Page images
PDF
EPUB

sprightliness of conversation, or ease of manners, which only an accomplished woman can bestow, or for those inno. cent domestic enjoyments, which communicate the highest favour to, and are the grand and ultimate end of, an intercourse between the sexes,

ADVICE

MARKS OF AN HONOURABLE LOVER-A FATHER'S

TO HIS DAUGHTERS.

It is a maxim laid down among you, and

very prudent one it is, that love is not to begin on your part, but is entire. ly to be the consequence of our attachment to you. Now, supposing a woman to have sense and taste, she will not find many men to whom she can possibly be supposed to bear any considerable share of esteem. Among these few, it is a very great chance if any of them distinguishes her particularly. Love, at least with us, is exceedingly capricious, and will not always fix where reason says it should. But supposing one of them should become particularly at.. tached to her, it is still extremely improbable that he should be the man in the world her heart most approved of.

As, therefore, nature has not given you that unlimited range in your choice which we enjoy, she has wisely and benevolently assigned to you a greater flexibility of taste on this subject. Some agreeable qualities recommend a gentleman to your common good lking and friendship. In the course of his acquaiutats ise contracts an attachment to you. When your percepe it. it cotes pour gratitude ; this gratitude rises into a prefe: (? (*, indid this preference, perhaps, at last adı ances to some' Irie of'att'chment, especially if it meets with crosses and ditlicoltes; 'or these, and a state of suspense, alle very great incitements to attachment, and are the food of love in both sexcs. If attachment was not excited in your sex in tavis manner, there is not one of a million of you that could ever marry with any degree of love.

A man of taste and delicacy marries a woman because he loves her more than any other. A woman of equal taste and delicacy marries him because she esteems him, and be. cause he gives her that preference. But if a man unfortu. nately become attached to a woman whose heart is secretly pre-engaged, his attachment, instead of obtaining a suitable return, is particularly offensive; and if he persists to teaze her, he makes himself equally the object of her scorn and aversion.

The effects of love among men are diversified by their different tempers. An artful man may counterfeit every one of them, so as easily to impose on a young girl of an open, generous, and feeling heart, if she is not extremely on her guard. The finest parts in such a girl may not always prove sufficient for her security. The dark and crooked paths of cunning are unsearchable, and inconceivable to an honourable and elevated mind.

The following, I apprehend, are the most genuine effects of an honourable passion among the men, and the most dif. ficult to counterfeit. A man of delicacy often betrays his passion by his too great anxiety to conceal it, especially if he has little hopes of success. True love, in all its stages, seeks concealment, and never expects success. It renders a man not only respectful, but timid to the highest degree, in his behaviour to the woman he loves. To conceal the awe he stands in of her, he may sometimes affect pleasantry, but it sits awkwardly on him, and he quickly relapses into seriousness, if not into dulness. He magnifies all her real perfections in his imagination, and is either blind to her fail. ings, or converts them into beauties. Like a person con. scious of guilt, he is jealous that every eye observes him ; and to avoid this he shuns all the little observances of com. mon gallantry.

His heart and his character will be improved in every respect by his attachment. His manners will become more gentte, and his conversation more agreeable ; but diffidence and embarrassment will always make him appear to disad. vantage in the company of his mistress. If the fascination continue long, it will totally depress his spirit, and extinguish every active, vigorous, and manly principle of his mind. You will find this subject beautifully and pathetically painted in Thomson's Spring.

When you observe in a gentleman's behaviour these marks which I have described above, reflect seriously what you are to do. If his attachment is agreeable to you, I leave you to do as nature, good sense, and delicacy, shall direct you.

If

you love him, let me advise you never to dis. cover to him the full extent of your love, no, not although you marry him. That sufficiently shows your preference, which is all he is entitled to know. If he has delicacy, he will ask for no stronger proof of your affection, for your sake; if he has zeuse, he will not ask it for his own. The is an unpleasant truth, but it is my duty to let you know Violent love cannot subsist, at least cannot be expressed, for any time together on both sides; otherwise the certain consequence, however concealed, is satiety and disgust. Na. ture, in this case, has laid the reserve on you.

If you see evident proofs of a gentleman's attachment, and are determined to shut your heart against him, as you ever hope to be used with generosity by the person who shall engage your own heart, treat him honourably and humanely. Do not let him linger in

a miserable

suspense, but be anxious to let him know your sentiments with regard to him. At least, do not shun opportunities of letting him explain himself. If you do this, you act barbarously and unjustly. If he brings you to an explanation, give him a polite, but resolute and decisive answer.

In whatever way you convey your sentiments to him, if he is a man of spirit and delicacy, he will give you no further trouble, nor apply to your friends for their intercession. This last is a method of courtship which every man of spirit will disdain. He will never whine nor sue for your pity. That would mortify

him almost as much as your scorn. In short, you may pos. sibly break such a heart, but you can never bend it. Great pride always accompanies delicacy, however concealed under the appearance of the utmost gentleness and modesty, and is the passion of all others the most difficult to conquer,

« PreviousContinue »