My interest in woman and our common humanity is my only apology for writing this book. I see multitudes of young women about me, whose general training is so deficient in all that pertains to the best ideas of life, and whose aims and efforts are so unworthy of their powers of mind and heart, that I can not make peace with my own conscience without doing something to elevate their aims and quicken their aspirations for the good and pure in thought and life.
e all over the world, I should say to it, that its first work is to form a fitting character with which to pass through life and do the great work of woman. There is much in starting right. A stumble in the start often defeats the race, while a good strike at the onset often wins the victory. There is no more alarming feature in the Girlhood of our times than its apparent indifference to the great work before it. Multitudes of girls are as thoughtless and giddy as the lambs that sport on the lea. They seem scarcely to cast a prophetic glance before. They live as though life was a theater, good for nothing but its acting. I know there is much reason why girls do live so, why they are so heedless of the grandeur that swells into eternal glory before them. I know they have been taught by the customs of society, by the follies of their elders, to regard themselves as the playthings of men, the ornaments of society, rather than the helpers of themselves and their race, and the solid substance of the social fabric.
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