Even in the case of a genius, one of most rare occurrence, an attention to details, and thoughtfulness respecting them, though certainly more difficult, is proportionally more admirable than in ordinary women.
It was said of the wonderful Elizabeth Smith, that she equally excelled in every department of life, from the translation of the most difficult passages of the Hebrew Bible down to the making of a pudding. You should establish it as a practical truth in your mind, that, with a strong will, the intellectual powers may be turned into every imaginable direction, and lead to excellence in one as surely as in another.
Even where the strong will is wanting, and there may not be the same mechanical facility that belongs to more vigorous organizations, every really useful and necessary duty is still within the reach of all intellectual women. Among these, you can scarcely doubt that the science of economy, and that important part of it which consists in taking care of your clothes, is within the power of every woman who does not look upon it as beneath her notice. This I suppose you do not, as I know you to take a rational and conscientious view of the minor duties of life, and that you are anxious to fulfil those of exactly “that state of life unto which it has pleased God to call you."
I must not close this letter without adverting to an error into which those of your sanguine temperament would be the most likely to fall.
You will, perhaps—for it is a common progress—run from one extreme to another, and from having expended too large a proportion of your income on personal decoration, you may next withdraw even necessary attention from it. “All must be given to the poor,” will be the decision of your own impulses and of over-strained views of duty.
This, however, is, in an opposite direction, quitting the station of life in which God has placed you, as much as those do who indulge in an expenditure of double their income. Your dressing according to your station in life is as much in accordance with the will of God concerning you, as your living in a drawing-room instead of a kitchen, in a spacious mansion instead of a peasant’s cottage. Besides, as you are situated, there is another consideration with respect to your dress which must not be passed over in silence. The allowance you receive is expressly for the purpose of enabling you to dress properly, suitably, and respectably; and if you do not in the first place fulfil the purpose of the donor, you are surely guilty of a species of dishonesty. You have no right to indulge personal feeling, or gratify a mistaken sense of duty, by an expenditure of money for a different purpose from that for which it was given to you; nor even, were your money exclusively your own, would you have a right to disregard the opinions of your friends by dressing in a different manner from them, or from what they consider suitable for you. If you thus err, they will neither allow