1741 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Elizabeth Elstob

John Campbell, in The Rational Amusement (1741) 296.



I send you the last Letter I receiv'd from Leander, and I assure you, that I am for my Part well satisfied with what he has hitherto perform'd. I am sorry to say, that most of the Matter contain'd in his Epistles had the Charm of Novelty with me, there being many Things in them which I had never heard of. A Physician in our Neighbourhood, who visits Lady Sophia sometimes, hearing me say at Table, that we ow'd this agreeable Entertainment to your finding Elstob's Grammar upon Leander's Table, he immediately said, that ingenious Lady had done a very acceptable Service to her Country, by the Publication of that Work, I made him no Answer, for Fear of making my Ignorance more conspicuous; but sure, Phaon, it is very little to any Man's Reputation, that he should know nothing of a Subject of which a Woman knew so much. For tho' it may be true, and I believe is so, that Nature makes no Distinction in the Understandings of the Sexes, yet it must be granted, that we make a great deal by the help of Education, so that I think I may fairly say, a Man has ten times the Opportunity of acquiring Knowledge that is left to Woman; I am determin'd therefore to be on a Par with this Mrs. Elstob, if the Expence of an Hour or two's Morning Study will enable me to conquer the Difficulties of the Saxon Tongue.