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Title: The Sir Roger de Coverley Papers

Author: Various

Editor: C. T. Winchester

Release Date: January 19, 2015 [EBook #48026]

Language: English

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Transcriber's Notes

Obvious typographical errors have been silently corrected.

Variations in spelling, punctuation and accents are as in the original.

Each page in the main body of the book has every 5th line numbered. The Notes section (page 217 onwards) refers back to the main body by page and line number. In order to preserve this association, the line numbers have been enclosed in brackets thus {5} and left in position. The first reference to each page in the notes is linked to the relevant page.

Not all pages have notes and no reference is made to the notes in the original text. As such a facility might prove useful, the first line number {5} on any page for which there are notes has been linked to the relevant notes section.

Sir Roger de Coverley Papers

The Gateway Series




Addison's Sir Roger de Coverley Papers. Professor C. T. Winchester, Wesleyan University. 40 cents.

Burke's Speech on Conciliation. Professor William MacDonald, Brown University. 35 cents.

Byron, Wordsworth, Keats, Shelley, and Browning. Professor C. T. Copeland, Harvard University.

Carlyle's Essay on Burns. Professor Edwin Mims, Trinity College, North Carolina. 35 cents.

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Macaulay's Addison. Professor Charles F. McClumpha, University of Minnesota. 35 cents.

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Figure in ornate gateway


Copyright, 1904, by
Entered at Stationers' Hall, London.
W. P. 2

[Pg 5]


This series of books aims, first, to give the English texts required for entrance to college in a form which shall make them clear, interesting, and helpful to those who are beginning the study of literature; and, second, to supply the knowledge which the student needs to pass the entrance examination. For these two reasons it is called The Gateway Series.

The poems, plays, essays, and stories in these small volumes are treated, first of all, as works of literature, which were written to be read and enjoyed, not to be parsed and scanned and pulled to pieces. A short life of the author is given, and a portrait, in order to help the student to know the real person who wrote the book. The introduction tells what it is about, and how it was written, and where the author got the idea, and what it means. The notes at the foot of the page are simply to give the sense of the hard words so that the student can read straight on without turning to a dictionary. The other notes, at the end of the book, explain difficulties and allusions and fine points.

[Pg 6]

The editors are chosen because of their thorough training and special fitness to deal with the books committed to them, and because they agree with this idea of what a Gateway Series ought to be. They express, in each case, their own views of the books which they edit. Simplicity, thoroughness, shortness, and clearness,—these, we hope, will be the marks of the series.


[Pg 7]


The text of the Coverley papers in this volume is that of G. Gregory Smith's edition of The Spectator. This edition has been chosen because it reproduces the original form of the papers after they had been corrected by Steele and Addison for the first Collected Edition of The Spectator, 1712-1715, and before they had been tampered with by later editors. In three or four instances, a few words have been omitted—the omission in every case being indicated, and spelling, punctuation, and capitalization have been modernized, as they must be for a school text. In other particulars it is believed the papers stand in this volume as they were left by their authors.

All the Coverley papers are included except that one by Tickell of which Addison himself disapproved. I have thought it best, however, to print only entire papers; and have not, therefore, culled the few paragraphs in which incidental mention is made of Sir Roger in the course of essays devoted chiefly to other subjects.

In accordance with the plan of this Series, the occasional brief notes needed to explain a word or to call[Pg 8] attention to some peculiar idiom or structure are set at the foot of the page; longer, illustrative notes follow the text at the end of the volume.

The best method of approach to the work of any author is usually through a study of his life and surroundings; this is certainly true of a literature so full of personal interest as the literature of the age of Queen Anne. I have, therefore, in the Introduction attempted to give some notion of the personality of Steele and Addison, and then some account of the social conditions that explain the remarkable success of The Tatler and The Spectator. Two or three books, like Thackeray's English Humourists of the Eighteenth Century and Ashton's Social Life in the Reign of Queen Anne, will help the student in his endeavour to frame in his imagination a picture of the men and their time; but for comment on The Spectator, nothing, after all, is worth so much as The Spectator itself. The student should be encouraged to read more of these charming papers, and to make himself, if possible, a little at home in that most urbane and hospitable period of English literature.

[Pg 9]


I.Steele and Addison11
II.The Tatler and The Spectator22
III.The Sir Roger de Coverley Papers29
Chronological Table38
The Sir Roger de Coverley Papers:
I.The Spectator45
II.The Club51
III.Sir Roger's Criticisms on Polite Society59
IV.The Club and The Spectator64
V.A Lady's Library69
VI.Coverley Hall75
VII.The Coverley Household80
VIII.Will Wimble85
IX.The Coverley Ancestry89
X.The Coverley Ghost95
XI.Sunday with Sir Roger100
XII.Sir Roger in Love104
XIII.How to Bear Poverty111[Pg 10]
XIV.Labour and Exercise116
XV.Sir Roger goes A-Hunting121
XVI.The Coverley Witch129
XVII.Sir Roger talks of the Widow133
XVIII.Manners in the Country139
XIX.Sir Roger at the Assizes143
XX.The Education of an Heir148
XXI.Whigs and Tories155
XXII.Whigs and Tories—continued160
XXIII.Sir Roger and the Gipsies165
XXIV.The Spectator decides to Return to London170
XXV.The Journey to London174
XXVI.Sir Roger and Sir Andrew in Argument179
XXVII.Sir Roger in London185
XXVIII.Sir Roger in Westminster Abbey190
XXIX.Sir Roger at the Play195
XXX.Will Honeycomb's Experiences200
XXXI.Sir Roger at Vauxhall205
XXXII.Death of Sir Roger209
XXXIII.Captain Sentry as Master of Coverley Hall213

[Pg 11]


I. Steele and Addison

On the morning of the 12th of April, 1709, there was laid upon all the coffee-house tables of London the first number of a double-column sheet in small folio, entitled The Tatler, or the Lucubrations of Isaac Bickerstaff. The Tatler was to be issued thrice a week, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, and could be bought for the moderate price of one penny. The pseudonym Isaac Bickerstaff had been made familiar all over London, some months before, by an admirable jest played by Dr. Swift upon a notorious almanac maker and quack astrologer, one Partridge. Swift, writing over the signature of Bickerstaff, had gravely predicted that Partridge would infallibly die at a certain day and hour, and in another pamphlet had given a circumstantial account of his decease; while poor Partridge convulsed the town with frantic protestations that he was still alive. But the editor of The Tatler who now assumed this name of Bickerstaff was not Swift, but Richard Steele. It seems to have been Steele's intention to keep, for a time, his editorship a secret; but his disguise was soon penetrated by at least one of his friends. Joseph Addison, who was in Ireland when The Tatler[Pg 12] appeared, detected the hand of his friend in the sixth number. He furnished Steele, it is said, with many hints and suggestions for the early numbers of the paper, and after his return from Ireland in 1710 became himself a regular contributor. In January, 1711, The Tatler came suddenly to an end, with the 271st number. Steele, however, had no thought of abandoning this form of literary effort, and on the first of the following March he started that now more famous journal, The Spectator. The Spectator was similar in form and purpose to The Tatler, but it was to be issued daily. It is usually spoken of as Addison's Spectator; but it was no more Addison's than Steele's. The two men were associated in the conduct of it from the start, and their contributions were about equal in number—Addison writing 274 papers, and Steele 236. The second number of The Spectator, written by Steele, contains the account of that club, of which Sir Roger de Coverley was the most famous member; and the Coverley papers followed at intervals through the next year and a half.

The friendship of Steele and Addison was not of recent growth. They had been boys together in the Charterhouse School, London. Dick Steele at that time was a fatherless,[1] and almost friendless, lad who had been recommended to the Charterhouse by a distant relative, the Duke of Ormond. Addison was the son[Pg 13] of the Dean of Lichfield, and came up to the Charterhouse from a home of culture and learning. The two young fellows formed here one of those school friendships that last a lifetime. Addison, though a little the younger, was doubtless a good deal the wiser of the two; and there may have been in his regard a touch of that patronizing temper which in later life he sometimes showed in too superior a fashion. But for Steele the acquaintance was certainly very fortunate. There are pleasant glimpses of the young Irish lad invited for a holiday to the home of his friend Addison, the quiet deanery under the trees at Lichfield. Good Dean Addison, Steele said many years after, loved him as one of his own sons; and in that home the fatherless boy saw how domestic love and purity lend a charm to manners that all the wit and fashion of the town can never give. In one of the most delightful of the Tatler papers[2] he gives a portrait of a father, dignified and decorous yet affectionate, which is evidently drawn from his recollections of the Lichfield household.

Addison was entered at Queen's College, Oxford, in 1687, at the early age of fifteen, and next year obtained a scholarship at Magdalen, where he continued in residence, as undergraduate, Master, and Fellow, until 1699. Steele, whose scholarship was probably not brilliant, though he had been in the Charterhouse two years longer than Addison, did not follow him to Oxford until 1690, when he was matriculated at Christ Church.[Pg 14] He did not remain there, however, long enough to take any degree. He never had the retiring and scholarly tastes of his friend Addison, and after three years in the university could resist the attractions of the great outside world no longer. Looking about for a career, he not unnaturally decided for the army; and in 1694 he left Oxford to enlist as a private in the Horse Guards. He soon received a commission as ensign in the regiment of Lord Cutts, and before 1700 is mentioned as Captain Steele.

Steele's soldiering, which was nearly all done in London and served chiefly to make him acquainted with the town, might be passed over were it not for one thing that came of it. His life in the Guards was doubtless not so irregular as that of most soldiers; but it was more irregular than his conscience could approve. In the sincerity of his heart the young Captain of the Guards bethought himself of strengthening his moral and religious principles by writing them down in black and white, judging, as he said, that he might thereby be led to think about them the more and by his desire of consistency make his life conform to them the better. The result was the first—if we except some verses printed at the death of Queen Mary in 1695—of Steele's ventures in authorship, The Christian Hero, An Argument to prove that No Principles save those of Religion are sufficient to make a Great Man. The Christian Hero is by no means a piece of priggery, but a sensible and wise little book. It shows, moreover,[Pg 15] on almost every page, some flavour of Steele's engaging ingenuousness and humour. It is of historic interest, too, as introducing a new style of writing. For it may be called the first attempt to enlist the charm of wit and good breeding in the service of religion; it contains the germs of scores of essays Steele afterward wrote with that intent.

The Christian Hero did not correct all of Steele's irregularities; but it did reveal to him where his best ability lay. He said complacently, later in life, that when he put on his jack-boots and mounted his horse as a dragoon he wasn't acquainted with his own parts, and didn't know that he could handle a pen better than a sword; The Christian Hero taught him that. As soon as the book was through the press he tried his hand at a comedy, finding it necessary, as he said, to "enliven his character." He might seem to have been careful, however, not to overdo this enlivening of his character, for his comedy was entitled The Funeral, or Grief à la Mode. But in spite of its lugubrious title, it contained some genuinely humorous scenes, and by grace of very good acting and the applause of Steele's fellow soldiers of the Guards—who packed the house—it scored a satisfactory stage success. Two other comedies followed this in the next three years, The Lying Lover in 1703, and The Tender Husband in 1705. By this time Steele's reputation as a wit was assured. Always what Doctor Johnson used to call "a clubbable man," his easy gayety and rather too convivial habits made him a typical[Pg 16] man about town; and Captain Steele began to be spoken of as a man who talked charmingly, and who could write as well as he talked.

In 1705 he married a widow, one Mrs. Stretch, who died a year and a half later and left him a snug estate in the Barbadoes. Thus secured against the chance of adverse fortune, he sold his commission in the army, and set up as man of letters. Like all the writers of his time, however, he considered his pen to be at the service of his political party, and expected a reward in some civil office. In 1706 he was appointed Gentleman Usher to Prince George of Denmark, the stupid husband of Queen Anne, and in the following year was given the more lucrative position of Gazetteer. This office he held when, in 1709, he started The Tatler.

About a year after the death of his first wife, Steele had married again, this time a "Welsh beauty," Miss Mary Scurlock. The letters of Steele to this lady, during the few weeks of acquaintance that preceded the marriage and for years thereafter, are the most delightful domestic correspondence in our language. They are most of them mere notelets, written in his office, at the club, in a tavern, anywhere whence he may send her a kind word. Steele never had any mastery of business, and it is probable that the bailiffs had something to do with the frequent absences from home that these letters record. Mrs. Steele, on the other hand, was a woman of unusually thrifty and methodical habit, to whom the carelessness and extravagance of her hus[Pg 17]band must have been very trying. It is evident from his letters that she sometimes gave him quite as much advice as he felt himself able to use. After the first few months, he has dropped the "Molly," and the letters are uniformly addressed to his "Dear Prue"; and once or twice he goes so far as to remonstrate with her quietly for an unendurable interference with his "business." Yet nothing disturbs his constant affection, and the letters are filled with the same playful, tender prettinesses to the last. That was a truthful signature with which he once signed a midnight letter when he could not come home: "I am, my dear Prue, a little in drink, but at all times, Your Own Faithful Husband, Richard Steele." There was no other man of letters in the Queen Anne time, I am sure, whose domestic life would bear turning wrong side out so well. Indeed, no other writer of that age appreciated so well the character of woman, or has given us such pictures of the beauty and charm of home. It was Steele who paid to Lady Elizabeth Hastings that best compliment ever offered to a lady, "To love her is a liberal education."

It was in these happy, early years of his married life, when his fortunes, though always precarious, were hopeful, when he was enjoying the friendship of Halifax and Addison and Swift, when his own humor and invention were at their brightest, that Steele had the one great inspiration of his life—he conceived the idea of The Tatler.

Meantime, Addison had begun his career both in[Pg 18] politics and in letters. He had not been in haste—Mr. Addison was never in haste. In 1698, some three years after his friend Steele left Oxford, he had been elected Fellow of Magdalen College, and seemed well satisfied with the retired and scholarly life there. He had some modest literary aspirations. In 1697 he published some verses entitled An Account of the English Poets, which make it evident that he had no relish for Chaucer and Spenser, and which do not mention Shakespeare at all. In Latin poetry his taste was happier. He made a translation of the Georgics of Virgil, prefaced by an essay that won compliments from the great Dryden, and he wrote Latin verses of his own that were thought to be of quite surprising excellence. His classical studies may not have broadened his taste or his intellect very much, but they doubtless did something to cultivate that smoothness and nicety of phrase for which he was afterward to be so noted. In those years at Magdalen everybody supposed he would go into the church. He seemed a parson born and bred. And he doubtless would have taken orders, had it not been for a piece of signal good fortune that befell him. Dryden had introduced young Addison to Mr. Congreve, and Mr. Congreve had introduced him to Montague, afterward Lord Halifax. Montague it was worth while to know. Really a great statesman and financier, he had won some reputation as a poet in his earlier days, and was always ambitious to be accounted the friend and patron of letters. In those years the leaders[Pg 19] of both political parties were coming to see the need of enlisting the services of young men of wit and learning; and Montague, whose appreciation perhaps was quickened by some complimentary verses in excellent Latin, deemed this Mr. Addison too promising an ally to lose. Accordingly, in 1699, when he was twenty-seven, Addison was given a handsome pension of three hundred pounds a year, bidden go travel on the continent, keep his eyes open, and learn French. He remained on the continent about three years, when, at the death of King William, his pension lapsed, and at the breaking out of the great war of the Spanish Succession he was obliged to return to England. His prospects for the next three years were not bright. He had written some good Latin verses, and some English verses that were not so good. On his return from his travels he printed a rather dull account of them, which few people read then and which nobody reads now. He was known to a little circle of great men, but he was dangerously near poverty.

Yet good fortune never deserted Mr. Addison for long. In 1704 the Duke of Marlborough won the famous victory of Blenheim, and forthwith the little Whig poets began to sing it. But much of their fustian was so sublimely bad that even the Lord Treasurer, Godolphin, to whom all poetry was very much alike, began to see that the triumph was suffering for lack of a worthy poet. In this emergency he applied to Montague, whom he supposed to know most about such[Pg 20] matters, and Montague recommended his old protégé, Addison. Thus it happened—if Pope's story be correct—that one day there climbed to Mr. Addison's lodgings, up three flights in the Haymarket, no less a person than the Honorable Henry Boyle, Chancellor of the Exchequer, with the request that Mr. Addison write a poem. The Campaign, which Addison produced in response to this august invitation, will be voted by most readers to-day a dull poem; but it was much admired then, and one simile in particular, comparing Marlborough to an avenging angel, is said to have captivated the imagination of Godolphin. At all events, The Campaign served to introduce Addison to public life. He was shortly after made Under-Secretary of State, and was never out of office again so long as he lived. In 1707 he was elected to Parliament; next year was appointed Under-Secretary of State for Ireland—where he was residing when Steele started The Tatler,—and although he lost that office when the Whigs went into a minority in 1710, yet he was one of the few Whigs elected to Parliament that year; after the death of Anne he went to Ireland again as Chief Secretary, and for a little time before his death reached his highest office as Secretary of State for England. It was a career of easy and uninterrupted prosperity. "I believe Mr. Addison could be elected king if he chose," said Swift with a twinge of envy. Yet Addison would never have been remembered for his public services. His title to lasting fame, like that of[Pg 21] Steele, rests upon the work done for The Tatler and The Spectator.

The later writings of the two men are of less importance. The Spectator was discontinued at the end of 1712, and through the following year Steele conducted a similar periodical, The Guardian, from which political discussion was not to be so rigidly excluded as it had been from The Spectator. In the next five years he attempted three or four other papers, but they were all short-lived, and of little interest. Addison revived The Spectator in 1714, issuing it thrice a week for a year, and in 1715-16 he conducted for some months a periodical called The Freeholder in the interest of party measures he was then advocating. But neither Steele nor Addison ever had much success in managing an enterprise of this sort alone.

In 1713 Addison produced his once famous play of Cato. The reader of to-day will vote the Cato cold and declamatory; but it was vastly admired then, as the first correct and dignified tragedy upon the English stage. The critics and the crowd united to praise, and all the town went to see it. By this time Addison was regarded as the foremost man of letters in England. He set up a servant of his, one Buttons, as proprietor of a coffee-house in Great Russell Street, almost opposite "Will's," where Dryden had reigned as critic twenty years before, and here he presided over his circle of friends and admirers, and

"Gave his little senate laws."

[Pg 22]

Perhaps in his later years his happiest hours were passed here. In 1716 he had married the Countess Dowager of Warwick, to whom he had long paid patient and dignified court; but if rumour is to be trusted, his domestic life was not a happy one.

"Marrying discord in a noble wife"

was Pope's last thrust at him. He did not long survive his fortune, good or ill, but died at Holland House, the residence of his Countess, June 17, 1719, at the early age of forty-seven.

Steele survived his friend more than ten years; but they were years of inactivity. The great blow of his life fell when his wife died in 1718. That year was also further embittered by an unfortunate controversy with Addison, which for the first time in their lives estranged the two friends. After 1720 Steele retired from London and passed his remaining years, partly in Hereford and partly in the Welsh town of Carmarthen. He had succeeded in paying all his debts; he kept the love and esteem of all his old friends that were left; and his temper was sweet and gentle to the last. He died at Carmarthen, in September, 1729.

II. The Tatler and The Spectator

The date of the founding of The Tatler is important as marking the beginning of popular literature in England. From this humble origin sprang the great army[Pg 23] of magazines and reviews which, for the last two hundred years, have contained so much of the best English writing. Before The Tatler, it may be said that there was no good reading in popular form. The English novel was not yet born. The newspapers, about as large as a lady's pocket handkerchief, contained nothing but news, and very little of that. The political pamphlet was purely partisan, was usually written by penny-a-liners, and could rarely pretend to any permanent interest or literary quality. In 1704 Daniel Defoe had founded his Review, which deserves to be called the earliest of political journals; but the Review, though it contains much vigorous writing, was strictly a party organ. Steele's purpose in The Tatler was quite different. He is a humorist and moralist. He writes to entertain, and incidentally, to correct or improve; he aims to depict all the charms and the humours of society, and to turn a playful satire upon its follies. To do this is always to make literature; to do it as Steele and Addison could, is to "show the very age and body of the time his form and pressure."

The immediate success of The Tatler and The Spectator is easily understood. In the first place, there was now coming to be, for the first time, a large reading public in England. Before 1700 no English author had made a fortune or even a competence by the sale of his books. But the most important social fact in England at the beginning of the eighteenth century is the rapid growth of a great middle class. Shrewd, energetic, these men[Pg 24] were getting the trade and commerce of England mostly into their hands, filling up the great towns, and exerting an influence in public affairs which neither political party could afford to overlook. It was for them that the political pamphlet was written. How large a reading public a popular pamphleteer might command at this time, may be inferred from the fact that sixty thousand copies of one of Defoe's pamphlets are said to have been sold on the streets of London, and Swift's famous tract, The Conduct of the Allies, ran through four editions in a week. But these people demanded something better than the party pamphlet. Intelligent, ambitious, they had social aspirations, and were interested in the life of the hour, in the club, in the drawing-room, at the theatre. They had some relish, too, of the best things in poetry and art. When Pope translated the Iliad his publisher issued an elegant subscription edition of six hundred and fifty copies for more aristocratic purchasers; but he issued also a cheap duodecimo edition for the general public, and of this he seems to have sold about seven thousand copies almost immediately after publication. Indeed, if we except Addison, all the prominent men of letters of the Queen Anne time—Steele, Swift, Pope, Prior, Gay—themselves belonged to this middle class; they were all the sons of tradesmen.

The readers for whom Steele and Addison wrote nearly all lived in London—and loved it. They were interested in the passing life of the town, in the street,[Pg 25] the stage, the coffee-house. Doubtless that old London was an ugly, unkempt town. Its population was only about half a million—less than one-tenth what it is to-day. Its streets were narrow, ill-paved, and dirty, separated from the strip of sidewalk on either hand by reeking gutters. After nightfall, lighted only by flickering oil lamps, they were the haunt of footpads who terrorized the watchmen, and of bands of roistering young blades who headed up women in barrels and rolled them down hill for diversion, or chased the unwary stranger into a corner and made him dance by pricking him with their sword points. Public morals were very low. Drunkenness and license confronted the decent citizen on every hand, and, in public gardens like Vauxhall, often held high carnival. Taste and manners, even in what called itself polite society, were often coarse. Profanity, loud and open, might have been heard on the lips of fine ladies in places of public resort; while Swift's Polite Conversation affords convincing proof of how vapid and how gross the talk might be at the ridotto or over the card table.

Yet if society at this time had its seamy side, it was in the age of Anne that Englishmen began to feel the charm of wit and manners, of fashion and breeding. To the man about town, this murky London was the centre of all that was best and brightest in a new society. It was not so large but that he felt at home in every part of it. In one coffee-house he met the wits and men of letters, in another the scholars and clergy,[Pg 26] in another the merchants, in another the men of fashion and gallantry, and in all he could hear bright talk upon the news of the day. In the theatre he could see the latest play, written by Mr. Congreve or Mr. Addison, and with a prologue by Mr. Pope. He probably belonged to two or three clubs; and in the drawing-room or at the assembly he enjoyed the society of women with the charm of gentle manners and brilliant conversation. All that served to make life attractive and character urbane he found between Hyde Park and the Bank.

Now it was to this quickened social sense that The Tatler and The Spectator made appeal. They pictured the life of the town from day to day, especially in its lighter, more humorous phases. And this was always done with some underlying moral purpose. As the months go past, we have in these papers an exhaustless flow of kindly satire upon the manners and minor morals of society,—on behaviour at church, on ogling the ladies, on snuff-taking, on the folly of enormous petticoats and low tuckers, on the brainless fops that display themselves in club windows and the brainless flirts that display themselves in stage boxes. We have bits of keen character-painting too—the small poet who assures you that poets are born, not made; the beau who is caught practising before the mirror to catch a careless air; the man who is so ambitious to be thought wise that he sets up for a free-thinker and talks atheism all day at the club, though he says his prayers very[Pg 27] carefully every night at home. One can imagine with what pleasure the town must have seen its follies taken off so smartly. Occasionally, too, there are short stories—usually written by Steele—bits of domestic narrative showing the peace and purity of home. In The Spectator, the papers are somewhat longer and more ambitious than those of The Tatler, and here are many essays on graver themes, and carefully elaborated critical studies, like the famous series by Addison on Milton's Paradise Lost. Yet, from first to last, the most interesting papers, both of The Tatler and The Spectator, are those which depict with kindly irony the daily life of the town. There is not to be found in English literature up to that time any satire so wholesome, any pictures of contemporary society so vivid and so entertaining. Indeed, it may perhaps be said that, of the sort, we have had nothing better in English literature since.

For such writing as this it would be difficult to imagine two men better fitted than Richard Steele and Joseph Addison. Each supplied the deficiencies of the other. Steele was an impulsive, warm-hearted man of the world. Few men knew the society of that day in all its phases better than he did, and certainly no man liked it better. No English writer before him feels so keenly the charm of the passing hour, or takes such brisk and cheery interest in all the thousand events of daily experience. His sympathies, too, were warm as well as broad. His heart was tender, and he always[Pg 28] carried it on his sleeve. This amiable and ingenuous temper made his writing very attractive, and still goes far to atone for all its imperfections. Addison, on the other hand, was a rather cool, self-contained, observant man, who loved to sit in his club with a little circle of admirers about him, and promote the good-nature of the world in a somewhat superior and distant fashion. His temper, less buoyant than Steele's, was more thoughtful and reflective; his humour, more delicate and subtle. And if his observation was not so broad as that of Steele, it was nicer and more penetrating. Steele, seeing life at more points, struck out more new incidents and characters; Addison had more skill to elaborate them.

In point of style the work of Addison is manifestly superior to that of Steele. Steele's writing has, indeed, the great merit of spontaneity. It is full of himself. To read his easy, lively page is like hearing him talk at your elbow; and, now and then, when his emotions are warmed, he can snatch a grace beyond the reach of art. But he was too impulsive and eager to stay for that painstaking correction without which literary finish is impossible. His rhetoric and even his grammar are sometimes sadly to seek. The faults of his extempore writing were matter of caustic comment by the critics of his own day; and ever since it has been customary to award the literary honours of The Tatler and The Spectator not to Steele but to Addison. Nor is this unjust. For Addison was the first of our writers to perceive clearly[Pg 29] that simple and popular prose was capable of finished, artistic treatment. That minute care, that trained skill which hitherto had been reserved for poetry, he bestowed upon his prose. He had naturally a nice taste, an especially quick sense of movement and melody in prose, and he took infinite pains. He would stop the press to change a phrase, or set right a conjunction. And this effort issued in a style in which all sense of effort is lost in graceful ease. His thought is never profound, and seldom vigorous; his range is not wide; on serious subjects he is sometimes a little dull, and on lighter subjects sometimes a little trivial; but his manner is always suave, refined, urbane. He was the first Englishman who succeeded in writing prose at once familiar, idiomatic to the very verge of colloquialism, and at the same time highly finished. You think such writing is easily done until you try it yourself; then you soon find your mistake.

III. The Sir Roger de Coverley Papers

The Sir Roger de Coverley papers are often said to be the precursor of the modern English novel. And in a very real sense they are. There are, to be sure, crude specimens of prose fiction in the preceding century that may perhaps dispute this title, though most of them, like the long-winded romances that found place in the library of Sir Roger's lady friend, were of French origin or pattern. But these romances, while they supply[Pg 30] the element of plot and adventure most liberally, were deficient in genuine characters. There are no real men and women in them. Moreover, they made no attempt to depict contemporary life as it was. But Sir Roger de Coverley is no personage of romance. He is a hearty, red-blooded, Tory gentleman who lives in Worcestershire. And he has no adventures more striking than might naturally befall a country squire who comes up to London for the season once a year. There were scores of just such men in every shire in England. His speech, his habits, his prejudices, are all shown us with simple truth. And yet this is done with so much art and humour that Sir Roger is one of the most living persons in our literature. He is as immortal as Hamlet or Julius Cæsar. We know him as well as we know our nearest neighbour; and we like him quite as well as we like most of our neighbours.

Now this was something new in English literature. Sir Roger is the earliest person in English imaginative prose that is really still alive. There are men and women in our poetry before his day—in the drama there is, of course, a great host of them; but in prose literature Sir Roger is the first. Furthermore, the men and women of the drama, even in that comedy of manners which professed to reflect most accurately contemporary society, were almost always drawn with some romantic or satiric exaggeration; but there is no exaggeration in the character of Sir Roger. Here was the beginning of a healthy realism. It was only necessary[Pg 31] for Richardson and Fielding, thirty years later, to bring together several such genuine characters into a group, and to show how the incidents of their lives naturally ran into plot or story—and we have a novel.

The original suggestion for the character of Sir Roger seems to have come from Steele, who wrote that account of the Spectator Club (Spectator, No. 2) in which the knight first appears. But it is to Addison's keener perception and nicer art that we owe most of those subtle and humorous touches of characterization which make the portrait so real and so human. There is more of movement and incident in Steele's papers, and there is more of sentiment. It is Steele, for example, who tells the story of the Journey to London, and recounts the adventures of the Coverley ancestry; it is Steele, too, who has most to say of the widow. But in the best papers by Addison, like the Visit to the Abbey or the Evening at the Theater, there is hardly a line that does not reveal, in speech, or manner, or notion, some peculiarity of the kindly gentleman we know and love so well. If Steele outlined the portrait, it was left for Addison to elaborate it. Moreover, a careful reading of the papers will show that Steele's conception of the character was slightly different from Addison's. Steele's Sir Roger is whimsical and sentimental, but a man of good sense; not only beloved but respected. Addison dwells rather upon the old knight's rusticity, his old-fashioned, patriarchal notions of society, his ignorance of the town, his obsolete but kindly prejudices. The truth[Pg 32] is that in Addison's portrait there is always a trace of covert satire upon the narrow conservatism of the Tory country gentleman of his day. Addison's Sir Roger is amiable and humorous; but he does not represent the party of intelligence and progress—he is not a Whig.

Yet there are no real inconsistencies in the character of Sir Roger. His whimsical humor, his sentiment, his credulity, his benevolence, his amiable though obstinate temper, are all combined in a personality so convincing that we must always think of him as an actual contemporary of the men who created him. He is the typical conservative English country gentleman of the Queen Anne time, not taking kindly to new ideas, but sturdy, honest, order-loving, of large heart and simple manners. To such men as he England owes the permanence of much that is best in her institutions and her national life. As one walks through Westminster Abbey to-day, listening to the same chattering verger that conducted Sir Roger—he has been going his rounds ever since—one almost expects to see again the knight sitting down in the coronation chair, or leaning on Edward Third's sword while he tells the discomfited guide the whole story of the Black Prince out of Baker's Chronicle. If, indeed, we try in any way to bring back to imagination the life of that bygone age, Sir Roger is sure to come to mind at once, at the assizes, at Vauxhall, or, best of all, at home in the country. He is part of that life; as real to our thought as Swift or Marlborough, or as Steele or Addison themselves.

[Pg 33]


No attempt is here made to give an exhaustive bibliography. The following paragraphs contain only such a selection from the literature of the subject as may be most accessible and of most service both to the student and the teacher.


Steele and The Tatler

There is no complete and uniform edition of the writings of Steele. The best edition of The Tatler is that of Chalmers, 4 volumes, 1822 (reissued 1855-1856). A new edition, however, in 4 volumes, edited by George A. Aitken, is now in preparation. Two well-chosen and well-edited volumes of selections from Steele's work are, Selections from Steele, edited by G. R. Carpenter (Athenæum Press Series, 1897), and Selections from Steele's Contributions to the Tatler, Spectator, and Guardian, edited by Austin Dobson, 1897. Steele's Plays, edited by George A. Aitken (1896), make one volume of The Mermaid Series. For the letters of Steele, see The Epistolary Correspondence of Richard Steele, edited by John Nichols, 2 volumes, 1789 (reissued 1809).

Addison and The Spectator

The best editions of The Spectator are: Henry Morley's, 3 volumes, 1883, or 1 volume, 1888; G. Gregory Smith's,[Pg 34] with Introductory Essay by Austin Dobson, 8 volumes, 1897-1898; and George A. Aitken's, 8 volumes, 1898. The Complete Works of Addison were edited by G. W. Greene, in 1854; a new issue of this edition appeared in 1891. The best volume of selections from Addison is that edited by John Richard Green, Essays of Joseph Addison, 1882.



The Life of Richard Steele, by George A. Aitken, 1899. This is the latest and fullest life.

Richard Steele, by Austin Dobson, in the English Worthies Series, 1886; a brief but appreciative study.

Biographical Essays, by John Forster, 1860, Steele. This paper, originally published in the Quarterly Review for March, 1855, gave, for the first time, that more favourable estimate of the character and genius of Steele which is now generally accepted.

Lectures on the English Humorists, Steele, by W. M. Thackeray. Thackeray's lecture, delivered first in 1851, is a most charming and suggestive paper, but hardly just to Steele.


Addison, by W. J. Courthope, in the English Men of Letters Series, 1884. The best life; it has superseded, for the general reader, the older Life of Joseph Addison, by Lucy Aiken, 1846.

The Life and Writings of Addison, by T. B. Macaulay. Macaulay's familiar essay, which first appeared in the Edin[Pg 35]burgh Review for July, 1843, is still the best brief estimate, though it rather exaggerates the merits both of Addison's genius and his writings.

The Lives of the Poets, Addison, by Samuel Johnson, 1781. Judicious and sensible; of permanent value.

Lectures on the English Humourists, Addison, by W. M. Thackeray.

Le Public et les Hommes de Lettres en Angleterre au XVIIIe Siècle, par A. Beljame, 1881. This admirable work—which unfortunately is not translated—contains a full account of Addison's career, as well as an estimate of his work. The bibliography in the Appendix is valuable.



The Age of Anne, by E. E. Morris, in the Epochs of Modern History Series, 1877. A brief, but clear and interesting outline of the history.

A History of England in the Eighteenth Century, by W. E. H. Lecky, 1878, Volume I. Perhaps the best account for the general reader.

A History of the Reign of Queen Anne, by J. H. Burton, 3 volumes, 1880.

The Reign of Queen Anne, by Justin McCarthy, two volumes, 1902. Contains, also, much valuable information upon literary and social matters; written in the manner of the journalist, but entertaining and generally trustworthy.

History of the English People, by John Richard Green, Volume III.

[Pg 36]


The History of England, by T. B. Macaulay (1849-1851), Chapter III. This famous chapter is still one of the best accounts of social conditions in England at the end of the seventeenth and the beginning of the eighteenth centuries.

Social Life in the Reign of Queen Anne, by John Ashton, 1882. This is the best account of dress, manners, amusements, travel, trade, and all the details of social life; it is frequently referred to in the notes of this volume.

Good Queen Anne, by W. H. D. Adams, 1886.

England and the English in the Eighteenth Century, by W. C. Sydney, 1891.

Social England, by H. D. Traill, Volume IV., 1895.

London in the Eighteenth Century, by Walter Besant, 1903. A storehouse of curious and valuable information, with many especially interesting illustrations from contemporary prints, drawings, and portraits.

The Popular History of England, by Charles Knight (1859), Volume V., Chapters XXVI-XXX.

Thackeray's Henry Esmond—perhaps the most remarkable historical novel in the language—represents with wonderful fidelity the very atmosphere of the Queen Anne time.

But, above all, the student who wishes to gain a sympathetic acquaintance with the life of this most interesting period, and to enter into its spirit, should read more of its literature—especially the Tatler and Spectator, Swift's Journal to Stella, Pope's Satires and Epistles, Gay's Trivia, and the Letters of Steele, Swift, Pope, and Bolingbroke.

[Pg 37]


A History of Eighteenth Century Literature (1889), and From Shakespeare to Pope (1885), by Edmund Gosse.

English Literature in the Eighteenth Century, by T. S. Perry (1883).

An Illustrated History of English Literature, by Richard Garnett and Edmund Gosse, Volume III., From Milton to Johnson, by Edmund Gosse (1903), Chapter III. A popular survey of English literary history, most profusely illustrated with portraits and facsimiles.

A Few Words about the Eighteenth Century, by Frederic Harrison. (The Choice of Books, 1886.)

Le Public et les Hommes de Lettres en Angleterre au XVIIIe Siècle, by A. Beljame, 1881.

Lectures on the Comic Writers and Periodical Essayists, by William Hazlitt. (Delivered in 1819; best edition in the Temple Classics, edited by Austin Dobson, 1900.)

[Pg 38]

Chronological Table

1672.March 12. Born in Dublin, Ireland.1672.May 1. Born in Milston, England.
1683.His father appointed Dean of Lichfield.
1684.November. Enters Charterhouse School.1683-85.In the grammar school of Lichfield.
  1686.Entered the Charterhouse School.
  1687.Entered Queen's College, Oxford.
  1689.Obtained a scholarship in Magdalen College.
1690.Matriculates at Christ Church College, Oxford.
  1693.Received the degree of M. A.
1694.Leaves the University and enters the army as a cadet, under Lord Cutts.1694.Printed An Account of the Greatest English Poets.
Translation of the Fourth Book of Virgil's Georgics.
1695.Publishes The Procession, a poem on the death of Queen Mary.1695.Address to King William.
Secretary to Lord Cutts, and Ensign in the Coldstream Guards1698.Made fellow of Magdalen College
  1699.Latin Poems.
   Receives a pension of £300 a year.
  1699-1703.On the continent.
1700.Referred to as "Captain."
1701.April. Publishes The Christian Hero.
December. Publishes The Funeral.
1702.Captain in Lord Lucas' Fusiliers.1702.His pension lapses.
  1703.Returns to England.
1704.January. Publishes The Lying Lover. 1704. Publishes The Campaign; appointed Commissioner of Appeals.
1705.May. Publishes The Tender Husband1705.Publishes Remarks on Several Parts of Italy.
Marries Mrs. Margaret Stretch, who died about a year later.
1706.Leaves the army. 1706. Publishes Rosamund.
1707.Appointed Gazetteer and Gentleman Usher to Prince George of Denmark.   Named Under-Secretary of
September. Marries Miss Mary Scurlock.

[Pg 39]

Contemporary LiteratureHistory
1678.Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, Part I.1685.Accession of James II.
   Monmouth's Rebellion and the Bloody Assize.
1681-2.Dryden's Absalom and Achitophel, MacFlecknoe.1686.Attempted Repeal of the Test Act. First Declaration of Indulgence.
1684.Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, Part II.
1687.Dryden's Hind and Panther.
  1688.New Declaration of Indulgence; Trial of the Bishops. Revolution; Accession of William and Mary.
1690.Locke's Essay on the Human Understanding.1689.The Toleration Act.
 Treatise on Civil Government.1690.The Battle of the Boyne.
   1694.Queen Mary died.
1697.Dryden's Alexander's Feast, Translation of Virgil.1697.Peace of Ryswick.
1701.Defoe's Trueborn Englishman.1701.Grand Alliance between England, Austria, Holland, against France.
1702.Defoe's Shortest Way with Dissenters.1702.War of Spanish Succession begins.
   King William dies; accession of Queen Anne.
   Tory Party in majority.
1704.Swift's Battle of the Books and Tale of a Tub.1703.Victory of Blenheim.
 Defoe's Review begun. Harley and St. John called to the ministry.
  1705.Increasing power of the Whigs; union of Whigs and moderate Tories.
  1706.Marlborough defeats French at Ramillies.
  1707.Union with Scotland.

