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are necessary to explain ourselves with elegance : and it is, methinks, an instance of ignorance, if not of servitude, to be redundant in such expressions. I waited upon a man of quality some mornings
He happened to be dressing; and his shoemaker fitting him, told him," that if his Lordship would please to tread hard, or that if his Lordship would stamp a little, his Lordship would find his Lordship's shoe will sit as easy as any piece of work his Lordship should see in England.” As soon as my Lord was dressed, a gentleman approached him with a very good air, and told him, “ he had an affair which had long depended in the lower courts; which through the inadvertency of his ancestors on the one side, and the ill arts of their adversaries on the other, could not possibly be settled according to the rules of the lower courts; that, therefore, he designed to bring his cause before the House of Lords next session, where he should be glad if his Lordship should happen to be presents for he doubted not but his cause would be approved by all men of justice and honour.” In this place the word Lordship was gracefully inserted; because it was applied to him in that circumstance wherein his quality was the occasion of the discourse, and wherein it was most useful to the one, and most honourable to the other.
This way is so far from being disrespectful to the honour of nobles, that it is an expedient for using them with greater deference. I would not put Lordship to a man's hat, gloves, wig, or cane: but to desire his Lorship’s favour, his Lordship’s judgment, or his Lordship’s patronage, is a manner of speaking, which expresses an alliance between his quality and his merit. It is this knowledge which distinguished the discourse of the shoe-maker from that of the gentleman. The highest point of goodbreeding, if any one can hit it, is to show a very nice regard to your own dignity, and, with that in your heart, express your value for the man above you.
But the silly humour to the country has so much prevailed, that the slavish addition of title enervates discourse, and renders the application of it almost ridiculous. We writers of diurnals are nearer in our style to that of common talk than any other writers, by which means we use words of respect sometimes very unfortunately. The Postman, who is one of the most celebrated of our fraternity, fell into this misfortune yesterday in his paragraph from Berlin of the twenty-sixth of July. “ Count Wartembourg," says he," great chamberlain, and chief minister of this court, who on Monday last accompanied the king of Prussia to Oranienburg, was taken so very ill, that on Wednesday his life was despaired of; and we had a report, that his Excellency was dead.”
I humbly presume that it flattens the narration, to say his Excellency is in a case which is common to all men ; except you would infer what is not to be inferred, to wit, that the author designed to say, «s all wherein he excelled others was departed from him."
Were distinctions used according to the rules of reason and sense, those additions to men's names would be, as they were first intended, significant of their worth, and not their persons; so that in some cases it might be
6. The man is dead; but his Excellency will never die.” It is, methinks, very unjust to laugh at a Quaker, because he has taken up a resolution to treat you with a word, the most expressive of complaisance that can be thought of, and with an air of good-nature and charity calls you Friend. I say, it is very unjust to rally him for this term to a stranger, when you yourself, in all your phrases of distinction, confound phrases of honour into no use at all.
Tom Courtly, who is the pink of courtesy, is an instance of how little moment an undistinguishing application of sounds of honour are to those who understand themselves. Tom never fails of paying his obeisance to every man he sees, who has title or office to make him conspicuous; but his deference is wholly given to outward considerations. I, who know him, can tell him within half an acre, how much land one man has more than another by Tom's bow to him. Title is all he knows of honour, and civility of friendship: for this reason, because he cares for no man living, he is religiously strict in performing, what he calls, his respect to you. To this end he is very learned in pedigree; and will abate something in the ceremony of his approaches to a man, if he is in any doubt about the bearing of his coat of arms. What is the most pleasant of his character is, that he acts with a sort of integrity in these impertinences; and though he would not do any solid kindness, he is wonderfully just and careful not to wrong his quality. But as integrity is very scarce in the world, I cannot forbear having respect for the impertinent: it is some virtue to be bound by any thing. Tom and I are upon very good terms, for the respect he has for the house of Bickerstaff. Though one cannot but laugh at his serious consideration of things so little essential, one must have a value even for a frivolous good conscience.
N° 205. TUESDAY, AUGUST 1, 1710.
Νηπιοι, εδ' ισασιν οσω πλεου ημισυ σανθος
HESIOD, Oper. & Dier. ver. 20.
From my own Apartment, July 31. NATURE has implanted in us two very strong desires; hunger, for the preservation of the individuals; and lust, for the support of the species; or, to speak more intelligibly, the former to continue our own persons, and the latter to introduce others into the world. According as men behave themselves with regard to these appetites, they are above or below the beasts of the field, which are incited by them without choice or reflection. But reasonable creatures correct these incentives, and improve them into elegant motives of friendship and society. It is chiefly from this homely foundation, that we are under the necessity of seeking for the agreeable companion, and the honourable mistress. By this cultivation of art and reason, our wants are made pleasure; and the gratification of our desires, under proper restrictions, a work no way below
our noblest faculties. The wisest man may maintain his character, and yet consider in what manner he shall best entertain his friend, or divert his mistress. Nay, it is so far from being a derogation to him, that he can in no instances show so true a taste of his life, or his fortune. What concerns one of the above-mentioned appetites, as it is elevated into love, I shall have abundant occasion to discourse of,
before I have provided for the numberless crowd of damsels I have proposed to take care of. The subject therefore of the present paper shall be that part of society which owes its beginning to the common necessity of Hunger. When this is considered as the support of our being, we may take in under the same head Thirst also; otherwise, when we are pursuing the_glutton, the drunkard may make his escape. The true choice of our diet, and our companions, at it, seems to consist in that which contributes most to cheerfulness and refreshment: and these certainly are best consulted by simplicity in the food, and sincerity in the company. By this rule are, in the first place, excluded from pretence to happiness all meals of state and ceremony, which are performed in dumb-show, and greedy sullen
At the boards of the great, they say, you shall have a number attending with as good habits and countenances as the guests, which only circumstance must destroy the whole pleasure of the repast: for if such attendants are introduced for the dignity of their appearance, modest minds are shocked by considering them as spectators; or else look
upon them as equals, for whose servitude they are in a kind of suffering. It may be here added, that the sumptuous side-board, to an ingenuous eye, has often more the air of an altar than a table. The next absurd way of enjoying ourselves at meals is, where the bottle is plied without being called for, where humour takes place of appetite, and the good company are too dull, or too merry, to know
any enjoyment in their senses.
Though this part of time is absolutely necessary to sustain life, it must be also considered, that life itself is to the endless being of man but what a meal is to this life, not valuable for itself, but for the purposes of it. If there be any truth in this, the expense of many hours this way is somewhat unac