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sands or millions. We are not particularly interested—God save the mark!—in the life and prosperity of any bloated millionaire, nor especially anxious for his death, with a view to a share in the cutting up, as the phrase goes, of his remains. Independent as we are, we hold ourselves perfectly at liberty to despise, enviously of course, that filthy lucre for which life and soul arc bartered, and these eternal grubbers and sordid hoarders of it. That men will sell the souls of their fair daughters for gold, when they have long since sold their own for copper, is not surprising; but there is a want of fairness in these matrimonial transactions, which is contrary to all the ordinary laws of trade. A man of wealth, possessed say of three or four hundred thousand dollars, marries his daughter. He has early inculeated her, by precept and example, with a reverence for the idol of his worship; be decks her with the expensive gewgaws of fashion; he accustoms her to the habits of profuse expenditure; he, with the aid of Madame Gigaway, or some other Parisian fashioner of female youth a la mode, laboriously unfits her for a useful life, by furnishing the chambers of her mind with the tawdry furniture of fashion, where substantial knowledge and plain common sense are never guests. The spoiled maiden, though fair to outward show, is married. There never was a prettier bride, more richly attired. Her vail from Paris; her robe of the glossiest and thickest white satin; her diamonds a present, probably, from her betrothed; her trousseau, with its treasures of silk, fine linen, and genuine lace; the wealth of presents, mostly contributions of friends and relations; the jewels and plate; the goldenleaved and heavily-clasped Bible "from her affectionate father, with the blessing of God," arc delicately exposed to stimulate the emulation of rival donors, and become the talk of the town for a week. Papa resigns his daughter with a kiss, hands a check, perhaps for a thousand dollars, perhaps for two or three, to his son-in-law, with the express understanding that it is to be laid out in rosewood and damask. The respectable parent now buttons his pockets, congratulating himself that one of his family is off his hands, and his current expenses diminished by a thousand dollars per annum, more or less. The shrewd tradesman never made a better bargain, in all his wide experience, in Pearl Street. By a small investment of two or three thousand dollars, he sav es the annual interest of some fifteen or twenty thousand. A splendid transaction, which does credit to the head of the knowing caleulator, and is the very best disposition he could have made of his daughter for the advantage of—himself. The practice of marrying children without dowries began in this country, when daughters and large fortunes were scarce, and it has been continued until now, when hoth are comparatively abundant. When habits of life were simpler with us—when it was cheaper to live and easier to support If wife—there was no occasion for any aid from the falher-in-law. Now, however, the ability to sustain a family, in consequence of the
luxurious and expensive requirements of living, is not easily acquired, and seldom at an age when men should marry. The withholding of the dowry is another obstruction, in addition to the inordinate desires of luxury, to those early marriages which are essential to virtue, as they are in accordance with the instincts of nature. The laws of the country, says Goldsmith in one of his Essays, arc finely caleulated to promote all commerce but the commerce between the sexes. Our stock-jobbing patriarchs are never content to invest a sum, or place a daughter, without a very considerable shave by which they may be gainers at the expense of the needy.
One very obvious result of the pecuniary spirit which controls the union of the sexes is a frightful increase of old maids. We know a respectable old gentleman who has six daughters on his hands, each one of whom has gone through the several phases of budding, blooming, and fading belle. The aged patriarch, surrounded by his maiden daughters, is like some old oak, with decay at its roots. He looks as if there had been vigor enough in him to have propelled his lifeblood into a perpetuity of forests, yet his roots, vigorous and tough enough in their original structure, are, instead of giving off-shoots in some new soil, still clinging to the parent stock, and drying and decaying from mere want of congenial nutriment. The old gentleman is rich, and his note circulates in Wall Street as currently as a new eagle fresh from the mint, while his domestic stock stagnates in the Fifth Avenue like the Russian loan in Europe, or the Schuylei issue of New Haven "in the street."
