Well, but you affirm that virtue is only elicited by temptation; - and you think that a woman cannot be too little exposed to temptation, or too little acquainted with vice, or anything connected therewith - It must be, either, that you think she is essentially so vicious, or so feeble-minded that she cannot withstand temptation, - and though she may be pure and innocent as long as she is kept in ignorance and restraint, yet, being destitute of real virtue, to teach her how to sin is at once to make her a sinner...
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There is another life both for you and for me, ' said I. 'If it be the will of God that we should sow in tears now, it is only that we may reap in joy hereafter. It is His will that we should not injure others by the gratification of our own earthly passions; and you have a mother, and sisters, and friends who would be seriously injured by your disgrace; and I, too, have friends, whose peace of mind shall never be sacrificed to my enjoyment, or yours either, with my consent; and if I were alone in the world, I have still my God and my religion, and I would sooner die than disgrace my calling and break my faith with heaven to obtain a few brief years of false and fleeting happiness-happiness sure to end in misery even here-for myself or any other!
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After breakfast, determined to pass as little of the day as possible in company with Lady Lowborough, I quietly stole away from the company and retired to the library. Mr. Hargrave followed me thither, under pretence of coming for a book; and first, turning to the shelves, he selected a volume, and then quietly, but by no means timidly, approaching me, he stood beside me, resting his hand on the back of my chair, and said softly, 'And so you consider yourself free at last?' 'Yes, ' said I, without moving, or raising my eyes from my book, 'free to do anything but offend God and my conscience.
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I shall expect my husband to have no pleasures but what he shares with me; and if his greatest pleasure of all is not the enjoyment of my company - why - it will be the worse for him - that's all.' 'If such are your expectations of matrimony, Esther, you must, indeed, be careful whom you marry - or rather, you must avoid it altogether.
because we cannot conceive that as we grow up our own minds will become so enlarged and elevated that we ourselves shall then regard as trifling those objects and pursuits we now so fondly cherish, and that, though our companions will no longer join us in those childish pastimes, they will drink with us at other fountains of delight, and mingle their souls with ours in higher aims and nobler occupations beyond our present comprehension, but not less deeply relished or less truly good for that, while yet both we and they remain essentially the same individuals as before.
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Is it that they think it a duty to be continually talking, ' pursued she: 'and so never pause to think, but fill up with aimless trifles and vain repetitions when subjects of real interest fail to present themselves? - or do they really take a pleasure in such discourse?' 'Very likely they do, ' said I; 'their shallow minds can hold no great ideas, and their light heads are carried away by trivialities that would not move a better-furnished skull; - and their only alternative to such discourse is to plunge over head and ears into the slough of scandal - which is their chief delight.
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Already, I seemed to feel my intellect deteriorating, my heart petrifying, my soul contracting; and I trembled lest my very moral perceptions should become deadened, my distinctions of right and wrong confounded, and all my better faculties be sunk, at last, beneath the baneful influence of such a mode of life. The gross vapors of earth were gathering around me, and closing in upon my inward heaven; and thus it was that Mr. Weston rose at length upon me, appearing like the morning star in my horizon, to save me from the fear of utter darkness; and I rejoiced that I now had a subject for contemplation that was above me, not beneath.
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A little girl loves her bird-Why? Because it lives and feels; because it is helpless and harmless? A toad, likewise, lives and feels, and is equally helpless and harmless; but though she would not hurt a toad, she cannot love it like the bird, with its graceful form, soft feathers, and bright, speaking eyes.
They that have beauty, let them be thankful for it, and make a good use of it, let them console themselves, and do the best they can without it: certainly, though liable to be over-estimated, it is a gift of God, and not to be despised. Many will feel this who have felt that they could love, and whose hearts tell them that they are worthy to be loved again; while yet they are debarred, by the lack of this or some such seeming trifle, from giving and receiving that happiness they seem almost made to feel and to impart. As well might the humble glowworm despise that power of giving light without which the roving fly might pass her and repass her a thousand times, and never rest beside her: she might hear her winged darling buzzing over and around her; he vainly seeking her, she longing to be found, but with no power to make her presence known, no voice to call him, no wings to follow his flight;-the fly must seek another mate, the worm must live and die alone.
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how shall I get through the months or years of my future life, in company with that man - my greatest enemy - for none could injure me as he has done? Oh! when I think how fondly, how foolishly I have loved him, how madly I have trusted him, how constantly I have laboured, and studied, and prayed, and struggled for his advantage, and how cruelly he has trampled on my love, betrayed my trust, scorned my prayers and tears, and efforts for his preservation -crushed my hopes, destroyed my youth's best feelings, and doomed me to a life of hopeless misery - as far as man can do it - it is not enough to say that I no longer love my husband - I HATE him! The word stares me in the face like a guilty confession, but it is true: I hate him - I hate him!
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I have heard that, with some persons, temperance - that is, moderation - is almost impossible; and if abstinence be an evil (which some have doubted), no one will deny that excess is a greater. Some parents have entirely prohibited their children from tasting intoxicating liquors; but a parent's authority cannot last for ever; children are naturally prone to hanker after forbidden things; and a child, in such a case, would be likely to have a strong curiosity to taste, and try the effect of what has been so lauded and enjoyed by others, so strictly forbidden to himself - which curiosity would generally be gratified on the first convenient opportunity; and the restraint once broken, serious consequences might ensue.
