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in the garden, the former asked me if I knew who the old gentleman was, who had patted me on the head in the garden. I replied in the negative, of course. “ Do
you not remember the “Evenings at Home?' “ Yes, that we do,” exclaimed all three of us. dears, that old gentleman, and the lady who was with him, wrote them."
“What! was that old gentleman Dr. Aikin, and the kind lady, who gave us the barley-sugar, Mrs. Barbauld, mother?"
“ The same,” was the reply; and O, how proud I felt to have been noticed by such learned people !
“And pray, who was the old gentleman who was with them ?."
That,” said my mother, " is a Scotch minister, and his name is Chalmers.” It was even so; but the since celebrated divine did not interest us half as much as the children's book-makers. I believe, when we returned home, that we did little else for a week but read “Evenings at Home,” and “ Barbauld's Poems," and tell every one that we had seen the writers.
I was, of course, too young to appreciate the conversation at and after dinner, but I greedily drank it in; and I well remember that anecdotes of Dr. Johnson, Mrs. Thrale, Miss Burney, Garrick, and many others, were related. I wish now that I had been old enough to have remembered them; but, as it is, a very slight recollection of them remains.
All through the day, Hannah More was exceedingly kind to us; and, after dinner, we were allowed to sit at the dessert, when, for the edification of the company, my sisters and myself recited a portion of one of Mrs. More's “ Sacred Dramas," with which performance, I believe, both ourselves and the audience were very well satisfied; at least, I know
Then we were asked sundry questions; and our kind hostess, having ascertained that I had a liking for poetry, gave me, with a kiss, a copy of Campbell's " Gertrude of Wyoming." It was of quarto size, and a presentation copy
from the author. The kiss soon evaporated; but the book I retain with my name written in it by her own hand – to this day; and it is needless to say, I highly value it.
The last time I saw Hannah More was in the autumn of the year 1833, when she was lying on her death-bed. My mother went to bid her old friend farewell, and I accompanied her. But the venerable woman was then a mere wreck. Her frame had long been enfeebled, and now the fine gold of her mind had become dim. She knew no one, and took so little nutriment that it was wonderful how she survived so long. She was greatly altered from what she was when I first saw her; indeed, I should not have known her. I took a last glance, and quitted the chamber. Three days afterwards she died, and, in a week from that date, I saw all that was mortal of Hannah More laid in a vault in Wrington Church, near the spot where John Locke was buried.
A young lady may excel in speaking French and Italian; may repeat a few passages from a volume of extracts; play like a professor, and sing like a siren; have her dressingroom decorated with her own drawings, tables, stands, flowerpots, screens, and cabinets; nay, she may dance like Sempronia herself, - and yet we shall insist that she may have been very badly educated. I am far from meaning to set no value whatever on any or all of these qualifications; they are all of them elegant, and many of them properly tend to the perfecting of a polite education. These things, in their measure and degree, may be done; but there are others which should not be left undone. Many things are becoming, but “one thing is needful.” Besides, as the world seems to be fully apprized of the value of whatever tends to embellish life, there is less occasion here to insist on its importance.
But, though a well-bred young lady may lawfully learn most of the fashionable arts, yet, let me ask, does it seem to be the true end of education to make women of fashion dancers, singers, players, painters, actresses, sculptors, gilders, varnishers, engravers, and embroiderers? Most men are commonly destined to some profession, and their minds are consequently turned each to its respective object. Would it not be strange if they were called out to exercise their profession, or to set up their trade, with only a little general knowledge of the trades and professions of all other men, and without any previous definite application to their own peculiar calling ?
The profession of ladies, to which the bent of their instruction should be turned, is that of daughters, wives, mothers, and mistresses of families. They should be therefore trained with view to these several conditions, and be furnished with a stock of ideas, and principles, and qualifications, and habits, ready to be applied and appropriated, as occasion may demand, to each of these respective situations. For though the arts which merely embellish life must claim admiration, yet, when a man of sense comes to marry, it is a companion whom he wants, and not an artist : it is not merely a creature who can paint, and play, and sing, and draw, and dress, and dance; it is a being who can comfort and counsel him; one who can reason, and reflect, and feel, and judge, and discourse, and discriminate; one who can assist him in his affairs, lighten his cares, soothe his sorrows, purify his joys, strengthen his principles, and educate his children.
An Address to the Deity.
God of my life, and author of my days!
But soon, alas! this holy calm is broke;
His ears are open to the softest cry;
If the soft hand of winning pleasure leads
I read his awful name, emblazoned high With golden letters on th' illumined sky; Nor less the mystic characters I see Wrought in each flower, inscribed on every tree; In every leaf that trembles to the breeze, I hear the voice of God among the trees : With thee in shady solitudes I walk, With thee in busy, crowded cities talk; In every creature own thy forming power, In each event thy providence adore.