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with respect to her own little affairs in a virgin condition, had improved the passion which her beauty had inspired him with into so settled an esteem for her that of all women breathing he wished her his wife, though his commending her for qualities she knew she had as a virgin would make her believe he expected from her an answerable conduct in the character of a matron, I will answer for it his suit would be carried on with less perplexity.
Instead of this, the generality of our young women, taking all their notions of life from gay writings or letters of love, consider themselves as goddesses, nymphs, and shepherdesses.
By this romantic sense of things all the natural relations and duties of life are forgotten, and our female part of mankind are bred and treated as if they were designed to inhabit the happy fields of Arcadia, rather than be wives and mothers in old England. It is indeed long since I had the happiness to converse familiarly with this fex, and therefore have been fearful of falling into the error which recluse men are very subject to that of giving false representations of the world from which they have retired, by imaginary schemes drawn from their own reflections. An old man cannot easily gain admittance into the dressing-room of ladies, I therefore thought it time well spent to turn over Agrippa and use all my occult art to give my old cornelian ring the same force with that of Gyges, which I have lately spoken of. By the help of this I went unobserved to a friend's house of mine, and followed the chamber-maid invisibly about twelve of the clock into the bedchamber of the beauteous Flavia, his fine daughter, just before
she got up:
I drew the curtains, and being wrapped up in the safety of my could with much pleasure, without passion, behold her sleeping with Walier's poems, and a letter fixed in that part of him where every woman thinks herself described. The light flashing upon her face awakened her; she opened her eyes, and her lips too, repeating that piece of false wit in that admired poet.
Such Helen was: and who can blame the boy,
This she pronounced with a most bewitching sweetness, but after it fetched a sigh that methought had more desire than languishment; then took out her letter and read aloud, for the pleasure I suppose of hearing foft words in praise of herself, the following epistle « MADAM,
“I sat near you all the opera last night, but knew no entertainment from the vain show and noise about me, while I waited wholly intent upon the motion of your bright eyes, in hopes of a glance that might restore me to the pleasures of sight and hearing in the midst of beauty and harmony. It is said the hell of the accursed in the next life arises from an incapacity to partake the joys of the blessed though they were to be admitted to them. Such, I am sure, was my condition all that evening; and if you, my deity, cannot have so much mercy as to make me by your influence capable of tasting the satisfaçtions of life, my being is ended, which consisted only in your favour.”
The letter was hardly read over when she rushed out of bed in her wrapping-gown, and consulted her glass for the truth of his passion. She raised her head, and turned it to a profile, repeating the last lines, “My being is ended, which consisted only in your favour.” The goddess immediately called her maid, and fell to dressing that mischievous face of hers without any manner of consideration for the mortal who had offered up his petition. Nay, it was so far otherwise, that the whole time of her woman's combing her hair was spent in discourse of the impertinence of his passion, and ended in declaring a resolution, if she ever had him, to make him wait. She also frankly told the favourite gipfy that was prating to her, that her passionate lover had put it out of her power to be civil to him, if she were inclined to it : “ for,” said she, “if I am thus celestial to my lover, he will certainly so far think himself disappointed as I grow into the familiarity and form of a mortal woman,'
I came away as I went in, without staying for other remarks
than what confirmed me in the opinion that it is from the notions the men inspire them with that the women are, so fantastical in the value of themselves. This imaginary pre-eminence which is given to the fair sex is not only formed from the addresses of people of condition, but it is the fashion and humour of all orders to go regularly out of their wits as soon as they begin to make love. I know at this time three goddesses in the New Exchange; and there are two shepherdesses that fell gloves in Westminster Hall,
