Letters of Jonathan Oldstyle

On Modern Matrimony

El final de la carta de Washington Irving, Letters of Jonathan Oldstyle, señala la crítica hacia el matrimonio moderno. No hay amor, respeto, zalamerías, que sí se encontraban en los matrimonios antiguos…

The business was opened with the most formal solemnity, but was not long in agitation. The Oldstyles were moderate — their articles of capitulation few: the 'Squire was gallant, and acceded to them all. In short, the blushing Barbara was delivered up to his embraces with due ceremony. Then, Mr. Editor — then were the happy times: such oceans of arrack — such mountains of plumcake — such feasting and congratulating — such fiddling and dancing: —ah me! Who can think of those days, and not sigh when he sees the degeneracy of the present: no eating of cake nor throwing of stockings — not a single skin filled with wine on the joyful occasion— or a single pocket edified by it but the parson's.
It is with the greatest pain I see those customs dying away, which served to awaken the hospitality and friendship of my ancient comrades — that strewed with flowers the path to the altar, and shed a ray of sunshine on the commencement of the matrimonial union.
The deportment of my aunt Barbara and her husband was as decorous after marriage as before; her conduct was always regulated by his — her sentiments ever accorded with his opinions; she was always eager to tie on his neckcloth of a morning — to tuck a napkin under his chin at meal times — to wrap him up warm of a winter's day, and to spruce him up as smart as possible of a Sunday. The 'Squire was the most attentive and polite husband in the world; would hand his wife in and out of church with the greatest ceremony — drink her health at dinner with particular emphasis, and ask her advice on every subject — though I must confess he invariably adopted his own: —nothing was heard from both sides, but dears, sweet loves, doves, &c. The 'Squire could never stir out of a winter's day, without his wife calling after him from the window to button up his waistcoat carefully. Thus, all things went on smoothly; and my relations Stylish had the name, and, as far as I know, deserved it, of being the most happy and loving couple in the world.
A modern married pair will, no doubt, laugh at all this; they are accustomed to treat one another with the utmost carelessness and neglect. No longer does the wife tuck the napkin under her husband's chin, nor the husband attend to heaping her plate with dainties; no longer do I see those little amusing fooleries in company, where the lady would pat her husband's cheek, and he chuck her under the chin; when dears and sweets were as plenty as cookies on a new-year's day. The wife now considers herself as totally independent — will advance her own opinions without hesitation, though directly opposite to his — will carry on accounts of her own, and will even have secrets of her own, with which she refuses to intrust him.
Who can read these facts, and not lament with me the degeneracy of the present times; —what husband is there but will look back with regret to the happy days of female subjection.
Jonathan Oldstyle.     
Domestic servant ironing
Domestic servant ironing

Para saber
Arrack, o arak, es una bebida alcohólica destilada típicamente producida en el sur de Asia, hecha de la savia fermentada de flores de coco, caña de azúcar, grano o fruta, dependiendo del país de origen. El resultante destilado puede ser mezclado, envejecido en barriles de madera o repetidamente destilado y filtrado, dependiendo los objetivos del gusto y color del fabricante.
La palabra arrack ha sido considerada por algunos expertos que deriva de la nuez areca, una semilla de palmera que se origina en India del árbol de areca y usado como base para muchas variedades de arrack.
The Letters of Jonathan Oldstyle, Gent. (1802) es una colección de nueve cartas escritas por Washington Irving bajo el seudónimo de Jonathan Oldstyle. La primera carta apareció en 1802, en la edición del New York Morning Chronicle, un diario inclinado a la política y editado por el hermano de Irving. Las cartas fueron reproducidas a intervalos irregulares hasta 1803. Las cartas se burlan del matrimonio, las formas, las vestimentas y la cultura de principios del siglo 19 en la ciudad de Nueva York.

… The letters lampoon marriage, manners, dress, and culture of early 19th century New York City. (Ridicule)

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