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For the Use of
A young LADY of Quality, &c.
ARIETY is a Virtue fo effential to the
Happiness of Mankind in general, and of that of the Fair Sex in particular, thát, without it, the Advantages of
Birth and Fortune too often 'prove but fo many Mischiefs and Snares. Indeed it is not easy to conceive, how a young Lady, in the Bloom of Beauty, and expos'd to a thousand Hazárds and Sollicitations, of which her personal Perfection is the innocent but unhappy Cause, can long des fend herself by the sole Allistance of her Reason. Her Enemies are the more dangerous, the less they appear to be fo ; and the has every Thing to apprehend from thofe, who employ all the Arts of Complaisance and Submission to obtain their End.
Formerly there was a kind of Idol, or Deity, call’d Reputation, from whom your Sex received
no inconsiderable Support, at least their Regard for it obliged them to keep great Meafures with respe&to Decency, and preserve themselves from publick Censure. But insenfibly this Caution has yeilded to the prevailing Force of Cuftom and Example, and it is now thought a fufficient Excuse for a Lady's Weakness, to plead the Merit, or good Qualities, of thofe who have triumph'd over it.
ESTIMATE by this, MADAM, the Situation of 1 young Lady of Birth and Fortune, at her first Appearance in the Grand Monde, fubject to the fecret Disturbance of her own Paffions, and liable to the Importunity of those she has rais'd in others, unconfin'd by the Laws of Piety, and either indifferent with regard to Reputation, or not fully appris'd' of the Value of it." Eftablifh, then, Piety, as the Bafts of your Conduet, I mean, a calm and folid Senfe of Religion, free from Scepticism on the one Hand, and Superstition on the other ; and be affur'd, thắt, without this Foundation, the feverést Virtue cannot be answerable for its own Security.
Do not from heree, MADAM, imagine, that I would have you think yourfelt unfortunate in that uncommon Share of Beauty Heaven has bestow'd upon you. I own, thole, to whom it has deny'd this Favour, are, in my Opinion, happier, by the Advantage of being lefs expos’d; but as this is owing to their being less taken Notice of, there is the less Merit in it. The World is apt to look on their Reservedness as a Kind of Constraint, for which it is no way obliged to them; and whenever they are so unhappy as to forfeit cheir Virtue, they are lure to be condemn'd without Mercy.
BEAUTY, MADAM, is the Gift of Heaven, for which you owe it no less Thanks, than for its having form'd you without any personal Blemish. It is your Duty to take Care of it, but not with Anxiety; to consider it as the superfluous Bounty of indulgent Providence, and be always prepar'd to resign it, when the same Authority Thail think fit to take it away.
I Am no Enemy to those Ornaments of Dress that are suitable to your Age and Quality. Since Custom has establish'd luch' Things in that World which you live in, it is a Point of Prudence to accommodate your self to the Fashion. After all, it is not the Choice or Colour of a Ribband, the Adjustment of a Curl, or the Position of a Patch, which produce such ill Consequences (1), An irregular Carriage, an artful Glance, an affe&ed Air, all the subtil Methods employ'd to engage a Lover, purposely to display your Vanity in the Conqueft, or sooth your Pride, by giving him Pain ; these, Madam, are the faral Signs I would have you most carefully avoid.
It is by such Marks so many Ladies are enroll'd in that numerous Society, the Members of
(1) The Archbishop of Cambray is of a very different Opinion on this Head. He was too great an Admirer of the true Beauty and Simplicity of Nature, to approve the Inconstancy of Fashions that reigns in France. His Sentiments on Dress and Beauty are worth the Perusal, in the roth Chapter of his Advice to a Daughter.
which go under the Denomination of Coquettes, No very amiable Character, MADAM, for a La dy of Quality, whose Sentiments should be answerable to the Dignity of her Birth. To confirm in you a lasting Contempt and Aversion for the Title, allow me to mention a few of the Qualities, commonly found in Ladies of this Class, and you will find, that an Understanding tainted with Levity, is join'd with a Heart intoxicated with Pleasure, That their Souls are void of Humanity, and incapable of Friendship; That they have Reason without Reflection, a narrow Judgment, and unbounded Vanity; That their Withes are extravagant, and their Passions indirected. In short, that foolish Jealousies, and frivolous Conversation, dissembled Goodness, with perpetual Hypocrisy, a cold and malicious Way of praising others, to be flatter'd themselves, a Profusion of Words, or rather a complaisant Kind of Jargon, with which they entertain the World, most or all of those, are the infallible Symptoms of a Mind distemper’d with Coquettry.
It is not, however, Madam, by these Means, that the Efteem of Men of Merit and Honour is to be gain'd, and yet it is their Approbation only is worth the Acquisition. But how delireable foever that may be, I would not have you to be too sollicitous to obtain it. Leave your Beauty and Virtue to procure it for you,
without troubling your self farther, than the Care of always deserving it: When you come to bestow those Afiduities on your Person, in which Custom has indulg'd your Sex. Let the Manner of Dress, rather be calculated to appear like
those of your own Quality, than with any Ambition of excelling this Way, much less with any View of being particular. Let it be your principal Care, in the strictest Manner, to observe the Rules of Decency. Let all your Actions carry in them an Air of that internal Wisdom and Modesty, that never fail to charm and improve those. who behold them. Let your Behaviour be affa ble, and without Constraint. Treat none with your Severity, but such as may deserve it by failing in the Respect they owe you; and, great as your Beauty is, regard it as greatly inferior in Value and Importance to the Worth of your Mind.'
To tell you, that the one is uncertain and transitory, and that the other is inseparable from your Existence, would be to repeat to you a Truth as old as the Creation. I would rather chufe to point out to you the excellent and superior Nature of your Soul, and the Obligations you lie under by rightly improving that, to adorn the high Rank you are plac'd in. This will be no easy Task, Madam, if you do not early accustom yourself to understand, and cultivate this nobler Part of you, and take a secret Pleafure in the Reflection, That, exalted as your Birth is, it is yet surpass’d by the native Grandeur and Magnificence of your Soul.
READING will be a considerable Help to you in this Case. The only Difficulty is, how to make a right Choice for yourself. There are some Books, I think, indifferent ; such as those that treat of History, Travels, and some few Pieces in the Belles Lettres, that have been written by Men of Politeness and Gallantry, in Ho