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rest are so kind and cordial that she feels said that I left Mrs. Sowerby in about a month: quite at ease, and, "as you would call it," So you don't choose to tell tales out of school. has great success in talking. Her patron-Well, I like you all the better for that; and, to ess addressing the young ladies about her, tell you the truth, I don't want to hear them "Now you see the truth of what I have - quite enough to manage one's own wife; but often told you, the great advantage of the this I will say, that if Mr. Sowerby would take society of clever and sensible men. a leaf out of my book, I'll venture to say he C. has had this advantage." And, in fact, would soon cure his wife of all her devilry.' "He went on in this way with very little inMiss C. (our friend) owns to a liking for terruption from either his meek and timid wife gentleman's society. Tell it not in the or myself. The children came to my relief. market-place," she writes to Miss Dash, He took occasion to observe that they would "but I like the conversation of men better have been very well if they had not been spoiled by than that of women. Besides, men do not the folly of their mother- but all that you will so much ask what you know as what you correct,' he said. 'I wish them to be well eduare; and then they are so conveniently cated, for they will all havo very handsome forblind to all the faults of our sex but those tunes, and I wish them to make a figure in the of pedantry and dogmatism-they fancy world.' After going on some time in a very magthemselves so quick-sighted in judging of nificent way, thinking, I suppose, that he had character, and it is so amusing to see how sufficiently astonished my weak mind, he proeasily they are deceived." The redoubta- ceeded to my business,' as he called it-the ble Mrs. Sowerby in time becomes unbear-pounds, shillings, and pence. able; so, greatly to the regret of the father his grossness. If he had been driving a bar"Oh! it is impossible to give you any idea of of her pupils, she leaves. But her experi- gain at Smithfield he could not have been ence of the intolerable is to be further exworse. I tell you what, ma'am, I think your tended. Some very rich people living in a terms very high; you must lower them down to splendid house want a governess, she is mine, and then I shall give you twenty pounds recommended to them, and is invited to more than I ever meant to give, or than you dine and to be looked at. have any right to expect.' I was perfectly paring to come away, I said, Then, sir, I becalm and self-possessed; and as I had been prelieve I have no occasion to trouble you any furwon't come down? Now take my adviceWhat! you ther. I wish you good evening.' take a week to consider. No woman is capable His wife pressed near and said, 'Only consider, of coming to a right judgment under a week.' Mr. Tempest, how very little it is for your income." thought he would have knocked her down. Do you think I don't know what I am about, Mrs. Tempest? Don't you know that I can have a governess sent from town for half or a quarter of what I propose-ay, many that to be bamboozled, I promise you.' I made my Would jump at such a chance? I am not going hall, assuring me that I did not know what I parting curtsy, but he followed me into the to hear from me in a week, and then, if I am was about, and repeating that he should expect not mistaken, you will see your own interest, ma'am, too well to refuse.' I said, I will
"About five o'clock on Monday I set out to walk through the snow to this splendid mansion. I was ushered into the drawing-room, where I found Mrs. Tempest, a very pleasing woman. She received me with great kindness and cordiality. There was a timidity and nervous. trepidation about her whole manner which surprised me till I had seen her husband. I sat with her for some time alone; at length dinner I was announced, and as I rose to accompany her, she said, I do hope you will agree with Mr. Tempest. I will do everything I can to make you comfortable.' I had begun to hope till I saw him, and then I soon understood that he was in very deed lord and master, and she was the very dust of the earth.
"He was already seated at the dinner-table, and desired us both to take our seats as quickly as possible, for he had waited long enough for his dinner. Now I thought that we had been waiting for him, and Mrs. Tempest ventured to say that he was later than usual in returning home, and she had been quite faint with staying so long. He was graciously pleased to wonder what business women who stayed at home and did nothing had to want any dinner! I thought I had never seen such a bear; however, I said to myself,Let me not judge hastily-he is hungry, and out of humour;' so after eating voraciously, he began to be what he called agreeable. So, ma'am,' he said, addressing me, I hear you have determined to leave Mr. Sowerby. He is a good sort of man enough, but I understand she is a terrible tigress.' This was a subject on which I did not choose to converse; and as he seemed to expect an answer, I
have the pleasure of writing to Mrs. Tempest on Monday next,' and came away.”
