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Title: The Boarding School - Lessons of a Preceptress to Her Pupils: Consisting of - Information, Instruction and Advice, Calculated to Improve - the Manners and Form the Character of Young Ladies. to - Which Is Added, a Collection of Letters, Written by the - Pupils to Their Instructress, Their Friends, and Each Other.
Author: Foster, Hannah Webster
Language: English
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                                  THE
                            BOARDING SCHOOL;

                                 LESSONS
                                  OF A
                       PRECEPTRESS TO HER PUPILS:
                             CONSISTING OF
                  Information, Instruction and Advice,
      CALCULATED TO IMPROVE THE MANNERS AND FORM THE CHARACTER OF
                             YOUNG LADIES.
                           TO WHICH IS ADDED,
                        A COLLECTION OF LETTERS,
  WRITTEN BY THE PUPILS TO THEIR INSTRUCTRESS, THEIR FRIENDS, AND EACH
                                 OTHER.


                      BY A LADY OF MASSACHUSETTS,
                       AUTHOR OF THE ‘COQUETTE.’

                         BOSTON. J. P. PEASLEE.

                               MDCCCXXIX.



                       _Press of Putnam & Hunt._

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                CONTENTS


                        THE BOARDING SCHOOL, &c.
                        LETTERS.



                              DEDICATION.


To the YOUNG LADIES OF AMERICA, the following sheets are affectionately
inscribed.

Convinced of the many advantages of a good education, and the importance
of improving those advantages; or of counterbalancing the want of them
by exerting the mental powers which nature has bestowed; sensible, too,
that the foundation of a useful and happy life must be laid in youth,
and that much depends on the early infusion of virtuous principles into
the docile mind, the author has employed a part of her leisure hours in
collecting and arranging her ideas on the subject of female deportment.

How far she has succeeded in her design, the voice of a candid public
will pronounce.



                                  THE
                          BOARDING SCHOOL, &c.


On the delightful margin of the Merrimac, in one of the most pleasant
and beautiful situations, which that fertile and healthful part of
America affords, lived Mrs. Williams, the virtuous relict of a
respectable clergyman.

She had two daughters, lovely and promising as ever parent could boast.

Mrs. Williams’ circumstances were easy. She possessed a little
patrimony, to which she retired, after her husband’s decease; but a
desire of preserving this for her children, and a wish to promote their
advantage and enlarge their society, induced her to open a Boarding
School.

As she had an eye, no less to the social pleasure, than to the pecuniary
profit of the undertaking, she admitted only seven, at a time, to the
privilege of her tuition.

These were all young ladies, who had previously received the first
rudiments of learning, and been initiated into the polite
accomplishments, which embellish virtue and soften the cares of human
life. They had generally lived in the metropolis, and had acquired the
graces of a fashionable deportment; but they possessed different tempers
and dispositions, which had been variously, and, in some respects,
erroneously managed.

To cultivate the expanding flowers, and to prune the juvenile
eccentricities, which were disseminated among these tender plants; or,
to speak without a figure, to extend and purify their ideas, to elevate
and refine their affections, to govern and direct their passions,
required an eye, watchful, and a hand, skilful as those of the judicious
Mrs. Williams.

While her judgment and prudence aided the useful acquisitions of the
mind, a sprightly fancy and a cheerful disposition, regulated by
experience and discretion, qualified her to enter, at once, with
becoming dignity and condescending ease, into all their concerns; to
participate their pleasures; while, with candor and mildness, she
reproved their errors, detected their follies, and facilitated their
amendment.

As the young ladies had finished their school education, before Mrs.
Williams received them to her mansion, her instructions were more
especially designed to polish the mental part, to call forth the dormant
virtues, to unite and arrange the charms of person and mind, to inspire
a due sense of decorum and propriety, and to instil such principles of
piety, morality, benevolence, prudence and economy, as might be useful
through life.

Their time was, accordingly, disposed in a manner most conducive to the
attainment of these objects. Every part of it was employed to some
valuable purpose; “for idleness,” Mrs. Williams observed, “is the rust
of the mind.”

Whatever tended to enlarge, inform, improve, or amuse, she supposed
worthy their attention.

She particularly endeavored to domesticate them; to turn their thoughts
to the beneficial and necessary qualifications of private life; often
inculcating, that

                “Nothing lovelier can be found in woman
                Than to study household good;”

and laboring to convince them of the utter insignificance and
uselessness of that part of the sex, who are

           “Bred only and completed to the taste
           Of lustful appetence; to sing, to dance,
           To dress, and troll the tongue, and roll the eye.”

Early rising she recommended, both by precept and example. This, she
said, would not only promote their health, but render them mistresses of
many hours, which must otherwise be lost in enervating sloth and
inaction. “And should we,” continued she, “who have so much cause for
exertion, thus sacrifice the best part of our time?”


            “Falsely luxurious, will not man awake,
            And, starting from the bed of sloth, enjoy
            The cool, the fragrant, and the silent hour,
            To meditation due, and sacred song?
            And is there aught in sleep can charm the wise?
            To lie in dead oblivion, losing half
            The fleeting moments of too short a life?
            Total extinction of th’ enlighten’d soul!
            Or else to feverish vanity alive,
            Wilder’d and tossing through distemper’d dreams?
            Who would in such a gloomy state remain,
            Longer than nature craves; when every muse,
            And every blooming pleasure wait without,
            To bless the wildly devious morning walk?”

Another laudable practice of Mrs. Williams, was perfect regularity in
the government of her pupils, and in the arrangement of their daily
exercises. “When,” said she, “we observe the order of the natural world,
and admire the consistency and harmony of every part, we may hence
derive a lesson, for the regulation of our conduct, in the sphere
assigned to us.”

Pursuant to this plan of operation, the young ladies arose at five; from
which they had two hours at their own disposal, till the bell summoned
them at seven, to the hall, where, the ceremonies of the morning
salutation over, they breakfasted together; their repast being seasoned
with the unrestrained effusions of good humor and sociability. On these
occasions, Mrs. Williams suspended the authority of the matron, that, by
accustoming her pupils to familiarity in her presence, they might be
free from restraint; and, feeling perfectly easy and unawed, appear in
their genuine characters. By this means she had an opportunity of
observing any indecorum of behavior, or wrong bias; which she kept in
mind, till a proper time to mention, and remonstrate against it; a
method, the salutary effects of which were visible in the daily
improvement of her pupils.

The breakfast table removed, each took her needle-work, except one, who
read some amusing and instructive book, for the benefit and
entertainment of the rest. The subject was selected by Mrs. Williams,
who conferred the reading upon them in rotation.

At twelve o’clock, they were dismissed till one, when dinner again
called them together, which was conducted in the same manner as the
morning repast.

Having resumed their occupations, the reader of the day produced some
piece of her own composition, either in prose, or verse, according to
her inclination, as a specimen of her genius and improvement. This being
submitted to Mrs. Williams’ inspection, and the candid perusal and
criticism of her companions; and the subject canvassed with great
freedom of opinion, they withdrew from the tasks of the day to seek that
relaxation and amusement, which each preferred. No innocent
gratification was denied them. The sprightly dance, the sentimental
song, and indeed every species of pastime, consistent with the decorum
of the sex, was encouraged, as tending to health, cheerfulness, and
alacrity.

In these pleasing pursuits and enjoyments, the present class of happy
companions had nearly completed the term allotted them by their parents,
and were soon to leave the peaceful shades in which they delighted, when
being assembled on the Monday morning of their last week, their revered
Preceptress thus accosted them:

“As the period is approaching, my dear pupils, when I must resign your
society, and quit the important charge of instructer and friend, which I
have sustained with so much pleasure, and, I trust, with some degree of
fidelity, I shall sum up the counsels, admonitions, and advice, which I
have frequently inculcated, and endeavor to impress them on your minds,
as my valedictory address. For this purpose, during this last week of
your residence with me, I shall dispense with your usual exercises, and
substitute a collection of my own sentiments, enforced by the pathos of
the occasion.

“Your docility, and cheerful diligence in attending to my instructions;
your modest, affectionate, and respectful behavior, together with the
laudable progress you have made in every branch, which you have pursued,
have well rewarded my care, and engaged my approbation and love. To me,
therefore, a separation will be painful. To you the period is important.
It is a period, which, while it relieves you from the confinement of
scholastic rules, introduces you to new scenes of cares, of pleasures,
of trials, and of temptations, which will call for the exercise of every
virtue, and afford opportunity for improving the endowments, both
natural and acquired, which you possess. Think not then, that your
emancipation from schools, gives you liberty to neglect the advantages
which you have received from them. The obligations under which you are
laid to your parents for the education they have given you, require a
diligent improvement of every talent committed to your trust.

“Of needle-work you are complete mistresses, from the most delicate and
highly finished, to the most ordinary, though perhaps not less useful,
economy of mending and making the coarser garments of family use. Many,
I am aware, suppose _this last_ a species of learning, which is beneath
the attention of a lady: but Clara will tell you how valuable it has
proved to her; and how valuable it _may_ prove to you.

“Nursed in the lap of affluence, and accustomed to unbounded expense,
Clara little thought, at your age, that she should ever depend on her
needle for the livelihood and decent appearance of a rising family. A
discreet and prudent mother early inculcated the lessons of industry and
economy, which she now practices; and taught her that the knowledge
could be of no disservice, though she never had occasion for it. She
married with the brightest prospects. But a series of unavoidable
disasters, such as no human wisdom could foresee or prevent, reduced her
to narrow circumstances; and, to complete her misfortune, she was left a
widow with four small children. Her parents were in the grave; her
patrimony was gone! In this exigence what was her resource? Not
fruitless lamentations, and unavailing complaints. She immediately
summoned her resolution; and by the use of her needle has ever since
supported herself and family with decency, and been highly respected for
her prudent exertions and exemplary industry. Directly the reverse of
this amiable character is that of Belinda. She was educated in the same
way with Clara; the same schools gave them tuition; and similar
prospects awaited their entrance into life. Calamities attended the
progress of each; but different as their tempers and dispositions was
their conduct under them. The falling fortunes of Clara were awhile
suspended by her discretion and frugality; while the ruin of Belinda was
hastened by her extravagance, dissipation, and idleness. View them, now,
in their reduced state! Neatness, cheerfulness, and activity preside in
the dwelling of Clara; negligence, peevishness, and sloth are legibly
stamped on that of Belinda. The ear is pained by her complaints of
poverty; the eye is disgusted by her slatternly appearance, and
ostentatious display of the tattered remnants of finery, which bespeak
the pride and indolence of their owner; who will neither convert them
into more comfortable garments, nor, by repairing, render them becoming.

“I hope, however, that occasions like these may never call for your
exertions. But there may be cases, when, to know the use of your needles
will answer important purposes, even in an exalted station, and amidst
the splendor of affluence and plenty.

“Matilda dignified a princely fortune by the exercise of every virtue
which can adorn a lady. Among these, charity shone conspicuous. Her maid
said to her, one day, Madam, would you have me lay aside these
cast-clothes for some poor person? Yes, replied Matilda; but sit down,
and mend them first. Don’t you see they need it? Why, Madam, rejoined
the girl, is it not enough for you to give them away? I should think the
least they can do is to mend them for themselves! In that case, said
Matilda, my bounty would be greatly diminished. People, who need charity
have not the necessary materials for putting such articles into repair;
and should I furnish them, perhaps they have never been taught to use
their needles. No more have I, returned the maid. Have you not? said
Matilda. Well then, sit down, and I will direct your ingenuity upon
these clothes. By this mean you may learn a very useful lesson, I assure
you; a lesson, which by practising for yourself, will enable you to lay
up part of your wages against the time when sickness or old age shall
take you from your labors.

“Such examples of condescension and benevolence to inferiors, are of
more real and lasting use than pounds prodigally bestowed.

“Do you seek higher testimonies of the honor and utility of this
employment? You may collect many from the histories which you have read
during the last year. Among the Romans, and several other nations of
antiquity, a scarf, wrought by the needle of a favorite fair, was
received as an honorable token of respect, and improved as an invincible
stimulus to heroic deeds. Ladies of the first rank and station
considered it as no derogation from the dignity or delicacy of their
character, to make their own apparel, and that of their families. The
virtuous Panthea, when her husband was going to fight in the cause of
Cyrus, her generous deliverer, magnificently adorned his person, and
decorated his armor with her own needle-work.

“We ought never to be idle. No moment should be unoccupied. Some
employment, salutary, either to body or mind, or both, should be
constantly pursued; and the needle is always at hand to supply the want
of other avocations. The listless vacuity, which some young ladies
indulge, renders them extremely unhappy, though they are insensible of
the cause and seek to beguile the time in frivolous amusements.

“A still more endearing motive remains to be suggested; and that is the
pleasure, which your accomplishments in this ornamental and useful art
must afford your parents; and the pain, which your neglect of it
hereafter must occasion them.

“But your faithful and assiduous improvement of time, since you have
been with me, is a sure pledge of your perseverance in the path of duty,
and your progress in every virtue. I trust, therefore, that what I have
said will be engraved on your memories; and that some useful ideas will
be selected by each of you for your future advantage.

“Your minds are a good soil; and may I not flatter myself, that the
seeds of instruction which I have sown, will spring up, and yield fruit
abundantly?’”

With one voice, they most affectionately assured Mrs. Williams, that it
should be their daily study to profit by her lessons; and withdrew.


                                                         _Monday, P. M._

                                READING.

Being assembled, this afternoon, Mrs. Williams thus resumed her
discourse.

“Reading is so common a part of education, that the value of it is not
duly estimated; nor the manner of performing it, sufficiently attended
to. It is not the mere propriety of pronunciation, accent, and cadence,
which constitutes good reading. You must enter into the spirit of the
subject, and feel interested in the matter, before you can profit by the
exercise.

“But you are so well acquainted with the manner of reading, that the
quality of books most worthy of your perusal is the only point on which
I need to enlarge.

“Romances, the taste of former times, are now so far out of vogue, that
it is hardly necessary to warn you against them. They exhibit the spirit
of chivalry, knight-errantry, and extravagant folly, which prevailed in
the age they depict. But they are not interesting; nor can they be
pleasing to the correct taste and refined delicacy of the present day.

“Novels, are the favorite and the most dangerous kind of reading, now
adopted by the generality of young ladies. I say dangerous, because the
influence, which, with very few exceptions, they must have upon the
passions of youth, bears an unfavorable aspect on their purity and
virtue. The style in which they are written is commonly captivating; and
the luxuriance of the descriptions with which they abound, extremely
agreeable to the sprightly fancy, and high expectations of the
inexperienced and unreflecting. Their romantic pictures of love, beauty,
and magnificence, fill the imagination with ideas which lead to impure
desires, a vanity of exterior charms, and a fondness for show and
dissipation, by no means consistent with that simplicity, modesty, and
chastity, which should be the constant inmates of the female breast.
They often pervert the judgment, mislead the affections, and blind the
understanding.

“A melancholy example of this sort is exhibited in Juliana. Juliana was
the only daughter of a wealthy merchant, who grudged no expense which
could please or embellish his darling child. He, however, possessed
neither leisure nor abilities ‘to teach the young idea how to shoot;’
but thought it sufficient that he gave her every advantage, which could
be derived from the various schools, to which she was consigned. She had
a brilliant fancy, and a fondness for books, which, properly directed,
might have proved of great use to her. But, having no better principles
instilled into her mind, she indulged herself in the unlimited reading
of novels, and every light publication which a circulating library could
furnish.

“Hence her imagination took wing, and carried her far above the scenes
of common life. The excessive refinement of her mind admitted no
ordinary amusements or avocations. Plain truth from her own sex was an
insult; and from the other, nothing less than adoration would satisfy
her unbounded vanity. Her beauty (of which she really had a considerable
share) and the large fortune which she would probably inherit, gained
her many admirers; some of whom were men of unquestionable merit. But a
sober, rational courtship could not answer her ideas of love and
gallantry. The swain, who would not die for her, she deemed unworthy of
notice.

“Her father strongly recommended a gentleman, as well calculated, in his
opinion, to make her happy, and as having his entire approbation; but
she rejected him with disdain, though she could produce no one objection
against his person, or character.

“Her father acquiesced; expressing, however, his regret at the mistaken
notions she had imbibed; and warning her most pathetically against the
indulgence of so romantic a disposition; yet all in vain. He was
considered as an illiterate plodder after wealth, which she had a right
to bestow as she pleased.

“At last the lovely youth whom she had so long contemplated, made his
appearance. A military captain entered the town on the recruiting
service. Young, handsome, easy, bold and assuming; with all the _bon
ton_ of the coxcomb, and all the insolence of the novice. He saw
Juliana; he sacrificed to her charms, and conquered. She could not
resist the allurements of his gallantry. His affectation of dying love
was received with apparent pleasure; while art and duplicity took
advantage of her weakness, to precipitate her into engagements to pity
and relieve him. Her friends saw her danger, and warmly remonstrated
against her imprudent conduct, in receiving the addresses of a man,
destitute of property to support her, and void of every kind of personal
merit. Her father entreated and implored the rejection of her lover,
till, finding every other method vain, he at length resolutely forbade
him the house, and his daughter’s company. This was viewed as
persecution; and, consistently with her sentiments of adventurous love,
a clandestine amour was commenced. Her father surprised them together;
and, enraged at their disgraceful intrigue, seized the captain, and
endeavored to turn him out of doors. He violently resented this
ungentlemanlike treatment, as he termed it, and defended himself with
his sword. The old gentleman received a slight wound in the scuffle; but
accomplished his purpose. Juliana was terrified at this rencounter, and,
dreading her father’s displeasure, ran out with her paramour. His
lodgings were near, and thither, favored by the darkness of the night,
he instantly led her. She involuntarily followed him, without
considering the impropriety of her conduct. Here he drew his sword, and,
throwing himself at her feet, professed his despair, and declared
himself resolved to put an immediate end to his life. She endeavored to
reason him into calmness; but in vain. He was sensible, that, if he now
relinquished her to her father, he should lose her forever. His apparent
agony overcame her, and she gave him her hand.

“Her father was almost distracted at her elopement. He traced her steps,
and, following her to the house, condescended to soothe her with
parental kindness; and promised her pardon and continued affection, if
she would renounce her worthless lover, and return. She confessed it was
too late; that she was his wife.

“Petrified with astonishment, he looked at her, for some time, with
speechless grief; and, showing his arm, bound up with the wound he had
received, left her with every token of anguish and indignation!

“When the fever of passion had abated, a returning sense of duty in
Juliana, and, in the captain, the fear of losing the property which he
sought, induced them to seek a reconciliation, and make submissive
efforts to obtain it. But her father was too highly incensed to grant it
to him, on any terms; or to her, on any other than the utter rejection
of her unworthy companion. These terms were not complied with.

“Sorrow and vexation preyed so deeply upon the mind of this afflicted
parent, that they brought on a rapid decline; and he died without again
seeing his undutiful and ruined daughter. His estate was divided between
Juliana and her four brothers. Her portion was received by her husband,
and soon spent in dissipation and excess. Having rioted on the fortune
of his wife, while she often pined at home for want of the common
necessaries of life, he left her, to join his regiment, promising
remittances from time to time, for her support. This promise, however,
was but ill performed; and she now feels the dreadful effects of her
folly, in the accumulated ills of poverty and neglect. Yet she still
cherishes the most passionate fondness for what has proved her bane. A
friend called to see her, not long since, and found her the emblem of
wretchedness and sloth. Her emaciated form, her squalid appearance, the
disorder of her house, and her tattered raiment, bespoke the shameful
negligence of the owner. Yet she was sitting with a novel in her hand,
over which she had apparently been weeping. She expatiated largely on
the tale it contained, while her children, who exhibited a picture of
real woe, engaged not her attention. Her friend enquired how she could
be thus interested and distressed by mere fiction, while every thing
about her was calculated to arouse the keenest feelings of her soul! She
coolly replied, I have fortitude sufficient to support my own calamity,
but I must sympathize with the heroine of adversity. I have not lost my
sensibility with my fortune. My only luxury is now imagination! How
ill-timed, and how improperly exerted, was this kind of sensibility, in
Juliana! Where, and what was her sensibility, when she disobeyed an
indulgent parent, sacrificed her reputation, and threw herself into the
arms of a worthless man for protection—from what? from the kindness and
love of her best friends!

“But I would not be understood to condemn all novels indiscriminately;
though great prudence is necessary to make a useful selection. Some of
them are fraught with sentiment; convey lessons for moral improvement;
and exhibit striking pictures of virtue rewarded; and of vice, folly,
and indiscretion punished; which may prove encouragements to imitate, or
warnings to avoid similar practices. I shall not descend to particulars.
Those, which are sanctioned by the general voice of delicacy and
refinement, may be allowed a reading; yet none should engross your
minds, to the neglect of more important objects; nor be suffered to
monopolize too large a portion of your time.

“Novels are a kind of light reading, on which the imagination feasts,
while the more substantial food which is requisite to the nourishment of
the understanding, is either untasted or undigested. Imagination is a
sportive faculty, which should be curbed by the reins of prudence and
judgment. Its sallies are delightful in youth, provided they be not too
excursive.

“Poetry is, by some, ranked with novels; but I think injudiciously. Good
poetry is certainly a sublime source of entertainment and instruction.
What music is to the ear, poetry is to the heart. There must, indeed, be
a natural taste for it, before it can be highly relished or enjoyed; and
this taste, whereever it exists, should be cultivated. I know of no kind
of reading more richly formed for the mental repast of a liberal and
polished young lady, than the poetical productions of true genius. The
trifling and indelicate cantos of ordinary witlings, and every day
poetasters, are unworthy your attention. But the species of poetry which
I now recommend, is peculiarly adapted to soften the passions, excite
sympathy, and meliorate the affections. It soothes the jarring cares of
life, and, pervading the secret recesses of the soul, serves to rouse
and animate its dormant powers.

“Many essays, written by monitors of both sexes, are extant, which you
may find profitable and pleasing, both in youth and more advanced age.
Among the foremost of these, I mention Mrs. Chapone’s letters to her
niece, which contain a valuable treasure of information and advice.

“But among your hours devoted to reading, history must not be without a
place. Here an extensive field of ages and generations, which have gone
before you, is opened to your view. Here your curiosity may be gratified
by a retrospection of events, which, by conducting your thoughts to
remotest climes and periods, interests and enlarges the mind. Here the
various revolutions, the rise, fall, and dismemberment of ancient
kingdoms and states may be traced to the different springs of action, in
which they originated. Hence you may gain a competent acquaintance with
human nature in all its modifications, from the most rude and barbarous,
to the most civilized and polished stages of society. This is a species
of knowledge, which will not only be of constant use to you, in the
government of your own temper and manners, but highly ornamental in your
intercourse with the polite and learned world.

“But let your reading of every description be regular and methodical.
Never confuse your minds by a variety of subjects at once. When you turn
your attention to any one in particular, finish, and lay that aside,
before you take up another. Let what you read be well understood at the
time, and well digested afterwards. Possess yourselves, at least, of the
leading traits: otherwise your labor will be totally lost. If
convenient, always recapitulate what you have been perusing, and annex
to it your own sentiments and remarks, to some friend. If you have no
friend at hand, who will be disposed to hear, recollect, and run it over
in your own thoughts. This will be a great assistance to memory. But
whatever be the kind of reading which you undertake, select such authors
as good judges esteem the best, upon the subject. Have a particular
regard to the morality and delicacy of the books you peruse.

“When you read for mere amusement, (which should seldom happen) be
careful not to corrupt and vitiate your taste by frothy and illiberal
performances, which will degrade the dignity and sully the purity of
your minds. That time is very greatly misspent, which is bestowed in
reading what can yield no instruction. Not a moment’s attention should
be given to books which afford not some degree of improvement. Always
have an eye, therefore, to profit, as well as to pleasure. Remember that
youth is the seed-time of life. You are now to cultivate that knowledge,
which future years must ripen. Free from those domestic cares, which
will engross and occupy your minds, when placed at the head of families,
a most inestimable price is now put into your hands to get wisdom. Now
you may learn; then you must practice.

“Now, therefore, lay up in store some provision for every exigence, some
embellishment for every station.

“Look upon Elvira. Her acquirements in a single state have qualified her
for a shining pattern of matronal duties. Her husband’s business abroad
prevents him from attending to domestic avocations; nor need he be
anxious respecting the management of his household affairs. Elvira is
present to every occasion. The superintendence of her family, and the
education of her children is her delight. Capable of instructing them in
every needful branch of science, and of furnishing them with every
requisite endowment, she is, at once, their guide, their example, and
their friend. When her husband returns from the cares and fatigues of
business, with what becoming ease and cheerfulness does she dissipate
the anxiety which sometimes hangs upon his brow, and exhilarate his
spirits by the enlivening charms of rational and refined conversation!
In the entertainment of their friends, how distinguished a part she
sustains! Her powers of mind have been so happily improved, that she is
able to discuss every subject with ease and propriety. To an enlarged
understanding and a cultivated taste, to an extensive knowledge of the
world and an acquaintance with polite literature, she superadds those
amiable virtues, which give society its highest relish; while the
elegance of her manners and the modesty of her deportment are a proof of
the greatness of her mind, and render her esteemed, beloved, and
respected by all who know her.

“But I flatter myself that each of you, my dear pupils, will be an
Elvira. Then will you do justice to the superior advantages of your
education; be the delight of your friends, and the ornaments of your
country.

“Religious subjects must, by no means, be neglected in the course of
your reading. Let the BIBLE be the rule of your faith and practice. If
you wish an explanation of any particular passages, seek it from some
judicious and pious friend, or in the writings of some judicious and
learned commentator. But always attend chiefly to those points which
serve to mend the heart, rather than to those knotty, metaphysical
disquisitions, which tend only to perplex the understanding, and involve
the inquirer in such labyrinths of abstrusity, as are above human
comprehension, and beyond human concern. The essential doctrines and
precepts of the gospel are level to every capacity; and upon a life and
conversation governed by these, our hopes, both of present peace and
future glory, must be founded. “He hath shewed thee what is good; and
what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with thy God.”


                                                        _Tuesday, A. M._

                        WRITING AND ARITHMETIC.


The young ladies being seated, this morning, their preceptress addressed
them as follows.

“Writing is productive both of pleasure and improvement. It is a source
of entertainment which enlarges the mental powers more, perhaps, than
any other. The mind is obliged to exertion for materials to supply the
pen. Hence it collects new stores of knowledge, and is enriched by its
own labors. It imperceptibly treasures up the ideas, which the hand
impresses. An opportunity is furnished of reviewing our sentiments
before they are exposed; and we have the privilege of correcting or
expunging such as are erroneous. For this purpose, you will find it a
good method to collect and write your thoughts upon any subject that
occurs; for by repeatedly arranging and revising your expressions and
opinions, you may daily improve them, and learn to think and reason
properly on every occasion. By this mean you may likewise provide
yourselves with a fund of matter for future use, which, without this
assistance, the memory would not retain. It will be of great service to
note down in your commonplace book such particulars as you may judge
worth remembering, with your own observations upon them. This will be a
kind of amusement which will exercise your thinking powers at the time,
and by recurring to it afterwards, it may afford you many useful hints.

“The frequent use of the pen is calculated to refine and enlarge your
understandings. Have you any talent at composition? it will be increased
by cultivation.

“Neglect no opportunity, therefore, which your leisure affords, of
delighting your friends, and accomplishing yourselves by the exercise of
your genius in this way.

“Thrice blessed are we, the happy daughters of this land of liberty,
where the female mind is unshackled by the restraints of tyrannical
custom, which in many other regions confines the exertions of genius to
the usurped powers of lordly man! Here virtue, merit, and abilities are
properly estimated under whatever form they appear. Here the widely
extended fields of literature court attention; and the American fair are
invited to cull the flowers, and cultivate the expanding laurel.

“But the species of writing, which is open to every capacity, and
ornamental to every station, is the epistolary. This, between particular
friends, is highly agreeable and interesting. It is a method of
interchanging sentiments, and of enjoying intercourse with those from
whom you are far removed, which is a happy substitute for personal
conversation. In a correspondence of this sort, all affectation,
formality, and bombast should be laid aside.

“Ease, frankness, simplicity, and sincerity should be its leading
traits. Yet let not your letters be composed of mere sounding terms, and
verbose egotism; but intermix sentiment with expression, in such a
manner as may be improving as well as pleasing. Letters of friendship
should conduce no less to the advantage than entertainment of the person
addressed; and mere cursory letters, of general acquaintance, must, at
least, be written with propriety and accuracy. The formation of the
characters, the spelling, the punctuation, as well as the style and
sense, must be attended to.

“Never omit noticing the receipt of letters, unless you mean to affront
the writers. Not to answer a letter, without being able to assign some
special reason for the neglect is equally unpardonable as to keep
silence when conversation is addressed to you in person.

“By habituating yourselves to writing, what may, at first, appear a
task, will become extremely pleasant. Refuse not, then, to improve this
part of your education, especially by your frequent and dutifully
affectionate epistles to your parents, when absent from them. Express
your gratitude for their care, and convince them it has not been lost
upon you.

“Always employ your pens upon something useful and refined. Let no light
or loose compositions occupy your time and thoughts; but remember that
what you utter in this way is in some measure the picture of your
hearts. Virtue forbid, that this favorite employment should be disgraced
by impurity, indelicacy, or the communication of vicious and ignoble
sentiments!

“One of the sages of antiquity being asked why he was so long in writing
his opinion, replied, ‘I am writing for futurity.’

“Your characters during life, and even when you shall sleep in the dust,
may rest on the efforts of your pens. Beware then how you employ them.
Let not the merit of your attainments in this noble art be degraded by
improper subjects for its exercise. Suffer not the expectation of
secresy to induce you to indulge your pens upon subjects, which you
would blush to have exposed. In this way your characters may be injured,
and your happiness destroyed.

“Celia and Cecilia were companions at a boarding school. When separated,
they commenced an epistolary correspondence, on which each valued
herself. Their former intimacy which they termed friendship, prompted
them to write with unlimited confidence; and, without the least reserve,
to reveal every dictate of levity and thoughtless folly. They imagined
themselves perfectly secure from the censure of the critic. Their
education had not taught them, that a virtuous mind should shrink even
from ideal indelicacy. Celia was courted by Silvander, a young man of
whom she was passionately fond; but she had art and resolution enough to
conceal her letters from his inspection, though he often solicited a
communication of her correspondence. At length he became impatient for a
perusal of letters which appeared so pleasing and interesting to the
parties, and suspicious that some particular cause directed their
privacy. Influenced by these motives, Silvander bribed a market-boy, who
came from the village where Cecilia lived, and always conveyed the
letters to and from her, to give them first into his hand. How
astonished was he to find the lightness of mind exemplified in them!
Purity of sentiment, delicacy of thought, and refinement of taste were
entirely laid aside; and illiberal wit, frothy jests, double entendres,
and ridiculous love-tales were substituted in their place. His name was
used with so much freedom, and every circumstance relative to his
intercourse, and proposed connexion with Celia, was bandied with such
familiarity, that he was mortified, disgusted, and chagrined, in the
extreme. He had the policy, however, to conceal the discovery till he
had copied a considerable number of Celia’s letters, leaving out
whatever had reference to his own affairs. He then revenged himself by
disclosing his knowledge to her, avowing his indignation at her
weakness, duplicity and folly, and taking an immediate and final leave.
Not content with this, he even circulated her letters among his
acquaintance. This fixed the stamp of ignominy on the correspondents;
and their names and characters were rendered as ridiculous as scandal
and malicious wit could desire.

“Celia was almost distracted at the loss of her lover; but when she
found the method he had taken to punish her indiscretion, and that her
reputation was thus materially injured, she secluded herself, in a great
measure, from society. Her sensibility received a wound which could
never be healed; and she lived and died in melancholy, regret, and
obscurity.

“However censurable the unjust and ungenerous conduct of Silvander may
be deemed, yet no adequate excuse can be offered for the young ladies,
who dishonored their pens and their talents by a most improper and
unbecoming use of both.

“Next to writing, arithmetic usually claims attention. This is
absolutely necessary in every department, and in every stage of life

Even in youth, the proper arrangement of your expenses will conduce
greatly to your advantage; and when placed at the head of families, it
will be very friendly to the order and economy of your domestic affairs.
But, leaving your matronal conduct to future admonition, many benefits
result from keeping regular accounts in a single state. Your parents
allow you a certain sum for your own private use. Fashion and folly are
always busy in creating innumerable imaginary wants, which must exceed
your finances, if you do not attend to an exact adjustment of your
expenditures. For this purpose, always calculate your immediate and most
necessary demands. Let these be first supplied, and then if your funds
be not exhausted, more superfluous ones may occupy your thoughts. There
is one claim, however, which must not be neglected, and that is CHARITY.
You will, therefore, manage your expenses in such a manner as to reserve
some portion of your income for the necessitous. Should you think your
allowance insufficient to admit the children of want to a share, let
your benevolence plead for the retrenchment of some trifling article
which you may dispense with, without much inconvenience; and the
exquisite pleasure resulting from the bestowment, will more than
counterbalance the sacrifice. In these, and many other particulars, a
knowledge of arithmetic will enable you to conduct the affairs of youth
with ease, advantage, and usefulness. And, perhaps, as you advance in
years, and are called to fill more important stations, you may find it
of still greater utility.

“The father of Lucinda was in easy circumstances, while he could perform
the duties and enjoy the profits of a lucrative business. He was the
affectionate parent of a numerous family, to whose education and
improvement he attended with unwearied diligence and pleasure; till
repeated losses in trade, and disappointments in his worldly
expectations embarrassed his affairs, depressed his spirits, and
impaired his health. In the midst of these difficulties, his amiable and
beloved wife was removed by death. This trial was greater than he could
support. He sunk under the affliction, and lost his reason. Lucinda was
the eldest of six children, the care of whom, with the melancholy task
of attending and ministering to the necessities of her unhappy father,
devolved on her. She looked upon the wo-fraught scene, and wept. Her
heart was sinking under the weight of grief; and hope, the best soother
of the unfortunate, had nearly abandoned her. She advised with her
friends, who proposed to relieve the family by means of a subscription.
Lucinda thanked them for their proffered kindness, and returned to her
disconsolate habitation. She deliberated on the projected measure; which
she considered must be slow, uncertain, and, at any rate, inadequate to
their future exigences. She could not reconcile herself to the idea of
her father’s depending on charity for subsistence. Yet what could be
done? One resource only remained;—her own exertions. By these she
flattered herself, that she might save the family from suffering want,
and discharge the obligations she owed to her revered parent. Her
education, by which, among other branches of learning, she had been well
instructed in arithmetic, (that being her father’s favorite study)
qualified her for this undertaking. She therefore devoted herself to the
business without delay; examined her father’s accounts, collected
whatever remained that was valuable; sold the superfluous moveables, and
purchased a small stock for trade. All who knew her motives and merit
frequented her shop, and encouraged her by their custom and kindness. By
this mean, together with her judicious management, and engaging
behavior, she increased her business to such a degree, as to support the
family with ease and reputation.

“Her discreet and dutiful conduct to her father, soon restored him to
his reason.

“When he found how prudently and affectionately Lucinda had exerted
herself in his behalf, he exclaimed, ‘Many daughters have done
virtuously, but thou excellest them all!’

“He resumed his former business, and lived to see his children all well
provided for, and happily settled around him.”


                                                        _Tuesday, P. M._

                           MUSIC AND DANCING.

Her pupils having taken their places, Mrs. Williams proceeded.

“In music and dancing you have made such proficiency that your
performances must be very pleasing to your friends, before whom you
occasionally exhibit.

“As dancing is an accomplishment merely external, let not the vanity of
excellence in it betray itself in an air of conscious superiority, when
you shine at the ball, and perceive yourselves to have attracted the
attention and applause of the gay assembly. But in the midst of hilarity
and mirth, remember that modesty, diffidence, discretion, and humility
are indispensable appendages of virtue and decency.

“Music is a talent which nature has bestowed, and which your application
has considerably improved. It has a powerful influence over the heart;
wonderfully soothes and humanizes the passions, and is a source of
refined pleasure to a mind capable of tasting its charms.

“Never refuse gratifying your friends by the exertion of your abilities
in performing, unless for some very special reason. Though I would not
have you vain of your skill, and officiously forward to display it; yet
the affectation of uncommon modesty, and ignorance, is truly ridiculous.
To plead inability to exercise powers, which you are conscious of
possessing, and for which you wish to be esteemed and honored by others,
is false delicacy, and will never gain admission to the breast where
that which is genuine resides. How perfectly absurd it is for a young
lady, who is politely requested to entertain a company with her musical
talents, to declare them so small that she is really ashamed to expose
herself before such good judges; or that she has neglected playing, or
singing, for some time, and cannot immediately revive her dormant skill;
or that she has forgotten her tunes, or songs; or that she has a bad
cold; (which none but herself perceives,) and is unable to sing; or that
she is loath to begin this amusement, and must insist upon some other
lady’s setting the example; which other lady has, in her turn, an equal
number of excuses! Thus the time of the company is engrossed, and their
pleasure suspended, till a long train of arguments, entreaties, and
compliments are run through, and her vanity fully gratified by the most
flattering and importunate solicitations.

“Then, elate with pride and self importance, she condescends to grant
their request; not considering how far she has derogated from her own
merit by the futile artifice she has employed; an artifice unworthy of
an ingenuous mind, and disgraceful to any lady who has arrived to years
of discretion.

“Let us view this evasive manner of seeking compliments a little nearer.
When a person is known to be mistress of this delightful art, what can
be her motive for delaying the gratification of her friends by its
exercise, and refusing a compliance with their wishes, till their
patience is exhausted? I believe that excuses, in this case, are very
seldom sincere. The youthful mind is not insensible to praise, nor
indifferent to the means of obtaining it.

“Why then should it not be received and increased by a ready and
obliging compliance? A desire to please is usually attended with
success; and for what reason should the power and disposition be
artfully concealed?

“Always preserve a frankness and sincerity in your actions and designs.
These will add dignity to your condescensions, and gracefulness to your
deportment.

“Rise superior to those little arts which bespeak the finesse of a
childish folly, or a narrow mind. Do honor to this, as well as to every
other part of your education, by acting conformably to the precepts
which have been given you, the knowledge which you have acquired, and
the opportunities with which you may be furnished for the purpose.

“Music and dancing, though polite and elegant accomplishments, are,
perhaps, the most fascinating, and, of course, the most dangerous of any
that fall under that description. When indulged to excess, beside
engrossing much time which ought to be employed in the execution of more
necessary and useful designs, they sometimes allure their fond votaries
from that purity and rectitude which are the chief embellishments of the
female character. They lay the mind open to many temptations, and, by
nourishing a frivolous vanity, benumb the nobler powers both of
reflection and action.

“Levitia was endowed, by the joint influence of nature and art, with
these pleasing charms. Symmetry was perfected in her form; and her voice
was melody itself. Her parents were not in affluent circumstances; yet
their taste led them to distinguish those graces and talents in their
daughter, which they injudiciously flattered themselves might, one day,
raise her to affluence and fame. Hence they spared no pains nor expense,
in their power to bestow, to assist her inclination and gratify her
wishes. As she advanced in years, she assiduously cultivated and
diligently improved those endowments which she had been erroneously
encouraged, and even taught, to consider most valuable. To adorn her
person, regulate her movements, and practise her music, was all her
care. Nor had she a wish beyond the pleasures, which she fancied they
could yield. Her mind resembled a garden, in which the useful plants
were overrun and choked by noxious weeds. Here and there, a gaudy flower
rears its brilliant head, and proudly dares to arrest the eye; while the
delicate and useful lie buried and concealed in the surrounding waste!

“Flattery was pleasing to her ear, in whatever form it was presented.
The gay and licentious sought her society; and vanity with its attendant
train of follies led her imagination far from the sphere of life which
Providence had assigned her. Her parents saw their own mistake, and were
alarmed at her’s: but, alas! too late were their endeavors to prevent
the mischiefs which impended. They could not supply her unbounded wants;
and therefore to gratify her ruling passion, she deemed means of her own
invention indispensable. Among her admirers was a foreigner, who,
failing of success in his own country, sought a subsistence in ours,
from the stage. He knew Levitia’s talents. These might give her the palm
of applause, and in his way of life, render her conspicuous. This plan
he communicated to her, insidiously offering to become her guardian, and
to put her under the protection of such friends as should defend her
honor, and ensure her success. She was pleased with the project. Wholly
unacquainted with the world, and unsuspicious of the subtle arts of the
deluding libertine, she scrupled not his veracity, but listened to his
insinuating declarations of love and friendship. She was deceived by the
vanity of appearing where her fancied merit would meet with the
encouragement and reward it deserved; and vainly imagining that her
beauty might secure her elevation and affluence, she readily consented
to the fatal experiment, eloped from her father’s house, and became a
professed actress.

“Her parents were overwhelmed with grief and anxiety, at the discovery;
but to no purpose were all their exertions to reclaim her. She had left
them, no more to return; left them, too, with the heart-rending
reflection, that they themselves had heedlessly contributed to her
disgrace and ruin. But bitter indeed were the fruits of her disobedience
and folly!

“She made her appearance on the stage. She sung and danced, for which
she was caressed, flattered, and paid. A licentious mode of life
quadrating with the levity of her heart, soon left her a prey to
seduction. Her gaiety and beauty gained her many votaries, and she
became a complete courtezan.

“In the midst of this career, her mother died of a broken heart,
evidently occasioned by her undutiful and vicious conduct. A sense of
her ingratitude to her parents, and her shameless manner of life struck
her mind, not naturally unfeeling, with such force, as to throw her into
a fever which undermined her constitution, deprived her of her beauty,
ruined her voice, and left her without means of support. Her pretended
lover, finding she could no longer be useful to him, perfidiously
abandoned her to poverty and shame. She returned, like the prodigal, to
her unhappy father, who received, but could not assist her. Her
behavior, with its consequences in the death of her mother, had impaired
his health, depressed his spirits, and rendered him incapable of
providing for himself.

“She is now despised and avoided by all her former acquaintance, and
must inevitably spend the remainder of her days in wretchedness.

“Let us turn from this disgusting picture, and behold its contrast in
the amiable Florella. To beauty of person she superadds delicacy,
sensibility, and every noble quality of the mind. Respectful to her
superiors, affable, cheerful, and polite to her equals, and
condescendingly kind to her inferiors, Florella is universally esteemed,
beloved and admired. Of the pleasing accomplishments of music and
dancing she is a consummate mistress. Yet she is superior to the vain
arts of flattery, while the dignity of conscious virtue raises her far
above the affectation of false modesty and diffidence. To please and
oblige those friends who are interested in her happiness, and gratified
by her performances, is her delight. Nor does she think it necessary, by
feigned excuses, to delay the pleasure, which she is able to afford; but
willingly enhances that pleasure by a ready and cheerful compliance.
This she thinks the best return she can make for their kind attention.
Though delighted with these amusements herself, she, nevertheless,
considers them as amusements only; and assiduously cultivates the more
solid branches of her education. These, she is wont to say, may render
me useful and happy, when the voice of music shall be brought low, and
when the sprightly limbs shall become languid and inactive.

“How happy her parents in her filial duty and affection! How rich the
reward of their care and expense in contributing to her improvements!
How happy Florella in their complacency and love, and in the
consciousness of deserving them!

“She was, not long since, addressed by a gentleman, who was pleasing to
her fancy; but, determined never to indulge a sentiment of partiality
without the entire approbation of her parents, she referred him to their
decision. For particular reasons, they disapproved of his suit. She
acquiesced without reserve, and immediately dismissed him. Who would not
rather be a resembler of Florella, than a vain, imprudent, and ruined
Levitia?

“True, indeed, the acquirements and graces of Florella are not
attainable by every one; but the virtues of discretion, modesty, and
kindness are within the reach of the humblest sphere, and the most
moderate abilities.”


                                                      _Wednesday, A. M._

                        MISCELLANEOUS DIRECTIONS
             FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF THE TEMPER AND MANNERS.

“I shall now,” said Mrs. Williams, “endeavor to sketch out for you the
plan of conduct, which I think will be most conducive to your honor and
happiness while in a single state. Hitherto you have been under the
direction of parents, guardians, and instructors, who have regulated
your deportment, and labored to give you just ideas upon every subject
and occasion. That period is now over. You are now launching into life;
where you will think and act more for yourselves.

“The path of rectitude, my dear young friends, is narrow and intricate.
Temptations lurk around to beguile your feet astray; and dangers which
appear insurmountable will often arise to affright you from the ways of
virtue.

“But remember that a crown of honor and happiness awaits the undeviating
pursuit of truth and duty. Let religion be your guide, and discretion
your handmaid. Thus attended, you will escape the snares of youth, and
surmount the perplexing cares of more advanced age. At your entrance on
the stage of action, the allurements of pleasure will spread innumerable
charms to court your acceptance. Beware of their fascinating wiles; and
whatever course you adopt, be sure it is such as will bear the test of
examination and reflection. Let these be the criterion of all your
pursuits and enjoyments. Make it an invariable practice to re-trace the
actions and occurrences of the day, when you retire to rest; to account
with your own hearts for the use and improvement of the past hours; and
rectify whatever you find amiss, by greater vigilance and caution, in
future; to avoid the errors into which you have fallen, and to discharge
the duties incumbent upon you.

“To neglect this, will be a source of great inadvertencies and failings.

“To know yourselves, in every particular, must be your constant
endeavor. This knowledge will lead you to propriety and consistency of
action. But this knowledge cannot be obtained without a thorough and
repeated inspection of your various passions, affections, and
propensities. When obtained, however, it will prevent the ill effects of
flattery, by which you will doubtless be endangered, as you advance into
the scenes of fashionable life. It will enable you to distinguish
flattery from that generous praise which is the effusion of a feeling
heart, affected by the perception of real merit. A young lady, unskilled
in the deceitful arts of a giddy world, is very apt to be misled by the
adulation which is offered at the shrine of vanity. She is considered as
a mark for the wit of every coxcomb, who wishes to display his
gallantry.

“Flattery is a dazzling meteor, which casts a delusive glare before the
eye; and which seduces the imagination, perverts the judgment, and
silences the dictates of sound reason. Flattery is, therefore, the
poison and bane of the youthful mind. It renders the receiver blind to
those defects which she ought to see and rectify, and proud of imaginary
graces which she never yet possessed. Self-knowledge, as before
observed, will facilitate the detection of this disguised adversary, by
enabling you to investigate your real accomplishments and merits.

“That praise which is the result of deserved approbation from those,
whose good opinion you wish to enjoy, is worthy your attention and
grateful acceptance: but the fulsome compliments and hyperbolical
professions of unmeaning and empty pretenders, calculated only to fill
the imagination with the inflammable air of self-conceit and arrogant
pride, should be rejected with disdain, and cordially despised by every
lady of sense and sentiment, as an insult upon her understanding, and an
indignity to her sensibility.

“Let it, therefore, be known to those who court your favor by an
ostentatious parade of admiration and obsequiousness, that their
dissimulation and duplicity are discovered, and that you are superior to
such futility.

“In order to discriminate between flattery and merited praise,
critically examine your own heart and life. By this mean you will
ascertain what is really your due, and what is merely the effect of this
insidious art. But let no ideas of your own endowments, however just,
elate you with an opinion of your superior powers of pleasing.

“Be not ostentatious of your charms, either of person or mind. Let
modesty, diffidence, and propriety regulate you, in regard to each.
Exalted advantages will render you an object of envy to the weak minded
of your own sex, and of satire to the ill-natured part of the other.
Never obtrude even your real graces and accomplishments upon the world.
The penetrating and judicious will see and applaud them, while retiring
from the gaze of a misjudging and misrepresenting throng.

            “Naked in nothing should a woman be,
            But veil her very wit with modesty;
            Let man discover; let her not display;
            But yield her charms of mind with sweet delay.”

“Those who are solicitous for beauty should remember that the expression
of the countenance, in which its very essence consists, depends on the
disposition of the mind.

           “What’s female beauty, but an air divine,
           Through which the mind’s all gentle graces shine?
           These, like the sun, irradiate all between;
           The body charms, because the soul is seen.
           Hence men are often captives of a face,
           They know not why; of no peculiar grace.
           Some forms, though bright, no mortal man can bear;
           Some, none resist, tho’ not exceeding fair.”

Beauty, my dear girls, is indeed a desirable quality. Neither the pen of
the moralist, nor the spleen of the satirist, nor the envy of such as
want it, could ever bring it into contempt or neglect. Yet mere external
beauty is transient as the meteor, and frail as the bubble, which floats
on the surface of the watery element.

“Behold the disconsolate and despised Flirtilla! and from her fate learn
not to trust in the effects or duration of this adventitious quality.

“Early in life, Flirtilla was taught that her charms were irresistible;
that she might aspire to an absolute ascendency over the hearts and
passions of her votaries. A superficial, but fashionable education added
the allurements of art to those of person, and rendered her a finished
coquette.

“Her beauty and the gaiety of her manners gained her numerous admirers,
who swarmed around, like the insect tribe, eager to sip the fragrance of
the equally fair and fading rose. The incense of flattery, in every
form, was her tribute.

“Elated by this, she gave free scope to her ruling passions, the love of
pleasure and dissipation. Her best days were spent in the chase of
vanity; and she culled the flowers of life, without considering, that
substantial fruit would be required at a more advanced period, as a
substitute for the fading blossoms of youth. Her mind was barren of
improvement, and consequently destitute of resources.

“She vainly imagined the triumphs of beauty to be permanent, till its
declared enemy, the small-pox, convinced her of the egregious mistake.
By this she found her empire suddenly overturned. The merciless disorder
had reduced her to a level with the generality of her sex, in
appearance, and, in enjoyment far below them. Her glass faithfully
represented this insupportable reduction. Regret and chagrin heightened
the apparent calamity. She was remembered only as the contrast of what
she once had been. Her lovers were disgusted with the change, and sought
more pleasing objects of attention; while men of sentiment could not
find a similarity of disposition, in her, to induce a connexion.

“Her female acquaintance, who had envied her as a rival, or feared her
as a superior, now insulted her with their pity, or mortified her by
remarks on the surprising alteration in her appearance.

“Finding no alleviation from society, she retired from the world to
nurse, in solitude, the vexation and disappointment she experienced.

“View her now, peevish, discontented, and gloomy! Her ideas of pleasure
were centered in that person, which is now neglected; in those
endowments which have now forsaken her forever!

“Thought she studiously shuns; for she has nothing pleasing to occupy
her reflections, but what is irretrievably lost!

“Miserable Flirtilla! thou trustedst in vanity, and vanity is thy
recompense! How happy mightest thou have been, even in this change, if
thy heart had been rectified, thy understanding improved, and thy mind
liberally stored with useful sentiments, knowledge, and information!

“Cultivate, then, my young friends, those dispositions and attainments,
which will yield permanent and real satisfaction, when sickness,
adversity, or age shall have robbed your eyes of their lustre, and
diminished the bloom and sprightliness of your forms.

“You are doubtless sensible that your happiness, in life, does not
depend so much on your external, as your internal graces.

“The constitutional temper of your minds was given you by nature; but
reason is added for its regulation.

              “On life’s vast ocean diversely we sail;
              Reason the chart; but passion is the gale.”

“Our passions were certainly implanted for wise and benevolent purposes;
and, if properly directed, may be of great utility. This direction
nature will teach, and education improve. To their precepts we must
implicitly listen, if we would become respectable or contented.

“Examine yourselves, therefore, with impartial scrutiny. Find out your
particular faults in this respect, and exert your unwearied industry to
amend them.

“Possibly you may be naturally hasty, passionate, or vindictive. If so,
how wretched, at times, must the indulgence of this temper render you!
When reason, awhile suspended, resumes its empire, and calm reflection
succeeds the riot of passion, how severe must be your self-condemnation,
and how keen your sensations of regret! Perhaps an unkindness of
expression to some particular friend, disrespectful treatment of an
honored superior, ill-timed resentment to a beloved equal, or imperious
and unbecoming severity to a deserving inferior, may give you the most
painful emotions, and degrade you in your own, as well as in the
estimation of every observer! To prevent this evil, accustom yourselves
to check the first risings of anger, and suspend every expression of
displeasure, till you can deliberate on the provocation, and the
propriety of noticing it. It may have been undesigned, and, therefore,
not justly provoking. You may have misunderstood the word, or action of
offence, and inquiry may remove the grounds of your suspicion: or the
person offending may be one with whom prudence and honor require you not
to enter the lists. But if neither of these considerations occur,
reflect a moment, that your own reputation and consequent happiness are
at stake and that to lose the command of yourselves and your passions is
inconsistent with the delicacy of ladies, the moderation of Christians,
and the dignity of rational beings.

“Let every sally alarm, and excite you to rally and new-discipline your
forces; and to be more strictly on your guard against the assaults of
your foe.

“The character of Camilla is a pattern worthy of your imitation. While
very young, Camilla was unfortunately deprived of the instruction and
regulating hand of a discreet and judicious mother. Her father was too
much immersed in business to attend to the cultivation of his daughter’s
mind.

“He gave her the means of a genteel education, praised her excellencies,
and chid her faults, without being at the pains of teaching her how to
amend them. The irritability of her temper he rather indulged,
considering her as a girl of _spirit_, who would make her way in the
world, in spite of obstacles. She was naturally generous,
tender-hearted, and humane; but her temper was as uncontrollable as the
whirlpool, and as impetuous as the wind. Happily for her, she had an
uncommon strength of mind, a ready apprehension, a quick perception, and
a depth of understanding, seldom equalled. She saw her errors, was
conscious of her failings, and a severe sufferer for her faults. But
such was the extreme quickness of her feelings, and so passionate her
resentment of any thing which appeared injurious or affrontive, that she
could not always repress them. She married a gentleman of a similar
temper, and of equal prudence. In the union of such violent spirits,
great harmony could not be presaged. Their passions were lively, their
affections ardent.

              “The honey-moon in raptures flew,
              A second brought its transports too;
              The third, the fourth, were not amiss;
              The fifth was friendship, mixed with bliss;
              But ere a twelvemonth passed away,
              They found each other made of clay.”

“Inadvertencies gave offence; frequent altercations arose; both were
tenacious of their rights, and averse to condescension. Camilla saw the
impending danger; she became sensible that the happiness of her life
depended on amendment and caution; she resolved to avoid giving or
taking offence, with the greatest diligence; to suppress every emotion
of anger; and when she thought herself injured, to retire or be silent,
till passion had subsided, and she could regain her calmness.

“This was a hard task, at first; but perseverance rendered it effectual
to a thorough reformation in each.

“Her example and pathetic admonitions induced her husband to adopt her
prudent plan. They found their mutual endeavors productive of real
satisfaction, and happiness the reward of their exertions to secure it.

“To be vindictive is equally, perhaps more fatal to our own, and the
peace of others, than to be passionate. Violent passions of all kinds
are generally transient; but revenge is the offspring of malice, the
parent of discord, and the bane of social love. It is an evidence of a
weak and sickly mind. True greatness will rise superior to this ignoble
spirit, so peculiarly ungraceful in a lady, and inconsistent with that
delicacy and softness, which ought ever to characterize the sex.

“But an envious temper is, of all others, the most degrading and
miserable. Envy is a malignant poison, which rankles in the heart, and
destroys the inward peace, even while there is an outward appearance of
serenity. That mind, which cannot rejoice in the happiness of others, is
capable of very little in itself. To look with a grudging and evil eye
on the enjoyments of our neighbor, must be a source of perpetual chagrin
and mortification.

“Envy indulged, is a punishment to its possessor. Eradicate, then, the
first, and every emotion of so corroding and destructive a nature; and
endeavor to excel only by that virtuous emulation, which is productive
of improvement and respectability.

“A kind, compassionate, benevolent, humane disposition is an invaluable
treasure. It will render you blessings to society, and objects of
universal esteem.

             “In _you_ ’tis graceful to dissolve at wo;
             With every motion, every word, to wave
             Quick o’er the kindling cheek the ready blush;
             And from the smallest violence to shrink.”—

“This amiable temper, however, may sometimes degenerate into weakness.

“Prudence should be exercised, even in the indulgence of the most
engaging qualities. In the progress of life, occasions may call for that
resolution and fortitude, which admit not of apparent softness; but such
occasions very seldom occur.

“How alluring are the charms of sympathy and charity! Happy are they who
always feel the one, and have power and inclination to exemplify the
other!

                “The diamond and the ruby’s blaze
                Dispute the palm with beauty’s queen;
                Not beauty’s queen demands such praise,
                Devoid of virtue if she’s seen.
                But the soft tear in pity’s eye
                Outshines the diamond’s brightest beam,
                And the sweet blush of modesty
                More beauteous than the ruby’s seen.”


                                                      _Wednesday, P. M._

                                 DRESS.

“Dress,” continued Mrs. Williams to her re-assembled and attentive
pupils, “is an important article of female economy. By some it is
doubtless considered as too essential. This is always the case, when it
becomes the ruling passion, and every other excellence is made
subordinate to it. A suitable attention to the etiquette of appearance
is necessary to render us respectable in the eyes of the world and
discovers an accommodating disposition, which is, at once, engaging and
useful in the commerce of society. Females are taxed with being
peculiarly attached to, and captivated by the glare of splendor and
show. But I believe superficial minds are not confined to sex. Whatever
form they actuate, to beautify and adorn it will be the principal
object.

“A certain species of gaiety and airiness is becoming in youth. Young
ladies, therefore, act perfectly in character, when, under proper
restraint, they indulge their taste in the decoration of their persons.
But they should be especially careful that their taste be correct;
consistent with the modest delicacy which is the glory and ornament of
woman.

“It is laudable to follow fashions, so far as they are governed by these
rules; but whenever they deviate, quit them with express disapprobation
and disgust. Any assumptions of the masculine habit are unbecoming.
Dress and manners should be correspondent; and the engaging softness and
artless simplicity, which grace my pupils, must be quite inconsistent
with the air and attire of the other sex.

“A gaudy and fantastical mode of decoration is by no means a
recommendation. It bespeaks a lightness of mind and a vanity of
disposition, against which a discreet and modest girl should guard with
the utmost vigilance. Extravagance is a great error, even where fortune
will allow the means of supporting it. Many are the claims which the
children of affliction and want have upon the superfluous plenty of the
rich. How much better expended would some part of their redundance be,
in relieving the necessities of such, than in decorating their own
persons, with every ornament which art can contrive to create expense!

“Neatness and propriety should be the main objects; for loveliness needs
no foreign aid to give it a passport. Neatness is too often connected
with the idea of a prudish singularity; but no gaudiness of apparel, no
richness of attire, no modishness of appearance can be an equivalent for
it. Propriety is that garb which becomes our situation and circumstances
in life. There certainly ought to be a difference between different ages
and conditions, in this respect. Many articles, ornamental to Miss in
her teens, would appear absurd, fantastical, and ridiculous in maturer
years. Neither should the matronal robes, and the close cap hide the
natural ringlets, and easy shapes of the blooming girl.

“It is a very false taste which induces people in dependent and narrow
circumstances, to imitate the expensive mode of dress which might be
very decent for those who move in a higher sphere.

