ritated 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 one 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 thei discretion, 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 who are actually in the insolence of beauty. My reader will apply the same observation to the other sex.

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 greater here than in any other state, naturally beget an intense affection in generous minds. As, on the contrary, persons 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 expressions, tells his stories, or imitates his manner. This gives a secret delight; for imitation is a kind of artless flattery, and mightily favours the powerful principle of self



love. It is certain, that married persons, who are possessed 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 story, 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 opportunity for the advancement of her fortune. She made so 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 discovering 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; insomuch that our chronicles tell us, he carried her along with him, made her his first minister of state, and continued true to her alone, until his marriage with the beautiful Elfrida.

[Supposed by BUDGELL.]

No. 606. WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 13, 1714.

Longum cantu solata laborem,

Arguto conjux percurrit pectine telas.
VIRG. Georg. i. ver. 294.
Mean time at home

The good wife singing plies the various loom.


'I HAVE a couple of nieces under my direction, who so often run gadding abroad, that I do not 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 under-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 have plied my needle these 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 sipping their tea, for a whole afternoon, in a great room hung round with the industry of their great-grandmother. Pray, Sir, take the laudable mystery of embroidery into your serious consideration; and, as you have a great deal of the virtue of the last age in you, continue your endeavours to reform the present.

I am, &c.

In obedience to the commands of my venerable correspondent, 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.

*The general mourning on the death of Queen Anne

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 the needle, or little Cupids, which they have brought into the world without pain?

This is, methinks, the most proper way wherein a lady can shew a fine genius; and I cannot forbear wishing that several writers of that sex.had chosen to apply themselves rather to tapestry than rhyme. Your pastoral poetesses may vent their fancy in rural landscapes, and place despairing shepherds under silken willows, or drown them in a stream of mohair. The heroic writers may work up battles as successfully, and inflame 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 stitches into a purse, and crowd 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 awkwardly, I must nevertheless insist upon her working, if it be only to keep her out 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 inactive 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 mentioned where the great dispute is, whether blue or red is the more proper colour. How much greater glory would Sophronia do the general, if she would choose rather to work the battle of Blenheim in tapestry, than signalize 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 keeps fair ladies from running out into expences, but is

[ocr errors]


at the same time an actual improvement. How memorable would that matron be, who shall have it inscribed upon her monument, That she wrought out the whole Bible in tapestry, and died in a good old age, after having covered three hundred yards of wall in the mansionhouse!'

The premises being considered, I humbly submit the following proposals to all mothers in Great Britain :

1. That no young virgin whatsoever be allowed to receive the addresses of her first lover but in a suit of her own embroidering.

2. That before every fresh servant, she be obliged appear with a new stomacher at the least.


3. That no one be actually married, until she hath the child-bed pillows, &c. ready stitched, as likewise the mantle for the boy quite finished.

These laws, if I mistake not, would effectually restore the decayed art of needle-work, and make the virgins of Great Britain exceedingly nimble-fingered in their busi


There is a memorable custom of the Grecian ladies in this particular preserved in Homer, which I hope will have a very good effect with my country women. A wi̟dow, in ancient times, could not, without indecency, receive a second husband, until she had woven a shrowd for her deceased lord, or the next of kin to him. Accordingly, the chaste Penelope, having, as she thought, lost Ulysses at sea, employed her time in preparing a winding-sheet for Laertes, the father of her husband. The story of her web being very famous, and yet not sufficiently known in its several circumstances, I shall give it to my reader, as Homer makes one of her wooers relate it.

"Sweet hope she gave to every youth apart,
With well-taught looks, and a deceitful heart:
A web she wove of many a slender twine,
Of curious texture, and perplex'd design;
My youths, she cry'd, my lord but newly dead,
Forbear a while to court my widow'd bed,
Till I have wove, as solemn vows require,
This web, a shrowd for poor Ulysses' sire.
His limbs, when fate the hero's soul demands,
Shall claim this labour of his daughter's hands,
Lest all the dames of Greece my name despise,
While the great king without a covering lies.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« VorigeDoorgaan »