You have gained a slight Satisfaction at the Expence of doing a very heinous Crime. At the Price of a faithful Friend you have obtained an inconstant Mistress. I rejoice in this Expedient I have thought of to break my Mind to you, and tell you, You are a base Fellow, by a Means which does not expose you to the Affront except you deserve it. I know, Sir, as criminal as you are, you have still Shame enough to avenge yourself against the Hardiness of any one that should publickly tell you of it. I therefore, who have received so many secret Hurts from you, shall take Satisfaction with Safety to my self. I call you Base, and you must bear it, or acknowledge it; I triumph over you that you cannot come at me; nor do I think it dishonourable to come in Armour to assault him, who was in Ambuscade when he wounded me.
What need more be said to convince you of being guilty of the basest Practice imaginable, than that it is such as has made you liable to be treated after this Manner, while you your self cannot in your own Conscience but allow the Justice of the Upbraidings of Your Injured Friend,
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No. 449. Tuesday, August 5, 1712. Steele
‘—Tibi scriptus, Matrona, libellus—’
When I reflect upon my Labours for the Publick, I cannot but observe, that Part of the Species, of which I profess my self a Friend and Guardian, is sometimes treated with Severity; that is, there are in my Writings many Descriptions given of ill Persons, and not yet any direct Encomium made of those who are good. When I was convinced of this Error, I could not but immediately call to Mind several of the Fair Sex of my Acquaintance, whose Characters deserve to be transmitted to Posterity in Writings which will long outlive mine. But I do not think that a Reason why I should not give them their Place in my Diurnal as long as it will last. For the Service therefore of my Female Readers, I shall single out some Characters of Maids, Wives and Widows, which deserve the Imitation of the Sex. She who shall lead this small illustrious Number of Heroines shall be the amiable Fidelia.
Before I enter upon the particular Parts of her Character, it is necessary to Preface, that she is the only Child of a decrepid Father, whose Life is bound up in hers. This Gentleman has used Fidelia from her Cradle with all the Tenderness imaginable, and has view’d her growing Perfections with the Partiality of a Parent, that soon thought her accomplished above the Children of all other Men, but never thought she was come to the utmost Improvement of which she her self was capable. This Fondness has had very happy Effects upon his own Happiness, for she reads, she dances, she sings, uses