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by doing so you may be of general service, and will particularly oblige Your constant reader, and Obedient humble servant,
On comparing these two letters it is evident that, from the want of that complacency mentioned in the beginning of this paper, the very sensibility of temper, and strength of affection, which, under its infuence, would have made this good couple happy, has had a quite contrary effect. The source of the disquiet they complain of, is nothing else than the want of that respect for the taste, feelings, and opinions of each other, which constitutes the disposition I have recommended above, and which, so far from being inconsistent with a reasonable desire of reforming each other in these particulars, is the most probable means of accomplishing it.
Nor is the case of Mr. and Mrs. Gold singular in this respect. By much the greatest part of domestic quarrels originate from the want of this pliancy of disposition, which people seem, very absurd. ly, to suppose may be dispensed with in trifles. I have known a man who would have parted with half his estate to serve a friend, to whom he would not have yielded a hair's breadth in an argument. But the lesser virtues must be attended to as well as the greater ; the manners as well as the duties of life. They form a sort of Pocket Coin, which, though it does not enter into great and important transactions, is absolutely necessary for common and ordinary intercourse. K.
N 34. SATURDAY, MAY 22, 1799.
In compliance with a promise I made my readers at the close of last Saturday's paper (at least it was that sort of promise which a man keeps when the thing suits his inclination), I proceed to give them an account of that dinner to which my friend Mr. Umphraville and I were invited by his cousin Mr. Bearskin.
On our way to the house, I perceived certain symptoms of dissatisfaction, which my friend could not help bringing forth, though he durst not impute them to the right cause, as I have heard of men beating their wives at home, to revenge themselves for the crosses they have met with abroad. He complained of the moistness of the weather, and the dirtiness of the street; was quite fatigued with the length of the way (Mr. Bearskin's house being fashionably eccentric), and almost cursed the taylor for the tightness of a suit of clothes, which he had bespoke on his arrival in town, and had now put on for the first time. His chagrin, I believe, was increased by his having just learned from his lawyer, that the business he came to town about, could not be finished at the time he expected, but would pro. bably last a week longer.
When we entered Mr. Bearskin's drawing-room, we found his wife sitting with his three daughters ready to receive us. It was easy to see, by the air of the lady, that she was perfectly mistress of the house, and that her husband was only a secondary
person there, he seemed, however, contented with his situation, and an admirer of his wife ; a sort of lap-dog husband (of whom I have seen many), who looks sleek, runs about briskly, and, though he now and then gets a kick from his mistress, is as ready to play over his tricks again as ever.
Mr. Bearskin, after many expressions of his hap. piness in seeing his cousin in his new house, proposed walking us down stairs again, to begin shewing it from the ground-story upwards. Umphra. ville, though I saw him sweating at the idea, was ready to follow his conductor, when we were saved by the interposition of the lady, who uttered a • Psha ! Mr. Bearskin,' with so significant a look, that her husband instantly dropped his design, say. ing, to be sure there was not much worth seeing, • though he could have wished to have shown his • cousin his study, which he thought was tolerably • clever.'- I thought, Papa,' said the eldest of the Misses, it was not quite in order yet.'- Why, • not altogether ;' replied her father: • I have not • been able to get up my heads, as Pope has lost an • ear, and Homer the left side of his beard, by the
carelessness of a packer; and I want about three • feet and a half of fulios of my lowest shelf.'--I • don't care if there was not a folio in the world,' rejoined Miss. • Child !' said her mother in a tone of rebuke-Miss bridled up and was silent ;-I smiled ;-Umphraville walked to the window, and wiped his forehead.
Bearskin now pulled out his watch, and, telling the hour, said, he wondered his friend Mr. Blubber was not come, as he was generally punctual to a minute. While he spoke, a loud rap at the door announced the expected company ; and presently Mr. Blubber, his wife, a son, and two daughters, entered the room. The first had on an old-fashioned pompadour coat with gold buttons, and very voluminous sleeves, his head adorned by a large major wig, with curls as white and as stiff as if they had been cast in plaster of Paris ; but the females, and heir of the family, were dressed in the very height of the mode. Bears skin introduced the old gentleman to his cousin Mr. Umphraville :- Mr. Blubber, Sir, a very particular • friend of mine, and (turning to me with a whisper) • worth fourscore thousand pounds, if he's worth a • farthing. Blubber said, he feared they had kept us waiting; but that his wife and daughters had got under the hands of the hair-dresser, and he verily thought would never have done with him. The ladies were too busy to reply to this accusation; they had got into a committee of inquiry on Mr. Edward Blubber's waistcoat, which had been tam. boured, it seems, by his sisters, and was universally declared to be monstrous handsome. The young man himself seemed to be highly delighted with the re. Aection of it in a mirror that stood opposite to him: • Isn't it vastly pretty, Sir ? said one of the young ladies to Umphraville. Ma’am!' said he, starting from a reverie, in which I saw, by his countenance, he was meditating on the young gentleman and his waistcoat in no very favourable manner.-- I read her countenance too; she thought Umphraville just the fool he did her brother.
Dinrer was now announced, and the company after some ceremonial, got into their places at table, in the centre of which stood a sumptuous épargne, filled, as Bearskin informed us, with the produce of his farm. This joke, which, I suppose, was as regular as the grace before dinner, was explained to the ignorant to mean, that the sweetmeats came . from a plantation in one of the IVest-India islands, in which he had a concern. The épargne itself now. produced another dissortation from the ladies, and;
like the waistcoat, was also pronounced monstrous handsome. Blubber, taking his eye half off a plate of salmon, to which he had just been helped, observed, that it would come to a handsome price too ;• Sixty ounces, I'll warrant it,' said he ; but as the ' plate tax is now repealed, it will cost but the in* terest a-keeping.'-La, Papa,' said Miss Blubber. you are always thinking of the money things cost?'
Yes,' added her brother, “Tables of interest are an . excellent accompaniment for a desert.'- At this speech all the ladies laughed very loud. Blubber said, he was an impudent dog ; but seemed to relish his son's wit notwithstanding. Umphraville looked sternly at him ; and, had not a glance at his waistcoat set him down as something beneath a man's anger, I don't know what consequences might have followed. During the rest of the entertainment, I could see the fumet of fool and coxcomb on every morsel that Umphraville swallowed, though Mrs. Bearskin, next to whom he sat, was at great pains to help him to the nice bits of every thing within her reach.
When dinner was over, Mr. Blubber mentioned his design of making a tour through the Highlands, to visit Stirling, Taymouth, and Dunkeld ; and applying to our landlord for some description of these places, was by him referred to Mr. Umphraville and me. Mr. Umphraville was not in a communicative mood ; so I was obliged to assure Mr. Blubber, who talked with much uncertainty and apprehension of these matters, that he would find beds and bed-clothes, meat for himself, and corn for his horses, at the se. veral places above mentioned ; that he had no dan. gerous seas to cross in getting at them; and that there were no highwaymen upon the road.
After this there was a considerable interval of silence, and we were in danger of getting once more