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SATURDAY. Waked at eleven, walked in the fields, wind N. E.
Twelve. Caught a shower.
One in the afternoon. Returned home and dried, myself. Two. Mr. Nisby dined with me.
First course, marrow-bone ; second, ox-cheek, with a bottle of Brooks and Hellier.
Three. Overslept myself.
Six. Went to the club. Like to have fallen into a gutter. Grand visier certainly dead.
I question not but the reader will be surprised to find the above-mentioned journalist taking so much care of a life that was filled with such inconsiderable actions, and received so very small improvements; and yet if we look into the behaviour of many whom we daily converse with, we shall find that most of their hours are taken up in those three important articles of eating, drinking, and sleeping. I do not suppose that man loses his time, who is not engaged in public affairs, or in an illustrious course of action. On the contrary, I believe our hours may very often be more profitably laid out in such transactions as make no figure in the world, than in such as are apt to draw upon
them the attention of mankind. One may become wiser and better by several methods of employing one's self in
secrecy and silence, and do what is laudable without noise or ostentation. I would, however, recommend to every one of my readers, the keeping a journal of their lives for one week, and setting down punctually their whole series of employments during that space of time. This kind of self examination would give them a true state of themselves, and incline them to consider seriously what they are about. One day would rectify the omissions of an
other, and make a man weigh all those indifferent actions, which, though they are easily forgotten, must certainly be accounted for.
N° 318. WEDNESDAY, MARCH 5, 1711-12.
non omnia possumus omnes.
VIRG Ecl. viii. 63. With different talents form’d, we variously excel.*
' A CERTAIN vice, which you have lately attacked, has not yet been considered by you as growing so deep in the heart of man, that the affectation outlives the practice of it. You must have observed, that men who have been bred in arms preserve to the most extreme and feeble old age, a certain daring in their aspect. In like manner, they who have passed their time in gallantry and adventure, keep up, as well as they can, the appearance of it, and carry a petulent inclination to their last moments. Let this serve for a preface to a relation I am going to give you of an old beau in town, that has not only been amorous, and a follower of women in general, but also, in spite of the admonition of grey hairs, been from his sixty-third year to his present seventieth in an actual pursuit of a young lady, the wife of bis friend, and a man of merit. The gay old Escalus has wit, good health, and is
* This motto is likewise prefixed to Spectator, No. 404. The original motto to this paper in folio was, Rideat, et pulset lasciva decentius ætas.'
perfectly well-bred; but, from the fashion and manners of the court when he was in his bloom, has such a natural tendency to amorous adventure, that he thought it would be an endless reproach to him to make no use of a familiarity he was allowed at a gentleman's house, whose good-humour and confidence exposed his wife to the addresses of any who should take it in their head to do him the good office. It is not impossible that Escalus might also resent that the husband was particularly negligent of him; and though he gave many intimations of a passion towards the wife, the husband either did not see them, or put him to the contempt of overlooking them. In the mean time Isabella, for so we shall cali our heroine, saw his passion, and rejoiced in it, as a foundation for much diversion, and an opportunity of indulging herself in the dear delight of being admired, addressed to, and flattered, with no ill consequence to her reputation. This lady is of a free and disengaged behaviour, ever in good-humour, such as is the image of innocence with those who are innocent, and an encouragement to vice with those who are abandoned. From this kind of carriage, and an apparent approbation of his gallantry, Escalus, had frequent opportunities of laying amorous epistles in her way, of fixing his eyes attentively upon ber actions, of performing a thousand little oftices which are neglected by the unconcerned, but are so many approaches towards happiness with the enamoured. It was now, as is above hinted, almost the end of the seventh year of his passion, when Escalus, from general terms, and the ambiguous respect which criminal lovers retain in their addresses, began to bewail that his passion grew too violent for him to answer any longer for his behaviour towards her, and that he hoped she would have consideration for his long and patient respect,
to excuse the emotions of a heart now no longer under the direction of the unhappy owner of it. Such, for some months, had been the language of Escalus both in his talk and his letters to Isabella, who returned all the profusion of kind things which had been the collection of fifty years, with “ I must not hear you; you will make me forget that you are a gentleman; I would not willingly lose you as a friend;" and the like expressions, which the skilful interpret to their own advantage, as well knowing that a feeble denial is a modest assent. I should have told you, that Isabella, during the whole
progress of this amour, communicated it to her hus. band; and that an account of Escalus's love was their usual entertainment after half a day's absence. Isabella, therefore, upon her lover's late more open assaults, with a smile told her husband she could hold out no longer, but that his fate was now come to a crisis. After she had explained herself a little farther, with her husband's approbation, she pro. 'ceeded in the following manner.
The next time that Escalus was alone with her, and repeated his importunity, the crafty Isabella looked on her fan with an air of great attention, as considering of what importance such a secret was to her: and upon the repetition of a warm expression, she looked at him with an eye of fondness, and told him he was past that time of life which could make her fear he would boast of a lady's favour; then turned
away her head, with a very well acted confusion, which favoured the escape of the aged Escalus. This adventure was matter of great pleasantry to Isabella and her spouse: and they had enjoyed it two days before Escalus could recollect himself enough to form the following letter:
" What happened the other day gives me a lively image of the inconstancy of human passions and inclinations. We pursue what we are denied, and place our affections on what is absent, though we neglected it when present. As long as you refused my love, your refusal did so strongly excite my passion, that I had not once the leisure to think of recalling my reason to aid me against the design upon your virtue. But when that virtue began to comply in my favour, my reason made an effort over my love, and let me see the baseness of my behaviour in attempting a woman of honour. I own to you, it was not without the most violent struggle that I gained this victory over myself; nay, I will confess my shame, and acknowledge I could not have prevailed but by flight. However, madam, I beg that you will believe a moment's weakness has not destroyed the esteem I had for you, which was confirmed by so many years of obstinate virtue. You have reason to rejoice that this did not happen within the observation of one of the young fellows, who would have exposed your weakness, and gloried in his own brutish inclinations,
“ I am, MADAM,
• Isabella, with the help of her husband, returned the following answer:'
“I CANNOT but account myself a very happy woman, in having a man for å lover that can write so well, and give so good a turn to a disappointment. Another excellence you have above all other pretenders I ever heard of; on occasions