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N° 140. FRIDAY, AUGUST 10, 1711.
- Animum curis nunc huc, nunc dividit illuc.
VIRG. Æn, iv. 285. This way and that the anxious mind is torn. WHEN I acquaint my reader, that I have many other letters not yet acknowledged, I believe he will own, what I have a mind he should believe, that I bave no small charge upon me, but am a person of some consequence in this world. I shall therefore employ the present hour only in reading petitions in the order as follows.
• MR. SPECTATOR,
“I HAVE lost so much time already, that I desire, upon the receipt hereof, you will sit down immediately, and give me your answer.
And I would know of you whether a pretender of mine really loves
As well as I can I will describe his manners. When he sees me he is always talking of constancy, but vouchsafes to visit me but once a fortnight, and then is always in haste to be gone. When I am sick, I hear he says he is mightily concerned, but neither comes nor sends, because, as he tells his acquaintance with a sigh, he does not care to let me know all the power I have over him, and how impossible it is for him to live without me. When he leaves the town, he writes once in six weeks, desires to hear from me, complains of the torment of absence, speaks of flames, tortures, languishings, and ecstasies. He has the cant of an impatient lover, but keeps the pace of a lukewarm one. You know I must not go faster than he does, and to move at
says, as he
this rate is as tedious as counting a great clock. But, you are to know he is rich, and
mother is slow he is sure ; he will love me long, if he love me little : but I appeal to you whether he loves at all. Your neglected humble servant,
LYDIA NOVELL. • All these fellows who have money are extremely saucy and cold ; pray, sir, tell them of it.
I HAVE been delighted with nothing more through the whole course of your writings than the substantial account you lately gave of wit, and I could wish you would take some other opportunity to express further the corrupt taste the age is run into; which I am chiefly apt to attribute to the prevalency of a few popular authors, whose merit in some respects has given a sanction to their faults in others. Thus the imitators of Milton seem to place all the excellency of that sort of writing either in the uncouth or antique words, or something else which was highly vicious, though pardonable, in that great man * The admirers of what we call point, or turn, look upon it as the particular happiness to which Cowley, Ovid, and others, owe their reputation, and therefore endeavour to imitate them only in such instances. What is just, proper, and natural does not seem to be the question with them, but by what means a quaint antithesis may be brought about, how one word may be made to look two ways, and what will be the consequence of a forced allusion. Now though such authors appear to me to resemble those who make themselves fine, in
* So Philips in his Cyder is careful to mis-spell the words orchat, sovran, after Milton, &c.
stead of being well-dressed, or graceful; yet the
I AM a young woman, and reckoned pretty; therefore you will pardon me that I trouble you to decide a wager between me and a cousin of mine, who is always contradicting one because be understands Latin : pray, sir, is Dimple spelt with a single or a double p?
BETTY SAUNTER. Pray, sir, direct thus, “ To the kind Querist," and leave it at Mr. Lillie's, for I do not care to be know in the thing at all. I am, sir, again, your humble servant.'
•I MUST needs tell you there are several of your papers I do not much like. You are often so nice there is no enduring you, and so learned there is no understanding you. What have you to do with our petticoats?
Your humble servant,
* Last night as I was walking in the Park, I met a couple of friends. Pr’ythee, Jack," says one of them, “ let us go drink a glass of wine, for I am fit for nothing else.” This put me upon reflecting on the many miscarriages which happen in conversations over wine, when men go to the bottle to remove such humours as it only stirs up and awakens. This I could not attribute more to any thing than to the humour of putting company upon others which men do not like themselves. Pray, sir, declare in your papers, that he who is a troublesome companion to himself, will not be an agreeable one to others. Let people reason themselves into good bumour, before they impose themselves upon their friends. Pray, sir, be as eloquent as you can upon this subject, and do human life so much good, as to argue powerfully, that it is not every one that can swallow who is fit to drink a glass of wine.
Your most humble servant.
"I this morning cast my eye upon your paper concerning the expence of time. very obliging to the women, especially those who are not young and past gallantry, by touching so gently upon gaming : therefore I hope you do not think it wrong to employ a little leisure time in that diversion ; but I should be glad to hear you say something upon the behaviour of some of the female gamesters.
I have observed ladies, who in all other respects are gentle, good-humoured, and the very piuks of good-breeding: who as soon as the ombre-table is
called for, and sit down to their business, are immediately transmigrated into the veriest wasps in nature.
* You must know I keep my temper, and win their money; but am out of countenance to take it, it makes them so very uneasy. Be pleased, dear sir, to instruct them to lose with a better grace, and you will oblige
• Your kindness to Leonora, in one of your papers, has given me encouragement to do myself the honour of writing to you. The great regard you have so often expressed for the instruction and improvement of our sex will, I hope, in your own opinion, sufficiently excuse me from making any apology for the impertinence of this letter. The great desire I have to embellish my mind with some of those graces which
you say are so becoming, and which you assert reading helps us to, has made me uneasy until I am put in a capacity of attaining them. This, sir, I shall never think myself in, until you shall be pleased to recoinmend some author or authors to my perusal.
I thought indeed, when I first cast my eye on Leonora's letter, that I should have had no occasion for requesting it of you; but to my very great concern, I found on the perusal of that Spectator, I was entirely disappointed, and am as much at a loss how to make use of my time for that end as ever. Pray, sir
, oblige me at least with one scene, as you were pleased to entertain Leonora with your prologue. I write to you not only my own sentiments, but also those of several others of my acquaintance, who are as little pleased with the ordinary manner of spend