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our misfortunes, their love of flattery. Were the commendation of these agreeable creatures built upon its proper foundation, the higher we raised their opinion of themselves, the greater would be the advantage to our sex; but all the topic of praise is drawn from very senseless and extravagant ideas we pretend we have of their beauty and perfection. Thus, when a young man falls in love with a young woman, from that moment she is no more Mrs. Alice Such-a-one, born of such a father, and educated by such a mother; but from the first minute that he casts his eye upon her with desire, he conceives a doubt in his mind, what heavenly power gave so unexpected a blow to an heart that was ever before untouched. But who can resist fate and destiny, which are lodged in Mrs. Alice's eyes ? after which he desires orders accordingly, whether he is to live or die ; the smile or frown of his goddess is the only thing that can now either
or destroy him. By this means, the wellhumoured girl, that would have romped with him before she had received this declaration, assumes a state suitable to the majesty he has given her, and treats him as the vassal he calls himself.
The girl's head is immediately turned by having the power of
and death, and takes care to suit every motion and air to her new sovereignty. After he has placed himself at this distance, he must never hope to recover his former familiarity, until she has had the addresses of another, and found them less sincere.
If the application to women were justly turned, the address of flattery, though it implied at the same time an admonition, would be much more likely to succeed. Should a captivated lover, in a billet, let his mistress
know, that her piety to her parents, her gentleness of behaviour, her prudent economy with respect to her own little affairs in a virgin condition, had improved the passion which her beauty had inspired him with, into so settied an esteem for her, that of all women breathing he wished her his wife ; though his commending her for qualities she knew she had as a virgin, would make her believe he expected from her an answerable conduct in the character of a matron ; I will answer for it, his suit would be carried on with less perplexity.
Instead of this, the generality of our young women, taking all their notions of life from gay writings, or letters of love, consider themselves as goddesses, nymphs, and shepherdesses.
By this romantic sense of things, all the natural relations and duties of life are forgotten; and our female part of mankind are bred and treated, as if they were designed to inhabit the happy fields of Arcadia, rather than be wives and mothers in Old England. It is, indeed, long since I had the happiness to converse familiarly with this sex, and therefore have been fearful of falling into the error which recluse men are very subject to, that of giving false represen. tations of the world, from which they have retired, by imaginary schemes drawn from their own reflections. An old man cannot easily gain admittance into the dressing-roor, of ladies ; I therefore thought it time well spent, to turn over Agrippa, and use all my occult art, to give my old Cornelian ring the same force with that of Gyges, which I have lately spoken of. By the help of this I went unobserved to a friend's house of mine, and followed the chambermaid invisibly about
twelve of the clock into the bedchamber of the beauteous Flavia, his fine daughter, just before she got up.
I drew the curtains; and being wrapped up in the safety of my old age, could with much pleasure, without passion, behold her sleeping with Waller's Poems, and a letter fixed in that part of him where every woman thinks herself described. The light flashing upon her face, awakened her : she opened her eyes, and her lips too, repeating that piece of false wit in that admired poet :
'Such Helen was : and who can blame the boy,
That in so bright a flame consum'd his Troy?' This she pronounced with a most bewitching sweet. ness; but after it fetched a sigh, that methought had more desire than languishment : then took out her letter ; and read aloud, for the pleasure, I suppose, of hearing soft words in praise of herself, the following epistle :
'I sat near you at the opera last night ; but knew no entertaininent from the vain show and noise about me, while I waited wholly intent upon the motion of your bright eyes, in hopes of a glance, that might restore me to the pleasures of sight and hearing in the midst of beauty and harmony. It is said, the hell of the accursed in the next life arises from an incapacity to partake the joys of the blessed, though they were to be admitted to them. Such, I am sure, was my condition all that evening ; and if you, my deity, cannot have so much mercy, as to make me by your influence capable of tasting the satisfactions of life, my being is ended, which consisted only in your favour.'
The letter was hardly read over, when she rushed out of bed in her wrapping-gown, and consulted her glass for the truth of his passion. She raised her head, and turned it to a profile, repeating the last lines, 'My being is ended, which consisted only in your favour.' The goddess immediately called her maid, and fell to dressing that mischievous face of hers, without any manner of consideration for the mortal who had offered up his petition. Nay, it was so far otherwise, that the whole time of her woman's combing her hair was spent in discourse of the impertinence of his passion, and ended in declaring a resolution, 'if she ever had him, to make him wait.' She also frankly told the favourite gypsy that was prating to her, that her passionate lover had put it out of her power to be civil to him, if she were inclined to it; for,' said she, ‘if I am thus celestial to my lover, he will certainly so far think himself disappointed, as I grow into the familiarity and form of a mortal woman.'
I came away as I went in, without staying for other remarks than what confirmed me in the opinion, that it is from the notions the men inspire them with, that the women are so fantastical in the value of themselves. This imaginary pre-eminence which is given to the fair sex, is not only formed from the addresses of people of condition ; but it is the fashion and humour of all orders to go regularly out of their wits, as soon as they begin to make love. I know at this time three goddesses in the New Exchange ; and there are two shepherdesses that sell gloves in Westminster Hall.
[Tatler, No. 139.
MANY are the epistles I every day receive from husbands, who complain of vanity, pride, but above all ill-nature, in their wives. I cannot tell how it is, but I think I see in all their letters that the cause of their uneasiness is in themselves; and indeed I have hardly ever observed the married condition unhappy, but from want of judgment or temper in the man. The truth is, we generally make love in a style, and with sentiments very unfit for ordinary life : they are half theatrical, half romantic. By this means we raise our imaginations to what is not to be expected in human life ; and because we did not beforehand think of the creature we were enamoured of as subject to dishumour, age, sickness, impatience or sullenness, but altogether considered her as the object of joy, human nature itself is often imputed to her as her particular imperfection or defect.
I take it to be a rule proper to be observed in all occurre es of life, but more especially in the domestic or matrimonial part of it, to preserve always a disposition to be pleased. This cannot be supported but by considering things in their right light, and as nature has formed them, and not as our own fancies or appetites would have them. He then who took a young lady to his home, with no other consideration than the expectation of scenes of dalliance, and thought of her (as I said before) only as she was to administer