Printed and publiſhed by T. Gardner, at
Cowley’s-Head, oppoſite St. Clement’s-Church
in the Strand. 17451745.
to her grace The dutchess of Queensberry and Dover, this third volume of the female spectator is Moſt humbly inscribed,
By Her Grace’s Moſt devoted Servants,
The Female Spectator.
Nothing more plainly ſhews a weak and degenerate Mind, than taking a Delight in whiſpering about every idle Story we are told, to the Prejudice of our Neighbours: This is a Fault charged more generally on our Sex than the other; and, I am ſorry to ſay, with but too much Juſtice. Some will have it, that this unlucky Propenſity in us proceeds from a greater Share of Envy and Malice in Vol. III A2 our 004 A2v 4 our Natures; others, leſs ſevere, aſcribe it meerly to a Want of ſomething elſe wherewith to employ ourſelves. This latter is certainly the moſt true, becauſe we often find Women, who in no other Reſpect can be accuſed of Ill-nature, yet take a prodigious Pleaſure in reporting every little Scandal they hear, even tho’ it be of Perſons whom they have neither any Quarrel againſt, nor can any way be ſuppoſed to envy.
But this Motive, tho’ leſs criminal, is equally ſhameful; and ought to make every Woman bluſh, when about to repeat the little Affairs of Perſons with whom ſhe has no manner of Concern, to think ſhe finds an Incapacity in herſelf of attending to thoſe of her own, and which, it is not to be doubted, ſtand in ſufficient need of Regulation.
I have ſeen a fine Lady, who has been ſunk, as it were, in Laſſitude, half dying with the Vapours, and in ſuch a Lethargy, both of Mind and Body, that it ſeem’d painful to her even to drawl out a Word, or lift up a Finger; yet this Inſenſible to all Things elſe, has no ſooner heard of ſome new Intrigue, no Matter whether true or falſe, or between Perſons of her Acquaintance, or thoſe ſhe only knew the Names of, than all the Luſtre has return’d into her Eyes, Smiles have dimpled her Cheeks, and ſhe has immediately ſtarted up, called in a Hurry to be dreſs’d, ordered her Coach, and almoſt killed a Pair of Horſes 005 A3r 5 Horſes in galloping round the Town with this Intelligence.
So great is the Vanity ſome People have of being thought to be the firſt in hearing any Piece of News, that to it they will ſacrifice all Conſiderations whatever, or rather Conſideration is itself abſorb’d in this ridiculous Ambition:—An Ambition did I call it?—Of what?—Of being a Tale-bearer!—A Goſſip!—A Lover of raking into Filth!—Shameful Character even for the loweſt bred, much more ſo for a Woman of Quality and Condition:—None, I believe, will be willing to acknowledge it their own, but too many give ſubſtantial Proofs that it is ſo.
I will have the Charity to ſuppoſe that ſome are even ignorant themſelves, that they have this Vice in their Compoſition; but then I muſt beg Leave to aſk them why they are ſo?—Has an Examination into one’s own Heart never been recommended? Nay, has it not been often enjoin’d as the firſt and greateſt Study of our Lives? —Is it not a Study which the meaneſt, as well as the higheſt Rank of People have it in their Power to attend to? and is it not equally neceſſary to both?—All have not a Stock of Goodnature to enable them to treat their Fellow Creatures with that Tenderneſs required of us both by Divine and Human Inſtitutions; we ought therefore to ſupply that Deficiency by Principle, which can only flow from Reaſon and Recollection.When- 006 A3v 6
Whenever we hear any invidious Reflections cast upon a Perſon, is it too much Trouble for us juſt to think that there may be a Poſſibility of their being falſe, or ſuppoſing them too true, that it is none of our Buſineſs to cenſure or condemn their Faults, even in our own Breaſts, much less to give the Liberty to others to do ſo by favouring the Scandal by our Report?
Cruel in us is it to inſult the Weakneſſes of Human Nature, but moſt baſe and unjuſt to accuſe where there is no real Matter for Accuſation, as is very often the Caſe:—Thoſe who are fond of Intelligence of this kind, ſhould, whenever they hear any, put this Queſtion to their Judgment, May not theſe People tell me this on purpoſe to amuſe me, and becauſe they think it pleaſes me? Of this there is more than a Probability; many a fair Reputation has been blaſted, meerly by the Folly I have mentioned, of having ſomething new to ſay, or through a mean Deſign in the Reporters, of ingratiating themſelves with ſome Perſon, who, to his or her Shame, was known to delight in Scandal.
Would every one reſolve to give no Ear to Informations of this Nature, how ſoon they would drop!—It is by Encouragement that Stories, derogatory to the Honour of the Perſons mention’d, gather Strength; and in my Opinion, thoſe who give Attention to them are equally culpable with the Relators.—What then muſt it be to repeat them? to take Pleaſure in foundinging 007 A4r 7 ing the Trumpet of Infamy, and exulting that fallen Virtue, we should rather commiſerate, and uſe our beſt Endeavours to retrieve?—O there are no Words to paint a Diſpoſition so barbarous, so inconſiſtent with the Character of Womanhood!
There are ſome who are poſſeſs’d of a Notion, falſe and abſurd as it is, that the Deſtruction of other People’s Reputation is the building up of their own;—that whatever good Qualities they have, or would be thought to have, will be rendered more conſpicuous by throwing a Shade over thoſe of every Body elſe: But this is ſo far from anſwering the Purpoſe aim’d at by it, that it often gives the Hearers a Suſpicion that the Woman, who is ſo fond of expatiating on the Faults and Follies of her Neighbour, does it only with a View of drawing off any Attention to her own; nor are they always miſtaken who judge in this Manner of Detraction.
But ſuppoſing the Subject of our Ridicule be ever ſo juſt, that the Errors we condemn are ſo obvious, that there is not the leaſt room to doubt of them, are not we certain, alas, that ſuch Errors will infallibly draw on the guilty Head a Train of Misfortunes, which ought rather to excite our Pity than our Mirth?
Besides, tho’ we may be acquainted with the Fault, we ſeldom can be ſo with the Circumſtances, by which the Perſon has been, perhaps, enſnared 008 A4v 8 enſnared into it; and it often happens, that while we are railing at them for it, a ſecret Conviction may have reach’d their Hearts; they may judge themſelves with the ſame Severity we do, and reſolve to attone for their paſt Behaviour by the greateſt Regularity of future Conduct: How inhuman is it then to expoſe ſuch a one, and, ’tis ten to one, diſappoint all their good Intentions by ſo doing; ſince nothing is more common, than when a Woman finds her Reputation is entirely ruin’d by the Diſcovery of one Fault, ſhe makes no Scruple to commit more, as ſhe cannot ſuffer more than ſhe has already done!—All Sense of Shame grows dead within her, and she thinks ſhe has nothing to do but go on in Defiance of the World, and deſpiſe the Cenſures ſhe had it not in her Power to ſilence.
In fine, there is no Circumſtance whatever which can juſtify one Perſon in villifying the Character of another; and as I believe it is more often done through a certain Wantonneſs of the Tongue, than any propenſe Malice in the Mind, I would have every one, who find in themſelves an Inclination that way, to keep in Memory Shakeſpear’s Reflection upon it.Good Name in Man or Woman, Is the immediate Jewel of our Souls: Who ſteals my Purſe, ſteals Traſh: ’tis ſomething, nothing, ’Twas mine, ’tis his; and has been Slave to thouſands. But 009 B1r 9 But he that filches from me my good Name, Robs me of that which not enriches him, And makes me poor indeed.
Curiosity is the Parent of this Vice; if we were not eager to pry into the Affairs of others it would be impoſſible for us to know ſo much of them as we do:—The Paſſion for finding out Secrets is, in reality, so predominant in moſt of us, that it requires a very great Fund of good Senſe and Conſideration to enable us to ſubdue it: Yet if we remember how ſevere the Men are upon our Sex on Account of this Weakneſs, we ſhould not, methinks, grudge taking a little Pains to ſhew it is in our Power to diveſt ourſelves of it.
Will the Knowledge of what other People do make us wiſer or happier?—Yes, ſome will anſwer, we may profit by taking Example by the good Oeconomy of ſome, and take Warning by the Miſtakes of others, not to fall into the ſame.
This Argument might be of ſome Weight, indeed, were there no written Examples of both for our Direction; but, thank Heaven, they are numerous, and of the firſt Sort, are to be found much eaſier in Hiſtory than in preſent Obſervation: In an Age where Vice and Folly ſhine with ſo much Luſtre, the Virtuous and the Wiſe chuſe to ſit in the Shade rather than expoſe themſelves to the Influence of too warm a Sun; their Actions, therefore, muſt be leſs conſpicuous, and Vol. III. B con- 010 B1v 10 conſequently can ſerve as a Pattern but to a few; and as for others, if the Monitor within our own Boſom fails to admoniſh, us we are doing wrong, no Examples from without will have ſufficient Efficacy to prevent us from falling into the very Errors we condemn in others.
Curiosity, therefore, on this Score has a very ſlender Excuſe, and they who make it but deceive themſelves; nor have we any real Motive for being ſolicitous in our Enquiries after Things no way relating to us, but to gratify that idle Vanity of reporting them, and attain the Reputation of being one whom nothing can eſcape.
The Men too, however they may condemn it in us, are not altogether free from this Foible; —eſpecially thoſe among them who affect to be great Politicians:—Some, if they happen to get a Secret, can neither eat nor ſleep till they have communicated it to as many as they know; and thoſe who paſs for more wiſe and prudent, tho’ they declare it not in Words, cannot help, on any Talk of the Affair, giving ſignificant Shrugs, Nods, Winks, Smiles, and a thouſand Indications, that they know more than they think proper to ſpeak:—How do Men of this Caſt haunt the Levees of the Great, the Lobby, the Court of Requeſts, think they read Meanings in the Look of every Face they ſee there, and if they chance to hear a Word en paſſent, compliment their own Penetration with having diſcovered Wonders 011 B2r 11 Wonders from a ſingle Sentence; then run from Coffee-Houſe to Coffee-Houſe, and with a ſolemn Countenance, whiſper the imaginary Secret, from one to another quite round the Room.
But theſe Male-Goſſips have been ſufficiently expoſed already, and I ſhould not have made any mention of them, but to take off ſome Part of the Edge of that Raillery they are ſo ready to treat our Sex with on this Occaſion.
The beſt way, however, is for us to give them no Pretence for it; and I think nothing can be leſs difficult, if we would once ſeriouſly ſet about it, and reflect how much we lay ourſelves open to Cenſure while we are expoſing others: —How natural it is for People to return in kind an Injury of this Sort, and that if even they ſhould be leſs ſevere than we in Reaſon can expect, yet we are certain of incurring the Character of a malicious Perſon from as many as hear us.
’Tis ſtrange, methinks, that this wide World, and all the various Scenes which the Hand of the Creator has ſo bounteouſly ſcatter’d through the whole, can afford no Matter of Converſation to an intelligent Being, without having Recourſe to degrading the moſt exquiſite and perfect of his Works, at leaſt of all that Nature preſents us with beneath the Moon, or that we are able to diſcover with mortal Eyes.B2 The 012 B2v 12
The Turks maintain that Women have no Souls, and there are not wanting ſome among Chriſtians who lean to that Opinion: How mean is it, therefore, in us to give any Room for Arguments ſo unworthy and diſgraceful to ourſelves, by behaving as if we were incapable of Thought and Reflection, which are, indeed, the Eſſence of the Soul?
The Uſe of Speech was given us to communicate ſuch Things, as Reaſon and Judgment ſupply us with from the Storehouſe of the Mind, for the mutual Improvement of each other: Let us not then convert this noble Benefit to Purpoſes ſo contrary to the Intention of the Giver:—Let not the Tongue, inſtead of diſplaying Talents not inferior to the other Sex, be employ’d in leſſening the Dignity of our Specie by Defamation and Evil-ſpeaking.—What Faults we find among ourſelves, it is certainly our Buſineſs to conceal, and palliate as much as poſſible; the Men are but too quick-ſighted to our Prejudice, and while they call us Angels, are ready enough to think us of the Number of the fallen Ones.
But, as I have before obſerved, the Number of thoſe who thro’ Envy and Malice make, or repeat ſcandalous Stories, is ſmall in Compariſon with thoſe who do it meerly becauſe they find it pleaſes others, or for the Want of any thing elſe to ſay; it obliges me to return to my old Argument, of the Neceſſity there is for us to have a little Retroſpect into ourſelves, and neverver 013 B3r 13 ver to ſpeak any more than to do, any thing of Moment without having well deliberated on what may be the Consequence.
The ſlighteſt Aſperſion, or even an ambiguous Hint, thrown out before Perſons who may make a cruel Advantage of it, is liable to be improv’d into the blackeſt Tale, and frequently has been ſo to the utter Ruin both of Character and Fortune:—The Sails of ill Report are ſwell’d by every Breath of Hate, Detraction, and Envy; even vain Surmiſes help to waſt the envenom’d Loading, ’till it reaches Belief, where moſt it will be fatal, poiſoning all Love, all Tenderneſs, all Reſpect, between the deareſt Friends or Relations.
What irreconcilable Jars has ſometimes one raſh Word occaſioned, what unhappy Differences have aroſe, what endleſs Jealouſies have been excited, only to gratify the Spleen or inconſiderate Folly of thoſe who make or find ſome Matter that will bear an ill Conſtruuction!
What ſays the old Poet Brome on this Occasion: Reputation, darling Pride of Honour!Bright fleeting Glare! thou Idol of an Hour!How in an Inſtant is thy Luſtre tarniſh’d!Not Innocence itſelf has Power to ſhield theeFrom the black Steam Detraction iſſues forth:Soil’d by each Breath of Folly; Words unmeantTo014B3v14To reach thy cryſtal Sphere, oft darken it,Enveloping in miſty Vapours, Virtue’s Crown:Rend’ing thy Title dubious, if not falſe,To Eyes of Clay which ſee not through the Clouds.
In another Place this Author purſues the ſame Theme, though with different Thoughts and Expreſſion. Good Name, thou tender Bud of early Spring!How wouldſt thou flouriſh, how ſhoot forth thy Bloſſoms,Did no keen Blaſts ſhrivel thy op’ning Sweets!But e’er thy Summer comes, how often blightedBy cruel Winds, and an inclement Seaſon!All that ſhould charm the World, bring Praiſe to thee,Driven back into thy Self,—thy Self alone,Conſcious of what thou art; and Man unbleſtWith thy expected Fruits.
I cannot help here quoting another Poet, who very emphatically complains of the Severity of the World in Point of Fame. How vain is Virtue, which directs our WaysThrough certain Dangers to uncertain Praiſe:Barren and airy Name! Thee Fortune flys,With thy lean Train the Pious and the Wiſe.Heav’n takes thee at thy Word without Regard,And lets thee poorly be thy own Reward.But 015 B4r 15
But it is altogether needleſs to bring Authorities to prove how ineſtimable a Jewel Reputation is, and how manifold a Wickedneſs and Cruelty all Attempts to deprive us of it have ever been accounted:—The most common Capacity ſees into it;—the Thing ſpeaks for itſelf, and Nature and Fellow-feeling convince us above Argument.
Why do we then ſo wantonly ſport with the moſt ſerious Thing in Life?—A Thing, in which conſiſts the greateſt Happineſs or Miſery of the Perſon concern’d?—What Shadow of an Excuſe is there for prejudicing another, in a Matter which can afford no manner of Benefit to ourſelves; but on the contrary, renders us obnoxious to all civil and reaſonable Society ?
Were this Error only to be found where there is a Defect in the Underſtanding, it would not ſo much excite our Wonder; but I am troubled to ſay, that there are Perſons of the beſt Senſe, in other Reſpects, who ſuffer themſelves to fall into it, through the Inſtigation of ſome favourite Paſſion, not ſufficiently reſtrain’d by thoſe who had the Care of them in their early Years, and which they are afterwards too proud, or too indolent, to make any Efforts to combat with.
The Miſchiefs occaſion’d by a Tongue delighting in Scandal, are too well known to ſtand in need of my repeating any Examples; yet I cannot 016 B4v 16 cannot forbear giving my Readers a very recent one, which has ſomething in it more than ordinary particular.
Fillamour and Zimene were look’d upon as a very happy and agreeable Pair; they had been married about three or four Months, and there ſeem’d not the leaſt Abatement of their firſt Bridal Fondneſs, when Ariana, one of thoſe gay inconſiderate Ladies I have been deſcribing, came to viſit Zimene, big with a Secret ſhe had juſt diſcovered.
Some buſy Body, it seems, had inform’d her that Sophronia, a great Pretender to Virtue, had a private Rendezvous with a young Gentleman, at a certain Houſe where Maſquerade Habits are ſold, or hired out occaſionally:—That they met twice every Week there, had always a fine Collation, and never parted till late at Night.
Ariana aſſured Zimene that her Intelligence was undoubted:—That Sophronia, as much a Prude as ſhe was, had certainly an Intrigue, and concluded with ſaying, it would be a charming Thing if they could find out the Perſon who made a Conqueſt of that Heart, which pretended to be ſo impregnable.
Zimene was no leſs curious, and they preſently began to contrive together what Means would be moſt likely to ſucceed; at length they pitched upon one which indeed carry’d with it a good 017 C1r 17 good deal of Probability, and, in reality, anſwer’d the End propoſed by it.
Ariana, as leaſt known in that Part of the Town where the Aſſignation was kept, went and took a Lodging in the Houſe, as for a Friend of her’s, who was expected very ſhortly in Town: After having made the Agreement, ſhe call’d two or three Times in a Day, under the Pretence of ſeeing every thing in order;—the extravagant Rent that was to be paid excuſed the continual Trouble ſhe gave the People; but to render it leſs ſo, ſhe treated them whenever ſhe came with Tea, Wine, and Sweetmeats: — At laſt, ſhe perceiv’d they appear’d in ſomewhat an unuſual Hurry; great running up and down Stairs was heard, and ſhe found that Fires were lighted in the Apartment over that ſhe had taken:—She ſeemed, however, not to obſerve any thing of this, but ſtepp’d privately out, and ſent her Footman, who was always in waiting at the End of the Street, to let Zimene know that ſhe found the Lovers were expected.
The other rejoiced at receiving the Summons, and exulted within herſelf at the Opportunity ſhe ſhould have of retorting on Sophronia ſome bitter Jeſts ſhe had formerly paſs’d on her.
In fine, ſhe came muffled up, as if juſt arriv’d in Town, and excuſed her having no Servants with her, under the Pretence that ſhe had left them Vol. III. C with 018 C1v 18 with her Baggage, which ſhe ſaid was not expected ’till two or three Days after.
The People of the Houſe gave themſelves no Trouble to conſider the Probability of all this; they doubted not but whatever was the Motive of her coming to lodge with them, it would turn to their Advantage in the end; and, perhaps, were not without ſome Conjecture that one, or both theſe Ladies had their Favourites to meet as well as Sophronia.
The two fair Spies, however, having order’d that Supper ſhould not be got ready for them ’till Ten o’Clock, ſhut themſelves into their Apartment, as tho’ Zimene wanted to take ſome Repoſe till that Time after the Fatigue of her Journey; but, indeed, to prevent any Suspicion of their Deſign, which might have made thoſe whom they came to obſerve more cautious.
Being left to themſelves, Ariana put out the Lights, and having opened one of the Windows in the Dining-Room very ſoftly, watched there to ſee who came in, while Zimene took her Poſt at the Bed-Chamber Door, which opening just againſt the Staircase, ſhe could, with all the Eaſe in the World, ſee through the Key-hole every one who paſſed either up or down.
It was not long before Ariana perceived a Chair with the Curtains cloſe drawn ſtop at the Door, and come into the Entry, and Zimene plainly 019 C2r 19 plainly ſaw the Face of Sophronia by the Light that hung on the Stair-Caſe:—Both were now ſatiſfy’d that the Intelligence Ariana had receiv’d was true, and were not a little impatient for the Arrival of the happy Gentleman, which would compleat the Diſcovery, and enable them to ſpread the Story, with all its Circumſtances, through the Town.
A few Minutes put an end to their Suſpenſe, which, however uneaſy ſuch a Situation may be in ſome Caſes, was a Heaven to that Diſtraction, which in this, the cruel Certainty produced in one of them.
Ariana having ſeen a ſecond Chair come in, with the ſame Privacy as the former, quitted the Window, and ran to the Peeping-place Zimene had all this Time occupy’d, which, however, was large enough for them both to ſee through.
But, good Heaven! the Conſternation they were in when Fillamour (for it was he) appear’d! —The Wife could ſcarce believe her Eyes, and turning to Ariana, cry’d, Who is it?—It cannot be my Huſband !—Dear Creature, eaſe me of my Torture, and convince me I am miſtaken.
I wiſh I could, reply’d Ariana, almoſt as much amazed, but the Perſon we ſaw paſs, is too ſurely the perfidious Fillamour!C2 One 020 C2v 20
One cannot be very certain whether this Lady was really ſo much troubled at the Injuſtice done to her Friend as this Expreſſion ſeemed to ſignify. People of her Diſpoſition being glad of any thing to afford Matter of Converſation, even tho’ it were to the Prejudice of thoſe they moſt pretend to eſteem.
I will not ſay, this was directly the Caſe with Ariana, but inſtead of reaſoning with Zimene, and perſwading her to Moderation in ſo ſtabbing a Circumstance, ſhe omitted nothing that ſhe thought would exaggerate the Crime of her Huſband, and conſequently heighten her Indignation againſt him:—Nay, ſhe was even for having her apply to a Juſtice of the Peace, and expoſing Sophronia by thoſe Methods, which the loweſt and moſt abject People take to revenge themſelves, when injured in the Manner it was plain ſhe was.
But tho’ the other had too much good Senſe to come into any ſuch Meaſures, as only ſerve to make Diverſion for the Rabble, yet ſhe had not a ſufficient Share to enable her to bear her Wrongs with that Patience which was neceſſary to make Fillamour aſhamed of what he had done: — She no ſooner found that Supper was carry’d up, than ſhe follow’d the Perſon quick enough to prevent the Door being ſhut;—ſhe flew at Sophronia, attempted to tear her Hair and Head — clothes, and would certainly have treated her pretty ſeverely, had not Fillamour, confounded as 021 C3r 21 as he was, ſtepp’d between with theſe Words: — No, Madam, cry’d he, whatever may be your Imaginations, or whatever Appearances may ſeem to be againſt me, I cannot ſuffer you to be guilty of a Rudeneſs which I am ſure your cooler Thoughts will condemn.
He was about to add ſomething more, when ſhe, turning from her Rival, pluck’d off his Wig and threw it into the Fire,—Monſter! Villain! ſaid ſhe, every thing is juſtify’d by Injuries like mine.
She ſpit at him; —ſhe ſtamp’d upon the Floor, and behaved in all her Words and Actions like a Woman utterly deprived of Reaſon: — Sophronia in the mean time was ſo overcome with Shame, Apprehenſion, and, perhaps, Remorſe, that ſhe fell into a Swoon: —Fillamour ſeeing her in that Condition, could be reſtrained by no Conſiderations from running to ſupport her; which Action aggravating the Fury Zimene before was in, ſhe ſnatch’d his Sword which lay in the Window, and had doubtleſs committed ſome Deed of Deſperation on one or both of them, if Ariana, who had follow’d her up Stairs, had not catch’d hold of her Arm.
The confuſed Noiſe among them ſoon brought up the People of the Houſe, who eaſily perceiving the Occaſion of it, got Sophronia out of the Room; after which the Husband and Wife continuedtinued 022 C3v 22 tinued a Diſpute, in which the latter had the better in every thing.
Fillamour, at firſt, would fain have perſwaded her that he came not to meet Sophronia on his own Account, but on that of a Friend; who having an honourable Paſſion for her, and by an unforeſeen Accident was prevented that Evening from coming himſelf, and had intreated him to make his Excuſe.—But this was a Pretense too ſhallow to deceive Zimene, and was beſides contradicted by Ariana, who told him that he could not come in that private Manner twice every Week on the Score of a third Perſon.
In fine, no Subterfuge ſerving his Purpoſe, he at laſt threw off all Evaſion, exerted the Huſband, and threw the Blame of every thing on Zimene:—He told her, though without the leaſt Foundation in Truth, that he had always perceived her of an inquiſitive jealous Nature, and that whatever had happened between him and the Lady in queſtion was only out of a Principle of Revenge, adding, that when a Wife gave herself up to Jealouſy, and ſhewed a Want of Confidence, there could be no Abuſe of it, nor any Obligation on the Huſband to put the leaſt Reſtraint upon his Pleaſures.
This Reflection, as it well might, becauſe both cruel and unjuſt, heightened the Agitations ſhe before was in to ſuch a Degree, as it is ſcarce poſſible 023 C4r 23 poſſible to conceive, much leſs to give any Deſcription of:—If his attempting to evade her Accuſations, and cover his Falſhood, was provoking to her good Senſe, his avowing his Crime was much more ſo to her Pride; as the Poet ſays, Rage has no Bounds in ſlighted Womankind.
But he ſtayed not long to ſee the Effects of it, and flung out of the Room, leaving her to act as ſhe thought fit in the Affair.
The Woman of the Houſe fearing ſome ill Conſequences to herſelf from this Adventure, ſpared neither Oaths nor Imprecations to make Zimene believe ſhe was wholly innocent: — That ſhe knew not but the Gentleman and Lady were Man and Wife:—That they had told her they were privately married, but on the Account of Relations were obliged to conceal it.
Zimene little regarded all ſhe ſaid on this Score; and as there was a Poſſibility of its being true, offer’d not to contradict it: Ariana went home with her, and lay with her that Night, for ſhe was reſolved to ſleep no more by the Side of a Man, who had not only wronged her in the moſt tender Point, but, as ſhe imagin’d, had added Inſult to Deceit, by taking ſo little Pains to alleviate his Transgreſſion, or obtain Forgiveneſs:— He has never once vouchſafed to aſk my Pardon, cry’d ſhe, in the utmost Agony of Spirit;— he deſpiſes,—ſets my juſt Rage at nothing, and 024 C4v 24 and I hate him for that, even more than for his Falſhood.
It is to be ſuppoſed ſhe ſuffered Ariana to take but little Repoſe that Night, too ſmall a Puniſhment, indeed, for that inquiſitive talking Humour which had occaſioned all this Confuſion: All the Hours till Morning were employ’d in conſulting in what Manner would beſt become Zimene to behave in ſo unhappy a Circumſtance; at laſt it was agreed, that ſhe ſhould quit her Huſband’s Houſe, and retire to that of an Uncle, who had been her Guardian; and accordingly ſhe pack’d up all her Jewels, Dreſſing-Plate, and Cloaths, and with Ariana, her Woman, and one Footman, went away very early:—Before her Departure ſhe called for Fillamour’s Valet de Chambre, and bad him tell his Maſter, that ſhe left his Houſe forever, to be govern’d by the Lady to whom he had given his Heart.
Whatever Anxieties the offended Wife endur’d, it is eaſy to believe the tranſgressing Huſband had his Share: His Intrigue with Sophronia was of a long Date;—the Vehemence of his Paſſion for her was worn off even before his Marriage, and he wiſh’d for nothing more than an Abatement of her’s, that he might break off with Decency; —but whenever he gave the moſt distant Hint of the Inconveniences attending a Continuation of their Acquaintance, ſhe fell into ſuch Agonies as he had too much Compaſſion for her to be able to endure the Sight of:—She pro- 025 D1r 25 proteſted that when the dreadful Moment of parting them ſhould arrive it ſhould be the laſt of Life, and talk’d of nothing but Poiſon or Dagger: This kind of Behaviour it was that had alone obliged him to make a Shew of ſome Remains of Attachment to her, and now to be detected in his Fault, to be catch’d without any Poſſibility of Defence, fill’d him with the moſt extreme Vexation a Heart could be oppreſs’d with; but then the Violence, the Outrage with which Zimene behaved on the Occaſion, alarm’d his Pride, and as a Man, much more, as a Huſband, he thought himself above yielding to any thing impoſed on him in that arbitrary Faſhion.
Unhappy Zimene! how great a Pity was it that ſhe could not command her Temper: — Softneſs would have eaſily accompliſhed what Rage could never bring about; and as much as Fillamour condemn’d himſelf for the Injury he had done her, he yet more condemn’d her for the Manner in which ſhe reſented it.
On being told ſhe was gone, and the Meſſage ſhe had left for him, he was, indeed, very much ſhocked on Account of her Friends, and what the World, whom he doubted not but would be acquainted with the whole of the Affair, would ſay of him; but he found nothing of thoſe tender Emotions for being deprived of her Society, as he would certainly have done, had ſhe borne the Detection of his Fault with more Gentleneſs and Moderation.Vol. III. D The 026 D1v 26
The whole Tranſaction, as he imagined it would be, ſoon became the Talk of the Town: —Zimene was loud in her Reproaches on his Infidelity:—He, in Excuſe for what he had done, exclaimed with equal Virulence againſt her ill Temper, which, he pretended, had driven him to ſeek Eaſe Abroad:—Both now hated each other with more Paſſion than they had ever lov’d: —In vain the Kindred on both Sides endeavour’d to make up the Matter; —they were equally irreconcilable, —and rendered the more ſo by an unhappy Punctilio in both their Tempers: —Zimene, knowing herself the injured Perſon, thought the leaſt Attonement he ought to have made was the Acknowledgment of his Tranſgreſſion;—a ſolemn Promiſe of repeating it no more, and an Entreaty of Pardon for what was paſt.—Fillamour on the other hand, tho’ conſcious of his Crime, look’d on the Means ſhe took to publiſh it as an Offence he ought as little to forgive; the bitter Expreſſions her Rage threw out againſt him ſeem’d to him yet more inexcuſeable than the Occaſion he had given her for them; and made him imagine, or at least gave him a Pretence for doing ſo, that there were Seeds of Ill-nature in her Soul, which would have ſome time or other broke out, though he had done nothing to deſerve them.
In fine, none of them wanted Matter to harden them againſt each other, nor could they be brought to agree in any one thing but an Article of Separation, which was accordingly drawn up; after 027 D2r 27 after which Zimene retired into the Country where ſhe ſtill lives; and Fillamour accepted of a Commiſſion in the Army, meerly to avoid the Diſcourſes which he could not help hearing in Town, in all Company on this Affair.
As for Sophronia ſhe went directly to Dunkirk, and entered herſelf a Penſioner in a Monaſtery, not being able to ſhew her Face any more in a Place where ſhe had been detected of a Fault ſhe had ſo ſeverely cenſured in others.
Whether Ariana has been enough concern’d at the Diſtraction her inquiſitive Temper occaſioned, to make uſe of any Efforts to reſtrain it for the future, I will not pretend to ſay; but I hope it will be a Warning to others, neither to buſy themſelves with Affairs in which they have no Concern, nor be too fond of reporting what Chance may diſcover to them.
The Behaviour of Zimene alſo may ſhew our Sex how little is to be got by Violence, and a too haughty Reſentment:—Patience, and a ſilent enduring an Infringement on thoſe Rights which Marriage gives us over the Heart and Perſon of a Huſband, is a Leſſon, which, I confeſs, is difficult to practiſe; yet, if well obſerved, ſeldom fails of bringing on a ſure Reward.—I have more than once, in the Courſe of these Speculations, recommended Softneſs as the moſt prevailing, as well as moſt becoming Arms we have to combat with; and which, even in the moſt provokingD2 voking 028 D2v 28 voking Circumſtances ought never to be thrown aſide. A Letter I mention’d in my laſt gives ſome Proofs of the Succeſs it has produced, and therefore has a very good Claim to our Attention.
To the Female Spectator. Madam, The Story of Dorimon and Alithea at the latter end of your firſt Volume, gave me a great deal of Pleaſure:—I look on the Character of Alithea to be of the higheſt Value;—ſo exemplary a Patience under a Provocation the moſt irritating to our Sex, has a just Claim to our Admiration; but even that is yet leſs difficult to be imitated than the Sweetneſs, the amazing Gentleneſs which ſhe conceal’d the Knowledge of her Wrongs, not only from the World, but from the Man who offered them. Nothing can be ſo terrible a Misfortune to a Woman who loves her Huſband tenderly, as to be conſcious ſhe has loſt his Affections, and that another triumphs in thoſe Endearments which are alone her Right; but when Inſults are added to Injuries, and the neglected Wife is obliged to bear them from the very Wretch who has ſupplanted her; to behave, I ſay, in ſuch a Circumſtance with Decency and Complaiſance, requires not only an elevated Virtue, but a Diſcretion more conſummate than is ordinarily found in our Sex;—not that we want Capacities‘ties 029 D3r 29 ties to attain it, but becauſe a due Care is wantting to form our Minds in Youth. The great Number of Separations and Divorces, which we ſee of late, is a Teſtimony that few Ladies are educated in ſuch a Manner as to have good Qualities ſufficient to enable them to bear ſo great a Diſregard of themſelves:— Miſs is ſent, indeed, to the beſt School can be heard of to be brought up; but then Mamma tells her at parting, My Dear, if every thing does not pleaſe you there; or if you are croſs’d, let me know, and I will take you away.—Fine Education to be expected after ſuch a Promiſe! How can thoſe Mothers think that their Children will make good Wives, when they are taught to be their own Miſtreſſes from the Cradle, and muſt learn nothing but what they have a Mind to for fear they ſhould fret.—This falſe Indulgence, and the Want of being a little accuſtomed to Contradiction in the early Years of Life, it is, that chiefly occaſions that wild Impatience we often ſee in Maturity. But tho’ ill Habits contracted in our Youth are difficult to be worn off, Reaſon and Reflection may enable us to accompliſh ſo glorious a Work, if we ſet about it with a firm Reſolution. How great a Pleaſure muſt that Woman feel, who is conſcious of having reclaim’d her ‘Huſ 030 D3v 30 Huſband meerly by her own Sweetneſs of Behaviour; —how juſtifiable, nay, how laudable will be her Pride whoſe Merit is forcible enough to conquer all the Follies of an ungovernable Man, and make him own he has been to blame!—Affections thus obtain’d are generally more tender, more fond than ever, and ceaſe not but with Life:—Whatever Conflicts, therefore, a Wife may endure within herſelf in the Endeavour, and how long ſoever ſhe may ſuffer, the Reward at laſt will more than compenſate for all the Pains. I wish this Point were more conſidered, and that Ladies would take Example by your Alithea, or that amiable Princeſs mentioned in the ſame Book, but as too many Inſtances cannot be given of Patience and Forbearance in ſuch a Circumſtance, I beg leave to preſent your Readers with a little ſuccinct Account of two of my particular Acquaintance, who have reclaim’d their Huſbands, and recovered the Love they once thought wholly loſt, with Intereſt. The firſt, whom I ſhall call Eudoſia, had been the moſt unfortunate Woman upon Earth, had ſhe not been endu’d with an equal Share of Patience as good Senſe:—She was married very young to Severus, a Man of a moſt haughty auſtere Diſpoſition, and one, who like too many of his Sex, had got it into his Head, that Women were created only to be the Slaves of Men:—Her Beauty, however, and the ‘ſub- 031 D4r 31 ſubmiſſive Mildneſs of her Diſpoſition, made him very fond of her, and they lived in a great deal of Harmony together; ’till Severus happening to ſee Laconia at a public Place, became enamour’d of her, and his Pride making him above attempting to put any Reſtraint on his Inclinations, he from that Moment resolv’d to know her more intimately, if there was a Poſſibility of doing ſo: By a ſtrict Enquiry he found who ſhe was, and that ſhe had no Fortune to ſupport her Extravagancies:—This he ſo well improved that he ſoon accompliſhed his Wiſhes; and tho’ after he was familiar with her, he diſcovered he had not been the firſt who had receiv’d her Favouurs, yet he continued attach’d to her by an invincible Fatality. So careleſs was he of what either his Wife or the World might think of him, that both were ſoon apprized of his Amour:—Thoſe of his own Kindred took the Liberty to reprove him ſharply for it; but Eudoſia prevailed on thoſe of her own to be ſilent in the Affair, as ſhe herſelf reſolved to be, well judging, that to a Perſon of his Diſpoſition, all Oppoſition would but add Fewel to the Fire, and that he would rather perſiſt in what he knew was wrong, than confeſs himſelf convinced by the Arguments of others. He very well knew ſhe could not be ignorant of what he took ſo little Pains to conceal; ‘but 032 D4v 32 but where there is a Diſlike, as during his Intrigue with Laconia he certainly had for his Wife, nothing can oblige,—nothing can be acknowledged as a Virtue;—inſtead of eſteeming her, as he ought to have done, for the Regard ſhe ſhewed for his Peace in never murmuring, nor upbraiding him with his Fault, he imputed it all to a mean Timidity of Nature in her, and only glory’d in himſelf for knowing ſo well how to keep a Woman within what Bounds he pleaſed, and render even her very Wiſhes ſubſervient to his Will. Confident that he might now act as he pleaſed, he brought Laconia into his Houſe, commanded Eudoſia to treat her as a Lady, whom he infinitely eſteemed, and having laid this Injuction on her, whom he look’d upon as only his Upper Servant, gave adequate Orders to the others. This Creature now became the entire Miſtreſs of the Family, and tho’ Eudoſia kept her Place at the Head of the Table, yet nothing was ſerved up to it but what was ordered by Laconia. Some Women will look on this tame enduring in Eudoſia as wholly unworthy of a Wife, and too great an Encouragement for other guilty Huſbands to treat their Wives in the ſame Manner; but this Pattern of Prudence and Good-nature knew very well the Temper ‘of 033 E1r 33 of the Perſon ſhe had to deal with, and that nothing was to be gain’d by the Purſuit of any rough Meaſures:—She ſeemed, therefore, to think herſelf happy in the Company of Laconia, carry’d her into all Company ſhe went into as her particular Friend, and was ſo perfectly obliging to her in every Reſpect, that the other, even in ſpite of their Rivalſhip, could not help having a Regard for her, which ſhe teſtify’d in downright quarreling with Severus, whenever he refuſed her any thing ſhe aſked; and in truth, this injured Wife would frequently have gone without many Things which her Rank in Life demanded, had it not been for the Interceſſion of Laconia. Severe Tryal, however, for a Woman of Virtue, and who in ſpite of his Injuſtice and Ingratitude, ſtill retained the moſt tender Affection for her Huſband, yet ſhe bore all with a ſeeming Tranquility, but while the guilty Pair imagined her eaſy and reſign’d to her Fate, ſhe was continually laying Schemes to change it: Long ſhe was about it, being loth to venture at any thing which, in caſe of failure, might render her Condition worſe; but at laſt her good Genius inſpired her a little Plot, which threaten’d nothing if the Event ſhould not anſwer Expectation, and promiſed much if it ſucceeded. She feigned herself ſeized with a ſudden Indiſpoſition, took her Bed, and ſo well acted her Part, that the Phyſician who attended her was Vol. III E ‘deceived 034 E1v 34 deceived by it, and reported her Condition as dangerous.—It cannot be ſuppoſed Severus felt any great Anxiety at hearing it, yet order’d ſhe ſhould be carefully look’d to, and nothing ſpared that would contribute to her Recovery: —Laconia appear’d very aſſiduous about her, but whether out of a real or counterfeited Tenderneſs I will not pretend to ſay. It ſerved, however, to forward Eudosia’s Deſign; and one Day, ſeeming to come out of a fainting Fit while the other was ſitting by her Bed-ſide, ſhe called to her Maid, and bad her bring her a Sheet of Paper, and Pen and Ink, which being done ſhe wrote a few Lines, and ordered a ſmall India Cabinet, in which ſhe was accuſtomed to keep her Jewels, and other little Trinkets, to be held to her, in which ſhe put the Paper, and turned the Key with a great deal of ſeeming Care to make it faſt; but in truth, to prevent it from being lock’d, ſo that it might eaſily be opened. Now, cry’d ſhe, I ſhall die in Peace, ſince my dear Severus will know, when I am gone, every thing I wiſh him to be ſenſible of:—I beg you, Madam, continued ſhe to Laconia, who was very attentive to all ſhe did, to let my Huſband know my laſt Will is contained in that Cabinet. With theſe Words ſhe ſunk down into the Bed, as fatigued with what ſhe had been doing, ‘and 035 E2r 35 and the other doubted not but her laſt Moment was near at Hand. A Woman circumſtanced as Laconia was, might very well be curious to diſcover what Eudoſia had wrote; but not knowing how to come at it without the help of Severus, ſhe acquainted him with the whole Behaviour of his Wife on this Occaſion, on which he grew little leſs impatient than herſelf; and at a Time when she ſeem’d to be aſleep, took the Cabinet out of the Room, and carry’d it into his own Cloſet, reſolving to examine the Contents without any Witneſſes. Eudosia, who was very watchful for the Succeſs of her Project, ſaw well enough what he had done; but looking on the Reception he ſhould give the Paper as the Criſis of her Fate, paſt the Remainder of the Night in ſuch diſturb’d Emotions, as rendered her almoſt as ill in reality as ſhe had pretended. Severus was little leſſ diſordered after having read the Letter, which was directed to himſelf, with the Title of her Ever dear Severus, and contained these Lines. Had I Millions to bequeath, you alone ſhould be my Heir; but all I have, all I am, is already yours, all but my Advice, which living I durſt not preſume to give you; but as this will not reach your Ears till I am E2 no 036 E2v 36 no more, it may be better received:—It is this, my Dear, that as ſoon as Decency permits you will marry Laconia;—neither of you ought to make any other Choice: — The World, you know, has been loud in its Cenſures on that Lady’s Score, I alone have been ſilent:—What the Duty of a Wife bound me to while living, I perſevere to obſerve in Death; my only Conſolation under inconceivable Agonies of Mind and Body, being a Conſciouſneſs of having well and truly diſcharged all the Obligations of my Station. —I beg Heaven your ſecond Nuptials may be more agreeable than your firſt;—that ſhe who has ſo long enjoy’d your Heart may continue to deſerve it, by loving you as I have done, and you be more happy with her than you could poſſibly be with The unfortunate Eudosia. He afterwards confeſs’d, that he read this above an hundred Times over, and that every Word ſunk into his Soul the deeper as he examined it the more; till quite melted into Tenderneſs, he look’d back with Horror on his paſt Behaviour:—All the Charms he had formerly found in the Mind and Perſon of Eudoſia returned with added Force, and thoſe of Laconia grew dim and faded in his Eyes. But when he reflected that he was about to loſe forever ſo ineſtimable a Treaſure as he now ‘own’d 037 E3r 37 own’d his Wife to be, and that there was the ſtrongeſt Probability that his Unkindneſs had ſhortened her Date of Life, he fell into the bittereſt Rage againſt himſelf, and the Object of that unlawful Flame which had occaſion’d it. Laconia, who wondered he did not come to Bed, for he had promis’d to ſleep with her that Night, ran to his Cloſet, where ſhe found him in very great Agitations; on her enquiring into the Cauſe, he ſullenly told her ſhe was, and bid her leave him. As this was Treatment ſhe had not been accuſtomed to, ſhe had not Preſence enough of Mind to conceal her Reſentment at it, but immediately flew into a Rage, which his Temper was little able to endure, and ſerved as a Foil to ſet Eudosia’s Virtues in a ſtill fairer Light; he contented himſelf, however, with making her go out of the Room, after which he returned to his former Meditations. In fine, he thought ſo long, till Thought made him as perfect a Convert as Eudoſia could wiſh; and the Imagination that he was about to lose her, made him loſe all that haughty Tenaciouſneſs of Humour he was wont to uſe her with:—He went ſeveral Times to her Chamber-Door, but being told ſhe ſeem’d in a Slumber returned ſoftly back, and would not enter till he heard ſhe was awake, then enquired in the tendereſt Manner how ſhe did; ‘to 038 E3v 38 to which ſhe anſwered, that his Preſence had given her more Spirits than ſhe could have hoped ever to have enjoyed in this World. O, cry’d he, quite charmed with her Softneſs, if the Sight of me can afford you Comfort, never will I quit your Chamber:—Believe me, continued he, taking her Hand and preſſing it, My Dear Eudoſia, that how much ſoever I have been to blame, there is nothing ſo terrible as the Thoughts of loſing you:—O that my recovered Love, and all the Tenderneſs that Man can feel, could but reſtore your Health:—What would I not give!—What would I not do to preſerve you! These Words were accompanied with ſome Tears of Paſſion that bedew’d her Hand, and left her no room to doubt of their Sincerity. How much ſhe was tranſported any one may gueſs:—Now, ſaid ſhe, raiſing herſelf in the Bed and claſping him round the Neck, in Life or Death I have nothing more to wiſh. It would be endleſs to repeat the fond obliging Things they ſaid to each other; the Reader will eaſily conceive by the Beginning that nothing could be more tender on both Sides: But what added moſt to Eudoſia’s Satisfaction, was the Aſſurance he gave her that Laconia ſhould quit his Houſe that Day, and that he never would ſee her more. ‘On 039 E4r 39 On this, ſhe inſiſted on his making ſome Proviſion for her, telling him it was Puniſhment ſufficient for her Fault to loſe the Affection ſhe had ſo long enjoy’d; and that for her Part, if ſhe ſhould live to poſſeſs the Happineſs his Behaviour now ſeem’d to promiſe, it would be damp’d if ſhe knew any thing he had once loved was miſerable. This Generoſity engag’d new Careſſes on the Part of Severus, but he deſired ſhe would not mention that Woman any more, but leave it to himſelf to act as he thought proper. He kept his Word; Laconia was put out of the Houſe that Day: In what Manner they parted is uncertain, but it is not ſo that the Amour between them was never renewed. Eudoſia having gained her Point, pretended to recover by Degrees, and at length to be fully eſtabliſh’d in her former Health; to which now, a Vivacity flowing from a contented Mind being added, ſhe became more agreeable than ever; never was there a happier Wife, or more endearing Huſband All their Acquaintance beheld the Change with Aſtoniſhment, but none were entruſted with the innocent Stratagem which brought it about: Eudoſia had the Prudence to conceal it not only from Severus himſelf, but from all others; nor till after his Death, which happened‘pened 040 E4v 40 pened not in ſeveral Years, was any Perſon made privy to it. The other whom I mentioned, as a happy Inſtance of recovering a decayed Affection, I ſhall call Conſtantia; ſhe was a young Gentlewoman of ſtrict Virtue but no Fortune:—She had been courted above a Year by Tubeſco, a ſubſtantial Tradeſman, before ſhe married him, but had not been a Wife above half the time, when ſhe perceived there was another much more dear to him than herſelf:—She bore it, however, with a conſummate Patience, and even after ſhe heard that he had a Child by her Rival, who was a wealthy Tradeſman’s Daughter, did ſhe ever reproach him with it, or attempt to expoſe it. He had even the Folly, as well as Impudence, to own his Intrigue before her Face; yet all this did not move her to any unbecoming Paſſion: She was not, however, inſenſible to ſuch Uſage, nor without the moſt ardent Wiſhes to reclaim him both for his and her own Sake: Many Projects ſhe contrived, but all without Succeſs, ’till a Perſon, who was a Friend to them both, perſwaded him to leave England, and go to ſettle at Dundee, of which Place they were Natives. Abſence from his Miſtreſs ſhe hop’d would make a Change in his Temper in her Favour; but in this ſhe was deceived, at leaſt for a long while:—For two long Years did he repine, and all that time uſed his Wife ſo very ‘ill 041 F1r 41 ill that ſhe almoſt repented ſhe had engaged him to quit the Preſence of one who ſhe now began to think he could live without:—To add to her Afflictions, ſhe was extremely ill treated by his Relations on the Score of having brought no Portion; but when ſhe thought herſelf the moſt abandoned by good Fortune, ſhe was neareſt the Attainment of it. Heaven was pleaſed that ſhe ſhould prove with Child, which, together with her continued Sweetneſs of Behaviour, turn’d his Heart; he became from the worſt, one of the beſt of Huſbands, deteſts his former Life, and all Women who endeavour by their Artifices to alienate Men from their Wives. Constantia is now very happy, and the more ſo, as ſhe knows the Recovery of her Huſband’s Affections is chiefly owing to her own good Conduct, and Sweetneſs of Behaviour. But I have troubled you too long:—If theſe Examples may ſerve to enforce the good Advice you have given our Sex, it will be an infinite Satisfaction to, Madam, Your moſt humble Servant, 1745-03-26March 26, 1745. Dorinda.
This amiable Lady’s Letter ſtands in no Vol. III F need 042 F1v 42 need of a Comment; but we think ourſelves obliged to thank her for the Zeal ſhe teſtifies for the Happineſs of Society:—Could the generality of Womankind be brought to think like her, Marriage would no longer be a Bugbear to the Wife, and a Laughing-ſtock to Fools: — Would they, inſtead of reporting the Follies of their Sex, ſet forth, as ſhe has done, the bright Examples ſome of them have given of Virtue and Diſcretion, Men would venerate inſtead of deſpiſing; we ſhould recover that Reſpect we have too much loſt through our own Miſmanagement greatly, but more by our Bitterneſs and railing againſt each other.
I confess myſelf extremely pleaſed when I hear of a Woman, who failing by an artleſs Softneſs to preſerve the Affection of her Huſband, regains it by Wit and Addreſs: — Had Eudoſia ſupinely yielded to her Fate, and combated her Huſband’s Falſhood and Ingratitude only with her Tears, ſhe might have ſunk under the Burthen of her Wrongs; and the injurious Laconia triumph’d over her Aſhes in the unrivall’d Poſſeſſion of his Heart and Perſon: But by this pretty Stratagem ſhe ſhewed herſelf a Woman of Spirit as well as Virtue:—What ſhe did could not be call’d Deceit, becauſe her whole Character being Gentleneſs and Goodneſs, ’tis highly probable ſhe would have made him the ſame Request had ſhe really thought herſelf dying; as being the only Attonement he could make for having lived ſo long in a criminal Converſation with Laconia; and but an- 043 F2r 43 anticipated that Will which her forgiving Sweetneſs and perſevering Love would have inſpired her with before ſhe left this World.
Neither was her Prudence in concealing what ſhe had done leſs to be admir’d:—Had ſhe made a Confidant of any one Perſon, and it had reach’d the Ears of Severus, a Man of his Temper would not only have been chagrin’d at being trick’d, tho’ it were into Happineſs, but have look’d on her divulging it as a kind of Triumph over him; and had ſhe confeſs’d it only to himſelf, tho’ he could not in Reaſon have condemn’d her for it, yet he might not have been well ſatisfy’d to think ſhe had it in her Power to boaſt of having over-reached him, and this might have poiſoned all the Sweets of that Reconciliation which was the Reward of her Wit and Virtue.
The mild and ſweet Behaviour of Conſtantia may alſo be a Pattern for Wives when provok’d in the Manner ſhe was:—To furniſh Examples of this kind is doing univerſal Service; and if thoſe Ladies, who delight in repeating every unhappy Adventure that comes in their Way, would imitate Dorinda, and acquaint us only with Inſtances of Virtue, I am confident the World would be better than it is.
But to uſe a Phraſe in Scripture, Out of the abundance of the Heart the Mouth ſpeaketh; The Love of Scandal proceeds meerly from the Want F2 of 044 F2v 44 of giving the Mind ſome more worthy Employment:—There is a Reſtleſsneſs in the Faculties of the Soul that calls for Action, and, if we do not take care to give them ſome, will chuſe for themſelves, and may not probably be always ſuch as redound either to our own Honour or the Emolument of our Neighbours.
There is much more in the Choice of Matter for our Contemplation than People are generally aware of; for without we give the thinking Faculty ſome one fix’d Subject wherewith it may be buſy’d and taken up, it will be apt to run into a Multiplicity of different Ideas, all confounding each other, deſtroying Judgment and ſerious Reflection; ſo that whatever Good we do cannot properly be called our own, but the Effect of Chance; but all the Ill is truly ours, for want of a proper Regulation of thoſe Powers by which we are ſolely actuated.
But as this cannot be done without ſome little Examination into the Nature of the Soul in regard to its Direction over, and Manner of Cooperation with the Body, I ſhall here preſent my Readers with the Sentiments of a very ingenious Gentleman on that Occaſion.
To the Female Spectator. Madam, I Read with Pleasure the Reflections on the Soul in your Eleventh Book, and join heartily with Platonides in thanking you for recommending‘mending 045 F3r 45 mending the Study of Philoſophy to the Ladies, that is, that moſt uſeful Branch of it that teaches the Nature of the Soul; and I muſt here beg leave to recommend it to the Men, who want it almoſt, if not quite, as much as they do; and, if I am not too preſumptuous, I ſhall intrude ſo far on your Good—nature and Indulgence, as to offer you my weak Sentiments on it, being encourag’d by the Promiſe you made at the Beginning of that Book. TheSoul I look upon as an immaterial created Being, whoſe Exiſtence is beſt expreſs’d by theſe Words, I think, therefore I exiſt, that is, the radical Eſſence of the Soul conſiſts in Thought:—It is a Spirit of no Shape or Form, for theſe would imply a Materiality; it is ſimple, not made of Parts, indiviſible, whoſe ſole Property and Quality, as I have juſt now ſaid, are Thought and Reaſon. Now that the Soul is immaterial, is eaſily proved from the Properties of Matter; whoſe Eſſence conſiſting of a Subſtance which hath a Form or Shape, reſiſts a Change of the State wherein it is, whether of Reſt or Motion, ſo that would never change the State wherein it is at preſent, if not moved or ſtopp’d by ſome external Agent; this is open to every Man’s Capacity who will give himſelf the Trouble to reflect on it:—Let him take a Stone, or any other Thing, and place it ſomewhere, that Stone will remain there, unleſs moved by ſomething ex- 046 F3v 46 extraneous; this ſomething, if material, muſt be moved by another external Agent, and at laſt we muſt come to that Being, which, by its Will, can impell a Force on Matter ſufficient to move it from the Place where it is; and this Motion, excited in Matter, would continue always, if ſome external Force did not ſtop it; but that thin Subſtance, the Air, continually reſiſting Matter thus impell’d, impedes the Motion in Proportion to the Force of the Impulſe, ’till at laſt it ſtops it quite. Since then material Subſtances, when once put in Motion, cannot of themſelves return to a State of Reſt, but muſt continue in that State of Motion, unleſs hindered by ſomething external; and when in a State of Reſt, they muſt continue in that State, and cannot move unleſs impelled by ſomething external; it follows from thence, that ſomething immaterial muſt be the Primum Mobile of material Bodies. TheAnimal and Vegetable Life, when not conſidered with Care, make ſeveral People deny the Neceſſity of an immaterial Mover: But what is this Life?—We ſhould examine it well, before we decide ſo poſitively; it conſiſts in a Circulation of Fluids, where Matter, originally impell’d by ſome Power ab extra, acts on Matter with a certain determined Force, which ariſes ſolely from a Reſiſtance to a Change of its State; and whatever Matter were void of that Reſiſtance would be of no Uſe in a mechanical‘chanical 047 F4r 47 chanical Body:—There can be no Notion more unphiloſophical, than to think a Machine can be made of ſuch Matter, as will not reſiſt a Change of its State; the Pretence hath been, that we do not know the Powers and Qualities of Matter: ’Tis true we do not, but thus much we know certainly, that it cannot have contradictory Powers, and ſince exciting Motion in itself depends on this, we are as certain that it is not Self-moving, as if we knew every thing belonging to it:—Doctor Clark obſerves, that Matter is only capable of one negative Power, viz. That every Part will always and neceſſarily remain in the State of Reſt or Motion, wherein it at preſent is. From whence we conclude, that Matter cannot move itſelf, and they torment themſelves in vain who would endeavour to find out the mechanical Cauſe of the Circulation of Blood in our Bodies, or of Fluids in Vegetables, if by a mechanical Cauſe they underſtand certain Powers planted in Matter, performing this Motion without the Intervention or Efficacy of any Cauſe immaterial; ſo that Matter, with theſe Powers planted in it, of itſelf continues this Motion once begun. This is endeavouring to find out a Thing which is not to be found out, becauſe it is not: For Matter when moved, will continue forever in a ſtrait Direction of Motion, unleſs an external Force is impreſs’d on it, ſufficient to make it ſtop or change that Direction; and to cauſe a 048 F4v 48 a circular Motion, that external Force muſt be impreſs’d upon it every Inſtant; for nothing is more certain than the Tendency which we ſee Matter has to leave the circular Motion, and run on in a ſtrait Line; and, therefore, nothing is more certain than that an extraneous Power muſt be continually impreſs’d to overcome this Tendency, and bring it inceſſantly back: Circulation is but one, tho’ a principal Branch of the Animal Oeconomy; for in the Brain, Nerves, Stomach, Guts, Glands, in every Part there is Motion; and if we ſhould ſay all this is carry’d on by Nature in a Million of different Bodies at once, no one would except againſt the Account, but think it as good as could be given in Philoſophy: But ſhould one ſay, all this is performed by the great God of Nature, we directly fly out againſt it, as a Thing abſurd and impoſſible; for Nature, in our Mouths, is like Chance or Fate, a Word that ſerves rather to ſcreen our Ignoraannce and Inattention than to convey any ſolid Meaning. Let us then examine a little theſe Matters, and confeſs that the Motion which is in every Part or Particle receives its immediate Impulſe from the Finger of Almighty God, as this one Point is certain, that Matter is ſuch a Subſtance as reſiſts a Change of its State:—I ſay, let us all humbly, and ſincerely acknowledge, that there is a mighty Governor of the World, and of the minuteſt as well as nobleſt created Beings; —that it is evident he has all Power and Knowledge,‘ledge 049 G1r 49 ledge, and that he works conſtantly near us, round us, within us. That the Soul is a created Being, and not ſeparated from any other Spirit, is eaſily ſhewn: For how can any thing be taken from what has no Parts? And how can there be Parts where there is nothing material?—Diviſibility and Parts are only the Properties of Matter; which having a Form or Shape, muſt be compoſed of Parts to form this Shape; it muſt have inward and outward Parts, or to ſpeak more intelligibly, it muſt have upper and lower Parts:—Let the upper Part be ſeparated from the lower, and each particular Part will have the ſame Properties which the Whole had; it will have an upper Part and a lower Part, which may be divided again, and theſe Parts ſo divided will ſtill retain thoſe Properties which the Whole had; and ſo on, ad infinitum. By this we ſee, that material Subſtances, of what Bulk ſoever, muſt be compoſed of Parts, and again diviſible into Parts, each of which is a ſolid, diviſible, extended, figured Subſtance, and hath the eſſential Properties of the Whole, of which it is a Part, as much as the Whole hath. If, therefore, we ſhould allow that the Soul might be taken from any other Being, it infers, that the Being from whence it is taken has Parts, which Parts muſt have ſingly the ſame Properties as the Whole; that is, they muſt be active perceptive Subſtances, ſo that no Being, Vol. III G ‘taken 050 G1v 50 taken from another can be ſingle, which in Spirits make an Abſurdity; for in ſuch a Caſe, that ſeparated Part too, having the ſame Properties as the Whole, cannot be ſingle, but muſt be an Aggregate of infinite Numbers of diſtinct, active, perceptive Subſtances, all which is repugnant to Reaſon. Since then, as I have ſlightly ſhewn, there is a Neceſſity that ſomething immaterial ſhould be within us, in order to cauſe a ſpontaneous Motion; and as this immaterial Being cannot be compounded of Parts, it muſt be indiſſoluble and incorruptible in its Nature; and ſince, therefore, it has not a natural Tendency to Annihilation, it muſt endleſſly abide an active perceptive Subſtance, with either Fears or Hopes of dying thro’ all Eternity. I beg Pardon, Madam, for having troubled you with ſo long an Epiſtle, and am afraid your Readers, if you care to publiſh this, will find fault with me, for having robb’d them of thoſe few Pages, which would otherwiſe have been ſo much better employ’d by you; but as my Motive was only to put them on thinking on ſo important a Subject, I hope that will plead my Excuſe.—Doctor Clark, in his Demonſtration of the Exiſtence and Attributes of God; and Mr. Baxter, in his Enquiry into the Nature of the Human Soul, (from whom I have received great Lights) have both handled this Subject ſo well, that I muſt beg leave to recommend them to ‘your 051 G2r 51 your Readers; however, as a great many have not Patience to go through whole Books on any thing, if you would ſhew wherein I have ſaid amiſs, and add ſome few Thoughts of your own, I believe it will be very well received by the greateſt Part of your Readers, and be a particular Obligation to, Madam, Your most humble Servant, And conſtant Reader,Chelſea, 1745-03-27March 27, 1745. H.L.
