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soothe the mind to tranquillity by hope, even when that hope is likely to deceive us, may be sometimes useful; but to lull our faculties in a lethargy, is poor and despicable.
Vices and errors are difserently modified, according to the state of the minds to which they are incident; to indulge hope beyond the warrant of reason, is the failure alike of mean and elevated understandings , but its foundation and its effects are totally different: the man of high courage and great abilities is apt to place too much confidence in himself, and to expect from a vigorous exertion of his powers more than spirit or diligence can attain: between him and his •wish he sees obstacles indeed, but he expects to overleap or break them; his mistaken ardour hurries him forward; and though perhaps he mistes his end, he nevertheless obtains some collateral good, and performs something useful to mankind and honourable to himself.
The drone of timidity presumes likewise to hope, but without ground and without consequence; the bliss with which he solaces his hours, he always expects from others, though very often he knows not from whom; he folds his arms about him, and sits in expectation of some revolution in the state that shall raise him to greatness, or some golden shower that shall load him with wealth; he dozes away the day in musing upon the morrow; and at the end of lise is rouzed from his dream only to discover that the time of action is past, and that he can now shew his wisdom only by repentance.
Numb. 84. Saturday, Jugtist 25, 1753
—— Tolll periculum.
But take the danger and the shame a**ay,
And vagrant nature bounds upon her prey. FtAi;Cis.
To tbe ADVENTURER.
IT has been observed, I think, by Sir William TemfU, and after him by almost every other wriccr, that England affords a grearer variety of characters than the reft of the world. This is ascribed to the liberty prevailing amongst us, which gives every man the privilege of being wise or soolish his own way, and preserves him from the necessity of hypocrisy or the servility of imitation.
That the pofition itself is true, I am not completely fatisfied. To be nearly acquainted with the people of different countries can happen to very sew; and in lise, as in every thing else beheld at a distance, there appears an even unisormity: the pettydiscriminations which diversisy the natural character, are not discoverable but by a clofe inspection -, we, therefore, find them most at home, because there we have most opportunities of remarking them. Much less am I convinced, that this peculiar diversification, is it be real, ib the consequence quence of peculiar liberty; for where is the go-r vernment to be found that superintends individuals .with so much vigilance, as not to leave their private conduct without restraint? Can it enter into a reasonable mind to imagine, that men of every other nation are not equally masters of their own time or houses with ourselves, and equally at liberty to be parsimonious or profuse, frolick or sullen, abstinent or luxurious? Liberty is certainly necessary to the foil play of predominant humours; but such liberty is to be found alike under the government of the many or the sew, in monarchies or in commonwealths,
How readily the predominant passion snatches an interval of liberty, and how fast it expands itself when the weight of restraint is taken away, I had lately an opportunity to discover, as I took a journey into the country in a stage-coach; which, as every journey is a kind of adventure, may be very properly related to you, though I can display no such extraordinary assembly as Cervantes has collected at Pott Quixote's inn.
In a stage-coach the passengers are for the most part wholly unknown to one another, and without expectation of ever meeting again when their journey is at an end; one should therefore imagine, that it was of little importance to any of them, whar conjectures the rest should form concerning him. Yet so it is, that as all think themselves secure from detection, all assume that character of which they are most desirous, and on no occasion U the general ambition of superiority more apparently indulged.
E a On
On the day of our departure, in the twilight of the morning, I ascended the vehicle with three men and two women, my sellow-travellers. It was easy to observe the affected elevation of mien -with which every one entered, and the supercilious civility with which they paid their compliments to each other. When the first ceremony was dispatched, we fat silent for a long time, all employed in collecting importance into our faces, and endeavouring to strike reverence and submission into our companions.
It is always observable that silence propagates it~ self, and that the longer talk has been suspended, the more difficult it is to find any thing to fay. We began now to wish for converfation; but no one seemed inclined to descend from his dignity, or first propofe a topick of discourse. At hst a corpulent gentleman, who had equipped himself for this expedition with a scarlet surtout and a largo hat with a broad lace, drew out his watch, looked on it in silence, and then held it dangling at his finger. This was, I suppofe, understood by all the company as an invitation to ask the time of the day, but nobody appeared to heed his overture; and his desire to be talking so far overcame his resentment, that he let us know of his own accord that it was past sive, and that in two hours we should be ac breakfast.
His condescension yrxs thrown away; we continued all obdurate; the ladies held up their heads i I amused myself with watching their behaviour i and of the other two, one seemed to employ himself in counting the trees as we drove by them, the
other drew his hat over his eyes and counterseited a (lumber. The man of benevolence, to shew that he was not depressed by our neglect, hummed a tune and beat time upon his snuff-box.
Thus univerfally displeased with one another, and not much delighted with ourselves, we came at last to the little inn appointed for our repast; and all began at once to recompense themselves for the constraint of silence, by innumerable questions and orders to the people that attended us. At last, what every one had called for was got, or declared impossible to be got at that time, and we were persuaded to sit round the fame table; when the gentleman in the red surtout looked again upon his watch, told us that we had half an hour to spare, but he was sorry to see so little merriment among us 1 that all sellow-travellers were for the time upon the level, and that it was always his way to make himself one of the company. "I remember," fays he, ** it was on just such a morning as this, that I and ** my Lord Mumble and the Duke of Tenterden "were out upon a ramble: we called at a little "house as it might be this i and my landlady, I "warrant you, not suspecting to whom she was "talking, was so jocular and facetious, and made "so many merry answers to our questions, that we "were all ready to burst with laughter. At last the « good woman happening to overhear me whisper "thp duke and call him by his title, was so sur"prised and consounded, that we could scarcely f get a word from her; and the duke never met f* me from that day to this, but he talks of the