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was sensible of what it was to grieve, seized my very soul, and has made pity the weakness of my heart ever since. The mind in infancy is, methinks, like the body in embryo, and receives impressions so forcible that they are as hard to be removed by reason, as any mark with which a child is born is to be taken away by any future application. Hence it is that good-nature in me is no merit, but, having been so frequently overwhelmed with her tears before I knew the cause of any affliction, or could draw defenses from my own judgment, I imbibed consideration, remorse, and an unmanly gentleness of mind, which has since ensnared me into ten thousand calamities, and from whence I can reap no advantage, except it be that in such a humor as I am now in, I can the better indulge myself in the softnesses of humanity, and enjoy that sweet anxiety which arises from the memory of past afflictions.
We that are very old are better able to remember things which befell us in our distant youth, than the passages of later days. For this reason it is that the companions of my strong and vigorous years present themselves more immediately to me in this office of sorrow. Untimely or unhappy deaths are what we are most apt to lament, so little are we able to make it indifferent when a thing happens, though we know it must happen. Thus we groan under life, and bewail those who are relieved from it. Every object that returns to our imagination raises different passions according to the circumstance of their departure. Who can have lived in an army, and in a serious hour reflect upon the many gay and agreeable men that might long have flourished in the arts of peace, and not join with the imprecations of the fatherless and widow on the tyrant to whose ambition they fell sacrifices? But gallant men who are cut off by the sword move rather our veneration than our pity, and we gather relief enough from their own contempt of death, to make it no evil, which was approached with so much cheerfulness and attended with so much honor. But when we turn our thoughts from the great parts of life on such occasions, and, instead of lamenting those who stood ready to give death to those from whom they had the fortune to receive it, — I say, when we let our thoughts wander from such noble objects, and consider the havoc which is made among the tender and the innocent, pity enters with an unmixed softness, and possesses our souls at once.
Here, were there words to express such sentiments with proper tenderness, I should record the beauty, innocence, and untimely death of the first object my eyes ever beheld with love. The beauteous virgin! How ignorantly did she charm, how carelessly excel! O Death! thou hast right to the bold, to the ambitious, to the high, and to the haughty; but why this cruelty to the humble, to the meek, to the undiscerning, to the thoughtless? Nor age, nor business, nor distress can erase the dear image from my imagination. In the same week I saw her dressed for a ball, and in a shroud. How ill did the habit of Death become the pretty trifler! I still behold the smiling earth
A large train of disasters were coming on to my memory, when my servant knocked at my closet door, and interrupted me with a letter, attended with a hamper of wine, of the same sort with that which is to be put to sale on Thursday next at Garraway's Coffee-house. Upon the receipt of it, I sent for three of my friends. We are so intimate that we can be company in whatever state of mind we meet, and can entertain each other without expecting always to rejoice. The wine we found to be generous and warming, but with such a heat as moved us rather to be cheerful than frolicsome. It revived the spirits without firing the blood. We commended it till two of the clock this morning, and, having to-day met a little before dinner, we found that, though we drank two bottles a man, we had much more reason to recollect than forget what had passed the night before.
No. 217. TUESDAY, AUGUST 29, 1710
Atque deos atque astra vocat crudelia mater.- VIRG. Eclog. v, 23.
FROM MY OWN APARTMENT. As I was passing by a neighbor's house this morning, I overheard the wife of the family speak things to her husband which gave me much disturbance, and put me in mind of a character which I wonder I have so long omitted, and that is an outrageous species of the fair sex which, is, distinguished by the term Scolds. The generality of women are by nature loqua
1 One regrets to note that this is an allusion to an advertisement, which appeared in the same number of the Tatler, of the sale of "forty-six hogsheads and one half of extraordinary French claret."
cious; therefore mere volubility of speech is not to be imputed to them, but should be considered with pleasure when it is used to express such passions as tend to sweeten or adorn conversation. But when, through rage, females are vehement in their eloquence, nothing in the world has so ill an effect upon the features; for by the force of it I have seen the most amiable become the most deformed, and she that appeared one of the Graces immediately turned into one of the Furies. I humbly conceive the great cause of this evil may proceed from a false notion the ladies have of what we call a modest woman. They have too narrow a conception of this lovely character, and believe they have not at all forfeited their pretensions to it, provided they have no imputations on their chastity. But alas! the young fellows know they pick out better women in the side-boxes than many of those who pass upon the world and themselves for modest.
