Mrs. Chapone’s
to a
New-Married Lady.

Price six-pence.

flawed-reproduction1 page A2r

to a
New-Married Lady.

By Mrs. Chapone,
Author of the
Letters on the Improvement
of the Mind, &c.

Printed for E. and C. Dilly, in the Poultry;
And J. Walter, Charing Cross.

flawed-reproduction1 page
A3r 5

A Letter
A New-Married Lady.

Indeed, my dear young friend, you
have highly obliged me by such a
distinguishing mark of friendship and
consideration as that of finding time,
on the most important day of your
life, to inform me, with your own
hand, of your marriage: an event
most interesting to me, who wish your
happiness with the sincerest ardour.
You tell me you expect from me, not
a letter of formal congratulation, but
of serious and friendly advice on the
new situations and duties in which
you are going to be engaged. You
wish I could be always with you to A3 watch A3v 6
watch and direct your conduct, and
seem full of that salutary fear and
distrust of your own prudence, which
is the best security for youth and inexperience.
Whilst you retain this,
I may venture to answer for you, that
you will not materially deviate from
the paths of duty and happiness.

I am glad you are still to remain a
few weeks under the paternal roof,
which has hitherto sheltered you from
every evil, and where you have seen
examples only of good; but, from
this scene of regularity and quiet
chearfulness, you will soon go to
London, to become mistress of yourself
and of a family, and to plunge at
once into the hurry and bustle of a
world to which you are almost a
stranger. Thither will my anxious
good wishes attend you; for, on the
manner of your first setting out dependspends A4r 7
more than you can possibly

I know you have not been brought
up in modish principles, and that you
do not at present consider marriage
as a title to unbounded liberty and
perpetual dissipation, instead of a
solemn engagement to subjection and
obedience, to family cares and serious
employments. You will probably
indeed meet with people who will
endeavour to laugh you out of all
such regards, and who will find something
very ludicrous in the idea of
authority in a husband. But, whatever
your opinions may be on this
head, it is certain that a man of Mr.
generosity would be much mortified
and distressed to find himself
obliged to exert his authority in restraining
your pleasures, particularly
on his first setting out with you on
the journey of life. He knows he A4 should A4v 8
should be universally condemmed, as
either jealous or covetous, should he
interfere to stem the torrent of dissipation,
into which it will be the business
of most of your acquaintance to
see you fairly plunged; for well they
know that when once you are drawn
into the whirlpool, more than female
strength is required to get out of it
again. Curiosity and vanity will join
their temptations. You have a new
face and new finery to shew, new
flattery to hear, and every fine place
about town to see and to be seen in.

“Alas! poor Mr. B.!”—What chance
have you for a moment’s attention!
and what a sudden end is here of all
that dear domestic happiness to which
you both look’d forward with rapture
a few weeks ago!—You have nothing
for it but to engage as deeply in the
same course, and leave to whining
swains in the country all ideas of that union A5r 9
union of heart, that sweet intercourse
of tenderness and friendship of which
soft souls in love” are apt to dream,
when they think of living with the
object of their wishes.

Mr. B chose you from affection
only: the superiority of his fortune,
and the large field of choice which
that fortune, joined with his amiable
person and character, secured to him,
precludes the possibility of any other
motive. I—who know the disinterestedness
of your nature, and the
perfect freedom of rejection which
your parents have always allowed you
—have not the least doubt that your
preference of him was the genuine
effect of a real attachment, without
any bias from his riches. Youth is
naturally disinterested, and your heart
is hitherto uncorrupted. But, my
dear, the mode of living, in this too
civilized part of the world, leaves scarce A5v 10
scarce a single trace of nature, and
even youth now grows a stranger to
tenderness and truth, and pursues
wealth (as the means of gratifying
vanity) with all the rapacity of an
old usurer. It is necessary therefore
that you should prove to your husband
the sincerity of your attachment,
which he may justly doubt
if he sees that your happiness arises
from the enjoyment of his fortune
rather than of him. By a reserved
and moderate use of his indulgence,
by always preferring his company,
and that of his particular friends, to
public diversions and assemblies, by
studying his taste rather than your
own, and making the gratification
of it your highest pleasure, you
must convince him that your heart is
his own; a truth which should always
appear in the general tenor of your
conduct, rather than in professions, or in A6r 11
in that officious parade of affection
which designing women often substitute
in the place of every genuine
mark of tenderness and consideration.
Dean Swift, Vide Letter to a new-married Lady. in his coarse way, says
very sensible things on the subject of
displaying affection, which however
may safely be left to your own natural
delicacy: “l’amour, de sa nature, aime
le secret;”
and a person of sensibility
is always averse to shewing any
passion or affection before those whose
sympathy is not interested in it. An
amiable author Dr. Gregory.—Vide Father’s Legacy. of much more delicacy
than the Dean, goes so far as to
advise his daughters never to shew
the extent of their love, even to their
husbands; a precept which does no
honour to his own sex, and which
would take from ours its sweetest charms, A6v 12
charms, simplicity and artless tenderness.
A haughty and imperious woman,
who desired an undue power
over her husband, would indeed do
wisely to keep him always in suspense,
and conceal from him an affection
which must increase his power and
diminish her own; but a gentle and
truly feminine nature has no such
desires, and consequently needs no
such arts. A modest heart may trust
its genuine feelings with a husband
who has generosity and delicacy, and
who, like yours, is untainted with
that base opinion of women which a
commerce with the worst of the sex
always inspires.

