« PreviousContinue »
under a free Government, and to have Magna Charta on one's Side.
To conclude these Reflections, it is my hearty Advice, That all un marry'd Persons would chule theni felves proper Spouses by the first Opportunity, in or. der to recruit those Numbers that have been destroy'd in the Wars, and not suffer their Talents to be bury'd in a Napkin. for which they must severely answer one Day. And as for those that are marry'd, the best Way they can take, as I presume, is, to live as easy as they can; and, following the good Counsel of Hobfon the Carrier, fo to manage themselves, as not to tire before their Journey's End.
A Consolatorn Letter to Mr. H.-...
being a farther Consolation on bis CUCKOLDOM, &c.
By Mr. Tho. BROWN.
Find ly your Answer, that my Advice
had not that good Effect upon you 1
which I expected. You still complain of
your Unhappiness, and disturb yourself and your Friends with Chi.
mera's of your own creating. If I thought complaining would make you a Farthing the bester, I would out-weep a Church-fpout, and
out-lament a Widow that has bury'd three Husbands, and now laments for a fourth : Or if I thought you wanted any spiritual Cordials, I would send you a Cart-load of Sermons, to teach you that Pacience which the Preachers of them could never practise. But you are a Malade imaginaire, and Moliere would fooner bring you to yourfelf dian a Divine. In short, think 110 more of the Viper that stung you, and you are well.
You talk much of what people do in Spain upon these Occasions ; but what have you and I to do with them ? Are we to regulate our Eating by the Sots of Lapland, or to go naked, in Complaisance to the Salvages under the Line : Had you liv'd in Spain, perhaps I had preach'd Revenge to you; and out of great Concern for your Person, advis'd you to verture the Gallows, because forsooth your Wife, with the Sweat of her Brows, had earn'd Dimnation. But fince you live in a Country where the People are wiser than to be enfav'd by such foolish Notions, pray suffer yourself to le govern’d by the Maxims of it. I tell you once more, Cuckoldom is no Scandal in our Nation ; and if you were the first and ancientest in England, I could say no more to you. If 'tis the Rarity that makes the Monster, you'll never come within the Number of them. 'Tis only the marry's Men that are not Cuckolds, that, properly speaking, are the Monsters here, as in Guia na ; 'is not those that have huge Lips and flat Noses, but those that have thein otherwift, are really the deform’d.
The old Romans, who may be suppos'd to have had as just Sentiments of Honour, as the nicest Dons of Cafile, weré guided by wifer Maxims. In Case of Infidelity, the Wife was fent Home with Infamy to her vertuous Relations; but no Manner of Difgrace reflected upon the Husband. Pompey, the Conqueror of so many Kings, Cicero, the Father of Eloquence, and Cefar, the Master of the Universe, had all of
them Wives that prov'd as errant Recreants as yours ; yet we don't find that they thought themselves a Farthing the worse for it, or that they raild at their Stars, or Aew into such Extravagancies as you do. Cicero in particular, that has written so many consolatory Treatises, to relieve a Man under all the Miffortunes and Accidents of human Life, as Banishment, Poverty, the Loss of Friends, old Age, Disgrace, and the like, yet never thought it worth his while to part with one single Drop of Comfort out of his philofophical Aqua Vitæ Bottle, to cure the Heart-burning of a Cuckold. And, fack, thall it ever be faid, to the Infamy of old England, that Heathens, uncircumcis'd Heathens, could practise that Patience, which you that, God be thank’d, live under a meeker Dispenfation, cannot reconcile your self to ?
You tell me, perhaps, that the Romans bore this with the greater Resignation, because they could make themselves Amends our of the Sex, and marry another Wife as soon as they had dismiss'd the former. On the other Hand, I think 'tis happy for you, that you live in a Christian Country, where they won't let you cut your fingers the second time with a Knife, as long as the Instrument that wounded you last is in Being. There's a Fable in Æsop, that fits your Cafe exactly ; therefore pray listen to it with due Attention and Reverence. A Shepherd kept a Flock of Sheep near the Sea, and observing it to be wonderful calm for a long time, had an Itch upon him to turn Merchant-Adventurer ; that is to say, in plain Englis, a Gentleman, liking the Oucside of the fair Sex well enough, picks out one to his Purpose, and resolves to marry.
