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dental ladies, than anything yet arrived at. cesses. A good scholar makes good schoIt is a late triumph of womanhood that a lars, and in lesser feminine degree, all acwoman should write as an habitual occupa- curacy and definiteness of knowledge can tion, and yet have no sense of being a star communicate itself. All that we term acor a special object of attention on that ac- quirement can be passed on, but qualities count. It is this class who form the real ingrain and special are in a main degree protection of their sex against the satire incommunicable. In a general sense, of and cynicism which every attempt at intel- course, it is elevating to live with superior lectual advance has always awakened. minds, and an immense advantage to have
The world has never been without its free intercourse with them that is, if authoresses; the impulse is too natural for there are kindred qualities in the recipient; absolute repression. But their position be- but the position of a governess, bound by fore this period was not an enviable one, her contract to impart specific instruction, unless backed by wealth and social posi- interferes with this indirect accidental bention, which endorses everything; and they efit. People must be absolutely free to, were so few in number, and so marked by choose their own methods, and they must circumstances some which they could not be independent and master of the position, help, and some of their own making - that to influence others through their choicest, quiet women, whatever their ability, shrank most individual gifts. from connection with them. In his . Family The master and mistress of a household Pen, Isaac Taylor notes it as an intellectual ought to be the heads of it.. A great deal peculiarity of midland counties' Dissent that of inevitable injustice follows where this is an authoress found an honourable and nat- not the case, and clever subordinates find ural place among its members, and could themselves kept down by inferior intelliretain her distinctly feminine character gences. In fact, the ideal governess ought among them. Miss Austen so recoiled not to be a student of character in any from the publicity which at her time was marked degree. None of us, if we knew associated with authorship, that she rigidly it, would receive a stranger into our housedeclined using her success as an entrance hold to whom all our faults and weaknesses to brilliant society, and refused to meet would soon be a printed book. Such misMadame de Staël, regarding such an en- placed discernment must be a source of suscounter as a step out of the seclusion which picion and unhappiness to all parties. Nor she valued more than fame. Practically should the governess occupy herself too speaking, the only resource for intellectual sedulously with the characters of the chiland accomplished women driven to do some-dren under her charge. The habit of readthing for their support was tuition; neither ing character often tends to a sort of fatalimagination nor experience had any other ism, and is opposed to that passion for insuggestion. The ordinary grievance at- stilling and imparting and moulding which tached to this solitary refuge is, that women constitute the born teacher. Yet these inare driven to it whose intellect is not equal convenient qualities, exercised in an apto the demands of such a calling. These propriate field, constitute the great charm we pity very much; but it is so much in the and chief power of many a successful aunature of things that feebleness and incom- thoress, who is likely also to be a much petence should be at a nonplus when thrown more amiable character when her gifts bring upon their own resources, that we can her credit and fortune, than when they hardly look forward to a state of society keep her, according to her temperament, in when it shall be otherwise: nor do we con- perpetual hot water or anxious mistrust. sider the suggestion of “S. G. 0." to all We have been led into this train of thought poor and helpless ladies to turn ladies'- by the reperusal of a little book once familmaids, however plausible, a practical solu- iar to us which chance brought again in our tion of the difficulty, as there are probably way. It is dated forty years back, and conmore incompetent governesses than there tains an experience of governess-life of sixty are fine ladies open to their services. But years since. It bears the expressive title of our present business is with a much smaller
Dependence,' and consists of a series of and more select class — with ladies who are genuine letters detailing the feelings and not too stupid but too clever and original events of a course of anxious years. There for governesses. All that approaches to is a graphic power and an unmistakable realgenius and originality cannot be imparted ity about these letters which constitute them
not even the faculty of analysis ; while a piece of autobiograpby of no common these innate powers constantly interfere merit. The impression we get of the writer both with aptitude and inclination for teach- from the book itself is confirmed by the ing, which is necessarily slow in its pro- mention we find of her in a short record of
travel written several years later by an Her powers, such as they are, excite interAmerican Professor, who became acquainted est; but she could not supply a definite with the lady as the wife of his uncle, the demand. Thus she writes of her first apclergyman to whom most of the letters in plication, at the age, as we guess her at, of • Dependence' are addressed. He finds little more than twenty: “I could not honher the presiding, genius of an English estly tell Mrs. Danvers (we supply a body parsonage, every inmate of which charms to initial letters, which confuse the reader him. Of her he says: My aunt's powers of the book itself] that I was competent of conversation were such as it has not been in any way to the instruction of girls so my good fortune to see surpassed. Her far advanced as she represents her eldest tender sympathy for suffering, her strong daughters; but my ignorance of music was love of justice, her lofty scorn of oppres- the bar she could not get over.
