Friday, March 7, 1712. Steele.
[–non pronuba Juno,
Non Hymenaeus adest, non illi Gratia lecto,
Eumenides stravere torum.
You have given many Hints in your Papers to the Disadvantage of Persons of your own Sex, who lay Plots upon Women. Among other hard Words you have published the Term Male-Coquets, and been very severe upon such as give themselves the Liberty of a little Dalliance of Heart, and playing fast and loose, between Love and Indifference, till perhaps an easie young Girl is reduced to Sighs, Dreams and Tears; and languishes away her Life for a careless Coxcomb, who looks astonished, and wonders at such an Effect from what in him was all but common Civility. Thus you have treated the Men who are irresolute in Marriage; but if you design to be impartial, pray be so honest as to print the Information I now give you, of a certain Set of Women who never Coquet for the Matter, but with an high Hand marry whom they please to whom they please. As for my Part, I should not have concerned my self with them, but that I understand I am pitched upon by them, to be married, against my Will, to one I never saw in my Life. It has been my Misfortune, Sir, very innocently, to rejoice in a plentiful Fortune, of which I am Master, to bespeak a fine Chariot, to give Direction for two or three handsome Snuff-Boxes, and as many Suits of fine Cloaths; but before any of these were ready, I heard Reports of my being to be married to two or three different young Women. Upon my taking Notice of it to a young Gentleman who is often in my Company he told me smiling, I was in the Inquisition. You may believe I was not a little startled at what he meant, and more so when he asked me if I had bespoke any thing of late that was fine. I told him several; upon which he produced a Description of my Person from the Tradesmen whom I had employed, and told me that they had certainly informed against me. Mr. SPECTATOR, Whatever the World may think of me, I am more Coxcomb than Fool, and I grew very inquisitive upon this Head, not a little pleased with the Novelty. My Friend told me there were a certain Set of Women of Fashion whereof the Number of Six made a Committee, who sat thrice a Week, under the Title of the Inquisition on Maids and Batchelors. It seems, whenever there comes such an unthinking gay Thing as my self to Town, he must want all Manner of Necessaries, or be put into the Inquisition by the first Tradesman he employs. They have constant Intelligence with Cane-Shops, Perfumers, Toymen, Coach-makers, and China-houses. From these several Places, these Undertakers for Marriages have as constant and regular Correspondence, as the Funeral-men have with Vintners and Apothecaries. All Batchelors are under their immediate Inspection, and my Friend produced to me a Report given into their Board, wherein an old Unkle of mine, who came to Town with me, and my self, were inserted, and we stood thus; the Unkle smoaky, rotten, poor; the Nephew raw, but no Fool, sound at present, very rich. My Information did not end here, but my Friends Advices are so good, that he could shew me a Copy of the Letter sent to the young Lady who is to have me which I enclose to you.
This is to let you know, that you are to be Married to a Beau that comes out on Thursday Six in the Evening. Be at the Park. You cannot but know a Virgin Fop; they have a Mind to look saucy, but are out of Countenance. The Board has denied him to several good Families. I wish you Joy.