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vice of vice and folly as of virtue and wisdom; and he hath this easy choice left him, whether with the strength he is master of, he will purchase happi. ness or repentance.
N° 625. FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 1714.
De tenero meditatur ungui
HOR. 3. Od. vi. 23. Love, from her tender years, her thoughts employ'd. The love casuist hath referred to me the following Jetters of queries, with his answer to each question, for my approbation. I have accordingly considered the several matters therein contained, and hereby confirm and ratify his answers, and require the gentle querist to conform herself thereunto.
Ć I was thirteen the 9th of November last, and must now begin to think of settling myself in the world; and so I would humbly beg your ad. vice, what I must do with Mr. Fondle, who makes his addresses to me. He is a very pretty man, and hath the blackest eyes and whitest teeth you ever saw. Though he is but a younger brother, he dresses like a man of quality, and nobody comes into a room like him. I know he hath refused great offers, and if he cannot marry me he will never have any body else. But my father hath forbid him the house, because he sent me a copy of verses ; for he is one of the greatest wits in town. My eldest sister, who with hor good will would
call me miss as long as I live, must be married before me, they say. She tells them that Mr. Fondle makes a fool of me, and will spoil the child, as she calls
me, like a confident thing as she is. In short, I am resolved to marry Mr. Fondle, if it be but to spite her. But because I would do nothing that is imprudent, I beg of you to give me your an. swers to some questions I will write down, and de. sire you to get them printed in the Spectator, and I do not doubt but you will give such advice as,
I am sure, I shall follow.
• When Mr. Fondle looks upon me for half an hour together, and calls mc Angel, is he not in love? Answer. No.
May not I be certain he will be a kind husband, that has promised me half my portion in pin money, and to keep me a coach and six in the bargain ?' No.
Whether I, who have been acquainted with him this whole year. almost, am not a better judge of his merit than my father and mother, who never heard him talk but at table?'
Whether I am not old enough to choose for myself?
" Whether it would not have been rude in me to refuse a lock of his hair?" No.
Should not I be a very barbarous creature, if I did not pity a man who is always sighing for my sake?' No. Whether
would not advise me to run away with the poor man?'
• Whether you do not think, that if I will not have him, he will not drown himself ?'
" What shall I say to him the next time he asks me if I will marry him ?'
The following letter requires neither introduction nor answer.
I WONDER that, in the present situation of affairs, you can take pleasure in writing any thing but news; for, in a word, who minds any thing else? The pleasure of increasing in knowledge, and learning something new every hour of Jife, is the noblest entertainment of a rational creature. I have a very good ear for a secret, and am naturally of a communicative temper; by which means I am capable of doing you great services in this
way. In order to make myself useful, I am ear. ly in the anti-chamber, where I thrust my head into the thick of the press, and catch the news at the opening of the door, while it is warm. Sometimes I stand by the beef-eaters, and take the buz as it passes by me. At other times I lay my ear close to the wall, and suck in many a valuable whisper, as it runs in a straight line from corner to corner. When I am weary with standing, I repair to one of the neighbouring coffee-houses, where I sit sometimes for a whole day, and have the news as it comes from court fresh and fresh. In short, sir, I spare no pains to know how the world goes. А piece of news loses its flavour when it hath been an hour in the air. I love, if I may so speak, to have it fresh from the tree; and to convey it to my
friends before it is failed. Accordingly my expenses in coach-hire make no small article : which you may believe when I assure you that I post away from coffee-louse to coffee-house, and forestal the Evening-post by two hours. There is a certain gentleman, who hath given me the slip twice or thrice, and hath been beforehand with me at Child's. But I have played him a trick. I have purchased a pair of the best coach-horses I could buy for money, and now let him outstrip me if he can. Once more, Mr. Spectator, let me advise you to deal' in news.
You may depend upon my assist. ance. But I must break off abruptly, for I have twenty letters to write.
Your's, in haste,
N° 626. MONDAY, NOV. 29, 1714,
Dulcique animos novitate tenebo.
OVID. Met. 1, 1,
With sweet novelty your taste I'll please.
EUSDEN. I HAVE seen a little work of a learned man, consisting of extemporary speculations, which owed their birth to the most trifling occurrences of life. His usual method was to write down any sudden start of thought which arose in his mind upon the sight of any odd gesticulation in a man, any whimsical mimicry of reason in a beast, or whatever appeared remarkable in any object of the visible creation. He was able to moralize upon a snuff-box, would flourish eloquently upon a tucker or a pair of ruffles, and draw practical inferences from a full-bottomed periwig. This. I thought fit to mention, by way of excuse for my ingenious correspondent, who hath introduced the following letter by an image which, I will beg leave to tell him, is too ridiculous in so serious and noble a speculation,
6'When I have seen young puss playing her wanton gambols, and with a thousand antic shapes express her own gaiety at the same time that she moved mine, while the old grannum hath sat by with a most exemplary gravity, unmoved at all that passed, it hath made me reflect what should be the occasion of humours so opposite in two crea. tures, between whom there was no visible difference but that of age; and I have been able to rea solve it into nothing else but the force of novelty.
'In every species of creatures, those who have been least time in the world appear best pleased with their condition : for, besides that to a new "comer the world hath a freshness on it that strikes the sense after a most agreeable manner, being it. self, unattended with any great variety of enjoyments, excites a sensation of pleasure: but, as age advances, every thing seems to .wither, the senses are disgusted with their old entertainments, and existence turns flat and insipid. We may this exemplified in mankind. The child, let him be free from pain, and gratified in his change of toys, is diverted with the smallest trifle. Nothing disturbs the mirth of the boy but a little punisha ment or confinement. The youth must have more violent pleasures to employ his time. The man loves the hurry of an active life, devoted to the pursuits of wealth and ambition. And, lastly, old age, hav, ing lost its capacity for these avocations, becomes its