'Tis to their changes half their charms we owe."
POPE'S Moral Essays, Ep. ii.
But the sky changes when they are wives."
According to an old adage in this country, "A woman's mind and winter wind change oft;" or, as it is sometimes said, "Winter weather and woman's thoughts often change;" another version of which we find current in Spain, "Women, wind, and fortune soon change;" and, similarly, it is said, "She can laugh and cry both in a wind."
But it has apparently always been so, and Virgil describes woman as "ever variable, ever changeable," and likens her to Proteus--
But ending in the sex she first began."
Sighs for the shadow--'How charming is a park!'
A park is purchas'd, but the fair he sees
All bath'd in tears--'O odious, odious trees.'"
Francis triumphantly answered in the affirmative, for it so happened that, a few weeks before this conversation, a gentleman of the Court had been thrown into prison on a serious charge, while his wife, who was one of the Queen's ladies-in-waiting, was reported to have eloped with his page.
Margaret, however, maintained that the lady was innocent, at which the King shook his head, at the same time promising that if, within a month, her character should be re-established, he would break the pane on which the disputed words were written, and grant his sister any favour she might ask. Not many days had elapsed when it was discovered that it was not the lady who had fled with the page, but her husband. During one of her visits to him in prison they had exchanged clothes, whereby he was enabled to deceive the jailer and effect his escape, which his devoted wife remained in his place.
Margaret claimed his pardon at the King's hand, who not only granted it, but gave a grand fete and tournament to celebrate this instance of conjugal affection. He also destroyed the pane of glass, although the saying on it has long passed into a proverb. It may, however, be added that Brantome, who had seen the writing, says that the words were "Toute femme varie," and not a distich, as is commonly supposed:--
Bien fou qui s'y fic."
And hopes the flickering wind with net to hold,
Who hath his hopes laid on a woman's hand."
Consents, retracts, advances, and then flies."
In fortune's spite;
Make protestations that would prove you
Her sou's delight;
Swears that no other shall win her
By passion stirr'd;
Believe her not;--the charming sinner
Will break her word;"
Not one, but all mankind's epitome;
Stiff in opinions, always in the wrong;
Was everything by starts, and nothing long;
But, in the course of one revolving moon,
Was chemist, fiddler, stateman, and buffoon;
Then all for women, painting, rhyming, drinking,
Besides ten thousand freaks that died in thinking."
Previous Index Next