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have principles save generosity and dignity of soul, that e.evates them above the worthless vanity I lave been speaking of. Such a woman,
I am persuaded, may always convert a lover, if she cannot give him her affections, into a warm and steady friend, provided he is a man of sense, resolution and candor. If she explains herself to b'm with a generous openness and freedom, he must feel the stroke as a man ; but he will likewise bear it as a man; what he suffers he will Kiffer in silence. Every sentiment of esteem will remain • bot love, though it requires very little food, and is easily surfeited with too much, yet it requires some. He will view her in the light of a married woman; and though passion subsides, yet a man of a candid and generous hcart always retains a tenderness for a woman be has once loved, and who has used him well, beyond what he feels for any other of her sex.
If he has not confided his secret to any body, he has an undoubted title to ask you not to divulge it. If a woman chooses to trust any of her companions with her own unfortunate attachments, she may, as it is ber affair alone; but, if she has any generosity or gratitude, she will not betray a secret which does not belong to lier.
I am, &c. LETTER 145. From the same to the same, on the foregoing subject. DEAR DAUGHTERS,
I have insisted the more particularly on the subject of courtship beo cause it may most readily happen to you at that early period of life, when you can have little experience or knowledge of the world, when your passions are warın, and your judgments not arrived at such full maturity as to be able to correct them. I wish you to possess such high principles of honor and generosity as will render you incapable of deceiving, and at the same time to possess that acute discernment which may secure you against being deceived.
Male coquetry is much more inexcusable than female, as well as more pernicious; but it is rare in this country. Very few men will give themselves the trouble to gain or retain any woman's affections unless they have views in them either of an honorable or dishonorable kind, Men employed in the pursuits of business, ambition, or pleasure, will not give themselves the trouble to engage a woman's affections, nierely from the vanity of conquest, and of triumphing over the heart of an inaocent and defenceless girl. Besides, people never value much what is cutirely in their power. A man of parts, sentiment, and address, if he keys aside all regard to truth and humanity, may engage the hearts of fifty women at the same time, and may likewise conduct his coquetry with so much art as to put it out of the power of any of them to specify 2 singlo expression that could be said to be directly expressive of love. This ambiguity of behavior, this art of keeping ong in suspense, is the freat art of coquetry in both sexes. It is the more cruel in us, because we can carry it to what length we please, and continue it as long as we please, without your being so much at liberty as to complain or expor kulate : whereas we can break our chain, and force you to explain, whenever we become impatient of our situation.
A woina , in this country, may easily prevent the first impressions
ore, and (very m (me s' prudence and delicacy should make her g jard her leart against them, till such time as she has received the most con. vicing proofs of the attachment of ? 13. of such merit as will justify a reciprocal regard. Your hearts indeed may be shut inflexibly and permanently against all the merit a man may possess. That may be your misfortune, but cannot be your fault. 'In such a situation, you would be equally unjust to yourself and your lover, if you gave him
your hand wlien your heart revolted against him. But miserable will be pour fate if you allow an attachment to steal on you before you are sure of a return; or what is infinitely worse, where are wanting those qual ities which alone can insure happiness in a married state.
I know nothing that renders a woman more despicable than her think ing it essential to happiness to be married ! Besides the gross indelicacy of the sentiment, it is a false one, as thousands of women have experienced. But, if it was true, the belief that it was so, and the consequent impautilce to be married, is the most effectual way to put kent it.
You must think from this that I do not wish you to marry. On the contrary, I am of opinion that you may attain a superior degree of hap piness in a married state to what you may perhaps find in any other. I know the forlorn and unprotected state of an old maid, the chagrin and peevishness which are apt to infect their tempers, and the great difficul y of making a transition with dignity and cheerfulness, from the perioa of youth, beauty, admiration, and respect, into the calm, silent, un... Liced retreat of declining years.
I see some unmarried women, of active, vigorous minds, and of great vivacity of spirits, degrading themselves ; sometimes by entering into a dissipated course of life unsuitable to their years, and exposing them selves to the ridicule of the girls, who might have been tireir granchil dren; sometimes by oppressing their acquaintances by impertinent i.. trusions into their private affairs; and sometimes oy being propagatoss of scandal and defamation. All this is owing to an exuberant activim of spirits, which, if it had found employment at home, would have res dered them respectable and usesul members of society.
