Page images
PDF
EPUB

most rising into love, took entire possession of his soul, while he read the following lines":

Not one kind look-one friendly word ?

Wilt thou in chilling silence sit,
Nur through the social hour afford

One cheering smile, or beam of wit ?
Yet still absorb'd in studious care,

Neglect to waste one look on me;
For then my happy eyes may dare

To gaze and dwell uncheck'd on thee.
And still in silence sit, nor deign

One gentle precious word to say ;
For silent I may then remain,

Nor let my voice my soul betray.
This faltering voice, these conscious eyes,

My throbbing heart too plainly speak.
Tkere timid, hopeless passion lies,

And bids it silence keep and break.
His folded arms, his studious brow,

His thoughtful eye, utmask'd I see;
Nor could his voice of words bestow

So dear, so true a joy to me.
· But he forgets that I am near-

Fame, future fame in thought he seeks :,
To him ambition's paths appear;

And bright the sun of science breaks.
His heart with ardent hope is filled;

His prospects full of beauty bloom ;
But, oh! my heart despair has chilla,

My only prospect is the tomb!
One only boon from hence I claim,

And may it grant the fond desirë,
That I may live to hear his fame,

And in that throb of joy expire. “ No--that thou shalt not," said Douglas, bursting into tears; « thou shalt live to share and to enjoy it; how blind, how fatally blind have I been." Then having requested an interview, which was granted, he took her passive hand, and almost weeping over her faded form, told her, how much he was interested in her speedy recovery; that in a few weeks he should be of age, “ and then," said he, “if you are able and willing to listen to me, dearest Jane, it is my fixed intention to offer you my heart avd band."

On hearing these words, these welcome, precious, and unexpected words, she sprang up from her chair in a transport of joy and tenderness, and instantly fell lifeless-at his

feet.-In vain was every remedy applied, it was too soon ascertained that the too susceptible girl was indeed gone for ever.

DIRECTIONS FOR WRITING LETTERS..

EPISTOLARY writing, by which a great part of the commerce of human life is carried on, was esteemed by the Romans a liberal and polite accomplishment; and Cicero, the father of eloquence, and master of style, speaks with great pleasure in his epistles to Atticus, of his son's genius in this particular. Among them it was undoubtedly a part of their education; and, in the opinion of Mr. Locke, it well deserves a share in our's. “The writing letters," says this great genius, “ enters so much into all the occasions of life, that no gentleman can avoid showing himself in compositions of this kind. Occurences will daily force him to make this use of his pen; which lays open his breeding, his sense, and his abilities, to a severer examination than any oral discourse.”

When you sit down to write a letter, remember that this sort of writing should be like conversation. Observe this, and you will be no more at a loss to write, than you will be to speak to the person were he present; and this will be nature, without affectation, which, generally speaking, always pleases. As to subjects, you are allowed in writing letters ihe utmost liberty; whatsoever has been done, or seen, or heard, or thought of, your own observations on what you know, your enquiries about what you do not know, the time, the place, the weather, every thing about you stands ready for a subject; and the more variety you intermix, if not rudely thrown together, the better.-Set discourses require a dignity or formality of style, suitable to the subject; whereas letter writing rejects all pomp of words, and is most agreeable when most familiar. But, though lofty phrases are here improper, the style should not be low and inean; and, to avoid it, let an easy complaisance, and sincerity, and unaffected good nature, appear in all you say ; for a fine letter does not consist in saying fine things, but in expressing ordinary ones with elegance and propriety; so as to please while it informs, and charm even in giving advice.

hat will giver aliar letiers, nor is it theour is often

learnese

It should also wear an honest cheerful countenance, like one who truly esteems, and is glad to see her friend, and not like a vain woman, admiring her own dress, and seemingly pleased with nothing but herself.

Express your meaning as freely as possible. Long periods may please the ear, but they perplex the understanding;, a short plain style, strikes the mind and fixes an impression ; a tedious one is seldom clearly understood, and never remembered. But there is still something requisite beyond all this, towards the writing a polite and agreeable letier, and that is an air of good breeding and humanity, which ought constantly to appear in every expression, and that will give a beauty to the whole.

But in familiar letiers, in the common concerns of life, elegance is not required, nor is it the thing we ought to attempt; for, when attempted, the labour is often seen, and the end presented by the very means. Ease and clearness are the only beauties we need to study. i

Never be in pain about familiarity in the style to those with whom you are acquainted; for that very pain will make it awkward and stiff, in spite of all your endeavours to the contrary.

