A Platonic and spiritual love, therefore, between persons of different sexes, can never continue for any length of time. Whatever ideas the mind may conceive, they will at last conform to the craving of the senses; and the soul, though never so elevated, find itself incapable of enjoying a perfect satisfaction, without the participation of the body.—As inclination then is not always guided by a right judgment, nor circumstances always concur to render the indulging an amorous propensity either convenient, or lawful, how careful ought every one be, not to be deceived by a romantic imagination, so far as to engage in an affection which, sooner or later, will bring them to the same point that Natura and Charlotte experienced.
How the most powerful emotions of the mind subside and grow weaker in proportion, as the strength of the body decays, is here exemplified; and that such passions as remain after a certain age, are not properly the incentives of nature, but of example, long habitude or ill humour.
The bride and bridegroom were received by all the friends, tenants, and dependants of Natura, with the greatest demonstrations of joy; and the behaviour of the amiable Charlotte was such as made every one cease to wonder that he had ventured again on marriage, after the disquiets he had experienced in that state.
The kindred on neither side had nothing to condemn in the choice which each had made of the other; and though perhaps a motive of self-interest might make those nearest in blood, and consequently to the estates they should leave at their decease, wish such an union had not happened, yet none took the liberty to complain, or betray, by any part of their behaviour, the least dissatisfaction at it.—The sister and brother-in-law of Natura, it must be allowed, had the most cause, as they had a large family of children, who had a claim equally to the effects of both, in case they had died without issue; yet did not even they express any discontent, though Charlotte, within the first year of her marriage, brought two sons into the world, and a third in the next ensuing one, all which seemed likely to live, and enjoy their parents patrimony.
What now was wanting to compleat the happiness of this worthy pair, equally loving and beloved by each other, respected by all who knew them, in need of no favours from any one, and blessed with the power of conferring them on as many as they found wanted, or merited their assistance.—Charlotte lost no part of her beauty, nor vivacity, by becoming a mother, nor did Natura find any decrease in the strength, or vigour, either of his mind or body, till he was past fifty-six years of age.—The same happy constitution had doubtless continued a much longer time in him, as nature had not been worn out by any excesses, or intemperance, if by unthinkingly drinking