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LETTER 131. From the same to the young Lady, by permission of the Fathor. MISS,
I hope I shall stand excased in ver .aring to make known to your hon ored father the great desire I have to be thought worthy of a relation to him. As he has not discouraged me in the hopes I have entertained, that I may possibly be no'. unacceptable to him, and to all your worthy famıly, 1 propose to do myself the hono of a visit to you next Monday Though he has been so good as to promise to introduce me, and I make no doubt has acquainted you with it, I nevertheless give you the trouble of these lines, that I might not appear wanting in any outward demonstration of that inviolable respect with which I am, dear Miss,
Your devoted humble servant
The objections I have to make to the proposal contained in your let. ter are but few, but they demand some attention, and will, I believe, bo rather difficult to be answered.
You are, by your account, two and twenty ; I am, by mine, six anı forty. You are too young to know the duties of a father ; I have a soli who is seventeen, and consequently too old to learn the duties of a sol from one so little his senior. Thus much with respect to age. As tu the little fortune I possess, I consider myself as merely a trustee for my children, and will not therefore impose on you by acceding to the common report that I am rich. However, as you have borne a lieutenant': commission these three years, as you tell me, you may have reserved out of the profits of that a sufficient sim to obviate every difficulty on that head.
I will press these objects no farther; when you have convinced mo that in point of age, fortune and morals, you are such a person as I can, without reproach, take for a husband, and admit as a guardian of my children, I shall cease to think, as I now candidly confess I do, that molives far from honorable, or disinterested love, have influenced your application. Till that liappens I must regret that an ill-timed effort of gallantry on your part de prives me of the pleasure of subscribing my. self
Your sincere friend.
LETTER 136. From a young Lady to a Gentleman that courted her, whom she
could not esteem, but forced by her parents to receive his visits. SIR,
Ti is an exceedingly ill return that I make the respect you have for me,
when I acknowledge to you, though the day of our marriage is appointed, that I am incapable of loving you. You may have observed in the long conversations we have had at those times that we were left to gether,
that some secret hung upon my mind. I was obliged to an ar
guous behavior, and durst not reveal myself further, be rause my moth f, from a closet near where we sat, could hear our conversation. ave strict commands from both my parents to receive you, and am un one forever unless you will be so kind aad generous as to refuse me. onsider, sir, the misery of bestowing yourself upon one who can have o prospect of happiness but from your death. This is a confession nade perhaps with offensive sincerity ; but that conduct is much to be preferred to a covered dislike, which could not but pall all the sweets of life, by imposing on you a companion that dotes and languishes for another. I will not go so far as to say, my passion for the gentleman whose wife I am by promise, would lead me to any thing criminal against your honor. I know it is bad enough to a man of your sense to expect nothing but forced civilities in return for tender endearments, and cold ssteem for undeserved love. If you will on this occasion let reason take place of passion, I doubt not but fate has in store for you some worthier object, on whom you can depend for a reciprocal affection, in recompence of your goodness to the only woman who could be insensible to
I am, sir, your most humble servant.
LETTER 137. From a young Lady in the country to her father, acquainting him
with an offer made to her of Marriage. HONORED FATHER,
My duty teaches me to acquaint you with a circumstance which may become of importance to me.
A gentleman of this town, whose name is Smith, and by business a liren draper, has made some overtures to my cousin Arnold, in the way of courtship to me. My cousin has brought him once or twice into my company, as he has a high opinion of him and his circumstances. He has been set up three years, possesses a very good business, and lives in credit and fashion. He is about twenty-seven years old, and is very good looking in his person. He seems not to want sense or manners, and is come of a good family. He has opened his mind to me, and boasts how well he can maintain me; but I assure you, sir, I have given him no encouragement, yet he resolves to persevere, and pretends extraordinary affection and esteem. I would not, sir, by any means omit to acquaint you with the beginning of an affair; that would show a disa bedience unworthy of your kind indulgence and affection. Pray give my humble duty to my honored mother, love to my brother and sister, and my best respects to all my friends.
I am your ever dutiful daughter LETTER 138
The Answer. DEAR ELIZA,
I have received your letter of the first instant, relating to the address es of Mr. Smith. I would advise yon neither to encourage nor discour. age his suit; for if, on inquiry into his character and circumstances, I shall find that they are answerable to your cousin's good opinion of them and bis own assurancez, J know not but his suit may be worthy of at tention. However, my dear girl, consider that men are deceitful, ana always put the best side outwards. It may possibly, on the strict inqui. ry which the nature and importance of the case demands, come out far otherwise than it at present appears. Let me, therefore, advise you to act in this matter with great prudence, and that you make not yourself too cheap, for men are apt to slight what is too easily obtained. In the mcan time he may be told, that you are entirely resolved to abide by my determination in an affair of this great importance. This will put kim on applying to me, who, you need not doubt, will in this case, as in all others, study your good. Your mother gives her blessing to you, and joins in the advice you here receive from Your affectionate father
Though personally unknown to you, I take the liberty to declare the great value and affection I have for your amiable daughter, whom I have had the honor to see at my friend's house. I should think myself entirely unworthy of her favor and your approbation, if I could have thought of influencing her resolution but in obedience to your pleasure, as I should, on such a supposition, offer an injury likewise to that prudence in herself which I flatter myself is not the least of her amiable perfections. If I might have the honor of your countenance, sir, on this occasion, I would open myself and circumstances to you in that frank and honest manner, which should convince you of the sincerity of my affection for your daughter, and at the same time of the honorableness of my intentions In the mean time, I will in general say, that I have been set up in business, the linen drapery way, upwards of three years; that I have a very good trade for the time; and that I had a thousand dollars to begin with, which I have improved to fifteen hundred, as I am ready to make appear to your satisfaction; that I am descended of a creditable family, have done nothing to stain my character, and that my !rade is still further improveable, as I shall, I hope, enlarge my capital. This, sir, I thought but honest and fair to acquaint you with, that you might know something of a person who sues to you for your countenance, and that of your good lady, in an affair that I hope may one day prove the greatest happiness of my life, as it must be, if I can be blessed with that and your daughter's approbation. In hopes of which, and the favor of a line, I take the liberty to subscribe myself, good sir,
Your cbedient and humble servant.
