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During the last lines of the song, Diana and her nymphs appcar, sweeping down from the east, and returning loroer toward the forest, disappear.
Antigonė appears, listening.
'Here, sister! I have brought
"You have been
"Now I know
The childing autumn, angry winter change
MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM.
"Tis thine, Cerulean blue, as was our mother's eye, Ismené.'
· And -- here is the clustering
"And canst thou not,
"And for that pretty saying I will crown
It did become thee.'
H. L. B.
'If the world is ever to be reformed, woman, sensible, enlightened, well-educated and principled, must be the original mover in the great work.'
FLINT. We hear a great deal about the influence of woman. years past, it has been the favorite theme of moralists, both in Europe and America. We have volume after volume addressed to us, teaching our duties as wives, as mothers, and as mistresses of families. We have committed to our charge, and very justly too, the entire guidance of the nursery, and the early training of its beloved inmates. And we are also told, that it is our task to be the original mover in the great work of reforming the world.' Respecting the justice of this imposed duty, we shall here make no inquiry. Our business now is to examine the aggregate state of American female society, and to see how far we have been benefitted by the exertions that have been made to bring us to a sense of our responsibilities.
Although the varieties of female character are as numerous as nature and circumstances can make them, yet it will be sufficient for our purpose to divide them into four classes : the fashionable, the domestic, the intellectual, and the religious. In making a classification of a being as complex as man, all we can do is, to select the prominent, distinctive features, as there is scarcely an individual who does not unite some qualities to these, which may belong to a different order.
In the fashionable class, are included all those of every station in life, who are guided by the tastes and opinions, and follow the habits and customs, of the fashionable world. For, in our acceptation of the term, the mechanic's daughter, whose chief pleasure is in dress and visiting, is as essentially fashionable as the heiress of the wealthy merchant, whose enjoyment is from the same sources; though one may be decked in vulgar finery, while the other is dressed in strict accordance with the latest European costume, and the former is trudging on foot to gossip with her acquaintance, while the latter, in making her morning calls, is borne from one mansion to another in her splendid equipage.
If it can be denied that this order is the most numerous, still it must be acknowledged, that it is the one whose influence is most prominent and pervading. It ought to be the business of the others to counteract the evil effects of this perverted influence; but with a few bright exceptions here and there, all are content to submit to the guidance of this — the reigning class. Whether it be owing to ignorance, indolence, or want of reflection, we will not say; but certain it is, that there has as yet been no strenuous or united effort made to reform their own sex, by those upon whom the responsibility rests. And it is for this reason, that those usurpers have so long and so firmly maintained their tyrannizing supremacy.
Among the most striking faults evident in our fashionable females, the most ludicrous is their avowed preference for every thing foreign and imported, whether it be a bonnet, a pier-table, or a man. American manufactures, American productions, or American gentlemen, savor of vulgarity, and want of gentility; but European is the talismanic adjunct, which, when affixed to any thing, whatever it may be, gives it an adventitious value, even if it has no inherent one. We are frequently told, with all due consequence, that such an article or such a person came from London or Paris; and though we are expected to be deeply impressed with the great importance of this fact, yet we can see nothing better, more beautiful, or more worthy of respect, than we daily meet with in our own specimens of nature's handy-work — man - or that of our native artisans. Though our countrymen may be less skilled in the obsequious gallantry of foreign coxcombs, and though their manners may seldom equal the bowing graces of the French dancing-master, or the nobleman's valet, yet the generality of them are men whose tastes and pursuits are worthy of their sex.
It is true, that fashionable women may find them less suited to play the agreeable' as morning visitors, or in dancing attendance on their whims and caprices at the midnight assembly; yet they possess the qualities of intellect and character that are requisite to make good husbands and faithful friends. Instead of contemning the professional man, or the man of business, for his awkwardness, his mauvaise honte, or his ignorance of the trifling ceremonies of society, we should honor him for it, as a convincing proof that his time and attention have been more nobly, more rationally employed, than in practising the airs and graces necessary to make him a lady's man,' or in assiduously studying. The Laws of Etiquette,' for the important information of the size and number of cards necessary to be left upon a morning call, and whether they should be engraved
or written in lead pencil. Our lawyers and physicians, our merchants and politicians, are too much engrossed in their respective occupations, to be able to become good waltzers, or agreeable talkers upon the latest fashions or the last new novel.
The preference for foreign fooleries, and the abject reverence for foreign titles, are so prevalent in our fashionable society, that this characteristic is lamented and censured by the moralist, and has not escaped the shrewd observation and caustic ridicule of the laboring classes. The wife of a florist lately said to us, when repeating the names of several new varieties of flowers, ' I hate to have so many Lords and Ladies, Dukes and Princes; and I wanted my husband to call them after the distinguished women, or great men, of our own country. He tried it for a while, but found that it would never do, for these seldom met a purchaser, while those that had high-sounding names were always preferred. We were obliged, on this account, to change the names of several varieties of our dahlias and japonicas. The American ladies are very fond of titles' — and, with a knowing look, she added, “an ‘Emperor Alexander' will sell much better than a 'George Washington,' and a 'Duchess of St. Albans' than a ' Dolly Madison.''
