« PreviousContinue »
Freeman. This was foolish enough. However, this may be said in Sir John's excuse, that the Day of Marriage being a day of Hurry and Tumult, 'tis no wonder if the Person chiefly concerned in all this came to suffer by it first. Besides, I need not tell you that 'tis the wicked way of this world for the Men to combine against the Bridegroom on these Occasions, in order to disable him from paying the Tribute of the MarriageBedi
Bellair. For which very Reason, Freeman, a Man ought to set a double Guard upon himself, and avoid the Train that is laid to blow him up.
Freem. That's right, but a Spirit of Goodnature and Hospitality may sometimes carry a Man beyond the Rules of Decorum. Well, but if Sir John' made this false step upon the Day of Marriage, I hope he has made amends for it Gince.
Bellair. Why truly, if continuing one Fault with another, is making amends for't, I know no Man in the three Kingdoms that has made more substantial amends than Sir John. In short, he minded his Dogs, his Cocks, his Horses, Goc. more than his Lady; was seldom or never at Home, and when he was, such a litter of Scoundrils still accompanied him, there was such a squabbling about the Merits of Thunder and Ringwood, such a profusion of groundless Calumny, and
Scandal, that a Woman of any Breeding would much rather submit to fit out three naked Prizes at the Bear. Garden, than be forced to do Penance in this nauseous Ribbaldry.
Freeman. And yet a Woman must endure these Hardships as well as she can, since the generality of our Country-Gentlemen inure them to't.
Bellair. Never tell me what the generality of Brutes do. Don't you think a fine Woman, in the Bloom of her Age, that has brought a noble Fortune into a Family, if she has any Spirrt or Resentment of Injuries, must not abominate the stupid, ungrateful Sot that neglects and flights her, that prefers the Company of the vilest Scoundrels to hers, that can hardly afford her à civil Word when be's Sober, and always insults ber when he's Drunk? Don't you think, I say, that a Woman must have something very Angelical in her Constitution, not to retaliate upon her Husband that uses her thus, when an Opportunity is offered her ?
Freeman, i' faith I must own 'tis unsupportable Usage; and if I were a Woman, and treated so barbaroully, for all the Christianity I pretend to, 1 am afraid, I should rebell.
Bellair. To return now to my Discourse from which there Reflections have insensibly led me. Sir John was generally abroad at
his Cock matches, and Horse-races, projecting New-Market Aslignations, Tippling with bis Brother Justices of the Peace, managing Ele&ions, punishing the Interlopers upon Game, while his Lady lived as melancholy a Life at home, as if she had been confined to a Nunnery; with this improvement too of her Persecution, That she had nothing to convérse with, but an old, affected, malicious Aunt of Sir John, who continually entertain'd her with dull insipid Histories of the Heroes and Heroines of her Family.
Freeman. And how did she bear it?
Bellair. With a Patience hardly to be paralleld. I know some malicious People in the Neighbourhood talk strange things of a private intrigue between her and a certain Gentleman ; with wbich they have so effectually poffeffed the Knight, that this has occasion'd all the ill Blood between them
Ś tho' I can't imagine what pretence Sir John has to be Jealous; for why should a Man be Jealous, that never was capable of Love; or be concern'd to have chat Property invaded, which he always slighted ?
Freeman. As ill an Opinion as I have of the Fair Sex, yet I believe, their Miscarriages, generally speaking, are purely owing to the Men. A state must be troubled with Civil Diffentions at home, before any Foreigner will pretend to invade it; and there must be an ill understanding between the Wife and
the Husband, before a Gallant can Hope to succeed in the Family.
Bellair. After all, if my Lady has a&ually trespass’d against Sir John's Honour, the Kt. has none to thank but himself; for let a Hufband, be never so much the Superiour, and flatter himself never so much with an imaginary pre-eminence, yet if he affects a deIpotic sway, takes more upon him than the Laws allow him, and violates the Original Contract, 'tis as natural for Wives as for Subjects to Rebell.