It is eaſy to perceive the learned and judicious Author of the foregoing, contents himſelf with proving the Immateriality, and of Conſequence, the Immortality of the Human Soul; and indeed that is of itſelf ſufficient to let us know the Value we ought to ſet upon it: The Almighty has himſelf, by giving us Free-Will, left it to ourſelves to improve this Divine Part in us to his Glory, the common Good of Society, and our own eternal Happineſs.
Mr. Dryden elegantly expreſſes this Power in us, in his Poem of the Cock and Fox: Nothing does native Liberty reſtrain,But Man may either act, or may refrain;Heav’n made us Agents free to Good or Ill,And forc’d it not, tho’ he foreſaw the Will. G2Freedom052G2v52Freedom was firſt beſtow’d on Human Race,And Preſcience only held the ſecond Place.If he could make ſuch Agents wholly free,I’ll not diſpute, the Point’s too high for me;For Heav’n’s unfathom’d Power what Man can ſound,Or put to his Omnipotence a Bound?He made us to his Image, all agree,That Image is the Soul, and that muſt be,Or not the Maker’s Image, or be free.
The Immortality of the Soul, as I have before obſerv’d, is the great Point on which all Religion, Virtue, and Morality depends; for it ſeems an utter Impoſſibility, that any Man in his right Senſes can be thoroughly aſſured he is a Being, which muſt exiſt to all Eternity, yet act ſo as to incur the Doom of being miſerable to all Eternity:—How greatly then is the World obliged to thoſe who, like Mr. H.L. have both the Abilities, and the Will to exert thoſe Abilities for putting a Stop to that Inundation of Scepticiſm, which has of late flowed in upon us, almoſt to the Destruction of every thing that can either maintain due Order here, or entitle us to any reaſonable Hope of Happineſs hereafter.
It has often made me wonder that People are not more readily convinced of the Immortality of the Soul, becauſe ſuch a Conviction is ſo very flattering to our moſt darling Paſſions:—What can ſo much ſooth our Ambition, as an Aſſurance that we are a Being incapable of Corruption, or of 053 G3r 53 of Ending;—endued with Faculties equal to the Angels, with whom we ſhall one Day be Companions, and that we ſhall ſit on Thrones, and have our Heads adorned with Rays of Glory! — What can more indulge that curious and enquiring Diſpoſition, which we all have ſome Share of, that to think, that all thoſe Myſteries, which the greateſt Learning at preſent vainly endeavors to explore, will be laid open to our View, that nothing will be a Secret to us, and Conjecture be ſwallowed up in Certainty!
There can be none among us ſo ſtupid, ſo inſenſible, as not to rejoice in the Aſſurance of enjoying theſe immenſe Bleſſings:—Why do we then raiſe Difficulties, and encourage any Doubts to the contrary!—That very Ambition, — that very Curioſity I have been ſpeaking of, however perverted to meaner Objects, and mean Purpoſes, was queſtionleſs implanted in our Natures for the nobleſt End:—That is, to ſhew us the Dignity of the Soul, and make us look up to that Heaven from which we are deriv’d, and are form’d to poſſeſs, unleſs we willfully forfeit our Pretenſions.
We complain of being ſhort-ſighted in theſe Matters, as indeed we are; but then that we are ſo is a good deal owing to ourſelves, as I believe will appear on a very little Conſideration: — The Fault lies not ſo much in our Incapacity of Comprehenſion, as in our confining it to narrow Views:—We cannot reſolve to look beyond the 054 G3v 54 the Spot we tread upon;—we place our Treaſure here, and here will our Hearts be:—The Attraction of this World chains us, as it were, to its own Sphere, and we cannot riſe above it:— The preſent Tenſe engroſſes all our Hopes and Fears, our Expectations and Dependencies, and one dirty Acre here is of more Value to us, than all the Plains behind the Moon.
Thus is our Underſtanding darken’d, as to the Things to come, by our too great Attachment to thoſe preſented to us by the Senſes; and we do not behold them ſo clearly as we ought and might, becauſe of our Eagerneſs never to loſe Sight of the other:—So that from our own Wilfulneſs our Ignorance proceeds, as the Poet juſtly ſays: ――Our Reaſon was not vainly lent,Nor is a Slave, but by its own Conſent.
Not that I would inſinuate Human Reaſon is ſufficient to inform us what or how we ſhall be hereafter; but this I muſt beg leave to inſiſt upon, that it is capable, if exerted properly, to convince us we ſhall be ſomething, and in ſome State, after what we vulgarly call Life (that is, indeed, no more than the Animal Soul) has left us.
I know there are many People either by Nature, or want of Application, dull enough not to apprehend the Difference between the animal and immortal Soul; but I think it is eaſy to conceive we 055 G4r 55 we have not only two, but three Souls, which are gradually inſtill’d into us from the Time of our firſt Formation in the Womb. The greateſt of our Philoſophers, Poets, and Divines have ſeem’d to favour this Opinion; but I know of none who has expreſs’d himſelf more clearly and elegantly upon it than a late Gentleman, whoſe Works I have often taken the Liberty to quote; the Person I mean is Mr. Dryden, who in his Poem of Palemon and Arcite has it thus: So Man, at firſt a Drop, dilates with Heat,Then form’d, the little Heart begins to beat;Secret he feeds, unkowing, in his Cell,At length for hatching ripe, he breaks the Shell,And ſtruggles into Breath, and cries for Aid;Then, helpleſs, in his Mother’s Lap is laid:He creeps, he walks, and iſſuing into Man,Grudges their Life from whom his Life began.A Foe to Laws, affects to rule alone,Anxious to reign,—ev’n restless on a Throne;Firſt vegetive, then feels, and Reaſon’s laſt,Rich in three Souls, and lives all three to waſte.Some thus, but thouſand more in Flow’r of Age,For few arrive to run the latter Stage.
What indeed, before our coming into the World, can we be juſtly call’d but Vegebles ? Or what in Infancy is there that diſtinguiſhes us above the Animals? Nay, what is term’d Inſtinct in them, comes much ſooner, or at leaſt is more plainly diſtinguiſh’d, than the Reaſoning Faculty in us; but when it is once attained, when we 056 G4v 56 we find in ourſelves the Power of comparing, and of judging, if we do not take care to improve it, it muſt be own’d we are little worthy of poſſeſſing it: But if we not only not acknowledge it, but rather take Pains to depreciate the Bleſſing, no Words methinks can ſufficiently deſcribe ſo black an Ingratitude to the great Author of our Being, or ſo monſtrous an Injuſtice, and Indignity to our own Nature.
Yet is this every Day done, nay and glory’d in by thoſe, who plume themſelves on ſeeing more clearly than other Men into the Works of Nature:—They make uſe of Reaſon to argue againſt Reaſon; and affect to be void of Partiality or Vanity in aſſuming nothing, as they ſay, to themſelves, or aſcribing more to the Specie they are of, than to any other Parts of the Animal World.
But true Philoſophy as well as Religion will ſhew us better Things:—It will not only teach us the Nature and Excellency of our Being, but alſo teach us how to avoid all ſuch Inclinations as have any Tendency towards degrading its native Dignity, by throwing a Reſemblance, or any way levelling us with the inferior Creation.
Let us then devote some Part of our Time to Study and Meditation. When the Mind is worthily employed, ſays a great Author, the Body becomes ſpiritualized; but when we ſuffer a Laſſitude to 057 H1r 57 benumn our Faculties, the very Spirit degenerates into Matter.
We ſhould alſo be continually on our Guard, that our Senſes may not get too much Power over us;—they frequently deceive us, and preſent us with fictitious Joys when we expect real ones: —Beſides, as they are capable of ſhewing us only Things near at hand, and which ſhortly paſs away, we ſhould take them only en-paſſant, and it muſt be a groſs Stupidity to ſuffer them to engroſs our Thoughts. The famous Abbe de Bellgarde has this Maxim, among many other excellent ones, and is worthy the Obſervation of all Degrees of People.
N’ayez de l’ Attachement de l’ Amour pour le Monde, qu’a Proportion du Tems que vous y devez être. Celuy qui fait Voyage, ne s’arrête pas dans la premiere belle Ville qu’il trouve ſur ſa route, il ſçait qu’il doit paſſer outre et aller plus loin.
Few of my Readers, I believe, but will underſtand this; however, leſt any ſhould be ignorant of a Language ſo univerſally underſtood, and I would wiſh ſo excellent a Precept ſhould eſcape no one, I will give it in Engliſh.
Have no greater Attachment or Love for the World, than in Proportion to the Time you are to be in it. He who takes a Journey ſtops Vol. III H not 058 H1v 58 not at the firſt fine City he finds in his Way; for he knows he muſt paſs through it, and go farther.
A person, ’tis certain, who keeps this always in his Mind will never ſuffer himſelf to be wholly taken up either with the idle fleeting Pleaſures of this World, or with the buſy Cares which attend a Purſuit of its Grandeurs:—He may enjoy the one with Moderation whenever they fall in his Way, but will not think himſelf miſerable in the Want of them; and as for the other, he will look on the ſhort-lived Poſſeſſion of them as not worth the Time and Anxiety they muſt coſt in the Attainment.
How blind, how inconſiderate, how unhappy, are thoſe who place their Summum Bonum here, as well thoſe who ſuceed in their Endeavouurs as thoſe who do not; and alas, every Day’s Experience ſhews us how much the Number of the latter exceeds the former;—yet how readily does every one lay hold on the leaſt Shadow of an Expectation, and waſte the precious Time in vain Dependencies, not remembering that, as Shakeſpear juſtly ſays. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow,Creep in a ſtealing Pace from Day to Day,To the laſt Moment of revolving Time,And all our Yeſterdays have lighted FoolsTo their eternal Homes. Life’s059H2r59Life’s but a walking Shadow; a poor Play’rThat frets and ſtruts his Hour upon a Stage,And then is heard no more. It is a TaleTold by an Idiot, full of Sound and Fury,Signifying nothing.
But I ſhould diſoblige three Parts in four of my Readers, ſhould I dwell on a Subject, which all know, but few care to remember: Beſides, theſe Speculations are not publiſh’d with a View of depreſſing, but of exhillerating the Spirits; and as it is impoſſible to recommend the Value of our immortal Part, without taking ſome Notice how little the other is worthy our Attention, when compared together, I ſhall add no more for fear of being thought too grave; a Fault, now-a-days, look’d upon as unpardonable in an Auuthor.
Mira herſelf confeſſes, that theſe Lucubrations have of late lean’d a little towards that Side; and bids me remember, that People, eſpecially thoſe of Condition, are more eaſily laughed out of their Follies than reaſoned out of them.
Nothing indeed is more certain, than that if a gay thoughtleſs Person takes up a Book, which he imagines is compoſed only for Amuſement, and, before he is aware, happens to meet with ſome favourite Vice of his own, artfully and merrily expoſed, he will ſtart at the Reſemblance of himſelf, and perhaps be reclaimed by it; whereas he might hear a thouſand Sermons on the ſame H2 Oc- 060 H2v 60 Occaſion, without being moved, tho’ ever ſo learned, or with the greateſt Grace deliver’d.
Nor will this ſeem ſtrange to any one who conſiders Nature: Should our Hair turn grey, or our Complexion yellow, without our knowing any thing of the Change, ’till all at once we ſee it in the Glaſs, it would have a much greater Effect upon us, than if we perceived it gradually coming on.
Surprize has undoubtedly a prodigious Influence on the Mind in all Caſes; and it is not, therefore, to be wondered at, that where we expect Leſſons of Reformation they ſeldom do us any Service: If we liſten to them it is with Indolence, and they make, if any at all, a very ſlight Impreſſion on us; but when we look for ſomething of a quite contrary Nature, it works ſtrange Effects.
King David liſtened without any conſcious Tumult in his Mind to the Parable of Nathan concerning the Ewe-Lamb, ’till the Prophet, emboldened by his Divine Miſſion, ſaid to him plainly, Thou art the Man.
Then, indeed, touch’d by this ſudden Remonſtrance, he ſmote his Breaſt and cry’d, I have ſinned againſt the Lord.The 061 H3r 61
The Works of a Perſon who is looked upon as a Satiriſt, or what the Wits call a Snarler, are taken up with a kind of Prejudice, and tho’ they want not Readers, it is only becauſe every one hopes to find his Neighbour’s Follies or Vices ridiculed there: His own are out of the Queſtion with him, and however they may occaſion his being laughed at by other People, he is utterly regardleſs of what is pointed at chiefly in himſelf: —But a Book which is not ſuſpected of any such Tendency, yet brings a parallel Caſe with that of the Reader, has ſometimes the good Fortune to ſtrike upon the Soul, and awaken a needful Reflection.
As we ſet out with an Aſſurance to the Public that we ſhould only make it our Buſineſs to depreciate Vice, not Perſons, and this Book in particular is intended to ſet forth the Odiouſneſs of expoſing Characters, we muſt deſire our Readers not to fix the Cenſure of any thing contained in theſe Speculations on Individuals, whom they may imagine we have in our Eye, but take care to avoid that Fault in themſelves they are ſo ready to obſerve in others.
Whatever falls not under the Cognizance of a Court of Judicature, ſhould be exempt from private Cavils; for in effect, no one except the Magistracy has a right to condemn any but himſelf.
And yet it may be anſwer’d, we have Crimes among us, or Follies, which amount almoſt to the ſame 062 H3v 62 ſame thing, which the Laws take no notice of; and it muſt be acknowledg’d that this Objection is not without a ſolid Foundation in Facts too flagrant to be diſputed; but then it muſt alſo be obſerved, that I mean not when the Tranſgreſſors are in public Capacities, and take that Opportunity to oppreſs the Body of the People; for then every one has a right to exclaim, and to cry out for Juſtice; but even then I would have the Clamour mour extend no farther than the Grievance, which, if public, ſtands in no need of any Repetition of private Faults.
I have often thought it ſtrange, that in the Election for Members of Parliament, the Commonalty, I mean the Rabble, have ſuch an unbridled Licence for Defamation:—If a Candidate has, indeed, in any former Seſſion, or otherwiſe by his Behaviour teſtify’d he has not the real Good of his Country at Heart, if he has not ſtrenouſly endeavoured to preſerve the juſt Balance of Power between Prince and People; if he has accepted of any Bribes either for himſelf or Family, whereby Intereſts oppoſite to the common Cauſe have been upheld, the meaneſt Man who has a Vote, has undoubtedly a Right to declare the Motive which obliges him to refuſe it: As to a Gentleman being a bad Oeconomiſt, if he be either a Miſer or a Spendthrift, there may be ſome Reaſon to believe he will be biaſs’d to any Meaſures which promiſe an Increaſe of his Stores, or freſh Supplies for the Support of his Extravagancies; and then, indeed, all the Proofs that can be 063 H4r 63 be brought of his ill Management have a Right to be thrown in his Teeth; but I never could find out what the Errors of the Mother, Wife, Siſter or Daughter of ſuch a Candidate had to do with the Affair; yet in this Caſe the Faults of the whole Family are blazon’d, as if the poor Gentleman was to anſwer for the Virtue of his whole Kindred.
The Cuſtom of old Rome, I am told, authorizes this Proceeding, I wiſh we followed that renowned Republic in Things more worthy our Imitation; as for this I always thought it a barbarous one, and correſpondent with the Manners of no Nation which pretends to be civilized.
I hope I ſhall therefore be underſtood, that when I recommend Silence as to the Miſcarriages of others, I mean it only in regard to private Life; for as to public Injuries they may, and undoubtedly ought to be complained of, of whatſoever Degree the Perſon is who offers them, ſince a Nation can no otherwiſe hope Redreſs; and to attempt to ſcreen or protect an Offender in this Kind is a Treaſon to the People, which has no Pretence to Forgiveneſs.
The Love of our Country claims our firſt and chiefeſt Care, and whenever we diſcover even the moſt remote Intention of an Oppreſſion there, tho’ it be hatching in the Breaſt of him who is moſt dear to us, all partial Tenderneſs, all private Friendſhips and Obligations, muſt give way to 064 H4v 64 to general Safety, as Cowley says in his Juſtification of Brutus. Can we ſtand by, and ſeeOur Mother robb’d, and bound and raviſh’d be:Yet not to her Aſſiſtance ſtir,Pleas’d with the Strength and Beauty of the Raviſher!Or ſhall we fear to kill him, if beforeThe cancell’d Name of Friend he bore?Ingrateful Brutus do they call?Ingrateful Cæſar, who could Rome enthral!An Act more barbarous and unnatural(In th’ exact Balance of true Virtue try’d)Than his Succeſſor Nero’s Parricide.
But as Diſcourſe of National Affairs is foreign to my preſent Purpoſe, I ſhall take my leave of this Head, with recommending to the World, eſpecially thoſe of my own Sex, Good-nature and Charity, in judging the Conduct of their Neighbours, which is the only ſure way to preſerve their own from Cenſure, be it ever ſo innocent.
The Letter ſigned Eliſmonda, with the Lady’s Revenge, is juſt come to Hand, with which we are extremely delighted, and promiſe it ſhall not fail being inſerted in our next, Time not permitting us to give it a Place in this.
End of the Thirteenth Book.
The Female Spectator.
According to the Aſſurance given in our Twelfth Book, we ſhall begin the Entertainment for this Month with the Letter from Claribella.
To the Authors of the Female Spectator, Ladies, You cannot be inſenſible how little Compaſſion the Woes, occaſioned by Love, find from this Iron-hearted Age; nor how ready every one is, on the leaſt Breach of Decorum, to cenſure and condemn, without conſidering either the Force of that Paſſion, which thoſe who are moſt upon their Guard againſt, Vol. III. I ‘have 066 I1v 66 have not always the Power of reſtraining, or what particular Circumſtances may have concurred to enſnare a young Creature into a Forgetfulneſs of what ſhe owes herſelf:—Her Fault alone engroſſes the Diſcourſe and Attention of the Town, and few there are will take the Pains to enquire if any Excuſes may be made for it:—All the Misfortunes her Inadvertency brings upon her are unpity’d, and look’d upon as a juſt Puniſhment; all her former Merit is no more remember’d; and People no longer allow her to be poſſeſs’d of any Virtues, if once detected in tranſgreſſing one. I am ſure you are too juſt not to condemn ſuch a Proceeding as highly cruel, and alſo too generous, not to make ſome Allowances for heedleſs Youth, when hurry’d on by an Exceſs of Paſſion to Things which cooler Reason diſapproves. In this Confidence I take the Liberty to give you the Narrative of an Adventure, which, tho’ exactly true in every Circumſtance, has in it ſomething equally ſurprizing with any that the moſt celebrated Romance has preſented to us. The Heroine of it, whom I ſhall diſtinguiſh by the Name of Aliena, is the Daughter of a Gentleman deſcended of a very antient Family, who, from Father to Son, had, for a long Succeſſion of Ages, enjoyed an Eſtate, not inferior‘ferior 067 I2r 67 ferior to ſome of the Nobility; but by an unhappy Attachment, in his immediate Predeceſſor, to the Race of the Stewarts, was depriv’d of the greateſt Part of it; and as he had ſeveral Children beſides this Aliena, none of them, excepting the eldeſt Son, could expect any other Fortunes than their Education, which he indeed took care ſhould be very liberal. But tho’ his paternal Tenderneſs ſeemed equally divided among them all, and Aliena had no more Opportunities of Improvement than her other Siſters, yet did ſhe make a much greater Progreſs in every thing ſhe was inſtructed in than any of them; and as Nature had beſtowed on her a much larger Share of Beauty, ſo was alſo her Genius more extenſive than that which either one who was elder, and another a Year younger than herſelf, had to boaſt of. In fine, dear Ladies, ſhe was at Fourteen one of the moſt charming Creatures in the World.—As her Father lived in London, ſhe went frequently to public Places, and thoſe Diverſions which were too expenſive for the Narrowneſs of her Circumſtances were, however, not deny’d her:—She was never without Tickets for the Maſquerades, Ridotto’s, Operas, Concerts, and Plays preſented to her by her Friends; none of whom but thought themſelves happy in her accompanying them to theſe Entertainments. ‘I 068 I2v 68 I was intimately acquainted with her, and have often thought her one of the happieſt of our Sex, becauſe, whether it was owing to her good Conduct or good Fortune, ſhe lived without making any Enemies:—The Sweetneſs of her Behaviour charm’d all who were Witneſſes of it; and tho’ there are many equally innocent with herſelf, yet ſome have a certain Sourneſs or Haughtineſs in their Deportment, which renders People induſtrious to find out ſomething to condemn them; and thoſe who think themſelves inſulted by any Airs of that Kind are apt enough to conſtrue to themſelves, or at leaſt repreſent to others, the moſt harmleſs Actions as highly criminal. But Aliena was the Darling of all that knew her;—wherever ſhe came a general and unfeign’d Pleaſure diffuſed itſelf in every Face through the whole Company: ’Tis ſcarce poſſible to ſay whether ſhe was more admir’d by the Men, or loved by the Women: —A Thing wonderful you will own, and what ſome People take upon them to ſay is incompatible, yet ſo in reality it was.—Dear, ſweet, agreeable, entertaining Aliena, how I lament the ſad Reverſe of thy Condition! But, Ladies, I detain you too long from the promiſed Narrative; compelled by the reſiſtleſs Impulſe of my Commiſeration for this unfortunate Creature, I have, perhaps, too much encroach’d upon your Patience and that of your Rea- 069 I3r 69 Readers, for which I aſk Pardon of both, and will now come to the Point. Among the Number of Aliena’s Admirers there was a Commander of one of his Majeſty’s Ships, a Gentleman of good Family, agreeable Perſon, and handſome Fortune, excluſive of his Commiſſion:—Whether he had more the Art of Perſwaſion than any of his Rivals, I will not pretend to ſay; but it is certain, that either his Merit or good Fortune rendered every thing he ſaid to her more acceptable than the moſt courtly Addreſſes of any other Perſon. To be brief, ſhe loved him:—His Manner, whatever it was, enſnared her young Heart, and the Society of her dear Captain was preferable to her to any other Joy the World could give. I am very well aſſured his Pretenſions were on an honourable Foot, otherwiſe they had been rejected at the firſt; all her Acquaintance expected every Day to hear of the Completion of their Wiſhes by a happy Marriage; when contrary to her, and it may be to his Expectations, he was order’d to ſail for the Weſt-Indies, and to be ſtation’d there for three Years. How terrible a Rebuff this was to her deareſt Hopes any one may judge, and the more ſo as he did not preſs her to complete the Marriage before his Departure:—She thought with ‘Reason, 070 I3v 70 Reason, that if his Paſſion had been equal to his Pretenſions he would have rejoiced to have ſecured her to himſelf; but inſtead of that, he ſeemed rather leſs aſſiduous than he had been, and ſeem’d more taken up with the Vexation of being obliged to be ſo long abſent from his Native Country, than from that Perſon, whom he had a thouſand times ſworn was infinitely more valuable to him than any thing beſide, either in that or the whole World. I will not pretend to be ſo well acquainted with her Thoughts, as to ſay poſitively he had never loved her; but, I believe you will be of Opinion with me, that this Behaviour was far from being the Indication of a ſincere and ardent Paſſion. She had too much Wit not to perceive this Slight, but too much Tenderneſs to reſent it as ſhe ought to have done; and when he told her, as he ſometimes vouchſafed to do, that he depended on her Conſtancy, and that he ſhould find her at his Return with the ſame Inclinations he had left her poſſeſs’d of in his Favour, ſhe always anſwer’d, that it was impoſſible for Time, Abſence, or any other Sollicitations, ever to prevail on her to call back that Heart ſhe had given him; and confirm’d the Promiſe of preſerving herſelf entirely for him with all the Imprecations the moſt violent and faithful Paſſion could ſuggeſt. ‘Had 071 K1r 71 Had there been no Poſſibility for him to have implor’d, nor ſhe to have granted ſtronger Aſſurances for his future Happineſs, he doubtleſs might, and ought to have been content with theſe; but as there was Conſent of Friends, Licenſes, and Wedding Rings eaſy to be had, and Churches, Chapels, and Clergymen plenty, no Impediment to prevent their being join’d forever, how could the dull Inſenſible entertain one Thought of going away without having firſt ſettled ſo material a Point! But in all the tender Interviews that paſs’d between them after the Arrival of thoſe Orders, which were to ſeparate them for ſo long a Time, he never once aſk’d her to marry him; and as he made no Offers that way, her Modeſty would not ſuffer her to be the firſt Propoſer. At length the cruel Day of taking leave was come:—Never parting had more the Shew of mournful: I ſay the Shew, becauſe I cannot think the Captain had any real Grief at Heart; but on the Side of Aliena it was truly ſo: Yet did not all ſhe expreſs’d in his Preſence come in any Competition with what ſhe ſuffered after he was gone.—No Deſcription can any way equal the Diſtraction ſhe was in; I ſhall therefore not attempt it, but leave you to judge of the Cauſe by the Conſequence. For ſome Days ſhe ſhut herſelf up, gave a looſe to Tears and to Complainings, and ſcarce Vol. III. K could 072 K1v 72 could be prevailed upon to take needful Nouriſhment:—Her Father’s Commands, however, and Remonſtrances, how much this Conduct would incur the Ridicule of the World, at laſt made her aſſume a more chearful Countenance, and ſhe conſented to ſee Company, and appear Abroad as uſual; but while we all thought her Grief was abated, it preyed with greater Violence by being reſtrain’d, and inſpir’d her with a Reſolution to ſacrifice every thing ſhe had once valued herſelf upon, rather than continue in the Condition ſhe was. In fine, one Day when ſhe was thought to be gone on a Viſit to one of her Acquaintance, ſhe went to a Sale-Shop, equipt herſelf in the Habit of a Man, or rather Boy, for being very ſhort, ſhe ſeem’d in that Dreſs not to exceed twelve or thirteen Years of Age at moſt. Thinking herſelf not ſufficiently diſguiſed even by this, ſhe made her fine Flaxen Hair be ſhaved, and covered her Head with a little brown Wig; which wrought ſo great a Change in her, that had her own Father happened to have met her he would ſcarce have known her after this Transformation. But it was not her Intention to run that Hazard, nor had ſhe taken all this Pains to live conceal’d in London: —She always knew ſhe loved the Captain, but knew not till now with how much Violence ſhe did ſo; or that ‘for 073 K2r 73 for the Sake of being near him, ſhe could forgo all that ever had or ought to have been dear to her. I will not detain your Attention with any Repetition of thoſe Conflicts which muſt neceſſarily rend her Boſom, while going about the Execution of a Deſign, the moſt daring ſure that ever Woman formed:—You will naturally conceive them when I acquaint you what it was. Not able to ſupport Life without the Preſence of him who had her Heart, ſhe ſeem’d with her Habit to have thrown off all the Fears and Modeſty of Womanhood:—The fatal Softneſs of our Sex alone remained; and that, guided by the Dictates of an ungovernable Paſſion, made her deſpiſe all Dangers, Hardſhips, Infamy, and even Death itſelf. She went directly to Graveſend, where her Lover’s Ship lay yet at Anchor, waiting his Arrival, who was gone into the Country to take leave of ſome Relations. This ſhe knew, and reſolved, if poſſible, to get herſelf entered on board before he came, being unwilling he ſhould ſee her till they were under ſail:—Not that, as ſhe has ſince declar’d, ſhe had any Thoughts of diſcovering herſelf to him in caſe he knew her not, but that if he ſhould happen to do ſo, ſhe might avoid any Arguments he might make uſe of to diſſuade her from an K2 ‘En 074 K2v 74 Enterprize ſhe was determined to purſue at all Events, and even againſt the Inclination of him for whoſe Sake ſhe undertook it. She was a great Admirer of an old Play of Beaumont and Fletcher’s, call’d Philaſter; Or, Love lies a Bleeding:—The Character of Bellario, who, diſguiſed like a Page, followed and waited on her beloved Prince in all his Adventures, ſtrangely charm’d her, and ſhe thought, as her Paſſion was equal to that of any Woman in the World, it would become her to atteſt it by Actions equally extravagant; and in the midſt of all thoſe Shocks, with which Reaſon and Modeſty at ſome Times ſhook her Heart, felt a Pleaſure in the Thoughts of attending her dear Captain, being always about him, doing little Services for him, and having an Opportunity of obſerving his Behaviour on all Occaſions. As ſhe had often heard the Captain talk of his Firſt Lieutenant with a great deal of Friendſhip, ſhe thought him the moſt proper Perſon to addreſs; accordingly ſhe waited till he came on Shore, and went to his Lodgings, where being eaſily admitted, ſhe told him ſhe had a great Inclination to the Sea, but as her Age, and Want of Skill in the Art of Navigation rendered her unfit as yet for any Service, excepting that of attending ſome or other of the Officers, ſhe begg’d to be received in the Station of a Cabbin-Boy:—She added, that ſhe had heard ſuch ‘ex- 075 K3r 75 extraordinary Praiſes of the Captain’s Humanity and Gentleneſs to all belonging to him, that ſhe had an extreme Ambition to attend on him, if ſuch a Favour might be granted her. The Lieutenant eyed her attentively all the Time ſhe was ſpeaking, and was ſeized with a ſomething which he had never felt before, and at that time was far from being able to account for; and this ſecret Impulſe it was that made him unable to refuſe her Requeſt, tho’ he knew very well that a ſufficient Number of Boys had been already enter’d: He told her, however, that he could not give her an Aſſurance of being employed about the Captain’s Perſon till he had ſpoke to him concerning it, but that ſince ſhe ſeemed ſo deſirous of it, he would uſe all his Intereſt with him on that Score; and added what ſhe knew as well as himſelf, that he was abſent at that Time, but was expected to arrive the ſame Day. Aliena was highly content with the Promiſe he made her, and not doubted but when ſhe was once in the Ship with him, ſhe ſhould find out ſome Stratagem or other to make him take Notice of her, and alſo to ingratiate herſelf ſo much with him, as to occaſion him to take her under his own Care, even though it ſhould be her Fate at firſt to be placed with any of the inferior Officers. She thank’d the Lieutenant a thouſand Times ‘over, 076 K3v 76 over, and was ready to fall at his Feet in Token of her Gratitude; but entreated he would continue his Goodneſs ſo far as to order her to be put on Board, leſt he ſhould, in the Hurry of his Affairs, forget the Promiſe he had made, and they ſhould ſail without her. To which he anſwer’d, that ſhe had no need to be under any Apprehenſions of that Sort, for he would ſend his Servant with her to a Houſe where there were ſeveral Boys of the ſame Station, and he believed much of the ſame Age, and that the Long—Boat would put them all on Board that Evening. This entirely eaſed all her Scruples, and ſhe was beginning afreſh to teſtify the Senſe ſhe had of the Favour he did her, when ſome Company coming in to viſit the Lieutenant, he call’d his Man, and ſent him to conduct her to the Houſe he had mentioned. There ſhe found ſeveral Youths ready equipt for their Voyage, and whoſe rough athletic Countenances and robuſt Behaviour became well enough the Vocation they had taken upon them, but rendered them very unfit Companions for the gentle, the delicate Aliena. The Diſcourſe they had with each other, the Oaths they ſwore, and the Tricks they played by way of diverting themſelves, frighted her almoſt out of her Intention; but ſhe was much more ſo when they began to lay their Hands on ‘her 077 K4r 77 her to make one in their boiſterous Exerciſes: The more abaſh’d and terrify’d ſhe look’d the more rude they grew, and pinching her on the Ribs, as Boys frequently do to one another, one of them found ſhe had Breaſts, and cry’d with a great Oath, that they had got a Girl among them:—On this they were all for being ſatisfy’d, and had doubtleſs treated her with the moſt ſhocking Indecency, had not her Cries brought up the Woman of the Houſe, who being informed of the Occaſion of this Uproar, took Aliena from them, and was going to carry her into another Room, in order to learn the Truth of this Adventure, when the Lieutenant entered, and found his new Sailor all in Tears, and the reſt in a loud Laugh. The Cauſe of all this was ſoon explained to him, but the greateſt Miſtery was ſtill behind, nor did he find it very eaſy to come at; for tho’ Aliena confeſs’d to him, and to the Landlady, after they had taken her into a private Room, that ſhe was a Woman, yet who ſhe was, and the Motive which had induced her to diſguiſe herſelf in this Manner, ſhe ſeem’d determin’d to keep from their Knowledge, and only begged that as her Deſign had miſcarried, by her Sex being ſo unfortunately diſcovered, they would permit her to go without making any further Enquiry concerning her. But this Requeſt the Lieutenant would by no Means comply with; he now no longer ‘won- 078 K4v 78 wonder’d at thoſe ſecret Emotions which had work’d about his Heart at firſt Sight of her, and avow’d the Force of Nature, which is not to be deceiv’d, tho’ the Senſes may, and frequently are. He now indulg’d the Admiration of her Beauty, much more than he would give himself the Liberty of doing while he thought her what her Habit ſpoke her, and look’d ſo long till he entirely look’d away his Heart:—He was really in Love with her, but was either aſham’d of being ſo for a young Creature, whoſe Virtue and Diſcretion he had no Reaſon to have a very high Idea of, or was awed by that Reſpect which is inſeparable from a true Affection, from declaring himſelf: To whichever of theſe Motives it was, I will not take upon me to determine, but he was entirely ſilent on that Head, and only told her in a gay Manner, that as he had entered her on her earneſt Deſire, he could not conſent to diſcharge her without knowing ſomething more of her than that ſhe was a Woman:—Nay, added he, even of that I am not quite aſſured:—I have only the Teſtimony of two or three Boys, who in ſuch a Caſe are not to be depended upon:—I think that I ought, at leaſt, to ſatisfy myſelf in that Point. In ſpeaking theſe Words he offered to pluck her towards him, and the vile Woman of the Houſe, who had no Regard for any thing but her 079 L1r 79 her own Intereſt, in obliging her Cuſtomers, gueſſing the Lieutenant’s Deſigns, and perhaps thinking them worſe than they were in reality, went out of the Room and left them together. This, indeed, quite overcame all the Reſolution of Aliena; ſhe thought ſhe ſaw ſomething in the Eyes of the Lieutenant that, even more than his Words, threatened her with all a Maid of Honour and Condition had to dread; and after having ſtruggled with all her Might to get looſe of the hold he had taken of her, threw herſelf at his Feet, and with a Flood of Tears, and broken trembling Voice, conjured him to have Pity on her and ſuffer her to depart.— If ever, ſaid ſhe, you were taught to revere Virtue in another, or love the Practice of it yourſelf, if you have any Kindred whoſe Chaſtity is dear to you, for their Sakes, and for your own, commiſerate a wretched Maid, whom, Chance and her own Folly alone have thrown into your Power. These Words, the Emphaſis with which they were deliver’d, and the Action that accompany’d them, made the Lieutenant, who, as it luckily prov’d for her, was really a Man of Honour, ſhudder as ſhe ſpoke them: — He rais’d her from the Poſture ſhe had been in with more Reſpect than indeed, conſidering all Things, ſhe could in Reaſon have expected; deſir’d ſhe would not be under any Apprehenſions of his behaving to her in a Manner ſhe Vol. III. L could 080 L1v 80 not be brought to approve; but in return for that Self-denial, he ſtill inſiſted ſhe would make him the Confidante of the Motive which had oblig’d her to expoſe herſelf to the Dangers ſhe had done. Alas, Sir, anſwer’d ſhe, ſtill weeping, as for the Dangers you mention, and which I have but too cruelly experienced, I never had once a Thought of them; and as for any I might encounter from the Inclemency of the Winds and Waves, I deſpiſed them:—Whatever Hardſhips I ſhould have ſuſtain’d in the Proſecution of my intended Enterprize, would have afforded me more Pleaſure than Pain, had Fate permitted me to have conceal’d undergone them:—Nay, Death itſelf had been welcome, had it ſeiz’d me on Board that Ship my Heart was bent to live or die in:—But endleſs Grief and Miſery is now my Doom, ſince deny’d the laſt, the only Satisfaction this wide World could give me. Yet pardon me, continued ſhe, if I cannot let you into the Secret of who I am, or what induced me to this ſtrange Ramble:—Let it therefore content you to know I am not of the loweſt Rank of People;—that my Reputation is not altogether my own, ſince my Family will be Sufferers by my Fault, if known; and alſo that how much ſoever my diſguiſing myſelf in this Manner may ſubject me to your Cenſure, yet my very Soul ſhrinks at Diſhonour, and that this Action, which alone can be alledg’d againſt me, ‘is 081 L2r 81 is a greater Diſguiſe to my real Principles, than my Habit has been to my Sex. The Lieutenant liſten’d with all the Attention ſhe wiſh’d; every Syllable ſhe uttered ſunk into his Soul:—His Love, his Admiration, his Aſtoniſhment, increaſed every Moment; but tho’ he began to feel more pure Flames for her, than thoſe he teſtify’d at his firſt Information ſhe was a Woman, yet they were too ardent to permit him to let her go from him without giving him ſome probable Hopes of ever ſeeing her more: He gave a Turn indeed to his Manner of treating her, yet ſtill gave her to underſtand, he would not part from her without being made privy to every thing he wiſh’d to know. To this poor Aliena anſwer’d little but with Tears; and while he continued preſſing, ſhe evading, a Sailor came in to acquaint him the Captain was arrived; on which he haſtily took leave, but before he left the Houſe charg’d the Landlady, as ſhe valued his Friendſhip, not to let the ſeeming Boy ſtir out of the Room. This Aliena was ignorant of, till imagining herſelf at Liberty, ſhe was going down Stairs, in order to quit a Place where ſhe had nothing but Ruin to expect, ſhe was met by the Woman of the Houſe, who obliged her to turn back, and then lock’d her into a Room, tellingL2 ‘ing 082 L2v 82 ing her ſhe muſt ſtay till the Return of the Lieutenant. Now had this unfortunate Creature full Liberty to reflect on the Miſchiefs ſhe had brought upon herſelf:—Night came on, and every Moment came loaded with new Horrors: — The Lieutenant return’d not, but as ſhe was in continual Apprehenſions of him, ſhe reſolv’d not to pluck off her Cloaths, nor even venture to lie down on the Bed, lest ſhe ſhould fall into a Sleep, and by that Means be rendered incapable of reſiſting any Violence that might be offer’d to her. All Night long did ſhe walk about the Chamber, in an Agony of Mind which ſtands in need of no Deſcription, nor can be reach’d by any:—Had the Window look’d into the Street, ſhe would certainly have jump’d out, but being backwards, her Eſcape would have been no farther than the Yard of the ſame Houſe, which, as ſhe was wholly ignorant of the Paſſages, left her no room to hope ſhe could get through without Diſcovery. A thousand different Ideas roſe in her almoſt diſtracted Brain:—She fear’d the Lieutenant, and ſaw no way to avoid him, but by the Protection of the Captain, and how to acquaint him with any thing of what had paſs’d ſhe knew not;—at laſt ſhe bethought herſelf of attempting to do it even by the Lieutenant ‘him- 083 L3r 83 himſelf; and accordingly when he came, as he did pretty early in the Morning, ſhe ſaid to him with all the Courage ſhe could aſſume, Sir, You inſiſt on knowing who I am, which I am determined to die rather than comply with: There is but one way, by which you have a Chance of gratifying your Curioſity:—Be the Bearer of a Letter from me to your Captain: — He knows me, and if he thinks fit will inform you of every thing. The Lieutenant on this began to gueſs ſomewhat of the Truth, and agreed to do as ſhe deſir’d, and immediately call’d for Pen, Ink, and Paper for her; which being brought, ſhe was not long writing theſe Lines. To Captain ―― Unable to ſupport your Abſence, I followed you in Diſguiſe, deſirous of no other Happineſs than to enjoy conceal’d your Sight: — An unlucky Accident has diſcover’d me:—Your Firſt Lieutenant, whoſe Priſoner I now am, can tell you by what Means:—For Heaven’s Sake deliver me from his Power, that I may either return to my Father, if he will rceceive me after this Adventure, or die with Shame of it in ſome obſcure Corner of the World. She ſubſcrib’d no Name, nor was there indeed any Occaſion for doing it to one ſo well acquainted with the Characters of her Handwriting;‘writing, 084 L3v 84 writing; the Lieutenant ſuffered her to ſeal it without once aſking to ſee the Contents, and gave his Word and Honour to deliver it the ſame Hour into the Captain’s Hands, and bring whatever Anſwer ſhould be return’d. He now, ’tis certain, began to ſee a good deal into this extraordinary Affair:—He no longer doubted but Love of the Captain had been the Cauſe; but, ’tis highly probable, imagin’d alſo that more had paſs’d between that Gentleman and his fair Charge than they in reality were guilty of. The generous Concern he had for her Youth and Beauty, however, made him impatient to ſee in what Manner her Lover would receive this Billet; he therefore hurry’d away to his Lodgings where he was ſtrangely ſurpriz’d to find a great Crowd of Officers and other People about the Door, and on his going up Stairs ſaw the Captain, and three Gentlemen, whom he knew not engaged in a very warm Diſpute. —The Cauſe of it was this: The Family of Aliena had no ſooner miſs’d her than ſtrict Search was made for her all over the Town:—Accident at laſt diſcovered where ſhe had exchanged her Habit, and the Diſguiſe ſhe had made Choice of made them naturally conjecture on what Deſign ſhe was gone; but not being able to imagine that ſo young and artleſs a Maid ſhould have undertaken an Enterprize‘terprize 085 L4r 85 terprize of this bold Kind, concluded ſhe muſt have her Adviſers and Exciters to it, and who but the Captain could they ſuſpect of being ſo:—They were, therefore, aſſured in their own Minds, that ſome private Correſpondence had been carry’d on between them ſince his pretended taking Leave:—Incenſed againſt him, as had their Thoughts been true they would have had the higheſt Reaſon, they complain’d of the Inſult, and obtained an Order to ſearch the Ship, and force her from this ſuppoſed Betrayer of her Honour:—To this end, they brought proper Officers with them to Graveſend, and had the Aſſiſtance of others belonging to that Place. Beforetthey proceeded to Extremities, however, they went to the Captain’s Lodgings, being told on their Arrival he was not yet gone on Board:—At firſt the Father, an Uncle, and a Couſin of Aliena’s, who all came down together, remonſtrated to him, in Terms tolerably mild, how ungentlemanlike an Action it was to delude a young Girl of Family, and to whom he had made an honourable Courtſhip, to quit her Friends, and accompany him in ſo ſhameful a Manner; but finding he deny’d all they accuſed him of, as well he might, they began to grow extremely rough:—The Uncle, who had ſome Intereſt at the Board of Admiralty, told him he would ſhake his Commiſſion, and many ſuch like Menaces: Which the Captain, knowing his Innocence, was little able to ‘endure, 086 L4v 86 endure, and their mutual Rage was expreſſing itſelf in the higheſt Terms when the Lieutenant enter’d. This Gentleman liſten’d for ſome Moments to what was ſaid, without ſpeaking, and eaſily perceiving, by the Repartees on both Sides, the Meaning of what at his firſt Entrance ſeem’d ſo aſtoniſhing:—Hold, Gentlemen, cry’d he to the Kindred of Aliena, your Paſſion has tranſported you too far, and I dare ſay you will hereafter own to be guilty of an Injuſtice you will be aſhamed of, when once the Truth comes to be reveal’d:—I believe, continued he, I am the only Perſon capable of clearing up this Miſtery; but before I do ſo, beg leave to give a Letter to my Captain, put into my Hands this Morning, for the ſafe Delivery of which I have pawn’d my Honour. Not only the Captain, but thoſe who came to accuſe him were ſurpriz’d at what he ſaid; but the former taking the Letter haſtily out of his Hands, and having read it with a great deal of real Amazement, which I have heard them all allow was very viſible in his Countenance, walk’d ſeveral Times about the Room with a confus’d Emotion; then paus’d,—then walk’d again, and paus’d again, as if uncertain how he ſhould behave in an Exigence which, it muſt be own’d, demanded ſome Deliberation; the Father and the Uncle of Aliena ſtill crying out he muſt produce the Girl, and growing clamorous, Spleen, Pettiſhneſs, or a Value for his own Character‘racter, 087 M1r 87 racter more than for that of the Woman he had once pretended to adore, made him throw the Letter upon the Table in an abrupt Manner, and at the ſame time bad them go in ſearch of the Perſon they came in queſt of; adding, that what was wanting in the young Lady was owing to her Want of proper Education, rather than to any Inſinuations or Crafts he had practiſed on her. The Father, finding it his Daughter’s Hand, read it with a Shock which is not to be expreſs’d; and having given it to his Brother, cry’d, Where,—who is this Lieutenant, into whoſe Power my poor unhappy Girl has fallen? I am the Perſon, ſaid the Lieutenant, and but to clear my Captain from any Imputation of a baſe Deſign, ſhould not have ſpoke what I now find myſelf obliged to do. He then related in what Manner Aliena came to him, the Earneſtneſs with which ſhe begg’d to be enter’d on Board; and in fine, neither omitted nor added to any thing of the Truth. This ſtruck the Kindred of Aliena into the utmoſt Confuſion:—Every thing prov’d the Innocence, and as even I, dear Ladies, who am her Friend muſt own, the Folly of this unhappy Girl; all bluſh’d and hung down their Heads oppreſs’d with conſcious Shame:—The Captain pity’d the Conſternation they were in, Vol. III. M ‘and 088 M1v 88 and his Heart, I cannot but think, throbb’d for the Condition of Aliena:—Come, ſaid he to his Lieutenant, in as gay a Manner as the Circumſtance would admit, let us go viſit the Lady who it ſeems is your Priſoner, and ſee what Ranſom will be demanded for her. The Lieutenant made no other Anſwer than a low Bow, and immediately conducted them, where they found the unfortunate Aliena walking about the Room in her Boy’s Cloaths, diſtracted in her Mind at what Reception her Letter would find from the Captain, but little thinking of the new Gueſts who now enter’d her Chamber. Oh, dear Spectator, think and judge what this poor Soul muſt feel, at the Sight of her Lover, her Father, and the neareſt of her Kindred thus at once preſented to her:—What might have excuſed her to the one, rendered her criminal to the other; nor could the ſoft Impulſe of Love, coincide with what ſhe owed to Duty, and the Decorum of Reputation. At ſeeing them thus altogether, ſhe fell into Faintings, from which ſhe was recover’d but to relapſe again, and the firſt Words ſhe ſpoke were—I am ruin’d for ever.—You, Sir, ſaid ſhe to her Father, can never, I am ſure, forgive the Diſhonour I have brought upon our Family:—And you, purſued ſhe, turning to the Captain, what can you think of the wretched Aliena! 089 M2r 89 Aliena! This very Proof I have given you of my Love, the extremeſt, the tendereſt Love that ever Heart was capable of feeling, even you may cenſure as not conſiſtent with the Prudence and Decorum of my Sex:—Oh wretched!— Wretched am I every way, by all deſervedly abandoned. The Condition they ſaw her in diſarmed her Kindred of great Part of the Indignation they had before been full of, and hearing the Captain teſtify abundance of tender Concern for the Hazards to which ſhe had expos’d herſelf for his Sake, they withdrew to a Window, and after a ſhort Conſultation, deſir’d the Captain to go with them into another Room; which Requeſt he readily complying with, the Father of Aliena told him, that as he had courted his Daughter, and ſo far engag’d her Affections as to be induced by them to take a Step ſo contrary to Duty and Reputation, he thought it would become him to ſilence the Reproaches of the World by marrying her before he embark’d. The Captain not returning an immediate Anſwer to this Propoſal, gave Opportunity to the Uncle and Couſin of Aliena to ſecond what the Father had ſaid; and they made uſe of many Arguments to convince him, that in Honour and Conſcience he ought not to depart and leave her to be expoſed to Calumny for M2 an 090 M2v 90 an Action, of which he had been the ſole Cauſe. To all which, as ſoon as they had done ſpeaking, the Captain reply’d, that he deſired no greater Happineſs in Life than being the Huſband of Aliena, provided the Duties of his Post had not called him ſo ſuddenly away; but as he muſt not only be immediately ſnatched from her Arms, but alſo be abſent thence for ſo long a time, he thought it inconſiſtent, either with Love or Reaſon, to leave her a Wife under ſuch Circumſtances:—That if her Affection was as well rooted as ſhe ſaid it was, ſhe would doubtleſs have the Patience to wait his Return, and that if he heard nothing on her Part which ſhould oblige him to change the Sentiments he at preſent had, he ſhould then himſelf be a Petitioner for her Hand. On this they told him, he had no Reaſon to ſuſpect the Sincerity of her Love, ſhe had given but too ſubſtantial a Proof of it, by the mad Exploit ſhe had undertaken. Do not think me ungrateful, anſwer’d he haſtily, if I ſay it is a Proof of the Violence of it, which I ſee with more Grief than Satisfaction; becauſe Actions of this Kind are judged by thoſe who view them with different Eyes, as ſomewhat romantic, and occaſion a good deal of idle Ridicule among the laughing Part of the World: — But, continued he, as Conſtancy more than Vehemence‘hemence 091 M3r 91 hemence of Affection is requiſite to render the conjugal State a happy one, it is Time alone can aſſure me of Felicity with the Lady in queſtion: —For which Reason I muſt not think of entering into any Bonds of the Nature you mention till after my Return. This Anſwer, determinate as it was, did not make them give over; but all they urged was preaching to the Wind, and the more they ſeemed to reſent his Refuſal, the more obſtinately he perſiſted in it; and they were obliged to leave Graveſend, taking with them the diſconſolate Aliena, no leſs diſſatisfy’d in their Minds than when they came into it. How changed is now the Fate of this young Lady!—The Idol once of her Acquaintance, the Pity now of ſome, and the Contempt of others.—The Search made for her in Town after her Elopement made the Affair no Secret: Every one talks and judges of it according to their different Humours; but few there are who put the beſt Conſtruction:—Senſible of this, ſhe rarely ſtirs Abroad, and at Home is treated in a Manner quite the reverſe of what ſhe was accuſtomed to be before this Accident:—Her Father and Brothers look on her as a Blemiſh to their Family, and her Siſters take every Opportunity to reproach her.—The Captain has never wrote to her ſince he went, tho’ ſeveral Letters from him have been receiv’d by others: —In fine, ’tis impoſſible to paint her Situation‘tion 092 M3v 92 tion ſo truly miſerable as it is:—All I can ſay gives but a faint Idea of it; yet ſuch as it is, I flatter myſelf, will be ſufficient to induce you to make her Innocence as public as poſſible, by inſerting this faithful Account of the whole Affair. I am alſo pretty confident that the Goodnature which ſeems to ſparkle through all your Writings, beſides the common Intereſt of our Sex, will make you a little expatiate on the ungenerous Proceeding of the Captain:—The more Honour he may have in other Reſpects, the leſs he is to be excuſed in regard to Aliena; ſince it was that very Honour which betrayed her into a fatal Confidence of his Love and Sincerity. Had he been poſſeſs’d of a much leſs Share of Paſſion for her than he had profeſs’d, or had ſhe even been indifferent to him, Gratitude, methinks, ſhould have made him marry her, ſince there was no other Way to heal the Wounds ſhe had given her Reputation for his Sake. But I will not anticipate your Judgments on this Head, and after begging Pardon for this long Letter, conclude with aſſuring you that I am, Ladies, Your ſincere Well-;wiſher, And moſt humble Servant, Claribella. Red-Lyon-Square, 1745-03-29March 29, 1745.Of 093 M4r 93
Of all the Letters with which the Female Spectator has been favour’d, none gave us a greater Mixture of Pain and Pleasure than this:—’Tis difficult to ſay whether the unhappy Story it contains, or the agreeable Manner in which it is related, moſt engages our Attention; but while we do Justice to the Hiſtorian, and pity the unfortunate Lady, in whoſe Cauſe ſhe has employ’d her Pen, we muſt be wary how we excuſe her Faults ſo far as to hinder others from being upon their Guard not to fall into the ſame.
Euphrosine, whoſe ſtrict Adherence to filial Duty has been taken Notice of in one of our former Lucubrations, cannot tell how to for give Aliena for ſo palpable a Breach of that, as well as of Modeſty, in quitting her Father’s Houſe in a manner, which, indeed, one would imagine, the bare Thought of would ſtrike too much of Horror into a virtuous Mind to be able to carry it into Execution.
It is certain that nothing can be more aſtoniſhing than that ſo young a Creatuare, bred up in the ſtricteſt Principles of Virtue, and endued with the Perfections Claribella aſcribes to her, could all at once throw off every Conſideration of what ſhe owed herſelf, —her Family, and her Sex, to expoſe herſelf to ſuch wild Hazards, the leaſt of which was worſe than Death.To 094 M4v 94
To us it ſeems plain, that how much Wit ſoever ſhe may be Miſtreſs of in Converſation, ſhe is altogether incapable of making any ſolid Reflections:—There muſt be a romantic Turn in her Mind, which may have been heighten’d by reading thoſe extravagant Fictions with which ſome Books abound:—This Claribella ſeems to think herſelf, by her mentioning the Fondneſs her fair unhappy Friend teſtify’d for the Character of Bellario:—As ſhe thought it an amiable one, it is not therefore to be wonder’d at that ſhe copy’d after it.
If Poets would conſider how great an Effect their Writings have upon the Minds of young People, they would ſurely never paint whatever is an Error in Conduct in too beautiful Colours, nor endeavour to excite Pity on the Stage for thoſe Actions, which every where elſe juſtly incurr both Puniſhment and Contempt; but too many of them, as well ancient as modern, have ſeem’d to employ their whole Art in touching the Paſſions, without any Regard to the Morals of an Audience; as a very judicious Italian Author once ſaid of them:
Oltramontani non ſono zelanti delle buone regele de Modeſtia & de Prudenza.
That is, Thoſe on the other Side the Mountains make no Scruple of breaking the good Laws of Modeſty and Prudence.A 095 N1r 95
A gentle, generous, tender Soul we are ready to allow her, but muſt at the ſame time ſay, that ſuch a Diſpoſition where it happens to be join’d with a weak Judgment, is extremely dangerous to the Perſon poſſeſs’d of it; becauſe it often tranſports ſuch a one to Exceſſes, by which the beſt Virtues may become Vices.
This was evidently the Caſe in regard of Aliena:—Her Love for the Captain, as his Addreſſes were honourable, was natural, and nothing in it which could arraign her Prudence or her Modeſty:—The Grief ſhe was under at the Neceſſity of parting with him for ſo long a Time, and even her ſoft Deſires of being united to him before their Separation, had ſomething amiable in them: Had ſhe ſtuck there, and preſerved her Heart and Perſon till his Return, and he had afterwards proved ungrateful or inconſtant to ſuch Love and Sweetneſs, no Reproaches could have been equal to his Crime ; but I am ſorry to ſay, that by giving too great a looſe to thoſe Qualities, which kept within due Limits had been worthy Praiſe and Imitation, ſhe forfeited all Pretenſions to the Eſteem of the Man ſhe lov’d, as well as of thoſe leaſt intereſted in the Affair.
TheFemale Spectator muſt not therefore be ſo far ſway’d either by her own Good nature, or the Deſires of Claribella, as to attempt framing any Excuſe for thoſe very Errors in Conduct which theſe Monthly Eſſays are intended only to reform.Vol. III. N Neither 096 N1v 96
Neither is it poſſible to comply with the Requeſt of this agreeable Correſpondent in paſſing too ſevere a Judgment on the Captain’s Behaviour:—He might before this unhappy Incident have had a very ſincere Paſſion for Aliena, yet Prudence might ſuggeſt to him many Inconveniences attending the leaving so young a Wife to herſelf immediately after Marriage:—He imagin’d, perhaps, that in his Abſence ſhe might be expoſed to Trials her extreme Youth and Inexperience of the World, would fail enabling her to bear, with that Reſolution and Intrepidity which her Honour, or at leaſt her Reputation, demanded, and might poſſibly reaſon with himſelf in this Manner. If the Tenderneſs ſhe ſeems to regard me with has taken any deep Root in her Soul, and ſhe has really found any Thing in me worthy of a ſerious Affection, ſhe will doubtleſs preſerve herſelf for me till my Return; but if it be light and wavering, Marriage will be too weak to fix it, and I could with leſs Grief ſupport the Inconſtancy of a Miſtreſs than a Wife.
Such Reflections as theſe, I ſay, were very natural to a thinking Man:__ Marriage is a Thing of too ſerious a Nature to be entered into inconſiderately or wantonly, as the very Ceremony of it, as eſtabliſh’d in our Church, informs us; and thoſe who raſhly take the ſacred Bonds upon them, are in very great Danger of ſoon growing weary of them.The 097 N2r 97
The Captain’s Love for Aliena therefore might not be leſs tender for its being more ſolid than perhaps the Impetuouſity of her Paſſion made her wiſh it was:—For my Part, I ſee no Reaſon that could induce him to counterfeit an Inclination which he felt not in reality:—The Lady had no Fortune, he aimed at nothing diſhonourable, and doubtleſs meant, as he ſaid, to have made her his Wife, had not this unexpected Separation happened.
To this Claribella may probably reply, that whatever Doubts might have ariſen in his Mind concerning her Conſtancy before he took Leave of her, the Deſign ſhe afterwards form’d of accompanying him in all his Dangers, and the Pains ſhe took for the Accompliſhment of that Enterprize, was a Proof that her very Life was wrapt up in him, and that there was not the leaſt Likelihood ſhe ever could be brought to regard any thing in Competition with him.
Nobody can, indeed, deny the Greatneſs of her Affection at that Time, nor affirm that it would not have been as laſting as it was violent; yet I have known ſome who have run as extravagant Lengths, even to their own Ruin, for the Accompliſhment of their Wiſhes, and no ſooner were in Poſſeſſion of them, than they repented what they had done, and became indifferent, if no worſe, to the Perſon they but lately idolized.N2 Be- 098 N2v 98
Besides, as I have taken Notice in a former Spectator, and every one may be convinced of by a very little Obſervation, it rarely happens, that a Perſon ſo young as Aliena can be a Judge of her own Heart, and therefore the Captain may very well deſerve to be excuſed for not being able to place ſo great a Dependance on her preſent Tenderneſs, as I will not ſay but it might in reality have demanded. The Poet tells us, There’s no ſuch Thing as Conſtancy we call;Faith tyes not Hearts, ’tis Inclination all:Some Wit deformed, or Beauty much decay’d,Firſt, Conſtancy in Love, a Virtue made:From Friendſhip they that Land-Mark did remove,And falſely plac’d it on the Bounds of Love.
Upon the whole it is the concurrent Opinion of our Society, that how much ſoever the making her his Wife, under ſuch Circumſtances, might have magnify’d his Love, it would have leſſened his Prudence; and had ſhe in ſo long an Abſence behaved with more Conduct than could be well expected, from a Woman who had the ſtrongeſt Paſſions, and had teſtify’d ſhe regarded nothing but the Gratification of them, the Reputation of his Wiſdom, in running ſo great a Hazard, muſt however have ſuffer’d very much.
These Reaſons oblige us to acquit the Captain of all Ingratitude, ſo far as relates to the main Point; 099 N3r 99 Point; but we cannot do ſo, as to his not writing to her:—He ought certainly to have taken all the Opportunities which the Diſtance between them would admit, to conſole her under Afflictions, which he muſt be ſenſible were unavoidable in Circumſtances ſuch as hers; and that he has not done ſo looks as if the Graveſend Affair had made an Alteration in the Sentiments he once had in her Favour.
If it has happened thus, as there is too much Probability it has, the greateſt Act of Friendſhip to Aliena, is to wean her as much as poſſible from all Remembrance of their former Loves; and perhaps this is the very Reaſon that her Relations treat her with ſo much Harſhneſs, ſince nothing ſo much contributes to give one a Diſtaſte to what has been too dear, as to be perpetually teaz’d and reproach’d for it by thoſe we live with, and whom it is our Intereſt to keep well with:—I can by no other Motive account for, or excuſe the Cruelty of her Brothers and Siſters, ſince it is certain her innate Griefs are a ſufficient Puniſhment for her Tranſgreſſion, without any Addition from another Quarter.
