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a salesman; and at my first appearance after the wedding night, was asked by my wife's mother, whether I had sent our marriage to the Advertiser / I endeavoured to shew how unfit it was to demand the attention of the publick to our domestick affairs; but she told me, with great vehemence, “That she would not have it thought to be a stolen match; that the blood of the Mohairs should never be disgraced; that her husband had served all the parish offices but one; that she had lived five-and-thirty years at the same house, had paid every body twenty shillings in the pound, and would have me know, though she was not as fine and as flaunting as Mrs. Ginghum, the deputy's wife, she was not ashamed to tell her name, and would shew her face with the best of them; and since I had married her daughter ” At this instant entered my father-in-law, a grave man, from whom I expected succour; but upon hearing the case, he told me, “That it would be very imprudent to miss such an opportunity of advertising my shop; and that when notice was given of my marriage, many of my wife's friends would think themselves obliged to be my customers.” I was subdued by clamour on one side, and gravity on the other, and shall be obliged to tell the town, that “three days ago Timothy Mushroom, an eminent oilman in SeaCoal Lane, was married to Miss Polly Mohair of Lothbury, a beautiful young lady, with a large fortune.” - I am, Sir, &c.
I am the unfortunate wife of the grocer whose letter you published about ten weeks ago, in which he complains, like a sorry fellow, that I loiter in the shop with my needle-work in my hand, and that I oblige him to take me out on Sundays, and keep a girl to look after the child. Sweet Mr. Idler, if you did but know all, you would give no encouragement to such an unreasonable grumbler. I brought him three hundred pounds, which set him up in a shop, and bought-in a stock, on which, with good management, we might live comfortably; but now I have given him a shop, I am forced to watch him and the shop too. I will tell you, Mr. Idler, how it is. There is an alehouse over the way with a ninepin alley, to which he is sure to run when I turn my back, and there loses his money, for he plays at ninepins as he does every thing else. While he is at this favourite sport, he sets a dirty boy to watch his door, and call him to his customers; but he is so long in coming, and so rude when he comes, that our custom falls off every day.
Those who cannot govern themselves, must be governed. I have resolved to keep him for the future behind his counter, and let him bounce at his customers if he dares. I cannot be above stairs and below at the same time, and have therefore taken a girl to look after the child and dress the dinner; and, after all, pray who is to blame?
On a Sunday, it is true, I make him walk abroad, and sometimes carry the child; I wonder who should
carry it! But I never take him out till after churchtime, nor would do it then, but that, if he is left alone, he will be upon the bed. On a Sunday, if he stays at home, he has six meals, and, when he can eat no longer, has twenty stratagems to escape from me to the alehouse; but I commonly keep the door locked, till Monday produces something for him to do.
This is the true state of the case, and these are the provocations for which he has written his letter to you. I hope you will write a paper to shew, that, if a wife must spend her whole time in watching her husband, she cannot conveniently tend her child, or sit at her needle.
I am, Sir, &c.
SIR, THERE is in this town a species of oppression which the law has not hitherto prevented or redressed. I am a chairman. You know, Sir, we come when we are called, and are expected to carry all who require our assistance. It is common for men of the most unwieldy corpulence to crowd themselves into a chair, and demand to be carried for a shilling as far as an airy young lady whom we scarcely feel upon our poles. Surely we ought to be paid like all other mortals in proportion to our labour. Engines should be fixed in proper places to weigh chairs as they weigh waggons; and those, whom ease and plenty have made unable to carry themselves, should give part of their superfluities to those who carry them. I am, Sir, &c.
NUMB, 29. SATURDAY, November 4, 1758.
TO THE IDL ER.
I HAVE often observed, that friends are lost by discontinuance of intercourse without any offence on either part, and have long known, that it is more dangerous to be forgotten than to be blamed ; I therefore make haste to send you the rest of my story, lest, by the delay of another fortnight, the name of Betty Broom might be no longer remembered by you or your readers. Having left the last place in haste to avoid the charge or the suspicion of theft, I had not secured another service, and was forced to take a lodging in a back street. I had now got good clothes. The woman who lived in the garret opposite to mine was very officious, and offered to take care of my room and clean it, while I went round to my acquaintance to inquire for a mistress. I knew not why she was so kind, nor how I could recompense her; but in a few days I missed some of my linen, went to another lodging, and resolved not to have another friend in the next garret. In six weeks I became under-maid at the house of a mercer in Cornhill, whose son was his apprentice. The young gentleman used to sit late at the tavern, without the knowledge of his father; and I was ordered by my mistress to let him in silently to his bed under the counter, and to be very careful to VOI. V. I
take away his candle. The hours which I was obliged to watch, whilst the rest of the family was in bed, I considered as supernumerary, and, having no business assigned for them, thought myself at liberty to spend them my own way: I kept myself awake with a book, and for some time liked my state the better for this opportunity of reading. At last, the upper-maid found my book, and shewed it to my mistress, who told me, that wenches like me might spend their time better; that she never knew any of the readers that had good designs in their heads: that she could always find something else to do with her time, than to puzzle over books; and did not like that such a fine lady should sit up for her young master. This was the first time that I found it thought criminal or dangerous to know how to read. I was dismissed decently, lest I should tell tales, and had a small gratuity above my wages. I then lived with a gentlewoman of a small fortune. This was the only happy part of my life. My mistress, for whom publick diversions were too expensive, spent her time with books, and was pleased to find a maid who could partake her amusements. I rose early in the morning, that I might have time in the afternoon to read or listen, and was suffered to tell my opinion, or express my delight. Thus fifteen months stole away, in which I did not repine that I was born to servitude. But a burning fever seized my mistress, of whom I shall say no more, than that her servant wept upon her grave. I had lived in a kind of luxury, which made me very unfit for another place; and was rather too de