« AnteriorContinuar »
has been walking before my house more than once this winter. My kinswoman likewise informs me, that the girl has talked to her twice or thrice of a gentleman in a fair wig, and that she loves to go to church more than ever she did in her life. She gave me the slip about a week ago, upon which my whole house was in alarm. I immediately dispatched a hue and cry after her to the Change, to her mantua-maker, and to the young ladies that visit her; but after above an hour's search she returned of herself, having been taking a walk, as she told me, by Rosamond's pond. I have hereupon turned off her woman, doubled her guards, and given new instructions to my relation, who, to give her her due, keeps a watchful eye over all her motions. This, sir, keeps me in a perpetual anxiety, and makes me very often watch when my daughter sleeps, as I am afraid she is even with me in her turn. Now, sir, what I would desire of you is, to represent to this fluttering tribe of young fellows, who are for making their fortunes by these indirect means, that stealing a man's daughter for the sake of her portion, is but a kind of tolerated robbery; and that they make but a poor amends to the father, whom they plunder after this manner, by going to bed with his child. Dear sir, be speedy in your thoughts on this subject, that, if possible, they may appear before the disbanding
I am, sir,
" TIM. WATCHIWELL."I
of the army.
Themistocles, the great Athenian general, being asked whether he would chuse to marry his daughter to an indigent man of merit, or to a worthless man of an estate, replied, that he would prefer a man without an estate, to an estate without a man.
Said to have been written by Mr. John Hughes. V. his letters, vol. p. 8.-G.
The worst of it is our modern fortune-hunters are those who turn their heads that way, because they are good for nothing else. If a young fellow finds he can make nothing of Coke and Littleton, he provides himself with a ladder of ropes, and by that means very often enters upon the premises.
The same art of scaling has likewise been practised with good success by many military engineers. Stratagems of this nature make parts and industry superfluous, and cut short the way to riches.
Nor is vanity a less motive than idleness to this kind of mercenary pursuit. A fop who admires his person in a glass, soon enters into a resolution of making his fortune by it, not questioning but every woman that falls in his way will do him as much justice as he does himself. When an heiress sees a man throwing particular graces into his ogle, or talking loud within her hearing, she ought to look to herself; but if withal she observes a pair of red-heels, a patch, or any other particularity in his dress, she cannot take too much care of her person.
These are baits not to be trified with, charms that have done a world of execution, and made their way into hearts which have been thought impregnable. The force of a man with these qualifications is so well known, that I am credibly informed there are several female undertakers about the 'Change, who upon the arrival of a likely man out of a neighbouring kingdom, will furnish him with a proper dress from head to foot, to be paid for at a double price on the day of marriage.
We must, however distinguish between fortune-hunters and fortune-stealers. The first are those assiduous gentlemen who employ their whole lives in the chase, without ever coming at the quarry. Suffenus has combed and powdered at the ladies for thirty years together, and taken his stand in a side box, till he is grown wrinkled under their eyes. He is now laying the
same snares for the present generation of beauties, which he practised on their mothers. Cottilus, after having made his applications to more than you meet with in Mr. Cowley's ballad of mistresses, was at last smitten with a city lady of £20,000 sterling; but died of old age before he could bring matters to bear. Nor must I here omit my worthy friend Mr. Honeycomb, who has often told us in the club, that for twenty years successively, upon the death of a childless rich man, he immediately drew on his boots, called for his horse, and made up to the widow. When he is rallied upon his ill success, Will with his usual gaiety tells us, that he always found her pre-engaged.
Widows are indeed the great game of your fortune-hunters. There is scarce a young fellow in the town of six foot high, that has not passed in review before one or other of these wealthy re. lics. Hudibras's cupid, who
took his stand Upon a widow's jointure land,
is daily employed in throwing darts and kindling flames. But as for widows, they are such a subtile generation of people, that they may be left to their own conduct; or if they make a false step in it, they are answerable for it to nobody but themselves. The young innocent creatures who have no knowledge and experience of the world, are those whose safety I would principally consult in this speculation. The stealing of such an one should, in my opinion, be as punishable as a rape. Where there is no judgment, there is no choice; and why the inveigling a woman before she is come to years of discretion, should not be as criminal as the seducing of her before she is ten years old, I am at a loss to comprehend
No. 317. TUESDAY, MARCH 4.
-iruges consumere nati.
HOR. 1. Ep. ii. 27.
AUGUSTUS, a few moments before his death, asked his friends who stood about him, if they thought he had acted his part well; and upon receiving such an answer as was due to his extraordi. nary merit, 'Let me, then, (says he) go off the stage with your applause; ' using the expression with which the Roman actors made their exit at the conclusion of a dramatic piece. I could wish that men, while they are in health, would consider well the nature of the part they are engaged in, and what figure it will make in the minds of those they leave behind them : whether it was worth coming into the world for, whether it be suitable to a reasonable being; in short, whether it appears graceful in this life, or will turn to an advantage in the next. Let the sycophant, or buffoon, the satyrist, or the good companion, consider with himself, when his body shall be laid in the grave, and his soul pass into another state of existence, how much it will redound to his praise to have it said of him, that no man in England eat better, that he had an admirable talent at turning his friend into ridicule, that nobody out-did him at an ill-natured jest, or that he never went to bed before he had dispatched his third bottle. These are, however, very common funeral orations, and elogiums on deceased persons who have acted among mankind with some figure and reputation.
But if we look into the bulk of our species, they are such as are not likely to be remembered a moment after their disappear
I Vos valete et plaudite.-C.
They leave behind them no traces of their existence, but are forgotten as though they had never been. They are neither wanted by the poor, regretted by the rich, nor celebrated by the learned. They are neither missed in the commonwealth, nor lamented by private persons.
Their actions are of no significancy to mankind, and might have been performed by creatures of much less dignity, than those who are distinguished by the faculty of
An eminent French author speaks somewhere to the following purpose: I have often seen from
my chamber-window two noble creatures, both of them of an erect countenance, and endowed with reason. These two intellectual beings are employed from morning to night, in rubbing two smooth stones one upon another; that is, as the vulgar phrase it, in polishing marble.
My friend, Sir Andrew Freeport, as we were sitting in the club last night, gave us an account of a sober citizen, who died a few days since. This honest man being of greater consequence in his own thoughts, than in the eye of the world, bad for some years past kept a journal of his life. Sir Andrew shewed us one week of it. Since the occurrences set down in it mark out such a road of action as that I have been speaking of, I shall present my reader with a faithful copy of it; after having first informed him, that the deceased person had in his youth been bred to trade, but finding himself not so well turned for business, he had for several years last past lived altogether upon a moderate annuity.'
Monday, eight o'clock. I put on my clothes and walked into the parlour.
'This journal, though perhaps genuine, was published as a banter on a member of the 'Independents,' whose pastor at that time was a Mr. Nesbit. A full account of the pastor is given in John Dutton's Life, Errors and Opinions, &c., and the parishioner is supposed to have been faithfully painted in this journal of a week.—G.