It is but seldom seldom that I have taken up any part taken up any part of this paper with answering questions, and that is now and then now and then to divert you. But I think the following question, as it was most seriously proposed, so it may be of very good service to abundance abundance of good people to have it answered. As to the ladies who are concerned concerned in it, if they are not pleased pleased I am sorry for it. The question, in short, was not proposed in a letter, but in conversation, and is promised an answer in this paper for the good of others, viz.:
What is the worst sort sort of husband a sober sober woman can marry?
I confess confess this question has led me a long way about, into the great, great variety of bad husbands of the age, with which many a poor lady is intolerably plagued throughout, as the wise man calls it, the years of her pilgrimage pilgrimage under the sun, the best of which kinds are bad enough. As
There is the Drunken Husband, whose picture it would take up take up a whole whole volume to describe; describe; his drunken passions, his drunken humours, his drunken smell, his drunken bed fellowship, and above all, his drunken love. O! An amorous amorous drunkard when he comes home fully gorged gorged and staggers staggers into bed to a modest, modest, a nice, and a virtuous virtuous wife must needs have many great charms charms in it such as my pen cannot bear bear the stench of relating.
There is the Debauched Debauched Husband who, having a sober, sober, young, pleasant pleasant and beautiful wife, slights and abandons abandons her to take up take up with an ugly, a tawdry, tawdry, nasty, and noisome noisome strumpet, and convinces the world that lust is blinder than love. This sort sort of wretch has but one act of kindness to his wife which distinguishes distinguishes him from other brutes of his kind, and that is that coming home laden laden with vice vice and rottenness, he gives his honest wife an ill disease that lifts her out of the world, putting her out of his reach and out reach and out of her torment torment all together.
There is the Fighting Husband. I confess confess this is a strange strange creature that, when anything has put him in a passion abroad, abroad, comes and vents his thunder and lightning at home; that having not a heart to fight with a man, for generally speaking such fellows are always cowards, must come home and fight with his wife. These are excellent sort sort of people, and ought all to come to the same preferment one lately did in did in these parts who, beating his wife a little too much the poor woman took it so ill that she killed him for it. That is, she died, and he was hanged for the murder, as he deserved.
The Extravagant Extravagant Husband. This is the ill husband, properly so called, or as the word is generally received. This is a blessed fellow too, and his way is that he spends his money in roaring, roaring, gaming, and drinking, when the poor woman sits quietly at home, waking and sighing for his company. If he is poor, as 'tis a wonder he should be rich, he feasts himself and his gang at the taverns and ale houses while the unhappy wife wants bread at home for his children. If he is an artist, he won't work; if he has a shop, he won't mind it; if business, it runs at random; random; the sot sot dreams away his time, ruins ruins himself, and starves starves his family. The end of this wretch is generally to run away from run away from her into the army or navy, and so dies like a rake, rake, or perhaps perhaps takes up takes up his lodgings nearer home in a gaol.
Well, good people, here are four sorts sorts of ill husbands, and take one of them where you will, the best of them is bad enough, and hard is that woman's case, especially especially if she be a woman of any merit, whose lot it is; but yet I think my first rate is behind behind still; there is yet a bad husband that is worse than all these, and a woman of sense had better take up take up with any of these than with him, and that's a Fool Husband. The Drunkard, the Debauched, Debauched, the Fighting, and the Extravagant; Extravagant; these may all have something attendant, which in the intervals of their excesses may serve to alleviate alleviate and make a little amends amends to the poor woman, and help her to carry through the afflicting afflicting part; but a Fool has something always about him that makes him intolerable; intolerable; he is ever contemptible, contemptible, and uninterruptedly ridiculous ridiculous it is like a handsome woman with some deformity about her that makes all the rest be rejected. rejected. If he is kind, it is so apish, so below the rate of manhood, so surfeiting, surfeiting, and so disagreeable, that, like an ill smell, it makes the face wrinkle at it; if he be froward, froward, he is so insufferably insolent insolent that there is no bearing bearing it. His passions are all flashes, struck out of him like fire from a flint: if it be anger, 'tis sullen and senseless; if love, 'tis coarse coarse and brutish. He is in good, wavering; in mischief, mischief, obstinate obstinate ; in society, empty; in management, unthinking; in manners, sordid; sordid; in error, incorrigible; incorrigible; and in everything, ridiculous.
Wherefore upon the whole, whole, my answer is in short, that the worst thing a sober sober woman can be married to, is a FOOL. Of whom whoever has the lot, Lord have mercy, and a cross should be set on the door, as a house infected with the plague.