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physical constitution of those who indulge it. The young lady who has
become infatuated with a passion for flirting, courting the society
of young men simply for the pleasure derived from their attentions,
is educating herself in a school which will totally unfit her for the
enjoyment of domestic peace and happiness should she have all the
conditions necessary for such enjoyment other than those which she
herself must furnish. More than this, she is very likely laying the
foundation for lifelong disease by the dissipation, late hours, late
suppers, evening exposures, fashionable dressing, etc., the almost
certain accompaniments of the vice we are considering. She is surely
sacrificing a life of real true happiness for the transient
fascinations of unreal enjoyment, pernicious excitement.
It may be true, and undoubtedly is the case, that the greater share
of the guilt of flirtation lies at the door of the female sex; but there
do exist such detestable creatures as male flirts. In general, the male
flirt is a much less worthy character than the young lady who makes
a pastime of flirtation. He is something more than a flirt. In nine
cases out of ten, he is a rake as well. His object in flirting is to
gratify a mean propensity at the expense of those who are pure and
unsophisticated. He is skilled in the arts of fascination and intrigue.
Slowly he winds his coils about his victim, and before she is aware
of his real character, she has lost her own.
Such wretches ought to be punished in a purgatory by themselves, made
seven times hotter than for ordinary criminals. Society is full of these
lecherous villains. They insinuate themselves into the drawing-rooms
of the most respectable families; they are always on hand at social
gatherings of every sort. They haunt the ball-room, the theater, and
the church, when they can forward their infamous plans by seeming to
be pious. Not infrequently they are well supplied with a stock of pious
cant, which they employ on occasion to make an impression. They are
the sharks of society, and often seize in their voracious maws the
fairest and brightest ornaments of a community. The male flirt is a
monster. Every man ought to despise him; and every woman ought to spurn
him as a loathsome social leper.
Youthful Flirtations.--Flirting is not confined to young men and women.
The contagion extends to little boys and girls, whose heads ought to
be as empty of all thoughts of sexual relations as the vacuum of an
air-pump of air. The intimate association of young boys and girls in
our common schools, and, indeed, in the majority of educational
institutions, gives abundant opportunity for the fostering of this kind
of a spirit, so prejudicial to healthful mental and moral development.
Every educator who is alive to the objects and interests of his
profession knows too well the baneful influence of these premature and
pernicious tendencies. Many times has the teacher watched with a sad
heart the withering of all his hopes for the intellectual progress of
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