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to be the purpose of every man who appears in public, and whoever does not proceed upon that foundation, injures his country as fast as he succeeds in his studies. When modesty ceases to be the chief ornament of one sex, and integrity of the other, society is upon a wrong 5 basis, and we shall be ever after without rules to guide our judgment in what is really becoming and ornamental. Nature and reason direct one thing, passion and humour another. To follow the dictates of these two latter, is going into a road that is both endless and intricate; 10 when we pursue the other, our passage is delightful, and what we aim at easily attainable.
I do not doubt but England is at present as polite a nation as any in the world; but any man who thinks can easily see, that the affectation of being gay and in fash- 15 ion, has very near eaten up our good sense and our religion. Is there anything so just as that mode and gallantry should be built upon exerting ourselves in what is proper and agreeable to the institutions of justice and piety among us? And yet is there anything more common, 20 than that we run in perfect contradiction to them? All which is supported by no other pretension, than that it is done with what we call a good grace.
Nothing ought to be held laudable or becoming, but what nature itself should prompt us to think so. Respect 25 to all kinds of superiors is founded, methinks, upon instinct; and yet what is so ridiculous as age? I make this abrupt transition to the mention of this vice, more than any other, in order to introduce a little story, which I think a pretty instance that the most polite age is in 30 danger of being the most vicious.
"It happened at Athens, during a public representation of some play exhibited in honour of the commonwealth, that an old gentleman came too late for a place suitable to his age and quality. Many of the young 5 gentlemen, who observed the difficulty and confusion. he was in, made signs to him that they would accommodate him if he came where they sat. The good man bustled through the crowd accordingly; but when he came to the seats to which he was invited, the jest was 10 to sit close and expose him, as he stood out of countenance, to the whole audience. The frolic went round all the Athenian benches. But on those occasions there were also particular places assigned for foreigners. When the good man skulked towards the boxes appointed 15 for the Lacedæmonians, that honest people, more virtuous than polite, rose up all to a man, and with the greatest respect received him among them. The Athenians being suddenly touched with a sense of the Spartan virtue and their own degeneracy, gave a thunder 20 of applause; and the old man cried out, 'The Athenians understand what is good, but the Lacedæmonians practise it.'
THE SPECTATOR AT HIS CLUB. [ADDISON.]
No. 34.MONDAY, APRIL 9, 1711.
Cognatis maculis similis fera. — JUV. SAT. xv. 159.
FROM spotted skins the leopard does refrain. — TATE,
THE club of which I am a member, is very luckily composed of such persons as are engaged in different ways of life, and deputed as it were out of the most conspicuous classes of mankind: by this means I am furnished with the greatest variety of hints and materials, and know 5 everything that passes in the different quarters and divisions, not only of this great city, but of the whole kingdom. My readers too have the satisfaction to find that there is no rank or degree among them who have not their representative in this club, and that there is always 10 somebody present who will take care of their respective interests, that nothing may be written or published to the prejudice or infringement of their just rights and privileges.
I last night sate very late in company with this select 15 body of friends, who entertained me with several remarks which they and others had made upon these my speculations, as also with the various success which they had
met with among their several ranks and degrees of readers. Will Honeycomb told me, in the softest manner he could, that there were some ladies (but for your comfort, says Will, they are not those of the most wit) that were of5 fended at the liberties I had taken with the opera and the puppet-show; that some of them were likewise very much surprised that I should think such serious points as the dress and equipage of persons of quality, proper subjects for raillery.
He was going on, when Sir Andrew Freeport took him up short, and told him, that the papers he hinted at had done great good in the city, and that all their wives and daughters were the better for them; and further added, that the whole city thought themselves very much obliged 15 to me for declaring my generous intentions to scourge vice and folly as they appear in a multitude, without condescending to be a publisher of particular intrigues. "In short," says Sir Andrew, "if you avoid that foolish beaten road of falling upon aldermen and citizens, and employ 20 your pen upon the vanity and luxury of courts, your paper must needs be of general use."
Upon this my friend the Templar told Sir Andrew that he wondered to hear a man of his sense talk after that manner; that the city had always been the province for 25 satire; and that the wits of King Charles's time jested. upon nothing else during his whole reign. He then shewed, by the examples of Horace, Juvenal, Boileau, and the best writers of every age, that the follies of the stage and court had never been accounted too sacred for 30 ridicule, how great soever the persons might be that patronised them. "But after all,” says he, “I think your
raillery has made too great an excursion in attacking several persons of the Inns of Court; and I do not believe you can shew me any precedent for your behaviour in that particular."
My good friend Sir Roger de Coverley, who had said 5 nothing all this while, began his speech with a pish! and told us that he wondered to see so many men of sense so very serious upon fooleries. "Let our good friend,” says he, "attack every one that deserves it: I would only advise you, Mr. Spectator," applying himself to me, “to 10 take care how you meddle with country squires: they are the ornaments of the English nation; men of good heads and sound bodies! and let me tell you, some of them take it ill of you that you mention fox-hunters with so little respect."
Captain Sentry spoke very sparingly on this occasion. What he said was only to commend my prudence in not touching upon the army, and advised me to continue to act discreetly in that point.
By this time I found every subject of my speculations 20 was taken away from me by one or other of the club; and began to think myself in the condition of the good man that had one wife who took a dislike to his grey hairs, and another to his black, till by their picking out what each of them had an aversion to, they left his head 25 altogether bald and naked.
While I was thus musing with myself, friend the clergyman, who, very luckily for the club that night, undertook my cause. that he wondered any order of persons themselves too considerable to be advised: that it was
should think 30
me, was at
He told us