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WILL HONEYCOMB'S MARRIAGE. [ADDISON.)
No. 530. — FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 1712.
Sic visum Veneri; cui placet impares
It is very usual for those who have been severe upon marriage, in some part or other of their lives to enter into the fraternity which they have ridiculed, and to see their raillery return upon their own heads. I scarce 5 ever knew a woman-hater that did not sooner or later pay for it. Marriage, which is a blessing to another man, falls upon such a one as a judgment. Mr. Congreve's Old Bachelor is set forth to us with much wit
and humour, as an example of this kind. In short, those 10 who have most distinguished themselves by railing at the
sex in general, very often make an honourable amends, by choosing one of the most worthless persons of it for a companion and yoke-fellow. Hymen takes his revenge
in kind, on those who turn his mysteries into ridicule. 15 My friend Will Honeycomb, who was so unmercifully witty upon the women in a couple of letters, which
lately communicated to the public, has given the ladies ample satisfaction by marrying a farmer's daughter; a piece of news which came to our club by the last post. The Templar is very positive that he has married a dairymaid: but Will, in his letter to me on this occasion, sets 5 the best face upon the matter that he can, and gives a more tolerable account of his spouse. I must confess I suspected something more than ordinary, when upon opening the letter I found that Will was fallen off from his former gaiety, having changed Dear Spec, which was 10 his usual salute at the beginning of the letter, into My worthy friend, and subscribed himself at the latter end of it at full length William Honeycomb. In short, the gay, the loud, the vain Will Honeycomb, who had made love to every great fortune that has appeared in town for 15 above thirty years together, and boasted of favours from ladies whom he had never seen, is at length wedded to a plain country girl.
His letter gives us the picture of a converted rake. The sober character of the husband is dashed with the 20 man of the town, and enlivened with those little cant phrases which have made my friend Will often thought very pretty company. But let us hear what he says for himself. “ MY WORTHY FRIEND,
25 “I question not but you, and the rest of my acquaintance, wonder that I, who have lived in the smoke and gallantries of the town for thirty years together, should all on a sudden grow fond of a country life. Had not my dog of a steward ran away as he did without making up his accounts, I had still been immersed in sin and sea- 30 coal. But since my late forced visit to my estate, I am so pleased with it, that I am resolved to live and die upon it. I am every day
abroad among my acres, and can scarce forbear filling my letter with breezes, shades, flowers, meadows, and purling streams. The simplicity of manners which I have heard you so often speak of,
and which appears here in perfection, charms me wonderfully. As 5 an instance of it, I must acquaint you, and by your means the whole
club, that I have lately married one of my tenants' daughters. She is born of honest parents, and though she has no portion, she has a great deal of virtue. The natural sweetness and innocence of her
behaviour, the freshness of her complexion, the unaffected turn of Io her shape and person, shot me through and through every time I
saw her, and did more execution upon me in grogram, than the greatest beauty in town or court had ever done in brocade. In short, she is such a one as promises me a good heir to my estate,
and if by her means I cannot leave to my children what are falsely 15 called the gifts of birth, high titles and alliances, I hope to convey
to them the more real and valuable gifts of birth, strong bodies, and healthy constitutions. As for your fine women, I need not tell thee that I know them. have had my share in their graces, but no
more of that. It shall be my business hereafter to live the life of 20 an honest man, and to act as becomes the master of a family. I
question not but I shall draw upon me the raillery of the town, and be treated to the tune of The Marriage-hater Match'd; but I am prepared for it. I have been as witty upon others in my time. To
tell thee truly, I saw such a tribe of fashionable young Auttering 25 coxcombs shot up that I did not think my post of an homme de
ruelle any longer tenable. I felt a certain stiffness in my limbs which entirely destroyed that jauntiness of air I was once master of. Besides, for I may now confess my age to thee, I have been eight
and forty above these twelve years. Since my retirement into the 30 country will make a vacancy in the club, I could wish you would
fill up my place with my friend Tom Dapperwit. He has an infinite deal of fire, and knows the town. For my own part, as I have said before, I shall endeavour to live hereafter suitable to a man in
my station, as a prudent head of a family, a good husband, a care35 ful father (when it shall so happen) and as “Your most sincere friend and humble servant,
“ WILLIAM HONEYCOMB."
THE CLUB DISSOLVED. [ADDISON.]
No. 549. - SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 1712.
QUAMVIS digressu veteris confusus amici,
-- JUV. SAT, iii, 1.
I BELIEVE most people begin the world with a resolution to withdraw from it into a serious kind of solitude or retirement, when they have made themselves easy in it. Our unhappiness is, that we find out some excuse or other for deferring such our good resolutions till our 5 intended retreat is cut off by death. But among all kinds of people there are none who are so hard to part with the world as those who are grown old in the heaping up of riches. Their minds are so warped with their constant attention to gain, that it is very difficult for them 10 to give their souls another bent, and convert them towards those objects, which, though they are proper for every stage of life, are so more especially for the last. Horace describes an old usurer as so charmed with the pleasures of a country life, that, in order to make a pur-15 chase, he called in all his money; but what was the event of it? why, in a very few days after, he put it out again. I am engaged in this series of thought by a discourse which I had last week with my worthy friend Sir Andrew
Freeport, a man of so much natural eloquence, good sense, and probity of mind, that I always hear him with a particular pleasure. As we were sitting together, being the sole remaining members of our club, Sir Andrew gave 5 me an account of the many busy scenes of life in which he had been engaged, and at the same time reckoned up to me abundance of those lucky hits which at another time he would have called pieces of good fortune ; but
in the temper of mind he was then, he termed them 10 mercies, favours of Providence, and blessings upon an
honest industry. “Now," says he, "you must know, my good friend, I am so used to consider myself as creditor and debtor, that I often state my accounts after the
same manner with regard to heaven and my own soul. 15 In this case, when I look upon the debtor side, I find
such innumerable articles, that I want arithmetic to cast them up; but when I look upon the creditor side, I find little more than blank paper. Now, though I am very
well satisfied that it is not in my power to balance ac20 counts with my Maker, I am resolved however to turn
all my future endeavours that way. You must not therefore be surprised, my friend, if you hear that I am betaking myself to a more thoughtful kind of life, and if I
meet you no more in this place.” 25 I could not but approve so good a resolution, notwith
standing the loss I shall suffer by it. Sir Andrew has since explained himself to me more at large in the following letter, which is just come to my hands.
“Good MR. SPECTATOR, 30
“Notwithstanding my friends at the club have always rallied me, when I have talked of retiring from business, and repeated to me