Your most Dutiful, most Obedient, and most Humble Servant, S. T.
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No. 272. Friday, January 11, 1712. Steele.
[—Longa est injuria, longae Ambages
The Occasion of this Letter is of so great Importance, and the Circumstances of it such, that I know you will but think it just to insert it, in Preference of all other Matters that can present themselves to your Consideration. I need not, after I have said this, tell you that I am in Love. The Circumstances of my Passion I shall let you understand as well as a disordered Mind will admit. That cursed Pickthank Mrs. Jane! Alas, I am railing at one to you by her Name as familiarly as if you were acquainted with her as well as my self: But I will tell you all, as fast as the alternate Interruptions of Love and Anger will give me Leave. There is a most agreeable young Woman in the World whom I am passionately in Love with, and from whom I have for some space of Time received as great Marks of Favour as were fit for her to give, or me to desire. The successful Progress of the Affair of all others the most essential towards a Man’s Happiness, gave a new Life and Spirit not only to my Behaviour and Discourse, but also a certain Grace to all my Actions in the Commerce of Life in all Things tho never so remote from Love. You know the predominant Passion spreads its self thro all a Man’s Transactions, and exalts or depresses [him ] according to the Nature of such Passion. But alas, I have not yet begun my Story, and what is making Sentences and Observations when a Man is pleading for his Life? To begin then: This Lady has corresponded with me under the Names of Love, she my Belinda, I her Cleanthes. Tho I am thus well got into the Account of my Affair, I cannot keep in the Thread of it so much as to give you the Character of Mrs. Jane, whom I will not hide under a borrowed Name; but let you know that this Creature has been since I knew her very handsome, (tho I will not allow her even she has been for the future) and during the Time of her Bloom and Beauty was so great a Tyrant to her Lovers, so over-valued her self and under-rated all her Pretenders, that they have deserted her to a Man; and she knows no Comfort but that common one to all in her Condition, the Pleasure of interrupting the Amours of others. It is impossible but you must have seen several of these Volunteers in Malice, who pass their whole Time in the most labourous Way of Life in getting Intelligence, running from Place to Place with new Whispers, without reaping any other Benefit but the Hopes of making others as unhappy as themselves. Mrs. Jane happened to be at a Place where I, with many others well acquainted with my Passion for Belinda,