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ing ruddiness of youth, but its cheerfulness. Here I have seen a gay semicircle of ladies resemble the beauties of the rainbow, without its tears; and at other times, a galaxy of white aprons more enlivening than all the blue in the brightest sky. The bottle, which is generally supposed the greatest cement of good fellowship, occasions too often a turbulent kind of mirth; it is an opium to distempered brains, which puts them into strong agitations for a time, and then into as strong a sleep; whereas true spirits want no such invigorating helps. But I need say no worse of that treacherous friend to society, than that it excludes one sex from its company; and yet, united with that sex by the fire-side, how serene are our pleasures, and how innocent! We have laughter without folly, and mirth without noise : thereby reflecting the beams of the sunny bank before us, we make the chimney-corner, I will not say, in Cicero's expression, the forge of wit, but in our modern philosophical term, the focus of it.
I know very well I speak in behalf of the fireside to some disadvantage, at a time when we are going to be less sensible of its charms; but our inclinations towards it discover themselves very visibly at parting. How late in the year do we bring ourselves to forego so endearing a sight! And is not that month generally most fatal that threatens us with a divorce from it ? How cheerfully, after four months'absence, which we ill sustain, do we run again to the embraces of our truest, our winter friend! For my part, these thoughts flow from a sense of gratitude for the past pleasure it has afforded me: whatever other effects they may have upon the reader, they will convince the fair-one, I hope, of my constancy, and that I am not too much disposed to worship the rising sun. From my fire-side, March 1.
UNIVERSAL SPECTATOR, vol. iii. p. 37.
The subject of this paper, and the mode in which it is treated, are both pleasing: but, perhaps, no modern writer has spoken with so much feeling and enthusiasm of the pleasures of a winter evening, and the comforts of the domestic fire-side, as our lamented Cowper. I am tempted to add a few of these interesting sketches.
Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Oh, Winter! ruler of th’inverted year,
Thus oft, reclin'd at ease, I lose an hour
Task, book iv.
There is nothing which lies more within the province of a Spectator, than public shows and diversions; and as, among these, there are none which can pretend to vie with those elegant entertainments that are exhi. bited in our theatre, I think it particularly incumbent on me to take notice of every thing that is remarkable in such nunerous and refined assemblies.
SPECT, No. 235.
The above lines are the introduction to a paper written by the late Mr. Addison, on certain significant hints given to him from the upper gallery at the play-house, by your humble servant, then a person of great distinction, and much talked of ever since: but, by reason of my long retirement from my old sphere of action, at present very little known, and by most people believed to have died of grief, soon after the last double constellation of admirable poets and actors disappeared for ever.-In brief, Sir, I am the critical Trunka maker, so humorously celebrated in that excellent paper before quoted: well-stricken in
years, 'tis true; but, except my feet, which are for the best part of the winter inflanneled for the gout, sufficiently master of all my faculties, both to make my will without the help of a lawyer; and die, when God pleases, without paying the usual fees for my quietus to a physician.
And now, Sir, you know who I am, without any farther ceremony we'll proceed to business; which is indeed no more than to lay before you a relation of some late adventures that I have been engaged in, leaving it to you to make what use or application of them
proper. Be pleased then, Sir, to understand, that though I have in a manner deserted the theatre for some years past, I yet retain a grateful remembrance of the pleasures I have received there ; and, with whatever company I mix, never fail to turn the stream of conversation on dramatical entertainments, the merits of authors and performers, and what remarkable events attended the representation of our most admired pieces. I have always observed, Sir, these moments used to be the happiest of the evening; every countenance was gay, every eye benevolent, and
open. difference of opinion appeared, it was softened with address and good-manners; if any points of wit escaped, they were not dipt in gall or envenomed with spleen ; and whether a slight skirmish, or a set battle followed, like the Trojan youths that I have read of in Dryden's