Page:Letters of Life.djvu/136

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LETTERS OF LIFE.

tanical prejudices against it were still it force, it may be thought strange that my father, with his high standing for piety, should have given it his sanction. But I was indulged in it, probably, from the suggestions of my mother. She reasoned that the exercise was healthful, and the accomplishment conducive to ease and courtesy of manner. Like Addison, she thought a "lady should learn to dance, in order to know how to sit still gracefully." But the argument by which she chiefly prevailed was the isolation of my brotherless and sisterless estate, and innate fondness for solitary musing, which required stronger aid in the full development of social feeling, lest the love of a happy home becoming too intense, should make a selfish character. My sweet sister-mother did not use her eloquence in vain, and her grave husband, who had for years borne the title of Deacon, though without the office, consented that his child should attend a dancing school. As I had adopted the rule to endeavor to excel in whatever I attempted to do, his sacrifice of sentiment, if indeed it was one, was sometimes compensated when he came to escort me home in the evening, and lingered among the spectators, by hearing what is so agreeable to parental ears, a daughter's praise.

Our first teacher was a Frenchman, whose previous history not even Yankee perseverance could elicit. He bore the sobriquet of Colonel, and was disturbed at the name of Bonaparte. It was inferred that he had been