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very often is very certain; but I desire to know, being engaged at piquet, what your letter means by " it is in vain to deny it." I shall stay here all the evening
• Your amazed CYNTHIO
As soon as Robin arrived with this, Flavia answered:
6 DEAR CYNTHIO,
I have walked a turn or two in my antichamber since I writ to you, and have recovered myself from an impertinent fit which you ought to forgive me, and desire you would come to me immediately, to laugh off & jealousy that you and a creature of the town went by in a hackneycoach an hour ago. «Your most humble servant,
I will not open the letter which my Cynthio writ upon the misapprehension you must have been under when you writ, for want of hearing the whole circumstance.'
Robin came back in an instant and Cynthio answered:
Half an hour six minutes after three, “MADAM,
June 4, Will's Coffee-house. • It is certain I went by your lodgings with a gentlewoman to whom I have the honour to be known; she is indeed my relation, and a pretty sort of a woman. But your starting manner of writing, and owning vou have not done me the
honour so much as to open my letter, has in it something very unaccountable, and alarms one that has had thoughts of passing his days with you. But I am born to admire
you little imperfections.
with all your
Robin ran back, and brought for answer:
• Exact sir, that are at Will's coffee-house six minutes after three, June 4th; one that has had thoughts, and all my little imperfections. Sir, come to me immediately, or I shall determine what may perhaps not be very pleasing to you.
when she gave
Robin gave an account that she looked exces
him the letter; and that he told her, for she asked, that Cynthio only looked at the clock, taking snuff, and writ two or three words on the top of the letter when he gave
him his. Now the plot thickened so well, as that Cynthio saw he had not much more to accomplish being irreconcileably banished; he writ,
• I have that prejudice in favour of all you do, that it is not possible for you to determine upon what will not be very pleasing to (Your obedient servant,
This was delivered, and an answer returned in a little more than two seconds.
• Is it come to this? You never loved me; and the creature you were with is the properest person for your associate. I despise you, and hope I shall soon hate you as a villain to
The credulous FLAVIA.'
Robin ran back with
Your credulity when you are to gain your point, and suspicion when you fear to lose it, make it a very hard part to behave as becomes
• Your humble slave,
Robin whipt away, and returned with,
• Flavia and Cynthio are no more. I relieve you from the hard part of which you complain, and banish you from my sight for ever.
Robin had a crown for his afternoon's work; and this is published to admonish Cecilia tó avenge the injury done to Flavia.
No. 399. SATURDAY, JUNE 7.
Ut nemo in sese tentat descendere! PERS.
The secret imperfections of his mind. Dryden. HYPOCRISY at the fashionable end of the town is very different from hypocrisy in the city. The modish hypocrite endeavours to appear more vicious than he really is, the other kind of hypocrite more virtuous. The former is afraid of every thing that has the show of religion in it, and would be thought engaged in many criminal gallantries and amours, which he is not guilty of: the latter assumes a face of sanctity; and covers a multitude of vices under a seeming reliligious deportment.
But there is another kind of hypocrisy which differs from both these, and which I intend to make the subject of this paper; I mean that hypocrisy by which a man does not only deceive the world, but very often imposes on himself; that hypocrisy which conceals his own heart from him, and makes him believe he is more virtuous than he really is, and either not attend to his vices, or mistake even his vices for virtues. It is this fatal hypocrisy and self-deceit which is taken notice of in these words, Who can understand his errors? Cleanse thou me from secret faults.'
If the open professors of impiety deserve the utmost application and endeavours of moral writers to recover them from vice and folly, how much more may those lay a claim to their care
and compassion, who are walking in the paths of death, while they fancy themselves engaged in a course of virtue! I shall endeavour, therefore, to lay down some rules for the discovery of those vices that lurk in the secret corners of the soul, and to show my reader those methods by which he
may arrive at a true and impartial knowledge of himself. The usual means prescribed for this purpose are, to examine ourselves by the rules which are laid down for our direction in sacred writ, and to compare our lives with the life of that person who acted up to the perfection of human nature, and is the standing example, as well as the great guide and instructor, of those who receive his doctrines. Though these two heads can not be too much insisted upon, I shall but just mention them, since they have been handled by many great and eminent writers.
I would therefore propose the following methods to the consideration of such as would find out their secret faults, and make a true estimate of themselves.
In the first place, let them consider well what are the characters which they bear among
their enemies. Our friends very often flatter us as much as our own hearts: they either do not see our faults, or conceal them from us, or soften them by their representations, after such a manner,
that think them too trivial to be taken notice of. An adversary, on the contrary, makes a stricter search into us; discovers every flaw and imperfection in our tempers; and though his malice may set them in too strong a light, it has
generally some ground for what it advances. A friend exaggerates a man's virtues, an enemy in