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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 account. It is this class who form the real protection of their sex against the satire and cynicism which every attempt at intellectual advance has always awakened.
The master and mistress of a household ought to be the heads of it. A great deal of inevitable injustice follows where this is not the case, and clever subordinates find themselves kept down by inferior intelligences. In fact, the ideal governess ought not to be a student of character in any marked degree. None of us, if we knew it, would receive a stranger into our household to whom all our faults and weaknesses would soon be a printed book. Such misplaced discernment must be a source of suspicion and unhappiness to all parties. Nor should the governess occupy herself too sedulously with the characters of the children under her charge. The habit of reading character often tends to a sort of fatalism, and is opposed to that passion for instilling and imparting and moulding which constitute the born teacher. Yet these inconvenient qualities, exercised in an appropriate field, constitute the great charm and chief power of many a successful authoress, who is likely also to be a much more amiable character when her gifts bring her credit and fortune, than when they keep her, according to her temperament, in perpetual hot water or anxious mistrust.
quirement can be passed on, but qualities ingrain and special are in a main degree incommunicable. In a general sense, of course, it is elevating to live with superior 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 Pen,' Isaac Taylor notes it as an intellectual peculiarity of midland counties' Dissent that an authoress found an honourable and natural place among its members, and could retain her distinctly feminine character among them. Miss Austen so recoiled from the publicity which at her time was associated with authorship, that she rigidly declined using her success as an entrance to brilliant society, and refused to meet Madame de Staël, regarding such an encounter as a step out of the seclusion which she valued more than fame. Practically speaking, the only resource for intellectual and accomplished women driven to do something for their support was tuition; neither imagination nor experience had any other suggestion. The ordinary grievance attached to this solitary refuge is, that women are driven to it whose intellect is not equal to the demands of such a calling. These we pity very much; but it is so much in the nature of things that feebleness and incompetence should be at a nonplus when thrown upon their own resources, that we can hardly look forward to a state of society when it shall be otherwise: nor do we consider the suggestion of "S. G. O." 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 autobiography 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 in any way to the instruction of girls so far advanced as she represents her eldest daughters; but my ignorance of music was the bar she could not get over. The correspondence that I had with Mrs. Danvers prepossessed me very much in her favour. After writing her an account of myself and all my wonderful perfections, she says, I have perused and reperused your letter, with increased regret that such a mind should be rejected merely for the sake of frivolous accomplishments.' She is conscious of talent, but it never seems the right sort for the calling she is forced into. "What shall I do?" she asks. "Am I always destined to undertake things which I am incapable of performing? I am half inclined even now to write and tell Mrs. Venn all I know of my incapabilities and deficiencies. I did not willingly deceive her, if I have done it. I am aware that there is something about me which gives people a higher idea of my qualifications than they merit. I do, from the bottom of my heart, lament this; for I see no good in being able to impose upon people. It is a talent I possess in common with Miss Teach'em; there is only this difference she does it from design; I never advance a syllable for the purpose."
of conversation were such as it has not been my good fortune to see surpassed. Her tender sympathy for suffering, her strong love of justice, her lofty scorn of oppression, at once flashed in her eye, glowed in her cheek, and trembled in her utterance. Though remarkable for that self-possession so common to all well-bred persons in England, the thrilling earnestness of her deeper tones reminded me of what I had read of the conversations of Mrs. Siddons." This is a picture of a remarkable woman, but not one best fitted for the only work the time found her to do. The letters, in fact, would be too painful in some of their humiliating details, but for the novel-like consummation, marriage which is imminent as we close the page. We venture to illustrate our subject by some extracts from the book in question, the more readily that it seems to have failed to excite attention at the time of its publication; though short extracts can never do justice to a flowing epistolary pen, especially when held by female hand. We learn that the writer is the daughter of a clergyman - -a scholar, and with habits acquired by intercourse with persons of higher rank and wealth than his own - who, dying while his three daughters were scarcely more than children, left them wholly unprovided for, and without those accomplishments indispensable for the prizes of governess-life. We can all remember how Miss Austen's immortal Mrs. Elton discusses these prizes. "She spoke to me without reserve, and she "With your superior talents," she says to seemed perfectly to understand the present state 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 have as many rooms as you I need only to look at that odious Miss Teach'em 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 sons they are scattered all over the world dichoose. Of all houses in the kingdom, rectly; whereas, if there be a miscreant that he Mrs. Bragge's is the one I would most wish him in one way or other all through life. I hope hates heartily, he is sure to be pushed against to see you in. Wax-candles in the school- I shall not be pushed against Miss Teach'em all room 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. | her that I had much rather be alone. She told
The Miss Teach'em here mentioned is put before her as a model governess. Her able dissection of this character points out another vocation for the young aspirant, if such had been open to her.
