Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

This morning I received from him the following letter, which, after having rectified some little orthographical mistakes, I shall make a present of to the public.

" DEAR SPEC. "I was, about two nights ago, in company with very agreeable young people of both sexes, where talking of some of your papers which are written on conjugal love, there arose a dispute among us, whether there were not more bad husbands in the world than bad wives. A gentleman, who was advocate for the ladies, took this occasion to tell us the story of a famous siege in Germany, which I have since found related in my historical dictionary, after the following manner. When the Emperor Conrade the third had besieged Guelphus, Duke of Bavaria, in the city of Hensberg, the women finding that the town could not hold out long, petitioned the emperor that they might depart out of it, with so much as each of them could carry. The emperor knowing they could not convey away many of their effects, granted them their petition; when the women, to his great surprise, came out of the place with every one her husband upon her back. The emperor was so moved at the sight, that he burst into tears, and after having very much extolled the women for their conjugal affection, gave the men to their wives, and received the duke into his favour.

“ The ladies did not a little triumph at this story, asking us, at the same time, whether in our consciences we believed that the men of any town in Great Britain would, upon the same offer, and at the same conjuncture, have loaden themselves with their wives; or rather, whether they would not have been glad of such an opportunity to get rid of them ? To this, my very good friend Tom Dapperwit, who took upon him to be the mouth of our sex, replied, that they would be very much to blame, if they would

not do the same good office for the women, considering that their strength would be greater, and their burdens lighter. As we were amusing ourselves with discourses of this nature, in order to pass away the evening, which now begins to grow tedious, we fell into that laudable and primitive diversion of questions and commands. I was no sooner vested with the regal authority, but I enjoined all the ladies, under pain of my displeasure, to tell the company ingenuously, in case they had been in the siege above-mentioned, and had the same offers made them as the good women of that place, what every one of them would have brought off with her, and have thought most worth the saving ? There were several merry answers made to my question, which entertained us till bedtime. This filled my mind with such a huddle of ideas, that upon my going to sleep, I fell into the following dream.

“I saw a town of this island, which shall be nameless, invested on every side, and the inhabitants of it so straitened as to cry for quarter. The general refused any other terms than those granted to the above-mentioned town of Hensberg, namely, that the married women might come out with what they could bring along with them. Immediately the gate flew open, and a female procession appeared, multitudes of the sex following one another in a row, and staggering under their respective burdens. I took my stand upon an eminence in the enemy's camp, which was appointed for the general rendezvous of these female carriers, being very desirous to look into their several ladings. The first of them had a huge sack upon her shoulders, which she set down with great care : upon the opening of it, when I expected to have seen her husband shoot out of it, I found it was filled with china ware. The next appeared in a more decent figure, carrying a handsome young fellow upon her back : I could not forbear comunending the youg women for her conjugal affection,

when, to my great surprise, I found that she had left the good man at home and brought away her gallant. I saw the third, at some distance, with a little withered face peeping over her shoulder, whom I could not suspect for any but her spouse, till upon her setting him down, I heard her call him dear Pug, and found him to be her favourite monkey. A fourth brought a huge bale of cards along with her; and the fifth a Bolonia lapdog : for her husband, it seems, being a very burly man, she thought it would be less trouble for her to bring away little Cupid. The next was the wife of a rich usurer, loaden with a bag of gold; she told us that her spouse was very old, and by the course of nature, could not expect to live long; and that to shew her tender regards for him, she had saved that which the poor man loved better than his life. The next came towards us with her son upon her back, who, we were told, was the greatest rake in the place, but so much the mother's darling, that she left her husband behind, with a large family of hopeful sons and daughters, for the sake of this graceless youth.

" It would be endless to mention the several persons, with their several loads, that appeared to me in this strange vision. All the place about me was covered with packs of ribbon, brocades, embroidery, and ten thousand other materials, sufficient to have furnished a whole street of toy-shops. One of the women, having a husband that was none of the heaviest, was bringing him off upon her shoulders, at the same time that she carried a great bundle of Flanders lace under her arm; but, finding herself so over-loaden, that she could not save both of them, she dropped the good man, and brought away the bundle. In short, I found but one husband among this great mountain of baggage, who was a lively cobbler, and kicked and spurred all the while his wife was carrying him on, and, as it was said, had scarce passed a day in his life without giving her the disciplina of the strap.

“I cannot conclude my letter, dear Spec. without telling thee one very odd whim in this my dream. I saw, methought, a dozen women employed in bringing off one man; I could not guess who it should be, till upon his nearer approach I discovered thy short phiz. The women all declared that it was for the sake of thy works, and not thy person, that they brought thee off, and that it was on condition that thou shouldst continue the Spectator. If thou thinkest this dream will make a tolerable one, it is at thy service, from, “Dear Spec. thine, sleeping and waking,

« WILL HONEYCOMB."

The ladies will see, by this letter, what I have often told them, that Will is one of those old-fashioned men of wit and pleasure of the town, that shews his parts by raillery on marriage, and one who has often tried his fortune that way without

I cannot, however, dismiss his letter, without observing, that the true story on which it is built, does honour to the sex, and that, in order to abuse them, the writer is obliged to have recourse to dream and fiction.

0.

success.

No. 500. FRIDAY, OCTOBER 3.

Huc natas adjice septem,
Et totidem juvenes, et mox generosque nurusque.
Quærite nunc, babeat quam nostra superbia causam.

Ovid, Met. V 182.

Seven are my daughters, of a form divine,
With seven fair sons, an indefective line.
Go, fools, consider this, and ask the cause
From which my pride its strong presumption draws.

CR KAL.

[ocr errors]

“ You, who are so well acquainted with the story of Socrates, must have read how, upon his making a discourse concerning love, he pressed his point with so much success, that all the bachelors in his audience took a resolution to marry by the first opportunity, and that all the married men immediately took horse and gallopped home to their wives. I am apt to think your discourses, in which you have drawn so many agreeable pictures of marriage, have had a very good effect this way in England. We are obliged to you, at least, for having taken off that senseless ridicule, which for many years the witlings of the town have turned upon their fathers and mothers. For my own part, I was born in wedlock, and I do not care who knows it; for which reason, among many others, I should look upon myself as a most insufferable coxcomb, did I endeavour to maintain that cuckoldom was inseparable from marriage, or to make use of husband and wife as terms of reproach. Nay, sir, I will one step further, and declare to you, before the whole world, that I am a married man, and at the same time, I have so much assurance, as not to be ashamed of what I have done.

"Among the several pleasures that accompany this state of life, and which you have described in your former papers, there are two you have not taken notice of, and which are seldom cast

« EdellinenJatka »