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for a long time after. They are intoxicated by so many things concurring to deprive them of their little senses. Gazers and flatterers they meet with
All is romance and distraction, the extravagance of vanity, and the rage of conquest. They think of nothing that is domestic or rational. Alas! they were never taught it. How to appear “abroad with the greatest advantage, is the main
In subserviency to that, as well as from the general love of amusement, Parties of Pleasure, as they are called, become the prevailing demand. The same dispositions on the side of the men, sometimes stimulated by the worst designs, often seconded by good nature, and not seldom pushed on by the fear of appearing less generous or less gallant; promptthem to keep pace with all this folly. They are soon fired in the chace ; every thing is gay
and glittering ; prudence appears too cold a monitor; gravity is deemed severe ; the lies must be pleased; mirth and diversione art in all. The phantoms pass: the female adventurers must return home; it is needless to say, with what impressions. The young gentlemen are not always under equal restraint ; their blood boils : the tavern, the streets, the stews, eke out the evening; riot and madness conclude the scene : or if this should be prevented, it is not difficult to imagine the dissipation that must naturally grow out of those idle gallantries often repeated. Nor shall we be surprised to find the majority of our youth so insignificant, and so profligate ; when to these we join the influence of bad or giddy women'grown up, the infection of the most pestilent books, and the pattern of veterans in sin, who are ever zealous to display the superiority of their talents by the number of their disciples, and secretly solicitous by the strength of their party to make amends for the weakness of their cause.
That men are sometimes dreadfully successful in corrupting the women, cannot be denied. But do women on the other side never corrupt the men? I speak not at present of those abandoned creatures that are the visible ruin of so many of our unhappy youth; but I must take the liberty to say that, amongst a number of your sex who are not sunk so low, there is a forwardness, a levity of look, conversation and demeanour, unspeakably hurtful to young men. Their reverence for female virtue it in a great measure destroys; it even tempts them to suspect that the whole is a pretence, that the sex are all of a piece. The consequences of this, with regard to their behaviour while they remain ingle, the prejudices it must necessarily produce against marriage, and the wild work it is likely to make if they ever enter into that state, I leave you to imagine.
Hitherto I hi.. spoken only of the interest young women have with our sex.
Let me now say something of that which they have with their
It is not perhaps so extensive as the other : but for obvious reasons it cannot be inconsiderable. Do they always use it to good purposes ? Do they never corrupt one another ? Do none of them assist the common enemy; those wicked and designing men that are combined against the sex, especially against the innocent and unwary? Do the old never initiate the young in those low arts of dissimulation and cunning, which a wise woman cannot want, and which a worthy woman will not practise. Do the young-But I hasten from so painful a topic, to consider the importance of your sex in another light. As you have certainly great influence at present, so,
In the next place, it may be probably in your power to communicate much happiness, or to
occasion much misery hereafter. I think now of the chances you have to be connected in Wedlock. These it is impossible to calculate : but there are not,
suppose, many young women who, at one time or another, unless they themselves be in fault, may not form that connexion with the usual prospects ; and I say, that the men you marry, the children you bring, and the community at large, will be all deeply interested in
your conduct. As to the first, I am not ignorant that there are some men so grossly insensible, as to be for the most part little or nothing affected by the temper or behaviour of their wives; provided only they do not ruin their affairs. And in truth, if those wives be ill-tempered or ill-behaved such
want of feeling is so far well for their husbands. :|If otherwise, how much are they themselves ob
jects of compassion, thus condemned to drag a wretched life with beings, onmihom all their endeavours to delight are rost? How sensibly must such a situation pain a delicate and ingenuous mind! What can reconcile her to it, but the strongest principles of religion?
Some sordid or saturnine spirits of either sex there may be, who can support a connexion of this kind with a stupid indifference ; plodding along through a tasteless existence, without attachment or gratitude, desire or hope. Whether the case be very common, I leave others to decide. Of both sexes there are certainly many who are not made of such dull materials.' With respect to themBut surely it cannot be necessary to display the felicity, or the wo, which must unavoidably arise to them from their partners. Here indeed, as in most instances where the modes of life happen to influence, it must be allowed the men have the ad
vantage. If they find themselves unequally yoked, they are generally furnished with various means of beguiling their wretchedness at a distance from home ; whereas, if such be the fate of the poor women, they are commonly left to pine away in solitary misery. For them scarce any allowance is made ; to them little or no pity is shown: while the former make themselves judges in their own cause, and the partial world is ready to side with them. But yet, if the usages of that leave them often more
room to elude the ideas of domestic distress, the feelings of nature will never suffer them fairly to escape it. A woman it is certain, if she be so minded, has still the power of plaguing her partner out of every real enjoyment ;-power however, of which nothing can justify the exercise, and which when exercised is, like every other act of tyranny, sure to recoil upon the ty's rant.
It is natural to me to wish well to my own sex ; and therefore
you will not wonder, if I be solicitous for your possessing every quality that can render you agreeable companions in a relation which of all others is the most intimate, should be the most endearing, and must be the happiest or the worst. But to this solicitude my friendship for you is at least an equal motive. Were the lower springs of self-love to have no effect on your conduct, I must yet think, that the more refined principles of generosity and goodness, ought to prompt you. Ah! my young friends, what pleasure can be coinpared to that of conferring felicity? What honour can be enjoyed by your sex, equal to that of showing yourself every way worthy of a virtuous tenderness from ours ? What can be conceived so properly female as inspiring, improving, and co
tinuing such a tenderness, in all its charming extent? Contrasted with this, how unamiable, and how miserable, must we pronounce the passion for ungentle command, for petulant dominion, so shamefully indulged by some women as soon as they find a man in their power!
But lastly, let us suppose you Mothers ; a character which, in due time, many of you will sustain. How does your importance rise! A few years elapsed, and I please myself with the prospect of seeing you, my honoured auditress, surrounded with a family of your own, dividing with the partner of your heart the anxious, yet delightful labour, of training your common offspring to virtue and society, to religion and immortality ; while, by thus dividing it, you leave him more at leisure to plan and provide for you all, a task, which he prosecutes with tenfold alacrity, when he reflects on the beloved objects of it, and finds all his toils both soothed and rewarded by the wisdom and sweetness of your deportment to him and to his children.
I think I behold you, while he is otherwise necessarily engaged, casting your fond maternal regards round and round through the pretty smiling circle ; not barely to supply their bodily wants, but chiefly to watch the gradual openings of their minds, and to study the turns of their various tempers, that you may
46 teach the
idea how to i shoot,” and lead their passions by taking hold of their hearts. I admire the happy mixture of affection and skill which you display in assisting Nature, not forcing her; in directing the understanding, not hurrying it; in exercising without wearying the memory, and in moulding the behaviour without constraint. I observe you prudently overlooking a thousand childish follies. You forgive any thing