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Gazing, perhaps, with too earnest an admiration at this generous and spirited young daughter of Ireland, and in that way making her those acknowledgments for her goodness which I could not properly clothe in words, I was roused to a sense of my indecorum by seeing her suddenly blush. I believe that Miss Bl interpreted my admiration rightly; for she was not offended; but, on the contrary, for the rest of the day, when not attending to her sister, conversed almost exclusively, and in a confidential way, with Lord W— and myself. The whole, in fact, of this conversation must have convinced her that I, mere boy as I was, (not quite fifteen,) could not have presumed to direct my admiration to her, a fine young woman of twenty, in any other character than that of a generous champion, and a very adroit mistress in the dazzling fence of colloquial skirmish. My admiration had, in reality, been altogether addressed to her moral qualities, her enthusiasm, her spirit, and her wit. Yet that blush, evanescent as it was, the mere possibility that I, so very a child, should have called up the most transitory sense of bashfulness or confusion upon any female cheek, first, and suddenly as with a flash of lightning, penetrating some utter darkness, illuminated to my own startled consciousness, never again to be obscured, the pure and powerful ideal of womanhood and womanly excellence. This was, in a proper sense, a revelation; it fixed a great era of change in my life; and this new-born idea, being agreeable to the uniform aspirations of my that is, lofty and sublime it governed my life with great power, and with most salutary effects. Ever after, throughout the period of youth, I was jealous of my own demeanor, reserved, and awe-struck in the presence of women; reverencing often not so much them as my own ideal of woman latent in them, and seldom,
indeed, more than imperfectly developed. For I carried about with me the idea, to which rarely did I see an approximation, of
A perfect woman, nobly planned,
To warn, to comfort, to command.
And from this day I was an altered creature, and never again was capable of the careless, irreflective mind of childhood.
Great, doubtless, is the power of each sex over the other; and greater in proportion to the original nobility of the nature. But I know not why the dominion of woman over man, so far as the contemplation of the reciprocal ideals is concerned, seems the more absolute. I know not why, also, because it contradicts what one might have supposed a priori, the female ideal, (by which much. abused term I mean the philosophic maximum perfectionis) seems less earthly and gross, pointing to a possible alliance with some higher form of purity and sanctity. And yet, according to our scriptural mythus, she was the daughter of earth and heaven, whilst man drew his parentage directly from heaven. Whence the Miltonic address,
'Daughter of God and man, accomplished Eve.'
told, by the same formed for God for God in him.'
And agreeably to this conception we are authentic oracle, that whilst man was only,' she, on the contrary, was formed He drew his irradiation directly from the Deity, she only by reflex communication with him. However these are curious refinements. But it is a truth of the largest value, that the dominion of woman is potent, exactly in that degree in which the nature of woman is exalted. That woman reigns despotically, never through her image as
abstracted from her actual reality, but through her ideal, which is anterior to all actual existences; that, if there were no other detection of the hollow and false basis upon which is built savage life and Mahometan life, than merely the low and abject ideal of woman essential to those forms of humanity, in that alone we should find a sufficient refutation of the shallow paradoxes devised for varnishing those hideous degenerations of man; finally, that such as woman is will man for ever be; the one sex being essentially the antipode and adequate antagonist of the other: woman cannot be other than depressed where man is not exalted. This last remark I make, that I may not, in paying my homage to the other sex, and in glorifying its possible power over ours, be confounded with those thoughtless and trivial rhetoricians, the soi-disant poets of this age, who flatter woman with a false worship; and like Lord Byron's buccaneers, hold out to them a picture of their own empire, built only upon sensual or upon shadowy excellencies. We find continually a false enthusiasm, a mere dithyrambic inebriation, on behalf of woman, put forth by modern verse-writers, expressly at the expense of the other sex, as though woman could be of porcelain whilst man was of common earthenware. Even the testimonies of Ledyard and Park are, in some sense, false, though amiable, tributes to female excellence; at least they are merely one-sided truths aspects of one phasis, and under a peculiar angle. For, though the sexes differ characteristically; yet they never fail to reflect each other; nor can they differ as to the general amount of development; never yet was woman in one stage of elevation, and man (of the same community) in another. Thou, therefore, daughter of God and man, all potent woman! reverence thy own ideal; and, in the wildest of the homage which is paid to thee, as also in
the most real aspects of thy wide dominion, see no trophy of idle vanity, but a silent indication, whether designed or not, of the possible grandeur enshrined in thy nature; which realize to the extent of thy power,
'And show us how divine a thing
Precisely at this stage of my advancement I was, and but just entered on that revolution which I have described, when, as I have said, I became a resident in the family of Lord C. Lady C. was a beautiful and still youthful woman, who acted upon me powerfully through the new. born feelings I have described, and would have done much more so, had she not been known to me from my childhood. A young Irish peeress, who was visiting at the same time in this family, aided Lady C.'s purposes in stimulating my ambition upon all the paths which interest the sympathies of woman. Lady C. was anxious that I should become a sort of Alcibiades, or Aristippus, of ambidexterous powers, and capable of shining equally in little things and in great. Accordingly, whilst I taught her Greek enough to read the Greek Testament, she took measures for my instruction in such accomplishments as were usually possessed by the men of her circle. In particular, she was anxious that I should become a good shot; and, for this purpose, put me under the care of one of her husband's gamekeepers. Duly, for many weeks, I accompanied the zealous keeper into the L-xt-n woods, and did my best to improve. But my progress was slow indeed; and at last my eyes opened clearly to the fact, that my destiny was not in that direction which could command the ordinary sympathies of this world or of woman, even though accomplished woman, moving under common and popular impulses. My sense of Lady C.'s kindness made me persevere in all
the exercisings and pursuits which she had originated, so long as I remained at L-xt-n. But, internally, I felt that my sphere was not exactly what she pointed out to my ambition, nor the prizes which glittered before my eyes exactly such as almost any woman could be expected to understand. Even then, in the depths of those Northamptonshire woods and ridings, oftentimes I exclaimed internally, — that, if it were possible for me to work some great revolution for man, or to put in motion some great agency upon man's condition, equal, for example, in power and duration, to that wrought by Mahomet, I would set a value upon fame. But else, and as respected the little trivial baubles of literary or social honors; were these only at my disposal, whether it were through defect of power in myself, or defect of opportunity,—in that case, I would prefer to pass silently through life, by quiet paths, and without rousing any babbling echo to my footsteps. Vulgar ambition was already dead within me. And living as I did at this time with two young matrons of rank, both emphatically fine young women, and one a celebrated beauty, who had seen the first men of the day at her feet, and grateful in the liveliest degree, to persons of so much distinction, for the interest they condescended to show in my future fortunes, I grieved that it should be so. However, I dissembled, and lost no part of their regard. And, meantime, one great advantage incident to my present situation, I took good care to cultivate as much as was possible. Northamptonshire, partly from its adjacency to the finest sporting grounds in England, and partly from its relation to the capital, (the distance even at that day being easily accomplished between breakfast and dinner,) is crowded with a denser resort of the aristocracy than any other part of the island. Lord C. was absent at his Irish estates in Limerick and perhaps her own taste