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world, and the love of the greatest beauties in the female, are entirely to be ascribed to your own personal genius and application.
You are formed for these accomplishments by a happy turn of nature, and have finished yourself in them by the utmost improvements of art. A man that is defective in either of these qualifications, whatever may be the secret ambition of his heart, must never hope to make the figure you have done, among the fashionable part of his species. It is therefore no wonder we see such multitudes of aspiring young men fall short of you in all these beauties of your character, notwithstanding the study and practice of them is the whole business of their lives. But I need not tell you that the free and disengaged behaviour of a fine gentleman makes as many awkward beaux, as the easiness of your favourite hath made insipid poets.
At present you are content to aim all your charms at your own spouse, without further thought of mischief to any others of the sex. I know you had formerly a very great contempt for that pedantic race of mortals who call themselves philosophers; and yet, to your honour be it spoken, there is not a sage of them all could have better acted up to their precepts in one of the most important points of life: I mean, in that generous disregard of popular opinion which you showed some years ago, when you chose for your wife an obscure young woman, who doth not indeed pretend to an ancient family, but has certainly as many forefathers as any lady in the land, if she could but reckon up their names.
I must own I conceived very extraordinary hopes of you from the moment that you confessed your age, and from eight-and-forty, where you had stuck so many years, very ingeniously stepped into your grand climacteric. Your deportment has since been
very venerable and becoming. If I am rightly informed you make a regular appearance every quartersessions among your brothers of the quorum; and if things go on as they do, stand fair for being a colonel of the militia. I am told that your time passes away as agreeably in the amusements of a country life, as it ever did in the gallantries of the town; and that you now take as much pleasure in the planting of young trees, as you did formerly in the cutting down of old ones. In short, we hear from all hands that you are thoroughly reconciled to your dirty acres, and have not too much wit to look into your own estate.
After having spoken thus much of my patron, I must take the privilege of an author in saying something of myself. I shall therefore beg leave to add, that I have purposely omitted setting those marks to the end of every paper, which appeared in my former volumes, that you may have an opportunity of showing Mrs. Honeycomb the shrewdness of your conjectures, by ascribing every speculation to its proper author: though you know how often many profound critics in style and sentiments have very judiciously erred in this particular, before they were let into the secret. I am,
Your most faithful
BOOKSELLER TO THE READER.
IN the six hundred and thirty-second number of the Spectator the reader will find an account of the rise of this eighth and last volume.
I have not been able to prevail upon the several gentlemen who were concerned in this work to let me acquaint the world with their names.
Perhaps it will be unnecessary to inform the reader, that no other papers which have appeared under the title of the Spectator, since the closing of this eighth volume, were written by any of those gentlemen who had a hand in this or the former volumes.
No. 1. THURSDAY, MARCH 1, 1710-11.
Non fumum ex fulgore, sed ex fumo dare lucem
One with a flash begins, and ends in smoke;
I HAVE observed, that a reader seldom peruses a book with pleasure, till he knows whether the writer of it be a black or a fair man, of a mild or choleric disposition, married or a bachelor, with other particulars of the like nature, that conduce very much to the right understanding of an author. To gratify this curiosity, which is so natural to a reader, I design this paper and my next, as prefatory discourses to my following writings, and shall give some account in them of the several persons that are engaged in this work. As the chief trouble of compiling, digesting, and correcting, will fall to my