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a decisive air, my young man goes on without hesitation; and though from the beginning to the end of his pretty discourse he has not used one proper gesture, yet at the conclusion the churchwarden pulls his gloves from off his hands; Pray, who is this extraordinary young man? Thus the force of action is such, that it is more prevalent, even when improper, than all the reason and argument in the world without it. This gentleman concluded his discourse by saying, I do not doubt but if our preachers would learn to speak, and our readers to read, within six months time we should not have a dissenter within a mile of a church in Great Britain.
9, 1709. • YESTERDAY I had the misfortune to drop in at my lady Haughty's upon her visiting-day. When I entered the room where she receives company, they all stood up indeed; but they stood as if they were to stare at rather than to receive me. After a long pause, a servant brought a round stool, on which I sat down at the lower end of the room, in the presence of no less than twelve persons, gentlemen and ladies, lolling in elbowchairs. And, to complete my disgrace, my mistress was of the society. I tried to compose myself in vain, not knowing how to dispose of either my legs or arins, nor how to share my countenance; the eyes of the whole room being still upon me in a profound silence, My confusion was at last so great, that without speaking, or being spoken lo, I fed for it, and left the assembly to treat ine at their discretion. A lecture from you upon these inhuman distinctions in a free nation, will, I doubt not, prevent the like evils for the future, and make it, as we say, as cheap sitting as standing I am, with the greatest respect,
J. R. •P.S. I had almost forgot to inform you, that a fair young lady sat in an armless chair upon my right hand, with manifest discontent in her looks.'
Soon after the receipt of this epistle, I heard a very gentle knock at my door: my maid went down, and brought up word, that a tall, lean, black man, welf dressed, who said he had not the honour to be acquainted with me, desired to be admitted. I bid her show him up, met him at my chamber door, and then fell back a few paces. He approached me with great respect, and told me with a low voice, he was the gentleman that had been seated upon the round stool. I immediately recollected that there was a joint stool in my chamber, which I was afraid he might take for an instrument of distinction, and therefore winked at my boy to carry it into my closet ; I then took him by the hand, and led him to the upper end of my room, where I placed him in my great elbow chair; at the same time drawing another without arms to it, for myself to sit by him. I then asked him, at what time this misfortune befell him? He answered, Between the hours of seven and eight in the evening. I further demanded of him, what he had eat or drank that day? He replied, Nothing but a dish of water-gruel with a few plums in it. In the next place, I felt bis pulse, which was very low and lan
guishing. These circumstances confirmed me in an opinion, which I had entertained upon the first reading of his letter, that the gentleman was far gone in the spleen. I therefore advised him to rise the next morning, and plunge into the cold bath, there to remain under water until he was almost drowned. This I ordered him to repeat six days successively ; and on the seventh, to repair at the wonted hour to my lady Haughty's, and to acquaint me afterwards with what he shall meet with there; and particularly to tell ine, whether he shall think they stared upon him so much as the time before. The gentleman smiled ; and, by his way of talking to me, showed himself a man of excellent sense in all particulars, unless when a cane-chair, a round or a joint stool, were spoken of. He opened his heart to me at the same time concerning several other grievances ; such as, being overlooked in public assemblies, having his bows unanswered, being helped last at table, and placed at the back part of a coach; with many other distresses, which have withered his countenance, and worn him to a skeleton. Finding hin a man of reason, I entered into the bottom of his distemper. Sir, said I, there are more of your constitution in this island of Great Britain than in any other part of the world; and I beg the favour of you to tell me, whether
do not observe that you meet with most affronts in rainy days ? He answered candidly, that he had long observed that people were less saucy iu sunshine than in cloudy weather. Upon which I told him plainly, his distemper was the spleen; and that, though the world was very ill-natured, it was not so bad as he believed it. I further assured him, that his use of the cold bath, with a course of steel which I should prescribe him, would certainly cure most of his ac
quaintance of their rudeness, ill-behaviour, and impertinence. My patient smiled, and promised to observe my prescriptions, not forgetting to give me an account of their operation. This distemper being pretty epidemical, I shall, for the benefit of mankind, give the public an account of the progress I make in the cure of it.
TABLES OF FAME. No. 81.
There are two kinds of immortality; that which the soul really enjoys after this life, and that imaginary existence by which men live in their fame and reputation. The best and greatest actions have proceeded from the prospect of the one or the other of these ; but my design is to treat only of those who have chiefly proposed to themselves the latter, as the principal reward for their labours. It was for this reason that I excluded from my tables of fame all the great founders and votaries of religion ; and it is for this reason also, that I am more than ordinary anxious to do justice to the persons of whom I am now going to speak; for, since fame was the only end of all their enterprizes and studies, a man cannot be too scrupulous in allotting them their due proportion of it. It was this consideration which made me call the whole body of the learned to my assistance; to many of whom I must own my obligations for the catalogues of illustrious persons which they have sent me in upon this occasion. I yesterday employed the whole afternoon in comparing them with each other; which made so strong an impression upon my imagination, that they broke my sleep for the first part of the following night, and at length threw me into a very &
agreeable vision, which I shall beg leave to describe in all its particulars.
I dreamed that I was conveyed into a wide and boundless plain, that was covered with prodigious multitudes of people, which no man could number. In the midst of it there stood a mountain, with its head above the clouds. The sides were extremely steep, and of such a particular structure, that no creature which was not made in a human figure could possibly ascend
On a sudden there was heard from the top of it a sound like that of a trumpet; but so exceeding sweet and harmonious, that it filled the hearts of those who heard it with raptures, and gave such high and delightful sensations as seemed to animate and raise human nature above itself. This made me very much amazed to find so very few, in that innumerable multitude, who had ears fine enough to hear or relish this music with pleasure : but my wonder abated, when, upon looking round me, I saw most of them attentive to three syrens clothed like goddesses, and distinguished by the names of Sloth, Ignorance, and Pleasure. They were seated on three rocks, amidst a beautiful variety of groves, meadows, and rivulets, that lay on the borders of the mountain. While the base and grovelling multitude of different nations, ranks, and ages, were listening to these delusive deities, those of a more erect aspect and exalted spirit separated themselves from the rest, and marched in great bodies towards the mountain from whence they heard the sound, which still grew sweeter the more they listened to it.
On a sudden methought this select band sprang forward, with a resolution to climb the ascent, and follow the call of that heavenly music. Every one took something with him, that he thought might be of assistance