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WENT on Saturday last to make a visit in the city, and as: I passed through Cheapside I saw crowds of people turning down towards the Bank, and struggling who should first get their money
into the new erected lottery. It gave me a great notion of the credit of our present government and adminiftration, to find people press as eagerly to pay money as they would to receive it; and at the same time a due respect for that body of men who have found out so pleasing an expedient for carrying on the common cause that they have turned a tax into a diversion. The cheerfulness of spirit and the hopes of success which this project has occasioned in this great city, lightens the burden of the war, and puts me in mind of some games which they say were invented by wise men, who were lovers of their country, to make their fellow citizens undergo the tediousness and fatigues of a long fiege. I think there is a kind of homage due to fortune (if I may call it so), and that I should be wanting to myself if I did not lay in my pretences to her favour, and pay my compliments to her by recommending a ticket to her disposal
. For this reason, upon my return to my lodgings, I sold off a couple of globes and a telescope, which, with the cash I had by me, raised the sum that was requisite for that purpose. I find by my calculations that it is but a hundred and fifty thousand to one against my being worth a thousand pounds per annum for thirty-two
years; and if
Plumb in the city will lay me a hundred and fifty thousand pounds to twenty shillings (which is an even bet) that I am not this fortunate man, I will take this wager, and shall look upon him as a man of singular courage and fair dealing, having given orders to Mr. Morphew to subscribe such a policy in my behalf, if any person accepts of the offer. I must confefs I have had such private intimations from the twinkling of a certain star in some of my astronomical observations, that I should be unwilling to take fifty pounds a-year for my chance, unless it were to oblige a particular friend. My chief business at present is to prepare my mind for this change of fortune; for as Seneca, who was a greater moralist and a much richer man than I shall be with this addition to my present income, says, Munera ifta fortuna putatis ? Infidiæ funt. “What we look upon as gifts and presents of fortune, are traps and snares which she lays for the unwary.” I am arming myself against her favours with all my philosophy; and that I may not lose myself in such a redundance of unnecessary and fuperfluous wealth, I have determined to settle an annual pension out of it upon a family of Palatines, and by that means give these unhappy strangers a taste of British property. At the same time, as I have an excellent servant maid, whose diligence in attending me has increased in proportion to my infirmities, I shall settle upon her the revenue arising out of the ten pounds, and amounting to fourteen shillings per annum, with which she may retire into Wales, where she was born a gentlewoman, and pass the remaining part of her days in a condition suitable to her birth and quality. It was impossible for me to make an inspection into my own fortune on this occasion, without seeing at the same time the fate of others who are embarked in the same adventure; and indeed it was a great pleasure to me to observe that the war, which generally impoverishes those who furnish out the expense of it, will, by this means, give estates to fome, without making others the poorer for it. I have lately seen several in liveries, who will give as good of their own very suddenly, and took a particular satisfaction in the fight of a young country wench whom I this morning passed by, as the
was whirling her mop, with her petticoats tucked up very agreeably, who, if there is any truth in my art, is within ten months of being the handsomest great fortune in town. I must confess I was so struck with the foresight of what she is to be, that I treated her accordingly, and faid to her, “Pray, young lady, permit me to pass by." I would, for this reason, advise all masters and mistresses to carry it with great moderation and condescension towards their servants till next Michael. mas, left the superiority at that time should be inverted. I must likewise admonish all my brethren and fellow-adventurers, to fill their minds with proper arguments for their support and confolation in case of ill success. It so happens in this particular, that though the gainers will have no reason to rejoice, the losers will have no reason to complain. I remember the day after the thousand pound prize was drawn in the penny lottery, I went to visit a splenetick acquaintance of mine, who was under much dejection, and seemed to me to have suffered some great disappointment. Upon inquiry, I found he had put two pence for himself and his son into the lottery, and that neither of them had drawn the thousand pound. Hereúpon this unlucky person took occasion to enumerate the misfortunes of his life, and concluded with telling me that he never was successful in
any of his undertakings. I was forced to comfort him with the common reflection upon such occafions, that men of the greatest merit are not always men of the greatest success, and that persons of his character must not expect to be as happy as fools. I shall proceed in the like manner with my rivals and competitors for the thousand pounds a-year which we are now in pursuit of; and that I may give general content to the whole body of candidates, I shall allow all that draw prizes to be fortunate, and all that miss them to be wise.
I must not here omit to acknowledge, that I have received several letters upon this subject, but find one common error running through them all, which is, that the writers of them believe their fate in these cases depends upon the astrologer, and not upon the stars, as in the following letter from one, who I fear Aatters himself with hopes of success, which are altogether groundless, since he does not seem to me so great a fool as he takes himself to be.
“ Coming to town and finding my friend Mr. Partridge dead and buried, and you the only conjurer in repute, I am under a necessity of applying myself to you for a favour, which, nevertheless, I confess it would better become a friend to ask, than one who is, as I am, altogether a stranger to you ; but poverty, you know is impudent; and as that gives me the occasion, so that alone could give me the confidence to be thus importunate.
"I am, sir, very poor, and very desirous to be otherwise ; I have got ten pounds, which I design to venture in the lottery now on foot.
What I desire of you is, that by your art, you will choose such a ticket for me as shall arise a benefit fufficient to maintain me. I must beg leave to inform you, that I am good for nothing, and must therefore insist upon a larger lot than would satisfy those who are capable by their own abilities of adding something to what you should assign them; whereas I must expect an absolute independent maintainance, because, as I said, I can do nothing. 'Tis possible, after this free confession of mine, you may think I don't deserve to be rich; but I hope you'll likewise observe, I can ill afford to be poor. My own opinion is, that I am well qualified for an estate, and have a good title to luck in a lottery; but I resign myself wholly to your mercy, not without hopes that you will consider the less I deserve, the greater the generosity in you. reject me, I have agreed with an acquaintance of mine to bury me for my ten pounds. I once more recommend myself to your favour, and bid you adieu.”
EVER was man so much teased or suffered half so much uneasiness as I have done this evening, between a couple of fellows, with whom I was unfortunately engaged to sup, where there were also
several others in company. One of them is the most invincibly impudent, and the other as incorrigibly absurd. Upon hearing my name, the man of audacity, as he calls himself, began to assume an awkward way of reserve, by way of ridicule upon me as a censor, and said “ He must have a care of his behaviour, for there would be notes written upon
all that should pass.. .. After they had done with me, they were impertinent to a very smart, but well-bred man, who stood his ground very well, and let the company see they ought, but could not be out of countenance. I look upon such a defence as a real good action ; for while he received their fire, there was a modest and a worthy young gentleman sat secure by him, and a lady of the family at the same time, guarded against the nauseous familiarity of the one and the more painful mirth of the other. This conversation, where there were a thousand things said not worth repeating, made me consider with myself, how it is that men of these disagreeable characters often go great lengths in the world, and feldom fail of outstripping men of merit; nay, succeed fo well, that with a load of imperfections on their heads, they go on in opposition to general disesteem, while they who are every way their superiors, languilh away their days, though possessed of the approbation and goodwill of all who know them.