« PreviousContinue »
well adapted to those periods when, from a succession of storms, ladies are prevented from going into the open air, and begin to feel the lassitude of a too sedentary life. By a change of habits in the community, and by the introduction of machinery on a larger scale, domestic manufactures are become a less prominent branch of economy. Still some degree of alliance subsists between them. Materials for winter stockings might be profitably prepared in families. Durable flannels, and even handsome carpets, have been often the productions of delicate hands. Among a large family of sisters, the cheerful operations of the spinning-wheel assume the character of an amusement, and are said to promote a happy flow of spirits. Were my own sex as great admirers of antiquity as the other, I might bespeak a more creditable chronology for the same science of spinning; and present a formidable list of Princesses, and women of high degree, who patronized it by their example. Yet, inasmuch as there are but few lady antiquarians, and I have not the temerity to undertake bringing an exploded thing into fashion,-I plead for the great spinning-wheel solely as a salutary mode of exercise, and not one inconsistent with domestic economy. To females who suffer for want of muscular action, and there are many such among the higher classes, physicians have prescribed a variety of substitutes, such as sweeping, polishing furniture, jumping the rope, playing at battledore, modifications of calisthe
nics, &c. In some of these the effort is too violent ; in others it may be carried to excess, through excitement or competition ; but regular exercise upon the spinning-wheel has been known to give the valetudinarian strength, and to remove incipient tendency to pulmonary disease.
With regard to the culinary art, I should be pleased to persuade my young ladies to become some what adept in it: not that I believe to tempt the palate with high-seasoned dishes, and induce indigestion and debility among one's guests and dearest friends, is true benevolence, though some benevolent ladies may practise it, But that superintendence of a table, which unites neatness with comfort, consults health, and prevents prodigality, and the power of personally supplying it with salutary or elegant preparations, is an accomplishment of no slight order. It need not follow that a thorough knowledge of house-keeping is incompatible with intellectual tastes and attainments. There is, indeed, no native affinity between them; but she will display the greatest mental energy who can reconcile their discrepancies, compose their welfare, and become adept in each. This may be effected; we have had repeated examples. It will suffice our present purpose to cite
The accomplished Editor of the “ Juvenile Miscellany,” whose prolific pen enters almost every department of current literature, to instruct and delight, is also the author of the “ Frugal Housewife;":
and able practically to illustrate its numerous and valuable precepts. You will probably think, my young friends, that an essay on such homely and antiquated subjects might have been spared. But while home continues to be the province of woman, nothing that relates to its comfort order, and economical arrangement should be held of slight import. That these complicated duties may be well and gracefully performed, some foundation should be laid for them in youth.
It has been alleged as an objection to the present expanded system of female education, that it creates dislike to the humble occupation of the domestic sphere. It becomes those who enjoy these heightened privileges to disprove the argument, and to free themselves from the ingratitude of repaying the inereased liberality of the other sex with disregard to their interests and happiness. This responsibility rests much with the rising generation. We, therefore, who are almost ready to pass off the stage, entreat you, our daughters, not to despise that domestic industry which walks hand in hand with respectability and contentment. We pray you to show that love of books is not inconsistent with what primitive simplicity expects of its daughters, and that knowledge need be no hinderance to duty.
A Merchant's Twife.
Lucy was the youngest of three sisters : she had passed all her life at her father's parsonage, in Cornwall, till her marriage with a young merchant, who was visiting a distant relation, near Mount's Bay. At her father's house he first saw her, and in her father's church she became his wife : he was an orphan, and his only sister had been long married to a clergyman in North Wales. A few weeks after her marriage, Lucy set off with her husband to London. On the morning of her departure, she visited every room in the small parsonage, and sighed over objects, which association had long endeared to ber : she had never sighed over them till then. She ran weeping round the garden, and patted the head of her father's old gray horse, as it trotted up, thrusting its neck over the orchard gate at her approach ; she wished to have gathered some of the primroses, which spotted with their pale yellow blossoms the bank of her favourite hazel copse, but she heard her father's voice, and ran quickly back : he told her that her husband was waiting for her. “Oh, my dear father," said Lucy, as he pressed her arm to his side, now I am going to leave
I am so afraid that I shall not attend to all your advice, and prove unworthy of your tender care and kindness to me.” “My very dear girl," replied the old clergyman, you
have been a dutiful child ; I, who never flattered you, declare so; I think God will enable you to be a good wife : you may expect trials, we all must ; but while you trust in Him, he will never leave you, nor forsake you ; remember that God is a God that hideth himself;' but • God is love.'” The two old servants were standing near the door, to see Miss Lucy as long as they could ; and she shook hands affectionately with them both. Again and again did she kiss her parents and sisters. At last she took her husband's hand, and said, “ Dear William, you will love me the better, for being so very sorry: I am quite ready now.” She could not speak when she looked from the windows as they drove away, and she tried to smile, but it was one of those smiles which brought tears. They arrived late in the evening at Birchin-lane, where Mr. Morton, resided. The door was opened by a respectable, middle-aged woman, who had lived with him since his arrival in town. Everything was neat, the house had been freshly painted for her reception, and a fire was blazing in the comfortable parlour. Lucy felt
very tired, but she saw that every thing had been prepared for her with more than common attention : she shook off her fatigue and languor, and sat down, cheerfully, to make tea for her husband. In the presence of Mary, the servant, she admired the neat