[Pg 40]

  1708.Chief Secretary to Earl of Wharton, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.
1709.April 12. First number of The Tatler.1709.Joins Steele in the conduct of The Tatler.
1710.January. Appointed Commissioner of Stamps.1710.September, October. Conducts The Whig Examiner. Loses his Secretaryship.
 October. Loses his place as Gazetteer.
1711.January 2. Last number of The Tatler.1711-14.With Steele conducts The Spectator.
 March 1. First number of The Spectator.
1712.December 6. Last number of The Spectator under the joint editorship of Steele and Addison.1712.Poems.
1713.March 12. The Guardian begun.1713.April 14. Cato first acted; published in the same month.
 August. Elected to Parliament from Stockbridge. Contributes to The Guardian.
 October 1. The Guardian discontinued.
 October 6. The Englishman begun.
1714.January. Publishes The Crisis.1714.Eighth volume of The Spectator. Chief Secretary to the Earl of Sunderland, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.
 February 15. The Englishman discontinued.
 February 28. The Lover begun; discontinued May 27.
 March 18. Expelled from the House of Commons.
 April 22. The Reader begun; discontinued May 10.
 October 9. Publishes The Ladies Library.
 October 22. Publishes Apology for Himself and his Writings.
1715.Patentee of Drury Lane Theater.1715.The Drummer published.
 Knighted by George I. December 23. Started The Freeholder; discontinued June 9, 1716.
 July 11 to November 21. Second volume of The Englishman.
1716.Commissioner of Forfeited Estates in Scotland.1716.Commissioner for Trade and Colonies.
  Married the Dowager Countess of Warwick.

[Pg 41]

Contemporary LiteratureHistory
1708.Swift's Argument against Abolishing Christianity. Sentiments of a Church of England Man, Predictions of Isaac Bickerstaff.1708.Whigs supreme; forced resignation of Harley and St. John.Battle of Oudenarde.
1709.Pope's Pastorals. Prior's Poems.1709.French defeated at Malplaquet.
   Growing weariness of the war.
   Sacheverell's sermon (November 9).
1710.Berkeley's Principles of Human Knowledge.1710.Trial of Sacheverell (February).
 Swift's Examiner; Journal to Stella begun. Parliament dissolved; elections (November) bring in Tory majorities; Harley (now Earl of Oxford) and St. John (now Viscount Bolingbroke) at the head of the ministry.
1711.Pope's Essay on Criticism.1711.Marlborough relieved of command of the army.
 Swift's Conduct of the >Allies. Creation of twelve new Tory peers; Tories in complete control of government.
1712.Pope's Rape of the Lock (First version).1712.Negotiations for peace.
 Arbuthnot's History of John Bull.
1713.Berkeley's Three Dialogues.1713.Peace of Utrecht.
 Pope's Windsor Forest. Growing difference between Oxford and Bolingbroke.
 Swift's Cadenus and Vanessa.
1714.Gay's Shepherd's Week.1714.Death of Queen Anne; accession of George I.
 Pope's Rape of the Lock (Second version). Downfall of the Tory party.
 Swift's Public Spirit of the Whigs.
1715.Gay's Trivia. Pope's Translation of the Iliad, Vol. I. (Finished in 1720.)1715.Jacobite rebellion.

[Pg 42]

  1717.April. Named Secretary of State.
1718.December 26. Lady Steele dies.1718.March. Resigned this position, and granted a pension of £1500.
1719.Publishes The Plebeian.1719.Replies to Steele's Plebeian in The Old Whig.
   June 17. Dies in London.
1722.March. Elected to Parliament from Wendover.
 December. Publishes The Conscious Lovers.
1725.Living at Hereford.
1726.Retires to Wales.
1729.September 1. Dies at Carmarthen, Wales.

[Pg 43]

Contemporary LiteratureHistory
  1720.South Sea Bubble.
1722.Defoe's Journal of the Plague.
1723.Pope's Translation of the Odyssey, Volumes I, II. (Completed in 1725.)
1724.Swift's Drapier's Letters.
1726.Swift's Gulliver's Travels.
 Thomson's Winter.
1727.Thomson's Summer.1727.George I. dies; accession of George II.
1728.Gay's Beggars' Opera.
 Pope's Dunciad.
 Thomson's Spring.
1729.Swift's Modest Proposal.

[Pg 44]

[Pg 45]



[No. 1. Thursday, March 1, 1711. Addison.]

Non fumum ex fulgore, sed ex fumo dare lucem
Cogitat, ut speciosa dehinc miracula promat.

I have observed that a reader seldom peruses a book with pleasure till he knows whether the writer of it be a black[3] or a fair man, of a mild or choleric disposition, married or a bachelor, with other particulars of the like nature that conduce very much to the right understanding {5} of an author. To gratify this curiosity, which is so natural to a reader, I design this paper and my next as prefatory discourses to my following writings, and shall give some account in them of the several persons that are engaged in this work. As the chief trouble of compiling, digesting, {10} and correcting will fall to my share, I must do myself the justice to open the work with my own history. I was[Pg 46] born to a small hereditary estate, which, according to the tradition of the village where it lies, was bounded by the same hedges and ditches in William the Conqueror's time that it is at present, and has been delivered down from father to son whole and entire, without the loss or acquisition {5} of a single field or meadow, during the space of six hundred years. There runs a story in the family, that my mother ... dreamt that she was brought to bed of a judge: whether this might proceed from a lawsuit which was then depending[4] in the family, or my father's being a {10} justice of the peace, I cannot determine; for I am not so vain as to think it presaged any dignity that I should arrive at in my future life, though that was the interpretation which the neighbourhood put upon it. The gravity of my behaviour at my very first appearance in the world, {15} and all the time that I sucked, seemed to favour my mother's dream; for, as she had often told me, I threw away my rattle before I was two months old, and would not make use of my coral[5] till they had taken away the bells from it. {20}

As for the rest of my infancy, there being nothing in it remarkable, I shall pass it over in silence. I find that, during my nonage,[6] I had the reputation of a very sullen youth, but was always a favourite of my schoolmaster, who used to say that my parts were solid and would wear well.[Pg 47] {25} I had not been long at the university before I distinguished myself by a most profound silence; for during the space of eight years, excepting in the public exercises of the college, I scarce uttered the quantity of an hundred words; and indeed do not remember that I ever {5} spoke three sentences together in my whole life. Whilst I was in this learned body, I applied myself with so much diligence to my studies that there are very few celebrated books, either in the learned or the modern tongues, which I am not acquainted with. {10}

Upon the death of my father, I was resolved to travel into foreign countries, and therefore left the university with the character of an odd, unaccountable fellow, that had a great deal of learning, if I would but show it. An insatiable thirst after knowledge carried me into all the {15} countries of Europe in which there was anything new or strange to be seen; nay, to such a degree was my curiosity raised, that having read the controversies of some great men concerning the antiquities of Egypt, I made a voyage to Grand Cairo on purpose to take the measure {20} of a pyramid; and as soon as I had set myself right in that particular, returned to my native country with great satisfaction.

I have passed my latter years in this city, where I am frequently seen in most public places, though there are {25} not above half a dozen of my select friends that know me; of whom my next paper shall give a more particular account. There is no place of general resort wherein I do not often make my appearance; sometimes I am seen[Pg 48] thrusting my head into a round of politicians at Will's, and listening with great attention to the narratives that are made in those little circular audiences. Sometimes I smoke a pipe at Child's, and whilst I seem attentive to nothing but the Postman, overhear the conversation of {5} every table in the room. I appear on Sunday nights at St. James's Coffee-house, and sometimes join the little committee of politics in the inner room, as one who comes there to hear and improve. My face is likewise very well known at the Grecian, the Cocoa Tree, and in {10} the theatres both of Drury Lane and the Haymarket. I have been taken for a merchant upon the Exchange for above these ten years, and sometimes pass for a Jew in the assembly of stockjobbers at Jonathan's. In short, wherever I see a cluster of people, I always mix with {15} them, though I never open my lips but in my own club.

Thus I live in the world rather as a Spectator of mankind than as one of the species; by which means I have made myself a speculative statesman, soldier, merchant, and artisan, without ever meddling with any practical {20} part in life. I am very well versed in the theory of an husband or a father, and can discern the errors in the economy, business, and diversion of others better than those who are engaged in them: as standers-by discover blots[7] which are apt to escape those who are in the game. {25} I never espoused any party with violence, and am resolved to observe an exact neutrality between the Whigs[Pg 49] and Tories, unless I shall be forced to declare myself by the hostilities of either side. In short, I have acted in all the parts of my life as a looker-on, which is the character I intend to preserve in this paper.

I have given the reader just so much of my history and {5} character as to let him see I am not altogether unqualified for the business I have undertaken. As for other particulars in my life and adventures, I shall insert them in following papers as I shall see occasion. In the mean time, when I consider how much I have seen, read, and {10} heard, I begin to blame my own taciturnity: and since I have neither time nor inclination to communicate the fulness of my heart in speech, I am resolved to do it in writing, and to print myself out, if possible, before I die. I have been often told by my friends that it is pity so many {15} useful discoveries which I have made, should be in the possession of a silent man. For this reason, therefore, I shall publish a sheetful of thoughts every morning for the benefit of my contemporaries; and if I can any way contribute to the diversion or improvement of the country in which I live, {20} I shall leave it, when I am summoned out of it, with the secret satisfaction of thinking that I have not lived in vain.

There are three very material points which I have not spoken to in this paper, and which, for several important reasons, I must keep to myself, at least for some time: I {25} mean, an account of my name, my age, and my lodgings. I must confess, I would gratify my reader in anything that is reasonable; but, as for these three particulars, though I am sensible they might tend very much to the embel[Pg 50]lishment of my paper, I cannot yet come to a resolution of communicating them to the public. They would indeed draw me out of that obscurity which I have enjoyed for many years, and expose me in public places to several salutes and civilities, which have been always very disagreeable {5} to me; for the greatest pain I can suffer is the being talked to and being stared at. It is for this reason, likewise, that I keep my complexion and dress as very great secrets: though it is not impossible but I may make discoveries[8] of both in the progress of the work I have {10} undertaken.

After having been thus particular upon myself, I shall in to-morrow's paper give an account of those gentlemen who are concerned with me in this work; for, as I have before intimated, a plan of it is laid and concerted—as {15} all other matters of importance are—in a club. However, as my friends have engaged me to stand in the front, those who have a mind to correspond with me may direct their letters to the Spectator, at Mr. Buckley's in Little Britain. For I must further acquaint the reader {20} that, though our club meets only on Tuesdays and Thursdays, we have appointed a committee to sit every night, for the inspection of all such papers as may contribute to the advancement of the public weal.    


[Pg 51]


[No. 2. Friday, March 2, 1711. Steele.]

Ast alii sex
Et plures uno conclamant ore.

The first of our society is a gentleman of Worcestershire, of ancient descent, a baronet, his name Sir Roger de Coverley. His great-grandfather was inventor of that famous country-dance which is called after him. All who know that shire are very well acquainted with the parts {5} and merits of Sir Roger. He is a gentleman that is very singular in his behaviour, but his singularities proceed from his good sense, and are contradictions to the manners of the world only as he thinks the world is in the wrong. However, this humour creates him no enemies, for he does {10} nothing with sourness or obstinacy; and his being unconfined to modes and forms, makes him but the readier and more capable[9] to please and oblige all who know him. When he is in town, he lives in Soho Square. It is said he keeps himself a bachelor by reason he was {15} crossed in love by a perverse, beautiful widow of the next county to him. Before this disappointment, Sir Roger was what you call a fine gentleman; had often supped[Pg 52] with my Lord Rochester and Sir George Etherege, fought a duel upon his first coming to town, and kicked Bully Dawson in a public coffee-house for calling him "youngster." But being ill-used by the above-mentioned widow, he was very serious for a year and a half; and though, {5} his temper being naturally jovial, he at last got over it, he grew careless of himself, and never dressed afterwards. He continues to wear a coat and doublet of the same cut that were in fashion at the time of his repulse, which,[10] in his merry humours, he tells us, has been in and out twelve {10} times since he first wore it.... He is now in his fifty-sixth year, cheerful, gay, and hearty; keeps a good house both in town and country; a great lover of mankind; but there is such a mirthful cast in his behaviour that he is rather beloved than esteemed. His tenants grow rich, {15} his servants look satisfied, all the young women profess love to him, and the young men are glad of his company. When he comes into a house, he calls the servants by their names, and talks all the way up-stairs to a visit. I must not omit that Sir Roger is a justice of the quorum;[11] {20} that he fills the chair at a quarter session[12] with great abilities; and, three months ago, gained universal applause by explaining a passage in the Game Act.

[Pg 53]

The gentleman next in esteem and authority among us is another bachelor, who is a member of the Inner Temple; a man of great probity, wit, and understanding; but he has chosen his place of residence rather to obey the direction of an old humoursome father, than in pursuit {5} of his own inclinations. He was placed there to study the laws of the land, and is the most learned of any of the house in those of the stage. Aristotle and Longinus are much better understood by him than Littleton or Coke. The father sends up, every post, questions {10} relating to marriage-articles, leases, and tenures, in the neighborhood; all which questions he agrees with an attorney to answer and take care of in the lump. He is studying the passions themselves, when he should be inquiring into the debates among men which arise from {15} them. He knows the argument of each of the orations of Demosthenes and Tully but not one case in the reports of our own courts. No one ever took him for a fool, but none, except his intimate friends, know he has a great deal of wit. This turn makes him at once both disinterested {20} and agreeable; as few of his thoughts are drawn from business, they are most of them fit for conversation. His taste of books is a little too just for the age he lives in; he has read all, but approves of very few. His familiarity with the customs, manners, actions, and writings {25} of the ancients makes him a very delicate observer of what occurs to him in the present world. He is an excellent critic, and the time of the play is his hour of business; exactly at five he passes through New Inn,[Pg 54] crosses through Russell Court, and takes a turn at Will's till the play begins; he has his shoes rubbed and his periwig powdered at the barber's as you go into the Rose. It is for the good of the audience when he is at a play, for the actors have an ambition to please him. {5}

The person of next consideration is Sir Andrew Freeport, a merchant of great eminence in the city of London; a person of indefatigable industry, strong reason, and great experience. His notions of trade are noble and generous, and—as every rich man has usually some sly way of {10} jesting which would make no great figure were he not a rich man—he calls the sea the British Common. He is acquainted with commerce in all its parts, and will tell you that it is a stupid and barbarous way to extend dominion by arms; for true power is to be got by arts and {15} industry. He will often argue that if this part of our trade were well cultivated, we should gain from one nation; and if another, from another. I have heard him prove that diligence makes more lasting acquisitions than valour, and that sloth has ruined more nations than the sword. He {20} abounds in several frugal maxims, amongst which the greatest favourite is, "A penny saved is a penny got." A general trader of good sense is pleasanter company than a general scholar; and Sir Andrew having a natural, unaffected eloquence, the perspicuity of his discourse {25} gives the same pleasure that wit would in another man. He has made his fortunes himself, and says that England may be richer than other kingdoms by as plain methods as he himself is richer than other men; though at the[Pg 55] same time I can say this of him, that there is not a point in the compass but blows home a ship in which he is an owner.

Next to Sir Andrew in the club-room sits Captain Sentry, a gentleman of great courage, good understanding, {5} but invincible modesty. He is one of those that deserve very well, but are very awkward at putting their talents within the observation of such as should take notice of them. He was some years a captain, and behaved himself with great gallantry in several engagements and at {10} several sieges; but having a small estate of his own, and being next heir to Sir Roger, he has quitted a way of life in which no man can rise suitably to his merit who is not something of a courtier as well as a soldier. I have heard him often lament that in a profession {15} where merit is placed in so conspicuous a view, impudence should get the better of modesty. When he has talked to this purpose I never heard him make a sour expression, but frankly confess that he left the world because he was not fit for it. A strict honesty and an {20} even, regular behaviour are in themselves obstacles to him that must press through crowds who endeavour at the same end with himself,—the favour of a commander. He will, however, in his way of talk, excuse generals for not disposing[13] according to men's desert, or inquiring into it. {25} "For," says he, "that great man who has a mind to help me, has as many to break through to come at me as I have to come at him"; therefore he will conclude that[Pg 56] the man who would make a figure, especially in a military way, must get over all false modesty, and assist his patron against the importunity of other pretenders by a proper assurance in his own vindication.[14] He says it is a civil cowardice to be backward in asserting what you ought to {5} expect, as it is a military fear to be slow in attacking when it is your duty. With this candour does the gentleman speak of himself and others. The same frankness runs through all his conversation. The military part of his life has furnished him with many adventures, in the relation {10} of which he is very agreeable to the company; for he is never overbearing, though accustomed to command men in the utmost degree below him; nor ever too obsequious from an habit of obeying men highly above him. {15}

But that our society may not appear a set of humorists unacquainted with the gallantries and pleasures of the age, we have among us the gallant Will Honeycomb, a gentleman who, according to his years, should be in the decline of his life, but having[15] ever been very careful of his person, {20} and always had a very easy fortune, time has made but very little impression either by wrinkles on his forehead or traces in his brain. His person is well turned, of a good height. He is very ready at that sort of discourse with which men usually entertain women. He has all his[Pg 57] {25} life dressed very well, and remembers habits[16] as others do men. He can smile when one speaks to him, and laughs easily. He knows the history of every mode,[17] and can inform you from which of the French king's wenches our wives and daughters had this manner of curling their hair, {5} that way of placing their hoods; ... and whose vanity to show her foot made that part of the dress so short in such a year. In a word, all his conversation and knowledge has been in the female world. As other men of his age will take notice to you[18] what such a minister said upon {10} such and such an occasion, he will tell you when the Duke of Monmouth danced at court such a woman was then smitten, another was taken with him at the head of his troop in the Park. In all these important relations,[19] he has ever about the same time received a kind glance {15} or a blow of a fan from some celebrated beauty, mother of the present Lord Such-a-one. If you speak of a young commoner that said a lively thing in the House, he starts up: "He has good blood in his veins; ... that young fellow's mother used me more like a dog than any woman {20} I ever made advances to." This way of talking of his very much enlivens the conversation among us of a more sedate turn; and I find there is not one of the company but myself, who rarely speak at all, but speaks of him as of that sort of man who is usually called a well-bred,[Pg 58] {25} fine gentleman. To conclude his character, where women are not concerned, he is an honest, worthy man.

I cannot tell whether I am to account him whom I am next to speak of as one of our company, for he visits us {5} but seldom; but when he does, it adds to every man else a new enjoyment of himself. He is a clergyman, a very philosophic man, of general learning, great sanctity of life, and the most exact good breeding. He has the misfortune to be of a very weak constitution, and consequently {10} cannot accept of such cares and business as preferments in his function would oblige him to; he is therefore among divines what a chamber-counsellor is among lawyers. The probity of his mind and the integrity of his life create him followers, as being eloquent or {15} loud advances others. He seldom introduces the subject he speaks upon; but we are so far gone in years that he observes, when he is among us, an earnestness to have him fall on some divine topic, which he always treats with much authority, as one who has no interests in this {20} world, as one who is hastening to the object of all his wishes, and conceives hope from his decays and infirmities. These are my ordinary companions.


[Pg 59]


[No. 6. Wednesday, March 7, 1711. Steele.]

Credebant hoc grande nefas et morte piandum,
Si iuvenis vetulo non assurrexerat.

I know no evil under the sun so great as the abuse of the understanding, and yet there is no one vice more common. It has diffused itself through both sexes and all qualities of mankind, and there is hardly that person to be found who is not more concerned for the reputation {5} of wit and sense, than honesty and virtue. But this unhappy affectation of being wise rather than honest, witty than good-natured, is the source of most of the ill habits of life. Such false impressions are owing to the abandoned writings of men of wit, and the awkward imitation {10} of the rest of mankind.

For this reason, Sir Roger was saying last night that he was of opinion none but men of fine parts deserve to be hanged. The reflections of such men are so delicate upon all occurrences which they are concerned in, {15} that they should be exposed to more than ordinary infamy and punishment for offending against such quick admonitions as their own souls give them, and blunting the fine[Pg 60] edge of their minds in such a manner that they are no more shocked at vice and folly than men of slower capacities. There is no greater monster in being, than a very ill man of great parts. He lives like a man in a palsy, with one side of him dead. While perhaps he enjoys the {5} satisfaction of luxury, of wealth, of ambition, he has lost the taste of good-will, of friendship, of innocence. Scarecrow, the beggar in Lincoln's Inn Fields, who disabled himself in his right leg, and asks alms all day to get himself a warm supper ... at night, is not half so despicable {10} a wretch as such a man of sense. The beggar has no relish above sensations; he finds rest more agreeable than motion, and while he has a warm fire ..., never reflects that he deserves to be whipped.

"Every man who terminates his satisfactions and enjoyments {15} within the supply of his own necessities and passions, is," says Sir Roger, "in my eye, as poor a rogue as Scarecrow. But," continued he, "for the loss of public and private virtue we are beholden to your men of parts, forsooth; it is with them no matter what is done, so it is {20} done with an air. But to me, who am so whimsical in a corrupt age as to act according to nature and reason, a selfish man in the most shining circumstance and equipage, appears in the same condition with the fellow above-mentioned, but more contemptible in proportion to what {25} more he robs the public of and enjoys above him.[20] I lay it down therefore for a rule, that the whole man is to move together; that every action of any importance is[Pg 61] to have a prospect of public good; and that the general tendency of our indifferent actions ought to be agreeable to the dictates of reason, of religion, of good-breeding. Without this, a man, as I have before hinted, is hopping instead of walking; he is not in his entire and proper {5} motion."

While the honest knight was thus bewildering himself in good starts,[21] I looked intentively[22] upon him, which made him, I thought, collect his mind a little. "What I aim at," says he, "is to represent that I am of opinion, {10} to polish our understandings and neglect our manners[23] is of all things the most inexcusable. Reason should govern passion, but instead of that, you see, it is often subservient to it; and, as unaccountable as one would think it, a wise man is not always a good man." {15}

This degeneracy is not only the guilt of particular persons, but also at some times of a whole people; and perhaps it may appear upon examination that the most polite ages are the least virtuous. This may be attributed to the folly of admitting wit and learning as merit in {20} themselves, without considering the application of them. By this means it becomes a rule not so much to regard what we do, as how we do it. But this false beauty will not pass upon men of honest minds and true taste. Sir Richard Blackmore says, with as much good sense as[Pg 62] {25} virtue,—"It is a mighty dishonour and shame to employ excellent faculties and abundance of wit, to humour and please men in their vices and follies. The great enemy of mankind, notwithstanding his wit and angelic faculties, is the most odious being in the whole creation." He goes {5} on soon after to say, very generously, that he undertook the writing of his poem "to rescue the Muses, ... to restore them to their sweet and chaste mansions, and to engage them in an employment suitable to their dignity." This certainly ought to be the purpose of every man who {10} appears in public; and whoever does not proceed upon that foundation, injures his country as fast as he succeeds in his studies. When modesty ceases to be the chief ornament of one sex and integrity of the other, society is upon a wrong basis, and we shall be ever after without {15} rules to guide our judgment in what is really becoming and ornamental. Nature and reason direct one thing, passion and humour another. To follow the dictates of the two latter, is going into a road that is both endless and intricate; when we pursue the other, our passage is {20} delightful, and what we aim at easily attainable.

I do not doubt but England is at present as polite a nation as any in the world; but any man who thinks can easily see that the affectation of being gay and in fashion has very near eaten up our good sense and our religion. {25} Is there anything so just, as that mode[24] and gallantry[25][Pg 63] should be built upon exerting ourselves in what is proper and agreeable to the institutions of justice and piety among us? And yet is there anything more common, than that we run in perfect contradiction to them? All which is supported by no other pretension than that it {5} is done with what we call a good grace.

Nothing ought to be held laudable or becoming, but what nature itself should prompt us to think so. Respect to all kind of superiors is founded, methinks, upon instinct; and yet what is so ridiculous as age?[26] I make {10} this abrupt transition to the mention of this vice[27] more than any other, in order to introduce a little story, which I think a pretty instance that the most polite age is in danger of being the most vicious.

It happened at Athens, during a public representation {15} of some play exhibited in honor of the commonwealth, that an old gentleman came too late for a place suitable to his age and quality. Many of the young gentlemen who observed the difficulty and confusion he was in, made signs to him that they would accommodate him if {20} he came where they sat. The good man bustled through the crowd accordingly; but when he came to the seats to which he was invited, the jest was to sit close and expose him, as he stood out of countenance, to the whole audience. The frolic went round all the Athenian {25} benches. But on those occasions there were also particular places assigned for foreigners. When the good[Pg 64] man skulked towards the boxes appointed for the Lacedemonians, that honest people, more virtuous than polite, rose up all, to a man, and with the greatest respect received him among them. The Athenians, being suddenly touched with a sense of the Spartan virtue and {5} their own degeneracy, gave a thunder of applause; and the old man cried out, "The Athenians understand what is good, but the Lacedemonians practise it!"



[No. 34. Monday, April 9, 1711. Addison.]

Cognatis maculis similis fera—

The club of which I am a member is very luckily composed of such persons as are engaged in different ways {10} of life, and deputed, as it were, out of the most conspicuous classes of mankind. By this means I am furnished with the greatest variety of hints and materials, and know everything that passes in the different quarters and divisions, not only of this great city, but of the whole kingdom. {15} My readers, too, have the satisfaction to find that there is no rank or degree among them who have not their[28] representative in this club, and that there is always somebody present who will take care of their respective[Pg 65] interests, that nothing may be written or published to the prejudice or infringement of their just rights and privileges.

I last night sat very late in company with this select body of friends, who entertained me with several remarks {5} which they and others had made upon these my speculations, as also with the various success which they[29] had met with among their several ranks and degrees of readers. Will Honeycomb told me, in the softest manner he could, that there were some ladies—"but for {10} your comfort," says Will, "they are not those of the most wit"—that were offended at the liberties I had taken with the opera and the puppet-show; that some of them were likewise very much surprised that I should think such serious points as the dress and equipage of {15} persons of quality proper subjects for raillery.

He was going on, when Sir Andrew Freeport took him up short, and told him that the papers he hinted at had done great good in the city, and that all their[30] wives and daughters were the better for them; and further added, {20} that the whole city thought themselves very much obliged to me for declaring my generous intentions to scourge vice and folly as they appear in a multitude, without condescending to be a publisher of particular intrigues. "In short," says Sir Andrew, "if you avoid that foolish beaten {25} road of falling upon aldermen and citizens, and employ your pen upon the vanity and luxury of courts, your paper must needs be of general use."

[Pg 66]

Upon this my friend the Templar told Sir Andrew that he wondered to hear a man of his sense talk after that manner; that the city had always been the province for satire; and that the wits of King Charles's time jested upon nothing else during his whole reign. He then {5} showed, by the examples of Horace, Juvenal, Boileau, and the best writers of every age, that the follies of the stage and court had never been accounted too sacred for ridicule, how great soever the persons might be that patronized them. "But after all," says he, "I think your {10} raillery has made too great an excursion, in attacking several persons of the Inns of Court; and I do not believe you can show me any precedent for your behaviour in that particular."

My good friend Sir Roger de Coverley, who had said {15} nothing all this while, began his speech with a "Pish!" and told us that he wondered to see so many men of sense so very serious upon fooleries. "Let our good friend," says he, "attack every one that deserves it; I would only advise you, Mr. Spectator,"—applying himself {20} to me,—"to take care how you meddle with country squires. They are the ornaments of the English nation,—men of good heads and sound bodies! and, let me tell you, some of them take it ill of you that you mention fox hunters with so little respect." {25}

Captain Sentry spoke very sparingly on this occasion. What he said was only to commend my prudence in not touching upon the army, and advised me to continue to act discreetly in that point.

[Pg 67]

By this time I found every subject of my speculations was taken away from me by one or other of the club, and began to think myself in the condition of the good man that had one wife who took a dislike to his gray hairs, and another to his black, till by their picking out what each {5} of them had an aversion to, they left his head altogether bald and naked.

While I was thus musing with myself, my worthy friend the clergyman, who, very luckily for me, was at the club that night, undertook my cause. He told us that he wondered {10} any order of persons should think themselves too considerable to be advised. That it was not quality, but innocence, which exempted men from reproof. That vice and folly ought to be attacked wherever they could be met with, and especially when they were placed in high {15} and conspicuous stations of life. He further added, that my paper would only serve to aggravate the pains of poverty, if it chiefly exposed those who are already depressed, and in some measure turned into ridicule, by the meanness of their conditions and circumstances. He afterwards {20} proceeded to take notice of the great use this paper might be of to the public, by reprehending those vices which are too trivial for the chastisement of the law, and too fantastical for the cognizance of the pulpit. He then advised me to prosecute my undertaking with {25} cheerfulness, and assured me, that whoever might be displeased with me, I should be approved by all those whose praises do honour to the persons on whom they are bestowed.

[Pg 68]

The whole club pays a particular deference to the discourse of this gentleman, and are drawn into what he says, as much by the candid, ingenuous manner with which he delivers himself, as by the strength of argument and force of reason which he makes use of. Will Honeycomb {5} immediately agreed that what he had said was right, and that, for his part, he would not insist upon the quarter which he had demanded for the ladies. Sir Andrew gave up the city with the same frankness. The Templar would not stand out, and was followed by Sir Roger and the {10} Captain,—who all agreed that I should be at liberty to carry the war into what quarter I pleased, provided I continued to combat with criminals in a body, and to assault the vice without hurting the person.

This debate, which was held for the good of mankind, {15} put me in mind of that which the Roman triumvirate were formerly engaged in for their destruction. Every man at first stood hard for his friend, till they found that by this means they should spoil their proscription; and at length, making a sacrifice of all their acquaintance and relations, {20} furnished out a very decent execution.

Having thus taken my resolutions to march on boldly in the cause of virtue and good sense, and to annoy their adversaries in whatever degree or rank of men they may be found, I shall be deaf for the future to all the remonstrances {25} that shall be made to me on this account. If Punch grows extravagant, I shall reprimand him very freely. If the stage becomes a nursery of folly and impertinence, I shall not be afraid to animadvert upon it.[Pg 69] In short, if I meet with anything in city, court, or country, that shocks modesty or good manners, I shall use my utmost endeavours to make an example of it. I must, however, intreat every particular person who does me the honour to be a reader of this paper, never to think himself, {5} or any one of his friends or enemies, aimed at in what is said: for I promise him, never to draw a faulty character which does not fit at least a thousand people; or to publish a single paper that is not written in the spirit of benevolence and with a love to mankind. {10}


[No. 37. Thursday, April 12, 1711. Addison.]

Non illa colo calathisve Minervae
Femineas assueta manus....

Some months ago, my friend Sir Roger, being in the country, enclosed a letter to me, directed to a certain lady whom I shall here call by the name of Leonora, and as it contained matters of consequence, desired me to deliver it to her with my own hand. Accordingly I waited {15} upon her ladyship pretty early in the morning, and was desired by her woman to walk into her lady's library, till such time as she was in a readiness to receive me. The very sound of "a lady's library" gave me a great curiosity to see it; and as it was some time before the lady came {20}[Pg 70] to me, I had an opportunity of turning over a great many of her books, which were ranged together in a very beautiful order. At the end of the folios, which were finely bound and gilt, were great jars of china placed one above another in a very noble piece of architecture. The quartos {5} were separated from the octavos by a pile of smaller vessels, which rose in a delightful pyramid. The octavos were bounded by tea-dishes of all shapes, colours, and sizes, which were so disposed on a wooden frame that they looked like one continued pillar indented with the {10} finest strokes of sculpture and stained with the greatest variety of dyes.

That part of the library which was designed for the reception of plays and pamphlets, and other loose papers, was enclosed in a kind of square, consisting of one of the {15} prettiest grotesque works that ever I saw, and made up of scaramouches, lions, monkeys, mandarins, trees, shells, and a thousand other odd figures in china ware. In the midst of the room was a little japan table, with a quire of gilt paper upon it, and on the paper a silver snuff box {20} made in the shape of a little book. I found there were several other counterfeit books upon the upper shelves, which were carved in wood, and served only to fill up the number, like fagots[31] in the muster of a regiment. I was wonderfully pleased with such a mixed kind of furniture {25} as seemed very suitable both to the lady and the scholar, [Pg 71]and did not know, at first, whether I should fancy myself in a grotto or in a library.

Upon my looking into the books, I found there were some few which the lady had bought for her own use; but that most of them had been got together, either because {5} she had heard them praised, or because she had seen the authors of them. Among several that I examined, I very well remember these that follow:

Ogilby's Virgil.

Dryden's Juvenal. {10}




Sir Isaac Newton's Works.

The Grand Cyrus, with a pin stuck in one of the {15} middle leaves.

Pembroke's Arcadia.

Locke of Human Understanding, with a paper of patches in it.

A spelling book. {20}

A dictionary for the explanation of hard words.

Sherlock upon Death.

The Fifteen Comforts of Matrimony.

Sir William Temple's Essays.

Father Malebranche's Search after Truth, translated {25} into English.

A book of novels.

The Academy of Compliments.

Culpepper's Midwifery.

[Pg 72]

The Ladies' Calling.

Tales in Verse, by Mr. D'Urfey; bound in red leather, gilt on the back, and doubled down in several places.

All the classic authors in wood.

A set of Elzevirs by the same hand. {5}

Clelia, which opened of itself in the place that describes two lovers in a bower.

Baker's Chronicle.

Advice to a Daughter.

The New Atalantis, with a key to it. {10}

Mr. Steele's Christian Hero.

A prayer-book; with a bottle of Hungary water by the side of it.

Dr. Sacheverell's Speech.

Fielding's Trial. {15}

Seneca's Morals.

Taylor's Holy Living and Dying.

La Ferte's Instructions for Country Dances.

I was taking a catalogue in my pocket-book of these and several other authors, when Leonora entered, and {20} upon my presenting her with the letter from the knight, told me, with an unspeakable grace, that she hoped Sir Roger was in good health. I answered, "Yes," for I hate long speeches, and after a bow or two retired.

Leonora was formerly a celebrated beauty, and is still {25} a very lovely woman. She has been a widow for two or three years, and being unfortunate in her first marriage, has taken a resolution never to venture upon a second. She has no children to take care of, and leaves the man[Pg 73]agement of her estate to my good friend Sir Roger. But as the mind naturally sinks into a kind of lethargy, and falls asleep, that[32] is not agitated by some favourite pleasures and pursuits, Leonora has turned all the passions of her sex into a love of books and retirement. She converses {5} chiefly with men,—as she has often said herself,—but it is only in their writings; and admits of very few male visitants except my friend Sir Roger, whom she hears with great pleasure and without scandal.

As her reading has lain very much among romances, {10} it has given her a very particular turn of thinking, and discovers itself even in her house, her gardens, and her furniture. Sir Roger has entertained me an hour together with a description of her country seat, which is situated in a kind of wilderness, about an hundred miles distant {15} from London, and looks like a little enchanted palace. The rocks about her are shaped into artificial grottoes covered with woodbines and jessamines. The woods are cut into shady walks, twisted into bowers, and filled with cages of turtles.[33] The springs are made to run among pebbles, {20} and by that means taught to murmur very agreeably. They are likewise collected into a beautiful lake that is inhabited by a couple of swans, and empties itself by a little rivulet which runs through a green meadow, and is known in the family by the name of the Purling Stream. {25}

The knight likewise tells me that this lady preserves her game better than any of the gentlemen in the country. "Not," says Sir Roger, "that she sets so great a value[Pg 74] upon her partridges and pheasants, as upon her larks and nightingales; for she says that every bird which is killed in her ground will spoil a consort,[34] and that she shall certainly miss him the next year."

When I think how oddly this lady is improved by {5} learning, I look upon her with a mixture of admiration and pity. Amidst these innocent entertainments which she has formed to herself, how much more valuable does she appear than those of her sex who employ themselves in diversions that are less reasonable, though more in {10} fashion. What improvements would a woman have made, who is so susceptible of impressions from what she reads, had she been guided to such books as have a tendency to enlighten the understanding and rectify the passions, as well as to those which are of little more use {15} than to divert the imagination.

But the manner of a lady's employing herself usefully in reading shall be the subject of another paper, in which I design to recommend such particular books as may be proper for the improvement of the sex. And as this is a {20} subject of a very nice nature, I shall desire my correspondents to give me their thoughts upon it.


[Pg 75]


[No. 106. Monday, July 2, 1711. Addison.]

Hinc tibi copia
Manabit ad plenum benigno
Ruris honorum opulenta cornu.

Having often received an invitation from my friend Sir Roger de 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. {5} Sir Roger, who is very well acquainted with my humor, 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 {10} shows 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 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 {15} 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 is beloved by all about him, his servants never care for leaving him; by this means his domestics[Pg 76] are all in years, and grown old with their master. You would take his valet de chambre for his brother, his butler is gray-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 {5} even in the old house dog, and in a gray pad[35] 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 years.

I could not but observe with a great deal of pleasure {10} the joy that appeared in the countenances 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 {15} 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. This humanity and good nature engages everybody to him, so {20} 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 {25} all of 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[Pg 77] the rest of his fellow-servants, wonderfully desirous of pleasing me, because they have often heard their master talk of me as of his particular friend.

My chief companion, when Sir Roger is diverting himself in the woods or the fields, is a very venerable man {5} who is ever with Sir Roger, and has lived at his house in the nature[36] 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 {10} old knight's esteem, so that he lives in the family rather as a relation than a dependant.

I have observed in several of my papers, that my friend Sir Roger, amidst all his good qualities, is something of an humorist,[37] and that his virtues as well as imperfections {15} 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 {20} degree of sense and virtue would appear in their common and 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 was afraid of being insulted with {25} Latin and Greek at his own table, for which reason he[Pg 78] 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 backgammon. "My friend," says Sir Roger, "found {5} me out this gentleman, who, besides the endowments required of him, is, they tell me, a good scholar, though he does not show 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 outlives me, he {10} 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 {15} in behalf of one or other of my tenants, his parishioners. There has not been a lawsuit 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 {20} once or twice at most,—they appeal to me. At his first 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 {25} 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[Pg 79] 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 afternoon. He then showed us his list of preachers for the whole year, where I saw, with {5} a great deal of pleasure, Archbishop Tillotson, Bishop Saunderson, Dr. Barrow, Dr. Calamy, with several living authors who have published discourses of practical divinity. I no sooner saw this venerable man in the pulpit but I very much approved of my friend's insisting upon {10} the qualifications of a good aspect and a clear voice; for I was so charmed with the gracefulness of his figure and delivery, as well as with the discourses he pronounced, that I think I never passed any time more to my satisfaction. A sermon repeated after this manner is like the {15} composition of a poet in the mouth of a graceful actor. I could heartily wish that more of our country clergy would follow this example; and instead of wasting their spirits in laborious compositions of their own, would endeavor after a handsome elocution, and all those other {20} talents that are proper to enforce what has been penned by greater masters. This would not only be more easy to themselves, but more edifying to the people.


[Pg 80]


[No. 107. Tuesday, July 3, 1711. Steele.]

Æsopo ingentem statuam posuere Attici
Servumque collocarunt aeterna in basi,
Patere honoris scirent ut cuncti viam.

The reception, manner of attendance, undisturbed freedom and quiet, which I meet with here in the country, has confirmed me in the opinion I always had, that the general corruption of manners in servants is owing to the conduct of masters. The aspect of every one in the family {5} carries so much satisfaction that it appears he knows the happy lot which has befallen him in being a member of it. There is one particular which I have seldom seen but at Sir Roger's: it is usual in all other places that servants fly from the parts of the house through which {10} their master is passing; on the contrary, here, they industriously place themselves in his way; and it is on both sides, as it were, understood as a visit, when the servants appear without calling. This proceeds from the humane and equal temper of the man of the house, who also perfectly {15} well knows how to enjoy a great estate with such economy as ever to be much beforehand. This makes his own mind untroubled, and consequently unapt to vent peevish expressions, or give passionate or inconsist[Pg 81]ent orders to those about him. Thus respect and love go together; and a certain cheerfulness in performance of their duty is the particular distinction of the lower part of this family. When a servant is called before his master, he does not come with an expectation to hear {5} himself rated for some trivial fault, threatened to be stripped,[38] or used with any other unbecoming language, which mean masters often give to worthy servants: but it is often to know what road he took that he came so readily back according to order; whether he passed by {10} such a ground; if the old man who rents it is in good health; or whether he gave Sir Roger's love to him, or the like.

