Billeder på siden




RUE happiness is of a retired nature, and an enemy to pomp and noife. It arifes, in the first place, from the enjoyment of one's felf; and, in the next, from the friendship and converfation of a few felect companions. It loves fhade and folitude, and naturally haunts groves and fountains, fields and meadows. In fhort, it feels every thing it wants within itself; and receives no addition, from multitudes of witnesses and spectators.

FALSE happiness, on the contrary, loves to be in a croud, and to draw the eyes of the world upon her. She does not receive any fatisfaction from the applaufes which he gives herself, but from the admiration which the raises in others. She flouribes in courts and palaces, theatres and affem-blies; and has no exiftence, but when she is looked upon.

AURELIA, though a woman of great quality, delights in the privacy of a country life, and paffes away a great part of her time in her own walks and gardens. Her husband, who is her bofom friend, and companion in her folitudes, has been in love with her ever fince he knew her. They both abound with good fenfe, confummate virtue, and a mutual esteem; and are a perpetual entertainment to one another. Their family is under fo regular an œconomy, in its hours of devotion and repast, employment and diverfion, that it looks like a little commonwealth within itself. They often go into company, that they may return with the greater de

light to one another; and fometimes live in town, not fo properly to enjoy it, as to grow weary of it, that they may renew in themselves a relish of a country life. By these means, they are happy in each other, beloved by their children, adored by their fervants, and are become the envy, or rather the delight, of all that know them.

How different from this is the life of Fulvia! She confiders her husband as her steward; and looks upon difcretion, and good housewifery, as little domeftic virtues, unbecoming a woman of quality. She thinks life loft in her own family; and fancies herfelf out of the world, when fhe is not in the ring, the play-house, or the drawing-room. She lives in a perpetual motion of body, and restlessness of thought; and is never easy in any one place, when fhe thinks there is more company in another. The miffing of an opera, the first night, would be more afflicting to her than the death of a child. She pities all the valuable part of her own sex, and calls every woman of a prudent retired life, a poor-fpirited unpolished creature. What a mortification would it be to Fulvia, if she knew, that her setting herself to view, is but expofing herself; and that she grows contemptible, by being confpicuous.



"F you wish to please in converfation, never speak

I to gratify any particular vanity or paffion of your

own; but always with a defign, either to divert or

inform the company. A man who only aims at one of thefe, is always eafy in his difcourfe. He is never out of humour, at being interrupted; because he confiders, that those who hear him, are the beft judges, whether what he was faying, could either divert, or inform them.

WE should talk extremely little of ourselves. Indeed, what can we fay? It would be as imprudent to discover our faults, as ridiculous to count over our fancied virtues. Our private, and domeftic affairs, are no less improper to be introduced in converfation. What does it concern the company, how many horses you keep in your ftables; or whether your fervant is more knave or fool?

A man may equally affront the company he is in, by engroffing all the talk, or observing a contemptuous filence.

BEFORE you tell a ftory, it may not be amifs to give the company fome idea of the principal perfons concerned in it; the beauty of moft things confifting, not so much in their being said or done, as in their being faid or done by fuch a particular perfon, or on fuch a particular occafion.

NOTHING is more infupportable to men of fenfe, than an empty formal man, who speaks in proverbs, and decides all controverfies with a fhort sentence. This piece of ftupidity is the more infufferable, as it puts on the air of wisdom.

A prudent man will avoid talking much of any particular science, for which he is remarkably famous. There is not, methinks, an handsomer thing faid of Mr. Cowley, in his whole life, than that none,


but his intimate friends, ever difcovered he was a great poet, by his difcourfe. Befides the decency of this rule, it is certainly founded in good policy. A man who talks of any thing he is already famous for, has little to get, but a great deal to lofe. I might add, that he, who is fometimes filent on a fubject, where every one is fatisfied he could fpeak well, will often, be thought no lefs knowing in other matters, where, perhaps, he is wholly igno


WHENEVER YOu commend, add your reasons for doing fo: it is this, which diftinguishes the approbation of a man of fenfe, from the flattery of fycophants, and the admiration of fools.

RAILLERY is no longer agreeable, than while the whole company is pleafed with it. I would leaft of all be understood to except the person rallied.

THOUGH good-humour, fenfe, and discretion, can feldom fail to make a man agreeable, it may be no ill policy, fometimes, to prepare yourself in a particular "manner for converfation, by looking a little farther than your neighbours, into whatever is become a reigning fubject. If our armies are befieging a place of importance abroad, or our houfe of commons de bating a bill of confequence at home; you can hardly fail of being heard with pleasure, if you have nicely informed yourself of the ftrength, fituation, and hiftory of the former; or of the reafons for, and againft, the latter. It will have the fame effect, if, when any perton begins to make a noise in the world, you can learn fome of the fmalleft incidents in his life or converfation; which, though they are too fine for the vulgar, give more fatisfaction to men of fense (as they are the beft openings to a real character)


than the recital of his moft glaring actions. I know of but one ill confequence to be feared from this method, namely, that, coming full-charged into company, you should refolve to unload, whether an handfome opportunity offers itself or not.

NOTHING is more filly, than the pleasure fome people take, in what they call speaking their minds. A man of this humour, will fay a rude thing, for the mere pleasure of faying it; when an oppofite behaviour, full as innocent, might have preferved his friend, or made his fortune.

I fhall only add, that, befides what I have here faid, there is fomething, which can never be learnt, but in the company of the polite. The virtues of men are catching, as well as their vices; and your own obfervations, added to thefe, will foon discover, what it is that commands attention in one man, and makes you tired and difpleafed with the difcourfe of another.




VERY man has daily occafion to remark, what vexations and inconveniencies arife from a difregard of punctuality. Promifes and appointments lose their cogency; and both parties in an affair frequently neglect their ftipulations, because each concludes they will be broken by the other.

« ForrigeFortsæt »