These are trying encounters to have to report to a lover, longing, but as yet unBut there are other themes for her corable, to offer the independence of a home. respondence. She has to give her views of young ladies on their duties, and on feminine manner and sentiment generally - on which she has opinions as defined and mature as on everything else. We are allowed to gather that the young curate, to whom these letters are mainly addressed,
and taking in a few serials. And it is just this atmosphere that our poor friend in the days we live in would have found it her vocation to help in forming, instead of drearily conning her multiplication table.
is an attractive person to the ladies; and visitors or dinner company, walking below. as it is thought expedient not to talk of an I hear them talk and laugh, but I feel no engagement which may be indefinite, our wish to join them. I seem as if I had said, friend has evidently some uneasy moments,Of laughter, it is folly; and of mirth, which lend a force to her contempt and what doeth it?" I remain still studying abhorrence of all unfeminine display of in- my book of arithmetic, and I close it someterest in his direction. These were the days times, and cannot help sighing for a little when defiance of propriety took the form of society." The want of books oppresses German sentiment instead of the fastness her a much more common ally to dulness of modern manners. We are led to sup- then than now. "I declare," she writes pose, from the reflections we encounter at one time, "I have never seen anything here, that in the higher middle-class so- in the shape of a modern publication since ciety of that day there was fully as much I have been in the house, except A Trearoom for the strictures of thoughtful or tise on that very prevalent Disease, a Scald severe judges of manner as now, though it Head.' As famished people will prey on is common among us to attribute an out- garbage, I seized it with avidity, and acpouring of giddy disregard to old-fashioned tually read it through." A good many proprieties as a special token of modern people nowadays may not read much more degeneracy. Very much excellent sense is than when Murray's Grammar, Meditations uttered in these pages, of which the follow- for the Aged, and Blair's Sermons, were ing sentence, worthy of Miss Edgeworth, the only books to be found in an elegant may be taken as a specimen. She is commend-drawing-room; but they secure an atinosing a sister" who has very strong affec- phere of books by subscribing to a library tions, but is quite free from that sort of passionate disposition which would make her fall in love,' as the common phrase is. If you observe the female characters that fall in your way, you will find that a woman of strong passions has always a cold Holding firm to her decision in spite of heart. I do not know if the rule is the Mr. Tempest's prophecies, she accepts a same with the other sex, but I have never new situation in the country, frankly ownseen an exception to it in my own. A wo-ing her regret that it is the country. "Yes, man of fiery passions is happily a monster, indeed, I do," she says to her romantic and she is invariably destitute of natural lover; "I am not sufficiently enamoured affection." Our friend in the solitude of of the banks of this romantic stream to wish her schoolroom might well be anxious on for nothing else. I like the human face dithis score for a lover in the world. What vine infinitely better. I daresay you are that solitude was, and the failure of all all amazement shocked and disgusted. intellectual resource, is sometimes told I insist upon it that you believe, notwithwith a force which accounts to us for the standing, that I have just as much taste for unpleasing traits so often connected with the sublime and beautiful, and just as high the conventional governess. It is not a a relish for the beauties of nature, as you training to make woman amiable, especially your very self; and if I were independent, where there is no way out of the life visi- I should be just as sublime a character, and ble even to hope." I may talk upon paper," sigh as much after green fields and shady she says, "but I am now many hours, I groves and falling floods; but being, as might almost say days, without hearing I am, kneaded into the common mass, the sound of my own voice. Who would take me for the same Miss C., who at Bath was not expected to be silent for five minutes ?" Again: "This has been a trying summer to me. I have not, it is true, had my usual anxiety of seeking where to be, but I have tasted all the horrors of complete solitude. We never go beyond the Here she finds a fairly happy refuge in a garden; and I have sometimes felt that I valley of Forges, but so far removed from should be afraid to go beyond its walls. the outer world and its interests that only The children are seldom with me except in the vicar and the curate furnish external exschool hours, and there is not one single citement. But there is a relaxation of human being with whom I can exchange a that rule of solitude which secludes the word like conversation." At another time: governess of society proper. She is re"I sometimes see gay company, morningceived with honour and estimated as a god
obliged to conform to the humours and habits and tastes and caprices of everybody that I come near, not suffered even to think my own thoughts, I do confess that I had much rather see a variety of men and women than all the trees and floods and hills in the country."
