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We now see as great a virtue as ever was on the Brilijb •throne, surrounded with all the beauty of success. Our nation may not only boast of a long series of great, regular, and well laid designs, but also of triumphs dnd victories; while we have the happiness to fee our Sovereign exercise that true policy which tends to make a kingdom great and happy, and at the fame time enjoy the good and glorious effect of it.
N° 91. Tuesday, November 8, 1709.
From my own Apartment, November 7.
IWas very much surprized this evening with a visit from one of the top Toasts of the town, who came privately in a chair, and bolted into my room, while I was reading a chapter of Agrippa upon the Occult Sciences; but as (he entered with all the air and bloom that Nature ever bestowed on woman, 1 threw down the conjurer, and met the charmer. 1 had no sooner placed her at my right hand by the fire, but (he opened to me the reason of her visit. "Mr. Bickerstaff, said the fin« "creature, I have been your correspondent some time, "though I never saw you before; I have writ by the "name of Maria. You have- told me, you were too "far gone in life to think of Love: Therefore I am *' answered as to the passion I spoke of, and, continued "she smiling, I will not stay until you grow young again, "as you men never fail to do in your dotage; but am "come to consult you about disposing of myself toano*• ther. My person you see; my fortune is very copsi** derable; but I am at present under much perplexity "how to act in a great conjuncture. I have two Lovers, "Crajsus and .Lorie: Crajsus is prodigioufly rich, but "has no one distinguishing quality; though at the fame "time he-is not remarkable on the defective side. Lorio "has travelled, is well bred, pleasant in discourse, disL 3, "Wei
"creet in his conduct, agreeable in his person; and "with all this, he has a competency of fortune without "superfluity. When I consider Lorio, my mind ia filled "with an idea of the great satisfaction of a pleasant "conversation. When I think of Crajsus, my equipage, "numerous servants, gay liveries, and various dresses, "are opposed to the charms of his rival. In a word, "when 1 cast my eyes upon Lorio, I forget and despise "fortune; when I behold Crajsus, t think only of "pleasing my vanity, and enjoying an uncontrolled ex"pence in all the pleasures of life, except Love." She paused here.
Madam, said I, I am confident you have not stated your case with sincerity, and that there is some secret pang which you have concealed from me: For I see by your aspect the generosity of your mind; and that open ingenuous air lets me know, that you have too great a fense of the generous passion of Love, to prefer the ostentation of life in the arms of Crajsus, to the entertainments and conveniencies of it in the company of your beloved Lorio; for so he is indeed, Madam; you speak his name with a different accent from the rest of your discourse: The idea his image raises in you, gives new life to your features, and new grace to your sptech. Nay, blusti not, Madam, there is no dishonour in loving H man of merit; I assure you, I am grieved at this dallying with yourself, when you put another in comp«tition with him, for no other reason but superior wealth. "To tell you then, said she, the bottom of my heart, *' there is Clotilda lies by, and plants herself in the way «' of Crajsus, and I ■ am confident will snap him, if I "refuse him. I cannot bear to think that she will shine "abov<: me. When our coaches meet, to fee her cha"net hung behind with four footmen, and mine with "but two: Hers, powdered, gay, and saucy, kept only "for show; mine, a couple of careful rogues that are "good for something: I own, I cannot bear that Clotilda "should be in all the pride and wantonness of wealth, "and I only in the ease and affluence of it."
Here I interrupted : Well, Madam, now I see your whole affliction; you could be happy, but that you fear another would be happier. Or rather, you could be
solidly solidly happy, but that another is to be happy in appearance. This is an evil which you must get over, or never know happiness. We will put the case, Madam, that you married Craffiis, and she Lorio. She answered, Speak not of it. 1 could tear her eyes out at the mention of it. Well then, I pronounce Lorio to be the man; but I must tell you, that what we call settling in the world is> in a kind, leaving it; and you must at once resolve to keep your thoughts of happiness within the reach of your fortune, and not measure it by comparison with others.
But indeed, Madam, when I behold that beauteous form of yours, and consider the generality of your Sex, as to their disposal of themselves in marriage, or their parents doing it for them without their own approbation, I cannot but look upon all such matches as the most impudent prostitutions. Do but observe, when you are at aPiay, the familiar wenches that fit laughing among the men. These appear detestable to you in the boxes: Each of them would give up her person for a guinea; and some of you would take the worst there for life for twenty thousand. If so, how do you differ'but in price? As to the circumstance of marriage, I take that to he hardly an alteration of the cafe; for wedlock is but a more solemn prostituton, where there is not an union of minds. You would hardly believe it, but there have been designs even upon me.
