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Page:The Daughters of England.djvu/188

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CHAP. VIII.
GRATITUDE AND AFFECTION.


As one who has been conducting an inexperienced traveller through an enemy's country, joyfully enters with him upon the territory of a well-known and familiar friend; so the writer, whose stern duty it has been to disclose the dangers and deceitfulness of the world to the unpractised eye of youth, delights to open to it that page of human life, which develops all that is most congenial to unsophisticated nature. And can anything be more so to woman, than gratitude and affection? How much of her experience—of the deepest well-springs of her feeling—of those joys peculiar to herself, and with which no stranger can intermeddle—are embodied in these two words!

If our sense of obligation in general bears any proportion to our need of kindness, then has woman, above all created beings, the greatest cause for gratitude. The spirit of man, even in early life, bears a widely different impress from that of woman. The high-spirited and reckless boy flings from him half the little grievances which hang about the girl, and check her infant playfulness, sending her home to tell her tale of sorrow, or to weep away her griefs upon her mother's bosom. There is scarcely a more affecting sight presented by the varied scenes of human life, than a motherless or neglected little girl; yet so strong is the feeling her situation inspires, that happily few are thus circumstanced, without some one being found to care for, and protect them. It is true, the lot of woman has trials enough peculiar to itself and the look of premature sedateness and anxiety,