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• time nauseous in us. I shall, Sir, hereafter, froni ' time to time, give you the names of these wretches • who pretend to enter our houses merely as spec
tators. These men think it wit to use us ill: Pray • tell them, however worthy we are of such treat• ment, it is unworthy them to be guilty of it to' wards us. Pray, Sir, take notice of this, and
pity the oppressed : I wish we could add to it, the o innocent.'
NO 191. TUESDAY, OCTOBER 9..
Hom. II. 2. ver. 6. Deluding vision of the night.
POPE. SOME ludicrous schoolmen have put the case, that
if an ass were placed between two bundles of hay, which affected his senses equally on each side, and tempted him in the very fame degree, whether it would be poflible for him to eat of either. They generally determine this question to the disadvantage of the ass, who they say would starve in the midst of plenty, as not having a single grain of freewill to determine him more to the one than to the other. The bundle of hay on either side striking his fight and smell in the same proportion, would keep him in a perpetual fufpenfe, like the two magnets which, travellers have told us, are placed one of them in the roof, and the other in the floor of Mahomet's burying-place at Mecca, and by that means, say they, pull the impostor's iron coffin with such an equal attraction, that it hangs in the air between both of them. As for the ass's behaviour in such nice circumstances, whether he would starve sooner than violate his neutrality to the two bundles of hay, I shall not presume to determine: But only take notice of the conduct of our own species in the fame perplexity. When a man has a mind to venture VOL. III.
his money in a lottery, every figure of it appears cqually alluring, and as likely to succeed as any of its fellows. They all of them have the same pretensions to good-luck, stand upon the fame foot of competition, and no manner of reason can be given why a man should prefer one to the other before the lottery is drawn. In this case therefore caprice very often acts in the place of reason, and forms to itself fome groundless imaginary motive, where real and substantial ones are wanting. I know a well-meaning man that is very well pleased to ritk his good-fortune upon the number 1711, becaufe it is the year of our Lord. I am acquaintcd with a tacker that would give a good deal for the number 134. On the contrary, I have been told of a certain zealous diffenter, who being a great enemy to popery, and believing that bad men are the most fortunate in this world, will lay two to one on the number 666 against any other number; because, fays he, it is the number of the beast, Several would prefer the number 1 2000 before any other, as it is the number of the pounds in the great prize. In short, fome are plented to find their own age in their number; fome that they have got a number which makes a pretty appearance in the ciphers; and others, because it is the fame number that succeeded in the last lottery. Each of these, upon no other grounds, thinks he stands fairest for the great lot, and that he is poflefled of what may not be iinproperly called The Golden Number.
Thefe principles of election are the pastimes and extravagances of human reason, which is of so busy a nature, that it will be exerting itself in the meanest trifles, and working even when it wants matevials. The wisest of men are sometimes actuated by Juch unaccountable motives, as the life of the food and the fuperftitious is guided by nothing else, I ana furprifcd that none of the fortune-tellers,
or, as the French call them, the Difeurs de bonne Avanture, who publish their bills in every quarter of the town, have not turned our lotteries to their advantage : Did any of them fet up for a cafter of fortunate figures, what might he not get by his pretended discoveries and predictions ?
I remember among the advertisements in the PostBay of September the 27th, I was surprised to see the following one :
This is to give notice, That ter billings over and above the market price, will be given for the ticket in 1500000 l. Lottery, N. 132, by Nath. Cliff, at the Bible and Three Crowns in Cheapfide.
This advertisement has given great matter of fpeculation to coffeehoufe theorists. Mr. Cliff's principles and converfation have been canvaffed up on this occafion, and various conjecturcs made why he should thus fer his heart upon N° 132. I have examined all the powers in those numbers, broken them into fractions, extracted the square and cube root, divided and multiplied them all ways, but could not arrive at the secret until about three days ago, when I received the following letter from an unknown hand, by which I find that Mr. Nathaniel Cliff is only the agent, and not the principal in this advertifement.
• Mr. SPECTATOR, I Am the person that lately advertised I would
give ten shillings more than the current price • for the ticket No 132 in the lottery now drawing; ( which is a secret I have communicated to some • friends, who rally me inceflantly upon that ac
count. You must know I have but one ticket, • for which reason, and a certain dreain I have
lately had more than once, I was resolved it should be the number I most approved. I am so positive I have pitched upon the great lot, that I could
• almost lay all I am worth of it. My visions are • fo frequent and strong upon this occasion, that I ' have not only possessed the lot, but disposed of the
money which in all probability it will fell for. " This morning, in particular, I set up an equipage
which I look upon to be the gaiest in the town ; • the liveries are very rich, but not gaudy. I should
be very glad to see a speculation or two upon lot'tery subjects, in which you will oblige all people concerned, and in particular • Your most humble Servant,
. GEORGE GOSLING.' · P. s. Dear Spec, if I get the 12000 pound, I will make thee a handsome prefent.
After having wished my correspondent good luck, and thanked him for his intended kindnefs, I shall for this time dismiss the subject of the lottery, and only observe, that the greatest part of mankind are in fome degree guilty of my friend Gosling's extravagance. We are apt to rely upon future prospects, and become really expensive while we are only rich in possibility. We live up to our expectations, not to our poffeffions, and make a figure proportionable to what we may be, not what we are We outrun our present income, as not doubting to disburse ourselves out of the profits of some future place, project, or reversion that we have in view. It is through this temper of mind, which is so common among us, that we fee tradefinen break, who have met with no misfortunes in their business; and men of estates reduced to poverty, who have never fuffered from losses or repairs, tenants, taxes, or lawfuits. In short, it is this foolish sanguine temper, this depending upon contingent futurities, that occafions romantick generosity, chimerical grandeur, fenseless oftentation, and generally ends in beggary and ruin. The man, who will live above his present circumstances, is in great danger of living in a
fuch a succeffor to a good man, is, worse than laid waste; and the family, of which he is the head, is in a more deplorable condition than that of being extinct.
When I visit the agreeable seat of my honoured friend Ruricola, and walk from room to room revolving many pleasing occurrences, and the expresfions of many just sentiments I have heard him utter, and see the booby his heir in pain while he is doing the honours of his house to the friend of his father, the heaviness it gives one is not to be exprefled. Want of genius is not to be iinputed to any man, but want of humanity is a man's own fault. The fon of Ruricola, (whose life was one ..continued feries of worthy actions and gentlemanlike inclinations) is the companion of drunken clowns, and knows no fense of praise but in the flattery he receives from his own fervants; his pleafures are mean and inordinate, his language base and filthy, his behaviour rough and abfurd. Is this creature to be accounted the fucceffor of a man of virtue, wit, and breeding? At the fame time that I have this melancholy prospect at the house where I mifs my old friend, I can go to a Gentleman's not far off it, where he has a daughter who is the picture both of his body and mind, but both improved with the beauty and modesty peculiar to her fex. It is the who supplies the lofs of her father to the world; she, without his name or fortune, is a truer memorial of him than her brother who succeeds him in both. Such an offspring as the eldest son of my friend perpetuates his father in the same manner as the appearance of his ghost would : It is indeed Ruricola, but it is Ruricola grown frightful.
I know not what to attribute the brutal turn which this young man has taken, except it may be to a certain severity and distance which his father used towards him, and might, perhaps, have occa