The Friendships of Women
by William Rounseville Alger
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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1867 by WILLIAM ROUNSEVILLE ALGER, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.




A STATEMENT of the facts in which this book began may gratify the curiosity of some of its readers.

While gathering materials for a History of Friendship, I was often struck both by the small number of recorded examples of the sentiment among women, which were discovered in my researches, and by the commonness of the expressed belief, that strong natural obstacles make friendship a comparatively feeble and rare experience with them. Spurred by further thought, as well as by many talks, I kept on exploring the subject. At length, so much matter was mustered that I determined to insert in my work a distinct chapter on the Friendships of Women. Still the subject grew in interest for me, and the bulk of historic illustration swelled beyond the size of a chapter. Then I decided to make a little treatise of it by itself.

The principle and sentiment of friendship deserve a much larger share of the attention given, alike in the life and the literature of our time, to the passion of love. One would infer from most of the popular writings of the day, that love is the only emotion worthy of notice. But surely there are in human nature other feelings, which demand far more culture than they generally receive, feelings which really play an important part in human life, and which ought to play a still more important part. Am I deceived in thinking, that, in particular, the place of friendship in the Live; of women is a subject which, if soundly discussed, and set forth with mastery and sympathy, may give precious guidance, comfort, and inspiration to thousands of embittered and languishing souls? Will not the large number, who are denied the satisfactions of impassioned love, be grateful for a book which shows them what rich and noble resources they may find in his widely different, though closely kindred, sentiment? Is not such a book especially needed at he present time?

In method of treatment, I have, without neglecting moral analysis or reflective exposition, even greater prominence to biographic narrative, living presentation of instances from which the reader may draw the befitting lessons of the topic, and apply them for personal profit. Poetry, it has been said, is balm on the wounds of non- fulfilment in our lives. When our own experience and imagination are wanting in that balm, we must borrow it from others. If we muse, with open heart, on the enthusiastic dreams and fruitions of more richly impassioned or more happily placed natures, the contagious glow of their affections may enkindle ours. This is one of the highest uses of art, a use which puts on artists the duty of setting before their patrons sights of righteousness and bliss, trust and peace, rather than sights of wretchedness, wrangling, doubt, and error.

In conjoined importance and interest, to those who have a taste for it, no other study can compare with the study of human nature and human experience, as illustrated in individual examples. If the students are curious as to the secrets of greatness, and are emulous of excellence, the attraction is enhanced when they deal with persons of extraordinary powers and careers. It then becomes fascinating. Beautiful and noble characters can find nothing so enchanting as a beautiful and noble character. It was truly said by Vauvenargues, "Sooner or later, we enjoy only souls." These pages will present portrayals of a large number of charming souls, with accounts of their happiest experiences. For our poor human heart, there will always be a bewitchment about the memories of those persons who were either remarkable for their power of drawing affection or were signalized by their enjoyment of the boon. Many a rare character, otherwise long ago consumed in the alembic of time, will long continue to be fondly singled out and studied. So when the famous Marchioness of Salisbury was accidentally burned to death, the Skeleton was known as hers only by the jewels with which she had been decked.

It may be dangerous to overlook ignorantly what is false and hateful in society; but it is pernicious to pick out such objects for exclusive or permanent scrutiny. The most wholesome results are likely to be secured by the fastening of our attention prevailingly on what is true and fair and blessed in our fellow-beings. Such a choice will commend itself to the best spirits; for, while it is the spontaneous movement of a mean nature to contract and swoop, a generous nature prefers to expand and soar. The vulture pounces on rottenness with a cry of obscene satisfaction; but the lark seeks the sunrise with a song of worship. So let the ingenuous mind, studying human character and life, bestow a shunning glance at evil, a fixed gaze on good. So, should any one wish to write a history of the enmities of women, for which, doubtless, the materials are ample, I willingly yield him the task, appropriating only the privilege of doing justice to their friendships.

In the present volume, my first and constant purpose has been boldly to state the truth just as it is, to do justice to the facts of the subject. My second purpose has been to be of use, to give help and comfort. In whatever degree poetry and ideal sentiment may be accompaniments, neither of them has in any sense been made an aim of the work. While freely allowing his mind to shine into his pen, and his heart to flow through it, the writer has adopted every precaution to prevent or correct all those refractions of ignorance and prejudice, and all that coloring of morbid sentimentality, which would stand in the way of truth and use. In treating such a theme as friendship, the worst dangers are hardness and levity on the one extreme, exaggeration and mawkishness on the other, and cowardice and squeamishness between. These faults, it is hoped, are not chargeable on the following pages.

This book is a book of goodness. It is devoted to the nurture of those benign virtues which it so plainly shows waiting on and winning the best beauty and joy of the world. Small causes can bring about great effects, when time and facts conspire to help them. A cocoanut, tossed by the waves into a little sand on a rock amidst the ocean, has been known to strike root, and to form the centre of a luxuriant island of palms. Unable to look for any such striking result from the influence of this work, I shall be happy, indeed, if the power of the examples to which I have here given voice shall demonstrate the other side of the deep thought penned by Shakespeare: One good deed, dying tongueless, Slaughters a thousand waiting upon that.







Cornelia and the Gracchi. Olympias and Alexander. Monica and Augustine. John Quincy Adams and His Mother. Goethe and his Mother. The Humboldts and their Mother. Guizot and his Mother.


Tullia and Cicero. Margaret Roper and Sir Thomas More. Agnes and William Wirt. Mary and John Evelyn. Theodosia and Aaron Burr. Maria and Richard Edgeworth. Madame de Stael and Necker. Letitia Landon and her Father.


Narcissus and his Reflection. Electra and Orestes. Antigone and Polynices. Diana and Apollo. Scholastica and Benedict. Cornelia and Tasso. Margaret and Francis. Mary and Sir Philip Sidney. Catherine and Robert Boyle. Caroline and William Herschel. Letitia and John Aikin. Cornelia and Goethe. Lena and Jacobi. Lucile and Chateaubriand. Charlotte and Schleiermacher. Dorothy and Wordsworth. Augusta and Byron. Mary and Charles Lamb. Fanny and Felix Mendelssohn. Whittier and his Sister. Eugenie and Maurice de Guerin.


Count and Countess del Verme. Lady and Sir James Mackintosh. Aspasia and Pericles. Portia and Brutus. Arria and Pertus. Paulina and Seneca. Calpurnia and Pliny. Timoxena and Plutarch. Castara and Habington. Faustina and Zappi. Jeanne and Roland. Caroline and Herder. Lucy and John Hutchinson. Sarah and John Austin. Elizabeth and Robert Browning. Leopold Schefer and his Wife. John Stuart Mill and his Wife. Lady and Lord William Russell. Artemisia and Mausolus. Moomtaza and Jehan.


Relative Prevalence of Vice in our day. Moral Influence of Friendships between Men and Women. Analysis of Platonic Love. Laura and Petrarch. Beatrice and Dante. Heloise and Abelard. Danger and Safety of Platonic Love. Countess Matilda and Hildebrand. The "Woldemar" of Jacobi. Influence of Chivalry in developing Friendships of Men and Women. Causes of Prominent Social Position of Women in France. Friendships in Catholic Church between Women and their Directors. Olympias and Chrysostom. Paula and Jerome. Clara and Francis of Assissi. Chantal and Francis of Sales. Guion and Lacombe. La Maisonfort and Fenelon. Cornuau and Bossuet. Theresa and John of the Cross. The Friendship of Vittoria Colonna and Michael Angelo. Mademoiselle de Scudery and Pelisson. Madame de Sevigne and Corbinelli. Madame de la Fayette and Rochefoucauld. Madame du Deffand and D'Alembert. Mademoiselle Lespinasse and D'Alembert. Madame de Stael and Montmorency. Magdalen Herbert and Dr. Donne. Lady Masham and John Locke. Mary Unwin and Cowper. Mrs. Clive and Garrick. Hannah More and Langhorne. Joanna Baillie and Sir Walter Scott. Duchess of Devonshire and Fox. Duchess of Gordon and Dr. Beattie. Charlotte and Humboldt. Bettine and Goethe. Goethe's Treatment of Women in his Life and in his Works. Princess of Homburg and Marchioness di Barolo and Silvio Pellico. Isabel Fenwick and Wordsworth. Harriet Martineau and Channing. Lucy Aikin and Channing. Frances Power Cobbe and Theodore Parker. Friendships of Women and their Tutors. Zenobia and Longinus. Countess of Pembroke and Daniel. Princess Elizabeth and Descartes. Caroline of Brunswick and Leibnitz. Lady Jane Grey and Elmer. Elizabeth Robinson and Middleton. Hester Salusbury and Dr. Collier. Blanche of Lancaster and Chaucer. Venetia Digby and Ben Jonson. Countess of Bedford and Ben Jonson. Countess Ranelagh and Milton. Duchess of Queensbury and Gay. Relations with Women, of Sophocles, Virgil, Frauenlob, Bernadin St. Pierre, Rousseau, and Jean Paul Richter. Rahel Levin and her Friendships with Men. Madame Recamier and her Friendships with Men. Elizabeth Barrett, Hugh Stuart Boyd, and John Kenyon. Clotilde de Vaux and Auguste Comte. Madame Swetchine and her Friendships with Men.


