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opinion with Plutarch, that little circumstances shew the real man better than things of greater moment. But good economy is the characteristic of the Lizards. I remember a circumstance about six years ago, that gave me hopes he would one time or other make a figure in parliament; for he is a landed man, and considers his interest, though he is such, to be impaired or promoted according to the state of trade. When he was but twenty years old, I took an opportunity in his presence, to ask an intelligent woollen-draper, what he gave for his shop, [at] the corner of Change-alley? The shop is I believe fourteen feet long, and eight broad. I was answered, Ninety pounds a year. I took no notice, but the thought descended into the breast of Sir Harry, and I saw on his table next morning a computation of the value of land in an island, consisting of so many miles, with so many good ports; the value of each part of the said island, as it lay to such ports, and produced such commodities. The whole of his working was to know why so few yards near the Change, was so much better than so many acres in Northamptonshire; and what those acres in Northamptonshire would be worth, were there no trade at all in this island.
It makes my heart ache, when I think of this young man, and consider upon what plain maxims, and in what ordinary methods men of estate may do good wherever they are seated; that so many should be what they are ! It is certain, that the arts which purchase wealth or fame, will maintain them; and I attribute the splendour and long continuance of this family to the felicity of having the genius of the founder of it run through all his male line. Old Sir Harry, the great-grandfather of this gentleman, has written in his own hand upon all the deeds which he ever signed, in the humour of that sententious age, this sentence, “ There are four good mothers, of whom are often born four unhappy daughters; truth begets hatred, happiness pride, security danger, and familiarity contempt.”
N°7. THURSDAY, MARCH 19, 1712-13.
With speedy steps life posts away.
zard, and took my chair at the tea-table, at the upper end of which that graceful woman, with her daughters about her, appeared to me with greater dignity than ever any figure, either of Venus attended by the graces, Diana with her nymphs, or any other celestial who owes her being to poetry:
The discourse we had there, none being present but our own family, consisted of private matters, which tended to the establishment of these young ladies in the world. My lady, I observed, had a mind to make mention of the proposal to Mrs. Jane, of which she is very fond, and I as much avoided, as being equally against it; but it is by no means proper
ladies should observe we ever dissent; therefore I turned the discourse, by saying, “ it was time enough to think of marrying a young lady, who was but three-and-twenty, ten years hence.” The whole table was alarmed at the assertion, and the Sparkler scalded her fingers, by leaning suddenly forward to look in my face:
business at present, was to make my court to the mother; therefore, without regarding the resentment in the looks of the children, “Madam,” said I, “ there is a petulant and hasty manner practised in this age, in hurrying away the life of woman, and confining the grace and principal action of it to those years wherein reason and discretion are most feeble, humour and passion most powerful. From the time a young woman of quality has first appeared in the drawing-room, raised a whisper and curiosity of the men about her, had her health drunk in gay companies, and been distinguished at public assemblies; I say, Madam, if within three or four years of her first appearance in town, she is not disposed of, her beauty is grown familiar, her eyes are disarmed, and we seldom after hear her mentioned but with indifference. What doubles my grief on this occasion is, that the more discreetly the lady behaves herself, the sooner is her glory extinguished, Now, Madam, if merit had a greater weight in our thoughts,
when we form to ourselves agreeable characters of women, men would think, in making their choices, of such as would take care of, as well as supply children for, the nursery. It was not thus in the illustrious days of good Queen Elizabeth. I was this morning turning over a folio, called, The Complete Ambassador, consisting
chiefly of the letters from Lord Burleigh, Earl of Leicester, and Sir Thomas Smith. Sir Thomas writes a letter to Sir Francis Walsingham, full of learned gallantry, wherein you may observe he promises himself the French King's brother (who it seems was but a cold lover) would be quickened by seeing the Queen in person, who was then in the thirty-ninth year of her age. A certain sobriety in thoughts, words, and action, which was the praise of that age, kept the fire of love alive; and it burnt so equally, that it warmed and preserved, without tormenting and consuming our beings. The letter I mention is as follows: * To the Right Worshipful Mr. Francis Walsingham,
Ambassador, resident in France,
