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vacancy occasioned by the death of my worthy friend the clergyman, whom I can never mention but with a particular respect.
Having maturely weighed these several particulars, with the many remonstrances that have been made to me on this subject, and considering how invidious an office I shall take upon me if I make the whole election depend upon my single voice, and being unwilling to expose myself to those clamours, which, on such an occasion, will not fail to be raised against me for partiality, in. justice, corruption, and other qualities which my nature abhors, I have formed to myself the project of a club as follows.
I have thoughts of issuing out writs to all and every of the clubs that are established in the cities of London and Westminster, requiring them to chuse out of their respective bodies a person of the greatest merit, and to return his name to me before Lady-day, at which time I intend to sit upon business.
By this means I may have reason to hope, that the club over which I shall preside will be the very flower and quintessence of all other clubs. I have communicated this my project to none but a particular friend of mine, whom I have celebrated twice or thrice for his happiness in that kind of wit which is commonly known by the name of a pun. The only objection he makes to it is, that I shall raise up enemies to myself if I act with so regal an air; and that my detractors, instead of giving me the usual title of SPECTATOR, will be apt to call me the King of Clubs.'
But to proceed on my intended project, it is very well known that I at first set forth in this work with the character of a silent man; and I think I have so well preserved my taciturnity, that I frequently, as. The form of expression, in either case, I take to be elliptical, and to be supplied thus-such as they are vho; sometimes we connect the extremes such—who, and omit the intermediate terms—as they are ; sometimes, again, (and this more usually) we take the two first terms, such as, and omit the following-they are uho--In all cases, I take it to be an error, to consider as in the light of a relative, properly so called. It is a conjunction only; but is mistaken for a relative, because, in its construction, it implies one, though it be not expressed.-II.
do not remember to have violated it with three sentences in the space of almost two years. As a monosyllable is my delight, I have made very few excursions, in the conversations which I have related, beyond a yes or a no. By this means ny readers bare lost many good things which I have had in my heart, though I did not care for uttering them.
Now, in order to diversify my character, and to show the world how well I can talk if I have a mind, I have thoughts of being very loquacious in the club which I have now under consideration. But that I may proceed the more regularly in this affair, I design, upon the first meeting of the said club, to
I have my mouth opened in form; intending to regulate myself, in this particular, by a certain ritual which I have by me, that contains all the ceremonies which are practised at the opening the mouth of a cardinal. I have likewise examined the forms which were used of old by Pythagoras, when any of his scholars, after an apprenticeship of silence, was made free of his speech. In the mean time, as I have of late found my name in foreign gazettes upon less occasions, I question not but in their next articles from Great Britain, they will inform the world, that the Spectator's mouth is to be opened on the twenty-fifth of March next. I may, perhaps, publish a very useful paper at that time, of the proceedings in that solemnity, and of the persons who shall assist at it. But of this more hereafter.
a Violated it. There is no pronouncing—ed and it—when they come together, especially, when the accent, as here, does not fall on ed, but is even thrown back as far as vi, in violated. But, the author allowed himself to commit this fault (for we may be sure his ear admonished him of it) rather than part with violated, the most happily chosen word, in this place, that ever was.-H.
1 V. No. 434.
No. 556. FRIDAY, JUNE 18, 1714.
Qualis ubi in lucem coluber, mala gramina pastus,
Virg. Æn. 2, 471.
Uron laying down the office of Spectator, I acquainted the world with my design of electing a new club, and of opening my mouth in it after a most solemn manner. Both the election and the ceremony are now past; but not finding it so easy as I at first imagined, to break through a fifty years' silence, I would not venture into the world under the character of a man who pretends to talk like other people, until I had arrived at a full freedom of speech.
I shall reserve for another time the history of such club or clubs of which I am now a talkative, but unworthy member; and shall here give an account of this surprising change which has been produced in me, and which I look upon to be as remarkable an accident as any recorded in history, since that which happened to the son of Crosus, after having been many years as much tongue-tied as myself.
Upon the first opening of my mouth, I made a speech con
a A new club would never be endured, after the old one: and, without a club, to what end is his mouth opened ? Every thing shews that Mr. Addison was much embarrassed in contriving how to protract this paper beyond its natural term. We find him, therefore, after much expence of humour in describing this ceremony of opening his mouth, obliged to proceed in his old way, that is, of formal essay, instead of conversation. See the conclusion of this
sisting of about half a dozen well-turned periods; but grew so very hoarse upon it, that for three days together, instead of finding the use of my tongue, I was afraid that I had quite lost it. Besides, the unusual extension of my museles on this occasion, made my face ache on both sides to such a degree, that nothing but an invincible resolution and perseverance could have prevented me from falling back to my monosyllables.
I afterwards made several essays towards speaking; and that I might not be startled at my own voice, which has happened to me more than once, I used to read aloud in my chamber, and have often stood in the middle of the street to call a coach, when I knew there was none within hearing.
When I was thus grown pretty well acquainted with my own voice, I laid hold of all opportunities to exert it. Not caring, however, to speak much by myself, and to draw upon me the whole attention of those I conversed with, I used, for some time, to walk every morning in the Mall, and talk in chorus with a parcel of Frenchmen. I found my modesty greatly relieved by the communicative temper of this nation, who are so very sociable, as to think they are never better company than when they are all opening at the same time.
I then fancied I might receive great benefit from female conversation, and that I should have a convenience of talking with the greater freedom, when I was not under any impediment of thinking: I therefore threw myself into an assembly of ladies, but could not, for my life, get in a word among them; and found, that if I did not change my company, I was in danger of being reduced to my primitive taciturnity.
The coffee houses have, ever since, been my chief places of resort, where I have made the greatest improvements; in order to which, I have taken a particular care never to be of the same opinion with the man I converse with. I was a Tory at Button's
and a Whig at Child's: a friend to the Englishman, or an advocate for the Examiner, as it best served my turn; some fancy me a great enemy to the French king, though in reality, I only make use of him for a help to discourse. In short, I wrangle and dispute for exercise ; and I have carried this point so far, that I was once like to have been run through the body for making a little too free with my betters.
In a word, I am quite another man to what I was.“
My old acquaintance scarce know me; nay, I was asked the other day by a Jew at Jonathan's, whether I was not related to a dumb gentleman, who used to come to that coffee house ? But I think I never was better pleased in my life than about a week ago, when, as I was battling it across the table with a young Templar, his companion gave him a pull by the sleeve, begging him to come away, for that the old prig would talk him to death.
Being now a very good proficient in discourse, I shall appear in the world with this addition to my character, that my countrymen may reap the fruits of my new acquired loquacity.
Those who have been present at public disputes in the university, know, that it is usual to maintain heresies for argument's sake. I have heard a man a most impudent Socinian for half an hour, who has been an orthodox divine all his life after. I have taken the same method to accomplish myself in the gift of utter
* Another man to what I was. To account for this construction, another-to, we are to fill up the sentence thus: “I am quite another man [compared] to what I was.” But another, as here used, having the sense of different, we borrow its construction, and say, without scruple, another man froin—as we should do, if the word different was employed. This form of expression is now generally followed, and is plainly better than the other elliptical one.—H.