“To endeavor to conceal indigence by the affectation of extravagance, is
committing a great offence, both against ourselves, and the community to
which we belong. The means of support should always be attended to. A
conformity to these will render you more respected for prudence, than a
deviation for the sake of show without substance, can make you admired.

“Louisa and Clarinda are striking examples. They were both the daughters
of reputable parents, whose situations in the world were easy and
comfortable, though not affluent. They were able to give their children
a good education, but no other portion. Gay, volatile, and ambitious,
Louisa was the votary of fashion. A superior in dress excited the
keenest sensations of envy in her bosom; and a rival in appearance gave
her unspeakable mortification. Dissatisfied with her natural charms,
cosmetics and paints added to her expenses, and betrayed her folly. She
had many professed admirers, who found her a willing dupe to flattery,
and who raised her vanity by praising her excellent taste.

“Leander, a gentleman of liberal education, superior merit, and handsome
property, cast his eye around for a companion to share and enjoy these
advantages with him. Louisa caught his attention. The elegance of her
person, and splendor of her appearance, charmed his imagination, and
inspired the idea of a fortune sufficient to support her expensive style
of living. He paid his addresses and was received with the most
flattering encouragement. But how great was his disappointment, when he
discovered the smallness of her resources, and the imprudence of her
management! This, said he to himself, will never do for me. Were my
income far superior to what it is, it would not be adequate to such
unbounded extravagance. Besides, where so little economy is practised,
while under parental government, what must be the consequence of that
unlimited indulgence, which the confidence due to a wife demands? Were I
to abridge her expenses, and endeavor to rectify her fantastical taste,
it would doubtless foment dissension, discord, and animosity, which must
terminate in wretchedness. He resolved, however, to try her real
disposition, by gently hinting his disapprobation of her gaiety. This
she resented; and a rupture, which ended in a final separation, ensued.
She found, too late, the value of the man, whom she had slighted; and
ever after regretted that folly which had irretrievably alienated his
affections.

“The modesty and neatness of Clarinda’s garb next caught Leander’s eye.
Conversing with her on the subject of dress, the justness of her
sentiments gave him the highest ideas of the rectitude and innocence of
her mind. A costly article was offered for her purchase; but she refused
it. It would not become me, said she, nor any other person who has not
an affluent fortune. If I had a sufficiency to buy it, I would procure
something more simple and necessary for myself; and the overplus might
render an object of distress contented and happy.

“Yet was Clarinda always elegantly neat; always genteelly fashionable.
Frugality and economy, free from profusion and extravagance, enabled her
to indulge her own taste entirely; and while she enjoyed that, she
repined not at the fancied superiority of others. Leander found her all
he wished, in appearance; all he hoped for, in reality. As their tastes
were correspondent, and their highest aim, when united, to please each
other, they were not dependent on the breath of fashion for their
happiness. A compliance with its forms did not elate their pride, nor a
departure from them, fill their hearts with peevishness and discontent.”


                                                       _Thursday, A. M._

                              POLITENESS.

“Still more important than your habit, is your air and deportment. It is
not sufficient that these are pleasing to the eye of the superficial
observer. Your behavior and conversation must be uniformly governed by
the laws of politeness, discretion, and decorum. Else you will be
disgusting to people of refinement; and the judicious and discerning
will discover the weakness of your minds, notwithstanding the showy
ornaments, intended to conceal it from public view.

“Inattention in company is a breach of good manners. Indeed, it is a
downright insult; being neither more nor less, than declaring that you
have not the least respect for any who are present. Either you do not
value their good opinion, or you have something more important than
their conversation to occupy your minds.

“You should always be attentive to those with whom you are conversant,
let their rank and standing be what they may. Your superiors will esteem
you for your respectful treatment of them; your equals will love you for
your kindness and familiarity; your inferiors will respect you for your
condescension and meekness.

“Attention in company will be advantageous to yourselves. Like the
industrious bee, which sips honey from every plant, you may derive some
benefit or instruction from all kinds of society. Some useful remark or
information; some sentiment which may allure you to the practice of
virtue, or deter you from a vicious perpetration, may repay your labor,
and be serviceable through life.

“But should there be no other motive than that of pleasing your
associates, and rendering them happy, by making yourselves agreeable, it
may be considered as a sufficient inducement to the practice of this
branch of good-breeding. Many girls, in the thoughtless levity of their
hearts, divert themselves at the expense of others; and, with the utmost
glee, point out any thing peculiar in the appearance, words, or actions
of some one in the company, whom they select for a subject of merriment
and ridicule. This, by shrewd looks, ironical gestures, or tittering
whispers, is kept up, to the great mortification of the unhappy victim,
and to the reproach and dishonor of the offenders. Such conduct is a
breach, not only of the rules of common civility, but of humanity;
besides being directly repugnant to the precept of doing to others as we
would that they should do to us.

“Be particularly careful, then, not to mortify, or give pain to an
inferior.

“Let the question, ‘who maketh thee to differ?’ suppress every emotion
of ridicule, contempt, or neglect; and induce you to raise and encourage
depressed merit by your notice and approbation.

“As far as propriety, delicacy, and virtue will allow, conform to the
taste, and participate in the amusements and conversation of the company
into which you have fallen. If they be disagreeable to you, avoid a
supercilious avowal of your dislike. This, instead of reforming, would
probably give them a disgust to you, and perhaps subject you to
affronts. Yet where a disapprobating word or hint may be seasonable,
neglect not the opportunity of contributing to their benefit and
amendment.

“Are you conscious of superior advantages, either mental or external,
make no ostentatious display of them. Vanity too often leads young
ladies to obtrude their acquirements on the eyes of observers,
inconsiderately apprehending they may otherwise be unnoticed. Such
forwardness always subjects them to censure, ridicule, and envy; the
expressions of which destroy that self-approbation which retiring merit
invariably enjoys. However, exert that dignity of virtue which will
render you independent of caprice, calumny, and unprovoked satire.

“Make no ungenerous, or ill-natured remarks on the company, or on the
individuals of which it is composed.

“If you dislike them, avoid them in future. If you witness errors,
faults, or improprieties, conceal, or at least extenuate them, as much
as possible.

“Make just allowances for those who may differ from you in opinion; and
be cautious never to misrepresent, or circulate what appears amiss to
you, and must, if exposed, be injurious to others. Charity hides a
multitude of faults. Certainly then, charity will never aggravate nor
create them.

“To give currency to a report, which tends to the disadvantage and
dishonor of another, is defaming; and defamation is a species of
cruelty, which can never be expiated.

“Of this the unhappy, though imprudent Eudocia, is an exemplification.

“Eudocia was young, gay, and charming. A levity of disposition, which
the innocence of her heart attempted not to restrain, sometimes gave the
tongue of slander pretence to aim its envenomed shafts at her character,
and to misrepresent her sprightliness.

“Independent in fortune; still more so in mind, calumny gave her no
pain, while she was conscious of the rectitude of her intentions.

“Leontine was a gentleman of property; agreeable in his person and
manners; of strict honor, and extremely tenacious of it; but of a severe
and unforgiving temper. He paid his addresses to Eudocia; was accepted,
approved, and beloved. Yet, though he had gained her affections, he had
not sufficient influence to regulate her conduct, and repress her
gaiety. Her fondness for show and gallantry, in some instances, induced
her to countenance the attentions, and receive the flattery, of men,
whose characters were exceptionable, in Leontine’s estimation. He
remonstrated against her imprudence, and gave her his ideas of female
delicacy. She laughed at his gravity, and rallied him on his implicit
subjection to the opinions of others.

“Towards the close of a fine day, Eudocia rambled along a retired road,
to enjoy the air. She was alone; but the hope of meeting her beloved
Leontine, whom she expected that evening, imperceptibly led her beyond
her intended excursion. The rattling of a carriage caused her to stop;
and, thinking it to be Leontine’s, she approached it before she
perceived her mistake. A gentleman of an elegant appearance alighted and
accosting her politely, expressed his surprise at finding her so far
from home without an attendant. She found it was Florio, with whom she
had a slight acquaintance, having once met with him in company. She
frankly owned her motive for walking thus far; and refused his
invitation to return in his carriage. He renewed his request; and his
importunity, seconded by her fatigue, at last prevailed. At this moment
the detracting Lavina passed by. She saw Eudocia, and with a sneering
smile, wished her a good night. Eudocia was unconscious of fault, and
therefore fearless of censure. But the artful Florio, desirous of
protracting the pleasure of her company, took a circuitous route, which
considerably increased the distance to her father’s house. However, he
conveyed her safely home, though not so soon as she wished. She found
that Leontine had been there, and had gone to visit a friend; but would
soon return. Leontine was just seated at his friend’s, when Lavina
entered.

“She told the circle, that Florio had just passed her, and that he had
company she little expected to see with him. They inquired if it was his
former mistress? No, said she, he discarded her some time ago, and if we
may judge by appearances, has chosen a new one. Upon being asked who,
she presumed to name Eudocia. Every countenance expressed surprise and
regret. In Leontine, rage and resentment were visibly depicted. He rose,
and stepping hastily to Lavina, told her he was a party concerned, and
demanded an explanation of what she had insinuated. She perceived that
she had given offence, and endeavored to excuse herself; but he
resolutely told her that no evasions would avail; that he insisted on
the real truth of her scandalous report. Finding him thus determined,
she related the simple fact of seeing Eudocia in a carriage with Florio,
who was a known libertine, and accustomed to the society of loose women.
Leontine asked her how she came to associate the ideas she had mentioned
with Eudocia’s name? She replied that the lightness of her behavior had
sometimes rendered her censurable; and she thought this instance, in
particular, authorised suspicion. Leontine could not deny that she was
culpable in appearance; yet made answer, that though scandal might feast
on the failings of virtue, he believed Eudocia’s innocence much purer,
and her heart much better than her detractors’; and taking his hat, he
wished the company a good evening, and left them.

“His passions were on fire. He could not comprehend the mysterious
conduct of Eudocia. Her absence from home, at a time when he expected
her to receive him, and her being seen at a distance in company with a
professed debauchee, were a labyrinth which he could not explore. Though
he doubted not Eudocia’s honor, yet her folly and imprudence, in
subjecting her character to suspicion and reproach, he thought
unpardonable. His resentment determined him to break the proposed
connexion immediately; and, lest his love should get the better of his
resolution, he went directly to the house.

“As he could not command his temper, he appeared extremely agitated, and
angrily told Eudocia that she had caused him great uneasiness; and that
he came to claim the satisfaction of knowing, why she had avoided his
society, and made an assignation with a man who had involved her in
infamy? Eudocia was astonished and justly offended at this address. With
all the dignity of conscious innocence, she replied, that as yet he had
no right to challenge an account of her conduct; but for her own sake,
she would condescend to give it. This she did by a faithful and
undisguised relation of facts. She then asked him if he was satisfied.
He answered, No. For, said he, though you have cleared yourself of
guilt, in my apprehension, you will find it very difficult to free your
character from the blemish it has received in the opinion of the world.
Saying this he told her, that however highly he esteemed her, so
opposite were their dispositions, that they must often be at variance;
and so nice was his sense of honor, that his wife like Cæsar’s must not
only be virtuous, but unsuspected. She rejoined, that his sentiments
were apparent; and if what he then expressed were his opinion of her, it
was best they should part.

“Some further conversation passed; when promising to call, the next day,
and satisfy her parents, and wishing Eudocia all possible happiness in
life, he took his leave.

“The impropriety of her conduct, and her losing the affections of a man
she too ardently loved, together with the cruel treatment she had just
received from him, overwhelmed her with grief, and produced the most
violent emotions of regret. She walked her room in all the anguish of
disappointed hope. Her parents used every argument to soothe and console
her, but in vain.

“She yielded to their persuasions so far as to retire to bed; but rest
she found not; and the morning presented her in a burning fever.
Leontine called in the course of the day; but the friends of Eudocia
refused to see him. An account of her disorder had roused him to a sense
of his rashness, and he begged to be admitted to her chamber; but this
she utterly denied.

“Her fever left her; but the disease of her mind was beyond the power of
medicine. A settled melancholy still remains; and she lives the victim
of calumniation!

“To detract from the merit of others, beside the want of politeness
which it betrays, and beside the injuries which it always occasions, is
extremely impolitic. It is to confess your inferiority, and to
acknowledge a wish not to rise to greater respectability; but to bring
down those about you to your own level! Ill-natured remarks are the
genuine offspring of an envious and grovelling mind.

“Call yourselves to a severe account, therefore, whenever you have been
guilty of this degrading offence; and always check the first impulses
towards it.

“Accustom yourselves to the exercise of sincerity, benevolence and good
humor, those endearing virtues, which will render you beloved and
respected by all.

“To bestow your attention in company, upon trifling singularities in the
dress, person, or manners of others, is spending your time to little
purpose. From such a practice you can derive neither pleasure nor
profit; but must unavoidably subject yourselves to the imputation of
incivility and malice.”


                                                       _Thursday, P. M._

                              AMUSEMENTS.

“Amusement is impatiently desired, and eagerly sought by young ladies in
general. Forgetful that the noblest entertainment arises from a placid
and well cultivated mind, too many fly from themselves, from thought and
reflection, to fashionable dissipation, or what they call pleasure, as a
mean of beguiling the hours which solitude and retirement render
insupportably tedious.

“An extravagant fondness for company and public resorts is incompatible
with those domestic duties, the faithful discharge of which ought to be
the prevailing object of the sex. In the indulgence of this disposition,
the mind is enervated, and the manners corrupted, till all relish for
those enjoyments, which being simple and natural, are best calculated to
promote health, innocence, and social delight, is totally lost.

“It is by no means amiss for youth to seek relaxation from severer cares
and labors, in a participation of diversions, suited to their age, sex,
and station in life. But there is great danger of their lively
imaginations’ hurrying them into excess, and detaching their affections
from the ennobling acquisitions of moral improvement, and refined
delicacy. Guard, then against those amusements which have the least
tendency to sully the purity of your minds.

“Loose and immoral books; company, whose manners are licentious, however
gay and fashionable; conversation which is even tinctured with
profaneness or obscenity; plays in which the representation is immodest,
and offensive to the ear of chastity; indeed, pastimes of every
description, from which no advantage can be derived, should not be
countenanced; much less applauded. Why should those things afford
apparent satisfaction in a crowd which would call forth the blush of
indignation in more private circles? This question is worthy the serious
attention of those ladies, who at the theatre, can hardly restrain their
approbation of expressions and actions, which at their houses, would be
intolerably rude and indecent, in their most familiar friends!

“Cards are so much the taste of the present day, that to caution my
pupils against the too frequent use of them may be thought old fashioned
in the extreme. I believe it, however, to be a fascinating game, which
occupies the time, without yielding any kind of pleasure or profit. As
the satirist humorously observes,

          “The love of gaming is the worst of ills;
          With ceaseless storms the blacken’d soul it fills;
          Inveighs at Heaven, neglects the ties of blood;
          Destroys the power and will of doing good;
          Kills health, pawns honor, plunges in disgrace;
          And, what is still more dreadful—spoils your face.”

“One thing at least is certain; it entirely excludes all rational
conversation. That delightful interchange of sentiment, which the social
meeting of friends is calculated to afford and from which many
advantages might be derived, is utterly excluded.

“Reading, writing, drawing, needle-work, dancing, music, walking,
riding, and conversation are amusements well adapted to yield pleasure
and utility. From either of these, within proper bounds, there is no
danger of injury to the person or mind; though to render even our
diversions agreeable, they must be enjoyed with moderation, and
variously and prudently conducted. Such as are peculiarly exhilarating
to the spirits, however innocent in themselves, should be more
cautiously and sparingly indulged.

“When once the mind becomes too much relaxed by dissipating pastimes, it
is proportionably vitiated, and negligent of those nice attentions to
the rules of reserve and decorum which ought never to be suspended.
Intoxicating is the full draught of pleasure to the youthful mind; and
fatal are the effects of unrestrained passions.

“Flavia was the daughter of a gentleman, whose political principles
obliged him to leave his country at the commencement of the American
revolution. At that time she was at nurse in a neighboring village;
between which and the metropolis all communication being cut off, he was
reduced to the necessity of leaving her to the mercy of those to whom
she was entrusted. Having received her from pecuniary motives only, they
no sooner found themselves deprived of the profits of their labor and
care, than they sought relief by an application to the town for her
support. A wealthy farmer in the vicinity, who had often seen and been
pleased with the dawning charms of Flavia, pitied her condition, and
having no children of his own, resolved to shelter her from the
impending storm, till she could be better provided for. At his house she
was brought up in a homely, though comfortable manner. The good man and
his wife were excessively fond of her, and gave her every instruction
and advantage in their power. Plain truths were liberally inculcated,
and every exertion made to give her a habit of industry and good nature.
Flavia requited their kindness by an obliging and cheerful, a docile and
submissive deportment. As she advanced in years, she increased in
beauty. Her amiable disposition rendered her beloved, and her personal
accomplishments made her admired by all the village swains. The
approbating smile of Flavia was the reward of their toils, and the favor
of her hand in the rustic dance was emulously sought.

“In this state, Flavia was happy. Health and innocence were now her
portion; nor had ambition as yet taught her to sigh for pleasure beyond
the reach of her attainment.

“But the arrival of her father, who had been permitted to return, and
re-possess the estate which he had abandoned, put a period to the
simplicity and peace of Flavia’s mind. He sought and found her; and
though sensible of his obligations to her foster-parents for snatching
her from want and distress, still he could not prevail on himself to
make so great a sacrifice to gratitude as they wished, by permitting his
daughter to spend her days in obscurity. The lively fancy of Flavia was
allured by the splendid promises and descriptions of her father; and she
readily consented to leave the friends of her childhood and youth, and
explore the walks of fashionable life.

“When she arrived in town, what new scenes opened upon the dazzled eyes
of the admiring, and admired Flavia!

“Wealth, with its attendant train of splendid forms and ceremonies,
courted her attention, and every species of dissipating amusement,
sanctioned by the name of pleasure, beguiled the hours and charmed the
imagination of the noviciate. Each enchanting scene she painted to
herself in the brightest colours; and her experienced heart promised her
happiness without allay. Flattery gave her a thousand charms which she
was hitherto unconscious of possessing, and the obsequiousness of the
gaudy train around raised her vanity to the highest pitch of arrogance
and pride. Behold Flavia, now, launched into the whirlpool of
fashionable folly. Balls, plays, cards, and parties engross every
portion of her time.

“Her father saw, too late, the imprudence of his unbounded indulgence;
and his egregious mistake, in so immediately reversing her mode of life,
without first furnishing her mind with sufficient knowledge and strength
to repel temptation. He endeavored to regulate and restrain her conduct;
but in vain. She complained of this, as an abridgment of her liberty,
and took advantage of his doating fondness to practise every excess.
Involved in expenses (of which losses at play composed a considerable
part) beyond her power to defray, in this embarrassing dilemma, she was
reduced to the necessity of accepting the treacherous offer of Marius to
advance money for the support of her extravagance. Obligated by his
apparent kindness, she could not refuse the continuance of his
acquaintance, till his delusive arts had obtained the reward he proposed
to himself, in the sacrifice of her honor. At length she awoke to a
trembling sense of her guilt, and found it fatal to her peace,
reputation, and happiness.

“Wretched Flavia! no art could conceal thy shame! The grief of her mind,
her retirement from company, and the alteration in her appearance,
betrayed her to her father’s observation. Highly incensed at the
ingratitude and baseness of her conduct, he refused to forgive her; but
sent her from the ensnaring pleasures of the town, to languish out the
remainder of life in solitude and obscurity.”


                                                         _Friday, A. M._

                    FILIAL AND FRATERNAL AFFECTION.

“The filial and fraternal are the first duties of a single state. The
obligations you are under to your parents cannot be discharged, but by a
uniform and cheerful obedience; an unreserved and ready compliance with
their wishes, added to the most diligent attention to their ease and
happiness. The virtuous and affectionate behaviour of children is the
best compensation, in their power, for that unwearied care and
solicitude which parents, only, know. Upon daughters, whose situation
and employments lead them more frequently into scenes of domestic
tenderness; who are often called to smooth the pillow of sick and aged
parents, and to administer with a skilful and delicate hand the cordial,
restorative to decaying nature, and endearing sensibility, and a dutiful
acquiescence in the dispositions, and even peculiarities of those from
whom they have derived existence, are indispensably incumbent.

“Such a conduct will yield a satisfaction of mind more than equivalent
to any little sacrifices of inclination or humour which may be required
at your hands.

“Pope, among all his admired poetry, has not six lines more beautifully
expressive than the following:

            “Me, let the pious office long engage,
            To rock the cradle of declining age;
            With lenient arts extend a mother’s breath,
            Make languor smile, and smooth the bed of death;
            Explore the thought, explain the asking eye,
            And keep awhile one parent from the sky!”

“Next in rank and importance to filial piety, is fraternal love. This is
a natural affection which you cannot too assiduously cultivate. How
delightful to see children of the same family dwell together in unity;
promoting each other’s welfare, and emulous only to excel in acts of
kindness and good will. Between brothers and sisters the connexion is
equally intimate and endearing. There is such a union of interests, and
such an undivided participation of enjoyments, that every sensible and
feeling mind must value the blessings of family friendship and peace.

“Strive, therefore, my dear pupils, to promote them, as objects which
deserve your particular attention; as attainments which will not fail
richly to reward your labour.

“Prudelia, beside other amiable endowments of person and mind, possessed
the most lively sensibility, and ardent affections.

“The recommendations of her parents, united to her own wishes, had
induced her to give her hand to Clodius, a gentleman of distinguished
merit. He was a foreigner; and his business required his return to his
native country.

“Prudelia bid a reluctant adieu to her friends, and embarked with him.
She lived in affluence, and was admired and caressed by all that knew
her, while a lovely family was rising around her. Yet these pleasing
circumstances and prospects could not extinguish or alienate that
affection, which still glowed in her breast for the natural guardians
and companions of her childhood and youth.

“With the deepest affliction she heard the news of her father’s death,
and the embarrassed situation in which he had left his affairs. She was
impatient to console her widowed mother, and to minister to her
necessities. For these purposes, she prevailed on her husband to consent
that she should visit her, though it was impossible for him to attend
her. With all the transport of dutiful zeal, she flew to the arms of her
bereaved parent. But how great was her astonishment and grief, when told
that her only sister had been deluded by an affluent villain, and by his
insidious arts, seduced from her duty, her honor, and her home! The
emotions of pity, indignation, regret, and affection, overwhelmed her,
at first; but recollecting herself, and exerting all her fortitude, she
nobly resolved, if possible, to snatch the guilty, yet beloved Myra,
from ruin, rather than revenge her injured family by abandoning her to
the infamy she deserved. To this intent she wrote her a pathetic letter,
lamenting her elopement, but entreating her, notwithstanding, to return
and receive her fraternal embrace. But Myra, conscious of her crime, and
unworthiness of her sister’s condescension and kindness, and above all,
dreading the superiority of her virtue, refused the generous invitation.
Prudelia was not thus to be vanquished in her benevolent undertaking.
She even followed her to her lodgings, and insisted on an interview.
Here she painted, in the most lively colours, the heinousness of her
offence, and the ignominy and wretchedness that awaited her. Her
affection allured, her reasoning convinced her backsliding sister. Upon
the promise of forgiveness from her mother, Myra consented to leave her
infamous paramour, and re-trace the paths of rectitude and virtue.

“Her seducer was absent on a journey. She, therefore, wrote him a
farewell letter, couched in terms of sincere penitence for her
transgression, and determined resolution of amendment in future, and
left the house. Thus restored and reconciled to her friends, Myra
appeared in quite another character.

“Prudelia tarried with her mother till she had adjusted her affairs, and
seen her comfortably settled and provided for. Then taking her reclaimed
sister with her, she returned to her anxiously expecting family. The
uprightness and modesty of Myra’s conduct, ever after, rendered her
universally esteemed, though the painful consciousness of her defection
was never extinguished in her own bosom.

“A constant sense of her past misconduct depressed her spirits, and cast
a gloom over her mind; yet she was virtuous, though pensive, during the
remainder of her life.

“With this, and other salutary effects in view, how necessary, how
important are filial and fraternal affection!”


                                                         _Friday, P. M._

                              FRIENDSHIP.

“Friendship is a term much insisted on by young people; but, like many
others more frequently used than understood. A friend, with girls in
general, is an intimate acquaintance, whose taste and pleasures are
similar to their own; who will encourage, or at least connive at their
foibles and faults, and communicate with them every secret; in
particular those of love and gallantry, in which those of the other sex
are concerned. By such friends their errors and stratagems are flattered
and concealed, while the prudent advice of real friendship is neglected,
till they find too late, how fictitious a character, and how vain a
dependence they have chosen.

“Augusta and Serena were educated at the same school, resided in the
same neighborhood, and were equally volatile in their tempers, and
dissipated in their manners. Hence every plan of amusement was concerted
and enjoyed together. At the play, the ball, the card-table and every
other party of pleasure, they were companions.

“Their parents saw that this intimacy strengthened the follies of each;
and strove to disengage their affections, that they might turn their
attention to more rational entertainments, and more judicious advisers.
But they gloried in their friendship, and thought it a substitute for
every other virtue. They were the dupes of adulation, and the votaries
of coquetry.

“The attentions of a libertine, instead of putting them on their guard
against encroachments, induced them to triumph in their fancied
conquests, and to boast of resolution sufficient to shield them from
delusion.

“Love, however, which with such dispositions, is the pretty play-thing
of imagination, assailed the tender heart of Serena. A gay youth, with
more wit than sense, more show than substance, more art than honesty,
took advantage of her weakness to ingratiate himself into her favour,
and persuade her they could not live without each other. Augusta was the
confident of Serena. She fanned the flame, and encouraged her resolution
of promoting her own felicity, though at the expense of every other
duty. Her parents suspected her amour, remonstrated against the man, and
forbade her forming any connexion with him, on pain of their
displeasure. She apparently acquiesced; but flew to Augusta for counsel
and relief. Augusta soothed her anxiety, and promised to assist her in
the accomplishment of all her wishes. She accordingly contrived means
for a clandestine intercourse, both personal and epistolary.

“Aristus was a foreigner, and avowed his purpose of returning to his
native country, urging her to accompany him. Serena had a fortune,
independent of her parents, left her by a deceased relation. This, with
her hand, she consented to give to her lover, and to quit a country, in
which she acknowledged but one friend. Augusta praised her fortitude,
and favored her design. She accordingly eloped, and embarked. Her
parents were almost distracted by her imprudent and undutiful conduct,
and their resentment fell on Augusta, who had acted contrary to all the
dictates of integrity and friendship, in contributing to her ruin; for
ruin it proved. Her ungrateful paramour, having rioted on the property
which she bestowed, abandoned her to want and despair. She wrote to her
parents, but received no answer. She represented her case to Augusta,
and implored relief from her friendship; but Augusta alleged that she
had already incurred the displeasure of her family on her account and
chose not again to subject herself to censure by the same means.

“Serena at length returned to her native shore, and applied in person to
Augusta, who coolly told her that she wished no intercourse with a
vagabond, and then retired. Her parents refused to receive her into
their house; but from motives of compassion and charity, granted her a
small annuity, barely sufficient to keep her and her infant from want.

“Too late she discovered her mistaken notions of friendship; and learned
by sad experience, that virtue must be its foundation, or sincerity and
constancy can never be its reward.

“Sincerity and constancy are essential ingredients in virtuous
friendship. It invariably seeks the permanent good of its object; and in
so doing, will advise, caution and reprove, with all the frankness of
undissembled affection. In the interchange of genuine friendship,
flattery is utterly excluded. Yet, even in the most intimate connexions
of this kind, a proper degree of respect, attention and politeness must
be observed. You are not so far to presume on the partiality of
friendship, as to hazard giving offence, and wounding the feelings of
persons, merely because you think their regard for you will plead your
excuse, and procure your pardon. Equally cautious should you be, of
taking umbrage at circumstances which are undesignedly offensive.

“Hear the excellent advice of the wise son of Sirach, upon this subject:

“Admonish thy friend; it may be he hath not done it; and if he have done
it, that he do it no more. Admonish thy friend; it may be he hath not
said it; and if he have, that he speak it not again. Admonish thy
friend; for many times it is a slander; and believe not every tale.
There is one that slippeth in his speech, but not from his heart; and
who is he that offendeth not with his tongue?”

“Be not hasty in forming friendships; but deliberately examine the
principles, disposition, temper and manners, of the person you wish to
sustain this important character. Be well assured that they are
agreeable to your own, and such as merit your entire esteem and
confidence, before you denominate her your friend. You may have many
general acquaintances, with whom you are pleased and entertained; but in
the chain of friendship there is a still closer link.

           “Reserve will wound it, and distrust destroy,
           Deliberate on all things with thy friend:
           But since friends grow not thick on every bough
           Nor ev’ry friend unrotten at the core,
           First on thy friend, deliberate with thyself:
           Pause, ponder, first: not eager in the choice,
           Nor jealous of the chosen: fixen, fix:
           Judge before friendship: then confide till death.”

“But if you would have friends, you must show yourselves friendly; that
is, you must be careful to act the part you wish from another. If your
friend have faults, mildly and tenderly represent them to her; but
conceal them as much as possible from the observation of the world.
Endeavor to convince her of her errors, to rectify her mistakes, and to
confirm and increase every virtuous sentiment.

“Should she so far deviate, as to endanger her reputation and happiness;
and should your admonitions fail to reclaim her, become not, like
Augusta, an abettor of her crimes. It is not the part of friendship to
hide transactions which will end in the ruin of your friend. Rather
acquaint those who ought to have the rule over her of her intended
missteps, and you will have discharged your duty; you will merit, and
very probably may afterwards receive her thanks.

