It is widely acknowledged that Economic Necessities nowadays impose upon everyone the need to obtain what is called an Higher Education. It is less acknowledged that Higher Education is a form of life-long Financial Indebtitude for all but a few Privileged Elites, and that this Higher Education can nowadays also be acquired without the student ever having to read my novel Clarissa, or the History of a Young Lady--- which I published in 1748, and which today is regarded as the greatest novel in the English Language, not to mention the longest, about 980,000 words.
I would like young men and women to take seriously into consideration the following two Alternatives to University; for men, that they retire to a Monastery for four years; and for women, that they read my Clarissa, or the History of a Young Lady. Many young men indeed would benefit greatly from a Monastic Life. Many are weary of their conflicts with adversity, and are willing to eject those passions which have long busied them in vain. They find themselves unsatisfied with any of life’s pleasures, no matter how they attempt to increase their pleasures, as by buying the latest technological gew-gaw, like the Samsung Galaxy or watching the latest Superman movie. Their thoughts are never more than 140 characters in length. And many are dismissed by Physical Puniness from the more Laborious Duties of society. In Monasteries the Weak and Timorous may be happily sheltered, the Weary may repose, and the Penitent may meditate. Those retreats of prayer and contemplation have something so congenial to the mind of man that, perhaps, there is scarcely one that does not purpose to close his life in Pious Meditation.
For the females, I suggest that they undertake a study of my novel Clarissa. A studied reading of myClarissa, or History of a Young Lady is the only proper secular equivalent to the experience of a four-year Retreat to a Monastery. It takes rather less time, and one does not need to leave the house. You are even encouraged to read it while having Tea and Cake. In my novel, the reader will find not only the highest exercise of a reasonable and practicable friendship, between female minds endowed with the noblest principles of virtue and religion, but, occasionally interspersed with such delicacy of sentiment, particularly with regard to the other sex. Such instances of impartiality, each freely, as a fundamental principle of their friendship, blaming, praising, and setting right the other, are strongly to be recommended to the female reader.