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P.S. I FORGOT to tell you, that the pretty gentle* man is the moft complaisant creature in the world, and is always of my mind; but the other, forsooth, fancies he has as much wit as myself, flights my lap-dog, and hath the infolence to contradict me when he thinks I am ' not in the right. About half an hour ago, he main*tained to my face, that a patch always implies a pimple.'
As I look
it be my duty rather to side with the parents than the daughter, I shall propose some considerations to my gentle querist, which may incline her to comply with those, under whose direction she is : and at the same time convince her, that it is not imposlible but she may, in time, have a true affection for him who is at present indifferent to her; or, to ufe the old family maxim, that, If Me marries first, love will come after.
The only objection, that she seems to infinuate againit the gentleman proposed to her, is his want of complaifance, which, I perceive, she is very willing to return. Now, I can discover from this very circumstance, that she and her lover, whatever they may think of it, are very good friends in their hearts. It is difficult to determine, whether love delights more in giving pleasure or pain. Let Tiss Fickle ask her own heart, if she doth not take a secret pride in making this man of good sense look very filly. Hath she ever been better pleased, than when her behaviour hath made her lover ready to hang himself? Or doth the ever rejoice more, than when llie thinks she hath driven him to the very brink of a purling stream? Let her consider, at the same time, that it is not impossible but her lover may have discovered her tricks, and hath a mind to give her as good as she brings. I remember a handsome young baggage that treated a hopeful Greek of my acquaintance, just come from Oxford, as if he had been a Barbarian. The first week, after she had fixed him, she took a pinch of snuff out of his rival's box, and apparently touched the enemy's little finger. She became a profefsed enemy to the arts and sciences, and searce ever wrote a letter to him without wilfully mispelling his
The young scholar, to be even with her, railed at coquettes as soon as he had got the word ; and did not want parts to turn into ridicule her men of wit and plea
sure of the town. After having irritated one another for the space of five months, she made an assignation with him fourscore miles from London. But as he was very well acquainted with her pranks, he took a journey the quite contrary way. Accordingly they met, quarrelled, and in a few days were married. Their former hostilities are now the subject of their mirth, being content at present with that part of love only, which bestows pleasure.
WOMEN, who have been married some time, not having it in their heads to draw after them a numerous train of followers, find their satisfaction in the possession of ore man's heart. I know very well, that ladies in their bloom desire to be excused in this particular. But when time hath worn out their natural vanity, and taught them difcretion, their fondness settles on its proper object. And it is probably for this reason, that among husbands, you will find more that are fond of women beyond their prime, than of those that are actually in the insolence of beauty. My reader will apply the same observation to the other fex.
I need not insist upon the necessity of their pursuing one common interest, and their united care for their children, but shall only observe, by the way, that married persons are both more warm in their love, and more hearty in their hatred, than any others whatsoever. Mutual favours and obligations which may be supposed to be great
er here than in any other state, naturally beget an intense affection in generous minds. As, on the contrary, pera sons who have bestowed such favours, have a particular bitterness in their resentments, when they think themselves ill-treated by those of whom they have deserved so much.
BESIDES, Miss Fickle may consider, that as there are often many faults concealed before marriage, so there are sometimes many virtues unobserved.
To this we may add the great efficacy of custom, and constant conversation, to produce a mutual friendship and benevolence in two persons. It is a nice reflection, which I have heard a friend of mine make, that you may be sure a woman loves a man, when she uses his expreslions, tells his stories, or imitates his manner. This gives a iccret delight; for imitation is a kind of artless flattery, and mightily favours the powerful principle of self-love. It is cer
tain, that married persons, who are pofleffed with a mutual esteem, not only catch the air and way of talk from one another, but fall into the same traces of thinking and liking. Nay, some have carried the remark so far as to assert, that the features of man and wife grow, in time, to resemble one another. Let my fair correspondent therefore consider, that the gentleman recommended will have a good deal of her own face in two or three years ; which she must not expect from the beau, who is too full of his dear self to copy after another. And I dare appeal to her own judgment, if that person will not be the handsomest, that is the most like herself.
