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that it is capable of, and a turn of humour, that can put the most trifling subject in some amusing point
of view. ........
In a large company Cynthio was never known to engross the whole attention to some one favourite subject which could suit with only a part of it; or to dictate, even in a small one. With a very quick discernment, to avoid speaking or thinking severely of the many faults and follies this world abounds with, is a proof of an excellent temper too, which can be no way constantly supported, and made, in its effects, consistent with itself, but upon the basis of serious principles.
This then is the support of Cynthio's cha racter, and this it is that regulates his actions, even where his natural inclination would direct him differently. Thus, when the welfare of the public is concerned, he can assume a strictness, that carries great awe with it, and a severity, that a mere constitutional good nature would be hurt by, though it answers the most valuable ends of true huinanity. Thus his natural indolence is als lowed to show itself only in things of trifling con." sequence, or such as he thinks so, because they : regard only himself; but whenever he has any opportunity of serving a friend, or doing a worthy action, nobody is so ready, so vigilant, so active, so constant in the pursuit, which is seldom unsuccessful, because he has a useful good sense that directs him to the properest methods of proceed. ing. Upon such an occasion, not the longest jour
ney, or most tedious solicitation, no appearance of trouble or of danger, can discourage him.
Sincerity is so essential a part of friendship, that no one, so perfect in its other branches, can be wanting in that. But how, you will say, can this be reconciled with politeness? How can that, whose utmost care is never to offend, ever venture upon telling a disagreeable truth? Why this is one of the wonders, which a good and a right intention well directed, can perform; and Cynthio can even oblige people by telling them very plainly of their faults.
I perceive I have wandered from my first intention, which was only to give a general sketch of this character, as influenced by that humanity, whose consequence is such a desire of pleasing, as is the source of politeness. But before I have dove with it, I must add this one distinguishing stroke; that though many people may excel in separate, good qualities and accomplishments more than, Cynthio, yet I never saw them so equally proportioned, or so agreeably blended as in him, to form that whole behaviour, that makes him the fittest example for an essay on this subject.
On the Accommodation of the Temper to Circum
Let me be allowed to make a new word, and let that word be accommodableness. •
The disposition of mind, I mean by that word to express, is of such constant and universal use, that it is certainly worth while to distinguish it by a name of its own : we English have not much of it in our nature, and therefore it is no wonder we hare not an expression to suit it. It is such a flexibility of mind, as hinders the least struggle between reason and temper : it is the very height and perfection of good humour, shown as well in an instantaneous transition from mirth to seriousness, when that is best suited to the place and people, as it is in the liveliest flashes of gaiety: it is an art of sitting so loose from our own humours and designs, that the mere having expected, or in. tended, or wished a thing to be otherwise than it is, shall not, for a moment, ruffle our brows, or discompose our thoughts. It is an art, for it requires time and pains to perfect it.
All this is indeed included in what has been said of politeness, but it is worth dwelling upon in a new light. It is the means of making every trifling occurrence in life of some use to us; for want of it, liking and luck are ever at cross purposes. Today we are sad : and then if we fall into a jovial company, all their mirth seems displaced, and but grates upon our fancy: to-morrow, we are as whimsically determined to be merry; and then, how unsuited is our temper to the scenes of sad improvement we so often meet with! How unfit are we then to commiserate the wretched, or to draw just considerations from the melancholy side of life!
(This body, by some accident or other, we look úpon in a light of prejudice: a foolish story told of them, or perhaps a disagreeable look, or a peculiar trick, makes us lose all the advantage that might be had, by attending to their more valuable qualifications: for every body has some.-Another we despise, merely for our own ignorance of their worth. We look upon persons in a light of bur. lesque, from some ridiculous circumstance; when, perhaps, their serious character has something really good in it that is quite passed over. I have felt it myself often, and that makes me dwell upon the subject; for I think one always talks best from experience, · I have read somewhere a fairy story, in which a princess is describetl, born under such a charm; that till she came to a certain age it was impossible
she should ever enjoy any lasting satisfaction. The happiness of her ensuing life depended upon the observing this condition; and for that reason those fairies, who had the care of her education, were most exact in their attention to it. Did she begin to take pleasure in any employment ? It was im mediately changed, and her application was called off to some new one: as soon as she had got over the difficulties of that, she was engaged in a third : and so on, year after year, till she was quite grown up. If any amusement was proposed, if she began to taste the least delight; in the splendour of a public show, or the gaiety of a rural landscape, the scene was immediately shifted, and a dull solitude took the place of what had charmed her. '..
· Such is our situation in this world. In such a case, all the poor princess had for it, was to shift her inclinations as fast as the fairies could her amusements; and when she had learned to do this, I think indeed, one might answer for it, that the rest of her life could not fail to be happy.
. Our humours and dispositions are certainly as various as the accidents that happen to exercise them; but then, the misfortune is, that they are frequently misplaced. I have often been in a humour for moralizing and improving, when my fancy had much more properly been filled with gay images of an assembly: then, that idleness might not lose its due, how frequently have my thoughts wandered from a philosophical lecture, to a crowded