« 上一頁繼續 »
just then was bawling out, Half an hour after one o'clock,' and immediately a dirty goose behind him, made her response, quack, quack. I could not forbear attending this grave procession for the length of half a street, with no small amazement to find the whole place so familiarly acquainted with a melancholy midnight voice at noonday, giving them the hour, and exhorting them of the departure of time with a bounce at their doors. While I was full of this novelty, I went into a friend's house, and told him how I was diverted with their whimsical monitor and his equipage. My friend gave me the history, and interrupted my commendation of the man, by telling me the livelihood of these two animals is purchased rather by the good parts of the goose, than of the leader, for it seems the peripatetic who walked before her was a watchman in that neighbourhood; and the goose of herself by frequently hearing his tone, out of her natural vigilance, not only observed but answered it very regularly from time to time. The watchman was so affected with it, that he bought her, and has taken her in partner, only altering their hours of duty from night to day. The town has come into it, and they live very comfortably. This is the matter of fact. Now I desire you, who are a profound philosopher, to consider this alliance of instinct and reason; your speculation may turn very naturally upon the force the superior part of mankind may have upon the spirits of such as, like this watchman, may be very near the standard of geese. And you may add to this practical observation, how in all ages and times the world has been carried away by odd unac
countable things, which one would think would pass upon no creature which had reason; and, under the symbol of this goose, you may enter into the manner and method of leading creatures, with their eyes open, through thick and thin, for they know not what, they know not why.
• All which is humbly submitted to your Spectatorial wisdom, by, sir,
- Your most humble servant,
• MICHAEL GANDER.'
• I have for several years had under my care the government and education of
young which trust I have endeavoured to discharge with due regard to their several capacities and fortunes. "I have left nothing undone to imprint in every one of them a humble courteous mind, accompanied with a graceful becoming mien, and have made them pretty much acquainted with the household part of family affairs; but still I find there is something very much wanting in the air of my ladies different from what I observe in those that are esteemed your fine bred women. Now, sir, I must own to you, I never suffered my girls to learn to dance, but since I have read your discourse of dancing, where you have described the beauty and spirit there is in a regular motion, I own myself your convert, and resolve, for the future, to give my young ladies that accomplishment. But upon imparting my design to their parents, I have been made very uneasy for some time, because several of them have declared, that if I did not make use of the master they recommended, they would take away
their children. There was colonel Jumper's lady, a colonel of the trainbands, that has a great interest in her parish, she recommends Mr. Trot (No. 296) for the prettiest master in town, that no man teaches a jig like him, that she has seen him rise six or seven capers together with the greatest ease imaginable, and that his scholars twist themselves more ways than the scholars of any master in town: besides, there is madam Prim, an alderman's lady, recommends a master of her own name, but she declares he is not of their family, yet a very extraordinary man in his way; for, besides a very soft air he has in dancing, he gives them a particular behaviour at a tea-table, and in presenting their snuff-box, teaches to twirl, slip, or flirt a fan, and how to place patches to the best advantage either for fat or lean, long or oval faces; for my lady says there is more in these things than the world imagines. But I must confess the major part of those I am concerned with leave it to me. I desire, therefore, according to the enclosed direction, you would send your correspondent who has writ to you on that subject to my house. If proper application this way can give innocence new charms, and make virtue legible in the countenance, I shall spare no charge to make my scholars in their very
features and limbs bear witness how careful I have been in the other parts of their education. I am, sir,
- Your most humble servant,
No. 377. TUESDAY, MAY 13.
Quid quisque vitet, nunquam homini satis
Love was the mother of poetry, and still produces among the most ignorant and barbarous, a thousand imaginary distresses and poetical complaints. It makes a footman talk like Oroondates, and converts a brutal rustic into a gentle swain. The most ordinary plebeian or mechanic in love bleeds and pines away with a certain elegance and tenderness of sentiments which this passion naturally inspires.
These inward languishings of a mind infected with this softness, have given birth to a phrase which is made use of by all the melting tribe, from the highest to the lowest; I mean that of dying for love.
Romances, which owe their very being to this passion, are full of these metaphorical deaths. Heroes and heroines, knights, 'squires and damsels, are all of them in a dying condition. There is the same kind of mortality in our modern tragedies, where every one gasps, faints, bleeds and dies. Many of the poets, to describe the execution which is done by this passion, represent the fair sex as basilisks that destroy with their eyes; but I think Mr. Cowley has, with great justness of thought, compared' a beautiful woman to a porcupine, that sends an arrow from every part.
I have often thought, that there is no way so effectual for the cure of this general infirmity as a man's reflecting upon the motives that produce it.
When the passion proceeds from the sense of any virtue or perfection in the person beloved, I would by no means discourage it: but if a man considers that all his heavy complaints of wounds and deaths rise from some little affectations of coquetry, which are improved into charms by his own fond imagination, the very laying before himself the cause of his distemper may be suffcient to effect the cure of it.
It is in this view that I have looked over the several bundles of letters which I have received from dying people, and composed out of them the following bill of mortality, which I shall lay before my reader without any farther preface; as hoping that it may be useful to him in discovering those several places where there is most danger,
and those fatal arts which are made use of to destroy the heedless and unwary.
Lysander, slain at a puppet-show on the third of September.
Thyrsis, shot from a casement in Piccadilly.
T. S. wounded by Zelinda's scarlet-stocking, as she was stepping out of a coach.
Will Simple, smitten at the opera by the glance of an eye that was aimed at one who stood by him.
Tho. Vainlove, lost his life at a ball.
Tim. Tattle, killed by the tap of a fan on his left shoulder by Coquetilla, as he was talking carelessly with her in a bow-window.
Sir Simon Softly, murdered at the playhouse in Drury-Lane by a frown.