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he likes the found of his own praifes there, and can reconcile himself to the belief of them, it will then be time enough to try their effect upon other people.
Ventidius is the modefteft of all men; he blufhes when he fees himfelf applauded in the public papers; he has a better reafon for blufhing than the world is aware of; he knows himself to be the author of what he reads.
It feems a matter pretty generally agreed between all tellers and hearers of ftories, that one party fhall work by the rule of addition, and the other by that of fubftraction: In most narratives, where the relater is a party in the fcene, I have remarked that the fays-I has a decided advantage in a dialogue over the fayshe few people take an under-part in their own fable. There is a falvo, however, which fome gentlemen make ufe of (but I cannot recommend it) of hooking in a word to their own advantage, with the preface of I think I may fay without vanity and after all, if it was not for the vanity of it, there would be no need to say it at all.
I knew a gentleman who poffeffed more real accomplishments, than fall to one man's lot in a thoufand; he was an excellent painter, a fine mufician, a good fcholar, and more than all a
very worthy man-but he could not ride: It fo happened, that upon a morning's airing I detected him in the attempt of mounting on the back of a little pony, no taller than his whip, and as quiet as a lamb: Two ftout fellows held the animal by the head, whilst my friend was performing a variety of very ingenious manœuvres for lodging himself upon the faddle by the aid of a ftirrup, which nearly touched the ground: I am afraid I fmiled, when I ought not fo to have done, for it is certain it gave offence to my worthy friend, who foon after joined me on his pony, which he affured me was remarkably vitious, particularly at mounting; but that he had been giving him fome proper difcipline, which he doubted not would cure him of his evil tricks; "for << you may think what you please," adds he, "of my painting, or my mufic, or any other "little talent you are pleased to credit me for; "the only art, which I really pique myfelf CC upon-is the art of riding."
AM a plain man without pretenfions, and
I read a retired life in the country: The sports
of the season, a small farm, which I hold in my own hands, and a pretty good kitchen garden, in which I take amufement, with the help of a few English books, have hitherto made my life, though it is that of a bachelor, pass off with more than tolerable comfort. By this account of my time you will perceive that most of my enjoyments depend upon the weather; and though the wear-and-tear of age may have made me more fenfible to the feasons than I have been, yet I cannot help thinking that our climate in England is as much altered for the worse, as my conftitution may be. I do not pretend to reafon upon natural caufes, but fpeak upon obfervation only; for by an exact journal of my time (which I keep more for a check upon my actions than for any importance which appertains to them) I can find that I am obliged to my books for helping me through more rainy hours in the
courfe of years laft paft, than I have been accuftomed to be, or indeed than I could wifh; for you must know I never read, when I can amuse myfelf out of doors.
My ftudies are but trifling, for I am no scholar, but in bad weather and dark evenings they have ferved to fill up time; a very little discouragement however fuffices to put me out of conceit with my books, and I have thoughts of laying them totally on the fhelf, as foon as ever I can provide fome harmless fubftitute in their place: This you fee is not so easy for me to do, being a folitary man, and one that hates drinking, especially by myself; add to this that I smoke no tobacco, and have more reafons than I chufe to explain against engaging in the nuptial ftate: My housekeeper it is true is a decent converfible woman, and plays a good game at all-fours; and I had begun to fill up an hour in her company, till I was surprised unawares by a neighbour, who is a wag and has never ceafed jeering me upon it ever fince: I took next to making nets for my currant bushes, but alas! I have worked myself out of all employ and am got weary of the trade: I have thought of making fifhingrods; but I have a neighbour fo tenacious of his trout, that I should only breed a quarrel, and fish in troubled waters, were I to attempt it. To make
make short of my ftory, Sir, I have been obliged after many efforts to go back to my books, tho' I have loft all the little relifh I had for them ever fince I have been honoured with the vifits of a learned gentleman, who is lately settled in my neighbourhood. He must be a prodigious fcholar, for I believe in my confcience he knows every thing that ever was written, and every body that ever writes. He has taken a world of kind pains I muft confess to set me right in a thousand things, that I was ignorant enough to be pleased with: He is a fine-spoken man, and in fpite of my stupidity has the patience to convince me of the faults and blunders of every author in his turn: When he fhews them to me, I fee them as clear as day, and never take up the book again; he has now gone pretty nearly through my whole neft of fhelves, pointing out, as he proceeds, what I like a fool never faw before, nor eyer fhould have feen but for him. I used to like a Spectator now and then, and generally fought out for Clio, which I was told were Mr. Addifon's papers; but I have been in a grofs mistake, to lose my time with a man that cannot write common English; friend has proved this to me out of a fine book, three times as big as the Spectator; and, which is