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repay it with all your soul. Let what may happen to put you out of humour with others, let nothing put you out of humour with her. Let your words and looks and manners be just what they were before you called her wife.
But now, and throughout your life, show your affection for her, and your admiration of her, not in nonsensical compliment; not in picking up her handkerchief, or her glove, or in carrying her fan or parasol; not, if you have the means, in hanging trinkets and baubles upon her; not-in making yourself a fool by winking at, and seeming pleased at, her foibles, or follies, or faults: but show them by acts of real goodness towards her; prove by unequivocal deeds the high value that you set on her health and life and peace of mind; let your praise of her go to the full extent of her deserts, but let it be consistent with truth and with sense, and such as to convince her of your sincerity. He who is the flatterer of his wife only prepares her ears for the hyperbolical stuff of others. The kindest appellation that her Christian name affords is the best you can use, especially before faces. An everlasting "my dear" is but a sorry compensation for a want of that sort of love that makes the husband cheerfully toil by day, break his rest by night, endure all sorts of hardships, if the life or health of his wife demand it. Let your deeds, and not your words, carry to her heart a daily and hourly confirmation of the fact, that you value her health and life and happiness beyond
all other things in the world ; and let this be manifest to her, particularly at those times when life is always more or less in danger.
UNNECESSARY ABSENCE FROM HOME. The way to avoid sad. consequences is to begin well; many a man has become a sottish husband, and brought a family to ruin, without being sottishly inclined, and without liking the gossip of the ale or coffee house. It is by slow degrees that the mischief is done. He is first inveigled, and, in time, he really likes the thing; and, when arrived at that point, he is incurable. Let him resolve, from the very first, never to spend an hour from home, unless business, or, at least, some necessary and rational purpose demand it. Where ought he to be, but with the person whom he himself hath chosen to be his partner for life, and the mother of his children? What other company ought he to deem so good and so fitting as this? With whom else can he so pleasantly spend his hours of leisure and relaxation ? Besides, if he quit her to seek company more agreeable, is not she set at large by that act of his ? What justice is there in confining her at home without any company at all, while he rambles forth in search of company more gay than he finds at home ?
Let the young married man try the thing; let him resolve not to be seduced from his home ; let him never go, in one single instance, unnecessarily from his own fireside. Habit is a powerful thing; and if he begin right, the pleasure that he will derive from it will induce him to continue right. This is not being “ tied to the apron-strings," which means quite another matter, as I shall show by-and-by. It is being at the husband's place, whether he have children or not. And is there any want of matter for conversation between a man and his wife? Why not talk of the daily occurrences to her, as well as to anybody else; and especially to a company of tippling and noisy men?
Men must frequently be from home at all hours of the day and night. Sailors, soldiers, merchants, all men out of the common track of labour, and even some in the very lowest walks, are sometimes compelled by their affairs, or by circumstances, to be from their homes. But what I protest against is, the habit of spending leisure hours from home, and near to it; and doing this without any necessity, and by choice; liking the next door, or any house in the same street, better than your own." When absent from necessity, there is no wound given to the heart of the wife; she concludes that you would be with her if you could, and that satisfies; she laments the absence, but submits to it without complaining. Yet, in these cases, her feelings ought to be consulted as much as possible; she ought to be fully apprized of the probable duration of the absence, and of the time of return; and if these be de
pendent on circumstances, those circumstances ought to be fully stated; for you have no right to keep her mind upon the rack, when you have it in your power to put it in a state of ease. Few men have been more frequently taken from home by business, or by a necessity of some sort, than I have; and I can positively assert, that, as to my return, I never once disappointed my wife in the whole course of our married life. If the time of return was contingent, I never failed to keep her informed from day to day: if the time was fixed, or when it became fixed, my arrival was as sure as my life. Going from London to Botley, once, with Mr. Finnerty, whose name I can never pronounce without an expression of my regard for his memory, we stopped at Alton, to dine with a friend, who, delighted with Finnerty's talk, as everybody else was, kept us till ten or eleven o'clock, and was proceeding to the other bottle, when I put in my protest, saying, “ We must go, my wife will be frightened.” Blood, man,” said Finnerty, “ you do not mean to go home to-night!” I told him I did; and then sent my son, who was with us, to order out the post-chaise. We had twenty-three miles to go, during which we debated the question, whether Mrs. Cobbett would be up to receive us, I contending for the affirmative, and he for the negative. She was up, and had a nice fire for us to sit down at. She had not committed the matter to a servant; her servants and children were all in bed ; and she was up, to per
form the duty of receiving her husband and his -friend. “ You did not expect him?" said Finnerty. “To be sure I did," said she; "he never disappointed me in his life.”
Now, if all young men knew how much value women set upon this species of fidelity, there would be fewer unhappy couples. than there are. I had seen many instances of conjugal unhappiness arising out of that carelessness which left wives in a state of uncertainty as to the movements of their husbands, and I took care, from the very outset, to guard against it. For no man has a right to sport with the feelings of any innocent person whatever, and particularly with those of one who has committed her happiness to his hands. The truth is, that men in general look upon women as having no feelings different from their own, and they know that they themselves would regard such disappointments as nothing. But this is a great mistake; women feel more acutely than men; their love is more ardent, more pure, more lasting, and they are more frank and sincere in the utterance of their feelings. They ought to be treated with due consideration had for all their amiable qualities and all their weaknesses, and nothing by which their minds are affected ought to be deemed a trifle,
When we consider what a young woman gives up on her wedding day; she makes a surrender, an absolute surrender, of her liberty, for the joint lives of the parties; she gives the husband the absolute right of causing her to