A man who preserves a respect founded on his benevolence to his dependants lives rather like a prince than a {15} master in his family; his orders are received as favours rather than duties; and the distinction of approaching him is part of the reward for executing what is commanded by him.

There is another circumstance in which my friend excels {20} in his management, which is the manner of rewarding his servants. He has ever been of opinion that giving his cast[39] clothes to be worn by valets has a very ill effect upon little minds, and creates a silly sense of equality between the parties, in persons affected only {25} with outward things. I have heard him often pleasant on this occasion,[40] and describe a young gentleman abus[Pg 82]ing his man in that coat[41] which a month or two before was the most pleasing distinction he was conscious of in himself. He would turn his discourse still more pleasantly upon the ladies' bounties of this kind; and I have heard him say he knew a fine woman who distributed {5} rewards and punishments in giving becoming or unbecoming dresses to her maids.

But my good friend is above these little instances of good-will, in bestowing only trifles on his servants; a good servant to him is sure of having it in his choice very {10} soon of being no servant at all. As I before observed, he is so good an husband,[42] and knows so thoroughly that the skill of the purse is the cardinal virtue of this life,—I say, he knows so well that frugality is the support of generosity, that he can often spare a large fine[43] when a {15} tenement falls,[44] and give that settlement to a good servant who has a mind to go into the world, or make a stranger pay the fine to that servant, for his more comfortable maintenance, if he stays in his service.

[Pg 83]

A man of honour and generosity considers it would be miserable to himself to have no will but that of another, though it were of the best person breathing, and for that reason goes on as fast as he is able to put his servants into independent livelihoods. The greatest part of Sir {5} Roger's estate is tenanted by persons who have served himself or his ancestors. It was to me extremely pleasant to observe the visitants from several parts to welcome his arrival into the country; and all the difference that I could take notice of between the late[45] servants who came {10} to see him and those who stayed in the family, was that these latter were looked upon as finer gentlemen and better courtiers.

This manumission and placing them in a way of livelihood I look upon as only what is due to a good servant, {15} which encouragement will make his successor be as diligent, as humble, and as ready as he was. There is something wonderful in the narrowness of those minds which can be pleased, and be barren of bounty to those who please them. {20}

One might, on this occasion, recount the sense that great persons in all ages have had of the merit of their dependants, and the heroic services which men have done their masters in the extremity of their fortunes, and shown to their undone patrons that fortune was all the difference {25} between them; but as I design this my speculation only as a gentle admonition to thankless masters, I shall not go out of the occurrences of common life, but assert it, as[Pg 84] a general observation, that I never saw, but in Sir Roger's family and one or two more, good servants treated as they ought to be. Sir Roger's kindness extends to their children's children, and this very morning he sent his coachman's grandson to prentice. I shall conclude {5} this paper with an account of a picture in his gallery, where there are many which will deserve my future observation.

At the very upper end of this handsome structure I saw the portraiture of two young men standing in a river,—the {10} one naked, the other in a livery. The person supported seemed half dead, but still so much alive as to show in his face exquisite joy and love towards the other. I thought the fainting figure resembled my friend Sir Roger; and, looking at the butler, who stood by me, for {15} an account of it, he informed me that the person in the livery was a servant of Sir Roger's, who stood on the shore while his master was swimming, and observing him taken with some sudden illness, and sink under water, jumped in and saved him.[46] He told me Sir Roger took off the {20} dress he was in as soon as he came home, and by a great bounty at that time, followed by his favour ever since, had made him master of that pretty seat which we saw at a distance as we came to this house. I remembered indeed Sir Roger said there lived a very worthy gentleman, to {25} whom he was highly obliged, without mentioning anything further. Upon my looking a little dissatisfied at some part of the picture, my attendant informed me that it was[Pg 85] against Sir Roger's will, and at the earnest request of the gentleman himself, that he was drawn in the habit in which he had saved his master.



[No. 108. Wednesday, July 4, 1711. Addison.]

Gratis anhelans, multa agendo nihil agens.

As I was yesterday morning walking with Sir Roger before his house, a country fellow brought him a huge {5} fish, which, he told him, Mr. William Wimble had caught that very morning; and that he presented it with his service to him, and intended to come and dine with him. At the same time he delivered a letter, which my friend read to me as soon as the messenger left him. {10}

"Sir Roger,

"I desire you to accept of a jack,[47] which is the best I have caught this season. I intend to come and stay with you a week, and see how the perch bite in the Black River. I observed with some concern, the last time I {15} saw you upon the bowling green, that your whip wanted a lash to it; I will bring half a dozen with me that I twisted last week, which I hope will serve you all the time you are in the country. I have not been out of the saddle[Pg 86] for six days last past, having been at Eton with Sir John's eldest son. He takes to his learning hugely.

"I am, sir, your humble servant,

"Will Wimble."

This extraordinary letter, and message that accompanied {5} it, made me very curious to know the character and quality[48] of the gentleman who sent them, which I found to be as follows. Will Wimble is younger brother to a baronet, and descended of the ancient family of the Wimbles. He is now between forty and fifty, but, being {10} bred to no business and born to no estate, he generally lives with his elder brother as superintendent of his game. He hunts[49] a pack of dogs better than any man in the country, and is very famous for finding out a hare. He is extremely well versed in all the little handicrafts of an {15} idle man; he makes a may-fly[50] to a miracle, and furnishes the whole country with angle-rods. As he is a good-natured, officious fellow, and very much esteemed upon account of his family, he is a welcome guest at every house, and keeps up a good correspondence among all {20} the gentlemen about him. He carries a tulip-root in his pocket from one to another, or exchanges a puppy between a couple of friends that live perhaps in the opposite sides of the county. Will is a particular favourite of all the young heirs, whom he frequently obliges with a net that {25} he has weaved, or a setting-dog that he has made[51] himself.[Pg 87] He now and then presents a pair of garters of his own knitting to their mothers or sisters, and raises a great deal of mirth among them by inquiring, as often as he meets them, how they wear. These gentleman-like manufactures and obliging little humours make Will the darling {5} of the country.

Sir Roger was proceeding in the character of him, when he saw him make up to us with two or three hazel twigs in his hand that he had cut in Sir Roger's woods, as he came through them, in his way to the house. I was {10} very much pleased to observe on one side the hearty and sincere welcome with which Sir Roger received him, and on the other, the secret joy which his guest discovered at sight of the good old knight. After the first salutes were over, Will desired Sir Roger to lend him one of his servants {15} to carry a set of shuttlecocks he had with him in a little box to a lady that lived about a mile off, to whom it seems he had promised such a present for above this half year. Sir Roger's back was no sooner turned but honest Will began to tell me of a large cock-pheasant {20} that he had sprung in one of the neighbouring woods, with two or three other adventures of the same nature. Odd and uncommon characters are the game that I look for and most delight in; for which reason I was as much pleased with the novelty of the person that talked to me as {25} he could be for his life with the springing of a pheasant, and therefore listened to him with more than ordinary attention.

In the midst of his discourse the bell rung to dinner,[Pg 88] where the gentleman I have been speaking of had the pleasure of seeing the huge jack he had caught, served up for the first dish in a most sumptuous manner. Upon our sitting down to it, he gave us a long account how he had hooked it, played with it, foiled it, and at length {5} drew it out upon the bank, with several other particulars that lasted all the first course. A dish of wild fowl that came afterwards furnished conversation for the rest of the dinner, which concluded with a late invention of Will's for improving the quail-pipe.[52] {10}

Upon withdrawing into my room after dinner, I was secretly touched with compassion towards the honest gentleman that had dined with us, and could not but consider, with a great deal of concern, how so good an heart and such busy hands were wholly employed in trifles; {15} that so much humanity should be so little beneficial to others, and so much industry so little advantageous to himself. The same temper of mind and application to affairs might have recommended him to the public esteem, and have raised his fortune in another station of life. What {20} good to his country or himself might not a trader or merchant have done with such useful though ordinary qualifications?

Will Wimble's is the case of many a younger brother of a great family, who had rather see their children starve {25} like gentlemen than thrive in a trade or profession that is beneath their quality. This humour fills several parts of Europe with pride and beggary. It is the happiness of a[Pg 89] trading nation, like ours, that the younger sons, though uncapable of any liberal art or profession, may be placed in such a way of life as may perhaps enable them to vie with the best of their family. Accordingly, we find several citizens that were launched into the world with narrow {5} fortunes, rising by an honest industry to greater estates than those of their elder brothers. It is not improbable but Will was formerly tried at divinity, law, or physic; and that finding his genius did not lie that way, his parents gave him up at length to his own inventions. But {10} certainly, however improper[53] he might have been for studies of a higher nature, he was perfectly well turned for the occupations of trade and commerce. As I think this is a point which cannot be too much inculcated, I shall desire my reader to compare what I have here written, {15} with what I have said in my twenty-first speculation.



[No. 109. Thursday, July 5, 1711. Steele.]

Abnormis sapiens.

I was this morning walking in the gallery, when Sir Roger entered at the end opposite to me, and, advancing towards me, said he was glad to meet me among his rela[Pg 90]tions, the de Coverleys, and hoped I liked the conversation of so much good company, who were as silent as myself. I knew he alluded to the pictures; and, as he is a gentleman who does not a little value himself upon his ancient descent, I expected he would give me some account of {5} them. We were now arrived at the upper end of the gallery, when the knight faced towards one of the pictures, and, as we stood before it, he entered into the matter, after his blunt way of saying things as they occur to his imagination, without regular introduction or care to preserve {10} the appearance of chain of thought.

"It is," said he, "worth while to consider the force of dress, and how the persons of one age differ from those of another merely by that only. One may observe, also, that the general fashion of one age has been followed by {15} one particular set of people in another, and by them preserved from one generation to another. Thus, the vast jetting coat and small bonnet, which was the habit[54] in Harry the Seventh's time, is kept on in the yeomen of the guard; not without a good and politic view, because they {20} look a foot taller, and a foot and an half broader; besides that the cap leaves the face expanded, and consequently more terrible, and fitter to stand at the entrance of palaces.

"This predecessor of ours, you see, is dressed after {25} this manner, and his cheeks would be no larger than mine, were he in a hat as I am. He was the last man that won a prize in the Tilt-yard, which is now a common[Pg 91] street before Whitehall. You see the broken lance that lies there by his right foot. He shivered that lance of his adversary all to pieces; and, bearing himself—look you, sir—in this manner, at the same time he came within the target of the gentleman who rode against him, and {5} taking him with incredible force before him on the pommel of his saddle, he in that manner rid the tournament over, with an air that showed he did it rather to perform the rule[55] of the lists than expose his enemy. However, it appeared he knew how to make use of a victory; and, {10} with a gentle trot, he marched up to a gallery where their mistress sat,—for they were rivals,—and let him down with laudable courtesy and pardonable insolence. I don't know but it might be exactly where the coffee-house is now. {15}

"You are to know this my ancestor was not only of a military genius, but fit also for the arts of peace; for he played on the bass viol as well as any gentleman at court. You see where his viol hangs by his basket-hilt sword. The action at the Tilt-yard you may be sure won {20} the fair lady, who was a maid of honour, and the greatest beauty of her time. Here she stands, the next picture. You see, sir, my great-great-great-grandmother has on the new-fashioned petticoat, except that the modern is gathered at the waist: my grandmother appears as if she {25} stood in a large drum, whereas the ladies now walk as if they were in a go-cart. For all this lady was bred at court, she became an excellent country wife; she brought[Pg 92] ten children; and, when I show you the library, you shall see, in her own hand, allowing for the difference of the language, the best receipt now in England both for an hasty-pudding and a white-pot.

"If you please to fall back a little,—because 'tis necessary {5} to look at the three next pictures at one view,—these are three sisters. She on the right hand, who is so very beautiful, died a maid; the next to her, still handsomer, had the same fate, against her will; this homely thing in the middle had both their portions added to her own, and {10} was stolen by a neighbouring gentleman, a man of stratagem and resolution, for he poisoned three mastiffs to come at her, and knocked down two deer-stealers in carrying her off. Misfortunes happen in all families. The theft of this romp and so much money was no great matter to {15} our estate. But the next heir that possessed it[56] was this soft gentleman, whom you see there; observe the small buttons, the little boots, the laces, the slashes about his clothes, and, above all, the posture he is drawn in,—which to be sure was his own choosing. You see he sits {20} with one hand on a desk, writing and looking as it were another way, like an easy writer or a sonneteer. He was one of those that had too much wit to know how to live in the world: he was a man of no justice, but great good manners; he ruined everybody that had anything to do {25} with him, but never said a rude thing in his life; the most indolent person in the world, he would sign a deed that passed away half his estate, with his gloves on, but[Pg 93] would not put on his hat before a lady if it were to save his country. He is said to be the first that made love by squeezing the hand. He left the estate with ten thousand pounds' debt upon it; but, however, by all hands I have been informed that he was every way the finest {5} gentleman in the world. That debt lay heavy on our house for one generation; but it was retrieved by a gift from that honest man you see there, a citizen of our name, but nothing at all akin to us. I know Sir Andrew Freeport has said behind my back that this man was {10} descended from one of the ten children of the maid of honour I showed you above; but it was never made out. We winked at the thing, indeed, because money was wanting at that time."

Here I saw my friend a little embarrassed, and turned {15} my face to the next portraiture.

Sir Roger went on with his account of the gallery in the following manner: "This man"—pointing to him I looked at—"I take to be the honour of our house, Sir Humphrey de Coverley. He was, in his dealings, as {20} punctual as a tradesman and as generous as a gentleman. He would have thought himself as much undone by breaking his word as if it were to be followed by bankruptcy. He served his country as knight of this shire[57] to his dying day. He found it no easy matter to maintain an integrity {25} in his words and actions, even in things that regarded the offices which were incumbent upon him in the care of his own affairs and relations of life, and therefore dreaded,[Pg 94] though he had great talents, to go into employments of state, where he must be exposed to the snares of ambition. Innocence of life and great ability were the distinguishing parts of his character; the latter, he had often observed, had led to the destruction of the former, and {5} used frequently to lament that great and good had not the same signification. He was an excellent husbandman,[58] but had resolved not to exceed such a degree of wealth; all above it he bestowed in secret bounties many years after the sum he aimed at for his own use was attained. {10} Yet he did not slacken his industry, but to a decent old age spent the life and fortune which was superfluous to himself, in the service of his friends and neighbours."

Here we were called to dinner; and Sir Roger ended {15} the discourse of this gentleman by telling me, as we followed the servant, that this his ancestor was a brave man, and narrowly escaped being killed in the Civil Wars; "for," said he, "he was sent out of the field upon a private message the day before the battle of Worcester." {20}

The whim of narrowly escaping by having been within a day of danger, with other matters above mentioned, mixed with good sense, left me at a loss whether I was more delighted with my friend's wisdom or simplicity. {25}


[Pg 95]


[No. 110. Friday, July 6, 1711. Addison.]

Horror ubique animos, simul ipsa silentia terrent.

At a little distance from Sir Roger's house, among the ruins of an old abbey, there is a long walk of aged elms, which are shot up so very high that, when one passes under them, the rooks and crows that rest upon the tops of them seem to be cawing in another region. I am very {5} much delighted with this sort of noise, which I consider as a kind of natural prayer to that Being who supplies the wants of His whole creation, and who, in the beautiful language of the Psalms, feedeth the young ravens that call upon Him. I like this retirement the better, because {10} of an ill report it lies under of being haunted; for which reason, as I have been told in the family, no living creature ever walks in it besides the chaplain. My good friend the butler desired me, with a very grave face, not to venture myself in it after sunset, for that one of the {15} footmen had been almost frighted out of his wits by a spirit that appeared to him in the shape of a black horse without an head; to which he added, that about a month ago one of the maids coming home late that way, with a pail of milk upon her head, heard such a rustling among {20} the bushes that she let it fall.

[Pg 96]

I was taking a walk in this place last night between the hours of nine and ten, and could not but fancy it one of the most proper scenes in the world for a ghost to appear in. The ruins of the abbey are scattered up and down on every side, and half covered with ivy and elder {5} bushes, the harbours of several solitary birds which seldom make their appearance till the dusk of the evening. The place was formerly a church-yard, and has still several marks in it of graves and burying-places. There is such an echo among the old ruins and vaults that, if you stamp {10} but a little louder than ordinary, you hear the sound repeated. At the same time the walk of elms, with the croaking of the ravens which from time to time are heard from the tops of them, looks exceeding solemn and venerable. These objects naturally raise seriousness and {15} attention; and when night heightens the awfulness of the place, and pours out her supernumerary horrors upon everything in it, I do not at all wonder that weak minds fill it with spectres and apparitions.

Mr. Locke, in his chapter of the Association of Ideas, {20} has very curious remarks to show how, by the prejudice of education, one idea often introduces into the mind a whole set that bear no resemblance to one another in the nature of things.[59] Among several examples of this kind, he produces the following instance: "The ideas of goblins {25} and sprites have really no more to do with darkness than light; yet, let but a foolish maid inculcate these often on the mind of a child, and raise them there to[Pg 97]gether, possibly he shall never be able to separate them again so long as he lives, but darkness shall ever afterwards bring with it those frightful ideas, and they shall be so joined that he can no more bear the one than the other." {5}

As I was walking in this solitude, where the dusk of the evening conspired with so many other occasions of terror, I observed a cow grazing not far from me, which an imagination that is apt to startle might easily have construed into a black horse without an head; and I dare {10} say the poor footman lost his wits upon some such trivial occasion.

My friend Sir Roger has often told me, with a great deal of mirth, that at his first coming to his estate, he found three parts of his house altogether useless: that {15} the best room in it had the reputation of being haunted, and by that means was locked up; that noises had been heard in his long gallery, so that he could not get a servant to enter it after eight o'clock at night; that the door of one of his chambers was nailed up, because there went {20} a story in the family that a butler had formerly hanged himself in it; and that his mother, who lived to a great age, had shut up half the rooms in the house, in which either her husband, a son, or daughter had died. The knight, seeing his habitation reduced to so small a {25} compass and himself in a manner shut out of his own house, upon the death of his mother ordered all the apartments to be flung open and exorcised by his chaplain, who lay in every room one after another, and by that[Pg 98] means dissipated the fears which had so long reigned in the family.

I should not have been thus particular upon these ridiculous horrors, did not I find them so very much prevail in all parts of the country. At the same time, I think a person {5} who is thus terrified with the imagination of ghosts and spectres much more reasonable than one who, contrary to the reports of all historians, sacred and profane, ancient and modern, and to the traditions of all nations, thinks the appearance of spirits fabulous and groundless. {10} Could not I give myself up to this general testimony of mankind, I should to the relations of particular persons who are now living, and whom I cannot distrust in other matters of fact. I might here add, that not only the historians, to whom we may join the poets, but likewise {15} the philosophers of antiquity have favoured this opinion. Lucretius himself, though by the course of his philosophy he was obliged to maintain that the soul did not exist separate from the body, makes no doubt of the reality of apparitions, and that men have often appeared after their {20} death. This I think very remarkable: he was so pressed with the matter of fact which he could not have the confidence to deny, that he was forced to account for it by one of the most absurd unphilosophical notions that was ever started. He tells us that the surfaces of all bodies {25} are perpetually flying off from their respective bodies one after another; and that these surfaces or thin cases that included each other, whilst they were joined in the body, like the coats of an onion, are sometimes seen entire when[Pg 99] they are separated from it; by which means we often behold the shapes and shadows of persons who are either dead or absent.

I shall dismiss this paper with a story out of Josephus, not so much for the sake of the story itself as for the {5} moral reflections with which the author concludes it, and which I shall here set down in his own words:

"Glaphyra, the daughter of King Archelaus, after the death of her two first husbands,—being married to a third, who was brother to her first husband, and so passionately {10} in love with her that he turned off his former wife to make room for this marriage,—had a very odd kind of dream. She fancied that she saw her first husband coming towards her, and that she embraced him with great tenderness; when in the midst of the pleasure which {15} she expressed at the sight of him, he reproached her after the following manner:

"'Glaphyra,' says he, 'thou hast made good the old saying that women are not to be trusted. Was not I the husband of thy virginity? Have I not children by thee? {20} How couldst thou forget our loves so far as to enter into a second marriage, and after that into a third?... However, for the sake of our past loves I shall free thee from thy present reproach, and make thee mine for ever.' {25}

"Glaphyra told this dream to several women of her acquaintance, and died soon after.

"I thought this story might not be impertinent in this place wherein I speak of those kings. Besides that, the[Pg 100] example deserves to be taken notice of, as it contains a most certain proof of the immortality of the soul, and of divine providence. If any man thinks these facts incredible, let him enjoy his own opinion to himself, but let him not endeavour to disturb the belief of others, who by {5} instances of this nature are excited to the study of virtue."



[No. 112. Monday, July 9, 1711. Addison.]

Ἀθανάτους μὲν πρῶτα θεοὺς, νόμῳ ὡς διάκειται, Τίμα.

I am always very well pleased with a country Sunday, and think, if keeping holy the seventh day were only a human institution, it would be the best method that could {10} have been thought of for the polishing and civilizing of mankind. It is certain the country people would soon degenerate into a kind of savages and barbarians were there not such frequent returns of a stated time, in which the whole village meet together with their best faces, and {15} in their cleanliest habits, to converse with one another upon indifferent[60] subjects, hear their duties explained to them, and join together in adoration of the Supreme Being. Sunday clears away the rust of the whole week,[Pg 101] not only as it refreshes in their minds the notions of religion, but as it puts both the sexes upon appearing in their most agreeable forms, and exerting all such qualities as are apt to give them a figure in the eye of the village. A country fellow distinguishes himself as {5} much in the church-yard as a citizen does upon the Change,[61] the whole parish politics being generally discussed at that place, either after sermon or before the bell rings.

My friend Sir Roger, being a good churchman, has {10} beautified the inside of his church with several texts of his own choosing; he has likewise given a handsome pulpit cloth, and railed in the communion table at his own expense. He has often told me that, at his coming to his estate, he found his parishioners very irregular; {15} and that in order to make them kneel and join in the responses, he gave every one of them a hassock and a Common Prayer Book, and at the same time employed an itinerant singing-master, who goes about the country for that purpose, to instruct them rightly in the tunes of {20} the Psalms; upon which they now very much value themselves, and indeed outdo most of the country churches that I have ever heard.

As Sir Roger is landlord to the whole congregation, he keeps them in very good order, and will suffer nobody to {25} sleep in it besides himself; for, if by chance he has been surprised into a short nap at sermon, upon recovering out of it he stands up and looks about him, and, if he sees[Pg 102] anybody else nodding, either wakes them himself, or sends his servant to them. Several other of the old knight's particularities[62] break out upon these occasions: sometimes he will be lengthening out a verse in the singing {5} Psalms half a minute after the rest of the congregation have done with it; sometimes, when he is pleased with the matter of his devotion, he pronounces "Amen" three or four times to the same prayer; and sometimes stands up when everybody else is upon their[63] knees, to count the congregation, or see if any of his tenants are {10} missing.

I was yesterday very much surprised to hear my old friend, in the midst of the service, calling out to one John Matthews to mind what he was about, and not disturb the congregation. This John Matthews, it seems, is {15} remarkable for being an idle fellow, and at that time was kicking his heels for his diversion. This authority of the knight, though exerted in that odd manner which accompanies him in all circumstances of life, has a very good effect upon the parish, who are not polite enough to see {20} anything ridiculous in his behaviour; besides that the general good sense and worthiness of his character makes his friends observe these little singularities as foils that rather set off than blemish his good qualities.

As soon as the sermon is finished, nobody presumes to {25} stir till Sir Roger is gone out of the church. The knight walks down from his seat in the chancel between a double row of his tenants, that stand bowing to him on each[Pg 103] side, and every now and then inquires how such an one's wife, or mother, or son, or father do, whom he does not see at church,—which is understood as a secret reprimand to the person that is absent.

The chaplain has often told me that, upon a catechizing {5} day, when Sir Roger had been pleased with a boy that answers well, he has ordered a Bible to be given him next day for his encouragement, and sometimes accompanies it with a flitch of bacon to his mother. Sir Roger has likewise added five pounds a year to the clerk's {10} place; and, that he may encourage the young fellows to make themselves perfect in the church service, has promised, upon the death of the present incumbent, who is very old, to bestow it according to merit.

The fair understanding between Sir Roger and his {15} chaplain and their mutual concurrence in doing good, is the more remarkable because the very next village is famous for the differences and contentions that rise between the parson and the squire, who live in a perpetual state of war. The parson is always preaching at the {20} squire, and the squire, to be revenged on the parson, never comes to church. The squire has made all his tenants atheists and tithe stealers; while the parson instructs them every Sunday in the dignity of his order, and insinuates to them in almost every sermon that he is {25} a better man than his patron. In short, matters are come to such an extremity that the squire has not said his prayers either in public or private this half year; and that the parson threatens him, if he does not mend his[Pg 104] manners, to pray for him in the face of the whole congregation.

Feuds of this nature, though too frequent in the country, are very fatal to the ordinary people, who are so used to be dazzled with riches that they pay as much deference {5} to the understanding of a man of an estate as of a man of learning; and are very hardly brought to regard any truth, how important soever it may be, that is preached to them, when they know there are several men of five hundred a year[64] who do not believe it. {10}



[No. 113. Tuesday, July 10, 1711. Steele.]

Haerent infixi pectore vultus.

In my first description of the company in which I pass most of my time, it may be remembered that I mentioned a great affliction which my friend Sir Roger had met with in his youth,—which was no less than a disappointment in love. It happened this evening that we fell into a very {15} pleasing walk at a distance from his house. As soon as we came into it, "It is," quoth the good old man, looking round him with a smile, "very hard that any part of my land should be settled upon one who has used me so ill[Pg 105] as the perverse widow did; and yet I am sure I could not see a sprig of any bough of this whole walk of trees but I should reflect upon her and her severity. She has certainly the finest hand of any woman in the world. You are to know this was the place wherein I used to {5} muse upon her; and by that custom I can never come into it but the same tender sentiments revive in my mind, as if I had actually walked with that beautiful creature under these shades. I have been fool enough to carve her name on the bark of several of these trees; so unhappy {10} is the condition of men in love to attempt the removing of their passion by the methods which serve only to imprint it deeper. She has certainly the finest hand of any woman in the world."

Here followed a profound silence; and I was not displeased {15} to observe my friend falling so naturally into a discourse which I had ever before taken notice he industriously avoided. After a very long pause, he entered upon an account of this great circumstance in his life, with an air which I thought raised my idea of him above {20} what I had ever had before; and gave me the picture of that cheerful mind of his before it received that stroke which has ever since affected his words and actions. But he went on as follows:

"I came to my estate in my twenty-second year, and {25} resolved to follow the steps of the most worthy of my ancestors who have inhabited this spot of earth before me, in all the methods of hospitality and good neighbourhood, for the sake of my fame, and in country sports and[Pg 106] recreations, for the sake of my health. In my twenty-third year I was obliged to serve as sheriff of the county; and in my servants, officers, and whole equipage, indulged the pleasure of a young man, who did not think ill of his own person, in taking that public occasion of showing my {5} figure and behaviour to advantage. You may easily imagine to yourself what appearance I made, who am pretty tall, rid well, and was very well dressed, at the head of a whole county, with music before me, a feather in my hat, and my horse well bitted. I can assure you I was not a little {10} pleased with the kind looks and glances I had from all the balconies and windows, as I rode to the hall where the assizes were held. But when I came there, a beautiful creature in a widow's habit sat in court, to hear the event[65] of a cause concerning her dower. This commanding {15} creature (who was born for destruction of all who behold her) put on such a resignation in her countenance, and bore the whispers of all around the court with such a pretty uneasiness, I warrant you, and then recovered herself from one eye to another, till she was perfectly confused {20} by meeting something so wistful in all she encountered, that at last, with a murrain to her,[66] she cast her bewitching eye upon me. I no sooner met it but I bowed like a great surprised booby; and, knowing her cause to be the first which came on, I cried, like a captivated calf {25} as I was, 'Make way for the defendant's witnesses!' This sudden partiality made all the county immediately see the[Pg 107] sheriff also was become a slave to the fine widow. During the time her cause was upon trial, she behaved herself, I warrant you, with such a deep attention to her business, took opportunities to have little billets handed to her counsel, then would be in such a pretty confusion, {5} occasioned, you must know, by acting before so much company, that not only I but the whole court was prejudiced in her favour; and all that the next heir to her husband had to urge was thought so groundless and frivolous that, when it came to her counsel to reply, there was not {10} half so much said as every one besides in the court thought he could have urged to her advantage. You must understand, sir, this perverse woman is one of those unaccountable creatures that secretly rejoice in the admiration of men, but indulge themselves in no further {15} consequences. Hence it is that she has ever had a train of admirers, and she removes from her slaves in town to those in the country according to the seasons of the year. She is a reading lady, and far gone in the pleasures of friendship; she is always accompanied by a confidante, {20} who is witness to her daily protestations against our sex, and consequently a bar to her first steps towards love, upon the strength of her own maxims and declarations.

"However, I must needs say this accomplished mistress of mine has distinguished me above the rest, and {25} has been known to declare Sir Roger de Coverley was the tamest and most human of all the brutes in the country. I was told she said so by one who thought he rallied me; but, upon the strength of this slender encouragement of[Pg 108] being thought least detestable, I made new liveries, new-paired my coach-horses, sent them all to town to be bitted and taught to throw their legs well and move altogether, before I pretended to cross the country and wait upon her. As soon as I thought my retinue suitable to the {5} character of my fortune and youth, I set out from hence to make my addresses. The particular skill of this lady has ever been to inflame your wishes and yet command respect. To make her mistress of this art, she has a greater share of knowledge, wit, and good sense than is {10} usual even among men of merit. Then she is beautiful beyond the race of women. If you won't let her go on with a certain artifice with her eyes, and the skill of beauty, she will arm herself with her real charms, and strike you with admiration instead of desire. It is certain {15} that, if you were to behold the whole woman, there is that dignity in her aspect, that composure in her motion, that complacency in her manner, that if her form makes you hope, her merit makes you fear. But then again, she is such a desperate scholar that no country {20} gentleman can approach her without being a jest. As I was going to tell you, when I came to her house I was admitted to her presence with great civility; at the same time she placed herself to be first seen by me in such an attitude, as I think you call the posture of a picture, that {25} she discovered new charms, and I at last came towards her with such an awe as made me speechless. This she no sooner observed but she made her advantage of it, and began a discourse to me concerning love and honour,[Pg 109] as they both are followed by pretenders, and the real votaries to them. When she had discussed these points in a discourse which I verily believe was as learned as the best philosopher in Europe could possibly make, she asked me whether she was so happy as to fall in with my {5} sentiments on these important particulars. Her confidante sat by her, and upon my being in the last confusion and silence, this malicious aid of hers, turning to her, says, 'I am very glad to observe Sir Roger pauses upon this subject, and seems resolved to deliver all his sentiments {10} upon the matter when he pleases to speak.' They both kept their countenances, and after I had sat half an hour meditating how to behave before such profound casuists, I rose up and took my leave. Chance has since that time thrown me very often in her way, and she as {15} often has directed a discourse to me which I do not understand. This barbarity has kept me ever at a distance from the most beautiful object my eyes ever beheld. It is thus also she deals with all mankind, and you must make love to her, as you would conquer the sphinx, by {20} posing[67] her. But were she like other women, and that there were any talking to her, how constant must the pleasure of that man be who could converse with a creature—But, after all, you may be sure her heart is fixed on some one or other; and yet I have been credibly[Pg 110] {25} informed—but who can believe half that is said? After she had done speaking to me, she put her hand to her bosom and adjusted her tucker. Then she cast her eyes a little down, upon my beholding her too earnestly. They say she sings excellently; her voice in her ordinary speech {5} has something in it inexpressibly sweet. You must know I dined with her at a public table the day after I first saw her, and she helped me to some tansy in the eye of all the gentlemen in the country: she has certainly the finest hand of any woman in the world. I can assure you, sir, {10} were you to behold her, you would be in the same condition; for, as her speech is music, her form is angelic. But I find I grow irregular while I am talking of her; but indeed it would be stupidity to be unconcerned at such perfection. Oh, the excellent creature! she is as {15} inimitable to all women as she is inaccessible to all men."

I found my friend begin to rave, and insensibly led him towards the house, that we might be joined by some other company; and am convinced that the widow is the secret cause of all that inconsistency which appears {20} in some parts of my friend's discourse. Though he has so much command of himself as not directly to mention her, yet, according to that of Martial, which one knows not how to render in English, "Dum tacet hanc loquitur." I shall end this paper with that whole epigram, which {25} represents with much humor my honest friend's condition.

"Quicquid agit Rufus, nihil est nisi Naevia Rufo;
Si gaudet, si flet, si tacet, hanc loquitur:
Caenat, propinat, poscit, negat, annuit,—una est
[Pg 111]
Naevia; si non sit Naevia, mutus erit.
Scriberet hesterna patri cum luce salutem,
Naevia lux, inquit, 'Naevia lumen, ave.'
"Let Rufus weep, rejoice, stand, sit, or walk,
Still he can nothing but of Naevia talk; {5}
Let him eat, drink, ask questions, or dispute,
Still he must speak of Naevia or be mute;
He writ to his father, ending with this line,—
'I am, my lovely Naevia, ever thine.'"    



[No. 114. Wednesday, July 11, 1711. Steele.]

Paupertatis pudor et fuga.

Economy in our affairs has the same effect upon our {10} fortunes which good breeding has upon our conversations. There is a pretending behaviour in both cases, which, instead of making men esteemed, renders them both miserable and contemptible. We had yesterday at Sir Roger's, a set of country gentlemen who dined with him; {15} and after dinner, the glass was taken by those who pleased pretty plentifully. Among others, I observed a person of a tolerable good aspect, who seemed to be more greedy of liquor than any of the company; and yet, methought, he did not taste it with delight. As he grew warm, he {20} was suspicious of everything that was said; and as he[Pg 112] advanced towards being fuddled, his humour grew worse. At the same time, his bitterness seemed to be rather an inward dissatisfaction in his own mind than any dislike he had taken to the company. Upon hearing his name, I knew him to be a gentleman of a considerable fortune {5} in this county, but greatly in debt. What gives the unhappy man this peevishness of spirit is, that his estate is dipped,[68] and is eating out with usury;[69] and yet he has not the heart to sell any part of it. His proud stomach,[70] at the cost of restless nights, constant inquietudes, danger {10} of affronts, and a thousand nameless inconveniences, preserves this canker in his fortune, rather than it shall be said he is a man of fewer hundreds a year than he has been commonly reputed. Thus he endures the torment of poverty, to avoid the name of being less rich. If you {15} go to his house you see great plenty, but served in a manner that shows it is all unnatural, and that the master's mind is not at home. There is a certain waste and carelessness in the air of everything, and the whole appears but a covered indigence, a magnificent poverty. {20} That neatness and cheerfulness which attends the table of him who lives within compass, is wanting, and exchanged for a libertine way of service in all about him.

This gentleman's conduct, though a very common way of management, is as ridiculous as that officer's would be[Pg 113] {25} who had but few men under his command, and should take the charge of an extent of country rather than of a small pass. To pay for, personate,[71] and keep in a man's hands a greater estate than he really has, is of all others[72] the most unpardonable vanity, and must in the end reduce {5} the man who is guilty of it to dishonour. Yet, if we look round us in any county of Great Britain, we shall see many in this fatal error,—if that may be called by so soft a name which proceeds from a false shame of appearing what they really are,—when the contrary behavior {10} would in a short time advance them to the condition which they pretend to.

Laertes has fifteen hundred pounds a year, which is mortgaged for six thousand pounds; but it is impossible to convince him that if he sold as much as would pay off {15} that debt he would save four shillings in the pound, which he gives for the vanity of being the reputed master of it. Yet, if Laertes did this, he would perhaps be easier in his own fortune; but then, Irus, a fellow of yesterday, who has but twelve hundred a year, would be his equal. {20} Rather than this shall be, Laertes goes on to bring well-born beggars into the world, and every twelvemonth charges his estate with at least one year's rent more by the birth of a child.

Laertes and Irus are neighbours, whose way of living {25} are[72] an abomination to each other. Irus is moved by the fear of poverty, and Laertes by the shame of it. Though the[Pg 114] motive of action is of so near affinity in both, and may be resolved into this, "That to each of them poverty is the greatest of all evils," yet are their manners very widely different. Shame of poverty makes Laertes launch into unnecessary equipage, vain expense, and lavish entertainments; {5} fear of poverty makes Irus allow himself only plain necessaries, appear without a servant, sell his own corn, attend his labourers, and be himself a labourer. Shame of poverty makes Laertes go every day a step nearer to it, and fear of poverty stirs up Irus to make {10} every day some further progress from it.

These different motives produce the excesses which men are guilty of in the negligence of and provision for themselves. Usury, stock-jobbing, extortion, and oppression have their seed in the dread of want; and vanity, {15} riot, and prodigality, from the shame of it: but both these excesses are infinitely below the pursuit of a reasonable creature. After we have taken care to command so much as is necessary for maintaining ourselves in the order of men suitable to our character, the care of superfluities is {20} a vice no less extravagant[73] than the neglect of necessaries would have been before.

Certain it is that they are both out of[74] nature when she is followed with reason and good sense. It is from this reflection that I always read Mr. Cowley with the greatest {25} pleasure. His magnanimity is as much above that of other considerable men, as his understanding; and it is a true distinguishing spirit in the elegant author who pub[Pg 115]lished his works, to dwell so much upon the temper of his mind and the moderation of his desires. By this means he has rendered his friend as amiable as famous. That state of life which bears the face of poverty with Mr. Cowley's "great vulgar," is admirably described,[75] and {5} it is no small satisfaction to those of the same turn of desire, that he produces the authority of the wisest men of the best age of the world, to strengthen his opinion of the ordinary pursuits of mankind.

It would, methinks, be no ill maxim of life, if, {10} according to that ancestor of Sir Roger whom I lately mentioned, every man would point to himself what sum he would resolve not to exceed. He might by this means cheat himself into a tranquillity on this side of that expectation, or convert what he should {15} get above it to nobler uses than his own pleasures or necessities.

This temper of mind would exempt a man from an ignorant envy of restless men above him, and a more inexcusable contempt of happy men below him. This {20} would be sailing by some compass, living with some design; but to be eternally bewildered in prospects of future gain, and putting on unnecessary armour against improbable blows of fortune, is a mechanic being,[76] which has not good sense for its direction, but is carried on by[Pg 116] {25} a sort of acquired instinct towards things below our consideration and unworthy our esteem.

It is possible that the tranquillity I now enjoy at Sir Roger's may have created in me this way of thinking, which is so abstracted from the common relish[77] of the {5} world; but, as I am now in a pleasing arbour, surrounded with a beautiful landscape, I find no inclination so strong as to continue in these mansions, so remote from the ostentatious scenes of life; and am, at this present writing, philosopher enough to conclude, with Mr. Cowley,— {10}

"If e'er ambition did my fancy cheat,
With any wish so mean as to be great,
Continue, Heaven, still from me to remove
The humble blessings of that life I love!"



[No. 115. Thursday, July 12, 1711. Addison.]

Ut sit mens sana in corpore sano.

Bodily labour is of two kinds: either that which a man {15} submits to for his livelihood, or that which he undergoes for his pleasure. The latter of them generally changes the name of labour for that of exercise, but differs only from ordinary labour as it rises from another motive.

