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same pretensions to good-luck, stand upon the same foot of competition, and no manner of reason can be given why a man should prefer one to the other before the lottery is drawn. In this case, therefore, caprice very often acts in the place of reason, and forms to itself some groundless imaginary motive, where real and substantial ones are wanting. I know a well-meaning man that is very well pleased to risk his good fortune upon the number 1711, because it is the year of our Lord. I am acquainted with a tacker that would give a good deal for the number 134.* On the contrary, I have been told of a certain zealous Dissenter, who being a great enemy to Popery, and believing that bad men are the most fortunate in this world, will lay two to one on the number 666 against any other number, because, says he, it is the number of the beast. Several would prefer the number 12,000 before any other, as it is the number of the pounds in great prize. In short, some are pleased to find their own age in their number; some, that they have got a number which makes a pretty appearance in the cyphers; and others, because it is the same number that succeeded in the last lottery. Each of these, upon no other grounds, thinks he stands fairest for the great lot, and that he is possessed of what may not be improperly called the Golden Number.t
These principles of election are the pastimes and extravagancies of human reason, which is of so busy a nature, it will be exerting itself in the meanest trifles, and working even when it wants materials. The wisest of men are sometimes acted by such unaccountable motives, as the life of the fool, and the superstitious is guided by nothing else.
* In the year 1704 a Bill was brought into the House of Commons against Occasional Conformity; and in order to make it pass through the House of Lords, it was proposed to tack it to a Money-bill. This occasioned warm debates, and at length it was put to the vote, when 134 were for tacking; but a large majority being against it, the motion was over-ruled, and the Bill miscarried.
+ Alluding to the numbers so called in the Callendar.
I am surprised that none of the Fortune-tellers, or, as the French call them, the Diseurs de bonne Avanture, who publish their bills in every quarter of the town, have turned our lotteries to their advantage. Did any of them set up for a caster of fortunate figures, what might he not get by his pretended discoveries and predictions ?
I remember among the advertisements in the Post Boy of September the 27th, I was surprised to see the following one:
“This is to give notice, that ten shillings, over and “ above the market-price, will be given for the ticket in “ the 1,500,000l. lottery, No. 132, by Nath. Cliff at the “ Bible and Three Crowns in Cheapside.”
This advertirement has given great matter of speculation to coffee-house theorists. Mr. Cliff's principles and conversation have been canvassed upon this occasion, and various conjectures made why he should thus set his heart upon No. 132.
I have examined all the powers in those numbers, broken them into fractions, extracted the square and cube root, divided and multiplied them all ways, but could not arrive at the secret until about three days ago, when I received the following letter from an unknown hand; by which I find that Mr. Nathaniel Cliff is only the agent, and not the principal in this advertisement.
MR. SPECTATOR, • I am the person that lately advertised I would give ten shillings more than the current price for the ticket No. 132 in the lottery now drawing; which is a secret I have communicated to some friends, who rally me incessantly upon that account. You must know I have but one ticket, for which reason and a certain dream I have lately had more than once, I was resolved it should be the number I most approved. I am so positive I have pitched upon the great lot, that I could almost lay all I am worth of it. My visions are so frequent and strong upon this occasion, that I have not only possessed the lot, but disposed of the money which in all probability it will sell for. This morning in particular, I set up an equipage which I look upon to be the gayest in the town; the liveries are very rich, but not gaudy. 1 should be very glad to see a speculation or two upon lottery subjects, in which you would oblige all people concerned, and in particular,
Your most humble servant,
'P. S. Dear Spec, if I get the 12,000 pound, I'll make thee a handsome present.'
After having wished my correspondent good luck, and thanked him for his intended kindness, I shall for this time dismiss the subject of the lottery, and only observe, that the greatest part of mankind are in some degree guilty of my friend Gosling's extravagance. We are apt to rely upon future prospects, and become really expensive while we are only rich in possibility. We live up to our expectations, not to our possessions, and make a figure proportionable to what we may be, not what we are. We outrun our present income, as not doubting to disburse of ourselves out of the profits of some future place, project, or reversion that we have in view. It is through this temper of mind, . which is so common among us, that we see tradesmen break, who have met with no misfortunes in their business; and men of estates reduced to poverty, who have never suffered from losses or repairs, tenants, taxes, or law-suits. In short, it is this foolish sanguine temper, this dependiug upon contingent futurities, that occa
* FIELDING has very happily expanded Mr. GOSLING's extravagant hopes in his farce of a Lottery.
+ Disburse seems to stand here for reimburse.
sions romantic generosity, chimerical grandeur, senseless ostentation, and generally ends in beggary and ruin. The man who will live above his present circumstances, is in great danger of living in a little time much beneath them; or, as the Italian proverb runs, the man wbo lives by bope, will die by bunger.
It should be an indispensable rule in life, to contract our desires to our present condition, and, whatever may he our expectations, to live within the compass
of what we actually possess. It will be time enough to enjoy an estate when it comes into our hands; but if we anticipate our good fortune, we shall lose the pleasure of it when it arrives, and may possibly never possess what we have so foolishly counted upon.
Uno ore omnes omnia
TER. ANDR, ACT. i. sc.1.
" All the world
ON PARENTAL AFFECTION.
I STOOD the other day, and beheld a father sitting in the middle of a room with a large family of children about him; and methough I could observe in his countenance different motions of delight, as he turned his eye towards the one and the other of them. The man is a person moderate in his designs for their preferment and welfare; and as he has an easy fortune, he is not solicitous to make a great one. His eldest son is a child of a very towardly disposition, and as much as the father loves him, I dare say he will never be a knave to improve his fortune. I do not know any man who has a juster relish of life than the person I am speaking of, or keeps a better guard against the terrors of want, or the hopes of gain. It is usual in a crowd of children, for the parent to name out of his own flock all the great officers of the kingdom. There is something so very surprising in the parts of a child of a man's own, 'that there is nothing too great to be expected from his endowments. I know a good woman who has but three X4