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fpeculation to the curious. I have heard various conjectures up this fubject. Some tell us that C is the mark of tho e papers that are written by the clergyman, though others afcribe them to the club in general: that the papers marked with R were written by my friend fir ROGER: that L fignifies the lawyer, whom I have defcribed in iny fecond fpeculation; and that T ftands for the trader or merchant; but the letter X, which is placed at the end of fome few of my papers, is that which has puzzled the whole town, as they cannot think of any name which begins with that letter, except Xenophon and Xerxes, who can neither of them be fuppofed to have had any hand in these speculations.
In answer to these inquifitive gentlemen, who have of them made inquiries of me by letter, I must tell them the reply of an ancient philofopher, who carried fomething hidden under his cloke. A certain acquaintance defiring him to let him know what it was he covered fo carefully," I cover it," fays he, on purpofe that you should not know." I have made ufe of thefe obfcure marks for the fame purpose. They are, perhaps, little amulets or charms to preferve the paper against the fafcination and malice of evil eyes; for which reafon I would not have my reader furprifed, if hereafter he fees any of my papers marked with a Q a Z, a Y, an &c, or with the word Abracadabra.
I fhall, however, fo far explain myself to the reader, as to let him know that the letters C, L., and X, are abaliftical, and carry more in them than it is proper for the world to be acquainted with. Those who are verfed in the philofophy of Pythagoras, and fwear by the Tetrachtys, that is, the number four, will know very well that the number ten, which is fignified by the letter X, (and which has fo much perplexed the town) has in it many particular powers; that it is called by platonic writers the complete number; that one, two, three, and four put together make up the number ten; and that ten is all. But thefe are not myfteries for ordinary readers to be let into. A man must have spent many years in hard ftudy before he can arrive at the knowledge of
We had a rabbinical divine in England, who was chaplain to the earl of Effex in queen Elizabeth's time, that had an admirable head for fecrets of this nature. Upon his taking the doctor of divinity's degree, he preached before the univerfity of Cambridge upon the first verse of the first chapter of the first book of Chronicles, in' which, fays he, you have the three following words,
Adam, Sheth, Enofh.
He divided this short text into many parts, and by difcovering feveral myfteries in each word, made a moft learned and elaborate difcourfe. The name of this profound preacher was Dr. Alabafter, of whom the reader may' find a more particular account in Dr. Fuller's book of English worthies. This inftance will, I hope, convince iny readers that there may be a great deal of fine writing in the capital letters which bring up the rear of my paper, and give them fome fatisfaction in that particular. But as for the full explication of these matters, I muft refer thein to time, which discovers all things. C.
Wednesday, November 14.
Cur alter fratrum ceffare, & ludere, & ungi,
HOR. Ep. 2. lib. 2. ver. 183.
Why, of two brothers, one his pleasure loves, Prefers his fports to Herod's fragrant groves. CREECH. x Mr. SPECTATOR,
HERE is one thing I have often looked for in your papers, and have as often wondered to find myfelf difappointed; the rather, because I think it a fubject every way agreeable to your defign, and by being left unattempted by others, feems referved as a proper employment for you: I mean a difquifition, from whence it proceeds, that men of the brightest parts, and moft comprehenfive genius, completely furnished with talents for any province in human affairs; 'fuch as by their wife leffons of economy to others ⚫ have made it evident, that they have the jufteft notions
of life, and of true fenfe in the conduct of it: from what unhappy contradictious caufe it proceeds, that perfons thus finished by nature and by art, fhould fo often fail in the management of that which they fo ⚫ well understand, and want the address to make a right application of their own rules. This is certainly a prodigious inconfiftency in behaviour, and makes much 'fuch a figure in morals as a monftrous birth in naturals, with this difference only, which greatly aggravates the wonder, that it happens much more frequently; and what a blemish does it caft upon wit and learning in the general account of the world? and in how difadvantageous a light does it expose them to the bufy class of mankind, that there fhould be fo many inftances of perfons who have so conducted their lives in fpite of these transcendent advantages, as neither to be happy in themselves, nor useful to their friends; when every body fees it was intirely in their own power to be eminent in both these characters? For my part, I think there is no reflection more aftonishing than to confider one of thefe gentlemen spending a fair ⚫ fortune, running in every body's debt without the leaft apprehenfion of a future reckoning, and at laft leaving. ⚫ not only his own children, but poffibly thofe of other people, by his means, in flarving circumstances; while a fellow, whom one would fcarce fufpect to have a human foul, fhall perhaps raife a vast estate out of nothing, and be the founder of a family capable of being very confiderable in their country, and doing many illuftrious fervices to it. That this obfervation is just, experience has put beyond all difpute. But though the fact be fo evident and glaring, yet the causes of it are ftill in the dark; which makes me perfuade myfelf, that it would be no unacceptable piece of enter<tainment to the town, to inquire into the hidden fources of fo unaccountable an evil.
