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• I often dine at a gentleman's house where there are two young ladies, in themselves very agreeable, but very cold in their behaviour, because they understand me for a person that is to break my mind, as the phrase is, very suddenly to one of them. But I take this way to acquaint them, that I am not in love with either of them, in hopes that they will use me with that agreeable freedom and indifference which they do all the rest of the world, and not to drink to one another only, but sometimes cast a kind look, with their service, to, sir,
Your humble servant.'
I am a young gentleman, and take it for a piece of good breeding to pull off my hat when I see any thing peculiarly charming in any woman, whether 1 know her or not.
1 take care that there is nothing ludicrous or arch in my manner, as if I were to betray a woman into a salutation by way of jest or humour; and yet, except I am acquainted with her, I find she ever takes it for a rule, that she is to look upon
this civility and homage I pay to her supposed merit as an impertinence or forwardness which she is to observe and neglect. I wish, sir, you would settle the business of salutation; and please to inform me how I shall resist the sudden impulse 1 have to be civil to what gives an idea of merit; or tell these creatures how to behave themselves in return to the esteem I have for them. My affairs are such that your decision will be a favour to me, if it be only to save the unnecessary expense of wearing out my hat so fast as I do at present.
• I'am, sir, yours,
•P. S. There are some that do know me and won't bow to me.'
BY HUGHES AND OTHERS.
No. 221. TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 13.
To apples ripe, with which it last is stor'd. WHEN I have finished any of my speculations, it is my method to consider which of the ancient authors have touched upon the subject that I treat of. By this means I meet with some celebrated thought upon it, or a thought of my own expressed in better words, or some similitude for the illustration of my subject. This is what gives birth to the motto of a speculation, which I rather choose to take out of the poets than the prose writers, as the former generally give a finer turn to a thought than the latter, and by couching it in few words, and in harmonious numbers, make it more portable to the memory.
My reader is therefore sure to meet with at least one good line in every paper, and very often finds his imagination entertained by a hint that awakens in his memory some beautiful passage of a classic author.
It was a saying of an ancient philosopher, which I find some of our writers have ascribed to Queen Elizabeth, who perhaps might have taken occasion to repeat it, that a good face is a letter of recommendation. It naturally makes the beholders inquisitive into the person who is the owner of it, and generally prepossesses them in his favour. A handsome motto has the same effect. Besides that, it always gives a supernumerary beauty to a paper, and is sometimes in a manner necessary when the writer is engaged in what may appear a paradox to vulgar minds, as it shows that he is supported by good authorities, and is not singular in his opinion.
I must confess, the motto is of little use to an unlearned reader, for which reason I consider it only as a word for the wise. But as for my unlearned friends, if they can not relish the motto, I take care to make provision for them in the body of my paper. If they do not understand the sign that is hung out, they know very well by it, that they may meet with entertainment in the house; and I think I was never better pleased than with a plain man's compliment, who upon his friend's telling him that he would like the Spectator much better if he understood the motto, replied, that good wine needs no bush.
I have heard of a couple of preachers in a country town, who endeavoured which should outshine one another, and draw together the greatest congregation. One of them being well versed in the fathers, used to quote every now and then a Latin sentence to his illiterate hearers, who it seems, found themselves so edified by it, that they locked in greater numbers to this learned man than to his rival. The other, finding his congregation mouldering every Sunday, and hearing at length what was the occasion of it, resolved to give his parish a little Latin in his turn; but being unacquainted with any of the fathers, he digested into his sermons the whole book of Quæ Genus, adding, however, such explications to it, as he thought might be for the benefit of his people. He afterwards entered upon As in Præsenti, which he converted in the same manner to the use of his parishioners. This, in a very little time, thickened his audience, filled his church, and routed his antagonist.
* Aristotle, or as some think, Diogenes.
The natural love to Latin which is so prevalent in our common people, makes
ne think that my speculations fare never the worse among them for that little scrap which appears at the head of them; and what the more encourages me in the use of quotations in an unknown tongue, is, that I hear the ladies, whose approbation I value more than that of the whole learned world, declare themselves in a more particular manner pleased with my Greek mottos.
Designing this day's work for a dissertation upon the two extremities of my paper, and having already despatched my moito, I shall, in the next place, discourse upon those single capital letters which are placed at the end of it, and which have afforded great matter of speculation to the curious. I have heard various conjectures upon this subject. Some tell us that C is the mark of those papers that are written by the Clergyman, though others ascribe them to the Club in
general: that the papers marked with R were written by my friend Sir Roger; that L signifies the lawyer,
whom I have described in my second speculation; and that T stands for the Trader, or merchant: but the letter X, which is placed at the end of some few of my papers, is that which has puzzled the whole town, as they can not think of any name which begins with that letter, except Xenophon and Xerxes, who can neither of them be supposed to have had any hand in these speculations.
In answer to these inquisitive gentlemen, who have many of them made inquiries of me by letter, I must tell them the reply of an ancient philosopher, who carried something hidden under his cloak. A certain acquaintance desiring him to let him know what it was he covered so carefully; I cover it (says he) on purpose that you should not know. I have made use of the obscure marks for the same purpose. They are, perhaps, little amulets or charms to preserve the paper against the fascination and malice of evil eyes, for which reason I would not have my readers surprised, if hereafter he sees any of my papers marked with a Q, a Z, a Y, an &c. or with the word Abracadabra. *
1 shall, however, so far explain myself to the reader, as to let him know that the lettter C, L, and X, are cabalistical, and carry more in them
* A noted charm for agues, said to have been invented by Basilides, a heretic of the second century, who taught that very sublime mysteries were contained in the number 365, (viz. not only the days of the year, but the different orders of celestial beings, &c.) to which number the Hebrew letters that compose the word Abracadabra are said to amount.