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business, and enjoy their very selves. These hours were generally passed in rooms adorned for that purpose and set out in such a manner, as the objects all around the company gladdened their hearts; which, joined to the cheerful looks of well chosen and agreeable friends, gave new vigour to the airy, produced the latent fire of the modest, and gave grace to the slow humour of the reserved. A judicious mixture of such company, crowned with chaplets of flowers, and the whole apartment glittering with gay lights, cheered with a profusion of roses, artificial falls of water, and intervals of soft notes to songs of love and wine, suspended the cares of human life, and made a festival of mutual kindness. Such parties of pleasure as these, and the reports of the agreeable passages in their jollities, have in all ages awakened the dull part of mankind to pretend to mirth and good humour, without capacity for such entertainments; for if I may be allowed to say so, there are a hundred men fit for any employment to one who is capable of passing a night in company of the first taste, without shocking any member of the society, overrating his own part of the conversation, but equally receiving and contributing to the pleasure of the whole company. When one considers such collections of companions in past times, and such as one might name in the present age, with how much spleen must a man needs reflect upon the awkward gaiety of those who affect the frolic with an ill grace? 'I have a letter from a correspondent of mine, who desires me to admonish all loud, mischievous, airy, dull companions, that they are mistaken in what they call
a frolic. Irregularity in itself is not what creates pleasure and mirth; but to see a man who knows what rule and decency are, descend from them agreeably in our company, is what denominates him a pleasant companion. Instead of that, you find many whose mirth consists only in doing things which do not become them, with a secret consciousness that all the world know's they know better; to this is always added something mischievous to themselves or others. I have heard of some very merry
fellows among whom the frolic was started, and passed by a great majority, that every man should immediately draw a tooth; after which they have gone in a body and smoked a cobler. The same company at another night, has each man burned his cravat; and one perhaps, whose estate would bear it, has thrown a long wig and laced hat into the same fire. Thus they have jested themselves start naked, and run into the streets and frighted women very successfully. There is no inhabitant of any standing in Covent Garden, but can tell you a hundred good humours, where people have come off with a little bloodshed, and yet scoured all the witty hours of the night. I know a gentleman that has several wounds in the head by watch poles, and has been thrice run through the body to carry on a good jest. He
is very old for a man of so much good humour; but to this day he is seldom merry but he has occasion to be valiant at the same time. But by the favour of these gentlemen, I am humbly of opinion, that a man may be a very witty man, and never offend one' statute of this kingdom, not excepting even that of stabbing.
The writers of plays have what they call unity of time and place to give a justness to their representation; and it would not be amiss if all who pretend to be companions, would confine their actions to the place of meeting, for a frolic carried farther may be better performed by other animals than men. It is not to rid much ground, or do much mischief, that should denominate a pleasant fellow; but that is truly frolic which is the play of the mind, and consists of various and unforced sallies of the imagination. Festivity of spirit is a very uncommon talent, and must proceed from an assemblage of agreeable qualities in the same person: there are some few whom I think peculiarly happy in it; but it is a talent one can not name in a man, especially when one considers that it is never very graceful but where it is regarded by him who possesses it in the second place. The best man that I know of for heightening the revel gaiety of a company, is Estcourt, whose jovial humour diffuses itself from the highest person at an entertainment to the meanest waiter. Merry tales, accompanied with apt gestures and lively representations of circumstances and persons, beguile the gravest mind into a consent to be as humorous as himself. Add to this, that when a man is in his good graces, he has a mimicry that does not debase the person he represents; but which, taking from the gravity of the character, adds to the agreeableness of it. This pleasant fellow gives one some idea of the ancient Pantomime, who is said to have given the audience in dumb show an exact idea of any character or passion, or an intelligible relation of any public occurrence, with no other expression
than that of his looks and gestures. If all who have been obliged to these talents in Estcourt, will be at Love for Love to-morrow night, they will but
him what they owe him, at so easy a rate as being present at a play which nobody would omit seeing, that had or had not ever seen it before.
No. 359. TUESDAY, APRIL 22.
Torva leæna lupum sequitur, lupus ipse capellam;
As we were at the club last night, I observed that my old friend Sir Roger, contrary to his usual custom, sat very silent, and instead of minding what was said by the company, was whistling to himself in a very thoughtful mood, and playing with a cork. I'jogged Sir Andrew Freeport, who sat between us; and as we were both obserying him, we saw the knight shake his head, and heard him say to himself a foolish woman! I can't believe it. Sir Andrew
Sir Andrew gave him a gentle pat upon the shoulder, and offered to lay him a bottle of wine that he was thinking of the widow. My old friend started, and, recovering out of his brown study, told Sir Andrew that once in his life he had been in the right. In short, after some little hesitation, Sir Roger told us in the fulness of his heart, that he had just received a letter
from his steward, which acquainted him that his old rival and antagonist in the country, Sir David Dundrum, had been making a visit to the widow. However,' says Sir Roger, I can never think that she'll have a man that's half a year older than I am, and a noted republican into the bargain.'
Will Honeycomb, who looks upon love as his particular province, interrupting our friend with å jaunty laugh, I thought, knight,' said he, 6 thou hadst lived long enough in the world, not to pin thy happiness upon one that is a woman and a widow. ` I think, that without vanity I may pretend to know as much of the female world as any man in Great Britain, though the chief of my knowledge consists in this, that they are not to be known. Will immediately, with his usual fluency, rambled into an account of his own
I am now,' says he, upon the verge of fifty, (though by the way we all knew he was turned of threescore). You may easily guess, continued Will, ó that I have not lived so long in the world without having had some thoughts of settling in it, as the phrase is. To tell you truly, I have several times tried my fortune that way, though I can't much boast of my success.
"I made my first addresses to a young lady in the country; but when I thought things were pretty well drawing to a conclusion, her father happening to hear that I had formerly boarded with a surgeon, the old put forbade me his house, and within a fortnight after married his daughter to a fox-hunter in the neighbourhood.
I made my next application to a widow, and attacked her so briskly, that I thought myself