Page images







EAR Cleonicus, I've been so affected with the

pleasing Discourse you entertained us with last Night, that I know not which is greatest, my Joy in seeing so near a Relation after so long Absence at College, or the Happiness I conceive will redound to me, and the Family, from the great Abilities and Improvements you've there acquired.

Cleonicus. Dear Euphrosyne, as I have been very industrious in improving my Time and Talents at College; so if any Satisfaction or Happiness result from thence to any Person, and especially to yourself, dear Sister, I shall think myself highly compensated. Your remarkable Dirposition to reading, I see, with the greatest Pleasure, has given you an elegant Taste, and rendered you capable of understanding, and conversing with Persons on fuch Subjects as come but too rarely on the Carpet in any Conversation, especially that of your Sex.

Euphros. I suppose, Brother, you intend to make me a Compliment : Indeed I love reading very much, but with I were more capable of improving by it. Philosophy, I mean the Knowledge of natural Things in general, is what I should be greatly pleased in the Study of, were it VOL. I.


not so difficult a Science. I was charmed with the beauti. ful Sketches you gave the Company Yesterday of some Parts of it.

Cleon. Philosophy is the darling Science of every Man of Sense, and is a peculiar Grace in the Fair Sex; and depend on it, Sister, it is now growing into a Fashion for the Ladies to study Philofophy, and I am very glad to see a Sister of mine so well inclined to promote a Thing so laudable and honourable to her Sex.

Euphros. I often wish it did not look quite so masculine for a Woman to talk of Philosophy in Company ; I have often fat filent, and wanted Resolution to ask a Question for fear of being thought affuming or impertinent. I should be glad to see your Affertions verified ; how happy will be the Age when the Ladies may modestly pretend to Knowledge, and appear learned without Singularity and Affectation! But can you give any Instances within your Knowledge of any persons of our Sex remarkable for this new Cast of Thought?

Cleon. Yes, dear Sifter, feveral ; in London, Oxford, and many other Places. Í fhall mention in particular, Euprepia, a younger Daughter of Eugenius, to whom Nature has not been more indulgent in Genius, and fine Parts, than her Father has been careful in bestowing on her a liberal and genteel Education, and the herself fedulous to improve both ; 'so'that she is now not more conspicuous for personal Charms and Beauty, than great and amiable for her fingular good Sense and Judgment, in natural Sciences especially; on which Account she is admired, efteenied and beloved by all Gentlemen of Difcernment. This fine Lady, you will easily judge, must be a notable Contrast to Thelia, Daughter of Philargus, who, being of a fordid and contracted Temper, has beftowed no more Education on his Daughter than Marking and making of Pasties; thus Thelia lives admired by yeomanly Boors. Euphrol

. Indeed 'tis Pity there are so many young Ladies in Tbelia's Cafe ; 'tis certainly more their Parents, Fault than their own : Thelia might have been Euprepia, had Eugenius been Thelia's Father. 'Tis our Part, Cleonicus, to bless God, that we had no Philargus to our Parent. Cleon, 'Tis juftly observed, Euphrofyne, and I often do:

'Tis our Happiness that we have Parents whose Fortune enables, and whose Temper inclines, them to bestow on us Education, and to train us up to truly honourable and polite Life. I have all the Advantages of the University, and you of the Boarding School; while I pursue the feveral Studies of the Latin, Greek and Mathematical Literature, you apply to French, and the delightful Acquisitions of the Belles Lettres.

Euphrof. Dear Cleonicus, 'tis indeed my Happiness to have divers Masters and Tutors, as well as you; of one I learn French, of another to draw, a third teaches me Musick, and a fourth Dancing : But among 'em all there is no one well enough skill'd in Philosophy to teach that in our School, were any of the young Ladies disposed to learn; this I have learned by Enquiry of my Mistress.

Cleon. As for Masters in Philosophy, 'tis a Thing as yet unheard of in private Schools ; in the Universities there are indeed Professors of Philosophy, who sometimes read Lectures on that Subject; but since I have the Pleasure to find in you a Disposition to Philosophizing, I must tell you, that the only Way, at present, to learn Philosophy is from Books well wrote on that Subject. And then

Euphrof. But, give me Leave to interrupt you a little, by asking you a Question; tho' indeed I am destitute of a Master, I am not of Books ; my Father's Library, replenished with the choicest Books on that Subject, is always, you know, at my Command : But then, this constant Difficulty occurs, that they are, for the most Part, unintelligible, by reason either of Schemes, or hard Terms, or abstruse Reasonings, &c. Pray, how am I to be relieved or assisted in such a Case without a Master ?

Cleon. Dear Sister, 'tis the Fate of that Science to be attended with some Difficulties in the Study of it; these are no otherways to be removed than by the Affiftance of learned Men and Books. But those Parts of Philosophy which are perplexed with Schemes and Abftrufities, are generally such as may be either wholly neglected as useless to the generality of People; or else may be explained in a more easy and familiar Manner by Experiments. Fear not, Euphrosyne; the greatest and most delightful Part of this Science is within the Ladies Comprehension, Euphrof. You give me good Encouragement, Brother;

I will

B 2

I wish you may find the Success of my Enquiries answerable ; for I can afsure you, I shall ask you many impertinent Questions on this Subject before you return again to College.

Cleon. Not more, my dear Euphrofyne, than I shall be as glad to answer, if I can; but don't call 'em impertinent; or else know, that, in the Sciences, such Impertinencies are the first Steps to Knowledge.

Euphrof. Dear Cleonicus, you are very obliging ; but fuffer me to discover to you one Thing further

Cleon. Yes, dear Sister, I'mn impatient to hear you.

Euphros. Be assured, then, that some Time before you came Home, while yet the happy Moments were near approaching, I had form’d, to myself, a Resolution to pursue the Studies of Philosophy, in somewhat of a Method, under your Instructions when present with us.—'Tis only to you, my Cleonicus, I may thus speak without blushing.

Cleon. Modesty, a moit amiable Virtue in all, should never be an Obstacle to the forming, or prosecuting any great, noble, or laudable Design; 'tis then a Faultonly when Ambition is a Virtue. I am extremely pleased to understand your Purpose, and shall be glad to aslift you all I can.

Euphrof. Indeed I design to make a direct Busmess of it, while you are here; and therefore you may expect me to be as troublesome as you please.

Twill be best making Hay while the Sun shines.

Cleon. All Opportunities and Occasions shall be employed to oblige a Sifter so dear to me as Euphrosyne. The Severities of Winter are now paft; the Days are lengthening, the Sun renews his Warmth and Splendor, the Trees begin to bud, the Birds to fing, and all Things now appear in the Serenity of a returning Spring; I therefore propose to spend those vernal Evenings in familiar Difcourse on natural Things, while we walk round the Park, or over the Fields and Meadows, which make such a delightful Landscape all about us.

Euphrof. If I mistake not, this is somewhat like the Manner in which the Antients taught and learned Philosophy, is it not?

Cleon. Yes; and you have read at the same Time, that Aristotle and his Disciples were called Peripatetics, from their Cuftom of teaching and disputing as they walked.

« PreviousContinue »