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Jonathan. Well, my sweeting, I will make it impossible for you to wish me more fond.
LÆTITIA. Pray, Mr. Wild, none of this nauseous behaviour, nor those odious words.—I wish you were fond !
-I assure you—I don't know what you would pretend to insinuate of me. I have no wishes which misbecome a virtuous woman- No, nor should not, if I had married for love.—And especially now, when nobody, I am sure, can suspect me of any such thing.
Jonathan. If you did not marry for love, why did you marry ?
LÆTITIA. Because it was convenient, and my parents forced me.
Jonathan. I hope, Madam, at least, you will not tell me to my face you have made your convenience of me.
LÆTITIA. I have made nothing of you; nor do I desire the honour of making anything of you.
JONATHAN. Yes, you have made a husband of me.
LÆTITIA. No, you made yourself so; for I repeat once more it was not my desire, but your own.
Jonathan. You should think yourself obliged to me for that desire.
LÆTITIA. La, Sir! you was not so singular in it. I was not in despair.-I have had other offers, and better too.
Jonathan. I wish you had accepted them with all my heart.
LÆTITIA. I must tell you, Mr. Wild, this is a very brutish manner of treating a woman to whom you have such obligations; but I know how to despise it, and to despise you too for shewing it me. Indeed I am well enough paid for the foolish preference I gave to you. I flattered myself that I should at least have been used with good manners. I thought I had married a gentleman ;
but I find you every way contemptible, and below my concern.
JONATHAN. D-n you, Madam, have I not more reason to complain, when you tell me you married me for your convenience only ?
LÆTITIA. Very fine truly. Is it behaviour worthy a man to swear at a woman? yet why should I mention what comes from a wretch whom I despise.
JONATHAN. Don't repeat that word so often. I despise you as heartily as you can me. And, to tell you a truth, I married you for my convenience likewise, to satisfy a passion which I have now satisfied, and you may be d-d for any thing I care.
LÆTITIA. The world shall know how barbarously I am treated by such a villain.
JONATHAN. I need take very little pains to acquaint the world what a b-ch you are, your actions will demonstrate it.
LÆTITIA. Monster! I would advise you not to depend too much upon my sex, and provoke me too far; for I can do you a mischief, and will, if you dare use me so, you villain.
JONATHAN. Begin whenever you please, Madam ; but assure yourself, the moment you lay aside the woman, I will treat you as such no longer; and, if the first blow is yours, I promise you the last shall be mine.
LÆTITIA. Use me as you will ; but d-n me if ever you shall use me as a woman again; for may I be cursed if ever I enter into your bed more.
JONATHAN. May I be cursed if that abstinence be not the greatest obligation you can lay upon me; for, I assure you faithfully, your person was all I had ever any regard for; and that I now loath and detest, as much as ever I liked it.
LÆTITIA. It is impossible for two people to agree
better; for I always detested your person ; and, as for any other regard, you must be convinced I never could have any for you.
JONATHAN. Why, then, since we are come to a right understanding, as we are to live together, suppose we agreed, instead of quarrelling and abusing, to be civil to each other.
LÆTITIA. With all my heart.
JONATHAN. Let us shake hands then, and henceforwards never live like man and wife; that is, never be loving, nor ever quarrel.
LÆTITIA. Agreed. — But pray, Mr. Wild, why B-ch? Why did you suffer such a word to escape you..
JONATHAN. It is not worth your remembrance.
LÆTITIA. You agree I shall converse with whomsoever I please ?
JONATHAN. Without controul. And I have the same liberty ?
LÆTITIA. When I interfere may every curse you can wish attend me.
JONATHAN. Let us now take a farewell kiss; and may I be hang'd if it is not the sweetest you ever gave me.
LÆTITIA. But why, Bếch ?- Methinks I should be glad to know why B-ch?
At which words he sprang from the bed, d-ing her temper heartily. She returned it again with equal abuse, which was continued on both sides while he was dressing. However, they agreed to continue steadfast in this new resolution; and the joy arising on that occasion at length dismissed them pretty cheerfully from each other, though Lætitia could not help concluding with the words, Why B-CH?
Observations on the foregoing dialogue, together with a base design on our hero, which must be detested by every lover
of GREATNESS. Thus did this dialogue (which though we have termed it matrimonial, had indeed very little savour of the sweets of matrimony in it), produce at last a resolution more wise than strictly pious, and which, if they could have rigidly adhered to it, might have prevented some unpleasant moments, as well to our hero as to his serene consort; but their hatred was so very great and unaccountable that they never could bear to see the least composure in one another's countenance, without attempting to ruffle it. This set them on so many contrivances to plague and vex one another, that, as their proximity afforded them such frequent opportunities of executing their malicious purposes, they seldom passed one easy or quiet day together.
And this, reader, and no other, is the cause of those many inquietudes which thou must have observed to disturb the repose of some married couples, who mistake implacable hatred for indifference ; for why should Corvinus, who lives in a round of intrigue, and seldom doth, and never willingly would, dally with his wife, endeavour to prevent her from the satisfaction of an intrigue in her turn? Why doth Camilla refuse a more agreeable invi. tation abroad, only to expose her husband at his own table home? In short, to mention no more instances, whence can all the quarrels, and jealousies, and jars, proceed in people who have no love for each other, unless from that noble passion abovementioned, that
desire, according to my Lady Betty Modish, of curing each other of a smile.
We thought proper to give our reader a short taste of the domestic state of our hero, the rather to shew him that great men are subject to the same frailties and inconveniences in ordinary life, with little men, and that heroes are really of the same species with other human creatures, notwithstanding all the pains they themselves, or their flatterers, take to assert the contrary; and that they differ chiefly in the immensity of their greatness, or, as the vulgar erroneously call it, villany. Now therefore, that we may not dwell too long on low scenes, in a history of the sublime kind, we shall return to actions of a higher note, and more suitable to our purpose.
When the boy Hymen had, with his lighted torch, driven the boy Cupid out of doors; that is to say, in common phrase, when the violence of Mr. Wild's passion (or rather appetite) for the chaste Lætitia began to abate, he returned to visit his friend Heartfree, who was now in the liberties of the Fleet, and had appeared to the commission of bankruptcy against him. Here he met with a more cold reception than he himself had apprehended. Heartfree had long entertained suspicions of Wild, but these suspicions had from time to time been confounded with circumstances, and principally smothered with that amazing confidence, which was indeed the most striking virtue in our hero. Heartfree was unwilling to condemn his friend without certain evidence, and laid hold on every probable semblance to acquit him ; but the proposal made at his last visit had so totally blackened his character in this poor man's opinion, that it entirely fixed the wavering scale, and he no longer doubted but that our hero was one of the greatest villains in the world.
Circumstances of great improbability often escape men who devour a story with greedy ears; the reader, there