Abbildungen der Seite

When Rowdy went to live in May Fair, what a wretched house it was into which he introduced such of his friends as were thought worthy of presentation to his new society! The rooms were filled with young dandies of the Stonehenge connection - beardless bucks from Downing Street, gay young sprigs of the Guards — their sisters and mothers, their kith and kin. They overdrew their accounts at Rowdy's Bank, and laughed at him in his drawing-room; they made their bets and talked their dandy talk over his claret, at which the poor fellow sat quite silent. Lady Stonehenge invaded his nursery, appointed and cashiered his governess and children's maids; established her apothecary in permanence over him : quarrelled with old Mrs. Rowdy, so that the poor old body was only allowed to see her grandchildren by stealth, and have secret interviews with them in the garden of Berkeley Square; made Rowdy take villas at Tunbridge, which she filled with her own family ; massacred her daughter's visiting-book, in the which Lady Cleopatra, a good-natured woman, at first admitted some of her husband's relatives and acquaintance; and carried him abroad upon excursions, in which all he had to do was to settle the bills with the courier. And she went so far as to order him to change his side of the House and his politics, and adopt those of Lord Stonehenge, which were of the age of the Druids, his lordship’s ancestors; but here the honest British merchant made a stand and conquered his mother-in-law, who would have smothered him the other day for voting for Rothschild. If it were not for the Counting House in the morning and the House of Commons at night, what would become of Rowdy? They say he smokes there, and drinks when he smokes. He has been known to go to Vauxhall, and has even been seen, with a comforter over his nose, listening to Sam Hall at the Cider Cellars. All this misery and misfortune came to the poor fellow for marrying out of his degree. The clerks at Lombard Street laugh when Lord Mistletoe steps out of his cab and walks into the bank-parlor; and Rowdy's private account invariably tells tales of the visit of his young scapegrace of a brother-in-law.


Let us now, beloved and ingenuous youth, take the other side of the question, and discourse a little while upon the state of that man who takes unto himself a wife inferior to him in degree. I have before me in my acquaintance many most pitiable instances of individuals who have made this fatal mistake.

Although old fellows are as likely to be made fools as young in love matters, and Dan Cupid has no respect for the most venerable age, yet I remark that it is generally the young men who marry vulgar wives. They are on a reading tour for the Long Vacation, they are quartered at Ballinafad, they see Miss Smith or Miss O'Sbaughnessy every day, healthy, lively, jolls girls with red cheeks, bright eyes, and high spirits — they come away at the end of the vacation, or when the regiment changes its quarters, engaged men, family rows ensue, mothers cry out, papas grumble, Miss pines and loses her health at Baymouth or Ballinafad — consent is got at last, Jones takes his degree, Jenkins gets his company; Miss Smith and Miss O'Shaughnessy become Mrs. Jones and Mrs. Jenkins.

For the first year it is all very well. Mrs. Jones is a great bouncing handsome creature, lavishly fond of her adored Jones, and caring for no other company but his. They have a cottage at Bayswater. He walks her out every evening. He sits and reads the last new novel to her whilst she works slippers for him, or makes some little tiny caps, and — dear Julia, dear Edward ! — they are all in all to one another.

Old Mrs. Smith of course comes up from Swansea at the time when the little caps are put into requisition, and takes possession of the cottage at Bayswater. Mrs. Jones Senior calls upon Mrs. Edward Jones's mamma, and, of course, is desirous to do everything that is civil to the family of Edward's wife.

Mrs. Jones finds in the mother-in-law of her Edward a large woman with a cotton umbrella, who dines in the middle of the day, and has her beer, and who calls Mrs. Jones Mum. What a state they are in in Pocklington Square about this woman! How can they be civil to her? Whom can they ask to meet her? How the girls, Edward's sisters, go on about her! Fanny says she ought to be shown to the housekeeper's room when she calls ; Mary proposes that Mrs. Shay, the washerwoman, should be invited on the day when Mrs. Smith comes to dinner; and Emma (who was Edward's favorite sister, and who considers herself jilted by his marriage with Julia,) points out the most dreadful thing of all, that Mrs. Smith and Julia are exactly alike, and that in a few years Mrs. Edward Jories will be the very image of that great enormous unwieldy horrid

old woman.

Smith says.

Closeted with her daughter, of whom and of her baby she has taken possession, Mrs. Smith gives her opinion about the Joneses : They may be very good, but they are too fine ladies for her; and they evidently think she is not good enough for them: they are sad worldly people, and have never sat under a good minister, that is clear : they talked French before her on the day she called in Pocklington Gardens, “ and though they were laughing at me, I'm sure I can pardon them,” Mrs.

Edward and Julia have a little altercation about the manner in which his family has treated Mrs. Smith, and Julia, bursting into tears as she clasps her child to her bosom, says, “ My child, my child, will you be taught to be ashamed of your mother!” Edward flings out of the room in a rage.

