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No. 142 [from The Spectator]
by [?]

I am, dearest Creature,

Your most Obedient,

most Devoted Servant.’

The two next were written after the Day of our Marriage was fixed.

September 25, 1671


‘It is the hardest thing in the World to be in Love, and yet attend Business. As for me, all that speak to me find me out, and I must lock myself up, or other People will do it for me. A Gentleman asked me this Morning what News from Holland, and I answered, She’s Exquisitely handsome. Another desir’d to know when I had been last at Windsor, I reply’d, ‘She designs to go with me. Prethee, allow me at least to kiss your Hand before the appointed Day, that my Mind may be in some Composure. Methinks I could write a Volume to you, but all the Language on Earth would fail in saying how much, and with what dis-interested Passion, I am ever Yours.

September 30, 1671.

Seven in the Morning.

Dear Creature,

Next to the Influence of Heav’n, I am to thank you that I see the returning Day with Pleasure. To pass my Evenings in so sweet a Conversation, and have the Esteem of a Woman of your Merit, has in it a Particularity of Happiness no more to be express’d than return’d. But I am, my Lovely Creature, contented to be on the obliged Side, and to employ all my Days in new Endeavours to convince you and all the World of the Sense I have of your Condescension in Chusing,

MADAM, Your Most Faithful,
Most Obedient Humble Servant.

He was, when he writ the following Letter, as agreeable and pleasant a Man as any in England.

October 20, 1671.


I Beg Pardon that my Paper is not Finer, but I am forced to write from a Coffee-house where I am attending about Business. There is a dirty Crowd of Busie Faces all around me talking of Mony, while all my Ambition, all my Wealth is Love: Love which animates my Heart, sweetens my Humour, enlarges my Soul, and affects every Action of my Life. ‘Tis to my lovely Charmer I owe that many noble Ideas are continually affix’d to my Words and Actions: ‘Tis the natural Effect of that generous Passion to create in the Admirer some Similitude of the Object admired; thus, my Dear, am I every Day to improve from so sweet a Companion. Look up, my Fair One, to that Heaven which made thee such, and join with me to implore its Influence on our tender innocent Hours, and beseech the Author of Love to bless the Rites he has ordained, and mingle with our Happiness a just Sense of our transient Condition, and a Resignation to his Will, which only can regulate our Minds to a steady Endeavour to please him and each other.

I am, for Ever,
your Faithful Servant.

I will not trouble you with more Letters at this time, but if you saw the poor withered Hand which sends you these Minutes, I am sure you will smile to think that there is one who is so gallant as to speak of it still as so welcome a Present, after forty Years Possession of the Woman whom he writes to.

June 23, 1711.


I Heartily beg your Pardon for my Omission to write Yesterday. It was of no Failure of my tender Regard for you; but having been very much perplexed in my Thoughts on the Subject of my last, made me determine to suspend speaking of it ’till I came to myself. But, my Lovely Creature, know it is not in the Power of Age, or Misfortune, or any other Accident which hangs over Human Life, to take from me the pleasing Esteem I have for you, or the Memory of the bright Figure you appeared in when you gave your Hand and Heart to,
Your most Grateful Husband,
and Obedient Servant.

[Footnote 1: They are, after the first, with a few changes of phrase and the alteration of date proper to the design of this paper, copies of Steele’s own love-letters addressed to Mrs. Scurlock, in August and September, 1707; except the last, a recent one, written since marriage.]