Page images

alas, I am afraid it has lost its virtue, and that a woman of our times would find no more relief in taking such a leap, than in singing a hymn to Venus. (See No. 223.) So that I must cry out with Dido in Dryden's Virgil, Ah! cruel heaven, that made no cure for love.' Your disconsolate servant,





My heart is so full of lofes and passions for Mrs. Gwinifred, and she is so pettish and overrun with cholers against me, that if I had the good happiness to have my dwelling (which is placed by my creat-cranfather upon the pottom of an hill) no farther distance but twenty mile from the lofer's leap, I would indeed endeafour to preak my neck upon it on purpose. Now, good Mister Spictatur of Crete Pritain, you must know it, there is in Caenarvonshire a fery pig mountain, the clory of all Wales, which is named Penmainmaure, and you must also know, it is no creat journey on foot from me; but the road is stony and bad for shooes. Now there is upon the forehead of this mountain a fery high rock (like a parish steeple) that cometh a huge deal over the sea; so when I am in my melancholies, and I do throw myself from it, I do tesire my fery good frind to tell me in his Spictatur, if I shall be cure of my griefous lofes; for there is the sea clear as the class, and as creen as the leek; then likewise if I be drown, and preak my neck, if Mrs. Gwinifred will not lofe me afterwards. Pray be speedy in your answers, for I am in creat haste,

and it is my tesires to do my pusiness without loss of time. I remain, with cordial affections, your ever lofing friend,


• P. S. My law-suits have brought me to London, but I have lost my causes; and so have made my resolutions to go down and leap before the frosts begin; for I am apt to take colds.'

Ridicule, perhaps, is a better expedient against love than sober advice; and I am of opinion that Hudibras and Don Quixote may be as effectual to cure the extravagancies of this passion as any of the old philosophers. I shall therefore publish, very speedily, the translation of a little Greek manuscript, which is sent me by a learned friend. It appears to have been a piece of those records which were kept in the temple of Apollo, that stood upon the promontory of Leucate. The reader will find it to be a summary account of several persons who tried the lover's leap, and of the success they found in it. As there seem to be in it some anachronisms, and deviations from the ancient orthography, I am not wholly satisfied myself that it is authentic, and not rather the production of one of those Grecian sophisters, who have imposed upon the world several spurious works of this nature. I speak this by way of precaution, because I know there are several writers of uncommon erudition, who would not fail to expose my ignorance, if they caught me tripping in a matter of so great moment.

C. VOL. V.-5



Percunctatorem fugito, nam garrulus idem est. Hor.
Shun the inquisitive and curious man;
For what he hears he will relate again. Poole.

THERE is a creature who has all the organs of speech, a tolerable good capacity for conceiving what is said to it, together with a pretty proper behaviour in all the occurrences of common life, but naturally very vacant of thought in itself, and therefore forced to apply itself to foreign assistances. Of this make is that man who is

inquisitive. You may often observe, that though he speaks as good sense as any man, upon any thing with which he is well acquainted, he can not trust to the range of his own fancy to entertain himself upon that foundation, but goes on still to new inquiries. Thus, though you know he is fit for the most polite conversation, you shall see him very well contented to sit by a jockey, giving an account of the many revolutions in his horse's health, what potion he made him take, how that agreed with him, how afterwards he came to his stomach and his exercise, or any the like impertinence; and be as well pleased as as if you talked to him on the most important truths. This humour is far from making a man unhappy, though it may subject him to raillery; for he generally falls in with a person who seems to be born for him, which is your talkative fellow. It is so ordered, that there is a secret bent, as natural as the meeting of different sexes, in these two characters, to supply each other's wants.


I had the honour the other day to sit in a public room and saw an inquisitive man look with an air of satisfaction upon the approach of one of these talkers. The man of ready utterance sat down by him, and rubbing his head, leaning on his arm, and making an uneasy countenance, he began; • There is no manner of news to-day. I can not tell what is the matter with me, but I slept very ill last night; whether I caught cold or no, 1 know not, but I fancy I do not wear shoes thick enough for the weather, and I have coughed all this week: it must be so, for the custom of washing my head winter and summer with cold water, prevents any injury from the season entering that way; so it must come in at my feet: but I take no notice of it; as it comes so it goes. Most of our evils proceed from too much tenderness; and our faces are naturally as little able to resist the cold as other parts. The Indian answered very well to an European, who asked him how he could go naked; I am all face.'

I observed this discourse was as welcome to my general inquirer as any other of more consequence could have been; but somebody calling our talker to another part of the room, the inquirer told the next man who sat by him, that Mr. Such-a-one, who was just gone from him, used to wash his head in cold water every morning; and so repeated almost verbatim all that had been said to him. The truth is, the inquisitive are the funnels of conversation; they do not take in any thing for their own use, but merely to pass it to another: they are the channels through which all the good and evil that is spoken in town are conveyed. Such as are offended at them, or think they suffer by their behaviour, may themselves mend that inconvenience; for they are not a malicious people, and if you will supply them, you may contradict any thing they have said before by their own mouths. Å farther account of a thing is one of the gratefullest goods that can arrive to them; and it is seldom that they are more particular than to say, the town will have it, or I have it from a good hand; so that there is room for the town to know the matter more particularly, and for a better hand to contradict what was said by a good one.

I have not known this humour more ridiculous than in a father, who has been earnestly solicitous to have an account how his son has passed away his leisure hours: if it be in a way thoroughly insignificant, there can not be a greater joy than an inquirer discovers in seeing him follow so hopefully his own steps: but this humour among men is most pleasant when they are saying something which is not wholly proper for a third person to hear, and yet is in itself indifferent. The other day there came in a well-dressed young fellow, and two gentlemen of this species immediately fell a whispering his pedigree. could overhear, by breaks, She was his aunt;: then an answer, Ay, she was of the mother's side:' then again, in a little lower voice, “His father wore generally a darker wig;' answer, ‘Not much; but this gentleman wears higher heels to his shoes.'

As the inquisitive, in my opinion, are such merely from a vacancy in their own imaginations, there is nothing, methinks, so dangerous as to communicate secrets to them: for the same tem

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »