Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

done whilst he was living. To which he added, for his further satisfaction, that he did not believe any besides his particular friends and acquaintance had ever been at the pains of reading it, or that any body after his death would ever inquire after it. The dying man had still so much the frailty of an author in him, as to be cut to the heart with these consolations; and, without answering the good man, asked his friends about him (with a peevishness that is natural to a sick person) where they had picked up such a blockhead; and whether they thought him a proper person to attend one in his condition. The curate, finding that the author did not expect to be dealt with as a real and sincere penitent, but as a penitent of importance, after a short admonition withdrew; not questioning but he should be again sent for if the sickness grew desperate. The author however recovered, and has since written two or three other tracts with the same spirit, and, very luckily for his poor soul, with the same success.

ADDISON.

STORY OF MR. FREEMAN, OR THE HENPECKED

HUSBAND. PAPER I. No. 212.

* MR. SPECTATOR,

'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 go

different

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 inconveniencies rather than dispute about them. From this observation it soon came to that pass, that if I offered to 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 in

sipid 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 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? 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 any friend Tom's expedient to alarm ine; and, in obedience to his summons, I give all this

C 3

story

You may

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, who is at our tea-table every morning, shall read it to us; and if my dear can take the bint, 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.'

STEELE.

STORY OF MR. FREEMAN, OR THE HENPÉCKED HUSBAND.

PAPER II. No. 216.

[merged small][ocr errors]

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

fashionable

* Yours,

A. Noewill.'

* 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 Tally 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, ,

C4

« НазадПродовжити »