These, my dear parents, are charming allurements, almost irresistible temptations! And what makes me mistrust myself the more, and be the more diffident; for we are but too apt to be persuaded into any thing, when the motives are so tempting as the last.
I take it for granted, that many wives will not choose to dispute this point so earnestly as I have done; for we have had several little debates about it; and it is the only point I have ever yet debated with him; but one would not be altogether implicit neither. It is no compliment to him to be quite passive, and to have no will at all of one’s own: yet would I not dispute one point, but in supposition of a superior obligation: and this, he says, he can dispense with. But alas! my dear Mr. B. was never yet thought so entirely fit to fill up the character of a casuistical divine, as that one may absolutely rely upon his decisions in these serious points: and you know we must stand or fall by our own judgments.
Upon condition, therefore, that he requires not to see this my letter, nor your answer to it, I write for your advice. But this I see plainly, that he will have his own way; and if I cannot get over my scruples, what shall I do? For if I think it a sin to submit to the dispensation he insists upon as in his power to grant, and to submit to it, what will become of my peace of mind? For it is not in our power to believe as one will.
As to the liberty he gives me for a month, I should be loath to take it; for one knows not the inconveniences that may attend a change of nourishment; or if I did, I should rather—But I know not what I would say; for I am but a young creature to be in this way, and so very unequal to it in every respect! So I commit myself to God’s direction, and your advice, as becomes your ever dutiful daughter, P.B.
My Dearest Child,
Your mother and I have as well considered the case you put as we are able; and we think your own reasons very good; and it is a thousand pities your honoured husband will not allow them, as you, my dear, make it such a point with you. Very few ladies would give their spouses, we believe, the trouble of this debate; and few gentlemen are so very nice as yours in this respect; for I (but what signifies what such a mean soul as I think, compared to so learned and brave a gentleman; yet I) always thought your dear mother, and she has been a pretty woman too, in her time, never looked so lovely, as when I saw her, like the pelican in the wilderness, feeding her young ones from her kind breast:—and had I never so noble an estate, I should have had the same thoughts.