페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

will say to this case at present, but am sure had you been with me, you would have seen matter of great speculation. I am, .

Yours, &c.'-'

I must confess I am afraid that my correspondent had too much reason to be a little out of humour at the treatment of his daughter, but I conclude that he would have been much more so, had he seen one of those kissing dances, in which Will Honeycomb assures me they are obliged to dwell almost a minute on the fair-one's lips, or they will be too quick for the music, and dance quite out of time.

I am not able, however, to give my final sentence against this diversion ; and am of Mr. Cowley's opinion, that so much of dancing, at least, as belongs to the behaviour and an handsome carriage of the body, is extremely useful, if not absolutely necessary.

We generally form such ideas of people at first sight, as we are hardly ever persuaded to lay aside afterwards : for this reason, a man would wish to have nothing disagreeable or uncomely in his approaches, and to be able to enter a room with a good grace.

I might add, that a moderate knowledge in the little rules of good-breeding, gives a man some assurance, and makes him easy in all companies. For want of this, I have seen a professor of a liberal science at a loss to salute a lady; and a most excellent mathematician not able to determine whether he should stand or sit while my lord drank to him.

It is the proper business of a dancing-master to regulate these matters; though I take it to be a just observation, that unless you add something of your own to what these fine gentlemen teach you, and which they are wholly ignorant of themselves, you will

much sooner get the character of an affected fop, than of a well-bred man.

As for country dancing, it must indeed be confessed that the great familiarities between the two sexes on this occasion may sometimes produce very dangerous consequences; and I have often thought that few ladies' hearts are so obdurate as not to be melted by the charms of music, the force of motion, and an handsome young fellow, who is continually playing before their eyes, and convincing them that he has the perfect use of all his limbs.

But as this kind of dance is the particular invention of our own country, and as every one is more or less a proficient in it, I would not discountenance it; but rather suppose it may be practised innocently by others, as well as myself, who am often partner to my landlady's eldest daughter.

.

POSTSCRIPT.

Having heard a good character of the collection of pictures which is to be exposed to sale on Friday next; and concluding from the following letter that the person who collected them is a man of no unelegant taste, I will be so much his friend as to publish it, provided the reader will only look upon it as filling up the place of an advertisement :

SIR,

From the Three Chairs, in the Piazzas, Covent

Garden.

May 16, 1711. "As you are a Spectator, I think we who make it our business to exhibit any thing to public view, ought to apply ourselves to you for your approbation. I have travelled Europe to furnish out a show

for you, and have brought with me what has been admired in every country through which I passed. You have declared in many papers, that your greatest delights are those of the eye, which I do not doubt but I shall gratify with as beautiful objects as yours ever beheld.” If castles, forests, ruins, fine women, and graceful men, can please you, I dare promise you much satisfaction, if you will appear at my auction on Friday next. A sight is, I suppose, as grateful to a Spectator, as a treat to another person, and therefore I hope you will pardon this invitation from,

SIR,
Your most obedient humble servant,

J. GRAHAM.

N° 68. FRIDAY, MAY 18, 1711.

Nos duo turba sumus

OVID, Met. i. 355.
We two are a multitude.

One would think that the larger the company is in which we are engaged, the greater variety of thoughts and subjects would be started in discourse; hut instead of this, we find that conversation is never so much straitened and confined as in numerous assemblies. When a multitude meet together on any subject of discourse, their debates are taken up chiefly with forms and general positions ; nay, if we come into a more contracted assembly of men and women, the talk generally runs upon the weather, fashions, news, and the like, public topics. In proportion as conversation gets into clubs and knots of friends, it descends into particulars, and grows more free and communicative: but the most open, instructive, and unreserved discourse, is that which passes between two persons who are familiar and intimate friends. On these occasions, a man gives a loose to every passion and every thought that is uppermost, discovers his most retired opinions of persons and things, tries the beauty and strength of his sentiments, and exposes his whole soul to the examination of his

friend.

Tully was the first who observed, that friendship improves happiness and abates misery, by the doubling of our joy, and dividing of our grief; a thought in which he hath been followed by all the essayers upon friendship that have written since his time. Sir Francis Bacon has finely described other advantages, or, as he calls them, fruits of friendship; and, indeed, there is no subject of morality which has been better handled and more exhausted than this. Among the several fine things which have been spoken of it, I shall beg leave to quote some out of a very ancient author, whose book would be regarded by our modern wits as one of the most shining tracts of morality that is extant, if it appeared under the name of a Confucius, or of any celebrated Grecian philosopher: I mean the little apocryphal treatise, intitled The Wisdom of the Son of Sirach. How finely has he described the art of making friends, by an obliging and affable behaviour ! And laid down that precept, which a late excellent author has delivered as his own, That we should have many well-wishers, but few friends. • Sweet language will multiply friends; and a fair speaking tongue will increase kind greetings. Be in peace with many, nevertheless have but one counsellor of a thousand*. With what prudence does he caution us in the choice of our friends! And with what strokes of nature (I could almost say of humour) has he described the behaviour of a treacherous and selfinterested friend ! If thou wouldest get a friend, prove him first, and be not hasty to credit him: for some man is a friend for his own occasion, and will not abide in the day of thy trouble. And there is a friend who being turned to enmity and strife, will discover thy reproach.' Again, “Some friend is a companion at the table, and will not continue in the day of thy atlliction : but in thy prosperity he will be as thyself, and will be bold over thy servants. If thou be brought low he will be against thee, and hide himself from thy facet. What can be more strong and pointed than the following verse ? Separate thyself from thine enemies, and take heed of thy friends. In the next words he particularises one of those fruits of friendship which is described at length by the two famous authors abovementioned, and falls into a general eulogium of friendship, which is very just as well as very sublime. • A faithful friend is a strong defence; and he that hath found such a one hath found a treasure. Nothing doth countervail a faithful friend, and his excellency is invaluable. A faithful friend is the medi. cine of life; and they that fear the Lord shall find him. Whoso feareth the Lord shall direct his friendship aright; for as he is, so shall his neighbour (that is his friend) be alsot.' I do not remember to have met with any saying that has pleased me more than that of a friend's being the medicine of life, to express the efficacy of friendship in healing the pains and anguish which naturally cleave to our existence in this world; and am wonderfully pleased with the turn in the last

+ Ibid. vi. 7, et seqq.

* Ecclus vi. 5, 6. $ Ibid. vi. 15-18.

« 이전계속 »