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these early lessons of our nature : to repress these delightful springings of the heart

To shut up all the passages of joy :

and to substitute the coldness of educated ceremony for these bursts of genuine feelings. We are taught to repress our generosity, to steel our hearts against the influence of beauty, and to admit friendship and love only where they are compatible with our interest. Interest, that mainspring of human nature, as it is called, at whose shrine all our best feelings are sacrificed, and to which our young hearts are directed in school-days, at college, and through the world, as the only God that should be worshipped.

The whole of our early life seems to be spent in getting rid of nature, and in the acquirement of artifice, till our hearts and minds are no more like that for which they were first intended, than the tree, which some laborious Cincinnatus of a cit has trimmed into the shape of a peacock, is like that which has grown up in all the unconfined and vigotous luxuriance of its native forest.

All the first feelings of our nature in early life become the subjects of punishment or reproof: the buoyancy of our youthful spirit is curbed, because it encroaches on the conventional forms of society. Natural enthusiasm is repressed and shamed with the stigma of eccentricity; and the whole system of our education is an attempt to put the heart in an ice-pail, and to treat it as we do our Champagne, without considering that though coldness may improve the wine, it is certain to deteriorate the man.

All our first lessons of life come upon the heart, as the rude hand upon the leaf of the sensitive plant. It shrinks within itself, ashamed of the feelings which it is thus compelled to bury within its own limits; and finding no outlet for them, they perish, in time, for want of use, as a limb will become contracted, and wither and die for want of exercise.

It is this which gives such a sameness to society. It is this which prevents that individuality of character which made the heroes, the lovers, and the friends of the “ golden age.” All is now conventional form and outward ceremony. Friendships are made or broken as these forms prescribe, and are seldom strong enough to abide the storm of adversity--to stand the test of ridicule-or the influence of etiquette.

Love is no longer the buoyant, pure, and generous pas." sion, that has excited the hearts, which experienced it to the greatest actions to accomplish its gratification ; but is a mere word generally used, only because it is found in the yocabulary of our language with a particular meaning attached to it, as certain law-terms are still in vogue, although the spirit which rendered them necessary has long since expired. Like those who by artificial light put out that of the day; so have we, by borrowed forms and fashions, destroyed the sunlight of our own natural and best feelings :

And Love's and Friendship’s finely-pointed dart
Fall blunted from each indurated heart.

In short, love, friendship, feeling of every kind, are all under the prescriptive rules of society. Young men are educated with the view to making or increasing their fortune by marriage ; and young women, with no other idea than that of forming an establishment. This is, perhaps, more applicable to the latter than to the former ; since the very first lesson a woman receives, is to disguise her real sentiments : this engenders artifice; artifice in time, annihilates the feeling which originally existed ; and instead of the noble, generous nature of woman-for her nature is noble and generous—we have the sophisticated pieces of animated wax-work, which form the aggregate of fernale society : fair and pure to look upon, as the drifted snow, and generally quite as cold.

I appeal to my, female readers, --if they do not throw my book down with indignation at the last sentence, whether they have no recollection of the first budding feelings of their heart being thus repressed by some prim mahogany governess, ---some starched prude who put her conventional notions of propriety upon the first sensibilities of their nature, precisely in the same manner as she put the back-board upon their shoulders, or their feet into the stocks. But what a pity is it, that as their forms swell into the full maturity of beauty, and when the bubbling feelings of the heart ought to grow into generous passion, that these feelings should retrograde under a discipline which withers them into inanity! What a pity, that, as their lovely forms expand, their minds and hearts should contract; that, as they become more capable of bestowing and of receiving enjoyment from their natural feelings, that these feelings should, like their flowing tresses, be subjected to the curling-irons of ceremony! What a pity that love should be taught to be considered as a crime ; that enthusiasm should be proscribed as folly ; and that conventional ceremony, and les choses convenables, should be the only things impressed upon the minds of youthful females, as of consequence to be observed !

