some violent push, we should go off, all at once, in a state-apoplexy;—and then he would say, The Lord have mercy upon us all.

My father was never able to give the history of this distemper,—without the remedy along with it.

’Was I an absolute prince,’ he would say, pulling up his breeches with both his hands, as he rose from his arm-chair, ’I would appoint able judges, at every avenue of my metropolis, who should take cognizance of every fool’s business who came there;—and if, upon a fair and candid hearing, it appeared not of weight sufficient to leave his own home, and come up, bag and baggage, with his wife and children, farmer’s sons, &c. &c. at his backside, they should be all sent back, from constable to constable, like vagrants as they were, to the place of their legal settlements. By this means I shall take care, that my metropolis totter’d not thro’ its own weight;—that the head be no longer too big for the body;—that the extremes, now wasted and pinn’d in, be restored to their due share of nourishment, and regain with it their natural strength and beauty:—I would effectually provide, That the meadows and corn fields of my dominions, should laugh and sing;—that good chear and hospitality flourish once more;—and that such weight and influence be put thereby into the hands of the Squirality of my kingdom, as should counterpoise what I perceive my Nobility are now taking from them.

’Why are there so few palaces and gentlemen’s seats,’ he would ask, with some emotion, as he walked across the room, ’throughout so many delicious provinces in France? Whence is it that the few remaining Chateaus amongst them are so dismantled,—so unfurnished, and in so ruinous and desolate a condition?—Because, Sir’ (he would say) ’in that kingdom no man has any country-interest to support;—the little interest of any kind which any man has any where in it, is concentrated in the court, and the looks of the Grand Monarch: by the sunshine of whose countenance, or the clouds which pass across it, every French man lives or dies.’

Another political reason which prompted my father so strongly to guard against the least evil accident in my mother’s lying-in in the country,— was, That any such instance would infallibly throw a balance of power, too great already, into the weaker vessels of the gentry, in his own, or higher stations;—which, with the many other usurped rights which that part of the constitution was hourly establishing,—would, in the end, prove fatal to the monarchical system of domestick government established in the first creation of things by God.

In this point he was entirely of Sir Robert Filmer’s opinion, That the plans and institutions of the greatest monarchies in the eastern parts of the world, were, originally, all stolen from that admirable pattern and prototype of this houshold and paternal power;—which, for a century, he said, and more, had gradually been degenerating away into a mix’d government;—the form of which, however desirable in great combinations of the species,—was very troublesome in small ones,—and seldom produced any thing, that he saw, but sorrow and confusion.

For all these reasons, private and publick, put together,—my father was for having the man-midwife by all means,—my mother, by no means. My father begg’d and intreated, she would for once recede from her prerogative in this matter, and suffer him to choose for her;—my mother, on the contrary, insisted upon her privilege in this matter, to choose for herself,—and have no mortal’s help but the old woman’s.—What could my father do? He was almost at his wit’s end;—talked it over with her in all moods;—placed his arguments in all lights;—argued the matter with her like a christian,—like a heathen,—like a husband,—like a father,—like a patriot,—like a man:—My mother answered every thing only like a woman; which was a little hard upon her;—for as she could not assume and fight it out behind such a variety of characters,—’twas no fair match:—’twas seven to one.—What could my mother do?—She had the advantage (otherwise she had been certainly overpowered) of a small reinforcement of chagrin personal at the bottom, which bore her up, and enabled her to dispute the affair with my father with so equal an advantage,—that both sides sung Te Deum. In a word, my mother was to have the old woman,—and the operator was to have licence to drink a bottle of wine with my father and my uncle Toby Shandy in the back parlour,—for which he was to be paid five guineas.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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