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a folly not to be endured, neither with regard to our time, or our understanding. It is below the dignity of speech to extend it with more words or phrases than are necessary to explain ourselves with elegance : and it is, methinks, an instance of ignorance, if not of servitude, to be redundant in such expressions.
I waited upon a man of quality some mornings ago. He happened to be dressing ; and his shoemaker fitting him, told him, that if his Lordship would please to tread hard, or that if his Lordship would stamp a little, his Lordship would find his Lordship's shoe will sit as easy as any piece of work his Lordship should see in England. As soon as my lord was dressed, a gentleman approached him with a very good air, and told him, 'he had an affair which had long depended in the lower courts ; which, through the inadvertency of his ancestors on the one side, and the ill arts of their adversaries on the other, could not possibly be settled according to the rules of the lower courts; that, therefore, he designed to bring his cause before the House of Lords next session, where he should be glad if his Lordship should happen to be present ; for he doubted not but his cause would be approved by all men of justice and honour.' In this place the word Lordship was gracefully inserted ; because it was applied to him in that circumstance wherein his quality was the occasion of the discourse, and wherein it was most useful to the one, and most honourable to the other.
This way is so far from being disrespectful to the honour of nobles, that it is an expedient for using them with greater deference. I would not put Lordship to a man's hat, gloves, wig, or cane; but to desire his
Lordship's favour, his Lordship's judgment, or his Lordship’s patronage, is a manner of speaking which expresses an alliance between his quality and his merit. It is this knowledge, which distinguished the discourse of the shoemaker from that of the gentleman. The highest point of good-breeding, if any one can hit it, is to show a very nice regard to your own dignity, and, with that in your heart, express your value for the man above you.
But the silly humour to the contrary has so much prevailed, that the slavish addition of title enervates discourse, and renders the application of it almost widiculous. We writers of diurnals are nearer in our style to that of common talk than any other writers, by which means we use words of respect sometimes very unfortunately. The Postman, who is one of the most celebrated of our fraternity, fell into this misfortune yesterday in his paragraph from Berlin of the twenty-sixth of July. 'Count Wartembourg,' says he 'great chamberlain, and chief minister of this court, who on Monday last accompanied the King of Prussia to Oranienburg, was taken so very ill, that on Wednesday his life was despaired of; and we had a report that his Excellency was dead.'
I humbly presume that it flattens the narration, to say his Excellency’in a case which is common to all men; except you would infer what is not to be inferred, to wit, that the author designed to say, 'all wherein he excelled others was departed from him.'
Were distinctions used according to the rules of reason and sense, those additions to men's names would be, as they were first intended, significant of their worth, and not their persons ; so that
cases it might be proper to say, 'The man is dead; but his Excellency will never die.' It is, methinks, very unjust to laugh at a Quaker, because he has taken up a resolution to treat you with a word, the most expressive of complaisance that can be thought of, and with an air of good-nature and charity calls you Friend. I say, it is
very unjust to rally him for this term to a stranger, when you yourself, in all your phrases of distinction, confound phrases of honour into no use at all.
Tom Courtly, who is the pink of courtesy, is an instance of how little moment an undistinguishing application of sounds of honour are to those who understand themselves. Tom never fails of paying his obeisance to every man he sees, who has title or office to make him conspicuous; but his deference is wholly given to outward considerations. I, who know him, can tell him within half an acre, how much land one man has more than another by Tom's bow to him. Title is all he knows of honour, and civility of friendship : for this reason, because he cares for no man living, he is religiously strict in performing, what he calls, his respects to you.
To this end he is very learned in pedigree ; and will abate something in the ceremony of his approaches to a man, if he is in any doubt about the bearing of his coat-of-arms. What is the most pleasant of all his character is, that he acts with a sort of integrity in these impertinences; and though he would not do any solid kindness, he is wonderfully just and careful not to wrong his quality. But as integrity is very scarce in the world, I cannot forbear having respect for the impertinent: it is some virtue to be bound by anything. Tom and I are upon
very good terms, for the respect he has for the house of Bickerstaff. Though one cannot but laugh at his serious consideration of things so little essential, one must have a value even for a frivolous good conscience.
[Tatler, No. 204
The Story of Mr. Anthony Freeman
'I never look upon my dear wife, but I think of the happiness Sir Roger de Coverley enjoys, in having such a friend as you to expose in proper colours the cruelty and perverseness of his mistress. I have very often wished you visited in our family, and were acquainted with my spouse ; she would afford you for some months at least matter enough for one Spectator a week. Since we are not so happy as to be of your acquaintance, give me leave to represent to you our present circumstances as well as I can in writing. You are to know then that I am not of a very different constitution from Nathaniel Henroost, whom you have lately recorded in your speculations ; and have a wife who makes a more tyrannical use of the knowledge of my easy temper than that lady ever pretended to. We had not been a month married, when she found in me a certain pain to give offence, and an indolence that made me bear little inconveniences rather than dispute about them. From this observation it soon came to that pass, that if I offered to go abroad, she would get between me and the door, kiss me, and say she could not part with me; and