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Page:The Daughters of England.djvu/134

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These are personal qualifications universally considered to be of great importance to the female sex; yet is there something sad in the contemplation of the first of these, so great is the disproportion between the estimation in which it is regarded by young people in general, and its real value in the aggregate of human happiness. Indeed, when we think of its frailty, its superficial character, and the certainty of its final and utter extinction; and connect these considerations with the incalculable amount of ambition, envy, and false applause, which beauty has excited—we should rather be inclined to consider it a bane than a blessing to the human race.

Female beauty has ever been the theme of inspiration with poets, and with heroes, since the world began; and for all the sins and the follies, and they are many, for which beauty has formed the excuse, has not man been the abettor, if not the cause? Of his habitual and systematic treachery to his weak sister on this one point, what page—what book shall contain the record? Would that some pen more potent than ever yet was wielded by a human hand, would transcribe the dark history, and present it to his view; for happy, thrice happy will be that era, if it shall ever come, in the existence of woman, when man shall be true to her real interests, and when he shall esteem it his highest privilege to protect her—not from enchanted castles, from jealous rivals, or from personal foes, but from the more insidi-