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way was long, the day was cold?' I think it the perfection of beauty. The openings of all the other Cantos are fine. Besides, a man of Walter Scott's moral character would never have acquiesced in all the praise he has received by name, if it were not his due.”
The following was written to a young friend:
"From your portrait of a certain nameless lady, she would seem to possess in your eyes, the three fundamental requisites, which I believe I have heretofore advised you to consider as entirely indispensable: good temper, good sense, and religious principle. With these virtues on both sides, it is impossible that the married life can be unhappy. I could demonstrate this, were I writing to one who was not able, for himself, to analyse the proposition. That very young people know themselves so little, as to be incapable of determining what are the peculiar characteristics which are requisite to their happiness, in an everyday companion, and are also incapable of discerning them in the idol of their fancy, is my objection to very early marriages. Besides the cardinal vir
tues above mentioned, which exclude unhappiness,
similarity of taste and sentiment, are necessary to perfect enjoyment. It is palpable, that a woman of cultivated mind, must be disgusted with a husband whose knowledge is inferior to her own, and a man of sense must be mortified by hearing his wife talk like a dunce. If there be a delicate and feeling mind on the one part, it will demand tenderness on the other. The taste for industry, neatness, order, society or retirement, reading or conversation, should be alike. The same standing in society, too, is requisite, for vulgarity and refinement, cannot harmonize. It is for the want of this similarity of education and character, that the lamp of love does often burn very dimly, even where neither party is absolutely vicious. Now, if these hints should come too late for your benefit, and you cannot discern the image of your already chosen, in the contemplation of your own heart, why you must make up your mind to dispense with what is wanting. But if, on the other hand, you find the deficiency in yourself, your task is easier-you must labour to assimilate yourself to her standard of excellence.”
Throughout her whole life, this excellent wowoman was, as we have every reason to believe, a sincerely devout and humble Christian; and while she excelled in wit, and elegance of mind, she was remarkably exact in her religious observances, and assiduous in teaching to her children, and all around her, that belief, and those hopes, which formed the consolation of her own life. Of the workings of her own heart, and of the dispensations of Providence towards herself, she seldom spoke; an innate delicacy of mind, induced her throughout her life, to withhold the expression of every thought or feeling, which concerned only herself. She prayed much, and earnestly, but always in secret. She delighted to converse upon religious topics; and she never suffered an irreverent expression, a false opinion, or an immoral sentiment, to be uttered in her presence, without at once rebuking it. Few men, even among professed theologians, excelled her in knowledge of the Holy Scriptures. She studied these with diligence, and with prayer—with all the humility of Christian zeal, and with all the scholar's thirst for acquisition. By such means, and with the aid of the best libraries of Philadelphia, Mrs. Hall
became as eminent for scholarship, in this department of learning, as she was for wit, vivacity, and genius. Her “ Conversations on the Bible,” a practical and useful book, which is now extensively known, affords ample testimony, that her memory is entitled to this praise. This work is written with that ease and simplicity, which belongs to true genius; and contains a fund of information, which could only have been collected by diligent research and mature thought. While engaged in this undertaking, she began the study of the Hebrew language, to enable herself to make the necessary critical researches, and is supposed to have made a considerable proficiency, in the attainment of that dialect. When it is stated that she commenced the authorship of this work, after she had passed the age of fifty, when she had been the mother of eleven children, and that during her whole life she was eminently distinguished for her industry, economy, and exact attention to all the duties belonging to her station, as the head of a numerous family, it will be seen that she was no ordinary woman.
In a letter to a literary lady in Scotland, written in 1821, Mrs. Hall makes the following remarks:
“I shall take advantage of your direction to Liverpool, to send you a copy of the humble work you are pleased to approve, and shall accompany it by, what is far more valuable, a volume of my father's sermons. They were printed, after his death, and without revision, by my brothers.
“Your flattering inquiry about my literary career,' may be answered in a wurd-literature has no career in America. It is like wine, which we are told must cross the ocean, to make it good. We are a business-doing, money-making people. And as for us poor females, the blessed tree of liberty, has produced such an exuberant crop of bad servants, that we have no eye nor ear, thing but work. We are the most devoted wives, and mothers, and housekeepers, but every moment given to a book, is stolen. The first edition of the •Conversations' astonished me by its rapid sale; for I declare to you, truly, that I promised myself nothing. Should the second do tolerably, I may perhaps be tempted to accede to the intimations of good-natured people, by continuing the history to the end of the Acts of the Apostles. Yet I found so much difficulty in the performance of the first