Write freely, but not hastily; let your words drop from your pen, as they would from your tongue when speaking deliberately on a subject of which you are master, and to a person with whom you are intimate.

Accustom yourself to think justly, and you will not be at a loss to write clearly; for while there is confusion at the fountain head, the brook will never be clear.

Before you begin to write, think what you are going to write. However unnecessary this caution may seem, I will venture to say, that ten appear ridiculous on paper through hurry and want of thought, for one that is so through want of understanding.

A woman that begins a speech or letter, before she is determined what to say, will undoubtedly find herself bewildered before she gets to the end ; not in sentiment only, but in grammar. To avoid this, before you begin a sentence, have the whole of it in your head, and make use of the first words that offer themselves to express your meaning; for, be assured, they are the most natural, and will, generally speaking, best answer your purpose; for to stand, searching after expressions, breaks in upon the natural diction; and, for a word, that, perhaps, is not a jot more expressive, you make the whole sentence stiff and awkward. But, of all things, learn to be correct, and never omit a careful perusal of what you have written, which, whoever neglects, must have many inaccuracies; and these are not only a reflection on the writer, but a rudeness to the person to whom they are written. Never be ashamed of having found something amiss, which you confess that you did, by mending it, for in that confession you cancel the fault: and if you have not tine to transcribe it, let it pass; for a blot is by no means so bad as a blunder; and, by accustoming yourself to correct what is amiss, you will be less liable to future mistakes.

SPECIMENS OF LETTER WRITING.

LETTER I. From a young Lady, in answer to a Letter she had received

from her Mother, advising her to persevere in the Christian Duties in which she had been instructed.

Dear Mother, I am at a loss for words to express the joy I felt at the receipt of your letter;, wherein you are pleased to acquaiot me, that nothing ever gave you greater pleasure and satis faction, than the account I have given you of the conduct I observe in my spiritual affairs, and that I may still add to that, coinfurt, which shall ever be my study when an opportunity offers itself, I presume to continue the information.

When I have endeavoured to discharge my duty to that Divine Being, to whom I am indebted for iny existence, I repair to my toilet; but not with an intent to clothe my body (which I know must sooner or later fall into corruption) with vain attiré, but with such as is decent or indocent; regarding fine robes as the badges of pride and vanity, and endeavouring to keep those enemies to our sex in particular, at too great a distance ever to dare an attempt upon my mind.

When public prayers and breakfast are over, I apply my thoughts to the duties of the school; and divide the time appointed for them as equally as I can, between the se veral, branches of education I am engaged in, both before and after dinner.

When the school is finished for the day, accompanied by

which theo has protected return un withstpersuaded to mankin against iligned thaniela bended cinne amiss, to overcations, bumy stredy toaluations which

2 young lady, who is my bed-fellow and of a like disposition, I retire to my room, where we improve ourselves, by reading.

Having finished our reading, and supper and prayers being over, I then retire alone to my room, to take an impartial view of the actions of the day: and, with bended knees and bumble heart return unfeigned thanks to that Being who has protected me against those temptations with which the enemy to mankind is ready to allure us; for I am persuaded, it was not my strength or virtue that withstood the temptations, but his assisting grace that enabled ine to overcome them; and conscious of having done amiss, I sue for pardon; and lay not my body to rest, till I have sought peace to my soul, through a Redeemer.

If at any time I am permitted to pay a visit (which lie berty your indulgence has allowed) I take care to time it properly, for there are certain times when visits become rather troublesome than friendly: wherefore I avoid them when much company is expected, or when I am certain that family affairs will not admit of sufficient leisure to receive them; the former on my own account, the latter on my friends': for much company assembled together serves rather to confuse our ideas than enliven them. Therefore, when I am so unfortunate as to ill-time a visit, I withdraw as soon as civility and ceremony will permit me; and choose rather to prolong those visits which are likely to promote my real good.

I am, dear Mother,

Your most dutiful daughter.

LETTER II.
From a young Lady at School to her Mother, requesting a

Favour. Dear Mother, The many instances you have given me of your affection, leave me no room to believe that the favour I presume to ask will be unpleasing. If I were in the least doubtful of it, I hope iny dear mother has too good an opinion of my conduct, to imagine I would ever ask any thing that I thought would give her the least dissatisfaction.

The holidays are near at hand, when all of us are to pay our personal respects and duties to our parents, ex. cept one; whose friends (her parents being dead) reside

« PreviousContinue »