No. 310. Monday, February 25, 1712. Steele.

Connubio Jungam stabili--


I am a certain young Woman that love a certain young Man very heartily; and my Father and Mother were for it a great while, but now they say I can do better, but I think I cannot. They bid me love him, and I cannot unlove him. What must I do? speak quickly.

Biddy Dow-bake.

Dear SPEC,

Feb. 19, 1712.

I have lov'd a Lady entirely for this Year and Half, tho for a great Part of the Time (which has contributed not a little to my Pain) I have been debarred the Liberty of conversing with her. The Grounds of our Difference was this; that when we had enquired into each others Circumstances, we found that at our first setting out into the World, we should owe five hundred Pounds more than her Fortune would pay off. My Estate is seven hundred Pounds a Year, besides the benefit of Tin-Mines. Now, dear SPEC, upon this State of the Case, and the Lady's positive Declaration that there is still no other Objection, I beg you'll not fail to insert this, with your Opinion as soon as possible, whether this ought to be esteemed a just Cause or Impediment why we should not be join'd, and you will for ever oblige

Yours sincerely, Dick Lovesick.

P. S. Sir, if I marry this Lady by the Assistance of your Opinion, you may expect a Favour for it.


I have the misfortune to be one of those unhappy Men who are distinguished by the Name of discarded Lovers; but I am the less mortified at my Disgrace, because the young Lady is one of those Creatures who set up for Negligence of Men, are forsooth the most rigidly Virtuous in the World, and yet their Nicety will permit them, at the Command of Parents, to go to Bed to the most utter Stranger that can be proposed to them. As to me my self, I was introduced by the Father of my Mistress; but find I owe my being at first received to a Comparison of my Estate with that of a former Lover, and that I am now in like manner turned off, to give Way to an humble Servant still richer than I am. What makes this Treatment the more extravagant is, that the young Lady is in the Management of this way of Fraud, and obeys her Fathers Orders on these Occasions without any Manner of Reluctance, and does it with the same Air that one of your Men of the World would signifie the Necessity of Affairs for turning another out of Office. When I came home last Night I found this Letter from my Mistress.

I hope you will not think it is any manner of Disrespect to your
Person or Merit, that the intended Nuptials between us are
interrupted. My Father says he has a much better Offer for me than
you can make, and has ordered me to break off the Treaty between us.
If it had proceeded, I should have behaved my self with all suitable
Regard to you, but as it is, I beg we may be Strangers for the
Future. Adieu.

This great Indifference on this Subject, and the mercenary Motives for making Alliances, is what I think lies naturally before you, and I beg of you to give me your Thoughts upon it. My Answer to Lydia was as follows, which I hope you will approve; for you are to know the Woman's Family affect a wonderful Ease on these Occasions, tho they expect it should be painfully received on the Man's Side.

"I have received yours, and knew the Prudence of your House so well,
that I always took Care to be ready to obey your Commands, tho they
should be to see you no more. Pray give my Service to all the good
The Opera Subscription is full.

Memorandum. The Censor of Marriage to consider this Letter, and report the common Usages on such Treaties, with how many Pounds or Acres are generally esteemed sufficient Reason for preferring a new to an old Pretender; with his Opinion what is proper to be determined in such Cases for the future.


There is an elderly Person, lately left off Business and settled in our Town, in order, as he thinks, to retire from the World; but he has brought with him such an Inclination to Talebearing, that he disturbs both himself and all our Neighbourhood. Notwithstanding this Frailty, the honest Gentleman is so happy as to have no Enemy: At the same time he has not one Friend who will venture to acquaint him with his Weakness. It is not to be doubted but if this Failing were set in a proper Light, he would quickly perceive the Indecency and evil Consequences of it. Now, Sir, this being an Infirmity which I hope may be corrected, and knowing that he pays much Deference to you, I beg that when you are at Leisure to give us a Speculation on Gossiping, you would think of my Neighbour: You will hereby oblige several who will be glad to find a Reformation in their gray-hair'd Friend: And how becoming will it be for him, instead of pouring forth Words at all Adventures to set a Watch before the Door of his Mouth, to refrain his Tongue, to check its Impetuosity, and guard against the Sallies of that little, pert, forward, busie Person; which, under a sober Conduct, might prove a useful Member of a Society. In Compliance with whose Intimations, I have taken the Liberty to make this Address to you.

I am, SIR,

Your most obscure Servant



Feb. 16, 1712.

This is to Petition you in Behalf of my self and many more of your gentle Readers, that at any time when you have private Reasons against letting us know what you think your self, you would be pleased to pardon us such Letters of your Correspondents as seem to be of no use but to the Printer.

It is further our humble Request, that you would substitute Advertisements in the Place of such Epistles; and that in order hereunto Mr. Buckley may be authorized to take up of your zealous Friend Mr. Charles Lillie, any Quantity of Words he shall from time to time have occasion for.

The many useful parts of Knowledge which may be communicated to the Publick this Way, will, we hope, be a Consideration in favour of your Petitioners.

And your Petitioners, &c.

Note, That particular Regard be had to this Petition; and the Papers marked Letter R may be carefully examined for the future. [1]


[Footnote 1: R. is one of Steele's signatures, but he had not used it since No. 134 for August 3, 1711, every paper of his since that date having been marked with a T.]

Translation of motto:
VIRG. AEn. i. 77.
'I'll tie the indissoluble marriage-knot.'