The Young Lady's Mentor eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 222 pages of information about The Young Lady's Mentor.
to feel, in consulting a wife, a mother, or a sister, that they are appealing from their passions and prejudices, and not to them, as imbodied in a second self:  nothing tends to give opinions such weight as the certainty that the utterer of them is free from all petty or personal motives.  The beneficial influence of woman is nullified if once her motives, or her personal character, come to be the subject of attack; and this fact alone ought to induce her patiently to acquiesce in the plan of seclusion from public affairs.

It supposes, indeed, some magnanimity in the possessors of great powers and widely extended influence, to be willing to exercise them with silent, unostentatious vigilance.  There must be a deeper principle than usually lies at the root of female education, to induce women to acquiesce in the plan, which, assigning to them the responsibility, has denied them the eclat of being reformers of society.  Yet it is, probably, exactly in proportion to their reception of this truth, and their adoption of it into their hearts, that they will fulfil their own high and lofty mission; precisely because the manifestation of such a spirit is the one thing needful for the regeneration of society.  It is from her being the depository and disseminator of such a spirit, that woman’s influence is principally derived.  It appears to be for this end that Providence has so lavishly endowed her with moral qualities, and, above all, with that of love,—­the antagonist spirit of selfish worldliness, that spirit which, as it is vanquished or victorious, bears with it the moral destinies of the world!  Now, it is proverbially as well as scripturally true, that love “seeketh not its own” interest, but the good of others, and finds its highest honour, its highest happiness, in so doing.  This is precisely the spirit which can never be too much cultivated by women, because it is the spirit by which their highest triumphs are to be achieved:  it is they who are called upon to show forth its beauty, and to prove its power; every thing in their education should tend to develop self-devotion and self-renunciation.  How far existing systems contribute to this object, it must be our next step to inquire.

EDUCATION OF WOMEN.

“The education of women is more important than that of men, since that of men is always their work."[108]

We are now to consider how far the present systems of female education tend to the great end here mentioned—­the truth of which, reflection and experience combine to prove.  Great is the boast of the progress of education; great would be the indignation excited by a doubt as to the fact of this progress.  “A simple question will express this doubt more forcibly, and place this subject in a stronger light:  ’Are women qualified to educate men?’ If they are not, no available progress has been made.  In the very heart of civilized Europe, are women what

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The Young Lady's Mentor from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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