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ing the whole of human duty with regard to the expenditure of money. The demands of justice may be silenced : but has benevolence no claims to be satisfied? The fact is, that an unguarded fondness for ornament has been known, in a multitude of examples, to overpower the native tenderness of the female mind; and to prevent the growth and establishment of dispositions pronounced in the gospel to be indispensably requisite to the Christian character. If the purse be generally kept low by the demands of milliners, of mantua- inakers, of jewellers and dealers in trinkets, and of others who bear their part in adorning the person ; little can be allotted to the applications of charity. But charity requires, in common with other virtues, the fostering influence of habit. If the custom of devoting an adequate portion of the income to the relief of distress be long intermitted, the desire of giving relief will gradually be impaired. The heart forgets, by disuse, the emotions in which it once delighted. The ear turns from solicitations now become unwelcome. In proportion as the wants and griefs of others are disregarded, the spirit of selfishness strikes deeper and stronger roots in the breast. Let the generous exertions of kindness be tein pered with discretion : but let a disposition to those exertions be encouraged on principles of duty, and confirmed, in proportion to the ability of the individual, by frequency of practice.
There are yet other consequences which attend an immoderate passion for the embellishments of dress. When the mind is fixed upon objects which derive their chief value from the food which they adıninister to vanity and the love of admiration ; the aversion, which almost every individual of either sex is prone to feel towards a rival, is particularly called forth. And when objects attainable so easy as exterior ornaments occupy the heart, there will be rivals without number. Hence it is not very unusual to see neighbouring young women engaged in a constant state of petty warfare with each other. To vie in ostentatiousness, in costliness, or in elegance of apparel ; to be distinguished by novel inventions in the science of decoration; to gain the earliest intelligence respecting changes of fashion in the metropolis; to detect in the attire of a luckless competitor, traces of a mode which for six weeks has been obsolete in high life ; these frequently are the points of excellence to which the force of female genius is directed. In the mean time, while the mask of friendship is worn on the countenance, and the language of regard dwells on the tongue, indifference, disgust, and envy, are gradually taking possession of the breast; until, at length, the unworthy contest, prolonged for years under confirmed habits of dissimulation, by which none of the parties are deceived, terminates in the violence of an open rupture.
The scriptures have spoken loo plainly and too strongly respecting solicitude about dress, to permit me to quit the subject without a special reference to their authority. Our Saviour, in one of his most solemn discourses, warns his followers against anxiety" wherewithal they should be clothed,” in a manner particularly emphatical, by classing that anxiety with the despicable pursuits of those who are studious “what they shall eat, and what they shall drink ;" and by pronouncing all such cares to be among the characteristic features by which the heathen were distinguished and disgraced. It ought to be observed, that these adınonitions of Christ respect men no less than women. St. Paul, in the following passage, speaks pointedly concerning female dress; “I will, in like manner, also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shame-facedness and sobriety; not with broidered hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but, which becometh woinen professing godliness, with good works." In another passage, which remains to be produced from the New Testament, St. Peter also speaks expressly of the female sex ; and primarily of married women, but in terms applicable with equal propriety to the single: “ Whose adorning, let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, and of putting on of apparel. But let it be the hid. den man of the heart," (the ioward frame and disposition of the mind ;) “ in that which is not corruptible, even the ornainent of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price." It would be too much to assert, on the one hand, that it was the intention of either of the apostles, in giving these directions, to proscribe the use of the particular kinds of personal ornament which he specifies. But, on the other hand, it was unquestionably the design of both, to proscribe whatever may justly be styled solicitude respecting any kind of personal decoration; and to censure those, who, instead of resting their claim to approbation solely on the tempers of the soul, in any degree should ambitiously seek to be noticed and praised for exterior embellishments, as deviating precisely in that degree from the simplicity and purity of the Christian character.
THE BLACK VELVET PELISSE;
MR. BERESFORD was a merchant, engaged in a very extensive business, and possessed of a considerable property, a great part of which was vested in a large estate in the country, on which he chiefly resided.
Julia Beresford, bis daughter, accustomed from her birth to affluence, if not to luxury, and having in every thing what is called the spirit of a gentlewoman, was often distressed and mortified at the want of consistency in her father's mode of living: but she was particularly distressed to find that, though he was always telling her what a fortune he would give her when she married, and at his death, he allowed her but a trifling sum, comparatively, for pocketmoney; and required from her, with teazing minuteness, an account of the manner in which her allowance was spent; reprobating very severely her propensity to spend her money op plausible beggars and pretended invalids.
