Thursday, June 14, 1711.
‘In furias ignemque ruunt, Amor omnibus Idem.’
Tho’ the Subject I am now going upon would be much more properly the Foundation of a Comedy, I cannot forbear inserting the Circumstances which pleased me in the Account a young Lady gave me of the Loves of a Family in Town, which shall be nameless; or rather for the better Sound and Elevation of the History, instead of Mr. and Mrs. such-a-one, I shall call them by feigned Names. Without further Preface, you are to know, that within the Liberties of the City of Westminster lives the Lady Honoria, a Widow about the Age of Forty, of a healthy Constitution, gay Temper, and elegant Person. She dresses a little too much like a Girl, affects a childish Fondness in the Tone of her Voice, sometimes a pretty Sullenness in the leaning of her Head, and now and then a Down-cast of her Eyes on her Fan: Neither her Imagination nor her Health would ever give her to know that she is turned of Twenty; but that in the midst of these pretty Softnesses, and Airs of Delicacy and Attraction, she has a tall Daughter within a Fortnight of Fifteen, who impertinently comes into the Room, and towers so much towards Woman, that her Mother is always checked by her Presence, and every Charm of Honoria droops at the Entrance of Flavia. The agreeable Flavia would be what she is not, as well as her Mother Honoria; but all their Beholders are more partial to an Affectation of what a Person is growing up to, than of what has been already enjoyed, and is gone for ever. It is therefore allowed to Flavia to look forward, but not to Honoria to look back. Flavia is no way dependent on her Mother with relation to her Fortune, for which Reason they live almost upon an Equality in Conversation; and as Honoria has given Flavia to understand, that it is ill-bred to be always calling Mother, Flavia is as well pleased never to be called Child. It happens by this means, that these Ladies are generally Rivals in all Places where they appear; and the Words Mother and Daughter never pass between them but out of Spite. Flavia one Night at a Play observing Honoria draw the Eyes of several in the Pit, called to a Lady who sat by her, and bid her ask her Mother to lend her her Snuff-Box for one Moment. Another Time, when a Lover of Honoria was on his Knees beseeching the Favour to kiss her Hand, Flavia rushing into the Room, kneeled down by him and asked Blessing. Several of these contradictory Acts of Duty have raised between them such a Coldness that they generally converse when they are in mixed Company by way of talking at one another, and not to one another. Honoria is ever complaining of a certain Sufficiency in the young Women of this Age, who assume to themselves an Authority of carrying all things before them, as if they were Possessors of the Esteem of Mankind, and all, who were but a Year before them in the World, were neglected or deceased. Flavia, upon such a Provocation, is sure to observe, that there are People who can resign nothing, and know not how to give up what they know they cannot hold; that there are those who will not allow Youth their Follies, not because they are themselves past them, but because they love to continue in them. These Beauties Rival each other on all Occasions, not that they have always had the same Lovers but each has kept up a Vanity to shew the other the Charms of her Lover. Dick Crastin and Tom Tulip, among many others, have of late been Pretenders in this Family: Dick to Honoria, Tom to Flavia. Dick is the only surviving Beau of the last Age, and Tom almost the only one that keeps up that Order of Men in this.