« PreviousContinue »
by a reckless and forbidden union; nor is the purity of her character compromised by her devotion to an infamous husband.
Impelled by the mysterious spell upon her weak and confiding nature, she steals from her cradle and her home for a clandestine, precipitate, perhaps a fatal marriage.
Unconscious of wrong, she flies back, and casts herself in anguish upon the bosom of her beloved mother, who never spurns her, but, woman-like, sobs in mournful sympathy; she averts her timid eye from the angry brow of a proud and haughty father, at whose feet she kneels, to be discarded, and cast out with scorn.
Still she is in solemn earnest; nothing but death can change her unextinguishable love for her husband; and if he will suffer her presence, and give her one-half the chance which is grudgingly given to a common house-dog, she will follow him round the world, and cling to him, through infidelity, cruelty, disease, infamy, and death; and sacrifice for him her life and soul, totally regardless of the odium and persecution of the world.
Her destiny and her doom were “thy desire shall be to thy husband," and "he shall rule over thee."
Even with “the suffering sorrow of her sex," her natural and inherent instinct is to seek for, to lean upon, and cleave unto man; she always believes him to have honest intentions; and naturally converts slight attentions into purposes of marriage.
It is the predominant thought of her existence; a pleasing, cheerful dream; a secret, thrilling impulse of confiding nature, fanned into hope, and then to love.
The surrender she makes in marriage is so complete that it would be idolatry but with her; it is not profane in her, for it is God's command.
To her, marriage is a rapturous, lasting banquet; it is the bright and dazzling star of love and homage to her husband.
This is but a faint coloring of the picture of her never-dying love for man.
Her pride, her destiny, begins with joy, and grows with glorious usefulness, or anguish, sorrow, and despair.
The instances in which women do not have the moral excellence and charms peculiar to their sex are very uncommon; so unusual that, when they are without them, even though they have in some respects delicate appointments; when they have the sly, cold, and severe mental indications of man-it attracts immediate notice; and if they are not brazen and bold in manner, they are destitute of the soft and innocent confidence which so eminently belongs to woman; they have an air of remarkable promptness and self-possession in their speech and deportment which cannot be concealed; the distinction between them and a timid, gentle, true woman, is so obvious, that they seem to be another class of beings. Such women have all the craft and cunning of man, combined with the worst propensities of their own sex. They get this from their fathers. Their number are few. Woe to the husband that gets such a wife! It were better for him to have a millstone tied about his neck, and to be cast into the sea.
There is no unkindness or discourtesy intended by this true and natural portrait of woman
No tongue can speak, no words can express, the illimitable sphere of thought, passion, and piety, which is exclusively filled up by her wonderful faculties.
Her coming forth into the world is hailed with parental ecstasies of true delight. In infancy, she is a sweet cherub; in childhood, she is bright and angelic; at maturity, she buds and blooms in fragrant glory; and seems as if she was a shrine for all to kneel and worship at.
When a wife, she gladly quits the world, and the million of its habitations, from the whitened cot to the gorgeous palace, point to the empire of her proud and glorious sway.
As a mother, she fills her destiny with blameless love and holy piety; and, as a conscientious believer, she is the blessed mother, as she was the silent sentinel, at the tomb of her beloved Saviour.
She has the seraphic purity of the angels in heaven, with the celestial sympathy and thrilling passions of her sex, which were mysteriously and exclusively bestowed by God upon this final and triumphant work of his Almighty creation.
The foregoing remarks flow from the spontaneous effusion of every man's heart, and he mourns to have them tested by re
The instinctive impulses of his soul are rebuked by the chilling certainty that, with all the fascinations of woman, she too is imperfect; that she is ruled by the same iron sceptre of passion and pride that holds dominion over him, and that very many of her sex are secretly influenced by and openly indulge in the worst depravities of our nature. The foregoing picture must therefore be carefully and honestly examined, lest its dazzling charms and fascinating and delusive shades should conceal its imperfections.
Women appear to be almost insensible to the moral deformities of men; and men, from their evil sympathies, do not very much notice each other's depravities, unless provoked.
But the moral imperfections of women are more obvious, from their delicate nature ; at this point, we are struck with the terrible changes produced by man's expulsion from paradise.
The sequel develops, with women, most wonderful evidences of this catastrophe.
From her previous purity, and her subsequent apparent perfections the mind is charmed with the novelties of her character, and reluctantly, and not until late in life, is able to cast off this delusion.
However ungallant it may seem to write down these stubborn truths, it is but an act of justice that it should be faithfully performed, to guard man and woman both, against the dangerous consequences of trusting too much to superficial appearances, and the excitements of passion.
