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discretions in our own private conduct. It is for this reason that I lay before my reader the following letter, and leave it with him to make his own use of it, without adding any reflections of my own upon the subject matter.
HAVING carefully perused a letter sent you by Josiah Fribble, Esq. with your subsequent discourse upon pin-money, I do presume to trouble you with an account of my own case, which I look upon to be no less deplorable than that of squire Fribble. I am a person of no extraction, having begun the world with a small parcel of rusty iron, and was for some years commonly known by the name of Jack Anvil *. I have naturally a very happy genius for getting money, insomuch that by the age
of five and twenty, I had scraped together four thou| sand two hundred pounds five shillings and a few
odd pence. I then launched out into considerable business, and became a bold trader both by sea and land, which in a few years raised me a very great fortune. For these my good services I was knighted in the thirty-fifth year of my age, and lived with great dignity among my city neighbours by the name of Sir John Anvil. Being in niy temper very ambitious, I was now bent upon making a family, and accordingly resolved that my descendants should
* It has been said by some, that the author of this letter alluded here to —- Gore, of 'I ring, and Lady Mary Comp. ton; but others with more probability have assured the annotator, that the letter referred to Sir Ambrose Crowley and his Lady. See Tat. ed. 1786, cr. 8vo. vol. v. additional notes, p. 405 and 406. N. B. This ironmonger changed his name from Crowley to Crawley, a folly which seems to be ridiculed here, by the change of Anvil into Envil, absurdly made by · his Lady.
have a dash of good blood in their veins. In order to this, I made love to the Lady Mary Oddly, an indigent young woman of quality. To cut short the marriage-treaty, I threw her a charte blanche, as our news-papers call it, desiring her to write upon it her own terms. She was very concise in her demands, insisting only that the disposal of my fortune, and the regulation of my family, should be entirely in her hands. Her father and brothers appeared exceedingly averse to this match, and would not see me for some time; but at present are so well reconciled, that they dine with me almost every day, and have borrowed considerable sums of me; which my Lady Mary very often twits me with, when she would shew me how kind her relations are to me. She had no portion, as I told you before; but what she wanted in fortune she makes up in spirit. She at first changed my name to Sir John Envil, and at present writes herself Mary Enville. I have had some children by her, whom she has christened with the surnames of her family, in order, as she tells me, to wear out the homeliness of their parentage by the father's side. Our eldest son is the honourable Oddly Enville, Esq., and our eldest daughter Harriot Enville. Upon her first coming into my family, she turned off a parcel of very careful servants, who had been long with me, and introduced in their stead a couple of black-a-moors, and three or four very genteel fellows in laced liveries, besides her French woman, who is perpetually making a noise in the house, in a language which nobody understands, except my Lady Mary. She next set herself to reform every room of my house, having glazed all my chimney-pieces with looking-glasses, and planted every corner with such heaps of china, that I am obliged to move about my own house with the greatest caution and circumspection, for fear of
hurting some of our brittle furniture. She makes an illumination once a week with wax candles in one of the largest rooms, in order, as she phrases it, to see company; at which time she always desires me to be abroad, or to confine myself to the cockloft, that I may not disgrace her among her visitants of quality. Her footmen, as I told you before, are such beaus that I do not much care for asking them questions; when I do, they answer me with a saucy frown, and say that every thing which I find fault with was done by my Lady Mary's order. She tells me, that she intends they shall wear swords with their next liveries, having lately observed the footmen of two or three persons of quality hanging behind the coach with swords by their sides. As soon as the first honeymoon was over, I represented to her the unreasonableness of those daily innovations which she made in my family; but she told me, I was no longer to consider myself as Sir John Anvil, but as her husband; and added, with a frown, that I did not seem to know who she was. I was surprised to be treated thus, after such familiarities as had passed between us. But she has since given me to know, that whatever freedoms she may sometimes indulge me in, she expects in general to be treated with the respect that is due to her birth and quality. • Our children have been trained up from their in
fancy with so many accounts of their mother's family, that they know the stories of all the great men and women it has produced. Their mother tells them, that such an one commanded in such a sea-engagement, that their great-grandfather had a horse shot under him at Edge-hill, that their uncle was at the siege of Buda, and that her mother danced in a ball at court with the Duke of Monmouth; with abundance of fiddle-faddle of the same nature. I was the other day a little out of countenance at a ques. tion of my little daughter Harriot, who asked me, with a great deal of innocence, why I never told them of the generals and admirals that had been in my family? As for my eldest son, Oddly, he has been so spirited up by his mother, that if be does not mend his manners I shall go near to disinherit him. He drew his sword upon me before he was nine years old, and told me that he expected to be used like a gentleman: upon my offering to correct him for his insolence, my Lady Mary stept in between us, and told me that I ought to consider there was some difference between his mother and mine. She is perpetually finding out the features of her own relations in every one of my children, though, by the way, I have a little chubfaced boy as like me as he can stare, if 1 durst say so: but what most angers me, when she sees ine playing with any of them upon my knee, she has begged me more than once to converse with the children as little as possible, that they may not learn any of my aukward tricks.
• You must further know, since I am opening my heart to you, that she thinks herself ny superior in sense, as much as she is in quality, and therefore treats me like a plain well-meaning man, who does not know the world. She dictates to me in my own business, sets me right in points of trade, and if I disagree with her about any of my ships at sea, wonders that I will dispute with her, when I know very well that her great-grandfather was a flagofficer.
"To complete my sufferings, she lias teased me for this quarter of a year last past to remove into one of the squares at the other end of the town, promising, for my encouragement, that I shall have as good a cock-loft as any gentleman in the square; to which the Honourable Oddly Enville, Esq. always adds, like a jack-a-napes as he is, that he hopes it will be as near the court as possible.
• In short, Mr. Spectator, I am so much out of my natural element, that to recover my old way of life I would be content to begin the world again, and be plain Jack Anvil: but, alas ! I am in for life, and am bound to subscribe myself, with great sorrow of heart,
Your humble servant,
JOHN ENVILLE, KNT,'
N° 300. WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 1711-12.
- Diversum vitio vitium propè majus.
HOR. 1 Ep. xviii. 5,
WHEN you talk of the subject of love, and the relations arising from it, methinks you should take care to leave no fault unobserved which concerns the state of marriage. The great vexation that I have observed in it is, that the wedded couple seem to want opportunities of being often enough alone together, and are forced to quarrel and be fond before company. Mr. Hotspur and his lady, in a room full of their friends, are ever saying something so smart to each other, and that but just