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This great indifference on this subject, and the mercenary motives for making alliances, is what I o think lies naturally before you, and I beg of you to
give me your thoughts upon it. My answer to Ly• dia was as follows, which I hope you will approve ;
for you are to know the woman's family affect a 6 wonderful ease on these occasions, though they ex• pect it should be painfully received on the man's 6 side.
“ I HAVE received yours, and knew the pru- dence of your house so well, that I always took 66 care to be ready to obey your commands, though 65 they should be to see you no more. Pray give my service to all the good family. Adieu
6 CLITOPHON." • The opera subscription is full.
Memorandum. The censor of marriage to consider this letter, and report the common usage on such treaties, with how many pounds or acres are generally esteemed sufficient reason for preferring a new to an old pretender; with his opinion what is proper to be determined in such cases for the future.
• THERE is an elderly person lately left off business and settled in our town, in order, as he « thinks, to retire from the world ; but he has • brought with him such an inclination to tale-bear• ing, that he disturbs both himself and all our neigh
bourhood. Notwithstanding this frailty, the honest “gentleman is so happy as to have no enemy: at the i same time he has not one friend who will venture
to acquaint him with his weakness. It is not to be « doubted but if this failing were set in a proper light, ( he would quickly perceive the indecency and evil • consequences of it. Now, Sir, this being an infir(mity which I hope may be corrected, and knowing
that he pays much deference to you, I beg that ( when you are at leisure, to give us a speculation 'on gossiping, you would think of my neighbour:
you will hereby oblige several who will be glad to • find a reformation in their gray-haired friend ; and how becoming will it be for him, instead of pouring
forth words at all adventures, " to set a watch before “ the door of his mouth, to refrain his tongue," to
check its impetuosity, and guard against the sallies í of that little pert, forward, busy person ; which,
under a sober conduct, might prove a useful mem• ber of society. In compliance with those intima(tions, I have taken the liberty to make this address
• to you.
I am, Sir,
February 16, 1712. 6 MR. SPECTATOR,
• THIS is to petition you in behalf of myself and many more of your gentle readers, that at any • time when you may have private reasons against • letting us know what you think yourself, you would
be pleased to pardon us such letters of your cor(respondents as seem to be of no use but to the printer.
'It is further our humble request, that you would 6 substitute advertisements in the place of such episstles ; and that in order hereunto Mr: Buckley may be authorised to take up of your zealous friend Mr. Charles Lillie, any quantity of words he shall from time to time have occasion for.
• The many useful parts of knowledge which may be communicated to the public this way, will,
( we hope, be a consideration in favour of your • petitioners.
• And your petitioners, &c.
Note, That particular regard be had to this petition ; and the papers marked letter R may be carefully examined for the future.
No. CCCXI. TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 26.
Nec Veneris pharetris macer est, aut lampade fervet:
He sighs, adores, and courts her ev'ry hour :
"I AM amazed that among all the variety of characters, with which you have enriched your spesculations, you have never given us a picture of those 6 audacious
fellows among us, who commonly go by the name of Fortune-stcalers. You must know, Sir, I am one of those who live in a continual ' apprehension of this sort of people that lie in wait, <day and night, for our children, and may be con( sidered as a kind of kidnappers within the law. I
am the father of a young heiress, whom I begin to ' look upon as marriageable, and who has looked
upon herself as such for above these six years. She • is now in the eighteenth year of her age. The « fortune-hunters have already cast their eyes upon her, and take care to plant themselves in her view whenever she appears in any public assembly. I I have myself caught a young jackanapes with a pair
6 of silver fringed gloves in the very fact. You must
know, Sir, I have kept her as a prisoner of state ever since she was in her teens. Her chamber(windows are cross-barred; she is not permitted to
go out of the house but with her keeper, who is a staid relation of our own; I have likewise forbid her the use of pen and ink for this twelve-month last past, and do not suffer a band-box to be carried ( into her room before it has been searched. Noto withstanding these precautions, I am at my wits end • for fear of any sudden surprise. There were, two (or three nights ago, some fiddles heard in the street, • which I am afraid portend me no good; not to men. « tion a tall Irishman, that has been seen walking " before my house more than once this winter. My • kinswoman likewise informs me, that the girl has • talked to her twice or thrice of a gentleman in a "fair wig, and that she loves to go to church more than ever she did in her life. She gave me the slip about a week ago, upon which my whole house was in alarm. I immediately dispatched a hue and cry after her to the 'Change, to her mantua-maker, 6 and to the young ladies that visit her; but after + above an hour's search she returned of herself, hav«ing been taking a walk, as she told me, by Rosa« mond's pond. I have hereupon turned off her
woman, doubled her guards, and given new instruc• tions to my relation, who, to give her her due, keeps
a watchful eye over all her motions. This, Sir, « keeps me in a perpetual anxiety, and makes me
very often watch when my daughter sleeps, as I am 6 afraid she is even with me in her turn. Now, Sir, 6 what I would desire of you is, to represent to this "fluttering tribe of young fellows, who are for making
their fortunes by these indirect means, that stealing ( a man's daughter for the sake of her portion, is but • a kind of tolerated robbery ; and that they make but a poor amends to the father, whom they plunder
• after this manner, by going to bed with his child. • Dear Sir, be speedy in your thoughts on this subject, that, if possible, they may appear before the disbanding of the army.
• I am, Sir,
Themistocles, the great Athenian general, being asked whether he would chuse to marry his daughter to an indigent man of merit, or to a worthless man of an estate, replied, that he should prefer a man without an estate, to an estate without a man. The worst of it is, our modern fortune-hunters are those who turn their heads that way, because they are good for nothing else : If a young fellow finds he can make nothing of Coke and Littleton, he provides himself with a dder of ropes,
by that means very often enters upon the premises.
The same art of scaling has likewise been practised with good success by many military engineers. Stratagems of this nature make parts and industry superfluous, and cut short the way to riches.
Nor is vanity a less motive than idleness to this kind of mercenary pursuit. A fop, who admires his person in a glass, soon enters into a resolution of making his fortune by it, not questioning but every woman that falls in his way will do him as much justice as he does himself. When an heiress sees a man throwing particular graces into his ogle, or talking aloud within her hearing, she ought to look to herself; but if yithal.ch observes a pair of red heels, a patch, or any particularity in his dress, she cannot take too mucı-care of her person. These are baits not to be trifled with, charms that have done a world of execution, and made their way
into hearts which have been thought impregnable. The force of a man with these qualifications is so well known,