All general results are made up of minute details, and without an accurate knowledge of the latter, however apparently insignificant may be the task of their deliberate examination, there is no other true process for the philosophical solution of any proposition.
Bearing in mind these suggestions, it will be found that the objects detected behind the first bright shades of this dazzling picture are the shadows of her inherent follies.
By the fall, her pure and holy nature was changed, and all its calm and heavenly elements were inverted.
Making all just exceptions and allowances for females who are resolute in resisting bad propensities, being the class first described, a reference to the first practical traits of the character of those not included in the first named class discloses the mortifying truth that she has an ungovernable passion for personal display, for gaudy, dashing dress, for every new fashion, and for frivolous company.
For curls, laces, dashing shawls, hats and dresses, feathers and flounces; brilliants, dangling chains, watches, and jewelry;
simpering smiles, sly glances, painted cheeks, lips, and dimples; penciled brows and eyelashes, bergamot and musk, with affected and conspicuous affectations of bashfulness, innocence, and beauty.
She will not believe that plain dress, industry, discretion, unpretending simplicity of deportment and conversation, and an unblemished reputation-these good old-fashioned female virtues, so largely held and modestly practiced by the truly pure of her sex only-will command the esteem of all decent persons, and extort the respect even of the bad.
And that the only persons attracted by perspicuous dress and behavior are fops and libertines, who track out, and assign to such women, married or single, an equivocal position, from which they never escape.
Such women, when married, if they can make a pretext for keeping servants, wholly neglect their house-work and cooking, and denounce them as filthy and vulgar. In this way, their husbands never have wholesome food, or decent accommodations, and their expenses are doubled in waste, and feeding servants and visitors.
Single women of this character maintain an impregnable aversion to house-work, and openly abhor and utterly despise it.
However ignorant, low-born, and unfit for anything but drudgery, they obstinately shun work, although thereby they can always obtain good wages, comfortable homes, and be in the way of obtaining reputable marriages.
The result is that they lead vagrant lives, are always poor, spend everything they can get in fine clothes, never acquire a good reputation; no one can depend on them, nor can they depend on themselves.
They lounge about home as long as they can, put themselves on others, and, when finally compelled to go to work, instead of going into the employment of reputable families, turn circus, riders, supernumeraries, dancers, singers, and actors at theatres, and do anything but work, and become loose and abandoned.
Thousands of families, public houses, hotels, steamboats and steamships and packets, are obliged to employ men to do all the cooking, chamber-work, and waiting, at which women can do more, and do it better, and make better wages than men, and more than they, the women, can make at men's work.
The most absurd and disgusting incongruities are produced by thus inverting all the occupations of life.
The farmer's wife and daughters may, at the in-gatherings, help him, and he may help them, upon any emergency, with propriety; but, to see a woman ploughing, or at work in a coalmine, or a man washing dishes or scrubbing floors, is fulsome.
To reciprocate labor is proper, but to make permanent exchange of it is unnatural; neither can prosper.
Women are most aptly fit for all sorts of house-work, and teaching all the primary branches of learning; for accouchering, nursing, manufacturing all kinds of wearing apparel, except mens' hats, boots, and shoes; keeping account-books, dockets, records, and every kind of shops, and buying and selling all sorts of light wares and merchandises, and executing designs for and the manufactory of silks, ribands, laces, light goods, and for everything appurtenant to works of ornament, in which they can exercise superior taste and skill.
In all this wide range of honorable and useful labor, they far excel the men. For all these pursuits they should be most adequately educated and generously rewarded, and no man should be allowed to compete with them.
There are thousands of men and women whose mental capacities are not up to the level of conventional responsibility, and are, therefore, not adequate to the performance of any employments above subservient and subordinate duty, who have no judgment, and are but barely able to do as they are bid.
There is no end to the abortive efforts of men and women both, even to keep house, or to carry on the most trifling pursuit, upon the strength of their own judgment.
When they discover that they labor under this inefficiency, they should abandon the experiment, and resign themselves to the safe and quiet irresponsibilities of servitude, where they are free from care, and their wants are supplied by their earnings, without being exposed to the risks of experiment and enterprise.
It is absurd to answer these positions by saying that we are all equal, and that a poor person has a right to live in his own house, and to live as well as a rich person. This is not true : every one has an undoubted right to live as he may choose off of the result of his own earning, or off of means acquired by inheritance or devise; but he has no right to run in debt, or to live by trick and fraud; and, if he is poor, he is bound to live according to his means.
If he has to work for his living, he should do it patiently,