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EMILIA, OR THE HAPPINESS OF RETIREMENT.
S I was conversing with Emilia, a few days past, I 1.
asked whether she was contented to live so remote from the resort of company. She answered in the affirmative, and remarked further, that her situation enabled her to distinguish between real friends and complimentary ; for if she lived in a more public place, she might be visited by crouds of people, who were civil indeed, but had no motive for calling on her but to spend an idle hour, and gaze on the busy multitude.
2. I was pleased with the remark, and was naturally led to consider such a retired situation as a fortunate circumstance for a young lady of delicacy. Not only the happiness of a family, but the character of young women, both in a moral and social view, depends on a choice of proper coínpany.
3. A perpetual throng of company, especially if it furnishes a variety of new objects, has a pernicious effect on the dispositions of female minds. Women are destined by naTure to preside over domestic affairs. Whatever parade they may make abroad, their real werit and real character are known only at home.
4. The behavior of servants, the neatness of furniture, the order of a table, and the regularity of domestic business, are decisive evidences of female worth. Perhaps sweetness of tempor does not contribute more to the happinessof their partners and their families, than a proper attention to these articles.
5. For this reason, whatever has a tendency to divert the mind from these concerns, and give them a turn for empty show, endless noise, and tasteless amusements, ought to be carefully avoided by young ladies who wish for respect beyond the present moment.
6. Misses, who are perpetually surrounded with idle company, or even live in sight of it, though they may be fortunate enough to preserve their innocence, are still in hazard of contracting such a fondness for dissipation and folly, as to unfit them for the superintendance of a family.
7. Another danger to which young women possessed of personal charms, are exposed in public places, is the flattery and admiration of men. The good opinion of a fop, will hardly flatter a woman of discernment ; much less or
dinary compliments, which are commonly without meaning
8. But the heart is often so disguised, that it is difficult at first to distinguish between a coxcomb and a man of worth ; or if it is easier for an accurate observer, yet there is great danger that vanity and inexperience will make young ladies overlook the distinction.
9. Few minds are effectually secured against the attacks of flattery. It is a poison the more fatal, as it seizes human nature in its weakest part. In youth, when the passions are in full vigor, and the judgment feeble, female minds are peculiarly liable to be corrupted by the contagious influence of pretty civilities and affected admiration.
10. With whatever scruples they may at first listen to the praises that are bestowed on their real or pretended charms, a constant strain of flattering addresses, accompanied with obsequious complasance, seldom fails of giving them too high an opinion of themselves. They are insensibly lead to believe, that they are possessed of virtues to whichthey are really strangers.
11. This belief satisfies them without attempting further improvement; and makes them to depend, for reputation in life, on good qualities, the fancied existence of which begins and ends with the falsehood of customary compliments.
12. Such ladies, before marriage, are usually vain, pert, affected and silly ; and after marriage, haughty, disappointed and peevish. The most perfect beauty must fade, and cease to command admiration ; but in most instances, the nuptual hour puts a period to that excess of flattering attention which is the happiness of giddy females. The longest term of admiration must be short : That which depends solely on personal attractions, is often momentary.
13. The more flattery is bestowed on young ladies, the less in general are they solicitous to acquire virtues which shall insure respect when admiration shall cease. The more they are praised in yquth, the more they expect it in advanced life, when they have less charms to command it. Thus the excessive complasance of adınirers, which is extremely pleasing at sixteen, proves at forty, a source of mortification and discontent.
14. I would by no means insinuate that young ladies ought to be kept total strangers to company, and go
tional professions of esteem. It is in company only that they can acquaint themselves with mankind, acquire an casy address, and learn numberless little decorums which are essential and cannot be taught by precept. Without these a woman will sometimes deviate from that dignity and propriety of conduct, which in any situation will secure the good will of her friends, and prevent the blushes of her husband.
15. A fondness for company and amusements is blameable only when it is indulged to excess, and permitted to absoro more inițortant concerns. Nor is some degree of fattery always dangerous or useless. The good opinion of mankind we are all desirous to obtain ; and to know that we possess it, often makes us ambitious to deserve it.
16. No passion is given to us in vain ; the best ends are sometimes effected by the worst means ; and even female vanity, properly managed, ntay prompt 10 the most meritovious actions. I should pay Emilia but a very ill compliment to ascribe her virtues to her local situation; for no person can claim, as a virile, what she has been in 10 danger of losing.
