and are now being admitted to it after it has become more truly liberal.
An extremely clever woman, Mrs. Mary Astell
, who wrote “A Defense of the female sex” nearly two centuries ago (1697) in England
, puts this point in a very lively way. “I have often thought,” she says, “that the not teaching Women Latin and Greek
was an advantage to then, if it were rightly consider'd, and might be improv'd to a great length.
For Girles after they can Read and Write (if they be of any Fashion) are taught such things as take not up their whole time, and not being suffer'd to move about at liberty as Boys, are furnish'd among other Toys with Books, such as Romances, Novels, Plays
, and Poems
, which though they read carelessly only for Diversion, yet unawares to them give 'em very early a considerable Command both of Words and Sense; which are further improved by their making and receiving Visits with their Mothers, which gives them betimes the opportunity of imitating, conversing with, and knowing the manner and address of older Persons.”