No. 506. Friday, October 10, 1712. Budgell.

Candida perpetuo reside, concordia, lecto, Tamque pari semper sit Venus æqua jugo. Diligat illa, senem quondam: Sed et ipsa marito, Tunc quoque cum fuerit, non videatur anus.'

The following Essay is written by the Gentleman, to whom the World is oblig'd for those several excellent Discourses which have been marked with the Letter X.

I have somewhere met with a Fable that made Wealth the Father of Love. It is certain a Mind ought, at least, to be free from the Apprehensions of Want and Poverty, before it can fully attend to all the Softnesses and Endearments of this Passion. Notwithstanding we see Multitudes of married People, who are utter Strangers to this delightful Passion amidst all the Affluence of the most plentiful Fortunes.

It is not sufficient to make a Marriage happy, that the Humours of two People should be alike; I could instance an hundred Pair, who have not the least Sentiment of Love remaining for one another, yet are so like in their Humours, that if they were not already married, the whole World would design them for Man and Wife.

The Spirit of Love has something so extremely fine in it, that it is very often disturbed and lost, by some little Accidents which the Careless and Unpolite never attend to, till it is gone past Recovery.

Nothing has more contributed to banish it from a married State, than too great a Familiarity, and laying aside the common Rules of Decency. Tho' I could give Instances of this in several Particulars, I shall only mention that of Dress. The Beaus and Belles about Town, who dress purely to catch one another, think there is no further occasion for the Bait, when their first Design has succeeded. But besides the too common Fault in point of Neatness, there are several others which I do not remember to have seen touched upon, but in one of our modern Comedies, [1] where a French Woman offering to undress and dress herself before the Lover of the Play, and assuring his Mistress that it was very useful in France, the Lady tells her that's a Secret in Dress she never knew before, and that she was so unpolish'd an English Woman, as to resolve never to learn even to dress before her Husband.

There is something so gross in the Carriage of some Wives, that they lose their Husbands Hearts for Faults, which, if a Man has either Good-Nature or Good-Breeding, he knows not how to tell them of. I am afraid, indeed, the Ladies are generally most faulty in this Particular, who, at their first giving into Love, find the Way so smooth and pleasant, that they fancy 'tis scarce possible to be tired in it.

There is so much Nicety and Discretion requir'd to keep Love alive after Marriage, and make Conversation still new and agreeable after twenty or thirty years, that I know nothing which seems readily to promise it, but an earnest endeavour to please on both sides, and superior good Sense on the part of Man.

By a Man of Sense, I mean one acquainted with Business and Letters.

A Woman very much settles her Esteem for a Man, according to the Figure he makes in the World, and the Character he bears among his own Sex. As Learning is the chief Advantage we have over them, it is, methinks, as scandalous and inexcusable for a Man of Fortune to be illiterate, as for a Woman not to know how to behave her self on the most ordinary Occasions. It is this which sets the two Sexes at the greatest Distance; a Woman is vexed and surpriz'd, to find nothing more in the Conversation of a Man, than in the common Tattle of her own Sex.

Some small Engagement at least in Business, not only sets a Man's Talents in the fairest Light, and allots him a Part to act, in which a Wife cannot well intermeddle; but gives frequent occasions for those little Absences, which, whatever seeming Uneasiness they may give, are some of the best Preservatives of Love and Desire.

The Fair Sex are so conscious to themselves, that they have nothing in them which can deserve entirely to engross the whole Man, that they heartily despise one, who, to use their own Expression, is always hanging at their Apron-Strings.

Lætitia is pretty, modest, tender, and has Sense enough; she married Erastus, who is in a Post of some Business, and has a general Taste in most Parts of polite Learning. Lætitia, where ever she visits, has the pleasure to hear of something which was handsomely said or done by Erastus. Erastus, since his Marriage, is more gay in his Dress than ever, and in all Companies is as complaisant to Lætitia as to any other Lady. I have seen him give her her Fan, when it has dropped, with all the Gallantry of a Lover. When they take the Air together, Erastus is continually improving her Thoughts, and with a Turn of Wit and Spirit which is peculiar to him, giving her an Insight into things she had no notion of before. Lætitia is transported at having a new World thus open'd to her, and hangs upon the Man that gives her such agreeable Informations. Erastus has carried this Point still further, as he makes her daily not only more fond of him, but infinitely more satisfied with herself. Erastus finds a Justness or Beauty in whatever she says or observes, that Lætitia herself was not aware of; and, by his Assistance, she has discovered an hundred good Qualities and Accomplishments in herself, which she never before once dreamed of. Erastus, with the most artful Complaisance in the World, by several remote Hints, finds the means to make her say or propose almost whatever he has a mind to, which he always receives as her own Discovery, and gives her all the Reputation of it.

Erastus has a perfect Taste in Painting, and carried Lætitia with him the other day to see a Collection of Pictures. I sometimes visit this happy Couple. As we were last Week walking in the long Gallery before Dinner, I have lately laid out some Mony in Paintings, says Erastus; I bought that Venus and Adonis purely upon Lætitia's Judgment; it cost me three-score Guineas, and I was this morning offer'd [a [2]] hundred for it. I turned towards Lætitia, and saw her Cheeks glow with Pleasure, while at the same time she cast a look upon Erastus, the most tender and affectionate I ever beheld.

Flavilla married Tom Tawdry; she was taken with his laced Coat and rich Sword-knot; she has the mortification to see Tom despised by all the worthy Part of his own Sex. Tom has nothing to do after Dinner, but to determine whether he will pare his Nails at St. James's, White's, or his own House. He has said nothing to Flavilla since they were married, which she might not have heard as well from her own Woman. He however takes great care to keep up the saucy ill-natur'd Authority of a Husband. Whatever Flavilla happens to assert, Tom immediately contradicts with an Oath, by way of Preface, and, My Dear, I must tell you, you talk most confoundedly silly. Flavilla had a Heart naturally as well dispos'd for all the Tenderness of Love as that of Lætitia; but as Love seldom continues long after Esteem, it is difficult to determine, at present, whether the unhappy Flavilla hates or despises the Person most, whom she is obliged to lead her whole Life with.


[Footnote 1: Steele's Funeral, or Grief a la Mode, Act III.]

[Footnote 2: [an] and in first reprint.]

Translation of motto:
MART. 4 Epig. xiii. 7.
'Perpetual harmony their bed attend,
And Venus still the well-match'd pair befriend!
May she, when time has sunk him into years,
Love her old man, and cherish his white hairs;
Nor he perceive her charms through age decay,
But think each happy sun his bridal day!'