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practice. My wife Joan tells me, that, on going into any family, we may easily see by the regularity and order of affairs, whether the mistress of the house be a scold or not, to which, perhaps, the old adage concerning mustard may allude.
A very ingenious clergyman of the church of England hath assured me, that he found a very sensible alteration, for the better, in his parishioners, upon the settlement of a very excellent scold among them. Whatever vice or enormity any in the parish were guilty of, they were sure of hearing it, as the proverb says, “ on both sides of their ears,” by this good woman; who, the Doctor very pleasantly assured me, did more towards the preservation of good manners by these daily lectures, which she exhibited gratis in the streets, than he could by all his sermons in the pulpit.
I believe, it hath been often found, that men, whom the preservation of their healths and fortunes, nay, even the very terror of the laws, could not restrain from extravagancy, have owed their reformation to a curtain lecture. I do remember, when I was a young fellow, to have heard a man excuse himself for retiring early from his debauched companions, by saying, “ Gentlemen, you know I have a wife at home.”
Nor is this practice, as it hath been represented, confined within the precincts of Billingsgate, or the lower orb of people only. There are scolds of all ranks and degrees, and I have known a Right Honourable, who could be heard all over a large palace, to her praise, with great facility.
Notwithstanding what has been here said, it is very certain, that this, as well as other customs, however good in itself, hath sometimes been used to evil purposes, and that a too sonorous tongue hath often made a pretty face a very disagreeable companion. On such occasions, I have known several devices practised with good success, nor do I think I can sufficiently applaud the ingenuity of a certain gentleman, who used to accompany his wife's voice with a violin, thereby turning what another would have esteemed a harsh entertainment into a very agreeable concert.
CHAMPION, vol. i. p. 238.
The following epitaph, in the collection of the late facetious Mr. Grose, celebrates a lady who appears to have even excelled Mrs. Joan Vinegar, in the intemperate use of her tongue.
My dame and I, full twenty years,
Of tongue she was exceeding free,
Grose's Ouro, 2d edit. p. 301.
Pabula quom præbet, quibus omnes corpora pascunt,
Tue present uncommon cold and dripping season has very unluckily interfered with such of our public diversions as were to be exhibited in the
open air. The proprietor of one of the places, where they have been unsuccessful, has ventured to exclaim against it, with all the insolence and impiety of a wit: we have heard, too, that it has been unfavourable to our gardens, and are told of a thousand bad events that are likely to attend it; but were we certain of all that has been guessed at, shall we dare to question with him, who can “ bind, at his pleasure, the influence of the Pleiades, and loose the bands of Orion;" whose beneficence is equal to his wisdom, and whose wisdom to his power; who formed us to be happy, and who sees, at one equal yiew, all that can make us so; and who, by a nød, can direct the course of every blessing upon us?
Though we have complained thus loudly of a want of sunshine for our diversions or our luxuries, there has not been such a real scarcity of it, as to affect those myriads of more grateful animals, who depend, as it were, immediately on its influence, and whose very vital principle is to be awakened by it. The numberless inhabitants of the air and waters, the insects of a thousand forms and dyes, that sport about the moister element, or bask and wanton in the sun-beams, have all appeared at their accustomed times, and all enjoy their day of life in pleasure and security. Nor have the reptile class, the larger tenants of the earth’s recesses, who are annually, from the torpid state in which they have passed the winter's severity, without feeling it, called by it, though not into existence like the others, yet into a renewed life and vigour, felt any of those inconveniences, that we, from our trifling dependencies, com
The field-mouse screams aloud her hourly acclamations to the auspicious luminary that