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does not a little conduce to the ease both of myself and reader.
Some will have it, that I often write to myself, and am the only punctual correspondent I have. This objection would indeed be material, were the letters I communicate to the public stuffed with my own commendations; and if, instead of endeavouring to divert and instruct my readers, I admired in them the beauty of my own performances.
But I shall leave these wise conjecturers to their own imaginations, and produce the three following letters for the entertainment of the day.
I was last Thursday in an assembly of ladies, where there were thirteen different coloured hoods. Your Spectator of that day lying upon the table, they ordered me to read it to them, which I did with a very clear voice, till I came to the Greek verse at the end of it. (No. 265). I must confess I was a little startled, ai its popping upon me so unexpectedly. However, I covered my confusion as well as I could; and after having muttered two or three hard words to myself, laughed heartily, and cried, “A very good jest, faith.'. The ladies desired me to explain it to them; but I begged their pardon for that, and told them, that if it had been proper for them to hear, they might be sure the author would not have wrapped it up in Greek. I then let drop several expressions, as if there was something in it that was not fit to be spoken before a company of ladies. Upon which the matron of the assembly, who was dressed in a cherry-coloured hood, commended the discretion of the writer, for having
thrown his filthy thoughts into Greek, which was likely to corrupt but few of his readers. At the same time, she declared herself very well pleased that he had not given a decisive opinion upon the new-fashioned hoods; • for to tell you truly,' says she, 'I was afraid he would have made us ashamed to show our heads.' Now, sir, you must know, since this unlucky accident happened to me in a company of ladies, among whom I passed for a most ingenious man, I have consulted one, who is well versed in the Greek language; and he assures me upon his word, that your late quotation means no more, than that manners and not dress are the ornaments of a woman. If this comes to the knowledge of my female admirers, I shall be very hard put to it to bring myself off handsomely. In the meanwhile I give you this account, that you may take care hereafter not to betray any of
your well-wishers into the like inconveniencies. It is in the number of these that I beg leave to subscribe myself
• Your readers are so well pleased with your character of Sir Roger de Coverley, that there appeared a sensible joy in every coffee-house upon hearing the old knight was come to town. (No.
, make it their joint request to you,
would give us public notice of the window or balcony where the knight intends to make his appearance. He has already given great satisfaction to several who have seen him at Squires's coffee-house. If you think fit to place your short face at Sir Ro
ger's left elbow, we shall take the hint, and gratefully acknowledge so great a favour. 'I am, sir, • Your most devoted humble servant,
Knowing that you are very inquisitive after every thing that is curious in nature, I will wait on you, if you please, in the dusk of the evening, with
my show upon my back, which I carry about with me in a box, as only consisting of a man, a woman, and a horse. *
The two first are married, in which state the little cavalier has so well acquitted himself that his lady is with child. The big-bellied woman and her husband, with their little whimsical palfrey, are so very light, that when they are put together into a scale, an ordinary man may weigh down the whole family: -The little man is a bully in his nature; but when he grows choleric, I confine him to his box till his wrath is over, by which means I have hitherto prevented him from doing mischief. His horse is likewise very vicious; for which reason I am forced to tie him close to his manger with a pack-thread. The woman is a coquette; she struts as much as it is possible for a lady of two feet high, and would ruin me in silks, were not the quantity that goes to a large pincushion sufficient to make her a gown and petticoat. She told me the other day, that she heard the ladies wore coloured hoods, and ordered me to get her
Three dwarfs, a very little man, a woman cqually diminutive, and a horse proportionably so, were exhibited in London about this time.
one of the finest blue. I am forced to comply with her demands while she is in her present condition, being very willing to have more of the same breed. I do not know what she may produce me; but provided it be a show, I shall be very well satisfied. Such novelties should not, I think, be concealed from the British Spectator: for which reason, I hope you will excuse this presumption in • Your most dutiful, most obedient, 6 and most humble seryant,
No. 272. FRIDAY, JANUARY 11.
Longa est injuria, longæ
• The occasion of this letter is of so great importance, and the circumstances of it such, that I know you will but think it just to insert it, in preference of all other matters that can present themselves to your consideration. I need not, after I have said this, tell you that I am in love. The circumstances of my passion, I shall let you understand as well as a disordered mind will admit. That cursed pickthank, Mrs. Jane! alas, I am railing at one to you by her name, as familiarly as if you were acquainted with her as well as myself: but I will tell you all, as fast as the
to all my
alternate interruptions of love and anger will give me leave. There is the most agreeable young
woman in the world whom I am passionately in love with, and from whom I have for some space of time received as great marks of favour as were fit for her to give, or me to desire. The successful progress of the affair, of all others the most essential towards a man's happiness, gave a new life and spirit, not only to my behaviour and discourse, but also a certain
actions in the commerce of life in all things, though never so remote from love. You know the predominant passion spreads itself through all a man's transactions, and exalts or depresses him according to the nature of such passion. But alas, I have not yet begun my story; and what is making sentences and observations when a man is pleading for his life? To begin then: this lady has corresponded with me under the names of love; she my Belinda, I her Cleanthes. Though I am thus well got in the account of my affair, I can not keep in the thread of it so much as to give you the character of Mrs. Jane, whom I will not hide under a borrowed name; but let you know that this creature has been, since I knew her, very handsome, (though I will not allow her even she has been for the future,) and during the time of her bloom and beauty, was so great a tyrant to ' her lovers, so overvalued herself and underrated all her pretenders, that they have deserted her to a man; and she knows no comfort but that common one to all in her condition, the pleasure of interrupting the amours of others. It is impossible but you must have seen several of these volunteers in malice, who pass their whole time in the