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THE HAPPINESS RESULTING FROM KIND AND MUTUAL ATTEN.
TIONS, EXEMPLIFIED IN THE HISTORY OF HORATIO AND
The mutual complaints of Mr. and Mrs. Gold, which have been communicated in my last paper, together with some complaints of similar family distresses, which I have received from other correspondents, often remind me of the happy effects which my friends Horatio and Emilia have experienced from an opposite temper and conduct.
Horatio, though he obtained a liberal education, lived till the age of twenty-five almost entirely in the country. The small fortune which he inherited from his father being about this time increased by his succeeding to a distant relation, he married the young and beautiful Emilia. He had become warmly attached to her, not so much on account of her beauty, as from an expression of a sweet, though lively temper, which marked her countenance. This, when admitted to a more intimate acquaintance, in some visits which he paid to the capital, he found to be justified by her conversation and manners.
Emilia's father was addicted to pleasure and expense, and her mother, though more accomplished, of a similar disposition. In their family she had been accustomed to a life of more than ordinary gayety.
Though Horatio felt, in all its extent, that passion which is not very favourable to a just estimation of character, yet these circumstances had not escaped his notice. He failed not to observe that Emilia had acquired a stronger attach. ment to the pleasures of a town life, than was either right in itself, or agreeable to that preference for domestic society, and the quiet of a country life, which he had always felt, and which he still wished to gratify.
However, instead of acquainting Emelia with his taste in these particulars, he judged it better to let her enjoy that style of life to which she had been accustomed, not doubt. ing, from the natural good sense and sweetness of her dis. position, that her own taste might be gradually corrected, and that as his should, from time to time, fall under her observation, it might contribute to the change.
He took up, therefore, his residence in town ; and though Amelia went into company, and frequented public places more than he could wish, yet he complied with her inclina. tion in these instances, partook of her amusements when he was not necessarily engaged, and, when he did so, carefully avoided betraying that indifference or disgust which he of ten felt.
Whilst Horatio, however, gave way to the taste of Emilia, he never lost the inclination, nor neglected the means of reforming it.
Amidst the gayety to which she had been accustomed, Emilia had early formed a taste for the elegant writers of the present age ; and the same sensibility and delicacy of mind which led her to admire them, made her no less sensi. ble of the beauties of a polished and refined conversation, It was this, which had first gained the affections of Horatio ; it was to this he trusted for effecting the reformation he de. sired.
He was very assiduous, therefore, to cultivate and en. courage this literary taste in Emilia. He frequently took occasion to turn the conversation to subjects of literature, and to dwell on the beauties, or mention the striking passages of this or that author ; and would often engage
Emilia in a fine poem, an affecting tragedy, or an interesting novel, when, but for that circumstance, she would have been exhausting her spirits at a ball, or wasting the night at cards.
Nor was he less studious in forming her taste for company than for books. Though he had never aimed at an extensive acquaintance, Horatio enjoyed the friendship of se.
veral persons of both sexes endued with those elegant man. ners, and that delicate and cultivated understanding, which render conversation at once agreeable and instructive.
Of these friends he frequently formed parties at his house. Emilia, who had the same disposition to oblige, which she had on all occasions experienced from him, was happy to indulge his inclinations in this particular ; and as she was well qualified for bearing a part in their conversation, which had charms of which her mind was highly sensible, these parties gradually became more and more agreeable to her.
In this manner her books, the conversation of select com. panies, and the care of her children, which soon became a most endearing office to her tender and feeling heart, fur. nished her with a variety of domestic occupations. As these gradually led her to go less into mixed company and public amusements, she began to lose her habitual relish for them. As she easily observed how agreeable this change was to the taste of Horatio, that circumstance gave her mind more and more a domestic turn.
The same delicacy, from which he at first gave way to her taste for company and public amusements, made him avoid showing that preference, which he entertained for a country life.
For some time he was entirely silent on the subject. Though he now and then made excursions to the country, yet it was only occasionally upon necessary business. Emilia could not but observe, that the manner in which he passed his time there, in adding to the beauties of his place, and in an easy intercourse with a few neighbours, was highly agreeable to him. Yet he never expressed an inclination of fixing his general residence in the country, or even of her accompanying him in his occasional visit at Rosedale. His visits became, however, gradually more frequent; and as they generally continued for some weeks, those little ab. sences gave a sort of pain to Emilia, to whom no society was now so agreeable as that of Horatio. She became, therefore, desirous of accompanying him to the country.
Their first visits were short and at considerable intervals ; but as he omitted no means of rendering them agreeable to her, she seldom left it without regret, and was often the first to propose their return. At length Emilia, who now observed that her husband was no where so happy as in the country, and had herself come to feel the same predilection for the calm cheerfulness and innocent amusements of a country life, took occasion to acquaint him with this change in her sentiments, and to express the same inclination which, she was persuaded, he entertained, of abandoning a town life, and fixing their constant residence at Rosedale.
A proposal so agreeable to him was rcadily complied with ; and they have ever since passed their time in that de. lightful retreat, occupied with the education of their chil. dren, the improvement of their place, and the society of a few friends ; equally happy in themselves, and beloved by all arourd them. Thus has Horatio, the gentleness of whose mind is equal to the strength of his understanding, by a pru. dent as well as delicate complacency, gradually effected that change, which an opposite conduct might have failed to pro. duce, and which at the same time would probably have been the source of mutual chagrin, and rendered both him and his wife unhappy.
Nor was the reformation solely on her part. By leading him to partake in company and amusements, she became the mean of correcting the natural reserve of his manner : and as the example of his plain though animated conversa. tion led her to moderate the vivacity and sprightliness of hers, which sometimes approached towards levity; so her vivacity communicated an agreeable gayety and cheerful. ness to the discourse of Horatio.
If, in the above account, I have pointed out more strongly the effects of complacency in Horatio than in Emilia, it ought to be remembered, that this virtue is much more rarely seen in the one sex than in the other. A certain pride, which always requires much discipline, and often the rod of disappointment and adversity, to subdue, attends the firmness of men, and makes it generally much more difficult for them to acquire this complacency of temper.
If men truly possess that superiority of understanding over women, which some of them seem to suppose, surely this use of it is equally ungenerous and imprudent. They would, I imagine, show that superiority much more effectually, in endeavouring to imitate the amiable gentleness of the female character, and to acquire from a sense of its propriety, a virtue, for which it must be allowed that the other sex is more indebted to their original constitution.
If women, as we sometimes allege, are too apt to connec the idea of pride, and hardness of manners, with that of knowledge and ability, and, on that account, often show a preference to more superficial accomplishments; the men who value themselves for knowledge and abilities, ought to look into their own conduct for the cause. Imitating, then, the behaviour of Horatio, they should aim to show that a man's feelings need not be the less delicate for being under the direction of a sound judgment; and that he who best knows the female character, and will put the highest value on its excellence, is also the most likely to make allowance for a difference of taste, and to bear with those little weak. nesses, with which he knows all human excellence to be of. ten accompanied.