They appeared perfectly

“The highest state of friendship which this life admits, is in the
conjugal relation. On this refined affection, love, which is but a more
interesting and tender kind of friendship, ought to be founded. The same
virtues, the same dispositions and qualities which are necessary in a
friend, are still more requisite in a companion for life. And when these
enlivening principles are united, they form the basis of durable
happiness. But let not the mask of friendship, or of love, deceive you.
You are now entering upon a new stage of action where you will probably
admire, and be admired. You may attract the notice of many, who will
select you as objects of adulation, to discover their taste and
gallantry; and perhaps of some whose affections you have really and
seriously engaged. The first class your penetration will enable you to
detect; and your good sense and virtue will lead you to treat them with
the neglect they deserve. It is disreputable for a young lady to receive
and encourage the officious attentions of those mere pleasure-hunters,
who rove from fair to fair, with no other design than the exercise of
their art, addresses, and intrigue. Nothing can render their company
pleasing, but a vanity of being caressed, and a false pride in being
thought an object of general admiration, with a fondness for flattery
which bespeaks a vitiated mind. But when you are addressed by a person
of real merit, who is worthy your esteem and may justly demand your
respect, let him be treated with honor, frankness and sincerity. It is
the part of a prude, to affect a shyness, reserve, and indifference,
foreign to the heart. Innocence and virtue will rise superior to such
little arts, and indulge no wish which needs disguise.

“Still more unworthy are the insidious and deluding wiles of the
coquette. How disgusting must this character appear to persons of
sentiment and integrity! how unbecoming the delicacy and dignity of an
uncorrupted female!

“As you are young and inexperienced, your affections may possibly be
involuntarily engaged, where prudence and duty forbid a connexion.
Beware, then how you admit the passion of love. In young minds, it is of
all others the most uncontrollable. When fancy takes the reins, it
compels its blinded votary to sacrifice reason, discretion and
conscience to its impetuous dictates. But a passion of this origin tends
not to substantial and durable happiness. To secure this, it must be
quite of another kind, enkindled by esteem, founded on merit,
strengthened by congenial dispositions and corresponding virtues, and
terminating in the most pure and refined affection.

“Never suffer your eyes to be charmed by the mere exterior; nor delude
yourselves with the notion of unconquerable love. The eye, in this
respect, is often deceptious, and fills the imagination with charms
which have no reality. Nip, in the bud, every particular liking, much
more all ideas of love, till called forth by unequivocal tokens as well
as professions of sincere regard. Even then, harbor them not without a
thorough knowledge of the temper, disposition and circumstances of your
lover, the advice of your friends; and, above all the approbation of
your parents. Maturely weigh every consideration for and against, and
deliberately determine with yourselves, what will be most conducive to
your welfare and fidelity in life. Let a rational and discreet plan of
thinking and acting, regulate your deportment, and render you deserving
of the affection you wish to insure. This you will find far more
conducive to your interest, than the indulgence of that romantic
passion, which a blind and misguided fancy paints in such alluring
colors to the thoughtless and inexperienced.

“Recollect the favourite air you so often sing:

“Ye fair, who would be blessed in love,
Take your pride a little lower:
Let the swain that you approve,
Rather like you than adore.

Love that rises into passion,
Soon will end in hate or strife:
But from tender inclination
Flow the lasting joys of life.”

“I by no means undervalue that love which is the noblest principle of
the human mind; but wish only to guard you against the influence of an
ill-placed and ungovernable passion, which is improperly called by this
name.

“A union, formed without a refined and generous affection for its basis,
must be devoid of those tender endearments, reciprocal attentions, and
engaging sympathies, which are peculiarly necessary to alleviate the
cares, dispel the sorrows, and soften the pains of life. The exercise of
that prudence and caution which I have recommended, will lead you to a
thorough investigation of the character and views of the man by whom you
are addressed.

“Without good principles, both of religion and morality, (for the latter
cannot exist independent of the former) you can not safely rely, either
upon his fidelity or his affection. Good principles are the foundation
of a good life.

“If the fountain be pure, the streams which issue from it will be of the
same description.

