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slighted their wives after the honeymoon. Perhaps the good lady suspected the true state of my mind; for although without appearing to apply it to myself, she answered me with more than usual earnestness of affection, 6 It is falsely said, with a husband like your's and mine, my dear; it must be a woman's own fault, if she be not every day happier than the last.” My heart was too full to speak; but not to betray my feelings, I again forced a laugh. She continued in the same earnest tone as before : “ My husband has always been my first consideration, upon every occasion great and small; and I have endeavoured as much as possible to associate myself with his ideas, either of pain or pleasure,-always as softening the one, as promoting the other. If he is in sorrow, he thinks of his wife, as one that will give him solace : if he takes a rural walk; he thinks of his wife, for she has been accustomed to enjoy such walks with him: if he goes without her to any place of public amusement, he thinks of his wife, for she usually accompanies him: if in her absence he enjoys a social evening with some friends, he wishes for his wife to enjoy it also, and thinks of the pleasure she will have in learning how happy he has been; nay, (added she, smiling), should he even steal a kiss of a pretty woman, he thinks of the confiding kiss with which his wife will stop his lips when he tells her of it."
I was surprised to hear her speak so lightly of a thing which to me appeared so serious; but her words made a deep impression on my mind. I reflected upon them; I acted apon them; and although my husband has in no degree altered his manners towards others, they have ceased to be offensive to me; and I have a full confidence in the assurance he gives me, that he never was so truly my lover as now, that having been five years my husband, he can look upon me as his chief source of happiness, and the dearest treasure of his life.
I entreat you, Mr. Indicator, to shew the mischievous tendency of this false maxim, and to admonish brides that they cease to fear, and parents to teach, that a man once a husband ceases to a loyer. A. A.
ON THE TALKING OF NONSENSE. There is no greater mistake in the world than the looking upon every sort of nonsense as want of sepse. Nonsense, in the bad sense of the word, like certain suspicious ladies, is very fond of bestowing its own appellation, particularly upon what readers other persons agreeable. But nonsense, in the good sense of the word, is a very sensible thing in its season; and is only confounded with the other by people of a shallow gravity, who cannot afford to joke,
These gentlemen live upon credit, and would not have it enquired into. They are perpetual beggars of the question. They are grave, not because they think, or feel the contrast of mirth, for then they would feel the mirth itself; but because gravity is their safest mode of behaviour. They must keep their minds sitting still, because they are incapable of a motion tħat is not awkward. They are waxen images among the living ;-the deception is undone, if the others stir ;-or hollow vessels covered up, which may be taken for full ones ;-the collision of wit jars against them, and strikes out their hollowness.
In fact, the difference between nonsense 110t worth talking, and nonsense worth it, is simply this:-the former is the result of a want of ideas, the latter of a superabundance of them. This is remarkably
exemplified bý Swift's Polite Conversation, in which tlie diálogue, though intended to be a tissue of the greatest nonsense in request with shallow merriment, is in reality full of ideas, and many of them very humourous; but then they are all common-place, and have been said so often, that the thing uppermost in your mind is the inability of the speakers to utter a sentence of their own;-they have no ideas ať all. Many of the jokes and similes in that treatise are still the current coin of the shallow; though they are now pretty much confined to gossips of an inferior order, and the upper part of the lower classes.: ? On the other hand, the wildest rattling, as it is called, in which men of sense find entertainment, consists of nothing but a quick and ori. ginal succession of ideas,-a finding, as it were, of something in no-, thing,-a rapid turning of the hearer's mind to some new face of thought and sparkling imagery. The man of shallow gravity, besides an uneasy half-consciousness that he has nothing of the sort about him, is too dull of perception to see the delicate links between one thought and another; and he takes that for a mere chaos of laughing jargon, in which finer apprehensions perceive as much delightfal association, as men of musical taste do in the most tricksome harmonies and accompaniments of Mozart or Beethoven. Between such gravity and such mirth, there is as much difference as between the driest and dreariest psalmódy, and that exquisite laughing trio --E voi ridete, which is sung in Cosi Fan Tutte. A quaker's coat and a garden are not more dissimilar ;-nor a death-bell, and the birds after a sunny shower.
