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things in a young lady, but not essentials. i I believe the lover is sometimes entrapped by accomplishments that are the source of the greatest uneasiness to a busband; for if a wife possesses nothing better than these external graces, she will, perhaps, be dancing and singing, and seeking opportunities to excite admiration, when she should be cultivating the minds of her children, or, by a well-directed tenderness, soothing the sorrows of her husband under some heavy afħiction. Young women who have had an irreligious education, have no taste for those excellencies in a character that are calculated to make a good husband. If you were to tell them that a young man was very pious, they would never believe that he could possibly enter a room with grace, or have the polished manners of a gentleman. If you assure them that, from principles of conscience, he will not fight a duel, they will despise him as a coward; yet such a man only is the one to marry. A female should think, and consider seriously, before she solemnly vows to honour and obey any man; for a good woman will find it very difficult either to honour or obey a bad man. I have heard young ladies say, that they liked dashing young men. I thought it was a strange expression, and made a point of learning what a dashing young man was.
I found it to be a most appropriate epithet for one of those high-spirited souls, who have courage enough to dash through the commands of God and the decorum of society; that seduce innocent girls, and call it gallantry; that spend their nights in a tavern, and dash out, at the dawn of day, full of wine and mischief, knocking down watch men, and insulting every sober person they meet; and, after dashing through thick and thin for a short space of time, too often dash out of this world into an eternal state, by the sword or pistol. If young women wish to be noticed by sensible, worthy men, they must adorn themselves with modest attire, and, if the idea was not too obsolete, I would add,-with shamefacedness. I see no reason why young people should not display taste in dress, as well as in any
other small matters, and true taste will always include neatness. A favourite writer says, when speaking of fine works, she wishes young people to excel, for she thinks there is ‘no piety in bad taste;' and certainly there is no religion in a young woman's being dressed like her grandmother. Singularity is almost as reprehensible as excessive finery.
The Rev. Wm. Graves, in his Senilities, has a curious disquisition on the future condition of neglected virgins :
He supposes that the same sentiments and affections we possess in this life, will continue in a future state, though purified and refined from all earthly grossness, and that they will contribute, as in this life, though in a far more exalted manner, to the social endearments of the blessed. Hence he infers, that there will also be a sexual distinction in another world, notwithstanding our Saviour's remark, that" in heaven they neither marry, nor are given in marriage.”—He further observes, that St. Paul distinctly mentions a considerable change which the human frame will undergo on that awful occasion: that “it is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption, it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power," it is sown a natural or merely animal body, it is raised a spiritual or spiritualized body. But he no where says, that a female body will be raised a male, or a male a female body. And if there is to be only one sex, the ladies surely have as good a claim to that exclusive privilege as the men have. Nay, as we are to have bodies of some kind or other, and “are to be as the angels in heaven,” the fair sex, in their immaculate purity and virgin innocence, certainly approach nearer to our present ideas of those angelic beings than the males do. Now, though there will be no marriages in heaven, and we cannot promise the hapless maids good husbands, yet, what is much better, they will find there an host of cordial friends and sincere lovers. And this delicious passion of love, instead of being restrained to a single object, will probably be infinitely extended and exalted into that universal benevolence, or charity, so strongly enforced in the Gospel. In short, though we must not expect a Mahometan paradise, we can hardly, I think, doubt that there will be such a beatific commerce and reciprocal affection between the souls of the good of different sexes, as will constitute the chief felicity of heaven. And those neglected virgins, who have meekly submitted to their destiny will meet with those endearments, of which, from some personal defects, perhaps, they have been unfortunately deprived."
A writer in the New Monthly Magazine for September, 1822, has the following observations on the chances of female happiness :
“I do not merely admire women as the most beautiful objects of creation, or love them as the sole sources of happiness, but I reverence them as the redeeming glories of humanity, the sanctuaries of the virtues, the pledges and antepast of those perfect qualities of the head and heart, combined with attractive external charms, which, by their union, almost exalt them into the angelic character. Taxation and luxury, and struggles for existence, have made as such a cold, selfish, plodding nation, that we should be base indeed, were it not for the disinterestedness and enthusiasm of our females, whose romance even is necessary to qualify the painful reality of our existence. And yet, from the first moment when I began to reflect, I have always thanked God that I was not born a woman, deeming them the bestowers rather than enjoyers of happiness, the flower-crowned victims offered up to the human lord of the creation.
