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ment of my own. I assure you, I cannot recollect the goodness and confusion of the good man when he spoke to this purpose to me, without melting into tears : but in a word, Sir, I must hasten to tell you: that my heart burns with gratitude towards him, and he is so happy a man, that it can never be in my power to return him his favours in kind, but I am sure I have made him the most agreeable satisfaction I could possibly, in being ready to serve others to my utmost ability, as far as is consistent with the prudence he prescribes to me. Dear Mr. Spectator, I do not owe to him only the good-will and esteem of my own relations (who are people of distinction), the present ease and plenty of my circumstances, but also the government of my passions, and regulation of my desires. I doubt not, Sir, but in your imagination such virtues as these of my worthy friend, bear as great a figure as actions which are more glittering in the common estimation. What I would ask of you, is to give us a whole Spectator upon heroic virtue in common life, which may incite men to the same generous inclinations, as have by this admirable person been shewn to, and raised in,
Sir, your most humble servant.' ' • MR. SPECTATOR, . * I am a country gentleman, of a good plentiful estate, and live as the rest of my neighbours with great hospitality. I have been ever reckoned among the ladies the best company in the world, and have access as a sort of favourite. I never came in public but I saluted them, though in great assemblies, all around; where it was seen how genteelly I avoided hampering my spurs in their petticoats, whilst I moved amongst them; and on the other side how prettily they curtsied and received me, standing in proper rows, and advancing as fast as they saw their elders, . . or their betters, dispatched by me. But so it is, Mr. Spectator, that all our good breeding is of late lost by the unhappy arrival of a courtier, or town gentleman, who came lately among us. This person whenever he came into a room made a profound bow, and fell back, then recovered with a soft air, and made a bow to the next, and so to one or two more, and then took the gross of the room, by passing them in a continual bow until he arrived at the person he thought proper particularly to entertain. This he did with so good a grace and assurance, that it is taken for the present fashion ; and there is no young gentlewoman within several miles of this place has been kissed ever since his first appearance among us. We country gentlemen cannot begin again and learn these fine and reserved airs; and our conversation is at a stand, until we have your judgment for or against kissing by way of civility or salutation; which is impatiently expected by your friends of both sexes, but by none so much as Your humble servant,
Rustic SPRIGHTLY.' • MR. SPECTATOR,
December 3, 1711. "I was the other night at Philaster, where I expected to hear your famous trunk-maker, but was unhappily disappointed of his company, and saw another person who had the like ambition to distinguish himself in a noisy manner, partly by vociferation or talking loud, and partly by his bodily agility. This was a very lusty fellow, but withal à sort of beau, who getting into one of the side boxes on the stage before the curtain drew, was disposed to shew the whole audience his activity by leaping over the spikes ; he passed from thence to one of the entering doors, where he took snuff with a tolerable good grace, displayed his fine clothes, made two or three feint passes at the curtain with his cane, then faced
about and appeared at t'other door. Here he affected to survey the whole house, bowed and smiled at random, and then shewed his teeth, which were some of them indeed very white. After this, he retired behind the curtain, and obliged us with several views of his person from every opening.
During the time of acting he appeared frequently in the prince's apartment, made one at the huntingmatch, and was very forward in the rebellion*. If there were no injunctions to the contrary, yet this practice must be confessed to diminish the pleasure of the audience, and for that reason to be presumptuous and unwarrantable; but since her majesty's late command has made it criminalt, you have authority to take notice of it.
Sir, your humble servant,
N° 241. THURSDAY, DECEMBER 6, 1711.
- Semperque relinqui
• MR. SPECTATOR, “Though you have considered virtuous love in most of its distresses, I do not remember that you have given us any dissertation upon the absence of lovers, or laid down any methods how they should support
* Different scenes in the play of Philaster. + In the playbills about this time there was this clause, · By her majesty's command no person is to be admitted behind the scenes.'
themselves under those long separations which they are sometimes forced to undergo. I am at present in this unhappy circumstance, having parted with the best of husbands, who is abroad in the service of his country, and may not possibly return for some years. His warm and generous affection while we were together, with the tenderness which he expressed to me at parting, make his absence almost insupportable. I think of him every moment of the day, and meet him every night in my dreams. Every thing I see puts me in mind of him. I apply myself with more than ordinary diligence to the care of his family and his estate; but this, instead of relieving me, gives me but so many occasions of wishing for his return. I frequent the rooms where I used to converse with him, and not meeting him there, sit down in his chair and fall a weeping. I love to read the books he delighted in, and to converse with the persons whom he esteemed. I visit his picture a hundred times a day, and place myself overagainst it whole hours together. I pass a great part of my time in the walks where I used to lean upon his arm, and recollect in my mind the discourses which have there passed between us : I look over the several prospects and points of view which we used to survey together, fix my eye upon the objects which he has made me take notice of, and call to mind a thousand agreeable remarks which he has made on those occasions. I write to him by every conveyance, and, contrary to other people, am always in good-humour when an east wind blows, because it seldom fails of bringing me a letter from him. Let me entreat you, Sir, to give me your advice upon this occasion, and to let me know how I may relieve myself in this my widowhood. I am, Sir, your most humble servant,
· Absence is what the poets call death in love, and has given occasion to abundance of beautiful complaints in those authors who have treated of this passion in verse. Ovid's Epistles, are full of them. Otway's Monimia talks very tenderly upon this subject :
- It was not kind
ORPHAN, Act ii. The consolations of lovers on these occasions are very extraordinary. Besides those mentioned by Asteria, there are many other motives of comfort which are made use of by absent lovers. · I remember in one of Scudery's Romances, a couple of honourable lovers agreed at their parting to set aside one half hour in the day to think of each other during a tedious absence. The romance tells us, that they both of them punctually observed the time thus agreed upon; and that whatever company or business they were engaged in, they left it abruptly as soon as the cock warned them to retire. The romance further adds, that the lovers expected the return of this stated hour with as much impatience, as if it had been a real assignation, and enjoyed an imaginary happiness, that was almost as pleasing to them as what they would have found from a real meeting. It was an inexpressible satisfaction to these divided lovers, to be assured that each was at the same time employed in the same kind of contemplation, and making equal returns of tenderness and affection.
If I may be allowed to mention a more serious expedient for the alleviating of absence, I shall take