« PředchozíPokračovat »
when pain itself would be of so short a duration, that it would but just serve to enhance the value of pleasure. While I was in these thoughts, I unluckily called to mind a story of an ingenious gentleman of the last age, who lying violently afflicted with the gout, a person came and offered his service to cure him by a method which he assured him was infallible; the servant who received the message carried it up to his master, who inquiring whether the person came on foot or in a chariot, and being informed that he was on foot : “ Go,” says he, “ send the knave about his business: was his method as infal. lible as he pretends, he would long before now have been in his coach and six.” In like manner I con.. cluded that, had all these advertisers arrived to that skill they pretend to, they would have had no need for so many years successively to publish to the world the place of their abode and the virtues of their medicines. One of these gentlemen indeed pretends to an effectual cure for leanness: what ef. fects it
those who have tried it I cannot tell; but I am credibly informed that the call for it has been so great, that it has effectually cured the doctor himself of that distemper. Could each of them produce so good an instance of the success of his medicines, they might soon persuade the world into an opinion of them. . I observe that most of the bills
in one expression, viz. that " with God's blessing" they perform such and such cures: this expression is certainly very proper andemphatical, for that is allthey have for it. And if ever a cure is performed on a patient where they are concerned, they can claim no greater share in it than Virgil's Iapis in the curing of Æneas; he tried his skill, was very assiduous about the wound, and indeed was the only visible means that relieved the hero; but the poet assures us it was
the particular assistance of a deity that speeded the operation. An English reader may see the whole story in Mr. Dryden's translation:
“ Propp'd on his lance the pensive hero stood,
“But now the goddess mother, mov'd with grief,
VIRG. An. lib. XX. 391, &c.
N° 573. WEDNESDAY, JULY 28, 1714.
JUV. Sat. ii. 35
My paper on the club of widows has brought me several letters ; and, amongst the rest, a long one from Mrs. President, as follows:
• Smart Sir,
• You are pleased to be very merry, as you imagine, with us widows: and you seem to ground your satire on our receiving consolation so soon after the death of our dears, and the number we are pleased to admit for our companions; but you never reflect what husbands we have buried, and how short a sorrow the loss of them was capable of occasioning. For my own part, Mrs. President as you call me, my first husband I was married to at fourteen by my uncle and guardian (as I afterwards discovered) by way of sale, for the third part of
fortune. This fellow looked upon me as a mere child he might breed up after his own fancy: if he kissed my chamber-maid before my face, I was supposed so ignorant, how could í think there was any hurt in it? When he came home roaring drunk at five in the morning, it was the custom of all men that live in the world. I was not to see a penny of money, for, poor thing, how could I manage it ? He took a handsome cousin of his into the house (as he said) to be my housekeeper, and to govern my servants; for how could I know how to rule a family? While she had what money she pleased, which was but reasonable for
the trouble she was at for my good, I was not to be so censorious as to dislike familiarity and kindness between near relations. I was too great a coward to contend, but not so ignorant a child to be thus imposed upon. I resented his contempt as I ought to do, and as most poor passive blinded wives do, until it pleased heaven to take away my tyrant, who left me free possession of my own land, and a large jointure. My youth and money brought me many lovers, and several endeavoured to estab, lish an interest in my heart while my husband was in his last sickness; the honourable Edward Waitfort was one of the first who addressed me, advised to it by a cousin of his that was my intimate friend, and knew to a penny what I was worth. Mr.Waitfort is a very agreeable man, and every body would like him as well as he does himself, if they did not plainly see that his esteem and love is all taken up, and by such an object as it is impossible to get the better of; I mean himself. He made no doubt of marrying me within four or five months, and began to proceed with such an assured easy air, that piqued my pride not to banish him; quite contrary, out of pure malice, I heard his first declaration with so much innocent surprise, and blushed so prettily, I perceived it touched his very heart, and he thought me the best-natured silly poor thing on earth. When a man has such a notion of a woman, he loves her better than he thinks he does. I was overjoyed to be thus revenged on him for designing on my fortune; and, finding it was in my power to make his heart ache, I resolved to complete my conquest, and entertained several other pretenders. The first impression of my undesigning innocence was so strong in his head, he attributed all my fol. lowers to the inevitable force of my charms: and, from several blushes and side glances, concluded himself the favourite ; and, when I used him like a dog for my diversion, he thought it was all prudence and fear; and pitied the violence I did my own inclinations to comply with my friends, when I married sir Nicholas Fribble of sixty years of age. You know, sir, the case of Mrs. Medlar. I hope you would not have had me cry out my eyes for such a husband. I shed tears enough for my wie dowhood a week after my marriage ; and when he was put in his grave, reckoning he had been two years dead, and myself a widow of that standing, Í married three weeks afterwards John Sturdy, esq. his next heir. I had indeed some thoughts of taking Mr. Waitfort, but I found he could stay; and besides, he thought it indecent to ask me to marry again until my year was out; so, privately resolv. ing him for my fourth, I took Mr. Sturdy for the preserit. Would you believe it, sir, Mr. Sturdy was just five-and-twenty, about six foot high, and the stoutest fox-hunter in the country, and I believe I wished ten thousand times for my old Fribble again; he was following his dogs all the day, all the night keeping them up at table with him and his companions; however, I think myself obliged to them for leading him a chase in which he broke his neck. Mr. Waitfort began his addresses anew; and I verily believe I had married him now, but there was a young officer in the guards that had debauched two or three of my acquaintance, and I could not forbear being a little vain of his courtship. Mr. Waitfort heard of it, and read me such an insolent lecture upon the conduct of women, I married the officer that very day, out of pure spite to him. Half an hour after I was married I received a penitential letter from the honourable Mr. Edward Waitfort, in which he begged pardon for his passion, as proceeding from the violence of