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complaisance is peculiarly the manner of courts ; in all other places you must constantly go, further in compliance with the persons you have to do with, than a mere conformity of looks and gestures. If you are in a country life, and would be a leading man, a good stomach, a loud voice, and a rustic cheerfulness, will go a great way, provided you are able to drink, and drink any thing. But I was just now going to draw the manner of behaviour I would advise people to practise under some maxim; and intimated, that every one almost was governed by his pride. There was an old fellow about forty years ago so peevish and 'fretful, though a man of business, that no one could come at him; but he frequented a particular little coffee-house, where he triumphed over every body at tricktrack and backgammon. The way to pass his office well, was first to be insulted by him at one of those games
in his leisure hours : for his vanity was to shew that he was a man of pleasure as well as business. Next to this sort of insinuation, which is called in all places (from its taking its birth in the households of princes) making one's court, the most prevailing way is, by what better-bred people call a present, the vulgar a bribe. I humbly conceive that such a thing is conveyed with more gallantry in a billetdoux that should be understood at the Bank, than in
gross money; but as to stubborn people, who are so surly as to accept of neither note nor cash, having formerly dabbled in chemistry, I can only say, that one part of matter asks one thing, and another another, to make it fluent; but there is nothing but may be dissolved by a proper mean. Thus, the virtue which is too obdurate for gold or paper, shall melt away very kindly in a liquid. The island of Barbadoes (a shrewd people) manage
all their appeals to Great Britain by a skilful distribution of citron water* among the whisperers about men in power. Generous wines do every day prevail, and that in great points, where ten thousand times their value would have been rejected with indignation.
But, to wave the enumeration of the sundry ways of applying by presents, bribes, management of people's passions and affections, in such a manner as it shall appear that the virtue of the best man is by one method or other corruptible, let us look out for some expedient to turn those passions and affections on the side of truth and honour. When a man has laid it down for a position, that parting with his integrity, in the minutest circumstance, is losing so much of his very self, self-love will become a virtue. By this means good and evil will be the only objects of dislike and approbation; and he that injures any man, has effectually wounded the man of this turn as much as if the harm had been to himself. This seems to be the only expedient to arrive at an impartiality: and a man who follows the dictates of truth and right reason, may by artifice be led into error, but never can into guilt.
Then commonly called Barbacoes water.
N° 395. TUESDAY, JUNE 3, 1712.
Quod nunc rutio est, impetus antè fuit,
Ovid. Rem. Amor. 10.)
'Tis reason now,
'twas appetite before.
• BEWARE of the ides of March,' said the Roman augur to Julius Cæsar: 'Beware of the month of May,' says the British Spectator to his fair country
The caution of the first was unhappily neglected, and Cæsar's confidence cost him his life. I am apt to flatter himself that my pretty readers had much more regard to the advice I gave them, since I have yet received very few accounts of any notorious trips made in the last month.
But, though I hope for the best, I shall not pronounce too positively on this point, till I have seen forty weeks well over; at which period of time, as my good friend Sir Roger has often told me, he has more business as a justice of peace, among the dissolute young people in the country, than at any other season of the year.
Neither must I forget a letter which I received near a fortnight since from a lady, who, it seems, could hold out no longer, telling me she looked upon the month as then out, for that she had all along reckoned by the new style.
On the other hand, I have great reason to believe, from several angry letters which have been sent to me by disappointed lovers, that my advice has been of very signal service to the fair sex, who,
according to the old proverb, were forewarned, forearmed.
One of these gentlemen tells me, that he would have given me an hundred pounds, rather than I should have published that paper; for that his mistress, who had promised to explain herself to him about the beginning of May, upon reading that discourse told him, that she would give him her answer in June.
Thyrsis acquaints me, that when he desired Sylva to take a walk in the fields, she told him, the Spectator had forbidden her.
Another of my correspondents, who writes himself Mat Meager, complains that, whereas he constantly used to breakfast with his mistress upon chocolate, going to wait upon her the first of May, he found his usual treat very much changed for the worse, and has been forced to feed ever since upon green tea.
As I begun this critical season with the caveat to the ladies, I shall conclude it with a congratulation, and do most heartily wish them joy of their happy deliverance.
They may now reflect with pleasure on the dangers they have escaped, and look back with as much satisfaction on the perils that threatened them, as their great grandmothers did formerly on the burning ploughshares, after having passed through the ordeal trial. The instigations of the spring are now abated. The nightingale gives over her lovelabour'd song,' as Milton phrases it; the blossoms are fallen, and the beds of flowers swept away by the scythe of the mower.
I shall now allow my fair readers to return to their romances and chocolate, provided they make use of them with moderation, till about the middle of the month, when the sun shall have made some
progress in the Crab. Nothing is more dangerous than too much confidence and security. The Trojans, who stood upon their guard all the while the Grecians lay before their city, when they fancied the siege was raised, and the danger past, were the very next night burnt in their beds. I must also observe, that as in some climates there is perpetual spring, so in some female constitutions there is a perpetual May. These are a kind of valetudinarians in chastity, whom I would continue in a constant diet. I cannot think these wholly out of danger, till they have looked upon the other sex at least five years through a pair of spectacles. Will Honeycomb has often assured me, that it is much easier to steal one of this species, when she is passed her grand climacteric, than to carry off an icy girl on this side fiveand-twenty; and that a rake of his acquaintance, who had in vain endeavoured to gain the affections of a young lady of fifteen, had at last made his fortune by running away with her grandmother.
But as I do not design this speculation for the evergreens of the sex, I shall again apply myself to those who would willingly listen to the dictates of reason and virtue, and can now hear me in cold blood. If there are any who have forfeited their innocence, they must now consider themselves under that melancholy view in which Chamont regards his sister, in those beautiful lines :
• Long she flourish’d,
On the contrary, she who has observed the timely cautions I gave her, and lived up to the rules of modesty, will now flourish like a rose in June,'