totally unacquainted with high life, became suddenly and unexpectedly the possessor of a title, by the death of a distant relative ; and, marrying a young woman of fashion, mingled his own narrow prejudices with the gaieties of high life, which made a strange incongruous mixture. He was, in short, a standing jest among his acquaintance ; so sheepish in his manners, that he blushed every moment—so fearful of appearing ridiculous or singular, that he adopted every custom of fashionable life, however. absurd, lest he should be pointed at as being particular; and so tenacious of the rights and dignity of a husband, that he was perpetually quarrelling with his wife, whom he really loved, in order to keep up his consequence, and convince every body that she was obedient, and that he was lord and master in his own house.

The continual disagreement, which existed between Sir Bashful and Lady Constant, laid her open to the attacks of some of the gay visitors that frequented her mansion; amongst which number Sir Brilliant stood foremost, who openly expressed his admiration ; and though his impertinent advances had not met with any encouragement, yet, depending on the general frailty of the sex, and on the spirit of resentment which Sir Bashful's constant ill-humour must eventually excite, he indulged the most sanguine hopes of success.

Another of her admirers was Mr. Love:more ; but his advances were better masked than those of Sir Brilliant: he meant to sap her principles by degrees --to insure her friendship and esteem; and rely on his own skill to ripen that friendship into love. He was the chosen friend of Sir Bashful, the confidant of all his secrets. Every quarrel he had with Lady Constant was recounted to Lovemore, and with all the importance of ignorance and weakness, the silly baronet assigned, as the reason of his folly, tha* it was solely the fear of Lady Constant forgetting what was due to his authority as a husband. Yet he was


delighted with her resistance to his will; and admired her spirit of disobedience. He murmured openly at her extravagance, and suffered her to be subject to frequent applications from her tradespeople,yet would in secret pay the demands upon her. He was violent in his abuse of the riots and disturbances in his house, occasioned by routs, balls, and visitors; yet when alone, he would exultingly look over the cards of the different persons of rank who frequented his house and to the name of a duchess or countess, he woulí bow his head with the most profound reverence. He was also devotedly attached to his wife ; nay, indeed, absolutely in love: but, so contrary was the whole of his behaviour to any thing like regard, that Lady Constant never once suspected he entertained any affection, and was surprised what motive could have induced him to make her an offer of his hand. Disgusted at length with his violence and absurdity, she resolved on an immediate separation ; and sent to one of her guardians a request, that he would prepare apartments in his own house for her accommodation,

Poor Sir Bashful was now much perplexed. H. longed to impart to her the secret of his love, and to

assure her that all his violence and ill-humour were assumed; and that, far from really thinking her improperly extravagant, it was his pride and delight to see her shine like a meteor in the circles of fashion: but the fear of the world's derision operated so powerfully on his mind, that he dared not acknowledge the truth. This apprehension was strengthened by Mr. Lovemore, who had every possible objection to an eclaircissement between Sir Bashful and Lady Constant: as their disunion was the hope on which his own success was built. At this period, it was a sort of fashion for men to be inattentive to their wives; and for a man to own that he loved his wife, was to expose himself to the ridicule of all the would-be wits of the day. Lovemore had good sense enough to despise their ribaldry ; for though he, in apparent compliance with custoin, treated his wife with neglect and indifference, yet that was solely because she had driven him from her by her own weakness and folly. Had Isabel rendered his fireside happy, Lovemore would have set the scoffs of the unthinking world at defiance: but not so the weak-minded Sir Bashful ; the laugh of a fool was to him a source of terror, and to have his feelings made a jest of was insupportable. These struggles between his judgment and his fears had been long and severe, but it now becanie necessary to decide ; for Lady Constant had ordered the deeds of separation to be prepared, and had even named the day of her departure. He must determine, therefore, whether his future happiness should be sacrificed or not. He consulted with his dear friend Lovemore ; but he was at a loss what advice to give, being himself too deeply interested in the discontent of Lady Constant. Sir Bashful, however, came to a determination of imparting to his wife by letter, the secret of his regard for her; and Lovemore was deputed to be the bearer of the important mandate.

Scarce was this resolution formed, ere Sir Brilliant


Fashion called, full of mirth and glee, to informa Sir Bashful of a strange circumstance which had occurred ; so strange, that the town was in an uproar Sir Amorous La-Fool had fallen in love with his own wife! and was going to retire into the country to live, like Darby and Joan ; where, as he said, “they would love most heartily for one month, grow indifferent to each other in two, and hate most cordially in three."

“Do you think that will be the end of it?" inquired Sir Bashful, twirling his thumbs, and looking more than usually silly.

“Oh! you may depend upon that (replied Sir Brilliant). Did any person ever hear of so absurd a thing as a man to be in love with his own wife? To fall in love with another man's wife is perfectly consistent ;—but his own wife, intolerable! He is the laughing-stock of the town already ; and what is still worse, Sir Charles Wildfire, who is now writing a comedy, has made Sir Amorous the hero ; so the subject will not die in a hurry.”

Sir Bashful was in agony: he saw himself the jest and ridicule of all the fools in town; and the idea was dreadful. His only consolation was, that Lovemore had frankly owned he also loved his wife ; and thus ventured to hope that he would keep him in countenance: for Lovemore was too generous to lay the blame of his indifference to Isabel's folly, and had therefore given Sir Bashful reason to suppose that his neglect towards her entirely proceeded from fear of the world's ridicule. He hesitated for a long time: Lovemore was gone, and he was left to his own meditations. The sight of Lady Constant's woman, passing through the hall, with some of her mistress's wardrobe on her arm, which she was going to pack up, reminded him how near was the hour of separation ; and this, at once, put an end to his scruples. He resolved to write immediately ; and ordered the but

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ler to wait till the letter was ready—as he ferred to delay till Mr. Lovemore's return, the loss of every moment being of importance.

While he was busily employed at his pen, an involuntary burst of laughter from the butler roused


his apprehensions. After looking at him, with surprise, for a few moments, he angrily demanded the cause of his mirth ; and the man, apologising for his rudeness, declared he could not help laughing at an article he was looking over, which was indeed, he said, enough to make a horse laugh. He then read aloud—“We hear, that a new Comedy is in rehearsal at one of the Theatres, and will speedily be performed, entitled The Amorous Husband, or the Man in Love with his own Wife.

Sir Bashful was much disconcerted; yet he recovered himself : and completing his letter, was on the point of sending it ; but, fearful lest the man should suspect the contents, he resolved to await the return of his friend Mr. Lovemore, who very opportunely came to his wish. After a little deliberation, it was determined that Lovemore should merely direct the letter, and send it, as from himself; that the servants might not suspect their master having written to her. At that moment, however, Sir Brilliant Fashion returned, and Sir Buch.-11

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