صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

he likes the found of his own praises 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 modestest of all men; he blushes when he fees himself applauded in the public papers ; he has a better reason for bluthing than the world is aware of; he knows himself to be the author of what he reads.

It seems a matter pretty generally agreed between all tellers and hearers of stories, that one party shall work by the rule of addition, and the other by that of substraction: In most narratives, where the relater is a party in the scene, I haye remarked that the says-I has a decided advantage in a dialogue over the sayshe; few people take an under-part in their own fable. There is a salvo, however, which fome gentlemen make use 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 possessed more real accomplishments, than fall to one man's lot in a thoufand; he was an excellent painter, a fine mulician, 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 stout fellows held the animal by the head, whilst my friend was performing a variety of very ingenious manquvres for lodging himself upon the saddle by the aid of a stirrup, which nearly touched the ground: I am afraid I smiled, when I ought not so to have done, for it is certain it gave offence to my worthy friend, who soon after joined me on his pony, which he assured me was remarkably vitious, particularly at mounting ; but that he had been giving him some proper discipline, which he doubted not would cure him of his evil tricks ;

you may think what you please,” adds he, “ of my painting, or my music, or any other « little talent you are pleased to credit me for; « the only art, which I really pique myself

upon--is the art of riding."

« for

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

N° LXXX.

TO THE OBSERVER.

SIR,
AM a plain man without pretensions, and

I Amd a relied 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 amusement, with the help of a fé'w 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 sensible to the seasons than I have been, yet I cannot help thinking that our climate in England is as much altered for the worse, as my constitution may be. I do not pretend to reason upon natural causes, but speak 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 10

course make

course of years last past, than I have been accustomed to be, or indeed than I could wish; for you must know I never read, when I can amuse myself out of doors.

My studies are but trifling, for I am no fcholar, but in bad weather and dark evenings they have served to fill up time; a very little discouragement however suffices to put me out of con ceit with my books, and I have thoughts of laying them totally on the shelf, as soon as ever I can provide some harmless substitute in their place: This you fee is not so easy for me to do, being a solitary man, and one that hates drinking, especially by myself; add to this that I smoke no tobacco, and have more reasons than I chuse to explain against engaging in the nuptial state: My housekeeper it is true is a decent conversible 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 ceased jeering me upon it ever since: 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 fishingrods; 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

[ocr errors]

make short of my story, Sir, I have been obliged after many efforts to go back to my books, tho' I have lost all the little relish I had for them ever since I have been honoured with the visits of a learned gentleman, who is lately settled in my neighbourhood. He must be a prodigious scholar, for I believe in my conscience he ķnows every thing that ever was written, and every body that ever writes. He has taken a world of kind pains I must 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 see them as clear as day, and never take up the book again; he has now gone pretty nearly through my whole nest of shelves, pointing out, as he proceeds, what I like a fool never faw before, nor ever should have seen but for him. I used to like a Spectator now and then, and generally fought out for Clio, which Į was told were Mr. Addison's papers; but I have been in a gross mistake, to lose my time with a man that cannot write common English; for

my friend has proved this to me out of a fine book, three times as big as the Spectator; and, which is

more,

« السابقةمتابعة »