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“ Timothy Wellfit having a bill to make up early next week, will feel obliged to “ Mr. Imagination by an immediate settlement."
And so this is the letter!!.-- What a consummation to all your far-travelled dreams and fancies !! Don't think me hard-hearted. Really, if I were by, I should laugh, or do as Æsop's frog did. Pray do not bite your lips for rage. I see your sister, yonder, is provokingly inclined to join with me. Your bewildered mother has taken her spectacles again ; and the best recipe I can propose for you is, to retire to your study, bury yourself in that comfortable morning-gown, lolling on a chair's back, and read Boaden's Life of Mrs. Siddons, or Southey's Tale of Paraguay-and a quiet sleep will infallibly be the result.
Need I describe the anticipation of a love-letter? --The lover's restlessness, hope--the window-vigilant eye, the oft repeated question, the everlasting look-out, and more eternal pull at the watch-chain? I have only time to remark, that when a lover is anticipating a letter from his mistress, pens, ink, and paper begin then to be duly estimated; the post-office is a mundane Elysium, and the postman a perfect male-houri!
A WIFE.That amiable Washington Irving! I love him for his sentiments towards women : yes, I can concur with him in believe ing there may be bankruptcies of the heart, as well as any pecuniary bankruptcies. Out on the marble breast that cannot love, the tongue that does not grow more fluent or soft when it is to woman's ear it speaks! and may his eye not be blinded that flashes with lightning or dissolved with tenderness at encountering the smile or tear of woman's eye. I hate flirts, abominate prudes, and dislike blues; but give me the creature of passion, refined by education, hallowed by sentiment, and
“ I will roam o'er earth and sea,
To prove her my divinity." Reader-for I prefer addressing you, to introducing the frequent “I”—are you of an age to think? Of course you are; or would have nothing to do with the pages of The Inspector. Did you ever think of marriage? if not, immediately set about it: be assured there is no time so exquisitely rapturous, so abundant in assuasive sympathies, so beautifully beset with blissful reflections and congenial hopes, as that employed in courtship and spousal anticipations. You have my best wishes for every fortunate realization--- had I been a Frenchman, I would have said my prayers. May you never be jilted through a six months' absence, like a friend of mine; may no guinea-griping mother, no fox-like father-in-law, no half-hundred third-rate aunts and second-rate cousins, ever intermeddle with your kindling inclinations and sacred delights. May your courtship be placid, your rencontres uninterrupted, your vows never overheard, and your sentiments never misinterpreted. In short, may you soon be the joyous bridegroom at the altar---then a husband---'till each anticipated happiness be completed, and every hope die away in enjoyment! This reads very benevolently: I was always considered VOL. II.
a good-hearted fellow: but away with any more kind wishes. I mean to accompany you faithfully through that golden period of anticipation---courtship, or wife-fishing, or partner-hunting, or match-contriving, or any thing you please; of course, I must describe your anticipations ere you met your young fated Pyrrha, and twined her“ flavam comam”in the dalliance of your
affection. As you entered into the age of fifteen, you began doubtless to be affected with sundry qualms, trepidations, and palpitations. Your bosom was affected with an occasional fervor from your boundless imagination ; and all your fancy craved, was an object to settle on. After five or seven years of the above-vamed endurances---a fair apprenticeship---your friends prided themselves on your speedy choice; your female cousins began to rally you more than ever; and, as I presume you are rich, catering mammas built foundations on your unison with the choicest of eir family flocks. In fact, every body was anticipating for you : your man-servant, when brushing your surtout in the morning, used to shake his head very knowingly at Mistress Cook, and winking his left eye, said,
“ Dash “me if I dont think our young master is on the look out for Miss “ Furbish at the end of our street.” All your neighbours quickly decided on your love, and every boarding-school miss wrote an account of your discovered affection to some sweet little Louisa that lived in a great country hall. When thus all around you was whispering love, how could you be idle? Indeed, we may say, you were quite bathed in love. Your sisters began to throw out hints over the tea-urn at the breakfast-table; your good father looked graver than ever, and cried, “ I hope she is rich !” and once or twice you were detected in thoughtfully tapping your tea-cup with your spoon.
