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As I was sitting in my chamber, and thinking on a subject for my next Spectator, I heard two or three irregular bounces at my landlady's door, and upon the opening of it, a loud cheerful voice inquiring whether the philosopher was at home. The child who went to the door answered very innocently, that he did not lodge there. I immediately recollected that it was my good friend Sir Roger's voice; and that I had promised to go with him on the water to Spring. Garden, in case it proved a good evening. The knight put me in mind of my promise from the stair-case, but told me that if I was speculating, he would stay below till I had done. Upon my coming down, I found all the children of the family got about my old friend, and my landlady herself, who is a notable prating gossip, engaged in a conference wiih 'him; being mightily pleased with his stroking her little boy upon the bead, and bidding him be a good child, and mind his boon.
We were no sooner come to the Temple-stairs, but we were surrounded with a crowd of watermen, offering their respective services. Sir Roger, after having looked about him very attentively, spied one with a wooden leg, and immediately gave him orders to get his boat ready. As we were walking towards it, “ You must know, (says Sir Roger,) I never make use of anybody to row me that has not either lost a leg or an arm. I would rather bate him a few strokes of his oar, than not employ an honest man that has been wounded in the Queen's service. If I was a lord or a bishop, and kept a barge, I would not put a fellow in my livery that had not a wooden leg.”
My old friend, after having seated himself, and trimmed the boat with his coachman, who, being a very sober man, always serves for ballast on these occasions, we made the best of our way for Fox-hall. Sir Roger obliged the waterman to give us the history of his right leg, and hearing that he had left it at La Hogue, with many particulars which passed in that glorious action, the knight in the triumph of his heart made several reflections on the greatness of the
British nation; as, that one Englishman could beat three Frenchmen; that we could never be in danger of Popery so long as we took care of our fleet; that the Thames was the noblest river in Europe; that London bridge was a greater piece of work than any other of the seven wonders of the world; with many other honest prejudices which naturally cleave to the heart of a true Englishman.
After some short pause, the old knight, turning about his head twice or thrice to take a survey of this great metropolis, bid me observe how thick the city was set with churches, and that there was scarce a single steeple on this side Temple-bar. “A most heathenish sight! (says Sir Roger :)
' There is no religion at this end of the town. The fifty new churches will very much mend the prospect; but church. work is slow, church-work is slow !”
I do not remember I have anywhere mentioned in Sir Roger's character, his custom of saluting everybody that passes by him with a good-morrow or a good-night. This the old man does out of the overflowings of humanity, though at the same time it renders him so popular among all his country neighbours, that it is thought to have gone a good way in making him once or twice knight of the shire. He cannot forbear this exercise of benevolence even in town, when he meets with any one in his morning or evening walk. It broke from him to several boats that passed by us upon the water; but to the knight's great surprise, as he gave the good-night to two or three young fellows a little before our landing, one of them, instead of returning the civility, asked us what queer old put we had in the boat, and whether he was not ashamed to go a wenching at his years ? with a great deal of the like Thames ribaldry. Sir Roger seemed a little shocked at first, but at length assuming a face of magistracy, told us, “that if he were a Middlesex justice, he would make such vagrants know that her Majesty's subjects were no more to be abused by water than by land.”
We were now arrived at Spring-Garden, which is exquisitely pleasant at this time of year. When I considered the fragrancy of the walks and bowers, with the choirs of birds that sung upon the trees, and the loose tribe of people that walked under their shades, I could not but look upon the place as a kind of Mahometan paradise. Sir Roger told me it put him in niind of a little coppice by his house in the
country, which his chaplair used to call an aviary of nightingales. “You must understand, says the knight, there is nothing in the world that pleases a man in love so much as your nightingale. Ah, MR. SPECTATOR! the many moon. light nights that I have walked by myself, and thought on the widow by the music of the nightingale!" He here fetched a deep sigh, and was falling into a fit of musing, when a mask, who came behind him, gave him a gentle tap upon the shoulder, and asked him if he would drink a bottle of mead with her ? But the knight being startled at so unexpected a familiarity, and displeased to be interrupted in his thoughts of the widow, told her, “She was a wanton bag. gage,” and bid her go about her business.
We concluded our walk with a glass of Burton ale, and a slice of hung-beef. When we had done eating ourselves, the knight called a waiter to him, and bid him carry the remainder to a waterman that had but one leg. I perceived the fellow stared upon him at the oddness of the message, and was going to be saucy; upon which I ratified the knight's commands with a peremptory look.