The corsion, at once flashed in her eye, glowed in respondence that I had with Mrs. Danvers her cheek, and trembled in her utterance. prepossessed me very much in her favour. Though remarkable for that self-possession After writing her an account of myself and so common to all well-bred persons in Eng- all my wonderful perfections, she says, land, the thrilling earnestness of her deeper 'I have perused and reperused your letter, tones reminded me of what I had read of with increased regret that such a mind the conversations of Mrs. Siddons.” This should be rejected merely for the sake of is a picture of a remarkable woman, but frivolous accomplishments.” She is connot one best fitted for the only work the scious of talent, but it never seems the right time found her to do. The letters, in fact, sort for the calling she is forced into. “What would be too painful in some of their humili- shall I do?" she asks. “Am I always desating details, but for the novel-like consum- tined to undertake things which I ain incapamation, marriage - which is imminent as ble of performing? I am half inclined even we close the page. We venture to illus- now to write and tell Mrs. Venn all I know trate our subject by some extracts from the of my incapabilities and deficiencies. I did book in question, the more readily that it not willingly deceive her, if I have done it. seems to have failed to excite attention at I am aware that there is something about the time of its publication; though short me which gives people a higher idea of my extracts can never do justice to a flowing qualifications than they merit. I do, from epistolary pen, especially when held by the bottom of my heart, lament this; for I female hand. We learn that the writer is see no good in being able to impose upon the daughter of a clergyman -a scholar, people. It is a talent I possess in common and with habits acquired by intercourse with Miss Teach'em; there is only this difwith persons of higher rank and wealth ference she does it from design; I never than his own — who, dying while his three advance a syllable for the purpose." daughters were scarcely more than chil- The Miss Teach'em here mentioned is dren, left them wholly unprovided for, and put before her as a model governess. Her without those accomplishments indispensa- able dissection of this character points out ble for the prizes of governess-life. We another vocation for the young aspirant, if can all remember how Miss Austen's im- such had been open to her. mortal Mrs. Elton discusses these prizes. “With your superior talents,” she says to seemed perfectly to understand the present state
“She spoke to me without reserve, and she Jane Fairfax, "you have a right to move of things. • Pretension is the order of the day,' in the first circles. Your musical know- she said, “and those who cannot make any must ledge alone would entitle you to name your not expect to succeed. I am sure she is right. own terms, and bave as many rooms as you I need only to look at that odious Miss Teach'ern like, and mix in the family as much as you to be convinced of it. She is all pretension, and choose; that is – I do not know — if you see how she succeeds in establishing her own knew the harp you might do all that, I am importance ! I see more of her than of anybody I very sure. But you sing as well as play. think. I believe it is Burns who complains Yes, I really believe you might, even somewhere, that if he happens to like a few perwithout the harp, stipulate for what you rectly ; whereas, if there be a miscreant that he
sons they are scattered all over the world dichoosé. Of all houses in the kingdom, hates heartily, he is sure to be pushed against Mrs. Bragge's is the one I would most wish him in one way or other all through life. I hope to see you in. Wax-candles in the school. I shall not be pushed against Miss Teach'em all
you may imagine how desirable.” | through life. I could hardly help smiling the It was the want of the harp, and the sing- other day when Mrs. Lane, in pure kindness, ing, and so forth, that condemned the lady invited her here to bear me company in their before us to do without the wax-candles of absence. I found it quite impossible to convince governess-life. And we see it is inevitable. I her that I had much rather be alone. She told
me I ought to derive so much benefit from the chance; and for our daily food we are at the society of such a person, and so on.
