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No. 328 [from The Spectator] (original)
by [?]

No. 328 [1]
Monday, March 17, 1712. Steele.

Delectata illa urbanitate tam stulta.

Petron. Arb.

That useful Part of Learning which consists in Emendation, Knowledge of different Readings, and the like, is what in all Ages Persons extremely wise and learned have had in great Veneration. For this reason I cannot but rejoyce at the following Epistle, which lets us into the true Author of the Letter to Mrs. Margaret Clark, part of which I did myself the Honour to publish in a former Paper. I must confess I do not naturally affect critical Learning; but finding my self not so much regarded as I am apt to flatter my self I may deserve from some professed Patrons of Learning, I could not but do my self the Justice to shew I am not a Stranger to such Erudition as they smile upon, if I were duly encouraged. However this only to let the World see what I could do; and shall not give my Reader any more of this kind, if he will forgive the Ostentation I shew at present.

March 13, 1712.


Upon reading your Paper of yesterday, [2] I took the Pains to look out a Copy I had formerly taken, and remembered to be very like your last Letter: Comparing them, I found they were the very same, and have, underwritten, sent you that Part of it which you say was torn off. I hope you will insert it, that Posterity may know twas Gabriel Bullock that made Love in that natural Stile of which you seem to be fond. But, to let you see I have other Manuscripts in the same Way, I have sent you Enclosed three Copies, faithfully taken by my own Hand from the Originals, which were writ by a Yorkshire gentleman of a good estate to Madam Mary, and an Uncle of hers, a Knight very well known by the most ancient Gentry in that and several other Counties of Great Britain. I have exactly followed the Form and Spelling. I have been credibly informed that Mr. William Bullock, the famous Comedian, is the descendant of this Gabriel, who begot Mr. William Bullocks great grandfather on the Body of the above-mentioned Mrs. Margaret Clark. But neither Speed, nor Baker, nor Selden, taking notice of it, I will not pretend to be positive; but desire that the letter may be reprinted, and what is here recovered may be in Italic.

I am, SIR,
Your daily Reader.

To her I very much respect, Mrs. Margaret Clark.

Lovely, and oh that I could write loving Mrs. Margaret Clark, I pray you let Affection excuse Presumption. Having been so happy as to enjoy the Sight of your sweet Countenance and comely Body, sometimes when I had occasion to buy Treacle or Liquorish Power at the apothecary’s shop, I am so enamoured with you, that I can no more keep close my flaming Desire to become your Servant. And I am the more bold now to write to your sweet self, because I am now my own Man, and may match where I please; for my Father is taken away; and now I am come to my Living, which is ten yard Land, and a House; and there is never a Yard Land [3] in our Field but is as well worth ten Pound a Year, as a Thief’s worth a Halter; and all my Brothers and Sisters are provided for: besides I have good Household Stuff, though I say it, both Brass and Pewter, Linnens and Woollens; and though my House be thatched, yet if you and I match, it shall go hard but I will have one half of it slated. If you shall think well of this Motion, I will wait upon you as soon as my new Cloaths is made, and Hay-Harvest is in. I could, though I say it, have good Matches in our Town; but my Mother (Gods Peace be with her) charged me upon her Death-Bed to marry a Gentlewoman, one who had been well trained up in Sowing and Cookery. I do not think but that if you and I can agree to marry, and lay our Means together, I shall be made grand Jury-man e’er two or three Years come about, and that will be a great Credit to us. If I could have got a Messenger for Sixpence, I would have sent one on Purpose, and some Trifle or other for a Token of my Love; but I hope there is nothing lost for that neither. So hoping you will take this Letter in good Part, and answer it with what Care and Speed you can, I rest and remain, Yours, if my own, MR. GABRIEL BULLOCK, now my father is dead.