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letter, and read aloud, for the pleasure, I suppose, of
hearing soft words in praise of herself, the following epistle:
“I SAT near you all the opera last night; but “knew no entertainment from the vain show and noise “about me, while I waited wholly intent upon the “motion of your bright eyes, in hopes of a glance, “that might restore me to the pleasures of sight and “hearing in the midst of beauty and harmony. It is “said, the hell of the accursed in the next life arises “from an incapacity to partake the joys of the blessed, “though they were to be admitted to them. Such, I “am sure, was my condition all that evening; and if “you, my deity, cannot have so much mercy, as to “make me by your influence capable of tasting the “satisfactions of life, my being is ended, which con“sisted only in your favour.”
more desire than languishment; then took out her
The letter was hardly read over, when she rushed "t of bed in her wrapping gown, and consulted her glass for the truth of his passion. She raised her oad, and turned it to a profile, repeating the last ones, “my being is ended, which consisted only in Yoo favour.” The goddess immediately called her maid, and fell to dressing that mischievous face of or's, without any manner of consideration for the hortal who had offered up his petition. Nay, it was * War otherwise, that the whole time of her woman's 9mbing her hair was spent in discourse of the in peronce of his passion, and ended in declaring a resolution, if she ever had him, to make him wait. She *frankly told the favourite gypsey that was prating \o her, that her passionate lover had put it out of her Power to be civil to him, if she were inclined to it; for (said she) if I am thus celestial to my lover, he will certainly so far think himself disappointed, as I grow into the familiarity and form of a mortal woman.
I came away as I wentin, without staying for other remarks than what confirmed me in the opinion, that it is from the notions the men inspire them with, that the women are so fantastical in the value of themselves. This imaginary pre-eminence which is given to the fair sex, is not only formed from the addresses of people of condition; but it is the fashion and humour of all orders to go regularly out of their wits, as soon as they begin to make love. I know at this time three goddesses in the New Exchange; and there are two shepherdesses that sell gloves in Westminster-hall.
.......... Aliena negotia centum
Sheer-lane, March 1.
HAVING the honour to be by my great grandmother a Welchman, I have been among some choice spirits of that part of Great-Britain, where we solaced ourselves in celebration of the day of St. David. I am, I confess, elevated above that state of mind which is proper for lucubration: but I am the less concerned at this, because I have for this day or two last past observed, that we novelists have been condemned wholly to the pastry cooks, the eyes of the nation being turned upon greater matters. This therefore being a time when none but my immediate correspondents will read me, I shall speak to them chiefly
at this present writing. It is the fate of us who pretend to joke, to be frequently understood to be only upon the droll when we are speaking the most serious
ly, as appears by the following letter to Charles Lillie.
London, February 28, 1709-10. “Ms. LILLIE,
“IT being professed by squire Bickerstaff, that “his intention is to expose the vices and follies of the “age, and to promote virtue and good-will amongst “mankind, it must be a comfort to a person labour“ing under great straits and difficulties, to read any “thing that has the appearance of succour. I should “be glad to know, therefore, whether the intelligence “given in his Tatler of Saturday last, of the intended “charity of a certain citizen of London, to maintain “the education of ten boys in writing and accompts “till they be fit for trade, be given only to encourage “and recommend persons to the practice of such “noble and charitable designs, or whether there be a “person who really intends to do so. If the latter, I “humbly beg squire Bickerstaff's pardon for making “a doubt, and impute it to my ignorance; and most “humbly crave, that he would be pleased to give “notice in his Tatler, when he thinks fit, whether his “nomination of ten boys be disposed, or whether “there be room for two boys to be recommended to “him; and that he will permit the writer of this to “present him with two boys, who, it is humbly pre“sumed, will be judged to be very remarkable objects “of such charity.
I am to tell this gentleman in sober sadness, and without jest, that there really is so good and charitable a man as the benefactor enquired for in his letter, and that there are but two boys yet named. The father of the one of them was killed at Blenheim, the father of the other at Almanza. I do not here give the names of the children, because I should take it to be an insolence in me to publish them, in a charity which I have only the direction of as a servant to that worthy and generous spirit who bestows upon them this bounty, without laying the bondage of an obligation. What I have to do is to tell them, they are beholden only to their maker, to kill in them as they grow up the false shame of poverty; and let them know, that their present fortune, which is come upon them by the loss of their poor fathers on so glorious occasions, is much more honourable, than the inheritance of the most ample ill-gotten wealth. The next letter which lies before me is from a man of sense; who strengthens his own authority with that of Tully, in persuading me to what he very justly believes one cannot be averse.
London, February 27.
“ MR. BICKERSTAFF,
“I AM so confident of your inclination to pro“mote any thing that is for the advancement of liberal “arts, that I lay before you the following translation “ of a paragraph in Cicero's oration in defence of Ar“chias the poet, as an incentive to the agreeable and “ instructive reading of the writings of the Augustan “ age. Most vices and follies proceed from a man's “ incapacity of entertaining himself, and we are gene“ rally fools in company, because we dare not be wise “ alone. I hope on some future occasions, you will “find this no barren hint. Tully, after having said “very handsome things of his client, commends the “arts of which he was master, as follows:
“If so much profit be not reaped in the study of “letters, and if pleasure only be found: yet, in my “ opinion, this relaxation of the mind should be * esteemed most humane and ingenuous. Other “ things are not for all ages, places and seasons. “These studies form youth, delight old age, adorn “ prosperity, and soften, and even remove adversity, “ entertain at home, are no hindrance abroad; do not “ leave us at night, and keep us company on the road, “ and in the country. “I am, “Your humble servant, “ STREPHON.”
The following epistle seems to want the quickest dispatch, because a lady is every moment offended until it is answered"; which is best done by letting the offender see in her own letter how tender she is of calling him so.
“THIS comes from a relation of yours; though “unknown to you, who, besides the tie of consangui“nity, has some value for you on the account of your “lucubrations, those being designed to refine our con“versation, as well as to cultivate our minds. I hum“bly beg the favour of you, in one of your Tatler's “(after what manner you please) to correct a particu“lar friend of mine, for an indecorum he is guilty of “in discourse, of calling his acquaintance, when he “speaks of them, madam: as for example, my cousin “Jenny Distaff, Madam Distaff; which I am sure you “are sensible is very unpolite, and it is what makes “me often uneasy for him, though I cannot tell him “of it myself, which makes me guilty of this presump“tion, that I depend upon your goodness to excuse;