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a slap on the face, or to throw a bottle at his head; yet it is perfectly consistent with politeness, to show him all those marks of civility and kindness, when we intend to strip him of his fortune at play, to counterplot him at an election, or to seduce his wife. The last mentioned particular should naturally lead to the consideration of jealousy; but on this it is needless to insist, as, among well-bred people, the feeling itself is quite in disuse.
“ Love is one of those passions which politeness lays us under a particular obligation to disguise, as the discovery of it to third persons is peculiarly offensive and disagreeable. Therefore, when a man happens to sit by a tolerably handsome girl, for whom he does not care a farthing, he is at liberty to kiss her hand, call her an angel, and tell her he dies for her; but, if he has a real tendre for her, he is to stare in her face with a broad unfeeling look, tell her she looks monstrous ill
this evening, and that her coiffeuse has pinned her cap shockingly awry. From not attending to the practice of this rule amongst people of fashion, the inferior world has been led to imagine, that matrimony with them is a state of indifference or aversion; whereas, in truth, the appearances from which that judgment is formed, are the strongest indications of connubial happiness and affection.
“ On the subject of joy, or at least of mirth, that great master of our art, my Lord Chesterfield, has been precise in his directions. He does not allow of laughter at all; by which, however, he is to be understood as only precluding that exercise as a sign, common with the vulgar, of internal satisfaction; it is by no means to be reprobated as a disguise for chagrin, or an engine of wit; it is, indeed, the readiest of all repartees, and will often give a man of fashion the victory over an infe
rior, with every talent, but that of assurance, on his side.
“ As the passions and affections, so are the virtues of a polite man to be carefully concealed or disguised. In this particular, cur art goes far beyond the rules of philosophers, or the precepts of the Bible; they enjoined men not to boast of their virtues; we teach them to brag of their vices, which is certainly a much sublimer pitch of self-denial. Besides, the merit of disinterestedness lies altogether on our side; the disciples of those antiquated teachers expecting, as they confess, a reward somewhere; our conduct has only the pure consciousness of acting like a man of fashion for its recompence, as we evidently profit nothing by it at present, and the idea of future retribution, were we ever to admit of it, is rather against us.'
Such, Mr Mirror, is the substance of one of my lectures, which, I think, promise so much edification to our country,
(yet only in an improving state with regard to the higher and more refined parts of politeness,) that it must be impossible for your patriotism to refuse their encouragement. If you insert this in your next paper (if accompanied with some commendatory paragraphs of your own, so much the better,) I shall take care to present you with a dozen admission tickets, as soon as the number of my subscribers enables me to begin my course. I have the honour to be, &c.
No. 41. TUESDAY, June 15, 1779.
Sit mihi fas audita loqui.
Passing the Exchange a few days ago, I perceived a little before me a short plump-looking man, seeming to set his watch by St Giles's clock, which had just then struck two. On observing him a little more closely, I recognised Mr Blubber, with whom I had become acquainted at the house of my friend Umphraville's cousin, Mr Bearskin. He also recollected me, and shaking me cordially by the hand, told me he was just returned safe from his journey to the Highlands, and had been regulating his watch by our town-clock, as he found the sun did not go exactly in the Highlands as it did in the low country. He added, that if I would come and eat a Welsh rabbit, and