Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

2

of his (reflecting upon some adventures they had in youth together) cried out,“ Oh Jack, these were happy days !” “ That is true, replied his friend, but methinks we go about our business more quietly than we did then.” One would think it should be no small satisfaction to have gone so far in our journey that the heat of the day is over with us. When life itself is a fever, as it is in licentious youth, the pleasures of it are no other than the dreams of a man in that distemper, and it is as absurd to wish the return of that season of life, as for a man in health to be sorry for the loss of gilded palaces, fairy walks, and flowery pastures, with which he remembers he was entertained in the troubled slumbers of a fit of sickness.

As to all the rational and worthy pleasures of our being, the conscience of a good fame, the contemplation of another life, the respect and commerce of honest men, our capacities of our enjoyments are enlarged by years. While health endures, the latter part of life, in the eye

of reason, is certainly the more eligible. The memory of a well-spent youth gives a peaceable, unmixed, and elegant pleasure to the mind: and to such who are so unfortunate as not to be able to look back on youth with satisfaction, they may give themselves no little consolation that they are under no temptation to repeat their follies, and that they at present despise them. It was prettily said, “ He that would be long an old man, must begin early to be one. It is too late to resign a thing after a man is robbed of it; therefore it is necessary that before the arrival of age we bid adieu to the pursuits of youth, otherwise sensual habits will live in our imaginations when our limbs cannot be subservient to them. The poor fellow who lost his arm last siege, will tell you, he feels the fingers that are buried in Flanders ach every cold morning at Chelsea.

The fond humour of appearing in the gay and fashionable world, and being applauded for trivial excel

lencies,

"You are to know then that I was bred a gentleman, and had the finishing part of my education under a man of great probity, wit, and learuing, in one of our universities. . I will not deny but this made

my

behaviour and mien bear in it a figure of thought rather than action; and a man of a quite contrary character, who never thought in his life, rallied me one day upon it, and said, He believed I was still a virgin. There was a young lady of virtue present, and I was not displeased to favour the insinuation; but it had a quite contrary effect from what I expected. I was ever after treated with great coldness both by that lady and all the rest of my acquaintance. In a very little time I never came into a room but I could hear a whisper, Here comes the maid. A girl of humour would on some occasion say, Why, how do you know more than any of us? An expression of that kind was generally followed by a loud laugh. In a word, for no other fault in the world than that they really thought me as innocent as themselves, I became of no consequence among them, and was received always upon the foot of a jest. This made so strong an impression upon me, that I resolved to be as agreeable as the best of the men who laughed at me; but I observed it was nonsense for me to be impudent at first among those who knew me. My character for modesty was so notorious wherever I had hitherto appeared, that I resolved to shew my new face in new quarters of the world. My first step I chose with judga ment; for I went to Astrop, * and came down among a crowd of Academics, at one dash, the impudentest fellow they had ever seen in their lives. Flushed with this success, I made love and was happy. Upon this conquest, I thought it would be unlike a gentleman to stay long with my mistress, and crossed the country to Bury. I could give you a very good account of myself at that place also. ' At these two ended my first

[ocr errors]

summer

* Astrop Wells in Oxfordshire.

summer of gallantry. The winter following, you would wonder at it, but I relapsed into modesty upon coming among people of figure in London, yet not so much but that the ladies who had formerly laughed at me, said, Bless us, how wonderfully that gentleman is improved! Some familiarities about the play - houses, towards the end of the ensuing winter, made me conceive new hopes of adventures. And instead of returning the next summer to Astrop or Bury, I thought myself qualified to go to Epsom, and followed a young woman, whose relations were jealous of my place in her favour, to Scarborough. I carried my point, and in my third year asspired to go to Tunbridge, and in the autumn of the same year made my appearance at Bath. I was now got into the

