L O I T E R E R.
"Speak of us as we are."
PRINTED FOR THE AUTHOR,
And sold by C. S. RANN, OXFORD;
Mess. EGERTONS, Whitehall, LONDON; Mess. PEARSON
And ROLLASON, BIRMINGHAM; Mr. W. MEYLER, Grove,
BATH; AND Mess. COWSLADE and SMART, READING.
L O I T E R E R.
SATURDAY, November 28, 1789.
Heaven’s last, best, Gift.
AMONG the number of young men, whom the monastic rules, which accompany University preferment, have condemned to pass many years in Celibacy, there are few who have not at times indulged in the idea of one day possessing some elegant, and amiable Partner, and retiring from the bustle of business, or the noise of dissipation, to the sweets of domestic happiness, and the comforts of a family fire-side: — Of these some few perhaps have a fair Favourite to whom, if their promise is not given, their affections at least are engaged, but by far the greatest part have no particular object to fix their thoughts on; and whenever they amuse themselves with these visionary Schemes of Happiness, are obliged to form an imaginary Fair One, whom they always take care to decorate with those graces to which they are either by habit or inclination more particularly partial. Various in consequence are the ideas formed by these ingenious Schemers with regard to the particular attractions of person, and mind, which are particularly to distinguish their respective Favourites. One is struck with the rattle of flippant volubility, and another captivated by the bashful 1ocence; the Piquante Brunette, and the delicate Fair, have each their admirers, nor are there wanting some, who give to the possessors of a particular set of features the exclusive right of making them happy. — In one circumstance alone they all agree — that the said Lady is to be of a most submissive, and complying disposition, and to be ruled in every thing by her husband.
It happens, however, a little unfortunately, that not one of these plans has ever been known to succeed, for of those who have thus pictured to themselves an image of an ideal excellence, some have spent so much time in finding the companion they wished, that old age or death have interrupted their enquiries, or concluded their search. —— Others, more fortunate in the discovery, have been unsuccessful in the pursuit; have put an end to a fretful Celibacy, by taking a companion from the lowest rank of life, and united themselves to vulgarity and meanness, rather than bear the tedium of their own Society.
They who have confined their admiration to a peculiar Style of Beauty, have by a strange fatality been notoriously famous for marrying women directly the reverse; and they who have been loudest and firmest in support of a Husband’s authority, have been so often reduced to the condition of Jerry Sneak, that a declaration of this kind seldom fails to draw a smile from every Woman, at least every married one, in company. Considering these circumstances it is not without fear and trembling, that the Loiterer touches on so delicate a subject, since it is not impossible but his correspondent in the last Number, or Some other person, may one day make him suffer for having so profanely attempted to peep behind the curtain; and whilst he lays before his Readers the following light Sketches of the matrimonial happiness of some of his acquaint deprecates their laughter, and implores their pity, in case the same fate should one day be his own.
Of all the men I ever knew, Charles Sedley was the most cautious in the grand affair of choosing a wife; and after mature deliberation, discovered that fashionable women were vain, and accomplished women affected. He therefore married the Daughter of one of his Tenants, with no charm excepting a little health and freshness, and no acquirements beyond those of a country boarding school; being persuaded that because she was ignorant, she must be humble, and because low born, inexpensive. But of both these inferences he lived to experience the falsity; for his Cara Sposa soon became intoxicated by the possession of pleasure of which she had till then entertained no idea, entered with eagerness into every species of fashionable dissipation, and paid small regard to a Husband, for whom she felt little gratitude and less affection.
It was in vain he argued, implored, and threatened; too weak for reason, too obstinate for entreaty, and too passionate for remonstrance, she heard him with the vacant laugh of folly, or answered him in the pert virulence of vulgar invective; the only part of her country education, which she never forgot.
