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“IT is impossible to conceive how much I lan“guish 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 naturally 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 when 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 passage 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 are 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
No. CL. SATURDAY, MARCH 25.
, 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.
“Mr. BICKERs TAFF,
. . “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 * \etters to his wife you have there translated, but give * me leave to tell you, that it is impossible for you, “that are a bachelor, to have so just a notion of this “Way of life, as to touch the affections of your rea"ders in a particular wherein every man's own heart “suggests more than the nicest observer can form to “ himself without experience. I therefore, who am an "old married man, have sat down to give you an ac“count of the matter from my own knowledge, and “ the observations which I have made upon the con“duct of others in that most agreeable or wretched “condition.
o “It is very commonly observed that the most smart pangs which we meet with, are in the beginning of wedlock, which proceed from ignorance of each * others humour, and want of prudence to make al“lowances for a change from the most careful res“ pect, to the most unbounded familiarity. Hence it “ arises, that trifles are commonly 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 in“jury; and it very seldom happens, that the man is “slow enough in assuming the character of a husband, “or the woman quick enough in condescending to “ that of a wife. Iti mmediately 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. “I 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 another these three days, because they differed “in their opinions, whether the clock should stand by “ the window, or over the chimney. It may seem “strange to you, who are not a married man, when “I tell you how the least trifle can strike a woman “ dumb for a week together. But if you ever enter “ into this state, you will find that the soft sex as of “ten express their anger by an obstinate silence, as “by an ungovernable clamour. “Those indeed who begin this course of life without “jars at their setting out, arrive within few months “at a pitch of benevolence and affection, of which the “most perfect friendship is but a faint resemblance,
“As in the unfortunate marriage, the most minute s “ and indifferent things are objects of the sharpest re“sentment; so in a happy one, they are occasions of “the most exquisite satisfaction. For what does not “oblige in one we love : What does not offend in one “we dislike? For these reasons I take it for rule, that “in marriage, the chief business is to acquire a pre“possession in favour of each other. They should con“sider one another's words and actions with a secret “indulgence: there should be always an inward fond“ness pleading for each other, such as may add new “beauties to everything that is excellent, give charms “to what is indifferent, and cover every thing that is “defective. For want of this kind propensity and bias “of mind, the married pair often take things ill of “each other, which no one else would take notice of “in either of them. * “But the most unhappy circumstance of all is, “where each party is always laying up fuel for dissen“tion, and gathering together a magazine of provoca“tions to exasperate each other with when they are “out of humour. These people in common discourse “make no scruple to let those who are by, know they “are quarrelling with one another, and think they “are discreet enough, if they conceal from the com“pany the matters which they are hinting at. About “a week ago, I was entertained for a whole dinner “with a mysterious conversation of this nature; out “of which I could learn no more, than that the hus“band and wife were angry at one another. We had “no sooner sat down, but says the gentleman of the “house, in order to raise discourse, I thought Marga“rita sung extremely well last night. Upon this, says “the lady, looking as pale as ashes, I suppose she had “Cherry-coloured ribbons on. No, answered the hus“band, with a flush in his face, but she had laced “shoes. I look upon it, that a stander-by on such oc“casions has as much reason to be out of countenance “as either of the combatants. To turn off my confu“sion, and seem regardless of what had passes I de“sired the servant who attended to give me the vine“gar, which unluckily created a new dialogue of hints; “ for as far as I could gather by the subsequent dis“course, they had dissented the day before about the “ preference of elder to wine vinegar. In the midst “of their discourse, there appeared a dish of chickens “ and asparagus, when the husband seemed disposed “to lay aside all disputes; and looking upon her with “a great deal of good nature, said, pray, my dear, “will you help my friend to a wing of the fowl that “ lies next you, for I think it looks extremely well. “The lady, instead of answering him, addressing her“self to me, pray, Sir, said she, do you in Surry reck“ on the white or the black-legged fowls the best ? I “found the husband changed colour at the question; “ and before I could answer, asked me, whether we “ did not call hops broom in our country : I quickly “ found they did not ask questions so much out of “ curiosity as anger : for which reason I thought fit “ to keep my opinion to myself, and as an honest man “ ought, (when he sees two friends in warmth with “ each other) I took the first opportunity I could to “ leave them by themselves.
“You see, Sir, I have laid before you only small “incidents which are seemingly frivolous; buttake it “ from a man very well experienced in this state, they “ are principally evils of this nature which make mar“riages unhappy. At the same time, that I may do “justice to this excellent institution, I must own to “ you, there are unspeakable pleasures which are as “little regarded in the computation of the advantages “ of marriage, as the others are in the usual survey “ that is made of its misfortunes. “Lovemore and his wife live together in the hap
“Py possession of each others hearts, and by that
“ means have no indifferent moments, but their whole