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.
to you for their sacrifice.  A mind that is really susceptible of culture must either select a suitable employment for the energies it possesses, or they will find some dangerous occupation for themselves, and eat away the very life they were intended to cherish and strengthen.  I should wish you to be spared, however, the humiliation of even temporary regrets, which, at the very least, must occasion temporary loss of precious hours, and a decrease of that diligent labour for improvement which can only be kept in an active state of energy by a deep and steady conviction of its nobleness and utility; further still, (which would be worse than the temporary consequences to yourself,) at such times of despondency you might be led to make admissions to the disadvantage of mental cultivation, and to depreciate those very habits of study and self-improvement which it ought to be one of the great objects of your life to recommend to all.  You might thus discourage some young beginner in the path of self-cultivation, who, had it not been for you, might have cheered a lonely way by the indulgence of healthy, natural tastes, besides exercising extensive beneficial influence over others.  Your incautious words, doubly dangerous because they seem to be the result of experience, may be the cause of such a one’s remaining in useless and wearisome, because uninterested idleness.  That you may guard the more successfully against incurring such responsibilities, you should without delay begin a long and serious consideration, founded on thought and observation, both as to the relative advantages of ignorance and knowledge.  When your mind has been fully made up on the point, after the careful examination I recommend to you, you must lay your opinion aside on the shelf, as it were, and suffer it no longer to be considered as a matter of doubt, or a subject for discussion.  You can then, when temporarily assailed by weak-minded fears, appeal to the former dispassionate and unprejudiced decision of your unbiassed mind.  To one like you, there is no safer appeal than that from a present excited, and consequently prejudiced self, to another dispassionate, and consequently wiser self.  Let us then consider in detail what foundation there may be for the remarks that are made to the depreciation of a cultivated intellect, and illustrate their truth or falsehood by the examples of those upon whose habits of life we have an opportunity of exercising our observation.

First, then, I would have you consider the position and the character of those among your unmarried friends who are unintellectual and uncultivated, and contrast them with those who have by education strengthened natural powers and developed natural capabilities:  among these, it is easy for you to observe whose society is the most useful and the most valued, whose opinion is the most respected, whose example is the most frequently held up to imitation,—­I mean by those alone whose esteem is worth possessing.  The giddy, the

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