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scribe the movements of his mind, he might paint the tempeft to the life ; but as such descriptions are not to be expected, moral essayists have substituted personification in their place, and by the pleasing introduction of a few natural incidents form a kind of little drama, in which they make their fictitious hero defcribe those follies, foibles and passions, which they who really feel them, are not so forward to confess.
When Mr. Locke in his Esay on the Human Understanding describes all pity as partaking of contempt, I cannot acknowledge that he is Speaking of pity, as I feel it: when I pity a feldow creature in pain (a woman, for instance, in the throes of childbirth) I cannot submit to own there is any ingredient of fo bad à quality as contempt in iny pity: but if the metaphysicians tell me that I do not know how to call my
feelings by their right name, and that my pity is not pity properly so defined, I will not pretend to dispute with any gentleman, whose language I do not understand, and only beg permission to enjoy a sensation, which I call pity, without indulging a propensity, which he calls contempt.
The flatterer is a character, which the moralists and wits of all times and all nations have
ridiculed more feverely and more successfully than almoft any other ; yet it still exists, and a few pages perhaps would not be misapplied, if I was to make room for a civil kind of gentleman of this description, (by name Billy Simper) who, having seen his failings in their proper light of ridicule, is willing to expose them to public view for the amusement it is hoped, if not for the use and benefit, of the reader,
I beg leave therefore to introduce Mr. Billy Simper to my candid friends and protectors, and shall leave him to tell his story in his own words.
I am the younger son of a younger brother: my father qualified himself for orders in the university of Aberdeen, and by the help of an insinuat, ing address, a soft counter-tenor voice, a civil smile and a happy flexibility in the vertebræ of his back-bone, recommended himself to the good graces of a right reverend patron, who after a due course of attendance and dependance presented him to a comfortable benefice, which enabled him to support a pretty numerous family of children. The good bishop it seems was passionately fond of the game of chess, and
fa. ther, though the better player of the two, knew how to make a timely move so as to throw the
victory into his lordship's hands after a hard battle, which was a triumph very grateful to his vanity, and not a little serviceable to my father's purposes.
Under this expert profeffor I was instructed in all the shifts and movements in the great game of life, and then sent to make my way in the world as well as I was able. My first object was to pay my court to my father's elder bro. ther, the head of our family; an enterprize not less arduous than important. My uncle Antony was a widower, parfimonious, peevish, and recluse; he was rich however, egregiously selfconceited, and in his own opinion a deep philosopher and metaphysician; by which I would be understood to say that he doubted every thing,
, disputed every thing and believed nothing. He had one fon, his only child, and him he had lately driven out of doors and disinherited for nonsuiting him in an argument upon the immortality of the foul : here then was an opening no prudent man could miss, who scorned to say his soul was his own, when it stood in the way of his interest : and as I was well tutored beforehand, I no sooner gained admission to the old philofopher, than I so far worked my way into his good graces, as to be allowed to take poffeffion of
a truckle-bed in a spare garret of the family mansion; envy must have owned (if envy could have looked asquint upon so humble a situation as mine was) that, considering what a game I had to play, I managed my cards well ; for uncle Antony was an old dog at a dispute, and as that cannot well take place, whilft both parties are on the same side, I was forced at times to make battle for the good of the argument, and feldom failed to find Antony as compleatly puzzled with the zig-zaggeries of his metaphysics, as uncle Toby of more worthy memory was with the horn-works and counterscarps of his fortifications.
Amongst the various topics, from which Antony's ingenuity drew matter of dispute some were so truly ridiculous, that if I were sure my reader was as much at leisure to hear, as I am just now to relate them, I should not scruple the recital. One morning having been rather longwinded indescribing the circumstances of a dream, that had disturbed his imagination in the night, I thought it not amiss to throw in a remark in the way of consolation upon the fallacy of dreams in general. This was enough for him to turn over to the other side and support the credit of dreams totis viribus : I now thought it adviseable to trim, and took a middle course between both extremes
by humbly conceiving dreams might be some-
ing to Mr. Locke's idea, made up of the wak"ing man's thoughts."~" Dces Mr. Locke " say that?” exclaimed my uncle. “Then Mr. « Locke's an impostor for telling you fo, and
you are a fool for believing him : wiser men $than Mr. Locke have settled that matter many s6 centuries before he was born cr even dreanit
of; but perhaps Mr. Locke forgot to tell you $ how many precise forts of dreams there are, 6 and how to denominate and define them; s perhaps he forgot that I say.” I confessed that I neither knew any thing of the niatter myfelf, nor did I believe the au:hor alluded to had left any clue towards the discovery.
“ I thought as much,” retorted my uncle Antony in a tone of triumph, “and yet this is