Слике страница
PDF
ePub

camps, ostentatious bullies; in colleges, unin- | measure, is the immediate possession of those telligible pedants; and their faculties are used heavenly enjoyments for which they are ad accordingly by those who lead them.

dressed.

When a mar mitted into th men, he shall r cumstances, and sions from their colour of sense, company that c: thus with a foc books; he shall against another puzzle the best though the most that it is only ig cacy. All the tr is to ennoble and and not to disg therefore in vai ceal itself, by th Literature does nently the thing Polyglottes, had and writ only in known only in (

Mr. Bickersta both answer her

No. 198.] Satu

Quale sit id quod
Et tua læsuro sub

On your choice

A willing neck t

From my o
THE I

IT is not neces years of this your sequence only as passages very und twentieth year c but cheerful educ to whom she was father, whose dec consolable afflicti As Cælia is the o passion that has 1 is adorned with as the most celebra her domestic life, gious education, nity, and less in public assemblies some years at a cathedral of St. Paul's; where her aunt and

she chose to reside for the advantage of that rapturous way of devotion, which gives ecstasy to the pleasures of innocence, and, in some

As no mention is afterwards made of Dorinda, it does not appear what was the purport of her letter or advice.

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

It is much easier to imagine, than express, the sentiments of either the criminal, or the injured, at this encounter.

As soon as Palamede had found way for speech, he confessed his marriage, and his placing his companion on purpose to vitiate his wife, that he might break through a marriage made in his nonage, and devote his riper and knowing years to Cælia. She made him no answer; but retired to her closet. He returned to the Temple, where he soon after received from her the following letter:

'SIR,

It happened, a few days since, that she fol. | her rival in the same agonies she felt herself. lowed him thither to communicate to him Palamede returns in the evening; and finding something she had omitted, in her redundant his wife at his chambers, learned all that had fondness, to speak of the evening before. When passed, and hastened to Cælia's lodgings. she came to his apartment, the servant there told her, she was coming with a letter to her. While Cælia in an inuer room was reading an apology from her husband, That he had been suddenly taken by some of his acquaintance to dine at Brentford, but that he should return in the evening,' a country girl, decently clad, asked, if those were not the chambers of Mr. Palamede? She was answered, they were; but that he was not in town. The stranger asked, when he was expected at home? The servant replied, she would go in and ask his wife. The young woman repeated the word wife, and fainted. This accident raised no less curiosity than amazement in Calia, who caused ber to be removed into the inner room. Upon proper applications to revive her, the unhappy young creature returned to herself; and said to Cælia, with an earnest and beseeching tone, Are you really Mr. Palamede's wife?' Cælia replies,' I hope I do not look as if I were any other in the condition you see me.' The stranger answered, No, madam, he is my husband. At the same instant, she threw a bundle of letters into Cælia's lap, which confirmed the truth of what she asserted. Their mutual innocence and sorrow made them look at each No. 199.] Tuesday, July 18, 1710. other as partners in distress, rather than rivals in love. The superiority of Cælia's understanding and genius gave her an authority to examine into this adventure, as if she had been offended against, and the other the delinquent. The stranger spoke in the following manner:

6

C

'You, who this morning were the best, are now the worst of men who breathe vital air, I am at once overwhelmed with love, hatred, rage, and disdain. Can infamy and innocence live together? I feel the weight of the one too strong for the comfort of the other. How bitter, heaven! how bitter is my portion! How much have I to say! but the infant which I bear about me stirs with my agitation. I am, Palamede, to live in shame, and this creature be heir to it. Farewell for ever!'

WHEN we revolve in our thoughts sul catastrophes as that in the history of the unhappy Cælia, there seems to be something so hazardous in the changing a single state of life into that of marriage, that, it may happen, all the precautions imaginable are not sufficient to defend a virgin from ruin by her choice. It seems a wonderful inconsistence in the distribution of public justice, that a man who robs a woman of an ear-ring or a jewel, should be punished with death; but one, who by false arts and insinuations should take from her, her very self, is only to suffer disgrace. This excellent young woman has nothing to consolate herself with, but the reflection that her sufferings are not the effect of any guilt or misconduct; and has for her protection the influence of a Power, which, amidst the unjust reproach of all mankind, can give not only patience, but pleasure, to innocence in distress.

