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lence should be only enjoined, when it would be for ward and impertinent to talk. There are many proper opportunities for a girl, young even as you are, to speak in company with advantage to herself; and, if she does it without conceit or affectation, she will always be more pleasing than those, who
you are silent, your looks should shew your attention and presence to the company: a respectful and ear. nest attention is the most delicate kind of praise, and never fails to gratify and please. You must appear to be interested in what is said, and endeavour to improve yourself by it: if you understand the subject well enough to ask now and then a pertinent question, or if you can mention any circumstances relating to it that have not before been taken notice of, this will be an agreeable way of shewing your willingness to make a part of the company; and will probably draw a particular application to you, from some one or other. Then, when called upon, you must not draw back as unwilling to answer, nor confine yourself merely to yes or no, as is the custom of many young persous, who become intolerable burthens to the mistress of the house, whilst she strives in vain to draw then into notice, and to give them some share in the eonversation. I
In your father's house, it is certainly proper for you to pay civility to the guests, and to talk to them, in your turn, with modesty and respect, if they encourage you to it. Young ladies of nearly your own age, who visit there, fall of course to your share to entertain. But, whilst you exert yoursel to make their visit agreeable to them, you must forget what is due to the elder part of the com. pany, nor, by whispering and laughing apart, gire
cause to suspect, what is too often true, that Hey themselves are the subjects of your mirth. It is so shocking an outrage against society, to ta or laugh at any person in his own presence,
one would think it could only be committed by the : vulgar, I am sorry however to say, what
y however to say, that I have too
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eit or afectation 3 than those, la
eften observed it amongst young ladies, who little deserved that title whilst they indulged their overflowing spirits in defiance of decency and goodnature. The desire of laughing will make such inconsiderate young persons find a subject of ridicule, even in the most respectable character. Old age, which, if not disgraced by vice or affectation, has the justest title to reverence, will be mimicked and insulted; and even personal defects and infir
or motion. The zew your attention respectful and
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stead of compassion. If you have ever been led into such an action, my dear girl, call it seriously to mind, when you are confessing your faults to Almighty God; and, be fully persuaded, that it is not one of the least which you have to repent of You will be immediately convinced of this, by comparing it with the great rule of justice, that of doing to all as you would they should do upto you. No person living is insensible to the injury of con. tcmpt, nor is there any talent so invidious, or so certain to create ill-will, as that of ridicule. The natural effects of years, which all hope to attain, and the infirmities of the body, which none can prevent, are surely of all others the most improper objects of mirth. There are subjects enough that are innocent, and on which you may freely indulge the vivacity of your spirits : for I would not condemn you to perpetual seriousness; on the contrary, I delight in a joyous lemper, at all ages, and particu. larly at yours. Delicate and good-natured raillery amongst equal friends, if pointed only against such trifling errors as the owner can hardly join to laugh at, or such qualities as they do not pique themselves upon, is both agreeable and useful : but then it must be offered in perfect kiydness and sincere goodhumour; if tinctured with the least degree of malice, its sting becomes venomous and detestable. The person rallied should have liberty and ability lo return the jest, which must be dropped upon the first appearance of its affecting the temper.
You will wonder, perhaps, when I tell you that there are some characters in the world, which I
would freely allow you to laugh at, though not in
instead of maintaining the dignity of their years,
In a young lady's behaviour towards gentleinen, great delicacy is certainly required: yet, I believe women oftener err from too great a consciousness of the supposed views of men, than from inattention to thosc views, or want of caution against them. You are at present rather too young to want rules on this subject, but I could wish that you should behave almost in the same manner three years hence as now; and retain the siniplicity and inno
riper years. "Men of loose morals or impertinent behaviour must always be avoided: or, if at any time you are obliged to be in their company, you must keep them at a distance by cold civility. But; 1 with regard to those gentlemen whom your parents
think it proper for you to converse with, and who give no offence by their own manners, to them wish you to behave with the same frankness and simplicity as if they were of your own sex. If you lave natural modesty, you will never transgress 115 bounds, whilst you converse with a inan, as one ide tional creature with another, without any view to the possibility of a lover or admirer, where nothing of that kind is professed; where it is, I hope you
will ever be equally a stranger to coquetry and prus dery; and that you will be able to distinguish the effects of real esteem and love from idle gallantry and unmeaning fine speeches: the slighter notice you take of these last, the better; and that, rather with good-humoured contempt than with affected gravity: but, the first must be treated with seriousness and well-bred sincerity; not giving the least encouragement, which you do not mean, nor assuming airs of conteinpt where it is not deserved. But this belongs to a subject, which I have touched upon in a former letter.. I have already told you that you will be unsafe in every step which leads to a serious attachment, unless you consult your pa. rents, from the first moment you apprehend any thing of that sort to be intended : let them be your first confidants, and let every part of your conduct, in such a case, be particularly directed by them.
With regard to accomplishments, the chief of these is a competent share of reading, well chosen and properly regulated: and of this I shall speak more largely hereafter. Dancing, and the kuowledge of the French tongue, are now so universal, that they cannot be dispensed with in the education of a gentlewoman; and indeed they both are useful as well as ornamental: the first, by forming and strengthening the body, and improving the carriage; the second, by opening a large field of entertainment and improvement for the mind. I believe there are more agreeable books of female literature in French than in any other language; and, as they are not less commonly talked of than English books, you . must often feel mortified in compaðy, if you are too ignorant to read them. Italian would be easily learnt after French, and, if you have leisure and opportunity, may be worth your gaining, though in your station of life it is by no means necessary.
To write a free and legible hand, and to understand common arithmctic, arc indispensable requisites.
As to music and drawing, I would only wish you to follow as genius leads: you have some turn
O against them
g to wantrale lat for short
three seus city and is and digpit
for the first, and I should be sorry to see you neglect a talent, which will at least afford you an in. nocent amusement, though it should not enable you to give much pleasure to your friends: I think the use of both these arts is more for yourself than for others; it is but seldom that a private person has leisure or application enough to gain any high degree of excellence in them; and your own partial family are perhaps the only persons who would not much rather be entertained by the performance of a professor than by yours: but, with regard to yourself, it is of great consequence to have the power of filling up agreeably those intervals of time which too often hang heavily on the hands of a woman, if her lot be cast in a retired situation. Besides this, it is certain that even a small share of knowledge in these' arts will heighten your pleasure in the performances of others: the taste must be improved, before it can be susceptible of an exquisite relish for any of the imitative arts: an unskilful ear is seldom capable of comprehend. ing Harmony, or of distinguishing the most debicate charms of Melody. The pleasure of seeing fine paintings, or even of contemplating the beaulies of Nature, must be greatly, heightened by our being conversant with the rules of drawing, and by the habit of considering the most picturesque objects. As I look upon taste to be an inestimable fund of innocent delight, I wish you to lose no opportunity of improving it, and of cultivating in yourself the relish of such pleasures as will not interfere with a rational scheme of life, nor lead you into dissipation, with all its attendant cvils of vanity and luxury. .
As to the learned languages, though I respect the abilities and application of those ladies who bave attained them, and who make a modest and proper use of them, yet I would by no means advise you, or any other woman who is not strongly impelled by a particular genius, to engage in sich The labour and time which they require, are ge. nerally incompatible with our natures and proper