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have been glad of such an opportunity to get rid of them? To this, my very good friend Tom Dapperwit, who took upon him to be the mouth of our sex, replied, that they would be very much to blame, if they would not do the same good office for the women, considering that their strength would be greater, and their burdens lighter. As we were amusing ourselves with discourses of this nature, in order to pass away the evening, which now begins to grow tedious, we fell into that laudable and primitive diversion of questions and commands. I was so sooner vested with the regal authority, but I enjoined all the ladies, under pain of my displeasure, to tell the company ingenuously, in case they had been in the siege above-mentioned, and had the same offers made them as the good women of that place, what every one of them would have brought off with her, and have thought most worth the saving? There were several merry answers made to my question, which entertained us till bed-time. This filled my mind with such a huddle of ideas, that upon my going to sleep, I fell into the following dream.
"I saw a town of this island, which shall be nameless, invested on every side, and the inhabitants of it so straitened as to cry for quarter. The general refused any other terms than those granted to the above-mentioned town of Hensberg, namely, that the married women might come out with what they could bring along with them. Immediately the gate flew open, and a female procession appeared, multitudes of the sex following one another in a row, and staggering under their respective burdens. I took my stand upon an eminence in the enemy's camp, which was appointed for the general rendezvous of these female carriers, being very desirous to look into their several ladings. The first of them had a huge sack upon her shoulders, which she set down with great care: upon the opening of it, when I expected to have seen her husband shoot out of it, I found it was filled with china ware. The next appeared in a more decent figure, carrying a handsome young fellow upon her back: I could not forbear commending the young woman for her conjugal affection, when, to my great surprise, I found that she had left the good man at home, and brought away her gallant. I saw the third, at some distance, with a little withered face peeping over her shoulder, whom I could not suspect for any but her spouse, till upon her setting him
down, I heard her call him dear Pug, and found him to be her favourite monkey. A fourth brought a huge bale of cards along with her; and the fifth a Bolonia lap-dog: for her husband, it seems, being a very burly man, she thought it would be less trouble for her to bring away little Cupid. The next was the wife of a rich usurer, loaden with a bag of gold; she told us that her spouse was very old, and by the course of nature, could not expect to live long; and that to show her tender regards for him, she had saved that which the poor man loved better than his life. The next came towards us with her son upon her back, who, we were told, was the greatest rake in the place, but so much the mother's darling, that she left her husband behind, with a large family of hopeful sons and daughters, for the sake of this graceless youth.
"It would be endless to mention the several persons, with their several loads, that appeared to me in this strange vision. All the place about me was covered with packs of ribbon, brocades, embroidery, and ten thousand other materials, sufficient to have furnished a whole street of toy-shops. One of the women having a husband that was none of the heaviest, was bringing him off upon her shoulders, at the same time that she carried a great bundle of Flanders lace under her arm; but finding herself so over-loaden, that she could not save both of them, she dropped the good man, and brought away the bundle. In short, I found but one husband among this great mountain of baggage, who was a lively cobbler, and kicked and spurred all the while his wife was carrying him on, and, as it was said, had scarce passed a day in his life without giving her the discipline of the strap.
"I cannot conclude my letter, dear Spec., without telling thee one very odd whim in this my dream. I saw, methought, a dozen women employed in bringing off one man; I could not guess who it should be, till upon his nearer approach I discovered thy short phiz. The women all declared that it was for the sake of thy works, and not thy person, that they brought thee off, and that it was on condition that thou shouldst continue the Spectator. If thou thinkest this dream will make a tolerable one, it is at thy service, from, "Dear SPEC., thine, sleeping and waking, WILL. HONEYCOMB.'
The ladies will see by this letter, what I have often told them, that WILL. is one of those old-fashioned men of wit and pleasure of the town, that shows his parts by raillery on marriage, and one who has often tried his fortune that way without success. I cannot, however, dismiss his letter, without observing, that the true story on which it is built, does honour to the sex, and that, in order to abuse them, the writer is obliged to have recourse to dream and fiction.
No. 500. FRIDAY, OCTOBER 3.
-Huc natas adjice septem,
Et totidem juvenes, et mox generosque nurusque.
