« PoprzedniaDalej »
manner, that if her form makes you hope, her merit makes you fear. But then again, she is such a desperate scholar that no country gentleman can approach her without being a jest. As I was going to tell you, when I came to her house, I was admitted to her presence 5 with great civility; at the same time she placed herself to be first seen by me in such an attitude, as I think you call the posture of a picture, that she discovered new charms, and I at last came towards her with such an awe as made me speechless. This she no sooner observed 10 but she made her advantage of it, and began a discourse to me concerning love and honour, as they both are followed by pretenders, and the real votaries to them. When she discussed these points in a discourse which, I verily believe, was as learned as the best philosopher 15 in Europe could possibly make, she asked me whether she was so happy as to fall in with my sentiments on these important particulars. Her confidante sat by her, and on my being in the last confusion and silence, this malicious aid of hers turning to her, says, 'I am very 20 glad to observe Sir Roger pauses upon this subject, and seems resolved to deliver all his sentiments upon the matter when he pleases to speak.' They both kept their countenances, and after I had sat half an hour meditating how to behave before such profound casuists, I rose up 25 and took my leave. Chance has since that time thrown me very often in her way, and she as often directed a discourse to me which I do not understand. This barbarity has kept me ever at a distance from the most beautiful object my eyes ever beheld. It is thus also 30 she deals with all mankind, and you must make love to
her as you would conquer the sphinx, by posing her. But were she like other women, and that there were any talking to her, how constant must the pleasure of that man be, who could converse with a creature — But, 5 after all, you may be sure her heart is fixed on some one or other and yet I have been credibly informed — but who can believe half that is said! They say she sings excellently her voice in her ordinary speech has something in it inexpressibly sweet. You must know I dined 10 with her at a public table the day after I first saw her, and she helped me to some tansy in the eye of all the gentlemen in the country. She has certainly the finest hand of any woman in the world. I can assure you, Sir, were you to behold her, you would be in the same condi15 tion; for as her speech is music, her form is angelic. But I find I grow irregular while I am talking of her; but indeed it would be stupidity to be unconcerned at such perfection. Oh, the excellent creature! she is as inimitable to all women, as she is inaccessible to all 20 men."
I found my friend begin to rave, and insensibly led him towards the house, that we might be joined by some other company; and am convinced that the widow is the secret cause of all that inconsistency which appears 25 in some parts of my friend's discourse; though he has
so much command of himself as not directly to mention her, yet according to that of Martial, which one knows not how to render into English, dum tacet hanc loquitur. I shall end this paper with that whole epigram, which 30 represents with much humour my honest friend's condition
Quicquid agit Rufus, nihil est, nisi Nævia Rufo,
Let Rufus weep, rejoice, stand, sit, or walk,
SIR ROGER'S ECONOMY. [STEELE.]
NO 114.- WEDNESDAY, JULY 11, 1711.
PAUPERTATIS pudor et fuga.
THE dread of nothing more
ECONOMY in our affairs has the same effect upon our fortunes which good-breeding has upon our conversation. There is a pretending behaviour in both cases, which, instead of making men esteemed, renders them both 5 miserable and contemptible. We had yesterday, at Sir Roger's, a set of country gentlemen who dined with him and after dinner the glass was taken, by those who pleased, pretty plentifully. Among others I observed a person of a tolerable good aspect, who seemed to be 10 more greedy of liquor than any of the company, and yet methought he did not taste it with delight. As he grew warm, he was suspicious of every thing that was said, and as he advanced towards being fuddled, his humour grew worse. At the same time his bitterness seemed to be 15 rather an inward dissatisfaction in his own mind, than any dislike he had taken to the company. Upon hearing his name, I knew him to be a gentleman of a considerable fortune in this county, but greatly in debt. What gives the unhappy man this peevishness of spirit