Page images

hat, and insulted me directly, by telling the watchmar as well as he could, that he had fat in company with my fifter till he became too drunk to find his way home, which nevertheless he had attempted ; and that he hated the sight of me as he hated the devil: he then desired that a coach or a chair might be immediately called to carry him from my presence.

About nine, I visited a young lady who could not fee me, because she was but just returned from a rout. I went next to a student in the Temple, who received me with great joy; but told me, that he was going to dine with a gentleman, whose daughter he had long courted, and who at length, by the interposition of friends, had been persuaded to consent to the match, though several others had offered a larger settlement. From this interview I had no desire to detain him ; and about twelve I found a young prodigal, to whom I had afforded many opportunities of felicity, which he neglected to improve ; and whom I had scarce ever left without having convinced him, that he was wasing life in the search of pleasure which he could never find : he looked upon me with a countenance full of suspicion, dread and pere piexity, and seemed to wish that I had delayed my visit or been excluded by his servant; imagining, as I have fince heard, that a bailiff was behind me. After dinner, I ag in met my friend the student; but he who had lo lately received me with extasy, now leered at me with a füllen discontent, and if it had been in his power would have destroyed me, for no other reason than because the old gentleman whom he had visited had: changed his mind.

You may, perhaps, be told, that I am myself inconfant and capricious, that I am never the same person eight and forty hours together, and that no man knows whether at my next visit I shall bring him good or evil: but identity of person might with equal truth be denied of the ADVENTURER, and of every other being upon earth; for all animal bodies are in a state of perpetual decay and renovation : fo ridiculous a slander does not indeed deserve a serious reply: and I believe you are now ready to answer every other cavil of my enemies,


[ocr errors][merged small]

by convincing the world that it is their own fault if I do not always leave them wiser and better than I find them ;. and whoever has through life continued to become gradually wiser and better, has obtained a source of divine felicity, a well of living water, which like the widow's. oil shall increase as it is poured out, and which, though: it was supplied by time, eternity shall not exhauft.

I hope, Sir, your paper will be a means of procure ing me better treatment; and that you will yourself be: follicitous to secure the friendship of

Your humble Servantų.



ลง The Ladies directed in the choice of a husband.

[Adventurer, No. 30.] HOUGH I devote this lucubration to the ladies,

yet there are some parts of it which I hope will not be wholly useless to the gentlemen: and, perhaps, both may expect to be addressed upon a subject, which to both is of equal importance ; especially after I have admitted the public recommendation of it by my corres fpondent Mr. Townly.

It has been universally allowed, and with great reafon, that between persons who marry there should be fome degree of equality, with respect to age and condition. Those who violate a known truth, deserve the infelicity they incur : I shall; therefore, only labour to. preserve innocence by detecting error.

With the ladies it is a kind of general maxim,“ that "" the best husband is a reformed Rake;" a maxim which they have probably derived from comedies and novels, in which such a husband is commonly the reward of female merit. But the belief of this maxim is. an inconteftible proof, that with the true character of a Rake the ladies are wholly unacquainted. “They “ have,” indeed, “ heard of a wild young gentleman, 66 who would rake about the town, and take up

his “ lodging at a bagnio; who had told many a girl a


M 5

to be

pretty story, that was fool enough to believe him : “ and that had a right to many a child that did not call “him father: but that in some of these frolicks he " thought no harm, and for others he had sufficiently " suffered.” But let the ADVENTURER be believed, these are words of dreadful import, and should always be thus understood.

“ To rake about town and lodge at a bagnio, is to " associate with the vileft and most abandoned of hu

man beings; it is to become familiar with blasphemy 6,5 and lewdness, and frequently to sport with the most “ deplorable misery: to tell pretty stories to credulous “ girls, is to deceive the fimplicity of innocence by

cunring and fallhood to be the father of a nameless progeny, is to defert those, whose tears only can im

plore the protection to which of all others they have " the strongest and the tenderest claim; it is more than

a man without affection, it is to be a brute " without instinct. To think no harm in some of these frolics, is to have worn out all fenfibility of the dif“ ference between right and wrong; and to have suf“ fered for others, is to have a body contaminated with “ diseases, which in some degree are certainly trans“ mitted to posterity.”

