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barriers in connexions and circumstances, and also that there is a reasonable prospect of supporting a family in something like the style to which the parties have been accustomed; or at least that they should be quite willing to forego their accustomed luxuries, so as to bring down their expenses to the scale of their income. It is indeed a decided mark of genuine and disinterested attachment to look these things steadily in the face at the outset. A truly generous young man would not expect the object of his choice to descend from the scale of society in which she had been accustomed to move ; still less would he be inclined to plunge her in disappointment and embarrassment, by representing his circumstances to be more favourable than they are, and commencing on a scale to which they are not adequate. He will candidly state the truth, even at the risk of being discarded, or, what is much more probable, of being advised by judicious friends to wait a little, until circumstances are more settled and favourable.
A truly generous young woman would wish to be treated with this frankness and candour. Should it appear to be the dictate of prudence thus to wait, her attachment is not likely to weaken or to waver ; nor is it likely that such steadiness and prudence will go long unrewarded. Mutual and well-principled affection will stimulate to industry, ingenuity, economy, and self-denial ; some new source of income will be discovered, or some plan be formed for rendering the existing sources more profitable ; some expedient will be adopted for reducing expenses ; one article of expenditure and
another will be regarded as superfluous; higher degrees of enterprise and exertion will be found attainable ; and the worthy young couple, resolving to bring their moderate wishes within the compass of their resources, will find themselves warranted to conclude that they will be sufficient. Thus encountering the difficulties beforehand, and beginning on a prudent and humble scale, they are likely to go on steadily and prosperously; but if, on the other hand, they begin by disregarding and spurning all the suggestions of prudence, boasting of their superiority to all pecuniary considerations, and their romantic willingness to encounter poverty together, while at the same time they are little inured to practise self-denial and economy, it may be predicted that poverty will indeed be their settled portion, and that from the very outset ruin will stare them in the face.
But now, supposing that all these preliminaries are adjusted, and that a steady and honourable attachment is avowed, and has received the sanction of friends, the young female will then do well to treat her lover with frankness and generosity, never giving him reason for a moment to suspect the sincerity or strength of her regard, never in any way trifling with his feelings, by coolness towards himself, or by flirting with any other. Some young women very foolishly give themselves airs of affected coldness or disdain, and will even stir up trifling altercations, and pretend to break off a connexion, solely with a view to excite alarm in the mind of the lover, and the more firmly to rivet their hold on him, on the principle of the adage, that “ lovers' quarrels are the renewing or strengthening of love;" but this is at best an unworthy measure to which to resort. If the chosen object be really deserving of love and esteem, it is base and cruel to inflict on him one unnecessary pang. It is also unwise ; for though such displays of caprice may not absolutely alienate his affections, it is altogether impossible that they can enhance his esteem; they must leave on his mind an impression unfavourable to the generosity, dignity, and stability of character of her of whom it is desirable he should think most highly. Whatever old saws or modern jests may assert to the contrary, it must be true in the nature of things, that uniform kindness and amiableness are more likely to produce and maintain steady, uniform, and growing attachment, than alternate fits of fondness and coldness, gentleness and waywardness, rationality and caprice.
It may be worth while just to add, that some young ladies have played the game of tormenting their lovers once too often, and have found, to their utter mortification, that instead of establishing their dominion by their affected coldness and disdain, they have but set their disgusted captive at liberty honourably to escape.
There is one topic more to which a slight allusion may be desirable, namely, that the degree of intimacy antecedent to marriage should be marked by the strictest delicacy and circumspection. Against prudery, a protest has already been entered; yet there are some young females, who, without any improper feelings and intentions, but, perhaps, from mere thoughtlessness, or
from affected superiority to the opinion of the world, run into an opposite extreme, and lay themselves open to very unfavourable remarks. The only way to be really superior to the opinion of the world is, so to act as never to give ground for an unfavourable surmise : a person who acts thus circumspectly need not be very solicitous about what the world says. It has too many other things to regard, to persevere long in maligning those whose character is not only free from every stain of vice, but whose conduct is remote from the very appearance of evil. But if the slightest shadow of a shade of indiscretion can really be cast upon a character, it is impossible to set bounds to the mischievous tattle and evil speaking of a censorious and gossipping world. But there are two, whose unshaken esteem is incomparably more important than the commendation or the censure of the world : these are the young woman's lover, and her own conscience. If she stand well with them, she may bid defiance to the world; but in order to this, she must act so discreetly, as never to give reason to either to reproach or distrust her. It is possible that some cause of difference may arise, and the connexion, however near and long standing, may be broken off. How desirable, that though love should be severed, nothing may have occurred that could weaken esteem, or give occasion, if even malignity would seek it, to the utterance of a disparaging assertion, a slighting insinuation. But it is more probable that the lover will become the husband. Then how important that in calmly looking back over the acquaintance from its com
mencement to its consummation, there should be no moment, no action, no word, on which he could fix, as having the slightest tendency to lower his esteem, or weaken his confidence in the prudence, circumspection, and delicacy of the object of his choice, but that he may say of his wife, “ the heart of her husband may safely trust in her." How desirable, moreover, that in her moments of secret recollection, she may never have to look back on a scene or a circumstance that would call up a blush on her cheek, or a feeling of shame or regret in her mind.
This chapter may properly conclude with an extract of a letter from the celebrated Philip Henry, to his youngest daughter, on her receiving overtures of marriage :
“MY DEAR DAUGHTER,—Your present affair, we can truly say, was no less a surprise to us than it was to you; but we have learned,—both from our fixed belief of God's universal providence in every thing, and his particular special providence towards those that fear him, and also from our last year's experience, once and again, of his doing that for us which we looked not for,—to cease our wonder, and to apply ourselves, as we ought to do, to do our duty. We would have you do so likewise ; saying as Paul, which was the first word that grace spoke in him, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” Your way is, in the first place, to acknowledge God, not only in the thing itself, but in all the motions and events of it; and if you do so, he will direct you, that is, guide, and bless, and succeed your steps. You are next to admit