I see other women in the same situation, gentle, modest, blessed with sense, taste, delicacy, and every milder feminine virtue of the heart, but of weak spirits, bashful and timid; I see such women sinking into obscurity and insignificance, and gradually losing every elegant accom plislunent, for this evident reason, that they are not with a partner who has sense, worth, and taste, to know their value; one wiio is able op draw forth their concealed qualities, and show them to advantage; who can give that support to their feeble spirits, which they stand in so much need of; and who by his affection and tenderness might make such a woman happy in exerting every elegant art, that could contribiste to bis ainusement.
In short, I am of opinion, that a married state, if entered into from proper motives of esteem and affection, will be the happicst for youpselves, make you most respectable in the eyes of the world, and the most useful members of society. But I confess I am not enough o' a patriot to wish you to marry for the good of the public. I wish you to marry for no other reason but to make yourselves happier When I am $0 particular in my advice about your conduct, I own my heart beats with the fond hopes of making you worthy the attachment of men who will deserve you, and be sensible of your merit
. But I sincerely hope you will never relinquish the ease and independence of a single life, to become the slaves of a fool or tyrant's caprice.
As these hare always been my sentiments, I shall do you but justice, when I wish you in such independent circumstances as may lay you under no temptation to do from necessity what you will never do from choice. This will ikewise save you from that cruel mortification to a woman of spirit, the suspicion that a gentlman thinks he does you a bonor or a favor when he asks you for his wife.
I am, &c LETTER 146. From'a Father to his Daugh'ers, on Marriage. DEAR DAUGHTERS,
You may perhaps imagine that the reserved behavior which I recommend to you, and your appearing but seldom at public places, must cut off all opportunities of your being acquainted with gentlemen.
I am very far from intending this ; I advise you to no reserve but what will render you more respected and beloved by our sex. I do not think public places suited to make people acquainted together. They can on. ly be distinguished there by their looks and external behavior. But it is in private companies alone where you can expect easy and agreeable conversation, which I shall never wish you to decline. If you do no: allow gentlemen to become acquainted with you, you never can exper. to marry with attachment on either side. Love is very seldom produ ed at first sight; at least it must have, in that case, a very unjustifiable foundation. True love is founded on esteem, in a correspondence of tastes and sentiments, and steals on the heart imperceptibly.
There is one piece of advice I shall leave you, to which I beg you particlar attention. Before your affections come to be in the least en. gaged to any man, examine your tempers, your taste, and your hearts very severely; and settle in your own minds, what are the requisites to your happiness in a married state ; and as it is almost impossible that you should get every thing to your wish, come to a steady determination what you are to consider as essential, and what may be sacrificed.
If you have hearts disposed by nature for love and friendship, and possess those feelings which enable you to enter into all the refinements and deličacies of these attachments, consider well, for your own sake, and as you value your future happiness, before you give them any indul. gence. If you have the misfortune (for a very great misfortune it com. monly is to your sex) to have such a temper and such sentiments deep. rooted in you ; if you have spirit and resolution to resist the solicitations of vanity, the persecution of friends, (you will have lost the only friend that would never persecute you) and can support the prospect of the ma. ny inconveniencies attending the state of an old maid, which I formerly pointed out--then you may indulge yourself in that kind of sentinental reading and conversation which is most correspondent to your feelinge. But if you ind, on a strio self-exam Jation, that marriage is ahora
kutely essential to your happiness, keep the secret :violable A your own bosoms, for the reasons I formerly mentioned; but shun, as you would the most fatal poison, all that species of reading and conversation which warnız the imagination, which engages and softens the heart, and raise es the taste above the level of common life. If you do otherwise, consider the terrible conflict of passions which this may afterwards raise in your breasts.
If this refinement once takes deep root in your minds, and you do not obey its dictates, but marry from vulgar and mercenary views, you may never be able to eradicate it entirely; and then it will embitter all your garried days. Instead of meeting with sense, delicacy, tenderness, a love:, a friend, an equal companion, in a husband, you may be tirts kiti insipidity and dullness, shocked with indelicacy, or mortified with indifference. You will find none to compassionate or even understand your sufferance; for your husbands may not use you cruelly, and may give you as much money for your clothes, personal expense, and domestic necessaries, as is suitable to their fortunes; the world would therefore look upon you as unreasonable women, who did not deserve to be hapo py, if you were not so. To avoid these complicated evils, if you are determined at all events to marry, I would advise you to make all your reading and amusements of such a kind as do not affect the heart, por the imagination.
