Page images

by them on the intellect; their common sense and her stimulated, feverish heart bounds to has less shrewdness and more native tact; their grasp them. Are the laws of her being exewisdom has less experience and more intuitive cuted ? Are her instincts met? Are her deep force; and whatever ability or genius they dis- yearnings satisfied ? Set aside all the solemn play is uniformly characterized more by their considerations of religion, and take her simply temperament, rearing, and intimate relationships and wholly as a creature of sensibility and acthan by the stamp of the outward world. Na- tion; is such a cold, conventional life a life to ture trains them by unlike methods. Men are her? The firm, adamantine bounds of nature aggressive ; they are born warriors; they in--never sterner than when dealing with woman stinctively carry the temper of fighting into -interpose their hard restraints. She can not every matter; business, politics, diplomacy, are find her own counterpart, her image, her lost full of manæuvres, evolutions, and counter- inheritance, her offered patrimony, in the outmarches; women are receptive and yielding, ward world; and hence she is doomed to suffer never waiting for truth to subdue them, but the penalty of her own violated and outraged hastening to render a cordial and joyful obedi- constitution. No doubt there are exceptional ence-satisfied with knowledge when they can instances in which women are called to serve the feel its benefits, and not looking to its exterior world in high achierements of individual prowends. Owing to these peculiarities of her con- ess and valor. But Providence rarely suspends stitution, womanly mind is much more adjunc- its organic rules, and in no case are we entitled tive to character and life than the intellect of to argue, from such facts, that we have a right manhood: it has less to do with the work and to oppose its established modes of procedure. more to do with the welfare of the world; and The noblest thing that a woman can do is to hence, in estimating the bearings of her culture make herself noble. She has much more power on the interests of society, we must not turn to over her own character than over any outward the more public and demonstrative spheres of object. It would seem as if Providence had conrivalship and renown, but to those quieter and sulted this very end in limiting her external repurer scenes which lie divinely embosomed in lations to society. Denied the opportunity, no the blessedness of Home.