It is on such occasions indeed that we enjoy the perfection of what is agreeable in humanity,—the harmony of mind and body,-intellect, and animal spirits. Accordingly the greatest geniuses appear to have been proficients in this kind of nonsense, and to have delighted in dwelling upon it, and attributing it to their favourites. Virgil is no joker, but Homer is: and there is the same difference between their heroes, Æneas and Achilles, the latter of whom is also a player on the harp. Venus, the most delightful of the goddesses, is philommeides, the laughter-loving;-an epithet, by the bye, which might give a good hint to a numher of very respectable ladies, “ who love their lords," but who are too apt to let ladies less respectable run away with them. Horace represents Pleasantry as fluttering about Venus in company with "Cupid,
Quem Jocus circumvolat, et Copido; and these are followed by Youth, the enjoyer of animal spirits, and by Mercury, the god of persuasion. There is the same difference bez tween Tasso and Ariosto as between Virgil and Homer ;: that is to say, the latter proves his greater genius by a completer and more various hold on the feelings, and has not only a frésher spirit of Nature about him, but a truer, because a happier; for the want of this enjoyment is at once a defeçt and a deterioration. It is more or less a disease of the blood ;--a falling off from the pure and uncontradicted blithesomeness of childhood; a hampering of the mind with the altered nerves; dust gathered in the watch, and perplexing our passing hours.
It may be thought a begging of the question to mention Anacreon, since he made an absolute business of mitth and enjoyment, and sat down systematically to laugh as well as to drink. But on that very account, perhaps, his case is still more in point; and Plato, one of the gravést, but not the shallowest, of philosophers, gave him the title of
the Wise. The disciple of Socrates appears alan to have been a great enjoyer of Aristophanes; and the divine Socrates himself was a wit and a joker.
But the divine Shakspeare ;--the man-to whom we go for every thing, aod are sure to find it, grave, melancholy, or merry;—what said he to this exquisite kind of nonsense? Perhaps next to his passion for dee t'ecting nature, and over-informing it with poetry, he took delight in pursuing a joke; and the lowest scenes of his in this way say more to men whose faculties are fresh about them, and who prefer enjoyment to criticism, than the most doting of commentators can find out. They are instances of his animal spirits,--of his sociality, of his passion for giving and receiving pleasure,-of his enjoyment of something wiser than wisdom.
The greatest favouritės of Shakspeare are made to resemble himself in this particular, Flamlet, Mercutio, Touchstone, Jaques, Richard the Third, and Falstaff, “ inimitable Falstaff,” are all men of wit and humour, modified according to their different temperaments or circumstances, - some from health and spirits, others from sociality, others from a contrast with their very melancholy. Indeed melancholy itself, with the profoundest intellects, will rarely be found to be any thing else than a sickly temperament, induced or otherwise, preying in its turn upon the disappointed expectation of pleasure, upon the contradiction of hopes, which this world is not made to realize, though (let us never forget) it is made, as they themselves. prove, to suggest. Some of Shakspeare's characters, as Mercutio and Benedick, are almost entirely made up of wit and animal spirits; and delightful fellows they are; and ready, from their very taste, to perform the most serious and manly oflices. Most of his women too have an abundance of natural vivacity. Desdemona herself is so pleasant of intercourse in every way, that upon the principle of the respectable mistakes above-menitioned, the Moor, when he grows jealous, is tempted to think it a proof of her vant of honesty. But we must make Shakspeare speak for himself, or we shall not know how to be silent on this subject. What a description is that which he gives of a man of 'mirthi, -of a mirth too, which he has expressly stated to be within the limit of what is becoming? It is in Love's Labour Lost.
A merrier man,
So sweet and voluble is bis discourse. We have been led into these reflections, partly to introduce the conlusion of this article,-partly from being very fond of a joke ourselves, and so making our self-love as proud as possible,--and partly from having spent some most agreeable hours the other evening with a company, the members of which had all the right to be grave and disa agreeable that ránk and talent are supposed to confer, and yet from the very best sense or forgetfulness of both, were as lively and entertaining to each other as boys. Not one of them perhaps but had his cares, one or two, of no ordinary description; but what then?
These are the moments, if we can take advantage of them, when sorrows are shared, even unconsciously ;--moments, when pelancholy intermits her fever, and hope takes a leap into enjoyment ; when the pilgrim of life, if he cannot lay aside his burden, forgets it in meeting his fellows about a fountain ; and soothes his weariness and his resolution with the sparkling sight, and the noise of the freshness.
To como to our anticlimax, for such we are afraid it must be called after all this grare sentiment and mention of authorities. The follow. ing dialogue is the substance of a joke (never meant for its present place) that was started the other day upon a late publication. The name of the book-it is not necessary to mention, especially as it was pronounced to be one of the driest that had appeared for years. cannot answer for the sentences being put to their proper speakers. The friends, whom we value most, happen to be great hunters in this way; and the reader may look upon the thing as a specimen of a joke run down, or of the sort of nonsense above mentioned; so that he will take due cyre how he professes not to relish it. We must also advertise him, that a proper quantity of giggling and laughter must be supposed to be interspersed, till towards the end it gradually becomes tvo greit to go on with. & A. Did you ever see such a book ?
B. Never, io all my life. Its as dry as a chip. & A. As a chip? A chip's a slice of orange to it.
B. As, or a wet sponge. 1 A. Or a cup in a currant tart.
B. Ah, ha; so it is. You feel as if you were fingering a brick-bat. 1. A. It makes you feel dust in the eyes. 1 B. It is impossible to shed a tear over it. The lachrymal organs are
A. If you shut it hastily, it is like clapping together a pair of freshcleaned gloves.
B. Before you have got far in it, you get up to look at your tongue in a glass.
A. It absolutely makes you thirsty.
B. Yes :--if you take it up at breakfast, you drink four cups instead of two. A. At page
call for beer.
A. They have it lying on the table at inns to make you drink double. The landlord says 56 A new book, Sir,” and goes out to order two neguses.
B. It dries up every thing so, it has ruined the draining business.
A. There is an Act of Parliament to forbid people's passing a vintner's with it in their pockets.
B. The Dutch subscribed for it to serve them instead of dykes.
THE OLD LADY. 1 If the Old Lady is a widow and lives alone, the manners of her condition and time of life are so much the more apparent. She generally dresses in plain silks that make a gentle rustling as she moves about the silence of her room; and she wears a nice cap with a lace border that comes under the chin. In a placket at her side is an old enainelled watch, unless it is locked up in a drawer of her toilet for fear
of accidents. Her waist is rather tight and trim than otherwise, as she had a fine one when young; and she is not sorry if you see a pair of her stockings on a table, that you may be aware of the neatness of her leg and foot. Contented with these and other evident indications of a good shape, and letting her young friends understand that she can afford to obscure it a little, she wears pockets, and uses them well too. In the one is her handkerchief, and any heavier matter that is not likely to come out with it, such as the change of a sixpence; in the other is a miscellaneoas assortment consisting of a pocket-book, a bunch of keys, a needle-case, a spectacle-case, crumbs of biscuit, a nutmeg and grater, a smelling-bottle, and according to the season, an orange or apple, which after many days, she draws hout, warm and glossy, to give to some little child that has well behaved itself. : She generally occupies two rooms, in the neatest condition possible in the chamber is a bed with a white coverlet, built up high and round to look well, and with curtains of a pastoral pattern, consisting alternately of large plants, and shepherds and shepherdesses. On the mantle-piece also are more shepherds and shepherdesses, with dota eyed sheep at their feet, all in coloured ware, the man perhaps in a pink jacket and knots of ribbons at his knees and shoes, holding his crook lightly in one hand, and with the other at his breast turning his toes out and looking tenderly at the shepherdess :--the woman, holde ing a crook also, and modestly returning bis look, with a gipsey-hat jerked up behind, a very slender waist, with petticoat and hips to counteract, and the petticoat pulled up through the pocket-holes in order to shew the trimness of her ancles. But these patterns, of course,
, are various. The toilet is ancient, carved at the edges, and tied about with a snow-white drapery of muslin. Beside it are various boxes, mostly japan; and the set of drawers are exquisite things for a little girl to rummage, if ever little girl be so bold,-containing ribboys and laces of various kinds --linen smelling of lavender, of the hors of which there is always dust in the corners, a heap of pocket
for a series of years,--and pieces of dress loug gone by, such as head-fronts, stomachers, and flowered sattin shoes with enormous heels. The stock of letters are always under especial lock and key. So much for the bed-room. In the sitting-room, is rathera spare assortment ofshining old mahogany furniture, or carved arm-chairs equally old, with chintz draperies down to the ground,-a folding or other screen with Chinese figures, their round little-eyed meek faces perking sideways;-a stuffed bird perhaps in a glass case (a living one is too much for her);ma portrait of her husband over the mantle-piece, in a coat with frog-buttons, and a delicate frilled hand lightly inserted in the waistcoat;-and opposite him, on the wall, is a piece of embroidered literature, framed and glazed, containing some moral distich or maxim worked in angular capital letters, with two trees or parrots below in their proper colours, the whole concluding with an ABC and numerals, and the name of the fair industrious, expressing it to be « her work, Jan. 14, 1762.” The rest of the furniture consists of a looking-glass with carved edges, perhaps a settee, a hassock for the feet, a mat for the 'little dog, and a small set of shelves, in which are the Spectator and Guardian, the Turkish Spy, a Bible and Prayer-book, Young's Night-Thoughts, with a piece of lace in it to flatten, Mrs. Rowe's Devout Exercises of the Hleart, Mrs. Glasse's Cookery, and perhaps Sir Charles Grandison, and Clarissa. John Buncle is in the closet among the pickles and pre