« PreviousContinue »
"ance. Among other articles, it was therein ftipulated, " that she should have 400 1. a year for pin-money, which ' I obliged myself to pay quarterly into the hands of one “who acted as her plenipotentiary in that affair. I have
ever since religiously observed my part in this folemn
agreement. Now, Sir, so it is, that the lady has had • several children since I married her; to which, if I • should credit our malicious neighbours, her pin-money
has not a little contributed. The education of these
my children, who, contrary to my expectation, are " born to me every year, straitens me so much, that I “have begged their mother to free me from the obliga« tion of the above-mentioned pin-money, that it may go towards making a provision for her family. This
proposal makes her noble blood swell in her veins, in“Tomuch that finding me a little tardy in her last quar' ter's payment, she threatens me every day to arrest'
me ; and proceeds so far as to tell me, that if I do not 'do her justice, I shall die in a jail. To this she adds, ' when her passion will let her argue calmly, that she has ' several play-debts on her hand, which must be dis
* charged very suddenly, and that she cannot lose her ? money as becomes a woman of her fashion, if she ? makes me any abatements in this article. I hope, Sir, "you will take an occasion from hence to give your opi' nion upon a subject which you have not yet touched, "and inform us if there are any precedents for this usage among our ancestors ; or whether
any menstion of pin-money in Grotius, Puffendorf, or any other 6 of the civilians.
“I am ever the humblest of your admirers,
Josiah Fribble, Esq;'
As there is no man living who is a more professed advocate for the fair-sex than myself, so there is none who would be more unwilling to invade any of their ancient rights and privileges ; but as the doctrine of pinmoney is of a very late date, unknown to our great grandmothers, and not yet received by many of our modern
adies, I think it is for the interest of both sexes to keep it from spreading
Mr. Fritble may not, perhaps, be much mistaken where he intimates, that the supplying a man's wife with pinoney, is furnishing her with arms against himself, and i a manner becoming accessary to his own dishonour. Ve may, indeed, generally observe, that in proportion is a woman is more or less beautiful, and her husband dvanced in years, she stands in need of a greater or less umber of pins, and upon a treaty of marriage, rises or wils in her demands accordingly. It must likewise be vned, that high quality in a mistress does very much Aame this article in the marriage reckoning.
But where the age and circumstances of both parties e pretty much upon a level, I cannot but think the ifting upon pin-money is very extraordinary; and yet e find several matches broken off
head. What would a foreigner, or one who is a stranger to is practice, think of a lover that forsakes his mistress, 1.ecause he is not willing to keep her in pins; or what could he think of the mistress, should he be informed ..at she asks five or fix hundred pounds a year for this
e ? Should a man unacquainted with our customs be & ld the sums which are allowed in Great-Britain, under the title of pin-money, what a prodigious consumption of pins would he think there was in this island ? “ A pin “ a day,” says our frugal proverb,“ is a groat a year, so that, according to this calculation, my friend Fribble’s wife must every year make use of eight millions fix hundred and forty thousand new pins.
I am not ignorant that our British ladies alledge they comprehend under this general term several other conveniencies of life; I could therefore with, for the honour of my countrywomen, that they had rather called it needle-money, which might have implied something of good housewifery, and not have given the malicious world occasion to think, that dress and trifle have always the uppermost place in a woman's thoughts.
I know several of my fair readers urge, in defence of this practice, that it is but a necessary provifion they make
ir themselves, in case their husband proves a churl or a wifer; so that they consider this allowance as a kind of
alimony, which they may lay their claim to without actually separating from their husbands. But with submission, I think a woman who will give up herself to a man in marriage, where there is the least room for such an apprehension, and trust her person to one whom she will not rely on for the common necessaries of life, may very properly be accused, in the phrase of an homely proverb, of being “ penny wife and pound foolish.”
It is observed of over-cautious generals, that they never engage in a battle without securing a retreat, in case the event should not answer their expectations ; on the other hand, the greatest conquerors have burnt their ships, or broke down the bridges behind them, as being determined either to succeed, or die in the engagement. In the same manner I should very much suspect a woman who takes such precautions for her retreat, and contrives methods how the may live happily, without the affection of one to whom she joins herself for life. Separate purses between man and wife are, in my opinion, as unnatural as separate beds. A marriage cannot be happy, where the pleasures, inclinations, and interests of both parties are not the fame. There is no greater incitement to love in the mindof man, than the sense of a person's depending upon him for her ease and happiness ; as a woman uses all her endeavours to please the person whom she looks upon as her. horour, her comfort, and her support:
For this reason I am not very much surprised at the behaviour of a rough country 'squire, who, being nota little fhocked 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 flave, 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 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 man-, ner there was a large portion of ground set aside for every H6
part of her majesty's dress. These lands might not im-
I remember my friend Sir Roger, who I dare say never
Nugis addere pondus. Hor. Ep. 19. lib. 1. ver. 42.
• Dear Spec,
Aving lately conversed much with the fair-fex on
the subject of your speculations, which, fince their
appearance in public, have been the chief exer<cise of the female loquacious faculty, I found the fair "ones poffeffed with a dissatisfaction at your prefixing « Greek mottoes to the frontispiece of your
papers ; and, as a man of gallantry, I thought it a duty incum3
• bent on me to impart it to you, in hopes of a reformas
tion, which is only to be effected by a restoration of the • Latin to the usual dignity in your papers, which, of
late, the Greek, to the great displeasure of your female • readers, has usurped; for though the Latin has the re... • commendation of being as unintelligible to them as the
Greek, yet being written of the same character with • their mother-tongue, by the assistance of a spelling
book it is legible; which quality the Greek wants :
and since the introduction of operas into this nation,. • the ladies are so charmed with sounds abstracted from • their ideas, that they adore and honour the sound of. - Latin as it is old Italian. I am a solicitor for the fair6 fex, and therefore think myself in that character more
likely to be prevalent in this request, than if I should • subscribe myself by my proper name.
• J. M. • I desire you may insert this in one of your specula-. * tions, to thew my zeal for removing the dissatisfaction “ of the fair-sex, and restoring you to their favour.'
company a : I Was some time since in
of ficer, who entertained us with the conqueft he had « made over a female neighbour of his ; when a gentle
man who stood by, as I suppose, envying the captain's good fortune, asked him what reason he had to believe the lady admired him? Why, says he, my lodgings are opposite to her’s, and she is continually at her window
either at work, reading, taking snuff, or putting her• self in some toying posture on purpose to draw my eyes • that way. The confession of this vain soldier made me • reflect on some of my own actions ; for you must know, • Sir, I am often at a window which fronts the apartments • of several gentlemen, who I doubt not have the same opinion of me. I must own I love to look at them all,
for being well dressed, a second for his fine eye, and one particnlar one, because he is the least man I ever • saw; but there is something so easy and pleasant in the
manner of my little man, that I observe he is a favourite of all his acquaintance. I could go on to tell you of