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Primer; and I have brought down my Virgil. He makes most shrewd remarks upon the pictures. We are very intimate friends and playfellows. He begins to be very ragged; and I hope I shall be pardoned if I equip him with new cloaths and frocks, or what Mrs. Evans and I shall think for his service. I am, dear Prue, ever yours,
LETTER CCL. To Lady STEELE.
March 19, 1716.-17.
this morning, and I figned the leases to which I saw your hand. This day has been a great
affair in the House of Commons. Mr. Walpole, in very clear and excellent terms, laid before us the state of the debt of the nation, and proposed a way, by lowering the interest giren to the creditors of the kingdom, and other me.. thods, to ease our circumstances. I happened to be the only man in the House who spoke against it *, because I did not think the
of doing it juft. I believe the scheme will take place; and, if it does, Walpole must be a very great nian.
I am very well pleased with the prospect from Mr. Gillmore's design; and, from the integrity of my intentions in all my actions, in great tran
* This is confirmed by the account of the debate in the “ Poa litical State" for March 1716-17.
quillity of mind. I contract my fails every day i į and, when I receive my money, shall be in such a way as will shew that you and my little ones aré all my fincere delight. I am, dear Prue, ever yours,
LETTER CCLI. To Lady STEELE.
Feb. 25, 1716-17. HIS goes to dear Prue, to comfort her in
her absence from her husband. If the thinks the distance as painful as he does, hearing from him must be a great satisfaction. I am sure, as soon as I have made my affairs fo easy as that we can be together without being interrupted with worldly care, I shall put an end to the distance between us.
I every day do something towards this, and next week shall
pay off Madam Dawson. You shall have, within few days, a state of my circumstances, the pro . spect of bettering them, and the progress I have already made in this neceffary work. The children do come on so well, that it would make even me covetous, to put them in a condition equal to the good genius, I bless God, they seem to be of. Moll is the noisiest little creature in the world, and as active as a boy. Madam Betty is the gravest of matrons in her airs and civilities. Eugene, a most beautiful and lufty child. The parliament goes on but
coldly ; but I hope there is a warmer spirit will foon appear in the service of this nation, which, pofseffed of the most solid blessings, sacrifices itself to trifles. Yours ever, Rich. STEELE.
LETTER CCLII. To Lady STEELE.
[undated.] OURS of the 19th lies before me ; and I
am convinced that generous in my carriage should rather be, what you call it, thoughtless. As for the company I am to meet with, I shall maintain a general complaisance, and think the fincerity of speaking all one thinks a great insult and injury towards the rest of the world. I assure you, we will have no quarrels on that score ; for, as I owe every body civility, so I owe you to go on your own way; nor will I de. bate with you on these subjects, but proceed in my own way. To thew you that I am grown a very hard-hearted fellow, and fit for this world, Mrs. Long* has been arrested, and I have, upon her application, refused to concern myself in her affairs. It was, I think, a little confident in her to ask it of me; and, in such cases, I think I may be as bold to deny unreasonable things, as they are to ask them. The Lords of the Treasury have ordered us some money, and I shall
* It might have been supposed that this was the celebrated beauty recorded among the Kit-cat toasts, who retired from the world on account of pecuniary distress; but it appears from the “ Supplement to Swift," that the died at Lynn, Dec. 21, 1911,
husband it to the best advantage, to keep above this ill-natured world; but it is a terrible circumstance to have one's money due to others before it comes into one's own hands.
Dick Philips has been here to-day; and, after we had dined, I executed the leases. I am highly pleased and satisfied with your conduct, and think you come up to the description in the Proverbs * of the good woman, of whom it is said, that her husband shall be honoured from her character. I do assure you, I am not ashamed to tell you, that I submit my conduct to the imitation of yours, and shall take you with me in all matters of concern. You are to know, that I have been casting about how to turn a kind inclination towards me at present into what is folid. There is an estate forfeited to the King, of 100l. a year, by one who died for murder. It is a thing I have come to the knowledge of by-the-bye; and believe I shall have a grant of it, to help me out of the inconveniencies my zeal brought upon me, and I have not yet recovered. One does not know what fate any letter may meet with ; therefore I can never find in my heart to commit secrets to paper. But take it for granted, I shall hereafter shew very little romance in the temper and conduct of, dear Prue, your most affectionate husband, and most obedient servant,
* Chap. xxi. 23.
LETTER CCLIII. To Lady STEELE.
[undated.] HAVE yours, wherein you mention Fuller,
and the account you have that he shewed an infolent joy at his wife's death. I do not set up to excuse his conduct towards his wife, but shall take care of mine towards my own.
You tell me you want a little flattery from me. I assure you I know no one who deserves so much commendation as yourself, and to whomsaying the best things would be so little like flattery. The thing speaks itself, confidering you as a very handsome woman that loves retirement, one who does not want wit, and yet is extremely fincere; and so I could go through all the vices which attend the good qualities of other people, of which you are exempt. But, indeed, though you have every perfection, you have one extravagant fault, which almost frustrates the good in you to me, and that is, that you do not love to dress, to appear, to shine out, even at my requeft, and to make me proud of you, or rather to indulge the pride I have that you are mine. This is all I wish changed in you, which I hope you will bring about, and condescend to be, what nature made you, the most beauteous and most agreeable of your sex, at the instance of,