But on this point he talked in vain : used by a benevolent and pious another, whose loss she tenderly deplored, to impart comfort to the poor, the sick, and the afficted, Julia endeavoured to make her residence in the country a blessing to the neighbourhood; but, too often, kind words, soothing visits, and generous promises, were all she had to bestow; and many a time did she purchase the means of relieving a distressed fellow-creature by a personal sacrifice; for though ever ready to contribute to a subscription either public or private, Beresford could not be prevailed upon to indulge his daughter by giving way to that habitual benevolence, , which when once practised can never be left off.
But though the sums were trifling which Julia had to bestow, she had so many cheap charities in her power, such as sending broth to the neighbouring cottages, and making linen of various sorts for poor women and children, that she was deservedly popular in the neighbourhood; and though her father was reckoned as proud as he was rich, the daughter was pronounced to be a pattern of good nature, and as affable as he was the contrary.
But wherever Beresford could have an opportunity of
displaying his wealth to advantage, he regarded not expense; and to outvie the neighbouring gentlemen in endeavours to attract the rich young baronet, whom all the young ladies would, he supposed, be aiming to captivate, he purchased magnificent furniture and carriages, and promised Lulia a great addition to her wardrobe, whenever Sir Frederic Mortimer should take up his abode at bis seat.
Julia heard with a beating heart that the baronet was ex. pocted. She had been several times in his company at a watering-place; immediately on his return from abroad, and had wished to appear as charming in his eyes as he appeared in hers; but she had been disappointed. Modest and retiring in her manner, and not showy in her person, though her features were regularly beautiful, Sir Frederic Mortimer, who had only seen her in large companies, and with very striking and attractive women, had regarded her merely as an amiable girl, and had scarcely thought of her again
One day Julia, accompanied by her father, went to the shop of a milliner, in a large town, near which they lived ; and as winter was coming on, and her pelisse, a dark and pow faded purple, was nearly worn out, she was very desirous of purchasing a black velvet one, which was on sale; but her father hearing that the price of it was twelve guinieas, positively forbade her to wish for so expensive a piece of finery; though he owned that it was very handsome and very becoming
• To be sure,” said Julia, smiling, but casting a longing look at the pelisse, “ lwelve guineas might be better bestowed :" and they left the shop.
The next day Mr. Beresford went to town on business, and in a short time after, he wrote to his daughter to say that he had met Sir Frederic Mortimer in London, and that he would soon be down at his seat, to attend some pony races, which Mr. Hanmer, who had a mind to show off his dowdy daughter to the young baronet, intended to have on a piece of land belonging to him; and that he had heard all the ladies in the neighbourhood were to be there.
“ I have received an invitation for you and myself," continued Mr. Beresford; " and therefore, as I am resolved the Miss Traceys, and the other girls, shall not be better or more expensively dressed than my daughter, I enclose you bills to the amount of thirteen pounds, and I desire you to go and purchase the velret pelisse which we so much admired; and I have sent you a hat, the most elegant which money could procure, in order that my heiress may appear as an heiress should do."
Julia's young heart beat with pleasure at this permission; for she was to adorn herself to appear before the only man, whom she ever wished to please; and the next morning she, determined to set off to make the desired purchase.
That evening, being alone, she set ont to take her usual walk, and having, lost in no unpleasing reverie, strayed very, near to a village about three miles from home, she recollected to have heard an affecting account of the distress of a very virtuous and industrious family in that village, owing to the poor man's being drawn for the militia, and not rich enough to procure a substitute, she therefore resolved to go and enquire how the matter had terminated. Julia proceeded to the village, and reached it just as the very objects of her solicitude were come to the height of their distresses.
The father of the family, not being able to raise more than half the money wanted, was obliged to serve: and Julia, on seeing a crowd assembled, approached to ask what was going forward, and found she was arrived to witness a very affecting scene; for the poor man was taking his last farewell of his wife and family, who, on his departure to join the regiment, would be forced to go to the work house, where, as they were in delicate health, it was most probable they would soon fall victims to bad food and bad air.
The poor man was universally beloved in his village ; and the neighbours, seeing that a young lady enquired concerning bis inisfortunes with an air of interest, were all eager to give her every possible information on the subject of his distress. “ And only think, Miss,” said one of them," for the wapi of nine pounds only, as honest and hard-working a lad as ever lived, and as good a husband and father, must be forced to leave his family and be a militia-man, and they, poor things, go to the work house!”
“ Nine pounds !” said Julia, “ would that be sufficient to keep him at home?"
“ La! yes Miss ; for that young fellow yonder would gladly go for bim for eighteen pounds !"
On hearing this, how many thoughts rapidly succeeded each other in Julia's mind! If she paid the pine pounds, the man would be restored to his family, and they preserved perhaps from an untimely death in a workhouse. But then she had no money but what her father had sent to purchase