No. 204. Wednesday, October 24, 1711. Steele.

Urit grata protervitas, Et vultus nimium lubricùs aspici.

I am not at all displeased that I am become the Courier of Love, and that the Distressed in that Passion convey their Complaints to each other by my Means. The following Letters have lately come to my hands, and shall have their Place with great Willingness. As to the Readers Entertainment, he will, I hope, forgive the inserting such Particulars as to him may perhaps seem frivolous, but are to the Persons who wrote them of the highest Consequence. I shall not trouble you with the Prefaces, Compliments, and Apologies made to me before each Epistle when it was desired to be inserted; but in general they tell me, that the Persons to whom they are addressed have Intimations, by Phrases and Allusions in them, from whence they came.

To the Sothades [1].

"The Word, by which I address you, gives you, who understand Portuguese, a lively Image of the tender Regard I have for you. The SPECTATOR'S late Letter from Statira gave me the Hint to use the same Method of explaining my self to you. I am not affronted at the Design your late Behaviour discovered you had in your Addresses to me; but I impute it to the Degeneracy of the Age, rather than your particular Fault. As I aim at nothing more than being yours, I am willing to be a Stranger to your Name, your Fortune, or any Figure which your Wife might expect to make in the World, provided my Commerce with you is not to be a guilty one. I resign gay Dress, the Pleasure of Visits, Equipage, Plays, Balls, and Operas, for that one Satisfaction of having you for ever mine. I am willing you shall industriously conceal the only Cause of Triumph which I can know in this Life. I wish only to have it my Duty, as well as my Inclination, to study your Happiness. If this has not the Effect this Letter seems to aim at, you are to understand that I had a mind to be rid of you, and took the readiest Way to pall you with an Offer of what you would never desist pursuing while you received ill Usage. Be a true Man; be my Slave while you doubt me, and neglect me when you think I love you. I defy you to find out what is your present Circumstance with me; but I know while I can keep this Suspence.

I am your admired Belinda."


"It is a strange State of Mind a Man is in, when the very Imperfections of a Woman he loves turn into Excellencies and Advantages. I do assure you, I am very much afraid of venturing upon you. I now like you in spite of my Reason, and think it an ill Circumstance to owe ones Happiness to nothing but Infatuation. I can see you ogle all the young Fellows who look at you, and observe your Eye wander after new Conquests every Moment you are in a publick Place; and yet there is such a Beauty in all your Looks and Gestures, that I cannot but admire you in the very Act of endeavouring to gain the Hearts of others. My Condition is the same with that of the Lover in the Way of the World, [2] I have studied your Faults so long, that they are become as familiar to me, and I like them as well as I do my own. Look to it, Madam, and consider whether you think this gay Behaviour will appear to me as amiable when an Husband, as it does now to me a Lover. Things are so far advanced, that we must proceed; and I hope you will lay it to Heart, that it will be becoming in me to appear still your Lover, but not in you to be still my Mistress. Gaiety in the Matrimonial Life is graceful in one Sex, but exceptionable in the other. As you improve these little Hints, you will ascertain the Happiness or Uneasiness of, Madam, Your most obedient, Most humble Servant, T.D."

SIR, When I sat at the Window, and you at the other End of the Room by my Cousin, I saw you catch me looking at you. Since you have the Secret at last, which I am sure you should never have known but by Inadvertency, what my Eyes said was true. But it is too soon to confirm it with my Hand, therefore shall not subscribe my Name.

SIR, There were other Gentlemen nearer, and I know no Necessity you were under to take up that flippant Creatures Fan last Night; but you shall never touch a Stick of mine more, that's pos. Phillis.

To Colonel R----s [3] in Spain.

Before this can reach the best of Husbands and the fondest Lover, those tender Names will be no more of Concern to me. The Indisposition in which you, to obey the Dictates of your Honour and Duty, left me, has increased upon me; and I am acquainted by my Physicians I cannot live a Week longer. At this time my Spirits fail me; and it is the ardent Love I have for you that carries me beyond my Strength, and enables me to tell you, the most painful Thing in the Prospect of Death, is, that I must part with you. But let it be a Comfort to you, that I have no Guilt hangs upon me, no unrepented Folly that retards me; but I pass away my last Hours in Reflection upon the Happiness we have lived in together, and in Sorrow that it is so soon to have an End. This is a Frailty which I hope is so far from criminal, that methinks there is a kind of Piety in being so unwilling to be separated from a State which is the Institution of Heaven, and in which we have lived according to its Laws. As we know no more of the next Life, but that it will be an happy one to the Good, and miserable to the Wicked, why may we not please ourselves at least, to alleviate the Difficulty of resigning this Being, in imagining that we shall have a Sense of what passes below, and may possibly be employed in guiding the Steps of those with whom we walked with Innocence when mortal? Why may not I hope to go on in my usual Work, and, tho unknown to you, be assistant in all the Conflicts of your Mind? Give me leave to say to you, O best of Men, that I cannot figure to myself a greater Happiness than in such an Employment: To be present at all the Adventures to which human Life is exposed, to administer Slumber to thy Eyelids in the Agonies of a Fever, to cover thy beloved Face in the Day of Battle, to go with thee a Guardian Angel incapable of Wound or Pain, where I have longed to attend thee when a weak, a fearful Woman: These, my Dear, are the Thoughts with which I warm my poor languid Heart; but indeed I am not capable under my present Weakness of bearing the strong Agonies of Mind I fall into, when I form to myself the Grief you will be in upon your first hearing of my Departure. I will not dwell upon this, because your kind and generous Heart will be but the more afflicted, the more the Person for whom you lament offers you Consolation. My last Breath will, if I am my self, expire in a Prayer for you. I shall never see thy Face again.

Farewell for ever. T.

[Footnote 1: Saudades. To have saudades of anything is to yearn with desire towards it. Saudades da Patria is home sickness. To say Tenho Saudades without naming an object would be taken to mean I am all yearning to call a certain gentleman or lady mine.]

[Footnote 2: In Act I. sc. 3, of Congreve's Way of the World, Mirabell says of Millamant,

I like her with all her faults, nay, like her for her faults. Her follies are so natural, or so artful, that they become her; and those affectations which in another woman would be odious, serve but to make her more agreeable. Ill tell thee, Fainall, she once used me with that insolence, that in revenge I took her to pieces, sifted her, and separated her failings; I studied em and got em by rote. The Catalogue was so large, that I was not without hopes one day or other to hate her heartily: to which end I so used myself to think of em, that at length, contrary to my design and expectation, they gave me every hour less and less disturbance; till in a few days it became habitual to me to remember em without being displeased. They are now grown as familiar to me as my own frailties; and, in all probability, in a little time longer I shall like em as well.]

[Footnote 3: The name was commonly believed to be Rivers, when this Paper was published.]

Translation of motto:
HOR. 1 Od. xix. 7.
'Her face too dazzling for the sight,
Her winning coyness fires my soul,
I feel a strange delight.'