Swift, (and almost every male
writer on the subject) pronounces
that the passion of love in men is
infallibly destroyed by possession, and
can subsist but a short time after marriage.
What a dreadful sentence must this A7r 13
this appear to you at this time! yourYour
heart, which feels its own affection
increased, knows not how to support
the idea of such a change in the beloved
object: but, my dear friend,
the God of Nature, who provided
the passion of love as the incitement
to marriage, has also provided resources
for the happiness of this his
own institution, which kind and uncorrupted
natures will not fail to find.
It is not indeed intended that we
should pass our lives in the delirium
of passion: but whilst this subsides,
the habit of affection grows strong.
The tumult and anxiety of desire
must of course be at an end when the
object is secure; but a milder and
more serene happiness succeeds, which
in good hearts creates a tenderness
that is often wanting amidst the fervors
of violent passion. Before this
palls, your business is to build the solid A7v 14
solid foundation of a durable friendship.
This will best be done whilst
the partiality of fondness places all
your excellencies in the fairest point
of view, and draws a veil over your
defects. This season you should take
care to prolong, as far as is possible,
that habit and esteem may have time
to take deep root: to this end you
must avoid every thing that can create
a moment’s disgust towards either
your person or your mind. Keep the
infirmities of both out of the observation
of your husband more scrupulously
than of any other man; and
never let your idea in his imagination
be accompanied with circumstances
unpleasant or disgraceful. A mistress
of a family cannot always be adorned
with smiles. It will sometimes be
incumbent on you to find faults, and
human nature may sometimes fail of
doing this with proper temper and dignity; A8r 15
dignity; therefore let it never be done
in the presence of your husband. Do
not disturb him with the detail of
your grievances from servants or
trades-people, nor with your methods
of family-management. But above
all, let nothing of this kind embitter
his meals when you happen to be
têtê-à-têtê at table. In mixing with
the world and its affairs, he will often
meet with such things as cannot fail
to hurt a mind like his, and which
may sometimes affect his temper.
But when he returns to his own house,
let him there find every thing serene
and peaceful, and let your chearful
complacency restore his good-humour,
and quiet every uneasy passion.

Endeavour to enter into his pursuits,
catch his taste, improve by his
knowledge; nor let any thing that is
interesting to him appear a matter 2 of A8v 16
of indifference to you. Thus will
you make yourself delightful to him
as a companion and friend, in whom
he may be always sure to find that
sympathy which is the grand cement
of friendship. But if you affect to
speak of his pursuits as beyond your
capacity or foreign to your taste, you
can be no longer pleasing to him in
that light, and must rely merely on
your personal attractions, of which,
alas, time and familiarity must every
day impair the value. When you are
in the country, perhaps you may
sometimes find hours, and even days
for each other’s society, without any
other company: in this case, conversation
will hardly supply sufficient
entertainment; and, next to displeasing
or disgusting him, you should of
all things dread his growing dull and
weary in your company. If you can
prevail upon him to read with you, to B1r 17
to practise music with you, or to teach
you a language or a science, you will
then find amusement for every hour;
and nothing is more endearing than
such communications. The improvements
and accomplishments you gain
from him will be doubly valuable in
his esteem; and certainly you can
never acquire them so agreeably as
from his lips. And though you
should not naturally be disposed to
the same taste in reading or amusement,
this may be acquired by habit,
and by a hearty desire of conforming
to his inclinations and sharing in his
pleasures. With such a master you
will find your understanding enlarge,
and your taste refine to a degree far
beyond your expectations; and the
sweet reward of his praises will inspire
you with such spirit and diligence as
will easily surmount any natural inaptitude.

