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For this reason I am not very much surprised at the behaviour of a rough country squire, who, being not a little shocked at the proceeding of a young widow that would not recede from her demands of pin money, was so enraged at her mercenary temper, that he told her in great wrath, 'As much as she thought him her slave, he would shew all the world he did not care a pin for her.' Upon which he flew out of the room, and never saw her more.
Socrates, in Plato's Alcibiades, says, he was informed by one 10 who had travelled through Persia, that as he passed over a great
tract of lands, and inquired what the name of the place was, they told him it was the Queen's girdle; to which he adds, that another wide field which lay by it, was called the Queen's veil ; and that in the same manner there was a large portion of ground set aside for every part of her majesty's dress. These lands might not be improperly called the Queen of Persia's pin money.
No. 299. On Pin Money, continued ; letter of Sir John Enville.
Malo Venusinam, quam te, Cornelia, mater
Juv. Sat. vi. 166.
DRYDEN. It is observed that a man improves more by reading the story of a person eminent for prudence and virtue than by the finest 20 rules and precepts of morality. In the same manner a repre
sentation of those calamities and misfortunes which a weak man suffers from wrong measures and ill-concerted schemes of life, is apt to make a deeper impression upon our minds than the wisest maxims and instructions that can be given us, for avoiding the like follies and indiscretions in our own private conduct. It is for this reason that I lay before my reader the following letter, and leave it with him to make his own use of it, without adding any reflexions of my own upon the subject matter.
MR. SPECTATOR, “Having carefully perused a letter sent you by Josiah Fribble, Esq., with your subsequent discourse upon pin money, I do
presume to trouble you with an account of my own case, 10 which I look upon to be no less deplorable than that of Squire
Fribble. I am a person of no extraction, having begun the world with a small parcel of rusty iron, and was for some years commonly known by the name of Jack Anvil.
I have naturally a very happy genius for getting money, insomuch that by the age of five and twenty I had scraped together four thousand two hundred pounds, five shillings and a few odd pence. I then launched out into considerable business, and became a bold trader both by sea and land, which in a few years raised me a consider
able fortune. For these my good services I was knighted in the 20 thirty-fifth year of my age, and lived with great dignity among
my city neighbours by the name of Sir John Anvil. Being in my temper very ambitious, I was now bent upon making a family, and accordingly resolved that my descendants should have a dash of good blood in their veins. In order to this I made love to Lady Mary Oddly, an indigent young woman of quality. To cut short the marriage-treaty, I threw her a charte blanche n, as our newspapers call it, desiring her to write upon it her own terms. She was very concise in her demands, insisting only that the disposal
of my fortune, and the regulation of my family, should be entirely 30 in her hands. Her father and brothers appeared exceedingly
averse to this match, and would not see me for some time; but at present are so well reconciled that they dine with me almost every day, and have borrowed considerable sums of me; which my Lady Mary very often twits me with, when she shews me how kind her relations are to me.
She had no portion, as I told you before, but what she wanted in fortune, she makes up in spirit. She at first changed my name to Sir John Envil, and at present writes herself Mary Enville N.
