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I told you before, I took her hints at a distance, for I could never find an opportunity of talking with her directly to the point. All this time, however, I was allowed the utmost familiarities with her lap-dog, and have played with it above an hour together, without receiving the least reprimand, and bad many
other marks of favour shown me, which I thought amounted to a promise. If she chanced to drop her fan, she received it from my hands with great civility. If she wanted anything, I reached it for her. I have filled her tea-pot above an hundred times, and have afterwards received a dish of it from her own hands. Now, sir, do you judge if after such encouragements she was not obliged to marry me. I forgot to tell you that I kept a chair by the week, on purpose to carry me thither and back again. Not to trouble you with a long letter, in the space of about a twelvemonth, I have run out of my whole thousand pound upon her, having laid out the last fifty in a new suit of clothes, in which I was resolved to receive her final answer, which amounted to this, that she was engaged to another; that she never dreamt I had any such thing in my head as marriage ; and that she thought I had frequented her house only because I loved to be in company with my relations. This, you know, sir, is using a man like a fool, and so I told her; but the worst of it is, that I have spent my fortune to no purpose. All, therefore, that I desire of you is, to tell me whether, upon exhibiting the several particulars which I have here
may not sue her for damages in a court of justice. Your advice in this particular will very much oblige
“ Your most humble admirer,
related to you,
Before I answer Mr. Softly's request, I find myself under a necessity of discussing two nice points ; first of all, what it is, in cases of this nature, that amounts to an encouragement; and, secondly, what it is that amounts to a promise. Each of which subjects requires more time to examine than I am at present master of. Besides, I would have my
friend Simon consider, whether he has any counsel that would undertake his cause in forma pauperis, he having unluckily disabled himself, by his own account of the matter, from prosecuting his suit any other way.
In answer, however, to Mr. Softly's request, I shall ac
quaint him with a method made use of by a young fellow in King Charles the Second's reign, whom I shall here call Silvio, who had long made love, with much artifice and intrigue, to a rich widow, whose true name I shall conceal under that of Zelinda. Silvio, who was much more smitten with her fortune than her person, finding a twelvemonth's application unsuccessful, was resolved to make a saving bargain of it, and since he could not get the widow's estate into his possession, to recover at least what he had laid out of his own in the pursuit of it.
In order to this he presented her with a bill of costs ; 'having particularized in it the several expenses he had been at in his long perplexed amour. Zelinda was so pleased with the humour of the fellow, and his frank way of dealing, that, upon the perusal of the bill, she sent him a purse of fifteen hundred guineas, by the right application of which, the lover, in less than a year, got a woman of greater fortune than her he had missed. The several articles in the bill of costs I pretty well remember, though I have forgotten the particular sum charged to each article.
Laid out in supernumerary full-bottom wigs.
A ream of sonnets and love verses, purchased at different times of Mr. Triplett at a crown a sheet.
To Zelinda two sticks of May cherries.
Three porters whom I planted about her to watch her motions.
The first, who stood sentry near her door,
The second, who had his stand at the stables where her coach was put up.
The third, who kept watch at the corner of the street where Ned Courtall lives, who has since married her.
Two additional porters planted over her during the whole month of May.
Five conjurors kept in pay all last winter.
Spy-money to John Trott her footman, and Mrs. Sarah
A new Conningsmark blade to fight Ned Courtall.
pair of white kid gloves, a piece of Flanders lace, and fifteen guineas in dry money.
Secret service-money to Betty at the ring.
No. 98. FRIDAY, JULY 3.
In sese redit
VIRG. The first who undertook to instruct the world in single papers, was Isaac Bickerstaffe of famous memory. A man nearly related to the family of the Ironsides. We have often smoked a pipe together, for I was so much in his books, that at his decease he left me a silver standish, a pair of
spectacles, and the lamp by which he used to write his lucubrations.
The venerable Isaac was succeeded by a gentleman of the same family, very memorable for the shortness of his face and of his speeches. This ingenious author published his thoughts, and held his tongue, with great applause, for two years together.
I, Nestor Ironside, have now for some time undertaken to fill the place of these my two renowned kinsmen and predecessors. For it is observed of every branch of our family, that we have all of us a wonderful inclination to give good advice, though it is remarked of some of us, that we are apt on this occasion rather to give than take.
