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the middle size, but extremely well shaped, with an agreeable countenance, dark hazel eyes and hair, and those frank engaging manners, so captivating in Southern women. We are not informed whether Washington had met with her before; probably not during her widowhood, as during that time he had been almost continually on the frontier. We have shown that, with all his gravity and reserve, he was quickly susceptible to female charms; and they may have had a greater effect on him when thus casually encountered in fleeting moments, snatched from the cares and perplexities and rude scenes of frontier warfare. At any rate, his heart appears to have been taken by surprise.
The dinner, which in those days, was an earlier meal than at present, seemed all too short. The afternoon passed away like a dream. Bishop was punctual to the orders he had received on halting; the horses pawed at the door, but for once Washington loitered on the path of duty. The horses were countermanded, and it was not until the next morning that he was again in the saddle, spurring for Williamsburgh. Happily, the White House, the residence of Mrs. Custis, was in New Kent County, at no great distance from that city, so that he had opportunities of visiting her in the intervals of business. His time for courtship, however, was brief. Military duties called him almost immediately to Winchester; but he feared, should he leave the matter in suspense, some more enterprising rival might supplant him during his absence, as in the case of Miss Phillipse, at New York. He improved, therefore, his brief opportunity to the utmost. The blooming widow had many suitors, but Washington was graced with that renown so ennobling in the eyes of woman. In a word, before they separated, they had mutually plighted their faith, and the marriage was to take place as soon as the campaign against Fort Duquesne was at an end.
While here and there a noble mind
And not to give them light!
A solemn murmur in the soul
As travelers hear the billows roll
THE SEED MUST DIE.
The seed must die, before the corn appears
SISTERS IN THE FAMILY.
BY THE EDITOR.
We have spoken of the evil influences of the dance. Novel reading has the same tendency to destroy the right relation between brother and sister. It kills pure love. It makes the heart morbid. It turns it away from real objects and marries it to unreal images to ideals which have not their like in flesh and blood; and the heart is thus unfitted ever to transfer its love to that which is joined with infirmities beneath its vapory heights.
The heart of a novel reader is like a frosted apple-its tenderness is unhealthy humor. The spirit resembles the bleared and bloated body of one who has displaced the regular flow of vitality by the introduction of stimulants.
A brother is too every-day for a spirit thus wedded to ideals. She devotes her heart to dreamings of what ought to be, rather than to duty to what is. She is cut loose from the true sympathies of life. She lives not in her family, but in her fancies, sympathizing with strangers of her own creating rather than with those of her own hearth and home. Her affections are no more fresh from the fountains. The treasures of her love have been opened to strangers-they are like wilted vegetables that have been often exposed at market. She has much more sentimentality than either seriousness or sense. Her tenderness is worn out in the chase of unrealities; and there is left only a sickly and vapid sympathy which has no strength to lean upon. Her imagination is strengthened at the expense of her judgment; her fancies run away with her feelings, and affectation takes the place of affection.
Novel reading promotes selfishness. It is a kind of solitary indulgence. They seek to be alone. They seldom speak of the novel which absorbs them wholly. It destroys native cheerfulness. It begets a moping, silent, sullen disposition. The heart, instead of being fresh and cheerful, like a landscape in the morning, resembles-if there were such a sight in nature-a garden after having been deluged by a hot rain!
Such a sister! Such a wilted, vapid, drowsy, dreaming, sighing, heart-worn creature, to brace up the morals, and mold the heart of a brother! Yet how many families, in these effeminate times, are cursed with these sickly ornaments of the sofa-with these ghosts of moonshine-with these fainting, swooning victims of paper-covered literature. The Lord give patience to their future husbands
or repentance and renovation to them.
How often have the wisest and the best men raised their voice of warning on this subject. Happy are those who listen to their
wisdom, rather than learn the sorrow that lies in the consequences, when repentance comes too late. We cannot refrain from quoting on this point the words of an old writer, Dr. Fordyce, in his admirable lectures to young women-now, alas, out of print:
"We consider the general run of novels as utterly unfit for you. Instruction they convey none. They paint scenes of pleasure and passion altogether improper for you to behold, even with the mind's eye. Their descriptions are often loose and luscious in a high degree; their representations of love between the sexes are almost universally overstrained. All is dotage or despair; or else ranting swelled into burlesque. In short, the majority of their lovers are either mere lunatics or mock-heroes. A sweet sensibility, a charming tenderness, a delightful anguish, exalted generosity, heroic worth, and refinement of thought; how seldom are these best ingredients of virtuous love mixed with any judgment or care in the composition of their principal characters!"
Further on he says: "To come back to the species of writing which so many young women are apt to doat upon, the offspring of our present novelists, I mean the greater part; with whom we may join the present herd of play-writers. Besides the remarks already made on the former, is it not manifest with respect to both, that such books lead to a false taste of life and happiness; that they represent vices as frailties, and frailties as virtues; that they engender notions of love unspeakably perverting and inflammatory; that they overlook in a great measure the finest part of the passion, which one would suspect the authors had never experienced; that they turn it most commonly into an affair of wicked or of frivolous gallantry; that on many occasions they take off from the worst crimes committed in the prosecution of it the horror which ought ever to follow them; on some occasions actually reward those very crimes, and almost on all leave the female readers with this persuasion at best, that it is their business to get husbands at any rate, and by whatever means? Add to the account, that repentance for the foulest injuries which can be done the sex is generally represented as the pang, or rather the start, of a moment; and holy wedlock converted into a sponge to wipe out at a single stroke every stain of guilt and dishonor which it was possible for the hero of the piece to contract. Is this a kind of reading calculated to improve the principles or preserve the sobriety of female minds? How much are those young women to be pitied that have no wise parents or faithful tutors to direct them in relation to the books which are, or which are not, fit for them to read. How much are those parents and tutors to be commended who, with particular solicitude, watch over them in so important a concern."
These earnest words are worthy of all acceptation by every female desirous of forming a worthy character, and of cultivating
those dispositions which will fit her for the important relations of a sister in the family. Let the solid be earnestly coveted. Let the mind be fed on true wisdom. Let the affections be cultivated in the spirit of piety, rather than in the spirit of romance.
We yet commend the following truthful picture of the evil to which we have called attention. Can any words give a more just and sarcastically severe description of this ulcer in literature as it now streams its festered pollution over the fair face of society.
"The story-telling tribe, alone, outran
Lagging, the swiftest numbers. Dreadful, even
And room had lacked, had not their life been short.
Thou thus, expressed in gentle phrase, which leaves
With nature, with itself and truth at war;
A LESSON IN PUNCTUATION.
The following, if read as it stands, is nonsense. When properly punctuated it makes good sense all through. It shows how necessary good punctuation is the sense of composition. How many of our young readers can punctuate it as it should be done?
I saw a peacock with a fiery tail
I saw a blazing star that dropped down hail
I saw a cloud begirt with ivy round
saw a sturdy oak creep on the ground
I saw a pismire swallow up a whale
I saw the brackish sea brim full of ale
I saw a well full of men's tears to weep
I saw men's eyes all on a flame of fire
I saw a house high as the moon or higher
I saw the radiant sun at midnight
I saw the man who saw this dreadful sight.