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ance which gave my childhood a claim to distinction and caresses, and was accustomed to hear applauses before they had much influence on my thoughts. The first praise of which I remember myself sensible was that of goodhumour, which, whether I deserved it or not when it was bestowed, I have since made it my whole business to propagate and maintain.

When I was sent to school, the gaiety of my look, and the liveliness of my loquacity, soon gained me admission to hearts not yet fortified against affection by artifice or interest. I was entrusted with every stratagem, and associated in every sport; my company gave alacrity to a frolick, and gladness to a holiday. I was indeed so much employed in adjusting or executing schemes of diversion, that I had no leisure for my tasks, but was furnished with exercises, and instructed in my lessons, by some kind patron of the higher classes. My master, not suspecting my deficiency, or unwilling to detect what his kindness would not punish nor his impartiality excuse, allowed me to escape with a slight examination, laughed at the pertness of my ignorance, and the sprightliness of surdities, and could not forbear to shew that he regarded me with such tenderness, as genius and learning can seldom excite.

From school I was dismissed to the university, where I soon drew upon me the notice of the younger students, and was the constant partner of their morning walks, and evening compotations. I was not indeed much celebrated for literature, but was looked on with indulgence as a man of parts, who wanted nothing but the dulness of a scholar, and might become eminent whenever he should condescend to labour and attention. My tutor awhile reproached me with negligence, and repressed my sallies with supercilious gravity; yet, having natural good-humour lurking in his heart, he could not long hold out against the power of hilarity, but after a few months began to relax the muscles of disciplini moroseness,

my ab

might not betray his trust to his fondness, was content to spare my diligence by increasing his own.

Thus I continued to dissipate the gloom of collegiate austerity, to waste my own life in idleness, and lure others from their studies, till the happy hour arrived when I was sent to London. I soon discovered the town to be the proper element of youth and gaiety, and was quickly distinguished as a wit by the ladies, a species of beings only heard of at the university, whom I had no sooner the happiness of approaching, than I devoted all my

faculties to the ambition of pleasing them.

A wit, Mr. Rambler, in the dialect of ladies, is not always a man who, by the action of a vigorous fancy upon comprehensive knowledge, brings distant ideas unexpectedly together, who, by some peculiar acuteness, discovers resemblance in objects dissimilar to common eyes, or, by mixing heterogeneous notions, dazzles the attention with sudden scintillations of conceit. A lady's wit is a man who can make ladies laugh, to which, however easy it may seem, many gifts of nature, and attainments of art, must commonly concur. He that hopes to be received as a wit in female assemblies, should have a form neither so amiable as to strike with admiration, nor so coarse as to raise disgust, with an understanding too feeble to be dreaded, and too forcible to be despised. The other parts of the character are more subject to variation; it was formerly essential to a wit, that half his back should be covered with a snowy fleece, and, at a time yet more remote, no man was a wit without his boots. In the days of the Spectator a snuff-box seems to have been indispensable; but in my time an embroidered coat was sufficient, without any precise regulation of the rest of his dress.

But wigs and boots and snuff-boxes are vain, without a perpetual resolution to be merry; and who can always find supplies of mirth? Juvenal, indeed, in his comparison of the two opposite philosophers, wonders only whence n unexhausted fountain of tears could be discharged ;

vince, he would have found constant gaiety equally difficult to be supported. Consider, Mr. Rambler, and compassionate the condition of a man who has taught every company to expect from him a continual feast of laughter, an unintermitted stream of jocularity. The task of every

other slave has an end. The rower in time reaches the port; the lexicographer at last finds the conclusion of his alphabet; only the hapless wit has his labour always to begin, the call for novelty is never satisfied, and one jest only raises expectation of another.

I know that among men of learning and asperity the retainers to the female world are not much regarded : yet I cannot but hope that if you knew at how dear a rate our honours are purchased, you would look with some gratulation on our success, and with some pity on our miscarriages. Think on the misery of him who is condemned to cultivate barrenness and ransack vacuity; who is obliged to continue his talk when his meaning is spent, to raise merriment without images, to harass his imagination in quest of thoughts which he cannot start, and his memory in pursuit of narratives which he cannot overtake; observe the effort with which he strains to conceal despondency by a smile, and the distress in which he sits while the

eyes of the company are fixed upon him as the last refuge from silence and dejection.

It were endless to recount the shifts to which I have been reduced, or to enumerate the different species of artificial wit. I regularly frequented coffee-houses, and have often lived a week upon an expression, of which he who dropped it did not know the value. When fortune did not favour my erratick industry, I gleaned jests at home from obsolete farces. To collect wit was indeed safe, for I consorted with none that looked much into books, but to disperse it was the difficulty. A seeming negligence was often useful, and I have very successfully made a reply, not to what the lady had said, but to what it was convenient for me to hear; for very few were so perverse as

my own chair.

to rectify a mistake which had given occasion to a burst of merriment. Sometimes I drew the conversation up by degrees to a proper point, and produced a conceit which I had treasured up, like sportsmen who boast of killing the foxes which they lodge in the covert. Eminence is, however, in some happy moments, gained at less expence; I have delighted a whole circle at one time with a series of quibbles, and made myself good company at another, by scalding my fingers, or mistaking a lady's lap for

These are artful deceits and useful expedients; but expedients are at length exhausted, and deceits detected. Time itself, among other injuries, diminishes the power of pleasing, and I now find, in my forty-fifth year, many pranks and pleasantries very coldly received, which had formerly filled a whole room with jollity and acclamation. I am under the melancholy necessity of supporting that character by study, which I gained by levity, having learned too late that gaiety must be recommended by higher qualities, and that mirth can never please long but as the efflorescence of a mind loved for its luxuriance, but esteemed for its usefulness.

I am, &c.

PAPILIUS.

N° 142. SATURDAY, July 27, 1751.

"Ενθα δ' ανήρ ενιαυε πελώριος--ουδέ μέτ' άλλους
Πωλείτ'· αλλ' απάνευθεν έων αθεμίστια ήδη,
Και γάρ θαύμ' ετέτυκτο πελώριον, ουδε εώκει
'Arepi citopáo.--HOMER.
A giant shepherd here his flock maintains
Far from the rest, and solitary reigns,
In shelter thick of horrid shade reclin'd;
And gloomy mischiefs labour in the mind.
A form enormous ! far unlike the race
Of human birth, in stature or in face.-POPE.

TO THE RAMBLER.

SIR, Having been accustomed to retire annually from the town, I lately accepted the invitation of Eugenio, who has an estate and seat in a distant county. As we were unwilling to travel without improvement, we turned often from the direct road to please ourselves with the view of nature or of art; we examined every wild mountain and medicinal spring, criticised every edifice, contemplated every ruin, and compared every scene of action with the narratives of historians. By this succession of amusements we enjoyed the exercise of a journey without suffering the fatigue, and had nothing to regret but that, by a progress so leisurely and gentle, we missed the adventures of a post-chaise, and the pleasure of alarming villages with the tumult of our passage, and of disguising our insignificancy by the dignity of hurry.

The first week after our arrival at Eugenio's house was passed in receiving visits from his neighbours, who crowded about him with all the eagerness of benevolence; some impatient to learn the news of the court and town, that they might be qualified by authentick information to dictate to the rural politicians on the next bowling day; others desirous of his interest to accommodate disputes, or of his advice in the settlement of their fortunes and the marriage of their children.

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