“I say nothing of marriage, because I am not speculating upon it for my child, as upon the chances of a well-played game; but it is certain that the greater number of men are not highly intellectual, and therefore could not wisely choose a highly intellectual wife, lest they place themselves in the condition in which a husband should not be—of mental inferiority.”
“Mrs. W.,” answered her friend, “I am aware this is your strongest post; but I must not give ground without a battle. A great deal I shall yield you. I shall give up quantity, and stand upon the value of the remainder. Be it granted, then, that of any twenty people assembled in society, every one of whom will pronounce your common-place woman to be very amiable, very good, and very pleasing, ten shall pronounce my friend too intellectual for their taste, eight shall find her not so clever as they expected, and, of the other two, one at least shall not be sure whether they like her or not. Be it granted that, of every five ladies assembled to gossip freely, and tell out their small cares and feelings to the sympathizing kindness of your friend, four shall become silent as wax-work on the entrance of mine. And be it granted that, of any ten gentlemen to whom yours would be a very proper wife, not more than one could wisely propose himself to mine. But have I therefore lost the field? Perhaps she would tell you no; the two in twenty, the one in five or ten, are of more value, in her estimation, than all the number else.
“Things are not apt to be valued by their abundance. On the jeweler’s stall, many a brilliant trinket will disappear, ere the high-priced gem be asked for; but is it, therefore, the less valued, or the less cared for? When beloved at all, she is loved permanently; for, in the lapse of time, that withers the charm of beauty, and blights the simplicity of youth, her ornaments grow but the brighter for wearing. In proportion to the depth of the intellect, I believe, is the depth of every thing; feelings, affections, pleasures, pains, or whatever else the enlarged capacity conceives. It is difficult perhaps for an inferior mind to estimate what a superior mind enjoys in the reciprocation of affection. Attachment, with ordinary persons, is enjoyed to-day, and regretted to-morrow, and the next day replaced and forgotten; but with these it never can be forgotten, because it can never be replaced.”
As the argument, thus terminated, converted neither party, it is needless to say it left me in suspense. Mrs. W. was still determined her child should not be a superior woman. Mrs. A. was still resolved her child should be, at all ventures; and I was still undetermined whether I would endeavor to be a learned woman or not. The little Fanny laughed aloud, opened her large round eyes, and shouted, “So I will, mamma!” The little Jemima colored to the ends of her fingers, and lowered still farther the lashes that veiled her eyes.