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most craftily given to this ill quality. I was at first diverted with a certain absurdity the creature was guilty of in every thing she said. She is a country girl; and in the dialect of the shire she was born in, would tell me that every body reckoned her lady had the purest red and white in the world: then she would tell me I was the most like one Sisly Dobson in their town, who made the miller make away with himself, and walk afterwards in the corn-field where they used to meet. With all this, this cunning hussy can lay letters in my way, and put a billet in my gloves, and then stand in it she knows nothing of it. I do not know, from my birth to this day, that I have been ever treated by any one as I ought; and if it were not for a few books, which I delight in, I should be at this hour a novice to all common sense. Would it not be worth your while to lay down rules for behaviour in this case, and tell people, that we fair ones expect honest plain answers as well as other people? Why must I, good sir, because I have a good air, a fine complexion, and am in the bloom of my years, be misled in all my actions; and have the notions of good and ill confounded in my mind, for no other offence, but because I have the advantages of beauty and fortune? Indeed, sir, what with the silly homage which is paid to us by the sort of people I have above spoken of, and the utter negligence which others have for us, the conversation of us young women of condition is no other than what must expose us to ignorance and vanity, if not vice. All this is humbly submitted to your spectatorial wisdoin, by
Will's Coffee-house. • Pray, sir, it will serve to fill up a paper if you put in this; which is only to ask, whether that copy of verses which is a paraphrase of Isaiah, in one of your speculations, is not written by Mr. Pope? Then you get on another line, by putting in, with proper distances, as at the end of a letter,
I am, Sir,
• Mr. DAPPERWIT,
• I am glad to get another line forward, by saying that excellent piece is Mr. Pope's; and so, with proper distances,
« Mr. SPECTATOR,
' I was a wealthy grocer in the city, and as fortunate as diligent; but I was a single man, and you know there are women. One in particular came to my shop, who I wished might, but was afraid never would make a grocer's wife. I thought, however, to take an effectual way of courting, and sold her at less price than I bought, that I might buy at less price than I sold. She, you may be sure, often came and helped me to many customers at the same rate, fancying I was obliged to her. You must needs think this was a good living trade, and my riches must be vastly improved. In fiue, I was nigh being declared bankrupt, when I declared myself her lover, and she herself married. I was just in a condition to support myself, and am now in hopes of growing rich by losing my customers,
JEREMY COMFIT.' Mr. SPECTATOR,
• I am in the condition of the idol you was once pleased to mention, and bar-keeper of a coffeehouse. I believe it is needless to tell
opportunities I must give, and the importunities I suffer. But there is one gentleman who besieges me as close as the French did Bouchain. His gravity makes him work cautious, and his regular approaches denote a good engineer. You need not doubt of his oratory, as he is a lawyer; and especially since he has had so little use of it at Westminster, he may spare the more for me.
• What then can weak woman do? I am willing to surrender, but he would have it at discretion, and I with discretion. In the mean time, whilst we parley, our several interests are neglected. As his siege grows stronger, my tea grows weaker; and while he pleads at my bar, none come to him for counsel but in formd puuperis. Dear Mr. Spectator, advise him not to insist upon hard articles, nor by his irregular desires contradict the well-meaning lines of his countenance. If we were agreed, we might settle to something, as soon as we could determine where we should get most by the law-at the coffee-house, or at Westminster,
Your humble servant,
A Minute from Mr. John Sly. 'The world is pretty regular for about forty rod east and ten west of the observatory of the said Mr. Sly; but he is credibly informed, that when they are got beyond the pass into the Strand, or those who move city-ward are got within Templebar, they are just as they were before. It is therefore humbly proposed, that moving centries may be
appointed all the busy hours of the day between the Exchange and Westminster, and report what passes to your honour, or your subordinate officers, from time to time.'
Ordered, That Mr. Sly name the said officers, provided he will answer for their principles and morals.
N° 535. THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 1712.
Spem longam reseces.
HOR. 1. Od. xi. 7.
Cut short vain hope.
My four hundred and seventy-first speculation turned upon the subject of hope in general. I design this paper as a speculation upon that vain and foolish hope, which is misemployed on temporal objects, and produces many sorrows and calamities in human life.
It is a precept several times inculcated by Horace, that we should not entertain a hope of any thing in life, which lies at a great distance from us.
The shortness and uncertainty of our time here makes such a kind of hope unreasonable and absurd. The grave lies unseen between us and the object which we reach after. Where one man lives to enjoy the good he has in view, ten thousand are cut off in the pursuit of it.
It happens likewise unluckily, that one hope no sooner dies in us but another rises up in its stead. We are apt to fancy that we shall be happy and satisfied if we possess ourselves of such and such particular enjoyments; but either by reason of their emptiness, or the natural inquietude of the mind, we have no sooner gained one point, but we extend our hopes to another. We still find new invitingscenes and landscapes lying behind those which at a distance terminated our view.
The natural consequences of such reflections are these; that we should take care not to let our hopes run out into too great a length; that we should sufficiently weigh the objects of our hope, whether they be such as we may reasonably expect from them what we propose in their fruition, and whether they are such as we are pretty sure of attaining, in case our life extend itself so far. If we hope for things which are at too great a distance from us, it is possible that we may be intercepted by death in our progress towards them. If we hope for things which we have not thoroughly considered the value of, our disappointment will be greater than our pleasure in the fruition of them. If we hope for what we are, not likely to possess, we act and think in vain, and make life a greater dream and shadow than it really is. Many of the miseries and misfortunes of life
proceed from our want of consideration, in one or all of these particulars. They are the rocks on which the sanguine tribe of lovers daily split, and on which the bankrupt, the politician, the alchymist, and projector, are cast away in every age. Men. of warm imaginations and towering thoughts are apt to overlook the goods of fortune which are near them, for something that glitters in the sight at a distance; to neglect solid and substantial happiness, for what is showy and superficial; and to contemn that good which lies within their reach, for that which they are not capable of attaining. Hope