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which shews she is not serious in her excuse, but in a sort of humorous philosophy turns off the thought of her guilt, and says,
That if weak women go astray,
Their stars are more in fault than they. *This no doubt is a full reparation, and dismisses the audience with very edifying impressions.
· These things fall under a province you have partly pursued already, and therefore demands your animadversion, for the regulating so voble an entertainment as that of the stage. It were to be wished, that all who write for it hereafter would raise their genius, by the ambition of pleasing people of the hest understanding; and leave others who shew nothing of the human species but risibility, to seek their diversion at the bear-garden, or some other privileged place, where reason and good-manners have no right to disturb them. August 8, 1711.
I am, &c.
No 142. MONDAY, AUGUST 13, 1711,
Irrupta tenet copula
HOR. 1 Od, xiii. 12.
Whom love's uubroken bond unites.
The following letters being genuine, and the images
of a worthy passion, I am willing to give the old - lady's admonition to myself, and the representa
tion of her own happiness, a place in my wrịtings.
August 9, 1711. "I AM now in the sixty-seventh year of my age, and read you with approbation; but methinks you do not strike at the root of the greatest evil in life, which is the false notion of gallantry in love. It is, and has long been, upon a very ill foot; but I who have been a wife forty years and was bred up in a way that has made me ever since very happy, see through the folly of it. In a word, sir, when I was a young woman, all who avoided the vices of the age were very carefully educated, and all fantastical objects were turned out of our sight. The tapestry-hangings, with the great and venerable simplicity of the scripture stories, had better effects than now the loves of Venus and Adonis, or Bacchus and Ariadne, in your fine present prints. The gentleman I am married to made love to me in rapture, but it was the rapture of a christian and a man of honour, not of a romantic hero or a whining coảcomb. This put our life upon a right basis. To give you an idea of our regard one to another, I enclose to you several of his letters, writ forty years ago, when my lover; and one writ the other day, after so many ycars cohabitation.
August 7, 1671. “If my vigilance, and ten thousand wishes for your welfare and repose, could have any force, you last night slept in security, and had every good angel in your attendance. To have my thoughts ever fixed on you, to live in constant fear of every accident to which human life is liable, and to send up my hourly prayers to avert them from you ; I say, madam, tlius to think, and thus to suffer, is what I do for her who is in pain at my approach, and calls all my tender sorrow impertinence. You are now before my eyes, my eyes that are ready to How with tenderness, but cannot give relief to my gushing heart, that dictates what I am now saying, and yearns to tell you all its achings. How art thou, oh my soul, stolen from thyself! how is all my attention broken! my books are blank paper, and my friends intruders. I have no hope of quiet but from your pity.. To grant it would make more for your triumph. To give pain is the tyranny, to make happy the true empire of beauty. If you would consider aright, you would find an agreeable change in dismissing ihe attendance of a slave, to receive the complaisance of a companion. I bear the former in hopes of the latter condition. As I live in chains without murmuring at the power which inflicts them, so I could enjoy freedom without forgetting the mercy that gave it.
I am, MADAM,
most obedient servant."
Though I made him no declarations in his favour, you see he had hopes of me when he writ this in the month following.'
September 3, 1671. “ BEFORE the light this morning dawn'd upon the earth I awak’d, and lay in expectation of its return, not that it could give any new sense of joy to me, but as I hop'd it would bless
with its cheerful face, after a quiet which I wish'd you last night. If my prayers are heard, the day appeared
with all the influence of a merciful Creator upon your person and actions.
Let others, my lovely charmer, talk of a blind being that disposes their hearts, I contemn their low images of love. I have not a thought which relates to you, that I cannot with confidence beseech the All-seeing Power to bless me in. May he direct you in all your steps, and reward your innocence, your sanctity of manners, your prudent youth, and becoming piety, with the continuance of his grace and protection. This is an unusual language to ladies; but you have a mind elevated above the giddy notions of a sex insnared by flattery, and misled by a false and short adoration into a solid and long contempt. Beauty, my fairest creature, palls in the possession, but I love also your mind : your soul is as dear to me as my own; and if the advantages of a liberal education, some knowledge and as much contempt of the world, joined with the endeavours towards a life of strict virtue and religion, can qualify me to raise new ideas in a breast so well disposed as your's is, our days will pass away with joy; and old age, instead of introducing melancholy prospects of decay, give us hope of eternal youth in a better life. I have but few minutes from the duty of my employment to write in, and without time to read over what I have writ, therefore beseech you to pardon the first hints of my mind, which I have expressed in so little order.
I am, dearest creature,
most devoted servant*."
• The two next were written after the day for our marriage was fixed.
* Richard Steele.
September 25, 1671. “It is the hardest thing in the world to be in love, and yet attend business. As for me, all that speak to me find me out, and I must lock myself up, or other people will do it for me. tleman asked me this morning, "What news from Holland, and I answered, ' She is exquisitely handsome. Another desired to know when I had been last at Windsor, I replied, "She designs to go with me. Pr’ythee, allow me at least to kiss your
hand before the appointed day, that my mind may be in some composure. Methinks I could write a volume to you,
but all the language on earth would fail in saying how much, and with what disinterested pas. sion,
I am ever your's *.”
September 30, 1671, DEAR CREATURE,
seven in the morning. « Next to the influence of heaven, I am to thank you that I see the returning day with plea
To pass my evenings in so sweet a conversation, and have the esteem of a woman of your merit, has in it a particularity of happiness no more to be expressed than returned. But I am, my lovely creature, contented to be on the obliged side, and to employ all my days in new endeavours to convince you and all the world of the sense I have of your condescension in choosing,
MADAM, your most faithful,
most obedient humble servantt." "He was, when he writ the following letter, as agreeable and pleasant a man as any in England. .
* Richard Steele.