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If much more than what is here intimated be not the plain truth, it is impoffible to come at what is fo, fince one can find none who speak of you, who are not in love with your person, or indebted to your fortune. I wish you, as the completion of human happiness, a long continuance of being what you are; and am, Madam, your most obedient and most humble fervant, RICHARD STEELE.

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MADAM,

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[1715.] F great obligations received are just motives for addreffes of this kind, you have an unqueftionable pretenfion to my acknowledgments, who have condefcended to give me your very felf. I can make no return for fo ineftimable a favour, but in acknowledging the generosity of the giver. To have either wealth, wit, or beauty, is generally a temptation to a woman to put an unreasonable value upon herself; but with all thefe, in a degree which drew upon you the addreffes of men of the ampleft fortunes, you bestowed your perfon where you could have no expectations but from the gratitude of the receiver, though you knew he could exert that

* Prefixed to the third volume of "The Ladies Library."
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gratitude

gratitude in no other returns but efteem and love. For which must I first thank you? for what you have denied yourself, or for what you have bestowed on me?

I owe to you, that for my fake you have overlooked the profpect of living in pomp and plenty, and I have not been circumfpect enough to preferve you from care and forrow. I will not dwell upon this particular; you are so good a wife, that I know you think I rob you of more than I can give, when I fay any thing in your favour to my own disadvantage.

Whoever should fee, or hear you, would think it were worth leaving all the world for you; while I, habitually poffeffed 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 fenfes, would be apt to facrifice every thing else.

I know not by what unreasonable prepoffeffion it is, but methinks there must be something auftere to give authority to wisdom; and I cannot account for having only raillied many feafonable fentiments of yours, but that you are too beautiful to appear judicious.

One may grow fond, but not wife, from what is faid by fo lovely a counsellor. Hard fate, that you have been leffened by your perfections, and loft power by your charms!

That

That ingenuous fpirit in all your behaviour, that familiar grace in your words and actions, has for this 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 softeft lips, and convinced me that I am in you bleft with a wife friend, as well as a charming mistress *.

Your mind fhall no longer fuffer by your perfon; nor fhall your eyes, for the future, dazzle me into a blindness towards your understanding. I rejoice in this public occafion to fhew my esteem for you; and must do you the justice to fay, that there can be no virtue reprefented in all this Collection for the female world, which I have not known you exert, as far as the op

A

I never

*See above, p. 276.-Swift, fpeaking of Steele, in his Journal to Stella, fays, "We have fcurvy Tatlers of late: fo pray "do not fufpect me. I have one or two hints I defign to fend "him, and never any more: he does not deserve it. He is go"verned by his wife most abominably, as bad as ——— "faw her fince I came; nor has he ever made me an invitation; "either he dares not, or is fuch a thoughtless Tifdall fellow, "that he never minds it." Swift, Journal to Stella, Nov. 3, 1710." Yes, Steele was a little while in prifon, or at least in "a fpunging-house, fome time before I came, but not fince." Ibid. Dec. 14, 710." Steele was arrefted the other day for

making a lottery, directly against an act of parliament. He " is now under profecution; but they think it will be dropped "out of pity. I believe he will very foon lofe his employment, "for he has been mighty impertinent of late in his Spectators; "and I will never offer a word in his behalf."-Ibid. July 1, 1712. And fee what has been already quoted in p. 361; and a note on the new ed. of TAT. vol. VI. N° 228, p. 95, & feq.

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portunities

portunities of your fortune have given you leave. Forgive me, that my heart overflows with love and gratitude for daily instances of your prudent œconomy, the juft difpofition you make of your little affairs, your chearfulness in dispatch of them, your prudent forbearance of any reflections that they might have needed lefs vigilance had you difpofed of your fortune fuitably; in fhart, for all the arguments you every day give me of a generous and fincere affection.

It is impoffible for me to look back on many evils and pains which I have fuffered fince we came together, without a pleasure which is not to be expreffed, from the proofs I have had, in those circumftances, of your unwearied goodnefs. How often has your tenderness removed pain from my fick head! how often anguish from my afflicted heart! With how fkilful patience have I known you comply with the vain projects which pain has fuggefted, to have an aching limb removed by journeying from one fide of a room to another! how often, the next inftant, travelled the fame ground again, without telling your patient it was to no purpose to change his fituation! If there are fuch 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

But I offend, and forget that what I fay 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 fo much as mentioning your little flock, or your own amiable figure at the head of it. That I think them preferable to all other children, I know is the effect of paffion and instinct; that I believe you the best of wives, I know proceeds from experience and reason. I am, Madam, your most obliged hufband, and most obedient humble fervant, RICHARD STEELE.

LETTER

CCCCXXXVII *.

From Mr. ROYSTON MEREDITH.

Oct. 21, 1714.

SIR,

I'

FI mistake not, you are the gentleman who, of late, has been so great a stickler for the liberty, rights, and properties of the subject;

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*This and the three following letters were originally published in 1714, in a pamphlet, intituled," Mr. Steele detected: 46 or, the poor and oppreffed Orphan's Letters to the great and arbitrary Mr. Steele; complaining of the great Injustice done "to the Public in general, and to himfelf in particular, by the "Ladies Library, published by Mr. Steele; together with Mr. "Steele's Anfwers, and fome juft Reflections on them." The integrity of Steele, whatever other failings he may have had, will overbalance the harsh obloquy of an exasperated adversary. Ee 4 but

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