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cursions, in walking in the country, in rural scenery, in conversing freely with the rustic inhabitants, and in investigating every object that seemed worthy of her attention. She was an enthasiastic admirer of the grand and beautiful in nature, and the ocean was to her an object of peculiar interest. After her union with the prince, as their tastes were similar, they engaged in the same studies. Gardening, drawing, music, and rational conversation diversified their leisure hours. They took great pleasure in the culture of flowers-in the classification of them—and in the formation, with scientific skill, of a hortus siccus. But the library, which was furnished with the best books in our language, was their favorite place of resort; and their chief daily pleasure, mutual instruction. They were seldom apart either in their occupations or in their amusements; nor were they separated in their religious duties. They took sweet counsel together, and walked to the house of God in company;" and it is also stated, on good authority, that they had established the worship of God in their family, which was regularly attended by every branch of their household. No wonder, then, that they exhibited an auspicious and a delightful example of private and domestic virtue, of conjugal attachment, and of unobtrusive charity and benevolence. In the higher circles of society, as well as in the lower, it would be of immense importance to the interests of domestic happiness, that the taste of the Princess Charlotte was more closely imitated, and that the fashionable frivolity and dissipation which so generally prevail, were exchanged for the pursuits of knowledge, and the delights of rational and improving conversation. Then those family feuds, contentions, and separations, and those prosecutions for matrimonial infidelity, which are now so common, would be less frequently obtruded on public view; and examples of virtue, affection, and rational conduct, would be set before the subordinate ranks of the community, which might be attended with the most beneficial and permanent results, not only to the present, but to future generations.
In short, the possession of a large store of intellectual wealth, would fortify the soul in the prospect of every evil to which humanity is subjected, and would afford consolation and solace when fortune is diminished, and the greater portion of external comforts is withdrawn. Under the frowns of adversity, those worldly losses and calamities which drive unthinking men to desperation and despair, would be borne with a becoming magnanimity; the mind having within itself the chief re
sources of its happiness, and becoming almost independent of the world around it. For to the individual whose happiness chiefly depends on intellectual pleasures, retirement from general society and the bustle of the world, is often the state of his highest enjoyment.
FEMALE AUTHORSHIP,--MAD. DE STAEL.
If the condition of the female world in the civil order of things, is very defective; merely to alleviate their situation, and not to degrade their mind, is the object most desirable. Assiduously to call forth female sense and reason, is useful both to mental improvement, and the happiness of society: only one serious misfortune can accrue from the cultivated education which they may have received; and this would be (if by chance any should acquire such distinguished talents,) an eager desire of fame: but even this chance would not be prejudicial to society at large, as it could affect only that small number of women whom nature might devote to the worst of tormentsan importunate thirst for superiority. No sooner is a woman pointed out as a distinguished character, than the public is, in general, prejudiced against her. The vulgar can never judge but after certain rules, which may be adhered to without danger. Every thing which is out of the common course of events, is at first displeasing to those who consider the beaten track of life as the protection for mediocrity: even a man of superior talents somewhat startles them; but a woman of shining abilities, being a still greater phenomenon, astonishes, and consequently, incommodes them much more. Nevertheless, a distinguished man being almost always destined to pursue some important career, his talents may become useful to those very persons, who annex but a trifling value to the charms of reflection. A man of genius may become a man of power; and from this consideration, the envious and the weak pay court to him; but a woman of talents can only offer them what they feel no interest about-new ideas or elevated sentiments; the
sound of her praise, therefore, only fatigues them. Fame itself may be even a reproach to a woman; because fame is the reverse of what nature intended for her. Severe virtue condemns celebrity, even in what is really praise-worthy in itself, as being in some measure inimical to perfect modesty. Men of sense, astonished to find rivals amongst the fair sex, can neither judge them with the generosity of an adversary, nor with the indulgence of a protector: and in this new conflict they adhere neither to the laws of honor, nor to those of good nature. If, as the greatest misfortune that could befall her, a woman chanced to acquire remarkable celebrity in a time of political dissension, her influence would be thought boundless, even when she attempted not to exert any; the actions of her friends would be all attributed to her: she would be hated for whatever she loved, and this poor defenseless object would be attacked before those, who are really formidable, were even thought of. Nothing gives greater scope to vague conjectures, than the uncertain existence of a woman whose name is celebrated, and whose life has been obscure. If the vanity of one man excites derision; if the abhorred character of another makes him sink under the burden of public contempt; if a man of inferior talents fails of some desired success; all are ready to attribute these events to the invisible agency of female power.
