« PreviousContinue »
to the picture on her stern, was the Victory.
This gentleman afterwards conducted me, not without some fear, across a Chinese bridge, to a pagoda, in which it was necessary to assume the posture of devotion, as there was not room to stand upright. On the sides of the great serpentine walk, as he termed it, by which we returned from this edifice, I found a device, which my Cicerone looked upon as a master-stroke of genius. The ground was shaped into the figures of the different suits of cards ; so that here was the heart walk, the diamond walk, the club walk, and the spade walk; the last of which had the additional advantage of being sure to produce a pun. On my observing how pleasant and ingenious all this was, my conductor answered, “ Ay, ay, let him alone for that; he has given them a little of every thing, you see; and so he may, Sir, for he can very well afford it."
I believe we must rest the matter here. In this land of freedom there is no restraining the liberty of being ridiculous ; I would only intreat Mr Prune, and indeed many of his betters, to have some regard for their wives and families, and not to make fools of themselves, till, like the Bath toyman, they can very well afford it.
No. 21. TUESDAY, April 6, 1779.
Tuis day's paper I devote to correspondents. The first of the two letters it contains was brought to my editor by a spruce footman, who, upon being asked whence he came, replied, from Mrs Meekly's.
TO THE AUTHOR OF THE MIRROR.
The world has, at different periods, been afflicted with diseases peculiar to the times in which they appeared; and the Faculty have, with great ingenuity, contrived certain generic names, by which they might be distinguished; it being a quality of great use and comfort in a physician, to be able to tell precisely of what disorder his patient is likely to die. The
nervous seems to be the ailment in greatest vogue at present; a species of disease, which I am apt to consider as not the less terrible, for being less mortal than many others. I speak not from personal experience, Mr Mirror; my own constitution, thank God ! is pretty robust; but I have the misfortune to be afflicted with a nervous wife.
It is impossible to enumerate a twentieth part of the symptoms of this lamentable disorder, or of the circumstances by which its paroxysms are excited or increased. Its dependance on the natural phenomena of the wind and weather, on the temperature of the air, whether hot or cold, moist or dry, might be accounted for ; and my wife would then be in no worse situation than the lady in a red cap and green jacket, whose figure I have seen in the little Dutch barometers, known by the name of Baby-houses. But, besides feeling the impression of those particulars, her disorder is brought on by incidents still more frequent, and less easy to be foreseen, than even the occasional changes in our atmosphere. A person running hastily up or down stairs, shutting a door roughly, placing the tongs on the left side of the grate, and the poker on the right, setting the china figures on the mantlepiece a little awry, or allowing the tossel of the bell-string to swing but for a moment; any of those little accidents has an immediate and irresistible effect on the nervous system of my wife, and produces symptoms, sometimes of languor, sometimes of irritation, which I her husband, my three children by a former marriage, and the other members of our family, equally feel and regret. The above causes of her distemper, a very attentive and diligent discharge of our several duties might possibly prevent; but even our involuntary actions are apt to produce effects of a similar or more violent nature,