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said she, "I have borne it well! For once in your life, Mary, give me one word of unqualified praise, for I have been walking in the garden with Sir Frederick Langley, and never did the sainted mother of a convent carry herself more distant, or more erect.
'" Then I will say you are a good girl," replied her friend; "or rather, a wise and prudent woman."
'" So wise and prudent, Mary, that if you were not married, we would establish a community of holy sisters, and I would be the lady abbess."
'The rigid moralist may probably be astonished that any credit should be due to Anna, for having resisted the temptation of flirting with a married man; but let us pause a moment, to consider what flirtation is.
'Flirtation may be the idle frolic of an innocent girl; but it too frequently is a game deeply played by a designing and self-interested woman. It may be carried on at all ages, and by all classes of society, in all scenes and circumstances of life: in the court, and the cottage; the crowded theatre, and the house of prayer: by the miss, and the matron; the flaunting belle, and the fanatical devotee, who casts up her clear eyes with the solemn asseveration that she knows no sin. Deformity does not preclude the possibility of its existence, nor beauty divest it of its hideous reality. Flirtation mny raise or depress the snowy eye-lid, and distort the wrinkled cheek with smiles; add sweetness to the melody of song, and soften the harsh tones of discord; flutter in the ball-room in its own unblushing character, and steal under the mask of friendship upon the private peace of domestic life, like the serpent when it coils its vile and venomous folds within a bower of roses. And for what great purpose does flirtation thus work its way as a pest upon society? Its sole object is to appropriate to itself, that which it has no power of returning; too frequently robbing the faithful and devoted heart of the rich treasure of its best affections, and offering in repayment the distorted animation of a jaded countenance, the blushes of mimic modesty, the forced flashes of a faded eye, and the hollow smiles that simper on a weary lip.
'Had Anna Clare been possessed with the demon of flirtation, she would have raised her eyes to those of Sir Frederick, with exactly the expression which she knew (and what woman with fine eyes does not know?) would have gone nearest to the source of long buried feeling. She would have sung that silly ballad again, perhaps with trembling and hesitation, but still she would have sung it, or have tried to sing it; and then towards the close of the performance, her eyes would have been cast down, and a tear might have stolen from beneath their long dark lashes, and her voice grown gradually more plaintive, until at last it died away in a kind of distant melody, leaving her quondam lover and herself in the most exquisite reverie imaginable; from which she would most probably, at last, have started with a pretended effort at self-mastery; and then, as she rose to leave the arbour, and while Sir Frederick stooped for her guitar, she would have pointed to the blue ribbon, by which it was wont to be supported on her fair shoulder, saying, it was the same which he gave her when in Scotland, and that she cherished such memorials of past pleasure, as all that her existence bad now to make it worth enduring: and then tears again, but not too many, lest her countenance should be disfigured. By this time they would have had the choice of two paths; the one leading directly to the house, and the other round by a melancholy walk, shaded with trees, and dark with evergreens, Without any appearance of design, she would have chosen this walk in preference to the other; first stooping down to gather a little sprig of forget-me-not, and placing it near her heart. The conversation might then have been led by delicate and ingenious management to former scenes, conveying the most touching allusions to sentiments and feelings cherished in vain, and mourned over in secret bitterness of soul. And thus, by the time they had reached the door of Andrew Miller, they might both have been at so high a pitch of excitement, that Anna might have forgotten her friend, her poverty, and her pupils, and Sir Frederick might have paid the same compliment to his lady. And after all this, Anna might have laid her hand upon her heart, as thousands have done on similar occasions, and said that she meant no harm.
'She might, it is true, have done nothing, and said nothing, which, singly examined and considered, bore the stamp of evil: but what a farce, what a folly, is this self-exculpation: for by these secret movements from the side of virtue, of which no earthly judge can convict us, we place ourselves immediately on the side or vice; and to the early practice of this system of mauceuvrcing, though apparently innocent, and too often pleasing in itself, how many have to look back with sorrow and regret from the gloomy close of a despised and friendless old age; it may be, from the miserable abodes of folly, and wretchedness, and crime. The weight of culpability rests not upon any individual circumstance: it is the manner, it is the motive, it is the feeling by which every act and word is accompanied, which constitutes the sin: and a deep and deadly sin it will be to many in the great day of account, when their secret thoughts are laid open.
'Oh! that women would be faithful to themselves! It makes the heart bleed to think that these high-souled beings, who stand forth in the hour of severe and dreadful trial, aimed with a magnanimity that knows no fear; with enthusiasm that has no sordid alloy; with patience that would support a martyr: with generosity that a patriot might be proud to borrow; and feeling that might shine as a wreath of beauty, over the temples of a dying saint:—it makes the heart bleed to think, that the noble virtues of woman's character should be veiled, and obscured, by the taint of weak vanity, and lost in the base love of flirtation: making herself the mockery of the multitude, instead of acting the simple and dignified part of the friend, the wife, or the mother; degrading her own nature, by flaunting in the public eye the semblance of affection, when its sweet soul is wanting;—polluting the altar of love by offering up the ashes of a wasted heart. Oh! woman, woman! thousands have been beguiled by this thy folly, but thou hast ever been the deepest sufferer! Thine is a self-imposed and irrevocable exile from all, for which the heart of woman pines in secret; over which it broods in her best hours of tenderness and love. Talk not of domestic happiness—it can be thine no more. The plaguespot is upon thy bosom, and its health, and purity, and peace, arc gone for ever. Thou hast fluttered forth upon the giddy winds, like the leaf that wantons from the bough; the same uncertain blast may lay thee at the root of the parent stem, but it will only be to fade, and wither, and die. Oh! dream not of returning, when tired of idle wanderings; for thy return can only be that of the weary dove to her forsaken nest, cold, and cheerless, and desolate!' pp. 143—147
We must make room for two detached paragraphs for the excellent sentiment they embody.
