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as well as joyous hours, she brings happiness unknown to friendship itself. Spenser speaks of each kind of love with great justice, and attributes the highest praise to friendship; and indeed there is no disputing that point, but by making that friendship take place between two married persons.
Hard is the doubt, and difficult to deem,
But of them all, the band of virtuous mind
'For natural affection soon doth cease,
So love of soul doth love of body pass,
No. 491. TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23.
- Digna satis fortuna revisit. '; VIRG.
It is common with me to run from book to book to exercise my mind with many objects, and qualify myself for my daily labours. After
an hour spent in this loitering way of reading, something will remain to be food to the imagination. The writings that please me most on such occasions are stories for the truth of which there is good authority. The mind of man is naturally a lover of justice, and when we read a story wherein a criminal is overtaken, in whom there is no quality which is the object of pity, the soul enjoys a certain revenge for the offence done to its nature, in the wicked actions committed in the preceding part of the history. This will be better understood by the reader from the following narration itself, than from any thing which I can say to introduce it.
When Charles duke of Burgundy, surnamed the bold, reigned over spacious dominions now swallowed up by the power of France, he heaped many favours and honours upon Claudius Rhynsault, a German, who had served him in his wars against the insults of his neighbours. A great part of Zealand was at that time in subjection to that dukedom. The prince himself was a person of singular humanity and justice. Rhynsault with no other real quality than courage, had dissimulation enough to pass upon his generous and unsuspicious master for a person of blunt honesty and fidelity, without any vice that could bias him from the execution of justice. His highness, prepossessed to his advantage, upon the decease of the governor of his chief town of Zealand, gave Rhynsault that command. He was not long seated in that government, before he cast his eyes upon Sapphira, a woman of exquisite beauty, the wife of Paul Danvelt a wealthy merchant of that city, under his protection
and government. Rhynsault was a man of a warm constitution, and violent inclination to women, and not unskilled in the soft arts which win their favour. He knew what it was to enjoy the satisfactions which are reaped from the possession of beauty, but was an utter stranger to the decencies, honours, and delicacies, that attend the passion towards them in elegant minds. However, he had seen so much of the world, that he had a great share of the language which usually prevails upon the weaker part of that sex, and he could with his tongue utter a passion with which his heart was wholly untouched. He was one of those brutal minds which can be gratified with the violation of innocence and beauty, without the least pity, passion, or love to that with which they are so much delighted. Ingratitude is a vice inseparable from a lustful man; and the possession of a woman by him who had no thought but allaying a passion painful to himself, is necessarily followed by distaste and aver: sion. Rhynsault being resolved to accomplish his will on the wife of Danyelt, left no arts untried to get into a familiarity at her house; but she knew his character and disposition too well, not to shun all occasions that might ensnare her into his conversation. The governor despairing of success by ordinary means, apprehended and imprisoned her husband, under pretence of an information that hě was guilty of a correspondence with the enemies of the duke to betray the town into their possession. This design had its desired effect; and the wife of the unfortunate Danvelt, the day before that which was appoint, ed for his execution, presented herself in the hall
of the governor's house, and as he passed through the apartment, threw herself at his feet, and holding his knees beseeched his mercy. Rhynsault beheld her with a dissembled satisfaction, and assuming an air of thought and authority, he bid her arise, and told her she must follow him to his closet; and asking her whether she knew the hand of the letter he pulled out of his pocket, went from her, leaving this admonition aloud: "If you will save your husband, you must give me an account of all you know, without prevarication; for every body is satisfied he was too fond of you to be able to hide from you the names of the rest of the conspirators, or any other particulars whatsoever.' He went to his closet, and soon after the lady was sent for to an audience. The servant knew his distance when matters of state were to be debated; and the governor laying aside the air with which he had appeared in public, began to be the supplicant, to rally an affliction which it was in her power easily to remove, and relieve an innocent man froni his imprisonment. She easily perceived his intention, and bathed in tears began to deprecate so wicked a design. Lust, like ambition, takes all the faculties of the mind and body into its service and subjection. Her becoming tears, her honest anguish, the wringing of her hands, and the many changes of her posture and figure in the vehemence of speaking, were but so many attitudes in which he beheld her beauty, and farther incentives of his desire. All humanity was lost in that one appetite, and he signified to her in so many plain terms, that he was unhappy till he had possessed her, and nothing less should be the price of her husband's life, and she must before the following noon pronounce the death or enlargement of Danvelt. After this notification, when he saw Sapphira enough again distracted to make the subject of their discourse to common eyes appear different from what it was, he called servants to conduct her to the gate. Loaded with insupportable affliction, she immediately repairs to her husband, and having signified to his jailers, that she had a proposal to make to her husband from the governor, she was left alone with him, revealed to him all that had passed, and represented the endless conflict she was in between love to his person, and fidelity to his bed. It is easy to imagine the sharp affliction this honest pair was in upon such an incident, in lives .not used to any but ordinary occurrences. The man was bridled by shame from speaking what his fear prompted, upon so near an approach of death; but let fall words that signified to her, he should not think her polluted, though she had not yet confessed to him that the governor had violated her person, since he knew her will had no part in the action. She parted from him with this oblique permission to save a life he had not resolution enough to resign for the safety of his honour.
The next morning the unhappy Sapphira attended the governor, and being led into a remote apartment, submitted to his desires. Rhynsault commended her charms, claimed a familiarity after what had passed between them, and with an air of gaiety, in the language of a gallant, bid her return, and take her husband out of prison; but, continued he, my fair one must not be of