“Next to this, an amiable temper is essentially requisite. A proud, a
passionate, a revengeful, a malicious, or a jealous temper, will render
your lives uncomfortable, in spite of all the prudence and fortitude you
can exert.

“Beware, then, lest, before marriage, love blind your eyes to those
defects, to a sight of which, grief and disappointment may awaken you
afterwards. You are to consider marriage as a connexion for life; as the
nearest and dearest of all human relations; as involving in it the
happiness or misery of all your days; and as engaging you in a variety
of cares and duties, hitherto unknown. Act, therefore, with
deliberation, and resolve with caution; but, when once you come to a
choice, behave with undeviating rectitude and sincerity.

“Avarice is not commonly a ruling passion in young persons of _our_ sex.
Yet some there are, sordid enough to consider wealth as the chief good,
and to sacrifice every other object to a splendid appearance. It often
happens, that these are miserably disappointed in their expectations of
happiness. They find, by dear bought experience, that external pomp is
but a wretched substitute for internal satisfaction.

“But I would not have outward circumstances entirely overlooked. A
proper regard should always be had to a comfortable subsistence in life.
Nor can you be justified in suffering a blind passion, under whatever
pretext, to involve you in those embarrassing distresses of want, which
will elude the remedies of love itself, and prove fatal to the peace and
happiness at which you aim.

“In this momentous affair, let the advice and opinion of judicious
friends have their just weight in your minds. Discover, with candor and
frankness, the progress of your amour, so far as is necessary to enable
them to judge aright in the cause; but never relate the love tales of
your suitor, merely for your own, or any other person’s amusement. The
tender themes inspired by love, may be pleasing to you; but to an
uninterested person, must be insipid and disgusting in the extreme.

“Never boast of the number, nor of the professions of your admirers.
That betrays an unsufferable vanity, and will render you perfectly
ridiculous in the estimation of observers. Besides, it is a most
ungenerous treatment of those who may have entertained, and expressed a
regard for you. Whatever they have said upon this subject, was doubtless
in confidence, and you ought to keep it sacred, as a secret you have no
right to divulge.

“If you disapprove the person, and reject his suit, that will be
sufficiently mortifying, without adding the insult of exposing his
overtures.

“Be very careful to distinguish real lovers from mere gallants. Think
not every man enamoured with you, who is polite and attentive. You have
no right to suppose any man in love with you, till he declares it in
plain, unequivocal and decent terms.

“Never suffer, with impunity, your ear to be wounded by indelicate
expressions, double entendres, and insinuating attempts to seduce you
from the path of rectitude. True love will not seek to degrade its
object, much less to undermine that virtue which ought to be its basis
and support. Let no protestations induce you to believe that person your
friend, who would destroy your dearest interests, and rob you of
innocence and peace. Give no heed to the language of seduction; but
repel the insidious arts of the libertine, with the dignity and decision
of insulted virtue. This practice will raise you superior to the wiles
of deceivers, and render you invulnerable by the specious flattery of
the unprincipled and debauched.

“Think not the libertine worthy of your company and conversation even as
an acquaintance.

“That reformed rakes make the best husbands,” is a common, and I am
sorry to say, a too generally received maxim. Yet I cannot conceive,
that any lady who values, or properly considers her own happiness, will
venture on the dangerous experiment. The term _reformed_ can, in my
opinion, have very little weight; since those, whose principles are
vitiated, and whose minds are debased by a course of debauchery and
excess, seldom change their pursuits, till necessity, or interest
requires it; and, however circumstances may alter or restrain their
conduct, very little dependence can be placed on men whose disposition
is still the same, but only prevented from indulgence by prudential
motives. As a rake is most conversant with the dissolute and abandoned
of both sexes, he doubtless forms his opinion of others by the standard
to which he has been accustomed, and therefore supposes all women of the
same description. Having been hackneyed in the arts of the baser sort,
he cannot form an idea, that any are in reality superior to them. This
renders him habitually jealous, peevish and tyrannical. Even if his
vicious inclinations be changed, his having passed his best days in vice
and folly, renders him a very unsuitable companion for a person of
delicacy and refinement.

