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came so addicted to reading, as at an early period of life, rendered her mistress of an extensive degree of information, But, alas! it is not merely a knowledge of the facts contained in history, nor a relish for the beauties of poetic imagery, nor a superficial acquaintance with any branch of science, that can effectually expand the powers of ihe human mind. For that great end, the judgment must be qualified to apply them to useful purposes. It was this deficiency, which led Miss Ardent, to value her accidental attainments at fo high a rate, as to make her despise not only the weaknesses, but even the domestic virtues of her own sex. Their occupations and amusements, she treated with the utinost contempt; and thought that in this contempt, she gave the furest proof of the superiority of her own masculine under finnding.
From her mind, though the particles of vanity were not expelled, they assumed a new form-instead of the attention to external beauty, feminine graces, and elegant manners, the vanity of Miss Ardent appeared in-an affectation of originality of fentiinent and intrepid fingularity of conduct.' In fupport of this character, she altogether lo'es sight of her own, which is naturally gentle and benevolent; and enforces her opinion in lo dictatorial a man
ner, as renders her equally the object of dread and dislike to the generosity of her acquaintance. And, indeed, it must be acknowledged, that this accomplished woman, in her eagerness to display the strength of her mind, "too often lays aside that outer robe of delicacy, which is not only the ornament, but the armour of female virtue; and that she never attempts to shine, without exciting the alternate emotions of admiration and disgust." Good heavens, exclaimed I, and is this the consequence of female learning ? is the mind of women really formed of such weak materials, that as foon as it emerges from ignorance, it must necessarily become intoxicated with the fumes of vanity and conceit? And did your highness never see a male pedant ?” replied the philosopher. “Did you never behold a
man destitute of early education, and confined to the society of ignorant and illiterate people, who had by some chance, acquired a knowledge of books; and did he not appear as proud of his superior information, as ridiculously vain, as arrogant, as oftentatious, and conceited, as any learned lady that ever lived? or, if a', more phlegmatic temper prevented the effervescence of vanity from displaying itself in the same manner, it is ten to VOL. II.
one, that he was still more insufferable by his dogmatic pedanty and superciliousness. The reason why such characters are not so frequently to be met with amongst men, is, that (in this country at leaft) the education of boys is, in some degree, calculated to open, and gradually to prepare the mind for the reception of knowledge ; that of girls, on the contrary, is from their very cradles, inimical to the cultivation of any one rational idea.
In the mental as in the material world, Similar causes will ever produce fimilar effects ; let the combination of ideas be attended to from the earliest period of life ; let the mind be early taught to think ; taught, to form a just estimate of the objects, within the reach of its obfervation ; and appreciatiog every thing by its usefulness, led to see, that genius is less valuable than virtue, and that the knowledge of every science, and the attainment of every accomplishment, sinks into infignificance, when compared to the uniform performance of any known duty. Will the mind, whether it belongs to male or female, that is thus prepared, be elated into arrogance, by learning the opanions of ihe people of different ages, even though taught to read them in the language in which they were originally written? will it become
Jess modest, less amiable, less engaging, for having been enlarged by this extent of information; or will it be lefs qualified for the performance of social duties, bem cause it has been freed from the prejudices of ignorance, and taught to fill its place, in the scale of rational beings Surely, no; I n’ed only mention the name of Lai y Grey to give the fullest proof of . the ju dels of my assertion. This younger sister of the Ardent's, had, under the care of a , mother, eminently qualified for the task, the advantage of just such an education as I have described; but though- to all the understanding and accomplishments of her sister, the adds ibat brilliancy of imagination, of which the value is so apt to be over estimated by its possessors, she is neither vain, oftentatious, nor assuming. Accustomed to compare her actions, not with the triflers around her, but with the pure standard of Christian excellence, her virtues are all genuine. For instance, the quality of gentleness, which, in women, is feldom more than a passive tameness of spirit, that yields without struggling to the encroachments of the turbulent and unwortby, is, in her, the spontaneous offspring of true humility; it is the transcript of that wisdom which is from above, pure and peaceable, and loysły?
Modesty is not in ber the affcctation of fqueamish delicacy—it is the purity of the heart. Maternal fondness (and never was the heart of a mother more tenderly affectionate; is, like every other affecti. on of her soul, put under the controul of reason. - The blind indulgence, which would be prejudicial to the real intereits of its object, is, by her, consider. ed as a selfish gratification, not to be en. joyed, but at the expence of the future Happiness of her child; it is therefore wisely restrained, though sometimes at the expence of present feeling. Such tenderness, directed by such wisdom, is the nearest possible imitation of the most ami. able "attributes of the divinity!--And who would put such a woman as this, in comparison with the most beautiful piece of insipid ignorance, that ever opened its eyes upon the world ? Is there a man who would prefer the vapid chatter of a pretty ideot, to the conversation of fuch a woman? So good!' so wise! fo. beautiful! Yes, my noble Rajah, she is ftill beautiful! though her eyes have loft somewhat of that lustre, which, but a few years ago, was the admiration of all beholders, they fiill beam with animation and sensibility.”. Ah! my friend, cried I, you need say little to persuade me of her beauty; the accomplishments