Monday, March 14, 2011

A passionate woman's happiness

Mrs. More has some remarks on this subject, which I deem too valuable to be omitted: 'Meekness is imperfect if it is not both active and passive; if it will not enable us to subdue our own passions and resentments, as well as qualify us to bear patiently the passions and resentments of others. A meek spirit will not look out of itself for happiness, because it finds a constant banquet at home; yet by a sort of divine alchemy it will convert all external events to its own profit, and be able to deduce some good, even from the most unpromising: it will extract comfort and satisfaction from the most barren circumstances; it will suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock.'

It will not be difficult to distinguish true from artificial meekness. The former is universal and habitual; the latter is local and temporary. Every young female may keep this rule by her, to enable her to form a just judgment of her own temper; if she is not as gentle to her chambermaid as she is to her visitor—she may rest satisfied that the spirit of gentleness is not in her. Who would not be shocked and disappointed to behold a well-bred young lady, soft and engaging as the doves of Venus, displaying a thousand graces and attractions to win the hearts of a large company; and the instant they are gone, to see her look mad as enraged tiger, and all the frightened graces driven from her furious countenance, only because her gown was brought home a quarter of an hour later than she expected, or her ribbon sent half a shade lighter or darker than she ordered?
A very overbearing woman, if she happens also to be a very artful one, will be conscious she has so much to conceal, that the dread of betraying her real temper will make her put on an over-acted softness, which, from its very excess, may be distinguished from the natural by a penetrating eye.

'A passionate woman's happiness is never in her own keeping: it is the sport and the slave of events. It is in the power of her acquaintances, her servants, but chiefly of her enemies—and all her comforts lie at the mercy of others. So far from being willing to learn of Him who was meek and lowly, she considers meekness and lowliness—as a despicable and vulgar baseness. And an imperious woman will so little covet the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, that it is almost the only ornament she will not be solicitous to wear.

from - A Treatise on Temper—its Use and Abuse

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