“Narcissa and Florinda were united in the bonds of true and generous
friendship. Narcissa was called to spend a few months with a relation in
the metropolis, where she became acquainted with, and attached to a man
who was much her inferior; but whose specious manners and appearance
deceived her youthful heart, though her reason and judgment informed
her, that her parents would disapprove the connexion. She returned home,
the consciousness of her fault, the frankness which she owed to her
friend, and her partiality to her lover, wrought powerfully upon her
mind, and rendered her melancholy. Florinda soon explored the cause, and
warmly remonstrated against her imprudence in holding a moment’s
intercourse with a man, whom she knew, would be displeasing to her
parents. She searched out his character, and found it far inadequate to
Narcissa’s merit. This she represented to her in its true colours, and
conjured her not to sacrifice her reputation, her duty and her
happiness, by encouraging his addresses; but to no purpose were her
expostulations. Narcissa avowed the design of permitting him to solicit
the consent of her parents, and the determination of marrying him
without it, if they refused.

“Florinda was alarmed at this resolution; and, with painful anxiety, saw
the danger of her friend. She told her plainly, that the regard she had
for her demanded a counteraction of her design; and that if she found no
other way of preventing its execution, she should discharge her duty by
informing her parents of her proceedings. This Narcissa resented, and
immediately withdrew her confidence and familiarity; but the faithful
Florinda neglected not the watchful solicitude of friendship; and when
she perceived that Narcissa’s family were resolutely opposed to her
projected match and that Narcissa was preparing to put her rash purpose
into execution, she made known the plan which she had concerted and by
that mean prevented her destruction. Narcissa thought herself greatly
injured, and declared that she would never forgive so flagrant a breach
of fidelity. Florinda endeavoured to convince her of her good
intentions, and the real kindness of her motives; but she refused to
hear the voice of wisdom, till a separation from her lover, and a full
proof of his unworthiness opened her eyes to a sight of her own folly
and indiscretion, and to a lively sense of Florinda’s friendship, in
saving her from ruin without her consent. Her heart overflowed with
gratitude to her generous preserver. She acknowledged herself indebted
to Florinda’s benevolence, for deliverance from the baneful impetuosity
of her own passions. She sought and obtained forgiveness; and ever after
lived in the strictest amity with her faithful benefactress.”


                                                       _Saturday, A. M._

                                 LOVE.

“The highest state of friendship which this life admits, is in the
conjugal relation. On this refined affection, love, which is but a more
interesting and tender kind of friendship, ought to be founded. The same
virtues, the same dispositions and qualities which are necessary in a
friend, are still more requisite in a companion for life. And when these
enlivening principles are united, they form the basis of durable
happiness. But let not the mask of friendship, or of love, deceive you.
You are now entering upon a new stage of action where you will probably
admire, and be admired. You may attract the notice of many, who will
select you as objects of adulation, to discover their taste and
gallantry; and perhaps of some whose affections you have really and
seriously engaged. The first class your penetration will enable you to
detect; and your good sense and virtue will lead you to treat them with
the neglect they deserve. It is disreputable for a young lady to receive
and encourage the officious attentions of those mere pleasure-hunters,
who rove from fair to fair, with no other design than the exercise of
their art, addresses, and intrigue. Nothing can render their company
pleasing, but a vanity of being caressed, and a false pride in being
thought an object of general admiration, with a fondness for flattery
which bespeaks a vitiated mind. But when you are addressed by a person
of real merit, who is worthy your esteem and may justly demand your
respect, let him be treated with honor, frankness and sincerity. It is
the part of a prude, to affect a shyness, reserve, and indifference,
foreign to the heart. Innocence and virtue will rise superior to such
little arts, and indulge no wish which needs disguise.

“Still more unworthy are the insidious and deluding wiles of the
coquette. How disgusting must this character appear to persons of
sentiment and integrity! how unbecoming the delicacy and dignity of an
uncorrupted female!

“As you are young and inexperienced, your affections may possibly be
involuntarily engaged, where prudence and duty forbid a connexion.
Beware, then how you admit the passion of love. In young minds, it is of
all others the most uncontrollable. When fancy takes the reins, it
compels its blinded votary to sacrifice reason, discretion and
conscience to its impetuous dictates. But a passion of this origin tends
not to substantial and durable happiness. To secure this, it must be
quite of another kind, enkindled by esteem, founded on merit,
strengthened by congenial dispositions and corresponding virtues, and
terminating in the most pure and refined affection.

“Never suffer your eyes to be charmed by the mere exterior; nor delude
yourselves with the notion of unconquerable love. The eye, in this
respect, is often deceptious, and fills the imagination with charms
which have no reality. Nip, in the bud, every particular liking, much
more all ideas of love, till called forth by unequivocal tokens as well
as professions of sincere regard. Even then, harbor them not without a
thorough knowledge of the temper, disposition and circumstances of your
lover, the advice of your friends; and, above all the approbation of
your parents. Maturely weigh every consideration for and against, and
deliberately determine with yourselves, what will be most conducive to
your welfare and fidelity in life. Let a rational and discreet plan of
thinking and acting, regulate your deportment, and render you deserving
of the affection you wish to insure. This you will find far more
conducive to your interest, than the indulgence of that romantic
passion, which a blind and misguided fancy paints in such alluring
colors to the thoughtless and inexperienced.

“Recollect the favourite air you so often sing:

                “Ye fair, who would be blessed in love,
                  Take your pride a little lower:
                Let the swain that you approve,
                  Rather like you than adore.

                Love that rises into passion,
                  Soon will end in hate or strife:
                But from tender inclination
                  Flow the lasting joys of life.”

“I by no means undervalue that love which is the noblest principle of
the human mind; but wish only to guard you against the influence of an
ill-placed and ungovernable passion, which is improperly called by this
name.

“A union, formed without a refined and generous affection for its basis,
must be devoid of those tender endearments, reciprocal attentions, and
engaging sympathies, which are peculiarly necessary to alleviate the
cares, dispel the sorrows, and soften the pains of life. The exercise of
that prudence and caution which I have recommended, will lead you to a
thorough investigation of the character and views of the man by whom you
are addressed.

“Without good principles, both of religion and morality, (for the latter
cannot exist independent of the former) you can not safely rely, either
upon his fidelity or his affection. Good principles are the foundation
of a good life.

“If the fountain be pure, the streams which issue from it will be of the
same description.

“Next to this, an amiable temper is essentially requisite. A proud, a
passionate, a revengeful, a malicious, or a jealous temper, will render
your lives uncomfortable, in spite of all the prudence and fortitude you
can exert.

“Beware, then, lest, before marriage, love blind your eyes to those
defects, to a sight of which, grief and disappointment may awaken you
afterwards. You are to consider marriage as a connexion for life; as the
nearest and dearest of all human relations; as involving in it the
happiness or misery of all your days; and as engaging you in a variety
of cares and duties, hitherto unknown. Act, therefore, with
deliberation, and resolve with caution; but, when once you come to a
choice, behave with undeviating rectitude and sincerity.

“Avarice is not commonly a ruling passion in young persons of _our_ sex.
Yet some there are, sordid enough to consider wealth as the chief good,
and to sacrifice every other object to a splendid appearance. It often
happens, that these are miserably disappointed in their expectations of
happiness. They find, by dear bought experience, that external pomp is
but a wretched substitute for internal satisfaction.

“But I would not have outward circumstances entirely overlooked. A
proper regard should always be had to a comfortable subsistence in life.
Nor can you be justified in suffering a blind passion, under whatever
pretext, to involve you in those embarrassing distresses of want, which
will elude the remedies of love itself, and prove fatal to the peace and
happiness at which you aim.

“In this momentous affair, let the advice and opinion of judicious
friends have their just weight in your minds. Discover, with candor and
frankness, the progress of your amour, so far as is necessary to enable
them to judge aright in the cause; but never relate the love tales of
your suitor, merely for your own, or any other person’s amusement. The
tender themes inspired by love, may be pleasing to you; but to an
uninterested person, must be insipid and disgusting in the extreme.

“Never boast of the number, nor of the professions of your admirers.
That betrays an unsufferable vanity, and will render you perfectly
ridiculous in the estimation of observers. Besides, it is a most
ungenerous treatment of those who may have entertained, and expressed a
regard for you. Whatever they have said upon this subject, was doubtless
in confidence, and you ought to keep it sacred, as a secret you have no
right to divulge.

“If you disapprove the person, and reject his suit, that will be
sufficiently mortifying, without adding the insult of exposing his
overtures.

“Be very careful to distinguish real lovers from mere gallants. Think
not every man enamoured with you, who is polite and attentive. You have
no right to suppose any man in love with you, till he declares it in
plain, unequivocal and decent terms.

“Never suffer, with impunity, your ear to be wounded by indelicate
expressions, double entendres, and insinuating attempts to seduce you
from the path of rectitude. True love will not seek to degrade its
object, much less to undermine that virtue which ought to be its basis
and support. Let no protestations induce you to believe that person your
friend, who would destroy your dearest interests, and rob you of
innocence and peace. Give no heed to the language of seduction; but
repel the insidious arts of the libertine, with the dignity and decision
of insulted virtue. This practice will raise you superior to the wiles
of deceivers, and render you invulnerable by the specious flattery of
the unprincipled and debauched.

“Think not the libertine worthy of your company and conversation even as
an acquaintance.

“That reformed rakes make the best husbands,” is a common, and I am
sorry to say, a too generally received maxim. Yet I cannot conceive,
that any lady who values, or properly considers her own happiness, will
venture on the dangerous experiment. The term _reformed_ can, in my
opinion, have very little weight; since those, whose principles are
vitiated, and whose minds are debased by a course of debauchery and
excess, seldom change their pursuits, till necessity, or interest
requires it; and, however circumstances may alter or restrain their
conduct, very little dependence can be placed on men whose disposition
is still the same, but only prevented from indulgence by prudential
motives. As a rake is most conversant with the dissolute and abandoned
of both sexes, he doubtless forms his opinion of others by the standard
to which he has been accustomed, and therefore supposes all women of the
same description. Having been hackneyed in the arts of the baser sort,
he cannot form an idea, that any are in reality superior to them. This
renders him habitually jealous, peevish and tyrannical. Even if his
vicious inclinations be changed, his having passed his best days in vice
and folly, renders him a very unsuitable companion for a person of
delicacy and refinement.

“But whatever inducements some ladies may have to risk themselves with
those who have the reputation of being reformed, it is truly surprising
that any should be so inconsiderate as to unite with such as are still
professed libertines. What hopes of happiness can be formed with men of
this character?

“Vice and virtue can never assimilate; and hearts divided by them can
never coalesce. The former is the parent of discord, disease and death;
the latter, of harmony, health and peace. A house divided against itself
cannot stand; much less can domestic felicity subsist between such
contrasted dispositions.

“But however negligent or mistaken many women of real merit may be,
relative to their own interest, I cannot but wish they would pay some
regard to the honor and dignity of their sex. Custom only has rendered
vice more odious in a woman than in a man. And shall we give our
sanction to a custom, so unjust and destructive in its operation; a
custom which invites and encourages the enemies of society to seek our
ruin? Were those who glory in the seduction of innocence, to meet with
the contempt they deserve, and to be pointedly neglected by every female
of virtue, they would be ashamed of their evil practices, and impelled
to relinquish their injurious designs.

“But while they are received and caressed in the best companies, they
find restraint altogether needless; and their being men of spirit and
gallantry (as they style themselves) is rather a recommendation than a
reproach!

“I cannot help blushing with indignation, when I see a lady of sense and
character gallanted and entertained by a man who ought to be banished
from society, for having ruined the peace of families, and blasted the
reputation of many, who but for him, might have been useful and happy in
the world; but who by his insidious arts, are plunged into remediless
insignificance, disgrace and misery.”


                                                       _Saturday, P. M._

                               RELIGION.

“Having given you my sentiments on a variety of subjects which demand
your particular attention, I come now to the closing and most important
theme; and that is religion. The virtuous education you have received,
and the good principles which have been instilled into your minds from
infancy, will render the enforcement of Christian precepts and duties a
pleasing lesson.

“Religion is to be considered as an essential and durable object; not as
the embellishment of a day; but an acquisition which shall endure and
increase through the endless ages of eternity.

“Lay the foundation of it in youth, and it will not forsake you in
advanced age; but furnish you with an adequate substitute for the
transient pleasures which will then desert you, and prove a source of
rational and refined delight: a refuge from the disappointments and
corroding cares of life, and from the depressions of adverse events.
“Remember now your creator, in the days of your youth, while the evil
days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when you shall say we have no
pleasure in them.” If you wish for permanent happiness, cultivate the
divine favour as your highest enjoyment in life, and your safest retreat
when death shall approach you.

“That even the young are not exempt from the arrest of this universal
conqueror, the tombstone of Amelia will tell you. Youth, beauty, health
and fortune, strewed the path of life with flowers, and left her no wish
ungratified. Love, with its gentlest and purest flame, animated her
heart, and was equally returned by Julius. Their passion was approved by
their parents and friends; the day was fixed, and preparations were
making for the celebration of their nuptials. At this period Amelia was
attacked by a violent cold, which seating on her lungs, baffled the
skill of the most eminent physicians, and terminated in a confirmed
hectic. She perceived her disorder to be incurable, and with
inexpressible regret and concern anticipated her approaching
dissolution. She had enjoyed life too highly to think much of death; yet
die she must! “Oh,” said she, “that I had prepared, while in health and
at ease, for this awful event! Then should I not be subjected to the
keenest distress of mind, in addition to the most painful infirmities of
body! Then should I be able to look forward with hope, and to find
relief in the consoling expectation of being united beyond the grave,
with those dear and beloved connexions, which I must soon leave behind!
Let my companions and acquaintance learn from me the important lesson of
improving their time to the best of purposes; of acting at once as
becomes mortal and immortal creatures!”

“Hear, my dear pupils, the solemn admonition, and be ye also ready!

“Too many, especially of the young and gay, seem more anxious to live in
pleasure, than to answer the end of their being, by the cultivation of
that piety and virtue which will render them good members of society,
useful to their friends and associates, and partakers of that heart-felt
satisfaction which results from a conscience void of offence both
towards God and man.

“This, however, is an egregious mistake; for in many situations, piety
and virtue are our only source of consolation; and in all, they are
peculiarly friendly to our happiness.

“Do you exult in beauty, and the pride of external charms? Turn your
eyes for a moment, on the miserable Flirtilla.[1] Like her, your
features and complexion may be impaired by disease; and where then will
you find a refuge from mortification and discontent, if destitute of
those ennobling endowments which can raise you superior to the transient
graces of a fair form, if unadorned by that substantial beauty of mind
which can not only ensure respect from those around you, but inspire you
with resignation to the divine will, and a patient acquiescence in the
painful allotments of a holy Providence. Does wealth await your command,
and grandeur with its fascinating appendages beguile your fleeting
moments? Recollect, that riches often make themselves wings and fly
away. A single instance of mismanagement; a consuming fire, with various
other misfortunes which no human prudence can foresee or prevent, may
strip you of this dependence; and, unless you have other grounds of
comfort than earth can boast, reduce you to the most insupportable
wretchedness and despair. Are you surrounded by friends, and happy in
the society of those who are near and dear to you? Soon may they be
wrested from your fond embrace, and consigned to the mansions of the
dead!

Footnote 1:

  See page 48.

“Whence, then, will you derive support, if unacquainted with that divine
Friend, who will never fail nor forsake you; who is the same yesterday,
to-day and forever.

“Health and youth, my dear girls, are the seasons for improvement. Now
you may lay up a treasure which neither sickness nor adversity can
impair.

“But the hour of distress is not the only time, in which religion will
be advantageous to you. Even in prosperity, it will prove the best
solace and the highest ornament of your lives. What can be more
dignified, respectable, and lovely, than the Christian character? The
habitual practice of those duties which the gospel inculcates will give
lustre to your beauty and durability to your charms. By correcting your
passions, it will improve your joys, endear you to your friends and
connexions, and render you contented, happy, and useful in every stage
and condition of life.

“Religion will not deprive you of temporal enjoyments; it will heighten
and increase them. It will not depress, but exhilarate your spirits. For
it consists not in a gloomy, misanthropic temper, declining the social
and innocent delights of life; but prepares the mind to partake with
satisfaction of every pleasure which reason approves, and which can
yield serenity and peace in the review. Be not ashamed then of appearing
religious, and of rising by that mean above the vain, unthinking crowd.

“Let not the idle jests of heedless and unprincipled companions deter
you from a stedfast adherence to the path of truth and righteousness.
‘Follow not the multitude to do evil.’ Never conform to fashion, even
though it claim the patronage of politeness, so far as to countenance
irreligion in any of its modifications.

“Jesting upon sacred subjects, ridiculing the professors of
Christianity, light and irreverent conduct upon solemn occasions, ought
to be cautiously avoided and decidedly condemned. Too many girls are so
extremely thoughtless as to carry the levity of their manners even to
the sanctuary; and by whispering, winking, tittering and other indecent
actions, display their folly to their own disgrace, and to the great
disgust of all judicious and sober people. Such behaviour is not only
offensive to the Deity, but insulting to all who would worship him free
from interruption. It is not only an indignity offered to religion, but
a flagrant breach of the rules of good breeding. Content not yourselves,
therefore, with a bare attendance on the institutions of religion; but
conduct with propriety, decorum, and seriousness, while engaged in the
solemn service. Bear in mind, that you assemble with a professed purpose
of paying homage to the Supreme; and consider yourselves as in his
immediate presence!

“The offices of devotion demand your attention in private, as well as in
public.

“Accustom yourselves, therefore, to stated periods of retirement for
meditation and prayer; and adopt every other mean which is calculated to
keep alive in your minds a due sense of your dependence and obligations,
and to inspire you with that uniform love to God and benevolence to the
human kind, which will prove your greatest glory here, as well as your
crown of rejoicing hereafter.”

The hour of departure having arrived, on Monday morning, Mrs. Williams
assembled with her pupils; when the regret, visibly depicted on every
countenance, was variously expressed. The tear of grateful regard stole
silently down the bloomy cheeks of some; others betrayed their
sensibility by audible sobs, which they could not repress; and all
united in testifying the sense they entertained of the advantages they
had received from Mrs. Williams’s tuition, the happiness they had
enjoyed in each other’s society, and their determination to remember her
counsels, cultivate continued friendship among themselves, and endeavor
to be worthy of her’s.

Mrs. Williams then took an affectionate leave of each one, and left them
with her daughters. The most cordial good wishes were mutually
interchanged, till their carriages received and separated them.

The friendship and unity thus commenced and confirmed, were never
obliterated. They always cherished the most sincere affection for their
Preceptress, and each other; which they displayed in an unreserved and
social correspondence, both personal and epistolary. The residence of
Mrs. Williams they denominated Harmony-Grove, which it ever after
retained, and by which it is designated in the following selection of
their letters.



                                LETTERS.


                         _To Mrs._ M. WILLIAMS,

                                                                 BOSTON.

 RESPECTED AND DEAR MADAM,

Conformably to my promise, when I left your abode, the first efforts of
my pen are dedicated to you. The pleasure which arises from the
recollection of your more than maternal kindness to me, especially your
unwearied endeavors to refine and embellish my mind and to lay the
foundation of right principles and practices, is interwoven with my
existence; and no time or circumstances can erase my gratitude.

I arrived last evening safely; and was affectionately received by my
honored parents, and beloved brothers and sisters. The emotions of
regret which I felt in the morning, at the painful separation from you
and my dear school-mates, with whom I have lived so happily, had not
wholly subsided. I could not help listening, now and then, for some
judicious observation from my Preceptress; and frequently cast my eyes
around in search of some of the amiable companions, among whom I had
been used to unbend every thought.

The splendor of the apartments gave me ideas of restraint that were
painful; and I looked abroad for the green, where we were wont to
gambol, and the lawn where we so often held our twilight sports, and
almost fancied that we sometimes caught a glimpse of the attendant
Sylphs who played around us; but in vain. Stately domes, crowded
streets, rattling carriages, and all the noise and confusion of a
commercial city were substituted. I retired to bed, and was awaked in
the night by the riotous mirth of a number of Bacchanalians, reeling
from the haunts of intemperance and excess.

Alas! said I, this is not the Æolian harp that used to soothe our
slumbers at the boarding school. I composed myself again; but awoke at
the accustomed hour of five. I arose; and, having praised my Maker for
the preservations of the night, walked down. Not a living creature was
stirring in the house.

I took a turn in the garden. Here art seemed to reign so perfectly
mistress, that I was apprehensive lest I should injure her charms by
viewing them.

I accordingly retired to the summer-house, and, having a book in my
hand, sat down and read till the clock struck seven. I then thought it
must be breakfast time, and returned to the house; but was much
disappointed to find none of the family up, except one man servant and
the house maid who had just crept down.

They appeared perfectly astonished to see me come in from abroad; and
the girl respectfully inquired if indisposition had occasioned my rising
so early. I told her no; that the wish to preserve my health had called
me up two hours before. Well, rejoined she, you will not find any body
to keep you company here for two hours to come. I was chagrined at the
information, and asked her for a bowl of milk, it being past my usual
breakfast time. The milk man had just arrived, and I drank some; but it
had lost its flavor on the road. It was not like that which was served
us at Harmony-Grove. I stepped to the harpsichord, and having sung and
played a morning hymn, returned to my chamber, where, taking my work, I
sat down by the window to view the listless tribe of yawning mortals who
were beginning to thicken in the streets. One half of these appeared to
be dragged forth by necessity, rather than any inclination to enjoy the
beauties of a fine morning.

At nine, I was summoned into the parlor to breakfast. My sisters gently
chid me for disturbing their repose with my music. I excused myself by
alleging that I had been so long accustomed to early rising that I
should find it difficult to alter the habit.

Here, madam, you have an account of my first night and morning’s
occupation. Were I to proceed with every new occurrence, through the
year, and subjoin my own remarks, I must write volumes instead of
letters.

Please to communicate this scroll to your amiable daughters, and remind
them of their promise to write.

A line from Harmony-Grove would be a luxury to me.

Meanwhile, permit me still to subscribe myself, with the utmost respect
your grateful pupil,

                                                          HARRIOT HENLY.


                      _To Miss_ MATILDA FIELDING.

                                                                 BOSTON.

 DEAR MATILDA,

I did not intend when we parted at the boarding school, that a whole
month should have elapsed without bearing you some testimony of my
continued friendship and affection; but so numerous have been my
avocations, and so various my engagements, that I have scarcely called a
moment my own since I returned home. Having been from town a year, I was
considered as too antique to appear in company abroad, till I had been
perfectly metamorphosed. Every part of my habit has undergone a complete
change, in conformity to the present fashion. It was with extreme regret
that I parted with the neatness and simplicity of my country dress;
which, according to my ideas of modesty, was more becoming. But I trust,
this alteration of appearance will have no tendency to alienate those
sentiments from my heart which I imbibed under the tuition of Mrs.
Williams.

I went, last evening, to the assembly; but though dazzled, I was by no
means charmed, by the glare of finery and tinselled decorations that
were displayed.

There were some ladies, whose gentility and fashionable dress were
evidently the product of a correct taste; but others were so disguised
by tawdry gewgaws, as to disgust me exceedingly.

Mrs. Williams used to say, that the dress was indicative of the mind. If
this observation be just, what opinion am I to form of the gay
multitudes who trip along the streets and throng the places of public
resort in this metropolis; the lightness and gaudiness of whose
appearance, bespeak a sickly taste, to say no more.

I am furnished with feathers, flowers, and ribbons in profusion. I
shall, however, use them very sparingly; and though I would not be
entirely singular, yet I must insist on consulting my own fancy a
little, and cannot willingly sacrifice my own opinion to the capricious
whims of fashion, and her devotees. My aunt Lawrence, who you know, is
extravagantly genteel, is making us a visit. She laughs very heartily at
my silly notions, as she calls them, and styles me a novice in the ways
of the world: but hopes, notwithstanding, that I shall acquire a better
taste when I am more acquainted with fashionable life. That I may be
much improved by a more extensive knowledge of the world, I doubt not;
yet may I never be corrupted by that levity and folly, which are too
prevalent among a part of my sex.

“I will not, however, censure and condemn others; but attend to myself
and be humble. Adieu.”

                                                          LAURA GUILFORD


                      _To Miss_ MATILDA FIELDING.

                                                          HARMONY-GROVE.

 DEAR MATILDA,

The tear of regret for your departure is scarcely dried from the cheek
of your Maria; and the pleasing remembrance of the happiness I have
enjoyed in your society is accompanied with a sigh, whenever I reflect
that it exists no more.

My mamma has observed that those friendships which are formed in youth,
provided they be well founded, are the most sincere, lively and durable.
I am sure that the ardency of mine can never abate; my affectionate
regard for you can never decay.

We have another class of boarders; but you and your amiable companions
had so entirely engrossed my confidence and esteem, that I shall find it
difficult to transfer them, in any degree, to others. The sensations of
Anna are very different, though she is capable of the most refined
friendship. The natural vivacity, and, as I tell her, the volatility of
her disposition, renders a variety of associates pleasing to her.

In order to recall your ideas to the exercises of Harmony-Grove, I
enclose the sallies of my pen for this morning, fully assured of your
candour and generosity in the perusal.

Pray omit no opportunity of writing, and favor me with your observations
on the polite world. I shall receive every line as a pledge of your
continued love to your

                                                         MARIA WILLIAMS.


                           AN ODE ON SPRING.

                  _Enclosed in the preceding Letter._

                 Hail delight-restoring spring!
                 Balmy pleasures with thee bring;
                 Aromatic gales dispense,
                 Misty vapours banish hence.
                 Blithe the jocund hinds appear,
                 Joy supports returning care,
                 Mirth the ready hand attends,
                 Pleasing hope the toil befriends.
                 Hark! the shady groves resound,
                 Love and praise re-echo round,
                 Music floats in every gale,
                 Peace and harmony prevail.
                 Here no stormy passions rise,
                 Here no feuds impede our joys,
                 Here ambition never roams,
                 Pride or envy never comes.
                 Come Matilda; ruddy morn
                 Tempts us o’er the spacious lawn;
                 Spring’s reviving charms invite
                 Every sense to taste delight;
                 Such delights as never cloy,
                 Health and innocence enjoy.
                 Youth’s the spring-time of our years,
                 Short the rapid scene appears;
                 Let’s improve the fleeting hours,
                 Virtue’s noblest fruits be ours.


                     _To Miss_ CAROLINE LITTLETON.

                                                                 BOSTON.

You have left—you have forsaken me, Caroline! But I will haunt you with
my letters; obtrude myself upon your remembrance; and extort from you
the continuance of your friendship!

What do I say? Obtrude and extort! Can these harsh words be used when I
am addressing the generous and faithful Caroline?

But you have often encouraged my eccentricities by your smile, and must
therefore still indulge them.

Nature has furnished me with a gay disposition; and happy is it for me,
that a lax education has not strengthened the folly too commonly arising
from it.

Mrs. Williams’ instructions were very seasonably interposed to impress
my mind with a sense of virtue and propriety. I trust they have had the
desired effect; and that they will prove the guardian of my youth, and
the directory of maturer age. How often has the dear, good woman taken
me into her chamber, and reminded me of indecorums of which I was
unconscious at the time; but thankful afterwards that they had not
escaped her judicious eye; as her observations tended to rectify my
errors, and render me more cautious and circumspect in future. How
salutary is advice like her’s; conveyed, not with the dogmatic air of
supercilious wisdom, but with the condescending ease and soothing
kindness of an affectionate parent, anxiously concerned for the best
good of those under her care!

I was very happy at Harmony-Grove; and the result of that happiness, I
hope, will accompany me through life.

Yet I find the gaiety of the town adapted to my taste; nor does even
Mrs. Williams condemn the enjoyment of its pleasures.

I was, last evening, at a ball, and I assure you, the attention I
gained, and the gallantry displayed to attract my notice and
approbation, were very flattering to my vanity; though I could not
forbear inwardly smiling at the futile arts of the pretty fellows who
exhibited them.

Their speeches appeared to have been so long practised, that I was on
the point of advising them to exercise their genius, if they had any, in
the invention of something new. But a polite conformity to the ton
restrained my satire, Adieu.

                                                       JULIA GREENFIELD.


                      _To Miss_ CLEORA PARTRIDGE.

                                                            NEWBURYPORT.

I am disappointed and displeased, Cleora! I have long been anxious to
procure the Marchioness de Sevigne’s letters, having often heard them
mentioned as standards of taste and elegance in the epistolary way. This
excited my curiosity, and raised my hopes of finding a rich
entertainment of wit and sentiment. I have perused, and perused in vain;
for they answer not my ideas of either. They are replete with local
circumstances, which to indifferent readers, are neither amusing nor
interesting. True, the style is easy and sprightly; but they are chiefly
composed of family matters, such as relate to her own movements and
those of her daughter; many of which are of too trifling a nature to be
ranked in the class of elegant writing. I own myself, however, not a
competent judge of their merit as a whole, even in my own estimation;
for I have read the two first volumes only.

That letters ought to be written with the familiarity of personal
conversation, I allow; yet many such conversations, even between persons
of taste and refinement, are unworthy the public attention.

Equal was my chagrin, not long since, on reading Pope’s letters. He,
said I to myself, who bears the palm from all contemporary poets, and
who is so consummate a master of this divine art, must surely furnish a
source of superior entertainment, when he descends to friendly and
social communications.

Indeed, there are good sentiments and judicious observations,
interspersed in his letters; but the greater part of them have little
other merit than what arises from the style.

