Page images
PDF
EPUB

the brutes in the country. I was told she said so by one who thought he rallied me; but upon the strength of this slender encouragement of being thought least detestable, I made new liveries, newpaired my coach-horses, sent them all to town to 5 be bitted, and taught to throw their legs well, and move altogether, before I pretended to cross the country, and wait upon her. As soon as I thought my retinue suitable to the character of my fortune and youth, I set out from hence to make my ad- 10 dresses. The particular skill of this lady has ever been to inflame your wishes, and yet command respect. To make her mistress of this art, she has a greater share of knowledge, wit, and good sense, than is usual even among men of merit. Then she 15 is beautiful beyond the race of women. If you will not let her go on with a certain artifice with her eyes, and the skill of beauty, she will arm herself with her real charms, and strike you with admiration instead of desire. It is certain that if you were 20 to behold the whole woman, there is that dignity in her aspect, that composure in her motion, that complacency in her manner, that if her form makes you hope, her merit makes you fear. But then again, she is such a desperate scholar, that no 25 country gentleman can approach her without being a jest. As I was going to tell you, when I came to her house, I was admitted to her presence with great civility; at the same time she placed herself

to be first seen by me in such an attitude, as I think you call the posture of a picture, that she discovered new charms, and I at last came towards her with

such an awe as made me speechless. This she no 5 sooner observed but she made her advantage of it,

and began a discourse to me concerning love and honor, as they both are followed by pretenders, and the real votaries to them. When she discussed

these points in a discourse, which I verily believe 10 was as learned as the best philosopher in Europe

could possibly make, she asked me whether she was so happy as to fall in with my sentiments on these important particulars. Her confidant sat by her,

and upon my being in the last confusion and silence, 15 this malicious aid of her's turning to her, says, “I

am very glad to observe Sir Roger pauses upon this subject, and seems resolved to deliver all his sentiments upon the matter when he pleases to speak.'

They both kept their countenances, and after I had 20 sat half an hour meditating how to behave before

such profound casuists, I rose up and took my leave. Chance has since that time thrown me very often in her way, and she as often directed a dis

course to me which I do not understand. This 25 barbarity has kept me ever at a distance from the

most beautiful object my eyes ever beheld. It is thus also she deals with all mankind, and you must make love to her, as you would conquer the sphinx, by posing her. But were she like other women, and that there were any talking to her, how constant must the pleasure of that man be, who could converse with a creature But, after all, you may be sure her heart is fixed on some one or other; and yet I have been credibly informed; but who can 5 believe half that is said! after she had done speaking to me, she put her hand to her bosom, and adjusted her tucker. Then she cast her eyes a little down, upon my beholding her too earnestly. They say she sings excellently: her voice in her ordinary 10 speech has something in it inexpressibly sweet. You must know I dined with her at a public table the day after I first saw her, and she helped me to some tansy 5 in the eye of all the gentlemen in the country. She has certainly the finest hand of any woman in 15 the world. I can assure you, sir, were you to behold her, you would be in the same condition; for as her speech is music, her form is angelic. But I find I grow irregular while I am talking of her; but indeed it would be stupidity to be unconcerned at such 20 perfection. Oh, the excellent creature! she is as inimitable to all women, as she is inaccessible to all men.'

I found my friend begin to rave, and insensibly led him towards the house, that we might be joined 25 by some other company; and am convinced that the widow is the secret cause of all that inconsistency which appears in some parts of my friend's discourse; though he has so much command of himself as not

directly to mention her, yet according to that of Martial, which one knows not how to render in to English, Dum tacet hanc loquitur.? I shall end this

paper with that whole epigram, which represents 5 with much humor my honest friend's condition:

[ocr errors]

Quicquid agit Rufus, nihil est, nisi Nævia Rufo,

Si gaudet, si flet, si tacet, hanc loquitur:
Conat, propinat, poscit, negat, annuit, una est

Nævia; si non sit Nævia, mutus erit.
Scriberit hesternâ patri cùm luce salutem,
Nævia lux, inquit, Navia numen, ave.

Epig. 69. 1. i.
“Let Rufus weep, rejoice, stand, sit, or walk,
Still he can nothing but of Nævia talk;
Let him eat, drink, ask questions, or dispute,

he must speak of Navia, or be mute.
He writ to his father, ending with this line,
I am, my lovely Nævia, ever thine."

No. 13. Economy
SPECTATOR No. 114. Wednesday, July 11, 1711

1

Paupertatis pudor et fuga

Hor. Lib. 1. Ep. xviii. 24.

ECONOMY in our affairs has the same effect upon our fortunes which good breeding has upon our conversation. There is a pretending behavior in

both cases, which instead of making men esteemed, 10 renders them both miserable and contemptible. We

had yesterday, at Sir Roger's, a set of country gentlemen who dined with him; and after dinner the glass was taken, by those who pleased, pretty plentifully. Among others I observed a person of a tolerable good aspect, who seemed to be more greedy of liquor than any of the company, and yet methought he did not taste it with delight. As he grew warm, he was suspicious of everything that 5 was said, and as he advanced towards being fuddled, his humor grew worse. At the same time his bitterness seemed to be rather an inward dissatisfaction in his own mind, than any dislike he had taken to the company. Upon hearing his name, I knew him 10 to be a gentleman of a considerable fortune in this county, but greatly in debt. What gives the unhappy man this peevishness of spirit is, that his estate is dipped, and is eating out with usury; : and yet he has not the heart to sell any part of it. His 15 proud stomach, at the cost of restless nights, constant inquietudes, danger of affronts, and a thousand nameless inconveniences, preserves this canker in his fortune, rather than it shall be said he is a man of a fewer hundreds a year than he has been com- 20 monly reputed. Thus he endures the torment of poverty, to avoid the name of being less rich. If you go to his house, you see great plenty; but served in a manner that shows it is all unnatural, and that the master's mind is not at home. There is a certain 25 waste and carelessness in the air of everything, and the whole appears but a covered indigence, a magnificent poverty. That neatness and cheerfulness which attends the table of him who lives within

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »