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Female Scolds.

Women with sour tempers and sharp tongues are grievous afflictions. Of all the evils under the sun, that calamity in the form of a turbulent and contentious woman is the severest trial of temper and the greatest foe to happiness. Meek submission to many painful dispensations moderates their force, and resignation is rewarded by numerous considerations that at once soothe and strengthen, but the brawling of a shrew deriving encouragement from patient endurance and long suffering, causes the tireless little member to move to faster, and to draw out the full capacity of the shrill voice. The sharpest strokes of adverse fortune are commonly sudden, and the anguish they occasion is in a large measure mitigated by their own severity. They are unexpected, and we are saved the suffering arising from anxiety and suspense; they paralyze our sensibilities, and while our feelings are recovering their tone, we have time to brace up our fortitude, and familiarize our minds to some extent with the disaster. But scolding is a daily infliction, and even when the shrew is silent, the wretched sufferer is disturbed by the apprehension of an outbreak, for he knows not how soon the brow will grow black and the obedient lips part, and nervously restless, he watches the play of the features, and marks the drift of the conversation. And while this odious habit is the source of incalculable misery, it does not, like crushing misfortunes, benumb and stupefy, but keeps the feelings stretched to the utmost tension, and morbidly tender, so that the mind is always in a state of disquietude, and sensible to the slightest irritation.

It is the continued dropping of bitter words that makes the scold so grievous an affliction. The fluent tongue pours forth complaints, and abuse, and threats, with savage earnestness. The same misdemeanor, or evil, is harped upon with increasing acerbity and unflagging zest. It is dropped, some other matter is expatiated upon, then the deed, about which so much has already been said, is taken up again and enlarged upon with fresh vehemence, and thus the ear is vexed with the unceasing sound, and the frowning listener in vain resolves to endure in silence, for he sees that there is no end to the list of evils, and there is no hope for relief from the torture. The faithful memory of the scold supplies her tongue with ample material for its wonderful powers. The past is brought up and discussed upon.--Present evils are traced to delinquencies and transgressions of gone-by days, and advice and admonition are freely given, but there is a sad want of harmony between the words and the spirit, for the voice is the sharper and the louder during the utterance of wholesome truths, and it is manifest that the brawler rolls the sins under her tongue as a sweet morsel, and takes malicious pleasure in calling them to remembrance and throwing them into the offender's teeth. The exasperated dame passes from servant to child, from child to father; their misdeeds, and faults, and infirmities are exposed and enlarged upon, every annoyance and vexation that ruffles the surface of domestic life is brought to view, and the enumeration of the many ills is made the more disgusting by exclamations of pity for herself, as though the whole household had entered into a conspiracy with fortune against her peace and happiness. No matter what the inconvenience or the mischance, though it be of a kind that annoys all the members of the family, the censorious and despotic shrew, in the excess of her evil temper, treats the vexation as though it were inflicted upon her alone, and with the set purpose to increase her grievous misery.

With a quick eye, a hasty temper, and an everlasting tongue, the scold need never be silent for the lack of subjects. Disposed to find fault, she is instant in detecting the slightest negligence, the smallest offence, the most indifferent delinquency. Her tongue is always ready to wag, and when it moves no one can form any idea when it will stop. The length of time she bawls has nothing to do with the thing that kindles her anger. For if it be a matter that does not admit of many words, her anger quickens the action of her mind, refreshes her retentive memory, and other evils are introduced, so that, no matter what she begins with, she need never close her lips if she is disposed to let the hot stream flow out. The pestilent woman may open her mouth, incited to speak by the awkwardness of a servant, and while her breath is waxing warm, a black spot on a dish catches her eye; that is a greater offence, and her tongue moves still faster, and her voice is lifted higher. Some one asks for a napkin during a brief pause in the lecture, and this huge negligence blows her anger to a flame. Thus she passes on from the evils that have set her tongue in motion to others of graver hue, and, growing more and more wrathful every moment, she rises in her reprimands, brings to light certain things of which the participator supposed she was ignorant, charges the crime home upon him with fierceness, and winds up with pitying her deplorable condition, and pronouncing herself the most miserable woman in the world.

The courage of these waspish women is as firm as their temper is fiery. Driven to desperation, the helpless sufferer does sometimes yield to his choler, and attempts to intimidate his brawling spouse; but he never fails to repent his folly. His stern looks and bitter words only exasperate, and, in a louder and inevitably sharper tone, the undaunted scold pours the rushing torrent into his aching ears. But though he fails to silence the hateful sound, his case is little, if any, better if he endure in silence, for his pretended calmness enrages the angry scold almost, if not quite, as much as when he pays her back in her own coin. As the unfortunate man invariably loses his temper when he attempts to reply, it were better that he take counsel with prudence and keep his lips sealed.--Charleston Courier.

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