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No 609. WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 20, 1714.
Farrago libelli.-Juv. Sat. i. 86.
and have therefore chosen a day * to steal into the Spectator, when I take it for granted you will not have many spare minutes for speculations of your own. As I was the other day walking with an honest country gentleman, he very often was ex. pressing his astonishment to see the town so mightily crowded with doctors of divinity; upon which I told him he was very much mistaken if he took all those gentlemen he saw in scarfs to be persons of that dignity; for that a young divine, after his first degree in the university, usually comes hither only to shew himself; and on that occasion, is apt to think he is but half equipped with a gown and cassock for his public appearance, if he hath not the additional ornament of a scarf of the first magnitude to entitle him to the appellation of Doctor from his landlady and the boy at Child's. Now since I know that this piece of garniture is looked upon as a mark of vanity or affectation, as it is made use of among some of the little spruce adventurers of the town, I should be glad if you would give it a place among those extravagances you have justly exposed in several of your papers, being very well assured that the main body of the clergy, both in the country and the universities, who are almost to a man untainted with it, would be very well pleased to see this venerable foppery well exposed. When my patron did me the honour to take me into his family (for I must own myself of this order), he was pleased to say he took me as a friend and companionand whether he looked upon the scarf like the lace and shoulder-knot of a footman, as a badge of servitude and dependance, I do not know, but he was so kind as to leave my wearing of it to my own discretion ; and, not having any just title to it from my degrees, I am content to be without the ornament. The privileges of our nobility to keep a certain number of chaplains are undisputed, though perhaps not one in ten of those reverend gentlemen have any relation to the noble families their scarfs belong to: the right generally of creating all chaplains, except the domestic (where there is one), being nothing more than the perquisite of a steward's place, who, if he happens to outlive any considerable number of his noble masters, shall probably at one and the same time have fifty chaplains, all in their proper accoutrements, of his own creation; though perhaps there hath been neither grace nor prayer said in the family since the introduction of the first coronet.
* The 20th of October, 1714, was the day of the coronation of King George I.
I am, &c.' • MR. SPECTATOR, 'I wish you would write a philosophical paper about natural antipathies, with a word or two concerning the strength of imagination. I can give you a list, upon the first notice, of a rational china cup, of an egg that walks upon two legs, and a quart-pot that sings like a nightingale. There is in my neighbourhood a very pretty prattling shoulder of veal, that squalls out at the sight of a knife. Then, as for natural antipathies, I know a general officer who was never conquered but by a smothered rabbit; and a wife that domineers over her husband by the
help of a breast of mutton. A story that relates to myself on this subject may be thought not unentertaining, especially when I assure you that it is literally true. I had long made love to a lady, in the possession of whom I am now the happiest of mankind, whose hand I should have gained with much difficulty without the assistance of a cat. You must know then that my most dangerous rival had so strong an aversion to this species, that he infallibly swooned away at the sight of that harmless creature. My friend Mrs. Lucy, her maid, having a greater respect for me and my purse than she had for my rival, always took care to pin the tail of a cat under the gown of her mistress, whenever she knew of his coming; which had such an effect, that every time he entered the room, he looked more like one of the figures in Mrs. Salmon's wax-work than a desirable lover. In short, he grew sick of her company: which the young lady taking notice of (who no more knew why than he did), she sent me a challenge to meet her in Lincoln’s-inn chapel, which I joyfully accepted; and have, amongst other pleasures, the satisfaction of being praised by her for my stratagem.
I am, &c. From the Hoop.
Tom NIMBLE.' • MR. SPECTATOR, • The virgins of Great Britain are very much obliged to you for putting them upon such tedious drudgeries in needle-work as were fit only for the Hilpas and the Nilpas that lived before the Flood. Here is a stir indeed with your histories in embroidery, your groves with shades of silk and streams of mohair! I would have you to know, that I hope
Opposite the same place, near Temple-Bar, there was, till very lately, an exhibition of wax-work by a person of the same
to kill a hundred lovers before the best housewife in England can stitch out a battle; and do not fear but to provide boys and girls much faster than your disciples can embroider them. I love birds and beasts as well as you, but am content to fancy them when they are really made. What do you think of gilt leather for furniture?
There is your pretty hangings for a chamber*! and, what is more, our own country is the only place in Europe where work of that kind is tolerably done. Without minding your musty lessons, I am this minute going to Paul's church-yard to bespeak a screen and a set of hangings; and am resolved to encourage the manufacture of my country
N° 610. FRIDAY, OCTOBER 22,
Sic cum transierint mei
A stranger to himself alone. I HAVE often wondered that the Jews should contrive such a worthless greatness for the Deliverer whom they expected, as to dress him up in external
* There was about this time a celebrated manufactory of tapestry at Chelsea.
pomp and pageantry, and represent him to their imagination as making havoc amongst his creatures, and actuated with the poor ambition of a Cæsar or an Alexander. How much more illustrious doth he appear in his real character, when considered as the author of universal benevolence among men, as refining our passions, exalting our nature, giving us vast ideas of immortality, and teaching us a contempt of that little showy grandeur wherein the Jews made the glory of their Messiah to consist !
Nothing,' says Longinus, ' can be great, the contempt of which is great.' The possession of wealth and riches cannot give a man a title to greatness because it is looked upon as a greatness of mind to contemn these gifts of fortune, and to be above the desire of them. I have therefore been inclined to think that there are greater men who lie concealed among the species, than those who come out and draw upon themselves the eyes and admiration of mankind. Virgil would never have been heard of, had not his domestic misfortunes driven him out of his obscurity, and brought him to Rome.
If we suppose that there are spirits, or angels, who look into the ways of men, as it is highly probable there are, both from reason and revelation, how different are the notions which they entertain of us, from those which we are apt to form of one another! Were they to give us in their catalogue of such worthies as are now living, how different would it be from that which any of our own species would draw up!
We are dazzled with the splendour of titles, the ostentation of learning, the noise of victories; they, on the contrary, see the philosopher in the cottage, who possesses his soul in patience and thankfulness, under the pressures of what little minds call poverty and distress. They do not look for great men at