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out against their best friends, when they have such a handle given them of being witty. But let them remember that I do hereby enter my caveat against this piece of raillery.
No. XI. TUESDAY, MARCH 13.
Dat veniam corvis, vexat censura columbas.
The doves are censur’d, while the crows are spared.
ARIETTA is visited by all persons of both sexes who have any pretence to wit and gallantry. She is in that time of life which is neither affected with the follies of youth or infirmities of age; and her conversation is so mixed with gaiety and prudence, that she is agreeable both to the young and old. Her behaviour is very frank, without being in the least blameable; and as she is out of the track of any amorous or ambi. tious pursuits of her own, her visitants entertain her with accounts of themselves very freely, whether they concern their passions or their interests. I made her a visit this afternoon, having been formerly introduced to the honour of her acquaintance by my friend Will Honeycomb, who has prevailed upon her to admit me sometimes into her assembly as a civil inoffensive man. I found her accompanied with one person only, a common-place talker, who, upon my entrance, arose, and after a very slight civility sat down again; then turning to Arietta, pursued his discourse, which I found was upon the old topic of constancy in love. He went on with great facility in repeating what he talks every day of his life; and with the ornaments of insignificant laughs and gestures, enforced his ar
guments by quotations out of plays and songs, which allude to the perjuries of the fair, and the general levity of women. Methought he strove to shine more than ordinary in his talkative way, that he might insult my silence, and distinguish himself before a woman of Arietta's taste and understanding. She had often an inclination to interrupt him, but could find no opportunity, till the larum ceased of itself; which it did not till he had repeated and murdered the celebrated story of the Ephesian Matron.
Arietta seemed to regard this piece of raillery as an outrage done to her sex; as indeed I have always observed that women, whether out of a nicer regard to their honour, or what other reason I cannot tell, are more sensibly touched with those general aspersions which are cast upon their sex, than men are by what is said of theirs.
When she had a little recovered herself from the serious anger she was in, she replied in the following manner:
Sir, when I consider how perfectly new all you have said on this subject is, and that the story you have given us is not quite two thousand years old, I cannot but think it a piece of presumption to dispute with you; but your quotations put me in mind of the fable of the Lion and the Man. The man walking with that noble animal, shewed him, in the ostentation of human superiority, a sign of a man killing a lion. Upon which the lion said very justly, “ We, lions, are 66 none of us painters, else we could shew a hundred 66 men killed by lions, for one lion killed by a man." You men are writers, and can represent us women as unbecoming as you please in your works, while we are unable to return the injury. You have twice or thrice observed in your discourse, that hypocrisy is the very foundation of our education; and that an ability to dissemble our affections is a professed part of our breeding. These, and such other reflections, are sprinkled up and down the writings of all ages, by authors who leave behind-them memorials of their resentment against the scorns of particular women, in invectives against the whole sex. Such a writer, I doubt not, was the celebrated Petronius, who invented the pleasant aggravations of the frailty of the Ephesian Lady; but when we consider this question between the sexes, which has been either a point of dispute or raillery ever since there were men and women, let us take facts upon plain people, and from such as have not either ambition or capacity to embellish their narrations with any beauties of imagination. I was the . other day amusing myself with Ligon's account of Barbadoes; and in answer to your well-wrought tale, I will give you (as it dwells upon my memory) out of my honest traveller, in his fifty-fifth page, the history of Inkle and Yarico.
Mr. Thomas Inkle, of London, aged twenty years, embarked in the Downs on the good ship called the Achilles, bound for the West Indies, on the 16th of June, 1647, in order to improve his fortune by trade and merchandize. Our adventurer was the third son of an eminent citizen, who had taken particular care to instil into his mind an early love of gain, by making him a perfect master of numbers, and consequently giving him a quick view of loss and advantage, and preventing the natural impulses of his passions, by prepossession towards his interests. With a mind thus turned, young Inkle had a person every way agreeable, a ruddy vigour in his countenance, strength in his limbs, with ringlets of fair hair loosely flowing on his shoulders. It happened, in the course of the voyage, that the Achilles, in some distress, put into a creek on the main of America, in search of provisions. The youth, who is the hero of my story, among o. thers, went ashore on this occasion. From their first