Women have no means of manifesting the truth, nor of explaining the particulars of their life: if any calumny is spread concerning them, the public hears it; but their intimate friends alone can judge of the truth. What authentic means can a woman have of proving the falsity of scandalous reports? A calumniated man replies by his actions to an accusing world, and may justly say,
"Let the tenor of my life speak for me."
But of what service is such a testimony to a woman? Some private virtues; some good deeds, scarcely known; some sentiments confined to the narrow circle in which she was destined to move; some writings which may render her name celebrated in countries of which she is not an inhabitant, and at a time when, perhaps, she has ceased to exist.
A man may, even in his works, refute the calumnies of which he is become the object: but as to women, to defend themselves is an additional disadvantage; to justify themselves, a new alarm. They are conscious of a purity and del
icacy in their nature, which the notice of the public will tarnish; sense, talents, an impassioned mind, may induce them to emerge from the cloud in which they ought always to be enveloped; but they never cease to recur to it with regret as their safest asylum.
Women, however distinguished they may be, tremble at the aspect of malevolence; and although courageous in adversity, enmity intimidates them: they are exalted by reflection, but weakness and sensibility must ever be the leading features of their character. The generality of those whose superior talents have inspired them with a desire of fame, resemble Herminius, clothed in a coat of mail; the warriors perceive the helmet, the lance, and the dazzling plume; they expect to meet with equal force; they begin the onset with violence, and the first wound cuts to the heart.
Injustice may not only destroy female happiness and peace, but it may detach the heart from the first object of its affections; who knows whether the effects produced by slander, may not sometimes obliterate truth from the memory? Who can tell whether the authors of this calumny, having already embittered life, may not even after death, deprive an amiable woman of those regrets which are universally due to her memory? In this description, I have hitherto portrayed only the injustice of men towards any distinguished female: is not that of her own sex equally to be feared? Do they not secretly endeavor to awaken the ill will of men against her? Will they ever unite, in order to aid, to defend, and support her path of difficulty?
Nor is this all: opinion seems to exempt men from all those attentions usually paid to the sex in all that concerns an individual, whose superior abilities are generally allowed; towards such, men may be ungrateful, deceitful, and ill-designing, without being called to account by the public. "Is she not an extraordinary woman?" Every thing is comprised in these words: she is left to the strength of her own mind, to struggle as she can with her afflictions. The interest usually inspired by females, the power which is the safeguard of men, all fail her at once: she drags on her isolated existence like the Parias of India, amongst all those distinct classes, into none of which she can ever be admitted, and who consider her as fit only to live by herself, as an object of curiosity, perhaps of envy, although, in fact, deserving of the utmost commiseration.
There is a greatness which owes its effect in part to the sacrifice of symmetry; genius is aggrandized by its eccentricities; learning claims many privileges for itself, and wit often acknowledges none in others; the details of duties and reciprocities are not seldom trampled upon by those to whom the world's flattery concedes the charter of despising ordinary things; but Hannah More, caressed by princes and nobles, the delight of intellectual society, the center round which so many luminaries revolved, having her name echoed from shore to shore through the civilized world, was yet a plain, home-bred, practical, and true-hearted woman; who managed so to live through a life of unusual length, that while one half of her contemporaries were drawing largely from her stores of instruction and entertainment, the other half knew her only by the solace imparted by her labors of love. While she was employed in the daily office of cherishing virtue, advocating merit, animating diligence, and clearing the road to happiness, she stood at the gate of mercy, an humble supplicant for grace and forgiveness, and rested the success of all her endeavors on their conformity to the will of heaven.
She was a person to live with, to converse with, and to pray with. Her powers were capable of dilating or contracting their dimensions as occasion required. Every one found it easy to deal with her in a commerce of benevolence. Her genius invited a near approach. It was great and commanding, but it was lovely and kind. Genius, in general, requires to be placed at a certain distance to produce its effect. The equilibrium of the mind is often disturbed by it,-its stability shaken, and its moral texture dissolved; and often out of this elementary disorder, forms and combinations arise which the mastery of genius molds and disposes at will. It claims our homage, and visits as a conqueror, to whom belongs the tribute of suit and service. But to domicile and diet with genius, is for the most part an unenviable lot. Its hearth and home are not usually the scene of comfort. In Mrs. More the colors of character were so blended, that all was consistency, and quiet, and pleasantness around her. Her wit was entirely subordinate to her good-nature, and her great qualities did homage to her little graces. Her companions were sheltered from her brilliance by the shade of her humility.