« הקודםהמשך »
the passions that he would be apt to conceive for the mistress of his heart, in variety of circumstances.
3. A woman who is modest creates in us an awe in her company, a wish for her welfare, a joy in her being actually, happy; a sore and painful sorrow if distress should come upon her, a ready and willing heart to give her consolation, and a compassionate temper towards her, in every little accident of life she undergoes; and to sum up all in one word, it causes such a kind of angelic love, even to a stranger, as good natured brothers and sisters usually bear towards one another.
4. It adds wonderfully to the make of a face, and I have seen a pretty well turned forehead, fine set eyes, and what you poets call, a row of pearl set in coral, shewn by a pretty expansion of two velvet lips that covered them (that would have tempted any sober man living of my own age, to have been a little loose in his thoughts, and to have enjoyed a painful pleasure amidst his impotency) lose all their virtue, all their force and efficacy, by having an ugly cast of boldness very discernably spread out at large over all those alluring features.
5. At the same time modesty will fill up the wrinkles of old age with glory; make sixty blush itself into sixteen; and help a green sick girl to defeat the satire of a false waggish lover, who might compare her colour, when she looked like a ghost, to the blowing of the rose-bud, by blushing herself into a bloom of beauty; and might make what he meant a reflection, a real compliment, at any hour of the day, in spite of his teeth. It has a prevailing power with me, whenever I find it in the sex.
6. I, who have the common fault of old men, to be very sour and humoursome, when I drink my water-gruel in a morning, fell into a more than ordinary pet with a maid, whom, I call my purse, from a constant tenderness, that I have observed her to exercise towards me beyond all my other servants; I perceived her flush and glow in the face, in a manner which I could plainly discern proceeded not from anger or resentment of my correction, but from a good natured regret; upon a fear that she had offended her grave old master.
7. I was so heartily pleased, that I eased her of the honest trouble she underwent inwardly for my sake; and giving her half a crown, I told her it was a forfeit due to her, because I was out of humour with her without any reason at all. And as she is so gentle hearted, I have diligently avoided giving her one harsh word ever since: and I find my own reward in it: for, not being so tasty as I used, has made me much haler and stronger than I was before.
8. The pretty, and witty, and virtuous Simplicia, was the other day visiting with an old aunt of hers, who I verily believe
has read Atalantis ; she took a story out there, and dressed up an old honest neighbour in the second-hand clothes of scandal. The young creature hid her face with her fan at every burst and peal of laughter, and blushed for her guilty parent; by which she atoned, methought, for every scandal that ran round the beautiful circle.
9. As I was going honie to bed that evening, I could not help thinking of her all the way I went. I represented her to myself as shedding holy blood every time she blushed, and as being a martyr in the cause of virtue. And afterwards, when I was putting on my night-cap, I could not drive the thought out of my head, but that I was young enough to be married to her; and that it would be an addition to the reputation I have in the study of wisdom to marry to so much youth and modesty, even in my old age.
10. I know there have not been wanting many wicked objections against this virtue; one is grown insufferably common. The fellow blushes, he is guilty. I should say rather, He blushes, therefore he is innocent. I believe the same man who first had that wicked imagination of a blush being the sign of guilt, represented good nature to be folly; and that he himself was the most inhuman and impudent wretch alive.
11. The author of Cato, who is known to be one of the most modest and most ingenuius persons of the age we now live in, has given this virtue a delicate name in the tragedy of Cato, where the character of Marcia is first opened to us. I would have all ladies, who have a mind to be thought well-bred, to think seriously on this virtue, which he so beautifully calls the sanctity of
12. Modesty is a polite accomplishment, and generally an attendant upon merit. It is engaging to the highest degree, and wins the hearts of all our acquaintance. On the contrary, none are more disgustful in company than the impudent and presuming."
The man who is, on all occasions, commending and speaking well of himself, we naturally dislike. On the other hand, he who studies to conceal his own deserts, who does justice to the merit of others, who talks but little of himself, and that with modesty, makes a favourable impression on the persons he is conversing with, captivates their minds, and gains their esteem.
13. Modesty, however, widely differs from an aukward bashaulness, which is as much to be condemned as the other is to be applauded. To appear simple is as ill-bred as to be impudent. A young man ought to be able to come into a room and address the company without the least embarrassment. To be out of countenance when spoken to, and not to have an answer ready, is ridiculous to the last degree.
14. An aukward country fellow, when he comes into company better than himself, is excedingly disconcerted. Ile knows not what to do with his hands or his hat, but either puts one of them in his pocket, and dangles the other by his side, or perhaps twirls his hat on his fingers, or fumbles with the button. If spoken to he is in a much worse situation; he answers with the utmost difficulty, and nearly stammers; whereas a gentleman, who is acquainted with life, enters a room with gracefulness and a modest assurance; addresses even persons he does not know, in an easy and natural manner, and without the least embarrassment.
15. This is the characteristic of good-breeding, a very necessary knowledge in our intercourse with men; for one of inferior parts, with the behaviour of a gentleman, is frequently better received than a man of sense, with the address and manners of a clown. Ignorance and vice are the only things we need be ashamed of; steer clear of these and you may go
any company you will; not that I would have a young man throw off all dread of appearing abroad; as a fear of offending, or being disesteemed, will make him preserve a proper decorum.
