It is very usual for those who have been severe upon Marriage, in some part or other of their Lives to enter into the Fraternity which they have ridiculed, and to see their Raillery return upon their own Heads. I scarce ever knew a Woman-hater that did not, sooner or later, pay for it. Marriage, which is a Blessing to another Man, falls upon such a one as a Judgment. Mr. Congreve's Old Batchelor  is set forth to us with much Wit and Humour, as an Example of this kind. In short, those who have most distinguished themselves by railing at the Sex in general, very often make an honourable Amends, by chusing one of the most worthless Persons of it, for a Companion and Yoke-fellow. Hymen takes his Revenge in kind, on those who turn his Mysteries into Ridicule.
My Friend Will Honeycomb, who was so unmercifully witty upon the Women, in a couple of Letters, which I lately communicated to the Publick, has given the Ladies ample Satisfaction by marrying a Farmer's Daughter; a piece of News which came to our Club by the last Post. The Templer is very positive that he has married a Dairy-maid: But Will, in his Letter to me on this Occasion, sets the best Face upon the Matter that he can, and gives a more tollerable Account of his Spouse. I must confess I suspected something more than ordinary, when upon opening the Letter I found that Will was fallen off from his former Gayety, having changed Dear Spec. which was his usual Salute at the Beginning of the Letter, into My Worthy Friend, and subscribed himself in the latter End of it at full length William Honeycomb. In short, the gay, the loud, the vain Will Honeycomb, who had made Love to every great Fortune that has appeared in Town for [above ] thirty Years together, and boasted of Favours from Ladies whom he had never seen, is at length wedded to a plain Country Girl.
His Letter gives us the Picture of a converted Rake. The sober Character of the Husband is dashed with the Man of the Town, and enlivened with those little Cant-phrases which have made my Friend Will often thought very pretty Company. But let us hear what he says for himself.
My Worthy Friend,
I question not but you, and the rest of my Acquaintance, wonder that I, who have lived in the Smoak and Gallantries of the Town for thirty Years together, should all on a sudden grow fond of a Country Life. Had not my Dog [of a ] Steward run away as he did, without making up his Accounts, I had still been immersed in Sin and Sea-Coal. But since my late forced Visit to my Estate, I am so pleased with it, that I am resolved to live and die upon it. I am every Day abroad among my Acres, and can scarce forbear filling my Letter with Breezes, Shades, Flowers, Meadows, and purling Streams. The Simplicity of Manners, which I have heard you so often speak of, and which appears here in Perfection, charms me wonderfully. As an Instance of it, I must acquaint you, and by your means the whole Club, that I have lately married one of my Tenants Daughters. She is born of honest Parents, and though she has no Portion, she has a great deal of Virtue. The natural Sweetness and Innocence of her Behaviour, the Freshness of her Complection, the unaffected Turn of her Shape and Person, shot me through and through every time I saw her, and did more Execution upon me in Grogram, than the greatest Beauty in Town or Court had ever done in Brocade. In short, she is such an one as promises me a good Heir to my Estate; and if by her means I cannot leave to my Children what are falsely called the Gifts of Birth; high Titles and Alliances: I hope to convey to them the more real and valuable Gifts of Birth; strong Bodies, and Healthy Constitutions. As for your fine Women, I need not tell thee that I know them. I have had my share in their Graces, but no more of that. It shall be my Business hereafter to live the Life of an honest Man, and to act as becomes the Master of a Family. I question not but I shall draw upon me the Raillery of the Town, and be treated to the Tune of the Marriage-Hater match'd; but I am prepared for it. I have been as witty upon others in my time. To tell thee truly, I saw such a Tribe of Fashionable young fluttering Coxcombs shot up, that I did not think my Post of an homme de ruelle any longer tenable. I felt a certain Stiffness in my Limbs, which entirely destroyed that Jauntyness of Air I was once Master of. Besides, for I may now confess my Age to thee, I have been eight and forty above these Twelve Years. Since my Retirement into the Country will make a Vacancy in the Club, I could wish you would fill up my Place with my Friend Tom Dapperwit. He has an infinite deal of Fire, and knows the Town. For my own part, as I have said before, I shall endeavour to live hereafter suitable to a Man in my Station, as a prudent Head of a Family, a good Husband, a careful Father (when it shall so happen) and as
Your most Sincere Friend, and Humble Servant,
[Footnote 1: Heartwell in the play of the Old Batchelor. Addison here continues the winding up of the Spectator by finally disposing of another member of the club.]
[Footnote 2: [about]]
[Footnote 3: [the]]Translation of motto: