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You must not, however, imagine, that I was, during this state of abandoned libertinism, so fully convinced of the fitness of my own conduct, as to be free from uneasiness. I knew very well that I might justly be deemed the pest of society, and that such proceedings must terminate in the destruction of my health and fortune ; but to admit thoughts of this kind was to live upon the rack; I fled, therefore, to the regions of mirth and jollity, as they are called, and endeavoured with burgundy, and a continual rotation of company, to free myself from the pangs of reflection. From these orgies we frequently sallied forth in quest of adventures, to the no small terror and consternation of all the sober stragglers that came in our way ; and though we never injured, like our illustrious progenitors, the Mohocks, either life or limbs; yet we have in the midst of Covent Garden buried a taylor, who had been troublesome to some of our fine gentiemen, beneath a heap of cabbageleaves and stalks, with this conceit,
Satia te caule quem semper cupisti.
Glut yourself with cabbage, of which you have always been
greedy. There can be no reason for mentioning the common exploits of breaking windows and bruising the watch ; unless it be to tell you of the device of producing before the justice broken lanthorns, which have been paid for an hundred times ; or their appearance with patches on their heads, under pretence of being cut by the sword that was never drawn ; nor need I say any thing of the more formidable attack of sturdy chairmen, armed with
poles ; by a slight stroke of which, the pride of Ned Revel's face was at once laid flat, and that effected in an instant, which its most mortal foe had for years assayed in vain. I shall pass over the accidents that attended the attempts to scale windows, and endeavour to dislodge signs from their hooks ; there are many “ hairbreadth 'scapes," besides those in the “imminent deadly breach ;" but the rake's life, though it be equally hazardous with that of the soldier, is neither accompanied with present honour nor with pleasing retrospect ; such is, and such ought to be the difference, between the enemy and the preserver of his country.
Amidst such giddy and thoughtless extravagance, it will not seem strange, that I was often the dupe of coarse flattery. When Mons. L'Allonge assured me that I thrust quart over arm better than any man in England, what could I less than present him with a sword that cost me thirty pieces ? I was bound for a hundred pounds for Tom Trippet, because he had declared that he would dance a minuet with any man in the three kingdoms except myself. But I often parted with money against my inclination, either because I wanted the resolution to refuse, or dreaded the appellation of a niggardly fellow; and I may be truly said to have squandered my estate, without honour, without friends, and without pleasure. The last may, perhaps, appear strange to men unacquainted with the masquerade of life ; I deceived others, and I endeavoured to deceive myself ; and have worn the face of pleasantry and gaiety, while my heart suffered the most exquisite torBy the instigation and encouragement of my friends, I became at length ambitious of a seat in parliament ; and accordingly set out for the town of Wallop in the west, where my arrival was welcomed by a thou. sand throats, and I was in three days sure of a majority ; but after drinking out one hundred and fifty hogsheads of wine, and bribing two thirds of the corporation twice over, I had the mortification to find, that the borough had been before sold to Mr. Courtley.
In a life of this kind, my fortune, though considerable, was presently dissipated ; and as the attraction grows more strong the nearer any body approaches the earth, when once a man begins to sink into poverty, he falls, with velocity always increasing ; every supply is purchased at a higher and higher price, and every office of kindness obtained with greater and greater difficulty. Having now acquainted you with my state of elevation, I shall, if you encourage the continuance of my correspondence, show you by what steps I descended from a first floor in Pall-Mall to my present habitation.
I am, sir,
NUMB. 39. TUESDAY, March 20, 1753.
Pallas pour'd sweet slumbers on his soul ;
If every day did not produce fresh instances of the ingratitude of mankind, we might, perhaps, be at a loss why so liberal a benefactor as Sleep, should meet with so few historians or panegyrists. Writers are so totally absorbed by the business of the day as never to turn their attention to that power, whose officious hand so seasonably suspends the burden of life ; and without whose interposition, man would not be able to endure the fatigue of labour, however rewarded, or the struggle with opposition, however successful.
Night, though she divides to many the longest part of life, and to almost all the most innocent and happy, is yet unthankfully neglected, except by those who pervert her gifts.
The astronomers, indeed, expect her with impatience, and felicitate themselves upon her arrival ; Fontenelle has not failed to celebrate her praises ; and to chide the sun for hiding from his view the worlds, which he imagines to appear in every constellation. Nor have the poets been always deficient in her praises ; Milton
has observed of the night, that it is the pleasant time, the cool, the silent."
These men may, indeed, well be expected to pay particular homage to night ; since they are indebted to her, not only for cessation of pain, but increase of pleasure ; not only for slumber, but for knowledge. But the greater part of her avowed votaries are the sons of luxury ; who appropriate to festivity the hours designed for rest ; who consider the reign of pleasure as commencing, when day begins to withdraw her busy multitudes, and ceases to dissipate atten. tion by intrusive and unwelcome variety ; who begin to awake to joy when the rest of the world sinks into insensibility ;, and revel in the soft affluence of flattering and artificial lights, which “ more shadowy set off the face of things.” . Without touching upon the fatal consequences of a custom, which, as Ramazzini observes, will be for ever condemned, and for ever retained ; it may be observed, that however sleep may be put off from time to time, yet the demand is of so importunate a nature, as not to remain long unsatisfied ; and if, as some have done, we consider it as the tax of life, we cannot but observe it as a tax that must be paid, unless we could cease to be men ; for Alexander declared, that nothing convinced him that he was not a divinity, but his not being able to live without sleep.
To live without sleep in our present fluctuating state, however desirable it might seem to the lady in Clelia, can surely be the wish only of the young or the ignorant; to every one else, a perpetual vigil will appear to be a