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her cruelty in love ditties, madrigals, and elegies, without expecting any other recompence than the reputation of a conftant lover and a good poet. By the mere force of imagination, and the eloquence of their own metaphysical fonnets, they became persuaded that their mistresses were possessed of every accomplishment of face and mind, and that themselves were dying for love.

As in those days women were constantly guarded by their fathers and brothers before marriage, and watched and confined by their husbands for the rest of their lives; the refined passions above described were not exposed to the same accidents which so frequently befall those of modern lovers; they could neither fall into a decay from a more perfect knowledge of the lady's character, nor were they liable to sudden death from enjoyment. But whilst the women were adored in song, they were miserable in reality ; confinement and distrust made them detest their husbands, and they en

deavoured

deavoured to form connections with men more to their taste than either jealous husbands or metaphysical lovers.

To treat a woman of character as if she were an unprincipled wanton, is the most likely way to make her one.

In those days of jealousy, a continual trial of skill seems to have subsisted between husband and wife, as if every lord, soon after marriage, had told his lady, “ Now, Madam, I know

perfectly well what you would be at; “ but it is my business to prevent you: “ I'll guard you so well, and watch you " so closely, that it shall never be in your

power to gratify your inclinations." “ You are perfectly in the right, my “ lord,” replied the lady, with all meek

pray guard and watch as your “ wisdom shall direct ; I, also, shall be vie “ gilant on my part, and we shall see how 6 the business will end." The business generally did end as might have been exa pected; and the only consolation left the 7

husband

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husband was, to endeavour to assassinate the happy lover.

But when French manners began to spread over Europe, and to insinuate themselves among nations the most opposite in character to the French, jealousy was first held up as the most detestable of all the passions. The law had long declared against its dismal effects, and aw, ful denunciations had been pronounced from the pulpit against those who were inflamed by its bloody spirit; but without effect, till ridicule joined in the argument, and exposed those husbands to the contempt and derision of every fashionable society, who harboured the gloomy dæmon in their bofoms.

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As in England, after the Restoration, people, to Thew their aversion to the Puritans, turned every appearaoce of religion into ridicule, and, from the extreme of hypocrisy, flew at once to that of pro

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fligacy; so in Italy, from the custom of secluding the wife from all mankind but her husband, it became the fashion that the should never be seen with her husband, and yet always have a man at her elbow,

I shall conclude what I have to say on this subject in my next.

LETTER LXXV.

Florence,

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EFORE the Italian husbands could

adopt or reconcile their minds to a custom so opposite to their former practice, they took some measures to secure a point which they had always thought of the highest importance. Finding that confinement was a plan generally reprobated, and that any appearance of jealousy subjected the husband to ridicule, they agreed that their wives should go into company and attend public places, but always attended by a friend whom they could trust, and who, at the same time, should not be disagreeable to the wife. This compromise could not fail of being acceptable to the women, who plainly perceived that they must be gainers by any alteration of the former fystem;

and

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