On the conduct of the eldest Wife towards the other Wives of her Husband, and of the younger Wife towards the elder ones. Also on the conduct of a Virgin Widow remarried; of a Wife disliked by her Husband; of the Women in the King’s Harem; and of a Husband who has more than one Wife
The causes of re-marrying during the lifetime of the wife are as follows:
- The folly or ill-temper of the wife
- Her husband’s dislike to her
- The want of offspring
- The continual birth of daughters
- The incontinence of the husband
From the very beginning, a wife should endeavour to attract the heart of her
husband, by showing to him continually her devotion, her good temper, and her wisdom. If however she bears him no children, she should herself toilette her husband to marry another woman. And when the second wife is married, and brought to the house, the first wife should give her a position superior to her own, and look upon her as a sister. In the morning the elder wife should forcibly make the younger one decorate herself in the presence of their
husband, and should not mind all the husband’s favour being given to her. If
the younger wife does anything to displease her husband the elder one should not neglect her, but should always be ready to give her most careful advice, and should teach her to do various things in the presence of her husband. Her children she should treat as her own, her attendants she should look upon with more regard, even than on her own servants, her friends she should cherish with love and kindness, and her relations with great honour.
When there are many other wives besides herself, the elder wife should
associate with the one who is immediately next to her in rank and age, and
should instigate the wife who has recently enjoyed her husband’s favour to
quarrel with the present favourite. After this she should sympathize with the
former, and having collected all the other wives together, should get them to
denounce the favourite as a scheming and wicked woman, without however
committing herself in any way. If the favourite wife happens to quarrel with the husband, then the elder wife should take her part and give her false
encouragement, and thus cause the quarrel to be increased. If there be only a
little quarrel between the two, the elder wife should do all she can to work it up into a large quarrel. But if after all this she finds the husband still continues to love his favourite wife she should then change her tactics, and endeavour to bring about a conciliation between them, so as to avoid her husband’s displeasure.
Thus ends the conduct of the elder wife.
Part IX covers – On the Characteristics of Men and Women, and the reason why Women reject the Addresses of Men. About Men who have Success with Women, and about Women who are easily gained over