'MADAM,

'If it shall please you, Mr. Palamede, having an uncle of a good estate near Winchester, was bred at the school there, to gain the more his good-will by being in his sight. His uncle died, and left him the estate which my husband now has. When he was a mere youth, be set his affections on me; but when he could not gain his ends, he married me; making me and my mother, who is a farmer's widow, swear we would never tell it upon any account whatsoever; for that it would not look well for him to marry such a one as me; besides, that his father would cut him off of the estate. I was lad to have him in an honest way; and he now and then came and staid a night and away at our house. But very lately, he came down to see us with a fine young gentleman, his friend, who staid behind there with us, pretending to like the place for the summer: but ever since master Palamede went, he has attempted to abuse me; and I ran hither to acquaint him with it, and avoid the wicked inTentions of his false friend.' Cælia had no more room for doubt; but left of spirit, or dignity of countenance into their

As the person who is the criminal against Cælia cannot be sufficiently punished according to our present law; so are there numberless unhappy persons without remedy according to present custom. That great ill, which has prevailed among us in these latter ages, is the making even beauty and virtue the purchase of money. The generality of parents, and some of those of quality, instead of looking out for introducing health of constitution, frankness

in town.

families, lay out all their thoughts upon finding out matches for their estates, and not for their children. You shall have one form such a plot for the good of his family, that there shall not be six men in England capable of pretending to his daughter. A second shall have a son obliged, out of mere discretion, for fear of doing any thing below himself, to follow all the drabs These sage parents meet; and, as there is no pass, no courtship between the young ones, it is no unpleasant observation to behold how they proceed to treaty. There is ever in the behaviour of each something that denotes his circumstance; and honest Coupler, he can distinguish the conveyancer, says, upon sight of the parties, before they have opened any point of their business, which of the two has the daughter to sell.' Coupler is of our club, and I have frequently heard him declaim upon this subject, and assert, that the now used, marriage-settlements, which are have grown fashionable even within his memory,'

6

fortune. The man has no dishonour following his treachery; and her own sex are so debased by force of custom, as to say in the case of the woman, How could she expect he would marry her?

When the theatre, in some late reigns, owed its chief support to those scenes which were written to put matrimony out of countenance, and render that state terrible, then was it that pin-money first prevailed; and all the other articles were inserted which create a diffidence, and intimate to the young people, that they are very soon to be in a state of war with each other; though this had seldom happened, except the fear of it had been expressed. Coupler will tell you also, that jointures were never frequent until the age before his own; but the women were contented with the third part of the estate the law allotted them, and scorned to engage with men whom they thought capable of abusing their children.' He has also informed me, that those who are the oldest benchers when he came to the Temple, told him, the first marriage-settlement of considerable length was the invention of an old sergeant; who took the opportunity of two testy fathers, who were ever squabbling, to bring about an alliance between their children. These fellows knew each other to be knaves; and the ser-quisite gladness at meeting, that sweet inquiegeant took hold of their mutual diffidence, for tude at parting, together with the charms of the benefit of the law, to extend the settlement voice, look, gesture, and that general benevolence between well-chosen lovers, which makes to three skins of parchment.' all things please, and leaves not the least trifle indifferent.

By this means the good offices, the pleasures and graces of life, are not put into the balance. The bridegroom has given his estate out of himself; and he has no more left but to follow the blind decree of his fate, whether he shall be succeeded by a sot or a man of merit in his fortune. On the other side, a fine woman, who has also a fortune, is set up by way of auction; her first lover has ten to ope against him. The very hour after be has opened his heart and his rent-roll, he is made no other use of but to raise her price. She and her friends lose no opportunity of publishing it, to call in new bidders. While the poor lover very innocently waits, until the plenipotentiaries at the inns of court bave debated about the alliance, all the partisans of the lady throw difficulties in the way, until other offers come in; and the man who came first is not put in possession, until she has been refused by half the town. If an abhorrence to such mercenary proceedings were well settled in the minds of my fair readers, those of merit would have a way opened to their advancement; nay, those who abound in wealth only would in reality find their account in it. It would not be in the power of their prude acquaintance, their waiters, their nurses, cousins, and whisperers, to persuade them, that there are not above twenty men in a kingdom, and those such as perhaps they may never set eyes on, whom they can think of with discretion. As the case stands now, let any one consider, how the great heiresses, and those to whom they were offered, for no other reason but that they could make them suitable settlements, live together. What can be more insipid, if not loathsome, than for two persons to be at the head of a crowd, who have as little regard for them as they for each other; and behold one another in an affected sense of prosperity, without the least relish of that ex

To this great benefactor to the profession is owing the present price current of lines and words. Thus is tenderness thrown out of the question, and the great care is, what the young couple shall do when they come to hate each other. I do not question but from this one humour of settlements might very fairly be deduced, not only our present defection in point of morals, but also our want of people. This has given way to such unreasonable gallan tries, that a man is hardly reproachable that deceives an innocent woman, though she has ever so much merit, if she is below him in

But I am diverted from these sketches for future essays in behalf of my numerous clients of the fair sex, by notice sent to my office in Sheer-lane, That a blooming widow in the third year of her widowhood, and twenty-sixth of her age, designs to take a colonel of twentyeight. The parties request I would draw up their terms of coming together, as having a regard to my opinion against long and diffident settlements; and I have sent them the following indenture

« ПретходнаНастави »