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would have been strangely bit, while they thought only to fall in love with a fair Lá dy, and you had bewitch'd them with Reason and Virtue (two Beauties that the very Fops pretend to have no acquaintance with.)
The unhappy distance at which we correspond, removes a great many
of those restrictions and punctilious decorums, that oftentimes in nearer conversation prejudice truth; to fave good breeding. I may now hear of my faults, and you of your good qualities, without a blush; we converse upon such unfortunate generous terms, as exclude the regards of fear, shame, or de sign, in either of us. And methinks it would be as paltry a part, to impose (even in a single thought) upon each other in this state of separation, as for Spirits of a different sphere who have so little intercourse with us, to employ that little (as some would make us think they do), in putting tricks and delusions upon poor mortals.
Let me begin then, Madam, by asking you a question, that may enable me to judge better of my own conduct than most instances of
Life. In what manner did I behave the last hour I saw you? What degree of concern did I discover when I felt a misfortune which I hope you will
never feel, that of parting from what one most esteems ? for if my parting looked but like thatof your common acquaintance, I am the greatest of all the hypocrites that ever decency made.,
I never since pass by your house but with the same fort of melancholy that we feel upon seeing the Tomb of a friend, which only serves to put us in mind of what we have lost. I reflect upon the circumstances of your departure,which I was there a witness of (your behaviour in what I may call your last moments) and I indulge a gloomy kind of pleasure in thinking that those last moments were given to me. I would fain imagine this was not accidental, but proceeded from a penetration which I know you have, in finding out the truth of people's sentiments, and that
you were willing, the last man that would have parted from you, should be that last that did. I really look'd upon you just as the friends of Curtius might havedone upon that Hero,
the instant when he was devoting himself to Glory, and running to be lost out of generosity. I was obliged to admire your resolution, in as great a degree as I deplored it; and had only to wish, that Heaven would reward so much Virtue as was to be taken from us, with all the felicities it could enjoy elsewhere! I am, &c.
L E T.
L E T T E R XVI.
U will find me more troublefome
than ever Brutus did his Evil Genius; I shall' meet you in more places than one, and often refresh your memory before you arrive at your Philippi. Thefe Phadows of me (my letters) will be haunting you from time to time, and putting you in mind of the man who has really luffer'd very much from you, and whom you have robb’d of the most valuable of his enjoy. ments, your conversation. The advantage of hearing your sentiments by difcovering mine, was what I always thought a great one, and even worth the risque I generally run of manifesting my own indiscretion. You then rewarded my trust in you thie moment it was given, for you pleas’d or inform’d me the minute you answer'd. I must now be contented with more flow re. turns. However 'tis fome pleafure, that your thoughts upon Paper will be a more lasting possession to me, and that I shall no longer have cause to complain of a loss I have so often regretted, that of any
thing you said, which I happen'd to forget. In earnest, Madam, if I were to write to you as often as I think of you, it must be every day of my life. I attend you in spirit through all your ways, I follow you thro?
every stage in books of travels, and fear for you thro' whole folio's; you make me shrink at the past dangers of dead travellers; and if I read of a delightful prospect, or agreeable place, I hope it yet subfifts to please you. I enquire the roads, the amusements, the company, of every town and country thro' which you pass, with as much diligence, as if I were to set out next week to overtake you. In a word, no one can have you more constantly in mind, not even your guardian Angel (if you have one) and I am willing to indulge so much Popery, as to fancy fome Being takes care of you who knows your' value better than you do your self: I am willing to think that Heaven never gave so much felf-neglect and resolution to a woman, to occasion her calamity, but am pious enough to believe thote qualities muit be intended to conduce to her benefit and her glory.
Your first short letter only serves to show me you are alive: it puts me in mind of the first Dove that return'd to
I 3 Noah,
Noah, and just made him know it had found no rest abroad.
There is nothing in it that pleases me, but when you tell me you had no Sea-sickness. I beg your next may give me all the pleasure it can, that is, tell me any that you receive. You can make no discoveries that will be half so valuable to me as those of
your own mind : Nothing that regards the States or Kingdoms you pass through, will engage so much of my curiosity or concern, as what relates to yourself: Your welfare, to say truth, is more at my heart than that of Christendom.
I am sure I may defend the truth, though perhaps not the virtue, of this declaration. One is ignorant, or doubtful at best, of the merits of differing religions and governments : but private virtues one
can be sure of. I there fore know what particular person has desert enough to merit being happier than others, but not what nation deserves to conquer or oppress, another, You will say, 'I am not Publick-spirited; let it be fo, I may have too many tendernesses, particularly regards, or narrow views; but at the same time I am certain that whoever wants these,