I would have them, however, be cautious, and not try the Experiment too far, leſt they ſhould drive her to ſuch Extremes, as would make them afterwards repent being the Cauſe of.
Numbers of unhappy Creatures now groan under laſting Infamy, who, had their firſt Fault been 100 N3v 100 been forgiven, and as much as poſſible conceal’d from the Knowledge of the World, perhaps had, by a future Regularity of Conduct, attoned for the Errors of the Paſt, and been as great a Comfort to their Families as they have ſince been a Diſgrace.
Instances of young People who, after the firſt Wound given to their Reputation, have thought themſelves under no manner of Reſtraint, and abandon’d all Senſe of Shame, are ſo flagrant, that I wonder any Parent or Relation ſhould not tremble at publiſhing a Fault, which, if conceal’d, might poſſibly be the laſt; but if divulg’d, is, for the moſt Part, but the Beginning or Prelude to a continued Series of Vice and Ignominy.
I am very much afraid of the Friends of Aliena have been too forgetful of this ſo neceſſary a Maxim:—The Surprize and Indignation at her Elopement, when they firſt diſcovered it, hurry’d them, perhaps, to Enquiries, which, tho’ they could not be blam’d for making, ſhould, notwithſtanding, have been done with all the Privacy imaginable.
If I miſtake their Behaviour in this Point, I heartily aſk Pardon; but am led into it by Claribella’s Letter, who, by deſiring me to inſert the Story in Vindication of her Friend’s Innocence, gives me Reaſon to believe it has been but too publickly aſperſed; for when any thing of that Nature comes to be the Talk of the Town, it is always 101 N4r 101 always ſure to appear in its worſt Colours. As Hudibras ludicrouſly ſays: Honour is like that glaſſy Bubble,Which gives Philoſophers ſuch Trouble:Whoſe leaſt Part flaw’d, the whole does fly,And Wits are crack’d to find out why.
I would therefore adviſe, that Aliena ſhould, for the future, be uſed with more Gentleneſs; if one may judge of her Diſpoſitions by the Expreſſions ſhe made uſe of to the Lieutenant after the Diſcovery of her Sex, ſhe is ſufficiently aſhamed of her Folly, and needs no Upbraidings to convince her of it:—Her Condition, in my Opinion, now requires Balſams nor Corroſives; for tho’ ill Uſage may bring her to hate the Remembrance of him, and of that Paſſion which has ſubjected her to it, it may alſo bring her, in time, to hate every thing elſe, even her own Life, and fall into a Deſpair, which, I preſume, none of them would wiſh to ſee.
The Sincerity and Good-nature of Claribella can never be too much applauded; and however partial we may think her in this Affair, as the Warmth of Friendſhip could only ſway a Lady of her fine Underſtanding to be ſo, the Cauſe renders the Effect rather amiable than the contrary.—We ſhall always receive with Pleaſure whatever we ſhall be favour’d with from ſo agreeable a Correſpondent, and wiſh ſhe may find in all thoſe who are ſo happy to enjoy her Converſation the 102 N4v 202102 the ſame Zeal and Generoſity, as it is eaſy to perceive by her Manner of writing her own Soul abounds with.
Whether theſe Monthly Eſſsays anſwer the great End propoſed by them, of conducing in ſome Meaſure to that Rectification of Manners which this Age ſtands in ſo much need of, we cannot yet be able to determine; but of this we are certain, by the Letters we receive, that Wit, and the Love of Virtue are not altogether baniſh’d the Realm: The following, as well as many we already have had the Pleaſure of tranſmitting to the Public, is a Proof of it.
To the Female Spectator. Madam, As I perceive you interſperſe your moral Reflections with ſuch Adventures as promiſe either Inſtruction or Entertainment to your Readers, I take the Liberty of encloſing a little Narrative, which I can anſwer is a recent Tranſaction, and the Truth of it known to a great many others as well as myſelf. I shall make no Apology for any Blunders in Stile, having drawn up as well as I could, and leave the Correction and Amendment to your more elegant and judicious Pen, which I am well convinced can ſmooth the harſheſt 103 O1r 103 harſheſt Expreſſion, and extract even Gold from the coarſeſt Metal.—I am, with the moſt perfect Admiration and good Wiſhes for your Undertaking, Madam, Your very humble Servant, And Subſcriber, Kenſington, 1745-04-16April 16, 1745. Elismonda.
Among the Number of thoſe gay Gallants who pride themſelves on being diſtinguiſh’d at all public Places, none had more Reaſon to boaſt of the modiſh Accompliſhments than Ziphranes: He ſung, danc’d, dreſs’d well;—had the Knack of ſetting off, to the beſt Advantage, his Family, his Fortune, and his Perſon: — Knew how to trace his Anceſtors long before the Conqueſt; to diſcover ſome particular Perfection in every Acre of his Land, and to give all his Limbs and Features ſuch Geſtures as his Glaſs inform’d him would be moſt becoming:—In fine, he was what we Women call a mighty pretty Fellow: For as the Poet too juſtly ſays of us, Our thoughtleſs Sex is caught by outward FormAnd empty Noiſe, and loves itſelf in Man.
As he either found or thought himſelf admir’d vol. III. O by 104 O1v 104 by all the Ladies he converſed with, he in Return ſeem’d to admire them all:—Many Friendſhips were broke, and great Annimoſities have aroſe on the Score of this Almanzor in Love, who triumph’d wherever he came, without giving any of the fair Contenders for his Heart leave to think ſhe had the Power of entirely ſubduing it:—If one ſeem’d to have the Advantage over him Today, ſhe was ſure of yielding it Tomorrow to ſome other Beauty, who again loſt it in her Turn:—Nay, ſometimes in the ſame Hour he would preſs one Lady by the Hand, whiſper a ſoft thing in the Ear of another, look dying on a third, and preſent a Love Sonnet of his own compoſing to a fourth.
In this Manner did he divide his Favours till he became acquainted with Barſina, a Lady of a good Fortune and very agreeable Perſon:—She lived moſtly in the Country, and when ſhe was in Town kept but little Company, and ſeldom appear’d in any public Place:—She was, indeed, more reſerved than any one I ever knew of her Age and Circumſtances; and tho’ ſhe had an Infinity of Wit, choſe rather to be thought to have none, than to expoſe it by ſpeaking more than ſhe thought conſiſtent with that Modeſty, which ſhe ſet the higher Value upon, as ſhe ſaw others value it ſo little.
It was, perhaps, as much owing to this Character of Reſerve as to any other Perfection in her, tho’ few Women can boaſt of greater, that made 105 O2r 105 made the Conqueſt of her Heart more flattering to the Vanity of Ziphranes, than any he had yet gain’d:—But be that as it may, he approach’d her with a different kind of Homage to what he had ever paid to any other Woman; and not only gave her that Proof of his ſerious Attachment, but alſo a much greater, which was this: He entirely gave over his Gallantries to every former Object of them, and confined his Addreſſes to her alone, to the Aſtoniſhment of all his Acquaintance, who ſpoke of it as a Prodigy, and cry’d, Who would have believ’d it—Ziphranes is grown conſtant!
This Change in his Behaviour, join’d with a ſecret liking of his Perſon, and the Sanction of a near Relation’s Perſwaſion, who had introduced him to her, and thought they would be a proper Match for one another, engag’d her to receive him in quality of a Lover; tho’ long it was before he could prevail on her to acknowledge ſhe did ſo through any other Motive than meerly in Compliance with the Requeſt of a Perſon ſo nearly allied to her.
To make Trial of his Perſeverance, ſhe pretended Buſineſs call’d her into the Country; he begg’d Leave to accompany her, but that not being permitted, he follow’d to her Retirement, took Lodgings as near her as he could, and viſited her every Day, renewing the Declarations he had made in Town, nor would return till ſhe had fixed the Day for coming alſo.O2 As 106 O2v 106
As ſhe came in the Stage-Coach, ſhe could not prevent him from doing ſo too, if ſhe had been affected enough to attempt it: Yet could not all his Aſſiduity, his Vows, his Proteſtations, meet any farther Reward than the bare Acceptance of them.
By Degrees, however, he gain’d further on her, and got the better of that cruel Caution which had given him ſo much Trouble; and ſhe at laſt confeſs’d, that ſhe thought him worthy of every thing a Woman of Honour could beſtow.
With what Rapture he expreſs’d himſelf at hearing theſe long wiſh’d-for Words any one may judge, by the Pains he had taken to induce her to ſpeak them.—He had now nothing to do but to preſs for the Confirmation of his Happineſs, and in the moſt tender Terms beſeech’d her to ſettle a Day for that Purpoſe; to which ſhe bluſhing anſwer’d, he muſt depend for that on the Gentleman who firſt brought them acquainted, and had always been ſo much his Friend.
This he ſeem’d very well ſatiſfy’d with, as ſhe doubted not but he would, and as ſhe knew the Perſon ſhe mention’d had greatly promoted the Intereſt of his Love; and ſhe now began to ſet herſelf to think seriouſly on Marriage, as of a State ſhe ſhould ſoon enter into.—Some Days, however, paſs’d over without her hearing any thing of the Matter, than that Ziphranes told her, that he had been to wait on her Couſin, but had 107 O3r 107 had not the good Fortune to meet with him at home.
Prepossessed as ſhe was in favour of this Lover, it ſeem’d a little ſtrange to her, that the Vehemence of the Paſſion he profeſs’d, ſhould not influence him to watch Night and Day for the Sight of a Perſon to whom ſhe had refer’d the Grant of what he had ſeemed ſo ardently to deſire:—Beſides, ſhe very well knew there could have been no Difficulty in finding him, had the other attempted it in good earneſt; and this, with the Imagination that ſhe obſerved ſomewhat of a leſs Tenderneſs than uſual in his Looks and Behaviour to her, fill’d her with very perplexing Agitations.
A week was hardly elaps’d, ſince ſhe made him that ſoft Conceſſion above recited, when he ſent to acquaint her, he was extremely indiſpoſed with a Cold, and could not have the Pleaſure of waiting on her.
This Meſſage, and the Manner in which it was deliver’d, heighten’d her Suſpicions, that ſhe had deceiv’d herſelf in an Opinion either of his Love or Honour:—I am betray’d, cry’d ſhe in a good deal of Agony of Spirit, it is owing to the Coldneſs of his own Heart, not any the Inclemency of the Seaſon has inflicted on him, that he abſents himſelf.
She kept her Vexation conceal’d however, and tho’ 108 O3v 108 tho’ her Relation had viſited her ſeveral Times ſince ſhe had ſeen Ziphranes, ſhe never once mentioned any thing concerning him, till that Gentleman one Day, in a gay Humour, ſaid to her, Well, Couſin, how thrive my Friend’s Hopes? — When are we to ſee you a Bride? On which, before ſhe was aware, ſhe cry’d, I am not the proper Perſon to be ask’d that Queſtion:—What does Ziphranes say?
I cannot expect that Confidence from him, which you ſo near a Relation deny, anſwer’d he; but indeed I wanted to talk a little ſeriouſly to you on that Head:—I am afraid there is ſome Brulêe between you, for I have met him two or three Times, and he rather ſeems to ſhun than court my Company.
To hear he was abroad at the Time he had pretended Sickneſs, and that he had ſeen the very Perſon to whom ſhe had conſign’d the diſpoſing of herſelf, without ſpeaking any thing to him of the Affair, was ſufficient to have opened the Eyes of a Woman of much leſs Penetration and Judgment than ſhe was:—She was at once convinced of his Falſhood and Ingratitude, and the Indignation of having been ſo baſely impoſed upon was about to ſhew itſelf, by telling the whole Story to her Couſin, when ſome Ladies that Inſtant coming in to viſit her prevented it.
No Opportunity offering that Night to diſburthen the inward Agony ſhe was inflam’d with, by 109 O4r 109 by reaſon her Couſin went away before the reſt of the Company took Leave, ſhe paſs’d the Hours till Morning in a Situation more eaſy to be conceiv’d than deſcrib’d.
She would have given the World, had ſhe been Miſtreſs of it, to have been able to have aſſign’d, ſome Reaſon for ſo ſudden a Change in a Perſon, whoſe Love and Conſtancy ſhe had as many Teſtimonies of as were in the Power of Man to give: —The more ſhe reflected on his paſt and preſent Behaviour, the more ſhe was confounded; and how far ſoever he had inſinuated himſelf into her Heart, ſhe ſuffered yet more from her Aſtoniſhment than ſhe did from her abuſed Affection.
The Greatneſs of her Spirit, as well as her natural Modeſty and Reſerve, would not permit her either to write, or ſend to know the Meaning of his Abſence; and her Couſin not happening to come again, ſhe had none on whoſe Diſcretion ſhe could enough rely to make a Confidant on in an Affair, which ſhe look’d upon as ſo ſhameful to herſelf; and endur’d for three Days longer a Suſpence more painful than the Certainty which the fourth produced had the Power of inflicting.
As ſoon as ſhe rung her Bell in the Morning, her Maid brought a Letter which ſhe told her was left for her very early, by a Servant belonging to Ziphranes.—Ziphranes, cry’d Barſina, with a Hurry of Spirits which that Moment ſhe had not Command enough over herſelf to be able either 110 O4v 110 either to repel or to conceal,—What is it he can ſay?
To Barsina. Madam, Since I had laſt the Honour of waiting on you, a Propoſal of Marriage was made to me, which I found is very much to my Convenience to accept; and I did ſo the rather, as I knew there was too little Love on your Side to render it any Diſappointment: — I thought myſelf obliged to acquaint you with it before you heard it from any other Hand; and wiſh you as happy with ſome more deſerving Man as I hope this Morning will make me:—I ſhall always continue to think of you with the greateſt Reſpect, and am, Madam, Your moſt humble, And moſt obedient Servant. Ziphranes.
What ſhe felt on reading this Letter any Woman who, without Love, has the leaſt Pride or Senſe of Reſentment may judge; but as Barſina had certainly once a very great Share of Regard for this perfidious Prophaner of the moſt ardent Vows and Proteſtations, her Affliction muſt be violent indeed, at the firſt News of his Inconſtancy.But 111 P1r 111
But whatever it was, with her uſual Prudence, ſhe confin’d it to her own Breaſt, and tho’ that Day, and ſeveral ſucceeding ones, ſhe heard of nothing but Ziphranes’s Marriage, and the Wonder every one expreſs’d at the Suddenneſs of it, as well as that it was to any other than herſelf; yet did ſhe ſo well ſtifle all the Emotions of her Soul, that none could perceive ſhe was the leaſt diſturb’d at it.
His ungenerous Behaviour had doubtleſs turn’d her Heart entirely againſt him:—She ſoon grew to deſpiſe him much more than ever ſhe had loved; but then the Thought how much ſhe had been deceiv’d in him, and that he had it in his Power to boaſt that he had made an Impreſſion on her, gave her the moſt poignant Anguiſh.
In fine, all the Paſſion ſhe now had for him was Revenge, and by what Method ſhe ſhould inflict a Puniſhment, in ſome meaſure proportionable to his Crime, took up her whole Thoughts; and at laſt having hit on one to her Mind, was not long before ſhe accomplish’d it.
She knew he was accuſtomed to walk every Day in the Park, and being informed that ſince his Marriage he continued to do ſo, ſhe made it her Busineſs to throw herſelf in his Way; and meeting him according to her Wiſh, accompany’d only with an old Gentleman, who did not ſeem to be a Perſon of any very great Conſequence, ſhe went directly up to him, and told him ſhe Vol. III. P deſir’d 112 P1v 112 deſir’d to ſpeak with him, on which the other immediately took Leave.
Ziphranes was ſo confounded at the Sight of her, that he was ſcarce able to return the Salutation ſhe gave him with the Complaiſance of a Gentleman; which ſhe perceiving, to add to his Mortification, told him ſhe did ſo, but added with a great deal of ſeeming Gaiety, that he had no Reaſon to be under any manner of Concern; for tho’ his quitting her for another was extremely cruel, he had it in his Power to attone, and it was for that End ſhe came to ſeek him.
All this, which he could not but look on as Raillery, was very ſurprizing to him from a Woman of her ſerious and reſerved Temper: — And his Confuſion both at that, and meeting her, was ſtill ſo great, that he could not anſwer it in kind as he would have done, had he been more Maſter of himſelf, and it was but with a ſtammering Voice he at laſt drawled out, that he ſhould rejoice to oblige her in any thing he could.
What a Force has conſcious Guilt!—How mean, how cowardly does a baſe Action render one!—He who found it eaſy to commit the Crime, trembled at the Reproaches it deſerv’d: — Barſina felt a gloomy Satiſfaction in her Mind at the Pain he was in, but that was little to what her Reſentment demanded; and it was neceſſary to eaſe his preſent Diſquiets, in order to have it in her 113 P2r 113 her Power to inflict on him others of a more terrible Nature.
She therefore aſſumed as much Softneſs in her Eyes and Voice, as a Perſon not accuſtomed to Diſſimulation could poſſibly put on, and with a half Sigh, Well, Ziphranes, I accuſe you not, ſaid ſhe; Love I know is an involuntary Paſſion, and beſides I have heard ſay there is a Fate in Marriage which is not to be withſtood:—I only think the long Acquaintance we had together ought not to have been ſo abruptly broke off:—I might have expected you would have taken one tender Leave of me at leaſt!
He was beginning to make ſome pitiful Excuſe or other for his Behaviour in this Point, but ſhe would not ſuffer him to go on:—Say nothing of it, interrupted ſhe, what is done is paſt Recall; but if you would have me think you ever meant me fair, or that all the Vows you made were but to enſnare and triumph over my artleſs Innocence, you muſt comply with the Requeſt I now make you, which is to let me ſee you once more at my Lodgings:—You may depend on hearing no Upbraidings:—I deſire no more than to take a laſt Farewel, and if you gratify me in this, which I know you will think, and I confeſs, is but a Whim, I give you my ſolemn Promiſe never more to trouble you.
Such an Invitation, and deliver’d in this Manner from a Mouth, whom he had Reaſon to believeP2 lieve 114 P2v 114 lieve would have been filled with Expreſſions of a vaſtly different Sort, might very well amaze him: —He thought her Behaviour, as indeed it was, a little out of Nature, and quite the reverſe of that Reſerve and perfect Modeſty ſhe had formerly treated him with; but to whatever Source this Change in her was owing, he could not be ſo unpolite as to refuſe what ſhe deſir’d of him, and it was agreed between them that he ſhould breakfaſt with her the next Morning.
Accordingly he came; ſhe received him with great Civility, but ſomewhat more ſerious and more like herſelf than the Day before: — Chocolate was ſerved up, and the Maid attending while they breakfaſted, Barſina entertain’d him only with Diſcourſes on ordinary Affairs. — When they had done, ſhe order’d a Bottle of Cyprus Wine to be ſet upon the Table, and made a Sign to her Servant to leave the Room.
Now being alone together ſhe fill’d out two Glaſſes, and preſented one to Ziphranes, but he deſir’d to be excuſed, telling her he never drank any Sort of Wine in a Morning.—You muſt break through that Cuſtom for once, ſaid ſhe ſmiling; and to engage you to do ſo, as well as to ſhew I have not the leaſt Animoſity to the Lady who has ſupplanted me in your Affections, the Toaſt ſhall be Health and Happineſs to your Bride. This, ſure, you will not offer to refuſe.
With theſe Words ſhe put the Glaſs a ſecond Time 115 P3r 115 Time into his Hand, Well, Madam, anſwer’d he, it would not become me to diſobey you, ſince you ſo much inſiſt upon it:—I will do myſelf the Honour to pledge you.
She then drank the above-mention’d Health, and he having drain’d his Glaſs to the ſame, Now I am ſatiſfy’d, cry’d ſhe, tho’ my cruel Stars deny’d me the Pleaſure of living with you, we ſhall die together, at leaſt:—I drank my happy Rival’s Health ſincerely, and may ſhe enjoy long Life, and many proſperous Days, if ſhe can do ſo without Ziphranes, but for a little, a very little longer ſhall ſhe triumph with him over the forſaken Barſina.
What is it you mean, Madam! ſaid he haſtily. That you have drank your Bane, anſwer’d ſhe: The Wine I gave you, and partook of myſelf, was mix’d with the moſt deadly Poyſon, nor is it in the Power of Art to ſave the Life of either of us.
You would not do ſo ſure! cry’d he: What could I do but die, reply’d ſhe, when your Inconſtancy had made Life a Burthen not to be borne? and to have dy’d without you would have been mean and poor, unworthy of my Love or my Revenge:—Now both are gratify’d.
’Tis a Queſtion whether theſe laſt Words reach’d his Ears, for before ſhe had quite given over ſpeaking, he ſtarted up and ran out of the Room like a Man diſtracted, uttering a Volley of 116 P3v 116 of Curſes on her, and on himſelf, as he went down the Stairs.
What Effect the Draught had on Barſina, and what kind of Reflections enter’d her Head, when left to think ſeriouſly on what ſhe had done, the Reader ſhall hereafter be inform’d at full; but we muſt now follow Ziphranes, who had not the leaſt Inclination to die, and ſee how he behav’d in a Situation ſo terrible to him.
The Moment he got within his own Doors he ſent for a Phyſician, told him he had ſwallowed Poyſon, and that he had Reaſon to fear it was of the moſt mortal Kind; tho’ by whom adminiſter’d, and for what Cauſe, he kept a Secret, not to alarm his Wife.—Oyl was the firſt Thing judged neceſſary, great Quantities of which he took; but nothing appearing but what any Stomach thus agitated might diſgorge, more powerful Emetics were preſcrib’d; but even theſe had no other Effect than to throw him into fainting Fits:—Yet low and weak as he was, he continually cry’d out, Have I yet evacuated the Poyſon? and being anſwer’d in the Negative, told the Doctor and Apothecary that they were ignorant Fellows, and he would have others ſent for.
It was in vain, the one aſſured him that there was not in the whole Materia Medica a more efficacious Medicine than what he had preſcrib’d; or that the other alledg’d, his Shop affordedforded 117 P4r 117 forded the very beſt Drugs in Town; he ſtill called out for better Advice, and accordingly two others of the ſame Faculty were ſent for.
These ſaid that it was poſſible the Poyſon might be lodg’d in ſome of the secretory Paſſages, and therefore the former Preſcription, which could reach no farther than the Primæ Viæ, wanted its due Effect:—That there was a Neceſſity for the whole Viſcera to be cleanſed;—that every Gland muſt be deterg’d;—all the Meanders of the Meſentery penetrated;—not a Fibre, or Membrane, even to the Capillary Veſſels, but muſt ſuffer an Evacuation;—and the whole Maſs of Nervous Fluid alſo rarify’d; and that after all this was over, he muſt go through a Courſe of Alternatives, which ſhould paſs with the Chile into the ſubclavian Vein, in order to purify the Blood and abrade the Points of any ſharp or viſcious Particles which the Poyſon might have thrown into it, and were not to be eradicated by any other Methods.
This, and a great deal more learned Cant, which it was impoſſible for any one not practiſed in Phyſick either to underſtand or remember, our Patient liſtened to with the utmoſt Attention, and looking on this ſecond Doctor as an Eſculapius, told him, he rely’d upon the great Judgment he found he was Maſter of, and put himſelf wholly under his Direction.
Glisters, Cathartics, and Diaphoretics in abun-118P4v118 abundance were now preſcrib’d, all which Ziphranes readily ſubmitted to, and went through their different Operations with a conſummate Reſignation, till, to avoid Death, he was brought even to the Gates of it; and when reduced to ſuch a Condition as not to be able to move a Finger, or ſpeak articulately, it was thought proper, in order not to loſe ſo good a Patient, that ſome Intermiſſion of his Tortures ſhould be permitted, and in their room Balſamic Cordials, and all manner of Reſtoratives adminiſter’d.
As Youth, and a good Conſitution help’d him to ſuſtain the Aſperity of the firſt Medicines, ſo it alſo greatly added to the Efficacy of theſe latter ones, and he was in a few Days able to ſit up in Bed, and take nouriſhing Food, pretty frequently, tho’ in ſmall Quantities.
The Fears of his own Death diſſipated, he began to have a Curioſity to know what was become of Barſina, and accordingly ſent privately to enquire after her in the Neighbourhood where ſhe lived.
The Perſon charged with this Truſt, brought him Word that ſhe was dead, and had been buried in a very private Manner about three Weeks paſt; and that ſome of thoſe he had queſtioned concerning her, ſpoke, as if ’twas whiſper’d ſhe had been guilty of her own Death; but as to that they could not be poſitive, tho’ they were ſo as to her Deceaſe; and that they ſaw her Coffin put into 119 Q1r 119 into a Hearſe and Six at five o’Clock the very next Morning after they heard of her Death, attended by one Mourning Coach with only her Maid in it and that it was ſuppoſed they carry’d her out of Town.
This Intelligence made him hug himſelf for the Precautions he had taken, to which alone he thought he owed the Preſervation of his own Life; but then at the ſame time he ſhudder’d at the Reflection of the Danger he had eſcaped.
He did not, however, enjoy any Calm of Mind but for a ſhort while, a Friend of his who came to viſit him unluckily happened to mention Doctor Mead’s Treatiſe on Poyſons, which maintaining that there was a Poſſibility for the Venom to lurk in ſome Parts of the Body, for many Years after it was thought to be entirely expell’d, and then break out with a Fierceneſs which no Art could ſubdue, the poor unhappy Ziphranes preſently imagined that might be his Caſe, and could not be at reſt till he had again conſulted his Phyſician.
Few People chuſe to argue againſt their own Intereſt; Ziphranes had been too liberal of his Fees for the Doctor to offer any thing in Oppoſition to this Tenet; but on the contrary favour’d it obliquely by aſking him if he did not ſometimes feel little Twitches in his Head, his Back, or about his Heart? Which he anſwering with great Concern that he did (as indeed it was impoſſible he ſhould not, after the violent Operations Vol. III. Q he 120 Q1v 120 he had undergone) Alas! Alas! cry’d the Empyric, ſhaking his Head, theſe are bad Symptoms: —You muſt have more Phyſic:—I am afraid indeed the Venom is not quite expunged. And then run on a long Diſcourſe on the Nature and Subtilty of ſome Poyſons, till he had terrify’d his Patient almoſt out of his Senſes.
Whether the ſame Medicines as were before preſcrib’d, or others of a different Kind were now adminiſter’d, I will not pretend to ſay; but whatever they were, they brought him into ſuch a Condition that his Life was deſpair’d of; and the Doctor was obliged indeed to have recourſe to all his Art to ſave him.
But not to be too tedious in ſo diſagreeable a Part of my Story, I ſhall only ſay, that Fate had not yet decreed to call him hence:—He once more recovered, and ſeemed to want only Change of Air to re-eſtabliſh his former Health.
As he was thought too weak to travel ſo far as his own Country Seat, which was near a hundred Miles from London, Lodgings were hired for him at a little Village call’d Caſehaughton, the Air of which was judged extremely proper for his Condition by his Doctor, as being neither thick nor too pure for one ſo much weaken’d as he had been.
He ſoon experienced the good Effect of it, or of having entirely left off even the moſt palatable Com- 121 Q2r 121 Compoſitions of the Apothecary’s Shops:—And in a few Days was able to walk about the Gardens, every Morning bringing him an Increaſe of Strength, of Appetite, and Spirits.
In fine, he grew in a very ſmall Time ſo perfectly well, that he was beginning to think of returning home, when an odd and ſurprizing Accident happened to throw both his Mind and Body into freſh Diſorders, equal, at leaſt, I may ſay, to any he had before experienced.
He was indulging the pleaſing Meditations of his Recovery, one Evening, in a fine Lane at a little Diſtance from the Village, when as he was walking on he ſaw a Lady dreſs’d all in white, leaning over a Gate that opened into ſome Fields belonging to a Gentleman in that Part of the Country:—He thought nothing of this Adventure, but paſs’d forward, when being advanc’d within twenty or thirty Paces of the Gate he imagin’d he beheld the Figure of Barſina, her Shape, her Stature, her Face, the very She in every Part. —He ſtarted back and ſtopp’d, all Horror and Amazement; but unwilling to be deceiv’d by Similitude, ſummon’d up all his Courage, and ſtill look’d attentively, till the Object of his Terror turned full upon him, which before it had not, and crying out Ziphranes! immediately vanish’d from his Sight, or rather his Sight forſook his Optics, for he fell into a Swoon the Inſtant he heard his Name pronounced, and by a Voice ſo Q2 exactly 122 Q2v 122 exactly the ſame with that of Barſina, that he was certain it could proceed from no other than her Ghoſt.
Unluckily for him he had gone out this Evening entirely alone, which ſince his Illneſs he had never done before; and had not the Diligence of one of his Servants, who fearing, as the Night was drawing on, the Air might be prejudicial to him, made him come in ſearch of him, he had probably lain in that Condition till ſome worſe Accident had befallen him.
The Fellow ſeeing him proſtrate and motionleſs, at firſt thought him dead, but rubbing his Temples, and partly raiſing him, perceiv’d his Miſtake, and with much ado brought him to himſelf; the firſt Words he ſpoke ſeem’d ſtrangely incoherent, for he talk’d of nothing but Ghoſts and Death, and ſaid it was not his Fault that ſhe killed herſelf:—Recollecting his Senſes, however, by Degrees, he ceaſed theſe Exclamations, but aſk’d his Man if he had ſeen nothing, to which he anſwering that he had not; No, cry’d Ziphranes wildly again, ’tis only myſelf that both alive and dead muſt be perſecuted by her.
He was at laſt perſwaded to go to his Lodgings where he immediately went to Bed, but made his Servant ſit in the Room near his Bed-ſide, who was amaz’d to find that inſtead of ſleeping he talk’d all Night to himſelf in ſo odd a Manner, that the other believ’d him delirious, as indeed he 123 Q3r 123 he was; the Fright he had ſuſtain’d had thrown him into a high Fever, and the next Morning the Phyſician was ſent for once more.
In his Ravings he diſcovered to every Body that came near him all that had paſs’d between Barſina and himſelf, and how not content with attempting to poyſon, her Spirit had appear’d and call’d to him:—Nay, ſo ſtrongly did the Remembrance of what he had ſeen work on his diſtemper’d Mind, that he frequently imagin’d he heard her Voice crying out to him, Ziphranes!
In this unhappy Situation let us leave him for a while, and return to the Authoreſs of it, the injured, but well reveng’d Barſina.
After ſhe found herſelf forſaken for another, at a Time when ſhe thought herſelf moſt ſecured of her Lover’s Affections, ſhe bewail’d not the Loſs with Tears, but bent her whole Thoughts on gratifying her Reſentment for the Affront: — To this end ſhe affected to appear ſo paſſive, neither upbraiding his Infidelity, nor diſcovering any Surprize at it, till ſhe prevail’d with him, as I have already related, to come to her Lodgings, when ſhe indeed frightened him to ſome Purpoſe. The Wine ſhe gave him was juſt as it came from the Merchant, unmix’d with any poiſonous Drugs, but as ſhe judg’d it happen’d:—Conſcious he deſerved all the Vengeance ſhe could inflict on him, he eaſily believed ſhe had in reality done as ſhe ſaid, and the Terrors he was in, which he 124 Q3v 124 he in vain ſtrove to conceal under a Shew of Rage, as he went from her, gave her the higheſt Satisfaction.
She made her Kinſman and her Maid privy to the Plot ſhe had laid, and between them they found Means to get Intelligence how he behav’d, and the cruel Operations he ſubmitted to in order to get rid of the ſuppoſed Poiſon, all which gave her a Diverſion beyond what can be expreſs’d.
Not thinking him yet ſufficiently puniſh’d, ſhe order’d it to be given out ſhe was dead, and to ſtrengthen the Report, cauſ’d a Coffin to be carry’d from the Houſe ſhe lived in, attended by her Maid.—The Reader knows already the Effect this Stratagem produced, therefore it would be impertinent to make a Repetition.
To prevent all Poſſibility of his being undeceiv’d, ſhe retired to a Place where ſhe was not at all known, and happen’d to be near that very Village where Ziphranes went for the Recovery of his Health.
Chance in the very Choice of her Situation aſſiſted her Revenge, when ſhe was beginning to grow weary of proſecuting it any farther:—As ſhe admitted no Company but her Couſin, who had provided that Receſs for her, and ſometimes came down to viſit her, ſhe frequently walk’d about the Fields belonging to the Houſe without any Body with her; and as if every thing concurr’d to 125 Q4r 125 to favour the undeſign’d Deception, ſhe happen’d to have a white looſe Robe de Chamber on, when in one of thoſe little Excurſions ſhe ſaw, and was ſeen by her perfidious Lover: As ſhe had not heard he was ſo near a Neighbour, the unexpected Sight of him made her ſhriek out Ziphranes, without any Deſign of renewing his Terrors; nor did ſhe immediately know the Effect it had upon him, for ſhe flew back into the Houſe with all the Speed ſhe could, not caring to run the Hazard of what Treatment ſhe might receive from him in a ſolitary Place, by way of Retort for the Plagues ſhe had given him.
The next Day, however, afforded her ſufficient Matter to have gratify’d her Spleen, had any remain’d in her againſt a Man, now too much her Contempt to be any longer the Object of her Hate:—Every one’s Mouth was full of the News, that a Gentleman had ſeen a Spirit over the Gate by the Lane, and that he was run mad upon it.
Impossible was it for her to refrain being merry at the firſt Part of this Intelligence; but mean and baſe as he was, ſhe could not avoid affording him ſome Share of Pity as to the laſt: — She reſolv’d, however, not to give herſelf any farther Trouble concerning him, and having gratify’d the juſt Reſentment ſhe had againſt him, even more than ſhe had expected to do, returned to Town, and appear’d with all her former Serenity and Good-humour.Tho’ 126 Q4v 126
Tho’, as I have already obſerved, ſhe never kept a great deal of Company, ſhe was yet ſeen by enough to have it known every where that ſhe was alive.
The whole Tranſaction afterwards got Wind, ’till it was in the Mouth of all their Acquaintance: Thoſe who loved Barſina highly approved of the Method ſhe took to puniſh his Inconſtancy, and even the Friends of Ziphranes could not condemn it.
It was ſome Time before he could be brought to believe what he was told from every Quarter, and even when his Fever left him, and he grew perfectly reſtored, as to his Bodily Health, yet ſtill his Mind continued in a very diſturb’d Situation; and after being with great Difficulty convinced of the Truth, the Raillery he found himſelf treated with wherever he came, on the Subject of poiſoning, and having ſeen a Spirit, ſo much ſoured his Temper, that from being that gay, polite, entertaining Companion I at firſt deſcrib’d him, he is now one of the moſt moroſe ill-natur’d Men in the World.
Disregarded by his Wife, ridiculed by his Acquaintance, and uneaſy in himſelf, he lives an Example of that Vengeance which Heaven ſeldom fails to take on Perjury and Ingratitude; and even Barſina, tho’ the Inſtrument of inflicting it, almoſt pities his Condition, and confeſſes the 127 R1r 119 the Conſequences of her Stratagem, are more ſevere than ſhe either wiſh’d or intended.
I heartily wiſh, however, that all Women who have been abandoned and betrayed by Men, either through a determin’d Baſeneſs, or Caprice of Nature, would aſſume the Spirit ſhe did, and rather contrive ſome Means to render the ungrateful Lover the Object of Contempt, than themſelves, by giving way to a fruitleſs Grief, which few will commiſerate, and which greatly adds to the Triumph of the more happy Rival, if ſhe can be call’d happy, whoſe Felicity conſiſts in the Poſſeſſion of a Heart that has once been falſe, and conſequently can never be depended upon.
This Story, for which Eliſmonda has the very ſincere Thanks of all the Members of our little Society, gave us a double Pleaſure in the reading, not only for the agreeable Manner in which it is related, but alſo, as we were before acquainted with ſome Part of it from common Report, we were glad to be inform’d in the Particulars of ſo extraordinary an Adventure, by a Perſon, who, it is eaſy to be ſeen, is well acquainted with even the moſt minute of them.
The Force of Imagination has employed the Pens of many learned Authors; and indeed there cannot be a Subject more worthy the Conſideration of a philoſophic Genius, as it is common to every Vol. III. R one, 128 R1v 120 one, and makes a great Part of our Happineſs or Miſery:—It not only enhances all our Pains and Pleaſures, but is of that prolific Nature as to produce, from one ſingle Hint, a thouſand and ten thouſand ſubſequent Ideas:—It alſo impoſes upon our Senſes, or to ſpeak more properly, renders them ſubſervient to its own creative Faculty, ſo as to make us call them in for Witneſſes to Things that never were; and we really believe we hear, ſee, or touch what is moſt remote from us, and oftentimes what is not, nor cannot be in Nature.
It is not therefore to be wondered at, that the Plot contrived, and ſo artfully executed by Barſina, had ſuch an Effect on Ziphranes: A Man of more ſolid Judgment than his Character denotes, might have been deceiv’d, by the ſame Means, into the Horrors he teſtify’d; and alſo having once receiv’d them, ſuffered their Diſſipation with as much Difficulty.
In this reſpect the Body diſcovers a more quick Senſation than the Mind:—After enduring any exquiſite Torture, ſuch as the Stone, Gout, Sciatica, and many other Perſecutors of the Human Syſtem, the Moment as the Fit is over how does the afflicted Perſon cry out, in a Tranſport of Joy, That he is eaſed! That he is in Heaven! and ſoon loſes the Memory of his former Pains:—Whereas thoſe Agonies that have once invaded the Mind are hard to be eraſed, and when one is even convinced that the Cauſe of them is entirely vaniſh’d, they 129 R2r 121 they ſtill leave a heavy Langour on the Spirits, which continues for a long Time, and ſometimes is never wholly diſperſed.
The Reaſon of this is plain; the Body being endued only with ſenſative Faculties can ſuffer no longer than it feels, but the Mind, of which Memory is a Part, cannot be wholly at reſt, till Reaſon, which, tho’ ſure, is flow in its Operation, exerts its Power to chace all dark Ideas thence. As old Maſſenger ſays: My Memory, too faithful to its Truſt,Brings my paſt Woes forever preſent to me.
Indeed, when we have once got the better of that Melancholly which paſt Ills have left behind, and begin to grow thankful for recovered Peace, we then are doubly happy, and enjoy the preſent Bleſſings with a much higher Reliſh; as after a long Famine every thing is a Delicate.
But this can only be when the Misfortunes we have ſuſtain’d have not been brought upon us by any baſe Action of our own, and we have rather ſuffered through the Faults of others than ourſelves; then, and never but then, we look back with Pleaſure on the Tempeſts we have eſcap’d, give all due Praiſes to protecting Heaven, and laudably exult in our own good Fortune.R2 As 130 R2v 122
As for Ziphranes, he can indulge no ſuch pleaſing Meditations, and I do not think it at all ſtrange, either that he ſhould ſo eaſily believe his Condition as bad, or even worſe, than it was repreſented to him, or that he was ſo hard to be convinced that the Danger was over, even when thoſe about him found it their Intereſt he ſhould be ſo.
In fine, wherever there is Guilt there will be Fear:—We naturally expect what we are conſcious we deſerve:—So true are Dryden’s Words: Fear ever argues a degen’rate Mind.
It muſt be own’d Barſina acted her Part admirably well; yet ſtill the firſt Scene of this Tragi-Comedy was only her’s;—the reſt was performed by his own Apprehenſions, which gave Scope to the Phyſicians to exert their Talents for making the moſt they could of him.
In ordinary Diſtempers, indeed, nothing is more frequent than for People to take a Load of Drugs, improperly called Medicines, till they deſtroy that Life they are endeavouring to preſerve; but in the Caſe of Poiſon the common Opinion is, that it muſt be immediately expell’d, or not at all; and doubtleſs to give him one ſudden Shock was all the Lady intended by her Stratagem, or could have expected from it; it ſucceeded, however, in a Manner which made not only his Guilt, but the Meanneſs and Cowardice of his Mind, 131 R3r 123 Mind expoſed, ſo as to render him an Object of public Contempt; and had he even fallen a Sacrifice to the Force of his own Imaginations and the Practices of his Phyſicians, I cannot look on Barſina, but the Crime he was guilty of, as the primary Occaſion of his Death; to which, as ſhe did not deſign it, ſhe could have been no more than innocently acceſſory.
I am glad, notwithſtanding, for her Sake, that it happened otherwiſe, becauſe had he dy’d in reality, I know not but there might have been People malicious and cruel enough to have ſuggeſted that the Wine ſhe gave him was actually poiſoned, and that ſhe had ſecured herſelf by taking an Antidote, from any Effect the partaking it with him would otherwiſe have produced.
Had no worſe enſued than barely the ſpreading about Inſinuations of this Sort, it would have been a Circumſtance very diſagreeable to a Woman of that Character we find her in all reſpects ſo tenacious of preſerving.
I also believe, tho’ Eliſmonda has been ſilent on that Head, that ſhe would have repented, even to a Degree of Affliction, what ſhe had done, had the ſhort Puniſhment ſhe intended him proved of that fatal Conſequence it was ſo near accompliſhing.
It therefore muſt be acknowledg’d that this Adventure adds one demonſtrative Proof to the Num- 132 R3v 124 Numbers which are every Day produced, how ready we are to judge of every Action by its Succeſs:—From the greateſt down to the moſt minute Affair, the Praiſe or Blame depends on the Event:—Heaven and Fate, which alone ſees the ſecret Springs of every Heart, and either forwards or controuls our Purpoſes, can alone determine how far they are laudable, or the contrary.
Hudibras, in his whimſical Way, gives us a very juſt Idea of the Miſtakes the World is guilty of on this Account.
Succeſs, the Mark no mortal Wit, Or ſureſt Hand can always hit: For whatſoe’er we perpetrate, We do but row, we’re ſteer’d by Fate, Which in Succeſs oft’ diſinherits, For ſpurious Cauſes, nobleſt Merits; Great Actions are not always true Sons Of great and mighty Reſolutions: Nor do the very beſt bring forth Events ſtill equal to their Worth. But ſometimes fail, and in their ſtead. Fortune and Cowardice ſucceed.
We therefore join to congratulate the amiable Barſina, for an Event which ſo abundantly anſwer’d all her Purpoſes, and at the ſame time ſecured her Reputation from Cenſure.
I doubt not, having mentioned the great Force of Imagination, but my Readers will expectpect 133 R4r 125 pect I ſhould ſay ſomething on ſo copious a Subject, and endeavour at leaſt to diſplay what an Infinity of Happineſs or Miſery we are capable of receiving by it; to the end that every one, by the the Strength of Reaſon and Reflection, might either indulge or correct it, ſo as to procure the one, and avoid falling into the other State.
But beſides, that this has been ſo frequently and ſo well treated on by other Hands, that it is ſcarce poſſible to add any thing new; every one who is poſſeſſ’d of common Underſtanding muſt know enough of his own Temper as to be ſenſible whether it inclines him moſt to pleaſing or to melancholly Images; in fine, whether Hope or Fear be the moſt prevailing Paſſion in him; and this Knowledge, without the Help of any Rules or Precepts, will make him, unleſs he is very much his own Enemy indeed, uſe his utmoſt Efforts to cheriſh the one, and diſſipate the other.
It is certain, that on any Menace of immediate Death, the Soul catches the Alarm; thoſe Apprehenſions which Nature has implanted in every one of us, in a more or leſs Degree, on the Score of Diſſolution, puts all our Faculties in a Hurry, and we have not then the Power of exerting our Reaſon in ſuch a Manner as is neceſſary for the dreadful Occaſion:—It is Religion, and an abſolute Reſignation to the Divine Will, which can alone ſupport us under that Shock:—I ſhall there- 134 R4v 126 therefore conclude with the Words of Horace, as tranſlated by the late Lord Roſcommon. Virtue, dear Friend, needs no Defence,Our ſureſt Guard is Innocence;None knew till Guilt created Fear,What Darts, or poiſon’d Arrows were.
The Letter signed Philo-Natura came Yeſterday to our Publiſher; we have juſt read it, and think ourſelves obliged to thank the ingenious Author for the Favour he does us in that uſeful Eſſay, more eſpecially as he promiſes to continue a Correſpondence with us on a Topic which, in his agreeable Manner of treating, cannot fail being of general Service.
End of the Fourteenth Book.
The Female Spectator.
That there is no Account to be given for Taste, is a Maxim we hear commonly repeated; and that it is ſo ſeldom diſputed is becauſe we ſee ſuch Variety of odd Whims take Place, each of which are, by its Followers, ſupported with Vehemence: But this will be found of no Weight with any one who takes the Pains to diſtinguiſh between that Taſte which is guided by the Senſes, and that which is purely the Effect of the Mind.—In our Food, in our Apparel, our Equipages, the building or furniſhing our Houſes, there is doubtleſs a true and falſe Taſte ; nor is it always that the moſt ſhewy and expenſive merit the greateſt Approbation: But all theſe are of ſmall Moment when put in CompetitionIII. S petition 136 S1v 128 petition with other more eſſential Matters, which are equally in our Choice; for tho’ better Judges may find Fault with our Inelegance in theſe Particulars, yet we ſhall not be the leſs virtuous, nor worſe Members of Society, for being miſtaken in any or all of them.
But it is not ſo with that kind of Taſte, which flows from Thought and Reflection: By this we judge of others, and are judged ourſelves; by this we merit the Eſteem or Cenſure of the World. The Character of a fine Taſte ſtands in need of no Addition;—it implies whatever is great and valuable, and a bad one every thing that is mean and contemptible.
Many there are who flatter themſelves with being poſſeſſed of this amiable Talent in the moſt refined Degree, and ſuch, generally ſpeaking, know the leaſt of it of any People:—They imagine they are eminently diſplaying it, while in Fact they are only following the Dictates of ſome irregular Propenſity and Caprice.—It is almoſt impoſſible to cure thoſe who have gone on for a long Time in this Courſe of Self-deception, becauſe of the Repugnance they have to be convinced they have ever been in the wrong.
How much, therefore, does it behove all who are entruſted with the Government of Youth, to take the greateſt Care in forming the yet docile and tractable Mind in this important Point! — In effect, nothing can be called a true Taſte, that 137 S2r 129 that is not regulated by Reaſon, and which does not incline us to what will render us better and wiſer: For, indeed, theſe two Qualities are inſeparable; to be good is to be wiſe, in the moſt juſt Senſe of the Word, and if we are wiſe we cannot fail of being good.
They certainly argue extremely wrong, who maintain that there are ſome Tempers ſo moroſe, ſo rugged, and perverſe, even from their very Infancy, that all Efforts to render them obliging, ſoft, or pliable, are entirely thrown away: It was always my Opinion, that even the moſt diſagreeable behaved Perſon in the World was not ſo by Nature; and I find every Day freſh Reaſons to confirm me in it. It is only ill Habits contracted in our Youth, which, not ſufficiently check’d by thoſe who have the Power, become rooted in us, and make as it were a Part of our very Soul.
But an early Knowledge of ourſelves, and of the World, will prevent any ill Humours from getting the better of us; and, as we riſe towards Maturity, produce that diſtinguiſhing Power in us which we expreſs by the Name of true Taſte: Without being tolerably verſed in the firſt, we ſhall never be able to attain to any degree of Perfection in the latter:—Our Underſtanding will be but wavering at beſt, perhaps, be led aſtray:—We ſhall be liable either to be dazzled with the Lustre of our own Talents, ſo far as to be regardleſs of the Merit of others; or, depending too much on the firſt Impreſſion we may happen 138 S2v 130 to take, be rendered partial and unjuſt; frequently condemning what is right, and applauding what ought to be cenſured:—It is from this falſe Taſte are derived thoſe little Affectations in Behaviour,—thoſe over Delicacies, which make us fancy every thing offenſive:—From this proceeds the running into ſuch Extremes in our liking, or diſliking, whatever is preſented to us; and hence it is that ſo many Fopperies are eſpouſed, while all that would contribute to our own Haappineſs, as well as that of others, is in a manner totally neglected.
There is undoubtedly a great deal of Pity owing to thoſe whoſe Parents have either by a miſtaken Indulgence, or a Want of knowing better themſelves, humoured them in Follies they ought rather to have corrected: Such, as I have already ſaid, it is ſcarce poſſible for Precept or Example to reform. The Change, if it comes at all, muſt come wholly from themſelves; and it is little to be expected, that a Perſon, who has been taught to think whatever ſhe does is becoming, will take the Trouble to examine whether the Applauſe ſhe is flattered with is really her Due.
A long Habitude of any favourite Paſſion, Manner, or Cuſtom, requires the utmoſt Exertion of one’s Reaſon to throw off; the Reproofs we have from Abroad, only ſerve to teize, and ſometimes harden us:—How often have I heard a Perſon, when admoniſh’d in the moſt friendly 139 S3r 131 friendly and candid Manner of ſome groſs Soleciſm in Behaviour, cry out, For Heaven’s Sake, don’t preach to me! It is in my Nature, and I can’t help it.
It is this that frequently deters thoſe who have a right to put a Check on our Inclinations from making any Attempts that way:—They will tell you they cannot approve of ſuch or ſuch Things in the Perſon they have under their Care; —that they are ſorry to ſee them ſo untractable, but that there is no more a Poſſibility of changing the Temper than the Features of the Face, or the Make of the Body; and this Excuſe for an Indolence, which is unpardonable, gives a kind of Sanction to half the Errors we daily ſee commi ttted.
But I muſt take the Liberty to anſwer, that tho’ there is no converting what is really deformed, either by Nature or long Cuſtom, which is in effect the ſame Thing, into perfect Beauty, yet if the Mind were attended to with the ſame Care as is the Body, it might be brought nearer to what is lovely:—Thoſe who are the leaſt anxious about their perſonal Charms, can find means to purify their Complexions, to take out Pimples, Freckles, and Morphew from the Skin: —Their Glaſſes inſtruct them how to add Softneſs to their Eyes, and Graces to their Smiles, the Taylor’s Art reforms the Shape; and the Dancing-Maſter the Motions of the whole Frame:—And will not Reaſon and Reflection enable 140 S3v 132 enable us to eraſe whatever is a Blemiſh in the Mind?—Surely they will:—They have it in their Power, and it is only a firm Reſolution to call them to our Aid, and to be wholly guided by them, that is wanting to render us worthy of that Character, which we all are amibitious of attaining, though for the moſt part we purſue it by very wrong Methods.
There are three Things in which our good or bad Taſte are chiefly diſcoverable; and theſe are,
1ſt, In the Judgment we give of whatever is ſubmitted to it.
2dly, In the Diſtribution and Manner of conferring Favours.
3dly, In the Choice we make of our Amuſements, Diverſions, and Employments.
As to the firſt;—A true Taſte will never take any thing upon the Credit of others:—It will examine for itſelf, judge according as it finds, and continue firm to its firſt Sentence; whereas the falſe, is wholly govern’d by Prejudice, will cry up or depreciate whatever is the Mode, and as often as that changes, change alſo.
TheOne is timid, and ſlow in cenſuring what it cannot approve;—The Other is deciſive, imperious, and takes Pleaſure in condemning.The 141 T1r 133
TheOne will never tranſport us beyond our Sphere, but rather deter us from interfering in Matters where we have no Concern.—The Other is aſſuming, and pretends a right to know, and to regulate the Affairs of every one.
TheOne is polite, modeſt, affable and gentle: The Other haughty, tenacious, over-bearing and diſdainful.
TheOne affects to know rather leſs than it does; the Other infinitely more.
The ſecond Diſtinction between the true and the falſe Taſte is not ſo generally obvious as the former:—Gratitude and Self-Intereſt will make thoſe who reap any Advantage from our Good- Will, full of Praiſes on our diſtinguiſhing Capacity; and thoſe who are not admitted to our Confidence, partake not of our Bounties, or any other Teſtimony of Favour, will, perhaps, with equal Injuſtice, rail at our Partiality:—It is only ſuch, therefore, as are entirely diſintereſted, that can judge of us in this Particular, and to do it with any Certainty, the Character of the Perſon obliged, as well as that of the Obliger, muſt be examined.
A fine Taſte is quick in diſcerning Merit, whereever it is concealed; is induſtrious in rendering it conſpicuous, and its Profeſſor happy:—The groſs Taſte ſeeks nothing but its own Adulation: —The Flatterer, the Sycophant, the Timeſerver,Vol.III. T ſerver, 142 T1v 134 ſerver, without Birth, Parts, Integrity, or any one worthy Quality, is, by a Patron of this worthy Turn of Mind, careſſed, protected, and frequently promoted even to ridiculous Heights.—Heaven knows we can look but into few Places without being convinced of this:—O, how can Perſons of Condition, who have it ſo largely in their Power to cheriſh Wit and Virtue, and diſcourage Vice and Folly, pretend to any Degree of true Taſte, while they ſuffer the One to languiſh in Obſcurity, perhaps in all the Miſeries that Penury and cold Neglect can inflict; and at the ſame time reward the Other with Smiles and Benefactions!—How many Wretches do we ſee have a Seat at the Tables, and in the Coaches of thoſe, whoſe Stables or Kitchens, they are, by Birth, Education, and Behaviour, muuch more qualified to ſerve in.
I know the general Excuſe is, that Creatures, ſuch as I have deſcribed, are only entertained in order to make Diverſion for the reſt of the Company:—If you aſk a Nobleman, or a Lady of Quality, how they can ſuffer any thing ſo unworthy in their Preſence, they will preſently anſwer,— Why to make me laugh:—And this ſerves as a ſufficient Pretence, becauſe in former Times, not only Kings, but great Men, had their Jeſters or Buffoons, who were permitted to ſay or do almoſt any thing; but then our modern Lovers of laughing forget that thoſe Jeſters were always Men of Wit, and made uſe of the Privilege allowed them to reprove as well as to divert their Pa- 143 T2r 135 Patrons; a Thing that at preſent wou’d not be at all reliſhed.
History is full of many notable Admonitions given by theſe Jeſters, which had oftentimes more Effect on thoſe they were intended to reform, than the moſt ſerious Advice coming from any other Quarter.—Our inimitable Shakeſpear, who was perfectly well verſed in the Humour of the Age he lived in, and alſo in many paſt, before he had a Being, in moſt of his Plays introduced a Clown or Buffoon, who, under the Shew of Simplicity, ſpoke the boldeſt and the wittieſt Things of any Perſon in the Drama.
But whether this be the Motive which influences ſome of our great Pretenders to fine Taſte, in the Choice of their Companions, I appeal to common Obſervation.
Nor is it only in great Things that the true good Taſte diſplays itſelf;—the meaneſt Acts of Charity we do are ſo many Teſtimonies of it: A Perſon may be liberal, even to Profuſion, but if he makes no Diſtinction in his Bounties he cannot be ſaid to be poſſeſſed of it:—Reaſon and Judgment ſhould direct Compaſſion, not only on whom to beſtow what we have to give, but alſo to beſtow it ſo as to be of real Service to the unhappy Object:—Abandoned Infancy, decrepid Age, the Sick, and the Priſoner, have all an indiſputable Claim to Pity and Relief.—Theſe will be the firſt Care of a Perſon of true Taſte, and R2T2 ſuch 144 T2v 136 ſuch a one of what Rank ſoever, will not be above examining into the Calamities of the imploring Wretch, and endeavour to ſuit the Benefaction to the Condition. To throw Money among a Crowd that hover about our Doors, without any Regard who picks it up, in my Opinion, has ſomewhat of Oſtentation in it; and though it may be ſaid, that Heaven beſtows its Sunſhine and its refreſhing Dews on all alike, yet as the moſt wealthy, here below, has not the ſame inexhauſtible Fund, true Charity and true Taſte oblige us to be more particular.
TheManner alſo in which we confer Favours of any kind, whether great or ſmall, is a plain Indication either of our good or bad Taſte; and this, I may ſay, is one of the principal Teſts, at leaſt, if we allow Good-Nature and good Breeding to be ſome of the Requiſites of a good Taſte, as certainly they are:—One may do a very eſſential Kindneſs to a Friend, yet do it ſo as to make him repine at the Neceſſity of being obliged:—And one may order it ſo, that the ſmalleſt Conceſſion in his Behalf, ſhall be eſteem’d by him as an infinite Favour.—There is a peculiar Softneſs in true Taſte, which, notwithſtanding, loſes no Part of its Dignity, that enhances the Value of every thing we do, doubles the Price of every Grant, and renders our very Refuſals pleaſing.
I am very well aware, that by many of my Readers this will be thought going too far, and that according to my Definition of a good Taſte, it is morally 145 T3r 137 morally impoſſible for any one to be poſſeſſed of it: But this is an Argument which the third Propoſition I laid down will immediately confute, and it may eaſily be ſhewn, that the Choice of our Amuſements, Recreations, and Employments is not only a Proof of having a good Taſte, but will alſo enable thoſe to acquire it who have it not by Nature.
Wherever we ſee a Perſon laviſh away Time in Trifles, and fond only of ſuch Amuſements as can be no way improving to the Mind, we may be certain that ſuch a one has not a Taſte for any thing more elegant, and alſo that he never will; becauſe by the very indulging thoſe low and gross Ideas, he puts it out of the Power of the Thinking-Faculty to exert itſelf, and Reaſon, by Degrees, loſes its native Force:—The Mind, as well as Body, will grow weak and feeble without proper Exerciſe, and become no more than the Grave of its own Perfections.
But as great an Enemy as Indolence is to our ſpirituous Part, Activity in Things unfit is yet much more ſo:—To be vehement in ſupporting any Prejudices, whether imbib’d in our Infancy, or adopted by us in Maturity, it matters not;—or, on the contrary, to have no ſettled Opinion of our own, but to be continually fluctuating, and eſpouſing the laſt we hear of others. —To be tranſported with every new Caprice, and inceſſantly hurrying from one Folly to another,other, 146 T3v 138 other, ſoon confounds the beſt Underſtanding, and makes a kind of Chaos in the Mind.
But they who can once reſolve to employ themſelves in ſuch a manner as becomes a Perſon of fine Taſte, however repugnant they may be at firſt, will, by Degrees, be brought inſenſibly to have it in reality.
It is one very great Step towards acquiring a good Taſte, to be ſenſible of our Deficiencies that way; it will at leaſt prevent us from doing thoſe Things which would diſcover us to have one eminently bad.—It is therefore the Buſineſs of every one to examine their own Hearts: — By this means they may know how to conceal, if not rectify thoſe Propenſities which are oppoſite to Reaſon. But I again repeat it as my firm Opinion, that whoever has Fortitude enough to forbear putting into Action a vicious Inclination for any time, will at laſt be able to conquer that Inclination, and become virtuous out of Choice as well as Principle.
But as ill Cuſtoms are ſo difficult to be worn off, and it muſt coſt the Perſon who endeavours, by the Force of Reflection, to get the better of them, many a ſevere Pang before the Work can be accompliſhed; it is the utmoſt Cruelty in Parents and Governors, to neglect accuſtoming us betimes to love and revere thoſe Things, which it will become us to practiſe in our riper Years.Cu- 147 T4r 139
Curiosity is the firſt and moſt natural Paſſion of the Human Soul: We begin no ſooner to think than we diſcover an Eagerneſs of Knowledge, and on the Direction and well Management of this, depends, in a great meaſure, the Praiſes we hereafter may deſerve:—If therefore a wrong Turn be given to it, if we are allowed only to pry into ſuch Things as had better to be forever unknown to us, it is no wonder that we ſhould be devoted to Vanity and Trifles our whole Lives.
If we become early Connoiſſeurs in the Mode, can make ſmart Remarks on the Dreſs of every one we ſee at the Ball, the Court, the Opera, or any other public Place, take ſo much Delight in hearing and reporting every little Accident that happens in Families we are acquainted with,—how much more Pleaſure ſhould we find in examining the various and beautiful Habits with which Nature s cloaths thoſe Plants and Flowers which adorn our Gardens, and in making ourſelves acquainted with thoſe great and wonderful Events which Hiſtory preſents us with, and the yet more ſurprizing Adventures, Dangers, Eſcapes, and Hardſhips which Books of Voyages and Travels afford.
