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A WOMAN's first care ought to be to win the heart of her husband, and the second to preserve it. She should study his character, taste, and defects, and conform to his will in all reasonable things.
If she should be under a necessity of thinking and acting different from him, let her not too violently oppose his inclination, but seem at first to fall in with his sentiments, and then mildly demonstrate to him, that his resolutions are liable to some inconveniences, giving at the same time a few hints of other means to satisfy them: in short, let her, if possible, make him fix on those very means, that he may think he follows his own will whilst he is directed by hers.,
This conduct seldom fails of being attended with success, and yet most women neglect it : for being accustomed to the assiduity and complaisance of a man during his courtship, they persuade themselves, that the quality of a husband will lessen nothing of that attention so flattering to their self-love. They affect, in the very beginning of their union, to observe no other rule for their actions but their whims and caprices, of which they would make their husbands the slaves, in order to preserve a sovereignty, which they have too often pushed even to despotism.
A good wife is the greatest blessing and the most valuable possession that Heaven, in this life, can bestow : she makes the cares of the world sit easy, and adds a sweetness to its pleasures: she is a man's best companion in prosperity, and his only friend in adversity; the carefulest preserver of his health, and the kindest attendant on his sickness ; a faithful adviser in distress, a comforter in affliction, and a prudent manager of all his domestic affairs.
The principal views of a good wife in adorning her person, should be to preserve her husband's affection, and to do credit to his choice.
A married woman should not be desirous of attracting the eyes
of any man, but those of her husband. If a woman would have the world respect her husband, shę must set the example herself. Whilst the wife gives the least ro to suspect that she despises her husband, she will find that she subjects herself to double contempt, if he resents it not; and if he does, how can she be happy? If they differ, she will be apt to make bystanders judges over her. They perhaps may remember when she is willing to forget, and her fame will be the sport of those beneath her, as well in understanding as in degree.
There is scarce a family in this busy, talking town, whose most secret affairs are not perfectly known; nay, though it be ever so improper that they should be so. The wife is too often at the bottom; she intrusts some bosom friend, not remembering that the breach of confidence is as much in that, as if she had revealed it to a thousand : and it is from this dear friend a thousand know it. A prudent woman will be upon her guard in the strictest manner
against these confidences, remembering that the most im. portant of all concerns, the esteem and good opinion of her husband, depend upon her silence; and that nothing of all this is upon her whom she is intrusting, nothing more than an i significant promise to an indifferent person.
To a full mind there is no relief like the having a bosom friend, to whom it may in safety unload its inmost weight. Where is the husband to look for this friend, if not in his wife? And why should she rob him of the advantage ? Why will she give him an occasion, for this may be the event, to seek friendship and fidelity in some other breast ? These little points the moralists have disregarded, as trivial and below their consideration; yet trivial as they are, it is on them that all the colour of our lives depends. Those who despise trifles, find themselves often undone by them.
A good wife will not content herself that her conduct is unblamable; she will endeavour to make it meritorious, and will lay a claim to the gratitude as well as the acknowledgments of the husband's heart, and to the applause as well as the approbation of her own.
It is common for the dread of one extreme to drive people of weak minds upon the opposite. There is not any part of the conduct of a wife so essential as this. The point to be aimed at by her is the middle state between neglect and impertinence; the one is not more mischievous than the other is tiresome.
Happy is the man who meets a wife that is not stupidly silent, nor always prattling nonsense; whose mind is enriched with all useful knowledge, and who has a taste for polite literature. A woman thus accomplished will be always drawing sentences and maxims of virtue from the most judicious authors. She will be mistress of herself in all changes of fortune, neither blown up in prosperity, nor bro. ken with adversity. She will be a cheerful and good humoured friend, and an agreeable companion for life. Whatever company he is engaged in, he will long to be at home,
and retire with delight from the society of men into the bosom of one who is so dear, so knowing, and so amiable : he will waste with pleasure whole days and nights in her company, and be ever finding out new beauties in her conversation : she will keep his mind in perpetual serenity, restrain its mirth from being dissolute, and prevent its melancholy from being painful.