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Idler 028 [No. 28: Wedding-day. Grocer’s wife. Chairman]
by [?]

Idler No. 28. Saturday, October 28, 1758.



It is very easy for a man who sits idle at home, and has nobody to please but himself, to ridicule or to censure the common practices of mankind; and those who have no present temptation to break the rules of propriety, may applaud his judgment, and join in his merriment; but let the author or his readers mingle with common life, they will find themselves irresistibly borne away by the stream of custom, and must submit, after they have laughed at others, to give others the same opportunity of laughing at them.

There is no paper published by the Idler which I have read with more approbation than that which censures the practice of recording vulgar marriages in the newspapers. I carried it about in my pocket, and read it to all those whom I suspected of having published their nuptials, or of being inclined to publish them, and sent transcripts of it to all the couples that transgressed your precepts for the next fortnight. I hoped that they were all vexed, and pleased myself with imagining their misery.

But short is the triumph of malignity. I was married last week to Miss Mohair, the daughter of a salesman; and, at my first appearance after the wedding night, was asked, by my wife’s mother, whether I had sent our marriage to the Advertiser? I endeavoured to show how unfit it was to demand the attention of the publick to our domestick affairs; but she told me, with great vehemence, “That she would not have it thought to be a stolen match; that the blood of the Mohairs should never be disgraced; that her husband had served all the parish offices but one; that she had lived five-and-thirty years at the same house, had paid every body twenty shillings in the pound, and would have me know, though she was not as fine and as flaunting as Mrs. Gingham, the deputy’s wife, she was not ashamed to tell her name, and would show her face with the best of them; and since I had married her daughter–” At this instant entered my father-in-law, a grave man, from whom I expected succour; but upon hearing the case, he told me, “That it would be very imprudent to miss such an opportunity of advertising my shop; and that when notice was given of my marriage, many of my wife’s friends would think themselves obliged to be my customers.” I was subdued by clamour on one side, and gravity on the other, and shall be obliged to tell the town, that “three days ago Timothy Mushroom, an eminent oilman in Seacoal-lane, was married to Miss Polly Mohair of Lothbury, a beautiful young lady, with a large fortune.”

I am, Sir, etc.


I am the unfortunate wife of the grocer whose letter you published about ten weeks ago, in which he complains, like a sorry fellow, that I loiter in the shop with my needle-work in my hand, and that I oblige him to take me out on Sundays, and keep a girl to look after the child. Sweet Mr. Idler, if you did but know all, you would give no encouragement to such an unreasonable grumbler. I brought him three hundred pounds, which set him up in a shop, and bought in a stock, on which, with good management, we might live comfortably; but now I have given him a shop, I am forced to watch him and the shop too. I will tell you, Mr. Idler, how it is. There is an alehouse over the way, with a ninepin alley, to which he is sure to run when I turn my back, and there he loses his money, for he plays at ninepins as he does every thing else. While he is at this favourite sport, he sets a dirty boy to watch his door, and call him to his customers; but he is so long in coming, and so rude when he comes, that our custom falls off every day.