less than relieved of the necessity, of contact Now, certainly, there is no point that should with the great world, why is this, but that her be more tenaciously guarded than the one just fresh energy and buoyant spirit may be concennoticed. The whole philosophy of womanly trated on herself and in her private companioneducation is embraced in what she is by the cre- ships ? It is to this calm, inspiring home-life ative ordination of God; in the capacity, scope, that she should bring the treasures of a cultiand worth of her redeemed nature ; in the posi- vated mind and character. Nor should any contion assigned her in the providential economy viction be stronger than that she may here find of human society; in the stewardship she has the amplest and most rewarding scope for the to fulfill ; in the trust confided to her hands for exercise of all her activity. No woman that has the solemn reckoning of the final judgment. contemplated home in the light of Divine truth, Where else but in the immortal mind itself and appreciated it in the warmth of Divine love, can we find motives and ends for life-giving and could desire a nobler or better field for personlife-sustaining action ? Where else but in its al exertions. And although her usefulness profound emotions, its quick and far-reaching ought not to be restricted within its circle, yet sensibilities, its restless upheavings, its bound- she should always realize that she is most serv. less faculties, its many-colored fancies, and its iceable to humanity in the discharge of such equally diversified facts? Where but in this vast duties as nature has laid nearest to her heart. world of thought, affection, will, aspiration, There is need, just now, that this truth should struggle, sorrow, bliss—bound to earth, bound be pressed on the attention of many well-meanto heaven-communing with angels, tortured ing but mistaken people. A mania for usefulby demons—and every hour, every moment, ness—for the glare and glitter of public demonwaking or sleeping, evolving an experience in strations—for vast schemes of philanthropy-is which natural and supernatural unite or repel; beginning to seize the souls of many good wowhere but in this miracle of spiritual being and men, and to hurry them into false efforts. Vaeternal destiny, can we find the import and aim rious causes have combined to quicken their of a true and genuine culture? This, then, is sensitiveness to existing evils; growing intellithe real standard of womanly education-viz., gence, generous feelings, religious culture, have the practical, personal benefit to her character— made them alive to the wrongs and miseries of the work wrought within her—the wisdom and society; and it is most praiseworthy that their power which it imparts to enable her to devel- hearts should respond, in truthfulness of senop, control, and elevate her own nature, and timent and propriety of endeavor, to the touchmake it a fit instrument to accomplish God's ing appeals forced upon them. But to what plan in its redemption. Suppose this process painful excesses of ultraism has this passion for reversed — suppose that woman is taught and usefulness gone ! A morose and vindictive trained to think, act, and live in the open world temper; a keen impatience of the presence of and for it. The prizes of earthly ambition are wretchedness; a fiery haste to obliterate all held up before her; social position, wealth, lux- traces of error, injustice, and suffering; and, in ury, fashion, are rendered intensely attractive, some instances, a poorly-concealed contempt for Providence, and its tolerations of depravity, are genial scenes. All this is utterly wrong, and not rare spectacles among this class of persons. doubtless the excess will correct itself; but One can not avoid believing, if he is to trust the meanwhile what an office devolves on our woevidence of his senses, that many of them are men ? Domestic education, according to the positively vitiated by their philanthropy—or, Divine plan, is certainly the work of both parrather, by what passes under that name. What ents. The circumstances of the age, however, a strange perversion this of their nature! What have thrown it into the hands of our women, a mysterious alembic that, which, out of the and as they have submitted to the onerous burelements of peace, sympathy, and benevolence, den, our only hope is that they will bravely susdistills the rancor, strife, and bitterness of evil tain their trust. Never were womanly offices passions! A true, genuine philanthropy, such as important as now; never had they so much as the great work human progress demands, to do and to do well; for, apart from the ordimust rest on domestic sentiments. It must be nary tasks of household life, the intense exciteborn in hearts that have learned their love and ments of the outward world require a balancing trust at the fireside—at the household altar-in power of domestic nurture, greater than in any the daily tenderness and devotion of family duty. previous period of human history. Amidst the Whenever it diverts the mind from the para- crowded marts of business, along the highways mount interests of home, and, as we have some of trade, in the seats of commerce, in private times seen, sacrifices the affections of private walks, in public scenes, by newspapers, by the companionship for an imaginary public good, it shop-windows, by the placards on the wall, in is no philanthropy, but a blighting, withering every association and connection, in the omnicounterfeit, that will fall a victim to its own bus and on the steamboat, the growing mind idolatry.

