Imatges de pÓgina
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glass has pointed at Changeable. Upon the whole, I aften apply to Fortune Æneas's speech to the Sibyl:

Non ulla laborunt,
O virgo, nova mi facies inopinave surgit :
Omnia præcepi, atque animo mecum antè peregi.

VIRG. ÆN. vi. 103.

- No terror to my view,
No frightful face of danger can be new:
The mind foretels whatever comes to pass ;
A thoughtful mind is Fortune's Weather-glass.

The advantages which have accrued to those whom I have advised in their affairs, by virtue of this sort of prescience, have been very considerable. A nephew of mine, who has never put his money into the stocks, or taken it out, without my advice, has in a few years raised five hundred pounds to almost so many thousands. As for myself, who look upon riches to consist rather in content than possessions, and measure the greatness of the mind rather by its tranquillity than its ambition, I have seldom used my glass to make my way in the world, but often to retire from it. This is a byepath to happiness, which was first discovered to me by a most pleasing apophthegm of Pythagoras ; -'When the winds," says he, rise, worship the echo.' That great philosopher, whether to make his doctrines the more venerable, or to gild his precepts with the beauty of imagination, or to awaken the curiosity of his disciples, for I will not suppose, what is usually said, that he did it to conceal his wisdom from the vulgar, has couched several admirable precepts in remote allusions, and mysterious sentences. By the winds in this apophthegm, are meant state hurricanes and popular

tumults. - When these rise,' says he, 'worship the echo;' that is, withdraw yourself from the multitude into deserts, woods, solitudes, or the like retirements, which are the usual habitations of the echo.

No. 215. THURSDAY, AUGUST 24, 1710.

FROM MY OWN APARTMENT, AUGUST 23. LYSANDER has writ to me out of the country, and tells me, after many

other circumstances, that he had passed a great deal of time with much pleasure and tranquillity; till his happiness was interrupted by an indiscreet flatterer, who came down into those parts to visit a relation. With the circumstances in which he represents the matter, he bad no small provocation to be offended; for he attacked him in so wrong a season, that he could not have any relish of pleasure in it; though, perhaps, at another time it might have passed upon him without giving him much uneasiness. Lysander had, after a long satiety of the town, been so happy as to get to a solitude he extremely liked, and recovered a pleasure he had long discontinued, that of reading. He was got to the bank of a rivulet, covered by a pleasing shade, and fanned by a soft breeze: which threw his mind into that sort of composure and attention, in which a man, though with indolence, enjoys the utmost liveliness of his spirits and the greatest strength of his mind at the same time. In this state, Lysander represents that he was reading Virgil's Georgics, when on a sudden the gentleman above-mentioned surprised him, and without any manner of preparation falls upon him at once: • What! I have found you at last, after searching all over the wood ! we wanted you at cards after dinner ; but you are much better employed. I have heard indeed that you are an excellent scholar. But at the same time, is it not a little unkind to rob the ladies, who like you so well, of the pleasure of your company? But that is indeed the misfortune of you great scholars, you are seldom so fit for the world as those who never trouble themselves with books. Well, I see you are taken up with your learning there, and I will leave you. Lysander says, he made him no answer, but took a resolution to complain to me.

It is a substantial affliction, when men govern themselves by the rules of good-breeding, that by the very force of them they are subjected to the insolence of those, who either never will, or never can, understand them. The superficial part of mankind form to themselves little measures of behaviour from the outside of things. By the force of these narrow conceptions, they act amongst themselves with applause, and do not apprehend they are contemptible to those of higher understanding, who are restrained by decencies above their knowledge from showing a dislike. Hence it is, that because complaisance is a good quality in conversation, one impertinent takes upon him on all occasions to commend; and, because mirth is agreeable, another thinks fit eternally to jest. I have of late received many packets of letters, complaining of these spreading evils. A lady who is lately arrived at the Bath acquaints me, there were in the stage-coach wherein she went down, a common flatterer, and a common

jester. These gentlemen were, she tells me, rivals in her favour; and adds, if there ever happened a case wherein of two persons one was not liked more than another, it was in that journey. They differed only in proportion to the degree of dislike between the nauseous and the insipid. Both these characters of men are born out of a barrenness of imagination. They are never fools by nature; but become such out of an impotent ambition of being, what she never intended them, men of wit and conversation. I therefore think fit to declare, that according to the known laws of this land, a man may be a very honest gentleman, and enjoy himself and his friend, without being a wit; and I absolve all men from taking pains to be such for the future. As the present case stands, is it not very unhappy that Lysander must be attacked and applauded in a wood, and Corinna jolted and commended in a stage-coach ; and this for no manner of reason, but because other people have a mind to show their parts? I grant, indeed, if these people, as they have understanding enough for it, would confine their accomplishments to those of their own degree of talents, it were to be tolerated; but when they are so insolent as to interrupt the meditations of the wise, the conversations of the agreeable, and the whole behaviour of the modest, it becomes a grievance naturally in my jurisdiction. Among themselves, I can not only overlook, but approve it. I was present the other day at a conversation, where a man of this height of breeding and sense told a young woman of the same form, • To be sure, Madam, every thing must please that comes from a lady.' She answered, I know, Sir, you are so much a gentleman that you think so.' Why this is very well on both sides; and it is impossible that such a lady and gentleman should do otherwise than think well of one another. These are but loose

144

TATLER. hints of the disturbances in human society, for which there is yet no remedy; but I shall in a little time publish tables of respect and civility, by which persons may be instructed in the proper times and seasons, as well as at what degree of intimacy a man may be allowed to commend or rally his companions ; the promiscuous licence of which is

, at present

, far from being among the small errors in conversation.

P.S. The following letter was left, with a request to be immediately answered, lest the artifices used against a lady in distress may come into common practice.

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My eldest sister buried her husband about six months ago; and, at his funeral, a gentleman of more art than honesty, on the night of his interment, while she was not herself, but in the utmost agony of her grief, spoke to her of the subject of love. In that weakness and distraction which my sister was in, as one ready to fall is apt to lean on any body, he obtained her promise of marriage, which was accordingly consumimated eleven weeks after. There is no affliction comes alone, but one brings another. My sister is now ready to lje-in. She humbly asks know, who is the

lawful father of this child? or wheriage ? considering it was promised under such cir

of you, as you are a friend to the sex, to let her ther she may not be relieved from this second márwhat she did voluntarily, but because she was helpcumstances as one may very well suppose she did not less otherwise. gagements made in gaol, which she thinks the same, relies upon your advice, and gives you her service ; as does your

She is advised something about enas to the reason of the thing. But, dear Sir, she

humble servant,

66

REBECCA MÍDRIFFE."

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