Hovever it be, I cannot but observe with some secret pride, that this way of writing diurnal
has not succeeded for any space of time in the hands of any persons who are not of our line. I believe I speak within compass, when I affirm that above a hundred different authors have endeavoured after our family-way of writing: some of which have been writers in other kinds of the greatest eminence in the kingdom; but I do not know how it has happened, they have none of them hit upon the art. Their projects have always
Some of us.] Humorously glancing at the quickness with which himself and his friend Sleele had resented the advice, as one may say, of the Examiner.
This, the reader sees, is in the old style of-quasitam meritis sume
dropt after a few unsuccessful essays. It puts me in mind of a story which was lately told me by a pleasant friend of mine, who has a very fine hand on the violin. His maidservant seeing his instrument lying upon the table, and being sensible there was music in it, if she knew how to fetch it out, drew the bow over every part of the strings, and at last told her master she had tried the fiddle all over, but could not for her heart find whereabout the tune lay.
But though the whole burden of such a paper is only fit to rest on the shoulders of a Bickerstaffe or an Ironside, there are several who can acquit themselves of a single day's labour in it with suitable abilities. These are gentlemen whom I have often invited to this trial of wit, and who have several of them acquitted themselves to my private emolument, as well as to their own reputation. My paper among the republic of letters is the Ulysses his bow, in which every man of wit or learning may try his strength. One who does not care to write a book without being sure of his abilities, may see by this' means if his parts and talents are to the public taste.
This I take to be of great advantage to men of the best sense, who are always diffident of their private judgment, till it receives a sanction from the public. Provoco ad popu
superbiam: but the boast is so true, that it stands uncontradicted to our days; when the list of competitors, here given in, has been prodigiously increased, and is still increasing; and yet, this way of writing is as much the family-secret as ever. But how should it be otherwise ? He, who invents a species of polite composition, must needs be inimitable, unless he have the disadvantage of living in a barbarous age, or unless his rivals be very much his superiors in ability; neither of which exceptions can be pleaded in the present case. For, otherwise, the very consideration of originality decides the question in favour of the inventor; of whom, besides, it may be presumed, that he had a genius singularly turned to the cultivation of what he first conceived.
" This modern story is, in fact, the old Lesbian fable of Lucian, concerning the lyre of Orpheus; but finely varied and improved. - Mr. Addison, I have observed from many passages in his works, was a great reader and admirer of Lucian; and very naturally so: because, of all the ancients, he is the only one that had any considerable tincture of that elegant humour which our countryman so highly relished, and so perfectly possessed. In other respects, the writings of that ingenious libertine must have been peculiarly offensive to our author, and are, indeed, the very reverse of his own.
Ulysses his bow.”—See what Dr. Wallis has said against this use of his.-De Adjectivis, c. 5.
lum, I appeal to the people, was the usual saying of a very excellent dramatic poet, when he had any disputes with particular persons about the justness and regularity of his productions. It is but a melancholy comfort for an author to be satisfied that he has written up to the rules of art, when he finds he has no admirers in the world besides himself. Common modesty should, on this occasion, make a man suspect his own judgment, and that he misapplies the rules ? of his art, when he finds himself singular in the applause which he bestows upon his own writings.
The public is always even with an author who has not a just deference for them. The contempt is reciprocal._I laugh at every one, said an old cynic, who laughs at me. Do you so ? replied the philosopher; then let me tell you, you live the merriest life of any man in Athens.
It is not, therefore, the least use of this my paper, that it gives a timorous writer, and such is every good one, an opportunity of putting his abilities to the proof, and of sounding the public before he launches into it. For this reason I look upon my paper as a kind of nursery for authors, and question not but some, who have made a good figure here, will hereafter flourish under their own names in more long and elaborate works.
After having thus far enlarged upon this particular, I have one favour to beg of the candid and courteous reader, that when he meets with anything in this paper which may appear a little dull or heavy,(though I hope this will not be often,) he will believe it is the work of some other person, and not of Nestor Ironside.
I have, I know not how, been drawn into tattle of myself, more majorum, almost the length of a whole Guardian. I shall therefore fill up the remaining part of it with what still relates to my own person, and my correspondents. Now I would have them all know, that on the twentieth instant it
Suspect his own judgment, and that he misapplies the rules.] This way of making a substantive, and a whole sentence, depend on the same verb, is not accurate, because it does violence to the mind, in turn tion suddenly two different ways. He might have said—“ suspect his own judgment, and conclude that he misapplies.”—or, what I think bettersuspect his judgment and the application of his own rules.''
Pleasantly said ; but with a secret reference, I make no doubt, to certain papers in this collection by his coadjutor, though bearing the name of Nestor Ironside,