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and please ourselves with Variety: but growing more foolish, as we grow older, there's no Toy will please us then but a Wife; and that, indeed, as it is a Toy for Life, so it is all Toys in one. She is a Rattle in a Man's Ears, which he cannot throw aside; a Drum which is perpetually beating him a Point of War; a Top which he ought to whip for his Exercise; for, like that, she is best when lash'd to Sleep; a
Mast. You may go on, Sir, in this ludicrous Strain, if you please, and far.cy it is Wit; but, in my Opinion, a good Wife is the greatest Blessing, and the most valuable Possession, that Heaven, in this Life, can bestow. She makes the Cares of the World sit easy, and adds a Sweetness to its pleasures; she is a Man's best Companion in Prosperity, and his most sure Friend in Adversity; the carefullest Preserver of his Health, and the Kindest Attendant on his Sickness; a faithful Adviser in Distress, a Comforter in Afliction, and a prudent Manager of his domestic Affairs. 2 Lady. Charming Doctrine!
Aside. Y. Gent. Well, Sir, since I find you so staunch an Advocate for Matrimony, I confess it is a Wedding Ring I want; the Reason why I deny'd it, and of what I said in Ridicule of Marriage, was only to avoid the Ridicule which I expected from you upon it. *
Mast. Why, that now is just the way of the World in every thing, especially amongst young people: They are ashamed to do a good Action, because it is not a fashionable one; and, in Compliance with Custom, act contrary to their own Consciences. They displease themselves, to please the Coxcombs of the World, and chuse rather to
* This is, I fear, by no means an uncommon practice. I once asked a person in the lower rank of life, if he was married. He smiled, and replied, “ Yes, Sir, I have been a fool like some of my other “ neighbours, and tied myself up for life." I did not receive this reply with a smile in return, but asked him seriously, whether he was unhappy, whether his wife and he did not live comfortably together, and whether his children were undutiful. When he saw that I was not inclined to laugh at him, he confessed at he had been a much happier and better man since he married, and that he would not change his condition again on any account whatever. The speeches which follow are a very just comment on this practice.
be Objects of their Maker's Displeasure, than of the Ridicule of their Companions.
Y. Gent. It is very true, indeed. There is not one Man in ten Thousand that dare be virtuous, for fear of being singular. 'Tis a Weakness which I have hitherto been too much guilty of myself; but, for the future, I am resolved upon a more steady Rule of Action.
Mast. I am very glad of it. Here is your ring, Sir, I think it comes to about a Guinea,
Y. Gent. There is the Money.
Mast. Sir, I wish you all the Joy that a good Wife can give you. Y. Gent. I thank you, Sir.
[Exit. 1 Lady. Well, Sir, but after all, do not you think Marriage a Kind of desperate Venture?
Mast. It is a desperate Venture, Madam, to be sure. But, provided there be a tolerable Share of Sense and Discretion on the Man's Part, and of Mildness and Condescension on the Woman's, there is no doubt but that they may lead as happy and comfortable a Life in that State, as
Enter a FOURTH Lady.
Mast. No, Madam, I have not one, indeed. The People of this Age are arrived at such Perfection in the Art of masking themselves, that they have no Occasion for any foreign Disguises at all. You shall find Infidelity mask'd in a Gown and Cassock; and Wantonness and Immodesty under a blushing Countenance. Oppression is veil'd under the Name of Justice; and Fraud and Cunning under that of Wisdom. The Fool is mask'd under an affected Gra.. vity; and the vilest Hypocrite under the greatest Professions of Sincerity. The Flatterer passes upon you under the Air of a Friend; and he that now hugs you in his Bosom, for a Shilling would cut your Throat. Calumny and Detraction impose themselves upon the World for Wit; and an eternal Laugh would fain be thought Good-nature. An humble Demeanour can be assumed from a Principle of Pride; and the Wants of the Indigent relieved out of Ostentation. In short, Worthlessness and Villany are
in any other.
oft disguised and dignified in Gold and Jewels, whilst Honesty and Merit lie hid under Rags and Misery. The World is in a Mask; and, perhaps, we do not see free from all disguise the natural Face of any one Individual.
4 Lady. That's a Mistake, Sir; you yourself are an Instance that no Disguise will hide a Coxcomb; and so your humble Servant.
[Erit. Mast. Humph! -Have I but just now been exclaiming against Coxcombs, and am Į accused of being one myself? Well—we can none of us see the ridiculous Part of our own Characters. . Could we but once learn to cri. ticise ourselves, and to find out and expose to ourselves our own weak Sides, it would be the sureșt means to conceal them from the Criticism of others. But I would fain hope I am not a Coxcomb.
Gent. I suppose you have said something which her Conscience would not suffer her to pass over without making the ungrateful Application to herself; and that, as it often happens, instead of awaking in her a Sense of her Fault, has only served to put her in a Passion.
Mast. May be so, indeed: At least I am willing to think
Enter an 01.2 Man. 0. M. I want a Pair of SPECTACLES,* Sir.
*“ On a pair of spectacles. I look upon these, not as objects, but
as helps: as not meaning, that my sight should rest in them, but pass á through them : aod, by their aid, discero some other things wbich 56 I desire to see.
