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affections is not the importance or reputation annexed to the new pursuit, but its novelty or difficulty. That must be a wonderful accomplishment indeed, which baffles their skill-nothing is with them of any value but as it gives scope to their restless activity of mind, their craving after an uneasy and importunate state of excitement. To them the pursuit is every thing, the possession nothing. I have known persons of this stamp, who, with every reason to be satisfied with their success in life, and with the opinion entertained of them by others, despised themselves because they could not do something which they were not bound to do, and which, if they could have done it, would not have added one jot to their respectability, either in their own eyes or those of any one else, the very insignificance of the attainment irritating their impatience, for it is the humour of such dispositions to argue, “ If they cannot succeed in what is trifling and contemptible, how should they succeed in any thing else ?” If they could make the circuit of the arts and sciences, and master them all, they would
take to some mechanical exercise, and if they failed, be as discontented as ever. All that they can do vanishes out of sight the moment it is within their grasp, and nothing is, but what is not.” A poet of this description is ambitious of the thews and muscles of a prizefighter, and thinks himself nothing without them. A prose-writer would be a fine tennisplayer, and is thrown into despair because he is not one, without considering that it requires a whole life devoted to the game to excel in it; and that, even if he could dispense with this apprenticeship, he would still be just as much bound to excel in ropedancing, or horsemanship, or playing at cup and ball like the Indian jugglers, all which is impossible. This feeling is a strange mixture of modesty and pride. We think nothing of what we are, because we cannot be every thing with a wish.
Goldsmith was even jealous of beauty in the other sex, and a similar character is attributed to Wharton by Pope:
Though listening senates hung on all he spoke,
The club must hail bim master of the joke." Players are for going into the church
officers in the army turn players. For myself, do what I might, I should think myself a poor creature unless I could beat a boy of ten years old at chuck-farthing, or an elderly gentlewoman at piquet!
The extreme of fastidious discontent and repining is as bad as that of over-weening presumption. We ought to be satisfied if we have succeeded in any one thing, or with having done our best. Any thing more is for health and amusement, and should be resorted to as a source of pleasure, not of fretful impatience, and endless, petty, selfimposed mortification. Perhaps the jealous, uneasy temperament is most favourable to continued exertion and improvement, if it does not lead us to fritter away attention on too many pursuits. By looking out of ourselves, we gain knowledge : by being little satisfied with what we have done, we are less apt to sink into indolence and security. To conclude with a piece of egotism : 1 never begin one of these Essays with a consciousness of having written a line before ; and endeavour to do my best, because I seem hitherto to have done nothing !
ON THE LOOK OF A GENTLEMAN.
" The nobleman-look ? Yes, I know what you mean very well : that look which a nobleman should have, rather than what they have generally now. The Duke of Buckingham (Sheffield") was a genteel man, and had a great deal the look you speak of. Wycberley was a very genteel man, and had the nobleman-look as much as the Duke of Buckingham.”
Pope. “He instanced it too in Lord Peterborough, Lord Bolingbroke, Lord Hinchinbroke, the Duke of Bolton, and two or three, more."-Spence's Anecdotes of Pope.
I HAVE chosen the above motto to a very delicate subject, which in prudence I might let alone. I, however, like the title; and will try, at least, to make a sketch of it.
· Quere, Villiers, because in another place it is said, that “ when the latter entered the presence-chamber, he attracted all eyes by the handsomeness of his person, and the gracefulness of his demeanour."
What it is that constitutes the look of a gentleman is more easily felt than described. We all know it when we see it; but we do not know how to account for it, or to explain in what it consists. Causa latet, res ipsa notissima. Ease, grace, dignity have been given as the exponents and expressive symbols of this look; but I would rather say, that an habitual self-possession determines the appearance of a gentleman. He should have the complete command not only over his countenance, but over his limbs and motions. In other words, he should discover in his air and manner a voluntary power over his whole body, which with every inflection of it, should be under the control of his will. It must be evident that he looks and does as he likes, without any restraint, confusion, or awkwardness. He is, in fact, master of his person, as the professor of any art or science is of a particular instrument; he directs it to what use he pleases and intends. Wherever this power and facility appear, we recognise the look and deportment of the gentleman, that is, of a person who by his habits and situation