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and respect formerly paid by the gentlemen to the ladies. Their drawing-rooms are deserted; and after dinner and supper, the gentlemen are impatient till they retire. How they came to lose this respect, which nature and politeness so well entitle them to, I shall not here particularly enquire, The revolutions of manners in any country depend on causes very various and complicated. I shall only observe, that the behaviour of the ladies in the last age, was very reserved and stately. It would now be reckoned ridiculously stiff and formal. Whatever it was, it had certainly the effect of making them more respected.
A fine woman, like other fine things in nature, has her proper point of view, from which she may be seen to most advantage. To fix this point, re. quires great judginent, and an intimate knowledge of the human heart.-By the present mode of female manners, the ladies seem to expect that they shall regain their ascendancy over us, by the fullest display of their personal charms; by being always in our eye at public places: by conversing with us with the same unreserved freedom as we do with one another; in short, by resembling us as nearly as they possibly can.-But a little time and experience will show the folly of this expectation and conduct.
The power of a fine woman over the hearts of men of men of the finest parts, is even beyond what she conceives. They are sensible of the pleasing illusion; but they cannot, nor do they wish to dissolve it. But if she is deterinined to dispel the charm, it certainly is in her power: she may soon reduce the angel to a very ordinary girl.
There is a native (lignity in ingenuous modesty to be cxpected in your sex, which is your natural protection from the familiarities of the men, and which you should feel previous to the reflection that it is your interest to keep yourselves sacred from all personal freedoms. The many nameless charms and endearments of beauty should be re.
TVERY period of
serred to bless the arms of the happy man to whom you give your heart; but who, if he has the least delicacy, will despise them, if he knows that they have been prostituted to fiity men before him.-The sentiment, that a woman may allow all innocent freedoms, provided ber virtue is secure, is both grossly indelicate and dangerous, and has proved fatal to many of your sex.
Let me now recommend to your attention that clegance, which is not so much a quality itself, as the high polish of every other. It is wiat diffuses an ineffable grace over every look, every motion, every sentence you utter. It gives that charm to beauty, without which it generally fails to please. It is partly a personal quality; in which respect, it is the gift of nature: but I speak of it princi. pally as a quality of the mind. In a word, it is the perfection of taste in life and inanners:---every virtue and every excellency in their most graceful and amiable forms.
You may perhaps think that I want to throw every spark of nature out of your composition, and 10 make you entirely artificial. Far from it: I wish you to possess the most perfect simplicity of heart and manners. I think you may possess dignity without pride, affability without neapness, and simple elegance without affectation.--Milton had my idea, when lie says of Eve,
natural and prop
I would particularly
Grace was in all her steps, Heaven in her eye.
This will give vigourt
An attention to your
But, though good heal
VERY period of life has amusements which are
natural and proper to it. You may indulge tlie variety of your tastes in these, while you keep within the bounds of that propriety which is suitable to your sex.
Some ainusements are conducive to healtlı; as various kinds of exercise: some are connected with qualities really useful; as difierent kinds of women's work, and all the domestic concerns of a family: some are elegant accomplishments; as dress, dan. cing, music, and drawing. Such books as improve your understanding, enlarge your knowledge, and cultivate your taste, may be considered in a higher point of view than mere amusements; there are a variety of others, which are neither soful nor orua. mental; such as plays of different kinds.
I would particularly recommend to you those exercises that oblige you to be much abroad in the open air; such as walking, and riding on horseback. This will give vigour to your constitutions, and a bloom to your complexions. If you accustom yourselves to go abroad always in chaing and carriages, you will soon become so enervated, as to be unable to go out of doors without thein. They are, like most articles of luxury, useful and agreeable when judiciously used; but when made habitual, they be. come both insipid aud pernicious.
An attention to your health is a duty you owe to yourselves and to your friends. Bad health seldom fails to have an influence on the spirits and temper. The fiuest geniuses, llle nost delicate minas, have very frequently a correspondent delicacy of bodily constitution, which they are too apt to neglect. Their luxury lies in reading and late hours, equal enemies to health and beauty. .
But, though good health be one of the greatest
blessings of life, never make a boast of it; but enjoy it in grateful silence. We so naturally associate the idea of female softness and delicacy with a correspondent delicacy of constitution, that, when a woman speaks of her great strength, her extraordi. nary appetite, her ability to bear excessive fatigue, we recoil at the description, in a way she is little aware of,
The iutention of your being taught needle-work, knitting, and such like, is not on account of the in. trinsic value of all you can do with your hands. which is trifling; but to enable you to judge more perfectly of that kind of work, and to direct the execution of it in others. Another principal eud is to enable you to fill up, in a tolerably agreeable way, some of the many solitary hours you must ne. cessarily pass at home. It is a great article in the happiness of life, to bave your pleasures as inde. pendent of others as possible. By continually gadding abroad in search of amusement, you lose the respect of all your acquaintances, whom you oppress with those visits, which, by a more discreet mapagement, might have been courted.
The domestic economy of a family is entirely a woman's province, and furnishes a variety of subjects for the exertion both of good sense and good taste. If you ever come to have the charge of a family, it ought to engage much of your time and attention, nor can you be excused from this by aty extent of fortune, though, with a narrow one, the ruin that follows the neglect of it, may be more immediate,
I'am at the greatest loss what to advise you in regard to books. There is no impropriety in your reading history, or cultivating any art or science to which genius or accident may lead you. The whole Volume of Nature lies open to your eye, and fur. pishes an infinite variety of entertainment. If I were sure that Nature had giveu you such strong principles of taste and sentiment as would remain with you, and influence your future conduct, with the utmost pleasure would I endeavour to direct
your reading in such a way as might form that taste to the utmost perfection of truth and elegance. “ But when I reflect how easy it is to warm a girl's imagination, and how difficult deeply and perma. nently to affect her heart; how readily she enters into every refinement of sentiment, and how easily she can sacrifice them to vanity or converience;" I think I may very probably do you an injury, by artificially creating a taste, which, if Nature never gave it you, would only serve to embarrass your future conduct. I do not want to make you any thing: I want to know what Nature has made you, and to perfect you on her plan. I do not wish you to have sentiments that might perplex you; I wish you to have sentiments that may uniformly and steadily guide you, and such as your hearts so thoroughly approve, that you would not forego them for any consideration this world could offer.
Dress is an important article in female life. The love of dress is natural to you, and therefore it is proper and reasonable. Good sense will regulate your expence in it, and good taste will direct you to dress in such a way a; to conceal any ble. mishes, and set off your beauties, if you have any, to the greatest advantage. But much delicacy and judgment are required in the application of this rule. A tine woman shews her charms to most ad. vantage, when she seems most to conceal them. The finest bosom in nature is not so fine as what imagination forms. The most perfect elegance of dress appears always the most easy, and the least studied.
Do not confine, your attention to dress to your public appearances. Accustom yourselves to au habitual neatness, so that in the most careless undress, in your most unguarded hours, you may have no reason to be ashamed of your appearance.--Youwill not easily believe how much we consider your dress as expressive of your characters. Vanity, levity, slovenliness, foily, appear through it. An elegant simplicity is an equal proof of taste aud delicacy.