mercy of a dirty-looking old Irishwoman, who “Well, I thought I would try to extract some presides in the kitchen in the quality of cook good from her, as a sort of reward for the pen- and she resembles nothing I ever saw before in ance I was doomed to undergo in her society the human shape. She might do duty for one of the whole day long. I thought she might perhaps witches in Macbeth, without any dressing but be able to give me some hints on the best means her ordinary attire. Well, after two or three of managing children. I would not learn her days, imagine me sitting at two o'clock waiting art of managing their parents if I could ; and for the children’s dinner to be sent up. The yet that, I believe, is the secret of her suc- footman knows nothing about it, but calls to the cess. I tried in vain. She really can do nothing kitchen. Sure, the mistress never orlered but talk ; and all her talk is about herself and any!' Well, send up something.' • But her plans, and what people have said of them, there is nothing.' At length, after a good deal and how wonderfully she had succeeded wher- of subterranean grumbling, the scraps of the ever she had been, and how anxious all parents day before are sent up. But this is nothing were to have her. I sat silently wondering that to the want of fire.' Twice in the first month she should think it worth while to pretend even of my being here we had no fire in the schoolbefore me; but long habit has made it her na- room, because the mistress had forgotten to orture. What a labour and toil it must have been der any coals, and there were not enough in the to her at first to make believe all the day long! house to cook the dinner. Only imagine me It is well for her that the parents of her pupils wrapt up in shawls, and the poor children with are more easily induced to believe in the won- benumbed fingers, and their mamma assuring derful merits she lays claim to than I am. Ed-them that being cold was all a fancy — young ucation with her consists in learning a limited people ought to be warm ;' and then asking if number of lessons and languages. I said some the carriage was ready ; for somebow or other thing of the cultivation of the mind and im- she never forgets to order that, however short provement of the character, but she gave me to her memory about other things." understand that a governess had nothing to do with these. I said I had thought they were of
And yet this mamma is so particular the first consequence. “Oh, certainly; but she about the true Parisian accent that the chilassured me, and perhaps too truly, that parents dren are not allowed to read French to always inquired more particularly about what their English governess. The book furaccomplishments you could teach their children nishes half-a-dozen effective openings for than what principles you would implant in a lady's novel. There is the distinct porthem."
traiture of the central figures of the scene, Tutors and governesses cannot help be- set off by a felicitous choice of surrounding ing unjust towards the parents. They as
detail, never degenerating into that catasume, from the fact that principles are more
logue of inventory minuteness so often fatal important than accomplishments, that their to epistolary description: there is that fine own shortcomings should be excused on
confidence in the reading of a physiognomy condition of implanting a higher tone of so essential to the novelist, however unde
sirable as a practical guide; that eye for feeling; but parents naturally expect to infuse this through their own influence. It is
character, that passion for human nature in the technicalities of education that they cision of opinion, that general sharpness of
any trappings, that aplomb and dewant assistance. These technical deficiences seem to have thrown the lady out of the into things or notions, which we see in the
definition and distinctness of view, whether beaten track of governess-life, and some- born author, and which contribute to make times brought her into circumstances more the pen a natural and at once familiar infavourable to the cultivation of a remarkable
strument to minds of this order, who can letter-writing talent, than to present ease
extract a flavour of romance and adventure and comfort. She never falls into common
out of the driest forms of life. However place situations or among coinmonplace silent and solitary, the hours passed by this people. The first family she engages herself to is Irish; fashionable and even ele
wasted novelist in the evening seclusion of gant in manner, but disorderly and Irish to nished her with some subject for the eve
her schoolroom, the day has generally fura typical and, we believe, obsolete degree: where an appeal to the maid for a window- ning letter which is to hold her in communion blind is most complacently answered by a
and sympathy with her kind. Here is an petticoat; where her missing clothes for the episode. An Irish apple-woman at a stall wash are found, after long search, trans- The old woman presents an apple to the
round the corner excites her attention. inuted by the servants into a pillow; and
children of her compatriots, and refuses “where, from the drawing-room to the kitchen, 'payment, because it does her heart good to nothing is in order — everything is done by see the ladies step into their elegant car
riage every day. This disinterestedness is for lately she had recognised a gentleman enough to awaken our young friend's sym- compromised in the Irish rebellion, who, to pathy and curiosity. After a time she get her out of London, had offered to pay learns her history, which she amuses her- her expenses back; but “I could not leave self with reporting to her friend.
