صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

bered to your wife, from whom you are divorced : Nature formed him in ftrait lines, habit has stiffened him into an unrelenting rigidity, and no familiarity can bend him out of the upright. The uneducated squire of rustic manners forms a contrast to this character, but he is altogether as great an intruder upon times and feasons, and his total want of form operates to the annoyance of soeiety as effectually, as the other's excess. There cannot be in human nature à more terrible thing than vulgar familiarity; a low-bred fellow, who affects to put himfelf at his ease amongst his fuperiors and be pleafant company to them, is a nuisance to fociety; there is nothing so ill understood by the world in general as familiarity; if it was not for the terror, which mer have of the very troublefome consequences of condescension to their inferiors; there would not be a hundredth part of that pride and holding-back amongft the higher ranks, of which the low are so apt to complain. How few men do we meet with, who when the heart is open and the channel free, know how to keep their course within the buoys and marks, that true good-manners have fet up

for all men to steer by! Jokes out of feafon, unpleafant truths touched upon incautiously; plump questions (as they are called) put without any preface or VOL. IV.



refinement, manual caresses compounded of hugs and flaps and squeezes, more resembling the gambols of a bear than the actions of a gentleman, are sure to follow upon the overflowing ebullitions of a vulgar familiarity broke loose from all restraints. It is a painful necessity men of fenfibility are under, when they find themselves compelled to draw back from the eager advances of an honest heart, only because the shock of it's good-humour is too violent to be endured; it is very wounding to a social nature to check festivity in any degree, but there is nothing finks the spirits so effectually as boisterous mirth, nobody so apt to overact his character as a jolly fellow, and stunned with the vociferation of his own tongue to forget that every other man is silent and suffering : In short it is a very difficult thing to be properly happy and well pleased with the company we are in, and none but men of good education, great discernment and nice feelings know how to be familiar. These rural gentry are great dealers in long stories of their own uninteresting atchievements, they require of you to attend to the narrative of their paltry squabbles and bickerings with their neighbours; they are extremely eloquent upon the laws against poachers, upon turnpike roads and new enclosures, and all these topicks they will thrust in by the neck and shoulders to the exclusion of all others.

Plain-speaking, if we consider it simply as a mark of truth and honesty, is doubtless a very meritorious quality, but experience teaches that it is too frequently under bad management, and obtruded on society out of time and season in such à manner as to be highly inconvenient and offensive. People are not always in a fit humour to be told of their faults, and these plainspeaking friends sometimes perform their office so clumsily, that we are inclined to suspect they are more interested to bring us to present shame than future reformation : It is a common obe servation with them, when things turn out amiss, to put us in mind how they dissuaded us from such and such an undertaking, that they foresaw what would happen, and that the event is neither more nor less than they expected and predicted. These retorts, cast in our teeth in the very moment of vexation, are what few tempers, when called with disappointment, can patiently put up with ; they may possibly be the pure result of zeal and sincerity, but they are so void of contrivance and there is so little delicacy in the timing of them, that it is a very rare case indeed, when they happen to be well understood and kindly taken.


E 2

The fame want of sensibility towards human infirmities, that will not spare us in the moments of vexation, will make no allowances for the mind's debility in the hours of grief and sorrow: If a friend of this sort surprises us in the weakness of the soul, 'when death perhaps has robbed us of some beloved object, it is not to contribute a tear, but to read us a lecture, that he comes; when the heart is agonised, the temper is irritable, and as a moraliser of this sort is almost sure to find his admonitions take the contrary effect from what he intended, he is apt to mistake an occasional impatience in us for a natural one, and leaves us with the impression that we are meil, who are ill prepared against the common viciffitudes of life, and endowed with a very Imall share of fortitude and resignation; this Carly misconception of our character in the course of time leads him to another, for he no tooner finds us recovered to a proper temper

of nund, than he calls to mind our former impatience and comparing it with our present tranquillity concludes upon appearances, that we are men of light and t:ivial natures, subject indeed to fits and starts of pallion, but incapable of retention, and as he has then a fine subject for displaying his powers of plain-Speaking, he reminds us of our former irattention to his good

[ocr errors]

advice and takes credit for having told us over and over again that we ought not to give way to violent forrow, and that we could not change the course of things' by our complaining of them. Thus for want of calculating times and seasons he begins to think despisingly of us, and we in spite of all his sincerity grow tired of him and dread his company.

Before I quit this subject I must also have a word with the valetudinarians, and I wish from my

heart I could cure them of their complaints, that species I mean which comes under my notice as an Observer, without intruding upon the more important province of the physician. Now as this island of our's is most happily supplied with a large and learned body of professors under every medical description and character, whether operative or deliberative, and all these stand ready at the call and devoted to the service of the fick or maimed, whether it be on foot, on horseback or on wheels to resort to them in their diftreffes, it cannot be for want of help that the valetudinarian liates his case to all companies so promiscuously, Let the whole family of death be arrayed on one side, and the whole army of physic, regulars and irregulars, be drawn out on the other, and I will venture to say that for every poffible disease in the ranks of the be


E 3

« السابقةمتابعة »