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upon the general law, the substance whereof is, that the wife shall take the same oath as the husband, mutatis mutandis; and that the judges shall, as they think meet, interrogate or cross-examine the witnesses. After this proceeds the register in manner following:
"Aubry de Falstaff, son of Sir John Falstaff, kt. with dame Maude his wife, were the first that demanded the bacon, he having bribed twain of his father's companions to swear falsely in his behoof, whereby he gained the flitch; but he and his said wife falling immediately into a dispute how the said bacon should be dressed, it was by order of the judges taken from him, and hung up again in the hall.
Alison, the wife of Stephen Freckle, brought her said husband along with her, and set forth the good conditions and behaviour of her consort, adding withal that she doubted not but that he was ready to attest the_like of her, his wife; whereupon he, the said Stephen, shaking his head, she turned short upon him, and gave him a box on the ear.
Philip de Waverland, having laid his hand upon the book, when the clause, were I sole and she sole,' was rehearsed, found a secret compunction rising in his mind, and stole it off again.
"Richard de Loveless, who was a courtier, and a very well-bred man, being observed to hesitate at the words
after our marriage,' was thereupon required to explain himself. He replied, by talking very largely of his exact complaisance while he was a lover; and alleged that he had not in the least disobliged his wife for a year and a day before marriage, which he hoped was the same thing.
"Joceline Jolly, Esq; making it appear, by unquestionable testimony, that he and his wife had preserved füll and entire affection for the space of the first month, commonly called the honey-moon, he had in consideration thereof one rasher bestowed upon him."
After this, says the record, many years passed over before any demandant appeared at Whichenovre-hall; insomuch that one would have thought that the whole country were turned Jews, so little was their affection to the flitch of bacon.
The next couple enrolled had like to have carried it, if one of the witnesses had not deposed, that dining on a Sunday with the demandant, whose wife had sat below the squire's lady at church, she, the said wife, dropped some expressions, as if she thought her husband deserved to be knighted; to which he returned a passionate pish! the judges, taking the premises into consideration, declared the aforesaid behaviour to imply an unwarrantable ambition in the wife, and anger in the husband.
It is recorded as a sufficient disqualification of a certain wife, that, speaking of her husband, she said “. God forgive him."
It is likewise remarkable, that a couple were rejected upon the deposition of one of their neighbours, that the lady had once told her husband, that "it was her duty to obey;" to which he replied, "O my dear! you are never in the wrong!"
The violent passion of one lady for her lap-dog; the turning away of the old house-maid by another; a tavern-bill torn by the wife, and a tailor's by the husband; a quarrel about the kissing-crust; spoiling of dinners, and coming in late of nights, are so many several articles which occasioned the reprobation of some scores of demandants, whose names are recorded in the aforesaid register.
Without enumerating other particular persons, I shalł content myself with observing, that the sentence pronounced against one Gervase Poacher is, that " he might have had bacon to his eggs, if he had not hitherto scolded his wife when they were over-boiled." And the deposition against Dorothy Doolittle runs in these words, "that she had so far usurped the dominion of the coal fire, (the stirring whereof her husband claimed to himself) that by her good-will she never would suffer the poker out of her hand."
I find but two couples in this first century that were successful; the first was a sea-captain and his wife, who since the day of their marriage had not seen one another till the day of the claim. The second was an honest pair in the neighbourhood; the husband was a man of plain good sense, and a peaceable temper; the woman was dumb.'
No. 609. WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 20, 1714.
The miscellaneous subjects of my book.
