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SISTER JENNY ANSWERS THE LETTER OF ALMEIRA, IN THE

INTEREST OF HER SEX-AND EXITS.

Edepol, nos æque fumus omnes invisa viris
Propter paucas, quæ omnes faciunt digne ut videamur malo.

Ter.
In truth we are all distasteful to the men, by reason of a few who

make us all seem worthy of punishment.

Y brother having written the above piece of Latin, desired me to take care of the rest of the ensuing paper. Towards this he bid me answer the following letter, and said, nothing

I could write properly on the subject of it would be disagreeable to the motto. It is the cause of my sex, and I therefore enter upon it with great alacrity. The epistle is literally thus :« Mr. BICKERSTAFF,

Edinburgh, October 23. “I presume to lay before you an affair of mine, and beg you'le be very sinceir in giving me your judgment and advice in this matter, which is as follows SA very agreeable young gentleman, who is endowed with all the good qualities that can make a man compleat, has this long time maid love to me in the most passionat manner that was posable. He has left nothing unsaid to make me believe his affections real; and in his letters expressed himself so hanfomly and tenderly, that I had all the reafon imaginable to believe him finceir. In short, he positively has promised me he would marry me, but I find all he said, nothing; for when the question was put to him, he wouldn't, but still would continue my humble servant, and would go on at the ould rate, repeating the assurances of his fidelity, and at the same time has none in him. He now writs to me in the fame endearing stile he ust to do, would have me speak to no man but himself. His estate is in his own hand, his father being dead. My fortune at my own disposal (mine being also dead), and to the full answers his estate. Pray, sir, be ingeinous, and tell me cordially if you don't think I shall do myself an injury if I keep company or a corospondance any longer with this gentleman. I hope you'le faver an honest North Britain (as I am) with your advice in this amoure; for I am resolved just to follow

your

directions. Sir, you'le do me a sensable pleasure, and very great honour, if you'le please to insert this poor scrole, with your answer to it, in your Tatler. Pray fail not to give me your answer, for on

, it depends the happiness of disconfolat

ALMEIRA." “MADAM,

“I have frequently read over your letter, and am of opinion that, as lamentable as it is, it is the most common of any

evil that attends our sex. I am very much troubled for the tenderness you express towards your lover, but rejoice at the same time that you can so far surmount your inclination for him, as to resolve to dismiss him when

you
have
my

brother's opinion for it. His sense of the matter he desired me to communicate to you. Oh, Almeira! The common failing of our sex is to value the merit of our lovers rather from the grace

of their address than the fincerity of their hearts. He has expressed himself so handsomely !! Can you say that, after you

have reason to doubt his truth? It is melancholy thing, that in this circumstance of love (which is the most important of all others in female life), we women, who are, they fay, always weak, are still weakest. The true way of valuing a man is to consider his reputation among the men. For want of this necessary rule towards our conduct, when it is too late, we find ourselves married to the outcast of that sex; and it is generally from being disagreeable among men, that fellows endeavour to make themselves pleasing to us. The little accomplishments of coming into a room with a good air, and telling while they are with us what we cannot hear among ourselves, usually make up the whole of a woman's man's merit. But if we, when we began to reflect upon our lovers, in the first place considered what figures they make in the camp, at the bar, on the 'change, in their country, or at court, we should behold them in quite another view than at present

a very

“ Were we to behave ourselves according to this rule, we should not have the just imputation of favouring the filliest of mortals, to the great scandal of the wisest, who value our favour as it advances their pleasure, not their reputation. In a word, madam,

if you would judge aright in love, you must look upon it as in a case of friendship. Were this gentleman treating with you for anything but yourself, when you had consented to his offer, if he fell off, you would call him a cheat and an impostor. There is therefore nothing left for you to do, but to despise him and yourself for doing it with regret,

a

I am,

Madam, &c.

I have heard it often argued in conversation, that this evil practice is owing to the perverted taste of the wits in the last generation. A libertine on the throne could very easily make the language and the fashion turn his own way. Hence it is, that woman is treated as a mistress, and not a wife. It is from the writings of those times, and the traditional accounts of the debauches of their men of pleasure, that the coxcombs now-adays take upon them, forsooth, to be false fwains and perjured lovers. Methinks I feel all the woman rise in me, when I reflect upon the nauseous rogues that pretend to deceive us. Wretches, that can never have it in their power to overreach anything living but their mistresses! In the name of goodness,

of my

if we are designed by nature as suitable companions to the other sex, why are we not treated accordingly? If we have merit, as some allow, why is it not as base in men to injure us as one another? If we are the insignificants that others call us, where is the triumph in deceiving us ? But when I look at the bottom of this disaster, and recollect the many acquaintance whom I have known in the same condition with the northern lass that occasions this discourse, I must own I have ever found the perfidiousness of men has been generally owing to ourselves, and we have contributed to our own deceit. The truth is, we do not conduct ourselves as we are courted, but as we are inclined. When we let our imaginations take this unbridled swing, it is not he that acts best is most lovely, but he that is most lovely acts best. When our humble servants make their addresses, we do not keep ourselves enough disengaged to be judges of their merit; and we seldom give our judgment of our lover, till we have lost our judgment for him.

While Clarinda was passionately attended and addressed to by Strephon, who is a man of sense and knowledge in the world, and Caffio, who has a plentiful fortune and an excellent understanding—she fell in love with Damon at a ball. From that moment, she that was before the most reasonable creature of all my acquaintance, cannot hear Strephon speak, but it is something so out of the way of ladies' conversation.' And Cassio has never since opened his mouth before us,

but she whispers me, “How feldom do riches and fenfe go together ?” The issue of all this is, that for the love of Damon, who has neither experience, understanding, or wealth, fhe despises those advantages in the other two which she finds wanting in her lover, or else thinks he has them for no reason but because he is her lover. This, and many other instances may be given in this town, but I hope thus much

may

suffice to prevent the growth of such evils at Edinburgh.

090223

CHAPTER XXIX

MR. BICKERSTAFF'S OPINION ON THE MEANS OF FEMALE

IMPROVEMENT, MENTAL AND PERSONAL.

VIRG.

-Media sese tulit obvia filva
Virginis os habitumque gerens.
To them bright Venus in the woods appears,
A Spartan virgin's looks and dress the wears.

T may perhaps appear ridiculous, but I must confels this last summer, as I was riding in Enfield Chase, I met a young lady whom I could hardly get out of myhead, and for ought I know, my heart, ever since.

She was mounted on a pad, with a very well fancied furniture. She sat her horse with a very graceful air ; and when I faluted her with my hat, she bowed to me so obligingly, that whether it was her civility or beauty that touched me so much I know not, but I am sure I shall never forget her. She dwells in my imagination in a figure so much to her advantage, that if I were to draw a picture of youth, health, beauty, or modesty, I should represent any or all of them in the person of that young woman.

I do not find that there are any descriptions in the ancient poets so beautiful as those they draw of nymphs in their pastoral dresses and exercises. Virgil gives Venus the habit of a Spartan huntress when she is to put Æneas in his way, and relieve his cares with the most agreeable object imaginable.

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