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the opinions of the world, which is the most desirable on the score of sentiment, on the score of that respect which you owe to yourselves, to your friends, to your sex, to order, rectitude, and honour; the pure unexhausted affection of a man, who has not by intemperance and debauchery corrupted his principles, impaired 'his constitution, enslaved himself to appetite, submitted to share with the vilest and meanest of mankind the mercenary embraces of harlots, contributed to embolden guilt, to harden vice, to render the retreat from a life of scandal and misery more hopeless ; who never laid snares for beauty, never betrayed the innocence that trusted him, never abandoned any fond creature to want and despair, never hurt the reputation of a woman, never disturbed the peace of families, or defied the laws of his country, or set at nought the prohibition of his God ;which, I say, is most desirable, the affection of such a man, or that of him who has probably done all this, who has cer. tainly done a great part of it, and who has nothing now to offer you, but the shattered remains of his health, and of his heart? How
any of you may feel on this subject, I cannot say. But if, judging as a wan, I believe, what I have of. ten heard, that the generality of women would prefer the latter, I know not any thing that could sink them so lcw in my esteem.
6 That he who has been formerly a rake may, after all, prove a tolerable good husband, as the world goes, I have said already that I do not dispute. But I would ask, in the next place, is this commonly to be expected ? Is there no danger that such a man will be tempted, by the power of long habits, to return to his old ways; or that the insatiable love of variety, which he has indulged so freely, will sometime or other lead him astray from the finest woman in the world? Will not the very idea of restraint, which he could never brook whilst single, make him only the more impatient of
when married ? Will he have the better opinion of his wife's virtue, that he has chiefly conversed with women who had none, and with men among whom it was a favourite system, that the sex are all alike ?-But it is a painful topic. Let the women who are so connected make the best of their condition ; and let us go on to something else.”
THOUGHTS UPON A WEDDING.THE MARRIAGE OF AN
Marriage is a sacred tie-
I CONTEMPLATE, with the mixt emotions of pleasure and awe, the period of wedding. The moment approaches, in which two rational beings are to have their union cemented by ties, indissoluble except by the stroke of death.
A pure friendship, a sincere affection, are necessary preparatives for the endearing relation. The reciprocal gift of the hand is indicative of a mutual exchange of kindred souls, impelled to each other by virtuous love. If the love be not virtuous ; if mere personal beauty, worldly emolu.. ment, or the grosser passions, excite to enter upon the connubial state, its bliss will be transient, and vanity will be inscribed on the future prospects of life.
I have long cherished an exalted idea of the purity of the female mind, where it has been polished and refined by a suitable education. I believe that the disposition of the softer sex towards their lovers is generally pure and chaste. I am persuaded, that a virtuous woman offers a degree of violence to the delicacy of her own feelings, by consenting to be the property, even of the most meritorious husband. It must, then, be ungenerous to wound her modesty by any indecencies of speech upon the occasion of her marriage. An innocent hilarity may justly prevail among the company assembled at its celebration. Every friendly bosom must beat with joy, at the idea of the enlargement of human happiness. But double entendres and every species of loose language, should be inyariably excluded, as offering an affront and a stain to one of the most sacred institutio.is of society.
The subsequent history of the nuptials of a young gen. tleman of sentiment, and an amiable lady, as contained in that ingenious periodical work, the Babbler, offers itself as a very instructive commentary on our subject ; and I hope that it will have a salutary effect on the mind of every reader.
“ My favourite nephew Harry had for some time conceived a passion for Miss Cornelia Marchmont, whom I esteem as the abstract of every mental perfection, and every personal accomplishment. He came to me not long since, with an air of the greatest transport, and informed me that Miss Marchmont had blessed him with the acknowledgment of a reciprocal esteem, and I was the person whom she had pitched upon, to open a negotiation between the two fathers.
“ As I do not know any young lady existing who possesses a greater share of my esteem than Miss Marchmont, nor ever saw a person so immediately calculated to make my nephew happy, I shook him cordially by the hand, wished him joy from the bottom of my heart, and instantly set out to my sister, his mother. Luckily, on my entrance, I found Mr. Marchmont, Cornelia's father, chatting with her at the parlour fire ; and as he and I have been intimately acquainted for many years, I opened the business of my errand without any ceremony, and this the more especially, because I knew neither could have any reasonable objection to the match. Every thing turned out as I expected; both were rejoiced at the affection between the young people ; and there being no mighty matters to retard the celebration of the nuptials, I thought it best to make short work of the affair, and accordingly fixed the wedding at an early day, The proposition being approved by the parent of each, I retired to make Harry happy with the intelligence; and in pursuance of the agreement, I saw him blessed with one of the worthiest as well as the sweetest girls in the universe.
“ As I look upon a wedding to be one of the most im. portant calls which either of the sexes have in their whole lives for the exertion of an extraordinary delicacy, I was not a little attentive to the behaviour of my two favourites ; and it gave me great pleasure to observe upon the whole, that Harry's behaviour was manly, tender, and respectful, without deviating into that fulsome disagreeable fondness, of which even men of the best sense are often guilty, when they have just obtained the woman of their heart. As to Cornelia, I never saw a young creature, in her situation, conduct herself with more propriety: to all the dignity of conscious virtue, she joined all the ineffable sweetness of an engaging timidity ; and though she seemed proud of the man whom she had just preferred to all the world, yet she had too much sensibility not to feel some amiable terrors at so awful an alteration in her circumstances.
“ After the performance of the ceremony, at which a large company was present, Harry judiciously proposed an unremitting round of amusements, which entirely employed the attention even of the most volatile, and prevented the circulation of those indelicate ambiguities, with which occa. sions of this kind are frequently disgraced. So that our mirth was, as it ought to be, mingled with good sense and manners ; and of course the harmony could be little liable to interruption, whilst that harmony was regulated by reason and civility.
“ I have been often shocked, at the solemnization of a marriage, to see the ridiculous, I had almost said the profli. gate levity with which people have approached the altar of the Divine Being, and jested with one another at the instant of supplicating a blessing from his hand.
“ One would imagine, that if the friends of the married couple had even no veneration of the Deity, they would at least have some little share of politeness; and be actuated by a tender concern for the feelings of the lady, if they felt no awe whatsoever, in the presence of their God. A wo. man of any sensibility, on her wedding, must naturally be in circumstances sufficiently embarrassed, without hearing