Lady Mary Wortley Montague eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 370 pages of information about Lady Mary Wortley Montague.
you send me; is it possible to have any sort of esteem for a person one believes capable of having such trifling inclinations?  Mr. Bickerstaff has very wrong notions of our sex.  I can say there are some of us that despise charms of show, and all the pageantry of greatness, perhaps with more ease than any of the philosophers.  In contemning the world, they seem to take pains to contemn it; we despise it, without taking the pains to read lessons of morality to make us do it.  At least I know I have always looked upon it with contempt, without being at the expense of one serious reflection to oblige me to it.  I carry the matter yet farther; was I to choose of two thousand pounds a year or twenty thousand, the first would be my choice.  There is something of an unavoidable embarras in making what is called a great figure in the world; [it] takes off from the happiness of life; I hate the noise and hurry inseparable from great estates and titles, and look upon both as blessings that ought only to be given to fools, for ’tis only to them that they are blessings.  The pretty fellows you speak of, I own entertain me sometimes; but is it impossible to be diverted with what one despises?  I can laugh at a puppet-show; at the same time I know there is nothing in it worth my attention or regard.  General notions are generally wrong.  Ignorance and folly are thought the best foundations for virtue, as if not knowing what a good wife is was necessary to make one so.  I confess that can never be my way of reasoning; as I always forgive an injury when I think it not done out of malice, I never think myself obliged by what is done without design.”

Lady Mary, who was now one-and-twenty, was no bread-and-butter miss.  She knew her mind and had the gift to express herself, and in this same letter she very prettily rebukes her laggard lover.

“Give me leave to say it, (I know it sounds vain,) I know how to make a man of sense happy; but then that man must resolve to contribute something towards it himself.  I have so much esteem for you, I should be very sorry to hear you was unhappy; but for the world I would not be the instrument of making you so; which (of the humour you are) is hardly to be avoided if I am your wife.  You distrust me—­I can neither be easy, nor loved, where I am distrusted.  Nor do I believe your passion for me is what you pretend it; at least I am sure was I in love I could not talk as you do.  Few women would have spoke so plainly as I have done; but to dissemble is among the things I never do.  I take more pains to approve my conduct to myself than to the world; and would not have to accuse myself of a minute’s deceit.  I wish I loved you enough to devote myself to be for ever miserable, for the pleasure of a day or two’s happiness.  I cannot resolve upon it.  You must think otherwise of me, or not at all.”

“I don’t enjoin you to burn this letter,” she said in conclusion.  “I know you will.  ’Tis the first I ever writ to one of your sex, and shall be the last.  You must never expect another.  I resolve against all correspondence of the kind—­my resolutions are seldom made and never broken.”

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Lady Mary Wortley Montague from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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