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your life here as merely a state of probation. To the Almighty God I recommend you."
She was going on when the thread of life was broken, and she ceased to be any more.
Such was the last end of my dear mother, whose remains are to be interred this evening, and as soon as I can settle every thing with her executors, I will
, as it were, fly to meet you. God grant that our happiness in this life may be conducive towards promoting our everlasting felicity hereafter. I am, as before,
Yours while life remains.
From the Lady after marriage, to her Cousin unmarried. Dear Cousin,
I HAVE now changed my name, and, instead of liberty must subscribe wife. What an awkward expression! say some-How pleasing ! say others. But let that be as it may, I have been married to my dear Charles these three months, and I can freely acknowledge that I never knew happiness till now. To have a real friend to whom I can communicate my secrets, and who, on all occasions, is ready to sympathise with me, is what I never experienced before. All these benefits, my dear cousin, I have met with in my beloved husband. His principal care seems to be to do every thing possible to please me? and is there not something called duty incumbent on ine? Perhaps you will laugh at the word duty, and say that it imports something like slavery ; but nothing is more false; for even the life of a servant is as pleasant as any other, when he obeys from motives of love instead of fear. For my own part, my dear, I cannot say that I ain unwilling to be obedient, and yet I am not com. manded to be so by my husband. You have often spoke contemptuously of the marriage state, and I believe your reasons were, that most of those whom you knew were unhappy; but that is an erroneous way of judging. It was designed by the Almighty, that man and woman should live together in a state of society, that they should become mutual helps to each other; and if they are blessed with children, to assist each other in giving them a virtuous education. Let me therefore beg that my dear cousin will no longer despise that state for which she was designed, and which is calculated to make her happy. But then, my dear, there are two sorts of men you must studiously avoid, I mean Misers and Rakes. The first will take every opportunity of abridging your necessary expenses, and the second will leave you nothing for a subsistence. The first, by his penuriousness, will cause you to suffer from imaginary wants; the second by his prodigality, will make you a real beggar. But your own good sense will point out the propriety of what I have mentioned. Let me beg that you will come and spend a few weeks with us; and if you have any taste for rural and domestic life, I doubt not but that you will be pleased. I am your affectionate Cousin.
LETTER X. From a Young Merchant in Philadelphia, to a Widow Lady
in the Country Madam,
EVER since I saw you at York-town, when I was on my return from a journey on business, my mind has been continually ruminating on your many accomplishments. And although it is possible this may be rejected, yet I can no longer conceal a passion which has preyed upon my spirits these six weeks. I have been settled in business about three years ; my success has been equal to my expectations, and is likewise increasing. My family is respectable though pot rich; and as to the disparity of our ages, a few years will not make any difference, where the affections are placed on so lovely an object. I can only say, Madam, that I prefer you to all the young ladies I have seen, and if business continue to increase, I shall be greatly in want of one of your prudence, to manage my domestic affairs. Be assured, Madam, that whatever time I can spare from the necessary duties of my profession, shall be devoted to your company, and every endeavour used to make your life both agreeable and happy. As you have relations here, they will give you every necessary information concerning my character and circumstances, although I have not the pleasure of being known to them. If you will favour me with an answer to this, it will ever be esteemed as a particular favour, and acknowledged with the sincerest respect, by
Your real admirer;
LETTER XI. The Lady's Letter to her Brother, concerning the above. Dear Brother,
YOU know that in all affairs of importance, I have constantly acted by your advice, as I am still determined to do; and therefore have sent you enclosed the copy of a letter which I received by the post from a young gentleman whom I had accidently seen at York-town. His behaviour here was polite without affectation, and an air of sincerity appeared in all he said. With respect to the subject he writes of, I will give you my own thoughts, and delay sending an answer until I have had your opinion.
I am at least a dozen years older than him, and possibly love contracted where there is such difference in the ages of the parties, may terminate in want of respect on one side, and jealousy on the other. However, I have no objections at present against entering into the marriage state, as I would wish, as I advance in years, to have a friend to whom I might at all times be able to open my mind with freedom, and who would treat me with "that tenderness which my sex entitles me to. I have been a widow six years, and whatever others may say, I have found it attended with many inconveniences, and far from the pleasing life many are ready to imagine. But after all, I will be directed by you, as my only real friend to whom I can apply; if
you think proper you may inquire, and when I hear from you, I will send him an answer.
