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Upon my looking into the books I found there were some few which the lady had bought for her own use, but that most of them had been got together, either because she had heard them praised, or because she had seen the authors of them. Among several that I examined, I very well remember these that follow.
Ogleby's Virgil n.
The Grand Cyrus; with a pin stuck in one of the middle leaves.
Father Malbranche's Search after Truth, translated into English.
A book of Novels.
Tales in verse by Mr. Durfey: bound in red leather, gilt on the back, and doubled down in several places.
All the Classic authors, in wood. 30
A set of Elzevirs by the same hand
Clelia: which opened of itself in the place that describes two lovers in a bower.
A Prayer-book : with a bottle of Hungary water by the side of it.
Dr. Sacheverell's Speech.
I was taking a catalogue in my pocket-book of these and several other authors, when Leonora entered, and upon my presenting her with the letter from the knight, told me with an unspeakable grace, that she hoped Sir Roger was in good health:
I answered 'Yes,' for I hate long speeches, and after a bow or 10 two retired.
Leonora was formerly a celebrated beauty, and is still a very lovely woman. She has been a widow for two or three years, and being unfortunate in her first marriage has taken a resolution never to venture upon a second. She has no children to take care of, and leaves the management of her estate to my good friend Sir Roger. But as the mind naturally sinks into a kind of lethargy, and falls asleep, that is not agitated by some favourite pleasures and pursuits, Leonora has turned all the
passions of her sex into a love of books and retirement. She 20 converses chiefly with men, as she has often said herself, but it
is only in their writings; and admits of very few male visitants, except my friend Sir Roger, whom she hears with great pleasure, and without scandal. As her reading has lain very much among romances, it has given her a very particular turn of thinking, and discovers itself even in her house, her gardens, and her furniture. Sir Roger has entertained me an hour together with a description of her country-seat, which is situated in a kind of wilderness, about an hundred miles distant from London, and
looks like a little enchanted palace. The rocks about her are 30 shaped into artificial grottoes covered with woodbines and
jessamines. The woods are cut into shady walks, twisted into bowers, and filled with cages of turtles. The springs are made to run among pebbles, and by that means taught to murmur very agreeably. They are likewise collected into a beautiful lake, that is inhabited by a couple of swans, and empties itself by a little rivulet which runs through a green meadow, and is known in the family by the name of “The purling stream.' The knight likewise tells me, that this lady preserves her game better
than any of the gentlemen in the country; not, says Sir Roger, 40 that she sets so great a value upon her partridges and pheasants
I must put you in mind of the catalogue of books which you this particular, being your daily disciple and humble servant,
as upon her larks and nightingales: for she says that every bird which is killed in her ground will spoil a concert, and that she shall certainly miss him the next year.
When I think how oddly this lady is improved by learning, I look upon her with a mixture of admiration and pity. Amidst these innocent entertainments which she has formed to herself, how much more valuable does she appear than those of her sex, who employ themselves in diversions tha are less reasonable,
though more in fashion? What improvements would a woman 10 have made, who is so susceptible of impressions from what she
reads, had she been guided to such books as have a tendency to enlighten the understanding and rectify the passions, as well as to those which are of little more use than to divert the imagination !
But the manner of a lady's employing herself usefully in
Convivæ prope dissentire videntur,
HOR. Epist. ii. 2. 61. Looking over the late packets of letters which have been sent to me, I found the following one.
6 MR. SPECTATOR, Your paper is a part of my tea-equipage ; and my servant knows my humour so well, that, calling for my breakfast this morning (it being past my usual hour), she answered, the Spectator was not yet come in; but that the tea-kettle boiled, and she expected it every moment. Having thus in part signified to you the esteem and veneration which I have for you, promised to recommend to our sex; for I have deferred
my closet with authors, till I receive your advice in
In answer to my fair disciple, whom I am very proud of, I must acquaint her and the rest of my readers, that since I have called out for help in my catalogue of a lady's library, I have received many letters upon that head, some of which I shall give an account of.
In the first class I shall take notice of those which come to me from eminent booksellers, who every one of them mention with respect the authors they have printed, and consequently have an
eye to their own advantage more than to that of the ladies. 10 One tells me, that he thinks it absolutely necessary for women
to have true notions of right and equity, and that therefore they cannot peruse a better book than Dalton's Country Justice : Another thinks they cannot be without The Complete Jockey. A third, observing the curiosity and desire of prying into secrets, which he tells me is natural to the fair sex, is of opinion this female inclination, if well directed, might turn very much to their advantage, and therefore recommends to me Mr. Mede upon the Revelations n. A fourth lays it down as an unquestioned
truth, that a lady cannot be thoroughly accomplished who has 20 not read The Secret Treaties and Negotiations of Marshal
d'Estrades 1. Mr. Jacob Tonson, jun., is of opinion, that Bayle's Dictionary might be of very great use to the ladies, in order to make them general scholars. Another, whose name I have forgotten, thinks it highly proper that every woman with child should read Mr. Wall's History of Infant Baptism n; as another is very importunate with me to recommend to all my female readers The Finishing Stroke; being a Vindication of the Patriarchal Scheme, &c. n
In the second class I shall mention books which are recom30 mended by husbands, if I may believe the writers of them.
Whether or no they are real husbands or personated ones I cannot tell, but the books they recommend are as follow. A Paraphrase on the History of Susanna. Rules to keep Lent. The Christian's Overthrow prevented. A Dissuasive from the Playhouse. The Virtues of Camphire, with Directions to make Camphire Tea. The pleasures of a Country Life. The Government of the Tongue. A letter dated from Cheapside desires me that I would advise all
young wives to make themselves mistresses of Wingate's Arithmetic, and concludes with a postscript, that he hopes 40 I will not forget The Countess of Kent's Receipts.
30 ribbands and brocades will break in upon us ? an act of parliament for prohibiting the importation of French 250 MANNERS, FASHIONS, AND HUMOURS. I may
reckon the ladies themselves as a third class among these my correspondents and privy-counsellors. In a letter from one of them, I am advised to place Pharamondn at the head of my catalogue, and, if I think proper, to give the second place to Cassandra. Coquetilla begs me not to think of nailing women upon their knees with manuals of devotion, nor of scorching their faces with books of housewifery. Florella desires to know if there are any books written against prudes, and intreats me, if
there are, to give them a place in my library. Plays of all sorts 10 have their several advocates : All for Loven is mentioned in above
fifteen letters; Sophonisba, or Hannibals Overthrow, in a dozen; The Innocent Adultery is likewise highly approved of: Mithridates King of Pontus has many friends ; Alexander the Great and Aurengzebe have the same number of voices; but Theodosius, or The Force of Love, carries it from all the rest.
I should, in the last place, mention such books as have been proposed by men of learning, and those who appear competent judges of this matter; and must here take occasion to
thank A. B., whoever it is that conceals himself under those two 20 letters, for his advice upon this subject. But as I find the work
I have undertaken to be very difficult, I shall defer the executing of it till I am further acquainted with the thoughts of my judicious contemporaries, and have time to examine the several books they offer to me; being resolved, in an affair of this moment, to proceed with the greatest caution. No. 45. Invasion of French Manners ; levity and effrontery of
Natio comæda est.— Juv. Sat. iii. 100. There is nothing which I more desire than a safe and honourable peace, though at the same time I am very apprehensive of many ill consequences that may attend it. I do not mean in regard to our politics, but our manners.
What an inundation of
What peals of and impertinence shall we be exposed to ? of these great evils, I could heartily wish that there was
For the pre