To return to my own case. It is very hard, I think, that no provision is made for bashful men like me, who want to declare the state of their affections, who are not accustomed to female society, and who are habitually startled and confused, even on ordinary occasions, whenever they hear the sound of their own voices. There are people ready to assist us in every other emergency of our lives; but in the greatest difficulty of all, we are inhumanly left to help ourselves. There have been one or two rare occasions, on which one or two unparalleled women have nobly stepped forward and relieved us of our humiliating position as speechless suitors, by taking all the embarrassment of making the offer on their own shoulders.
For the whole endeavour of both parties, during the time of courtship, is to hinder themselves from being known, and to disguise their natural temper, and real desires, in hypocritical imitation, studied compliance, and continued affectation. From the time that their love is avowed, neither sees the other but in a mask, and the cheat is managed often on both sides with so much art, and discovered afterward with so much abruptness, that each has reason to suspect that some transformation has happened on the wedding-night, and that, by a strange imposture, one has been courted and another married.
I desire you, therefore, Mr. Rambler, to question all who shall hereafter come to you with matrimonial complaints, concerning their behaviour in the time of courtship, and inform them that they are neither to wonder nor repine, when a contract begun with fraud has ended in disappointment.
When a woman is deliberating with herself whom she shall choose of many near each other in other pretensions, certainly he of best understanding is to be preferred. Life hangs heavily in the repeated conversation of one who has no imagination to be tired at the several occasions and objects which come before him, or who cannot strike out of his reflections new paths of pleasing discourse.
The advantages, as I was going to say, of sense, beauty, and riches, are what are certainly the chief motives to a prudent young woman of fortune for changing her condition; but as she is to have her eye upon each of these, she is to ask herself whether the man who has most of these recommendations in the lump is not the most desirable. He that has excellent talents, with a moderate estate, and an agreeable person, is preferable to him who is only rich, if it were only that good faculties may purchase riches; but riches cannot purchase worthy endowments. I do not mean that wit, and a capacity to entertain, is what should be highly valued, except it is founded on good nature and humanity. There are many ingenious men whose abilities do little else but make themselves and those about them uneasy.