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endeavoured to tame her by such lawful means as those which I mentioned in my last Tuesday's paper, and that in his wrath he had often gone farther than Bracton allows in those cases; but that for the future he was resolved to bear it like a man of temper and learning, and consider her only as one who lives in his house to teach him philosophy. Tom Dapperwit says, that he agrees with me in that whole discourse, excepting only the last sentence, where I affirm the married staie to be either a heaven or hell. Tom has been at the charge of a penny upon this occasion, to tell me, that by his experience. it is neither the one nor the other, but rather that middle kind of state, commonly known by the name of purgatory:
The fair sex have likewise obliged me with their reflections upon the same discourse. A lady who calls herself Euterpe, and seems a woman of letters, asks me, whether I am for establishing the Salic law in every family, and why it is not fit that a woman who has discretion and learning should sit at the helm when the husband is weak and illiterate? Another of a quite contrary character, subscribes herself Xantippe, and tells me, that she follows the example of her namesake; for being married to a bookish man, who has no knowledge of the world, she is forced to take their affairs into her own hands, and to spirit him up now and then, that he may not grow musty and unfit for conversation.
After this abridgment of some letters which are come to my
upon this occasion, I shall publish one of them at large.
MR. SPECTATOR, - "You have given us a lively picture of that kind of husband who comes under the denomination of the hen-pecked: but I do not remember that you have ever touched upon one that is of the quite different character, and who, in several places of England goes by the name of a “cotquean.' I have the misfortune to be joined for life with one of this character, who in reality is more a woman than I am. He was bred up under the tuition of a tender mother, till she had made him as good a housewife as herself. He could preserve apricots, and make jellies, before he had been two years out of the nursery. He was never suffered to go abroad for fear of catching cold; when he should have been hunting down a buck, he was by his mother's side learning how to season it, or put it in crust; and was making paper boats with his sisters, at an age when other young gentlemen are crossing the seas, or travelling into foreign countries. He has the whitest hand that you ever saw in your life, and raises paste better than any woman in England. These qualifications make him a sad husband; he is perpetually in the kitchen, and has a thousand squabbles with the cook-maid. He is better acquainted with the milk-score than his steward's accounts." I fret to death when I hear him find fault with a dish that is not dressed to his liking, and instructing his friends that dine with him in the best pickle for a walnut, or sauce for a haunch of venison. With all this, he is a very good natured husband, and never fell out with me in his life, but once, upon the over roasting of a dish of wild fowl: at the same time I must own,
I would rather he was of a rough temper, that would treat me harshly sometimes, than of such an effeminate busy nature in a province that does not belong to him. Since you have given us the character of a wife who wears the breeches, pray say something of a husband that wears the petticoats. Why should not a female character be as ridiculous in a man, as a male character in one of our sex? Iam &c.',
No. 483. SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 13.
Nec deus intersit, nisi dignus vindice nodus:
Hor. Ans. Poet. Never presume to make a god appear, - But for a business worthy of a god. RosCOMMON."
We can not be guilty of a greater act of uncharitableness, than to interpret the afflictions which befall our neighbours as punishments and judgments. It aggravates the evil to him who suffers, when he looks upon himself as the mark of divine vengeance, and abates the compassion of those towards him, who, regard him in so dreadful á light. The humour of turning every misfortune into a judgment, proceeds from wrong notions of religion, which in its own nature produces good-will towards men, and puts the mildest construction upon every accident that befalls them. In this case, therefore, it is not religion that sours a man's temper, but it is his temper that sours his ' religion: people of gloomy un.
cheerful imaginations, or of envious malignant tempers, whatever kind of life they are engaged in, will discover their natural tincture of mind in all their thoughts, words, and actions. As the finest wines have often the taste of the soil, so even the most religious thoughts often draw something that is particular from the constitution of the mind in which they arise. When folly or superstition strike in with this natural depravity of temper, it is not in the power, even of religion itself, to preserve the character of the person who is possessed with it from appearing highly absurd and ridiculous.
An old maiden gentlewoman, whom I shall conceal under the name of Nemesis, is the greatest discoverer of judgments that I have met with. She can tell you what sin it was that set such a man's house on fire, or blew down his barns. Talk to her of an unfortunate young lady that lost her beauty by the small-pox, she fetches a deep sigh, and tells you, that when she had a fine face, she was always looking on it in her glass. Tell her of a piece of good fortune that has befallen one of her acquaintance, and she wishes it may prosper with her; but her mother used one of her nieces very barbarously. Her usual remarks turn upon people who had great estates, but never enjoyed them, by reason of some flaw in their own or their fathers' behaviour. She can give you the reason why such a one died childless; why such a one was cut off in the flower of his youth; why such a one was unhappy in her marriage; why one broke his leg on such a particular spot of ground, and why another was killed with a back-sword rather than any other kind of weapon. She has a crime for every misfortune that can befall any of her acquaintance, and when she hears of a robbery that has been made, or a murder that has been committed, enlarges more on the guilt of the suffering person than on that of the thief or assassin. In short, she is so good a christian, that whatever happens to herself is a trial, and whatever happens to her neighbours is a judgment.
The very description of this folly, in ordinary life, is sufficient to expose it: but when it appears in a pomp and dignity of style, it is very apt to amuse and terrify the mind of the reader. · Herodotus and Plutarch very often apply their judgments as impertinently as the old woman I have before mentioned, though their manner of relating them makes the folly 'itself appear venerable. Indeed, most historians, as well christian as pagan, have fallen into this idle superstition, and spoken of ill success, unforeseen disasters, and terrible events, as if they had been let into the secrets of Providence, and made acquainted with that private conduct by which the world is governed. One would think several of our own historians in particular had many. revelations of this kind made to them. Our old English monks seldom let any of their kings depart in peace, who had endeavoured to diminish the power of wealth of which the ecclesiastics were in those times possessed. William the conqueror's race generally found their judgments in the new forest, where their fathers had pulled down churches and monasteries. In short, read one of the chronicles written by an author of this frame of mind, and you would think you were