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dead, and the hope of my declining years ! Her education has been consistent with her rank in life, and her conduct truly virtuous. I have not the least doubt of her conjugal duty, and your felicity in acting conformable to the character of a husband. Upon that supposition I leave ser entirely to you; and as soon as you can obtain leave from the colo. ael, I slrall expect to see you at this
place, to receive from my hands al that is dear to me in this world. Your uncle has liker ise promised to be here, so that all things are according to your professed wishes.
I am, sir, yours sincerely.
LETTER 112. From a young Man just out of his Apprenticeship, to his Sweet
I eart in the neighborhood. ORIR :AILY,
I have been iung in luve wn, you, bu was afraid to tell you. When go with you to the Theatre or Vauxhall Garden I am almost like a fool, and altogether unfit for company. I think of you all day, and at niglit I dream of my dear Sally. I am well settled in work, and my wages are eight dollars every week. You and I can live on that, and 1 shall bring it home untouched on Saturday evening. I will not go to any tavern, but as soon as my work is done, return home to my dearly beloved Sally. I hope, my dear, you will not be angry, for I am really in love. I cannot be happy unless you are mine. I was afraid to mention this to you, but if you will leave an answer at my lodgings, I will meet you next Sunday after dinner, at the Battery, when we will take A walk to Vauxhall and drink tea How happy shall I be to hear from my charmer ; but a thousand times inore to think she will be mine.
I am, my dear, your real lover.
The Answer. DEAR JACK,
I received your very kind letter, but I do not know what to say in answer. Although I would be glad to marry, yet you men are so de ceiving, that there is no such thing as trusting you.
There is Tom. Timber the carpenter, and Jack Hammer the sunith, who have not been married above six months, and every night come home drunk and beat their wives. What a miserable life" is that, Jack, and how do I know but you may be as bad to me? How do I know but you like them may get
drunk every night, and beat me black akd blue before morning! I do assure you, Jack, if I thought that would be the case, I would scrub floors and scour saucepans as long as I live. But possibly you may not be so bad; for there is Will. Cooper the brasier, and (liver Smith the painter, who are both very happy with their wives ; they are both homebringing husbands, and liave every day a hot joint of mcat.
I koow pot yet what I shall do, but as I like to walk to Vauxhall I will meet you at the Battery on Sunday after dinner, and then we will talk more of the matter.
I am, dear Jack, our moa' bumble servant. '
From the Gentleman. MADAM,
It was a question among the stoics, whether the whole of hunian life afforded most pleasure or pain? For my own part, I hare always wished to consider things in their fairest light, but I often find my reso lution weakened ; and when I think to act the philosopher, I feel my. self nothing but a man. When
late wife died, about two years ago I proposed making the tour of England, that by mixing with strangers my thoughts inight be led from fruitless reflections on the loss I had sus cained : a loss which none but myself knew. It is true, it has been so far successful that it has taught me two things : first, resignation to the will of heaven; and secondly, that I am still unhappy in the want of a female partner. The agreeable company at the house of your worthy brother obliged me to spend more time at York than I at first intended, nor did I know until I had proceeded some miles that I should be obliged once more to return. In short, madam, I am a second time in love; and although you may be disposed to laugh, yet I assure you I am in real earnest ; you own dear self is the object. But perhaps you will ask, how happens in this ? I answer, that I cannot tell how it happene. But I am really fond of domestic life, and am once more resolved to al ter my condition. I cannot flatter, and I think both you and I have liv. ed long enough to judge for ourselves. There was somewhat pleasea me much in the prudent manner you conduct the affairs of your brother's house; but, as he is on the point of being married, that employment will cease when the other event takes place. I did not hear that you was engaged by proinise to any other; and as you have heard some thing concerning my family, character, and circumstances, you are more able to judge whether my present proposal is for your interest. In case you have any objections to my having children, I can only say that they will be easily answered. I have told you before that I have only two young daughters now at a boarding school, and I have settled each of their marriage portions, and the remainder is entirely for myself; and without being any real prejudice to my children, is more than sufficient for vas both. As to the common objection against being a step mother, I think it may be easily answered, when I tell you, that my children will treat you with all manner of respect. I do not imagine you can esteem me worse for loving my children; I have too good an opinion of you to think so; and as for the odious appellations usually thrown out againsa step mothers, they can only be considered, by a lady of your sensibility as the effect of prejudice, operating upon vulgar minds, occasioned by Mhe conduct of some inhuman wretches, who are a disgrace to society, and who would have acted in the same manner had they been placed in any other station in life. Your own good sense will point out the propriety of what I say. From what I have written you will be able to judge whether or not the proposals I have now made are apparently for
(*The six following are genuine, and passed between a gentleman and lady in England some time ago, but were once before published.