Madame de Sevigne and Madame de Grignan Madame de Rambouillet and Julie d'Angenne Mrs. Browne and Felicia Hemans. Naomi and Ruth.


Dido and Anna. Hannah and Martha More. Mary and Agnes Berry. Charlotte, Anne, and Emily Bronte. Joanna and Agnes Baillie.


Treatment of Female Friendship in Literature. School-girl Friendships. Friendships in Conventual Life. Jeanne Philippon and Angelique Boufflers. Agnes Arnauld and Jacqueline Pascal. Madame de Longueville and Angelique Arnauld. Friendships between Queens and their Maids of Honor. Sakoontali and Anastiya. Marie de Medicis and Eleanora Galigaei. Queen Philippa and Philippa Picard. Lady Jane Beaufort and Catherine Douglas. Mary Stuart and her Four Marys. Queen Elizabeth and her Attendants. Queen Anne and Sarah Jennings. Marie Antoinette and the Princess de Lamballe. Queen Hortense and Madame de Faverolles.


Beatrice Portinari and Giovanna. Dorothea Sydney and Sophia Murray. Katherine Phillips and Regina Collier. Elizabeth Rowe and the Countess of Hertford. Countess of Pomfret and Countess of Hertford. Lady Harley and Mrs. Montague. Hannah More and Mrs. Garrick. Elizabeth Carter and Catherine Talbot. Charlotte Smith and Lady O'Niel. Anna Seward and Honora Sneyd. The Countess of Northesk and Anna Seward. Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby, the Ladies of Llangollen. Fanny Burney and Mrs. Thrale. Guenderode and Bettine Brentano. Miss Benger and Lucy Aikin. Lucy Aikin and Joanna Baillie. Mrs. Hemans and Miss Jewshury. Mary Mitford and Mrs. Browning. Madame de Staid and Madame Recamier. Madame Swetchine and the Countess Edling. Countess D'Ossoli and the Marchioness Arconati. The Duchess of Orleans and her Lady Companion.


Evils and Defects of Society and their Remedy. The Ideal of Marriage. Public Life versus Domestic Life. Caste: Diminution of its Influence. The Common Destiny, and the Peculiar Destiny, of Woman. Life in the Harems of the East. Right of Woman to every form of Education and Labor. Grounds of the exclusion of Women from Public Life The Right of Women to engage in Politics. The Inexpediency of their doing so Impartial Consideration of both sides of the Question. Morality, eternal; Politics, temporary. Gradual historic Emancipation of Woman. Comparative Condition of Woman in the Oriental, the Classic, the early Christian, and the Modern World. Relation of Mohammed and of Jesus to Women. Light thrown on the Condition of Women in Greece by the History of Sappho. Sentiment of Chivalry towards Woman. Woman ennobled by sharing in great public Interests. Decline of Letter-writing in our day. Duty of Women to cultivate Conversation. Duty of Women to cultivate the art of Manners. Value of model Types of Women. Disinterestedness, the Redemption of Man. Woman as seen in Mythology. Conclusion of the matter. Friendship in the Future.



THE peculiar mission of woman, it has been said, is to be a wife and mother. Is it not as truly the peculiar mission of man to be a husband and father? If she is called to add to the happiness and worth of her husband, he is called to add to the happiness and worth of his wife. They are alike bound to protect and educate their children. And the other duties, the private improvement of self and the public improvement of society rest on them in common. The assertion, then, that the distinctive Office of woman is to be the helpmeet of man, does not imply that she ought to be legally or morally any more subservient to him than he to her; for the supreme duty of a woman, as of every other human being, is, through the perfecting of her own nature as a child of God, to fulfil her personal destiny in the universe. To love, to marry, to rear a family, is by no means an entire statement of the obligations and privileges of women: because no woman always has lover, husband, or children; many fail to have all of them in succession; and a few never have either of them.

In some of these cases the domestic appointment of woman is defeated; but her personal destiny may still De achieved. The qualities of her soul and the fruitions of her life, as a free individual, may be perfected in spite of this relative mutilation in her lot. The growing desire in our time for show and luxury, the increase of the excitements of publicity, the sensational literature of fiction, which is absorbing an ever-larger share of attention from the more sensitive portion of the feminine public, these causes are concentrating an undue interest on the passion of love. It is the almost exclusive theme of plays, novels, poems. One consequence is an exaggeration of the part that should be played by this sentiment in the experience of the individual. It comes to be the engrossing subject of regard. Life is considered a failure, unless it contains love, followed by marriage; yet it must often be deprived of this experience. In the most civilized countries, especially in their brilliant capitals, a higher and higher ratio of women miss of happy love and marriage.

There never were many morally baffled, uneasy, and complaining women on the earth as now; because never before did the capacities of intelligence and affection so greatly exceed their gratifications. New perceptions are the scouts of fresh desires; fresh desires precede their own fulfilment: a just reconciliation is a slow, historic process. The lives of a multitude of women all around us contain a large element of unsuccessful outward or inward ambitions, vain attempts and prayers. This drives them back upon themselves, into a deeper and sadder seclusion than that naturally imposed by their housekeeping and their historic withdrawment from the bustling businesses of the world. In that silent retirement, in thousands of instances, a tragedy not less severe than unobtrusive is enacted, the tragedy of the lonely and breaking heart. An obscure mist of sighs exhales out of the solitude of women in the nineteenth century. The proportionate number of examples of virtuous love, completing itself in marriage, will probably diminish, and the relative examples of defeated or of unlawful love increase, until we reach some new phase of civilization, with better harmonized social arrangements, arrangements both more economical and more truthful. In the mean time, every thing which tends to inflame the exclusive passion of love, to stimulate thought upon it, or to magnify its imagined importance, contributes so much to enhance the misery of its withholding or loss, and thus to augment an evil already lamentably extensive and severe.

Now, the most healthful and effective antidote for the evils of an extravagant passion is to call into action neutralizing or supplementary passions; to balance the excess of one power by stimulating weaker powers, and fixing attention on them; to assuage disappointments in one direction by securing gratifications in another. Accordingly, the offices of friendship in the lives of women, lives often so secluded, impoverished, and self-devouring, is a subject of emphatic timeliness; promising, if properly treated, to yield lessons of no slight practical value. This vein of sentiment has suffered unmerited neglect among us. No other vein of sentiment in human nature, perhaps, has so much need to be cherished. In the lives of women, friendship is, First, the guide to love; a preliminary stage in the natural development of affection. Secondly, it is the ally of love; the distributive tendrils and branches to the root and trunk of affection. Thirdly, it is, in some cases, the purified fulfilment and repose into which love subsides, or rises. Fourthly, it is, in other cases, the comforting substitute for love. A just display of these points, in the light of an accurate analysis, aided by the appropriate learning, can hardly fail to repay the study it will require. The insight into the nature and the working of the affections, to be secured by a careful study of the subject, should be a precious acquisition of knowledge easily convertible into power. The activity of the sympathies enkindled by tracing the biographical sketches of a large number of the richest and most winsome examples of feminine friendship preserved for us in history, should bestow a rare pleasure. And the plain directions to be deduced from the discussion and the narratives should furnish a store of instruction for the wiser guidance of personal experience.

The writer, as he is about to intrust his book upon that current of literature which flows by the doors of all the intelligent, bearing its offerings to their hands, is quite aware that the subject of the rights and the wrongs, the joys and the griefs, the hopes and the fears, the duties and the plans, belonging to the outer and inner life of womankind in the present age, happens just now to be one of the chief matters of popular interest and agitation. This, however, has had no influence in leading him to treat the subject. It has long been in his mind. He has been drawn to investigate it and write on it simply by its intrinsic attractions for him. But the extent and earnestness with which the public mind is preoccupied by the social and political discussions of the theme, going on in all quarters, much increase the difficulty of treating it, as is here proposed, from the scholarly, moral, and experimental point of view, with perfect candor and calmness, and with a careful avoidance of prejudices, exaggerations, and declamatory appeals. Demagogues and partisans, who seek personal notoriety or other ends of private passion, naturally try to produce effect by the use of pungent epigrams, overstrained trifles, extravagant views, and sophistical arguments, fitted to play on the biases, piques, and ignorances of those whose attention they can gain. All this obviously adds to the hardness of the task imposed on him who would steer clear of every extremity, and keep in the golden mean of truth and use.

Such a one is also least likely to secure popular praise. The extreme conclusions, peppery rhetoric, and passionate declamation of the leaders on both sides, who aim at sensation and victory, are surest to awaken the enthusiasm of the extremists, who always direct the admiring gaze of heir parasites to the favorite representatives of their own party, their scorn to the favorite representatives of the other party. But under such circumstances, by is much as the moderation of impartiality and of a patient search for the exact truth is hard to be kept, an unlikely to win popularity, it is the more a duty, and the surer to bear good fruits of service to the public. There is a fashionable habit of laughing or sneering at the illusions of the young, a habit usually mistimed and injurious. For an illusion is as real as a truth. Every phenomenon implies truth, however incorrectly t may be understood. An illusion is, in fact, but a reality misinterpreted. Harmless, joy-breeding illusions are the magic coloring of our existence. They should be cultivated rather than rudely driven away.

