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Eve's rich glow lingers round thy head,
On the last monarch of thy race: Slow fade the purple tints-farewell!
Yet recollect it tenderly, for in its brief bright Deep are thy thoughts-too deep to tell.
From Blackwood's Magazine.
magic we could plunge them into that period; how, in the first place, they would THERE is nothing so elastic as our esti- shiver in a new sense of neglect and disremate of time. In the mere act of review- gard, nobody putting them first or making ing them, fifty years may swell into a huge all things bow to their pleasure and conveperiod, or contract into a moment the nience; or indeed thinking it any great mere twinkling of an eye. In many a ret-matter if a touch of life's real hardships rospect a lifetime is nothing-memory embittered their prime. From this cold making past existence all one present. It shade what would a world seem to them may be spanned in one grasp of thought as still hampered by difficult locomotion, bad making no difference in a man's identity, roads, and post-chaises, horrible winter leaving him absolutely the same to his own night-journeys outside stage-coaches consciousness. In another mood, and look-nights dim with the feeble illuminations of ing out of and beyond self, he sees fifty train-oil and snuffy tallow-candles; a world years for what they are a good slice not of intellectual trammels, where opinion was only of a long life but of the life of the not ventilated in hall and lecture-rooms world. This sum of years repeated com- where people thought in battalions, and the paratively few times and we are at the first mind had its uniform to be assumed every year of our Lord; and from thence, by a field-day-where a man must be either series of half-centuries — leaps easy to the Whig or Tory, Calvinist or Arminian, and imagination, and which a child may remem- compromise was contemptible — where peober—we are at the beginning of history, ple sat at home, and only country gentleat its very opening chapter. We must then men amused themselves and wasted their conclude by all analogy that if progress is time out of doors; a world with quite ana word meaning anything, fifty years must other class of absurdities, anomalies, and work material and recognisable changes, barbarisms from this present one- where and a very little reflection convinces us that every respectable" powdered his head they have made them. A man who has ob- white, and every woman who would not be served to any purpose for fifty years knows thought wildly eccentric hid away the first that he has seen some things and felt some grey hair as a crime against society; a emotions which no future age will see or world of feeble accomplishments, where feel again under similar conditions. Some music was thought effeminate for men - a portion of the energy and intellect of the mere siren, betraying him to his destruction world has done its task, contributed to some result; and thought and action will never be linked to the same work and end again. There is a day for everything. However momentous a point has seemed, the fluctuations of thought have passed it by for good and all in the particular phase which stirred his sympathies. He leaves the world different from what he found it. The wonder grows that the working period of one life should witness changes so vital; and reflection forces fifty years into very impressive dimensions. There are times when the difference between then and now, both in the face of things and in the pervading tone of thought, strikes him as something prodigious,
We may realise this by considering what a perplexing, uncongenial, unfamiliar world our children would find the first twenty years of this century, if by any device of
and art and science generally, misleaders from the main business of life: but, for all this, a good old world to those who can recall it, or through some gifted senior have felt its influence; a world with some sense of stability still lingering about its institutions, and yet a world of fancy and romance, of Wordsworth's poetry and Scott's novels, and where the art of good talking at least was a living accomplishment -an excellent world, in fact, in spite of what the young people might think of it, for prosperous well-to-do men and women. For this class we cannot see that progress has done much. They have lost a sense of monopoly in a good many things where monopoly, by constituting the distinction, constituted a good share of the happiness. We cannot wonder that long memories here are slow to recognise any change for the better, any progress that is not a mockery of the term,
However, these large questions only remotely concern our present subject. What the nineteenth century has done and has still to do for the masses, under the new political conditions to which they are about to be subject, we leave to more ambitious pens. What has impressed us lately, and what we would impress upon our readers, is the benign work of progress in a given period for one particular oppressed class a class of persons for whom not even the Reform Bill of the future promises largely who owe what they have, or hope to gain, to the more subtle insensible action of that mysterious onward movement which plays so great a part in human affairs
in the condition of society. The bustle and | intellect at the expense of something disfever of competition, the struggle of the tinctly feminine. The ideal woman does classes beneath them, the turmoil of opinion, not reason; her processes of thought are are to them nothing but causes of inconve- intuitive so far, that she can give no account nience, or matter for honest protest. When how she arrives at them: if she attempts to they are the spokesmen they naturally make do so, her professed reasons are palpable out a case for the old state of things, and after-thoughts, proving that logic is at least a very plausible one, from their point of no obtrusive faculty. She is wiser not to view. But, unfortunately, the majority of pretend to it. We bow to conclusions mankind belong not to the prosperous but formed on no conscious data, and with noto the struggling class. thing like argument to back them, because in her own province, though she cannot reason, she is very apt to be right. Clever women, on the contrary, throw intuition over and aim at logic. They possess the analytical faculty, and encourage it in themselves. They search into the why and the wherefore, they pursue a subject in all its bearings, they trace it to its cause, they study themselves, and, above all, they study character in others -not for a present purpose, not by the intuitive method, but as a habitual intellectual occupation. As reasoning beings they dispense with instinct, or subdue it to a subordinate capacity, which revenges itself in return by ceasing to serve their personal needs, leaving them to the class of clever women. An unpopular work out the details of conduct by the class- -a class, at least, whom no other light of their boasted reason: a revenge inclass particularly likes or cares to take to deed. We all perceive, who have any exits bosom who have always a hard battle perience of self-consciousness, what a poor to fight, but who certainly fight it now un- exchange must be a constant appeal to the der less disadvantages than they did fifty will or the judgment in the minor action of years ago. We do not here speak, we re-life, for the promptings of habit and intuipeat, of prosperous clever women, who tion in natures finely tuned, where the mind have never had any battles to fight any more does not speculate but act, comprehending than dull or commonplace ones -wealth just as much of the persons and things enand station support alike exceptional clever-countered as is necessary for success, and ness or exceptional stupidity—but the class no more. Knowing too much and thinking of able women who are thrown upon their too much are alike fatal to charm.
