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Another argument for busying good women in works of fancy is, because it takes them off from scandal, the usual attendant of tea-tables, and all other inactive scenes of life. While they are form. ing their birds and beasts, their neighbours will be allowed to be the fathers of their own children; and whig and tory will be but seldom mentioned where the great dispute is, whether blue or red is the more proper colour. How much greater glory would Sophronia do the general, if she would choose rather to work the battle of Blenheim in tapestry, than signalize herself with so much vehe.. mence against those who are Frenchmen in their hearts !
A third reason that I shall mention, is the profit that is brought to the family where these pretty arts are encouraged. It is manifest that this way of life not only keeps fair ladies from running out into expenses,
but is at the same time an actual improvement. How memorable would that matron be, who shall have it inscribed upon her monument, " that she wrought out the whole Bible in tapestry, and died in a good old age, after having covered three hundred yards of wall in the mansion house !!
The premises being considered, I humbly submit the following proposals to all mothers in Great Britain :
I. That no young virgin whatsoever be allowed to receive the addresses of her first lover, but in a suit of her own embroidering.
II. That before every fresh humble servant, she be obliged to appear with a new stomacher at the least.
III. That no one be actually married until she hath the child-bed pillows, &c. ready stiched, as likewise the mantle for the boy quite finished. These laws, if I mistake not, would effectually restore the decayed art of needle-word, and make the sirgins of Great Britain exceedingly nimble-fingered in their business.
There is a memorable custom of the Grecian la. dies in this particular preserved in Homer, which I hope will have a very good effect with my coun. try-women. A widow, in ancient times, could not, without indecency, receive a second husband, until she had woven a shroud for her deceased lord, or the next of kin to him. Accordingly, the chaste Penelope, having, as she thought, lost Ulysses at . sea, employed her time in preparing a winding. sheet for Laertes, the father of her husband. The story of her web being very famous, and yet not sufliciently known in its several circumstances, I shall give it to my reader, as llomer makes one of her wooers relate it.
! Sweet hope she gave to every youth apart,
• Thus she. Nor did my friends mistrust the guile.
N° 607. FRIDAY, OCTOBER, 15, 1714.
Dicite lö Pæan, et tö bis dicite Pean:
OVID. Ars Amor. i. .
Having in your paper of Monday last published my report on the case of Mrs. Fanny Fickle, wherein I have taken notice that love comes after marriage; I hope your readers are satisfied of this truth, that as love generally produces matrimony, so it often happens that matrimony prodnces love.
" It perhaps requires more virtue to make a good husband or wife than what go to the finishing any the most shining character whatsoever.
Discretion seems absolutely necessary; and ac, eordingly we find that the best husbands haye been most famous for their wisdom. Homer, who hath drawn a perfect pattern of a prudent man, to make it the niore complete, hath celebrated him for the just returns of fidelity and truth to his Penelope; insomuch that he refused the caresses of a goddess for her sake; and, to use the expression of the best of Pagan authors, “ Vetulam suam prætulit immur. talitati,” his old woman was dearer to him than im, mortality.
• Virtue is the next necessary qalification for this domestic character, as it naturally producrs con. stancy and mutual esteem. Thus Brutus and Por. cha were more remarkable for virtue and affection than any others of the age in which they lived.
• Good nature is a third nccessary ingredient in the marriage state, without which it would inevit. ably sour upon a thousand occasions. When greatness of mind is joined with this amiable quality, it attracts the admiration and esteem of all who be. huld it. Thus Cæsar, not more remarkable for his fortune and valour than for his humanity, stole into the hearts of the Roman people, when, breaking through the custom, he pronounced an oration at the funeral of his first and best-beloved wife.
Good-nature is insufficient, unless it be steady and uniform, and accompanied with an evenness of temper, which is above all things to be preserved in this friendship contracted for life. A man must be easy within himself before he can be so to his other self. Socrates and Marcus Aurelius are in. stances of men, who, by the strength of philosophy, having entirely composed their minds, and sub. dued their passions, are celebrated for good hus. bands; notwithstanding the first was yoked with Xantippe, and the other with Faustina. If the wed. ded pair would but habituate themselves for the first year to bear with one another's faults, the difficulty would be pretty well conquered. This mutual sweetness of temper and complacency was finely re. commended in the nuptual ceremonies among the heathens, who, when they sacrificed to Juno at that solemnity, always tore out the gall from the entrails of the victim, and cast it behind the altar.
I shall conclude this letter with a passage out of Dr. Plot's Natural History of Staffordshire, not only as it will serve to fill up your present paper, but, if I find myself in the humour, may give rise to another; I having by me an old register belong. ing to the place here under-inentioned.
Sir Philip de Somerville held the manors of
Whichenovre, Scirescot, Ridware, Netherton, and Cowlee, all in the county of Stafford, of the earls of Lancaster, by this memorable service: The said sir Philip shall find, maintain, and sustain, one bacon. flitch, hanging in his hall at Whichevovre ready ar. rayed all times of the year but in Lent, to be given to every man or woman married, after the day and the year of their marriage be past, in form fol. lowing *.
" Whensoever that any one such before named will come to inquire for the bacon, in their own person, they shall come to the bailiff, or to the porter of the lordship of Whichenovre, and shall say to them in the manner as ensucth.
“Bailiff, or porter, I do you to know, that I am come for myself to demand one bacon-flyke hanging in the hall of the lord of Whichenovre, after the form thereunto belonging.'
“ After which relation, the bailiff or porter shall assign a day to him, upon promise by his faith to return, and with him to bring twain of his neighbours. And in the mean time, the said bailiff shal take with him twain of ihe freeholders, of the lord. ship of Whichenovre, and they three shall go to the manor of Ruillow, belonging to Robert Kuight. leye, and there shall summon the aforesaid Knight. leye, or his baililf, commanding him to be ready at Whichenovre the day appointed, at prime of day, with his carriage, that is to say, a horse and a saila dle, a sack and a pryke, for to convey the said bacon and corn a journey out of the county of Staf. ford, at his costages. And then the said bailiff shall, with the said freeholders, summon all the tenants
* There was an institution' of the same kind at Dunnow in Essex.