he went on eating his supper with all the com-
ness as is compatible with spending a life
send. Within doors, however, the old nurse is the only portrait drawn with any elaborateness. Outside there are all sorts of clerical foibles to analyse: first, the vicar, a good man, but whose vanity and jealousy of his curates is a pretty piece of human nature; then the curates, whom, in the security of pre-engaged affections, she can lift off pedestals on which the rest of the valley placed them. It is curious to see how the veriest prig can make way, in spite of ridicule, into a position of importance where he is the only man. The letters have so much about this Mr. Mann that her correspondent does not quite like it; for this prig can preach, and has his real side; and she is not awed by the sanctimonious horror he shows of anything but hymn singing, but boldly laughs at him, till she believes he thinks her the veriest heathen that ever was born, and calls her lively; pronouncing lively as if it included every "I have no time to write, for in the midst of sin in the decalogue. And, in the mean- all our bustle and anxiety nurse was seized with while, one of the most pious and excellent girls I ever met with she scarcely reads anything but her Bible - is falling in love with this gentleman," and is read by our friend's formidable eyes. She uses her penetration, however, after a really friendly
"I have a great objection to any one of my own sex falling very seriously in love, so I tried by all means to break the charm. She was not at all aware that I could see into the inner chamber of her heart; and I have been sometimes a little amused at her innocence, when she considered herself so very sly, and sure of her secret being undiscovered. She is naturally silent, and her secret consciousness kept her more so before the object of it; and I saw she thought I had a great advantage in the careless unembarrassed manner in which I could talk to the man. She wondered that Mr. and Mrs. Brown should propose my having the eldest boy to educate in conjunction with the same curate. It was so very odd—it was bringing us so much together And what?' I asked, as she made a pause. Do you really, now, think I can be in any danger from him? No, no: he may do very well for you young misses who have seen nothing better; but I have been beyond the blue hills yonder, and I do assure you I shall not pull caps for Mr. Mann.""
But illusions are not so easily dispelled; and, to her exasperation, our friend perceives that the gentleman is aware of the feeling he has excited, and takes it easily.
"He has already learned his power, and made her wretched several times, and I cannot for the life of me disturb him. I put all my powers forth the other night to make him believe that he had committed an unpardonable offence, and
the gout, and the task of nursing her was by common consent turned over to me. The servants had enough to do with the child and their mistress; besides, nurse was so exceedingly cross that nobody liked to go near her. I was abated, I was the sweetest lady that ever walked, alternately praised and abused. If the pain that I should give up my time to wait on her! Was there ever such a thing heard of? A paroxysm of pain would come, and then I suppose I heard the truth. She would rave and storm at me because I could not lift her very large person by myself. She should like to know what I was fit for. She would not give a halfpenny for a hundred such. The Lord help the poor man as did light on me!'"'
