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fession where merit is placed in so conspicuous a view, impudence should get the better of modesty. When he has talked to this purpose, I never heard him make a sour expression, but frankly confess that he left the world because he was not fit for it. A strict honesty, and an even regular behaviour, are in themselves obstacles to him that must press through crowds who endeavour at the same end with himself, the favour of a commander. He will, however, in his way of talk, excuse generals for not disposing according to men's desert, or inquiring into it: for, says he, that great man who has a mind to help me, has as many to break through to come at me, as I have to come at him : therefore he will conclude, that the man who would make a figure, especially in a military way, must get over all false modesty, and assist his patron against the importunity of other pretenders, by a proper assurance in his own vindication. He says it is a civil cowardice to be backward in asserting what you ought to expect, as it is a military fear to be slow in attacking when it is your duty. With this candour does the gentleman speak of himself and others. The same frankness runs through all his conversation. The military part of his life has furnished him with many adventures, in the relation of which he is very agreeable to the company; for he is never overbearing, though accustomed to command men in the utmost degree below him ; nor ever too obsequious, from an habit of obeying men highly above him.
But that our society may not appear a set of humourists unacquainted with the gallantries and pleasures of the age, we have among us the gallant Will. Honeycomb, a gentleman who, according to his years, should be in the decline of his life, but having ever been very careful of his person,
and always had a very easy fortune, time has made but
little impression, either by wrinkles on his forehead or traces in his brain. His person is well turned, of a good height. He is very ready in that sort of discourse with which men usually entertain women.
He has all his life dressed very well, and remembers habits as others do men. He can smile when one speaks to him, and laughs easily. He knows the history of every mode, and can inform you from which of the French king's wenches our wives and daughters had this manner of curling their hair, that way of placing their hoods; whose frailty was covered by such a sort of petticoat, and
whose vanity to show her foot made that part of the dress so short in such a year: in a word, all his conversation and knowledge has been in the female world. As other men of his age will take notice to you what such a minister said upon such and such an occasion, he will tell you when the Duke of Monmouth danced at court such a woman was then smitten, another was taken with him at the head of his troop in the park. In all these important relations, he has ever about the same time received a kind glance or a blow of a fan from some celebrated beauty, mother of the present Lord such-a-one. If you speak of a young commoner that said a lively thing in the house, he starts up,“ He has good blood in his veins : Tom Mirabel begot him : the rogue cheated me in that affair: that young fellow's mother used me more like a dog than any woman I ever made advances to.” This way of talking of his very much enlivens the conversation among us of a more sedate turn; and I find there is not one of the company, but myself
, who rarely speak at all, but speaks of him as of that sort of man who is usually called a well-bred fine gentleman. To conclude his character, where women are not concerned, he is an honest, worthy man.
I cannot tell whether I am to account him whom I am next to speak of as one of our company; for he visits us but
; seldom : but when he does, it adds to every man else a new enjoyment of himself. He is a clergyman, a very philosophic man, of general learning, great sanctity of life, and the most exact breeding. He has the misfortune to be of a very weak constitution, and consequently cannot accept of such cares and business as preferments in his function would oblige him to: he is therefore, among divines, what a chamber-counsellor is among lawyers. The probity of his mind, and the integrity of his life, create him followers, as being eloquent or loud advances others. He seldom introduces the subject he speaks upon: but we are so far gone in years, that he observes when he is among us an earnestness to have him fall on some divine topic, which he always treats with much authority, as one who has no interests in this world, as one who is hastening to the object of all his wishes, and conceives hope from his decays and infirmities. These are my ordinary companions.
i Though this paper, in former editions, is not marked with any letter
No. 3. SATURDAY, MARCH 3.
Quoi quisque ferè studio devinctus adhæret:
In somnis eadem plerumque videmur obire. Lucr. l. iv. In one of my late rambles, or rather speculations, I looked into the great hall where the Bank is kept, and was not a little pleased to see the directors, secretaries, and clerks, with all the other members of that wealthy corporation, ranged in their several stations, according to the parts they act in that just and regular economy. This revived in
the many discourses which I had both read and heard concerning the decay of public credit, with the methods of restoring it, and which, in my opinion, have always been defective, because they have always been made with an eye to separate interests and party principles.
The thoughts of the day gave my mind employment for the whole night, so that I fell insensibly into a kind of methodical dream, which disposed all my contemplations into a vision or allegory, or what else the reader shall please to call it.
