“You know not, my dear, what a disgrace a haughty and passionate woman brings upon her husband, and upon herself too, in the eyes of her own sex, as well as ours. Nay, even those ladies, who would be as glad of dominion as she, if they might be permitted to exercise it, despise others who do, and the man most who suffers it.
“And let me tell you,” said the dear man, with an air that shewed he was satisfied with his own conduct in this particular, “that you cannot imagine how much a woman owes to her husband, as well with regard to her own peace of mind, as to both their reputations (however it may go against the grain with her sometimes), if he be a man who has discretion to keep her encroaching passions under a genteel and reasonable control!”
How do you like this doctrine, Miss?—I’ll warrant, you believe, that I could do no less than drop Mr. B. one of my best curt’sies, in acknowledgment of my obligation to him, for so considerately preserving to me my peace of mind, and my reputation, as well as his own, in this case.
But after all, when one duly weighs the matter, what he says may be right in the main; for I have not been able to contradict him, partial as I am to my sex, when he has pointed out to me instances in the behaviour of certain ladies, who, like children, the more they have been humoured, the more humoursome they have grown; which must have occasioned as great uneasiness to themselves, as to their husbands. Will you excuse me, my dear? This is between ourselves; for I did not own so much to Mr. B. For one should not give up one’s sex, you know, if one can help it: for the men will be as apt to impose, as the women to encroach, I doubt.
Well, but here, my honest parents, and my dear Miss Darnford, at last, I end my journal-wise letters, as I may call them; our noble guests being gone, and our time and employments rolling on in much the same manner, as in past days, of which I have given an account. I am, my dearest father and mother, and best beloved Miss Darnford, your dutiful and affectionate
MY DEAR MISS DARNFORD,
I hear that Mrs. Jewkes is in no good state of health. I am very sorry for it. I pray for her life, that she may be a credit (if it please God) to the penitence she has so lately assumed.
Do, my dear good Miss, vouchsafe to the poor soul the honour of a visit: she may be low-spirited.—She may be too much sunk with the recollection of past things. Comfort, with that sweetness which is so natural to Miss Darnford, her drooping heart; and let her know, that I have a true concern for her, and give it her in charge to take care of herself, and spare nothing that will administer either to her health or peace of mind.
You’ll pardon me that I put you upon an office so unsuitable from a lady in your station, to a person in hers; but not to your piety and charity, where a duty so eminent as that of visiting the sick, and cheering the doubting mind, is in the question.