Obrázky stránek

renains of bashfulness, so incommodious in high life.

Such accomplishments are doubtless considered by our modish ladies as indispensible, especially if they hope to rival the actresses, and recal the wandering hearts of those lovers who are attracted by theatric

graces. Our men of fashion, indeed, have the example of an English peer to countenance their attachinent to the beauties of the green-room; and we may expect, if the mania continues, to see those heroines transplaced from their fictitious greatness into the superb mansions of our nobility, to preside over the varying freaks of vanity and extravagance.

But it is among the middle classes that the effects of mismanaged boarding-schools are most severely felt. The ambition of parents to see their children exalted, occasions them to lavish that money on superfluous accomplishments, which would have been much better applied to purchase more solid benefits. The wives of merchants and tradesmen, viewing the infantine graces of their daughters with maternal delight, vainly think that to initiate them in modish qualifications will be their certain exaltation, if not to a title, at least to a higher rank in society than that in which they have been born.

For this purpose miss is entrusted to the governess of a boarding-school, and no recruit ever suffered more at drill than she is obliged to undergo. Her form is moulded according to the correct ideas which her preceptress has of grace; she is taught to look, sit, move, and speak by rule; and to play upon various instruments of music, dance and speak French, by masters whose insignificance is only equalled by their adulatory impertinence.

Unaccustomed to the conversation of men of sense, the poor girl soon imbibes the flippant nonsense of her teachers, and should any of those coxcombs happen to be an agreeable man, an intrigue is probably commenced with his pupil, which terminates in an clopement.

Is there a father or mother feelingly solicitous for the future honour and happiness of their daughter, who would intrust her into one of those modern temples of affectation, called boarding-schools? No, rather let the loveliest part of our species be educated at home, by a mother; or if she be incompetent to the task, let a modest preceptress instruct the blooming girl beneath that paternal roof where seduction will not presume to appear under the assumed name of refinement. This mode of education will preserve the morals of the virgin, and be particularly useful and practicable among those in the middle classes of society; as girls can not only make a regų lar progress in useful and ornamental knowledge, which renders even beauty more amiable, but they may also be initiated in those easily acquired arts of domestic economy peculiar to their sex. Thus the daughters of shop-keepers can occasionally assist in the sale of goods, and at once learn a useful and profitable business, while they repay the cares. of their parents, by grateful exertions for their mutual wel, fare, at the same time that home may be considered as a sanctuary, where the demon Vice can have no influence.

By the present preposterous ambition to educate young women of the subordinate classes with the


profusion of those in the highest ranks, many girls are utterly disqualified to fill their place and perform their duties in society, and in a manner prepared for seduction!

An elegant young woman, long accustomed to the homage of a train of coxcombs, will expect similar attention from her husband, and feel her pride mortified when she finds herself treated as a mere wo

From the frivolity of her mind, she is not possessed of that modest dignity so essential to command the esteem of her partner ;-bence bickerings, jealousies, and often mutual infidelity, terminated by a separation.

Good sense is as much superior to the levity of wit as the light of the sun is to a meteor; and an accomplished female mind is infinitely more estimable in the eyes of reflecting men than those exhibitions of feminine charms obtruded on our fancy by fashion. Such beautiful creatures as glide along the streets, decorated in showy apparel, may amuse the passenger; but who would wish to see his wife in the loose attire of a woman of the town. Then let us discountenance this violation of public decency, so abominable to the virtuous mind, and endeavour to persuade the fair sex, that modesty and purity of manners are the true ornaments that render their beauty at once amiable and incstimable.




AMONG the various species of false refinement in this luxurious age, none seems more censurable than the improper education of daughters. A fri, volous passion for ornamental accomplishments universally prevails, and the parents of a pretty girl, though they can scarcely pay their rent, taxes, and purchase the common necessaries of life, must have one young lady in the family. Doubtless, many the unfortunate females who are now prostitute for bread” in this metropolis, were educated with uncommon care; had their vanity flattered by governesses, and dancing-masters; and, by a prepostes Tous encouragement in the pursuit of elegance, became the dupes of their own desires and the victims of seduction.

Our most elegant and pleasing bard gives his fair readers the following useful hint:

“Say, why are beauties prais'd and honour'd most,
The wise man's passion, and the vain man's toast?
Why deck'd wish all that land and sea afford,
Why angels calld and angel-like ador'd?
How vain are all those glories, all our pains,
Unless good sense preserve what beauty gains !
Beauties in vain their pretty eyes may roll;
Charms strike the sight, but merit wins the soul.”


Many, alas! too many subjects have been furnished to the novelist and tragic poet, by the pernicious wiles of the seducer of female innocence ; but when we behold parents in a manner preparing their daughters for the dangerous assaults of the voluptuary, by placing their attractions in the strongest light, how can we suppress our indignation at such glaring absurdity?

Eliza, the eldest daughter of Mr. Thomas Meanwell, was, from her infancy, an amiable girl. Her father, who was a reputable grocer in Wapping, had by honest industry realized a considerable property, and Mrs. Meanwell, who was a good sort of woman enough, felt her pride much increased, with increasing opulence.

Fashionable life was now Mrs. Meanwell's daily theme: she had once been honoured with an invia tation to the annual entertainment given by the Lord Mayor to his friends. The splendid company, which assembled at the Mansion House on this occasion, dazzled the eyes of the grocer's wife, and a complimentary expression, from the lips of a certain Duchess, almost turned the brain of Mrs. Meanwell.

She now insisted on her husband keeping his coach; but with this moderate desire the prudent grocer would not comply. She then assailed him at a

more vulnerable point, and expatiated with such eloquence on the elegance and taste resulting from a fashionable education, that the good man in an evil hour consented to send Eliza to a boarding-school.

Eliza was indeed a lovely girl. She was now about fourteen years of age, and had hitherto lived

« PředchozíPokračovat »