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How shocking it appears to see women forward in conversation, vain and arrogant, rough and boisterous in their be. haviour, or else artificial and full of disguise! but whenever we discover a levity and wantonness, then we look upon them in the very worst light, as stript of that natural armour which at once protects and adorns them.
Sphronilla is a medley of noise and nonserse, light as air, and as subject to storms too; a perfect virago in her gait and behaviour, always in a flutter, eternally prattling, soon fond, yet soon disgusted, and plays the tyrant every where with all the insolence of beauty, heightened by a fortune which she thinks places her above censure; covetous of praise, yet indifferent who bestows it ; often a slattern in dress ; regardless in company of the distinctions of persons and things, and can sacrifice any decency of life to her pleasure or pique.
But what a different creature, and how lovely is the modest Clorinda! Tenderly sensible of her own dignity and character, yet always willing to attend and to do justice to the merit of others; frank without being forward, and cautious rather than reserved apt to distrust her own opinion, but most ready to listen to that of others; better pleased to hear than speak, but when she opens her mouth, calm and gentle as the breath of evening ; susceptible of the most tender sentiments, yet sedate and steady in governing them; insinuating, but without the least artifice; a strict observer of the minutest decorums of life, that have the least con. nexion with virtue and female delicacy, joining the discre. tion of the matron to the modesty of the virgin.
What a different figure do these ladies make in the opinion of the world, and how differently are they re. ceived! The one draws the eyes and observations of all upon her, but it is in order to censure and expose her the more effectually. Most people are afraid of her, and shun her as they would do a hurricane or a viper. Those who do not dread, despise and laugh at her. Her noise and fortune make her heard, where her sentiments would gain nesther attention nor respect : none esteem her ; those who profess it do it only to herself, or for some private views. The men hate a creature who affects to be so like them. selves; and the women despise her because she is so unlike what a woman ought to be. How different is the treat. ment of the other! The most sensible of both sexes flock around her, and eagerly court her acquaintance; wherever she makes her appearance, she spreads joy and good humour; whenever she opens her mouth, she is heard with the most profound attention ; the beau monde want to estabi sh their own character by keeping her company, and their reputation for sense by being of the same opinion with her ; for her taste is esteemed a standard, and her manners a model to the rest of her sex. Therefore they are forced to admire those qualities they cannot imitate, and willingly confess that superiority which is tempered with so much modesty and mildness.
A strict modesty and decorum of behaviour is the distin. guishing charm of female virtue, a quality so essential to the sex, that we always expect to find it; and which, where it is wanting, can be compensated by no charms of nature or art; it is equally admired by the loose and the sober part of our sex; it extenuates many failings, and places every good quality in the most alluring light. And though our passion may, yet our esteem never can be, cap. givated, much less secu
cured, without it,
CONNEXION OF THE TWO SEXES : THE GROUNDS OF IT: THE
MORAL ENDS AND DUTIES OF MARRIAGE.
O! source of every social tie,
What home-felt raptures move!
With rev’rence, hope, and love.
When man arrives to a certain age, he becomes sensible of a peculiar sympathy and tenderness towards the other sex; the charms of beauty engage his attention, and call forth new and softer dispositions than he has yet felt. The many amiable qualities exhibited by a fair outside, or by the mild allurement of female manners, or which the prejudiced spectator without much reason supposes those to include, with several other circumstances both natural and accidental, point his view and affection to a particular object, and of course contract that general rambling regard, which was lost and useless among the undistinguished crowd, into a peculiar and permanent attachment to one woman, which ordinarily terminates in the most important, venerable, and delightful connexion in life.
The state of the brute creation is very different from that of human creatures: the former are clothed and generally armed by their structure, easily find what is necessary to their subsistence, and soon attain their vigour and maturity; so that they need the care and aid of their parents but a short while: and therefore we see that nature has assigned to them vagrant and transient amours. The connexion being purely natural, and formed merely for propagating and rearing their offspring, no sooner is that end answered than the connexion dissolves of course. But the human race are of a more tender and defenceless con stitution : their infancy and nonage continue longer; they advance slowly to strength of body and maturity of reason; they need constant attention, and a long series of cares and labours, to train them up to decency, virtue, and the various arts of life. Nature has therefore provided them with the most affectionate and anxious tutors, to aid their weakness, to supply their wants, and to accomplish them in those necessary arts; even their own parents, on whom she has devolved this mighty charge, rendered agreeable by the most alluring and powerful of all ties, parental affection. But unless both concur in this grateful task, and continue their joint labours, till they have reared up and planted out their young colony, it must become a prey to every rude invader, and the purpose of nature, in the original union of the human pair must be defeated. Therefore our structure as well as condition is an evident indication that the human sexes are destined for a more intimate, for a more moral and lasting union. It appears likewise, that the principal end of marriage is not to propagate and nurse up an offspring, but to educate and form minds for the great duties and extensive destinations of life. Society must be supplied from this origi. nal nursery
with useful members, and its fairest ornaments and supports. But how shall the young plants be guarded against the inclemencies of the air and seasons, cultivated and raised to maturity, if men, like brutes, indulge in vagrant and promiscuous amours?
The mind is apt to be dissipated in its views, and its acts of friendship and humanity; unless the former be directed to a particular object, and the latter employed in a particu
lar province. When men once give way to this dissipation, there is no stopping their career; they grow insensible to moral attractions, and by obstructing or impairing the decent and regular exercise of the tender and generous feelings of the human heart, they in time become unqualified for, or averse from, the forming a moral union of souls, which is the cement of society and the source of the purest domestic joys : whereas a rational, undepraved love, and its fair companion marriage, collect a man's views, guide his heart to its proper object, and by confining his affection to that object, do really enlarge its influence and use. Besides, it is but too evident from the conduct of mankind, that the common ties of humanity are too feeble to engage and interest the passions of the generality, in the affairs of society. The connexions of neighbourhood, acquaintance, and gene. ral intercourse, are too wide a field of action for many; and those of a public or community are so for more; and in which they either care not or know not how to exert them. selves. Therefore nature, ever wise and benevolent, by implanting that strong sympathy, which reigns between the individuals of each sex, and by urging them to form a particular moral connexion, the spring of many domestic en. dearments, has measured out to each pair a particular sphere of action, proportioned to their views, and adapted to their respective capacities. Besides, by interesting them deeply in the concerns of their own little circle, she has connected them more closely with society, which is composed of particular families, and bound them down to their good behaviour, in that particular community to which they belong. This moral connexion is marriage, and this sphere of action is a family.
The minds of both sexes are as much formed one for the other, by a temperament peculiar to each, as their persons. The strength, firmness, courage, gravity, and dignity of the man, tally to the softness, delicacy, tenderness of passion, elegance of taste, and decency of conversation, of the wo.