« AnteriorContinuar »
accompany me. I soon perceived what he told me in the gesture of the persons ; for when they looked at each other in discourse, the well-dressed man suddenly cast down his eyes, and discovered that the other had a painful superiority over him. After some further discourse, they took leave. The plain gentleman went down towards Thames-street, in order to be present, at least, at the oaths taken at the Custom-house; and the other made directly for the heart of the city. It is incredible how great a change there immediately appeared in the man of honour, when he got rid of his uneasy companion : he adjusted the cock of his hat a-new, settled his sword knot, and had an appearance that attracted a sudden inclination for him and his interests in all who beheld him. “For my part,' said I to Pacolet, 'I cannot but think you are mistaken in calling this person of the lower quality : for he looks much more like a gentleman than the other. Do not you observe all eyes are upon him, as he advances ! how each sex gazes at his stature, aspect, address, and motion !' Pacolet only smiled, and shaked his head; as leaving me to be convinced by my own further observation. We kept on our way after him till we came to Exchange-alley, where the plain gentleman again came up to the other; and they stood together after the manner of eminent merchants, as if ready to receive application ; but I could observe no man talk to either of them. The one was laughed at as a fop; and I heard many whispers against the other, as a whimsical sort of fellow, and a great enemy to trade. They crossed Cornhill together, and came into the full Exchange, where some bowed, and gave themselves airs in being known to so fine a man as Verisimilis, who, they said, had great interest in all princes' courts : and the other was taken
notice of by several, as one they had seen somewhere long before. One more particularly said, he had formerly been a man of consideration in the world; but was so unluckly, that they who dealt with him, by some strange infatuation or other, had a way of cutting off their own bills, and were prodigiously slow in improving their stock. much as I was curious to observe the reception these gentlemen met with upon the Exchange, I could not help being interrupted by one that came up towards us, to whom everybody made their compliments. He was of the common height, and in his dress there seemed to be great care to appear no way particular, except in a certain exact and feat manner of behaviour and circumspection. He was wonderfully careful that his shoes and clothes should be without the least speck upon them; and seemed to think, that on such an accident depended his very
life and fortune. There was hardly a man on Change who had not a note upon him; and each seemed
well satisfied that their money lay in his hands, without demanding payment.
I asked Pacolet, what great merchant that was, who was so universally addressed to, yet made too familiar an appearance to command that extraordinary deference? Pacolet answered, “This person is the dæmon or genius of credit; his name is Umbra. If you observe, he follows Alethes and Verisimilis at à distance; and indeed has no foundation for the figure he makes in the world, but that he is thought to keep their cash; though, at the same time, none who trust him would trust the others for a groat.' As the company rolled about, the three spectres were jumbled into one place; when they were so, and all thought there was an alliance between them, they immediately drew upon them the business of
the whole Change. But their affairs soon increased
the transactions of the busy world only, but they also have their tyranny over the fair sex. Were you to ask the unhappy Laïs, what pangs of reflection preferring the consideration of her honour to her conscience has given her? she could tell you, that it has forced her to drink up half a gallon this winter of Tom Dassapas's potions; that she still pines away for fear of being a mother; and knows not but, the moment she is such, she shall be a murderess: but if conscience had as strong a force upon the mind as honour, the first step to her unhappy condition had never been made; she had still been innocent, as she is beautiful. Were men so enlightened and studious of their own good, as to act by the dictates of their reason and reflection, and not the opinion of others, conscience would be the steady ruler of human life; and the words truth, law., reason, equity, and religion, would be but synonymous terms for that only guide which makes us pass our days in our own favour and approbation.'
No. 49. TUESDAY, AUGUST 2, 1709.
Quicquid agunt homines
- nostri est farrago libelli.
JUV. SAT. i. 85, 86.
Whate'er men do, or say, or think, or dream,
WHITE'S CHOCOLATE-HOUSE, AUGUST 1. The imposition of honest names and words upon improper subjects, has made so regular a confusion among us, that we are apt to sit down with our errors, well enough satisfied with the methods we are fallen into, without attempting to deliver ourselves from the tyranny under which we are reduced by such innovations. Of all the laudable motives of human life, none have suffered so much in this kind as Love, under which revered name a brutal desire called Lust is frequently concealed and admitted; though they differ as much as a matron from a prostitute, or a companion from a buffoon. Philander the other day was bewailing this misfortune with much indignation, and upbraided me for having some time since quoted those excellent lines of the satirist:
' To an exact perfection they have brought
“How could you,' said he, 'leave such a hint so coldly? How could Aspasia and Sempronia enter into your imagination at the same time, and you