I have no view by these advices to lead your taste ; I only want to persuade you of the necessity of knowing your own minds, which, though seemingly very easy, is what your sex seldom attain on many important occasions in life, but particularly on this of which I am speak ing. There is not a quality I more anxiously wish you to possess than a collected decisive spirit which rests on itself, which enables you to see where your true happiness lies, and to pursue it with the most determined resolution. In matters of business follow the advice of those who know them better than yourselves, and in whose integrity you can con. fide ; but, in matters of taste, that depend upon your own feelings, con. sult no one friend whatever, but consult your own hearts.
If a gentleman makes his addresses to you, or gives you reason 10 be lieve he will do so, before you allow your affections to be engaged, endeavor, in the most prudent and secret manner, to procure from your friends all necessary information concerning him ; such as his character for sense, his morals, his temper, fortune and family; whether it is die tinguished for parts and worth, or for folly, knavery, and loathsome he
editary diseases. When your friends inform you of these they have ful. filled their duty. If they go further they have not that deference for you which a becoming dignity on your part would effectually command. Whatever views are in marrying, take every possible precaution to prevent their being disappointed. If fortune and the pleasures it brings are your aim, it is not sufficient that the settlement of a jointure anu children's provisions be amply and properly secured; it is necessary tha: you should enjoy the fortune during your own life. The principal se curity you can have for this will depend on your marrying a good natur ed, generous man, who despises money, and who will let you live where vou can best enjoy that pleasure, th3t pomp and parude of life for which vou married him.
I am, &c.
ON LOVE, COURTSHIP, AND BAK RIAGE.
From what I wrote in my last, you will easily see that I auld neve. pretend to advise whom you should marry; but I can with confidence advise whom you should no: marry.
Avoid a companion that may entail any hereditary disease on your posterity ; particularly that most dreadful of all human calamities, mad
It is the neight of imprudence to run into such danger, and, ir my opinion, highly criminal.
Do not marry a fool; he is the most untractable of all animals ; he is led by his passions and caprices, and is incapable of hearing the voice of reason. It may probably too hurt your vanity to have husbands for whom you have reason to blush and tremble every time they open their lips in company. But the worst circumstance that attends a fool is, his constant jealousy of his wife's being thought to govern him. This ren. ders it impossible to lead him, and he is continually doing absurd and disagreeable things, for no other reason but to show he dares to do them
A rake is always a suspicious husband, because he has only known the most worthless of vour sex. He likewise entails the worst of diseases on his wife and children, if he has the misfortune to have any.
If you have a sense of religion yourselves, do not think of husbands who have none.
If they have tolerable understandings they will be glad that you have religion, for their own sake, and for the sake of their Lamilies. If they are weak men, they will be continually teazing and shocking you about your principles. If you have children, you will suffer the most bitter distress in seeing all your endeavors to form their minds to virtue and piety, all your endeavors to secure their present and eternal happiness, frustrated and turned into ridicule.
As I look on your choice of a husband to be of the greatest conse quence to your happiness, I hope you will make it with the utmost cir cumspection. Do not give way to a sudden sally of passion, and digne fy it with the name of love. Genuine love is not founded in caprice; it is founded in nature, on honorable views and virtues, on similarity of taste and sympathy of soul. If you have these sentiments, you will never marry any one when you are no: in that situation, in point of fortune, which is necessary to the happiness of either of you. What that competency may be can only be determined by your own tastes.nIt would be ungenerous in you to take advantage of a lover's attachment to plunge him into distress; and if he has any honor, no personal grat ification will ever tempt him to enter into any connexion which will render you unhappy. If you have as much between you as will satisfy all your demands, it is sufficient. I shall conclude with endeavoring to remove a difficulty which must occur to any woman of reflection, on the subject of marriage.
What is to become of all those refinements of delicacy, that dignity of manner which checked all familiarities, and suspended desire in rem spectful and awful admiration? In answer to this I shall only observe, what is motiver of interest or vanity have any share in your resolutions