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N° 515. TUESDAY, OCT. 21, 1712.
Pudet me et miseret, qui harum mores cantabat mihi,
TER. Heaut. Act. iii. Sc. 3.
I am ashamed and grieved, that I neglected his advice,
who gave me the character of these creatures.
MR. SPECTATOR, 'T AM obliged to you for printing the account I lately sent you of a coquette who disturbed a sober congregation in the city of London. That intelligence ended at her taking a coach, and bidding the driver to go where he knew. I could not leave her so, but dogged her, as hard as she drove, to Paul's church-yard, where there was a stop of coaches, attending company coming out of the cathedral. This gave me an opportunity to hold up a crown to her coachman, who gave me the signal, that he would hurry on, and make no haste, as you know the way is when they favour a chase. By his many
kind blunders, driving against other coaches, and slipping off some of his tackle, I could keep up with him, and lodged my fine lady in the parish of St. James's. As I guessed, when I first saw her at church, her busi
ness is to win hearts, and throw them away, regarding nothing but the triumph. I have had the happiness, by tracing her through all with whom I heard she was acquainted, to find one who was intimate with a friend of mine, and to be introduced to her notice. I have made so good a use of my time, as to procure
from that intimate of hers one of her letters, which she writ to her when in the country. This epistle of her own may serve to alarm the world against her in ordinary life, as mine, I hope, did those who shall behold her at church. The letter was written last winter to the lady who
gave and I doubt not but you will find it the soul of an happy self-loving dame, that takes all the admiration she can meet with, and returns none of it in love to her admirers.
it me ;
“I am glad to find you are likely to be disposed of in marriage so much to your approbation, as you tell me. You say. you are afraid only of me, for I shall laugh at your spouse's airs. I beg of you not to fear it, for I am too nice a discerner to laugh at any, but whom most other people think fine fellows;
your dear may bring you hither as soon as his horses are in case enough to appear in town, and you be very safe against any raillery you may apprehend from me; for I am surrounded with coxcombs of my own making, who are all ridiculous in manner wherein your good man, I presume, cannot exert himself. As men who cannot raise their fortunes, and are uneasy under the incapacity of shining in courts, rail at ambition; so do awkward and insipid women, who cannot warm the hearts, and charm the
of men, rail at-affectation : but she that has the joy of seeing a man's heart leap into his eyes at beholding her, is in no pain for want of
esteem among the crew of that part of her own sex, who have no spirit but that of envy, and no language but that of malice. I do not in this, I hope, express myself insensible of the merit of Leodacia, who lowers her beauty to all but her husband, and never spreads her charms but to gladden him who has a right to them;
I do honour to those who can be coquettes, and are not such ; but I despise all who would be so, and, in despair of arriving at it themselves, hate and vilify all those who can. But be that as it will, in answer to your desire of knowing my history: one of my chief present pleasures is in country-dances ; and in obedience to me, as well as the pleasure of coming up to me with a good grace, shewing themselves in their address to others in my presence, and the like opportunities, they are all proficients that way; and I had the happiness of being the other night where we made six couple, and every woman's partner a professed lover of mine. The wildest imagination cannot form to itself, on any occasion, higher delight than I acknowledge myself to have been in all that evening. I chose out of my admirers a set of men who must love me, and gave them partners of such of my own sex who most envied me.
“My way is, when any man who is my admirer pretends to give himself airs of merit, as at this time a certain gentleman you know did, to mortify him by favouring in his presence the most insignificant creature I can find. At this ball I was led into the company by pretty Mr. Fanfly, who, you know, is the most obsequious, well shaped, well bred woman's man in the town. I at first entrance declared him my partner if I danced at all; which put the whole assembly into a grin, as forming no terrors from such a rival. But we had not been long in the room before I overheard the meritorious gentleman above
with a very
mentioned say with an oath, There is no raillery in the thing, she certainly loves the puppy.' My gentleman, when we were dancing, took an occasion to be
very soft in his ogling upon a lady he danced with, and whom he knew of all women I loved most to outshine. The contest began who could plague the other most. I, who do not care a farthing for him, had no hard task to outvex him. I made Fanfly,
little encouragement, cut capers coupée, and then sink with all the air and tenderness imaginable. When he performed this, I observed the gentleman you know of fall into the same way, and imitate as well as he could the despised Fanfly. I cannot well give you, who are so grave a country lady, the idea of the joy we have when we see a stubborn heart breaking, or a man of sense turning fool for our sakes; but this happened to our friend, and I expect his attendance whenever I go to church, to court, to the play, or the park. This is a sacrifice due to us women of genius, who have the eloquence of beauty, an easy mien. I mean by an easy mien, one which can be on occasion easily affected; for I must tell you, dear Jenny, I hold one maxim, which is an uncommon one, to wit, that our greatest charms are owing to affectation. It is to that our arms can lodge so quietly just over our hips, and the fan can play without any force or motion but just of the wrist. It is to affectation we owe the pensive attention of Deidamia at a tragedy, the scornful approbation of Dulcimara at a comedy, and the lowly aspect of Lanquicelsa at a sermon.
* To tell you the plain truth, I know no pleasure but in being admired, and have never yet failed of attaining the approbation of the man whose regard I had a mind to. You see all the men who make a figure in the world (as wise a look as they are pleased to put upon the matter) are moved by the
same vanity as I am. What is there in ambition, but to make other people's wills depend upon yours? This indeed is not to be aimed at by one who has a genius no higher than to think of being a very good house-wife in a country gentleman's family. The care of poultry and pigs are great enemies to the countenance ; the vacant look of a fine lady is not to be preserved, if she admits any thing to take up her thoughts but her own dear person. But I interrupt you too long from your cares, and myself from my conquests.
" I am, Madam,
“ Your most humble servant."
. Give me leave, Mr. Spectator, to add her friend's answer to this epistle, who is
discreet ingenious woman.'
“ I TAKE your raillery in very good part, and am obliged to you for the free air with which you speak of your own gaieties. But this is but a barren superficial pleasure; for, indeed, Gatty, we are made for man; and in serious sadness I must tell you, whether you yourself know it or no, all these gallantries tend to no other end but to be a wife and a mother as fast as you can.
“ Your most obedient servant."