The Young Lady's Mentor eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 263 pages of information about The Young Lady's Mentor.

The reform must begin here, as in all great moral questions, with the arbiters of morals—­those from whom morals take their tone—­women.  That we have no right to expect it to begin with the other sex, may be proved even by a vulgar aphorism.  It is often triumphantly said, that “a man may marry when he will—­a woman must marry when she can.”  How keen a satire upon both sexes is couched in this homely proverb! and how long will they consent not only patiently to acquiesce in its truth, but to prove it by their actions?  That women may be able thus to reform society, it is of importance that conscience be educated on this subject as on every other; educated, too, before the tinsel of false romance deceive the eye, or the frost of worldly-mindedness congeal the heart of youth.  It seems to me that this object would best be effected, not by avoiding the subject of love, but by treating it, when it arises, with seriousness and simplicity, as a feeling which the young may one day be called upon to excite and to return, but which can have no existence in the lofty in soul and pure in heart, except when called forth by corresponding qualities in another.  Such training as this would be a far more effectual preventive of foolish passions, than cramping the intellect in narrow ignorance, and excluding all knowledge of what life is—­in order to prepare people for entering upon it:  a plan about as wise in itself, and as successful as to results, as the bolts, bars, and duennas of a Spanish play.  Outward, substituted for inward, restraints are sure to act upon man mentally, as actual bonds do physically; he only wants to get free from them.  Noble and virtuous principles in the heart will not fail to direct the conduct aright, and it is to transfer these things from matters of decorum or expediency, to matters of conscience, that we should use our most earnest endeavours.  Above all, it is incumbent upon those who have the training of the young—­of women especially—­so to imbue their souls with lofty and conscientious principles of action, that they may be alike unwilling to deceive, or liable to be deceived; that they may not be led as fools or as victims into those responsible relations, for the consequences of which, (how momentous!) to themselves, to others, and to society at large, they are answerable to a God of infinite wisdom and justice.


[110] Aime Martin.

[111] It is Coleridge who speaks of the “unselfishness of love,” in one of the volumes of his “Remains.”



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