- we mean
But, before entering into our subject, some definition of what we mean by clever women seems to be needed. In the first place, all women who are not clever women are not to be distinguished from them by any disparaging epithet, or any expression of drawback whatever. On the contrary, especially attractive women are rarely clever in the common sense of the word; the conventional charming woman, never. With most people cleverness is applied to women as a term of veiled reproach, and not without show of reason, because it is a testimony to
When we would define a clever woman, we mean something almost as distinct from a sensible, a well-informed, or even an intelligent woman, as from the conventional charming woman. What a clever woman sees, hears, acquires in any way, assimilates itself, undergoes a certain transmutation, and can never be reproduced as a mere act of memory. Something of herself hangs about it. She puts it in a new point of sight. A process of classification is for ever going on. Whatever the mind receives is at once placed, and goes to the elucidation of a view, or is recognised as a
new experience, and its relation to all re- go for nothing-they are consciously at ceived knowledge is traced out. It is this fault; and therefore all that concerns art, that dignifies the veriest gossip of the literature, politics, religion, and all great clever woman. Her philosophy may be public questions, are accepted by the " very fallacious, but news, chatter, scandal woman," from lover, husband, or whatever whatever it is goes through a process, man is selected as guide, with real implicitunder her handling, giving it an affinity ness and docility, however these submissive with a history or study of human nature; qualities may be veiled with a feint of choice so distinguishing it from the common gossip and self-will. This graceful homage it is well defined by Monseigneur Dupanloup in not in the power of the clever woman to his Studious Women,' where he says: "I offer. Whatever her judgment and her cannot approve of all the impressions pro- opinion is worth (and it is not necessarily duced by material objects and the incidents worth much), the fatal gift of thinking is of life being immediately expressed, and hers. Even if she were to feed on the air requiring an equally immediate answer. of blind trust it would not become her Minds thus are always laid bare to each her unlucky talents cut her off from the tenother they are never concentrated them- derest form of sympathy. selves, and they never allow others to be concentrated. One thinks aloud because one thinks little."
These habits of thought give to the clever woman an irrepressible independence, a fancy to play her own game. However much she desires the approval of men, which she may do yery eagerly, her mode of obtaining it is not deferential. It is by showing what is in herself, not by an engaging conformity. The masculine mind is not felt a necessary complement to her own. She is no mistress of the flattery of unconscious submission. A woman's eyes are never so beautiful as when they look up; the eyes of her mind are not prone to assume this appealing grace. With unfeminine awkwardness, she probably does not see what she is about; even though she does, the distinctive qualities of her mind must have their way. But we may say that the intellectual exercises for which we give her credit are incompatible with tact in any exquisite degree not inconsistent with appreciating tact, about which she may be able to say a great many clever things, but with this subtle power as an instrument for
And yet these awkward, so-called unfeminine strivings after the intellectual, seen in every age since the revival of learning, should merit some sympathy if it were only for the obstacles they have successfully overcome. How have they been received? Now it is not reasonable in women to expect men to be so far attracted by exceptional ability in them as to consent to merge their own individuality in it. Superior intellect can scarcely be what is called attractive. A man is wise to desire to remain intellectual head of his own home, nor do things go quite as they should do where the disproportion of intellect is conspicuously on the wife's side. In the view of two making a complete whole, the woman is not a better complement to the man for being very much above, or for having an intellectual side apart from him, clamouring for expression. But where there is no danger of being swamped by feminine cleverness, how have intellectual men - men who know what it is to "make thinking part of their diversion," who despise their fellow-men who live on the alms-basket of borrowed opinion,- how have they treated the same She aims at too much; her mind is diversion in women? If clever or learned too excursive. She does not accept a lim- women have ever hoped for the praise of ited province as especially her own. The men in reward for their trouble, the very ideal woman confines herself to her circle, simplicity of their vanity should have made her family, her home, and herself as the men lenient; and instead, what brutality of centre of all. Within this restricted range contempt has assailed them, and from all the mind's touch is endued with an exquis-points. Swift, who loathed the vacuity of its sensibility, because it is restricted. In the women of fashion of his time, thought larger, remoter questions, tact and instinct nothing but bad of them, and talks of
"Seeds long unknown to womankind
or shyness, or effrontery, or simple awkwardness, and contempt for the graces of the sex a contempt which comes to no woman by nature, but which has often been assumed, in hopeless defiance.