“But whatever inducements some ladies may have to risk themselves with
those who have the reputation of being reformed, it is truly surprising
that any should be so inconsiderate as to unite with such as are still
professed libertines. What hopes of happiness can be formed with men of
this character?

“Vice and virtue can never assimilate; and hearts divided by them can
never coalesce. The former is the parent of discord, disease and death;
the latter, of harmony, health and peace. A house divided against itself
cannot stand; much less can domestic felicity subsist between such
contrasted dispositions.

“But however negligent or mistaken many women of real merit may be,
relative to their own interest, I cannot but wish they would pay some
regard to the honor and dignity of their sex. Custom only has rendered
vice more odious in a woman than in a man. And shall we give our
sanction to a custom, so unjust and destructive in its operation; a
custom which invites and encourages the enemies of society to seek our
ruin? Were those who glory in the seduction of innocence, to meet with
the contempt they deserve, and to be pointedly neglected by every female
of virtue, they would be ashamed of their evil practices, and impelled
to relinquish their injurious designs.

“But while they are received and caressed in the best companies, they
find restraint altogether needless; and their being men of spirit and
gallantry (as they style themselves) is rather a recommendation than a
reproach!

“I cannot help blushing with indignation, when I see a lady of sense and
character gallanted and entertained by a man who ought to be banished
from society, for having ruined the peace of families, and blasted the
reputation of many, who but for him, might have been useful and happy in
the world; but who by his insidious arts, are plunged into remediless
insignificance, disgrace and misery.”

_Saturday, P. M._

RELIGION.

“Having given you my sentiments on a variety of subjects which demand
your particular attention, I come now to the closing and most important
theme; and that is religion. The virtuous education you have received,
and the good principles which have been instilled into your minds from
infancy, will render the enforcement of Christian precepts and duties a
pleasing lesson.

“Religion is to be considered as an essential and durable object; not as
the embellishment of a day; but an acquisition which shall endure and
increase through the endless ages of eternity.

“Lay the foundation of it in youth, and it will not forsake you in
advanced age; but furnish you with an adequate substitute for the
transient pleasures which will then desert you, and prove a source of
rational and refined delight: a refuge from the disappointments and
corroding cares of life, and from the depressions of adverse events.
“Remember now your creator, in the days of your youth, while the evil
days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when you shall say we have no
pleasure in them.” If you wish for permanent happiness, cultivate the
divine favour as your highest enjoyment in life, and your safest retreat
when death shall approach you.

“That even the young are not exempt from the arrest of this universal
conqueror, the tombstone of Amelia will tell you. Youth, beauty, health
and fortune, strewed the path of life with flowers, and left her no wish
ungratified. Love, with its gentlest and purest flame, animated her
heart, and was equally returned by Julius. Their passion was approved by
their parents and friends; the day was fixed, and preparations were
making for the celebration of their nuptials. At this period Amelia was
attacked by a violent cold, which seating on her lungs, baffled the
skill of the most eminent physicians, and terminated in a confirmed
hectic. She perceived her disorder to be incurable, and with
inexpressible regret and concern anticipated her approaching
dissolution. She had enjoyed life too highly to think much of death; yet
die she must! “Oh,” said she, “that I had prepared, while in health and
at ease, for this awful event! Then should I not be subjected to the
keenest distress of mind, in addition to the most painful infirmities of
body! Then should I be able to look forward with hope, and to find
relief in the consoling expectation of being united beyond the grave,
with those dear and beloved connexions, which I must soon leave behind!
Let my companions and acquaintance learn from me the important lesson of
improving their time to the best of purposes; of acting at once as
becomes mortal and immortal creatures!”

“Hear, my dear pupils, the solemn admonition, and be ye also ready!

“Too many, especially of the young and gay, seem more anxious to live in
pleasure, than to answer the end of their being, by the cultivation of
that piety and virtue which will render them good members of society,
useful to their friends and associates, and partakers of that heart-felt
satisfaction which results from a conscience void of offence both
towards God and man.

“This, however, is an egregious mistake; for in many situations, piety
and virtue are our only source of consolation; and in all, they are
peculiarly friendly to our happiness.

