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correctness of Gall's doctrine,—that the top of the forehead must have been unusually full, and the proportions of the upper part of the occiput comparatively moderate. For the former locality is supposed to be connected with the reflective intellect; and the latter with a sentiment termed the “ Love of Approbation." Now the Original Good Woman, though not given to much speaking, was remarkable for always speaking to the purpose, and never betraying any inconsistency or inconsecutiveness in conversation. In reply to the question, Why? or Wherefore ? she was accustomed either to give a reason, or to confess that she had none to give. Her conduct, moreover, was singularly rational, and not dictated by whim, caprice, or the blind impulse of the moment. On the other hand, albeit she was not, by any means, insensible to praise or admiration ; yet the desire of attracting it was not always uppermost in her mind, and did not constitute her chief and main consideration.
In brief, reasonableness and freedom from vanity were the distinctive features of her character : for the rest she was endowed with the good qualities which are peculiarly feminine. Be it observed that her understanding was of a practical nature ; she was no metaphysician or mathematician : she gave her mind to the study of her part in life, and consequently she acted it well; and engrossed, in its performance, with the business of the scene, she was not alway curtseying and smirking at the spectators.
Her expenditure on dress, whilst she was single, was proportionate to the means of her family ; when she became a wife, to those of her husband. She was never known to be discontented or unhappy for the want of some piece of finery which she could not afford. Her attire was regulated by her own taste, without further reference to fashion than was necessary to avoid being conspicuous. When, at one time, she was getting rather plump, instead of pinching her waist, she reduced her diet; and one of the few persons that she ever treated with contempt was a modish acquaintance who recommended her to “lace a little.” Another was a relation who counselled her to wear ear-rings. Her infancy was remarkable for an early abandonment of her doll, and for the moderation of her delight in new frocks. All her instructors were proud of their pupil ; but the least loud in her commendation was her dancing-master.
She was much more solicitous about her health than her complexion : and for the sake of exercise would walk bravely forth in
all weathers, dressed rather with reference to the day and the season, than with respect to the eyes of beholders. Thus she spoiled very few bonnets and other apparel, by being caught in showers, and such like accidents. Hence too, perhaps, it was that she enjoyed such an immunity from illness ; for the Original Good Woman was uncommonly fortunate in this particular. She was never known to faint or be troubled with hysterics ; and was wonderfully free from all sinkings, swimmings, dartings, shootings, drawings, spasms, and all-over-ishness. Her ailments, when she had any, were plain, downright, unequivocal maladies ; as fevers, inflammations, quinsies, colds in the head-strange to say, they were all such as are recognised by the medical faculty. Otherwise a most elegant creature, she was never elegantly indisposed ; nor did she ever encourage herself in the persuasion that she was unwell, still less affect to be so. And on no occasion did she ever declare that she was dying except once, when it was almost the last word she ever spoke.
Her conversation was distinguished by a freedom from needless interjections ; from appeals to her goodness! and her gracious! and from declarations that she never ! It seldom related to clothes, unless she was about to purchase them ; it never tended to the prejudice of her acquaintances, nor turned on their petty doings and affairs. They might add to their wardrobes without her noticing the circumstance; they might display bad taste in so doing without exciting any other comment on her part but a smile. She was more interested in the discourse than in the costume of her friends ; and when she came away from church, she better remembered what was said than what was worn there.
The parents of the Original Good Woman were anxious that she should marry nothing under a title. She disappointed them, though her husband possessed the highest, that of a wise and honest man ; and he ultimately became a great one, even in the world's eye. Circumstances compelled him to take a part in public affairs. Through the successful advocacy of right, he became famous in his day. A peerage was within his grasp ; but its acceptance would have compromised his principles. Wavering, as the best will for a moment waver, he asked counsel of his wife, as to what course, in this conjuncture, he should pursue. She exhorted him to resist the temptation ; to trample the bribe under foot ; and told him that she felt prouder of him for his moral position than she should be were he an emperor. “ The thing,” said the Original Good Woman, “not the glory, for us !”
His ascent, however, to eminence was a struggle. In this she did not embarrass, but comforted him ; she was a wife, but not an encumbrance. Never did she once strive to divert him from the true and good path for the sake of luxury or ostentation. No desire to outvie her neighbours in show, style, and mode of living, ever prompted her to endeavour to influence his proceedings. He received no hints from her of an inclination for carriages and a livery ; she was content with his aiming at a comfortable subsistence and provision for themselves and family. She was wont to consult with him on their common affairs, and to give and take advice thereon in good part.
As a mother, she was careful and tender of her offspring ; but she did not spoil or pet them; nor was she possessed with a notion that there were no such other children in existence. In their management, during infancy, she was guided by her physician, and not by her monthly nurse ; having, in fact, a profound contempt for the sayings and the practices of all gossips and goodies. Hence, on no pretext was she afflicted by a craving for inaccessible rarities, and fancies of that description. She had her weaknesses ; but she despised them and strove to be rid of them. But for strong cause, the Original Good Woman never wept.
