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MRS. B. Such a wife or mother is worthless. She neglects the chief and positive duties of life, without fulfilling those of a minor character with any good effect. At home her example is injurious, and if abroad she possess any influence, it is merely of a temporary nature, resting, probably, on no surer ground than that of fashion. In pourtraying the beau-idéal of a married woman, I should describe one not absorbed in any single part, but attentive to the whole of life's obligations; one who neglects nothing, who regulates and superintends her household concerns; attends to, watches over and guides her children, and yet is ever ready to consider, in moderation, the demands upon her time, which the numerous and various claims of society may make. Such appears to me to be a right sketch of the character of the married
MRS. L. This is not to be denied.
And now may I repeat my request that you will enter into details with me, remembering my entire ignorance on most of the topics connected with the duties of my new character?
MRS. B. Willingly. And we will arrange and pursue our conversations by a regular plan, so that, considered together, they may form for you a system of Domestic Duty.
In our first part, the claims of social life shall be discussed. In this may be comprised all those which regard our friends, acquaintance, relations, husband, children, and servants.
In the second part, we will treat of the management of the house and household.
The third part may contain strictures on the disposal of time, and the fourth and concluding portion of our system shall be confined to moral and religious duties.
ON THE CONDUCT TO BE OBSERVED TOWARDS FOR
MER FRIENDS AND CONNECTIONS.
MRS. L. I have known some ladies who, after marriage, have abandoned most of their early friendships, and have known little more, through life, of those with whom they have passed the happiest and most innocent period of their existence. The plea in their extenuation was, that marriage, having placed them far above their former connections, rendered the continuance of such intimacies incompatible with those they were after marriage compelled to form. Under such circumstances, the nearest relations have in some instances experienced this neglect, and have been ungratefully overlooked by those on whom they had formerly bestowed kindness and attention. Can such conduct ever be expedient or necessary?
MRS. B. - To give up all intercourse with old friends merely because the chances of life have raised us so high as to make us ashamed of the condition to which they belong, and in which we were born, is indeed contemptible: such conduct proceeds from the vice of a low mind, and has been universally
reprobated whenever it has displayed itself; while an opposite conduct, because it evinces a nobler character, has always been as much the subject of general approbation and esteem. In such instances, the world has forgotten to apply the stigmatising epithet of upstart, the elevation of mind shown by the conduct having corresponded with the rank attained. Yet I can imagine considerable difficulty attending the effort to maintain an intimacy with both new and former connections, where great inequality of rank separates them. This must be regarded as one of the inconveniences springing from an unequal marriage; for however strongly disposed any one who has formed such a marriage may be to show undeviating affection and respect to her own connections and relatives, she cannot compel others to enter as warmly into her feelings, and to act in unison with them. So that while striving, by every attention in her power, to prove the unchanged state of her feelings towards them, she may be exposing them to insult and humiliation from those over whose conduct and disposition she has no controul.
Her husband, too, may be desirous of loosening the ties of her youth, and of drawing her completely away from her former rank: this may torment and distract her with opposing duties and inclinations. If the husband's influence, in such cases, gains the day, we must not be surprised nor censure severely. Yet it must be confessed that there are few instances in which a woman is entirely deprived, by her marriage, of the power of proving to her early friends the continuance of her attach
ment to them, and that forgetfulness and neglect of them are far more common than occasion can justify.
It is true, that, as the husband's happiness and welfare ought always to be, by the wife, primarily considered, she should not surround him with persons whose society is disagreeable to him, or whose friendship and intimacy he regards as injurious to his prospects and plans in life.
It is her duty to conform her conduct to all his reasonable wishes: he has raised her in rank, and if he desire to place her in all respects on an equality with himself, she cannot judiciously oppose him. She must, therefore, in a great measure, regulate her conduct, in regard to associating with her former friends, by his wishes. Suppose her, however, willing to relinquish a very constant social intercourse with them, to enjoy it only occasionally, and at those times most convenient and least annoying to her husband; suppose her, also, endeavouring to assimilate her manners as much as possible with her new associates, and cultivating intimacies agreeable to her husband, he has certainly reason to be satisfied, and ought not to demand any greater sacrifice, such as that of entirely abandoning former friendships. On the contrary, if he have a true regard for her, and for her estimation in the world, he will rather urge her to preserve her name from the odium which the charge of ungrateful and neglectful behaviour towards the benefactors of her youth would attach to it. He will encourage her to repay past kind