Richard Steele.

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personated Sullenness just over a transparent Fountain. Opposite to her
stood Mr. _William_, Sir Roger's Master of the Game. The Knight
whispered me, 'Hist, these are Lovers.' The Huntsman looking earnestly
at the Shadow of the young Maiden in the Stream,

'Oh thou dear Picture, if thou couldst remain there in the Absence of
that fair Creature whom you represent in the Water, how willingly
could I stand here satisfied for ever, without troubling my dear
_Betty_ herself with any Mention of her unfortunate _William_, whom
she is angry with: But alas! when she pleases to be gone, thou wilt
also vanish - Yet let me talk to thee while thou dost stay. Tell my
dearest _Betty_ thou dost not more depend upon her, than does her
_William_? Her Absence will make away with me as well as thee. If she
offers to remove thee, I'll jump into these Waves to lay hold on thee;
her self, her own dear Person, I must never embrace again - Still do
you hear me without one Smile - It is too much to bear - '

He had no sooner spoke these Words, but he made an Offer of throwing
himself into the Water: At which his Mistress started up, and at the
next Instant he jumped across the Fountain and met her in an Embrace.
She half recovering from her Fright, said in the most charming Voice
imaginable, and with a Tone of Complaint,

'I thought how well you would drown yourself. No, no, you won't drown
yourself till you have taken your leave of _Susan Holliday_.'

The Huntsman, with a Tenderness that spoke the most passionate Love, and
with his Cheek close to hers, whispered the softest Vows of Fidelity in
her Ear, and cried,

'Don't, my Dear, believe a Word _Kate Willow_ says; she is spiteful
and makes Stories, because she loves to hear me talk to her self for
your sake.'

Look you there, quoth Sir Roger, do you see there, all Mischief comes
from Confidents! But let us not interrupt them; the Maid is honest,
and the Man dares not be otherwise, for he knows I loved her Father: I
will interpose in this matter, and hasten the Wedding. _Kate Willow_
is a witty mischievous Wench in the Neighbourhood, who was a Beauty;
and makes me hope I shall see the perverse Widow in her Condition. She
was so flippant with her Answers to all the honest Fellows that came
near her, and so very vain of her Beauty, that she has valued herself
upon her Charms till they are ceased. She therefore now makes it her
Business to prevent other young Women from being more Discreet than
she was herself: However, the saucy Thing said the other Day well
enough, 'Sir ROGER and I must make a Match, for we are 'both despised
by those we loved:' The Hussy has a great deal of Power wherever she
comes, and has her Share of Cunning.

However, when I reflect upon this Woman, I do not know whether in the
main I am the worse for having loved her: Whenever she is recalled to
my Imagination my Youth returns, and I feel a forgotten Warmth in my
Veins. This Affliction in my Life has streaked all my Conduct with a
Softness, of which I should otherwise have been incapable. It is,
perhaps, to this dear Image in my Heart owing, that I am apt to
relent, that I easily forgive, and that many desirable things are
grown into my Temper, which I should not have arrived at by better
Motives than the Thought of being one Day hers. I am pretty well
satisfied such a Passion as I have had is never well cured; and
between you and me, I am often apt to imagine it has had some
whimsical Effect upon my Brain: For I frequently find, that in my most
serious Discourse I let fall some comical Familiarity of Speech or odd
Phrase that makes the Company laugh; However, I cannot but allow she
is a most excellent Woman. When she is in the Country I warrant she
does not run into Dairies, but reads upon the Nature of Plants; but
has a Glass Hive, and comes into the Garden out of Books to see them
work, and observe the Policies of their Commonwealth. She understands
every thing. I'd give ten Pounds to hear her argue with my Friend Sir
ANDREW FREEPORT about Trade. No, no, for all she looks so innocent as
it were, take my Word for it she is no Fool.

T.





* * * * *





No. 119. Tuesday, July 17, 1711. Addison.



'Urbem quam dicunt Romam, Melibæe, putavi
Stultus ego huic nostræ similem ...'

Virg.


The first and most obvious Reflections which arise in a Man who changes
the City for the Country, are upon the different Manners of the People
whom he meets with in those two different Scenes of Life. By Manners I
do not mean Morals, but Behaviour and Good Breeding, as they shew
themselves in the Town and in the Country.

