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who justled him as he came out from the opera ; but before he would proceed, he begged his lordship, that he would not deny him the honour of making him his second. The English lord, to avoid being drawn into a very foolish affair, told him, he was under engagements for his two next duels to a couple of particular friends. Upon which the gentleman immediately withdrew, hoping his lordship would not take it ill if lie meddled no farther in an affair from whence he himself was to receive no advantage.
The beating down this false notion of honour, in so vain and lively a people as those of France, is deservedly looked upon as one of the most glorious parts of their present king's reign. It is a pity but the punishment of these inischievous notions should have in it some particular circumstances of shame and infamy: that those who are slaves to them may see, that instead of advancing their reputations, they lead them to ignominy and dishonour.
Death is not sufficient to deter men who make it their glory to despise it; but if every one that fought a dųel were to stand in the pillory, it would quickly lessen the number of these imaginary nien of honour, and put an end to so absurd a practice.
When honour is a support to virtuous principles, and runs parallel with the laws of God and our country, it cannot be too much cherished and encouraged : but when the dictates of honour are contrary to those of religion and equity, they are the greatest depravations of human nature, by giving wrong ambitions and false ideas of what is good and laudable; and should therefore be exploded by all governments, and driven o’t as the bane and plague of human society.
N° 100. MONDAY, JUNE 25, 1711.
Nil ego contulerim jucundo sanus amico.
HOR, 1 Sat. v. 44,
A MAN advanced in years that thinks fit to look back upon his fornier life, and call that only life which was passed with satisfaction and enjoyment, excluding all parts which were not pleasant to him, will find himself very young, if not in his infancy. Sickness, illhumour, and idleness, will have robbed him of a great share of that space we ordinarily call our life. It is therefore the duty of every man that would be true to himself, to obtain, if possible, a disposition to be pleased, and place himself in a constant aptitude for the satisfactions of his being. Instead of this, you hardly see a man who is not uneasy in proportion to his advancement in the arts of life. An affected delicacy is the common improvement we meet with in those who pretend to be refined above others. They do not aim at true pleasures themselves, but turn their thoughts upon observing the false pleasures of other men. Such people are valetudinarians in society, and they should no more come into company than a sick man should come into the air. If a man is too weak to bear what is a refreshment to men in health, he must still keep his chamber. When any one in Sir Roger's company complains he is out of order, liç
immediately calls for some posset-drink for him ; for which reason that sort of people who are ever bewailing their constitution in other places are tlie cheerfullest imaginable when he is present.
It is a wonderful thing that so many, and they not reckoned absurd, shall entertain those with whom they converse, by giving them the history of their pains and aches ; and imagine such narrations their quota of the conversation. This is of all other the meanest help to discourse, and a man must not think at all, or think himself very insignificant, when he finds an account of his head-ache answered by another's asking what news in the last mail. Mutual good-humour is a dress we ought to appear in whenever we meet, and we should make no mention of what concerns ourselves, without it be of matters wherein our friends ought to rejoice: but indeed there are crowds of people who put themselves in no method of pleasing themselves or others; such are those whom we usually call indolent persons. Indolence is, methinks, an intermediate state between pleasure and pain, and very much unbecoming any part of our life after we are out of the nurse's arms. Such an aversion to labour creates a constant weari ness, and one would think should make existence itself a burden. The indolent man descends from the dignity of his nature, and makes that being which was rational merely vegetative. His life consists only in the mere increase and decay of a body, which, with relation to the rest of the world, might as well have been uninformed, as the habitation of a reasonable mind.
Of this kind is the life of that extraordinary couple Harry Tersett and his lady. Harry was in the days of his celibacy one of those pert creatures who have mạch vivacity and little understanding; Mrs. Rebecca Quickly, whom he married, had all that the fire of youth and a lively manner could do towards making an agreeable woman. These two people of seeming merit fell into cach other's arms; and passion being sated, and no reason or good sense in either to succeed it, their life is now at a stand ; their meals are insipid, and their time tedious; their fortune has placed them above care, and their loss of taste reduced them below diversion. When we talk of these as instances of inexistence, we do not mean, that in order to live, it is necessary we should always be in jovial crews, or crowned with chaplets of roses, as the merry fellows among the ancients are described ; but it is intended, by considering these contraries to pleasure, indolence, and too much delicacy, to shew that it is prudence to preserve a disposition in ourselves to receive a certain delight in all we hear and
• This portable quality of good-humour seasons all the parts and occurrences we meet with, in such a manner, that there are no moments lost ; but they all pass with so much satisfaction, that the heaviest of loads (when it is a load) that of time, is never felt by us. Varilas has this quality to the highest perfection, and communicates it whenever he appears. The sad, the merry, the severe, the melancholy, shew a new cheerfulness when he comes amongst them. At the same time no one can repeat any thing that Varilas has ever said that deserves repetition; but the man has that innate goodness of temper, that he is welcome to every body, because every man thinks he is so to him. He does not seem to contribute any thing to the mirth of the company; and yet upon reflection you find it all happened by his being there. I thought it was whimsically said of a gentleman, that if Varilas had wit, it would be the best wit in the world. It is certain, when a well-corrected lively imagination and good-breeding are added to a sweet disposition, they qualify it to be one of the greatest blessings, as well as pleasures of life.
Men would come into company with ten times the pleasure they do, if they were sure of hearing nothing which would shock them, as well as expected what would please them.—When we know every person that is spoken of is represented by one who has no ill-will, and every thing that is mentioned described by one that is apt to set it in the best light, the entertainment must be delicate, because the cook has nothing brought to his hand but what is the most excellent in its kind. Beautiful pictures are the entertainments of pure minds, and deformities of the corrupted. It is a degree towards the life of angels, when we enjoy conversation wherein there is nothing presented. but in its excellence : and a degree towards that of demons, wherein nothing is shewn but in its degeneracy.