It has been often asserted in these papers, that the great fource of our wrong pursuits is the impertinent manner with which we treat women, both in the common and important circumstances of life. In vain do we say, the whole sex would run into England, while the privileges which are allowed them do no way balance the inconveniences arising from those very immunities. Our women have very much indulged to them in the participation of our fortunes and our liberty; but the errors they commit in the use of either, are by no means fo impartially considered as the false steps which are made by men. In the commerce of lovers, the man makes the address, assails, and betrays, and yet stands in the same degree of acceptance as he was in before he committed that treachery: the woman, for no other crime but believing one whom she thought loved her, is treated with shyness and indifference at the best, and commonly with reproach and scorn. He that is past the power of beauty, may talk of this matter with the same unconcern as of any other subject, therefore I shall take upon me to consider the sex as they live within rules, and as they tranfgress them. The ordinary class of the good or the ill have very little influence upon the actions of others, but the eminent in either kind are those who lead the world below. The ill are employed in communicating scandal, infamy,
... like furies; the good distribute benevolence, friendship, and health, like angels. The ill are damped with pain and anguish at the sight of all that is laudable, lovely, or happy, The virtuous are touched with commiseration towards the guilty, the disagreeable, and the wretched. There are those who betray the
innocent of their own sex, and solicit the lewd
There are those who have abandoned the very memory, not only of innocence, but shame. There are those who never forgave, nor could ever bear being forgiven. There are those also who visit the beds of the sick, lull the Cares of the sorrowful, and double the joys of the joyful. Such is the destroying fiend, such the guardian angel, woman, The
way to have a greater number of the amiable part of womankind, and lessen the crowd of the other fort, is to contribute what we can to the success of well-grounded passions ; and therefore I comply with the request of an enamoured man in inserting the following billet # MADAM,
“ Mr. Bickerstaff, you always read, though me you will never hear. I am obliged therefore to his compassion for the opportunity of imploring yours- I sigh for the most accomplished of her sex. That is so just a distinction of her to whom I write, that the owning I think so is no distinction of me who write. Your good qualities are peculiar to you: my admiration is common with thousands. I shall be present when you read this, but fear every woman will take it for her character, sooner than the who deserves it."
If the next letter which presents itself should come from the mistress of this modest lover, and I make them break through the oppression of their passions, I shall expect gloves at their nuptials. « MR. BICKERSTAFF,
“ You that are a philofopher know very well the make of the mind of women, and can best instruct me in the conduct of an affair which highly concerns me. I never can admit my lover to speak to me of love, yet think him impertinent when he offers to talk of anything else. What shall I do with a man that always believes me? It is a strange thing, this dis tance in men of sense! Why did not they always urge their fate? If we are sincere in our severity, you lose nothing by attempting. If we are hypocrites, you certainly succeed.”
MR. BICKERSTAFF INTRODUCES HIS THREE NEPHEWS-THEIR
CHARACTERS, AND HIS MANNER OF DISPOSING OF THEM.
HE vigilance, the anxiety, the tenderness which I
have for the good people of England, I am persuaded will in time be much commended, but I doubt whether they will ever be rewarded. How
ever, I must go on cheerfully in my work of reformation; that being my great design, I am studious to prevent my labours increasing upon me, therefore am particularly observant of the temper and inclinations of childhood and youth, that we may not give vice and folly fupplies from the growing generation. It is hardly to be imagined how useful this study is, and what great evils or benefits arise from putting us in our tender years to what we are fit or unfit; therefore on Tuesday last (with a design to found their inclinations) I took three lads, who are under my guardianship, a rambling in a hackney-coach, to shew them the town, as the lions, the tombs, Bedlam, and the other places which are entertainments to raw minds, because they strike forcibly on the fancy. The boys are brothers, one of fixteen, the other of fourteen, the other of twelve. The first was his father's darling, the second his mother's, and the third is mine, who am their uncle. Mr. William is a lad of true genius, but being at the upper end of a great school, and having all the boys below him, his arrogance is insupportable. If I begin to sew a little of my Latin, he immediately interrupts : “Uncle, under favour, that which you say is not understood in that manner.” “ Brother,” says my boy Jack, “ you do not shew your manners much in contradicting my uncle Isaac !” “ You queer cur,” says Mr.