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Frankness
by [?]

There is one kind of frankness, which is the result of perfect unsuspiciousness, and which requires a measure of ignorance of the world and of life: this kind appeals to our generosity and tenderness. There is another, which is the frankness of a strong but pure mind, acquainted with life, clear in its discrimination and upright in its intention, yet above disguise or concealment: this kind excites respect. The first seems to proceed simply from impulse, the second from impulse and reflection united; the first proceeds, in a measure, from ignorance, the second from knowledge; the first is born from an undoubting confidence in others, the second from a virtuous and well-grounded reliance on one’s self.

Now, if you suppose that this is the beginning of a sermon or of a fourth of July oration, you are very much mistaken, though, I must confess, it hath rather an uncertain sound. I merely prefaced it to a little sketch of character, which you may look at if you please, though I am not sure you will like it.

It was said of Alice H. that she had the mind of a man, the heart of a woman, and the face of an angel–a combination that all my readers will think peculiarly happy.

There never was a woman who was so unlike the mass of society in her modes of thinking and acting, yet so generally popular. But the most remarkable thing about her was her proud superiority to all disguise, in thought, word, and deed. She pleased you; for she spoke out a hundred things that you would conceal, and spoke them with a dignified assurance that made you wonder that you had ever hesitated to say them yourself. Nor did this unreserve appear like the weakness of one who could not conceal, or like a determination to make war on the forms of society. It was rather a calm, well-guided integrity, regulated by a just sense of propriety; knowing when to be silent, but speaking the truth when it spoke at all.

Her extraordinary frankness often beguiled superficial observers into supposing themselves fully acquainted with her long before they were so, as the beautiful transparency of some lakes is said to deceive the eye as to their depth; yet the longer you knew her, the more variety and compass of character appeared through the same transparent medium. But you may just visit Miss Alice for half an hour to-night, and judge for yourselves. You may walk into this little parlor. There sits Miss Alice on that sofa, sewing a pair of lace sleeves into a satin dress, in which peculiarly angelic employment she may persevere till we have finished another sketch.

Do you see that pretty little lady, with sparkling eyes, elastic form, and beautiful hand and foot, sitting opposite to her? She is a belle: the character is written in her face–it sparkles from her eye–it dimples in her smile, and pervades the whole woman.

But there–Alice has risen, and is gone to the mirror, and is arranging the finest auburn hair in the world in the most tasteful manner. The little lady watches every motion as comically as a kitten watches a pin-ball.

“It is all in vain to deny it, Alice–you are really anxious to look pretty this evening,” said she.

“I certainly am,” said Alice, quietly.

“Ay, and you hope you shall please Mr. A. and Mr. B.,” said the little accusing angel.

“Certainly I do,” said Alice, as she twisted her fingers in a beautiful curl.

“Well, I would not tell of it, Alice, if I did.”

“Then you should not ask me,” said Alice.

“I declare ! Alice!”

“And what do you declare?”

“I never saw such a girl as you are!”

“Very likely,” said Alice, stooping to pick up a pin.

“Well, for my part,” said the little lady, “I never would take any pains to make any body like me– particularly a gentleman.”