[Pg 117]

A country life abounds in both these kinds of labour, and for that reason gives a man a greater stock of health, and consequently a more perfect enjoyment of himself, than any other way of life. I consider the body as a system of tubes and glands, or, to use a more rustic phrase, {5} a bundle of pipes and strainers, fitted to one another after so wonderful a manner as to make a proper engine for the soul to work with. This description does not only comprehend the bowels, bones, tendons, veins, nerves, and arteries, but every muscle and every ligature, which {10} is a composition of fibres that are so many imperceptible tubes or pipes, interwoven on all sides with invisible glands or strainers.

This general idea of a human body, without considering it in its niceties of anatomy, lets us see how absolutely {15} necessary labour is for the right preservation of it. There must be frequent motions and agitations, to mix, digest, and separate the juices contained in it, as well as to clear and cleanse that infinitude of pipes and strainers of which it is composed, and to give their solid parts a more firm and {20} lasting tone. Labour or exercise ferments the humours, casts them into their proper channels, throws off redundancies, and helps nature in those secret distributions without which the body cannot subsist in its vigour, nor the soul act with cheerfulness. {25}

I might here mention the effects which this has upon all the faculties of the mind, by keeping the understanding clear, the imagination untroubled, and refining those spirits that are necessary for the proper exertion of our[Pg 118] intellectual faculties during the present laws of union between soul and body. It is to a neglect in this particular that we must ascribe the spleen which is so frequent in men of studious and sedentary tempers, as well as the vapours to which those of the other sex are so often subject. {5}

Had not exercise been absolutely necessary for our well-being, nature would not have made the body so proper for it, by giving such an activity to the limbs and such a pliancy to every part as necessarily produce those compressions, extensions, contortions, dilatations, and all {10} other kinds of motions that are necessary for the preservation of such a system of tubes and glands as has been before mentioned. And that we might not want inducements to engage us in such an exercise of the body as is proper for its welfare, it is so ordered that nothing valuable {15} can be procured without it. Not to mention riches and honour, even food and raiment are not to be come at without the toil of the hands and sweat of the brows. Providence furnishes materials, but expects that we should work them up ourselves. The earth must be laboured {20} before it gives its increase; and when it is forced into its several products, how many hands must they pass through before they are fit for use! Manufactures, trade, and agriculture naturally employ more than nineteen parts of the species in twenty; and as for those who are not {25} obliged to labour, by the condition in which they are born, they are more miserable than the rest of mankind unless they indulge themselves in that voluntary labour which goes by the name of exercise.

[Pg 119]

My friend Sir Roger has been an indefatigable man in business of this kind, and has hung several parts of his house with the trophies of his former labours. The walls of his great hall are covered with the horns of several kinds of deer that he has killed in the chase, which he {5} thinks the most valuable furniture of his house, as they afford him frequent topics of discourse, and show that he has not been idle. At the lower end of the hall is a large otter's skin stuffed with hay, which his mother ordered to be hung up in that manner, and the knight {10} looks upon it with great satisfaction, because it seems he was but nine years old when his dog killed him.[78] A little room adjoining to the hall is a kind of arsenal filled with guns of several sizes and inventions, with which the knight has made great havoc in the woods, and destroyed {15} many thousands of pheasants, partridges, and woodcocks. His stable doors are patched with noses that belonged to foxes of the knight's own hunting down. Sir Roger showed me one of them, that for distinction sake has a brass nail struck through it, which cost him about fifteen {20} hours' riding, carried him through half a dozen counties, killed him a brace of geldings, and lost above half his dogs. This the knight looks upon as one of the greatest exploits of his life. The perverse widow, whom I have given some account of, was the death of several foxes; {25} for Sir Roger has told me that in the course of his amours he patched the western door of his stable. Whenever the widow was cruel, the foxes were sure to pay for it.[Pg 120] In proportion as his passion for the widow abated and old age came on, he left off fox-hunting; but a hare is not yet safe that sits within ten miles of his house.

There is no kind of exercise which I would so recommend to my readers of both sexes as this of riding, as {5} there is none which so much conduces to health, and is every way accommodated to the body, according to the idea which I have given of it. Dr. Sydenham is very lavish in its praises; and if the English reader will see the mechanical effects of it described at length, he may {10} find them in a book published not many years since, under the title of the Medicina Gymnastica.

For my own part, when I am in town, for want of these opportunities I exercise myself an hour every morning upon a dumb-bell that is placed in a corner of my room, {15} and pleases me the more because it does everything I require of it in the most profound silence. My landlady and her daughters are so well acquainted with my hours of exercise, that they never come into my room to disturb me whilst I am ringing. {20}

When I was some years younger than I am at present, I used to employ myself in a more laborious diversion, which I learned from a Latin treatise of exercises that is written with great erudition. It is there called the [Greek: skiomachia], or the fighting with a man's own shadow, and {25} consists in the brandishing of two short sticks grasped in each hand, and loaden with plugs of lead at either end. This opens the chest, exercises the limbs, and gives a man all the pleasure of boxing, without the blows. I could[Pg 121] wish that several learned men would lay out that time which they employ in controversies and disputes about nothing, in this method of fighting with their own shadows. It might conduce very much to evaporate the spleen, which makes them uneasy[79] to the public as well as to {5} themselves.

To conclude, as I am a compound of soul and body, I consider myself as obliged to a double scheme of duties, and think I have not fulfilled the business of the day when I do not thus employ the one in labour and exercise, {10} as well as the other in study and contemplation.



[No. 116. Friday, July 13, 1711. Budgell.]

----Vocat ingenti clamore Cithaeron,
Taygetique canes.

Those who have searched into human nature observe that nothing so much shows the nobleness of the soul as that its felicity consists in action. Every man has such an active principle in him that he will find out something {15} to employ himself upon, in whatever place or state of life he is posted. I have heard of a gentleman who was under close confinement in the Bastile seven years; during[Pg 122] which time he amused himself in scattering a few small pins about his chamber, gathering them up again, and placing them in different figures on the arm of a great chair. He often told his friends afterwards, that unless he had found out this piece of exercise, he verily believed {5} he should have lost his senses.

After what has been said, I need not inform my readers that Sir Roger, with whose character I hope they are at present pretty well acquainted, has in his youth gone through the whole course of those rural diversions which {10} the country abounds in, and which seem to be extremely well suited to that laborious industry a man may observe here in a far greater degree than in towns and cities. I have before hinted at some of my friend's exploits: he has in his youthful days taken forty coveys of partridges {15} in a season, and tired many a salmon with a line consisting but of a single hair. The constant thanks and good wishes of the neighbourhood always attended him on account of his remarkable enmity towards foxes, having[80] destroyed more of those vermin in one year than it was thought the {20} whole country could have produced. Indeed, the knight does not scruple to own, among his most intimate friends, that in order to establish his reputation this way, he has secretly sent for great numbers of them[81] out of other counties, which he used to turn loose about the country {25} by night, that he might the better signalize himself in their destruction the next day. His hunting horses were the[Pg 123] finest and best managed in all these parts: his tenants are still full of the praises of a gray stone-horse[82] that unhappily staked himself[83] several years since, and was buried with great solemnity in the orchard.

Sir Roger, being at present too old for fox-hunting, to {5} keep himself in action has disposed of his beagles and got a pack of stop-hounds.[84] What these want in speed he endeavours to make amends for by the deepness of their mouths and the variety of their notes, which are suited in such manner to each other that the whole cry makes up {10} a complete concert. He is so nice in this particular that a gentleman having made him a present of a very fine hound the other day, the knight returned it by the servant with a great many expressions of civility, but desired him to tell his master that the dog he had sent was indeed a {15} most excellent bass, but that at present he only wanted a counter tenor. Could I believe my friend had ever read Shakespeare, I should certainly conclude he had taken the hint from Theseus, in the Midsummer Night's Dream: {20}

"My hounds are bred out of the Spartan kind,
So flew'd,[85] so sanded,[86] and their heads are hung
With ears that sweep away the morning dew:
[Pg 124]
Crook-knee'd and dew-lapp'd[87] like Thessalian bulls;
Slow in pursuit, but match'd in mouths,[88] like bells,
Each under each.[89] A cry more tuneable
Was never holla'd to, nor cheer'd with horn."

Sir Roger is so keen at this sport that he has been out {5} almost every day since I came down; and upon the chaplain's offering to lend me his easy pad, I was prevailed on yesterday morning to make one of the company. I was extremely pleased, as we rid along, to observe the general benevolence of all the neighbourhood towards {10} my friend. The farmers' sons thought themselves happy if they could open a gate for the good old knight as he passed by; which he generally requited with a nod or a smile, and a kind inquiry after their fathers and uncles.

After we had rid about a mile from home, we came {15} upon a large heath, and the sportsmen began to beat.[90] They had done so for some time, when, as I was at a little distance from the rest of the company, I saw a hare pop out from a small furze-brake almost under my horse's feet. I marked the way she took, which I endeavoured to make {20} the company sensible of by extending my arm; but to no purpose, till Sir Roger, who knows that none of my extraordinary motions are insignificant, rode up to me,[Pg 125] and asked me if puss was gone that way. Upon my answering, "Yes," he immediately called in the dogs and put them upon the scent. As they were going off, I heard one of the country fellows muttering to his companion that 'twas a wonder they had not lost all their sport, for {5} want of the silent gentleman's crying "Stole away!"

This,[91] with my aversion to leaping hedges, made me withdraw to a rising ground, from whence I could have the pleasure of the whole chase, without the fatigue of keeping in with the hounds. The hare immediately threw {10} them above a mile behind her; but I was pleased to find that instead of running straight forwards, or, in hunter's language, "flying the country," as I was afraid she might have done, she wheeled about, and described a sort of circle round the hill where I had taken my station, in {15} such manner as gave me a very distinct view of the sport. I could see her first pass by, and the dogs some time afterwards unravelling the whole track she had made, and following her through all her doubles. I was at the same time delighted in observing that deference which the rest {20} of the pack paid to each particular hound, according to the character he had acquired amongst them: if they were at fault, and an old hound of reputation opened[92] but once, he was immediately followed by the whole cry; while a raw dog, or one who was a noted liar, might have {25} yelped his heart out without being taken notice of.

The hare now, after having squatted two or three times, and been put up again as often, came still nearer to the[Pg 126] place where she was at first started. The dogs pursued her, and these were followed by the jolly knight, who rode upon a white gelding, encompassed by his tenants and servants, and cheering his hounds with all the gaiety of five-and-twenty. One of the sportsmen rode up to me, {5} and told me that he was sure the chase was almost at an end, because the old dogs, which had hitherto lain behind, now headed the pack. The fellow was in the right. Our hare took a large field just under us, followed by the full cry "in view." I must confess the brightness of the {10} weather, the cheerfulness of everything around me, the chiding of the hounds, which was returned upon us in a double echo from two neighbouring hills, with the hollowing of the sportsmen, and the sounding of the horn, lifted my spirits into a most lively pleasure, which I freely indulged {15} because I was sure it was innocent. If I was under any concern, it was on the account of the poor hare, that was now quite spent, and almost within the reach of her enemies; when the huntsman, getting forward, threw down his pole before the dogs. They were {20} now within eight yards of that game which they had been pursuing for almost as many hours; yet on the signal before mentioned, they all made a sudden stand, and though they continued opening as much as before, durst not once attempt to pass beyond the pole. At the same {25} time Sir Roger rode forward, and, alighting, took up the hare in his arms, which he soon after delivered up to one of his servants with an order, if she could be kept alive, to let her go in his great orchard, where it seems he has[Pg 127] several of these prisoners of war, who live together in a very comfortable captivity. I was highly pleased to see the discipline of the pack, and the good-nature of the knight, who could not find in his heart to murder a creature that had given him so much diversion. {5}

As we were returning home I remembered that Monsieur Pascal, in his most excellent discourse on the Misery of Man, tells us that all our endeavours after greatness proceed from nothing but a desire of being surrounded by a multitude of persons and affairs that may {10} hinder us from looking into ourselves, which is a view we cannot bear. He afterwards goes on to show that our love of sports comes from the same reason, and is particularly severe upon hunting. "What," says he, "unless it be to drown thought, can make men throw away so {15} much time and pains upon a silly animal, which they might buy cheaper in the market?" The foregoing reflection is certainly just when a man suffers his whole mind to be drawn into his sports, and altogether loses himself in the woods; but does not affect those who propose {20} a far more laudable end from this exercise,—I mean, the preservation of health, and keeping all the organs of the soul in a condition to execute her orders. Had that incomparable person, whom I last quoted, been a little more indulgent to himself in this point, the world {25} might probably have enjoyed him much longer; whereas through too great an application to his studies in his youth, he contracted that ill habit of body which, after a tedious sickness, carried him off in the fortieth year of[Pg 128] his age; and the whole history we have of his life till that time, is but one continued account of the behaviour of a noble soul struggling under innumerable pains and distempers.

For my own part, I intend to hunt twice a week during {5} my stay with Sir Roger; and shall prescribe the moderate use of this exercise to all my country friends, as the best kind of physic for mending a bad constitution and preserving a good one.

I cannot do this better than in the following lines out {10} of Mr. Dryden:

"The first physicians by debauch were made;
Excess began, and sloth sustains the trade.
By chase our long-lived fathers earned their food;
Toil strung the nerves, and purified the blood; {15}
But we their sons, a pamper'd race of men,
Are dwindled down to threescore years and ten.
Better to hunt in fields for health unbought
Than fee the doctor for a nauseous draught.
The wise for cure on exercise depend: {20}
God never made his work for man to mend."


[Pg 129]


[No. 117. Saturday, July 14, 1711. Addison.]

Ipsi sibi somnia fingunt.

There are some opinions in which a man should stand neuter,[93] without engaging his assent to one side or the other. Such a hovering faith as this, which refuses to settle upon any determination, is absolutely necessary in a mind that is careful to avoid errors and prepossessions. {5} When the arguments press equally on both sides, in matters that are indifferent to us, the safest method is to give up ourselves to neither.

It is with this temper of mind that I consider the subject of witchcraft. When I hear the relations that are {10} made from all parts of the world,—not only from Norway and Lapland, from the East and West Indies, but from every particular nation in Europe,—I cannot forbear thinking that there is such an intercourse and commerce with evil spirits as that which we express by the {15} name of witchcraft. But when I consider that the ignorant and credulous parts of the world abound most in these relations, and that the persons among us who are supposed to engage in such an infernal commerce are[Pg 130] people of a weak understanding and a crazed imagination, and at the same time reflect upon the many impostures and delusions of this nature that have been detected in all ages, I endeavour to suspend my belief till I hear more certain accounts than any which have yet {5} come to my knowledge. In short, when I consider the question whether there are such persons in the world as those we call witches, my mind is divided between the two opposite opinions; or rather, to speak my thoughts freely, I believe in general that there is, and has been, {10} such a thing as witchcraft; but at the same time can give no credit to any particular instance of it.

I am engaged in this speculation by some occurrences that I met with yesterday, which I shall give my reader an account of at large. As I was walking with my friend {15} Sir Roger by the side of one of his woods, an old woman applied herself to me for my charity. Her dress and figure put me in mind of the following description in Otway:

"In a close lane as I pursued my journey, {20}
I spied a wrinkled hag, with age grown double,
Picking dry sticks, and mumbling to herself.
Her eyes with scalding rheum were gall'd and red;
Cold palsy shook her head; her hands seem'd wither'd;
And on her crooked shoulders had she wrapp'd {25}
The tatter'd remnants of an old striped hanging,
Which served to keep her carcase from the cold:
So there was nothing of a piece about her.
Her lower weeds[94] were all o'er coarsely patch'd
[Pg 131]
With diff'rent colour'd rags—black, red, white, yellow—
And seem'd to speak variety of wretchedness."

As I was musing on this description and comparing it with the object before me, the knight told me that this very old woman had the reputation of a witch all over {5} the country, that her lips were observed to be always in motion, and that there was not a switch about her house which her neighbours did not believe had carried her several hundreds of miles. If she chanced to stumble, they always found sticks or straws that lay in the figure {10} of a cross before her. If she made any mistake at church, and cried "Amen" in a wrong place, they never failed to conclude that she was saying her prayers backwards. There was not a maid in the parish that would take a pin of her, though she should offer a bag of money {15} with it. She goes by the name of Moll White, and has made the country ring with several imaginary exploits which are palmed upon her. If the dairy maid does not make her butter come so soon as she should have it, Moll White is at the bottom of the churn. If a horse {20} sweats in the stable, Moll White has been upon his back. If a hare makes an unexpected escape from the hounds, the huntsman curses Moll White. "Nay," says Sir Roger, "I have known the master of the pack, upon such an occasion, send one of his servants to see if Moll White {25} had been out that morning."

This account raised my curiosity so far that I begged my friend Sir Roger to go with me into her hovel, which stood in a solitary corner under the side of the wood.[Pg 132] Upon our first entering, Sir Roger winked to me, and pointed at something that stood behind the door, which, upon looking that way, I found to be an old broomstaff. At the same time, he whispered me in the ear to take notice of a tabby cat that sat in the chimney-corner, {5} which, as the old knight told me, lay under as bad a report as Moll White herself; for besides that Moll is said often to accompany her in the same shape, the cat is reported to have spoken twice or thrice in her life, and to have played several pranks above the capacity of an {10} ordinary cat.

I was secretly concerned to see human nature in so much wretchedness and disgrace, but at the same time could not forbear smiling to hear Sir Roger, who is a little puzzled about the old woman, advising her, as a {15} justice of peace, to avoid all communication with the devil, and never to hurt any of her neighbours' cattle. We concluded our visit with a bounty, which was very acceptable.

In our return home, Sir Roger told me that old Moll {20} had been often brought before him for making children spit pins, and giving maids the nightmare; and that the country people would be tossing her into a pond and trying experiments with her every day, if it was not for him and his chaplain. {25}

I have since found, upon inquiry, that Sir Roger was several times staggered with the reports that had been brought him concerning this old woman, and would frequently have bound her over to the county sessions had[Pg 133] not his chaplain with much ado persuaded him to the contrary.

I have been the more particular in this account because I hear there is scarce a village in England that has not a Moll White in it. When an old woman begins to dote, {5} and grow chargeable to a parish, she is generally turned into a witch, and fills the whole country with extravagant fancies, imaginary distempers, and terrifying dreams. In the mean time the poor wretch that is the innocent occasion of so many evils begins to be frighted at herself, and {10} sometimes confesses secret commerce and familiarities that her imagination forms in a delirious old age. This frequently cuts off charity from the greatest objects of compassion, and inspires people with a malevolence towards those poor, decrepit parts of our species in {15} whom human nature is defaced by infirmity and dotage.



[No. 118. Monday, July 16, 1711. Steele.]

Haeret lateri lethalis arundo.

This agreeable seat is surrounded with so many pleasing walks, which are struck out of a wood, in the midst of which the house stands, that one can hardly ever be weary of rambling from one labyrinth of delight to another. {20} To one used to live in a city, the charms of the country[Pg 134] are so exquisite that the mind is lost in a certain transport which raises us above ordinary life, and yet is not strong enough to be inconsistent with tranquillity. This state of mind was I in, ravished with the murmur of waters, the whisper of breezes, the singing of birds; and whether {5} I looked up to the heavens, down on the earth, or turned on the prospects around me, still struck with new sense of pleasure; when I found, by the voice of my friend, who walked by me, that we had insensibly strolled into the grove sacred to the widow. {10}

"This woman," says he, "is of all others the most unintelligible: she either designs to marry, or she does not. What is the most perplexing of all is that she doth not either say to her lovers she has any resolution against that condition of life in general, or that she banishes {15} them; but, conscious of her own merit, she permits their addresses without fear of any ill consequence or want of respect from their rage or despair. She has that in her aspect against which it is impossible to offend. A man whose thoughts are constantly bent upon so agreeable {20} an object must be excused if the ordinary occurrences in conversation are below his attention. I call her indeed perverse; but, alas! why do I call her so? Because her superior merit is such that I cannot approach her without awe, that my heart is checked by too much esteem; I am {25} angry that her charms are not more accessible, that I am more inclined to worship than salute her. How often have I wished her unhappy that I might have an opportunity of serving her; and how often troubled in that very[Pg 135] imagination, at giving her the pain of being obliged! Well, I have led a miserable life in secret upon her account; but fancy she would have condescended to have some regard for me if it had not been for that watchful animal, her confidante. {5}

"Of all persons under the sun," continued he, calling me by name, "be sure to set a mark upon confidantes; they are of all people the most impertinent. What is most pleasant[95] to observe in them is that they assume to themselves the merit of the persons whom they have in their {10} custody. Orestilla is a great fortune, and in wonderful danger of surprises; therefore full of suspicions of the least indifferent thing, particularly careful of new acquaintance, and of growing too familiar with the old. Themista, her favourite woman, is every whit as careful of whom she {15} speaks to, and what she says. Let the ward be a beauty, her confidante shall treat you with an air of distance; let her be a fortune, and she assumes the suspicious behaviour of her friend and patroness. Thus it is that very many of our unmarried women of distinction are to all intents {20} and purposes married, except the consideration of different sexes. They are directly under the conduct of their whisperer, and think they are in a state of freedom while they can prate with one of these attendants of all men in general, and still avoid the man they most like.[96] You do {25} not see one heiress in a hundred whose fate does not turn upon this circumstance of choosing a confidante.[Pg 136] Thus it is that the lady is addressed to,[97] presented,[98] and flattered, only by proxy, in her woman. In my case, how is it possible that—"

Sir Roger was proceeding in his harangue, when we heard the voice of one speaking very importunately, and {5} repeating these words: "What, not one smile?" We followed the sound till we came to a close thicket, on the other side of which we saw a young woman sitting as it were in a personated[99] sullenness just over a transparent fountain. Opposite to her stood Mr. William, Sir Roger's {10} master of the game. The knight whispered me, "Hist, these are lovers!" The huntsman, looking earnestly at the shadow of the young maiden in the stream: "O thou dear picture! if thou couldst remain there in the absence of that fair creature whom you represent in the {15} water, how willingly could I stand here satisfied for ever, without troubling my dear Betty herself with any mention of her unfortunate William, whom she is angry with; but alas! when she pleases to be gone, thou wilt also vanish;—yet let me talk to thee while thou dost stay. {20} Tell my dearest Betty thou dost not more depend upon her than does her William; her absence will make away with me as well as thee. If she offers to remove thee, I'll jump into these waves to lay hold on thee; her, herself, her own dear person, I must never embrace[Pg 137] {25} again. Still do you hear me without one smile?—it is too much to bear." He had no sooner spoke these words, but he made an offer of throwing himself into the water; at which his mistress started up, and at the next instant he jumped across the fountain and met her in an {5} embrace. She, half recovering from her fright, said in the most charming voice imaginable, and with a tone of complaint, "I thought how well you would drown yourself. No, no, you won't drown yourself till you have taken your leave of Susan Holliday." The huntsman, {10} with a tenderness that spoke the most passionate love, and with his cheek close to hers, whispered the softest vows of fidelity in her ear, and cried, "Don't, my dear, believe a word Kate Willow says; she is spiteful and makes stories, because she loves to hear me talk to herself {15} for your sake."

"Look you there," quoth Sir Roger, "do you see there, all mischief comes from confidantes! But let us not interrupt them; the maid is honest, and the man dare not be otherwise, for he knows I loved her father; {20} I will interpose in this matter, and hasten the wedding. Kate Willow is a witty, mischievous wench in the neighborhood, who was a beauty; and makes me hope I shall see the perverse widow in her condition. She was so flippant with her answers to all the honest fellows that {25} came near her, and so very vain of her beauty, that she has valued herself upon her charms till they are ceased. She therefore now makes it her business to prevent other young women from being more discreet than she was[Pg 138] herself; however, the saucy thing said the other day well enough, 'Sir Roger and I must make a match, for we are both despised by those we loved.' The hussy has a great deal of power wherever she comes, and has her share of cunning. {5}

"However, when I reflect upon this woman,[100] I do not know whether, in the main, I am the worse for having loved her; whenever she is recalled to my imagination, my youth returns, and I feel a forgotten warmth in my veins. This affliction in my life has streaked all my conduct {10} with a softness of which I should otherwise have been incapable. It is, perhaps, to this dear image in my heart owing, that I am apt to relent, that I easily forgive, and that many desirable things are grown into my temper which I should not have arrived at by better {15} motives than the thought of being one day hers. I am pretty well satisfied such a passion as I have had is never well cured; and between you and me, I am often apt to imagine it has had some whimsical effect upon my brain. For I frequently find that in my most serious discourse I let {20} fall some comical familiarity of speech or odd phrase that makes the company laugh; however,[101] I cannot but allow she is a most excellent woman. When she is in the country, I warrant she does not run into dairies, but reads upon the nature of plants; but has a glass hive, {25} and comes into the garden out of books[102] to see them[103] work,[Pg 139] and observe the policies of their commonwealth. She understands everything. I'd give ten pounds to hear her argue with my friend Sir Andrew Freeport about trade. No, no; for all she looks so innocent, as it were, take my word for it, she is no fool." {5}



[No. 119. Tuesday, July 17, 1711. Addison.]

Urbem quam dicunt Romam, Meliboee, putavi
Stultus ego huic nostrae similem——.

The first and most obvious reflections which arise in a man who changes the city for the country, are upon the different manners of the people whom he meets with in those two different scenes of life. By manners I do not mean morals, but behaviour and good breeding as they {10} show themselves in the town and in the country.

And here, in the first place, I must observe a very great revolution that has happened in this article of good breeding. Several[104] obliging deferences, condescensions, and submissions, with many outward forms and ceremonies {15} that accompany them, were first of all brought up among the politer part of mankind, who lived in courts and cities, and distinguished themselves from the rustic part of the species—who on all occasions acted[Pg 140] bluntly and naturally—by such a mutual complaisance and intercourse of civilities. These forms of conversation[105] by degrees multiplied and grew troublesome; the modish[106] world found too great a constraint in them, and have therefore thrown most of them aside. Conversation, {5} like the Romish religion, was so encumbered with show and ceremony, that it stood in need of a reformation to retrench its superfluities, and restore it to its natural good sense and beauty. At present, therefore, an unconstrained carriage, and a certain openness of behavior {10} are the height of good breeding. The fashionable world is grown free and easy; our manners sit more loose upon us. Nothing is so modish as an agreeable negligence. In a word, good breeding shows itself most where, to an ordinary eye, it appears the least. {15}

If after this we look on the people of mode in the country, we find in them the manners of the last age. They have no sooner fetched themselves up to the fashion of the polite world but the town has dropped them,[107] and are[108] nearer to the first stage of nature than to those refinements {20} which formerly reigned in the court and still prevail in the country. One may now know a man that never conversed in the world by his excess of good breeding. A polite country squire shall make you as many bows in half an hour as would serve a courtier for a week. There[Pg 141] {25} is infinitely more to do about place and precedency in a meeting of justices' wives than in an assembly of duchesses.

This rural politeness is very troublesome to a man of my temper, who generally take the chair that is next me, {5} and walk first or last, in the front or in the rear, as chance directs. I have known my friend Sir Roger's dinner almost cold before the company could adjust the ceremonial, and be prevailed upon to sit down; and have heartily pitied my old friend, when I have seen him {10} forced to pick and cull his guests, as they sat at the several parts of his table, that he might drink their healths according to their respective ranks and qualities. Honest Will Wimble, who I should have thought had been altogether uninfected with ceremony, gives me {15} abundance of trouble in this particular. Though he has been fishing all the morning, he will not help himself at dinner till I am served. When we are going out of the hall, he runs behind me; and last night, as we were walking in the fields, stopped short at a stile till I came up to {20} it, and upon my making signs to him to get over, told me, with a serious smile, that, sure, I believed they had no manners in the country.

There has happened another revolution in the point of good breeding, which relates to the conversation {25} among men of mode, and which I cannot but look upon as very extraordinary. It was certainly one of the first distinctions of a well-bred man to express everything that had the most remote appearance of being obscene[Pg 142] in modest terms and distant phrases; whilst the clown, who had no such delicacy of conception and expression, clothed his ideas in most plain, homely terms that are the most obvious and natural. This kind of good manners was perhaps carried to an excess, so as to make {5} conversation too stiff, formal, and precise; for which reason (as hypocrisy in one age is generally succeeded by atheism in another), conversation is in a great measure relapsed into the first extreme; so that at present several of our men of the town, and particularly those {10} who have been polished in France, make use of the most coarse, uncivilized words in our language, and utter themselves often in such a manner as a clown would blush to hear.

This infamous piece of good breeding which reigns {15} among the coxcombs of the town has not yet made its way into the country; and as it is impossible for such an irrational way of conversation to last long among a people that make any profession of religion, or show of modesty, if the country gentlemen get into it they will {20} certainly be left in the lurch. Their good breeding will come too late to them, and they will be thought a parcel of lewd clowns, while they fancy themselves talking together like men of wit and pleasure.

As the two points of good breeding which I have {25} hitherto insisted upon regard behaviour and conversation, there is a third which turns upon dress. In this, too, the country are[109] very much behindhand. The rural beaus[Pg 143] are not yet got out of the fashion that took place at the time of the Revolution, but ride about the country in red coats and laced hats, while the women in many parts are still trying to outvie one another in the height of their head-dresses. {5}

But a friend of mine, who is now upon the western circuit, having promised to give me an account of the several modes and fashions that prevail in the different parts of the nation through which he passes, I shall defer the enlarging upon this last topic till I have received a {10} letter from him, which I expect every post.



[No. 122. Friday, July 20, 1711. Addison.]

Comes iucundus in via pro vehiculo est.
Publ. Syr.

A man's first care should be to avoid the reproaches of his own heart; his next, to escape the censures of the world. If the last interferes with the former, it ought to be entirely neglected; but otherwise there cannot be a {15} greater satisfaction to an honest mind than to see those approbations which it gives itself seconded by the applauses of the public. A man is more sure of his conduct when the verdict which he passes upon his own behaviour is thus warranted and confirmed by the opinion of all {20} that know him.

[Pg 144]

My worthy friend Sir Roger is one of those who is not only at peace within himself, but beloved and esteemed by all about him. He receives a suitable tribute for his universal benevolence to mankind in the returns of affection and good-will which are paid him by every one that {5} lives within his neighbourhood. I lately met with two or three odd instances of that general respect which is shown to the good old knight. He would needs carry Will Wimble and myself with him to the county assizes. As we were upon the road, Will Wimble joined a couple of {10} plain men who rid before us, and conversed with them for some time; during which my friend Sir Roger acquainted me with their characters.

"The first of them," says he, "that has a spaniel by his side, is a yeoman of about an hundred pounds a year, {15} an honest man. He is just within the Game Act and qualified to kill an hare or a pheasant. He knocks down a dinner with his gun twice or thrice a week; and by that means lives much cheaper than those who have not so good an estate as himself. He would be a good neighbour {20} if he did not destroy so many partridges; in short, he is a very sensible man, shoots flying,[110] and has been several times foreman of the petty jury.

"The other that rides along with him is Tom Touchy, a fellow famous for taking the law of everybody. There {25} is not one in the town where he lives that he has not sued at a quarter sessions. The rogue had once the impudence to go to law with the widow. His head is full of costs,[Pg 145] damages, and ejectments; he plagued a couple of honest gentlemen so long for a trespass in breaking one of his hedges, till[111] he was forced to sell the ground it enclosed to defray the charges of the prosecution. His father left him fourscore pounds a year, but he has cast and been {5} cast[112] so often that he is not now worth thirty. I suppose he is going upon the old business of the willow tree."

As Sir Roger was giving me this account of Tom Touchy, Will Wimble and his two companions stopped short till we came up to them. After having paid their {10} respects to Sir Roger, Will told him that Mr. Touchy and he must appeal to him upon a dispute that arose between them. Will, it seems, had been giving his fellow-traveller an account of his angling one day in such a hole; when Tom Touchy, instead of hearing out his story, told him {15} that Mr. Such-an-one, if he pleased, might take the law of him for fishing in that part of the river. My friend Sir Roger heard them both, upon a round trot; and, after having paused some time, told them, with the air of a man who would not give his judgment rashly, that much might {20} be said on both sides. They were neither of them dissatisfied with the knight's determination, because neither of them found himself in the wrong by it. Upon which we made the best of our way to the assizes.

The court was sat before Sir Roger came; but notwithstanding {25} all the justices had taken their places upon the bench, they made room for the old knight at the head of[Pg 146] them; who, for his reputation in the country, took occasion to whisper in the judge's ear that he was glad his lordship had met with so much good weather in his circuit. I was listening to the proceeding of the court with much attention, and infinitely pleased with that great {5} appearance and solemnity which so properly accompanies such a public administration of our laws, when, after about an hour's sitting, I observed, to my great surprise, in the midst of a trial, that my friend Sir Roger was getting up to speak. I was in some pain for him, till I found he {10} had acquitted himself of two or three sentences with a look of much business and great intrepidity.

Upon his first rising, the court was hushed, and a general whisper ran among the country people that Sir Roger was up. The speech he made was so little to the purpose {15} that I shall not trouble my readers with an account of it; and I believe was not so much designed by the knight himself to inform the court, as to give him a figure in my eye, and keep up his credit in the country.

I was highly delighted, when the court rose, to see the {20} gentlemen of the country gathering about my old friend, and striving who should compliment him most; at the same time that the ordinary people gazed upon him at a distance, not a little admiring his courage, that was not afraid to speak to the judge. {25}

In our return home we met with a very odd accident which I cannot forbear relating, because it shows how desirous all who know Sir Roger are of giving him marks of their esteem. When we arrived upon the verge of his[Pg 147] estate, we stopped at a little inn to rest ourselves and our horses. The man of the house had, it seems, been formerly a servant in the knight's family; and, to do honour to his old master, had some time since, unknown to Sir Roger, put him up in a sign-post before the door; so that {5} the knight's head had hung out upon the road about a week before he himself knew anything of the matter. As soon as Sir Roger was acquainted with it, finding that his servant's indiscretion proceeded wholly from affection and good-will, he only told him that he had made him {10} too high a compliment; and when the fellow seemed to think that could hardly be, added with a more decisive look, that it was too great an honour for any man under a duke; but told him at the same time that it might be altered with a very few touches, and that he himself {15} would be at the charge of it. Accordingly they got a painter, by the knight's directions, to add a pair of whiskers to the face, and by a little aggravation of the features to change it into the Saracen's Head. I should not have known this story had not the innkeeper, upon Sir Roger's {20} alighting, told him in my hearing that his honour's head was brought back last night with the alterations that he had ordered to be made in it. Upon this, my friend, with his usual cheerfulness, related the particulars above mentioned, and ordered the head to be brought into the {25} room. I could not forbear discovering greater expressions of mirth than ordinary upon the appearance of this monstrous face, under which, notwithstanding it was made to frown and stare in a most extraordinary manner, I[Pg 148] could still discover[113] a distant resemblance of my old friend. Sir Roger, upon seeing me laugh, desired me to tell him truly if I thought it possible for people to know him in that disguise. I at first kept my usual silence; but upon the knight's conjuring me to tell him whether it was not {5} still more like himself than a Saracen, I composed my countenance in the best manner I could, and replied that much might be said on both sides.

These several adventures, with the knight's behaviour in them, gave me as pleasant a day as ever I met with in {10} any of my travels.



[No. 123. Saturday, July 21, 1711. Addison.]

Doctrina sed vim promovet insitam,
Rectique cultus pectora roborant:
Utcunque defecere mores,
Dedecorant bene nata culpae.

As I was yesterday taking the air with my friend Sir Roger, we were met by a fresh-coloured, ruddy young man, who rid by us full speed, with a couple of servants behind him. Upon my inquiry who he was, Sir Roger told me {15} that he was a young gentleman of a considerable estate, who had been educated by a tender mother, that lives not[Pg 149] many miles from the place where we were. She is a very good lady, says my friend, but took so much care of her son's health, that she has made him good for nothing. She quickly found that reading was bad for his eyes, and that writing made his head ache. He was let loose {5} among the woods as soon as he was able to ride on horse-back, or to carry a gun upon his shoulder. To be brief, I found by my friend's account of him, that he had got a great stock of health, but nothing else; and that, if it were a man's business only to live, there would not be a {10} more accomplished young fellow in the whole country.

The truth of it is, since my residing in these parts I have seen and heard innumerable instances of young heirs and elder brothers who—either from their own reflecting upon the estates they are born to, and therefore {15} thinking all other accomplishments unnecessary; or from hearing these notions frequently inculcated to them by the flattery of their servants and domestics; or from the same foolish thought prevailing in those who have the care of their education—are of no manner of use but to keep {20} up their families, and transmit their lands and houses in a line to posterity.

This makes me often think on a story I have heard of two friends, which I shall give my reader at large under feigned names. The moral of it may, I hope, be useful, {25} though there are some circumstances which make it rather appear like a novel than a true story.

Eudoxus and Leontine began the world with small estates. They were both of them men of good sense[Pg 150] and great virtue. They prosecuted their studies together in their earlier years, and entered into such a friendship as lasted to the end of their lives. Eudoxus, at his first setting out in the world, threw himself into a court, where by his natural endowments and his acquired abilities he {5} made his way from one post to another, till at length he had raised a very considerable fortune. Leontine, on the contrary, sought all opportunities of improving his mind by study, conversation, and travel. He was not only acquainted with all the sciences, but with the most eminent {10} professors of them throughout Europe. He knew perfectly well the interests of its princes, with the customs and fashions of their courts, and could scarce meet with the name of an extraordinary person in the Gazette whom he had not either talked to or seen. In short, he {15} had so well mixed and digested his knowledge of men and books, that he made one of the most accomplished persons of his age. During the whole course of his studies and travels, he kept up a punctual correspondence with Eudoxus, who often made himself acceptable to the {20} principal men about court by the intelligence which he received from Leontine. When they were both turned of forty,—an age in which, according to Mr. Cowley, "there is no dallying with life,"—they determined, pursuant to the resolution they had taken in the beginning of their {25} lives, to retire, and pass the remainder of their days in the country. In order to this, they both of them married much about the same time. Leontine, with his own and his wife's fortune, bought a farm of three hundred a year,[Pg 151] which lay within the neighbourhood of his friend Eudoxus, who had purchased an estate of as many thousands. They were both of them fathers about the same time; Eudoxus having a son born to him, and Leontine a daughter: but, to the unspeakable grief of the latter, his {5} young wife, in whom all his happiness was wrapt up, died in a few days after the birth of her daughter. His affliction would have been insupportable had not he been comforted by the daily visits and conversations of his friend. As they were one day talking together with their {10} usual intimacy, Leontine considering how incapable he was of giving his daughter a proper education in his own house, and Eudoxus reflecting on the ordinary behaviour of a son who knows himself to be the heir of a great estate, they both agreed upon an exchange of children: {15} namely, that the boy should be bred up with Leontine as his son, and that the girl should live with Eudoxus as his daughter, till they were each of them arrived at years of discretion. The wife of Eudoxus, knowing that her son could not be so advantageously brought up as under the {20} care of Leontine, and considering at the same time that he would be perpetually under her own eye, was by degrees prevailed upon to fall in with the project. She therefore took Leonilla, for that was the name of the girl, and educated her as her own daughter. The two friends {25} on each side had wrought themselves to such an habitual tenderness for the children who were under their direction, that each of them had the real passion of a father, where the title was but imaginary. Florio, the name of[Pg 152] the young heir that lived with Leontine, though he had all the duty and affection imaginable for his supposed parent, was taught to rejoice at the sight of Eudoxus, who visited his friend very frequently, and was dictated by his natural affection, as well as by the rules of prudence, {5} to make himself esteemed and beloved by Florio. The boy was now old enough to know his supposed father's circumstances, and that therefore he was to make his way in the world by his own industry. This consideration grew stronger in him every day, and produced so {10} good an effect that he applied himself with more than ordinary attention to the pursuit of everything which Leontine recommended to him. His natural abilities, which were very good, assisted by the directions of so excellent a counsellor, enabled him to make a quicker {15} progress than ordinary through all the parts of his education. Before he was twenty years of age, having finished his studies and exercises with great applause, he was removed from the university to the Inns of Court, where there are very few that make themselves considerable {20} proficients in the studies of the place[114] who know they shall arrive at great estates without them. This was not Florio's case: he found that three hundred a year was but a poor estate for Leontine and himself to live upon, so that he studied without intermission till he gained a very {25} good insight into the constitution and laws of his country.

