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within rules, that the whole company stand in the utmost anxiety and suspense, for fear of their falling into extremities which they could not be present at. On the other side, Tom Faddle and his pretty spouse, wherever they come, are billing at such a rate, as they think must do our hearts good to behold them. Cannot you possibly propose a mean between being wasps and doves in public? I should think, if you advised to hate or love sincerely it would be better : for if they would be so discreet as to hate from the very bottoms of their hearts, their aversion would be too strong for little gibes every moment: and if they loved with that calm and noble valour which dwells in the heart, with a warmth like that of life-blood, they would not be so impatient of their passions as to fall into observable fondness. This method, in each case, would save appearances; but as those who offend on the fond side are by much the fewer, I would have you begin with them, and go on to take notice of a most impertinent licence married women take, not only to be very loving to their spouses in public, but also make nauseous allusions to private familiarities, and the like. Lucina is a lady of the greatest discretion, you must know, in the world ; and withal very much a physician. Upon the strength of these two qualities there is nothing she will not speak of before us virgins; and she every day talks with a very grave air in such a manner, as is very improper so much as to be hinted at but to obviate the greatest extremity. Those whom they call good bodies, notable people, hearty neighbours, and the purest goodest company in the world, are the great offenders in his kind. Here I think I have laid before you an open field for pleasantry; and hope you will shew these people that at least they are not witty : · in which you will save from many a blush a daily sufferer, who is very much
* Your most humble servant,
• In yours of Wednesday the 30th past, you and your correspondents are very severe on a sort of men, whom you call male coquettes; but without any other reason, in my apprehension, than that of paying a shallow compliment to the fair sex, by accusing some men of imaginary faults, that the women may not seem to be the more faulty sex; though at the same time you suppose there are some so weak as to be imposed upon by fine things and false addresses. I cannot persuade myself that your design is to debar the sexes the benefit of each other's conversation within the rules of honour; nor will you, I dare say, recommend to them, or encourage the common tea-table talk, much less that of politics and matters of state; and if these are forbidden subjects of discourse, then, as long as there are any women in the world who take a pleasure in hearing themselves praised, and can bear the sight of a man prostrate at their feet, so long I shall make no wonder that there are those of the other sex who will pay them those impertinent humiliations. We should have few people such fools as to practise flattery, if all were so wise as to despise it. I do not deny but you would do a meritorious act, if you could prevent all impositions on the simplicity of young women ; but I must confess, I do not apprehend you have laid the fault on the proper persons; and if I trouble you with my thoughts upon it, I promise myself your pardon. Such of the sex as are raw and innocent, and most exposed to these attacks, have, or their parents are much to blame if they have not, one to advise and guard them, and are obliged themselves to take care of them; but if these who ought to hinder men from all opportunities of this sort of conversation, instead of that encourage and promote it, the suspicion is very just that there are some private reasons for it; and I will leave it to you to determine on which side a part is then acted. Some women there are who are arrived at years of discretion, I mean are got out of the hands of their parents and governors, and are set up for themselves, who are yet liable to these attempts; but if these are prevailed upon, you must excuse me if I lay the fault upon them, that their wisdom is not grown with their years. My client, Mr. Strephon, whom you sum, moned to declare himself, gives you thanks however for your warning, and begs the favour only to enlarge his time for a week, or to the last day of the term, and then he will appear gratis, and pray no day over.
"I was last night to visit a lady whom I much esteem, and always took for my friend ; but met with so very different a reception from what I expected, that I cannot help applying myself to you on this occasion. In the room of that civility and familiarity I used to be treated with by her, an affected strangeness in her looks, and coldness in her behaviour, plainly told me I was not the welcome guest which the regard and tenderness she has often expressed for me gave me reason to flatter myself to
think I was. Sir, this is certainly a great fault, and I assure you a very common one; therefore I hope you will think it a fit subject for some part of a Spectator. Be pleased to acquaint us how we must behave ourselves towards this valetudinary friendship, subject to so many heats and colds, and you will oblige,
ISIR, · "I cannot forbear acknowledging the delight your late Spectators on Saturdays have given me; for they are writ in the honest spirit of criticism, and called to my mind the following four lines I had read long since in a prologue to a play called Julius Cæsar,* which has deserved a better fate. The verses are addressed to the little critics :
Shew your small talent, and let that suffice ye;
* A tragedy by William Alexander, Earl of Stirling, fol. 1629, and much the most regular and dramatic piece of this noble author.
N° 301. THURSDAY, FEB. 14, 1711-12.
Possint ut juvenes visere fervidi
HoR. 4 Od. xiii. 26.
Which lately shone so fierce and bright,
We are generally so much pleased with any little accomplishments, either of body or mind, which have once made us remarkable in the world, that we endeavour to persuade ourselves it is not in the power of time to rob us of them. We are eternally pursuing the same methods which first procured us the applauses of mankind. It is from this notion that an author writes on, though he is come to dotage; without ever considering that his memory is impaired, and that he hath lost that life, and those spirits, which formerly raised his fancy, and fired his imagination. The same folly hinders a man from submitting his behaviour to his age, and makes Clodius, who was a celebrated dancer at five and twenty, still love to hobble in a minuet, though he is past threescore. It is this, in a word, which fills the town with elderly fops and superannuated coquettes.
Canidia, a lady of this latter species, passed by me yesterday in a coach. Canidia was an haughty beauty of the last age, and was followed by crowds of adorers, whose passions only pleased her, as they