Perhaps you will charge me with arrogance for presuming to criticise,
much more to condemn, publications which have so long been sanctioned by
general approbation. Independent in opinion, I write it without reserve,
and censure not any one who thinks differently. Give me your sentiments
with the same freedom upon the books which you honor with a perusal, and
you will oblige your affectionate

                                                     CAROLINE LITTLETON.


                     _To Miss_ CAROLINE LITTLETON.

                                                                  SALEM.

 DEAR CAROLINE,

I received yours with those lively sensations of pleasure which your
favors always afford. As I was perusing it, my papa came into the room.
He took it out of my hand and read it; then returning it with the smile
of approbation, I think, said he, that your correspondent has played the
critic very well. Has she played it justly, Sir? said I. Why, it is a
long time, said he, since I read the Marchioness de Sevigne’s letters. I
am not, therefore, judge of their merit. But with regard to Pope, I
blame not the sex for retaliating upon him; for he always treated them
satirically. I believe revenge was no part of my friend’s plan, said I.
She is far superior to so malignant a passion, though, were she capable
of seeking it, it would be in behalf of her sex.

Company now coming in, the conversation shifted.

I have often smiled at the pitiful wit of those satirists and essayists,
who lavish abundant eloquence on trifling foibles, the mere whims of a
day; and of no consequence to the body natural, moral, or political. The
extension of a hoop, the contraction of the waist, or the elevation of
the head-dress, frequently afford matter for pages of elaborate
discussion. These reformers, too, always aim at the good of our sex! I
think it a great pity they do not lop off some of their own exuberant
follies; though perhaps they wish us to exchange labours; and in return
for their benevolent exertions, that we endeavor to expose and correct
their errors. I have sometimes thought their satire to be tinctured with
malice; and that the cause of their disaffection may generally be found
in personal resentment. Had Pope and his coadjutors been favourites with
the ladies, I doubt not but they would have found more excellencies in
them than they have ever yet allowed.

I have lately been reading the generous and polite Fitzorsborne’s
letters; and I need not tell you how much I was pleased and charmed with
them.

The justness of his sentiments, and the ease and elegance of his
diction, are at once interesting and improving. His letter and ode to
his wife on the anniversary of their marriage, surpass any thing of the
kind I have ever read. I verily think, that, had I the offer of a heart
capable of dictating such manly tenderness of expression, and such
pathetic energy of generous love, I should be willing to give my hand in
return, and assent to those solemn words, “love, honor, and—(I had
almost said) obey.” Adieu.

                                                       CLEORA PARTRIDGE.


                      _To Miss_ CLEORA PARTRIDGE.

                                                            NEWBURYPORT.

 DEAR CLEORA,

I agree with you, that the habits of the weak and vain are too
insignificant to employ the pens of those, whose literary talents might
produce great and good effects in the political, moral, and religious
state of things. Were absurd fashions adopted only by those whose
frivolity renders them the dupes of folly, and whose example can have no
effect on the considerate and judicious part of the community, I should
think them below the attention of statesmen, philosophers, and divines:
but this is not the case. The votaries and the inventors of the most
fantastical fashions are found in the ranks of, what is called, refined
and polished society; from whom we might hope for examples of elegance
and propriety, both in dress and behaviour. By these, luxury and
extravagance are sanctioned. Their influence upon the poorer class is
increased; who, emulous of imitating their superiors, think _that_ the
most eligible appearance, (however beyond their income, or unsuitable to
their circumstances and condition in life) which is preferred and
countenanced by their wealthier neighbors.

Absurd and expensive fashions, then, are injurious to society at large,
and require some check; and why is not satire levelled against them,
laudable in its design, and likely to produce a good effect? Adieu.

                                                     CAROLINE LITTLETON.


                      _To Miss_ MATILDA FIELDING.

                                                          HARMONY-GROVE.

 DEAR MATILDA,

Notwithstanding the coldness of the season, every heart seems to be
enlivened, and every mind exhilarated by the anniversary of the new
year. Why this day is so peculiarly marked out for congratulations, I
shall not now inquire; but in compliance with the prevailing custom of
expressing good wishes on the occasion, I send you mine in a scribble

              Early I greet the opening year,
              While friendship bids the muse appear,
                To wish Matilda blest.
              The muse, devoid of selfish art,
              Obeys the dictates of a heart,
                Which warms a friendly breast.

              The rolling earth again has run
              Her annual circuit round the sun,
                And whirl’d the year away;
              She now her wonted course renews,
              Her orbit’s track again pursues;
                Nor feels the least decay.

              How soon the fleeting hours are gone!
              The rapid wheels of time glide on,
                Which bring the seasons round.
              Winter disrobes the smiling plain,
              But spring restores its charms again,
                And decks the fertile ground.

              The sweet returns of cheerful May
              Come with a vivifying ray,
                Inspiring new delight:
              Beclad with every various charm
              To please the eye, the fancy warm,
                And animate the sight.

              But youth no kind renewal knows;
              Swiftly the blooming season goes,
                And brings the frost of age!
              No more the vernal sun appears,
              To gild the painful round of years,
                And wintry damps assuage.

              With rapid haste, the moments fly,
              Which you and I, my friend, enjoy;
                And they return no more!
              Then let us wisely now improve
              The downy moments, as they rove,
                Which nature can’t restore.

              O source of wisdom! we implore
              Thy aid to guide us safely o’er
                The slippery paths of youth:
              O deign to lend a steady ray
              To point the sure, the certain way
                To honor and to truth!

              Let thy unerring influence shed
              Its blessings on Matilda’s head,
                While piety and peace,
              Thy genuine offspring round her wait,
              And guard her through this transient state,
                To joys that never cease!

              May constant health its charms extend,
              And fortune every blessing lend,
                To crown each passing day;
              May pleasures in succession shine,
              And every heart-felt bliss be thine,
                Without the least allay.

                                                         MARIA WILLIAMS.


                      _To Miss_ CLEORA PARTRIDGE.

                                                                 BOSTON.

 DEAR CLEORA,

I have this week engaged in the celebration of the nuptials of my
friend, Amanda South. A splendid wedding, a gay company, an elegant
supper, and a magnificent ball, were the sum of our entertainment.

I imagine such exhilarating scenes designed to dispel the anxiety and
thoughtfulness, which every reflecting person must feel on this solemn
occasion. This untried state presents to the apprehensive mind such a
variety of new cares and duties, that cheerfulness, festivity and
hilarity seem necessary to banish the thought of them, so far as to
render a delicate and sensible female sufficiently composed to conduct
with propriety. But I must confess that were I called to the trial, I
should choose to retire from the observation of those indifferent and
unfeeling spectators, to whom the blushing modesty of a bride is often a
pastime.

Indeed, Cleora, when we look around the world and observe the great
number of unhappy marriages, which were contracted with the brightest
prospects, yet from some unforeseen cause, have involved the parties in
wretchedness for life, we may well indulge a diffidence of our own
abilities to discharge the duties of the station, and be solicitous that
our future companion should in all respects be qualified to assist in
bearing the burdens of the conjugal state.

Experience only can determine how far we are right in the judgment we
form of ourselves, and of the person of our choice. So many are the
deceptions which love and courtship impose upon their votaries, that I
believe it very difficult for the parties concerned to judge
impartially, or to discern faults, where they look only for virtues.
Hence they are so frequently misled in their opinions, and find, too
late, the errors into which they have been betrayed.

When do you come to Boston, Cleora? I am impatient for your society;
because your friendship is void of flattery, and your sincerity and
cheerfulness are always agreeable and advantageous. Adieu.

                                                          HARRIOT HENLY.


                        _To Miss_ HARRIOT HENLY.

                                                                  SALEM.

Indeed, Harriot, I open your letters with as much gravity as I would a
sermon; you have such a knack of moralizing upon every event! What
mortal else would feel serious and sentimental at a wedding? Positively,
you shall not come to mine. Your presence, I fear, would put such a
restraint upon me, as to render me quite foolish and awkward in my
appearance.

However, I must acknowledge it a weighty affair; and what you say has,
perhaps, too much truth in it to be jested with. I believe, therefore,
we had better resolve not to risk the consequences of a wrong choice, or
imprudent conduct; but wisely devote ourselves to celibacy. I am sure we
should make a couple of very clever old maids. If you agree to this
proposition, we will begin in season to accustom ourselves to the
virtues and habits of a single life. By observing what is amiss in the
conduct of others in the same state, and avoiding their errors, I doubt
not but we may bring even the title into repute. In this way we shall be
useful to many of our own sex, though I am aware it would be a most
grievous dispensation to a couple of the other; but no matter for that.

The world needs some such examples as we might become; and if we can be
instrumental of retrieving _old-maidism_ from the imputation of
ill-nature, oddity, and many other mortifying charges, which are now
brought against it, I believe we shall save many a good girl from an
unequal and unhappy marriage. It might have a salutary effect on the
other sex too. Finding the ladies independent in sentiment, they would
be impelled to greater circumspection of conduct to merit their favor.

You see that my benevolence is extensive. I wish to become a general
reformer. What say you to my plan, Harriot? If you approve it, dismiss
your long train of admirers immediately, and act not the part of a
coquette, by retaining them out of pride or vanity. We must rise above
such narrow views, and let the world know that we act from principle, if
we mean to do good by our example. I shall continue to receive the
addresses of this same Junius, till I hear that you have acceded to my
proposal; and then, display my fortitude by renouncing a connexion which
must be doubtful as to the issue, and will certainly expose me to the
mortification of being looked at, when I am married. Farewell.

                                                       CLEORA PARTRIDGE.


                     _To Miss_ CAROLINE LITTLETON.

                                                                 BOSTON.

 DEAR CAROLINE,

I have just returned from a rural excursion, where, in the thicket of a
grove, I enjoyed all the luxury of solitude. The sun had nearly finished
his diurnal course, and was leaving our hemisphere to illuminate the
other with his cheering rays.

The sprightly songsters had retired to their bowers, and were distending
their little throats with a tribute of instinctive gratitude and praise.

The vocal strains re-echoed from tree to tree and invited me to join the
responsive notes. My heart expanded with devotion and benevolence. I
wished the whole human kind to share the feelings of happiness which I
enjoyed; while the inanimate creation around seemed to partake of my
satisfaction! Methought the fields assumed a livelier verdure; and the
zephyrs were unusually officious in wafting the fragrance of aromatic
gales. I surveyed the surrounding scenery with rapturous admiration; and
my heart glowed with inexpressible delight at the lovely appearance of
nature, and the diffusive bounties of its almighty author.

Let others, said I, exult in stately domes, and the superfluities of
pomp; immerse themselves in the splendid novelties of fashion, and a
promiscuous crowd of giddy amusements! I envy them not.

              Give me a mind to range the sylvan scene,
                And taste the blessings of the vernal day;
              While social joys, and friendly, intervene
                To chase the gloomy cares of life away.

I wish not to abandon society, nor to resign the pleasures which it
affords; but it is a select number of friends, not a promiscuous crowd,
which I prefer.

When the mind is much engrossed by dissipating pleasures, it is apt to
forget itself, and neglect its own dignity and improvement. It is
necessary often to retreat from the noise and bustle of the world, and
commune with our own hearts. By this mean we shall be the better
qualified both to discharge the duties and participate in the enjoyments
of life.

Solitude affords a nearer and more distinct view of the works of
creation; elevates the mind, and purifies its passions and affections.

          O solitude! in thee the boundless mind
          Expands itself, and revels unconfin’d;
          From thee, each vain, each grov’lling passion flies,
          And all the virtues of the soul arise.

 Adieu,

                                                       JULIA GREENFIELD.


                       _To Miss_ LAURA GUILFORD.

                                                                 BOSTON.

 MY DEAR LAURA,

Rambling in the garden, I have picked a nosegay, which I transmit to you
as a token of my remembrance. Though the poetical bagatelle which
accompanies it, is not equal to the elegance of the subject; yet I
confide in your candor to excuse its futility, and give a favorable
interpretation to its design.

               Laura, this little gift approve,
               Pluck’d by the hand of cordial love!
               With nicest care the wreath I’ve dress’d,
               Fit to adorn your friendly breast.
               The rose and lily are combin’d,
               As emblems of your virtuous mind!
               Pure as the first is seen in thee
               Sweet blushing sensibility.
               Carnations here their charms display,
               And nature shines in rich array,
               Od’rous, as virtue’s accents sweet,
               From Laura’s lips with wit replete.
               The myrtle with the laurel bound,
               And purple amaranthus crown’d,
               Within this little knot unite,
               Like Laura’s charms, to give delight!
               Fair, fragrant, soft, like beauty dress’d;
               So she unrivalled stands confess’d;
               While blending still each finish’d grace,
               Her virtues in her mien we trace!
               Virtues, which far all tints outshine,
               And, verdant brave the frost of time.

 I am, &c.

                                                      SOPHIA MANCHESTER.


                       _To Miss_ MARIA WILLIAMS.

                                                                 BOSTON.

 DEAR SISTER,

I am not so far engaged by the new scenes of fashionable gaiety which
surround me, as to forget you and the other dear friends, whom I left at
Harmony-Grove. Yet so great is the novelty which I find in this crowded
metropolis, that you cannot wonder if my attention is very much
engrossed. Mr. and Mrs. Henly, with their amiable daughters, are
extremely polite and attentive to me; and having taken every method to
contribute to my amusement, I went yesterday, in their company, to
Commencement, at Cambridge; and was very much entertained with the
exhibition. I pretend not to be a judge of the talents displayed by the
young gentlemen who took an active part, or of the proficiency they had
made in science. I have an opinion of my own, notwithstanding; and can
tell how far my eye and ear were gratified.

I never knew before, that dress was a classical study; which I now
conclude it must be, or it would not have exercised the genius of some
of the principal speakers on this public occasion.

The female garb too, seemed to claim particular attention. The _bon
ton_, taste and fashions of our sex, afforded a subject of declamation
to the orator; and of entertainment to the audience, composed, in part,
of our legislators, politicians, and divines! I could not but think that
those scholars who employ their time in studying, investigating and
criticising the ladies’ dresses, might as well be occupied in the
business of a friseur or the man-milliner; either of which would afford
them more frequent opportunities for the display of their abilities, and
render their labors more extensively useful to the sex. Others might
then improve the time, which they thus frivolously engrossed on this
anniversary, in contributing to the entertainment of the _literati_, who
doubtless expect to be gratified by the exertions of genius and an
apparent progress in those studies, which are designed to qualify the
rising youth of America for important stations both in church and state.

The assembly was extremely brilliant; the ladies seemed to vie with each
other in magnificent decorations. So much loveliness was visible in
their native charms, that without any hint from the speakers of the day,
I should have thought it a pity to add those foreign ornaments, which
rather obscure than aid them.

I was a little displeased by the unbecoming levity of some of my sex;
and am apprehensive lest it might induce misjudging and censorious
people to imagine that they were led thither more by the vanity of
attracting notice, than to receive any mental entertainment.

Without our consent, we ran a race back to town, which endangered our
necks. The avaricious hackman, desirous of returning for another
freight, had no mercy on his passengers or horses. However, we arrived
safely, though much fatigued by the pleasure of the day.

Pleasure carried to excess degenerates into pain. This I actually
experienced; and sighed for the tranquil enjoyments of Harmony grove, to
which I propose soon to return, and convince you how affectionately I am
your’s,

                                                          ANNA WILLIAMS.


                        _To Miss_ ANNA WILLIAMS.

                                                          HARMONY-GROVE.

 DEAR ANNA,

Your enlivening letter restored us, in some measure, to your society; or
at least, alleviated the pain of your absence.

I am glad you attended commencement. It was a new scene, and
consequently extended your ideas. I think you rather severe on the
classical gentlemen. We simple country folks must not presume to arraign
their taste, whose learning and abilities render them conspicuous on the
literary stage. They, doubtless, write on subjects better adapted to
their capacities. As for the follies of fashion, I think the gentlemen
are under obligations to the ladies for adopting them; since it gives
exercise to their genius and pens.

You were tired, you say, with pleasure. I believe those dissipating
scenes, which greatly exhilarate the spirits, call for the whole
attention, and oblige us to exert every power, are always fatiguing.

Pleasures of a calmer kind, which are moderately enjoyed, which enliven
rather then exhaust, and which yield a serenity of mind on reflection,
are the most durable, rational and satisfying. Pleasure is the most
alluring object which is presented to the view of the young and
inexperienced. Under various forms it courts our attention; but while we
are still eager in the pursuit, it eludes our grasp. Its fascinating
charms deceive the imagination, and create a bower of bliss in every
distant object.

But let us be careful not to fix our affections on any thing, which
bears this name, unless it be founded on virtue, and will endure the
severest scrutiny of examination.

Our honored mamma, and all your friends here, are impatient for your
return. They unitedly long to embrace, and bid you welcome to these
seats of simplicity and ease: but none more ardently than your
affectionate sister,

                                                          MARY WILLIAMS.


                      _To Miss_ MATILDA FIELDING.

                                                                 BOSTON.

 DEAR MATILDA,

Anxious to make the best possible use of the education I have received;
and fully impressed with the idea, that the human mind is capable of
continual improvements, it is my constant endeavor to extract honey from
every flower which falls in my way, or, to speak without a figure, to
derive advantage from every incident. Pursuant to the advice of our
excellent Preceptress, I keep this perpetually in view; and am therefore
disappointed when defeated in the attempt.

This afternoon I have been in company with three ladies, celebrated for
their beauty and wit. One of them I think may justly claim the
reputation of beauty. To a finished form, and florid complexion, an
engaging, animating countenance is added. Yet a consciousness of
superior charms was apparent in her deportment; and a supercilious air
counteracted the effects of her personal accomplishments. The two others
were evidently more indebted to art than to nature for their appearance.
It might easily be discovered that paint constituted all the delicacy of
their complexion.

What a pity that so many are deceived in their ideas of beauty! Certain
it is, that artificial additions serve rather to impair than increase
its power. “Who can paint like nature?” What hand is skilful enough to
supply her defects? Do not those who attempt it always fail, and render
themselves disgusting? Do they not really injure what they strive to
mend; and make it more indifferent than usual, when divested of its
temporary embellishments? Beauty cannot possibly maintain its sway over
its most obsequious votaries, unless the manners and the mind unitedly
contribute to secure it. How vain then is this subterfuge! It may
deceive the eye and gain the flattery of the prattling coxcomb; but
accumulated neglect and mortification inevitably await those who trust
in the wretched alternative.

From their good sense, I had been led to expect the greatest
entertainment. I therefore waited impatiently till the first compliments
were over, and conversation commenced.

But to my extreme regret, I found it to consist of ludicrous
insinuations, hackneyed jests and satirical remarks upon others of their
acquaintance who were absent. The pretty fellows of the town were
criticised; and their own adventures in shopping, were related with so
much minuteness, hilarity, and glee, that I blushed for the frivolous
levity of those of my sex, who could substitute buffoonery for wit, and
the effusions of a perverted imagination, for that refined and improving
conversation, which a well cultivated mind and a correct taste are
calculated to afford.

If, said I, to myself, this be the beauty and the wit of polished
society, restore me again to the native simplicity and sincerity of
Harmony-Grove.

I took my leave as soon as politeness would allow; and left them to
animadvert upon me. Independent for happiness on the praise or censure
of superficial minds, let me ever be conscious of meriting approbation,
and I shall rest contented in the certain prospect of receiving it.
Adieu.

                                                      SOPHIA MANCHESTER.


                      _To Miss_ SOPHIA MANCHESTER.

                                                                BEVERLY.

I sympathize with you, my dear Sophia, in the disappointment you
received in your expectations from beauty and wit.

You may nevertheless derive advantage from it. Your refined and delicate
ideas raise you too far above the scenes of common life. They paint the
defects of your inferiors in such lively colours, that the greater part
of the community must be displeasing to you. Few, you should remember,
have had the advantages which you have enjoyed; and still fewer have
your penetrating eye, correct taste, and quick sensibility. Let charity
then draw a veil over the foibles of others, and candor induce you to
look on the best and brightest side.

It is both our duty and interest to enjoy life as far as integrity and
innocence allow; and in order to this, we must not soar above, but
accommodate ourselves to its ordinary state. We cannot stem the torrent
of folly and vanity; but we can step aside and see it roll on, without
suffering ourselves to be borne down by the stream.

Empty conversation must be disgusting to every rational and thinking
mind; yet, when it partakes not of malignity, it is harmless in its
effects, as the vapour which floats over the mead in a summer’s eve. But
when malice and envy join to give scope to detraction, we ought to avoid
their contagion, and decidedly condemn the effusions of the ill-natured
merriment which they inspire.

Our sex have been taxed as defamers. I am convinced, however, they are
not exclusively guilty; yet, for want of more substantial matter of
conversation, I fear they too often give occasion for the accusation! A
mind properly cultivated and stored with useful knowledge, will despise
a pastime which must be supported at the expense of others. Hence only
the superficial and the giddy are reduced to the necessity of filling
the time in which they associate together, with the degrading and
injurious subjects of slander. But I trust that our improved
country-women are rising far superior to this necessity, and are able to
convince the world, that the American fair are enlightened, generous,
and liberal. The false notions of sexual disparity, in point of
understanding and capacity, are justly exploded; and each branch of
society is uniting to raise the virtues and polish the manners of the
whole.

 I am, &c.

                                                       MATILDA FIELDING.


                      _To Miss_ JULIA GREENFIELD.

                                                                  SALEM.

 DEAR JULIA,

From your recommendation of Mrs. Chapone’s letters; and, what is still
more, from the character given them by Mrs. Williams, I was anxious to
possess the book; but, not being able to procure it here, my clerical
brother, who was fortunately going to Boston, bought and presented it to
me.

I am much gratified by the perusal, and flatter myself that I shall
derive lasting benefit from it.

So intricate is the path of youth, and so many temptations lurk around
to beguile our feet astray, that we really need some skilful pilot to
guide us through the delusive maze. To an attentive and docile mind,
publications of this sort may afford much instruction and aid. They
ought, therefore, to be carefully collected, and diligently perused.

Anxious to make my brother some acknowledgment for his present, I
wrought and sent him a purse, accompanied with a dedication which I
thought might amuse some of his solitary moments; and which, for that
purpose, I here transcribe and convey to you.

        The enclosed, with zeal and with reverence due,
        Implor’d my permission to wait upon you;
        And begg’d that the muse would her favor extend,
        To briefly her worth and her service commend.
        The muse, who by dear bought experience had known
        How little her use to the clergy had grown,
        With officious advice thus attacked the poor purse:
        Why, you novice! ’tis plain that you cannot do worse!
        If the end of your being you would ever attain,
        And honor, preferment and influence gain,
        Go quick to the pocket of some noble knave,
        Whose merit is wealth, and his person is slave:
        Or enter the mansion where splendor appears,
        And pomp and eclat are the habit she wears:
        Or hie to the court, where so well you are known,
        So highly esteem’d and so confident grown,
        That without your assistance and recommendation,
        None claims any merit, or fills any station!
        Seek either of these; and with joy you’ll behold
        Yourself crown’d with honor, and filled with gold.
        But to wait on a priest! How absurd is the scheme;
        His reward’s in reversion; the future’s his theme.
        Will these, for the present, your craving’s supply,
        Or soften the din of necessity’s cry?
        Of hunger and want, the loud clamours repel;
        Or crush the poor moth that would on you revel!
        For poets and prophets the world has decreed,
        On fame and on faith may luxuriously feed!
        Here the puss interpos’d with a strut and a stare,
        Pray good madam muse, your suggestions forbear!
        On virtue and worth I’m resolved to attend,
        A _firm_, if I am not a _plentiful_ friend.
        Tho’ not swell’d with gold, and with metal extended,
        What little I have shall be rightly expended:
        And a trifle, by justice and wisdom obtained,
        Is better than millions dishonestly gain’d!
        Yet I hope and presume that I never shall be
        excluded his pocket for the lack of a fee!

          Thus the muse and the purse—till I took the direction,
        And destin’d the latter to your kind protection.
        My wishes attend her, with fervor express’d,
        That in yellow or white she may always be dress’d;
        And e’er have the power each dull care to beguile;
        Make the summer more gay, and the bleak winter smile!
        But if Fortune be blind; or should she not favor
        These wishes of mine, you must scorn the deceiver:
        And, rising superior to all she can do,
        Find a bliss more substantial than she can bestow!

                                                       CLEORA PARTRIDGE.


                       _To Miss_ LAURA GUILFORD.

                                                              WORCESTER.

 DEAR LAURA,

I have spent a very agreeable summer in the country; but am now
preparing to return to town. I anticipate, with pleasure, a restoration
to your society, and that of my other friends there. I should, however,
quit these rural scenes with reluctance, were it not that they are
giving place to the chilling harbingers of approaching winter. They have
afforded charms to me, which the giddy round of fashionable amusements
can never equal. Many, however, think life insupportable, except in the
bustle and dissipation of a city. Of this number is the volatile Amelia
Parr, whom you know as well as I. So extreme is her gaiety, that the
good qualities of her mind are suffered to lie dormant; while the most
restless passions are indulged without restraint. I have just received a
letter from her, which you will see to be characteristic of her
disposition. I enclose that, and my answer to it, for your perusal. Read
both with candour; and believe me ever yours,

                                                          HARRIOT HENLY.


                        _To Miss_ HARRIOT HENLY.

                     (_Enclosed in the preceding._)

 BOSTON.

Where are you, Harriot; and what are you doing? Six long months absent
from the town! What can you find to beguile the tedious hours? Life must
be a burden to you! How can you employ yourself? Employ, did I say? Pho!
I will not use so vulgar a term! I meant amuse! Amusement surely is the
prime end of our existence! You have no plays, no card-parties, nor
assemblies, that are worth mentioning! Intolerably heavy must the
lagging wheels of time roll on! How shall I accelerate them for you? A
new novel may do something towards it! I accordingly send you one,
imported in the last ships. Foreign, to be sure; else it would not be
worth attention. They have attained to a far greater degree of
refinement in the old world, than we have in the new; and are so
perfectly acquainted with the passions, that there is something
extremely amusing and interesting in their plots and counterplots,
operating in various ways, till the dear creatures are jumbled into
matrimony in the prettiest manner that can be conceived!

_We_, in this country, are too much in a state of nature to write good
novels yet. An American novel is such a moral, sentimental thing, that
it is enough to give any body the vapours to read one. Pray come to town
as soon as possible, and not dream away your best days in obscurity and
insignificance.

But this boarding school, this Harmony-Grove, where you formerly
resided, has given you strange ideas of the world. With what raptures I
have heard you relate the dull scenes in which you were concerned there!
I am afraid that your diseased taste has now come to a crisis, and you
have commenced prude in earnest! But return to your city friends; and we
will lend our charitable assistance, in restoring you to gaiety and
pleasure.

                                                            AMELIA PARR.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                             _The Answer._

                                                              WORCESTER.

 DEAR AMELIA,

Your letter——your rattle, rather, came to hand yesterday. I could not
avoid smiling at your erroneous opinions; and, in my turn, beg leave to
express my wonder at your entertainments in town. True, we have no
plays. We are not obliged by fashion, to sit, half suffocated in a
crowd, for the greater part of the night, to hear the rantings, and see
the extravagant actions of the buskin heroes, (and those not always
consistent with female modesty to witness!) We have no card-parties,
avowedly formed for the purpose of _killing time_! But we have an
agreeable neighborhood, among which we can easily collect a social
circle; and persons of taste, politeness and information, compose it.
Here we enjoy a rational and enlivening conversation, which is at once
refined and improving. We have no assemblies, composed of a promiscuous
crowd of gaudy belles and beaux; many of whom we should despise in a
private company, and deem unworthy of our notice. But we have genteel
balls, the company of which is select, none being admitted but such as
do honor to themselves and each other. The amusement is not protracted
till the yawning listlessness of the company proclaims their incapacity
for enjoyment; but we retire at a seasonable hour, and add to the
pleasure of the evening, that of undisturbed rest through the night. Of
course, we can rise with the sun, and sip the nectarious dews, wafted in
the aromatic gale. We breakfast before the heat of the day has brought
on a languor and deprived us of appetite; after which, we amuse
ourselves with our needles, books, or music; recline on the sofa, or
ramble in the grove, as fancy or convenience directs. In the shady bower
we enjoy either the luxury of solitude, or the pleasures of society;
while you are, the whole time, in the midst of hurry and bustle. Eager
in the chase, _you_ fly from one scene of dissipation to another; but
the fatigue of this ceaseless round, and the exertion of spirits
necessary to support it, render the objects of pursuit tasteless and
insipid.

Which mode of life, yours or mine, do you now think the most rational,
and productive of the greatest happiness? The boarding school, which you
affect to despise, has, it is true, formed my taste; and I flatter
myself that I shall never wish it altered.

I shall soon return to town; but not for pleasure. It is not in crowds
that I seek it. Adieu.

                                                          HARRIOT HENLY.


                      _To Miss_ SOPHIA MANCHESTER.

                                                                CONCORD.

 DEAR SOPHIA,

Having been with my aunt Burchel for a fortnight past, I have indulged
myself in reading novels; with which her library is well supplied.

Richardson’s works have occupied a large portion of the time. What a
surprising command has this great master of the passions over our
feelings! It is happy for his own and succeeding ages, that he embarked
in the cause of virtue. For his influence on the affections of his
readers is so great, that it must have proved very pernicious, had he
enlisted on the side of vice. Though I am not much of a novel-reader,
yet his pen has operated like magic on my fancy; and so extremely was I
interested, that I could have dispensed with sleep or food for the
pleasure I found in reading him.

