No. 272. Friday, January 11, 1712. Steele.

[--Longa est injuria, longæ Ambages


The Occasion of this Letter is of so great Importance, and the Circumstances of it such, that I know you will but think it just to insert it, in Preference of all other Matters that can present themselves to your Consideration. I need not, after I have said this, tell you that I am in Love. The Circumstances of my Passion I shall let you understand as well as a disordered Mind will admit. That cursed Pickthank Mrs. Jane! Alas, I am railing at one to you by her Name as familiarly as if you were acquainted with her as well as my self: But I will tell you all, as fast as the alternate Interruptions of Love and Anger will give me Leave. There is a most agreeable young Woman in the World whom I am passionately in Love with, and from whom I have for some space of Time received as great Marks of Favour as were fit for her to give, or me to desire. The successful Progress of the Affair of all others the most essential towards a Man's Happiness, gave a new Life and Spirit not only to my Behaviour and Discourse, but also a certain Grace to all my Actions in the Commerce of Life in all Things tho never so remote from Love. You know the predominant Passion spreads its self thro all a Man's Transactions, and exalts or depresses [him [2]] according to the Nature of such Passion. But alas, I have not yet begun my Story, and what is making Sentences and Observations when a Man is pleading for his Life? To begin then: This Lady has corresponded with me under the Names of Love, she my Belinda, I her Cleanthes. Tho I am thus well got into the Account of my Affair, I cannot keep in the Thread of it so much as to give you the Character of Mrs. Jane, whom I will not hide under a borrowed Name; but let you know that this Creature has been since I knew her very handsome, (tho I will not allow her even she has been for the future) and during the Time of her Bloom and Beauty was so great a Tyrant to her Lovers, so over-valued her self and under-rated all her Pretenders, that they have deserted her to a Man; and she knows no Comfort but that common one to all in her Condition, the Pleasure of interrupting the Amours of others. It is impossible but you must have seen several of these Volunteers in Malice, who pass their whole Time in the most labourous Way of Life in getting Intelligence, running from Place to Place with new Whispers, without reaping any other Benefit but the Hopes of making others as unhappy as themselves. Mrs. Jane happened to be at a Place where I, with many others well acquainted with my Passion for Belinda, passed a Christmas Evening. There was among the rest a young Lady so free in Mirth, so amiable in a just Reserve that accompanied it; I wrong her to call it a Reserve, but there appeared in her a Mirth or Chearfulness which was not a Forbearance of more immoderate Joy, but the natural Appearance of all which could flow from a Mind possessed of an Habit of Innocence and Purity. I must have utterly forgot Belinda to have taken no Notice of one who was growing up to the same womanly Virtues which shine to Perfection in her, had I not distinguished one who seemed to promise to the World the same Life and Conduct with my faithful and lovely Belinda. When the Company broke up, the fine young Thing permitted me to take Care of her Home. Mrs. Jane saw my particular Regard to her, and was informed of my attending her to her Fathers House. She came early to Belinda the next Morning, and asked her if Mrs. Such-a-one had been with her? No. If Mr. Such-a-ones Lady? No. Nor your Cousin Such-a-one? No. Lord, says Mrs. Jane, what is the Friendship of Woman?--Nay, they may laugh at it. And did no one tell you any thing of the Behaviour of your Lover Mr. What dye call last Night? But perhaps it is nothing to you that he is to be married to young Mrs.--on Tuesday next? Belinda was here ready to die with Rage and Jealousy. Then Mrs. Jane goes on: I have a young Kinsman who is Clerk to a Great Conveyancer, who shall shew you the rough Draught of the Marriage Settlement. The World says her Father gives him Two Thousand Pounds more than he could have with you. I went innocently to wait on Belinda as usual, but was not admitted; I writ to her, and my Letter was sent back unopened. Poor Betty her Maid, who is on my Side, has been here just now blubbering, and told me the whole Matter. She says she did not think I could be so base; and that she is now odious to her Mistress for having so often spoke well of me, that she dare not mention me more. All our Hopes are placed in having these Circumstances fairly represented in the SPECTATOR, which Betty says she dare not but bring up as soon as it is brought in; and has promised when you have broke the Ice to own this was laid between us: And when I can come to an Hearing, the young Lady will support what we say by her Testimony, that I never saw her but that once in my whole Life. Dear Sir, do not omit this true Relation, nor think it too particular; for there are Crowds of forlorn Coquets who intermingle themselves with other Ladies, and contract Familiarities out of Malice, and with no other Design but to blast the Hopes of Lovers, the Expectation of Parents, and the Benevolence of Kindred. I doubt not but I shall be, SIR, Your most obliged humble Servant, CLEANTHES.

Wills Coffee-house, Jan. 10.

SIR, The other Day entering a Room adorned with the Fair Sex, I offered, after the usual Manner, to each of them a Kiss; but one, more scornful than the rest, turned her Cheek. I did not think it proper to take any Notice of it till I had asked your Advice. Your humble Servant, E. S.

The Correspondent is desir'd to say which Cheek the Offender turned to him.

[Footnote 1:

Ubi visus eris nostra medicabilis arte Fac monitis fugias otia prima meis.

Ovid. Rem. Am.]

[Footnote 2: [it]]

From the Parish-Vestry, _January_ 9.
_All Ladies who come to Church in the New-fashioned Hoods,
are desired to be there before Divine Service begins,
lest they divert the Attention of the Congregation._

Translation of motto:
VIRG. AEn. i. 345.
'Great is the injury, and long the tale.'