of our country, acute in its impressibility, open Aside from the fact that women are ordained in all its avenues, eager for thought and action, to find their main sphere of action in domestic is in close contact with the means and agenretirement, there are evils in our civilization cies that educate its tastes and form its habits. that render their watchful ministry at home The power of external life over us has been more than ever necessary and desirable. Our vastly enhanced, far more so than the power men, from the lowest to the highest, are now, of schools, colleges, and books and it is amazmore or less, public characters; and it would ing to observe how much the individual will, appear that we have fallen on an age full of the personal directiveness, the silent, solitary, exactions on private leisure and personal sery- outworking of nature, have been subordinated ice. A monstrous system of taxation covers the to the tyrannic type of a common, uniform whole land, and there is no escape from its rigid grasping worldliness. How is this monopoly to hold on your time, purse, and efforts. Once, be abated ? How are the excesses of external in years gone, the public used to be a retired, education to be restrained? A proper culture dignified, old-school personage, that had a ten- at home offers the only hope of remedy; and if der respect for his own independence and was this beneficent influence is employed, it must be quite chary of accepting too many offices from through cultivated women. its kind friends. Said friends were not vassals, Looking at the present position of American but freemen bold and stanch, living after their women, and especially considering her as the own strong impulses and rarely called away main stay of our domestic interests, it is not from private affairs. But a new era has come. difficult to determine the kind and degree of The entire framework of society must be recon- education which she ought to receive. She structed; individual agency totters and trembles needs the culture of common-sense, and she under its mountainous load; and we are half- needs the culture of all her highest and noblest crazed at the bare idea of what is expected of faculties. By all means let her acquire the us. Besides this, men are driven to compress substantial virtues of industry, skill, prudence, nine lives into one. Moderate labor, steady at- in every-day affairs. Every hour of life puts a tention, small gains, and slow profits, are obso- premium on these great qualities, and whoever lete things. A man, at this day, must keep is indifferent to their practical value will soon time with the steam-engine, and swing his mus- find herself arrayed at the bar of vengeance. cles as fast as pistons and cranks move. For- But these are “ of the earth, earthy." They merly the night was considered a reserved house are valuable in their place, but only in their hold right, but the claims of business, societies, place. Now it is quite easy to exaggerate this and outside interests have played havoc with department of womanly life, and as we happen the once exclusive property of wife and chil- to have an extra share of facility in the art of dren. Few men are now faithful to their sacred, intensifying any thing that passion or prejadomestic tasks. Cares, struggles, ambitions, dice commends, we have magnified this matter engross them; and as there happens to be a most unreasonably. Judging from the langigantic machinery of proxies, they shift re- guage of some of our writers, and from the tonc sponsibility on professional substitutes, who un- of thought common to various sections of the dertake to do every thing and do nothing. country, one would suppose that women ought Thousands of homes in our land are mere stop- never to raise their eyes higher than a butterping-places, where husbands call, spend a few churn, and always prefer the polish of furniture exhausted hours, and hasten off to more con- to the polish of fine manners. If they understand astronomy enough to know when the sun my dinner ready by one o'clock, and a clean tarises, and philosophy sufficient to comprehend ble-cloth too !” the mechanics of a sewing-machine, they need Where public opinion and private usages bind seek no science beyond; cooking-stoves, and down women to this extent in domestic care and yeast mixtures, and self-sealing cans, will sup- oversight, the same effects are produced that we ply the rest. To help on the furor in behalf find in men devoted to the service of mammon. of domestic drudgery, we have an interminable The heart, owing to the intenser strength of aflist of books, teaching the theory of keeping fections and the ceaseless call for the exercise house and the practice of driving every body of the gentler sympathies, may not be as rapidout of it. And then the recipes! The recipes, ly and as thoroughly hardened. But the chillswarming throughout your habitation, installed ing process goes on; the warmth of generous, in closets, reigning from cellar to attic, and put- glad emotions forsakes the blood; and at last ting your whole dominions under military exact- the unhappy martyr to kitchen stoves and shinness—so that you must eat, drink, sleep, sneeze, ing brass has nothing left but a pair of bony, and die by recipe. Doctors are sensible-recipes leathery hands, a worn-out frame, and a vacant should be in a dead language.