B Your B1v 18

Your behaviour to his particular
friends and near relations will have
the most important effects on your
mutual happiness. If you do not
adopt his sentiments with regard to
these, your union must be very incompleat,
and a thousand disagreeable
circumstances will continually
arise from it. I am told that he is
an excellent son to a mother, who,
with many good qualities, has defects
of temper which determined
him to decline her continuing to live
with him after his marriage. In
this he is equally kind and prudent;
for though he could himself meritoriously
bear with failings to which he
had been accustomed from his infancy,
in a parent who doats upon him, yet
this would have been too hard a task
upon you, who have not an equal affection
to support your duty, and to
whom her ways would have been new and B2r 19
and unusual. But though I thus far
highly approve his consideration for
you, yet you must remember how
great a part of her happiness she is
thus deprived of on your account,
and make her all the amends in your
power by your own attentions, as
well as by promoting opportunities
of indulging her in the company of
her son. It would be a grievous
charge on your conscience, if thro’
your means he should become less
observant of her, or diminish aught
of that duty and affection which has
hitherto so amiably distinguished him.
Be careful therefore that no dispute
may ever happen between this lady
and yourself, no complaint from either
of you disturb his peace, to
whom it would be so painful and unnatural
to take part against either.
Be armed against the sallies of her
temper, and predetermined never to B2 quarrel B2v 20
quarrel with her, whatever she may
say or do. In such a relationship,
this conduct would not be meanness
but merit; nor would it imply any
unworthy compliance or false assent;
since silence and good-humoured steadiness
may always preserve sincerity
in your conversation, and proper freedom
in your conduct. If she should
desire to controul your actions, or to
intermeddle in the affairs of your family,
more than you think is reasonable,
hear her advice with patience,
and answer with respect, but in a
manner that may let her see you
mean to judge of your own duties
for yourself. “I will consider of
what you are so good to observe to
me.―I will endeavour to rectify
whatever is amiss.”
—or some such
general answer, will probably for the
time put a stop to her attempts of
this kind.

Great B3r 21

Great care must be taken to proportion
at least your outward regards
with equity and good-breeding between
your husband’s relations and
your own. It would be happy if your
feelings could be almost the same to
both: but whether they are so or
not, you are bound by duty and prudence
to cultivate as much as possible
the good-will and friendship of
the family into which you are now
adopted, without prejudice to that
affection and gratitude in which I am
sure you can never be wanting towards
your own.

If it is an important duty to avoid
all dissentions and disobligations with
those who are nearly connected with
your husband, of how much greater
consequence is it to avoid all occasions
of resentment between yourselves?
Whatever may be said of the
quarrels of lovers, believe me those of B3 married B3v 22
married people have always dreadful
consequences, especially if they are
not very short and very slight. If they
are suffered to produce bitter or contemptuous
expressions, or betray an
habitual dislike in one party of any
thing in the person or mind of the
other, such wounds can scarcely ever
be thoroughly healed: and tho’ regard
to principle and character lays
the married couple under a necessity
to make up the breach as well as they
can, yet is their affiance in each
other’s affection so rudely shaken in
such conflicts, that it can hardly ever
be perfectly fixed again. The painful
recollection of what is past, will
often intrude upon the tenderest hours,
and every trifle will awaken and renew
it. You must even now be particularly
on your guard against this
source of misery. A new-married
pair, from their very excess of fondness,5 ness, B4r 23
sometimes give way to little
jealousies and childish quarrels, which
at first perhaps quickly end in the
renewal and increase of tenderness,
but, if often repeated, they lose these
agreeable effects, and soon produce
others of a contrary nature. The
dispute grows every time more serious
—jealousies and distrusts take deeper
root—the temper is hurt on both
sides—habits of sourness, thwarting,
and mutual misconstruction prevail,
and soon overpower all that tenderness
which originally gave them birth.
Keep it then constantly in mind, that
the happiness of marriage depends
entirely upon a solid and permanent
friendship, to which nothing is more
opposite than jealousy and distrust.
Nor are they less at variance with the
true interests of passion. You can never
be a gainer by taxing your husband’s
affection beyond its natural B4 strength; B4v 24
strength; the fear of alarming your
jealousy, and bringing on a quarrel,
may force him to feign a greater
fondness than he feels; but this very
effort and constraint will in fact diminish,
and by degrees extinguish
that fondness. If therefore he should
appear less tender or attentive than
you wish, you must either awaken his
passion by displaying some new grace
some winning charm of sweetness
and sensibility, or else conform (at
least in appearance) to that rate of
tenderness which his example prescribes;
for it is your part rather modestly
to follow as he leads, than
make him feel the uneasiness of not
being able to keep pace with you.
At least one may pronounce that there
is nothing less likely to increase affection
than ill-humour and captiousness.
The truth is, that pride rather B5r 25
rather than tenderness usually occasions
the unreasonable expectations of an
exceptious person, and it is rewarded,
as it deserves, with mortifications,
and the cold dislike of those who
suffer from it.

