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[326] will tempt women — I mean, in an especial sense, the women in easy circumstances, not obliged to labor for bread — to imitate the example of their English sisters on the other side of the Atlantic, and make it fashionable to study the open pages of God's work as they are written out for them in the collections of museums and curiosities of the past.

Mr. Chairman, our social life, or what we call such, is a poor and vapid imitation of foreign manners,--so unlike the original no wonder some will doubt the propriety of my calling it an imitation. Like an exotic laid on an unfit soil,--we cannot say planted,--it dies. For the mere show and splendor, the luxurious pleasure, the prodigal display of social life, we have neither the wealth nor a large class of idle loungers to keep each other in countenance, and make such continual show possible. Hence, what we call society is only a herd of boys and girls, tired with the day's lessons, or just emancipated from school, met to prattle of nothing, and eat and drink. Selfishness and rude frolic, or tasteless bearing about of rich dress, and a struggle round groaning tables have usurped the place of conversation and manners. Earnest life, the cares of business take up the full grown men; disgust and weariness keep women away; these last must either contract into idle gossips, or marry to be the drudges of a life aping wealthier levels. Old prejudice shuts them out of active life. No social life, worthy of the name, upholds them in that wide and liberal interest in thought and science, in great questions and civil interests, which made the French woman a power in life and the State, which once separated the Quaker women from the level of their gayer sisters, which now crowds the lists of English literature with women, some of them the best thinkers, the greatest poets, and most faithful scholars in our mother-land. Open these public

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