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weeps continually for the loss of its fellow; and the cook, besides a most captivating red face and protuberant waist, has a most graceful hobble in her gait, occasioned by one leg being shorter than the other.
I need not tell you, that I must never write a letter, but my wife must see the contents, before it is done up; and that I never dare open one, till she has broken the seal, or read it till she has first run it over. Every rap at the door from the post-man makes her tremble; and I have known her to burst with spleen at seeing a superscription, written in a fair Italian hand, though perhaps it only comes from my aunt in the country.
About a month ago she found a mysterious paper in my coat pocket, which awakened all her mistrust. This still picious manuscript was drawn up in hieroglyphics ; which, as she could not interpret, she immediately concluded to be a billet-doux from some nasty creature, whom I secretly maintained in a corner of the town ; and that we corre. sponded together in cipher. This terrible paper, sir, was in truth no other than a bill from my blacksmith in the country, who, never having learned to write, expressed his meaning by characters of his own invention. Thus, if he had mended a spade, he charged it to my account, by drawing, as well as he could, the figure of a spade, and adding at a little distance six perpendicular lines, to signify six pence; or, if he had repaired a plough, he sketched out that also in the same kind of rough draught, and annexed to it four curved lines, to denote four shillings. This matter I explained to my wife as fully as possible, but very little to her satisfaction. It is absolutely impossible to quiet her suspicions : she is perpetually reproaching me with my private trull, nay, upbraids me on this account before stran. gers ; and it was but last week, that she put me to incon. ceivable confusion before a whole room of company, by telling them that I was in love with a blacksmith.
Jealousy, sir, it is said, is a sign of love. It may be so :
but it is a species of love which is attended with all the malevolent properties of hate : nay, I will venture to say, that many a wife hates her husband most heartily, without causing him half that uneasiness, which my loving consort's suspicious temper creates to me. Her jealous whims disturb me the more, because I am naturally of an even mind and calm disposition : and one of the chief blessings I pro. mised myself in matrimony was, to enjoy the sweets of domestic tranquillity. I loved my wife passionately; but I must own, that these perpetual attacks upon my peace make me regard her with less and less tenderness every day; and, though there is not a woman in the world that I would prefer to my wife, yet I am apt to think, that such violent suspicions, without a cause, have often created real matter for jealousy.
I am sir, your humble servant, &c.
ON EXCESSIVE NEATNESS IN A WIFE.LETTER FROM A HUS.
BAND, COMPLAINING OF THIS EVIL.
The house so neat, so nice within,
SIR, -I am married to a lady of a very nice and delicate disposition, who is cried up by all the good women of her acquaintance, for being the neatest body in her house they ever knew.
It must be confessed, that a due regard to neatness and cleanliness is as necessary to be observed in our habitations as our persons : yet I do not like to have my house ren. dered useless to me under the pretence of keeping it clean.
For my own part, I cannot see the difference between having a house that is always dirty, and a house that is always to be cleaned. I could very willingly compound to be washed out of my home once in the week : but my wife is so very notable, that the same cleansing work must be repeated every day in the week. All the morning long I am sure to be entertained with the domestic concert of scrubbing the floors, scouring the irons, and beating the carpets ; and I am constantly hunted from room to room, whilst one is to be usted, another dry-rubbed, another washed, and another run over with a dry mop. Thus, indeed, I may be said to live in continual dirtiness, that my house may be clean ; for, during these nice operations, every apartment is stowed with soap, brick-dust, sand, scrubbing-brushes, hair-brooms, rag-mops, and dish-clouts,
You may suppose that the greatest care is taken to prevent the least speck of dirt from soiling the floors. For this reason all that come to our house (besides the ceremony of scraping at the door) are obliged to rub their shoes for half an hour on a large ragged mat at the entrance ; and then they must straddle their way along several less mats, ranged at due distances from each other in the passage, and (like boys at play) come into the room with a hop, step, and a jump. The like caution is used by all the family. I myself am scarce allowed to stir a step without slippers ; my wife creeps on tiptoe up and down stairs; the maid. servants are continually stumping below in clogs or pattens; and the footman is obliged to sneak about the house barefooted, as if he came with a sly design to steal something.
This extraordinary solicitude in my wife for the cleanliness of her rooms, and the care and preservation of her furniture, makes my house entirely useless, and takes away all that ease and familiarity, which is the chief comfort of one's own home. I must drink out of an earthen mug, though a great quantity of plate is constantly displayed on the side-board; whilst all the furniture, except when we have company, is done up in paper, as if the family to whom it belongs were gone into the country. In a word, sir, any thing that is decent and cleanly is too good to be used, for fear it should be dirtied; and I live with every
convenience at hand, without the power of enjoying one of them. I have elegant apartments, but am almost afraid to enter them ; I have plate, china, and the most genteel furniture, but must not use them ; which is as ridiculous an absurdity, and almost as great a hardship, as if I had hands without the power of moving them ; the organs of sight, smell, taste, without being suffered to exert them; and feet without being permitted to walk. Thus, sir, this extravagant passion for cleanliness keeps the family in a perpetual state of muck and dirt; and, whilst we are surrounded with all necessaries, subjects us to every inconvenience. But what makes it still
a greater grievance is, that it has been the ridiculous cause of many other misfortunes. I have sometimes created her anger by littering the room with throwing my garters on a chair, or hanging my peruke on one of the gilt sconces. Having once unluckily spilt a bottle of ink on one of the best carpets, she was irreconcileable for a month; and I had scarcely brought her to temper again, when I most unfor. tunately run against the footman, who was entering with the dinner, and threw down a leg of pork and peas-pudding on the parlour floor. This superabundant neatness did once also very nearly occasion my death ; for whilst I lay ill of a fever, my delicate wife, thinking it would refresh me, or. dered my bed-chamber to be mopped: and the same scru. pulous nicety was also the means of our losing a very con. siderable addition to our fortune.
A rich old uncle, on whom we had great dependence, came to town last summer on purpose to pay us a visit; but, though he had rode about fifty miles that day, he was obliged to stand in the passage till his boots were pulled off, for fear of soiling the Turkey carpet. After supper, the old gentleman, as was his constant practice, desired to have his pipe: but this, to be sure, could by no means be allowed, as the filthy stench of the tobacco would never be gotten out of the furniture again; and it was with much ado that my wife would even suffer him to go and smoke in the kitchen. We had no room to lodge him in, except a garret with bare walls ; because the chintz bed-chamber was, in. deed, too nice for a dirty country squire. These slights very much chagrined my uncle ; but he had not been with us above a day or two, before my wife and he came to an open quarrel on the following occasion. It happened, that he had brought a favourite pointer with him, who at his first coming was immediately locked up in the coal-hole : but the dog, having found means to escape, had crept slyly up stairs, and had very calmly stretched himself out upon a crimson damask sofa. My wife not only sentenced him to