From the female part of the fashionablc world has also arisen that inordinate desire for wealth, that extravagance of expenditure, that insane eagerness for display, and those groundless distinctions of rank, which have not only wrecked the peace and prosperity of so many families, but which now threaten to undermine the fair fabric of our country's birth-right freedom and equality — by the widespreading devastation of their corrupting streams. Ask the merchant, who confines himself to his dark counting-room from the early morning to the twilight hour, why it is that he so laboriously strives to accumulate thousands after thousands, when his fortune is already more than sufficient to gratify every reasonable gratification. He will tell you, that it is to enable his family to live in a style corresponding to their wishes. We would fain believe, that there is not a being calling himself a man, who, if uninfluenced by an ambitious wife and daughters, would consider the tinsel glitter of fashionable life as sufficient recompense for his years of anxious toil and wearing care, or who would acknowledge that to gain this petty distinction is an aim worthy the exertions of a being endowed with reason, and destined for immortality. In this sin, we believe that woman is the tempter, and the origin of her error may be traced to defective education and improper training. Look at the groups of young and lovely girls, from lisping infancy to dawning womanhood, and see what are the prominent objects held out for their attainment. As soon as a daughter is old enough to understand what is said to her, she is carefully taught by every one around her, that to be fashionably-dressed, and to be admired, is the chief end and aim of her sex. Her attire and her personal appearance are the subject of comment and conversation in the nursery and in the drawing-room, in the family circle and among her mother's visitors. When she is placed under the care of instructors, what is it in which her parents seem most anxious that she should excel, and what is most skilfully inculcated in the fashionable boarding-school? Is it that she may be
trained to usefulness, or prepared for the duties she may have to perform in after life ? No! It is not these. The
innocent child is taught other lessons. Its ingenuous simplicity is checked by the maxims of worldly refinement, and its warm-hearted affections are forbidden to flow where they would, by instilling into it the distinctions of society, and by being told it must be guided in the choice of its associates by wealth and rank, and not by virtue or goodness. To glide gracefully in the waltz, or to trip lightly through the mazes of the cotillion - to warble harmoniously in an unknown tongue, or to attain a masterly execution upon the harp, guitar, or piano — is of far more importance than to have a sound judgment and a well-cultivated mind, or to be able to fulfil the duties of a daughter, a wife, or a mother. An opera-dancer or a public performer is a model more worthy of imitation than the mother of Washington, or a Mrs. Graham. A young lady who frequents fashionable assemblies, and is enabled, by devoting her time to personal decoration, to appear as gaily attired upon a limited income as those of larger fortunes, is spoken of in terms of commendation ; while the female who prefers plainness of dress, and spends her days in retirement, attending to her moral and mental improvement, is contemptuously pitied for her dull mopishness, and want of spirit. When a girl has acquired what is thought an adequate knowledge of music, by the sacrifice of many hours a day of the short period allotted for her intellectual culture, and has learned to enter a room gracefully — when she has skimmed over the abridgments of the sciences, without understanding their simplest elements, and is able to pronounce a few French phrases - her education is finished, and she is thought prepared to take her station in the gay world, as an adventurer for the great prize a wealthy matrimonial establishment. In the whirl of fashionable follies, she soon loses what little is left of her intellect and affections, and becomes an ignorant, heartless woman of ton. With such a preparatory training, how can we wonder that when a wife, she will leave her children to hireling nurses and teachers, devote her days and nights to worldly amusements, and stimulate her husband to the accumulation of wealth, as the only means of their gratification ? We should rather pity than blame her, when we see that to equal or surpass her neighbors in the splendor of her house and furniture, her routs and her dinner-parties, is the chief object of her life, and her sole occupation and enjoyment are found in dress and in visiting. The influence of such a woman is not only felt by her husband, her children, and her servants, but it extends far and wide upon the current of society. The female who confines herself to her own fire-side, may be the blessing or the bane of her family; but the leader of fashion, who nightly gathers around her the wives and the daughters among her extended circles of acquaintance, and who daily exhibits her splendid equipage in the crowded thoroughfares of a large city, wields a sceptre of power, whose evil effects will be felt through every grade and station. The aspiring wife of the petty tradesman discontentedly sighs for the time when her husband will be able to gratify her desire for a similar display, and the wife of the mechanic, as she bears her heavily laden basket, views the luxurious carriage with envy, and bitterly feels the