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choosing one of the most worthless persons of it for a companion and yoke-fellow. Hymen takes his revenge in kind on those who turn his mysteries into ridicule.
My friend Will Honeycomb, who was so unmercifully witty upon the women in a couple of letters which I lately communicated to the public, has given the ladies ample satisfaction by marrying a farmer's daughter; a piece of news which came to our club by the last post. The Templar is very positive that he has married a dairymaid: but Will, in his letter to me on this occasion, sets the best face upon the matter that he can, and gives a more tolerable account of his spouse. I must confess I suspected something more than ordinary, when upon opening the letter I found that Will was fallen off from his former gaiety, having changed Dear Spec.,' which was his usual salute at the beginning of the letter, into My worthy Friend,' and described himself in the latter end at full length William Honeycomb. In short, the gay, the loud, the vain Will Honeycomb, who had made love to every great fortune that has appeared in town for above thirty years together, and boasted of favours from ladies whom he had never seen, is at length wedded to a plain country girl.
His letter gives us the picture of a converted rake. The suber character of the husband is dashed with the man of the town, and enlivened with those little cantphrases, which have made my friend Will often thought very pretty company. But let us hear what he says for himself.
“MY WORTHY FRIEND,
'I QUESTION not but you, and the rest of my acquaintance, wonder that I, who have lived in the smoke and gallantries of the town for thirty years together, should all on a sudden grow fond of a country life. Had not my dog of a steward ran away as he did without making up his acco
counts, I had still been immersed in sin and sea-coal. But since my late forced visit to my estate, I am so pleased with it, that I am resolved to live and die upon it. I am every day abroad among my acres, and can scarce forbear filling my letter with breezes, shades, flowers, meadows, and purling streams. The simplicity of manners, which I have heard you so often speak of, and which appears here in perfection, charms me wonderfully. As an instance of it, I must acquaint you, and by your means, the whole club, that I have lately married one of my tenant's daughters. She is born of honest parents, and though she has no portion, she has a great deal of virtue. The natural sweetness and innocence of her behaviour, the freshness of her complexion, the unaffected turn of her shape and person, shot me through and through every time I saw her, and did more execution upon me in grogram, than the greatest beauty in town or court had ever done in brocade. In short, she is such an one as promises me a good heir to my estate; and if by her means I cannot leave to my children what are falsely called the gifts of birth, high titles, and alliances, I hope to convey to them the more real and valuable gifts of birth, strong bodies, and healthy constitutions.
As for your fine women, I need not tell thee that I know them. I have had my share in their graces; but no more of that.
It shall be my business hereafter to live the life of an honest man, and to act as becomes the master of a family. I question not but I shall draw upon me the raillery of the town, and be treated to the tune of “The Marriage-hater Matched ;” but I am prepared for it. I have been as witty upon others in my time. To tell thee truly, I saw such a tribe of fashionable young fluttering coxcombs shot up that I did not think my post of an homme de ruelle any longer tenable. I felt a certain stiffness in my limbs, which entirely destroyed the jauntiness of air I was once master of. Besides, for I
may now confess my age to thee, I have been eight-and-forty above these twelve years. Since my retirement into the country will make a vacancy in the club, I could wish that you would fill up my place with my friend Tom Dapperwit. He has an infinite deal of fire, and knows the town. For my own part, as I have said before, I shall endeavour to live hereafter suitable to a man in my station, as a prudent head of a family, a good husband, a careful father (when it shall so happen) and as • Your most sincere friend, and humble servant,
WEDNESDAY, July 7, 1714.
It is the work of a philosopher to be every day subduing his passions, and laying aside his prejudices.
deavour at least to look upon men and their actions only as an impartial Spectator, without any regard to them as they happen to advance or cross my own private interest. But while I am thus employed myself, I cannot help observing how those about me suffer themselves to be blinded bị prejudice and inclination, how readily they pronounce on every man's character, which they can give in two words, and make him either good for nothing, or qualified for every thing. On the contrary, those who search thoroughly into human nature, will find it much more difficult to determine the value of their fellow-creatures, and that men's characters are not thus to be given in general words. There is indeed no such thing as a person entirely good or bad; virtue and vice are blended and mixed together, in a greater or less proportion, in every one; and if you would search for some particular good quality in its most eminent degree of perfection, you will often find it in a mind where it is darkened and eclipsed by an hundred other irregular passions.
We meet with as different passions in one and the same soul as can be supposed in two. We can hardly read the life of a great man who lived in former ages, or converse with any one who is eminent among our contemporaries, that is not an instance of what I am saying.
But as I have hitherto only argued against the partiality and injustice of giving our judgment upon men in gross, who are such a composition of virtues and vices, of good and evil, I might carry this reflection still farther, and make it extend to most of their actions. If on the one hand we fairly weighed every circumstance, we should frequently find them obliged to do that action we at first sight condemn, in order to avoid another we should have been much more displeased with. If on the other hand we nicely examined such actions as appear most dazzling to the eye, we should find most of them either deficient and lame in several parts, produced by a bad ambition, or directed to an ill end. The very same action may sometimes be so oddly circumstanced, that it is difficult to determine whether it ought to be rewarded or punished. Those who compiled the laws of England were so sensible of this, that they have laid it down as one of their first maxims, “It is better suffering a mischief than an inconvenience;' which is as much as to say in other words, that, since no law can take in or provide for all cases, it is better private men should have some injustice done them than that a public grievance should not be redressed. This is usually pleaded in defence of all those hardships which fall on particular persons in particular occasions, which could not be foreseen when a law was made.
No vices are so incurable as those which men are apt to glory in. One would wonder how drunkenness should have the good luck to be of this number. Anacharsis being invited to a match of drinking at Corinth, demanded the prize very humorously, because he was drunk before any of the rest of the company; 'for,' says