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Loveit, and mimick Sir Fopling; Oh! the pretty satire, in his resolving to be a coxcomb to please, since noise and nonsense have such powerful charms.
• 1, that I may successful prove,
Then how like a man of the town, so wild and gay is that
The wise will find a diff'rence in our fate,
It would have been a very wild endeavour for a man of my temper to offer any opposition to so nimble a speaker as my fair enemy is; but her discourse gave me very many reflections, when I had left her company. Among others, I could not but consider, with some attention, the false impressions the generality, the fair sex more especially, have of what should be intended, when they say a fine gentleman; and could not help revolving that subject in my thoughts, and settling, as it were, an idea of that character in my own imagination.
No man ought to have the esteem of the rest of the world, for any actions which are disagreeable to those maxims which prevail as the standards of behaviour, in the country wherein he lives. What is opposite to the eternal rules of reason and good sense, must be excluded from any place in the carriage of a well-bred* man. I did not, I confess, explain myself enough on this subject, when I called Dorimant a clown, and made it an instance of it, that he called the Orange Wench, Double Tripe: I should have shewed, that humanity obliges a gentleman to give no part of hu- , man-kind reproach, for what they, whom they reproach, may possibly have in common with the most
virtuous and worthy among us. When a gentleman speaks coarsely, he has dressed himself clean to no purpose: the clothing of our minds certainly ought to be regarded before that of our bodies. To betray in a man's talk a corrupted imagination, is a much greater offence against the conversation of a gentleman, than any negligence of dress imaginable. But this sense of the matter is far from being received among people even of condition, that Vocifer passes for a fine gentleman. He is loud, haughty, gentle, soft, lewd, and obsequious by turns, just as a little understanding and great impudence prompt him at the present moment, he passes among the silly part of our women for a man of wit, because he is generally in doubt. He contradicts with a shrug, and confutes with a certain sufficiency, in professing such and such a thing is above his capacity. What makes his character the pleasanter is, that he is a professed deluder of women; and because the empty coxcomb has no regard to any thing that is of itself sacred and inviolable, I have heard an unmarried lady of fortune say, it is pity so fine a gentlemau as Vocifer, is so great an atheist. The crowds of such inconsiderable creatures that infest all places of assembling, every reader will have in his eye from his own observation; but would it not be worth considering what sort of figure a man, who formed himself upon those principles among us, which are agreeable to the dictates of honour and religion, would make in the familiar and ordinary occurrences of life?
I hardly have observed any one fill his several duties of life better than Ignotus. All the under parts of
his behaviour, and such as are exposed to common *** observation, have their rise in him from great and *** noble motives. A firm and unshaken expectation of
another life, makes him become this. Humanity and ..good-nature, fortified by the sense of virtue, has the
same effect upon him, as the neglect of all goodness has upon many others. Being firmly established in all matters of importance, that certain inattention which makes men's actions look easy, appears in him with greater beauty; by a thorough contempt of little excellencies, he is perfectly master of them. This temper of mind leaves him under no necessity of studying his air, and he has this peculiar distinction, that his negligence is unaffected.
He that can work himself into a pleasure in considering this being as an uncertain one, and think to reap an advantage by its discontinuance, is in a fair way of doing all things with a graceful unconcern, and gentleman-like ease. Such an one does not behold his life as a short, transient, perplexing state, made up of trifling pleasures and great anxiety ; but sees it in quite another light; his griefs are momentary, and his joys immortal. Reflection upon death is not a gloomy and sad thought of resigning every thing that he delights in, but it is a short night followed by an endless day. What I would here contend for is, that the more virtuous the man is, the nearer he will naturally be to the character of genteel and agreeable. A man . whose fortune is plentiful, shews an ease in his coun*tenance, and confidence in his behaviour, which he that is under wants and difficulties cannot assume. It is thus with the state of the mind; he that governs his thoughts with the everlasting rules of reason and sense, must have something so inexpressibly graceful in his words and actions, that every circumstance must become him. The change of persons or things around him do not at all alter his situation, but he looks disinterested in the occurrences with which others are distracted, because the greatest purpose of his life is to maintain an indifference both to it and all its enjoyments. In a word, to be a fine gentleman is to be a generous and a brave man. Wbat can make a
man so much in constant good-humour, and shine, as we call it, than to be supported by what can never fail him, and to believe that whatever happens to him was the best thing that could possibly befal him, or else he on whom it depends would not have permitted it to have befallen him at all?
No. LXXVI. MONDAY, MAY 28.
Ut tu fortunam, sic nos te, Celse, feremus.
As you your fortune bear, we will bear you. Creech.
• THERE is nothing so common, as to find a man whom in the general observation of his carriage you take to be of an uniform temper, subject to such unaccountable starts of humour and passion, that he is as much unlike himself, and differs as much from the man you at first thought him, as any two distinct persons can differ from each other. This proceeds from the want of forming some law of life to our selves, or fixing some notion of things in general, which may affect us in such manner as to create proper habits both in our minds and bodies. The ne gligence of this leaves us exposed not only to an un. common levity in our usual conversation, but also to the same instability in our friendships, interests, and alliances. A man who is but a mere spectator of what passes around him, and not engaged in commerces of any consideration, is but an ill judge of the secret motion of the heart of man, and by what degrees it is actuated to make such visible alterations in the same person: but at the same time, when a man is no
way concerned in the effect of such inconsistencies in the behaviour of men of the world, the speculation must be in the utmost degree both diverting and instructive; yet to enjoy such observations in the highest relish, he ought to be placed in a post of direction, and have the dealing of their fortunes to them. I have therefore been wonderfully diverted with some pieces of secret history, which an antiquary, my very good friend, lent me as a curiosity. They are me. moirs of the private life of Pharamond of France.
Pharamond,' says my author, ' was a prince of in
finite humanity and generosity, and at the same o time the most pleasant and facetious companion of « his time. He had a peculiar taste in him, which I would have been unlucky in any prince but himself; she thought there could be no exquisite pleasure in
conversation but among equals; and would pleasantly 6. bewail himself that he always lived in a crowd, but I was the only man in France that never could get
into company. This turn of mind made him delight 6 in midnight rambles, attended only with one person 6 of his bed chamber: he would in these excursions
get acquainted with men, whose temper he had a • mind to try, and recommend them privately to the I particular observation of his first minister. He generally found himself neglected by his new acquaintance as soon as they had hopes of growing
great: and used on such occasions to remark, that 6. it was a great injustice to tax princes of forgetting " themselves in their high fortunes, when there were I so few that could with constancy bear the favour of r their very creatures. My author in these loose hints has one passage that gives us a very lively idea of the uncommon genius of Pharamond. He met with one man whom he had put to all the usual proofs he made of those he had a mind to know thorough.