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it was envy, the worst and most rancorous kind of envy, the envy of superiority of understanding. The wretch could not bear to see my conversation preferred to his, by a man of whom he could not entertain the least jealousy. O, my dear Sophy, you are a woman of sense; if you marry a man, as is most probable you will, of less capacity than yourself, make frequent trials of his temper before marriage, and see whether he can bear to submit to such a superiority.Promise me, Sophy, you will take this advice; for you will hereafter find its im portance. It is very likely I shall never marry at all, answered Sophia; I think, at least, I shall never marry a man in whose understanding I see any defects before marriage; and I promise you I would rather give up my own, than see any such afterwards, Give up your understanding!' replied Mrs. Fitzpatrick; oh, fie, child, I will not believe so meanly of you. Every thing else I might myself be brought to give up; but never this. Nature would not have allotted this superiority to the wife in so many instances, if she had intended we should all of us have surrendered it to the husband. This, indeed, men of sense never expect of us; of which the lieutenant I have just mentioned was one notable example; for though he had a very good understanding, he always acknowledged (as was really true) that his wife had a better. And this, perhaps, was one reason of the hatred my tyrant bore her.
Before he would be so governed by a wife, he said, especially such an ugly b(for indeed she was not a regular beauty, but very agreeable and extremely genteel), he would see all the women upon earth at the devil, which was a very usual phrase with him. He said, he wondered what I could see in her to be so charmed with her company; since this woman, says he, hath come among us, there is an end of your beloved reading, which you pretended to like so much, that you could not afford
time to return the visits of the ladies in this country and I must confess I had been guilty of a little rudeness this way; for the ladies there are at least no better than the mere country ladies here; and I think I need make no other excuse to you for declining any intimacy with them.
This correspondence, however, continued a whole year, even all the while the lieutenant was quartered in that town; for which I was contented to pay the tax of being constantly abused in the manner above mentioned by my husband; I mean when he was at home; for he was frequently absent a month at a time at Dublin, and once made a journey of two months to London; in all which journeys I thought it a very singular happiness that he never once desired my company; nay, by his frequent censures on men who could not travel, as he phrased it, without a wife tied up to their tail, he sufficiently intimated that, had I been never so desirous of accompanying him, my wishes would have been in vain: but, Heaven knows, such wishes were very far from my thoughts.
"At length my friend was removed from me, and I was again left to my solitude, to the tormenting conversation with my own reflections, and to apply to books for my only comfort. I now read almost all day long. How many books do you think I read in three months? I can't guess, indeed, cousin,' answered Sophia. Perhaps half a score!' Half a score! half a thousand, child!' answered the other. I read a good deal in Daniel's English History of France; a great deal in Plutarch's Lives, the Atalantas, Pope's Homer, Dryden's Plays, Chillingworth, the Countess D'Anois, and Locke's Human Understanding.
During this interval I wrote three very suppli. cating, and, I thought, moving letters to my aunt; but, as I received, no answer to any of them, my disdain would not suffer me to continue my appli.
cation. Here she stopped, and looking earnestly at Sophia, said, Methinks, my dear, I read something in your eyes which repreaches me of a neglect in another place, where I should have met with a kinder return. Indeed, dear Harriet,' answered Sophia, your story is an apology for any neglect; but indeed I feel that I have been guilty of a remissness, without so good an excuse. Yet pray proceed; for I long, though I tremble, to hear the end.'
Thus then Mrs. Fitzpatrick resumed her narra. tive. My husband now took a second journey to England, where he continued upwards of three months: during the greater part of this time, I led a life which nothing but having led a worse could make me think tolerable; for perfect solitude can never be reconciled to a social mind, like mine, but when it relieves you from the company of those you hate. What added to my wretchedness, was the loss of my little infant: not that I pretend to have had for it that extravagant tenderness, of which I believe I might have been capable under other cir cumstances; but I resolved, in every instance, to discharge the duty of the tenderest mother; and this care prevented me from feeling the weight of that heaviest of all things, when it can be at all said to lie heavy on our hands.
I had spent full ten weeks almost entirely by myself, having seen nobody all that time, except my servants and a very few visitors, when a young lady, a relation to my husband, came from a distant part of Ireland to visit me. She had staid once before a week at my house, and then I gave her a pressing invitation to return; for she was a very agreeable woman, and had improved good natural parts by a proper education. Indeed she was to me a most welcome guest.
A few days after her arrival, perceiving me in very low spirits, without inquiring the cause, which
indeed she very well knew, the young lady fell to compassionating my case. She said, Though politeuess had prevented me from complaining to my husband's relations of his behaviour; yet they all were very sensible of it, and felt great concern upon that account; but none more than herself: And after some more general discourse on this head, which I own I could not forbear countenancing, at last, after much previous precaution, and enjoined concealment, she communicated to me, as a profound secret that my husband kept a mistress.
You will certainly imagine, I heard this news with the utmost insensibility. Upon my word, if you do, your imagination will mislead you. Contempt had not so kept down my anger to my husband, but that hatred rose again on this occasion. What can be the reason of this? Are we so abominably selfish, that we can be concerned at others having possession even of what we despise? or are we not rather abominably vain, and is not this the greatest injury done to our vanity? What think you, Sophia?"
'I don't know, indeed,' answered Sophia; I have never troubled myself with any of these deep contemplations; but I think the lady did very ill, in communicating to you such a secret.'
And yet, my dear, this conduct is natural,' replied Mrs. Fitzpatrick; and when you have seen and read as much as myself, you will acknowledge it to be so.'
'I am sorry to hear it is natural,' returned Sophia; 'for I want neither reading nor experience to convince me, that it is very dishonourable and very illnatured: nay, it is surely as ill-bred to tell a husband or wife of the faults of each other, as to tell them of their own.'
Well,' continued Mrs. Fitzpatrick, my husband at last returned; and if I am thoroughly acquainted with my own thoughts, I hated him now more than ever; but I despised him rather less: for certainly
nothing so much weakens our contempt, as an injury done to our pride or our vanity,
He now assumed a carriage to me so very differ. ent from what he had lately worn, and so nearly resembling his behaviour the first week of our mar riage, that had I now had any spark of love remaining, he might possibly have rekindled my fondness for him. But though hatred may succeed to contempt, and may, perhaps, get the better of it, love, I believe, cannot, The truth is, the passion of love is too restless to remain contented, without the gratification which it receives from its object; and one can no more be inclined to love without loving, than we can have eyes without seeing. When a hus band, therefore, ceases to be the object of this pas sion, it is most probable some other man-I say, my dear, if your husband grows indifferent to you---if you once come to despise him--I say that is,if you have the passion of love in you-Lud! I have bewildered myself so-but one is apt, in these ab stracted considerations, to lose the concatenation of ideas, as Mr. Locke says,In short, the truth is
in short, I scarce know what it is; but, as I was saying, my husband returned, and his behavior, at first, greatly surprised me; but he soon acquaint ed me with the motive, and taught me to account for it. In a word, then, he had spent and lost all the ready money of my fortune; and as he could mortgage his own estate no deeper, he was now de sirous to supply himself with cash for his extrava. gance, by selling a little estate of mine, which he could not do without my assistance; and to obtain this favour was the whole and sole motive of all the fondness which he now put on.
With this I peremptorily refused to comply. I told him, and I told him truly, that had I been possessed of the Indies at our first marriage, he might have commanded it all: for it had been a constant maxim with me, that where a woman disposes of her heart, she should always deposit her fortune;