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HELEN STEWART was the only daughter of a substantial farmer. Inheriting from nature a tractable disposition, accompanied with uncommon liveliness of manners,she was a general favourite with her infant associates, and high in honour with all her teachers. Her fond parents beheld, with a joy which they were neither able nor desirous to conceal, the gradual rising of this their only hope; and looked forward, with the most sanguine expectations, to the future prosperity of their darling child. Alas! their expectations, well founded as they seemed to be, were rendered abortive by their own misjudging indulgence; and that fair sunshine of virtue and happiness, which the morning of Helen's days had promised, was soon totally obscured.

Handsomer than most of her acquaintances, she soon discovered this superiority; and her infatuated parents, instead of checking in the bud an evil, which, if allowed to come to ma

turity, might make their child a curse to them, fed the soothing vanity with all the food their doting fondness could supply. The domestic affairs, to which young women in her station are generally accustomed from their earliest years, were considered, by the ill-judging mother, as too laborious and too vulgar for her darling; and that time which should have been occupied in cultivating and improving her mind, and in fitting her for the station she would probably fill in life, was spent by the young lady in contriving and preparing some new dress and finery for the next county ball.

Blind and infatuated family! How little did the mistaken parents foresee the fatal effects of their unpardonable remissness; and how far was the unhappy object of their fond indulgence from dreaming of the direful consequences of her propensity to show, and her love of admiration. A passion for dress, when it rises to such an excess as in the present case, is one of the most pernicious failings a young woman can be subject to, and entirely destroys all taste for domestic, or intellectual improvement. The constant pursuit of trifling ornament is a certain proof of a trifling mind. (She who is always looking into her glass, will never be much disposed to look into her character;)nor

will that young woman whose whole soul is bent on captivating by her external appearance, be very anxious about any worthier recommendation.

This unhappy propensity is wonderfully strengthened by the present prevailing system of female education. Parents of the present day, almost universally, from the gentleman of fortune down to the lowest mechanic, who, to ape his superiors, strains himself beyond his circumstances, send their daughters to boarding schools. I have a high respect for some of the mistresses of these seminaries, whose exertions in successfully training up their pupils in the way of virtue and real improvement, entitle them to the esteem of mankind. I wish from my heart the same could be said in recommendation of them all. But, in truth, the melancholy reverse is too much the case. From most of the boarding schools in this, or indeed any other country, the young ladies return to their fathers' house, accomplished-in what? In the knowledge of religion? of moral rectitude? of the government of the passions? of any arts connected with female duty, or any qualification, in short, that may lend its aid in preparing them to act their part in society with dignity and honour?-no; but completely skilled how

to dress in the most fashionable and extravagant mode, to dance with gracefulness, to speak bad French, to prattle much nonsense, to practise I know not how many pert, conceited airs; and, in consequence of all this, to conclude themselves accomplished women!Thus prepared, they come forth into the world; and thus accomplished, Helen returned from one of the most fashionable of these schools to her father's house. Her parents, naturally partial, fancied her to be everything that was fine; and impatient to show her off, indulged her in all the follies and gaieties within their reach. She had youth, and, as I have already mentioned, some share of beauty. The effect of both, her fond and foolish parents endeavoured to heighten, by every means in their power. I see her flaunting in the dancing-room in all the pride of fancied superiority; and, while the unbecoming gaudiness of her appearance, and the levity of her manners, expose herself and family to the ridicule and contempt of every person of common discretion, enjoying the dearly bought distinction of being the object of admiration with the thoughtless, and of envy with the discontented. The transition from the love of dress to the love of dissipation is easy; and both united, produced their natural consequen

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ces, in rendering her totally unfit for, and averse to, the proper employments of a farmer's daughter. A neighbour, calling in the morning at Farmer Stewart's, would in all probability find his old wife toiling in the dairy, while Miss Nelly, poor, dear soul! was so fatigued with dancing late on the preceding evening, that her mother could not find in her heart to awaken her.

How much have those parents to answer for, who, by leaving their children to the indulgence of their own capricious and idle humours, foster and encourage a habit of dissipation which infallibly proves their ruin. And how agonizing their reflections, when they behold in the depraved minds and criminal conduct of their degraded offspring, only the unhappy fruits of their own negligence and folly! I cannot omit to remark a fatal error which is often committed in early education, and which proceeds from a too prevalent affectation of sentiment. Instead of watching the birth and progress of error in the minds of their children, parents begin to form a character for them in their own imaginations, judge of all their actions by this fanciful criterion, and ascribe even their vices to imaginary virtue. Are their children weakly timid? This, they will tell you, is a tender

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