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family, that two of his servants so improved themselves un. der him, that they were instituted into his sect, and make an eminent figure in the list of Pythagoreans. The names of these two servants were Astræus and Zamolxes. This single example sufficiently shows us both the influence and the merit of one who discharges as he ought the office of a good master of a family ; which, if it were well observed in every house, would quickly put an end to that universal depravation of manners, by which the present age is so much distinguished, and which it is more easy to lament than to reform.
GOOD NATURE AND GOOD SENSE COMPARED, IN THEIR RELA.
TION TO MATRIMONIAL HAPPINESS.
It is not by far of so much consequence, what are the talents, temper, turn of mind, character, or circumstances of both or either of the parties, as that there be a certain suitableness or correspondence of those of the one to those of the other.
Those essay-writers, who have taken human nature and life as their great general subject, have many remarks on the causes of infelicity in the marriage union, as well as many beautiful and striking pictures of what would be just, generous, prudent, and dutiful conduct, or their contraries, in particular circumstances. Great pains have been taken also to point out what ought to be the motives of choice to both parties, if they expect happiness. Without entering into a full detail of what has been said upon this subject, I think the two chief competitors for preference have generally been-good nature and good sense. The advocates for the first say, that as the happiness of married people must arise from a continual interchange of kind offices, and from a number of small circumstances, that occur every hour, a gentle and easy disposition-a temper that is happy in itself -must be the cause of happiness to another. The advo. cates for good sense say, that the sweetness of good nature is only for the honey-moon ; that it will either change its nature, and become sour by long standing, or become wholly insipid ; so that if it do not generate hatred, it will at least incur indifference or contempt; whereas good sense is a sterling quality, which cannot fail to produce and preserve esteem, the true foundation of rational love.
If I may, as I believe most people do, take the prevailing sentiments within the compass of my own reading and conversation for the general opinion, I think it is in favour of good sense. And if we must determine between these two, and decide which of them is of the most importance when separated from the other, I have very little to say against the public judgment. But in this, as in many other cases, it is only imperfect and general, and often ill understood and falsely applied. There is hardly a more noted saying, than that a man of sense will never use a woman ill, which is true or false, according to the meaning that is put upon
the phrase, using a woman ill. If it be meant, that he will not so probably beat his wife as a fool ; that he will not scold or curse her, or treat her with ill manners before company, or indeed that he will not so probably keep a continual wrangling, either in public or private, I admit that it is true. Good sense is the best security against indecorums of every kind. But if it be meant, that a man will not make his wife in any case truly miserable, I utterly deny it. On the contrary, there are many instances in which men make use of their sense itself, their judgment, penetration, and know. ledge of human life, to make their wives more exquisitely unhappy. What shall we say of those, who can sting them with reflections so artfully guarded that it is impossible not to feel them, and yet almost as impossible with propriety to complain of them?
It is not the fine qualities of both or either party that will insure happiness, but that the one be suitable to the other. By their being suitable is not to be understood their being both of the same turn; but that the defects of the one be supplied or submitted to by some correspondent quality of the other. I think I have seen many instances, in which gravity, severity, and even moroseness in a husband, where there has been virtue at bottom, has been so tempered with meekness, gentleness and compliance in the wife, as has produced real and lasting comfort to both. I have also seen some instances, in which sourness, and want of fe.
male softness in a woman, has been so happily compensated by easiness and good humour in a husband, that no appear. ance of wrangling or hatred was to be seen in a whole life. I have seen multitudes of instances, in which vul. garity, and even liberal freedom, not far from brutality, in a husband, has been borne with perfect patience and serenity by a wife, who by long custom had become, as it were, insensible of the impropriety, and yet never inattentive to her own behaviour.
Certainly, therefore, this should be an object particularly attended to in courtships, or while marriage is on the tapis, as politicians say.
If I look out for a wife, I ought to consider, not whether a lady has fine qualities for which she ought to be esteemed or admired, or whether she has such a deportment as I will take particular delight in, and such a taste as gives reason to think she will take delight in me; I may pitch too high, as well as too low, and the issue may be equally unfortu
Perhaps I shall be told, there lies the great difficulty. How shall we make this discovery? In time of youth and courtship, there is so much studied attention to please, from interested views, and so much restraint from fashion and the observation of others, that it is hard to judge how they will turn out afterwards.
This I confess to be a considerable difficulty, and at the same time greatest upon the man's side.
The man being generally the eldest, his character, temper, and habits may be more certainly known. Whereas there are sometimes great disappointments on the other side, and that happily both ways. I am able just now to recollect one or two instances of giddy and foolish, nay, of idle, lazy, drowsy girls, who, after marriage, felt themselves interested, and became as spirited and as active heads of families, as any whatever ; and also some of the most elegant and exemplary, who, after marriage, fell into a languid stupidity, and contracted habits of the most odious and disgustful kind.
These instances, however, are rare, and those who will take the pains to examine, may in general find satisfaction. It is also proper to observe, that if a man finds it difficult to judge of the temper and character of a woman, he has a great advantage on his side, that the right of selection belongs to him.
On the whole, I think that the calamities of the married state are generally to be imputed to the persons themselves in the following proportion : Three fourths to the man, for want of care and judgment in the choice, and one fourth to the woman on the same score. Suppose a man had bought a farm, and after a year or two, should, in conversation with his neighbour, make heavy complaints how much he had been disappointed, I imagine his friend might say to him, “ did you not see this land before you bought it?” “O) yes, I saw it often."
“ Do you not understand soils ?" “ I think I do tolerably." “ Did you not examine it with care ?” * Not so much as I should have done. Standing at a certain place, it looked admirably well; the fences too were new, and looked exceedingly neat; the house had been just painted a stone colour, with panneling; the windows were large and elegant ; but I neglected entirely to examine the sufficiency of the materials, or the disposition of apartments. There were in the month of April two beautiful springs, but since I have lived here they have been dry every year before the middle of June.” “ Did you not inquire of those who had lived on the place of the permanency of the springs ?” “ No, indeed, I omitted it.” 6. Had
you were promised ?" “ Yes, every acre. 6 Was the right complete and valid ?” “ Yes, yes, perfectly good: no man in America can take it from me. “ Were you obliged to take it up in part of a bad debt ?” “ No, nothing like it. I took such a fancy for it all at once, that I pestered the man from week to week to let me have it." “ Why really then,” says his friend, " I think you had better keep your complaints to yourself. Cursing and fretfulness