As we were at the Club last Night, I observd that my Friend Sir ROGER, contrary to his usual Custom, sat very silent, and instead of minding what was said by the Company, was whistling to himself in a very thoughtful Mood, and playing with a Cork. I joggd Sir ANDREW FREEPORT who sat between us; and as we were both observing him, we saw the Knight shake his Head, and heard him say to himself, A foolish Woman! I cant believe it. Sir ANDREW gave him a gentle Pat upon the Shoulder, and offered to lay him a Bottle of Wine that he was thinking of the Widow. My old Friend started, and recovering out of his brown Study, told Sir ANDREW that once in his Life he had been in the right. In short, after some little Hesitation, Sir ROGER told us in the fulness of his Heart that he had just received a Letter from his Steward, which acquainted him that his old Rival and Antagonist in the County, Sir David Dundrum, had been making a Visit to the Widow. However, says Sir ROGER, I can never think that shell have a Man thats half a Year older than I am, and a noted Republican into the Bargain.
WILL. HONEYCOMB, who looks upon Love as his particular Province, interrupting our Friend with a janty Laugh; I thought, Knight, says he, thou hadst lived long enough in the World, not to pin thy Happiness upon one that is a Woman and a Widow. I think that without Vanity I may pretend to know as much of the Female World as any Man in Great-Britain, tho' the chief of my Knowledge consists in this, that they are not to be known. WILL, immediately, with his usual Fluency, rambled into an Account of his own Amours. I am now, says he, upon the Verge of Fifty, (tho' by the way we all knew he was turned of Threescore.) You may easily guess, continued WILL., that I have not lived so long in the World without having had some thoughts of settling in it, as the Phrase is. To tell you truly, I have several times tried my Fortune that way, though I can't much boast of my Success.
I made my first Addresses to a young Lady in the Country; but when I thought things were pretty well drawing to a Conclusion, her Father happening to hear that I had formerly boarded with a Surgeon, the old Put forbid me his House, and within a Fortnight after married his Daughter to a Fox-hunter in the Neighbourhood.
I made my next Applications to a Widow, and attacked her so briskly, that I thought myself within a Fortnight of her. As I waited upon her one Morning, she told me that she intended to keep her Ready-Money and Jointure in her own Hand, and desired me to call upon her Attorney in Lyons-Inn, who would adjust with me what it was proper for me to add to it. I was so rebuffed by this Overture, that I never enquired either for her or her Attorney afterwards.
A few Months after I addressed my self to a young Lady, who was an only Daughter, and of a good Family. I danced with her at several Balls, squeez'd her by the Hand, said soft things to her, and, in short, made no doubt of her Heart; and though my Fortune was not equal to hers, I was in hopes that her fond Father would not deny her the Man she had fixed her Affections upon. But as I went one day to the House in order to break the matter to him, I found the whole Family in Confusion, and heard to my unspeakable Surprize, that Miss Jenny was that very Morning run away with the Butler.
I then courted a second Widow, and am at a Loss to this day how I came to miss her, for she had often commended my Person and Behaviour. Her Maid indeed told me one Day, that her Mistress had said she never saw a Gentleman with such a Spindle Pair of Legs as Mr. HONEYCOMB.
After this I laid Siege to four Heiresses successively, and being a handsome young Dog in those Days, quickly made a Breach in their Hearts; but I don't know how it came to pass, tho I seldom failed of getting the Daughter's Consent, I could never in my Life get the old People on my side.
I could give you an Account of a thousand other unsuccessful Attempts, particularly of one which I made some Years since upon an old Woman, whom I had certainly borne away with flying Colours, if her Relations had not come pouring in to her Assistance from all Parts of England; nay, I believe I should have got her at last, had not she been carried off by an hard Frost.
As WILL'S Transitions are extremely quick, he turnd from Sir ROGER, and applying himself to me, told me there was a Passage in the Book I had considered last Saturday, which deserved to be writ in Letters of Gold; and taking out a Pocket-Milton read the following Lines, which are Part of one of Adam's Speeches to Eve after the Fall.
--O! why did our Creator wise! that peopled highest Heav'n With Spirits masculine, create at last This Novelty on Earth, this fair Defect Of Nature? and not fill the World at once With Men, as Angels, without Feminine? Or find some other way to generate Mankind? This Mischief had not then befall'n, And more that shall befall; innumerable Disturbances on Earth through Female Snares, And strait Conjunction with this Sex: for either He never shall find out fit Mate, but such As some misfortune brings him, or mistake; Or, whom he wishes most, shall seldom gain Through her perverseness; but shall see her gain'd By a far worse; or if she love, with-held By Parents; or his happiest Choice too late Shall meet already link'd, and Wedlock bound To a fell Adversary, his Hate or Shame; Which infinite Calamity shall cause To human Life, and Household Peace confound. 
Sir ROGER listened to this Passage with great Attention, and desiring Mr. HONEYCOMB to fold down a Leaf at the Place, and lend him his Book, the Knight put it up in his Pocket, and told us that he would read over those Verses again before he went to Bed.
[Footnote 1: Paradise Lost, Bk x., ll 898-908.]Translation of motto: