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mation, may appear very trifling to your friend, who possibly will not enter into your feelings, but may rather consider them as a subject of pleasantry. For this reason Icoe secrets are of all others the worst kept. But the consequences to you may be very serious, as no man of spirit and delicacy ever valued a heart hackneyed in the ways of love If, therefore, you must bave a friend to pour out your heart to, be sure of her honor and secrecy. Let her not be a married woman, especially if she lives happily with her husband. There are certain unguarded moments in which such a woman, though the best and worthiest of her sex, may let hints escape, wbich, at other times, or to any other person than her husband, she would be incapable of; nor will a husband, in this case, feel himself under the same obligations of secrecy and honor as if you had put your confidence originally in himself, especially on a subject wh 'ch the world is apt to treat so lightly.
If all other circumstances are equal, there are obvious advantages in your making friends of your brothers and sisters. The ties of blood, and your being so much united in one common interest, form an addiional bend .if union to your : riendsk 'p. If your brothers chou'd have the good fortune to have hearts susceptible of friendship, to possess truth, honor, sense, and delicacy of sentiment, they are the fittest and most unexceptionable confidants. By placing confidence in them you will receive every advantage which you could hope for from the friend ship of men, without any of the inconveniencies that attend such co.de nexions with our sex.
Beware of making confidants of your servants. ' Dignity, not propo erly understood, very readily degenerates into pride, which enters into no friendships because it cannot bear an equal; and is so fond of flattery as to grasp at it even from servants and dependants. The most intirate confidants, therefore, of proud people, are valet-de-chambres and waiting women. Show the utmost humanity to your servants; maka their situation as comfortable to them as possible ; but if you make them your confidants you spoil them, and debase yourselves.
Never allow any person, under the pretended sanction of friendship, 10 be so familiar as to lose a proper respect for you. Never allow them to teaze you on any subject that is disagreeable, or where you have once taken your resolution. Many will tell you that this is inconsistent with the frcedom which friendship allows, but a certain respect is necessary in friendsliip as well as in love : without it you may be liked as a chill, but wiil never be loved as an equal. The temper and disposition of the heart, in your sex, make you enter more readily into friendships than
Your natural propensity to it is so strong, that you often run into intimacies which you soon have sufficient cause to repent of; and this makes your friendships so very fluctuating.
Another great obstacle to the sincerity, as well as steadiness of your friendships, is the great clashing of your interests in the pursuits of love, ambition, or vanity. For these reasons it would appear at first sight more eligible for you to contract your friendships with the men. Among other obvious advantages of an easy intercourse between the two sexes, it occasions an emulation and exertion in each to excel and be agreea. ble : bence their respective excellencies are mutually communicated and bitended. As their interests ir: nọ degree interfere, there can be no
foundation for jealousy or suspicion of rivalship: The friendship of a man for a woman is always blended with a tenderness which he nerer feels for one of his own sex, even where love is in no degree concernede Besides, we are conscious of a natural title you have to our protectiou and good offices; and therefore we feel an additional obligation of honor to serve you, and to observe an inviolable secresy, whenever you confide in tis.
But apply these observations with great caution. Thousands of women, of the best hearts and finest talents, have been ruined by men who approached them under tho specious name of friendship. But, supposing a man to have the most undoubted honor, yet his friendhip to a woman is so near akin to love, that if she be very agreeable
1 her person, she will probably very soon find a lover where she only wishes to meet a friend. Let me here, however, warn you against that eakness so common among vain women, the imagination that every ::an who takes particular notice of you is a lover. Nothing can ex
ose you more to ridicule, than the taking ap aman on the suspicion It' bis being your lover, who, perhaps, never once thought of you in at view; thus giving yourselves those airs so common among silly woven on such occasions."
I am, &c
There is a kind of unmeaning gallantry much practiced by some men, which if you have any discernment you will really find very harınless. Men of this sort will attend you to public places, and be viseful to you by a number of little observances, which those of a superior class do not BO well understand, or have not leisure to regard, or perhaps are too proud to submit to. Look on the compliments of such men as words of course, which they repeat to every agreeable woman of their acquaintance. There is a familiarity they are apt to assume, which a proper dignity in your behavior will be casily able to check.
There is a different species of men, whom you may like as agrecable companions, men of worth, taste, and genius, whose conversation, in some respects, may be superior to what you generally meet with among chose of your own sex. It will be foolish in you to deprive yourself of a useful and agrceable acquaintance, merely because idle people say he is your lover. Such a man may like your company, without having ang design upon your person. People whose sentiments, and articularly whyse taste correspond, naturally like to associate together, although nei. ther of them have the most distant view of aty further connexion. But, DJ this similarity of minds often gives rise to a more tender attachment tian friendship, it will be proper to keep a watchful eye over yourselves, Jest your hearts become too far engaged before you are aware of it.
At the same time, I do not think that your sex, at least in inis part of the world, have much of that sensibility which disposes to suih attachments. What is commonly called love arnong you is rather gratitude, and partiality to the man who prefers you to the rest of your sex ; and sucb a man you often marry, with little either of personal esteem of affection. Indeed, without an unusual share of natural sensibility, and
a very peculiar good fortune, a woman in this country has very little probability of marrying for love. It is a maxim laid down among you, and a very prudent one it is, that love is not to begin on your part, but is 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 is any of them distinguishes ber 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 attached to her, it is still extremely improbable that he should be the man in the world her heart most ap proved 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 good liking and friendship. In the course of his acquaintance he contracts an attachment to you. When you per. ceive it, it excites your gratitude; this gratitude rises into a preference, and this preference perhaps at last advances to some degree of attache ment, especially if it meets with crosses and difficulties; for these, and a state of suspense, are very great incitements to attachment, and are whe food of love in both sexes. If attachment was not excited in youts sex in this manner, there is not one in a million of you that would 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 because Ire gives her that preference. But, if a man unfortunately becomes attach ed to a woman whose heart is secretly pre-engaged, his attachment, instead of obtaining a suitable return, is particularly offensive, and if Ire persist to teaze her, 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 easily as 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 al. ways prove sufficient for her security. The dark and crooked paths of cunning are unsearchable and inconceivable to an honorable and elevatad mud.
The following, I apprehend, are the most genuine effects of an honorable passion among the men, and the most difficult 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 being fortunate. True love in all its stages seeks concealment, and never expects sic
It renders a man not only respectful, but timid in the highest de gree, in his behavior to the woman he loves. To conceal the awe he stands in of her, he may affect pleasantry, but it sits awkwardly on bim, and he quickly reiapses into seriousness, if not into dulluess. He magnifies all her real perfections in his imagination, and is either blind to her failings, or converts them into real beauties. Like a person com. scious of guilt, he is jealous that every eye observes him; and to avoid chis he shurr all the little bservances of common gallantry His heart
and his character will be improved in every respect by his attachment. His manner will become more gentle, and his conversation more agree. able ; but diffidence and embarrassment will always make him appcar to disadvantage in the company of his mistress. If te fascination con tinues long it will totally depress his spirit, and extinguish every active, vigorous, and manly principle of his mind.
When you observe in a gentleman's behavior these marks which I have described above, reflect seriously what you are to do. If his at. tachment is agreeable to you, I leave you to do as nature, good senso, and delicacy shall direct you. If
you love him, let me advise you nerer to discover to him the full extent of your love, no, not although you marry bin. That sufficiently shows your preference, which is als 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 sense he will not ask it for his own. This is an unpleasant truth, but I thought it my duty to let you know it. Violent love cannot subsist, at least cannot be expressed long together on both sides : otherwise the certain consequence, howev. er concealed, is satiety and disgust.
My zeal for your welfare has excited me to throw together these few thoughts, which I flatter myself will sink deep into your memory, and be of some use to you, at the time you stand most in need of assistance
I reinain yours affectionately, &c.
LETTER 144. From a Father to his Daughters, on Courtship and Coquettish Be
havior. DEAR DAUGHTERS,
In my last I laid before you my thoughts on love and friendship, and now proceed to consider some other particulars very essential to your happiness. 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 honorably and humanely. Do not let him linger in a miserable suspense, but be anxious to let him know your sentiments with regard to him.
However people's hearts may deceive them, there is scarcely a per. son that can love for any time, without at least some distant hope of
If you really wish to undeceive a lover, you may do it in a va. riety of ways: there is a certain species of familiarity in your behavior, which may satisfy him, if he has any discernment left, that he has nothing to hope for. "But perhaps your particular temper may not permit of this—you may easily show that you want to avoid his company; but if he is a man whose friendship you wish to preserve, you may not choose this method, because then you lose him in every capacity. You may get a common friend to explain matters to him, or fall on many other devices, if you are seriously anxious to put him out of suspense.
But, if you are resolved against every such method, at least do not shun opportunities of letting him explain himself. If you do this you act barbarously and unjustly. If he bring you to an explanation, give him a polite, but resolute and decisive answer. In whatever way you
ponrey your sentiments to him, if he is a man of spirit and delicacy, he will give you no farther trouble, wr apply to your friends for their inter. session. This last is a method of courtship which every man of spirit will disdain. Ile never will whine or sue for your pity. That would mortify almost as much as your scorn. In short, you may break such a heart, but you can never bend it Great pride always accompanies delicacy, however concealed under the appe trance of the utmost gentlenesa and modesty, and is the passion of all others the most difficult to con quer.
There is a case where a woman may coquette justifiably to the utmost verge which her conscience will allow. It is where a gentleman pur posely declines to make his addresses till such time as he thinks himself perfectly sure of her consent. This at bottom is intended to force a wow man to give up the undoubted privilege of her sex, the privilege of refusing it; it is intended to force her to explain herself, in effect, before the gentleman designs to do it, and by this means to oblige her to violate the modesty and delicacy of her sex, and to invert the clearest order of nature. All this sacrifice is proposed to be made, merely to gratify a most despicable vanity in a man, who would degrade the very woman whom he wishes to make his wife.
It is of great importance to distinguish, whether a gentleman who has the appearance of being your lover, delays to speak explicitly, from the motive I have mentioned, or from a diffidence inseparable from the attachment. In the one case you can scarcely use him too ill; in the other you ought to use him with great kindness : and the greatest kindness you can show him, if you are determined not to listen to his addresses is to let him know it as soon as possible.
I know the many excuses with which women endeavor to justify themselves to the world and to their own consciences, when they act otherwise. Sometimes they plead ignorance, or at least uncertainty of the gentleman's real sentiments. That sometimes may be the case. Sometimes they plead the decorum of their sex, which enjoins an equal behavior to all men, and forbids them to consider any man as a lover antil he has directly told them so. Perhaps few women carry their idleua of female delicacy and decorum so far as I do. But I must say you are got entitled to plead the obligation of these virtues in opposition to the superior ones of gratitude, justice, and humanity. The man is entitled to all those who prefers you to all the rest of your sex, and perhaps whose greatest weakness is that very preference. The truth of the maller is, vanity and the love of admiration is so prevailing a passion Amongst yuri, that you may be considered to make a very great sacrible, whenever you give up a lover, till after the art of coquetry fails to keep him, or till he forces you to an explanation. You can be fond of the love, when you are indifferent to, or despise the lover. - But the deepest and most areful o quetry is employed by women of superior taste and sense, to engage an': fix-the heart of a man whom the world, and. whom they themselves estcem, although they are firmly determined ner e to marry him. Bu'. his conversation amuses them, and his attachmem is the highest gratification to their vanity; nay, they can sometimes be
atified with the utter ruin of his fortune, fame and happiness. I am ery certain I do not think so or all your sex ; I know many of them