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These thoughts are apt to draw me beyond the usual length of this paper, but if I could suppose such rhapsodies could outlive the common fate of ordinary things, I would say these sketches and faint images of glory were drawn in August 1711, when John Duke of Marlborough made that memorable march wherein he took the French lines without bloodshed.1 T.

No. 140. Friday, August 10, 1711



-Animum curis nunc huc nunc dividit illuc. —VIRG., Æn. iv. 285. HEN I acquaint my reader that I have many other letters not yet acknowledged, I believe he will own, what I have a mind he should believe, that I have no small charge upon me, but am a person of some consequence in this world. I shall therefore employ the present hour only in reading petitions, in petitions, in the order as fol


1 The writer (Philo Strategos') of a pamphlet called 'Churchill's Annals,' 1714, which was dedicated to The Englishman,' i.e. Steele, says, 'In 1711 his Grace returned to Flanders, where he forced the French lines upon the Senset and the Scheld, which Mareschal Villars boasted were his ne plus ultra, with such conduct, speed, and secrecy as made a great noise in all the courts of Europe but ours, and is very completely celebrated by one of the duke's grateful countrymen, a person whose judgment is of more weight than all the united opinions of his Grace's enemies, I mean the ingenious author of the Spectator. Marlborough's successful manœuvres enabled him to capture Bouchain, but he was not able to press forward into France, as he had intended.


'I HAVE lost so much time already that I desire, upon the receipt hereof, you would sit down. immediately and give me your answer. I would know of you whether a pretender of mine really loves me. As well as I can I will describe his manners. When he sees me he is always talking of constancy, but vouchsafes to visit me but once a fortnight, and then is always in haste to be gone. When I am sick, I hear he says he is mightily concerned, but neither comes nor sends, because, as he tells his acquaintance with a sigh, he does not care to let me know all the power I have over him, and how impossible it is for him to live without me, When he leaves the town he writes once in six weeks; desires to hear from me; complains of the torment of absence; speaks of flames, tortures, languishings, and ecstasies. He has the cant of an impatient lover, but keeps the pace of a lukewarm one. You know I must not go faster than he does, and to move at this rate is as tedious as counting a great clock. But you are to know he is rich, and my mother says, 'As he is slow he is sure; he will love me long if he love me little.' But I appeal to

you whether he loves at all

Your neglected humble Servant,

'All these fellows who have money are extremely

saucy and cold. Pray, sir, tell them of it.'


'I HAVE been delighted with nothing more.
through the whole course of your writings
than the substantial account you lately gave of wit,'
and I could wish you would take some other oppor-
tunity to express further the corrupt taste the age is
run into, which I am chiefly apt to attribute to the
prevalency of a few popular authors, whose merit in
some respects has given a sanction to their faults in
others. Thus the imitators of Milton seem to
place all the excellence of that sort of writing either
in the uncouth or antique words, or something else
which was highly vicious, though pardonable in that
great man.
The admirers of what we call point, or
turn, look upon it as the peculiar happiness to which
Cowley, Ovid, and others owe their reputation, and,
therefore, endeavour to imitate them only in such
instances. What is just, proper, and natural does
not seem to be the question with them, but by what
means a quaint antithesis may be brought about;
how one word may be made to look two ways, and
what will be the consequence of a forced allusion.
Now, though such authors appear to me to resemble
those who make themselves fine instead of being well
dressed or graceful. Yet the mischief is that these
beauties in them, which I call blemishes, are thought
to proceed from luxuriance of fancy and overflowing
of good sense. In one word, they have the character
of being too witty; but if you would acquaint the
world they are not witty at all, you would, among
many others, oblige,

Your most benevolent Reader,
R. D.'

1 Nos. 58 to 63. 2 Such as John Philips, in his Cyder.'


'I AM a young woman and reckoned pretty, therefore you'll pardon me that I trouble you to decide a wager between me and a cousin of mine who is always contradicting one because he understands Latin. Pray, sir, is "Dimple" spelt with a single or double p?

I am, SIR,

Your very humble Servant,


'Pray, sir, direct thus: "To the Kind Querist," and leave it at Mr. Lillie's, for I don't care to be known in the thing at all. thing at all. I am, Sir, again your humble Servant.'


'I MUST needs tell you there are several of your papers I do not much like. You are often so nice there is no enduring you, and so learned there is no understanding you. What have you to do with our petticoats?

Your humble Servant,



'LAST night, as I was walking in the Park, I met a couple of friends. "Prithee, Jack," says one of them, "let us go drink a glass of wine, for I am fit for nothing else." This put me upon reflecting on the many miscarriages which happen in conversations over wine, when men go to the bottle to remove such humours as it only stirs up and awakens. This I could not attribute more to anything than to

the humour of putting company upon others which men do not like themselves. Pray, sir, declare in your papers that he who is a troublesome companion to himself will not be an agreeable one to others. Let people reason themselves into good humour before they impose themselves upon their friends. Pray, sir, be as eloquent as you can upon this subject, and do human life so much good as to argue powerfully that it is not every one that can swallow who is fit to drink a glass of wine.

Your most humble Servant.'


"I THIS morning cast my eye upon your paper concerning the Expense of Time. You are very obliging to the women, especially those who are not young and past gallantry, by touching so gently upon gaming: therefore I hope you do not think it wrong to employ a little leisure time in that diversion; but I should be glad to hear you say something upon the behaviour of some of the female gamesters.

'I have observed ladies who in all other respects are gentle, good-humoured, and the very pinks of good breeding; who, as soon as the ombre table is called for, and set down to their business, are immediately transmigrated into the veriest wasps in


'You must know I keep my temper and win their money; but am out of countenance to take it, it makes them so very uneasy. Be pleased, dear sir, to instruct them to lose with a better grace, and you will oblige, yours, RACHEL BASTO.'

1 See No. 93

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