Page images



[ocr errors]

In a late paper, you

shewed the necessity of accommodating ourselves to the temper of persons with whom we are particularly connected, by sometimes submitting our own taste, inclination, and opinions, to the taste, inclination, and opiñions of those persons. I apprehend, Sir, you might have carried your idea a good đeal farther, and have prescribed to us the same receipt fór happiness in our intercourse not only with our wives and children, but with our companions, our acquaintance, in short, with all mankind.

But, as the disposition to this is not always

ays born with one, and as to form a temper is not so easy as to regulate a behaviour, it is the business of masters in the art of politeness, to teach people, at east the better sort of them, to counter


feit as much of this complacency in their deportment as possible. In this, indeed, they begin at quite the different end of the matter from you, Sir; complacency to husbands, wives, children, and relations, they leave people to teach themselves; but the art of pleasing every body else, as it is a thing of much greater importance, they take proportionably greater pains to instil into their disciples.

I have, for some time past, been employed in reducing this art into a system, and have some thoughts of opening a subscription for a course of lectures on the subject. To qualify myself for the task, I have studied, with unwearied attention, the letters of the immortal earl of Chesterfield, which I intend to use as my textbook on this occasion, allowing only for the difference which even a few years produce in an art so fluctuating as this. Before I lodge my subscription-paper with the booksellers, I wish to give a specimen


[ocr errors]

of my

abilities to the readers of the Mirror; for which purpose I beg the favour of you to insert in your next Number the following substance of a lecture on Simulation. Our noble author, indeed, extends his doctrine the length of Dissimulation only, from which he distinguishes Simulation as something not quite so fair and honest. But, for my part, I have not sufficient nicety of ideas to make the distinction, and would humbly recommend to every person, who wishes to be thoroughly well bred, not to confuse his head with it. Taking, therefore, the shorter word as the more gentlemanlike, I proceed to my subject of


* SIMULATION is the great basis of the art which I have the honour to teach. I shall humbly endeavour to treat this branch

of my subject, though much less ably, yet more scientifically, than my great master, by reducing it into a form like that adopt-. ed by the professors of the other sciences, and even borrowing from them some of the terms by which I mean to illustrate it.

“ This rule of false (to adopt an algebraical term) I shall divide into two parts; thạt which regards the external figure of the man or woman; and that which is necessary in the accomplishment of the mind, and its seeming, developement to others.

« Fashion may be termed the regulator of the first, decorum of the latter. But I must take this opportunity of informing my audience, that the signification of words, when applied to persons of condition, is often quite different from that which they are understood to bear in the ordinary standard of language. With such


be allowed so bold an


persons (if I


expression) it may


y often be the fashion to bë unfashionable, and decorum to act against all propriety; good breeding may consist in rudeness, and politeness in being very impertinent. This will hold in the passive, as well as in the active of our art; people of fashion will be pleased with such treatment from people of fashion, the natural feelings in this, as in the other fine arts, giving way, amongst connoisseurs, to knowledge and taste.

Having made this preliminary observation, I return to my subject of Simulation:

“ It will be found, that appearing what one is not, is, in both divisions of


subject, the criterion of politeness. The man who is rich enough to afford fine clothes, is, bỳ this rule of false, intitled to wear very shabby ones; while he who has a narrow fortune is to be dressed in the inverse ratio to his finances. One corollary from this proposition is obvious: he who

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »