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lows, to the last moment of their lives. Most of them marry again, and are so much better than their neighbours, as they are made honest women twice over; and that reputation must be more than commonly tender, which two coats of plaster will not keep together.
As a farther temptation to our young wives not to wait the tedious course of nature, but to make themselves widows of living husbands, as soon as they can, they will recollect that they insure advantages to themselves thereby which natural widows do not enjoy; for, in the first place, they avoid a year's mourning which is a consideration not to be despised; in the next place, they have precedents for marrying in the first week of their widowhood; and as it is the general practice to choose their gallants, they certainly run no risk of taking a step in the dark, which widows sometimes have been suspected to repent of; thirdly, they escape all bickerings and jealousies, which disturb the peace of families, by the common practice of ladies putting their second husband in mind of what their first husband would have done, or would have said, on this or that occasion, had he been alive.—' Things were not so in my first husband's time—Oh that my first husband were living, he would not suffer this or that thing to pass, this or that man to use me after such a mannerare familiar expressions in the family dialogues of second wives in the regular order ; whereas the Irre, gulars never cast these taunts in the teeth of their spouses, because they know the answer is ready at hand, if they did.
The Irregulars have also frequent opportunities of shewing their affability and sweetness of temper, upon meeting their first husbands in public places and mixed companies; the graceful acknowledgment of a respectful courtesy, a downcast look of mo
dest sensibility, or the pretty flutter of embarrassment, are incidents upon an unexpected rencontre, which a well-bred woman knows how to make the most of, and are sure to draw the eyes of the company upon her.
If, on the other hand, a lady on her divorce chooses to revive her maiden title, and take post in her former rank, the law will probably give her back as good a title to her virgin name as it found her with. She also has her advantages ; for at the same time that she is free from the encumbrances of matrimony, she
escapes the odious appellation of old maid: such a lady has the privilege of public places without being pinned to the skirts of an old dowager, like other misses ; she can also indulge a natural passion for gaming to a greater length than spinsters dare to go; she can make a repartee, or smile at a doubleentendre, when a spinster only bites her lips, or is put to the troublesome resource of her fan, when she ought to blush, but cannot. Before I turned
these and other advantages so preponderating in favour of divorces, I used to wonder why our legislature was so partial to suitors, and gave such notorious encouragement and facility to Acts of Parliament for their relief and accommodation; I now see the good policy of the measure, and how much the ease of his majesty's good subjects is thereby consulted. It is confessed that there is a short monition in the decalogue against this practice, but nobody insists upon it: there are also some texts scattered up and down in Holy Writ to the same purport, but no well-bred preacher ever handles such topics in his pulpit; and if a fine lady should ever read a chapter in the Bible, or hear it read to her, it is very easy to skip over those passages, and every polite person knows it is better to make a breach in any thing, than in good manners to a lady.
Our English ladies, by the frequency of their incontinence, and the divorces thence ensuing, have not only furnished out a most amusing library to young students of both sexes, but they have effectually retrieved the characters of our wives from sinking into contempt with foreigners, on account of their domestic insipidity and attachment to the dull duties of a family. This was once the general opinion which other nations entertained of our matrons; but upon a late tour through a great part of the continent of Europe, I found it was entirely reversed, and ideas more expressive of their spirit universally adopted.
It may well be expected that the influx of foreigners, and the outflow of natives, which the present peace will occasion, will not suffer the pretensions of our ladies to lose ground in this particular : our French neighbours are certainly good critics in gallantry, and they need not now stand in dread of a repulse from the women of England, whatever they may apprehend from the men.
Much more occurs to me on this subject, but these premises will serve to introduce an idea, which if the several ladies, who have stood trial, would club their wits to assist me in, might be rendered practicable, and that is, of reducing infamy to a system by rules and regulations of manners, tending to the propagation and increase of divorces in Great Britain. A few loose hints occur to me on this subject, but I offer them with the utmost submission to better judges, simply as rudiments in the art; the refinements must be left to those who are professors.
• As early impressions are strongest and most lasting, I would advise all mothers, who wish to train their daughters after the above system, to put them in their infancy under the care of those commodious adies, whom we vulgarly call Mademoiselles, as the
best forcers of early plants; under whose tuition young ladies have been known to get so forward as to have pretty notions of firtation at the tender age of six years ; at eight years they can answer questions in the catechism of gallantry; before they reach their tenth summer they can leer, ogle, talk French, write sonnets, play with the footman, and go through their exercise to admiration; I would then put them to their studies, of which the annals above mentioned will be a principal part: the circulating libraries will furnish out a considerable catalogue, and Mademoiselle will supply them with French memoirs, novels, &c. &c. At the age of twelve it will be proper to send them to the boarding-school, and there they will have the opportunity of making female friendships with their seniors in age, by which they will greatly edify : in the holiday vacations they will correspond with their boarding-school associates, and these letters should be sacred and inviolable, by which means they may carry on an intercourse of thoughts without reserve, and greatly improve their style.
"When two years have been thus employed, they must be brought to London to be finished under the best masters, most of which should be recommended by Mademoiselle ; and in their intervals from study they will be allowed to relax their minds in the company of their mother, by looking on at the cardtables, reposing themselves after their fatigue upon sofas, informing themselves of the intrigues of the town, qualifying themselves in a proper familiarity of manners by calling young men by their surnames, romping occasionally with the gallants of their mother, when she is out of sight, and, above all things, cultivating intimacies with their late schoolfellows, who are come out into the world.
• When their hair is off their foreheads, it will be
necessary they should lay out professedly for admirers amongst the young rakes of fashion, and for this purpose
I particularly recommend to them the tea-room at the Opera-house, where I would have them stay out all the company, and then commit themselves to their gallants to find out their coaches, who will be sure to lead them through all the blind alleys, and never carry them to the right door till the last, by which time the carriages of these gallants will be drove off, and then common charity will compel them to bring the obliging creatures home in theirs.
• All this while I would have them put entire confidence in Mademoiselle, whose good nature will accommodate them in any little notes or messages they may have to manage, and whose opinion in dress will be so indispensable, that it will be proper to take her out with them to all milliners' shops, artificialflower makers, and masquerade warehouses, for advice. If the young fellows will come to these places at the same time, who can help it? Mademoiselle will go
down to call the servants, and ten to one if they are not gone to the alehouse, and the coach is out of the way, in spite of all her pains to find it.
• When they have made a strong attachment, and consequences are to be apprehended, it will be time for them to think of marriage, but on no account with the man of their heart, for that would interr ept friendship : any body, who can make a settleme at, can make a husband, and that husband can mal;e his wife her own mistress, and every body's else, that she pleases; Mademoiselle becomes femme de chambre, and when her lady is disposed for divorce, chief witness
upon her trial; a picturesque scene is chosen for the frontispiece, the heroine figures in the printshops, her fame is sounded in the brothels, and her career of infamy is completed.'