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that perfection which alone can come up to the ideal they see mirrored in the moral nature of those they most wish to please.
There is moreover a sentiment of the sexes towards each other, independent of the marriage tie, common to those who enter into it and those who never do, which perhaps cannot be defined or described in words, but which constitutes the greatest charm of this life. It imparts a roseate flush to the otherwise pale and sickly hue of this world. It gives a zest to what would otherwise be tasteless. The value we set upon things cannot be weighed in balances, nor told by measure, nor reckoned in money. The sentiments of the human heart know nothing of price. They are infinite and immeasurable. They spurn all calculation, for they are boundless and unfathomable. And do what you will, the sentiments are man's supreme law. To man the world and all there is in it is valuable, is beautiful, is worth living for, only because it is enriched by the presence of woman; and to woman this world would be utterly tasteless did she not share the dignity, the enterprize, the intrinsic nobleness that she conceives to reside in man.
Sentiment is omnipotent in the human heart. What is the spring and motive of all enterprize in the heart of man? What sends his ships into every sea, his commerce into all lands? What clears the forest, and raises the comfortable home, or builds the lofty palace? Enter into the secret chambers of his imagery and you will find the Divinity, upon whose altars all this is to be offered up, is woman. Unshared by her all would be vain and profitless. And why do we see woman from the first so careful of her person, so studious of ornament, so diligent to make up by untiring industry her want of strength to help forward the more difficult labors in which man engages? Search the recesses of her consciousness, and you would find the ever present idea, that she was made to be the helpmate, the delight, and the comforter of man. These sentiments are divine, sacred, unchangeable. Nothing, even the most false and vicious state of society can. altogether pervert them.
The mission of woman is foreshown almost in the cradle; and it is a mission of humanity, gentleness, tenderness, generosity, love. Mark a family just after the birth of a
daughter. An infant comes always with a blessed message from God to the human heart. It is a reiteration of the old but ever new commandment, "love one another." It is a summons to duty, to disinterestedness, to kindness, to self denial; and it secures obedience by an appeal more powerful than any that can be made to the cold region of the understanding. It opens the heart,-the fountain and well spring of duty. Most especially is this the case, if the new born heir of human destiny add to its own helplessness the claim of belonging to that sex, which through life demands the protection of the other. Even the little epithets of endearment, which are the natural expressions of the gushings of parental affection, have a shade of tenderness towards a daughter which is not bestowed upon an infant of the rougher sex. This arises not so much from any material difference in their present condition as from the anticipations of the future. The boy, though now weak and wailing, will soon develope the strength, the resources, the courage of a man, and be able to buffet his way through this rude world. But the daughter, how little control is she to have
over her destiny! How entirely is her happiness to be placed in the power of others, of those with whom Providence shall cast her lot! Added to this is the feeling that in the heart of the daughter they have a richer treasure than they can possess any where else. All things they feel are uncertain, but the love of a daughter cannot fail. Times and circumstances may change. They may wax old, or be unfortunate, and the world will pay its court to the young and the successful, but in the heart of a daughter they can never be forgotten.
That softening of the heart, which takes place toward the child, is not lost upon their relations to the world. Children, particularly daughters, are a new tie connecting the parents to their species, as well as hostages for their own good behaviour. They feel that their stake in the well being of society is increased rather than diminished as they decline in life, for they are more interested for those for whose welfare they must at length cease to provide, than they ever were for themselves. They feel more solicitous to conciliate the good will of the world, and to leave behind them the odour of a good name
for the benefit of their offspring, than from any advantage which they themselves can ever derive from them.
The tenderness which is lavished on the daughter ceases not with infancy, nor is it often lost. There is among the higher classes a desire to give her the best opportunities of education, and among the lower to save her from the coarser labors and drudgery of life. On a daughter parental care is not often thrown away. Her affections, shut up from the world, are the more concentrated upon their natural objects at home. The mother soon finds the being, whom she first knew only as a plaything, as something to nurse and to love, grown up to be a companion, a counsellor, an aid in her cares and toils. The father finds not only affection, but society at home. The father and the daughter is a picture, which has been often drawn by art, and described in poetry, but it has never been bodied forth in all the richness with which it paints itself upon the imagination. Their society, their interchange of duty and affection, is not only most beautiful to behold, but it is happy and sanctifying to them both. I doubt not the moral influence which it