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Several Ladies. .
Madam, I Send you the book of Rudiments of Drawe
ing, which you were pleas'd to command, and think my self oblig'd to inform you at the same time of one of the many excellencies you posless without knowing of 'em. You are but too good a Painter already; and no Picture of Raphael's was ever so beautiful, as that which you have form'd in a certain heart of my acquaintance. Indeed it was but just, that the finest lines in nature shou'd be drawn upon the most durable ground; and none cou'd ever be met with that wou'd so readily receive, or fo faithfully retain them, as this Heart. I may boldly fay of it, that you will not find its fellow in all the parts of the Body in this book.
But I must complain to you of my hand, which is an arrant traitor to my heart; for having been copying your picture from thence and from Kneller these three days, it has done all possible injury to the finest Face that ever was made, and to the liveliest Image that ever was drawn. I have imagination enough in your absence to trace fome resemblance of you ; but I have been so long us’d to lose my judgment at the fight of you, that 'tis past my power to correct it by the life. Your Picture seems least like when plac'd before your eyes, and contrary to all other pictures, receives a manifest disadvantage by being set in the faireft Light in the world. The Painters are a very vain generation, and have a long time pretended to rival Nature; but to own the truth to you, she made such a finish'd piece about three and twenty years ago, (I beg your pardon Madam, I proteft I meant but two and twenty) that 'tis in vain for them any longer to conten with her. I know You indeed made one fomething like it, betwixt five and fix years paft: 'Twas a little girl done with abundance of spirit and life; and wants nothing but time to be an adinirable piece ; but not to flatter your work, I don't think 'twill ever come up to what your Father made. However I wou'd not discourage you: 'tis certain you have a strange happiness in making fine things of a sudden and at a stroke, with incredible ease and pleasure.
Madam, I am, &c.
IT T is too much a' rule in this town, that when a
Lady has once done a man a favour, he is to be rude to her ever after. It becomes our Sex to take upon us twice as much as yours allow us. By this: method I may write to you most impudently, be-. cause you once answered me modestly; and if you shou'd never do me that honour for the future, I am to think (like a true Coxcomb) that your filence gives consent. Perhaps you wonder why this is address’d to you rather than to Mrs. M------ with whom I have the right of an old acquaintance ; whereas you are a fine Lady, have bright eyes, &c. First, Madam, I make choice of you rather than of your Mother, because you are younger than your Mother. Secondly, because I fancy you spell better, as having been at school latér.“ Thirdly, because you have nothing to do but to write if you - please, and possibly it may keep you from employing your self worsé : it may save some honest neighbouring Gentleman from three or four of your pestilent glances. Caft your eyes upon Paper, Madam, there you may look innocently. Men are seducing, books are dangerous ; the amorous ones soften you, and the godly ones give you the spleen. If you look upon trees, they clasp in embraces ; birds and beasts make love ; the Sun is too warm for your blood, the Moon melts you into yielding and melancholy. Therefore I say once more, cast your eyes upon Paper, and read only such Letters as I write, which convey no darts, no flames; but proceed from Innocence of soul, and fimplicity of heart. However, I can allow you a Bonnet lind with green for your eyes, but take care you
don't tarnish it with ogling too fiercely : I am told, that
hand you shade your self with this shining weather, is tann'd pretty much, only with being carried over those Eyes
thank God I am an hundred miles off from them
Upon the whole I wou'd sooner trust your hand than your Eyes for doing me mischief; and tho' I doubt not some part of the rancour and iniquity of your heart will drop into your pen, yet since it will not attack me on a sudden and unprepar'd, since I may have time while I break: open your letter to cross my self and say a Pater-nofter, I hope, Providence will protect me from all you can attempt at this distance. Mr. B--tells me you are at this hour as handsome as an Angel ; for my part I have forgot your face since two winters : I don't know whether you are tall or short, nor can tell in any respect what sort of creature you are, only that you are a very mischievous one, whom I shall ever pray to be defended from. But when Mr. B------- sends me word you have the small pox, a good many freckles, or are very pale, I will defire him to give thanks for it in
your Parish Church ; which as soon as he shall inform me he has done, I will make you a visit at ---- without Armour. I will eat any thing you give me without suspicion of poison, take you by the hand without gloves, nay, venture to follow you into an arbour without calling the company. This Madam is the top of my wishes, bút how differently are our desires inclin'd! You sigh out, in the ardour of your heart, Oh Playhouses, Parks, Operas, Affemblies, London! I cry with rapture, Oh Woods, Gardens, Raokeries, Fil-ponds, Arbours ! Mrs. Betty M------
To a Lady, written on the opposite
pages of a Letter to her Husband from Lady M.
dull Letter, because it is a marry'd one. I am afraid indeed you will find what Spirit there is must be on the side of the Wife, and the Husband's part as usual will prove the 'dulleft. What an unequal Pair are put together in this sheet? in which tho we fin, it is you must do penance. When you look on both sides of this paper, you may fancy that our words (according to a Scripture expreffion) are as a Two-edg'd Sword; whereof Lady M----is the shining blade, and I only the Handle. But I can't proceed without so far mortifying Sir Robert as to tell him, that she writes purely in obedience to me ; and that it is but one of those honours a Hurband receives for the sake of his Wife.
It is making court ill to one fine Woman, to shew her the regard we have for another ; and yet I must own there is not a period of this Epistle, but squints towards another over-against it. It will be in vain to diflemble. Your penetrating Eyes cannot but discover how all the letters that compose these words lean forward after Lady M----'s letters, which seem to bend as much from mine, and fly from them as fast as they are able. Ungrateful leta ters that they are! which give themselves to another man in the very presence of him, who will yield to no mortal in knowing how to value them.
You will think I forget my self, and am not writing to you; but let me tell you, 'tis you forget