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No. CCXCVIII. MONDAY, FEBRUARY 11.
Nusquam tuta fides..............
Honour is no where safe.
London, Feb. 9,1711-72. I MR. SPECTATOR,
"I AM a virgin, and in no case despicable ; but yet such as I am I must remain, or else become, it • is to be feared, less happy; for I find not the least 'good effect from the just correction you some time • since gave that too free, that looser part of our sex (which spoils the men : the same connivance at the « vices, the same easy admittance of addresses, the
same vitiated relish of the conversation of the great' est of rakes, or, in a more fashionable way of ex
pressing one's self, of such as have seen the world ( most, still abounds, increases, multiplies.
• The humble petition therefore of many of the • most strictly virtuous, and of myself, is, that you - will once more exert your authority, and that ac'cording to your late promise, your full, your impartial authority, on this sillier branch of our kind : for why should they be the uncontrollable mistresses of our fate? Why should they, with impunity, indulge • the males in licentiousness whilst single, and we • have the dismal hazard and plague of reforming • them when married ? Strike home, Sir, then, and
spare not, or all our maiden hopes, our gilded hopes of nuptial felicity are frustrated, are vanished, and you yourself, as well as Mr. Courtly, will, by
smoothing over immodest practices with the gloss • of soft and harmless names, for ever forfeit our ( esteem. Nor think that I am herein more severe (than need be: If I have not reason more than enough, do you and the world judge from this en
suing account, which, I think, will prove the evil 6 to be universal.
. You must know then, that since your reprehen• sion of this female degeneracy came out, I have had
a tender of respects from no less than five persons, s of tolerable figure too as times go : but the misfor• tune is, that four of the five are professed follow• ers of the mode. They would face me down, that all women of good sense ever were, and ever will be, latitudinarians in wedlock; and always did, and • will give and take what they profanely term con• jugal liberty of conscience.
• The two first of them, a captain and a merchant, to strengthen their argument, pretend to repeat after a couple of ladies of quality and wit, • that Venus was always kind to Mars : and what 6 soul, that has the least spark of generosity, can • deny a man of bravery any thing ? and how pitiful ra trader that, whom no woman but his own wife will have correspondence and dealings with ? Thus these, whilst the third, the country 'squire, confessed, that indeed he was surprised into good breeding, 6 and entered into the knowledge of the world una' wares; that dining the other day at a gentleman's 6 house, the person who entertained was obliged to • leave him with his wife and nieces, where they
spoke with so much contempt of an absent gentle• man for being so slow at a hint, that he resolved ( never to be drowsy, unmannerly, or stupid for the • future at a friend's house ; and on a hunting morn
ing, not to pursue the game either with the husband ( abroad, or with the wife at home.
The next that came was a tradesman, no less 6 full of the age than the former; for he had the gal. • lantry to tell me, that at a late junket which he • was invited to, the motion being made, and the o question being put, it was by maid, wife, and " widow resolved, nemine contradicente, that a young
6 sprightly journeyman is absolutely necessary in
their way of business : to which they had the assent • and concurrence of their husbands present. I drop
ped him a courtesy, and gave him to understand " that was his audience of leave.
I am reckoned pretty, and have had very many advances besides these; but have been very averse to hear any of them, from my observation on these « above-mentioned, until I hoped some good from « the character of my present admirer, a clergyman.
But I find even amongst them there are indirect • practices in relation to love, and our treaty is ať present a little in suspense; until some circum6 stances are cleared. There is a charge against him
among the women, and the case is this : it is • alledged, that a certain endowed female would have 6 appropriated herself to, and consolidated herself (with a church, which my divine now enjoys ; (or,
which is the same thing, did prostitute herself to • her friend's doing this for her) that my ecclesi6 astic, to obtain the one, did engage himself to take 6 off the other that lay on hand: but that on his
success in the spiritual, he again renounced the (carnal.
• I put this closely to him, and taxed him with disingenuity. He, to clear himself, made the sub(sequent defence, and that in the most solemn man(ner possible. That he was applied to, and instigated • to accept of a benefice; that a conditional offer. (thereof was indeed made him at first, but with dis
dain by him rejected : that when nothing, as they • easily perceived, of this nature could bring him to • their purpose, assurance of his being entirely un• engaged beforehand, and safe from all their after
expectations (the only stratagem left to draw him • in) was given him : that pursuant to this the donaition itself was without delay, before several reput• able witnesses, tendered to him gratis, with the
open profession of not the least reserve, or the • most minute condition ; but that yet immediately • after induction, his insidious introducer, (or her
crafty procurer, which you will) industriously spread 'the report which had reached my ears, not only in 'the neighbourhood of that said church, but in Lon*don, in the university, in mine and his own country, and wherever else it might probably obviate his application to any other woman, and so confine ( him to this alone : and in a word, that as he never did make any previous offer of his service, or the least step to her affection, so on his discovery of these designs thus laid to trick him, he could not • but afterwards, in justice to himself, vindicate both « his innocence and freedom by keeping his proper « distance.
• This is his apology, and I think I shall be satis<fied with it. But I cannot conclude my tedious
epistle, without recommending to you not only to resume your former chastisement, but to add to your criminals the simoniacal ladies who seduce the sacred order into the difficulty of either breaking a mercenary troth made to them whom they ought not to deceive, or by breaking or keeping it offending against him whom they cannot deceive. "Your assistance and labours of this sort would be
of great benefit, and your speedy thoughts on this subject would be very seasonable to,
• Sir, your most obedient servant, T
No. CCXCIX. TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 12.
Malo Venusinam, quam te, Cornelia, mater
Some country girl, scarce to a court’sy bred,
IT is observed, that a man improves more by reading the story of a person eminent for prudence and virtue, than by the finest rules and precepts of morality. In the same manner a representation of those calamities and misfortunes which a weak man suffers from wrong measures, and ill-concerted schemes of life, is apt to make a deeper impression upon our minds, than the wisest maxims and instructions that can be given us, for avoiding the like follies and indiscretions in our own private conduct. It is for this reason that I lay before my reader the fol. lowing letter, and leave it with him to make his own use of it, without adding any reflections of my own upon the subject matter.
• HAVING carefully perused a letter sent you by Josiah Fribble, Esq. with your subsequent discourse upon pin-money, I do presume to trouble you with an account of my own case, which I look upon to be no less deplorable than that of 'Squire * Fribble. I am a person of no extraction, having begun the world with a small parcel of rusty iron,