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O marriage ! happiest, easiest, safest state !
both unreproached, both undeceived;
A PICTURE OF DOMESTIC LIFE, IN WHICH THE GREATEST QUAR
RELS THAT HAPPEN BETWEEN MARRIED PEOPLE ARE PROVED TO SPRING IN GENERAL FROM THE MOST TRIFLING CIRCUM
A HUMOUROUS DIALOGUE BETWEEN TWO VENE.
When souls that should agree to will the same,
THE felicity of the connubial state essentially depends upon mutual harmony and sentimental attachment. The uninterrupted flow of virtuous affection will contribute in. conceivably more to the promotion of this great object, than every other consideration. The hymeneal bonds are, or ought to be, bonds of pure inviolable friendship. In proportion to the inviolability of this friendship, will be the enjoy. ment of those who are linked in these bonds.
Yet, such is the imperfection of man, and of the relations which he sustains ; such the vanity inscribed on the fairest prospects of life ; that this sentiment is not invariably che. rished or allowed its due force by many, who, in their gen. eral deportment, exhibit mutual esteem. Trifles will some. times preponderate in the scale against every argument which reason suggests, and impede the happy intercourse of kindred souls. Contentions arise at an unguarded moment, upon some very slender occasion. A diversity of opinion in an affair, which in the season of calm recollection each would treat as unworthy of a serious consideration, will im. print a frown on the face, usually adorned with smiles, and
force the language of discordance from the lips that lately uttered the softest notes of love. Even in these happy climes, situated at a due distance from the vicious, polluting examples, with which the old world abounds, and where the marriage state is generally the state of friendship and purity; a caution against the violation of its harmonious laws is too often requisite. The representation of a correspondent, here introduced, may, it is feared, be adopted, with a little variation, by too many of our countrymen and countrywo.
SIR, You must know, that I am married to one of the most agreeable women in the world, have an unabating passion for my wife, and every reason to imagine her sentiments are equally tender for me : there is nothing of consequence but what we continually study to oblige each other in ; yet, at the same time, there are a thousand little trifles in which we are always sure to disagree, and which are not only an end. less source of disquiet to ourselves, but of uneasiness to our whole family.
Last night, for instance, sir, after supper, I acquainted Nancy that a vintner, who owed me a hundred pounds for some Lisbon, (for you must know I am a wine merchant) had failed, and that there was little probability of expecting two and sixpence from the sale of all his effects. I furthermore informed her, that I was much to blame in the affair, and that I had trusted this man contrary to the advice of an intimate friend, who was perfectly conversant with his circumstances. My wife, instead of reprehending me for indiscretion, as the generality of her sex would have done in the same case, made use of every argument in her power to dissipate my chagrin; told me the most careful were unable now and then to avoid an error, and bid me console myself under my loss, by thanking Providence that I had not been a sufferer in double the sum. I
was greatly charmed with this disposition in Mrs. Mountain, and expressed my sensibility of it in a manner with which she seemed exceedingly pleased.
After all this, would you imagine, sir, that a most trivial circumstance should make us part beds for that night? My favourite liquor is a glass of punch, and it happens to be my wife's too : making a little as we were alone, I unluckily squeezed the pulp of the lemon into the bowl ; upon which she immediately exclaimed, with some warmth—“Lord, my dear, you have spoiled the punch !” “No, my love,” replied I, “ the pulp gives it a fine flavour ; and besides, you know I am very fond of it.” 5 Ay, but,” says she, “ you are sensible I cannot abide it.” “ Then, my dear, returned I, “it is an easy matter to avoid putting any into your glass.” “ Lord! Mr. Mountain, I have spoken to you a thousand times about this very circumstance; I believe, in my con. science, you do it on purpose to give me disgust.
Here, sir, we began a contest; severity produced severity, till at last I ordered a bed to be made for myself; and poor Nancy retired to her own with her eyes swimming in tears.
For the whole night neither of us (for I judge of her by myself) had a single wink of sleep ; we tumbled and tossed, canvassed the matter fifty ways in our minds, and at last concluded that we were both in the wrong. Yet, notwithstanding all this, when we met at breakfast, but an hour ago, neither of us would condescend to speak first ; we af. fected a resentment of countenance that was utterly foreign to our hearts, and endeavoured to keep up the appearance of an unremitting anger, when we both of us longed to be reconciled, and had the most passionate inclination to be pleased. Breakfast was over before we exchanged a syl. lable. When the servant had left the room, I prepared to go out, and had just got to the parlour door, when poor Nancy, unable to hold it out any longer, cried, in a tone of irresistible softness, “ And will you go out without speaking a word ?” Here our whole ridiculous quarrel was at an
end : I turned to her with all the fondness I could possibly assume, and held her in my arms for some moments; whilst she, returning the fervour of the embrace, burst into a flood of tears.
It is inconceivable to think, sir, how contemptible these little differences have made us in the eyes of our own ser. vants. Whenever they see us cool towards one another, they titter and laugh, and say the poor things will soon kiss and make it up again. It was no longer ago than last week, that I overheard my rascal of a coachman tell one of his fellow servants, that his master and mistress were nothing better than an overgrown boy and girl, and that he fancied a little of his horsewhip would be of great service to both of them.
It is very odd, sir, that people who really love one ano. ther, and are not wholly destitute of understanding, should give way to such resentment in the merest trifles, who, in the most important circumstances of life, are above feeling the smallest resentment, or entertaining the minutest disesteem. Many is the time, sir, I have found fault with my wife for stirring the fire, when her spending fifty pounds has not given me the least uneasiness ; and many a time has she fallen out with me, if, in cutting up a fowl, I happened to splash ever so small a drop of gravy on the table-cloth, though she has felt no discomposure in life, if I spoiled a rich silk, or dirtied a fine head-dress. This morning, how. ever, we have agreed, as a mean of keeping ourselves from passions of this nature for the future, to send you the foregoing account; and if it should turn out any way serviceable to others, as I hope it will, I shall have a double reason to sign myself your most humble servant,
I shall conclude this number with an apposite and instructive dialogue between a gentle man in advanced life,