No. 288. Wednesday, January 30, 1712. Steele

--Pavor est utrique molestus.


When you spoke of the Jilts and Coquets, you then promised to be very impartial, and not to spare even your own Sex, should any of their secret or open Faults come under your Cognizance; which has given me Encouragement to describe a certain Species of Mankind under the Denomination of Male Jilts. They are Gentlemen who do not design to marry, yet, that they may appear to have some Sense of Gallantry, think they must pay their Devoirs to one particular Fair; in order to which they single out from amongst the Herd of Females her to whom they design to make their fruitless Addresses. This done, they first take every Opportunity of being in her Company, and then never fail upon all Occasions to be particular to her, laying themselves at her Feet, protesting the Reality of their Passion with a thousand Oaths, solliciting a Return, and saying as many fine Things as their Stock of Wit will allow; and if they are not deficient that way, generally speak so as to admit of a double Interpretation; which the credulous Fair is apt to turn to her own Advantage, since it frequently happens to be a raw, innocent, young Creature, who thinks all the World as sincere as her self, and so her unwary Heart becomes an easy Prey to those deceitful Monsters, who no sooner perceive it, but immediately they grow cool, and shun her whom they before seemed so much to admire, and proceed to act the same common-place Villany towards another. A Coxcomb flushed with many of these infamous Victories shall say he is sorry for the poor Fools, protest and vow he never thought of Matrimony, and wonder talking civilly can be so strangely misinterpreted. Now, Mr. SPECTATOR, you that are a professed Friend to Love, will, I hope, observe upon those who abuse that noble Passion, and raise it in innocent Minds by a deceitful Affectation of it, after which they desert the Enamoured. Pray bestow a little of your Counsel to those fond believing Females who already have or are in Danger of broken Hearts; in which you will oblige a great Part of this Town, but in a particular Manner,

SIR Your (yet Heart-whole) Admirer, and devoted humble Servant, Melainia.

Melainie's Complaint is occasioned by so general a Folly, that it is wonderful one could so long overlook it. But this false Gallantry proceeds from an Impotence of Mind, which makes those who are guilty of it incapable of pursuing what they themselves approve. Many a Man wishes a Woman his Wife whom he dares not take for such. Tho no one has Power over his Inclinations or Fortunes, he is a Slave to common Fame. For this Reason I think Melainia gives them too soft a Name in that of Male Coquets. I know not why Irresolution of Mind should not be more contemptible than Impotence of Body; and these frivolous Admirers would be but tenderly used, in being only included in the same Term with the Insufficient another Way. They whom my Correspondent calls Male Coquets, shall hereafter be called Fribblers. A Fribbler is one who professes Rapture and Admiration for the Woman to whom he addresses, and dreads nothing so much as her Consent. His Heart can flutter by the Force of Imagination, but cannot fix from the Force of Judgment. It is not uncommon for the Parents of young Women of moderate Fortune to wink at the Addresses of Fribblers, and expose their Children to the ambiguous Behaviour which Melainia complains of, till by the Fondness to one they are to lose, they become incapable of Love towards others, and by Consequence in their future Marriage lead a joyless or a miserable Life. As therefore I shall in the Speculations which regard Love be as severe as I ought on Jilts and Libertine Women, so will I be as little merciful to insignificant and mischievous Men. In order to this, all Visitants who frequent Families wherein there are young Females, are forthwith required to declare themselves, or absent from Places where their Presence banishes such as would pass their Time more to the Advantage of those whom they visit. It is a Matter of too great Moment to be dallied with; and I shall expect from all my young People a satisfactory Account of Appearances. Strephon has from the Publication hereof seven Days to explain the Riddle he presented to Eudamia; and Chloris an Hour after this comes to her Hand, to declare whether she will have Philotas, whom a Woman of no less Merit than her self, and of superior Fortune, languishes to call her own.


SIR, [1] Since so many Dealers turn Authors, and write quaint Advertisements in praise of their Wares, one who from an Author turn'd Dealer may be allowed for the Advancement of Trade to turn Author again. I will not however set up like some of em, for selling cheaper than the most able honest Tradesman can; nor do I send this to be better known for Choice and Cheapness of China and Japan Wares, Tea, Fans, Muslins, Pictures, Arrack, and other Indian Goods. Placed as I am in Leadenhall-street, near the India-Company, and the Centre of that Trade, Thanks to my fair Customers, my Warehouse is graced as well as the Benefit Days of my Plays and Operas; and the foreign Goods I sell seem no less acceptable than the foreign Books I translated, Rabelais and Don Quixote: This the Criticks allow me, and while they like my Wares they may dispraise my Writing. But as tis not so well known yet that I frequently cross the Seas of late, and speaking Dutch and French, besides other Languages, I have the Conveniency of buying and importing rich Brocades, Dutch Atlasses, with Gold and Silver, or without, and other foreign Silks of the newest Modes and best Fabricks, fine Flanders Lace, Linnens, and Pictures, at the best Hand: This my new way of Trade I have fallen into I cannot better publish than by an Application to you. My Wares are fit only for such as your Readers; and I would beg of you to print this Address in your Paper, that those whose Minds you adorn may take the Ornaments for their Persons and Houses from me. This, Sir, if I may presume to beg it, will be the greater Favour, as I have lately received rich Silks and fine Lace to a considerable Value, which will be sold cheap for a quick Return, and as I have also a large Stock of other Goods. Indian Silks were formerly a great Branch of our Trade; and since we must not sell em, we must seek Amends by dealing in others. This I hope will plead for one who would lessen the Number of Teazers of the Muses, and who, suiting his Spirit to his Circumstances, humbles the Poet to exalt the Citizen. Like a true Tradesman, I hardly ever look into any Books but those of Accompts. To say the Truth, I cannot, I think, give you a better Idea of my being a downright Man of Traffick, than by acknowledging I oftener read the Advertisements, than the Matter of even your Paper. I am under a great Temptation to take this Opportunity of admonishing other Writers to follow my Example, and trouble the Town no more; but as it is my present Business to increase the Number of Buyers rather than Sellers, I hasten to tell you that I am, SIR, Your most humble, and most obedient Servant, Peter Motteux.


[Footnote 1: Peter Anthony Motteux, the writer of this letter, was born in Normandy, and came as a refugee to England at the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Here he wrote about 14 plays, translated Bayle's Dictionary, Montaigne's Essays, and Don Quixote, and established himself also as a trader in Leadenhall Street. He had a wife and a fine young family when (at the age of 56, and six years after the date of this letter) he was found dead in a house of ill fame near Temple Bar under circumstances that caused a reward of fifty pounds to be offered for the discovery of his murderer.]

Translation of motto:
HOR. 1 Ep. vi. 10.
'Both fear alike.'