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me observe to you, that your very violent lovers before marriage seldom prove very happy in it: they, indeed, for some time give an unbounded loose to their passions; but as matrimonial love is founded on a more generous system than the mere gratification of our appetites, they find their desires pall: insensible of any other enjoyment than that of beauty, as that becomes familiar to them, they gradually sink into indifference, which soon ends in a thorough hatred. The foundation of such love at first is, in truth, nothing but vice; and the major part of this crowd of people, who come to be unmarried, are immediately married again to others; so that they hate marriage only as a confinement to one person, and seem to covet a licentious polygamy. You see that couple, so lately separated, already provided for : the fond husband goes yonder, arm in arm, with his wife's chambermaid; while the fond wife marches off on the other side with a young officer in the army. The next pair which applied to have their banns dissolved, gave me much surprize : they were two ancient people, and as loaded with infirmities as they were stricken in years; but notwithstanding their being weak and decrepid, they hobbled up to the priest with an alacrity which shewed they put their best foot foremost. “ What (cried I)


can these wretches mean to seek a divorce here, which death must soon give them in their beds?”_" Here (says my friend) you see, that to the depravity of human nature death only can put an end. This old man and woman are famous for being the greatest matrimony-mongers in the kingdom; he is her sixth husband, and she his sixth wife: they make up a hundred and sixty. six years between them : the match was pro, posed by their neighbours, for the similitude of their ages and fortunes, and they were coupled together for a joke: they have therefore taken this opportunity to regain their freedom, and dispose of themselves more suitable to their juvenile inclinations.” I was so shocked at this account, that I was just going to forbid the dissolution of the banns, but was prevented by a young woman, who jostled through the throng, and with an audible voice repeated, “ I forbid the divorce, I forbid the divorce.” This acci. dent raised our attention, and I was anxious for the consequence of it. The


damsel had now reached the place of ceremony, and insisted that no dissolution might be allowed ; for that the old man was her grandfather, and would not give her the portion he had promised her, thereby preventing her marriage to a young man he had betrothed her to; and the sole reason of


it was, that if he could be divorced from his dame, he would settle the money designed for her, as well as all the rest of his estate, on a young minx whom he had an intention to marry. The old man denied not the charge, and the old dame said it was no lawful objection; but both urged for their divorce, as they both came by mutual consent, and were both ready to give sufficient reasons for their claiming it. As such reasons were thought to be pretty extraordinary, the priest inquired what they might be. They both unanimously insisted they were never lawfully and truly married; therefore, as there had been a material error in the ceremony, the whole marriage ought to be set aside. On being asked what the defect might be, they both eagerly replied, that the priest omitted the necessary and material form, where he should have wished them to increase and multiply. So unexpected a plea raised a general laugh; however, as they insisted on it, it was allowed, on condition the old man should


his grand-daughter's portion. He consented: the gaffer and his dame were turned north and south; and the one went chuckling away with his young minx, and the other hobbled smirking up to a young country lad, put a bag of money in his hand, and trotted off with much consolation.

To these succeeded another couple, who, having always maintained an exemplary character for conjugal prudence and affection, drew on them the eyes and admiration of all. As soon as they approached the altar, there appeared some reluctance in the woman : she looked on the man with an earnestness which betrayed she had too much love to think of separating herself from him. “ Behold there (says my interpreter) an instance of jealousy; that woman is distractedly fond of her husband, yet for some unjust suspicions that he is engaged in an amour, she has lately made his life entirely uneasy; for notwithstanding she has prudence enough to conceal this violent passion from the observation of the world, she is in private continually tormenting him with false ac. cusations. This procedure has occasioned a coldness on his part, which still aggravates her surmises : mutual bickerings have caused fre-quent wishes on both sides, that there could be a possibility of being unmarried: their wishes are at last granted, and we shall now see in what manner they will behave.” He had no sooner spoke, than the priest was just beginning the ceremonial. They both seemed dissatisfied, and viewed one another as if they repented of their rashness, yet were too obstinate to make such

a confession. They were no' sooner separated according to the form prescribed, but they met again at the lower end of the temple; and after a little conversation, the woman was heard to repeat this couplet with much tenderness and


Such oddities and charms you

have about

you, I cannot live nor with you, nor without you.

The man kissed her with much fondness, and they withdrew together to have the marriage knot again tied, which in the height of passion they had so often wished to have been dissolved.

I was reflecting on the scene which had just passed before my eyes; and observing to my companion that the desire in, married persons of dissolving the sacred knot, oftener arose from imaginary causes, or irregular passions, than from any admiration of a single life ; at which instant some one knocking at my chamber door, the temple vanished, and I found myself in my elbow-chair.

UNIVERSAL SPECTATOR, vol. iv. p. 51.

No. 38 of the Lounger, a paper by Mr. Mackenzie, seems founded on this lucubration of the Universal Spectator: both are conducted with humour and spirit.

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