After battling it in vain for some months with an enemy to whom he was a very unequal antagonist, he submitted to an evil which he could not remedy, and is content to be ruined by the expenses, and tormented by the follies of a vulgar Termagant, for the sake (as he says) of PEACE and QUITENESS. — Very different was the opinion and the fate of his brother Edward. Determined not to be made miserable by a low-born Vixen, he early attached himself to Lady Caroline Almeria Horatia Mackenzie, who inherited together with the blood, the spirit, and the pride of a long line of North British Nobility. — After a long and tedious courtship, in which she took care to make him completely sensible of the honour done to him, her Ladyship obligingly condescended to give him her hand; and still more obligingly introduced to his acquaintance and his house, something more than a dozen of her great Relations, who have ever since taken up their abode with him.
After this, it is needless to say, how much he is Master in his own Family Since every subject of conjugal discussion is immediately laid before this impartial jury; who instantly pronounce judgment on the case, and exhort him to pay proper regard to a Woman of Lady Caroline’s understanding, accomplishments, and rank. So that he possesses no advantage over his Brother, than the privilege of being made miserable in the very best company.
“The two Sedleys,” said my old friend, Frank Blunt, on entering my room the other morning, were a couple of silly fellows, and are deservedly punished for their folly. — He who sets out in a wrong road, must not wonder if he does not reach his journey’s end. Had I followed their example, I should have been as miserable as they are — but I have chosen wisely and am happy — very happy. — I have married a woman of the gentlest manners and the sweetest disposition. — I wish, my dear Friend, you would come over and take your Mutton with us to-day, and you shall be convinced, that when a man chuses well, Marriage is the happiest state upon Earth.” — As I love to see my Friends happy, I readily accepted his invitation and accompanied him to his house, which is an easy ride from Oxford. — The Lady received us in the most gracious manner, and testified the highest satisfaction at seeing any Friend of her Husband’s, — giving him at the same time a gentle rebuke, for having so much out-staid his time, and exposed her to all those uneasy sensations which she always felt in his absence. He excused himself in the most tender manner, and they both left the room, in order to prepare either the Dinner, or themselves. — I, of course, took up a book; but whether the Author was particularly stupid, or whether I was in a bad humour for reading, I know not, but I soon flung it down, and began to amuse myself with my own reflections. They were, however, soon interrupted by a dialogue, not of the most tender kind, between the Master and Mistress of the house, which the thinness of the partition suffered me to hear with tolerable correctness, — “Indeed, my dear Mr. Blunt, I wonder you could think of bringing your Friend here to-day, when you know there is nothing in the house but a breast of mutton, and some minced chicken for the children’s dinner; besides, the servants are all ironing — But you men have no sort of contrivance.” — “Indeed, my dear,” replied the Husband, “I am very sorry it should be inconvenient to you to receive him, but really Mr. —— is such a particular friend that I could not well avoid inviting him.” —— “Lord, you are always bringing some particular Friend or other from Oxford with you, and I suppose this particular Friend means to sleep here to-night, but I am sure I don’t know where to put him: the worst bed-chamber has been just washed, and I shall certainly not let him go into the Chintz-room with his dirty boots. — If he does stay, he must sleep in the green garret: I dare say he has been used at College to sleep without curtains, and I believe the Glazier mended the windows yesterday.” — Sorry am I to say, that I heard no more of this curious altercation, and the more so, as I may possibly again never have such an opportunity of making myself acquainted with the regulations of domestic æonomy: but the servant just then unluckily entered to make preparations for dinner, and made such a clattering with his knives and forks, that I totally lost Mr. Blunt’s answer, and could only discover that (whatever it was) it was spoken in a low and submissive tone of voice.
Soon after this, the Master and Mistress of the house, the Breast of Mutton, and the minced Chicken, all made their appearance, and we sat down apparently in high good humour with each other! —— Nothing, further, worth notice, passed during the visit, and I returned to Oxford in the evening (in spite of their earnest and sincere endeavours to detain me) where I surveyed my own fire-side with peculiar complacency, and thanked my Stars, that I had escaped the honours of the green Garret.
N.B. This work will in future be sold by Messrs. Prince and Cooke; to whom our Correspondents are requested to direct their communications.
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