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of the conversation, almost impossible that any one who can feel the passion of fear should all his life escape so common an effect of it. By this time some of the company grew negligent, or desirous to contradict him; but one rebuked the rest with an appearance of severity, and, with the known old story in his head, assured them he did not scruple to believe that the fear of any thing can make a man's hair grey, since he knew one whose perriwig had suffered so by it. Thus le stopped the talk, and made them easy. Thus is the same method taken to bring us to shame, which we fondly take to increase our character. It is indeed a kind of mimicry, by which another puts on our air of conversation to show us to ourselves. He seems to look ridiculous before
you may remember how near a resemblance
you bear to him, or that you may know that he will not lie under the imputation of believing you. Then it is that you are struck dumb immediately with a conscientious shame for what you have been saying. Then it is that you are inwardly grieved at the sentiments which you cannot but perceive others entertain concerning you. In short, you are against yourself; the laugh of the company runs against you: the censuring world is obliged to you for that triuinph which you have allowed them at your own expence; and truth, which you have injured, has a near way of being revenged on you, when by the bare repetition of your story you become a frequent diversion for the public.
« The other day, walking in Pancras church-yard, I thought of your paper wherein you mention epitaphs, and am of opinion this has a thought in it worth being communicated to your readers.
“ Here innocence and beauty lies, whose breath
N° 539. TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 1712.
Be they heteroclites.
• Mr. SPECTATOR.
• I am a young widow of good fortune and family, and just come to town; where I find I have clusters of pretty fellows come already to visit me, some dying with hopes, others with fears, though they never saw me. Now, what I would beg of you would be to know whether I may venture to use these pert fellows with the same freedom as I did my country acquaintance. I desire your leave to use them as to me shall seem meet, without imputation of a jilt; for since I make declaration that not one of them shall have me, I think I ought to be allowed the liberty of insulting those who have the vanity to believe it is in their power to make me break that resolution. There are schools for learning to use foils, frequented by those who never design to fight; and this useless way of aiming at the heart, without design to wound it on either side,
is the play with which I am resolved to divert myself. The man who pretends to win, I shall use him like one who comes into a fencing-school to pick a quarrel. I hope upon this foundation you will give me the free use of the natural and artificial force of my eyes, looks, and gestures. As for verbal promises, I will make none, but shall have no mercy on the conceited interpreters of glances and motions. I am particularly skilled in the downcast eye, and the recovery into a sudden full aspect and away again, as you may have seen sometimes practised by us country beauties beyond all that you have observed in courts and cities. Add to this, sir, that I have a ruddy heedless look which covers artifice the best of any thing. Though I can dance very well, I affect a tottering untaught way of walking, by which I appear an easy prey; and never exert my instructed charms, until I find I have engaged a pursuer. Be pleased, sir, to print this letter, which will certainly begin the chase of a rich widow. The many foldings, escapes, returns, and doublings, which I make, I shall from time to time communicate to you, for the better instruction of all females, who set up, like me, for reducing the present exorbitant power and insolence of man.
I am, Sir,
· DEAR MR. SPECTATOR,
' I DEPEND upon your professed respect for virtuous love, for your immediately answering the design of this letter; which is no other than to lay before the world the severity of certain parents, who desire to suspend the marriage of a discreet young woman of eighteen three years longer, for no other reason but that of her being too young to
enter into that state. As to the consideration of riches, my circumstances are such, that I cannot be suspected to make my addresses to her on such low motives as avarice or ambition. If ever innocence, wit, and beauty, united their utmost charms, they have in her. I wish you would expatiate a little on this subject, and admonish her parents that it may be from the very imperfection of human nature itself, and not any personal frailty of her or me, that our inclinations baffled at present may alter; and while we are arguing with ourselves to put off the enjoyment of our present passions, our affections may change their objects in the operation. It is a very delicate subject to talk upon; but if it were but hinted, I am in hopes it would give the parties concerned some reflexion that might expedite our happiness. There is a possibility, and I hope I may say it without imputation of immodesty to her I love with the highest houour; I say there is a possibility this delay may be as painful to her as it is to me; if it be as much, it must be more, by reason of the severe rules the sex are under, in being denied even the relief of complaint. If you oblige me in this, and I succeed, I promise you a place at my wedding, and a treatment suitable to your spectatorial dignity. Your most liumble servant,
"I yesterday heard a young gentleman, that looked as if he was just come to the gown and a scarf, upon evil-speaking; which subject you know archbishop Tillotson has so nobly handled in a sermon in his folio. As soon as ever he had named his text, and had opened a little the drift of his discourse, I was in great hopes lie had been one
of sir Roger's chaplains. I have conceived so great an idea of the charming discourse above, that I should have thought one part of my
very well spent in hearing a repetition of it. But, alas! Mr. Spectator, this reverend divine gave us his grace's sermon, and yet I do not know how; even I, that I am sure have read it at least twenty times, could not tell what to make of it, and was at a loss sometimes to guess what the man aimed at. He was so just indeed, as to give us all the heads and the sub-divisions of the sermon; and farther I think there was not one beautiful thought in it but what
But then, sir, this gentleman made so many pretty additions; and he could never give us a paragraph of the sermon, but he introduced it with something which methought looked more like a design to show his own ingenuity than to instruct the people. In short, he added and curtailed in such a manner, that he vexed me; insomuch that I could not forbear thinking, (what I confess I ought not to have thought in so holy a place) that this young spark was as justly blameable as Bullock or Penkethman, when they mend a noble play of Shakspeare or Jonson. Pray, sir, take this into your consideration; and, if we must be entertained with the works of any of those great men, desire these gentlemen to give them us as they find them, that so when we read them to our families at liome they may the better remember they have heard them at church.
Your humble servant.'