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notable man;' and that he had known two or three, who aspired to the character of very notable,' wear shoe-strings with great success.
To the honour of our present age it must be allowed, that some of our greatest geniuses for wit and business have almost intirely broke the neck of these absurdities.
Victor, after having dispatched the most important affairs of the commonwealth, has appeared at an assembly, wliere all the ladies have declared him the genteelest man in the company; and in Atticus *, though every way one of the greatest geniuses the age has produced, one sees nothing particular in his dress or carriage to denote his pretensions to wit and learning: so that at present a man may venture to cock up his hat, and wear a fashionable wig, without being taken for a rake or a fool.
ne medium between a fop and a sloven is what a man of sense would endeavour to keep; yet I remember Mr. Osborn advises his son to appear in his habit rather above than below his fortune ; and tells him that he will find an handsome suit of clothes always procures some additional respect t. I have indeed myself observed that my banker ever bows lowest to me when I wear my full-bottomed wig; and writes me 'Mr.' or 'Esq. according as he sees me dressed.
I shall conclude this paper with an adventure which I was myself an eye-witness of very lately.
I happened the other day to call in at a celebrated coffee-house near the Temple. I had not been there long when there came in an elderly man very meanly dressed, and sat down by me; he had a thread-bare loose coat on, which it was plain he wore to keep
* Probably Mr. Addison.
himself warm, and not to favour his under suit, which seemed to have been at least its contemporary: his short wig and hat were both answerable to the rest of his apparel. He was no sooner seated than he called for a dish of tea; but as several gentlemen in the room wanted other things, the boys of the house did not think themselves at leisure to mind him. I could observe the old fellow was very uneasy at the affront, and at his being obliged to repeat his commands several times to no purpose ; until at last one of the lads presented him with some stale tea in a broken dish, accompanied with a plate of brown sugar ; which so raised his indignation, that after several obliging appellations of dog and rascal, he asked him aloud before the whole company, why he must be used with less respect than that fop there? pointing to a well-dressed young gentleman who was drinking tea at the opposite table. The boy of the house replied with a good deal of pertness, “that his master had two sorts of customers, and that the gentleman at the other table had given him many a sixpence for wiping his shoes.' By this time the young Templar, who found his honour concerned in the dispute, and that the eyes of the whole coffee-house were upon him, had thrown aside a paper he had in his hand, and was coming towards us, while we at the table made what haste we could to get away from the impending quàrrel, but were all of us surprised to see him as he approached nearer put on an air of deference and respect. To whom the old man said, · Hark rah, I will pay off your extravagant bills once more, but will take effectual care for the future, that your prodigality shall not spirit up a parcel of rascals to insult your father.'
Though I by no means approve either the impudence of the servants or the extravagance of the sou,
I cannot but think the old gentleman was in some measure justly served for walking in masquerade, I mean appearing in a dress so much beneath his quality and estate.
N° 151. THURSDAY, AUGUST 23, 1711.
Maximas virtutes jacere omnes necesse est voluptate dominante.
TULL. de Fin. Where pleasure prevails, all the greatest virtues will lose
I KNOW no one character that gives reason a greater shock, at the same time that it presents a good ridiculous image to the imagination, than that of a man of wit and pleasure about the town. This description of a man of fashion, spoken by some with a mixture of scorn and ridicule, by others with great gravity as a laudable distinction, is in every body's mouth that spends any time in conversation. My friend Will Honeycomb has this expression very frequently; and I never could understand by the story which follows, upon his mention of such a one, but that his man of wit and pleasure was either a drunkard, too old for wenching, or a young lewd fellow with some liveliness, who would converse with you, receive kind offices of you, and at the same time debauch your sister, or lie with your wife. According to his description, a man of wit, when he could have wenches for crowns apiece which he liked quite as well, would be so extravagant as to bribe servants, make false friendships, fight relations : I say, according to
him, plain and simple vice was too little for a man of wit and pleasure; but he would leave an easy and accessible wickedness, to come at the same thing with only the addition of certain falsehood and possible murder. Will thinks the town grown very dull, in that we do not hear so much as we used to do of those coxcombs, whom (without observing it) he describes as the most infamous rogues nature, with relation to friendship, love, or conversation.
When pleasure is made the chief pursuit of life, it will necessarily follow that such monsters as these will arise from a constant application to such blandishments as naturally root out the force of reason and reflection, and substitute in their place a general impatience of thought, and a constant pruriency of inordinate desire.
Pleasure, when it is a man's chief purpose, disappoints itself; and the constant application to it pails the faculty of enjoying it, though it leaves the sense of our inability for that we wish, with a disrelish of every thing else.
Thus the intermediate seasons of the man of pleasure are more heavy than one would impose upon the vilest criminal. 'Take him when he is awaked too soon after a debauch, or disappointed in following a worthless woman without truth, and there is no man living whose being is such a weight or vexation as his is. He is an utter stranger to the pleasing reflections in the evening of a well-spent day, or the gladness of heart or quickness of spirit in the morning after profound sleep or indolent slumbers. He is not to be at ease any longer than he can keep reason and good sense without his curtains; otherwise he will be haunted with the reflection, that he could not believe such a one the woman that upon trial he found her. What bras he got by his conquest, but to think meanly of her for whom a day or two before he had the highest honour ? And of himself for perhaps wronging the man whom of all men living he himself would least willingly have injured ?
Pleasure seizes the whole man who addicts himself to it, and will not give him leisure for
any good office in life which contradicts the gaiety of the present hour. You may indeed observe in people of pleasure a certain complacency and absence of all severity, which the habit of a loose unconcerned life gives them; but tell the man of pleasure your secret wants, cares, or sorrows, and you will find that he has given up the delicacy of bis passions to the cravings of his appetites. He little knows the perfect joy he loses, for the disappointing gratifications which be pursues. He looks at Pleasure as she approaches, and comes to him with the recommendation of warm wishes, gay looks, and graceful motion; but he does not observe how she leaves his presence with disorder, impotence, down-cast shame, and conscious inperfection. She makes our youth inglorious, our age shameful.
Will Honeycomb gives us twenty intimations in an evening of several hags whose bloom was given up to his arms; and would raise a value to himself for having had, as the phrase is, ' very good women. Will's good women are the comfort of his heart, and support him, I warrant, by the niemory of past interviews with persons of their condition. No, there is not in the world an occasion wherein viee makes so fantastical a figure, as at the meeting of two old people who have been partners in unwarrantable pleasure. To tell a toothless old lady that she once had a good set, or a defunct wencher that lie once was the admired thing of the town, are satires instead of applauses; but on the other side, consider the old age of those who have passed their