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And use of speech was not confin'd
His flight, he'd boast, 'twere vain to follow,
A Tortoise heard his vain oration, And vented thus his indignation. "O Puss! it bodes thee dire disgrace, "When I defy thee to the race. "Come, 'tis a match.....nay, no denial, "I lay my shell upon the trial."
'Twas done, and done....all fair....a bet.... Judges prepar'd, and distance set. The scamp'ring Hare outstrip'd the wind, The creeping Tortoise lagg'd behind, And scarce had pass'd a single pole, When Puss had almost reach'd the goal. "Friend Tortoise," cries the jeering Hare, "Your burthen's more than you can bear: "To help your speed, it were as well "That I should ease you of your shell. "Jog on a little faster prithee, "I'll take a nap, and then be with thee.” So said, so done....and safely sure; For say, what conquest more secure? Whene'er he wak'd, (that's all that's in it) He could o'ertake him in a minute.
The bets were won, the Hare awake,
No. XCI. THURSDAY, OCTOBER 23.
Omnia Castor emit; sie fiet ut omnia vendet.
Such bargains purchas'd by his dear,
To Mr. Town.
I AM married to a woman of the most notable disposition, who values herself upon going the nearest way to work in every thing, and laying out her money to more advantage than any body else. But her economy is so strangely expensive, and her savings attended with such ridiculous extravagance, that she has almost undone me by her frugality.
In the first place, my wife is particularly proud of being an excellent market-woman. She understands this business so well, it seems that she buys every thing better of its sort, and at a cheaper rate, than any other person: for which reason she always undertakes it herself, and trudges to market with all the notable airs and housewifely appearance of an old butter-woman. Here she flatters herself, that she has the art of beating down every thing so very low, that she cannot resist the temptation of buying such extraordiary pen
nyworths; and after spending the whole morning at twenty different shops, and four or five different markets, she comes home with provisions enough to support the first duke's family in the kingdom for a week. Though the natural consequence of this housewifery is, that above half her marketings stink and grow musty, before we can use them; yet she is highly delighted with her management, and entertains all the good ladies of her acquaintance with an account of her economy, and the complaints of the tradesmen, that there was no dealing with her, that she is too hard for them, and that they shall be ruined by selling her such bargains.
I should tell you, Sir, that soon after we were married, my wife over-persuaded me to take an house in the country; and she assured me, that we should save more than the rent of it by the advantage of breeding our own poultry, and feeding our own cattle, for the supply of our table. I accordingly hired a little box about twenty miles from town, with a piece of ground adjoining to it, and my wife took upon her the whole management of the estate; for the ordering of which she had collected together so many excellent rules, that she was sure to save cent. per cent. in every article. The consequence of this was, that our chickens, being fed with rye instead of barley and wheat, died of the pip; our turkies were crammed with bran and butter-milk, to save the expence of corn, and were most of them carried off by a looseness; our geese were fattened with acorns instead of oats, and were as poor as their plucked brethren in the fens of Lincolnshire. Our hogs cost us nothing in a manner for their keeping, as they lived upon turnip-parings and cabbagestalks, pease and bean-shells, scalded crab-apples, and bull's blood and liver; in consequence of which our bacon was rancid, and our pork meazly. We had two cows for the use of our dairy; but the first winter,
being fed for cheapness with nothing but collart-leaves and chopt straw, they gave no milk for half the year, and at last died of the distemper among the horned cattle. Even our poor mare, which used to run in the chaise, fared no better than a miller's horse, as she was kept chiefly upon bran, and very seldom indulged with the luxury of oats and beans; so that the poor creature, after a journey somewhat harder than usual, dropt down dead between the shafts. We had scarce better luck in the management of our garden: for though my wife prided herself on her notable skill in these matters, our fruit-trees could never be brought to bear; and when cucumbers were to be had for a penny a dozen, and peas for a groat a peck, we had the pleasure of gathering them fresh from our own garden, after they had stood us in more than ten times their value in their raising.
Among her other housewifely accomplishments, my wife was possessed of the original receipts of her grandmother for all sorts of made wines: which nobody could distinguish from those of a foreign growth. She therefore set about making a large quantity of Port and Claret from elder berries, and Mountain and Frontiniac from raisins and brown sugar: but when these had been kept to a proper age, and were fit to be drank, we had this only consolation, that they were the best vinegar that could be used for our pickles. Our October, which she contrived to brew with as much bran as malt, and mugwort instead of hops, grew dead in the casks, before it had sufficiently fermented; and when we had bottled it off, it burst above twenty dozen of the bottles, and the remainder was sour. My wife also bought a still, with its whole apparatus, that she might make plague and hysteric water for her own use, and to give away among her poor neighbours but at one time the head of the still flew off,
and laid her under the surgeon's hands for three months; and at another, it took fire, and had like to have burnt the house down. To this account I should likewise set down the charge of our apothecary's shop, in preparing ointments for scalds, salves for burns, and other family medicines; in all which I know to my cost, the old saying was inverted, and we lost elevenpence out of a shilling.
You must know, Sir, that (besides her domestic economy) my provident dear is a most passionate admirer of a penny worth in any shape; and is one of those prudent good ladies, who will purchase any thing, of which they have no need, merely because they can have it a bargain. It would be doing much service to many other poor gentlemen as well as me if you could convince these thrifty females, that to purchase useless commodities at any price, can never be good housewifery, and that however nearly they may drive their bargains, there is just so much money flung away, as the purchase costs. We have as much linen by us as would set up a piece-broker, which my wife has purchased under prime cost of the Scotch pedlars, that came to our door; and I am sure we have cast off cloaths sufficient to furnish a sale-shop, which she has bought of ladies' maids for a mere trifle. She is a frequent customer to pretended smugglers, that slily whisper in your ear, and offer you right India handkerchiefs made at Spitalfields. But above all, she constantly attends the several auctions of the stock in trade of eminent tradesmen, that were never heard of, and the household furniture, plate, china, &c. of baronets and squires, that never existed but in the brain of the auctioneer. Here she meets with such excellent pennyworths, that, as my pantry is stored with more provision than we can dispense with, every room in my house is crammed up with useless beds, tables, chests of drawers, curiosities, peruke-pated beaux,