These are Entertainments which we may partake while in our Hanging-Sleeves; and though we ſhould run them over never ſo curſorily, as Children are apt to do, they would ſtill prepare the Mind for more ſolid Reflections afterwards; they could not fail of enlarging the Ideas, informing the 148 T4v 140 the Underſtanding, and above all, of inſpiring in us a Love and Reverence for the great Author, Director, and ſole Diſpoſer of every thing in Nature.
By beginning to paſs our Time in this manner, we ſhall prevent all thoſe unruly and diſorderly Paſſions from getting the better of us, which afterward coſt ſo much labour to ſupreſs, and are of ſuch ill Conſequence if indulg’d.
We ſhall become acquainted with the World before we have any thing to do with it, and know how to regulate our Conduct ſo as neither to give Offence to others, nor be in Danger of receiving any ourſelves.
We ſhall be enabled to prize every thing according to its real Value, and be entirely free from all Prejudice and partial Attachments.
In fine, we ſhall be poſſeſſed of all thoſe uſeful and agreeable Talents, which in their Aſſemblage compoſe what may juſtly be called the true fine Taſte; for though many People are ſo unhappy as to degenerate from a religious Education, and put in Practise the Reverſe of every thing they have been taught; yet I am apt to believe it is becauſe the Precepts of Piety and Virtue have been inculcated in a rough and undelicate Manner:—It is not every one has the Art of rendering Inſtruction pleaſing; beſides, as Youth is naturally headſtrong, and ſubmits to Conſtraint but 149 U1r 141 but with Pain, it ſeldoms retains what is impoſed upon it, thoſe Rules are ſure therefore to make the deepeſt Impreſſion which are not laid down to us as ſuch, but diſguiſed under the Shew of Amuſements and Recreation:—It is only then we love them, and purſue with Eagerneſs what otherwiſe we ſhould hate and avoid, as much as poſſible, the Thought of.
I am very certain the moſt profitable Parts of Learning may be attained, by ſuch Means as would afford us as much Delight, while in the Study of them, as Honour in the Acquiſition.
But I ſhall poſtpone what I have to ſay farther on this Head, in order to oblige my Readers with that ingenious Letter which my laſt gave the Promiſe of, and which our Society takes a particular Pleaſure in publiſhing; as it agrees ſo exactly with our own Sentiments, and is what we would wiſh to ſay ourſelves upon the ſame Occaſion.
To theFemale Spectator. Madam, As it is very evident thoſe Monthly Eſſays, with which you oblige the Public, are calculated for no other End than the Improvement of the Morals and Manners of an Age which ſtands in the utmoſt need of ſo agreeable a Monitor; I flatter myſelf you will pardon my offering you a ſmall Hint, whereby they may Vol.III. U ‘be 150 U1v 142 be rendered yet more effectual for the Accompliſhment of ſo laudable an Undertaking. Your Predeceſſor, the never too much admir’d Spectator, uſed frequently to adapt his Lucubrations to the Seaſon of the Year; and I am of the Opinion his Thought in it was extremely juſt, becauſe we are much more ſenſibly affected with what is ſaid on Things which are that Moment preſent to us, than we can be with any thing paſt, or to come. London, Madam, is now growing a perfect Wilderneſs:—The Play,—the Opera, —the Maſquerade and Ball, no longer attract the Attention of the gay and polite World: — Scenes pencilled by Heaven’s own Hand begin, in this beauteous Month, to be diſplayed, and every one haſtens to partake the Charms of a rural Life. Those hurrying Pleaſures that ſo lately ſeemed to monopolize our Time, and every buſy Care, from which the Greateſt are not wholly exempt, left all behind, what Advantages might not the Mind receive amidſt that Variety of Amuſements the Country affords, did we contemplate Nature as we ought! But if we curſorily paſs them over, and enjoy, without Attention, the rich Regale prepared for every Senſe, we deprive ourſelves of the greateſt, nobleſt, Satisfaction, and contradict the Purpoſe of the all-beneficent Beſtower.’ It 151 U2r 143 It is not enough that we behold thoſe Fields, Meadows, and Paſtures, which but a few Months paſt appear’d a dreary Waſte, now plentifully ſtored with Food for Man and Beaſt:—Thoſe Gardens ſo lately deſtitute of every Ornament, ſave only here and there a ſolitary Yew, perhaps, or Cypreſs, that ſtood nodding over the naked Plots, now clad in Colours which no Art can imitate, and even ſurpaſsing the celeſtial Bow;—nor that we ſmell the Odours of ten thouſand different Flowers gently wafted to us by the ambient Air;—nor that the Taſte is gratified with the luſcious Strawberry, the bluſhing Cherry, the refreſhing Sallad, and all thoſe early Products of the uſeful Olitory:—Nor that our raviſhed Ears are from every Grove ſaluted with Notes more melodious than thoſe of Handel or Bononcini, though warbled through the Throat of Farinelli or Curzoni:—Nor even is it enough that we have Gratitude to acknowledge and be thankful for the Bleſſings which every where ſurround us:—There is ſtill a Something wanting to render our Felicity compleat, a Something which is not in the Gift of Heaven, becauſe we are furniſhed with the Means of enjoying it in ourſelves, and therefore depends wholly on ourſelves. You will eaſily conceive, Madam, I mean the Study of Natural Philosophy; but, though Contemplation on any thing may be called a Study in a more or leſs Degree, I would not be U2 thought 152 U2v 144 thought to recommend to the Ladies (for whoſe Uſe I take your Lucubrations to be chiefly intended that ſevere and abſtruſe Part which would rob them of any Portion of their Gaity:—On the contrary, I would not adviſe them to fill their Heads with the Propoſitions of an Aldrovandus, a Malbranche, or a Newton:—The Ideas of thoſe great Men are not ſuited to every Capacity;—they require a Depth of Learning, a Strength of Judgment, and a Length of Time, to be ranged and digeſted ſo as to render them either pleaſing or beneficial. Not that I preſume to deny, but that there are ſome Ladies every way qualified for the moſt arduous Labour of the Brain; but then I ſhall find little Forgiveneſs from my own Sex to perſuade thoſe Enliveners of Society to any thing which would deprive us of their Company for any long Time. No, no, I am not ſo great an Enemy to myſelf:—What I mean by the Study of Natural Philoſophy, is only ſo much as Nature herſelf teaches, and every one’s Curioſity, if indulged, would excite a Deſire to be inſtructed in. Methinks, I would not have them, when the uncommon Beauty of any Plant ſtrikes the Eye, content themſelves with admiring its superficial Perfections, but paſs from thence to ‘the 153 U3r 145 the Reflection with what wonderful Fertility it is endowed, and what Numbers in another Seaſon will be produced from its prolific and Self-generating Seed:—Even the moſt common, which ſprings beneath their Feet as they are walking, has in it ſome particular Vertue, which it would not be unbecoming them to be acquainted with; if they do not all contribute immediately to our Nouriſhment, or to the Cure of thoſe Diſeaſes to which Mankind is incident, they at leaſt ſerve for Subſiſtence to many Animals, and even Inſects to whom we owe a great Deal. We cannot walk or throw our Eyes Abroad without ſeeing ten thouſand and ten thouſand living Creatures, all curious in their Kind, all created for our Uſe, and which no leſs teſtify the Almighty Wiſdom and Goodneſs than the greateſt and moſt noble of his Works. Even thoſe Worms which appear moſt deſpicable in our Eyes, if examin’d into, will excite our Admiration:—To ſee how in thoſe little Creatures Bodies are caſed in Bodies: — How, when one Form grows withered and decayed, the happy Inſect has another in Reſerve, and, ſhaking off the old, appears again in all the Freſhneſs and Vigour of Youth:—What would a certain Lady, often taken Notice of in your Eſſays, and many other antiquated Beauties, give, they had the ſame Power? Can 154 U3v 146 Can there be a more agreeable Amuſement, than to obſerve how thoſe flying Inſects, which are moſt pleaſing to the Eye, ſpring from ſuch as but a few Days paſt crawled upon the Earth?—We admire the Beauty of the gaudy Butterfly, but reflect not how it riſes from the grovelling Caterpillar, nor how that Worm, after having changed its Skin ſeveral Times, takes a different Shape, aſſumes Wings painted in that gorgeous Manner, and ſkims over the Tops of thoſe tall Trees, whoſe Branches he before aſcended but with Difficulty and Length of Time. There is ſomething extremely curious and well worthy Obſervation in the Death and Reſurrection of theſe Inſects:—If you put one of them into a Box with ſmall Holes at the Top to let in Air, and take care to ſupply them with Leaves proper for their Suſtenance, you will perceive that after a certain Time they will ceaſe to eat, and begin to build themſelves a Kind of Sepulchre; as there are various Sorts of Caterpillars, they have various Ways of making this Incloſure, but all in general compleat it by a certain Glue out of their own Bowels, which, by their Manner of ſpinning and winding it round their Bodies, becomes a hard Conſiſtence, and the Head Paws, and hairy Skin, being work’d into it, form a Kind of Shell, which incloſes the Embryo of the Butterfly; this Shell is by the Learned called a Cryſalis, it lies wholly inanimate the 155 U4r 147 the whole Winter, and in the Beginning of Summer burſts at one End and diſcovers the Butterfly, which, having fluttered about and enjoyed itſelf for a Seaſon, lays its Eggs for the Produce of a new Generation of Caterpillars. This, the Ladies who keep Silk-worms, which are indeed of the ſame Nature, though more uſeful and beautiful, are no Strangers to: —They will tell you thoſe pretty Creatures, from whoſe Bowels ſo much Finery is derived, after having finiſhed their Work, erect themſelves little Tombs, ſuch as I have mentioned, and then revive in Butterflies in order to propagate their Species. But all thoſe Curioſities, which are diſcoverable by the naked Eye, are infinitely ſhort of thoſe beyond it:—Nature has not given to our Sight the Power of diſcerning the Wonders of the minute Creation:—Art, therefore, muſt ſupply that Deficiency:—There are Microſcopes which will ſhew us ſuch magnificent Apparel, and ſuch delicate Trimming about the ſmalleſt Inſects, as would diſgrace the Splendor of a Birth-day:—Several of them are adorned with Crowns upon their Heads, have their Wings fringed with Colours of the moſt lively Dye, and their Coats embroidered with Purple and with Gold. —Even the common Fly, black as it is, is not without its Beauties, whether you conſider the Structure of its Frame, the curious Glazing‘ing 156 U4v 148 ing of its tranſparent Wings, or the Workmanſhip round the Edges of them:—But, above all, the Eyes deſerve Attention:—They are like two Half-Moons encompaſſing the Head, both which are full of an infinite Number of ſmall Eyes, which at once penetrate above, below, on each Side, and behind, thereby fully gratifying the Curioſity of the Creature, if that Term may be allowed to Inſects, and enabling it to defend itſelf from any threatening Danger. The Glaſſes which afford us ſo much Satisfaction are as portable as a Snuff-Box, and I am ſurprized the Ladies do not make more Uſe of them in the little Excurſions they make in the Fields, Meadows, and Gardens. There is, indeed, no Part of this Terrestrial Globe, but what affords an infinite Variety of living Creatures, which, though not regarded, or even not diſcernible as we paſs by, or, perhaps, tread over them, would very much enlarge our Underſtanding, as well as give a preſent agreeable Amuſement, if viewed diſtinctly through one of thoſe Magnifiers. Every Body has Heard of the Ant; its Oeconomy, its Induſtry, and its wonderful Foreſight, has employed the Pens of many learned Authors; I am therefore ſurprized that ſuch Numbers of People can trample over the little Mounds they with indefatigable Labour ‘throw 157 X1r 149 throw up in the Earth, without a Deſire of examining how and by what Means they are enabled to effect it, and for what Purpoſes they take all this Pains. Man, when he would erect or pluck down a Building,—when he would furrow or make plain the Earth, or, in fine, do any thing for his Pleaſure, Convenience, or Defence, is ſupplied by Art with Tools and Inſtruments proper for the Deſign he undertakes; but the Ant is indebted to Nature alone for all the Helps it enjoys:—Theſe Creatures are incaſed in a Coat perfectly reſembling that of Mail, and by this are defended from any Hurt their tender Bodies would receive from a too great Weight of Earth falling in upon them; — they have Claws which they can extend whenever they pleaſe, and withal ſo ſharp, that they will faſten into any thing;—they have two Horns before, and as many behind, and theſe ſerve as Ears to give them Intelligence of every thing;—they have little Trunks or Proboſcis’s, which penetrate into the hardeſt Earth, and a Kind of Saw to each Leg, that by conſtant Working enlarges the Cavity; and, as ſeveral Thouſands work together, they ſoon build themſelves ſubterraneous Manſions, into which they run on the Appearance of any Danger, and make the Repoſitory of their Winter Stores; here alſo they lay their Eggs, breed up their Young, and take Repoſe after their long Fatigues. Vol. III. X Their 158 X1v 150 Their Sagacity, as well as the Order they preſerve in every thing, is thus finely expreſſed by Mr. Dryden in his Tranſlation of Virgil: Thus in Battalia march embodied Ants, Fearful of Winter and of future Wants; T’ invade the Corn and to their Cells convey The plunder’d Forage of their yellow Prey. The ſable Troops, along the narrow Tracks, Scarce bear the weighty Burthen on their Backs: Some ſet their Shoulders to the pond’rous Grain, Some guard the Spoil, ſome laſh the lagging Train: All ply their different Tasks, and equal Toil ſuſtain. All the ancient Poets were full of the Virtues of theſe little Inſects. Horace, as engliſh’d by our Famous Cowley, ſays of them: The little Drudge does trot about and ſweat,Nor will he ſtrait devour all he can get;But in his temperate Mouth carries it Home:A Stock for Winter which he knows muſt come. But if the Ants with ſo much Juſtice claim our Admiration, what ſhall we think of the Bees?—Thoſe who have been curious enough to prepare for them a Glaſs Hive will tell you ſuch Wonders of the Oeconomy, Order, and ‘Policy 159 X2r 151 Policy as might render them Patterns for the beſt regulated Government. We could not, indeed, do better than to become their Imitators, ſince what we call Inſtinct in them is, in Fact, the immediate Direction of Divine Providence, which impels them with a reſiſtleſs Force to do all thoſe Things which are neceſſary for the common Good of their whole Community, as well as that of each particular Individual:—It has furniſhed them with Arms offenſive and defenſive; it has given them Bags to contain and carry Home the Food they labour for, and alſo for that poiſonous Juice which they ſo eaſily dart out on their Aſſailants; but then they never exerciſe that Power without being firſt attacked. On Man the Almighty Wiſdom has beſtowed Reaſon, that Sovereign Power, as the Poet ſays, of knowing Right from Wrong; but, when we find it is in Danger of being led aſtray by the Influence of ill Paſſions, as it too often is, let us have Recourſe to the Bees, and reflect that it is our Duty, and befits the Dignity of our Nature, to do thoſe Things by our own Choice which they do by an unavoidable Impulſe:—Ambition, Luſt, and Avarice, thoſe Fiends that perſecute and lay waſte half the Human Species, pervert the beauteous Order of Nature, and render all her Works a Chaos, would then be baniſh’d from among us, and X2 this 160 X2v 152 this great Hive, the World, enjoy the ſame Tranquillity we behold in each Repoſitory of thoſe happy Inſects. But I forget that it is to your Female Readers I addreſs myſelf, none of whom I can ſuſſpect of being the Authors of any of thoſe Miſchiefs which happen in the World; except thoſe few whoſe Lot it is to become Sovereign Princeſſes;—then indeed it is not to be greatly wondered at if they throw off all Womanhood, deſpiſe the Softneſs of their Sex, can behold whole Provinces depopulated, and, for the Sake of that falſe Glory, which is too often the Appendix of Royalty, rejoice and fatten in the Blood of ſlaughter’d Millions.—Such was Semiramis, Deſcendant of the firſt Tyrant and Oppreſſor of the Earth, Nimrod:—Such was Thomyris of Scythia, and ſuch, I grieve to ſay, may even in this Age be found: Yet all of the Fair Sex who have worn Crowns have not been ſo:—England can boaſt of two glorious Princeſſes who preferred the Works of Mercy to the Charms of Conqueſt:—Elizabeth, of immortal Memory, had the happy Art of rendering herſelf formidable to her Enemies without Bloodſhed; and her late Majeſty Queen Anne rejoiced more in putting an End to a long, though ſucceſsful War, than ever ſhe did in all the Victories gain’d by her Arms. You will pardon this ſhort Digreſſion, Madam,‘dam, 161 X3r 153 dam, which a ſudden Thought, which came I know not how into my Head, enforced from me, and led me into a Subject very foreign to my Purpoſe:—I was going to obſerve, that though there are but few Ladies who, I may ſuppoſe, can have any Occaſion to regulate their Paſſions by the Example of the moderate Bees; yet thoſe who are Lovers of Oeconomy and Temperance will certainly be pleaſed to perceive the Occupation of theſe Animals, delightful, though toilſome to themſelves, and ſo full of Utility to us. Their Magazines of Wax and Honey ought, and I think cannot but intereſt us in Favour of thoſe from whom we receive ſuch Benefits, and at the ſame time inſpire us with the moſt exalted Love, Reverence, and Gratitude to the Divine Goodneſs which created us ſo many Slaves, and which alſo feeds, cloaths and inſtructs them to work for us, and for us alone, while we ſit at Eaſe, and enjoy the Fruit of their Labours without Care and without Expence. The Contemplation therefore on the Works of Nature affords not only a moſt pleaſing Amuſement, but it is the beſt Leſſon of Inſtruction we can read, whether it be applied to the Improvement of our Divine or Moral Virtues. It alſo furniſhes Matter for agreeable Converſation,‘verſation, 162 X3v 154 verſation, eſpecially for the Ladies, who cannot always be furniſhed with Diſcourſe on the Article of Dreſs, or the Repetition of what fine Things have been ſaid to them by their Admirers; but here they never can want Matter: — New Subjects of Aſtoniſhment will every Day, every Hour ſtart up before them, and thoſe of the greateſt Volubility will much ſooner want Words than Occaſions to make Uſe of them. As Ladies frequently walk out in the Country in little Troops, if every one of them would take with her a Magnifying Glaſs, what a pretty Emulation there would be among them, to make freſh Diſcoveries?—They would doubtleſs perceive Animals which are not to be found in the moſt accurate Volumes of Natural Philoſophy; and the Royal Society might be indebted to every fair Columbus for a new World of Beings to employ their Speculations. To have their Names ſet down on this Occaſion, in the Memoirs and Tranſactions of that learned Body, would be gratifying a laudable Ambition, and a far greater Addition to their Charms than the Reputation of having been the firſt in the Mode, or even of being the Inventreſs of the moſt becoming and beſt fancied Trimming or Embroidery, that ever engroſſed the Attention of her own Sex, or the Admiration of ours. ‘All 163 X4r 155 All this Pleaſure, this Honour, this even deathleſs Fame, may be acquir’d without the leaſt Trouble or Study:—We need but look to be informed of all that Books can teach us of this Part of Natural Philoſophy; and it muſt, for that Reaſon, be extremely proper for ſuch of the Fair, who are too volatile to have Patience to go through thoſe tedious Volumes, which are requiſite for the underſtanding all other Sciences. In this, one Summer is ſufficient to make them perfect Miſtreſſes, and furniſh a Stock of beautiful Ideas for their whole Lives:—Not but when we once have entertain’d a Deſire of Knowledge, and been in any Meaſure gratified in that Deſire, it reſts not there, but extends itſelf in Proportion to the Objects that excite it. Whoever, therefore, has a true Taſte for the Reſearches I have been ſpeaking of, will never ceaſe their Enquiries, becauſe the Theme is boundleſs, and they will ſtill wiſh to fathom it: So that, whenever the chearing Spring begins to call the latent Sap forth from the Roots of Vegetables, and kindles the hidden Embryo dormant in its Cell into new Life, the fair Philoſopher will be eager to ſurvey the Reſurrection, and ſee what Form will now diſplay itſelf; and whether the ſeeming Death, both Plants and Inſects have paſſed through, have wrought any Tranſformation in either:—In the former ſhe will find no more than a Renovation‘vation 164 X4v 156 vation of that State ſhe ſaw them in before; but in almoſt every Species of the ſecond ſhe will find amazing Transformations:—And how lively an Idea this gives of ſomething yet more demanding Conſideration, it is eaſy to conceive. That, however, I will not take upon me mention, for fear of rendering the Subject too grave; but of itſelf it will occur, and prove, to a Demonſtration, that the Study of Nature is the Study of Divinity.—None, verſed in the One, I am confident, will act contrary to the Principles of the Other, and that all your fair Readers will make the Experiment is the Wiſh of, Madam, A ſincere Admirer of your Productions, And conſequently your moſt devoted, Faithful, humble Servant, Inner-Temple, 1745-04-27April 27, 1745. Philo-naturæ. P.S. Madam, if you think this worthy of a Place in your next Eſſay, or that it will be agreeable to your Readers, I ſhall hereafter ſend you ſome looſe Thoughts, as they may happen to occur to me, either on the ſame Subject, or any other that I ſhall think will be acceptable to you, or uſeful to the Public.I 165 Y1r 157
I believe there are none into whoſe Hands this Piece may fall, but will readily join with us in allowing it to be extremely juſt:—Our Sex, in particular, are infinitely obliged to the ingenious Author, and I flatter myſelf there are a great many will teſtify the Senſe they have of this Advice by putting it in Practice:—He may, at leaſt, aſſure himſelf of this, that our little Society, who have agreed to paſs a few Days at a Country Seat, belonging to our Preſident, the excellent Mira, will not go unfurniſhed with Microſcopes, and other proper Glaſſes, in order to make thoſe Inſpections he recommends.
At our Return, or as ſoon as Leiſure permits, we ſhall be glad to find the Performance of his Promiſe; ſince Admonitions, delivered in that polite and elegant Manner, he is ſo perfect a Maſter of, cannot fail of making all the Impreſſion they are intended for.
It muſt certainly be confeſſed, that there is nothing more entertaining, or more profitable to the Mind, than the Study of Natural Philoſophy, or that is with ſo little Difficulty attained.
We may be enabled by it to entertain ourſelves with the moſt agreeable Ideas, and to entertain others ſo as to render our Converſation valuable to all who enjoy it:—We ſhall be led inſensibly into the higheſt Notions of the Dignity of Human Nature, and all Coldneſs, all Indifference, for that ſupreme and omnipotent Power, who Vol. III. Y gave 166 Y1v 158 gave Being to ſuch innumerable Creatures for our Uſe, be intirely baniſhed from our Hearts.
In fine, a ſincere and ardent Love of God would be conveyed to us through our Admiration of his Works, and the Benefit we receive by them; and wherever that is once truly eſtabliſhed, it is impoſſible for Vice to take any deep Root:—Swerve we may from Virtue, the beſt have done it, but can never wholly deviate: — Though we ſtumble, we ſhall not fall, at leaſt beyond the Power of riſing:—The Viſion, with which we were near being intoxicated, will vaniſh, and we ſhall cry out with Solomon, All is Vanity and Vexation of Spirit.
So great is the Emolument and innate Satiſfaction in paſſing one’s Time in thoſe Employments Philo-Naturæ recommends, and in ſome others, which I ſhall hereafter mention, that I am pretty confident there are ſcarce any ſo loſt in Vanities, but, if they would prevail on themſelves to make Trial of the Change, would never more relapſe into thoſe abſurd and ridiculous Follies, which at preſent too much engroſs their Hours.
The Love of Reading, like the Love of Virtue, is ſo laudable, that few are hardy enough to avow their Diſguſt to it.—I know Ladies who, though they never had Patience to go through a ſingle Page of any thing, except an Opera or Oratorio, have always a Book of ſome Eſtima- 167 Y2r 159 Eſtimation in the World lying near them, which, on hearing any Company coming into the Room, they will immediately ſnatch up, as though their Thoughts had been engaged on the Contents of that, when, perhaps, they had only been taken up in contriving ſome new Ornament for their Dreſs, or debating within themſelves which of the various Aſſemblies, they frequented, ſhould have the Honour of their Company that Night.
None, indeed, but thoſe who accuſtom themſelves to Reading, can conceive the Pleaſure which ſome Sort of Books are capable of affording:—A young Lady, whoſe Head is full of the gay Objects of the World, is too apt to imagine, it is loſing more Time than ſhe has to ſpare to make Trial of this Amuſement; but in that Caſe I would have her make her Woman read to her, while ſhe is dreſſing, or at ſuch Hours when, after being hurried and fatigued with Diverſions, a Kind of Indolence falls upon her, and ſhe grows peeviſh, and in a Kind of Anxiety for ſomething new to kill the tedious Time.
In thoſe Moments, if ſhe have a Perſon about her of Diſcretion enough, to make Choice of ſome intereſting Part of Hiſtory, it will inſenſibly engage her Attention:—She will grow fond of Knowledge in thoſe Things which are truly worth knowing, and the very Novelty at firſt endear that to her, which a more perfect Underſtanding of its Value afterward will make her unable to neglect.Y2 What 168 Y2v 160
What I mean, when I ſay ſome intereſting Part of Hiſtory, is the Relation of ſome Event which may be moſt intereſting to the Perſon who is to hear it; as there is ſcarce any Circumſtance or Character in modern Life, that has not its Parallel in Antiquity, I would have her begin with what affords Examples of ſuch Events as there is a Poſſibility may happen to herſelf, or thoſe Perſons for whom ſhe has the moſt tender Concern:—By this her nobleſt Paſſions will be awaked;—ſhe will forget every thing beſide;— ſhe will rejoice, or weep, according as the different Accidents excite;—her whole Soul will take a new Turn, and become all Generoſity and Gentleneſs.
This is going a great Way toward acquiring that fine Taſte which is ſo much talked of, and ſo little underſtood; but the Way to be poſſeſſed intirely of it is not to ſtop here.
When the Mind is once prepared by theſe, other Kinds of Reading will become no leſs agreeable:—The Perſon, who is happily a Convert to that improving and moſt delightful Amuſement, will always find ſome Excitement to continue it: —She will never hear Mention made of any great Author, but ſhe will have a Deſire to examine his Works, in order to know if they do Juſtice to his Merit, or have over-rated it: — When ſhe hears of any notable Tranſaction in the Field or Cabinet, ſhe will be impatient to look over the Annals of paſt Times, to find if the 169 Y3r 161 the preſent really excel all that have gone before, or whether it be, as the Wiſe-Man before quoted ſays, that, in Fact, There is nothing new under the Sun.
Neither will ſhe be content with knowing that ſuch and ſuch Things were done; ſhe muſt alſo pry into the Motives by which they were brought about, and as far as is in her Power inform herſelf whether they were ſuch as deſerved Praiſe, or the contrary:—And by this Means ſhe will be enabled to judge of Affairs, not by their Succeſs, but by the Intentions of thoſe who conducted them.
Not that I would have any one become ſo devoted to Books as to be loſt to their Friends and Acquaintance; two or three Hours every Day employed that Way will be ſufficient, provided the Matter we have been reading be well digeſted;— that, our own Reflexions on it when we happen to be alone, or blending it in any Converſation we fall into, will eaſily accompliſh: — We may read a Multitude of Authors, without being the better, or even remembering one of them, if we do not read with Attention, and a Deſire of being inſtructed; but, if we are once ſtrongly poſſeſſed of that Deſire, every Trifle we take up will be of ſome Advantage to us.
However, as it requires a great deal of Judgment to know what we ſhould endeavour to retain,tain, 170 Y3v 162 tain, and what is better forgotten than remembered, happy is it for thoſe who make Choice of ſuch Books as lay them under no Neceſſity of picking the Wheat from among the Tares: — Of this Kind, after the inſpired Writings, are Hiſtories, Voyages, Travels, and the Lives of eminent Perſons; but even here great Care muſt be taken to ſelect thoſe Authors on whoſe Veracity there is moſt Reaſon to depend.
Fabulous Accounts of real Facts, inſtead of informing the Mind, are the moſt dangerous Corrupters of it, and are much worſe than Romances, becauſe their very Titles warn us from giving any Credit to them; and the others attempt to beguile our Underſtanding, and too often ſucceed by the Cloke of Simplicity and Truth.
Next to Matters of Faith, it behoves us not to be impoſed on in thoſe Events which Hiſtory relates:—Fiction ordinarily wears a more pleaſing Garb than Truth, as indeed it ſtands in need of Flouriſhes which the other ſcorns, and therefore is apt to make a very deep Impreſſion; or, more properly ſpeaking, creates a Prejudice in us, which ſometimes ſhuts our Eyes againſt Conviction, and we will not be convinced, becauſe we do not care to be ſo.
To various People, and under various Circumſtances, ſome particular Parts of Hiſtory may be moſt uſeful; but as to the Ladies, who have no Occaſion to make any one their Study, but only to 171 Y4r 163 to have a general Notion of all, I adviſe them to caſt their Eyes back to the Creation in its Infancy; it will give them an infinite Pleaſure to ſurvey the Manners of that Age which juſtly may be called a golden one:—How, for the Space of Eighteen Hundred Years, Man lived in a perfect Liberty and Independency on each other:—How every Family was then a little ſeparate State, of whom the Father was ſole Head, and knew no other Superior.—Then, from thoſe Times of Peace and Plenty, our Thoughts may deſcend to the Change, which happened in the World ſoon after the Deluge:—Scarce was it re-peopled, and began to wear the ſame Face it had done before that tremendous Waſte, when Avarice and Ambition, Vices till then unknown, entered the Hearts of this new Race:—All Faith, all Unity, all Brotherly Affection ceaſed:—The Luſt of Power prevailed;—thoſe Arms invented for their Defence againſt wild Beaſts, with ſavage Fury, were turned againſt each other, and made the Inſtruments of enſlaving their Fellow-Creatures.
Nimrod, mentioned by Philo-Naturæ, was, indeed the firſt who, finding himſelf ſtronger than his Neighbours, ſeized on their Territories, and erected himſelf into a Monarch:—His Example emboldened others to do the ſame, who alſo became Kings at the Expence of public Liberty; for, whatever ſome Writers have taken upon them to aſſert, it is certain that it was not by Choice that the People ſubmitted to the Yoke of 172 Y4v 164 of Servitude, but by the Force and Violence of the firſt Conquerors.
Thus began the famous Aſſyrian Empire, which laſted thirteen Centuries, and fell at laſt by the Indolence and Luxury which Sardanapalus introduced: Three potent Monarchies roſe out of the Ruins of this unweildy State, and they again were deſtroyed and plundered by the Jews, by Alexander the Great, and by the Romans:—To theſe laſt all became a Prey, and they were Sovereign Maſters of the conquered World, till they fell into the Vices and Effeminacies of thoſe they had ſubdued, and were themſelves undone by their own Victories.
It is not, however, on thoſe remote Ages of the World that I would have the Mind to dwell too much:—A cursory View of them will be ſufficient to enable us to make Compariſons, and give Employment for our Judgment.
The lower we go, and approach nearer to our own Times, every thing will be more intereſting:—From the Æra I have mentioned down to the preſent Now, we ſhall find ſcarce any thing but amazing Revolutions.—Sure there cannot be a more delightful Subject for Contemplation, than the Riſe and Fall of Empires:—From what minute Accidents they arrived at the utmoſt Pitch of Human Greatneſs; and by others, ſeemingly as inconſiderable, ſunk, and 173 Z1r 165 and became in a Manner Provinces to other Nations, who triumphed in their Turn.
Thus it has ever been, ſince Ambition in great Men has been ranked among the Number of magnanimous Qualities, and Virtue has been thought to conſiſt in the Acquiſition of new Conqueſts. For, as Mr. Otway juſtly obſerves, Ambition is a Luſt that’s never quench’d,Grows more inflam’d, and madder by Enjoyment.
How wretched a Figure in Life would a Man make, who ſhould be found totally unacquainted with Hiſtory!—He would, indeed, be unqualified for any Poſt or Employment of Conſequence, and likewiſe equally ſo for Converſation; but though Cuſtom, and too little Attention to the Education of our Sex, had rendered this Want in us leſs contemptible than in them, yet, as we have reaſonable Souls as well as they, it would, methinks, be a laudable Pride in us to exert ourſelves on this Occaſion, and lay hold of every Means to attain what will render us the more conſpicuous, as it is the leſs expected.
Pleasure innate, Applauſe deſerved, and Virtue unaffected, are the ſure Rewards of our Reſearches after Knowledge while on Earth; and nothing can be more certain, than that, the greater Degree of Perfection we arrive at here, the more we ſhall be capable of reliſhing thoſe Vol. III. Z incom- 174 Z1v 166 incomprehenſible Objects of Joy, which are to be our Portion in another World.
I once heard a Gentleman, pretty famous for his whimſical Compariſons, ſay, That, were a dull ſtupid Fellow to be taken up into Heaven, with all his Imperfections about him, he would behave there like a Cow at an Opera, and want to get down again, to Things more adapted to his Underſtanding.
I am very ſenſible, that the Ignorance, which the greateſt Part of our Sex are in of the dead Languages, is looked upon as an Impediment to our being well read in Hiſtory; becauſe, though moſt of the Greek and Latin Authors are tranſlated either into Engliſh or French, which is, now, pretty equal with People of any tolerable Education, yet we cannot expect them in the ſame Purity as if we underſtood the Originals; but this Objection is of no Force, becauſe, even in thoſe that are the worſt done, we ſtill find Facts ſuch as they were, and it is the Knowledge of them, not Rhetoric, I am recommending to the Ladies.
Suppose they do not find the Eloquence of Cicero in his Letters to his Friend Atticus, yet by them may be diſcovered thoſe ſecret Cauſes which brought about the wonderful Events of thoſe Times.
Velleius Paterculus is Sort of an Abridg- 175 Z2r 167 Abridgment of all Hiſtory, from the Commencement of the World to the ſixteenth Year of Tiberius Cæſar, and the leaſt Praiſe that can be given it is, that it is an excellent Preparation for the reading other Authors.
The Conſpiracy of Catiline, and the whole Conduct of that dark and myſterious Affair, is, in the moſt maſterly Manner, laid open by Salluſt; and, though his Work can be looked upon as no other than a Collection of ſome Parcels of Hiſtory, yet are they ſuch as are extremely edifying, and afford a moſt pleaſing Entertainment.
Herodotus, Thucydides, Dion, and Xenophon, preſent us with Tranſactions ſo wonderful as ſtand in need of no leſs Authority than theirs, to gain Credit in theſe latter and more degenerate Ages.
In Herodian you will find a Continuation of that Hiſtory Dion had purſued but through ſomewhat more than two Centuries, with a Detail alſo of many Things omitted by that Author.
Suetonius gives you the Lives of the Twelve firſt Cæſars, and Plutarch of the moſt illuſtrious Men of Greece and Rome.
Josephus, in his Antiquities of the Jews, and the War made on that People by Veſpaſian, interſperſes many curious and entertaining Occurrences that happened in other Nations.Z2 Titus 176 Z2v 168
Titus Livius, Juſtin, Lucius Florus, Tacitus, have all an undoubted Claim to our Attention; but I would not, like ſome Phyſicians, load my Patients with too many Preparations, nor do I think it neceſſary that the Ladies ſhould allow too much Time to the reading the long Accounts which ſome Authors give of Battles and Sieges: —War is out of our Province intirely, and it is enough for us to know, that there were ſuch Things, and who they were that had the Victory, without examining into the Secrets of an Art we never ſhall be called to the Practice of.
It is eaſy to ſee, that it is not my Ambition to render my Sex what is called deeply learned; I only want them to have a general Underſtanding in the Affairs of the World, as they have happened from the Beginning till the preſent Times; to the End they may be enabled to make an agreeable Part in Converſation, be qualified to judge for themſelves, and diveſted of all Partiality and Prejudice as to their own Conduct, as well as that of others.
As it is, therefore, meerly for Information I would have them read Hiſtory, let them not throw aſide any Book, becauſe the Facts contained in them are not delivered in ſo florid a Manner as, perhaps, the Subject merits: — We ſhould not be angry with a Fellow who comes to bring us News of ſome unexpected great Acceſſion to our Fortune, though he ſhould tell it us in the moſt unpolite Terms:—Sure, then, 177 Z3r 169 then, that Intelligence, which gives an Increaſe to our Underſtanding, ought to be well received in what Phraſe ſoever it is conveyed.
In Poetry, indeed, there is a wide Difference, for, that being an Art intended only to harmonize the Soul, and raiſe in us ſublime Ideas, the End is wholly loſt if the Sentiment or Expreſſion be deficient.—Weak or diſcordant Verſe is, in my Opinion, the worſt Kind of reading in which the Time can be ſpent:—Our Choice, therefore, of the Moderns as well as thoſe tranſlated from the Ancients, ought to be very delicate. Much good Paper has been ſpoiled with meaſured Syllables, dignified in the Title-Pages with the Name of Verſe; and Rhymers in Abundance daily crowd the Preſs; but a true Poet is a Kind of Prodigy in this Age, and hard is it to meet with one that anſwers the Deſcription Dryden gives of Perſius: Not fierce, but awful, is his manly Page;Bold is his Strength, but ſober is his Rage.
It is certainly a very great Miſfortune, both to themſelves and to the World, when People miſtake their own Talents ſo far as to be continually ſcribbling Poetry without any Manner of Genius for it; yet theſe are infinitely more worthy of Forgiveneſs than thoſe who endeavour to put off their own baſe Metal for the real Bullion of the greateſt Authors of Antiquity.It 178 Z3v 170
It is not, becauſe a Man underſtands Greek, that he is able to do Juſtice to Heſiod; nor will being perfectly well verſed in the Latin qualify him to give us Horace or Virgil, ſuch as they are in their Originals.
It is one thing to know the Words of an Author, and another to enter into his Spirit:—He alone who can write like Horace is fit to tranſlate him.
I am afraid I ſhall have little Quarter from the Poets, for giving my Judgment with ſo much Freedom; but the Truth is ſo very evident to every Body but themſelves, that I think it will be much the beſt Policy in them to be ſilent on the Occaſion.
I have done with them, however, but, as I am on the Subject of Good and Bad Taſte, could not avoid giving a Caution which is ſo neceſſary, in order to improve the one, and hinder the Growth of the other.
Next to Hiſtory, I prefer thoſe Accounts which are to be depended on of Voyages and Travels;—The Wonders related by thoſe who plough the Deep, and get their Bread upon the great Waters, are not only extremely pleaſing, but alſo raiſe in us the moſt lively Ideas of the Power and Goodneſs of Divine Providence.Besides, 179 Z4r 171
Besides, a Senſe of Gratitude, methinks, ſhould influence us to intereſt ourſelves in the Safety and Welfare of the gallant Sailors in whatever Capacity employed; whether in Ships of War, or in thoſe of Commerce, we cannot diſown the Obligations we have to them above all other Occupations whatever.
To the Royal Navy we are indebted for the Preſervation of every Thing the World calls dear;—they are the Bulwark of our Laws, our Liberties, our Religion, our Eſtates, and very Lives:—By them we ſleep ſecurely, undreading all Incurſions and foreign Depredations:—To them Brittania owes her Empire over the Seas, and, with her awful Trident, commands the Homage of her proudeſt Neighbours.
To the induſtrious Merchantmen we owe every Delight that Peace and Plenty bring: — Our Iſland, though ſtored with Neceſſaries for the Support of Life, boaſts of no Delicacy within itſelf, to render that Life agreeable;—the very Fruits, which now grow in our Orchards, are not originally our own, but have been gradually imported from foreign Climates, and by the Gardener’s Art naturaliz’d, as it were, to ours; nor will our Sun and Soil aſſiſt his Labour ſo far as yet to enrich us with thoſe luſcious Juices which the Citron, the Pomegranate, the Orange, the Lemon, and many other exotic Fruits afford. How could the nice and diſtinguiſhing Appetite ſupply the Deficiency of Tea, Coffee, Chocolate, Sago, 180 Z4v 172 Sago, Spices, Oils, and Wines? And what an indifferent Appearance would both our Perſons and Houses make without thoſe Ornaments of Dreſs and Furniture, with which we are ſupplied from China, Perſia, Ruſſia, France, Holland, and Bruſſels?
In fine, all our Pleaſures, all our Elegancies flow from foreign Parts, and are wafted to us by the hardy Sailor, who ventures his Life, endures the Extreams of both the Zones, and dares the Fury of the Winds and Waves, to gratify our each luxuriant Wiſh.
The leaſt we can do, therefore, is to commiſerate their Sufferings, and rejoice in their Eſcapes, from thoſe imminent Dangers with which they are continually ſurrounded, even in thoſe Voyages which have the moſt proſperous Event.
Books of Travels alſo are very beneficial to the Underſtanding, and enable us to reliſh and retain Hiſtory the better, as they give us a great Inſight into Geography, and render us acquainted with the Places where thoſe Events happened we read of in the other.
Mottray is extremely accurate in his Deſcriptions, and there is ſcarce any Place of Note, either in Europe, Aſia, or great Part of Africa, but what one may fancy one’s ſelf in, in Reading him.
Mount-181Aa1r173 Mountfaucon is yet more particular, and deſcends even to give us a View of all the Curioſities, whether of Art or Nature, that were to be found in all thoſe Parts, through which he had paſſed.
I would not be thought to mention the Works of theſe Gentlemen with a Deſign to depreciate thoſe of others.—Dampiere, the Pere du Halde, Miſſin, L’Brune, Tavernier, Sir John Chardin, and a great many more, may have their equal Merit; but then the Accounts they give are moſt of them very conciſe, or of ſuch Parts of the World as are not ſo intereſting to an ordinary Reader; but thoſe of them which afford leaſt Pleaſure, are yet all of them very exact in their Geography, and therefore anſwer one very important End.
There are yet ſome other Books I would fain take upon me to recommend; but our noble Widow tells me ſhe fears I have been already too ample in my Detail, and that the Crowd of Authors I have mentioned will be apt to fright ſome Ladies from taking up any one of them.
I could wiſh to have a better Opinion of my Sex; but muſt yield to the ſuperior Judgment of that Lady; If then this ſhould happen to be the Caſe, I will venture to Name one more as the Summary of them all, which is Bailey’s Dictionary, and is, indeed, a Library of itſelf, ſince there never was Place, Perſon, not Vol. III. Aa Action, 182 Aa1v 174 Action, of any Note, from the Creation down to the Time of its being publiſh’d, but what it gives a general Account of.—Thoſe who read only this cannot be call’d Ignorant, and if they have a Curioſity for knowing greater Particulars of any Tranſaction, they may afterwards have recourſe to other more circumſtantial Records.
These are the chief Methods by which we may attain that amiable Quality, in which are comprehended all other good Qualities and Accompliſhments; for when we have a perfect good Taſte in Eſſentials, we cannot be without it in Things of a more trifling Nature.—The Knowledge of Nature, of the World, and of Ourſelves, will enable us to judge of all around us.—Even the Furniture of our Houses, our Equipages, our Apparel will have an exact Propriety without our taking any Pains to render them ſo; and it will be next to an Impoſſibility for us to chuſe any Thing that is not becoming either of our Age, our Station, or our Circumſtances in any Reſpect whatever.
Our Actions will be endearing, our Behaviour engaging, to all who are Witneſſes of it; and our very Pleaſures have a decent Gallantry in them, no leſs worthy Imitation than our ſerious Avocations.
Vain as we are apt to be of our perſonal Perfections, would it not be a more laudable Pride to render thoſe of the Mind ſo conſpicuous,ous, 183 Aa2r 175 ous, that Beauty, in the moſt lovely among us, ſhould claim but the ſecond Place in the Admiration of the Men: As the late incomparable Mr. Addiſon makes his Juba ſay of Mareia, ’Tis not a Set of Features, or Complection,The Tincture of a Skin, that I admire:Beauty ſoon grows familiar to the Lover,Fades in his Eye, and palls upon the Senſe,The virtuous Mareia tours above her Sex:True, She is Fair;—Oh, how divinely Fair!But then the lovely Maid improves her CharmsWith inward Greatneſs, unaffected by Wiſdom,And Sanctity of Manners.—Cato’s SoulShines out in every Thing She acts, or ſpeaks,While winning Mildneſs, and attractive Smiles,Dwell in her Looks, and, with becoming Grace,Soften the Rigour of her Father’s Virtue.
In fine, a good Taſte gives a Grace to every Thing, and diſplays itſelf in even the leaſt Word, or Look, or Motion, and, as it is not out of the reach of any one of a tolerable Underſtanding, I would have every one attempt to acquire it.
I doubt not but a great many of my Readers will ſay to themſelves, what need of this Injunction? the Female Spectator may be aſſured there are none ſo ſtupid as not to be ambitious of a Qualification ſo deſirable.Aa2 To 184 Aa2v 176
To this I am ready to agree, but then they take, for the moſt part, Steps quite contrary to thoſe that would lead them to the Poſſeſſion of their Wiſh, as a late noble Lord juſtly ſaid, The World’s a Wood where moſt miſtake their Way,Tho’ by a different Path each goes aſtray.
A Letter has been left for us at our Publiſher’s from Mrs. Sarah Oldfaſhion, the firſt Correſpondent the Female Spectator was favoured with; but we do not think proper to inſert this, becauſe the Contents can be of no Manner of Service to the Public.
She reproaches me bitterly for the Advice I gave her to ſend Miſs Biddy into the Country, where ſhe fell paſſionately in Love with the Groom of a neighbouring Gentleman, and has privately married him.—To this I think myſelf obliged to anſwer, that ſhe has not followed my Advice, but her own:—Whoever will give themſelves the Trouble to turn back to the Fifth Book of the Female Spectator, will find I was totally averſe to her ſending the young Lady into a Place, where ſhe could meet with no Diverſions to compenſate for the Want of thoſe ſhe left behind.—The good old Gentlewoman confeſſes alſo, that, inſtead of ordering ſhe ſhould be indulg’d in all thoſe innocent Sports a rural Life affords, ſhe gave a ſtrict Charge to the Perſon who had the Care of her, to keep her continually at 185 Aa3r 177 at Work, and threatened herſelf with very ſevere Puniſhments, if ſhe did not embroider the Hanging of a very large Drawing-Room before the Summer was elapsed.
This was taking a very improper Method, indeed, to make her forget the dear Delights of Ranelagh, and the fine Things which doubtleſs were ſaid her, not only there, but in all other public Places.
Nor can I by any means approve of compelling young Ladies of Fortune to make ſo much Uſe of the Needle, as they did in former Days, and ſome few continue to do:—There are enough whoſe Neceſſities oblige them to live wholly by it; and it is a Kind of Robbery to thoſe unhappy Perſons to do that ourſelves which is their whole Support:—In my Opinion, a Lady of Condition ſhould learn juſt as much of Cookery and of Work, as to know when ſhe is impoſed upon by thoſe ſhe employs in both thoſe neceſſary Occaſions, but no more:—To paſs too much of her Time in them may acquire her the Reputation of a notable Houſe-wife, but not of a Woman of fine Taſte, or any way qualify her for polite Converſation, or of entertaining herſelf agreeably when alone.
It always makes me ſmile, when I hear the Mother of ſeveral fine Daughters cry,—I always keep my Girls at their Needle.—One, perhaps, is working her a Gown, another a Quilt for a Bed, and 186 Aa3v 178 and a third engaged to make a whole Dozen of Shirts for her Father:—And then, when ſhe has carried you into the Nurſery, and ſhewn you them all, add, It is good to keep them out of Idleneſs, when young People have nothing to do, they naturally wiſh to do ſomething they ought not.
All this is very true; but then there are certainly Avocations to take up the Mind, which are of a more pleaſing as well as more improving Kind:—Such as thoſe I mentioned, and I will appeal to any young Lady, under the above-mentioned Confinement, if ſhe had not rather apply to Reading and Philoſophy than to Threading of Needles.
It is not enough, that we are cautious in training up Youth in the Principles of Virtue and Morality, and that we entirely debar them from thoſe dangerous Diverſions in Faſhion, and which have been the Ruin of ſo many, in order to make them remember that Education we have given them, and to conduct themſelves according to it when they come to be their own Managers; we ſhould endeavour to make them wiſe, and alſo to render Virtue ſo pleaſing to them, that they could not deviate from it in the leaſt Degree without the utmoſt Repugnance. Children, like tender Oſiers, take the Bow,And as they firſt are faſhion’d always grow.It 187 Aa4r 179
It is not encouraging the natural Haughtineſs of a young and beautiful Girl, and flattering her with the Opinion that ſhe deſerves every Thing, and may command every Thing, that will ſtem the Torrent of Inclinations, if it once fixes on a Man beneath or unworthy of her; but inſpiring her with thoſe juſt Notions, which will prevent her from giving way at firſt to any Inclinations unbefitting her Rank and Station in Life: — In fine, it is cultivating her Genius, improving her Underſtanding, finding ſuch Employments for her as will rectify her Mind, and bring her to that good Taſte, which will not ſuffer her to approve of, or be pleaſed with any Thing that is indecent or unbecoming, even in the moſt minute, much leſs in any important Thing.
On this Occaſion a Letter, lately come to our Hands, claims a Place:—Not that the Matter it contains is of any great Moment, any farther than it proves, that in the moſt trifling Things, one can poſſibly imagine, a good or bad Taſte may be diſcovered:—We ſhall therefore for that Reaſon preſent our Readers with it.
To the Female Spectator. Dear Female Moralizer, You have not a Reader in the World more inclined to wiſh you well than myſelf; yet I muſt tell you, that I am a little angry with you, and ſo are ſeveral others of my Acquaintance, that you confine all your Satire to our ‘Sex, 188 Aa4v 180 Sex, without giving One Fling at the Men, who, I am ſure, deſerve it as much to the full, if not more than we do. I defy the moſt ſtrict Examiner to find any one Folly in us, that they do not abound with in an equal Degree:—If we have our Milleners, Mantua-makers, and Tire-women to take up our Time, have they not their Taylors, Barbers; aye, and their Face-menders too, to engroſs as much of theirs?—Are there not as many Implements on the Toylet of a Beau, as there can be on one of the greateſt Coquet among us?—Does he not take the ſame Pains to attract, and is as much fond and proud of Admiration?—Are not the Men in general affected with every new Mode, and do they not purſue it with equal Eagerneſs? —Are there any of the faſhionable Diverſions (call them as abſurd as you will) that they do not lead into by their Example?—If we affect a little of the Ruſticity of a Country Maid in our Walk and Motions, do not they ſhoulder into all public Places with the Air and Mein of a German Huſſar?—If we ſometimes put on the Romp, I am ſure they act the Part of the Ruſſian to the Life. I will tell you how I was ſerved the other Day in the Mall:—There were five of us perfectly well dreſs’d; for my Part I had a new Suit of Cloaths on, I had never wore before, and every body ſays is the ſweeteſt fancied ‘Thing 189 Bb1r 181 Thing in the World:—To ſpeak Truth we took up the whole Breadth of the Walk; unfortunately for me, I happened to be on the outſide, when a Creature, who I afterward heard was a Dettingem Hero, came hurrying along, with a Sword as long as himſelf, hanging dangling at his Knee, and puſhing roughly by me, his ugly Weapon hitched in the pink’d Trimming of my Petticoat, and tore it in the moſt rueful Manner imaginable. I am ſo happy as not to be enough concern’d for any of that Sex to give myſelf any Sort of Pain, how ridiculous ſoever they make themſelves:—I only laughed at the Khevenhuller Cock of the Hat, ſo much the Faſhion a little Time ago, and the fierce Arm-a-kembo Air in a Fellow that would run away at the Sight of a Pot-gun. As the Poet ſays, All theſe Things moved not me. But as my whole Sex, and myſelf in particular, have been aggrieved by Swords of this enormous Size, and the Manner in which they are worn, I could not help communicating my Thoughts to you on the Occaſion, which I beg you will not fail to inſert in your next Publication. If you are really as impartial as you would be thought, you will add ſomething of your own, to make the Men aſhamed of appearing in a Vol. III. Bb ‘Country 190 Bb1v 182 Country which, thank Heaven, is at preſent at Peace within itſelf, as if they were in a Field of Battle, juſt going upon an Engagement. A Touch alſo upon ſome other of their Follies and Affectations I am very confident will be extreamly agreeable to all your Female Readers, and in a particular Manner oblige her who is, With the greateſt Good Will, Madam, Your humble, and Moſt obedient Servant, Pall-Mall, 1745-05-30May 30, 1745. Leucothea. P.S.Just as I had finiſhed the above, a young Lady came to viſit me, and, on my ſhewing her what I had wrote to you, deſired I would hint ſomething about the Men loitering away ſo many Hours at Coffee-houſe Windows, meerly to make their Obſervations, and ridicule every one that paſſes by; but as this Subject is too copious for a Poſtſcript, and I am too lazy to begin my Letter anew, if you beſtow a few Pages on the Folly of ſuch a Behaviour, it will add to the Favour of giving this a Place.—Adieu for this Time, good Female Spectator, if any Thing worth your Acceptance falls in my way hereafter, you may depend on hearing from me.I 191 Bb2r 183
I own myſelf under an Obligation to the good Wiſhes of this Correſpondent; but muſt take the Liberty to ſay ſhe is guilty of ſome Injuſtice in her Accuſation:—Vanity, Affectation, and all Errors of that Nature are infinitely leſs excuſeable in the Men than in the Woman, as they have ſo much greater Opportunities than we have of knowing better.
If therefore I have directed my Advice in a peculiar Manner to thoſe of my own Sex, it proceeded from two Reaſons, Firſt, becauſe, as I am a Woman, I am more intereſted in their Happineſs: And ſecondly, I had not a ſufficient Idea of my own Capacity, to imagine, that any Thing offered by a Female Cenſor would have ſo much Weight with the Men as is requiſite to make that Change in their Conduct and Oeconomy, which, I cannot help acknowledging, a great many of them ſtand in very great need of.
As to the Grievance ſhe complains of, it is a common Obſervation, that in Time of War the very Boys in the Street get on Grenadier Caps, hang wooden Swords by their Sides, and form themſelves into little Battalio’s:—Why then ſhould ſhe be ſurprized that Boys of more Years, but not older in their Underſtanding, ſhould affect to look like Warriors for the Queen of Hungary, and equip themſelves as much as poſſible after the Mode of thoſe who fight the Battles of that famous German Heroine.Bb2 Many 192 Bb2v 184
Many have already made a Campaign in her Service, and poſſibly it is in the Ambition of others to do ſo, if the War continues, as in all Likelihood it will, and they are now but practiſing the firſt Rudiments of Fierceneſs, as the Curtſy precedes the Dance.
One of the diſtinguiſhing Marks of a bad Taſte in either Sex, is the Affectation of any Virtue without the Attempt to practiſe it; for it ſhews that we regard only what we are thought to be, not what we really are:—A rough boiſterous Air is no more a Proof of Courage in a Man, than a demure, prim Look is of Modeſty in a Woman.
These long Swords, which give ſo much Offence to Leucothea, might be, perhaps, of great Service at the late Battle of Fontenoy, becauſe each would ſerve his Maſter for a Crutch upon Occaſion; but here, at London, in my Opinion, and according to my Notion of Dreſs, they are not only troubleſome to others, but extreamly unbecoming, becauſe unneceſſary to thoſe that wear them.
I believe, however, that if the Ladies would retrench a Yard or two of thoſe extended Hoops they now wear, they would be much leſs liable, not only to the Inconveniences my Correſpondent mentions, but alſo to many other Embaraſſments one frequently beholds them in when walking the Streets.How 193 Bb3r 185
How often do the angular Corners of ſuch immenſe Machines, as we ſometimes ſee, though held up almoſt to the Arm-pit, catch hold of thoſe little Poles that ſupport the numerous Stalls with which this populace City abounds, and throw down, or at leaſt indanger the whole Fabrick, to the great Damage of the Fruiterer, Fiſhmonger, Comb and Buckle-Sellers, and others of thoſe ſmall Chapmen.
Many very ugly Accidents of this Kind have lately happened, but I was an Eye-witneſs from my Window of one, which may ſerve as a Warning to my Sex, either to take Chair or Coach, or to leave their enormous Hoops at Home, whenever they have any Occaſion to go out on a Monday, or Friday, eſpecially in the Morning.
It was on one of the former of thoſe unhappy Days, that a young Creature, who, I dare anſwer, had no occaſion to leave any one at Home to look after her beſt Cloaths, came tripping by with one of thoſe Miſchief-making Hoops, which ſpread itſelf from the Steps of my Door quite to the Poſts placed to keep off the Coaches and Carts; a large Flock of Sheep were that Inſtant driving to the Slaughter- Houſe, and an old Ram, who was the foremoſt, being put out of his Way by ſome Accident, ran full-butt into the Foot-way, where his Horns were immediately entangled in the Hoop of this fine Lady, as ſhe was holding it up on one 194 Bb3v 186 one ſide, as the genteel Faſhion is, and indeed the Make of it requires:—In her Fright ſhe let it fall down, which ſtill the more encumbered him, as it fix’d upon his Neck;—ſhe attempted to run, he to diſengage himſelf,—which neither being able to do, ſhe ſhriek’d, he baa’d, the reſt of the Sheep echo’d the Cry, and the Dog, who follow’d the Flock, bark’d, ſo that altogether made a moſt hideous Sound:—Down fell the Lady, unable to ſuſtain the forcible Efforts the Ram made to obtain his Liberty;—a Crowd of Mob, who were gathered in an Inſtant, ſhouted.—At laſt the Driver, who was at a good Diſtance behind, came up, and aſſiſted in ſetting free his Beaſt, and raiſing the Lady; but never was Finery ſo demoliſhed:—The late Rains had made the Place ſo exceſſive dirty, that her Gown and Petticoat, which before were yellow, the Colour ſo much revered in Hanover, and ſo much the Mode in England, at preſent, were now moſt barbarouſly painted with a filthy Brown; — her Gauſe Cap half off her Head in the Scuffle, and her Tete de Mutton hanging down on one Shoulder. The rude Populace, inſtead of pitying, inſulted her Misfortune, and continued their Shouts till ſhe got into a Chair, and was quite out of Sight.
These are Incidents which, I confeſs, are beneath the Dignity of a Female Spectator to take notice of; but I was led into it by the Complaint of Leucothea, and the Earneſtneſs ſhe diſcovers to have her Letter inſerted.It 195 Bb4r 187
It is not, however, improper to ſhew how even in ſuch a trivial Thing as Dreſs, a good or bad Taſte may be diſcerned, and into what ſtrange Inconveniencies we are liable to fall by the latter.
Of this we may be certain that wherever there is an Impropriety, there is a manifeſt Want of good Taſte;—if we ſurvey the Works of the divine Source and Origine of all Excellence, we ſhall find them full of an exact Order and Harmony,—no joſtling Atoms diſturb the Motion of each other,—every Thing above, below, and about us is reſtrain’d by a perfect Regularity:—Let us all then endeavour to follow Nature as cloſely as we can, even in the Things which ſeem leaſt to merit Conſideration, as well as in thoſe which are the moſt allowed to demand it, and I am very ſure we ſhall be in no Danger of incurring the Cenſure of the World, for having a bad Taſte.
A great Pacquet of Letters is juſt now brought us by our Publiſher, of which we yet have only Time to read three;—that from Eumenes deſerves ſome Conſideration, and if, on weighing more maturely the Affair, we can aſſure ourſelves it will be no ways offenſive, it ſhall have a Place in our next, with ſome Reflections on the Matter it contains.
As for Piſiſtrata’s Invective (we hope ſhe will pardon the Expreſſion) as it is a Rule with us 196 Bb4v 188 us never to enter into private Scandal, we are ſurprized ſhe could expect to ſee a Story of that Kind propagated by the Female Spectator.
Amonia’s Remonſtrance claims more of our Attention, and that Lady may aſſure herſelf, that a proper Notice will be taken of it, provided thoſe others, which we yet have not had the Pleaſure of looking over, oblige us not to defer making our proper Acknowledgments till the enſuing Month.
End of the Fifteenth Book.
The Female Spectator.
Being returned from that little Excurſion we made into the Country, it was our Deſign to have preſented our Readers with what Obſervations this dreary Seaſon would permit us to make; but ſome Letters, contained in that Pacquet mentioned in our laſt, ſeem to us of too general Service to be poſtponed for any Speculations, not ſo immediately tending to the Rectification of ſuch Errors, as render thoſe, who might be moſt eaſy in private Life, miſerable in themſelves, and troubleſome to all about them.
