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of affection so pure and angelic as that of a father to a daughter. He beholds her both with, and without, regard to her sex. In love to our wives there is desire, to our sons there is ambition ; but in that to our daughters, there is something which there are no words to express. Her life is designed wholly domestic, and she is so ready a friend and companion, that every thing that passes about a man, is accompanied with the idea of her presence. Her sex also is naturally so much exposed to hazard, both as to fortune and innocence, that there is perhaps a new cause of fondness arising from that consideration also. None but fathers can have a true sense of these sort of pleasures and sensations ; but my familiarity with the father of Fidelia, makes me let drop the words which I have heard him speak, and observe upon his tenderness towards her.
Fidelia, on her part, as I was going to say, as accomplished as she is, with all her beauty, wit, air, and mien, employs her whole time in care and attendance upon her father. How have I been charmed to see one of the most beauteous women the age has produced, on her knees, helping on an old man's slipper! Her filial regard to him is what she makes her diversion, her business, and her glory. When she was asked by a friend of her deceased mother to admit of the courtship of her son, she answered, that she had a great respect and gratitude to her for the overture in behalf of one so near to her, but that during her father's life she would admit into her heart no value for any thing that should interfere with her endeavour to make his remains of life as happy and easy as could be expected in his circumstances. The lady admonished her of the prime of life with a smile; which Fidelia answered with a frankness that
always attends unfeigned virtue: 'It is true, Madam, there is to be sure very great satisfactions to be expected in the commerce of a man of honour, whom one tenderly loves ; but I find so much satisfaction in the reflection, how much I mitigate a good man's pains, whose welfare depends upon my assiduity about him, that I willingly exclude the loose gratifications of passion for the solid reflections of duty. I know not whether any man's wife would be allowed, and (what I still more fear) I know not whether I, a wife, should be willing to be as officious as I am at present about my parent. The happy father has her declaration that she will not marry during his life, and the pleasure of seeing that resolution not uneasy to her. Were one to paint filial affection in its utmost beauty, he could not have a more lively idea of it than in beholding Fidelia serving her father at his hours of rising, meals, and rest.
When the general crowd of female youth are consulting their glasses, preparing for balls, assemblies, or plays; for a young lady, who could be regarded among the foremost in those places, either for her person, wit, fortune, or conversation, and yet contemn all these entertainments, to sweeten the heavy hours of a decrepid parent, is a resignation truly heroic. Fidelia performs the duty of a nurse with all the beauty of a bride; nor does she neglect her person, because of her attendance on him, when he is too ill to receive company to whom she may make an appearance.
Fidelia, who gives him up her youth, does not think it any great sacrifice to add to it the spoiling of her dress. Her care and exactness in her habit, convince her father of the alacrity of her mind ; and she has of all women the best foundation for affect
ing the praise of a seeming negligence. What adds to the entertainment of the good old man is, that Fidelia, where merit and fortune cannot be overlooked by epistolary lovers, reads over the accounts of her conquests, plays on her spinet the gayest airs, (and while she is doing so you would think her formed only for gallantry) to intimate to him the pleasures she despises for his sake.
Those who think themselves the pattern of goodbreeding and gallantry would be astonished to hear that, in those intervals when the old gentleman is at ease, and can bear company, there are at his house, in the most regular order, assemblies of people of the highest merit; where there is conversation without mention of the faults of the absent, benevolence between men and women without passion, and the highest subjects of morality treated of as natural and accidental discourse; all which is owing to the genius of Fidelia, who at once makes her father's way to another world easy, and herself capable of being an honour to his name in this,
? MR. SPECTATOR, • I was the other day at the Bear-Garden in hopes to have seen your short face'; but not being so fortunate, I must tell you, by way of letter, that there is a mystery among the gladiators which has escaped your spectatorial penetration. For, being in a box at an alehouse near that renowned seat of honour above mentioned, I overheard two masters of the science agreeing to quarrel on the next opportunity. This was to happen in a company of a set of the fraternity of basket-hilts, who were to meet that even
! See N° 436,