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a young fellow.
many disasters in his youth; for Will reckons every misfortune that he has met with among the women, and every rencounter among the men, as parts of his education, and fancies he should never have been the man he is, had not he broke windows, knocked down constables, disturbed honest people with his midnight serenades, and beat up Phryne's quarters, when he
The engaging in adventures of this nature Will calls the studying of mankind, and terms this
knowledge of the town, the knowledge of the world. Will 10 ingenuously confesses, that for half his life his head ached
every morning with reading of men over night; and at present comforts himself under sundry infirmities with the reflection, that without them he could not have been acquainted with the gallantries of the age. This will looks upon as the learning of a gentleman, and regards all other kinds of science as the accomplishments of one whom he calls a scholar, a bookish man, or a philosopher.
For these reasons Will shines in a mixed company, where he has the discretion not to go out of his depth, and has often a 20 certain way of making his real ignorance appear a seeming one.
Our club however has frequently caught him tripping, at which times they never spare him. For as Will often insults us with the knowledge of the town, we sometimes take our revenge upon him by our knowledge of books.
He was last week producing two or three letters which he writ in his youth to a coquette lady. The raillery of them was natural, and well enough for a mere man of the town; but, very unluckily, several of the words were wrong spelt.
Will laughed this off at first as well as he could, but finding 30 himself pushed on all sides, and especially by the Templar, he
told us, with a little passion, that he never liked pedantry in spelling, and that he spelt like a gentleman, and not like a scholar: upon this will had recourse to his old topic of shewing the narrow-spiritedness, the pride and ignorance of pedants; which he carried so far, that upon my retiring to my lodgings, I could not forbear throwing together such reflections as occurred to me upon that subject.
A man who has been brought up among books, and is able to talk of nothing else, is a very indifferent companion, and 40 what we call a pedant. But, methinks, we should enlarge the
title, and give it every one that does not know how to think out of his profession and particular way of life.
What is a greater pedant than a mere man of the town? Bar him the play-houses, a catalogue of the reigning beauties, and an account of a few fashionable distempers that have befallen him, and you strike him dumb. How many a pretty gentleman's knowledge lies all within the verge of the court ? He will tell you the names of the principal favourites, repeat
the shrewd sayings of a man of quality, whisper an intrigue 10 that is not yet blown upon by common fame: or, if the sphere
of his observation is a little larger than ordinary, will perhaps enter into all the incidents, turns, and revolutions in a game of ombren. When he has gone thus far, he has shewn you the whole circle of his accomplishments, his parts are drained, and he is disabled from any farther conversation. What are these but rank pedants ? and yet these are the men who value themselves most on their exemption from the pedantry of colleges.
I might here mention the military pedant, who always talks in a camp, and is storming towns, making lodgments, and fighting 20 battles from one end of the year to the other. Everything he
speaks smells of gunpowder; if you take away his artillery from him, he has not a word to say for himself. I might likewise mention the law pedant, that is perpetually putting cases, repeating the transactions of Westminster Hall, wrangling with you upon the most indifferent circumstances of life, and not to be convinced of the distance of a place, or of the most trivial point in conversation, but by dint of argument. The state pedant is wrapped up in news, and lost in politics. If
you mention either of the kings of Spain or Poland, he talks 30 very notably; but if you go out of the gazette, you drop him.
In short, a mere courtier, a mere soldier, a mere scholar, a mere anything, is an insipid pedantic character, and equally ridiculous.
Of all the species of pedants, which I have mentioned, the book pedant is much the most supportable ; he has at least an exercised understanding, and a head which is full though confused, so that a man who converses with him may often receive from him hints of things that are worth knowing, and what he may possibly turn to his own advantage, though they are of
little use to the owner. The worst kind of pedants among 40 learned men, are such as are naturally endowed with a very small
share of common sense, and have read a great number of books without taste or distinction.
The truth of it is, learning, like travelling, and all other methods of improvement, as it finishes good sense, so it makes a silly man ten thousand times more insufferable, by supplying variety of matter to his impertinence, and giving him an opportunity of abounding in absurdities.
Shallow pedants cry up one another much more than men of solid and useful learning. To read the titles they give an editor, 10 or collator of a manuscript, you would take him for the glory of
the commonwealth of letters, and the wonder of his age, when perhaps upon examination you find that he has only rectified a Greek particle, or laid out a whole sentence in proper commas ".
They are obliged indeed to be thus lavish of their praises, that they may keep one another in countenance, and it is no wonder if a great deal of knowledge, which is not capable of making a man wise, has a natural tendency to make him vain and arrogant.-L.
No. 106. Sir Roger entertains the Spectator at his country house ; the way of life there described.