“Passing over the early period of her life, which, however, is one of perpetual restraint and unvaried subjection to the most self-denying forms and observances, we will suppose a female to have attained a fitting age for that great and paramount end of her being, marriage. Men have a thousand objects in life, the professions, glory, ambition, the arts, authorship, advancement, and money-getting, in all their ramifications; each sufficient to absorb their minds, and supply substitutes in case of primary failure: but if a woman succeed not in the one sole hope of her hazardous career, she is utterly lost to all the purposes of exertion or happiness; the past has been all thrown away, and the future presents nothing but cheerless desolation. Love is only a luxury to men, but it may be termed an indispensable requisite to women, both by the constitution of society and the decrees of nature, for she has endowed them with superior susceptibility and overflowing affections, which, if they be not provided with a vent, perpetually corrode and gnaw the heart. And what are her feelings and chances in this fearful lottery? A constant sense of degradation, in being compelled to make her whole life a game, a maneuvre, a speculation; while she is haunted with the fear and shame of ultimate failure. And how alarmingly must the number of these involuntary nuns increase with the yearly augmenting distress of taxed, and luxurious, and expensive England, where the moral restraint of Malthus, while it inflicts no privations upon the man, condemns the females to an utter blighting of the soul, aggravated, perhaps, by dependency or want. Blistered be the tongue that can
Hibel those victims of an artificial and unnatural system who have been unfeelingly taunted as Old Maids. Well could I excuse them, if, in the bitterness of sickened hope, and the idleness of unjoyous solitude, they were even prone to exercise a vigilant censorship over the peccadillos of their more fortunate rivals ; but I repel the charge, and can safely affirm, that some of the most amiable, kind-hearted, liberal women I have ever known, were in this calumniated class.
"One chance of "single blessedness" is still reserved for these celibates. Their affections, unclaimed upon earth, sometimes seek a recipient in the skies; responding to the manifestations of divine love which they see on every side of them, they draw down religious lightning direct from Heaven, while men seek conductors, which only guide it towards the earth. The devotion of the former, as it is founded upon feeling, may be uninquiring, and have a tendency to enthusiasm; but it will be cheerful and happy, because emanating from the heart: the latter approach this subject with their heads; a process which not unfrequently makes them sceptics, or bigots, or hypocrites.
“But let us suppose the happier case of a young woman, who, from her beauty, or fortune, is sure to receive offers; that is to say, who will attract fools or sharpers, and be taken as a necessary appendage of her face or her purse. Even here, how little selection is allowed to her : she may neglect one, perhaps two, but if the third be merely free from positive objections, prudence urges his acceptance, relations second prudence, and she marries a man because he affords her no good excuse for hating him. The Circassians of Europe bave little more choice than their namesakes of Asia. “The happy pair" begin by committing a great mistake; they withdraw themselves from the world, to spend the honeymoon together; familiarity produces its usual effects; they see too much of one another at first, and the results are exhaustion and ennui. She who marries an idler, who will hang upon her society till he is wearied, and then seek recreation elsewhere, has not so many chances of happiness, as the woman whose husband is compelled to tear himself from her company for his duties, and gladly returns to it for his enjoyments.
"A man's love generally diminishes after marriage, while a woman's increases; both of which results might have been anticipated; for that appetite, either of person or purse, which the bridegroom too often dignifies with the name of love, disappears with enjoyment; while the bride, whose affections were perhaps little interested at first, finds them imperceptibly kindled by a sense of duty, by the consciousness of her dependence, and the gratifications and novelty which her total change of life invariably presents at the outset. Awak
ening from this trance, she has leisure to discover that she has made over to het lord and master, strictly and truly so designated, not only all her present possessions, but all her future expectations, all that she may ever eath by her talents : she has not become his servant, for servants, if ill-used, may depart, and try to better themselves elsewhere; not so his sert, his slave, his white negro, whom, according to Judge Buller, himself a married man, he may correct with a stick of the same thickness as his thumb, whatever may be its dimensions. We hear of rosy fetters, the silken chains of love, the soft yoke of Hymen; but who is to bear the soul-grinding bondage of dislike, contempt, and hatred ? How is a woman to avoid these feelings if sbe be maltreated and insulted ; and how its she to redress her wrongs? The laws made by the men, and therefore flagrantly in their own favout, provide no remedy: is she use her sole weapon, the tongue, she is proclaimed a scold, a shrew, and reminded of the ducking stool; if she make his own house uncomfortable to her husband, every body's else is open to him; he may violate his marriage vow, and is still a marvellous proper gentleman; he may associate with profligates, and his friends exclaim, “ Poor man! he has been driven to this by a bad wife !" If the deserted and injured woman meantime seek relief from her sorrows in the most innocent recreation, Spite, with its Argus eyes, keeps watch upon her door, and Calumny dogs her footsteps, hissing at her with its thousand tongues, and spitting out lies and poison from every one. Let no man choose me for umpire in a conjugal dispute. I need not ask who is the delinquent; my heart has decided against him by anticipation.
" Such, I shall be told, is the result of uncongenial unions; but it is a mistake to suppose that men seek congeniality in their wives. In friends, who are to share their sports and pursuits, to accompany them in shooting, hunting, fishing, to talk politics or religion over a bottle, they naturally select similarity of tastes; but women are to do nothing of all this ; they are chosen for their domestic duties, and as these are perfectly distinct from the man's, he looks out for contrast rather than uniformity. Hence the male horror of Bluestockings, the sneer with which every blockhead exclaims, “ Our wives read Milton, and our daughters plays !” the alacrity with which he assumes that such learned bodies must necessarily “ make sloppy tea, and wear their shoes down at heel ;” and the convincing self-applause with which he quotes the trite epigram,
Though Artemisia talks by fits,
Reads Malbrancbe, Boyle, and Locke, &c.