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steps of those inconsiderate persons, who, as soon as the marriage rites are celebrated, become remiss in certain engaging things, of which they before had been scrupulously observant. Must not she sink in the esteem of any understanding man, who, by her conduct, seems to say, “I have now obtained my settlement?" and nothing is more calculated to suggest such an idea, than a relaxation of former attention. When a woman abandons herself to sloth and indulgence, when she degenerates from neatness to a disgusting negligence, from industry to indolence, from obligingness to selfishness; when these omissions are continued in, withont any necessary cause, after they have been gently remonstrated against, it is natural for a man of reflection to read this sordid sentiment in his wife's bosom, and for a man of generosity to recoil at the discovery.
She who dreads the entertainment of such an opinion of her in the mind of her husband, must take care to let it have no support from her own conduct. . She knows what is now pleasing to him, by remembering what was formerly so; and he knows how capable she is of giving him pleasure, by recollecting the methods she once took for this purpose, and that they are still practicable. If with the power still in her hands, she is remiss in the act, there is but one inference for him to make; namely, that it is a matter about which she is not so solicitous as she once was.
Here I am naturally led to notice a monstrous perversion of character, observed in some of the sex. I have seen a woman negligent of all the duties peculiar to her, and yet tormentingly busy in her husband's immediate province. If a woman would preserve the affections of her husband, let her not only be attentive to him in all the engaging actions which her sex, her situation in the family, and her vows give him a right to expect from her, but let her confine i herself to these.
The disposal of his time or his property, his journeys, his connexions, &c., are things to be regulated by the nature and circumstances of his calling in life: a subject which probably he best understands. I cannot but advise her, therefore, for her own sake as well as his, to leave these things entirely to his management, and to remember that it is her province to soften, to cheer, and to refresh that mind on which the weightiest cares of a family press.*
The unfriendly tendency of such interference in women to the maintenance of mutual affection, is, however, not more manifest, than is that of a supercilious treatment of women. I refer to those ungracious creatures, who never honour the understanding, or contribute to the
* There are cases, indeed, in which the interference of a wife is not only justifiable, but highly commendable. But it is perhaps unnecessary to suggest to the reader, that the intrusion on which the author ani. madverts, is that to which a woman is instigated by a forgetfulness of her proper character.
satisfaction of a wife. For, though not to dictate in a husband's province, may she not be capable of advising? Many a man, wise in his own account, might have been saved from ruin, had he only deliberated with that prudent, thoughtful, and affectionate wife, to whose inquiries he would scarcely vouchsafe an answer, though introduced with all the graces by which a gentle and submissive spirit solicits attention.
MUTUAL CONFIDENCE. Far be this supercilious behaviour from him to whom I address these precautions, and who has so lately solemnly pledged himself, not only to maintain, but to honour his wife. Rather let him deliberate with her, who ought to be his dearest, and who is his most disinterested friend : even in those affairs which it is his immediate duty to superintend. He may derive useful hints from a female mind, in some particulars, though it may not (from want of practice) be comprehensive enough to grasp the whole of his system. And if not, yet he gratifies an innocent solicitude to know something of affairs, in which she is interested. At least he prevents the mortification, which a sullen or contemptuous concealment occasions.
Such communications contribute very much to keep up the warmth of a rational affection, as they honour the understanding of a woman; as they give her credit for taking an equal interest with her husband, in his cares, anxieties, and labours; and above all, as in such deliberations she feels herself treated as a friend. There is a way of conducting them, which draws after it nothing to regret. It will be for the happiness of both parties, that these communications be obviously the issues of a generous confidence, not the effects of uxorious weakness.
RELATIONS. THERE is a circumstance in almost every matrimonial connexion, which may have a considerable influence on the happiness of the married pair. There are relations on both sides. In properly managing the regard paid to these persons, the preservation of mutual affection is found in many cases very much to depend.
Here, some of the most humiliating instances have been exhibited of that selfishness, which cannot be satisfied with any thing short of monopoly of affection. How unreasonable is it to expect, that love to me should extinguish affections which are due to those whom duty, nature, and habit require me yet to love! Our mind is perverted, if we do not perceive something additionally amiable in that married person, who, in the midst of new connexions, cares, and occupations, still manifests, to a tender parent, the affectionate and reverential spirit of a dutiful child; or the still-existing union of souls, which interested a fond brother and sister in each other's happiness. If my affection be rational, it will be heightened by observing, that the object of my peculiar attachment appears amiable, in whatever relation I view this object. On the other hand, I am the subject of a sordid passion, if I can rest satisfied with attentions paid to me, while I observe that the person thus devoted to me is an unnatural creature to every one else.
Affection to our kindred is not inconsistent with the fondest attachment of the heart to a husband or a wife. Do not therefore encourage that littleness and pride, which would lead you to think yourself defranded of something that was your own, when you see any tender regard paid to them. It is a mean jealousy of temper that makes us prompt to consider ourselves rivalled. It is a base pride that leads us to put an invidious construction on those signs of respect and esteem which are shown to others. Let married persons guard against such a cause of unhappiness to themselves, by considering that the distribution of affection does not necessarily diminish its quantity, but that it is even capable of increasing, as the objects on which it is exercised multiply. Conjugal affection can indeed be shared only by two persons, but this may grow and strengthen, without any loss sustained to it from the cultivation of filial or fraternal affection.
While the bonds of matrimony must not be