Page images

this rate is as tedious as counting a great clock. But you are to know he is rich, and my mother says, as he is slow he is sure; he will love me long, if he love me little: but I appeal to you whether he loves at all. Your neglected humble servant,



· All these fellows who have money are extremely saucy and cold ; pray, sir, tell them of it.'

[ocr errors]


I have been delighted with nothing more through the whole course of your writings than the substantial account you lately gave of wit, and I could wish you

would take some other opportunity to express further the corrupt taste the age is run into; which I am chiefly apt to attribute to the prevalency of a few popular authors, whose merit in some respects has given a sanction to their faults in others. Thus the imitators of Milton seem to place all the excellency of that sort of writing either in the uncouth or antique words, or something else which was highly vicious, though pardonable, in that great

The admirers of what we call point, or turn, look upon it as the particular happiness to which Cowley, Ovid, and others, owe their reputation, and therefore endeavour to imitate them only in such instances. What is just, proper, and natural, does not seem to be the question with them, but by what means a quaint antithesis may be brought about, how one word may be made to look two ways, and what will be the consequence

of a forced allusion. Now though such authors appear to me to resemble those who make themselves fine, in


So Philips in his Cyder is careful to mis-spell the words vrchat, sovran, after Milton, &c.

stead of being well-dressed, or graceful; yet the mischief is, that these beauties in them, which I call blemishes, are thought to proceed from luxuriance of fancy, and overflowing of good sense. In one word, they have the character of being too witty: but if you would acquaint the world they are not witty at all, you would, among many others, oblige

- Your most benevolent reader,

"R. D.'


[ocr errors]


• I am a young woman, and reckoned pretty: therefore


will pardon me that I trouble you to decide a wager between me and a cousin of mine, who is always contradicting one because he understands Latin : pray, sir, is Dimple spelt with a single or a double pŽ

· I am, SIR,

humble servant,

[ocr errors]

Pray, sir, direct thus, “ To the kind Querist," and leave it at Mr. Lillie's, for I do not care to be know in the thing at all. I am, sir, again, your humble servant.'


• I must needs tell you there are several of your papers I do not much like. You are often so nice there is no enduring you, and so learned there is no understanding you. What have you to do with our petticoats?

• Your humble servant,



Last night, as I was walking in the Park, I met a couple of friends. “ Prythee, Jack," says one of them, “ let us go drink a glass of wine, for I am fit for nothing else.” This put me upon reflecting on the many miscarriages which happen in conversations over wine, when men go to the bottle to remove such humours as it only stirs up

and awakens. This I could not attribute more to any thing than to the humour of putting company upon others which men do not like themselves. Pray, sir, declare in your papers, that he who is a troublesome companion to himself, will not be an agreeable one to others. Let people reason themselves into good humour, before they impose themselves upon their friends. Pray, sir, be as eloquent as you can upon this subject, and do human life so much good, as to argue powerfully, that it is not every one that can swallow who is fit to drink a glass of wine.

• Your most humble servant.'


I This morning cast my eye upon your paper concerning the expence of time. You are very obliging to the women, especially those who are not young and past gallantry, by touching so gently upon gaming: therefore I hope you do not think it wrong to employ a little leisure time in that diversion; but I should be glad to hear you say something upon

the behaviour of some of the female gamesters.

• I have observed ladies, who in all other respects are gentle, good-humoured, and the very pinks of good-breeding; who as soon as the ombre-table is

called for, and sit down to their business, are immediately transmigrated into the veriest wasps in nature.

• You must know I keep my temper, and win their money; but am out of countenance to take it, it makes them so very uneasy. Be pleased, dear sir, to instruct them to lose with a better grace, and you will oblige




"Your kindness to Leonora, in one of your papers, has given me encouragement to do myself the honour of writing to you. The great regard you have so often expressed for the instruction and improvement of our sex will, I hope, in your own opinion, sufficiently excuse me from making any apology for the impertinence of this letter. The great desire I have to embellish my mind with some of those graces which you say are so becoming, and which you assert reading helps us to, has made me uneasy until I am put in a capacity of attaining them. This, sir, I shall never think myself in, until you shall be pleased to recommend some author or authors to my perusal.

I thought indeed, when I first cast my eye on Leonora's letter, that I should have had no occasion for requesting it of you; but to my very great concern, I found on the perusal of that Spectator, I was entirely disappointed, and am as much at a loss how to make use of my time for that end as ever. Pray, sir, oblige me at least with one scene, as you were pleased to entertain Leonora with your prologue. I write to you not only my own sentiments, but also those of several others of my acquaintance, who are as little pleased with the ordinary manner of spending one's time as myself: and if a fervent desire after knowledge, and a great sense of our present ignorance, may be thought a good presage and earnest of improvement, you may look upon your time you shall bestow in answering this request not thrown away to no purpose. And I cannot but add, that unless you have a particular and more than ordinary regard for Leonora, I have a better title to your favour than she: since I do not content myself with tea-table reading of your papers, but it is my entertainment very often when alone in my closet. To shew you I am capable of improvement, and hate flattery, I acknowledge I do not like some of your papers; but even there I am readier to call in

question my own shallow understanding than Mr. Spectator's profound judgment. • I am, sır, your already (and in hopes of being more your) obliged servant,



[ocr errors]

This last letter is written with so urgent and serious an air, that I cannot but think it incumbent upon me to comply with her commands, which I shall do very suddenly.


« PreviousContinue »