« ForrigeFortsett »
such knowledge is not to be obtained without a miracle, under the frequent, corrupt, and suttish methods of educating those who are born to wealth or titles. For I would have it remembered, that I do by no means confine these remarks to young persons of noble birth ; the same errors running thro' all families, where there is wealth enough to afford, that their fons (at least the eldest) may be good for nothing. Why should my son be a scholar, when it is not intended that he should live by his learning ? By this rule, if what is commonly said be true, that money answereth all things, why should my son be honest, temperate, juft, or charitabie, since he hath no intention to depend upon any of these qualities for a maintenance ?
When all is done, perhaps upon the whole the matter is not so bad, as I would make it ; and God, who worketh good out of evil, acting only by the ordinary course and rule of nature, permits this continual circu. lation of human things for his own unsearchable ends. The father grows rich by avarice, injustice,
, oppresuon ; he is a tyrant in the neighbourhood over slaves and beggars, whom he calls his tenants. Why should he desire to have qualities infused into his son, which himself never poffeffed or knew, or found the want of in the acquisition of his wealth ? The fon, bred in floth and idleness, becomes a spendthrift, a cully, a profiigate, and goes out of the world a beggar, as his father came in. Thus the former is punished for his own fins, as well as for those of the latter. The dunghill, having raised a huge mushroom of Mort duration, is now spread to enrich other men's lands. It is indeed of worse consequence, where noble families are gone to decay, because t'icir titles and privileges outlive their eslates ; and politicians tell us, that nothing is more dangerous to the public, than a numerous nobility, without merit or fortune. But even biere God hath likewise prescribed some remedy in the order of nature ; so many great families coming to an end by the Moth, luxury, and abandoned luft, which enervated their breed through every succession, producing gradually a more effeminate race, wholly unfit for propagation.
A LETTER to a very YOUNG LADY on
'HE hurry and impertinence of receiving and payover, you are beginning to enter into a course of life, where you will want much advice to divert
from falling into many errors, fopperies, and follies, to which your sex is subject. I have always borne an entire friendship to your father and mother; and the person they have chosen for your husband, hath been for some years past my particular favourite ; I have long wished you might come together, because I hoped, that, from the goodness of your disposition, and by following the counsel of wise friends, you might in time make yourself worthy of him. Your parents were fo far in the right, that they did not produce you much into the world ; whereby you avoided many wrong steps, which others have taken, and have fewer ill impressions to be removed ; but they failed, as it is generally the case, in too much neglecting to cultivate your mind; without which it is impossible to acquire or preserve the friendship and efteem of a wise man, who foon grows weary of acting the lover, and treating his wife like a mistress, but wants a reasonable companion, and a true friend, through every stage of his life. It must be therefore your bufiness to qualify yourself for those offices; wherein I will not fail to be your director, as long as I fall think you deserve it, by letting you know how you are to act, and what you ought to avcid.
And beware of despising or neglecting my instructions ; whereon will depend not only your making a good fin gure in the world, but your own real happiness, as well as that of the person who ought to be the dearest to you. Vol. VII. S
• This letter ought to be read by all new married women; and will be read with pleasure and advantage by the most distinguished and most accomplished ladies. Orrery.
I must therefore defire you, in the first place, to be very flow in changing the modeft behaviour of a virgin. It is usual in young wives, before they have been many weeks married, to assume a bold forward look, and manner of talking ; as if they intended to fignify in all companies, that they were no longer girls, and consequently that their whole demeanor, before they got a husband, was all but a countenance and constraint upon their nature : whereas, I suppose, if the votes of wise men were gathered, a very great majority would be in favour of those ladies, who, after they were entered into that state, rather chose to double their portion of mo. defty and reservednefs.
I must likewise warn you strictly against the least degree of fondness to your husband before any witness whatsoever, even before your nearest relations, or the very maids of your chamber. This proceeding is so exceeding odious and disguftful to all who have either good breeding or good sense, that they assign two very unamiable reasons for it. The one is grofs hypocrisy
, and the other has too bad a name to mention. If there is any difference to be made, your husband is the lowest person in company, either at home or abroad; and every gentleman present has a better claim to all marks of civility and distinction from you. Conceal your esteem and love in your own breast, and reserve your kind looks and language for private hours; which are so many in the four and twenty, that they will afford time to employ a passion as exalted as any that was ever de scribed in a French romance.
