No. 522. Wednesday, October 29, 1712. Steele.

--Adjuro nunquam eam me deserturum, Non, si capiundos mihi sciam esse inimicos omneis homines. Hanc mihi expetivi, contigit: conveniunt mores: valeant Qui inter nos dissidium volunt: hanc, nisi mors, Mi adimet nemo.'

I should esteem my self a very happy Man, if my Speculations could in the least contribute to the rectifying the Conduct of my Readers in one of the most important Affairs of Life, to wit their Choice in Marriage. This State is the Foundation of Community, and the chief Band of Society; and I do not think I can be too frequent on Subjects which may give Light to my unmarried Readers, in a particular which is so essential to their following Happiness or Misery. A virtuous Disposition, a good Understanding, an agreeable Person, and an easy Fortune, are the things which should be chiefly regarded on this Occasion. Because my present View is to direct a young Lady, who, I think, is now in doubt whom to take of many Lovers, I shall talk at this time to my female Reader. The Advantages, as I was going to say, of Sense, Beauty and Riches, are what are certainly the chief Motives to a prudent young Woman of Fortune for changing her Condition; but as she is to have her Eye upon each of these, she is to ask herself whether the Man who has most of these Recommendations in the Lump is not the most desirable. He that has excellent Talents, with a moderate Estate, and an agreeable Person, is preferable to him who is only rich, if it were only that good Faculties may purchase Riches, but Riches cannot purchase worthy Endowments. I do not mean that Wit, and a Capacity to entertain, is what should be highly valued, except it is founded upon Good-nature and Humanity. There are many ingenious Men, whose Abilities do little else but make themselves and those about them uneasy: Such are those who are far gone in the Pleasures of the Town, who cannot support Life without quick Sensations and gay Reflections, and are Strangers to Tranquility, to right Reason, and a calm Motion of Spirits without Transport or Dejection. These ingenious Men, of all Men living, are most to be avoided by her who would be happy in [a [1]] Husband. They are immediately sated with Possession, and must necessarily fly to new Acquisitions of Beauty, to pass away the whiling Moments and Intervals of Life; for with them every Hour is heavy that is not joyful. But there is a sort of Man of Wit and Sense, that can reflect upon his own Make, and that of his Partner, with the Eyes of Reason and Honour, and who believes he offends against both these, if he does not look upon the Woman (who chose him to be under his Protection in Sickness and Health) with the utmost Gratitude, whether from that Moment she is shining or defective in Person or Mind: I say, there are those who think themselves bound to supply with Good-nature the Failings of those who love them, and who always think those the Objects of Love and Pity, who came to their Arms the Objects of Joy and Admiration.

Of this latter sort is Lysander, a Man of Wit, Learning, Sobriety and Good-nature, of Birth and Estate below no Woman to accept, and of whom it might be said, should he succeed in his present Wishes, his Mistress rais'd his Fortune, but not that she made it. When a Woman is deliberating with herself whom she shall chuse of many near each other in other Pretensions, certainly he of best Understanding is to be preferr'd. Life hangs heavily in the repeated Conversation of one who has no Imagination to be fired at the several Occasions and Objects which come before him, or who cannot Strike out of his Reflections new Paths of pleasing Discourse. Honest Will Thrash and his Wife, tho' not married above four Months, have scarce had a Word to say to each other this six weeks; and one cannot form to one's self a sillier Picture, than these two Creatures in solemn Pomp and Plenty unable to enjoy their Fortunes, and at a full stop among a Crowd of Servants, to whose Taste of Life they are beholden for the little Satisfactions by which they can be understood to be so much as barely in Being. The Hours of the Day, the Distinctions of Noon and Night, Dinner and Supper, are the greatest Notices they are capable of. This is perhaps representing the Life of a very modest Woman, joined to a dull Fellow, more insipid than it really deserves; but I am sure it is not to exalt the Commerce with an ingenious Companion too high, to say that every new Accident or Object which comes into such a Gentleman's way, gives his Wife new Pleasures and Satisfactions. The Approbation of his Words and Actions is a continual new Feast to her, nor can she enough applaud her good Fortune in having her Life varied every hour, her Mind more improv'd, and her Heart more glad from every Circumstance which they meet with. He will lay out his Invention in forming new Pleasures and Amusements, and make the Fortune she has brought him subservient to the Honour and Reputation of her and hers. A Man of Sense who is thus oblig'd, is ever contriving the Happiness of her who did him so great a Distinction; while the Fool is ungrateful without Vice, and never returns a Favour because he is not sensible of it. I would, methinks, have so much to say for my self, that if I fell into the hands of him who treated me ill, he should be sensible when he did so: His Conscience should be of my side, whatever became of his Inclination. I do not know but it is the insipid Choice which has been made by those who have the Care of young Women, that the Marriage State it self has been liable to so much Ridicule. But a well-chosen Love, mov'd by Passion on both sides, and perfected by the Generosity of one Party, must be adorn'd with so many handsome Incidents on the other side, that every particular Couple would be an example in many Circumstances to all the rest of the Species. I shall end the Chat upon this Subject with a couple of Letters, one from a Lover who is very well acquainted with the way of Bargaining on these Occasions; and the other from his Rival, who has a less Estate, but great Gallantry of Temper. As for my Man of Prudence, he makes love, as he says, as if he were already a Father, and laying aside the Passion, comes to the Reason of the Thing.


My Counsel [2] has perused the Inventory of your Estate, and consider'd what Estate you have, which it seems is only yours, and to the Male-Heirs of your Body; but, in Default of such Issue, to the right Heirs of your Uncle Edward for ever. Thus, Madam, I am advis'd you cannot (the Remainder not being in you) dock the Entail; by which means my Estate, which is Fee-Simple, will come by the Settlement propos'd to your Children begotten by me, whether they are Males or Females; but my Children begotten upon you will not inherit your Lands, except I beget a Son. Now, Madam, since things are so, you are a Woman of that Prudence, and understand the World so well, as not to expect I should give you more than you can give me.

_I am, Madam,

(with great Respect)

Your most obedient humble Servant,_ T. W.

The other Lover's Estate is less than this Gentleman's, but he express'd himself as follows.


I have given in my Estate to your Counsel, [3] and desired my own Lawyer to insist upon no Terms which your Friends can propose for your certain Ease and Advantage: For indeed I have no notion of making Difficulties of presenting you with what cannot make me happy without you.

_I am, Madam,

Your most devoted humble Servant,_ B. T.

You must know the Relations have met upon this, and the Girl being mightily taken with the latter Epistle, she is laugh'd out, and Uncle Edward is to be dealt with to make her a suitable Match to the worthy Gentleman who has told her he does not care a farthing for her. All I hope for is, that the Lady Fair will make use of the first light Night to show B. T. she understands a Marriage is not to be considered as a common Bargain.


[Footnote 1: [an] and in first reprint.]

[Footnote 2: Spelt Council in the first issue and first reprint.]

[Footnote 3: Spelt Council in the first issue and first reprint.]

Translation of motto:
TER. Andr. Act iv. Sc. 2.
'I swear never to forsake her; no, though I were sure to make all men
my enemies. Her I desired; her I have obtained; our humours agree.
Perish all those who would separate us! Death alone shall deprive me
of her!'