By this circumstance I am more than ever convinced of the great caution
which ought to be used in perusing writings of the kind. How secretly
and how insidiously may they undermine the fabric of virtue, by painting
vice and folly in the alluring colours, and with the lively style of
this ingenious author. The mind should be well informed, and the
judgment properly matured, before young people indulge themselves in the
unrestrained perusal of them.

The examples of virtue and noble qualities, exhibited by the author I
have mentioned, are truly useful; but every writer of novels is not a
Richardson: and what dreadful effects might the specious manners of a
Lovelace have on the inexperienced mind, were they not detected by a
just exhibition of his vices!

The noble conduct of Clementina and Miss Byron, are worthy of imitation;
while the indiscretion of Clarissa, in putting herself under the
protection of a libertine, is a warning to every fair. But both examples
are often overlooked. While the ear is charmed with the style, and the
fancy riots on the luxuriance of description, which so intimately blend
the charms of virtue and the fascinations of vice, they are not readily
distinguished by all.

I am not equally pleased with all Richardson’s writings; yet so
multifarious are his excellencies, that his faults appear but specks,
which serve as foils to display his beauties to better advantage.

Before I went from home I was engaged in reading a course of history;
but I fear I shall not return from this flowery field to the dry and
less pleasing path of more laborious studies. This is one disadvantage
of novel reading. It dissipates the ideas, relaxes the mind, and renders
it inattentive to the more solid and useful branches of literature.
Adieu.

                                                         LAURA GUILFORD.


                          _To Mrs._ WILLIAMS.

                                                                 BOSTON.

 DEAR MADAM,

Neither change of place nor situation can alienate my affections from
you, or obliterate my grateful remembrance of your kindness.

Your admonitions and counsels have been the guide of my youth. The many
advantages which I have already received from them, and the
condescending readiness with which they were always administered,
embolden me to solicit your direction and advice in a still more
important sphere. The recommendation of my parents and friends, seconded
by my own inclination, have induced me to yield my heart and engage my
hand to Mr. Sylvanus Farmington, with whose character you are not
unacquainted. Next Thursday is the era fixed for our union. O madam, how
greatly shall I need a monitor like you! Sensible of my own
imperfections, I look forward with diffidence and apprehension, blended
with pleasing hopes, to this new and untried state!

Your experienced pen can teach me how to discharge the duties, divide
the cares, and enjoy the pleasures, peculiar to the station on which I
am entering. Pray extend your benevolence, and communicate your
sentiments on female deportment in the connubial relation. Practising
upon such a model, I may still be worthy the appellation, which it will
ever be my ambition to deserve, of your affectionate friend and pupil,

                                                          HARRIOT HENLY.


                        _To Miss_ HARRIOT HENLY.

                                                          HARMONY-GROVE.

Indeed, my dear Harriot, you are making an important change of
situation; a change interesting to you and your friends; a change which
involves not only your own happiness, but the happiness of the worthy
man whom you have chosen; of the family, over which you are to preside;
and perhaps, too, of that with which you are to be connected.

I rejoice to hear that this connexion, on which so much depends, is not
hastily formed; but that it is the result of long acquaintance, is
founded on merit, and consolidated by esteem. From characters like
yours, mutually deserving and excellent, brilliant examples of conjugal
virtue and felicity may be expected. Yet as human nature is imperfect,
liable to errors, and apt to deviate from the line of rectitude and
propriety, a monitorial guide may be expedient and useful. Your
partiality has led you to request this _boon_ of me; but diffidence of
my own abilities compels me to decline the arduous task. Nevertheless, I
have it happily in my power to recommend an abler instructor, who has
written professedly upon the subject. THE AMERICAN SPECTATOR, or
MATRIMONIAL PRECEPTOR, lately published by Mr. David West, of Boston,
contains all you can wish. The judicious compiler has collected and
arranged his materials with admirable skill and address. Peruse this
book, and you will be at no loss for counsels to direct, and cautions to
guard you through the intricate cares and duties of the connubial life.
The essays are, chiefly, extracted from the most approved English
writers. The productions of so many able pens, properly disposed, and
exhibited in a new and agreeable light, must not only be entertaining,
but useful to every reader of taste and judgment. I wish this
publication to be considered as a necessary piece of furniture by every
housekeeper. The editor has certainly deserved well of his country; and
Hymen should crown him with unfading garlands.

I shall visit you, my dear Harriot, after the happy knot (for such I
flatter myself it will prove) is tied. In the mean time, I subscribe
myself, with the most ardent wishes for your prosperity and happiness,
your sincere friend,

                                                          MARY WILLIAMS.


                      _To Miss_ CLEORA PARTRIDGE.

                                                            NEWBURYPORT.

What think you of wit, Cleora? If you estimate it by the worth of your
own, you think it an invaluable jewel. But this jewel is variously set.
Yours is in the pure sterling gold of good sense: yet, as displayed by
some, it glistens on the mere tinsel of gaiety, which will not bear the
scrutinizing eye of judgment.

Yesterday I received a visit from a young lady, lately moved into this
neighbourhood, who is reputed a wit. Her conversation reminded me of
Pope’s satirical remark:

         “There are, whom Heaven has bless’d with store of wit;
         But want as much again to manage it.”

I found her’s to consist in smart sayings, lively repartees, and
ludicrous allusions.

So strong was her propensity to display this talent, that she could not
resist any temptation which offered, though it led her to offend against
the rules of politeness and generosity. As some persons of real genius
were present, topics of literature and morality were discussed. Upon
these she was mute as a statue; but whenever the playfulness of her
fancy could find a subject, she was extremely loquacious. This induced
me to suspect that the brilliance of her imagination had dazzled her
understanding, and rendered her negligent of the more solid and useful
acquisitions of the mind.

Is it not often the case, that those who are distinguished by any
superior endowment, whether personal or mental, are too much elated by
the consciousness of their pre-eminence, and think it sufficient to
counterbalance every deficiency?

This, Mrs. Williams used to say, is owing to the want of self-knowledge;
which, if once possessed, will enable us properly to estimate our own
characters, and to ascertain with precision wherein we are defective, as
well as wherein we excel. But it is the misfortune of us, young people,
that we seldom attain this valuable science, till we have experienced
many of the ills which result from the want of it. Ambition, vanity,
flattery, or some such dazzling meteor, engrosses our attention, and
renders us blind to more important qualifications.

But to return to this same wit, of which I was speaking. It is certainly
a very dangerous talent, when imprudently managed. None that we can
possess tends so directly to excite enmity, or destroy friendship.

An ill-natured wit is of all characters the most universally dreaded.
People of this description are always feared, but rarely loved. Humanity
and benevolence are essentially necessary to render wit agreeable.
Accompanied by these, it cannot fail to please and entertain.

           “Wit, how delicious to man’s dainty taste!
           ’Tis precious as the vehicle of sense;
           But as its substitute, a dire disease!
           Pernicious talent! flatter’d by mankind,
           Yet hated too.————————
           Sense is the diamond, weighty, solid, sound;
           When cut by wit, it casts a brighter beam;
           Yet, wit apart, it is a diamond still.
           Wit, widow’d of good sense, is worse than naught;
           It hoists more sail to run against a rock.”

But I believe I cannot give a better proof of my own wit, than to
conclude this scribble before your patience is quite exhausted by the
perusal. Adieu.

                                                     CAROLINE LITTLETON.


                        _To Miss_ HARRIOT HENLY.

                                                          HARMONY-GROVE.

 DEAR HARRIOT,

The first moment which I have been able to snatch from the affectionate
embraces of my honored mamma, and my dear sister Maria, is devoted to
you. Judging by the anxious solicitude of my own heart, I know you are
impatient to hear of my safe arrival. It is needless to tell you how
cordially I was received. You have witnessed the mutual tenderness which
actuates our domestic circle. Where this is the governing principle, it
is peculiarly interesting to sensibility. It is extremely exhilarating
to the mind to revisit, after the shortest absence, the place of our
nativity and juvenile happiness. “There is something so seducing in that
spot, in which we first had our existence, that nothing but it can
please. Whatever vicissitudes we experience in life, however we toil, or
wheresoever we wander, our fatigued wishes still recur to home for
tranquillity. We long to die in that spot which gave us birth, and in
that pleasing expectation opiate every calamity.”[2]

Footnote 2:

  Goldsmith.

The satisfaction of returning home, however, has not obliterated the
pleasure which I enjoyed on my visit to you. Does not a change of scene
and situation contribute to the happiness of life? The natural love of
this variety seems wisely implanted in the human breast; for it enables
us to accommodate ourselves with facility to the different circumstances
in which we are placed. I believe that no pleasures make so deep an
impression on the memory, as those of the first and most innocent period
of our lives. With what apparent delight do persons, advanced in years,
re-trace their puerile feats and diversions! “The hoary head looks back
with a smile of complacency, mixed with regret, on the season when
health glowed on the cheek, when lively spirits warmed the heart, and
when toil strung the nerves with vigour.”[3]

Footnote 3:

  Knox.

The pleasures of childhood and youth, when regulated by parental wisdom,
and sweetened by filial affection and obedience, must be grateful to the
recollection at any age: and for this plain reason, because innocence
and simplicity are their leading traits. How soothing, how animating,
then, must be reflection, at the evening of a life, wholly spent in
virtue and rectitude!

Pope observes that “Every year is a critique on the last. The man
despises the boy, the philosopher the man, and the Christian all.” Happy
are those who can take a retrospect of all, with the supporting
consciousness that each part has been rightly performed! Adieu.

                                                          ANNA WILLIAMS.


                      _To Miss_ MATILDA FIELDING.

                                                                 BOSTON.

I am impatient for an opportunity of returning your civilities, my dear
Matilda; and if possible, of repaying you some part of the pleasure,
which you so liberally afforded me, during my late visit to your
hospitable mansion. For this purpose, I must insist on the performance
of your promise to spend the winter in town. It is true that I cannot
contribute to your amusement in kind. Yet, according to the generally
received opinion, that variety is necessary to the enjoyment of life, we
may find ours mutually heightened by the exchange. Delightful rambles,
and hours of contemplative solitude, free from the interruptions of
formality and fashion, I cannot insure; but you may depend on all that
friendship and assiduity can substitute; and while the bleak winds are
howling abroad, a cheerful fireside, and a social circle, may dispel the
gloom of the season. The pleasures of our family are very local. Few are
sought, in which the understanding and affections can have no share. For
this reason, a select, not a promiscuous acquaintance is cultivated. And
however unfashionable our practice may be deemed, we can find
entertainment, even in the dull hours of winter, without recourse to
cards. Almost every other recreation affords some exercise and
improvement to the body or mind, or both; but from this neither can
result. The whole attention is absorbed by the game. Reason lies
dormant, and the passions only are awake. However little is depending,
the parties are frequently as much agitated by hope and fear, as if
their all were at stake. It is difficult for the vanquished not to feel
chagrin; while the victors are gratified at the expense of their
friends. But the principal objection with me, is the utter exclusion of
conversation; a source of pleasure, and of profit too, for which I can
admit nothing as an equivalent. Winter evenings are peculiarly adapted
to this rational and refined entertainment. Deprived of that variety of
scenery, and those beauties of nature, which the vernal and autumnal
seasons exhibit, we are obliged to have recourse to the fireside for
comfort. Here we have leisure to collect our scattered ideas, and to
improve, by social intercourse, and the exertion of our mental powers.

Our sex are often rallied on their volubility: and, for myself, I
frankly confess, that I am so averse to taciturnity, and so highly prize
the advantages of society and friendship, that I had rather plead guilty
to the charge than relinquish them.

       “Hast thou no friend to set thy mind a-broach?
       Good sense will stagnate. Thoughts shut up, want air,
       And spoil, like bales unopen’d to the sun.
       Had thought been all, sweet speech had been deny’d;
       Speech, thought’s canal! Speech, thought’s criterion too.
       Thought, in the mine, may come forth gold or dross;
       When coin’d in word, we know its real worth:
       If sterling, store it for thy future use;
       ’Twill buy thee benefit, perhaps renown.
       Thought, too, deliver’d, is the more possess’d;
       Teaching, we learn; and giving, we retain
       The births of intellect: when dumb, forgot.
       Speech ventilates our intellectual fire:
       Speech burnishes our mental magazine:
       Brightens for ornament, and whets for use.”

Come then, Matilda, participate the pleasures, and accelerate the
improvement, of your affectionate friend,

                                                         LAURA GUILFORD.


                       _To Miss_ LAURA GUILFORD.

                                                                BEVERLY.

 DEAR LAURA,

Yours of the 9th ult. has just come to hand. It gave me renewed
experience of the truth of the observation, that next to the personal
presence and conversation, is the epistolary correspondence of a friend.
I am preparing, with the most lively sensations of pleasure, to gratify
my own wishes, and comply with your polite invitation. The romantic
beauty of the rural scenes has forsaken me; and what can so amply
compensate for their absence, as the charms you offer?

I envy you nothing which the town affords, but the advantages you derive
from the choice of society adapted to your own taste. Your sentiments of
the fashionable diversion of card-playing, are, in my view, perfectly
just. I believe that many people join in it, because it is the _ton_,
rather than from any other motive. And as such persons generally pay the
greatest deference to Lord Chesterfield’s opinions and maxims, I have
often wondered how they happened to overlook, or disregard his
animadversions upon this subject; and have felt a strong inclination to
tell them, that this _all-accomplished_ master of politeness, and oracle
of pleasure, expressly says, “All amusements, where neither the
understanding nor the senses can have the least share, I look upon as
frivolous, and the resources of little minds, who either do not think,
or do not love to think.”

We had a pretty party here, last evening; and a party it literally was;
for it consisted entirely of ladies. This singular circumstance was
remarked by one of the company, who, at least, pretended to think it
agreeable, because, said she, we can now speak without restraint, or the
fear of criticism. I confess that I was not prude enough to acquiesce in
her opinion.

Ladies of delicacy and refinement will not countenance or support a
conversation, which gentlemen of sense and sentiment can disapprove. As
each were formed for social beings, and depend on the other for social
happiness, I imagine that society receives its greatest charm from a
mutual interchange of sentiment and knowledge.

“Both sexes are reciprocal instruments of each other’s improvement. The
rough spirit of the one is tempered by the gentleness of the other,
which has likewise its obligations to that spirit. Men’s sentiments
contract a milder turn in the company of women, who, on the other hand,
find their volatility abated in that of the men. Their different
qualities, intermingling, form a happy symphony. From their intimate
conjunction, their real advantages must be common and inseparable; and
as for those ridiculous wranglings about superiority, they may be
reckoned insults to nature, and betray a want of a due sense of its wise
and gracious dispensations.”[4]

Footnote 4:

  The Ladies’ Friend.

Many ladies affect to think it inconsistent with female reserve, to
acknowledge themselves pleased with the company of the other sex; but
while such are the objects and advantages of a mixed society, I blush
not to own myself desirous of its cultivation. Adieu.

                                                       MATILDA FIELDING.


                     _To Miss_ CAROLINE LITTLETON.

                                                                 BOSTON.

 DEAR CAROLINE,

I take the liberty to send you Bennet’s Letters. When my mamma put them
into my hand, Sophia, said she, I recommend this book to your attentive
perusal. It highly deserves it, and will richly reward your labour. You
have, indeed, completed your school education; but you have much yet to
learn. Improvements in knowledge are necessarily progressive. The human
mind is naturally active and eager in pursuit of information; which we
have various and continual means of accumulating: but never will you
have a more favourable opportunity for the cultivation of your mind,
than you now enjoy. You are now free from those domestic cares and
avocations, which may hereafter fall to your lot, and occupy most of
your time. Speculation must then give place to practice. Be assiduous,
therefore, to increase the fund, that it may yield you a competent
interest, and afford you a constant resource of support and enjoyment.

With these words she withdrew, while I was still listening to the sweet
accents of maternal tenderness and discretion, which vibrated on my ear,
even after her departure.

I find it worthy the recommendation of so good a judge. As a moral
writer, the precepts and observations of its author are excellent; as a
religious one, his piety is exemplary, and his instructions improving.
His selection of books, which he deems most proper for our sex, though
too numerous, perhaps, may, notwithstanding, assist and direct the young
in their course of reading.

Who would not imitate his Louisa? In her he has forcibly displayed the
beauties of an amiable disposition, and the advantages which even _that_
may derive from a virtuous and religious education.

These letters are not scholastic and elaborate dissertations; they are
addressed to the heart; they are the native language of affection: and
they can hardly fail to instil the love of virtue into every mind
susceptible of its charms.

If you have not read them, I will venture to predict that they will
afford you entertainment, as well as instruction; and if you _have_,
they will bear a second perusal. Indeed, every valuable book should be
re-perused. On a first reading, our curiosity to know something of all
it contains, hurries us forward with a rapidity which outstrips both the
memory and judgment.

When this predominant passion is gratified, an attentive review will
commonly furnish many useful and important lessons, which had nearly or
quite escaped our notice before.

This, by some, is deemed too laborious a task. They prefer company and
conversation to reading of any kind; and allege, in defence of their
opinion, that a knowledge of the world, and of human nature, together
with that ease and gracefulness of manners, which are of the utmost
consequence to all who would make a respectable figure in life, are much
better obtained in this way, than by the cold and unimpassioned perusal
of books.

But is not every acquisition of this sort merely superficial? Need we
not a guide, superior to our own judgment and experience, to point out
the line of duty and propriety, in the various conditions and relations
of our existence?

Our acquaintance with living characters and manners can afford us but a
very limited view of mankind, in the different periods and stages of
society. The inquisitive mind labours to extend its knowledge to the
most distant climes and remote antiquity; and craves other materials for
the exercise of its reflecting powers, than can be derived from
occasional and desultory conversation. Now, by what means can this
laudable curiosity be so effectually satisfied, as by the perusal of
judicious and well chosen books? Not that I would depreciate the value
of good company (for I esteem it highly;) but add its many advantages to
those which reading affords. This combination must have a happy tendency
to give us possession, both of the virtues and graces; and to render our
attainments at once solid and ornamental.

What think you, Caroline? Do you agree with me in opinion? Let me hear
from you by the first opportunity; and believe me yours most sincerely.

                                                      SOPHIA MANCHESTER.


                      _To Miss_ SOPHIA MANCHESTER.

                                                            NEWBURYPORT.

I thank you, my dear friend, for the book you were so obliging as to
send me; and for the letter which accompanied it. The book I had read;
but as you justly observe, I must be a gainer by a second perusal.

Upon the subject of reading, I perfectly accord with you in sentiment.
It is an amusement, of which I was always enthusiastically fond. Mrs.
Williams regulated my taste; and, by directing and maturing my judgment,
taught me to make it a source of refined and substantial pleasure. I do
not wish to pursue study as a profession, nor to become a learned lady;
but I would pay so much attention to it, as to taste the delights of
literature, and be qualified to bear a part in rational and improving
conversation. Indeed, I would treasure up such a fund of useful
knowledge, as may properly direct my course through life, and prove an
antidote against the vexations and disappointments of the world. I
think, Sophia, that our sex stand in special need of such a resource to
beguile the solitary hours which a domestic station commonly imposes. Is
it not for the want of this that some females furnish a pretext for the
accusation (which is illiberally brought against all) of having recourse
to scandal, and the sallies of indelicate mirth? Conversation requires a
perpetual supply of materials from the mind: and accordingly as the mind
has been cultivated or neglected, dignified or degrading subjects will
be introduced.

I received a letter yesterday from our lively and lovely friend, Anna
Williams. How delightfully blended in this charming girl, are vivacity
and sentiment, ease and propriety. Adieu.

                                                     CAROLINE LITTLETON.


                       _To Miss_ MARIA WILLIAMS.

                                                                 BOSTON.

So often, my dear Maria, has the pen of the divine, the moralist, and
the novelist been employed on the subject of female frailty and
seduction; and so pathetically has each described the folly and misery
of the fatal delusion which involves many in disgrace, that I am
astonished when I see those, who have the best means of information,
heedlessly sacrificing their reputation, peace and happiness to the
specious arts of the libertine! In this case it is common for our sex to
rail against the other, and endeavor to excite the pity of the world by
painting the advantage which has been taken of their credulity and
weakness. But are we not sufficiently apprised of the enemies we have to
encounter? And have we not adequate motives to circumspection and
firmness?

I am generally an advocate for my own sex—but when they suffer
themselves to fall a prey to seducers, their pusillanimity admits no
excuse. I am bold to affirm that every woman, by behaving with propriety
on all occasions, may not only resist temptation, but repel the first
attempts upon her honor and virtue.

That levity of deportment, which invites and encourages designers, ought
studiously to be avoided. Flattery and vanity are two of the most
dangerous foes to the sex. A fondness for admiration insensibly throws
off their guard, and leads them to listen and give credit to the
professions of those who lie in wait to deceive.

The following remarks, though severe, perhaps can hardly be deemed
inconsistent with the character which their author assumes.[5] “Women
would do well to forbear their declamations against the falsity and
wickedness of men; the fault is theirs, to fall into such coarse-spun
snares as are laid for them.

Footnote 5:

  The Ladies’ Friend.

“That servile obsequiousness which woman should immediately look upon as
the mark of fraud, and which should make them apprehend a surprise, is
the very thing which allures them, and renders them soon the victims of
perjury and inconstancy; the just punishment of a disposition which
fixes their inclinations on superficial qualities. It is this
disposition which draws after them a crowd of empty fops, who if they
have any meaning at all, it is only to deceive. Something pleasing in a
man’s person, a giddy air, a perpetual levity, supply the place of
valuable endowments.”

A recent and singular adventure has rendered observations of this sort
peculiarly striking to my mind; which may account for the subject and
the length of this letter.

I will give you a detail of it, though I must conceal the real names of
the parties concerned.

Yesterday, the weather being very fine, and the sleighing excellent,
several of our family, with two or three friends, were induced to make
an excursion a few miles in the country. We stopped at a house which had
formerly been a tavern, and in which we had often been well entertained
on similar occasions. As we were in haste to receive the benefit of a
good fire, we did not notice the removal of the sign, nor advert to the
possibility of its being converted into a private mansion. Being very
cold, I stepped first out of the sleigh and ran hastily in; leaving the
gentlemen to exercise their gallantry with the other ladies. The room I
entered had no fire. I therefore opened the door which led to the next
apartment, when I beheld the beautiful and admired Clarinda sitting in
an easy chair, pale and wan, with an infant in her arms! I stood mute
and motionless, till the woman of the house appeared, to conduct me to
another room. Confusion and shame were visibly depicted in Clarinda’s
countenance; and, unable to meet my eye, she threw her handkerchief over
her face, and fell back in the chair.

I followed the good woman, and apologising for my intrusion, told her
the cause. She recollected my having been there before, and readily
excused my freedom.

By this time the rest of the company, who had been shown into a decent
parlour, were inquiring for me; and I could scarcely find opportunity to
request my conductress to ask Clarinda’s forgiveness in my name, and to
assure her of my silence, before I had joined them. I assumed an
appearance of cheerfulness very foreign to the feelings of my heart, and
related my mistake without any mention of the melancholy discovery I had
made. We prevailed on the woman to accommodate us with tea and coffee,
as we wished to ride no further. While preparations were making she came
in to lay the table, and as she withdrew, gave me a token to follow her;
when she informed me that Clarinda had been extremely overcome by my
detecting her situation, but being somewhat recovered desired a private
interview. I accordingly repaired to her apartment, where I found her
bathed in tears. Pity operated in my breast, and with an air of
tenderness I offered her my hand; but she withheld hers, exclaiming in
broken accents, O no! I am polluted—I have forfeited your friendship—I
am unworthy even of your compassion.

I begged her to be calm, and promised her that she should suffer no
inconvenience from my knowledge of her condition.

She thanked me for my assurances, and subjoined that, since she knew the
candor and generosity of my disposition, she would entrust me with every
circumstance relative to her shameful fall; when, after a considerable
pause, she proceeded nearly in the following words.

“Though our acquaintance has been for some time suspended, and though we
have lived in different parts of the town, yet common fame has doubtless
informed you that I was addressed by the gay, and to me, too charming
Florimel! To the most captivating form, he superadded the winning graces
of politeness, and all those insinuating arts which imperceptibly engage
the female heart.

“His flattering attentions, and apparent ardour of affection, were to my
inexperienced and susceptible mind, proofs of his sincerity; and the
effusions of the most lively passion, were returned with unsuspecting
confidence.

“My father, strict in his principles, and watchful for my real welfare,
disapproved his suit; alleging that although Florimel was calculated to
please in the gayer moments of life, he was nevertheless destitute of
those sentiments of religion and virtue, which are essentially requisite
to durable felicity. But I could not be persuaded that he lacked any
perfection which maturer years would not give him; and therefore finding
my attachment unconquerable, my father reluctantly acquiesced in the
proposed connexion. My ill-judged partiality for this ungenerous man
absorbed every other passion and pursuit; while he took advantage of my
yielding fondness, and assumed liberties which I knew to be
inconsistent, with delicacy, but had not resolution to repel. One
encroachment succeeded another, and every concession was claimed and
granted as a proof of love, till at length he became absolute master of
my will and my person. Shame and remorse soon roused me to a sense of my
guilt, and I demanded an immediate performance of his promise of
marriage. This, under one pretext or another, he constantly evaded. His
visits daily became less frequent, and his attentions less
assiduous—while the most poignant anguish of mind deprived me of every
comfort. I found myself reduced to the humiliating alternative of
entreating my seducer to screen me from infamy by the name of wife,
though he should never consider or treat me as such. To this he
insultingly replied, that my situation must necessarily detect our
illicit commerce; and his pride could never brook the reputation of
having a wife whose chastity had been sacrificed. As soon as rage and
resentment, which at first took from me the power of utterance, would
permit, Wretch! exclaimed I, is it not to you the sacrifice has been
made? Who but you has triumphed over my virtue, and subjected me to the
disgrace and wretchedness I now suffer? Was it not in token of my regard
for you that I yielded to your solicitations? And is this the requital I
am to receive? Base, ungrateful man! I despise your meanness! I detest
the ungenerous disposition you betray, and henceforth reject all
intercourse and society with you! I will throw myself on the mercy of my
injured parents, and renounce you forever.

“Seeing me almost frantic, he endeavored to soothe and appease me. He
apologized for the harshness of his language, and even made professions
of unabated affection; but gave as a reason for deferring the conjugal
union, at present, that commercial affairs obliged him to sail
immediately for Europe; assuring me at the same time that on his return
he would not fail to renew and consummate the connexion. To this I gave
no credit, and therefore made no reply. He then requested me to accept a
purse to defray my expenses, during his absence, which I rejected with
disdain; and he departed. The distress and despair of my mind were
inexpressible. For some days I resigned myself entirely to the agonizing
pangs of grief. My parents imputed my dejection to Florimel’s departure,
and strove to console me. It was not long, however, before my mother
discovered the real cause. In her, resentment gave place to compassion;
but the anger of my father could not be appeased. He absolutely forbade
me his presence for some time; but my mother at length prevailed on him
to see, and assure me of forgiveness and restoration to favor, if I
would consent to renounce and disown my child; to which, not then
knowing the force of maternal affection, I readily consented. This place
was privately procured for me, and hither, under pretence of spending a
month or two with a friend in the country, I retired. To-morrow my dear
babe is to be taken from me! It is to be put to nurse, I know not where!
All I am told is, that it shall be well taken care of! Constantly will
its moans haunt my imagination, while I am deprived even of the hope of
ministering to its wants; but must leave it to execrate the hour which
gave it birth, and deprive it of a parent’s attention and kindness.

“As soon as possible, I shall return to my father’s house; and as I am
unknown here, and you are the only person, out of our family, who shares
the dreadful secret, I flatter myself that my crime may still be
concealed from the world. The reproaches of my own mind I can never
escape. Conscious guilt will give the aspect of accusation to every eye
that beholds me; and however policy may compel me to wear the mask of
gaiety and ease, my heart will be wrung with inexpressible anguish by
the remembrance of my folly, and always alive to the distressing
sensations of remorse and shame! Oh Julia! you have witnessed my
disgrace! pity and forgive me! Perhaps I once appeared as virtuous and
respectable as you now do; but how changed! how fallen! how debased!
Learn from my fate to despise the flattery of the worthless coxcomb, and
the arts of the abandoned libertine.”

By this time I was summoned to tea; when giving all the consolation in
my power to the unhappy Clarinda, I rejoined my company; and to prevent
their inquisitiveness about my absence, told them I had been with a sick
woman, upon whom I had accidentally intruded when I first came in; and
that she had detained me, all this time, by a recital of her complaints
and misfortunes. This account satisfied their curiosity; but the
melancholy into which my mind had been thrown, was not easily
dissipated; nor could I, without doing violence to my feelings, put on
the appearance of my usual cheerfulness and ease.

Here my dear Maria, is a picture of the frailty and weakness of our sex!
How much reason have we then to “watch, and pray, that we enter not into
temptation!”

With affectionate regards to your mamma and sister, I subscribe myself
yours most sincerely,

                                                       JULIA GREENFIELD.


                      _To Miss_ JULIA GREENFIELD.

                                                          HARMONY-GROVE.

 MY DEAR FRIEND,

I was much affected by the wo-fraught tale which you gave me in your
last. We cannot too much regret that such instances of duplicity and
folly are ever exhibited. They are alike disgraceful to both sexes, and
demonstrate the debasing and fatal tendency of the passions, when
suffered to predominate.

Your observations upon our sex I believe to be just, though many would
probably deem them severe. However, I think it not much to the honor of
the masculine character, which the God of nature designed for a defence
and safeguard to female virtue and happiness, to take advantage of the
tender affection of the unsuspecting and too credulous fair; and, in
return for her love and confidence, perfidiously to destroy her peace of
mind, and deprive her of that reputation which might have rendered her a
useful and ornamental member of society. True, we ought to take warning
by such examples of treachery and deceit; yet how much more conducive to
the honor and happiness of our species, were there no occasion to
apprehend such ungenerous requitals of our sincerity and frankness.