The eloquent Mr. Mann is dismissed. His successor is of a different stamp — a sleepy, dull fellow. On returning from hearing his first sermon, somebody touched her arm. It was nurse. A hummingbee in a pitcher,' she said, and passed on; a judgment supplemented on longer experience by another oracular utterance,
Depend upon it, miss, our parson got him chep out o' Yorkshire." Yet nothing could keep curates under in this favoured region. "You never in your life heard such nonsense as he preaches; and would you believe that the first thing he does when he comes in is to ask us, with evident self-complacency, what we think of his sermon? Mrs. Brown is the only person that attempts an answer; and he is not contented And with a general one, but he goes on, what do you think of such and such a passage?' I assure you, Miss,' he said, turning to me, I never preach anybody else's sermons; I always make them all my
self.' I am sure, sir, I never doubted it,' was the only answer I gave him. Mr. Brown turned to the window to laugh. Mrs. Brown scolded me after the man was gone for looking contemptuous. She insisted upon it that she was the only one who behaved properly. 'As for you, Mr. Brown, who talk so much about civility and kindness, I must say I admire you.' Yes, my dear, you always did,' he says, in his usual good-humoured way." Only once have we anything to call self-portraiture in this page of bygone life. Our friend is carried off to the sea for a holiday by the Vicar and his wife. A spiteful religious professor, a widow, is of the party, and extremely resentful of the attention a person in a dependent situation" could gain by her amusing powers.
Our aim in this delineation has been to show some of the trials inseparable from the position of the clever woman of fifty years ago thrown upon her own resources. Unless a woman had an inexhaustible series of good novels in her head-unless, that is, she had genius of a high order there was nothing for her but tuition a noble calling or the merest drudgery, according to the degree of fitness for the work. No one can read the facile, picturesque style of these familiar letters without perceiving that literature in some branch would have been a more appropriate field for the writer's talents, and also that such a field would have been open to her now. Reading, and readers, and books, and authors, all mean something different from what they once did; they have lost the weight that used to "She is a person of at least thirty-five, and attach to the words. It is vain to regret then I have the advantage of better society than this. The fact cannot be controverted that her birth entitles her to claim. You see at once there is an immense demand now for a certhat she is illiterate and vulgar. Now I have tain class of writers whose business it seems youth on my side, and I love literature and, if to be to supply reading for persons who did I may believe the judgment of others, I have not read at all fifty years ago. People what that Vicar calls a marvellous gift of speech' have grown too lazy or too restless to deso my vanity placed me above supposing that I velop in themselves or others the good talk could annoy Mrs. Smith by engrossing the few that used to be the world's best refreshmen that have come in my way. Yesterday at dinner the Vicar announced that he had acci-ment, and they ask from literature a substitute. Our lighter periodical literature is dentally met with a Cambridge man, Professor L., and that he would take tea with us. I made this substitute, and a very appropriate one some little difference in my dress, which Mrs. S. for female talent. And let no one say that remarked upon. I laughed, and said, Yes, I this lighter literature has not a very imporhave been ornamenting my person with great tant part to play, though in humbler field care; I intend to smite the Professor at once; I than that literature which is properly an art, am determined to give him no chance of escape.' though its productions are ephemeral, and As I gave utterance to this nonsense, I was seat- the day a short one, and though its writers ed in the window, which is very low, mending do not even pretend to any of that infallimy glove; and as I lifted up my eyes to see who bility which once was attributed to all had knocked, I encountered the gaze of a very printed matter. handsome, elegant-looking man, with a certain arch expression of countenance which convinced me that he had heard my badinage. In another moment he was introduced to us as the Professor. Very great was my surprise, for I had really expected to see an old man in a great wig. After I had recovered from the little embarrassment which the fear of his having heard my foolish speech occasioned, I joined in the conversation, or rather I was led to join in it by the address of the Professor. . . . But I was hardly aware that he had talked more to me than to the rest till he was gone. He had hardly closed the door before Mrs. Smith began. Well, ma'am, I hope you are satisfied. By no means,' I said; I want the Professor to remain here as long as we do; only think of his going to-morrow." She sat swelling with rage, and at supper the Vicar asked her why she was so silent. Then she burst forth, Oh, sir, let those talk who are so fond of it, and that you are so fond of hearing; I am sure you don't wish to hear anything such a plain person as I have got to say."
