« PreviousContinue »
couragement, but made every one she conversed with believe that she regarded him with an eye of kindness ; for which reason we expected to have seen the impression of multitudes of faces among the several plaits and foldings of the heart; but to our great surprise not a single print of this nature discovered itself until we came into the very core and centre of it. We there observed a little figure, which, upon applying our glasses to it, appeared dressed in a very fantastic manner. The more I looked upon it, the more I thought I had seen the face before, but could not possibly recollect either the place or time; when, at length, one of the company, who had.ex. amined this figure more nicely than the rest, showed us plainly by the make of its face, and the several turns of its features, that the little idol, which was thus lodged in the very middle of the heart was the deceased beau, whose head I gave some account of in my last Tuesday's paper.
As soon as we had finished our dissection, we resolved to make an experiment of the heart, not being able to determine among ourselves the nature of its substance, which differed in so many particulars from that of the heart in other females. Accordingly we laid it into a pan of burning coals, when we observed in it a certain salamandrine quality, that made it capable of living in the midst of fire and flame, without being consumed, or so much as singed.
As we were admiring this strange phænomenon, and standing round the heart in a circle, it gave a most prodigious sigh, or rather crack, and dispersed all at once in smoke and vapour. This imaginary noise, which methought was louder than the burst of a cannon, produced such a violent shake in my brain, that it dissipated the fumes of sleep, and left me in an instant broad awake.
No. CCLXXXII. WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 23,
....Spes incerta futuri.
Hope and fears in equal balance laid.
IT is a lamentable thing that every man is full of complaints, and constantly uttering sentences against the fickleness of fortune, when people generally bring upon themselves all the calamities they fall into, and are constantly heaping up matter for their own sorrow and disappointment. That which produces the greatest part of the delusions of mankind, is a false hope which people indulge with so sanguine a flattery to themselves, that their hearts are bent upon fantastical advantages which they had no reason to believe should ever have arrived to them. By this unjust measure of calculating their happiness, they often mourn with real affliction for imaginary losses. When I am talking of this unhappy way of accounting for ourselves, I cannot but reflect upon a particular set of people, who, in their own favour, resolve every thing that is possible into what is probable, and then reckon on that probability as on what must certainly happen. Will Honeycomb, upon my observing his looking on a lady with some particular attention, gave me an account of the great distresses which had laid waste her very
fine face, and had given an air of melancholy to a very agreeable person. That lady and a couple of sisters of her's, were, said Will, fourteen years ago, the greatest fortunes about town; but without having any loss by bad tenants, by bad securities, or any damage by sea or land, are reduced to very narrow circumstances. They were at that time the most inaccessible haughty beauties in town; and their pretensions to take upon them at that unmerciful rate, were raised
$ 10:000} 16,000 lowance being given
upon the following scheme, according to which all their lovers were answered.
« Our father is a youngish man, but then our mo•ther is somewhat older, and not likely to have any (children ; his estate, being worth 8001. per annum, • at 20 years purchase, is worth 16,0001. Our uncle,
who is above 50, has 400). per annum, which at the ( aforesaid rate is 8000). There's a widow aunt, who
has 10,000). at her own disposal left by her husband, ' and an old maiden aunt who has 6000). Then our • father's mother has 900l. per annum, which is worth
18,000). and 1000l. each of us has of our own, which ( cannot be taken from us. These summed up to'gether stand thus. Father's 300........ 16,000 This equally divided beUncle's 400........... 8,000 tween us three amounts
to 20,000). each ; 'an alAunt's Grandmother 900.,18,000 enlargement upon. comOwn 1000 each...... 3,000 mon fame, we may law
fully pass for 30,0001. forTotal 61,000 tunes. • In prospect of this and the knowledge of their own personal merit, every one was contemptible in • their eyes, and they refused those offers which had • been frequently made them. But mark the end : • the mother dies, the father is married again and • has a son, on him was entailed the father's, uncle's 6 and grandmother's estate. This cut off 42,0001. • The maiden aunt married a tall Irishman, and with • her went the 60001. The widow died, and left but • enough to pay her debts and bury her; so that " there remained for these three girls but their own • 1000l. They had by this time passed their prime, 6 and got on the wrong side of thirty; and must pass • the remainder of their days, upbraiding mankind that they mind nothing but money, and bewailing
that virtue, sense, and modesty, are had at present in no manner of estimation.'
I mention this case of ladies before any other, because it is the most irreparable : for though youth is the time less capable of reflection, it is in that sex the only season in which they can advance their fortunes. But if we turn our thoughts to the men, we see such crowds of unhappy from no other reason, but an ill-grounded hope, that it is hard to say
which they rather deserve, our pity or contempt. It is not unpleasant to see a fellow, grown old in attendance, and after having passed half a life in servitude, call himself the unhappiest of all men, and pretend to be disappointed because a courtier. broke his word. He that promises himself any thing but what may naturally arise from his own property or labour, and goes beyond the desire of possessing above two parts in three even of that, lays up for himself an increasing heap of afflictions and disappointments. There are but two means in the world of gaining by other men, and these are, by being either agreeable or consi. derable. The generality of mankind do all things for their own sakes; and when you hope any thing from persons
say, I can be thus agreeable or thus serviceable, it is ridiculous to pretend to the dignity of being unfortunate when they leave you ; you were injudicious in hoping for any other than to be neglected for such as can come within these descriptions of being capable to please or serve your patron, when his humour or interests call for their capacity either way.
It would not methinks be an useless comparison between the condition of a man who shuns all the pleasures of life, and of one who makes it his business to pursue them. Hope in the recluse makes his austerities comfortable, while the luxurious man gains nothing but' uneasiness from his enjoyments. What is the difference in the happiness of him who
is macerated by abstinence, and his who is surfeited with excess ? He who resigns the world, has no temptation to envy, hatred, malice, anger, but is in constant possession of a serene mind; he who follows the pleasures of it, which are in their very nature disappointing, is in constant search of care, solicitude, remorse, and confusion.
January 14, 1712 WR. SPECTATOR,
"I AM a young woman, and have my fortune te « make, for which reason I come constantly to church o to hear divine service, and make conquests; but one great hindrance in this my design is, that our clerk, who was once a gardner, has this Christmas so over-decked the church with greens, that he has quite spoiled my prospect, insomuch that I have
scarce seen the young baronet I dress at these three 6 weeks, though we have both been very constant at
our devotions, and do not sit above three pews off. • The church, as it is now equipped, looks more like a green-house than a place of worship: the middle aisle is a very pretty shady walk, and the pews look like so many arbours on each side of it. The pulpit itself has such clusters of ivy, holly, and rosemary about it, that a light fellow in our pew took occasion to say, that the congregation heard the 6 word out of a bush, like Moses. Sir Anthony • Love's pew in particular is so well hedged, that • all my batteries have no effect. I am obliged to • shoot at random among the boughs, without taking any manner of aim. Mr. Spectator, unless you
will * give orders for removing these greens, • a very awkward creature at church, and soon have little else to do there but to say my prayers.
"I am, in haste, dear Sir,
• your most obedient servant, T
I shall grow