The dry critic who daily labors, and with success, to destroy them, may be knowing; but he is not wise. Every seeming acquisition really impoverishes him. The noble Mendelssohn once said, "Life without illusions is only death." The illusions of high and guileless hearts are the blessed hopes created by generous faiths fastening on the better aspects of truth. They are to our experience what the tremulous iridescence is to the neck of the dove. To allow, as we grow old, a sinister gaze at the sterner aspects of truth to banish these rich and kindly illusions, is a wretched folly, however much it may dress itself as wisdom. There are lures and deceits, enchanting at an early period, which, at a later one, ought to be outgrown, seen through and left behind, but not with arid and scoffing conceit. The way to escape sadness, when the light of one beautiful promise after another goes out, is to kindle in place thereof the light of one glorious reality after another. If the gathered experience we carry at evening renders worthless many things we prized in the morning, it should also give preciousness to many things unvalued then.

When the fallen torch of ambition has smouldered into blackness, we ought to make the eternal star of religion our guide. To take spiritual treasures away without replacing them by better ones is robbery. The cynical authors who deal chiefly in ridicule and satire, or in what they call solid facts, the alternate levity and bitterness of whose writings tend to destroy all ingenuous faith and glowing affection, all magnanimous sympathies and hopes, seem to me to be engaged in as miserable a business as those African hunters who train falcons to dart on gazelles, and pick out their beautiful eyes. The illusiveness of life that results from teeming love and trust is as a mist of gold sifted into the atmosphere, through which all the objects of our regard loom, colossal and glittering. As we advance in years, we should indeed learn to recognize, and make allowance for, this refraction and these tints, but without ceasing to enjoy the beautiful aggrandizement they bestow. When there is danger that a character will melt into a mere mush of ungirt feelings, the astringent and bracing use of satire is fit. The application of a fleecing nonchalance or of a jibing scorn to a soul of strong and ardent sentiment, is unfit. A certain divinity should hedge every manifestation of trustful affection, even though it be misjudged. It is for the most part profane to scoff an overstretched or misplaced admiration: it calls rather for a considerate instruction which shall tenderly set it right.

It is insipidity of the feelings that gives rise to sentimentality, as, when the tongue is disordered, we are always trying it. The cure of that insipidity is to direct upon it the energy of an objective earnestness, a current of positive faith and love. No negative treatment, of indifference or of contempt, can avail. Sentimentality, frozen under the cutting breath of derision, resembles that loathsome ice-lake of poison in the Scandinavian hell. Sentimentality, fired by the glorious contagion of self-forgetful admiration and loyalty, is raised into sentiment, or even divinized into enthusiasm. The author will devote his best endeavor to do justice to both sides of the subject treated in his book, taking warning from the partisans who fix an exclusive attention on that aspect of it which they respectively prefer. He will try to set down such true thoughts in such a pure spirit, as, instead of drying up in his readers the springs of generous faith, and disenchanting them of all romantic expectation, will leave them at the end with a higher estimate of the worth of human nature and of the sweetness of human life.

Ever so correct a perception of what we despise and detest leaves our moral rank undetermined; but the measure of what we love and admire is the measure of our own worth. It should never be forgotten, that the most delicate and enduring pleasures we enjoy are those we give. It should always be remembered, that, while the proud demand honor, and the humble seek sympathy, there is a self-respectful affection, neither haughty nor cringing, which will always earn honor, but never stop to ask it, always enjoy sympathy, but never be dependent on it. This whole book is a demonstration of the truth, that, however much woman may need deliverance from some outward trials and disabilities, her grand want is a freer, deeper, richer, holier, inward life. Let her, if she so please, reach out for the ballot, enter on a larger range of work and responsibility. But let her not be blind to the truth, that her foremost, weightiest need is a more thorough intellectual possession and moral fulfilment of herself, leading to a closer union with friends and an absolute surrender to God. The just formula for the aims of woman, as it seems to me, is neither, on the one hand, limitation to domestic life; nor, on the other hand, devotion to public life as an end; but, dedication to the duties and joys of family and social life, and to the nurture of the personal inner life, as the true ends, and a free participation in the grand interests of public life, as a means of purifying the domestic and the inner life from selfish littlenesses, and enriching the experience of the individual with the wide obligations and hopes of humanity at large. Not domestic life alone; not public life alone; not merely domestic life and public life together; but domestic life and public life, for the sake of the personal inner life, purified and aggrandized by the ideal appropriation of the essential experience and progress of the whole world.

This, with such allowances as the distinction of sex really requires, should be the aim of every woman as well as of every man. If this view be correct, it is plain how great and vital an interest it gives to the theme of the present work; the friendship of women; since the very ground and gist of a noble friendship is the cultivation in common of the personal inner lives of those who partake in it, their mutual reflection of souls and joint sharing of experience inciting them to a constant betterment of their being and their happiness.


SOME men think women unfitted for friendship. Feminine hearts are so complex, changeable, elusive, that the belief has had great currency among themselves as well as with their critics. In comparing the two sexes in this particular, many persons commit a gross error by overlooking the fact that there are all kinds and degrees of feminine characters, not less than of masculine. When Heine says, "I will not affirm that women have no character; rather they have a new one every day," he means precisely what Pope meant by the famous couplet in his poem on the Characters of Women:

Nothing so true as what you once let fall, Most women have no characters at all.

This want of character is held by many thoughtful men for what Coleridge asserted it to be, the perfection of a woman; as tastelessness proves the purity of water; transparency, that of glass. Plausible ground for this view is furnished by the fact, that the perfection of fine and noble manners the peculiar province of feminine genius consists in the absence of egotism, in that chaste and lustrous exuberance of sympathetic joy which results from the opposite of all personal domination; namely, spontaneous obedience to the whole law of duty. Nevertheless, the opinion is unsound; partly untrue, partly inadequate. It results from the despotic selfhood of man, who wishes not to reflect another, but only to be reflected. The absence of fixed individuality makes one a readier mirror; and man, as the historic master, desires the woman who confronts him to be, at least apparently, the yielding subject of his will. But since woman is an independent being, endowed with a separate responsibleness, she has a distinct personal destiny to fulfil as much as he has, and should be granted an equal freedom of individuality.

The perfection of a woman in the sight of God is one thing: her irresistible charmingness to selfish man may be quite another thing. If the latter requires a soft compliance, involving the absence of will, the former is not irreconcilable with the firmest constancy of individual traits; and, in fact, women can no more be lumped together in level community, either by positives or by negatives, than men can be. Those differ from each other as widely as these do. Accuracy of thought has seldom been more recklessly offered up to pungency of expression than in the above-cited aphorism of Pope. There is an ample variety of tenacious womanly characters between the extremes marked by Miriam beating her timbrels, and Cleopatra applying the asp; Cornelia showing her Roman jewels, and Guyon rapt in God; Lucrezia Borgia raging with bowl and dagger, and Florence Nightingale sweetening the memory of the Crimean war with philanthropic deeds. What group of men indeed can be brought together, more distinct in individuality, more contrasted in diversity of traits and destiny, than such women as Eve in the Garden of Eden, Mary at the foot of the cross, Rebecca by the well, Semiramis on her throne, Ruth among the corn, Jezebel in her chariot, Lais at a banquet, Joan of Arc in battle, Tomyris striding over the field with the head of Cyrus in a bag of blood, Perpetua smiling on the lions in the amphitheatre, Martha cumbered with much service, Pocahontas under the shadow of the woods, Saint Theresa in the convent, Madame Roland on the scaffold, Mother Agnes at Port Royal, exiled De Stael wielding her pen as a sceptre, and Mrs. Fry lavishing her existence on outcasts!

In searching for the friendships of women, it is difficult at first to find striking examples. Their lives are so private, their dispositions are so modest, their experiences have been so little noticed by history, that the annals of the feminine heart are for the most part a secret chapter. But a sufficiently patient search will cause a beautiful multitude of such instances to reveal themselves. Nothing, perhaps, will strike the literary investigator of the subject more forcibly than the frequency with which he meets the expressed opinion, that women really have few or no friendships; that with them it must be either love, hate, or nothing. A writer in one of our popular periodicals has recently ventured this dogmatic assertion: "If the female mind were not happily impervious to logic, we might demonstrate, even to its satisfaction, that the history of the sex presents no single instance of a famous friendship." Before we get through our work, we shall meet with abundant confutations of this rash and uncomplimentary statement.

Swift says, "To speak the truth, I never yet knew a tolerable woman to be fond of her own sex." The statement, if taken with too wide a meaning, might have been refuted by the sight, under his eyes, of the cordial and life-long affection of Miss Johnson and Lady Gifford, the sister of Sir William Temple. He could not expect a Stella and a Vanessa to be friends: an exclusive love for a common object inevitably made them deadly rivals. But the author of "Gulliver's Travels" was a keen observer; his maxims have always a basis in fact; and it is undoubtedly true that women of exceptional cleverness prefer the wit, wisdom, and earnestness of the more cultivated members of the other sex to the too frequent ignorance and triviality of their own. Undoubtedly, in most societies, women of unusual genius and accomplishments can more easily find congenial companionship with men than with women. But to infer from this any natural incompatibility for friendships between women is to draw a monstrous inference, wholly unwarranted by the premises. In the sensible chapter of "A Woman's Thoughts about Women," which Miss Muloch devotes to this subject, she says, "The friendships of women are much more common than those of men; but rarely or never so firm, so just, or so enduring." But then she proceeds, justly, though with a little inconsistency, to say, "With women these relations may be sentimental, foolish, and fickle; but they are honest, free from secondary motives of interest, and infinitely more respectable than the time-serving, place-hunting, dinner-seeking devotion which Messrs. Tape and Tadpole choose to denominate friendship." That the sharper and sincerer feelings of women make them more capable than men of sacrificing their interests to their passions, less likely to sacrifice their passions to their interests, and that they are more absorbed by their sympathies and antipathies, admits of no question.

