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perceived that I was confided in by the parents, I was even once or twice allowed to look in upon them at their studies. The governess, in truth, had no cause to fear inspection. 'Though of a rugged temper, and feelings sufficiently obtuse, she conscientiously fulfilled the duties she had engaged for. She was not the mother of her pupils—she was not pledged to be—but she was their instructress, just, careful, clever. She did not love them-how could she love a dozen fresh-comers every year, whom, at the end of it, she might never see again? But she treated them kindly, and was anxious for their improvement. She did not know their characters how could she, when she never saw them freed from the form her presence imposed? But she managed them upon some broad principle, and instructed them
upon some mechanical system, that, no doubt, suited all tempers and capacities. In short, there was nothing to blame: and when I compared the unfurnished rooms, and uncomfortable meals, the harsh orders and captious replies, the slovenly dress, and not over-cleanly habits, the restraint before the governess, the rudeness in her absence, the rivalry, bitterness, jealousy, and impertinence, that ever will prevail where twenty persons, young or old, are compelled, without their choice, to dwell together in perpetual competition, without the softening intlu. ence of natural affection, early habit, and united interest; when I compared all this with the elegance, the indulgence, the peace, the love, that pervaded the home of these girls, doubtless the fault was mine, that I did not immediately perceive the advantages to be derived from such a change.
Talking with the girls in private, expressly for the purpose, I found how differently each one was affected by the change, according to her different
character. The elder's heart was all at home. Did she like music, drawing, reading? She used to like it when she was at home, but she did not now. Did she like her school-fellows? No-one was ill-natured, another proud, another stupid. Mistrust, suspicion, dislike, feelings she could never in her home have known, were evidently among the lessons she had learned. She should wish never to know any one when she left school but her papa and mamma. The
younger wanted to go home, of course—but she should not like to live always in the country. It would be so mopy to have no companions, and see nothing of the world. Miss P. had asked her to a young ladies' ball; she wished I would ask her mamma to let her go-there could be no harm in going once to see what it was like. Did I think her mamma would let her have a pelisse like Miss B.'s? -the things they had in the country looked so oldfashioned in town! Her governess would not let her go home with Miss F., because they were what she called worldly people; but, for her part, she thought them a great deal more good-natured and pleasant than herself
, who was always talking about religion. I was to be sure to tell her mamma that she liked French now, because she had got above a whole class of ill-natured girls, who used to laugh at her when she came to school; now she could pay them back again. While the one talked only of her discomforts, her wrongs, her dislikes, in a tone of discontent and ill-humour I could not but blame extremely, the other talked of her triumphs, her discoveries, and her new-waked desires, in a way that satisfied me she had learned too much. I doubted if either would be as happy when she went back, as she was before she came. Questioning them about the religious instructions and practices
of the school, they said their governess took a great deal of pains about it, read plenty of prayers and plenty of sermons, and gave them very good things to learn. But it took up a great deal of their time, and was very
tiresome, and most of the girls made a joke of it. The elder had found out there was no real religion but in her father's house-the younger had found out it was much better to keep one's religion to oneself, and not make a fuss about it. With respect to the manners of my young friends, which they had more especially come hither to improve, the one was indifferent, inattentive, and lounging, almost to rudeness; the other was pert, confident, and fantastical; neither bore the smallest resemblance to the elegant simplicity of their mother.
I have told my story. Are all schools alike? Is a school education the only good or the only bad one? Must Christian mothers send their girls away from them? Are children better anywhere than in the best of homes? Was the personal inspection bestowed on Elizabeth Wilson and Mary Thompson not due to their own children?
Cornelia, taking upon her the care of her family, and the education of her children, distinguished herself by her modesty, magnanimity, and maternal affection. Her two sons she brought up with such care, that though they were, without dispute, of the noblest family, and had the best natural dispositions of any of the Romans, yet they seemed to owe their eminent virtues more to their education than to their birth.
In returning with some seriousness to the subject of my last chapter, I must again offer as the reason, that it is a deeply important subject; and though I suppose not that any tale a Listener can tell, or any counsel a writer can offer, will decide the purpose of a mother in the manner of her child's education, they may awaken reflections and feelings in her bo som, that will materially affect her decisions. That all schools are not alike, I will take for granted. There are all the gradations from worst to best that are in other things. Whether a school education is the worst of all possible plans, I will leave to be decided by the wise, when I have related what befell in one of my listening excursions.
I came, no matter how, into a house of strangers. The family were of something higher rank and larger fortune than the one before described. Elegance and fashion, combined, as in modern times they are, with every imaginable comfort and convenience, were the prevailing character of the establishment,
and wealth and rank were adorned in it with much that is beautiful; in a worldly point of view, I say, I saw nothing otherwise. Mr. B. was engaged all day in an office of public trust, but not exclusively of the claims of humanity; for he was the first in liberality, and the first in activity, wherever good was to be done. Mrs. B. was certainly not much at home, and when at home was much engaged in company; yet I saw her very attentive to such domestic duties as became her station, and even more than sometimes belongs to it. I heard her household orders given with great exactness and regularity. I accompanied her to the dressmaker's, and the shoemaker's, and various other makers, to provide what was necessary for her family, especially for her children, who seemed to be always first in her thoughts on these occasions. I saw her often employed in preparing comforts for the poor, and entering into minute details of charitable exertion. Altogether she was a very elegant, refined, and amiable woman. Half her day was passed as above described, the other half in paying or receiving visits the evening and half the night in company abroad or company at home, and the remainder, I suppose, in sleep.
I was not ignorant of the existence of children in this house; for besides the frequent mention of them by the mother, I saw at least a dozen pour into the room after dinner, dressed very elegantly, to be flattered, admired, and crammed; but was much concerned to know where they existed during the intervals of this periodical swarming. Mrs. B. was quite willing to satisfy my curiosity. She had built a nursery and a school-room in a distant part of the house, that the children might not be disturbed by the late hours of the family: she had nurses in one, and governesses in the other, the best that could be