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trunk of mine is a very ill habitation for love. She is pleased to speak civilly of my sense, but Ingenium malè habitat is an invincible difficulty in cases of this nature. I had always, indeed, from a passion to please the eyes of the fair, a great pleasure in dress. Add to this, that I have writ songs since I was sixty, and have lived with all the circumspection of an old beau, as I am. But my friend Horace has very well said, “Every year takes something from us s' and instructed me to form my pursuits and desires according to the stage of my life : therefore, I have no more to value myself upon, than that I can converse with young people without peevishness, or wishing myself a moment younger. For which reason, when I am amongst them, I rather moderate than interrupt their diversions. But though I have this complacency, I must not pretend to write to a lady civil things, as Maria desires. Time was when I could have told her, “I had received a letter from her fair hands; and, that if this paper trembled as she read it, it then best expressed its author, or some other gay conceit. Though I never saw her, I could have told her,' that good sense and good humour smiled in her eyes : that constancy and good-nature dwelt in her heart : that beauty and good breeding appeared in all her actions. When I was five-and-twenty, upon sight of one syllable, even wrong spelt, by a lady I never saw, I could tell her, that her height was that which was fit for inviting our approach, and commanding our respect ; that a smile sat on her lips, which prefaced her expressions before she uttered them, and her aspect prevented her speech. All she could say, though she had an infinite deal of wit, was but a repetition of what was expressed by her form ; her form! which struck her beholders with ideas more moving and forcible than ever were inspired by
music, painting, or eloquence. At this rate I panted in those days; but, ah! sixty-three! I am very sorry I can only return the agreeable Maria a passion expressed rather from the head than the heart. • DEAR MADAM, the
• You have already seen the best of me, and I so passionately love you, that I desire we may never meet. If you will examine your heart, you will find that you join the man with the philosopher : and if you have that kind opinion of my sense as you pretend, I question not but you add to it complexion, air, and shape : but, dear Molly, a man in his grand climacteric is of no sex.. Be a good girl; and conduct yourself with honour and virtue, when you love one younger than myself. "I am, with the greatest tenderness,
your innocent lover, I. B.'
WILL'S COFFEE-HOUSE, oct. 19. THERE is nothing more common than the weaknesses mentioned in the following epistle; and I believe there is hardly a man living who has not been more or less injured by it:
. “I HAVE left the town some time ; and much the sooner for not having had the advantage, when I lived there, of so good a pilot as you are to this present age. Your cautions to the young men against the vices of the town are very well : but there is one not less needful, which I think you have omitted. I had from the Rough Diamond (a gentleman so called from an honest blunt wit he had) not long since dead, this observation, that a young man must be at least three or four years in London before he dares say no.
You will easily see the truth and force of this
observation ; for I believe more people are drawn away against their inclinations, than with them. A young man is afraid to deny any body going to a tavern to dinner; or, after being gorged there, to repeat the same with another company at supper, or to drink excessively, if desired," or go to any other place, or commit any other extravagancy proposed. The fear of being thought covetous, to have no money, or to be under the dominion or fear of his parents and friends, hinder him from the free exercise of his understanding, and affirming boldly the true reason, which is, his real dislike of what is desired. If you could cure this slavish facility, it would save abundance at their first entrance into the world.
I am, Sir, yours, * Land's End, Oct, 12.
SOLOMON AFTERWITY! This epistle has given an occasion to a treatise on this subject, wherein I shall lay down rules when a young stripling is to say no ; and a young virgin YES.
N.B. For the publication of this discourse, I wait only for subscriptions from the under-graduates of each university, and the young ladies in the boarding-schools of Hackney and Chelsea.
ST. JAMES'S COFFEE-HOUSE, oct. 19. LETTERS from the Hague, of the 25th of October N. S. advise, that the garrison of Mons marched out on the 23rd instant, and a garrison of the allies marched into the town. All the forces in the field, both of the enemy and the confederates, are preparing to withdraw into winter-quarters.
y The date of this letter suggests a conjecture, that the story of the Cornish lovers in Tatler, No. 82. accompanied this communication from Cornwall, which was probably sent, in some form or other, to Steele, by the same correspondent, who signs himself here, Solomon Afterwit, with whose real name it would be some pleasure to be made acquainted,
No. 84. SATURDAY, OCTOBER 22, 1709. *
Quicquid agunt homines —
Juv. Sat. i. 85, 86.
FROM MY OWN APARTMENT, OCT. 21. I HAVE received a letter subscribed A. B.?, wherein it has been represented to me as an enormity, that there are more than ordinary crowds of women at the Old Bailey when a rape is to be tried. But by Mr. A. B.'s favour, I cannot tell who are so much concerned in that part of the law as the sex he mentions, they being the only persons liable to such insults. Nor, indeed, do I think it more unreasonable that they should be inquisitive on such occasions, than men of honour when one is tried for killing another in a duel. It is very natural to inquire how the fatal pass was made, that we may the better defend ourselves when we come to be attacked. Several eminent ladies appeared lately at the court of justice on such an occasion, and with great patience and attention staid the whole trials of two persons for the abovesaid crime. The law to me indeed seems a little defective in this point : and it is a very great hardship, that this crime, which is committed by men only, should have men only on their jury. I humbly
* STEELE's. 2 A. B. may be the initial letters of the name of Alexander Bayne, a barrister at law, who was about this time a resident in London, and a particular friend of Mr. Hughes and Steele. He was afterwards professor of municipal law in the university of Edinburgh. In the course of the work there will be occasion, oftener than once, to speak more particularly of this ingenious and worthy gentleman. Hughes’s ‘Correspondence, vol, i. p. 56. edit. 1772.
therefore propose, that on future trials of this sort, half of the twelve may be women; and those such whose faces are well known to have taken notes, or may be supposed to remember what happened in former trials in the same place. There is the learned Androgyne, that would make a good fore-woman of the pannel, who, by long attendance, understands as much law and anatomy as is necessary in this case. Till this is taken care of, I am humbly of opinion, it would be much more expedient that the fair were wholly absent ; for to what end can it be that they should be present at such examinations, when they can only be perplexed with a fellow-feeling for the injured, without any power to avenge their sufferings? It is an unnecessary pain which the fair ones give themselves on these occasions. I have known a young woman shriek out at some parts of the evidence; and have frequently observed, that when the proof grew particular and strong, there has been such an universal flutter of fans, that one would think the whole female audience were falling into fits. Nor, indeed, can I see how men themselves can be wholly unmoved at such tragical relations.
In short, I must tell my female readers, and they may take an old man's word for it, that there is no. thing in woman so graceful and becoming as modesty. It adds charms to their beauty, and gives a new softness to their sex. Without it, simplicity and innocence appear rude; reading and good sense, masculine; wit and humour, lascivious. This is so necessary a qualification for pleasing, that the loose part of womankind, whose study it is to ensnare men's hearts, never fail to support the appearance of what they know is so essential to that end; and I have heard it reported by the young fellows in my time as a maxim