“Do you exult in beauty, and the pride of external charms? Turn your
eyes for a moment, on the miserable Flirtilla.[1] Like her, your
features and complexion may be impaired by disease; and where then will
you find a refuge from mortification and discontent, if destitute of
those ennobling endowments which can raise you superior to the transient
graces of a fair form, if unadorned by that substantial beauty of mind
which can not only ensure respect from those around you, but inspire you
with resignation to the divine will, and a patient acquiescence in the
painful allotments of a holy Providence. Does wealth await your command,
and grandeur with its fascinating appendages beguile your fleeting
moments? Recollect, that riches often make themselves wings and fly
away. A single instance of mismanagement; a consuming fire, with various
other misfortunes which no human prudence can foresee or prevent, may
strip you of this dependence; and, unless you have other grounds of
comfort than earth can boast, reduce you to the most insupportable
wretchedness and despair. Are you surrounded by friends, and happy in
the society of those who are near and dear to you? Soon may they be
wrested from your fond embrace, and consigned to the mansions of the
dead!

Footnote 1:

See page 48.

“Whence, then, will you derive support, if unacquainted with that divine
Friend, who will never fail nor forsake you; who is the same yesterday,
to-day and forever.

“Health and youth, my dear girls, are the seasons for improvement. Now
you may lay up a treasure which neither sickness nor adversity can
impair.

“But the hour of distress is not the only time, in which religion will
be advantageous to you. Even in prosperity, it will prove the best
solace and the highest ornament of your lives. What can be more
dignified, respectable, and lovely, than the Christian character? The
habitual practice of those duties which the gospel inculcates will give
lustre to your beauty and durability to your charms. By correcting your
passions, it will improve your joys, endear you to your friends and
connexions, and render you contented, happy, and useful in every stage
and condition of life.

“Religion will not deprive you of temporal enjoyments; it will heighten
and increase them. It will not depress, but exhilarate your spirits. For
it consists not in a gloomy, misanthropic temper, declining the social
and innocent delights of life; but prepares the mind to partake with
satisfaction of every pleasure which reason approves, and which can
yield serenity and peace in the review. Be not ashamed then of appearing
religious, and of rising by that mean above the vain, unthinking crowd.

“Let not the idle jests of heedless and unprincipled companions deter
you from a stedfast adherence to the path of truth and righteousness.
‘Follow not the multitude to do evil.’ Never conform to fashion, even
though it claim the patronage of politeness, so far as to countenance
irreligion in any of its modifications.

“Jesting upon sacred subjects, ridiculing the professors of
Christianity, light and irreverent conduct upon solemn occasions, ought
to be cautiously avoided and decidedly condemned. Too many girls are so
extremely thoughtless as to carry the levity of their manners even to
the sanctuary; and by whispering, winking, tittering and other indecent
actions, display their folly to their own disgrace, and to the great
disgust of all judicious and sober people. Such behaviour is not only
offensive to the Deity, but insulting to all who would worship him free
from interruption. It is not only an indignity offered to religion, but
a flagrant breach of the rules of good breeding. Content not yourselves,
therefore, with a bare attendance on the institutions of religion; but
conduct with propriety, decorum, and seriousness, while engaged in the
solemn service. Bear in mind, that you assemble with a professed purpose
of paying homage to the Supreme; and consider yourselves as in his
immediate presence!

“The offices of devotion demand your attention in private, as well as in
public.

“Accustom yourselves, therefore, to stated periods of retirement for
meditation and prayer; and adopt every other mean which is calculated to
keep alive in your minds a due sense of your dependence and obligations,
and to inspire you with that uniform love to God and benevolence to the
human kind, which will prove your greatest glory here, as well as your
crown of rejoicing hereafter.”

The hour of departure having arrived, on Monday morning, Mrs. Williams
assembled with her pupils; when the regret, visibly depicted on every
countenance, was variously expressed. The tear of grateful regard stole
silently down the bloomy cheeks of some; others betrayed their
sensibility by audible sobs, which they could not repress; and all
united in testifying the sense they entertained of the advantages they
had received from Mrs. Williams’s tuition, the happiness they had
enjoyed in each other’s society, and their determination to remember her
counsels, cultivate continued friendship among themselves, and endeavor
to be worthy of her’s.