No expense was spared in accomplishing his daughters; Madame Gigaway's indispensable services were secured for the " finishing polish;" the aid of the fashionable milliners, the confectioners, and the Browns of tho day, was obtained, without regard to expense, for the suitable "coming out." Season after season parties were given, and invitations accepted, and every maid of the six of the house ran the gauntlet of matrimonial expectation for a succession of years. The millionaires, however, being few, and the greedy bidders many, the marriageable men of promise, in the professions and trade, being busy and discreet, and the parsons shy, the six daughters have passed their bloom of life, in spile of the restless activities of avaricious papa, enterprising mamma, and the costly assistance of the Gigaways, and all the camp followers of intrepid fashion, and now pine away in single misery, without even a prospect of the benefit of clergy that forlorn hope of the maiden sisterhood. How many young men, who, at an early stage of the career of the six sisters, had nothing but iVea intellect and virtue to recommend them, and who, of course, were never looked at, or scared away by a sneer at their poverty, have since become prosperous, and wealthy enough now to 08 eagerly caught at by the greedy pureucrs of fortune. When shall we ever have in New York an illustration of Hogarth's good apprentice marrying his master's daughter? If our raer
chants and traders, instead of staking their children's all at the red and black of those gamblers, Fortune and Fashion, where the noir tarns up , nineteen times out of twenty, would bring into the conduct of life some of the shrewd maxims of the shop or the counting-house, there would be less disappointment and more happiness. Absurd old hucksters in dry goods and hardware, don't shut up your common sense with the close of the ledger for the day, but take it home with you in the evening; eschew fashion, its follies, its risks, and its failures, and, instead of decking your daughters with the sham flowers of fashion, and throwing them into that grave of the affeetions, the fashionable world, keep them at home, where they may grow up in the grace and proportion of fair columns of that temple of the affections; bring to your home the young merchants and clerks with whom you have some sympathy in common, and where, by your firetide, surrounded by your daughters, youthful hearts may hold communion, and be knit together in the strength of holy love. We need not enlarge here—for it does not como within the compass of our present purpose—upon the obvious effect of this miserable money-seeking policy upon the male sex. The young men arc driven to the loose pleasures of the town, the debauchery of illicit relations, or the restricted life of perpetual bachelorhood, while a puny offspring, bred of dating old age or idiotic youth of wealth and fashion, is the only hope of a coming generation.
What kind of wives does the system produce! It might be naturally inferred, that when our young ladies marry a brown stone house, a carriage, and the other perquisites of a wealthy establishment, with an aged proprietor to boot, that, having satisfied their avarice and lovo of display, they keep their hearts in reserve for a lover to whom they dispense their fondness as liberally as they draw upon the purses of their husbands. The wicked Charivari entertained us, not long since, with a characteristic lithograph, drawn by the free hand of Cham, where two young ladies were represented comparing notes about their suitors. Rose says to Blanche: "How many suitors have you?" "Two," answers Blanche, "A and B." "Which one do you love?" resumed the fair interrogator. "A," answers the innocent beauty. "Then of course you will marry B," replies Rose, with tho wisdom of the serpent. This was in Paris, and what is true of that profane Babylon, is of course false in this Christian community. Notwithstanding the sly innuendos and sneers of our town cynies, and the open boasts of our would-be rakes, we believe our wives are virtuous. Their practice is, we feel quite confident, much better than might be naturally inferred from their matrimonial principles. Whether it is virtue or insensibility we do not know, but we hope it is the former which justifies the wisdom of our children. There is, however, a reckless freedom among our married women of fashion which entertains the approach of unlicensed suitors
with a disregard of appearances and the happiness of a husband, which, to say the least, Has the semblance of vice, and is decidedly uncomfortable to their wedded lords,
If the morals are not loose, the manners of our women are certainly easy. There is no country in the world where such unrestrained intercourse between the sexes before marriage is allowed as in the United States—an inalienable republican right which the women never surrender. There is an innocent freedom from suspicion, on the part of parents, and a rollicking enjoyment of the license they possess on the part of daughters, which are as charming to the lovers of nature as they are convenient to the experienced in art. This freedom began early in this country, dating back to the patriarchal times of our earliest settlement, and was consonant with, as it was secured by, the simplicity of life of our ancestors. Debauched Europe could not understand it at all. When Jerome Bonaparte was the brother, as he is now the uncle of an Emperor of the French, and was in the lustiness of his youth, though not inexperienced in the ways of the world, he visited, as we all know, the United States. While in Baltimore, before he had concentrated his affections in matrimony, he wandered from flower to flower in that garden of beauty. The prince was a favored visitor every where. On one occasion, being invited as a guest to a ball, a young belle, yet in her teens, called for him, and invited him to a seat at her side in the paternal carriage in which she lounged unattended. The prince joyfully accepted the invitation, and had hardly seated himself by the side of beauty and innocence, when he showed by his ardent admiration of the charms of the former, how incapable he was of appreciating the simplicity of the latter. The young girl expressed her indignation, and, discharging her companion, drove home and invoked the aid of a brother in the emergency. The Prince was called to account, and was ready with an apology. In France, he said, he would have lost his claim to gallantry if he had acted otherwise; but, upon his faith as a Frenchman, the Prince continued, be would not have treated the young beauty as he had done, had he not supposed that was what she expected, and the express object of her visit. He acknowledged, with a shrug of the shoulders, that he was a bete, and ought to have known that old Europe was one thing, and new America quite another. Such was the virtue and simplicity of our American grandmothers. Their beautiful descendants have lost nothing, we are sure, of their ancestral virtue, but have become much more knowing, If they should take up a Prince, and a Frenchman, they would know what to expect.
