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observation to satisfy them, that, unless the parents regard the tutor, it is impossible the children can ; that, unless the instructor be honoured, his precepts will be contemned. Even, independent of these considerations, something is due to a young man of education and of learning, who, though his situation may make it necessary for him to receive a salary for his labours, may, from that learning which he has received, and that taste which it has given him, have a mind as independent as the wealthiest, and as delicate as the highest born.
But, while I venture to suggest those hints to such gentlemen as may be in a situation to afford tutors for their children, I would recommend the perusal of Mr. B.'s letter to persons in that condition from which he has sprung. I have of late remarked with regret, in this country, a disposition in many, who, from their station and circumstances, ought to have been bred farmers or manufacturers, to become scholars and men of learned professions. Let such persons and their parents be assured, that, though there may be a few singular instances to the contrary, there is no pursuit which requires a competency, in point of fortune, more than that of a man of learning. A young man who has not enough to make him easy, and to bear the expence requisite for carrying on his education, can hardly be expected to rise to any eminence. The meanness of his situation will humble and depress him, and render him unfit for any thing elegant or great; or, if this should not be the case, there is much danger of his becoming a prey to anxiety and chagrin, aud perhaps passing a neglected and a miserable life. K. B. seems to have suffered much; he may still have much to suffer; had he followed his father's profession, he might have been both happy and useful.
TUESDAY, MARCH 14.
TO THE AUTHOR OF THE MIRROR.
I WAS lately one of a pretty numerous company of both sexes, when a lady then going to be married was the subject of conversation, and was mentioned, by a gentleman present, as a very accomplished woman, to which the company in general assented. One lady remarked, she had often heard that phrase made use of, without being able precisely to understand what was meant by it; that she doubted not it was bestowed with propriety on Miss; but, as she was not of her acquaintance, she wished to know, whether, when one was said to be an accomplished woman, we were to understand such accomplishments as music, dancing, French, &c. which a boarding-school affords; or those higher attainments which the mind is supposed to acquire by reading and reflection? "Read
ing and reflection!" repeated, with an ironical sneer, a very fine gentleman, who sat opposite to her; "I wonder how any one can fill girls heads "with such ridiculous nonsense. I am sure I never a woman's learning have any other effect "than to make her conceited of herself, and a "plague to her neighbours. Were I to enter the "shackles, I have too much regard to my own ease "to chuse a lady of reflection, "and, had I any "daughters, I should probably have plague enough "with them, without their being readers." Another lady, without taking the smallest notice of what the gentleman had said, observed, that she did not wonder young ladies were discouraged from taking much pains in improving their minds,' as, whatever a girl's understanding or mental accomplishments might be, they were universally neglected, at least
by the gentlemen; and the company of any fool, provided she was handsome, preferred to theirs..... But, as this lady was rather homely, I durst not rely on her opinion..... An elderly gentleman then said, he did not see that reading could do a woman any harm, provided they confined themselves to books fit for them, and did not meddle with subjects they could not understand....such as religion and politics. As to the first, he said, that if a woman went regularly to church, said her prayers, read her Bible, and did as she was bid, he thought it all that was necessary; and as for politics, it was a subject far beyond the reach of any female capacity. This gentleman had a little before given a very circumstantial (and I am sure I thought a very tiresome) account of the method of making votes for the next general election, to which the company seemed to pay very little attention; and if that was what he meant by politics, he was certainly in the right; for I acknowledge I did not understand one word of it; nor did any of the ladies present, as I afterwards found, comprehend it more than my
A young gentleman, who, from his correct manner of speaking, I suppose practised the law, and who had hitherto listened with great attention, then took upon him to be our sex's advocate, and was proceeding to shew (in a very sensible manner, as I thought) the little danger that was to be feared, and the great advantages that might be reaped, from a young lady's appropriating a considerable part of her time to reading, provided her studies were properly directed; when the arrival of some ceremonious visitors put an end to the conversation; and the company sat down to cards.
When I came home, I could not help reflecting, with a good deal of uneasiness, on what I had heard. For if there is really no such thing as mental ac
complishments rendering a young lady more amiable, or if reading is to be of no real service to us, I have certainly employed a great part of my past life to very little purpose. I was brought up in the country, where reading was not only my greatest amusement, but I was always told, that by that, and making proper reflections on what I read, I should become contented with myself, and be beloved and respected by all who knew me; and by these improvements alone could hope to equal my sister, who is a great deal handsomer than I, but who could seldom be persuaded to open a book.
But the conversation above mentioned, which happened very soon after I came to town, has raised many doubts in my mind as to the real importance of my former studies. I have mentioned my uneasiness to several of my female companions, who are all (especially such as are not handsome) very much interested in it, and would be very happy to see a Mirror on this subject, though they were much surprised at my courage in proposing to write to you; which, indeed, I never could have done, had I been able to find any other way to communicate my distress.
If you think this letter worthy your attention, I entreat you to give us, as soon as possible, your opinion as to what sort of accomplishments a young lady ought to be most anxious to acquire, and whether there is not some real advantage to be derived from reading; for I would fain think the young gentleman was in the right; though I am sorry I have never seen him since, to hear what he had further to say on the subject.
But if, on the contrary, you convince me, that I either cannot, or need not, aim at any mental accomplishments, I shall lay by my book, and proceed to finish some ornamental pieces of work, which have hitherto advanced very slowly, as I was always
more solicitous to improve my mind, than to adorn
I am, SIR,
Your constant reader and admirer,
It were hard, indeed, if the word accomplishment, when applied to a woman, exclu-led the idea of such mental embellishments as Emilia seems particularly to have studied. In the Author of the Mirror, she has chosen a partial umpire; for he will fairly own, that he addresses many of his papers chiefly to the Ladies, and feels a high degree of pleasure when he is told that any one of them has been lucky enough to interest or to please the fair. part of his readers. Such a paper he sets down as one" à bonnes fortunes," and grows vain upon it accordingly.
It must, however, be confessed, on the other hand, that the lesser order of accomplishments, mentioned by Emilia, are very necessary attendants on that higher sort, which reading and reflection confer. They are necessary even to the men; for without them learning grows pedantry, and wit becomes rudeness. But, in women a certain softness of address and grace of manner are so indispensable, that no talents or acquirements can possibly please without them. To give that softness, to confer that grace, reading and reflection will not suffice alone to impart them in the highest degree, no other accomplishments will suffice, without reading and reflection. Emilia's harpsichord will settle the matter. Let us take treble for the first sort of accomplishments, and bass for the latter; strike with the right hand...'tis music, but without strength; with the left....'tis harsh, and wants softness; touch it with both hands, and the instrument is quite as it should be.