A neighbour in this very lane, who knows I have, by leading a very wary life, laid up a little money, had a great mind to marry me to his daughter. I was frequently invited to their table: Thegiri was p.lways very pleasant and agreeable. After dinner, Miss Molly wou'd be sure to fill my pipe for me, and put more sugar than ordinary into ray coffee; for (he was sure I was goodnatured. If I chanced to hem, the mother would applaud my vigour; and has often said on that occasion, I ■wonder, Mr. Bhkerjlaff, you do not marry, I am fan you would have children. Things went so far, that my mistress presented me with a wrought i ight-cap and a laced band of her own working. 1 began to think of ic in earnest; but one day, having an occasion to r de to Islington, as two or three people were lifting me upon roy pad, I spied her at a convenient distance laughing at L 4 her her Lover, with a parcel of romps of her acquaintance: One of them, who I suppose had the same design upon me, told me (he said, Do you see how briskly my old Gentleman mounts? This made me cut off my amour, and to reflect with myself, that no married life could be so unhappy, as where the wife proposes no other advantage from her hulband, than that of making herself fine, and keeping her out of the dirt.
My fair client burst out a laughing at the account I gave her of my escape, and went away seemingly convinced of the reasonableness of my discourse to her.
As soon as (be was gone, my maid brought up the following Epistle, which, by the style, and the description she gave of the person, I suppose was left by Nick T)oubt. Hark you, said he, girl, tell old Befiet-hilt I would have him answer it by the first opportunity. What he says is this:
Is A A c,
"XTOU seem a very hoheft fellow, therefore pray "x te'l me> did not you write that Letter in praise "of the Esquire and his Lucubrations yourself, &c."
The greatest plague of coxcombs is, that they often break upon you with an impertinent piece of good fense, as this jackanapes has hit me in a right place enough. J must confess, I am as likely to play such a trick as another; hut that Letter he speaks of was really genuine. When I first set up, I thought it fair enough to let myself know from all parts, that my works were wonderfully enquired for, and were become the diversion, as well as instruction, of all the Choice Spirits in every county of Great-Britain. I do not doubt but the more intelligent of my readers found it, before this jackanapes* I can call him no better, took upon him to observe upon my style and my balket-hilt. A very pleasant Gentleman of my acquaintance told me one day a story of this kind of faishood and vanity in an Author.
M/enius (hewed him a paper of verses, which he said he had received that morning by the penny-post from an Unknown hand. My friend admired them extremely. Sir, said he, this mast come from a man that is eminent: You fee sire, life, and spirit run through the whole, and at the same time a correctness, which shews he is used to writing: Pray, Sir, read them over again. He begins again, title and all; "To Mœvius on his incomparable "poems." The second reading was performed with much more vehemence and action than the former ; after
which my friend fell into downright raptures Why,
they are truly sublime! there is energy in this line! description in that! Why! it is the thing itself! this i» perfect picture! Mœwus could bear no more; but, faith, fays he, Ned, to tell you the plain truth, I writ them myself.
There goes just such another story of the fame paternal tenderness in Ba<vius, an ingenious contemporary of mine, who had writ several Comedies, which were re-1 jected by the players. This my friend Bavius took so* envy, and therefore prevailed upon a Gentleman to go with him to the play-ho.use, and gave him a new play of his, desiring he would personate the Author, and read it, to baffle the spite of the Actors. The friend consented, and to reading they went. They had not gone over three similes, before Ro/cius the player made the acting Author stop, and desired to know, what he meant by such a rapture? And how it came to pass, that in this condition of the Lover, instead of acting according to his circumstances, he spent his time in considering what his present state was like? That is very true, fays the mock Author; I believe we had as good strike these lines out. By your leave, fays Bavius, you shall'ubt spoil your play, you are too modest; those very lines, for aught I know, are as good as any in your play, and they stiall stand. Well, they go on, and the particle "and" stood unfortunately at the end of a verse, and was made to rhyme to the word, " stand." This Ro/cius excepted against. The new Poet gave up that too, and
said, he would not dispute for a monosyllable For a
monosyllable! says the real Author, I can assure you, a monosyllable may be of as great force as a word of ten syllables. I tell you, Sir, "and" is the connexion of the matter in that place; without that word, you may put all that follows into any other play as- well as this.
L 5 Besides*