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assures us, was a person of very low stature, but far exceeded all that went before him in discretion and politics. As I am secretary to the club, 'tis my business whenever we meet to take minutes of the transactions: this has enabled me to send you the foregoing particulars, as I may hereafter other memoirs. We have spies appointed in every quarter of the town, to give us informations of the misbehaviour of such refractory persons as refuse to be subject to our statutes. Whatsoever aspiring practices any of these our people shall be guilty of in their amours, single combats, or any indirect means to manhood, we shall certainly be acquainted with, and publish to the world for their punishment and reformation. For the president has granted me the sole propriety of exposing and showing to the town all such intractable dwarfs, whose circumstances exempt them from being carried about in boxes; reserving only to himself, as the right of a poet, those smart characters that will shine in epigrams. Venerable Nestor, I salute you in the name of the club. BoB SHORT, Secretary. POPE.
COURTSHIP. (No. 97). SIR,
I was left a thousand pounds by an uncle, and being a man to my thinking very likely to get a rich widow, I laid aside all thoughts of making my fortune any other way, and without loss of time made my application to one who had buried her husband about a week before. By the help of some of her she friends, who were my relations, I got into her company, when she would see no man besides myself and her lawyer, who is a little, rivelled, spindle-shanked gentleman, and married to boot, so that I had no reason to fear him. Upon my first seeing her, she said in conversation within my hearing, that she thought a pale complexion the most agreeable either in man or woman: now you must know, sir, my face is as white as chalk. This gave me
some encouragement; so that, to mend the matter, I bought a fine flaxen long wig that cost me thirty guineas, and found an opportunity of seeing her in it the next day. She then let drop some expressions about an agate snuff-box. I immediately took the hint and bought one, being unwilling to omit anything that might make me desirable in her eyes. I was betrayed after the same manner into a brocade waistcoat, a sword-knot, a pair of silver-fringed gloves, and a diamond-ring. But whether out of fickleness or a design upon me, I cannot tell; but I found by her discourse, that what she liked one day she disliked another: so that in six months' space I was forced to equip myself above a dozen times. As 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 had 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 teapot above a 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 related to you, I may not sue
her for damages in a court of justice. Your advice in this particular will very much oblige
Your most humble admirer,
SIMON SOFTLY. 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
way. In answer, however, to Mr. Softly's request, I shall acquaint 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 particularised 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 a 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.
erenade, with a speaking-trumpet.
A ream of sonnets and love verses, purchased at different times of Mr. Triplet at a crown a sheet. To Zelinda two sticks of May cherries. Last summer, at several times, a bushel of peaches. 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 conjurers kept in pay all last winter. Spy-money to John Trott her footman, and Mrs. Sarah Wheedle her companion. A new Konigsmark blade to fight Ned Courtall. To Zelinda's woman, Mrs. Abigail, an Indian fan, a dozen pair of white kid gloves, a piece of Flanders lace, and fifteen guineas in dry money. Secret service-money to Betty at the Ring. Ditto to Mrs. Tape the mantua-maker. Loss of time. ADDISON.
STORY OF A SULTAN. (No. 99).
THERE is no virtue so truly great and godlike as justice. Most of the other virtues are the virtues of created beings, or accommodated to our nature as we are men. Justice is that which is practised by God himself, and to be practised in its perfection by none but him. Omniscience and omnipotence are requisite for the full exertion of it: the one to discover every degree of uprightness or iniquity in thoughts, words, and actions; the other, to measure out and impart suitable rewards and punishments.
As to be perfectly just is an attribute in the divine nature, to be so to the utmost of our abilities is the glory of a man. Such an one, who has the public administration in his hands, acts like the representative of his Maker, in recompensing the virtuous and punishing the offender. By the extirpating of a criminal he averts the judgments of Heaven, when ready to fall upon an impious people; or, as my friend Cato expresses it, much better in a sentiment conformable to his character,
“When by just vengeance impious mortals perish,
When a nation once loses its regard to justice; when they do not look upon it as something venerable, holy and inviolable; when any of them dare presume to lessen, affront, or terrify, those who have the distribution of it in their hands; when a judge is capable of being influenced by any thing but law, or a cause may be recommended by any thing that is foreign to its own merits, we may venture to pronounce that such a nation is hastening to its ruin.
For this reason, the best law that has ever passed in our days, is that which continues our judges in their posts during their good behaviour, without leaving them to the mercy of such who in ill times might, by an undue influence over them, trouble and pervert the course of justice. I dare say the extraordinary person who is now posted in the chief station of the law, would have been the same had that act never passed; but it is a great satisfaction to all honest men, that while we see the greatest ornament of the profession in its highest post, we are sure he cannot hurt himself by that assiduous, regular, and impartial administration of justice for which he is so universally celebrated by the whole kingdom. Such men are to be reckoned among the greatest national blessings, and should have that honour paid them whilst they are yet living, which will not fail to crown their memory when dead.
I always rejoice when I see a tribunal filled with a man of an upright and inflexible temper, who in execution of his country's laws can overcome all private fear, resentment, solicitation, and even pity itself. Whatever passion enters