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“Let us imagine, not a patient stockfish like Griselda, but an accomplished woman, " paired, not matched,” with “a sullen, silent sot, one who is ever musing but never thinks;” an animal who, like London small beer, gets sour if not soon drunk ;-or united to a drone and a dunce, who lounges all day long before the fire, spitting into it like a great roasting apple ;-or submitted to the caprices of a man who keeps his good temper for company, and his bad for his wife ; abroad as smiling and promising as a Siberian crab, while at home his heart's core is sour ;-or tormented with a profligate, who
-But I must have done, although I have not half finished, for I might stretch the line to the crack of doom. When I consider
all the hardships and trials to which the fair sex are subject by those unjust institutions of society which exact the greatest strength from the weakest vessel, and reflect, moreover, that Nature has unkindly imposed upon it all the pains and penalties of continuing the race, I can only repeat once more, that I thank Heaven for not having made me a woman.'
There is much truth, it must be acknowledged, in the preceding observations, but the writer has certainly pored too much on the dark side of the picture. In the particular circumstances of both males and females, there are mutual advantages and disadvantages. As, however, it may be safely admitted that, in some respects, the female has more than her share of disadvantages; to balance these, she claims a proportionate degree of tenderness, kindness, and sympathy, from the male.
The great advantage of a Single Life is liberty; and, as there are some spirits that cannot bear restriction, they find a pleasure in remaining single. Lord Bacon observes, There are some self-pleasing and humorous minds, which are so sensible of every restraint, as they will go near to think their girdles and garters to be bonds and shackles.”
The following song, by the Countess of Winchelsea, will conclude this section:
Would we attain the happiest state
That is design'd us here;
No grief beget despair.
Man, in society, is like a flower
Man was formed for social life, and its pleasures are universally esteemed Society improves us in the knowledge of mankind. It supplies the best means of exercising our mental powers, of enlarging the sphere of our views, of rectifying and bringing into action the knowledge we have already acquired, and of increasing it with new discoveries. In Society, the intellect is awakened and stimulated by collision; lights are mutually kindled, brilliant thoughts elicited, and benevolent schemes promoted; for, “as iron sharpeneth iron, so doth a man the countenance of his friend.” Without Society, life would lose every relish ; whilst the empire of knowledge, truth, peace, righteousness, and charity, would soon cease to exist.
The following are an American's ideas of a happy Society :
“ Were I to form a picture of happy society, it would be a town consisting of a due mixture of hills, valleys, and streams of water. The land well fenced and cultivated; the roads and bridges in good repair; a decent inn for the refreshment of travellers, and for public entertainments. The inhabitants mostly husbandmen; their wives and daughters domestic manufacturers; a suitable proportion of handicraft workmen, and two or three traders, a physician and lawyer, each of whom should have a farm for his support. A clergyman of any denomination, which should be agreeable to the majority, a man of a good undertanding, of a candid disposition, and exemplary morals; not a metaphysical, nor a polemic, but a serious and practical preacher. A schoolmaster, who should understand his business, and teach his pupils to govern themselves. A social library, annually increasing, and under good regulation. A club of sensible men, seeking mutual improvement. A decent musical society. No intriguing politician, horse-jockey, gambler, or sot; but all such characters treated with contempt. Such a situation may be considered as the most favourable to social happiness of any which this world can afford.”
We are not, however, to suppose that Society can only be enjoyed abroad. At home, also, its pleasures are experienced by the wise and good. Home is the haven of rest, when vice and folly, and pride and vanity, are shut out, and all the members of the family, illumed by the sunshine of domestic love, endeavour to please and be pleased.
From those delightful springs
Such streams of comfort flow,
Nor honours can bestow. It is in Society that we enjoy the gaieties of conversation, the charms of mirth, and the many agreeable occupations and amusements of our senses and our mind. These pleasures recruit our spirits after finishing some laborious task; furnish relaxation to the mind after intense application, and reward us for our industry and fidelity in the duties of our callings.
It would seem that the writer of the following exquisitely beautiful lines, duly appreciated the pleasures of Society. They appear to have been penned after a return home from the social circle:
Too late I staid, forgive the crime,
Unheeded flew the hours ;
That only treads on flow'rs !
The ebbing of his glass,
Ah! who to sober measurement
Time's happy swiftness brings,
Their plumage for his wings?
And each performs his part,
With sympathizing heart.
By one desire possest;
To make each other blest.
Where such affections meet;
Make their communion sweet.
The breast in worlds above;
And all the air is love.
Montgomery thus speaks of the pleasures of home :
There is a spot of earth supremely blest,
That land thy COUNTRY, and that spot THY home! Mrs. Hamilton interestingly describes the social pleasures to be enjoyed at home, in the following verses :
O, I hae seen great anes, and been in great ha's,