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SISTER JENNY'S MATRIMONIAL DIFFERENCE AND RECONCILI
Y brother Tranquillus, who is a man of businefs, came to me this morning into my study, and after very many civil expressions in return for what good offices I had done him, told me he desired
to carry his wife, my sister, that very morning to his own house. I readily told him I would wait upon him, without asking why he was so impatient to rob us of his good company. He went out of my chamber, and I thought feemed to have a little heaviness upon him, which gave me some disquiet. Soon after, my sister came to me with a very matron-like air and most sedate satisfaction in her looks, which spoke her very much at ease, but the traces of her countenance seemed to discover that she had been lately in a passion, and that air of content to flow from a certain triumph upon some advantage obtained. She no sooner fat down by me, but I perceived she was one of those ladies who begin to be managers within the time of their being brides. Without letting her speak (which I saw she had a mighty inclination to do) I said, “Here has been your husband, who tells me he has a mind to go home this very morning, and I have consented to it.” “It is well,” said she, “ for you
must know”- _“Nay, Jenny,” said I, “I beg your pardon, for it is, you must know—you are to understand, that now is the time to fix or alienate your husband's heart for ever; and I fear you have been a little indiscreet in your expressions or
behaviour towards him, even here in my house." has," says she, “been some words ; but I will be judged by you if he was not in the wrong. Nay, I need not be judged by anybody, for he gave it up himself, and said not a word when he saw me grow passionate, but, madam, you are perfectly in the right of it. As you shall judge” “Nay, madam,” said I, “I am judge already, and tell you that you are perfectly in the wrong of it; for if it was a matter of importance, I know he has better sense than you; if a trifle, you know what I told you on your wedding-day, that you were to be above little provocations.” She knows very well I can be four upon occasion, therefore gave me leave to go on. Sister,”
,” said I, “I will not enter into the dispute between you, which I find his prudence put an end to before it came to extremity, but charge you to have a care of the first quarrel, as you tender your happiness, for then it is, that the mind will reflect harshly upon every circumstance that has ever passed between you. If such an accident is ever to happen (which I hope never will), be sure to keep to the circumstance before you; make no allusions to what is passed, or conclufions referring to what is to come. Don't shew a hoard of matter for dissension in your breast, but if it is necessary, lay before him the thing as you understand it, candidly, without being ashamed of acknowledging an error or proud of being in the right. If a young couple be not careful in this point, they will get into a habit of wrangling; and when to displease is thought of no consequence, to please is always of as little moment. There is a play, Jenny, I have formerly been at when I was a student. We got into a dark corner with a porringer of brandy, and threw raisins into it, then set it on fire. My chamber-fellow and I diverted ourselves with the sport of venturing our fingers for the raisins, and the wantonness of the thing was, to see each other look like a demon, as we burnt ourselves and snatched out the fruit. This fantastical mirth was called snap-dragon. You may go into many a family where you see the man and wife at this sport. Every word at their table alludes to some passage between themselves; and you see by the paleness and emotion in their
countenances that it is for your fake, and not their own, that they forbear playing out the whole game in burning each others fingers. In this case the whole purpose of life is inverted, and the ambition turns upon a certain contention, who shall contradict best, and not upon an inclination to excel in kindness and good offices. Therefore, dear Jenny, remember me, and avoid snap-dragon."
“ I thank you, brother,” said she, “but you don't know how he loves me; I find I can do anything with him.” “If you can so, why should you desire to do anything but please him? But I have a word or two more before you go out of the room, for I see you do not like the subject I am upon: let nothing provoke you to fall upon an imperfection he cannot help, for if he has a resenting spirit he will think your aversion as immovable as the imperfection with which you upbraid him. But above all, dear Jenny, be careful of one thing, and you will be something more than woman, that is a levity you are almost all guilty of, which is, to take a pleasure in your power to give pain. It is even in a mistress an argument of meanness of spirit, but in a wife it is injustice and ingratitude. When a sensible man once observes this in a woman, he must have a very great or very little spirit to overlook it. A woman ought therefore to consider very often how few men there are who will regard a meditated offence as a weakness of temper."
I was going on in my confabulation, when Tranquillus entered. She cast all her eyes upon him with much shame and confusion, mixed with great complacency and love, and went up to him. He took her in his arms, and looked so many soft things at one glance, that I could see he was glad I had been talking to her, forry she had been troubled, and angry at himself that he could not disguise the concern he was in an hour before. After which he says to me, with an air awkward enough, but methought not unbecoming, “I have altered my mind, brother ; we will live upon you a day or two longer.” I replied, " That's what I have been persuading Jenny to ask of you, but she is resolved never to contradict your inclination, and refused me.”
We were going on in that way which one hardly knows how to express—as when two people mean the same thing in a nice case, but come at it by talking as distantly from it as they can—when very opportunely came in upon us an honest inconsiderable fellow, Tim Dapper, a gentleman well known to us both. Tim is one of those who are very necessary, by being very inconsiderable. Tim dropped in at an incident when we knew not how to fall into either a grave or a merry way. My sister took this occasion to make off
, and Dapper gave us an account of all the company he had been in to-day, who was and who was not at home where he visited. This Tim is the head of a species : he is a little out of his element in this town, but he is a relation of Tranquillus, and his neighbour in the country, which is the true place of residence for this species. The habit of a Dapper, when he is at home, is a light broad cloth with calamanco or red waistcoat and breeches; and it is remarkable that their wigs feldom hide the collar of their coats. They have always a peculiar spring in their arms, a wriggle in their bodies, and a trip in their gait, all which motions they express at once in their drinking, bowing, or faluting ladies, for a distant imitation of a forward fop and a resolution to overtop him in his way are the distinguishing marks of a Dapper. These under-characters of men are parts of the sociable world by no means to be neglected. They are like pegs in a building; they make no figure in it, but hold the structure together, and are as absolutely necessary as the pillars and columns. I am sure we found it fo this morning, for Tranquillus and I should perhaps have looked cold at each other the whole day, but Dapper fell in with his brisk way, shook us both by the hand, rallied the bride, mistook the acceptance he met with amongst us for extraordinary perfection in himself, and heartily pleased and was pleased all the while he stayed. His company left us all in good humour, and we were not such fools as to let it sink before we confirmed it by great cheerfulness and openness in our carriage the whole evening.
Ex re fabellas. HOR. II. Sat. vi. 78. He tells an old wife's tale very pertinently.
Y brother Tranquillus being gone out of town for some days, my sister Jenny sent me word he would come and dine with me, and therefore desired me to have no other company.
I took care accordingly, and was not a little pleased to see her enter the room with a decent and matronlike behaviour, which I thought very much became her. I faw she had a great deal to fay to me, and easily discovered in her eyes and the air of her countenance, that she had abundance of satisfaction in her heart, which she longed to coinmunicate. However, I was resolved to let her break into her discourse her own way, and reduced her to a thousand little devices and intimations to bring me to the mention of her husband. But finding I was resolved not to name him, she began of her own accord : “My husband,” said she, “ gives his humble service to you,” to which I only answered, “I hope he is well ;” and without waiting for a reply, fell into other subjects. She at last was out of all patience, and said (with a smile and manner that I thought had more beauty and spirit