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ing me, scarcely a creature would come near them that wears a fashionable coat. These ladies, Mr. RAMBLER, have had me under their government fifteen years and a half, and have all that time been endeavouring to deceive me by such representations of life as I now find not to be true; but I know not whether I ought to impute them to ignorance or malice, as it is possible the world may be much changed since they mingled in general conversation.
Being desirous that I should love books, they told me, that nothing but knowledge could make me an agreeable companion to men of sense, or qualify me to distinguish the superficial glitter of vanity from the solid merit of understanding; and that a habit of reading would enable me to fill up the cuities of life without the help of silly or dangerous amusements, and preserve me from the snares of idleness and the inroads of temptation.
But their principal intention was to make me afraid of men; in which they succeeded so well for a time, that I durst not look in their faces, or be left alone with them in a parlour; for they made me fancy, that no man ever spoke but to deceive, or looked but to allure; that the girl who suffered him that had once squeezed her hand, to approach her a second time, was on the brink of ruin; and that she who answered a billet without consulting her relations, gave love such power over her, that she would certainly become either poor or infamous.
From the time that my leading-strings were taken off, I scarce heard any mention of my beauty but from the milliner, the mantua-maker, and my own maid; for my mamma never said more, when she heard me commended, but “ The girl is very well," and then endeavoured to divert my attention by some inquiry after my needle or my book.
It is now three months since I have been suffered
and receive visits, to dance at publick assemblies, to have a place kept for me in the boxes, and to play at lady Racket's rout; and you may easily imagine what I think of those who so long cheated me with false expectations, disturbed me with fictitious terrors, and concealed from me all that I have found to make the happiness of woman.
I am so far from perceiving the usefulness or necessity of books, that if I had not dropped all pretensions to learning, I should have lost Mr. Trip, whom I once frighted into another box, by retailing some of Dryden's remarks upon a tragedy; for Mr. Trip declares that he hates nothing like hard words, and I am sure there is not a better partner to be found; his very walk is a dance. I have talked once or twice among ladies about principles and ideas, but they put their fans before their faces, and told me I was too wise for them, who for their part never pretended to read any thing but the play-bill, and then asked me the price of my best head.
Those vacancies of time which are to be filled up with books, I have never yet obtained; for consider, Mr. RAMBLER, I go to bed late, and therefore cannot rise early; as soon as I am up, I dress for the gardens; then walk in the park; then always go to some sale or show, or entertainment at the little theatre; then must be dressed for dinner; then must pay my visits ; then walk in the park; then hurry to the play; and from thence to the card-table. This is the general course of the day, when there happens nothing extraordinary; but sometimes I ramble into the country, and come back again to a ball; sometimes I am engaged for a whole day and part of the night. If, at any time, I can gain an hour by not being at home, I have so many things to do, so many orders to give to the milliner, so many alterations to make in my clothes, so many visitants names to read over, so many invitations to accept or refuse, so many cards to write, and so many, fashions to consider, that I am lost in confusion, forced at last to let in company or step into my chair, and leave half my affairs to the direction of my maid.
This is the round of my day; and when shall I either stop my course, or so change it as to want a book? I suppose it cannot be imagined that any of these diversions will soon be at an end. There will always be gardens, and a park, and auctions, and shows, and playhouses, and cards, visits will always be paid, and clothes always be worn; and how can I have time unemployed upon my hands?
But I am most at a loss to guess for what purpose they related such tragick stories of the cruelty, perfidy, and artifices of men, who, if they ever were so malicious and destructive, have certainly now reformed their manners. I have not, since my entrance into the world, found one who does not profess himself devoted to my service, and ready to live or die, as I shall command him. They are so far from intending to hurt me, that their only contention is, who shall be allowed most closely to attend, and most frequently to treat me; when different places of entertainment, or schemes of pleasure are mentioned, I can see the eye sparkle and the cheeks glow of him whose proposals obtain my approbation : he then leads me off in triumph, adores my condescension, and congratulates himself that he has lived to the hour of felicity. Are these, M. RAMBLER, creatures to be feared ? Is it likely that any injury will be done me by those who can enjoy life only while I favour them with my presence ?
As little reason can I yet find to suspect them of stratagems and fraud. When I play at cards they never take advantage of my mistakes, nor exact from me a rigorous observation of the game, Even Mr. Shuffle, a grave gentleman, who has daughters older than myself, plays with me so negligently, that I am sometimes inclined to believe he loses his money by design, and yet he is so fond of play, that he says, he will one day take me to his house in the country, that we may try by ourselves who can conquer. I have not
promised him; but when the town grows a little empty, I shall think upon it, for I want some trinkets, like Letitiu's, to my watch. I do not doubt my luck, but must study some means of amusing my relations.
For all these distinctions I find myself indebted to that beauty which I was never suffered to hear praised, and of which, therefore, I did not before know the full value. The concealment was certainly an intentional fraud, for my aunts have eyes like other people, and I am every day told, that nothing but blindness can escape the influence of my charms. Their whole account of that world which they pretend to know so well, has been only one fiction entangled with another; and though the modes of life oblige me to continue some appearances of respect, I cannot think that they, who have been so clearly detected in ignorance or imposture, have any right to the esteem, veneration, or obedience of,
N° 192. SATURDAY, JAN. 18, 1752.
Terýdev eis żywice,
Vain the noblest birth would prove,
To the RAMBLER.
SIR, I am the son of a gentleman, whose ancestors, for many ages, held the first rank in the county; till at last one of them, too desirous of popularity, set his house open, kept a table covered with continual profusion, and distributed his beef and ale to such as chose rather to live upon the folly of others than their own labour, with such thoughtless liberality, that he left a third part of his estate mortgaged. His successor, a man of spirit, scorned to impair his dignity