me I ought to derive so much benefit from the society of such a person, and so on.
"Well, I thought I would try to extract some good from her, as a sort of reward for the penance I was doomed to undergo in her society the whole day long. I thought she might perhaps be able to give me some hints on the best means of managing children. I would not learn her art of managing their parents if I could; and yet that, I believe, is the secret of her success. I tried in vain. She really can do nothing but talk; and all her talk is about herself and her plans, and what people have said of them, and how wonderfully she had succeeded wherever she had been, and how anxious all parents were to have her. I sat silently wondering that she should think it worth while to pretend even before me; but long habit has made it her nature. What a labour and toil it must have been to her at first to make believe all the day long! It is well for her that the parents of her pupils are more easily induced to believe in the wonderful merits she lays claim to than I am. Education with her consists in learning a limited number of lessons and languages. I said something of the cultivation of the mind and improvement of the character, but she gave me to understand that a governess had nothing to do with these. I said I had thought they were of the first consequence. Oh, certainly; but she assured me, and perhaps too truly, that parents always inquired more particularly about what accomplishments you could teach their children than what principles you would implant in
Tutors and governesses cannot help being unjust towards the parents. They assume, from the fact that principles are more important than accomplishments, that their own shortcomings should be excused on condition of implanting a higher tone of feeling; but parents naturally expect to infuse this through their own influence. It is in the technicalities of education that they
want assistance. These technical deficiences
seem to have thrown the lady out of the beaten track of governess-life, and sometimes brought her into circumstances more
favourable to the cultivation of a remarkable letter-writing talent, than to present ease and comfort. She never falls into common
place situations or among commonplace people. The first family she engages herself to is Irish; fashionable and even elegant in manner, but disorderly and Irish to a typical and, we believe, obsolete degree: where an appeal to the maid for a windowblind is most complacently answered by a petticoat; where her missing clothes for the wash are found, after long search, transmuted by the servants into a pillow; and "where, from the drawing-room to the kitchen, nothing is in order-everything is done by
chance; and for our daily food we are at the mercy of a dirty-looking old Irishwoman, who presides in the kitchen in the quality of cookand she resembles nothing I ever saw before in human shape. She might do duty for one of the witches in Macbeth, without any dressing but her ordinary attire. Well, after two or three days, imagine me sitting at two o'clock waiting for the children's dinner to be sent up. The footman knows nothing about it, but calls to the kitchen. Sure, the mistress never ordered any!' 'Well, send up something.' 'But there is nothing.' At length, after a good deal of subterranean grumbling, the scraps of the day before are sent up. But this is nothing to the want of fire. Twice in the first month of my being here we had no fire in the schoolroom, because the mistress had forgotten to order any coals, and there were not enough in the house to cook the dinner. Only imagine me wrapt up in shawls, and the poor children with benumbed fingers, and their mamma assuring them that being cold was all a fancy-young people ought to be warm;' and then asking if the carriage was ready; for somehow or other she never forgets to order that, however short her memory about other things.'
And yet this mamma is so particular about the true Parisian accent that the children are not allowed to read French to their English governess. The book furnishes half-a-dozen effective openings for a lady's novel. There is the distinct portraiture of the central figures of the scene, detail, never degenerating into that cataset off by a felicitous choice of surrounding logue of inventory minuteness so often fatal to epistolary description: there is that fine confidence in the reading of a physiognomy so essential to the novelist, however undesirable as a practical guide; that eye for character, that passion for human nature cision of opinion, that general sharpness of under any trappings, that aplomb and deinto things or notions, which we see in the definition and distinctness of view, whether born author, and which contribute to make the pen a natural and at once familiar inextract a flavour of romance and adventure strument to minds of this order, who can out of the driest forms of life. However
silent and solitary, the hours passed by this her schoolroom, the day has generally furwasted novelist in the evening seclusion of nished her with some subject for the evening letter which is to hold her in communion and sympathy with her kind. Here is an episode. An Irish apple-woman at a stall round the corner excites her attention.