I should have told my reader, that whilst Florio lived at the house of his foster-father, he was always an accept[Pg 153]able guest in the family of Eudoxus, where he became acquainted with Leonilla from her infancy. His acquaintance with her by degrees grew into love, which in a mind trained up in all the sentiments of honour and virtue became a very uneasy passion. He despaired of gaining {5} an heiress of so great a fortune, and would rather have died than attempted it by any indirect methods. Leonilla, who was a woman of the greatest beauty joined with the greatest modesty, entertained at the same time a secret passion for Florio, but conducted herself with so much {10} prudence that she never gave him the least intimation of it. Florio was now engaged in all those arts and improvements that are proper to raise a man's private fortune, and give him a figure in his country, but secretly tormented with that passion which burns with the greatest {15} fury in a virtuous and noble heart, when he received a sudden summons from Leontine to repair to him into the country the next day. For it seems Eudoxus was so filled with the report of his son's reputation that he could no longer withhold making himself known to him. The {20} morning after his arrival at the house of his supposed father, Leontine told him that Eudoxus had something of great importance to communicate to him; upon which the good man embraced him and wept. Florio was no sooner arrived at the great house that stood in his neighbourhood {25} but Eudoxus took him by the hand, after the first salutes[115] were over, and conducted him into his closet. He there opened[116] to him the whole secret of his parentage and edu[Pg 154]cation, concluding after this manner: "I have no other way left of acknowledging my gratitude to Leontine than by marrying you to his daughter. He shall not lose the pleasure of being your father by the discovery I have made to you. Leonilla, too, shall be still my daughter; {5} her filial piety, though misplaced, has been so exemplary that it deserves the greatest reward I can confer upon it. You shall have the pleasure of seeing a great estate fall to you, which you would have lost the relish of had you known yourself born to it. Continue only to deserve it {10} in the same manner you did before you were possessed of it. I have left your mother in the next room. Her heart yearns towards you. She is making the same discoveries to Leonilla which I have made to yourself." Florio was so overwhelmed with this profusion of happiness that he {15} was not able to make a reply, but threw himself down at his father's feet, and amidst a flood of tears kissed and embraced his knees, asking his blessing, and expressing in dumb show those sentiments of love, duty, and gratitude that were too big for utterance. To conclude, the happy {20} pair were married, and half Eudoxus's estate settled upon them. Leontine and Eudoxus passed the remainder of their lives together; and received in the dutiful and affectionate behaviour of Florio and Leonilla the just recompense, as well as the natural effects, of that care which {25} they had bestowed upon them in their education.


[Pg 155]


[No. 125. Tuesday, July 24, 1711. Addison.]

Ne pueri, ne tanta animis assuescite bella:
Neu patriae validas in viscera vertite vires.

My worthy friend, Sir Roger, when we are talking of the malice of parties, very frequently tells us an accident that happened to him when he was a schoolboy, which was at a time when the feuds ran high between the Roundheads and Cavaliers. This worthy knight, being then but a stripling, {5} had occasion to inquire which was the way to St. Anne's Lane; upon which the person whom he spoke to, instead of answering his question, called him a young popish cur, and asked him who had made Anne a saint! The boy, being in some confusion, inquired of the next he met, {10} which was the way to Anne's Lane; but was called a prick-eared cur for his pains, and instead of being shown the way, was told that she had been a saint before he was born, and would be one after he was hanged. "Upon this," says sir Roger, "I did not think fit to repeat the {15} former question, but going into every lane of the neighbourhood, asked what they called the name of that lane." By which ingenious artifice, he found out the place he inquired after without giving offence to any party. Sir[Pg 156] Roger generally closes this narrative with reflections on the mischief that parties do in the country; how they spoil good neighbourhood, and make honest gentlemen hate one another; besides that they manifestly tend to the prejudice of the land-tax, and the destruction of the game. {5}

There cannot a greater judgment befall a country than such a dreadful spirit of division as rends a government into two distinct people, and makes them greater strangers and more averse to one another than if they were actually two different nations. The effects of such a division {10} are pernicious to the last degree, not only with regard to those advantages which they give the common enemy, but to those private evils which they produce in the heart of almost every particular person. This influence is very fatal both to men's morals and their understandings; it {15} sinks the virtue of a nation, and not only so, but destroys even common sense.

A furious party spirit, when it rages in its full violence, exerts itself in civil war and bloodshed; and when it is under its greatest restraints naturally breaks out in false-hood, {20} detraction, calumny, and a partial administration of justice. In a word, it fills a nation with spleen and rancour, and extinguishes all the seeds of good-nature, compassion, and humanity.

Plutarch says, very finely, that a man should not allow {25} himself to hate even his enemies;—"Because," says he, "if you indulge this passion in some occasions, it will rise of itself in others; if you hate your enemies, you will contract such a vicious habit of mind as by degrees will break[Pg 157] out upon those who are your friends, or those who are indifferent to you." I might here observe how admirably this precept of morality—which derives the malignity of hatred from the passion itself, and not from its object—answers to that great rule which was dictated to the world {5} about an hundred years before this philosopher wrote; but instead of that, I shall only take notice, with a real grief of heart, that the minds of many good men among us appear soured with party principles, and alienated from one another in such a manner as seems to me altogether {10} inconsistent with the dictates either of reason or religion. Zeal for a public cause is apt to breed passions in the hearts of virtuous persons to which the regard of their own private interest would never have betrayed them.

If this party spirit has so ill an effect on our morals, it {15} has likewise a very great one upon our judgements. We often hear a poor, insipid paper or pamphlet cried up, and sometimes a noble piece depreciated, by those who are of a different principle from the author. One who is actuated by this spirit is almost under an incapacity of {20} discerning either real blemishes or beauties. A man of merit in a different principle,[117] is like an object seen in two different mediums,[118] that appears crooked or broken, however straight or entire it may be in itself. For this reason, there is scarce a person of any figure in England {25} who does not go by two contrary characters, as opposite to one another as light and darkness. Knowledge and[Pg 158] learning suffer in a particular manner from this strange prejudice, which at present prevails amongst all ranks and degrees in the British nation. As men formerly became eminent in learned societies by their parts and acquisitions, they now distinguish themselves by the warmth and {5} violence with which they espouse their respective parties. Books are valued upon the like consideration: an abusive, scurrilous style passes for satire, and a dull scheme of party notions is called fine writing.

There is one piece of sophistry practiced by both sides; {10} and that is the taking any scandalous story that has been ever whispered or invented of a private man, for a known, undoubted truth, and raising suitable speculations upon it. Calumnies that have been never proved, or have been often refuted, are the ordinary postulatums[119] of these infamous {15} scribblers, upon which they proceed as upon first principles granted by all men, though in their hearts they know they are false, or at best very doubtful. When they have laid these foundations of scurrility, it is no wonder that their superstructure is every way answerable to them. If {20} this shameless practice of the present age endures much longer, praise and reproach will cease to be motives of action in good men.

There are certain periods of time in all governments when this inhuman spirit prevails. Italy was long torn in pieces {25} by the Guelphs and Ghibellines, and France by those who were for and against the League; but it is very unhappy[Pg 159] for a man to be born in such a stormy and tempestuous season. It is the restless ambition of artful men that thus breaks a people into factions, and draws several well-meaning persons to their interest by a specious concern for their country. How many honest minds are filled with {5} uncharitable and barbarous notions, out of their zeal for the public good! What cruelties and outrages would they not commit against men of an adverse party, whom they would honour and esteem, if, instead of considering them as they are represented, they knew them as they are! {10} Thus are persons of the greatest probity seduced into shameful errors and prejudices, and made bad men even by that noblest of principles, the "love of their country." I cannot here forbear mentioning the famous Spanish proverb, "If there were neither fools nor knaves in the {15} world, all people would be of one mind."

For my own part, I could heartily wish that all honest men would enter into an association for the support of one another against the endeavours of those whom they ought to look upon as their common enemies, whatsoever side {20} they may belong to. Were there such an honest body of neutral forces, we should never see the worst of men in great figures of life, because they are useful to a party; nor the best unregarded, because they are above practising those methods which would be grateful to their {25} faction. We should then single every criminal out of the herd, and hunt him down, however formidable and overgrown he might appear: on the contrary, we should shelter distressed innocence, and defend virtue, however[Pg 160] beset with contempt or ridicule, envy, or defamation. In short, we should not any longer regard our fellow subjects as Whigs or Tories, but should make the man of merit our friend, and the villain our enemy.



[No. 126. Wednesday, July 25, 1711. Addison.]

Tros Rutulusve fuat, nullo discrimine habebo.

In my yesterday's paper, I proposed that the honest {5} men of all parties should enter into a kind of association for the defence of one another, and the confusion of their common enemies. As it is designed this neutral body should act with a regard to nothing but truth and equity, and divest themselves of the little heats and prepossessions {10} that cleave to parties of all kinds, I have prepared for them the following form of an association, which may express their intentions in the most plain and simple manner:

We whose names are hereunto subscribed, do solemnly declare {15} that we do in our consciences believe two and two make four; and that we shall adjudge any man whatsoever to be our enemy who endeavors to persuade us to the contrary. We are likewise ready to maintain, with the hazard of all that is near and dear to us, that six is less than seven in all times and all places, and that ten will {20} not be more three years hence than it is at present. We do also[Pg 161] firmly declare that it is our resolution as long as we live to call black black, and white white; and we shall upon all occasions oppose such persons that upon any day of the year shall call black white, or white black, with the utmost peril of our lives and fortunes. {5}

Were there such a combination of honest men, who without any regard to places would endeavour to extirpate all such furious zealots as would sacrifice one half of their country to the passion and interest of the other; as also such infamous hypocrites that are for promoting their {10} own advantage under colour of the public good; with all the profligate, immoral retainers to each side, that have nothing to recommend them but an implicit submission to their leaders;—we should soon see that furious party spirit extinguished, which may in time expose us to the {15} derision and contempt of all the nations about us.

A member of this society that would thus carefully employ himself in making room for merit, by throwing down the worthless and depraved part of mankind from those conspicuous stations of life to which they have been {20} sometimes advanced, and all this without any regard to his private interest, would be no small benefactor to his country.

I remember to have read in Diodorus Siculus an account of a very active little animal, which I think he calls the {25} ichneumon, that makes it the whole business of his life to break the eggs of the crocodile, which he is always in search after. This instinct is the more remarkable because the ichneumon never feeds upon the eggs he has[Pg 162] broken, nor in any other way finds his account in them. Were it not for the incessant labours of this industrious animal, Egypt, says the historian, would be overrun with crocodiles; for the Egyptians are so far from destroying those pernicious creatures that they worship them as {5} gods.

If we look into the behaviour of ordinary partisans, we shall find them far from resembling this disinterested animal, and rather acting after the example of the wild Tartars, who are ambitious of destroying a man of the {10} most extraordinary parts and accomplishments, as thinking that upon his decease the same talents, whatever post they qualified him for, enter of course into his destroyer.

As in the whole train of my speculations I have endeavoured, as much as I am able, to extinguish that pernicious {15} spirit of passion and prejudice which rages with the same violence in all parties, I am still the more desirous of doing some good in this particular because I observe that the spirit of party reigns more in the country than in the town. It here contracts a kind of brutality and rustic {20} fierceness to which men of a politer conversation are wholly strangers. It extends itself even to the return of the bow and the hat; and at the same time that the heads of parties preserve toward one another an outward show of good breeding, and keep up a perpetual intercourse {25} of civilities, their tools that are dispersed in these outlying parts will not so much as mingle together at a cock-match. This humour fills the country with several periodical meetings of Whig jockeys and Tory fox hunters,[Pg 163] not to mention the innumerable curses, frowns, and whispers it produces at a quarter sessions.

I do not know whether I have observed, in any of my former papers, that my friends Sir Roger de Coverley and Sir Andrew Freeport are of different principles; the first {5} of them inclined to the landed, and the other to the moneyed interest. This humour is so moderate in each of them that it proceeds no farther than to an agreeable raillery, which very often diverts the rest of the club. I find, however, that the knight is a much stronger Tory {10} in the country than in town, which, as he has told me in my ear, is absolutely necessary for the keeping up his interest. In all our journey from London to his house, we did not so much as bait at a Whig inn; or if by chance the coachman stopped at a wrong place, one of {15} Sir Roger's servants would ride up to his master full speed, and whisper to him that the master of the house was against such an one in the last election. This often betrayed us into hard beds and bad cheer; for we were not so inquisitive about the inn as the innkeeper; and {20} provided our landlord's principles were sound, did not take any notice of the staleness of his provisions. This I found still the more inconvenient because the better the host was, the worse generally were his accommodations; the fellow knowing very well that those who were his {25} friends would take up with coarse diet and an hard lodging. For these reasons, all the while I was upon the road I dreaded entering into an house of any one that Sir Roger had applauded for an honest man.

[Pg 164]

Since my stay at Sir Roger's in the country, I daily find more instance of this narrow party humour. Being upon a bowling green at a neighbouring market town the other day (for that is the place where the gentlemen of one side meet once a week), I observed a stranger among them of {5} a better presence and genteeler behaviour than ordinary; but was much surprised that, notwithstanding he was a very fair better, nobody would take him up. But upon inquiry, I found that he was one who had given a disagreeable vote in a former parliament, for which reason {10} there was not a man upon that bowling green who would have so much correspondence with him as to win his money of him.

Among other instances of this nature, I must not omit one which concerns myself. Will Wimble was the other {15} day relating several strange stories, that he had picked up, nobody knows where, of a certain great man; and upon my staring at him, as one that was surprised to hear such things in the country, which had never been so much as whispered in the town, Will stopped short in the thread {20} of his discourse, and after dinner asked my friend Sir Roger in his ear if he was sure that I was not a fanatic.

It gives me a serious concern to see such a spirit of dissension in the country; not only as it destroys virtue {25} and common sense, and renders us in a manner barbarians towards one another, but as it perpetuates our animosities, widens our breaches, and transmits our present passions and prejudices to our posterity. For my own part, I am[Pg 165] sometimes afraid that I discover the seeds of a civil war in these our divisions, and therefore cannot but bewail, as in their first principles, the miseries and calamities of our children.



[No. 130. Monday, July 30, 1711. Addison.]

Semperque recentes
Convectare juvat praedas, et vivere rapto.

As I was yesterday riding out in the fields with my {5} friend Sir Roger, we saw at a little distance from us a troop of gipsies. Upon the first discovery of them, my friend was in some doubt whether he should not exert the justice of the peace[120] upon such a band of lawless vagrants; but not having his clerk with him, who is a necessary {10} counsellor on these occasions, and fearing that his poultry might fare the worse for it, he let the thought drop; but at the same time gave me a particular account of the mischiefs they do in the country, in stealing people's goods and spoiling their servants. "If a stray piece of linen {15} hangs upon an hedge," says Sir Roger, "they are sure to have it; if a hog loses his way in the fields, it is ten to one but he becomes their prey; our geese cannot live in peace for them; if a man prosecutes them with severity,[Pg 166] his hen-roost is sure to pay for it. They generally straggle into these parts about this time of the year, and set the heads of our servant-maids so agog for husbands that we do not expect to have any business done as it should be whilst they are in the country. I have an honest dairy-maid {5} who crosses their hands with a piece of silver every summer, and never fails being promised the handsomest young fellow in the parish for her pains. Your friend, the butler, has been fool enough to be seduced by them; and, though he is sure to lose a knife, a fork, or a spoon, {10} every time his fortune is told him, generally shuts himself up in the pantry with an old gipsy for above half an hour once in a twelvemonth. Sweethearts are the things they live upon, which they bestow very plentifully upon all those that apply themselves to them. You see, now {15} and then, some handsome young jades among them; the [wenches] have very often white teeth and black eyes."

Sir Roger, observing that I listened with great attention to his account of a people who were so entirely new to me, {20} told me that if I would they should tell us our fortunes. As I was very well pleased with the knight's proposal, we rid up and communicated our hands to them. A Cassandra of the crew, after having examined my lines[121] very diligently, told me that I loved a pretty maid in a {25} corner; that I was a good woman's man; with some other particulars which I do not think proper to relate.[Pg 167] My friend Sir Roger alighted from his horse, and exposing his palm to two or three that stood by him, they crumpled it into all shapes, and diligently scanned every wrinkle that could be made in it; when one of them, who was older and more sunburnt than the rest, told him that he {5} had a widow in his line of life[122]; upon which the knight cried, "Go, go, you are an idle baggage!" and at the same time smiled upon me. The gipsy, finding he was not displeased in his heart, told him, after a farther inquiry into his hand, that his true love was constant, and {10} that she should dream of him to-night. My old friend cried "Pish!" and bid her go on. The gipsy told him that he was a bachelor, but would not be so long; and that he was dearer to somebody than he thought. The knight still repeated she was an idle baggage, and bid her {15} go on. "Ah, master," says the gipsy, "that roguish leer of yours makes a pretty woman's heart ache; you ha'n't that simper about the mouth for nothing—." The uncouth gibberish with which all this was uttered, like the darkness of an oracle, made us the more attentive to it. {20} To be short, the knight left the money with her that he had crossed her hand with, and got up again on his horse.

As we were riding away, Sir Roger told me that he knew several sensible people who believed these gipsies[Pg 168] {25} now and then foretold very strange things; and for half an hour together appeared more jocund than ordinary. In the height of his good humour, meeting a common beggar upon the road who was no conjurer, as he went to relieve him, he found his pocket was picked; that being {5} a kind of palmistry at which this race of vermin are very dextrous.

I might here entertain my reader with historical remarks on this idle, profligate people, who infest all the countries of Europe, and live in the midst of governments {10} in a kind of commonwealth by themselves. But instead of entering into observations of this nature, I shall fill the remaining part of my paper with a story which is still fresh in Holland, and was printed in one of our monthly accounts about twenty years ago: {15}

"As the trekschuyt, or hackney boat, which carries passengers from Leyden to Amsterdam, was putting off, a boy running along the side of the canal desired to be taken in; which the master of the boat refused, because the lad had not quite money enough to pay the usual fare. An eminent merchant, being pleased with the {20} looks of the boy and secretly touched with compassion towards him, paid the money for him, and ordered him to be taken on board.

"Upon talking with him afterwards, he found that he could speak readily in three or four languages, and learned upon farther examination {25} that he had been stolen away when he was a child, by a gypsy, and had rambled ever since with a gang of those strollers up and down several parts of Europe. It happened that the merchant, whose heart seems to have inclined towards the boy by a secret kind of instinct, had himself lost a child some years before.[Pg 169] {30} The parents, after a long search for him, gave him for drowned[123] in one of the canals with which that country abounds; and the mother was so afflicted at the loss of a fine boy, who was her only son, that she died for grief of it.

"Upon laying together all particulars, and examining the several {5} moles and marks by which the mother used to describe the child when he was first missing, the boy proved to be the son of the merchant whose heart had so unaccountably melted at the sight of him. The lad was very well pleased to find a father who was so rich, and likely to leave him a good estate: the father, on the {10} other hand, was not a little delighted to see a son return to him, whom he had given for lost, with such a strength of constitution, sharpness of understanding, and skill in languages."

Here the printed story leaves off; but if I may give credit to reports, our linguist having received such extraordinary {15} rudiments towards a good education, was afterwards trained up in everything that becomes a gentleman; wearing off by little and little all the vicious habits and practices that he had been used to in the course of his peregrinations. Nay, it is said that he has since been {20} employed in foreign courts upon national business, with great reputation to himself and honour to those who sent him, and that he has visited several countries as a public minister, in which he formerly wandered as a gipsy.

C. {25}

[Pg 170]


[No. 131. Tuesday, July 31, 1711. Addison.]

Ipsae rursum concedite silvae.

It is usual for a man who loves country sports to preserve the game in his own grounds, and divert himself upon those that belong to his neighbour. My friend Sir Roger generally goes two or three miles from his house, and gets into the frontiers of his estate, before he beats {5} about in search of an hare or partridge, on purpose to spare his own fields, where he is always sure of finding diversion when the worst comes to the worst. By this means the breed about his house has time to increase and multiply; besides that the sport is the more agreeable {10} where the game is the harder to come at, and does not lie so thick as to produce any perplexity or confusion in the pursuit. For these reasons the country gentleman, like the fox, seldom preys near his own home. In the same manner I have made a month's excursion {15} out of the town, which is the great field of game for sportsmen of my species, to try my fortune in the country, where I have started several subjects and hunted them down, with some pleasure to myself, and I hope to[Pg 171] others. I am here forced to use a great deal of diligence before I can spring anything to my mind; whereas in town, whilst I am following one character, it is ten to one but I am crossed in my way by another, and put up such a variety of odd creatures in both sexes that they {5} foil the scent of one another, and puzzle the chase. My greatest difficulty in the country is to find sport, and, in town, to choose it. In the meantime, as I have given a whole month's rest to the cities of London and Westminster, I promise myself abundance of new game upon {10} my return thither.

It is indeed high time for me to leave the country, since I find the whole neighbourhood begin to grow very inquisitive after my name and character; my love of solitude, taciturnity, and particular way of life, having raised {15} a great curiosity in all these parts.

The notions which have been framed of me are various: some look upon me as very proud, and some as very melancholy. Will Wimble, as my friend the butler tells me, observing me very much alone, and extremely {20} silent when I am in company, is afraid I have killed a man. The country people seem to suspect me for a conjurer; and, some of them hearing of the visit which I made to Moll White, will needs have it that Sir Roger has brought down a cunning man with him, to cure the old {25} woman, and free the country from her charms. So that the character which I go under in part of the neighbourhood, is what they here call a "White Witch."

A justice of peace, who lives about five miles off, and[Pg 172] is not of Sir Roger's party, has, it seems, said twice or thrice at his table that he wishes Sir Roger does not harbor a Jesuit in his house, and that he thinks the gentlemen of the country would do very well to make me give some account of myself. {5}

On the other side, some of Sir Roger's friends are afraid the old knight is imposed upon by a designing fellow, and as they have heard that he converses very promiscuously when he is in town, do not know but he has brought down with him some discarded Whig, that is {10} sullen and says nothing because he is out of place.

Such is the variety of opinions which are here entertained of me, so that I pass among some for a disaffected person, and among others for a popish priest; among some for a wizard, and among others for a murderer: and {15} all this for no other reason, that I can imagine, but because I do not hoot and hollow and make a noise. It is true my friend Sir Roger tells them, that it is my way, and that I am only a philosopher; but that will not satisfy them. They think there is more in me than he discovers, {20} and that I do not hold my tongue for nothing.

For these and other reasons I shall set out for London to-morrow, having found by experience that the country is not a place for a person of my temper, who does not love jollity, and what they call "good neighbourhood." {25} A man that is out of humour when an unexpected guest breaks in upon him, and does not care for sacrificing an afternoon to every chance comer; that will be the master of his own time and the pursuer of his own inclinations;[Pg 173] makes but a very unsociable figure in this kind of life. I shall therefore retire into the town, if I may make use of that phrase, and get into the crowd again as fast as I can, in order to be alone. I can there raise what speculations I please upon others without being observed myself, and {5} at the same time enjoy all the advantages of company with all the privileges of solitude. In the meanwhile, to finish the month, and conclude these my rural speculations, I shall here insert a letter from my friend Will Honeycomb, who has not lived a month for these forty {10} years out of the smoke of London, and rallies me after his way upon my country life.

"Dear Spec,—I suppose this letter will find thee picking of daisies, or smelling to a lock of hay, or passing away thy time in some innocent country diversion of the like nature. I have, however, {15} orders from the club to summon thee up to town, being all of us cursedly afraid thou wilt not be able to relish our company after thy conversations with Moll White and Will Wimble. Pr'ythee don't send us up any more stories of a cock and a bull, nor frighten the town with spirits and witches. Thy speculations begin to smell {20} confoundedly of woods and meadows. If thou dost not come up quickly, we shall conclude that thou art in love with one of Sir Roger's dairy-maids. Service to the knight. Sir Andrew is grown the cock of the club since he left us, and if he does not return quickly will make every mother's son of us Commonwealth's men. {25}

"Dear Spec, thine eternally,

"Will Honeycomb."      


[Pg 174]


[No. 132. Wednesday, August 1, 1711. Steele.]

Qui aut tempus quid postulet non videt, aut plura loquitur, aut se ostentat, aut eorum quibuscum est rationem non habet, is ineptus esse dicitur.


Having notified to my good friend Sir Roger that I should set out for London the next day, his horses were ready at the appointed hour in the evening; and attended by one of his grooms, I arrived at the county town at twilight, in order to be ready for the stage-coach the day {5} following. As soon as we arrived at the inn, the servant who waited upon me inquired of the chamberlain, in my hearing, what company he had for the coach. The fellow answered, "Mrs. Betty Arable, the great fortune, and the widow, her mother; a recruiting officer,—who took a {10} place because they were to go; young Squire Quickset, her cousin,—that her mother wished her to be married to; Ephraim, the Quaker, her guardian; and a gentleman that had studied himself dumb from Sir Roger de Coverley's." I observed, by what he said of myself, that {15} according to his office, he dealt much in intelligence; and doubted not but there was some foundation for his reports of the rest of the company, as well as for the whimsical account he gave of me.

[Pg 175]

The next morning at daybreak we were all called; and I, who know my own natural shyness, and endeavour to be as little liable to be disputed with as possible, dressed immediately, that I might make no one wait. The first preparation for our setting out was, that the captain's {5} half-pike was placed near the coachman, and a drum behind the coach. In the meantime the drummer, the captain's equipage,[124] was very loud that none of the captain's things should be placed so as to be spoiled; upon which his cloak bag was fixed in the seat[125] of the coach; {10} and the captain himself, according to a frequent though invidious[126] behaviour of military men, ordered his man to look sharp that none but one of the ladies should have the place he had taken fronting to the coach-box.

We were in some little time fixed in our seats, and {15} sat with that dislike which people not too good-natured usually conceive of each other at first sight. The coach jumbled us insensibly into some sort of familiarity, and we had not moved above two miles when the widow asked the captain what success he had in his recruiting. The {20} officer, with a frankness he believed very graceful, told her that indeed he had but very little luck, and had suffered much by desertion, therefore should be glad to end his warfare in the service of her or her fair daughter. "In a word," continued he, "I am a soldier, and to be {25} plain is my character; you see me, madam, young, sound,[Pg 176] and impudent; take me yourself, widow, or give me to her; I will be wholly at your disposal. I am a soldier of fortune, ha!" This was followed by a vain laugh of his own, and a deep silence of all the rest of the company. I had nothing left for it but to fall fast asleep, which I did {5} with all speed. "Come," said he, "resolve upon it, we will make a wedding at the next town: we will wake this pleasant companion who has fallen asleep, to be the bride-man, and,"—giving the Quaker a clap on the knee,—he concluded, "this sly saint, who, I'll warrant, understands {10} what's what as well as you or I, widow, shall give the bride as father."

The Quaker, who happened to be a man of smartness,[127] answered, "Friend, I take it in good part that thou hast given me the authority of a father over this comely and {15} virtuous child; and I must assure thee that if I have the giving her, I shall not bestow her on thee. Thy mirth, friend, savoureth of folly; thou art a person of a light mind; thy drum is a type of thee,—it soundeth because it is empty. Verily, it is not from thy fullness, but thy {20} emptiness, that thou hast spoken this day. Friend, friend, we have hired this coach in partnership with thee, to carry us to the great city; we cannot go any other way. This worthy mother must hear thee if thou wilt needs utter thy follies; we cannot help it, friend, I say; if thou wilt, {25} we must hear thee: but, if thou wert a man of understanding, thou wouldst not take advantage of thy courageous countenance to abash us children of peace. Thou[Pg 177] art, thou sayest, a soldier; give quarter to us, who cannot resist thee. Why didst thou fleer at our friend, who feigned himself asleep? He said nothing, but how dost thou know what he containeth? If thou speakest improper things in the hearing of this virtuous young virgin, consider {5} it is an outrage against a distressed person that cannot get from thee: to speak indiscreetly what we are obliged to hear, by being hasped up with thee in this public vehicle, is in some degree assaulting on the high road." {10}

Here Ephraim paused, and the captain, with an happy and uncommon impudence,—which can be convicted and support itself at the same time,—cries, "Faith, friend, I thank thee; I should have been a little impertinent if thou hadst not reprimanded me. Come, thou {15} art, I see, a smoky[128] old fellow, and I'll be very orderly the ensuing part of the journey. I was going to give myself airs; but, ladies, I beg pardon."

The captain was so little out of humour, and our company was so far from being soured by this little ruffle, that {20} Ephraim and he took a particular delight in being agreeable to each other for the future, and assumed their different provinces in the conduct of the company. Our reckonings, apartments, and accommodation fell under[129] Ephraim; and the captain looked to all disputes on the {25} road,—as the good behaviour of our coachman, and the[Pg 178] right we had of taking place as going to London of all vehicles coming from thence.

The occurrences we met with were ordinary, and very little happened which could entertain by the relation of them; but when I considered the company we were in, I {5} took it for no small good fortune that the whole journey was not spent in impertinences, which to one part of us might be an entertainment, to the other a suffering.

What, therefore, Ephraim said when we were almost arrived at London, had to me an air not only of good {10} understanding, but good breeding. Upon the young lady's expressing her satisfaction in the journey, and declaring how delightful it had been to her, Ephraim delivered himself as follows: "There is no ordinary part of human life which expresseth so much a good mind, {15} and a right inward[130] man, as his behaviour upon meeting with strangers, especially such as may seem the most unsuitable companions to him: such a man, when he falleth in the way with persons of simplicity and innocence, however knowing he may be in the ways of men, {20} will not vaunt himself thereof; but will the rather hide his superiority to them, that he may not be painful unto them. My good friend," continued he, turning to the officer, "thee and I are to part by and by,[131] and peradventure we may never meet again; but be advised by a {25} plain man; modes and apparel are but trifles to the real man, therefore do not think such a man as thyself terrible for thy garb, nor such a one as me contemptible for[Pg 179] mine. When two such as thee and I meet, with affections as we ought to have towards each other, thou shouldst rejoice to see my peaceable demeanour, and I should be glad to see thy strength and ability to protect me in it." {5}



[No. 174. Wednesday, Sept. 19, 1711. Steele.]

Haec memini et victum frustra contendere Thyrsin.

There is scarce anything more common than animosities between parties that cannot subsist but by their agreement: this was well represented in the sedition of the members of the human body in the old Roman fable. It is often the case of lesser confederate states against a {10} superior power, which are hardly held together, though their unanimity is necessary for their common safety; and this is always the case of the landed and trading interest of Great Britain: the trader is fed by the product of the land, and the landed man cannot be clothed but by the {15} skill of the trader; and yet those interests are ever jarring.

We had last winter an instance of this at our club, in Sir Roger de Coverley and Sir Andrew Freeport, between[Pg 180] whom there is generally a constant, though friendly, opposition of opinions. It happened that one of the company, in an historical discourse, was observing that Carthaginian faith was a proverbial phrase to intimate breach of leagues. Sir Roger said it "could hardly be otherwise; that the {5} Carthaginians were the greatest traders in the world, and as gain is the chief end of such a people, they never pursue any other,—the means to it are never regarded. They will, if it comes easily, get money honestly; but if not, they will not scruple to attain it by fraud, or cozenage. {10} And, indeed, what is the whole business of the trader's account, but to overreach him who trusts to his memory? But were that not so, what can there great and noble be expected from him whose attention is forever fixed upon balancing his books, and watching over his expenses? {15} And at best let frugality and parsimony be the virtues of the merchant, how much is his punctual dealing below a gentleman's charity to the poor, or hospitality among his neighbours?"

Captain Sentry observed Sir Andrew very diligent in {20} hearing Sir Roger, and had a mind to turn the discourse, by taking notice, in general, from the highest to the lowest parts of human society, there was "a secret though unjust way among men of indulging the seeds of ill-nature and envy by comparing their own state of life to that of {25} another, and grudging the approach of their neighbour to their own happiness: and on the other side, he who is the less at his ease, repines at the other who, he thinks, has unjustly the advantage over him. Thus the civil and[Pg 181] military lists look upon each other with much ill-nature: the soldier repines at the courtier's power, and the courtier rallies the soldier's honour; or, to come to lower instances, the private men in the horse and foot of an army, the carmen and coachmen in the city streets, mutually {5} look upon each other with ill-will, when they are in competition for quarters or the way, in their respective motions."[132]

"It is very well, good captain," interrupted Sir Andrew; "you may attempt to turn the discourse if you think fit; {10} but I must, however, have a word or two with Sir Roger, who, I see, thinks he has paid me off, and been very severe upon the merchant. I shall not," continued he, "at this time remind Sir Roger of the great and noble monuments of charity and public spirit which have been erected by {15} merchants since the Reformation, but at present content myself with what he allows us,—parsimony and frugality. If it were consistent with the quality of so ancient a baronet as Sir Roger to keep an account, or measure things by the most infallible way, that of numbers, he would {20} prefer our parsimony to his hospitality. If to drink so many hogsheads is to be hospitable, we do not contend for the fame of that virtue; but it would be worth while to consider whether so many artificers at work ten days together by my appointment, or so many peasants made {25} merry on Sir Roger's charge, are the men more obliged?[Pg 182] I believe the families of the artificers[133] will thank me more than the households of the peasants shall Sir Roger. Sir Roger gives to his men, but I place mine above the necessity or obligation of my bounty. I am in very little pain for the Roman proverb upon the Carthaginian traders; the {5} Romans were their professed enemies. I am only sorry no Carthaginian histories have come to our hands; we might have been taught, perhaps, by them some proverbs against the Roman generosity, in fighting for and bestowing other people's goods. But since Sir Roger has taken {10} occasion from an old proverb to be out of humour with merchants, it should be no offence to offer one not quite so old in their defence. When a man happens to break[134] in Holland, they say of him that 'he has not kept true accounts.' This phrase, perhaps, among us would appear {15} a soft or humorous way of speaking; but with that exact nation it bears the highest reproach. For a man to be mistaken in the calculation of his expense, in his ability to answer future demands, or to be impertinently[135] sanguine in putting his credit to too great adventure, are all {20} instances of as much infamy as, with gayer nations, to be failing in courage or common honesty.

"Numbers are so much the measure of everything that is valuable, that it is not possible to demonstrate the success of any action, or the prudence of any undertaking, {25} without them. I say this in answer to what Sir Roger is pleased to say, that 'little that is truly noble can be[Pg 183] expected from one who is ever poring on his cashbook or balancing his accounts.' When I have my returns from abroad, I can tell to a shilling by the help of numbers the profit or loss by my adventure; but I ought also to be able to show that I had reason for making it, either from {5} my own experience or that of other people, or from a reasonable presumption that my returns will be sufficient to answer my expense and hazard: and this is never to be done without the skill of numbers. For instance, if I am to trade to Turkey, I ought beforehand to know the demand {10} of our manufactures there, as well as of their silks in England, and the customary prices that are given for both in each country. I ought to have a clear knowledge of these matters beforehand, that I may presume upon sufficient returns to answer the charge of the cargo I have {15} fitted out, the freight and assurance out and home, the custom to the queen,[136] and the interest of my own money, and besides all these expenses, a reasonable profit to myself. Now what is there of scandal in this skill? What has the merchant done that he should be so little {20} in the good graces of Sir Roger? He throws down no man's enclosure, and tramples upon no man's corn; he takes nothing from the industrious labourer; he pays the poor man for his work; he communicates[137] his profit with mankind; by the preparation of his cargo, and the manufacture {25} of his returns, he furnishes employment and subsistence to greater numbers than the richest nobleman; and even the nobleman is obliged to him for finding out[Pg 184] foreign markets for the produce of his estate, and for making a great addition to his rents:[138] and yet it is certain that none of all these things could be done by him without the exercise of his skill in numbers.

"This is the economy of the merchant; and the conduct {5} of the gentleman must be the same, unless by scorning to be the steward, he resolves the steward shall be the gentleman. The gentleman, no more than the merchant, is able, without the help of numbers, to account for the success of any action, or the prudence of any {10} adventure. If, for instance, the chase is his whole adventure, his only returns must be the stag's horns in the great hall and the fox's nose upon the stable door. Without doubt Sir Roger knows the full value of these returns; and if beforehand he had computed the charges {15} of the chase, a gentleman of his discretion would certainly have hanged up all his dogs; he would never have brought back so many fine horses to the kennel; he would never have gone so often, like a blast, over fields of corn. If such, too, had been the conduct of all his {20} ancestors, he might truly have boasted, at this day, that the antiquity of his family had never been sullied by a trade; a merchant had never been permitted with his whole estate to purchase a room for his picture in the gallery of the Coverley's, or to claim his descent from the {25} maid of honour. But 'tis very happy for Sir Roger that the merchant paid so dear for his ambition. 'Tis the misfortune of many other gentlemen to turn out of[139] the[Pg 185] seats of their ancestors to make way for such new masters as have been more exact in their accounts than themselves; and certainly he deserves the estate a great deal better who has got it by his industry, than he who has lost it by his negligence." {5}



[No. 269. Tuesday, January 8, 1712. Addison.]

Aevo rarissima nostro

I was this morning surprised with a great knocking at the door, when my landlady's daughter came up to me and told me that there was a man below desired to speak with me. Upon my asking her who it was, she told me it was a very grave, elderly person, but that she {10} did not know his name. I immediately went down to him, and found him to be the coachman of my worthy friend, Sir Roger de Coverley. He told me that his master came to town last night, and would be glad to take a turn with me in Gray's Inn Walks. As I was wondering in {15} myself what had brought Sir Roger to town, not having lately received any letter from him, he told me that his master was come up to get a sight of Prince Eugene, and that he desired I would immediately meet him.

[Pg 186]

I was not a little pleased with the curiosity of the old knight, though I did not much wonder at it, having heard him say more than once in private discourse that he looked upon Prince Eugenio—for so the knight always calls him—to be a greater man than Scanderbeg. {5}

I was no sooner come into Gray's Inn Walks, but I heard my friend upon the terrace hemming twice or thrice to himself with great vigour, for he loves to clear his pipes in good air, to make use of his own phrase, and is not a little pleased with any one who takes notice {10} of the strength which he still exerts in his morning hems.

I was touched with a secret joy at the sight of the good old man, who before he saw me was engaged in conversation with a beggar-man that had asked an alms of him. I could hear my friend chide him for not finding out {15} some work; but at the same time saw him put his hand in his pocket and give him sixpence.

Our salutations were very hearty on both sides, consisting of many kind shakes of the hand, and several affectionate looks which we cast upon one another. After {20} which the knight told me my good friend his chaplain was very well, and much at my service, and that the Sunday before he had made a most incomparable sermon out of Doctor Barrow. "I have left," says he, "all my affairs in his hands, and being willing to lay an obligation {25} upon him, have deposited with him thirty marks, to be distributed among his poor parishioners."

He then proceeded to acquaint me with the welfare of Will Wimble. Upon which he put his hand into his fob[Pg 187] and presented me, in his name, with a tobacco stopper, telling me that Will had been busy all the beginning of the winter in turning great quantities of them, and that he made a present of one to every gentleman in the country who has good principles and smokes. He added {5} that poor Will was at present under great tribulation, for that Tom Touchy had taken the law of him for cutting some hazel sticks out of one of his hedges.

