Page:Female Prose Writers of America.djvu/463

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421
MARY ELIZABETH LEE.

into one of the trials of the scribbling class, and perhaps it may take away any disposition which you may sometimes feel towards courting the gentle Muse. I wanted so much to produce that Farewell, before I “furled my sail, to try no more the unsteady breath of favour;” and now I am resolved not to give up the ship, but to hold on, so long as the storm of public opinion does not beat too hard. Don’t you think I had better continue, confining myself to such innocent, simple subjects, as “Lines to the Owner of an Album,” “Stanzas to E. C.,” “Sonnet to the Evening Star,” and so on? Such lines can do no mischief, you know, to the cause of poetry.

But I promised to tell what I was doing, and you will be alarmed to hear, that I am drinking, with great gout, at the fount of philosophy. To be sure, as yet my progress has been but slow, and the draught not very deep, for I have taken in but parts of Doctor Adams’s Moral Philosophy, and fear to think when I shall be possessed of the whole. Have you read the work? Cousin S. thinks very well of it. If you want a treat in natural philosophy, I can recommend to your perusal “Euler's Letters,” which form two volumes of that excellent publication, “The Family Library.” The subjects are handled with a clearness and conciseness which pleased me greatly; and perhaps like me, and I suspect women in general, you do not like those huge tomes, that always seem to smell of poppies, whenever I venture so far as to open them. I like roast pig when stuffed with raisins and currants, for so I remember eating it some years ago at a friend’s house; and though a homely simile, I would compare philosophy with this heavy, substantial dish, and can truly say I never enjoy it unless well stocked with some apropos anecdote; some short flight of fancy; some occasionally wild conjecture.

With the word conjecture, Dick’s Works are brought to my mind, and I want you to read them also. I am now busy with his “Philosophy of Religion,” a work which, on account of its being a little startling, interests me exceedingly. What do you think of him when I tell you that he says, “it is a pleasing fancy to suppose that a city lit with gas lights, would present the same