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but that of jealousy. My being thus confident of her, I take, as much as I can judge of my heart, to be the reason, that whatever she does, though it be never so much against my inclination, there is still left something in her manner that is amiable. She will sometimes look at me with an assumed grandeur, and pretend to resent that I have not had respect enough for her opinion in such an instance in company. I cannot but smile at the pretty anger she is in, and then she pretends she is used like a child. In a word, our great debate is, which has the superiority in point of understanding. She is eternally forming an argument of debate; to which I very indolently answer, Thou art mighty pretty.' To this she answers, All the world but you think I have as much sense as yourself.' I repeat to her, Indeed you are pretty. Upon this there is no patience; she will throw down any thing about her, stamp, and pull off her head-clothes. Fy, my dear,' say I, how can a woman of your sense fall into such an intemperate rage?' This is an argument that never fails. Indeed, my dear,' says she, you make me mad sometimes, so you do, with the silly way you have of treating me like a pretty idiot.' 'Well, what have I got by putting her in good humour? Nothing, but that I must convince her of my good opinion by my practice; and then I am to give her possession of my little ready money, and, for a day and a half following, dislike all she dislikes, and extol every thing she approves. I am so exquisitely fond of this darling, that I seldom see any of my friends, am uneasy in all companies till I see her again; and when I come home she is in the dumps, because she says she is sure I came so soon only because I think her handsome. I dare not upon this occasion laugh; but though I am one of the warmest churchmen in the kingdom, I am forced to rail at the times, because
she is a violent Whig. Upon this we talk politics so long, that she is convinced I kiss her for her wisdom. It is a common practice with me to ask her some question concerning the constitution, which she answers me in general out of Harrington's Oceana. Then I commend her strange memory, and her arm is immediately locked in mine. While I keep her in this temper she plays before me, sometimes dancing in the midst of the room, sometimes striking an air at her spinnet, varying her posture and her charms in such a manner that I am in continual pleasure. She will play the fool if I allow her to be wise; but if she suspects I like her for her trifling, she immediately grows grave.
"These are the toils in which I am taken, and I carry off my servitude as well as most men; but my application to you is in behalf of the hen-peckt in general, and I desire a dissertation from you in defence of us. You have, as I am informed, very good authorities in our favour, and hope you will not omit the mention of the renowned Socrates, and his philosophic resignation to his wife Xantippe. This would be a very good office to the world in general; for the hen-peckt are powerful in their quality and numbers, not only in cities, but in courts; in the latter they are ever the most obsequious; in the former, the most wealthy of all men. When you have considered wedlock thoroughly, you ought to enter into the suburbs of matrimony, and give us an account of the thraldom of kind keepers, and irresolute lovers; the keepers, who cannot quit their fair ones, though they see their approaching ruin; the lovers, who dare not marry, though they know they shall never be happy without the mistresses whom they cannot purchase on other terms.
"What will be a great embellishment to your course will be, that you may find instances of the
haughty, the proud, the frolic, the stubborn, who are each of them in secret downright slaves to their wives or mistresses. I must beg of you in the last place to dwell upon this, that the wise and valiant in all ages have been hen-peckt; and that the sturdy tempers who are not slaves to affection, owe that exemption to their being enthralled by ambition, avarice, or some meaner passion. I have ten thousand thousand things more to say, but my wife sees me writing, and will, according to custom, be consulted if I do not seal this immediately.
IN one of my last week's
tion, which Mr. Dryden somewhere calls a milkiness of blood,' is an admirable groundwork for the other. In order, therefore, to try our good-nature, whether it arises from the body or the mind, whether it be founded in the animal or rational part of our nature; in a word, whether it be such as is entitled to any other reward besides that secret satisfaction and contentment of mind which is essential to it, and the kind reception it procures us in the world, we must examine it by the following rules:
First, whether it acts with steadiness and uniformity in sickness and in health, in prosperity and in adversity; if otherwise, it is to be looked upon as nothing else but an irradiation of the mind from some new supply of spirits, or a more kindly circulation of the blood. Sir Francis Bacon mentions a cunning solicitor, who would never ask a favour of a great man before dinner; but took care to prefer his petition at a time when the party petitioned had his mind free from care, and his appetites in good humour. Such a transient temporary good-nature as this, is not that philanthropy, that love of mankind, which deserves the title of a moral virtue.
The next way of a man's bringing his good-nature to the test, is, to consider whether it operates according to the rules of reason and duty : for if, notwithstanding its general benevolence to mankind, it JE makes no distinction between its objects; if it exerts itself promiscuously towards the deserving and the undeserving; if it relieves alike the idle and the indigent; if it gives itself up to the first petitioner, and lights upon any one rather by accident than choice; it may pass for an amiable instinct, but must
not assume the name of a moral virtue.
The third trial of good-nature will be the examining ourselves whether or no we are able to exert
it to our own disadvantage, and employ it on proper objects, notwithstanding any little pain, want, or inconvenience, which may arise to ourselves from it: in a word, whether we are willing to risk any part of our fortune, our reputation, our health, or ease, for the benefit of mankind. Among all these expressions of good-nature, I shall single out that which goes under the general name of charity, as it consists in relieving the indigent: that being a trial of this kind which offers itself to us almost at all times, and in every place.
I should propose it as a rule, to every one who is provided with any competency of fortune more than sufficient for the necessaries of life, to lay aside a certain portion of his income for the use of the poor. This I would look upon as an offering to Him who has a right to the whole, for the use of those whom, in the passage hereafter mentioned, He has described as His own representatives upon earth. At the same time, we should manage our charity with such prudence and caution, that we may not hurt our own friends or relations whilst we are doing good to those who are strangers to us.
This may possibly be explained better by an example than by a rule.
Eugenius is a man of an universal good-nature, and generous beyond the extent of his fortune; but withal so prudent in the economy of his affairs, that what goes out in charity is made up by good management. Eugenius has what the world calls two hundred pounds a-year; but never values himself above nine-score, as not thinking he has a right to the tenth part, which he always appropriates to charitable uses. To this sum he frequently makes other voluntary additions, insomuch, that in a good year, for such he accounts those in which he ha