allude to the more remarkable efforts of
heads, but who yet require a literature ture, or the sciences, she can neither conadapted to an immature taste and judg-verse with her father-in-law, her clergyman, ment; -readers to whom well-worn truths or any man of serious mind; and yet the in fact and morals are by no means trite or first talent of a woman is to be able to concommonplace, who have no taste for the verse. The fatal prejudice which forbids delicacies of criticism, and by whom the women to do more than listen to serious leaders of cultivated public opinion are and useful conversation has much to do neither appreciated nor understood. And with this frivolity. The bishop, while apthis recognition of an unpretentious form of preciating this listening power as the first authorship as woman's work tells indirectly of the liberal arts, justly adds, If you forbid in another way on the position of women, women to write or to talk about things that as an influence for the diffusion and ad- interest them, how can they even listen vance of female education, counteracting well? How can you suppose that they will the long-standing family injustice of sacri- have the courage to study, if they may not ficing daughters to sons. A boy's talents talk and write about what they know? must be cultivated, because he can make There is an intrinsic fallacy in the permissomething of them, a girl marries just as sion to listen flanked with strong prohibiwell without any accuracy of knowledge as tions to make use of what is heard. We with; and the possibility of his daughters can only hope that the cours which are being dependent is too repugnant to Eng- being adopted in so many of the leading lish fathers to be provided against. Ever towns in France, in place of education in so modest a cheque from a publisher, or pensions, which has hitherto been the prevafrom the editor of a Society's periodical, lent system, may produce a change for the produces a different impression. If women better. M. Dupanloup is said to be strongly can receive them, their education may be worth some outlay. As a cheerful family event, coming, as a matter of course, with no publicity or parade, it is a marvellous reconciler to woman's work.
Our readers will understand that no part of our argument applies to writers of the strong sensational school. Ladies who have earned their laurels in this field commonly derive their knowledge of life from anything but its domestic aspect, or from its play in general society. The clever women we have in view, whether they talk or write, are still mindful of their catechism, and hold by old insular proprieties; as little drawn towards transcendentalism on the one hand, as to French or German sentiment on the other.
In France we gather from Mgr. Dupanloup's plea for the right of women- first, to a liberal education, and then to use their intellect as inclination and genius shall prompt them that the employment of the pen is discountenanced among Frenchwomen. He boasts of the good done to religion by such writers as Mrs. Craven, Eugenie de Guerin, and others; but as to the modern Frenchwoman, he complains that she knows absolutely nothing. She can only talk about dress, fashions, and steeplechases. She knows all the famous actors and horses, and the best milliners and saddlers; but if you attempt to talk to her on the literature of her country, she is struck dumb; she can only entertain frivolous young men. Equally incapable of talking on business, art, politics, agricul
opposed to them, as removing education out of the hands of the Church; but he has declared himself too strenuously on the results of things as they are to be a very formidable opponent to experiments in a new line.
Our subject has not been education, but how women may use and apply such education and powers as they have; and we are happy to note a relaxation of prejudice on our side of the Channel which remains in full force on the other. Quiet unpretending talent in women does not meet with the snubs here which it has to endure in France. Genius in women who disdain all restraints has made itself felt there even more emphatically than with us. But a body of intelligent women, quietly yet successfully employing their powers for the mutual benefit of their readers and themselves, are doing more for the intellectual advance of women than an erratic woman of genius can do by her most brilliant triumph. It has always been acknowledged that there are women of genius who do great things, but they are regarded as exceptions. The class we mean are not exceptions from the ordinary domestic type of woman, and have no desire or temptation to be. They use their pen with such skill as they have on subjects especially open to feminine treatment, as skilful women of old span gossamer thread, or made exquisite lace or embroidery, or exercised themselves in any other graceful art where delicate fingering, a soft touch, and quick perception found an appropriate field.