« VorigeDoorgaan »
XXXVI. MARRIAGE OF WILL. HONEYCOMB.
Friday, November 7, 1712.
Sic visum Veneri; cui placet impares
Formas atque animos sub juga ahenea
Sævo mittere cum joco.-Hor. 1 Od. xxxiii. 10.
Thus Venus sports; the rich, the base,
To disagreeing love provokes ;
When cruelly jocose,
She ties the fatal noose,
And binds unequals to the brazen yokes.-Creech.
It is very usual for those who have been severe upon 10 marriage, in some part or other of their lives to enter into the fraternity which they have ridiculed, and to see their raillery return upon their own heads. I scarce ever knew a woman-hater that did not, sooner or latter, pay for it. Marriage, which is a blessing to another man, falls upon such a one as a judgment. Mr. Congreve's Old Bachelor is set forth to us with much wit and humour, as an example of this kind. In short, those who have most distinguished themselves by railing at the sex in general, very often make an honourable amends, by choosing one of the most worthless 20 persons of it for a companion and yoke-fellow. Hymen takes his revenge in kind, on those who turn his mysteries into ridicule.
My friend Will. Honeycomb, who was so unmercifully witty upon the women, in a couple of letters, which I lately communicated to the public, has given the ladies ample satisfaction by marrying a farmer's daughter; a piece of news which came to our club by the last post. The Templer is very positive that he has married a dairy-maid: but Will., in his letter to me on this occasion, sets the best face upon 30 the matter that he can, and gives a more tolerable account
of his spouse. I must confess I suspected something more than ordinary, when upon opening the letter I found that Will. was fallen off from his former gaiety, having changed "Dear Spec." which was his usual salute at the beginning of the letter, into "My worthy friend," and subscribed himself in the latter end of it at full length "William Honeycomb." In short, the gay, the loud, the vain Will. Honeycomb, who had made love to every great fortune that has appeared in town for above thirty years together, and boasted of favours 10 from ladies whom he had never seen, is at length wedded to a plain country girl.
His letter gives us the picture of a converted rake. The sober character of the husband is dashed with the man of the town, and enlivened with those little cant-phrases which have made my friend Will. often thought very pretty company. But let us hear what he says for himself. "My worthy Friend,
"I question not but you, and the rest of my acquaintance, wonder that I, who have lived in the smoke and gallantries 20 of the town for thirty years together, should all on a sudden grow fond of a country life. Had not my dog of a steward run away as he did, without making up his accounts, I had still been immersed in sin and sea-coal. But since my late forced visit to my estate, I am so pleased with it, that I am resolved to live and die upon it. I am every day abroad upon my acres, and can scarce forbear filling my letter with breezes, shades, flowers, meadows, and purling streams. The simplicity of manners, which I have heard you so often speak of, and which appears here in perfection, charms me 30 wonderfully. As an instance of it, I must acquaint you, and by your means the whole club, that I have lately married one of my tenant's daughters. She is born of honest parents, and though she has no portion, she has a great deal of virtue. The natural sweetness and innocence of her behaviour, the freshness of her complexion, the unaffected turn of her shape and person shot me through and through every time I saw
her, and did more execution upon me in grogram, than the greatest beauty in town or court had ever done in brocade. In short, she is such an one as promises me a good heir to my estate; and if by her means I cannot leave to my children what are falsely called the gifts of birth; high titles and alliances: I hope to convey to them the more real and valuable gifts of birth; strong bodies and healthy constitutions. As for your fine women, I need not tell thee that I know them. I have had my share in their graces, but no more of that. It shall be my business hereafter to live the life of an 10 honest man, and to act as becomes the master of a family. I question not but I shall draw down upon me the raillery of the town, and be treated to the tune of The marriage-hater matched; but I am prepared for it. I have been as witty upon others in my time. To tell thee truly, I saw such a tribe of fashionable young fluttering coxcombs shot up, that I did not think my post of an homme de ruelle any longer tenable. I felt a certain stiffness in my limbs, which entirely destroyed that jauntiness of air I was once master of. Besides, for I may now confess my age to thee, I have been 20 eight and forty above these twelve years. Since my retirement into the country will make a vacancy in the club, I could wish you would fill up my place with my friend Tom Dapperwit. He has an infinite deal of fire, and knows the town. For my own part, as I have said before, I shall endeavour to live hereafter suitable to a man in my station, as a prudent head of a family, a good husband, a careful father (when it shall so happen) and as
"Your most sincere friend, and humble servant,
Come see what pleasures in our plains abound;
HILPA was one of the 150 daughters of Zilpah, of the race of Cohu, by whom some of the learned think is meant Cain. She was exceedingly beautiful, and when she was but a girl of threescore and ten years of age, received the addresses of 10 several who made love to her. Among these were two brothers, Harpath and Shalum. Harpath, being the firstborn, was master of that fruitful region which lies at the foot of Mount Tirzah, in the southern parts of China. Shalum (which is to say the planter, in the Chinese language) possessed all the neighbouring hills, and that great range of mountains which goes under the name of Tirzah. Harpath was of a haughty, contemptuous spirit; Shalum was of a gentle disposition, beloved both by God and man.
It is said that, among the antediluvian women, the 20 daughters of Cohu had their minds wholly set upon riches; for which reason, the beautiful Hilpa preferred Harpath to Shalum, because of his numerous flocks and herds, that covered all the low country which runs along the foot of Mount Tirzah, and is watered by several fountains and streams breaking out of the sides of that mountain.
Harpath made so quick a despatch of his courtship, that he married Hilpa in the hundredth year of her age, and being of an insolent temper, laughed to scorn his brother Shalum for having pretended to the beautiful Hilpa, when he was
master of nothing but a long chain of rocks and mountains. This so much provoked Shalum, that he is said to have cursed his brother in the bitterness of his heart, and to have prayed that one of his mountains might fall upon his head, if ever he came within the shadow of it.
From this time forward Harpath would never venture out of the valleys, but came to an untimely end in the 250th year of his age, being drowned in a river as he attempted to cross it. This river is called, to this day, from his name who perished in it, the river Harpath, and what is very remark- 10 able, issues out of one of those mountains which Shalum wished might fall upon his brother, when he cursed him in the bitterness of his heart.
Hilpa was in the 160th year of her age at the death of her husband, having brought him but fifty children, before he was snatched away, as has been already related. Many of the antediluvians made love to the young widow, though no one was thought so likely to succeed in her affections as her first lover Shalum, who renewed his court to her about ten years after the death of Harpath; for it was not thought 20 decent in those days that a widow should be seen by a man within ten years after the decease of her husband.
Shalum, falling into a deep melancholy, and resolving to take away that objection which had been raised against him when he made his first addresses to Hilpa, began, immediately after her marriage with Harpath, to plant all that mountainous region which fell to his lot in the division of this country. He knew how to adapt every plant to its proper soil, and is thought to have inherited many traditional secrets of that art from the first man. This employment 30 turned at length to his profit as well as to his amusement: his mountains were in a few years shaded with young trees, that gradually shot up into groves, woods, and forests, intermixed with walks, and lawns, and gardens; insomuch that the whole region, from a naked and desolate prospect, began now to look like a second Paradise. The pleasantness of the