Between pineteen and twenty, is a very awkward and momentous age---awkward, because boyishness is somewhat clumsy in assuming the perfect man; and momentous, because illusion is basty and inexperience hostile to control. I hope you left off every schoolroom habit; that you never introduced Virgil, Horace, and Homer at the tea parties; that you entirely forgot those dreadfully boybetraying phrases —" last half;” “ah! that's what the old governor “ used to say !" “ by Jove;" “ by —;" &c. &c.; that you never upset a waiter full of wine-glasses in a young lady's lap; and that you never forgot to make your bow at the conclusion of a quadrille. Were you not vacillating in choosing " the happy one?" Bashfulness at first never allowed you to advance further than,“ May I have the
pleasure of your band for the next dance ?" or, “Shall I see you “ home?" However, this mauvaise honte soon melted away in the full fire of intrepid gallantry. Your barber was strictly ordered, your whiskers commenced sprouting; and, to conclude your advance to the man, your card.case became visible, and your conversation elegantly larded; with frequent “ bahs!" “ exactly sos;" “ 'pon “ honors;" “ allow mes;” excuse mes;" &c. I do not imagine you soiled your nostrils with snuff. I wish, for the sake of common
cleanliness, this befouling kind of enjoyment entirely excluded from society. I will never believe our noses were put on our faces to be loaded with this clogging material-this scented nostril-powder. If I were appointed general dictator for a week in society, I would cure this nose-defamation. I would have a man in an anti-chamber, ready with a large pocket-bandkerchief, who, on hearing the sniff attendant on the pinch being taken, should immediately advance and offer his pocket-handkerchief:---this would perhaps be quite an understandable hint. But I return from this digression.
Versed as you were in love stories, and romantic associations, perhaps you had formed very sumptuous ideas of your future wife. Yes, I can easily fancy your anticipations here: she was to be beautiful as Ovid's Corinna ; her eyes were to gleam unutterable devotion; her cheeks were to have all the roseate witchery the poets prate of ; her lips were to be of the Grecian curl, and droop in a sileni delicate eloquence; and her person---could you yourself explain the one you dared anticipate? I am sure I can't. On account of these imagined perfections, you were a long time disappointed. To be sure, you often cast an interesting glance in the ball-room; you sometimes pressed a hand of alabaster with very creditable pathos, and once or iwice a servant maid overheard you talking to Miss alone in the refreshment room ; but the next morning dispelled the misty dreams of the preceding evening: you never suffered your conscience to be uneasy for a few sentimental, twelve o'clock perjuries. For were you not aware
“ Nulla fides inerit; perjuria ridet amantêm
TIBULLUS. At length, when the lingering fervor of romantic youth subsided into a calmer state, you no longer expected a Venus de Medicis, but Tooked out for one who condescended to the general appearances of humanity. After a few months' anxious employment, you meet one, that opens every tender feeling of the heart, and all at once attracts you to love her. She is beautiful, but not perfect; you have begun to consider the qualities of the mind as well as the person, and fortunately, you discover sufficient congeniality in her's, to promise to render the union with her a source of blessedness. I shall not attempt to discover the spot where you first gave her pretty hand that eloquent pressure, which she as eloquently, though scarcely perceptibly, returned. How many preceding conversations you held with your eyes, how you first mentioned, viva voce, the inspiration that quite overcame you, or in what manner you penned your first love-letter. For charity's sake, I'll suppose that you performed all these enchanting offices with the required witchery; therefore, I shall conclude my paper, by entering into your anticipations, &c. &c. while in the full tide of the lover's servitude.
“ Beatus ille qui,” woos a pretty maid ; “ Amen!” cries every man that is a man.-.-0, you happy lover! let me ask you, with becoming deference, if your heart is not enlarged by giving it all away? If your soul is not refined by burying it in love ? Are not your
hopes more delightfully soaring, your fancies more entrancingly framed, and your whole disposition softened, enriched, and cultivated, since you have commenced anticipating a wife ?---The moral certainty of your future unison with the object of your heart's admiration, does not debar you from numberless anticipated delights. Now is the time for solitude to be society; for moonlit walks, umbrageous bowers, sentimental waterfalls, midnight sea-shores, and mountainascensions---why? because you are constantly engaged in a maze of Auctuating thoughts, that render you “never' less alone than when alone:” What a charming morn that will be when your marriage takes place !--- Yes, the weather will join in the general congratulations which will thicken on you, by being decked in its brightest garment of diffusive sunshine : there will not be a cloudy speck in the azure sweep of heaven---the wanton breezes will murmur compliments round the carriage as you proceed to church, and the very stones will seem to rattle a chorus of joy beneath the bickering wheels. How will your heart tremble just as you arrive at the church door?--- How will you dart your eloquent eyes on the beauteous bride, as she rests her stainless arm on your obedient supporting one? I trust in the flutter of the moment, you will not entangle the lady's garment; it would make you look a little simple, though you might certainly be forgiven, I think, for this delinquency. Often have you pictured the wedding scene!--. The mantling blushes, the pensive beauty, the conscious solemnity, the coy but delectable attitude of your Rosetta, begirt with loveliness; have these not often employed your thoughts? but, I am a little premature. You have anticipated, I am sure, all the delicious engagements preceding your entry in the carnage. I must do, as Hune has done lately, walk backward by coming forward.
