« PreviousContinue »
or proud of being in the right. If a young couple be not careful in this point, they will get into. an habit of wrangling: and when to displease is thought of no consequence, to please is always of as little moment. There is a play, Jenny, I have formerly been at when I was a student: we got into a dark corner with a porringer of brandy, and threw raisins into it, then set it on fire. My chamber-fellow and I diverted ourselves with the sport of venturing our fingers for the raisins; and the wan-tonness of the thing was to see each other look like a dæmon, as we burnt ourselves, and snatched out the fruit. This fantastical mirth was called SnapDragon. You may go into many a family, where you see the man and wife at this sport; every word at their table alludes to some passage between themselves; and you see by the paleness and emotion in their countenances, that it is for your sake, and not their own, that they forbear playing out the whole game in burning each other's fingers. In this case, the whole purpose of life is inverted, and the ambition turns upon a certain contention, who shall contradict best, and not upon an inclination to excel in kindness and good offices. Therefore, dear Jenny, remember me, and avoid Snap-Dragon.”
“ I thank you, brother,” said she, “ but you do not know how he loves me; I find I can do any thing with him."
“ If you can so, why should you desire to do any thing but please him? but I have a word or two more before you go out of the room; for I see you do not like the subject I am upon : let nothing provoke you to fall upon an imperfection be cannot help; for, if he has a resenting spirit, he will think your aversion as immoveable as the imperfection with which you upbraid him. But, above all, dear Jenny, be careful of one thing, and you will be something more than woman; that is,
a levity you are almost all guilty of, which is, to take a pleasure in your power to give pain. It is even in a mistress an argument of meanness of spirit, but in a wife it is injustice and ingratitude. When a sensible man once observes this in a woman, he must have a very great, or very little spirit, to overlook it. A woman ought, therefore, to consider very often, how few men there are who will regard a meditated offence as a weakness of temper.”
I was going on in my confabulation, when Tranquillus entered.
She cast all her eyes upon him with much shame and confusion, mixed with great complacency and love, and went up to him. He took her in his arms, and looked so many soft things at one glance, that I could see he was glad I had been talking to her, sorry she had been troubled, and angry at himself that he could not disguise the concern he was in an hour before. After which he says to me, with an air aukward enough, but methought not unbecoming, “ I have altered my mind, brother; we will live upon you a day or two longer.” I replied, " That is what I have been persuading Jenny to ask of you, but she is resolved never to contradict your inclination, and refused me.” We were going on in that way
which one hardly knows how to express; as when two people mean the same thing in a nice case, but come at it by talking as distantly from it as they can; when very opportunely came in upon us an honest inconsiderable fellow, Tim Dapper, a gentleman well known to us both. Tim is one of those who are very necessary, by being very inconsiderable. Tim dropped in at an incident, when we knew not how to fall into either a grave or a merry way. My sister took this occasion to make off, and Dapper gave us an account of all the company he had been in to-day, who was, and who was not at home, where he visited. This Tim is the head of a species : he is a little out of his element in this town : but he is a relation of Tranquillus, and his neighbour in the country, which is the true place of residence for this species. The habit of a Dapper, when he is at home, is a light broad-cloth, with calamanco or red waistcoat and breeches ; and it is remarkable, that their wigs seldom hide the collar of their coats. They have always a peculiar spring in their arms, a wriggle in their bodies, and a trip in their gait. All which motions they express at once in their drinking, bowing, or saluting ladies ; for a distant imitation of a forward fop, and a resolution to overtop him in his way, are the distinguishing marks of a Dapper. These under-characters of men, are parts of the sociable world by no means to be neglected: they are like pegs in a building; they make no figure in it, but hold the structure together, and are as absolutely necessary as the pillars and columns. I am sure we found it so this morning; for Tranquillus and I should, perhaps, have looked cold at each other the whole day, but Dapper fell in with his brisk way, shook us both by the hand, rallied the bride, mistook the acceptance he met with amongst us for extraordinary perfection in himself, and heartily pleased, and was pleased all the while he stayed. His company left us all in good humour, and we were not such fools as to let it sink, before we confirmed it by great cheerfulness and openness in our carriage the whole evening.
White's Chocolute-house, October 24. I have been this evening to visit a lady who is a relation of the enamoured Cynthio, and there heard the melancholy news of his death. I was in hopes,
that fox-hunting and October would have recovered him from his unhappy passion. He went into the country with a design to leave behind him all thoughts of Clarissa; but he found that place only more convenient to think of her without interruption. The country gentlemen were very much puzzled upon his case, and never finding him
merry or loud in their company, took him for a Roman Catholic, and immediately upon his death seized his French valet-de-chambre for a priest ; and it is generally thought in the country, it will go hard with him next session. Poor Cynthio never held up
his head after having received a letter of Clarissa's marriage. The lady who gave me this account, being far gone in poetry and romance, told me, “ if I would give her an epitaph, she would take care to have it placed on his tomb; which she herself had devised in the following manner. It is to be made of black marble, and every corner to be crowned with weeping Cupids. Their quivers are to be hung up upon two tall cypress-trees, which are to grow on each side on the monument, and their arrows to be laid in a great heap, after the manner of a funeral pile, on which is to lie the body of the deceased. On the top of each cypress is to stand the figure of a moaning turtle-dove. On the uppermost part of the monument, the Goddess, to whom these birds are sacred, is to sit in a dejected posture, as weeping for the death of her votary.” I need not tell you this lady's head is a little turned : however, to be rid of importunities, I promised her an epitaph, and told her I would take for my pattern that of Don Alonzo, who was no less famous in his age than Cynthio is in ours.
his left pap;
the orifice of which was so
No 36. THURSDAY, OCTOBER 27, 1709.
From my own Apartment, October 25. When I came home last night, my servant delivered me the following letter:
October 24. “ I have orders from Sir Harry Quickset, of Staffordshire, baronet, to acquaint you, that his honour Sir Harry himself, Sir Giles Wheelbarrow, knight, Thomas Rentfree, esquire, justice of the quorum, Andrew Windmill, esquire, and Mr. Nicholas Doubt, of the Inner Temple, Sir Harry's grandson, will wait upon you at the hour of nine to-morrow morning, being Tuesday the twentyfifth of October, upon business which Sir Harry will impart to you by word of mouth. I thought it proper to acquaint you before-hand so many persons of quality came, that you might not be surprised therewith. Which concludes, though by many years absence since I saw you at Stafford, unknown, Sir, your most humble servant,