my boy.. Where. bis bones lie, there sball “I then asked her, what I had long wished to know, how she came to leave a country that “Now I hope," the warm-hearted narrator she loved so much, and to take up her abode goes on to say - “ now I hope this story will here. She told me she was a widow with one touch you more than it did Mrs. O'Brien. I son,
and he left her to seek his fortune in Lon- was quite full of it and expected I should cerdon. She heard from him sometimes, and she tainly do the poor creature some good by telling had reason to fear he had formed some bad con- her. She heard me with listless apathy, and nections; so she sold all that she had, and came only wondered how I could stop to talk to an over with a good bit of money to take care of him. old apple-woman in the street.'
• She is just at She found her son on the point of marriage with the door — at least just at the corner.' 'Oh & very worthless woman that he had found in yes; I know where she is. I am surprised that the streets. She had tried to break off the these kind of persons are suffered to set up their match, but she could not. “Mother,' said he, stalls in the street. She cannot expect much • I love her; I love her even better than I do custom for her apples in such a neighbourhood you.' 'Hard words these were for a mother to as this.' The churchyard is just at the bottom hear; but I made up my mind not to leave my of the street, where her son — Oh yes, I repoor lad, for I saw that he was ensnared past member; and you are simple enough to believe help. So he married her, and I lived with them, her story.' I said not another word. I looked, and kept my own money in my purse at the for I felt ashamed of myself ; but it was at have bottom of my box; and sometimes his wife ing made such a mistake as to tell my story to would be a bit kind to him, and then my heart her. I could pledge my life on the truth of the was all open to her; then she would keep out all old woman, and so would you if you had hcard night with her bad friends, and my poor lad, her tell the story herself.” when he came home, would lay his head down on the table for hours together, and when he
The girl who could write this story would looked
up he would say, “ Mother, don't look at be sure to tell it well; so that she might me.” Sometimes he would say, “ I shall not well wonder at Mrs. O'Brien's apathy; but bear this long,” for he felt within him that it still we see powers misapplied. Conversacould not last. I was always there when he tional gifts need an appropriate field. We came home from his work, and he did not sicken have been told lately that nobody can tell a for the want of anything; but he pined away – story well without the vantage-ground of his heart was broken within him.
position. We can hardly imagine eloquence *** Just before he died his wife came in. She of any kind more painfully deprived of its had been away for several days, for she never chances than in the position of an English came home but when she wanted to get some money. She looked at him as he lay in bed, and governess, . Not venturing across the seas she seemed to know how it was without asking,
with her Irish employer, we have further for she went to his clothes and felt in the
pock- insight into the experience so popular in ficHe saw her, and he tried to speak, but the tion, so painful and often humiliating in words died in his throat. She muttered a curse real life, of seeking a new situation. A on my poor boy as he lay dying, because there dependent's involuntary study of character was no money in his pockets, and she went out imparts no courage, nor, in fact, any pracof the room. I did not heed where she went, nor tical advantage. I never see a cloud on could I, when the lad fixed his eyes on me, and any one's brow," she somewhere says, “ that grasped my hand and died. Well, I thought I I do not expect it to burst on my head.” would bury him decently, for I had still a bit of This poor young thing trembles under the money in my purse; but when I came to look, ordeal of interviews with cold unpitying neither purse nor money was there. She had strangers, and indemnifies herself for what gone to my box when she found no money in his she undergoes by the necessary relief of a pocket, and she had not left me a sixpence. For narrative of looks, tones, and bargainings all that, he had a decent burial; and I sold all that I could, and with the help of my friends I
ending in disappointment. Her
powers are got this sitting, which I had set my heart upon hard tasks. Relying upon them, a certain
recognized, but they only involve her in because it is so near to the churchyard where my poor boy lies; and every night before I ily of a virago terrible to live with. The
religious patroness betrays her into the famhome, I go down and look at his grave - it comforts my heart to see so much of him.'” children are being brought up as heathens,
though the father is a distinguished profesThe old woman's story goes on to say sor; and a religious profession with our that she might return to her own country, young friend excites a reverence and admi
ration which often curiously clash with her the other side of the water, but she was afraid irrepressible penetration. As she ap- to cross in such weather - meaning evidently proaches her unknown sphere of action, op- to infer that it was a most unfeminine thing in pressed with nervous fears, she exclaims, me to come; and she looked all manner of re
Why should I tremble so much? Why proach at me. I could hardly help smiling, should I have such a horror of the place even in the very bitterness of my heart; but I They are but human beings that I am about said something of my inexperience of the water to encounter; and have I not been told on
having made me courageous, perhaps from not
knowing the danger. How shall I. vegetate very good authority that the tone of my voice with such a
woman? How came I here? is sufficient to interest any one and subdue Against her will, I must suppose ; and how all things ?" But her misgivings are pro- strange that seems ! My position here is a most phetic. After a terrible journey by land extraordinary one. and sea she arrives late before a dismal house — "painted black, I thought."
