There is another Particular of Emilia’s Conduct which I cant forbear mentioning: To some perhaps it may at first Sight appear but a trifling inconsiderable Circumstance but for my Part, I think it highly worthy of Observation, and to be recommended to the Consideration of the fair Sex. I have often thought wrapping Gowns and dirty Linnen, with all that huddled Oeconomy of Dress which passes under the general Name of a Mob, the Bane of conjugal Love, and one of the readiest Means imaginable to alienate the Affection of an Husband, especially a fond one. I have heard some Ladies, who have been surprized by Company in such a Deshabille, apologize for it after this Manner; Truly I am ashamed to be caught in this Pickle; but my Husband and I were sitting all alone by our selves, and I did not expect to see such good Company—This by the way is a fine Compliment to the good Man, which tis ten to one but he returns in dogged Answers and a churlish Behaviour, without knowing what it is that puts him out of Humour.
Emilia’s Observation teaches her, that as little Inadvertencies and Neglects cast a Blemish upon a great Character; so the Neglect of Apparel, even among the most intimate Friends, does insensibly lessen their Regards to each other, by creating a Familiarity too low and contemptible. She understands the Importance of those Things which the Generality account Trifles; and considers every thing as a Matter of Consequence, that has the least Tendency towards keeping up or abating the Affection of her Husband; him she esteems as a fit Object to employ her Ingenuity in pleasing, because he is to be pleased for Life.
By the Help of these, and a thousand other nameless Arts, which tis easier for her to practise than for another to express, by the Obstinacy of her Goodness and unprovoked Submission, in spight of all her Afflictions and ill Usage, Bromius is become a Man of Sense and a kind Husband, and Emilia a happy Wife.
Ye guardian Angels to whose Care Heaven has entrusted its dear Emilia, guide her still forward in the Paths of Virtue, defend her from the Insolence and Wrongs of this undiscerning World; at length when we must no more converse with such Purity on Earth, lead her gently hence innocent and unreprovable to a better Place, where by an easie Transition from what she now is, she may shine forth an Angel of Light.
[Footnote 1: The character of Emilia in this paper was by Dr. Bromer, a clergyman. The lady is said to have been the mother of Mr. Ascham, of Conington, in Cambridgeshire, and grandmother of Lady Hatton. The letter has been claimed also for John Hughes (Letters of John Hughes, &c., vol. iii. p. 8), and Emilia identified with Anne, Countess of Coventry.]