Upon this head I should likewise advise you to differ in practice from those ladies who affect abundance of uneafiness while their husbands are abroad; start with every knock at the door, and ring the beil inceffantly for the servants to let in their master; will not eat a bit at dinner or supper, if the husband happens to stay out; and receive him at his return with such a medley of chiding and kindness, and catechising him where he has been, that a fhrew from Billingsgate would be a more easy and eligible companion.
Of the same leaven are those wives, who, when their husbands are gone a journey, must have a letter
every post upon pain of fits and hysterics ; and a day must be fixed for their return home, without the leait allowance for business, or sickness, or accidents, or weather. Upon which I can only say, that, in my observation, those ladies who are apt to make the greatest clutter on such occasions, would liberally have paid a messenger for bringing them news, that their hus. bands had broken their necks on the road.
You will perhaps be offended, when I advise you to abate a little of that violent pasion for fine cleaths so predominant in your sex. It is a little hard, that ours, for whose fake you wear them, are not admitted to be of your council. I may venture to assure you, that we will make an abatement at any time of four pounds ayard in a brocade, if the ladies will but allow a suitable addition of care in the cleanliness + and sweetness of their persons. For the satirical part of mankind will needs believe, that it is not impossible to be very fine and very filthy; and that the capacities of a lady are sometimes apt to fall short in cultivating cleanliness and finery together. I fhall only add, upon lo tender a subject, what a pleasant gentleman said concerning a filly woman of quality, That nothing could make her supportable but cutting off her head; for his ears were offended by her tongue, and his nose by her hair and teeth.
I am wholly at a loss how to advise you in the choice: of company ; which, however, is a point of as great importance as any in your life. If your general acquaintance be among ladies, who are your equals or superiors, provided they have nothing of what is commonly called an ill reputation, you think you are safe; and this, in the style of the world, will pass for good company: whereas I am afraid, it will be hard for you to pick out one female acquaintance in this town, from whom you will not be in manifest danger of contracting some foppery, affectation, vanity, folly, or vice. Your only safe way of conversing with them, is, by a firm refoluti on to proceed in your practice and behaviour directly
+ The reader will easily perceive, that this letter and the description of a lady's dressing room, in vol. 6. p: 353. were nor. written in England. Hawkes:
contrary to whatever they shall say or do. And this I take to be a good general rule, with very few excepti
For instance : In the doctrines they usually deliver to young married women for managing their husbands : Their several accounts of their own conduct in that particular, to recommend it to your imitation ; the reflections they make upon others of their sex for acting differently; their directions, how to come off with victory upon any dispute or quarrel you may have with your husband; the arts, by which you may discover and practise upon his weak fide ; when to work by flattery and infinuation, when to melt him with tears, and when to engage with a high hand : in there, and a thousand other cases, it will be prudent to retain as many of their lectures in your memory as you can, and then determine to act in full opposition to them all.
I hope your husband will interpose his authority to limit you
in the trade of visiting. Half a dozen fools are, in all conscience, as many as you should require : and it will be sufficient for you to see them twice a-year ; for I think the fashion does not exact, that visits should be paid to friends.
I advise, that your company at home should consift of men, rather than women. To say the truth, I never yet knew a tolerable woman to be fond of her own sex.” I confess, when both are mixed and well chofen, and put their best qualities forward, there may be an intercourse of civility and good will ; which, with the addition of some degree of fense, can make conversation or any amusement agreeable. But a knot of ladies, got together by themselves, is a very school of impertinence and detraction, and it is well if thofe be the worst.
Let your men-acquaintance be of your husband's choice, and not recommended to you by any the companions; because they will certainly fix a coxcomb upon you, and it will cost you some time and pains before you can arrive at the knowledge of distinguishing such a one from a man of sense.
Never take a favourite waiting maid into your ca. binet-council, to entertain you with histories of those ladies whom she hath formerly served, of their diversions.