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within a fortnight of her. As I waited upon her one morning, she told me, that she intended to keep her ready money and jointure in her own hand, and desired me to call upon her attorney in Lion's Inn, who would adjust with me what it was proper
for me to add to it. I was so rebuffed by this overture, that I never inquired either for her or her attorney afterwards.
• A few months after I addressed myself to a young lady, who was an only daughter, and of a good family. I danced with her at several balls, squeezed her by the hand, said soft things to her, and in short made no doubt of her heart; and though my fortune was not equal to hers, I was in hopes that her fond father would not deny her the man she had fixed her affections
But as I went one day to the house, in order to break the matter to him, I found the whole family in confusion, and heard, to my unspeakable surprise, that Miss Jenny was that very morning run away with the butler.
"I then courted a second widow; and am at a loss to this day how I came to miss her, for she had often commended my person and behaviour. Her maid indeed told me one day, that her mistress said she never saw a gentleman with such a spindle pair of legs as Mr. Honeycomb.
. After this I laid siege to four heiresses successively; and being a handsome young dog in those days, quickly made a breach in their hearts; but I don't know how it came to pass, though I seldom failed of getting the daughter's consent, I could never in my life get the old people on my side.
I could give you an account of a thousand other
unsuccessful attempts, particularly of one which I made some years since upon an old woman, whom I had certainly borne away with flying colours, if her relations had not come pouring in to her assistance from all parts of England; nay, I believe I should have got her at last, had not she been carried off by a hard frost.'
As Will's transitions are extremely quick, he turned from Sir Roger, and applying himself to me, told me there was a passage in the book I had considered last Saturday, which deserved to be writ in letters of gold; and taking out a pocket Milton, read the following lines, which are part of one of Adam's speeches to Eve after the fall.
-O! why did God,
Sir Roger listened to this passage with great
attention; and desiring Mr. Honeycomb to fold down a leaf at the place, and lend him his book, the knight put it up in his pocket, and told us that he would read over those verses again before he went to bed.
No. 360. WEDNESDAY, APRIL 23.
-De paupertate tacentes
I HAVE nothing to do with the business of this day, any further than affixing the piece of Latin on the head of
my paper; which I think a motto not unsuitable, since if silence of our poverty is a recommendation, still more commendable is his modesty who conceals it by a decent dress. (See Nos. 264, 280.)
• There is an evil under the sun which has not yet come within your speculation, and is, the censure, disesteem, and con mpt which some young fellows meet with from particular persons, for the reasonable methods they take to avoid them in general. This is by appearing in a better dress, than may seem to a relation regularly consistent with a small fortune; and therefore may occasion a judgment of a suitable extrava
gance in other particulars; but the disadvantage with which the man of narrow circumstances acts and speaks, is so feelingly set forth in a little book called The Christian Hero,' that the appearing to be otherwise is not only pardonable, but necessary. Every one knows the hurry of conclusions that are made in contempt of a person that appears to be calamitous; which makes it very excusable to prepare one's self for the company of those that are of a superior quality and fortune, by appearing to be in a better condition than one is, so far as such appearance shall not make us really of worse.
It is a justice due to the character of one who suffers hard reflections from any particular person upon this account, that such persons would inquire into his manner of spending his time; of which, though no further information can be had than that he remains so many hours in his chamber, yet if this is cleared, to imagine that a reasonable creature, wrung with a narrow fortune, does not make the best use of this retirement, would be a conclusion extremely uncharitable. From what has or will be said, I hope no consequence can be extorted implying that I would have
any young fellow spend more time than the common leisure which his studies require, or more money than his fortune or allowance may admit of in the pursuit of an acquaintance with his betters; for as to his time, the gross of that ought to be sacred to more substantial acquisitions, for each irrevocable moment of which he ought to believe he stands religiously accountable. And as to his dress, I shall engage myself no further than in the modest defence of two
plain suits a year; for being perfectly satisfied in Eutrapelus's contrivance of making a Mohock of a man, by presenting him with laced and em. broidered suits, I would by no means be thought to controvert the conceit, by insinuating the advantages of foppery. It is an assertion which admits of much proof, that a stranger of tolerable sense, dressed like a gentleman, will be better received by those of quality above him than one of much better parts whose dress is regulated by the rigid notions of frugality. A man's appearance falls within the censure of every one who sees him; his parts and learning very few are judges of; and even upon these few they can not at first be well intruded; for policy and good breeding will counsel him to be reserved among strangers, and to support himself only by the common spirit of conversation. Indeed, among the injudicious, the words delicacy, idiom, fine images, structure of periods, genius, fire, and the rest, made use of with a frugal and comely gravity, will maintain the figure of immense reading, and the depth of criticism.
All gentlemen of fortune, at least the young and middle-aged, are apt to pride themselves a little too much upon their dress, and consequently to value others
in some measure upon the same consideration. With what confusion is a man of figure obliged to return the civilities of the hat to a person whose air and attire hardly entitle him to it! For whom nevertheless the other has a particular esteem, though he is ashamed to have it challenged in so public a manner. It must be allowed, that any young fellow that affects to dress and appear genteelly, might, with artificial