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The proper ftudy of mankind is man.

There cannot, indeed, be a more useful, nor, one should imagine, a more easy science; fo many leffons of this kind are every moment forcing themselves upon our obfervation, that it should feem fcarce poffible not to be well acquainted with the various turns and difpofitions of the human heart. And yet there are fo few who are really adepts in this article, that to say of a man, he knows the world, is generally esteemed a compliment of the moft fignificant kind.

THE reafon, perhaps, of the general ignorance which prevails in this fort of knowledge, may arife from our judging too much by univerfal principles. Whereas there is

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a wonderful disparity in mankind, and numberless characters exift which cannot properly be reduced to any regular and fixed ftandard. Monfieur Pafchal obferves, that the greater fagacity any man poffeffes, the more originals he will difcern among his fpecies; as it is the remark of Sir William Temple, that no nation under the fun abounds with fo many as our own. Plutarch, if I remember right, is of opinion, that there is a wider difference between the individuals of our own kind, than what is obfervable between creatures of a separate order; while Montaigne (who seems to have known human nature perfectly well) fuppofes the distance to be still more remote, and afferts that the diftinction is much greater between man and man, than between man and beast.

THE Comic writers have not, I think, taken all the advantage they might of this infinite diverfity of humor in the human race. A judicious obferver of the world might fingle out abundant materials for ridicule, without having recourse to those worn-out characters which are for ever returning upon the ftage. If I were ac


quainted with any genius in this class of writers, I think I could furnish him with an original, which, if artfully represented and connected with proper incidents, might be very fuccessfully introduced into comedy. The perfon I have in view is my neighbor Stilotes.

STILOTES in his youth was esteemed to have good fenfe and a tolerable taste for letters; as he gained fome reputation at the University in the exercises ufual at that place. But as foon as he was freed from the restraint of tutors, the natural reftleffness of his temper broke out, and he has never, from that time to this, applied himfelf for half an hour together to any fingle purfuit. He is extremely active in his difpofition; but his whole life is one inceffant whirl of trifles. He rifes, perhaps, with a full intent of amufing himself all the morning with his gun; but before he has got half the length of a field, he recollects that he owes a vifit, which he muft instantly pay: accordingly his horse is faddled, and he fets out. But in his way he remembers that he has not given proper orders about fuch a flower, and he muft abfolutely

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folutely return, or the whole economy of his nursery will be ruined. Thus, in whatever action you find him engaged, you may be fure it is the very reverse of what he proposed. Yet with all this quickness of tranfition and vivacity of fpirits, he is so indolent in every thing that has the air of business, that he is at least two or three months before he can perfuade himself to open any letter he receives: and from the fame difpofition, he has fuffered the dividends of his ftocks to run on for many years without receiving a fhilling of the intereft. Stilotes is poffeffed of an estate in Dorsetshire, but that being the place where his chief bufinefs lies, he chooses conftantly to refide with a friend near London. This perfon submits to his humor and his company, in hopes that Stilotes will confider him in his will: but it is more than poffible, that he will never endure the fatigue of figning one. However, having here every thing provided for him but clothes and pocketmoney, he lives perfectly to his fatisfaction, in full employment without any real bufinefs; and while those who look after his estate take care to fupply him with suffi

cient to answer those two articles, he is entirely unconcerned as to all the rest: tho', when he is difpofed to appear more than ordinarily important, he will gravely harangue upon the roguery of stewards, and complain that his rents will scarce maintain him in powder and shot half the partridge feafon. In short, Stilotes is one of the most extraordinary compounds of indolence and activity that I ever met with; and as I know you have a tafte for curiofities, I present you with his character as a rarity that merits a place in your collection. Adieu.


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IS well, my friend, that the transformation is no more: otherwife I fhould tremble for your fevere attack upon the Muses, and expect to see the story of your metamorphorfis embellish the poetical miracles of fome modern Ovid. But it is long fince the fate of the Pierides has gained any credit in the world, and N 3


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