As my Correspondents begin to grow pretty numerous, I think my self obliged to take some Notice of them, and shall therefore make this Paper a Miscellany of Letters. I have, since my reassuming the Office of SPECTATOR, received abundance of Epistles from Gentlemen of the Blade, who, I find, have been so used to Action that they know not how to lie still: They seem generally to be of Opinion, that the Fair at home ought to reward them for their Services abroad, and that, till the Cause of their Country calls them again into the Field, they have a sort of Right to Quarter themselves upon the Ladies. In Order to favour their Approaches, I am desired by some to enlarge upon the Accomplishments of their Profession, and by others to give them my Advice in the carrying on of their Attacks. But let us hear what the Gentlemen say for themselves.
'Tho' it may look somewhat perverse amidst the Arts of Peace, to talk too much of War, it is but Gratitude to pay the last Office to its Manes, since even Peace it self is, in some Measure, obliged to it for its Being.
'You have, in your former Papers, always recommended the Accomplished to the Favour of the Fair; and, I hope, you will allow me to represent some Part of a Military Life not altogether unnecessary to the forming a Gentleman. I need not tell you that in France, whose Fashions we have been formerly so fond of, almost every one derives his Pretences to Merit from the Sword; and that a Man has scarce the Face to make his Court to a Lady, without some Credentials from the Service to recommend him. As the Profession is very ancient, we have Reason to think some of the greatest Men, among the old Romans, derived many of their Virtues from it, their Commanders being frequently, in other Respects, some of the most shining Characters of the Age.
'The Army not only gives a Man Opportunities of exercising those two great Virtues Patience and Courage, but often produces them in Minds where they had scarce any Footing before. I must add, that it is one of the best Schools in the World to receive a general Notion of Mankind in, and a certain Freedom of Behaviour, which is not so easily acquired in any other Place. At the same Time I must own, that some Military Airs are pretty extraordinary, and that a Man who goes into the Army a Coxcomb will come out of it a Sort of Publick Nuisance: But a Man of Sense, or one who before had not been sufficiently used to a mixed Conversation, generally takes the true Turn. The Court has in all Ages been allowed to be the Standard of Good-breeding; and I believe there is not a juster Observation in Monsieur Rochefoucault, than that
'A Man who has been bred up wholly to Business, can never get the
Air of a Courtier at Court, but will immediately catch it in the
The Reason of this most certainly is, that the very Essence of Good-Breeding and Politeness consists in several Niceties, which are so minute that they escape his Observation, and he falls short of the Original he would copy after; but when he sees the same Things charged and aggravated to a Fault, he no sooner endeavours to come up to the Pattern which is set before him, than, though he stops somewhat short of that, he naturally rests where in reality he ought. I was two or three Days ago, mightily pleased with the Observation of an humourous Gentleman upon one of his Friends, who was in other Respects every way an accomplished Person, That he wanted nothing but a Dash of the Coxcomb in him; by which he understood a little of that Alertness and Unconcern in the common Actions of Life, which is usually so visible among Gentlemen of the Army, and which a Campaign or two would infallibly have given him.
'You will easily guess, Sir, by this my Panegyrick upon a Military Education, that I am my self a Soldier, and indeed I am so; I remember, within three Years after I had been in the Army, I was ordered into the Country a Recruiting. I had very particular Success in this Part of the Service, and was over and above assured, at my going away, that I might have taken a young Lady, who was the most considerable Fortune in the County, along with me. I preferred the Pursuit of Fame at that time to all other Considerations, and tho' I was not absolutely bent on a Wooden Leg, resolved at least to get a Scar or two for the good of Europe. I have at present as much as I desire of this Sort of Honour, and if you could recommend me effectually, should be well enough contented to pass the Remainder of my Days in the Arms of some dear kind Creature, and upon a pretty Estate in the Country: This, as I take it, would be following the Example of Lucius Cincinnatus, the old Roman Dictator, who at the End of a War left the Camp to follow the Plow. I am, Sir, with all imaginable Respect,
Your most Obedient, Humble Servant,
'I am an Half-pay Officer, and am at present with a Friend in the Country. Here is a rich Widow in the Neighbourhood, who has made Fools of all the Fox-hunters within fifty Miles of her. She declares she intends to marry, but has not yet been asked by the Man she could like. She usually admits her humble Admirers to an Audience or two, but, after she has once given them Denial will never see them more. I am assured by a Female Relation, that I shall have fair Play at her; but as my whole Success Depends on my first Approaches, I desire your Advice, whether I had best Storm or proceed by way of Sap.
I am, SIR, Yours, &c.
'P. S. I had forgot to tell you, that I have already carried one of her Outworks, that is, secured her Maid.
'I have assisted in several Sieges in the Low-Countries, and being still willing to employ my Talents, as a Soldier and Engineer, lay down this Morning at Seven a Clock before the Door of an obstinate Female, who had for some time refused me Admittance. I made a Lodgment in an outer Parlour about Twelve: The Enemy retired to her Bed-Chamber, yet I still pursued, and about two a-Clock this Afternoon she thought fit to Capitulate. Her Demands are indeed somewhat high, in Relation to the Settlement of her Fortune. But being in Possession of the House, I intend to insist upon Carte-Blanche, and am in hopes, by keeping off all other Pretenders for the Space of twenty four Hours, to starve her into a Compliance. I beg your speedy Advice, and am,
SIR, Yours, Peter Push.
From my Camp in Red-Lion Square, Saturday_ 4, in the Afternoon.Translation of motto: