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WILLIAM HONEYCOMB, ESQ."
HE seven former volumes of the
Spectator having been dedicated to some of the most celebrated persons of the age, I take leave to inscribe
this eighth and last to you, as to a gentleman who hath ever been ambitious of appearing in the best company.
You are now wholly retired from the busy part of mankind, and at leisure to reflect upon your past achievements; for which reason I look upon you as a person very well qualised for a dedication. I
may possibly disappoint my readers, and yourself too, if I do not endeavour on this occasion to make the world acquainted with your virtues. And here, sir, I shall not compliment you upon your birth, person, or fortune, nor any other the
1 This dedication to Addison's supplementary Spectator has been supposed to be by Eustace Budgell.
2 See No. 530.
like perfections which you possess whether you will or no ; but shall only touch upon those which are of your own acquiring, and in which every one must allow you have a real merit.
Your jaunty air and easy motion, the volubility of your discourse, the suddenness of your laugh, the management of your snuff-box, with the whiteness of your hands and teeth (which have justly gained you
the envy of the most polite part of the male world, and the love of the greatest beauties in the female), are entirely to be ascribed to your own personal genius and application.
You are formed for these accomplishments by a happy turn of nature, and have finished yourself in them by the utmost improvements of art. A man that is defective in either of these qualifications (whatever may be the secret ambition of his heart) must never hope to make the figure you have done among the fashionable part of his species. It is therefore no wonder we see such multitudes of aspiring young men fall short of you in all these beauties of your character, notwithstanding the study and practice of them is the whole business of their lives. But I need not tell you that the free and disengaged behaviour of a fine gentleman makes as many awkward beaux as the easiness of your favourite Waller hath made insipid poets. At present you are content to aim all
your charms at your own spouse, without further
thought of mischief to any others of the sex. know
you bad formerly a very great contempt for that pedantic race of mortals who call themselves philosophers; and yet, to your honour be it spoken, there is not a sage of them all could have better acted up to their precepts in one of the most important points of life : I mean in that generous disregard of popular opinion, which
showed some years ago, when you chose for your wife an obscure young woman, who doth not indeed pretend to an ancient family, but has certainly as many forefathers as any lady in the land, if she could but reckon up their names.
I must own I conceived very extraordinary hopes of you from the moment that
you confessed your age, and from eight-and-forty (where you bad stuck so many years) very ingenuously stepped into
your grand climacteric. Your deportment has since been very venerable and becoming. If I am rightly informed, you make a regular appearance every Quarter Sessions among your brothers of the Quorum, and, if things go on as they do, stand fair for being a colonel of the militia. I am told that your time passes away as agreeably in the amusements of a country life as it ever did in the gallantries of the town, and that you now take as much pleasure in the planting of young trees as you did formerly in the cutting down of your old ones. In short, we hear from all bands that you are thoroughly reconciled to your dirty acres, and have not too much wit to look into your own estate.
After having spoken thus much of my patron, I must take the privilege of an author in saying something of myself. I shall therefore beg leave to add that I have purposely omitted setting those marks to the end of every paper, which appeared in my former volumes, that
have an opportunity of showing Mrs. Honeycomb the shrewdness of your conjectures, by ascribing every speculation to its proper author ; though you know how often many profound critics in style and sentiments have very judiciously erred in this particular, before they were let into the secret.
I am, Sir,
BOOKSELLER TO THE READER
IN the six hundred and thirty-second Spectator
the reader will find an account of the rise of this eighth and last volume.
I have not been able to prevail upon the several gentlemen who were concerned in this work to let me acquaint the world with their names.
Perhaps it will be unnecessary to inform the reader, that no other papers, which have appeared under the title of Spectator, since the closing of this eighth volume, were written by any of those gentlemen who had a hand in this or the former volumes.
1 The eighth volume was brought out by Addison after the close of the original series. The numbers appeared only three days a week, and were reprinted in volume form in 1715.