a design to survey them, and pick a speculation out of my two companions. Their different figures were fufficient of themselves to draw my attention. The gentleman was drefled in a suit, the ground whereof had been black, as I perccived from some few spaces that had escaped the powder, which was incorporated with the greatest part of his coat: his periwig, which coft no small fum, was after so slovenly a manner cast over his shoulders, that it fcemed not to have been combed since the year 1712; his linnen, which was not much concealed, was daubed with flain Spanish from the chin to the lowest button, and the diamond upon his finger (which naturally drcaded the water) put me in mind how it fparkled amidst the rubbish of the mine, where it was first discovered. On the other hand, the pretty Quaker appeared in all the elegance of cleanliness. Not a speck was to be found on her. A clear clean oval face, just edged about with little thin plaits of the purei canibric, received great advantages from the fade of her black hood; as did the whiteness of her arms from that fober-coloured fluff, in which she had clothed herself. '1 he plainness of her dress was very well suited to the fimplicity of her phrases, all which put together, though they could not give me a great opinion of her religion, they did of her innocence.
This adventure occasioned my throwing together a few hints upon cleanliness, which I shall consider as one of the half-virtues, as Aristotle calls them, and shall recommend it under the three following heads. As it is a mark of politeness; as it produccs love; and as it bears analogy to purity of mind,
FIRST, It is a mark of politencfs. It is universally agreed upon, that no one, unadorned with this virtue, can go into company without giving a manifest offence. The easier or higher any one's fortune is, this duty rises proportionably. The different nations of the world are as much distinguished by their cleanliness, as by their arts and sciences. The more any country is civilized, the more they consult this part of politeness. We need but compare our ideas of a female Hottentot, and an English beauty, to be satisfied of the truth of what hath been advanced.
In the next place, cleanliness may be said to be the foster-mother of love. Beauty indced most commonly produces that paflion in the mind, but cleanliness preserves it. An indifferent face and person, kept in perpetual neatness, hath won many a heart from a pretty flattern. Age itself is not unamiable, while it is preserved clean and unsullied; like a piece of metal constantly kept smooth and bright, we look on it with more pleasure than on a new vessel that is cankered with rust.
I might observe further, that as cleanliness renders us agreeable to others, so it inakes us casy to ourselves ; that it is an excellent preservative of health ; and that several vices, destructive both to mind and body, are inconsistent with the habit of it. But these reflections I shall leave to the leisure of my readers, and hall observe in the third place, that it bears a great analogy with purity of mind, and naturally inspires rcfined sentiments and paffions.
We find from experience, that through the prevalence of castom, the most vicious actions lose their horror, by being made familiar to us. On the contrary, those who live in the neighbourhood of good examples, fly from the first appearance of what is shocking. It fares with us much after the same manner, as to our ideas. Our senses, which are the inlets to all the images conveyed to the mind, can only transmit the impresion of such things as usually surround them. So that pure and unsullied thoughts are naturally suggested to the mind, by those objects that perpetually cncompass us, when they are beautiful and elegant in their kind.
In the East, where the warmth of the climate makes cleanliness more immediately necessary than in colder countrics, it is made one part of their religion : the Jewish
law (and the Mahometan, which in fome things copies after it) is filled with bathings, purifications, and other rites of the like nature. Though there is the above-named convenient reason to be assigned for these ceremonies, the chief intention undoubtedly was to typify inward purity and cleanness of heart by those outward washings. We read several injunétions of this kind in the book of Deuteringing, which confirm this truth; and which are but ill accounted for by saying, as some do, that they were only instituted für convenience in the desart, which otherwife could not have been habitable for so many years.
I SHALL conclude this eslay, with a story which I have somewkere read in an account of llui-setan superstitions.
