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cause all her natural tastes had been thwarted, and her natural feelings suppressed; and of her acquired habits and high-sounding pursuits she had no capacity for enjoyment. Her love of classic and scientific lore, her delight in libraries, and museums, and choice intellects, and literary circles, was a fiction : they gratified nothing but her vanity. Her small, narrow, weak, and dependent mind, was a reality, and placed her within reach of mortification and disappointment from the merest and meanest trifles.
Jemima—my little friend Jemima—I lived to see her a woman too. From her infancy she had never evinced the tastes and feelings of a child. Intense reflection, keen and impatient sensibility, and an unlimited desire to know, marked her from the earliest
years as a very extraordinary child: dislike to the plays and exercises of childhood made her unpleasing to her companions, and, to superficial observers, melancholy; but this was amply contradicted by the eager vivacity of her intellect and feeling when called forth by things beyond the usual compass of her age. Every thing in Jemima gave promise of extraordinary talent and distinguished character. This her parents saw, and were determined to counteract. They had made up their minds what a woman should be, and were determined Jemima should be nothing else. Every thing calculated to call forth her powers was kept out of her way,
and childish occupations forced on her in their stead. The favourite maxim was, to occupy her mind with common things; she was made to romp, and to dance, and to play; to read story books, and make dolls' clothes. Her physical powers were thus occupied; but where was her mind the while ? Feeding itself with fancies for want of truths; drawing false conclusions, forming wrong judgments, and
brooding over its own mistakes, for want of a judicious occupation of its activities. Another maxim was to keep Jemima ignorant of her own capacity, lest she should set up for a genius, and be undomesticated. She was told she had none, and was left in ignorance of what she was capable, and for what she was responsible. Made to believe that her fine feelings were oddities, her expansive thoughts ab. surdities, and her love of knowledge unfeminine and ungraceful, she kept them to herself, and became reserved, timid, and artificial.
Nobody could prevent Jemima's acquiring knowledge; she saw every thing, reflected upon every thing, and learned from every thing: but without guide, and without discretion, she gathered the honey and the gall together, and knew not which was which. She was sent to school that she might learn to play, and fetched home that she might learn to be useful. In the former place she was shunned as an oddity, because she preferred to learn ; and finding herself disliked without deserving it, encouraged herself to independence by disliking everybody. In the latter, she sewed her work awry while she made a couplet to the moon, and unpicked it while she made another; and being told she did every thing ill, believed it, and became indolent and careless to do anything. Consumed, meanwhile, by the restless workings of her mind, and tasked to exercise for which its delicate framework was unfit, her person became faded, worn, and feeble. To be brief, the parents succeeded in baffling nature's promise, but failed of the fulfilment of their own. At twenty, Jemima was a puzzle to everybody, and a weari. ness to herself.' Conscious of her powers, but not knowing how to spend them, she gave into every imaginable caprice. Having made the discovery of Vol. II.
her superiority, she despised the opinions of others, while her own were too ill-formed to be her guide. Proud of possessing talent, and yet ashamed to show it; unaccustomed to explain herself; certain of being misunderstood, and least of all understanding herself; ignorant in the midst of knowledge, and incapable with unlimited capacity ; tasteless for every thing she did, and ignorant how to do what she had a taste for, her mind was a luxuriant wilderness, inaccessible to others, and utterly unproductive to its possessor. Unpleasing and unpleased in the sphere she was in, and yet unfitted by habit and timidity for any other, weariness and disgust were her daily portion; her fine sensibilities, her deep feelings, her expansive thoughts, remained, but only to be wounded, to irritate, or mislead her.
Where is the moral of my tale, and what the use of telling it? I have told it, because I see that God has his purposes in every thing that he has done, and man has his own, and disregards them. And every day I hear it disputed with acrimony and much unkindness, what faculties and characters it is better to have or not to have, without any consideration of what God has given or withheld; and standards are set up, by which all must be measured, though, alas! they cannot take from, or add one cubit to their statures. “ There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differeth from ano. ther star in glory." Why do we not censure the sun for outshining the stars, and the pale moon for having no light but what she borrows ? Instead of settling for others what they ought to be, and choosing for ourselves what we will be, would it not be better to examine the condition in which we are actually placed, and the faculties actually committed to us,
and consider what was the purpose of Heaven in the former, and what the demand of Heaven in the occupation of the latter ? If we have much, we are not at liberty to put it aside, and say we should be better without it; if we have little, we are not at liberty to be dissatisfied and aspiring after more. And surely we are not at liberty to say that another has too much or too little of what God has given? We may have our preferences, but we must not mistake them for standards of right.
I may walk in the garden and take which flower pleases me; but I should be a fool if I trampled upon the rest, because they are not like it. And I wish, indeed, that parents, in the education of their children, would have no scheme or purpose, but to discover and to forward the purposes of Heaven. Then should we not have hour after hour consumed in endeavours to teach them what they cannot learn, because it is the fashion; while powers and faculties that might be used for good, are neglected and despised. Then our children would not be taught to aspire to paths for which they are unfit, or to bury talents for which they must give account. The indiscriminate discipline of a school would not be thought a meet cultivation for every cast of character, and a suitable preparation for every sphere of duty. The timid snow-drop would not be exposed to the summer sunshine, or the myrtle to the chillness of the mountain breeze, to satisfy the prejudice or ambition of a parent. It would surely be better that, instead of being taught to aim after one character and despise another, every one were accustomed to appreciate her own; to feel what she is called to, and fitted for; the capacities she has from nature, the moral purposes to which they may be applied, and the measure of responsibility that pertains to
them. Then the superiority which now spends itself in contempt for the less endowed, would be engrossed with the fearful weight of its own responsibilities; and the inferiority which now frets itself in impatience of what it cannot measure, would bless Heaven for its easy and less perilous task.
Every character has beauties peculiar to itself, and dangers to which it is peculiarly exposed : and there are duties pertaining to each, apart from the circumstances in which they may be placed. Nothing, therefore, can be more contrary to the manifest order and disposition of Providence, than to endeavour to be or do whatever we admire in another, or to force others to be and do whatever we admire in ourselves. Which character, of the endless variety that surrounds us, is the most happy, the most useful, and most deserving to be beloved, it were impossible, I believe, to decide ; and if we could, we have gained little by the decision ; for we could neither give it to our children nor to ourselves. But of this we may be certain; that individual, of whatever intellectual character, is the happiest, the most useful, and the most beloved of God, if not of men, who has best subserved the purposes of Heaven in her creation and endowment, who has most carefully turned to good the faculties she has; most cautiously guarded against the evils to which her propensities incline; most justly estimated, and conscientiously fulfilled, the duties appropriate to her circumstance and character.
The more elevated and distinguished characterno matter how distinguished by rank, or wealth, or intellect—may tremble on her elevation, and be ashamed, that before Heaven she fills it so unworthily; but must not come down from it. The more lowly in mind or place, may, with humility, confess