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less iniquities, than to raise profit by abuses as irreparable as taking away life; but more grievous, as making it lastingly unhappy. To rob a lady at play of half her
fortune, is not so ill as giving the whole and herself to an unworthy husband. But Sempronia can administer Consolation to an unhappy fair at home, by leading her to an agreeable gallant elsewhere. She can then preach the general condition of all the people in the married world, and tell an inexperienced young woman, the methods of softening her affliction, and laugh at her simplicity and want of knowledge, with an “Oh! my dear, you will know better.”
The wickedness of Sempronia, one would think, should be superlative; but I cannot but esteem that of some parents equal to it: I mean such as sacrifice the greatest endowments and qualifications to base bargains. A parent who forces a child of a liberal and ingenious* spirit into the arms of a clown or a blockhead, obliges her to a crime too odious for a name. It is in a degree the unnatural conjunction of rational and brutal beings. Yet what is there so common, as the bestowing an accomplished woman with such a disparity? And
I could name crowds who lead miserable lives for want of knowledge in their parents of this maxim, that good sense and good nature always go together. That which is attributed to fools, and called good-nature, is only an inability of observing what is faulty, which turns, in marriage, into a suspicion of every thing as such, from a consciousness of that inability.
• MR. SPECTATOR, " I am entirely of your opinion with relation to the equestrian females, who affect both the masculine and feminine air at the same time; and cannot forbear making a presentment against another order of them, who grow very numerous and powerful; and since our language is not very capable of good compound words, I must be contented to call them only the naked-shouldered.' These beauties are not contented to make lovers wherever they appear, but they must make rivals at the same time. Were you to see Gatty walk the park at high mall, you would expect those who followed her and those who met her would immediately draw their swords for her. I hope, Sir, you
will provide for the future, that women may stick to their faces for doing any farther mischief, and not allow any but direct traders in beauty to expose more than the fore part of the neck, unless you please to allow this after-game to those who are very defective in the charms of the counte
I can say, to my sorrow, the present practice is very unfair, when to look back is death; and it
be said of our beauties, as a great poet did of bullets,
They kill and wound, like Parthians, as they fly. “I submit this to your animadversion; and am, for the little while I have left, “ Your humble servant, the languishing
“PHILANTHUS. “P. S. Suppose you mended my letter, and made a simile about the porcupine;' but I submit that also.”
N° 438. WEDNESDAY, JULY 23, 1712.
- Animum rege, qui, nisi paret, Imperat
Hor. 1 Ep. ii. 62.
-Curb thy soul, And check thy rage, which must be rald or rule.-CREECH. T is a very common expression, that such a one is very
good-natured, but very passionate. The expression, indeed, is very good-natured, to allow passionate people so much quarter: but I think a passionate man deserves the least indulgence imaginable. It is said, it is soon over; that is, all the mischief he does is quickly dispatched, which, I think, is no great recommendation to favour. I have known one of these good-natured passionate men say in a mixed company, even to his own wife or child, such things, as the most inveterate enemy of his family would not have spoken, even in imagination. It is certain that quick sensibility is inseparable from a ready understanding; but why should not that good understanding call to itself all its force on such occasions, to master that sudden inclination to anger ? One of the greatest souls now in the world* is the most subject by nature to anger,
* Lord Somers.
and yet so famous, from a conquet of himself this way, that he is the known example when you talk of temper and command of a man's self. To contain the spirit of anger, is the worthiest discipline we can put ourselves to. When a man has made any progress this way, a frivolous fellow in a passion is to him as contemptible as a froward child. It ought to be the study of every man for his own quiet and peace. When he stands combustible and ready to flame upon every thing that touches him, life is as uneasy to himself as it is to all about him. Syncropius leads, of all men living, the most ridiculous life; he is ever offending and begging pardon. If his man enters the room without what he was sent for—" That blockhead,” begins he" Gentlemen, I ask your pardon, but servants now-adays”—The wrong plates are laid, they are thrown into the middle of the room; his wife stands by in pain for him, which he sees in her face, and answers as if he had heard all she was thinking :-“Why? what the devil! Why don't you take care to give orders in these things?” His friends sit down to a tasteless plenty of every thing, every minute expecting new insults from his impertinent passions. In a word, to eat with, or visit Syncropius, is no other than going to see him exercise his family, exercise their patience, and his own anger.
