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No. 057 [from The Spectator]
by [?]

No. 57
Saturday, May 5, 1711.
‘Quem praestare potest mulier galeata pudorem,

Quae fugit a Sexu!’


When the Wife of Hector, in Homer’s Iliads, discourses with her Husband about the Battel in which he was going to engage, the Hero, desiring her to leave that Matter to his Care, bids her go to her Maids and mind her Spinning: [1] by which the Poet intimates, that Men and Women ought to busy themselves in their proper Spheres, and on such Matters only as are suitable to their respective Sex.

I am at this time acquainted with a young Gentleman, who has passed a great Part of his Life in the Nursery, and, upon Occasion, can make a Caudle or a Sack-Posset better than any Man in England. He is likewise a wonderful Critick in Cambrick and Muslins, and will talk an Hour together upon a Sweet-meat. He entertains his Mother every Night with Observations that he makes both in Town and Court: As what Lady shews the nicest Fancy in her Dress; what Man of Quality wears the fairest Whig; who has the finest Linnen, who the prettiest Snuff-box, with many other the like curious Remarks that may be made in good Company.

On the other hand I have very frequently the Opportunity of seeing a Rural Andromache, who came up to Town last Winter, and is one of the greatest Fox-hunters in the Country. She talks of Hounds and Horses, and makes nothing of leaping over a Six-bar Gate. If a Man tells her a waggish Story, she gives him a Push with her Hand in jest, and calls him an impudent Dog; and if her Servant neglects his Business, threatens to kick him out of the House. I have heard her, in her Wrath, call a Substantial Trades-man a Lousy Cur; and remember one Day, when she could not think of the Name of a Person, she described him in a large Company of Men and Ladies, by the Fellow with the Broad Shoulders.

If those Speeches and Actions, which in their own Nature are indifferent, appear ridiculous when they proceed from a wrong Sex, the Faults and Imperfections of one Sex transplanted into another, appear black and monstrous. As for the Men, I shall not in this Paper any further concern my self about them: but as I would fain contribute to make Womankind, which is the most beautiful Part of the Creation, entirely amiable, and wear out all those little Spots and Blemishes that are apt to rise among the Charms which Nature has poured out upon them, I shall dedicate this Paper to their Service. The Spot which I would here endeavour to clear them of, is that Party-Rage which of late Years is very much crept into their Conversation. This is, in its Nature, a Male Vice, and made up of many angry and cruel Passions that are altogether repugnant to the Softness, the Modesty, and those other endearing Qualities which are natural to the Fair Sex. Women were formed to temper Mankind, and sooth them into Tenderness and Compassion, not to set an Edge upon their Minds, and blow up in them those Passions which are too apt to rise of their own Accord. When I have seen a pretty Mouth uttering Calumnies and Invectives, what would not I have given to have stopt it? How have I been troubled to see some of the finest Features in the World grow pale, and tremble with Party-Rage? Camilla is one of the greatest Beauties in the British Nation, and yet values her self more upon being the Virago of one Party, than upon being the Toast of both. The Dear Creature, about a Week ago, encountered the fierce and beautiful Penthesilea across a Tea-Table; but in the Height of her Anger, as her Hand chanced to shake with the Earnestness of the Dispute, she scalded her Fingers, and spilt a Dish of Tea upon her Petticoat. Had not this Accident broke off the Debate, no Body knows where it would have ended.