Among other pieces of news which the knight brought from his country-seat, he informed me that Moll White {10} was dead; and that about a month after her death the wind was so very high that it blew down the end of one of his barns. "But for my own part," says Sir Roger, "I do not think that the old woman had any hand in it." {15}

He afterwards fell into an account of the diversions which had passed in his house during the holidays; for Sir Roger, after the laudable custom of his ancestors, always keeps open house at Christmas. I learned from him that he had killed eight fat hogs for this season, that {20} he had dealt about his chines very liberally amongst his neighbours, and that in particular he had sent a string of hog's-puddings[140] with a pack of cards to every poor family in the parish. "I have often thought," says Sir Roger, "it happens very well that Christmas should fall out in {25} the middle of the winter. It is the most dead, uncomfortable time of the year, when the poor people would suffer very much from their poverty and cold if they had[Pg 188] not good cheer, warm fires, and Christmas gambols to support them. I love to rejoice their poor hearts at this season, and to see the whole village merry in my great hall. I allow a double quantity of malt to my small beer, and set it a running for twelve days to every one that calls {5} for it. I have always a piece of cold beef and a mince-pie upon the table, and am wonderfully pleased to see my tenants pass away a whole evening in playing their innocent tricks, and smutting one another. Our friend Will Wimble is as merry as any of them, and shows a thousand {10} roguish tricks upon these occasions."

I was very much delighted with the reflection of my old friend, which carried so much goodness in it. He then launched out into the praise of the late Act of Parliament for securing the Church of England, and told me, {15} with great satisfaction, that he believed it already began to take effect, for that a rigid Dissenter, who chanced to dine at his house on Christmas day, had been observed to eat very plentifully of his plum-porridge.

After having dispatched all our country matters, Sir {20} Roger made several inquiries concerning the club, and particularly of his old antagonist, Sir Andrew Freeport. He asked me with a kind of smile whether Sir Andrew had not taken advantage of his absence to vent among them some of his republican doctrines; but soon after, {25} gathering up his countenance into a more than ordinary seriousness, "Tell me truly," says he, "don't you think Sir Andrew had a hand in the Pope's Procession?" But without giving me time to answer him, "Well, well," says[Pg 189] he, "I know you are a wary man, and do not care to talk of public matters."

The knight then asked me if I had seen Prince Eugenio, and made me promise to get him a stand in some convenient place, where he might have a full sight of that {5} extraordinary man, whose presence does so much honour to the British nation. He dwelt very long on the praises of this great general, and I found that, since I was with him in the country, he had drawn many observations together out of his reading in Baker's Chronicle, and {10} other authors who always lie in his hall window, which very much redound to the honour of this prince.

Having passed away the greatest part of the morning in hearing the knight's reflections,[141] which were partly private and partly political, he asked me if I would smoke {15} a pipe with him over a dish of coffee at Squire's. As I love the old man, I take delight in complying with everything that is agreeable to him, and accordingly waited on him to the coffee-house, where his venerable figure drew upon us the eyes of the whole room. He had no sooner {20} seated himself at the upper end of the high table, but he called for a clean pipe, a paper of tobacco, a dish of coffee, a wax candle, and the Supplement, with such an air of cheerfulness and good humour that all the boys in the coffee-room—who seemed to take pleasure in serving {25} him—were at once employed on his several errands; insomuch that nobody else could come at a dish of tea till the knight had got all his conveniences about him.


[Pg 190]


[No. 329. Tuesday, March 18, 1712. Addison.]

Ire tamen restat Numa quo devenit et Ancus.

My friend Sir Roger de Coverley told me t'other night, that he had been reading my paper upon Westminster Abbey, "in which," says he, "there are a great many ingenious fancies." He told me, at the same time, that he observed I had promised another paper upon the {5} tombs, and that he should be glad to go and see them with me, not having visited them since he had read history. I could not at first imagine how this came into the knight's head, till I recollected that he had been very busy all last summer upon Baker's Chronicle which he {10} has quoted several times in his disputes with Sir Andrew Freeport since his last coming to town. Accordingly, I promised to call upon him the next morning, that we might go together to the Abbey.

I found the knight under his butler's hands, who {15} always shaves him. He was no sooner dressed than he called for a glass of the Widow Trueby's water, which he told me he always drank before he went abroad. He recommended me to a dram of it at the same time with so much heartiness that I could not forbear drinking it.[Pg 191] {20} As soon as I had got it down, I found it very unpalatable; upon which the knight, observing that I had made several wry faces, told me that he knew I should not like it at first, but that it was the best thing in the world against the stone or gravel. I could have wished, indeed, that {5} he had acquainted me with the virtues of it sooner; but it was too late to complain, and I knew what he had done was out of good-will. Sir Roger told me, further, that he looked upon it to be very good for a man, whilst he stayed in town, to keep off infection; and that he got {10} together a quantity of it upon the first news of the sickness being at Dantzic. When, of a sudden, turning short to one of his servants, who stood behind him, he bid him call a hackney-coach, and take care it was an elderly man that drove it. {15}

He then resumed his discourse upon Mrs. Trueby's water, telling me that the Widow Trueby was one who did more good than all the doctors and apothecaries in the county; that she distilled every poppy that grew within five miles of her; that she distributed her water {20} gratis among all sorts of people: to which the knight added that she had a very great jointure, and that the whole country would fain have it a match between him and her; "And truly," said Sir Roger, "if I had not been engaged,[142] perhaps I could not have done better." {25}

His discourse was broken off by his man's telling him he had called a coach. Upon our going to it, after having cast his eye upon the wheels, he asked the coachman[Pg 192] if his axle-tree was good; upon the fellow's telling him he would warrant it, the knight turned to me, told me he looked like an honest man, and went in without further ceremony.

We had not gone far, when Sir Roger, popping out his {5} head, called the coachman down from his box, and upon his presenting himself at the window, asked him if he smoked; as I was considering what this would end in, he bid him stop by the way at any good tobacconist's, and take in a roll of their best Virginia. Nothing material {10} happened in the remaining part of our journey till we were set down at the west end of the Abbey.

As we went up the body of the church, the knight pointed at the trophies upon one of the new monuments, and cried out, "A brave man, I warrant him!" Passing {15} afterwards by Sir Cloudesley Shovel, he flung his hand that way, and cried, "Sir Cloudesley Shovel! a very gallant man!" As we stood before Busby's tomb, the knight uttered himself again after the same manner: "Dr. Busby—a great man! he whipped my grandfather—a very {20} great man! I should have gone to him myself if I had not been a blockhead;—a very great man!"

We were immediately conducted into the little chapel on the right hand. Sir Roger, planting himself at our historian's[143] elbow, was very attentive to everything he {25} said, particularly to the account he gave us of the lord who had cut off the King of Morocco's head. Among several other figures, he was very well pleased to see the[Pg 193] statesman Cecil upon his knees; and, concluding them all to be great men, was conducted to the figure which represents that martyr to good housewifery who died by the prick of a needle. Upon our interpreter's telling us that she was a maid of honour to Queen Elizabeth, the {5} knight was very inquisitive into her name and family; and after having regarded her finger for some time, "I wonder," says he, "that Sir Richard Baker has said nothing of her in his Chronicle."

We were then conveyed to the two coronation chairs, {10} where my old friend, after having heard that the stone underneath the most ancient of them, which was brought from Scotland, was called Jacob's Pillar, sat himself down in the chair, and looking like the figure of an old Gothic king, asked our interpreter what authority they had to say {15} that Jacob had ever been in Scotland. The fellow, instead of returning him an answer, told him that he hoped his honour would pay his forfeit.[144] I could observe Sir Roger a little ruffled upon being thus trepanned;[145] but, our guide not insisting upon his demand, the knight soon recovered {20} his good humour, and whispered in my ear that if Will Wimble were with us, and saw those two chairs, it would go hard but he would get a tobacco-stopper out of one or t'other of them.

Sir Roger, in the next place, laid his hand upon Edward[Pg 194] {25} the Third's sword, and leaning upon the pommel of it, gave us the whole history of the Black Prince; concluding that, in Sir Richard Baker's opinion, Edward the Third was one of the greatest princes that ever sat upon the English throne. {5}

We were then shown Edward the Confessor's tomb, upon which Sir Roger acquainted us that he was the first who touched for the evil; and afterwards Henry the Fourth's, upon which he shook his head and told us there was fine reading in the casualties of that reign. {10}

Our conductor then pointed to that monument where there is the figure of one of our English kings without an head; and upon giving us to know that the head, which was of beaten silver, had been stolen away several years since,—"Some Whig, I'll warrant you," says Sir Roger; {15} "you ought to lock up your kings better; they will carry off the body too, if you don't take care."

The glorious names of Henry the Fifth and Queen Elizabeth gave the knight great opportunities of shining and of doing justice to Sir Richard Baker, who, as our {20} knight observed with some surprise, had a great many kings in him whose monuments he had not seen in the Abbey.

For my own part, I could not but be pleased to see the knight show such an honest passion for the glory of his {25} country, and such a respectful gratitude to the memory of its princes.

I must not omit that the benevolence of my good old friend, which flows out towards every one he converses[Pg 195] with, made him very kind to our interpreter, whom he looked upon as an extraordinary man; for which reason his shook him by the hand at parting, telling him that he should be very glad to see him at his lodgings in Norfolk Buildings, and talk over these matters with him more at {5} leisure.



[No. 335. Tuesday, March 25, 1712. Addison.]

Respicere exemplar vitae morumque jubebo
Doctum imitatorem, et vivas hinc ducere voces.

My friend Sir Roger de Coverley, when we last met together at the club, told me that he had a great mind to see the new tragedy with me, assuring me at the same time that he had not been at a play these twenty years. {10} "The last I saw," said Sir Roger, "was the Committee, which I should not have gone to, neither, had not I been told beforehand that it was a good Church of England comedy." He then proceeded to inquire of me who this distressed mother was; and upon hearing that she was {15} Hector's widow, he told me that her husband was a brave man, and that when he was a schoolboy he had read his life at the end of the dictionary. My friend asked me, in the next place, if there would not be some danger in[Pg 196] coming home late, in case the Mohocks should be abroad. "I assure you," says he, "I thought I had fallen into their hands last night, for I observed two or three lusty black[146] men that followed me half way up Fleet Street, and mended their pace behind me in proportion as I put on {5} to get away from them. You must know," continued the knight, with a smile, "I fancied they had a mind to hunt me, for I remember an honest gentleman in my neighbourhood who was served such a trick in King Charles the Second's time; for which reason he has not ventured himself {10} in town ever since. I might have shown them very good sport had this been their design; for, as I am an old fox-hunter, I should have turned and dodged, and have played them a thousand tricks they had never seen in their lives before." Sir Roger added that if these gentlemen {15} had any such intention they did not succeed very well in it; "for I threw them out," says he, "at the end of Norfolk Street, where I doubled the corner and got shelter in my lodgings before they could imagine what was become of me. However," says the knight, "if Captain {20} Sentry will make one with us to-morrow night, and if you will both of you call upon me about four o'clock, that we may be at the house before it is full, I will have my own coach in readiness to attend you, for John tells me he has got the fore wheels mended." {25}

The captain, who did not fail to meet me there at the appointed hour, bid Sir Roger fear nothing, for that he had put on the same sword which he made use of at the[Pg 197] battle of Steenkirk. Sir Roger's servants, and among the rest my old friend the butler, had, I found, provided themselves with good oaken plants[147] to attend their master upon this occasion. When he had placed him in his coach, with myself at his left hand, the captain before {5} him, and his butler at the head of his footmen in the rear, we convoyed him in safety to the playhouse, where, after having marched up the entry in good order, the captain and I went in with him, and seated him betwixt us in the pit. As soon as the house was full and the {10} candles lighted, my old friend stood up and looked about him with that pleasure which a mind seasoned with humanity naturally feels in itself at the sight of a multitude of people who seem pleased with one another, and partake of the same common entertainment. I could not {15} but fancy to myself, as the old man stood up in the middle of the pit, that he made a very proper centre to a tragic audience. Upon the entering of Pyrrhus, the knight told me that he did not believe the King of France himself had a better strut. I was, indeed, very {20} attentive to my old friend's remarks, because I looked upon them as a piece of natural criticism; and was well pleased to hear him, at the conclusion of almost every scene, telling me that he could not imagine how the play would end. One while he appeared much concerned for {25} Andromache, and a little while after as much for Hermione; and was extremely puzzled to think what would become of Pyrrhus.

[Pg 198]

When Sir Roger saw Andromache's obstinate refusal to her lover's importunities, he whispered me in the ear, that he was sure she would never have him; to which he added, with a more than ordinary vehemence, "You can't imagine, sir, what 'tis to have to do with a widow!" {5} Upon Pyrrhus his[148] threatening afterwards to leave her, the knight shook his head, and muttered to himself, "Ay, do if you can." This part dwelt so much upon my friend's imagination, that at the close of the third act, as I was thinking of something else, he whispered {10} in my ear, "These widows, sir, are the most perverse creatures in the world. But pray," says he, "you that are a critic, is the play according to your dramatic rules, as you call them? Should your people in tragedy always talk to be understood? Why, there is not a {15} single sentence in this play that I do not know the meaning of."

The fourth act very luckily begun before I had time to give the old gentleman an answer. "Well," says the knight, sitting down with great satisfaction, "I suppose {20} we are now to see Hector's ghost." He then renewed his attention, and, from time to time, fell a praising the widow. He made, indeed, a little mistake as to one of her pages, whom at his first entering he took for Astyanax; but he quickly set himself right in that particular, {25} though at the same time he owned he should have been very glad to have seen the little boy, "who," says he,[Pg 199] "must needs be a very fine child by the account that is given of him."

Upon Hermione's going off with a menace to Pyrrhus, the audience gave a loud clap, to which Sir Roger added, "On my word, a notable young baggage!" {5}

As there was a very remarkable silence and stillness in the audience during the whole action, it was natural for them to take the opportunity of these intervals between the acts to express their opinion of the players and of their respective parts. Sir Roger, hearing a cluster of {10} them praise Orestes, struck in with them, and told them that he thought his friend Pylades was a very sensible man; as they were afterwards applauding Pyrrhus, Sir Roger put in a second time: "And let me tell you," says he, "though he speaks but little, I like the old fellow {15} in whiskers as well as any of them." Captain Sentry, seeing two or three wags who sat near us lean with an attentive ear towards Sir Roger, and fearing lest they should smoke[149] the knight, plucked him by the elbow, and whispered something in his ear that lasted till the {20} opening of the fifth act. The knight was wonderfully attentive to the account which Orestes gives of Pyrrhus his death, and, at the conclusion of it, told me it was such a bloody piece of work that he was glad it was not done upon the stage. Seeing afterwards Orestes in his raving {25} fit, he grew more than ordinary serious, and took occasion to moralize, in his way, upon an evil conscience, adding that Orestes in his madness looked as if he saw something.

[Pg 200]

As we were the first that came into the house, so we were the last that went out of it; being resolved to have a clear passage for our old friend, whom we did not care to venture among the justling of the crowd. Sir Roger went out fully satisfied with his entertainment, and we {5} guarded him to his lodgings in the same manner that we brought him to the playhouse; being highly pleased, for my own part, not only with the performance of the excellent piece which had been presented, but with the satisfaction which it had given to the good old man. {10}



[No. 359. Tuesday, April 22, 1712. Budgell.]

Torva leaena lupum sequitur, lupus ipse capellam;
Florentem cytisum sequitur lasciva capella.

As we were at the club last night, I observed that my friend Sir Roger, contrary to his usual custom, sat very silent, and instead of minding what was said by the company, was whistling to himself in a very thoughtful mood, and playing with a cork. I jogged Sir Andrew Freeport {15} who sat between us; and as we were both observing him, we saw the knight shake his head and heard him say to himself, "A foolish woman! I can't believe it." Sir Andrew gave him a gentle pat upon the shoulder, and[Pg 201] offered to lay him a bottle of wine that he was thinking of the widow. My old friend started, and, recovering out of his brown study, told Sir Andrew that once in his life he had been in the right. In short, after some little hesitation, Sir Roger told us, in the fullness of his heart, {5} that he had just received a letter from his steward, which acquainted him that his old rival and antagonist in the county, Sir David Dundrum, had been making a visit to the widow. "However," says Sir Roger, "I can never think that she'll have a man that's half a year older than {10} I am, and a noted Republican into the bargain."

Will Honeycomb, who looks upon love as his particular province, interrupting our friend with a jaunty laugh, "I thought, knight," says he, "thou hadst lived long enough in the world not to pin thy happiness upon one that is a {15} woman and a widow. I think that without vanity I may pretend to know as much of the female world as any man in Great Britain, though the chief of my knowledge consists in this,—that they are not to be known." Will immediately, with his usual fluency, rambled into an {20} account of his own amours. "I am now," says he, "upon the verge of fifty" (though, by the way, we all knew he was turned of threescore). "You may easily guess," continued Will, "that I have not lived so long in the world without having had some thoughts of settling {25} in it, as the phrase is. To tell you truly, I have several times tried my fortune that way, though I can't much boast of my success.

"I made my first addresses to a young lady in the[Pg 202] country; but when I thought things were pretty well drawing to a conclusion, her father happening to hear that I had formerly boarded with a surgeon, the old put[150] forbid me his house, and within a fortnight after married his daughter to a fox hunter in the neighbourhood. {5}

"I made my next applications to a widow, and attacked her so briskly that I thought myself within a fortnight of her. As I waited upon her one morning, she told me that she intended to keep her ready money and jointure[151] in her own hand, and desired me to call upon her attorney {10} in Lyon's Inn, who would adjust with me what it was proper for me to add to it. I was so rebuffed by this overture that I never inquired either for her or her attorney afterwards.

"A few months after, I addressed myself to a young {15} lady who was an only daughter and of a good family; I danced with her at several balls, squeezed her by the hand, said soft things, and, in short, made no doubt of her heart; and, though my fortune was not equal to hers, I was in hopes that her fond father would not {20} deny her the man she had fixed her affections upon. But, as I went one day to the house in order to break the matter to him, I found the whole family in confusion, and heard, to my unspeakable surprise, that Miss Jenny was that very morning run away with the butler. {25}

"I then courted a second widow, and am at a loss to[Pg 203] this day how I came to miss her, for she had often commended my person and behaviour. Her maid, indeed, told me one day that her mistress had said she never saw a gentleman with such a spindle pair of legs as Mr. Honeycomb. {5}

"After this I laid siege to four heiresses successively, and being a handsome young dog in those days, quickly made a breach in their hearts; but I don't know how it came to pass, though I seldom failed of getting the daughter's consent, I could never in my life get the old people {10} on my side.

"I could give you an account of a thousand other unsuccessful attempts, particularly of one which I made some years since upon an old woman, whom I had certainly borne away with flying colours if her relations had not come {15} pouring in to her assistance from all parts of England; nay, I believe I should have got her at last, had not she been carried off by an hard frost."

As Will's transitions are extremely quick, he turned from Sir Roger, and applying himself to me, told me {20} there was a passage in the book I had considered last Saturday which deserved to be writ in letters of gold; and taking out a pocket Milton, read the following lines, which are part of one of Adam's speeches to Eve after the fall: {25}

"Oh! why did our
Creator wise, that peopled highest Heaven
With Spirits masculine, create at last
This novelty on Earth, this fair defect
Of Nature, and not fill the World at once {30}
[Pg 204]
With men as Angels, without feminine;
Or find some other way to generate
Mankind? This mischief had not then befallen,
And more that shall befall—innumerable
Disturbances on Earth through female snares, {5}
And straight conjunction[152] with this sex. For either
He never shall find out fit mate, but such
As some misfortune brings him, or mistake;
Or whom he wishes most shall seldom gain,
Through her perverseness, but shall see her gained {10}
By a far worse, or, if she love, withheld
By parents; or his happiest choice too late
Shall meet, already linked and wedlock-bound
To a fell adversary, his hate or shame:
Which infinite calamity shall cause {15}
To human life, and household peace confound."

Sir Roger listened to this passage with great attention, and desiring Mr. Honeycomb to fold down a leaf at the place and lend him his book, the knight put it up in his pocket, and told us that he would read over those verses {20} again before he went to bed.


[Pg 205]


[No. 383. Tuesday, May 20, 1712. Addison.]

Criminibus debent hortos.

As I was sitting in my chamber and thinking on a subject for my next Spectator, I heard two or three irregular bounces at my landlady's door, and upon the opening of it, a loud, cheerful voice inquiring whether the philosopher was at home. The child who went to the door {5} answered very innocently that he did not lodge there. I immediately recollected that it was my good friend Sir Roger's voice, and that I had promised to go with him on the water to Spring Garden, in case it proved a good evening. The knight put me in mind of my promise {10} from the bottom of the staircase, but told me that if I was speculating he would stay below till I had done. Upon my coming down, I found all the children of the family got about my old friend, and my landlady herself who is a notable prating gossip, engaged in a conference {15} with him, being mightily pleased with his stroking her little boy upon the head, and bidding him be a good child and mind his book.

We were no sooner come to the Temple Stairs but we were surrounded with a crowd of watermen, offering us[Pg 206] {20} their respective services. Sir Roger, after having looked about him very attentively, spied one with a wooden leg, and immediately gave him orders to get his boat ready. As we were walking towards it, "You must know," says Sir Roger, "I never make use of anybody to row me that {5} has not either lost a leg or an arm. I would rather bate him a few strokes of his oar than not employ an honest man that had been wounded in the Queen's service. If I was a lord or a bishop, and kept a barge, I would not put a fellow in my livery that had not a wooden leg." {10}

My old friend, after having seated himself and trimmed the boat with his coachman,—who, being a very sober man, always serves for ballast on these occasions,—we made the best of our way for Fox-hall. Sir Roger obliged the waterman to give us the history of his right leg, and {15} hearing that he had left it at La Hogue, with many particulars which passed in that glorious action, the knight, in the triumph of his heart, made several reflections on the greatness of the British nation; as, that one Englishman could beat three Frenchmen; that we could never {20} be in danger of popery so long as we took care of our fleet; that the Thames was the noblest river in Europe; that London Bridge was a greater piece of work than any of the seven wonders of the world; with many other honest prejudices which naturally cleave to the heart of a {25} true Englishman.

After some short pause, the old knight, turning about his head twice or thrice to take a survey of this great metropolis, bid me observe how thick the city was set[Pg 207] with churches, and that there was scarce a single steeple on this side Temple Bar. "A most heathenish sight!" says Sir Roger; "there is no religion at this end of the town. The fifty new churches will very much mend the prospect; but church work is slow, church work is {5} slow!"

I do not remember I have anywhere mentioned, in Sir Roger's character, his custom of saluting everybody that passes by him with a good-morrow or a good-night. This the old man does out of the overflowings of his humanity, {10} though at the same time it renders him so popular among all his country neighbours that it is thought to have gone a good way in making him once or twice knight of the shire.

He cannot forbear this exercise of benevolence even in {15} town, when he meets with any one in his morning or evening walk. It broke from him to several boats that passed by us upon the water; but to the knight's great surprise, as he gave the good-night to two or three young fellows a little before our landing, one of them, instead of returning {20} the civility, asked us what queer old put we had in the boat, ... with a great deal of the like Thames ribaldry. Sir Roger seemed a little shocked at first, but at length, assuming a face of magistracy, told us that if he were a Middlesex justice he would make such vagrants {25} know that her Majesty's subjects were no more to be abused by water than by land.

We were now arrived at Spring Garden, which is exquisitely pleasant at this time of year. When I considered[Pg 208] the fragrancy of the walks and bowers, with the choirs of birds that sung upon the trees, and the loose tribe of people that walked under their shades, I could not but look upon the place as a kind of Mahometan paradise. Sir Roger told me it put him in mind of a little coppice {5} by his house in the country, which his chaplain used to call an aviary of nightingales. "You must understand," says the knight, "there is nothing in the world that pleases a man in love so much as your nightingale. Ah, Mr. Spectator! the many moonlight nights that I have walked by {10} myself and thought on the widow by the music of the nightingales!" He here fetched a deep sigh, and was falling into a fit of musing, when a mask,[153] who came behind him, gave him a gentle tap upon the shoulder, and asked him if he would drink a bottle of mead with her. {15} But the knight, being startled at so unexpected a familiarity, and displeased to be interrupted in his thoughts of the widow, told her she was a wanton baggage, and bid her go about her business.

We concluded our walk with a glass of Burton ale and {20} a slice of hung beef. When we had done eating, ourselves, the knight called a waiter to him and bid him carry the remainder to the waterman that had but one leg. I perceived the fellow stared upon him at the oddness of the message, and was going to be saucy; upon which I {25} ratified the knight's commands with a peremptory look.

As we were going out of the garden, my old friend, thinking himself obliged as a member of the quorum to[Pg 209] animadvert upon the morals of the place, told the mistress of the house, who sat at the bar, that he should be a better customer to her garden if there were more nightingales and fewer strumpets.



[No. 517. Thursday, October 23, 1712. Addison.]

Heu pietas! heu prisca fides!

We last night received a piece of ill news at our club {5} which very sensibly afflicted every one of us. I question not but my readers themselves will be troubled at the hearing of it. To keep them no longer in suspense,—Sir Roger de Coverley is dead. He departed this life at his house in the country, after a few weeks' sickness. Sir {10} Andrew Freeport has a letter from one of his correspondents in those parts, that informs him the old man caught a cold at the county sessions, as he was very warmly promoting an address of his own penning, in which he succeeded according to his wishes. But this particular {15} comes from a Whig justice of peace, who was always Sir Roger's enemy and antagonist. I have letters both from the chaplain and Captain Sentry which mention nothing of it, but are filled with many particulars to the honour of the good old man. I have likewise a letter from the[Pg 210] {20} butler, who took so much care of me last summer when I was at the knight's house. As my friend the butler mentions, in the simplicity of his heart, several circumstances the others have passed over in silence, I shall give my reader a copy of his letter without any alteration {5} or diminution.

"Honoured Sir,—

"Knowing that you was my old master's good friend, I could not forbear sending you the melancholy news of his death, which has afflicted the whole country, as well as his poor servants, who {10} loved him, I may say, better than we did our lives. I am afraid he caught his death the last county sessions, where he would go to see justice done to a poor widow woman, and her fatherless children, that had been wronged by a neighbouring gentleman; for you know, sir, my good master was always the poor man's friend. {15} Upon his coming home, the first complaint he made was, that he had lost his roast beef stomach, not being able to touch a sirloin, which was served up according to custom; and you know he used to take great delight in it. From that time forward he grew worse and worse, but still kept a good heart[154] to the last. Indeed, we {20} were once in great hope of his recovery, upon a kind message that was sent him from the widow lady whom he had made love to the forty last years of his life; but this only proved a light'ning before death. He has bequeathed to this lady, as a token of his love, a great pearl necklace, and a couple of silver bracelets set with jewels, {25} which belonged to my good old lady his mother. He has bequeathed the fine white gelding, that he used to ride a hunting upon, to his chaplain, because he thought he would be kind to him, and has left you all his books. He has, moreover, bequeathed to the chaplain a very pretty tenement with good lands about it. It {30} being a very cold day when he made his will, he left for mourning,[Pg 211] to every man in the parish, a great frieze coat, and to every woman a black riding-hood. It was a most moving sight to see him take leave of his poor servants, commending us all for our fidelity, whilst we were not able to speak a word for weeping. As we most of us are grown gray-headed in our dear master's service, he has left us {5} pensions and legacies, which we may live very comfortably upon, the remaining part of our days. He has bequeath'd a great deal more in charity, which is not yet come to my knowledge, and it is peremptorily said in the parish, that he has left money to build a steeple to the church; for he was heard to say some time ago, that {10} if he lived two years longer, Coverley Church should have a steeple to it. The chaplain tells everybody that he made a very good end, and never speaks of him without tears. He was buried according to his own directions, among the family of the Coverley's, on the left hand of his father, Sir Arthur. The coffin was carried by six of {15} his tenants, and the pall held up by six of the quorum. The whole parish follow'd the corpse with heavy hearts, and in their mourning suits, the men in frieze, and the women in riding-hoods. Captain Sentry, my master's nephew, has taken possession of the hall house, and the whole estate. When my old master saw him a {20} little before his death, he shook him by the hand, and wished him joy of the estate which was falling to him, desiring him only to make good use of it, and to pay the several legacies, and the gifts of charity which he told him he had left as quitrents upon the estate. The captain truly seems a courteous man, though he says {25} but little. He makes much of those whom my master loved, and shows great kindness to the old house dog, that you know my poor master was so fond of. It would have gone to your heart to have heard the moans the dumb creature made on the day of my master's death. He has ne'er joyed himself since; no more has any {30} of us. 'Twas the melancholiest day for the poor people that ever happened in Worcestershire. This being all from,

"Honoured Sir,

"Your most Sorrowful Servant,

"Edward Biscuit." {35}

[Pg 212]

"P. S. My master desired, some weeks before he died, that a book which comes up to you by the carrier should be given to Sir Andrew Freeport, in his name."

This letter, notwithstanding the poor butler's manner of writing it, gave us such an idea of our good old friend, {5} that upon the reading of it there was not a dry eye in the club. Sir Andrew, opening the book, found it to be a collection of Acts of Parliament. There was in particular the Act of Uniformity, with some passages in it marked by Sir Roger's own hand. Sir Andrew found {10} that they related to two or three points which he had disputed with Sir Roger the last time he appeared at the club. Sir Andrew, who would have been merry at such an incident on another occasion, at the sight of the old man's handwriting burst into tears, and put the book {15} into his pocket. Captain Sentry informs me that the knight has left rings and mourning for every one in the club.


[Pg 213]


[No. 544. Monday, Nov. 24, 1712. Steele.]

Nunquam ita quisquam bene subducta ratione ad vitam fuit
Quin res, aetas, usus semper aliquid apportet novi,
Aliquid moneat: ut illa, quae te scire credas, nescias;
Et, quae tibi putaris prima, in experiundo ut repudies.

There are, I think, sentiments in the following letter from my friend Captain Sentry, which discover a rational and equal frame of mind, as well prepared for an advantageous as an unfortunate change of condition.

"Coverley Hall, Nov. 15, {5}


"I am come to the succession of the estate of my honoured kinsman, Sir Roger de Coverley; and I assure you I find it no easy task to keep up the figure of master of the fortune which {10} was so handsomely enjoyed by that honest, plain man. I cannot (with respect to the great obligations I have, be it spoken) reflect upon his character, but I am confirmed in the truth which I have, I think, heard spoken at the club; to wit, that a man of a warm and well-disposed heart, with a very small capacity, is highly {15} superior in human society to him who, with the greatest talents, is cold and languid in his affections.

[Pg 214]

"But, alas! why do I make a difficulty in speaking of my worthy ancestor's failings? His little absurdities and incapacity for the conversation[155] of the politest men are dead with him, and his greater qualities are even now useful to him. I know not whether by naming those disabilities I do not enhance his merit, since he {5} has left behind him a reputation in his country which would be worth the pains of the wisest man's whole life to arrive at.

"But, indeed, my chief business at this time is to represent to you my present state of mind, and the satisfactions I promise to myself in the possession of my new fortune. I have continued all {10} Sir Roger's servants, except such as it was a relief to dismiss into little beings[156] within my manor. Those who are in a list of the good knight's own hand to be taken care of by me, I have quartered upon such as have taken new leases of me, and added so many advantages during the lives of the persons so quartered, that {15} it is the interest of those whom they are joined with, to cherish and befriend them upon all occasions.

"I find a considerable sum of ready money, which I am laying out among my dependants at the common interest, but with a design to lend it according to their merit, rather than according {20} to their ability. I shall lay a tax upon such as I have highly obliged, to become security to me for such of their own poor youth, whether male or female, as want help towards getting into some being in the world.[157] I hope I shall be able to manage my affairs so as to improve my fortune every year by doing acts of kindness. {25} I will lend my money to the use of none but indigent men, secured by such as have ceased to be indigent by the favour of my family or myself. What makes this the more practicable is, that if they will do any one good with my money, they are welcome to it upon their own security: and I make no exception against it, because the {30} persons who enter into the obligations, do it for their own family.[Pg 215] I have laid out four thousand pounds this way, and it is not to be imagined what a crowd of people are obliged by it. In cases where Sir Roger has recommended, I have lent money to put out[158] children, with a clause which makes void the obligation in case the infant[159] dies before he is out of his apprenticeship; by which means {5} the kindred and masters are extremely careful of breeding him to industry, that he may repay it himself by his labour, in three years' journey-work after his time is out, for the use of his securities.[160] Opportunities of this kind are all that have occurred since I came to my estate; but I assure you I will preserve a constant disposition {10} to catch at all the occasions I can to promote the good and happiness of my neighbourhood.

"But give me leave to lay before you a little establishment which has grown out of my past life, that I doubt not will administer great satisfaction to me in that part of it, whatever that is, which {15} is to come.

"There is a prejudice in favour of the way of life to which a man has been educated, which I know not whether it would not be faulty to overcome. It is like a partiality to the interest of one's own country before that of any other nation. It is from an habit {20} of thinking, grown upon me from my youth spent in arms, that I have ever held gentlemen who have preserved modesty, good-nature, justice and humanity in a soldier's life, to be the most valuable and worthy persons of the human race. To pass through imminent dangers, suffer painful watchings, frightful alarms, and {25} laborious marches for the greater part of a man's time, and pass the rest in a sobriety conformable to the rules of the most virtuous civil life, is a merit too great to deserve the treatment it usually meets with among the other part of the world. But I assure you, sir, were there not very many who have this worth, we could never[Pg 216] {30} have seen the glorious events which we have in our days. I need not say more to illustrate the character of a soldier than to tell you he is the very contrary to him you observe loud, saucy, and overbearing, in a red coat about town. But I was going to tell you that, in honour of the profession of arms, I have set apart a certain sum of {5} money for a table for such gentlemen as have served their country in the army, and will please from time to time to sojourn all or any part of the year, at Coverley. Such of them as will do me that honour shall find horses, servants, and all things necessary for their accommodation and enjoyment of all the conveniences of life in a {10} pleasant, various[161] country. If Colonel Camperfelt be in town, and his abilities are not employed another way in the service, there is no man would be more welcome here. That gentleman's thorough knowledge in his profession, together with the simplicity of his manners and goodness of his heart, would induce others like him to honour {15} my abode; and I should be glad my acquaintance would take themselves to be invited or not, as their characters have an affinity to his.

"I would have all my friends know that they need not fear (though I am become a country gentleman) I will trespass against their temperance and sobriety. No, sir, I shall retain so much of {20} the good sentiments for the conduct of life which we cultivated in each other at our club, as to contemn all inordinate pleasures; but particularly remember, with our beloved Tully,[162] that the delight in food consists in desire, not satiety. They who most passionately pursue pleasure, seldomest arrive at it. Now I am writing to a {25} philosopher, I cannot forbear mentioning the satisfaction I took in the passage I read yesterday in the same Tully. A nobleman of Athens made a compliment to Plato the morning after he had supped at his house: 'Your entertainments do not only please when you give them, but also the day after.' {30}

"I am, my worthy friend,

"Your most obedient, humble servant,

"William Sentry."


[Pg 217]


The heavy marginal figures stand for page, and the lighter ones for line

I. The Spectator

Motto.    "He does not lavish at a blaze his fire,
Sudden to glare and in a smoke expire;
But rises from a cloud of smoke to light,
And pours his specious miracles to sight."
—Horace, Ars Poetica, 143. P. Francis's tr.

That is, a well-planned work of art will not begin with a flash and end in smoke; but, beginning modestly, will grow more lucid and brilliant as it proceeds. Horace, in the lines immediately preceding these, quotes in translation the opening words of the Odyssey as an example of a good introduction.

The mottoes of the Spectator papers—nearly all chosen from the Latin poets—are usually, as in this case, very apt. They give a certain air of dignity and easy scholarship to the treatment of familiar themes. In a later paper (No. 221, written by Addison) the Spectator defends himself with charming humour against any charge of pedantry in the use of them.

45: 12. My own history. In this paper Addison of course is not giving us his own history; but he is giving us a truthful picture of his own temperament. His love of reading and of travel, his dignified composure, his taciturnity, his habit of quiet observation—they are all faithfully set down.

47: 20. The measure of a pyramid. Addison perhaps had in mind the works on this subject by John Greaves (1602-1652), a[Pg 218] mathematician and antiquary; a posthumous pamphlet by him had recently (1706) been published. Addison's own travels never extended farther than Italy.

47: 28. Place of general resort. The coffee-houses played a very important part in the London life of Queen Anne's time. They were frequented by all classes,—wits and scholars, divines, politicians, men of business, and men of fashion. Each of the more famous houses had its own class of patrons, and thus served as a kind of club. Men frequently had their letters left there—as Swift used to do, instead of at his lodgings—and could count on meeting congenial acquaintances there at any time. An observant French traveler, Henri Misson, whose book was translated in 1719, gives a pleasant glimpse of the coffee-house interior: "You have all Manner of Newes there: You have a good Fire, which you may sit by as long as you please; You have a Dish of Coffee; You meet your Friends for the Transaction of Business; and all for a Penny, if you don't Care to spend more." In the better houses, cards or dicing were not allowed, and swearing and quarrelling were punished by fines.

The coffee-houses mentioned in the text were, in 1710, those most widely known. Will's, at the corner of Bow and Great Russell streets, near the Drury Lane Theatre, was the famous house where, during the last decade of the seventeenth century, the great Dryden had held his chair as literary dictator, and it was still a favourite resort both for men of letters and men of affairs; it was from Will's that Steele dated all those papers in The Tatler which were concerned with poetry. Child's, in St. Paul's church-yard, was frequented by the clergy and by men of learning; the Grecian, in Devereaux Court, just off the Strand, was also the resort of scholars and of barristers from the Temple—Steele dated from there all "accounts of learning" in his Tatler. The St James, near the foot of St. James Street, was a thoroughly Whig house, as the Cocoa Tree on the opposite side of the street was a Tory. Jonathan's, in Exchange Alley, near the heart of the city, was the headquarters of[Pg 219] stockjobbers. All these were coffee-houses, except the Cocoa Tree, which called itself a chocolate-house. The chocolate-houses were few in number, higher in prices, and less popular than the coffee-houses.

Steele gives a pleasant account of coffee-house customs in Spectator, No. 49. See also two papers by Addison on coffee-house talk, Spectator, Nos. 403, 568.

For a fuller account of London Coffee-houses in Addison's time, see Ashton's Social Life in the Reign of Queen Anne, Chap. xviii, and Besant's London in the Eighteenth Century, Chap. xii.

48: 5. The Postman. One of the little newspapers of the Queen Anne time, issued thrice a week and edited by a French Protestant named Fontive.

48: 11. Drury Lane and the Haymarket. These two famous theaters were, in 1710, the only ones open in London.

48: 16. Never open my lips but in my own club. "Addison was perfect good company with intimates; and had something more charming in his conversation than I ever knew in any other man; but with any mixture of strangers, and sometimes only with one, he seemed to preserve his dignity much, with a stiff sort of silence." Pope, quoted in Spence's Anecdotes, p. 38. It will be noticed that while this taciturnity and reserve were characteristics of Addison, they were utterly foreign to the disposition of Steele. Steele often talked too soon and too fast, and he threw himself most heartily into the game of life.

48: 27. Neutrality between the Whigs and Tories. The Spectator kept this resolve, though the restriction was difficult for Steele.

50: 19. Mr. Buckley's in Little Britain. Samuel Buckley was a printer who, in 1702, had started the first English daily newspaper, The Daily Courant, a little sheet 14 by 8 inches in size. He undertook to print The Spectator for Steele and Addison. Little Britain is the name of a short street in London, near Smithfield.

50: 24. C. All Addison's papers in The Spectator are signed[Pg 220] with some one of the four letters forming the word Clio, the name of the muse of history. Steele's are signed R or T. In Spectator, No. 221, Addison gives a droll comment upon these "Capital Letters placed at the End of the papers."

