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supposed, were rather surprised, and not a little displeased, at this unaccountable and haughty rejection of the tender of their good wishes for the Squire's welfare. After a lapse of some days, the Squire, by way of explanation, caused them to be informed, that as bis income had been reduced for certain reasons (the payment of his debts !) and the necessary appendages attached to his rank did not in consequence exist, he could not receive their address in a manner suited to his situation. The honest tenantry, with a becoming spirit, and sense of propriety, came to a resolution, that, if such was the case
, they could not, consistently with their own dignity, suffer the address to be presented without the customary form.
What was the meaning of this sullen haughtiness, which the Squire himself, or some of his parasites, might misconstrue into the effect of wounded dignity ? Did he imagine that his sacrifice of marriage had not been sufficiently compensated ? If it was a sacrifice, he himself had rendered it necessary by his own debaucheries and extravagance. The tenants had also made a large sacrifice of money in addition to the
immense sums before furnished for the maintenance and protection of his family. If the reduction of his income had not taken place, would he have enjoyed more domestic happiness ? No; he still preferred the embraces of an old wanton to those of a young wife, and all the sacrifices which the tenants could have made, would not have been sufficient to bave reclaimed him from his vicious courses. He was cloyed with conjugal delights, which had been administered to him against his inclination, and his appetite for antiquated beauty had returned with redoubled violence. No respect was paid to decency; the Squire was not contented with slighting his wife in secret ; she must be banished to a separate and distant abode at Black Common. The Black Hole at Calcutta was too good for those who instigated him to such cruelty: Old Nick's black hole will bring them up at last.
The separation between great folks is the more to be lamented because the breach is seldom healed. In their first phrenzy of passion they not only part beds, but even houses. There are as many instances of wrangling spouses, perhaps, among the people; but as it is not always conve
nient for them to have separate beds, much less separate houses, their anger has time to expire, and desire renews the treaty of amity and love toties quoties.—A fidler and his dear rib having had some few conjugal rubs, as the story goes, at length behaved with so much spirit as to swear never to sleep together again. This was the most impracticable vow they could have possibly made, unless one of them would put up with lying on the floor, which neither would consent to do, as they had only one bed in the world. When they got into it, the fiddle-case was placed between them, and weak as was the barrier, it was respected by both parties for several nights. Their resentment had by that time cooled, and love began to return; both wished the fiddle-case to the devil, but neither would remove it. One night, however, when they were as hardly put to it to contrive the ways and means as any prime minister, the fidler happened to sneeze, and the wife, as is usual with such people in those cases, cried, “ God bless you!” The husband asked if that prayer was from her heart? " Aye,” replied she,
“ from the very bottom of my heart.” “ Why then," cried the husband, “ you may as well lend me a hand to remove the fiddle-case.' Now if the Squire's lady had been within hearing, and had made the same prayer as the fidler's wife, perhaps the Squire's love would have returned, as he must have felt some little shame and remorse at his conduct; but that would not suit the views of those artful incendiaries who had been the means of the rupture. Besides the intervening distance of miles, the fiddle-case was a mole-hill to the mountain which formed the barrier between the Squire and his lady; it was no less than the bulky Mrs. Maria Fitzwaddle, whom the Squire drew from her retirement; formed a more expensive establishment for her than ever, and cohabited with her with unblushing front. This living tomb of love was again in all her borrowed glory. The Squire's love for her was the more inexcusable as it must have been, on her part at least, without the least provocation in nature. Love between 36 and twice 36! So do wick and tallow consume in one greasy flame, until they expire in smoke and stench! The old beldam had no remorse, as she professed that religion which sells salves for all sores-even those of wounded conscience.
There is no accounting for the taste of men with respect to that assemblage of female charms, denominated beauty. It differs in every nation; and, though every individual of that nation will have a tinge of the national taste, yet scarcely any two of them will agree in fixing upon the same female as superior, in their ideas, to all the rest. If the preference which a Dutchman gives to a plump woman be attempted to be accounted for by saying that a warm bed-fellow is most agreeable in so cold a country! yet how can we upon the same principle, account for the same taste among the Turks, and, still more extraordinary! among some of the nations of burning Africa ? Mungo Parke, in his travels through the interior of that quarter of the globe, met with a nation where the woinen were reckoned beautiful only in proportion to their bulk, and a firstrate beauty could not walk without having two female slaves to support her by placing their shoulders under her arms. To cause this essential beauty, the mothers made their daughters