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treatment of one another. Every man's natural weight of affliction is still made more heavy by the envy, malice, treachery, or injustice of his neighbour. At the same time that the storm beats on the whole species, we are falling foul upon one another.
Half the misery of human life might be extinguished, would men alleviate the general curse they lie under, by mutual offices of compassion, benevolence, and humanity. There is nothing, therefore, which we ought more to encourage in ourselves and others, than the disposition of mind which in our language goes under the title of good-nature, and which I shall choose for the subject of this day's speculation.
Good-nature is more agreeable in conversation than wit, and gives a certain air to the countenance which is more amiable than beauty. It shows virtue in the fairest light, takes off in some measure from the deformity of vice, and makes even folly and impertinence supportable.
There is no society or conversation to be kept up in the world without good-nature, or something which must bear its appearance, and supply its place. For this reason mankind have been forced to invent a kind of artificial humanity, which is what we express by the word good-breeding. For if we examine thoroughly the idea of what we call so, we shall find it to be nothing else but an imitation and mimicry of good-nature, or, in other terms, affability, complaisance, and easiness of temper reduced into an art.
These exterior shows and appearances of humanity render a man wonderfully popular and beloved, when they are founded upon a real good-nature; but without it are like hypocrisy in religion, or a bare form of holiness, which when it is discovered makes a man more detestable than professed impiety.
Good-nature is generally born with us; health, prosperity, and kind treatment from the world are great cherishers of it where they find it, but nothing is capable of forcing it up, where it does not grow of itself. It is one of the blessings of a happy constitution, which education may improve, but not produce.
Xenophon, in the life of his imaginary prince, whom he describes as a pattern for real ones, is always celebrating the (philanthropy or) good-nature of his hero, which he tells us
he brought into the world with him, and gives many remarkable instances of it in his childhood, as well as in all the several parts of his life. Nay, on his death-bed, he describes him as being pleased, that while his soul returned to him who made it, his body should incorporate with the great mother of all things, and by that means become beneficial to mankind. For which reason he gives his sons a positive order not to enshrine it in gold or silver, but to lay it in the earth as soon as the life was gone out of it.
An instance of such an overflowing of humanity, such an exuberant love to mankind, could not have entered into the imagination of a writer, who had not a soul filled with great ideas, and a general benevolence to mankind.
In that celebrated passage of Sallust, where Cæsar and Cato are placed in such beautiful, but opposite lights; Cæsar's character is chiefly made up of good-nature, as it showed itself in all its forms towards his friends or his enemies, his servants or dependants, the guilty or the distressed. As for Cato's character, it is rather awful than amiable. Justice seems most agreeable to the nature of God, and mercy to that of man. A being who has nothing to pardon in himself, may reward every man according to his works; but he whose very best actions must be seen with grains of allowance, cannot be too mild, moderate, and forgiving. For this reason, among all the monstrous characters in human nature, there is none so odious, nor indeed so exquisitely ridiculous, as that of a rigid, severe temper in a worthless man.
This part of good-nature, however, which consists in the pardoning and overlooking of faults, is to be exercised only in doing ourselves justice, and that too in the ordinary commerce and occurrences of life; for in the public administration of justice, mercy to one may be cruelty to others.
It is grown almost into a maxim, that good-natured men are not always men of the most wit. The observation, in my opinion, has no foundation in nature. The greatest wits I have conversed with are men eminent for their humanity. I take, therefore, this remark to have been occasioned by two reasons. First, because ill-nature among ordinary observers passes for wit. A spiteful saying gratifies so many little passions in those who hear it, that it generally meets with a good reception. The laugh rises upon it, and the man who utters it is looked upon as a shrewd satirist. This
may be one reason, why a great many pleasant companions appear so surprisingly dull when they have endeavoured to be merry in print; the public being more just than private clubs or assemblies, in distinguishing between what is wit and what is ill-nature.
Another reason why the good-natured man may sometimes bring his wit in question, is, perhaps, because he is apt to be moved with compassion for those misfortunes and infirmities, which another would turn into ridicule, and by that means gain the reputation of a wit. The ill-natured man, though but of equal parts, gives himself a larger field to expatiate in, he exposes the failings in human nature which the other would cast a veil over, laughs at vices which the other either excuses or conceals, gives utterance to reflections which the other stifles, falls indifferently upon friends or enemies, exposes the person who has obliged him, and in short sticks at nothing that may establish his character as a wit. It is no wonder, therefore, he succeeds in it better than the man of humanity, as a person who makes use of indirect methods is more likely to grow rich than the fair trader.
