Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

THE BUSY-BODY.

No. I.

now and then to dedicate a chapter wholly to From the American Weekly Mercury,

their service; and if my lectures contribute February 4, 1729.

any way to the embellishment of their minds,

and brightning of their understandings, with MR. ANDREW BRADFORD,–I design this out offending their modesty, I doubt not of to acquaint you, that I, who have been one of having their favour and encouragement. your courteous readers, have lately entertain It is certain that no country in the world ed some thoughts of setting up for an author produces naturally finer spirits than ours, men myself; not out of the least vanity, I assure of genius for every kind of science, and capayou, or desire of showing my parts, but purely ble of acquiring to perfection every qualificafor the good of my country.

tion, that is in esteem among mankind. But I have often observed with concern, that as few have the advantage of good books, for your Mercury is not always equally enter- want of which good conversation is still more taining. The delay of ships expected in, and scarce, it would doubtless have been very acwant of fresh advices from Europe, make it ceptable to your readers, if, instead of an old frequently very dull; and I find the freezing out-of-date article from Muscovy or Hungary of our river has the same effect on news ason you had entertained them with some well trade. With more concern I have continual-chosen extract from a good author. This I ly observed the growing vices and follies of shall sometimes do, when I happen to have my country folk: and though reformation is nothing of my own to say that I think of more properly the concern of every man, that is, consequence. Sometimes I purpose to delievery one ought to mind one; yet it is true, ver lectures of morality or philosophy, and in this case, that what is everybody's busi- (because I am naturally inclined to be medness is nobody's business, and the business is dling with things that do not concern me) done accordingly. I, therefore, upon mature perhaps I may sometimes talk politics. And deliberation, think fit to take nobody's business if I can by any means furnish out a week's wholly into my own hands; and, out of zeal entertainment for the public, that will give a for the public good, design to erect myself in- rational diversion, and at the same time be in.. to a kind of censor morum; purporting with structive to the readers, I shall think my leiyour allowance, to make use of the Weekly sure hours well employed: and if you publish Mercury as a vehicle in which my remon- this, I hereby invite all ingenious gentlemen strances shall be conveyed to the world. and others (that approve of such an undertak

I am sensible I have in this particular un- ing) to my assistance and correspondence. dertaken a very unthankful office, and expect It is like, by this time, you have a curiosi- : little besides my labour for my pains. Nay, ty to be acquainted with my name and chait is probable ['may displease a great number racter. As I do not aim at public praise, I of your readers, who will not very well like design to remain concealed : and there are to pay ten shillings a year for being told of such numbers of our family and relations at their faults. But as most people delight in this time in the country, that though I have the censure, when they themselves are not the signed my name at full length, I am not under objects of it, if any are offended at my expos- the least apprehension of being discovered by ing their private vices, I promise they shall it. My character, indeed, I would favour you have the satisfaction, in a very little time, of with, but that I am cautious of praising myself, seeing their good friends and neighbours in lest I should be told my trumpeter's dead; the same circumstances.

and I cannot find in my heart at present to However, let the fair sex be assured, that I say any thing to my own disadvantage. shall always treat them and their affairs with It is very common with authors in their first the utmost decency and respect. I intend | performances, to talk to their readers thus:-

If this meets with a suitable reception, or, if a fellow makes laughing the sole end and purthis should meet due encouragement, I shall pose of his life, if it is necessary to his constitupublish hereafter, &c. This

only manifests tion, or if he has a great desire of growing sudthe value they put upon their own writings, denly fat, let him eat; let him give public notice since they think to frighten the public into where any dull stupid rogues may get a quart their applause, by threatening, that unless of four-penny for being laughed at; but it is baryou approve what they have already wrote, barously unhandsome when friends meet for they intend never to write again; when per- the benefit of conversation, and a proper rehaps it may not be a pin matter whether they laxation from business, that one should be the ever do or no. As I have not observed the cri- butt of the company, and four men made merry tics to be more favourable on this account, I at the cost of the fifth. shall always avoid saying any thing of the How different is this character from that kind; and conclude with telling you, that if of the good-natured gay Eugenius; who neyou send me a bottle of ink and a quire of pa- ver spoke yet but with a design to divert and per by the bearer, you may depend upon hear- please; and who was never yet baulked in his ing further from, sir, your humble servant, intention. Eugenius takes more delight in THE BUSY-BODY. applying the wit of his friends, than in being

admired himself; and if any one of the com

pany is so unfortunate as to be touched a litNo. II.