Ever since you were assured, that your attentions were not altogether disagreeable (to say more, would be presumptuous even for the successful lover), what an existence has your's been! How different has been the tide of feeling--- how wakeful your beautypicturing imagination ?--- When have you wandered along the silent meadows, turned your eye enamoured on the far-blooming landscape, nor thought of one who is the cynosure of all your hopes ?---Your love has been influential on all that is in you, and all that surrounds 08.
You have felt that the world contains at least one living heart that beats, and will beat till death shall arrest its motion, in a neverchanging unison with your own. Thus the self-loving principle has daily
waned away into an absorbing, overswaying tenderness, which has gradually enlarged, till it mingles in all your wishes and actions: But time goes on ; each month of your engagement is a lovelier one than the last; your Rosetta's beauty does not lessen; no, she has (or you contrive to fancy so, and that's all the same in effect) greatly improved in her mien since you first beheld ber; those bright-gleaming eyes nestled under their sleeping lids show sweeter expression than ever.--those glowing cheeks are more delicately formed, and that dear little curl which you so often long to touch, and once were seriously quarrelled with for touching, how bewitchingly it trem
bles on her fair-drooping brow !---As you discover more charms in her person and in her mind (I hope she is not a blue !) your anticipations increase. When you see her approaching you to hang on your arm, and enjoy the breezy evening's ramble, do you not think to yourself, and this angel will be always mine !--- But stop, she is by your side. . Does she not look overpoweringly beautiful in that light summer dress ?
The sun is serenely pillowing himself on his couch of clouds, the crimson streaks shoot along the surrounding horizon, the mid-sky is invitingly blue, and there you are, side by side, with Rosetta. Though encased with smoke at this moment, I have a delicious landscape in my eye (no punning here, mind, reader), but I have not time to say more, than that the grass is softly mellowed by the departing sunbeams, that the hawthorn bushes breathe refreshing fragrance, and that every step you take seems approaching some further happiness. Curiosity was always a great failing of mine- I wonder what you are conversing about? when did your last letter arrive? if Rosetta received your album safe, and your “ Elegy to a departed Moonbeam?" how her mother's cold is, that you may call to enquire after it? or when you are to drive her over to your old uncle's in the country? Something after this sort, I vow, is now passing between you: or, perhaps, as your voices fall, and she turns away her head, you are on more important matters, the marriage day-far be it from me to settle that momentous time!
“ George, don't you think we have walked far enough? it must “ be getting late.” You look up astonished, and discover that the sun has been set some time, that there is rather a chilliness in the air, the stars are up, but as there is no moon it is passably dark: you start off almost running, thinking she will catch cold, “ So it is, we “ must return." You walk back in silent speed, and, as you approach her door, when you are to say good night," your heart commences a thrilling palpitation; never mind, you are to meet again to-morrow evening!°« At 12, George,” says 'Rosetta, holding up her finger with playful seriousness. You do not speak with your tongue, but what does your eyes say? “ Can I forget it?"
Assuredly you will not fail to run against several people or posts as you return thoughtfully to your home, so immured will you be in your soft reflections. Already you have anticipated the marriage day, the honeymoon has winged joyously away, and you are seated in your study, or else in your back parlor, your Rosetta is near you, a little George is prattling on her knee; in short, you have been married fifteen months! Heaven knows what you will anticipate then! I know what I am anticipating, something I shall not realize --stop, there's the postman at the door, a letter from my cousin in Wales. I wonder what news it contains! Reader, if you will excuse me, I'll turn my face to the fire and read it. London, Feh, 12, 1827.
DEMOCRITUS. P. S. Just before I upseal my letter, I will add, that the subject of this paper is by no means exhausted. Probably, at a future day, I may resume it.