The Man and his Two Wives

017. THE MAN AND HIS TWO WIVES. A man, in times when polygamy was allowed, had two wives, one of which, like himself, had seen her best days, and was just, as it were, entering upon the declivity of life; but this, being an artful woman, she entirely concealed by her dress; by which, and some other elegant qualities, she made a shift sometimes to engage her husband's heart.
The other was a beautiful young creature of seventeen, whose charms, as yet in the height of bloom, and secure of her own power, had no occasion to call in any artifice to her assistance. She made the good man as happy as he was capable of being, but was not, it seems, completely so herself. The grey hairs, mixed among the black upon her husband's head, gave her some uneasiness, by proclaiming the great disparity of their years! Wherefore, under colour of adjusting and combing his head, she would every now and then be twitching the silver hairs with her nippers, that however matters were, he might still have as few visible signs of an advanced age as possible.
The dame, whose years were nearer to an equality with his own, esteemed those grey locks as the honours of his head, and could have wished they had all been such; she thought it gave him a venerable look, at least, that it made her appear something younger than him; so that every time the honest man's head fell into her hands, she took as much pains to extirpate the black hairs as the other had done to demolish the grey.
They neither of them knew of the other's design; but each continuing her project with repeated industry, the poor man, who thought their desire to oblige, put them upon this extraordinary officiousness in dressing his head, found himself in a short time, without any hair at all. [more info]

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