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ties, and do an irreparable injury to his wonderful capacity.
I happened to visit at the house last week, and missing the young gentleman at the tea-table, where he seldom fails to officiate, could not upon so extraordinary a circumstance avoid inquiring after him. My lady told me he was gone out with his woman, in order to make some preparation for their equipage; for that she intended very speedily to carry him to 'travel. The oddness of the expression shocked me a little; however, I soon recovered myself enough to let her know, that all I was willing to understand by it was, that she designed this summer to shew her son his estate in a distant county, in which he had never yet been. But she soon took care to rob me of that agreeable mistake, and let me into the whole affair. She enlarged upon young master's prodigious improvements, and his comprehensive knowledge of all book-learning; concluding, that it was now high time he should be made acquainted with men and things; that she had resolved he should make the tour of France and Italy, but could not bear to have him out of her sight, and therefore intended to go along with him.
'I was going to rally her for so extravagant a resolution, but found myself not in a fit humour to meddle with a subject that demanded the most soft and delicate touch imaginable. I was afraid of dropping something that might seem to bear hard either upon the son's abilities, or the mother's discretion, being sensible that in both these cases, though supported with all the powers of reason, I should, instead of gaining her ladyship over to my opinion, only expose myself to her disesteem: I' therefore immediately determined to refer the whole matter to the Spectator.
"When I came to reflect at night, as my custom is, upon the occurrences of the day, I could not but believe that this humour of carrying a boy to travel in his mother's lap, and that upon pretence of learning men and things, is a case of an extraordinary nature, and carries on it a peculiar stamp of folly. I did not remember to have met with its parallel within the compass of my observation, though I could call to mind some not extremely unlike it. From hence my thoughts took occasion to ramble into the general notion of travelling, as it is now made a part of education. Nothing is more frequent than to take a lad from grammar and law, and, under the tuition of some poor scholar, who is willing to be banished for thirty pounds a year and a little victuals, send him crying and snivelling into foreign countries. Thus he spends his time as children do at puppetshows, and with much the same advantage, in staring and gaping at an amazing variety of strange things; strange indeed to one who is not prepared to comprehend the reasons and meaning of them, whilst he should be laying the solid foundations of knowledge in his mind, and furnishing it with just rules to direct his future progress in life under some skilful master of the art of instruction.
'Can there be a more astonishing thought in nature, than to consider how men should fall into so palpable a mistake? It is a large field, and may very well exercise a sprightly genius; but I do not remember you have yet taken a turn in it. I wish, Sir, you would make people understand, that' travel' is really the least step to be taken in the institution of youth; and that to set out with it, is to begin where they should end.
Certainly the true end of visiting foreign parts is to look into their customs and policies, and observe in what particulars they excel or come short
of our own; to unlearn some odd peculiarities in our manners, and wear off such awkward stiffnesses and affectations in our behaviour, as possibly may have been contracted from constantly associating with one nation of men, by a more free, general, and mixed conversation. But how can any of these advantages be attained by one who is a mere stranger to the customs and policies of his native country, and has not yet fixed in his mind the first principles of manners and behaviour? To endeavour it, is to build a gaudy structure without any foundation; or, if I may be allowed the expression, to work a rich embroidery upon a cobweb.
"Another end of travelling, which deserves to be considered, is the improving our taste of the best authors of antiquity, by seeing the places where they lived, aud of which they wrote; to compare the natural face of the country with the descriptions they have given us, and observe how well the picture agrees with the original. This must certainly be a most charming exercise to the mind that is rightly turned for it; besides that it may in a good measure be made subservient to morality, if the person is capable of drawing just conclusions concerning the uncertainty of human things, from the ruinous alterations time and barbarity have brought upon so many palaces, cities, and whole countries, which make the most illustrious figures in history. And this hint may be not a little improved by examining every little spot of ground that we find celebrated as the scene of some famous action, or retaining any footsteps of a Cato, Cicero, or Brutus, or some such great virtuous man. A nearer view of any such particular, though really little and trifling in itself, may serve the more powerfully to warm a generous mind to an emulation of their virtues, and a greater ardency of ambition to imitate their bright examples,
if it comes duly tempered and prepared for the impression. But this I believe you will hardly think those to be, who are so far from entering into the sense and spirit of the ancients, that they do not yet understand their language with any exactness."
But I have wandered from my purpose, which was only to desire you to save, if possible, a fond English mother, and mother's own son, from being shown a ridiculous spectacle through the most polite parts of Europe. Pray tell them, that though to be sea-sick, or jumbled in an outlandish stage-coach, may perhaps be healthful for the constitution of the body, yet it is apt to cause such dizziness in young empty heads as too often lasts their life-time.
*The following paragraph, in the first edition of this paper in folio, whether written originally by the Earl of Hardwicke, or inserted afterwards by Sir R. Steele, was probably suppressed on the first re-publication, at the request of Addison. It is reprinted here from the Spect. in folio, No. 364.
'I cannot quit this head without paying my acknowledgments to one of the most entertaining pieces this age has produced, for the pleasure it gave me. You will easily guess that the book I have in my head is Mr. Addison's Remarks upon Italy. That ingenious gentleman has with so much art and judgment applied his exact knowledge of all the parts of classical learning, to illustrate the several occurrences of his travels, that his work alone is a pregnant proof of what I have said. Nobody that has a taste this way, can read him going from Rome to Naples, and making Horace and Silius Italicus his chart, but he must feel some uneasiness in himself to reflect that he was not in his retinue. I am sure I wished it ten times in every page, and that not without a secret vanity to think in what state I should have travelled the Appian road, with Horace for a guide, and in company with a countryman of my own, who, of all men living, knows best how to follow his steps.'
I was married on Sunday last, and went peaceably to bed; but, to my surprise, was awakened the next morning by the thunder of a set of drums. These warlike sounds (methinks) are very improper in a marriage-concert, and give great offence; they seem to insinuate, that the joys of this state are short, and that jars and discord soon ensue. I fear they have been ominous to many matches, and sometimes proved a prelude to a battle in the honeymoon. A nod from you may hush them; therefore, pray, Sir, let them be silenced, that for the future none but soft airs may usher in the morning of a bridal night; which will be a favour not only to those who come after, but to me, who can still subscribe myself,
Your most humble,
' and most obedient servant, ROBIN BRIDEGROOM."'
I AM one of that sort of women whom the gayer part of our sex are apt to call a prude. But to shew them that I have a very little regard to their raillery, I shall be glad to see them all at The Amorous Widow, or The Wanton Wife, which is to be acted for the benefit of Mrs. Porter, on Monday the 28th instant. I assure you I can laugh at an amorous widow, or wanton wife, with as little temptation to imitate them, as I could at any other vicious character. Mrs. Porter obliged me so very much in the exquisite sense she seemed to have of the honourable sentiments and noble passions in the character of Hermione, that I shall appear in her behalf at a comedy, though I have no great relish for any entertainments where the mirth is not sea