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order to take up a pack of cards, adjust a curl of hair, replace a fallen pin, or apply herself to any other matter of importance. This part of the exercise, as it only consists in tossing a fan with an air upon a long table (which stands by for that purpose) may be learnt in two days' time as well as in a twelvemonth.
“When my female regiment is thus disarmed, I generally let them walk about the room for some time; when on a sudden (like ladies that look upon their watches after a long visit) they all of them hasten to their arms, catch them up in a hurry, and place themselves in their proper stations, upon my calling out Recover your Fans. This part of the exercise is not difficult, provided a woman applies her thoughts to it.
“The Fluttering of the Fan is the last, and, indeed, the master-piece of the whole exercise ; but if a lady does not misspend her time, she may make herself mistress of it in three months. I generally lay aside the dog-days and the hot time of the summer for the teaching of this part of the exercise ; for as soon as ever I pronounce Flutter your Fans, the place is filled with so many zephyrs and gentle breezes as are very refreshing in that season of the year, though they might be dangerous to ladies of a tender constitution in any
There is an infinite variety of motions to be made use of in the Flutter of a Fan: there is the angry flutter, the modest flutter, the timorous flutter, the confused flutter, the merry flutter, and the amorous flutter. Not to be tedious, there is scarce any emotion in the mind which does not produce a suitable agitation in the fan; insomuch, that if I only see the fan of a disciplined lady, I know very well whether she laughs, frowns, or blushes. I have seen a fan so very angry, that it would have been dangerous for the absent lover who provoked it to have come within the wind of it; and at other times so very languishing, that I have been glad for the lady's sake the lover was at a sufficient distance from it. I need not add, that a fan is either a prude or coquette, according to the nature of the person who bears it. To conclude my letter, I must acquaint you, that I have from my own observations compiled a little treatise for the use of my scholars, entitled, The Passions of the Fan; which I will communicate to
be of use to the public. I shall have a general review on Thursday
next; to which
very welcome if you will honour it with your presence.
“ I am,” &c. “P. S. I teach young gentlemen the whole art of gallanting a fan.
“N. B. I have several little plain fans made for this use, to avoid expense.”
No. 105. SATURDAY, JUNE 30.
Id arbitror Adprime in vita esse utile, ne quid nimis. TER. AND. My friend Will. Honeycomb values himself very much upon what he calls the knowledge of mankind, which has cost him many disasters in his youth; for Will. reckons every misfortune that he has met with
the women, and every rencounter among
men, as parts of his education, and fancies he should never have been the man he is, had not he broke windows, knocked down constables, disturbed honest people with his midnight serenades, and beat up a lewd woman's quarters, when he was a young fellow. The engaging in adventures of this nature Will
. calls the studying of mankind; and terms this knowledge of the town, the knowledge of the world. Will. ingenuously confesses, that for half his life his head ached every morning with reading of men over-night; and at present comforts himself under certain pains which he endures from time to time, that without them he could not have been acquainted with the gallantries of the age. This Will. looks upon as the learning of a gentleman, and regards all other kinds of science as the accomplishments of one whom he calls a scholar, a bookish man, or a philosopher.
For these reasons Will. shines in mixed company, where he has the discretion not to go out of his depth, and has often a certain way of making his real ignorance appear a seeming one. Our club, however, has frequently caught him tripping, at which times they never spare bim. For as Will. often insults us with the knowledge of the town, we sometimes take our revenge upon him by our knowledge of books.
He was last week producing two or three letters which he
writ in his youth to a coquette lady. The raillery of them was natural, and well enough for a mere man of the town l; but, very unluckily, several of the words were wrong spelt. Will. laught this off at first as well as he could, but finding himself pushed on all sides, and especially by the templar, he told us, with a little passion, that he never liked pedantry in spelling, and that he spelt like a gentleman, and not like a scholar: upon this Will. had recourse to his old topic of showing the narrow-spiritedness, the pride, and ignorance of pedants; which he carried so far, that upon my retiring to my lodgings, I could not forbear throwing together such reflections as occurred to me upon
that subject. A man who has been brought up among books, and
is able to talk of nothing else, is a very indifferent companion, and what we call a pedant. But, methinks, we should enlarge the title, and give it every one that does not know how to think out of his profession, and particular way of life.
What is a greater pedant than a mere man of the town ? Bar him the play-houses, a catalogue of the reigning beauties, and an account of a few fashionable distempers that have befallen him, and you strike him dumb. How many a pretty gentleman's knowledge lies all within the verge of the court ? He will tell you the names of the principal favourites, repeat the shrewd sayings of a man of quality, whisper an intrigue that is not yet blown
upon by common fame; or, if the sphere of his observations is a little larger than ordinary, will perhaps enter into all the incidents, turns, and revolutions in a game of ombre. When he has gone thus far, he has shown you the whole circle of his accomplishments, his parts are drained, and he is disabled from any further conversation. What are these but rank pedants ?
Many a man, is used in familiar discourse for, many men. This way of speaking is anomalous, and seemingly absurd, but may, in some sort; be accounted for, by observing that the indefinite particle "one,” in reference to more. So that many a man, is the same thing as one man of many. But we cannot, that is, we do not, say, interrogatively, “ how many a man,” for “ how many men ;" I know not for what reason, unless it be that the intensive adverb “how," prefixed to many,” im. plies so great a number, as makes the anomaly of the expression more shocking: I think this must be the reason, because, when "how" is applied to the verb, and not to the adjective, we still use this form of speech, interrogatively: as, how is many a man distressed by his own folly ! i. e. how much is many a man distressed—which shows, that the other question is not asked, because the sense of " many” is heightened by the prefix.
and yet these are the men who value themselves most on their exemption from the pedantry of colleges.
I might here mention the military pedant, who always talks in a camp, and is storming towns, making lodgments, and fighting battles from one end of the year to the other. Everything he speaks smells of gunpowder; if
take away his artillery from him, he has not a word to say for himself. I might likewise mention the law pedant, that is perpetually putting cases, repeating the transactions of Westminster Hall, wrangling with you upon the most indifferent circumstances of life, and not to be convinced of the distance of a place, or of the most trivial point in conversation, but by dint of argument. The state pedant is wrapt up
news, and lost in politics. If you mention either of the kings of Spain or Poland, he talks very notably; but if you go out of the Gazette, you drop him. In short, a mere courtier, a mere soldier, a mere scholar, a mere anything, is an insipid pedantic character, and equally ridiculous.
Of all the species of pedants which I have mentioned, the book-pedant is much the most supportable; he has at least an exercised understanding, and a head which is full, though confused; so that a man who converses with him receive from him hints of things that are worth knowing, and what he may possibly turn to his own advantage, though they are of little use to the owner. The worst kind of pedants among learned men, are such as are naturally endued with a very small share of common sense, and have read a great number of books without taste or distinction.
The truth of it is, learning, like travelling, and all other methods of improvement, as it finishes good sense, so it makes a silly man ten thousand times more insufferable, by supplying variety of matter to his impertinence, and giving him an opportunity of abounding in absurdities.
Shallow pedants cry up one another much more than men of solid and useful learning. To read the titles they give an editor, or collator of a manuscript, you would take him for the glory of the commonwealth of letters, and the wonder of his age; when perhaps, upon examination, you find that he has only rectified a Greek particle, or laid out a whole sentence in proper commas.
They are obliged, indeed, to be thus lavish of their praises, that they may keep one another in countenance; and it is no
wonder if a great deal of knowledge, which is not capable of making a man wise, has a natural tendency to make him vain and arrogant.
No. 106. MONDAY, JULY 2.
-Hinc tibi copia
I am the more at ease in Sir Roger's family, because it consists of sober and staid persons; for as the knight is the best master in the world, he seldom changes his servants ; and as he is beloved by all about him, his servants never care for leaving him : by this means his domestics are all in years, and grown
old with their master. You would take his valet de chambre for his brother; his butler is gray-headed ; his groom is one of the gravest men that I have ever seen ; and his coachman has the looks of a privy-councillor. You see the goodness of the master even in the old house-dog; and in a gray pad, that is kept in the stable with great care and tenderness out of regard to his past services, though he has been useless for several years.
1 These papers from the country abound in beauties of all sorts, and, among others, are remarkable for the utmost purity and grace of expression. The character of his knight is a master-piece in its kind, and only equalled (for, I think, it is not excelled) by that of Falstaff in Shakspeare. The comic genius of the author nowhere shines out to more advantage than in this instance.