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you is a lover.
Nothing can expose you more to ridicule than the taking up of a man on the suspicion of his being your lover, who perhaps, never once thought of you in that view, and giving yourselves those airs so common among silly women on such occasions.
I am, &c.
On the same Subject. Dear Daughters,
THERE is a kind of unmeaning gallantry much practised by some men, which, if you
have any discernment, you will really find very harmless. Men of this sort will attend you to public places, and be useful to you by a number of little observances, which those of a superiour class do not so well understand, or have not leisure to regard, or perhaps are too proud to submit to. Look on the compliments of such men as words of course, which they repeat to every agreeable woman of their acquaintance. There is a familiarity they are apt to assume, which a proper dignity in your behaviour will be easily able to check.
There is a different species of men, whom you may like as agreeable companions, men of worth, taste, and genius, whose conversation, in some respects, may be superiour to what you generally meet with among those of your sex. It will be foolish in you to deprive yourself of an useful and agreeable companion, merely because idle people may say he is your lover. Such a man may
your company without having any design on your person. People whose sentiments, and particularly whose tastes correspond naturally, like to associate together, although neither of them have the most distant view of any further connexion. But, as this similarity of minds often gives rise to a more tender attachment than friendship, it will be proper to keep a watchful eye over yourselves, lest your hearts become too far engaged before?
you are aware of it. At the same time, I do not think that your sex, at least in this part of the world, have much of that sensibility, which disposes to such attachments. What is commonly called love among you, is rather gratitude and a partiality to the man who prefers you to the rest of your sex; and such a man you often marry, with little, either of personal esteem, or affection. Indeed, without an unusual share of 12
turał sensibility, and very peculiar good fortune, a woman, in this country, has very little probability of marrying for love. It is a maxim laid down among you, and a very prudent one it is, that love is not to begin on your part, but is entirely to be the consequence of o’r attachment to you. Now, supposing a woman to have sense and taste, she will not find many men to whom she can possibly be supposed to bear any considerable share of esteem. Among these few, it is a very great chance if any of them distinguishes her particularly. Love, at least with us, is exceedingly precarious, and will not always fix where reason says it should. But supposing one of them should become particularly attached to her, it is still extremely improbable, that he should be the only man in the world, her heart most approved of.
As, therefore, nature has not given you that unlimited range in your choice, which we enjoy, she has wisely and benevolently, assigned to you a greater fexibility of taste on this subject. Some agreeable qualities recommend a gentleman to good liking and friendship. In the course of his acquaintance, he contracts an attachment to you. When you perceive it, it excites your gratitude; this gratitude rises into a preference, and this preference perhaps at last advances to some degree of attachment, especially if it meet with crosses and difficulties; for these, and a state of suspense, are very great incitements to attachment, and are the food of love, in both sexes. If attachments were not excited
your sex, in this manner, there is not one in a million of you, that would ever marry with any degree of love. A man of taste and delicacy, marries a woman because he loves her more than
any other. A woman of equal taste and delicacy, marries him, because she esteems him, and because he gives her that preference. But, if a man unfortunately become attached to a woman, whose heart is secretly pre-engaged, his attachment, instead of obtaining a suitable return, is particularly oftensive, and if he persist to teaze her, he makes himself equally the object of her scorn and aversion.
The effects of love, among men, are diversified by their different tempers, An artful man, may counterfeit every one of them so easily, as to impose on a young girl, of an open, generous and feeling heart, if she be not extremely on her guard. The finest parts in such a girl, may not always prove suficient for her security. The dark and crooked
paths of cunning are unsearchable and inconceivable to an honourable and elevated mind.
The following I apprehend are the most genuine effects of an honourable passion among the men, and the most difficult to counterfeit. A man of delicacy often betrays his passion by his too great anxiety to conceal it, especially if · he has little hopes of being fortunate.
True love, in all its stages, seeks concealment, and never expects success. It renders a man not only respectful, but timid to the highest degree, in his behaviour to the woman he loves. To conceal the awe he stands in of her, he may sometimes affect pleasantry, but it sits awkwardly on him, and he quickly relapses into seriousness, if not into dulness. He magnifies all her real perfections in his imagination, and is either blind to her failings, or converts them into real beauties. Like a person conscious of guilt, he is jealous that every eye observes him; and to avoid this, he shuns all the little observances of common gallantry. His heart and his character will be improved in every respect, by his attachment. His manners will become inore gentle, and his conversation more agreeable ; but diffidence and embarrassment will always make him appear to disadvantage in the company of his mistress. If the fascination continues long, it will totally depress his spirit, and extinguish every active, vigorous and manly principle of his mind.
