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if once effaced, commonly disappear for ever. To indulge in a practice of reading novels is, in several other particulars, liable to produce mischievous effects. Such compofitions are, to most persons, extremely engaging. That story must be uncommonly barren, or wretchedly told, of which, after having heard the beginning, we desire not to know the end. To the pleasure of learning the ultimate fortunes of the heroes and heroines of the tale, the novel commonly adds, in a greater or in a less degree, that which arises from animated description, from lively dialogue, or froin interesting sentiment. Hence the perusal of one romance leads, with much more frequency than is the case with respect to works of other kinds, to the speedy perusal of another. Thus a habit is formed, a habit at first, perhaps, of limited indulgence, but a habit that is continually found more formidable and more encroaching. The appetite becomes too keen to be denied; and in proportion as it is more urgent, grows less
nice and select in its fare. What would formerly have given offence, now gives
The palate is vitiated or made dull. The produce of the book-club, and the contents of the circulating library, are devoured with indiscriminate and insatiable avidity. Hence the mind is secretly corrupted. Let it be observed tớo, that in exact correspondence with the increase of a passion for reading novels, an aversion to reading of a more improving nature will gather strength. There is yet another consequence too important to be overlooked. The catastrophe and the incidents of these fi&titious narratives commonly turn on the vicissitudes and effects of a passion the most powerful of all those which agitate the human heart. Hence the study of them frequently creates a susceptibility of impression and a premature warmth of tender emotions, which, not to speak of other possible effects, have been known to betray young women into a sudden attachment to persons unworthy of their affection, and thus to
hurry hurry them into marriages terminating in unhappiness.
In addition to the regular habit of useful reading, the custom of committing to the memory seleet and ample portions of poetic compofitions, not for the purpose of oftentatiously quoting them in mixed company, but for the sake of private improvement, deserves, in consequence of its beneficial kendency, to be mentioned with a very high degree of praise. The mind is thus stored with a lasting treasure of sentiments and ideas, combined by writers of transcendent genius and vigorous imagination; clothed in appropriate, nervous, and glowing language ; and impressed by the powers of cadence and harmony. Let the poetry, however, be well chosen. Let it be such as elevates the heart with the ardour of de votion; adds energy and grace to precepts of morality; kindles benevolence by pathetic, narrative and reflection; enters with natural and lively description into the varieties of
character; or presents vivid pictures of what is grand or beautiful in the scenery of na
Such are in general the works of Milton, of Thomson, of Gray, of Mafon, and of Cowper. It is thus that the beauty and grandeur of nature will be contemplated with new pleasure. It is thus that taste will be called forth, exercised, and corrected. It is thus that judgement will be strengthened, virtuous emotions cherished, piety animated and exalted. At all times, and under every circumstance, the heart, penetrated with religion, will delight itself in the recollection of passages, which display the perfections of that Being on whom it trusts, and the glorious hopes to the accomplishment of which it humbly looks forward. When affliction weighs down the spirits, or fickness the strength, it is then that the cheering influence of that recollection will be doubly felt. When old age, disabling the sufferer from the frequent use of books, obliges the mind to turn inward
itself; the memory, long retentive, even in its decay, of the acquisitions which it had
attained and valued in its early vigour, still. suggests the lines which have again and again diffused rapture through the bosom of health, and are yet capable of overspreading the hours of decrepitude and the couch of pain with confolation.
But it is not from books alone that a considerate young woman is to seek her gratifications. The discharge of relative duties, and the exercise of benevolence form additional sources of activity and enjoyment. To give delight in the affectionate intercourse of domestic society; to relieve a parent in the superintendence of family affairs; to smooth the bed of sickness, and cheer the decline of age; to examine into the wants and distresses of the female inhabitants of the neighbourhood; to promote useful institutions for the comfort of mothers, and for the instruction of children; and to give to those institutions that degree of attention, which, without requiring either much time or much personal trouble, will facilitate their establishment