OF matrimony it should be the original design and entire object to preserve the soul from falling into sin, to procure issue, and to preserve property; not to gratify corrupt desires, whether of lechery or of any other sort.*

The best of wives would be such an one as is graced with intellect, honor, chastity, good sense, modesty, tenderness of heart, good manners, sub­mission to her husband, and gravity of demeanour. Barren she should not be, but prolific;* a circum­stance discoverable, if she be a maid, by the fact of other females being so in the family to which she belongs: if a femme couverte, by the fact of her having had children already. A free woman is preferable to a bond woman,* inasmuch as this sup­poses the accession of new friends and connexions, the pacification of enemies, and the furtherance of temporal interests.* Low birth is likewise objectionable, on the same account. A maiden is preferable to a woman, because she may be expected to attend more readily to her husband’s guidance and injunctions; and if she be further graced with the three qualities of family, property, and beauty, she would be the acmè of perfection.*

To these three qualities, however, sundry dangers may attach; and of these we should accordingly beware. For family engenders conceit;* and whereas women are noted for weakness of mind, she will probably be all the slower to submit to the hus­band’s control; nay, at times she will view him in the light of a servant,* which needs must prove a perversion of interest, an inversion of relation, and an injury in this world and the next. As to property and beauty, they are liable to the same incon­venience; while in beauty there is this further and peculiar evil, that a beauty is coveted of many; and since women possess less of that judgment which restrains from crime, it may thus lead to mischiefs without end.*

In the management of a wife there are three things to be maintained, and three things to be avoided.

I. Of the three things to be maintained, the 1st is dignity. He is constantly to preserve a dignified bearing before her, that she may forbear to slight his commands and prohibitions. This is the primary means of government, and it may be effected by the display of his merits and the concealment of his defects. 2. Complaisance. He is to comply with his wife so far as to assure her of his affection and confidence; otherwise, in the idea of having lost it, she will proceed to set herself in opposition to his will. And this withal, he is to be particular in veil­ing and secluding* her from all persons not of the harem, in conversing with her in conciliatory terms, and consulting her at the outset of matters, in such sort as to ensure her consent. 3. Towards her friends and connexions he is to follow the course of deference, politeness, cordiality, and fair-dealing; and never, except on proof of her depravity, to take any wife besides her, however superior in family, property, and person. For that jealousy and acrimony which, as well as weakness of judg­ment, is implanted in the nature of women, incites them to misconduct and vice. Excepting indeed the case of kings, who marry to multiply offspring, and towards whom the wife has no alternative but obedience, plurality of wives is not defensible. Even in their case it were better to be cautious; for hus­band and wife are like heart and body, and like as one heart cannot supply life to two bodies, one man can hardly provide for the management of two homes.*

The wife should be empowered to dispose of pro­visions as occasion may require, and to prescribe to the domestics the duties they are to perform. In order that idleness may not lead her into wrong, her mind should be kept constantly engaged in the transaction of domestic affairs, and the superinten­dence of family concerns and interests. For idleness is what the human mind cannot support: when unengaged with what is necessary, she needs must engage in what is unnecessary; she goes forth and beholds the men; her husband grows insignificant in her eyes; she loses her dread of wrong-doing; she is courted by libertines, and ends in ruin.*

II. As to the three things to be avoided, the 1st is excess of affection, for this gives her the predomi­nance, and leads to a state of perversion. When the power is overpowered, and the commander com­manded, all regularity must infallibly be destroyed. If troubled with redundance of affection, let him at least conceal it from her; and if it becomes over­powering, let it be resisted by the treatment already prescribed for the purpose.* 2. Let him not con­sult her on matters of paramount importance; let him not make her acquainted with his secrets, nor let her know the amount of his property, or the stores he possesses, beyond those in present con­sumption; or their weakness of judgment will infal­libly set them wrong.

