Fish Eaters: The Whys and Hows of Traditional Catholicism

``Where the Bishop is, there let the multitude of believers be;
even as where Jesus is, there is the Catholic Church'' Ignatius of Antioch, 1st c. A.D

Excerpt from "The Ten Pleasures of Marriage"
by Aphra Behn, 1682

The Fifth Pleasure

The young Woman proves with Child, and longs.

You may also be very well assured, that your wife no sooner comes to be a little big-bellied, but she receives the priviledge to have all what she hath a mind to & that is called Longing. And what husband can be so stern or barbarous that he will deny his wife at such a time what she longs for? especially if it be a true love of a woman, you must never hinder her of her longing; for then certainly the child would have some hindrance by it.

Forasmuch then as is necessary that you alwaies seek to avoid and prevent this, you must observe, that all women when they are with child, do fall commonly from one longing to another: And then the providing and buying of that for them, must be as great a pleasure to you as it is to them in the receiving and use of it; and that not alone for theirs, but your childs sake also. And truly he that will or cannot suit himself to this humour, will be very unhappy, because he shall not then receive the full scope and freedom of this pleasure.

It is also most certain that these longing desires doth transport their imaginations from one finical thing to another: If it be in the summer, then they long for China Oranges, Sivil Lemmons, the largest Asparagus, Strawberries with wine and sugar, Cherries of all sorts, and in like manner of Plums, and these they must have their fill of: And then when they have gotten through the continuance their full satisfaction thereof; then be assured they begin to long for some great Peaches and Apricocks; And though they be never so scarce and dear, yet the woman must not lose her longing, for the child might get a blemish by it.

If then Apples and Pears begin to grow ripe, you have the same tune to sing again; for she is possessed with a new longing desire as bad, as if it were a Quotidian Ague in all the joints of her body; and whatsoever comes new to her sight, creates in her a fresh longing. If she gets one hour curious Catherine Pears, Pippins, or Russetings, the next she hath a mind to Filberds; and then an hour or two later Wall nuts and Grapes fall into her thoughts; do what you will there's no help for it, her longing must be satisfied, let it go as it will, or cost what it will.

And this her longing leads her from one thing to another, of all what the richness of the summer, or liberality of the harvest, out of their superfluities pour down upon us. Insomuch that the good man wishes a thousand times over that he might once be rid of these terrible charges and great expence.

But alas what helps it? there's no season of the year but gives us some or other new fruits that the women have alwaies a new longing desire to. And if it be in the Winter, then they long for juicy Pomgranates, new Wine upon the must, with Chesnuts; then for Colchester Oisters; then again for Pancakes and Fritters; and indeed for a thousand several sorts of such toys and fancies as do but appear before their longing imaginations. And oftentimes it is no real longing, for that were then pardonable, but a liquorish delicate desire that they are sick of; as may be seen by those who simply imagine themselves to be with child, are alwaies talking of this and t'other dainty that they long after. And that which is worst of all, is that both they and those that are really with child, long commonly for that which is scarcest and hardest to be gotten: Yea in the very middle of winter they oftentimes long to have a Greengoose or young Chickens; which in some places are very hard to be got, and not without paying excessive dear for them.

This longing being so satisfied; immediately arises another, and nothing will serve but Meats, and several sorts of Comfits. Yea how often happens it, though it rain, snow, and is very slippery, that both the husband and the maid, if never so dark and late in the night, must trot out and fetch candied Ginger, dried Pears, Gingerbread, or some such sort of liquorish thing. And what is to be imagined, that can be cried about in the streets by day time, but her longing before hath an appetite prepared for it?

Yea through an excessive eating of raw fruits, and feeding upon multiplicities of sweet-meats; to fulfill their longing; it turns to a griping of the guts and overflowing of the Gall, which again occasion Cholick, & manytimes other lamentable pains. Here is then another new work. There the Doctor must be presently fetcht, and according to what he pleases to order, either a Glister must be set, or some other Physick taken for it.

But by reason these things are not so pleasant to the good woman as the foregoing liquorish delicacies; she thinks it best that the Midwife be sent for, because she hath a great deal better knowledge touching the infirmities of women then the Doctors: Then she is fetcht, and having done the first part of her office, she gives her good comfort; and orders her to take only some of the best white Wine, simper'd up with a little Orange-peel, well sweetned with sugar, and so warm drunk up; and then anoint your self here, and you know where, with this salve; and for medicines [that are most to be found in Confectionres or Pasterers shops] you must be sure to make use of those, then your pain will quickly lessen. You must not neglect also ofttimes to eat a piece of bread and butter with either Caroway or Aniseed Comfits; use also Cinnamon; the first expels wind, and the second strengthens the heart; and they are both good for the woman and the child. Be sure also to drink every morning and every evening a glass of the best sack, for that strengthens the fruit of the womb, and occasions you a good quickness, &c.

Who will doubt, but that she obeys the orders of the Midwife, much better then that of the Doctors. And verily there is also a great deal of difference in the suffering, of such or uneasie fumbling at the back part; or the receiving of such pleasant and acceptable ingredients. And so much the more, when she begins to remember that Doctor Drink-fast used to tell her, that Medicins never make so good an operation, when they are at any time taken against the appetite, or with an antipathy, by the Patient.

Thus you may see, approaching Father, how you are now climb'd up to a higher step of glory: Your manly deeds, make your name renowned; and your joy is so much augmented that your wife looks alwaies merrily and pleasantly upon you, for giving her content; and she now also salutes you with the most sweetest and kindest names imaginable; you must also now be her guest upon all sorts of Summer and Winter fruits, & a thousand other kinds of liquorish and most acceptable dainties. Insomuch that although you did not come into the streets in six months, you may by the humour and actions of your wife know perfectly when Strawberries, Cherries, Apples, Pears, Nuts & Grapes, are in season. And there is no greater pleasure for your best beloved, then that she sees you eat as heartily of them as she her self doth.

Confess then unfeignedly, from the very bottom of your heart; are not these great Pleasures of marriage? And be joyfull; for this is only a beginning, the best comes at last. Know likewise, that this is but as a fore-runner of the sixth Pleasure, and will both touch you at heart, and tickle your purse much better: Yea, insomuch that the experience thereof will shew you that there is a whole mountain of pleasures to be found in the bands of Wedlock. Whereby I fear, that you will, perhaps, make a lamentable complaint, of your no sooner arriving at this happiness.

But comfort your self herewith; that the medicaments of the Doctor and Midwife, perhaps have done such a wished for operation, that you thereby may obtain many Sons and Daughters, which you may then timely admonish and instruct to that duty, so long by your self neglected, and in a manner too late to repent of.

Doubt not, but assuredly beleeve, that now you are once gotten into the right road, you may easily every year see a renovation of this unspeakable pleasure; and beholding your wife oftentimes in this state; in like manner you perceive that not only your name and fame is spread abroad, but your generation also grow formidable. And this all to the glory of your relations, and joy of your dearly Beloved.

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