« AnteriorContinuar »
then down again I sat. In a day or two after this first pleasant step towards confining me, she declared to me, “that I was all the world to her, and she thought she ought to be all the world to me. If,” she said, “my dear loves me as much as I love him, he will never be tired of my company.” This declaration was followed by my being denied to all my acquaintance; and it very soon came to that pass, that to give an answer at the door before my face, the servants would ask her whether I was within or not ; and she would answer no with great fondness, and tell me I was a good dear. I will not enumerate more little circumstances to give you a livelier sense of my condition ; but tell you in general, that from such steps as these at first, I now live the life of a prisoner of state ; my letters are opened, and I have not the use of pen, ink, and paper, but in her presence. I never go abroad, except she sometimes takes me with her in her coach to take the air, if it may be called so, when we drive, as we generally do, with the glasses up.
I have overheard my servants lament my condition, but they dare not bring me messages without her knowledge, because they doubt my resolution to stand by them. In the midst of this insipid way of life, an old acquaintance of mine, Tom Meggot, who is a favourite with her, and allowed to visit me in her company because he sings prettily, has roused me to rebel, and conveyed his intelligence to me in the following manner.
My wife is a great pretender to music, and very ignorant of it; but far gone in the Italian taste. Tom goes to Armstrong, the famous fine writer of music, and desires him to put this sentence of Tully in the scale of an Italian air, and write out for my spouse from him.
An ille mihi liber cui mulier imperat ? imponit, præscribit, jubet, vetat quod videtur? Qui nihil imperanti negare, nihil recusare audet? Poscit ? dandum est. Vocat ? veniendum. Ejicit ? abeundum. Minitatur? extimiscendum. Does he live like a gentleman who is commanded by a woman? whom she gives law, grants and denies what she pleases? who can neither deny her anything she asks, or refuse to do anything she commands?
'To be short, my wife was extremely pleased with it ; said the Italian was the only language for music ; and admired how wonderfully tender the sentiment was, and how pretty the accent is of that language, with the rest that is said by rote on that occasion. Mr. Meggot is sent for to sing this air, which he performs with mighty applause; and my wife is in ecstasy on the occasion, and glad to find, by my being so much pleased, that I was at last come into the notion of the Italian ; "for," said she, “it grows upon one when one once comes to know a little of the language; and pray, Mr. Meggot, sing again those notes, Nihil imperanti negare, nihil recusare." You
believe I was not a little delighted with my friend Tom's expedient to alarm me, and in obedience to his summons I give all this story thus at large ; and I am resolved, when this appears in the Spectator, to declare for myself. The manner of the insurrection I contrive by your means, which shall be no other than that Tom Meggot, who is at our tea-table every morning, shall read it to us; and if my dear can take the hint, and say not one word, but let this be the beginning of a new life without further explanation, it is very well ; for as soon as the Spectator is read out, I shall, without more ado,
call for the coach, name the hour when I shall be at home, if I come at all ; if I do not, they may go to dinner. If my spouse only swells and says nothing, Tom and I go out together, and all is well, as I said before ; but if she begins to command or expostulate, you shall in my next to you receive a full account of her resistance and submission, for submit the dear thing must to,
'Sir, your most obedient humble servant,
‘P.S.—I hope I need not tell you that I desire this may be in your very next.'
[Spectator, No. 212.
The Story of Mşr. Anthony Freeman
TO MR. SPECTATOR
'This is to inform you, that Mr. Freeman had no sooner taken coach, but his lady was taken with a terrible fit of the vapours, which, 'tis feared, will endanger her life; therefore, dear sir, if you know of any receipt that is good against this fashionable reigning distemper, be pleased to communicate it for the good of the public, and you will oblige
'The uproar was so great as soon as I had read the Spectator concerning Mrs. Freeman, that after many revolutions in her temper, of raging, swooning, railing, fainting, pitying herself, and reviling her husband, upon an accidental coming in of a neighbouring lady (who says she has writ to you also) she had nothing left for it but to fall in a fit. I had
the honour to read the paper to her, and have a pretty good command of my countenance and temper on such occasions; and soon found my historical name to be Tom Meggot in your writings, but concealed myself till I saw how it affected Mrs. Freeman. She looked frequently at her husband, as often at me; and she did not tremble as she filled tea, till she came to the circumstance of Armstrong's writing out a piece of Tully for an opera tune : then she burst out, “she was exposed, she was deceived, she was wronged and abused.” The teacup was thrown in the fire ; and without taking vengeance on her spouse, she said of me, “ that I was a pretending coxcomb, a meddler that knew not what it was to interpose in so nice an affair as between a man and his wife.” To which Mr. Free
Madam, were I less fond of you than I am, I should not have taken this way of writing to the Spectator, to inform a woman whom God and nature has placed under my direction with what I request of her ; but since you are so indiscreet as not to take the hint which I gave you in that paper, I must tell you, madam, in so many words, that you have for a long and tedious space of time acted a part unsuitable to the sense you ought to have of the subordination in which you are placed. And I must acquaint you once for all, that the fellow without, ha Tom! (here the footman entered and answered 'Madam') Sirrah, don't you know my voice ; look upon me when I speak to you : I say, madam, this fellow here is to know of me myself, whether I am at leisure to see company or not. I am from this hour master of this house ; and my business in it, and everywhere else, is to behave myself in such a manner, as it shall be hereafter an