And here, in the first place, I must observe a very great Revolution
that has happen'd in this Article of Good Breeding. Several obliging
Deferences, Condescensions and Submissions, with many outward Forms and
Ceremonies that accompany them, were first of all brought up among the
politer Part of Mankind, who lived in Courts and Cities, and
distinguished themselves from the Rustick part of the Species (who on
all Occasions acted bluntly and naturally) by such a mutual Complaisance
and Intercourse of Civilities. These Forms of Conversation by degrees
multiplied and grew troublesome; the Modish World found too great a
Constraint in them, and have therefore thrown most of them aside.
Conversation, like the _Romish_ Religion, was so encumbered with Show
and Ceremony, that it stood in need of a Reformation to retrench its
Superfluities, and restore it to its natural good Sense and Beauty. At
present therefore an unconstrained Carriage, and a certain Openness of
Behaviour, are the Height of Good Breeding. The Fashionable World is
grown free and easie; our Manners sit more loose upon us: Nothing is so
modish as an agreeable Negligence. In a word, Good Breeding shews it
self most, where to an ordinary Eye it appears the least.

If after this we look on the People of Mode in the Country, we find in
them the Manners of the last Age. They have no sooner fetched themselves
up to the Fashion of the polite World, but the Town has dropped them,
and are nearer to the first State of Nature than to those Refinements
which formerly reign'd in the Court, and still prevail in the Country.
One may now know a Man that never conversed in the World, by his Excess
of Good Breeding. A polite Country 'Squire shall make you as many Bows
in half an Hour, as would serve a Courtier for a Week. There is
infinitely more to do about Place and Precedency in a Meeting of
Justices Wives, than in an Assembly of Dutchesses.

This Rural Politeness is very troublesome to a Man of my Temper, who
generally take the Chair that is next me, and walk first or last, in the
Front or in the Rear, as Chance directs. I have known my Friend Sir
Roger's Dinner almost cold before the Company could adjust the
Ceremonial, and be prevailed upon to sit down; and have heartily pitied
my old Friend, when I have seen him forced to pick and cull his Guests,
as they sat at the several Parts of his Table, that he might drink their
Healths according to their respective Ranks and Qualities. Honest _Will.
Wimble_, who I should have thought had been altogether uninfected with
Ceremony, gives me abundance of Trouble in this Particular. Though he
has been fishing all the Morning, he will not help himself at Dinner
'till I am served. When we are going out of the Hall, he runs behind me;
and last Night, as we were walking in the Fields, stopped short at a
Stile till I came up to it, and upon my making Signs to him to get over,
told me, with a serious Smile, that sure I believed they had no Manners
in the Country.

There has happened another Revolution in the Point of Good Breeding,
which relates to the Conversation among Men of Mode, and which I cannot
but look upon as very extraordinary. It was certainly one of the first
Distinctions of a well-bred Man, to express every thing that had the
most remote Appearance of being obscene, in modest Terms and distant
Phrases; whilst the Clown, who had no such Delicacy of Conception and
Expression, clothed his _Ideas_ in those plain homely Terms that are the
most obvious and natural. This kind of Good Manners was perhaps carried
to an Excess, so as to make Conversation too stiff, formal and precise:
for which Reason (as Hypocrisy in one Age is generally succeeded by
Atheism in another) Conversation is in a great measure relapsed into the
first Extream; so that at present several of our Men of the Town, and
particularly those who have been polished in _France_, make use of the
most coarse uncivilized Words in our Language, and utter themselves
often in such a manner as a Clown would blush to hear.

This infamous Piece of Good Breeding, which reigns among the Coxcombs of
the Town, has not yet made its way into the Country; and as it is
impossible for such an irrational way of Conversation to last long among
a People that make any Profession of Religion, or Show of Modesty, if
the Country Gentlemen get into it they will certainly be left in the
Lurch. Their Good-breeding will come too late to them, and they will be
thought a Parcel of lewd Clowns, while they fancy themselves talking
together like Men of Wit and Pleasure.

As the two Points of Good Breeding, which I have hitherto insisted upon,
regard Behaviour and Conversation, there is a third which turns upon
Dress. In this too the Country are very much behind-hand. The Rural
Beaus are not yet got out of the Fashion that took place at the time of
the Revolution, but ride about the Country in red Coats and laced Hats,
while the Women in many Parts are still trying to outvie one another in
the Height of their Head-dresses.

