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'I am appointed to act a part in the new tragedy called The Distrest Mother. It is the celebrated grief of Orestes which I am to personate ; but I shall not act it as I ought, for I shall feel it too intimately to be able to utter it. I was last night repeating a paragraph to myself, which I took to be an expression of rage, and in the middle of the sentence there was a stroke of self-pity which quite unmanned me. Be pleased, sir, to print this letter, that when I am oppressed in this manner at such an interval, a certain part of the audience may not think I am out ; and I hope, with this allowance, to do it with satisfaction. 'I am, sir, your most humble servant,
“As I was walking the other day in the Park, I saw a gentleman with a very short face; I desire to know whether it was you. Pray inform me as soon as you can, lest I become the most heroic Hecatissa's rival. *Your humble servant to command,
"SOPHIA. *DEAR MADAM,
'It is not me you are in love with, for I was very ill, and kept my chamber all that day. "Your most humble servant,
[Spectator, No. 290.
A LETTER from a young lady, written in the most passionate terms, wherein she laments the misfortune of a gentleman, her lover, who was lately wounded in a duel, has turned my thoughts to that subject, and inclined me to examine into the causes which precipitate men into so fatal a folly. And as it has been proposed to treat of subjects of gallantry in the article . from hence, and no one point in nature is inore proper to be considered by the company who frequent this place than that of duels, it is worth our consideration to examine into this chimerical groundless humour, and to lay every other thought aside, until we have stripped it of all its false pretences to credit and reputation amongst men.
But I must confess, when I consider what I am going about, and run over in my imagination all the endless crowd of men of honour who will be offended at such a discourse ; I am undertaking, methinks, a work worthy an invulnerable hero in romance, rather than a private gentleman with a single rapier ; but as I am pretty well acquainted by great opportunities with the nature of man, and know of a truth that all men fight against their will, the danger vanishes, and resolution rises upon this subject. For this reason, I shall talk very freely on a custom which all men wish
exploded, though no man has courage enough to resist it.
But there is one unintelligible word, which I fear will extremely perplex my dissertation, and I confess to you I find very hard to explain, which is the term
satisfaction. An honest country gentleman had the misfortune to fall into company with two or three modern men of honour, where he happened to be very ill treated ; and one of the company, being conscious of his offence, sends a note to him in the morning, and tells him, he was ready to give him satisfaction. "This is fine doing,' says the plain fellow ; 'last night he sent me away cursedly out of humour, and this morning he fancies it would be a satisfaction to be run through the body!'
As the matter at present stands, it is not to do handsome actions denominates a man of honour; it is enough if he dares to defend ill ones. Thus you often see a common sharper in competition with a gentleman of the first rank; though all mankind is convinced, that a fighting gamester is only a pickpocket with the courage of a highwayman. One cannot with any patience reflect on the unaccountable jumble of persons and things in this town and nation, which occasions very frequently, that a brave man falls by a hand below that of a common hangman, and yet his executioner escapes the clutches of the hangman for doing it. I shall therefore hereafter consider, how the bravest men in other ages and nations have behaved themselves upon such incidents as we decide by combat; and show, from their practice, that this resentment neither has its foundation from true reason or solid fame ; but is an imposture, made of cowardice,