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which you would think he learned from some familiar spirit that did not think him worthy to receive the whole story. But in truth whisperers deal only in half accounts of what they entertain you with. A great help to their discourse is, “That the town says, and people begin to talk very freely, and they had it from persons too considerable to be named, what they will tell you when things are riper.’ My friend has winked upon me any day since I came to town last, and has communicated to me as a secret, that he designed in a very short time to tell me a secret ; but I shall know what he means, he now assures me, in less than a fortnight's time.
But I must not omit the dearer part of mankind, I mean the ladies, to take up a whole paper upon grievances which concern the men only ; but shall humbly propose, that we change fools for an experiment only. A certain set of ladies complain they are frequently perplexed with a visitant who affects to be wiser than they are ; which character he hopes to preserve by an obstinate gravity, and great guard against discovering his opinion upon any occasion whatsoever. A painful silence has hitherto gained him no further advantage, than that as he might, if he had behaved himself with freedom, been excepted against but as to this and that particular, he now offends in the whole. To relieve these ladies, my good friends and correspondents, I shall exchange my dancing outlaw for their dumb visitant, and assign the silent gentleman all the haunts of the dancer; in order to which, I have sent them by the penny-post the following letters for their conduct in their new conversations : —
‘SIR, ‘I have, you may be sure, heard of your irregularities without regard to my observations upon you ; but shall not treat you with so much rigour as you deserve. If you will give yourself the trouble to repair to the place mentioned in the postscript to this letter at seven this evening, you will be conducted into a spacious room well lighted, where there are ladies and music. You will see a young lady laughing next the window to the street; you may take her out, for she loves you as well as she does any man, tho’ she never saw you before. She never thought in her life, any more than yourself. She will not be surprised when you accost her, nor concerned when you leave her. Hasten from a place where you are laughed at, to one where you will be admired. You are of no consequence, therefore go where you will be welcome for
‘Your most humble servant.”
“The ladies whom you visit, think a wise man the most impertinent creature living, therefore you cannot be offended that they are displeased with you. Why will you take pains to appear wise, where you would not be the more esteemed for being really so 2 Come to us; forget the gigglers; and let your inclination go along with you whether you speak or are silent; and let all such women as are in a clan or sisterhood, go their own way ; there is no room for you in that company who are of the common taste of the sex.
For women born to be controll'd
[Spectator, No. 148.
WHEN we look into the delightful history of the most ingenious Don Quixote of the Mancha, and consider the exercises and manner of life of that renowned gentleman, we cannot but admire the exquisite genius and discerning spirit of Michael Cervantes; who has not only painted his adventurer with great mastery in the conspicuous parts of his story, which relate to love and honour; but also intimated in his ordinary life, in his economy and furniture, the infallible symptoms he gave of his growing frenzy, before he declared himself a Knight Errant. His hall was furnished with old lances, halberds, and morions; his food, lentils ; his dress, amorous. He slept moderately, rose early, and spent his time in hunting. When by watchfulness and exercise he was thus qualified for the hardships of his intended peregrinations, he had nothing more to do but to fall hard to study ; and before he should apply himself to the practical part, get into the methods of making love and war by reading books of knighthood. As for raising tender passions in him, Cervantes reports that he was wonderfully delighted with a smooth intricate sentence ; and when they listened at his study-door, they could frequently hear him read aloud, ‘The reason of the unreasonableness, which against my reason is wrought, doth so weaken my reason, as with all reason I do justly complain of your beauty.’ Again, he would pause until he came to another charming sentence, and, with the most pleasing accent imaginable, be loud at a new paragraph : “The high heavens, which with your divinity, do fortify you divinely with the stars, make you deserveress of the deserts that your greatness deserves.” With these and other such passages, says my author, the poor gentleman grew distracted, and was breaking his brains day and night to understand and unravel their sense. As much as the case of this distempered knight is received by all the readers of his history as the most incurable and ridiculous of all frenzies ; it is very certain, we have crowds among us far gone in as visible a madness as his, though they are not observed to be in that condition. As great and useful discoveries are sometimes made by accidental and small beginnings, I came to the knowledge of the most epidemic ill of this sort, by falling into a coffee-house, where I saw my friend the upholsterer, whose crack towards politics I have heretofore mentioned. This touch in the brain of the British subject is as certainly owing to the reading newspapers, as that of the Spanish worthy above-mentioned to the reading works of chivalry. My contemporaries, the novelists, have, for the better spinning out paragraphs, and working down to the end of their columns, a most happy art in saying and unsaying, giving hints of intelligence, and interpretations of indifferent actions, to the great disturbance of the brains of ordinary readers. This way of going on in the words, and making no progress in the sense, is more particularly the excellency of my