Page images

and whose ignorance makes it very difficult for them to frame devotions for themselves, or to

superstitious or enthusiastic nonsense, which are printed for that purpose. Even in a political light, this practice is eligible; since the idea wlrich it will give them of your regnlarity and decency, if not counteracted by other parts of your conduct, will probably increase their respect for you, and will be some restraint at least on their outward behaviour, though it should fail of that influence, which in general may be hoped from it.

The prudent distribution of your charitable gifts may not improperly be considered as a branch of Economy; since the great duty of almsgiving can. not be truly fulfilled without a diligent attention so

the most real good to your fellow-creatures. Many are willing to give money, who will not bestow their time and consideration, and who therefore often hart the community, when they mean to do good to individuals. The larger are your funds, the stronger is the call upon you to exert your industry and care in disposing of them properly. It seems impossible to give rules for this, as every case is attended with a variety of circumstances, which must all be considered. In general, charity is most useful, when it is appropriated to animate the industry of the young, to procure some ease and collforts to old age, and to support, in sickness, those whose daily labor is their only maintenance in health. They who are fallen into indigence, froma circumstances of ease and plenty, and in whoni edu. cation and habit have added a thousand wants to those of nature, must be considered with the tenderest sympathy by every feeling heart. It is needless to say that, to such, the bare support of existence is scarcely a benefit; and that the delicacy and liberality of the manner in which relief is here offered, can alone inake it a real act of kindness. In great families, the waste of provisions sufficient for the support of many poor ones, is a shocking

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

abuse of the gifts of Providence: nor should any lady think it beneath her to study the best means of preventing it, and of employing the refuse of luxury in the relief of the poor. Even the smallest families may give some assistance in this way, if care is taken that nothing be wasted. .

I am sensible, my dear child, that very lit more can be gathered from whiat I have said on Economy, than the general importance of it; which cannot he too much impressed on your mind, since the natural turn of young people is to neglect and even to despise it; not distinguishing it from par simony and narrowness of spirit. But be assure my dear, there can be no true generosity without it; and that the most enlarged and liberal mind will find itself not debased but ennobled by it. Nothing is more common than to see the same person, whose want of Economy is ruining his family, con. sumed with regret and vexation at the effect of his profusion; and, by endeavouring to save, in such trifles as will not amount to twenty pounds in a year, that which he wastes by hundreds, incur the character and suffer the anxieties of a miser, to gether with the misfortunes of a prodigal. A ra. tional plan of expence will save you from all these corroding cares, and will give you the full and li. beral enjoyment of what you speud. An air of ease, of hospitality, and frankness, will reign In your house, which will make it pleasant to your friends and to yourself. Better is a morsel of « bread," where this is found, than the most ela. horate entertainment, with that air of constraint and anxiety, which often betrays the grudging beart through all the disguises of civility.

That you, my dear, may unite in yourself the admirable virtues of Generosity and Econm which will be the grace and crown of all your attainments, is the earnest wish of

Your ever affectionate.

ber und vanity, tenderin

to God.

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

W HILST you labour to enrich your mind with

the esseutial virtues of Christianity,---with piety, benevolence, meekness, humility, integrity, and purity; and to inake yourself useful in do. mestic management, I would not have my dear

child neglect to pursue those graces and acquiremonts, which may set her virtue in the most ad. vantageous light, adorn her manners, and enlarge lier understanding: and this, not in the spirit of vanity, but in the innocent and laudable view of rendering herself more useful and pleasing to her fellow.creatures, and consequently, more acceptable to God. Politeness of behaviour, and the attainment of such branches of knowledge, and such arts and accomplishments, as are proper to your sex, capacity, and station, will prove so valuable to yourself through life, and will make you so desirable a companion, that the neglect of them may reason. ably be deemed a neglect of duty; since it is un. doubtedly our duty to cultivate the powers entrusted. to us, and to render ourselves as perfect as we can.

