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Page:The Daughters of England.djvu/234

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Love is a subject which has ever been open to discussion, amongst persons of all classes, and of every variety of mind and character; yet, after all, there are few subjects which present greater difficulties, especially to a female writer. How to compress a subject which has filled so many volumes, into the space of one chapter, is also another difficulty; but I will begin by dismissing a large portion of what is commonly called by that name, as wholly unworthy of my attention; I mean that which originates in mere fancy, without reference to the moral excellence of the object; and if my young readers imagine, that out of the remaining part they shall be able to elicit much amusement, I fear they will be disappointed; for I am one of those who think that the most serious act of a woman's whole life is to love.

What, then, I would ask, is love, that it should be the cause of some of the deepest realities in our experience, and of so much of our merriment and folly?

The reason why so many persons act foolishly, and consequently lay themselves open to ridicule, under the influence of love, I believe to originate in the grand popular mistake of dismissing this subject from our serious reading and conversation, and leaving it to the unceremonious treatment of light novels, and low jests; by which unnatural system of philosophy, that which is in reality the essence of woman's being, and the highest and holiest amongst her