“ Many such glasses my soul hath, and useth. I look through the “ glass of the Creatures, at the power and wisdom of their Maker: 66 I look through the glass of the Scriptures, at the great mystery of “ redemption, and the glory of a heavenly inheritance: I look “ through God's Favours at his infinite mercy; through his Judgments, 6 at his incomprehensible justice. But, as these spectacles of mine “ presuppose a faculty in the eye, and cannot give me sight when I
want it, but only clear that sight which I have; no more can these “ glasses of the Creatures, of Scriptures, of Favours, and Judgments, 66 enable me to apprehend those blessed objects, except I have an eye 6 of faith, whereto they may be presented. These helps to an une 66 believing man, are but as spectacles to the blind. As the natural
eyes, so the spiritual, bave their degrees of dimness. But I have “ ill improved my age, if, as my patural eyes decay, my spiritual eye 66 be pot cleared and confirmed: but, at my best, I shall never but 56 need spectacles, till I come to see, as I am seen.' Bp. Hall's Oc. sasional Meditations. Works, Vol. vi. p. 198.
Mast. Do you please to have them plain Tortoise-shell, or set in Gold or Silver?
0. M. Pho! do you think I buy Spectacles as your fine Gentlemen buy Books? If I wanted a pair of Spectacles only to look at, I would have them fine ones; but as I want them to look with, do you see, I'll have them good ones.
Mast. Very well, Sir. Here's a Pair I'm sure will please you. Thro these Spectacles all the Follies of Youth are seen in their true Light. Those Vices, which to the strongest youthful Eyes appear in Characters scaree legible, are, through these Glasses, discern'd with the greatest Plainness. A powdered Wig upon an empty Head, attracts no more Respect thro' these Opticks than. a greasy Cap; and the laced Coat of an empty Coxcomb seems altogether as contemptible as his Footman's Livery.
0. M. That, indeed, is shewing Things in their true Light.
Mast. Much of the common Virtue of the World will appear only a cloak for Knavery; and many of its Friendships, no more than Bargains of Self-interest. In short, he who is now passing away his Days in a constant Round of Vanity, Folly, Intemperance, and Extrava
The first two paragraphs of the following Meditation on the sight of a dark lantern, mighi be introduced in this piece with great propria ety, when it is acted as a Mono-Drama. See before p. 100. Or it might be introduced amongst the articles exbibited to the Gentleman and two Ladies on their first entrance.
“ There is light, indeed; but so shut up, as if it were not: and when the sight is most open, there is light enough to give direction to bion that bears it, none to others : he can discern another man,
by thai ligbt, which is cast before him; but another man cannot " discern him.
“ Right" (exactly) “such is reserved knowledge: no man is the " better for ii, but the owner. , There is no outward difference, be"twixt concealed skill and ignorance: and, whep such hidden know“ ledge will look forth, it casts so sparing a lighi, as may only argue
it to have an unprofitable being ; to have ability, without will to good; power to censure, done to benefit. The suppression or engrossing of those helps, which God would have us to impart, is but a thief's lantern in a true man's band. “ O God, as all our light is from thee, the Father of Lights ;
so make me po niggard of that poor rush candle, thou hast lighted “ in my soul; make ine more happy, in giving light to others, than in
receiviog it into myself." Occasional Meditations, § XXXII. Vol. vi, p. 134.
gance, when he comes seriously to look back upon his past Actions, through these undisguising Opticks, will certainly be convinced, that a regular Life, spent in the Study of Truth and Virtue, and adorned with Acts of Justice, Generosity, Charity, and Benevolence, would not only have afforded him more Delight and Satisfaction in the retrospect, but would have made him look forward with hope and joy, when all ordinary pleasures fail, and, in addition, would have raised a monument to his Fame and Honour.
0. M. Humph! 'Tis very true; but very odd that such serious Ware should be the commodity of a ToyShop. [ Aside.]— Well, Sir, and what's the price of these extraordinary Spectacles?
Mast. Half a Crown.
[Exit. Enter a SECOND YOUNG GENTLEMAN, 2 Y. Gent. I want A PAIR OF SCALES. * Must. You shall have them, Sir. 2 Y. Gent. Are they exactly true ?
* In No. 463 of The Spectator, which is written by Addison, an account is given of a pair of scales, from which Dodsley, probably, took his ideas on this article. He, first, speaks of The Balance of Homer, Virgil and Milion, and then proceeds :
“ These several amusing Thoughts having taken Possession of my “ Mind some time before I went to sleep, and mingling themselves “ with my ordinary Ideas, raised in my Imagination a very odd “ kind of 'Vision. j was, methought, replaced in my Study, and “ seated in my Elbow Chair, where I had indulged the foregoing “ Speculations, with my Lamp burning by me, as usual. Whilst I
was here meditating on several Subjects of Morality, and consider. “ ing the Nature of many Virtues and Vices, as Materials for those “ Discourses with which I daily entertain the Publick ; I saw, me“ thought, a Pair of Golden Scales hanging by a Cbain of the
same Metal over the Table that stood before me ; when on a snd. “ den, there were great Heaps of Weights thrown down on each “ side of them. I found upon examining these Weights, they shewed " the Value of every thing that is in Esteem among Men. I made ao " Essay of them, by putting the Weight of Wisdom in one Scale, " and that of Riches in another, upon which the latter, to shew ils “ comparative Lightness, immediately flew up and kickt the Beam.
“ But, before I proceed, I must inforın my Reader, that these 66 Weighis did not exert their Natural Gravity, till they were laid