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too partial -I mean himself. If we consider for an instant, we shall be convinced of the impolicy, as well as the bad taste, of talking of ourselves. Surely it cannot be to our interest to expose our failings; still less is it advisable to boast of our virtues; as for our domestic affairs, how entertaining it must be for a stranger to learn that a lap-dog has got the phthisic, or that a tradesman or a servant is a knave or a fool!
But of all who disturb the harmony of social intercourse by ill-timed' or obtrusive remarks, those are the most insufferable who, under the mask of candour and affected ingenuousness, assume the privilege of what they call “ speaking their minds.” It has been observed, that men who fail of advancing their fortunes by their heads, not upfrequeutly attempt it by their heels. It may in like manner be said of these, that in despair of ever becoming eminent for their elegance, their sense, or any estimable quality, they determine to be at least notorious, by arrogating to themselves the right of being pre-eminently rude. Did not experience militate against such a belief, one would really think it impossible that a man could find gratification in rendering his friends uncomfortable, and himself disliked. Unfortunately, we frequently hear a person of this class say a rude thing for the very pleasure of saying it; although a contrary behaviour, quite as innocent, to say the least of it, might have preserved his friend, or secured his fortune.
It is impossible too strongly to warn all, but especially those just entering into life, against encouraging the slightest propensity to a behaviour of this sort. This caution is the more necessary, because to inexperienced minds this mode of conduct carries with it a pleasurable appearance of openness and sincerity, and is, perhaps, calculated to impose upon the understanding of the weak; to all others it is contemptible; a well-bred man despises it for its vulgarity, a sensible man for its facility. We do not go into society so much to receive instruction or advice, as to promote the rational happiness of ourselves and others; and how either the one or the other can he advanced by an exposure of the faults and follies of our friends, is a problem which I have neither the inclination nor the ability to solvè. But while we endeavour to avoid the impertinence of talking too much, we must be careful not to fall into the opposite extreme. There are some, who,
"Mistaking the reverse of wrong for right,” offend as much by their silence as others by their garrulity. From whatever motive this proceeds, whether from pride, bashfulness, or an affectation of singularity, the consequences are the same. None but ourselves can judge of our motives, but our actions are open to all; and a reserve which arises from timidity and mauvaise honte, renders us liable to the imputation of ignorance or hauteur.
One degree, and no further, removed from those who " speak their minds," is a class of persons who, if they do not positively interrupt, at least negatively check the harmony and pleasure of social intercourse; and who, because they abstain from uttering a rude speech, think themselves excused from ever making a civil one. One would imagine that they were giving evidence in a court of justice, or at least were bound by some scruple of conscience; so cautiously do they abstain from speaking a syllable that is not borne out by truth.' Place one of these unimaginative matter-of-fact men by the side of a young and timid beauty just emerging from the nursery into the drawing-room, and trusting to the delicate attentions of polished courtesy for confidence and encouragement, she is embarrassed-a kind word would dissipate her embarrassment; she is awkward from the very apprehension of being so-a soothing whisper would convert her awkwardness into ease; yet the word, the whisper are withheld, because, forsooth, it would be paying her a compliment. I have no patience with these people; they are more intolerable than a company of Dutch smokers ; though they contribute nothing to the pleasure of others, they expect others to administer to theirs; for there is not one of them who would not be offended with any deficiency of attention to himself, however unwilling he may be to show it in return. There are several minor divisions of this class, as well as many others, which it would be tedious here to enumerate; experience will point them out-prudence will avoid them.
Of all the various qualities and accomplishments which unite in forming a well-bred man, there is none so likely to promote his reputation, or advance his fortune, as the art of conversing well. It is justly observed by Dr. Blair, o that of those endowments that are absolutely necessary to the happiness of man, Nature has in general been equally bounteous to all her children; while those which, if not superfluous, may at least be deemed adventitious, have been distributed by her with a more sparing hand." This remark cannot be more happily applied than with reference to the subject before us. Let each of us, in qur mind's eye, review the circle of our acquaintance; let us endeavour to recollect how few of them there are to whom we have listened with unmixed gratification, who have never annoyed us by talking too much, or offended us by talking too little-by their pedantic dictation on one topic, or their studied silence on all; almost a momentary glance will convince us that the number is so small as to excite at once as. tonishment and regret..
AFFECTATION. AFFECTATION is the wisdom of fools, and the folly of many a comparatively wise man. “It is," says Johnson, “an artificial show; an elaborate appearance; a false pretence.” Surely it must be a most infirm judgment which prefers counterfeit to real; and which employs art, labour, and pretence, to produce that which is spurious and vile! whilst the genuine commodity requires no such effort !
Simplicity of conduct and of manners, the unquestionable indications of sound sense and of a correct taste, exonerate their happy possessors from the whole of that toilsome load which the enslaved and feeble minds of artificial characters constantly sustain. O what a weariness it must be, to be always acting a part; to torture and tutor every thought, word, and action in common life and daily intercourse, so as to produce a factitious result; to adopt conduct, seleet words, and profess sentiments on the most trivial as well as the most important occasions, which shall be sure to differ, more or less, from what is plain, obvious, and direct. An affected person meets a friend in the street; he is his friend, and there is, at times, something like real companionship between the parties. The honest straight-forward inan extends his hand, with an ingenuous smile on his countenance; the other extends his finger, and although glad enough to meet his friend, thinks fit (he knows not why) to appear as if he did not wish to be too intimate. A broad stare, very much like that of an ape at
a porcelain apple, is stamped on his visage. · His gestures and words are stiff and starched;