Si non, &c. Helen seems to wonder whence he could form a notion so much to her disadvantage, as to believe he might hope for any success in his attempts upon her virtue. Her smiling looks, her easy and frank behaviour, were most likely to raise this presumption. She begins therefore here, and observes, that as her fame was hitherto spotless, this ought to have given him no encouragement. Men who pretend to know the sex tell us, that those who affect a rigid severity, are sooner won than the free and open. Paris, whose character was that of a man well acquainted with all the ways of love and gallantry, must not be supposed ignorant of this: but as Helen, in the latter part of this Epistle, plainly discovers how much she was already prepossessed in his favor, we may conclude that he, who could not be insensible of it, was thence encouraged to make known his passion.
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