“Do I want you, Confidence? Yes, I do. Where have you been these two hours, that you never came near me, when you knew ’twas my time to have my foot rubbed, which gives me mortal pain?” For you must understand, Mr. B., that nobody’s hand’s so soft as Polly’s.
She gave me a saucy answer, as I was disposed to think it, because I had just then a twinge, that I could scarce bear; for pain is a plaguy thing to a man of my lively spirits.
She gave me, I say, a careless answer, and turning upon her heel; and not coming to me at my first word, I flung a book which I had in my hand, at her head. And, this fine lady of your’s, this paragon of meekness and humility, in so many words, bids me, or, which is worse, tells my own daughter to bid me, never to take a book into my hands again, if I won’t make a better use of it:—and yet, what better use can an offended father make of the best books, than to correct a rebellious child with them, and oblige a saucy daughter to jump into her duty all at once?
Mrs. B. reflects upon me for making her blush formerly, and saying things before my daughters, that, truly, I ought to be ashamed of? then avows malice and revenge. Why neighbour, are these things to be borne?—Do you allow your lady to set up for a general corrector of every body’s morals but your own?—Do you allow her to condemn the only instances of wit that remain to this generation; that dear polite double entendre, which keeps alive the attention, and quickens the apprehension, of the best companies in the world, and is the salt, the sauce, which gives a poignancy to all our genteeler entertainments!
Very fine, truly! that more than half the world shall be shut out of society, shall be precluded their share of conversation amongst the gay and polite of both sexes, were your lady to have her will! Let her first find people who can support a conversation with wit and good sense like her own, and then something may be said: but till then, I positively say, and will swear upon occasion, that double entendre shall not be banished from our tables; and where this won’t raise a blush, or create a laugh, we will, if we please, for all Mrs. B. and her new-fangled notions, force the one and the other by still plainer hints; and let her help herself how she can.
Thus, Sir, you find my complaints are of a high nature, regarding the quiet of a family, the duty of a child to a parent, and the freedom and politeness of conversation; in all which your lady has greatly offended; and I insist upon satisfaction from you, or such a correction of the fair transgressor, as is in your power to inflict, and which may prevent worse consequences from your offended friend and servant,
From Mr. B. in Answer to the preceding one.
DEAR SIR SIMON,
You cannot but believe that I was much surprised at your letter, complaining of the behaviour of my wife. I could no more have expected such a complaint from such a gentleman, than I could, that she would have deserved it: and I am very sorry on both accounts. I have talked to her in such a manner, that, I dare say, she will never give you like cause to appeal to me.