As, therefore, Hints of this Nature are conducive to bring about the main End, for which Vol. III. Cc theſe 198 Cc1v 190 theſe Eſſays are publiſhed, our Correſpondents may always depend, that on the receiving any ſuch, whatever we had purpoſed to ſay of ourſelves ſhall give Place, in order for them to appear.
The firſt we ſhall inſert is on a Subject, than which ſcarce any thing occaſions more Diſcourſe in the World, or is the Cauſe of greater Diſſention among private Families.
To the ingenious Authors of the Female Spectator. Ladies, As it was eaſy to perceive from the Beginning, that your Works were intended to correct all ill Habits, whether natural or acquired, particularly thoſe which are a Diſturbance to Society; I have been impatient for every new Publication of the Female Spectator, in Hope it would touch on the ungenerous and cruel Behaviour ſome of our Sex are guilty of after they become Step-Mothers. Nothing, in my Opinion, can be more incongruous, than for a Woman to pretend an Affection for her Huſband, yet treat his Children with all the Marks of Hatred; yet this is ſo common a Thing, that we ſhall ſcarce find one, whoſe Father has made a ſecond Venture, without having Reaſon for Complaint of the ſad Alteration in their Fate, even though ‘the 199 Cc2r 191 the Perſon, who is put in the Place of her that bore them, has all thoſe Qualifications which, in the Eye of the World, may juſtify the Choice made of her. It muſt certainly be a mean Envy of the Dead, or a ridiculous Diſtruſt of the Living, that can make a Wife look with an evil Eye on thoſe Tokens of Tenderneſs her Husband beſtows on the Children he had by a former Marriage; and I am amazed any Man, who perceives this Diſpoſition in his Wife, can depend either on her having a ſincere Affection for himſelf, or that ſhe will diſcharge any Part of the Duty expected from her to thoſe he has put under her Care. I wonder, therefore, any Woman can be ſo impolitic as to ſhew her Ill-nature in this Point, ſince if the Huſband have one Grain of Tenderneſs to thoſe that owe their Being to him, he cannot but be extremely offended at it:—If Diſſimulation can ever be excuſed, it certainly might in a Circumſtance of this kind; ſince good Uſage, though not flowing from the Heart, would render the Perſons, who experienced it, eaſy in their Situation. But how ſhocking is it for a young Creature, accuſtomed to Tenderneſs, and arrived at ſufficient Years to know the Value of that Tenderneſs, to be, all at once, obliged to ſubmit to the inſolent and moroſe Behaviour of a Perſon,‘ſon, 200 Cc2v 192 ſon, who was an entire Stranger in the Family till Marriage ſet her at the Head of it!—A Son, indeed, has leſs to apprehend, becauſe the Manner of his Education renders him leſs at Home, and conſequently not ſo much expoſed to the Inſults of a barbarous Step-Mother; yet does he often ſuffer in the Want of many Things, by the ſly Inſinuations and Miſrepreſentations ſhe makes of his moſt innocent Actions to perhaps a too believing Father: But a poor Girl, who muſt be continually under the Eye of a Perſon, inveſted with full Power over her, reſolved to approve of nothing ſhe does, and takes Delight in finding Fault, is in a Condition truly miſerable:—Want of proper Encouragement prevents her making the Progreſs ſhe might do in thoſe Things ſhe is permitted to be inſtructed in, and then ſhe is reproached with Stupidity, and an Incapacity of learning, and very often, under this Pretence, all future Means of Improvement are denied to her. Then as to her Dreſs; that is ſure to be not only ſuch as will be leaſt becoming to her, but alſo ſuch as will ſooneſt wear out, to give the artful Step-Mother an Opportunity of accuſing her of ill Houſewifry and Slatterneſs. It is impoſſible to enumerate the various Stratagems put in Practice to render a young Creature unhappy:—Firſt, ſhe is repreſented as unworthy of Regard, and ten to one but ‘after- 201 Cc3r 193 afterwards made ſo in reality by her very Nature being perverted by ill Uſage. But this is a Circumſtance which, I dare ſay, Ladies, you cannot but have frequently obſerved much more than I can pretend to do, though you have not yet thought fit to make any mention of it.—It is not, however, unbecoming your Conſideration, as it is ſo great a Grievance in private Life, and is ſometimes attended with the worſt Conſequences that can poſſibly happen in Families. How many young Ladies, meerly to avoid the Severity and Arrogance of their Mother- in-laws, have thrown themſelves into the Arms of Men whoſe Addreſſes they would otherwiſe have deſpiſed; and afterwards, finding they had but exchanged one Slavery for another, either broke through the Chain by the moſt unwarrantable Means, or pined themſelves almoſt to Death under the Weight of it! Others again, who have had a greater Share of Spirit and Reſolution, or, perhaps, were ſo happy as not to be tempted with any Offers of Delivery from their preſent Thraldom to go into a worſe, have thought themſelves not obliged to bear any Inſults from a Perſon whom only a blind Partiality had ſet over them: —Theſe, returning every Affront given them, and combating the Authority they refuſe to ‘acknow- 202 Cc3v 194 acknowledge, have armed the Tongues of all their Kindred, on the Mother’s Side at leaſt, with the ſharpeſt Invectives:—The Family has been divided,—at Enmity with each other, and the Houſe become a perfect Babel. I was once an Eye-witneſs of an Example of this kind, where I went to paſs the Summer, at the Country Seat of a Gentleman, whoſe Family, till his ſecond Marriage, was all Harmony and Concord; but ſoon after became the Scene of Confuſion and Diſtraction, through the Averſion his Wife immediately conceived againſt his Children, who being pretty well grown up, repaid in kind every Indignity ſhe treated them with;—This, on her complaining of it, highly incenſed the Father; he reproved them with the utmoſt Severity, which yet not ſatisfying the Pride of his new Choice, ſhe converted her late Endearments into Reproaches, no leſs ſevere on him than them. — The young Family had the Good-Will and Affection of all the neighbouring Gentry, who failed not to remonſtrate to him the Injuſtice of their Step-Mother:—Blind as his Paſſion at firſt had rendered him, he began at laſt to be convinced, and fain would have exerted the Power of a Huſband to bring her to more Reaſon; but he ſoon found ſhe had too much been accuſtomed to command, to be eaſily brought to obey:—She turned a kind of Fury,—made loud Complaints to all her Relations, who eſpouſing her Cauſe againſt him ‘and 203 Dd1r 195 and his Children, there enſued ſuch a Civil War of Words, that all diſintereſted Perſons, and who loved Peace, avoided the Houſe. — I, for my Part, left it much ſooner than I intended, as I found there was no Poſſibility of being barely civil to one Party without incurring the Reſentment of the other; and, indeed, being expoſed to ſuch Marks of it, as I did not think myſelf under any Obligation to bear. I have ſince heard moſt diſmal Accounts from that Quarter:—The eldeſt Son, who had a ſmall Eſtate left him by his Grandmother, independant of his Father, retired to it; and falling into mean Company, was drawn in to marry a Girl very much beneath him, and of no good Character as to her Conduct:—The ſecond, no more able to endure the perpetual Jars at Home than his Brother had been, came to London, where he was perſwaded to go into the Army, and fell, with many other brave Men, at the fatal Battle at Fontenoy.—One of the Daughters threw herſelf away on a Fellow that belonged to a Company of ſtrolling Players; another married a man of neither Fortune nor Abilities to acquire any; and a third of a Diſpoſition yet more gay, indulged herſelf, by way of Relaxation from the Domeſtic Perſecutions, in going ſo often to an Aſſembly held at a neighbouring Town, that ſhe was ſeduced by a young Nobleman to quit the Country before the Family did ſo, and come up to London with him, where ſhe ſoon proved with Vol. III. Dd ‘Child; 204 Dd1v 196 Child; was afterward abandoned by him, and in that dreadful Condition, aſhamed and fearful of having any recourſe to her Father or Friends, entered herſelf for Bread into one of thoſe Houſes which are the Shops of Beauty, and was let out for Hire to the beſt Bidder. So many Misfortunes happening, one on the Back of another, in his Family, has almoſt broke the Heart of the old Gentleman, and are rendered the more ſevere to him, as his Wife lays the Fault of them entirely on his having formerly uſed his Children with too much Lenity, and he is now thoroughly convinced that the Miſcarriages they have been guilty of are wholly owing to the Cruelty of her Behaviour, which drove them from his Houſe and Protection. Dear Ladies, be ſo good to inſert this in your next Publication, and as I am certain you cannot be without a great Number of Inſtances of the like Nature, if you would pleaſe to add ſome few of them by way of corroborating the Truth of this, and ſetting forth the ill Effects of uſing unkindly the Children of a Huſband by a former Marriage, I am of Opinion it would be of great Service towards remedying this general Complaint. I do aſſure you, I have been inſtigated to troubling you with the above by no other Motive than my good Wiſhes for the Preſervation‘vation 205 Dd2r 197 vation of Peace and Unity in Families, and the ſame will, I doubt not, have an Effect on yourſelves, and influence you to draw your Pen in Defence of thoſe who ſtand in need of ſuch an Advocate againſt the Barbarity of Step-Mothers; in which Confidence I take the Liberty to ſubſcribe myſelf, With the greateſt Reſpect, Ladies, Your moſt humble, and Moſt obedient Servant, Haymarket, 1745-06-16June 16, 1745. Philenia. P.S.Ladies, The Hardſhips I have mentioned are ſtill more cruel when exerciſed on Infants, who are incapable of making any Sort of Defence for themſelves; and that Step-Mother who makes an ill Uſe of her Power over ſuch helpleſs Innocence, ought, methinks, to be obnoxious to the World, and ſhun’d like a Serpent, by all thoſe of her own Sex, who are of a different Diſpoſition, till, aſhamed of what ſhe has done, ſhe repairs the paſt by future Kindneſs:—But I flatter myſelf you will not leave this Point untouched, and it would be Folly to anticipate any Meaning you are ſo infinitely more capable of expreſſing in Terms proper to reach the Soul.—Adieu, therefore, good Ladies,Dd2 ‘dies, 206 Dd2v 198 dies, pardon this additional Intruſion, and believe me, as above, Sincerely Yours, &c; &c;
It is impoſſible to converſe, or indeed to live at all in the World, without being ſenſible of the Truth Philenia has advanced; and every one muſt own, with her, that there cannot be a more melancholy Circumſtance than what ſhe ſo pathetically deſcribes.—Every Tongue is full of the Barbarity of Step-Mothers; nor is there any Act of Cruelty more univerſally condemned by the World, or which doubtleſs is more deteſtable in the Sight of Heaven, than that we ſometimes ſee practiſed upon Children, by thoſe Women whoſe Duty it is to nurture and protect them.
Yet ought we not to think that all Step-Mothers are bad becauſe many have been ſo; nor ſuffer ourſelves to be prejudiced by a Name without farther Examination: I am very certain it is impoſſible for a Woman of real Senſe and Virtue in other Things, to be guilty of a Failure in this:—I do not ſay ſhe will feel all that Warmth of Affection for her Huſband’s Children, by another Wife, as ſhe would do for thoſe born of herſelf; but ſhe will act by them in the ſame Manner, and if there ſhould be any Deficiency in the Tenderneſs ſhe has for them, it will be made up with a double Portion of Care over them:—Conſcious of the Apprehenſions they may be under on her Score, and how liable to Suſpicion is the Character ſhe bears, ſhe will be induſtrious to remove both 207 Dd3r 199 both the one and the other, and behave in ſuch a Manner, as to make them and the World perceive no Difference between their Way of Life under their natural Mother or their Mother-in-law.
Thus far Prudence and Good-nature will go; but where there is an extraordinary Tenderneſs, or what we call the Paſſion of Love for the Huſband, it will carry a Woman yet greater Lengths towards his Children; the being his will endear them to her, the ſame as if ſhe had an equal Part in them herſelf:—She will have all the Fondneſs as well as the Care of a Mother for them, and do that by Inclination which ſhe is bound to do by Duty.
How happy muſt a Man think himſelf when he finds ſuch a Proof of Affection in the Woman he has made Choice of!—Such Inſtances are, however, very rarely to be met with, and both Huſband and Children ought to be content, when a Step-Mother acts in every thing like a Mother, and not too ſcrutinouſly enquire into her Heart for the Sentiments of one.
But there is one Misfortune which frequently deſtroys that Union which ought to ſubſiſt between Perſons thus allied;—which is this: — Children, by a former Venture, are too apt to ſuſpect the Sincerity of any good Office they receive from a Mother-in-law; and this unhappy Delicacy being for the moſt Part heightened by the fooliſh Pity of their Acquaintance, makes them 208 Dd3v 200 them receive with Coldneſs all the Teſtimonies ſhe gives them of her Love. This occaſions a Diſſatisfaction in her:—If they in their Hearts accuſe her of Hypocriſy, her’s reproaches them with Ingratitude:—A mutual Diſcontent grows up on both Sides, which at length diſcovers itſelf in piquant Words and little Sarcaſms:—Theſe by frequent Repetitions become ſharper and ſharper, till they end in an open and avowed Quarrel, and involve the whole Family in Confuſion.
Prejudice and Prepoſſeſſion miſconſtrues every thing, and while that remains, it is an Impoſſibility for the beſt-meant Actions to be well received; and I am of Opinion, that if we ſtrictly examine into the Origin of moſt of theſe Family-Diſſentions, we ſhall find them, in reality, derived from no other Source.
Children are apt, on the firſt mention of their Father’s marrying again, to conceive a Hatred for the Perſon intended for his Wife: — They run over, in their Minds, all the poſſible Diſadvantages ſhe may occaſion to them, and then fix themſelves in a Belief, that the worſt they can imagine will certainly befal them.
The Woman, on the other hand, thinking it natural for them to be diſpleaſed with the Power about to be given her over them, aſſures herſelf that they are ſo, concludes all the Reſpect they treat her with is enforced, and returns it too often either with a haughty Sullenneſs, or ſuch an Indifference as 209 Dd4r 201 as makes them ſee they are ſuſpected by her: — Both Parties being thus prepared for Animoſity, they no ſooner come together than the Flame breaks out. As Doctor Garth juſtly obſerves, Diſſentions, like ſmall Streams, at firſt begun,Scarce ſeen they riſe, but gather as they run:So Lines that from their Parallel decline,More they advance the more they ſtill diſjoin.
In fine, theſe Sort of Conjunctions can never be rendered happy, without all the Parties concerned in them are endued with a greater Share of Good-Senſe and Good-Nature than is ordinarily to be found; for if any one of them happens to be repugnant, the Peace of the other will infallibly be deſtroyed, and Contention ſpread itſelf through the whole Family by Degrees.
For this Reaſon, I muſt confeſs, I never could approve of ſecond Marriages where there are Children by the firſt, nor think any of the various Pretences made by thoſe who enter into them, of ſufficient Weight to overbalance the almoſt ſure Deſtruction of their Peace of Mind, if not, as is but too frequently the Caſe, that alſo of their Fortune and Reputation in the World.
But all the Inconveniences above-recited are infinitely aggravated when the Step-Mother happens to bring a new Race into the World, to claim an equal Share of the Father’s Care and Fondneſs: 210 Dd4v 202 Fondneſs:—All the Kindred of the firſt, and preſent Wife then intereſt themſelves in the Cauſe of thoſe of their own Blood, and are jealous of every thing he does for the others. How equally ſoever he may behave himſelf between them, he will ſtill be accuſed of Partiality by both Parties; and the World will always look on the Children of the Deceaſed as Objects of Compaſſion, and condemn every Indulgence he ſhews to thoſe he has by their Step-Mother as ſo many Acts of Injuſtice.
The poor Lady, guilty or not guilty, will yet be treated with more Severity:—She will be loaded with every thing that Scandal can invent, and have ſo much to ſour her Diſpoſition, as if good before, may in Time render her, in reality, what ſhe is ſaid to be.
For my Part, it has ever been a Matter of the greateſt Aſtoniſhment to me, that any Woman can have Courage enough to venture on becoming a Mother the firſt Day of her Marriage: —It would be endleſs to repeat the many Impediments in her Way to Happineſs in ſuch a Station, and if ſhe has the good Fortune to ſurmount them, it ought to be recorded as a Prodigy.
I say the good Fortune, for I think it eaſy to be proved from every Day’s Obſervation, that the moſt benign, affable, and diſintereſted Behaviour on her Part, will not have its due Reward, either 211 Ee1r 203 either with thoſe of the Family to whom ſhe is joined, or from the Character of the World.
I should be ſorry, however, to find that any thing I have ſaid ſhould be conſtrued into an Intent to vindicate the Barbarity of ſuch Step-Mothers, who, by their ungenerous Treatment of thoſe committed to their Care, draw a general Odium on all Women who are under the ſame Circumſtances.
On the contrary, I think, with Philenia, that they deſerve the ſevereſt Cenſure;—that there is not any Crime, not excepting thoſe which incur the heavieſt Penalty of the Law, can render the guilty Perſon more hateful both to God and Man, eſpecially when committed on helpleſs Infancy:—Thoſe who are arrived at ſufficient Years to be ſenſible how little Right a Step-Mother has to uſe them ill, can, and will, as it is natural, exert themſelves, and return the Inſults they receive; but for thoſe little dear Innocents whoſe Smiles would turn even Fury itſelf into Mildneſs, who can only teſtify their Wants by their Cries; when they, I ſay, are injured, and injured by the Perſon who now lies in their Father’s Boſom, what Words can paint out, as it merits, the Enormity of the Fact!
That ſome ſuch Step-Mothers there are I am but too well convinced, and to theſe all Admonitions would be vain:—Thoſe who are neither ſenſible of the Duties of their Station, Vol. III Ee nor 212 Ee1v 204 nor of what Religion, nay even common Morality exacts from them, and are diveſted of that Softneſs and Commiſeration which ought to be the Characteriſtick of Womanhood, will never be moved with any thing that can be urged by an exterior Monitor.
But how much ſoever a Woman is to be condemned who uſes ill the Children of her Predeceſſor, I cannot help being of Opinion, that ſhe who puts it in the Power of a Man to treat her own with Inhumanity, is yet more ſo:—There is ſomething, which to me ſeems ſhockingly unnatural, in giving up the dear Pledges of a former Tenderneſs as a kind of Sacrifice to a ſecond Paſſion; and I am ſurprized any Woman who has Children, at leaſt ſuch as are unprovided for, and are not entirely out of the Reach of thoſe Injuſtices it is in the Power of a Step-Father to inflict, can entertain even a Thought of ſubjecting them in that Manner.
Every one knows a Wife is but the ſecond Perſon in the Family:—A Huſband is the abſolute Head of it;—can act in every thing as he pleaſes, and though it is a great Misfortune to loſe either of our Parents while young, and unable to take Care of ourſelves, yet is the Danger much greater when the Place of a Father is fill’d up by a Stranger, than it can be under a Mother in-law:—The Reaſon is obvious;—the one can do of himſelf, what the other can only accompliſhcompliſh 213 Ee2r 205 compliſh by the Influence ſhe has over her Huſband.
I am very well aware that thoſe of my Readers, of both Sexes, who have ventured on a ſecond Marriage, having Children by the firſt, will think themſelves too ſeverely dealt with in what I have advanced on this Head.—The Mirror that ſets our Blemiſhes before our Eyes is ſeldom pleaſing; but if theſe Remonſtrances may be efficacious enough to remind any one Perſon of his or her Parental Duty, the Female Spectator will be abſolved for being the Inſtrument of giving ſome little Pain to thoſe conſcious of having ſwerved from it.
It would be judging with too much Ill-nature to imagine, that any Parent, who marries a ſecond Time, foreſees the bad Conſequences that may ariſe from ſuch a Venture:—It often is the very Reverſe, and they are made to believe, that in quitting their State of Widowhood they ſhall do a greater Service to their Children than they could do by continuing in it.
As many ſeeming Reaſons may contribute to form ſuch an Appearance of a Change for the better in their Condition, as there are different Circumſtances and Characters in the World; therefore, though one may venture to ſay, that though all Perſons who marry twice (having Ee2 Children) 214 Ee2v 206 Children) merit Compaſſion, yet all are not equally to be condemned.
The greateſt Prudence is not always ſufficient to keep us from being led aſtray by thoſe Illuſions which play before our Eyes, and bar the Proſpect of that Path we ought to take; for though, according to Cowley, ’Tis our own Wiſdom moulds our State:Our Faults or Virtues make our Fate.
Yet there are Faults which we ſometimes are not able to avoid;—we are driven, as it were, by an irreſiſtible Impulſe into Things which would excite our Wonder to ſee others guilty of, and perceive not the Error in ourſelves till we feel the Puniſhment of it.
A truly tender Parent will, however, keep a continual Guard, not only on the Senſes, but alſo on their very Thoughts:—They will repulſe in the Beginning, even the leaſt Prelude to an Overture for a ſecond Marriage:—They will ſhut up all the Avenues of the Soul againſt thoſe imaginary Advantages may be offered to it: —They will be blind and deaf to all the Allurements of Birth, Beauty, Wit, or Fortune, and place their ſole Happineſs, their ſole Glory, in being conſtant to the Memory of their firſt Love, and the dear Remains of the deceaſed Partner of their Joys.If 215 Ee3r 207
If any one ſhould take it into their Heads to diſapprove what I have ſaid, by producing ſome particular Inſtances of ſecond Marriages that have been fortunate, though there were Children by the firſt, I ſhall give only this Reply;—That a Thing being poſſible does not infer that it is probable:—It would be, I think, the higheſt Madneſs to aſſure ourſelves of being bleſſed meerly becauſe it is not out of the Power of Fate to make us ſo:—It is an Opinion rooted in me, and confirmed by a long and watchful Obſervation, that there is no State of Life which in general is more full of Confuſion. The Poet ſays, There have been fewer Friends on Earth than Kings.
And I will venture to maintain, (with this Proviſo, where there are Children by the firſt) that there have been fewer happy ſecond Marriages than Blazing Stars.
But I ſhall now take leave of a Subject, ſome may think I have dwelt too long upon, and preſent the Public with a Letter from Eumenes, omitting only one Paragraph, which we flatter ourſelves he will excuſe, as we feared it might be taken as aimed at a particular Lady, whoſe many excellent Qualities may very well ſerve to ſcreen from Reflection one ſmall Error, eſpecially as it is of no manner of Prejudice to any but herſelf.To 216 Ee3v 208
To the Female Spectator. Madam, If I remember right you ſaid, in one of your former Eſſays, that Vice was more eaſily reformed than Folly:—Nothing certainly can be more juſt; becauſe in Matters where Conſcience does not intermeddle, we do not pay Regard enough to what the World may ſay of us, to quit any thing that we find a Pleaſure in purſuing. Though all the various Affectations of Dreſs, Speech, and Behaviour were to be practiſed by one Perſon, they would ſtill not amount to a Crime; and, therefore, while we continue to fancy they become us, we ſhall hardly be prevailed upon to abandon them, either by the moſt poignant Satire, or moſt friendly Admonitions. If our good Senſe informs us, that what we are reproved for is in itſelf a Foible, yet it will appear to us an agreeable Foible, and ſuch as ſets off our real Perfections with greater Luſtre, and makes us be more taken Notice of in Company. An Ambition which we ſhall not find many Perſons wholly free from. Harmless, however, as we may flatter ourſelves all kinds of Affectation are, there are ſome which, by being indulg’d, may inſenſibly‘bly 217 Ee4r 209 bly corrupt the Mind ſo far as to draw us into Vice:—This is would be eaſy for me to prove in many Branches, but I am determined to confine myſelf to one, and ſhall leave it to you, who, I am certain, are very able to do it to expatiate on the others. I am always extremely ſorry when I ſee one fine Lady deform the lovelieſt Features ever were moulded by the Hand of Nature, by ſcrewing her Mouth into a thouſand diſagreeable Forms, and roll her Eyes into a Squint, under the Imagination ſhe adds new Graces to them:—Or when I hear another happy in a Voice all Harmony and diſtinct Sweetneſs, counterfeit a Liſp that renders what ſhe ſays inarticulate, and painful to the Liſteners:—I pity the fair Ideot, who diſtorts her well-turned Limbs, and ſeems to rival the antic Poſtures of the Buffoon and Mountebank:—The Maſculine Robuſt, who aims to charm us with a High German Jut, or the Over-delicate, who, like the Arms of a Nobleman, is never ſeen without her two Supporters, I view with the ſame Bowels of Compaſſion:—I bluſh to hear the Soldier boaſt of Wounds he never felt, and condemn the ill Direction of Campaigns without ever having been in one:—I fly out of the Church, when I perceive the Divine in the Pulpit endeavours to edify his Congregation more by the Exaltation of his Hands and Eyes than by the Doctrine he delivers to them:—I am ſick of Law, when I ſee a Pleader at the ‘Bar 218 Ee4v 210 Bar more ſolicitous about the Curls of his Wig, and the adjuſting his Band, than the Cauſe of his Client; and am ready to forſwear all Medicines when the Phyſician, inſtead of examining into the Conſtitution of his Patient, entertains him with a long Harangue concerning the Opinions of Galen and Hypocrates. But theſe are little Vanities, which will, doubtleſs, ſome time or other, fall under your Conſideration; that kind of Affectation which provoked me to draw my Pen, a Thing (I muſt tell you by the way) I am not over fond of doing, is very different from thoſe I have mentioned:—It is of a Gigantick Size, and, like the great People of the World, is ſeldom unattended with a numerous Retinue of the ſmaller and more inconſiderable Race. What I mean, Madam, is the prepoſterous Affectation of appearing as different as we can from what we are; or, in other Words, going out of our own Sphere, and acting a Part, the very reverſe of that which Nature has inſtructed us in. You will ſay, perhaps, that this is Pride, and that it is common to all People to aim at being thought more wealthy, wiſe, virtuous, or beautiful than they truly are. But, good Lady Spectator, ſuch an Ambition or Pride, call it as you will, ridiculous as ‘it 219 Ff1r 211 it is, comes yet infinitely ſhort of the Folly I have in View:—That which I am about to define, tho’ it makes People of mean Degree run all Manner of Riſques to look like thoſe whom Fate has placed above them, yet it alſo influences thoſe of the higheſt Birth to forego all the Pride of Blood and Titles, diveſt themſelves of every Mark of Nobility, and endeavour to appear, as near as poſſible, like the moſt abject of the Populace. I doubt not but you have read a late Poem, entitled An Eſſay on Satire in which it is likely too you may have taken Notice of these Lines: ――Th’ ambitious Peer,That mounts the Box, and ſhines a Charioteer,For Glory warm, the Leathern Belt puts on,And ſmacks the Whip with Art, and rivals John. This, Madam, is ſufficient to make you eaſily comprehend what I mean by going out of one’s own Sphere, and I believe you will readily own that nothing is now-a-days more commonly practiſed. I have now by me an old Book of Voyages, in which, among many other Places, the Author gives the Deſcription of a little Republic in the Atlantic Ocean , called the Topſy-Turvy Iſland: After having given an Account of its Vol. III. Ff Situation, 220 Ff1v 212 Situation, Extent, Climate, Produce, and other Things, foreign to my preſent Purpoſe, he thus ſpeaks of the Inhabitants: The Natives of this Iſland are of a ſanguine fair Complexion; the Men, for the moſt Part, are admirably well proportioned, though they ſay of a more puny Conſtitution and lower Stature than they were in former Times, by Reaſon of the Vices, which of late Years have spread through all Degrees of People, and very much debilitated the whole Species:—The Women are ſo perfectly beautiful, that did they not diſguiſe their Charms by an awkward way of Dreſſing and Deportment, thoſe who paſs there for leaſt agreeable, would in any other Country be celebrated Toaſts:—Nor can either Sex accuſe Nature for not having endued them with ſufficient Capacity to render their Converſation equally pleaſing to the Ear, as their Perſons are to the Eye; but ſuch a general Indolence hangs upon them, or, what is ſtill worſe, an Inclination to ſtudy only ſuch Things as are far from being any Improvement to their Underſtandings, that a Stranger, on his firſt coming among them, is apt to take them for a Nation of Lunatics: — Their very Habits and Recreations ſeem to denote them Enemies, not only to common Senſe, but alſo to Nature:—The Men affecting to wear ſoft effeminate Garb, and the Women one altogether maſculine:—Their Heroes ſit for three Hours together, ſipping warm Water and Sugar, ‘and 221 Ff2r 213 and their Virgins breakfaſt upon Brandy: — The Nobility take a Pride in driving Coaches, or running like Lackeys by the Side of them; and the Mechanics forſake their Shops, to ride about the Town in State like ſo many Magnifico’s. As to their Religion, they pretend to adore one Supreme Being, and after him (I might have ſaid beyond him) a great Number of ſubordinate Deities, ſuch as Power, Pleaſure, and Fame, to whom they think he delegates the Means of beſtowing every thing they have to wiſh: But though they have ſeveral fine Temples, and what they call an eſtabliſhed Rule for Worſhip, it is ſo looſely attended to, and ſo great a Latitude given in Matters of Faith, that every one, who is inclined to pray at all, is at Liberty to chuſe his own God; ſo that, in effect, there are as many Religions among them as there are Men of inventive Faculties to form them. The true Reaſon of this Diverſity of Opinions owes its Riſe chiefly from the Ambition and Avarice of the Theodo’s or Prieſts, who (quite contrary to the Practice of the European Eccleſiaſticks) concerning themſelves more with Temporal than Spiritual Affairs, act in ſo direct a Contradiction to the Doctrine they preach, as makes both themſelves and Precepts almoſt wholly diſregarded by the Laiety; and while this Behaviour in the Teachers give Birth to an infinite Number of Sects, it at the ſame time makes others imagine that Ff2 ‘all 222 Ff2v 214 all Religions are the ſame;—meer Prieſt- Craft and outſide Shew, and that after this Life there is nothing either to be hoped or feared. Wherever this melancholy Depravity in Religious Principles prevails, it cannot be expected that Morality ſhould flouriſh:—All Gratitude, Faith, Honour, Hoſpitality, Charity, and Public-Spirit ſeem entirely baniſhed from theſe People; even natural Affection has no longer any Weight among them, and if any one is hardy enough to make the leaſt Attempt for the Revival of thoſe antiquated Virtues, he is looked on as a Fool and a Madman, and hiſſed out of the Society of all who would be thought polite. Arts and Sciences are much talked of in this Iſland, and indeed but talked of, for no Encouragement being given but to the Propagators of Pleaſures of a groſſer kind, deters all who have any View of Profit from the Purſuit of them:—Philoſophy is profeſſed by very few, and even thoſe few employ their Time in only frivolous Enquiries, and ſuch as are of no manner of Service to Mankind:—Poetry alſo labours under a moſt miſerable Decay, for though there are not wanting ſome Men of fine Genius’s among them, yet they are obliged to fold up their Talents in a Napkin, for Reaſons which will be very obvious to my Reader when I come to ſpeak of their Government and Policy. ‘Thus 223 Ff3r 215 Thus far my Author, whoſe Words I have quoted to ſhew that there have been other Times and other Nations no leſs fond and even proud of Abſurdities than ours. One would be apt, however, to imagine, that in ſome Particulars we had copied from the Manners of thoſe People, eſpecially in that Article which relates to the Delight they take in apeing whatever is moſt diſtant from their real ſelves. Who that ſees a young Nobleman trotting round the Park with his running Footman’s little Staff and Cap, or driving his Chariot through the Streets with all the Fury of a Hackney-Coachman on a rainy Day, but would believe he had learned thoſe Avocations in the Topſy-Turvy Iſland! How agreeable a Figure does the Wife of an eminent and wealthy Citizen make in her own Houſe, where every thing diſcovers her Opulence and Plenty; and how deſpicable does ſhe appear when dangling after a Court, and the Jeſt of every little Dependant or ſneering Maid of Honour there, who, perhaps, has not ſo much for her whole Fortune as was expended on the other’s Wedding-Dinner! — Yet ſome there are who fancy themſelves extremely ſick till they can breathe the Air of St. James’s, or Leiceſter-Fields, and prefer the Ridicule, if not groſs Inſults, they are ſure to ‘meet 224 Ff3v 216 meet with there, to all the cordial Friendſhip and Reſpect they are treated wtih among their Neighbours. What Affectation, nay, what Infatuation is this! All other Creatures, except the Human Species, are uneaſy out of their own Element, and ſeem rather to ſhun than covet the Society of different Animals; but one of theſe Brutes of Reaſon, as the Poet juſtly calls them, reſtleſs to be what it is not, mimicks, as much as it can, the Looks and Actions of the darling Object, even to its own Infamy and Ruin. Two Couplets, which I have ſomewhere read, recoil upon my Mind, as being perfectly deſcriptive of this unhappy Diſpoſition: Blind to ourſelves, Cauſe of our own Unreſt,We ſeek our Virtues in each other’s Breaſt:Meanly adopt another’s wild Caprice,Another’s Weakneſs, or another’s Vice. There are a thouſand Inſtances in which it might be proved, that the wild Affectation of being more like other People than what we ought to be ourſelves, infallibly occaſions our falling into Vices we thought not of at firſt: — The ill Cuſtoms of thoſe whoſe Company we frequent with Pleaſure, will certainly infect our own:—Yet this is not all; what is laudable in ſome Perſons would be highly blameable in others of a different Station:—There are 225 Ff4r 217 are Things which are meerly indifferent in themſelves, and take the Name of Virtue or of Vice entirely from the Circumſtance and Character of the Perſon that puts them in Practice:—Good Oeconomy and Frugality in a private Man, is mean Avarice in a Prince: —What is no more in a Nobleman than acting up to the Dignity of his Birth, would be Oſtentation in a private Perſon; and ſo of the reſt. In a Word, wherever People behave in a Faſhion unbecoming of their Rank, and what is expected from them by the World, aſſuming Characters not their own, whether they attempt to exalt or demean themſelves, it is equally the ſame:—A ridiculous Affectation, and brings innumerable Inconveniencies on all who are guilty of it. But as I am more particularly concerned for the Reputation, Intereſt, and Happineſs of the Citizens of London, than for any other Diviſion or Degree of People in his Majeſty’s Dominions, my Family, for a long Generation, having had the Honour to be of the Number, and I myſelf now am, I would fain engage the Female Spectator to make it her Endeavour to convince them, that there is nothing on the other Side Temple-Bar which it will be for their Advantage to imitate. London 226 Ff4v 218 London has been called a ſecond Rome, and we have flattered ourſelves that the Compariſon was juſt; but pray Heaven we may never be too like it in its Decline; let us remember from what an envy’d Height that famous City fell, when Luxury and Pride debaſed the Minds of its Inhabitants:—When the Men became the Followers of Pomp and Power, under the all-engroſſing Cæſars; and the Women imitated the Manners of Julia and Poppea. No Theme, in my Judgment, Madam, can more anſwer the Intent of your Lucubrations: Purſue it, therefore, with all the Spirit and Vigour in your Power, and ſecond the generous Aim of the Satyriſt I before mentioned, whom I once more take the Liberty to quote on this Occaſion. Bid Britain’s Heroes (awful Shades) ariſe,And ancient Honour beam on modern Vice:Point back, to Minds ingenious, Actions fair,’Till the Sons bluſh at what their Fathers were:E’er yet ’twas Begg’ry the Great to truſt;E’er yet ’twas quite a Scandal to be juſt;When vulgar Sharpers only dar’d a Lye,Or falſify’d the Card, or cogg’d the Die,Or Vice look’d big in Plumes of Freedom dreſs’d.Or public Spirit was the public Jeſt. ‘It 227 Gg1r 219 It is certainly a very great Misfortune, that the Errors which now reign among us, were not perceived and ſtruck at in their Beginning; many of our Children, who are now become Parents themſelves, were bred up under their influence, and Cuſtom has now rendered them a ſecond Nature:—Arduous is the Taſk, and requires a more than Herculean Strength to bring about a Reformation; but to Minds reſolved nothing appears too difficult. That Spirit and Good-will to Mankind which ſeems to inſpire all the Writings of the Female Spectator, will, I hope, not permit her to be ſilent on ſo copious a Subject, and which the preſent Depravity of the Times calls ſo loudly to be touched upon. In the firm Belief, therefore, that I ſhall ſee not only thoſe looſe Thoughts inſerted as ſoon you have room for them, but alſo a full Compliance with my Requeſt, I remain, With all poſſible Regard, Madam, Your conſtant Reader, and Moſt humble Servant, Eumenes. Auſtin-Fryars, 1745-06-18June 18, 1745.
Those who do not look on the City of London, as the Fountain-Head, from which all Vol. III. Gg the 228 Gg1v 220 the Conveniences of the whole Kingdom flow, know little of it; but nothing can be more ſurprizing to me, than that thoſe, who owe their preſent great Fortunes to it, can, with any Degree of Patience, converſe with thoſe who take a Pleaſure in ridiculing, not only its Cuſtoms and Manners, but alſo its moſt valuable Privileges.
The Obſervation Eumenes makes, that there is a Poſſibility for Affectation, from a meer Folly at firſt, to grow up into a Vice by Degrees, is extremely juſt:—We have a flagrant Inſtance of it before our Eyes, and indeed too obvious both to Court and City, in a Perſon who, while ſhe contented herſelf with the Cuſtoms and Manners in which ſhe had been educated, and for many Years continued to practice, was one of the moſt amiable Characters in Life: — Her Name was never mentioned without an Encomium on her Prudence, Affability, Hoſpirality, Charity, or ſome other ſhining Virtue; but how are now all thoſe charming Qualities eraſed, and others, altogether the reverſe, conſpicuous in her Behaviour!—How eaſily has ſhe been drawn to think ſhe had been all this while in an Error!—To change that Sweetneſs of Deportment, which had ſo much endeared her to all that had the Pleaſure of her Acquaintance, into one all proud and diſdainful!—To laviſh in Luxury thoſe Sums ſhe was accuſtomed to diſpoſe of in Acts of Benevolence to the Diſtreſſed; and that yet more precious Time, once ſet apart for 229 Gg2r 221 for her Devotions, in Gaming, Maſquerades, and other ſuch like Aſſemblies!
A great Courtier now become, ſhe looks with Contempt on her former Fellow-Citizens; joins in the Laugh Coquets and Beaus ſet up whenever any of them appear, and ſees not that herſelf is equally an Object of Ridicule to thoſe ſhe is ſo vain of imitating.
Thus deſpiſing and deſpiſed, without one real Friend, ſhe lives a gawdy, glittering, worthleſs Member of Society, and endured by thoſe whoſe Example has rendered her ſuch, on no other Account than that immenſe Wealth, which they find Means to ſhare with her, while ſhe imagines they are doing her an Honour.
Unhappy Woman!—Yet I wiſh to God ſhe was the ſole Object of our Pity on this Occaſion! —Too many, alas! tread in the ſame Steps, and order their Coaches ſo often to St. James’s, that it is much to be feared they will, in a ſhort Time, have no Horſes to draw them.
I will not preſume to ſay, that all the Misfortunes the City of London at preſent labours under are owing to their prepoſterous Fondneſs of following the Faſhions of the Court; but that they are in a great Meaſure ſo, I believe, moſt People will readily enough agree.
Yet muſt not the whole Blame of this light Gg2 upon 230 Gg2v 222 upon our Sex; I do not ſee but the Men are as eager to quit their Compting-Houſes, and ſtrut in the Drawing-Room, diſguiſed in a long Sword and Tupee-Wig, as the Women can be in a new Brocade, exactly the ſame Pattern with that of one of the Princeſſes:—The Infection has ſpread itſelf pretty equally through both Sexes:—And the Huſband has little to reproach the Wife with, or the Wife the Husband, but what each are guilty of in the ſame Degree.
There is ſomething ſo agreeable in the Deſcription of the Topſy-Turvy Iſland, that we could wiſh Eumenes had favoured us with more of it: —Their Government, their Policy, the Execution of their Laws, their Negotiations, Treaties, and their Conduct in War and in Peace, muſt, doubtleſs, favour of the ſame Diſcretion as their Behaviour in private Life, and their Elegancy of Taſte in thoſe Things he has thought fit to acquaint us with; and conſequently would have afforded a moſt pleaſing Entertainment to our Readers.
If he is not too much offended at the Liberty we have taken in omitting thoſe few Lines in his Letter, which we feared might be looked upon as a perſonal Reflection, and draw upon us a Cenſure we have always been careful to avoid, he will, on the unanimous Requeſt of every Member of our little Society, oblige us, at his Leiſure, with ſome farther Account of that extraordinary Place and People.As 231 Gg3r 223
As to Affectation in general, we ſhall hereafter give ſome Inſtances how all kinds of it demean and render trifling the Perſons who are guilty of it:—The Subject is indeed ſufficiently copious, and the Folly too much indulg’d by all Ranks of People, not to demand Attention from the Female Spectator; but we are now obliged to delay ſo neceſſary a Work, and proceed to the third Letter in our Pacquet, which contains theſe Lines.
To the Female Spectator. Madam, It is only in Perſons of high Extraction that we expect to find high Virtues, becauſe we are apt to imagine, that the Education they receive, and the illuſtrious Patterns ſet them by their Predeceſſors, will not ſuffer any Ideas, but ſuch as are great, noble, and generous, to enter into their Minds:—If thoſe of a mean Birth and humble Breeding behave with common Honeſty, and avoid being guilty of any enormous Crime, we think it is all they are capable of, and look for no more from them: — When any extraordinary Action is perform’d by one of theſe, we are unjuſt enough to conſider it as the meer Effect of Chance, without aſcribing any Sort of Merit, or having any more Regard for the Perſon who performs it than we had before, and are with very great Difficulty brought to believe, there can be any intrinſick Value 232 Gg3v 224 Value in that Jewel which we find ſet in a baſe and common Metal. Yet that there have been ſhining Inſtances of an exalted Virtue, before any Titles of Diſtinction between Man and Man were invented, is demonſtrable by thoſe very Titles being invented, and beſtowed at firſt as the Reward of exemplary Virtues:—But no Words of mine can ſo well ſet forth this Truth as theſe few admirable Lines, which I tranſcribe from Mr. Dryden’s Poem of Sigiſmond and Guiſcard. Search we the ſecret Springs, And backward trace the Principles of Things; There ſhall we find that when the World began, One common Maſs compoſ’d the Mould of Man; One Paſte of Fleſh on all Degrees beſtow’d, And kneaded up alike with moiſt’ning Blood. The ſame Almighty Pow’r inſpired the Frame With kindled Life, and form’d the Souls the ſame: The Faculties of Intellect and Will, Diſpers’d with equal Hand, diſpos’d with equal Skill: Like Liberty indulg’d, with Choice of Good or Ill. Thus born alike, from Virtue firſt began The Difference that diſtinguiſh’d Man from Man: He claimed no Title from Deſcent of Blood; But that which made him noble, made him good. Warm’d 233 Gg4r 225 Warm’d with more Particles of Heav’nly Flame, He wing’d his upward Flight, and ſoar’d to Fame; The reſt remain’d below, a Tribe without a Name. This Law, though Cuſtom now diverts the Courſe, As Nature’s Inſtitute is yet in Force, Uncancell’d, tho’ diſus’d: And he, whoſe Mind Is virtuous, is alone of noble Kind: Tho’ poor in Fortune, of celeſtial Race: And he commits the Crime who calls him baſe. True Greatneſs has its Center in the Soul; Not given by Fate, nor under Fate’s Controul. If Sons tralienate from their Father’s Virtues, and each ſucceſſive Race degenerates from the former, like Streams that grow weaker the farther from their Source, in vain we hope to receive any of thoſe Benefits from them, for the conferring of which their Anceſtors were dignify’d. But it is neither my Buſineſs nor Inclination to depreciate the Merit of noble Blood: I would only not have Virtue too partially confined to thoſe of high Birth, and perſwade the World to ſee and to reſpect it when found even in the loweſt Rank of People. I was led into a Reflection on this Matter, by 234 Gg4v 226 by being an Eye-witneſs of an Accident, which I flatter myſelf may afford as agreeable an Entertainment to your Readers in the Relation, as it did me in the beholding; for which Reaſon I venture to preſent it to you. I am, Madam, a Man of Peace, and far from taking any Delight in the Accounts, whether true or falſe, our News-Papers give us of Battles, Skirmiſhes, or Sieges; yet, not withſtanding the little Inclination I have to enquire into the Buſineſs of the War, on being told there was a freſh Draught to be made out of the Troops, in order to fill the Places of thoſe loſt at Fontenoy, I had a Curioſity to ſee in what Manner thoſe on whom the Lot ſhould fall would take it. Accordingly I went, on the Day I had heard was appointed for it, about Five in the Morning into St. James’s Park, where I found ſeveral Companies drawn out, and Thouſands of People looking on, ſome excited by the ſame Motive as myſelf, and others by their Concern for the Choice that ſhould be made of Men to ſend away. Among this latter Number was a young Perſon, whoſe Age appeared to me not to exceed Sixteen, and ſo extremely pretty, that had her plain Country Habit been exchanged for one more advantageous, ſhe could not but have attracted all the Eyes preſent. ‘The 235 Hh1r 227 The Innocence of her Countenance, however, and the Anxiety that diſcovered itſelf in all her Features and Motions, as I ſaw ſhe was talking with two or three Men who ſtood near her, and ſeemed alſo to be Country People, made me deſirous of knowing whether it was for a Brother or a Lover ſhe was ſo deeply intereſted. I therefore made my Way through the Crowd that interpoſed, and with much-a-do got near enough to hear what Diſcourſe paſſed between her and her little Company; by which I ſoon found that it was neither of the Relatives I had imagined, but one allied to her by a much dearer Tie, for whom her tender Soul was diſſolved in Fears and Impatience. In fine, I ſoon perceived, by what I heard her ſay, and afterwards had a more full Information of, that ſhe was married about five Months ſince to the Son of a Farmer in Wiltſhire, who had unhappily been drawn in to enliſt himſelf a Soldier ſoon after he became a Huſband:—That his Father had offered very conſiderably for his Diſcharge; but his Officer, on Account of his Youth, Stature, and Strength, would not be prevailed upon to part with him, and his Friends now trembled, that thoſe very Abilities would be the Occaſion of his being one of thoſe picked out to be ſent Abroad. Vol. III. Hh ‘The 236 Hh1v 228 The Terms in which this poor Creature expreſſed herſelf were truly pathetic, and touched the Soul the more as they were purely natural, and void of all the Ornaments of Speech:—She wept, but ſtrove to hide her Tears; and while with an Exceſs of Paſſion ſhe proteſted never to abandon him, but partake of all his Dangers and Hardſhips, ſhe bluſhed at finding ſhe was heard by any beſide thoſe to whom ſhe made this Declaration. I must confeſs, that I never in my Life had ſo great an Opportunity of viewing Nature in its Perfection, that is, as it came from the Hand of the Creator, as in the Struggles I diſcovered here between Modeſty and Tenderneſs. One of thoſe, to whom ſhe directed her Diſcourſe, I found was a Relation of her own, and the other a great Friend and Companion of her Huſband’s; and both had accompanied his Father up to London, in order to attempt his Diſcharge, which failing to do, the old Man was returned home with an aking Heart, and theſe ſtaid to wait the Event. A great many were draughted off, ſeveral of whom ſeemed to regret the Preference given them:—The fooliſh Pity and Murmurs of the Populace heightened their Concern, and the Cries and Lamentations of the ‘Parents 237 Hh2r 229 Parents, Wives, and Children rendered ſome among them quite unman’d. At laſt the Officers came up to a Rank, among whom was a more than ordinary tall, handſome, young Fellow:—The Moment I caſt my Eye upon him I imagined him the Huſband of my pretty Neighbour, and ſoon found I was not deceived in my Conjecture, by the additional Confuſion I now ſaw in her Face, and in thoſe of her Companions:—I trembled for her, and expected no leſs than that he would be among the Number of the Choſen, as indeed he immediately was, and marched off to the others, who were draughted before: —She gave a great Shriek, attempted to to ſpeak, but had not the Power, and fell into a Swoon. By the Aſſiſtance of her Friends, and ſeveral others who ſtood near and ſeemed to commiſerate her Condition, ſhe recovered; and no ſooner was ſo, than the Extremity of her Grief baniſhing all Senſe of Shame, ſhe flew to the Captain, threw herſelf at his Feet, conjured him to pity her, and ſpare her Huſband: — Her Couſin, and the other young Man joined their Tears and Prayers with hers, but the Officer was too much accuſtomed to Petitions of this Nature to be much moved at what they ſaid, and repulſed them with more Roughneſs than I then thought I could have done, had I been in his Place; but I have ſince conſidered, Hh2 ‘that 238 Hh2v 230 that in ſome Circumſtances it is neceſſary to harden one’s Heart, or at leaſt to ſeem as if one did ſo; and that if a Gentleman in his Situation was to give Ear to all the Applications made on the ſame Score, it would be impoſſible for him to perform the Duties of his Function. All being in vain, the diſconſolate Husband advanced, from the reſt of his Fellows, to bid adieu to his fair Wife, who perſiſted in her Reſolution of accompanying him; but he would by no Means liſten to ſuch a Propoſal, and there enſued between them ſuch a tender Conteſt, as Perſons bred in much higher Life need not have been aſhamed to have been engaged in. The young Countryman ſtood for ſome Time in a muſing Poſture, and at length coming out of it, went directly to the Captain, and with a Reſolution in his Countenance I ſhall never forget, ſpoke to him in this Manner: Your Honour ſees, ſaid he, the Distreſs of theſe two young People, they have loved one another from Children, are but lately married, and ſhe is with Child, if they ſhould be ſeparated it would break both their Hearts; I beg your Honour will give him his Diſcharge, and take me in his Room:—I have no Wife nor Father to lament me, and if I die the Loſs will not be much:—I beſeech you therefore ‘to 239 Hh3r 231 to grant my Requeſt:—I am as ſtrong and as able to ſerve my King and Country as he is, and I ſhall go with Pleaſure, if by it I can leave this Couple happy. To this he added ſomewhat more by way of enforcing his Requeſt, which ſo aſtoniſhed the Captain and all who heard him, that nobody went about to interrupt him. After he had given over ſpeaking, one of the Officers aſked him if he had an Inclination to the Army; for if you have, ſaid he, we will give you the liſting Money, and you may go with the reſt. No, Sir, replied he boldly, I never till now had a Thought of being a Soldier, nor would I enter myſelf on any Terms but to ſerve Tom, and I am out of the Reach of the Preſs-Act, having above ten Pounds a Year of my own in Land; and therefore if you think well of me give him his Diſcharge, and I am ready to take his Coat without your liſting Money. Such an Act of Generoſity occaſioned a Shout of Applauſe; all the Gentlemen were charmed with it, and the Captain was contented to take him at his Word; and ordering the Muſter-Roll to be brought to him, eraſed Tom, and put in the Name of his kind Redeemer, which was William; and then wrote the Diſcharge in the uſual Form. But 240 Hh3v 232 But when Tom was called, and informed of what had been done for him, he could ſcarce be prevailed upon to accept his Liberty on ſuch Terms; he argued, that the Offer of the other was the higheſt Proof of Friendſhip, yet it would be ungrateful and unworthy in him to abuſe ſuch Goodneſs, by expoſing ſo generous a Friend to Danger for his Sake. The Tears of his Wife, however, and the Perſwaſions of every Body that were Witneſs of this generous Debate, at length got the better of his Scruples, which, though in a mean Man, I will venture to call Delicacy:—He received his Diſcharge, and gave up his Cloaths and Muſket, which the other immediately equipt himſelf in, with the greateſt Reſolution and Intrepidity:—The Officers clapped their Hands, and the Mob huzza’d, and cried he would beat ten French Men, while others ſhook their Heads, and ſaid it was Pity ſo brave and honeſt a Fellow ſhould be Food for Powder and Ball. It would have afforded me an infinite Satisfaction to have ſeen their Parting, but that being impracticable, as I heard the now happy Pair were reſolved not to quit that dear Friend till his Embarkation; ſo I loſt them after they got into one of the Boats that waited at Whitehall, and returned Home ſo full of Admiration at the Adventure, that for ſeveral Days I thought on little elſe. ‘Now 241 Hh4r 233 Now, Madam, I appeal to you if Theſeus, Peritheos, or any other celebrated Friend, whether antient or modern, could have given a greater Inſtance of Generoſity than this plain Country William, or could have accepted it with a better Grace than Tom? For my Part, I am convinced in my own Mind, that if theſe two Men had been bleſt with a polite and liberal Education, the Obſcurity of their Birth would have been no Obſtruction to their making very ſhining Figures in Life. Yet, how cruelly have ſome, to whom I have reported this Action, miſconſtrued it! One would have it that William was got drunk, and knew not what he did:—Another, that what he did was only a Bravado, and both were certain that he would afterward repent it. But I, who had a watchful Eye over his Behaviour, am as certain, as I can be of any thing that paſſes in another’s Breaſt, that he was neither the one nor the other;—that the Offer he made was the Reſult of a ſerious Deliberation within himſelf;—and that he was excited to it by his natural Generoſity, his Friendſhip to Tom, and Pity for his Wife: The Reaſon he gave the Captain, that as he had neither Father nor Wife to grieve for him in caſe any Accident happened to him, his Loſs would be of leſs Conſequence, may ſerve, I think, to confute any Opinion to his Prejudice. Yet 242 Hh4v 234 Yet are there People, who will rather diſcredit the Teſtimony of their own Eyes, and forfeit their own Judgment, than allow that any thing great and noble can proceed from a Perſon in an abject Station:—Though this methinks is flying in the Face of all Truth, Reaſon, and Philoſophy, which teach us, that the Soul is the ſame in all Degrees of Men, and would actuate in all alike were not this divine Part in us obſtructed by ſome Defect in the Organs:—Though exterior Accompliſhments may poliſh and add a Luſtre to all we do, yet the Want of them will not prevent us from doing the ſame as if we had them:—Every Man’s Ideas are his own:—His Notions of Right and Wrong are lodged within himſelf; and I believe with that great Philoſopher and Divine, the Archbiſhop of Cambray, that there are Savages in Canada who think in the ſame Manner with the Philoſophers of Greece and Rome. TheManner in which we do good Actions is indeed to be learned from Precept and Education, but the Will to do them muſt be born with us, or all that comes from us will have an enforced Air, and ſavour ſtrongly of the School. A proper Education is, however, a very valuable Thing; it not only improves our good Qualities, but enables us to repel the Dictates of thoſe ill ones, which our Paſſions are ‘apt 243 Ii1r 235 apt to inſpire in us; but I would not aſcribe more to it than is its real Due. For, as a famous French Author ſays, Education but poliſhes, not makes the Diamond. But I fear, Madam, I have troubled you too long, and ſhall therefore conclude with aſſuring you that I am an Admirer of your Works, and, Madam, Your moſt humble Servant, And Subſcriber, Dean’s-Yard, Weſtminſter, 1745-06-25June 25, 1745. R.S. P.S.If you think this worthy to be admitted into your next Book I ſhall be extremely pleaſed, becauſe the Adventure mentioned in it, as it was ſo public, may be repreſented to the World by ſome other Hand, in a leſs advantageous Light than it deſerves.
It muſt be confeſſed there is ſomething very tender in the Incident Mr. R.S. has given us: —The Character of William is truly great and magnanimous, and it would be the higheſt Injuſtice not to acknowledge it. For my Part, were I his Captain, I ſhould intereſt myſelf in a particular Manner for the Fate of ſo brave a Fellow;III. Ii low; 244 Ii1v 236 low; but ſo great is the Partiality of the World, that Virtue does not ſeem Virtue when not placed at the Top of Fortune’s Wheel.
I doubt not but there have been many gallant Things performed by Perſons of mean Station, which either have been buried in Obſcurity, or the Glory of them aſcribed to others.
I will alſo go ſo far as to give it as my Opinion, that in the Education of a young Perſon, if great Care is not taken to inſtil a high Regard and even Love for Virtue, with the Rudiments of fine Breeding, the former would be in Danger of being corrupted by the latter; and I would ſooner truſt to the Honeſty and Generoſity of a Man, who knows no more than juſt what he received from Nature, than to one who knows every thing beſide, but has unhappily forgot thoſe Notions and Ideas which Heaven has planted in the Soul of every one, though they are often extinguiſhed by giving way to vicious Paſſions and corrupt Habits.
The humble Cottager, therefore, if he has ſeen no Ill, but acts meerly from the Principles in his own Breaſt, and which were born with him, will certainly act conformable to Juſtice and to Reaſon.
It is the Prevalence of Example, alas! and of thoſe Examples which we imagine it is a kind of Merit in us to follow, that lead us all aſtray; from 245 Ii2r 237 from whence we may juſtly enough infer, that thoſe who live at the greateſt Diſtance from them are the moſt likely to tread in the right Path.
Sir Charles Sedley ſays, with a great deal of Truth, and what every Day’s Experience may convince us of, that Example is a living Law, whoſe Sway,Men more than all the written Laws obey.
Persons of a narrow Education are apt to think they cannot do better than to imitate, as well as they can, the Manners of thoſe who have been favoured with a more liberal one; and ſo far they certainly are right, but then I would wiſh them to make uſe of that Reaſon which every one is bleſſed with, and examine into the Actions of whoever they happen to take for their Pattern, to the end they may copy after them only in ſuch Things as are commendable, and avoid whatever they find is the reverſe.
I remember that in one of my former Eſſays I undertook to prove, that it was not Nature but the Perverſion of Nature that occaſions all our Faults and our Miſtakes.
The generous Behaviour of Country (uninſtructed) William ſhews what we are able to do of ourſelves:—All who hear what he did muſt allow it to be truly great; but if, after having ſo well proved the Nobleneſs of his Soul, he Ii2 ſhould 246 Ii2v 238 ſhould degenerate, and become hereafter ſelfintereſted, deceitful, or in fine, any way baſe, it muſt be owned it was the ill Example of others that makes him ſo.
But there is one unhappy Turn in ſome People’s Tempers, which, it muſt be confeſſed, is Nature, and in ſome Caſes would be a Virtue, but in this that I am going to mention is highly to be condemned.
What I mean, is that exceſſive Modeſty which makes them fearful of incurring the Ridicule of thoſe they converſe with, though it be for behaving in a Manner which they are well ſatisfied within themſelves is right;—They are afraid of being laughed at for not doing as they ſee others do, and therefore yield a blind Compliance in every thing propoſed to them.
I cannot help quoting on this occaſion a Paſſage out of that Poem Eumenes took ſome Lines from, called An Eſſay on Satire: After mentioning the Force of Example, and the fooliſh Timidity of quitting a bad Cuſtom, he goes on, For ſure the deadlieſt Foe to Virtue’s Flame,Our worſt of Evils is perverted Shame.Beneath this Yoke what abject Millions groan,The ſhackl’d Slaves of Follies not their own. The247Ii3r239The Demon Shame paints ſtrong the Ridicule,And whiſpers cloſe,――The World will call you Fool!Each Tool to hood-wink’d Pride, ſo poorly great,That pines in ſplendid Wretchedneſs of State,Tir’d in Ambition’s Chaſe would nobly yield,And but for Shame, like Sylla, quit the Field.Behold yon Wretch to impious Madneſs driv’n,Believes and trembles, while he ſcoffs at Heaven:By Weakneſs ſtrong, and bold thro’ Fear alone,He dreads the Sneer by ſhallow Coxcombs thrown;Dauntleſs purſues the Path Spinoſa trod,To Man a Coward,—a Bravo to God.
Much might be ſaid on this Subject, but we muſt now think of Amonia, whoſe Letter the laſt Female Spectator gave her ſome Reaſon to expect would be inſerted in this.
