Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!

No. 199 [from The Spectator]
by [?]

Thursday, October 18, 1711.

‘Scribere jussit amor.’

Ovid.

The following Letters are written with such an Air of Sincerity, that I cannot deny the inserting of them.

Mr. SPECTATOR,

‘Tho’ you are every where in your Writings a Friend to Women, I do not remember that you have directly considered the mercenary Practice of Men in the Choice of Wives. If you would please to employ your Thoughts upon that Subject, you would easily conceive the miserable Condition many of us are in, who not only from the Laws of Custom and Modesty are restrained from making any Advances towards our Wishes, but are also, from the Circumstance of Fortune, out of all Hope of being addressed to by those whom we love. Under all these Disadvantages I am obliged to apply my self to you, and hope I shall prevail with you to Print in your very next Paper the following Letter, which is a Declaration of Passion to one who has made some feint Addresses to me for some time. I believe he ardently loves me, but the Inequality of my Fortune makes him think he cannot answer it to the World, if he pursues his Designs by way of Marriage; and I believe, as he does not want Discerning, he discovered me looking at him the other Day unawares in such a Manner as has raised his Hopes of gaining me on Terms the Men call easier. But my Heart was very full on this Occasion, and if you know what Love and Honour are, you will pardon me that I use no further Arguments with you, but hasten to my Letter to him, whom I call Oroondates, [1] because if I do not succeed it shall look like Romance; and if I am regarded, you shall receive a pair of Gloves at my Wedding, sent you under the Name of

Statira.

To OROONDATES.

SIR,

‘After very much Perplexity in my self, and revolving how to acquaint you with my own Sentiments, and expostulate with you concerning yours, I have chosen this Way, by which means I can be at once revealed to you, or, if you please, lie concealed. If I do not within few Days find the Effect which I hope from this, the whole Affair shall be buried in Oblivion. But, alas! what am I going to do, when I am about to tell you that I love you? But after I have done so, I am to assure you, that with all the Passion which ever entered a tender Heart, I know I can banish you from my Sight for ever, when I am convinced that you have no Inclinations towards me but to my Dishonour. But, alas! Sir, why should you sacrifice the real and essential Happiness of Life, to the Opinion of a World, that moves upon no other Foundation but profess’d Error and Prejudice? You all can observe that Riches alone do not make you happy, and yet give up every Thing else when it stands in Competition with Riches. Since the World is so bad, that Religion is left to us silly Women, and you Men act generally upon Principles of Profit and Pleasure, I will talk to you without arguing from any Thing but what may be most to your Advantage, as a Man of the World. And I will lay before you the State of the Case, supposing that you had it in your Power to make me your Mistress, or your Wife, and hope to convince you that the latter is more for your Interest, and will contribute more to your Pleasure.

‘We will suppose then the Scene was laid, and you were now in Expectation of the approaching Evening wherein I was to meet you, and be carried to what convenient Corner of the Town you thought fit, to consummate all which your wanton Imagination has promised you in the Possession of one who is in the Bloom of Youth, and in the Reputation of Innocence: you would soon have enough of me, as I am Sprightly, Young, Gay, and Airy. When Fancy is sated, and finds all the Promises it [made [2]] it self false, where is now the Innocence which charmed you? The first Hour you are alone you will find that the Pleasure of a Debauchee is only that of a Destroyer; He blasts all the Fruit he tastes, and where the Brute has been devouring, there is nothing left worthy the Relish of the Man. Reason resumes her Place after Imagination is cloyed; and I am, with the utmost Distress and Confusion, to behold my self the Cause of uneasie Reflections to you, to be visited by Stealth, and dwell for the future with the two Companions (the most unfit for each other in the World) Solitude and Guilt. I will not insist upon the shameful Obscurity we should pass our Time in, nor run over the little short Snatches of fresh Air and free Commerce which all People must be satisfied with, whose Actions will not bear Examination, but leave them to your Reflections, who have seen of that Life of which I have but a meer Idea.