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They will be ranged at suitable distances from each other, like the sainted chapels by the road side, where the traveller was used to repose, till, after offering up his little orison, he gathered fresh spirits for his journey. I submit the arrangement of all my papers to the old lady, my mother; hoping thereby to come at the taste and humour of my female readers; and I think she seems little disposed to satiate them with this topic. Not that any person can entertain a purer zeal than this complacent old dowager for the propagation of religion; but it is her humour to think that the party of profligacy is grown so strong and numerous, that, should religion find its way thither, it would be less likely to communicate its own advantages, than to share in the reproach of its new connections. She knows how religion has fared among fashionable philosophers, and your flimsy pretenders to a liberal devotion. She mourns too with a genuine sorrow for the wrongs it has suffered from many of its avowed friends, who have taken it under their insidious protection only to dishonour it more at their leisure; and have used what influence they have acquired over it by faithless and hollow professions, to gain credit to the plausible mischiefs they prepare against it, and to plunder it in secret of some of its fairest distinctions and firmest consolations. She tells me sometimes, with a sober sort of humour in her countenance, that, should religion be any how introduced into the fashionable world, it might come away so painted, patched, and disfigured, that she would hardly know it again.
I cannot wonder much at my mother's apprehensions, being sensible myself of correspondent feelings, in turning my eyes on fashionable life. When we become old, and have known the value of religion, we find so much comfort and repose in
its pledges and assurances, and are so near its consummation and its rewards, that we cannot help regarding this solemn and final dependance with an aching and irritable anxiety. For my part, I never leave a large company wherein doubts and paradoxes have been thrown about with sportive temerity, without questioning myself immediately as to the state of my mind, whether any article of my faith has been shaken or dislodged ; like a certain prime-minister of Persia, whose custom it was always to feel about for his head upon leaving the audience-chamber of the despot his master.
No: 7. SATURDAY, MARCH 31.
Plus vident oculi quam oculus,
Many eyes see more than one.
undertaking, that I must bend my thoughts so many various ways for the entertainment of the public. Like a good prince, I am expected to have no favourites among my subjects, but to stretch my regards equally to all. I have taken therefore the greatest pains to exercise myself in this versatility of attention, and have actually had three or four papers going on at once, to inure myself to this distraction of lights, and perplexity of objects.
The confusion which this flying study has sometimes produced in my essays has been whimsical enough: upon reading over some of them for correction the other morning, I found fiddler, faro, Sunday, princes, cards, crops, curricles, conjurors, all in the space of ten lines. I had delivered an old maid of two fine children; I had taken a judge off the bench; and carried him to a bagnio. In one place I had landed a vessel at Birmingham; and in another, the dissenters were furnished with copper bottoms. Some great statesmen were at church for the first time in their lives. A man of fashion produced an edition of Antoninus Pius, in one line; and a grave doctor of divinity led down a country-dance, in the next. I carried the whole house of lords to Newmarket in one of my papers, and a jockey brought in a bill in another; a parliament-man was put into a leaden coffin, came out presently after with a new constitution, and was soon followed by the corpse and undertakers. Grave as I am, I could not help laughing heartily, to find a petit-maître ogling a chimney sweeper in one sentence, and the object of his vows half-way up the chimney in the next; and a young lady, who had bestowed a kiss upon an auctioneer, knocked down soon after by her lover.
There were many other strange combinations and coincidences, such as a reverend divine in a hoop-petticoat, and an old woman mounted into his pulpit; a common-councilman feasting upon true religion, and a turtle filling and expanding the mind. After an infinite number of mistakes and puzzles of this sort, I came at last to despatch this multifarious business with surprising accuracy and discrimination ; and am now arrived at such perfection, that I can round a period, turn a sentiment, and begin a story, in a hop, step, and a jump.
My mother happening to come into my room while I was running from paper to paper, supposed me to be agonized by some inward pains; and asking me, with much tenderness and concern, what I
would have, I replied with great rapidity, having just completed at once three different sentences, "Expansion of thought, honour and virtue, a beautiful princess.” This demand appeared so strange and exorbitant, that the old lady began in good earnest to suspect
that brain was injured by my late application, and was more ruffled than ever I remember her to have been since the era of that fatal accident which happened about thirty years ago to my great-grandfather's tobacco-stopper. This talent, which I have taken such extraordinary pains to acquire, will contribute very much to render me independent ; so that, if such as are capable of affording me assistance by their communications, should be determined to withhold it, and think to starve me to a surrender, I shall show them that I can hold out longer than they imagine, upon my own stock.
Another very great advantage of this my craft and mystery of writing is, that it makes me superior to common casualties, and puts me entirely out of the reach of all atmospherical influence. I can force myself to be grave or gay in spite of wind and weather, just as it may suit the interests of my paper: thus, upon occasion, I can rear a smile out of season, and am as proud of it as is the farmer behind the 'Change of raising a dish of peas at Christmas. I can launch forth a lively paper in the gloom of November; and can be merry in my little study, while my neighbours are shooting themselves in their bedchambers.
I do not wish, however, my readers to imagine that I have not yet been able to start any contributors: I have received many kind testimonies of a good disposition towards my undertaking from very unexpected quarters. The other day a letter was brought
me from a young nobleman, which I may perhaps insert for the instruction of my readers, after a thorough correction of the spelling: a young gentleman-commoner of one of our colleges favoured me with a very long epistle, as soon as my first number was published; the back of which will be of use, in containing many loose hints and memorandums for a future paper. Some anecdotes of great men, such as Lackington, Whittington, &c. have been obligingly sent to me; and the other day I received a very ingenious poem from an advertising dentist and dancing-master. Some treatises have been forwarded to me on the price of sugars, which I have despatched to my grocer, to make the best use he can of them; and some popular preachers have presented me with sermons, the covers of which will be useful in making my common-place books. Some honest traders have sent me proposals to take in their advertisements; tempting me with a promise of ornamenting them with little cuts of carved Bacchuses, sugar-loaves, pairs of scales, bunches of grapes, and tobacco-rolls. One of this order intreats me to recommend his geometrical breeches ; another has made a wig that will go in a letter; and à third has invented patent pistols for the cure
of ruptures. I return my thanks to Dr. Lobb and Dr. Giranio, who have been so kind as to recommend to me their angelic snuff for the clearing of my head, and the advantage of my papers; and to that famous showman in the Borough, who courteously offers me a gratuitous admittance if I will advertise the public, that he has just imported two white Greenland bears, that are to be spoken with at any hour.
I have the advantage, too, of a very confidential correspondence with a great projector, who was formerly my intimate friend at the university; and