• Mr. SPECTATOR,
I HAVE for some time desired to appear in your paper, and have therefore chosen a day * to steal into the Spectator, when I take it for granted you will not have many spare minutes for speculations of your own. As I was the other day walking with an honest country gentleman, he very often was expressing his astonishment to see the town so mightily crowded with doctors of divinity: upon which I told him he was very much mistaken, if he took all those gentlemen he saw in scarfs to be persons of that dignity; for that a young divine, after his first degree in the university, usually comes hither only to shew himself; and, on that occasion, is apt to think he is but half equipped with a gown and cassock for his public appearance, if he hath not the additional ornament of a scarf of the first magnitude to entitle him to the appellation of Doctor from his landlady and the boy at Child's. Now since I know that this piece of garniture is looked upon as a mark of vanity or affectation, as it is made use of among some of the little spruce adventurers of the town, I should be glad if you would give it a place among those extravagancies you have justly exposed in several of your papers, being very well assured that the main body of the clergy, both in the country and the universities, who are almost to a man untainted with it, would be very well pleased to see this venerable foppery well exposed. When my patron did me the honour to take me into his family (for I must own myself of this order), he was pleased to say he took me as a friend and companion; and whether he looked upon the scarf like the lace and shoulder knot of a footman, as a badge of servitude and dependence, I do not know, but he was so kind as to leave my wearing
The day of the coronation of king George I.
Juv. Sat. i. ver. 86.
of it to my own discretion; and, not having any just title to it from my degrees, I am content to be without the ornament. The privileges of our nobility to keep a certain number of chaplains are undisputed, though perhaps not one in ten of those reverend gentlemen have any relation to the noble families their scarfs belong to; the right generally of creating all chaplains, except the domestic, (where there is one,) being nothing more than the perquisite of a steward's place, who, if he happens to outlive any considerable number of his noble masters, shall probably, at one and the same time, have fifty chaplains, all in their proper accoutrements, of his own creation; though perhaps there hath been neither grace nor prayer said in the family since the introduction of the first coronet. I am,
" Mr. SPECTATor,
I WISH you would write a philosophical paper natural antipathies, with a word or two concerning the strength of imagination. I can give you a list, upon the first notice, of a rational china cup, of an egg that walks upon two legs, and a quart-pot that sings like a nightingale. There is in my neighbourhood a very pretty prattling shoulder of veal, that squalls out at the sight of a knife. Then, as for natural antipathies, I know a general officer who was never conquered but by a smothered rabbit; and a wife that domineers over her husband by the help of a breast of mutton. A story that relates to myself on this subject may be thought not unentertaining, especially when I assure you, that it is literally true. I had long made love to a lady, in the possession of whom I am now the happiest of mankind, whose hand I should have gained with much difficulty, without the assistance of a cat. You must know then that my most dangerous rival had so strong an aversion to this species, that he infallibly swooned away at the sight of that harmless creature. My friend Mrs. Lucy, her maid, having a greater respect for me and my purse than she had for my rival, always took care to pin the tail of a cat under the gown of her mistress, whenever she knew of his coming; which had such an effect, that, every time he entered the room, he looked more like one
of the figures in Mrs. Salmon's wax work than a desirable lover. In short, he grew sick of her company: which the young lady taking notice of (who no more knew why than he did,) she sent me a challenge to meet her in Lincoln's-inn chapel, which I joyfully accepted; and have, amongst other pleasures, the satisfaction of being praised by her for my stratagem.
From the Hoop.
I am, &c.
THE virgins of Great Britain are very much obliged to you for putting them on such tedious drudgeries in needle-work as were fit only for the Hilpas and the Nil pas that lived before the flood. Here is a stir indeed with your histories in embroidery, your groves with shades of silk and streams of mohair! I would have you to know, that I hope to kill a hundred lovers before the best housewife in England can stitch out a battle; and do not fear but to provide boys and girls much faster than your disciples can embroider them. I love birds and beasts as well as you, but am content to fancy them when they are really made. What do you think of gilt leather for furniture? There is your pretty hangings for a chamber; and, what is more, our own country is the only place in Europe where work of that kind is tolerably done.t Without minding your musty lessons, I am this minute going to Paul's church-yard to bespeak a screen and a set of hangings; and am resolved to encou rage the manufacture of my country.
* An exhibition then to be seen near St. Dunstan's-church, Fleet-street; but which toward the close of the century, was removed to the opposite side of the way, somewhat nearer to Temple-bar.
+ About this time there was a celebrated manufactory of tapestry at Chelsea.