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impose upon themselves in pleasing their imaginations this way. But as there are very many of her Majesty's good subjects, who are extremely uneasy at their own seats in the country, where all from the skies to the center of the earth is their own, and have a mighty longing to shine in courts, or to be partners in the power of the world; I say, for the benefit of these, and others who hanker after being in the whisper with great men, and vexing their neighbours with the changes they would be capable of making in the appearance of a country sessions, it would not methinks be amiss to give an account of that market for preferment, a Great Man's Levee.
For aught I know, this commerce between the mighty and their slaves, very justly represented, might do so much good, as to incline the great to regard business rather than ostentation; and make the little know the use of their time too well, to spend it in vain applications and addresses. The famous Doctor in Moorfields who gained so much reputation for his horary predictions, is said to have had in his parlour different ropes to little bells which hung in the room above stairs, where the Doctor thought fit to be oraculous. If a girl had been deceived by her lover, one bell was pulled; and if a peasant had lost a cow, the servant rung another. This method was kept in respect to all other passions and concerns, and the skilful waiter below sifted the inquirer, and gave the Doctor notice accordingly. The levee of a great man is laid after the same manner, and twenty whispers, false alarms, and private intimations, pass backward and forward from the porter, the valet, and the patron himself, before the gaping crew, who are to pay their court, are gathered together. When the scene is ready, the doors fly open and discover his lordship. · There are several ways of making this first appearance. You may be either half-dressed, and washing yourself, which is indeed the most stately; but this
way of opening is peculiar to milatary men, in whom there is something graceful in exposing themselves naked; but the politians, or civil officers, have usually affected to be more reserved, and preserve a certain chastity of deportment. Whether it be hieroglyphical or not, this difference in the military and civil list, I will not say ; but have ever understood the fact to be, that the close minister is buttoned up, and the brave officer openbreasted on these occasions.*
However that is, I humbly conceive the business of a levee is to receive the acknowledgements of a multitude, that a man is wise, bounteous, valiant and powerful. When the first shot of eyes is made, it is wonderful to observe how much submission the patron's modesty can bear, and how much servitude the client's spirit can descend to. In the vast multiplicity of business, and the crowd about him, my lord's parts are usually so great, that, to the astonishment of the whole assembly, he has something to say to every man there, and that so suitable to his capacity as any man may judge that it is not without talents men can arrive at great employments. I have known a great man ask a flag officer, which way was the wind, a commander of horse the present price of oats, and a stock-jobber at what discount such a fund was, with as much ease as if he had been bred to each of those several ways of life. Now this is extremely obliging; for at the same time that the patron informs himself of matters, he gives the person of whom he inquires an opportunity to exert himself, What adds to the pomp of those interviews is, that it is performed with the greatest silence and order imaginable. The patron is usually in the midst of the room, and some humble person gives him a whisper, which his lordship answers aloud, “ It is well. Yes, I am of your opinion. , Pray inform yourself further,
* This probably, alluded to HARLEY and ORMOND, the ond artful and reserved, the other open and undesigning.
you may be sure of my part in it.” This happy man is dismissed, and my lord can turn himself to a business of a quite different nature, and off-hand give as good an answer as any great man is obliged to. For the chief point is to keep in generals, and if there be any thing offered that is particular, to be in haste*.
But we are now in the height of the affair, and my lord's creatures have all had their whispers round to keep up the farce of the thing, and the dumb show is become more general. He casts his eye to that corner, and there to Mr. Such-a-one; to the other, “ And when did you come to town?” And perhaps just before he nods to another; and enters with him, “ But, Sir, I am glad to see you, now I think of it.” Each of those are happy for the next four and twenty hours ; and those who bow in ranks undistinguished, and by dozens at a time, think they have very good prospects if they may hope to arrive at such notices half a year hence.
The satirist says, there is seldom common sense in high fortune;t and one would think; to behold a levee, that the great were not only infatuated with their station, but also that they believed all below were seized too; else how is it possible they could think of imposing upon themselves and others in such a degree, as to set up a levee for any thing but a direct farce ? But such is the weakness of our nature, that when men are a little exalted in their condition, they immediately conceive they have additional, senses, and their capacities enlarged not only above other men, but above human comprehension itself. Thus it is ordinary to see a great man attend one listening, bow to one at a distance, and call to a third at the same intant. A girl in new ribbands is not more taken with herself, nor does she betray more apparent coquetries, than even a wise man in such a circumstance of courtship. I do not know any thing that I ever thought so very distasteful as the affectation which is recorded of CÆSAR, to wit, that he would dictate to three several writers at the same time. This was an ambition below the greatness and candour of his mind. He indeed (if any man had pretensions to greater faculties than any other mortal) was the person; but such a way of acting is childish, and inconsistent with the manner of our being. It appears from the very nature of things, that there cannot be any thing effectually dispatched in the distraction of a public levee ;* but the whole seems to be a conspiracy of a set of servile slaves, to give up their own liberty to take away their patron's understanding.
* In SMOLLET's Humphrey Clinker there is a very humorous description of a levee.
+ Rarus enim ferme sensus communis in illa Fortuna
JUV. viii. 73
* It is recorded of the celebrated John de Wits, that being asked, how he contrived to dispatch so much business, he answered, that he did it merely, by only doing one thing at a time.
THE present paper shall consist of two letters which observe upon faults that are easily cured both in love and friendship. In the latter, as far as it merely regards conversation, the person who neglects visiting an agreeable friend is punished in the very transgression ; for a good companion is not found in every room we go into. But the case of love is of a more delicate nature, and the anxiety is inexpressible, if every little instance of kindness is not reciprocal. There are things in this sort of commerce which there are not words to express, and a man may not possibly know how to represent, what yet may tear his heart into ten thousand tortures. To be grave to a man's mirth, unattentive to his discourse, or to interrupt either with something that ar, gues a disinclination to be entertained by him, has in it something so disagreeable, that the utmost steps which may be made in further enmity cannot give. greater torment. The gay CORINNA, who sets up for an indifference and becoming heedlessness, gives her husband all the torment imaginable out of mere indolence, with this peculiar vanity, that she is to look as gay as a maid in the character of a wife. It is no matter what is the reason of a man’s grief, if it be heavy as it is. Her unhappy man is convinced that she means him no dishonour, but pines to death