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“ MR. SPECTATOR, “ Upon reading your Tuesday's paper, I find, by several symptoms in my constitution, that I am a bee. My shop, or, if you please to call it so, my cell, is in that great hive of females which goes by the name of the New Exchange; where I am daily employed in gathering together a little stock of gain from the finest flowers about the town; I mean, the ladies and the beaux. I have a numerous swarm of children, to whom I give the best education I am able. But, Sir, it is my misfortune to be married to a drone, who lives upon what I get, without bringing any thing into the common stock. Now, Sir, as on the one hand I take care not to behave myself towards him like a wasp, so likewise I would not have him look upon me as an humble-bee; for which reason I do all I can to put him upon laying up provisions for a bad day, and frequently represent to him the fatal effects his sloth and negligence may bring upon us in our old age. I must beg that you will join with me in your good advice upon this occasion, and you will for ever oblige
« Your humble servant,
“MELISSA.” “ From my house in the Strand,
October 30, 1711.”
“SIR, “ I AM joined in wedlock for my sins to one of those fillies who are described in the old poet with that hard name you gave us the other day. She has a flowing mane, and a skin as soft as silk. But, Sir, she passes half her life at her glass, and almost ruins me in ribands. For my own part, I am a plain handicraft man, and in danger of breaking by
her laziness and expensiveness. Pray, master, tell me, in your next paper, whether I may not expect of her so much drudgery as to take care of her family, and curry her hide in case of refusal.
“ Your loving friend,
“ BARNABY BRITTLE.” “ Piccadilly, October 31, 1711."
“MR. SPECTATOR, “ I am mightily pleased with the humour of the cat; be so kind as to enlarge upon that subject.
“ Yours till death, “ Cheapside, October 30. “ JOSIAH HENPECK.
“ P.S. You must know I am married to a grimalkin.”
“SIR, “Ever since your Spectator of Tuesday last came into our family, my husband is pleased to call me his Oceana, because the foolish old poet that you have translated says, that the souls of some women are made of sea-water. This it seems has encouraged my sauce-box to be witty upon me. When I am angry, he cries, · Pr'ythee, my dear, be calm ;' when I chide one of my servants, Pr’ythee, child, do not bluster.' He had the impudence about an hour ago to tell me, that he was a sea-faring man, and must expect to divide his life between storm and sunshine. When I bestir myself with any spirit in my family, it is 'high sea’ in his house; and when I sit still without doing any thing, his affairs forsooth are 'windbound. When I ask him whether it rains, he makes answer, It is no matter, so that it be fair weather within doors.' In short, Sir, I cannot speak my mind freely to him, but I either swell or rage, or do something that is not fit for a civil woman to hear. Pray, Mr. Spectator, since you are so sharp upon other women, let us know what materials your wife is made of, if you have one. I suppose you would make us a parcel of poor-spirited tame insipid creatures; but, Sir, I would have you to know, we have as good passions in us as yourself, and that a woman was never designed to be a milk-sop. “Wapping, October 13, « MARTHA TEMPEST."
No. 212. FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 2, 1711.
- Eripe turpi Colla jugo : liber, liber sum, dic-age.
HOR. SAT. ii. 7. 92. - Loose thy neck from this ignoble chain, And boldly say thou’rt free.
“ MR. SPECTATOR. “ I NEVER look upon my dear wife, but I think of the happiness Sir Roger de Coverley enjoys, in having such a friend as you to expose in proper colours the cruelty and perverseness of his mistress. I have very often wished you visited in our family, and were acquainted with my spouse; she would afford you, for some months at least, matter enough for one Spectator a week. Since we are not so happy as to be of your acquaintance, give me leave to represent to you our present circumstances as well as I can in writing. You are to know then that I am not of a very different constitution from Nathaniel Henroost, whom you have lately recorded in your speculations; and have a wife who makes a more tyrannical use of the knowledge of my easy temper than that lady ever pretended to. We had not been a month married, when she found in me a certain pain to give offence, and an indolence that made me bear little inconveniences, rather than dispute about them. From this observation it soon came to pass, that if I offered to go abroad, she would get between me and the door, kiss me, and say she could not part with me; then down again I sat. In a day or two after this first pleasant step towards confining me, she declared to me, that I was all the world to her, and she thought she ought to be all the world to me.
If,' said she, my dear loves me as much as I love him, he will never be tired of my company. This declaration was followed by my being denied to all my acquaintance; and it very soon came to that pass, that to give an answer at the door, before my face, the servants would ask her whether I was within or not; and she would answer no, with great fondness, and tell me I was a good dear. I will not enumerate more little circumstances to give you a livelier sense of my condition ; but tell you in general, that from such steps as these at first, I now live the life of a prisoner of state; my letters are opened, and I have not the use of pen, ink, and paper but in her presence. I never go abroad, except she sometimes takes me with her in her coach to take the air, if it may be called so, when we drive, as we generally do, with the glasses up. I have overheard my servants lament my condition; but they dare not bring me messages without her knowledge, because they doubt my resolution to stand by them. In the midst of this insipid way of life, an old acquaintance of mine, Tom Meggot, who is a favourite with her, and allowed to visit me in her company because he sings prettily, has roused me to rebel, and conveyed his intelligence to me in the following manner: My wife is a great pretender to music, and very ignorant of it; but far gone in the Italian taste. "Tom goes to Armstrong, the famous fine writer of music, and desires him to put this sentence of Tully in the scale of an Italian air, and write it out for my spouse from him. An ille mihi liber cui mulier imperat? Cui leges imponit, præscribit, jubet, vetat quod videtur? Qui nihil imperanti negare, nihil recusare audet ? Poscit? dandum est. Vocat? veniendum. Ejicit ? abeundum. Minitatur ? extimescendum. · Does he live like a gentleman who is commanded by a woman? He to whom she gives law, grants and denies what she pleases ? who can neither deny her any thing she asks, or refuse to do any thing she commands ?'
“ To be short, my wife was extremely pleased with it; said the Italian was the only language for music; and admired how wonderfully tender the sentiment was, and how pretty the accent is of that language; with the rest that is said by rote on that occasion. Mr. Meggot is sent for to sing this air, which he performs with mighty applause; and my wife is in ecstasy on the occasion, and glad to find, by my being so much pleased, that I was at last come into the notion of the Italian; “ for,' said she,
it grows upon one when one once comes to know a little of the language ; and pray, Mr. Meggot, sing again those notes, Nihil imperanti negare, nihil recusare. You may believe I was not a little delighted with my friend Tom's expedient to alarm me, and in obedience to his summons I give all this story thus at large; and I am resolved when this appears in the Spectator, to declare for myself. The manner of the insurrection I contrive by your means; which shall be no other than that Tom Meggot,