tle too nearly, he will make use of some inge

Feb. 11, 1729. nious artifice to turn the edge of ridicule ano All fools have still an itching to deride

ther way, choosing rather to make himself And fain would be upon the laughing side.-Pope.

a public jest, than to be at the pain of seeing MONSIEUR ROCHEFOUCAULT tells us some- his friend in confusion. where in his memoirs, that the prince of Among the tribe of laughers I reckon the Conde delighted much in ridicule, and used pretty gentlemen that write satires, and carry frequently to shut himself up for half a day them about in their pockets, reading them together in his chamber, with a gentleman themselves in all companies which they hapthat was his favourite, purposely to divert pen into; taking advantage of the ill taste of himself with examining what was the foible, the town, to make themselves famous for a or ridiculous side, of every person in the court. pack of paltry low nonsense, for which they That gentleman said afterwards in some com- deserve to be kicked, rather than admired, pany, that nothing appeared to him more ri- by all who have the least tincture of polite diculous in any body than this same humour ness. These I take to be the most incorrigiin the prince; and I am somewhat inclined ble of all my readers; nay I suspect they will to be of this opinion. The general tendency be squibbing at the Busy-Body himself. Howthere is among us to this embellishment, ever, the only favour he begs of them is, that (which I fear has too often grossly imposed if they cannot control their overbearing itch upon my countrymen, instead of wit,) and the for scribbling, let him be attacked in downapplause it meets with from a rising genera- right biting lyrics; for there is no satire be tion, fill me with fearful apprehensions for the dreads half so much as an attempt towards a future reputation of my country: a young man panegyric. of modesty, (which is the most certain indication of large capacities) is hereby discouraged from attempting to make a figure in

No. III. life: his apprehensions of being outlaughed,

Feb. 18, 1729. will force him to continue in a restless obscu

Non vultus instantis Tyranni

Mente quatit solida, nec auster, rity, without having an opportunity of know Dux inquieti turbidus Adriæ ing his own merit himself, or discovering it

Nec fulminantis magna Jovis manus.-Hor. to the world, rather than venture to expose It is said that the Persians, in their ancient himself in a place, where a pun or a sneer constitution, had public schools, in which vir. shall pass for wit, noise for reason, and the tue was taught as a liberal art or science: strength of the argument be judged by that of and it is certainly of more consequence to a the lungs. Among these worthy gentlemen, man that he has learned to govern his paslet us take a view of Ridentius: what a con- sions; in spite of temptation, to be just in temptible figure does he make with his train his dealings; to be temperate in his pleaof paltry admirers ! this wight shall give him- sures, to support himself with fortitude under self an hour's diversion with the cock of a his misfortunes, to behave with prudence in man's hat, the heels of his shoes, an unguard- all his affairs, and in every circumstance of ed expression in his discourse, or even some life; I say, it is of much more real advantage personal defect; and the height of his low to him to be thus qualified, than to be a mas ambition is to put some one of the company ter of all the arts and sciences in the world to the blush, who perhaps must pay an equal besides. share of the reckoning with himself. If such Virtue alone is sufficient to make a great

man glorious and happy. He that is acquaint- ship, his humility, his honesty and sincerity, ed with Cato, as I am, cannot help thinking his moderation and his loyalty, his piety, his as I do now, and will acknowledge he de temperance, his love to mankind, his magnaserves the name, without being honoured by nimity, his public spiritedness, and in fine his it. Cato is a man whom fortune has placed consummate virtue, make him justly deserve in the most obscure part of the country. to be esteemed the glory of his country, His circumstances are such as only put him above necessity, without affording him many Just are their thoughts and open are their tempers,

The brave do never shun the light: superfluities : yet who is greater than Cato. Freely without disguise they love and hate ; I happened but the other day to be at a house still are they found in the fair face of day,