To the Worthy Authoreſs of the Female Spectator. Madam, Marriage being the general Buſineſs of the World, the mutual Deſire of both Sexes, and the Dye on which the Happineſs or Miſery of our whole Lives depends, the Choice of a Partner in that important State requires the utmoſt Attention. ‘When 248 Ii3v 240 When we are young it cannot be expected we ſhould be able to judge truly of what is beſt for us: Paſſions many times over-rule our Reaſon, and ſhut our Eyes againſt every thing that ſhould deter us from too raſhly venturing on that uncertain Sea, and an unjuſt Prejudice as often hinders us from accepting what would perfect our Felicity. Those, therefore, who diſpoſe of themſelves without the Advice of ſuch Friends as ought to be conſulted on the Occaſion, and have afterward Cauſe to repent of their Inadvertency, though they deſerve our Pity, have no Claim to our Excuſe. But when we are deliberately made miſerable, nay even compelled by the Authority of our Parents to enter into Bonds from which Death alone can ſet us free, the Blame muſt lie on them, though the Miſfortune is all our own. This, Madam, is my Caſe, and as it alſo may be that of many others, I thought it would not be looked upon as an improper Subject for the Female Spectator. I doubt not but you will imagine that the Perſon allotted for me was one to whom I had an utter Diſtaſte, or if not ſo, that there were ſome other who poſſeſſed more of my Inclinations; but neither of theſe it was that rendered‘dered 249 Ii4r 241 dered my Marriage ſo unhappy:—If I had no great Paſſion for him who is now my Huſba hnd, I had at leaſt no Averſion, nor had I even the moſt remote Deſire for any other:—I may truly ſay, that neither before my being his Wife, nor ſince, I ever ſaw that Man whom I could wiſh to exchange for him; yet is our Union the greateſt Miſfortune to both of us, and could I have foreſeen the continual Diſtractions there would be between us, I would have choſe my Grave rather than my Marriage Bed. The Calamities I labour under flow from a more grievous Source than Diſlike, for that, by Time and good Uſage, might have been worn of, but this increaſes daily, and every Moment of my Life gives ſome additional Wretchedneſs. But not to be too tedious: This Bar to the Happineſs of us both is, that we are of different Opinions in Matters of Faith; and tho’ it was ſtipulated in the Marriage-Articles, that I ſhould enjoy my own Way of Devotion, and alſo that what Daughters happened to be born ſhould be baptized and educated in the ſame, as the Sons ſhould be of that of their Father; yet he has been ſo ill ſatisfied with theſe Conditions, that from the firſt Month of our Marriage he has tried all the Means in his Power to oblige me to relinquiſh them. I, who was bred up in the ſtricteſt Principles‘ples 250 Ii4v 242 ples of my Religion, can never be brought to change it for any other, and he is ſo great a Bigot to his, that he looks on every one as a Heathen that is of a contrary way of Thinking. We have two Sons and three Daughters, who, inheriting their Parents Principles, live in continual Diſcord and Upbraidings of each other; but I ſuffer the moſt, having not only my own but a Share of each their ſeveral Diſcontents. My poor Girls know nothing of a Father’s Tenderneſs; if they implore his Bleſſing he tells them he has none to give them while they continue to obey their Mother’s Precepts; and my Boys are taught to think of me as of a Creature to whom no manner of Duty or Affection is owing. As for his own Behaviour to me, the beſt of it is Pity for my eternal State, mixed with a kind of Contempt of my Ignorance and Infatuation, as he calls my perſiſting in the Way of Worſhip I was bred in; and when any thing Abroad happens to ſour his Temper, he is ſure to vent his ill Humour on me and my Religion. Sunday, which is a Day of Peace in all other Families, is certain of renewing Contention in ours; while dreſſing in order to go to ‘our 251 Kk1r 243 our different Places of Devotion, inſtead of preparing ourſelves, as we ought to do, with Thoughts all ſerene and compoſed, we take Care to fill each others Minds with all the troubled Emotions we are capable of inſpiring; and on our Return from thence, all our Diſcourſe is larded with the moſt piquant Reflections. You will ſay, perhaps, I am to blame in returning any Anſwer to whatever injurious Treatment I may receive from him; but to prevent your paſſing ſo unjuſt a Cenſure on me, I muſt aſſure you, that for a long Time I combated his Reproaches only with my Tears; but, finding Mildneſs was ſo far from obliging him to deſiſt, that it rather encouraged him to go on, becauſe it flattered him with a Belief he ſhould in Time make a Convert of me, I thought it beſt to aſſume all the Spirit I could, and ſhew him that I was neither to be cajoled nor frighted from my Faith. In fine, as I knew myſelf in the right, and he, no doubt, is ſtrongly poſſeſſed of an Opinion that he is ſo, we mutually condemn each other; and if we do not actually hate, as yet we do not, we cannot bear that Good-will which we ought to do, and Heaven only knows to how great a Height theſe preſent Animoſities may at length arrive. I remember to have read, in one of your Vol. III. Kk ‘former 252 Kk1v 244 former Lucubrations, that it was utterly impoſſible for any Marriage to be happy where there was not a perfect Conformity of Sentiments and Humours in both Parties, even in thoſe Things which are looked upon as meer Trifles:—What muſt it then be, when the Husband and Wife differ in Matters on which Eternity depends?—When each looks on the other as in a State of Perdition? Thinks it almoſt a Crime to indulge any tender Sentiment, leſt it ſhould prove a Temptation to Apoſtacy, and are in continual Apprehenſions, that by fulfilling their conjugal Duties they ſhould be drawn from thoſe of their Religion? In what an unhappy Circumſtance are alſo the Children of ſuch a Marriage! They are not only ſure of being diſregarded by one of their Parents, but alſo Aliens to each other in Love and Affection, as they are in Principles. The very Servants in ſuch a Family are uneaſy, know not well whoſe Commands they ſhould obey; and in a word, the whole Houſe is divided againſt itſelf, and all is in an inextricable Confuſion. This, Madam, is the true and melancholy Condition of me and my Family; but though to a Mind oppreſſed like mine complaining is ſome Eaſe, it was not that ſelf-intereſted Motive alone that excited me to give you the Trouble of this Epiſtle:—My Misfortunes have not ſo ‘far 253 Kk2r 245 far extinguiſhed all generous Sentiments in me, as not to make me wiſh my Fate may be a Warning to others, not to ſplit upon the ſame Rock; and it is with this View I ſhould be glad the Story was made public. If, therefore, you vouchſafe to give it a few Pages, the Matter will, I hope, excuſe the Manner in which it is related, little Elegance, or fine Turns of Thought or Expreſſion being to be expected from a Woman in my perplexed Situation:—Believe me, however, a ſincere Well-wiſher to the Happineſs of my Fellow-Creatures, and, Madam, Your moſt humble, And devoted Servant, Amonia. Golden-Square, 1745-06-24June 24, 1745.
Tho’ this Lady has repreſented the Unhappineſs of her Condition in very moving Terms, and ſuch, as it is eaſy to be ſeen, flow from the Soul, and are not imaginary Woes; yet ſhe has been ſo extremely careful not to let fall the leaſt Hint what Mode of Religion either herſelf or Husband adheres to, that I am in no Danger of being thought partial either to the one or the other, in what I might ſay on any of those various Perſwaſions, which, at preſent, not only divide private Families, but whole Kingdoms; Kk2 though 254 Kk2v 246 though I ſhould even happen to fall on either of thoſe which render this Couple ſo diſunited.
But it is far from my Inclination either to cry up or depreciate any particular Form of Worſhip; I am very well convinced that there are many virtuous and many vicious People of all Perſwaſions:—Mr. Rowe, who was not only a wiſe and witty, but alſo a very good Man, reminds thoſe who are bigotted to any one Opinion, that Heaven, in this Reſpect, is leſs ſevere than Man.—Theſe are his Words: Look round how Providence beſtows alike,Sun-ſhine and Rain to bleſs the fruitful Year,On diff’rent Nations, all of diff’rent Faiths,And (tho’ by ſeveral Names and Titles worſhipp’d)Heav’n takes the various Tribute of their Praiſe,Since all agree to own, at leaſt to mean,One beſt, one greateſt, only Lord of All.
Then, on ſpeaking of the Unreaſonableneſs of endeavouring to oblige People to profeſs whatever Opinion we ourſelves eſpouſe, the ſame excellent Poet ſays again, But to ſubdue th’ unconquerable Mind,To make one Reaſon have the ſame EffectUpon all Apprehenſions; to force this,Or this Man, juſt to think as thou and I do; Im-255Kk3r247Impoſſible! unleſs Souls were alikeIn all, which differ like Human Faces.
Mr. Dryden too, who, though it muſt be confeſſed changed his Form of Devotion too often, was never, at leaſt as I have heard, ſuſpected either of Atheiſm or Deiſm, tells us in one of his Poems, ――To prove Religion true,If either Wit or Suff’rings could ſuffice,All Faiths afford the conſtant and the wiſe.The common Cry is ſtill Religious Teſt;The Turks is at Conſtantinople beſt;Idols in India, Popery at Rome;And our own Worſhip only true at Home:Aud true but for the Time; ’tis hard to knowHow long we pleaſe it ſhall continue ſo.This Side Today, and that Tomorrow burns;So all are Saints and Martyrs in their Turns.Yet all, by various Names, adore and loveOne Power immenſe, which ever rules Above.
A persecuting Spirit is a Diſgrace to any Religion; and, though ſome may think they prove by it the Sincerity of their Faith, yet they but deceive themſelves, and, in effect, rather deter than invite others to be Proſelites to it: And one Thing I muſt obſerve, which is, thoſe Churches that are eſtabliſhed by the Laws of the Land, generally diſcover leſs of that red- hot, mad-brain’d Zeal, than the Sectaries which diſſent from them.As 256 Kk3v 248
As for Amonia her Condition is very much to be pitied, nor do I think that of her Husband much more to be deſired; but I muſt own at the ſame time, that I am not at all ſurprized that they live no better together; for I look on it as an utter Impoſſibility for two Perſons profeſſing different Religions (that is, if either of them do any thing more than profeſs) to continue an Affection for each other for any long Time.
But though paſſing an uncharitable Judgment on all Opinions beſides our own is directly oppoſite to the Doctrine preached by him whoſe Precepts all, who are Chriſtians, pretend to follow; yet ſo exceſſively tenacious are ſome People, that whoever ſhould go about to argue them into more Moderation, would be looked upon as Enemies to their eternal Welfare, forgetting the Promiſe, that A Remnant of all ſhall be ſaved.
This, however, is a Point I leave to be diſcuſſed by the Divines; but as living in Peace and Harmony while on Earth, eſpecially between thoſe who are joined in the ſacred Bonds of Marriage, is a great Step towards attaining future Felicity; I think it Madneſs for any two People to flatter themſelves with agreeing long in any thing, when they diſagree in what is moſt eſſential.
But as it cannot be expected that in Youth theſe 257 Kk4r 249 theſe Conſiderations ſhould have their due Weight, there is no Excuſe to be made for Parents, who, it is to be ſuppoſed, have a more juſt Senſe of Things, when they acquieſce, much leſs when they ſeem to favour the Deſtruction of thoſe whoſe Happineſs it is their Duty to ſtudy.
Yet, when ſuch Things are, I would have Perſons thus united, as there is no revoking the Vow made at the Altar, endeavour to render themſelves and Partners as eaſy as the Circumſtance will admit: If one is too great a Bigot, the other ought not to be too ſtrict an Oppoſer; and it is much better to recede in Matters indifferent, than by tenaciouſly ſupporting every little Ceremony, to occaſion ſuch perpetual Jars as Amonia has deſcribed.
When mutual Love and Tenderneſs between Huſband and Wife ceaſe to ſubſiſt, and thoſe of the ſame Blood are brought up in a Contempt and Hatred of each other, the Offence againſt Heaven is, in my Judgment, infinitely greater than the Breach of any exterior Duty of Religion can be.
I do not ſuppoſe, that either Amonia or her Husband is a Jew, Mahometan, or Pagan; and as all Chriſtians agree in the fundamental Parts of Faith, if one of them would be prevailed upon to give up the Form in which they have been accuſtomed to worſhip, at leaſt to abate all Severity in that Point, it would doubtleſs ſave them- 258 Kk4v 250 themſelves a Multitude of other, perhaps, worſe Tranſgreſſions, as well as their Children, in which, while they continue to want natural Affection, they muſt neceſſarily be involved.
For my Part I cannot think but People may be very devout and pious, nay very ſtrict Obſervers alſo of all thoſe Rites and Ceremonies of the Church to which they belong, without having any Animoſity to thoſe who worſhip in a different Manner.
Though we are commanded not to do Evil, that Good may come of it, yet we may certainly refrain thoſe Things which in themſelves are neither Good nor Evil, when we are pretty ſure that Good will come by our Forbearance: Such little Formalities, therefore, as either the public Laws, or our own private Duties, lay us under a Neceſſity of obſerving, or renouncing, will hardly ever riſe up in Judgment againſt us.
What I have ſaid on this Account may, perhaps, draw upon me the ſevereſt Cenſures of all who make a Merit of being ſtrict Followers of that Way of Worſhip they were bred up in, or afterwards have taken it into their Heads to imagine will be moſt acceptable to the Deity; to which I will only anſwer in the Words of the Poet, Zeal is the pious Madneſs of the Soul.But 259 Ll1r 251
But before they are too angry with me on this Occaſion, I would have them remark, that I do not adviſe, or pretend to juſtify any Lukewarmneſs, even in the moſt trivial Matters to Religion, but when there is an utter Impoſſibility of aſſerting them without a Breach of ſome other more eſſential Duty; and then, I muſt confeſs, that to be too warm is quitting the Subſtance for the Shadow.
I once knew a Gentleman and his Wife who were in that unhappy Situation which my Correſpondent complains of:—The moſt vehement Paſſion for each other brought them together: —They married without the Conſent of Friends, and were both too much in Love with each other’s Perſons to conſider the Difference there was between them in Principles; he being one of thoſe which are called High-Church, and ſhe of that Sect of Diſſenters which have the Name of Preſbyterians.—The firſt Months of their Marriage were wholly taken up with indulging the Inclinations which had joined their Hands; and tho’ he ſometimes expreſſed a Diſſatisfaction at being denied the Pleaſure of leading her to Weſtminſter-Abbey, for he would hear no Divine Service out of a Cathedral, and ſhe was no leſs troubled that ſhe could not prevail with him to make his Appearance with her at the Conventicle, yet no open Diſagreement happened between them till after ſhe had lain in of her firſt Child.Vol. III. Ll On 260 Ll1v 252
On this Preſent, eſpecially as it happened to be a Son, every body expected the Affection they before had teſtified for each other would be more than ever cemented:—The Father was indeed tranſported with Joy, and the Mother felt a double Extaſy by the Sight of his: But, alas! their mutual Felicity was of ſhort Duration, and that Pledge of Conjugal Love, which promiſed an Addition to their Comforts, proved the Bane of all their Peace and Satisfaction.
The Infant was about three Weeks old when they began to think it was Time to make a Chriſtian of him; and now the Debate began, by whom, and in what Manner the Ceremony ſhould be performed: The Huſband had a near Relation who was a Biſhop, and had promiſed to do him that Honour:—The Wife inſiſted on having one of the Teachers of that Congregation to which ſhe belonged, and that her Son ſhould not be baptized according to the Ceremony of the Church:—She cried, No Lawn Sleeves,—No Rags of the Whore of Babylon ſhall come near her Child:—He ſwore, No Puritan, Conventicle Canter ſhould enter his Doors on any Occaſion, much leſs on this.—She raved, and called him Tory:—He ſtamped, and in return told her ſhe was a Hypocrite, the Spawn of a King-killing Race, and every thing as opprobrious as his Fury could invent.
In fine, neither of them left any thing unſaid that they thought would be ſtinging to the other, which 261 Ll2r 253 which had no other Effect than to render both more poſitive, and hardened in the Reſolution they before had taken.
The Husband, however, as he had the Authority, exerted it, and ordered every thing to be prepared to make the ſacred Ceremony as magnificent as his Station of Life would admit: — Four Perſons of Condition offered themſelves to be the Sponſors, and many Relations on both Sides were invited, and a very ſplendid Collation ordered.
The Wife had it not in her Power to prevent all this, and ſaw the Preparations with a ſullen Eye, but was determined in her Mind to render it of no Effect; and the very Night before that which he intended for the Celebration of the Chriſtening, ſhe watched the Opportunity of his being Abroad, and ſent privately for her own Miniſter, and one of the Elders of the Congregation, and had the Child baptized in her Chamber according to her own Way.
The next Day, at the appointed Hour, the Biſhop and Sponſors came, and thoſe of the invited Gueſts who were of the Church: The Huſband, who little imagined what had paſſed, called for the Nurſe to bring the Child into the Dining- Room, which ſhe immediately did; but, to the Surprize of the Father, not dreſſed in the rich Mantle and Laces he had provided, nor at all proper for the Occaſion: On his haſtily demandingLl2 ing 262 Ll2v 254 ing the Reaſon of this Neglect, his Wife, who was then pretty well recovered, ſtept forth, and, with a Voice and Air that expreſſed a ſpleenatic Satisfaction, If I had not thought, ſaid ſhe, you would ſtand in need of the Conſolation of your Friends for the Diſappointment I have given you, I ſhould before have informed you, that the Child has already received the Rites of Baptiſm, and that his Name is John:—You may, therefore, make merry with your Company, I ſhall be infinitely contented, as I know very well your Church allows no ſecond Sprinkling.
She had no ſooner ended what ſhe had to ſay, than making a ſlight Curtſy to thoſe in the Room ſhe retired again to her Chamber, leaving not only her Husband, but every one preſent, too much confuſed to be able to make any Reply.
The Husband a little recovering himſelf from an Aſtoniſhment which it is impoſſible to deſcribe, fell into an adequate Rage, and had not the Preſence and Admonitions of the Right Reverend Prelate reſtrained him from giving a looſe to it, it is hard to know what might have been the Effects.
Scarce, however, could he believe that ſhe had in reality preſumed to do as ſhe had told him; but on examining the Servants, and finding that ſome Perſons had been there the Evening before, and were ſhut up with her in her Chamber; and the Nurſe confirming it, by ſaying ſhe 263 Ll3r 255 ſhe was ſent for a Baſon of Water, and not ſuffered, after ſhe had brought it, to come into the Room till the Company were gone, he no longer doubted of the Truth.
What a Scene of Diſtraction was now among them, inſtead of the Jollity that had been expected:—None interceeded with the incenſed Husband for the offending Wife, for beſide the Animoſity which Difference of Principles except, it was ſcarce poſſible to ſay any thing in Vindication of ſo unadviſed a Step.
Every Body, however, ſtaid till very late at Night, under Pretence of alleviating the Melancholy they ſaw him in, but indeed to prevent him from being guilty of any raſh Action in return of the Provocation he had received; nor did they part till he had given the Biſhop all the ſolemn Aſſurances in the Power of Words, that he would not ſee his Wife till he had brought himſelf into a Temper to behave to her with Moderation.
But he found out the Way to wring her Heart with an Anguiſh more laſting, and not leſs ſharp than what his own ſuſtained:—He kept his Word indeed, and neither went into the Chamber of his Wife, nor ſent any reproachful Meſſage to her, but went out early in the Morning, provided a Nurſe, and on his Return took his Son from the Arms of her who had been hired to attend him, and committed him to the Care 264 Ll3v 256 Care of the Perſon he brought with him; then ſent them both to a diſtant Relation of his own in the Country, to whom he wrote an Account of the whole Story, with an Entreaty that the Child might be brought up there for a Time without any mention who he was, in order that the Mother ſhould be able to get no Intelligence concerning him.
All this was done before ſhe awoke, but the firſt Word ſhe ſpoke being to bid the Perſon who watched by her to bring in the Child, ſhe was ſoon convinced of the cruel Revenge her Huſband had taken:—On her ſending to beg he would let her know how he had diſpoſed of him, his Anſwer was, where ſhe ſhould never ſee him more. This, and perhaps the Conſciouſneſs how little ſhe deſerved to be treated otherwiſe, threw her into Convulſions, which were very near depriving her of Life.
During the Time her Indiſpoſition continued, though he had the beſt Phyſicians to attend her, and ſuffered her to know the Want of nothing proper for her Condition, yet not all the repeated Meſſsages ſhe ſent to him, nor the Entreaties her Friends and Kindred made in her Behalf, could prevail on him to ſee her once.
It is certain, that in general our Sex have Hearts leſs obdurate than the Men: This unhappy Lady was no ſooner able to quit her Chamber than ſhe flew to that of her Husband, hearing he was 265 Ll4r 257 was at Home; and by her ſo ſuddenly appearing before him gave him not Power to ſhun her: —Her Intent, as ſhe has ſince declared, was to throw herſelf at his Feet, entreat his Pardon, and a Reconciliation; but he would not allow her Time even to ſpeak, for the Moment he ſaw ſhe was there, all the Fury which he had conceived againſt her on the firſt Knowledge of her Offence, rekindled in his Breaſt, and with a Look that darted Daggers on her,—Unworthy and ungrateful Woman, cried he, what Devil has prompted thee to tempt my juſt Reſentment?—Begone, continued he, or I know not what thy hateful Preſence may provoke me to do.
On this, ſhe drew back, and before ſhe had well paſſed the Door he clapped it after her, and ſhut himſelf in. To be received in this Manner, when ſhe come full fraught with humble Sentiments, made her now look on herſelf as the moſt injured Perſon;—every harſh Expreſſion he had made uſe of to her in their former Quarrel now recoiled upon her Mind, and joined with thoſe ſhe now heard from him, turned her all into Indignation:—She ſent to her Friends to conſult with them how ſhe ſhould behave in ſo perplexing a Dilemma; ſome of whom adviſed her to quit the Houſe, and ſue him for a ſeparate Maintenance, as they ſaid ſhe might juſtly do on his refuſing her his Bed and Company, and alſo oblige him to diſcover where he had placed the Child.
This laſt Article prevailed with her, ſhe followedlowed 266 Ll4v 258 lowed their Council in every thing; and though while the Suit of Law was carrying on, thoſe Relations on both Sides, who had any Share of Moderation, endeavoured to make up Matters between them, it was all in vain, a mutual Diſguſt had now taken the Place of that violent Paſſion they had once felt for each other, and it is difficult to ſay which was moſt averſe to a Reconciliation.
The Cauſe, however, was never brought to a public Trial; ſo far their Friends prevailed, perceiving the Chicanery of thoſe who had the Care of it:—He conſented to do even more than the Law would have obliged him to had it been managed fairly, but it was not till after greater Sums had been expended on both Sides, than the Circumſtances of either could well ſupport.
The Infant died, perhaps, for want of a Mother’s watchful Care, before the Affair between his unhappy Parents was determined, each accuſing the others Obſtinacy as the Cauſe of his ſo early Fate, and Grief increaſed their Hatred.
Fate, for a Puniſhment perhaps of their Tranſgreſſion, had not yet permitted either to be releaſed by the Death of the other:—Each drags a ſolitary Widowed Life, publicly avowing the Error of their Choice, and in private, it is poſſible, condemning that of their own Obſtinacy.
End of the Sixteenth Book.
The Female Spectator.
We are informed, that the Letter ſigned Amonia, inſerted in our laſt, has made ſome Noiſe in Town; and that her Husband, who it ſeems is a conſtant Reader of theſe Lucubrations, is ſo much incenſed againſt her for the public Complaint ſhe makes of his Behaviour, that the Diſagreement which was before between them, is now increaſed, even to a mutual Tendency towards a Separation; but tho’ the Lady herſelf was the beſt Judge what Conſequences were likely to attend the Gratification of her Requeſt, and the Female Spectator can incur no Blame for having complied with it, yet we could wiſh Things had taken a different Turn, and that one, at leaſt, of that unhappy Pair Vol. III. Mm would 268 Mm1v 260 would have been convinced by their own Reaſon, as well as by our Arguments, that a too ſtrict and tenacious Adherence to particular Forms, in ſome Caſes, and with ſome Tempers, not only betrays a greater Want of Judgment, but alſo may happen to occaſion more miſchievous Effects, than any are to be apprehended in the receding from them.
When both Parties are, however, equally determined to maintain their different Opinions, though at the Expence of all that Love and Tenderneſs each has a Right to expect from the other, and inſtead of living together in any manner conformable to their Vows before the Altar, it is the Judgment of every Member of our Club, that it is a leſs Violation of the ſacred Ceremony which joined their Hands, to ſeparate entirely, than it is to continue in a State, where, to Perſons mutually diſſatisfied, the moſt trifling Words or Actions will by each be looked on as freſh Matter of Provocation.
It muſt be acknowledged that nothing can be more melancholy than ſuch a Criſis:—A Parting of this nature, if either of them retain the leaſt Remains of that Affection which firſt brought them together, muſt to him, or her, who preſerves it, be even worſe than that of Death, becauſe it is the Work of Choice, the other of Neceſſity, and nothing is to be aſcribed to the Unkindneſs of the Perſon beloved. We muſt all ſubmit to Fate, and thoſe moſt prove their 269 Mm2r 261 their Virtue and their Fortitude, who behave with moſt Patience and Reſignation under its Decrees; but where there is a living Separation between a Husband and a Wife, though it be by mutual Conſent, the one is apt to think, that the other urged and provoked a Quarrel for no other Motive than in the hope of getting rid, by that means, of a Companion who no longer had the Power of pleaſing.
But how much ſoever the World may commiſerate, or condemn an Incident of this Nature, there have been Inſtances of its producing the moſt fortunate Events:—We are frequently deceived, by a preſent Hurry of Paſſion, ſo far as not to be ſenſible what paſſes in our own Hearts: —Nothing is more common than for us to imagine we hate what in reality is moſt dear to us.—Sergius is a very handſome Man, but of ſo unaccountable and peeviſh a Diſpoſition, that though he married Aranthe, a celebrated Beauty, meerly for Love, ſhe had not been his Wife two Months before he gave her Cauſe to think herſelf the moſt unhappy Woman breathing:—He, on his Side, was no leſs diſcontented; all the Paſſion ſhe long had felt for him, and which was not at all inferior to that which induced him to make Choice of her, could not enable her to ſupport his Treatment:—She returned his ill Humour with Intereſt;—there was a fatal Parity in their Tempers, which would ſuffer neither of them to agree to any thing but what was firſt propoſed by themſelves:—Both took a Pleaſure in Contradiction;—bothdiction; 270 Mm2v 262 diction;—both were equally impatient under it; each thinking the Right of being obliged was ſolely in themſelves, neither of them would condeſcend to oblige the other:—Sergius, as he was the Huſband, thought he ought to be obeyed; and Aranthe expected the ſame Complaiſance from him as when he was a Lover; and this mutual Diſappointment ſeemed to have extinguiſhed all manner of Tenderneſs on both Sides. —Not only the World, which ſaw the Contentions between them, believe they heartily hated each other, but alſo they themſelves imagined ſo, and wiſhed, with no leſs Ardency, that there was a Poſſibility of breaking the Bands which joined them, than they had formerly done to be united in them.
In fine, their Animoſities at length arrived to ſuch a Height, that there were no longer any Rules of Decency obſerved between them, and the ill Life they paſt together became ſo notorious, that the Friends on both Sides thought it much better to ſeparate than continue to diſtract all about them with continual Clamours.
The Thing was propoſed to each apart from the other, and both teſtifying their Approbation, Sergius conſented to allow Aranthe, who brought but a very ſmall Fortune, an Annuity out of his Eſtate for her Support;—and ſhe entered on her Part into an Engagement, for the fulfilling of which, one of her Kindred became Surety, that ſhe 271 Mm3r 263 ſhe ſhould contract no Debts in his Name, nor any other way moleſt him.
Thus they were parted with all the Form that could be, excluſive of a Divorce, which neither of them had any Pretence to ſue for.
For a while they ſeemed highly ſatisfied with what they had done, and declared in all Company wherever they came, that the Day which ſeparated them afforded a Joy more exquiſite, as well as more reaſonable, than they felt on that which had joined them.
Each really thought that the being freed from their late diſagreeable Situation, was the greateſt Bleſſing that Heaven, as they were circumſtanced, could have beſtowed upon them; but how little they knew of themſelves in this Particular a ſhort Time evinced.
The Rage and the Diſguſt which both had imagined they had Reaſon to conceive againſt each other, being evaporated by mutual Revilings, and Hatred no longer finding any Fuel to ſupport its Fire, ſunk, by degrees, into a Calm, which had the Appearance of Indifference, but, in effect, was far from being ſo:—Their cooler Thoughts enabling them to reflect on all that had paſſed between them, thoſe Offences which before ſeemed of ſuch enormous Size, now loſt much of their Magnitude, and ſtill decreaſedcreaſed 272 Mm3v 264 creaſed as they the more conſidered the Provocations which excited them.
Both having Leiſure to examine into their own Conduct, each found enough in it to condemn, and conſequently to excuſe that of the other; and Abſence fully convinced them of that, which it is hardly probable they would ever have been ſenſible of had they continued together.
Good Senſe, which neither of them was deficient in, now they had Leiſure to exert it, having utterly conquered thoſe little peeviſh Humours and unruly Paſſions, which had occaſion’d their Diſagreement, Memory and Recollection brought the Hours of their firſt Courtſhip back: —Every tender Preſſure,—every ſoft Conceſſion,—each fond Deſire,—each agonizing Fear, which either had experienced, returned to the reſpective Breaſt:—Sergius would often cry out to himſelf, How charming was then Aranthe! Why did I urge her once gentle Nature, and by my Harſhneſs become the Deſtroyer of a Happineſs I would have died to purchaſe!—Why, ſaid Aranthe ſighing, did I not conſider the Worth, the Honour of my Huſband’s Soul?—Why did I provoke him to renounce that Love he once had for me!
In a word, the mutual Tenderneſs they at firſt had felt for each other ſtill lived in both their Hearts, though it had ſeemed dead, and recoveringvering 273 Nn1r 265 vering the ſame Strength and Energy as before, made both now doubly wretched in a too late Repentance; ſince neither knew the other was poſſeſſed of adequate Sentiments, and deſpaired of ever being a ſecond Time able to inſpire. — Sergius now knew he loved Aranthe, but believed himſelf the Object of her Hate; and Aranthe was too ſure ſhe doated on Sergius, who, ſhe doubted not, thought on her with Contempt and Deteſtation.
This Opinion, which indeed ſeemed reaſonable enough, prevented all Attempts on either Side for a Reconciliation: On the contrary, they ſhunned all Places where there was a likelihood of their meeting, and Chance had not yet befriended them ſo far as to bring them together without their ſeeking it.
It indeed was juſt they ſhould have ſome Time of Penance for the Follies they had been guilty of; but at laſt the Hour arrived which was to put a final Period to their Anxieties, and render them much more happy, not only than they could ever expect to be, but alſo than they would have been, had never any Rupture happened between them.
Self-convicted of their Errors, the Reflection how madly they had thrown away all that could give them any Satisfaction, made both of them extremely melancholy.—Sergius, to conceal his from the Obſervation of the World, paſſed Vol. III. Nn moſt 274 Nn1v 266 moſt of his Time in the Country; and when he was in Town pretended Buſineſs kept him from going to any of thoſe gay Diverſions he had been uſed to frequent:—Aranthe, taking no longer any Pleaſure in the Living, grew fond of converſing among the Dead, and went almoſt every Day into Weſtminſter-Abbey, amuſing herſelf with reading the Inſcriptions on the Tombs.
Sergius one Day happened to wander into that famous Repoſitary of the pompous Dead, and before he was aware, came up cloſe to Aranthe, without ſeeing or being ſeen of her, till they even joſtled as they met; ſo deeply were both involved in Contemplation:—Each ſtarted at the unlooked-for Preſence of the other, but had not Power to draw back above two or three Paces though (as they have ſince confeſſed) both had it in their Thouughts to do it.
Aranthe! ſaid Sergius in the utmoſt Confuſion:—Sergius! cried Aranthe with a faultering Voice:—No more was ſaid on either Side, but their Eyes were fixed intent upon each other’s Face, till Aranthe, too weak to ſupport the violent Emotions which that Inſtant overwhelmed her Soul, was ready to faint, and oblig’d to lean againſt a Pillar of the Church, near which it was her good Fortune to ſtand:—Sergius obſerved the Condition ſhe was in, and quite diſſolved in Tenderneſs, flew to her and took her in his Arms:—O, Aranthe, cried he, is it poſſible that the Sight of me has this Effect upon you! 275 Nn2r 267 you! —O, Sergius, anſwered ſhe, we once loved each other!—How happy was that Time! reſumed he; and would have ſaid ſomething more if the riſing Paſſion had not choaked the Utterance of his Words; but the tender Graſp, with which he ſtill held her encloſed, was ſufficient to inform her how much he regretted that Time ſhe mentioned had ever been interrupted.
Aranthe, far from oppoſing his Embrace, reclined her Head upon his Breaſt, and wetted it with Tears:—O, Aranthe, ſaid Sergius, as ſoon as he had Power to ſpeak, it was no Fault of thine that parted us:—Nor of yours, cried ſhe ſighing, I confeſs myſelf the ſole Aggreſſor:—That is too much, replied he, for it was I alone that was to blame.
Some Company, who were coming to ſee the Tombs, appearing at a Diſtance, obliged him to quit that endearing Poſture, and they adjourned to a more retired Part of the Cathedral, and ſat down together on a Stone, where each condemning themſelves for what had happened, and entirely abſolving the other of all Errors, never was a more perfect Reconciliation.
They went together to the Houſe of Sergius, and the unexpected Return of Aranthe filled all the Servants with a Surprize which they were not able to conceal:—The now happy Pair preſently obſerved it, and remembering with Shame, how much the Family had ſuffered by their Quarrels, Nn2 doubted 276 Nn2v 268 doubted not but they were alarmed at the Apprehenſions of being again involved in the ſame Confuſion.
To put an End, therefore, to all their Anxieties on this Score,—Be not uneaſy, ſaid Sergius, I knew not the Value of the Treaſure I poſſeſſed in this Lady till I had loſt it, but it ſhall now be my Endeavour to attone for all my paſt Inadvertencies, and, by making her perfectly contented, render all about us ſo.
Forbear, my Dear, rejoined Aranthe, to lay thoſe Accuſations on yourſelf which are alone my due:—I was too ignorant of my Happineſs, as well as of my Duty; but my future Behaviour ſhall convince you, our Servants, and all who know us, that I now am truly ſenſible of my Miſtakes.
The next Day Sergius ordered a fine Collation to be prepared, to which all the Friends on both Sides were invited, to do Honour to this Reconciliation, which he called his ſecond Nuptials; and both him and Aranthe repeated over and over to the Company what they before had avowed in the Preſence of their Servants, to the great Satisfaction of every one, as well as to themſelves.
Each was now indeed too ſincerely ſenſible wherein they had done amiſs, to relapſe into their former Errors:—They have ever ſince taken more Pleaſure in condeſcending to whatever they 277 Nn3r 269 they perceive to be the Inclination of each other, than ever they did in oppoſing it.
Seldom, however, does one meet with a Cataſtrophe like this; nor can it ever happen but where there is a very great Fund of Love on both Sides: For where the Paſſion is once totally extinguiſhed, it is ſcarce poſſible ever to rekindle it, and we ſay with Morat, To Flames once paſt I cannot backward move;Call Yeſterday again, and I may love.
The Parting, therefore, of Perſons who have been once joined in Marriage, has in it ſomething extremely ſhocking; and, to add to the other Misfortunes it infallibly brings on, is generally attended with the Loſs of Reputation on both Sides:—If they behave with the greateſt Circumſpection, they will ſtill be ſuſpected to have other Engagements; and, as many in thoſe Circumſtances are really but too guilty, thoſe moſt innocent cannot keep themſelves from falling under the like Cenſure, and all their Virtue will be looked upon no more than as a Vice well hid.
Since then ſo many Inconveniences are the ſure Effects either of living together in a mutual Diſaffection, or of ſeparating entirely, how carefully ought we to examine the Principles, Sentiments, and Humour of the Perſon we think of marrying, before we enter into a State, which there is no Poſſibility of changing but by Death, or 278 Nn3v 270 or what, to thoſe who have any Share of Prudence and Senſe of Honour, muſt be worſe than Death.
Different Opinions in Religion are, indeed, of all others the leaſt capable of Reconciliation: It is not in Nature for two People, who think each other in the wrong in ſo material a Point, to agree long together, though they ſhould endeavour to do it ever ſo ſtrenuouſly.—The ſtrongeſt Reaſon and the beſt Underſtanding will hardly be able always to guard againſt the Prejudice of Education, and thoſe Precepts inſtilled into us in our early Years of Life; and though all who run the ſame Riſque with that unfortunate Pair, whoſe Story I related in my laſt, may, by their being leſs bigotted, not fall into the like Calamities they did, nor even any thing adequate to thoſe Amonia laments, yet is it almoſt impoſſible but Words, at ſome time or other, will be let drop by one of them, which will give Umbrage to the other on this Account, and be the Cauſe of Heart-burnings, and ſecret Murmurs, which cannot fail to embitter all the Felicities of their Union, if not diſſolve it quite.
But I ſhall now take my leave of this Subject:—The Encloſure of my Pacquet affords yet one more Letter, which has a Right to be inſerted, as it touches on a Foible too common in both Sexes, but more particularly aſcribed to thoſe of my own.To 279 Nn4r 271
To the Female Spectator. Madam, It is a Maxim with me, that whatever is needleſs is impertinent, and to make you any Compliments on the Laudableneſs of your Undertaking, or the judicious and agreeable Manner in which you execute it, would be no more than to tell the World it is Day-light when the Sun ſhines in his full Meridian Splendor: —Every Body is ſenſible of, and confeſſes the Merit of your Writings, and I am but one among the Million of your Admirers. Beside, or I am very much deceived, I ſee enough into your Soul to know you will be better pleaſed even with the ſmalleſt Hint that may contribute to the Uſefulneſs of your Work, than with any thing that could be ſaid in Commendation of it. I may, however, acknowledge, that as in a beautiful Face there is ſome one Feature which more particularly ſtrikes the Eye, ſo in your late Eſſay of the Diſtinction between good and bad Taſte, there is ſomewhat that affords ſuperior Pleaſure and Improvement.—You there, I think, may be ſaid to have outdone yourſelf, and I cannot help believing that immerged as we are in Folly and Stupidity, what you have advanced in that Piece will have an Effect on many of your Readers. ‘Were 280 Nn4v 272 Were there to be a perfect Rectification of Taſte, it would be impoſſible for us to err in any one thing; but though that would be to become Angels before our Time, and cannot be attainable while on this Side the Grave, yet does it behove every one to come as near it as Human Nature will admit. Your Sex, Madam, whoſe beautiful Formation renders you half cherubial from your Birth, have it in your Power to appear altogether ſo with a very little Care: How great a Pity is it then, when, inſtead of improving thoſe Charms Heaven has ſo bounteouſly endowed you with, you diſguiſe, deform, and very often entirely murder them:—Nay, take more Pains to render yourſelves diſagreeable, than you have occaſion to do to become the moſt compleat Work of the Creation. TheFemale Spectator has, indeed, remonſtrated, that if half the Aſſiduity which is paid to the Perſon were employed in embelliſhing the Mind, Women might eaſily vie with us Men in our moſt valuable Accompliſhments; but I am ſorry to obſerve, that there are Ladies, who, tho’ they read with Pleaſure what they imagine is a Compliment to their Sex, make no manner of Progreſs towards their own particular deſerving it. I am very far from accuſing the Ladies of any vicious Propenſities:—On the contrary, ‘I 281 Oo1r 273 I believe them much more free from any thing can be called ſo, than we in general are. What I mean is, that they are too apt to miſtake what is moſt becoming in them, and by aiming to pleaſe too much, make themſelves incapable of pleaſing at all. It would be endleſs to repeat the various Artifices of the Toilet; nor can I pretend to be perfectly acquainted with them, having never yet been bleſſed with a Wife:—All I know is from two Siſters, who are yet both unmarried, and I hope will continue ſo, while they continue to think the ſole Glory of a Woman conſiſts in having fine Things ſaid to her, on thoſe Endowments which can never render a reaſonable Man happy, and which in Time will bring her into Contempt, even with with the very Fop who pretends to admire her. But I deſcend not ſo low as to take Notice of the Curling-Irons, the Falſe-Locks, the Eyebrow-ſhapers, the Pearl-Coſmetick, the Italian Red, or any of thoſe injudicially called Face- mending Stratagems, or even of the ſtudied Leer, or the forced Langour, of the Eye, nor of the ſcrewed-up Mouth, or ſtrained Pout of the under Lip, nor of a thouſand other unnatural Modes and Geſtures of the Body, however ridiculous they who practiſe them may appear; but it is that kind of Affectation in the Manners, which, more than all I have mentioned,III. Oo tioned, 282 Oo1v 274 tioned, deprives them of that Reſpect they would otherwiſe command from our Sex. What I mean, is when they forget themſelves ſo far as to imagine that which was ſcarce pardonable in Youth is agreeable in Maturity, or even Old Age. When I ſee a Girl of Fourteen or Fifteen, always jumping, laughing, patting the Man who talks to her on the Shoulder, or friſking from him, as if frighted at the Sight of a Perſon of a contrary Sex, I only think ſhe has Skill enough to know the Difference between them, and am not ſhocked at her Behaviour: When I find one of Five and Twenty playing the ſame Tricks, I am aſhamed and ſorry for her:—But when the Gambol continues to Thirty, Forty, and ſo on, what can be more prepoſterous! A Woman may have her Charms in every Stage of Life, provided ſhe knows how to manage them.—Extreme Youth pleaſes with its Simplicity:—Maturity excites our Love with Elegance of Converſation; and Old Age commands Reſpect, with its Advice and chearful Gravity. In a word, the Sex can never be diſagreeable but when Diſcretion is wanting; and when it is, the moſt beautiful among them can never retain, for any long Space of Time, either the 283 Oo2r 275 the Love or Eſteem of a Man of true Underſtanding. was perſwaded, by a Friend of mine, to go with him one Day to viſit Lyſetta, a Lady to whom the World gave no very favourable Character:—They ſaid ſhe was a Widow of between thirty and forty Years of Age, had a Face far from Handſome, and was ſo very fat, that ſhe might paſs more for a Wapping Landlady than a Perſon of Condition; yet that ſhe had the Vanity to pretend to Youth, Beauty, and good Shape, and was, in effect, one of the greateſt Coquets of the Age. Prejudiced with this Idea, I went without imagining myſelf in any Danger of becoming her Captive; but never was I ſo much amazed, as when, inſtead of the giddy, fluttering old Girl I was made to expect, I found myſelf received in the politeſt Manner, by a Lady who, though ſhe ſeemed about the Years I was informed, had nothing about her of the Decays of Time:—Her Features were not indeed the fineſt turned I had ever ſeen, but very regular, and had a certain Sweetneſs and Compoſure in them which to me appeared amiable:—Neither was her Bulk ſo diſagreeable as had been repreſented, becauſe ſhe ſeemed to take no Pains to conſtrain it, and her Deportment, the whole Time we ſtaid, ſuch as Malice itſelf could not accuſe of any thing unbecomingOo2 ‘becoming 284 Oo2v 276 becoming her Circumſtances in the leaſt reſpect whatever. In fine, I thought her ſuch as no Man need be aſhamed to make the Miſtreſs of his Heart; and though I cannot ſay I was downright in Love with her, I verily believe that ſeeing her a few Times more, ſuch as ſhe then was, would have made me ſo. I could not help reproaching my Friend for the Report he had made of this Lady, who, I told him, I could find no way anſwerable to it; to which he replied, that he had ſaid no worſe than what was ſaid by all that knew her, but that he confeſſed he was a little ſurprized, for he had never before ſeen her either look or behave ſo well, and that he could not imagine what had wrought ſo great a Change in her for the better. I took little Notice of what he ſaid, as to that Point, not doubting but ſhe had always been the ſame, though he pretended the contrary:—Eager, however, to be convinced, I ſome Time after aſked him if he would take me with him again to make her a ſecond Viſit:—He readily complied with my Requeſt, and told me, that if ſhe always behaved in the Faſhion ſhe did when I was there before, he ſhould think her a very converſable Woman. We 285 Oo3r 277 We found her at Home, and my Acquaintance ſending up his Name, ſhe ran to receive us at the top of the Stair-caſe:—O my dear, Sir John, bawled ſhe out (with a Voice as different from that ſhe ſpoke in when I ſaw her firſt as a Quail-Pipe from a Lute) I deſpaired of ever ſeeing you again:—Why I was A la mort when you were here laſt, — half dead with the Vapours, and ſo hideouſly grave that I was enough to fright you. You have, however, recoved your Spirits I ſee, replied Sir John; giving a Look at me, who was aſtoniſhed at the Difference in the ſame Woman, more than I remember to have ever been in my whole Life. By this Time we were all got into the Dining-room, but, good God, What a Hoyden! What Affectation of Youth!—How did ſhe aim to give a Spring ſometimes to one Window, ſometimes to another:—Her Legs, indeed would have performed their Office well enough, but her unweildy Hips came waddling after, like two Paniers on the Back of a Mule. As to the Diſcourſe ſhe entertained us with, I will give you a Part in her very Words. — Sir John, you and your Friend ſhall Squire me to Ranelagh to Night; but on our ſaying we were engaged at another Place,—Hang you, ſaid ſhe, you ſhould not go with me if you would:—I will ‘ſend 286 Oo3v 278 ſend for Mr ――: No, now I think on it, I’ll have my Lord M――: What a Fool I am to forget Sir Thomas:—Aye, aye, he ſhall go with me; it will make his Wife go mad, poor Wretch! Then cloſed her fine Speech with a ha! ha! ha! loud enough to have ſet all the Dogs in the Neighbourhood a barking. From this ſhe run into telling us of a Country Squire, that had hanged himſelf in his own Barn on ſeeing her take Snuff out of the Parſon’s Box, then gave us a Detail of a thouſand fine Things ſhe had lately bought;—railed againſt the War which threatened the Prohibition of Cambricks;—wiſhed all the Papiſts, except the Queen of Hungary, at the Devil vil; cried up Sullivan’s ſinging at Ranelagh; ſaid nothing in Cock’s laſt Auction was worth a Groat; repeated two half Stanzas of a Song made on a Lady at Scarborough Spaw; and amidſt this Medley of Incoherencies interſperſed ſo much of her own Affairs, as to let us know that the Banker, who had moſt of her Fortune in his Hands, had like to have made a Break, and that the News of his being gone off, had put her into that ſolemn Humour Sir John had found her in at laſt Viſit. He could not on her relating this help congratulating her, that ſhe received Intelligence early enough to lodge her Money in more ſafe Hands:—Aye, cried ſhe, it was lucky; I ‘ſhould 287 Oo4r 279 ſhould have been obliged otherwiſe to have taken up with ſome Fellow of Quality or another in order to ſupport my Equipage:—Ha, —Would not that have been a mortifying Thing?—Then turned her Eyes into a half Squint. But, Madam, had you ſeen the thouſand different Geſtures, with which this Inundation of Impertinencies were accompanied, you would, doubtleſs, have bluſhed for her; ſometimes ſhe would throw herſelf back in her Chair, and extend her Arms, with two Fiſts at the end of them, each of which was big enough to fell an Ox; ſometimes again they were contracted, and the Shoulders which, indeed Nature had placed pretty near the Ears, were thruſt up to meet them quite, in what, I ſuppoſe ſhe thought, a genteel Shrug; but the Motion I perceived ſhe moſt delighted herſelf in, was diſplaying her plump and well-jointed Fingers, in continually putting in Order the Curls that hung down in her Neck, and making them perform the Office of a Comb, in ſtraitening or buckling the Hair at Pleaſure. In fine, ſuch a Lump of Affectation and Impertinence, as ſhe now appeared to me, quite wearied my Patience, and made me pluck Sir John by the Sleeve two or three Times, in order to engage him to ſhorten his Viſit, before I could prevail on him to do it;—which, he afterwards owned, was Malice in him, and that ‘he 288 Oo4v 280 he kept me there in order to revenge the little Credit I had given to his Character of this Lady, who, indeed, I was now convinced, merited much more than he had ſaid, or that, in effect, was in the Power of any Words to deſcribe. From her Houſe we went to a Tavern, where he was extremely merry on me for the Diſappointment I had received, and rallied me in a Manner which, I muſt confeſs, I truly deſerved, for imagining I could diſcover more of a Woman by being one Hour in her Company, than he, who was a Man that knew the Town as well as myſelf, could be able to do in an Acquaintance of ſome Years Duration. We fell, however, by degrees, into more ſerious Converſation, and could not forbear lamenting the unhappy Propenſity this Woman had to Gaiety, and the little Care ſhe took in diſtinguiſhing between what would render her amiable or ridiculous, as it was really in her Power to make herſelf either the one or the other. He owned with me, that ſhe was perfectly deſirable the firſt Time I ſaw her; and I acquieſced as readily with him, that ſhe was on my ſecond Viſit the very reverſe. The Misfortunes, which it ſeems ſhe was apprehenſive of falling into, had taken off all ‘that 289 Pp1r 281 that Fierceneſs and wanton Roll of her Eyes, which I had juſt now ſeen in them, and which appears ſo diſagreeable, and given a certain Compoſedneſs to all her Features at that Time, which was infinitely becoming; but thoſe Fears once removed, ſhe relapſed again into her former Follies, and became as deſpicable as ever. There are, doubtleſs, good Female Spec tator, more Women, beſide the Lady I have been ſpeaking of, who muſt be made miſerable before they can made happy, and be brought to think themſelves diſagreeable before they can be thought handſome by others. You may poſſibly have heard of a young Creature of the Town, known more by the Name of the Kitten than by that ſhe derived from her Father:—She was young, extremely ſlender, and had ſmall and fine proportioned Limbs, and the little Antiques with which ſhe diverted her Cuſtomers were becoming enough in one of her Age and Circumſtances; but when a Woman of Fortune and Condition, though ſhe be even young and well made, condeſcends to play the Kitten, and ape one of thoſe Wretches, who behave in that Manner only for Bread, they muſt have more Complaiſance for the Sex than I pretend to, that can treat them with any degree of Reſpect. How doubly abſurd is it, then, when People Vol. III. Pp of 290 Pp1v 282 of an advanced Age and groſs Body, give themſelves thoſe childiſh and affected Airs, thereby loſing all the Praiſe of what they are, by endeavouring to excite Praiſe for what they are not, nor can ever be! Had the Lady I have mentioned been in reality deprived of all that we call the Goods of Fortune, ſhe would certainly have been eſtimable for thoſe which are peculiarly the Gifts of Heaven and Nature, a reaſonable Soul and a graceful Perſon:—While under thoſe Anxieties, ſhe doubtleſs had the Power of Thought and Reflection, and the too volatile Part of her Conſtitution being abated, made her look and act as ſhe ought; but the Miſfortune was, that theſe Apprehenſions were no ſooner removed than ſhe relapſed again into her former Self, and became as giddy, as vain, and as truly contemptible as ever. But when I ſat down to write to the Female Spectator, it was not my Intention to dwell on any individual Perſon; and I know not how I have been led into a Prolixity, on the mention of this Lady, which I am far from being pleaſed with myſelf; but as the Picture I have drawn for her may bear a Reſemblance of many others, it may go ſome way towards anſwering the End I have in View. Which is, Madam, to prevail with the Ladiesdies 291 Pp2r 283 dies to be as well ſatisfied with themſelves at Fifty as at Fifteen; to convince them that there are Charms, which are not in the Power of the old Gentleman with the Scythe and Hourglaſs to mow down; and that it is entirely their own Fault if they do not find him in reality more a Friend than an Enemy, ſince, for one Perfection he deprives them of, they may, if they pleaſe, receive a thouſand from him. I am always very much concerned when I ſee a Lady dejected and miſerable in her Mind at the firſt Approach of a Wrinkle in her Face; and more induſtrious to conceal the ſmalleſt Creaſe about her Eyes, than ſhe would be to heal the largeſt Scar in her Reputation: But I am yet more troubled, when conſcious of her Age, and the Decays it has brought on, ſhe thinks to hide it from the World by aſſuming the Airs, Dreſs, and Behaviour of Youth, and affects to be at Forty what, if ſhe has common Senſe, ſhe would have been aſhamed to be at Five and Twenty. Yet this is ſo reigning a Foible among the Fair, that were they all to wear Vizard-Maſks, there would be no Poſſibility of diſtinguiſhing the Beldam from her great Grand-daughter. For my part, I expect nothing more than that, in a little Time, the old Ladies will wear Hangingſleeve Coats, and Bibs and Aprons, as well as Pp2 ‘little 292 Pp2v 284 little round-eared Caps and Curls in their Necks. But as all this proceeds meerly from the Terror of being thought old, I deſpair of ſeeing the Ladies act in a more reaſonable Manner, till they can reconcile themſelves to ſubmit to thoſe different Stages which Nature has allotted, and which they may equally be agreeable in, if they take proper Methods to be ſo. I know no Doctrine which would more become you to inculcate into your Fair Readers, nor that would preſerve them ſo effectually againſt falling into Errors of all kinds: In expectation therefore that you will vouchſafe this a Place in your next Lucubrations, and add ſomething of your own on the Occaſion, I remain, with the moſt perfect Veneration, Madam, Your moſt humble, and Moſt devoted Servant, J.M.
It is to be wiſhed, indeed, that the Character this Gentleman has given us, under the Name of Lyſetta might not be aſcribed to a great Number of our Sex; and that the Impartiality the Female Spectator has promiſed to obſerve, would have permitted us to have ſtifled, udner the Pretence of its being a perſonal Reflection, a Piece of 293 Pp3r 285 of Satire, which we fear will be looked upon as but too general.
What is there, after all, that is ſo terrible in being known to have more Years over our Heads than we had twenty Years ago?—Is not the Deſire of a long Life natural to us all?—Is it not the Wiſh of our beſt Friends, and the Compliment of our politeſt Acquaintance?—Why then do we murmur at attaining it?—endeavour as much as we can to conceal we have arrived at it, and run back into all the Follies of Youth to cheat the Diſcernment of thoſe that ſee us, and give the Lie to Time?
How vain alſo is the Attempt!—December’s Froſt might as eaſily aſſume the Livery of gaudy May, as Fifty look like Fifteen: Yet both Seaſons have their Pleaſures, and as we provide warm Clothes and Fire to defend us againſt the Blaſts of Winter, ſo, if we take Care betimes to lay in a Stock of Knowledge and Experience, Age will find ſufficient in itſelf to compenſate for the Loſs of Youth.
The Joys afforded by the one are fleeting, hurrying and ſenſual; that of the other permanent, ſolid, and ſpiritual, ſays a celebrated French Author. And the Truth of his Words I am confident will be confeſſed by all thoſe who, having indulged the Gaieties of Youth, know how to improve the Advantages of riper Years. The 294 Pp3v 286 The Affectation of appearing younger than we are is certainly the moſt groſs of any we can be guilty of, becauſe it includes in it all thoſe different kinds, which, ſingly practiſed, render a Perſon ridiculous.
But I think our Correſpondent in the Character of Lyſetta, whether real or feigned, has ſummed up every thing that can be ſaid on this Head, in regard to our Sex, except that Envy, which an Abſurd Ambition of being thought leſs old than we are, naturally excites in us againſt all who are younger than ourſelves in effect, or that appear ſo by having more delicate Complexions, or Features, leſs ſubject to the Decays of Time.
I must confeſs I have been an Eye-witneſs of Inſtances, which, if I had not been ſo, would have been incredible to me on the Report of others; wherein this Paſſion has been carried to ſuch a Height in ſome Women, as to make them hate even their own Daughters only for being poſſeſſeſſed of that Bloom which themſelves had loſt.
How cruelly then may we expect ſuch Women will deal with all thoſe of their Acquaintance, leſs advanced in years!—How many thouſand Faults will blackening Envy find or invent to deſtroy, as much as poſſible, all the good Opinion the World has of them!—Detraction will leſſen the Merit of the moſt conſpicuous Virtues: Defamation miſrepreſent thoſe of a more doubtfulful 295 Pp4r 287 ful kind, and Malice magnify every little Error to a mountainous Extent.
It is hard to ſay whether the Folly or the Wickedneſs of ſuch a Diſpoſition is moſt predominant:—Sure nothing can be more abſurd than to imagine ourſelves enriched by our Neighbour’s Poverty; nor can any thing be more Fiend-like than to take Pleaſure in the Ruin of others.
There requires but a common Share of Underſtanding, methinks, to ſhew us, that it is not by the Merit of others, but our own, that we are judged:—Shall I be the more virtuous becauſe another is diſcovered to be vicious? Will the Defects of other People’s Features render my own more lovely?—Wild Imagination! how can any one impoſe thus upon themſelves!
If every one, inſtead of endeavouring to expoſe all the Faults of her Acquaintance, and depreciating all their Perfections, would endeavour to regulate her own Conduct and Behaviour, I dare anſwer, let her Face be never ſo plain, or her Years ever ſo much advanced, ſhe will ſuffer nothing from the World on the Score of her Age and Uglineſs:—Every Imperfection of the Perſon will be ſwallowed up and loſt in obſerving the Beauty of the Mind and Manners, and all who know will both eſteem and love her.—As we uſed to ſay of a celebrated Actreſs, who, with all the Diſadvantages of a bad Voice, and worſe Perſon, became the greateſt Ornament of the Stage, that 296 Pp4v 288 that She played away her Face and Voice: So, whoever acts up to the Character Heaven has placed her in Life, and does not deviate from Reaſon and from Nature, will have ſuch Attractions in her Behaviour as will entirely take off the Attention from any perſonal Blemiſhes or Decays, be they ever ſo great.
O, that it were poſſible for my whole Sex to be convinced of this great Truth, and it then never would be ſaid there was an old or an ugly Woman in the World. Our Converſation would be always ſought with Eagerneſs, and no Man would quit our Company but with a Deſire to re-enjoy it.
This Reflection is ſufficient, one would imagine, to make every Woman take thoſe Methods of pleaſing which alone have the Power of doing it:—The Deſire of rendering ourſelves agreeable to Society is no leſs laudable than it is natural; but no Woman of Underſtanding, would wiſh to receive Applauſe for thoſe very Things which, ſhe is conſcious in herſelf, rather deſerve Cenſure.—It is only the thoughtleſs Coquet who is delighted with Praiſes, which, ſhe may eaſily perceive if not too much blinded by her Vanity, are as far from being meant by the Perſon who ſpeaks them as they are from being juſt.
But, as ridiculous as little kinds of Affectation are297Qq1r289 are in our Sex, they are yet leſs ſupportable in the other.—When a Man, with all the Advantages of a liberal Education, a general Converſation in the World, and who ought to know that his leaſt Merit is a handſome Face, ſhall tremble at a Pimple, and be alarmed at the very Thought of a Wrinkle, how ſtrangely does he degenerate from the Intent of Nature!
Yet, that ſuch may be ſeen every Day ſauntering in the Park, at Court, at all our great Coffee-Houſes, and in moſt public Places, I believe none of my Readers need be told.
It has often made me ſmile to myſelf to hear ſome Men, who in other Things have a great Share of Underſtanding, yet are ſo weak in this, that whenever any Tranſaction is mentioned that happened in the Time of their Youth, they artfully pretend not to be perfectly acquainted with it, and ask a thouſand impertinent Queſtions, that the Company may believe they had not then attained to a ſufficient Age to be capable of remembering any thing concerning it, and think themſelves happy if they can, by this Stratagem, drop a few of the Years they have paſſed over.
In fine, though long Life is a Bleſſing deſired and prayed for by every one, we ſhall find few willing to acknowledge the Attainment of it; and of all the Gifts that Heaven beſtows, this is the leaſt boaſted of, though Mr. Waller ſo juſtly ſays of the laſt Years of a long Life, Vol. III. Qq The 298 Qq1v 290 The Soul with nobler Reſolutions deck’d,The Body ſtooping does herſelf erect.Clouds of Affections from our younger Eyes,Conceal that Happineſs which Age deſcries.The Mind’s dark Cottage, batter’d and decay’d,Lets in new Light thro’ Chinks that Time has made.Stronger by Weakneſs wiſer Men become,As they draw near to their eternal Home.
But, however we may reaſon on this Occaſion, there is ſomewhat of an Irkſomeneſs to growing old, which few People are wiſe enough to keep themſelves from feeling, and fewer yet have Prudence enough to conceal.—Whether this is implanted in Nature or not, I will not take upon me to determine abſolutely; but may venture to give it as my Opinion, that, to what Source ſoever owing, it may be conquered by a due Reflection on the many ſolid Advantages which Age beſtows, and is wholly our own Fault if we do not enjoy.
