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childhood and youth, that we may not give vice and folly supplies from the growing generation. It is hardly to be imagined how useful this study is, and what great evils or benefit arise from putting us in our tender years to what we are fit or unfit; therefore on Tuesday last (with a design to sound their inclinations) I took three lads, who are under my guardianship, a-rambling, in a hackney-coach, to show them the town; as the lions, the tombs, Bedlam, and the other places which are entertainments to raw minds, because they strike forcibly on the fancy. The boys are brothers, one of sixteen, the other of fourteen, the other of twelve. The first was his father's darling, the second his mother's, and the third mine, who am their uncle. Mr. William is a lad of true genius; but, being at the upper end of a great school, and having all the boys below him, his arrogance is insupportable. If I begin to show a little of my Latin, he immediately interrupts: “Uncle, under favour, that which you say is not understood in that manner.” “ Brother,” says my boy Jack, “you do not show your manners much in contradicting my uncle Isaac!” “You queer cur,” says Mr. William, “do
notice of such a dull rogue as you are?” Mr. William goes on, “He is most stupid of all my
mother's children: he knows nothing of his book: when he should mind that, he is hiding or hoarding his taws and marbles, or laying up farthings. His way of thinking is, four and twenty farthings make six-pence, and two sixpences a shilling; two shillings and sixpence half a crown, and two half crowns five shillings. So within these two months the close hunks has scraped up twenty shillings, and we will make him spend it all before he comes home.” Jack immediately claps his hands in both pockets, and turns as pale as ashes. There is nothing touches a parent (and such I am to Jack) so nearly as provident conduct. This
lad has in him the true temper for a good husband, a kind father, and an honest executor. All the great people, you see make considerable figures on the exchange, in court, and sometimes in senates, are such as in reality have no greater faculty than what
may be called human instinct, which is a natural tendency to their own preservation, and that of their friends, without being capable of striking out of the road for adventures. There is Sir William Scrip was of this sort of capacity from his childhood; he has bought the country round him, and makes a bargain better than Sir Harry Wildfire, with all his wit and humour. Sir Harry never wants money but he comes to Scrip, laughs at him half an hour, and then gives bond for the other thousand. The close men are incapable of placing merit any where but in their pence, and therefore gain it: while others, who have larger capacity, are diverted from the pursuit by enjoyments which can be supported only by that cash which they despise; and therefore are in the end slaves to their inferiors, both in fortune and understanding. I once heard a man of excellent sense observe, that more affairs in the world failed by being in the hands of men of too large capacities for their business, than by being in the conduct of such as wanted abilities to execute them. Jack therefore, being of a plodding make, shall be a citizen: and I design him to be the refuge of the family in their dis
ss, as well as their jest in prosperity. His brother Will shall go to Oxford with all speed; where, if he does not arrive at being a man of sense, he will soon be informed wherein he is a coxcomb. There iş in that place such a true spirit of raillery and humour, that if they cannot make you a wise man, they will certainly let you know you are a fool; which is all my cousin wants, to cease to be so. Thus having taken these two out of the way, I have leisure to look at my third lad. I observe in the
may go far
young rogue a natural subtlety of mind, which discovers itself rather in forbearing to declare his thoughts on any occasion, than in
of exerting himself in discourse. For which reason I will place him where, if he commits no faults, ther than those in other stations, though they excel in virtues. The boy is well-fashioned, and will easily fall into a graceful manner; wherefore, I have a design to make him a page to a great lady of my acquaintance; by which means he will be well skilled in the common modes of life; and make a greater progress in the world by that knowledge, than with the greatest qualities without it. A good mien in a court, will carry a man greater lengths than a good understanding in any other place. We see a world of pains taken, and the best years of life spent, in collecting a set of thoughts in a college for the conduct of life; and, after all, the man so qualified shall hesitate in his speech to a good suit of cloaths, and want common sense before an agreeable woman. Hence it is, that wisdom, valour, justice, and learning cannot keep a man in countenance that is possessed with these excellences, if he wants that inferior art of life and behaviour, called good-breeding. A man endowed with great perfections, without this, is like one who has his pockets full of gold, but always wants change for his ordinary occasions.
Will Courtly is a living instance of this truth, and has had the same education which I am giving my nephew. He never spoke a thing but what was said before, and yet can converse with the wittiest men without being ridiculous. Among the learned, he does not appear ignorant, nor with the wise, indiscreet. Living in conversation from his infancy, makes him nowhere at a loss; and a long familiarity with the persons of men is, in a manner, of the same service to him, as if he knew their arts. As ceremony is the invention of wise men, to keep fools at a distance; so good-breeding is an expedient to make fools and wise men equals.
Will's Coffee-house, June 17. The suspension of the playhouse has made me have nothing to send you from hence; but, calling here this evening, I found the party I usually sit with, upon the business of writing, and examining what was the handsomest style in which to address women, and to write letters of gallantry. Many were the opinions which were immediately declared on this subject. Some were for a certain softness; something inexpressibly tender. When it came to me, I said there was no rule in the world to be made for writing letters, but that of being as near what you would speak face to face, as you can ; which is so great a truth, that I am of opinion, writing has lost more 'mistresses than any one mistake in the whole legend of love. For, when you write to a lady for whom
have a solid and honourable passion, the great idea you have of her, joined to a quick sense of her absence, fills your mind with a sort of tenderness, that gives your language too much the air of complaint, which is seldom successful. For a man may flatter himself as he pleases; but he will find that the women have more understanding in their own affairs than we have; and women of spirit are not to be won by mourners. He that can keep handsomely within rules, and support the carriage of a companion to his mistress, is much more likely to prevail, than he who lets her see that the whole relish of his life depends upon her. If possible, therefore, divert your mistress, rather than sigh for her. The pleasant man she will desire for her own sake; but the languishing lover has nothing to hope for, but her pity. To show the difference, I produce two letters a lady gave me, which had been writ by two gentlemen who pretended to her, but were both killed
the next day after the date, at the battle of Almanza. One of them was a mer
ercurial, gay-humoured man; the other, a man of a serious, but a great and gallant spirit. Poor Jack Careless! this is his letter: you see how it is folded : the air of it is so negligent, one might have read half of it by peeping into it, without breaking it open.
He had no exactness. “Madam, “It is a very pleasant circumstance I am in, that while I should be thinking of the good company we are to meet with in a day or two, where we shall go to loggerheads, my thoughts are running upon a fair enemy in England. I was in hopes I had left you there; but you follow the camp, though I have endeavoured to make some of our leaguer ladies* drive you
out of the field. All my comfort is, you are more troublesome to my colonel than myself: I permit you to visit me only now and then; but he downright keeps you. I laugh at his honour, as far as his gravity will allow me: but I know him to be man of too much merit to succeed with a woman. Therefore defend
heart as well as you can: I shall come home this winter irresistibly dressed, and with quite a new foreign air.
And so I had like to say,
I rest; but, alas! I remain, madam, your most obedient, most humble servant,
“JOHN CARELESS." Now for Colonel Constant's epistle; you see it is folded and directed with the utmost care :
“Madam, “I do myself the honour to write to you this evening, because I believe to-morrow will be the day of battle; and something forbodes in my breast that I shall fall in it. If it prove so, I hope you will hear * Women who accompany the army.