Page images




• ör he will be in danger of making a wrong judg

If men as they walk abroad would make more frequent observations on those beauties of nature, which

every moment present themselves to our view, they would be better judges when they saw her well imitated at home : This would help to correct those errors which most pretenders fall into, who are over-hasty in their judgments, and will not stay to let reason come in for

share in the decision. It is for want of this that men mistake in this case, and in common life, a wild extravagant pencil for one that is

truly bold and great, an inpudent fellow for a 'man of true courage and bravery, hafty and un

reasonable actions for enterprizes of spirit and re• folution, gaudy colouring for that which is truly

beautiful, a false and infinuating discourse for

simple truth elegantly recommended. The parala ·lel will hold through all the parts of life and

painting too ; and the virtuosos above-mentioned will be glad to see you

draw it with your terms • of art. As the shadows in picture represent the · serious or melancholy, fo the lights do the • bright and lively thoughts : As there thould be • but one 'forcible light in a pieture which should

catch the eye and fall on the hero, so there should be but one object of our love, even the author of nature. There and the like reflections well im

proved, night very much contribute to open the • beauty of that art, and prevent young people « from being poisoned by the ill gusto of an extravagant workman that should be imposed up

I am, SIR, your most humble fervant,

[ocr errors]

on us.

« Mr. SPECTATOR, : THough I am a woman, yet I am one of those

who confess themselves highly pleafed with a speculation you obliged the world with fometime Ee 2


[ocr errors]

ago, from an old Greek poet you call Simonides, in relation to the several natures and distinctions of our own sex. I could not but admire how justly the characters of women in this age fall in with

the times of Simonides, there being no one of ' those forts I have not at some time or other of

my life met with a sample of. But, Sir, the subject of this present address, are a set of women comprehended, I think, in the ninth specie of that Tpeculation, called the 'Apes; the description of whom I find to be, “ That they are such as are both ugly and ill-natured, who have nothing

beautiful themselves, and endeavour to detract " from or ridicule every thing that appears so in " others.” Now, Sir, this sect, as I have been

told, is very frequent in the great town where you live; but as my circunstance of life obliges me to rcfide altogether in the country, though

not many miles from London, I cannot have met ' with a great number of them, nor indeed is it a

desirable acquaintance, as I have lately found by experience. You must know, Sir, that at the beginning of this summer a family of these apes came and settled for the season not far from the

place where I live. As they were strangers in ' the country, they were visited by the Ladies a'bout them, of whom I was, with an humanity ' usual in those that pass most of their time in fo' litude. The apes lived with us very agreeably

our own way, until towards the end of the summer, when they began to bethink themselves of returning to town; then it was, Mr. SPECTA. Tor, that they began to set themselves about the proper and distinguishing business of their chaįracter; and, as it is said of evil spirits, that they

are apt to carry away a piece of the house they are about to leave, the apes, without regard to cominon mercy, civility, or gratitude, thought fit to mimick and fall foul on the faces, dress, and


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

' behaviour of their innocent neighbours, bestow.

ing abominable censures and disgraceful appella• tions, commonly called nick-names, on all of 'them; and in short, like true Fine Ladies, made " their honest plainness and sincerity matter of ri

dicule. I could not but acquaint you with these grievances, as well at the desire of all the parties injured, as from my own inclination. I hope,

Sir, if you cannot propose intirely to reform this ' evil, you will take such notice of it in some of

your future speculations, as may put the deserving part of our sex on their guard against these

creatures ; and at the same time the apes may be " sensible, that this sort of mirth is so far from an

innocent diversion, that it is in the highest degree • that vice which is said to comprehend all others.

“ I am, SIR, T

• Your humble servant,





Fiela voluptatis caufa fit proxima veris.

Hor. Ars. Poet, ver. 338. Fictions, to please, should wear the face of truth. Here is nothing which one regards so much

with an eye of mirth and pity as innocence, when it has in it a dafh of folly. At the same time that one efteems the virtue, one is tempted to laugh at the simplicity which accompanies it. When a man is made up wholly of the dove, without the Teast grain of the serpent in his composition, he becomes ridiculous in many circumstances of lite, and very often discredits his best actions. The Cor. deliers tell a story of their founder St. Francis, that as he passed the streets in the dukk of the even


E e 3

ing, he discovered a young fellow with a maid in a corner ; upon which the good man, say they, lifted up his hands to heaven with a secret thanksgiving, that there was still so much Christian charity in the world. The innocence of the faint made him mistake the kiss of a lover for a falute of charity. I am heartily concerned when I see a virtuous man without a competent knowledge of the world; and if there be any use in these my papers, that without representing vice under any false alluring notions, they give my reader an insight into the ways of men, and represent human nature in all its changeable colours. The man who has not been engaged in any of the follies of the world, or, as Shakespear expreffes it, hackneyed in the ways of men, inay here find a picture of its follies and extravagan. cies. The virtuous and the inocent may how in speculation what they could never arrive at by practcie, and by this means avoid the fnares of the crafty, the corruptions of the vicious, and the reafonings of the prejudiced. Their minds may be opened without being vitiated.

It is with an eye to my following correspondent, Mr. Timothy Doodle, who feems a very well-meaning man, that I have written this short preface, to which I fhall fubjoin a letter from the said Mr. Doodle.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]



Could heartily wish that you would let us

know your opinion upon several innocent di• versions which are in ufe among us, and which

are very proper to pass away a winter-night for

thofe who do not care to throw away their time * at an opera, or at the play-house. I would

gladly know in particular, what notion you have • of hot-cockles; as also whether you think hat

questions and and cominands, mottoes, fimiles, and cross-purposes have not more mirth and wit

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

If you

• in them, than those publick diverfions which are grown


fashionable among us. · would recommend to our wives and daughters, • who read your papers with a great deal of plea• fure, some of those sports and pastimes that may • be practifed within doors, and by the fire-fide,

we who are masters of families should be hugely • obliged to you. I need not tell you that I would • have these sports and pastimes not only merry • but innocent, for which reason I have not men

tioned either whilk or lanterloo, nor indeed fo • much as one and thirty. After having cominu• nicated to you my request upon this fubject, I I will be so free as to tell you how my wife and I pass away these tedious winter-evenings with a

great deal of pleasure. Though she be young • and handsome, and good-humoured to a mira#cle, she does not care for gadding abroad like O«thers of her sex. There is a very friendly man, "a colonel in the army, whom I am mightily

obliged to for his civilities, that comes to fee me almost every night; for he is not one of those giddy young fellows that cannot live out of a play house. When we are together, we very of

ten make a party at blind-man's buff, which is a • sport that I like the better, because there is a good deal of exercise in it. The colonel and I

blinded by turns, and you would laugh your • heart out to see what pains my dear takes to · hoodwink us, so that it is impoffible for us to • see the leaft glimpse of light. The poor colonel · fometimes hits his nose against a poft, and • makes us die with laughing. I have generally

the good luck not to hurt nyfelf, but am very (often above half an hour before I can catch either • of them; for you must know we hide ourselves

up and down in corners, that we may have the more sport. I only give you this hint as a fam


[ocr errors]


« PreviousContinue »