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exerts is above all estimate. How is it possible that the father can wander from the paths of goodness, who has daughters whose presence must be to him a stinging reproach? And how there can be a froward, bad, disobedient, ungrateful daughter, is a mystery which I for one could never fathom.
The daughter has much in her power. She has youth, vivacity, generally the grace of form, always the charm inseparable from youth, often the irresistible attraction of beauty, and she may have the still more enduring endowment of amiable temper and mental accomplishment. And she may move in the sacred sphere of home as a ministering spirit of peace, and love, and joy.
But it may likewise be otherwise. Because the path of duty to her is comparatively easy, is dictated to her by her affections, is demonstrated to her by every day's experience, it does not follow that she will walk in it. She may prove false to her obligations. And what a desolation does she make in the domestic circle! How can she wring the hearts of those whom she is bound by every obligation to love and cherish! Instead of acquiescing with cheerfulness in
whatever her lot may be, she may annoy her parents by perpetual reflections and complaints. Instead of taking her share of the cares and toils which are inseparable from a family, she may refuse them all, and choose to spend her time in idleness, or in dress, or company, and consider herself born for a higher lot than that of ordinary mortals. By the indulgence of a bad temper, instead of being the delight and pride of the domestic circle, she may keep her home in a perpetual broil. Alas! for that house that is under the tyranny of a termagant. There is no dagger so sharp as the tongue of an insolent, disobedient, ungrateful daughter. If any eyes could weep tears of blood, it would be the eyes of parents, who have brought up a daughter to be their terror, their torment, and their scourge.
I have drawn this picture with unfeigned reluctance, which I question not is as revolting to all who hear me as it is to me. But I have done it because it was necessary the task I have undertaken, to describe the sphere and the duties of woman, and in doing so I must state what is, as well as what ought to be, I must testify to the
truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
If the relation of daughter be surrounded with so many interesting associations, scarcely less so is that of sister, considered either with respect to her own, or the other sex. A thousand ties concur to bind sisters together. There is, in the first place, a natural affection in the human heart, implanted there to correspond to that relation, and thus unite those in attachment who have been borne on the same bosom, and grown up around the same hearth. Besides this instinctive affection, they naturally become attached from sympathy, from sharing the same joys' and sorrows, and loving the same objects. The same events for years have filled them with gladness, and often they have mingled their tears at the same calamities. Their interests have been the same, and even their childish plays, the source to them of infinite delight, have made closer the tie which draws their hearts together. Sisters, blossoms on the same stem, what should ever sever them! Stars shining in the same constellation, why should they not mingle their mild radiance in peace! If
there be in their hearts any capacity for attachment, how can their common tasks, their common pleasures, their perpetual society, fail of uniting them in the most intimate affection? If they have any literary ambition, any desire for intellectual improvement, they may minister endlessly to each other's pleasures and progress. If they would add to literary accomplishment the charm of graceful and winning manners, whose eye so quick as that of a sister to administer friendly criticism and admonition? I counsel them to use well that portion of life, which they pass under the same roof, to cement the bond of natural affection, for the time will come when they will probably need it all. For as fountains, which rise upon the same mountain top, diverge and run in opposite directions, traverse plains as different as tropical abundance and polar sterility, and finally join the great ocean, one under the burning line, and the other in the midst of perpetual snows, so sisters rocked in the same cradle, watched over by the same maternal solicitude, walking hand in hand the same paths of education and accomplishment, may be destined by events over which they have
no control to a lot as widely contrasted as can possibly be conceived. Equality of conditions they cannot hope. How shall they resist the influences, which tend to divide their hearts as well as their fortunes? The best security for lasting attachment and for happy intercourse through life, is the assiduous cultivation, so long as they are together, of kindness, forbearance, generosity. It is a mistake to suppose that the natural affections need no cultivation. They are, from the nature of things, subjected to the same laws with any other attachment. The natural relations are only the foundation for attachments. But unfaithfulness to the social relations gradually weakens the strongest natural ties, and sisters even, who have done nothing but cross and render each other uncomfortable, will seek their friendships any where rather than with those in whom they find neither sympathy nor consideration.
But it is in the relation of brother and sister that the moral influence of woman is more conspicuous than in that between sisters. There her mission is early displayed in restraining the bad passions, in softening the manners, and developing the affections of man