Page images
PDF
EPUB

confutes your Maxim; and I hope to confute tt too by my own Behaviour. Is the Carcase the better Part of the Man? And is it to be valued by Weight, like that of Cattle in a Market?

Instead of this Lacedemonian Severity, those, who had the Care of my Infancy, fell into another Extreme; and, out of Tenderness, tried every Art to correct the Errors of Nature; but in vain; for (as, I think it is, Mr. Dryden fays)

God did not make bis Works for Man to mend.

When they could not do that, they endeavoured to conceal them; and taught me to be ashamed of my Person, instead of arming me with true Fortitude to despise any Ridicule or Contempt of it. This has caused me much Uneasiness in my younger Days; and it required many Years to conquer this Weakness, of which I hope now there are but little Remains left. This ill Management gave me too an insuperable Bashfulnesi; and although I have passed the Course of my whole Life among the better Part of Mankind, I have always felt a Reluctance to produce a bad Figure, which may be some Obstruction to a Man's Advancement in the World; but an Advantage in restraining his Fondness for it.

Unmerited Reflexions on a Man's Person are hard os Digestion. Men of Understanding have felt them. Even Mr. Pope was not invulnerable in this Part:. For when the Dunces were foiled by his Writings, they printed a Caricatura of his Figure; and it is evident that this stung him more

than than a better Answer; for [i'] he ranks it among the most atrocious Injuries. I never in my Life received the least Affront on this Head from any Gentleman I ever conversed with ; or from any one who had the least Pretension to that Name: for I should be a Churl indeed, if I esteemed as such any little innocent Pleafantry of a Friend, which is rather an Instance of sincere Kindness and Affection; and I should he unfit to sit at Table with him, should I resent his Congratulations on my emerging from an Eclipse of a Surloin of Roast-beef, or of a Bowl of Punch, that stood between us. But the Scene changes extremely when I get into a Mob, where Insolence grows in Proportion, as the Man sinks in Condition; and where I can scarce pass without hearing some Affront. But I am now unmoved with that Scurrility, which used to affect me when I was young. Their Title of Lord I never much valued; and now I entirely despise, and yet they will force it upon me as an Honour, which they have a Right to bestow, and which I have none to refuse. This abuse is grown into such a Habit with the Rabble, that an Irijh Chairman often uses it, when he asks me to take a Chair; and sometimes a Beggar, when he demands an Alms.

This Difference of Behaviour towards me hath given me the strongest Idea of the Force of Education; and taught me to set a right Value upon it. It is certainly the Stamp of a Man's Charac

[i] In his Epistle to Dr. Arbutbnot are these Lines': The Morata blacken'd, when the Writings 'scape, The libel'd Person, and the pitfird Shape, &c

ter:

m

ter: it distinguishes the base from the valuable Metal; and is the Barrier between the Mob and the civilized Part of Mankind. This Ufage hath also been a great Advantage to me; for it hath made me (like [k] Horace) fly from the Vulgar to the Company and Converfation of my Superiors, where I am sure to be easy. I have ever enjoyed it; and though I want polite Qualities to recommend me, I cannot fay I was ever ill received by them.» Moreover, these Abuses from my Inferiors often furnish me with generous Reflexions. I sometimes recollect the Expression of Brutus in Shake/pear, " Your Words pass by me as the idle' "Wind which I regard not:" at other Times a Saying (I think) of Socrates; " Shall I be angry "if an Ass kick at me? It is his Nature so to do." [/] But personal Reflexions of this kind are almost unknown among Persons of high Rank. It must therefore be only a French Romance, that gave rife to the Report, that our great and glorious Deliverer once called Luxemburg crooked-back Fellow; who replied, that he couhl not know that he was so, for he had never seen his Back.

When, by some uncommon Accident, I have been drawn into a Country Fair, Cockpit, Beargarden, or the like riotous Assemblies, after I have got from them, I have felt the Pleasure of

[i] Odi profanum vulgus, & arceo. Od. il. 3.

[I] I might add another Bon Mot of Socratti; when asked. how he could bear the noise and Ill-manners of Xanlis beM replicd.Tney that live in a trading Street are not disturbed at the,.Passage ofCarts. See the Spectator, No 4.79.

one

one escaped from the Danger os a Wreck; for all the Time I am present, I consider myself as liable to Affront, without a Power of thewing any Resentment ; which would expose me to ten-fold Ridicule. Nor am I formed for a Masquerade; where such a Figure would soon be discovered; nor escape Abuse from the lower Class, whom the Mask introduces to their Betters; and where all indulge a greater Liberty of Behaviour. 'I always had an Aversion in my Childhood t6 Dancing-masters; and studied all Evasions to avoid their Lesions, when they were forced upon me; for I was ever conscious to myself, what an untoward Subject they had to work on. I carried this a little too far; and have sometimes wished I had facrificed a little more to the Graces. The Neglect of this has left behind it an Aukwardness in some Part of my outward Gesture and Behaviour; and lam sensible, that I might, by Care and Habit, have corrected some Things now grown inveterate and that from a natural Dislike to Trifles', I neglected some Forms too much.

Bodily Deformity is very rare; and therefore a Person so distinguished must naturally think, that he has had ill Luck in a Lottery, where there are above a thoufand Prizes to one Blank. Among 558 Gentlemen in the House of Commons, I arn the only one that is so. Thanks to my worthy Constituents, who never objected to my Person; and I hope never to give them cause to object to my Behaviour. They are not like a venal Borough, of which there goes a Story; that, though they never took Exceptions to any Man's Charac

Vol. I. E

}.tf f,/;-who- <eame up tq. their Price yet they once. Jejectod rhc .ipest Bidder, because he was a Negroe. .: \f-never was, nor ever, will be, a Member of Hfbe [m] Ugjii eiub-j arid J ,w^uld advise those :Gentkmen to.meet no more: For though they may, be.a .very ingenious and facetious Society; .yet it draws the Eyes of the World too much upson. theft), and theirs too much from the World. For who would choose to be always looking at <bii Pictures, when there is so-great a Collection to be met with of good ones, especially among the Fair Sex; who, if they will not admit them to be Intimates, will permit them to be distant Admirers. When deformed Persons appear together, it doubles the Ridicule, because of the Similitude; as it does, when they are seen with very large Persons, because of the Contrast. Let them therefore call Mfntrva to their Aid in both Cases,

There are many Great and Tall Men, with -whom I shall always esteem it an Honour to converse; and though their Eyes are placed in a much higher Parallel, they take care never to overlook «ie; and are always concerned, if, by Chance, they happen to strike my Hat with their Elbow. When standing or walking, we indeed find some Difficulty in the Converfation; for they are obliged to stoop down, as in search of a Pin, while I am looking up, as if taking the Height of a Star with a Quadrant. And I own I sometimes use x -little Policy, that the Contrast may not be too remarkable.

[m] Spectator, Numb. 17.

General

« PreviousContinue »