I tell her sometimes, there may be a decent pride in humility, and that it is very possible for a young lady to behave with so much true dignity, as shall command respect by the turn of her eye, sooner than by asperity of speech; that she may depend upon it, the person, who is always finding faults, frequently causes them; and that it is no glory to be better born than servants, if she is not better behaved too.
Besides, I tell her humility is a grace that shines in a high condition, but cannot equally in a low one; because that is already too much humbled, perhaps: and that, though there is a censure lies against being poor and proud, yet I would rather forgive pride in a poor body, than in a rich: for in the rich it is insult and arrogance, proceeding from their high condition; but in the poor it may be a defensative against dishonesty, and may shew a natural bravery of mind, perhaps, if properly directed, and manifested on right occasions, that the frowns of fortune cannot depress.
She says she hears every day things from me, which her governess never taught her.
That may very well be, I tell her, because her governess has many young ladies to take care of: I but one; and that I want to make her wise and prudent betimes, that she may be an example to other Misses; and that governesses and mammas shall say to their Misses, “When will you be like Miss Goodwin? Do you ever hear Miss Goodwin say a naughty word? Would Miss Goodwin, think you, have done so or so?”
She threw her arms about my neck, on one such occasion as this; “Oh,” said she, “what a charming mamma have I got! I will be in every thing as like you, as ever I can!—and then you will love me, and so will my uncle, and so will every body else.”
Mr. B. whom now-and-then, she says, she loves as well as if he was her own papa, sees with pleasure how we go on. But she tells me, I must not have any daughter but her, and is very jealous on the occasion about which your ladyship so kindly reproaches me.
There is a pride, you know, Madam, in some of our sex, that serves to useful purposes, is a good defence against improper matches, and mean actions; and is not wholly to be subdued, for that reason; for, though it is not virtue, yet, if it can be virtue’s substitute, in high, rash, and inconsiderate minds, it; may turn to good account. So I will not quite discourage my dear pupil neither, till I see what discretion, and riper years, may add to her distinguishing faculty. For, as some have no notion of pride, separate from imperiousness and arrogance, so others know no difference between humility and meanness.
There is a golden mean in every thing; and if it please God to spare us both, I will endeavour to point her passions, and such even of those foibles, which seem too deeply rooted to be soon eradicated, to useful purposes; choosing to imitate physicians, who, in certain chronical illnesses, as I have read in Lord Bacon, rather proceed by palliatives, than by harsh extirpatives, which, through the resistance given to them by the constitution, may create such ferments in it, as may destroy that health it was their intention to establish.