It is true that Mrs. Smith is not fit to associate with his family, and that her manners are not like theirs ; that Julia's eldest brother, who is a serious tanner at Cardiff, is not a pleasant companion after dinner: and that it is not agreeable to be called “ Ned” and “Old Cove” by her younger brother, who is an attorney's clerk in Gray's Inn, and favors Ned by asking him to lend him a “Sov.," and by coming to dinner on Sundays. It is true that the appearance of that youth at the first little party the Edward Joneses gave after their marriage, when Natty disgracefully inebriated himself, caused no little scandal amongst his friends, and much wrath on the part of old Jones, who said, “ That little scamp call my daughters by their Christian names !

a little beggar that is not fit to sit down in my hall. If ever he dares to call at my house I'll tell Jobbins to fling a pail of water over him.” And it is true that Natty called many times in Pocklington Square, and complained to Edward that he, Nat, could neither see his Mar nor the Gurls, and that the old gent cut up uncommon stiff.

So you see Edward Jones has had his way, and got a handsome wife, but at what expense? He and his family are separated. His wife brought him nothing but good looks. Her stock of brains is small. She is not easy in the new society into which she has been brought, and sits quite mum both at the grand parties which the old Joneses give in Pocklington Square, and at the snug little entertainments which poor Edward Jones tries on his own part. The women of the Jones's set try her in every way, and can get no good from her: Jones's male friends, who are civilized beings, talk to her, and receive only monosyllables in reply. His house is a stupid one ; his acquaintances drop off; he has no circle at all at last, except, to be sure, that increasing family circle which brings up old Mrs. Smith from Swansea every year.

What is the lot of a man at the end of a dozen years who has a wife like this? She is handsome no longer, and she never had any other merit. He can't read novels to her all through his life, while she is working slippers – it is absurd. He can't be philandering in Kensington Gardens with a lady who does not walk out now except with two nursemaids and the twins in a go-cart. He is a young man still, when she is an old woman. Love is a mighty fine thing, dear Bob, but it is not the life of a man. There are a thousand other things for him to think of besides the red lips of Lucy, or the bright eyes of Eliza. There is business, there is friendship, there is society, there are taxes, there is ambition, and the manly desire to exercise the talents which are given us by heaven, and reap the prize of our desert. There are other books in a man's library besides Ovid ; and after dawdling ever so long at a woman's knee, one day he gets up and is free. We have all been there: we have all had the fever: the strongest and the smallest, from Samson, Hercules, Rinaldo, downwards ; but it burns out, and you get well.

Ladies who read this, and who know what a love I have for the whole sex, will not, I hope, cry out at the above observations, or be angry because I state that the ardor of love declines after a certain period. My dear Mrs. Hopkins, you would not have Hopkins to carry on the same absurd behavior which he exhibited when he was courting you? or in place of going to bed and to sleep comfortably, sitting up half the night to write to you bad verses? You would not have him racked with jealousy if you danced or spoke with any one else at a ball; or neglect all his friends, his business, his interest in life, in order to dangle at your feet? No, you are a sensible woman; you know that he must go to his counting-house, that he must receive and visit his friends, and that he must attend to his and your interest in life. You are no longer his goddess, his fairy, his peerless paragon, whose name he shouted as Don Quixote did that of Dulcinea. You are Jane Hopkins, you are thirty years old, you have got a parcel of children, and Hop loves you and them with all his heart. He would be a helpless driveller and ninny were he to be honeymooning still, whereas he is a good honest fellow, respected on 'Change, liked by his friends, and famous for his port-wine.

Yes, Bob, the fever goes, but the wife doesn't. Long after your passion is over, Mrs. Brown will be at your side, good soul, still; and it is for that, as I trust, long subsequent period

you do.

of my worthy Bob's life, that I am anxious. How will she look when the fairy brilliancy of the honeymoon has faded into the light of common day?

You are of a jovial and social turn, and like to see the world, as why should you not? It contains a great number of kind and honest folks, from whom you may hear a thousand things wise and pleasant. A man ought to like his neighbors, to mix with his neighbors, to be popular with his neighbors. It is a friendly heart that has plenty of friends. You can't be talking to Mrs. Brown for ever and ever: you will be a couple of old geese if

She ought then to be able to make your house pleasant to your friends. She ought to attract them to it by her grace, her good breeding, her good humor. Let it be said of her, “What an uncommonly nice woman Mrs. Brown is !” Let her be, if not a clever woman, an appreciator of cleverness in others, which, perhaps, clever folks like better. Above all, let her have a sense of humor, my dear Bob, for a woman without a laugh in her (like the late excellent Mrs. Brown) is the greatest bore in existence. Life without laughing is a dreary blank. A woman who cannot laugh is a wet blanket on the kindly nuptial couch. A good laugh is sunshine in a house. A quick intelligence, a brightening eye, a kind smile, a cheerful spirit, these, I hope, Mrs. Bob will bring to you in her trousseau, to be used afterwards for daily wear. Before all things, my dear Nephew, try and have a cheerful wife.

What, indeed, does not that word " cheerfulness" imply? It means a contented spirit, it means a pure heart, it means a kind and loving disposition; it means humility and charity ; it means a generous appreciation of others, and a modest opinion of self. Stupid people, people who do not know how to laugh, are always pompous and self-conceited ; that is, bigoted; that is, cruel; that is, ungentle, uncharitable, unchristian. Have a good, jolly, laughing, kind woman, then, for your partner, you who are yourself a kind and jolly fellow; and when you go to sleep, and when you wake, I pray there may be a smile under each of your honest nightcaps.

« ZurückWeiter »