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The Young Lady's Mentor A Guide to the Formation of Character. In a Series of Letters to Her Unknown Friends   By:

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Note: Images of the original pages are available through the Internet Archive Children's Library. See

Images of pages 244 284 were kindly provided by Special Collections at the University of California Library (Davis)


A Guide to the Formation of Character. In a Series of Letters to Her Unknown Friends



Philadelphia: H.C. Peck & Theo. Bliss.



The work which forms the basis of the present volume is one of the most original and striking which has fallen under the notice of the editor. The advice which it gives shows a remarkable knowledge of human character, and insists on a very high standard of female excellence. Instead of addressing herself indiscriminately to all young ladies, the writer addresses herself to those whom she calls her "Unknown Friends," that is to say, a class who, by natural disposition and education, are prepared to be benefited by the advice which she offers. "Unless a peculiarity of intellectual nature and habits constituted them friends," she says in her preface, "though unknown ones, of the writer, most of the observations contained in the following pages would be uninteresting, many of them altogether unintelligible."

She continues: "That advice is useless which is not founded upon a knowledge of the character of those to whom it is addressed: even were the attempt made to follow such advice, it could not be successful."

"The writer has therefore neither hope nor wish of exercising any influence over the minds of those who are not her 'Unknown Friends.' There may, indeed, be a variety in the character of these friends; for almost all the following Letters are addressed to different persons; but the general intellectual features are always supposed to be the same, however the moral ones may differ."

"One word more must be added. All of the rules and systems recommended in these Letters have borne the test of long tried and extensive experience. There is nothing new about them but their publication."

The plan of the writer of the Letters enables her to give specific and practical advice, applicable to particular cases, and entering into lively details; whereas, a more general work would have compelled her to confine herself to vague generalities, as inoperative as they are commonplace.

The intelligent reader will readily appreciate and cordially approve of the writer's plan, as well as the happy style in which it is executed.

To the "Letters to Unknown Friends" which are inserted entire, the editor has added, as a suitable pendant, copious extracts from that excellent work, "Woman's Mission," and some able papers by Lord Jeffrey, the late accomplished editor of the Edinburgh Review.

Thus composed, the editor submits the work to the fair readers of America, trusting that it will be found a useful and unexceptionable "Young Lady's Mentor."


Contentment 7

Temper 31

Falsehood and Truthfulness 52

Envy 61

Selfishness and Unselfishness 74

Self Control 93

Economy 117

The Cultivation of the Mind 137, 164

Amusements 193

The Influence of Women on Society 218

The Sphere of Woman's Influence 227

Education of Women 233

Love Marriage 244

Literary Capabilities of Women 256

Ennui, and the Desire to be Fashionable 267

The Influence of Personal Character 270

On the Means of Securing Personal Influence 276



It is, perhaps, only the young who can be very hopefully addressed on the present subject... Continue reading book >>

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