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by rule ; and she is withal a very polite young perShe goes
into the country, and meets persons who have had an education quite as good as her own ; but they do every thing as nature suggests, with the careless freedom of home and a country life. She decides at once that they are coarse and rude. She treats them with contempt, speaks of them with ridicule, and decides that it would be an outrage upon her good-breeding to become their companion and friend. She is mistaken: they are neither coarse nor rude: there is more elegance very frequently in their ease than in her mannerism ; more grace in their carelessness, than her high polish. They have feelings as refined, and minds as well cultivated, as her own. And these too return her the compliment of aversion : they call her fine, affected, artificial; they think she can have no simplicity of feeling, or honesty of heart, under an exterior that betrays so much design. They are unjust too: she is not affecting anything or designing anything. Her heart is as open and as true as theirs; but artificial refinement has, by education and habit, become natural to her.
Again, a girl has been brought up abroad; under skies where lighter spirits, and less thoughtful minds, and less cautious temperaments, give to the manners more ease and cheerfulness: and the feelings, from their very want of depth, acquire an appearance of more warmth and vivacity. She goes into society in England where more thought, more feeling, more moral sensibility encumber the mind whose intrinsic value they enhance, and give to the manners a degree of restraint, reserve, and heaviness. Now, if this young lady says these manners are disagreeable to her, she is not used to them, and cannot enjoy such society ; that is very well, and she may be free
Prow to avoid it. But if she affects contempt for her countena y trywomen, exults in her own superiorty, fancies da they are admiring in her what she desires in them;
or believes that they are not ten times more agree
able to each other than she is to them, she is misme taken. They have turned the glass; and at the very
moment she is rising in her own esteem on the comListen parison, they are seeing her bold, flippant, heartless, comic imprudent and indelicate. Not at all more just than
herself, they attribute to character what is mere manner, or do not make allowance for circumstance in their estimate of character. Both parties seeing themselves in the other's glass, had gone away humbled, perhaps; but having looked only in their own, exalted in their own esteem, they have separated highly pleased with nothing but themselves.
Here are persons brought together by providential circumstance: they might be the happier for each other's friendship; the better for the counterbalanco of cach other's peculiarities ; mutually improved by the very opposition of character : but they despise each other. When they meet, cold civility and haughty distance ill conceal their aversion ; when apart, they ridicule and traduce each other without mercy.
The woman, who, with considerable natural powers, has been placed in a situation to cultivate them highly; whose taste for literary pursuits, never checked by the claims of domestic duty, or encumbered with attention to the homely necessities of existence, revels in the full delight of intellectual employment. While she indulges her own inclination, fulfils the wishes of those she loves, and gratifies by her own improvements and talents all around her; should she come in contact with some quiet, domestic girl, whom smaller powers, or smaller means,
or different example, has consigned to other occup tions, and other pleasures, she should not despi such a one. Her business is in the direction household affairs, and the plying of the indefatigabl needle ; her amusements, the weeding of her garder the feeding of her canaries, or a five miles walk i the mud; the comfort no less of those about her, th cheerful and useful assistant of her parents, the pru dent adviser of her inferiors, and the affectionate friend of her equals. What should these be to each other but objects of mutual kindness and admiration; each fulfilling her own destiny, improving the peculiar talents committed to her charge, and contributing to the happiness of those around her? And what are they to cch other? The cultivated and accomplished woman turns her back on the useful, domestic friend: repels her friendly intimacy; wonders she wastes her time in work when she might be improving her mind; laughs at her amusements; despises her plain good sense; and when not restrained by the civilities of society, treats her with disregard and impertinence. The other does not remain her debtor in this reckoning of mutual depreciation.
She thinks women should keep their sphere; better be a good housewife than set up for a great genius: it is waste of time to be always reading: why does not her friend do something that is useful? She does not approve of learned ladies; she cannot bear such affectation. It is only for display women learn so much; it is not consistent with feminine modesty to be so much distinguished for talents and attainments.
To speak more generally of what I have thus evidenced by a few examples: Young people think every one who does not know what they happen to have been taught, is ignorant: every thing they
happen not to have learned, is useless ; every thing that is not the custom of the society in which they happen to have moved, is vulgar: every one who does not like what they happen to like, has bad taste; every one who does not feel what happens to affect them, has no heart; every one who is not employed as they are, wastes his time: every one who does not conform to their estimate of right, has no conscience; every one whose opinions are not like their own, or their mamma's, or their governess's, is mistaken. If it ended here, we might live very happily in our self-esteem; and society, if not in unanimity, might remain in peace. But it does not. We are never contented in our fancied superiority ; offence is taken, where it is not given, or given where it is not provoked: kindness is coldly withheld, or rudely repulsed, or ungratefully repaid with ridicule : pain is inflicted unnecessarily, where all have of necessity enough : innocent feelings are mortified, and innocent enjoyments marred. Instead of being, as we ought to be, the variously wrought parts of one providential whole, to support, to counterbalance, to assist each other: to communicate to others what we hold in pre-eminence; to avail ourselves in others of what in us is deficient; it seems to be the very essence of our existence to depreciate and despise others while our minds become at once narrowed and inflated by admiration of our own supposed advantage ground.
END OF VOL. II.