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follies, flirtations, rivalries; and noting them with the most charming archness. He sees them in public, in the theatre, or the assembly, or the puppet-show; or at the toy-shop higgling for gloves and lace; or at the auction, battling together over a blue porcelain dragon, or a darling monster in Japan ; or at church, eyeing the width of their rival's hoops, or the breadth of their laces, as they sweep down the aisles. Or he looks out of his window at the “ Garter" in St. James's Street, at Ardelia's coach, as she blazes to the drawing-room with her coronet and six footmen; and remembering that her father was a Turkey merchant in the city, calculates how many sponges went to purchase her earring, and how many drums of figs to build her coachbox ; or he demurely watches behind a tree in Spring Garden as Saccharissa (whom he knows under her mask) trips out of her chair to the alley where Sir Fopling is waiting. He sees only the public life of women.
Addison was one of the most resolute club-men of his day. He passed many hours daily in those haunts. Besides drinking-which alas ! is past praying for-you must know it, he owned, too, ladies, that he indulged in that odious practice of smoking. Poor fellow ! He was a man's man, remember. The only woman he did know, he didn't write about. I take it there would not have been much humour in that story.
He likes to go and sit in the smoking-room at the “Grecian," or the “ Devil ;" to pace 'Change and the Mall*—to mingle in that
*“I have observed that a reader seldom peruses a book with pleasure till he knows whether the writer of it be a black or a fair man, of a mild or a choleric disposition, married or a bachelor; with other particulars of a like nature, that conduce very much to the right understanding 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 wri ings ; and shall give some account in them of the persons that are engaged in this work. As the chief trouble of compiling, digesting, and correcting will fall to my share, I must do myself the justice to open the work with my own history. : .... There runs a story in the family, that when my mother was gone with child of me about three months, she dreamt that she was brought to bed of a judge. Whether this might proceed from a lawsuit which was then depending in the family, or my father's being a justice of the peace, I cannot determine; for I am not so vain as to think it presaged any dignity that
great club of the world—sitting alone in it somehow: having goodwill and kindness for every single man and woman in it-having need of some habit and custom binding him to some few; never doing any man a wrong (unless it be a wrong to hint a little doubt
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 appear. ance in the world, and all the time that I sucked, seemed to favour my mother's dream; for, as she has often told me, I threw away my rattle before I was two months old, and would not make use of my coral till they had taken away the bells from it.
“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 I had the reputation of a very sullen youth, but was always the favourite of my schoolmaster, who used to say
that my parts were solid and would wear well. 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, I do not remember that I ever spoke three sentences together in my whole life.
“I have passed my latter years in this city, where I am frequently seen in most public places, though there are not more than half-a-dozen of my select friends that know me. .....
... There is no place of general resort wherein I do not often make my appearance; sometimes I am seen thrusting my head into a round of politicians at ‘Will's,' and listening with great attention to the narratives that are made in these 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 every table in the room. I appear on Tuesday night at • St. James's Coffee-house;' and sometimes join the little committee of politics in the inner room, as one who comes to hear and improve. My face is likewise very well known at the “Grecian,' the “Cocoa-tree,' and in the theatres both of Drury Lane and the Haymarket. I have been taken for a merchant upon the Exchange for above these two years; and sometimes pass for a Jew in the assembly of stock-jobbers at 'Jonathan's.' In short, wherever I see a cluster of people, I mix with 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 artizan, without ever meddling in any practical part in life. I am very well versed in the theory of a husband or a father, and can discern the errors in the economy, business, and diversions of others, better than those who are engaged in them—as standers-by discover blots which are apt to escape those who are in the game.
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."Spectator, No. 1.
about a man's parts, and to damn him with faint praise); and so he looks on the world and plays with the ceaseless humours of all of us -laughs the kindest laugh-points our neighbour's foible or eccentricity out to us with the most good-natured, smiling confidence; and then, turning over his shoulder, whispers our foibles to our neighbour. What would Sir Roger de Coverley be without his follies and his charming little brain-cracks? * If the good knight did not call out to the people sleeping in church, and say “Amen” with such a delightful pomposity: if he did not make a speech in the assize-court à propos de bottes, and merely to show his dignity to Mr. Spectator: t if he did not mistake Madam Doll Tearsheet for a lady of quality in Temple Garden : if he were wiser than he is: if he had not his humour to salt his life, and were but a mere English gentleman and game-preserver-of what worth were he to us? We love him for his vanities as much as his virtues. What is ridiculous is delightful in him; we are so fond of him because we laugh at him so. And out of that laughter, and out of that sweet weakness, and out of those
*“So effectually, indeed, did he retort on vice the mockery which had recently been directed against virtue, that, since his time, the open violation of decency has always been considered, amongst us, the sure mark of a fool.”— MACAULAY.
† “ The Court was sat before Sir Roger came; but, notwithstanding all the justices had taken their places upon the bench, they made room for the old knight at the head of 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 proceedings of the Court with much attention, and infinitely pleased with that great 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 had acquitted himself of two or three sentences, with a look of much business and great intrepidity.
“L'pon 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, 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 eyes, and to keep up his credit in the country.”Spectator, No. 122.
harmless eccentricities and follies, and out of that touched brain, and out of that honest manhood and simplicity—we get a result of happiness, goodness, tenderness, pity, piety; such as, if my audience will think their reading and hearing over, doctors and divines but seldom have the fortune to inspire. And why not? Is the glory of Heaven to be sung only by gentlemen in black coats ? Must the truth be only expounded in gown and surplice, and out of those two vestments can nobody preach it? Commend me to this dear preacher without orders—this parson in the tye-wig. When this man looks from the world, whose weaknesses he describes so benevolently, up to the Heaven which shines over us all, I can hardly fancy a human face lighted up with a more serene rapture : a human intellect thrilling with a purer love and adoration than Joseph Addison's. Listen to him : from
childhood you have known the verses : but who can hear their sacred music without love and awe?
“Soon as the evening shades prevail,
The hand that made us is divine.”
They shine out of a great deep calm. When he turns to Heaven, a Sabbath comes over that man's mind : and his face lights up from it with a glory of thanks and prayer. His sense of religion stirs through his whole being. In the fields, in the town : looking at the birds in the trees : at the children in the streets : in the morning or in the moon
light: over his books in his own room : in a happy party at a country merry-making or a town assembly, good-will and peace to God's creatures, and love and awe of Him who made them, fill his pure heart and shine from his kind face. If Swift's life was the most wretched, I think Addison's was one of the most enviable. A life prosperous and beautiful—a calm death-an immense fame and affection afterwards for his happy and spotless name.*
“Garth sent to Addison (of whom he had a very high opinion) on his deathbed, to ask him whether the Christian religion was true.”—Dr. Young. Spence's Anecdotes.
“I have always preferred cheerfulness to mirth. The latter I consider as an act, the former as an habit of the mind. Mirth is short and transient, cheerfulness fixed and permanent. Those are often raised into the greatest transports of mirth who are subject to the greatest depression of melancholy: on the contrary, cheerfulness, though it does not give the mind such an exquisite gladness, prevents us from falling into any depths of sorrow. Mirth is like a flash of lightning that breaks through a gloom of clouds, and glitters for a moment; cheerfulness keeps up a kind of daylight in the mind, and fills it with a steady and perpetual serenity.”. -ADDISON : Spectator, No. 381.