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By chance conducted, or by thirst constrain'd,
The fool of nature stood with stupid eyes,
But lest this fine description should be excepted against, as the creation of that great master Mr. Dryden, and not on account of what has really ever happened in the world, I shall give you verbatim, the epistle of an enamoured footman in the country to his mistress. Their surnames shall not be inserted, because their passions demand a greater respect than is due to their quality. James is servant in a great family, and Elizabeth waits upon the daughter of one as numerous, some miles off her lover. James, before he beheld Betty, was vain of his strength, a rough wrestler, and quarrelsoine cudgel-player; Betty a public
dancer at may-poles, á romp at stool-ball : he always following idle women, she playing among the peasants: he a country bully, she a country coquette. But love has made her constantly in her mistress's chamber, where the young lady gratifies a secret passion of her own, by making Betty talk of James; and James is become a constant waiter pear his master's apartment, in reading as well as he can, romances. I cannot learn who Molly is, who it seems walked ten miles to carry the angry message, which gave occasion to what follows: .•MY DEAR BETTY,
May 14, 1711. • REMEMBER your bleeding lover who lies bleeding at the wounds Cupid made with the arrows be borrowed at the eyes of Venus, which is your sweet person.
• Nay more, with the token you sent me for my love and service offered to your sweet person ; which was your base respects to my ill conditions; when, alas! there is no ill conditions in me, but quite contrary; all love and purity, especially to your sweet person ; but all this I take as a jest.
• But the sad and dismal news which Molly brought me struck me to the heart, which was it seems, and is, your ill conditions for my love and respects to you. :. For she told me, if I came forty times to you, you would not speak with me, which words I am sure is a great grief to me.
Now, my dear, if I may not be permitted to your sweet company, and to have the happiness of speaking with your sweet person, I beg the favour of you to accept of this my secret mind and thoughts, which hath so long lodged in my breast, the which if you do not accept, I believe will go nigh to break my heart.
• For indeed, my dear, I love you above all the beauties I ever saw in all my life.
,' The young gentleman, and my master's daughter, the Londoner that is come down to marry her, sat in the arbour most part of last night. Ob, dear Betty, must the nightingales sing to those who marry for money, and not to us true lovers! Oh, my dear Betty, that we could meet this night where we used to do in the wood!
Now, my dear, if I may not have the blessing of kissing your sweet lips, I beg I may have the happiness, of kissing your fair hand, with a few lines from your dear self, presented by whom you please or think fit. I believe, if time would permit me, I could write all day; but the time being short, and paper little, no more from your never-failing lover till death.
JAMES * Poor James! since his time and paper were so short, I that have more than I can use well of both, will put the sentiments of this kind letter (the style of which
* This man's name was James Hirst. He was a servant to the Hon. Edward Wortley, Esq. and in delivering a parcel of letters to his master, gave by mistake this letter, which he had just prepared for his sweetheart, and kept in its stead one of his master's. He quickly returned to rectify the blunder, but it was too late. Unfortunately the letter to Betty was the first that presented itself to Mr. Wortley, who had indulged his curiosity in -reading the love-tale of his enamoured footman. James requested to have it returned in vain. No, James,' said his master, you shall be a great man, and this letter must appear in the Spectator.'
James succeeded in putting an end to Betty's ill conditions, and obtained her consent to marry him; but ihe marriage was prevented by her sudden death. James Hirst, soon after, from his regard and love for Betty, married her sister, and died about thirteen years ago, by Pennistone, in the neighbourhood of Wortley, near Leeds. Betty's sister and successor, was probably the Molly who walked ten miles to carry the angry message which occasioned the preceding letter.
seems to be confused with scraps he had got in hearing and reading what he did not understand) into what
. Can you then neglect him who has forgot all bis recreations and enjoyments, to pine away his life in thinking of you? When I do so, you appear more amiable to me than Venus does in the most beautiful description that ever was made of her. All this kindness you return with an accusation, that I do not love you: but the contrary is so manifest, that I cannot think you in earnest. But the certainty given me in
what robs me of all comfort. She says you will not see me: if you can have so much cruelty, at least write to me, that I may kiss the impression made by your fair hand. I love you above all things, and in my condition, what you look upon with indifference is to me the most exquisite pleasure or pain. Our young lady and a fine gentleman from London, who are to marry for mercenary ends, walk about our gardens, and hear the voice of evening nightingales, as if for fashion sake they courted those solitudes, because they have heard lovers do so. Oh Betty! could I hear these rivulets murmur, and birds sing, while you stood near me, how little sensible should I be that we are both servants, that there is any thing on earth above us! Oh! I could write to you as long as I love you, till death itself.
N. B. By the words ill-conditions, James means, in a woman coquetry, in a man inconstancy. R.
N° 72. WEDNESDAY, MAY 23, 1711.
Genus immortale manet, multosque per annos
VIRG. Georg. iy. 208.
HAVING already given my reader an account of several extraordinary clubs both ancient and modern, I did not design to have troubled him with any more narratives of this nature; but I have lately received information of a club, which I can call neither ancient nor modern, that I dare say will be no less surprising to my reader than it was to myself; for which reason I shall communicate it to the public as one of the greatest curiosities in its kind.
A friend of mine coniplaining of a tradesman who is related to him, after having represented him as a very idle worthless fellow, who neglected his family, and spent most of his time over a bottle, told me, to conclude his character, that he was a member of the Everlasting club. So very odd a title raised my curiosity to enquire into the nature of a club that had such a sounding name ; upon which my friend gave me the following account:
The Everlasting club consists of a hundred members, who divide the whole twenty-four hours among them in such a manner, that the club sits day and night from one end of the year to another ; no party presuming to rise till they are relieved by those who are in course to succeed them. By this means a