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own thoughts renders independent of vulgar society, and the vigour and variety of whose imagination free from the necessity of resorting to frivolous or censurable amusements. Among the first sort, the transition is easy from the yawn of inanity to the roar of riot and intemperance; but persons of the latter description, idle in conduct, but of active minds, as they seldom experience the uneasiness of the one, seldom incur the blame of the other.
As far as the freedom from dissipation extends, the writer of the present paper thinks he may lay claim to the last of those characters. It were need less, and indeed improper, tò trouble his readers with the history of those incidents in his life which have thrown him out of the number of the professionally busy; some untoward circumstances in point of fortune, and some feelings, perhaps blamable from their nicety, drew him, at an early period of life, out from among the bustle of mankind; but without the misanthropy that arises from disgust, or the despondency that is sometimes the consequence of disappointment.
Those incidents, however, did not abridge, but perhaps rather increased, the extent of his society. Within the pale of a particular profession, a man's companions and associates are chiefly limited to some particular class with which that profession nected. But he who is an idler without unsocial dispositions finds occasional companions in all characters and professions, who are neither estranged from him by the jealousy of rivalship, nor kept at a distance by the opposite nature of their pursuits and occupations.
The busy, it must be owned, are apt to treat such a man with more kindness than deference. This it was not long before I experienced: but of a temper not easily offended, I only smiled at perceiving it; and it rather soothed my indolence, than provoked my spleen, when I found that I had acquired a de
nomination more innocent than respectable. I was called a LOUNGER by all my acquaintance, and much the greater part of my friends agreed to the appellation. If at any time I felt the undignified sound of the name, yet I took credit with myself, on the other hand, for not deserving it. It flattered a secret pride to be somewhat more than the world thought
Of generic names, indeed, people are not always very scrupulous in the application, and therefore I could easily pardon those who ranked me under the class of men which the title of LOUNGER distinguishes. He whose walks are pointed neither to the resorts of the merchant, the lawyer, the soldier, or the churchman, it may fairly be supposed has no motive for them at all, and the first of any of those professions who crosses him in his way will accuse him of being a LOUNGER. He will still more seem to deserve that name, if he frequents their places of meeting without having any business congenial to those places.
The same superiority will be assumed by the professedly idle, as by the professionally busy. In the haunts of amusement and of pleasure, the man who does not warmly worship the deity of the place will be accounted a supernumerary by his votaries. At balls and card-parties I have as frequently heard myself called a LOUNGER, as on 'Change or in courts of law.
Abroad, for I was prevailed on by a friend to accompany him for some time on his travels, I was not just called a LOUNGER, the French and Italian languages not possessing an exactly synonymous term, and those which approach nearest to it not being respectful enough to be applied to a stranger. Both
a nations indeed are idle with so much activity, and contrive to do nothing, and to say nothing, with so much interest in their looks, and so much movement
in their gestures, that it is no wonder the word should not find a place in their vocabulary: but they too marked some traces of my character; though, as is their custom, they tacked a compliment to their draught of it. Monsieur,' said the Abbé petit souper of Madame de V's, at Paris, Mon, sieur est quelquefois Rêveur, mais toujours interessant, toujours aimable !
On all those occasions, however, I was not quite so idle as those around me imagined. Like Alfred in the Danish camp, I harped for them, but observed for myself; and, like him too, enjoyed my observation the more that it was secret and unsuspected. If this resemblance should convey some idea of treachery, of advantage over those with whom I associated, let it be known, at least, that in the use of it I was perfectly inoffensive. The Lounger is one of the best natured characters in the world, even in the sense which I allow the term to apply to myself. 'Tis the player who frets, and scolds, and is angry: the looker-on sees more errors in the play; but he applies them only to the theory of the game, and thinks but little of the party who commits them.
As a Lounger, I had from my earliest age been fond of books, and sometimes ventured to write when I was tired of reading. A Lounger of the sort I could wish to be thought is one who, even amidst a certain intercourse with mankind, preserves a constant intimacy with himself; it is not therefore to be wondered at, if he should sometimes, if I may
be allowed the expression, correspond with himself, and write down, if he can write at all, what he wishes this favourite companion more particularly to remark. Exactly of this sort are the notes and memorandums I have sometimes been tempted to make: transcripts of what I have felt or thought, or little records of what I have heard or read, set down without any
other arrangement than what the disposition of the time might prompt. These little papers formed a kind of new society, which I could command at any time, without stirring from my fire-side. It was, of all sorts of company, the -most fitted for a Lounger; company in which he could be unaccommodating without offence, and inattentive without incivility.
The idea of giving those trifles to the world in the form of periodical essays, is an effect beyond the usual force of my character. Unknown, however, as a man, and new as an author, the Lounger risks but little either in censure or in praise. There is a censure, indeed, and a suffrage, which no man can escape, to which one of his disposition is peculiarly liable, I mean that of his own mind. He trusts his publication will be such as to risk nothing on this ground; it is the only promise which he will venture on its behalf. It may be
gay without wit, and grave without depth, when its author is disposed to gaiety or to thought; but while it endeavours to afford some little amusement by the one, or some little instruction by the other, it will at least be harmless in both.
No. 2. SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 1785.
The precepts of the moralist and philosopher are generally directed to guide their disciples in the great and important concerns of life, to incite to the practice of cardinal virtues, and to deter from the commission of enormous crimes: the advices of wisdom and experience point out the road to success and to honour in stations of public consequence, or in nice and important circumstances of private duty.
In the earlier periods of society, a very simple code of morality and of rectitude was all that was necessary.
To control the violence of the stronger passions, to prescribe the rules of distributive justice, and to inculcate the duties of active humanity, was the proper and essential province of the instructor, as well as of the legislator. At first, indeed, these two characters would be nearly the same; legislation embracing all that was required of morality, and morality having no range beyond that of the laws. And even when man advanced to a certain point, where the doctrine of morals went beyond the legal rules of conduct; yet that would contain incentives to the exertion only of principal and leading virtues, in certain modes and situations, which the law could not foresee, and for which it could not provide.
In a state of society so advanced as ours (for it is needless to trouble my reader with the intermediate gradations), every one will see the necessity of a nicer and more refined system of morality. The family of the social virtues, like the genealogical tree of an extensive ancestry, spreads with the advancing cultivation of mankind, till it is branched out into a numerous list of collateral duties, many of which it needs an acute discernment to trace up to their source; and some acknowledge their connexion, without being able to unravel their pedigree.
The study of those lesser branches of duty and of excellence is called the science of manners; but our language has no word to distinguish the teacher of it. As moralist is applied to the teacher of the more important obligations, so mannerist should have been the denomination of him who inculcates the lesser, had not that word been already appropriated to a very different meaning, :