« AnteriorContinuar »
perverted in all things, that, even in the state of matrimony, the young pretend to govern their elders. The musician is extremely fond of her ; but is often obliged to lay by his fiddle, to hear louder notes of hers, when she is pleased to be angry with him: for you are to know, Will is not of consequence enough to enjoy her conversation but when she chides him, or makes use of him to carry on her amours; for she is a woman of stratagem; and even in that part of the world, where one would expect but very little gallantry, by the force of natural genius, she can be sullen, sick, out of humour, splenetic, want new cloaths, and more money, as well as if she had been bred in Cheapside, or Cornhill. She was lately under a secret discontent, upon account of a lover she was like to lose by his marriage; for her gallant, Mr. Ezekiel Boniface, had been twice asked in the church, in order to be joined in matrimony with Mrs. Winifred Dimple, spinster, of the same parish. Hereupon Mrs. Rosin was far gone in that distemper which well-governed husbands know by the description of, “ I am I know not how ;' and Will soon understood that it was his part to inquire into the occasion of her melancholy, or suffer as the cause of it himself. After much importunity, all he could get out of her was, “ that she was the most unhappy and the most wicked of all women, and had no friend in the world to tell her grief to. Upon this, Will
, doubled his importunities; but she said, “ that she should break her poor heart, if he did not take a solemn oath upon a book, that he would not be angry; and that he would expose the person who had wronged her to all the world, for the ease of her mind, which was no way else to be quieted.” The fiddler was so melted, that he immediately kissed her, and afterwards the book. When his
oath was taken, she began to lament herself, and revealed to him, That, miserable woman as she was, she had been false to his bed. Will was glad to hear it was no worse; but, before he could reply, Nay,” said she, “ I will make you all the atonement I can, and take shame upon me, by proclaiming it to all the world, which is the only thing that can remove my present terrors of mind, This was indeed too true, for her design was to prevent Mr. Boniface's marriage, which was all she apprehended. Will was thoroughly angry, and began to curse and swear, the ordinary expressions of passion in persons of his condition. Upon which his wife
Ah, William! how well you mind the oath you have taken, and the distress of your poor wife, who can keep nothing from you! I hope you will not be such a perjured wretch as to forswear yourself.” The fiddler answered," that his oath obliged him
“ only not to be angry at what had passed; but I find you intend to make me laughed at all over Wapping.”—“No, no," replied Mrs. Rosin, “ I see well enough what you would be at, you poorspirited cuckold! You are afraid to expose Boniface, who has abused your poor wife, and would fain persuade me still to suffer the stings of conscience ; but I assure you, sirrah, I will not go to the devil for you.” Poor Will was not made for contention, and, beseeching her to be pacified, desired “ she would consult the good of her soul her own way, for he would not say her nay in any thing.
” Mrs. Rosin was so very loud and public in her invective against Boniface, that the parents of his mistress forbad the banns, and his match was prevented, which was the whole design of this deep stratagem. The father of Boniface brought bis action of defamation, arrested the fiddler, and recovered damages. This was
the distress from
which he was relieved by the company; and the good hushand's air, history, and jollity upon his enlargement, gave occasion to very much mirth; especially when Will, finding he had friends to stand by him, proclaimed himself a cuckold, by way of insult over the family of the Bonifaces. Here is a man of tranquillity without reading Seneca! What work had such an incident made among persons of distinction! The brothers and kindred of each side must have been drawn out, and hereditary hatred entailed on the families as long as their very names remained in the world. Who would believe that Herod, Othello, and Will Rosin, were of the same species?
There are quite different sentiments which reign in the parlour and the kitchen ; and it is by the point of honour, when justly regulated, and invioTably observed, that some men are superior to others, as much as mankind in general are to brutes. This puts me in mind of a passage in the admirable poem called “ The Dispensary,” where the nature of true honour is artfully described in an ironical dispraise of it:
“ But ere we once engage in honour's cause,
First know what honour is, and whence it was.
odd fellow visited me to-day at my lodgings, and desired encouragement and recom
mendation from me for a new invention of knockers to doors, which he told me he had made, and professed to teach rustic servants the use of them. I desired him to show me an experiment of this invention ; upon which he fixed one of his knockers to my parlour-door. He then gave me a complete set of knocks, from the solitary rap of the dun and beggar, to the thunderings of the saucy footman of quality, with several flourishes and rattlings never yet performed. He likewise played over some private notes, distinguishing the familiar friend or relation from the most modish visitor: and directing when the reserve candles are to be lighted. He has several other curiosities in his art. He waits only to receive my approbation of the main design. He is now ready to practise to such as shall apply themselves to him; but I have put off his public licence until next court-day.
N. B. He teaches under-ground.
N° 106. TUESDAY, DECEMBER 13, 1709.
-Invenies disjecti membra poeta.
Hor. I Sat. iv. 62.
You will find the limbs of a dismember'd poet.
Will's Coffee-house, December 12. I was this evening sitting at the side-table, and reading one of my own papers
with faction, not knowing that I was observed by any in
the room. I had not long enjoyed this secret pleasure of an author, when a gentleman, some of whose works I have been highly entertained with, accosted me after the following manner.
“ Mr. Bickerstaff, you know I have for some years self wholly to the Muses, and, perhaps - you will be surprised when I tell you I am resolved to take up, and apply myself to business. I shall, therefore, beg you will stand my friend, and recommend a customer to me for several goods that I have now upon my hands.”- __6. I desired him to let me have a particular*, and I would do my utmost to serve him.”—“ I have, first of all,” says he, “ the progress of an amour digested into sonnets, beginning with a poem to the unknown fair, and ending with an epithalimium. I have celebrated in it her cruelty, her pity, her face, her shape, her wit, her good humour, her dancing, her singing" LI could not forbear interrupting him; “ This is a most accomplished lady,” said I: “ but has she really with all these perfections, a fine voice ?"“ Pugh,” says he, you
do not believe that there is such a person in nature. This was only my employment in solitude last summer, when I had neither friends nor books to divert me.”—“ I was going,” said I, to ask her name, but I find it is only an imaginary mistress.”—“. That's true,” replied my friend, “ but her name is Flavia. I have," continued he, “in the second place, a collection of lampoons, calculated either for the Bath, Tunbridge, or any place where they drink waters, with blank spaces, for the names of such person or persons as may be inserted in them on occasion. Thus much I have told only of what I have by me proceeding from love and malice. I have also at this time the
* The technical phrase of an auctioneer.