'I am, Sir,
"Your most humble fervant."
What this correfpondent wonders at, has been matter of admiration ever fince there was any fuch thing as
this inconfiftency very
human life. Horace reflects upon agreeably in the character of Tigellius, whom he makes a mighty pretender to œconomy, and tells you, you might one day hear him fpeak the most philofophic things imaginable concerning being contented with a little, and his contempt of every thing but mere neceffaries, and in half a week after fpend a thoufand pound. When he fays this of him with relation to expence, he defcribes him as unequal to himself in every other circumftance of life. And indeed, if we confider lavish men carefully, we fhall find it always proceeds from a certain incapacity of poffeffing themfelves, and finding enjoyment in their own minds. Mr. Dryden has expreffed this very excellently in the character of Zimri.
"A man fo various, that he feem'd to be "Not one, but all mankind's epitome. "Stiff in opinion, always in the wrong, "Was every thing by ftarts, and nothing long; "But in the courfe of one revolving moon, "Was chymift, fiddler, statesman, and buffoon. "Then all for women, painting, rhiming, drinking, "Befides ten thousand freaks that died in thinking. "Bleft madman, who could every hour employ "In fomething new to wish or to enjoy! "In fquand'ring wealth was his peculiar art,
Nothing went unrewarded but defert."
This loofe ftate of the foul hurries the extravagant from one purfuit to another; and the reason that his expences are greater than another's, is, that his wants are alfo more numerous. But what makes fo many go onin this way to their lives end, is, that they certainly do not know how contemptible they are in the eyes of the reft of mankind, or rather, that indeed they are not fo contemptible as they deferve. Tully says, it is the greatest of wickedness to leffen your paternal estate. And if a man would thoroughly confider how much worse than banishment it must be to his child, to ride by the eftate which fhould have been his, had it not been for his father's injuftice to him, he would be fmitten with the reflection more deeply than can be understood by any but one who
is a father. Sure there can be nothing more afflicting, than to think it had been happier for his fon to have been born of any other man living than himself.
It is not perhaps much thought of, but it is certainly a very important leffon, to learn how to enjoy ordinary life, and to be able to relish your being without the tranfport of fome paffion, or gratification of fome appetite. For want of this capacity, the world is filled with whetters, tipplers, cutters, fippers, and all the numerous train of those who, for want of thinking, are forced to be ever exercifing their feeling or tafting. It would be hard on this occafion to mention the harmless smokers of tobacco and takers of snuff.
The flower part of mankind, whom my correfpondent wonders fhould get eftates, are the more immediately formed for that purfuit: they can expect diftant things without impatience, because they are not carried out of their way either by violent paffion or keen appetite to any thing. To men addicted to delights, bufinefs is an interruption; to fuch as are cold to delights, bufinefs is an entertainment. For which reafon it was faid to one who commended a dull man for his application, "no thanks to him; "if he had nobufinefs, he would have nothing to do." T.
Thursday, November 15.
O fuavis anima! qualem te dicam bonam,
PHEDR. Fab. 1. lib. 3. ver. 5.
O fweet foul! how good muft you have been heretofore, when your remains are fo delicious!
WHEN I reflect upon the various fate of thofe mul
titudes of ancient writers who flourished in Greece and Italy, I confider time as an immenfe ocean in which many noble authors are intirely fwallowed up, many very much thattered and damaged, fome quite disjointed and broken into pieces, while fome have wholly efcaped the common wreck; but the number of the laft is very small.