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own infelicity, and are constantly again forced back upon their source. Sweetness of temper is not, indeed, an acqui. red but a natural excellence; and therefore, to recommend it to those who have it not, may be deemed rather an insult than advice. But let that which in happier natures is in. stinct, in these be reason ; let them pursue the same conduct, impelled by a nobler motive. As the sourness of the crab enhances the value of the graft, so that which on its parent plant is good nature, will on a less kindly stock be improved into virtue. No action by which others receive pleasure or pain, is indifferent; the sacred rule, “Do that to others which
would that others should do to you,” extends to every deed; and “ every word shall be brought into judg. ment."
DIRECTIONS TO LADIES FOR TEEIR CONDUCT TO A HUSBAND.
Qui nunc te fruitur credulus aurea
How often shall th’ unpractised youth
With tears, alas! complain!
And scowl along the main?
Thus amiable and kind;
Nor heeds the faithless wind.
The ladies, to whom I lately addressed some thoughts upon the choice of a husband, I shall now consider as married : and as I am very far from thinking, that they may now sit down in negligent security, and remit at once their assiduity and circumspection, I shall warn them of some opinions of which this conduct is the consequence, detect some errors by which the general intention of good nature may be disappointed, and endeavour to put them upon their guard against some propensities by which it may be over. borne.
It is now necessary to remind them, that the passion which is supposed to animate the lover, the passion which is represented by flames and darts, which swells the bosom with perpetual rapture, and neither changes its object nor loses its ardour, exists only in poetry and romance. The real passion which wit and folly have thus concurred to disguise, is subject to disgust and satiety, is excited by novelty, and frequently extinguished by possession.
But there is an esteem which is meliorated by love, and a love that is elevated by esteem; a kind of mixed affection peculiar to mankind, as beings compounded of instinct and reason, or, in other words, of body and mind. This is that species of affection, upon which the supreme or peculiar happiness of marriage depends, and which can scarce be preserved without a constant attention and perpetual efforts.
As love without esteem is volatile and capricious, esteem without love is languid and cold.
I am afraid that many men, whose wives have possessed their esteem, have yet lavished their fortune and their fondness upon a mistress; and that the love of others, however ardent, has been quickly alienated, because it was not dignified and supported by esteem.
Though good nature does indeed participate the pains and the pleasures of others, and may there be considered as a constant and forcible motive to communicate happiness and alleviate misery; yet it is at best but the imperfect ex. cellence of imperfect beings, whose immediate gratifications are often selfish, and such as folly or vice render incompatible with the true happiness of the individual, and of each other.
As there is not, perhaps, upon earth, any couple, whose natural dispositions and relish of life are so perfectly similar, as that their wills constantly coincide; so it must sometimes happen, that the immediate pleasure of indulging opposite inclinations, will be greater than a participation of that pleasure, which would arise to the other, if this indulgence should be forborne: but as to forbear this indulgence can never fail to conciliate esteem, it should always be considered as a means of happiness, and rather as an advantage than a loss; especially if it be true, that the indulgence itself in
these circumstances, never gives the pleasure that it pro. mises.
Mrs. Charlotte Sprightly, the wife of a young merchant, was dressing for an assembly a few nights ago, when her husband came in. “My dear Charlotte,” says he, “I am sorry that you are going out to-night; for my cousin George is just arrived from the East Indies; I have invited him to sup; and as he has never seen you, I promised him your company.” “ Nay, dear Harry,” replied the lady, “ do not ask me to stay at home to-night ; you know I am fond of dancing ; and now my fancy is set upon going, I am sure you will not disappoint me.” Mr. Sprightly, who was truly good natured, would not urge her to stay; for to stay with apparent reluctance, would not have gratified his wish. She perceived that he was secretly displeased; however, away she went. But as she had not less good nature than her husband, she suffered so much pain by reflecting on the pain she had given him, that she often wished herself at home. Thus she offended the delicacy of his affection, by preferring a dance to the quiet of his mind; and forfeited part of the esteem which was due to that very good nature by which she lost the enjoyment of the night.
In this instance, the pain inflicted upon the husband was accidental to the private gratification proposed by the wife. But there is a passion very different both from malice and rage, to the gratification of which, the pain of another is sometimes essentially necessary. This passion, which, though its effects are often directly opposite to good nature, is yet perhaps predominant in every breast, and indulged at whatever risk, is vanity.
To a gratification of vanity, at the expense of reciprocal esteem, the wife is certainly under much stronger temptation than the husband : and I warn the ladies against it, not only with more zeal, but with greater hope of success ;
because those only who have superior natural abilities, or have re
ceived uncommon advantages from education, have it in
Successfully to rally a wife confers no honour upon a husband ; the attempt is regarded as an insult rather than a contest ; it is exulting in a masculine strength to which she makes no pretensions, and brandishing weapons which she is not supposed to have skill to wield.
For the same reasons, to confute or to ridicule a husband with an apparent superiority of knowledge or of wit, affords all the parade of triumph to a wife ; it is to be strong where weakness is no reproach, and to conquer when it would not have been dishonourable to fly. But these circumstances, which increase the force of the temptation, will be found to afford proportionate motives to resist it; whatever adds to the glory of the victor, adds equally to the dishonour of the vanquished ; and that which can exalt a wife only by degrading a husband, will appear upon the whole not to be worth the acquisition, even though it could be made without changing fondness for resentment, or provoking jealousy by an implication of contempt. If the ladies do not perceive the force of this argument, I earnestly request that they would for once trust implicitly to my judgment; a request which, however extraordinary, is not unreasonable ; because in this instance the very vanity which hides truth from them, must necessarily discover it to me.
But if good nature is sufficiently vigorous to secure the esteem of reason, it may yet be too negligent to gratify the delicacy of love : it must, therefore, not only be steady, but watchful and assiduous ; beauty must suffer no diminution by inelegance, but every charm must contribute to keep the heart which it contributed to win; whatever would have been concealed as a defect from the lover, must with yet greater diligence be concealed from the husband. The most intimate and tender familiarity, cannot surely be sup: posed to exclude decorum; and there is a delicacy in every mind which is disgusted at the breach of it, though every