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the following remarks: “I am afraid," says he, “this unhappy rupture between the footmen at Utrecht will retard the peace of Christendom.
I wish the pope may not be at the bottom of it. His holiness has a very good hand at fomenting a division, as the poor Swiss cantons have lately experienced to their cost. If Monsieur Whatd'ye-call-him's domestics will not come to an accommodation, I do not know how the quarrel can be ended but by a religious war.”
Why, truly,” says a wiseacre that sat by him," I as the king of France, I would scorn to take part with the footmen of either side: here's all the business of Europe stands still, because Monsieur Mesnager's man has had his head broke. If Count Rectrum* had given them a pot of ale after it, all would have been well, without
any of this bustle; but they say he's a warm man, and does not care to be made mouths at.”.
Upon this, one that had held his tongue hitherto, began to exert himself; declaring, “that he was very well pleased the plenipotentiaries of our Christian princes took this matter into their serious consideration; for that lackeys were never so saucy and pragmatical as they are now-adays, and that he should be glad to see them taken down in the treaty of peace, if it might be done without prejudice to the public affairs.”
One who sat at the other end of the table, and seemed to be in the interests of the French king, told them, that they did not take the matter right, for that His Most Christian majesty did not resent this matter because it was an injury done to Monsieur Mesnager's footman ; " for," says he,“ what are Monsieur Mesnager's footmen to him? but because it was done to his subjects. Now,” says he, « let me tell you, it would look very odd for a subject of France to have a bloody nose, and his sovereign not to take notice of it. He is obliged in honour to defend his people against hostilities; and if the Dutch will be so insolent to a crowned head, as in any wise to cuff or kick those who are under his protection, I think he is in the right to call them to an account for it.”
This distinction set the controversy upon a new foot, and seemed to be very well approved by most that heard
* Count Rechteren.
it, until a little warm fellow, who had declared himself a friend to the house of Austria, fell most unmercifully upon his Gallic majesty, as encouraging his subjects to make mouths at their betters, and afterward screening them from the punishment that was due to their insolence. To which he added, that the French nation was so addicted to grimace, that, if there was not a stop put to it at the general congress, there would be no walking the streets for them in a time of peace, especially if they continued masters of the West Indies. The little man proceeded with a great deal of warmth, declaring that, if the allies were of his mind, he would oblige the French king to burn his galleys, and tolerate the Protestant religion in his dominions, before he would sheath his sword. He concluded with calling Monsieur Mesnager an insignificant prig.
The dispute was now growing very warm, and one does not know where it would have ended, had not a young man of about one-and-twenty, who seems to have been brought up with an eye to the law, taken the debate into his hand, and given it as his opinion, that neither Count Rechteren nor Monsieur Mesnager had behaved themselves right in this affair. “ Count Rechteren,” says he, "should have made affidavit that his servants had been affronted, and then Monsieur Mesnager would have done him justice, by taking away their liveries from them, or some other way that he might have thought the most proper; for, let me tell you, if a man makes a mouth at me, I am not to knock the teeth out of it for his pains. Then again, as for Monsieur Mesnager, upon his servants being beaten, why, he might have had his action of assault and battery. But as the case now stands, if you will have my opinion, I think they ought to bring it to referees.”
I heard a great deal more of this conference, but I must confess with little edification ; for all I could learn at last from these honest gentlemen was, that the matter in debate was of too high a nature for such heads as theirs, or mine, to comprehend.
N° 482. FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 1712.
Floriferis ut apes in saltibus omnia libant.-Lucr. ii. 11.
in with the popular taste, and pleases more than ordinary, it always brings me in a great return of letters. My Tuesday's discourse, wherein I gave several admonitions to the fraternity of the hen-pecked, has already produced me very many correspondents; the reason I cannot guess at, unless it be, that such a discourse is of general use, and every married man's money. An honest tradesman, who dates his letter from Cheapside, sends me thanks in the name of a club, who, he tells me, meet as often as their wives will give them leave, and stay together till they are sent for home. He informs me, that my paper has administered great consolation to their whole club, and desires me to give some farthe account of Socrates, and to acquaint them in whose reign he lived, whether he was a citizen or a courtier, whether he buried Xantippe, with many other particulars: for that, by his sayings, he appears to have been a very wise man, and a good Christian. Another, who writes himself Benjamin Bamboo, tells me that, being coupled with a shrew, he had 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 state to be either a heaven or a hell. Tom has been at the charge of a penny upon this occasion to tell me, that by his experience it is neither 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 hands 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 henpecked; 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
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 a man 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 petticoat, Why should not a female character be as ridiculous in a man, as a male character in one of our sex? 0.
“ I am," &c.
N° 483. SATURDAY, SEPT. 13, 1712.
Nec deus intersit, nisi dignus vindice nodus
Hor. Ars Poet. ver. 191.
ness than to interpret the afflictions which befal 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 a light. This humour, of turning every misfortune into a judgment, proceeds from wrong notions of religion, which in its own nature produces good-will towards
and puts the mildest construction upon every accident that befals 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 uncheerful 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.