brain. Such a history of married life is painThere is such a popular clamor on this sub- ful, and next to brutal treatment, is deplorable. ject of “domesticity' in women, and the kitch- Among those evils to which women are subject en is so eloquently glorified, that we are not sur--evils that involve no deep suffering from maprised at its materializing effect on their charac-lignity or vice—there is scarcely any thing more ter and life. The most of women take the truth pernicious to all true growth and culture than of public opinion for granted, and they prompt- this grinding slavishness to domestic routine. ly acquiesce in its dictates. All this hubbub at It is little short of cruelty to expect and demand agricultural fairs over pots of preserves and nice this of woman; she was made for something quilts, and the loud emphasis in newspapers and purer and higher; marriage was designed to magazines on the grandeur of a good dinner, yield her daily joy and blessedness, by elevating have been carried to a ridiculous extreme; and her aims, gratifying her aspirations, and furwe have ceased to be shocked at the taste that nishing her spirit with the means of communing can tie together with white ribbon a cookery- with whatever is refined, truthful, and excelbook and the Holy Bible as a present for a love- lent; and if this opportunity is denied her, the ly bride. No man of sense can ever depreciate real worth of life has been forfeited to a fiction the domestic skill necessary to a thrifty, man- of conventionalism. aging, successful wife, but pray let it not be Admitting, as all must, the necessity that pushed to a disgusting excess. Any one who women should be fully trained to the care and has traveled over the United States, and close- management of the internal interests of the ly observed its domestic life, will indorse the as- household, there are comparatively few who see sertion that there is a false public opinion in how these virtues are to be preserved from dethis matter-false, not in kind, but in degree. generation into vices. Nothing is more certain Yielding to its stern requirements, we have than that all the prudential offices of our nature known many gifted and noble women "settle are to be exalted by the companionship of highdown” after marriage in the routine of domestic er sentiments, and that Heaven has established drudgery, abandon all literature, neglect per- no other method to save them from weakening sonal study and culture, lest they should be sus- the intellectual and moral tone of character. It pected of the tastes and refinements of elegant is this education in the best faculties of her mind scholarship. Nor is any style of speech more that woman needs. She needs it for her own common than to hear intelligent men speak of sake, and for the sake of others. First among their wives simply as “good housekeepers," and her obligations are those which she is bound to we have known some who thought it no compli- discharge to her own immortal being-a gift ment if you spoke of the “better half” in any from God which she is to honor with a ceaseless other strain. One case occurs to us that may psalm of thanksgiving. To develop the capacserve to illustrate this aspect of American char- ity within her—to quicken her inward hearing acter. Mr. had recently buried his wife, so that no whisper of truth shall be lostấto pua woman of rare excellence, known for her good- rify the inward sight so that every trace of the ness, and appreciated by all. Talking of her to divine hand, however dim and faint to other some sympathizing friends, a few days after her eyes, may be clearly seen—to strengthen the death, we heard one of the persons presenta will, that it may be competent to every office noble-hearted man, who had experienced the of decision, fortitude, and courage-to inform keenest sorrow in the loss of his wife-make a and establish conscience so that it may have the touching allusion to Mr. 's bereavement. might, as it has the right, to rule—to cultivate “Ah, Sir,” replied the desolate husband, “ah, reason and imagination so that their joint acSir, she was a capital housekeeper!” Just tion shall embrace all the scope of available then another gentleman, not quite overcome by wisdom, reaching from the humblest fact recordthe ludicrous reply, ventured to allude to the ed on a clod to the loftiest ideality that in the worth of the departed wife, and to speak of the sacred pauses of life awakens a new and thrillirreparable loss which Mr. had sustained. ing consciousness of awaiting immortality-to “Yes, Sir," said the widower," she always had discipline the affections so that they may com

VOL. XV.--No. 90.-3D



municate power to the intellect and purity to nicate the beauty and purity so inspired;
conduct—to listen to those great intuitions that blessed" to welcome others to be sympathetic
evermore are struggling to recover their lost sharers in them; more blessed,” because more
language and utter forth their ancient messages divine, to give yourself to the world than for ne-
of the grandeur and glory of our birth and des- ture and revelation to give their treasured trib-
tiny—to renew, by a spiritual and divine agen- utes to you. And never does this cardinal law,
cy, that image which sin and sorrow have dark- the summary of all excellence, attest its virtue
ened in guilt and saddened in grief; this is the more strikingly than in the moral and social
law of her nature, stamped with the authority history of women. Retired from the world, the
of God, and fraught with the issues of eternity. instinct of expression desires to breathe itself
It is here-in her own soul—that true, genuine forth. It is an urgent, painful want, that must
power is to strike its roots. Here it must accu- be gratified. Confined within themselves they
mulate its resources; here it must gather all its die, no matter how happily they are surrounded
varied agencies and auxiliaries of action. Ev- with the fortunes of life. They must see their
ery hour of life she will need the serene friend-image in outward objects. They must utter
ship of her own spirit; the deeds of daily exist their souls in some hallowed work. A moral
ence will return her thoughts and purposes to purpose, full of youthful vigor, is constantly im-
it for justification, and she will find that expe- pelling them to embody their inward being in
rience and struggle—all that makes our circum- the enduring deeds of goodness. And hence
stances—will continually draw on this source for the world has the best possible security that
the interpretation of their mystic meaning and truly cultivated women will exert their talents
the vindication of their providential designs. in a right direction. So firmly are they held to