You must have often observed that nothing is so strong a recommendation on a slight acquaintance. as politeness; nor does it lose its value by time or intimacy, when preserved, as it ought to be, in the nearest connectious and strictest friendships. This delightful qualification, 30 universally admired and respected, but so rarely possessed in any eminent degree cannot but be a considerable object of my wishes for you: nor should either of us be discouraged by the apprehension, that neither I am capable of teaching, nor you of learning it, in perfection; since whatever degree you attain, will amply reward our pains.

To be perfecily polite, one must have great presence of mind, with a delicate and quick sense of propriety; or, in other words, one should be able to forin an instantaneous judgment of what is fittest to be said or done, on every occasion as it offers. I have known one or two persons, who seemed to owe this advantage to nature only, and to have the peculiar happiness of being born, as it were, with another sense, by which they had an immediate perception of what was proper and improper, in cases absolutely new to them: but this is the lot of very few: In general, propriety of behaviour must be the fruit of instruction, of observation, and reasoning; and it is to be cultivated and improved like any other branch of knowledge or virtue. A good temper is a necessary ground-work of it; and if to this be added a good understanding, applied industriously to this purpose, I think it can bardly fail of attaining all that is essential in it. Particular modes and ceremonies of behaviour vary in different countries, and even in different parts of the same town. These can only be learned by observation on the manners of those who are best skilled in them, and by keeping what is called good company. But the principles of politeness are the same in all places. Wherever there are human beings, it must be impolite to hurt the temper or to shock the passions of those you converse with. It must every-where be good-breeding, to set your companions in the most advantageous point of light, by giving each the opportunity of displaying their most agreeable taleuts, and by carefully avoiding all occasions of exposing their defects; to exert your own endeavours to please, and to amuse, but not to outshine them to give each their due share of attention and notice;-not engrossing the talk, when others are desirous to speak, nor suffer. ing the conversation to flag, for want of introducing something to continue or renew a subject; not push your advantages in argument so far that yo antagonist cannot retreat with honour:-In short, [ is an universal duty in society to consider others

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

more than yourself," in honour preferring one

another." Christianity, in this rule, gives the best lesson of politeness; yet judgment must be used in the application of it: Our humility must not be strained so far as to distress those we mean to ho. nour; we must not quit our proper rank, nor force others to treat us improperly; or to accept, what we mean as an advantage, against their wills. We should be perfectly easy, and make others so if we can. But this happy ease belongs perhaps to the last stage of perfection in politeness, and can hardly be attained till we are conscious that we know the rules of behaviour, and are not likely to offend against propriety. In a very young person, who has seen little or nothing of the world, this cannot be expected; but a real desire of obliging, and a respectful attention, will in a great measure supply the want of knowledge, and will make every one ready to overlook those deficiencies, which are owing only to the want of opportunities to observe the inanners of polite company. You ought not therefore to be too much depressed by the conscious. ness of such deficiencies, but endeavour to get above the shame of wanting what you have not had the means of acquiring. Nothing heightens this false sliame, and the awkwardness it occasions, so much as vanity. The humble mind, contented to be known for wbat it is, and unembarrassed by the dread of betraying its ignorance, is present to itself, and can command the use of understanding, which will generally preserve you from any great indeeorums, and will secure you from that ridicule, which is the punishment of affectation rather than of ig. norance. People of sense will never despise you, whilst you act naturally : but, the moment you attempt to step out of your own character, you make yourself an object of just ridicule.

Many are of opinion, that a very young woman can hardly be too silept and reserved in company; and, certainly, nothing is so disgusting in youth, as pertuess and self-conceit. But, modesty should be distinguished froin an awkward bashfulness, and si

erent parts

earned by the who are bei

s called out
eness are the
: are huru

temper ord
"se with. I

to set roer
pint of light
laying their
:-o exert
amuse, Ni

their de
ossing te
aor sufer


[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »