« PreviousContinue »
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 béar little inconveniencies rather than dispute about them. From this observation it soon came to that 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 mý servants tament 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, haš 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 ny spouse from him. An ille mibi 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 ? extimiscendum. '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, nor 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, Nibil imperanti negare, nibil recusare.
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 méans, which shall be no other than that Tom Meggot, who is at our tea-table every morning, shall read it to us; and if my dear can take the hint, and say not one word, but let this be the beginning of a new life without further explanation, it is very well; for, as soon as the Spectator is read out, I shall without more ado call for the coach, name the hour when I shall be at home, if I come at all; if I do not, they may go to dinner. If my spouse only swells and says nothing, Tom and I go out together, and all is well, as I said before ; but if she begins to command or expostulate, you shall, in my next to you, receive a full account of her resistance and submission ; for submit the dear thing must, to, "Sir, your most obedient humble servant,
• Anthony Freeman. · P.S. I hope I need not tell you that I desire this may be in your very next.'
STORY OF MR. FREEMAN, OR THE HENPÉCKED
HUSBAND. PAPER II. No. 216.
"This is to inform you that Mr. Freeman had no sooner taken coach, but his lady was taken with a terrible fit of the vapours, which it is feared will make her miscarry, if not endanger her life : therefore, dear sir, if you know of any receipt that is good against this fashionable reigning distemper, be pleased to communicate it for the good of the public, and you will oblige
* Mr. Spectator,
* The uproar was so great as soon as I had read the Spectator concerning Mrs. Freeman, that after many revolutions in her temper, of raging, swooning, railing, fainting, pitying herself, and reviling her husband, upon an accidental coming in of a neighbouring lady (who says she has writ to you also) she had nothing left for it but to fall in a fit. I had the honour to read the paper to her, and have a pretty good command of my countenance and temper on such occasions; and soon found my historical name to be Tom Meggot in your writings, but concealed myself until I saw how it affected Mrs. Freeman. She looked frequently at her husband, as often at me; and she did not tremble as she filled tea, until she came to the circumstance of Armstrong's writing out a piece of Tully for an opera tune. Then she burst out, she was exposed, she was deceived, she was wronged and abused.' The tea-cup was thrown into the fire; and without taking vengeance on her spouse, she said of me, that I was a pretending coxcomb, a meddler that knew not what it was to interpose in so nice an affair as between a man and his wife. To which Mr. Freeman : Madam, were I less fond of you than I am, I should not have taken this way of writing to the Spectator, to inform a woman, whom God and nature has placed under my direction, with what I request of her ; but since you are so indiscreet as not to take the hint which I gave you in that
paper, I must tell you, madam, in so many words, that you have for a long and tedious space of time acted a part unsuitable to the sense you ought to have of the subordination in which you are placed. And I must acquaint you once for all, that the fellow without: Ha, Tom ! (here the footinan entered and answered Madam) Sirrah, don't you know my voice ? Look upon nie when I speak to you : I say, madam, this fellow here is to know of me myself, whether I am at leisure to see company or not.
I am from this hour master of this house; and my business in it, and every where else, is to behave myself in such a manner as it shall be hereafter an honour to you to bear my name, and your pride that you are the delight, the darling and ornament of a man of honour, useful, and esteemed by his friends; and I no longer one that has buried some merit in the world, in compliance to a froward humour which has grown upon an agreeable woman by his indulgence.---Mr. Freeman ended this with a tenderness in his aspect and a downcast eye, which showed he was extremely moved at the anguish he saw her in; for she sat swelling with passion, and her eyes firmly fixed on the fire ; when I, fearing he would lose all again, took upon me to provoke her out of that anniable sorroto she was in, to fall upon me; upon
which I said very seasonably for my friend, that indeed Mr. Freeman was become the common talk of the town ; and that nothing was so much a jest, as when it was said in company. Mr. Freeman has promised to come to such a place.' Upon which the good lady turned her softness into downright rage, and threw the scalding tea-kettle upon your humble servant ; flew into the middle of the room, and cried out she was the unfortunatest of all women. Others kept family dissatis