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tone of principle, to the most useful or acceptable talents, divested of this firm foundation. But, instead of prohibiting the young from speaking to servants, we should rather accustom them, occasionally, to give our orders, to make inquiries, and to confer favours, which will prevent them from performing such offices, in their maturity, with stiffness and embarrassment. We should also lead them* to visit the cottage and
not, we find, permitted to interfere with the worldly calling of our husbands. The lawyer may devote himself to his clients,—the merchant to his counting-house; official men may plead their indispensable engagements; but when a mother would devote herself to the calling evidently marked out for her by Providence, she is told of the claims of society! An illustrious exception to the above remark will, however, readily occur to the reader's mind.
*“We should lead them,” the author wisely inserts. Aware, doubtless, that these visits, profitable to both parties, if made in company with a parent or older friend, may do much harm to a young person if made alone.
Those who have seen something of the poor, are aware of the quantity of low flattery poured into the ears of the young people who visit them. By the better sort, probably, well meant, (though not, from that circumstance, less pernicious,) but, by the more numerous and designing class, intended to answer their own purposes in disposing their young visiters to listen more favourably to the claims they put forth.
the workshop. This will enable them hereafter to know the real wants of the poor, as well as to relieve them, with that well-judging charity which is “twice blessed ;” and will guard them against that morbid sensibility, which shrinks from the very idea of the indispensable gradations of society. We know how successfully this was practised, in the education of one in the highest rank: that beloved one, “the first in virtue as in place,” who has left us the inheritance of an example, over which her early death, and sublimely simple resignation of “a high and palmy state” of happiness, that realized the dreams of fiction, seems to have thrown an added brightness: like those light clouds which sometimes hang on the moon, and, instead of diminishing, reflect and diffuse, and even seem to increase, its original lustre. We have seen her visiting the cottages in Bognor, and leaving, together with some judicious gift, that remembrance of her kindliness and courtesy, which gave more than “an hour's importance to the poor man's heart," a pure and indelible satisfaction.
We recollect this practice was condemned at the time, as tending to lessen the dignity of her manners. That it had not this effect, is now universally allowed; and that it tended to foster that spirit of humanity she so eminently possessed, can scarcely be denied. . Nothing gives so high a polish as truly religious feelings: they shrink into nothingness all those minor objects which create asperities between man and man: they give, from the habit of self-examination, an insight into the heart, a quickness of perception that knows every tender point, and avoids touching it, except to heal, whether its delicacy spring from the virtues, the infirmities, or even the vices of our nature. The Christian cannot be proud, vain, or negligent, except in the inverse of his religion: as the sun of righteousness shines out in his heart, these clouds will melt away.
The courtesy of Christianity is equally visible in health and sickness, in retirement as in a crowd, in a cottage as in a palace. Those sudden gusts of adverse or prosperous fortune, so fatal to artificial pretensions, do not throw it off its guard. Like the finest porcelain of the East, when broken in a thousand pieces, every fracture displays new smoothness and polish; and, in its shivered state, it best shows the superiority of its beautiful structure, over those coarser kinds which are “ of the earth, earthy."
The courtesy of Christianity is equally solicitous to avoid offending the poor and low, as the rich and great; recollecting that to the poor the Gospel was first preached, and that the Saviour of the world ennobled their situation, by choosing it for his own.
From the great difference some persons show in their manners to the high and low, they almost may be said to assume, alternately, the appearance of two opposite beings. The gentle tone, the sweet smile, the diffident yet easy address, the hesitating mildness with which they differ in opinion, when conversing with a superior, form a strong contrast to those harsh interrogatories, that raised voice, that clouded brow, and those blunt contradictions, which they reserve for the humbler classes. Nothing is more amusing than the mistakes that have arisen when the actor has misjudged the rank of those whom he addressed. An instance of this sort is humorously told, in that instructive tale, “ The Countess and Gertrude.” More serious consequences have sometimes ensued from this species of duplicity; and the following anecdote is closely connected with the subject.
Laura was a lovely girl of eighteen, when Edward M., a young man of the highest personal and intellectual endowments, became attached to her. His father promised a cheerful consent to their marriage, notwithstanding such a disparity of rank and fortune as would have justified his refusal in the eyes of the majority, provided Edward would defer his proposal, till six months of absence, and six more of acquaintance, had proved the stability of his affection.
During his foreign tour, Laura's image rested in the sanctuary of his heart, drawn in the most attractive colours. The fairest faces only recalled the idea of one, whose beauty was illuminated, in her lover's eyes, by that lustre of moral excellence, without which it is valueless and insipid to men of refined taste. Such cheerfulness was in her smile, such mildness in her accent, as promised a perpetual spring of domestic felicity. When he returned to his country, he resolved to make his arrival first known to Laura, although