II. The Club

Motto. "But other six and more call out with one voice."—Juvenal, Satires, vii, 167.

51: 2. Sir Roger de Coverley. "The still popular dance-tune from which Addison borrowed the name of Sir Roger de Coverley in The Spectator, is contained in Playford's Division Violin, 1685; in The Dancing Master of 1696, and all subsequent editions."—Chappell, Popular Music of the Olden Time.

Steele says it was Swift who made the happy suggestion of calling the old knight by the name of the popular dance.

51: 4. Country-dance. This seems to be the original form of which contre-dance and contra-dance are perversions, naturally arising from the fact that in such dances the men and women stand in lines facing each other.

51: 14. Soho Square. Since the time of Charles II this had been a fashionable quarter of London, but fell into comparative disfavour as a place of residence before the close of the eighteenth century.

We do not hear again of this town residence of Sir Roger; he is considered as a country gentleman, who only makes short visits to London, and then lodges in Norfolk buildings off the Strand.

52: 1. My Lord Rochester and Sir George Etherege. John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester (1647-1680), and Sir George Etherege (1634-1694) enjoyed some little reputation as poets and more notoriety as rakes during the reign of Charles II. Etherege had considerable dramatic ability; but both men covered with a veneer of fine manners essentially vulgar lives, and both died drunkards.

[Pg 221]

53: 2. Bully Dawson. "A swaggering sharper of Whitefriars."—Morley.

53: 2. Inner Temple. The Inns of Court are legal societies in London which have the exclusive right of admitting candidates to the bar, and provide instruction and examinations for that purpose. There are four of these Inns of Court,—Lincoln's Inn, Gray's Inn, the Middle Temple, and the Inner Temple. The last two derive their names from the fact that they occupy buildings and gardens on the site formerly belonging to the military order of Knights Templar, which was dissolved in the fourteenth century. The famous Temple Church is the only one of the buildings of the great Knights Templar establishment that now remains. We hear but little of the Templar in the following papers; Steele did not find the character as interesting as it might have been expected he would.

53: 8. Aristotle (384-322 B.C.), the greatest of Greek philosophers in his influence upon later thought, was also perhaps the greatest, as he was the first, of literary critics. The Templar probably cared quite as much for Aristotle's Rhetoric and Poetics as for his philosophical works.

53: 9. Longinus (210-273) was the author of a treatise On the Sublime, more admired two centuries ago than it is to-day.

53: 9. Littleton. Sir Thomas Littleton (1402-1481), a noted English jurist, author of a famous work in French on Tenures.

53: 10. Coke. The Institutes of Sir Edward Coke (1552-1634), a reprint and translation of Littleton's book, with copious comment,—hence popularly known as Coke on Littleton,—are a great authority upon the law of real property.

53: 17. Tully. Marcus Tullius Cicero.

53: 29. Exactly at five. In the Queen Anne days the play began at six, or often as early as five. The Templar is going to the Drury Lane Theatre. He passes New Inn, which was one of the buildings of the Middle Temple, crosses the Strand, and through Russell Court reaches Will's Coffee-house, where he looks in for[Pg 222] coffee and the news, and he has his shoes rubbed and his wig powdered at the barber's by the Rose Tavern, which stood just beside the theatre.

54: 6. Sir Andrew Freeport. Steele's Whig sympathies may be seen in this picture of the intelligent and enterprising merchant. The trading classes of England belonged then almost entirely to the Whig party; the landed aristocracy, on the other hand, country squire and country parson, were almost always Tories. See note on p. 242.

54: 22. A penny got. This would seem to be the source of Franklin's Poor Richard's maxim, "A penny saved is a penny earned."

57: 6. Hoods. The hood was an important article of woman's attire at this time. See Addison's delightful paper, Spectator, No. 265.

57: 12. The Duke of Monmouth. The natural son of Charles II, who, during the reign of James II, in 1685, invaded England and attempted to seize the crown; but was defeated in the battle of Sedgemoor,—the last battle fought on English soil,—taken prisoner, and executed on Tower Hill. He was a young man of little ability; but his personal beauty and engaging manners won him many friends. See the portrait of him as Absalom in Dryden's Absalom and Achitophel, 29, 30:

"His motions all accompanied with grace,
And Paradise was opened in his face."

58: 23. R. One of Steele's signatures. See note, p. 219.

III. Sir Roger's Criticisms on Polite Society

Motto. "They used to think it a great crime, even deserving of death, if a young man did not rise up in the presence of an elder."—Juvenal, Satires, xiii. 54.

59: 6. Wit and sense. These were reckoned in the Queen Anne time the cardinal virtues not only of literature, but of society.[Pg 223] Keenness and quickness of intellect, grace of form in letters, urbanity and good breeding, brilliancy of converse in society—these were the qualities the age most admired. This paper is one of many written by Steele to protest against the divorce of these qualities from morality and religion.

59: 9. Abandoned writings of men of wit. Steele probably has especially in mind the drama of his time. English comedy was never so witty and never so abandoned as in the fifty years following the Restoration.

60: 8. Lincoln's Inn Fields. A large square just west of Lincoln's Inn, at this time much frequented by beggars and sharpers.

61: 24. Sir Richard Blackmore (1650-1729), a dull, long-winded poet of the time, whose verse has little beside its virtue to recommend it. In the Preface to his long philosophical poem, The Creation, published a few months after this paper was written, he inveighs at great length against the licentiousness and atheism of men of wit and letters; but the sentences in the text seem to be quoted, though inaccurately, from the Preface to his earlier epic, Prince Arthur (1695).

IV. The Club and the Spectator

Motto. "A wild beast spares his own kind."—Juvenal, Satires, xv. 159.

65: 13. The opera and the puppet-show. The absurd unrealities of the Italian opera, then recently introduced into England, were a subject of frequent sarcastic comment in The Spectator. "Audiences," says Addison, "have often been reproached by writers for the coarseness of their taste; but our present grievance does not seem to be the want of a good taste, but of common sense." For strictures on the opera, see Nos. 1, 13, 18, 22, 29, 31.

65: 15. Dress and equipage of persons of quality. Perhaps he refers to No. 16, in which the Spectator had ventured some[Pg 224] criticism upon muffs and garters and fringed gloves and other "foppish ornaments."

65: 19. The city. Technically "the city" is that part of London north of the Thames from Temple Bar on the west to the Tower on the east, and extending as far as Finsbury on the north, which constituted the original walled city of London. It is the part of London under the immediate control of the lord mayor and aldermen, and its residents are "citizens." The trade and business of London was in Addison's time almost entirely—and still is very largely—included in this area.

Sir Andrew Freeport, as a merchant, of course stands up for the city.

66: 4. The wits of King Charles's time. The comedies of the writers of the time of Charles II—Farquhar, Wycherley, Congreve, Vanbrugh—usually turn upon intrigue of which the wives and daughters of citizens are the victims.

66: 6. Horace (65-8 B.C.) and Juvenal (circa 60-140 A.D.), the masters of Latin satire; Boileau (1636-1711), a French satirist and critic.

66: 12. Persons of the Inns of Court. See Spectator, No. 21.

66: 25. Fox hunters. Whatever Mr. Spectator may have said in private, it does not seem that he had thus far written any paper disparaging fox hunters. A later essay, No. 474,—not written by Addison,—is rather severe upon them. Addison's famous picture of the Tory fox hunter is found in The Freeholder, No. 22.

67: 23. Vices ... too trivial for the chastisement of the law, and too fantastical for the cognizance of the pulpit. This is an admirable indication of the range and purpose of the Spectator's satire.

68: 16. The Roman triumvirate. Octavius, Antony, Lepidus. For the account of their "debate," see Plutarch's Life of Mark Antony or Shakespeare's version of it in Julius Cæsar, iv. 1.

68: 27. Punch. One Robert Powell, a hunchbacked dwarf, kept a puppet show, or "Punch's theatre," in Covent Garden. The[Pg 225] speech of Punch was often very broad. See Ashton's Social Life in the Reign of Queen Anne, p. 215.

V. A Lady's Library

Motto. "She had not accustomed her woman's hands to the distaff or the skeins of Minerva."—Virgil, Æneid, vii. 305.

69: 13. Leonora. A letter from a Leonora, perhaps the lady of this paper, is to be found in Spectator, No. 91.

70: 4. Great jars of china. The craze for collecting china was then at its height. It is satirized by Steele in Tatler, No. 23, and by Addison in No. 10 of The Lover.

70: 17. Scaramouches. The Scaramouch is a typical buffoon in Italian farces; the name is derived from Scaramuccia, a famous Italian clown of the last half of the seventeenth century.

70: 20. Snuff box. This indicates that the habit of snuff taking had been adopted by fine ladies. It would seem, however, to have been a new fashion, at all events with ladies. See Steele's criticism upon the habit in Spectator, No. 344. For curious facts with reference to the use of tobacco in the Queen Anne time, see Ashton, Social Life in the Reign of Queen Anne, Chap. xvii.

71: 3. Looking into the books, etc. The humour consists largely, of course, in the odd miscellany of books suited "to the lady and the scholar."

71: 9. Ogilby's Virgil, the first complete translation of Virgil, 1649.

71: 10. Dryden's Juvenal, 1693.

71: 11, 12, 13. Cassandra, Cleopatra, and Astraea were translations of long-winded, sentimental French romances, the first two by La Calprenède, the third by Honoré D'Urfé.

71: 15. The Grand Cyrus and Clelia were even more famous romances, by Mademoiselle de Scudéry, each in ten volumes. For delightful satire upon the taste for this sort of reading, see Steele's comedy, The Tender Husband; the heroine, Miss Biddy Tipkin, has been nourished upon this delicate literature.

[Pg 226]

71: 17. Pembroke's Arcadia. Written in 1580-1581, by Sir Philip Sidney, but published, after his death, by his sister, the Countess of Pembroke. It is the best of the Elizabethan prose romances.

71: 18. Locke. John Locke's Essay on the Human Understanding, an epoch-making work in philosophy, published in 1690. Locke was one of the authors Leonora had "heard praised," and may have "seen"; but she evidently found better use for his book than to read it. The "patches" were bits of black silk or paper, cut in a variety of forms, which ladies stuck upon their faces, presumably to set off their complexions. See Spectator, No. 81. Notice the pun in this use of Locke.

71: 22. Sherlock. William Sherlock (1641-1707), dean of St. Paul's.

71: 23. The Fifteen Comforts of Matrimony, a translation of a French book of the fifteenth century, Quinze Joies de Mariage.

71: 24. Sir William Temple's Essays, published 1692.

71: 25. Malebranche's Search after Truth had been translated from the French not long before.

72: 1. The Ladies' Calling, a popular religious book, anonymous, but ascribed to the unknown author of the most widely circulated religious book of the seventeenth century, The Whole Duty of Man.

72: 2. Mr. D'Urfey. Thomas D'Urfey (1650-1720), a playwright and humorous verse writer. His poetical writings were collected, 1720, under the title, Pills to purge Melancholy. In 1704 he published Tales, Tragical and Comical, which is probably the book here referred to.

72: 6. Clelia. See note on 71: 15.

72: 8. Baker's Chronicle. Sir Richard Baker's Chronicle of the kings of England, 1634. Sir Roger was very familiar with this dull book. See Spectator, No. 329, XXVIII of this volume.

72: 9. Advice to a Daughter. By George Saville, Marquis of Halifax.

[Pg 227]

72: 10. The New Atalantis. By Mrs. Manley, who had an unsavoury reputation in London journalism during the reign of Anne. This was a scandalous romance, attacking prominent persons, especially of the Whig party, under feigned names.

72: 11. Mr. Steele's Christian Hero. See Introduction.

72: 14. Dr. Sacheverell's Speech. A Tory high-church preacher who was impeached before the House of Lords for two violent sermons assailing the Whig party. His trial caused great excitement, and was one of the events immediately preceding the downfall of the Whigs in 1710. The "speech" here mentioned is that delivered in his own defence. It is said to have been written for him by Samuel Wesley, father of John Wesley.

72: 15. Fielding's Trial. One Robert Fielding, tried for bigamy early in the century.

72: 16. Seneca's Morals. The Moral Essays of Seneca (4 B.C.-65 A.D.). The translation of Roger L'Estrange was popular at this time.

72: 17. Taylor's Holy Living and Dying. Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667), the most eloquent of English divines.

74: 22. To give me their thoughts upon it. Some of "their thoughts" may be found in Nos. 92 and 340.

VI. Coverley Hall

Motto. "Hence shall flow to the full for thee, from kindly horn, a wealth of rural honours."—Horace, Odes, I. xvii. 14-17.

77: 7. The nature of a chaplain. The religious influence of the clergy, especially of the country clergy, was doubtless very small in the Queen Anne time. For their condition and work, see Macaulay's famous Chapter iii. in his History of England; Lecky's History of England in the Eighteenth Century, Chap. ii; Ashton's Social Life in the Reign of Queen Anne, Chap. xxxii; Besant's London in the Eighteenth Century, chapter on Church and Chapel. Abundant confirmation of this low estimate of the character and in[Pg 228]fluence of the clergy may be found in contemporary literature. For example, see Swift's Project for the Advancement of Religion, his satirical Argument against the Abolishing of Christianity, and Letter to a Young Clergyman.

Yet it must be remembered that the Whig prejudices of Addison inclined him, in his kindly satire, to belittle the attainments and the influence of the country clergy, who were, almost to a man, Tories.

79: 3. Bishop of St. Asaph may have been either William Beveridge (1637-1708) or his successor, William Fleetwood (1656-1723); both had, before this time, published volumes of sermons.

79: 4. Dr. South. Robert South (1633-1716), a very high churchman and a very eloquent preacher.

79: 6. Tillotson. John Tillotson (1630-1694), made Archbishop of Canterbury three years before his death.

79: 7. Saunderson. Robert Saunderson (1587-1663), Bishop of Lincoln.

79: 7. Barrow. Isaac Barrow (1630-1677) was eminent both as a theologian and a mathematician.

79: 7. Calamy. Edmund Calamy (1600-1666) is the only one in the chaplain's list of preachers who was not a Churchman; Calamy was a Presbyterian, though a liberal one, who served a little time as chaplain of Charles II.

VII. The Coverley Household

Motto. "The Athenians raised a colossal statue to Æsop, though a slave, and placed it on a lasting foundation, to show that the path of Honor is open to all."—Phaedrus, Epilogue, 2.

80: 4. Corruption of manners in servants. For interesting details, see Ashton's Social Life in the Reign of Queen Anne, Chap. vi, Servants. Steele had already written a paper on the subject, Spectator, No. 88.

83: 4. Put his servants into independent livelihoods. Note[Pg 229] the inconsistency of the statement with those of the previous paper. The two papers were written at the same time,—they were printed on two consecutive days,—and Steele and Addison, it is evident, did not very carefully avoid slight inconsistencies.

VIII. Will Wimble

Motto. "Out of breath for naught; doing many things, yet accomplishing nothing."—Phaedrus, Fables, II. v. 3.

85: 6. Wimble. A wimble is a gimlet—the two words are probably from the same root. Possibly, as some of his editors have suggested, Addison meant to indicate that Will Wimble was a small bore. Quite as possibly he meant that the fellow was always turning about, yet making a very small hole.

86: 1. Eton. The most famous of English schools; in sight of Windsor Castle.

86: 8. Younger brother. By English law the eldest son succeeds to the family estate and titles.

86: 21. A tulip-root. About the middle of the seventeenth century there was a craze for tulips in England. The bulbs were grown in Holland, and were sold for fabulous prices. Dealing in them became a kind of speculation, and tulip bulbs were bought and sold on the exchange, as stocks are now, without changing hands at all. As much as a thousand pounds has been paid, it is said, for a single bulb. The Dutch government finally passed a law that no more than two hundred francs should be charged for one bulb. By the time this paper was written the mania had mostly passed, yet tulips were still highly prized. In The Tatler, Addison has a pleasant paper (No. 218) telling of a cook maid who mistook a "handful of tulip-roots for a heap of onions and by that means made a dish of pottage that cost above a thousand pounds sterling." Forty years later, young Oliver Goldsmith, when a medical student in Leyden, almost beggared himself by the purchase of a parcel of tulip-roots to send to his good uncle Contarine in Ireland.

[Pg 230]

89: 1. Trading nation, like ours. In such passages as this Addison betrays his Whig sympathies. The trading and moneyed classes, it will be remembered, were all in the Whig party; the landed aristocracy, in the Tory party. In Spectator, No. 21,—referred to in the closing lines of this paper,—he dwells at length on the opportunities and advantages of the business life as compared with the overcrowded professions.

IX. The Coverley Ancestry

Motto. "Wise, but not by rule."—Horace. Satires, II. ii. 3.

90: 19. Harry the Seventh. Henry VII, king of England, 1485-1509.

90: 19. Yeomen of the guard. The bodyguard of the sovereign, numbering one hundred, who attend him at banquets and other state occasions. They are popularly called "beefeaters," and still wear the uniform here described. The wardens of the Tower of London wear a uniform differing but slightly from that of the yeomen of the guard.

90: 28. The Tilt-yard occupied not only a part of the "common street," now called Whitehall, but the greater part of the "parade ground" in St. James's Park, just behind the Horse Guards building.

91: 14. The coffee-house. Jenny Man's coffee-house, one of the best known in London, stood on the spot now occupied by the paymaster general's office.

91: 24. New-fashioned petticoat. The hooped petticoat has made its appearance, in various forms, at various times, throughout the history of British female attire. Sir Roger's grandmother apparently wore what was called the "wheel farthingale," a drum-shaped petticoat worn in the late sixteenth century. The form in vogue in Addison's time—it came in about 1707—was bell shaped, and of most liberal dimensions. For some admirable fool[Pg 231]ing upon it, see Spectator, No. 127, and Tatler, No. 116, both by Addison.

92: 4. White-pot. Made of cream, rice, sugar, and cinnamon, etc. It was a favourite Devonshire dish, as the famous "clotted cream" of Devon is now.

93: 9. Sir Andrew Freeport has said. Sir Andrew characteristically stands up for the citizens and the moneyed interest. Later on he reminds Sir Roger of the obligation of his family to trade. See Spectator, No. 174, XXVII of this volume.

93: 15. Turned my face. Note the delicate courtesy of the Spectator.

94: 20. The battle of Worcester, September 3, 1651, in which Cromwell defeated the Scots, supporters of Charles II.

X. The Coverley Ghost

Motto.    "All things are full of horror and affright,
And dreadful e'en the silence of the night."
—Virgil, Æneid, ii. 755. Dryden's tr.

95: 9. Psalms, cxlvii. 9.

96: 20. Mr. Locke, in his chapter. Essay on the Human Understanding, Bk. ii, Chap. xxxiii.

98: 12. The relations of particular persons who are now living. Addison's opinion as to the reality of ghosts and apparitions was shared by most people of his time, the thoughtful and educated as well as the ignorant.

98: 17. Lucretius. A Roman poet of the century before Christ, whose one work, De Rerum Natura, is a philosophic poem, showing much subtlety of thought. The "notion" referred to in the text is found in the early part of the Fourth Book of the De Rerum Natura.

99: 4. Josephus (37-95 A.D.). The Jewish historian. The passage is found in his Antiquities of the Jews, Bk. xvii, Chap. xiii.

[Pg 232]

XI. Sunday with Sir Roger

Motto. "First honour the immortal gods, as it is commanded by law."—Pythagoras, Fragments.

101: 20. Instruct them rightly in the tunes of the Psalms. The service in the parish churches throughout England at this time was slovenly and spiritless. Samuel Wesley, father of John, who was then rector of the parish of Epworth, complains that his people prefer the "sorry Sternhold Psalms," have "a strange genius at understanding nonsense," and sing decently only "after it has cost a pretty deal to teach them."

103: 10. The clerk's place. In the English parishes the clerk is the layman who leads in reading the responses of the church service.

103: 23. Tithe stealers. Tithes are a tax, estimated as a tenth (tithe) of the annual profits from land and stock, appropriated for the support of the clergy. The tithes in England are now commuted to rent charges.

XII. Sir Roger in Love

Motto. "(Her) features remain imprinted on (his) heart."—Virgil, Æneid, iv. 4.

105: 1. The perverse widow. Ingenious commentators have thought to identify the lady with a certain Mrs. Catherine Bovey, to whom Steele dedicated the second volume of his Ladies Library; but it seems altogether improbable that Steele and Addison would intend any of their characters as actual portraits.

108: 20. Such a desperate scholar that no country gentleman can approach her. It is probable that Sir Roger's estimate of the scholarship of country gentlemen in his time does them no great injustice. Macaulay says of the country squire at the end of the seventeenth century: "If he went to school and to college, he generally returned before he was twenty to the seclusion of the[Pg 233] old hall, and then, unless his mind was very happily constituted by nature, soon forgot his academical pursuits in rural business and pleasures. His chief serious employment was the care of his property.... His chief pleasures were commonly derived from field sports and from unrefined sensuality. His language and pronunciation were such as we should now expect to hear only from the most ignorant clowns."—History of England, Chap. iii.

109: 20. Sphinx. The sphinx was sent by Juno to devastate the country of the Thebans, until some one could answer her riddle, "What animal goes on four feet in the morning, two at noon, and three at night?" [OE]dipus gave the right answer, "Man," and so saved his countrymen.

110: 3. Her tucker. The tucker was an edging of muslin or lace at the top of the dress, covering the neck and bosom.

110: 8. Some tansy. A kind of pudding flavored with tansy.

110: 24. Dum tacet hanc loquitur. Even when silent he is speaking of her.

110: 25. Epigram. Martial, Epigram, I. lxviii. The last two lines of the epigram are not quoted.

XIII. How to bear Poverty

Motto. "The shame of poverty and the fear of it."—Horace, Epistles, I. xviii. 24.

111: 16. The glass was taken ... pretty plentifully. The Queen Anne men were not very temperate. Says Mr. Lecky: "The amount of hard drinking among the upper classes was still very great, and it is remarkable how many of the most conspicuous characters were addicted to it. Addison, the foremost moralist of his time, was not free from it. Oxford, whose private character was in most respects singularly high, is said to have come, not infrequently, drunk into the very presence of the Queen."—England in the Eighteenth Century, Chap. iii.

[Pg 234]

Swift writes in his Journal to Stella, October 31, 1710: "I dined with Mr. Addison and Dick Stuart. They were both half fuddled; but not I."

113: 13, 19. Laertes ... Irus. Classical names were frequently taken for imaginary personages by the writers of this time. Laertes, in Homer's Odyssey, is the father of Ulysses, and Irus is a beggar.

113: 16. Four shillings in the pound. Laertes evidently has to pay three hundred pounds a year interest on his mortgage of six thousand pounds, which is one fifth of his whole income, or "four shillings in the pound."

113: 18. Easier in his own fortune. Because, of course, he has to pay taxes on his whole estate.

114: 25. Mr. Cowley. Abraham Cowley (1618-1667), one of the most popular poets of the second third of the seventeenth century. The vogue of his poetry, however, rapidly declined; but his prose essays are still very pleasant reading. The essay which Steele seems to refer to in the latter part of this paragraph is that on Greatness, which closes with a translation of Horace's Ode, Odi profanum, Bk. iii. 1.

114: 28. The elegant author who published his works. Thomas Sprat, Bishop of Rochester, who issued a complete edition of Cowley's Poetical Works, prefaced with a Life, in 1680. Sprat's Life of Cowley is one of the most interesting pieces of biography of the seventeenth century.

115: 5. Great vulgar. The phrase is from the second line of Cowley's translation of the Odi profanum of Horace, above mentioned:

"Hence, ye profane! I hate ye all,
Both the great vulgar and the small."

But Steele's sentence is certainly obscure.

116: 11. If e'er ambition did my fancy cheat, etc. These lines are Cowley's own, and are inserted in the essay on Greatness.

[Pg 235]

XIV. Labour and Exercise

Motto. "That there may be a sound mind in a sound body."—Juvenal, Satires, x. 356.

117: 21. Ferments the humours. It was an old medical notion that in the body there are four humours or fluids,—blood, phlegm, choler, and bile,—and that health depended upon the due proportion and mixture of these humours. This conception influenced popular language, after it was in great part discarded by more accurate medical knowledge. It will be noticed throughout this paper that Addison's hygiene is better than his physiology.

117: 28. Refining those spirits. The name animal spirits was given to a subtle fluid which, according to ancient medical notions, permeated the body and served in some way as the medium of sensation and volition. In its looser and more recent use the phrase means little more than nervous energy or sometimes physical vivacity.

118: 3. The spleen was supposed to be the seat of melancholy or fretfulness, hence was often used for the melancholy itself.

118: 5. Vapours. The blues, especially used of women.

120: 8. Dr. Sydenham. Thomas Sydenham (1624-1689), the most noted physician of his time, surnamed "the English Hippocrates."

120: 12. Medicina Gymnastica, or a Treatise concerning the Power of Exercise, by Francis Fuller, published in 1704.

120: 14. Exercise myself an hour every morning. It may be doubted whether Mr. Addison kept up this healthful practice. At all events, like most of the fat club goers of the age, he gave evidence in his later years of the need of more vigorous physical exercise, and he died at the early age of forty-seven.

120: 23. A Latin treatise of exercises. Artis Gymnasticae apud antiquos, by Hieronymus Mercurialis, Venice, 1569.

[Pg 236]

XV. Sir Roger goes A-Hunting

This paper and XXX of the present collection were written by Eustace Budgell. This sanguine, brilliant, but ill-starred young man was a cousin of Addison's, an Oxford graduate, and a writer of considerable promise. He was introduced to public life by Addison, whom he accompanied as clerk when Addison went to Ireland as secretary. For a time Budgell was a member of the Irish Parliament, and seemed to have a successful career in prospect both in politics and in letters; but he became involved in unfortunate financial speculations, especially in the notorious South Sea Bubble, was guilty of forgery in his efforts to extricate himself, and finally, in despair, drowned himself in the Thames.

Motto. "Cithaeron calls aloud and the dogs on Mount Taygetus."—Virgil, Georgics, iii. 43.

Cithaeron and Taygetus were mountains, the one in Boeotia and the other in Laconia.

121: 18. The Bastile (modern spelling, Bastille). The famous prison, for prisoners of state, in Paris; destroyed at the beginning of the French Revolution, July 14, 1789. The 14th of July is still a national holiday in France.

123: 19. Midsummer Night's Dream, iv. 1. 124.

126: 20. Threw down his pole. Such of the hunters as followed the chase on foot usually carried long vaulting poles, by the aid of which they could leap hedges, ditches, or miry places, and thus, by going cross country, often keep as close to the dogs as the mounted huntsmen. See Ashton's Social Life in the Reign of Queen Anne, Chap. xxiii.

127: 7. Pascal. Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), French geometrician and philosopher, and one of the most acute thinkers of his century. His later years were passed in the celebrated community of Port Royal, where his metaphysical and religious works were written. After his death, a number of fragmentary papers intended[Pg 237] for a work in defence of Christianity, which he did not live to finish, were collected and published under the title Pensées de M. Pascal sur la Religion (Thoughts of Pascal upon Religion). It is from the seventh section (Misère de l'homme) of this work that the quotation in the text is taken.

127: 27. Too great an application to his studies in his youth. Pascal wrote a famous Latin treatise on Conic Sections at the age of sixteen, invented a calculating machine at the age of nineteen, and before he was twenty-one was accounted one of the first mathematicians of the world. But he says that from the age of eighteen he never passed a day without pain.

128: 10. Lines out of Mr. Dryden. John Dryden (1631-1700), the representative English poet of the last half of the seventeenth century. The lines quoted are from his Epistle XV, to his cousin of the same name as himself, John Dryden of Chesterton, a robust, fox-hunting bachelor. The epistle is a good example of Dryden's masculine common-sense.

XVI. The Coverley Witch

Motto. "They make their own visions."—Virgil, Eclogues, viii. 108.

129: 9. The subject of witchcraft. The Spectator was less credulous, on this matter of witchcraft, than most of his contemporaries. The witchcraft craze in Salem, Massachusetts, occurred in 1692; only a few years before this paper was written, two women had been hanged in Northampton, England, for witchcraft; and as late as 1716 a certain Mrs. Hicks and her daughter were executed in Huntingdon for selling their souls to the devil, etc. The statute of James I, 1603, punishing witchcraft by death, was not repealed until 1736; and the belief in witchcraft continued to be common long after that, not only among the ignorant, but among the educated. John Wesley, on most matters a man of very sound practical judgement, writes in his Journal as late as 1770: "I cannot give up to[Pg 238] all the Deists in Great Britain the existence of witchcraft till I give up the credit of all history, sacred and profane. And at the present time I have not only as strong but stronger proofs of this from eye and ear witnesses than I have of murder; so that I cannot rationally doubt of one any more than the other." And Samuel Johnson, when questioned by Boswell on the matter, while he would "not affirm anything positively upon the subject," reminded Mr. Boswell that in support of witchcraft "You have not only the general report and belief, but many solemn, voluntary confessions." (Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson, April 9, 1772.)

For an account of the kind of evidence used against alleged witches, see a case cited in Ashton's Social Life in the Reign of Queen Anne, Chap. x.

130: 19. Otway. Thomas Otway (1651-1685), the best tragic dramatist of the Restoration period. The passage is from his tragedy, The Orphan, ii. 1.

131: 8. Carried her several hundreds of miles. In accordance with the superstition that a witch rode through the air at night on a broomstick. Other superstitions are referred to in the following lines.

131: 15. Take a pin of her. Because bewitched people were frequently said to be tormented with pins, or to be made to vomit pins. The pins that figured so conspicuously in the Salem witchcraft trials may still be seen in the Museum there.

132: 5. A tabby cat. A black cat was traditionally supposed to be a favourite form in which Satan embodied himself, and hence a constant figure in all witchcraft stories.

132: 15. Advising her, as a justice of peace. This sentence admirably indicates Sir Roger's half belief in the preternatural powers of the old woman, and his anxiety to avoid any trouble that would oblige him to come to a conclusion in the matter.

132: 24. Trying experiments with her. Because, if she floated, she was accounted a witch; if she sank, she was probably innocent, and they might pull her out.

[Pg 239]

XVII. Sir Roger talks of the Widow

Motto.    "In [his] side is fixed the fatal arrow."
—Virgil, Æneid, iv. 73.

XVIII. Manners in the Country

Motto. "The city they call Rome, I had been foolish enough, Melibæus, to suppose like this town of ours."—Virgil, Eclogues, i. 20.

140: 11. The fashionable world is grown free and easy. This tendency in manners began to be more marked after the Restoration, 1660. Some reaction toward a more formal and elaborate courtesy in the world of fashion could be seen about the middle of the eighteenth century, under the influence of such men as Lord Chesterfield.

For some account of manners in the Queen Anne time, see Ashton, Social Life in the Reign of Queen Anne, Chaps. vii, viii; Trail's Social England, Chaps. xvi, xvii. For telling contemporary satire, see Swift's Polite Conversation.

143: 2. Red coats and laced hats were fashionable twenty years before Addison was writing. In 1711 the coat was likely to be of some more quiet color, though in great variety of shades. At just this time the skirts were "wired" to make them stand out—as may be seen by a reference in Spectator, No. 145. The laced hat had been replaced by a low-crowned, black felt hat, with very wide brim, which was looped up or "cocked." For the variety of shapes into which the dandy would cock his hat, and other information on the hat, see Spectator, No. 319.

143: 4. The height of their head-dresses. The head-dress had evidently been much lowered within a few years. Addison, in Spectator, No. 98, declares that "within my own memory I have known it rise and fall about thirty degrees." In the latter half of the century, about 1775, it again attained proportions even more startling than in Addison's day.

[Pg 240]

XIX. Sir Roger at the Assizes

Motto. "A jovial companion on the way is as good as a carriage."—Publius Syrus, Maxims.

144: 9. Assizes. The periodical sessions held by at least one of the superior judges in every county in England. For a brief but clear description of the English judicial system, see Woodrow Wilson's The State, sections 731-745.

144: 16. Just within the Game Act. This act, passed in the reign of James I, provided that no person who had not an income of forty pounds a year, or two hundred pounds' worth of goods and chattels, should be allowed to shoot game. The law continued in force until 1827.

144: 23. Petty jury. The twelve men selected to determine cases, civil or criminal, in court, according to the evidence presented to them; called petty (or petit) jury to distinguish them from the grand jury, whose principal function is to decide whether the evidence against a suspected person is sufficient to warrant holding him for trial by a petty jury.

144: 27. Quarter sessions. A criminal court held by the justices of the peace once a quarter in an English county.

145: 20. Much might be said on both sides. Sir Roger's decision has passed into a proverb.

146: 12. A look of much business and great intrepidity. One of Addison's best bits of description.

147: 19. The Saracen's Head. In early days, before city streets were numbered, not only inns but shops usually were designated by some sign painted or carved at the door. In the case of inns this practice still survives, and most English inns of the county towns bear the name of some object that once served as a sign, as the Angel (Lincoln), the Fountain (Canterbury), the Bull (Cambridge), the Three Swans (Salisbury). Ever since the time of the Crusades the head of a Saracen, or Turk, had been a favourite sign. Readers of Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson will[Pg 241] recall the Turk's Head Tavern in Gerrard Street, London, where the most famous of clubs used to meet.

XX. The Education of an Heir

Motto. "Learning improves native genius, and right training strengthens the character; but bad morals will bring to shame the best advantages of truth."—Horace, Odes, iv. 33.

149: 23. A story I have heard. Addison probably invented this story, and he certainly thought well of it himself. On the same day this paper was printed he sent to his friend Edward Wortley Montague a letter beginning thus: "Being very well pleased with this day's Spectator, I cannot forbear sending you one of them, and desiring your opinion of the story in it. When you have a son, I shall be glad to be his Leontine, as my circumstances will probably be like his." The tone of discouragement in the last clause is explained by Addison's statements, later in the letter, that he has recently lost large sums of money, "and what is worse than all the rest, my mistress." The Countess of Warwick was evidently not smiling upon him just then, and Addison saw himself in the future—if not like Leontine, a widower—a bachelor in humble circumstances.

149: 27. Like a novel. The word novel was introduced into English in the sixteenth century as a name for the Italian novelle, or short tales, translations of which were then very numerous in England. In Addison's time it was still used to designate a short story as distinguished from the longer romances like those in the Ladies Library (V of this volume). The modern novel, an extended narrative of real life, with careful plot usually having for its central motion the passion of love, was not yet written in English. It is usually said to begin with the work of Richardson and Fielding, 1740-1750.

150: 14. Gazette. The official journal of the government.[Pg 242] Steele, it will be remembered, had been gazetteer from May, 1707, to October, 1710, when the Whigs went out of power.

150: 23. According to Mr. Cowley. "You would advise me not to precipitate that resolution [of retiring from public life] but to stay a while longer with patience and complaisance, till I had gotten such an estate as might afford me (according to the saying of that person whom you and I love very much and would believe as soon as another man) 'cum dignitate otium.' That were excellent advice to Joshua, who could bid the sun stay too. But there is no fooling with life when it is once turned beyond forty. The seeking for a fortune then is but a desperate after-game."—Cowley's Essay, The Danger of Procrastination. Also see note, p. 234.

150: 29. Of three hundred a year, i.e. yielding an income of three hundred pounds a year.

152: 19. Inns of Court. See note, p. 221.

XXI. Whigs and Tories

Motto.    "This thirst of kindred blood, my sons, detest,
Nor turn your force against your country's breast."
—Virgil, Æneid, vi. 832. Dryden's tr.

155: 1. The malice of parties. Party feeling had perhaps never been more bitter in England than just at this time; and it was probably all the more bitter and personal because there were no very clear questions at issue between the two parties. Swift, writing in the Tory Examiner a few months before the date of this paper (November 16, 1710), says, "Let any one examine a reasonable honest man, of either side, upon those opinions in religion and government, which both parties daily buffet each other about, he shall hardly find one material point in difference between them." The principal questions upon which Whig and Tory had once actively differed, and still continued to differ in theory, were two. The first was the nature of the monarchy and its relation to the other parts of the government. The extreme Tories held that the king[Pg 243] had a divine right to his throne, by hereditary succession; that this was indefeasible, and implied the duty of unconditional obedience from the subject. The extreme Whigs held that the king was the creation of the people, and held his office purely by act of Parliament. But it would have been difficult to find many such extreme Tories or extreme Whigs. The doctrine of the divine right of kings had been practically refuted by the Revolution of 1688; if there were any such right, then the crown belonged, not to Anne, but to the Pretender, son of James II. On the other hand, few Whigs would have denied that the monarchy was an essential part of the English system of government, and not the mere creature of parliament.

The other and more important subject of difference between the two parties was the relation of the Church to the State and to Dissent. The Tories were Churchmen, and held that the interests of the Church and of religion demanded more constant and detailed attention from the State, and more stringent measures to repress dissent. They always called themselves the Church party; Queen Anne never called them anything else. The Whigs, on the other hand, though many of them were good Churchmen, apprehended less danger from dissent and were more liberal toward it. The Dissenters themselves, of course, were all Whigs.

There was, however, another difference between the two parties quite as important as any speculative question, and daily growing more important. As was stated in the Introduction, the most significant social fact in the England of the first half of the eighteenth century is the growth of a great middle, commercial class, who were gaining wealth rapidly and filling up the towns. At the bottom of much political controversy between 1700 and 1715 was the undefined jealousy between this class and the landed class. It was trade against land, new wealth against old aristocracy, town against country. For this commercial class almost to a man were Whigs; the landed gentry and their dependants, country squires and country parsons, almost to a man, were Tories.

This jealousy became extremely bitter about 1710. During all[Pg 244] the reign of Anne, England had been engaged in the great war of the Spanish succession, the real object of which was to prevent the virtual union of the crowns of France and Spain. The war was heartily supported from the first by the Whigs, but opposed, or only languidly supported, by the Tories. A successful war is always popular, and strengthens the party that favours it most; accordingly, through the earlier years of the reign, when the English general Marlborough was winning his famous victories, the Whigs had everything their own way, and by 1708 the government was entirely in their hands. But as the war, however successful, seemed no nearer ending, and its burdens began to press more heavily, Tory opposition strengthened, and party feeling grew more and more intense. The financial load fell mostly on the Tory or landed class; for, as the Tories said, so soon as ever a trading Whig could get a thousand pounds, he put it into government securities, which he had to pay no tax upon, while the land had to pay him a handsome rate of interest. This opposition to the Whigs, strengthened by a feeling that the cause of the church and of religion was endangered by Whig supremacy, grew to such volume that in the memorable elections of 1710 the Whigs were defeated, and a Tory majority brought into the Commons. The Whig ministers were dismissed; Marlborough, the great general, a little later was recalled from the army; and finally the queen took the unprecedented step of creating twelve new Tory peers, and so making a Tory majority in the House of Lords also.

It was in these stormy years that The Spectator appeared. In the tumult of partisan controversy Addison succeeded in keeping his paper out of the strife. He was a pronounced Whig himself, and his preferences are plainly enough to be seen even in these papers; but he sincerely deprecated the rancorous tone of party writing, and he wisely refused to allow The Spectator to become the organ of a party. Steele had more difficulty in restraining his pen, and finally retired from The Spectator rather than remain quiet on public questions.

[Pg 245]

155: 4. Roundheads and Cavaliers. The Puritans, during the term of the Civil War, were nicknamed Roundheads because they wore their hair short (as everybody does now), instead of allowing it to fall over their shoulders as was the fashion with the Royalists or Cavaliers.

155: 6. St. Anne's Lane. Probably the lane of that name in Westminster, near the Abbey.

155: 12. Prick-eared cur. A dog with pointed ears. The epithet was applied to the Puritans, because they wore their hair short, and their ears were not covered by long locks.

156: 4. Tend to the prejudice of the land-tax. Sir Roger naturally finds the mischiefs of parties to come mostly from the Whigs, who support the war, and so raise the land tax.

