« PreviousContinue »
MARRIED TO AN EMINENT BREWER.
desire, to recommend me to others, and form a prospect of bappy living to myself.
At about fifteen years of age my father gave me, as he called it in French, 25,000 livres, that is to say, two thousand pounds portion, and married me to an eminent brewer in the city. Pardon me if I conceal his name, for though he was the foundation of my ruin, I cannot take so severe a revenge
With this thing called a husband I lived eight years in good fashion, and for some part of the time kept a coach, that is to say, a kind of mock coach ; for all the week the horses were kept at work in the dray-carts, but on Sunday I had the privilege to go abroad in my chariot, either to church or otherways, as my husband and I could agree about it, which, by the way, was not very
but of that hereafter. Before I proceed in the history of the married part of my life, you must allow me to give as impartial an account of my husband as I have done of myself. He was a jolly, handsome fellow as any woman need wish for a companion; tall and well made; rather a little too large, but not so as to be ungenteel; he danced well, which I think was the first thing that brought us together. He had an old father who managed the business carefully, so that he had little of that part lay on him, but now and then to appear and show himself; and he took the advantage of it, for he troubled himself very
little about it, but went abroad, kept company, hunted much, and loved it exceedingly.
After I have told you that he was a handsome man and a good sportsman, I have indeed said all ; and unhappy was I, like other young people of our sex, I chose him for being a handsome jolly fellow, as I have said; for he was otherwise a weak, empty-headed, untaught creature, as any woman could ever desire to be coupled with. And here I must take the liberty, whatever I have to reproach myself with in my after conduct, to turn to my fellow-creatures, the young ladies of this country, and speak to them by way of precaution. If you have any regard to your future happiness; any view of living comfortably with a husband; any hope of preserving your fortunes, or restoring them after any disaster, never, ladies, marry a fool; any husband rather than a fool; with some other husbands you may be unhappy, but with a fool you
will be miserable ; with another husband you may, I say, be un.
happy, but with a fool you must; nạy, if he would, he cannot make you easy; every thing he does is so awkward, everything he says is so empty, a woman of any sense cannot but te surfeited and sick of him twenty times a day.
What is more shocking than for a woman to bring a handsome, comely fellow of a husband into company, and then be obliged to blush for him every time she hears him speak ? To hear other gentlemen talk sense, and he able to say nothing? And so look like a fool, or which is worse, hear him talk nonsense, and be laughed at for a fool.
In the next place, there are so many sorts of fools, such an infinite variety of fools, and so hard it is to know the worst of the kind, that I am obliged to say, No fool, ladies, at all, no kind of fool, whether a mad fool or a sober fool, a wise fool or a silly fool ; take anything but a fool; nay, be anything, be even an old maid, the worst of nature's curses, rather than take
with a fool. But to leave this awhile, for I shall have occasion to speak of it again ; my case was particularly hard, for I had a variety of foolish things complicated in this unhappy match.
First, and which I must confess is very unsufferable, he was a conceited fool, tout opiniatre; everything he said was right, was best, and was to the purpose, whoever was in company, and whatever was advanced by others, though with the greatest modesty imaginable; and yet when he came to defend what he had said by argument and reason, he would do it so weakly, so emptily, and so nothing to the purpose, that it was enough to make anybody that heard him sick and ashamed of him.
Secondly, he was positive and obstinate, and the most positive in the most simple and inconsistent things, such as were intolerable to bear.
These two articles, if there had been no more, qualified him to be a most unbearable creature for a husband, and so it may be supposed, at first sight, what a kind of life I led with him. However, I did as well as I could, and held my tongue, which was the only victory I gained over him; for when he would talk after his own empty rattling way with me, and I would not answer, or enter into discourse with him on the point he was upon, he would rise up in the greatest passion imaginable, and go away, which was the cheapest way I had to be delivered.
MY FATHER AND MY HUSBAND'S FATHER DIES.
I could enlarge here much upon the method I took to make my life passable and easy with the most incorrigible temper in the world; but it is too long, and the articles too trifling: I shall mention some of them as the circumstances I am to relate shall necessarily bring them in.
After I had been married about four years, my own father died, my mother having been dead before. He liked my match so ill, and saw so little room to be satisfied with the conduct of my husband, that though he left me five thousand livres, and more, at his death, yet he left it in the hands of my elder brother, who, running on too rashly in his adventures as a merchant, failed, and lost not only what he had, but what he had for me too, as you shall hear presently.
Thus I lost the last gift of my father's bounty by having a husband not fit to be trusted with it: there's one of the benefits of marrying a fool. Within two years
after my own father's death, my husband's father also died; and, as I thought, left him a considerable addition to his estate, the whole trade of the brewhouse, which was a very good one, being now his own.
But this addition to his stock was his ruin, for he had no genius to business ; he had no knowledge of his accounts; he bustled a little about it, indeed, at first, and put on a face of business, but he soon grew slack ; it was below him to inspect his books, he committed all that to his clerks and bookkeepers; and while he found money in cash to pay the malt-man and the excise, and put some in his pocket, he was perfectly easy and indolent, let the main chance go how it would.
I foresaw the consequence of this, and attempted several times to persuade him to apply himself to his business ; I put him in mind how his customers complained of the neglect of his servants on one hand, and how abundance broke in his debt, on the other hand, for want of the clerk's care to secure him, and the like; but he thrust me by, either with hard words, or fraudulently, with representing the cases otherwise than they were.
However, to cut short a dull story, which ought not to be long, he began to find his trade sunk, his stock declined, and that, in short, je could not carry on his business, and once or twice his brewing utensils were extented for the excise ; and, the last time, he was put to greatextremities to clear then.
This alarmed him, and he resolved to lay down his trade ; which, indeed, I was not sorry for; foreseeing that if he did not lay it down in time, he would be forced to do it another way, namely, as a bankrupt. Also I was willing he should draw out while he had something left, lest I should come to be stripped at home, and be turned out of doors with my children; for I had now five children by him, the only work (perhaps) that fools are good for.
I thought myself happy when he got another man to take his brewhouse clear off his hands; for, paying down a large sum of money, my husband found himself a clear man, all his debts paid, and with between two and three thousand pounds in his pocket; and being now obliged to remove from the brewhouse, we took a house at
a village about two miles out of town; and happy I thought myself, all things considered, that I was got off clear, upon so good terms; and had my handsome fellow had but one capful of wit, I had been still well enough,
I proposed to him either to buy some place with the money, or with part of it, and offered to join my part to it, which was then in being, and might have been secured ; so we might have lived tolerably, at least during his life. But as it is the part of a fool to be void of counsel, so he neglected it, lived on as he did before, kept his horses and men, rid every day out to the forest a hunting, and nothing was done all this while; but the
apace, and I thought I saw my ruin hastening on, without any possible way to prevent it.
I was not wanting with all that persuasions and entreaties could perform, but it was all fruitless; representing to him how fast our money wasted, and what would be our condition when it was gone, made no impression on him; but like one stupid, he went on, not valuing all that tears and lamentations could be supposed to do; nor did he abate his figure or equipage, his horses or servants, even to the last, till he had not a hundred pounds left in the whole world.
It was not above three years that all the ready money was thus spending off; yet he spent it, as I may say, foolishly too, for he kept no valuable company neither, but generally with huntsmen and horse-coursers, and men meaner than himself, which is another consequence of a man's being a fool ; such can never take delight in men more wise and capable than
MYSTERIOUS DISAPPEARANCE OF MY HUSBAND.
themselves, and that makes them converse with scourdrels, drink belch with porters, and keep company always below themselves,
This was my wretched condition, when one morning my husband told me he was sensible he was come to a miserable condition, and he would go and seek his fortune somewhere or other. He had said something to that purpose several times before that, upon my pressing him to consider his circumstances, and the circumstances of his family, before it should be too late ; but as I found he had no meaning in anything of that kind, as, indeed, he had not much in anything he ever said, so I thought they were but words of course
When he had said he would be gone, I used to wish secretly, and even say in my thoughts, I wish you would, for if you go on thus, you will starve us all.
He stayed, however, at home all that day, and lay at home that night; early the next morning he gets out of bed, goes to a window which looked out towards the stables, and sounds his French horn, as he called it, which was his usual signal to call his men to go out a hunting.
It was about the latter end of August, and so was light yet at five o'clock, and it was about that time that I heard him and his two men go out and shut the yard gates after them. He said nothing to me more than as usual when he used to go out upon his sport; neither did I rise, or say anything to him that was material, but went to sleep again after he was gone, for two hours or thereabouts.
It must be a little surprising to the reader to tell him at once, that after this, I never saw my husband more; but to go farther, I not only never saw him more, but I never heard from him, or of him, neither of any or either of his two servants, or of the horses, either what became of them, where or which way they went, or what they did, or intended to do, no more than if the ground had opened and swallowed them all up, and nobody had known it, except as hereafter.
was not, for the first night or two, at all surprised, no, nor very much the first week or two, believing that if anything evil had befallen them, I should soon enough have heard of that; and also knowing, that as he had two servants and three horses with him, it would be the strangest