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me in a
rease d, il the om met
lowed one moment to forget herself, or feel herself forgotten.
Janet's education was carried through in the same way; and she grew up to be as much interested in her own distinction, as every one was about her. What was at first a simple compliance with the guiding of others, became a settled purpose of her
The days of womanhood approached, and Janet made ready to display herself, with as much anxious speculation upon the results, as the doting parents or the maiden aunts. Poor Janet ! not easily shall I forget her, as I saw her at eighteen, fitted out for first appearance; the subject, for five years past, of her imagination's dreams; acted over in idea a thousand times, with every probable and possible effect; the subject, too, of many a conversation to which she was a party in her family. How Janet should appear, how Janet would be received, how Janet would succeed—for that, I believe, is the term -involved the interest and happiness of allshe loved. Might I pause one moment from my subject ; might I say one word to parents in that rank of life where only these things exist ; might I suppose there is one religious mother, whose heart is still seared and fettered with the habits of fashionable life, to whom the word would reach ! If that which in other classes of society would be considered a disgraceful speculation, and bring ridicule on the mother who should be detected in it, is the peculiar privilege of the higher, surely the heart of innocence need not be made a party to the speculation. If the business of settling a daughter must be planned and carried on by her parents, surely the simplicity of youthful feeling need not be converted into a system of deliberate design, by teaching a girl from her childhood, that the wreck of all her happiness, the
mortification of her parents, if not the loss of their affections, will attend the failure of their expectations. But, perhaps, I had better go on with my story.
Janet was handsome—she might be said to be elegant. Her mind was well informed and sensible; but there was an air of intention in every thing she said, that chilled at once the careless flow of conversation; warning every body, as it were, to keep under arms : though of mischievous or unkind intentions, Janet was incapable. Janet was neither forward nor self-confident; nor should I say she thought too highly of herself; but still there was a perpetual looking out for observation; an expectation to be noticed; or perhaps a watchful speculation as to who would notice her and who would not, which a good natured world easily construes into a desire for admiration. Janet's conduct was marked by the most undeviating propriety; she knew how to say precisely the right thing to the right person. · I do not know that she ever said what she did not mean: but it was always apparent that she said the thing because she was addressing my lord B., or because she was answering to Mrs. D., or because she remembered herself to be Janet Bevoir, and not because her heart at the moment suggested the words. In short, the opinion generally given of Janet in society, was, that she was a pretty, genteel girl, and rather clever; but she thought too much of herself, and had no heart.
Had this been true, poor Janet had been happier than she was. She had feelings of more than common sensibility: but, the simplicity of her heart destroyed, its susceptibility remained only as a torment to itself, within reach of every body, and every thing to wound.
Hitherto her sensibility bad cost her nothing ; because she was loved and cherished by all with whom
she was in contact. If any thing in her was disapproved, it was told her kindly, and she was instructed to do better; if she was approved, applause and caresses assured her of it. But now, poor girl, she was to be criticised before she was loved, and to be judged without being brought into court. Had Janet being simple-minded, she would have been contented to do right, and have taken it for granted she should be approved ; she would have followed the dictates of good sense and good breeding, without thinking upon the effect she produced on others. In short, she would have enjoyed society, and contributed to its enjoyments, without thinking of herself at all. As it was, Janet acted in imagination all her appearances beforehand; and when she returned to her chamber, tormented herself with conjectures how she had acted. Had she talked too much? had she talked too little ? ought she to have said this, ought she not to have said that? This person seemed distant to her: had she given any offence? That person looked at her and laughed; had she seemed ridiculous ? Janet would call to mind every word she had said herself, to consider its value over again; and every word anybody had said to her, to sift its
possible meanings to the bottom; and her heart suffered a thousand mortifications, and received a thousand wounds nobody had intended to inflict.
What began in guiltless self-torment, a few years of the infinence of society converted into vice. Janet became tenacious, jealous, suspicious. Always meaning something herself, she learned to suppose every one else meant something; and was ever upon the look-out for affronts and neglects. Losing, amid the hard judgments of the world, the confidence she had felt in the bosom of affection, without losing the consciousness of observation or the desire of success,
her natural timidity prevailed, and she became restless, embarrased, and reserved. Her eye perpetually on herself, she could not look
another without making comparisons; and thence she became jealous and disposed to envy.
Alas! poor Janet ! a rugged and thorny way to her was the path of fashionable prosperity. I did not see her again for ten years. I know not what befell her in the interval, but I will describe her as I found her then. She had become what we call a religious woman ; that is to say, she had given up the habits and amusements of fashionable life, and devoted herself to serious and religious pursuits. I am inclined to think the principle of piety really existed in her bosom; but there was no simplicity in her heart. Janet was acting still, though in a different character, and before a different audience. I do not say that she was deceitful, or a hypocrite : she had not been that at any time; but there was the same desire for effect, the same calculation on other people's opinion of her, the same consciousness of observation, the same perpetual reverting upon her own words and deeds: not simply as they appeared before God; that had been good; but as to the impression they had made on others. The effect of this want of simplicity on her actions was, to produce a great deal of instability; changing her purposes and opinions, as one motive or another, one design or another, happened to predominate; wanting the simple one of love and obedience to God. It led her into all sorts of undertakings, without regard to her capacity and fitness for them, and bitter was her mortification when she failed. It led her to fantastic peculiarities of dress and manner at one time, and to sinful compliance with fashion at another ; to produce what she thought a good effect, it is true
but still an affect. She went to certain places that it might be said she was there. She was the devoted disciple of every new preacher till his popu. larity was past, or there came a newer; and then she was converted and enlightened over again. On her feelings the effect was as intensely miserable, as the subjects of them had become important.
Professing to trust the Saviour for every thing, her eye was turned from him to perpetual contemplation of herself. Professing to take his faith for her lamp, and his word for her way-mark, she was perpetually measuring herself by the measure of those about her, and moulding her opinions anew, to meet the predominant party in which she stood distinguished --for good, ever for good—but still distinguished. Confusion in her belief, confusion in her motives, confusion in her perceptions of right was the necessary consequence. Looking ever on herself, changeful, faultering, faithless, instead of looking to that God who changes not, Janet was at one time elated by ill-grounded hopes, at another depressed by fears no better grounded. The approbation of the pious bore her in imagination to the very gates of heaven; their slights and surmises left her hopeless at the gates of hell—forgetting that they judged, in either case, by the exterior only ; while He who saw the heart, was to be her only judge. In short, poor Janet was honest enough to perceive her motives were not single in any thing: she never could be sure, whether love to God, to man, or to herself, was the predominant one ; and therefore she never could be happy. It is almost needless to say, her manner and conversation were as little simple as her heart. The phraseology of a prevailing party, the conventional talk of a sect, uttered without seeming to issue from any correspondent emotion-VOL. II.