We are told in history, that Hajāj* had a cham­berlain,* with whom, having been long acquainted, he was on very familiar terms. In the course of conversation, he happened one day to remark, that no secrets should be communicated and no confi­dence given to a woman. The chamberlain observed, that he had a very prudent and affectionate wife, on whom he placed the utmost confidence; because, by repeated experiment, he had assured himself of her conduct, and now considered her the treasurer of all his fortunes. “The thing is repugnant to reason,” said Hajāj, “and I will show you that it is.” On this he bade them bring him a thousand dinārs* in a bag, which he sealed up with his own signet, and delivered to the chamberlain; telling him the money was his, but he was to keep it under seal, take it home, and tell his wife he had stolen it for her from the royal treasury. Soon afterwards Hajāj made him a further present of a hand-maiden,* whom he like­wise brought home with him. “Pray oblige me,” said his wife, “by selling this hand-maiden.” The chamberlain asked how it was possible for him to sell what the king had given. At this the wife grew angry, and, coming in the middle of the night to the door of the palace where Hajāj resided, desired it might be told him that the wife of chamberlain such-an-one requested an audience. On obtaining access to the king, and after going through the preliminary compliments and protestations, she represented, that long as her husband had been attached to the royal household — bondsman as he was to his majesty’s favour, he had yet been perfidious enough to peculate upon the privy purse; an offence which her own sense of gratitude would not allow her to conceal. With this she produced the money-bag, saying it was the same her husband had stolen, and there was the prince’s seal to prove it. The cham­berlain was summoned, and soon made his appear­ance. “This prudent affectionate wife of yours,” said Hajāj, “has brought me your hidden deposit; and were I not privy to the fact, your head would fly from your shoulders, for the boys to play with, and the horses to trample under foot.”

3. Let him allow his wife no musical instruments, no visiting out of doors, no listening to men’s stories, nor any intercourse with women noted for such practices; especially where any previous sus­picion has been raised. We have it among the Prophet’s dicta, that women should be forbidden to read or listen to the history of Joseph, lest it lead to their swerving from the rule of chastity.*

The particulars which wives should abide by are five: 1. To adhere to chastity. 2. To wear a con­tented demeanour. 3. To consider their husbands’ dignity, and treat them with respect. 4. To submit to their directions, and beware of being refractory. 5. To humour them in their moments of merriment, and not disturb them by captious remarks.*

The refuge of revelation declared that if the wor­ship of one created thing could be permitted to another, he would have enjoined wives to worship husbands. Philosophers have said, A good wife is as a mother for affection and tenderness; as a hand-maiden for content and attention; and as a friend for concord and sincerity: while a bad wife is as a rebel for unruliness and contumacy; as a foe for contemptuousness and reproach; and as a thief for treacherous designs upon her husband’s purse.*

When a person is afflicted with an unsuitable wife, there is no cure for it like mutual separation,* provided other considerations (as the loss of chil­dren, &c.) do not militate against it. If this is not to be contrived, there is no alternative but to soothe and humour her with money and the like. The best of all expedients next to this is to commit her to the care of some person who can restrain her from wrong-doing, and then to take a long journey, and remain a long time in the taking it. It may be that the gladdener of sorrow will vouchsafe to give thee joy, in the shape of some soft message from her side.

The Arab philosophers say there are five sorts of wives to be avoided: yearners, favourers, deplorers, back-biters, and toad-stools. The yearner is one who has had a child by a former husband, and who indulges him out of the property of her present one. The favourer is a woman of property, who makes a favour of bestowing it upon her husband.* The deplorer is one who has had a husband better, as she avers, than her present one; at whose conduct, accordingly, she is incessantly exclaiming and com­plaining. The back-biter is one un-invested with the robe of continence, and who, ever and anon, in her husband’s absence, brands his blind side by speaking of his faults. The toad-stool is an unprincipled beauty, whom they mean to liken to vegetation springing from corruption: the same idea, indeed, we find among the dicta of the Prince of Prophets.

Now any one who cannot or does not attend to the management of his wife had better continue in celibacy.