You, who are so well acquainted with the story of Socrates, must have read how, upon his making a discourse concerning love, he pressed his point with so much success, that all the bachelors in his audience took a resolution to marry by the first opportunity, and that all the married men immediately took horse and galloped home to their wives. I am apt to think your discourses, in which you have drawn so many agreeable pictures of marriage, have had a very good effect this way in England. We are obliged to you, at least, for having taken off that senseless ridicule, which for many years the witlings of the town have turned upon their fathers and mothers. For my own part, I was born in wedlock, and I do not care who knows it: for which reason, among many others, I should look upon myself as a most insufferable coxcomb, did I endeavour to maintain that cuckoldom was inseparable from marriage, or to make use of husband and wife as terms of reproach. Nay, sir, I will go one step further, and declare to you before the whole world, that I am a married man, and at the same time, I have so much assurance as not to be ashamed of what I have done.
"Among the several pleasures that accompany this state of life, and which you have described in your former papers, there are two you have not taken notice of, and which are seldom cast into the account, by those who write on this subject. You must have observed, in your speculations on
human nature, that nothing is more gratifying to the mind of man than power or dominion; and this I think myself amply possessed of, as I am the father of a family. I am perpetually taken up in giving out orders, in prescribing duties, in hearing parties, in administering justice, and in distributing rewards and punishments. To speak in the language of the Centurion, "I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it." In short, sir, I look upon my family as a patriarchal sovereignty, in which I am myself both king and priest. All great governments are nothing else but clusters of these little private royalties, and therefore I consider the masters of families as small deputygovernors presiding over the several little parcels and divisions of their fellow-subjects. As I take great pleasure in the administration of my government in particular, so I look upon myself not only as a more useful, but as a much greater and happier man than any bachelor in England of my own rank and condition.
"There is another accidental advantage in marriage, which has likewise fallen to my share, I mean the having a multitude of children. These I cannot but regard as very great blessings. When I see my little troop before me, I rejoice in the additions which I have made to my species, to my country, and to my religion, in having produced such a number of reasonable creatures, citizens, and Christians. I am pleased to see myself thus perpetuated; and as there is no production comparable to that of a human creature, I am more proud of having been the occasion of ten such glorious productions, than if I had built a hundred pyramids at my own expense, or published as many volumes of the finest wit and learning. In what a beautiful light has the Holy Scripture represented Abdon, one of the judges of Israel, who had forty sons and thirty grand-sons, that rode on threescore and ten ass-colts, according to the magnificence of the Eastern countries! How must the heart of the old man rejoice, when he saw such a beautiful procession of his own descendants, such a numerous cavalcade of his own raising! For my own part, I can sit in my parlour with great content, when I take a review of half a dozen of my little boys mounted upon their hobby-horses, and of as many little girls tutoring their babies, each of them endeavouring to ex
cel the rest, and to do something that may gain my favour and approbation. I cannot question but He who has blessed me with so many children, will assist my endeavours in providing for them. There is one thing I am able to give each of them, which is, a virtuous education. I think it is Sir Francis Bacon's observation, that in a numerous family of children, the eldest is often spoiled by the prospect of an estate, and the youngest, by being the darling of the parent; but that some one or other in the middle, who has not perhaps been regarded, has made his way in the world, and overtopped the rest. It is my business to implant in every one of my children the same seeds of industry, and the same honest principles. By this means, I think I have a fair chance, that one or other of them may grow considerable in some or other way of life, whether it be in the army, or in the fleet; in trade, or any of the three learned professions; for you must know, sir, that from long experience and observation, I am persuaded of what seems a paradox to most of those with whom I converse, namely, that a man who has many children, and gives them a good education, is more likely to raise a family, than he who has but one, notwithstanding he leaves him his whole estate. For this reason, I cannot forbear amusing myself with finding out a general, an admiral, or an alderman of London, a divine, a physician, or a lawyer, among my little people who are now, perhaps, in petticoats; and when I see the motherly airs of my little daughters when they are playing with their puppets, I cannot but flatter myself that their husbands and children will be happy in the possession of such wives and mothers.
"If you are a father, you will not, perhaps, think this letter impertinent; but if you are a single man, you will not know the meaning of it, and probably throw it into the fire: whatever you determine of it, you may assure yourself that it comes from one who is
(6 Your most humble servant,