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Whoever should see or hear you, would think it were worth leaving all the world for you! while I, habitually possessed of that happiness, have been throwing away impotent endeavours for the rest of mankind, to the neglect of her for whom any other man, in his senses, would be apt to sacrifice every thing else.
I know not by what unreasonable prepossession it is, but methinks there must be sometbing austere to give authority to wisdom; and I cannot account for having only rallied many seasonable sentimeyts of yours, but that you are too beautiful to appear judicious.
One may grow fond, but not wise, from what is said by so lovely a counsellor. Hard fate, that you have been lessened by your perfections, and lost power by your charms !
That ingenuous spirit in all your behaviour, that familiar grace in your words and actions, has for these seven years only inspired admiration and love; but experience has taught me, the best counsel I ever have received has been pronounced by the fairest and softest lips, and convinced me that I am in you blest with a wise friend, as well as a charming mistress.
Your mind shall no longer suffer by your person; nor shall your eyes for the future dazzle me into a blindness towards your understanding. I rejoice in this public occasion to show my esteem for you ; and must do you the justice to say, that there can be no virtue represented in all this col. lection for the female world, which I have not known you exert, as far as the opportunities of your fortune have given you leave. Forgive me, that my heart overflows with love and gratitudo for daily instances of your prudent economy, the just disposition you make of your little affairs, your cheerfulness in dispatch of them, your prudent forbearance of any reflections that they might have needed less vigilance had you disposed of your fortune suitably; in short, for all the arguments you every day give me of a generous and sincere affection.
It is impossible for me to look back on many evils and pains which I have suffered since we came together, without a pleasure which is not to be expressed, from the proofs I have had in those circumstances of your unwearied goodness. How often bas your tenderness removed pain from my sick head! how often anguish from my afflicted heart! with how skilful patience have I known you comply with the vain projects which pain has suggested, to have an aching limb removed by journeying from one side of a room to another! how often, the next instant travelled the same gr again, without telling your patient it was to no purpose to change his situation! If there are such beings as guardian angels, thus are they employed. I will no more believe one of them more good in its inclinations, than I can conceive it more charming in its form, than my wife.
But I offend, and forget that what I say to you is to appear in public. You are so great a lover of home, that I know it will be irksome to you to go into the world even in an applause. I will end this without so much as mentioning your little flock, or your own amiable figure at the head of it. That I think them preferable to all other chil
dren, I know is the effect of passion and instinct; that I believe you the best of wives, I know pro-. ceeds from experience and reason. I am, madam, your most obliged husband, and most obedient humble servant.
SIR RICHARD STEELE TO LADY STEELE, AT CAER
MARTHEN, SOUTH WALES.
MY DEAR PRUE,
Sept. 20, 1717. I Aave yours of the 16th, and am heartily troubled that we share in a new calamity, to wit, having the same distemper*. Pray take care of yourself, and you will find that we shall be in great plenty before another year turns round. My dear wife, preserve yourself for him that sincerely loves you, and to be an example to your little ones of religion and virtue. If it pleases God to bless us together with life and health, we will live a life of piety and cheerful virtue. Your daughter Bess gives her duty to you, and says she will be your comfort, but she is very sorry you are afflicted with the gout. The brats, my girls, stand on each side the table; and Molly says, that what I am writing now is about her new coat. Bess is with me till she has new clothes. Miss Moll has taken upon her to hold the sand-box, and is so impertinent in her office, that I cannot write more. But
• The gout.
you are to take this letter as from your three best friends,
Bess, Moll, and their Father. Eugene was very well this morning. Moll bids me let you know that she fell down just now, and did not hurt herself. Betty and Moll give their service to Sam and Myrtle.
LADY M. W. MONTAGUE TO THE COUNTESS OF
Rotterdam, Aug. 3, 0. S. 1716. I FLATTFR myself (dear sister) that I shall give you some pleasure in letting you know that I have safely passed the sea, though we had the ill fortune of a storm. We were persuaded by the captain of the yacht to set out in a calm, and he pretended there was nothing so easy as to tide it over; but, after two days slowly moving, the wind blew so hard, that none of the sailors could keep their feet, and we were all Sunday night tossed very handsomely. I never saw a man more frighted than the captain. For my part, I have been so lucky neither to suffer from fear nor sea-sickness; though, I confess, I was so impatient to see myself once more upon dry land, that I would not stay till the yacht could get to Rotterdam, but went in the long-boat to Helvoetsluys, where we had voitures to carry us to the Briel. I was charmed with the neatness of that little town; but my arrival at Rotterdam presented me a new scene of plea.
sure. All the streets are paved with broad stones, and before many of the meanest artificers' doors are placed seats of various-coloured marbles, so neatly kept, that I'll assure you, I walked almost all over the town yesterday, incognito, in my slippers, without receiving one spot of dirt; and you may see the Dutch maids washing the pavement of the street, with more application than ours do our bed-chambers. The town seems so full of people, with such busy faces all in motion, that I can hardly fancy it is not some celebrated fair; but I see it is every day the same. It is certain no town can be more advantageously situated for commerce. Here are seven large canals, on which the merchants' ships come up to the very doors of their houses. The shops and warehouses are of a surprising neatness and magnificence, filled with an incredible quantity of fine inerchandise, and so much cheaper than what we see in Eng. land, that I have much ado to persuade myself I am still so pear it. Here is neither dirt nor beggary to be seen. One is not shocked with those loathsome cripples, so common in London, nor teased with the importunity of idle fellows and wenches, that choose to be nasty and lazy. The common servants and little shop-women here are more nicely clean than most of our ladies, and the great variety of neat dresses (every woman dressing her head after her own fashion) is an additional pleasure in seeing the town. hitherto, I make no complaints, dear sister, and if I continue to like travelling as well as I do at present, I shall not repent my project. It will go a great way in making me satisfied with it, if it