And heaven and men are judges of their actions.-Rowe, in town, where, among others, were met men of the most note in this place; Cato had busi Who would not rather choose, if it were in ness with some of them, and knocked at the his choice, to merit the above character, than door. The most trifling actions of a man, in be the richest, the most learned, or the most my opinion, as well as the smallest lineaments powerful man in the province without it? and features of the face, give a nice observer Almost every man has a strong natural desome notion of his mind. Methought he rap, sire of being valued and esteemed by the rest ped in such a peculiar manner, as seemed of his species ; but I am concerned and grievof itself to express, there was one who deserved to see how few fall into the right and oned as well as desired admission. He appear- ly infallible method of becoming so. That ed in the plainest country garb; his great laudable ambition is too commonly misapplied, coat was coarse, and looked old and thread- and often ill applied. Some, to make thembare; his linen was homespun; his beard selves considerable, pursue learning; others perhaps of seven days' growth; his shoes thick grasp at wealth ; some aim at being thought and heavy; and every part of his dress cor- witty ; and others are only careful to make responding. Why was this man received with the most of a handsome person : but what is such concurring respect from every person in wit, or wealth, or form, or learning, when the room, even from those who had never compared with virtue? It is true, we love known him or seen him before? It was not an the handsome, we applaud the learned, and exquisite form of person or grandeur of dress, we fear the rich and powerful; but we even that struck us with admiration. I believe worship and adore the virtuous. Nor is it long habits of virtue have a sensible effect strange; since men of virtue are so rare, so on the countenance: there was something very rare to be found. in the air of his face, that manifested the If we were as industrious to become good, as true greatness of his mind; which likewise to make ourselves great, we should become appeared in all he said, and in every part really great by being good, and the number of his behaviour, obliging us to regard him of valuable men would be much increased; with a kind of veneration. His aspect is but it is a great mistake to think of being sweetened with humanity and benevolence, great without goodness; and I pronounce it and at the same time emboldened with reso as certain, that there never yet was a truly lution, equally free from diffident bashfulness great man, that was not at the same time truly and an unbecoming appearance. The con- virtuous. sciousness of his own innate worth and un O Cretico! thou sour philosopher! thou shaken integrity render him calm and un- cunning statesman! thou art crafty, but far daunted in the presence of the most great and from being wise. When wilt thou be espowerful, and upon the most extraordinary teemed, regarded, and beloved like Cato? occasions. His strict justice and known impar- When wilt thou, among thy creatures, meet tiality make him the arbitrator and decider of with that unfeigned respect, and warm goal all differences that arise for many miles around will, that all men have for him ? Wilt thou him, without putting his neighbours to the never understand, that the cringing, mean, charge, perplexity, and uncertainty of law-submissive deportment of thy dependants, is suits, He always speaks the thing he means, (like the worship paid by Indians to the devil) which he is never afraid nor ashamed to do, be- rather through fear of the harm thou mayest cause he knows he always means well; and do them, than out of gratitude for the favours therefore is never obliged to blush and feel the they have received from thee? Thou art not confusion of finding himself detected in the wholly void of virtue; there are many good meanness of a falsehood. He never contrives things in thee; and many good actions reill against his neighbour, and therefore is ne-ported of thee. Be advised by thy friend : ver seen with a lowering suspicious aspect. A neglect those musty authors; let them be comixture of innocence and wisdom makes him vered with dust, and moulder on their proper ever seriously cheerful. His generous hos- shelves; and do thou apply thyself to a study pitality to strangers, according to his ability; much more profitable, the knowledge of manhis goodness, his charity, his courage in the kind and of thyself. cause of the oppressed, his fidelity in friend This is to give notice that the Busy-Body

hamile kaumia

strictly forbids all persons, from this time for-| lowing letter left for me at the printer's, is ward, of what age, sex, rank, quality, degree, one of the first I have received, which I reor denomination, soever, on any pretence, to gard the more that it comes from one of the inquire who is the author of this paper, on fair sex, and because I have myself often times pain of his displeasure (his own near and dear suffered under the grievance therein comrelations only excepted.)

