Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

most practised eye to ascertain whether the expanding form will be that of ugliness or beauty. Lady Jane was resolved to leave nothing to chance; she determined to inflict on the powerless victims every accomplishment that could adorn beauty, if such should be their happy lot, or which would most effectually countervail the want of it, were she destined to be the unfortunate creature who was to bring out to observation a train of Misses whom no one would wish to look upon.

From these motives Isabella had received what Lady Jane called, " the best of all possible educations.” Not; indeed, in one particular, resembling those of the present day; where authority seems to have changed hands, and the child rules the parent. volo" was Lady Jane's motto : and, as her maternal feelings were not of a nature to lead her to sacrifice the fu

" Sic

ture well-being of her offspring to the indulgence of the present moment, she was not deterred by any harshness in the process from pursuing the end which she had in view. But who shall arraign the motives of parental fondness? She could only design the good of her children ; and her indefatigable labourings to promote this good were so evident to all, that the least candid of her acquaintance could not but allow that the Misses Hastings were contracting a debt of obligation to their mother, that the most implicit obedience in their disposal in life, and their most devoted affection through the course of it, would but inadequately discharge.

Does any one ask upon what foundation so extensive a claim was rested? the answer is easy. No one could accumulate a greater variety of dancing and drawing, of singing and language

masters for their daughters than Lady Jane Hastings had done; no one could have poured into their tender minds a greater portion of premature knowledge, and no slave-master could more rigorously have enacted the fulfilment of every successive task than had Lady Jane.

Nor let it be supposed that the moral of education had escaped the acuteness of her intellect. She well knew, when properly modified, how it might tend to enhance the merit of the more essential parts of her system; the additional brilliancy which the setting might give to the stone. Her moral was not indeed conveyed in the antiquated phraseology of the apostolic age, but she had many, if not unanswerable, reasons to prove, that it meant the same thing. If she dropped the motive “ for letting their light to shine before men,” she enforced the duty. No one could instil into the tender minds of the pupils a higher respect for the “ world's good opinion,” nor a greater dread of its censure; nor could more eruditely instruct them in all the mysteries of a “ dignified pride,” nor better inforce the sacredness of the duties that we owe “to ourselves." If in the spirited acting up to the full sense of such instructions the confines of another's pride were trespassed upon, or the duties that we owe “to others” were forgotten, the fault was not Lady Jane's. Inconveniences must happen to individuals, but each ought to take care of themselves. So she had been instructed; by the rule which she now gave she had acted; and she imagined that she could plead her own success as a proof of the solidity of its foundation,

As the master architect, Lady Jane

was

attended herself to the great outlines of her daughters' education; the minor parts she left to be filled by the assistant governess.

Her own time being fully occupied by seeing that the expensive attendance of the various accomplishment masters

not thrown away, or that the person during their absence lost not the ply which it had been the result of so much trouble to give it, she committed to Mrs. Obrien all the cares of religious instruction. Having made it an indispensable part of her recommendation that she should be a member of the Established Church," she modestly said, that she considered her as a person better fitted than herself to go

into all the 66 detail of such matters.” -“ Mrs. Obrien had been educated to understand them;" and indeed she had “no great fault to find with the manner of enforcing what she

« AnteriorContinuar »