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of fault with some very material portions of it, which strike us as remarkably false, silly, and injurious. We should not bestow so much space upon the work, were it not that it has been very popular, very much praised in some quarters in society and by the press, and has passed through ten editions. We deem it our duty, therefore, to counteract, as far as we may, the working of the evil with the good, by exposing, somewhat more at large than we should otherwise be inclined, the objectionable portions of Mrs. Farrar's book.
Our limits will not, indeed, permit us to follow our author in detail through the different portions of her book. It embraces every topic connected with the well-doing and well-being of those for whom it is designed ; their manners and habits — their duties and their pleasures—their health-their occupations, and their deportment in public and private; and there is not a single chapter in the book that does not contain valuable hints and suggestions. We shall be obliged to confine our notice to those topics, the treatment of which particularly pleases or displeases us; remarking, generally, in the meanwhile, that in regard to many of them, there is a minuteness of detail, the necessity of which, if, indeed, it exists, is a dis. grace to the mothers and daughters of our land. The author has a way, too, of laying down the most trite and commonplace maxims—the most obvions rules of propriety on subjects connected with the conduct of life, that presupposes a degree of ignorance and an absence of all refinement in our community, to which, we would fain hope, we need not plead guilty.
One cannot help reflecting, in reading such a book, what a cumbrous piece of mechanism, built up of rules and maxims, injunctions and exhortations, advice and remembrance, is necessary for the regulation of one's life—in the place of a few simple, living principles in the mind--which, if early instilled and babitually cultivated, would be far more effectual for that purpose. There is a large portion of the book before us for which no well-principled and well-educated young lady has the least occasion. To this it may be answered, indeed, that the book is designed for those who are less fortunate as well as for the more favoured : and we have nothing to reply.
Too much can hardly be said to impress upon young minds the value of time, or direct them in its use; and they are indebted to our author for some excellent hints upon the subject. It is the next most valuable talent to mind, and he who is en. trusted with it should make it “ other ten."
We are glad to see the proper value and importance assigned to household accomplishments in a work addressed to young ladies. It appears to us, however, that our author would have treated this subject in a far more impressive manner, but for the fear of countenancing young ladies in considering marriage as having any necessary connexion with their views and plans of life. We think her quite too scrupulous on this point, as we shall hereafter show. This is not the only portion of the book to which much greater effect might have been given, had she addressed young ladies as if they were probably to become wives and mothers. We might reverse an illustration of hers, and say that you might as well enjoin upon the student in navigation never to think of a ship, or a student in book-keeping never to think of the counting-room, as upon a young lady in training for the duties of life, never to contemplate her probable destiny, that for which she is, or ought to be, fitting herself.
It is a vulgar adage, that when poverty enters the door, love flies out of the window. This is not necessarily true; but it is true, (and all females should bear it in mind, that an ill-ordered house produces waste, confusion, and discomfort, which inevitably sour the temper, and, in the end, sometimes destroys sincere affection. There is a vast incongruity between theory and experience upon this subject; and, fully to comprehend it, requires a knowledge of principles deeply seated in the human mind. If a man form a beau-ideal of her to whom he will choose to give his heart and hand, he forms one also of the honie over which she is to preside, which she cannot be too careful to do all in her power to realise for him. If he is disappointed in this, he regards her as the author of his disappointment; and, by and by, comes to feel a sense of wrong and injury sustained through her means.
That love covers a multitude of sins; that a man ought not to value a sense of personal comfort above the gratification of his affections, when they come in contrast, is undoubtedly true; but we have no patience with the sentimental "pottering and dawdling” (as Fanny Kemble says) so often exhibited in treating of these matters; as if He who made us, body, mind, and soul, did not give to every faculty of this glorious constitution its distinct and appropriate pleasure--did not intend that our nerves and senses should be delicately treated as well as our thoughts and sentiments. We believe, fully, in the supremacy of the moral sentiments; but we do not think this is to be secured by inattention to what are called, in distinction, the grosser elements of man's nature.
The portions of the book which relates to behaviour towards teachers, and to the treatment of servants, is excellent. On the latter topic particularly, the remarks are conceived in the truest spirit of Christian philanthropy, and entitle Mrs. Farrar to the respect of all the right-minded and true-hearted.