If her nature be thus cultivated, she will find the principles of pure morality, and so intimatethat in forming her mind and character on the ly are the high, distinctive sentiments of Chrisground of her own individuality as related to tian ministration interwoven with their ideal of the divine law, she has acquired the spirit and pleasure, that the general rule must always be means of social and domestic influence. Who- as above stated. On nothing can we count with ever fits herself for the communion of a heay- more certainty than that the large body of educnly life, has adopted the surest and truest plan cated women-educated in nature as well as in to fulfill all the obligations springing from the mind—will always be found loyal to the spiritual ties of home and country. For although this interests of humanity. Radicals, fanatics, Quixgreat work may begin in personal considera- otic reformers can not, to any considerable extions, it soon rises into a higher connection ; tent, proceed from them. Now and then a disand self, growing more and more faithful to appointed, crushed spirit may rush into some of its developed instincts, and led out toward the the protean forms of intellectual lunacy; here, ends of moral benevolence, yearns to prove a we may have the morbid fruits of a badly-trainbenediction and a joy to all within its reach. ed childhood, and there, the fierce resistance of The true, real, vital self, lives as selfishness a womanliness that has been allowed to experidies, and its wise heart, taught of God, em- ence none of the charms of a free and buoyant braces the grandest law of intellectual and spir- being; but taken as a class, they must adhere itual existence, viz., that whatever it has can to the grand old stationary landmarks. Standonly become its own by being consecrated to the ing on the bold promontories that for ages have use and benefit of others. Receiving those overlooked the ocean of life, they will watch memorable words, “It is more blessed to give those surging waters on which their hearts have than to receive," it realizes them, not as a mere launched so many precious freights. Conservastatement of the duty of charity, but as the an- tive they must be by the intuitions, ains, and nouncement of a central truth, that must be hopes of their being; conservative in intellect, imbedded in the very core of every just, gener- faith, virtue, practice; for Heaven will not perous sentiment, every noble feeling, every right mit the fireside, where they dwell, to be subjectaction. Is it “blessed to open the mind to ed to those revolutionary agencies that throw the inspiring gladness of nature, to learn the down and build up other institutions. It was lessons of beauty as they are taught in the fresh before statesmanship in point of time, as it is scenes of each returning day, to bow down be- higher than statesmanship in point of wisdom. fore the sublimities of the universe and be exalt- Home was crowned with womanly beauty and ed by their presence? Is it blessed” to follow tenderness, long ere kings wore a diadem or the guidance of imagination as it traces the har- princesses were clothed in gorgeous robes. A mony of philosophy, poetry, and religion, and, true antiquity hallows its altar and its worship. at last, rests in the completeness of truth as re- It is the antiquity of goodness. It is the anvealed in the perfectness of love? And is it tiquity of memories that have descended from "blessed" in those selecter moments of life, Eden, with no profane mixture of traditions ; when intense feeling floods the mind, to lay the and in kindred union with those associations, heart close to this redeemed earth, and, gather- responsive to their influence, and instinct with ing the mighty throb of the sea and of the air their spirit, women must form a phalanx of prointo its strong pulse, silently sink into a rapture tection around the sanctities of home, and exeof joy? Blessed" is all this, whenever and cute, as a daily ministry, the offices of guardwherever felt; but "more blessed” to commu- 1 ianship orer its love and peace.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

The merry


He was

Claiming such a culture for our women, we every thing. The Psalmist says, should leave the argument incomplete if we did hearted do sigh;" but in the times I speak of I not insist on the fact that the substantial virtues never heard any sighing. of the household, and the attainment of a high The chief and acknowledged captain of our excellence in all the beautiful forms of wisdom, revels was Marquis Cotesbury; he had worthy sentiment, and affection, are perfectly consist- companions in Tom Francis, Charley Ashton,

