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 to 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 pends more than you can poſſibly imagine.

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. B.’s 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 neſs, 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. B. 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 nity 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 hopes.

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