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venth; being of opinion that there is as much virtue in the touch of a seventh husband as of a seventh son.
Her comrades are as follow:
II. Mrs. Snap, who has four jointures, by four different bedfellows, of four different shires. She is at present upon the point of marriage with a Middlesex man, and is said to have an ambition of extending her possessions through all the counties in England on this side the Trent.
• III. Mrs. Medlar, who, after two husbands and a gallant, is now wedded to an old gentleman of sixty. Upon her making her report to the club after a week's cohabitation, she is still allowed to sit as a widow, and accordingly takes her place at the board.
• IV. The widow Quick, married within a fortnight after the death of her last husband. Her weeds have served her thrice, and are still as good as
• V. Lady Catherine Swallow. She was a widow at eighteen, and has since buried a second husband and two coachmen.
• VI. The lady Waddle. She was married in the 15th year of her age to sir Simon Waddle, knight, aged threescore and twelve, by whom she had twins nine months after his decease. In the 55th year of her age she was married to James Spindle, esq. a youth of one-and-twenty, who did not outlive the honey-moon.
• VII. Deborah Conquest. The case of this lady is something particular. She is the relict of sir Sampson Conquest, some time justice of the quorum. Sir Sampson was seven foot high, and two foot in breadth from the tip of one shoulder to the other. He had married three wives, who all of them died in child-bed. This terrified the whole sex, who none of them durst venture on sir Samp
son. At length Mrs. Deborah undertook him, and gave so good an account of him, that in three years' time she very fairly laid him out, and measured his length upon the ground. This exploit has gained her so great a reputation in the club, that they have added sir Sampson's three victories to hers, and give her the merit of a fourth widowhood; and she takes her place accordingly.
• VIII. The widow Wildfire, relict of Mr. John Wildfire, fox-hunter, who broke his neck over a sixbar gate. She took his death so much at heart, that it was thought it would have put an end to her life, had she not diverted her sorrows by receiving the addresses of a gentleman in the neighbourhood, who made love to her in the second month of her widowhood. The gentleman was discarded in a fortnight for the sake of a young templar, who had the possession of her for six weeks after, till he was beaten out by a broken officer, who likewise gave up his place to a gentleman at court. The courtier was as shortlived a favourite as his predecessors, but had the pleasure to see himself succeeded by a long series of lovers, who followed the widow Wildfire to the 37th year of her age, at which time there ensued a cessation of ten years, when John Felt, haberdasher, took it in his head to be in love with her, and it is thought will very suddenly carry her off.
• IX. The last is pretty Mrs. Runnet, who broke her first husband's heart before she was sixteen, at which time she was entered of the club, but soon after left it upon account of a second, whom she made so quick a dispatch of, that she returned to her seat in less than a twelvemonth. This young matron is looked upon as the most rising member of the society, and will probably be in the president's chair before she dies.
• These ladies, upon their first institution, re
solved to give the pictures of their deceased husbands to the club-room; but two of them bringing in their dead at full length, they covered all the walls. Upon which they came to a second resolution, that every matron should give her own picture, and set it round with her husbands' in miniature.
As they have most of them the misfortune to be troubled with the colic, they have a noble cellar of cordials and strong waters.
When they grow maudlin, they are very apt to commemorate their former partners with a tear. But ask them which of their husbands they condole, they are not able to tell you, and discover plainly that they do not weep so much for the loss of a husband as for the want
'The principal rule by which the whole society are to govern themselves, is this, to cry up the pleasures of a single life upon all occasions, in order to deter the rest of their sex from marriage, and engross the whole male world to themselves.
They are obliged, when any one makes love to a member of the society, to communicate his name, aut which the whole assembly sit upon his reputation, person, fortune, and good humour; and if they find him qualified for a sister of the club, they lay their heads together how to make him sure. By this means they are acquainted with all the widowhunters about town, who often afford them great diversion. There is an honest Irish gentleman, it seems, who knows nothing of this society, but at different times has made love to the whole club.
• Their conversation often turns upon their former husbands, and it is very diverting to hear them relate their several arts and stratagems with which they amused the jealous, pacified the choleric, or wheedled the good-natured man, till at last, to use
the club-phrase, “ they sent him out of the house with his heels foremost."
· The politics which are most cultivated by this society of she-Machiavels relate chiefly to these two points, how to treat a lover, and how to manage a husband. As for the first set of artifices, they are too fiumerous to come within the compass of your paper, and shall therefore be reserved for a second letter.
• The management of a husband is built upon the following doctrines, which are universally assented to by the whole club. Not to give him his head at first. Not to allow him too great freedoms and familiarities. Not to be treated by him like a raw girl, but as a woman that knows the world. Not to lessen any thing of her former figure. To celebrate the generosity, or any other virtue of a deceased husband, which she would recommend to his successor. To turn away all his old friends and servants, that she may have the dear man to herself. To make him disinherit the undutiful children of any former wife. Never to be thoroughly convinced of his affection, until he has made over to her all his goods and chattels.
After so long a letter, I am, without more ceremony,
Your humble servant, &c.'
No 562. FRIDAY, JULY 2, 1714.
-Præsens, absens ut sies.
TER. Eun. Act. i. Sc. 2. Be present as if absent.
• It is a hard and nice subject for a man to speak of himself,' says Cowley; • it grates his own heart to say any thing of disparagement, and the reader's ears to hear any thing of praise from him.' Let the tenour of his discourse be what it will upon this subject, it generally proceeds from vanity. An ostentatious man will rather relate a blunder or an absurdity he has committed, than be debarred of talking of his own dear person.
Some very great writers have been guilty of this fault. It is observed of Tully in particular, that his works run very much in the first person, and that he takes all occasions of doing himself justice. • Does he think,' says Brutus, that his consulship deserves more applause than my putting Cæsar to death, because I am not perpetually talking of the ides of March, as he is of the nones of December I need not acquaint my learned reader, that in the ides of March Brutus destroyed Cæsar, and that Cicero quashed the conspiracy of Catiline in the calends of December. How shocking soever this great man's talking of himself might have been to his contemporaries, I must confess I am never better pleased than when he is on this subject. Such openings of the heart give a man a thorough insight into his personal character, and illustrate several passages in the history of his life: besides that,