I might add too, that the Neceſſity of ſubmitting to the Laws of Nature ſhould make us endeavour to be eaſy under a Change which we know all muſt ſuffer, if not cut ſhort by an untimely Fate; but Reſignation is not a Virtue every one can practiſe, thoſe only who have the Seeds of true Piety in their Hearts are capable of it, and ſuch ſtand in no need of Admonitions: —As to others, all that can be urged may be ſummed up in this ſhort Maxim.Not 299 Qq2r 291
Not to affect the Manners of Youth, and then old Age will neither be burthenſome to ourſelves, nor diſpleaſing to thoſe about us.
I shall therefore ſay no more on this Head: I believe my Readers expect I ſhould now perform the Promiſe made in the laſt but one of theſe Eſſays, and give an Account in what Manner our little Society paſſed our Time, in the Ramble we took two Months ago into the Country.
As we went to the Seat of one of the moſt accompliſhed Perſons upon Earth, we could not fail of being elegantly entertained; but the Weather, which the whole Summer has ſeemed as if the Courſe of Nature were perverted, was altogether unpropitious to our main View in going into the Country; and inſtead of contemplating, as Philo-Naturæ had recommended, the Wonders of Nature, in the Formation of thoſe Millions of different Inſects and Animals, which the Fields and Gardens would have preſented, obliged us to ſtay, for the moſt part, within Doors, and paſs our Hours in the ſame Amuſements we were accuſtomed to enjoy when in London.
Whenever a few Hours of Sun-ſhine had rendered it practicable to walk, we ſallied forth with our Microſcopes; but the unuſual Cold, and almoſt continual Rain, or what was even worſe, a kind of poiſonous Dew that ſometimes fell, even in what ſeemed a fair Day, had either Qq2 deſtroyed 300 Qq2v 292 deſtroyed great Part of thoſe little Creatures which I have formerly ſeen hanging at the Leaves of Plants, or skipping on the Graſs, or elſe had driven them to take Shelter in a more warm and dry Receſs, where we had not Skill enough to diſcover them.
Caterpillars, indeed, we ſaw in great Numbers, and were very much diverted to obſerve, how, on the leaſt Touch, they ſhrunk themſelves up into a little Heap, or Ball, by the Help of Rings placed at certain Diſtances round their Bodies:—We alſo took Notice, that the Difference of their Colours proceeded from the different Herbage on which they fed; but none of us were able to conceive what it was gave them thoſe beautiful gold Specks, with which ſome of them were adorned, till a very ingenious Gentleman, who ſometimes aſſiſted our Speculations, informed us, that theſe Inſects had ſmall Fibres between their outward Coat and Skin, filled with a thinner and more delicate Juice than that which ſupplies them with Strength, and converts to Glue whenever they would faſten themſelves to any thing; and that this fine Liquid, tranſpiring by the Heat of the Sun, becomes of the ſame Colour with the Rays that called it forth.
As there are a vaſt Variety of theſe Creatures, I think the Learned ſay, no leſs than upward of three hundred different Species, which yet all paſs under the ſame Name, one cannot help admiring the 301 Qq3r 293 the Wiſdom and Juſtice of Nature, which has beſtowed her Bounties, even on Inſects, which appear ſo contemptible to us, with ſuch an impartial Hand, that had they the Gift of Reaſon, none of them would find Cauſe to envy the others:—The Properties of each being ſo alike valuable, that none would be a Gainer by the Exchange.
There are a Sort, who at firſt Sight appear more ugly than any of the reſt:—They ſeem all of a dirty brown Colour, and are covered with Hair of the ſame Hue, which is long and coarſe, like the Briſtles of a Boar; but when you come to examine them, you will find Beauties you little expected:—That ſhaggy Coat, which is doubtleſs given them for a Protection, but hides from the naked Eye a Skin perfectly enamelled with Gold and Purple:—They have Heads quite round, and exactly reſembling a Globe of Amber, both for Clearneſs and Colour: —Their Eyes are wonderfully fine, whether we conſider their Shape or Luſtre, and that they have very ſharp Teeth I experienced, by laying one of them upon the Back of my Hand, in order to examine it more carefully:—They have a great Number of Feet, as I believe all Caterpillars have in general, but I perceive the chief Strength of theſe is in thoſe two that are placed at the Extremity of the Body, and have ſo much Elaſticity in them, as to enable the Creature to raiſe itſelf almoſt upright, whenever any Propenſity, of 302 Qq3v 294 of which we know not the Occaſion, excites it to that Motion.
The worthy Gentleman, I before mentioned, and who is a great Contemplator of the minute Works of Nature, told us, that this Species of the Caterpillars is of the Camelion kind, and changes its Hue according to the Weather: — If we had continued in the Country a little longer, I would certainly have made the Experiment, by keeping one of them in a Box, with ſome Earth, and the ſame Sort of Leaves on which I found it feeding; for though I am willing to pay a due Deference to the Judgment of that Gentleman, I am rather apt to believe the Colour of theſe Animals more owing to their Food than to the Air they breathe.
The other Caterpillars, which we found on the Apple Trees, the Cabbages, and ſeveral Plants in the Kitchen-Garden, were of a fine Green, and had not thoſe hairy Mantles, by which we inferred they were leſs defended from any Inclemencies of the Air than thoſe I have mentioned; but then we found they had a Sort of Glue within their Bowels, by the Ejection of which they could, when any Danger of that Nature threatened, faſten themſelves ſo firmly to the Bark of a Tree, or any other Place they choſe for an Aſylum, that it was not in the Power of the rougheſt Blaſts of Boreas to ſhake them off.
Wherefore then ought not we, who pretendtend 303 Qq4r 295 tend to Reaſon, to be content with the Station in which we are placed?—Why do we envy the Riches of one Neighbour, the perſonal Perfections of another, or any of thoſe Things which we ſee enjoyed by others, and are conſcious of being deficient ourſelves? The allwiſe Creator has diſpenſed to every one a Sufficiency to make him happy, and it lies on us alone to manage the Talents he has given, ſo as not to ſtand in need of more.
How ſtrangely ſtupid in us is it to complain for want of Amuſements, when Nature has provided ſuch an infinite Variety, that we can turn our Eyes no where without finding ſomewhat to gratify the enquiring Soul!—But ſo blind are we to our own Happineſs, that we neglect every thing capable of affording a real Satisfaction, to run in queſt either of ſhadowy Nothings, or of ſuch Things, as in the End pay ſhort-lived Joys with laſting Anguiſh.
There is certainly ſomewhat ſo innocently pleaſing, and at the ſame time ſo very improving, in contemplating even the moſt minute Works of the Creation, that I cannot help wondering they are not much more attended to.
The Officers of the State, indeed, the Commanders of Fleets and Armies, and all thoſe whoſe Time is taken up, either in Employments for the Service of the Nation, or in Trades, or other Avocations, for the Suſtenance of their particularticular 304 Qq4v 296 ticular Families, cannot be expected to bend their Thoughts this Way; but the Ladies, and thoſe Gentlemen who have many vacant Hours upon their Hands, could not, methinks, employ them in a more agreeable Manner.
Every Element affords ſuch a Profuſion of Matter for our Entertainment, that we can no where caſt our Eyes without diſcovering ſomething new:—As we were taking a little Walk one Morning in the Garden, where the Ground had been lately thrown up in order to make ſome Alteration in one of the Parterres, Euphroſine, who was leaning on my Arm, imagined ſhe ſaw a kind of Motion in ſome Parts of the looſe Earth, and immediately mentioned it to me; who, I muſt confeſs, was not ſo quick-ſighted as to perceive any Agitation:—We both, however, had recourſe to our Microſcopes, and I was then convinced ſhe was not deceived, and that there was really a Motion in ſeveral of thoſe Clods which had been ſcattered about the Edges of the Bank they had been taken from.
We called out to Mira and the noble Widow, who were at ſome Diſtance from us talking to the Gardener, and being joined by them, each of us took up in our Hands one of theſe animated Hillocks, and by the Help of our Glaſſes found they were full of little living Creatures encaſed in Shells, which ſeemed exactly the ſame with thoſe of Snails, though of a different Colour and almoſt tranſparent.To 305 Rr1r 297
To be aſſured, if poſſible, what they were, we put a ſufficient Quantity of Earth into a Pot, and then laid them lightly into it, ſtrewing a few Vine Leaves on the Top, and carried them into the Parlour, with a ſtrict Charge to all the Servants not to remove it from its Place, nor ſuffer any thing to fall upon it, or cruſh the Earth.
We alſo took a particular Care that there ſhould be no Worms, nor any thing elſe in the Food we had prepared, which might be of Prejudice to our young Nurſery.
For the firſt two Days we could ſee nothing of them, but on the third had the Satisfaction to perceive ſeveral had broke up their Covering, and nibbled the Leaves we laid for their Suſtenance: —We then took one of them out, and found it conſiderably increaſed in Bulk, and that the Shell was grown harder, and of a more brown Colour, and could now diſcern thoſe four Antennas, or Horns, as they are vulgarly called, but are in reality jointed Tubes, which they can either extend or contract at Pleaſure: At the Extremity of theſe are placed their Eyes, and we are told ſerved alſo as Organs for ſmelling; but as to that I can ſay nothing of my own Knowledge.
We were however now perfectly convinced that they were Snails, and alſo that this Species of Inſects, contemptible as it may ſeem, had in it ſufficient to excite an Admiration of the alwiſe and beneficent Creator, who forgets not the Vol. III. Rr ſmalleſt 306 Rr1v 298 ſmalleſt of his Works, and beſtows on every living Thing what is moſt convenient for its Being.
Those thin Shells which were ſufficient to defend them while an Embryo in the Egg, and while hid in the Bowels of the Earth, would not have kept out the Cold, when expoſed to the open Air in ſearch of Nouriſhment; they are, therefore furniſhed with a ſineuous Juice, which, diſtilling from their Pores, becomes a hard Conſiſtence, and joins with the Shell, which every Day, I might ſay every Hour, increaſes in Proportion with the Snail, and ſerves her as a Houſe or Cavern, in which ſhe may either hide herſelf, or peep out of, as ſhe pleaſes, as Occaſion requires.
As our Stay in the Country was but ſhort, I cannot expreſſly ſay the Time in which, from an Egg, this Inſect arrives at Maturity; but by the Progreſs thoſe under our Care made in Growth, it muſt be in about fourteen or fifteen Days.
This, however, I leave to the Naturaliſts to unfold, and perhaps that Gentleman with whom we left the little Family when we returned to Town, may hereafter oblige the Public with a more full Deſcription of them, than the Female Spectator would be able to do with the ſtricteſt Obſervation.
I must confeſs I am a little intereſted in theſe Animals, not only becauſe I had, as it were, the breeding up of ſome of them, but alſo becauſe I think, 307 Rr2r 299 think, ugly and inſignificant as they may ſeem to other People, that there is ſomething peculiarly graceful and majeſtic in them.
Such a Poſition may poſſibly occaſion a good deal of Laughter among ſome of my Readers; but let thoſe who are moſt inclined to ridicule me for it, only take the ſame Pains I have done to examine a Snail, and I am pretty confident they will change their Note.
These Animals, indeed, not having any Legs, or Feet, can only ſlide their Bodies from Place to Place, and do that extremely ſlow, by reaſon of the great Weight they carry on their Backs; but then they have long Necks, and hold their Heads very erect, which grac’d with thoſe four Antlers, each tipt with a tranſparent Eye, gives them, in my Opinion, an Air of Dignity beyond what many other Creatures which are accounted much more valuable can boaſt of.
That they are miſchievous, not only to our Plants and Flowers, but even to our Fruits, I am ſenſible; but then they are ſo uſeful to Man in the Cure of ſeveral terrible Diſeaſes, particularly the Scurvy and all Sorts of Conſumptions, that I cannot but think we are much more obliged than prejudiced by them.
But, methinks, I hear ſome People ſay: Could they find no Objects more worthy their Attention,Rr2 tention, 308 Rr2v 300 tention, than Caterpillars and Snails?—Two Inſects the moſt contemptible of any.
To which I might anſwer, that nothing made by God is in itſelf contemptible:—Wonderful are all his Works, and the Behemoth of the Land, or the Leviathan of the Sea, magnify not his Power and Wiſdom more by their Strength; nor the ſpotted Leopard of the Foreſt, or the fine Limbed Antelope, or the ſtarry-plumed Peacock by their Comelineſs and Beauty, than do theſe Inſects, by the amazing Properties beſtowed on each.
It is plain, their great Creator thinks not on them as we do:—To the meaneſt Reptile he has given Arms Offenſive and Defenſive:—Inſtruments wherewith to build their Houſes, and prepare their Food without the Aſſiſtance of any other Animal:—They have Sagacity to chuſe the moſt proper Places to depoſit their Eggs, and Tenderneſs to watch over them till arrived at Perfection:—In a word, they have all they ſtand in need of within themſelves, and it betrays a great Want of Conſideration in us when we too much deſpiſe this inferior Part of the Creation, ſince it is only by the Almighty Fiat they are kept in any Sort of Subjection to us; and many of them could, if permitted by Him, not only give us great Annoyance, but alſo Death itſelf.—The Toad, — the bloated Spider,—the creeping Earwig, and various other Inſects, no leſs ſeemingly contemptible, have us frequently in their Power, and it is 309 Rr3r 301 is well known what Miſchiefs they are capable of doing.
But there is another Reaſon, that perhaps may be looked upon as a better alſo, for our confining our Speculations to ſo narrow a Compaſs, and which, I think, none, who has made the leaſt Obſervations on this perverted Seaſon of this Year, but muſt immediately ſee into.
The Mind is inſenſibly attracted by the Senſes to a Contemplation of that which is moſt pleaſing to them:—There are in Nature many Animals whoſe Beauty would have ſtruck the Sight: — Many Plants, whoſe Colour and oderiferous Smell would doubtleſs have excited a Deſire in us of being better acquainted with them: But where were they to be found:—The one, thoſe of the Reptile Kind at leaſt, deep in the Boſom of the Earth lay hid in their Chryſalis, or in the Hollow of ſome friendly Tree from the bleak Winds and cold inclement Air:—The other, were either not bloſſomed, or quite ſhrivelled, and blaſted in their Buds.
The all-chearing, all-enlivening Sun, or as the inimitable Milton juſtly ſtiles him, Of this great World both Eye and Soul, though mounted in the Lyon, and expected to appear high in his Solſtice, ſcarce ſhewed his gorgeous Face:—No genial Ray ſhot through the thick impenetrable Vapours to warm the unkindledkindled 310 Rr3v 302 kindled Embrio into Life, or call the latent Sap forth from its Center to ſhoot forth in Foliage: —Inſtead of the gay Livery that Summer wears, a diſmal Gloom! a dreary wintery Proſpect! — All Nature ſeemed to mourn, as if the Deeds of Man affected Heaven itſelf.
Even the Evergreens, Things that they ſay thrive beſt in the Shade, ſuſtained a Blight, hung down their Heads, and dropped their withered Leaves:—What Fruits the Orchards yielded were taſteleſs, wateriſh, and inſipid:—The yellow Apricot, and the Roſe-cheeked Pippen now wear a livid Paleneſs, the Plumb unhandled loſt its Bloom, the weak Stems let fall their Loading yet unripe:—Man, Bird, and Beaſt, all the Inhabitants of Earth and Air, wondered and languiſh’d at the direful Change.
Wherever I caſt my Eyes it filled me with a solemn Melancholy, inſtead of thoſe chearful Images the Country uſed to inſpire me with; and brought into my Mind ſome Lines of Sir Richard Blackmore’s, made, I ſuppoſe, on the Idea of ſuch a Summer, for I have been told by thoſe who have ſeen near an Hundred, that there never in reality was one in any Degree to be compared to this. The verdant Walks their charming Aſpect loſe,And ſhrivell’d Fruit drops from the wither’d Boughs; Flowers311Rr4r303Flowers in their Virgin Bluſhes ſmother’d die,And round their Plants their ſcatter’d Beauties lie:Infection taints the Air, ſick Nature fades;And ſudden Autumn all the Place invades.So when the Fields their flow’ry Pomp diſplay,Sooth’d by the Spring’s ſweet Breath, and chearing Ray;As Boreas, when provok’d to furious War,Muſters his ſwift-wing’d Legions in the Air,And for wide Devaſtation marches forth,With the bleak Forces of th’ inclement North:The opening Buds, and ſprouting Herbage, allThe beauteous Produce of the Spring muſt fall;The blighted Trees their leafy Honours ſhed,And on their blaſted Hopes the mournful Gard’ners tread.
We had no Reaſon, however, to complain of our ill Fortune, or regret the Time this little Excurſion had taken up:—Mira had for a near Neighbour a Gentleman of great Senſe and Learning, and of a very curious and ſpeculative Diſpoſition.—He came every Afternoon to viſit her, and finding how much we were diſappointed in our Reſearches, told us very obligingly, that if we had not reſolved to confine our Studies to the Earth, and the Produce of it, he had a Teleſcope, which would bring us acquainted with thoſe Orbs above, whoſe Revolutions it was generally ſuppoſed had an Influence over every thing beneath, not excepting even ourſelves.Mira 312 Rr4v 304
Mira, who had often heard he was Maſter of one of the fineſt Machines of the kind in the whole Kingdom, and had alſo a very high Turret on the Top of his Houſe, on which it was mounted to a very great Advantage, whenever he had a mind to contemplate the ſuperior Regions, thanked him in the Name of us all, and anſwered for us that we ſhould accept his Invitation with the utmoſt Satisfaction.
The next Evening being appointed for the gratifying the Curioſity his Offer had excited in us, we were impatient till it arrived, and though the Air happened to be extremely cold, and he, who came himſelf to conduct us, with three other Gentlemen of the County, expreſſed ſome Apprehenſions of its being prejudicial to us, we were determined not to be diſappointed, and muffling ourſelves up in our Joſephs, accompanied them to his Seat, which ſtood on the Aſcent of a Hill, not above three hundred Paces diſtant from where we were.
It would be impertinent to take up our Reader’s Time with any Deſcription of the fine Collation prepared for us, which was rendered yet more agreeable by the improving and chearful Converſation.
The Cloth was no ſooner removed, than our obliging Hoſt conſulted a little Book he had in his Pocket, by which finding how the Moon and 313 Ss1r 305 and other Planets were poſited, he deſired we would aſcend the Turret.
This Room, though it appeared ſmall to us by reaſon of its Height, while we were at the Foot of the Hill, was very ſpacious; and beſides the large Stand, with all its Screws, Pins, and Levers, on which a Teleſcope of ſix and thirty Foot was mounted, contained two Pair of very fine Globes, ſet on Pedeſtals of Ebony, inlaid with Mother of Pearl, a Writing-deſk, Book-caſe, and a dozen of Chairs:—It had a great Window, that took entirely up one of the Squares, which opening with large Caſements, the Teleſcope was placed againſt:—The others were hung all round with Maps, which, they ſaid, were extremely curious; but we neither examined them nor the Globes, our Attention being wholly engroſſed by ſomething of a ſuperior Kind: — We had now an Opportunity of admiring the moſt glorious Handywork of God himſelf, and had no Leiſure to think of the Performances of Man in a Repreſentation of them, the beſt of which muſt be but faint when compared to the Divine Original.
Yet muſt it be acknowledged, we could have no clear Notion of the one without the Helps we have received from the other: Perſons who have been illumined in a peculiar Manner, and endued with a ſuperior Penetration, have given the reſt of Mankind, as it were, new Eyes to beholdIII. Sſ hold 314 Ss1v 306 hold the Wonders of the Heavens, and the Glory of God, in the moſt illuſtrious of his Works.
It is to a Copernicus we are indebted for being freed from that Miſt of Errors in which, for ſo many Ages, we were invelop’d; and for the true Interpretation of many Paſſages in ſacred Writ, which had ſtill remained a profound Myſtery, had not his noble Hypotheſis made us eaſily account for them.
To Galileo and his Diſciples it is that we owe the excellent Invention of thoſe Glaſſes which bring Objects preſent to us, which are, in reality, at ſo immenſe a Diſtance; and enables us, while on Earth, to tread the Starry Regions, to become, as it were, Inhabitants of the blue Expanſe, and travel through an Infinity of Worlds, till then unknown, ungueſſed at.
What Obligations have the leſs learned World to Gaſendi, De Molieres, Caſſine, Euclid, Sir Iſaac Newton, and even Des Cartes, (though many of his Principles are juſtly enough exploded) to Hook, Flamſtead and Doctor Hally, who, by their diligent and judicious Obſervations, have alſo perfected our Conceptions of thoſe Ideas which their Predeceſſors had inſpired us with.
Many others beſides theſe have greatly contributed to the enlightning our Underſtandings; but for all the numerous Advantages we receive from 315 Ss2r 307 from their Abilities, to whom is the Tribute of our grateful Praiſe principally due, but to that divine and omnipotent Source of all Wiſdom and Knowledge, who beſtowed on them the Means of being ſo univerſally beneficial.
When one conſiders how often, by the moſt trifling Accidents, very great and important Diſcoveries have been made, one muſt be as ſtupid, as prophane, not to acknowledge they ſpring immediately from God, and that Human Learning but reduces into Practice what the firſt Notions of came by Inſpiration.
They ſay, that the uſeful Invention of the Spying-Glaſs, or Teleſcope, was produced by a Spectacle-Maker of Middleburgh, in Zealand, who ſeeing his Children, as they were at play in his Shop, hold between their Fingers Pieces of broken Glaſs, at ſome Diſtance from each other, and cry they could ſee the Weathercock at the Top of the Church as big again as it uſed to be, and juſt by them, thought there was ſomewhat more than ordinary in it; and mingling with the Boys, and looking, as they did, through the Glaſſes, was very much ſurprized, and preſently fell to making an Inſtrument, which he could lengthen or contract as he pleaſed.
The Novelty of this Machine drew great Numbers to his Houſe;—every Body admired his Ingenuity, and he made his Fortune by it: As did ſeveral others after him, who improved Sſ2 upon 316 Sſ2v 308 upon his Scheme, Generation after Generation, till it was brought to Perfection by Galileo.
The juſtly celebrated and learned Sir Iſaac Newton took his firſt Hint of Gravitation from ſeeing an Apple fall from a Tree. May we not therefore ſay with the inſpired Writer,
The Race is not to the Swift, nor the Battle to Men of Might, but the Glory is to God that gave it.
Wonderful, indeed, are his Bounties to Man, who not only created all Things for his Uſe, but alſo gave him Wiſdom and Judgment to underſtand the Value of the Bleſſings he enjoys, and to erect a kind of new Creation of his own; as the admirable Milton moſt elegantly expreſſes the State and Condition of this Sovereign of all ſublunary Beings, before he became degraded by Sin and Shame: ――The Maſter-work, the EndOf all yet done; a Creature, who not proneAnd brute as other Creatures, but enduedWith Sanctity of Reaſon, might erectHis Stature, and upright with Front ſereneGovern the reſt, ſelf-knowing, and from thenceMagnanimous to correſpond with Heaven:He form’d thee thus! Thee, Adam, Thee O Man!Duſt of the Ground, and in thy Noſtrils breath’dThe Breath of Life. Here317Sſ3r309Here finiſh’d He, and all that he had madeView’d; and behold, all was entirely good,Anſwering his great Idea! Up he rode,Follow’d with Acclamations, and the SoundSymphonious of ten thouſand Harps that tun’dAngelic Harmony; the Earth, the Air Reſounded,The Heavens and all the Conſtellations rung,The Planets in their Station liſt’ning ſtood,While the bright Pomp aſcended Jubilant.
These were Contemplations which one could not well avoid falling into, amidſt ſuch a Variety of Proofs of the Ingenuity God has beſtowed on Man, as this Turret preſented us with; and we had probably dwelt on them much longer than we did, had not the Gentleman, after having examined the Poſition of his Teleſcope, and found it in the Order he would have it, deſired us one by one to look into it, and behold the Moon, which was then two Days paſt the Full.
I, who had never ſeen that friendly Planet but with the naked Eye, was ſurprized to find it ſo huge a Body, as ſhe now appeared through this Glaſs; and alſo that ſhe was not all over of that pale ſhining Colour I had uſed to think her, but had in many Parts a Darkneſs which took from her Rotundity, and made her in ſome Places ſeem as it were broken and ragged.
As I knew this could only be occaſioned by the different Effects of thoſe Rays which illuminateminate 318 Sſ3v 310 minate all the Planets, and which are always the ſame when darted on Bodies of the ſame Nature, I could not help inferring from thence, that the Moon as well as the Earth had its Waters and dry Land, and that the One, which every one is ſenſible is leſs capable of admitting the Light than the Other, made that Diverſity in the Apparatus.
On my expreſſing my Sentiments on this Matter, ſome Diſpute aroſe among the Gentlemen concerning a Plurality of Worlds; three of them were ſtrongly for that Syſtem, and the fourth, who was of a contrary Opinion, had a very difficult Taſk to find Arguments which ſeemed of any Weight, eſpecially after one of his Antagoniſts, turning the Teleſcope to that Angle of the Heavens where Saturn was at that Time poſited, and making us all look earneſtly on that vaſt Globe, we ſaw it was encompaſſed with a Circle or a Ring, which we could eaſily diſcover to be luminous.
This Ring, which, as he ſaid, is full of Moons, or Stars, or ſome other illuminated Bodies, which, like the four we ſee conſtantly attending on Jupiter, can be called no other than Satellites, muſt certainly be placed in order to give Light to a World, which, by its Remoteneſs from the Sun, muſt otherwiſe be involved in moſt horrible Darkneſs for half the Year. And, added he, if it be ſo, as the Teſtimony of our own Eyes may convince us, why ſo much Care taken of a barren Point?—Is it conſiſtent with the Wiſdom of the 319 Sſ4r 311 the Almighty Maker of the Univerſe to do any thing in vain?—And what need of Light where there are no Inhabitants to receive the Benefits of it?
From hence therefore he concluded, I thought with a good deal of Reaſon, that the Planets were in reality all ſo many different Worlds, but by what kind of Beings Peopled, whether of the ſame Species with ourſelves, or whether of a ſuperior or inferior Nature, he confeſſed was one of the Secrets of God, an impenetrable Myſtery; and that it did not become us to dive into it.
The other Gentleman, though alone in his Opinion, either could not, or would not recede from it:—He pretended, that to imagine the Planets were created for any other Purpoſe than the Influence given them over the Earth, was but a falſe Philoſophy, inconſiſtent with the Chriſtian Religion, and a Tenet which ſeemed to abſolve Mankind from the Gratitude owing to Heaven, which had created thoſe vaſt Bodies meerly for our Uſe and Pleaſure.
To this the worthy Perſon, at whoſe Houſe we were, made Anſwer, that without all Doubt there was a Chain of Love and Unity, which linked the whole Creation, ſo as that every Part of it ſhould depend, and be of ſome Service to the other; thoſe moſt nearly connected feeling moſt the Effects of each other’s Influence, which we have all the Reaſon imaginable to believe are reciprocal;procal, 320 Sſ4v 312 procal; as the Moon, for Example, ſupplies to us the Abſence of the Sun by the Reflection and Refraction of his Beams, while himſelf is totally ſhrouded from us, ſo it is very likely our Earth, by the ſame Means, may ſerve as a ſecondary Light to that Orb.
He concluded, however, a very elegant Diſcourſe on the Probability of this Axiom, by ſaying, that as all theſe Things were meerly ſpeculative, Man ought to be content with enjoying the Benefit he received from the Planets, and not make himſelf uneaſy for not being able to comprehend them.
This agreeable Gentleman, to prevent all farther Diſcourſe on a Topic which he found all were not agreed in, then moved his Teleſcope a ſecond Time, to give us the Opportunity of obſerving that beautiful Planet Venus.
We Women were extremely pleaſed that he found this Means to put an End to a Controverſy, which though edifying to us, by being made acquainted with all the different Arguments that could be made uſe of by both Sides the Queſtion, gave us ſome Apprehenſions, by the Warmth it occaſioned, that two of our Company would part leſs ſatisfied with each other than they met.
Beside, as Venus is either our Evening or our Morning Star the whole Year round, except when her too near Approach to the Sun, or what is called 321 Tt1r 313 called by the Aſtronomers her Conjunction, deprives us of the Pleaſure of beholding her, we were extremely glad of the Opportunity of viewing her more plainly than we could do without the Aſſiſtance of this Tube.
But how great was our Aſtoniſhment, when, inſtead of a round Globe, her Form ſeemed to us to be Semi-circular!—Creſcent-like as the Moon appears in her firſt Quarter. Bleſs me! cried Euphroſine, as ſoon as ſhe beheld it, , this glittering Orb, which we ſo much admire, can certainly be no more than a Satellite to ſome other Planet.
This innocent Acclamation made the Gentlemen laugh, but one of them preſently informed us, that the Cauſe of her appearing with only half her Face, was becauſe the other half was behind the Sun, and loſt in his Rays, and that both this Planet and Mercury, which is ſtill nearer to that glorious Body, are never the ſame as we ſee them from Earth, but continually change their Phaſis in reſpect to us.
He alſo made us ſenſible that all Planets, as they drew nearer to the Sun, are leſs conſpicuous, and that Mercury, which makes his Revolution in three Months, is ſcarce ever to be ſeen in his full Magnitude, but when drawing toward a Conjunction: Venus, he told us, made her Revolution in ſeven Months and a half, or thereabouts. But as the Circles of neither of theſe Planets are Vol. III. Tt in 322 Tt1v 314 in the Plane of the Ecliptic, which is the Line the Earth deſcribes in her annual Revolution, we could not poſſibly behold them from hence, even through a Teleſcope, but in a continual Change, ſometimes increaſing, ſometimes in their Wane, and ſometimes wholly enlightened, in the ſame Manner, as with the naked Eye, becauſe ſo much nearer to us, we ſee the different Phaſis of the Moon.
Tho’ the Knowledge of the Heavens and the true Motion of the Stars cannot be attained without a great Fund of Learning, and a long Series of Obſervations, yet what this Gentleman ſaid very much enlarged our Conceptions concerning theſe Celeſtial Orbs, and we ſhould have doubtleſs had yet more clear Ideas of them, if a ſudden Interruption had not for that Time drawn off our Attention.
The Teleſcope was again unſcrewed, and juſt turned to that Part of the Heavens where Mars, they ſaid, was in his Aſcendant; when, as if the furious Planet diſdained to permit our Contemplation, a ſudden Darkneſs obſcured the whole Face of Heaven, and was immediately followed with a hollow Wind; a Storm of Hail came next with ſo much Violence, that they were obliged to draw in the Optic, and make faſt the Window, againſt which it had been placed.
The Builder of this Turret was, it ſeems, a great Mathematician and Architect, and had con- 323 Tt2r 315 contrived to have ſeveral wooden Pipes fixed obliquely all round on the Outſide, which defended the Place from any Inconvenience of the moſt heavy Rain:—Theſe were all caſed with Copper, as were the Gutters or Drains that carried the Water off into them, to prevent being prejudiced by the Lightning, which frequently does very great Damage by melting the Lead, and ſometimes by firing the Wood.
We therefore ſat no leſs warm and dry than if we had been in a Parlour, hoping the Storm would ceaſe, and we ſhould have the Pleaſure of beholding yet farther Wonders; but the Corruſcations of the Elements, inſtead of abating, became more outrageous, and ſeveral dreadful Claps of Thunder, accompanied with Lightnings that ſeemed to dart from every Quarter of the Heavens, filled us Women with ſuch Terrors, that it was not in the Power of the Gentlemen to inſpire us with Courage enough to continue in a Place where we imagined ourſelves more expoſed to Danger than in one where we ſhould ſee or hear leſs of it:—So greatly do the Senſes ſometimes prevail over the Judgment.
For, alas, if thoſe Agents of Deſtruction were commiſſioned to ſtrike us, where could we be ſafe?—Though hid in the Rocks, or in ſome Cavern in the Bowels of the Earth, there ſhould we be found.Tt2 But 324 Tt2v 316
But, though Reaſon and Religion tell us this, there is an unconquerable Timidity in the Nature of moſt of us, which will not ſuffer us to front thoſe fiery Darts, nor avoid ſtarting when the aweful Thunder rolls over our Heads, and burſt in Claps which ſeem to ſhake the Baſis of the Earth.
Common Obſervation, without the Help of Philoſophy, informs us, that Lightning is of that ſubtle penetrating Nature, that it can pierce through the thickeſt and moſt ſolid Bodies; we cannot therefore, when we reflect, hope any Protection from Walls compoſed either of Brick or Stone, yet in our Fright we run to them for Shelter, and are apt to accuſe thoſe of Preſumption who, in Truth, are only more Maſters of Reaſon than ourſelves.
There are Examples, however, even among our Sex, that true Piety and a ſtrong Faith can enable us to throw off all Delicacies and Fears, and venture, in a good Cauſe, all that the warring Elements have Power to inflict.—There is a certain Lady of Quality, now living in Lancaſhire, who has ſpent many Years in the Study of Phyſic, and whoſe Preſcriptions Heaven has bleſſed with ſuch Succeſs, that where the Diſeaſes have been judged incurable by the Faculty, the Patient has not only been relieved, but entirely freed from them in a ſhort Space of Time.This 325 Tt3r 317
This excellent Lady would ſcarce be brought to forgive a Servant, who ſhould delay one Moment to acquaint her when any afflicted Perſon ſtood in need of her Relief.—Nothing is more common than to ſee her quit her Table in the midſt of Dinner, and when ſurrounded by her Friends, to run to ſome Cottage, and exerciſe this Heavenly Compaſſion to her Fellow-Creatures, though in the moſt abject Station, and languiſhing under the moſt loathſome Ailment; and often has ſhe, in the Dead of the Night, forſook her Bed, and mounted her Horſe, without waiting till the Coach could be prepared, wholly regardleſs of Hail, Rain, Thunder, and Lightening:—In fine, no Time to her appears unſeaſonable,—no Weather unpropitious, when called to do the Work of Charity.
Amazing Commiſeration! and yet more amazing Fortitude and Courage! Few can boaſt the ſame, but all ought to admire and emulate. —But to return:
Those violent Commotions in the Air, or as the French ſtile them, Tourbillions, ceaſed not till it was too late for us to return to the Turret; and we were glad to lay hold on the firſt fair Moment that preſented itſelf to depart: Theſe worthy Gentlemen ſaw us ſafe at Mira’s Houſe, and expreſſed a good deal of Concern, as we really felt ourſelves, that the next Day, being fixed for our quitting the Country, we could not pay a ſecond Viſit to the Teleſcope.As 326 Tt3v 318
As we could not be certain of an Opportunity of going down again this Year, the Gentleman, whoſe Seat we had juſt left, promiſed to give what Satisfaction he could do by Letter, to that Curioſity, which the little we had seen of the Planetary Regions had excited in us.
And as ſuch a Piece cannot fail of affording a general Entertainment, even to our moſt learned Readers, the Public may depend on being preſented with it as ſoon as it comes to our Hands.
All that was aimed at in giving this Account of what little Obſervations we were able to make, in our ſhort Excurſion from London, was to ſhew the Female Subſcribers and Encouragers of this Undertaking, how much Pleaſure, as well as Improvement, would accrue to them by giving ſome few Hours, out of the many which they have to ſpare, to the Study of Natural Philoſophy.
We, all of us, are under Apprehenſions, which indeed amount to almost a Certainty, that many Things we have ſaid concerning the Celeſtial Orbits may be liable to Cavil; but as we pretend not to any Underſtanding in the Science of Aſtronomy, but were only eager of attaining as much as we could of the ſuperficial Part, we may very well be excuſed the Want of thoſe Technical Terms, which are to be learned only in 327 Tt4r 319 in Schools, or by great reading in Books wherein the Theory is explained.
For whatever Miſtakes of a more material kind that may have happened, we depend alſo of Forgiveneſs, on Account of the Hurry we were in, and the Informations we received being only by way of a Converſation, which had nothing of Method in it, often happened to turn from one Subject to another, and ſometimes that two or three Perſons ſpoke at the ſame Time.
If any thing we have advanced; concerning a System full of innumerable Delights, proves of Service to thoſe Ladies, who have not as yet turned their Speculations that Way, we ſhall be highly ſatisfied; and flatter ourſelves, that ſome ſucceeding Essays, by a familiar way of treating a Science, which has hitherto been looked upon as too abſtruſe for Female Obſervation, will give a clearer Light into it than any of thoſe elaborate Treatiſes, which, by their Stiffneſs and Tediouſneſs, fright the gay Part of the World from conſulting, or even dipping into them.
Since our laſt, we have received ſeveral Letters, but have not, as yet, had Time to examine which, or whether any of them, are proper to be conveyed to the Public by our Canal;—we can only ſay, that the Authors of those which are ſo, may depend on their being inſerted, and that ſuch as are refuſed have nevertheleſs a Claim to our Thanks for their good Intentions.But 328 Tt4v 320
But to prevent any of our Correſpondents from giving themſelves a fruitleſs Trouble, we muſt deſire them to remember, that Eſſays of this Nature are calculated entirely for the Good of the Public, and not to gratify the Spleen of any particular Perſons, or Parties, let the Invective carry never ſo much the Air of Pleaſantry, or be adorned with all the Flouriſhes ill-natured Wit can beſtow upon it.
End of the Seventeenth Book.
The Female Spectator.
As we have, through the whole Courſe of theſe Eſſays, ſhewed an unfeigned Readineſs to oblige our Correſpondents, whenever the doing ſo would in any Meaſure coincide with the Duty we owe to the Public, we are extremely ſorry to find that none of the Letters made mention of in our laſt have any just Pretence to a Place in the Female Spectator.
The Gentleman, who ſubſcribes himſelf Lycophron, has it doubtleſs in his Power to oblige us with ſomething which would greatly embelliſh this Work; and had half that Wit and Learning, we are well convinced he is Maſter of, been employedIII. Uu ployed 330 Uu1v 322 ployed in exploding, inſtead of recommending a Tenet already but too much in vogue, we ſhould gladly have uſhered in this Month with a Piece, which would then have been of general Service; but as it is, he muſt excuſe us, that all his Eloquence cannot prevail on us to propagate the Principles he would endeavour to inculcate.
The Letter of Fidelio has no other Exception, than that it is on a Subject we have more than once touched upon, and is not intereſting enough to be treated on too frequently.
For the ſame Reaſon we muſt omit the Lamentation of Ophelia; but as we allow her Condition to be as unhappy as a hopeleſs Love can make a Woman, and ſincerely wiſh her a better Fate, would perſwade her to remember the Poet’s Words: —Every Paſſion, but fond Love,Unto its own Redreſs does move;But that alone the Wretch inclinesTo what prevents his own Deſigns;Makes him lament, and ſigh, and weep,Diſorder’d, tremble, fawn and creep:Poſtures, which render him deſpis’d,Where he endeavours to be priz’d.
The Definition Alcander gives us of Plots againſt the Government, and Plots for the Service of the Government, is admirably fine, but wholly im- 331 Uu2r 323 improper at this Time to be inſerted, for Reaſons which we are amazed he can be inſenſible of himself.
The Caſe of the old Soldier is indeed very moving; we would therefore adviſe him to addreſs it where it would more probably command the Attention of the Public, and alſo be better reliſhed by thoſe from whom alone his Miſfortunes can expect any Redreſs.
Those Remarks, which Mr. Tell-Truth has favoured us with on the preſent Poſture of our Affairs, both Abroad and at Home, very well deſerve our Thanks; and if Politics at this Conjuncture were not too tickliſh for us to meddle with, ſhould rejoice in an Opportunity of conveying his Sentiments to the Public.—Did not the Generality of People, almoſt all over Europe, ſeem ſo infatuated and loſt in Luxury and Folly, as to be capable of believing only the moſt groſs Impoſitions, we might hope what he has ſaid would remove the Miſt from their long clouded Eyes; but while we take Pleaſure in being deceived, though an Angel ſhould deſcend from Heaven, and hold a Mirror to ſhew Things as they really are, we ſhould turn away our Heads and refuſe to be convinced.
From this Motive alone, and a melancholy one it is, that we are obliged to ſtifle ſo pathetic a Remonſtrance, which otherwise would have been doubly welcome at this Time, as ſome late Acci- 332 Uu2v 324 Accidents, in private Life, had determined us to preſent our Readers with a few occaſional Thoughts on a Vice, once accounted the moſt mean and ſhameful of any, Theft ſcarce excepted, but which by Cuſtom and Faſhion is now ſo palitated, as to loſe its proper Name, and with ſome is hardly conſidered as an Error.
To be above practiſing the little Arts of Deception;—to ſcorn not only a glaring Lye, but even all Equivocations, Evaſions, or any Subterfuge by which Truth may be diſguiſed, and to appear to others what we know ourſelves to be in fact, is a Character which every one, who has any juſt Notions of Honour, makes it his chief Aim to acquire, though all take not alike Methods to deſerve it.
No Man, who has the leaſt Degree of Spirit, can bear that another ſhould ſuſpect him capable of uttering an Untruth:—The leaſt Hint of ſuch a Thing has often proved of fatal Consequence to them that gave it; and yet, perhaps, the Perſon who reſented knew himſelf guilty of what he was accuſed of.
Too many there are who take Pleaſure in committing what they cannot bear to be thought they are in the leaſt addicted to.
It is moſt certain, that in all Ages, and among all civilized Nations, Lying has been ever looked upon as a moſt contemptible Quality, excluſivecluſive 333 Uu3r 325 cluſive of the Miſchiefs it frequently occaſions; nor are we, even in theſe degenerate Times, ſo hardy as to give it open Countenance: On the contrary, the very People, who are themſelves moſt guilty of it, no ſooner hear a Man has been detected in an Attempt to impoſe on any one’s Credulity, than they immediately cry out againſt him as unfit for Society.
This, alas! is a Proof but too demonſtrative, that it is not the Crime itſelf, but the Scandal of it which appears so terrible.
But the Shame of being accounted guilty of this Vice is at preſent only in Lies which are palpable, and diſcover themſelves ſuch in their very relating:—The World has found out a great many pretty Ways of ſoftening others, and in the room of that groſs Appellation which leſs polite Times gave, in the general, to whatever was an Injury to Truth ſome are now called neceſsary Excuſes,—uſeful Reſources,—proper Expedients, — juſt Retaliations,—Whims to pleaſe Company, —Obligations of Decorum, and a thouſand more mollifying Epithets, which, like Paint on a fallow Complexion, take off ſome Part of its Nauſeouſneſs at firſt View, but when ſeen through ſerve only to make the Deformity more hateful.
According to Reaſon, a Perſon who delights in diſguiſing the Truth can never be happy, becauſe, as we are apt to judge of others by ourſelves, he never can be aſſured that any thing he hears 334 Uu3v 326 hears is ſincere:—He muſt be ever doubting, ever ſuſpecting his beſt Friends, and live in an innate Enmity with all the World.
If you ſpeak not from the Heart, ſays Monſieur the Abbeé de Fourettier, you will never be convinced you know the Heart of your Brother, your Wife, your Siſter, or your Friend:—All will be liable to Suſpicion, and that charming Confidence, which links Society, will be entirely broken.
Miserable, indeed, muſt be the Perſon who has no one to depend upon; and how can he, with any Shadow of Reaſon, depend on any who is himſelf not to be depended on!
How amiable is Truth!—How beautiful are all her Walks!—How fearleſs, how ſecure are all her Votaries!—No Virtue whatever beſtows more real Satisfaction to the Mind that harbours it; and if, by any Accident, a temporary Cenſure ſhould fall on a too ſtrict Adherence to its Dictates, the End will ſtill bring on a more juſtifiable Praiſe.
I would not, however, be underſtood that People ſhould, without any Conſideration of the Conſequence, madly utter all they know; for that might prove an Inconvenience to themſelves and others little inferior to what reporting a Falſhood might occaſion; but there are few, if any Circum- 335 Xx1r 327 Circumſtances in Life wherein a Perſon is compelled to diſcover more than they find proper.
If it ſhould ſo happen, however, that in order to prevent ſome great Miſchief, one hides the dangerous Truth under a fictitious Cover, what is done in ſuch an Emergency certainly does not not authorize our venting Falſhoods, when there is no adequate Pretence:—But I am afraid, that for one Lye that is told for the Sake of Peace, there are a Million invented meerly to ſow Diſ ſention.
But what induced me chiefly to enter on this Subject was the common Lies we often hear, that have not the leaſt Shadow of a Meaning in them, either of Good or Hurt; and to which ſome People have ſuch a ſtrange Propenſity, that their Converſation is always ſprinkled with them. If they begin with any thing that is real Matter of Fact, they will illuſtrate it, as I ſuppoſe they imagine, with ſo many fabulous Circumſtances, that it will be very difficult to come at the Truth, and not ſeldom it happens that the Whole paſſes for Invention, by the Manner in which it is related.
I have known Perſons ſo exceſſively fond of the Marvellous, that they have had the Confidence to report Things, not only beyond all that was ever heard of in the Courſe of Nature, but alſo beyond what ſhe is capable of performing.Vol. III. Xx I 336 Xx1v 328
I had once the Fortune to be acquainted with a Gentleman of ſo prolific an Invention in this Point, that one could never ſee him without hearing ſome freſh Wonder:—Apparitions of celeſtial, terreſtial, and infernal Spirits were frequent with him:—He was honoured with the Confidence of the greateſt Potentates of Europe, and wherever he came aſtoniſhed every Body with Secrets of a moſt tremendous Kind: In fine, whatever happened to him was a Prodigy, and every Day preſented him with ſomething ſupernatural.
One Afternoon, when I was very full of Company, this extraordinary Perſon came to viſit me: Thoſe who were with me had heard a good deal of his Character, but having never been Earwitneſſes of his Converſation, were not capable of doing Juſtice to his Talent that Way, or, perhaps, might not have given Credit to all that had been ſaid of it.
He ſoon, however, convinced them that he was above all Deſcription, and that it was abſolutely neceſſary to ſee and hear him, in order to have any competent Idea of what he was.
Whether it were that he was more full of Spirits that Day than ordinary, or whether it were that the Sight of ſo many who were Strangers to him, made him exert them as much as poſſible, I know not, but this is certain, that the extraordinary Quality for which he was famed never 337 Xx2r 329 never appeared more conſpicuouſly, than in the Diſcourſe he preſently begun to entertain us with.
As I knew he had lately been in the Country, I made the uſual Compliments on his Return; which I had no ſooner done, and he had ſeated himself, than he aſked if we in Town had ſuffered any great Damage by the late Storm. I told him that the Wind had indeed been pretty high, and that I had heard ſome Trees in the Park were blown down, but knew of no other miſchief it had occaſioned. Then, cried he, the Elements have ſhewed more Favour to London than to other Parts.—In Norfolk, from which I came but three days paſt, the Sea, in ſome Places, overthrew its Banks, and was blown up ſeventy Feet above the Coaſt, where it ſeemed to ſtand like a Pyramid, and we every Moment expected an Innundation that wouuld have deſtroyed all the Country.
Some of the Company expreſſing their Aſtoniſhment at what he ſaid, he told them, that was but a Trifle to the Accident, which, on the ſinking of the Waters, immediately befel.
I was one among about fifty of us, began he, with the moſt ſolemn Countenance, who ſaw upwards of threeſcore Acres of my own Land forcibly torn off and ſevered from the reſt by the Violence of the Wind, and the Eruption the Sea had made, and carried away on the Waves quite to the Xx2 Coaſt 338 Xx2v 330 Coaſt of Holland, where it lodged, and is now become a Part of that Republic.
Every Body in the Room looked on him, as well they might, with the utmoſt Amazement, which he perceiving, went on, You think this ſtrange, ſaid he, but what enſued was yet more wonderful:—The ſame Storm paid for what it had taken from me, by driving Part of the Coaſt between Bouloign and Dunkirk on this Side!—We ſaw the floating Iſland move with the moſt Celerity till it ſtopped, and filled up the Gap which the preceding Guſt of Wind had made in my Eſtate!
Prodigious, indeed, cried a Lady, who yet knew not whether ſhe ought to give Credit or not to what ſhe heard, and pray, Sir, were you a Loſer or a Gainer by the Exchange?
To which he answered gravely, that he had not yet made the Calculation, but he believed it might be pretty equal, Only, ſaid he, there are a great Number of Children on the French Land, who won’t be able to earn their Bread in a long Time, and I cannot in Conſcience let them ſtarve.
How! interrupted another of the Company, were there any People on this floating Iſland?
O, yes, replied he, and ſeveral little Cottages with Women in them, ſome Spinning, ſome Knitting, others ſalting up Fiſh:—There are alſo five 339 Xx3r 331 five excellent Barns, and good ſturdy Fellows, considering they are French, thraſhing the fineſt Wheat I ever ſaw in my Life!
It would be too tedious to repeat half the Circumſtances he run on with, by way of corroborating the Truth of this Story; and I knew not what farther Lengths he might have gone, if a Gentleman, who had no longer Patience to hear him utter ſuch Rhodomontades with an Air of reality, asked him very gravely if the Invention was his own, or if he had it from another.
Invention! cried our Wonder-monger, do I not tell you, Sir, it actually happened, and that I ſaw it with my own Eyes!
You did ſo, indeed, replied the Gentleman, but to be plain with you, I took you either for an Author or a Player; and imagined you were repeating a Scene of ſome new Entertainment, and that all you have been ſaying was an Imitation of Tim the Barber’s Lye, in the celebrated Farce called The Match in Newgate:—But ſince we are to take it for Truth, I have done; and ſhall wait on this Lady again when ſhe is leſs happy in the Company of ſo extraordinary a Perſon.
In ſpeaking these Words, he roſe up, and having paid a proper Reſpect to us all, went haſtily away, to the great Diſpleasure of him, who, inſtead of the Admiration he expected, found 340 Xx3v 332 found himself treated by him with so much Contempt.
Every one of my other Gueſts, as they afterwards informed me, were of the ſame way of Thinking, as the Gentleman who left us ſo abruptly, though they reſtrained themſelves from giving any Teſtimonies of it at that Time, becauſe he was in my Apartment, and they knew not how I might reliſh the Freedom.
They ſuffered, however, by their Complaiſance to me:—My Hyperbolical Friend flattering himſelf that he was believed by them, ſoon let them know that his Inventive Faculty was not eaſily exhausted; but could have ſupplied freſh Matters of Aſtoniſhment, had they continued to liſten to him much longer than any of them had the Patience to do.
Tho’ I must own this Gentleman carried his Extravagancies farther than any one I ever heard, yet I know a great many that very much copy after his Manner:—Nothing is more frequent than to hear People pretend an Intimacy with thoſe whom, perhaps, they know no more of than their bare Names:—When a Piece of unexpected News, whether of a public or a private Nature, breaks out, endeavour to perſwade the World they were all the Time at the Bottom of the Secret; and when any thing is on the Tapis, the Event of which is doubtful, by ſignificantficant 341 Xx4r 333 ficant Winks and Geſtures inſinuate, that they know very well which Way it will end, but are too wiſe to reveal it.
How prepoſterous all this is, no one who is not under the Infatuation of ſuch a Propenſity need, I think, be told:—Nothing is, ſure, more deſpicable than a known Lyar:—Who can depend on any thing he says!—Even Truth itſelf has the Face of Falſhood when uttered from his Mouth:—His own Brother can be no better acquainted with the Sentiments of his Heart by his Words, than he would be with thoſe of a Chineſe or African, whoſe Language he underſtands not.
With what Pain do we converſe with a Perſon whoſe Veracity we ſuſpect!—The agreeable Manner in which he may deliver himſelf is all loſt upon us:—We regard not his Eloquence, but bend our whole Attention to ſeparate the true from the ficticious Part of his Relation. Yet I am ſo charitable as to believe, that very many of those, who utter the most egregious Falſhoods, do it in the Imagination of rendering themſelves pleaſing to Society; but how miſtaken is that Notion of accompliſhing a laudable End by bad Means!
Lies of this Sort, it is certain, are more pardonable than ſome others, becauſe the chief Hurt they do is to render the Reporters themſelves ridiculous. I know there are ſome People who are 342 Xx4v 334 are extremely pleaſed to hear them, and encourage the Authors becauſe they find Matter of Diverſion in their Folly; but this I cannot help looking on as a kind of Cruelty: One ſhould rather be ſorry for, than delighted with the Errors of our Fellow-Creatures; and while the Creation affords us Monkeys, Squirrels, and Lap-dogs to make us Sport, it is, methinks, an Affront to ourſelves to ſeek it among our own Species.
There is a kind of Latitude, they ſay, given to Travellers to exceed the Truth, but I can by no Means allow it them, nor can imagine any Reaſon why they ſhould expect it:—We read Books of Voyages in order to bring us acquainted with the Cuſtoms and Manners of Nations remote from us, and which we have no Opportunity, or perhaps Inclination, to viſit in Person; and if the Author, on whom we depend, deceives our Enquiries, and gives a fictitious Account inſtead of a real one, our Time in reading him would be, in my Opinion, as indifferently employed as on Amadis de Gaul, Caſſandra, or any other Romance.
But however the Whim came to be eſtablished, it is certain that Sir John Mandevil, and ſome others, took a ſtrange Liberty of impoſing on the Credulity of the Times they lived in; and thoſe who read the abſurd Relations ſet down as real Facts, in their Travels, would imagine, that God had endued only the Europeans with reaſonable Souls.We 343 Yy1r 335
We cannot without great Injuſtice refuſe to acknowledge, that the moſt accurate and authentic Accounts we have of the Inland Parts of China, and all the Kingdoms which compoſe what we call in general the Indies, we are indebted for to the Care and Integrity of thoſe Miſſionaries ſent over by Lewis the Fourteenth . That great and wiſe Prince had an Eye to ſomewhat more than barely propagating Chriſtianity in thoſe diſtant Climes, and therefore made Choice of ſuch Men as he knew were capable of ſerving the Intereſt of his Policy, at the ſame Time that they were preaching the Goſpel of Salvation.
This is what ever has and ever will redound to the Glory of France, above any other Nation whatſoever, not even excepting Rome; the Eccleſiaſticks in moſt other Parts of Europe, having a nearer and more eaſy way to Preferment, are few of them zealous enough to go ſo far, and endure ſuch immenſe Fatigues, as thoſe poor Miſſionaries are obliged to ſuffer, for any Recompence they could hope for at their Return.
As to thoſe Gentlemen who go on the Score of Commerce, our Factories being on the Coaſt, they have no occaſion to run the Hazard of penetrating any farther into the Countries to which they trade; and, even thoſe who reſide there for many Years, ſeldom are able to give any particular Account of more than perhaps a few Miles beyond the Forts erected for the Defence Vol. III. Yy of 344 Yy1v 336 of the Colony; ſo that our Curioſity can receive little Information from that Quarter.—What we have had has been from Perſons who, by ſome ill Accident having been thrown among the Savages, made greater Diſcoveries than they were ambitious of; and not being Viſiters out of Choice, but Neceſſity, thought more of getting Home again in Safety, than of gratifying their Inquiries.
Of this Number was a Gentleman of my particular Acquaintance, who, by reaſon of the Ship he was in having ſprung a Leak, was obliged to put in at a little Creek on the Coaſt of Summatra, but far diſtant from Bencoolen, to which they were bound, and alſo from any other European Settlement.
I have often heard him ſpeak of the Hardſhips both himſelf and thoſe with him ſuſtained, and the many imminent Dangers they eſcaped, after having quitted their Ship; but as Things related in a curſory Manner are liable to be miſtaken, and there was ſomething in the Narrative I thought well worthy of a ſerious Attention, I deſired him to give me the whole in Writing; which Requeſt he readily complied with, and I now preſent my Readers with it, as I flatter myſelf it will be an agreeable Entertainment.A 345 Yy2r 337
A Brief Account of what befel ſome Gentlemen, who were Ship-wrecked on the Coaſt of Summatra, in the Eaſt-Indies.
After we found our Ship too much diſabled to give us any Hope of proceeding on our Voyage, and the Sea running very high, the only Means of ſaving ourſelves was to make Land if poſſible; accordingly we crowded all the Sail we could, and worked inceſſantly at the Pump; but as we did not know directly where we were, and the Planks, eſpecially on the Larboard Side of the Veſſel, were every Moment giving way, we expected no leſs than that ſhe would founder in ſpite of all our Diligence: We were juſt beginning to deſpair, when one of the Sailors cried out he ſpied Land.—On this the Captain immediately went up, and being of the ſame Opinion, and alſo perceiving the Current run ſtrong that way, ordered all the Sails to be furled, and let her drive; which fortunate Stratagem proved our Preſervation, and we were carried by the Force of the Tide into a Creek, where we ſtuck faſt between two Rocks.
Every Man now was to take what Care of himſelf he could, and indeed moſt of us were ſo much rejoiced at having eſcaped the Dangers of the Sea, that we thought not on what we might have to expect on a Land where we were entire Strangers, in caſe it were inhabited, which as yet we could not be certain of, being able to ſee Yy2 nothing 346 Yy2v 338 nothing with our Glaſſes which could give us any Information.
The Captain, however, with ſeveral Sailors, and two of his Mates, had an Eye to preſerving ſome Part of what they had of Value on Board; but the other two Mates, the Boatſwain, Gunner, Cook, Steward, and about two or three and twenty of the Foremaſt Men, as well as myſelf, thought of nothing but ſetting our Feet once once more upon Terra Firma.
We all got on the Poop, and from thence clambered over one of thoſe Rocks, which had ſerved us as a Bulwark, and eaſily deſcended on the Sands, which were commodious enough to be paſſed.
The Country at our firſt Entrance appeared quite barren and mountainous, but as we went farther we found it more plain, and ſeveral very fine Fruit-Trees ſprinkled, as it were, up and down, which afforded us great Refreſhment after the long Fatigue we had endured:—We ſaw, however, no Track of any Human Feet; no Huts, nor the leaſt Tokens of any Inhabitants thereabouts:—The Thoughts of being thrown on a Place where we might periſh for want of Suſtenance was very ſhocking; but it laſted not long, and was ſucceeded by other Apprehenſions no leſs alarming.
We were got, as near as I can gueſs, about a 347 Yy3r 339 a League and a half from the Sea-ſide, when we perceived, on the Declivity of a Hill, at a good Diſtance from us, ſeven or eight Men, who, as we came nearer, ſeemed by their Habit, and Quivers of Arrows at their Backs, to be Indians, ſuch as we had ſeen upon the Coaſt of Bombay.
At firſt we rejoiced to behold any thing of our own Species, but ſoon found we had little Reaſon for it; for the Savages, having deſcried us, all at once let fly their Arrows, which, as we afterwards heard, being poiſoned, carry unfailing Death wherever they hit: But by great Providence all of us eſcaped this Danger, but had Reaſon to expect a much greater; for having diſcharged this Mark of their Diſapprobation of our coming, they ſet up a great Cry, and ran up to the Top of the Hill, which, as we ventured to approach, we ſaw was covered with Trees, between which we could diſcover a great Number of Indians armed as the others.
This put us into a terrible Conſternation: — We had each of us a Gun it is true, but to make use of our Arms we thought would ſerve only to provoke thoſe who ſeemed already not inclined to ſhew us much Favour, ſince what would ſuch a ſmall Quantity of Ammunition as we were Maſters of avail againſt a whole People, who, on the leaſt Noiſe of any Commotion, would have doubtleſs all come down upon us. Besides, 348 Yy3v 340
Besides, as we ſtood in need of every thing for the Preſervation of Life, it was unanimouſly agreed among us to make Friends, if poſſible, of thoſe, which, if it had been otherwiſe, we were in no Condition to oppoſe as Enemies.
While we were debating on theſe Things they came down the Hill, to the Number of three or four hundred; the Sight of them put an End to our Conſultation, and being every one of us, to a Man, determined on Submiſſion, we laid our Pieces on the Ground, and all fell on our Knees, making Signs of Diſtreſs, and imploring their Protection.
This made them withdraw their Bows, which before were all bent for our Deſtruction, and draw round us in a Circle, ſtaring as the Rabble of England would do on one of them, had we had them here in the odd Habits they wear there.
Some of them, however, had the Policy to take up our Guns, which we could perceive they were not wholly unacquainted with the Uſe of; and after a good deal of Diſcourſe, the Meaning of which we could not comprehend, none of us underſtanding one Word of the Language, they made Signs to us to move.
