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No. 22. Eudoxus and Leontine

SPECTATOR No. 123. Saturday, July 21, 1711

Doctrina sed vim promovet insitam,
Rectique cultus pectora roborant:

Utcunque defecere mores,
Dedecorant bene nata culpæ.1

Hor. Lib. 4. Od. iv. 33.

As I was yesterday taking the air with my friend Sir Roger, we were met by a fresh-colored ruddy young man who rid by us full speed, with a couple

of servants behind him. Upon my inquiry who he 5 was, Sir Roger told me that he was a young gen

tleman of a considerable estate, who had been educated by a tender mother that lived not many miles from the place where we were. She is a very good

lady, says my friend, but took so much care of her 10 son's health, that she has made him good for nothing.

She quickly found that reading was bad for his eyes, and that writing made his head ache. He was let loose among the woods as soon as he was able to

ride on horseback, or to carry a gun upon his 15 shoulder. To be brief, I found, by my friend's

account of him, that he had got a great stock of health, but nothing else; but that if it were a man's business only to live, there would not be a more accomplished young fellow in the whole county.

The truth of it is, since my residing in these parts I have seen and heard innumerable instances of



young heirs and elder brothers, who, either from their own reflecting upon the estates they are born to, and therefore thinking all other accomplishments unnecessary, or from hearing these notions frequently inculcated to them by the flattery of their 5 servants and domestics, or from the same foolish thought prevailing in those who have the care of their education, are of no manner of use but to keep up their families, and transmit their lands and houses in a line to posterity.

This makes me often think on a story I have heard of two friends, which I shall give my reader at large, under feigned names. The moral of it may, I hope, be useful, though there are some circumstances which make it rather appear like a 15 novel, than a true story.

Eudoxus and Leontine began the world with small estates. They were both of them men of good sense and great virtue. They prosecuted their studies together in their earlier years, and entered 20 into such a friendship as lasted to the end of their lives. Eudoxus, at his first setting out in the world, threw himself into a court, where by his natural endowments and his acquired abilities he made his way from one post to another, until at 25 length he had raised a very considerable fortune. Leontine on the contrary sought all opportunities of improving his mind by study, conversation, and travel. He was not only acquainted with all the


sciences, but with the most eminent professors of them throughout Europe. He knew perfectly well the interests of its princes, with the customs and

fashions of their courts, and could scarce meet with 5 the name of an extraordinary person in the Gazette

whom he had not either talked to or seen. In short, he had so well mixed and digested his knowledge of men and books, that he made one of the

most accomplished persons of his age. During the 10 whole course of his studies and travels he kept up

a punctual correspondence with Eudoxus, who often made himself acceptable to the principal men about court by the intelligence which he received from

Leontine. When they were both turned of forty 15 (an age in which according to Mr. Cowley, "there is

no dallying with life,'') they determined, pursuant to the resolution they had taken in the beginning of their lives, to retire, and pass the remainder of

their days in the country. In order to this, they 20 both of them married much about the same time.

Leontine, with his own and wife's fortune, bought a farm of three hundred a year, which lay within the neighborhood of his friend Eudoxus, who had

purchased an estate of as many thousands. They 25 were both of them fathers about the same time,

Eudoxus having a son born to him, and Leontine a daughter; but to the unspeakable grief of the latter, his young wife (in whom all his happiness was wrapt up) died in a few days after the birth of her daughter. His affliction would have been insupportable, had not he been comforted by the daily visits and conversations of his friend. As they were one day talking together with their usual intimacy, Leontine, considering how incapable he was of giving his 5 daughter a proper education in his own house, and Eudoxus reflecting on the ordinary behavior of a son who knows himself to be the heir of a great estate, they both agreed upon an exchange of children, namely, that the boy should be bred up 10 with Leontine as his son, and that the girl should live with Eudoxus as his daughter, until they were each of them arrived at years of discretion. The wife of Eudoxus, knowing that her son could not be so advantageously brought up as under the care 15 of Leontine, and considering at the same time that he would be perpetually under her own eye, was by degrees prevailed upon to fall in with the project. She therefore took Leonilla, for that was the name of the girl, and educated her as her own daughter. 20 The two friends on each side had wrought themselves to such an habitual tenderness for the children who were under their direction, that each of them had the real passion of a father, where the title was but imaginary. Florio, the name of the 25 young heir that lived with Leontine, though he had all the duty and affection imaginable for his supposed parent, was taught to rejoice at the sight of Eudoxus, who visited his friend very frequently,

and was dictated by his natural affection, as well as by the rules of prudence, to make himself esteemed and beloved by Florio. The boy was now

old enough to know his supposed father's circum5 stances, and that therefore he was to make his way

in the world by his own industry. This consideration grew stronger in him every day, and produced so good an effect, that he applied himself with more

than ordinary attention to the pursuit of everything 10 which Leontine recommended to him. His natural

abilities, which were very good, assisted by the directions of so excellent a counselor, enabled him to make a quicker progress than ordinary through

all the parts of his education. Before he was twenty 15 years of age, having finished his studies and exer

cises with great applause, he was removed from the university to the inns of court, where there are very few that make themselves considerable pro

ficients in the studies of the place, who know they 20 shall arrive at great estates without them. This

was not Florio's case; he found that three hundred a year was but a poor estate for Leontine and himself to live upon, so that he studied without inter

mission till he gained a very good insight into the 25 constitution and laws of his country.

I should have told my reader, that whilst Florio lived at the house of his foster-father, he was always an acceptable guest in the family of Eudoxus, where he became acquainted with Leonilla from her in

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