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authors who have published discourses of practical divinity. I no sooner saw this venerable man in the pulpit, but I very much approved of my friend's insisting upon. the qualifications of a good aspect and a clear voice; for 5 I was so charmed with the gracefulness of his figure and delivery, as well as with the discourses he pronounced, that I think I never passed any time more to my satisfaction. A sermon repeated after this manner, is like the composition of a poet in the mouth of a graceful
I could heartily wish that more of our country clergy would follow this example; and instead of wasting their spirits in laborious compositions of their own, would endeavour after a handsome elocution, and all those other 15 talents that are proper to enforce what has been penned by greater masters. This would not only be more easy to themselves, but more edifying to the people.
THE COVERLEY HOUSEHOLD. [STEELE.]
No. 107. TUESDAY, JULY 3, 1711.
ÆSOPO ingentem statuam posuere Attici,
Servumque collocarunt æterna in basi,
Patere honoris scirent ut cunctis viam.-PHÆDR. EP. I. 2.
THE Athenians erected a large statue to Æsop, and placed him, through a slave, on a lasting pedestal; to shew, that the way to honour lies open indifferently to all.
THE reception, manner of attendance, undisturbed freedom and quiet, which I meet with here in the country, has confirmed me in the opinion I always had, that the general corruption of manners in servants is owing to the conduct of masters. The aspect of every 5 one in the family carries so much satisfaction, that it appears he knows the happy lot which has befallen him in being a member of it. There is one particular which I have seldom seen but at Sir Roger's; it is usual in all other places, that servants fly from the parts of the 10 house through which their master is passing; on the contrary, here they industriously place themselves in his way; and it is on both sides, as it were, understood as a visit, when the servants appear without calling. This proceeds from the humane and equal temper of the man 15 of the house, who also perfectly well knows how to enjoy a great estate with such economy as ever to be
much beforehand. This makes his own mind untroubled, and consequently unapt to vent peevish expressions, or give passionate or inconsistent orders to those about him. Thus respect and love go together; and a certain 5 cheerfulness in performance of their duty is the particular distinction of the lower part of this family. When a servant is called before his master, he does not come with an expectation to hear himself rated for some trivial fault, threatened to be stripped, or used with any Io other unbecoming language, which mean masters often give to worthy servants; but it is often to know, what road he took that he came so readily back according to order; whether he passed by such a ground; if the old man who rents it is in good health; or whether he gave 15 Sir Roger's love to him, or the like.
A man who preserves a respect founded on his benevolence to his dependants, lives rather like a prince than a master in his family: his orders are received as favors rather than duties; and the distinction of approaching 20 him is part of the reward for executing what is commanded by him.
There is another circumstance in which my friend excels in his management, which is the manner of rewarding his servants. He has ever been of opinion, 25 that giving his cast clothes to be worn by valets has a very ill effect upon little minds, and creates a silly sense of equality between the parties, in persons affected only with outward things. I have heard him often pleasant on this occasion, and describe a young gentleman abus30 ing his man in that coat, which a month or two before was the most pleasing distinction he was conscious of in
himself. He would turn his discourse still more pleasantly upon the ladies' bounties of this kind; and I have heard him say he knew a fine woman, who distributed rewards and punishments in giving becoming or unbecoming dresses to her maids.
But my good friend is above these little instances of good-will, in bestowing only trifles on his servants: a good servant to him is sure of having it in his choice very soon of being no servant at all. As I before observed, he is so good a husband, and knows so thor- 10 oughly that the skill of the purse is the cardinal virtue of this life; I say he knows so well that frugality is the support of generosity, that he can often spare a large fine when a tenement falls, and give that settlement to a good servant who has a mind to go into the world, or make a 15 stranger pay the fine to that servant for his more comfortable maintenance, if he stays in his service.
A man of honor and generosity considers it would be miserable to himself to have no will but that of another, though it were of the best person breathing, and 20 for that reason, goes on as fast as he is able to put his servants into independent livelihoods. The greatest part of Sir Roger's estate is tenanted by persons who have served himself or his ancestors. It was to me extremely pleasant to observe the visitants from several 25 parts to welcome his arrival into the country; and all the difference that I could take notice of between the late servants who came to see him, and those who stayed in the family was, that these latter were looked upon as finer gentlemen and better courtiers.
This manumission and placing them in a way of live
lihood, I look upon as only what is due to a good ser vant; which encouragement will make his successor be as diligent, as humble, and as ready as he was. There is something wonderful in the narrowness of those 5 minds which can be pleased, and be barren of bounty to those who please them.
One might, on this occasion, recount the sense that great persons in all ages have had of the merit of their dependants, and the heroic services which men have 10 done their masters in the extremity of their fortunes, and shewn to their undone patrons that fortune was all the difference between them; but as I design this my speculation only as a gentle admonition to thankless masters, I shall not go out of the occurrences of common 15 life, but assert it as a general observation, that I never saw, but in Sir Roger's family and one or two more, good servants treated as they ought to be. Sir Roger's kindness extends to their children's children; and this very morning he sent his coachman's grandson to pren20 tice. I shall conclude this paper with an account of a picture in his gallery, where there are many which will deserve my future observation.
At the very upper end of this handsome structure I saw the portraiture of two young men standing in a 25 river, the one naked, the other in a livery. The person supported seemed half dead, but still so much alive as to shew in his face exquisite joy and love towards the other. I thought the fainting figure resembled my friend Sir Roger; and looking at the butler who stood 30 by me, for an account of it, he informed me that the person in the livery was a servant of Sir Roger's, who