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No. 123 [from The Spectator]
by [?]

No. 123
Saturday, July 21, 1711.
‘Doctrina sed vim promovet insitam,

Rectique cultus pectora roborant:

Utcunque defecere mores,

Dedecorant bene nata culpae.’


As I was Yesterday taking the Air with my Friend Sir ROGER, we were met by a fresh-coloured ruddy young Man, who rid by us full speed, with a couple of Servants behind him. Upon my Enquiry who he was, Sir ROGER told me that he was a young Gentleman of a considerable Estate, who had been educated by a tender Mother that lives not many Miles from the Place where we were. She is a very good Lady, says my Friend, but took so much care of her Son’s Health, that she has made him good for nothing. She quickly found that Reading was bad for his Eyes, and that Writing made his Head ache. He was let loose among the Woods as soon as he was able to ride on Horseback, or to carry a Gun upon his Shoulder. To be brief, I found, by my Friend’s Account of him, that he had got a great Stock of Health, but nothing else; and that if it were a Man’s Business only to live, there would not be a more accomplished young Fellow in the whole Country.

The Truth of it is, since my residing in these Parts I have seen and heard innumerable Instances of young Heirs and elder Brothers, who either from their own reflecting upon the Estates they are born to, and therefore thinking all other Accomplishments unnecessary, or from hearing these Notions frequently inculcated to them by the Flattery of their Servants and Domesticks, or from the same foolish Thought prevailing in those who have the Care of their Education, are of no manner of use but to keep up their Families, and transmit their Lands and Houses in a Line to Posterity.

This makes me often think on a Story I have heard of two Friends, which I shall give my Reader at large, under feigned Names. The Moral of it may, I hope, be useful, though there are some Circumstances which make it rather appear like a Novel, than a true Story.

Eudoxus and Leontine began the World with small Estates. They were both of them Men of good Sense and great Virtue. They prosecuted their Studies together in their earlier Years, and entered into such a Friendship as lasted to the End of their Lives. Eudoxus, at his first setting out in the World, threw himself into a Court, where by his natural Endowments and his acquired Abilities he made his way from one Post to another, till at length he had raised a very considerable Fortune. Leontine on the contrary sought all Opportunities of improving his Mind by Study, Conversation, and Travel. He was not only acquainted with all the Sciences, but with the most eminent Professors of them throughout Europe. He knew perfectly well the Interests of its Princes, with the Customs and Fashions of their Courts, and could scarce meet with the Name of an extraordinary Person in the Gazette whom he had not either talked to or seen. In short, he had so well mixt and digested his Knowledge of Men and Books, that he made one of the most accomplished Persons of his Age. During the whole Course of his Studies and Travels he kept up a punctual Correspondence with Eudoxus, who often made himself acceptable to the principal Men about Court by the Intelligence which he received from Leontine. When they were both turn’d of Forty (an Age in which, according to Mr. Cowley, there is no dallying with Life [1]) they determined, pursuant to the Resolution they had taken in the beginning of their Lives, to retire, and pass the Remainder of their Days in the Country. In order to this, they both of them married much about the same time. Leontine, with his own and his Wife’s Fortune, bought a Farm of three hundred a Year, which lay within the Neighbourhood of his Friend Eudoxus, who had purchased an Estate of as many thousands. They were both of them Fathers about the same time, Eudoxus having a Son born to him, and Leontine a Daughter; but to the unspeakable Grief of the latter, his young Wife (in whom all his Happiness was wrapt up) died in a few Days after the Birth of her Daughter. His Affliction would have been insupportable, had not he been comforted by the daily Visits and Conversations of his Friend. As they were one Day talking together with their usual Intimacy, Leontine, considering how incapable he was of giving his Daughter a proper education in his own House, and Eudoxus reflecting on the ordinary Behaviour of a Son who knows himself to be the Heir of a great Estate, they both agreed upon an Exchange of Children, namely that the Boy should be bred up with Leontine as his Son, and that the Girl should live with Eudoxus as his Daughter, till they were each of them arrived at Years of Discretion. The Wife of Eudoxus, knowing that her Son could not be so advantageously brought up as under the Care of Leontine, and considering at the same time that he would be perpetually under her own Eye, was by degrees prevailed upon to fall in with the Project. She therefore took Leonilla, for that was the Name of the Girl, and educated her as her own Daughter. The two Friends on each side had wrought themselves to such an habitual Tenderness for the Children who were under their Direction, that each of them had the real Passion of a Father, where the Title was but imaginary. Florio, the Name of the young Heir that lived with Leontine, though he had all the Duty and Affection imaginable for his supposed Parent, was taught to rejoice at the Sight of Eudoxus, who visited his Friend very frequently, and was dictated by his natural Affection, as well as by the Rules of Prudence, to make himself esteemed and beloved by Florio. The Boy was now old enough to know his supposed Father’s Circumstances, and that therefore he was to make his way in the World by his own Industry. This Consideration grew stronger in him every Day, and produced so good an Effect, that he applied himself with more than ordinary Attention to the Pursuit of every thing which Leontine recommended to him. His natural Abilities, which were very good, assisted by the Directions of so excellent a Counsellor, enabled him to make a quicker Progress than ordinary through all the Parts of his Education. Before he was twenty Years of Age, having finished his Studies and Exercises with great Applause, he was removed from the University to the Inns of Court, where there are very few that make themselves considerable Proficients in the Studies of the Place, who know they shall arrive at great Estates without them. This was not Florio’s Case; he found that three hundred a Year was but a poor Estate for Leontine and himself to live upon, so that he Studied without Intermission till he gained a very good Insight into the Constitution and Laws of his Country.