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For my own part, I would never trust a man that I thought was capable of giving these secret wounds; and cannot but think that he wouid hurt the person whose reputarion he thus assaults, in his body or in his fortune, could me do it with the same fecurity. There is indeed something very barbarous and inhuman in the ordinary fcribblers of lampoons: an innocent young lady shall be expolcu for an unhappy feature; a father of a fainily turned to ridicule, for some domestic calamity; a wife be made uneasy all her life, for a misinterpreted word or action;
; nay, a good, a temperate, and a just man, shall be put out of countenance by the representation of those qualities that should do him honour. So pernicious a thing is wit when it is not tempered with virtue and humanity.
I have, indeed, heard of heedless inconsiderate writers, that without any malice have sacrificed the reputation of their friends and acquaintance to a certain levity of temper, and a filly ambition of distinguishing themselves by a spirit of raillery and fatire; as if it were not infinitely more bonourable to be a good-natured man than a wit. Where there is this little petulant humour in an author, he is often very mischievous without designing to be fo. For which reason I always lay it down as a rule, that an indiscreet man is more hurtful than an ill-natured one; for as the latter will only attack his enemies, and those he wishes ill to, the other injures indifferentiy both friends and foes. I cannot forbear, on this occation, tranfcribing a fable out of Sir Roger l'estrange, which accidentaliy lies before me: • A company of waggish boys were • watching of frogs at the hide of a pond, and Itill as any • of 'ein put up their heads they'd be pelting them down
again with fiones Children, lays one of the frogs, you
never consider that, though this may be play to you, 6 'tis death to us.'
As this week is in a manner fet apart and dedicated to serious thoughts, I shall indulge myself in such fpeculations as may not be altogether untuitable to the feafon : and in the mean time, as the lettling in ourselves a charitable frame of mind is a work very proper for the time,
I have in this paper endeavoured to expose that particular breach of charity which has been generally overlooked by divines, because they are but few who can be guilty
No. XXIV. WEDNESDAY, MARCH 28.
Accurrit quidam notus mihi nomine tantum;
My dear!-how doit?
THERE are in this town a great number of infignifi
cant people, who are by no means fit for the better fort of conversation, and yet have an impertinent ambition of appearing with those to whom they are not welcome. If you walk in the Park, one of them will certainly join with you, though you are in company with ladies; if you drink a bottle, they will find your haunts. What makes fuch fellows the more burdensome is, that they neither offend nor peale so far as to be taken notice of for either. It is, I presume, for this reason, that my correspondents are willing by my means to be rid of them. The two following letters are written by persons who suffer by such impertinence. A worthy old bachelor, who sets in for his dose of claret every night at such an hour, is teazed by a fwarm of them ; who, because they are fure of room and good fire, have taken it in their heads to keep a sort of club in his company, though the good sober gentleman himseif is an uiter enemy to such meetings.
"Mr. Spectator, 'THE averfion I for some years have had to clubs in general, gave me a perfect relish for your specula
tion on that subject; but I have since been extremelv • mortified, by the malicious world's ranking me amongst
• the supporters of such impertinent assemblies. I beg • leave to state my case fairly; and that done, I shall ex
pect redrefs from your judicious pen. * I amn, Sir, a bachelor of fome standing, and a traveller; my business, to consult my own humour, which I gratify without controlling other people's; I have a
room and a whole bed to myself; and I have a dog, a • fiddle, and a gun; they please me, and injure no crea
ture alive. My chief ineal is a fupper, which I always « make at a tavern. I am constant to an hour, and not 'ill-humoured; for which realons, though I invite no• body, I have no sooner fupped than I have a crowd
about me of that sort of good company that know not • whither else to go. It is true, every man pays his • share; yet, as they are intruders, I have an undoubted
right to be the only speaker, or at least the loudest; • which I maintain, and that to the great emolument of my audience.
I sometimes tell them their own in pretty free language; and sometimes divert them with
merry tales, according as I am in humour. I am one • of those who live in taverns to a great age, by a sort of
regular intemperance; I never go to bed drunk, but • always fiuftered; I wear away very gently, am apt to be peevith, but never angry. Mr. Spectator, if you
have kept various company, you know there is in every
tavern in town fome old humourist or other, who is • master of the house as much as he that keeps it. The • drawers are all in awe of him; and all the customers ' who frequent bis company, yield him a sort of comical • obedience. I do not know but I may be such a fellow
as this myself: but I appeal to you, whether this is to
he called a club, because so many impertinents will • break in upon me, and come without appointment: • Clinch of Barnet has a nightly meeting, and thows to
every one that will come in and pay : but then he is • the only actor. Why ihould people iniscall things? If • his is allowed to be a concert, why mayn’t mine be a
lecture? However, Sir, 1 submit it to you, and am,
. Good Sir,
• YOU and I were pressed against each other last ¢ winter in a crowd ; in which uneasy posture we fuf• fered together for almost half an hour. I thank you • for all your civilities ever since, in being of my ac• quaintance wherever you meet me. But the other day
you pullid off your hat to me in the Park, when I was • walking with my mistress: she did not like your air, 6 and faid, she wondered what strange fellows I was ac• quainted with. Dear Sir, consider it is as much as my ( life is worth, if the should think we were intimate; 6 therefore I earnestly intreat you for the future to take
no manner of notice of,
• Your obliged humble servant,
« WILL. FASHION.'
A like impertinence is also very troublesome to the superior and more intelligent part of the fair fex. It is, it seems, a great inconvenience that those of the meanest capacities will pretend to make visits, though indeed they are qualified rather to add to the furniture of the house by filling an empty chair, than to the conversation they come into when they visit. A friend of mine hopes for redress in this case by the publication of a letter in my paper, which the thinks those she would be rid of will take to themselves. It feems to be written with an eye to one of those pert giddy unthinking girls, who, upon the recommendation only of an agrecable person and a fashionable air, take themselves to be upon a level women of the greatest merit.
rules and forms would never permit me to tell you otherwise; to wit, that you and I, tho' equals in quality and fortune, are by no means tuitable compa
ļnions. You are, 'tis true, very pretty, can dance, • and make a very good figure in a public affembly: • but alas, Madain, you must go no further; distance
and silence are your best recommendations; therefore • let me beg of you never to make me any more vifits.
You come in a literal sense to see one; for you have
but I would keep it up • with the strictest forms of good-breeding. Let us pay ' visits, but never see one another. If you will be so
good as to deny yourself always to me, I shall return • the obligation by giving the same orders to my
ferva When accident makes us meet at a third place, we may mutually lament the misfortune of never finding one another at home, go in the same party to a benefit-play, and smile at each other, and put down glasses as we pass in our coaches. Thus we may en
joy as much of each other's friendship as we are.
will always honour,
6 MARY TUESDAY.'
• hope you
• P. S. I subscribe myself by the name of the day I • keep, that my supernumerary friends may know who • I am.'
ADVERTISEMENT. “ TO prevent all mistakes that may happen among “ gentlemen of the other end of the town, who come “ but once a week to St. James's coffee-house, either by “ miscalling the servants or requiring such things from “ them as are not properly within their respective pro“ yinces,--this is to give notice, that Kidney, keeper of “ the book-debts of the outlying customers, and observer “ of those who go off without paying, having resigned K