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they found him, where he lay sleeping vntill the next day. After he was awakened, and fell into the companie of his acquaintance, being asked where he had bene; he answered that he had bene aslepe, and had the pleasantest dream that ever he had in his life; and told them all that passed, thinking that it had bene nothing but a dreame.”
This frolick seems better suited to the gaiety of the gallant Francis, or to the revelry of the boisterous Henry, than to the cold and distant manners of the reserved Charles ; of whose private character, however, historians have taken but slight notice.
HOLT WHITĖ. From this play, The Tatler formed a story, vol. iy. No. 231:
“ There are very many ill habits that might with much ease have been prevented, which, after we have indulged ourselves in them, become incorrigible. We have a sort of proverbial expression, of taking a woman down in her wedding shoes, if you would bring her to reason. An early behaviour of this sort, had a very remarkable good effect in a family wherein I was several years an intimate acquaintance:
“A gentleman in Lincolnshire had four daughters, three of which were early married very happily; but the fourth, though no way inferior to any of her sisters, either in person or accomplishments, had from her infancy discovered so imperious a temper, (usually called a high spirit,) that it continually made great uneasiness in the family, became her known character in the neighbourhood, and deterred all lovers frum declaring themselves. However, in process of time, a gentleman of a plentiful fortune and long acquaintance, having observed that quickness of spirit to be her only fault, made his addresses, and obtained her consent in due form. The lawyers finished the writings, (in which, by the way, there was no pin money,) and they were married. After a decent time spent in the father's house, the bridegroom went to prepare his seat for her reception. During the whole course of his courtship, though a man of the most equal temper, he had artificially lamented to her, that he was the most passionate creature breathing. By this one intimation, he at once made her to understand warmth of temper to be what he ought to pardon in her, as well as that he alarmed her against that constitution in himself. She at the same time thought herself highly obliged by the composed behaviour which he maintained in her presence. Thus far he with great success soothed her from being guilty of violences, and still resolved to give her such a terrible apprehension of his fiery spirit, that she should never dream of giving way to her own. He returned on the day appointed for carrying her home; but instead of a coach and six horses, together with the gay equipage suitable to the occasion, he appeared without a servant, mounted on a skeleton of a horse, (which his huntsman had the day before brought in to feast his dogs on the arrival of his new mistress,) with a pillion fixed behind, and a case of pistols before him, attended only by a favourite hound. Thus equipped, he in a very obliging, but somewhat pasitive manner, desired his lady to seat herself on the cushion; which done, away they crawled. The road being obstructed by a gate, the dog was commanded to open it; the poor cur looked up and wagged his tail; but the master, to show the impatience of his temper, drew a pistol and shot him dead. He had no sooner done it, but he fell into a thousand apologies for his unhappy rashness, and begged as many pardons for his excesses before one for whom he had so profound a respect. Soon after their steed stumbled, but with some difficulty recovered; however, the bridegroom took occasion to swear, if he frightened his wife so again, he would run him through! And alas! the poor animal being now almost tired, made a second trip; immediately on which the careful husband alights, and with great ceremony, first takes off his lady, then the accoutrements, draws his sword, and saves the huntsman the trou. ble of killing him : then says to his wife, Child, prythee take up the saddle; which she readily did, and tugged it home, where they found all things in the greatest order, suitable to their fortune and the present occasion. Some time after, the father of the lady gave an entertainment to all his daughters and their husbands, where, when the wives were retired, and the gentlemen passing a toast about, our last married man took occasion to observe to his brethren, how much to his great satisfaction, he found the world mistaken as to the temper of his lady, for that she was the most meek and humble woman breathing. The applause was received with a loud laugh; but as a trial which of them would appear the most master at home, he proposed they should all by turns send for their wives down to them. A servant was dispatched, and answer made by one, • Tell him I will come by and by;' and another, “That she would come when the cards were out of her hand ;' and so on. But no sooner was her husband's desire whispered in the ear of our last married lady, but the cards were clapped on the table, and down she comes with, ' My dear, would you speak with me?' He received her in his arms, and, after repeated caresses, tells her the experiment, confesses his good-nature, and assures her, that since she could now command her temper, he would no longer disguise his own."
It cannot but seem strange that Shakspeare should be so little known to the author of The Tatler, that he should suffer this story to be obtruded upon him; or so little known to the publick, that he could hope to make it pass upon his readers as a real narrative of a transaction in Lincolnshire ; yet it is apparent, that he was deceived, or intended to deceive ; that he knew not himsel whence the story was taken, or hoped that he might rob so obscure a writer without detection.
Of this play the two plots are so well united, that they can hardly be called two without injury to the art with which they are interwoven. The attention is entertained with all the variety of a double plot, yet is not distracted by unconnected incidents,
The part between Katherine and Petruchio is eminently spritely and diverting. At the marriage of Bianca the arrival of the real father, perhaps, produces more perplexity than pleasure. The whole play is very popular and diverting Johnson.
END OF VOL. V.
C. Baldwin, Printer, New Bridge-street, London,