But a Friend of mine, who is now upon the Western Circuit, having
promised to give me an Account of the several Modes and Fashions that
prevail in the different Parts of the Nation through which he passes, I
shall defer the enlarging upon this last Topick till I have received a
Letter from him, which I expect every Post.

L.





* * * * *





No. 120. Wednesday, July 18, 1711. Addison.


'... Equidem credo, quia sit Divinitus illis
Ingenium ...'

Virg.


My Friend Sir Roger is very often merry with me upon my passing so much
of my Time among his Poultry: He has caught me twice or thrice looking
after a Bird's Nest, and several times sitting an Hour or two together
near an Hen and Chickens. He tells me he believes I am personally
acquainted with every Fowl about his House; calls such a particular Cock
my Favourite, and frequently complains that his Ducks and Geese have
more of my Company than himself.

I must confess I am infinitely delighted with those Speculations of
Nature which are to be made in a Country-Life; and as my Reading has
very much lain among Books of natural History, I cannot forbear
recollecting upon this Occasion the several Remarks which I have met
with in Authors, and comparing them with what falls under my own
Observation: The Arguments for Providence drawn from the natural History
of Animals being in my Opinion demonstrative.

The Make of every Kind of Animal is different from that of every other
Kind; and yet there is not the least Turn in the Muscles or Twist in the
Fibres of any one, which does not render them more proper for that
particular Animal's Way of Life than any other Cast or Texture of them
would have been.

The most violent Appetites in all Creatures are _Lust_ and _Hunger_: The
first is a perpetual Call upon them to propagate their Kind; the latter
to preserve themselves.

It is astonishing to consider the different Degrees of Care that descend
from the Parent to the Young, so far as is absolutely necessary for the
leaving a Posterity. Some Creatures cast their Eggs as Chance directs
them, and think of them no farther, as Insects and several Kinds of
Fish: Others, of a nicer Frame, find out proper Beds to [deposite [1]]
them in, and there leave them; as the Serpent, the Crocodile, and
Ostrich: Others hatch their Eggs and tend the Birth, 'till it is able to
shift for it self.

What can we call the Principle which directs every different Kind of
Bird to observe a particular Plan in the Structure of its Nest, and
directs all of the same Species to work after the same Model? It cannot
be Imitation; for though you hatch a Crow under a Hen, and never let it
see any of the Works of its own Kind, the Nest it makes shall be the
same, to the laying of a Stick, with all the other Nests of the same
Species. It cannot be _Reason_; for were Animals indued with it to as
great a Degree as Man, their Buildings would be as different as ours,
according to the different Conveniences that they would propose to
themselves.

Is it not remarkable, that the same Temper of Weather, which raises this
genial Warmth in Animals, should cover the Trees with Leaves and the
Fields with Grass for their Security and Concealment, and produce such
infinite Swarms of Insects for the Support and Sustenance of their
respective Broods?

Is it not wonderful, that the Love of the Parent should be so violent
while it lasts; and that it should last no longer than is necessary for
the Preservation of the Young?

The Violence of this natural Love is exemplify'd by a very barbarous
Experiment; which I shall quote at Length, as I find it in an excellent
Author, and hope my Readers will pardon the mentioning such an Instance
of Cruelty, because there is nothing can so effectually shew the
Strength of that Principle in Animals of which I am here speaking. 'A
Person who was well skilled in Dissection opened a Bitch, and as she lay
in the most exquisite Tortures, offered her one of her young Puppies,
which she immediately fell a licking; and for the Time seemed insensible
of her own Pain: On the Removal, she kept her Eye fixt on it, and began
a wailing sort of Cry, which seemed rather to proceed from the Loss of
her young one, than the Sense of her own Torments.

But notwithstanding this natural Love in Brutes is much more violent and
intense than in rational Creatures, Providence has taken care that it
should be no longer troublesome to the Parent than it is useful to the
Young: for so soon as the Wants of the latter cease, the Mother
withdraws her Fondness, and leaves them to provide for themselves: and
what is a very remarkable Circumstance in this part of Instinct, we find
that the Love of the Parent may be lengthened out beyond its usual time,
if the Preservation of the Species requires it; as we may see in Birds
that drive away their Young as soon as they are able to get their
Livelihood, but continue to feed them if they are tied to the Nest, or
confined within a Cage, or by any other Means appear to be out of a
Condition of supplying their own Necessities.

