Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

tations; and consequently in their fortunes and possessions ; but a gentleman who frequents this room declared he was of opinion it ought to be so, provided such performances had their proper restrictions. The greatest evils in human society are such as no law can come at; as in the case of ingratitude, where the manner of obliging very often leaves the benefactor without means of demanding justice, though that very circumstance should be the more binding to the person who has received the benefit. On such an occasion, shall it be possible for the malefactor to escape ? and is it not lawful to set marks upon persons who live within the law, and do base things ? shall not we use the same protection of those laws to punish them, which they have to defend themselves? We shall therefore take it for a very moral action to find a good appellation for offenders, and to turn them into ridicule under feigned names.

I am advertised by a letter of August 25, that the name of Coppersmith has very much wanted explanation in the city, and by that means is unjustly given, by those who are conscious they deserve it themselves, to an honest and worthy citizen belonging to the Copper Office; but that word is framed out of a moral consideration of wealth amongst men, whereby he that has gotten any part of it by injustice and extortion, is to be thought in the eye of virtuous men so much the poorer for such gain. Thus, all the gold which is torn from our neighbours, by making advantage of their wants, is Copper; and I authorize the Lombards to distinguish themselves accordingly. All the honest, who make a reasonable profit, both for the advantage of themselves and those they deal with, are Goldsmiths; but those who tear unjustly all they can,

Coppersmiths. At the same time, I desire him who is most guilty, to sit down satisfied with riches and contempt, and be known by title of “The Coppersmith,' as being the chief of that respected, contemptible fraternity.

This is the case of all others mentioned in our Lucubrations ; particularly of Stentor who goes on in his vociferations at St. Paul's with so much obstinacy, that he has received admonition from St. Peter's for it, from a person of eminent wit and piety; but who is by old age reduced to the infirmity of sleeping at a service, to which he has been fifty years attentive; and whose death, whenever it happens, may, with that of the saints, well be called 'falling asleep:' for the innocence of his life makes him expect it as indifferently as he does his ordinary rest. This gives him a cheerfulness of spirit to rally his own weakness, and hath made him write to Stentor to hearken to my admonitions.

Brother Stentor,' said he, ‘for the repose of the church, hearken to Bickerstaff; and consider that, while you are so devout at St. Paul's, we cannot sleep for you at St. Peter's.'

FROM MY OWN APARTMENT, AUGUST 29. There has been lately sent me a much harder question than was ever yet put to me, since I professed astrology; to wit, how far, and to what age, women ought to make their beauty their chief concern? The regard and care of their faces and persons are as variously to be considered, as their complexions themselves differ; but if one may transgress against the careful practice of the fair sex so much as to give an opinion against it, I humbly presume, that less care, better applied, would increase their

empire, and make it last as long as life. Whereas now, from their own example, we take our esteem of their merit from it; for it is very just that she who values herself only on her beauty, should be regarded by others on no other consideration.

There is certainly a liberal and pedantic education among women, as well as men; and the merit lasts accordingly. She, therefore, that is bred with freedom, and in good company, considers men according to their respective characters and distinctions ; while she, that is locked up from such observations ; will consider her father's butler, not as a butler, but as a man. In like manner, when men converse with women, the well-bred and intelligent are looked upon with an observation suitable to their different talents and accomplishments, without respect to their sex; while a mere woman can be observed under no consideration but that of a woman; and there can be but one reason for placing any value upon her, or losing time in her company. Wherefore, I am of opinion, that the rule for pleasing long is, to obtain such qualifications as would make them so, were they not women.

Let the beauteous Clomira then show us her real face, and know that every stage of life has its peculiar charms, and that there is no necessity for fifty to be fifteen. That childish colouring of her cheeks is now as ungraceful, as that shape would have been when her face wore its real countenance. She has sense, and ought to know, that if she will not follow nature, nature will follow her.' Time then has made that person which had, when I visited her grandfather, an agreeable bloom, sprightly air, and soft utterance, now no less graceful in a lovely aspect, an awful manner, and maternal wisdom. But her heart was so set upon her first cha

racter, that she neglects and repines at her present; not that she is against a more staid conduct in others, for she recommends gravity, circumspection, and severity of countenance to her daughter. Thus, against all chronology, the girl is the sage, the mother the fine lady.

But these great evils proceed from an unaccountable wild method in the education of the better half of the world, the women. We have no such thing as a standard for good breeding. I was the other day at my lady Wealthy's and asked one of her daugthers how she did ? She answered, "She never conversed with men.' The same day I visited at lady Plantwell's and asked her daughter the same question. She answers, “What is that to you, you old thief?' and gives me a slap on the shoulders.

I defy any man in England, except he knows the family before he enters, to be able to judge whether he shall be agreeable or not when he comes into it. You find either some odd old woman, who is permitted to rule as long as she lives, in hopes of her death, and to interrupt all things; or some impertinent young woman, who will talk sillily upon the strength of looking beautifully. I will not answ for it, but it may be, that I, like all other old fellows, have a fondness for the fashions and manners which prevailed when I was young and in fashion myself. But certain it is, that the taste of grace and beauty is very much lowered. The fine women they show me now-a-days are at best but pretty girls to me who have seen Sacharissa, when all the world repeated the poems she inspired; and Villaria,* when a youthful king was her subject. The things you follow, and make songs on now, should

* The Duchess of Cleveland.

[ocr errors]

be sent to knit or sit down to bobbins or bone-lace: they are indeed neat, and so are their sempstresses; they are pretty, and so are their handmaids. But that graceful motion, that awful mien, and that winning attraction, which grew upon them from the thoughts and conversations they met with in my time, are now no more seen. They tell me I am old: I am glad I am so; for I do not like your present young ladies.

Those among us who set up for any thing of decorum, do so mistake the matter, that they offend on the other side.

Five young ladies, who are of no small fame for their great severity of manners, and exemplary behaviour, would lately go nowhere with their lovers but to an organ-loft in a church; where they had a cold treat, and some few opera songs to their great refreshment and edification. Whether these prudent persons had not been as much so if this had been done at a tavern, is not very hard to determine. It is such silly starts and incoherences as these, which undervalue the beauteous sex, and puzzle us in our choice of sweetness of temper and simplicity of manners, which are the only lasting charms of woman. But I must leave this important subject, at present, for some matters which press for publication : as you will observe in the following letter:

DEAR SIR,

« It is natural for distant relations to claim kindred with a rising family; though at this time zeal to my country, not interest, calls me out. The city-forces being shortly to take the field, all good Protestants would be pleased that their arms and valour should shine with equal lustre. A council

گئی ہے

۔

« AnteriorContinuar »