Your most humble Servant,’
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No. 80. Friday, June 1, 1711. Steele.
‘Coelum non animum mutant qui trans mare currunt.’
In the Year 1688, and on the same Day of that Year, were born in Cheapside, London, two Females of exquisite Feature and Shape; the one we shall call Brunetta, the other Phillis. A close Intimacy between their Parents made each of them the first Acquaintance the other knew in the World: They played, dressed Babies, acted Visitings, learned to Dance and make Curtesies, together. They were inseparable Companions in all the little Entertainments their tender Years were capable of: Which innocent Happiness continued till the Beginning of their fifteenth Year, when it happened that Mrs. Phillis had an Head-dress on which became her so very well, that instead of being beheld any more with Pleasure for their Amity to each other, the Eyes of the Neighbourhood were turned to remark them with Comparison of their Beauty. They now no longer enjoyed the Ease of Mind and pleasing Indolence in which they were formerly happy, but all their Words and Actions were misinterpreted by each other, and every Excellence in their Speech and Behaviour was looked upon as an Act of Emulation to surpass the other. These Beginnings of Disinclination soon improved into a Formality of Behaviour; a general Coldness, and by natural Steps into an irreconcilable Hatred.
These two Rivals for the Reputation of Beauty, were in their Stature, Countenance and Mien so very much alike, that if you were speaking of them in their Absence, the Words in which you described the one must give you an Idea of the other. They were hardly distinguishable, you would think, when they were apart, tho’ extremely different when together. What made their Enmity the more entertaining to all the rest of their Sex was, that in Detraction from each other neither could fall upon Terms which did not hit herself as much as her Adversary. Their Nights grew restless with Meditation of new Dresses to outvie each other, and inventing new Devices to recal Admirers, who observed the Charms of the one rather than those of the other on the last Meeting.