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general presence; and I am decidedly of opinion that if you cannot punctuate well, it is much better not to punctuate at all. I do not like a letter to present the appearance of the points having been thrown in through the medium of a pepper-castor. We have lately seen a rational innovation in this difficult art by using dashes. These suit the impulsive and not very logical minds of our sex, and I therefore counsel the employment of the dash. 'Tis the best way of getting over an imperfect syllogism-which last word, my child, I hope is one that you know nothing at all about. The proper use of semicolons necessitates a very rigid exercise of the reasoning faculties; and ere you can apply them correctly to your phrase, you must ask yourself a great many times the questions “Who?" and
Wrangling women are always redundant in the use of these points; and your dear papa had a friend (he also enjoyed the friendship of His Royal Highness the Duke of York) who declared that he had broken off a match with a young lady with twenty thousand pounds to her portion, solely because she was in the habit of using many semicolons in her love-letters. “It looked, you know,' Colonel Flushing used to say, as if she had a vast deal too much reason, you know; and argument, and nagging, and finding out things' weak points, you know.” A handsome creature was Colonel Flushing. He went to Walcheren, and fell into a ditch full of mud; and when he came back he was elevated by His Majesty to the Order of the Bath.
I have nothing more to say against your letter, save that the postscripts, two in number, are inordinately long; and that you are given in all cases to the abuse of the rarely permissible process of underscoring those words and phrases you wish to be most forcible. Remember, this indigcriminate underscoring rarely gives emphasis. More fre
Then she may
quently it exhibits only weakness. Better to look out a stronger word in a dictionary of synonymes than to brace up your weakly ones with dashes. I can only tolerate underscoring when a woman is writing in a Rage. derive some vigour from the practice, and make the ugly expressions uglier by underlining. In fact, these dashes may be considered as the marks of her nails on paper, and she scratches
you with them. It is far more agreeable to me to revert to the praiseworthy features of your letter, and to hope that it may be the precursor of very many such affectionate communications. You are just eighteen, my dear Louisa; you are handsome, you are clever, you will one day be rich. I look upon you as on a youthful sovereign who has just attained her majority, and ascends her throne in all the glory and triumph of possession. Indeed, it is a regal heritage--to have youth, and health, and money. But a queen, my dear, is environed by flatterers and fawners, and cozening parasites. Those roses strewn in her path have the very prickliest of thorns in their stalks. The end of the sceptre is loaded, like a life preserver, with lead ; the crown is studded inside with little spikes that press upon the forehead ; and, let me tell you, daughter of mine, if you were to strip off that fine velvet and gilding from your throne, you would find beneath only tin-tacks and coarse wood, incurably affected with the dry-rot. It is pleasant to tread on the embroidered tapestry that covers the steps of the daïs; but the gay carpeting may mask only so many pitfalls.
Ah, the queens that have groaned with their own Evil underneath their point-lace and diamonds; that have quarrelled with their crowns as children with their bread and butter; that have wished themselves grooms in their own stables, and have been meanly jealous of the maids that dressed their hair! Is it not better that the queenyoung, timid, inexperienced—should have some staid and steady old servitor by her-one who has served the King, her father, faithfully—to be her guide and adviser; her prime minister, in fact? In the lives of real Kings and Queens the ties of kindred are often and perforce broken. If Anne Boleyn had been spared, she would seldom, I am afraid, have been consulted by her daughter Bessie; and that poor blamable Bourbon female who reigns in Spain to-day might decidedly have found a better councillor than Queen Christina, her mamma. Affairs of state, my dear, alter hearts, and alienate them. But what fitter prime minister than your mother can you have? You are destined but to be queen of a boudoir, and empress of a tea-table. You will have but to sign the death-warrants of your admirers : never those of wretched criminals. If we mothers had not a claim to tender counsel to you for that we bare you in sore travail and sorrow, and nurtured you when you were naked, and helpless, and feeble, and sat up long nights by your white cots when the flame of your tiny lives flickered in the socket and trembled in the balance, at least we may plead for a hearing for the things we have seen and the experience we have attained. Let the old hen teach her chickens to walk; and let me
(I know I shall tease you, but the irritation will be wholesome)-tell you, in its own old words, an old crabbed story about two
An old lion, among other precepts that he gave his son, charged him that he should never fight with a Man; because, if he was not too strong, he would, at least, be too crafty. The young lion heard him, but regarded him not ; and therefore, as soon as ever he was full grown, hastens abroad to seek a man to be his enemy. He came into a field, and saw a yoke of oxen standing ready furnished
plough, and asking them if they were men, they said, “No; but that a man had put those yokes upon them.' He left them, and went aside ; and espying a horse bridled and tied to a tree, asked him if he were a man. He was answered, no; but that a man had bridled him, and would by and by come to ride him. At last, he found a man cleaving wood, and asked him; and finding him to be so, told him that he must then prepare to fight with him. The man told him, with all his heart; but first desired him to help to draw the wedge out of that tree, and then he would. The
lion thrusts in his paws, and a little opens the tree, till the wedge fell out, and the tree closed upon his feet by its returning violence. The man seeing the lion fastened, and the lion seeing himself entrapped, the man cried to his neighbours to come to his help; and the lion, to escape his danger, tore his feet from the tree, and left his nails and blood behind him ; and returning with shame and smart to his old father, said to him: “Mi Pater, si paruissem monitis tuis, ungulus non amis. sissem. I had not lost my nails had I obeyed my papa's commands.'” Oh, for the foolish young lions and lionesses that are caught in the cleft sticks every day!
You will let me warn you, my dear, against men and their devices, won't you?
You parted with me on your eighteenth birthday, and it was on that important anniversary I determined to commit you to the care of our friends in Pagoda Square, Knightsbridge. I know, I am persuaded, that from our dear Mr. de Fytchett, who is so idolised in the Royal Rabbit Warrens Office, from our cherished Amelia-Charlotte his wife, and my old schoolfellow, you will receive all that maternal care and watchful protection which I unhappily am unable to bestow on you. I hear that young Ferdinand de Fytchett is wild, and owes money to people who sell things and cheat young officers;
but he is almost always with his regiment; he is engaged as deep as a coalpit to his cousin, Miss St. Ledger; and when he does come to town you will find his arm useful at flower-shows and Crystal Palace concerts. In Frederica de Fytchett I trust you will find a sister. The young woman's principles are excellent. She is well educated, and exceedingly plain ; and when she is no longer serviceable as a companion to my Louisa, I think the best thing she can do-if she can persuade herself to dress her hair like a reasonable being, and wear dresses that don't trail on the ground behind and are three inches too short in front—is to renew her visit to me of last autumn, and marry old General Gargall. The doctors have patched up the tiresome creature once more; the eye that he has left does not tell so badly when he keeps the left cheek to the wall; and when Mr. Gray, of Cork Street, has sent him down his new leg, the odious man declares that he will take to dancing again. He dance! faugh! yes -- in Hans Holbein's panorama, when Death plays the fiddle. He is immensely rich, and fatuous, and feeble. After he had played double dummy with me the other evening, he cried, and said he would give me the diamond solitaire that belonged to his uncle, the ambassador, if I could find a fresh-coloured young woman to marry him. He is not more than seventy-nine, and the respectability of his connections is not open to question. He did not possess the friendship of your dear papa, but had met him at many noble mansions when Royalty was present.
Need I dwell, my dearest, upon the reasons that render the widow of Sir Charles Chesterfield incapable of accompanying her daughter into the great world? Alas! you know them too well. The gay little barque is launched into life's ocean; the poor old hulk, decayed and weather-beaten, is laid up in hopeless ordinary close to shore. For ten years I