As all other sensible women would do, on the subject of dress, our authoress advises not to sacrifice health, delicacy, convenience, just economy, or even taste, to fashion. If a fashion is objectionable on any of these grounds, it should be rejected ; at the same time, that it is desirable not to deviate so entirely from prevailing modes of dress as to render one's self peculiar, and an object of remark on that account. An extreme devotion to fashion, is a mark of a vulgar mind; and in cases where it involves unjustifiable expense, either of time or money, or an exposure of the health, it is the mark, also, of an unprincipled mind. We agree with our author in this, also, that a very simple style of dress is by far the most pleasing in the young; and that the richest articles of apparel look not well when worn by persons with whose general style of dress and living they do not comport. We are glad, too, to quote the following passage deprecating a display of finery at church : “If our ladies were obliged to appear at church all dressed alike, in some very plain guise, I fear their attendance on public worship would not be so frequent as it is now. Better than this, however, far better would it be, if every soberminded Christian woman would dress at all times in a style suited to her character, and not let the tyranny of fashion force upon her an outward seeming wholly at variance with the inward reality. I hope the time is not distant when it will be considered ungenteel to be gaily dressed in walking the streets of cities, towns, and villages; when a plain bonnet that shades the face, a plain dress, and thick shoes and stockings, shall be as indispensable to the walking costume of an American lady as they are to that of most Europeans." The conclusion of this passage reminds us of a very mortifying fact, which has been repeatedly asserted, namely, that the ladies who walk the streets of one of our large cities are often taken by foreigners, unacquainted with their habits of dress, for courtesans, because, in Europe, no other class adopts, in public, such a butterfly costume.
Thus far we have found much to commend and but little to condemn in the work before us; yet there are some portions of it to which we object so strongly that we almost doubt whether, on the whole, it will not do more harm than good. In the first place, in the directions to young ladies in regard to their health, and personal habits connected with it, there is an unnecessary, and, we should think, to them very painful minuteness. They must feel as if the doors of iheir dressing rooms and sleeping apartments had been thrown open to the public, and their very persons exposed to its gaze. We cannot reconcile the fastidiousness which prescribes to a young lady not to allow a gentleman to assist her in putting on her cloak or shawl, (p. 293) with the full and free discussion, in a book, which, because it is addressed to young ladies, will be curiously examined by young gentlemen,- of topics which the former would hardly discourse about with one another, and which belongs to a mother's peculiar province,-or with the inculcation of practices which, instead of being directly enjoined, had much better be inferred from general rules of health, applying, not to a particular class, but to the whole race of man.
If it be contended that all scruples should be waived when important objects are to be gained, we reply, that if this be true in part, it is true in the whole; and the author, herself, would probably be very unwilling to act fully upon this principle in a book addressed to young ladies. We admit the paramount importance of the subject of health, and would have no necessary instruction upon it withheld from young ladies more than from others; yet Dr. Combe, froin whose excellent work Mrs. Farrar makes large extracts, without being as explicit is as easily understood, and has already disciples among the female sex; so well imbibed with his principles and trained in their practice, that they need not a single one of our author's instructions on this subject. Had that gentleman, however, thought it necessary to be equally explicit, we should not have made the same objection. His is a book on health, and it is written for all; therefore it is not likely to fasten many errors or revolting associations upon a particular class. But we see very little difference between addressing such things to young ladies, through the medium of a book expressly prepared for them, and thus put forth to the world, and pronouncing them in a public lecture; which certainly would not be tolerated. The sex have their sanctuary, the veil of which should never be lifted ; its rights should be respected, its secrets carefully guarded, especially by those who share its privileges.
So far are we from undervaluing this same subject of health, that we are always glad to see it brought forward and enforced. Next to a good conscience and the light of knowledge, it is undoubtedly the greatest blessing of this life. Yet, in a majority of cases it is left out of the question to take its chance. The time has been when mothers have been found silly and wicked enough to desire for their daughters, pale cheeks, languid looks, and attenuated forms; and daughters, worthy of such mothers, who thought a ruddy hue, and fulness of person, almost as great a calamity as could befal them. Such folly may still be extant, but we hope it is giving place to more rational views.
In regard to the deportment of young ladies on all occasions, there is a precision required of them by our author, which would, wherever adopted, destroy all that freedom and naturalness which, after all, constitute the greatest charm both in mind and manners, and without which there is little scope for the varieties of individual character. The following directions are given in regard to their deportment in the street:
“ You should converse in low tones, and never laugh audibly ; you should not stare at people, nor turn round to look at them when passed; you must leave off your juvenile tricks of eating as you walk along, going without gloves, swinging your bag, untying your bonnet, running to overtake a person, or beckoning to a friend. These things may seem very harmless in themselves, but they all serve to give an impression of character ; and, as persons who see you only in the streets must judge of you by what occurs there, it is desirable that all your actions, movements, and looks, should indicate modesty and refinement." p. 333.
In the first place, the reason given for these instructions is not the proper one, as it is very little consequence what those who see you only in the street think of you. A proper selfrespect, and a desire to conform to the customs of those by whom you are surrounded, because such conformity is a proper mark of respect to them, are the motives which should regulate the conduct as far as mere artificial manners are concerned. A natural sense of propriety would prevent young ladies from transgressing in any important particular specified in the above paragraph. But we object to that extreme strictness which should exclude the possibility of their being ever thrown off their guard in these respects by any circumstance whatever.
Persons who are exceedingly proper in trifles, are apt to be narrow-minded upon all subjects; to lose the power of discriminating between essentials and non-essentials, between what is intrinsic and what is superficial; and to be governed by the strict letter of all laws, human and divine. There is another instance of Mrs. Farrar's extreme and unnecessary minuteness : “ If you perceive a lady to be in danger of losing VOL. I.-NO. II.