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fixed resolution, aud I hope no allurement whatever will tempt nie to deviate from it.
I am, dear sir, your affectionate friend.
LETTER 157. On Marriage—from a Lady in town to her Friend in the country DEAR MADAM,
Marriage is despised by some, and by others too much coveted. The first sin against the law of nature and divine ordination; the last, too often, against their own peace and happines. For those who are in extraordinary haste for a settlement do com.nonly extend their expecta tions beyond what they have possessed in a single life, and often the imaginary heaven proves a hell. Though your changing your condition had an extraordinary prospect, yet I hear my last letter, which was to wish you joy, found you in sorrow; but I know you are too well principled not to remember the time will come when the wicked shall cease from troubling, and the weary will be at rest. For if your husband continues so industrious to torment you, as the world represents him, I believe you can have but little rest till that time is come; unless it is by the inward peace of a good conscience, which none can take from you. This is a consolation which clamorous wives always lose, and which can never be recompensed by any point they gain, however apparently for their advantage.
Since the laws of God and nature have given men the supreme audiority in marriage, we ought not first to accept them on these terms, and then mutiny upon all occasions. For though some men are so kind as to make our yoke light upon us, yet we take them “ for better or for worse," and experience shows us that the odds are on the worse side. All this we should consider before we engage ourselves in those strict Lies, which oblige us to deny our own inclinations, and comply with chose of our husbands. Indeed, human policy ought to teach us this lesson ; for if we make a man's home less agrecable to him than.ang other place, we furnish him with a good excuse for going abroad, which can never be to our mutual advantage. Those men whom business does not call out to get money, are generally on the spend; and he that is driven from home by a wife's ill humor, is always more extravagant abroad, and even thinks he has a better pretence to be so, while he sacrifices his body and soul, as well as his estate to his revenge.
Some women, indeed, will divert themselves and not seem to mind itz and instead of endeavoring to win their husbands by complaisance, turn as extravagant as they ; or, as the old proverb says, " they light the candle at both ends ;” though they know it must at last burn their own fingers. However, they seldom fail of suffering by their rashness; and the further they run out, th: sooner they find a check upon their expenses ; beside, if they should preserve their honesty, they undergo the cer. tain loss of their reputation, which is infinitely more valuable to them than any thing else in the world ; and althouga by such conduct they may think to reclaim the men, yet they " ought not to do evi that good
But, most of all, I wonder at some of our acquaintace who seem to be sober women,
and yet recommend it as the best way to deal with a
passionate husband, to be more unreasonable than he. Such conduct may silence some men, and might be pardonable if God as well as man were to be silenced by it. But our religion tells us “we must not be over. come of evil, but overcome evil with good.” An evil tongue never appears so odious as in the mouth of a passionate woman, railing against her husband. We commonly say that a madman is possessed ; and eta ery one that is not in a rage himself, will allow passion to be a tempo rary madness, which makes men act as rationally as lunatics, although they have not the same excuse to plead Such unhappy persons will often tell you that passion is a natural infirmity; a violent distemper which they strive against, and therefore they ought to be excused; but let them remember that their conduct is the more unjustifiable, as they are sensible of their folly. If a husband be unkind and cruel, it is a great affliction, and the scripture tells us that all things of that naturs åre grievous ; but as contrary as they are to flesh and blood, yet they arise not from the dust, and it is not for us to contend with our Maker. He that can, with a word, control the winds and seas, can with as lito tle trouble avert any storm that threatens, when he sees us fit objects of mercy: For if we attempt to shake off the yoke, or think by struggling to make the chain sit looser upon us, we shall soon be convinced of our error, like birds taken in a net, who by beating their feathers off, inarease their misery, and at the same time disable themselves from making their escape.
Those amongst us that know we have been so obliging as never to de serve an ill word from our persecutors, should remember, that still we every day deserve God's chastisements, and that wicked and unreasona able men are a sword of his, which wounds us the deeper the more we love the hand which he employs for our correction. But how sharp sa ever it is, yet we should not repine, considering it is to humble us, in arder to draw us nearer to himself. He has said, that when we have arrived at a proper degree of perfection, we shall be free from all ou sufferings; but as long as we continue to offend we shall be punished either in this world, or, what is infinitely worse, in the world to come.