This natural Love is not observed in animals to ascend from the Young to
the Parent, which is not at all necessary for the Continuance of the
Species: Nor indeed in reasonable Creatures does it rise in any
Proportion, as it spreads it self downwards; for in all Family
Affection, we find Protection granted and Favours bestowed, are greater
Motives to Love and Tenderness, than Safety, Benefits, or Life received.

One would wonder to hear Sceptical Men disputing for the Reason of
Animals, and telling us it is only our Pride and Prejudices that will
not allow them the Use of that Faculty.

Reason shews it self in all Occurrences of Life; whereas the Brute makes
no Discovery of such a Talent, but in what immediately regards his own
Preservation, or the Continuance of his Species. Animals in their
Generation are wiser than the Sons of Men; but their Wisdom is confined
to a few Particulars, and lies in a very narrow Compass. Take a Brute
out of his Instinct, and you find him wholly deprived of Understanding.
To use an Instance that comes often under Observation.

With what Caution does the Hen provide herself a Nest in Places
unfrequented, and free from Noise and Disturbance! When she has laid her
Eggs in such a Manner that she can cover them, what Care does she take
in turning them frequently, that all Parts may partake of the vital
Warmth? When she leaves them, to provide for her necessary Sustenance,
how punctually does she return before they have time to cool, and become
incapable of producing an Animal? In the Summer you see her giving her
self greater Freedoms, and quitting her Care for above two Hours
together; but in Winter, when the Rigour of the Season would chill the
Principles of Life, and destroy the young one, she grows more assiduous
in her Attendance, and stays away but half the Time. When the Birth
approaches, with how much Nicety and Attention does she help the Chick
to break its Prison? Not to take notice of her covering it from the
Injuries of the Weather, providing it proper Nourishment, and teaching
it to help it self; nor to mention her forsaking the Nest, if after the
usual Time of reckoning the young one does not make its Appearance. A
Chymical Operation could not be followed with greater Art or Diligence,
than is seen in the hatching of a Chick; tho' there are many other Birds
that shew an infinitely greater Sagacity in all the forementioned
Particulars.

But at the same time the Hen, that has all this seeming Ingenuity,
(which is indeed absolutely necessary for the Propagation of the
Species) considered in other respects, is without the least Glimmerings
of Thought or common Sense. She mistakes a Piece of Chalk for an Egg,
and sits upon it in the same manner: She is insensible of any Increase
or Diminution in the Number of those she lays: She does not distinguish
between her own and those of another Species; and when the Birth appears
of never so different a Bird, will cherish it for her own. In all these
Circumstances which do not carry an immediate Regard to the Subsistence
of her self or her Species, she is a very Ideot.

There is not, in my Opinion, any thing more mysterious in Nature than
this Instinct in Animals, which thus rises above Reason, and falls
infinitely short of it. It cannot be accounted for by any Properties in
Matter, and at the same time works after so odd a manner, that one
cannot think it the Faculty of an intellectual Being. For my own part, I
look upon it as upon the Principle of Gravitation in Bodies, which is
not to be explained by any known Qualities inherent in the Bodies
themselves, nor from any Laws of Mechanism, but, according to the best
Notions of the greatest Philosophers, is an immediate Impression from
the first Mover, and the Divine Energy acting in the Creatures.

L.



[Footnote 1: depose]





* * * * *





No. 121. Thursday, July 19, 1711. Addison.



'... Jovis omnia plena.'

Virg.


As I was walking this Morning in the great Yard that belongs to my
Friend's Country House, I was wonderfully pleased to see the different
Workings of Instinct in a Hen followed by a Brood of Ducks. The Young,
upon the sight of a Pond, immediately ran into it; while the Stepmother,
with all imaginable Anxiety, hovered about the Borders of it, to call
them out of an Element that appeared to her so dangerous and
destructive. As the different Principle which acted in these different
Animals cannot be termed Reason, so when we call it _Instinct_, we mean
something we have no Knowledge of. To me, as I hinted in my last Paper,
it seems the immediate Direction of Providence, and such an Operation of
the Supreme Being, as that which determines all the Portions of Matter
to their proper Centres. A modern Philosopher, quoted by Monsieur
_Bayle_ [1] in his learned Dissertation on the Souls of Brutes, delivers
the same Opinion, tho' in a bolder Form of Words, where he says, _Deus
est Anima Brutorum_, God himself is the Soul of Brutes. Who can tell
what to call that seeming Sagacity in Animals, which directs them to
such Food as is proper for them, and makes them naturally avoid whatever
is noxious or unwholesome? _Tully_ has observed that a Lamb no sooner
falls from its Mother, but immediately and of his own accord applies
itself to the Teat. _Dampier_, in his Travels, [2] tells us, that when
Seamen are thrown upon any of the unknown Coasts of _America_, they
never venture upon the Fruit of any Tree, how tempting soever it may
appear, unless they observe that it is marked with the Pecking of Birds;
but fall on without any Fear or Apprehension where the Birds have been
before them.

