These little touches of girlish prettiness are indeed of the utmost importance to you, young ladies, and always convince the sensible masculine observer that you have those tender and confiding qualities of heart which would enable loving husbands to lead you by a thread.
I would even specialize one more of these touches, lest you in your uncalculating guilelessness should forget it. I would have you bear in mind the really beautiful device of having particular female friends of your own age, and rather plainer than yourselves, whose waists you can frequently embrace in public, and whom you can habitually salute as "darling love," "my precious," "cheri," or "my darling dear," when gentlemen are present. No eligible single gentleman was ever known to be proof against this Arcadian little-will you excuse me? - dodge. It is not in a single gentleman of means to make head against such an artless evidence of your inexpressible capacity for loving.
In the matter of conversation, society expects you to express ignorance of every material thing in the world as grammatically as possible. It also expects you to practise the phrase, "How Perfectly Ridiculous," until you can use it as a reply and comment to and upon everything not supposed to be of daily occurrence in high life. As, -
" Did you hear, Miss Gusherby, that your father's old partner had committed suicide ? "
" How Perfectly Ridiculous! "
"O Morianna Gusherby! I shall never get over it - I'm sure I shan't. I saw a man run over in front of Stewart's to-day, and the stage-wheels went right over his fece!"
" How Perfectly Ridiculous ! "
Politics, of course, are too horrid to be talked about at all, save in that general easy and graceful superciliousness of tone toward anything original with your own country which infallibly indicates aristocratic elevation of sentiment. Quite a reputation for intellect, too, may possibly bo gained by a rather scornful mention of Mr. Greeley as un ami des noirs. This is supposing, of course, that you have studied French sufficiently to know where to find convenient phrases in the back of Worcester's larger Dictionary.
Possibly you will accuse me, young ladies, of counseling you as though you were all expected to act precisely alike - were all to be exact repetitions, or reflections, of each other; but such implied and intolerable sarcasm is by no means characteristic of my courteous intent. In my large experience of the world and perfect familiarity with the most estimable qualities of your sex, I have seen the most brilliant effects produced, by some of you, upon plans quite distinct from those occupying so much of this letter.
For instance: I have known some of you to bless society with a real Sensation, by continually maintaining a Thoughtful and Sceptical aspect,-as though enduring the contact of the gay, giddy world only upon sufferance, and perpetually filled with a sadly-sweet longing for the spiritual companionship of barely one Real Friend, Your demeanor has conveyed an idea of the most touching, patient suffering, and you have allowed it to be whispered about that your life-long affliction is a want of True Sympathy, - an eternal yearning for Some One who can Truly Understand you. It is recorded, in some musty tradition or other, that this tone of bearing in the fashionable female young, was attributed by our rude ancestors to Dyspepsia, -a barbarous disease anciently produced by a too ardent addiction to boarding-school candies, vinegar, and slate-pencils. Now, however, all genteel persons know it to be an indication of a finely strung nature, and the young man who can Truly Understand does not struggle long against his fate.
To succeed in this plan, however, requires a force of character of which many fine feminine organisms are not at all times capable. Being aware of this fact, it affords me the greater pleasure to set, with all humility, before you, another and no less'effective means of indicating distinctive traits to the world. It is possible for you to show a decided individuality by the Dressing of your Hair ; and, perhaps, I cannot more clearly illustrate to you-the wonderful use of Hair-dressing alone to epitomize all that there is of distinguishing character in your gracious sex, than by submitting to your indulgent attention an authenticated biography of:
In Rutgers' halls a maid I knew.
With her hair unbecomingly dressed; She'd lips of red and eyes of blue,
With her hair unbecomingly dressed; Such a taper waist and a lovely arm And shoulders white were enough to charm.
The sourest saint and his heart alarm - With her hair unbecomingly dressed.
* Rutgers' Institute, a fashionable female seminary on Fifth Avenue, N.Y.
She had a brow of Grecian mould,
With her hair unbecomingly dressed; The nose that Venus wore of old,
With her hair unbecomingly dressed; Her rosy mouth was a kiss divine, Preserved, as 'twere, in a ruby wine, Through which its sweets, to tempt, might shine With her hair unbecomingly dressed.
She sat upon the scholar's bench,
With her hair unbecomingly dressed. To study music, Greek, and French, - With her hair unbecomingly dressed; She flirted with Signor Shaykantrill, Who taught her open and quadrille, And managed of novels to read her fill, With her hair unbecomingly dressed.
They took her from the boarding-school, With her hair unbecomingly dressed;
And had her robed in Bilk and tulle, With her hair unbecomingly dressed.
She entered society's bright pell-mell,
And took the palm of the reigning belle,
And cast upon every heart a spell, With her hair unbecomingly dressed.
She drove a phaeton in the Park, With her hair unbecomingly dressed;
The nation's wisdom greeted her,
With her hair unbecomingly dressed; She made the season all astir,
With her hair unbecomingly dressed; She flirted with Senators sharp and snub, While her liege and lord was at the club, And shone supreme at dance and rub, With her hair umbecomingly dressed.
Her husband saw her doing thus,
With her hair unbecomingly dressed; She begged him not to make a fuss,
With her hair unbecomingly dressed; But he was resolved on a homeward trip, And little he heeded her pouting lip, And home she came in his bearish grip, With her hair unbecomingly dressed.
Upon the train she felt a chill, With her hair unbecomingly dressed;
It made her quickly very ill, With her hair unbecomingly dressed;
The bonnet she wore was so very small,
That it scarcely seemed a bonnet at all;
And how could she cover her bead in a shawl, With her hair unbecomingly dressed ?
Arrived in town she went to bed, With her hair unbecomingly dressed,
And coughed enough to split her head, With her hair unbecomingly dressed:
The doctors came in a stately host, And with powder and pill the patient dosed; But in less than a week she became a ghost, With her hair unbecomingly dressed.
In garments rich she slept her last,
With her hair unbecomingly dressed; And to a better world had passed,
With her hair unbecomingly dressed; Where the snow melts first in the breath of spring, And the sweetest birds the latest sing, She waits the great awakening,
With her hair unbecomingly dressed !
And now, that I have humbly and modestly tendered all this earnest advice to you, let me add the wish that you may " Ever be happy," and thus qualify yourselves to become ultimately the " Pride of the pirate's heart" You have throngs of manly admirers always around you, many of whom are even ready to become husbands as soon as they can afford it; but not one of them all is more devoutly an adorer and slave, young ladies, than the retiring individual who counts it the sum of all earthly honors to sign himself.
Your own Chevalier,
Orpheus C. Kerr.