To the SPECTATOR.
'You have often given us very excellent Discourses against that unnatural Custom of Parents, in forcing their Children to marry contrary to their Inclinations. My own Case, without further Preface, I will lay before you, and leave you to judge of it. My Father and Mother both being in declining Years, would fain see me, their eldest Son, as they call it settled. I am as much for that as they can be; but I must be settled, it seems, not according to my own, but their liking. Upon this account I am teaz'd every Day, because I have not yet fallen in love, in spite of Nature, with one of a neighbouring Gentleman's Daughters; for out of their abundant Generosity, they give me the choice of four. Jack, begins my Father, Mrs. Catherine is a fine Woman--Yes, Sir, but she is rather too old--She will make the more discreet Manager, Boy. Then my Mother plays her part. Is not Mrs. Betty exceeding fair? Yes, Madam, but she is of no Conversation; she has no Fire, no agreeable Vivacity; she neither speaks nor looks with Spirit. True, Son; but for those very Reasons, she will be an easy, soft, obliging, tractable Creature. After all, cries an old Aunt, (who belongs to the Class of those who read Plays with Spectacles on) what think you, Nephew, of proper Mrs. Dorothy? What do I think? why I think she cannot be above six foot two inches high. Well, well, you may banter as long as you please, but Height of Stature is commanding and majestick. Come, come, says a Cousin of mine in the Family, I'll fit him; Fidelia is yet behind--Pretty Miss Fiddy must please you--Oh! your very humble Servant, dear Cos. she is as much too young as her eldest Sister is too old. Is it so indeed, quoth she, good Mr. Pert? You who are but barely turned of twenty two, and Miss Fiddy in half a Year's time will be in her Teens, and she is capable of learning any thing. Then she will be so observant; she'll cry perhaps now and then, but never be angry. Thus they will think for me in this matter, wherein I am more particularly concerned than any Body else. If I name any Woman in the World, one of these Daughters has certainly the same Qualities. You see by these few Hints, Mr. SPECTATOR, what a comfortable Life I lead. To be still more open and free with you, I have been passionately fond of a young Lady (whom give me leave to call Miranda) now for these three Years. I have often urged the Matter home to my Parents with all the Submission of a Son, but the Impatience of a Lover. Pray, Sir, think of three Years; what inexpressible Scenes of Inquietude, what Variety of Misery must I have gone thro' in three long whole Years? Miranda's Fortune is equal to those I have mention'd; but her Relations are not Intimates with mine. Ah! there's the Rub. Miranda's Person, Wit, and Humour, are what the nicest Fancy could imagine; and though we know you to be so elegant a Judge of Beauty, yet there is none among all your various Characters of fine Women preferable to Miranda. In a Word, she is never guilty of doing any thing but one amiss, (if she can be thought to do amiss by me) in being as blind to my Faults, as she is to her own Perfections.
I am, SIR, Your very humble obedient Servant, Dustererastus.
'When you spent so much time as you did lately in censuring the ambitious young Gentlemen who ride in Triumph through Town and Country in Coach-boxes, I wished you had employed those Moments in consideration of what passes sometimes within-side of those Vehicles. I am sure I suffered sufficiently by the Insolence and Ill-breeding of some Persons who travelled lately with me in a Stage-Coach out of Essex to London. I am sure, when you have heard what I have to say, you will think there are Persons under the Character of Gentlemen that are fit to be no where else but in the Coach-box. Sir, I am a young Woman of a sober and religious Education, and have preserved that Character; but on Monday was Fortnight it was my Misfortune to come to London. I was no sooner clapt in the Coach, but to my great Surprize, two Persons in the Habit of Gentlemen attack'd me with such indecent Discourse as I cannot repeat to you, so you may conclude not fit for me to hear. I had no relief but the Hopes of a speedy End of my short Journey. Sir, form to your self what a Persecution this must needs be to a virtuous and a chaste Mind; and in order to your proper handling such a Subject, fancy your Wife or Daughter, if you had any, in such Circumstances, and what Treatment you would think then due to such Dragoons. One of them was called a Captain, and entertained us with nothing but silly stupid Questions, or lewd Songs, all the way. Ready to burst with Shame and Indignation, I repined that Nature had not allowed us as easily to shut our Ears as our Eyes. But was not this a kind of Rape? Why should there be Accessaries in Ravishment any more than Murder? Why should not every Contributor to the Abuse of Chastity suffer Death? I am sure these shameless Hell-hounds deserved it highly. Can you exert your self better than on such an Occasion? If you do not do it effectually, I 'll read no more of your Papers. Has every impertinent Fellow a Privilege to torment me, who pay my Coach-hire as well as he? Sir, pray consider us in this respect as the weakest Sex, and have nothing to defend our selves; and I think it as Gentleman-like to challenge a Woman to fight, as to talk obscenely in her Company, especially when she has not power to stir. Pray let me tell you a Story which you can make fit for publick View. I knew a Gentleman, who having a very good Opinion of the Gentlemen of the Army, invited ten or twelve of them to sup with him; and at the same time invited two or three Friends, who were very severe against the Manners and Morals of Gentlemen of that Profession. It happened one of them brought two Captains of his Regiment newly come into the Army, who at first Onset engaged the Company with very lewd Healths and suitable Discourse. You may easily imagine the Confusion of the Entertainer, who finding some of his Friends very uneasy, desired to tell them a Story of a great Man, one Mr, Locke (whom I find you frequently mention) that being invited to dine with the then Lords Hallifax, Anglesey, and Shaftsbury; immediately after Dinner, instead of Conversation, the Cards were called for, where the bad or good Success produced the usual Passions of Gaming. Mr. Locke retiring to a Window, and writing, my Lord Anglesey desired to know what he was writing: Why, my Lords, answered he, I could not sleep last Night for the Pleasure and Improvement I expected from the Conversation of the greatest Men of the Age. This so sensibly stung them, that they gladly compounded to throw their Cards in the Fire if he would his Paper, and so a Conversation ensued fit for such Persons. This Story prest so hard upon the young Captains, together with the Concurrence of their superior Officers, that the young Fellows left the Company in Confusion. Sir, I know you hate long things; but if you like it, you may contract it, or how you will; but I think it has a Moral in it.
But, Sir, I am told you are a famous Mechanick as well as a Looker-on, and therefore humbly propose you would invent some Padlock, with full Power under your Hand and Seal, for all modest Persons, either Men or Women, to clap upon the Mouths of all such impertinent impudent Fellows: And I wish you would publish a Proclamation, that no modest Person who has a Value for her Countenance, and consequently would not be put out of it, presume to travel after such a Day without one of them in their Pockets. I fancy a smart Spectator upon this Subject would serve for such a Padlock; and that publick Notice may be given in your Paper where they may be had with Directions, Price 2d. and that part of the Directions may be, when any Person presumes to be guilty of the above-mentioned Crime, the Party aggrieved may produce it to his Face, with a Request to read it to the Company. He must be very much hardened that could outface that Rebuke; and his further Punishment I leave you to prescribe.
Your humble Servant, Penance Cruel.
[Footnote 1: To this number is appended the advertisement:
This Day is Published,
a very neat Pocket Edition of the 3rd and 4th Volumes of the Spectator in 12°. To which is added a compleat Index to the whole 4 volumes. Printed for S. Buckley at the Dolphin in Little Britain and J. Tonson at Shakespear's Head over against Catherine Street in the Strand.]Translation of motto: