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fancied myself as triumphant in my conquests as ever.
• Now, sir, finding I was incapacitated to amuse myself on that pleasing subject, I resolved to apply myself to you, or your casuistical agent, for advice in my present circumstances. I am sensible the tincture of my skin, and the regulariry of my features, which the malice of my late illness has altered, are irrecoverable; yet do not despair but that that loss, by your assistance; may in some measure be repairable, if you will please to propose a way for the recovery of one only of my fugitives.
One of them is in a more particular manner bed holden to me than the rest; he, for some private reasons, being desirous to be a lover incognito, always addressed me with billet#doux; which I was 80 careful of in my sick ness, that I secured the key of my love magazine under my head, and, hearing a noise of opening a lock in my chamber, endangered my life by getting out of bed, to pre. vent, if it had been attempted, the discovery of that amour.
I have formerly made use of all those artifices which our sex daily practises over yours, to draw, as it were undesignedly, the eyes of a whole con. gregation to my pew; I have taken pride in the number of admirers at my afternoon levee ; but am now quite another creature. I think, could I re. gain the attractive influence I once had, if I had a legion of suitors I should never be ambitious of en: tertaining more than one. I have almost contracted an antipathy to the trifling discourses of imper. tinent lovers ; though I must needs own I have thought it very odd of late to hear gentlemen, instead of their usual compliances, fall into disputes before mc of politics, or else weary me with the tes
dious repetition of how thankful I ought to be, and satisfied with my recovery out of so dangerous a distemper: this, though I am very sensible of the blessing, yet I cannot but dislike, because such advice from them rather seems to insult than comfort me, and reminds me too much of what I was : which melancholy consideration I cannot yet perfectly surmount, but hope your sentiments on this head will make it supportable. • To show you what a value I have for your
dic. tates, these are to certify the persons concerned, that unless one of them returns to his colours, if I may so call them now, before the winter is over,
I will voluntarily confine myself to a retirement, where I will punish them all with my needle. I will be revenged on them by decyphering them on a carpet, humbly begging admittance, myself scornfully refusing it. If you disapprove of this, as savouring too much of malice, be pleased to acquaint me with a draught you like better, and it shall be faithfully performed By the unfortunate
N' 614. MONDAY, NOV. 1, 1714.
Si mibi non animo fixum immotumque sederet,
VIRG, Æn. iv. 15.
The following account hath been transmitted to me by the love casuist.
• Having in some former papers taken care of the two states of virginity and marriage, and being willing that all people should be served in their turn, I this day drew out of my drawer of widows, where I met with several cases, to each whereof I have returned satisfactory answers by the post. The cases are as follow:
«Q. Whether Amoret be bound by a promise of marriage to Philander, made during her husband's life?
Q. Whether Sempronia, having faithfully given a promise to two several persons during the last sickness of her husband, is not thereby left at liberty to choose which of them she pleases, or to reject them both for the sake of a new lover ?
Cleora asks me, whether she be obliged to con. tinue single according to a vow made to her hus. band at the time of his presenting her with a diamond necklace; she being informed by a very pretty young fellow, of a good conscience, that such vows are in their nature sipful?
• Another inquires, whether she hath not the right of widowhood, to dispose of herself to a gen. tleman of great merit, who presses very hard; her husband being irrecoverably gone in a consumption ?
• An unreasonable creature hath the confidence to ask whether it be proper for her to marry a man who is younger than her eldest son ?
"A scrupulous well-spoken matron, who gives me a great many good words, only doubts whether she is not obliged in conscience to shut up her two marriagcable daughters, until such time as she hath comfortably disposed of herself?
Sophronia, who seems by her phrase and spell. ing to be a person of condition, sets forth, that whereas she hath a great estate, and is but a wo. man, she desires to be informed whether she would not do prudently to marry Camillus, a very idle tall young fellow, who hath no fortune of his own, and consequently hath nothing else to do but to manage hers ?
Before I speak of widows, I cannot but observe one thing, which I do not know how to account for; a widow is always more sought after than an old maid of the same age. It is common enough among ordinary people, for a stale virgin to set up a shop in a place where she is not known; where the large thumb ring, supposed to be given her by her hus. band, quickly recommends her to some wealthy neighbour, who takes a liking to the jolly widow, that would have overlooked the venerable spinster.
The truth of it is, if we look into this set of wa. men, we find, according to the different characters or circumstances wherein they are left, that widows may be divided into those who raise love and those who raise compassion.
But, not to ramble from this subject, there are two things in which consists chiefly the glory of a widow
-the love of her deceased husband, and the care of her children; to which may be added a third, arising out of the former, such a prudent conduct as may do honour to both.
A widow possessed of all these three qualities makes not only a virtuous but a sublime character.
There is something so great and so generous in this state of life, when it is accompanied with all its virtues, that it is the subject of one of the finest among our modern tragedies in the person of An. dromache, and has met with an universal and deserved applause, when introduced upon our English stage by Mr. Philips.
The most memorable widow in history is queen Artemisia, who not only erected the famous mauso. seum, but drank up the ashes of her dead lord; thereby enclosing them in a nobler monument than that which she had built, though deservedly esteem. ed one of the wonders of architecture,
This last lady seems to have had a better title to a second husband than any I have read of, since not one dust of her first was remaining. Our modern heroines might think' a husband a very bitter draught, and would have good reason to complain, if they might not accept of a second partner until they had taken such a troublesome method of losing the memory of the first.
I shall add to these illustrious examples out of an. çient story, a remarkable instance of the delicacy of