Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

a stranger? It sometimes happens, when a married woman has not been led to attend to considerations such as those which have now been suggested, that advice which, if given by the husband, would not have met with a favourable acceptation, is thankfully received from others. To know that this state of things is possible should be a lesson to the husband against misconduct and imprudence; for to them its existence may be owing. But let it also be to the wife an admonition against captiousness and prejudice; for had she been free from them, it could not have existed.

[blocks in formation]

CHAP. XIII.

DUTIES OF MATRIMONIAL LIFE CON

TINUED, WITH A VIEW TO THE DIFFERENT SITUATIONS AND CIRCUMSTANCES OF DIFFERENT INDIVIDUALS.

The reflections which have hitherto been made on the duties of married women have had little reference to particularities of rank or situation. Yet by such particularities, moral advantages and disadvantages, duties and temptations, are in many instances created or diversified. London and the country, elevated rank and a middle station, differ so far from each other in some of the opportunities of good and of evil which they respectively furnish; that a little time and attention may not be unprofitably employed in explaining some of the points of difference, and enforcing

the

the obligations which severally result from them. It will, perhaps, be found that no observation can be addressed to a person resident in the metropolis, which, in certain circumstances, may not be applied with propriety to the conduct of the wife of a country gentleman; nor any admonition suggested to the higher ranks, which may not be transferred with slight alteration to some of the inferior orders of the community. In the remarks therefore which are about to be submitted to the reader, though some of the duties respectively incumbent on married women of different descriptions may, for the sake of perspicuity, be investigated under separate heads, corresponding to the different situations of the parties; I would by no means wish it to be understood, that what is primarily offered to the attention of one class of married women, may not appertain in a certain measure to all.

Among the temptations to which a lady resident in London is by that circumstance

X4

exposed,

upon time.

exposed, few are more ensnaring than those, the primary and immediate effect of which is to encroach

The public amusements, which the metropolis and its precincts afford, are daily seen to prove

fo fascinating by their number and their variety to the younger part of the polite world, as to occupy a very large proportion of the day and of the evening; or, to speak with more propriety, of those hours, whether before or after midnight, during which the polite world is abroad. For it is not merely the time actually spent in the .enjoyment of the amusement which is to be placed to the account. The hours of

preparation which precede, and those of languor and inactivity which follow, equally belong to it. Neither do the scenes of public entertainment lose their power, as far as the consumption of time is in question, over those who, fatiated and palled by tedious familiarity, no longer find in any spectacle or mode of diversion the gratification which it once bestowed. The de

lights of novelty are past; but the chains of fashion and habit are rivetted. The mind, incapable through disuse of relishing better pursuits, experiences in the theatre and the rotunda, if not a positive fatiffaction, yet a relief from the dulness of Vacancy, and the painfulness of intercourse with itself. But it is unnecessary to dwell on a topic which has already been the subject of much observation. Let us turn our thoughts to other circumstances, which, if not peculiar to the capital, yet èxist there to an extent not to be paralleled elsewhere ; and occasion in all places, according to the degree in which they exist, an unprofitable consumption of time, and all the evils attendant on the waste of irrevocable hours,

London is the centre to which almost all the individuals who fill the upper and middle ranks of society are successively attracted. The country pays its tribute to the supreme city. Business, interest, and curiosity, the love of pleasure, the desire of

know

« AnteriorContinuar »