What a number of noble creatures are thus spoiled! How many of our best and purest pleasures are thus marred! How many

of the solaces and resources of mankind ruined ! How many generous mothers and affectionate wives perverted; while man is condemned to take a cold creature of ceremony to his arms instead of a woman warm with all the mind and heart and feeling with which nature had endowed her for the purpose of delighting his senses, in health and happiness and soothing his pains and anxieties, in sickness and in sorrow! Enthusiasm seems scouted as much as though it meant, in our acceptation of it, the literal translation of the Greek word, which Voltaire renders by the words émotion d'entrailles : for did it literally mean nothing more, it could not be more avoided than it is at present.

And yet, perhaps, when we look through the world and observe the various arts which the insidious and vicious of the other sex spread around them, this coldness may be deemed necessary as a defence; and mothers and governesses find an excuse for the repression of feeling in the dangers to which it is exposed.

The apology for this is indeed to be found in the coquetry of woman, and in the heartlessness of man.

It has been observed by poetical botanists, that there is not a flower that has not a worm ready to prey upon and destroy its beauties ; and thus it is that a young heart seldom gives way to warm and generous impulses, without finding some one heartless enough to take advantage of these young and inexperienced feelings; and who having excited, too often betrays them by desertion.

A young man goes inexperienced into society-admires some beauty-and, encouraged by her conduct, gives up his whole soul to his first love. The moment, however, he has completed her triumph by a declaration of his passion, he finds that it has been bestowed upon a heartless coquette, who cares not for the pang she has inflicted, and derides the affection she has inspired.

A girl with a warm and feeling heart is sought by some

Roué, whose sole aim is to inspire a passion which it is never his intention to gratify. He does every thing but declare himself. The nature of his attentions—the tone of his voice every thing conveys an indication of his love ; but he keeps just out of that pale, within which he knows if he passes, his explicit purpose must be declared ; and he thus leads on a young heart,“ sick with deferred hope," till he quits it to weep that it should have devoted its earliest, purest, and best feelings to such a worthless coxcomb.

There is, bowever, a medium between the coldness of mere conventional propriety, and the unrepressed exuberance of nature. Let a sound judgment be placed as a sentinel upon the feelings, and they will be more likely to lead to happiness than if totally repressed.

We would have women creatures of nature, as well as of education : we would have their hearts as well as their heads cultivated, and not find them as they now too often áre,— flowers, like those discovered by our late travellers to the North Pole, beautiful to the eye, but enclosed in an icicle, which in metling destroys them.*

* Capt. Lyon's Journal,

CHAPTER I.

A CONTRAST.

girl, so cold and pure,
Sober, steadfast, and demure,
Forget thyself to marble

a daughter fair,
So buxom, blithe, and debonair;
Quips and cranks and wanton wiles,
Nods and becks and wreathed smiles,
Such as hang on Hebe's cheek,
And love to live in dimple sleek.--MILTON.

• For shame! for shame! Agnes, to come. bursting into the room so rudely, and with your hair all hanging about so negligently:—is that like a lady ?” exclaimed Lady Pomeroy, as her niece, a lively dark-eyed girl of about ten years of age, with a profusion of black curls waving in natural ringlets over her dark but clear forehead, came jumping and laughing into the dining parlour, to partake of the dessert, and of a parental kiss after dinner.

"Why do you not imitate your sister Amelia ?-you see she does not come in such a hurry,” pursued the same lady, as her eye turned towards the door with an approving glance at a fine fair-haired girl of eleven, who walked quietly and demurely into the room, and dropping a D'Egville curtsey at her entrance, made the round of the table; turning first one cheek, and then the other, to her parents and her aunt, without the possibility of discomposing either the economy of her own ringlets, or, like her sister, disturbing anybody by her boisterous caresses.

“ Your aunt speaks truly, Agnes,” said her father ; you are growing too old to give way to this childishness, and you will indeed do well to begin to imitate the manners of Amelia.'

The buoyant spirit of the youthful Agnes was, for a moment, checked by the reproof of her aunt, and by the severe

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