The history of the life of the late mr. Jonathan wild the great



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CHAPTER NINE



WILD PAYS A VISIT TO MISS LETITIA SNAP. A DESCRIPTION OF THAT LOVELY YOUNG CREATURE, AND THE SUCCESSLESS ISSUE OF MR. WILD'S ADDRESSES.
The next morning when our hero waked he began to think of paying a visit to Miss Tishy Snap, a woman of great merit and of as great generosity; yet Mr. Wild found a present was ever most welcome to her, as being a token of respect in her lover. He therefore went directly to a toy-shop, and there purchased a genteel snuff-box, with which he waited upon his mistress, whom he found in the most beautiful undress. Her lovely hair hung wantonly over her forehead, being neither white with, nor yet free from, powder; a neat double clout, which seemed to have been worn a few weeks only, was pinned under her chin; some remains of that art with which ladies improve nature shone on her cheeks; her body was loosely attired, without stays or jumps, so that her breasts had uncontrolled liberty to display their beauteous orbs, which they did as low as her girdle; a thin covering of a rumpled muslin handkerchief almost hid them from the eyes, save in a few parts, where a good-natured hole gave opportunity to the naked breast to appear. Her gown was a satin of a whitish colour, with about a dozen little silver spots upon it, so artificially interwoven at great distance, that they looked as if they had fallen there by chance. This, flying open, discovered a fine yellow petticoat, beautifully edged round the bottom with a narrow piece of half gold lace which was now almost become fringe: beneath this appeared another petticoat stiffened with whalebone, vulgarly called a hoop, which hung six inches at least below the other; and under this again appeared an under-garment of that colour which Ovid intends when he says,
----Qui color albus erat nunc est contrarius albo.
She likewise displayed two pretty feet covered with silk and adorned with lace, and tied, the right with a handsome piece of blue ribbon; the left, as more unworthy, with a piece of yellow stuff, which seemed to have been a strip of her upper petticoat. Such was the lovely creature whom Mr. Wild attended. She received him at first with some of that coldness which women of strict virtue, by a commendable though sometimes painful restraint, enjoin themselves to their lovers. The snuff-box, being produced, was at first civilly, and indeed gently, refused; but on a second application accepted. The tea-table was soon called for, at which a discourse passed between these young lovers, which, could we set it down with any accuracy, would be very edifying as well as entertaining to our reader; let it suffice then that the wit, together with, the beauty, of this young creature, so inflamed the passion of Wild, which, though an honourable sort of a passion, was at the same time so extremely violent, that it transported him to freedoms too offensive to the nice chastity of Laetitia, who was, to confess the truth, more indebted to her own strength for the preservation of her virtue than to the awful respect or backwardness of her lover; he was indeed so very urgent in his addresses, that, had he not with many oaths promised her marriage, we could scarce have been strictly justified in calling his passion honourable; but he was so remarkably attached to decency, that he never offered any violence to a young lady without the most earnest promises of that kind, these being, he said, a ceremonial due to female modesty, which cost so little, and were so easily pronounced, that the omission could arise from nothing but the mere wantonness of brutality. The lovely Laetitia, either out of prudence, or perhaps religion, of which she was a liberal professor, was deaf to all his promises, and luckily invincible by his force; for, though she had not yet learnt the art of well clenching her fist, nature had not however left her defenceless, for at the ends of her fingers she wore arms, which she used with such admirable dexterity, that the hot blood of Mr. Wild soon began to appear in several little spots on his face, and his full-blown cheeks to resemble that part which modesty forbids a boy to turn up anywhere but in a public school, after some pedagogue, strong of arm, hath exercised his talents thereon. Wild now retreated from the conflict, and the victorious Laetitia, with becoming triumph and noble spirit, cried out, "D--n your eyes, if this be your way of shewing your love, I'll warrant I gives you enough on't." She then proceeded to talk of her virtue, which Wild bid her carry to the devil with her, and thus our lovers parted.

CHAPTER TEN



A DISCOVERY OF SOME MATTERS CONCERNING THE CHASTE LAETITIA WHICH MUST WONDERFULLY SURPRISE, AND PERHAPS AFFECT, OUR READER.
Mr. Wild was no sooner departed than the fair conqueress, opening the door of a closet, called forth a young gentleman whom she had there enclosed at the approach of the other. The name of this gallant was Tom Smirk. He was clerk to an attorney, and was indeed the greatest beau and the greatest favourite of the ladies at the end of the town where he lived. As we take dress to be the characteristic or efficient quality of a beau, we shall, instead of giving any character of this young gentleman, content ourselves with describing his dress only to our readers. He wore, then, a pair of white stockings on his legs, and pumps on his feet: his buckles were a large piece of pinchbeck plate, which almost covered his whole foot. His breeches were of red plush, which hardly reached his knees; his waistcoat was a white dimity, richly embroidered with yellow silk, over which he wore a blue plush coat with metal buttons, a smart sleeve, and a cape reaching half way down his back. His wig was of a brown colour, covering almost half his pate, on which was hung on one side a little laced hat, but cocked with great smartness. Such was the accomplished Smirk, who, at his issuing forth from the closet, was received with open arms by the amiable Laetitia. She addressed him by the tender name of dear Tommy, and told him she had dismissed the odious creature whom her father intended for her husband, and had now nothing to interrupt her happiness with him.
Here, reader, thou must pardon us if we stop a while to lament the capriciousness of Nature in forming this charming part of the creation designed to complete the happiness of man; with their soft innocence to allay his ferocity, with their sprightliness to soothe his cares, and with their constant friendship to relieve all the troubles and disappointments which can happen to him. Seeing then that these are the blessings chiefly sought after and generally found in every wife, how must we lament that disposition in these lovely creatures which leads them to prefer in their favour those individuals of the other sex who do not seem intended by nature as so great a masterpiece! For surely, however useful they may be in the creation, as we are taught that nothing, not even a louse, is made in vain, yet these beaus, even that most splendid and honoured part which in this our island nature loves to distinguish in red, are not, as some think, the noblest work of the Creator. For my own part, let any man chuse to himself two beaus, let them be captains or colonels, as well-dressed men as ever lived, I would venture to oppose a single Sir Isaac Newton, a Shakespear, a Milton, or perhaps some few others, to both these beaus; nay, and I very much doubt whether it had not been better for the world in general that neither of these beaus had ever been born than that it should have wanted the benefit arising to it from the labour of any one of those persons.
If this be true, how melancholy must be the consideration that any single beau, especially if he have but half a yard of ribbon in his hat, shall weigh heavier in the scale of female affection than twenty Sir Isaac Newtons! How must our reader, who perhaps had wisely accounted for the resistance which the chaste Laetitia had made to the violent addresses of the ravished (or rather ravishing) Wild from that lady's impregnable virtue--how must he blush, I say, to perceive her quit the strictness of her carriage, and abandon herself to those loose freedoms which she indulged to Smirk! But alas! when we discover all, as to preserve the fidelity of our history we must, when we relate that every familiarity had past between them, and that the FAIR Laetitia (for we must, in this single instance, imitate Virgil when he drops the pius and the pater, and drop our favourite epithet of chaste), the FAIR Laetitia had, I say, made Smirk as happy as Wild desired to be, what must then be our reader's confusion! We will, therefore, draw a curtain over this scene, from that philogyny which is in us, and proceed to matters which, instead of dishonouring the human species, will greatly raise and ennoble it.




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