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

On the other hand, If you can be so good and generous as to make me your Wife, you may promise your self all the Obedience and Tenderness with which Gratitude can inspire a virtuous Woman. Whatever Gratifications you may promise your self from an agreeable Person, whatever Compliances from an easie Temper, whatever Consolations from a sincere Friendship, you may expect as the Due of your Generosity. What at present in your ill View you promise your self from me, will be followed by Distaste and Satiety; but the Transports of a virtuous Love are the least Part of its Happiness. The Raptures of innocent Passion are but like Lightning to the Day, they rather interrupt than advance the Pleasure of it. How happy then is that Life to be, where the highest Pleasures of Sense are but the lower Parts of its Felicity?

Now am I to repeat to you the unnatural Request of taking me in direct Terms. I know there stands between me and that Happiness, the haughty Daughter of a Man who can give you suitably to your Fortune. But if you weigh the Attendance and Behaviour of her who comes to you in Partnership of your Fortune, and expects an Equivalent, with that of her who enters your House as honoured and obliged by that Permission, whom of the two will you chuse? You, perhaps, will think fit to spend a Day abroad in the common Entertainments of Men of Sense and Fortune; she will think herself ill-used in that Absence, and contrive at Home an Expence proportioned to the Appearance which you make in the World. She is in all things to have a Regard to the Fortune which she brought you, I to the Fortune to which you introduced me. The Commerce between you two will eternally have the Air of a Bargain, between us of a Friendship: Joy will ever enter into the Room with you, and kind Wishes attend my Benefactor when he leaves it. Ask your self, how would you be pleased to enjoy for ever the Pleasure of having laid an immediate Obligation on a grateful Mind? such will be your Case with Me. In the other Marriage you will live in a constant Comparison of Benefits, and never know the Happiness of conferring or receiving any.

It may be you will, after all, act rather in the prudential Way, according to the Sense of the ordinary World. I know not what I think or say, when that melancholy Reflection comes upon me; but shall only add more, that it is in your Power to make me your Grateful Wife, but never your Abandoned Mistress.


[Footnote 1: A character in Madame Scuderi’s ‘Grand Cyrus.’]

[Footnote 2: made to]