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of a bolt to a lock. He had at laft, by the daily fuperaddition of new expedients, contrived a door which could never be forced: for one bar was fecured by another with fuch intricacy of fubordination, that he was himself not always able to difengage them in the proper method. He was happy in this fortification, till being asked how he would escape if he was threatened by fire, he difcovered that, with all his care and expence, he had only been affifting his own deftruction. He then immediately tore off his bolts, and now leaves at night his outer door half-locked, that he may not by his own folly perish in the flames.
There is one fpecies of terror which those who are unwilling to suffer the reproach of cowardice have wifely dignified with the name of antipathy. A man who talks with intrepidity of the monfters of the wilderness while they are out of fight, will readily confefs his antipathy to a mole, a weafel, or a frog. He has indeed no dread of harm from an infect or a worm, but his antipathy turns him pale whenever they approach him. He believes that a boat will transport him with as much fafety as his neighbours, but he cannot conquer his antipathy to the water. Thus he goes on without any reproach from his own reflections, and every day multiplies antipathies, till he becomes contemptible to others, and burdenfome to himself.
It is indeed certain, that impreffions of dread may fometimes be unluckily made by objects not in themselves juftly formidable; but when fear is dif covered to be groundless, it is to be eradicated like other falfe opinions, and antipathies are generally fuperable
fuperable by a fingle effort. He that has been taught to fhudder at a moufe, if he can perfuade himfelf to rifque one encounter, will find his own fu periority, and exchange his terrors for the pride of conqueft.
I am, SIR, &c.
As you profels to extend your regard to the
minuteness of decency, as well as to the dignity of fcience, I cannot forbear to lay before you a mode of perfecution by which I have been exiled to taverns and coffee-houses, and deterred from enter. ing the doors of my friends.
Among the ladies who please themselves with İplendid furniture, or elegant entertainment, it is a practice very common, to afk every gueft how he likes the carved work of the cornice, or the figures of the tapestry; the china at the table, or the plate on the fide-board; and on all occafions to enquire his opinion of their judgment and their choice. Melania has laid her new watch in the window nineteen times, that she may defire me to look upon it. Calista has an art of dropping her fnuff-box by drawing out her handkerchief, that when I pick it up I may admire it; and Fulgentia has conducted me, by mistake, into the wrong room, at every vifit I have paid fince her picture was put into a new frame.
I hope, Mr. RAMBLER, you will inform them, that no man should be denied the privilege of filence, or tortured to falfe declarations; and that though A a 2
ladies may justly claim to be exempt from rudeness, they have no right to force unwilling civilities. To please is a laudable and elegant ambition, and is properly rewarded with honeft praife; but to feize applaufe by violence, and call out for commendation, without knowing, or caring to know, whether it be given from conviction, is a species of tyranny by which modefty is oppreffed, and fincerity corrupted. The tribute of admiration, thus exacted by impudence and importunity, differs from the refpect paid to filent merit, as the plunder of a pirate from the merchant's profit.
I am, &c.
YOUR great predeceffor, the SPECTATOR, endeavoured to diffufe among his female readers a defire of knowledge; nor can I charge you, though you do not feem equally attentive to the ladies, with endeavouring to difcourage them from any laudable purfuit. But, however either he or you may excite our curiofity, you have not yet informed us how it may be gratified. The world feems to have formed an univerfal conspiracy against our understandings; our questions are fuppofed not to expect anfwers, our arguments are confuted with a jeft, and we are treated like beings who tranfgrefs the limits of our nature whenever we afpire to ferioufnefs or improve.
I enquired yesterday of a gentleman eminent for astronomical skill, what made the day long in fummer, and short in winter; and was told that nature protracted
protracted the days in fummer, left ladies fhould want time to walk in the park; and the nights in winter, left they fhould not have hours fufficient to spend at the card-table.
I hope you do not doubt but I heard fuch information with just contempt, and I defire you to dif cover to this great mafter of ridicule, that I was far from wanting any intelligence which he could have given me. I asked the queftion with no other intention than to fet him free from the neceffity of filence, and gave him an opportunity of mingling on equal terms with a polite affembly, from which, however uneafy, he could not then escape, by a kind introduction of the only subject on which I believed him able to speak with propriety.
I am, &c.
NUMB, 127. TUESDAY, June 4, 1751.
Cepifti melius quàm definis: ultima primis
Succeeding years thy early fame deftroy;
POLITIAN, a name eminent
a name eminent among the reftorers of polite literature, when he published a collection of epigrams, prefixed to many of them the year of his age at which they were compofed. He might design by this information, either to boast the early maturity of his genius, or to conciliate indulgence to the puerility of his performances. But, whatever was his intent, it is remarked by Scaliger, that he very little promoted his own reputation, because he fell below the promise which his firft productions had given, and in the latter part of his life feldom equalled the fallies of his youth.
It is not uncommon for those who, at their first entrance into the world, were distinguished for attainments or abilities, to difappoint the hopes which they had raised, and to end in neglect and obfcurity that life which they began in celebrity and honour. To the long catalogue of the inconveniencies of old age, which moral and fatirical writers have fo copiously displayed, may be often added the lofs of fame.
The advance of the human mind towards any object of laudable purfuit, may be compared to the progress of a body driven by a blow. It moves