Eugenie de Guerin, a woman of the rarest heart and soul, wrote in her journal, a few years ago, this passage, which has already grown famous: "I have ever sought a friendship so strong and earnest that only death could break it; a happiness and unhappiness which I had, alas! in my brother Maurice. No woman has been, or will be, able to replace him; not even the most distinguished has been able to give me that bond of intelligence and of tastes, that broad, simple, and lasting relation. There is nothing fixed, enduring, vital, in the feelings of women; their attachments to each other are so many pretty bows of ribbons. I notice these light affections in all female friends. Can we not, then, love each other differently? I neither know an example in history nor am acquainted with one in the present. Orestes and Pylades have no sisters. It makes me impatient, when I think of it, that you men have something in your hearts which is wanting to us. In return we have devotedness." It is striking to notice the identity of sentiment here with that in the maxim of La Bruyere: "In love women exceed the generality of men, but in friendship we have infinitely the advantage."

With reference to the statement that "Orestes and Pylades have no sisters," besides the superfluous disproofs of it contained in the pages that follow, it is an interesting fact that classic literature affords one example, which modern writers have never, to my knowledge, noticed. Pausanias, in his "Description of Greece," tenth book, twenty-ninth chapter, gives an recount of an elaborate painting by Polygnotus of the underworld, the scenery and fate of the dead in the future state. Among the images of the departed set forth on the canvas were two women, Chloris and rhyia, locked in a fond embrace. Of these two women, thus shown eternally united in the realm beyond he grave, Pausanias says that they were a pair of friends extraordinarily attached to each other in life. Their story is lost. The imagination of womankind might compensate for the missing narrative, and make the names of Chloris and Thyia live with the lames of Damon and Pythias.

Let us sift the grounds of the opinion that women ire relatively incapable of friendship, analyze the appearances on which it rests, and separate the truth in it from the error.

The first fact of the subject is, that women are naturally less selfish and more sympathetic than men.

They have more affection to bestow, greater need of sympathy, and therefore are more sure, in the absence of love, to seek friendship. The devastating egotism of man is properly foreign to woman; though there are many women as haughty, hard, and imperious as any man. But these are unfeminine, despite their sex. There are women who seem cold and beautiful stones, their hearts icicles, their tears frozen gems pressed out by injured pride. On the other hand, there are men as soft, as modest, as celestially sympathetic, as almost any woman. Still, the cardinal contrast holds, that women are self-forgetful, men self-asserting; women hide their surplus affection under a feigned indifference; men hide their indifference under a feigned affection. Of course, in this comparison, depraved women are excluded: these are generally far more heartless and calculating than men. The aphorism of Rochefoucauld "In their first passion, women love the lover; in their subsequent ones, they love love" is descriptive, not of women, but of that class of women who cherish a succession of lovers, a class familiar to the base and brilliant French aphorist. With such, the venal commonness of affection first profanes, then destroys it.

It is a pathetic sign of the diviner nature of women, that they conceal sorrow more easily than joy, while men conceal joy more easily than sorrow. The lover of Adelaide de Comminge having joined a convent of Trappists, she followed him thither, disguised as a man, took the vows, and was not recognized by him until on her death-bed. Man is not capable of such pure devotion: only a woman could thus forbear, and be content with the secret joy of the beloved presence. Man demands action: woman demands emotion. Friendship between two youths is martial, adventurous, a trumpet-blast or a bugle-air: friendship between two girls is poetic, contemplative, the sigh of a harp-string or the swell of an organ-pipe.

Woman needs friendship more than man, because she is less self- sufficing. She is much more apt than he to think the form in the mirror is lovely, but not to think it of herself. Milton's Eve was startled with a shy delight at the fair shape in the fountain, never dreaming that it was herself. Men are flutes: they must be filled with the warm breath of a foreign sympathy. Women are harpsichords: they have all the conditions of music in themselves, and only need to be struck. But, containing so much, their need of being struck is the greater. Charlotte Bronte, in her sad, weary life, full, as she expressed it, of loneliness, of longing for companionship, had two faithful and precious friends; her "dear, dear E.," and her "good, kind Miss W." To the former she writes, "I am at this moment trembling all over with excitement, after reading your note: it is what I never received before, the unrestrained pouring out of a warm, gentle, generous heart. If you love me, do, do, do come on Friday. I shall watch and wait for you; and, if you disappoint me, I shall weep." Few sayings are more touching than that which Thackeray heard a woman utter, that she would gladly have taken Swift's cruelty to have had his tenderness. Now, is it not true that the intenser need naturally implies the keener search and the more copious finding?

The great reason why the friendships of women are not more frequent and prominent than they are is, that the proper destiny of woman calls her to love; and this sentiment, in its fullness, is usually too absorbing to leave room and force for conspicuous friendships. With men the other sentiments are not so much suspended or engulfed by conjugal and parental love. "The men," La Bruyere says, "are the occasion that women do not love each other." With the one-sided exaggeration incident to most aphorisms, this is true. Husband and children occupy the wife and mother; and marriage is often the grave of feminine friendships. According to the maxim of Saint Paul, "The head of the woman is the man:" the attraction of another woman must generally be weaker. The lives of men are the sighs of nature: the lives of women are their echoes. The sharp-eyed Richter says, "A woman, unlike Narcissus, seeks not her own image and a second I: she much prefers a not-I." This profound remark exactly touches the difference between friendship and love, and between the respective relations of man and woman to the two sentiments. Friendship is the simple reflection of souls by each other. Love is the mutual reflection of their entire being by two persons, each supplementing the defects of the other. Love, therefore, is friendship, with a differential addition. True love includes friendship, as the greater includes the smaller. Now, the self-sufficient character of man makes him seek a second I; that is, wish to see himself reflected in another. But the sympathetic character of woman makes her seek a not- I; that is, wish to see another reflected in herself. It is incorrect to say, that woman has less capacity than man for friendship: it is correct only to say, that man is more easily satisfied with friendship than woman is. She demands that, and something more; and every page of history teems with the records of that something more, the heavenly records of the sufferings, sacrifices, and triumphs of woman's love. When this imperial sentiment is baffled, and yet the soul remains mistress of herself, it is impossible that the next strongest sentiment should not, in all available instances, be cultivated as a solace and vicegerent. One of the renowned apothegms of that sinister moralist, Rochefoucauld, is, "Women feel friendship insipid after love." But he should have limited his remark to vicious women. It will not apply to virtuous women. Jane Austin, who in knowledge of the feminine heart has few equals, says, "Friendship is certainly the finest balm for the pangs of disappointed love."

Women are more sensitive and acute than men, more delicate electrometers for all the imponderable agencies of sympathy; and this greater penetration makes them more fastidious, gives them better ability indeed to admire what is superior, but causes them to be less tolerant of what is offensive. The innervation and nutrition of woman are finer and more complicated than those of man; and, by as much as her nerves are more numerous and more delicate, she has a keener and richer consciousness, including many states he is incapable of reproducing. He is more of a head; she, more of a plant. Her body is far more intelligent than his; and feelings are the thoughts of the body, as thoughts are the feelings of the mind. No one can forget the lines, made so famous by their exquisite felicity, written of Elizabeth Drury by Donne:

The pure and eloquent blood Spoke in her cheeks, and so distinctly wrought, Ye might have almost said her body thought.

Mothers feel as if still connected with their offspring by the fibres that joined them in their prenatal life; as the nerves continue to report in consciousness an amputated hand or foot. There is in all their emotions a vascular quality or consanguineous tincture never to be wholly eliminated.

The greater material identification of mothers than of fathers with their children, in the long period of gestation and nursing, leads to a closer and more persistent mental identification with them. The physical differences of the sexes react on the mind to make moral differences; and these are further heightened by differences in their education, habits of life, and sphere of interests. No doubt, these differences occupy a larger share of attention in women than in men.

Those who have suffered sharply, see keenly; and it is difficult to conceal much from women. They have the strangest facility in reading physiological language, tones, gestures, bearing, and all those countless signs which make the face and eyes such tell-tales of the soul. They will look into your eyes, and see you think; listen to your voice, and hear you feel. The coy and subtle world of emotion now infinitely timid and reticent, now all gates flung down for the floods to pour is their domain. They are at home in it all, from the rosy fogs of feeling to the twilight borders of intelligence. On the one side, these endowments are a help to friendship. The ardor with which a pure and generous woman enters into choice states of soul in another is a redemptive sight. This capacity of swift perception and sympathy makes the friendship of a woman a precious boon to a man who aims at greatness or perfection; and scarcely ever has there been an illustrious man who has not been appreciated, comforted, and inspired in secret by some woman long before he became famous, circling around him with her unselfish ministrations, like that star which is the invisible companion of Sirius.