Obedience was our only Safety, ſo we marched as they directed, five or ſix a-breaſt, ſome of the Indians before us, others on each Side, 349 Yy4r 341 Side, and the reſt behind, till we came to the Top of the Hill, where we found a great many armed and cloathed the ſame with our Conductors; but there were others to whom all theſe ſeemed to pay Homage, and were as different from them in their Habits, as though they had been Perſons of a different Nation.
We deſcribed our Diſtreſs to them alſo as well as we could, by our Geſtures, but they comprehended little of what we meant, and after hearing a great deal of Gabble, as we thought it, were carried down on the other Side of the Hill, which then we found faced a Sort of a Village, for we ſaw Huts pretty numerous, and placed in a Faſhion which had ſomething of Order in it.
Here they brought us ſome boiled Rice, and Water to drink in wooden Calabaſhes; but Night coming on, we were obliged to lie on the bare Earth, and without any other Covering than the Heavens.
Our Guard kept ſtill near us, and we were under very great Apprehenſions for our Fate, notwithſtanding the Relief they had afforded us; but early in the Morning, a Savage from the Hill came running down; and having delivered ſomething to him who ſeemed to be the Chief of them who had the Care of us, we were all reconducted up, and brought into a very thick Grove, in which ſat, on two little Hillocks of Turf, an old Indian of a very venerable Aſſpect,pect, 350 Yy4v 342 ſpect, and a Woman who ſeemed about forty Years of Age, and by her Complexion, Air and Features, appeared to be an European, though her Habit was exactly the ſame as I had ſeen on thoſe who are the Natives of Bencoolen and Bombay.
After having received our Obeiſance, which we took Care ſhould be as Humble and Pity-moving as poſſible, ſhe agreeably ſurprized us by aſking in French of what Country we were, and by what Accident we came to a Place ſo little viſited by any of the European Nations.
How much Reaſon had I now to thank my Parents for having inſtructed me in this Language, I being the only Perſon in the whole Company who underſtood it!
I immediately acquainted her with the Misfortune which had brought us before her, and begged, that as I found ſhe was of the ſame Quarter of the Globe with ourſelves, ſhe would exert her Intereſt for our Protection, aſſuring her, as I truly might, that we came not as Spies, or any other ſiniſter Intent, and wiſhed for nothing ſo much as that Heaven would furniſh us with ſome Means of proſecuting our Voyage to Bencoolen, our Ship being entirely diſabled.
I had no ſooner told it was to Bencoolen we were bound, than ſhe cried out we were on the Continent of Summatra, of which the Factory I 351 Zz1r 343 I mentioned was a Part; that it was indeed a prodigious Diſtance from where we were, but that we might travel thither by Land, if provided with Guides to conduct us over the Mountains, which, ſhe ſaid, lay very thick along the Coaſt.—She concluded with telling us, ſhe would do her utmoſt to ſerve us in this Exigence, and that we might aſſure ourſelves ſhe had ſome Influence over thoſe in whoſe Power we were.
She then, as I ſuppoſe, related our Caſe to the old Indian, who, we might eaſily perceive by his Countenance, was very well ſatisfied to hear her ſpeak:—After they had diſcoursed together for ſome Time, we were removed back to the Place where we had paſſed the Night; but were ſerved with ſomewhat better Proviſion, and more gentle Looks, than we had been the Day before.
Our Situation was, however, very uneaſy to us, as we could not yet be certain in what Manner our Fate would be determined; and indeed Heaven only knows what in the End would have become of us, if ſomething had not happened which contributed much more to our Deliverance, than all our Diſtreſſes and Submiſſions would have had Power to do.
After continuing in a ſtrict Confinement, tho’ in the open Air, for four whole Days, and as many Nights, on the fifth we were ſummoned in all Haſte up to the Grove, where we found Vol. III. Zz the 352 Zz1v 344 the Indian and the Lady ſeated as before, and to our inexpreſſible Aſtoniſhment, our Captain, the two Mates, and all thoſe of the Ship’s Crew we had left on Board, and had given over for loſt: —Their Surprize at the Sight of us was not at all inferior to ours;—the Opinion they had of our Deſtiny being much the ſame we had entertained of theirs.
Urged by an equal Propenſity, we all ran into each other’s Arms, and mingled promiſcuous Embraces, without any Conſideration of the Perſons we were before:—We found afterwards, however, that this honeſt Joy, and Brotherly Affection, was not diſpleaſing to thoſe that were Witneſſes of it.
The firſt Hurry of our Spirits being over, the Captain, myſelf, and the third Mate, who ſpoke French perfectly well, turned to the Lady, and begged ſhe would pardon this little Sally we had been guilty of, and intercede with the Great Man, for we knew not what elſe to call him, to forgive the Liberty we had taken in his Preſence. She ſmiled, and complied forthwith with our Requeſt; on which he vouchſafed us a gracious Nod, and then commanded us to retire; which we did under our former Guard, though much happier than before, becauſe we now had with us our dear Companions, from whom we learned all that had befallen them ſince our quitting the Ship.They 353 Zz2r 345
They told us, that having ſtripped their Cheſts of great Part of the Money and Linnen each was Maſters of, which they rolled round their Waiſtes, they ſtuffed their Pockets with Flint, Steel, Tobacco, Gunpowder and Shot:—That every one of them brought off two Guns, ſome ſalt Beef and Biſcuits tied up in Napkins, over their Shoulders, and the moſt Robuſt had ſmall Runlets of Brandy under their Arms: That thus loaded, they ſcrambled as we had done, over the Rocks, where, in getting down, one of the Pieces unhappily went off, killed one Man, and wounded another in the Shoulder: That they had buried the Dead among the Sand, and having taken what Care they could of the Perſon who was hurt, rambled as we had done, to explore a Country where all were equally Strangers.
But not to be too tedious in ſo diſintereſting a Part of my Narrative, they were ſeized in the ſame Manner we had been, by another Party of the Indians, and, like us, finding Oppoſition would be in vain, had likewiſe ſurrendered their Arms and themſelves Priſoners at Diſcretion.
They had been, however, ſomewhat more kindly treated by their Guards, than we were before the Interceſſion of the Woman, not only on Account of their giving the Indians a Taſte of the Brandy they had brought out of the Ship, but alſo becauſe one of them ſpoke the Malayan Language, which being very little different from that of Summatra, he made them eaſily comprehendZz2 hend 354 Zz2v 346 hend the Diſtreſs they were in; and alſo, that if any would venture along with them to the Place where they had left the Veſſel, they believed enough might be got out of her to pay them for their Trouble, and alſo for what Civilities they ſhould beſtow.—None of them daring to accept of this Offer without the Conſent of their Chief, the Propoſal was made to him, who took ſome Time to conſider on it, in the mean while ordered they ſhould be kindly uſed.
This Intelligence gave us great Hopes that the Plunder of the Wreck would engage them to provide us Guides to Bencoolen, as the Woman had told us there was a Poſſibility of going thither by Land.
We paſſed the Night more agreeably than Perſons in our Circumſtances could be expected to do: We ſupped on ſome of the Proviſion our Captain and his Companions had brought on Shore, and the Pulſe and Fruits the Indians ſupplied us with, ſerved as a Deſert. While we were eating, the Sailor, who was our Interpreter, asked many Queſtions concerning the Nature of the Place we were in, to all which the Indians anſwered in a very frank Manner.
They told us, that the huge Empire of Summatra, was divided into an hundred Provinces, or little Kingdoms, but that they had one who had the ſupreme Authority over all, and ſtiled himſelf Sovereign of an hundred Kings, ſole Lord of 355 Zz3r 347 of the Golden Mountain of Achen, and Diſpoſer of a thouſand Iſlands.
On our aſking what Religion was profeſſed, they anſwered, that every Diſtrict had its peculiar Worſhip, and that they were at Liberty to change their God as often as they pleaſed.
We then deſired to know what kind of Divinity was adored in that Part we were in; on which one of the oldeſt among them gave us the following very odd Account.
We had, ſaid he, (directing his Diſcourſe to our Interpreter) a God, that had been worſhipped Time out of Mind among us; but I know not for what Reaſon, our People at laſt grew weary of him, and cut him to Pieces, and threw his Limbs into the Sea; then fell to making another, which they hewed out of a great Tree in the Valley:—When they had faſhioned it to their Mind, they grew ſo exceſſively fond of it, that every Man voluntarily ſtripped himſelf of all the rich Things in his Poſſeſſion to adorn it.
He then proceeded to deſcribe in what Manner this Image was dreſſed, and what immenſe Treaſures were laid out upon it, but the proper Names of its Habiliments were unintelligible to our Interpreter; ſo that he could only tell us in general that the Idol was certainly the moſt gorgeous one that ever was beheld in any Country.This 356 Zz3v 348
This, however, he perfectly underſtood, that five hundred Prieſts had a very great Revenue appropriated for what they called Divine Service, and that two thouſand Guards, of whom our Informer himſelf was one, were appointed to watch Night and Day, leſt any Europeans ſhould attempt to land there, and rob the ſacred Grove.
This was ſufficient to make us know the Idol was not far of; but had we doubted it the Indian ſoon explained himſelf, and ſaid it was placed on the Summit of that Hill, Part of which we had been permitted to aſcend, in order to be brought before the Chief Prieſt, who it ſeems was the Perſon over whom the European Woman had ſo much Influence.
The Compaſſion she had teſtified for us obliged us to take ſome Intereſt in her Affairs, which, beſide our Curioſity of knowing by what ſtrange Adventure one of her Complexion came to be placed among theſe Savages, made us deſire our Interpreter to enquire who ſhe was, and what Station ſhe held, which could induce her to continue there.
The Queſtion was no ſooner aſked, than an Indian, who had not ſpoke before, ſtarted up, and told our Interpreter, that nobody could inform us better in that Matter than himſelf, for he was one of thoſe who took her up as ſhe was lying half dead on the Sands.In 357 Zz4r 349
In a great Tempeſt, ſaid he, that happened twenty or twenty-one Years ago, a Ship, but whether bound we knew not then, happened to be wrecked on our Coaſt:—Several of us were ſent down to ſee what we could find, and there were indeed a great many Things that the Waves had thrown on Shore, after the ſplitting of the Veſſel, but I believe there was no Soul but this Woman eſcaped:—We rubbed her Temples, and held her up to pour the Water out of her, and at laſt ſhe came to herſelf, but ſeemed very much afflicted.
We have a Law, which makes it Death to conceal from the King any Part of what we find this Way; ſo ſhe was preſented to him, as well as every thing elſe we took up. The High Prieſt of our God Tayhu happened to be preſent, and taking a Fancy to this Woman, begged her for himſelf, which was immediately granted; for indeed he has, in effect more Power in the Kingdom than the Sovereign.—He had little Satisfaction in her Company, however, for a great while; for ſhe did nothing but weep and lament, nor could underſtand one Word we ſaid to her, or make herſelf underſtood by us.
But the good Uſage ſhe received made her Griefs wear off in Time, and alſo brought her very well acquainted with our Language, “which 358 Zz4v 350 which ſhe now ſpeaks as perfectly as if born among us.
She then told us, that her Father was a Dutch Merchant, and was going with all his Effects and Family to ſettle at Batavia, when that terrible Storm ſwept all away but her unhappy ſelf.
‘At first, continued the Indian, ſhe could never mention this Misfortune without a Flood of Tears; but by degrees grew perfectly reconciled to her Fate, and is no leſs fond of the High Prieſt than he is of her;—has had ſeveral Children by him, and he abandons all his other Women to devote himſelf entirely to her.
Here he finished what he had to say of this Woman, and ſome of our Men cried out, ſhe might very well content herſelf to be one of the greateſt Women in the Country, and to have ſo good an Huſband; but others of us thought in a different Manner, and wondered how any one, who, by the Indian’s Account, was of ſufficient Years to have been perfectly inſtructed in the Principles of the Chriſtian Faith, at the Time her ill Fortune threw her on that Coaſt, could ever be brought to think herſelf happy, not only among Pagans, but alſo to lie by the Side of the Chief of thoſe who preached Idolatry, and become the Mother of a Race of Infidels.None 359 Aaa1r 351
None of us could, however, forbear pitying the ſad Neceſſity ſhe had been under, as perhaps there are not many who, in the ſame Circumſtance, would have had Fortitude enough to have enabled them to have acted otherwiſe.
Our Guards, who by the Help of that Rum and Brandy the Captain had brought with him, being now grown very good natured and communicative, acquainted us alſo with many other Things relating to their Religion and Government; which, as they have been already related by other Hands, and you have doubtleſs read, I ſhall not trouble you with the Repetition of: I ſhall only acquaint you, that what they ſaid of their great Idol, Tayhu, gave us a prodigious Curioſity to ſee it, eſpecially as they told us, that in three Days the King and all the Chiefs of that Diſtrict were to come and pay their ſolemn Devotions, that being the firſt Day of the New Moon, on which they never failed to ſacrifice.
Desirous as we were of getting to Bencoolen, this Ceremony promiſed to have ſomething in it which would compenſate for our deferring our Journey till after the Performance; as the Indians told us there would be no Objection to our being preſent at it.
We were in no great Danger, as it happened, of not having our Curioſity gratified in this Point; for it being agreed that we ſhould go with a large Party of Indians in order to ſee what Vol. III. Aaa the 360 Aaa1v 352 the Wreck would afford, we were obliged to wait all the next Day for the Diſpatch coming from the King for that Purpoſe:—A Ceremony, which it ſeems was not to be diſpenſed with in theſe Caſes.
On the Arrival of this Mandate, we went with about two hundred Savages to eſcort us, and bring what was to be found. Never ſure was a more melancholy Sight, than to ſee that gallent Veſſel ſplit into a thouſand Pieces, her Bottom ſunk, but great Pieces of the Deck and Sides floating on the Waves, and others thrown upon the Sands:—A Cheſt of Silver, and another of Cloaths and Linnen belonging to the Captain, with two Caſks of Brandy, ſtuck faſt in the Mud, all which we hauled up:—We thought alſo that we ſaw ſome others in the Sea at ſome little Diſtance; on which, about twenty of the Indians ran to a Creek on the other Side of the Rock, where we had landed, and having ſeveral Canoes tied there, got into them, and rowed among the Splinters of the Wreck:—They had the good Fortune to pick up a Box, wherein was a good deal of Plate, Watches, with many valuable Things, and a great Cheſt of Knives, and Forks, Pen-knives, Snuff-Boxes, Caſes of Inſtruments, and other hard Ware, which is a great Commodity in thoſe Parts.
In fine, we brought home ſufficient to make them ſatisfied with having sent us on this Expedition, and alſo to conſent we ſhould have four Indians 361 Aaa2r 353 Indians, who knew the Country perfectly well, to conduct us as far as the King of this Country’s Dominions extended; but as we had thoſe belonging to another Prince, or Chief, to paſs through, before we could arrive at Bencoolen, we muſt make there what Intereſt we could for ourſelves.
This we thought extremely hard, ſince they had ſo well paid themſelves for all the Favours we had received, or were to hope for from them; for I muſt obſerve to you, that they ſuffered us to ſhare with them in no Part of what they got from the Wreck of our Ship, except a few Shirts to the Captain, which he was ſo generous to let us all have alternately, while we waſhed thoſe we had upon our Backs.
Notwithstanding this mercenary Barbarity to unhappy Wretches, who, they were well convinced, had loſt their all, they did not fail to magnify their Hoſpitality; which we durſt not complain of, nor would it have been Prudence to have done ſo, conſidering we were entirely in their Power, and that inſtead of ſending us any Part of our Way they might have deſtroyed us all.
We therefore put the beſt Face on Matters we could, and as we were not to depart till after the Sacrifice, we paſſed that Time in perfecting ſome of the Indians in ſhooting with Fire-Arms, for which they ſeemed very thankful, and indeed Aaa2 mended 362 Aaa2v 354 mended our Proviſion upon it; ſo that I cannot but ſay we now had nothing to complain of on that Score.
The Morning appointed for this great Feſtival was uſhered with Muſic, as they called it, and was ſuch as it is utterly impoſſible to make any one comprehend without hearing it: The Inſtruments played upon were of three Sorts: The firſt were of long Logs of Timber, hung round with large Pieces of Braſs, Copper and Iron, without any Form, but tied to the Wood, which, being carried between two luſty Savages, who jumped and ſkipped all the Way they went, hit one againſt the other, and made a moſt horrible Tintamar.—The ſecond was of Poles placed in the Ground, at about ſix Yards Diſtance, hung round with Bladders, which being ſtruck upon with huge flat Pieces of Wood, made ſomewhat like our Battledores, but twenty Times bigger, gave a prodigious Sound.—The Third was a a hollow Piece of Wood, lined with Copper, and of a great Length, ſupported by two Stakes, and filled with large Stones, which two Indians at each End continually lifting ſwiftly up and down, made a Rattle, as they rolled in the Trough, very much like Thunder, though more loud than it is generally heard in our Quarter of the World.
This dreadful Noiſe continued till the grand Proceſſion appeared, when came the King and Queen, followed by their Children, the whole Court, and all the Chiefs of that Country: — Their 363 Aaa3r 355 Their ſwarthy Majeſties were dreſſed extremely gaudy; and their long jet black Hair, which is common to all the Indians of theſe Parts, was ornamented with Pearls, Diamonds, and the Feathers of ſeveral Sorts of Birds, as were their Garments alſo:—Twelve ſtout Indians carried a Canopy of yellow and green Silk, under which all the Royal Family walked:—The reſt had Umbrelloes, ſupported by their own particular Slaves:—After theſe, followed an immenſe Crowd of the inferior Natives, among whom our Guards told us we might mingle, and go up the Hill.
We did so, and when we reached the Top, found we must deſcend by five or ſix Graſſy Steps into the ſacred Grove, in the midſt of which was placed the Idol Tayhu, which when we beheld, we no longer were ſurprized that ſuch a Number of Guards were appointed to watch Night and Day for its Security.
Never certainly was any thing more magnificent, and I have often ſince thought it would be worth the while of ſome European Adventurers to aim at taking ſo rich a Prize.
The Figure, indeed, in itſelf was only Wood, as I have already related; and as they are no very good Carvers in this Country, the Limbs and Features of the Face were but indifferent. — The Aſpect had ſomewhat in it horribly grim, and one would think they had ſtrained all their Ingenuity 364 Aaa3v 356 Ingenuity to render it ſo; the Complexion, being painted blue, was daubed here and there with Streaks of Scarlet and a dusky Orange Colour, reſembling Fire; the Lips, which were thick and large, were made of Coral, and ſeemed parting as in Attitude to ſpeak; the Eyes were two large Diamonds, ſet round with Pearls of ſuch a prodigious Magnitude, that one of our Mates, who had been Apprentice to a Lapidary before his Inclination for Sea took Place, aſſured us each was worth a Province: Whether his Eſtimation favoured not a little of the hyperbolical, I will not venture to affirm, but ſure it is, that they were of very great Value:—The Legs were braced round with Fillets of Gold, with Emeralds, Saphires, Carbuncles, and other precious Stones; and the Sandals on the Feet were Silver claſped with Diamonds:—The Garments, which covered the Body of this tremendous Figure, were of Flame-coloured Taffety, bordered with Pearls: The Right-Hand held a Spear, and the Left a Trident, denoting the Command of both Sea and Land:—The Head, inſtead of Hair, was adorned with a great Quantity of ſmall Gold Wire, which hung down over the Shoulders, and reached almoſt to the Elbow:—In fine, every Part of it was contrived ſo as to make the Whole appear gorgeouſly dreadful.
Behind the Idol, which was in a ſtanding Poſture, was placed a Throne of Amber, and over it a huge Canopy of maſſive Gold, which ſheltered 365 Aaa4r 357 ſheltered both from receiving any Prejudice by Rain, or any other Inclemency of the Weather.
But to ſee with what ſolemn Reverence theſe poor Indians approached an Image, which, but a few Years paſt, their own Hands had faſhioned out, would have excited the utmoſt Pity for their Simplicity, had not our own unhappy Circumſtances too much engroſſed all that Paſſion, to leave any Share of it for other Objects.
First, they bowed, folded their Arms upon their Breaſts, then fell proſtrate on the Earth, in which Poſture they remained ſome Time in a profound Silence; the Prieſts, who ſtood all the while on the Right and Left of the Idol, muttering ſomewhat between their Teeth: After which the Chief Prieſt laid his Hand on the Head of the King, Queen, and Royal Family; as did the others on thoſe of the whole Aſſembly. This Ceremony took up a good deal of Time, but none lifted up their Faces from the Ground till it was ended:—Then, on the Sound of the Muſic already deſcribed, which began by a Signal given by a Perſon appointed for that Office, all ſtarted up at once, and began to dance and jump round the Idol, their Majeſties, and thoſe belonging to them, forming the firſt Circle;—the Chief of their Nobility and War-Officers the ſecond; and the reſt promicuouſly.
When they had ſufficiently wearied themſelves with this Exerciſe, the Great Ones lay down on 366 Aaa4v 358 on the Graſs between the Trees, and partook of a Repaſt ſerved to them in Diſhes of Gold and Silver.
While they were eating, about twenty Indians, naked down to the Waiſt, ruſhed from the Aſſembly with Knives in their Hands, and danced before the Idol, cutting and gaſhing their Fleſh, till that Part of the Grove was dyed all over with their Blood.
At firſt we looked on this as a ſupernumerary Act of Devotion; but our Interpreter having enquired into it, told us, that it was done every Month, and that thoſe who offered themſelves to perform this barbarous Ceremony were always liberally rewarded, and helf afterwards in great Eſtimation.
We ſaw, indeed, that having made themſelves all over Wounds, and utterly unable to continue any longer theſe horrid Teſtimonies of Zeal, they were carried off in Triumph by the Populace, whoſe Shouts added to the Savage Concert of Inſtruments.
All the Circles had alſo Proviſion brought them, ſome in earthen, and others in wooden Veſſels, according to their Degrees; but we could perceive that the Prieſts, their Wives, and Concubines, had the very beſt of every thing placed before them; on which we could not forbear making 367 Bbb1r 359 making ſome very ſhrewd Remarks among ourſelves.
In eating, drinking, and dancing, the whole Day paſſed over; and Evening coming on, the King, Queen, and Court withdrew, and after them the whole Aſſembly, none remaining but the High Prieſt and his Retinue, who had their Reſidence in the ſacred Grove.
Thus have I given as full a Deſcription as my Memory will enable me, of this pompous Sacrifice, which is indeed the only Thing I ſaw, worthy of being related, during the Time I was in Summatra.
As we were coming down the Hill, the Dutch Woman ſtepped from among the Crowd, and called to me in French,――Vous Chevalier Angloiſe.—On which I turned, and ſhe put into my Hand a little Piece of Copper Coin, ſaying to me in the ſame Language, If ever you hear from me again, return me this Piece of Money.
I was very much ſurprized at the Preſent ſhe made me, as it was not even, in Holland, in Value above a Penny, and could not be of even that Service to me where I was:—I would not, however, ſeem to ſlight her Favour, eſpecially as it was accompanied with ſuch remarkable Words, though at that Time I was far from comprehending the Meaning of them.Vol.III Bbb The 368 Bbb1v 360
The next Day being fixed for our Departure, we ſet out early in the Morning, accompanied by thoſe four who were appointed for our Guides, and who had Orders to provide neceſſary Food for us till we got out of this Kingdom:—What was to become of us afterwards, or by what Means we ſhould be able to proſecute our Journey, Pennyleſs and almoſt naked as we were, we left to Heaven, having only this to conſole us, that we ſhould be yet nearer to the Place where we might expect to find Relief.
It is not material to recount the many Hardſhips we endured while travelling through this wild and ſavage Country, the huge Mountains we were obliged to climb, the Difficulties we found in our Deſcent from ſome of them, being ſo ſteep that we could not walk, but were often forced to ſlide down on their Stony Surface; which tore not only the poor Remains of Cloaths we had upon our Backs, but alſo our Fleſh even to the Bone: The many Rivers we ſwam over, or waded through, with the Water above our Chins, very rarely meeting with any Canoes; the thick Foreſts we ſtruggled with in our Paſſage, where the Trees were ſo interwoven, and the Boughs grew ſo low, that to creep like Reptiles on the Earth was the only Reſource we had; not to mention the perpetual Dangers we were in from the Wild Beaſts, it ſhall ſuffice to ſay we eſcaped them all, and, by the Providence of God, arrived, at the Expiration of eleven Days, on the Territories of another Monarch.Now 369 Bbb2r 361
Now did our Hearts begin to ake afreſh, leſt we ſhould be taken Priſoners, as before; o even, if we were ſuffered to paſs unmoleſted, how we ſhould avoid periſhing for want of Suſtenance: But here, as in many other Inſtances of my Life I have experienced, Relief was neareſt when it was leaſt expected.
As our Guides were preparing to take their Leave, one of them called our Interpreter aſide, and at the ſame Time beckoned me to follow; I did ſo, and as ſoon as we were got at a convenient Diſtance from the Company, ſo as not to be heard or ſeen by them, the Indian plucked a Leathern Pouch from under his Garments, and put it into my Hands, and then ſaid ſomething to my Companion, at which he ſeemed as much amazed as I was at the Meaning of the Preſent made to me: He recovered himſelf immediately, however, and told me, that the Dutch Lady, whom they called Cahatou, had ſent me an hundred Crowns for the Uſe of myſelf and Friends; but, that ſhe might be certain the Perſon ſhe confided in had faithfully diſcharged the Truſt ſhe repoſed in him, deſired I would ſend ſomething back to her, as a Token I had received her Benevolence.
I was now no longer at a Loſs to know what ſhe had meant by giving me that Piece of Copper Money, and bidding me Return it whenever I heard from her again: A Thing at that Time I thought next to an Impoſſibility, and it was a Piece of great good Fortune that I had preſervedBbb2 ſerved 370 Bbb2v 362 ſerved this Token, which I gave to the Man, and deſired my Friend to bid him carry that to the Lady, which I was very certain, would convince her he had not abuſed her Confidence, and with it my moſt humble and ſincere Acknowledgments for her Goodneſs to me and my unfortunate Companions.
This was all that passed between us; we then rejoined the others, and the four Indians being departed, I took out my Pouch, and ſurprized them with the Sight of the Money it contained, and the Way by which it came into my Hands: We agreed, however, to try firſt what Relief we ſhould find from the Compaſſion of theſe new Hoſts, ſince it would be Time enough to pay for what we wanted when we found we could proc uure it no other Way.—As the others, however, had ſtripped us of every thing the Wreck had left, we had little Reaſon to expect better Treatment from their Neighbours, nor did we even hope it, but reſolved to husband that Money the Dutch Lady’s Charity had beſtowed on us, as well as we could.
We very much lamented the Want of our Guns, ſeeing many Birds, and ſome Cattle, which we knew would have been excellent Food; but then again, as we afterwards reflected, the Diſcharge of Fire-Arms might had alarmed the Indians, and involved us in worſe Miſchiefs.
On the whole, therefore, we contented ourſelves with ſuch Proviſion as we could either beg or 371 Bbb3r 363 or purchaſe from the Indians: We found this Country much better Peopled than the other we had left, and that we had no occaſion for a Guide, keeping our Way along by the Sea-Coaſt.
Nothing worthy of Remark happening in this Journey, I will not trouble you with the Particulars; only tell you, that in nineteen Days we had the Pleaſure of arriving at Bencoolen, tho’ ſo diſfigured with the infinite Hardſhips we had ſuſtained, that we were ſcarce to be known by thoſe who had formerly been moſt intimate with us.
In this Gentleman’s Narrative, we find nothing of thoſe monſtrous Deſcriptions ſome Books of Travels have given us; and as he had the Misfortune to be obliged to paſs through two Nations of the Indies, had there been any ſuch Prodigies in Nature to have been found there, he muſt certainly have been Witneſs of them. It was for this Reaſon, and becauſe I know his Veracity may be depended upon, that I inſerted what he was ſo kind to ſend, for the Gratification of my own particular Curioſity; but believe he will not be diſpleaſed at the Publication, ſince it may ſerve to give a more juſt Idea of thoſe diſtant Parts of the Globe than has been commonly entertained of them.
Some People, to whom I have communicated this Account, have objected to that Part of it which 372 Bbb3v 364 which concerns the Idol, thinking it impoſſible that any Nation could be ſo abſurd as to adore a wooden Image they themſelves had made; but I cannot ſee why this ſhould be a Matter at all to be diſputed: Did not the Iſraelites worſhip the Golden Calf made out of their own Plate and Rings; and do we not daily ſee Inſtances of particular Perſons, who idolize, and in a Manner worſhip, what has no other Merit than themſelves have given it? Not Images indeed made of Wood, of Gold, of Silver, or of Stone, but Things, which, though endued with the Faculties of Speech and Motion, are no way better than Statues, and frequently much worſe; ſince the one can do no Harm, and the other, by a mad Partiality, being elevated to a Station beyond what they were born to, or taught how to behave in, prove the Ruin of thoſe who have raiſed them to that unbecoming Height.—Unanimated Idols will remain wherever they are placed by thoſe that make them:—They have not the Power of deceiving or betraying us, nor can take any thing from us but what we are pleaſed to give, and which we alſo may reſume if we think fit.—But when we create ourſelves Deities of Fleſh and Blood, and blindly reſolve to obey their Dictates, and follow whereſoever they lead, we are in Danger of having our Morals corrupted by their pernicious Example;—of our Underſtanding being impoſed upon by their Artifices, and lying Stratagems; and when they have rendered us ripe for Deſtruction, by the Forfeiture of our Honeſty and Common Senſe, we are in Danger 373 Bbb4r 365 Danger of being either cajoled, or intimidated into yielding up, not only all we enjoy ourſelves, (for that would ſcarce deſerve Commiſeration) but all the Rights alſo of our innocent Poſterity, which, to the End of Time, may ſuffer for our Faults. Nothing is more common than to ſee the moſt unworthy Objects loved and reverenced, while what is truly deſerving ſhall be neglected, and perhaps deſpiſed:—I knew a Gentleman once, who took ſuch a Fancy to Ruſh Candles, that he would ſuffer no other to be burnt before him, had them ſet up in Golden Candleſticks, and quarrelled with his beſt Friends if they happened to move too haſtily about the Room, for fear of flaring, or putting out his beloved Lights. You will ſay this is Infatuation; no doubt, whatever deviates from Reaſon and good Senſe is ſo: But that not only private Perſons, but whole Nations have been, and ſtill are guilty of it, none that has heard, or ſeen any thing of the World can deny.
I think, therefore, that neither the Sincerity of my Friend’s Narrative is to be called in queſtion on this Account, nor the Indians looked upon as the only Fools of the Creation for the Worſhip they pay their Idol.
But all this, I confeſs, is digreſſive of the Subject I ſat down to write upon; I ſhall therefore now return to it, and endeavour, as far as is in my Power, to combat, with the Arms of Truth, this gigantick Vice; which, like a huge Coloſſuſ, 374 Bbb4v 366 Coloſſus, ſeems to beſtride Great Britain, and ſets his Foot at once from Tweed to Tame.
Amazing is it, that a Vice, ſo deteſtable both to God and Man, ſhould be not only allowed but encouraged; nor does it ſeem leſs ſtrange, that thoſe who find their Credulity has been impoſed upon, ſhould, inſtead of reſenting the Deception, make it a Matter of Laughter.
To find oneſelf the Dupe of others, even in the moſt trivial Affairs, in my Opinion, is a very great Mortification, and ſuch a one, as one ſhould think, was ſcarce to be forgiven; yet in theſe degenerate Days, we paſs over without Notice the having been beguiled and deceived in Things of the greateſt Conſequence, our whole Fortunes, Reputations, and our very Lives not excepted.
Nay, to ſuch a Degree of Stupidity are we arrived, as to give Credit to the ſame dull Lye over and over again; reſign our Faith to that which, perhaps, not a Week paſt we detected as a Falſhood, and take for ſacred Truth Today, what Yeſterday we knew was but Invention.
There are Lies calculated to laſt a Month, a Week, a Day, nay ſometimes contradicted by thoſe that forged them, the ſame Hour; and whoever ſhould pretend to relate any thing he hears from common Fame, or from moſt of the public News-papers, will be in very great Dangerger 375 Ccc1r 367 ger of having either his Underſtanding or his Sincerity ſuſpected. And yet, as Mr. Dryden juſtly ſays, The Rabble gather round the Man of News,And, gaping, ſeem to liſten with their Mouths:Some tell, ſome hear, ſome judge of News, ſome make it,And he who lies moſt loud, is moſt believ’d.
So fond, indeed, are moſt People of Novelties, that they run greedily to hear what they before are convinced will have no Reſemblance of Truth in it; and inſtead of condemning, as they ought to do, the Impoſtor, ſeem pleaſed at his Endeavours to deceive them.
It were to be wiſhed, however, that this Indolence, or Credulity in the Hearers, were the only Encouragement given for the inventing of Falſhoods, and that none were reported but through meer Wantonneſs; but I am ſorry that my Spectatorial Capacity convinces me, that there are more powerful Motives which give Birth to the many abſurd and prepoſterous Stories, which of late Years have ſo much engroſsed our Attention.
It is Intereſt, Almighty Intereſt, which, as the Poet above quoted truly tells us, that makes all ſeem Reaſon that leads to it: Vol.III. Ccc Self- 376 Ccc1v 368 Self-Intereſt is the moſt prevailing Cheat,The ſly Seducer of both Age and Youth;They ſtudy that, and think they ſtudy Truth:Where Intereſt fortifies an Argument,Weak Reaſon ſerves to gain the Will’s Aſſent;For Souls already warp’d, receive an eaſy Bent.We only ſeem to hate, and ſeem to love,Intereſt is ſtill the Point on which we move:Our Friends are Foes, and Foes are Friends agen,And in their Turns, are Knaves, and honeſt Men:Our Iron Age is grown an Age of Gold; ’Tis who bids moſt, for all Men wou’d be ſold.
In fine, this ſhameful Quality, this Indication of the moſt baſe and groveling Mind, which none are hardy enough to avow, yet ſuch Numbers ſecretly practiſe, is privately converted into a Vocation, a kind of Trade, by which People, who could ſcarce get Bread by any other, acquire great Fortunes, and ſometimes Honours and Preferments:—The Man who is ingenuous this way will never want Employment for his inventive Faculty, Rewards proportioned to the Service of his Lye, nor Protection from the Reſentment of thoſe who may have been injured by it.
It cannot be expected, neither would it be proper, that I ſhould enumerate all the different Lies, by which the Makers propoſe to themſelves Advantage: 377 Ccc2r 369 Advantage:—Every one knows that there are Patriot Lies,—Miniſterial Lies,—Screening Lies,—Accuſative Lies,—Lies to rouze the Malecontent, and Lies to beguile the honeſt Enquirer, —Lies to get rich Wives and Husbands, and Lies to get rid of them afterwards;— Lies to magnify, and Lies to depreciate public Credit, according as either ſerves the Purpoſe of Change Alley; — Lies, called Private Intelligence from Fleets and Camps; —Lies, that bear the Name of Secret Hiſtories;—Lies, to ſift dangerous Truths from the Mouths of the Unwary:—But there are other Lies, to which I ſhall not give an Epithet, much leſs pretend to define.
In how unhappy a Dilemma is the ſincere and honeſt Mind involved, when, to be ſecure, one muſt doubt of every Thing!—How is it poſſible that People of any Family, Community, or even Nation, can live together in that Brotherly Affection, ſo much recommended in Holy Writ, and ſo neceſſary for the common Good, when every Individual muſt ſuſpect all the reſt, guard againſt all the reſt, and live in a continual Fear, that every one he converſes with is aiming to impoſe upon him!
Confidence is the Life of Society, and the Bond of Friendſhip; without it, both muſt fall to the Ground, and Mankind regard each other as Beaſts of Prey.Ccc2 How 378 Ccc2v 370
How juſt, therefore, is that Prayer of the Royal Prophet, Remove far from me, O Lord! the Lying Lips, and the Mouth that ſpeaketh Vanities.
Every one knows the Miſchiefs that are frequently occaſioned by Lies; it is in the Power of one Perſon of this Caſt to ſpread Diſſention through a whole Family, be it ever ſo numerous; nor can any one be ſafe in their Reputation, or enjoy any Peace of Mind, that holds Acquaintance with a Man or Woman guilty of this Vice.
Often have we ſeen the moſt ſtrict Unions broken, not only in Friendſhip, but even in Marriage, by a Report without Foundation.
It is certain we have Laws to puniſh Scandal, where it can be fully proved; but, alas! how eaſy is it to traduce and effectually deſtroy the good Character, without ſaying any thing to incur the Penalty:—There are lying Looks, lying Nods, and a thouſand ſignificant Geſtures, which artful Malice may put in Practice, to the Ruin of the Innocent, though the Tongue keeps a profound Silence.
Where Envy or Hate meets with a natural Propenſity to Lying, what infinite Ills are to be apprehended from ſuch a Diſpoſition! But, as I look 379 Ccc3r 371 look upon all ſuch to be incorrigible by Human Means, ſhall leave them to Heaven, either to be puniſhed or reformed as the Almighty Wiſdom ſhall ſee proper.
The chief End I propoſe by this Eſſay is to warn thoſe, who through a certain Indolence or Wantonneſs of Temper, and without any Deſign of doing Miſchief, are apt to lard their Converſation with what they call little Fibs, from giving way to ſuch an Inclination:—They know not, themſelves, how far it may grow upon them in Time; and that what at preſent they practiſe only as an Amuſement, may become a Habit, which they will find a Difficulty in throwing off, and ſo become confirmed Lyars without intending it.
I am very certain, if People would once reſolve to accuſtom themſelves to ſpeak nothing but the Truth, they would find much more Satisfaction in it, than in being applauded for inventing the moſt diverting Fiction.
Nothing has afforded me more Matter of Surprize, than when I find Perſons, who are not addicted to Lying themſelves, encourage it in others, and ſeem pleaſed at hearing what they are well convinced in their own Minds has nothing in it of Sincerity:—I would have all ſuch reflect, that while they are liſtening to an Untruth ſaid of their Neighbour, the Mouth that ſpeaks it is perhaps big with another of themſelves,ſelves, 380 Ccc3v 372 ſelves, ready to be vented in the next Company they go into.
I must confeſs, that I have not the Charity to believe, any one can be really a Lover of Truth, who can even ſeem to take any Diverſion in hearing it abuſed.
That Decorum and Complaiſance, indeed, which thoſe of the polite World think themſelves obliged to ſhew to each other, paſſes with ſome for an Excuſe in this Point; but though I would by no Means recommend a rude Contradiction, yet there are many Ways to teſtify one’s Diſapprobation of ſuch kind of Converſation, without violating the Laws of good Breeding.
A genteel Raillery, which cannot give Offence, yet if played on a Perſon of Wit, will make them aſhamed of ſaying any thing to incur it; and though I am no Friend to what they call Banter, Ridicule, or Irony, in any other Caſe, yet when it is made Uſe of to cure the Faults of thoſe Perſons we have no Authority to reprove, I think it highly laudable.
To affect giving Credit, as ſome do, to the moſt glaring Falſhoods, is an Affront to one’s own Underſtanding; and while we countenance a Lye in another Perſon, we give the Lye to that Reaſon which was beſtowed on us to diſtinguiſh Right from Wrong.The 381 Ccc4r 373
The great Prince of Conde, than whom none that ever lived was more juſtly famed for magnanimous and heroick Qualities, ſaid to a Perſon, who thought he complimented him, by depreciating the Merit of ſome of his Cotemporaries,— Sir, if you have any Requeſt to make me, come directly to the Point; for fear the ill Preſidents you ſet before my Eyes ſhould influence me to be guilty of the ſame.
These few Words were ſufficient to ſhew how little he was pleaſed with hearing any thing to the Diſadvantage of others, and was a Behaviour well worthy Imitation.
It is certainly very ſtupid to endeavour to make one’s Court to one Perſon by ſpeaking ſlightingly of others; yet it is frequently done, and too often with Succeſs.
But when People not only take upon them to leſſen the Merit of every great Action, but alſo to repreſent it in a Manner quite different from the Truth; I look on a Lye that thus murders Reputation, to deſerve equal Puniſhment with a Stab in the Back.
There are a Sort of People, who imagine they do a very good-natured Action, when they attempt to conceal from any one the Knowledge of a Misfortune which they are ſenſible is fallen on him, and tell him his Affairs are in a proſperous Way, when, in effect, they are in the moſt 382 Ccc4v 374 moſt deſperate.—Lawyers indeed may take this Method with their Clients, for the Sake of being ſtill employed; but when one Friend deceives another in this Point, it is, according to my way of judging, ſo far from being kind, that it is the utmoſt Cruelty.
At last the dreadful Certainty muſt be revealed, and the Blow will fall with the more heavy Weight, by being ſo long ſuſpended: — This, not only my own Experience, but the Obſervation of what others have endured, by this miſtaken Tenderneſs, has fully convinced me of.
A Person of no more than common Diſcretion may find Words to ſoften the moſt harſh Intelligence:—I would have no one too abruptly made acquainted with an unexpected Evil, becauſe the Surprize of it might be of worſe Effect than the Thing itſelf; but to keep them in a total Ignorance, and flatter them with Hopes, which, ſooner or later, will be proved fictitious, will only render the Misfortune more grievous in the End.
This, and the Pretence of keeping Peace in Families, I think are the chief Excuſes made for Untruths in private Life: As for thoſe of a more public Nature, they will tell you Policy exacts it from them; that it is not fit the People ſhould be made acquainted with what their Governors are doing; and that if Secrets of State were 383 Ddd1r 375 were once communicated at Home, they would ſoon be ſent Abroad; and by that Means the beſt concerted Schemes might be rendered abortive.
It muſt be owned that there is ſomething extremely plauſible in this; and it, doubtleſs, would be very unfit a Cobler in his Stall ſhould partake of the great Councils of the Nation; but even here, as I have already obſerved in other Matters, and will ſtill hold good in all, if what is really Truth is unfit to be revealed, cannot it be kept private without its contrary being impoſed upon the Public?—Is there a Neceſſity that the pooreſt Man in any Kingdom ſhall be made to believe he is in Danger, when no Danger threatens!—Or, that he may ſit and exerciſe his Function with Security, when in fact there is an Enemy at the Gates!
In fine, though all the Truth is not on ſome Occaſions to be made public, there certainly can be no Emergency in any well-regulated Government that can juſtify Deception.
InPrivate Life, a Perſon who is obliged for the Support of his Grandeur, or to put off the Payment of his Debts, to little Subterfuges, and fabulous Pretences, is ſoon ſuſpected, and with Juſtice too, to have been guilty of ſome ill Management to drive him to that Neceſſity, or elſe that he has a latent and premediated Deſign to defraud the World:—Thoſe in a Public CapacityIII. Ddd pacity 384 Ddd1v 376 pacity are certainly liable to the ſame Cenſure; and it is not to be wondered at, if the Commonalty, when it ſo happens, loſe for them all that Reſpect their Birth and Stations would otherwiſe demand.
Nothing, indeed, can merit our Reſpect, that is not dignified with Virtue; nor can there be any real Virtue without Truth:—It is Truth that gives a Luſtre to all our other good Qualities; and the Man that can deſcend to make a Lye, on any Occaſion whatever, forfeits all his Pretenſions to Honour, Courage, Good-nature, and every other valuable Diſtinction.
I left Religion out of the Detail, becauſe nothing can be more obvious, than that whoever is in fact a Chriſtian, dare not be guilty of eſpouſing this Vice, which, even more than any other, is forbidden in the Goſpel:—They will remember how much, and how often, Simplicity of Heart and Manners is there recommended, and who it is that ſays, Let your Yea be Yea, and your Nay, Nay,
I do not mean that affected Plainneſs which the Quakers ſo much value themſelves upon, but that innate Love of Truth, which will not ſuffer thoſe who are poſſeſſed of it to have recourſe to any Evaſions or Artifices, to make what is, appear as it were not, and what is not, as if it were.If 385 Ddd2r 377
If Report may be depended upon, in this Point, an honeſt Turk pays a more ſtrict Obedience to the Commands of our Saviour, than many of thoſe who pretend to believe in him: —This is a Point, however, I ought to leave to the Revered Divines, and venture to give it, not only as my own Opinion, but alſo that of the unprejudiced Perſons, who compoſe their Congregations, that it better would become the Pulpit, than Party-Invectives of any kind whatſoever.
But this is a Matter out of the Province of the Female Spectator; and what I have already ſaid may appear to ſome to have been too preſuming: But Reaſon, and a juſt Remonſtrance, ought not to be condemned, let it come from what Quarter ſoever. Lying is now become in a Manner contagious, and every Attempt to put a Stop to the ſpreading Evil, I am certain, will be well received by thoſe free from the Infection.
As for thoſe who are beginning to be tainted with it, I would have them only aſk themſelves the Queſtion, If after having been guilty of falſifying the Truth, they have the ſame Peace in their own Breaſts which they enjoyed before they ſwerved from it?—If they have not been every Moment in fear of a Detection? And if they have not felt ſometimes a conſcious Pang for having impoſed on the Credulity of thoſe who depended on them?Ddd2 Where 386 Ddd2v 378
Where there is the leaſt Senſe of Honour, or of Shame remaining, this muſt infallibly be the Caſe; and there is nothing more demonſtrates a Perſon to be dead to all good Sentiments, than to be hardened in this deteſtable Vice.
Besides, there is this Misfortune attends the having made a Lye, for as nothing that is ſo will long remain in Credit, a thouſand others muſt be invented to excuſe and palliate the former; and if People could but be ſenſible how very fooliſh they look, when obliged to take this Method of bringing themſelves off (as it is called,) the very Vanity of appearing agreeable would keep them from being guilty of what is ſo injurious to their Countenances.
A Purity of Heart, on the contrary, diffuſes an open Chearfulneſs through all the Features, and gives a kind of angelic Sweetneſs even to the plaineſt Face.
In fine, the Effects of Truth are a happy Serenity within, and a graceful Compoſedneſs without:—Thoſe of Inſincerity, a Diſtraction of Mind, and a contracted gloomy Brow, which no forced Smiles have the Power to diſguiſe.
A Person of known Veracity ſtamps the Sanction of an Oracle on every Word he ſpeaks: —All liſten to him with Pleaſure, and fear not to be called in queſtion for repeating any thing he tells them:—His ſingle Promiſe, in any Affairs he 387 Ddd3r 379 he ſhall engage in, is of more Value than all the Obligations drawn up in form by Notaries:—He is never mentioned without Eſteem and Reverence!—Never ſeen but with Delight!—The Image of the Divinity ſhines in him, and even thoſe who moſt hate and oppugn Truth are awed and abaſhed before it!
Whereas, one who has been once detected in a Lye is forever after ſuſpected:—If any Miſchief, either to Fortune or Reputation, has happened, by his having falſified the Truth, he is looked upon as dangerous, and his Society is juſtly ſhunned by all who would be ſafe in either:—He muſt have Vouchers to prove whatever he alledges, and is hateful even to thoſe who are not leſs criminal than himſelf:—If he exerts his inventive Talent only in Things of no Moment, but meerly to pleaſe his own Humour, or thoſe he may happen to be in Company with, like the Gentleman I mentioned in the Beginning of this Eſſay, he is considered as a Trifler:—Whatever he ſays has no manner of Weight with thoſe that hear it!—He is neglected while he is preſent, and laughed at when abſent!
Let any one now look upon these two Pictures, and reflect within themſelves, which they would wiſh to bear the Reſemblance of:—Sure there are none in their right Senſes that would chuſe the latter!Those 388 Ddd3v 380
Those moſt addicted to the uttering Falſhoods would doubtleſs have them believed as Facts:—The Character of Probity and Truth all would wiſh to maintain, though their Actions and Words bear not the leaſt Likeneſs of it.—The Matter is, they flatter themſelves that Art will do all for them they deſire; and, while gratifying their own vicious Propenſity, think that nobody diſcovers it in them.—But, alas! this is a Vanity which will be of ſhort Duration; the foul and muddy Ground-work will appear through all the tincelled Varnish Wit and Eloquence can give it, and the Contempt which is due to it enſue.
This, therefore, like many other Irregularities in Conduct, requires no more than a ſerious Conſideration to reform in ourſelves, at leaſt as to the Generality of People: As for thoſe, indeed, who long have made a Trade of it, and can ſupport their Extravagancies by no other way, than continuing to oblige the Patrons who employ them; they, I am afraid, muſt be ſet down as incorrigible; no Reflection of their own, no Remonſtrance from another, will weigh againſt a preſent Intereſt, or bring them back to any Senſe of Honour, or of Virtue.
I hope, however, that this is the Caſe but of a few, and if even one of the Reclaimable is rendered ſo by what I have taken upon me to advance, either in this, or any former Eſſay, neither my Labour, nor the Encouragement the Public 389 Ddd4r 381 Public has given to this Undertaking, will be wholly thrown away.
And now, courteous Readers, I muſt acquaint you, that our Society had an Intention to conclude our Lucubrations with this Book; nor would the repeated Inſtances of many Subſcribers to this Undertaking have prevailed with us to continue it; becauſe, though we acknowledge the Obligations we have to their Good-nature, we knew not how far it might biaſs them to miſtake their private Opinion for that of the Town in general, and we were unwilling to be thought too tedious by any.
That we have changed our Minds, and continue the Spectatorial Function yet a little longer, is owing to ſome Hints we have lately received from Perſons of the moſt diſtinguiſhed Capacities, on Subjects univerſally intereſting, and which we have not yet touched upon, who aſſure us, they would tranſmit their Sentiments to the World by no other Canal.
There is alſo juſt now come to Hand a ſecond Letter from Philo-Naturæ; and another from the ingenious Eumenes, with ſome further Account of the Topſy-Turvy Iſland, both which Gentlemen have already given ſuch Proofs of their Abilities, that it would be the greateſt Injuſtice to the Public to ſtifle what they have been ſo good to permit ſhould be communicated.The 390 Ddd4v 382
The Preſent, which one who ſigns himſelf Philoclites has made us, of A Mirror for True Beauty, deſerves our Acknowledgments; and he may aſſure himſelf we ſhall not fail to ſet it before the Ladies the very firſt Opportunity, and in ſpite of all the Follies of the Times, hope that there are ſtill a great many who will ſee themſelves in it with Pleaſure.
End of the Eighteenth Book.
Index to Books XIII, XIV, XV, XVI, XVII, XVIII,
being the Third Volume.
- Ariana, a great Tatler. p. 16
- Animal and Immortal Soul, the wide Difference betweeen them. p. 54.
- Aliena, her Character and Misfortunes. p. 66
- Ant, its prodigious Induſtry. p. 148
- Anne, Queen, her Humane Dis poſition. p. 152
- Affectation, the Men how guilty of it. p. 180
- Affectation, its many Branches in both Sexes. p. 208
- Ambition, how ridiculous in mean People. p. 215
- Amonia, her Letter to the Female Spectator. p. 239
- Aranthe, her Character. p. 261
- Alcander, his Letter improper to be inſerted for nameleſs Reaſons. p. 322
- Baxter, a learned Author. p. 50
- Barſina, her Story. p. 104
- Bees, their Oeconomy. p. 150
- Butterfly, how engendred. p. 157
- Bayle’s Dictionary, the reading of it recommended. p. 173
- Bencoolen, an Engliſh Factory in the Eaſt Indies. p. 332
- Curiosity, a dangerous Propenſity. p. 9
- Conſtantia, an Example of Prudence. p. 40
- Cuſtom, an ill one practiſed at Elections for Members of Parliament. p. 62
- Country, how far our Love of it ought to carry us. p. 63
- Claribella, her Letter to the Female Spectator. p. 65
- Conduct of a Sea-Captain accounted for by the Female Spectator. p. 96
- Clark, Doctor, his Philoſophy. p. 98
- Conſcience, the Power of it. p. 121
- Curioſity, laudable on proper Occaſions. p. 139
- Country Life, its Pleaſures. p. 142.
- Cryſalis, what it is. p. 146
- Cicero ought to be read. p. 166
- Citizens of London, how truly great while they preſerve their Bounds. p. 218 Vol. III. a City 392 a1v
- City Lady turned Courtier, her Character. p. 220
- Caterpillars, their Structure very amazing. p. 292
- Common Pretences for Lying. p. 325
- Cahatou, who ſhe was. p. 361
- Conde, Prince of, his Anſwer to one that flattered him. p. 375
- Confidence, the Support of Society. p. 379
- Dorinda, her Letter to the Female Spectator. p. 28
- David, his Inſenſibility of his Faults, till plainly reproved by the Prophet. p. 60
- Death, the Fear of it natural. p. 125
- Dion, a good Author. p. 167
- Dutchwoman, her Story. p. 349
- Eudosia, her Character and Story. p. 30
- Eliſmonda, her Letter to the Female Spectator.p. 103
- Elizabeth, Queen, her Love of Peace. p. 152
- Empire Aſſyrian, its Fall. p. 164
- Eumenes, his Letter to the Female Spectator. p. 208
- Example, its great Influence. p. 231
- Eccleſiaſticks, moſt of them Enemies to Fatigue. p. 335
- Fillamour and Zimene, their Story. p. 16
- Folly of ſome Parents. p. 29
- Female Spectator’s Advice to the Friends of Aliena. p. 101
- Falſe Taſte, its Marks. p. 133
- Fly, its Eyes wonderful. p. 147
- Firſt Ages of the World, how happy. p. 163
- Freedom, how loſt. p. 164
- Fortune, its Viciſſitudes, a pleaſing Reflection. Ibid.
- Facts in Hiſtory of more Conſequence than Rhetoric. 167
- Female Spectator’s Apology to Mrs. Oldfaſhion. p. 176
- Family ruined by a Second Marriage. p. 195
- Fourettier, L’Abbé, his Maxim. p. 327
- French, good Writers of Travels. p. 335
- Fibbs, the Danger of them. p. 371
- Gravesend, a remarkable Adventure that happened there. p. 73
- Gravitation, the firſt Hint of it. p. 308
- Generoſity, an unexpected Act of it. p. 360
- H.l. his Letter to the Female Spectator. p. 44. Hiſtory 393 a2r
- Hiſtory, proper for all Perſons to be acquainted with. p. 165
- Herodotus a great Author. p. 167
- Herodian, of what he treats. Ibid
- Hoops, as now worn, inconvenient. p. 184
- High Birth not always an Excitement to great Actions. p. 236
- Hardſhips endured by Travellers. p. 344
- Imagination, the Strength of it. p. 120
- Inſects, their Reſurrection. p. 154
- Joſephus, the Uſefulneſs of his Work. p. 167
- Imitation, in what pernicious. p. 217
- J.M. his Letter to the Female Spectator. p. 171
- Idol, how adorned. p. 355
- Idols to be found in other Places than India. p. 364.
- Kitten, a Woman of the Town, ſo called, and aped by ſome modeſt Ladies. p. 231
- Kindeſs ill teſtified in concealing the Truth. p. 373
- Love of News how prevalent. p. 5
- Laconia, her Character. p. 31
- Love of Country the nobleſt Paſſion. p. 63
- Lady’s Revenge. p. 103
- Letter from Ziphranes to Barſina. p. 110
- Luxury always the Ruin of Kingdoms. p. 164
- Leucothea, her Letter to the Female Spectator. p. 179
- Lyſetta, her Affectation. p. 227
- Lycophron, his Letter rejected, and the Reaſon. p. 322
- Lying, the Hatefulneſs of it. p. 324
- Lies, how many various Kinds. p. 369.
- Men guilty of tattling as well as Women. p. 10
- Meekneſs, its Efficacy. p. 27
- Maxim of the Abbé de Belgarde, well worthy Obſervation. p. 57
- Microſcopes, their great Uſe. p. 147
- Merchants, their Uſefulneſs. p. 172
- Mottray, very exact in his Deſcriptions. p. 173
- Montſaucon, in what to be admired. Ibid
- Men who have Children unwiſe to marry. p. 203
- Moon, its Appearance through a Telleſcope. p. 309
- Mercury, the Swiftneſs of his Motion. p. 313
- Marvellous, how fond ſome People are of it. p. 326
- An Inſtance of it. p. 328 a2 Mandeville, 394 a2v
- Mandeville, Sir John, guilty of impoſing on his Readers. p. 334
- Muſic, what Sort uſed in Summatra. p. 354
- Nathan the Prophet, his Parable. p. 60
- Nimrod, the firſt Tyrant. p. 152
- Nature, the Study of it, in effect, the Study of Divinity. p 156
- Navy, the Advantage we receive from it. p. 171
- Needle, the conſtant Uſe of it not ſo laudable in Ladies as ſome imagine. p. 177
- News-Papers, how little to be depended on. p. 366
- Novelties always pleaſing. p. 396
- odd Adventure occaſioned by a Hoop Petticoat. p. 135
- Opinion in Matters of Religion hard to be worn off. p. 245
- Old Age, the Folly of attempting to conceal it. p. 283
- Obſervations made by the Female Spectator while in the Country. p. 291
- Philaster, a Play, the ill Effects of a Character in it. p. 74
- Philo-Naturæ, his Letter to the Female Spectator. p. 141
- Philoſophy, Natural, recommended. p. 143
- Plutarch’s Lives, a uſeful Book. p. 167
- Poetry, all will not bear Tranſlation. p. 169
- Philenia, her Letter to the Female Spectator. p. 190
- Perſecution a Diſgrace to all Religion. p. 147
- Preſbyterian, a ſtrange Inſtance of the Bigottry of ſome of them. p. 251
- Reason ought to be conſulted before we give our Opinion on any thing. p. 6
- Reputation, how valuable. p. 8
- Rage, the Folly of giving it a Looſe. p. 21
- Reading, its good Effects. p. 159
- Ram, an ugly Accident occaſioned by one. p. 186
- R. S. his Letter to the Female Spectator. p. 223
- Revolution of the Planets, how wonderful. p. 315
- Rabble, how fond of News. p. 367
- Raillery, when neceſſary. p. 372.
- Scandal, how univerſal, p. 23
- The Cruelty, and often Injuſtice of it. p. 8
- Shakeſpear, his Sentiments upon it. Ibid.
- Speech, the Reaſon it was given us. p 12
- Sophronia, her unlucky Adventure. p. 16
- Severus, his Character and Story. p. 30
- Soul, its Dignity. p. 53
- Sentiments of a learned Author. p. 57.
- Surprize, the great Influence it has. p. 60
- Satyriſts, profeſſed ones, do little Service in correcting Vice. p. 61
- Semiramis a cruel Woman. p. 152
- Suetonius recommended. p. 167.
- Salluſt, a Maſterly Writer. Ibid
- Sailors, how much they merit to be encouraged. p. 171.
- Step-Mothers, how generally hated. p. 190.
- Second Marriage in both Sexes condemned by the Female Spectator p. 207
- Sergius, his Character and Story. p. 261
- Snails, their admirable Formation. p. 297
- Summatra, ſome Account of it. p. 337
- Self-Intereſt, its Influence. p. 368
- Taste, a Definition of it. p. 128
- True Taſte, in what chiefly diſcoverable. p. 133
- Thucydides, an excellent Author. p. 167
- Titus Livius, and Tacitus, improving Works. p. 168
- Tranſlations not to be neglected, though they do not come up to the Original. p. 169
- Topſy-Turvy Iſland , ſome Account of it. p. 212
- Telleſcopes, the Diſcoveries they afford, and by whom firſt invented. p. 307
- Tell-Truth, Mr. the Cauſe why his Remonſtrance was ſuppreſſed. p. 323
- Turks, their Sincerity valuable. 377
- Truth, the Amiableneſs of it. p. 378
- Vanity, Men as guilty of it as Women. p. 104
- Velleius Paterculus, his Abridgment, neceſſary to be read. p. 166
- Venus, her Motion round the Sun. p. 313
- Woes of Love little pitied. p. 66 Worms, 396 a3v
- Worms, ſomewhat wonderful in them. p. 145
- Writings, which of moſt Uſe. p. 162
- William, his great Generoſity. p. 230
- World, the Partiality of it condemned. p. 234
End of Vol. III.A basket of fruit and flowers.