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Aims and Aids for Girls and Young Women On the Various Duties of Life, Physical, Intellectual, And Moral Development; Self-Culture, Improvement, Dress, Beauty, Fashion, Employment, Education, The Home Relations, Their Duties To Young Men, Marriage, Womanhood And Happiness.

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Lecture One. GIRLHOOD. Angels view Girlhood with Solicitude and Delight—Beauty no perpetual Pledge of Safety—Nothing in Man or Things impels a provident Regard for it—Blossoming Womanhood an Object of deep Interest and Pity—Girlhood's first Work is to Form a Character—It should be Pure and Energetic—Woman only a Thing—Her Education progressing—Physical Health should be Preserved—A Woman not Herself Without Physical Strength—Woman must be Independent, and Earn her own Livelihood—Character must Embody Itself In an Outward Form to be of Service to the World.

If the angels look down upon earth and behold any natural object with especial delight, it must be Girlhood. And yet if they are not gifted with prophetic vision, they must tremble with fearful solicitude while they gaze delighted. There is a fearfulness in the beauty of Girlhood which mingles anxiety in the cup of admiration. No good being can look upon it without casting a solicitous thought forward to its future, to ask whether it will be well or ill with it. The beauty of Girlhood is no perpetual pledge of its safety. Society has built no wall of protection around it. It has no sure defense within itself. Its Maker has hung no flaming sword turning every way above it to ward off danger. There is nothing in the world of man and things which impels a provident regard for it. Suns, winds, frosts, storms, time, diseases, and death pay no deferential respect to it. Man respects it, bows to it, but while he does it, it withers under his devotion, so little does he mingle wisdom and care in his regard. Society professes to respect it, and so it does, but it subjects it to so many untimely trials and injurious customs, that that very respect is fearful. A young girl, fresh from childhood, blossoming into a woman, rosy health in her veins, innocence in her heart, caroling gaiety in her laugh, buoyant life in her step, the rich glance of an opening soul in her eye, grace in her form with the casket of mind richly jeweled, is indeed an object of beauty. He who can behold it and not feel a benevolent interest in it, is an object of pity. He who can live and not live in part for Girlhood, is devoid of the highest order of feeling. He who can see it wither under unrighteous customs or pass away by the blight of unholy abuses, and not drop a tear of sympathy, is less than a generous man. He who sees its perilous position and lifts not his warning voice, fails in a great duty. It is not enough to admire Girlhood; it is not enough to do it graceful honors, make it obsequious bows, strew its pathway with flattering compliments, and call it by all beautiful names. Such outward expressions, unless most judiciously made, are quite as likely to do it injury as direct abuse. Girlhood is full of tenderness and weakness. The germs of its future strength are its most perilous weaknesses now. Its mightiest energies often kindle the fires of its ruin. Its most salient points of character are often soonest invaded. Indeed, it can scarcely be said to have a character. It is forming one, but knows not yet what it will be. Its interior now is not exactly a chaos, but a beautiful disorder. The elements of something grand are there, but they are not yet polished nor put together, nor compactly cemented. This work is yet to be done. It is the great work of Girlhood. It is the moral art to which it is to apply all its ingenuity and energy. Girlhood is not all a holiday season; it is more a working time, a study hour, an apprenticeship. True, it has buoyant spirits, and should let them out with fresh good-will at proper times. It has its playful moods, which should not only be indulged but encouraged, but not wholly for the sake of the momentary enjoyment, but rather to infuse the forming character largely with the element of cheerfulness. A gloomy Girlhood is as odd and improper as it is unnatural. And it is improper, not only because it is out of place and wrong, but because it shades the character with a desponding hue. Desponding is absolutely wrong in itself. It is a perversion of our minds. To put on weeds when nobody is dead, to weep when it would be more becoming and useful to laugh, to wear a face of woe when the sunshine of gladness has the best right to preside in our sky, is all wrong....