But notwithstanding Animals have nothing like the use of Reason, we find
in them all the lower Parts of our Nature, the Passions and Senses in
their greatest Strength and Perfection. And here it is worth our
Observation, that all Beasts and Birds of Prey are wonderfully subject
to Anger, Malice, Revenge, and all the other violent Passions that may
animate them in search of their proper Food; as those that are incapable
of defending themselves, or annoying others, or whose Safety lies
chiefly in their Flight, are suspicious, fearful and apprehensive of
every thing they see or hear; whilst others that are of Assistance and
Use to Man, have their Natures softened with something mild and
tractable, and by that means are qualified for a Domestick Life. In this
Case the Passions generally correspond with the Make of the Body. We do
not find the Fury of a Lion in so weak and defenceless an Animal as a
Lamb, nor the Meekness of a Lamb in a Creature so armed for Battel and
Assault as the Lion. In the same manner, we find that particular Animals
have a more or less exquisite Sharpness and Sagacity in those particular
Senses which most turn to their Advantage, and in which their Safety and
Welfare is the most concerned.

Nor must we here omit that great Variety of Arms with which Nature has
differently fortified the Bodies of several kind of Animals, such as
Claws, Hoofs, and Horns, Teeth, and Tusks, a Tail, a Sting, a Trunk, or
a _Proboscis_. It is likewise observed by Naturalists, that it must be
some hidden Principle distinct from what we call Reason, which instructs
Animals in the Use of these their Arms, and teaches them to manage them
to the best Advantage; because they naturally defend themselves with
that Part in which their Strength lies, before the Weapon be formed in
it; as is remarkable in Lambs, which tho' they are bred within Doors,
and never saw the Actions of their own Species, push at those who
approach them with their Foreheads, before the first budding of a Horn
appears.

I shall add to these general Observations, an Instance which Mr. _Lock_
has given us of Providence even in the Imperfections of a Creature which
seems the meanest and most despicable in the whole animal World. _We
may_, says he, _from the Make of an Oyster, or Cockle, conclude, that it
has not so many nor so quick Senses as a Man, or several other Animals:
Nor if it had, would it, in that State and Incapacity of transferring it
self from one Place to another, be bettered by them. What good would
Sight and Hearing do to a Creature, that cannot move it self to, or from
the Object, wherein at a distance it perceives Good or Evil? And would
not Quickness of Sensation be an Inconvenience to an Animal, that must
be still where Chance has once placed it; and there receive the Afflux
of colder or warmer, clean or foul Water, as it happens to come to it_.
[3]

I shall add to this Instance out of Mr. _Lock_ another out of the
learned Dr. _Moor_, [4] who cites it from _Cardan_, in relation to
another Animal which Providence has left Defective, but at the same time
has shewn its Wisdom in the Formation of that Organ in which it seems
chiefly to have failed. _What is more obvious and ordinary than a Mole?
and yet what more palpable Argument of Providence than she? The Members
of her Body are so exactly fitted to her Nature and Manner of Life: For
her Dwelling being under Ground where nothing is to be seen, Nature has
so obscurely fitted her with Eyes, that Naturalists can hardly agree
whether she have any Sight at all or no. But for Amends, what she is
capable of for her Defence and Warning of Danger, she has very eminently
conferred upon her; for she is exceeding quick of hearing. And then her
short Tail and short Legs, but broad Fore-feet armed with sharp Claws,
we see by the Event to what Purpose they are, she so swiftly working her
self under Ground, and making her way so fast in the Earth as they that



Online LibraryRichard SteeleThe Spectator, Volumes 1, 2 and 3 With Translations and Index for the Series → online text (page 49 of 228)