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275 questions and just complaints, as soon as they come to my hands. The two following epistles relate to very great mischiefs in the most important articles of life, love and friendship.

"MR. BICKERSTAFF,

66

Dorsetshire, Dec. 20.

"It is my misfortune to be enamoured of a lady that is neither very beautiful, very witty, nor at all well-natured; but has the vanity to think she excels in all these qualifications, and therefore is cruel, insolent, and scornful. When I study to please her, she treats me with the utmost rudeness and ill manners: if I approach her person, she fights, she scratches me if I offer a civil salute, she bites me; insomuch, that very lately, before a whole assembly of ladies and gentlemen, she ripped out a considerable part of my left cheek. This is no sooner done, but she begs my pardon iu the most handsome and becoming terms imaginable, gives herself worse language than I could find in my heart to do, lets me embrace her to pacify her while she is railing at herself, protests she deserves the esteem of no one living, says I am too good to contradict her when she thus accuses herself. This atones for all; tempts me to renew my addresses, which are ever returned in the same obliging manner. Thus, without some speedy relief, I am in danger of losing my whole face. Notwithstanding all this I doat upon her, and am satisfied she loves me, because she takes me for a man of sense, which I have been generally thought, except in this one instance. Your reflections upon this strange amour would be very useful in these parts, where we are over-run with wild beauties and romps. I earnestly beg your assistance, either to deliver me from the power of

this unaccountable inchantment, or, by some proper animadversions, to civilize the behaviour of this agree

able rustic.

I am, Sir,

Your most humble servant,

EBENEZER."

"MR. BICKERSTÅFF,

"I now take leave to address you in your character of Censor, and complain to you, that among the various errors in conversation which you have corrected, there is one which, though it has not escaped a general reproof, yet seems to deserve a more particular severity. It is an humour of jesting on disagreeable subjects, and insisting on the jest, the more it creates uneasiness; and this some men think they have a title to do as friends. Is the design of jesting to provoke? or does friendship give a privilege to say things with a design to shock? How can that be called a jest which has nothing in it but bitterness? It is generally allowed necessary, for the peace of company, that men should a little study the tempers of each other; but certainly that must be in order to shun what is offensive, not to make it a constant entertainment. The frequent repetition of what appears harsh, will unavoidably leave a rancour that is fatal to friendship; and I doubt much whether it would be an argumeut of a man's good-humour, if he should be rouzed by perpetual teazing, to treat those who do it as his enemies. In a word, whereas it is a common practice to let a story die, merely because it does not touch, I think such as mention one they find does, are as troublesome to society, and as unfit for it, as wags, men of figure, good talkers, or any other apes in conversation; and therefore, for the public benefit,

I hope you will cause them to be branded with such a name as they deserve.

I am, Sir, yours,

PATIENT FRIENDLY,"

The case of Ebenezer is a very common one, and is always cured by neglect. These fantastical returns of affection proceed from a certain vanity in the other sex, supported by a perverted taste in ours. I must publish it as a rule, that no faults which proceed from the will, either in a mistress or a friend, are to be tolerated: but we should be so complaisant to ladies, as to let them displease when they aim at doing it. Pluck up a spirit, Ebenezer; recover the use of your judgment, and her faults will appear, or her beauties vanish. "Her faults begin to please me as well as my own," is a sentence very prettily put into the mouth of a lover by the comic poet*: but he never designed it for a maxim of life, but the picture of an imperfection. If. Ebenezer takes my advice, the same temper which made her insolent to his love, will make her submissive to his indifference.

I cannot wholly ascribe the faults mentioned in the second letter, to the same vanity or pride in companions who secretly triumph over their friends, in being sharp upon them in things where they are most tender. But when this sort of behaviour does not proceed from that source, it does from barrenness of invention, and an inability to support a conversation in a way less offensive. It is the same poverty which makes men speak or write smuttily, that forces them to talk vexingly. As obscene language is an address to the lewd for applause, so are * Congreve, see "The Way of the World," act i. sc. 3.

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this unaccountable inchantment, or, by some proper animadversions, to civilize the behaviour of this agree

able rustic.

I am, Sir,

Your most humble servant,

EBENEZER."

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"MR. BICKERSTAFF,

"I now take leave to address you in your character of Censor, and complain to you, that among the various errors in conversation which you have corrected, there is one which, though it has not escaped a general reproof, yet seems to deserve a more particular severity. It is an humour of jesting on disagreeable subjects, and insisting on the jest, the more it creates uneasiness; and this some men think they have a title to do as friends. Is the design of jesting to provoke? or does friendship give a privilege to say things with a design to shock? How can that be called a jest which has nothing in it but bitterness? It is generally allowed necessary, for the peace of company, that men should a little study the tempers of each other; but certainly that must be in order to shun what is offensive, not to make it a constant entertainment. The frequent repetition of what appears harsh, will unavoidably leave a rancour that is fatal to friendship; and I doubt much whether it would be an argument of a man's good-humour, if he should be rouzed by perpetual teazing, to treat those who do it as his enemies. In a word, whereas it is a common practice to let a story die, merely because it does not touch, I think such as mention one they find does, are as troublesome to society, and as unfit for it, as wags, men of figure, good talkers, or any other apes in conversation; and therefore, for the public benefit,

I hope you will cause them to be branded with such a name as they deserve.

I am, Sir, yours,

PATIENT FRIENDLY,"

The case of Ebenezer is a very common one, and is always cured by neglect. These fantastical returns of affection proceed from a certain vanity in the other sex, supported by a perverted taste in ours. I must publish it as a rule, that no faults which proceed from the will, either in a mistress or a friend, are to be tolerated: but we should be so complaisant to ladies, as to let them displease when they aim at doing it. Pluck up a spirit, Ebenezer; recover the use of your judgment, and her faults will appear, or her beauties vanish. Her faults begin to please me as well as my own," is a sentence very prettily put into the mouth of a lover by the comic poet*: but he never designed it for a maxim of life, but the picture of an imperfection. If. Ebenezer takes my advice, the same temper which made her insolent to his love, will make her submissive to his indifference.

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I cannot wholly ascribe the faults mentioned in the second letter, to the same vanity or pride in companions who secretly triumph over their friends, in being sharp upon them in things where they are most tender. But when this sort of behaviour does not proceed from that source, it does from barrenness of invention, and an inability to support a conversation in a way less offensive. It is the same poverty which makes men speak or write smuttily, that forces them to talk vexingly. As obscene language is an address to the lewd for applause, so are *Congreve, see "The Way of the World," act i. sc. 3.

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