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readers, they will be apt to tell me, that my paper, after it is thus printed and published, is still beneficial to the public on several occsions. I must confess I have lighted my pipe with my own works for this twelvemonth past. My landlady often sends up her little daughter to desire some of my old Spectators, and has frequently told me, that the paper they are printed on is the best in the world to wrap spice in. They likewise make a good foundation for a mutton-pie, as I have more than once experienced, and were very much sought for last Christmas by the whole neighbourhood.
It is pleasant enough to consider the changes that a linen fragment undergoes, by passing through the several hands above mentioned. The finest pieces of Holland, when worn to tatters, assume a new whiteness, more beautiful than their first, and often return in the shape of letters to their native country. A lady's shift may be metamorphosed into billets-doux, and come into her possession a second time. A beau may peruse his cravat after it is worn out, with greater pleasure and advantage than ever he did in a glass. In a word, a piece of cloth, after having officiated for some years as a towel or a napkin, may by this means be raised from a dunghill, and become the most valuable piece of furniture in a prince's cabinet.
The politest nations of Europe have endeavoured to vie with one another for the reputation of the finest printing. Absolute goverments, as well as republics, have encouraged an art which seems to be the noblest and most beneficial that was ever invented among the sons of men. The present king of France, in his pursuits after glory, has particularly distinguished himself by the promoting of this useful art, insomuch that several books have been printed in the Louvre at his own expense, upon which he sets so great a value, that he considers them as the noblest presents
he can make to foreign princes and ambassadors. If we look into the commonwealths of Holland and Venice, we shall find that, in this particular, they have made themselves the envy of the greatest monarchies. Elzevir and Aldus are more frequently mentioned than any pensioner of the one, or doge of the other.
The several presses which are now in England, and the great encouragement which has been given to learning for some years last past, has made our own nation as glorious upon this account, as for its late triumphs and conquests. The new edition which is given us of Cæsar's Commentaries* has already been taken notice of in foreign gazettes, and is a work that does honour to the English press.
It is no wonder that an edition should be very correct which has passed through the hands of one of the most accurate, learned, and judicious writers this age has produced. The beauty of the paper, of the character, and of the several cuts with which this noble work is illustrated, makes it the finest book that I have ever seen; and is a true instance of the English genius, which, though it does not come the first into any art, generally carries it to greater heights than any other country in the world. I am particularly glad that this author comes from a British printinghouse in so great a magnificence, as he is the first who has given us any tolerable account of our country.
My illiterate readers, if any such there are, will be surprised to hear me talk of learning as the glory of a nation, and of printing as an art that gains a reputation to a people among whom it flourishes. When men's thoughts are taken up with avarice and ambition, they cannot look upon any thing as great or valuable, which does not bring with it an extraordinary power or interest to the person who is con
A most beautiful edition of Cæsar's Memoirs, published about this time in folio, by Dr. Samuel Clarke.
cerned in it. But as I shall never sink this paper so far as to engage with Goths and Vandals, I shall only regard such kind of reasoners with that pity, which is due to so deplorable a degree of stupidity and ignorance.
When first an infant draws the vital air,
As the Spectator is in a kind a paper of news from the natural world, as others are from the busy and politic part of mankind, I shall translate the following letter, written to an eminent French gentleman in this town from Paris, which gives us the exit of a heroine who is a pattern of patience and generosity.
"IT is so many years since you left your native country, that I am to tell you the characters of your nearest relations as much as if you were an utter stranger to them. The occasion of this is to give you an account of the death of Madame de Villacerfe,
whose departure out of this life I know not whether a man of your philosophy will call unfortunate or not, since it was attended with some circumstances as much to be desired as to be lamented. She was her whole life happy in an uninterrupted health, and was always honoured for an evenness of temper and greatness of mind. On the 10th instant, that lady was taken with an indisposition which confined her to her chamber, but was such as was too slight to make her take a sick bed, and yet too grievous to admit of any satisfaction in being out of it. It is notoriously known that some years ago Monsieur Festeau, one of the most considerable surgeons in Paris, was desperately in love with this lady. Her quality placed her above any application to her on the account of his passion: but as a woman always has some regard to the person whom she believes to be her real admirer, she now took it in her head, upon advice of her physicians, to lose some of her blood, to send for Monsieur Festeau on that occasion. I happened to be there at that time, and my near relation gave me the privilege to be present. As soon as her arm was stripped bare, and he began to press it in order to raise the vein, his colour changed, and I observed him seized with a sudden tremor, which made me take the liberty to speak of it to my cousin with some apprehension. She smiled, and said, she knew M. Festeau had no inclination to do her injury. He seemed to recover himself, and smiling also, proceeded in his work. Immediately after the operation, he cried out that he was the most unfortunate of all men, for that he had opened an artery instead of a vein. It is as impossible to express the artist's distraction as the patient's composure. I will not dwell on little circumstances, but go on to inform you, that within three days' time it was thought necessary to take off her arm. She was so far from using Festeau as it would be natural
to one of a lower spirit to treat him, that she would not let him be absent from any consultation about her present condition, and on every occasion asked whether he was satisfied in the measures that were taken about her. Before this last operation, she ordered her will to be drawn, and, after having been about a quarter of an hour alone, she bid the surgeons, of whom poor Festeau was one, go on in their work. I know not how to give you the terms of art, but there appeared such symptoms after the amputation of her arm, that it was visible she could not live four-and-twenty hours. Her behaviour was so magnanimous throughout this whole affair, that I was particularly curious in taking notice of what passed as her fate approached nearer and nearer, and took notes of what she said to all about her, particularly, word for word, what she spoke to M. Festeau, which was as follows:
Sir, you give me inexpressible sorrow for the anguish with which I see you overwhelmed. I am removed, to all intents and purposes, from the interests of human life, therefore I am to begin to think like one wholly unconcerned in it. I do not consider you as one by whose error I have lost my life; no, you are my benefactor, as you have hastened my entrance into a happy immortality. This is my sense of this accident but the world in which you live may have thoughts of it to your disadvantage: I have therefore taken care to provide for you in my will, and have placed you above what you have to fear from their ill-nature.'
"While this excellent woman spoke these words, Festeau looked as if he received a condemnation to die, instead of a pension for his life. Madame de Villacerfe lived till eight of the clock the next night: and though she must have laboured under the most exquisite torments, she possessed her mind with so