I am unwilling to sadden your present
halcyon days and the fair prospect
of happiness before you, by supposing
the possibility of any proper
cause of jealousy—any real unkindness
or infidelity on the part of Mr.
As far as the human character can
be known and relied on, you have
reason to think yourself secure from
this heaviest of calamities; and nothing
but irresistible proof, unsought
for, and obtruded upon your senses,
should ever shake your confidence
and esteem. If this were to happen
—if my dear tender friend should
be doom’d to the heart-breaking trial of B5v 26
of seeing those looks of love changed
into “hard Unkindness’ alter’d eye That mocks the tear it forced to flow:” Gray.
What must then be your resource?
——Not rage and exclamation―
not sullenness and pride―not an
appeal to the world, which would
laugh at your complaints—nor even
to your friends, who cannot help
you, unless by a separation, which
would publish and compleat your
misfortune! — The comforts and
helps of religion, with a firm resolution
not to be driven out of the
path of duty, can alone support you
under such a sorrow. The only hope
of removing the cause of it must be
derived from time and future contingencies,
which you will watch for
and improve. Sickness or disappointment
may give him opportunitynity B6r 27
for reflection, and for observing
the merit of that silent patience, the
dignity of that uniform adherence to
your duty which must force his
esteem, and may at length regain his
heart. If not, yours will of course
be cured of the exquisite pain of
unrequited love, which cannot very
long subsist in a mind of any dignity
or strength. If you have children,
they will supply the “aching void”
with a passion not less lively than
that which you will have subdued;
for their sakes life will still be valuable
to you, and entertained with
chearfulness. But let me hasten from
a subject so unsuitable to your present
situation and to your most reasonable

I cannot but flatter myself that
ladies are mightily improved since
the time when Dean Swift (writing
on the same occasion that I do now) exhorts B6v 28
exhorts his fair pupil to make no
friendships with any of her own sex.
This is, in effect, forbidding her to
make any friendships at all; for, the
world, with very good reason, tolerates
no male friends at your age,
excepting your nearest relations. The
rules of decorum in such points are
founded on a knowledge of human
nature, which young women cannot
have attained, and are therefore apt
to despise such rules, as founded on
base ideas of the nature of friendship,
or of the hearts that entertain it.
But one would have supposed that
the Dean had lived long enough in
the world, and thought ill enough
of mankind to have been convinced
of the impropriety of a young lady’s
making her strictest intimacies and
confidential attachments with persons
of the other sex. But, setting aside
the danger to her reputation and even to B7r 29
to her morals, surely a woman who
despised her own sex, and would converse
with none but men, would be
not less ridiculous than a man who
should pass his whole time among
women. Like the monkey in the
fable, she would stand a chance of
being rejected and disowned by both
species. The reasons the Dean gives
for this preposterous advice, if ever
founded in truth, are certainly so no
longer. You may find advantages
in the conversation of many ladies, if
not equal to those which men are
qualified to give, yet equal at least to
what you, as a female, are capable of
receiving. Yet in one point the Dean
and I agree; in recommending your
husband to be your first and dearest
friend, and his judgment to be consulted
in the choice of every new one
you may hereafter make. Those you
already possess are, I believe, secure 10 of B7v 30
of some portion of his esteem, and
he is too much interested in your
constancy and fidelity of heart, to
wish you to be fickle towards them.
I shall therefore depend on his full
consent to my having always the pleasure
of stiling myself

Your faithful
and affectionate friend,

H. Chapone