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instead of desire. It is certain that if you were to behold the whole woman, there is that dignity in her aspect, that composure in her motion, that complacency in her manner, that if her form makes you hope, her merit makes you fear. But then again, she is such a desperate scholar, that no country gentleman can approach her without being a jest. As I was going to tell you, when I came to her house, I was admitted to her presence with great civility; at the same time she placed herself to be first seen by me in such an attitude, as I think you call the posture of a picture, and she discovered new charms, and I at last came towards her with such an awe as made me speechless. This she no sooner observed but she made her advantage of it, and began a discourse to me concerning love and honour, as they both are followed by pretenders, and the real votaries to them. When she discussed these points in a discourse,which I verily believe was as learned as the best philosopher in Europe could possibly make, she asked me whether she was so happy as to fall in with my sentiments on these important particulars. Her confidant sat by her, and upon my being in the last confusion and silence, this malicious aid of her's turning to her, says, “I am very glad to observe Sir Roger pauses upon this subject, and seems resolved to deliver all his sentiments upon the matter when he pleases to speak." They both kept their countenances, and after I had sat half an hour meditating how to behave before such profound casuists, I rose up and took my leave. Chance has since that time thrown me very often in her way, and she as often has directed a discourse to me which I do not understand. This barbarity has kept me ever at a distance from the most beautiful object my eyes ever beheld. It is thus also she deals with all mankind, and you must make love to her, as you
would conquer the sphinx, by posing her. But were she like other women, and that there were any talking to her, how constant must the pleasure of that man be, who could converse with a creatureBut, after all, you may be sure her heart is fixed on some one or other; and yet I have been credibly informed; but who can believe half that is said! after she had done speaking to me, she put her hand to her bosom, and adjusted her tucker. Then she cast her eyes a little down, upon my beholding her too earnestly. They say she sings excellently : her voice in her ordinary speech has something in it inexpressibly sweet. You must know I dined with her at a public table the day after I first saw her, and she helped me to some tansy in the eye of all the gentlemen in the country. She has certainly the finest hand of any woman in the world. I can assure you, sir, were you to behold her, you would be in the same condition; for as her speech is music, her form is angelic. But I find I grow irregular while I am talking of her; but indeed it would be stupidity to be unconcerned at such perfection. Oh, the excellent creature! she is as inimitable to all women, as she is inaccessible to all men.
I found my friend begin to rave, and insensibly led him towards the house, that we might be joined by some other company; and am convinced that the widow is the secret cause of all that inconsistency which appears in some parts of my friend's discourse; though he has so much command of himself as not directly to mention her, yet accord
ing to that of Martial, which one knows not how to · render into English, dum tacet hanc loquitur. I
shall end this paper with that whole epigram, which represents with much humour my honest friend's condition :
Quicquid agit Rufus, nihil est, nisi Næria Rufo,
Si gaudet, si flet, si tacet, hanc loquitur :
Navia; si non sit Navia, mutus erit.
Epig. i. 69.
Let Rufus weep, rejoice, stand, sit, or walk,
N° 114. WEDNESDAY, JULY 11, 1711.
- Paupertatis pudor et fuga —
Hor. 1 Ep. xvii. 24. - The dread of nothing more Than to be thought necessitous and poor,
Economy in our affairs has the same effect upon our fortunes which good-breeding has upon our conversation. There is a pretending behaviour in both cases, which instead of making men esteemed, renders them both miserable and contemptible. We had yesterday, at Sir Roger's, a set of country gentlemen who dined with him; and after dinner the glass was taken, by those who pleased, pretty plentifully. Among others l observed a person of a tolerable good aspect, who seemed to be more greedy of liquorthan any of the company, and yet methought he did not taste it with delight. As he grew warm, he was suspicious of every thing that was said, and as he advanced towards being fuddled, his humour grew worse. At the same time his bitterness seemed to be rather an inward dissatisfaetion in his own mind, than any dislike he had taken to the company. Upon hearing his name, I knew him to be a gentleman of a considerable fortune in this county, but greatly in debt. What gives the unhappy man this peevishness of spirit is, that his estate is dipped, and is eating out with usury; and yet he has not the heart to sell any part of it. His proud stomach, at the cost of restless nights, constant inquietudes, danger of affronts, and a thousand nameless inconveniencies, preserves this canker in his fortune, rather than it shall be said he is a man of fewer hundreds a year than he has been commonly reputed. Thus he endures the torment of poverty, to avoid the name of being less rich. If you go to his house, you see great plenty; but served in a manner that shews it is all unnatural, and that the master's mind is not at home. There is a certain waste and carelessness in the air of every think, and the whole appears but a covered indigence, a magnificent poverty. That neatness and cheerfulness which attends the table of him who lives within compass, is wanting, and exchanged for a libertine way of service in all about him.
This gentleman's conduct, though a very common way of management, is as ridiculous as that officer's would be, who had but few men under his command, and should take the charge of an extent of country rather than of a small pass. To pay for, personate, and keep in a man's hands, a greater estate than he really has, is of all others the most unpardonable vanity, and must in the end reduce the man who is guilty of it to dishonour. Yet if we look round us in any county of Great Britain, we shall see many in this fatal error; if that may be called by so soft a name, which proceeds from a false shame of appearing what they really are, when the contrary behaviour would in a short time advance them to the condition which they pretend to.
Laertes has fifteen hundred pound a year; which is mortgaged for six thousand pounds; but it is impossible to convince him, that if he sold as much as would pay off that debt, he would save four shillings in the pound*, which he gives for the vanity of being the reputed master of it. Yet if Laertes did this, he would perhaps be easier in his own fortune; but then Irus, a fellow of yesterday, who has but twelve hundred a year, would be his equal. Rather than this should be, Laertes goes on to bring wellborn beggars into the world, and every twelvemonth charges his estate with at least one year's rent more by the birth of a child.
Laertes and Irus are neighbours, whose way of living are an abomination to each other. Irus is moved by the fear of poverty, and Laertes by the shame of it. Though the motive of action is of so near affinity in both, and may be resolved into this, " that to each of them poverty is the greatest of all evils,' yet are their manners widely different. Shame of poverty makes Laertes launch into unnecessary equipage, vain expence, and lavish entertainments. Fear of poverty makes Irus allow himself only plain necessaries, appear without a servant, sell his own corn, attend his labourers, and be himself a labourer. Shame of poverty makes Laertes go every day a step nearer to it; and fear of poverty stirs up Irus to make every day some further progress from it.
These different motives produce the excesses
* Viz, the land-tax.