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dent ; for beauty, that commonly gives rise to hasty inclination, is a very small ingredient among the numerous qualities that enter into the composition of a good wife. Among these I reckon modesty in countenance and carriage, a great fund of good sense, a sweetness of temper, equally removed from giddiness and languor, a sincere disposition to make the happiness of her husband her principal study, the management of her family her constant business, and the education of her children her constant delight.
A young woman of good family, commonly speaking, appears what she ought to be ; and therefore to know what she really is, is an affair that requires time and attention. Every thing is to be considered ; her looks, her constitution, her dress, in a word, the most trivial of her actions, are to be scanned, in order to form a right idea of her mind. To facilitate this discovery two points are to be observed ; the first is, the character of the parents, and the next, the lady's education. Example of every kind is a powerful thing, but that of parents is much more so: if a father or mother are full of pride, vanity, or fondness for pleasure, if they are remarkable for inconstancy of mind or corruption of man. ners, it must be an admirable genius indeed that can enable a young woman to escape the infection. Education is also a thing of very great consequence, and what cannot be looked after with too much caution. To read, to write, to sing, to dance, and to work a little with the needle, is the common road of female education. What wonder then that a person thus brought up, should be so unfit for the conversation of a man of sense, for the partner of his joys and cares, or to share with him in the government of his family?
But these remarks are to be made in time : to enter into such inquiries, and to make a right use of them, with regard to her inclinations, a great deal of reason and good sense are requisite : yet, after all, perfection is not to be expected; she has the most of it who has the fewest faults. These
100, are to be inquired after before marriage, that they may be borne with patience afterwards. In respect of these, a man must judge for himself, according to the qualities of his own mind, and that degree of command which he has over his own passions. Instead of this delay, this caution, most people rush hastily into the state, and discover none of its inconveniences, till they are. forced to it by experience : then they grow uneasy, fretful, impatient, and give a loose to their resentment; they are perpetually reproving, chiding, and giving marks of their displeasure. Such methods seldom are, indeed hardly can be, attended with success ; they forget that mildness, indulgence, and complaisance, though they are virtues that make no great show, are virtues nevertheless, and peculiarly necessary to the marriage state, which is seldom happier than where both parties strictly adhere to decency and decorum.
There are, however, a number of unhappy marriages in which the parties have no share, but are mere victims to the folly of their parents. The bargain perhaps was struck before they saw each other. What an indignity is this to human nature! The first consideration in such cases is the fortune, and in this a few thousands, more or less, bring people together or keep them asunder. Whilst parents love money so much, they ought nut to wonder if after marriage their children love one another so little. But so it is, that luxury has obtained a universal empire, and money is thought necessary to maintain it. Yet this too is a mistake, for luxury is a gulf that will swallow the riches of Peru. But suppose
it was not so, is not a middle state, with honour, credit, and peace, better than immense riches, with disorder, discord, and disquiet ? Will money cure the maladies either of body or mind, or is it possible to enjoy riches, if peace be wanting ? Let a woman bring ever so great a fortune, if she bring ill humours too, she will make a man miserable; and if she is extravagant, she will make him poor, These
are things we see every day, but we never find a day to consider them.
It is this luxury, this vanity, this divinity which all the world adores, that exacts from a new married couple the most senseless offerings. To keep up a foolish custom, people are made unhappy for their lives. This divinity is ingenious in seducing ; she bestows upon these offerings the specious names of decency, generosity, marks of love and respect for the fair bride : but I, who make no secret of my impiety towards this goddess, say plainly, that they are highly extravagant. The superfluous expenses, and luxury in general, frequently hinder persons of both sexes from entering into a state which nature inspires, reason demands, and religion authorizes,
THE AFFECTING AND INSTRUCTIVE STORY OF CONSTANTIA.
SIR, That distress finds some consolation from revealing its misfortunes, is a trite observation, which perhaps is in no instance more strongly felt than where we have ourselves to blame for our calamities. There is something in making a confession, though but on paper, (even if it should never be communicated to any one,) which unloads the mind of a weight, that bears it down in secret; and though it cannot pluck the thorn from memory, has certainly the effect of blunting its poignancy.. Suffer me, then, sir, to tell you, or to write as if I were telling you, how unhappy I am, and by what means I have become so.
I was left by my father at the age of thirteen, the eldest of two daughters, under the charge of one of the best and most indulgent of mothers. Our circumstances were affluent, our society respectable, and our education, from its very commencement, had been attended to with care, and provided for with the utmost liberality. No instruction was neglected, no accomplishment unattended to. In attaining these, my sister was not quite so fortunate as I. Born, as I have of. ten been told, with uncommon quickness of parts, I found no difficulty of mastering the studies that were taught me, or of acquiring the embellishments it was wished I should acquire. My sister was often deficient in the one, and awk. ward at the other. She possessed, however, a sound, plain understanding, and an excellent temper. My superiority never excited envy in her, and I think neyer vanity in me.
We loved each other most sincerely; and after some years had blunted the grief which my mother felt for her hus. band's death, there were, I believe, few happier families than ours.
Though our affections were cordial, however, our dispositions were very different. My sister was content to think as other people thought, and to feel as other people felt; she rarely ventured to speculate in opinion, or to soar in fancy. I was often tempted to reject, if not to despise, the common opinions of mankind, and to create to myself a warm, and, I am afraid, a visionary picture of happiness arising from a highly refined sensibility. My mother was at pains to combat these enthusiastic ideas, and to represent the danger of indulging in them. From a desire, perhaps, of overcoming that tendency towards them which she perceived in me, her discourse, when we were alone, almost constantly turned on this subject. As she always allowed us the liberty of argument with her, I stood up in those conversations the warm defender of my own maxims, in contradiction to those prudent ones which she recommended. Hers, I suaded, admitted of better reasoning; but my cause gave greater room for cloquence. All my little talents were exerted in the contest ; and I have often since thought that my mother had from nature a bent to my side of the ques. tion, which all her wisdom and experience had not been able to overcome; that though she constantly applauded the prudent system of my sister, she was in truth rather partia! to mine, and vain of that ability with which I defended it. However that might be, I myself always rose from the dis. pute more and more convinced of the justness of my own opinions, and proud of that superiority which I thought they conferred on me.
We had not long attained a marriageable age, when we found ourselves surrounded with those whom the world terms admirers. Our mother's benevolence and sweet. ness of temper inclined her to society, and we were too