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The next visit I paid to Nancy Brown was in the second week in March: for, though I had many spare minutes during the day, I seldom could look upon an hour as entirely my own; since, when everything was left to the caprices of Miss Matilda and her sister, there could be no order or regularity. Whatever occupation I chose, when not actually busied about them or their concerns, I had, as it were, to keep my loins girded, my shoes on my feet, and my staff in my hand; for not to be immediately forthcoming when called for, was regarded as a grave and inexcusable offence: not only by my pupils and their mother, but by the very servant, who came in breathless haste to call me, exclaiming 'You're to go to the school-room directly, mum- the young ladies is WAITING!!' Climax of horror! actually waiting for their governess!!!
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The human heart is like india-rubber; a little swells it, but a great deal will not burst it. If "little more than nothing will disturb it, little less than all things will suffice" to break it. As in the outer members of our frame, there is a vital power inherent in itself that strengthens it against external violence. Every blow that shakes it will serve to harden it against a future stroke; as constant labour thickens the skin of the hand, and strengthens its muscles instead of wasting them away: so that a day of arduous toil, that might excoriate a lady's palm, would make no sensible impression on that of a hardy ploughman.
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Though solitude, endured too long, Bids youthful joys too soon decay, Makes mirth a stranger to my tongue, And overclouds my noon of day; When kindly thoughts that would have way, Flow back discouraged to my breast; I know there is, though far away, A home where heart and soul may rest. Warm hands are there, that, clasped in mine, The warmer heart will not belie; While mirth, and truth, and friendship shine In smiling lip and earnest eye. The ice that gathers round my heart May there be thawed; and sweetly, then, The joys of youth, that now depart, Will come to cheer my soul again.
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I have often wished in vain, ' said she, 'for another's judgment to appeal to when I could scarcely trust the direction of my own eye and head, they having been so long occupied with the contemplation of a single object as to become almost incapable of forming a proper idea respecting it.' 'That, ' replied I, 'is only one of many evils to which a solitary life exposes us.
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My prayers, my tears, my wishes, fears, and lamentations, were witnessed by myself and heaven alone. When we are harassed by sorrows or anxieties, or long oppressed by any powerful feelings which we must keep to ourselves, for which we can obtain and seek no sympathy from any living creature, and which yet we cannot, or will not wholly crush, we often naturally seek relief in poetry-and often find it, too-whether in the effusions of others, which seem to harmonize with our existing case, or in our own attempts to give utterance to those thoughts and feelings in strains less musical, perchance, but more appropriate, and therefore more penetrating and sympathetic, and, for the time, more soothing, or more powerful to rouse and to unburden the oppressed and swollen heart.
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Well, to tell you the truth, I've thought of it often and often before, but he's such devilish good company is Huntingdon, after all - you can't imagine what a jovial good fellow he is when he's not fairly drunk, only just primed or half-seas-over - we all have a bit of a liking for him at the bottom of our hearts, though we can't respect him.' 'But should you wish yourself to be like him?' 'No, I'd rather be like myself, bad as I am.
We often pity the poor, because they have no leisure to mourn their departed relatives, and necessity obliges them to labor through their severest afflictions: but is not active employment the best remedy for overwhelming sorrow-the surest antidote for despair? It may be a rough comforter: it may seem hard to be harassed with the cares of life when we have no relish for its enjoyments; to be goaded to labor when the heart is ready to break, and the vexed spirit implores for rest only to weep in silence: but is not labor better than the rest we covet? and are not those petty, tormenting cares less hurtful than a continual brooding over the great affliction that oppresses us? Besides, we cannot have cares, and anxieties, and toil, without hope-if it be but the hope of fulfilling our joyless task, accomplishing some needful project, or escaping some further annoyance.
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But this gives no proper idea of my feelings at all; and no one that has not lived such a retired stationary life as mine, can possibly imagine what they were: hardly even if he has known what it is to awake some morning, and find himself in Port Nelson, in New Zealand, with a world of waters between himself and all that knew him.
She spoke of these with animation, and heard my admiring comments with a smile of pleasure: that soon, however, vanished, and was followed by a melancholy sigh; as if in consideration of the insufficiency of all such baubles to the happiness of the human heart, and their woeful inability to supply its insatiate demands.
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Though riches had charms, poverty had no terrors for an inexperienced girl like me. Indeed, to say the truth, there was something exhilarating in the idea of being driven to straits, and thrown upon our own resources. I only wished papa, mamma, and Mary were all of the same mind as myself; and then, instead of lamenting past calamities we might all cheerfully set to work to remedy them; and the greater the difficulties, the harder our present privations, the greater should be our cheerfulness to endure the latter, and our vigour to contend against the former.
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He had not breathed a word of love, or dropped one hint of tenderness or affection, and yet I had been supremely happy. To be near him, to hear him talk as he did talk, and to feel that he thought me worthy to be so spoken to - capable of understanding and duly appreciating such discourse - was enough.
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The ties that bind us to life are tougher than you imagine, or anyone can who has not felt how roughly they may be pulled without breaking. You might be miserable without a home, but even you could live; and not so miserably as you suppose. The human heart is like india-rubber; a little swells it, but a great deal will not burst it. If 'little more than nothing will disturb it, little less than all things will suffice' to break it. As in the outer members of our frame, there is a vital power inherent in itself that strengthens it against external violence. Every blow that shakes it will serve to harden it against a future stroke; as constant labor thickens the skin of the hand, and strengthens its muscles instead of wasting them away: so that a day of arduous toil, that might excoriate a lady's palm, would make no sensible impression on that of a hardy ploughman.
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God is Infinite Wisdom, and Power, and Goodness - and LOVE; but if this idea is too vast for your human faculties - if your mind loses itself in its overwhelming infinitude, fix it on Him who condescended to take our nature upon Him, who was raised to Heaven even in His glorified human body, in whom the fulness of the Godhead shines.
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