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roughly understand. Decision and strength of character can rest on no other legitimate basis than that of a well informed mind. How can a woman have character without culture? Decision without knowledge is rashness and presumption, firmness not grounded on sufficient reason is nothing but obstinacy and
perverseness. The world is ever complaining that women are led away by every new infatuation that comes along to dazzle and delude. But such complaints are altogether unreasonable until women are educated to that discipline of mind and extent of knowledge, which will enable them to detect imposture and explode pretension the moment they appear.
Thorough and general education of women brings with it a remedy for that reproach which is so often brought against learned ladies, that they are apt to be conceited and pedantic. If thorough female education were more common, it would cease to be a matter of distinction, and of course a matter of vanity. Besides, pedantry in man or woman is not the sign of a perfect education, but the sure evidence of a defective one.
Perfect manners are displayed in entire simplicity. Form and pomp are the unfailing indication of defective breeding and bad taste. The truly learned and well educated man is the last to make any parade of his erudition. He is always unpretending, and instead of loading his speech with long and hard words, he shows his scholarship by the perfect accuracy, good sense, and taste with which he converses about the most common things. So the thoroughly educated woman never tells you that she has studied Homer and read Faust, that she has made herself acquainted with the mysteries of Algebra and Conic Sections, or labors by any indirection to lead you to inser that she has done so; but she gives you higher proof of her careful training, by the correctness, the elegance, and the knowledge with which she discusses every subject as it comes up. Let no young lady be deterred from literary pursuits by the senseless outcry which is sometimes raised against learned women, or the odious epithets which are applied to them by the weak and the empty of the other sex. Such reproaches are usually the resort of little minds to keep themselves in counte
nance in the want of those mental accomplishments, which it is a disgrace to them not to possess. The fear, which such men express of superior women, is by no means feigned; and as fear is always ungenerous, they attempt to wound at a distance that force, which they dare not openly encounter. Let no sensible and strong minded woman apprehend that she will lose any thing worth retaining by a high literary and intellectual culture. She may be passed by the shallow and the superficial, but it will be only to attract the sensible and the well informed. If others keep aloof, she may console herself with the reflection that it is because they have nothing to say that is worth hearing. Let every young woman be assured, that every hour she devotes to study in early life will increase her future happiness, will add brilliancy to her charms if she have beauty, and will make up for its deficiency when it is wanting, will make her welcome and at home in all companies, and put her at ease in all situations. It will sharpen her powers of observation, and enable her to detect and draw out talent, which would otherwise have passed unnoticed. It will redeem from silence
and dulness many an hour which otherwise would have been a total blank. It will draw attention, and command respect, amid the wreck of all personal charms, and the memory of it will confer a kind of sacredness upon the bent and feeble form, when mind itself has faded out.
There is nothing more delightful than the conversation of a sensible and well educated woman. It is a perpetual feast. Her quick feelings and lively imagination enable her to paint what she has seen and experienced in livelier colors and more glowing language than the duller perceptions and greater reserve of the other sex make it possible for them to employ. There are lights and shades in human things, which would pass altogether unperceived were they not reflected from the clear, pure mirror of the female mind. The prose of this monotonous life becomes poetry in her lips, and its dullest scenes are illuminated by her fancy, images, and illustrations, just as the landscape sparkles in the dew.
Intellectual cultivation opens to woman an unfailing and inexhaustible resource in books, in the boundless treasures of literature and science, when ill health or domestic cares
shut her up from the pleasures of general society. When storm and winter are raging without she can gather around her a more select society than any that ever graced a nation or an age. She may bold converse with the hoary forms of Old Philosophy. The historian lays upon her his spell of power, and while her senses fall asleep to all surrounding objects, she finds herself standing at his side in the streets of Thebes, or Rome, or Athens; she enters the Capitol or the Senate house, and hears the thunders of Cicero, or the rage of Cataline. She sees the victorious generals of the Republic returning in proud procession from distant lands, leading captive the kings, and laden with the spoils of conquered nations. She sees her terrible armies march forth from her gates, Valor in their front, and Victory upon their banners, bearing war and subjugation to nations still more remote. Or at a later, happier time, when War had sheathed his sword, and the temple of Janus was shut, when the mute centinel was keeping watch upon the borders of civilization, from some lofty tower of the Imperial City, she looks out upon a slumbering world on that night when