The old woman presents an apple to the children of her compatriots, and refuses payment, because it does her heart good to see the ladies step into their elegant car
riage every day. This disinterestedness is enough to awaken our young friend's sympathy and curiosity. After a time she learns her history, which she amuses herself with reporting to her friend.
"I then asked her, what I had long wished to know, how she came to leave a country that she loved so much, and to take up her abode here. She told me she was a widow with one son, and he left her to seek his fortune in London. She heard from him sometimes, and she had reason to fear he had formed some bad connections; so she sold all that she had, and came over with a good bit of money to take care of him. She found her son on the point of marriage with a very worthless woman that he had found in the streets. She had tried to break off the match, but she could not. Mother,' said he, 'I love her; I love her even better than I do you.' 'Hard words these were for a mother to hear; but I made up my mind not to leave my poor lad, for I saw that he was ensnared past help. So he married her, and I lived with them, and kept my own money in my purse at the bottom of my box; and sometimes his wife would be a bit kind to him, and then my heart was all open to her; then she would keep out all night with her bad friends, and my poor lad, when he came home, would lay his head down on the table for hours together, and when he looked up he would say, "Mother, don't look at me." Sometimes he would say, "I shall not bear this long," for he felt within him that it could not last. I was always there when he came home from his work, and he did not sicken for the want of anything; but he pined away his heart was broken within him.
Just before he died his wife came in. She had been away for several days, for she never came home but when she wanted to get some
for lately she had recognised a gentleman compromised in the Irish rebellion, who, to get her out of London, had offered to pay her expenses back; but "I could not leave my boy. Where his bones lie, there shall mine lie."
"Now I hope," the warm-hearted narrator goes on to say "now I hope this story will touch you more than it did Mrs. O'Brien. I was quite full of it and expected I should certainly do the poor creature some good by telling her. She heard me with listless apathy, and only wondered how I could stop to talk to an old apple-woman in the street.' She is just at the door- at least just at the corner.' yes; I know where she is. I am surprised that these kind of persons are suffered to set up their stalls in the street. She cannot expect much custom for her apples in such a neighbourhood as this.' The churchyard is just at the bottom of the street, where her son- 'Oh yes, I remember; and you are simple enough to believe her story.' I said not another word. I looked, for I felt ashamed of myself; but it was at having made such a mistake as to tell my story to her. I could pledge my life on the truth of the old woman, and so would you if you had heard her tell the story herself."
The girl who could write this story would be sure to tell it well; so that she might well wonder at Mrs. O'Brien's apathy; but still we see powers misapplied. Conversational gifts need an appropriate field. We have been told lately that nobody can tell a story well without the vantage-ground of position. We can hardly imagine eloquence of any kind more painfully deprived of its chances than in the position of an English money. She looked at him as he lay in bed, and with her Irish employer, we have further governess. Not venturing across the seas she seemed to know how it was without asking, for she went to his clothes and felt in the pock insight into the experience so popular in ficets. He 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 II do not expect it to burst on my head." would bury him decently, for I had still a bit of money in my purse; but when I came to look, neither purse nor money was there. She had gone to my box when she found no money in his pocket, and she had not left me a sixpence. For all that, he had a decent burial; and I sold all
that I could, and with the help of my friends got this sitting, which I had set my heart upon because it is so near to the churchyard where my poor boy lies; and every night before I go home, I go down and look at his grave-it comforts my heart to see so much of him. ""
The old woman's story goes on to say that she might return to her own country,
This poor young thing trembles under the ordeal of interviews with cold unpitying strangers, and indemnifies herself for what she undergoes by the necessary relief of a narrative of looks, tones, and bargainings ending in disappointment. Her powers are recognized, but they only involve her in Relying upon them, a certain religious patroness betrays her into the family of a virago terrible to live with. The children are being brought up as heathens, though the father is a distinguished professor; and a religious profession with our 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 apto 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, Why should I tremble so much? Why should I have such a horror of the place? They are but human beings that I am about
to encounter; and have not been told on
very good authority that the tone of my voice is sufficient to interest any one and subdue all things?" But her misgivings are prophetic. After a terrible journey by land and sea she arrives late before a dismal house "painted black, I thought."