Sy he converts his Sheep and orher Moveables into a Purse of Money, buys a Parcel of Dutes, and puts to Sea ; that is to say, furnishes him a House, provides a fine Suit of Cloaths, goes to Dukes - Place and marries. A Tempest sufled him cruelly there, (this Tempeft, Jack, by the By, is Cuckoldom) that he was forc'd to throw his Dates
over-board, to lighten his Ship ; that is to say, his Wife was so damn’d a Thorn in his side, that he was forc'd to drink her to Death, to get rid of her. And thus, with much ado, escapes to Shore, and returns to the old Place, to follow his old Profession ; that is breaks up House-keeping, and lives privately, as he did before. A few Days after, finding old father Ocean to look merrily about the Gills, that is, fome of the Sex smile and fimper, as if they had a Design to hook him into Matrimony again ; a Plague take you, says he, for a Dissembler : What, your Chops water for more Dates, I warrant; but I'll see you hang'd before you shall have any. I don't queftion, fack, but that there are twenty and twenty Women in your Neighbourhood, that long to be fingering your Dates; but if you'll follow the Shepherd's Example, they shall all lose their Longing.
Well, we have got over this troublesome Point ; and now nothing vexes you, but that your Wife fhould run away with a soldier, (a confounded Ensign I think you call hini) and an ugly Fellow too. But this is the most fantastical Complaint that ever was heard. It puits me in Mind of an Irish-man in the Civil Wars, that when he was going to be hang’d, set nothing to Heart, but that he must be truss'd up in a Halter, and not in a Withe. If your House was robb'd, I suppose it would be all a Case to you, whether it was a Beau or a Chimney-sweeper, that did you the Honour to riffle you : And in your present Misfortune, what Relief would it be to you, that a blue Garter planted your Horns, any more than a blue Apron, the Dace take me if I can see. But you, I find, are somewhat of Belus's Humour in the Play, who comforted himself after a good Kicking, that his Honour had not suffer'd, because in the first Place 'twas a Lord that kick'd him, and secondly, 'twas done with a Spanis-Leather Slipper. In your next Letter I expect to find you lamenting, because the Fact was done under a Hedge, or upon a
bare Floor, and not with the usual Accommodations in a Bed. Once more, the Fellow was ugly : Why, so much the better ftill, the Cockacrice of your Bosom will have tbe less to fay for herself another Day, and that ought to be no little Comfort, fack, to one in your Cafe. Besides, it justifies the old Saying, That Subjects and Wives, when they revolt from their lawful Sovereigns, seldom cluse for a better. As for her picchio ing upon a Soldier to be her Gallant, I don't wonder at it. The Gentlemen in Red, and their Brethren in Black, have for several Ages been in Poleflion of the Sex; the litter, upon the Account of their Secrecy, which may be the Reason, perhaps, why they wear the Rose, the Badge of Silence, in their Hats; and the other, upon the Score of the mighty Performances which the Women expect from them. The Ladies imagine them all to be Heroes; and as the Lairy formerly believ'd, that Black conferr'd Grace and Greek, so they vainly think, that Red gives the wearers of it Courage and Vigour above their Neighbours. If we may believe Antiquity, Vulcan had a broader Back than Mars, and was the stronger made of the two; yet che latter, with the powerful Charms of the embroider'd Coat and Steenkirk Cravat, so won the Goddess's Heart, that she was casily tempred to cuckold the poor Blacksmith. In fort, Women are like Mackarel, bait but a Hook with a Piece of red Cloth, and you infallibly take them.
But to return to the Chapter of Ugliness, from which we have digress’d; I told you before, 'would make it the worse for your Wife at the Remon; Lut upon fecond Thoughts, I don't know buc The may have a great deal to say for herself. You are a handsom Fellow, Jack, I own it ; but perhaps have convinc'd her by sorrowful Experience, that, as the Proverb has it, All is not Gold that glitters. Who can cell but your Wife has read narural Philosophy enough to know, that where the Ground was the roughest,