Men there are who can not see the whole and the rest, but all these “paled their ineffecttruth on this subject; men, who look along a ual fires” before Marquis. I had been at colnarrow, mathematical line, and discern nothing lege with him, and was now an inmate of his outside of it. Idolaters of Utility, they have no splendid bachelor residence in the city of idea of God's world beyond a mass of dirt that ab- and one of the jovial company, in spite of my sorbs water and produces harvests. The beauty comparative youth. of the rainbow is not half so sensible a thing to I shall endeavor to speak of Marquis briefly. them as a lady's ribbon ; and in this cold, cal- He impressed cvery one from the first moment lous spirit, they think of the universe merely as of meeting. He was the perfect model of physa good piece of machinery, worked pretty well ical beauty. I have never seen a man whose considering how much is to be done. But this personal appearance was one-half as striking. brutalizing creed has none of the heart of heaven In Greece he would have rivaled, at the court in it. Far otherwise thought He, the Christ of of Pericles and Aspasia, that world's wonder AlGod, in whose hands the delicate flowers smiled cibiades; and I remember, more than once, inas they breathed a lesson of trust in Providence, stituting the comparison in my mind. and who, not disdainful of the grass beneath at this time about twenty-six years of age, very His feet, found, in its waving verdure, the sub- tall, of a most distinguished carriage, and charlime truths of eternity. No man who recog- acterized by what is called in Europe the bel air nizes the workmanship of the Creator in the -that of the perfect, courtly gentleman. It was material objects around him, and marks the only upon a closer inspection that you discovadaptation of their multitudinous forces to ac- ered the extraordinary combination of “fine complish the great ends of wisdom, can ever points," so to speak, about his person. He had depreciate utility. But if our minds were freed the hands, feet, and waist of a woman, though from the tyranny of the senses-if reason could fully six feet in height. The delicate extremiassert its sway over the understanding, and truth ties did not seem disproportioned, however; his demonstrate its superiority to facts—then, in- limbs appeared to taper regularly and naturally. deed, we should see that beauty continues and A head as faultless in model as that of the old perfects the office of utility, and is but a morc Hellenic Jove, and features of the pure Greek subtle and spiritual influence to purify and en- type, worthily completed the picture. In a noble the heart. There is, consequently, no physical point of view simply, and regarded antagonism between them, unless our pride and apart from any mental endowment, Marquis selfishness create it. Both are divine instru-Cotesbury was a magnificent “animal." His ments; both appeal to us in a vast variety of manners were such as set off this fine person forms, degrees, and connections; both dwell side wonderfully. He had the elegant and impressby side in undisturbed harmony; and both find ive affability of the old-school gentleman, in all prompt and willing access to all such minds as its perfection. His father, Judge Cotesbury, had comprehend the meaning of God's power and been a star of the ancient régime, and Marquis presence in the universe. How often are they not only inherited the immense family wealth, beheld in closest union ! The clouds of the and the prestige of the Judge's high social firmament water the earth, and yet their benefi- position-the old gentleman's royal suavity of cent service to field and flower does not abate bearing descended also to his son. It was a the grace of their shapes nor the majesty of their courtesy and considerateness which amounted movements. The dew-drop holds heaven in almost to humility. When Marquis bowed to its hosom, but the pictured image detracts not a lady, it was such an inclination as a subject from the refreshing of grass and herb. So may would make at the footstool of a queen; his sense and sentiment, wisdom and beauty, good-smile conveyed a mingled veneration and devoness and taste, abide in unity within the mind tion, worthy of a chevalier of the elder day. of a cultivated woman, and qualify her for the Such was Marquis in the presence of ladies, and full and complete occupancy of that sphere to it was only a modification of this manner which which Providence has assigned her.

made him so conspicuous a figure with those of

his own sex. Here his ceremonious air changed, LOST.

but his ceaseless affability never. He seemed

the perfection of good-nature. Never, save on I.-I VISIT MARQUIS COTESBURY. occasions of extraordinary provocation, did I see WE TE had an uncommonly gay time in the his sweetness of manner disappear. When a

good year eighteen hundred and blank! frown knit together those brows, generally so We turned night into day, and day into night. tranquil and smiling, the sight was almost terWe drank the sun to sleep, and when the morn- rible; you shrunk from it as from an aroused ing star began to fade we were drinking still. lion. But such moments as these were exOur life was one long rerel, and we laughed at tremely rare with him. He was almost uni


« PreviousContinue »