There are three special classes among girls whose difficulties of mind call for attention. There are those who frisk playfully along, taking the good things of life as they come—“the more the better”—whom, as children, it is hard to call to account. They are lightly impressed and only for a moment by the things they feel, and scarcely moved at all by the things they understand. The only side which seems troublesome in their early life is that there is so little hold upon it. They are unembarrassed and quite candid about their choice; it is the enjoyable good, life on its pleasantest side. And this disposition is in the mind as well as in the will; they cannot see it in any other way. Restraint galls them, and their inclination is not to resist but to evade it. These are kitten-like children in the beginning, and they appear charming. But when the kitten in them is overgrown, its playful evasiveness takes an ugly contour and shows itself as want of principle. The tendency to snatch at enjoyment hardens into a grasping sense of market values, and conscience, instead of growing inexorable, learns to be pliant to circumstances. Debts weigh lightly, and duties scarcely weigh at all. Concealment and un-truthfulness come in very easily to save the situation in a difficulty, and once the conduct of life is on the down-grade it slides quickly and far, for the sense of responsibility is lacking and these natures own no bond of obligation. They have their touch of piety in childhood, but it soon wears off, and in its best days cannot stand the demands made upon it by duty; it fails of its hold upon the soul, like a religion without a sacrifice. In these minds some notions of ethics leave a barbed arrow of remorse which penetrates further than piety. They may soothe themselves with the thought that God will easily forgive, later on, but they cannot quite lose consciousness of the law which does not forgive, of the responsibility of human acts and the inevitable punishment of wrong-doing which works itself out, till it calls for payment of the last farthing. And by this rough way of remorse they may come back to God. Pope Leo XIII spoke of it as their best hope, an almost certain means of return. The beautiful also may make its appeal to these natures on their best side, and save them preventively from themselves, but only if the time of study is prolonged enough for the laws of order and beauty to be made comprehensible to them, so that if they admire the best, remorse may have another hold and reproach them with a lowered ideal.
In opposition to these are the minds to which, as soon as they become able to think for themselves, all life is a puzzle, and on every side, wherever they turn, they are baffled by unanswerable questions. These questions are often more insistent and more troublesome because they cannot be asked, they have not even taken shape in the mind. But they haunt and perplex it. Are they the only ones who do