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happy in it. They seem to propose to themselves a few holidays in the beginning of it; after which they are to return at best to the usual course of their life; and for aught they know, to constant misery and uneasiness. From this false sense of the state they are going into, proceed the immediate coldness and indifference, or hatred and aversion, wliich attend ordinary marriages, or rather bargains to cohabit.” Our conversation was here interrupted by company which came in upon us.
The humour of affecting a superior carriage, generally rises from a false notion of the weakness of a female understanding in general, or an overweening opinion that we have of our own; for when it proceeds from a natural ruggedness and brutality of temper, it is altogether incorrigible, and not to be amended by admonition. Sir Francis Bacon, as I remember, lays it down as a maxim, that no marriage can be happy in which the wife has no opinion of her husband's wisdom; but, without offénice to so great an authority, I may venture to say, that a sullen wise man is as bad as a good-natured fool. Knowledge, softened with complacency and goodbreeding, will make a man equally beloved and respected; but when joined with a severe, distant, and unsociable temper, it creates rather fear than love. I, who am a bachelor, have no other notions of conjugal tenderness but what I learn from books; and shall therefore produce three letters of Pliny, who was not only one of the greatest, but the most learned man in the whole Roman empire. At the same time, I am very much ashamed, that on such occasions I am obliged to have recourse to heathen authors; and shall appeal to my readers, if they would not think it a mark of narrow education in å man of quality, to write such passionate letters to any womali bưt a mistress. They were all three written at a time when she was at a distance from him. The first of them puts me in mind of a married friend of mine, who said, “ Sickness itself is pleasant to a man that is attended in it by cne whom be dearly loves.”
“ PLINY TO CALPHURNIA. is I never was so much offended at business, as when it hindered me from going with you into the country, or following you thither: for I more para ticularly wish to be with you at present, that I might be sensible of the progress you make in the recovery of your strength and health; as also of the entertainment and diversions you can meet with in your retirement. Believe me, it is an anxious state of mind to live in ignorance of wbat happens to those whom we passionately love. Jam not only in pain for your absence, but also for your indisposition. I am afraid of every thing, fancy every thing, and, as it is the nature of man in fear, I fancy those things most, which I am most afraid of. Let me therefore earnestly desire you to favour me, under these my apprehensions, with one letter every day, or, if possible, with two; for I shall be a little at ease while I am reading your letters, and grow anxious again as soon as I have read them.”
SECOND LETTER. “You tell me, that you are very much afflicted at my absence, and that you have no satisfaction in any thing but my writings, which you often lay by you upon my pillow. You oblige me very much in wishing to see me, and making me your comforter in my absence. In return I must let you know, I am no less pleased with the letters which you writ to me, and read them over a thousand times with new pleasure. If your letters are capable of giving
me so much pleasure, what would your conversation do ? Let me beg of you to write to me often; though at the same time I must confess, your letters give me anguish whilst they give me pleasure.”
THIRD LETTER. “ It is impossible to conceive how much I languish for you in your absence; the tender love I bear you is the chief cause of this my uneasiness; which is still the more insupportable, because absence is wholly a new thing to us. I lie awake most part of the night in thinking of you, and several times of the day go as paturally to your apartment as if you were there to receive me; but when I miss you, I come away dejected, out of humour, and like a man that had suffered a repulse. There is but one part of the day in which I am relieved from this anxiety, and that is when I am engaged in public affairs.
“ You may guess at the uneasy condition of one who has no rest but in business, no consolation but in trouble.”
I shall conclude this paper with a beautiful pas sage out of Milton, and leave it as a lecture to those of my own sex, who have a mind to make their conversation agreeable, as well as instructive to the fair partners who have fallen into their care. Eve having observed, that Adam was entering into some deep disquisitions with the Angel, who was sent to visit him, is described as retiring from their company, with a design of learning what should pass there from her husband.
“ So spake our sire, and by his count'nance seem'd
Rose, and went forth among her fruits and flowers.
N° 150. SATURDAY, MARCH 25, 1710.
IIæc sunt jucundi causa, sibusque mali.
From my own Apartment, March 24. I HAVE received the following letter upon the subject of my last Paper. The writer of it tells me, I there spoke of marriage as one that knows it only by speculation, and for that reason he sends me his sense of it, as drawn from experience:
“MŘ. BICKERSTAFF, “ I have received your paper of this day, and think you have done the nuptial state a great deal of justice in the authority you give us of Pliny, whose letters to his wife you have there trauslated. But
give we leave to tell you, that it is impossible for you, that are a bachelor, to bave so just a notion of this way
of life, as to touch the affections of your readers in a particular, wherein every man's own heart suggests more than the nicest obseryer can form to bimself without experience. I, therefore, who am an old married mau, have sat down to give you an account of the matter from my own knowledge, and the observations which I have made upon the conduct of others in that most agreeable or wretched condition.
“ It is very commonly observed, that the most smart pangs which we meet with, are in the begivning of wedlock, which proceed from ignorance of each other's humour, and want of prudence to make allowances for a change from the most careful respect, to the most unbounded familiarity. Hence it arises, that trifles are commouly occasions of the greatest anxiety; for contradiction being a thing wholly unusual between a new married couple, the smallest instance of it is taken for the highest injury; and it very seldom happens, that the man is slow enough in assuming the character of a busband, or the woman quick enough in condescending to that of a wife. It immediately follows, that they think they have all the time of their courtship been talking in masks to each other, and therefore begin to act like disappointed people. Philander finds Delia ill-natured and impertinent; and Delia, Philander surly and inconstant.
“ Į have known a fond couple quarrel in the very honey-moon about cutting up a tart: nay, I could name two, who, after having had seven children, fell out and parted beds upon the boiling of a leg of mutton. My very next neighbours have not spoke to one another these three days, because they dif. fered in their opinions, whether the clock should