In fact Mr. Sowerby and Mrs. St. Clair
between them had smuggled a governess “The parlour-door was opened, and I saw my into the house; and she is instructed that it two pupils, who sat in mute amazement by the is her duty to stay so long as she feels she is fire. The mother then rose and pushed a chair towards me in a most awkward and ungracious doing good to the children. These children manner. I had not been used to see such un
tell her that mamma says papa is a Methocouthness; and not quite certain of her identity, dist. “And what is a Methodist, my dear?” I said with a slight curtsy, 'I presume I have I don't know," said the little creature; the pleasure of seeing Mrs. Sowerby.' • Yes,'
but I think it is a naughty thing." she grumbled in an indistinct manner; but that you do not think your papa is naughty ?." was owing, perhaps, to the loss of her front she repeated. • Mamma savs he is a Methteeth. I could not disguise from myself that my odist." I only answered, “Your papa is a coming was very unwelcome to her, if I might good man." interpret her most forbidding manner and looks. I sat for a few minutes in silence, most devoutly Mr. Sowerby has a miserable time of it. hoping that all my fancied skill in physiognomy But we should pity him the more but for might prove false; for if either I or Lavater one fact that comes out. She sits and have an atom of truth in our science, there never wonders at first how such a marriage ever was a more unpropitious countenance for a poor came about, but supposes he married her dependent to contemplate. * Finding she had taken up the poker to mend
at an age when the fire, which wanted no such assistance, I fan- Folly and innocence are so alike, cied her silence might proceed from the mere The difference, though essential, fails to strike.” awkwardness of a person unused to strangers; so I continued to hope Mr. Sowerby was well
. But adds, before long• Yes, he is well enough. He ought to have been in the way, but he seldom is when he is wanted. “I must tell you I have heard it said that he He knew you were coming to-day, but he said deserves the bitter cup he is drinking, for he the water would be so rough you would not cross.' threw away an affection that would have made This was delivered with eitort, and in a most him happy. Ile met with this woman when ungracious manner; but it opened a subject for there was some little difference between him me to speak upon, so I told the horrors of my and the other. She was a forsaken old maid, and journey, to all of which she made little or no re- her connections being higher than his own, he ply. Almost in despair, I began to try my pow. was pleased with the attentions they paid hiin. ers upon the children, but they were equally He was inttered by the advances she made, and ehilling and inaccessible. I had just settled it her friends all helped to persuade him she was in my mind that I had never seen such children in love with him, for they had long found her a before, and both they and their mother were disagreeable burden upon their hands ; so in more disagreeable than anything I had ever im- an evil hour he married her. “Oh what wretches agined, when the door opened, and their father [this to the lover) you men are, even the very entered. He is a uniddle aged man, of a most best! I have thought a great deal of that faithkind and benign aspect; his whole face was ra- ful love which has induced the poor forsaken diant with gool-nature. Neither his mind nor lady to remain single. I think if I could meet his manners huve hard much cultivation. He with her I should be tempted to let her know has never, as he has since told me, been to any how amply she is avenged."" school; but he is well versed in the school of Christ. There he had learned to extend the
A fear of being thought changeable by hand of kindness and even welcome to a stran- her friends, and the horror of having to ger. . . . I inquired about Mrs. St. Clair; and seek for a new home, induce her to remain the only time that the lady of the house joined while it is possible. She has friends in in the conversation was when she observed, with the neighbourhood, spends the day at some eagerness, that she had been some days on | Christhouse, and Lady Bertram and the