Not that critics have given up the subject of the nature and limits of women's intellect. On the contrary, it sometimes would appear that Pope's aphorism is reversed, and that the proper study of mankind is woman. We counted no fewer than three articles in a late number of a popular journal devoted to this one theme, and penned with a caustic earnestness of purpose that suggests a division of the sexes beyond the pale of ritualism. Nor have women themselves ceased to damage their own cause. All the folly, in fact, of both sexes has exercised itself on the position of women. Lecturers, male and female, discuss woman, her nature and her mission, as though she were some abstract animal, instead of being half the human race; while not a few transcendentalists despise a partnership of rights to assert an aptitude for universal dominion, and would reduce man to the servitude of which Cuddie Headrigg was so sensible, who had all his life been trodden down by women. There was first my mither, then there was Leddy Margaret, didna let me ca' my soul my ain; and now I hae gotten a wife, and she's like to tak' the guiding o' me a'thegither." Jenny only anticipates much feminine pretension of our age in her reply, "And amna I the best guide ever ye had in a' your life?"
them to account now, naturally, quietly, and as a matter of course, without exciting injurious notice, without instilling such a sense of oddity and singularity as to affect who complains that not one gentleman's the manner, and often more than the mandaughter in a thousand could read or under-ner, detrimentally; either through conceit, stand her own natural tongue, or be judge of the easiest book that could be written in it, or read it without mangling the sense, or acquire the art of spelling all her life long; and who resents the utter want of interest in the poor soul for any rational conversation, turning, as she would do, from the instructive talk of men - his talk, perhaps to consult with the woman that sits next her on the last cargo of fans; - Swift, whose only receipt against the nonsense and frippery of women is to advise every woman he cared for to renounce the companionship of her sex-with what a sledge-hammer does he descend on the women who, tired of this frippery, take a line of their own, and, instead of being mere listeners, attempt to be wise on their own account! "I know very well," says he, to his fair correspondent, that those who are commonly called learned women have lost all manner of credit by their impertinent talkativeness and conceit of themselves; but there is an easy remedy for this, if you come to consider that, after all the pains you may be at, you can never arrive in point of learning to the perfection of a schoolboy." But this is not so bad as the warning of sleeker moralists, who counselled women very seriously against any exercise of mind because men did not like it, and it stood in the way of their getting married. Any stain for woman's pretty fingers but the stain of ink! was the cry of fifty years ago, and had been for a century at least. Clever women have had a sad time of it since literature was literature, It is wonderful, indeed, that the clamourand perhaps, for the reasons we have sug-ers for women's rights, whether in America gested, not without fault of their own. or at home, have not told more injuriously Singularity suits no one, and especially it does not suit women. Now we think progress has done this for them-cultivated cleverness no longer provokes to conceit or eccentricity. The whole sex has made intellectual advance. There must always be fools, but we know no class of simpletons to be addressed as "beauteous innocents," and openly cajoled into piety by Fordyce's argument, that never does a fine woman strike more deeply than when composed into pious recollection. At all times, by throwing off the reserve and retirement becoming their sex, women could both assert and prove their powers; but progress has relieved them from an enormous disadvantage. They can use them, and even turn
than they have upon the steady advance in power and position of rational feminine intellect; of clever women who accept their powers for what they are, and turn them to domestic, social, and marketable account, as they would rank, fortune, or any other providential gift, and with no more spirit of bravado or fear of outraging convention than men experience.
It is within fifty years that a woman of unusual parts has been able to give her intellect its fullest development in its most appropriate field, and yet live in society without having her occupations treated as a bar of separation. This is a step indeed; and a greater approach to the equality of the sexes, so much talked of by transcen