lover, and treating his wife like å mistress, but wants a reasonable companion and true friend through every stage of life. It must be therefore your business to quality yourself for those offices, wherein I will not fail to be your director as long as I shall think you deserve it, by letting you know how you are to act, and what you ought to

And beware of despising or neglecting my instructions, whereon will depend not only your making a good figure in the world, but your own real happiness, as well as that of the person, who ought to be the dearest to you.

I must therefore desire you, in the first place, to be very slow in changing the modest 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 signify, in all companies, that they were no longer gavls, 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 entered into that state, rather chose to double their portion of modesty and reservedness.! 5. 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 disgustful to all who have good breeding or good sense, that they assigni twa very; unamiable reasons for it, the one is gross hypderisy, the other has too bad a pame 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


, , THE SECRETARY. . present has a better claim to all marks of civility and distinction from you. Conceal your esteeni and love in your own breast; 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 described in a French roniance.

Upon this lead I should likewise advise you, to differ in practice from those ladies who affect abundance of uneasiness while their husbands are abroad, start with every knock at the door, and ring the bell incessantly for the servants to let their master in ; will not eat a bit at dinner or supper if her 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 shrew from Billingsgate would be the more easy and eligible companion. 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 a return home, without the least allowance for business, or sickness, or accidents, or weather : upon which I can only:sayı

, that, in my observation, those ladies who are apt to make the greatest clatter on stich occasions would liberally have paid a messenger for bringing them news that their husbands had broken their necks on the road. You will

, perhaps be offended, when I advise you to abate a little of that violent passion for fine clothes so predominant in your sex. It is a little hard, that ours, for whose sake you wear theizi, are not admitted to be of your council, I may ven, ture to affirm, that we will make an abatement at any time of four pounds a year in a brocade, if the ladies will but allow a suitable addition of cleanliness and siteetness in their persons ; for the


satyrical 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 äpt to fall short in cultivating comeliness and finery together? I shall only add, upon so tehder a subject, what a pleasant gentleman said concerning a silly woman of quality, That nothing could inakt 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 stile 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 resolution to proceed in your practice and behaviour directly contrary to whatever they shall say or do; and this I take to be a good general rule with very few exceptions. For instance, in the doctrines they usually deliver to young married women for managing their husbands; their several accounts of their conduct in that particular, to recommend it to your imitation; the reflections they make upon others of their sex for acting differently, their directions to come off with victory, upon any clispute or quarrel you may have with your husband; the arts by which you may discover and practise upon his weak side ; when to work by flattery and insinuation, when to melt him with tears, and when to 'engage with a high hand. In these, 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 theni


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 u 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 consist of men rather than women. To say

the truth, I never knew a. tolerable woman to be fond of her own sex. I confess, when both are mixed and well chosen, and put their qualities forward, there may be an intercourse of civility and good-will, which, with the addition of some degree of sense, can make conversation or amusement agreeable ; but a knot of ladies got together by themselves, is a very school of impertinence and detraction; and it is well if those be the worst.

Let your men acquaintance be of your husband's choice, and not recommended to you by any she companions, because they will surely fix a coxcomb

upon you ; and it will cost you some time and pains before can arrive at the knowledge of. distinguishing such a one from a man of sense.

Never take a favorite waiting-inaid into your cabinet-council, to entertain you with histories of those ladies wbom she has formerly served, of their diversions and their dressings; to insinuate how great a fortune you brought, and how little you are allowed to, squander; to appeal to her from your husband, and to be determined by her judgment, because you are sure it will always be for you; to; receive and discard, servants by her approbation and dislike-; to engage you, by her insinuations into misunderstandings with your best friends ;. to re .



present all things in false colours, and to be the common emissary of scandal.

But the great affair of your life will be to gain and preserve the friendship and esteem of your husband. You are married to a man of good education and learning, of an excellent understanding, and an exact taste, it is true; and it is happy for you that these qualities in him are adorned withi great modesty, a most amiable sweetness of temper, and an unusual disposition to sobriety and virtue! but neither good-nature nor virtue will suffer him toesteem you against his judgment. And although he is not capable of using you ill; yet you will, in time, grow a thing indifferent, and perhaps contemptible, unless you can supply the loss of youth and beauty with more durable qualities. You have but a very few years to be young and handsome in the eyes of the world, and as few months to be so in the eyes of a husband who is not a fool; for I hope you do not still dream of charms and raptures, which marriage ever did and ever will put an end to. Besides

yours was a match of prudence and common good-liking, without any mixture of that ridiculous passion, which has no being but in play-books and romances.

You must use, therefore, all endeavours to attain ta some degree of those accomplishments which your husband most values in other people, and for which he is most valued himself; you must improve your mind by pursuing such a method of study as I shall direct or approve of; you must get a collection of history and travels, which I will recommend to you, and spend some hours every day in reading of them, and making extracts from them. If your memory be weak, you must invite persons of knowledge and understanding to an acquaintance with you, by whose conversation yon may learn to correct your taste and judgment; and


« ElőzőTovább »