Yesterday, my mamma took the liberty to read that part of your letter,
which contains the story of Clarinda, to her pupils, and to make such
comments upon it as the subject suggested; during which we could not but
observe the extreme emotion of one of the misses, a most amiable girl of
about sixteen. When the paragraph respecting Clarinda’s disowning her
child was read, she hastily rose and in broken accents begged leave to
withdraw. This was granted without any inquiry into the cause; though
our curiosity, as you may well suppose, was much excited. After we were
dismissed, my mamma prevailed on her to tell the reason of her
agitation.

“I am,” said she, “the illegitimate offspring of parents, whom I am told
are people of fortune and fashion. The fear of disgrace overcame the
dictates of natural affection, and induced my mother to abandon me in my
infancy. She accordingly gave me away, with a large sum of money, which
she vainly imagined would procure me kind and good treatment. But
unhappily for me the people to whom I was consigned, availed themselves
of their security from inspection and inquiry, abused the trust reposed
in them, and exposed me to the greatest hardships. As they were persons
of vulgar minds and unfeeling hearts, they did not commiserate my
friendless condition. My quick sensibility incurred their displeasure or
derision. I was often insultingly reproached with the misfortune of my
birth; while the tears which these ungenerous reflections extorted from
me, were either mocked or punished. I had a thirst for knowledge; but
they allowed me no time for acquiring it, alleging they could not
support me in idleness, but that I must earn my living as they did
theirs, by hard labor. Oppressed by these insults, I bore the galling
yoke of their authority with the utmost impatience. When screened from
observation, my tears flowed without restraint; and the idea of my
parents’ cruelty, in thus subjecting me to infamy and wretchedness,
continually haunted my imagination. Sometimes I fancied my mother in
view, and exposing my tattered raiment, expostulated with her concerning
the indignities I suffered, and the unreasonable hardship of leaving me
to bear all the punishment of my guilty birth! At other times I painted
to myself a father, in some gentleman of pleasing aspect; and fondly
indulged the momentary transport of throwing myself at the feet of one,
whom I could call by that venerable and endearing name! Too soon,
however, did the reverse of parental tenderness awake me from my
delusive reveries.

“In this manner I lingered away my existence, till I was twelve years
old; when going one day to the house of a gentleman in the neighborhood,
to which I was often sent to sell herbs, and other trifles, I was
directed into the parlor, where the most beautiful sight in nature
opened to my view; while the contrast between my own situation, and that
of children blessed with affectionate parents, gave me the most painful
sensations. The lady of the house was surrounded by her four sons, the
eldest of whom was reading lessons, which she most pathetically
inculcated upon all. As the door was open, I stood some minutes
unobserved; and was so delighted with the tender accents in which her
instructions were imparted, and the cheerful obedience with which they
were received, that I had no disposition to interrupt them.

“At length I was seen, and bid to come in. But when questioned about my
errand I was so absorbed in the contemplation of maternal and filial
love, exhibited in this happy group, that my tongue refused utterance,
and I burst into tears. The children gathered around and inquired what
ailed the poor little girl? But when the lady took me by the hand, and
kindly asked what was the matter, I could not restrain or conceal my
feelings. When my tears had relieved me, I related the cause of my
grief; describing my own situation, and the effect which its contrast
had produced on my mind.

“She was affected by my story, and seemed pleased with my sensibility;
while the children lamented my misfortunes, and artlessly requested
their mamma to let me come and live with them.

“Little did I then expect so great a favor; but to my surprise as well
as joy, Mrs. ——, the lady of whom I have been speaking, and by whom I am
put under your care, came a few days after, and asked the people where I
lived, if they were willing to part with me. By their consent she took
me home, and has ever since treated me like a child.

“I am now happy beyond expression. My gratitude to my benefactress, who,
guided by a wise and good Providence, has snatched me from obscurity and
misery, and given me so many advantages for improvement, is unbounded.

“But the idea that any helpless innocent should be unnaturally exposed
to the sufferings which I have experienced, is insupportably distressing
to my imagination.

“Let my story, if possible, be told to Clarinda, that she may be induced
to have compassion upon her defenceless offspring.”

You are at liberty, therefore, my dear Julia, to make what use you
please of this letter. I shall make no comments upon the subject of it,
nor add any thing more to its length, but that I am affectionately
yours.

                                                         MARIA WILLIAMS.


                        _To Miss_ ANNA WILLIAMS.

                                                                  SALEM.

 DEAR ANNA,

My contemplated visit to Harmony-Grove must be deferred. A severe
illness has lately confined my mamma to her chamber. This claimed all my
time and attention, and called me to a new scene of care; that of a
family which I was obliged to superintend during her indisposition. Her
recovery has, at length, restored tranquillity and joy to our abode; but
she has not yet resumed the direction of her household affairs. To this,
she tells me she is reconciled by the hope that experience may render me
an adept in domestic economy. Indeed, Anna, I think this an essential
branch of female education; and I question whether it can be acquired by
mere speculation. To me it is plain that every lady ought to have some
practice in the management of a family, before she takes upon herself
the important trust.

Do not many of the mistakes and infelicities of life arise from a
deficiency in this point?

Young ladies of fashion are not obliged to the task, and have too seldom
any inclination to perform duties which require so much time and
attention; and with which, perhaps, they have injudiciously been taught
to connect the idea of servility. Hence it is, that when called to
preside over families, they commit many errors, during their novitiate,
at least, which are alike detrimental to their interest and happiness.
How necessary is it, then, to avoid this complication of evils by a
seasonable application to those offices of housewifery, which may one
day become our province.

Early rising, I find a great assistance in my present occupation. It is
almost incredible how much may be gained by a diligent improvement of
those hours which are but too commonly lost in sleep. I arose this
morning with the dawn. The serenity of the sky and the fragrance of the
air invited me abroad. The calmness which universally prevailed served
to tranquillize my mind, while the receding shades of night, and the
rising beams of day, formed a contrasted assemblage of the beautiful,
the splendid, the solemn, and the sublime. The silence which pervaded
the surrounding scenery was interrupted only by the melody of the
feathered songsters, who seemed to rejoice in this undisturbed
opportunity of praising their maker. My heart expanded with gratitude
and love to the all-bountiful Author of nature; and so absorbed was I in
the most delightful meditations, that I saw with regret the hour
approaching which must again call me to the active duties of domestic
and social life. These however, are objects of real moment, and cannot
innocently be disregarded. They give a relish to amusement, and even to
devotion, which neither the dissipated nor the recluse can know. Adieu.

                                                       CLEORA PARTRIDGE.


                        _To Miss_ HARRIOT HENLY.

                                                                BEVERLY.

 DEAR HARRIOT,

I sincerely thank you for your affectionate letter, by the last post,
and for the book with which it was accompanied. The very title is
sufficient to rouse the feelings and attract the attention of the
patriotic mind. Beacon-Hill claims a conspicuous place in the history of
our country. The subject of this poem must be highly interesting to
every true American; while the genius it displays cannot fail to gratify
every poetical taste. Philenia’s talents justly entitle her to a rank
among the literary ornaments of Columbia.

I have been reviewing Millot’s Elements of Ancient and Modern History;
and recommend it to your re-perusal. It is undoubtedly the most useful
compendium extant. The tedious minuteness and prolix details of sieges
and battles, negotiations and treaties, which fatigue the reader and
oppress the memory in most works of the kind, are happily avoided in
this; while the elegance, simplicity, conciseness and perspicuity of the
style, render it intelligible to every capacity, and pleasing to every
taste. To those who have a relish for history, but want leisure to give
full scope, Millot is well calculated to afford both information and
entertainment. It is an objection, commonly made by our sex to studies
of this nature, that they are dry and elaborate; that they yield little
or no exercise to the more sprightly faculties of the mind; that the
attention is confined to an uninteresting and barren detail of facts,
while the imagination pants in vain for the flowery wreaths of
decoration.

This is a plausible excuse for those who read only for amusement, and
are willing to sacrifice reason, and the enlargement of their minds, to
the gaudy phantom of a day; but it can never be satisfactory to the
person, who wishes to combine utility with pleasure, and dignity with
relaxation.

History improves the understanding, and furnishes a knowledge of human
nature and human events, which may be useful as well as ornamental
through life. “History,” says the late celebrated Gauganelli, “brings
together all ages and all mankind in one point of view. Presenting a
charming landscape to the mental eye, it gives colour to the thoughts,
soul to the actions, and life to the dead; and brings them upon the
stage of the world, as if they were again living; but with this
difference, that it is not to flatter, but to judge them.”

The duties and avocations of our sex will not often admit of a close and
connected course of reading. Yet a general knowledge of the necessary
subjects may undoubtedly be gained even in our leisure hours; provided
we bestow them not on works of mere taste and fancy, but on the perusal
of books calculated to enrich the understanding with durable
acquisitions.

The sincerest wishes for your health and happiness glow in the breast of
your affectionate

                                                       MATILDA FIELDING.


                       _To Miss_ MARIA WILLIAMS.

                                                                 BOSTON.

 MY DEAR MARIA,

Since I wrote you last, I have made an agreeable visit to my good friend
Sylvia Star. After rambling in the fields and gardens till we were
fatigued, we went into her brother’s library. He was in a studious
attitude, but gave us a polite reception. We are come, Amintor, said I.
Be so kind as to furnish us with some instructive page, which combines
entertainment and utility; and while it informs the mind, delights the
imagination. I am not happy enough to know your taste respecting books,
said he; and therefore, may not make a proper selection. Here, however,
is an author highly spoken of by a lady who has lately added to the
number of literary publications; handing me Sterne’s Sentimental
Journey. I closed and returned the book. You have, indeed, mistaken my
taste, said I. Wit, blended with indelicacy, never meets my approbation.
While the fancy is allured, and the passions awakened, by this pathetic
humourist, the foundations of virtue are insidiously undermined, and
modest dignity insensibly betrayed. Well, said he, smilingly, perhaps
you are seriously inclined. If so, this volume of sermons may possibly
please you. Still less, rejoined I. The serious mind must turn with
disgust from the levity which pervades these discourses, and from the
indecent flow of mirth and humour, which converts even the sacred
writings, and the most solemn subjects of religion, into frolic and
buffoonery. Since such is your opinion of this celebrated writer, said
he, I will not insult your feelings by offering you his Tristram Shandy.
But here is another wit, famous for his “purity.” Yes, said I, if
obscene and vulgar ideas, if ill-natured remarks and filthy allusions by
purity, Swift undoubtedly bears the palm from all his contemporaries. As
far as grammatical correctness and simplicity of language can deserve
the epithet, his advocates may enjoy their sentiments unmolested; but in
any other sense of the word, he has certainly no claim to “purity.” I
conceive his works, notwithstanding, to be much less pernicious in their
tendency, than those of Sterne. They are not so enchanting in their
nature, nor so subtle in their effects. In the one, the noxious
insinuations of licentious wit are concealed under the artful
blandishments of sympathetic sensibility; while we at once recoil from
the rude assault which is made upon our delicacy, by the roughness and
vulgarity of the other.

Choose then, said Amintor, for yourself. I availed myself of his offer,
and soon fixed my eyes upon Dr. Belknap’s History of New Hampshire, and
American Biography; both of which I have since read with the greatest
satisfaction.

By this judicious and impartial historian, we are led from its first
settlement to trace the progress of the infant colony. We accompany its
inhabitants in their enterprizes, their dangers, their toils, and their
successes. We take an interest in their prosperity; and we tremble at
the dreadful outrages of the barbarous foe. Our imagination is again
recalled to the gradual advance of population and agriculture. We behold
the wilderness blooming as the rose, and the haunts of savage beasts,
and more savage men, converted into fruitful fields and pleasant
habitations. The arts and sciences flourish; peace and harmony are
restored; and we are astonished at the amazing contrast, produced in
little more than a century.

When we return to the American Biography, gratitude glows in our bosoms
towards those intrepid and active adventurers, who traversed a trackless
ocean, explored an unknown region, and laid the foundation of empire and
independence in this western hemisphere. The undaunted resolution, and
cool, determined wisdom of Columbus, fill us with profound admiration.
We are constrained to pay a tribute of just applause to the generosity
of a female mind exemplified in Isabella, who, to surmount every
obstacle, nobly consented to sacrifice even her personal ornaments to
the success of this glorious expedition.

The daring spirit of Captain Smith, and the prudence, policy and
magnanimity of his conduct to the treacherous natives, and to his
equally treacherous and ungrateful countrymen, exhibit an example of
patriotism and moderation, which at once commands our applause, and
interests our feelings. While we tremble and recoil at his dreadful
situation, when bending his neck to receive the murderous stroke of
death, the native virtues of our sex suddenly reanimate our frame; and
with sensations of rapture, we behold compassion, benevolence, and
humanity, triumphant even in a savage breast; and conspicuously
displayed in the conduct of the amiable though uncivilized Pocahontas!
Nor are the other characters in this work uninteresting; and I am happy
to find that the same masterly pen is still industriously employed for
the public good;[6] and that a second volume of American Biography is
now in press.

Footnote 6:

  How vain are our expectations! While the types were setting for this
  very page, Dr. Belknap suddenly expired in a fit.—_Printer._

In reviewing this letter, I am astonished at my own presumption, in
undertaking to play the critic. My imagination has outstripped my
judgment; but I will arrest its career, and subscribe myself most
affectionately yours.

                                                      SOPHIA MANCHESTER.


                        _To Miss_ ANNA WILLIAMS.

                                                                 BOSTON.

 DEAR ANNA,

I retired, after breakfast this morning, determined to indulge myself in
my favorite amusement, and write you a long letter. I had just mended my
pen and folded my paper, when I was informed that three ladies waited
for me in the parlor. I stepped down and found Lucinda P——, Flavia F——,
and Delia S——. They were gaily dressed, and still more gaily disposed.
“We called,” said they, “to invite you, Miss Maria, to join our party
for a shopping tour.” Loath to have the ideas dissipated, which I had
collected in my pericranium, for the purpose of transmitting to a
beloved sister, I declined accepting their invitation; alleging that I
had no occasion to purchase any thing to day; and therefore begged to be
excused from accompanying them. They laughed at my reason for not
engaging in the expedition. “Buying,” said their principal speaker, “is
no considerable part of our plan, I assure you. Amusement is what we are
after. We frankly acknowledge it a delightful gratification of our
vanity, to traverse Cornhill, to receive the obsequious congees, and to
call forth the gallantry and activity of the beaux, behind the counter;
who, you must know, are extremely alert when we belles appear. The
waving of our feathers, and the attractive airs we assume, command the
profoundest attention, both of master and apprentices; who, duped by our
appearance, suffer less brilliant customers to wait, or even to depart
without notice, till we have tumbled over and refused half the goods in
the shop. We then bid a very civil adieu; express our regret at having
given so much trouble; are assured in return that it has been rather a
pleasure; and leave them their trouble for their pains.”

A most insignificant amusement this, said I to myself! How little can it
redound to the honor and happiness of these unthinking girls, thus to
squander their time in folly’s giddy maze! They undoubtedly wish to
attract eclat; but they would do well to remember those words of the
satirist, which, with the alteration of a single term, may be applied to
them.

            “Columbia’s daughters, much more fair than nice,
            Too fond of admiration, lose their price!
            Worn in the public eye, give cheap delight
            To throngs, and tarnish to the sated sight.”

Viewing their conduct in this light, I withstood their solicitations,
though I palliated my refusal in such a manner as to give no umbrage.

Of all expedients to kill time, this appears to me, as I know it will to
you, the most ridiculous and absurd.

What possible satisfaction can result from such a practice? It certainly
fatigues the body; and is it any advantage to the mind? Does it enlarge
the understanding, inspire useful ideas, or furnish a source of pleasing
reflection? True, it may gratify a vitiated imagination, and exhilarate
a light and trifling mind. But these ought to be restrained and
regulated by reason and judgment, rather than indulged.

I wish those ladies, who make pleasure the supreme object of their
pursuit, and argue in vindication of their conduct, that

            “Pleasure is good, and they for pleasure made,”

would confine themselves to that species which

                     “Neither blushes nor expires.”

The domestic virtues, if duly cultivated, might certainly occupy those
hours, which they are now solicitous to dissipate, both with profit and
delight. “But it is time enough to be domesticated,” say they, “when we
are placed at the head of families, and necessarily confined to care and
labor.”

Should not the mind, however, be seasonably inured to the sphere of life
which Providence assigns us?

            “To guide the pencil, turn th’ instructive page;
            To lend new flavor to the fruitful year,
            And heighten nature’s dainties; in their race
            To rear their graces into second life;
            To give society its highest taste;
            Well-ordered home man’s beet delight to make;
            And, by submissive wisdom, modest skill,
            With every gentle care eluding art,
            To raise the virtues, animate the bliss,
            And sweeten all the toils of human life;
            This be the female dignity and praise.”

A proper attention to these necessary duties and embellishments, would
not only correct this rambling disposition, but happily leave neither
leisure nor temptation for its indulgence.

I intended to have given you some account of my agreeable visit here;
but the chit-chat of the ladies I have mentioned, has occupied a large
portion of my time this morning, and an engagement to dine abroad claims
the rest.

I hope soon to embrace you in our beloved retirement, and again to enjoy
the sweets of my native home.

       “Had I the choice of sublunary good,
       What could I wish that I possess not there?
       Health, leisure, means t’ improve it, friendship, peace.”

My most dutiful affections await mamma; and my kind regards attend the
young ladies residing with her. How great a share of my ardent love is
at your command, need not be renewedly testified.

                                                         MARIA WILLIAMS.


                      _To Miss_ SOPHIA MANCHESTER.

                                                            NEWBURYPORT.

The extracts which you transmitted to me in your last letter, my dear
Sophia, from your favorite author, Dr. Young, corresponded exactly with
the solemnity infused into my mind by the funeral of a neighbor, from
which I had just returned.

I agree with you that the Night-Thoughts are good devotional exercises.
It is impossible to read them with that degree of attention which they
merit, without being affected by the important and awful subjects on
which they treat. But Young, after all, is always too abstruse, and in
many instances too gloomy for me. The most elaborate application is
necessary to the comprehension of his meaning and design; which when
discovered often tend rather to depress than to elevate the spirits.

Thompson is much better adapted to my taste. Sentiment, elegance,
perspicuity and sublimity are all combined in his Seasons. What an
inimitable painter! How admirably he describes the infinitely variegated
beauties and operations of nature! To the feeling and susceptible heart
they are presented in the strongest light. Nor is the energy of his
language less perceivable, when he describes the Deity riding on the
wings of the wind, and directing the stormy tempest.

           “How chang’d the scene! In blazing height of noon,
           The sun oppress’d, is plunged in thickest gloom,
           Still horror reigns, a dismal twilight round,
           Of struggling night and day malignant mix’d,
           Far to the hot equator crowding fast,
           Where highly rarefy’d, the yielding air,
           Admits their stream, incessant vapours roll,
           Amazing clouds on clouds continual heap’d;
           Or whirl’d tempestuous by the gusty wind,
           Or silent, borne along, heavy and slow,
           With the big stores of streaming oceans charg’d:
           Meantime, amid these upper sea’s condens’d
           Around the cold aerial mountain’s brow,
           And by conflicting winds together dash’d,
           The thunder holds his black tremendous throne,
           From cloud to cloud the rending lightnings rage;
           Till in the furious elemental war
           Dissolve the whole precipitated mass,
           Unbroken floods and torrents pours.”

Conscious of our own weakness and dependence, we can hardly fail to
adore and to fear that Divine Power, whose agency this imagery exhibits
to our minds. Nor are the devout affections of our hearts less excited,
when we behold the same glorious Being arrayed in love, and
accommodating the regular succession of summer and winter, seed time and
harvest to our convenience and comfort. When nature, obedient to his
command, revives the vegetable world, and diffuses alacrity and joy
throughout the animal, and even rational creation, we involuntarily
exclaim with the

          “HAIL, SOURCE OF BEING! UNIVERSAL SOUL
          Of heaven and earth! ESSENTIAL PRESENCE, hail!
          To THEE I bend the knee; to THEE my thoughts
          Continual climb; who, with a master hand,
          Hast the great whole into perfection touch’d.
          By THEE various vegetative tribes,
          Wrapt in a filmy net and clad with leaves,
          Draw the live ether, and imbibe the dew.
          By THEE disposed into cogenial foils,
          Stands each attractive plant, and sucks, and swells
          The juicy tide; a twining mass of tubes.
          At THY command, the vernal sun awakes
          The torpid sap, detruded to the root
          By wintry winds; which now in fluent dance,
          And lively fermentation, mounting spreads
          All this inumerous-colour’d scene of things.”

Aided in our observations by this pathetic and pious writer, our hearts
beat responsive to the sentiments of gratitude, which he indirectly, yet
most forcibly inculcates in that devout address to the Supreme Parent:

           “——Were every faltering tongue of man,
           Almighty Father! silent in thy praise,
           Thy works themselves would raise a general voice,
           Even in the depth of solitary woods,
           By human foot untrod: proclaim the power,
           And to the quire celestial Thee resound,
           Th’ eternal cause, support, and End of all!”

By this beautiful poem we are allured to the study of nature, and to the
contemplation of nature’s God. Our hearts glow with devotion and love to
the sovereign Lord and benefactor of the universe; and we are drawn, by
the innumerable displays of his goodness, to the practice of virtue and
religion.

You may, possibly call me an enthusiast. Be it so. Yet I contend for the
honor, but especially for the privilege, of being a cheerful one. For I
think we dishonor our heavenly father by attaching any thing gloomy or
forbidding to his character. In this participation of divine blessings,
let us rather exercise a thankful, and contented disposition.

I remain your’s most affectionately.

                                                     CAROLINE LITTLETON.


                          _To Mrs._ WILLIAMS.

                                                                 BOSTON.

 DEAR MADAM,

By her desire in conjunction with my own inclination, I inform you that
Harriot Henly, is no more——Yesterday she gave her hand, and renounced
her name together; threw aside the sprightly girl we have been so long
accustomed to admire, and substituted in her place the dignified and
respectable head of a family, in Mrs. Farmington.

Have I not lost my amiable friend and associate! Will not her change of
situation tend to lessen our intercourse, and alienate our affections?

When I contemplate the social circle, so firmly cemented in the bands of
friendship, at the boarding school, where the most perfect harmony, ease
and satisfaction presided, I recoil at the idea of becoming less dear,
less interesting, and less necessary to each other. It is with the
utmost reluctance that I admit the idea of rivals to that affection and
benevolence which we have, so long, and so sincerely interchanged.

The charm however is broken. Harriot is already married; and my friends
are extremely solicitous that I should follow her example. But in a
connexion which requires so many precautions, before it is formed, and
such uninterrupted circumspection and prudence afterwards; the great
uncertainty of the event inspires me with timidity and apprehension.

Harriot put into my hands, and I read with pleasure, the book which you
recommended to her on the subject. But still we wished for your
instruction and advice. The sentiments of a person so dear and
interesting to us, are particularly calculated to engage our attention,
and influence our conduct. Relying, too, on your judgment and
experience, your forming pen may render us more worthy objects of
attachment.

We, however, unite in assuring you of our gratitude for all past
favours; and in presenting our sincere regards to the young ladies.

I am, with great respect, your affectionate and grateful

                                                         LAURA GUILFORD.


                       _To Miss_ LAURA GUILFORD.

                                                          HARMONY-GROVE.

 DEAR LAURA,

The obligations under which you lay me, by your generous confidence, and
affectionate expressions of regard, induce me again to assume the
Preceptress towards you, and to gratify your wishes, by imparting my
sentiments on your present situation and prospects.

I am told by my daughter, who had the honor of bearing your letter, that
you are what I always expected you would be, an object of general
admiration. Yet, I trust, your good sense will enable you duly to
distinguish and treat the several candidates for your favor.

It is, indeed, my young friend, a matter of the most serious
consequence, which lies upon your mind, and awakens your anxiety. Your
friends are studious of your welfare, and kindly concerned that the
important die on which the happiness of your life depends, should be
judiciously cast. You doubtless remember, that I discoursed upon this
subject in my concluding lessons to your class.

Disparity of tempers, among other things which were then suggested, and
which you will doubtless recollect, was represented, as tending to
render life uncomfortable. But there are other disparities which may be
equally hostile to your peace.

Disparity of years is very apt to occasion the indulgence of passions
destructive of conjugal felicity. The great difference between the
sprightly vivacity, and enterprise of youth, and the deliberate caution,
phlegmatic coldness, and sententious wisdom of age render them very
unpleasant companions to each other. Marriage between persons of these
opposite descriptions is commonly the result of pecuniary motives, with
one party, at least: the suspicion of this, in the other, must
necessarily produce discontent, uneasiness, and disaffection.

Age is naturally jealous of respect, and apprehensive of being slighted.
The most trifling and unmeaning inattentions will therefore be construed
amiss. For an excessive desire of being objects of supreme regard is
almost invariably accompanied with a strong persuasion of being the
reverse. Hence accusations, reproaches and restraints, on the one side,
produce disgust, resentment and alienation on the other, till mutual and
unceasing wretchedness ensue. Indeed, where interest alone, without this
inequality of years, is the principal inducement, marriage is seldom
happy. Esteem and love are independent of wealth and its appendages.
They are not to be sold or bought. The conjugal relation is so near and
interesting, the mind as well as the person is so intimately concerned
in it, that something more substantial and engaging than gold is
requisite to make it a blessing.

Marriage, being the commencement of a domestic life, beside the many
agreeable circumstances attending it, has its peculiar cares and
troubles which require the solace of a companion actuated by better
principles, and possessed of more amiable endowments than outward
splendor and magnificence can afford. In the hour of sickness and
distress, riches it is true, can bestow bodily comforts and cordials;
but can they be made an equivalent for the tender sympathy, the
endearing kindness, and the alleviating attention of a bosom friend,
kindly assiduous to ease our pains, animate our prospects, and beguile
the languid moments which elude all other consolations? The sorrows as
well as the joys of a family state, are often such as none but a bosom
friend can participate. The heart must be engaged before it can repose
with ease and confidence. To a lady of sensibility, the confinement of
the body, without the consent and union of according minds, must be a
state of inexpressible wretchedness.

Another situation, not less to be deplored, is a connexion with the
immoral and profane.

How shocking must it be, to hear that sacred NAME, which you revere and
love, constantly treated with levity and irreverence! And how painful
the necessity of being constrained, for the sake of peace, to witness in
silence, and without even the appearance of disapprobation, the most
shameful outrages upon religion and virtue! May you never taste the
bitterness of this evil.

Intemperance is a vice, which one would imagine no lady would overlook
in a suitor. But, strange to tell! there are those even among our own
sex, who think and speak of inebriation in the other, at the jovial and
well furnished board, as a mark of conviviality and good fellowship.

How degrading and how dreadful must this enormity appear to an
interested, affectionate and virtuous wife! What agonizing pangs of
mortification and anguish must she endure, when she meets him, in whose
society she delights; whose return she has anticipated with impatience,
and whose happiness and honor are the moving springs of her life,
intoxicated with wine; the powers of his mind suspended by the poisonous
cup, and every faculty absorbed in the deadly draught! What a perpetual
source of dread and apprehension must hence arise; and how often must
the blush of indignant virtue and wounded delicacy be called forth.

The gamester is an equally dangerous companion. His family is robbed,
not only of his company and his talents, but of that property, to the
benefit of which they have an indisputable claim. His earnings are
squandered among worthless and profligate associates abroad; while the
fruitful partner of his life, and perhaps, too, a rising offspring,
languish at home for want of bread!

How fatal is the tendency of such examples! How can that father
inculcate the duties of piety, virtue and decency, who exhibits the
reverse of each in his own conduct? And under what an unspeakable
disadvantage, must that mother labor, in the instruction and education
of her children, whose admonitions, counsels, and directions are
practically counteracted by him who ought to bear an equal share of the
burden! The government and superintendence of a family are objects of
such magnitude and importance, that the union and co-operation of its
heads are indispensably necessary. It is a little commonwealth; and if
internal feuds and dissentions arise, anarchy and confusion must ensue.

Domestic happiness is the foundation of every other species. At times,
indeed, we may enjoy ourselves abroad, among our friends—but a good
heart will return home, as to the seat of felicity.

              “——Home is the resort
              Of love, of joy, of peace and plenty, where
              Supporting and supported, polish’d friends
              And dear relations mingle into bliss.”

Since so much, then, depends upon a judicious choice, how important is
it, that you examine well before you decide; and that you dispense with
no quality in the man to whom you shall give your hand, which is
essential to the virtue and happiness of your life. For this purpose,
consult your judgment rather than your fancy; and suffer not superficial
accomplishments, but solid merit to preponderate.

I have now endeavored to point out the most apparent and threatening
dangers to which you may be exposed. But though these are avoided, many
unforeseen accidents will doubtless occur to cloud your sanguine hopes.
These, when there are no vices to produce them, may arise from follies,
and from the indulgence of erroneous expectations. Little
misunderstandings sometimes occasion disagreements which terminate in
coldness and disaffection, and plant a root of bitterness which can
hardly be eradicated.

Let prudence, therefore, be your pole-star, when you enter the married
state. Watch with the greatest circumspection over yourself; and always
exercise the tenderest affection, the most unwearied patience, and the
most cheerful acquiescence in the treatment of your companion. Guard
especially against being affected by those little inattentions and
foibles, which too often give pain and umbrage without design; and
produce those remonstrances, criminations, and retorts, which are the
great inlets of strife, and bane of love.

