Imágenes de páginas

‘til E. T.A.T.L.Er. 3 15 consequence of being a man of fortune, that they are not to understand the disposal of it; and they long to come to their estates, only to put themselves under new guardianship. Nay, I have known a young fellow who was regularly bred an attorney, and was a very expert one till he had an estate fallen to him. The moment that happened, he, who could before prove the next land he cast his eye upon his own; and was so sharp, that a man at first sight would give him a small sum for a general receipt, whether he owed him any thing or not: such a one, I say, have I seen, upon coming to an estate, forget all his diffidence of mankind, and become the most manageable thing breathing. He immediately wanted a stirring man to take upon him his affairs, to receive and pay, and do every thing which he himself was now too fine a gentleman to understand. It is pleasant to consider, that he who would have got an estate, had he not come to one, will certainly starve because one fell to him; but such contradictions are we to ourselves, and any change of life is insupportable to some natureS. It is a mistaken sense of superiority, to believe a figure or equipage gives men precedence to their neighbours. Nothing can create respect from mankind, but laying obligations upon them; and it may very reasonably be concluded, that if it were put into a due balance, according to the true state of the account, many who believe themselves in possession of a large share of dignity in the world, must give place to their inferiors. The greatest of all distinctions in civil life is that of debtor and creditor, and there needs no great progress in logic to know which, in that case, is the advantageous side. He who can say to another, pray, master, or, pray, my lord, give me my own, can as justly tell him, it is a fantastical distinction you take upon you, to pretend to pass upon the world for my master or lord, when at the same time that I wear your livery, you owe me wages; or, while I wait at your door, you are ashamed to see me till you have paid my bill. The good old way among the gentry of England, to maintain their pre-eminence over the lower rank,

was by their bounty, munificence, and hospitality; and

it is a very unhappy change, if at present, by themselves or their agents, the luxury of the gentry is supported by the credit of the trader. This is what my

correspondent pretends,to prove out of his own books, ..

and those of his whole neighbourhood. He has the confidence to say, that there is a mughouse near Longacre, where you may every evening hear an exact account of distresses of this kind. One complains that such a lady's finery is the occasion that his own wife and daughter appear so long in the same gown: another, that all the furniture of her visiting apartment are no more her’s than the scenery of a play are the proper goods of the actress. Nay, at the lower end of the same table, you may hear a butcher and poulterer say, that at their proper charge all that family has been maintained since they last came to town. The free manner in which people of fashion are discoursed on such meetings, is but a just reproach of their failures in this kind; but the melancholy relations of the great necessities tradesmen are driven to, who support their credit in spite of the faithless promises which are made them, and the abatement which they suffer when paid, by the extortion of upper servants, is what would stop the most thoughtless man in the career of his pleasures, if rightly represented to him. If this matter be not very speedily amended, I shall think fit to print exact lists of all persons who are not at their own disposal, though above the age of twentyone; and as the trader is made bankrupt for absence from his abode, so shall the gentleman for being at

[ocr errors]

home, if, when Mr. Morphew calls, he cannot give

him an exact account of what passes in his own family. After this fair warning, no one ought to think himself hardly dealt with, if I take upon me to pronounce him no longer master of his estate, wife, or family, than he continues to improve, cherish, and maintain them upon the basis of his own property,

without incursions upon his neighbour in any of these

particulars. According to that excellent philosopher Epictetus, We are all but acting parts in a play; and it is not a distinction in itself too high or too low, but to become the parts we are to perform. I am by my office prompor on this occasion, and shall give those who are a little out in their parts such soft hints as may help them to proceed, without letting it be known to the *udience they were out: but if they run quite out of character, they must be called off the stage, and retoye parts more suitable to their genius. Servile comPaisance shall degrade a man from his honour and quality, and haughtiness be yet more debased, Forone shall no longer appropriate distinctions, but nature direct us in the disposition, both of respect and disCountenance. As there are tempers made for command, and others for obedience, so there are men born or acquiring possessions, and others incapable of being other than mere lodgers in the houses of their ances. tors, and have it not in their very composition to be Proprietors of any thing. These men are moved only by the mere effects of impulse: their good-will and dis-esteem are to be regarded equally, for neither is the effect of their judgment. This loose temper is that which makes a man, what Sallust so well remarks, to happen frequently in the same person, to be Covetous of what is another's, and profuse of what is

his own. This sort of men is usually amiable to ordinary eyes; but in the sight of reason, nothing is laudable but what is guided by reason. The covetous prodigal is of all others the worst man in society; if he would but take time to look into himself, he would find his soul all over gashed with broken vows and promises; and his retrospect on his actions would not consist of reflections upon those good resolutions after mature thought, which are the true life of a reasonable creature, but the nauseous memory of imperfect pleasures, idle dreams, and occasional amusements. To follow such dissatisfying pursuits, is it possible to suffer the ignominy of being unjust? I remember in Tully's epistle, in the recommendation of a man to an affair which had no manner of relation to money, it is said, you may trust him, for he is a frugal man. It is certain, he who has not a regard to strict justice in the commerce of life, can be capable of no good action in any other kind; but he who lives below his income, lays up every moment of life armour against a base world, that will cover all his frailties while he is so fortified, and exaggerate them when he is naked and defenceless.


“A STAGE COACH sets out exactly at six “from Nando's coffee-house to Mr. Tiptoe's dancing“school, and returns at eleven every evening, for 16d.

“N. B. Dancing-shoes, not exceding four inches “height in the heel, and periwigs, not exceeding three “ foot in length, are carried in the coach-box gratis.”


........Dies, ni fallor adest, quem semper, acerbum,
Semper honoratum, sic Dii voluistis, habebo. VIRG.

From my own Afiartment, June 5.

THERE are those among mankind, who can enjoy no relish of being, except the world is made acquainted with all that relates to them, and think every thing lost that passes unobserved ; but others find a solid delight in stealing by the crowd, and modelling their life after such a manner, as is as much above the approbation as the practice of the vulgar.... Life being too short to give instances great enough of true friendship or good-will, some sages have thought it pious to preserve a certain reverence for the manes of their deceased friends, and have withdrawn themselves from the rest of the world at certain seasons to commemorate in their own thoughts such of their acquaintance as have gone before them out of this life; and indeed, when we are advanced in years, there is not a more pleasing entertainment, than to recollect in a gloomy moment the many we have parted with that have been dear and agreeable to us, and to cast a melancholy thought or two after those, with whom, perhaps, we have indulged ourselves in whole nights of mirth and jollity. With such inclinations in my heart, I went to my closet yesterday in the evening, and resolved to be sorrowful ; upon which occasion I could not but look with disdain upon myself, that though all the reasons which I had to lament the loss of many of my friends are now as forcible as at the moment of their departure, yet did not my heart swell with the same sorrow which I felt at that time; but I could, without tears, reflect upon many pleasing adventures I have had with some who have long been blended with common earth. Though it is by the benefit of nature that length of time thus

« AnteriorContinuar »