The fast young lady is one of the developments of female liberty. Young and handsome she is, of course, and brim full of vitality. Daring and dashing, she does a thousand extravagant things; but youth and beauty lend such a grace to all she does, that we are attracted more than is quite right for our prim propriety to acknowledge. From the very first, she is vailed by no maiden blushes, and checked by no coy shyness, but boldly faces the world and rushes into its embrace. She becomes known every where; she is at every ball of the season and every party of the night. She is as familiar to the frequenters of Broadway as the Astor House. Her reckless doings are on every tongue: How she was at six parties in one night; how she kissed young Dalliance in the ball-room, out-drank him in Champagne at the supper-table, and smoked one of his cigars on her way home. She is indefatigable in her coquetry: while revolving in the arms of one beau, she will illuminate another by her bright glances; her hand will return the warm pressure of a devoted admirer, while her little foot is busy in its intimate confidences with his rival. In the race with fashion, our fast young lady is always ahead. If red is the prevailing color, she will flame in scarlet; if it is permitted to display the shoulders, she will reveal to the waist. Her daring spirit is always flying beyond the verge of decorum, and hovering in the dangerous neighborhood of vice.
Wives, we are inclined to think, are less eager to enjoy their independence than to assort it. They do not cast off altogether the ball and chain of their matrimonial bonds, but show themselves so restless, that they keep their legal guardians in a state of constant suspicion and anxiety, lest they should escape and fly to the refuge of the bosom of some of their numerous admirers.
Our women seek publicity, and love to display their charms to tho curious gaze of every passerby. They choose the most frequented streets for their promenades, and are not shy of showing off their most attractive points, made conspicuous by all the ingenious arts of cunning fashion and meretricious address. The presence in the public streets, the languid walk, the yielding figure, the well-assured countenance, and the bold eye of our women, are noted by every stranger. Steadiness under the fire of the gaze of man, supposed to be the result of matrimonial discipline only, is exhibited by American wives in perfection, and somehow or other seems to be precociously possessed by our single women.