your rea. advantage. All that I desire is, to live n amity and friend. siip with the woman on whom I have placed my affections, as long as I am in this world. Every thing in my power will be exerted to make you as happy as possible, as I think, if I am not mistaken; every part of your conduct will entitle you to deserve it. I hope you will not defel sending me an answer, as I shall wait for it with the utmost impatience
I am, madam, yours sincerely and affectionately,
I have just received your letter, and for my own part must say thal you have acted the philosopher extremely well. I thought that love let ters had not usually been extracted from Seneca or Epictetus ; but why do I wonder, when even a lady now alive went through the drudgery of learning the Greek language, in order to acquire the honor of being the translator of the latter. However, she has got far enough, and I hava pot any intention of following her, but shall consider my lover's phile sophical letter.
Whilst you remained at our house, I must acknowledge that your company was agreeable, and our assiduity to please arose from a con sciousness of your merit as a gentleman, although at that time neither my brother nor myself had the most distant thoughts of ever hearing such a proposal as your letter contains. It is our common practice to entertain strangers in the same manner as we did you, which is consis. tent with old English hospitality, and somcthing like the conduct of the ancient patriarchs.
The proposal which you have sent me is of too serious a nature to be trealed lightly; it requires to be considered with the greatest attention, Aspecially as a wrong step of that sort not only destroys all hopes of temporal happiness, but what is infinitely worse, often endangers that which is eternal. I doubt not but you have seen many fatal instances of this melancholy truh, viz : That those who were bound by the most sulemn engagements to go hand in hand through affluence and poverty, bave often prevented the one, and hastened those afflictions inseparably connected with the other. The consideration of those things presents os with a glaring proof of the corruption of human nature in general, and particularly its most desirable state, pretended conjugal felicity. The causes from which unhappiness arises in families are various ; and although I never was a wife, yet I have seen many fatal instances of their pernicious effects.
You yourself seem to be aware of this in the objections stated in Four letter ; and although I have convincing proofs that your circuma stances are consistent with your representation of them, yet the second objection is not so easily answered; nor, indeed, have you done it to my satisfaction. Your answers to the common objections made against step mothers are altogether rational; they are what reason will at all times dictate, and prudence on every occasion require ; but you will excuse me if I tell you sincerely, that even in the opinion of the reflecting part of the world, the life of a step mother is for more dis greeable
than you endeavor to persuade me. All eyes are upon them, and crea their virtues construed into faults. I acknowledge that it could never cnter into the mind of a rational creature, I mean one that is rcally so, that a woman should tyrannize over two or three orphans, for no other reason, save only that their mother was their father's former wife. This would prove her guilty of three of the most odious crimes, capable of being committed in the conjugal state. First, inhumanity to the des ceased mother ; secondly, cruelty to the surviving children; and lastly, a total disrespect to her husband. For what woman would esteem the man, or what regard could she think we would have for her children, if lie did not treat, or cause to be treated with tenderness, those who wero born of a woman equally dear with herself ? But you know, sir, that we live in the world; and few, I believe, would choose to have their lives rendered unhappy if they could possibly avoid it. Your character, circumstances, and accomplishments, might entitle you to a much better wife than me; but, I confess the above reasons weigh strong in against such a connexion; and unless they are answered more to my satisfaction than what you bave already done, I should choose to remain es I am. In the mean time, I shall be glad at all times to hear from you, and am,
Your sincere well wisher.
