« السابقةمتابعة »
rive at by practice, and by this means avoid the snares of the crafty, the corruptions of the vicious, and the reasonings of the prejudiced. Their minds may be opened without being vitiated.
It is with an eye to my following correspondent, Mr. Timothy Doodle, who seems a very well-meaning man, that I have written this short preface, to which I shall subjoin a letter from the said Mr. . Doodle.
'I could heartily wish that you would let us know your opinion upon several innocent diversions which are in use among us, and which are very proper to pass away a winter night for those who do not care to throw away their time at an opera, or at the playhouse. I would gladly know in particular, what notion you have of hot-cockles; as also, whether you think that questions and commands, mottos, similies, and cross-purposes, have not more mirth and wit in them than those public diversions which are grown so very fashionable among us. If you would recommend to our wives and daughters, who read your papers with a great deal of pleasure, some of those sports and pastimes that may be practised within doors, and by the fire-side, we, who are masters of families, should be hugely obliged to you. I need not tell you that I would have these sports and pastimes not only merry but innocent; for which reason I have not mentioned either whisk or lanterloo, nor indeed so much as one-and-thirty. After having communicated to you my request upon this subject, I will be so free as to tell you how my wife and I pass away these tedious winter evenings with a great deal of pleasure. Though she be young and handsome, and good-humoured to a miracle, she does not care for gadding abroad like others of her sex.
There is a very friendly man, a colonel in the army, whom I am mightily obliged to for his civilities, that comes to see me almost every night; for he is not one of those giddy young fellows that cannot live out of a playhouse. When we are together, we very often make a party at Blind-man's-Buff, which is a sport that I like the better, because there is a good deal of exercise in it. The colonel and I are blinded by turns, and you would laugh your heart out to see what pains my dear takes to hoodwink us, so that it is impossible for us to see the least glimpse of light. The poor colonel sometimes hits his nose against a post, and makes us die with laughing. I have generally the good luck not to hurt myself, but am very often above half an hour before I can catch either of them; for you must know we hide ourselves up and down in corners, that we may have the more sport. I only give you this hint as a sample of such innocent diversions as I would have you recommend; and am, most esteemed Sir,
Your ever loving friend,
Timothy Doodle.' The following letter was occasioned by my last Thursday's paper upon the absence of lovers, and the methods therein mentioned of making such absence supportable.
SIR, • Among the several ways of consolation which absent lovers make use of while their souls are in that state of departure, which you say is death in love, there are some very material ones that have escaped your notice. Among these, the first and most received is a crooked shilling, which has administered great comfort to our forefathers, and is still made use of on this occasion with very good effect in most parts of her majesty's dominions. There are
some, I know, who think a crown piece cut into two equal parts, and preserved by the distant lovers, is of more sovereign virtue than the former. But since opinions are divided in this particular, why may not the same persons make use of both? The figure of a heart, whether cut in stone or cast in metal, whether bleeding upon an altar, stuck with darts, or held in the hand of a Cupid, has always been looked upon as talismanic in distresses of this nature. I am acquainted with many a brave fellow, who carries his mistress in the lid of his snuff-box, and by that expedient has supported himself under the absence of a whole campaign. For my own part, I have tried all these remedies, but never found so much benefit from any as from a ring, in which my mistress's hair is plaited together very artificially in a kind of truelover's knot. As I have received great benefit from this secret, I think myself obliged to communicate it to the public for the good of my fellow-subjects. I desire you will add this letter as an appendix to your consolations upon absence, and am
Your very humble servant, T. B.' I shall conclude this paper with a letter from a university gentleman, occasioned by my last Tuesday's paper, wherein I gave some account of the great feuds which happened formerly in those learned bodies, between the modern Greeks and Trojans.
"SIR, • This will give you to understand, that there is at present in the society whereof I am a member, a very considerable body of Trojans, who, upon a proper occasion, would not fail to declare ourselves. In the mean while we do all we can to annoy our enemies by 'stratagem, and are resolved by the first opportunity to attack Mr. Joshua Barnes*, whom we
* The noted Greek professor of the university of Cambridge.
look upon as the Achilles of the opposite party. As for myself, I have had the reputation ever since I came from school of being a trusty Trojan, and am resolved never to give quarter to the smallest particle of Greek, wherever I chance to meet it. It is for this reason I take it very ill of you, that you sometimes hang out Greek colours at the head of your paper, and sometimes give a word of the enemy even in the body of it. When I meet with any thing of this nature, I throw down your speculations upon the table, with that form of words which we make use of when we declare war upon an author,
Græcum est, non potest legi. I give you this hint, that you may for the future abstain from any such hostilities at your peril.
N° 246. WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 12, 1711.
- Oix ága ogé ye hat)P nv IT TÓTH TIndeùs,
· MR. SPECTATOR, "As your paper is part of the equipage of the teatable, I conjure you to print what I now write to you; for I have no other way to communicate what. I have to say to the fair sex on the most important circumstance of life, even the care of children.” I do not understand that you profess your paper is
always to consist of matters which are only to entertain the learned and polite, but that it may agree with your design to publish some which may tend to the information of mankind in general: and when it does so, you do more than writing wit and humour. Give me leave then to tell you, that of all the abuses that ever you have as yet endeavoured to reform, certainly not one wanted so much your assistance as the abuse in the nursing of children. It is unmerciful to see, that a woman endowed with all the perfections and blessings of nature can, as soon as she is delivered, turn off her innocent, tender, and helpless infant, and give it up to a woman that is (ten thousand to one) neither in health nor good condition, neither sound in mind nor body, that has neither honour nor reputation, neither love nor pity for the poor babe, but more regard for the money than for the whole child, and never will take farther care of it than what by all the encouragement of money and presents she is forced to; like Æsop's earth, which would not nurse the plant of another ground, although never so much improved, by reason that plant was not of its own production. And since another's child is no more natural to a nurse, than a plant to a strange and different ground, how can it be supposed that the child should thrive; and if it thrives, must it not imbibe the gross humours and qualities of the nurse, like a plant in a different ground, or like a graft upon a different stock? Do not we observe, that a lamb sucking a goat changes very much its nature, nay even its skin and wool into the goat kiud? The power of a nurse over a child, by infusing into it with her milk her qualities and disposition, is sufficiently and daily observed. Hence came that old saying concerning an ill-natured and malicious fellow, that “ he had imbibed his ma. lice with his nurse's milk, or that some brute or other