« PoprzedniaDalej »
but I was so much delighted with this matrimonial token, and it excited in my mind so many reflections on conjugal happiness, (though I did not lay it under my pillow) it gave occasion to the following dream:
I found myself in the middle of a spacious building, which was crowded with a variety of persons of both sexes; and upon enquiry was told, that it was the Temple of the God of Marriage; and that every one, who had an inclination to sacrifice to that deity, was invited to approach a large altar, which was covered with a great number of cakes of different shapes and appearance. Some of these were moulded into the form of hearts; and others were woven into truelovers knots; some were strewed with sugar, and stuck about with sweat-meats; some were covered with gold; some were stamped with coronets; and others were embellished with glittering toys, that represented a fine house, a set of jewels, or a coach and six. Plutus and Cupid were busily employed in distributing these cakes, which were all of them marked with the word Matrimony, and called Bride-cakes, to different persons, who were allowed to chuse for themselves, according to their different views and inclinations.
I observed several hasten to the altar, who all appeared to be variously affected by their choice. To some the cakes seemed of so delicious a flavour, that they imagined they should never be surfeited; while others, who found the taste very agreeable at first, in a short time declared it to be flat and insipid. However, I could not help remarking, that many more, particularly among the quality, addressed themselves to Plutus, than to Cupid.
Being desirous to take a nearer view of the company, I pushed through the crowd, and placed myself close by the altar. A young couple now advanced,
and applying to Cupid, desired him to reach them one of the cakes, in the shape of a double heart pierced through with darts; but just as they were going to share it betwixt them, a crabbed old fellow, whom I found to be the girl's father, stepped up, broke the cake in two, and obliged the young lady to fix upon another, which Plutus picked out for her, and which represented the figure of a fine gentleman in gilt ginger-bread.
An old fellow of sixty-two, who had stolen one day from the business of the Alley, next came towards the altar, and seemed to express a strong desire for a cake. Plutus, who recollected him at first sight, immediately offered him one, which, though very mouldy and coarse, was gilt all over; but he was astonished at the old gentleman's refusing it, and petitioning Cupid for a cake of the most elegant form and sweetest ingredients. The little god at first repulsed him with indignation, but afterwards sold it to him for a large sum of money; a circumstance, which amazed me beyond expression, but which I soon found was very commonly practised in this Temple. The old fellow retired with his purchased prize; and though I imagined he might still have a colt's tooth remaining, after having for some time mumbled it between his old gums in vain, it lay by him untouched and unenjoyed.
I was afterwards very much disgusted with the many instances that occurred, of these delicate morsels being set up to sale: and I found, that their price rose and fell, like that of beef or mutton, according to the glut or scarcity of the market. I was particularly af fected with the disposal of the two following. A young gentleman and lady were approaching the altar, and had agreed to take between them a cake of a plain form but delicious flavour, marked Love and Competence; but a person of quality stepping forward, per
suaded the false female to join with him, and receive from Plutus one much more glittering, marked Indifference, and a large Settlement. Another lady coming up with a knight of the Eath, being tempted by a cake with a red ribband streaming from it, like the flags on a twelfth-cake; but was prevailed on by a person of greater rank and distinction to accept a more showy cake, adorned with a blue ribband and a coro
A buxom dame of an amorous complexion came next, and begged very hard for a cake. She had before received several, which suited her tooth, and pleased her palate so excessively, that as soon as she had dispatched one, she constantly came to Cupid for another. She now seized her cake with great transport, and retiring to a corner with it, I could discern her greedily mumbling the delicious morsel, though she had fairly worn out six and twenty of her teeth in the service. After this, an ancient lady came tottering up to the altar, supported by a young fellow in a red coat, with a shouider knot. Plutus gave him a stale cake marked with the word Jointure, in large golden capitals, which he received with some reluctance, while the old lady eagerly snatched another from Cupid, who turned his head aside from her, on which I could plainly discover the word Dotage.
A rich rusty bachelor of the last century then came bustling through the crowd. He brought with him a red-cheeked country girl of nineteen. As he approached the altar, he met several coming from it with cakes which he had refused; some of which were marked Riches, some Family, some Beauty, and one or two Affection. The girl he brought with him proved to be his dairy-maid, whom he had some time past been in vain attempting to bring over to his wishes; but at last finding his design impracticable, he came with her to the altar. He seemed, indeed, a little
ashamed of his undertaking, and betrayed a good deal of awkwardness in his manner and deportment. However, as soon as he had taken his cake, he retired; and determined to spend the rest of his days with his milch-cow in the country.
To satisfy a modest longing, there now advanced a maiden lady in the bloom of threescore. She had, it seems, heretofore refused several offers from Cupid and Plutus; but being enraged to find, that they had now given over all thoughts of her, she seized by the hand a young ensign of the guards, and carried him to the altar, where she herself snatched up a cake, and divided it with her gallant. She was highly delighted with the taste of it at first; but her partner being very soon cloyed, she too late discovered, that the half which she held in her hand was signed Folly, and that which she had forced upon her paramour was marked Aversion.
A little, pert, forward miss in a frock and hangingsleeves ran briskly up to Cupid, and begged for a cake....what it was she did not care; but a cake she must and would have, of one kind or another. She had just stretched out her hand to receive one from Cupid, when her mamma interposed, sent the child back again blubbering to the boarding-school, and carried off the cake herself.
An old woman, fantastically dressed, then burst into the Temple, and ran raving up to the altar, crying out, that she would have an husband. But the poor lady seemed likely to be disappointed; for, as she could prevail on no one to join hands with her, both Cupid and Plutus refused to favour her with a cake. Furious with rage and despair, she snatched one off the altar; and seizing on the first man that came in her which unfortunately happened to be myself, she would have forcibly crammed it down my throat. As the least crumb of it was as disagreeable as a drench
to an horse, I began to spawl, and sputter, and keck; and through the flurry of spirits which it occasioned, awaked me, I thought I had the nauseous taste of it still in my mouth.
No. XCVI. THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 27.
..Sex paratur aut decem sophos nummis.
Would you the name of author not refuse
To Mr. Town.
AMONG the many Register-Offices erected within these few years past, I am surprised that no scheme of the like nature has been thought of for the service of literature; and that no place has been set apart, where literary commodities of every sort might be disposed of: where men of learning might meet with employment: and where others, who want their assistance, might be sure to meet with men of learning. There is nothing of this kind in being at present, except among the booksellers; who, indeed, have made a monopoly of the trade, and engrossed the whole market to themselves. To remedy this inconvenience, my design is to set up a Literary Re