Page:Female Prose Writers of America.djvu/113

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A few words respecting the influences which have, probably, caused me to become the Chronicler of my own sex, may not be considered egotistical. I was mainly educated by my mother, and strictly taught to make the Bible the guide of my life. The books to which I had access were few, very few, in comparison with the number given children now-a-days; but they were such as required to be studied—and I did study them. Next to the Bible and The Pilgrim’s Progress, my earliest reading was Milton, Addison, Pope, Johnson, Cowper, Burns, and a portion of Shakspeare. I did not obtain all his works till I was nearly fifteen. The first regular novel I read was “The Mysteries of Udolpho,” when I was quite a child. I name it on account of the influence it exercised over my mind. I had remarked that of all the books I saw, few were written by Americans, and none by women. Here was a work, the most fascinating I had ever read, always excepting “The Pilgrim’s Progress,” written by a woman! How happy it made me! The wish to promote the reputation of my own sex, and do something for my own country, were among the earliest mental emotions I can recollect. These feelings have had a salutary influence by directing my thoughts to a definite object; my literary pursuits have had an aim beyond self-seeking of any kind. The mental influence of woman over her own sex, which was so important in my case, has been strongly operative in inclining me to undertake this my latest work, “Woman’s Record.” I have sought to make it an assistant in home education; hoping the examples shown and characters portrayed, might have an inspiration and a power in advancing themoral progress of society. Yet I cannot close without adverting to the ready and kind aid I have always met with from those men with whom I have been most nearly connected. To my brother[1] I owe what knowledge I possess of the Latin, and the higher branches of mathematics, and of mental philosophy. He often lamented that I could not, like himself, have the privilege of a

  1. The late Judge Buell, of Glen’s Falls, New York.