of your estate more than shall be with your own voluntary consent, neither now, or at any other time, but you shall settle it as you please for your life, and upon who you please after your death'; that I should see he was able to maintain me without it, and that it was not for that that he followed me from Paris.
I was indeed surprised at that part of his offer, and he might easily perceive it; it was not only what I did not expect, but it was what I knew not what answer to make to. He had, indeed, removed my principal objection—nay, all my objections, and it was not possible for me to give any answer; for, if upon so generous an offer I should agree with him, I then did as good as confess that it was upon the account of my money that I refused him; and that, though I could give up my virtue and expose myself, yet I would not give up my money, which, though it was true, yet was really too gross for me to acknowledge, and I could not pretend to marry him upon that principle neither. Then, as to having him, and make over all my estate out of his hands, so as not to give him the management of what I had, I thought it would be not only a little Gothic and inhuman, but would be always a foundation of unkindness between us, and render us suspected one to another; so that, upon the whole, I was obliged to give a new turn to it, and talk upon a kind of an elevated strain, which really was not in my thoughts, at first, at all; for I own, as above, the divesting myself of my estate, and putting my money out of my hand, was the sum of the matter that made me refuse to marry; but, I say, I gave it a new turn upon this occasion, as follows:
I told him I had, perhaps, different notions of matrimony from what the received custom had given us of it; that I thought a woman was a free agent as well as a man, and was born free, and, could she manage herself suitably, might enjoy that liberty to as much purpose as the men do: that the laws of matrimony were indeed otherwise, and mankind at this time acted quite upon other principles, and those such that a woman gave herself entirely away from herself, in marriage, and capitulated, only to be, at best, but an upper servant, and, from the time she took the man, she was no better or worse than the servant among the Israelites, who had his ears bored (that is, nailed to the door-post) who by that act gave himself up to be a servant during life; that the very nature of the marriage contract was, in short, nothing but giving up liberty, estate, authority, and everything to the man, and the woman was indeed a mere woman ever after—that is to say, a slave.
He replied, that, though in some respects it was as I had said, yet I ought to consider that, as an equivalent to this, the man had all the care of things devolved upon him; that the weight of business lay upon his shoulders, and, as he had the trust, so he had the toil of life upon him; his was the labour, his the anxiety of living; that the woman had nothing to do but to eat the fat and drink the sweet; to sit still and look around her, be waited on and made much of, be served and loved and made easy, especially if the husband acted as became him; and that, in general, the labour of the man was appointed to make the woman live quiet and unconcerned in the world; that they had the name of subjection without the thing; and, if in inferior families they had the drudgery of the house and care of the provisions upon them, yet they had indeed much the easier part; for, in general, the women had only the care of managing—that is, spending what their husbands get; and that a woman had the