I am sorry that so good a matter should, upon so nice a point, be deferred. We may say that the lover will do little, if he will not take the pains once to see his love; but she must first say yea, before he see her, or she him: twenty ways might be devised why he might come over, and be welcome, and possibly do more in an hour than he may in two years, "Cupido ille qui vincit omnia, in oculis insidet, et ex oculis ejaculatur, et in oculos utriusque videndo non solùm, ut ait poeta, fæmina virum, sed vir fæminam;" that powerful being Cupid, who conquers all things, resides in the eyes, he sends out all his darts from the eyes : by throwing glances at the eyes (according to the poet) not only the woman captivates the man, but also the man the woman. What force, I pray you, can hearsay, and "I think, and I trust," do in comparison of that “ cùm præsens præsentem tuetur et alloquitur, et furore forsitan amoris ductus, amplectitur," when they face to face see and converse with each other, and the lover in an ecstacy, not to be commanded, snatches an embrace, and saith to himself, and openly that she may hear, “ Tencone te, mea ? an etiamnum somno volunt fæminæ videri cogi ad id quod maximum cupiunt ?" Are you in my arms, my fair one, or do we both dream, and will women even in their sleep seem forced to what they most desire ? If we be cold, it is our part, besides the person, the sex requireth it. Why are you cold? Is it not a young man's part to be bold, courageous, and to adventure? If he should have, he should have but “ honorificam repulsam ;" even a repulse here is glorious: the worst that can be said of him is but as of Phaëton, “ Quam si non tenuit, magnis tamen excidit ausis :” though he could not command the chariot of the sun, his fall from it was illustrious. So far as I conceive,“ Hæc est sola nostra anchora, hæc jacienda est nobis alea ;" this is our only anchor, this die must be thrown. In our instability, “ Unum momentum est uno momento perfectum factum, ac dictum stabilitatem facere potest;" one lucky moment would crown and fix all. This, or else nothing is to be looked for but continual dalliance and doubtfulness, so far as I can see.
• Your assured friend,
" THOMAS Smith. • From Killingworth, Aug. 22, 1572.""
Though my lady was in very good humour, upon the insinuation that according to the Elizabeth scheme, she was but just advanced above the character of a girl; I found the rest of the company as much disheartened, that they were still but mere girls. I went on, therefore, to attribute the immature marriages which are solemnized in our days to the importunity of the men, which made it impossible for young ladies to remain virgins so long as they wished from their own inclinations, and the freedom of a single life.
There is no time of our life, under what character soever, in which men can wholly divest themselves of an ambition to be in the favour of women. Cardan,* a grave philosopher and physician, confesses in one of his chapters, that though he had suffered poverty, repulses, calumnies, and a long series of afflictions, he never was thoroughly dejected, and impatient of life itself, but under a calamity which he suffered from the beginning of his
• The account of Cardan given here cannot be reconciled to the truth of his character, which was, from the most authentic accounts of it, a very bad one.
twenty-first to the end of his thirtieth year. He tells us, that the raillery he suffered from others, and the contempt which he had of himself, were afflictions beyond expression. I mention this only as an argument extorted from this good and grave man, to support my opinion of the irresistible power of women.
He adds in the same chapter, that there are ten thousand afflictions and disasters attend the passion itself; that an idle word imprudently repeated by a fair woman, and vast expenses to support her folly and vanity, every day reduce men to poverty and death; but he makes them of little consideration to the miserable and insignificant condition of being incapable of their favour.
I make no manner of difficulty of professing I am not surprised that the author has expressed bimself after this manner, with relation to love: the heroic chastity so frequently professed by humorists of the fair sex, generally ends in an unworthy choice, after having overlooked overtures to their advantage. It is for this reason that I would endeavour to direct, and not pretend to eradicate the inclinations of the sexes to each other. Daily experience shews us, that the most rude rustic grows humane as soon as he is inspired by this passion; it gives a new grace to our manners, a new dignity to our minds, a new visage to our persons. Whether we are inclined to liberal arts, to arms, or address in our exercise, our improvement is hastened by a particular object whom we would please. Cheerfulness, gentleness, fortitude, liberality, magnificence, and all the virtues which adorn men, which inspire heroes, are most conspicuous in lovers. I speak of love as when such as are in this company are the objects of it, who can bestow upon their husbands (if they follow their excellent mother) all its joys without any of its anxieties.
N° 8. FRIDAY, MARCH 20, 1712-13.
HoR. 1 Ep. ii, 62,
office more suitable to his character, than in representing the disasters to which we are exposed by the irregularity