No. 423. Saturday, July 5, 1712. Steele.

--Nuper Idoneus.'

I look upon my self as a Kind of Guardian to the Fair, and am always watchful to observe any thing which concerns their Interest. The present Paper shall be employed in the Service of a very fine young Woman; and the Admonitions I give her, may not be unuseful to the rest of the Sex. Gloriana shall be the Name of the Heroine in To-day's Entertainment; and when I have told you that she is rich, witty, young and beautiful, you will believe she does not want Admirers. She has had since she came to Town about twenty five of those Lovers, who make their Addresses by way of Jointure and Settlement. These come and go, with great Indifference on both Sides; and as beauteous as she is, a Line in a Deed has had Exception enough against it, to outweigh the Lustre of her Eyes, the Readiness of her Understanding, and the Merit of her general Character. But among the Crowd of such cool Adorers, she has two who are very assiduous in their Attendance. There is something so extraordinary and artful in their Manner of Application, that I think it but common Justice to alarm her in it. I have done it in the following Letter.


'I have for some time taken Notice of two Gentlemen who attend you in all publick Places, both of whom have also easie Access to you at your own House: But the Matter is adjusted between them, and Damon, who so passionately addresses you, has no Design upon you; but Strephon, who seems to be indifferent to you, is the Man, who is, as they have settled it, to have you. The Plot was laid over a Bottle of Wine; and Strephon, when he first thought of you, proposed to Damon to be his Rival. The manner of his breaking of it to him, I was so placed at a Tavern, that I could not avoid hearing. Damon, said he with a deep Sigh, I have long languished for that Miracle of Beauty Gloriana, and if you will be very stedfastly my Rival, I shall certainly obtain her. Do not, continued he, be offended at this Overture; for I go upon the Knowledge of the Temper of the Woman, rather than any Vanity that I should profit by an Opposition of your Pretensions to those of your humble Servant. Gloriana has very good Sense, a quick Relish of the Satisfactions of Life, and will not give her self, as the Crowd of Women do, to the Arms of a Man to whom she is indifferent. As she is a sensible Woman, Expressions of Rapture and Adoration will not move her neither; but he that has her must be the Object of her Desire, not her Pity. The Way to this End I take to be, that a Man's general Conduct should be agreeable, without addressing in particular to the Woman he loves. Now, Sir, if you will be so kind as to sigh and die for Gloriana, I will carry it with great Respect towards her, but seem void of any Thoughts as a Lover. By this Means I shall be in the most amiable Light of which I am capable; I shall be received with Freedom, you with Reserve. Damon, who has himself no Designs of Marriage at all, easily fell into the Scheme; and you may observe, that where-ever you are Damon appears also. You see he carries on an unaffecting Exactness in his Dress and Manner, and strives always to be the very Contrary of Strephon. They have already succeeded so far, that your Eyes are ever in Search of Strephon, and turn themselves of Course from Damon. They meet and compare Notes upon your Carriage; and the Letter which, was brought to you the other Day, was a Contrivance to remark your Resentment. When you saw the Billet subscribed Damon, and turned away with a scornful Air, and cried Impertinence! you gave Hopes to him that shuns you, without mortifying him that languishes for you. What I am concerned for, Madam, is, that in the disposal of your Heart, you should know what you are doing, and examine it before it is lost. Strephon contradicts you in Discourse with the Civility of one who has a Value for you, but gives up nothing like one that loves you. This seeming Unconcern gives this Behaviour the advantage of Sincerity, and insensibly obtains your good Opinion, by appearing disinterested in the purchase of it. If you watch these Correspondents hereafter, you will find that Strephon makes his Visit of Civility immediately after Damon has tired you with one of Love. Tho' you are very discreet, you will find it no easie matter to escape the Toils so well laid, as when one studies to be disagreeable in Passion, the other to be pleasing without it. All the Turns of your Temper are carefully watched, and their quick and faithful Intelligence gives your Lovers irresistible Advantage. You will please, Madam, to be upon your guard, and take all the necessary Precautions against one who is amiable to you before you know he is enamoured.

I am, Madam, Your most Obedient Servant.

Strephon makes great Progress in this Lady's good Graces, for most Women being actuated by some little Spirit of Pride and Contradiction, he has the good effects of both those Motives by this Covert-Way of Courtship. He received a Message Yesterday from Damon in the following Words, superscribed With Speed.

'All goes well; she is very angry at me, and I dare say hates me in earnest. It is a good time to Visit. Yours.'

The Comparison of Strephon's Gayety to Damon's Languishment, strikes her Imagination with a Prospect of very agreeable Hours with such a Man as the former, and Abhorrence of the insipid Prospect with one like the latter. To know when a Lady is displeased with another, is to know the best time of advancing your self. This method of two Persons playing into each other's Hand is so dangerous, that I cannot tell how a Woman could be able to withstand such a Siege. The Condition of Gloriana, I am afraid, is irretrievable, for Strephon has had so many Opportunities of pleasing without suspicion, that all which is left for her to do is to bring him, now she is advised, to an Explanation of his Passion, and beginning again, if she can conquer the kind Sentiments she has already conceived for him. When one shews himself a Creature to be avoided, the other proper to be fled to for Succour, they have the whole Woman between them, and can occasionally rebound her Love and Hatred from one to the other, in such a manner as to keep her at a distance from all the rest of the World, and cast Lots for the Conquest.

N. B. I have many other Secrets which concern the Empire of Love, but I consider that while I alarm my Women, I instruct my Men.


Translation of motto:
HOR. 3 Od. xxvi. 1.
'Once fit myself.'