« السابقةمتابعة »
live in what place, and in what manner and what society he pleases; she gives him the power to take from her, and to use, for his own purposes, all her goods, unless reserved by some legal instrument; and above all, she surrenders to him her person. Then, when we consider the pains which they endure for us, and the large share of all the anxious parental cares that fall to their lot; when we consider their devotion to us, and how unshaken their affection remains in our ailments, even though the most tedious and disgusting; when we consider the offices that they perform, and cheerfully perform for us, when, were we left to one another, we should perish from neglect; when we consider their devotion to their children, how evidently they love them better, in numerous instances, than their own lives; when we consider these things, how can a just man think any thing a trifle that affects their happiness? I was once going, in my gig, up the hill, in the village of Frankford, near Philadelphia, when a little girt, about two years old, who had toddled away from a small house, was lying basking in the sun, in the middle of the road. About two hundred yards before I got to the child, the teams, five big horses in each, of three wagons, the drivers of which had stopped to drink at a tavern on the brow of the hill, started off, and came, nearly abreast, galloping down the road. I got my gig off the road as speedily as I could, but expected to see the poor child crushed to pieces. A young
man, a journeyman carpenter, who was shingling a shed by the side of the road, seeing the child, and seeing the danger, though a stranger to the parents, jumped from the top of the shed, ran into the road, and snatched up the child, from scarcely an inch before the hoof of the leading horse. The horse's leg knocked him down; but he, catching the child by its clothes, flung it back, out of the way of the other horses, and saved himself by rolling back with surprising agility. The mother of the child, who had apparently been washing, seeing the teams coming, and seeing the situation of the child, rushed out, and catching up the child, just as the carpenter had flung it back, and hugging it in her arms, uttered a shriek such as I never heard before, never heard since, and, I hope, shall never hear again; and then she dropped down, as if perfectly dead! By the application of the usual means, she was restored, however, in a little while; and I, being about to depart, asked the carpenter if he were a married man, and whether he were a relation of the parents of the child. He said he was neither. “Well, then," said I, “ you merit the gratitude of every father and mother in the world; and I will show mine, by giving you what I have,” pulling out the nine or ten dollars that I had in my pocket. “ No, I thank you, sir,” said he: “I have only done what it was my duty to do."
Bravery, disinterestedness, and maternal affection surpassing these, it is impossible to
imagine. The mother was going right in amongst the feet of these powerful and wild horses, and amongst the wheels of the wagons. She had no thought for herself; no feeling of fear for her own life; her shriek was the sound of inexpressible joy; joy too great for her to support herself under. Perhaps ninety-nine mothers out of every hundred would have acted the same part, under similar circumstances. There are, comparatively, very few women not replete with maternal love; and, by-the-by, take you care, if you meet with a girl who " is not fond of children,” not to marry her by any means. Some few there are who even make a boast that they “cannot bear children,” that is, cannot endure them. I never knew a man that was good for much who had a dislike to little children; and I never knew a woman of that taste who was good for any thing at all. I have seen a few such in the course of my life, and I have never wished to see one of them a second time.
FONDNESS FOR CHILDREN. Being fond of little children argues no effeminacy in a man, but, as far as my observation has gone, the contrary. A regiment of soldiers presents no bad school wherein to study character. Soldiers have leisure, too, to play with children, as well as with “women and dogs," for which the proverb has made them famed. And I have never observed that effeminacy was at all the marked companion of fondness for little children. This fondness manifestly arises from a compassionate feeling towards creatures that are helpless, and that must be innocent. For my own part, how many days, how many months, all put together, have I spent with babies in my arms! My time, when at home, and when babies were going on, was chiefly divided between the pen and the baby. I have fed them and put them to sleep hundreds of times, though there were servants to whom the task might have been transferred. Yet, I have not been effeminate; I have not been idle; I have not been a waster of time; bụt I should have been all these if I had disliked babies, and had liked the porter pot and the grog glass.
It is an old saying, “Praise the child, and you make love to the mother:" and it is surprising how far this will go. To a fond mother you can do nothing so pleasing as to praise the bahy, and, the younger it is, the more she values the compliment. Say fine things to her, and take no notice of her baby, and she will despise you. I have often beheld this, in many women, with great admiration; and it is a thing that no husband ought to overlook, for if the wife wish her child to be admired by others, what must be the ardour of her wishes with regard to his admiration. There was a drunken dog of a Norfolk man in our regiment, who came from Thetford, I recollect, who used · to say, that his wife would forgive him for
spending all the pay, and the washing money into the bargain," if he would but kiss her ugly brat, and say it was pretty.” Now, though this was a very profligate. fellow, he had phrlosophy in him; and certain it is, that there is nothing worthy of the name of conjugal happiness, unless the husband clearly evince that he is fond of his children, and that, too from their very birth.
THE HUSBAND'S RIGHT TO OBEDIENCE IN THE
WIFE. But though all the afore-mentioned considerations demand from us the kindest possible treatment of a wife, the husband is to expect dutiful deportment at her hands. He is not to be her slave; he is not to yield to her against the dictates of his own reason and judgment; it is her duty to obey all his lawful commands; and, if she have sense, she will perceive that it is a disgrace to herself to acknowledge, as a husband, a thing over which she has an absolute control. It should always be recollected that you are the party whose body must, if any do, lie in jail for debt, and for debts of her contracting, too, as well as of your own contracting. Over her tongue, too, you possess a clear right to exercise, if necessary, some control; for if she use it in an unjustifiable manner, it is against you, and not against her,