I question not but the Reader will be surprized to find the above-mentioned Journalist taking so much care of a Life that was filled with such inconsiderable Actions, and received so very small Improvements; and yet, if we look into the Behaviour of many whom we daily converse with, we shall find that most of their Hours are taken up in those three Important Articles of Eating, Drinking and Sleeping. I do not suppose that a Man loses his Time, who is not engaged in publick Affairs, or in an Illustrious Course of Action. On the Contrary, I believe our Hours may very often be more profitably laid out in such Transactions as make no Figure in the World, than in such as are apt to draw upon them the Attention of Mankind. One may become wiser and better by several Methods of Employing ones Self in Secrecy and Silence, and do what is laudable without Noise, or Ostentation. I would, however, recommend to every one of my Readers, the keeping a Journal of their Lives for one Week, and setting down punctually their whole Series of Employments during that Space of Time. This Kind of Self-Examination would give them a true State of themselves, and incline them to consider seriously what they are about. One Day would rectifie the Omissions of another, and make a Man weigh all those indifferent Actions, which, though they are easily forgotten, must certainly be accounted for.
[Footnote 1: [As]]
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No. 318. Wednesday, March 5, 1712. Steele.
[—non omnia possumus omnes.
A certain Vice which you have lately attacked, has not yet been considered by you as growing so deep in the Heart of Man, that the Affectation outlives the Practice of it. You must have observed that Men who have been bred in Arms preserve to the most extreme and feeble old Age a certain Daring in their Aspect: In like manner, they who have pass’d their Time in Gallantry and Adventure, keep up, as well as they can, the Appearance of it, and carry a petulant Inclination to their last Moments. Let this serve for a Preface to a Relation I am going to give you of an old Beau in Town, that has not only been amorous, and a Follower of Women in general, but also, in Spite of the Admonition of grey Hairs, been from his sixty-third Year to his present seventieth, in an actual Pursuit of a young Lady, the Wife of his Friend, and a Man of Merit. The gay old Escalus has Wit, good Health, and is perfectly well bred; but from the Fashion and Manners of the Court when he was in his Bloom, has such a natural Tendency to amorous Adventure, that he thought it would be an endless Reproach to him to make no use of a Familiarity he was allowed at a Gentleman’s House, whose good Humour and Confidence exposed his Wife to the Addresses of any who should take it in their Head