I have a few thoughts more to send you on the same subject, which I am not able at present to communicate, being in a poor state of health, but I am still, dear madam,
Your sincere friend.
To the same. DEAR MADAM,
In compliance with your request, I mentioned a few things concerning marriage, and, according to my promise, now send you the remainder.
It is certainly a very silly thing for people to quarrel who must be friends again; unless they choose rather to live asunder than submit to many things they cannot approve. I will not pretend to determine what provocation is sufficient to justify such a breach, nor to say that it can not be justified, since even the best of women have parted from theis husbands, although they seem sincerely to lament their separation. Nor does their conduct accuse them of having done it lightly, or opon the account of taking their pleasure, which vould soon be discovered, as in
such circumstances all eyes are upon them, and they must live more reserved than the rest of the world, or else they would quickly be liable to such a censure as must rindicate the conduct of their husbands.
And though in all quarrels betwixt a man and his wife, if it comes to a hot dispute, there are faults in both parties, yet the weaker vessel is 80 little considered, merely for being weak, they are very often olamed much more than they deserve; which they can no way resent so well as by a strict observance of their relative duties, and to endeavor to have a conscience void of offence towards God and the world.
Nothing upon earth can be said to afford satisfaction only as ou inagination makes it appear so at a distance; and this prospect is dressed by fancy in such various shapes, that what would be a delight to one is real misery to another; and age or possession does sometimes give the same persons such different notions, that they grow sick at the very things they languished for before. This is probably the reason why old people are so much for denying young ones those innocent diversions which they have grown weary of themselves ; though, perhaps, at the same time they may gratify their own foible in something equally ridiculous. It is this contrariety in the mind that makes matrimony so unea. by; for when one sets up a separate Diana to worship, their hearts cannot be full of affection to one another; and if both are bigoted in their own way, it too often ruins, not only themselves, but also their innocent children. But you, madam, are in no danger of falling into this error, being of too complying a nature to bring yourself and others into any inconveniency on that score ; and I rejoice to hear how unmoved you appear under so great a provocation. I confess, that a husband's keeping another before one's eyes, is the cruelest thing he can do; yet, even in that case, it is most prudent to show no frowardness; for the mistress will be sure to entertain him with mirth and caressing, which will make the wife's frowns appear more intolerable, and such women never fail to magnify all domestic accidents.
These prostitutes are, indeed, the greatest enemies to conjugal lore, ior them the gentlemen put on their best countenances, and with them they pass their most pleasing hours; the spleen and ill humor is reserv. ed for the wife of his bosom, who must share in nothing but the grievances, till they become partners in their wants which invariably follow such courses. Some few instances we have seen of husbonds who have been reclaimed by a wife's tenderness, before the intrigue has gone too far, but I believe none were ever hectored out of it.
Some men are so kind to their wives as to endeavor to conceal their falschood; which if they do, it is very indiscreet for the ladies to in. quire into it, and they are no friends who give them the informa: tion. He that goes about to hide his amour, shows either a sense of shame, or a regard to his spouse; and that may in time wean him from such company, or at least it is a sign he does not desire to grieve her, which most men esteem their great prerogative, and would lose half their satisfaction in their intrigues, were it not for the pleasure of tormenting their wives. There are some husbands, who, to use the old proverb, “ have stretched the bow till it has broke,” for any woman whose neart is divested of every virtuous principle, in such cases, will return
the compliment, es secially when stimulated both by pride anů revenge She thinks a gallant's admiration repairs the affront which a husband puts upon her charms, by giving her place to another, perhaps less handsome than herself. This has been thought a plausible excuse by many women, and upon their husbands running astray, have diverted their melancholy hours at the expense of their honor. But whatever I have said of mutual feelings, I do not make any comparison in favor of my own sex, as I know the crime is much greater in the wife, and even de testable, modesty being the highest ornament of women, and the casting it off becomes a sin both against God and nature. For my part, of commit a fault against my sex, in being for so much resignation, they must pardon me ; for I cannot advise others to more obedience than I would wish to practice myself; and I intreat all those who despise me as being so tame a fool, that they would banish all anger out of their minds for one year, and then tell me if they liave not more content in forgiving than returning a reproach.
