« AnteriorContinuar »
this is not all. Censoriousness, contempt, impertinence, ill-humour, contention, and injustice, are the abundant product, and self-esteem is the parent of them all. Too high an opinion of ourselves, and too low an opinion of others, is the certain position assumed by a mind so conditioned—the very worst that can possibly be maintained for all that is most lovely and valuable in the human character.
I observe a young woman who has been brought up in a London school-she has been taught to do every thing by the rules of politeness—she walks by rule, and talks by rule, and eats by rule, and thinks by rule--and she is withal a very genteel young person. She goes into the country, and meets persons who have had an education quite as good as her own, but they do every thing as nature suggests with the careless freedom of home and a country life. She decides at once that they are coarse and rude. She treats them with
She treats them with contempt speaks of them with ridicule, and decides that it would be an outrage upon her good-breeding to become their companion and friend.
She is mistaken they are neither coarse nor rude-there is more elegance very frequently in their ease than in her mannerism--more grace in their carelessness than in her high polish. They have feelings as refined, and minds as well-cultivated as her own. And these too return her the compliment of aversion--they call her fine, affected, artificial—they think she can have no simplicity of feeling, or honesty of heart under an exterior that betrays so much design, They are unjust too-she is not affecting any thing or designing any thing~her heart is as open and as true as theirs--but artificial refinement has, by education and babit, become natural to her.
Again, a girl has been brought up abroad--under skies where lighter spirits and less thoughtful minds, and less cautious temperaments, give to the manners more ease and cheerfulness, and the feelings, from their very want of depth, acquire an appearance of more warmth and vivacity
She goes into society in England where more thought, more feeling, more moral sensibility, encumber the mind whose intrinsic value they enhance, and give to the manners a degree of restraint, reserve, and heaviness. Now, if this young lady says these manners are disagreeable to her, she is not used to them, and cannot enjoy such society, that is very well, and she may be free to avoid it. But if she affects contempt for her countrywomen, exults in her own superiority, fancies they are admiring in her what she desires, in them, or believes that they are not ten times more agreeable to each other than she is to them, she is mistaken. They have turned the glass, and at the very moment she is rising in her own esteem on the comparison, they are seeing her bold, flippant, heartless, imprudent, indelicate: not at all more just than herself, they attribute to character what is mere manner, or do not make allowance for circumstance in their estimate of character. Both parties seeing themselves in the other's glass, had gone away humbled, perhapsmbut having looked only in their own, exalted in their own esteem, they have separated highly pleased with nothing but themselves.
Here are persons brought together by providential circumstance—they might be the happier for each other's friendship, the better for the counterbalance of each other's peculiarities, mutually improved by the very opposition of their characters—but they despise each other ---when they meet, a bare civility and haughty distance ill conceal their aversion—when apart, they ridicule and traduce each other without mercy.
The woman who, with considerable natural powers, has been placed in a situation to cultivate them highlywhose taste for literary pursuits, never checked by the claims of domestick duty, or encumbered with attention to the homely necessities of existence, revels in the full delight of intellectual employment; and while she indulges her own inclination, fulfils the wishes of those she loves, and gratifies by her improvements and her talents all around her-comes in contact with some quiet, domestick girl, whom smaller powers, or smaller means, or different example, has consigned to other occupations and other pleasures : her business is the direction of household affairs, and the plying of the indefatigable needle-her amusements, the weeding of her garden, the feeding of her canaries, or a five miles walk in the mud: the comfort no less of those about her, the cheerful and useful assistant of her parents, the prudent adviser of her inferiors, and the affectionate friend of her equals. What should these be to each other, but objects of mutual kindness and admiration, each fulfilling her own destiny, improving the peculiar talents com mitted to her charge, and contributing to the happiness of those around her? And what are they to each other? The clever and accomplished woman turns her back on the useful, domestick friend, repels her friendly intimacy, wonders she wastes her time in work when she might be improving her mind-laughs at her amusements, despises her plain good sense
and when not restrained by the civilities of society, treats her with disregard and impertinence. The other does not remain her debtor in this reckoning of mutual depreciation. She thinks women should keep their sphere-better be a good housewife than set up for a great genius-it is waste of time to be always reading
why does not her friend do something that is useful? She does not approve of learned ladies--she cannot bearblue-stockings it is only for display women learn so mnch-it is not consistent with feminine modesty to be so much distinguished for talents and attainments.
