MADAM, I will come down to-morrow and pay the Money on my Knees. Pray write so no more. I will take care you never shall, for I will be for ever hereafter, Your most dutiful Son, F.T.
I will bring down new Heads
for my Sisters. Pray let all be
* * * * *
No. 264. Wednesday, January 2, 1712. Steele.
—Secretum iter et fallentis Semita vitae.
It has been from Age to Age an Affectation to love the Pleasure of Solitude, amongst those who cannot possibly be supposed qualified for passing Life in that Manner. This People have taken up from reading the many agreeable things which have been writ on that Subject, for which we are beholden to excellent Persons who delighted in being retired and abstracted from the Pleasures that enchant the Generality of the World. This Way of Life is recommended indeed with great Beauty, and in such a Manner as disposes the Reader for the time to a pleasing Forgetfulness, or Negligence of the particular Hurry of Life in which he is engaged, together with a Longing for that State which he is charmed with in Description. But when we consider the World it self, and how few there are capable of a religious, learned, or philosophick Solitude, we shall be apt to change a Regard to that sort of Solitude, for being a little singular in enjoying Time after the Way a Man himself likes best in the World, without going so far as wholly to withdraw from it. I have often observed, there is not a Man breathing who does not differ from all other Men, as much in the Sentiments of his Mind, as the Features of his Face. The Felicity is, when anyone is so happy as to find out and follow what is the proper Bent of this Genius, and turn all his Endeavours to exert himself according as that prompts him. Instead of this, which is an innocent Method of enjoying a Man’s self, and turning out of the general Tracks wherein you have Crowds of Rivals, there are those who pursue their own Way out of a Sowrness and Spirit of Contradiction: These Men do every thing which they are able to support, as if Guilt and Impunity could not go together. They choose a thing only because another dislikes it; and affect forsooth an inviolable Constancy in Matters of no manner of Moment. Thus sometimes an old Fellow shall wear this or that sort of Cut in his Cloaths with great Integrity, while all the rest of the World are degenerated into Buttons, Pockets and Loops unknown to their Ancestors. As insignificant as even this is, if it were searched to the Bottom, you perhaps would find it not sincere, but that he is in the Fashion in his Heart, and holds