We have a remarkable instance to our present purpose in the history of king Edgar, which I shall here relate, and leave it with my fair correspondent to be applied to herself. This great monarch, who is so famous in British fto- :
fell in love, as he made his progress through his kingdom, with a certain duke's daughter, who lived near Winchester, and was the most celebrated beauty of the age. His importunities, and the violence of his passion, were so great, that the mother of the young lady promised him to bring her daughter to his bed the next night, though in her heart she abhorred so infamous an office. It was no sooner dark than she conveyed into his room a young maid of no disagreeable figure, who was one of her attendants, and did not want address to improve the oppor- . tunity for the advancement of her fortune. She made fo good use of her time, that when she offered to rise a little before day, the king could by no means think of parting with her. So that finding herself under a necessity of difcovering who she was, she did it in so handsome a manner, that his majesty was exceeding gracious to her, and took her ever after under his protection, infomuch that our chronicles tell us he carried her along with him, made her his first minister of state, and continued true to her alone, till his marriage with the beautiful Elfrida.
Wednesday, October 13.
-Longum cantu solata laborem Argato conjux percurrit pectine telas.
Virg. Georg. I. 1.294. The good-wife shoots the souttle through the loani, And sings to drive the tedious hours away. • Mr SPECTATOR,
HAVE a couple of nieces under my direction, who
so often run gadding abroad, that I don't know • where to have them. Their dress, their tea, and their
visits, take up all their time, and they go to bed as tired • with doing nothing, as I am after quilting a whole un
der-petticoat. The only time they are not idle, is while 'they read your Spectators; which being dedicated to
the interests of virtue, I desire you to recommend the long neglected art of needle-work. Those hours which • in this age are thrown away in dress; plays, visits, and • the like, were employed, in my time, in writing out • receipts, or working beds, chairs, and hangings for the • family. For my part, I hare plied my necdle thefe fifty years, and by my good-will would never have it out of my hand. It grieves my heart to see a couple of proud idle flirts lipping their tea for a whole afternoon, . in a room hung round with the industry of their great
grandmother. Pray, Sir, take the laudable mystery of embroidery into your serious confideration, and as yon have a great deal of the virtue of the last
I am, &c.
In obedience to the commands of my venerable correfpondent, I have duly weighed this important subject, and promise myself, from the arguments here laid down, that all the fine ladies of England will be ready, as soon as their mourning is. over, to appear covered with the work of their own hands.
What a delightful entertainment must it be to the fair sex, whom their native modesty, and the tenderness of men towards them, exempts from public business, to pass their hours in imitating fruits and flowers, and transplanting all the beauties of nature into their own dress, or raising a new creation in their closets and apartments ? How pleasing is the amusement of walking among the shades and groves planted by themselves, in surveying heroes slain by their needle, or little Cupids which they brave brought into the world without pain !
This is, methinks, the most proper way wherein a lady can fnew a fine genius, and I cannot forbear wishing, that several writers of that sex had chosen to apply themselves rather to tapestry than rhime. Your paftoral poeteffes may vent their fancy in rural landskips, and place despairing shepherds under filken willows, or drown them in a stream of mohair. The heroic writers may work ap battles as succefsfully, and enfiame them with gold, or stain them with crimson. Even those who have only a turn to a song or an epigram, may put many valuable ftitches into a purse, and croud a thousand graces into a pair of garters.
If I may, without breach of good manners, imagine that any pretty creature is void of genius, and would perform her part herein but very aukwardly, I must neverthclefs inlift upon her working, if it be only to keep her ont of harm's way.
ANOTHER argument for busying good women in works of fancy, is, because it takes them off from scandal, the usual attendant of tea-tables, and all other unactive scenes of life. While they are forming their birds and beasts, their neighbours will be allowed to be the fathers of their own children: and Whig and Tory will be but seldom #ientioned, where the great difpute is, whether blue or red is the more proper colour. How much greater glory would Sophroniu do the general, if the would chufe rather to work the battle of Blenheim in tapestry, than fignalize herself with so much vehemence against those who are Frenchmen in their hearts.
A THIRD reason that I shall mention, is the profit that is brought to the family where these pretty arts are encouraged. It is manifest that this way of life not only