To speak more generally of what I have thus evidenced by a few examples. Young people think every one who does not know what they happen to have been taught, is ignorant-every thing they happen not to have learned, is useless-every thing that is not the custom of the society in which they happen to have moved, is vulgar-every one who does not like what they happen to like, has bad tastemmevery one who does not feel what happens to affect them, has no heartevery one who is not employed as they are, wastes their time every one who does not conform to their estimate of right, has no conscience every one whose opinions are not like their own, or their mama's, or their governess's, is mistaken. If it ended here, we might live very happily in our self-esteem; and society, if not in unanimity, might remain in peace. But it does not we are never content in our fancied superiority-offence is taken where it is not given, or given where it is not provoked-kindness is coldly withheld, or rudely repulsed, or ungratefully repayed with ridicule-pain is inflicted unnecessarily where all have of necessity enough -innocent feelings are mortified and innocent enjoyments marred instead of being as we ought to be, the variously wrought parts of one providential whole, to support, to counterbalance, to assist each other, to communicate to others what we hold in pre-eminence, tq avail ourselves in others of what in us is deficient, it seems to be the very essence of our existence to depreciate and despise others, while our minds become at once narrowed and inflated by admiration of our own supposed advantage ground.
CONVERSATIONS ON GEOLOGY.
Quartz-Felspar-Mica-Hornblende-Origin of Granite Rocks.
MRS. L. Now I hope you recollect the fundamental constituents of the Granite Rock, as I enumerated them in the last conversation.
ANNE. I think they were Quartz, Felspar, Mica, and Hornblende, some of which were always present,
but not necessarily all of them; and occasionally they were intermixed with Schort, Garnet, and other substances, not considered as the usual base of the Granite.
Mrs. L.--You are quite correct-and I now propose to show you these substances separately, and explain their qualities. This is rather the province of Mineralogy than of Geology; but as I have said before, I prefer clearness to regularity, and it is vain to go on talking about Quartz, Felspar, &c. without knowing the meaning of the terms, or haviog an idea of the substances they stand for. “QUARTZ is the substance commonly called Rock Crystal: it consists of pure siliceous earth, (Silex, flint,) and is abundantly found in more or less regular sixsided prisms, terminated by six-sized pyramids. Fig. 1. It occurs of various colours, such as a rose, brown, yellow, and purple, metallic bodies generally giving these tints; and sometimes these varieties are transparent, and when properly cut, constitute beautiful articles of jewellery :” such are the Amythist, Cairne-Gorum, Cats-eye, &c. “ It is so hard as not to be scratched by a knife, and it cuts or scratches glass. Quartz is sometimes met with in mountain masses, which usually present a conical appearance. The Quartz has then the appearance of Fig. 2. The sugar-loaf mountains near Dublin ; the pass of the Jura, in the Western Isles of Scotland, and some of the mountains of Sutherland and Caithness present instances of this formation.” Siliceous earth is an important substance in some arts, and is an essential ingredient in glass, earthenware, and porcelain. There is Silex, or Siliceous earth in almost every earth; but in its pure state, it is more particularly called Quartz. “There are tracts of country, exhibiting strata of some thousand feet in thickness consisting solely of Quartz Rock of the appearance of Fig. 2. The Fracture of this piece you will obseve to be uneven, of no determinate form—try the edge on glass, and you find it will scratch it, though your sharpest pen-knife fails to scratch the Quartz. The' Felspar, from which you