way
of talk
proper

for ladies, and was run into a vast.acquaintance among them, which I always improved to the best advantage. In all this course of time, and some years following, I found a sober modest man was always looked upon by both sexes as a precise unfashioned fellow of no life nor spirit. It was ordinary for a man who had been drunk in good company, or passed a night with a wench, to speak of it next day before women for whom he had the greatest respect. He was reproved, perhaps with a blow of the fan, or with an ob fy! * but the angry lady still preserved an apparent approbation in her countenance. He was called a strange wicked fellow, a sad wretch ; he shrugs his shoulders, swears, receives another blow, swears again he did not know he swore, and all was well) You might often see men game in the presence of women, and throw at once for more than they were worth, to recommend themselves as men of spirit.

I found by long experience, that the loosest principles and most abandoned behaviour, carried all before them, in pretensions to women of fortune. The encouragement

given

K 2

* Such narrations now would exclude their author from the company, of all women of decency,

• You are to know then that I was bred a gentleman, and had the finishing part of my education under a man of great probity, wit, and learning, in one of our universities. . I will not deny but this made my behaviour and mien bear in it a figure of thought rather than action; and a man of a quite contrary character, who never thought in his life, rallied me one day upon it, and said, He believed I was still a virgin. There was a young lady of virtue present, and I was not displeased to favour the insinuation; but it had a quite contrary effect from what I expected. I was ever after treated with great coldness both by that lady and all the rest of my acquaintance. In a very little time I never came into a room but I could hear a whisper, Here comes the maid. A girl of humour would on some occasion say, Why, how do you know more than any of us? An expression of that kind was generally followed by a loud laugh. In a word, for no other fault in the world than that they really thought me as innocent as themselves, I became of no consequence among them, and was received always upon the foot of a jest. This made so strong an impression upon me, that I resolved to be as agreeable as the best of the men who laughed at me; but I observed it was nonsense for me to be impudent at first among

those who knew me. My character for modesty was so notorious wherever I had hitherto appeared, that I resolved to shew my new face in new quarters of the world. My first step I chose with judga ment; for I went to Astrop, * and came down among a crowd of Academics, at one dash, the impudentest fellow they had ever seen in their lives. Flushed with this success, I made love and was happy. Upon this conquest, I thought it would be unlike a gentleman to stay long with my mistress, and crossed the country to Bury. I could give you a very good account of myself at that place also. ' At these two ended my first

summer

* Astrop Wells in Oxfordshire.

summer of gallantry. The winter following, you would wonder at it, but I relapsed into modesty upon coming among people of figure in London, yet not so much but that the ladies who had formerly laughed at me, said, Bless us, how wonderfully that gentleman is improved! Some familiarities about the play - houses, towards the end of the ensuing winter, made me conceive new hopes of adventures. And instead of returning the next summer to Astrop or Bury, I thought myself qualified to go to Epsom, and followed a young woman, whose relations were jealous of my place in her favour, to Scarborough. I carried my point, and in my third year asspired to go to Tunbridge, and in the autumn of the same year

made

my appearance at Bath. I was now got into the

way

of talk proper for ladies, and was run into a vast.acquaintance among them, which I always improved to the best advantage. In all this course of time, and some years following, I found a sober modest man was always looked upon by both sexes as a precise unfashioned fellow of no life nor spirit. It was ordinary for a man who had been drunk in good company, or passed a night with a wench, to speak of it next day before women for whom he had the greatest respect. He was reproved, perhaps with a blow of the fan, or with an ob fy! * but the angry lady still preserved an apparent approbation in her countenance. He was called a strange wicked fellow, a sad wretch; he shrugs his shoulders, swears, receives another blow, swears again he did not know he swore, and all was well) You might often see men game in the presence of women, and throw at once for more than they were worth, to recommend themselves as men of spirit.

I found by long experience, that the loosest principles and most abandoned behaviour, carried all before them, in pretensions to women of fortune. The encouragement

given

K 2

* Such narrations now would exclude their author from the company of all women of decency.

« НазадПродовжити »