plainined of. It is to be observed, that if any bad charac

To the Busy-Body. ters happen to be drawn in the course of these

Sir,—You having set yourself up for a papers, they mean no particular person, if censuror morum, (as I think you call it) they are not particularly applied.

which is said to mean a reformer of manners, Likewise, that the author is no party man, I know no person more proper to be applied but a general meddler.

to for redress in all the grievances we suffer N. B. Cretico lives in a neighbouring pro- from want of manners in some people. You vince.

must know I am a single woman, and keep a

shop in this town for a livelihood. There is No. IV.

a certain neighbour of mine, who is really

Feb. 25, 1729. agreeable company enough, and with whom I Nequid nemis.

have had an intimacy of some time standing; In my first paper, I invited the learned and but of late she makes her visits so exceeding, the ingenious to join with me in this under- ly often, and stays so long every visit, that I taking; and I now repeat that invitation. I am tired out of all patience. I have no manwould have such gentlemen, take this oppor- ner of time at all to myself; and you who tunity (by trying their talent in writing) of seem to be a wise man, must needs be sensidiverting themselves and friends, and improv. ble, that every person has little secrets and ing the taste of the town. And because I privacies, that are not proper to be exposed would encourage all wit of our own growth even to the nearest friend. Now I cannot do and produce, I hereby promise, that whoever the least thing in the world, but she must know sha!I send me a little essay on some moral or about it; and it is a wonder I have found an opother subject, that is fit for public view in this portunity to write you this letter. My misformanner, (and not basely borrowed from any tune is, that I respect her very well, and know other author,) I shall receive it with candour, not how to disoblige her so much as to tell her I and take care to place it to the best advan- should be glad to have less of her company; for tage. It will be hard if we cannot muster up if I should once hint such a thing, I am afraid in the whole country a sufficient stock of she would resent it so as never to darken my sense to supply the Busy-Body at least for a door again.—But, alas, sir, I have not yet told twelvemonth. For my own part, I have al- you half my affliction. She has two children ready professed, that I have the good of my that are just big enough to run about and do country wholly at heart in this design, with pretty mischief: these are continually along out the least sinister view; my chief purpose, with mamma, either in my room or shop, if i being to inculcate the noble principles of vir- have ever so many customers or people with tue, and depreciate vice of every kind. But me about business. Sometimes they pull the as I know the mob hate instruction, and the goods off my low shelves down to the ground, generality would never read beyond the first and perhaps where one of them has just been line of my lectures, if they were actually fill, making water. My friend takes up the stuff ed with nothing but wholesome precepts and and cries“Oh! thou little wicked, mischievadvice, I must therefore sometimes humour ous rogue! but, however, it has done no them in their own way. There are a set of great damage; it is only wet a little ;” and great names in the province, who are the com- so puts it upon the shelf again. Sometimes mon objects of popular dislike. If I can now they get to my cask of nails behind the counand then overcome my reluctance, and pre-ter, and divert themselves, to my great vexavail with myself to satirize a little, one of tion, with mixing my tenpenny and eightthese gentlemen, the expectation of meeting penny and fourpenny together. I endeavour such a gratification will induce many to read to conceal my uneasiness as much as possible, me through, who would otherwise proceed and, with a grave look, to go on sorting them immediately to the foreign news. As I am out. She cries-"Don't thee trouble thyself, very well assured the greatest men among us neighbour; let them play a little ; I'll put all have a sincere love for their country, notwith to rights before I go." But things are never standing its ingratitude, and the insinuations so put to rights but that I find a great deal of of the envious and malicious to the contrary, work to do after they are gone. Thus, sir, I 80 I doubt not but they will cheerfully tolerate have all the trouble and pesterment of chilme in the liberty I design to take for the end dren without the pleasure of calling them my above mentioned.