17. But there is no retirement beyond the reach of temptation, and the whole tenor of her conduct proves that her unblemished morals and uniform delicacy, proceed from better principles than necessity or accident.
18. She is loved and flattered, but she is not vain ; her: company is universally coveted, and yet she has no airs of haughtiness and disdain.
19. Her cheerfulness in company shows that she has a relish for society ; her contentment at home, and attention to domestic concerns, are early specimens of her happy disposition ; and her decent unaffected abhorrence of every species of licentious behavior, evinces, beyond suspicion, that the innocence of her heart is equal to the charms of her person.
A real character.
temper and the delicacy of her sentiments. An elegant person, regular features, a fine complexion, a lively expressive countenance, an easy address, and those blushes of Podesty that soften the soul of the beholder ; these
are the native beautics which render her the object of universal admiration.
2. But when we converse with her, and hear the melting expressions of unaffected sensibility and virtue that flow from her tongue, her personal charms receive new lustre, and irresistably engage the affections of her acquaint
3. Sensible that the great source of all happiness, is purity of morals and an easy conscience, Juliana pays constant and sincere attention to the duties of religion. She abhors the infamous but fashionable vice of deriding the sacred institutions of religion.
4. She considers a lady without virtue as a monster on earth ; and every accomplishment, without morals, as polite deception. She is neither a hypocrite nor an enthusiast ; on the contrary, she mingles such cheerfulness with the religious duties of life, that even her pity carries with it a charm which insensibly allures the profligate from the arms of vice.
5. Not only the general tenor of her life, but in particular her behavior in church evinces the reality of ber religion.--' She esteems it not only criminal in a high degree, but extremely unpolite, to behave with levity in a place consecrated to the solemn purpose of devotion.
6. She cannot believe that any person, who is solicitous to treat all mankind with civility, can laugh in the temple of Jehovah, and treat their great benefactor with heedless neglect.
7. In polite life, the manners of Juliana are peculiarly engaging. To her superiors she shows the utmost deference and respect. To her equals, the most modest complasance and civility ; while persons of every rank experience her kindness and affability.
8. By this conduct she secures the love and friendship of all degress. No person can despise her, for she does nothing that is ridiculous ; she cannot be hated, for she does injury to none ; and even the malevolent whispers of envy are silenced, by her modest deportment and generous condescension.
9. Her conversation is lively and sentimental ; free from false wit, frivolous minuteness, and affectation of learning: Although her discourse is always under the direction of pru. dence, yet it appears unstudied'; for her good sense al
furnishes her with thoughts suited to the subject, and purity of her mind renders any caution in expressing them, almost unnecessary.
10. She will not lead the conversation ; much less can she stun the ears of company with perpetual chat, to interrupt the discourse of others. But when occasion offers, she acquits herself with case and grace ; without the airs of pertness or the confusion of bashfulness.
11. But if the conversation happens to turn upon the foi. bles of either sex, Juliana discovers her goodness by silence, or by inventing palliations. She detests every species of slander.
12. She is sensible that to publish and aggravate human errors, is not the way to correct them ; and reformation, rather than infamy, is the wish and the study of her life. Her own amiable example is the severest of all satires on the faults and the follies of her sex, and goes farther in discountenancing both, than all the censures of malicious detraction.
13. Although Juliana possesses every accomplishment that can command esteem and admiration, yet she has neither vanity nor ostentation. Her merit is easily discovered Without show and parade.
14. She considers that haughtiness and contempt of others, always proceed from meanness; that true greatness is ever accessible ; and that self-recommendation and blustering pretensions, are but the glittering decorations of empty heads and trifling hearts.
15. However strong may be her desire of useful information, or however lively her curiosity, yet she restrains these passions within the bounds of prudence and good breeding. She deems it impertinent to the highest degree, to be prying into the concerns of other people ; much more impertinent and criminal does she deem it, to indulge an officious inquisitiveness, for the sake of gratifying private spleen in the propagation of unfüvorable truths. ť 16. So exceedingly delicate is she in her treatment of her fellow-creatures, that she will not read a paper nor hear a whisper, which a person does not wish to have known, even when she is in no danger of detection.
17. The same delicate attention to the feelings of others regulate her conduct in company. She would not, for the
ice of her reputation, be found laughing or whispering