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robust in perfect health, that it is with her a point of breeding and delicacy, to appear in public with a sickly air. But the natural gaiety and spirit which shine in the complexion of such as form to themselves a sort of diverting industry, by choosing recreations that are exercises, surpass all the false ornaments and graces that can be put on by applying the whole dispensary of a toilet. A healthy body and a cheerful mind, give charms as irresistible as inimitable. The beauteous Dyctinna, who came to town last week, has, from the constant prospect in a delicious country, and the moderate exercise and journies in the visits she made round it, contracted a certain life in her countenance, which will in vain employ both the painters and the poets to represent. The becoming negligence in her dress, the severe sweetness of her looks, and a certain innocent boldness in all her behaviour, are the effect of the active recreations I am talking of.
But instead of such, or any other as innocent and pleasing method of passing away their time with alacrity, we have many in town who spend their hours in an indolent state of body and mind, without either recreations or reflections. I am apt to believe there are some parents who imagine their daughters will be accomplished enough, if nothing interrupts their growth or their shape. According to this method of education, I could name you twenty families, where all the girls hear of in this life is, that it is time to rise and come to dinner, as if they were so insignificant as to be wholly provided for when they are fed and clothed.
It is with great indignation that I see such crowds of the female world lost to human society, and condemned to a laziness which makes life pass away with less relish than in the hardest labour. Palestris, in her drawing-room, is supported by spirits to keep off the returns of spleen and melancholy, before she can get over half of the day, for want of something to do, while the wench in the kitchen sings and scowers from morning to night.
The next disagreeable thing to a lazy lady, is a very busy one. A man of business in good company, who gives an account of his abilities and dispatches, is hardly more insupportable than her they call a notable woman and a manager. Lady Goodday, where I visited the other day, at a very polite circle, entertained a great lady with a recipe for a poultice, and gave us to understand, that she had done extraordinary cures since she was last in town, It seems a countryman had wounded himself with his scythe as he was mowing; and we were obliged to hear of her charity, her medicine, and her humility, in the harshest tone and coarsest language imaginable.
What I would request in all this prattle is, that our females would either let us have their persons, or their minds, in such perfection as nature designed them.
The way to this is, that those who are in the quality of gentlewomen, should propose to themselves some suitable method of passing away their time. This would furnish them with reflections and sentiments proper for the companions of reasonable men, and prevent the unnatural marriages which happen every day between the most accomplished women and the veriest oafs, the worthiest men and the most insignificant females. Were the general turn of women's education of another kind than it is at present, we should want one another for more reasons than we do as the world now goes. The common design of parents is, to get their girls off as well as they can; and they make no conscience of putting into our hands a bargain for our whole life, which will make our hearts ache every day of it. I shall, therefore, take this matter into serious consideration, and will
propose, for the better improvement of the fair sex, à “ Female Library.” This collection of books shall consist of such authors as do not corrupt while they divert, but shall tend more immediately to improve them as they are women. They shall be such as shall not hurt a feature by the austerity of their reflections, nor cause one impertinent glance by the wantonness of them. They shall tend to advance the value of their innocence as virgins, improve their understanding as wives, and regulate their tenderness as parents. It has been very often said in these Lucubrations “ that the ideas which most frequently pass through our imaginations, leave traces of themselves in our countenances.” There shall be a strict regard had to this in my Female Library, which shall be furnished with nothing that shall give supplies to ostentation or impertinence; but the whole shall be so digested for use of my students, that they shall not go out of character in their inquiries, but their knowledge appear only a cultivated in
N° 249. SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 1710.
Per varios casus, per tot discrimina retum,
VIRG. Æn. i. 208.
DRYDEN. From my own Apartment, November 10. I was last night visited by a friend of mine, who has an inexhaustible fund of discourse, and never fails to entertain his company with a variety of thoughts and hints that are altogether new and un
Whether it were in complaisance to my way of living, or his real opinion, he advanced the following paradox: that it required much greater talents to fill up and become a retired life than a life
of business. Upon this occasion he rallied very agreeably the busy men of the age, who only valued themselves for being in motion and passing through a series of trifling and insignificant actions. In the heat of his discourse, seeing a piece of money lying on my table, “ I defy,” says he, “
any of these active persons to produce half the adventures that this Twelvepenny-piece has been engaged in, were it possible for him to give us an account of his life.”
My friend's talk made so odd an impression on my mind, that soon after I was a-bed I fell insensibly into an unaccountable reverie, that had neither moral nor design in it, and cannot be so properly called a dream as a delirium.
Methought the Shilling that lay upon the table reared itself upon its edge, and, turning the face towards me, opened its mouth, and in a soft silver sound, gave me the following account of his life and adventures.
“ I was born,” says he, “ on the side of a mountain, near a little village of Peru, and made a voyage to England in an ingot, under the convoy of Sir Francis Drake. I was, soon after my arrival, taken out of my Indian habit, refined, naturalized, and put into the British mode, with the face of Queen Elizabeth on one side, and the arms of the country on the other. Being thus equipped, I found in me a wonderful inclination to ramble, and visit all the parts of the new world into which I was brought. The people very much favoured my natural disposition, and shifted me so fast from hand to hand, that before I was five years old, I had travelled into almost every corner of the nation. But in the beginning of my sixth year, to my unspeakable grief, I fell into the hands of a miserable old fellow, who clapped me into an iron chest, where I found five hudred more of my own quality who lay under the same confinement. The only relief we had, was to be taken out and counted over in the fresh air every morning and evening. After an imprisonment of several years, we heard somebody knocking at our chest, and breaking it open with a hammer. This we found was the old man's heir, who, as his father lay dying, was so good as to come to our release. He separated us that very day. What was the fate of my companions I know not: as for myself, I was sent to the apothecary's shop for a pint of sack. The apothecary gave me to a herb-woman, the herbwoman to a butcher, the butcher to a brewer, and the brewer to his wife, who made a present of me to a non-conformist preacher. After this manner I made my way merrily through the world : for, as I told you before, we Shillings love nothing so much as travelling. I sometimes fetched in a shoulder of mutton, sometimes a play-book, and often had the satisfaction to treat a templar at a twelvepenny ordinary, to carry him with three friends to Westminster-hall.
“ In the midst of this pleasant progress which I made from place to place, I was arrested by a superstitious old woman, who shut me up in a greasy purse, in pursuance of a foolish saying, that while she kept à Queen Elizabeth's shilling about her, she should never be without money. I continued here a close prisoner for many months, until at last I was exchanged for eight-and-forty farthings.
“ I thus rambled from pocket to pocket until the beginning of the civil wars, when to my shame be it spoken, I was employed in raising soldiers against the king : for, being of a very tempting breadth, a sergeant made use of me to inveigle country fellows, and list them into the service of parliament.
“ As soon as he had made one man sure, his way. was, to oblige him to take a shilling of a more homely figure, and then practise the same trick upon