W1152 ESSAY BY MARGARETTE BARKER LERNED [MCQUESTEN]
Sep 7 1825
From: Adams Female Academy , Londonderry, New Hampshire "First, on thy friend, deliberate with thyself;
Pause, ponder, sift; not eager in the choice,
Or jealous of the chosen; fixing, fix;
Judge before friendship, then confide till death."
In selecting companions, our choice should be made with the nicest discernment. By framing an intimacy with these persons, who will ever watch opportunities to destroy our happinefs1 we render ourselves entirely miserable. It not only requires hours, but days and weeks to fix upon a confidential friend, to whom we can unfold our sorrow; and communicate our joys. Such an one will kindly advise us, sympathize and console us in affliction, and imprint on our hearts the tender, the endearing sentiment of friendship. But how is such a friend to be gained? Is it merely by a quick and hasty introduction, without comparing her disposition, sentiments, and habits with our own.
Let us view the lovely Ann and Clarinda, who centered their affections on each other. They formed an acquaintance in a few moments, and for some time appeared entirely devoted to each other. But how soon was the tender thread broken, which they supposed so strongly united their hearts. By a trivial circumstance, which occurred, they became the most inveterate enemies. Ah! We must search the heart to find what feelings are there deposited. We are all liable to err in opinion and judgement; especially in our choice of friends. If we would have friendship more than a name, it must be founded on real merit. Of how little importance would this world appear with all its short and temporal pleasures, were it not for the union which mutually binds the hearts of friends. It gives to every one a double relish for all the various pleasures which they enjoy. If by our exertions we cannot find such a friend on earth, let us seek to be in friendship with God. He will kindly guide and protect us through every changing scene of this fleeting life; and in sickness, angelic beings will hover around us to protect the feeble innocent while here on earth, and impart consolation to its immortal inhabitant.
Margarette B. Lerned
Adams Female Academy2
Londonderry, September 7, 1825
1 Margarette uses the now archaic "fs" construction for the "ss" sound, which we have altered for ease of reading
2 For a note on Adams Female Academy, and on Margarette Barker Lerned, see W1100.