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every father remembered his own thoughts and inclinations when he was a son, and every son remembered what he expected from his father, when he himself was in a state of dependance, this one reflection would preserve men from being dissolute or rigid in these several capacities. The power and subjection between them, when broken, make them more emphatically tyrants and rebels against each other, with greater cruelty of heart, than the disruption of states and empires can possibly produce. I shall end this application to you with two letters which passed between a mother and son very lately, and are aş follows: DEAR FRANK,
“If the pleasures, which I have the grief to hear you pursue in town, do not take up all your time, do not deny your mnother so much of it as to read seriously this letter. You said before Mr. Letacre, that an old woman might live very well in the country upon half my jointure, and that your father was a fond fool to give me a rent charge of eight hundred a year to the prejudice of his son. What Letacre said to you upon that occasion, you ought to have borne with nore decency, as he was your father's well-beloved servant, than to have called him country-put. In the first place, Frank, I must tell you, I will have my rent duly paid, for I will make up to your sisters for the partiality I was guilty of, in making your father do so much as he has done for you. I may, it seems, live upon halt my jointure ! I lived upon much less, Frank, when I carried you from place to place in these arms, and could neither eat, dress, or mind any thing for feeding and tending you a weakly child, and shedding tears when the convulsions you were then troubled with returned upon
you. By my care you outgrew them, to throw away the vigour of your youth in the arms of harlots, and deny your mother what is not yours to detai. Both your sisters are crying to see the passion which I smother; but if you please to go on thus like a gentleman of the town, and forget all regards to yourself and family, I shall immediately enter upon your estate for the arrear due to me, and without one tear more, contemn you for forgetting the fondness of your mother, as much as you have the example of your father. O Frank, do I live to omit writing myself Your affectionate mother,
N° 264. WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 2, 1711-12.
Secretum iter et fallentis semita vite.
HOR. 1 Ep. xviii. 105.
It has been from age to age an affectation to love the pleasure of solitude, among those who cannot possibly be supposed qualified for passing life in that manner. This people have taken up from reading the many agreeable things which have been written on that subject, for which we are beholden to excellent persons who delighted in being retired, and abstracted from the pleasures that enchant the yenerality of the world. This way of life is recommended indeed with great beauty, and in such a manner as disposes the reader for the time to a pleasing forgetfulness, or negligence of the particular hurry of life in which he is engaged, together with a longing for that state which he is charmed with in description. But when we consider the world itself, and how few there are capable of a religious, learned, or philosophic solitude, we shall be apt to change a regard to that sort of solitude, for being a little singular in enjoying time after the way a man himself likes best in the world, without going so far as wholly to withdraw from it. I have often observed, there is not a man breathing who does not differ from all other men, as much in the sentiments of his mind as the features of his face. The felicity is. when any one is so happy as to find out and follow what is the proper bent of his genius, and turn all his endeavours to exert himself according as that
pass for an humourist, and one who does not understand the figure he ought to make in the world, while he lives in a lodging of ten shillings a week with only one servant; while he dresses himself according to the season in cloth or in stuff, and has no one necessary attention to any thing but the bell which calls to prayers twice a-day : I say it would look like a fable to report that this gentleman gives away all which is the overplus of a great fortune by secret methods to other men. If he has not the pomp of a numerous train, and of professors of service to him, he has every day he lives the conscience that the widow, the fatherless, the mourner, and the stranger bless his unseen hand in their prayers. This humourist gives up all the compliments which people of his own condition could make him, for the pleasure of helping the afflicted, supplying the needy, and befriend. ing the neglected. This humourist keeps to himself much more than he wants, and gives a vast refuse of his superfluities to purchase heaven, and by freeing others from the temptations of worldly want, to carry a retinue with him thither.
Of all men who affect living in a particular way, next to this admirable character, I am the most enamoured of Irus, whose condition will not admit of such Jargesses, and who perhaps would not be capable of making them if it were. Irus, though he is now turned of fifty, has not appeared in the world in his real character since five-and-twenty, at which age lie ran out a small patrimony, and spent some time after with rakes who had lived upon him. A course of ten years time passed in all the little alleys, by-paths, and sometimes open taverns and streets of this town, gave Irus a perfect skill in judging of the inclinations of mankind, and acting accordingly. He seriously considered he was poor, and the general horror which most men have of all who are in that