Page images

of knowledge, you should happen to feel that dis. taste for it which is too common in young ladies who have been indulged in reading only works of mere amusement, you will perhaps rather think that I want mercy in offering you so large & plan, thao that there needs an apology for the deficiencies of it:. but, comfort yourself with the assurance that a taste for history will grow and improve by reading : that as you get acquainted with one period or na. tion, your curiosity cannot fail to be awakened for what concerns those iminediately connected with it; and thus, you will insensibly be led on from one degree of knowledge to another.

If you waste in trivial amusement the next three or four years of your life, which are the prime season of improvement, believe me you will hereafter bitterly regret their loss; when you come to feel yourself inferior iu knowledge to almost every one you converse with;-and, above all, if you should ever be a mother, when you feel your own inability to direct and assist the pursuits of your children, you will then find ignorance a severe mortification, and a real evil. Let this, my dear, animate your industry: and let not a modest opinion of your own capacity be a discouragement to your endeavours after knowledge; a moderate understanding, with diligent and well-directed application, will go much farther than a more lively genius, if attended with that impatience and inattention, which too often accompanies quick parts. It is not from want of capacity that so many women are such trilling insipid companions,--so ill qualified for the friendship and conversation of a sensible man,--or for the task of goveroing and instructing a family ; it is much oftener from the neglect of exercising the talents which they really have, and from omitting to cultivate a taste for intellectual in. provement: by this neglect they lose the sin. cerest of pleasures; a pleasure which would remain when almost every other forsakes them, which geither fortune por age can deprive them of,

which I have recomt
wise subservient to th
knowledge, when it is
principles I have estat
valuable ends; the ha
you,—the nobler kind
will qualify you,-and
candid and liberal wa
advantages. I might
formed in the various
kind, and the influenc
happiness, will enbrace
will more steadily ad!
Virtue and Religion wh
approve, in proportion a

Maythose delightful ho
animated my heart, wl
I have endeavoured to a

-and which would be a comfort and resource in most every possible situation of life. If I can but inspire you, my dear child, with e desire of making the most of your time and ilities, my end is answered: the means of know. dge will easily be found by those who diligently ek them; and they will find their labours abun. antly rewarded. And now, my dear, I think it is tinie to finish is long correspondence; which, though in some rts it may have been tedious to you, will not, I ope, be found entirely useless iu any. I have ed before you all that my maturest reflections uld enable me to suggest, for the directiou of -ur conduct through lite. My love for you, iny arest child, extends its views beyond this frail d transitory existence: it considers you as a ndidate for immortality,--as entering the lists for e prize of your high calling,--as contending for a own of unfading glory. It sees, with anxious

icitude, the dangers that surround you, and the erlasting shame that must follow, if you do not ert all your strength in the condict. Religion Prefore has been the basis of my plan; the pribe le to which every other pursuit is ultimately rered. Here then I have endeavoured to guide ar researches: and to assist you in forrning just cions on a subject of such infinite importance, 1

e sliewn you the necessity of regulating your irt and temper, according to the genuine spirit that religion, which I have so earnestly recomi. Hided as the great ruie -of your life. To the de principie I would refer your attention to do. stic duties, and, even that refinement and gance of manners, and all those graces and ac

plishments, which will set your virtues in cest light, and will engage the affection and pect of all who converse with you. Endeared society by these amiable qualities, your ini it will be more exteosive, and your capacity is useful proportionably enlarged. The studies,

that my own experience furnish! With what jo girl shine forth a brigh that is amiable and praia would be the reflection contributed to make he with the affecting thoug adieu the most ardent w If the tender solicitude by this "labour of love" you will always remembe interests the liąppiness of

[ocr errors]

which I have recommended to you, must be likewise subservient to the same views; the pursuit of knowledge, when it is guided and controlled by the principles I have established, will conduce to many valuable ends; the habit of industry, it will give you, the nobler kind of friendships, for which it will qualify you,--and its tendency to promote a candid and liberal way of thinking, are obvious advantages. I might add, that a mind well in. formed in the various pursuits which interest man. kind, and the influence of such pursuits on their happiness, will embrace, with a clearer choice, and will more steadily adhere to, those principles of Virtue and Religion which the judgment must ever approve, in proportion as it becomes enlightened.

May those delightful hopes beanswered which have animated my heart, while with diligent attention I have endeavoured to apply to your advantage ul? that my own experience and best observation could furnish! With what joy should I see my dearest. girl shine forth a bright example of every thing that is amiable and praiseworthy!mand how sweet would be the reflection that I had, in any degree, coutributed to make her so! My heart expands with the affecting thought, and pours forth in this adicu the most ardent wishes for your perfection! If the tender solicitude expressed for your welfaro by this “labour of love" can engage your gratitude, you will always remember how deeply your conduct interests the liappiness of

[ocr errors]

Your most affectionate


End of. Mrs. Chapone's Letters.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]






« PreviousContinue »