No. 300. Wednesday, February 13, 1712. Steele.

Diversum vitio vitium prope majus.


When you talk of the Subject of Love, and the Relations arising from it, methinks you should take Care to leave no Fault unobserved which concerns the State of Marriage. The great Vexation that I have observed in it, is, that the wedded Couple seem to want Opportunities of being often enough alone together, and are forced to quarrel and be fond before Company. Mr. Hotspur and his Lady, in a Room full of their Friends, are ever saying something so smart to each other, and that but just within Rules, that the whole Company stand in the utmost Anxiety and Suspence for fear of their falling into Extremities which they could not be present at. On the other Side, Tom Faddle and his pretty Spouse where-ever they come are billing at such a Rate, as they think must do our Hearts good who behold em. Cannot you possibly propose a Mean between being Wasps and Doves in Publick? I should think if you advised to hate or love sincerely it would be better: For if they would be so discreet as to hate from the very Bottom of their Hearts, their Aversion would be too strong for little Gibes every Moment; and if they loved with that calm and noble Value which dwells in the Heart, with a Warmth like that of Life-Blood, they would not be so impatient of their Passion as to fall into observable Fondness. This Method, in each Case, would save Appearances; but as those who offend on the fond Side are by much the fewer, I would have you begin with them, and go on to take Notice of a most impertinent Licence married Women take, not only to be very loving to their Spouses in Publick, but also make nauseous Allusions to private Familiarities, and the like. Lucina is a Lady of the greatest Discretion, you must know, in the World; and withal very much a Physician: Upon the Strength of these two Qualities there is nothing she will not speak of before us Virgins; and she every Day talks with a very grave Air in such a Manner, as is very improper so much as to be hinted at but to obviate the greatest Extremity. Those whom they call good Bodies, notable People, hearty Neighbours, and the purest goodest Company in the World, are the great Offenders in this Kind. Here I think I have laid before you an open Field for Pleasantry; and hope you will shew these People that at least they are not witty: In which you will save from many a Blush a daily Sufferer, who is very much

Your most humble Servant, Susanna Loveworth.


In yours of Wednesday the 30th past, you and your Correspondent are very severe on a sort of Men, whom you call Male Coquets; but without any other Reason, in my Apprehension, than that of paying a shallow Compliment to the fair Sex, by accusing some Men of imaginary Faults, that the Women may not seem to be the more faulty Sex; though at the same time you suppose there are some so weak as to be imposed upon by fine Things and false Addresses. I cant persuade my self that your Design is to debar the Sexes the Benefit of each others Conversation within the Rules of Honour; nor will you, I dare say, recommend to em, or encourage the common Tea-Table Talk, much less that of Politicks and Matters of State: And if these are forbidden Subjects of Discourse, then, as long as there are any Women in the World who take a Pleasure in hearing themselves praised, and can bear the Sight of a Man prostrate at their Feet, so long I shall make no Wonder that there are those of the other Sex who will pay them those impertinent Humiliations. We should have few People such Fools as to practise Flattery, if all were so wise as to despise it. I don't deny but you would do a meritorious Act, if you could prevent all Impositions on the Simplicity of young Women; but I must confess I don't apprehend you have laid the Fault on the proper Person, and if I trouble you with my Thoughts upon it I promise my self your Pardon. Such of the Sex as are raw and innocent, and most exposed to these Attacks, have, or their Parents are much to blame if they have not, one to advise and guard em, and are obliged themselves to take Care of em: but if these, who ought to hinder Men from all Opportunities of this sort of Conversation, instead of that encourage and promote it, the Suspicion is very just that there are some private Reasons for it; and Ill leave it to you to determine on which Side a Part is then acted. Some Women there are who are arrived at Years of Discretion, I mean are got out of the Hands of their Parents and Governours, and are set up for themselves, who yet are liable to these Attempts; but if these are prevailed upon, you must excuse me if I lay the Fault upon them, that their Wisdom is not grown with their Years. My Client, Mr. Strephon, whom you summoned to declare himself, gives you Thanks however for your Warning, and begs the Favour only to inlarge his Time for a Week, or to the last Day of the Term, and then hell appear gratis, and pray no Day over. Yours, Philanthropes.


I was last Night to visit a Lady who I much esteem, and always took for my Friend; but met with so very different a Reception from what I expected, that I cannot help applying my self to you on this Occasion. In the room of that Civility and Familiarity I used to be treated with by her, an affected Strangeness in her Looks, and Coldness in her Behaviour, plainly told me I was not the welcome Guest which the Regard and Tenderness she has often expressed for me gave me Reason to flatter my self to think I was. Sir, this is certainly a great Fault, and I assure you a very common one; therefore I hope you will think it a fit Subject for some Part of a Spectator. Be pleased to acquaint us how we must behave our selves towards this valetudinary Friendship, subject to so many Heats and Colds, and you will oblige, SIR, Your humble Servant, Miranda.


I cannot forbear acknowledging the Delight your late Spectators on Saturdays have given me; for it is writ in the honest Spirit of Criticism, and called to my Mind the following four Lines I had read long since in a Prologue to a Play called Julius Cæsar [1] which has deserved a better Fate. The Verses are addressed to the little Criticks.

Shew your small Talent, and let that suffice ye;
But grow not vain upon it, I advise ye.
For every Fop can find out Faults in Plays:
You'll ne'er arrive at Knowing when to praise.

Yours, D. G.


[Footnote 1: By William Alexander, Earl of Stirling (who died in 1640); one of his four Monarchicke Tragedies. He received a grant of Nova Scotia to colonize, and was secretary of state for Scotland.]

Translation of motto:
HOR. 1 Ep. xviii. 5.
'--Another failing of the mind,
Greater than this, of quite a different kind.'