Kissing your own
Wife by Jonathan
Cato, when Censor of Rome, expelled from the Senate Manilius, whom
the general opinion had marked out for counsellor, because he had given
his wife a kiss in the day time, in the sight of his daughter. And this
reminds us of a local story told us by one of the oldest inhabitants
of the city, that occurred once upon a time in this harbor. Before the
Revolutionary war, one of the King's ships was stationed here, and
occasionally cruised down to the south'ard. It so chanced that after a
long absence the cruiser arrived in the harbor on Sunday, and as the
naval captain had left his wife in Boston, the moment she heard of his
arrival she hastened down to the water side in order to receive him.
The worthy old sea captain, on landing, embraced his lady with
tenderness and true affection. This, as there were many spectators by,
gave great offence to the puritanical landsmen, and was considered as
an act of indecency and a flagrant profanation of the Sabbath. The next
day, therefore, the captain was summoned before the magistrates and
selectmen, who, with many severe rebukes and pious exhortations,
ordered him to be publicly whipped!
The old captain stifled his indignation and resentment as much as
possible; and as the punishment, from the frequency of it, was not
attended with any degree of disgrace, he mixed as usual with the best
of company, and even with the selectmen he soon ceased to be else than
familiar as ever.
At length the vessel was ordered home, to England, and the captain,
therefore, with seeming concern to take leave of his worthy friends,
and that they might spend a more happy and convivial day together
before their final separation, invited the principal magistrates and
selectmen to dine with him the day of his departure, on board his ship.
They readily accepted the invitation, and nothing could be more
glorious than the entertainment that was given.
At length the solemn moment arrived that was to part themthe
anchor was apeak, the sails unfurled, and nothing was wanted but the
signal to get under way. The captain, after taking an affectionate and
formal leave of his worthy municipal friends, accompanied them upon
deck where the boatswain and crew were ready to receive them. He here
thanked them afresh for the civilities they had shown him, of which the
captain assured them he should bear a kind remembrance.
One point of civility, only, he continued, gentlemen, remains to
be adjusted between us, and as it is in my power to settle it, I shall
be most happy to do so. You infernal old rogues you, you whipped me for
evincing a due regard and love for my wife, and now, lest you
perpetrate the outrage again 'gainst all law and reason, I'll give you
a lesson that will last your lifetime. Boatswain, strip each of these
rogues to the waist, lash them fast and put on your cat-o'-nine tails
forty stripes each!
The boatswain, mid the laugh and acclamation of the whole crew, went
to the work with a hearty good will, and after giving the magistrates
and selectmen a fine dressing all around, he cut them loose, put them
in their boat, and the ship set sail down the harbor and soon
disappeared in the dim dist cut ocean.