56 SAMUEL JOHNSON
so little knowledge of their own interest, as to aspire to wear a mask for life ; to try to impose upon the world a character, to which they feel themselves void of any just claim ; and to hazard their quiet, their fame, and even their profit, by exposing themselves to the danger of that reproach, malevolence, and neglect, which such a discovery as they have always to fear will certainly bring upon them.
It might be imagined that the pleasure of reputation should consist in the satisfaction of having our opinion of our own merit con- firmed by the suffrage of the public; and that, to be extolled for a quality, which a man knows himself to want, should give him no other happiness than to be mistaken for the owner of an estate, over which he chances to be travelling. But he who subsists upon affectation, knows nothing of this delicacy; like a desperate adventurer in commerce, he takes up reputation upon trust, mortgages possessions which he never had, and enjoys, to the fatal hour of bankruptcy, though with a thousand terrors and anxieties, the unneces- sary splendour of borrowed riches.
Affectation is always to be distinguished from hypocrisy, as being the art of counter- feiting those qualities which we might, with