The poor young Niebuhr writes home from Great Britain to Madam Hensler, the wife of the good professor who had befriended him in college, "Your letter has made me so wild with delight, that I have felt full of affection to every creature that has come in my way." The melancholy heart and dismal lot of Gerald Griffin, the Irish novelist, found almost their solitary human alleviation and brightness in the sustaining kindness and admiration of a lady, designated in his brother's biography of him as Mrs. L. John Foster, whose social career was as trying to him as his massive soul was lonely, exceedingly enjoyed the cordial encouragement and affection of a number of cultivated and excellent women. Many of his published letters were addressed to one of these, Mrs. Mant. He thus writes to her of another one: "I turn, disgusted and contemptuous, from insipid and shallow folly, to lave in the tide of deeper sentiments. There I swim and dive and rise and gambol, with all that wild delight which could be felt by a fish, after panting out of its element awhile, when flung into its own world of waters by some friendly hand. Such a hand to me is Mrs. C.'s. It is impossible to give a just idea of the strange fascination she diffuses around her. My mind seems to be larger, stronger, and more brilliant in her company than anywhere else. Every fountain of sentiment opens at her approach."

The greater sensibility, insight, and impulsiveness of women, on the other hand, expose them more to obstacles in the way of friendship. Coldness and meanness are less endurable by them. A genuinely feeling soul has an insuperable repugnance alike for unfeelingness, for false feeling, and for false expressions of feeling. An Arabian courser cannot travel comfortably with a snail. A soul whose motions are musical curves cannot well blend with a soul whose motions are discordant angles. A woman is naturally as much more capricious than a man, as she is more susceptible. A slighter shock suffices to jostle her delicate emotions out of delight into disgust. She is therefore a severer personal critic. Male peccadilloes are female crimes. A wet-blanket presence that she could not tolerate may refresh him. As less strong, less stably poised, than he, she is more tempted to have recourse to artifice; and when she does stoop to dissimulation, she uses it with inimitable dexterity, as shield, as foil, as poniard. It would be a difficult task for men to do what the spotless and loving Eugenie de Guerin was horrified at seeing two prominent Parisian ladies do, play the part of tender friends in society, and then turn away and venomously caricature each other. What woman who possessed a ring conferring invisibility on its wearer, would dare to put it on, and move about among her friends? The weakness of women is an exaggerated attention to trifles. The great condition of steady friendship is community of plans and ends in the parties. This is much wanting in women, who think chiefly of persons, little of laborious aims. Two girls, who live in a multitude of evaporating impulses and dreams it were as easy to yoke a couple of humming-birds, and make them draw. Because the polarity of a grand fixed purpose is absent from it, the mind of many a woman is a heap of petty antipathies; and, where the likings are fickle, the dislikings are pretty sure to be tenacious. A keen student of human nature has remarked, that many women "spend force enough in trivial observations on dress and manners, to form a javelin to pierce quite through a character." Women's eyes are armed with microscopes to see all the little defects and dissimilarities which can irritate and injure their friendships. Hence there are so many feminine friends easily provoked to mutual criticisms and recriminations.

The dear friends, Fanny Squeers and Matilda Price, experienced a violent jealousy on account of Nicholas Nickleby. After a fierce altercation, they fell into tears, followed by remonstrances and an explanation, and terminated by embraces and by vows of eternal friendship; "the occasion making the fifty-second time of repeating the same impressive ceremony within a twelvemonth." But obviously it is a closer approach to the truth to take the sensitiveness and interruptions in the mutual relations of women, as compared with those in the relations of men, as the direct, rather than as the inverse, measure of the number and value of their respective friendships. Yet, by a gross error, the estimate is usually made in the latter way.

The maxim of Walter Savage Landor is a palpable stroke at the truth: "No friendship is so cordial or so delicious as that of girl for girl; no hatred so intense and immovable as that of woman for woman." In fact, there is immensely less indifference between women than between men; there are incomparably more enmities; and there are a great many more friendships. It is the enormous preponderance of the mutual dislikes of women over those of men, which chiefly has given rise to the fallacious belief that their mutual likes are less. These, too, are more, though not, perhaps, so much more.

Among women, it is true, only a few of those memorable unions of soul and life are known which entitle the parties to be ranked as pairs of friends. Our ignorance, however, of such cases does not prove their non-existence. There have been thousands of them. There are a great many at this moment. It is the characteristic modesty and privacy of the lives of women which keep these heart-histories concealed. The most gifted, refined, and elevated natures are most likely to have this experience; and such natures shrink with unconquerable repugnance from all obtrusion, or betrayal, of their inmost experiences. The lives of noble women are "so transparent and so deep that only the subtle insight of sympathy can penetrate them:" their open secrets baffle all the scrutiny of coarse souls. The choicest of her sex will, to some extent, agree with the energetic sentiment of Eugenie de Guerin "I detest those women who mount the pulpit, and lay their passions bare." Engrossing, then, as the attachment of two women may be, it is not often thrust into public view so as to obtain the literary recognition won by the similar attachments of men who act their parts in the front of society, seeking a place in history for their achievements. As far as the public are concerned, women merge their heart-lives in the careers of those dear to them. It is accordingly in exceptional cases alone that a knowledge of the friendships of women is preserved for posterity. This, indeed, holds likewise of men, but in a much lower degree. Thus far there have been printed accounts of the lives of hundreds of men where there has been a printed account of the life of one woman. Allowance should be made for this in our estimate of their comparative friendships.

And now has not something been said to shake the current opinion, that the friendships of women are few and superficial? It is true that women are more imperiously called to love than men are; are more likely to be absorbed by this master-passion, and thus are more exposed to jealousy of each other. It is true, that, owing to their greater sensitiveness, keener subjection to the fastidious sway of taste, women are more apt than men to fall out, being more easily disturbed and estranged by trifles; but this relative subjection to trifles is chiefly a consequence of the exclusion of woman hitherto from the grandest fields of education, the noblest subjects of interest and action. It is true, that the attachments of women, on account of the greater privacy of their lives, are less conspicuous than those of men, less frequently obtain historic or literary mention, and therefore seem to be rarer. But it is not true, either that women are incapable of enthusiastic and steadfast friendships for each other, or that such friendships are uncommon. If women are more critical and severe towards their own sex than men are, it is chiefly because they cannot, like men, be indifferent to each other: they must positively feel either sympathy or aversion.

It is very frequently the case, that a single woman, blessed with wealth, invites some friend, to whom she is strongly attached, to accept a home with her; and they live thenceforth in indissoluble union. Such an instance among men is almost as rare as a white blackbird. Unmarried sisters so often pass all their years together, inseparably united, both inwardly and outwardly, that almost every one of us is acquainted with many examples. But it is extremely rare for bachelor brothers to club together, and pass a wholly shared existence.

In the higher classes of society, it is a common custom for nobly- born women to have lady companions, to whom they give a home and support and constant love, for the sake of congenial intercourse with them, for the comfort of their presence and conversation. There is scarcely a corresponding custom among men. It has happened to the writer to know numerous instances in which a wealthy woman has, in her lifetime, freely bestowed on a poor friend, from a pure impulse of good-will, a sum of money sufficient to secure her a handsome independence. This substantial deed of friendship he has not known paralleled in a single instance among men.

Men do not often go so far in either moral extreme as the other sex. It is the corruption of the best that makes the worst. Who is this, shameless mixture of beast and fiend, with body of fire, heart of marble, brow of bronze, and hand hollowed to hold money? It is the woman who sells herself in the street. And who is this, with upturned eyes of fathomless love, the radiant paleness of ecstasy transfusing her countenance, heaven flooding her soul, the world a forgotten toy beneath her feet? It is the woman who, in silence and secrecy, gives herself to God. So capacious of extremes is the feminine spirit.

There is no fretfullness, spitefullness, revengefullness, equal to those of a woman. There is no grace, sweetness, dignity, disinterestedness, equal to those of a woman. And, when all is said, the conclusion of one who understands the subject will be, that, for quick depth of sympathy, intuitive divination, joyous sacrifice, perfect reproduction of all the modulations of feeling, there is no friendship equal to that of a woman.


THE presentation of the friendships of women in distinct classes will add clearness to the treatment, and will also make it easier to suggest, with some approach to adequacy, the wealth of the topic. It is natural to begin with instances within the limits of blood relationship, and between persons of opposite sex. The relations of conscious affection among those of near kindred are but too apt, from the blunting influence of custom, to have a character of tameness, lukewarm routine. The members of the family, in their commonplace familiarity, cherish a quiet goodwill and fidelity, without any relishing surprise, romantic hues, or mystery. Calmly affectionate, or perhaps listless, towards all within the domestic circle, they look outside for inspiring intercourse and thrilling attachments, and for calls to lofty sacrifice and delight. This is too often the case. Identity of inheritance and situation, sameness of idiosyncrasy, and habitude of union, squeeze poppies into the household cup, and clothe in dull gray the familiar landscape around; and yet, happily, in numerous instances it is not so. The confidential intimacies, the incessant dependencies, duties, and favors of near relatives, instead of engendering a consciousness of vapid usage, sprinkle electric stimulants on their mutual feelings and intercommunications.

Their affictions towards each other keep fresh and grow deeper, and the homestead stands in a landscape tinged with faith and romance. The imagination, undeadened by custom, goes with their eyes and hands, exerts its beautifying magic, and idealizes or glorifies their images in each other's souls.

