- Project Runeberg -  Letters written during a short residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark /

(1889) [MARC] Author: Mary Wollstonecraft With: Henry Morley
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dabbling in literature furnishes harmless topics of
conversation; for the not having such subjects at
hand, though they are often insupportably fatiguing,
renders the inhabitants of little towns prying and
censorious. Idleness, rather than ill-nature, gives birth to
scandal, and to the observation of little incidents
which narrows the mind. It is frequently only the
fear of being talked of which produces that puerile
scrupulosity about trifles incompatible with an enlarged
plan of usefulness, and with the basis of all moral
principles—respect for the virtues which are not merely
the virtues of convention.

I am, my friend, more and more convinced that a
metropolis, or an abode absolutely solitary, is the best
calculated for the improvement of the heart, as well as
the understanding; whether we desire to become
acquainted with man, nature, or ourselves. Mixing with
mankind, we are obliged to examine our prejudices,
and often imperceptibly lose, as we analyse them. And
in the country, growing intimate with nature, a thousand
little circumstances, unseen by vulgar eyes, give
birth to sentiments dear to the imagination, and
inquiries which expand the soul, particularly when
cultivation has not smoothed into insipidity all its
originality of character.

I love the country, yet whenever I see a picturesque
situation chosen on which to erect a dwelling I am
always afraid of the improvements. It requires uncommon
taste to form a whole, and to introduce accommodations
and ornaments analogous with the surrounding

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