The Gentleman's Reply. DEAR MADAM,
I have always thought there were none more ready to condemn the conduct of others than those who are most guilty themselves, and of this your letter is a most convincing proof. Do not be surprised, for 1 aid really in earnest. You have accused me of acting the philosopher, whilst you seem much better acquainted with those sages than myself. But pray, madam, is it any great fault to write a love letter in a serious strain ? Or should every thing on that subject be only a jumble of in coherent nonsense ? Should the lover divest himself of the man, and bes cause he prefers a woman to the rest of her sex, must he act the part of a fool to obtain her ? I dare venture to say you will answer in the negative. Your letter contains so many prudential reasons for refusing my offer, that I should be stupid indeed if I did not consider them as the result of a well informed judgment. All the objection I have to thein is, what they appear too much grounded on popular censure. are well acquainted with the world, and you know that the desi actions have been misrepresented, and the most amiable characters traduced. Nor has this been confided to any one station in life; it has diffused itself through them all; and, although its baleful influence has often ren. dered innocence miserable, yet the prudent will despise it with that contempt it so justly merits. Virtue is its own reward; and happiness ,
-Deaf to folly's call,
Attend the music of the mind.” Whilst a woman of your good sense has the answers of a good con. science in approbation of your conduct, how insignificant must the envi. ous censures of walice appear, when compared with real peace of mind.
I believe you Indeed, I think I shal not be guilty of blasphemy when I call your refinement of sentiment, false delicacy. However, as I said before, I an really in earnest; and, if I have not formed an erroneous judgment, you are the only person I have conversed with, since I became a widower, with whom I think I can live happy. And will you, madari, be 60 cruel as to reject my suit ? I do not think it is consistent with your good nature; and, although I think it is beneath a generous mind to purchase a wife, yet I shall be willing to make you a settlement adequate to your utmost wishes, besides à sufficiency for your children, if we should be blessed with any. Your answer to this is impatiently ex. pected by
Your real admirer.
From the Lady, in Answer. SIR,
I perused your letter, and begin to be afraid that I have tampered with gou too long, to conceal the real sentiments of my mind from one so justly entitled to know them as you are.
My objections, I assure you, sir, were not the effect of levity, but arose froin the most mature deliberation; nor would I, on any account, impose on the man to whom I intended to give my hand, and con
Iconsequently iny heart. This would have been a crime attended with more aggrarated circumstances than any which you have mentioned, and less enti. ded to an excuse. Hypocrisy is the same under whatever character it appears; and the person who is guilty of it in the smallest matters will be equally so in the greatest. Your answer to my objections are altogether satisfactory, and I am now convinced that I may now become your wife, and at the same time at least a nominal mother to your children; 1 say nominal, for although I should on all occasions consider myself obliged to act with humanity to your children as well as my own, set I may be still named by the above appellation. However, as your person, company and conversation are agreeable, and as your character stands unimpeached, I am almost inclined to try that life to which I have been hitherto a stranger. It is, I assure you, with diffidence, and If attended with any unfavorable circumstances, may possibly be more my fault than yours. We cannot foresee future events, and are therefore obliged to leave them to the direction of an unerring Providence. I shall therefore not detain you any longer, but only to inform you, that my brother was married yesterday to Miss Bright; may every happidess attend them both in time and eternity! You will receive a letter enclosed from him, and you may be assured that I have not now any
objections against being connected with you for life. The time fixed for that period depends entirely upon your own choice and appointment, and I think you cannot reasonably desire more. All that I desire, is only to be treated consistently with the professions you have already made. If so, I think I cannot fail of being as happy as is consistent with the state of affairs in this world, and I do not look for miracles. As you will doubtless be much hurried before you set out for London, one leiter more will be sufficient till I see you ;' in the mean time, may you l'est content and happy.
I am yours truly.