« AnteriorContinuar »
Of the six hundred and thirty-five papers contained in the Spectator, none are nearly so well known as those which tell of Sir Roger de Coverley, and which indeed are familiar to numbers of readers who have seldom or never turned over the bulky series of Addison and Steele's famous essays. And this is not solely due to the charm of those delightful papers, but to the fact that they are easily detached, and thus have the advantage which a little book generally enjoys over a big one.
To that pleasant picture of Country Life in the Eighteenth Century the present collection may perhaps be accepted as a companion volume. It contains most of the Essays in which the Spectator describes and satirizes the Town Life of his day, and shows us London as it was in the time of Queen Anne.
“ As we read in these delightful volumes,” says Thackeray, (the past age returns, the England of our ancestors is revivified. The Maypole rises in the Strand; the churches are thronged with daily worshippers ; the
beaux are gathering in the coffee-houses ; the gentry are going to the drawing-room ; the ladies are thronging to the toy-shops; the footmen are running with links before the chariots, or fighting round the theatre doors. ... Out of the fictitious book( 1 get the expression of the life of the time ; of the manners, of the movement, the dress, the pleasures, the laughter, the ridicules of society—the old times live again.”