156: 25. Plutarch. The Greek historian and moralist, born about 46 A.D. His Lives are perhaps the most interesting work of biography in the world. The quotation in the text is from his other principal work, the Morals.

157: 5. That great rule. Luke vi. 27-29.

157: 8. Many good men ... alienated from one another. It is probable Addison had especially in mind his own old friendship with Swift, which had grown very chill of late on account of their political differences. As early as December 14, 1710, when he began to be intimate with the new Tory ministry, Swift writes in the Journal to Stella, "Mr. Addison and I are as different as black and white, and I believe our friendship will go off by this damned business of party." A month later, January 14, 1711, he says, "At the coffee-house talked coldly awhile with Mr. Addison; all our friendship and dearness are off; we are civil acquaintances, talk words, of course, of when we shall meet, and that is all."

158: 26. Guelphs and Ghibellines. The two great political parties in Italy, fiercely opposed to each other from the middle of the twelfth to the end of the fifteenth century. The Guelphs or popular party, supported the pope; the Ghibellines, or aristocratic party, the emperor.

[Pg 246]

158: 27. The League. The Holy Catholic League, formed in France, 1546, to resist the claims of Henry IV to the throne, and check the advance of Protestantism.

XXII. Whigs and ToriesContinued

Motto. "Trojan or Rutulian, it shall be the same to me."—Virgil, Æneid, x. 108.

161: 24. Diodorus Siculus. A Greek historian of the first century, born—as the name implies—in Sicily. He wrote a Historical Library, of which only a part is preserved.

162: 19. The spirit of party reigns more in the country. Here speaks the Whig prejudice of Addison; Sir Roger himself might have thought differently.

162: 29. Tory fox hunters. See Addison's account of a typical Tory fox hunter in The Freeholder, No. 22.

164: 23. Fanatic. The term was frequently applied to the Puritans, and later to Dissenters.

XXIII. Sir Roger and the Gipsies

Motto. "They find their constant delight in gathering new spoils, and living upon plunder."—Virgil, Æneid, vii. 748.

166: 2. Set the heads of our servant-maids so agog, i.e. by telling their fortunes.

166: 6. Crosses their hands with a piece of silver. It was customary to make the sign of the cross upon the hand of the gipsy with the coin given him—probably with a view to avert any evil influence from such doubtful characters.

166: 23. A Cassandra of the crew. Cassandra, daughter of Priam, king of Troy, had been given by Apollo the gift of prophecy; but the god, afterward offended by her, rendered the gift futile by decreeing that she should never be believed.

[Pg 247]

XXIV. The Spectator decides to return to London

Motto. "Once more, ye woods, farewell."—Virgil, Eclogues, x. 63.

171: 2. Spring anything to my mind. The metaphors in this and the following lines are drawn from the chase. To "spring" is to rouse game from cover; to "put up" has much the same meaning.

171: 6. Foil the scent. When a variety of game is started, and their trails cross, the dogs become confused and cannot follow any one.

171: 14. My love of solitude, taciturnity. See paper I of this volume.

171: 28. White Witch. Called "white" because doing good; most witches were believed to practise a black art.

172: 10. Some discarded Whig. Discarded, or he would not have been staying in the country among Tories.

173: 19. Stories of a cock and a bull. Any idle or absurd story. The phrase in this form or in the other now more common, "a cock-and-bull story," has been common in English for nearly three hundred years; but its origin is not known.

173: 25. Make every mother's son of us Commonwealth's men. Sir Andrew Freeport, it will be remembered, was a pronounced Whig, and the Whigs were charged with having inherited the doctrines and traditions of the Commonwealth.

XXV. The Journey to London

Motto. "We call that man impertinent who does not see what the occasion demands, or talks too much, or makes a display of himself, or does not have regard for the company he is in."—Cicero, De Oratore, ii. 4.

174: 5. Ready for the stage-coach. By 1710 coaches ran regularly between London and most larger towns in England. The best were called "flying-coaches," were drawn by six horses, and sometimes made eighty miles a day. They did not run at night. The fare was about three pence the mile.

[Pg 248]

174: 7. The chamberlain was the chief servant of an inn.

174: 9. Mrs. Betty Arable. The title Mrs. was applied to unmarried ladies, the term Miss being reserved for young girls and for people who misbehaved themselves.

174: 13. Ephraim, the Quaker. The name was frequently applied to Quakers, because Ephraim "turned his back in battle." See Psalm lxxviii.

177: 26. The right we had of taking place. Roads were very narrow, and two coaches meeting often found it difficult to pass; hence disputes of the coachmen as to the right of way.

XXVI. Sir Roger and Sir Andrew in Argument

Motto. "I recall the argument, and remember that Thyrsis was vanquished."—Virgil, Eclogues, vii. 69.

179: 9. The old Roman fable. The fable of the Belly and the Members, told in Livy, Bk. ii, Chap. xxxii; retold by Shakespeare in Coriolanus, i. 1. 99.

179: 13. The landed and trading interest. See note, p. 242.

180: 3. Carthaginian faith. Punica fides, a phrase used by the Romans to characterize the treachery of the Carthaginians.

183: 21. Throws down no man's enclosure, and tramples upon no man's corn, as country gentlemen do when hunting over the grounds of their neighbours or their tenants.

184: 22. His family had never been sullied by a trade. It will be remembered that Sir Roger was sensitive on this point. See IX, p. 89.

XXVII. Sir Roger in London

Motto.    "Simplicity, in our age most rare."
—Ovid, Ars Amoris, i. 241.

185: 15. Gray's Inn Walks. The walks and gardens of Gray's Inn (see note, p. 221) were a favourite resort.

[Pg 249]

185: 18. Prince Eugene. Eugene of Savoy (1663-1736), a famous Austrian general. He had fought side by side with Marlborough through several campaigns in the great War of the Spanish Succession that was now drawing to a close. At this time Marlborough had just been dismissed from his command in the army (see p. 244), and the English Tory ministry were making negotiations for a peace. Prince Eugene visited London to urge the continuance of the war and the restoration of Marlborough, but his mission was futile.

186: 5. Scanderbeg. Corrupt form of Iskander (Alexander) Bey; a noted Albanian chief, whose name was George Castriota, born 1404. He won many victories against the Turks.

186: 24. Out of Dr. Barrow. See VI, p. 79. Dr. Isaac Barrow (1630-1677) was one of the most eloquent divines of his age.

187: 1. Tobacco stopper. A small plug, made of wood or bone, to pack the tobacco in the bowl of a pipe.

188: 14. The late Act of Parliament, the Act to repress Occasional Conformity, passed 1710. By the Test Act of 1673 it was required of every person filling any civil office that he should take the sacrament, at certain times, according to the forms of the Church of England. The object, of course, was to exclude all Romanists and all Dissenters from office. But it was found that many Dissenters did not feel themselves forbidden by conscience to take the sacrament occasionally from the hands of a priest of the Church of England, if only so they could qualify for office. A bill to prevent this "Occasional Conformity" was warmly urged through all the earlier years of the reign of Anne; but so long as the Whigs were in power, it was impossible to pass it. When the Tories came in, in 1710, they naturally passed it at once.

188: 19. Plum-porridge. Extreme Dissenters looked with disfavour upon all Christmas festivities as savouring of Romish observance.

188: 28. The Pope's Procession. November 17, the anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth, was long celebrated[Pg 250] by parades and processions in which the pope and Catholic traditions were turned into ridicule. These parades were often the occasion of popular tumult; but, in 1711, some of the more violent Whigs planned an especially offensive demonstration, which had to be suppressed by the authorities. Swift writes on the evening of the day: "This is Queen Elizabeth's birth-day" [he was in error there; it was not her birth, but her accession, that was celebrated], "usually kept in this town by apprentices, etc.; but the Whigs designed a mighty procession by midnight, and had laid out a thousand pounds to dress up the pope, devil, cardinals, Sacheverel, etc., and carry them with torches about, and burn them.... But they were seized last night, by order of the secretary; you will have an account of it, for they bawl it about the streets already. They had some very foolish and mischievous designs; and it was thought they would have put the rabble upon assaulting my lord treasurer's house, and the secretary's; and other violences. The militia was raised to prevent it, and now, I suppose, all will be quiet."—Journal to Stella, November 17, 1711.

Addison naturally rather minimizes the disturbance by the absurd question of Sir Roger.

189: 10. Baker's Chronicle. See note, p. 226. The Chronicle was a favourite authority with Sir Roger; in the next paper we find him quoting it at length.

189: 16. Squire's. A coffee-house in Holborn, near Gray's Inn, specially frequented by the benchers of the inn.

189: 23. The Supplement. A newspaper of the time, issued on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

XXVIII. Sir Roger in Westminster Abbey.

Motto. "Yet we must go whither Numa and Ancus have gone before."—Horace, Epistles, I. vi. 27.

190: 2. Paper upon Westminster Abbey, Spectator, No. 26. That paper with this one perhaps show Addison, in two different moods, at his very best.

[Pg 251]

190: 17. The Widow Trueby's Water. The "strong waters" of that time, like many of the patent medicines of ours, owed their vogue largely to the fact that they were made of distilled spirits. See Addison's account of some of the quack medicines of the day in Tatler, No. 224.

191: 11. The sickness being at Dantzic. The great plague there in 1709.

191: 14. A hackney-coach. Hackney-coaches, or carriages for hire in the streets, were introduced into London during the latter half of the seventeenth century. By Addison's time they had become common; in 1710, by statute, the number to be licensed in London was fixed at eight hundred. The fare was a mile and a half for a shilling. The coachmen were an uncivil and pugnacious class, which accounts for Sir Roger's preference for an elderly one. Graphic pictures of the manners of coachmen may be found in Gay's Trivia, ii. 230-240, 311-315; iii. 35-50.

192: 10. A roll of their best Virginia. Tobacco for smoking was made into ropes or short rolls, and had to be cut up for the pipe.

192: 16. Sir Cloudesley Shovel. A famous English admiral, who took a prominent part in the great victory of the combined Dutch and English fleets over the French, off La Hogue, in May, 1692. He was afterward drowned at sea; but his body was recovered and buried in the Abbey. The monument to Sir Cloudesley Shovel Addison, in No. 26, criticizes as in bad taste, and with very good reason.

192: 18. Busby's tomb. Richard Busby (1606-1695), for fifty-five years headmaster of Westminster school. He used to say that "the rod was his sieve, and that whoever could not pass through that was no boy for him." He persistently kept his hat on when Charles II came to visit his school, saying it would never do for his boys to imagine there was anybody superior to himself.

192: 23. The little chapel on the right hand. St. Edmund's, in the south aisle of the choir.

[Pg 252]

192: 26. The lord who had cut off the King of Morocco's head. An inscription recording this feat—probably legendary—formerly hung over the tomb of Sir Bernard Brocas, who was beheaded on Tower Hill, 1400.

193: 1. Cecil upon his knees. William Cecil, Lord Burleigh, Secretary of State to Queen Elizabeth. He is represented "on his knees" at the magnificent tomb of his wife and daughter. This tomb, however, is not in the chapel of St. Edmund, but in the adjoining chapel of St. Nicholas.

193: 3. Who died by the prick of a needle. This story was formerly told of Lady Elizabeth Russell, whose richly decorated tomb is in St. Edmund's chapel.

193: 10. The two coronation chairs. In that chapel of Edward the Confessor which is the heart of the Abbey. One chair is said to have been that of Edward the Confessor; in it every sovereign of England from Edward I to Edward VII has been crowned. The other was made for Mary when she and her husband William were jointly crowned king and queen of England.

193: 11. The stone ... brought from Scotland. The "stone of Scone," traditionally reputed to be that on which Jacob rested his head when he had the vision of the ladder reaching up to heaven. It was brought from Ireland to Scone in Scotland, and all Scottish kings were crowned on it there till Edward I of England brought it to London in 1296, and ordered it enclosed "in a chair of wood," and placed in the Abbey.

193: 25. Edward the Third's sword. "The monumental sword that conquered France," as Dryden calls it, stands between the coronation chairs.

194: 2. The Black Prince. Edward, Prince of Wales, eldest son of Edward III, who died in 1376 before his father. He is buried, not in the Abbey, but in the cathedral at Canterbury.

194: 8. Touched for the evil. Scrofula, called "king's evil," because it was supposed that it could be cured by the touch of a legitimate sovereign. King William III, as he was king only by act[Pg 253] of Parliament, had not "touched"; but Queen Anne, unquestionably a legitimate monarch, resumed the practice. Samuel Johnson was touched by her in his infancy, but without effect. No sovereign after Anne pretended to this power. The act of "touching" was accompanied by an elaborate ceremony, the ritual for which continued to be included in the Book of Common Prayer until 1719. For an account of the procedure, see Ashton, Social Life in the Reign of Queen Anne, Chap. xxx, pp. 325-326.

194: 12. One of our English kings without an head. Henry V. The head of the effigy, which was of solid silver, was stolen in the reign of Henry VIII, at the time of the dissolution of the monasteries.

195: 4. His lodgings in Norfolk Buildings. In II Sir Roger is said, when in town, to "live in Soho Square," a more aristocratic quarter. That paper was written by Steele; this by Addison.

XXIX. Sir Roger at the Play

Motto. "I bid the skilful poet find his models in actual life; then his words will have life."—Horace, Ars Poetica, v. 327.

195: 11. The Committee. A play by Sir Robert Howard, brother-in-law of Dryden. It was a satire on the Puritans, which explains its reputation as "a good Church of England play."

195: 14. This distressed mother. The "new tragedy" Sir Roger went to see was an adaptation by Addison's friend, Ambrose Phillips, of Racine's Andromaque, and bore the title The Distressed Mother.

196: 1. The Mohocks. A company of young swaggerers who roamed the streets of London at night, committing various insults upon belated passers. They were specially bold at just this time. Swift has several entries in the Journal to Stella about them. March 12: "Here is the devil and all to do with these Mohocks.... My man tells me that one of the lodgers heard in a coffee-house, publicly, that one design of the Mohocks was upon me if they[Pg 254] could catch me; and though I believe nothing of it, I forbear walking late." March 16. "Lord Winchelsea told me to-day at court that two of the Mohocks caught a maid of old Lady Winchelsea's, at the door of their house in the park, with a candle and had just lighted out somebody. They cut all her face and beat her without provocation." March 18. "There is a proclamation out against the Mohocks. One of those that was taken is a baronet." March 26. "Our Mohocks go on still, and cut people's faces every night, but they shan't cut mine. I like it better as it is." Further facts about them may be found in Spectators, Nos. 324, 332, 347. For a full account, see Ashton's Social Life in the Reign of Queen Anne, Chap. xxxvi.

196:23. That we may be at the house before it is full. The play usually began at five o'clock.

197:1. Battle of Steenkirk, August 3, 1692, in which the English were defeated by the French. The battle gave name to a kind of loose cravat or neckcloth for men, introduced from Paris, which was fashionable for years, called a "steenkirk" or "steinkirk," because its careless style suggested the eagerness with which the victorious French gentlemen rushed into battle half dressed.

197:18. Pyrrhus, the son of Achilles. In the play, Andromache, the "widow" of Hector, and "the distressed mother" of young Astyanax, after the fall of Troy is the captive of Pyrrhus. Pyrrhus wooes her, promising that if she become his wife, her son Astyanax shall be made king of Troy. She at last consents, secretly resolving to kill herself before the marriage can be consummated. But Hermione, betrothed to Pyrrhus, maddened with jealousy, incites the Greeks to rebellion against Pyrrhus, with the result that just as Astyanax has been proclaimed king, Pyrrhus is slain by Orestes, Hermione takes her own life, and Orestes goes mad.

198:4. "You can't imagine, sir, what 'tis to have to do with a widow!" But Addison, just about this time, did know how that was himself. See Introduction.

[Pg 255]

198: 13. Your dramatic rules. Perhaps the knight has in mind the dramatic "unities" of time, place, and subject; but his next sentence shows that he has no very definite rules in mind. He only knows that Mr. Spectator has been writing some learned papers of late on the drama and poetry; and he cannot see why a play so simple as this admits any laboured criticism.

198: 21. Are now to see Hector's ghost. Because at the beginning of the fourth act Andromache proposes to visit the tomb of Hector.

199: 15. The old fellow in whiskers. Perhaps Phenix, a friend of Pyrrhus.

XXX. Will Honeycomb's Experiences

Motto.    "The greedy lioness the wolf pursues,
The wolf the kid; the wanton kid, the browse."
—Virgil, Eclogues, ii. 63. Dryden's tr.

202: 24. Miss Jenny. Notice the use of the epithet "Miss"; the day before Will Wimble would have said "Mistress Jenny." See note on p. 248.

203: 21. The book I had considered last Saturday, in Spectator, No. 357, April 19, 1712. It was one of the famous series of papers on Milton's Paradise Lost.

203: 23. The following lines. Paradise Lost, x. 888-908. They are not quoted quite accurately.

XXXI. Sir Roger at Vauxhall

Motto.    "Their gardens are maintained by vice."
—Juvenal, Satires, i. 75.

205: 9. Spring Garden. A famous garden and pleasure resort (more commonly called Fox Hall or Vauxhall Gardens), on the south side of the Thames, near where the Vauxhall bridge now spans the river. There was a large garden covering about eleven[Pg 256] acres, with arbours, walks shaded by day and lighted at night by lamps festooned from the trees, a miniature lake, booths for the sale of refreshments, and a large central "rotunda" for music. First opened in 1661, Vauxhall was a favourite place of resort all through the eighteenth century; all the lighter literature of that century contains frequent references to it. The Gardens were not finally closed until 1859. For fuller account, see Besant's London in the Eighteenth Century, Chap. iv.

205: 19. Temple Stairs. A boat-landing near the Temple gardens. The most pleasant way of getting from the east of London to the west, in Addison's time, was by boat on the river.

206: 16. La Hogue. See note on Sir Cloudesley Shovel, p. 251.

206: 29. How thick the city was set with churches. The "city" is that part of London originally enclosed by a wall, and extends from the Tower on the east to Temple Bar on the west. Temple Bar was the gateway over that great thoroughfare which is called Fleet Street on the east side of it, and the Strand on the west side. The Bar was demolished in 1878, and its site is marked by a rather ugly monument surmounted by the arms of the city of London.

207: 4. The fifty new churches. The Tories had been brought into power in 1710 very largely by the popular cry, "The Church is in danger." (See note, p. 249.) Accordingly, one of the first acts of the House of Commons, in 1711, was to vote the building of fifty new churches in London.

208: 4. Mahometan paradise, because the chief attraction of the Mahometan heaven is the houris, "the black-eyed," whose beauty never grows old.

208: 28. Member of the quorum. A justice of the peace.

XXXII. The Death of Sir Roger

The first number of The Bee, a weekly paper set up in 1733, by Addison's friend, Budgell, contains the following statement: "Mr.[Pg 257] Addison was so fond of this character [Sir Roger de Coverley] that a little while before he laid down The Spectator (foreseeing that some nimble gentleman would catch up his pen the moment he quitted it), he said to an intimate friend, with a certain warmth in his expression which he was not often guilty of, 'By G——, I'll kill Sir Roger, that nobody else may murder him.' Accordingly the whole Spectator, No. 517, consists of nothing else but an account of the old knight's death, and some moving circumstances which attended it."

It seems probable that about this time both Steele and Addison were thinking of bringing The Spectator to a close, and this was the first of a series of papers which should dismiss all the members of the Spectator Club. In No. 544—the last of this volume—Captain Sentry succeeds to Sir Roger's estate, and passes from notice; in No. 549 the old clergyman is reported dead, and Sir Andrew Freeport gives up his business and retires into the country to make ready for the end; in No. 555 the Spectator makes his parting bow, and the volume closes.

Motto.    "Alas for piety and ancient faith."
—Virgil, Æneid, vi. 878.

211: 16. The quorum. The justices of the peace for the county.

212: 9. The Act of Uniformity, passed in 1662, provided that all ministers should declare their unfeigned assent to everything in the Book of Common Prayer, and should use it at morning and evening service. The Act threw more than two thousand ministers out of their livings, and united all Dissenters against the Church. Of course Tories, like Sir Roger, held it to be a wise and necessary measure, of utmost importance to the security and stability of the Church.

212: 17. Rings and mourning. It was customary to give by will mourning rings and mourning gloves and hat bands to a large number of friends. They would be worn, of course, by such of the[Pg 258] friends as attended the funeral services; but not afterward. See Ashton's Social Life in the Reign of Queen Anne, Chap. iv.

XXXIII. Captain Sentry as Master of Coverley Hall

Motto. "No one ever had a scheme of life so well arranged but that circumstances, or age, or experience, would bring him something new, and teach him something more: so that you find yourself ignorant of the things you thought you knew, and on experience you are ready to give up what you supposed of the first importance."—Terence, Adelphi, v. 4.

216: 11. Colonel Camperfelt. Colonel Kemperfeldt, the father of the admiral who was lost in the Royal George, has often been supposed to be the model from which the character of Captain Sentry was drawn.

[Pg 259]


Based on the Requirements for Admission to College

By GILBERT SYKES BLAKELY, A.M., Instructor in English in the Morris High School, New York City.


This little book is intended to present to teachers plans for the study of the English texts required for admission to college. These Outlines are full of inspiration and suggestion, and will be welcomed by every live teacher who hitherto, in order to avoid ruts, has been obliged to compare notes with other teachers, visit classes, and note methods. The volume aims not at a discussion of the principles of teaching, but at an application of certain principles to the teaching of some of the books most generally read in schools.

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[Pg 260]


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HALLECK'S HISTORY OF ENGLISH LITERATURE traces the development of that literature from the earliest times to the present in a concise, interesting, and stimulating manner. Although the subject is presented so clearly that it can be readily comprehended by high school pupils, the treatment is sufficiently philosophic and suggestive for any student beginning the study.

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[Pg 261]


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PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT, in an extended and appreciative review in The Bookman, says: "The book is a piece of work as good of its kind as any American scholar has ever had in his hands. It is just the kind of book that should be given to a beginner, because it will give him a clear idea of what to read, and of the relative importance of the authors he is to read; yet it is much more than merely a book for beginners. Any student of the subject who wishes to do good work hereafter must not only read Mr. Matthews' book, but must largely adopt Mr. Matthews' way of looking at things, for these simply written, unpretentious chapters are worth many times as much as the ponderous tomes which contain what usually passes for criticism; and the principles upon which Mr. Matthews insists with such quiet force and good taste are those which must be adopted, not only by every student of American writings, but by every American writer, if he is going to do what is really worth doing.... In short, Mr. Matthews has produced an admirable book, both in manner and matter, and has made a distinct addition to the very literature of which he writes."

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[Pg 262]


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[Pg 263]


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By THOMAS C. BLAISDELL, Ph.D., recently Professor of English in the Normal High School, Pittsburg, Pa.


This book, which aims to teach young people to write effectively, is suited for use in any secondary school. Its ingenious method of treatment, its fresh and interesting character, its great simplicity and suggestiveness, will prove stimulating and inspiring to every student. The work lays a foundation for the appreciation of literature.

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[Pg 264]


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The Punctuation Primer is a manual of first principles or essentials simply and systematically presented; it is not an elaborate treatise on punctuation. It offers a few fundamental principles that are flexible and comprehensive, and easily understood and remembered. The meaning of the text to be punctuated and the grammatical structure of the sentence are made the bases for generalization and division.

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[Pg 265]


By FRANCES M. PERRY, Instructor in English in Wellesley College. Price, $1.00

AN INTRODUCTORY COURSE IN ARGUMENTATION is intended for those who have not previously studied the subject, but while it makes a firm foundation for students who may wish to continue it, the volume is complete in itself. It is adapted for use in the first years of college or in the upper classes of secondary schools.

¶ The subject has been simplified as much as has been possible without lessening its educative value, yet no difficulties have been slighted. The beginner is set to work to exercise his reasoning power on familiar material and without the added difficulty of research. Persuasion has not been considered until conviction is fully understood. The two methods in use in teaching argumentation—the brief-drawing method and the syllogistic method—have been combined, so that the one will help the student to grasp the other.

¶ The volume is planned and proportioned with the expectation that it will be closely followed as a text-book rather than used to supplement an independent method of presentation. To that end each successive step is given explicit exposition and full illustration, and carefully graded exercises are provided to test the student's understanding of an idea, and fix it in his memory.

¶ The course is presented in three divisions; the first relating to finding and formulating the proposition for argument, the second to proving the proposition, and the last, to finding the material to prove the proposition—research.

(S. 103)

[Pg 266]


By FRANCES M. PERRY, Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Composition, Wellesley College.


Exposition is generally admitted to be the most commonly used form of discourse, and its successful practice develops keen observation, deliberation, sound critical judgment, and clear and concise expression. Unfortunately, however, expository courses often fail to justify the prevailing estimate of the value of exposition, because the subject has been presented in an unsystematized manner without variety or movement.

¶ The aim of this book is to provide a systematized course in the theory and practice of expository writing. The student will acquire from its study a clear understanding of exposition—its nature; its two processes, definition and analysis; its three functions, impersonal presentation or transcript, interpretation, and interpretative presentation; and the special application of exposition in literary criticism. He will also gain, through the practice required by the course, facility in writing in a clear and attractive way the various types of exposition. The volume includes an interesting section on literary criticism.

¶ The method used is direct exposition, amply reinforced by examples and exercises. The illustrative matter is taken from many and varied sources, but much of it is necessarily modern. The book meets the needs of students in the final years of secondary schools, or the first years of college.


[Pg 267]


By HARRY LYMAN KOOPMAN, A.M., Librarian of Brown University. Price, 90 cents

In this book Mr. Koopman, whose experience and reputation as a librarian give him unusual qualifications as an adviser, presents to the student at the outset the advantages of reading, and the great field of literature open to the reader's choice. He takes counsel with the student as to his purpose, capacities, and opportunities in reading, and aims to assist him in following such methods and in turning to such classes of books as will further the attainment of his object.

¶ Pains are taken to provide the young student from the beginning with a knowledge, often lacking in older readers, of the simplest literary tools—reference books and catalogues. An entire chapter is given to the discussion of the nature and value of that form of printed matter which forms the chief reading of the modern world—periodical literature. Methods of note-taking and of mnemonics are fully described; and a highly suggestive and valuable chapter is devoted to language study.

¶ One of the most valuable chapters in the volume to most readers is that concerning courses of reading. In accordance with the author's new plan for the guidance of readers, a classified list of about fifteen hundred books is given, comprising the most valuable works in reference books, periodicals, philosophy, religion, mythology and folk-lore, biography, history, travels, sociology, natural sciences, art, poetry, fiction, Greek, Latin, and modern literatures. The latest and best editions are specified, and the relative value of the several works mentioned is indicated in notes.

(S. 106)

[Pg 268]



From the earliest records to Charlemagne. By ARTHUR MAYER WOLFSON, Ph.D., First Assistant in History, DeWitt Clinton High School, New York


From Charlemagne to the present day. By SAMUEL BANNISTER HARDING, Ph.D., Professor of European History, Indiana University


From the earliest records to the present day. By ALBERT PERRY WALKER, A.M., Master in History, English High School, Boston


From the discovery to the present day. By ALBERT BUSHNELL HART, LL. D., Professor of History, Harvard University

These volumes correspond to the four subdivisions required by the College Entrance Examination Board, and by the New York State Education Department. Each volume is designed for one year's work. Each of the writers is a trained historical scholar, familiar with the conditions and needs of secondary schools.

¶ The effort has been to deal only with the things which are typical and characteristic; to avoid names and details which have small significance, in order to deal more justly with the forces which have really directed and governed mankind. Especial attention is paid to social history.

¶ The books are readable and teachable, and furnish brief but useful sets of bibliographies and suggestive questions. No pains have been spared by maps and pictures to furnish a significant and thorough body of illustration.

(S. 130)

[Pg 269]



With notes and biographies. By AUGUSTUS WHITE LONG, Preceptor in English, Princeton University, Joint Editor of Poems from Chaucer to Kipling

This book is intended to serve as an introduction to the systematic study of American poetry, and, therefore, does not pretend to exhaustiveness. All the poets from 1776 to 1900 who are worthy of recognition are here treated simply, yet suggestively, and in such a manner as to illustrate the growth and spirit of American life, as expressed in its verse. Each writer is represented by an appropriate number of poems, which are preceded by brief biographical sketches, designed to entertain and awaken interest. The explanatory notes and the brief critical comments give much useful and interesting information.


By JAMES B. SMILEY, A.M., Assistant Principal of Lincoln High School, Cleveland, Ohio

The aim of this little manual is simply to open the way to a study of the masterpieces of American literature. The treatment is biographical rather than critical, as the intention is to interest beginners in the lives of the great writers. Although the greatest space has been devoted to the most celebrated writers, attention is also directed to authors prominent in the early history of our country, and to a few writers whose books are enjoying the popularity of the moment. Suggestions for reading appear at the end of the chapters.


(S. 98)

[Pg 270]


By CHARLES F. JOHNSON, L.H.D., Professor of English Literature, Trinity College, Hartford. Price, $1.25

A text-book for a year's course in schools and colleges, in which English literary history is regarded as composed of periods, each marked by a definite tone of thought and manner of expression. The treatment follows the divisions logically and systematically, without any of the perplexing cross divisions so frequently made. It is based on the historic method of study, and refers briefly to events in each period bearing on social development, to changes in religious and political theory, and even to advances in the industrial arts. In addition, the book contains critiques, general surveys, summaries, biographical sketches, bibliographies, and suggestive questions. The examples have been chosen from poems which are generally familiar, and of an illustrative character.



This book contains nothing more than every young person should know about the construction of English verse, and its main divisions, both by forms and by subject-matter. The historical development of the main divisions is sketched, and briefly illustrated by representative examples; but the true character of poetry as an art and as a social force has always been in the writer's mind. Only the elements of prosody are given. The aim has been not to make the study too technical, but to interest the student in poetry, and to aid him in acquiring a well-rooted taste for good literature.

(S. 101)

[Pg 271]


By FRANK MOORE COLBY, M. A., recently Professor of Economics, New York University


This volume provides at once a general foundation for historical knowledge and a stimulus for further reading. It gives each period and subject its proper historical perspective, and provides a narrative which is clear, connected, and attractive. From first to last only information that is really useful has been included.

¶ The history is intended to be suggestive and not exhaustive. Although the field covered is as wide as possible, the limitations of space have obliged the writer to restrict the scope at some points; this he has done in the belief that it is preferable to giving a mere catalogue of events. The chief object of attention in the chapters on mediaeval and modern history is the European nations, and in treating them an effort has been made to trace their development as far as possible in a connected narrative, indicating the causal relations of events. Special emphasis is given to the great events of recent times.

¶ The book is plentifully supplied with useful pedagogical features. The narrative follows the topical manner of treatment, and is not overcrowded with names and dates. The various historical phases and periods are clearly shown by a series of striking progressive maps, many of which are printed in colors. The illustrations are numerous and finely executed. Each chapter closes with a summary and synopsis for review, covering all important matters.

(S. 125)

[Pg 272]


By WILLIAM C. MOREY, Professor of History and Political Science, University of Rochester

Each, $1.00

MOREY'S OUTLINES OF GREEK HISTORY, which is introduced by a brief sketch of the progress of civilization before the time of the Greeks among the Oriental peoples, pays greater attention to the civilization of ancient Greece than to its political history. The author has endeavored to illustrate by facts the most important and distinguishing traits of the Grecian character; to explain why the Greeks failed to develop a national state system, although successful to a considerable extent in developing free institutions and an organized city state; and to show the great advance made by the Greeks upon the previous culture of the Orient.

¶ MOREY'S OUTLINES OF ROMAN HISTORY gives the history of Rome to the revival of the empire by Charlemagne. Only those facts and events which illustrate the real character of the Roman people, which show the progressive development of Rome as a world power, and which explain the influence that Rome has exercised upon modern civilization, have been emphasized. The genius of the Romans for organization, which gives them their distinctive place in history, is kept prominently in mind, and the kingdom, the republic, and the empire are seen to be but successive stages in the growth of a policy to bring together and organize the various elements of the ancient world.



[1] Read the touching account of his father's death. The Tatler, No. 181.

[2] No. 235.

[3] I.e. of dark complexion. But it will be seen later in the paper that the Spectator decides not to gratify the curiosity of his readers on this point.

[4] We should now say, "pending."

[5] A child's toy, made of a piece of coral, usually with a whistle at one end and bells at the other.

[6] Non+age, i.e. the years before the youth comes of age.

[7] A blot, in backgammon, is a man left uncovered and so liable to capture.

[8] Disclosures.

[9] Is this word correctly used?

[10] Note the careless use of pronouns in this sentence; Addison would hardly have written it.

[11] Justice of the peace. See Century Dictionary for explanation of the Latin phrase quorum unum A.B. esse volumus in the commission issued to justices.

[12] A criminal court held once a quarter, in the counties, by justices of the peace.

[13] Is this a correct modern use of the word?

[14] Can you express Steele's meaning in this clause more precisely?

[15] Another example of Steele's careless structure; correct the sentence.

[16] Costumes, styles of dress.

[17] Fashion.

[18] Change into a modern idiom.

[19] What is the meaning of this word here?

[20] I.e. the fellow above mentioned.

[21] A term used in hunting. But is Sir Roger bewildering himself?

[22] Attentively.

[23] Notice that the word is used in the broad sense of conduct.

[24] Fashion.

[25] Politeness, fine manner. Does this sentence seem obscure or cumbrous? Can you improve it?

[26] I.e. what seems nowadays so ridiculous.

[27] The vice of disrespect for age.

[28] Correct the bad grammar.

[29] What is the antecedent?

[30] Whose?

[31] "A person formerly hired to take the place of another at the muster of a military company, or to hide deficiency in its number when it was not full."—Century Dictionary.

[32] Rearrange this sentence.

[33] Turtle doves.

[34] Concert.

[35] An easy-riding horse.

[36] In the capacity of a chaplain.

[37] The earlier and more proper sense of the word—a person of pleasing eccentricity.

[38] I.e. stripped of his livery, dismissed.

[39] Cast-off.

[40] I.e. humorous on this matter.

[41] I.e. while the man was wearing that coat.

[42] Economist. The verb is still used in that sense.

[43] A fine, in English law, is a sum of money paid by a tenant at the beginning of his tenancy, usually to reduce his rent.

[44] When the right to occupy a house or lands terminates, by expiration of lease or otherwise. The usual term is "falls in." The meaning of the whole passage is that when a tenement—house or lands—is to be rented, Sir Roger often grants it to one of his servants without requiring payment of the customary "fine" on taking possession; or, if the servant choose to remain with Sir Roger, he may have the fine paid by the "stranger" who leases the property.

[45] Recent, former.

[46] Can you criticise the use of pronouns in this sentence?

[47] A pickerel, or small pike.

[48] Rank.

[49] I.e. hunts with.

[50] An artificial fly for fishing.

[51] I.e. trained.

[52] A pipe to imitate the call of a quail.

[53] Unfit.

[54] Costume.

[55] The law of the tournament.

[56] The estate.

[57] Representative of the shire in Parliament.

[58] Economist.

[59] Is the thought expressed with precision?

[60] What is the meaning of the word here?

[61] Short for "Exchange."

[62] Peculiarities.

[63] Correct the English.

[64] I.e. who have an income of five hundred pounds a year.

[65] Outcome, issue. Notice the etymology of the word.

[66] With a plague upon her!

[67] The word seems not to be used with precision here. To pose is to silence or nonplus one by puzzling or unanswerable questions; it was the sphinx that posed all comers with her famous riddle till [OE]dipus answered it.

[68] Mortgaged.

[69] Interest, not necessarily illegal interest.

[70] Disposition, spirit; not frequently used in this sense, as here, with the adjective "proud."

[71] Represent, keep up the appearance of owning.

[72] Correct the English.

[73] In what sense here used?

[74] At variance with.

[75] Can you so paraphrase this sentence as to bring any clear meaning out of it?

[76] Steele's careless English again; recast the sentence so as to express his meaning more correctly.

[77] So different from the common taste.

[78] The otter or Sir Roger? Recast the sentence.

[79] Disagreeable.

[80] Correct the English.

[81] Friends or foxes? Correct the sentence.

[82] Stallion.

[83] Killed by impaling himself on a fence which he was trying to leap.

[84] Hounds trained to stop at a word—as they are said to have done in the following paragraph.

[85] Flews are the chaps or overhanging upper lips of a dog.

[86] Of such a sandy colour.

[87] The dew-laps are the folds of skin hanging under the neck in some animals, especially cattle.

[88] Incorrectly quoted for "mouth," meaning bark or voice.

[89] I.e. at proper musical intervals, like a chime of bells.

[90] I.e. to beat the bushes or undergrowth in order to rouse any game hidden there.

[91] What?

[92] Bayed.

[93] Neutral.

[94] Garments.

[95] Amusing.

[96] Improve the arrangement of clauses here.

[97] Addressed, courted.

[98] Given presents.

[99] Assumed: notice how this meaning comes directly from the etymology of the word.

[100] The widow, not the hussy.

[101] What is the force of this word here?

[102] I.e. leaves her books to come into the garden.

[103] What is the antecedent?

[104] Various.

[105] Social intercourse.

[106] Fashionable.

[107] I.e. the fashions, not the people in the country.

[108] The subject is "town."

[109] Is.

[110] Shoots birds on the wing.

[111] Modern idiom demands "that."

[112] Won and lost his case.

[113] Note the two different senses in which this word is used.

[114] Improve the arrangement.

[115] Salutations.

[116] Disclosed.

[117] Of a different opinion.

[118] As a stick partly in the water and partly out.

[119] Assumptions, propositions taken for granted in argument. If the Latin form is used, the plural should be postulata.

[120] Exert his authority as justice of the peace.

[121] The lines or wrinkles in the palm of the hand supposed to indicate the fortune.

[122] The line beginning at the middle of the wrist and sweeping round the base of the thumb. As this is the line upon which are based predictions as to length of life and not as to marriage relations, Mr. Spectator probably did not report the gipsy correctly.

[123] Gave him up for drowned.

[124] Humorously used of the captain's one attendant, the drummer.

[125] I.e. in the box under the seat.

[126] Presuming, offensive because presuming.

[127] Acuteness, quick wit.

[128] Quizzical, humorous: "to smoke" one, in the slang of the day, was to quiz or ridicule. See the word in No. XXIX, page 199.

[129] Fell under the charge of.

[130] Genuine.

[131] Shortly, presently.

[132] I.e. the soldiers competing for quarters, the carmen and coachmen for right of way in the narrow streets.

[133] Workmen, mechanics.

[134] To fail, become bankrupt.

[135] Unwarrantably.

[136] The tariff, or duty.

[137] Shares.

[138] Returns, income.

[139] To vacate, be turned out of.

[140] Sausages.

[141] Correct the careless grammar.

[142] In what sense?

[143] The guide, or verger.

[144] I.e. for sitting down in the chair.

[145] Snared, caught. It is more properly spelled trapanned, and is not to be confused with the verb trepan, to remove a piece of the skull.

[146] Perhaps in black masks.

[147] Sticks, cudgels.

[148] This form of the possessive was still occasionally used when the noun ended in s.

[149] Ridicule, chaff.

[150] Rustic, clown.

[151] Property or estate settled on a wife to be enjoyed after the death of her husband.

[152] Intimate union.

[153] I.e. a woman wearing a mask.

[154] Good courage.

[155] The society of.

[156] Livings.

[157] Getting their living in some way.

[158] Apprentice.

[159] A minor, one not twenty-one years of age.

[160] Those who have given security for him. But it is difficult to get any precise meaning from the sentence—another instance of Steele's carelessness of expression.

[161] Varied.

[162] Marcus Tullius Cicero.

End of Project Gutenberg's The Sir Roger de Coverley Papers, by Various


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