Hic tibi copia
Hor. Od. 1. 17. Having often received an invitation from my friend Sir Roger de 20 Coverley to pass away a month with him in the country, I last
week accompanied him thither, and am settled with him for some time at his country-house, where I intend to form several of my ensuing speculations. Sir Roger, who is very well acquainted with my humour, lets me rise and go to bed when I please; dine at his own table or in my chamber as I think fit, sit still and say nothing without bidding me be merry. When the gentlemen of the country come to see him, he only shews me at a distance: as I have been walking in his fields I have observed them stealing
a sight of me over an hedge, and have heard the knight desiring 30 them not to let me see them, for that I hated to be stared at.
I am the more at ease in Sir Roger's family, because it consists of sober and staid persons: for as the knight is the best master in the world, he seldom changes his servants; and as he
THE COUNTRY GENTLEMAN,
is beloved by all about him, his servants never care for leaving him ; by this means his domestics are all in years, and grown old with their master. You would take his Valet-de-chambre for his brother, his butler is grey-headed, his groom is one of the gravest men that I have ever seen, and his coachman has the looks of a privy-counsellor. You see the goodness of the master even in the old house-dog, and in a grey pad that is kept in the stable with great care and tenderness out of regard to his past services, though he has been useless for several
I could not but observe with a great deal of pleasure the joy that appeared in the countenance of these ancient domestics upon my friend's arrival at his country-seat. Some of them could not refrain from tears at the sight of their old master; every one of them pressed forward to do something for him, and seemed discouraged if they were not employed. At the same time the good old knight, with a mixture of the father and the master of the family, tempered the inquiries after his
own affairs with several kind questions relating to themselves. 20 This humanity and good nature engages everybody to him, so that
when he is pleasant upon any of them, all his family are in good humour, and none so much as the person whom he diverts himself with: on the contrary, if he coughs, or betrays any infirmity of old age, it is easy for a stander by to observe a secret concern in the looks of all his servants.
My worthy friend has put me under the particular care of his butler, who is a very prudent man, and, as well as the rest of his fellow-servants, wonderfully. desirous of pleasing me,
because they have often heard their master talk of me as of his 30 particular friend.
My chief companion, when Sir Roger is diverting himself in the woods or the fields, is a very venerable man who is ever with Sir Roger, and has lived at his house in the naturen of a chaplain above thirty years. This gentleman is a person of good sense and some learning, of a very regular life and obliging conversation : he heartily loves Sir Roger, and knows that he is very much in the old knight's esteem, so that he lives in the family rather as a relation than a dependent.
I have observed in several of my papers, that my friend Sir 40 Roger, amidst all his good qualities, is something of an humorist; and that his virtues, as well as imperfections, are, as it were, tinged by a certain extravagance, which makes them particularly his, and distinguishes them from those of other men. This cast of mind, as it is generally very innocent in itself, so it renders his conversation highly agreeable, and more delightful than the same degree of sense and virtue would appear in their common or ordinary colours. As I was walking with him last night, he asked me how I liked the good man whom I have just now
mentioned; and, without staying for my answer, told me that he 10 was afraid of being insulted with Latin and Greek at his own
table; for which reason he desired a particular friend of his at the university to find him out a clergyman rather of plain sense than much learning, of a good aspect, a clear voice, a sociable temper; and, if possible, a man that understood a little of back-gammon. “My friend,' says Sir Roger, ‘found me out this gentleman, who, besides the endowments required of him, is, they tell me, a good scholar, though he does not shew it: I have given him the parsonage of the parish ; and because I know his
value, have settled upon him a good annuity for life. If he 20 outlives me, he shall find that he was higher in my esteem than
perhaps he thinks he is. He has now been with me thirty years; and though he does not know I have taken notice of it, has never in all that time asked anything of me for himself, though he is every day soliciting me for something in behalf of one or other of my tenants, his parishioners. There has not been a law-suit in the parish since he has lived among them; if any dispute arises they apply themselves to him for the decision; if they do not acquiesce in his judgment, which I think never happened
above once or twice at most, they appeal to me. At his first 30 settling with me, I made him a present of all the good sermons
which have been printed in English, and only begged of him that every Sunday he would pronounce one of them in the pulpit. Accordingly, he has digested them into such a series, that they follow one another naturally, and make a continued system of practical divinity.'
As Sir Roger was going on in his story, the gentleman we were talking of came up to us; and upon the knight's asking him who preached to-morrow (for it was Saturday night) told us,
the Bishop of St. Asaph in the morning, and Dr. South in the 40 afternoon. He then shewed us his list of preachers for the whole