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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.

If the preference of a female friend excites angry and jealous feelings, the attentions of an admirer are probably still more envied.  In some unhappy families, one may observe the beginning of any such attentions by the vigilant depreciation of the admirer, and the anxious manoeuvres to prevent any opportunities of cultivating the detected preference.  What prosperity can be hoped for to a family in which the supposed advantage and happiness of one individual member is feared and guarded against, instead of being considered an interest belonging to the whole?  You will be shocked at such pictures as these:  alas! that they should be so frequent even in domestic England, the land of happy homes and strong family ties.  You are of course still more shocked at hearing that I attribute to yourself any shade of so deadly a vice as that above described; and as long as you do not attribute it to yourself, my warning voice will be raised in vain:  I am not, however, without hope that the vigilant self-examination, which your real wish for improvement will probably soon render habitual, may open your eyes to your danger while it can still be easily averted.  Supposing this to be the case, I would earnestly suggest to you the following means of cure.  First, earnest prayer against this particular sin, earnest prayer to be brought into “a higher moral atmosphere,” one of unfeigned love to our neighbour, one of rejoicing with all who do rejoice, “and weeping with those who weep.”  This general habit is of the greatest importance to cultivate:  we should strive naturally and instinctively to feel pleasure when another is loved, or praised, or fortunate; we should try to strengthen our sympathies, to make the feelings of others, as much as possible, our own.  Many an early emotion of envy might be instantly checked by throwing one’s self into the position of the envied one, and exerting the imagination to conceive vividly the pleasure or the pain she must experience:  this will, even at the time, make us forgetful of self, and will gradually bring us into the habit of feeling for the pain and pleasure of others, as if we really believed them to be members of the same mystical body.[38] We should, in the next place, attack the symptoms of the vice we wish to eradicate; we should seek by reasonable considerations to realize the absurdity of our envy:  for this, nothing is more essential than the ascertaining of our own level, and fairly making up our minds to the certain superiority of others.  As soon as this is distinctly acknowledged, much of the pain of the inferior estimation in which we are held will be removed:  “There is no disgrace in being eclipsed by Jupiter.”  Next, let us examine into the details of the law of compensation—­one which is never infringed; let us consider that the very superiority of others involves many unpleasantnesses, of a kind, perhaps, the most disagreeable to us.  For instance, it often involves the necessity of a sacrifice of time

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