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accepted. The tea-table was soon called for, at which a discourse passed between these young lovers, which, could we set it down with any accuracy, would be very edifying as well as entertaining to our reader; let it suffice then that the wit, together with the beauty of this young creature, so inflamed the passion of Wild, which, though an honourable sort of a passion, was at the same time so extremely violent, that it transported him to freedoms too offensive to the nice chastity of Laetitia, who was, to confess the truth, more indebted to her own strength for the preservation of her virtue than to the awful respect or backwardness of her lover: he was indeed so very urgent in his addresses, that had he not with many oaths promised her marriage, we could scarce have been strictly justified in calling his passion honourable; but he was so remarkably attached to decency, that he never offered any violence to a young lady without the most earnest promises of that kind, these being, he said, a ceremonial due to female modesty, which cost so little, and were so easily pronounced, that the omission could arise from nothing but the mere wantonness of brutality. The lovely Laetitia, either out of prudence, or perhaps religion, of which she was a liberal professor, was deaf to all his promises, and luckily invincible by his force; for, though she had not yet learnt the art of well clenching her fist, nature had not however left her defenceless: for at the ends of her fingers she wore arms, which she used with such admirable dexterity, that the hot blood of Mr. Wild soon began to appear in several little spots on his face, and his full-blown cheeks to resemble that part which modesty forbids a boy to turn up any where but in a public school, after some pedagogue, strong of arm, hath exercised his talents thereon. Wild now retreated from the conflict, and the victorious Laetitia, with becoming triumph, and noble spirit, cried out, 'D—n your eyes, if this be your way 'of shewing your love, I'll warrant I gives you enough 'on't.' She then proceeded to talk of her virtue, which Wild bid her carry to the devil with her, and thus our lovers parted.
A discovery of some matters coneerning the chaste Lcetitia, which must wonderfully surprise, and perhaps affect our reader.
Mr. Wild was no sooner departed than the fair conqueress, opening the door of a closet, called forth a young gentleman whom she had there enclosed at the approach of the other. The name of this gallant was Tom Smirk. He was clerk to an attorney, and was indeed the greatest beau and the greatest favourite of the ladies at the end of the town where he lived. As we take dress to be the characteristic or efficient quality of a beau, we shall, instead of giving any character of this young gentleman, content ourselves with describing his dress only to our readers. He wore, then, a pair of white stockings on his legs, and pumps on his feet: his buckles were a large piece of pinchbeck plate, which almost covered his whole foot. His breeches were of red plush, which hardly reached his knees; his waistcoat was a white dimity, richly embroidered with yellow silk, over which he wore a blue plush coat with metal buttons, a smart sleeve, and a cape reaching half way down his back. His wig was of a brown colour, covering almost half his pate, on which was hung, on one side, a little laced hat, but cocked with great smartness. Such was the accomplished Smirk, who, at his issuing forth from the closet, was received with open arms by the amiable Laetitia. She addressed him by the tender name of dear Tommy; and told him she had dismissed the odious creature whom her father intended for her husband, and had now nothing to interrupt her happiness with him.
Here, reader, thou must pardon us if we stop a while to lament the capriciousness of nature in forming this charming part of the creation, designed to complete the happiness of man; with their soft innocence to allay his ferocity, with their sprightliness to soothe his cares, and with their constant friendship to relieve all the troubles and disappointments which can happen to him. Seeing then that these are the blessings chiefly sought after, and generally found in every wife, how must we lament that disposition in these lovely creatures which leads them to prefer in their favour those individuals of the other sex who do not seem intended by nature as so great a masterpiece. For surely, however useful they may be in the creation, as we are taught that nothing, not even a louse, is made in vain; yet these beaus, even that most splendid and honoured part, which, in this our island, nature loves to distinguish in red, are not, as some think, the noblest work of the Creator. For my own part, let any man choose to himself two beaus, let them be captains or colonels, as well dressed men as ever lived, I would venture to oppose a single Sir Isaac Newton, a Shakespeare, a Milton, or perhaps some few others, to both these beaus; nay, and I very much doubt whether it had not been better for the world in general that neither of these beaus had ever been born, than that it should have wanted the benefit arising to it from the labour of any one of those persons.
If this be true, how melancholy must be the consideration, that any single beau, especially if he have but half a yard of ribbon in his hat, shall weigh heavier in the scale of female affection than twenty Sir Isaac Newtons. How must our reader, who perhaps had wisely accounted for the resistance which the chaste Laetitia had made to the violent addresses of the ravished (or rather ravishing) Wild, from that lady's impregnable virtue, how must he blush, I say, to perceive her quit the strictness of her carriage, and abandon herself to those loose freedoms which she indulged to Smirk. But, alas 1 when we discover all, as to preserve the fidelity of our history we must, when we relate that every familiarity had passed between them, and that the Fair Laetitia (for we must, in this single instance, imitate Virgil, where he drops the pius and the pater, and drop our favourite epithet of chaste), the Fair Laetitia had, I say, made Smirk as happy as Wild desired to be, what must then be our reader's confusion? We will therefore draw a curtain over this scene, from that philogyny which is in us, and proceed to matters, which, instead of dishonouring the human species, will greatly raise and ennoble it.
Containing as notable instanees of human greatness as are to be met with in aneient or modern history. Coneluding with some, wholesome hints to the gay part of mankind.
Wild no sooner parted from the chaste Laetitia than, recollecting that his friend the Count was returned to his lodgings in the same house, he resolved to visit him: for he was none of those half-bred fellows who are ashamed to see their friends when they have plundered and betrayed them: from which base and pitiful temper many monstrous cruelties have been transacted by men, who have sometimes carried their modesty so far as to the murder or utter ruin of those against whom their consciences have suggested to them that they have committed some small trespass, either by the debauching a friend's wife or daughter, belying or betraying the friend himself, or some other such trifling instance. In our hero there was nothing not truly great: he could, without the least abashment, drink a bottle with the man who knew he had the moment before picked his pocket; and, when he had stript him of every thing he had, never desired to do him any further mischief; for he carried good nature to that wonderful and uncommon height that he never did a single injury to man or woman by which he himself did not expect to reap some advantage. He would often indeed say that by the contrary party men often made a bad bargain with the devil, and did his work for nothing.
Our hero found the captive Count, not basely lamenting his fate, nor abandoning himself to despair, but, with due resignation, employing himself in preparing several packs of cards for future exploits. The Count, little suspecting that Wild had been the sole contriver of the misfortune which had befallen him, rose up and eagerly embraced him; and Wild returned his embrace with equal warmth. They were no sooner seated than Wild took an occasion, from seeing the cards lying on the table, to inveigh against gaming, and, with an usual and highly commendable freedom, after first exaggerating the distrest circumstances in which the Count was then involved, imputed all his misfortunes to that cursed itch of play, which, he said, he concluded had brought his present confinement upon him, and must unavoidably end in his destruction. The other, with great alacrity, defended his favourite amusement (or rather employment), and,