Libertines Real and Fictional in Rochester, Shadwell, Wycherley, and Boswell Page: 79
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she is actually the brother of Margery Pinchwife seems romantic and homoerotic, and in doing
so, he seemingly endorses the Cavalier views of friendship. Wycherley's Horner has no qualms
about kissing someone he believes to be a man and even admits that had he known that the
person he presumed was a young man was actually Margery Pinchwife, he would not have acted
as freely with her "before her husbands face" (The Country Wife IV. iii. 405-406). If Mr.
Pinchwife had alerted Horner that the young man was Margery dressed as a man for the sole
purpose of assuaging Pinchwife's jealousy, Horner admits that he would not have kissed and
flirted with her. He blames Mr. Pinchwife for his open flirting:
Oh-I understand something now
Was that thy Wife? why would' st thou not tell
me 'twas she? faith my freedome with her was
your fault, not mine. (IV. iii. 400-404)
Since he was consorting with someone he originally thought was Margery's brother, Homrner's
advances would be seen as ways of cuckolding Mr. Pinchwife.
In fact, Homrner's actions in kissing Margery while she donned men's clothing mimic the
type of language he uses previously, speaking to Pinchwife in scene three:
So there 'tis-a man can't shew his friend-
ship to a married man, but presently he talks of
his wife to you, prythee let thy Wife alone, and
let thee and I be all one, as we were wont...
(IV. iii. 326-29, my emphasis)
Not only does Homrner's romanticized language in the line italicized above verbalize a Cavalier
treatment of friendship, but it also feminizes Homrner-as does the eunuch disguise he assumes.
In choosing the words "let thee and I be all one," Homer implies a marriage relationship with
Pinchwife where the latter gives up his wife and lives as a man developing an equitable
relationship with another man superior to any relationship with a woman, especially a romantic
one (1. 329). This relationship could be seen as the Aristotelian ideal or "perfect" friendship
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Smith, Victoria. Libertines Real and Fictional in Rochester, Shadwell, Wycherley, and Boswell, dissertation, May 2008; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc6051/m1/85/?q=rochester: accessed January 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .