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No. LXXI. Tuesday, July 10, 1753.
-Hominem pagina nofra fapit.
We strive to paint the manners and the mindo
LETTERS written from the heart and on real occafions, though not always decorated with the flowers of elo. quence, must be far more useful and interesting than the ftudied paragraphs of Pliny, or the pompous declamations of Balsac ; as they contain just pictures of life and manners, and are the genuine emanations of nature. Of this kind I fall select a few from the heap I have received from my correspondents, each of which exhi. bits a different character, not exaggerated and eightened by circumstances that pass the bounds of reality.
To To the ADVENTURER.
Sombre-Hall, June 18. I am arrived with Sir Nicholas at this melancholy moated mansion. Would I could be annihilated dur. ing the infupportable tedioufness of fummer! We are to fup this evening, after having fished the whole after. noon, by day-light, think of that, in the new arbour. My uncle, poor man, imagines he has a finer and richer prospect from thence, than the illuminated vistas at Vauxhall afford, only because he sees a parcel of woods and meadows, and blue hills, and corn-fields. We have been visited by our only neighbour, Mrs. Thrifty, who entertained us with a dull history of the children she has educated, at a little school of her own founding, and who values herself for not having been in town these ten years, and for not knowing what a drum means. My sister and I have laid a scheme to plague her,
for have sent her a card, entreating her to make one at Brag next Sunday. For heaven's fake send us your paper weekly, but do not give us so many grave ones; for we want to be diverted after studying Hoyle, which we do for three hours every afternoon with great attention, that the time may not pass away totally useless, and that we may be a match for Lady Shuffle next winter, Let us know what is done at the next Jubilee Masquerade. How shall I have patience to support my absence from it! And if Madam de Pompadour çomes over, as was reported when I left town, impart to us a minute account of the complexion she now wears, and of every article of her dress; any milliner will explain the terms to you. I don't see that you have yet publihed the
little novel I sent you ; I assure you it was written by a right honourable : but you, I suppose think the style colloquial as you call it, and the moral trite or trifling. Colonel Caper's pindaric ode on the E O table, must absolutely be inserted in your very next paper, or else never expect to hear again from
To the ADVENTURER.
APPLY to you, as a person of prudence and knowledge of the world, for directions how to extricate myself out of a great
and uncommon difficulty. To enable myself to breed up a numerous family on a small preferment, I have been advised to indulge my natural propensity. for poetry, and to write a tragedy : my design is to apprentice my eldest son to a reputable tradesman, with the profits I shall acquire by the representation of my play, being deterred by the inordinate expences of University education, from making him a scholar. An old gentlewoman in my parish, a great reader of religious controversy, whom celibacy and the reduction of interest have made morosely devout, accidentally hearing of my performance, undertook to censure me in all companies with acrimony and zeal, as acting inconfiftently with the dignity of my public character, and as a promoter of debauchery and lewdness. She has informed my church-wardens, that the playhouse is the temple of Satan, and that the first Christians were strictly forbidden to enter the theatres, as places impure and contagious. My congregations grow thin ; my clerk A 2
shakes his head, and fears his master is not so found as he ought to be. I was lately discourfing on the beautiful parable of the prodigal fon, and most unfortunately quoted Erasmus's observation on it, “ ex quo quidem
argumento posset non inelegans taxi comedia,-on " which subject a most elegant comedy might be com“* pofed ;” which has ruined me for ever, and destroyed all the little respect remaining for me in the minds of my parishioners. What! cried they, would the parfon put the Bible into verse ? would he make itage-plays out of the Scriptures? How, Sir, am I to act ? Aflift
advice. Am I for ever to bear unreafonable obloquy, and undeferved reproach ? or must I, to regain the good opinion of my people, relinquish allhopes of the five hundred pounds I was to gain by my piece, and generously burn my tragedy in my churchgard, in the face of my whole congregation ?
I HAD almost finished a view of the inside of St. Peter's at Rome in Butterfly-work, when my cruel parroquet accidentally trod upon the purple emperor, of which the high altar was to have been made. This is the first letter I have written after my dreadful lofs : and it is to desire you to put an advertisement at the end of your next paper, fignifying, that whoever has any " purple emperors or swallow tails" to difpofe of, 6