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.
a request or even to apply to them about necessary business, while they are engaged in the perusal of any thing interesting.  I know more than one excellent person, who, in consequence of observing the effect produced on their temper, by novels, &c., have given up this style of reading altogether.  So far as the sacrifice was made from a conscientious motive, they doubtless have their reward.  From the consequences, however, I should be rather inclined to think that they were in many cases not only mistaken in the nature of the precautions they adopted, but also in their motives for adopting them.  Such persons too frequently seem to have no more control over their temper when exposed to other and entirely inevitable temptations, than they had before the cultivation of their imagination was given up.  They do not, in short, seem to exercise, under circumstances that cannot be escaped, that vigilant self-control which would be the only safe test of the conscientiousness of their intellectual sacrifice.

For you, I should consider any sacrifice of the foregoing kind especially inexpedient.  Your deep thoughtfulness of mind, and your habitual delicacy of health, make it impossible for you to give up light literature with any degree of safety; even were it right that you should abandon that species of mental cultivation which is effected by this most important branch of study.  People who never read difficult books, and who are not of reflective habits of mind, can little understand the necessity that at times exists for entire repose to the higher powers of the mind—­a repose which can be by no means so effectually procured as by an interesting work of fiction.  A drive in a pretty country, a friendly visit, an hour’s work in the garden, any of these may indeed effect the same purpose, and on some occasions in a safer way than a novel or a poem.  The former, however, are means which are not always within one’s reach, which are impossible at seasons when entire rest to the mind is most required,—­viz. during days and weeks of confinement to a sick and infected room.  At such periods, it is true that the more idle the mind can be kept the better; even the most trifling story may excite a dangerous exertion of its nervous action; at times, however, when it is sufficiently strong and disengaged to feel a craving for active employment, it is of great importance that the employment should be such as would involve no exercise of the higher intellectual faculties.  I have known serious evils result to both mind and body from an imprudent engagement in intellectual pursuits during temporary, and as it may often appear trifling, illness.  Whenever the body is weak, the mind also should be allowed to rest, if the invalid be a person of thought and reflection; otherwise Butler’s Analogy itself would not do her any harm.  It is only “Lorsqu’il y a vie, il y a danger.”  This is a long digression, but one necessary to my subject; for I feel the importance

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