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ad gentleman that I thought made pretensions to me, insomuch that most of my friends took notice of it, and thought we were really married; in which I did not take much pains to undeceive them, and especially a young gentlewoman of my particular acquaintance who was then in the country. She coming to town, and seeing our intimacy so great, gave herself the liberty of taking me to task concerning it; I ingenuously told her we were not married, bui I did not know what might be the event. She soon got acquainted with the gentleman, and was pleased to take upon her to examine him about it.
Now, whether a new face had made a greater conquest than the old, I will leave you to judge; but I am informed that he utterly denied all pretensions to courtship, but withal professed a sincere friendship for me; but whether marriages are proposed by way of friendship or not, is what I desire to know, and what I may really call a lover. There are so many who talk in a language fit only for that character, and yet guard themselves against speaking in direct terms to the point, that it is impossible to distinguish between courtship and conversation. I hope you will do me justice both upon my lover and my friend, if they provoke me further. In the mean time I carry
it with so equal a behaviour, that the nymph and the swain too are mightily at a loss; each believes I, who know them both well, think myself revenged in their love to one another, which creates an irreconcileable jealousy. If all comes right again, you shall hear further from, sir, - Your most ubedient servant,
April 28, 1712. • Your observations on persons that have behaved themselves irreverently at church, (No. 259,) I doubt not have had a good effect on some that have read them: but there is another fault which has hitherto escaped your notice; I mean of such persons as are very zealous and punctual to perform an ejaculation that is only preparatory to the service of the church, and yet neglect to join in the service itself. There is an instance of this in a friend of Will Honeycomb's, who sits opposite to me: he seldom comes in till the prayers are about half over, and when he has entered his seat, instead of joining with the congregation, he devoutly holds his hat before his face for three or four moments, then bows to all his acquaintance, sits down, takes a pinch of snuff (if it be evening service perhaps a nap,) and spends the remaining time in surveying the congregation. Now, sir, what I would desire is, that you would animadvert a little on this gentleman's practice. In my opinion, this gentleman's devotion, cap-in-hand, is only a compliance to the custom of the place, and goes no further than a little ecclesiastical good-breeding. If you will not pretend to tell us the motives that bring such triflers to solemn assemblies, yet let me desire that you will give this letter a place in your paper, and I shall remain, sir,
Your obliged humble servant,
* These may be the initials of Swift's name, in whose works there is a sermon expressly on the subject of sleep. ing at church.
May the 6th. • The conversation of a club, of which I am a member, last night falling upon vanity and the desire of being admired, put me in mind of relating how agreeably I was entertained at my own door last Thursday by a clean fresh coloured girl, under the most elegant and the best furnished milkpail I had ever observed. I was glad of such an opportunity of seeing the behaviour of a coquette in low life, and how she received the extraordinary notice that was taken of her; which I found had affected every muscle of her face in the same manner as it does the features of a first rate toast at a play or in an assembly. This hint of mine made the discourse turn upon the sense of pleasure; which ended in a general resolution, thet the milk-maid enjoys her vanity as exquisitely as the woman of quality. I think it would not be an improper subject for you to examine this frailty, and trace it to all conditions of life; which is recommended to you as an occasion of obliging many of your readers, among the rest, Your most humble servant,
Coming last week into a coffee-house not far from the Exchange with my basket under my arm, a Jew of considerable note, as I am informed, takes half a dozen oranges of me, and at the same time slides a guinea into my hand; I made him a curtsy and went my way. He followed me, and finding I was going about my business, he came up with me, and told me plainly, that he gave me the guinea with no other intent but to
vi purchase my person for an hour. Did you so, sir?
says I; you gave it to me then to make me wicked; l'úl keep it to make me honest. However, not to be in the least ungrateful, I promise you I'll lay it out in a couple of rings, and wear them for your sake. I am so just, sir, besides, as to give every body that asks how Í came by my rings, this account of my benefactor; but to save me the trouble of telling my tale over and over again, I humbly beg the favour of you to tell it once for all, and you will extremely oblige
Your humble servant,
St. Bride's, May 15, 1712. • It is a great deal of pleasure to me, and I dare say will be no less satisfaction to you, that I have an opportunity of informing you, that the gentlemen and others of the parish of St. Bride, have raised a charity-school of fifty girls, as before of fifty boys. You were so kind as to recommend the boys to the charitable world, and the other sex hope you will do them the same favour in Friday's Spectator, for Sunday next, when they are to appear with their humble'airs at the parish church of St. Bride. Sir, the mention of this may possibly be serviceable te the children; and sure no one will omit a good action attended with no expense,
I am, Sir,
• THE SEXTON.' STEELE.
No. 381. SATURDAY, MAY 17.
Æquam memento rebus in arduis
Ab insolenti temperatam
I HAVE always preferred cheerfulness to mirth. The latter I consider as an act, the former as a habit of the mind. Mirth is short and transient, cheerfulness fixed and permanent. Those are often raised into the greatest transports of mirth who are subject to the greatest depressions of melancholy:on the contrary, cheerfulness, though it does not give the mind such an exquisite gladness, prevents us from falling into any depths of
Mirth is like a flash of lightning, that breaks through a gloom of clouds, and glitters for a moment; cheerfulness keeps up a kind of day: light in the mind, and fills it with a steady and perpetual serenity.
Men of austere principles look upon mirth as too wanton and dissolute for a state of probation, and as filled with a certain triumph and insolence of heart that is inconsistent with a life which is every moment obnoxious to the greatest dangers. Writers of this complexion have observed that