The fondness of our fashionable folks for fine feathers is far famed. A marehande des model, who entices our wives and daughters, with her luxurious displays of the fashions, at No. — Broadway, and frightens fathers and husbands by the enormity of her bills, tells us, that in her annual visits to Paris, her difficulty is not in finding what may be tasteful and beautiful, hut what may be sufficiently costly to suit the sumptuousness of American prodigality. Every sovereign republican must be clothed in purple and fine linen. Royal magnificence of drapery is barely sufficient for the splendid loins of our Dives. Ostentation here shrugs its shoulders at the mantle of foreign grandeur. Our informant tells us, moreover, that the scope of Parisian modes is not sufficiently broad to suit the expansive views of cis-Atlantic fashionables. Her imagination, she declares, is constantly on the stretch, to make what is fashionable more fashionable still. If an inch is as
sumed abroad, an ell is insisted upon here. If low necks and short skirts prevail in Paris, the former must descend to the waist and the latter rise to the knees in New York. We will no* disclose all the revelations made, tntrc nous, by Madame Crinoline, our ingenious friend and cunning adorner of the New York ladies, the abovementioned marehande del modes; but we can, we think, without an abuse of confidence, state generally, upon the word of honor of Madame, that the American ladies are more made up than any other women in the world. We had taken occasion to remark upon the unproved health, the increased development of our beauties. With a smile at our simplicity, and a shrug of her French shoulders to indicate her own superior knowledge, Madame, with a coolness of an experienced anatomist, set about dissecting a beauty for us, and did it so clearly and satisfactorily, that we must have been dull not to have understood, and foolish not to benefit, to the end of our lives, by the revelation. There is the robe en toir, with four additional breadths, and wadded here, there, and every where; there is the silk jupm, the hair cloth, the flannel, the linen, the cotton, the^ but we dare not follow Madame in her bold inroads upon the precincts of beauty. Let it suffice, that we exhausted the numerical capacity of our ten fingers in caleulating jupont only, without taking account of innumerable other ingenious artifices for enlarging the sphere ofbeauty. When Madame had technically described, with the minutest accuracy, every contrivance of female art, and had reached the precincts of nature, I asked, "What then!" "Ma foi, rien dt tout, que la peau et ta squclette,'' was her answer. The practical experience of Blubberly, a married acquaintance, confirms the theory of Madame. Blubberly was always carnivorously disposed, and as he is rich, he had his choice of the first specimens of flesh and blood in the market. So he chose a wife for her substance; but not having consulted Madame Crinoline, as we have done, was sadly taken in in the bargain, and found himself the possessor of a large bulk of Madame's art and a very scant supply of nature. "I thought I had forty stone at a small computation," groaned Blubberly, "but, by all that's true, there is no more flesh upon her than upon the picked carcass of a spring chicken."
We have no better reason for denying intellect to cur women of society, than the entire want of evidence to prove its existence. In their empty career of show and frivolous occupation, a prospect never opens to the better life of thought and of earnest purpose. Hour succeeds hour in languid succession, while the wearied pursuer of exhausting pleasure sinks in a mortal lethargy, cheered by no spark of heavenly flame, and enlivened by no vital current of intelligence. Our young ladies have been to school, but their intellectual culture is as scant as their knowledge of tho wicked world is abounding. Five years at Madame Gigaway's is indispensable, for it is expensive, and the wealthy Mr. Smith and the distinguished Mrs. Jones send their daughters then. Wu are puzzled to discover what they learn beyond an intimate acquaintance with the personal history and position of the parents of their fellows. They can glibly tell you who is in the wholesale, or who is in the retail business; whether Miss A.'s father lives in Fifth Avenue or East Broadway; whether Miss B.'s house is a four-story brown stono mansion or a two-story brick front. They have already settled the gentility and the expectations of every girl in the school, and are, at the earliest age, devout worshipers of the golden idol. Their substantial acquirements are such, that not one in twenty can indite a billet-doux without the aid of a dictionary, and their arithmetic is puzzled by the washerwoman's bill. If you meet thom in society, and, taking them for rational boings, start some subject of conversation which bears upon politics, art, they stare at you with stupid , or laugh outright at you as a pedant or a clown unacquainted with polite society. As for literature, they have not enterprise enough to study current history in the daily papers, and only spell through some popular ephemeral book, when it has become, by a lucky accident, the talk of the town. Art ranks with them somewhere between cabinet ware and upholstery, and they estimate a picture as they do a damask curtain or a rosewood table, according to the show it makes in the drawing-room. Wo;nan, from her intellect and vigorous culture, is said to be a power in France, and Napoleon had more fear of Madame de Stacl than of combined Europe; here the sex is impotent and harmless in every respect but in its folly, and is composed, not of De Stacls, but of just the kind of women the Corsican tyrant would have cherished to debauch and enslave the land which he subjected to his iron rule.
