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No. 17. TUESDAY, March 23, 1779.

Insanit veteres statuas Damasippus emendo.

HOR.

TO THE EDITOR OF THE MIRROR.

SIR,

As I am persuaded that you will not think it without the province of a work such as yours, to throw your eye sometimes upon the inferior ranks of life, where there is any error that calls loud for amendment, I will make no apology for sending you the following narrative :

I was married about five years ago, to a young man in a good way of business as a grocer, whose character, for sobriety and diligence in his trade, was such as to give me the assurance of a very comfortable establishment in the mean time, and, in case Providence should bless us with children, the prospect of making a tolerable provision for them. For three years after our marriage there never was a happier couple. Our shop was so well frequented, as to require the constant attendance of both of us; and, as it was my greatest pleasure to see the cheerful activity of my husband, and the obliging attention which he showed to every customer, he has often, during that happy time, declared to me, that the sight of my face behind the counter (though indeed, Sir, my looks are but homely) made him think his humble condition far more blessed than that of the wealthiest of our neighbours, whose possessions deprived them of the high satisfaction of purchasing, by their daily labour, the comfort and happiness of a beloved object.

In the evenings, after our small repast, which, if the day had been more than usually busy, we sometimes ventured to

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finish with a glass or two of punch ; while

1 my husband was constantly engaged with his books and accounts, it was my employment to sit by his side knitting, and, at the same time, to tend the cradle of our first child, a girl, who is now a fine pratling creature of four years of age, and begins already to give me some little assistance in the care of a younger brother and sister.

Such was the picture of our little family, in which we once enjoyed all the happiness that virtuous industry, and the most perfect affection, can bestow. But those pleasing days, Mr Mirror, are now at an end.

The sources of unhappiness in my situation are very different from those of other unfortunate married persons.

It is not of my husband's idleness or extravagance, his ill-nature, or his avarice, that I have to complain; neither are we unhappy from any decrease of affection, or disagreement in our opinions. But I will not, Sir, keep you longer in suspense. In short, it is my misfortune that my husband is become a man of taste.

The first symptom of this malady, for it is now become a disease indeed, manifested itself, as I have said, about two years ago, when it was my husband's ill luck to receive one day from a customer, in payment of a pound of sugar, a crooked piece of silver, which he, at first, mistook for a shilling, but found on examination, to have some strange characters upon it, which neither of us could make any thing of. An acquaintance coming in, who, it seems, had some knowledge of those matters, declared it at once to be a very curious coin of Alexander the Third ; and, affirming that he knew a virtuoso who would be extremely glad to be possessed of it, bid him half-a-guinea for it upon the spot. My poor husband, who knew as little of Alexander the Third, as

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of Alexander the Great, or his other namesake, the Coppersmith, was nevertheless persuaded, from the extent of the offer, and the opinion he had of bis friend's discernment, that he was possessed of a very valuable curiosity ; and in this he was fully confirmed, when, on shewing it to the virtuoso above mentioned, he was immediately offered triple the former sum. This too was rejected, and the crooked coin was now judged to be inestimable. It would tire your patience, Mr Mirror, to describe minutely the progress

husband's delirium. The neighbours soon heard of our acquisition, and flocked to be indulged with a sight of it. Others, who had valuable curiosities of the same kind, but who were prudent enough not to reckon them quite beyond all price, were, by much entreaty, prevailed on by my husband to exchange them for guineas, half-guineas, and crown pieces ; so that, in about a month's time, he could boast

of my

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