As we were going out of the garden my old friend, think. ing himself obliged, as a member of the Quorum, to animadvert upon the morals of the place, told the mistress of the house, who sat at the bar, “that he should be a better customer to her garden, if there were more nightingales and fewer strumpets.'
No. 387. SATURDAY, MAY 24.
Quid purè tranquillet- HOR. In my last Saturday's paper I spoke of cheerfulness as it is a moral habit of the mind, and accordingly mentioned such moral motives as are apt to cherish and keep alive this happy temper in the sul of man: I shall now consider cheerfulness in its natural state, and reflect on those motives to it, which are indifferent either as to virtue or vice.
Cheerfulness is, in the first place, the best promoter of health. Repinings, and secret murmurs of heart, give imper. ceptible strokes to those delicate fibres of which the vital parts are composed, and wear out the machine insensibly; not to
mention those violent ferments which they stir ир.
in tie blood, and those irregular disturbed motions which they raise in the animal spirits. I scarce remember, in my owu olyservation, to have met with any old men, or with such who (to use our English phrase) wear well, that had not at least à certain indolence in their homour, if not a more than ordinary gaiety and cheerfulness of heart. The truth of it is, health and cheerfulness mutually beget each other; with this difference, that we seldom meet with a great degree of health which is not attended with a certain cheerfulness, but very often see cheerfulness where there is no great degree of health.
Cheerfulness bears the same friendly regard to the mind as to the body: it banishes all anxious care and discontent, soothes and composes the passions, and keeps the soul in a perpetual calm.
But having already touched on this last consideration, I shall here take notice, that the world in which we are placed, is filled with innumerable objects that are proper to raise and keep alive this happy temper of mind.
If we consider the world in its subserviency to man, one would think it was made for our use; but if we consider it in its natural beauty and harmony, one would be apt to conclude it was made for our pleasure. The sun, which is as the great soul of the universe, and produces all the necessaries of life, has a particular influence in changing the mind of man, and making the heart glad.
Those several living creatures which are made for our service or sustenance, at the same time either fill the woods with their music, furnish us with game, or raise pleasing ideas in us by the delightfulness of their appearance. Fountains, lakes, and rivers, are as refreshing to the imagination as to the soil through which they pass.
There are writers of great distinction, who have made it an argument for Providence, that the whole earth is covered with green, rather than with any other colour, as being such a right mixture of light and shade, that it comforts and strengthens the eye instead of weakening or grieving it. For this reason several painters have a green cloth hanging near them, to ease the eye upon, after too great an application to their colouring. A famous modern philosopher accounts for it in the following manner: all colours that are more luminous, overpower and dissipate the animal spirits
which are employed in sight; on the contrary, those that are more obscure do not give the animal spirits a sufficient ex. ercise ; whereas the
rays that produce in us the idea of green, fall upon the eye in such a due proportion, that they give the animal spirits their proper play, and by keeping up the struggle in a just balance, excite a very pleasing and agreeable sensation. Let the cause be what it will, the effect is certain, for which reason the poets ascribe to this particular colour the epithet of cheerful.
To consider further this double end in the works of nature, and how they are at the same time both useful and entertaining, we find that the most important parts in the vegetable world are those which are the most beautiful. These are the seeds by which the several races of plants are propagated and continued, and which are always lodged in flowers or blossoms. Nature seems to hide her principal design, and to be industrious in making the earth gay and delightful, while she is carrying on her great work, and intent upon her own preservation. The husbandman after the same manner is employed in laying out the whole country into a kind of garden or landscape, and making everything smile about him, whilst in reality he thinks of nothing but of the harvest, and increase which is to arise from it.
We may further observe how Providence has taken care to keep up this cheerfulness in the mind of man, by having formed it after such a manner, as to make it capable of conceiving delight from several objects which seem to have very little use in them; as from the wildness of rocks and deserts, and the like grotesque parts of nature. Those who are versed in philosophy may still carry this consideration higher, by observing, that if matter had appeared to us endowed only with those real qualities which it actually possesses, it would have made but a very joyless and uncomfortable figure; and why has Providence given it a power of producing in us such imaginary qualities, and tastes, and colours, sounds and smells, heat and cold, but that man, while he is conversant in the lower stations of nature, might have his mind cheered and delighted with agreeable sensations ? In short, the whole universe is a kind of theatre, filled with objects that either raise in us pleasure, amusement, or admiration.
The reader's own thoughts will suggest to him the vicis