I think the only Improvement beyond this, would be that which the late Duke of Buckingham mentioned to a stupid Pretender to Poetry, as the Project of a Dutch Mechanick, viz. a Mill to make Verses. This being the most compendious Method of all which have yet been proposed, may deserve the Thoughts of our modern Virtuosi who are employed in new Discoveries for the publick Good: and it may be worth the while to consider, whether in an Island where few are content without being thought Wits, it will not be a common Benefit, that Wit as well as Labour should be made cheap.
I am, SIR, Your humble Servant, &c.
I often dine at a Gentleman’s House, where there are two young Ladies, in themselves very agreeable, but very cold in their Behaviour, because they understand me for a Person that is to break my Mind, as the Phrase is, very suddenly to one of them. But I take this Way to acquaint them, that I am not in Love with either of them, in Hopes they will use me with that agreeable Freedom and Indifference which they do all the rest of the World, and not to drink to one another [only,] but sometimes cast a kind Look, with their Service to,
SIR, Your humble Servant.
I am a young Gentleman, and take it for a Piece of Good-breeding to pull off my Hat when I see any thing particularly charming in any Woman, whether I know her or not. I take care that there is nothing ludicrous or arch in my Manner, as if I were to betray a Woman into a Salutation by Way of Jest or Humour; and yet except I am acquainted with her, I find she ever takes it for a Rule, that she is to look upon this Civility and Homage I pay to her supposed Merit, as an Impertinence or Forwardness which she is to observe and neglect. I wish, Sir, you would settle the Business of salutation; and please to inform me how I shall resist the sudden Impulse I have to be civil to what gives an Idea of Merit; or tell these Creatures how to behave themselves in Return to the Esteem I have for them. My Affairs are such, that your Decision will be a Favour to me, if it be only to save the unnecessary Expence of wearing out my Hat so fast as I do at present.
There are some that do know me, and wont bow to me.
I am, SIR,
—Aliena negotia centum
Per caput, et circa saliunt latus.
[Footnote 2: This letter is by John Hughes.]