Page images
PDF
EPUB

Berlin of the twenty-sixth of July. “ Count Wartembourg," says he, " great chamberlain, and chief minister of this court, who on Monday last accompanied the king of Prussia to Oranienburg, was taken so very ill, tbat on Wednesday his life was despaired of; and we had a report, that his Excellency was dead."

I humbly presume that it flattens the narration, to say his Excellency in a case which is common to all men; except you would infer what is not to be inferred, to wit, that the author designed to say, “all wherein he excelled others was departed from him."

Were distinctions used according to the rules of reason and sense, those additions to men’s vames would be, as they were first intended, significant of their worth, and not their persons; so that in some cases it might be proper to say,

“ The man is dead; but his Excellency will never die." It is, methinks, very unjust to laugh at a Quaker, because he has taken up a resolution to treat you with a word, the most expressive of complaisance that cau be thought of, and with an air of good-nature and charity calls you Friend. I say, it is very unjust to rally him for this term to a stranger, when you yourself, in all your phrases of distinction, confound phrases of honour into uo use at all.

Tom Courtly, who is the pink of courtesy, is an instance of how little moment an undistinguishing application of sounds of honour are to those who understand themselves. Tom never fails of paying bis obeisance to every man he sees, who has title or office to make him conspicuous; but his deference is wholly given to outward considerations. I, who know him, can tell him within half an acre, how much land one man has more than another by Tom's bow to him. Title is all he knows of honour,

[ocr errors]

and civility of friendship: for this reason, because he cares for no man living, he is religiously strict in performing, what he calls, his respects to you. To this end he is very learned in pedigree; and will abate something in the ceremony of his approaches to a man, if he is in any doubt about the bearing of bis coat of arms. What is the most pleasant of all his character is, that be acts with a sort of integrity in these impertinences; and though he would not do any solid kindness, he is wonderfully just and careful not to wrong his quality. But as integrity is very scarce in the world, I cannot forbear having respect for the impertinent: it is some virtue to be bound by any thing. Tom and I are upon very good terms, for the respect he has for the house of Bickerstaff. Though one cannot but laugh at his serious consideration of things so little essential, one must have a value even for a frivolous good conscience,

[ocr errors]

N° 205. TUESDAY, AUGUST 1, 1710.

Νηπιοι, υδ' ισασιν οσω πλεον ημισυ σαντος
Και οσον εν μαλαχη τε και ασφοδελω μεγονειας.

HESIOD, Oper. & Dier. ver. 20.
Fools! not to know how far an humble lot
Exceeds abundance by injustice got;
How Health and Temperance bless the rustic swain,
While Luxury destroys her pamper'd train.

R. WYNNE.

From my own Apartment, July 31. NATURE has implanted in us two very strong desires; hunger, for the preservation of the individuals; and lust, for the support of the species; or, to speak more intelligibly, the former to continue our own persons, and the latter to introduce others into the world. According as men behave themselves with regard to these appetites, they are above or below the beasts of the field, which are incited by them without choice or reflection. But reasonable creatures correct these incentives, and improve them into elegant motives of friendship and society. It is chiefly from this homely foundation, that we are under the necessity of seeking for the agreeable companion, and the honourable mistress. By this cultivation of art and reason, our wants are made pleasure; and the gratification of our desires, under proper restrictions, a work no way below our noblest facul. ties. The wisest man may maintain his character, and yet consider in what manner he shall best enter,

tain bis friend, or divert his mistress. Nay, it is so far from being a derogation to him, that he can in no instances shew so true a taste of his life, or his fortune. What concerns one of the above-mentioned appetites, as it is elevated into love, I shall have abundant occasion to discourse of, before I have provided for the numberless crowd of damsels I have proposed to take care of. The subject therefore of the present paper shall be that part of society which owes its beginning to the common necessity of Hunger. When this is considered as the support of our being, we may take in under the same head Thirst also; otherwise, when we are pursuing the glutton, the drunkard may make his escape. The true choice of our diet, and our companions at it, seems to consist in that which contributes most to cheerfulness and refreshment: aud these certainly are best consulted by simplicity in the food, and sincerity in the company. By this rule are, in the first place, excluded from pretence to happiness all meals of state and ceremony, which are performed in dumb-show, and greedy sullenness. At the boards of the great, they say, you shall have a number attending with as good habits and countenances as the guests, which only circumstance must destroy the whole pleasure of the repast: for if such attendants are introduced for the dignity of their appearance, modest minds are shocked by considering them as spectators; or else look upon them as equals, for whose servitude they are in a kind of suffering. It may be here added, that the sumptuous side-board, to an ingenuous eye, has often more the air of an altar than a table. The next absurd way of enjoying ourselves at meals is, where the bottle is plied without being called for, where humour takes place of appetite, and the good company are too dull, or too merry, to know any enjoyment in their senses. VOL. IV.

D D

men.

Though this part of time is absolutely necessary to sustain life, it must be also considered, that life itself is to the endless being of man but what a meal is to this life, not valuable for itself, but for the purposes of it. If there be any truth in this, the expense of many hours this way is somewhat unaccountable; and placing much thought either in too great sumptuousness and elegance in this matter, or wallowing in noise and riot at it, are both, though not equally, unaccountable. I have often considered these different people with very great attention, and always speak of them with the distinction of the Eaters and the Swallowers. The Eaters sacrifice all their senses and understanding to this appetite. The Swallowers hurry themselves out of both, without pleasing this or any other appetite at all. The latter are improved brutes, the former, degenerated

I have sometimes thought it would not be improper to add to my dead and living men, persons in an intermediate state of humanity, under the appellation of Dozers. The Dozers are a sect, wbo, instead of keeping their appetites in subjection, live in subjection to them; nay, they are so truly slaves to them, that they keep at too great a distance ever to come into their presence. own acquaintance, I know those that I dare say have forgot that they ever were hungry, and are no less utter strangers to thirst and weariness; who are beholden to sauces for their food, and to their food for their weariness.

I have often wondered, considering the excellent and choice spirits that we bave among our divines, that they do not think of putting vicious habits into a more contemptible and unlovely figure than they do at present. So many men of wit and spirit as there are in sacred orders, bave it in their power to make the fashion of their side. The leaders in bu.

Within my

« PreviousContinue »