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Or like the crow and her egg, in the Greek proverb.
Κακά κόρακGν κακόν ώον»
Bad the crow, bad the egg.
i I must here take notice of a letter which I have received from an unknown correspondent, upon the subject of my paper, upon which the foregoing letter is likewise founded. The writer of it seems very much concerned lest that paper should seem to give encouragement to the disobedience of children towards their parents ; but if the writer of it will take the pains to read it over again attentively, I dare say his apprehensions will vanish. Pardon and reconciliation are all the penitent daughter requests, and all: that I contend for in her behalf; and in this case I may use the saying of an eminent wit, who, upon some great men's pressing him to forgive his daughter who had married against his consent, told them he could refuse nothing to their instances, but that he would have them remember there was difference between giving and forgiving.
I must confess, in all controversies between parents and their children, I am naturally prejudiced in favour of the former.
The obligations on that side can never be acquitted, and I think it is one of the greatest reflections upon human nature that paternal instinct should be a stronger motive to love than filial gratitude ; that the receiving of favours should be a less inducement to good-will, tenderness and commiseration, than the conferring of them ; and that the taking care of any person should endear the child or dependant more to the parent or benefactor, than the parent or benefactor to the child or dependant; ġet so it happens, thạt for one cruel parent we meet with a thousand undutiful children. This is indeed. wonderfully contrived (as I have formerly observed) for the support of every living species; but at the same time that it shews the wisdom of the Creator, it discovers the imperfection and degeneracy of the creature.
The obedience of children to their parents, is the basis of all government, and set forth as the measure of that obedience which we owe to those whom Providence hath placed over us.
It is father Le Compte, if I am not mistaken, who tells us how want of duty in this particular is punished among the Chinese, insomuch that if a son should be known to kill, or so much as to strike his father, not only the criminal, but his whole family would be rooted out, nay, the inhabitants of the place where he lived would be put to the sword, nay, the place itself would be rased to the ground, and its foundation sown with salt: for, say they, there must have been an utter depravation of manners in that clan or society of
people who could have bred up among them so hor7 rid an offender. To this I shall add a passage out of
the first book of Herodotus. That historian, in his account of the Persian customs and religion tells us, it is their opinion that no man ever killed his father, or that it is possible such a crime should be in nature; but that if any thing like it should ever happen, they conclude that the reputed son must have been illegitimate, supposititious, or begotten in adultery. Their opinion in this particular shews sufficiently what a notion they must have had of undutifulness in general.
No. CXC. MONDAY, OCTOBER 8.
Servitus crescit nova..........
A servitude to former times unknown.
SINCE I made some reflections upon the general negligence used in the case of regard towards women, or, in other words, since I talked of wenching, I have had epistles upon that subject, which I shall, for the present entertainment, insert as they lie before me.
Mr. Spectator, • As your speculations are not confined to any part 6 of human life, but concern the wicked as well as the * good, I must desire your favourable acceptance of
what I, a poor strolling girl about town, have to say • to you. I was told by a Roman Catholic gentleman who picked me up last week, and who, I hope, is 6 absolved for what passed between us; I says
I was • told by such a person, who endeavoured to convert • me to his own religion, that in countries where Po
pery prevails, besides the advantage oflicensed stews, 6 there are large endowments given for the Incurabili, . I think he called them, such as are past all remedy,
and are allowed such maintenance and support as to • keep them without farther care till they expire. This ( manner of treating poor sinners has, methinks, great « humanity in it; and as you are a person who pretend « to carry your reflections upon all subjects whatever
that occur.to you, with candour, and act above the 6 sense of what misinterpretation you may meet with, « I beg the favour of you to lay before all the world, « the unhappy condition of us poor vagrants, who are 6 really in a way of labour instead of idleness. There o are crowds of us whose manner of livelihood has • long ceased to be pleasing to us; and who would wil
* lingly lead a new life, if the rigour of the virtuous
did not for ever expel us from coming into the world again. As it now happens, to the eternal infamy of o the male sex, falsehood among you is not reproach• ful, but credulity in women is infamous.
• Give me leave, Sir, to give you my history. You are to know that I am a daughter of a man of a good reputation, tenant to a man of quality. The "heir of this great house took it in his head to cast a · favourable eye upon me, and succeeded. I do not
pretend to say he promised me marriage: I was (not a creature silly enough to be taken by so foolish 6 a story: but he ran away with me up to this town, 6 and introduced me to a grave matron, with whom I
boarded for a day or two with great gravity, and was s not a little pleased with the change of my condition, * from that of a country life to the finest company, as
I believed, in the whole world. My humble servant I made me understand that I should always be kept • in the plentiful condition I then enjoyed: when, • after a very great fondness towards me, one day • took his leave of me for four or five days. In the evening of the same day my good landlady came to: me, and observing me very pensive, began to comfort me, and with a smile told me I must see the world. • When I was deaf to all she could say to divert me, she began to tell me with a very frank air that I 6 must be treated as I ought, and not take these 6 squeamish humours upon me, for my friend had left 'me to the town; and, as their plırase is, she expect16 ed I would see company, or I must be treated like 6 what I had brought myself to. This put me into a fit of crying: and I immediately, in a true sense of
my condition, threw myself on the floor, deploring my fate, calling upon all that was good and sacred to suc
While I was in all this agony, I observed a decrepid old fellow come into the room, and look"ing with a sense of pleasure in his face at all my ve
6 cour me.
• hemence and transport. In a pause of my distress, I • heard him say to the shameless old woman who stood by me, she is certainly a new face, or else she acts it rarely. With that the gentlewoman, who was making her market of me, in all the turns of my
person, the heaves of my passion, and the suitable -"'changes of ny posture, took occasion to commend
my neck, my shape, my eyes, my limbs. All this • was accompanied with such speeches as you may • have heard horse-coursers make in the sale of nags, « when they are warranted for their soundness. You
understand by this time that I was left in a brothel, • and exposed to the next bidder, that could purchase
me of my patroness. This is so much the work of * liell; the pleasure in the possession of us wenches • abates in proportion to the degrees we go beyond the 6 bounds of innocence; and no man is gratified, if • there is nothing left for him to debauch. Well, Sir, • my first man, when I came upon the town, was Sir
Jeoffry Foible, who was extremely lavish to me of • his money, and took such a fancy to me that he « would have carried me off, if my patroness would have taken any reasonable terms for me: but as he
was old, his covetousness was his strongest passion, 6 and poor I was soon left exposed to be the common
refuse of all the rakes and debauchees in town. I ( cannot tell whether you will do me justice or no, un6 til I see whether you print this or not; otherwise, as
I now live with Sal, I could give you a very just ac6 count of who and who is together in this town. You • perhaps will not believe it ; but I know one pretends s to be a very good Protestant who lies with a Roman • Catholic: but more of this hereafter as you please « me. There do come to our house the greatest poli(ticians of the age; and Sal is more shrewd than any
body thinks: nobody can believe that such wise men • could go to bawdy-houses out of idle purposes; I « have heard them often talk of Augustus Cæsar, who