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but when she observes any one admired for what they call a fine woman, she is all the next day womanly, prudent, observing, and virtuous. She is every moment asked in her prudential behaviour, whether she is not well? Upon which she as often answers in a fret, “Do people think one must be always romping, always a Jack-pudding ?" I never fail to inquire of her, if my lady such-a-one, that awful beauty, was not at the play last night? She knows the connexion between that question and her change of humour, and says, “ It would be very well if some people would examine into themselves, as much as they do into others.” Or, “sure there is vothing in the world so ridiculous as an amorous old man.
As I was saying, there is a class which every man is in by his post in nature, from which it is impossible for him to withdraw to another and become it. Therefore it is necessary that each should be contented with it, and not endeavour at any progress out of that track. To follow nature is the only agreeable course, which is what I would fain inculcate to those jarring companions, Flavia and Lucia. They are mother aod daughter. Flavia, who is the mamma, has all the charms and desires of youth still about her, and is not much turned of thirty. Lucia is blooming and amorous, and but a little above fifteen. The mother looks very
tban she is, the girl very much older. If it were possible to fix the girl to her sick bed, and preserve
portion, the use of which the mother partakes, the good widow Flavia would certainly do it. But for fear of Lucia's escape, the mother is forced to be constantly attended with a rival, that explains her age, and draws off the eyes of her admirers. The jest is, they can never be together in strangers' company, but Lucy is eternally reprimanded for something very particular in her behaviour; for whieh she has the malice to say, "she hopes she shall always obey her parents." She carried her passion and jealousy to that height the other day, that coming suddenly into the room, and surprising colonel Lofty speaking rapture on one knee to her mother, she clapped down by him, and asked her blessing.
I do not know whether it is so proper to tell family occurrences of this nature: but we every day see the same thing happen in public conversation in the world. Men cannot be contented with what is laudable, but they must have all that is laudable. This affectation is what decoys the familiar man into pretences to take state upon him, and the contrary character to the folly of aiming at being winniisg and complaisant. But in these cases men may easily lay aside what they are, but can never arrive at what they are not.
As to the pursuits after affection and esteem, the fair sex are bappy in this particular, that with them the one is much more nearly related to the other than in men.
The love of a woman is inseparable from some esteem of her: and as she is naturally the object of affection, the woman who has your esteem has also some degree of your love. A man that dotes on a woman for her beauty, will whisper his friend, “ that creature has a great deal of wit when you are well acquainted with her.” And if you examine the bottom of your esteem for a woman, you will find you have a greater opinion of her beauty than any body else. As to us men, I design to pass most of my time with the facetious Harry Bickerstaff; but William Bickerstaff, the most prudent man of our family, shall be iny executor.
No 207. SATURDAY, AUGUST 5, 1710.
From my own Apartment, August 4. HAVING yesterday morning received a paper of Latin verses, written with much elegance, in honour of these my Papers, and being informed at the same time, that they were composed by a youth under age, I read them with mucli delight, as an instance of his improvement. There is not a greater pleasure to old age, than seeing young people entertain themselves in such a nauner as that we can partake of their enjoyments. On such occasions we flatter ourselves, that we are not quite laid aside in the world; but that we are either used with gratitude for what we were, or honoured for what we are. A well-inclined young man, and whose good-breeding is founded upon the principles of nature and. virtue, must needs take delight in being agreeable to his elders, as we are truly delighted when we are not the jest of them. When I say this, I must confess I cannot but think it a very lamentable thing, that there should be a necessity for making that a rule of life, wbich should be, methioks, a mere instinct of nature. If reflection upon a man in poverty, whom we once knew in riches, is an argument of commiseration with generous minds ; sure old age, which is a decay from that vigour which the young possess, and must certainly, if not prevented against their will, arrive at, should be more forciby the object of that reverence, which honest spirits are in
clined to, from a sense of being themselves liable to what they observe has already overtaken others.
My three nephews, whom, in June last was twelvemonth, I disposed of according to their several capacities and inclinations; the first to the university, the second to a merchant, and the third to a woman of quality as her page, by my invitation dined with me to-day. It is my custom often, when I have a mind to give myself a more than ordinary cheerfulness, to invite a certain young gentlewoman of our neighbourhood to make one of the company.
She did me that favour this day. The presence of a beautiful woman of honour, to minds which are not trivially disposed, displays an alacrity which is not to be communicated by any other object. It was not unpleasant to me, to look into her thoughts of the company she was in.
She smiled at the party of pleasure I had thought of for ber, which was composed of an old man and three boys. My scholar, my citizen, and myself, were very soon neglected; and the young courtier, by the bow he made to ber at her entrance, engaged her observation without a rival. I observed the Oxonian not a little discomposed by this preference, wbile the trader kept his eye upon his uncle. My nephew Will bad a thousand secret resolutions to break in upon
the discourse of his younger brother, who gave my fair companion a full account of the fashion, and what was reckoned most becoming to tbis complexion, and what sort of habit appeared best upon the other shape. He proceeded to acquaint her, who of quality was well or sick within the bills of mortality, and named very familiarly all his lady's acquaintance, not forgetting her very words when he spoke of their characters. Besides all this he had a load of flattery; and upon her inquiring, what sort of woman lady Lovely was in her person, “Really, Madam," says the Jacka napes," she is exactly of your height and shape ; but as you are fair, she is a brown woman." There was no enduring that this fop should outshine us all at this unmerciful rate; therefore I thought fit to talk to my young scholar concerning his studies; and because I would throw his learning into present service, I desired him to repeat to me the translation he had made of some tender verses in Theocritus, He did so with an air of elegance peculiar to the college to which I sent him. I made some exceptions to the turn of the pbrases; which he defended with much modesty, as believing in that place the matter was rather to consult the softness of a swain's passion, than the strength of his expressions. It soon appeared, that Will had outstripped his brother in the opinion of our young lady. A little poetry, to one who is bred a scholar, has the same effect that a good carriage of his person has on one who is to live in courts. The favour of women is so natural a passion, that I envied both the boys their success in the approbation of my guest; and I thought the only person invulnerable was my young trader. During the whole meal, I could observe in the children a mutual contempt and scorn of each other, arising from their different way of life and education, and took that occasion to advertise them of such growing distastes; which might mislead them in their future life, and disappoint their friends, as well as themselves, of the advantages which might be expected from the diversity of their professions and interests. The prejudices which are growing up
between these brothers from the different ways of education, are what create the most fatal misunderstandings in life. But all distinctions of disparagement, merely from our circumstances, are such as will not bear the examination of reason. The courtier, the trader, and the scholar should all have an equal pretension