The Ladies' Vase eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 88 pages of information about The Ladies' Vase.
with their own individuality, some will let the company choose the subject; but, be it what it may, all they have to say upon it is the I, or the my.  Books, travel, sorrow, sickness, nature, art, no matter, it is I have seen, I have done, I have been, I have learned, I have suffered, I have known.  Whatever it be to others, the I is the subject for them; for they tell you nothing of the matter but their own concern with it.  For example, let the city of Naples be spoken of:  one will tell you what is seen there—­what is done there—­what happens there—­and making her reflections on all without naming herself; you will only perceive, by her knowledge and remarks, that she has been in Naples.  Another will tell you how she came there, and why she went, and how long she staid, and what she did, and what she saw; and the things themselves will appear but as incidents to the idea of self.

Some ladies I have known, who, not content with the present display of their powers, are determined to re-sell their wares at second-hand.  They tell you all the witty things they said to somebody yesterday, and the wise remarks they made to a certain company last night. I said—­I remarked.  The commodity should be valuable indeed to be thus brought to market a second time.  Others there are, who, under pretext of confidence—­little complimentary when shown alike to all—­pester people with their own affairs.  Before you have been two hours in their company, you are introduced to all their family, and to all their family’s concerns, pecuniary affairs, domestic secrets, and personal feelings—­a sort of bird’s-eye view of every thing that belongs to them—­past, present, and to come; and woe to the secrets of those who may chance to have been in connection with these egotists; in such a view, you must needs see ten miles around.

There is an egotism, of which we must speak more seriously.  Faults, that in the world we laugh at, when they attain the dignity and purity of sacred things, become matter of serious regret.  I speak nothing further of the ostentatious display of pious and benevolent exertion.  We live at a time when religion, its deepest and dearest interests, have become a subject of general conversation.  We would have it so; but we mark, with regret, that self has introduced itself here.  The heartless loquacity—­we must say heartless, for, in a matter of such deep interest, facility of speech bespeaks the feelings light—­the unshrinking jabber with which people tell you their soul’s history—­their past impressions and present difficulties—­their doctrines and their doubts—­their manifestations and their experiences—­not in the ear of confidence, to have those doubts removed and those doctrines verified; not in the ear of anxious inquiry, to communicate knowledge and give encouragement, but any where, in any company, and to any body who will listen, the I felt—­I

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The Ladies' Vase from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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