own; and they are now so used to being here As yet I have but few correspondents, that they will be content no where else. If though they begin now to increase. The folo | she would have been so kind as to have mode

rated her visits to ten times a day, and staid but | him. On this occasion it may be entertain. half an hour at a time, I should have been con- ing to some of my readers, if I acquaint them tented, and I believe never have given you with the Turkish manner of entertaining vithis trouble; but this very morning they have siters, which I have from an author of unquesso tormented me that I could bear no longer; tionable veracity; who assures us, that even for while the mother was asking me twenty the Turks are not so ignorant of civility and impertinent questions, the youngest got to my the arts of endearment, but that they can nails, and, with great delight, rattled them by practise them with as much exactness as any handfulls all over the floor; and the other at other nation, whenever they have a mind to the same time made such a terrible din upon show themselves obliging. my counter with a hammer, that I grew half “When you visit a person of quality,” says distracted. I was just then about to make he, “and have talked over your business, or myself a new suit of pinners, but in the fret the compliments, or whatever concern brought and confusion I cut it quite out of all manner you thither, he makes a sign to have things of shape, and utterly spoiled a piece of the served in for the entertainment, which is, gefirst muslin. Pray, sir, tell me, what shall I nerally, a little sweetmeats, a cup of a sherdo? and talk against such unreasonable visit- bet, and another of coffee; all which are iinings in your next paper ; though I would not mediately brought in by the servants, and have her affronted with me for a great deal, tendered to all the guests in order, with the for I sincerely love her and her children, as greatest care and awfulness imaginable. At well I think as a neighbour can, and she buys last comes the finishing part of the entertaina great many things in a year at my shop.— ment, which is perfuming the beards of the But I would beg her to consider she uses me company; a ceremony which is performed in unmercifully, though I believe it is only for this manner: they have for the purpose a want of thought. But I have twenty things small chaffing dish, covered with a lid full of more to tell you besides all this: there is a holes, and fixed upon a handsome plate. In handsome gentleman that has a mind (I don't this they put some fresh coals, and upon

them question) to make love to me; but he can't a piece of aloes wood, and shutting it up, the get the opportunity to- dear! here she smoke immediately ascends with a grateful comes again !-I must conclude.-Yours, &c. odour thro gh the holes of the cover. The

PATIENCE. smoke is held under every one's chin, and ofIndeed it is well enough, as it happens, that fered as it were a sacrifice to his beard. The she is come to shorten this complaint, which brisly idol soon receives the reverence done I think is full long enough already, and pro- to it, and so greedily takes in and incorporates bably would otherwise have been as long the gummy steam, that it retains the savour again. However I confess I cannot help of it, and may serve for a nosegay a good pitying my correspondent's case, and in her while after. behalfexhort the visiter to remember and con “ The ceremony may perhaps seem ridicu. sider the words of the wise man, “ With-lous at first, but it passes among the Turks as draw thy foot from the house of thy neigh- a high gratification. And I will say this in bour, lest he grow weary of thee and so hate vindication, that its design is very wise and thee.". It is, I believe, a nice thing, and very useful, for it is understood to give a civil disdifficult, to regulate our visits in such a man- mission to the visitants, intimating to them, ner as never to give offence by coming too that the master of the house has business to seldom, or too often, or departing too abruptly, do, or some other avocation, that permits them or staying too long. However, in my opi- to go away as soon as they please; and the nion, it is safest for most people, in a general sooner after this ceremony the better. By way, who are unwilling to disoblige, to visit this means you may at any time, without seldom and tarry but a little while in a place; offence, deliver yourself from being detained notwithstanding pressing invitations, which from your affairs by tedious and unseasonable are many times insincere. And though more visits; and from being constrained to use that of your company should be really desired; piece of hypocrisy, so common in the world, yet in this case too much reservedness is a of pressing those to stay longer with you, fault more easily excused than the contrary.

whom perhaps, in your heart, you wish a great Men are subject to various inconveniencies way off for having troubled you so long almerely through lack of a small share of cou- ready." rage, which is a quality very necessary in the Thus far my author. For my own part,

I common occurrences of life, as well as in a have taken such a fancy to this Turkish cusbattle. How many impertinencies do we tom, that for the future I shall put something daily suffer with great uneasiness, because like it in practice. I have provided a bottle we have not courage enough to discover our of right French brandy for the men, and cidislikes? And why may not a man use the tron water for the ladies. After I have treatboldness and freedom of telling his friends, ed with a dram, and presented a pinch of my that their long visits sometimes incommode I best snuff, I expect all company will retire,

« AnteriorContinuar »