Mrs. Williams then took an affectionate leave of each one, and left them
with her daughters. The most cordial good wishes were mutually
interchanged, till their carriages received and separated them.

The friendship and unity thus commenced and confirmed, were never
obliterated. They always cherished the most sincere affection for their
Preceptress, and each other; which they displayed in an unreserved and
social correspondence, both personal and epistolary. The residence of
Mrs. Williams they denominated Harmony-Grove, which it ever after
retained, and by which it is designated in the following selection of
their letters.

LETTERS.

_To Mrs._ M. WILLIAMS,

BOSTON.

RESPECTED AND DEAR MADAM,

Conformably to my promise, when I left your abode, the first efforts of
my pen are dedicated to you. The pleasure which arises from the
recollection of your more than maternal kindness to me, especially your
unwearied endeavors to refine and embellish my mind and to lay the
foundation of right principles and practices, is interwoven with my
existence; and no time or circumstances can erase my gratitude.

I arrived last evening safely; and was affectionately received by my
honored parents, and beloved brothers and sisters. The emotions of
regret which I felt in the morning, at the painful separation from you
and my dear school-mates, with whom I have lived so happily, had not
wholly subsided. I could not help listening, now and then, for some
judicious observation from my Preceptress; and frequently cast my eyes
around in search of some of the amiable companions, among whom I had
been used to unbend every thought.

The splendor of the apartments gave me ideas of restraint that were
painful; and I looked abroad for the green, where we were wont to
gambol, and the lawn where we so often held our twilight sports, and
almost fancied that we sometimes caught a glimpse of the attendant
Sylphs who played around us; but in vain. Stately domes, crowded
streets, rattling carriages, and all the noise and confusion of a
commercial city were substituted. I retired to bed, and was awaked in
the night by the riotous mirth of a number of Bacchanalians, reeling
from the haunts of intemperance and excess.

Alas! said I, this is not the Æolian harp that used to soothe our
slumbers at the boarding school. I composed myself again; but awoke at
the accustomed hour of five. I arose; and, having praised my Maker for
the preservations of the night, walked down. Not a living creature was
stirring in the house.

I took a turn in the garden. Here art seemed to reign so perfectly
mistress, that I was apprehensive lest I should injure her charms by
viewing them.

I accordingly retired to the summer-house, and, having a book in my
hand, sat down and read till the clock struck seven. I then thought it
must be breakfast time, and returned to the house; but was much
disappointed to find none of the family up, except one man servant and
the house maid who had just crept down.

They appeared perfectly astonished to see me come in from abroad; and
the girl respectfully inquired if indisposition had occasioned my rising
so early. I told her no; that the wish to preserve my health had called
me up two hours before. Well, rejoined she, you will not find any body
to keep you company here for two hours to come. I was chagrined at the
information, and asked her for a bowl of milk, it being past my usual
breakfast time. The milk man had just arrived, and I drank some; but it
had lost its flavor on the road. It was not like that which was served
us at Harmony-Grove. I stepped to the harpsichord, and having sung and
played a morning hymn, returned to my chamber, where, taking my work, I
sat down by the window to view the listless tribe of yawning mortals who
were beginning to thicken in the streets. One half of these appeared to
be dragged forth by necessity, rather than any inclination to enjoy the
beauties of a fine morning.

At nine, I was summoned into the parlor to breakfast. My sisters gently
chid me for disturbing their repose with my music. I excused myself by
alleging that I had been so long accustomed to early rising that I
should find it difficult to alter the habit.

Here, madam, you have an account of my first night and morning’s
occupation. Were I to proceed with every new occurrence, through the
year, and subjoin my own remarks, I must write volumes instead of
letters.

Please to communicate this scroll to your amiable daughters, and remind
them of their promise to write.

A line from Harmony-Grove would be a luxury to me.

Meanwhile, permit me still to subscribe myself, with the utmost respect
your grateful pupil,