No. 170. FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 14.
In amore hæc omnia insunt vitia: injuriæ,
UPON looking over the letters of my female correspondents, I find several from women complaining of jealous husbands, and at the same time protesting their own innocence; and desiring my advice on this occasion. I shall therefore take this subject into my consideration; and the more willingly, because I find that the Marquis of Halifax, who, in his Advice to his Daughter, has instructed a wife how to behave herself towards a false, an intemperate, a choleric, a sullen, a covetous, or a silly husband, has not spoken one word of a jealous husband.
Jealousy is that pain which a man feels from the apprehension that he is not equally beloved by the person whom he entirely loves." Now, because our inward passions and inclinations can never make themselves visible, it is impossible for a jealous man to be thoroughly cured of his suspicions.
His thoughts hang at best in a state of doubtfulness and uncertainty; and are never capable of receiving any satisfaction on the advantageous side; so that his inquiries are most successful when they discover nothing: his pleasure arises from his disappointments, and his life is spent in pursuit of a secret that destroys his happiness if he chance to find it.
An ardent love is always a strong ingredient in this passion; for the same affection which stirs up the jealous man's desires, and gives the party beloved so beautiful a figure in his imagination, makes him believe she kindles the same passion in others, and appears as amiable to all beholders. And as jealousy thus arises from an extraordinary love, it is of so delicate a nature, that it scorns to take up with anything less than an equal return of love. Not the warmest expressions of affection, the softest and most tender hypocrisy, are able to give any satisfaction, where we are not persuaded that the affection is real and the satisfaction mutual. For the jealous man wishes himself a kind of deity to the person he loves: he would be the only pleasure of her senses, the employment of her thoughts; and is angry at everything she admires, or takes delight in, besides himself.
Phædria's request to his mistress, upon his leaving her for three days, is inimitably beautiful and natural.
Cum milite isto præsens, absens ut sies:
Meus fac sis postremò animus, quando ego sum tuus. TER. EUN. The jealous man's disease is of so malignant a nature, that it converts all he takes into its own nourishment. A cool behaviour sets him on the rack, and is interpreted as an instance of aversion or indifference; a fond one raises his suspicions, and looks too much like dissimulation and artifice. If the person he loves be cheerful, her thoughts must be employed on another; and if sad, she is certainly thinking on himself. In short, there is no word or gesture so insignificant, but it gives him new hints, feeds his suspicions, and furnishes him with fresh matters of discovery: so that if we consider the effects of this passion, one would rather think it proceeded from an inveterate hatred than an excessive love; for certainly none can meet with more disquietude and
uneasiness than a suspected wife, if we except the jealous husband.
But the great unhappiness of this passion is, that it naturally tends to alienate the affection which it is so solicitous to engross; and that for these two reasons; because it lays too great a restraint on the words and actions of the suspected person, and at the same time shows you have no honourable opinion of her, both of which are strong motives to aversion.
Nor is this the worst effect of jealousy; for it often draws after it a more fatal train of consequences, and makes the person you suspect guilty of the very crimes you are so much afraid of. It is very natural for such who are treated ill, and upbraided falsely, to find out an intimate friend that will hear their complaints, condole their sufferings, and endeavour to soothe and assuage their secret resentments. Besides, jealousy puts a woman often in mind of an ill thing that she would not otherwise perhaps have thought of, and fills her imagination with such an unlucky idea, as in time grows familiar, excites desire, and loses all the shame and horror which might at first attend it. Nor is it a wonder, if she who suffers wrongfully in a man's opinion of her, and has therefore nothing to forfeit in his esteem, resolves to give him reason for his suspicions, and to enjoy the pleasure of the crime, since she must undergo the ignominy. Such probably were the considerations that directed the wise man in his advice to husbands: "Be not jealous over the wife of thy bosom, and teach her not an evil lesson against thyself." ECCLUS.
And here, among the other torments which this passion produces, we may usually observe, that none are greater mourners than jealous men, when the person who provoked their jealousy is taken from them. Then it is that their love breaks out furiously, and throws off all the mixtures of suspicion which choked and smothered it before. The beautiful parts of the character rise uppermost in the jealous husband's memory, and upbraid him with the ill usage of so divine a creature as was once in his possession; whilst all the little imperfections that were before so uneasy to him, wear off from his remembrance, and show themselves no more.
We may see, by what has been said, that jealousy takes the