Page images

or end in disappointment. They would see the daughters of fashion in a state the inost painful of any, obliged to cover hatred with the smile of friendship, and anguish with the appearance of gaiety; they would see the mistress of the feast, or the directress of the route, at the table, or in the drawing-room, in the very scene of her pride, torn with those jarring passions which but I will not talk like a moralist--which make duchesses mean, and the finest women in the world ugly. I do them injustice: for I state this at the time of possession ; its value in reflection I forbear to estimate.

If I dared to contrast this with a picture of domestic pleasure; were I to exhibit a family virtuous and happy, where affection takes place of duty, and obedience is enjoyed, not exacted; where the happiness of every individual is reflected upon the society, and a certain tender solicitude about each other, gives a more

[ocr errors]

delicate sense of pleasure than any enjoyment merely selfish can produce; could I paint them in their little circles of business or of amusement, of sentiment or of gaiety, I am persuaded the scene would be too venerable for the most irreverent to deride, and its happiness too apparent for the most dissipated to deny. Yet to be the child or mother of such a family, is often foregone for the miserable vanity of aping some woman, weak as she is worthless, despised in the midst of flattery, and wretched in the very centre of dissipation.

I have limited this remonstrance to motives merely temporal, because I am informed, some of our high-bred females deny the reality of any other. This refinement of infidelity is one of those new acquirements, which, till of late, were altogether unknown to the ladies of this country, and which I hope very, very few of them are yet possessed of. I mean not

to dispute the solidity of their system, as I am persuaded they have studied the subject deeply, and under very able and learned masters. I would only take the liberty of hinting the purpose for which, I have been told by some fashionable men, such doctrines have frequently been taught. It seems, it is understood by the younger class of our philosophers, that a woman never thinks herself quite alone, till she has put God out of the way, as well as her husband.

[blocks in formation]

No. 34. SATURDAY, May 22, 1779.

In compliance with a promise I made my readers at the close of last Saturday's paper (at least it was that sort of promise which a man keeps when the thing suits his inclination,) I proceed to give them an account of that dinner to which


friend Mr Umphraville and I were invited by his cousin Mr Bearskin.

On our way to the house, I perceived certain symptoms of dissatisfaction, which my friend could not help bringing forth, though he durst not impute them to the right cause, as I have heard of men beating their wives at home, to revenge themselves for the crosses they have met with abroad. He complained of the moistness of the weather, and the dirtiness of the


street; was quite fatigued with the length of the way, (Mr Bearskin's house being fashionably eccentric,) and almost cursed the tailor for the tightness of a suit of clothes, which he had bespoke on his arrival in town, and had now put on for the first time. His chagrin, I believe, was increased by his having just learned from his lawyer, that the business he came to town about, could not be finished at the time he expected, but would probably last a week longer.

When we entered Mr Bearskin's drawing-room, we found his wife sitting with her three daughters ready to receive us. It was easy to see, by the air of the lady, that she was perfectly mistress of the house, and that her husband was only a secondary person there. He seemed, however, contented with his situation, and an admirer of his wife; a sort of lap-dog husband, (of whom I have seen many,) who looks sleek, runs about briskly, and, though he now

« PreviousContinue »