Imágenes de páginas


It is certain that the bad education of women produces more evil than that of men, since the excesses of men often spring, both from the vicious education received from their mothers, and from the passions with which other women have inspired them, before they { have arrived at mature years.

What intrigues are presented us in history— what subversion of the laws and of moralswhat bloody wars-what innovations hostile to religion-what revolutions in the state-all arising from female depravity and licentiousness! Such are the considerations which show the importance of correct female education; let us now consider the means by which it may be effected.



THAT young persons should be oppressed with ennui, and should not know with what to employ themselves, is the natural result of their ignorance. When a child has arrived at a certain age, without applying herself to affairs of real importance, she can have no taste for them; whatever is serious, to her appears gloomy; whatever requires protracted attention, fatigues her; the inclination to pleasure, which is strong during youth, the example of persons of her own age, who are immersed in dissipation, all serve to inspire her with an aversion to a sober and laborious life. At this early period, she is wholly destitute of the experience and authority requisite for the

management of domestic affairs; she does not even know the importance of applying herself to them, unless her mother may have taken care to point it out particularly to her observation. If her family is of high rank, she will be exempt from the necessity of manual labor; she will, indeed, be occupied during a few hours in the day, because it is said, she knows not why, that it is genteel for ladies to work; but often, it will be but a restraint, and she will not accustom herself to any serious occupation.

In this condition, what shall she do? The society of a mother who watches her, who reprimands her, who thinks that to educate her properly consists in never excusing her defects, who wears a sad countenance in her company, who makes her endure her whims, who appears always oppressed with domestic cares, is to her in the highest degree disheartening and repulsive. At the same time, she has around her females of an artful and flattering disposition, who, seeking to insinuate themselves into her affections by base and

pernicious complaisance, accommodate themselves to all her humors, and converse on every subject which can excite in her mind a distaste for what is good; religion appears to her a tiresome formality, a system at war with every pleasure. In what way, then, will she employ herself? In nothing useful. This indolence gradually becomes an incurable habit.

Here then is a void which we cannot expect to fill with what is of real value; trifles must therefore intrude. In this want of occupation, the child abandons herself to idleness; and idleness, which is a languor of the soul, is an inexhaustible source of ennui. She accustoms herself to sleep one third longer than would be necessary to maintain perfect health. This protracted sleep serves only to enervate, to render her more delicate, and more exposed to the attacks of sickness; while, on the other hand, moderate repose,, accompanied with regular exercise, produces cheerfulness, vigor, and strength ;—qualities which, doubtless, constitute the true perfection

of the animal system, at the same time that they are essential to the full development of the intellectual powers.


this languor and inactivity, united with ignorance, there springs a morbid sensibility in relation to shows and diversions. Here, too, we find the source of a vain and insatiable curiosity.

Those whose minds are well informed, and who are occupied with pursuits of real importance, are usually free from an inordinate curiosity. What they know, inspires in their minds a contempt for much of which they are ignorant; they see the worthlessness and absurdity of most of those things which persons of narrow views, who know nothing, and have nothing to do, are eager to learn.

On the contrary, uninstructed and ignorant girls are always possessed of an erratic imagination. For want of solid nourishment, all the ardor of their curiosity is directed toward vain and dangerous objects. Those who are not without talent, often devote themselves entirely to the perusal of books which tend

« AnteriorContinuar »