You must bear with calmness, every thing that the sincerest desire of
peace can dictate; and studiously avoid every expression, and even look,
which may irritate and offend. Your own happiness, you will consider so
intimately connected with that of your husband, as to be inseparable;
and consequently, that all your hopes of comfort in this life, and
perhaps too, in the next, depend upon your conducting with propriety and
wisdom towards him.

I take the liberty, through you, to convey my congratulations to Mrs.
Farmington. May her change of condition be happy, to the full extent of
our most sanguine expectations, and benevolent wishes. I fully intended
writing her on the subject, but having unwarily bestowed so much time
upon you, that for the present, I must forego the pleasure. Some things
in this letter, which you will doubtless communicate, are applicable to
her case. These she will receive as friendly hints from me; and I am
confident that her known discretion will continue to shed a benign and
engaging influence upon her whole deportment and render her uniformly
respected and beloved.

The bearer is waiting, and I can only add, that I remain your sincere
and affectionate friend.

                                                          MARY WILLIAMS.


                      _To Miss_ CLEORA PARTRIDGE.

                                                                 BOSTON.

 DEAR CLEORA,

The pleasing hope with which you inspired me, when we parted last, of
receiving a visit from you in town, has been constantly cherished. I
have anticipated your arrival with the utmost impatience; but have
endeavored, notwithstanding, to beguile the slow-paced hours by a useful
and pleasing occupation; the revision of my geographical studies.

My papa has kindly procured me Doctor Morse’s last and much improved
edition of Universal Geography, which with the assistance of a pair of
globes he possessed, has afforded me the most delightful entertainment.
When at school, I thought this the most agreeable study allotted me;
never deeming it a task, but an amusement.

It affords me, as it must every true American, the sincerest pleasure to
be furnished with the means of acquiring this favorite science, by my
own countryman; and the spirit of Columbian independence exults in my
bosom, at the idea of being able to gain an accurate acquaintance with
my own and other countries, without recourse to the labors of
foreigners.

I think the present generation are under special obligations to the
active industry of Dr. Morse, in providing us with that necessary and
rich fund of information, which his Geography and Gazeteer contain. From
these sources we may derive a sufficient knowledge of the world we
inhabit, without departing from our domestic sphere.

Come then, my dear Cleora, and without fatigue or expense, we will make
the tour of the globe together. After investigating the local situation
of different and distant climes, we will turn to the historic page, and
examine the manners, government, character and improvements of their
inhabitants. We will traverse the frozen wastes of the frigid zones, and
the burning sands of the equatorial region; then return and bless the
temperate and happy medium in which we are placed; and casting an eye
around, exult in our peculiar advantages of soil and situation, peace
and good government, virtue and religion.

The fine mornings of this season afford many delightful hours, before
the heat of the day relaxes the mind and enervates the body. Come, then,
enjoy and improve these, in concert with your faithful and affectionate
friend,

                                                       JULIA GREENFIELD.


                      _To Miss_ MATILDA FIELDING.

                                                          HARMONY-GROVE.

 DEAR MATILDA,

Last Thursday, after having concluded the usual occupations and
sedentary amusements of the day, I walked out, towards evening, to enjoy
the benefit of a cool and fragrant air, and the serenity and beauty of
those rural scenes which have a powerful tendency to soothe and
tranquillize the mind. When I had rambled in the fields to a
considerable distance, I crossed into the road, to return home free from
the inconvenience of the dew, which had begun to fall.

I had not proceeded far, when I observed a female, who had the
appearance of youth and misfortune, sitting by the wall in a pensive
attitude, with an infant in her lap. When I approached her, she arose,
and in the most humble and pathetic accents, besought me to direct her
to some shelter, where she might repose her weary limbs for the night.
The aspect and language of distress awakened my compassion. To know she
really needed charity, was a sufficient inducement with me to bestow it,
without scrupulously inquiring whether she deserved it or not. I
therefore told her to follow me, and I would conduct her to a lodging.

As we walked on, I questioned her respecting the place of her nativity,
her parentage, and the reason of her being reduced to the situation in
which I had found her. She informed me that she was born in Ireland:
that her parents brought her into this country before her remembrance;
that while she was very young, they both died, and left her to the
protection and mercy of strangers; that she was bandied one from
another, in the village where Providence had cast her lot, till she was
able to earn her own living: “and since that time,” said she, “I believe
the character of an honest and industrious girl will not be refused me.”
How then, said I, came you by this incumbrance? pointing to the child.
“In that,” replied she, “I am very guilty. Brought up in ignorance of
those principles of decency, virtue, and religion, which have kept you
innocent, Madam, I was ruined by a deceitful man, who, under the mask of
love, and with the most solemn promises of marriage, betrayed my
confidence, and left me to reap the bitter fruits of my credulity. The
woman where I lived, when she discovered my situation, ordered me to
leave her house immediately. It was no matter, said she, how much I
suffered, or what became of me. On my own head, she told me, my iniquity
should fall; she would not lighten the burden, if it were in her power.

“Some of the neighbors informed me, that she had reason to be severe
upon my fault, being once in the same condemnation herself.

“Having no friend who could assist me, I applied to the selectmen of the
town, who provided for me till I was able to work, and then told me I
must shift for myself; offering, however, to keep the child, which I
refused, being determined that it should never suffer for want of a
mother’s care, while I had life.

“I am now wandering in pursuit of employment, that the labor of my hands
may support myself and little one. This has been often denied me, either
for fear my child should be troublesome, or because my character was
suspected. I have sometimes suffered so much from fatigue and want, that
I have despaired of relief, and heartily wished both myself and babe in
the grave.”

On examination, I found her knowledge confined entirely to domestic
drudgery; that she had never been taught either to read or write. She
appears, notwithstanding, to have good natural sense; and a quickness of
apprehension, and readiness of expression, seldom equalled in her sphere
of life.

I conducted her into the kitchen, and desired she might have supper and
a bed provided for her. My mamma, whose benevolent heart and liberal
hand are always ready to relieve the necessitous, was pleased to approve
my conduct; and having kept her through the next day, and observed her
disposition and behaviour, hired her as a servant; and we have reason to
believe, from her apparent fidelity and grateful exertions, that our
kindness will be well repaid. I have even extended my charity further,
and undertaken to teach her to read. She is very tractable; and I expect
to be amply rewarded for my labor, by her improvements.

Indeed, Matilda, it is melancholy to see our fellow-creatures reared up,
like the brute creation; neither instructed how to live above their
animal appetites, nor how to die as Christians, when they have finished
their toilsome career!

This girl is only seventeen. Her age, therefore, as well as her docility
and submissiveness, encourage the pleasing hope of restoring her to the
paths of rectitude and peace. I shall endeavor, as opportunity offers,
to instil into her susceptible mind, the principles of virtue and
religion; and, perhaps, I may lead her to the love and practice of both,
and render her a useful member of society. Her fate impresses more
forcibly than ever, on my mind, the importance of a good education, and
the obligations it confers. Had you or I been subjected to the same
ignorance, and the same temptations, who can say that we should have
conducted better? How many fall for want of the directing hand of that
parental love and friendship, with which we are blessed! Contrasting our
situation with hers, how much have we to account for, and how
inexcusable shall we be, if we violate our duty, and forfeit our
dignity, as reasonable creatures.

That extreme bitterness and acrimony, which is sometimes indulged
against persons who are unhappily seduced from the way of virtue, may
operate as a discouragement to all designs and endeavors to regain it;
whereas, the soothing voice of forgiveness, and the consequent prospect
of being restored to reputation and usefulness, might rouse the
attention, and call forth the exertions of some, at least, who through
despair of retrieving their characters, abandon themselves to vice, and
adopt a course, alike disgraceful to their sex, and to human nature.

But though I advocate the principles of philanthropy and Christian
charity, as extending to some very special cases, I am far from
supposing this fault generally capable of the least extenuation.
Whatever allowance may be made for those, whose ignorance occasions
their ruin, no excuse can be offered for others, whose education, and
opportunities for knowing the world and themselves, have taught them a
better lesson.

I need not, however, be at the pains to enforce this truth upon you:
and, as my head is so full of the subject, that I have no disposition to
write upon any thing else, I will put an end to this incoherent scroll,
by annexing the name of your sincere and faithful friend,

                                                         MARIA WILLIAMS.


                     _To Miss_ CAROLINE LITTLETON.

                                                                 BOSTON.

 DEAR CAROLINE,

Happening to be in my chamber, this morning, the maid came running up
stairs in such violent haste, as to put herself fairly out of breath.
Will you be so kind, Miss Sophia, said she, as to lend me a quarter of a
dollar? I put my hand into my pocket, and found I had no small change. I
have nothing less than a dollar, Susan, said I; but if it is a matter of
consequence to you, I will go to my mamma, and procure it for you. She
was loath to give me that trouble; but, if I would, it would really
oblige her very much indeed. Her solicitude excited my curiosity. Will
you inform me what you want it for? said I. O yes; she believed it was
no harm—But there was a woman in the wood-house who told fortunes; and
she wished to know hers, but could not without the money. A woman who
tells fortunes! said I. What fortunes? the past or the future? The
future, to be sure, Ma’am, replied she. Ay, how does she know them? said
I. Has she been let into the secret designs of Providence? or can she
divine the mysteries of fate? She tells fortunes by cards, Ma’am, said
she; and I really believe she tells true. Can you imagine, said I, that
a knowledge of your destiny in life, is to be gained from any possible
arrangement of a pack of cards? Why not Ma’am? Many people have been
told exactly what was to happen. You may depend on it, Susan, said I,
you are deceived. The Almighty who disposes all events according to his
sovereign pleasure, does not unveil futurity to mortals, especially to
such mortals, who by an idle, vicious course of life, counteract his
laws, and disregard his authority. I would willingly give you the money,
twice told, if you needed it; but I cannot consent to your being imposed
on by this worthless vagrant, who has no other design than to pick your
pocket.

The girl departed at these words; and though I felt an emotion of regret
at refusing to gratify her, yet my reason and conscience forbad my being
accessary to the fraud.

This curiosity to explore the hidden counsels of the Most High, prevails
not only among servants, but even many from whom better things might be
expected, are under its infatuating influence.

The Supreme Being has, for wise and benevolent reasons, concealed from
us the future incidents of our lives. A humble reliance on his power and
goodness, accompanied with a cheerful submission to the dispensations of
his providence, is what the Lord our God requireth of us.

I have heard my mamma relate an anecdote of a particular friend of hers,
who was imposed on very seriously in this way.

A gentleman, whom I shall call Sylvander, was very deeply in love with
her; but his person, and, much more, his disposition and manners, were
extremely disgusting to her. Averse to the very idea of a connexion with
him, she accordingly refused his addresses. Yet he had art sufficient to
interest her friends in his behalf; who, pitying his situation,
endeavored to soften the heart of the obdurate fair. But in vain they
strove to conciliate her affections.

In defiance of all opposition, however, he intruded his visits, till she
reluctantly admitted them; and being somewhat coquetish, she at times
received him more benignly; which flattered his hopes of ultimately
accomplishing his wishes. Finding his ardent suit of but little avail,
and perceiving that he made but small progress towards gaining her
favor, he had recourse to art. Surprising her one day in close
confabulation with a fortune-teller, the idea immediately struck him,
that he might effect, through this mean, what all his assiduity and
solicitations could never insure. He communicated his plan to a female
friend, who was equally the confident of both parties. Directed by him,
she conversed with Sylvia on the subject; professed her belief in the
skill of these jugglers; and appeared desirous of taking this measure to
learn her fate. Sylvia joined in her opinion and wishes; and away they
tripped together on the important errand. Meanwhile, Sylvander had been
to the fellow who was to reveal their destinies? and, bribing him to
favor the design, left him instructed what answers to make to their
interrogations.

They arrived and proposed their business. The mediums of information, a
pack of cards, were brought forth, and mysteriously arranged. Sylvia’s
curiosity was on tip-toe. She listened with profound attention to his
oracular wisdom; and believed him really inspired when he told her that
her former lover, for-whom she had a great regard, was gone to a foreign
country. This she knew to be true and therefore gave him a full
credence, when he added, that he would never live to return; and when he
proceeded still further to observe that another gentleman of great merit
now courted her; that she was not fond of his addresses, but would soon
see his worth and her own error, and give him her hand, and be happy.

In short, he so artfully blended the past and present, which she knew,
with the future which Sylvander wished, and had therefore dictated, that
she was firmly persuaded that he dealt with some invisible power, and
that fate had indeed predestined her to the arms of Sylvander. Convinced
of this, she attended to his overtures more placidly, contemplated his
person and endowments with less aversion, and endeavored to reconcile
herself to the unavoidable event.

This she effected; and not long after, he obtained her in marriage, and
triumphed in the success of his duplicity.

In process of time her other lover returned. Disappointment and despair
presided in his breast. He saw Sylvia, upbraided her with her
inconstancy, and declared himself utterly ruined. Pity and returning
love operated in her mind, and rendered her completely wretched. She
most severely condemned her own folly, in listening to the dictates of a
misguided curiosity; and acknowledged herself justly punished, for
presuming to pry in the secret designs of Heaven.

These strolling pretenders to foreknowledge are peculiarly dangerous to
the weak-minded and credulous part of the community; and how it happens
that they are encouraged, is to me inconceivable. Did they actually give
the information they promise, how much reason should we have to avoid
them! How many sources of grief would be opened, by the anticipation of
future evils, of which now we have no apprehension! and how often should
we be deprived of the consolatory hope of a speedy deliverance from
present sufferings.

With every sentiment of respect and affection, I am most sincerely
yours.

                                                      SOPHIA MANCHESTER.


                        _To Miss_ ANNA WILLIAMS.

                                                                 BOSTON.

 DEAR ANNA,

A most melancholy and distressing event has spread a gloom over the face
of the metropolis. Every heart heaves the sympathetic sigh, and every
eye drops the tear of regret. The very sudden death of Doctor Clarke,
who was seized with an apoplectic fit, in the midst of his sermon,
yesterday afternoon, and expired this morning, is a subject of universal
lamentation.

Not only we, who had the happiness to sit under his ministry, and to
enjoy his particular friendship and attention, but the whole town; and,
indeed, the public at large have sustained a great loss in his
departure. Amiable in his disposition, engaging in his manners, and
benevolent in his whole deportment, he conciliated the affections of
every class. His talents as a scholar, philosopher, and divine,
commanded the respect of the most judicious and learned; while the
elegance, perspicuity and delicacy of his style, joined with the
undissembled seriousness of his manner, rendered him uniformly
acceptable to the devout. In every condition and relation of life, he
was exemplary as a Christian; and as a preacher, an air of persuasion
invariably accompanied him, which arrested the attention of the most
heedless auditors.

             ——“By him, in strains as sweet
             As angels use, the gospel whisper’d peace.
             Grave, simple and sincere: in language plain:
             And plain in manner. Decent, solemn, chaste
             And natural in gesture. Much impress’d
             Himself as conscious of his awful charge,
             And anxious mainly that the flock he fed
             Might feel it too. Affectionate in look,
             And tender in address, as well becomes
             A messenger of grace to guilty men.”

He was particularly attractive to young people. While he charmed their
ear, he convinced their understanding and excited them to the love and
practice of virtue.

A striking example of this occurred some years ago, which I will take
the liberty to relate. He preached in a neighboring church on these
words, “She that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.”[7] In
this discourse he painted those allurements of pleasure which surround
the young and gay; more especially of our sex, in the most just and
lively colours. He represented, in pathetic, engaging and refined
language, the snares to which they are exposed, and the most probable
means of escaping them. He exhibited with all their attractions, the
native charms of virtue, and portrayed vice in its true deformity. He
described in the most animating terms, the respectability, usefulness,
and happiness of those who undeviatingly adhere to the path of rectitude
and innocence; and with the most energetic and affectionate tenderness,
warned the youth to avoid the devious walks of vice and dissipation.

Footnote 7:

  1 Timothy, v. 6.

A number of young ladies, who had been his hearers, happening to be
together in the evening, united in the wish to express their gratitude
to him; but not having a personal acquaintance with him, could devise no
better method than writing.

The following anonymous letter was accordingly penned by one of the
company, and privately conveyed to the Doctor, at the request of all.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                                                                 BOSTON.

 “REVEREND SIR,

“The well known candour of your disposition, and your apparent zeal for
the promotion of religion and virtue, embolden us to flatter ourselves
that you will pardon this method of conveying to you our sincere and
united thanks for your very seasonable, judicious, and useful discourse,
delivered last Sunday morning, at our meeting.

“It is much to be lamented, that the depravity of the age is such, as to
render sermons of this nature just and necessary; and it is almost
matter of equal regret, that we have so seldom opportunities of being
benefitted by them.

“That we oftener hear than receive instruction, is a truth which can
neither be denied or evaded; and can only be accounted for, by that
passionate fondness for pleasure, which prevails to such a degree of
enthusiasm, as to precipitate its votaries into whatever presents itself
under this deluding aspect, without considering whether it be durable or
fleeting.

“It is certainly a most humiliating reflection, that our sex (which is
the female) should ever take more pains to gain the qualifications of
agreeable triflers than of rational friends; or be more anxious to
become amusing, than useful companions. But sir, does not such conduct
in ladies too often receive the most flattering encouragement from the
gentlemen? How seldom is intrinsic merit distinguished; and the serious,
prudent female preferred even by those who style themselves men of sense
and penetration, to the airy, flaunting coquette!

“The constant attention which is paid to those who make the gayest
appearance, and the applause which is lavished upon her who has the
largest portion of external graces and fashionable embellishments,
induce many who entertain the good natured desire of pleasing to bestow
more of their time and care on the cultivation of those superficial
accomplishments, which they find necessary to render them acceptable to
most circles in which they fall, than upon the acquisition of those
substantial virtues which they daily see neglected and ridiculed; though
at the same time, perhaps they are convinced of the superior
satisfaction which the latter would afford.

“But it is needless for one sex to criminate the other. We allow, that,
generally speaking, they are equally to blame. In this instance,
however, as the male assume the prerogative of superior judgment and
intellectual abilities, they ought to prove the justice of their claim
by setting nobler examples, and by endeavoring to reform whatever tends
to vitiate the taste and corrupt the morals of society.

“Yet, after all, the evil cannot be effectually remedied, but by the
concurrent exertions of both; and we are humbly of opinion, that if this
reformation were more frequently inculcated from the pulpit, in the
delicate, engaging and pious manner of the discourse which now excites
our gratitude to you, and our resolutions to conduct accordingly, it
would be efficacious in bringing about so desirable an event.

“We entreat your pardon, Reverend Sir, for the freedom, prolixity, and
errors of this epistle.

“Though personally unknown to you, we doubt not you will readily grant
it, when we assure you, that we are actuated by a sincere regard to the
interests of religion and morality, and by a grateful sense of your
exertions in the glorious cause.

“The united sentiments of a number of young ladies, who heard and
admired your sermon, last Sunday morning, are expressed above.

Rev. JOHN CLARKE.”

It is much to be regretted that Doctor Clarke did not publish more of
his literary labours.

The universal approbation bestowed upon those, which he suffered to see
the light, is an unequivocal evidence of his merit, as an author. His
“Letters to a Student in the University of Cambridge,” are written in a
most pleasing style, and contain instruction and advice of which no
person in pursuit of a public education ought to be ignorant. His
“Answer to the question, Why are you a Christian?” which has already had
three editions in Boston, and three in England, is one of the best
compendiums of the external and internal evidences of our holy religion,
extant. It is plain and intelligible to the lowest capacity and may
enable every one, without much study, to give a reason for the hope that
is in him.

From these specimens we may form an opinion of what the world has lost
by his early exit.

I shall make no other apology for the length of this letter, than the
interest which I feel in the subject; and this, I am persuaded, you will
deem sufficient.

My affectionate regards wait on your mamma and sister, while I subscribe
myself yours most sincerely,

                                                       JULIA GREENFIELD.


                      _To Miss_ CLEORA PARTRIDGE.

                                                                BEVERLY.

 DEAR CLEORA,

The shortness of time is a very common subject of complaint; but I think
the misuse of it, a much more just one. Its value is certainly
underrated by those who indulge themselves in morning sloth.

Sweet, indeed, is the breath of morn; and after the body has been
refreshed by the restoring power of sleep, it is peculiarly prepared to
procure and participate the pleasures of the mind. The jarring passions
are then composed, and the calm operations of reason succeed of course;
while

              “———————————Gentle gales,
              Fanning their odoriferous wings, dispense
              Native perfumes, and whisper when they stole
              These balmy spoils.”

The morning is undoubtedly a season, of all others, most favorable to
useful exertions. Those, therefore, who lose three or four hours of it,
in slumbering inaction, make a voluntary sacrifice of the best part of
their existence. I rose to-day, not with the sun, but with the dawn; and
after taking a few turns in the garden, retired to the summer-house.
This you know is a favorite hour with me.

             “To me be nature’s volume broad display’d;
             And to peruse its all-instructing page,
             Or, haply catching inspiration thence,
             Some easy passage raptur’d to translate,
             My sole delight; as thro’ the falling glooms,
             Pensive I stray, or with the rising dawn
             On fancy’s eagle wing excursive soar.”

Having a memorandum book and pencil in my pocket, I descend from the
lofty heights to which the immortal bard, my beloved Thompson, had
insensibly raised my imagination, to the humble strains of simple rhyme,
in order to communicate my sensations to you. These I enclose, without
attempting to tell you, either in prose or verse, how affectionately I
am yours.

                                                       MATILDA FIELDING.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                  The morning dawns, the russet grey
                Slowly avoids the opening day:
                Receding from the gazing eye,
                The misty shades of twilight fly.
                The ruddy streaks of light appear,
                To guide our western hemisphere;
                While tuneful choirs responsive join
                To praise the gracious Pow’r Divine,
                Whose mighty hand with sov’reign sway,
                Restores, alternate, night and day.

                  Hail, opening morn! thy sober rays
                Demand the contemplative gaze:
                Unnumber’d beauties please the sight,
                And give the mental eye delight.

                  O dawn! thy sombre shades I love!
                With thee in solitude I’ll rove:
                While health expansive gives the mind
                To taste thy pleasures unconfin’d.

                  Here free from fashion’s artful forms,
                Benevolence the bosom warms:
                Persuasive virtue charms the soul,
                And reason’s laws alone control.

                  Let others, lost in sloth forego
                The joys thy early hours bestow:
                Thy zephyrs far more sweets dispense,
                Than Somnus yield to drowsy sense!

                  Mild as the beams of radiance shine,
                May piety my powers refine:
                Pure as the mimic pearls, that spread
                Their liquid beauties o’er the mead:
                And like yon rising orb of day,
                May wisdom guide my dubious way.


                      _To Miss_ MATILDA FIELDING.

                                                          HARMONY-GROVE.

 DEAR MATILDA,

I was last week at Boston; and having occasion for a new hat, stepped
into a milliner’s shop to inquire the mode. The milliner replied that it
was not yet in her power to answer my question. “The spring ships,” said
she, “are later than common; but their arrival is hourly expected, when
we shall be furnished with memorandum books which will ascertain and
determine the fashion for the season.” What she meant by memorandum
books, I could not conceive. I had always supposed them blanks, designed
for noting whatever occurred without inconvenience. Unwilling, however,
to be thought a simple country girl, totally unacquainted with the
world, I sought no explanation from her; but repaired to a particular
friend for instruction; from whom I learned that the chief value of
these same memorandum books consists in their containing imported cuts
of ladies’ headdresses, hats and other habiliments, which are always
sure to be admired and imitated, as the perfection of taste and
propriety.

This discovery mortified me exceedingly. It justified, beyond any thing
which I had ever suspected to exist as a fact, what I once heard a
European assert, “that Americans had neither character nor opinion of
their own.”

With due deference to those better judges, who despise the simplicity of
our ancestors, and labor to introduce the corrupt manners and customs of
the old world into our country, I cannot but think it extremely
ridiculous for an independent nation, which discards all foreign
influence, glories in its freedom, and boasts of its genius and taste,
servilely to ape exotic fashions, even in articles of dress and fanciful
ornaments.

Have not the daughters of Columbia sufficient powers of invention to
decorate themselves? Must we depend upon the winds and waves for the
form, as well as the materials of our garb? Why may we not follow our
own inclination; and not be deemed finical or prudish in our appearance,
merely because our habit is not exactly correspondent with the pretty
pictures in the memorandum books, last imported.

It is sincerely to be regretted that this subject is viewed in so
important a light. It occupies too much of the time, and engrosses too
much of the conversation of our sex. For one, I have serious thoughts of
declaring independence.

                                                          ANNA WILLIAMS.


                     _To Miss_ CAROLINE LITTLETON.

                    (_On the Death of her Mother._)

                                                          HARMONY-GROVE.

 MY DEAR CAROLINE,

To tell you that I am sorry for your loss, or that I sympathize in your
affliction, would be but the language you daily hear; and often perhaps,
from the unfeeling and indifferent. But you will do me the justice to
believe, that I take a particular interest in your concerns, and really
share your grief. A holy Providence has wounded you by a stroke, which
is extremely painful and severe. Your best friend is shrouded in the
grave. In the maternal breast our fondest affections, and most
unsuspecting confidence have hitherto concentrated; and who can provide
you with an equivalent substitute? To the Almighty Father and Friend of
creation, it becomes you to repair for comfort and support.

The dying advice and counsel of your dear mamma, which you inform me,
were pathetic, instructive and consolatory, will be a guide to your
feet. Often realize the solemn scene, and remember, that, “though dead,
she yet speaketh.”

You have great cause of thankfulness, that she was spared to direct you
so far through the intricate and dangerous path of youth; to complete
your education; to teach you, by her example, how to acquit yourself
with usefulness and honor; and above all, to furnish you with that
important knowledge, to which every thing else should be made
subservient—how to die.

An era of your life has now commenced, which is no less important than
affecting. That assisting hand which formerly led you is now cold and
lifeless! Those lips, from which you have been accustomed to receive
information and advice, are sealed in perpetual silence! And that heart,
which always glowed with the warmest solicitude for your happiness has
ceased to palpitate.

You must now think and act for yourself. As the eldest daughter, you
will be placed at the head of your father’s family. You must, therefore,
adopt a plan of conduct, conducive to its harmony, regularity and
interest.

Filial duty to your surviving parent, more tenderly inculcated by your
participation of his heavy bereavement, will lead you to consult his
inclination, and sedulously contribute all in your power to lighten the
burden of domestic arrangements devolved upon him. While he laments the
death of a prudent, affectionate, and beloved wife, give him reason to
rejoice that he is blessed with a daughter, capable of soothing the
pains, alleviating the cares, and heightening the enjoyments of his
life.

Your brothers and sisters will look up to you as the guide of their
tender years. While their weeping eyes and pathetic accents are directed
towards you, let kindness, discretion, and patience, characterize your
deportment, and engage their confidence and love.

Having mentioned your duty to others, I cannot dismiss the subject
without dropping a few hints for your direction, in regard to your
personal behaviour.

A very important charge is committed to you, as well in the duties which
you owe to yourself, as in the superintendence of your father’s family.

The sovereign disposer of all things has, at an early age, made you, in
a measure, your own guardian. Your father’s business calls him much
abroad. With you, therefore, he is obliged to entrust, not only his
domestic concerns; but, what is still more dear to his heart, the care
of your own person and mind; of your own reputation and happiness.

Circumstanced as you are, company has the most powerful charms. Yours is
now the prerogative of receiving and returning visits in your own name.
At home, you are sole mistress of ceremonies. This is extremely alluring
to the sprightly fancy of youth. But time, you will remember, is too
important a blessing to be sacrificed to a promiscuous crowd of
unimproving companions. Besides, the character of a young lady will
necessarily be sullied by the imputation of being constantly engaged in
parties of pleasure, and exhilarating amusement. Flattery often avails
itself of the unguarded moments of gaiety; and insinuating its insidious
charms into the heedless and susceptible mind, inflates it with pride
and vanity, and produces an affectation and air of self-importance,
which are peculiarly disgusting, because easily distinguished from that
true dignity of manners, which results from conscious rectitude. Genuine
merit is always modest and unassuming; diffident of itself and
respectful to others.

Your father has a right to your unlimited confidence. You will,
therefore, make him your chief friend and counsellor. Though he may not
possess all the winning softness of a mother, he doubtless has as ardent
an affection for you, and as sincere a desire to promote your welfare.
Hence you may safely repose your dearest concerns in his paternal
breast, and receive, with the utmost deference, his kind instruction and
advice. Let his judgment have an entire ascendency over your mind and
actions, especially in your intercourse and society with the other sex.
Consider him as better acquainted with their merit, circumstances, and
views, than you can be; and should you contemplate a connexion for life,
let his opinion determine your choice.

Watch over your dear little sisters with all the tenderness of fraternal
affection; be their protector and friend; instil into their minds the
principles of virtue and religion; arm them against the snares and
temptations by which they will be surrounded; and lead them by your own
conduct, in the way of truth and peace.

When you have leisure and inclination to write, the effusions of your
pen will always be acceptable to your sincere and faithful friend

                                                           MARY WILLIAMS

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES


 1. Added Table of CONTENTS.
 2. Silently corrected typographical errors.
 3. Retained anachronistic and non-standard spellings as printed.
 4. Enclosed italics font in _underscores_.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Boarding School - Lessons of a Preceptress to Her Pupils: Consisting of - Information, Instruction and Advice, Calculated to Improve - the Manners and Form the Character of Young Ladies. to - Which Is Added, a Collection of Letters, Written by the - Pupils to Their Instructress, Their Friends, and Each Other." ***

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