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fifted that Sir William should give up his Port and water, and drink the bumper in Burgundy.
Upon this Miss Roberts drew off her chair as far as she could from young Mr. Draper: Lady Roberts bridled up-Mrs. Draper bridled up in return-Sir William drank off the bumper of Burgundy.
To break through the awkward llence which this had occasioned, I suggested that one of the young ladies should give us a song ; which proposal was acquiesced in. Miss Draper sung an Italian air, which the had learned of a celebrated Master. Her father took occasion to tell the price of his lessons. " It is now your rs turn,” said he to Miss Roberts.' “ She never « fings,” said her father, somewhat sternly. His daughter blushed, and was silent. Soon after the ladies withdrew. The remainder of the afternoon was spent in Sir William's drinking his Port and water, and in Mr. Draper and the greatest part of his company getting flustered in Burgundy and Claret. When at last, upona message from Lady Roberts, Sir William joined her and his children in the lobby, and went off in the family-coach drawn by four horses, which had been employed in that service for fifteen years, and were driven by poftilions with rich but old-fashioned liveries.
N° 52. SATURDAY, June 17, 1786.
Sors ifta Senecta
IN every man's lot there are certain incidents, * either regarding himself or those with whom he is closely connected, which, like mile-stones on a road, mark the journey of life, and call our attention both to that portion of it which we have already passed, and to that which it is probable we have still to go. The death or the marriage of a friend, his departure for a distant country, or his return from it, not only attract our notice to such events themselves, but naturally recall to our memories, and anticipate to our imaginations, a chain of other events connected with, or dependent upon them. Those little prominent parts of life stop the even and unheeded course of our ordinary thoughts; and, like him who has gained a height in his walk, we not only look on the objects which lie before us, but naturally turn to compare them with those we have left behind.
Though my days, as my readers may have gathered from the accounts I have .formerly
given, pass with as much uniformity as those of most men; yet there are now and then occur. rences in them which give room for this variety of reflection. Some such lately crossed me in the way; and I came home, after a solitary walk, disposed to moralize on the general tenor of life, to look into some of the articles of which it consists, and to sum up their value and their use. When Peter let me in, methought he looked older than he used to do. I opened my memorandum-book for 1775.-I can turn over the leaves between that time and this (faid" I to myself) in a moment-thus !--and, casting my eye on the blank paper that remained, began to meditate on the decline of life, on the enjoyments, the comforts, the cares, and the sorrows of age.
Of domestic comforts, I could not help reo flecting how much celibacy, deprives us ; how many pleasures are derived from a family, when that family is happy in itself, is dutiful, affeca tionate, good-humoured, virtuous. I cannot easily account for the omission of Cicero, who, in his treatise “ de Senectute," enumerates the various enjoyments of old age, without once mentioning thofe which arise from the poffes Gon of worthy and promising children. Pero haps the Roman manners and customs were not very much calculated to promote this : they VOL. UL
who could adopt the children of others, were not likely to be so exclusively attached to their own, or to feel from that attachment a very high degree of pleasure; or, it may be, the father of Marcus felt something on the subject of children, of which he was willing to spare himself the recollection. But though a bachelor myself, I look with equal veneration and complacency on the domestic blessings of a good old man, surrounded by a virtuous and flourishing race, in whom he lives over the best days of his youth, and from whose happiness he draws fo much matter for his own. 'Tis at that advanced period of life that most of the enjoyments of a bachelor begin to leave him, that he feels the folitariness of his situation, linked to no surrounding objects, but those from which the debility or the seriousness of age must necessarily divorce him. The club, the coffee-house, and the tavern, will make but a few short inquiries after his absence ; and weakness or disease may imprison him to his home, without their much feeling the want of his company, or any of their members foothing his uneasiness with theirs. The endearing fociety, the tender attentions of a: man's own children, give to his very wants and weakness a sort of enjoyment, when those wants are supplied, and that weakness aided, by the hands he loves.
Though the celibacy of the female sex is still more reproached, and is thought more comfortless than that of ours, yet I confess it seems to me to possess several advantages of which the other is deprived. An old maid has been more accustomed to home and to solitude than an old bachelor, and can employ herself in many little female occupations which render her more independent of society for the disposal of her time and the amusement of her mind. The comparatively unimportant employments of the female world, which require neither much vigour of body nor much exertion of soul, occupy her hours and her attention, and prevent that impatience of idleness or of inactivity, which so often preys on men who have been formerly busy or active. The negative and gentler virtues which characterise female worth, fuit themfelves more easily to the languid and suffering state of age or infirmity, than those active and spirit-stirring qualities which frequently constitute the excellence of the male character. There are, no doubt, some females to whom this will not apply ; to whom age must be more terrible than to any other being, because it deprives them of more. She whose only endowment was beauty, must tremble at the approach of those wrinkles which spoil her of her all; the to whom youthful amusements and gaieties were C 2