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give us the punishment of a voluptuary after death, not unlike that which we are here speaking of:
-Lucent genialibus altis
Aurea fulcra toris, epulæque ante oru paratæ
They lie below on golden beds display'd,
And snatches from their mouths the untasted meat;
That I may a little alleviate the severity of this my speculation (which otherwise may lose me several of my polite readers), I shall translate a story that has been quoted upon another occasion by one of the most learned men of the present age, as I find it in the original. The reader will see it is not foreign to my present subject, and I dare say will think it a lively representation of a person lying under the torments of such a kind of tantalism, or Platonic hell, as that which we have now under consideration. Monsieur Pontignan, speaking of a love-adventure that happened to him in the country, gives the following account of it *.
"When I was in the country last summer, I was often in company with a couple of charming women, who had all the wit and beauty one could desire in female companions, with a dash of coquetry, that from time to time gave me a great many agreeable torments. I was, after my way, in love with both of them, and had
* The substance of the story here paraphrased, is taken from a little book entitled Academie Galante, printed at Paris and in Holland in 1682, and afterwards at Amst. in 1708. See that edit. p. 125; and first Dutch edit. p. 160.
such frequent opportunities of pleading my passion to them when they were asunder, that I had reason to hope for particular favours from each of them. As I was walking one evening in my chamber with nothing about me but my night-gown, they both came into my room, and told me they had a very pleasant trick to put upon a gentleman that was in the same house, provided I would bear a part in it. Upon this they told me such a plausible story, that I laughed at their contrivance, and agreed to do whatever they should require of me. They immediately began to swaddle me up in my night gown, with long pieces of linen, which they folded about me till they had wrapt me in above an hundred yards of swathe. My arms were pressed to my sides, and my legs closed together by so many wrappers one over another, that I looked like an Egyptian mummy. As I stood bolt upright upon one end in this antique figure, one of the ladies burst out a laughing. And now, Pontignan," says she, "we intend to perform the promise that we find you have extorted from each of us. You have often asked the favour of us, and I dare say you are a better bred cavalier than to refuse to go to bed to two ladies that desire it of you." After having stood a fit of laughter, I begged them to uncase me, and do with me what they pleased. "No, no," said they,
we like you very well as you are ;" and upon that ordered me to be carried to one of their houses, and put to bed in all my swaddles. The room was lighted up on all sides: and I was laid very decently between a pair of sheets, with my head (which was indeed the only part I could move) upon a very high pillow: this was no sooner done, but my two female friends came into bed to me in their finest night-clothes. You may easily guess at the condition of a man that saw a couple of the most beautiful women in the world undrest and a-bed with him, without being able to stir
hand or foot. I begged them to release me, and struggled all I could to get loose, which I did with so much violence, that about midnight they both leaped out of the bed, crying out they were undone. But seeing me safe, they took their posts again, and renewed their raillery. Finding all my prayers and endeavours were lost, I composed myself as well as I could, and told them, that if they would not unbind me, I would fall asleep between them, and by that means disgrace them for ever. But, alas! this was impossible; could I have been disposed to it, they would have prevented me by several little ill-natured caresses and endearments which they bestowed upon me. As much devoted as I am to womankind, I would not pass such another night to be master of the whole sex. My reader will doubtless be curious to know what became of me the next morning. Why truly my bed-fellows left me about an hour before day, and told me, if I would be good and lie still, they would send somebody to take me up as soon as it was time for me to rise. Accordingly about nine o'clock in the morning an old woman came to unswathe me. I bore all this very patiently, being resolved to take my revenge of my tormentors, and to keep no measures with them as soon as I was at liberty; but upon asking my old woman what was become of the two ladies, she told me she believed they were by that time within sight of Paris, for that they went away in a coach and six before five o'clock in the morning.' L.
N° 91. THURSDAY, JUNE 14, 1711.
In furias ignemque ruunt: amor omnibus idem.
-They rush into the flame;
For love is lord of all, and is in all the same.
THOUGH the subject I am now going upon would be much more properly the foundation of a comedy, I cannot forbear inserting the circumstances which pleased me in the account a young lady gave me of the loves of a family in town, which shall be nameless; or rather, for the better sound and elevation of the history, instead of Mr. and Mrs. Such-a-one, I shall call them by feigned names. Without further preface, you are to know, that within the liberties of the city of Westminster lives the Lady Honoria, a widow about the age of forty, of a healthy constitution, gay temper, and elegant person. She dresses a little too much like a girl, affects a childish fondness in the tone of her voice, sometimes a pretty sullenness in the leaning of her head, and now and then a down-cast of her eyes on her fan. Neither her imagination nor her health would ever give her to know that she is turned of twenty; but that in the midst of these pretty softnesses, and airs of delicacy and attraction, she has a tall daughter within a fortnight of fifteen, who impertinently comes into the room, and towers so much towards woman, that her mother is always checked by her presence, and every charm of Honoria droops at the entrance of Flavia. The agreeable Flavia would be what she is not, as well as her mother Honoria; but all their
beholders are more partial to an affectation of what a person is growing up to, than of what has been already enjoyed, and is gone for ever. It is therefore allowed to Flavia to look forward, but not to Honoria to look back. Flavia is no way dependent on her mother with relation to her fortune, for which reason they live almost upon an equality in conversation; and as Honoria has given Flavia to understand, that it is ill-bred to be always calling mother, Flavia is as well pleased never to be called child. It happens by this means, that these ladies are generally rivals in all places where they appear; and the words mother and daughter never pass between them but out of spite. Flavia one night at a play observing Honoria draw the eyes of several in the pit, called to a lady who sat by her, and bid her ask her mother to lend her her snuff-box for one moment. Another time, when a lover of Honoria was on his knees beseeching the favour to kiss her hand, Flavia rushing into the room, kneeled down by him and asked her blessing. Several of these contradictory acts of duty have raised between them such a coldness, that they generally converse when they are in mixed company by way of talking at one another, and not to one another. Honoria is ever complaining of a certain sufficiency in the young women of this age, who assume to themselves an authority of carrying all things before them, as if they were possessors of the esteem of mankind, and all who were but a year before them in the world, were neglected or deceased. Flavia, upon such a provocation, is sure to observe, that there are people who can resign nothing, and know not how to give up what they know they cannot hold; that there are those who I will not allow youth their follies, not because they are themselves past them, but because they love to continue in them. These beauties rival each other VOL. VII.