When you observe in a gentleman's behaviour, these marks, which I have described above, reflect seriously what you have to do. If his attachment be agreeable to you, I leave you to do as nature, good sense, and delicacy shall direct you.
you love him, let me advise you never to discover to him the full extent of your love, no, not although you marry him. That sufficiently shows your preference; which is all he is entitled to know. If he has delicacy he will ask for no stronger proof of your affection for your sake; if he has sense, he will not ask it for his own. This is an unpleasant truth ; but I thought it my duty to let you know it." Violent love cannot subsist, at least cannot be expressed long together on both sides : Otherwise, the certain consequence, however concealed, is satiety and disgust.
My zeal for your welfare, has excited me to throw tógether these few thoughts, which I flatter myself, will sink deep in your memory, and be of some use to you, at the time you shall stand most in need of assistance.
I remain, yours affectionately, &c.
LETTER XXII. On Courtship and Coquettish Behaviour, from the same, ear Daughters,
IN my last I laid before you my thoughts on love and friendship, and now proceed to consider some other particulars, very essential to your happiness. If you see evident proofs of a gentleman's attachment, and are determined to shut your heart against him, as you ever hope to be used with generosity by the person who shall engage your own heart, treat him honourably and humanely. Do not let him linger in a miserable suspense, but be anxious to let him know your sentiments with regard to him.
However people's hearts may deceive them, there is scarcely à person that can love for any time without at least, some distant hope of success. If you really wish to undeceive a lover, you may do it in a variety of ways. There is a certain species of familiarity in your behaviour, which may satisfy him, if he has any discernment left, that he has nothing to hope for. But perhaps your particular temper will not permit of this. You may easily shew that you want to avoid his company, but if he be a man whose friendship you wish to preserve, you may not choose this method, because then you lose him in every capacity. You may get a common friend to explain matters to him, or fall on many other devices, if you are seriously anxious to put him out of suspense.
But, if you are resolved against every such method, at least do not shun opportunities of letting him explain himself. If you do this, you act barbarously and unjust. If he bring you to an explanation, give him a polite, but resolute and decisive answer. In whatever way you convey your sentiments to him, if he be a man of spirit and delicacy, he will give you no farther trouble, nor apply to your friends. for their intercession. This last is a method of courtship, which every man of spirit will disdain. He never will whine or sue for your pity. That would mortify him almost as much as your scorn. In short, you may break such a heart, but you can never mend it. Great pride always accompanies delicacy, however concealed under the appearance of the utmost gentleness and modesty; and is the passion of all others, the most difficult to conquer.
There is a case where a woman may coquet justifiably, to the utmost verge which her conscience will allow. It is where a gentleman purposely declines to make his addresses, till such times as he thinks himself perfectly sure of her consent. This at bottom, is intended to force a woman to give up the undoubted privilege of her sex, the privilege of refusing; it is intended to force her to explain herself, in effect, before the gentleman designs to do it, and by this means, to oblige her to violate the modesty and delicacy of her sex, and to invert the clearest order of nature. All this sacrifice is proposed to be made merely to gratify a most despicable vanity in a man, who would degrade the very woman whom he wishes to make his wife.
It is of great importance to distinguish whether a gentleman, who has the appearance of being your lover, delays to speak explicitly, from the motive I have mentioned, or from a diffidence, inseparable from the attachment. In the one case, you can scarcely use him too ill; in the other, you ought to use him with great kindness : And the greatest kindness you can shew him, if you are determined not to listen to his addresses, is to let him know it as soon as possible.
I know the many excuses with which women endeavour to justify themselves to the world, and to their own consciences, when they act otherwise. Sometimes they plead ignorance, or at least, uncertainty of the gentleman's real sentiments. That sometimes may be the case. Sometimes they plead the decorum of their sex, which enjoins an equal behaviour to all men, and forbids them to consider any man as a lover, until he has directly told them so. Perhaps few women carry their idea of female delicacy and decorum, se far as I do. But I must say, you are not entitled to plead. the obligation of these virtues, in opposition to the superiour ones of gratitude, justice, and humanity. The man is entitled to all these, who prefers you to all the rest of your sex, and perhaps whose greatest weakness is this very prefer
The truth of the matter is, vanity and the love of admiration, is so prevailing a passion among you, that you may be considered to make a very great sacrifice, whenever you give up a lover, till after the art of coquetry fails to keep him, or till he forces you to an explanation. You can be fond of the love, when you are indifferent to, or even when you despise the lover. But the deepest and most artful coquetry, is employed by women of superiour taste and sense, to engage and fix the heart of a man, whom the world, and who they theraşelves, esteem, altheugh they are determined