No. 242. Friday, December 7, 1711. Steele.

Creditur, ex medio quia res arcessit, habere Sudoris minimum--


Your Speculations do not so generally prevail over Mens Manners as I could wish. A former Paper of yours [1] concerning the Misbehaviour of People, who are necessarily in each others Company in travelling, ought to have been a lasting Admonition against Transgressions of that Kind: But I had the Fate of your Quaker, in meeting with a rude Fellow in a Stage-Coach, who entertained two or three Women of us (for there was no Man besides himself) with Language as indecent as was ever heard upon the Water. The impertinent Observations which the Coxcomb made upon our Shame and Confusion were such, that it is an unspeakable Grief to reflect upon them. As much as you have declaimed against Duelling, I hope you will do us the Justice to declare, that if the Brute has Courage enough to send to the Place where he saw us all alight together to get rid of him, there is not one of us but has a Lover who shall avenge the Insult. It would certainly be worth your Consideration, to look into the frequent Misfortunes of this kind, to which the Modest and Innocent are exposed, by the licentious Behaviour of such as are as much Strangers to good Breeding as to Virtue. Could we avoid hearing what we do not approve, as easily as we can seeing what is disagreeable, there were some Consolation; but since [in a Box at a Play,][2] in an Assembly of Ladies, or even in a Pew at Church, it is in the Power of a gross Coxcomb to utter what a Woman cannot avoid hearing, how miserable is her Condition who comes within the Power of such Impertinents? And how necessary is it to repeat Invectives against such a Behaviour? If the Licentious had not utterly forgot what it is to be modest, they would know that offended Modesty labours under one of the greatest Sufferings to which human Life can be exposed. If one of these Brutes could reflect thus much, tho they want Shame, they would be moved, by their Pity, to abhor an impudent Behaviour in the Presence of the Chaste and Innocent. If you will oblige us with a Spectator on this Subject, and procure it to be pasted against every Stage-Coach in Great-Britain, as the Law of the Journey, you will highly oblige the whole Sex, for which you have professed so great an Esteem; and in particular, the two Ladies my late Fellow-Sufferers, and,

SIR, Your most humble Servant,

Rebecca Ridinghood.


The Matter which I am now going to send you, is an unhappy Story in low Life, and will recommend it self, so that you must excuse the Manner of expressing it. A poor idle drunken Weaver in Spittle-Fields has a faithful laborious Wife, who by her Frugality and Industry had laid by her as much Money as purchased her a Ticket in the present Lottery. She had hid this very privately in the Bottom of a Trunk, and had given her Number to a Friend and Confident, who had promised to keep the Secret, and bring her News of the Success. The poor Adventurer was one Day gone abroad, when her careless Husband, suspecting she had saved some Money, searches every Corner, till at length he finds this same Ticket; which he immediately carries abroad, sells, and squanders away the Money without the Wife's suspecting any thing of the Matter. A Day or two after this, this Friend, who was a Woman, comes and brings the Wife word, that she had a Benefit of Five Hundred Pounds. The poor Creature over-joyed, flies up Stairs to her Husband, who was then at Work, and desires him to leave his Loom for that Evening, and come and drink with a Friend of his and hers below. The Man received this chearful Invitation as bad Husbands sometimes do, and after a cross Word or two told her he woudn't come. His Wife with Tenderness renewed her Importunity, and at length said to him, My Love! I have within these few Months, unknown to you, scraped together as much Money as has bought us a Ticket in the Lottery, and now here is Mrs. Quick [come] [3] to tell me, that tis come up this Morning a Five hundred Pound Prize. The Husband replies immediately, You lye, you Slut, you have no Ticket, for I have sold it. The poor Woman upon this Faints away in a Fit, recovers, and is now run distracted. As she had no Design to defraud her Husband, but was willing only to participate in his good Fortune, every one pities her, but thinks her Husbands Punishment but just. This, Sir, is Matter of Fact, and would, if the Persons and Circumstances were greater, in a well-wrought Play be called Beautiful Distress. I have only sketched it out with Chalk, and know a good Hand can make a moving Picture with worse Materials.

SIR, &c.


I am what the World calls a warm Fellow, and by good Success in Trade I have raised myself to a Capacity of making some Figure in the World; but no matter for that. I have now under my Guardianship a couple of Nieces, who will certainly make me run mad; which you will not wonder at, when I tell you they are Female Virtuosos, and during the three Years and a half that I have had them under my Care, they never in the least inclined their Thoughts towards any one single Part of the Character of a notable Woman. Whilst they should have been considering the proper Ingredients for a Sack-posset, you should hear a Dispute concerning the [magnetick] [4], and in first reprint.] Virtue of the Loadstone, or perhaps the Pressure of the Atmosphere: Their Language is peculiar to themselves, and they scorn to express themselves on the meanest Trifle with Words that are not of a Latin Derivation. But this were supportable still, would they suffer me to enjoy an uninterrupted Ignorance; but, unless I fall in with their abstracted Idea of Things (as they call them) I must not expect to smoak one Pipe in Quiet. In a late Fit of the Gout I complained of the Pain of that Distemper when my Niece Kitty begged Leave to assure me, that whatever I might think, several great Philosophers, both ancient and modern, were of Opinion, that both Pleasure and Pain were imaginary [Distinctions [5]], and that there was no such thing as either in rerum Natura. I have often heard them affirm that the Fire was not hot; and one Day when I, with the Authority of an old Fellow, desired one of them to put my blue Cloak on my Knees; she answered, Sir, I will reach the Cloak; but take notice, I do not do it as allowing your Description; for it might as well be called Yellow as Blue; for Colour is nothing but the various Infractions of the Rays of the Sun. Miss Molly told me one Day; That to say Snow was white, is allowing a vulgar Error; for as it contains a great Quantity of nitrous Particles, it [might more reasonably][6] be supposed to be black. In short, the young Husseys would persuade me, that to believe ones Eyes is a sure way to be deceived; and have often advised me, by no means, to trust any thing so fallible as my Senses. What I have to beg of you now is, to turn one Speculation to the due Regulation of Female Literature, so far at least, as to make it consistent with the Quiet of such whose Fate it is to be liable to its Insults; and to tell us the Difference between a Gentleman that should make Cheesecakes and raise Paste, and a Lady that reads Locke, and understands the Mathematicks. In which you will extreamly oblige

Your hearty Friend and humble Servant,

Abraham Thrifty.


[Footnote 1: No. 132.]

[Footnote 2: at a Box in a Play, and in first reprint.]

[Footnote 3: [comes], and in first reprint.]

[Footnote 4: [magnetical], and in first reprint.]

[Footnote 5: [Distractions], and in first reprint.]

[Footnote 6: [may more seasonably], and in first reprint.]

Translation of motto:
HOR. 2 Ep. i 168.
'To write on vulgar themes, is thought an easy task.'