"The parlour-door was opened, and I saw my two pupils, who sat in mute amazement by the fire. The mother then rose and pushed a chair towards me in a most awkward and ungracious
manner. I had not been used to see such un
couthness; and not quite certain of her identity, I said with a slight curtsy, 'I presume I have the pleasure of seeing Mrs. Sowerby.' 'Yes,' she grumbled in an indistinct manner; but that was owing, perhaps, to the loss of her front teeth. I could not disguise from myself that my coming was very unwelcome to her, if I might interpret her most forbidding manner and looks. I sat for a few minutes in silence, most devoutly hoping that all my fancied skill in physiognomy might prove false; for if either I or Lavater have an atom of truth in our science, there never was a more unpropitious countenance for a poor dependent to contemplate.
"Finding she had taken up the poker to mend the fire, which wanted no such assistance, I fancied her silence might proceed from the mere awkwardness of a person unused to strangers; so I continued to hope Mr. Sowerby was well. 'Yes, he is well enough. He ought to have been in the way, but he seldom is when he is wanted. He knew you were coming to-day, but he said the water would be so rough you would not cross.' This was delivered with effort, and in a most ungracious manner; but it opened a subject for me to speak upon, so I told the horrors of my journey, to all of which she made little or no reply. Almost in despair, I began to try my powers upon the children, but they were equally chilling and inaccessible. I had just settled it in my mind that I had never seen such children before, and both they and their mother were more disagreeable than anything I had ever imagined, when the door opened, and their father entered. He is a middle aged man, of a most kind and benign aspect; his whole face was radiant with good-nature. Neither his mind nor his manners hive had much cultivation. He has never, as he has since told me, been to any school; but he is well versed in the school of Christ. There he had learned to extend the hand of kindness and even welcome to a stranger.... I inquired about Mrs. St. Clair; and the only time that the lady of the house joined in the conversation was when she observed, with some eagerness, that she had been some days on
me to come; and she looked all manner of reproach at me. I could hardly help smiling, even in the very bitterness of my heart; but I said something of my inexperience of the water having made me courageous, perhaps from not knowing the danger. How shall I. vegetate Against her will, I must suppose; and how strange that seems! My position here is a most extraordinary one."
with such a woman? How came I here?
In fact Mr. Sowerby and Mrs. St. Clair between them had smuggled a governess into the house; and she is instructed that it is her duty to stay so long as she feels she is doing good to the children. These children tell her that mamma says papa is a Methodist. "And what is a Methodist, my dear ?" I don't know," said the little creature; but I think it is a naughty thing." But you do not think your papa is naughty?" she repeated. "Mamma savs he is a Methodist." I only answered, "Your papa is a good man."
Mr. Sowerby has a miserable time of it. But we should pity him the more but for one fact that comes out. She sits and wonders at first how such a marriage ever came about, but supposes he married her at an age when
Folly and innocence are so alike, The difference, though essential, fails to strike." But adds, before long —
"I must tell you I have heard it said that he deserves the bitter cup he is drinking, for he threw away an affection that would have made him happy. He met with this woman when there was some little difference between him and the other. She was a forsaken old maid, and her connections being higher than his own, he was pleased with the attentions they paid him. He was flattered by the advances she made, and her friends all helped to persuade him she was in love with him, for they had long found her a disagreeable burden upon their hands; so in an evil hour he married her. Oh what wretches [this to the lover] you men are, even the very best! I have thought a great deal of that faithful love which has induced the poor forsaken lady to remain single. I think if I could meet with her I should be tempted to let her know how amply she is avenged.'”
A fear of being thought changeable by her friends, and the horror of having to seek for a new home, induce her to remain while it is possible. She has friends in the neighbourhood, spends the day at Christhouse, and Lady Bertram and the