These butterflies of fashion—
"AH glossy pay, enamel'd all with gold,
flutter forth only in the glare of vanity and display. In the sober atmosphere and subdued light of home they are torpid and useless. The quiet virtues of the household, the domestic duties, the humble utilities of a houscwifo's daily life, arc quite beneath our fine ladies' attention. These bring with them merely the reward of a good conscience, the happiness of a husband and family, the goodly influence of a virtuous life.
As long as we can hire good cooks for twelve dollars a month, we havo no desire to have our broth spoiled by the interference of tho ten pretty fingers of our wives. Tho turn of tho spit, and the boiling of the pot are, however, by no means contemptible influences in the happiness of life, and should not be lightly contemned by woman. Rousseau was, as wo all know, so full of sentiment that he fairly boiled over, and not only blubbored outright himself, but had all France blubboring with him for a score of years. Now, while tho author of Heloise was puling in his books, and theorizing about his heart, he did not fail practically to realize his possession of a stomach, and took to his home a skillful caterer to its wants.
Therese, who lived with Rousseau nearly half a
century, had, according to the united testimony of all his contemporaries, only one good quality to recommend her, and that was her skill in the kitchen. Cooke, the actor, was so charmed with a beef steak at the old Tontine Coffee-house, in this city, that he swore he would marry the kitchen wench who cooked it, and kept his vow. We can assure our fair dames that better lessons of the heart can be learned from Miss Bcecher's cookery book than from the Sorrows of Werther.
There is one manoeuvre on the part of our ladies which we here, in tho name of manhood, protest against, and that is the ingenious one of shifting their own burdens upon the backs of their husbands. Nineteen out of twenty of the once proud cavaliers of our queens of beauty arc broken down into mere domestic drudges. They do four-fifths of the family duty—go to market, select the dinner, leave the orders at the grocers, stop on their way down town at tho intelligence office, leave word for the sweeps, go at midnight after their wives to bring them home when they are sated with pleasure and dissipation abroad, keep house in the dog-days in town, while their fashionable spouses are coquetting at Newport or Saratoga, run after the doctor at all hours, and spend the better part of tho winter nights in nursing the baby. If this is to continue, we might better transfer one of those painted, well-stuffed, and elegantly-dressed wax figures which revolve in Trufitt the barber's window, to our drawing-room, and dispense with an American wife.
We might have sermonized upon the danger to society from the character, or rather want of character, of our fashionable women, for of them wc have been speaking, and not of the fair daughters of America whose simpler life is an honor to the land, but we have preferred drawing a scries of portraits which may aid the inexperienced in answering the question which wo confess our inability to do—
Whom Shall We Marry?
THE QUAKER'S WIFE.
IN 1709, the Society of Friends comparatively was a new one, and the strictness of its members in regard to dress and manners was quite unmodified, and remarkable even in that period of formality and decorous observances. Many, very many, good and noble hearts have lain hidden beneath the uncrcasod broadeloth and dovecolored silk of Friends, and so many singular things havo come to my knowledge, what I am now going to tell, though it must be regarded as a deviation from the ordinary stato of things in Quaker families, will, I trust, be regarded in this light—that there is no rule, or set state of things, but there is an exception. My exception to the usual frigidity and formality of young female Friends was a young girl of that sect whom I came to know, named Martha Clifton. How I came into possession of some strange passages in her life, it is not essential to tell, nor for my readers to know—suffice it that what I relate are facts, etnd having outlived the dear and sweet lady who is the subject of my story, as I think it interesting, I mean to relate it. Among the many beautiful girls I have seen in my time, I never saw any one who surpassed Martha Clifton. Somehow the rigid Quaker dress only lent added charms to her noble simplicity of beauty. You might as soon have thought of decking out one of those young Roman women (whom "LittleMary" reads about sometimes in her history-books) in furbelows and ribbons, as to wish Martha's dress any thing but just what it was. Sooth to say, our young "Friend" knew well enough how to attire herself, and to contrive that the tasteless form of her dress should be so disposed as to enhance her exquisite face and figure. Her parents occupied a large sad-looking mansion opposite our house, so that I had frequent opportunities of studying the "Quaker beauty," as our pert needle-women would call her, and I observed that her thick silks and satins, nay, even sober camlets, were always of the most becoming colors—dove, silver gray, rich brown, or, on festive