Methoughts! I returned to the great hall, where I had been the morning before, but, to my surprise, instead of the company that I left there, I saw towards the upper end of the hall a beautiful virgin, seated on a throne of gold. Her name (as they told me) was Public Credit. The walls, instead of being adorned with pictures and maps, were hung with many
Acts of Parliament written in golden letters. At the upper
end of the hall was the Magna Charta, with the Act of Uniformity on the right hand, and the Act of Toleration on the left. At the lower end of the hall was the Act of Settlement, which was placed full in the eye of the virgin that sat upon the throne. Both the sides of the hall were covered with such Acts of Parliament as had been made for the establishment of public funds. The lady seemed to of the word CLIO, by which Mr. Addison distinguished his performances, it was thought necessary to insert it, as containing characters of the several persons mentioned in the whole course of this work. The characters were concerted with Mr. Addison; and the draught of them, in this paper, I suppose touched by him.
Methoughts.] Rather Methought, for Methinks (though the composition seems strange) is a verb, of which methought is the preterperfect.
set an unspeakable value upon these several pieces of furniture, insomuch that she often refreshed her eye with them, and often smiled with a secret pleasure as she looked upon them ; but, at the same time, showed a very particular uneasiness, if she saw anything approaching that might hurt them. She appeared, indeed, infinitely, timorous in all her behaviour; and, whether it was from the delicacy of her constitution, or that she was troubled with vapours, as I was afterwards told by one who I found was none of her wellwishers, she changed colour and startled at everything she heard. She was likewise (as I afterwards found) a greater valetudinarian than
I had ever met with, even in her own sex, and subject to such momentary consumptions, that, in the twinkling of an eye, she would fall away from the most florid complexion, and the most healthful state of body, and wither into a skeleton. Her recoveries were often as sudden as her decays, insomuch that she would revive in a moment out of a wasting distemper, into a habit of the highest health and vigour.
I had very soon an opportunity of observing these quick turns and changes in her constitution. There sat at her feet a couple of secretaries, who received every hour letters from all parts of the world, which the one or the other of them was perpetually reading to her; and, according to the news she heard, to which she was exceedingly attentive, she changed colour, and discovered many symptoms of health or sickness.
Behind the throne was a prodigious heap of bags of money, which were piled upon one another so high, that they touched the ceiling. The floor, on her right hand and on her left, was covered with vast sums of gold that rose up in pyramids on either side of her: but this I did not so much wonder at, when I heard, upon inquiry, that she had the same virtue in her touch, which the poets tell us a Lydian king was formerly possessed of; and that she could convert whatever she pleased into that precious metal.
After a little dizziness, and confused hurry of thought, which a man often meets with in a dream, methoughts the hall was alarmed, the doors flew.open, and there entered half a dozen of the most hideous phantoms that I had ever seen (even in a dream) before that time. They came in two by two, though matched in the most dissociable manner, and mingled together in a kind of dance. It would be tedious to describe their habits and persons, for which reason I shall only inform my reader, that the first couple were Tyranny and Anarchy; the second were Bigotry and Atheism ; the third, the genius of a commonwealth and a young man of about twenty-two years
1 Anything.] It should be something.
whose name I could not learn. He had a sword in his right hand, which in the dance he often brandished at the Act of Settlement; and a citizen, who stood by me, whispered in my ear, that he saw a spunge in his left hand. The dance of so many jarring natures put me in mind of the sun, moon, and earth, in the Rehearsal, that danced together for no other end but to eclipse one another.
The reader will easily suppose, by what has been before said, that the lady on the throne would have been almost frighted to distraction, had she seen but any one of these spectres ; what then must have been her condition when she saw them all in a body? She fainted and died away at the sight.
Et neque jam color est misto candore rubori;
Ov. Met. lib. iii. There was a great change in the hill of money bags and the heaps of money; the former shrinking, and falling into so many empty bags, that I now found not above a tenth part of them had been filled with money. The rest that took up the same space, and made the same figure as the bags that were really filled with money, had been blown up
with air, and called into my memory the bags full of wind, which Homer tells us his hero received as a present from Æolus. The great heaps of gold, on either side the throne, now appeared to be only heaps of paper, or little piles of notched sticks, bound up together in bundles, like Bath faggots.
Whilst I was lamenting this sudden desolation that had been made before me, the whole scene vanished : in the room of the frightful spectres, there now entered a second dance of apparitions very agreeably matched together, and made up of very amiable phantoms. The first pair was Liberty with Monarchy at her right hand; the second was Moderation leading in Religion ; and the third, a person whom I had never seen, with the genius of Great Britain. At the first entrance the lady revived; the bags swelled to their former bulk; the