In youth she was beautiful ; and her charms, as she advanced in age, were not destroyed, but only changed. She wore her own hair after it had become grey, and was at no pains to tinker up her face. Thus she grew old without growing ridiculous ; and when she could no longer be handsome, she was venerable.
Of her person, in her best days, we will say no more than that it was a counterpart of the Venus de Medicis, as to all but the statue's head, whose insignificant proportions are an approach to her false ideal. But no more of that monstrous and injurious conception. We trust we have said enough to prove that not even Lady Jane Grey herself was more unjustly beheaded than the Original Good Woman.
That delightful critic, tale-teller, tourist, (who as a tourist seems to me to have only one fault, namely, that he sometimes plays at being ashamed of his feelings) Michael-Angelo Titmarsh, has dealt with “Men's Wives " in the mass and, as all the world must recollect, in his own most conceited fashion. * We have been somewhat inundated, too, in our small parlour, by feminine books bearing on “ The Wives of England," with lists of virtues drawn up in battle array, and self-assertion secretly inculcated while meekness and domestic peace are preached. Who has not heard of the Wives of Weinsberg, on whose backs (stout women they must have been !) the champions of that brave city saved life, limb, and liberty? As for the merry ones of Windsor ..... no, I am not going to talk about Shakspeare's female characters developed or undeveloped ; keeping back theories of my own about Queen Lear and Desdemona's mother, as too precious and refined for the age we are living in ! Sacred shall be the maiden name of Mistress Page, and all I know about her wooing and wedding ;unless the Shakspeare Society make it worth my while to speak.
I have but to do with the Wives of Great Men: with the obscure -the oppressed—the misguided—the unpitied—the ill-spoken of: the clogs to the heels of Genius, the burdens around his neck ; whom the world of writers has agreed to discountenance and protest against. In France, I observe, the Poet and the Artist is, by common consent, recommended to be a Priest also,—that is, to embrace the vow of celibacy, and (not to be scandalous) to compensate himself for the same by the exercise of pastoral affections. And thus, the finest intelligences of the earth, permitted to rove and to change, may escape the worst consequences of satiety,--are mercifully rescued from being degraded by the Mezentian union of Life with Death-of that which is divine with that which is mortal! They are not to be exposed to the drop of water which wears away the stone to the unwearied practisings on their nerves of the stupid and those who cannot understand them! We have hardly
* [Titmarsh is a private friend: nevertheless we will heroically “share him " with Paul Bell. -Ed.)
arrived at this point of philanthropic enlightenment. Our Great Men are not absolved from the necessity of taking wives, on Tom Sheridan's famous principle. Far from it, they are supported in so doing by every privilege which indulgence and respect can bring together. So wondrous, in this point, do we esteem the amount of their self-sacrifice, that our admiration thereof forins no inconsiderable item in the amount of our hero-worship.
In brief, since the whole world has agreed to blow the trumpet in the train of the Great Men of the earth,—why may not I, an old family man (“ under the slipper "—who knows?) beat my (hum) drum before the weak, undervalued squadron of their wives ? 'Tis a perilous piece of musical audacity, I am aware, which brings the player under the broadest broad-side of ridicule. But the peace and quietness of the deficient, and the threadbare, and the shabby, are not worth much-s0 I may as well risk mine, in relief of my conscience.
Why statesmen, scientific teachers, and lions of all sorts and sizes, take unto themselves wives, has been frequently owned. Talleyrand's “ Je me repose!” is the high tragic expression of what P— also meant, when, being remonstrated with on the apparent homeliness of his “choice,” he explained, that what he had wanted was “a little woman to sit on a stool and love him all the day long.” To seek for companionship in high thoughts and generous purposes—for support in self-sacrifice and encouragement in aspiration, sounds charming—in a novel. There are, moreover, a few stock examples in History, by appealing to which many seem to think that the reproach may be escaped from—of the general indifference of Great Men to corresponding qualities in those with whom they are to pass their lives. There is no such convenience to people desiring to make excuses, as the example of a Phenix! “ Because I cannot find another Lady Rachel Russell, another Lucy Hutchinson, another Madame Roland, at every street corner,” says the Great Man, “I must put up with what I can get,”-adding the logical sequence, “and one fool is as good as another.” You don't say this ? No, truly; for it is only on the stage, or in one of dear Mrs. Trollope's novels, that people so broadly state their own purposes, and do homage to their own perfections—even unto themselves. But what is it you do? Look to biographies-look to criminal courts-look to the experience of real life!
To begin with the “primrose-time" of matters,—who can measure or gauge the irresistible fascination of Greatness as a lover?