I have had some children by her, whom she has christened with the sirnames of her family, in order,
as she tells me, to wear out the homeliness of their parentage by the father's side. Our eldest son is the honourable Oddly Enville Esq.; and our eldest daughter Harriot Enville. Upon her first coming into my family, she turned off a parcel of very careful servants who had been long with me, and introduced in their stead a couple of black-a-moors, and three or four very genteel fellows in laced liveries, besides her French woman, who is perpetually making a noise in the house in a language which nobody
understands except Lady Mary. She next set herself to reform 10 every room in my house, having glazed all my chimney-pieces
with looking glass, and planted every corner with such heaps of china, that I am obliged to move about my own house with the greatest caution and circumspection, for fear of hurting some of our brittle furniture. She makes an illumination once a week with wax candles in one of the largest rooms, in order, as she phrases it, to see company. At which time she always desires me to be abroad, or to confine myself to the cock loft, that I not disgrace her among her visitants of quality. Her footmen,
as I told you before, are such beaus that I do not much care for 20 asking them questions; when I do, they answer me with a
saucy frown, and say that every thing which I find fault with was done by my Lady Mary's order. She tells me that she intends they shall wear swords with their next liveries, having lately observed the footmen of two or three persons of quality hanging behind the coach with swords by their sides. as the first honey-moon was over, I represented to her the unreasonableness of those daily innovations which she made in my family; but she told me I was no longer to consider myself as
Sir John Anvil, but as her husband ; and added, with a frown, that 30 I did not seem to know who she was. I was surprised to be
treated thus, after such familiarities as had passed between us. But she has since given me to know that whatever freedom she may sometimes indulge me in, she expects in general to be treated with the respect that is due to her birth and quality. Our children have been trained up from their infancy with so many accounts of their mother's family, that they know the stories of all the great men and women it has produced. Their mother tells them that such an one commanded in such a sea engage
ment, that their great grandfather had a horse shot under him at 40 Edge-hill, that their uncle was at the siege of Buda 9, and that
her mother danced in a ball at court with the duke of Monmouth ; with abundance of fiddle-faddle of the same nature. I was the other day a little out of countenance at a question of my little daughter Harriot, who asked me with a great deal of innocence, why I never told them of the generals and admirals that had been in my family. As for my eldest son Oddly, he has been so spirited up by his mother, that if he does not mend his manners I shall go near to disinherit him. He drew
his sword upon me before he was nine years old, and told me 10 that he expected to be used like a gentleman ; upon my offering
to correct him for his insolence, my Lady Mary stept in between us, and told me that I ought to consider there was some difference between his mother and mine. She is perpetually finding out the features of her own relations in every one of my children, though by the way I have a little chub-faced boy as like me as he can stare, if I durst say so; but what most angers me, when she sees me playing with any of them upon my knee, she has begged me more than once to converse with the children as little as possible, that they may not learn any of my awkward tricks.
You must further know, since I am opening my heart to you, that she thinks herself my superior in sense as much as she is in quality, and therefore treats me like a plain well-meaning man, who does not know the world, She dictates to me in
my own business, sets me right in point of trade, and if I disagree with her about any of my ships at sea, wonders that I will dispute with her, when I know very well that her great grandfather was a flag-officer.
"To complete my sufferings, she has teazed me for this quarter of a year last past, to remove into one of the squares at the other 30 end of the town, promising for my encouragement that I shall
have as good a cock-loft as any gentleman in the square; to which the honourable Oddly Enville, Esq., always adds, like a jackanapes as he is, that the hopes 'twill be as near the court as possible.
'In short, Mr. Spectator, I am so much out of my natural element, that to recover my old way of life I would be content to begin the world again, and be plain Jack Anvil; but alas! I am in for life, and am bound to subscribe myself, with great sorrow of heart,
• Your humble servant,
JOHN ENVILLE, Knt.' L.
No. 311. On Fortune-stealers and Fortune-hunters.
Nec Veneris pharetris macer est, aut lampade fervet;
Juv. Sat. vi. 137.
DRYDEN. MR. SPECTATOR, ''I am amazed that among all the variety of characters with which you have enriched your speculations, you have never given us a picture of those audacious young fellows among us, who commonly go by the name of fortune-stealers. You must know, Sir, I am one who live in a continual apprehension of this sort of people, who lie in wait day and night for our children, and may be considered as a kind of kidnappers within the law. I am the
father of a young heiress, whom I begin to look upon as marriage10 able, and who has looked upon herself as such for above these
She is now in the eighteenth year of her age. The fortune-hunters have already cast their eyes upon her, and take care to plant themselves in her view whenever she appears in any public assembly. I have myself caught a young jackanapes with a pair of silver-fringed gloves in the very fact. You must know, Sir, I have kept her as a prisoner of state ever since she was in her teens. Her chamber-windows are cross barred; she is not permitted to go out of the house but with her keeper, who is a
stayed relation of my own; I have likewise forbid her the use 20 of pen and ink for this twelvemonth last past, and do not
suffer a band-box to be carried into her room before it has been searched. Notwithstanding these precautions, I am at my wits' end for fear of any sudden surprise. There were, two or three nights ago, some fiddles heard in the street, which I am afraid portend me no good; not to mention a tall Irishman that has been seen walking before my house more than once this winter. My kinswoman likewise informs me, that the girl has talked to her twice or thrice of a gentleman in a fair wig,
and that she loves to go to church more than ever she did in 30 her life. She gave me the slip about a week ago, upon which
my whole house was in alarm. I immediately despatched a hue and cry after her to the Change, to her mantua-maker, and