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Trade and commerce might doubtless be still varied a thousand ways, out of which would arise such branches as have not yet been touched. The famous Doily is still fresh in every one's memory, who raised a fortune by finding out materials for such stuffs as might at once be cheap and genteel. I have heard it affirmed, that had not be discovered this frugal method of gratifying our pride, we should hardly have been able to carry on the last war.
I regard trade not only as highly advantageous to the commonwealth in general, but as the most natural and likely method of making a man's fortune: having observed, since my being a Spectator in the world, greater estates got about Change, than at Whitehall or St. James's. I believe I
also add, that the first acquisitions are generally attended with more satisfaction, and as good a conscience.
I must not however close this essay without observing, that what has been said is only intended for persons in the common ways of thriving, and is not designed for those men who from low beginnings push themselves up to the top of states, and the most considerable figures in life. My maxim of saving is not designed for such as these, since nothing is more usual than for thrift to disappoint the ends of ambition; it being almost impossible that the mind should be intent upon trifles, while it is at the same time forming some great design. I may therefore compare
those men to a great poet, who, as Longinus says, while he is full of the most magnificent ideas, is not always at leisure to mind the little beauties and niceties of his art.
I would, however, have all my readers take great care how they mistake themselves for uncommon
geniuses, and men above rule, since it is very easy for them to be deceived in this particular.
N° 284. FRIDAY, JANUARY 25, 1711-12.
Posthabui tamen illorum mea seria ludo.*
VIRG. Ecl, vii. 17.
Their mirth to share, I bid my business wait.
An unaffected behaviour is without question a very great charm; but under the notion of being unconstrained and disengaged, people take upon them to be unconcerned in any duty of life. A general negligence is what they assume upon all occasions, and set up for an aversion to all manner of business and attention. 'I am the carelessestcreature in the world, I have certainly the worst memory of any man living,' are frequent expressions in the mouth of a pretender of this sort. It is a professed maxim with these people never to think; there is something so solemn in reflection, they, forsooth, can never give themselves time for such a way of employing themselves. It happens often that this sort of man is heavy enough in his nature to be a good proficient in such matters as are attainable by industry; but, alas! he has such an ardent desire to be what he is not, to be too volatile, to have the faults of a person of spirit, that he professes himself the most unfit man living for any
* The motto of the original paper in folio was what is now the motto of No. 54. Strenua nos exercët inertia.' Hor.
manner of application. When this humour enters into the head of a female, she generally professes sickness upon all occasions, and acts all things with an indisposed air. She is offended, but her mind is too lazy to raise her to anger, therefore she lives only as actuated by a violent spleen, and gentle scorn. She has hardly curiosity to listen to scandal of her acquaintance, and has never attention enough to hear them commended. This affectation in both sexes makes them vain of being useless, and take a certain pride in their insignificancy.
Opposite to this folly is another no less unreasonable, and that is, the impertinence of being always in a hurry.' There are those who visit ladies, and beg pardon, before they are well seated in their chairs, that they just called in, but are obliged to attend business of importance elsewhere the very next moment. Thus they run from place to place, professing that they are obliged to be still in another company than that which they are in. These persons who are just a going somewhere else should never be detained ; let all the world allow that business is to be minded, and their affairs will be at an end. Their vanity is to be importuned, and compliance with their multiplicity of affairs would effectually dispatch them. The travelling ladies, who have half the lown to see in an afternoon, may be pardoned for being in constant hurry; but it is inexcusable in men to come where they have no business, to profess they absent themselves where they have. It has been remarked by some nice observers and critics, that there is nothing discovers the true temper of a person so much as his letters. I have by me two epistles, which are written by two people of the different humours abovementioned. It is wonderful that a man cannot observe upon himself when he sits down to write,
but that he will gravely commit himself to paper the same man that he is in the freedom of conversation. I have hardly seen a line from any of these gentlemen, but spoke them as absent from what they were doing, as they profess they are when they come into company. For the folly is, that they have persuaded themselves they really are busy. Thus their whole time is spent in suspense of the present moment to the next, and then from the next to the succeeding, which, to the end of life, is to pass away
pretence to many things, and execution of nothing.
The post is just going out, and I have many other letters of very great importance to write this evening, but I could not omit making my compliments to you for your civilities to me when I was last in town. It is my misfortune to be so full of business, that I cannot tell you a thousand things which I have to say to you. I must desire you to communicate the contents of this to no one living: but believe me to be, with the greatest fidelity,
• humble servant,
"I hate writing, of all things in the world; however, though I have drank the waters, and am told I ought not to use my eyes so much, I cannot forbear writing to you, to tell you I have been to the last degree hipped since I saw you. How could you entertain such a thought, as that I should hear
of that silly fellow with patience? Take my word for it, there is nothing in it'; and you may believe it when so lazy a creature as I am undergo the pains to assure you of it, by taking pen, ink, and paper in my hand. Forgive this; you know I shall not often offend in this kind. I am very much
BRIDGET eitherdown.' • The fellow is of your country, prythee send me word however whether he has so great an estate.'
• Jan. 24, 1712. 'I Am clerk of the parish from whence Mrs. Simper sends her complaint, in your Spectator of Wednesday last. I must beg of you to publish this as a public admonition to the aforesaid Mrs. Simper, otherwise all my honest care in the disposition of the greens in the church will have no effect; I shall therefore, with your leave, lay before you the whole matter. I was formerly, as she charges me, for several years a gardener in the county of Kent: but I must absolutely deny that it is out of any affection I retain for my old employment that I have placed my greens so liberally about the church, but out of a particular spleen I conceived against Mrs. Simper (and others of the same sisterhood) some time ago. As to herself, I had one day set the hundredth Psalm, and was singing the first line in order to put the congregation into the tune; she was all the while curtsying to Sir Anthony, in so affected and indecent a manner, that the indignation I conceived at it made me forget myself so far, as from the tune of that psalm to wander into Southwell tune, and from thence into Windsor tune, still unable to recover myself, until I had with the utmost confusion set a new one. Nay, I have