LETTER 140. From a Gentleman to a Lady whom he alauses of inconstancy. MADAM,
You will not, I presume, be surprised at a letter in the place of a visit from one who cannot but have reason to beli we that it may find as ready a welcome as he would himself.
You should not supppose, if lovers bave lost their sight, that their senses are a... banished : and if I refuse to believe my eyes when they show me your inconstancy, you must not wonder that I cannot stop my ears against the accounts of it. Pray let us understand one another properly; for I am afraid we are deceiving ourselves all this while. Am I a person whom you esteem, whose fortune you do not čespise, and whose pretensions you encourage? Or am I a troublesome coxcomb, who fancy myself particularly received by a woman who only laughs at me? If I am the latter you treat me as I deserve, and I ought to join with you in saying I deserve it. But if it be otherwise, and you receive me, as I think you do, as a person you intend to marry, for it is best to be plain on these occasions, pray tell me what is the occasion of that universal coquetry in public, where every fool flatters you, and you are pleased with the meanest of them? And what can be the sneaning of your showing so much attention to Mr. Marlow, which I am told you always do when I am not in company? Both of us, madam, you cannot think of; and I should be sorry to imagine, that when I had given you my heart so entirely, I shared yours with any other man.
I have said a great deal too much to you, and yet I am tempted to say more; but I shall be silent. I beg you will answer this, and I think Í have a right to expect that you will do it generously and fairly. Do not mistake what is the distraction of my heart, for want of respect towards you. While I am writing thus, I dote on you, but I cannot bear to be deceived where all my happiness is centred. Your most unt:appy.
The Lady's Answer. SIR,
Did I make all the allowance you desire in the end of your letter, should not answer you at all. But although I am really unhappy to find you are so, and the more so to find myself to be the occasion, I can hardly impute the unkindness and incivility of your letter to the single cause you would have me. However, as I would not be suspected of any thing that should justify such treatment from you, I think it necessary to inform you that what you have heard has no more foundation than what you have seen ; however, I wonder that others' eyes should not be as easily alarmed as yours; for instead of being blind, believe me, sir, you see more than there is to be seen. Perhaps,
however, their sight is much sharpened by their unprovoked malice, as yours by undeserved suspicion.
Whatever may be the end of this dispute, for I do not think so lightly of lovers’ quarrels as many do, I think it proper to inform you, that I merer thought favorably of any one but yourself; and I shall add, that if the faulls of your temper, which I once little suspected, should make mo Sear you too much to marry, you will not see ine in tha state with any other, nor courted by any in the world.
I did not know that the gaiety of my temper gave you uneasiness ; and you ought to have told me of it with less severity. If I am partic, ular in it, I am afraid it is a fault in my natural disposition ; but I would have taken some pains to have got the better of that, if I had known it was disagreeable to you. I ought to resent this treatment more than ! do, but do pot insult my weakness on that head; for a fault of that kind would want the excuse this has for my pardon, and might not be easily overlooked, though I could wish to do it. I should say that I would no: see you to-day, but you have an advocate that pleads for you much let. ter than
you d) for yourself. I desire you will first carefully look over this letter, for my whole heart is in it, and then come to me.
The luxury and dissipation which prevail in genteel life, as it corrupta the heart in many respects, so it renders it incapable of warm, sincere, and steady friendship. A hapry choice of friends will be of the utmost consequence to you, as they may assist you with their advice and good offices. But the immediate gratification which is afforded to a warm, open and ingenuous heart, is of itself a sufficient motive to court it. In the choice of your friends, have your principal regard to goodness of heart ard rdeliny. If they also prisse:s taste ind gei, jus, that will ..iaku them still more agreeable and useful companions. You have particular reason to place confidence in those who have shown affection for you in your early days, when you were incapable of making them any return. This is an obligation for which you cannot be too grateful. If you have the good fortune to meet with any who deserve the name of friends, unbosom yourself with the utmost confidence. It is one of the world's maxims, never to trust any person with a secret the discovery of which could give any pain ; but it is the maxim of a little mind and a cold heart, unless where it is the effect of frequent disappointments and bad usage. An open temper, if restrained but by tolerable prudence, will make you on the whole much bappier than a reserved, suspicious one although you may sometimes suffer by it. Coldness and distrust art the too certain consequences of age and experience ; but they are unhappy and unpleasant feelings, and it is unnecessary to anticipate them before their time.
But however open you are in talking of your own affairs, never discov. er the secrets of one friend to another. These are sacred deposites, which do not belong to you, nor have you any right to make use of them.
There is another case in which I suspect it is proper to be secret, not so much from motives of prudence as delicacy; I mean in love matters.
Though a woman has no reason to be ashamed of an attachment to a man of merit, yet nature, whose authority is superior to philosophy, has annexed a sense of shame to it. It is even long before a woman of delcacy dare avow to her own heart that she loves; and when all the subterfuges of ingenuity to conceal it from herself fail, she feels violerce done both to her pride and to her modesty. This, I should imagine must be always the case where she is not sure of a reciprocal attachment. In such a situation, to lay the heart open to any person whatever, does not appear to me consistent with the perfection of female delicacy. But perhaps I am in the wrong. At the same time I must tell you, that in point of prudence, it concerns you to altend well to the consequences : Auch a discovery
These secrets, how3ver important in your cwn est