'Those who would devote themselves to the service of their fellowcreatures, must be prepared for many an ungrateful return,—for many a heart-rending repulse; to which, nothing but the consciousness of being about their Master's business, can reconcile the sensitive mind. Those who would save a sufferer from death, must often present an unwelcome draught to lips that loathe its bitterness; and those who would save a soul from sin, must bear with that rebellious soul in all its struggles to return; for it is not by one tremendous effort that the bonds of earthly passion can be broken. The work in which they are engaged is a work of patience, not of triumph ; and there must be long seasons of painful endurance, of watchfulness, and prayer, which nothing but a deep and devoted love to the Heavenly Father whose service they are engaged in, can possibly enable them to sustain.'— pp. 100, 101.
'" Hom interesting!" exclaims the enthusiast; and immediately her beau ideal is clothed in a mantle of imaginary beauty. Within may be an empty void, it matters not. Vanity or vice may lurk below, they are alike unheeded. Misery and disappointment may be shrouded beneath, they are endured with the patience of a martyr. And why? Because the object is interesting, and consequently it becomes an idol.
* Again: when any thing earthly or unearthly has received the fatal condemnation of being pronounced uninteresting, how utterly hopeless and vain is every attempt to force it upon the attention of those who have been accustomed to look only through the false medium of sickly sentiment! Unheeded, unnoticed, by them, uninteresting philosophy may labour in secret over the investigation of truth; uninteresting charity may go forth upon her errands of mercy; uninteresting resignation may watch beside the lowly bed of sickness, and' offer up from unfeigned lips her last soul-felt prayer; and what toliicin is the incense of uninteresting piety, though it should burn upon the altar of the heart, consuming all that is gross and perishable, and purifying the immortal spirit for a new existence in the regions of eternal light.'—pp. 169, 170.
Some pleasing poetry is interspersed in these tales: we shall make room for the following.
• How shall I build an altar,
To the Author of my days;
'Thy temples were too lowly,
Oh! great Jerusalem;
'Then how shall I, the weakest,
His servant hope to be?
'I'll do thy holy bidding,
With unrepming heart:
'I'll bring each angry feeling,
A sacrifice to thee;
'So shall I build an altar,
To the Author of my days;
Art. VII. The Entomological Magazine, Nos. I. to III. 8vo. Price 3*. 6d. each. Sept. 1832. Jan. and April, 1833.
We have been much pleased with the perusal of the first three numbers of this interesting periodical. The study of insects is one which has not a great number of followers; a circumstance attributable to the paucity of suitable works to be met with in this country relating to it. Some we have seen, so full of technicalities as to be completely sealed books to a student, and others, nominally popular, so tinged by evident fiction as to be unworthy of credit. The present work avoids these extremes, and delights us with the account of real wonders, to ourselves far more amusing than imaginary ones. In this particular department the letters of 'Rusticus ' on Blight, stand pre-eminent. There is a quiet truth of description, an untiring observance of nature, an easy and appropriate style of narration, which \ve have seldom seen equalled. The scientific articles are contributed by some of our first naturalists. We need only mention the names of Swainson, Newman, Curtis, Walker, and Haliday, to shew that the Entomological Magazine is supported by first-rate ability.
Art. VIII. LITERARY INTELLIGENCE.
In the press, Evidences of Christianity, by Charles P. M'llvaine, D.D. Bishop of Ohio: forming Vol. IX. of the Select Library: and recommended to the Publishers of that Series by Olinthus Gregory, LL.D.
In the press, Dr. Adam Clarke's Family Bible, in folio, Part I., containing Six Sheets, to be continued fortmghtly, or oftener.
Just ready, School and Family Manual: a Series of Conversations between a Father and his Children, explaining the most important subjects of Early Instruction in a familiar style, adapted for Preparatory Schools, Ladies' Schools, and Domestic Teaching. Vol. I. Geometry; Vol. II. Arithmetic (in Two Parts), Part I. To be continued occasionally.
Just ready, Principles of Astronomy. By William Brett, M.A. Fellow of Corpus-Christi College, Cambridge. Part II. containing Physical Astronomy.
Mr. Morris's long-expected Memoirs of the late Rev. Robert Hall, will be published (d. v.) on the 1st of June 1833. In one volume octavo.
Preparing for publication, A History of Madagascar, in connexion \vith the Protestant Mission, from its commencement in 1818 to the present time; with an account of the Country, the Religion, Manners, and Customs of the Inhabitants, principally in the interior. By the Missionaries on the Island. Edited by the Rev. William Ellis, Author of " Polynesian Researches." In 2 vols. 8vo. with Maps and Plates.
In May will be published, A Memoir of Felix Neff. By Thomas Scales Ellerby. In one volume.
In the press and speedily will be published, the Life and Diary of the Rev. Ralph Erskine, A.M. Dunfermline, one of the Founders of the Secession Church. By the Rev. D. Fraser Kennoway. The materials of this work have been derived from a great variety of Original Sources, including Mr. Erskine's Diary, Note Books and Letters. It will be found calculated, it is hoped, to promote vital piety among ministers and private Christians of every name, and to advance the interests of "truth and peace" in the church.