It is monstrous that the shame and confusion in which this good-natured angry man must needs behold his friends, while he thus lays about him, does not give him so much reflection, as to create an amendment. This is the most scandalous disuse of reason imaginable: all the harmless part of him is no more than that of a bull-dog, they are tame no longer than they are not offended. One of these good-natured angry men shall, in an instant, assemble together so many allusions to secret circumstances, as are enough to dissolve the peace of all the families and friends he is acquainted with in a quarter of an hour, and yet the next moment be the best-natured man in the whole world. If you would see passion in its purity, without mixture of reason, behold it represented in a mad hero, drawn by a mad poet. Nat. Lee makes his Alexander say thus :
Away! begone! and give a whirlwind room,
Rise up to heav'n, and put out all the stars. Every passionate fellow in town talks half the day with as little consistency, and threatens things as much out of his power.
The next disagreeable person to the ourageous gentleman, is one of a much lower order of anger, and he is what we commonly call a peevish fellow. A peevish fellow is one who has some reason in himself for being out of humour, or has a natural incapacity for delight, and therefore disturbs all who are happier than himself with pishes and pshaws, or other well-bred interjections, at every thing that is said or done in his presence. There should be physic mixed in the food of all which these fellows eat in good company. This degree of anger passes, forsooth, for a delicacy of judgment, that will not admit of being easily pleased; but none above the character of wearing a peevish man's livery ought to bear with his ill manners. All things among men of sense and condition should pass the censure, and have the protection, of the eye
of reason. No man ought to be tolerated in an habitual humour, whim, or particularity of behaviour, by any who do not wait upon him for bread. Next to the peevish fellow is the snarler. This gentlemen deals mightily in what we call the irony; and as those sort of people exert themselves most against those below them, you see their humour best in their talk to their servants. " That is so like are a fine fellow; Thou art the quickest headpiece;" and the like. One would think the hectoring, the storming, the sullen, and all the different species and subordinations of the angry should be cured, by knowing they live only as pardoned men; and how pitiful is the condition of being only suffered! But I am interrupted by the pleasantest scene of anger and the disappointment of it that I have ever known, which happened while I was yet writing, and I overheard as I sat in the back-room at a French bookseller's. There came into the shop a very learned man
you ; You
with an erect solemn air; and, though a person of great parts otherwise, slow in understanding any thing which makes against himself. The composure of the faulty man, and the whimsical perplexity of him that was justly angry, is perfectly new. After turning over many volumes, said the seller to the buyer, “ Sir, you know I have long asked you to send me back the first volume of the French sermons I formerly lent you."—“Sir,” said the chapman; “ I have often looked for it, but cannot find it; it is certainly lost, and I know not to whom I lent it, it is so many years ago.
Then, sir, here is the other volume; I'll send you home that, and please to pay for both.”—“My friend,” replied he, “canst thou be so senseless as not to know that one volume is as imperfect in my library as in your shop?”—“Yes, Sir, but it is you have lost the first volume; and, 'to be short, I will be paid.”—“Sir,” answered the chapman, "you are a young man, your
book is lost; and learn by this little loss to bear much greater adversities,
you must expect to meet with.”—“ Yes, Sir, but I'll bear when I must, but I have not lost now, for I say you have it, and shall pay me.”-“Friend, you grow warm; I tell
the book is lost; and I foresee, in the course even of a prosperous life, that you will meet afflictions to make you mad, if you cannot bear this trifle.”
.“ Sir, there is in this case no need of bearing, for you have the book.”—“I say, Sir, I have not the book; but your passion will not let you hear enough to be informed that I have it not. Learn resignation of yourself to the distresses of this life : nay, do not fret and fume; it is my duty to tell you, that you are of an impatient spirit, and an impatient spirit is never without woe.”_" Was ever any thing like this ?".--"Yes, Sir, there have been many things like this: the loss is but a trifle; but your temper is wanton, and incapable of the least pain; therefore let me advise you, be patient; the book is lost, but do not you for that reason lose yourself.” T.*
By Steele. See N° 324, ad finem. This scene passed in the shop of Mr. Vaillant, afterward Messrs. Payne and Mackinlay's, in the Strand; and the subject of it was (for it is still in remembrance) a volume of Massillon's Sermons. The shop is now one of the last to which authors wish to have recourse, a trunk-maker's !