Wednesday, June 11, 1712. Steele.
[–quae Spectator tradit sibi–
Were I to publish all the Advertisements I receive from different Hands, and Persons of different Circumstances and Quality, the very Mention of them, without Reflections on the several Subjects, would raise all the Passions which can be felt by human Mind[s], As Instances of this, I shall give you two or three Letters; the Writers of which can have no Recourse to any legal Power for Redress, and seem to have written rather to vent their Sorrow than to receive Consolation.
I am a young Woman of Beauty and Quality, and suitably married to a Gentleman who doats on me. But this Person of mine is the Object of an unjust Passion in a Nobleman who is very intimate with my Husband. This Friendship gives him very easie Access, and frequent Opportunities of entertaining me apart. My Heart is in the utmost Anguish, and my Face is covered over with Confusion, when I impart to you another Circumstance, which is, that my Mother, the most mercenary of all Women, is gained by this false Friend of my Husband to sollicit me for him. I am frequently chid by the poor believing Man my Husband, for shewing an Impatience of his Friend’s Company; and I am never alone with my Mother, but she tells me Stories of the discretionary Part of the World, and such a one, and such a one who are guilty of as much as she advises me to. She laughs at my Astonishment; and seems to hint to me, that as virtuous as she has always appeared, I am not the Daughter of her Husband. It is possible that printing this Letter may relieve me from the unnatural Importunity of my Mother, and the perfidious Courtship of my Husband’s Friend. I have an unfeigned Love of Virtue, and am resolved to preserve my Innocence. The only Way I can think of to avoid the fatal Consequences of the Discovery of this Matter, is to fly away for ever; which I must do to avoid my Husband’s fatal Resentment against the Man who attempts to abuse him, and the Shame of exposing the Parent to Infamy. The Persons concerned will know these Circumstances relate to ’em; and though the Regard to Virtue is dead in them, I have some Hopes from their Fear of Shame upon reading this in your Paper; which I conjure you to do, if you have any Compassion for Injured Virtue.
I am the Husband of a Woman of Merit, but am fallen in Love, as they call it, with a Lady of her Acquaintance, who is going to be married to a Gentleman who deserves her. I am in a Trust relating to this Lady’s Fortune, which makes my Concurrence in this Matter necessary; but I have so irresistible a Rage and Envy rise in me when I consider his future Happiness, that against all Reason, Equity, and common Justice, I am ever playing mean Tricks to suspend the Nuptials. I have no manner of Hopes for my self; Emilia, for so I’ll call her, is a Woman of the most strict Virtue; her Lover is a Gentleman who of all others I could wish my Friend; but Envy and Jealousie, though placed so unjustly, waste my very Being, and with the Torment and Sense of a Daemon, I am ever cursing what I cannot but approve. I wish it were the Beginning of Repentance, that I sit down and describe my present Disposition with so hellish an Aspect; but at present the Destruction of these two excellent Persons would be more welcome to me than their Happiness. Mr. SPECTATOR, pray let me have a Paper on these terrible groundless Sufferings, and do all you can to exorcise Crowds who are in some Degree possessed as I am.