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lest she should pine, and be overcome with sorrow. But if Adam, in the state of perfection, and Solomon the son of David, God's chosen servant, and himself a man endued with the greatest wisdom, did both of them disobey their Creator by the persuasion, and for the love they báre to a woman, it is not so wonderful as lamentable, that other men in succeeding ages have been allured to so many inconvenient and wicked practices by the persuasion of their wives, or other beloved darlings, who cover over and shadow many
malicious purposes with a counterfeit passion of dissimulating sorrow and unquietness.
The motions of the minds of lovers are no where so well described as in the words of skilful writers for the stage. The scene between Fulvia and Curius, in the second act of Jonson's Catiline, is an excellent picture of the power of a lady over her gallant. The wench plays with his affections; and as a man, of all places of the world, wishes to inake a good figure with his mistress, upon her upbraiding him with want of spirit, he alludes to enterprises which he cannot reveal but with the hazard of his life. When he is worked thus far, with a flattery of her opinion of his gallantry, and desire to know more of it out of her overflowing fondness to him, he brags to her until his life is in her disposal.
When a man is thus liable to be vanquished by the charms of her he loves, the safest way is to determine what is proper to be done; but to avoid all expostulation with her before he executes what he has resolved. Women are ever too hard. for us upon a treaty; and one must consider how senseless a thing it is to argue with one whose looks and gestures are more prevalent with you,
than your reasons and arguments can be with her. It is a most miserable slavery to submit to what you disapprove, and give up a truth for no other reason, but that you had not fortitude to support you in asserting it. A man has enough to do to conquer his own unreasonable wishes and desires; hut he does that in vain, if he has those of another to gratify. Let his pride be in his wife and fami. ly, let him give them all the conveniences of life in such a manner as if he were proud of them; but let it be his own innocent pride, and not their exorbitant desires, which are indulged by hit, . In this case all the little arts imaginable are used to soften a man's heart, and raise his passion above his understanding. But in all concessions of this kind, a man should consider whether the present he makes flows from his own love, or the importunity of his beloved. If from the latter, he is her slave? if from the former, her friend. We laugh it off, and do not weigh this subjection to women with that seriousness which so important a circumstance deserves. Why was courage given to a man, if his wife's fears are to frustrate it? When this is once indulged, you are no longer her guardian and protector, as you were designed by nature; but, in compliance to her weaknesses, you have disabled yourself from avoiding the misa fortunes into which they will lead you both, and you are to see the hour in which you are to be reproached by herself for that very compliance to her. It is indeed the most difficult mastery over ourselves we can possibly attain, to resist the grief of her who charms us; but let the heart ache, be the anguish never so quick and painful, it is what must be suffered and passed through, if you think to live like a gentleman, or be conscious to yoursell that you are a man of honesty. The old arglı ment, that you do not love me if you deny me this,' which first was used to obtain a trifie, by habitual success will oblige the unhappy man who gives way to it to resign the cause even of his country and his honour.
No. 511. THURSDAY, OCT. 16, 1712.
Quis non invenit turba quod amaret in illa?
Ovid. Art. Am. i. 175.
-Who could fail to find,
• Finding that my last letter took, I do intend to continue my epistolary correspondence with thee, on these dear confounded creatures,
Thou knowest all the little learning I am master of is upon that subject: I never looked in a book, but for their sakes. I have lately met with two pure stories for a Spectator, which I am sure will please mightily, if they pass through thy hands. The first of them I found by chance in an English book, called Herodotus, that lay in my friend Dapperwit's window, as I visited him one morning. It luckily opened in the place where I met with the following account. He tells us that it was the manner among the Persians to have several fairs in the kingdom, at which all the young unmarried women were annually exposed to sale. The men who wanted wives came hither to provide themselves. Every woman was given to the highest bidder, and the money which she fetched laid aside for the pablic use, to be employed as
thou shalt hear by and by. By this means the richest people had the choice of the market, and culled out all the most extraordinary beauties. As soon as the fair was thus picked, the refuse was to be distributed
poor, those who could not go to the price of a beauty. Several of these married the agreeables, without paying a farthing for them, unless somebody chanced to think it worth his while to bid for them, in which case the best bidder was always the purchaser. But now you must know, Spec, it happen*ed in Persia, as it does in our own country, that there was' as many ugly women as beauties or agreeables; so that by consequence, after the magistrates had
put off a great many, there were still a great many that stuck upon their hands. Inorder therefore to clear the market, the money which the beauties had sold for was disposed of among the ugly; so that a poor man, who could not afford to have a beauty for his wife, was forced to take up with a fortune; the greatest portion being always given to the most deformed. To this the author adds, that every poor man was forced to live kindly with his wife, or, in case he repented of his bargain, to return her portion with her to the next public sale.
"What I would recommend to thee on this occasion is, to establish such an imaginary fair in Great Britain : thou couldst. make it very pleasant, by matching women of quality with cobblers and carmen,
or describing titles and garters leading off in great ceremony shopkeepers' and farmers' daughters. Though, to tell thee the truth, I am confoundedly afraid, that as the love of money prevails in our island more than it did in Persia, we should find that some of our greatest men would choose out the portions, and rival one another for the richest piece of deformity; and that, on the contrary, the toasts and belies would be bought up by extravagant heirs, gamesters, and spendthrifts. Thou couldst make very pretty reflexions upon this occasion in honour of the Persian politicians, wbo took care, by such marriages, to beautify the upper part of the species, and to make the greatest persons in the government the most graceful. But this I shall leave to thy judi
• I have another story to tell thee, which I like. wise met with in a book. It seems the general of the Tartars, after having laid siege to a strong town in China, and taken it by storm, would set to sale all the women that were found in it. Accordingly he put each of them into a sack, and, after having thoroughly considered the value of the woman who was inclosed, marked the price that was demanded for her upon the sacks. There was a great confluence of chapmen, that resorted from every part, with a design to purchase, which they were to do 'unsight unseen. The book mentions a merchant in particular, who observa ing one of the sacks to be marked pretty bigli, bargained for it, and carried it off with him to his house. As he was resting with it upon a halfway bridge, he was resolved to take a survey of his purchase : pon opening the sack, a little old woman popped her head out of it; at which the adventurer was in so great a rage, that he was going to shoot her out into the river. The old lady, however, begged him first of all to hear her story, by which he learned that she was sister to a great mandarin, who would infallibly make the fortune of his brother-in-law as soon as he should know to whose lot she fell. Upon which the merchant again tied her up in his sack, and car