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It is not from the possession of knowledge, but from the display of it, that a woman ceases to be feminine. To lecture with authority, to argue with violence, to dispute with obstinacy, are qualifications purely masculine. It were too much to say that to be in the right, is a male quality; but to feel one's self in the right, or rather to shew that feeling, is not delicately female. The musical department will furnish us with another illustration. Emilia has heard of that sort of singing below the full powers of the performer's voice, which the Italians call singing "sotto-voce ;" now, let a woman's understanding be ever so strong, let her mind be ever so accomplished, it should always be delivered "sotto-voce."
TO THE AUTHOR OF THE MIRROR.
I AM just going to commence business as a milliner, and am resolved to bestow more than common pains in furnishing out as elegant a shop-list as possible; being of opinion, that much of the employment a shopkeeper gets, is owing to the attraction of a happy-fancied sign, advertisement, or shop-bill. In executing this intention, I have met with several difficulties; and therefore am induced to trouble you for a solution of them. A friend of mine, whom I consulted (because, as he was often reading, I imagined him to be a wise and learned man), advised me to look into a book called Johnson's Dictionary, which he said would spell, explain, and describe to me, any thing I was at a loss about. Accordingly, after some difficulty, I procured a sight of this book from a relation, who was acquainted with a bookseller. But as this same Johnson explains his words in a foreign language, I am as much at a loss as ever; because I am totally ignorant what language it is, and, therefore,
cannot judge, whether what he says be such a description of my commodities as will bring me customers. Upon my looking, for instance, at his explanation of net-work, I find it to be," any thing "reticulated or decussated with interstices betwixt "the intersections." Now, Mr. Mirror, I beg the favour of you to tell me what language this is. You certainly can easily do it, when you have obtained such a character in town for wisdom and learning. If it should be French, be so good as to translate it to me; and, if it proves to be such a description as I think suits the net-work I have on hand, I shall most gladly insert it in my bill. But if it should turn out to be Latin, Greek, Hebrew, or Dutch, or any other heathen language, I would not meddle with it for all the world; for no person then would come near my shop. I am advised by all my friends to put as much French into my bills and advertisements as possible: and, indeed, I believe the advice is good; for I have a relation, a perruquier, as he calls himself, who has told me, that he believed he owed almost all his business (and a great deal he had) to an advertisement in the newspapers interlarded with French words. It began thus, for I copied it letter for letter: "Perruques au dernier gout, made to fit the "head, avec une air bien degagé, to be had," &c. This wigmaker informed me, that there was scarcely a young beau in town who wore a wig that could resist his advertisement.
I should beg pardon for the freedom I am using in thus taking up your time about a matter which must appear so trifling to you; but if you are a benevolent man (and such I have heard you are,) it will readily occur to you, that, though my request appears of a trivial nature, yet it treats of an affair of very great consequence to me. This consideration has emboldened me to apply to you; and, if
you take the trouble to give me your assistance on this occasion, I promise to take in your Mirror to my shop for the amusement of my customers; though upon second thoughts, I am doubtful whether it may not rather hurt my business. A mirror is as necessary to a milliner's shop, as the goods that are in it; but then it must be a mirror for the body.. Now yours is one for the mind; and my best customers, in all probability, will consist of a set of ladies who seldom or never look into their minds at all for those ladies, Mr. Mirror, who decorate their persons in the highest extravagance of the fashion, and who, of consequence, are the best customers to the milliners, are generally such, I am told, as have their minds worst dressed and least ornamented. Besides, the ladies generally find something in the bodily mirror which pleases them; but your mental looking-glass is one of such just reflection, that, if my ladies should view themselves in it, I am afraid they would be dissatisfied and displeased with seeing their minds so unadorned as they really are, that they would go away in very bad humour, and without laying out a sixpence in ornaments for their persons.
I must, therefore, before I venture upon this step, consider farther of it, and have the opinion of my friends on the matter. I have a good mind, Sir, to consult yourself upon it. I think so highly of you, that I scruple not to abide by your determination. Be so good, therefore, as to tell me in your answer, whether you think I ought to venture to take in your Mirror to lie on my counter.
I am, Sir,
Your very humble servant,
No. XC. SATURDAY, MARCH 18.
Verum etiam amicum qui intuetur tanquam exemplar aliquod intuetur sui. Quocirca et absentes absunt, et egentes abundant, et imbecilles valent, et quod difficilius dictu est, mortui vivunt; tantus eos honos, memoria, desiderium prosequitur amicorum. Ex quo illorum beata mors videtur, ho um vita laudabilis.
"LIFE," says Sir William Temple, " is like "wine; who would drink it pure, must not draw “it to the dregs." Such, I confess, has ever been my opinion, although, in reckoning up the good things of this world, long life is commonly estimated as one of its chief blessings.
I am ready to allow, that an old man, looking back on a well-spent life, in which he finds nothing to regret, and nothing to be ashamed of, and waiting with dignity for that event which is to put a period to his existence, is one of the most venerable and respectable of all objects. The idea that he is soon to quit the busy scenes of life, throws a tenderness around him, similar to that we feel in bidding adieu to a friend who is to leave us for a long time.
There is, however, something wonderfully unpleasant in the decay of the powers of mind and body, the necessary consequence of extreme old age. To those around them, particularly to those with whom they are more nearly connected, the imbecility which almost always attends persons in a very advanced period of life, affords one of the most affecting spectacles that can well be conceived. It is a situation truly interesting; and, while it teaches us to make every allowance for the weakness of age, it disposes us, by every mark of observance, to smooth the steps of the aged, and to remove, as much as possible, those clouds that hang on the evening of life.
It must, at the same time, be admitted, that there are men who live to a very great age, in the full possession of their faculties, and, what is still more, with all the affections of the mind alive and unabated. Yet, even where this is the case, I cannot, for my part, consider long life as an object much to be desired.
There is one circumstance, which with me is alone sufficient to decide the question. If there be any thing that can compensate the unavoidable evils with which this life is attended, and the numberless calamities to which mankind are subject, it is the pleasure arising from the society of those we love and esteem. Friendship is the cordial of life. Without it, who would wish to exist an hour? But every one who arrives at extreme old age, must make his account with surviving the greater part, perhaps the whole, of his friends. He must see them fall from him by degrees, while he is left alone, single and unsupported, like a leafless trunk, exposed to every storm, and shrinking from every blast.
I have been led to these reflections by a loss I lately sustained in the sudden and unlooked-for death of a friend, to whom, from my earliest youth, I had been attached by every tie of the most tender affection. Such was the confidence that subsisted between us, that, in his bosom, I was wont to repose every thought of my mind, and every weakness of my heart. In framing him, nature seemed to have thrown together a variety of opposite qualities, which, happily tempering each other, formed one of the most engaging characters I have ever known. An elevation of mind, a manly firmness, a Castalian sense of honour, accompanied with a bewitching sweetness, proceeding from the most delicate attention to the situation of the feelings of others. In his manners simple and unassuming; in the company of strangers modest to a degree of bashfulness; yet