Sunday, May 16, 2010

Washington Irving on Hen-Pecked Husbands

I was entertained by these comments when I read the story.

From his story Rip Van Winkle (the title character himself being a hen-pecked husband):

[T]hose men are most apt to be obsequious and conciliating abroad, who are under the discipline of shrews at home. Their tempers, doubtless, are rendered pliant and malleable in the fiery furnace of domestic tribulation; and a curtain-lecture is worth all the sermons in the world for teaching the virtues of patience and long-suffering. A termagant wife may, therefore, in some respects, be considered a tolerable blessing; and if so, Rip Van Winkle was thrice blessed.

[A] sharp tongue is the only edged tool that grows keener with constant use.

... and it is a common wish with all hen-pecked husbands in the neighborhood, when life hangs heavy on their hands, that they might have a quieting draught out of Rip Van Winkle’s flagon.

--Washington Irving, Rip Van Winkle;
The Complete Tales of Washington Irving,
ed. Charles Neider;
New York: Da Capo Press, 1998

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