One of the virtues that I think is over-praised at all ages, in women especially, is constancy. Constancy is splendid and much to be admired where two people are constant; but where it is one-sided, and neither wanted nor appreciated by the other sex, I think it is rather of the same order as the non-changing of opinions in Blake's comparison in 'Heaven and Hell': 'The man who never changes his opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind.'

Mr. Henry James says, with a strength that is almost crushing to us women, who cling with such persistency to our delusions: 'Illusions are sweet to the dreamer, but not so to the observer, who has a horror of a fool's paradise.'

Shelley gives us strength by saying: 'The past is death's, the future is thine own. Take it while it is still yours, and fix your mind, not on what you may have done long ago to hurt, but on what you can now do to help.'

Jowett, like most teachers of the young, placed a great, it may be an excessive, value on success. It distressed him to see his pupils making a mess of life. He wished them to take their part in the work of their generation with energy and effect. And yet one of his pupils writes 'that it was Jowett, as much as anyone, who taught me that work, not success, made life worth living.' I quote this here in my chapter to young women, though it is intended for men, because it applies equally to women, and has a cheerful ring. Women's work is seldom crowned with success, but it is always there in some shape or another, ready for them to take up; and if they do so the result, if there is none other, will at least be the strengthening and improving of their own lives, not by escaping their trials, but by learning to bear them better.

Goethe says: 'Everything that happens to us leaves some trace behind; everything contributes imperceptibly to make us what we are. Yet it is often dangerous to take a strict account of it. For either we grow proud and negligent, or downcast and dispirited; and both are equally injurious in their consequences. The surest plan is just to do the nearest task that lies before us.'

I do not believe the state of mind which improves a woman's character ever comes without some intellectual effort. Most women of a certain type generally fly to music and desultory reading. Both these may be turned to serious use. Both may be only another form of the excitement which brings on reaction. Drawing and art were the saving of me. The creative work and the endless intellectual ramifications independent of - in fact, active against - a society life made drawing most useful to me. It does not much matter what the occupation is, so long as it is a mental gymnastic - something which stretches and strengthens the mind, and consequently, I think, the character - something which takes us away from the accusation which George Eliot puts as follows: 'We women are always in danger of living too exclusively in the affections. And though our affections are perhaps the best gifts we have, we ought also to have our share of the more independent life - some joy in things for their own sake. It is piteous to see the helplessness of some sweet women when their affections are disappointed - because all their teaching has been, that they can only delight in study of any kind for the sake of a personal love. They have never contemplated an independent delight in ideas as an experience which they could confess without being laughed at.' Many will smile at my thinking it necessary in these days to make this quotation; but women's natures remain the same - yesterday, to-day, and for ever - and in certain phases of family life, and surrounded by the difficulties they entail, George Eliot's caution may be as much wanted by some young women as it was, more universally, forty years ago. Of course this is an entirely different thing from cramming children in early youth.

There was nothing Jowett spoke of with so much bitterness as useless learning. 'How I hate learning!' he exclaimed. 'How sad it is to see a man who is learned and nothing else, incapable of making any use of his knowledge!' If this is true of men, is it not doubly true of women? 'Is learning of any use?' he asks himself in one of his notebooks; and the answer is: 'Men are often or always unable to use it. It keeps men quiet, it clogs their efforts, it is creditable, it gratifies curiosity; but, for progress to mental improvement, learning without thought or imagination is worse than useless.'

Goethe says: 'To the man of superficial cleverness almost everything takes a ridiculous aspect; to the man of thought almost nothing is really ridiculous.'

I quote Jowett's strong condemnation of useless learning, as it should put us on our mettle to learn in such a way as is most likely to be useful to fill the vacuum in our individual lives. But we must remember that Jowett lived in an atmosphere where learning for learning's sake surrounded him, and the choice for him lay between well-directed and mis-directed learning. I cling, however, to the idea that even somewhat useless learning is better than none, as the mere effort to learn does good.

Mothers who like keeping their girls at home, and who see them content in a round of empty gaiety and excitement, often say: 'I am in no hurry for my girls to marry; they are happy and merry at home.' As men's bachelor lives often unfit them for marriage, so girls' lives are just as apt to do the same. They have to fit themselves for either marriage or old-maidism, and this is not done by prolonging unduly the life described in one line by La Fontaine: La cigale ayant chanté tout l'été, etc. I remember my mother telling me that she had rather pitied a sad-looking elderly girl at a Newcastle ball. Her partner remarked: 'Yes, no wonder; poor girl! she is just recovering from her seven-and-twentieth disappointment.' This of course is an exaggeration, but it is characteristic of what may happen. After a certain amount of rushing about, a girl should herself realise that she can no more live on social excitements without deterioration than her body can thrive on sal-volatile. These remarks must always apply only to the large average. Women who are very attractive to men, as I said in my first book, have the ball at their feet, and, as regards the other sex, can do as they like.