Wieland’s Sword, Balmung (q.v.), made by him for Siegfried.—Scandinavian Mythology.

Wiever (Old), a preacher and old conspirator.—Sir W. Scott: Peveril of the Peak (time, Charles II.).

Wife (The), a drama by S. Knowles (1833). Mariana, daughter of a Swiss burgher, nursed Leonardo in a dangerous sickness—an avalanche had fallen on him, and his life was despaired of, but he recovered, and fell in love with his young and beautiful nurse. Leonardo intended to return to Mantua, but was kept a prisoner by a gang of thieves, and Mariana followed him, for she found life intolerable without him. Here count Florio fell in love with her, and obtained her guardian’s consent to marry her; but Mariana refused to do so, and was arraigned before the duke (Ferrardo), who gave judgment against her, Leonardo was at the trial, disguised, but, throwing off his mask, was found to be the real duke, supposed to be dead. He assumed his rank, and married Mariana; but, being called to the wars, left Ferrardo regent. Ferrardo, being a villain, hatched up a plot against the bride of infidelity to her lord, but Leonardo would give no credit to it, and the whole scheme of villainy was fully exposed. (The tale of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream hinges on a similar “law of marriage.”)

Wife for a Month (A), a drama by John Fletcher (1624). (For the plot, see Evanthe, p. 347.)

Wife of Bath, one of the pilgrims to the shrine of Thomas è Becket.— Chaucer: Canterbury Tales (1388).

(Gay wrote a comedy called The Wife of Bath, in 1713.)

Wife of Bath’s Tale. One of king Arthur’s knights was condemned to death for ill-using a lady; but Guinever interceded for him, and the king gave him over to her to do what she liked. The queen said she would spare his life, if, by that day twelve months, he would tell her “What is that which woman loves best?” The knight made inquiry far and near for a solution; but at length was told by an old woman, that if he would grant her a request, she would tell him the right answer to the queen’s question. The knight agreed. The answer suggested was that what a woman likes best is to have her own sweet will,—and the request made was that he would marry her. The knight at first revolted because she was poor, old, and ugly. The woman then asked him which he preferred to have her as she was and a faithful wife, or to have her young and fair. He replied he would leave the decision with her. Whereupon she threw off her mask, and appeared before him young, beautiful, and rich.—Chaucer: Canterbury Tales (1388).

(This tale is borrowed from Gower’s Confessio Amantis, i., where Florent promises to marry a deformed old hag, who taught him the solution of a riddle.)

Wig. In the middle of the eighteenth century, there were thirty-four different sorts of wigs in use: the artichoke, bag, barrister’s, bishop’s, busby, brush, bush, buckle chain, chancellor’s, corded wolf’s paw, count Saxe’s mode, the crutch, the cut bob, the detached buckle, the drop, Dutch, full, half natural, Jansenist bob, judge’s, ladder, long bob, Louis, periwig, pigeon’s wing, rhinoceros, rose, scratch, she-dragon, small back, spinage seed, staircase, Welsh, and wild boar’s back.

His periwig was large enough to have loaded a camel, and he bestowed upon it at least a bushel of powder.—Brown: Letters (time, Charles II.).

Wigged Prince in Christendom (The Best). So the guardian, uncle-in-law, and first cousin of the duke of Brunswick was called.

Wight (The Isle of). So called from Wihtgar, great-grandson of king Cedric, who conquered the island.—The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.

(Of course, this etymology is not philologically correct. Probably gwyth, “the channel” (the channel island), is the real derivation.)

  By PanEris using Melati.

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