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maker, formerly living near Leicester-Fields, and afterwards a workman in the mint at the Tower, might possibly pretend to vie with me for fame in future times. The man, it seems, was knighted for making sun-dials better than others of his trade, and was thought to be a conjurer, because he knew how to draw lines and circles upon a slate, which nobody could understand. But adieu to all noble attempts for endless renown, if the ghost of an obscure mechanic shall be raised up to enter into competition with me, only for his skill in making pothooks and hangers with a pencil; which many thousand accomplished gentlemen and ladies can perform as well with pen and ink upon a piece of paper, and in a manner as little intelligible as those of Sir Isaac,
My most ingenious friend already mentioned, Mr Colley Cibber, who does so much honour to the laurel crown he deservedly wears, (as he has often done to many imperial diadems placed on his head,) was pleased to tell me, that, if my treatise was shaped into a comedy,* the representation, performed to advantage on our theatre, might very much contribute to the spreading of polite conversation among all persons of distinction through the whole kingdom.
I own the thought was ingenious, and my friend's intention good : but I cannot agree to his proposal ; for Mr Cibber himself allowed that the subjects handled in my work being so numerous and extensive, it would be absolutely impossible for one, two, or even six comedies, to contain them : Whence it will follow, that many admirable and essential rules for polite conversation must be omitted.
* The proposal here stated in jest actually took place ; for Faulkner informs us, that the Treatise on Polite Conversation being universally admired at Dublin, was exhibited at the theatre in AnglerStreet as a dramatic performance, and received great applause.
And here let me do justice to my friend Mr Tibbalds, who plainly confessed before Mr Cibber himself, that such a project, as it would be a great diminution to my honour, so it would intolerably mangle my scheme, and thereby destroy the principal end at which I aimed, to form a complete body or system of this most useful science in all its parts : And therefore Mr Tibbalds, whose judgment was never disputed, chose rather to fall in with my proposal, mentioned before, of erecting public schools and seminaries all over the kingdom, to instruct the young people of both sexes in this art, according to my rules, and in the method that I have laid down.
I shall conclude this long, but necessary introduction, with a request, or, indeed, rather a just and reasonable demand, from all lords, ladies, and gentlemen, that while they are entertaining and improving each other with those polite questions, answers, repartees, replies, and rejoinders, which I have, with infinite labour, and close application, during the space of thirty-six years, been collecting for their service and improvement, they shall, as an instance of gratitude, on every proper occasion, quote my name after this or the like manner : “ Madam, as our Master Wagstaff says.' My lord, as our friend Wagstaff has it.” I do likewise expect that all my pupils shall drink my health every day at dinner and supper during my life, and that they, or their
posterity, shall continue the same ceremony to my not inglorious memory, after my decease, for ever.
LORD SPARKISH and Colonel ATWIT meet in the
morning upon the Mall: Mr NEVEROUT joins them : they all go to breakfast at Lady SMART's. Their conversation over their tea : after which they part; but my lord and the two gentlemen are invited to dinner :—Sir John LINGER invited likewise, and comes a little too late. The whole conversation at dinner : after which, the ladies retire to their tea. The conversation of the ladies without the men, who are supposed to stay and drink a bottle, but, in some time, go to the ladies, and drink tea with them. The conversation there. After which, a party at quadrille until three in the morning; but no conversation set down. They all take leave, and go
POLITE CONVERSATION, &c.
ST JAMES'S PARK.
Lord SPARKISH meeting Col. Arwit.
Col. Well met, my lord.
colonel. A have said, I hope we shall meet in heaven. When did you see Tom Neverout?
Col. He's just coming toward us. Talk of the devil
NEVEROUT comes up. Col. How do you do, Tom ? Neverout. Never the better for
you. Col. I hope you are never
the worse : but
where's your manners ? Don't you see my Lord Sparkish ?
Neverout. My lord, I beg your lordship’s pardon.
Ld. Sparkish. Tom, how is it that you can't see the wood for trees ? What wind blew you hither ?
Neverout. Why, my lord, it is an ill wind blows nobody good; for it gives me the honour of seeing your lordship
Col. Tom, you must go with us to Lady Smart's to breakfast.