Then kinship becomes friendship. Upon the material consanguinity is superinduced a spiritual consanguinity; the legal and customary bonds of descent, association, and duty are brightened and exalted into delightful relations of intelligence and sympathy, a choice community of character, purposes, and experience. The relative is then hidden in the friend. Innumerable aunts and nephews, nieces and uncles, cousins, and other branches of kindred, have found in their relationship, with the common interests and the consequent meetings, a fortunate occasion for forming close and blessed friendships.

The biblical instance of Esther and Mordecai is very charming. Esther, left an orphan, was adopted and brought up by her uncle, Mordeoi. When the beautiful Jewish maiden was taken into the palace, among those from whom Ahasuerus was to choose his queen, "Mordecai walked every day before the court of the women's house, to know how Esther did and what should become of her." And when she had been made queen, "she did still the commandment of Mordecai, like as when she was brought up with him." In the threatened calamity of the Jews, Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and wept. Esther's maids told her of it. "Then was the queen exceedingly grieved; and she sent raiment to clothe Mordecai." In all the sequel of the well-known tale, it is easy to see that the niece's friendship for her uncle was at least as important a sentiment as the wife's love for her husband. Beranger caused to be placed on the tomb of his aunt this touching inscription: She was never a mother, yet sons mourned for her. It is a striking fact that the strength of the tie of blood is in an historic process of decrease, while, parallel with it, the strength of the tie of moral sympathy is in an historic process of increase. In primitive ages, when barbaric force prevailed, and life was full of exposures, and redress was uncertain, the family was the unit of society. All within the bond of the family stood compactly together in the most sacred and intense of leagues against every hostile approach from without. But as law and order became consolidated, and their sanctions diffused, and adequate general tribunals were set up, and public considerations encroached on private, the tie of physical kindred grew less, that of moral fellowship more. The bloody feuds of old times, which ran down the veins of successive generations like streams of fire, have become nearly obsolete. The hates transmitted with such wild ferocity, the friendships handed down with such burning loyalty, among the ancient Scottish clans, are phenomena not possible in the cultured circles of Berlin, London, Paris, or New York. This relative decay of the energy of the sentiment of material relationship is not to be regretted; for it is a sign of progress, when we see its connection with the corresponding development of the force of free spiritual affinity. It looks towards the end contemplated by Jesus when he said. "Whosoever doeth the will of my Father in heaven, the same is my mother, and my brother, and my sister."

Once the merit or demerit of the individual had comparatively little to do with the regards which the other members of the family cherished towards him. Now it goes far towards a total determination of those regards. Multitudes of the nearest relatives are utterly indifferent to each other; multitudes of them hate each other. Where no fitness for a genuine union of mind and heart exists in the parties, all the forensic ties and all the conjoining memories in the world go for nothing. A horrid illustration of this truth is given by the conduct of Tullia, the Lady Macbeth of antiquity, who drove her chariot over the body of her murdered father lying in the "Wicked Street," and smiled as his blood spattered her dress. But truly it is a happy thing when those naturally associated in birth, position, and circumstances of life, become by sympathy inwardly united in mutual appreciation and will. It is like adding the spirit of music to the material conditions of music.


PARENTS and children furnish the first class of examples in which the fondness of a close attachment by nature is elevated into a freer and more comprehensive connection by intelligent sympathy; in which the affection of instinct and custom is transformed into the loftier and richer affection of friendship. This high and benign transformation takes place in due season between all mothers and sons, all daughters and fathers, who afford the requisite conditions for it; that is, in all cases where they remain long enough together, and their characters and manners are such as naturally command respect and love from each other. Even when children are ignoble and unworthy, their fathers and mothers may yearn over them with every strictly parental affection; and even when parents are vicious and degraded, their children may regard them with every strictly filial affection; but friendship between them is generally impossible without the co-existence, on both sides, of intrinsic worth, of those responsive virtues which elicit esteem and dominate sympathy. The great reason of the failure of a broad, glowing friendship between parents and children a failure o deplorably common in our homes is the lack, in heir characters, of that wealth, nobleness, sweetness, patience, aspiration, which would irresistibly draw them to each other in mutual honor, love, and joy. The only remedy for this unhappy failure is the cure of its unhappier cause. Whatever makes characters deep, rich, pure, and gentle in themselves, tends to make them pleasing to each other.

It is absurd to suppose, that mean, hateful, and miserable souls will love each other simply because they are connected by ties of consanguinity, of interest, or of duty.

Whatever makes us suffer, especially whatever injures our finer emotions, naturally tends to become repulsive to us, an object of dislike gathering disagreeable associations. Even a mother, a son, a father, a daughter, may become such an object, as is illustrated with melancholy frequency. But when parents and children possess those high qualities of soul which naturally give pleasure, create affection, and evoke homage; and when they are not too early separated, or too much distracted in alien pursuits, a firm and ardent friendship must spring up between them. The mere parental and filial relation will become subordinated, as a sober central thread in a wide web of colored embroidery. The parental instinct and the filial instinct, weaned from their organic directness, will grow more complex and mental; and, parallel with this process, the gracious guardians and the clinging dependants will gradually change into companions and friends, still retaining, however, sacred vestiges and memories of the original cords of their union. When we have allowed proper abatement for the thousands of instances in which this precious result is not reached, the general statement now made opens to us a large class of beautiful friendships. In all ages there have been myriads of mothers and sons, myriads of daughters and fathers, who were models of devoted, happy friends. Before paying attention to these, it will be profitable for us to notice the other cases.

Considered with reference to our subject, there are four classes of parents and children. First, Those who are positive enemies, their main relation being one of opposition, dislike, and pain. Undoubtedly a chief reason for this unfortunate result is carelessness, failure to understand and feel in advance the inestimable importance of a right rule and fruition of the home. But a cause working more strongly still arises from prominent vices of character, base and wicked qualities of soul, which make harmony impossible, friction and alienation inevitable. Disorder, fretfullness, antagonism, and misery, pervading the house, compel its members to detest each other. Then hatred occupies the place which should be occupied by friendship. This is a melancholy and odious sight to see. It is a horrible evil for its sufferers to endure. It is a terrible misfortune and wretchedness to all concerned.

Secondly, There are parents and children who live in entire unconcern and neglect of each other, in a mere routine of external connections and associations. This absence of all deep personal sensibility, either sympathetic or hostile, is not so frightful a calamity as the rankling resentment of a rooted and conscious enmity; but it is a lamentable misfortune. It is a sad loss, however little they may think of it. Absorbed in other matters, giving all their affection to business, fashion, ambition, dissipation, or to persons outside of the home-circle, they overlook the thing most indispensable for placid and permanent contentment; and are sure, sooner or later, to rue their folly, in an experience of bitter disappointment.

Thirdly, there are those who, so far from cherishing hatred or indifference, deeply love each other, and passionately long to enjoy an intimate union in reciprocal confidence, esteem, and sympathy, but are prevented by some unhappy impediment, some disastrous misunderstanding or morbid pique. Many a parent yearns with unspeakable fondness towards a disobedient and ungrateful child; the heart breaking with agony for the reconciliation, the embrace, the sweet communion fate withholds. Many a child profoundly desires to fall at the feet of a cold, hard, careless parent, and with supplicating tears win the notice, the affection, that would be so priceless; and, sadder still, there is many an instance where both parent and child are truly noble and affectionate, and would give the world if they could break through the separating barrier, and lavish their whole hearts on each other; but, in spite of these generous qualities, their common desires and their bitter suffering, some falsehood, some pride, some shyness, some suspicion, some chill, intangible phantom, is set fatally between them. In every community there are piteous tragedies of this sort, little dreamed of by those outside, but which the bleeding hearts concerned in them feel as a deadly drain, hastening them towards the grave.

Fourthly, Besides the parents and children who are open enemies, who are utter indifferentists, or who, while loving each other, are kept apart by some obstacle, there is another class, who, as free and cordial friends, happily realize in their relation all that is to be desired. In these examples there are ample wisdom, considerateness, tender sympathy, and guardian strength, on the one side; ready docility, attentiveness, obedience, reverence, and fondness, on the other; with an exuberance of indescribable comfort and peace on both sides. What a treasure, what an inestimable boon, what a divine trust, what an inexhaustible delight, is such an affection between a parent and a child! What a paradise any country would be, if such an experience were welling up, a pure fountain of life, in every home throughout its borders!

Few inquiries can have greater interest or importance than the inquiry, why there is not more generally between parents and children that warm, ingenuous, abiding affection which produces a full and joyous friendship. A clear perception and statement of the difficulties in the way of it may suggest the means of removing them. And, in the outset, is it not obvious that the home affections flourish so scantily because scanty attention is paid to the cultivation of them? It is forever the fallacy and folly of man to think least of that which lies nearest to him, and is the most indissolubly bound up with his being as a cause of happiness or of misery. He thinks most eagerly on those comparatively exceptional and remote things, which, in consequence of their greatness or their rarity, are the strangest and the most impressive to him. He ought to pay the keenest heed to that which is the most important in its influence on his life, not to that which is the most startling to his fancy. Now, it is unquestionably true, that while there is nothing which contributes so much to enrich or to impoverish us, to bless or to curse us, as our domestic relations, there is scarcely any thing which we take less pains to cultivate into all that it is capable of becoming. In most instances, the life of the home is so close to us, so identified with ourselves, accepted with such a matter of course security, that we overlook the delicate conditions for preserving its freshness and securing its increase. But, in every relation of persons, there are two sets of conditions, corresponding with the two sides, neither of which can be neglected with impunity. There are a multitude of homes which are centres of irritation and wretchedness, miniature hells to their occupants.

