Answer to the Unfortunate Spinster → Miss Porden (Antigynes)
I am a bit of a wag, who for the first thirty years of my life thought fit to show my parts by railing most unmercifully at the female part of the creation, and ransacked all the authors ancient and modern for material that suited my purpose. When I had attained my thirtieth year, I began to reflect that life was no longer to be trifled with, and that it was my duty to transmit it to others, and whether it was this consideration or the fascination of Silvia’s bright black eyes, that converted me, I know not, but I certainly turned tail all on a sudden, and made her proposals of marriage. I had some difficulty in persuading her that I was in earnest & when I had done so, I found my former bad habits an insuperable bar to her favour, for she told me that she was afraid to hurt her happiness with one, who till then had been such a professed enemy to her sex, and whose complacency for her she could not expect to outlive the Honey Moon. This repulse had nearly occasioned my relapse into my former habit, but I was rescued just in time by the bewitching tones of Chloris; after whom I dangled for a year with no better success. Tired with this unprofitable chase I next applied to Lesbia whose flaxen traces and roseate bloom were quite enchanting but she was as cruel as her predecessors. After this I courted successfully half the women of my acquaintance till I was forty, but alas! they all threw my former life in my teeth and affected to doubt my reformation. Enraged by their cruelty, I determined to abandon my pursuit and revenge myself upon them by becoming more violent than ever against the sex, who in return say the most atrocious things in my presence against our nobler race. As I am now upon the verge of fifty, I am generally set down as a most determined and incorrigible old bachelor and as such am exposed to all the sneers of the married part of my acquaintance. I should however have great pleasure in disappointing them and as you appear to be like myself, a turtle that has long sought in vain for a mate, I am induced to offer myself to you. My age, as it is more congenial to your own than that of the pert young sparks who have hitherto addressed you will I hope be no objection. My person is not disagreeable, my fortune competent. I am a tolerable performer on the violin, at least I can scrape country dances as well as most of the modern crowd, of a lively disposition and elegant manners and I should hope likely to make you happy. The anti-female part of my character you need not be afraid of. I candidly confess to you, that it was rather adopted, as affording a freer scope to my wit, than as forming any real part of my character.
In the humble hope of being
Dear Miss your elected friend
I am your most obedient
P.S. The accounts given of you in the last Attic Chest would induce me to think that your personal charms are not great, but as I expect you to believe my account of myself, I cannot do less than credit yours, and accordingly think you all perfection, at least as far as perfection can be in a woman!