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reasons for all this ; and I agree with a late work* in asserting one of these reasons to be the practice which all England insists upon, as so innocent, so virtuous, so modest, so disinterested, viz. : -- bringing out'-as it is called

a young woman at sixteen, who is ushered into a vast variety of crowded rooms, with this injunction : “ There, go ! hunt about and get a good,which means a rich,“ husband."

This command, for Miss is greatly bored with papa and mamma and the country-house, and the country parson, is very readily obeyed. Away she starts--dances with this man, sighs to that; and as her education has not been neglected, she ventures, perhaps, at the first onset, to give vent to a few of those ideas which her governess, or her reading, or the solitude of her early life, have given birth to. her! The rich young man who has such a fine property in shire, and who is really so very good-looking, and so very well dressed, opens his eyes, shrugs up his shoulders, turns pale, turns red, and looks very stupid and very confused, and at the first opportunity glides away, muttering to an acquaintance, “ I say, what a d-d blue that girl is.” Never mind, my good young lady! In a second season, you will be as

* England and the English.

Woe upon

VOL. II.

H

simple and as silly as your chaperon can desire. Do but go on-a constant succession of balls, and parties, and listless conversations, will soon make you every thing that the most plotting mother can desire; and all I regret is, that when you have at last succeeded in the wearisome aim of your youth--when you have fixed the fate of some wealthy, and perhaps titled booby-a constant habit of dulness will have been generated from the effort at stupidity which was necessary to secure him.

Of late years this misfortune has been increasing ; because of late years fortune and rank have been more entirely separated from talent and education ; to such a degree indeed has it increased, that no man, after his reason has burst its leading-strings, ever now exposes

himself to the insufferable ennui of general society.

In England, then, the persons who are engaged in those pursuits which give public influence, fly, as from a pestilence, what is called a life of pleasure, and which, instead of being a relaxation to a set of thinking and active human creatures, has become a business to a class of persons who have neither thought, nor capability for action. When a woman

comes into the world in France, she comes into the world with no pursuit that distracts her from its general objects. Her own position is fixed. She is married, not sold, as the English people believe--not sold in any degree more than an English young lady is sold—though she has not been seen panting from party to party in quest of a buyer.*

Young women, then, come into society in France with a fixed position there, and are generally interested in the subjects of general interest to the world. The persons and the pursuits that they find most distinguished, are the persons and the pursuits that most attract their attention. Educated besides, not with the idea that they are to catch a husband, but that they are to have a husband, as a matter of course, caught for them-a husband whom they are not obliged to seduce by any forced and false expressions of affection, but to take quietly from their friends, as a friend,—they occupy themselves at once with this husband's interests, with this husband's occupations, and never imagine that they are to share his confidence, but on the ground that they understand his pursuits.*

* A marriage takes place in France under the following circumstances :—The friends of the two parties agree, that if the young people like one another, a very suitable connection might be formed. The young people then meet, and, if they are to each other's taste, the match takes place; and, surely this is as sentimental, and as delicate, as teaching a young lady every thing that can solicit a declaration of marriage, and which, you may depend upon it, she does not forget afterwards, when any declaration she receives must be a declaration of love.

I was talking one evening with the master of the house where I had been dining, on some subject of trade and politics, which I engaged in unwillingly, conceiving that it was not very likely to interest the lady. I was soon rather astonished, I confess, to find her enter into the conversation, with a knowledge of detail, and a right perception of general principles, which I did not expect. “ How do you think,” said she to me, when I afterwards expressed my surprise, “ that I could meet my husband every evening at dinner, if I were not able to talk on the topics on which he has been employed in the morning ?" An English fine lady would have settled the question very differently, by affirming as an undeniable proposition, that politics and such stuff were great bores, and that a man, to be agreeable, must talk of balls and operas, and dress.

* Matrimonial morality is not high in France. I grant it. But this proceeds from a variety of causes with which the system of giving in marriage (a system which prevails all over the Continent, and in countries where the ladies are quite as faithful as our own,) has nothing in the world to do.

But it is not only in high society, and in good society, in the salon' and in the boudoir,' that you

find the female in France take an important position. It is the same in the

comptoir,' in the café,' and at the shop. She is there also the great personage, keeps the accounts, keeps the money, regulates and superintends the business. Go even into a swordmaker's, or a gun-maker's; it is as likely as not that you will be attended to by a female, who will handle the sword and recommend the

gun; and there is a mixture of womanly gentleness and masculine decision in the little creature-SO easy, so unembarrassed, so prettily dressed, and so delicately shaped—that you are at a loss to reconcile with all your preconceived notions of effrontery on the one hand, and effeminacy on the other.

There is generally some trait in the domestic habits of a country which may seem at a casual glance unimportant, but which is connected more closely than people imagine with the whole social system that custom, history, and character have established.

If I wanted an illustration of this, I would take the still prevailing custom that banishes women from the dinner-table in England as

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