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month. Letters from Ipres say, that, on the ninth instant, part of the garrison of that place had mutinied in two bodies, each consisting of two hundred; who being dispersed the same day, a body of eight hundred appeared in the market-place at nine the night following, and seized all manner of provisions, but were with much difficulty quieted. The governor has not punished any of the offenders, the dissatisfaction being universal in that place; and it is thought the officers foment those disorders, that the ministry may be convinced of the necessity of paying those troops, and supplying them with provisions. These advices add, that, on the fourteenth, the Marquis d'Este passed express through Brussels from the Duke of Savoy, with advice that the army of his royal highness had forced the retrenchments of the enemy in Savoy, and defeated that body of men which guarded those passes under the command of the Marquis de Thouy.
No. 54. SATURDAY, AUGUST 13, 1709.
Quicquid agunt homines –
- nostri est farrago libelli.
JUV. Sat. i. 85, 86.
Whate'er men do, or say, or think, or dream,
WHITE'S CHOCOLATE-HOUSE, AUGUST 12.
OF THE GOVERNMENT OF AFFECTION.
WHEN labour was pronounced to be the portion of man, that doom reached the affections of his mind, as well as his person, the matter on which he was to feed, and all the animal and vegetable world about him. There is, therefore, an assiduous care and cultivation to be bestowed upon our passions and affections ; for they, as they are the excrescences of our souls, like our hair and beards, look horrid or becoming, as we cut, or let them grow. All this grave preface is meant to assign a reason in nature for the unaccountable behaviour of Duumvir, the husband and keeper. Ten thousand follies had this unhappy man escaped, had he made a compact with himself to be upon his guard, and not permitted his vagrant eye to let in so many
different inclinations upon him, as all his days he has been perplexed with. But indeed, at present, he has brought himself to be confined only to one prevailing mistress; between whom and his wife, Duumvir passes his hours in all the vicissitudes which attend passion and affection, without the intervention of reason. Laura his wife, and Phillis his mistress, are all with whom he has had, for some months, the least amorous commerce. Duumvir has passed the noon of life; but cannot withdraw from those entertainments which are pardonable only before that stage of our being, and which after that season are rather punishments than satisfactions : for palled appetite is humorous, and must be gratified with sauces rather than food. For which end Duumvir is provided with a haughty, imperious, expensive, and fantastic mistress, to whom he retires from the conversation of an affable, humble, discreet, and affectionate wife. Laura receives him after absence, with an easy and unaffected complacency; but that he calls insipid ; Phillis rates him for his absence, and bids him return from whence he came; this he calls spirit and fire: Laura's gentleness is thought mean; Phillis's insolence, sprightly. Were you to see him at his own home, and his mistress's lodgings; to Phillis he appears an obsequious lover, to Laura an imperious master. Nay, so unjust is the taste of Duumvir, that he owns Laura has no ill quality, but that she is his wife; Phillis no good one, but that she is his mistress. And he has himself often said, were he married to any one else, he would rather keep Laura than any woman living; yet allows, at the same time, that Phillis, were she a woman of honour, would have been the most insipid animal breathing. The other day Laura, who has a voice like an angel, began to sing to him. • Fie, madam,' he cried, 'we must be past all these gayeties. Phillis has a note as rude and as loud as that of a milkmaid : when she begins to warble, "Well,' says he, there is such a pleasing simplicity in all that wench does. In a word, the affectionate part of his heart being corrupted, and his true taste that way wholly lost, he has contracted a prejudice to all the behaviour of Laura, and a general partiality in favour of Phillis. It is not in the power of the wife to do a pleasing thing, nor in the mistress to commit one that is disagreeable. There is something too melancholy in the reflection on this circumstance to be the subject of raillery. He said a sour thing to Laura at dinner the other day; upon which she burst into tears. What the devil, madam,' says he, “cannot I speak in my own house?' He answered Phillis a little abruptly at supper the same evening, upon which she threw his periwig into the fire.' 'Well,' said he, “thou art a brave termagant jade: do you know, hussy, that fair wig cost forty guineas ?' Oh, Laura ! is it for this that the faithful Cromius sighed for you in vain ? How is thy condition altered, since crowds of youth hung on thy eye, and watched its glances? It is not many months since Laura was the wonder and pride of her own sex, as well as the desire and passion of ours.
At plays and at balls, the just turn of her behaviour, the decency of her virgin charms, chastised, yet added to diversions. At public devotions, her winning modesty, her resigned carriage, made virtue and religion appear with new ornaments, and in the natural apparel of simplicity and beauty. In ordinary conversations, a sweet conformity of manners, and an humility, which heightened all the complacences of good-breeding and education, gave her more slaves than all the pride of her sex ever made women wish for. Laura's hours are now spent in the sad reflection on her choice, and that deceitful vanity, almost inseparable from the sex, of believing she could reclaim one that had so often ensnared others ; as it now is, it is not even in the power of Duumvir himself to do her justice: for though beauty and merit are things real and independent on taste and opinion, yet agreeableness is arbitrary, and the mistress has much the advantage of the wife. But whenever fate is so kind to her and her spouse as to end her days, with all this passion for Phillis, and indifference for Laura, he has a second wife in view, who may avenge the injuries done to her predecessor. Aglaura is the destined lady, who has lived in assemblies, has ambition and play for her entertainment, and thinks of a man, not as the object of love, but the tool of her interest or pride. If ever Aglaura comes to the empire of this inconstant, she will endear the memory of her predecessor. But in the mean time it is melancholy to consider, that the virtue of a wife is like the merit of a poet, never justly valued till after death.
FROM MY OWN APARTMENT, AUGUST 11. As we have professed that all the actions of men are our subject, the most solemn are not to be omitted, if there happens to creep into their behaviour any thing improper for such occasions. Therefore the offence mentioned in the following epistles, though it may seem to be committed in a place sacred from observation, is such, that it is our duty to remark upon it: for though he who does it is himself only guilty of an indecorum, he occasions a criminal levity in all others who are present at it.
MR. BICKERSTAFF, “ It being mine as well as the opinion of many others, that your papers are extremely well fitted