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very venerable and becoming. If I am rightly informed you make a regular appearance every quarter-sessions among your brothers of the quorum; and if things go on as they do, stand fair for being a colonel of the militia. I am told that your time passes away as agreeably in the amusements of a country life, as it ever did in the gallantries of the town; and that you now take as much pleasure in the planting of young trees, as you did formerly in the cutting down of your old ones. In short, we hear from all hands that you are thoroughly reconciled to your dirty acres, and have not too much wit to look into your own estate.
After having spoken thus much of my patron, I must take the privilege of an author in saying something of myself. I shall therefore beg leave to add, that I have purposely omitted setting those marks to the end of every paper, which appeared in my former volumes, that you may have an opportunity of shewing Mrs. Honeycomb the shrewdness of your conjectures, by ascribing every speculation to its proper author: though you know how often many profound critics in style and sentiments have very judiciously erred in this particular, before they were let into the secret. I am,
Your most faithful
BOOKSELLER TO THE READER.
IN the six hundred and thirty-second Spectator the reader will find an account of the rise of this eighth and last volume.
I have not been able to prevail upon the several gentlemen who were concerned in this work to let me acquaint the world with their names.
Perhaps it will be unnecessary to inform the reader, that no other papers which have appeared under the title of the Spectator, since the closing of this eighth volume, were written by any of those gentleman who had a hand in this or the former volumes.
N° 1. THURSDAY, MARCH 1, 1710-11.
Non fumum ex fulgore, sed ex fumo dare lucem
HOR. ARS POET. ver. 143.
One with a flash begins, and ends in smoke;
I HAVE observed, that a reader seldom peruses a book with pleasure, till he knows whether the writer of it be a black or a fair man, of a mild or choleric disposition, married or a bachelor, with other particulars of the like nature, that conduce very much to the right understanding of an author. To gratify this curiosity, which is so natural to a reader, I design this paper and my next, as prefatory discourses to my following writings, and shall give some account in them of the several persons that are engaged in this work. As the chief trouble of compiling, digesting, and correcting will fall to my
share, I must do myself the justice to open the work with my own history.
I was born to a small hereditary estate, which, according to the tradition of the village where it lies, was bounded by the same hedges and ditches in William the Conqueror's time that it is at present, and has been delivered down from father to son, whole and entire, without the loss or acquisition of a single field or meadow, during the space of six hundred years. There runs a story in the family, that when my mother was gone with child of me about three months, she dreamt that she was brought to bed of a judge. Whether this might proceed from a law-suit which was then depending in the family, or my father's being a justice of the peace, I cannot determine; for I am not so vain as to think it presaged any dignity that I should arrive at in my future life, though that was the interpretation which the neighbourhood put upon it. The gravity of my behaviour at my very first appearance in the world, and at the time that I sucked, seemed to favour my mother's dream: for, as she has often told me, I threw away my rattle before I was two months old, and would not make use of my coral until they had taken away the bells from it.
As for the rest of my infancy, there being nothing in it remarkable, I shall pass it over in silence. I find, that during my nonage, I had the reputation of a very sullen youth, but was always a favourite of my school-master, who used to say, that my parts were solid, and would wear well. I had not been long at the university, before I distinguished myself by a most profound silence; for during the space of eight years, excepting in the public exercises of the college, I scarce uttered the quantity of an hundred words; and indeed do not remember that I ever spoke three sentences together in my