I fear I have already exceeded the bounds of a letter, for which I ought to make an apology, but more words would give you trouble ; therefore I will only beg of you to excuse and love
Your ever sincere and affectionate friend.
LETTER 159. From a Lady to her Friend, whose Lover had basely deserted her
and married another. MY DEAR FRIEND,
Our expectation of happiness is generally so ill placed that it is no wonder we meet with perpetual disappointments.
When our choice arises from passion we have so very blind a guide as will inevitably lead us to destruction; for though love appears then gentlest, yet our affeccions are so much the right of our Almighty Creator, that as often as we fix them immoderately upon any of the fading objects here below, we are certainly guilty of sacrilege to the Divine goodness, which faulí is commonly punished by the very thing we doat on. This, I doubt not, has been your case, and not yours alone ; for soon or late, few escape that mischies, especially amongst our weaker sex, whose tender nature leaves them most exposed to ruin ; and though they see others chip wrecked before their eyes, will yet venture out to sea on the same bote tom, insensible of danger, till they perish, and often fall unpitied.
Men have a thousand advantages over us, but in the affair of cours ship they add cunning to all their other accomplishments, and are as zealous to deceive as if their lives would be made happy by the cheals However, they will find it a sad mistake, at least if perjury is to be aa counted for; although your false traitor, like many others may look on that time as at a great distance. But I suppose he thinks himself ex. cused, as being more knave than fool, which title, indeed, is so highly due to him, that I believe none will do him such manifest wrong as to dispute it; and I am sure, the blacker he appears, the greater reason you bave to bless that Providence which permitted him to break the contract ; for without doubt, he that proved so ill a lover to ide best of mistresses would have made an intolerable hus and to the best of wives
and in usage would have cost you more than his infidelity. I am sensiole a heart so generous and constant as yours cannot easily efface the deep impression he has made in it; that must be the work of time, with God's assistance, which I hope will never fail you. I do assure you I am deeply touched with every thing that concerns you ; nor is it without great regret that I submit to the unhappy circumstances which detain me from being the companion of your melancholy hours, which I should endeavor, with all my power, to divert.
You say it is a daily aggravation to your trouble, to reflect that you suffered yourself to be so easily imposed upon; but that, as I told you before, is our common fate, although all impostors are not equally industrious to be wicked; and you ought not to condemn your own judginent for want of sagacity to discover a cheat, as it would be to arraign the conduct of alınost all the buman race.
Pardon me, dear madam, for troubling you so far. Indeed I might have told you at first what I must mention now, and what you know already, that He only can give us comfort whom we seldom regard only when we are driven to it by necessity. Solomon, who had tried all the alluring charms of love and beauty, whose quality and riches gave him an opportunity to gratify every inclination without any bounds to his wishes, could call them all " vanity and vexation of spirit.” It is no wonder then if every one of us discover the same truth to our own cost. Let us therefore resolve, as much as we can, to submit our wills to the will of our heavenly Father, who sees all our actions, and has so decreed that our way to everlasting happiness should be through the wilderness of affliction.
LETTER 160. From a Lady who had formerly kept a Boarding School to another
of the same profession, on Female Education. MADAM,
I received your letter, containing the following request, viz: What are the most proper methods to be used in conducting the education of young ladies, so as to avoid extravagance on the one hand, and mean ness on the other? This is a very important question, and perhaps above my poor abilities to answer. However, as I have had many years experience in female education, I shall tell you my thoughts on the subject with the greatest freedom. It is the misfortune of the present age that almost all ranks of people are so much infatuated as to strive who shall outdo one another in extravagance, and a daughter of an ordinary tradesman can scarce be distinguished from one of the nobility. If we nquire into the causes from which such effects flow, we shall find that they are partly owing to the conduct of their mothers and partly to those intrusted with their education. I shall mention a few things relating to both and you can judge of their propriety.
Mothers should, on every occasion, teach their daughters that it is a duty incumbent on them not to have aspiring views beyond that station in which Providence has placed them. That humble, unaffected modes 'y in a stuff gown, will be preferred by every sensible person before er szer silks uz Brussels lace.' That it is a greater accomplishment for a