Having perused the following Letter, and finding it to run upon the Subject of Love, I referred it to the Learned Casuist, whom I have retained in my Service for Speculations of that Kind. He return'd it to me the next Morning with his Report annexed to it, with both of which I shall here present my Reader.
'Finding that you have Entertained an useful Person in your Service in quality of Love-Casuist,  I apply my self to you, under a very great Difficulty, that hath for some Months perplexed me. I have a Couple of humble Servants, one of which I have no Aversion to; the other I think of very kindly. The first hath the Reputation of a Man of good Sense, and is one of those People that your Sex are apt to Value. My Spark is reckoned a Coxcomb among the Men, but is a Favourite of the Ladies. If I marry the Man of Worth, as they call him, I shall oblige my Parents and improve my Fortune; but with my dear Beau I promise my self Happiness, altho' not a Jointure. Now I would ask you, whether I should consent to lead my Life with a Man that I have only no Objection to, or with him against whom all Objections to me appear frivolous. I am determined to follow the Casuist's Advice, and I dare say he will not put me upon so serious a thing as Matrimony, contrary to my Inclination.'
I am, &c.
P.S. 'I forgot to tell you, that the pretty Gentleman is the most complaisant Creature in the World, and is always of my Mind; but the other, forsooth, fancies he hath as much Wit as my self, slights my Lap-Dog, and hath the Insolence to contradict me when he thinks I am not in the Right. About half an Hour ago, he maintained to my Face, that a Patch always implies a Pimple.'
As I look upon it to be my Duty rather to side with the Parents than the Daughter, I shall propose some Considerations to my Gentle Querist, which may encline her to comply with those, under whose Direction she is: And at the same time, convince her, that it is not impossible but she may, in time, have a true Affection for him who is, at present, indifferent to her: Or, to use the old Family Maxim, that If she marries first, Love will come after.
The only Objection, that she seems to insinuate against the Gentleman proposed to her, is his want of Complaisance, which, I perceive, she is very willing to return. Now, I can discover from this very Circumstance, that she and her Lover, whatever they may think of it, are very good Friends in their Hearts. It is difficult to determine, whether Love delights more in giving Pleasure or Pain. Let Miss Fickle ask her own Heart, if she doth not take a Secret Pride in making this Man of good Sense look very silly. Hath she ever been better pleas'd, than when her Behaviour hath made her Lover ready to hang himself? Or doth she ever rejoice more, than when she thinks she hath driven him to the very Brink of a purling Stream? Let her consider, at the same time, that it is not impossible but her Lover may have discovered her Tricks, and hath a Mind to give her as good as she brings. I remember a handsome young Baggage that treated a hopeful Greek of my Acquaintance, just come from Oxford, as if he had been a Barbarian. The first Week, after she had fixed him, she took a Pinch of Snuff out of his Rival's Box, and apparently touched the Enemy's little Finger. She became a profest Enemy to the Arts and Sciences, and scarce ever wrote a Letter to him without wilfully mis-spelling his Name. The young Scholar, to be even with her, railed at Coquettes as soon as he had got the Word; and did not want Parts to turn into Ridicule her Men of Wit and Pleasure of the Town. After having irritated one another for the Space of five Months, she made an Assignation with him fourscore Miles from London. But as he was very well acquainted with her Pranks, he took a Journey the quite contrary Way. Accordingly they met, quarrell'd, and in a few Days were Married. Their former Hostilities are now the Subject of their Mirth, being content at present with that Part of Love only which bestows Pleasure.
Women, who have been married some time, not having it in their Heads to draw after them a numerous Train of Followers, find their Satisfaction in the Possession of one Man's Heart. I know very well, that Ladies in their Bloom desire to be excused in this Particular. But when Time hath worn out their natural Vanity and taught them Discretion, their Fondness settles on its proper Object. And it is probably for this Reason, that among Husbands, you will find more that are fond of Women beyond their Prime, than of those who are actually in the Insolence of Beauty. My Reader will apply the same Observation to the other Sex.
I need not insist upon the Necessity of their pursuing one common Interest, and their united Care, for their Children; but shall only observe, by the Way, that married Persons are both more warm in their Love, and more hearty in their Hatred, than any others whatsoever. Mutual Favours and Obligations, which may be supposed to be greater here than in any other State, naturally beget an Intense Affection in generous Minds. As, on the contrary, Persons who have bestowed such Favours, have a particular Bitterness in their Resentments, when they think themselves ill treated by those of whom they have deserved so much.
Besides, Miss Fickle may consider, that as there are often many Faults conceal'd before Marriage, so there are sometimes many Virtues unobserv'd.
To this we may add the great Efficacy of Custom, and constant Conversation, to produce a mutual Friendship and Benevolence in two Persons. It is a nice Reflection, which I have heard a Friend of mine make, that you may be sure a Woman loves a Man, when she uses his Expressions, tells his Stories, or imitates his Manner. This gives a secret Delight; for Imitation is a kind of artless Flattery, and mightily favours the powerful Principle of Self-love. It is certain, that married Persons, who are possest with a mutual Esteem, not only catch the Air and way of Talk from one another, but fall into the same Traces of thinking and liking. Nay, some have carried the Remark so far as to assert, that the Features of Man and Wife grow, in time, to resemble one another. Let my fair Correspondent therefore consider, that the Gentleman recommended will have a good deal of her own Face in two or three Years; which she must not expect from the Beau, who is too full of his dear self to copy after another. And I dare appeal to her own Judgment, if that Person will not be the handsomest, that is the most like her self.
We have a remarkable Instance to our present Purpose in the History of King Edgar, which I shall here relate, and leave it with my fair Correspondent to be applied to her self.
This great Monarch, who is so famous in British Story, fell in Love, as he made his Progress through his Kingdom, with a certain Duke's Daughter who lived near Winchester, and was the most celebrated Beauty of the Age. His Importunities and the Violence of his Passion were so great, that the Mother of the young Lady promised him to bring her Daughter to his Bed the next Night, though in her Heart she abhorr'd so infamous an Office. It was no sooner dark than she convey'd into his Room a young Maid of no disagreeable Figure, who was one of her Attendants, and did not want Address to improve the Opportunity for the Advancement of her Fortune. She made so good use of her Time, that when she offered to rise a little before Day, the King could by no means think of parting with her. So that finding herself under a Necessity of discovering who she was, she did it in so handsome a Manner, that his Majesty was exceeding gracious to her, and took her ever after under his Protection; insomuch that our Chronicles tell us he carried her along with him, made her his first Minister of State, and continued true to her alone, 'till his Marriage with the beautiful Elfrida.
[Footnote 1: See Nos. 591, 602, 614, 623, 625.]Translation of motto: