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I have to him for this kind notice, and residence with him ever since, has made so strong an impression upon me, that he has an authority of a father over me,
founded upon the love of a brother. I have a good study of books, a good stable of horses always at my command; and though I am not now quite eighteen years of age, familiar converse on his part, and a strong inclination to exert myself on mine, have had an effect upon me that makes me acceptable wherever I go. Thus, Mr. Spectator, by this gentleman's favour and patronage, it is my own fault if I am not wiser and richer every day I live. I speak this, as well by subscribing the initial letters of my name to thank him, as to incite others to an imitation of his virtue. It would be a worthy work to show what great charities are to be done without expense, and how many noble actions are lost, out of inadvertency in persons capable of performing them, if they were put in mind of it. If a gentleman of figure in a county would make his family a pattern of sobriety, good sense, and breeding, and would kindly endeavour to influence the education and growing prospects of the younger gentry about him, I am apt to believe it would save him a great deal of stale beer on a public occasion, and render him the leader of his country from their gratitude to him, instead of being a slave to their riots and tumults in order to be made their representative. The same thing might be recommended to all who have made any progress in any parts of knowledge, or arrived at any degree in a profession: others may gain preferments and fortunes from their patrons, but ! have, I hope, received from mine good habits and
virtues. I repeat to you, sir, my request to print this, in return for all the evil å helpless orphan shall ever escape, and all the good he shall receive in this life: both which are wholly owing to this gentleman's favour to, sir, Your most obedient humble servant,
"I am a lad of about fourteen. I find a mighty pleasure in learning. I have been at the Latin school four years. I do not know I ever played truant, or neglected any task my master ever
life. I think on what I read in school as I go home at noon and night, and so intently, that I have often gone half a mile out of my way, not minding whither I went. Our maid tells me she often hears me talk Latin in my sleep: and I dream two or three nights in a week I am reading Juvenal and Homer. My master seems as well pleased with my performances as any boy's in the same class. I think, if I know my own mind, I would choose rather to be a scholar than a prince without learning. I have a very good affectionate father; but though very rich, yet so mighty near, that he thinks much of the charges of my education. He often tells me he believes my schooling will ruin him; that I cost him God knows what in books. I tremble to tell him I want one. I am forced to keep my pocket-money, and lay it out for a book, now and then that he does not know of. He has ordered
my master to buy no more books for me, but says he will buy them himself. I asked him for Horace the other day, and he told me in
a passion, he did not believe I was fit for it, but only my master had a mind to make him think I had got a great way in my learning. I am sometimes a month behind other boys in getting the books my master gives orders for. All the boys in the school, but I, have the classic authors in usum Delphini, gilt and lettered on the back. My father is often reckoning up how long I have been at school, and tells me he fears I do little good. My father's carriage so discourages me, that he makes me grow dull and melancholy. My master wonders what is the matter with me: I am afraid to tell him; for he is a man that loves to encourage learning, and would be apt to chide my father, and not knowing his temper, may make him worse. Sir, if you have any love for learning, I beg you would give me some instructions in this case, and persuade parents to encourage their children when they find them diligent and desirous of learning. I have heard some parents say, they would do any thing for their children if they would but mind their learning: I would be glad to be in their place. Dear sir, pardon my boldness. If you will but consider and pity my case, I will pray for your prosperity as long as I live.
'. Your humble servant,
JAMES DISCIPULUS.' London, March 2, 1711.
No. 331. THURSDAY, MARCH 20.
-Stolidam præbet tibi vellere barbam. PERS. Holds out his foolish beard for thee to pluck. WHEN I was last with my friend Sir Roger in Westminster-abbey, I observed that he stood longer than ordinary before the bust of a venerable old man. I was at a loss to guess
the of it, when after some time he pointed to the figure, and asked me if I did not think that our forefathers looked much wiser in their beards than we do without them? •For my part,' says he, when I am walking in my gallery in the country, and see my ancestors, who many of them died before they were of my age, I can not forbear regarding them as so many old patriarchs, and at the same time looking upon myself as an idle smock-faced young fellow. I love to see your Abrahams, your Isaacs, and your Jacobs, as we have them in old pieces of tapestry, with beards below their girdles, that cover half the hangings.'. The knight added, if I would recommend beards in one of my papers, and endeavour to restore human faces to their ancient dignity, that upon a month's warning he would undertake to lead up the fashion himself in a pair of whiskers.
I smiled at my friend's fancy; but after we parted, could not forbear reflecting on the metamorphoses our faces have undergone in this particular.
The beard, conformable to the notion of my friend Sir Roger, was, for many ages, looked
upon as the type of wisdom. Lucian more than once rallies the philosophers of his time, who endeavoured to rival one another in beards; and represents a learned man who stood for a professorship in philosophy, as unqualified for it by the shortness of his beard.
Ælian, in his account of Zoilus, the pretended critic, who wrote against Homer and Plato, and thought himself wiser than
all who had gone before him, tells us, that this Zoilus had a very long beard that hung down upon his breast, but no hair upon his head, which he always kept close shaved; regarding, it seems, the hairs of his head as so many suckers, which, if they had been suffered to grow, might have drawn away the nourishment from his chin, and by that means have starved his beard.
I have read somewhere that one of the popes refused to accept an edition of a saint's works, which was presented to him, because the saint in his effigies before the book, was drawn without a beard.
We see by these instances what homage the world has formerly paid to beards; and that a barber was not then allowed to make those depredations on the faces of the learned which have been permitted him of late years.
Accordingly, several wise nations have been so extremely jealous of the least rufile offered to their beards, that they seem to have fixed the point of honour principally in that part. The Spaniards were wonderfully tender in this particular. Don Quevedo, in his third vision of the last judgment, has carried the humour very far, when he tells us that one of his vain-glorious