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tion to her parents. Charming resignation, which inclination opposes not.
Her relations applaud her for her duty; friends meet ; points are adjusted ; delightful perturbations, and hopes, and a few lover's fears, fill up
the tedious space till an interview is granted ; for the young lady had not made herself cheap at publick places.
The time of interview arrives. She is modestly reserved; he is not confident. He declares his passion; the consciousness of her own worth, and his application to her parents, take from her any doubt of his sincerity; and she owns herself obliged to him for his good opinion. The enquiries of her friends into his character, have taught her that his good opinion deserves to be valued.
She tacitly allows of his future visits; he renews them; the regard of each for the other is confirmed; and when he presses for the favour of her hand, he receives a declaration of an entire acquiescence with her duty, and a modest acknowledgment of esteem for him.
He applies to her parents therefore for a near day; and thinks himself under obligation to them for the cheerful and affectionate manner with which they receive his agreeable application.
With this prospect of future happiness, the marriage is celebrated. Gratulations pour in from every quarter. Parents and relations on both sides, brought acquainted in the course of the courtship, can receive the happy couple with countenances illumined, and joyful hearts.
The brothers, the sisters, the friends of one family, are the brothers, the sisters, the friends of the other. Their two families, thus made one, are the world to the young couple.
Their home is the place of their principal delight, nor do they ever occasionally quit it but they find the pleasure of returning to it augmented in proportion to the time of their absence from it.
Oh, Mr. Rambler ! forgive the talkativeness of an old man ! When I courted and married
Lætitia, then a blooming beauty, every thing passed just so! But how is the case now? The ladies, maidens, wives, and widows, are engrossed by places of sort and general entertainment, which fill every quarter of the metropolis, and being constantly frequented, make home irksome. Breakfasting-places, diningplaces, routes, drums, concerts, balls, plays, operas, masquerades for the evening, and even for all night, and lately, publick sales of the goods of broken housekeepers, which the general dissoluteness of manners has contributed to make very frequent, come in as another seasonable relief to these modern time-killers.
In the summer there are in every country-town assemblies; Tunbridge, Bath, Cheltenham, Scarborough! What expence of dress and equipage is required to qualify the frequenters for such emulous appearance !
By the natural infection of example, the lowest people have places of six-penny resort, and gamingtables for pence. Thus servants are now induced to fraud and dishonesty, to support extravagance, and supply their losses.
As to the ladies who frequent those publick places, they are not ashamed to shew their faces wherever men dare go, nor blush to try who shall stare most impudently, or who shall laugh loudest on the publick walks.
The men who would make good husbands, if they visit those places, are frighted at wedlock, and resolve to live single, except they are bought at a very high price. They can be spectators of all that passes, and, if they please, more than spectators, at the expence of others. The companion of an evening, and the companion for life, require very different qualifications.
Two thousand pounds in the last age, with a domestick wife, would go farther than ten thousand in this. Yet settlements are expected, that often, to a mercantile man especially, sink a fortune into uselessness; and pin-money is stipulated for, which makes a wife independent, and destroys love, by putting it out of a man's power to lay any obligation upon her, that might engage gratitude, and kindle affection. When to all this the card-tables are added, how can a prudent man think of marrying ?
And when the worthy men know not where to find wives, must not the sex be left to the foplings, the coxcombs, the libertines of the age, whom they help to make such ? And need even these wretches marry to enjoy the conversation of those who render their company so cheap ? And what, after all, is the benefit which the
gay coquette obtains by her flutters ? As she is approachable by every man without requiring, I will
not say incense or adoration, but even common complaisance, every fop treats her as upon the level, looks upon her light airs as invitations, and is on the watch to take the advantage : she has companions indeed, but no lovers; for love is respectful, and timorous ; and where among all her followers will she find a husband?
Set, dear Sir, before the youthful, the gay, the inconsiderate, the contempt as well as the danger to which they are exposed. At one time or other, women, not utterly thoughtless, will be convinced of the justice of your censure, and the charity of your instruction.
But should your expostulations and reproofs have no effect upon those who are far gone in fashionable folly, they may be retailed from their mouths to their nieces (marriage will not often have entitled these to daughters), when they, the meteors of a day, find themselves elbowed off the stage of vanity by other flutterers; for the most admired women cannot have many Tunbridge, many Bath seasons to blaze in; since even fine faces, often seen, are less regarded than new faces, the proper punishment of showy girls for rendering themselves so impolitickly cheap.
I am, Sir,
Your sincere admirer, &c.*
* This paper was written by Richardson, the author of
Clarissa," Pamela,” &c. and although mean and hacknied in style and sentiment, was the only paper which had a great sale during the publication of the Rambler in its original form. C.
NUMB. 98. SATURDAY, February 23, 1751.
Quæ nec Sarmentus iniquas
Which not Sarmentus brook'd at Cæsar's board,
TO THE AUTHOR OF THE RAMBLER.
MR. RAMBLER, You have often endeavoured to impress upon your
readers an observation of more truth than novelty, that life passes, for the most part, in petty transactions; that our hours glide away in trifling amusements and slight gratifications; and that there very seldom emerges any occasion that can call forth great virtue or great abilities.
It very commonly happens that speculation has no influence on conduct. Just conclusions, and cogent arguments, formed by laborious study, and diligent enquiry, are often reposited in the treasuries of memory, as gold in a miser's chest, useless alike to others and himself. As some are not richer for the extent of their possessions, others are not wiser for the multitude of their ideas.
You have truly described the state of human beings, but it may be doubted whether you have accommodated your precepts to your description ; whether you have not generally considered your