Modesty never rages, never murmurs, never pouts; when it is ill-treated, it pines, it beseeches, it languishes. The neighbor I mention is one of your common modest women; that is to say, those as are ordinarily reckoned such. Her husband knows every pain in life with her but jealousy. Now because she is clear in this particular, the man can't say his soul is his own, but she cries, "No modest woman is respected nowadays." What adds to the comedy in this case is that it is very ordinary with this sort of women to talk in the language of distress. They will complain of the forlorn wretchedness of their condition, and then the poor helpless creatures shall throw the next thing they can lay their hands on at the person who offends them. Our neighbor was only saying to his wife she went a little too fine, when she immediately pulled his periwig off, and, stamping it under her feet, wrung her hands and said, "Never modest woman was so used." These ladies of irresistible modesty are those who make virtue unamiable; not that they can be said to be virtuous, but as they live without scandal; and, being under the common denomination of being such, men fear to meet their faults in those who are as agreeable as they are innocent.
I take the bully among men, and the scold among women, to draw the foundation of their actions from the same defect in the mind. A bully thinks honor consists wholly in being
brave, and therefore has regard to no one rule of life, if he preserves himself from the accusation of cowardice. The froward woman knows chastity to be the first merit in a woman, and therefore, since no one can call her one ugly name, she calls all mankind all the rest.
These ladies, where their companions are so imprudent as to take their speeches for any other than exercises of their own lungs, and their husbands' patience, gain by the force of being resisted, and flame with open fury, which is no way to be opposed but by being neglected; though at the same time human frailty makes it very hard to relish the philosophy of contemning even frivolous reproach. There is a very pretty instance of this infirmity in the man of the best sense that ever was, no less a person than Adam himself. According to Milton's description of the first couple, as soon as they had fallen, and the turbulent passions of anger, hatred, and jealousy first entered their breasts, Adam grew moody, and talked to his wife as you may find it in the 359th page and ninth book of Paradise Lost, in the octavo edition; which, out of heroics, and put into domestic style, would run thus:
"Madam, if my advice had been of any authority with you when that strange desire of gadding possessed you this morning, we had still been happy. But your cursed vanity, and opinion of your own conduct, which is certainly very wavering when it seeks occasions of being proved, has ruined both yourself and me who trusted you."
Eve had no fan in her hand to ruffle, or tucker to pull down; but with a reproachful air she answered: "Sir, do you impute that to my desire of gadding, which might have happened to yourself with all your wisdom and gravity? The serpent spoke so excellently, and with so good a grace, that - Besides, what harm had I ever done him, that he should design me any? Was I to have been always at your side, I might as well have continued there, and been but your rib still; but if I was so weak a creature as you thought me, why did you not interpose your sage authority more absolutely? You denied me going as faintly as you say I resisted the serpent. Had not you been too easy, neither you nor I had now transgressed."
Adam replied: "Why, Eve, hast thou the impudence to upbraid me as the cause of thy transgression, for my indulgence
to thee? Thus it will ever be with him who trusts too much to a woman. At the same time that she refuses to be governed, if she suffers by her obstinacy she will accuse the man that shall leave her to herself."
Thus they in mutual accusation spent
The fruitless hours, but neither self-condemning;
This to the modern will appear but a very faint piece of conjugal enmity; but you are to consider that they were but just begun to be angry, and they wanted new words for expressing their new passions. The passionate and familiar terms with which the same case, repeated daily for so many thousand years, has furnished the present generation, were not then in use; but the foundation of debate has ever been the same, a contention about their merit and wisdom. Our general mother was a beauty, and hearing that there was another now in the world, could not forbear (as Adam tells her) showing herself, though to the devil, by whom the same vanity made her liable to be betrayed.
I cannot, with all the help of science and astrology, find any other remedy for this evil but what was the medicine in this first quarrel; which was, as appeared in the next book, that they were convinced of their being both weak, but one weaker than the other.
The season now coming on in which the town will begin to fill, Mr. Bickerstaff gives notice that, from the 1st of October next, he will be much wittier than he has hitherto been.
No. 263. THURSDAY, DECEMBER 14, 1710
An old friend of mine being lately come to town, I went to see him on Tuesday last about eight o'clock in the evening, with a design to sit with him an hour or two and talk over old stories, but upon inquiring after him, his servant told me he was just gone to bed. The next morning, as soon as I was up and dressed, and had dispatched a little business, I came again