16. Some persons, from experiencing the bad effects of false modesty, have run into the other extreme, and acquired the character of impudent. This is as great a fault as the other. A well-bred man keeps himself within the two and steers the
easy and firm in every company; is modest, but not bashful; steady, but not impudent. He copies the manners of the better people, and conforms to their customs with ease and attention.
17. Till we can present ourselves in all companies with coolness and unconcern, we can never present ourselves well; nor will a man ever be suppossed to have kept good company, or ever be acceptable in such company, if he cannot appear there easy and unembarrassed. A modest assurance in every part of life, is the most advantageous qualification we can possibly acquire.
18. Instead of becoming insolent, a man of sense, under a consciousness of merit, is more modest. He behaves himself indeed with firmness, but without the least presumption. The man who is ignorant of his own merit, is no less a fool, than he who is constantly displaying it. A man of understanding avails himself of his abilities, but never boasts of them; whereas the timid and bashful can never push himself in life, be his merit as great as it will, he will be always kept behind by the forward and the bustling.
19. A man of abilities, and acquainted with life, will stand as firm in defence of his own rights, and pursue his plans as steadily and unmoved as the most impudent man alive; but then he does it with a seeming modesty.-- Thus manner is every thing; what is impudence in one, is proper assurance only in another; for firma
ness is commendable, but an overbearing conduct is disgustful.
20. Forwardness being the very reverse of modesty, follow rather than lead the company : that is, join in discourse upon their subjects ratherian start one of your own; if you have parts, you will have opportunites enough of shewing them on every topic of conversation; and if you have none, it is better to expose yourself upon a subject of other people's than on one of your own.
21. But be particularly careful not to speak of yourself if you can help it. An impudent fellow lugs in himself abruptly upon all occasions, and is ever the hero of his own story. Others will colour their arrogance with, “It may seem strange indeed, that I should talk in this manner of myself; it is what. I by no means like, and should never do, if I had not been cruelly and unjustly accused ; but when my character is attacked, it is a justice I owe to myself to defend it.” This veil is too thin not to be seen through on the first inspection.
22. Others again, with more art, will modestly boast of all the principal virtues, by calling these virtues weaknesses and saying, they are so unfortunate as to fall into those weaknesses. “ I cannot see persons suffer,” says one of this cast,
without relieving them, though my circumstances are very unable to afford it I cannot avoid speaking truth, though it is often very imprudent;" and so on.
23. This angling for praise is so prevailing a principle that it frequently stoops to the lowest object. Men will often boast of doing that, which, if true, would be rather a disgrace to them than otherwise. One man affirms that he rode twenty miles within the hour: it is probably a lie; but suppose he did, what then ? He had a good horse under him, and is a good jockey. Another swears he has often at sitting, drank five or six bottles to his own share,
Out of respect to him, I will believe him a liar; for I would not wish to think him a beast.
24. These, and many more, are the follies of idle people, which while they think they procure them esteem, in reality make them despised.
To avoid this contempt, therefore never speak of yourself at. all, unless necessity obliges you; and even then, take care to do it in such a manner, that it may not be construed into fishing for applause. Whatever perfections you may have, be assured, people will find them out; but whether they do or not, nobody will take them upon your own word. The less you say of yourself, the more the world will give you credit for; and the more you say, the less they will believe you.
portunity of observing a great deal of beauty in a very
turned into deformity in the one, and absurdity in the other, by the mere force of affectation. The fair one had something in her person upon which her thoughts were fixed, that she attempted to shew to advantage in every look, word, and gesture.
2. The gentleman was as diligent to do justice to his fine parts, as the lady to her beauteous form; you might see his imagination on the stretch to find out something uncommon, and what they call bright, to entertain her: while she writhed herself into as many different postures to engage him. When she laughed, her lips were to sever at a greater distance than ordinary to shew her teeth.
3. Her fan was to point to somewhat at a distance, that in the reach she may discover the roundness of her arm; then she is utterly mistaken in what she saw, falls back, smiles at her own folly, and is so wholly discomposed, that her tucker is to be adjusted, her bosom exposed, and the whole woman put into airs
4. While she was doing all this, the gallant had time to think of something very pleasant to say next to her, or make some unkind observation on some other lady to feed her vanity. These unhappy effects of affectation naturally led me to look into that strange state of mind which so generally discolours the behaviour of most people we meet with.
5. The learned Dr. Burnet, in his Theory of the Earth, takes occasion to observe, that every thought is attended with consciousness and representativeness: the mind has nothing presented to it, but what is immediately followed by a reflection of conscience, which tells you whether that which was so presented is graceful or becoming.
6. This act of the mind discovers itself in the gesture, by a proper behaviour in those whose consciousness goes no further than to direct them in the just progress of their present thought or action; but betrays an interruption in every second thought, when the consciousness is employed in too fondly approving a man's own conceptions; which sort of consciousness is what we call affectation.
7. As the love of praise is implanted in our bosoms as a strong incentive to worthy actions, it is a very difficult task to get above a desire of it for things that should be wholly indifferent. Women, whose hearts are fixed upon the pleasure they have in the consciousness that they are the objects of love and admiration, are ever changing the air of their countenances, and altering the attitude of their bodies to strike the hearts of their beholders with a new sense of their beauty.
8. The dressing part of our sex, whose minds are the same