The Brother's Answer. Dear Sister,
I AM glad to perceive your prudence in not being over hasty in an affair of so great importance, and upon which your happiness or misery in this world will inevitably depend. Your reasons against remaining any longer in a state of widowhood, are what I much approve of, and it will give me great pleasure to promote your interest and happiness, as far as I am able. I have inquired concerning Mr. Moreton, and every one gives him an excellent character. I have likewise conversed with him, and find he is a very sensible young man. As to your disparity of age, I do not think it has any great weight; and upon the whole, I have but one reason against your union, and that is, that there is nothing more precarious than commerce, and the merchant who today has unlimited credit, may be to-morrow in the Gazette. I do not urge this in order to prevent your happiness; but only, that whilst you are free, you may take such measures as to secure a sufficiency against the worst. I would by no means dissuade you from complying with his request, as he seems every way worthy of your choice, and I really think it may be for your mutual happiness. These, dear sister,
my sentiments concerning this affair, but remember I leave it entirely to yourself, not doubting but you will proceed with the same prudence you have begun.
I am your affectionate Brother. P. S. I would advise you to write to the Young Gentleman as soon as possible.
From the Lady to Mr. Moreton. Sir;
I RECEIVED your letter, and my reason for delaying an answer was, that I wanted first to consult my brother, whose opinion I had by the post yesterday. I freely acknowledge that you are far from being disagreeable, and the advantages on your part with respect to accomplishments are, I think, superiour to those on mine. But these are but small matters when compared with what is absolutety necessary to make the marriage state happy-I mean an union of minds. Neither of us have had many opportunities of conversing together, and when we had, you did not mention any thing of this. I have no objections against marrying, were I assured of being no worse than at present; but there is such a variety of unforeseen accidents daily happening tä the world, and all conspiring together to promote dissentions in families, that we can never be too careful how we fix our choice. I shall not, Sir, from what I have seen of your behaviour, and heard of your character, make any objections against your request; but I confess, I am afraid you have been rather too precipitate in your choice; although my person may have engaged your attention, yet I am afraid all those charms you so much extol are not suffcient to keep you loyal to the marriage vow. But I will hope the best, and take you at your word, nor give my hand to any other
you. In the mean time I shall be glad to hear that you continue your visits to my brother :-You will find him, I believe, a worthy person, and one who is much esteemed by all who know him. I have now given you leave to write as often as you please, as I hope all your letters will be agreeable ; and as for the time to be fixed for any thing else, I shall leave it entirely to be settled by yourself and my bro« ther, and am, dear Sir,
[The six following letters are genuine, and passed between a Gentle
man and Lady in England, some time ago, but were not published till lately.)
From the Gentleman. Madam,
IT was a question among the Stoics, whether the whole of human life afforded most pleasure or pain: For my own part, I have always wished to consider things in the fairest light, but I often find my resolution weakened ; and when I think to act the philosopher, I feel myself nothing but a man. When my late wife died, about two years ago, I
proposed to make the tour of England, that by mixing with strangers, my thoughts might be led from fruitless reflections on the loss I had sustained: A loss which none but myself knew. It is true, it has been so far successful, that it has taught me two things : first, resignation to the will of Heaven; and, secondly, that I am still unhappy, in the want of a female partner. The agreeable company at the house of your worthy brother, induced me to spend more time in York, than I at first intended ; nor did I know, until I had proceeded some miles, that I should be obliged once more to return. In short, Madam, I am a second time in love ; and although you may be disposed to laugh, yet I assure you, that I am in real earnest, and your own dear self is the object. But perhaps you will ask, How happens all this? I answer, that I cannot tell how it happens. But I am really fond of domestic life, and am once more resolved to alter my condition. I cannot flatter, and I think both you and I have lived long enough to judge for ourselves. There was something pleased me much in the prudent manner, you conduct the affairs of your brother's house ; but as he is on the point of being married, that employmet will cease when