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the hand of oppression, and meliorated the human heart. "I cannot
approach my mistress," said one, "till I have done some glorious deed to
deserve her notice. Actions should be the messengers of the heart; they
are the homage due to beauty, and they only should discover love."
Marsan, instructing a young knight how to behave so as to gain the favor
of the fair, has these remarkable words:--"When your arm is raised, if
your lance fail, draw your sword directly; and let heaven and hell
resound with the clash. Lifeless is the soul which beauty cannot
animate, and weak is the arm which cannot fight valiantly to defend it."
The Russians, Poles, and even the Dutch, pay less attention to their
females than any of their neighbors, and are, by consequence, less
distinguished for the graces of their persons, and the feelings of their
The lightness of their food, and the salubrity of their air, have been
assigned as reasons for the vivacity and cheerfulness of the French, and
their fortitude, in supporting their spirits through all the adverse
circumstances of this world. But the constant mixture of the young and
old, of the two sexes, is no doubt one of the _principal_ reasons why
the cares and ills of life sit lighter on the shoulders of that
fantastic people, than on those of any other country in the world.
The French reckon an excursion dull, and a party of pleasure without
relish, unless a mixture of both sexes join to compose in. The French
women do not even withdraw from the table after meals; nor do the men
discover that impatience to have them dismissed, which they so often do
It is alleged by those who have no relish for the conversation of the
fair sex, that their presence curbs the freedom of speech, and
restrains the jollity of mirth. But, if the conversation and the mirth
are decent, if the company are capable of relishing any thing but wine,
the very reverse is the case. Ladies, in general, are not only more
cheerful than gentlemen, but more eager to promote mirth and good humor.
So powerful, indeed, are the company and conversation of the fair, in
diffusing happiness and hilarity, that even the cloud which hangs on the
_thoughtful brow_ of an Englishman, begins in the present age to
brighten, by his devoting to the ladies a larger share of time than was
formerly done by his ancestors.
Though the influence of the sexes be reciprocal, yet that of the ladies
is certainly the greatest. How often may one see a company of men, who
were disposed to be riotous, checked at once into decency by the
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