The first thing to be done is to turn thought to the subject, break up the apathy of routine, secure an earnest appreciation of the facts in the case, and then study the remedy.

One great obstacle to the desired friendships of parents and children consists in the difficulty of a perfect sympathy between persons marked by such differences of age, position, interest, and experience. Those of the same years, passions, pleasures, duties, will naturally sympathize the most easily. But in all these respects the disparities of parent and child are equally numerous and striking.

They look at things from opposed points of view; they judge of subjects in the light respectively of experience and of inexperience. This great and constant contrast must give rise to innumerable discrepancies of opinion and of desire, provocative of disagreements, if not of dislikes. Nature has, however, provided powerful neutralizers for this obstacle to sympathy between those who are so widely unlike, counteractives which forcibly tend to prevent disagreements from breeding hostilities. These counteractives are the profound instincts of parental fondness and filial reverence, the first of which tends to make the parents enter into the spiritual states of their children, and to look at things from their point of view; and the second, to make the children, with docile duteousness, adopt as their own the conclusions of their parents. These counteractives ought to be carefully fostered, neither party forgetting the differences between himself and the other, but endeavoring to bridge those differences by the identifying powers of imagination and sympathy. Another frequent destroyer or lessener of the natural love of parents and children is the conflict between the rightful authority of the former and the wilful impulses of the latter.

Maturity, having accumulated knowledge and wisdom out of long experience, and being set by God and nature in charge over the headstrong instincts of ignorant or capricious youth, cannot avoid the duty of frequently applying the curb to excessive desires, and the spur to defective ones. A sense of chafing, an impulse to resent and rebel, will naturally often arise. And, in every such collision of passion and rule, there is a tendency to hostility. It is needless to say how lamentably frequent are the examples in which this tendency makes actual foes of those between whom the natural bonds of love and reverence are of the most sacred character. It is evident that parental authority is a divine trust which must be exercised over childhood and youth. Only it should be exercised on principle, not from caprice; for the good of the ruled, not for the gratification of a despotic self-assertion in the ruler; with fond gentleness, not with harshness or cruelty. And the authority of the parent should be vindicated as far as possible by force of wisdom, weight of character, power of persuasion; avoiding, as far as can properly be done, every occasion of conflict, every need of a violent issue. The child, on the other hand, ought to remember the rightful authority of his parents, consider their greater experience, take for granted their benignant intention, cultivate a grateful sense of dependence and duty towards them, and foster the habit of prompt and hearty submission to their wishes. It is a safe rule, in general, for a boy or girl to respect and obey the father and mother, and not to think, when they oppose the thoughtless spirit of self-indulgence, that this parental opposition is unreasonable or unkind. To honor one's parents is the first scriptural commandment with promise.

It is a habit which no one will ever regret. But, alas! how many a man, how many a woman, has kneeled on the grave where father or mother lay mouldering, and has lamented, with burning tears of shame and sorrow, the disobedience, the disrespect, the unkindness, the neglect, shown in earlier years! How have they longed to lift up the faded forms from their coffins, to re-animate them, and to have them again in their homes, that, by unwearied ministrations of tenderness, they might atone for the upbraiding past! Let the man in the full maturity of his age, hardened by long contact with the world, revisit the scenes of his childhood. Let him stand by the old homestead where fence and wall have fallen, and house and hearth gone to dust. What presence hallows the place? Who so fills the air about him as to seem just ready to break into palpable vision wherever he turns? It is his mother. Overwhelmed by a flood of memories, inspired by an immortal faith, not less than by an immortal affection, he drops on his knees, and cries,

Mother! thou art mother still; Only the body dies; Such love as bound thy heart to mine, Death only purifies.

The same moral is drawn by Sarah Tytler in her excellent book of "Sweet Counsel" for girls, where she says, "I do not know that I ever told my father I was once or twice very angry with him for refusing me this or that request. My lips will never tell him now, and beg his pardon, and assure him that I was not worthy of him then, but that I know all at last; my hand will never clasp his hand, my lips never kiss his lips again. But I do not break my heart; for I think he knows all that I ever intended to tell him, and has forgiven me long ago. I am persuaded,

"There must be wisdom with great death; The dead shall look me through and through."

But perhaps the most fatal influence against the growth and perpetuation of vivid friendships between parents and children is the disenchanting effect of familiarity. A close and constant intercourse, long continued, usually tends to make persons arid, commonplace, uninteresting, to each other, takes away surprise, eager expectation, and romance. There is nothing human beings so much like as to be able strongly to impress and be impressed. This seems to cease to be possible in a company who fancy they have struck every string, sounded every secret, exhausted the possibilities, in each other. A long subjection of the same persons to the same circumstances produces a general spirit of sameness, a flagging tedium, a want of varied attraction and stimulation. Let a stranger, a foreign friend, any honored guest, come in, and how his presence quickens every thing! Life shines with novel lustre, and throbs with new energy. Every one puts his best foot forward, exerts his best powers to interest. The fresh pleasure every one feels gives him a fresh power of pleasing. But, ah it would be of no use, we think, to make any effort in the dull old circle of our familiars, who can produce no effect on us, and on whom we, in turn, can produce no effect. And thus life in the home becomes monotonous, torpid, and vacant. Worlds of love are every day destroyed by indifference and repulse. If the same pains were taken to invigorate and perpetuate the domestic affections as to secure the good-will of other persons whom we admire or depend on, it could scarcely fail to give a wonderful enrichment to the satisfactions of home.

This truth is especially applicable to the relation of parents and children in our day. The old extreme of a severe exercise of parental authority has passed away, and a new extreme of filial insubordination and insolent self-assertion has taken its place. It is altogether too frequent a thing now to see lads and lasses taking their parents to task as inferiors, and demanding every service from them. The thought of his child should be a constant delight to a parent. When the ill-temper and ill-behavior of a child cause every association with him in the heart of the parent to be disturbing and painful, how can the result be otherwise than alienating and depressing? Let there be two children in a family, one of whom is invariably obedient, gentle, attentive, ingenuous; the other, irritable, insubordinate, careless, secretive, and untruthful. The former shall be idolized, while the latter is regarded with condemnatory repugnance. The fact that a boy is your son, or that a girl is your daughter, cannot wholly neutralize the repulsiveness of their odious traits. When children uniformly respect and obey their parents, and seek by every kind attention and praiseworthy effort to please them, it is not in human nature that they should fail to be unspeakably loved and caressed. Deferential treatment, patient service, quick sympathy, expectant attention, an obvious desire to please, are the most potent charms that mortals can wield. They show that the parties are important to each other. They give life its highest value. In their absence, all romantic color fades, and every precious affection expires. The most effective intercourse that vanity can establish with strangers offers nothing comparable to the delicious quality of the experience which results when a parent and child, of suitable character and age, are blessed with a complete friendship. Every thought of it pours for them a sudden sunshine through the sky, an exhilarating fragrance through the air.

Undoubtedly the affections are greatly hurt and repressed by being regarded as obligations rather than as privileges. They must be wooed forth by the gentlest lures. They will not come when carelessly expected and demanded as a matter of course. The heart will be free. It imperiously resents bonds and orders. The love of parent and child is certainly even more a delight than it is a duty. They should be friends, not so much because they are commanded to be such, but more because they are mutually worthy, and because their peace of mind, their contentment of heart, their improvement and happiness, depend on their being such. What privilege can be imagined superior in purity of joy and profit, to that of a young man who has for his friend a wise and holy mother, whom he loves with enthusiasm and confides in with an absolute devotion?

And if there be a human tear From passion's dross refined and clear, A tear so limpid and so meek It would not stain an angel's cheek, 'Tis that which pious fathers shed Upon a duteous daughter's head.


CORNELIA, daughter of Scipio Africanus, and wife of Tiberius Gracchus, was left a widow, with a large family of young children. She refused all subsequent offers of marriage, even when Ptolemy of Egypt wished to share his throne with her. Her two sons, Tiberius and Caius, the tribunes who achieved such greatness and fame, owed every thing to her judicious training, to her wise and unwearied pains in educating them, guarding them, and inspiring them to high deeds. She was almost idolized by the Roman people, and occupied, indeed, the proudest position of any woman in the history of her country. Her two sons venerated, and invariably took counsel with their mother.

It is evident that their inner lives were shared with her. One of them was known to have dropped, at her request, a law which he meant to urge through the Senate. Cicero says that Catulus pronounced a public panegyric on his mother, Popilia, the first time such a thing was done in Rome. In a less formal manner, Caius Gracchus often publicly spoke the praises of his mother, Cornelia. When her sons were murdered, she bore the cruel affliction with imposing magnanimity. Departing from Rome, she took up her abode at Misenum, where, in the exercise of a queenly hospitality, she lived, surrounded by illustrious men of letters, as well as by others of the highest rank and distinction. Universally honored and respected, she reached a good old age, and finally received at the hands of the Roman people a statue inscribed, Cornelia, mother of the Gracchi. Notwithstanding her somewhat meddlesome and despotic temper, Queen Olympias seems to have maintained an intimate friendship with her son, Alexander the Great. He omitted no occasion, we are told, of showing his esteem and affection for her. When absent on his campaigns, he kept up a constant correspondence with her, highly valuing her letters, and in return concealing nothing from her. Saint Augustine and his mother, Saint Monica, a sublime example of this friendship, sit on the shore of fame, side by side; the face of the mother a little above that of the son; both of them worn with care, full of lofty pathos and love, looking at us out of the night of time; the sea of mortal passion far beneath their feet; the eternal stars hanging silent above, even as Ary Scheffer reveals in his solemn picture of them sitting in the window at Ostia, and gazing together over the ocean.

