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regard to convenience; but from a cordial esteem of each other, heightened by a tender attachment, which has led you to make choice of each other as companions, independent of a view to the conveniences of travelling in company. You have given yourselves up to each other; and have in the presence of God pledged yourselves to bear each other's burdens, to consult each other's peace of mind, and to concur invariably in endeavouring to render the journey as pleasant to each other as possible. Thus conjoined, you have committed a trust to each other. Neither of you have now your felicity in your own hands. Neither of you have it in your power to be completely happy without the consent of the other. Never may you repent of this surrender. Let me however observe, that a knowledge of the imperfection of human nature makes me anxious for you, lest you, who in the first stage of the journey are rendering the way delightful, by the interchange of every endearment which tenderness can suggest, should sink into the condition of those miserable creatures, to whom the greatest infelicity of the journey is, that they are obliged to travel together. It is not because I perceive any thing in either of you which seems to presage this melancholy change in your situation, that I now see it necessary to guard you against it: but merely because you are human. You are partakers of a nature, the propensities of which, if not corrected by
proper remedies, tend to rob us of every enjoyment.
To avoid the evils into which the infirmities of our nature may plunge us, we should enter betimes on the use of preventives.
THE MARRIED PAIR SHOULD NOT GROW REMISS • IN THEIR ATTENTIONS TO EACH OTHER.
With this view, the first thing to which I exhort you, is an attention to the preservation of that affection for each other which first determined you to be partners for life. In the continuance of this alone, you will find the sufferings of the present state considerably reduced. You are not so unacquainted with the general course of human life, as to expect to pass through the world without trials and difficulties. They are the common lot of bumanity, and you cannot hope for an entire exemption from them. Rough roads, dark nights, and stormy days are to be expected; but while your affections. continue undiminished, you will in this circumstance find a considerable alleviation of the difficulties with which you have to contend. The trials which occur by the way will be less felt, when they serve as occasions of proving afresh the care and tenderness which the travellers have for each other.
When I exhort you to attend to the preser
vation of that affection which first determined you to become partners for life, I am not to be understood as if I expected, that the fervour experienced at its commencement would continue. No; I would apprize you that ere long that will abate. But though time and familiarity will assuredly carry off much of the first ardour, a true affection will receive improvement from time. Time will render it a more chastised, rational, and steady principle; if it be cultivated. If it be cultivated, I say ; otherwise there may be a transition from idolatry to disgust.
To cultivate this kind of affection, neither of you should be remiss in those attentions which you have been accustomed to pay to each other. Let not the husband grow negligent of any of those marks of regard, by which a wife feels herself acknowledged pre-eminently a friend and companion. She perceives herself still distinguished, when all the esteem, compassion, or good manners, which her partner is ready to express to others, is, with a promptitude evidently unstudied, still more cordially shown to her. Conjugal affection is a delicate plant. It cannot thrive under indifference. Sullen taciturnity checks its growth. But it dies, when scarcely any time is spent at home; when everybody can interest the husband in conversation but the wife; when she is the last person thought of in a recreation, or the least considered in an accommodation. None but an idiot can support that sort of treatment, by
which a wife sees herself rated merely as a kind of domestic animal.
Let not, however, the wife be too ready to consider the behaviour of her husband as ex pressive of indifference. Such conclusions often originate in the folly, pride, or petulance of the observer. To prevent our drawing them too hastily, let it be considered, that as an object becomes familiar to us, our esteem of it, though not diminished, naturally becoines a more silent sentiment. A woman must guard against the tormenting disappointments, to which childish expectations render her liable. For there is a childishness in her expecting always to be fondled; and if she does not become more rational in her expectations, this folly will occasion its own punishment; she will fancy there is a disgust taken at her; she will complain, and her complaints will produce it.
There should likewise be some allowance made for what is natural to men : namely, a certain bluntness, through which they seem to be indifferent, when they are not really so. What may seem, to improper judges, inattention to others, to more penetrating observers is manifestly nothing but an honest inattention to themselves; a superiority to the mean arts of those interested creatures, whose chief study is the cultivation of an insinuating address..
But should there appear at times something more than inattention; something that evidences a disturbance of temper; she is then perhaps called to allow for the agitations of mind to which men are particularly liable, from their having more to do with the world than women have. It is a serene region in which a woman moves; not so, that into which the head of a family is often driven for the support of those who depend on him. In the midst of a thousand vexations from the stupidity, negligence, or knavery of those with whom his business lies, has he to earn the bread which his wife and children may eat in tranquillity: Should he, therefore, when he comes home from this turbulent scene, omit a customary mark of af. fection, eat his meal in silence, or return a short answer to a civil question; let not the wife consider such behaviour as any proof of indifference to her. Let her not listen to that demon of discord, who would prompt her to resent it as such. Let her recollect, that now is the time for her to exert the particular virtues of her sex; to call forth all the sweetness, humanity, and tenderness of her nature, in order to soothe him who has been toiling all the day, principally, perhaps, with a view to her comfort.
In cautioning a wife not to be 100 ready to consider herself neglected, I have not imparted the whole of my advice to her. I have admonished the husband not to be negligent of those marks of regard which are due to his partner; and she is to remember that the same duty is incumbent on her. It will be impossible for affection to be prese-ved, if she tread in the