A DERVISE of great sanctity one morning had the misfortune as he took up a crystal cup, which was consecrated to the prophet, to let it fali upon the ground, and da!h it in pieces. His fun coming in, sometime after, he ftretched out his hands to bless him, as his manner was every morning; but the youth going out stumbled over the threshold and broke his arm. As the old man wondered at these events, a caravan passed by in its way from Meccu. The Dervise approached it to beg a blessing ; but as he stroked one of the holy camels, he received a kick from the beast, that forely bruised him. His forrow and amazement increased upon him, till he recollected, that through hurry and inadvertency he had that morning come abroad without walhing his hands.
Monday, December 13.
-Esplebo numerumi, reddarque tenebris.
Virg. Æn. 6. V. 545.
-The number I'll complete, Then to obfcurity well pleas'd retreat.
HE love of symmetry and order, which is natural to
whimsical fancies. “ This noble principle,' says a French author, 'loves to amuse itself on the most trifling occafions. You may see a profound philosopher,' says he,
' walk for an hour together in his chamber, and indu
striously treading, at every step, upon every other board in the flooring.' Every reader will recollect several instances of this nature without my aslistance. I think it was Gregorio Leti, who had published as many books as he was years old ; which was a rule he had laid down, and punctually observed to the year of his death. It was, perhaps, a thought of the like nature, which determined Homer himself to divide each of his poems into as many books as there are letters in the Greek alphabet. Herodotus has in the same manner adapted his books to the number of the muses, for which reason many a learned man hath wished there had been more than nine of that sisterhood.
SEVERAL epic poets bave religiously followed Virgil as to the number of his books; and even Milton is thought by many to have changed the number of his books from ten to twelve, for no other reason; as Cowley tells us, it was his design, had he finished his Davedeis, to have also imitated the Æneid in this particular. I believe every one will agree with me, that a perfection of this nature hath no foundation in reason; and, with due respect to these great names, may be looked upon as something whimsical.
I MENTION these great examples in defence of my bookseller, who occafioned this eighth volume of Spectators, because, as he said, he thought feven a very odd number. On the other side, several grave reasons were urged on this important fubject; as, in particular, that seven was the precise number of the wise men, and that the most beautiful constellation in the heavens was com• posed of feven stars. This he allowed to be true, but still insisted that seven was an odd number : suggesting at the same time that if he were provided with a sufficient stock of leading papers, he should find friends ready enough to carry on the work. Having by this means got his vessel launched and set afloat, he hath committed the steerage of it, from time to time, to such as he thought ca-pable of conducting it.
The close of this volume, which the town may now expect in a little time, may possibly ascribe each sheet to its proper author. It were no hard talk to continue this paper a consider-.
able time longer, by the help of large contributions sent from unknown hands.
I cannot give the town a better opinion of the Spectator s correspondents, than by publishing the following letter, with a very fine copy of verses upon a subject perfecily new.
Dublin, Nov. 30. 1714. CoU lately recommended to your female readers the
good old custom of their grandmothers, who used to lay out a great part of their time in needle-work: I Sentirely agree with you in your sentiments, and think it ' would not be of less advantage to themselves, and their • pofterity, than to the reputation of many of their good ' neighbours, if they past many of those hours in this in
nocent entertainment, which are lost at the tea-table. I ' would, however, humbly offer to your consideration the • case of the poetical ladies; who, though they may be "willing to take any advice given them by the Spectator,
yet can't so easily quit their pen and ink, as you may • imagine. Pray allow them, at least now and then, to • indulge themselves in other amusements of fancy, when
they are tired with stooping to their tapestry. There is 'a very particular kind of work, which of late several la• dies here in our kingdom are very fond of, which seems • very well adapted to a poetical gen!us : it is the making of grottos. I know a lady who has a very beautiful one, composed by herself, nor is there one shell in it not fuck up by her own hands. I here send you a poem to the "fair architect, which I would not offer to herself, will I • knew whether this method of a lady's palling her time
were approved of by the British Spectator, which, with the poem, I submit to your censure, who am,
Your constant reader,
-on her grotto. A grotto fo complete, with such design, What hands, Calypso, cou'd have form'd but thine ?