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.

There is, besides, a strong impression that, where this failing does exist, it is so closely interwoven with the whole texture of the character, that it can never be separated from it while life and this body of sin remain.  This is undoubtedly thus far true, that its ramifications are more minute, and more universally pervading, than those of any other moral defect; so that, on the one hand, while even an anxious and diligent self-examination cannot always detect their existence, so, on the other, it is scarcely possible for its victims to be excited by an emotion of any nature with which envy will not, in some manner or other, connect itself.  It is still further true, that no vice can be more difficult of extirpation, the form it assumes being seldom sufficiently tangible to allow of the whole weight of religious and moral motives being brought to bear upon it.  But the greatest difficulty of all is, in my mind, the inadequate conception of the exceeding evil of this disposition, of the misery it entails on ourselves, the danger and the constant annoyance to which it exposes all connected with us.  Few would recognise their own picture, however strong the likeness in fact might be, in the following vivid description of Lavater’s:—­“Lorsque je cherche a representer Satan, je me figure une personne que les bonnes qualites d’autrui font souffrir, et qui se rejouit des fautes et des malheurs du prochain.”

Analyze strictly, however, during even this one day, the feelings that have given you the most annoyance, and the contemplated or executed measures of deed or word to which those feelings have prompted you, and you must plead guilty to the heinous charge of “rejoicing at your brother’s faults and misfortunes.”  It is not so much, indeed, with relation to important matters that this feeling is excited within you.  If you hear of your friends being left large fortunes, or forming connections calculated to promote their happiness, you are not annoyed or grieved:  you may even, perhaps, experience some sensations of pleasure.  If, however, the circumstances of good fortune are brought more home to yourself, perhaps into collision with yourself, by being of a more trifling nature, you often experience a regret or annoyance at the success or the happiness of others, which would be ludicrous, if it were not so wicked.  Neither is there any vice which displays itself so readily to the keen eye of observation:  even when the guarded tongue restrains the disclosure, the expression of the lip and eye is unmistakeable, and gradually impresses a character on the countenance which remains at times when the feeling itself is quite dormant.  Only contemplate your case in this point of view:  is it not, when dispassionately considered, shocking to think, that when a stranger hopes to gratify you by the praise, the judicious and well-merited praise, of your dearest friend, a pang is inflicted on you by the very words that ought to sound as pleasant

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