It is to be hoped, that the mere exhibition of this picture will be sufficient to deter the ladies from precluding happiness by marrying the original; and from difcouraging virtue, by making vice necessary to the character

which they prefer. But they frequently act upon another principle, which though not equally fatal and absurd, may yet produce great infelicity.

When the Rake is excluded, it will be generally supposed, that superior intellectual abilities ought always to determine the choice. “ A man of fine sense,” is, indeed, a character of great dignity; and the ladies have always been advised to prefer this to every other, as it includes a capacity to bestow “ that refined, ex" alted, and permanent felicity, which alone is worthy * of a rational being.” But I think it probable, that this advice, however specious, has been often given for


no other reason, than because to give it flattered the vanity of the writer, who fondly believed he was drawing his own character, and exciting the envy and admiration of his readers. This advice, however, the ladies universally affect to approve, and probably for a similar reason; since every one imagines, that to hold intellectual excellence in high estimation, is to demonfirate that she possesses it.

As he that would persuade, should be scrupulously careful not to offend, I will not insinuate that there are any ladies, by whom the peculiar beauties of an exalted understanding cannot be discerned; and who have not therefore a capacity for half the pleasure which it can bestow. And yet I think there is another excellence which is much more effential to conjugal felicity, Good Nature.

I know that Good Nature has, like Socrates, been ridiculed in the habit of Folly; and that Folly has been dignified by the name of Good Nature. But. by Good NATURE, I do not mean that ftexible imbecility of mind which complies with every request, and inclines a man at once to accompany an acquaintance to a brothel at the expence of his health, and to keep. an equipage for a wife at the expence of his estate. Persons of this disposition have seldom more benevolence than fortitude, and frequently perpetrate deliberate cruelty.

In true Good Nature, there is neither the acrimony of spleen, nor the fullenness of malice ; it is neia. ther clamorous nor fretful, neither easy to be offended, nor impatient to revenge; it is a tender fenfibility, a participation of the pains and pleasures of others; and is, therefore, a forcible and constant motive to communicate happiness, and alleviate misery.

As human nature is, from whatever cause, in a state of great imperfection, it is surely to be desired, that a person whom it is most our interest to please, should not see more of this imperfection than we do ourselves.

I shall, perhaps, be toid, that “ a man of sense can " never use a woman ill.” The latter part of this proposition is a phrase of very extensive and various figM 6

nification ;

nification : whether a man of sense can“ ufe a woman “ ill,” I will not enquire, but I shall endeavour to fhew, that he may make her extremely wretched.

Persons of keen penetration and great delicacy of sentiment, as they must necessarily be more frequently offended than others; so as a punishment for the offence, they can inflict more exquisite pain, because they can wound with more poignant reproach: and by him whom Good Nature does not restrain from retaliating the pain that he feels, the offence, whether voluntary or not, will always be thus punished.

If this punishment is suffered with filence, confusion, and tears, it is possible that the tyrant may relent; but this, like the remorse of a murderer, is too late ; the dread of incurring the fame anguish by a like fault, will fubstitute for the smile of chearfulness, that sunshine of beauty, the glooms of doubt, follicitude, and anxiety : the offence will notwithstanding be again repeated; the punishment, the distress, and the remorse, will again return; because error is involuntary, and anger is not restrained. If the reproach is retorted, and whether it was deserved becomes the subject of debate, the confequences are yet more dreadful: after a vain attempt to fhew an incongruity, which can no more be perceived than sounds by the deaf, the husband will be insulted for causeless and capricious displeasure, and the wife for folly, perverseness, and obstinacy. In these circumstances, what will become of “, the refined, the “ exalted, and the permanent felicity, which alone is " worthy of reasonable beings, and which elevated ge“ nius only can bestow."

That this conduct is by a man of sense known to be wrong, I am content to allow : but it must also be granted, that the discernment of wrong is not always a propensity to right; and that if pain was never inHicted, but when it was known to produce falutary effects, mankind would be much more happy than they


Good Nature, therefore, if intellectual excellence cannot atone for the want of it, must be admitted as


« EelmineJätka »