It is in vain to multiply Words and make Apologies for what is never to be defended by the best Advocate in the World, the Guilt of being Unfortunate. All that a Man in my Condition can do or say, will be received with Prejudice by the Generality of Mankind, but I hope not with you: You have been a great Instrument in helping me to get what I have lost, and I know (for that Reason, as well as Kindness to me) you cannot but be in pain to see me undone. To shew you I am not a Man incapable of bearing Calamity, I will, though a poor Man, lay aside the Distinction between us, and talk with the Frankness we did when we were nearer to an Equality: As all I do will be received with Prejudice, all you do will be looked upon with Partiality. What I desire of you, is, that you, who are courted by all, would smile upon me who am shunned by all. Let that Grace and Favour which your Fortune throws upon you, be turned to make up the Coldness and Indifference that is used towards me. All good and generous Men will have an Eye of Kindness for me for my own Sake, and the rest of the World will regard me for yours. There is an happy Contagion in Riches, as well as a destructive one in Poverty; the Rich can make rich without parting with any of their Store, and the Conversation of the Poor makes Men poor, though they borrow nothing of them. How this is to be accounted for I know not? but Men’s Estimation follows us according to the Company we keep. If you are what you were to me, you can go a great Way towards my Recovery; if you are not, my good Fortune, if ever it returns, will return by slower Approaches.
I am SIR,
Your Affectionate Friend,
and Humble Servant.
This was answered with a Condescension that did not, by long impertinent Professions of Kindness, insult his Distress, but was as follows.
I am very glad to hear that you have Heart enough to begin the World a second Time. I assure you, I do not think your numerous Family at all diminished (in the Gifts of Nature for which I have ever so much admired them) by what has so lately happened to you. I shall not only countenance your Affairs with my Appearance for you, but shall accommodate you with a considerable Sum at common Interest for three Years. You know I could make more of it; but I have so great a Love for you that I can wave Opportunities of Gain to help you: For I do not care whether they say of me after I am dead, that I had an hundred or fifty thousand Pounds more than I wanted when I was living.
Your obliged humble Servant.
[Footnote 1: Act I., sc. 2.]
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No. 457. Thursday, August 14, 1712. Addison.
‘—Multa et praeclara minantis.’
I shall this Day lay before my Reader a Letter, written by the same Hand with that of last Friday, which contained Proposals for a Printed News-paper, that should take in the whole Circle of the Penny-Post.