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that his theory is proved by the example of most modern critics. Among these arts, I would particularly recommend, as most profitable to the lounger, the acquisition of a taste in music. After acquiring a good taste, it will be an easy matter to obtain a proficiency in the practice of the science; and of this the advantage is very great. I have the honour to know several very accomplished gentlemen, who, with no other companion than their violin, are able to fiddle away a complete summer's day with much comfort and delight.
“ The occupations I have hitherto mentioned, it will be observed, are chiefly of the domestic kind. I could enumerate a variety of schemes for the destruction of time without doors. These, however, are so generally known, that it were superfluous to dwell upon them. In the morning, the political lounger betakes himself to his coffee-house, the literary lounger to his bookseller's shop, the saunterer to the public walks, the dreamer to his usual occupation of counting the sign-posts. In the evening, clubs, card-parties, and public places, furnish a rendezvous for loungers of all denominations.
“ Besides these I have already mentioned, I could easily, Sir, communicate a variety of other approved schemes and ingenious devices; but I shall, for the present, content myself with barely hinting at one other expedient, though I am aware that its vulgarity will not permit it to be often employed by people of taste and fashion. It must be acknowledged that the most effectual of all methods of killing time, is by serious business or occupation. This is the great secret by which many thousands of the vulgar herd jog on through life with much composure, nay even seeming satisfaction, while those who constitute the polite world are put to a variety of shifts to compass
what the others attain without seeking after. Now, as a capital painter may sometimes conceive a happy idea from the daubing of a sign-post, so the lounger, though he disdain to follow so mean an example as that of the plodding sons of industry, may, nevertheless, derive from it a very profitable lesson. When any piece of business necessarily obtrudes itself, let him consider that it would be highly improvident to dispatch or execute in one hour, or in one day, what, with a little prudent management, may easily furnish occupation for twenty. Thus, when a lounger begins to write a letter, it may very reasonably employ him for a month, the ranging of his library may give him a hurry of business for a year, and clearing accounts with his steward is the work of a lifetime.
“ These, Sir, are a few of the materials for that great design above mentioned, from which it is easy to form a judgment both of the copiousness and importance of the subject. As that scheme, however, is now laid aside, I take the liberty of sending you these imperfect hints, in hopes, as many modest authors express themselves, that they may prompt an exertion of genius from some abler pen.
“I am, Sir,
“P. S. Your correspondent in your 14th num. ber, seems to possess many of the talents requisite for such an undertaking."
No. 60. SATURDAY, AUGUST 21, 1779.
Quin ubi se a vulgo et scenâ in secreta remorant
HOR. SAT. ii. 1. 71.
I HAVE heard a story of an eminent philosopher who was invited to dine and spend the evening with some of the most distinguished men for learning and genius of the age in which he lived. Dinner being over, the conversation took a light and easy turn. While a cheerful glass went round, the common topic of the time, the joke of the day, or the occasional pleasantry of the minute, filled up their dis
The philosopher, whose mind was constantly occupied with abstract studies and inquiries, took little share in the conversation, and felt no pleasure in it. After having sat a considerable time, one of the company proposed that they should take a game at cards. Although they played for a trifle, the philosopher refused to join in the party, and it was made up without him. While they were thus engaged, he retired to a corner of the room, took out his pocketbook and pencil, and began to write. Upon being asked what he was writing, he answered, that he had conceived high expectations of the instruction and entertainment he was to receive from the conversation of so many eminent and distinguished men; that he bad resolved, before he came among them to take notes of what passed, lest
he should forget it; and that this was now his occupation. The company, considering the manner in which they had been employed, felt the rebuke, and were made a little uneasy by it.
People may think differently of this story. I, for my part, think the philosopher to blame, and that the company were in no respect the objects of cen
I have long been of opinion, that one of the most important lessons to be learned in life, is that of being able to trifle upon occasion. No character can possibly be more contemptible than that of a talking, empty, giggling fool, who is incapable of ixing his attention upon any thing that is important, and whose mind, like a microscope, sees only what is little, and takes in nothing that is great. But no character can be more respectable than that of a man of talents, whose thoughts are often employed upon the great and important objects of life, but who can nevertheless unbend his mind, and be amused with easy and simple recreations. A man, by taking false and improper views of life, may bring himself to think, that even those objects which are reckoned great and important, are, in reality, little ; the projects of ambition, the desire of fame, even the pursuits of study, may sink before him; and, to such a man, the ordinary recreations of the world must appear too small to engage his attention. But,“ 't were to consider too curiously to consider so.' He who thinks rightly, and adapts his mind to the circumstances in which he is placed, will soon be convinced, that, as activity and employment were intended for us, so we ought to be interested by the different objects around us. The projects of an honest ambition, if not carried too far, the desire of being thought well of, if kept within proper bounds, and the search after knowledge, if it does not lead to arrogance and
conceit, will appear suited to our nature, and objects upon which it is right that we should fix our attention. In the same manner, it will appear proper that the mind, when there is place for it, should unbend and allow itself to be amused by those other objects which, compared with those of ambition, fame, or study, may appear little or trifling.
The mind is very apt to receive a strong cast from the manner in which it is employed. When a man is constantly engaged in something which requires great study and application, which figures as an important object, and which agitates and interests him, he is in danger of acquiring a hardness of temper which will make him disagreeable, or a tone of mind which will render him incapable of going through the common duties of life as a friend, a relation, or a parent. Nothing will preserve him from these bad consequences so much as his taking advantage of an idle hour, and allowing himself to be unbent with recreations of an easy, and in themselves of a frivolous nature. This will not only afford him an agreeable relaxation, but will give his mind a gentleness and a sweetness which all the hardness of application, and all the agitation of his employments, will not be able to destroy.
There is no anecdote in antiquity which I have read with greater pleasure than that of Scipio and Lælius, related by the eloquent pen of Cicero, and put into the mouth of Crassus: Sæpe ex socero meo audivi, says Crassus in the dialogue · De Oratore, cùm is diceret, socerum suum Lælium, semper ferè cum Scipione solitum rusticari, eosque incredibiliter repuerascere esse solitos, cùm rus ex urbe, tanquam e vinculis, evolavissent. Non audeo dicere de talibus viris, sed tamen ita solet narrare Scævola, conchas eos et umbilicos ad Caietam et ad Laurentum legere