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tiated only by falfe reprefentations; but the operations of time are flow; and I therefore left her to grow wife at leifure, or to continue in error at her own expence
Thus I have hitherto, in fpite of myfelf, paffed my life in frozen celibacy. My friends, indeed, often tell me, that I flatter my imagination with higher hopes than human nature can gratify; that I drefs up an ideal charmer in all the radiance of perfection, and then enter the world to look for the fame excellence in corporeal beauty. But furely, Mr. RAMBLER, it is not madness to hope for fome terrestrial lady unstained with the fpots which I have been de fcribing; at least, I am refolved to pursue my fearch; for I am fo far from thinking meanly of marriage, that I believe it able to afford the highest happiness decreed to our present ftate; and if, after all these miscarriages, I find a woman that fills up my expectation, you fhall hear once more from
NUMB. 116. SATURDAY, April 27, 1751.
Optat ephippia bos piger; optat arare caballus.
Thus the flow ox would gaudy trappings claim;
To the RAMBLER.
WAS the fecond fon of a country gentleman by I the daughter of a wealthy citizen of London. My father having by his marriage freed the estate from a heavy mortgage, and paid his sisters their portions, thought himself discharged from all obligation to further thought, and entitled to spend the reft of his life in rural pleasures. He therefore fpared nothing that might contribute to the completion of his felicity; he procured the best guns and horfes that the kingdom could fupply, paid large falaries to his groom and huntsman, and became the envy of the country for the difcipline of his hounds. But, above all his other attainments, he was eminent for a breed of pointers and fetting-dogs, which by long and vigilant cultivation he had fo much improved, that not a partridge or heathcock could reft in fecurity, and game of whatever species, that dared to light upon his manor, was beaten down by his fhot, or covered with his nets.
My elder brother was very early initiated in the chace, and, at an age when other boys are creeping like Snails unwillingly to fchool, he could wind the horn,
beat the bushes, bound over hedges, and swim rivers. When the huntsman one day broke his leg, he fupplied his place with equal abilities, and came home with the fcut in his hat, amidst the acclamations of the whole village. I being either delicate or timorous, lefs defirous of honour, or lefs capable of sylvan heroism, was always the favourite of my mother; because I kept my coat clean, and my complexion free from freckles, and did not come home, like my brother, mired and tanned, nor carry corn in my hat to the horse, nor bring dirty curs into the parlour.
My mother had not been taught to amuse herself with books, and being much inclined to despise the ignorance and barbarity of the country ladies, difdained to learn their fentiments or converfation, and had made no addition to the notions which she had brought from the precincts of Cornhill. She was, therefore, always recounting the glories of the city; enumerating the fucceffion of mayors; celebrating the magnificence of the banquets at Guildhall; and relating the civilities paid her at the companies feasts by men, of whom fome are now made aldermen, fome have fined for fheriffs, and none are worth less than forty thousand pounds. She frequently displayed her father's greatnefs; told of the large bills which he had paid at fight; of the fums for which his word would pafs upon the Exchange; the heaps of gold which he used on Saturday night to tofs about with a shovel; the extent of his warehouse, and the strength of his doors; and when the relaxed her imagination with lower fubjects, defcribed the furniture of their country-houfe, or repeated the wit of the clerks and porters.
By these narratives I was fired with the splendour and dignity of London, and of trade. I therefore devoted myself to a fhop, and warmed my imagination from year to year with inquiries about the pri vileges of a freeman, the power of the common coun. cil, the dignity of a wholefale dealer, and the grandeur of mayoralty, to which my mother affured me that many had arrived who began the world with less than myself.
I was very impatient to enter into a path, which led to fuch honour and felicity; but was forced for a time to endure fome repreffion of my eagernefs, for it was my grandfather's maxim, that a young man feldom makes much money, who is out of his time before two-and-twenty. They thought it neceffary, therefore, to keep me at home till the proper age, without any other employment than that of learning merchants' accounts, and the art of regulating books; but at length the tedious days elapfed, I was tranfplanted to town, and, with great fatisfaction to myfelf, bound to a haberdasher.
My mafter, who had no conception of any virtue, merit, or dignity, but that of being rich, had all the good qualities which naturally arife from a clofe and unwearied attention to the main chance; his defire to gain wealth was fo well tempered by the vanity of fhewing it, that, without any other principle of action, he lived in the efteem of the whole commercial world; and was always treated with respect by the only men, whofe good opinion he valued or folicited, those who were univerfally allowed to be richer than himself.
By his inftructions I learned in a few weeks to handle a yard with great dexterity, to wind tape neatly upon the ends of my fingers, and to make up parcels with exact frugality of paper and packthread; and foon caught from my fellow-apprentices the true grace of a counter-bow, the carelefs air with which a small pair of fcales is to be held between the fingers, and the vigour and fprightliness with which the box, after the ribband has been cut, is returned into its place. Having no defire of any higher employment, and therefore applying all my powers to the knowledge of my trade, I was quickly mafter of all that could be known, became a critick in fmall wares, contrived new variations of figures, and new mixtures of colours, and was fometimes confulted by the weavers when they projected fashions for the enfuing fpring.
With all these accomplishments, in the fourth year of my apprenticeship, I paid a visit to my friends in the country, where I expected to be received as a new ornament of the family, and confulted by the neighbouring gentlemen as a mafter of pecuniary knowledge, and by the ladies as an oracle of the mode. But unhappily, at the first publick table to which I was invited, appeared a student of the Temple, and an officer of the guards, who looked upon me with a fmile of contempt, which destroyed at once all my hopes of diftinction, fo that I durft hardly raise my eyes for fear of encountering their fuperiority of mien. Nor was my courage revived by any opportunities of difplaying my knowledge; for the templar entertained the company for part of the day with historical narratives