Thirty years after the death of Monica, Augustine said in one of his sermons, "Ah! The dead do not come back; for, had it been possible, there is not a night when I should not have seen my mother, she who could not live apart from me, and who, in all my wanderings, never forsook me. For God forbid that in heaven her affection should cease, or that she should not, if she could, have come to console me when I suffered! She who loved me more than words can express." The example, in American history, of a valued and fruitful friendship between a mother and a son, given by Abigail Adams and John Quincy Adams, is stamped with prominence by the exceptional fact of the publication of her letters to him. These letters breathe wisdom and virtue, with incitement to all worthy aims, no less than strong mental companionship and fervent maternal sympathy. They have been edited by her grandson, who pays her a deserved tribute in the memoir he has prefixed. The wife of the elder President Adams can never lose the exalted place she holds, in the honoring remembrance of the American people, among those exemplary women whose powerful talents and virtues did so much to mould the destinies of the nascent Republic. Madame Goethe said to Bettine, "My Wolfgang and I were so nearly of an age, that we grew up together more as playmates than as mother and child." And, when the great Wolfgang was an old man, he said that his mother, as yet quite a child, grew up to consciousness first with, then in, himself and his sister Cornelia. Her intercourse with him is prominent through a large part of his life: her influence on him is visible through the whole of it. The union of the illustrious brothers Humboldt with their mother was especially full and tender. While she lived, they shared souls; and, after her departure, the sons idolized her memory. Long years had passed, when William, expiring in the arms of his elder brother, said, "I shall soon be with our mother." And Alexander said, "I did not think my old eyes had so many tears." The relation of Guizot, the distinguished French statesman and author, with his mother, was one of the deepest, fullest, and noblest friendships that ever conjoined mother and son. Madame Guizot went through the horror and tragedy of the Revolution, to which her husband was one of the choicest victims, with a heroism and a dignity unsurpassed; and devoted herself to her maternal duties with a calm energy and wisdom whose proper fruits she lived long to enjoy. Her character revealed the purest feminine qualities in conspicuous perfection. Her honored old age showed all that is lovely and all that is august united, in her history, her spirit, her manners, her acquirements, and her presence, to attract confidence and to command respect. Indissolubly joined, through more than sixty years, with her brilliant and high-souled son, she was not more proud and fond of him than he was of her.


CICERO and his daughter, Tullia, enjoyed an extraordinary friendship. From all the hints left us, it is to be gathered that Tullia was a woman of sweet and noble character. It is certain that she was most affectionately devoted to her father; and that she had accomplishments of knowledge and taste, qualifying her to be his companion and his delight in his age and grief. It is affecting to read how eagerly, on his recall from exile, she hurried to Brundusium to throw herself into his arms. She died at about thirty-two. He was thrown into a state of lamentable prostration. Turn where he would in his inconsolable sorrow, engage in whatever he might, tears constantly overtook him. His friends, Atticus, Csar, Brutus, Sulpicius, and others, wrote letters of sympathy to him. He retired to one of country-seats. Seeking the solace of solitude, he buried himself every morning in the thickest of the wood, and came not out till evening. In his former reverses, he says he could turn to one place for shelter and peace. "A daughter I had, in whose sweet conversation I could drop all my cares and troubles.

But now every thing is changed." "It is all over with me, Atticus: I feel it more than ever now that I have lost the only being who still bound me to life." He purposed to erect on a commanding site, as a monument to his dear Tullia, a splendid temple, which, as though dedicated to some god, should survive all the changes of ownership, and bear to distant futurity the memory of her worth, and of his sorrow for her. For a long time, he could think of nothing but the details of this plan, on which he intended to lavish the bulk of his fortune. He avoided society for almost a year, and never recovered from the wound which the loss of her gave his heart. Margaret Roper was the pride and darling of her father, Sir Thomas More, whom in return she venerated and loved with the whole depth of her heart. The beauty of their relation cannot be forgotten by those who have read the life of the great English martyr. It was by her brave duteousness that his mutilated body was buried in the chancel of Chelsea Church. His head, exposed upon a pole on London Bridge for fourteen days, was ordered to be thrown into the Thames; but Margaret rescued it, preserved it in a leaden box, and directed that, after her death, it should be placed with her in the grave.

One of the loveliest examples of this class of friendships is unveiled by William Wirt in the exquisite memoir he wrote of his daughter, Agnes, after her death at the early age of sixteen. The example is closely parallel to that of the famous and good John Evelyn, who, apostrophizing his daughter, Mary, in mournful memory, says, "Thy affection, duty, and love to me was that of a friend as well as of a child." So Wirt writes of his Agnes: "To me she was not only the companion of my studies, but the sweetener of my toils. The painter, it is said, relieved his aching eyes by looking on a curtain of green. My mind, in its hour of deepest fatigue, required no other refreshment than one glance at my beloved child, as she sat beside me." Not many fathers and daughters have been fonder or faster friends than Aaron and Theodosia Burr. The character and memory of Burr, in the popular imagination, have been blackened beyond the hope of bleaching. Of course, he was a man mixed of good and bad; and was not such an unmitigated devil as some would paint him. But his selfishness, sensuality, recklessness, and degradation give, in one respect, a peculiar interest and instructiveness to the enthusiastic friendship subsisting between him and his daughter. It is no disproof of the need of the great virtues to serve as the basis of a true and enduring friendship. It proves that a sincere love, even in an unclean and depraved soul, purges it, and adorns it with meritorious charms and real worth in that relation. However bad Burr may have been in other relations, to his daughter he was ever good, gentle, and wise, unwearied in his devotion, and clothed with many fascinations. Good persons may sometimes be ill-consorted and odious to each other, their intercourse full of jars and frictions. Bad persons may sometimes be so related as to show each other only their good qualities, and be happy friends, while all around are detesting them. In one of her letters to her father, Theodosia speaks of his wonderful fortitude, and goes on to say, "Often, after reflecting on this subject, you appear to me so elevated above all other men; I contemplate you with such a strange mixture of humility, admiration, reverence, love, and pride, that very little superstition would be necessary to make me worship you as a superior being; such enthusiasm does your character excite in me. When I afterward revert to myself, how insignificant do my best qualities appear! My vanity would be greater, if I had not been placed so near you; and yet my pride is in our relationship. I had rather not live than not be the daughter of such a man." Burr, on the evening before his duel with Hamilton, wrote to his daughter a long letter, in which he said, "I am indebted to you, my dearest Theodosia, for a very great portion of the happiness which I have enjoyed in this life. You have completely satisfied all that my heart and affections had hoped, or even wished." Unhappily he slew his antagonist, and himself survived to carry a load of deadly and universal obloquy which would have crushed to the earth almost any other man.

Theodosia set sail from Charleston in a little vessel, which was never heard of again. It was supposed to have foundered off Cape Hatteras. The loss of his daughter, Burr said, "severed him from the human race." Certainly, from that time to the end of his prolonged and dishonored life, he never was wholly what he had been before. An inner spring had been broken, and the purest contents of his heart had escaped through the breach. Parton very fitly dedicates to the memory of Theodosia his highly readable and charitable life of her father. That brilliant lawyer, the late Rufus Choate, remarked, on reading this life, that there did not seem to have been in Burr a single glimpse of so much as the last and poorest tribute vice pays to virtue, not even the affectation of a noble sentiment. But we may claim with justice, that the friendship with his daughter is one bright place in that frightfully stained, one golden gleam on that dismally mutilated, career. Mention should be made of Richard and Maria Edgeworth, among those whose union as father and daughter, was merged in a superior fellowship as friends, in a more intimate and delightful junction of ideas, sentiments, and labors. Their united lives, their mutual devotion, their shared counsels, pleasures, and tasks, form one of the finest of domestic pictures, a model of a Christian household. In the preface to the life of himself which he left for Maria to complete and publish, he says, "If my daughter should perceive any extenuation or any exaggeration, it would wound her feelings, she would be obliged to alter or omit, and her affection for me would be diminished: can the public have a better surety than this for the accuracy of these memoirs?" And Maria says, "Few, I believe, have ever enjoyed such happiness, or such advantages, as I have had in the instructions, society, and unbounded confidence and affection of such a father and such a friend. He was, in truth, ever since I could think or feel, the first object and motive of my mind." One of the most remarkable friendships of this sort was that of Madame de Stael and her father. Necker was a kind, good, and able man, who occupied a distinguished position and played a prominent part in his time. But the genius of his impassioned daughter transfigured him into a hero and a sage. Her attachment to him was, in personal relations, the dominant sentiment of her life. With distinct comprehension and glowing sympathy, she entered into his thoughts and fortunes. She was to him an invaluable source of strength, counsel, and consolation.

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