Was formerly a word of serious import: at present it is but little respected; since lovers have found out the commodious expedient of having a number on their hands at once.
I am engaged, often means no more than a temporary put-off, without consequence to a future accommodation. Sometimes too it is only used as a whet to give a lover the pleasure of surmounting an obstacle, or to humour his vanity with a sacrifice.
Unfortunately, Love, being as it is painted, ever a child, is ever a minor: so that, how strongly worded soever may be his bonds, or contracts of lease, he is always at liberty to plead non-age, and be relieved from them; and rare it is, indeed, that he does not make use of his privilege. Those leases then only serve to throw dust in the eyes of those who are glad at any rate to take them for valid, that they may have at least some excuse.
With those beauties, who let their charms out at so much for a time certain, a lease of Love is generally transacted by note of hand, or other good security.