occasions, spotless maiden white. She was but eighteen when I first began to observe her, though she looked grave and sedate enough for forty—but the snows of Etna cover fire. Inclined by her natural taste to love intensely the ideal and beautiful, she was restrained from such indulgences by the cold and frigid habits of her society; still her imagination was sometimes gratified by the composition of poems, which were of no mean order. Such a mind, you may be sure, stagnated amidst the formal and joyless life of Quakerism. She knew herself to be fair; she could scarcely help it, when every passer-by confirmed the knowledge with his admiration, and even the cool and sober " Friends" vied with each other in the endeavor to gain her love; but Martha Clifton was hard to please where love was concerned, and believed her heart to be insensible to the passion; yet the fire was but smouldering, to burst forth with increased intensity when fairly kindled. She believed it could not be possible for her to love one of her own sect. Quakers, she used to remark, were so fond of personal comfort, that she feared their selfishness was too great ever to allow them to love any but themselves. She was mistaken though, as so many of us are, when we attempt to decide on our future course. Scarcely had she known Everard Wilson one week, when she knew that her destiny had arrived. He was a young and very handsome Quaker, who had gone in his boyhood to Philadelphia, from whence he had not long returned. Like Martha, his eager and intelligent mind soared far beyond the narrow limits of the society, but he had dared to go further than the fair "Friend," and had read worldly books extensively. It was only necessary for Martha and himself to have an opportunity of conversing, unheard by their elders, to discover that they were indeed kindred souls. That discovery soon led to another, namely, that their hearts also were indissolubly united; and the course of their love, the depth of which was known truly but to themselves, ran smooth enough. Martha was the only child of a wealthy house, Everard of a family high
in the commercial world. When they were united, nothing that luxury—though clothed in the forms of the severest simplicity—could give, was wanting, and Martha was radiant with happiness; and in her plain garb of pure white silk, with no trimming or ornament, which she wore on her wedding-day, I think a lovelier creature could not have been seen in Queen Charlotte's own court.
Yes! the fair Quakeress married, went to her new home, and for a long time I neither saw nor heard any thing of her, save such odd scraps as Christiana Marcourt gleaned now and then from Ruth Clifton, Martha's grave and quiet mother (my forewoman went there now and then with some of the Brussels net, which the female Friends of the wealthier classes used for kerchiefs and aprons), and that was little enough. Whenever I thought of my former beautiful neighbor, it was to imagine her in the enjoyment of cloudless happiness; but I reckoned too fast. Five months after Martha's wedding-day, as I sat at the window one day at work, a plain coach drew up to Friend Clifton's door, and from it, received by her father and mother, came forth Martha Wilson, oh, so changed, so wan—thin, even to meagreness, so that it was with difficulty I satisfied myself that this was the beautiful girl whom I had seen go from her father's house, e\cn as a bride. Still her altered appearance and her quantity of luggage convinced me that something was wrong in that Quaker menage; for allowing Martha a plenitude of filial affection, still, from all I had heard, I knew the formality and want of genial feeling in her paternal home to be ill suited to her taste. It was a long time after that I found out the truth of my surmises, and the events which, having after a few months ef married life caused a separation, and return of the young wife to her parents' roof, made some commotion amongthe body of " Friends," connectiens of both parties. Martha Wilson had scarcely been settled in her own handsome and comfortable residence, than she discovered that her husband was absent many hours from his home, when business she well knew had no claims on his time. Great absence of manner, too, marked his conduct; still Martha was long ere she suspected that her husband's affections were no longer hers. There was not on his part less kindness, when present; but this grew a thing of such rare occurrence, that not merely her days, but her evenings were solitary. Still her mind was unawakened to jealousy, till an anonymous letter—one of those deadly firebrands in domestic estrangements—arrived one day, and informed Martha that her husband was daily in the habit of visiting a young female in an obscure street; that he was even in the habit of accompanying this woman to places of public entertainment, more especially the Opera House, where he might be seen in a certain box, dressed in the garb of the world, and listening to the divine strains of Belleroni and Staffonini. It was Martha's misfortune that, instead of taking this precious epistle to her husband, she chose rather to muse and brood over the information it contained, till her brain became fermented and her