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which she would wish her own to be veiled. If she does this, she may never have to complain of injudicious interference.
MRS. L.-I have known instances of married ladies stating their grievances to their male friends. My opinion is, that such conduct is very reprehensible; but I am desirous of hearing from you, whose judgment is strengthened by experience, what may be expected to result from such imprudence?
MRS. B. A woman can scarcely commit an act of greater imprudence, than to impart to a friend of the other sex, the causes of uneasiness subsisting between her husband and herself. Such a confidence bestowed upon a man of unsteady principles, would expose her to inconveniences of a painful and degrading nature. It would, in fact, be a tacit avowal of needing that protection, which she ought alone to receive from the very individual against whom she has lodged her appeal; and thus she would herself open the way to attentions and advances, dishonourable to the purity of her mind, and dangerous to her character. When ignorance of the world, or a weak understanding tempts a woman to such imprudent conduct, it will be next to a miracle if her downfal be not the result.
MRS. L. Under what circumstances is advice to be taken and to be requested?
MRS. B.-The elder members of families are often disposed to fancy their juniors incapable of judging and acting for themselves; and, thence, urgently press their opinions and advice, upon all
occasions, whether of importance or of insignificance; thus disgusting where they wished to benefit.
The young, on their part, are generally too presumptuous, and averse from counsel, which may not, in their opinion, be sufficiently flavoured by the fashions of the day. Did they consider that the practice and opinions of their seniors have borne the test of experience, while those of the present time have their value still to be proved, they would, perhaps, be more willing to pay the proper tribute of respect and attention to the advice that may be given to them; and by this they might sometimes be spared the purchase of experience at too dear a rate.
It is not, however, judicious to scek advice on every occasion, or to act upon it indiscriminately. This would show a weak character, or tend to produce one. A proper dependence on self, is essential to right conduct, and where it is wanting, neither oral nor written advice can supply the deficiency.
There are, however, many points, on which a young married woman finds that her judgment needs the aid of experience; and this will induce her to ask for advice, from the best source within her power. If very strict regard to economy be important, the experience of a friend may enable her to put it into immediate practice: in affairs of the nursery, timely advice may prevent some of the grievous effects of ignorance; and in the government of servants too, it may often be useful, and avert much inconvenience; for, to be ignorant in
the eyes of our domestics, is to place ourselves in their power, the effect of which is shown by their disobedience and contempt. But on this subject, we will speak more fully hereafter. On other things, speaking generally, it will be better to consult the judgment, and to act according to its dictates, than in every moment of demur, to seek the opinion of another. Errors of judgment may be the consequence occasionally, but with ripened years they will diminish; and the character will acquire vigour by the exercise of the judgment, sufficient to compensate for a few mistakes. At the commencement of any new career, the experience of our friends is most advantageous, but it should be regarded merely as a temporary assistance; like that afforded to the child when he first attempts to walk. The support should be diminished by degrees, as strength and courage increase, till at length we may be left to our own pilotage and freedom of action.
A multiplicity of advisers is very far from desirable. It is true, there may be wisdom in the counsel of the many, yet, in most cases, I would rather have the opinion of one sensible friend than that of many others. To have to select from an incongruous mass of advice that which may appear to be the best, sometimes rather impedes than assists the judgment; and besides this, the liberty of choosing is restrained by the fear of offending, and, it must be confessed, not without reason, for very few people feel perfectly complacent towards those who have disregarded their counsel or preferred that of another.
MRS. L.There is not, I think, any one more.
troublesome than the voluntary adviser. I mean one who, on all petty matters, is in the habit of pointing out to you much better plans than those you have pursued, and who makes you readily aware that she is sure she could arrange all your family affairs much more advantageously than you can yourself. I have seen much vexation arise from this foible. How may it be parried without giving offence?
MRS. B.-It may be difficult to resist such a friendly adviser with discretion, particularly if she be nearly related or connected. But that it must be done there can be no hesitation, or you may not be long the mistress of your house or of your actions. Such a case will require firm, but not violent, opposition, and it is probable that one or two struggles will be sufficient to check the habit, as far as you are concerned; and if on all other points you continue to manifest the kindness and regard you had previously shown, perhaps even redouble your attention, you may possibly avoid incurring any continued resentment or displeasure.
MRS. L. Is it not improper to mention the occurrences in one's family to strangers, unless advice be the object?
MRS. B. Certainly; nothing can be more ill advised. The daily trifling occurrences in a family, should never be known beyond the walls of the house. It is extremely injudicious to repeat them; and even if they be told to relations and intimates, they frequently cause discussions of an unsatisfactory nature, or entail a load of advice, which proves neither useful nor agreeable. Greater events,
either of pleasure or of sorrow, our friends have a just claim to know, and on such occasions their sympathy gratifies and comforts.
MRS. L.-What general line of conduct should a woman adopt in reference to her husband's relations?
MRS. B. If a woman endeavour to place her husband's relations on the same footing, as nearly as possible, as her own; to search for their virtues, and to pay those virtues the meed of esteem; to be more than half-blind to their weaknesses; to respect the opinions and feelings of the senior members of his family, while she treats the younger with affection and good-humour, she cannot fail to ensure towards herself a conduct in some degree correspondent. Her husband, too, will be gratified by the attainment of this family concord, especially if his wife have conceded some of her prejudices and habits to promote it. And if he be not a selfish character, he will neglect no opportunity of establishing it on the firmest foundation.
The task of conciliating a variety of tempers, and of assimilating ourselves to habits and modes of thinking to which we have not been accustomed, forms, sometimes, a perplexing and trying part of the duty of married life; but they who habitually sacrifice inclination to the sense of duty, will find even this easy and tolerable. As a compensation, they will experience self-approbation, a reward of far higher value than inclination, when gratified at the expense of duty, can ever purchase.