I am of one of the most genteel Trades in the City, and understand thus much of liberal Education, as to have an ardent Ambition of being useful to Mankind, and to think That the chief End of Being as to this Life. I had these good Impressions given me from the handsome Behaviour of a learned, generous, and wealthy Man towards me when I first began the World. Some Dissatisfaction between me and my Parents made me enter into it with less Relish of Business than I ought; and to turn off this Uneasiness I gave my self to criminal Pleasures, some Excesses, and a general loose Conduct. I know not what the excellent Man above-mentioned saw in me, but he descended from the Superiority of his Wisdom and Merit, to throw himself frequently into my Company. This made me soon hope that I had something in me worth cultivating, and his Conversation made me sensible of Satisfactions in a regular Way, which I had never before imagined. When he was grown familiar with me, he opened himself like a good Angel, and told me, he had long laboured to ripen me into a Preparation to receive his Friendship and Advice, both which I should daily command, and the Use of any Part of his Fortune, to apply the Measures he should propose to me, for the Improvement of my own. I assure you, I cannot recollect the Goodness and Confusion of the good Man when he spoke to this Purpose to me, without melting into Tears; but in a word, Sir, I must hasten to tell you, that my Heart burns with Gratitude towards him, and he is so happy a Man, that it can never be in my Power to return him his Favours in Kind, but I am sure I have made him the most agreeable Satisfaction I could possibly, [in being ready to serve others to my utmost Ability,] as far as is consistent with the Prudence he prescribes to me. Dear Mr. SPECTATOR, I do not owe to him only the good Will and Esteem of my own Relations, (who are People of Distinction) the present Ease and Plenty of my Circumstances, but also the Government of my Passions, and Regulation of my Desires. I doubt not, Sir, but in your Imagination such Virtues as these of my worthy Friend, bear as great a Figure as Actions which are more glittering in the common Estimation. What I would ask of you, is to give us a whole Spectator upon Heroick Virtue in common Life, which may incite Men to the same generous Inclinations, as have by this admirable Person been shewn to, and rais'd in,
SIR, Your most humble Servant.
I am a Country Gentleman, of a good plentiful Estate, and live as the rest of my Neighbours with great Hospitality. I have been ever reckoned among the Ladies the best Company in the World, and have Access as a sort of Favourite. I never came in Publick but I saluted them, tho in great Assemblies, all round, where it was seen how genteelly I avoided hampering my Spurs in their Petticoats, while I moved amongst them; and on the other side how prettily they curtsied and received me, standing in proper Rows, and advancing as fast as they saw their Elders, or their Betters, dispatch'd by me. But so it is, Mr. SPECTATOR, that all our good Breeding is of late lost by the unhappy Arrival of a Courtier, or Town Gentleman, who came lately among us: This Person where-ever he came into a Room made a profound Bow, and fell back, then recovered with a soft Air, and made a Bow to the next, and so to one or two more, and then took the Gross of the Room, by passing by them in a continued Bow till he arrived at the Person he thought proper particularly to entertain. This he did with so good a Grace and Assurance, that it is taken for the present Fashion; and there is no young Gentlewoman within several Miles of this Place has been kissed ever since his first Appearance among us. We Country Gentlemen cannot begin again and learn these fine and reserved Airs; and our Conversation is at a Stand, till we have your Judgment for or against Kissing, by way of Civility or Salutation; which is impatiently expected by your Friends of both Sexes, but by none so much as
Your humble Servant,
December 3, 1711.
I was the other Night at Philaster, where I expected to hear your famous Trunk-maker, but was happily disappointed of his Company, and saw another Person who had the like Ambition to distinguish himself in a noisy manner, partly by Vociferation or talking loud, and partly by his bodily Agility. This was a very lusty Fellow, but withal a sort of Beau, who getting into one of the Side-boxes on the Stage before the Curtain drew, was disposed to shew the whole Audience his Activity by leaping over the Spikes; he pass'd from thence to one of the entering Doors, where he took Snuff with a tolerable good Grace, display'd his fine Cloaths, made two or three feint Passes at the Curtain with his Cane, then faced about and appear'd at tother Door: Here he affected to survey the whole House, bow'd and smil'd at random, and then shew'd his Teeth, which were some of them indeed very white: After this he retired behind the Curtain, and obliged us with several Views of his Person from every Opening.
During the Time of Acting, he appear'd frequently in the Princes Apartment, made one at the Hunting-match, and was very forward in the Rebellion. If there were no Injunctions to the contrary, yet this Practice must be confess'd to diminish the Pleasure of the Audience, and for that Reason presumptuous and unwarrantable: But since her Majesty's late Command has made it criminal, you have Authority to take Notice of it.
SIR, Your humble Servant,
[Footnote 1: Beaumont and Fletchers Philaster had been acted on the preceding Friday, Nov. 30. The Hunt is in the Fourth Act, the Rebellion in the Fifth.]
[Footnote 2: At this time there had been added to the playbills the line
By her Majesty's Command no Person is to be admitted behind the Scenes.]Translation of motto: