« AnteriorContinuar »
ECONOMY is so important a part of a woman's character, so necessary to her own happiness, and so essential lo her performing properly the duties of a wife, and of a mother, that it ought to have the precedence of all other ac-, complishments, and to take its rank next to the first duties of life. Yet this is too often neglected in a young woman's education; and she is sent from the house of her father to govern a family, without that knowledge wbich is necessary to qualify her for it: this is the source of much inconvenience, and may be attended with unpleasant consequences. The husband's opinion of his wife's incapacity for domestic affairs may be fixed too strongly to suffer him ever to think justly of ber gradual improvements. A woman, whatever other qualifications or accomplishments she may possess, who does not understand doinestic economy, is a very ims proper person for a wife. Young women should endeavour, in early life, to lay in a store of knowledge on this subject, even before they are called to the practice of it. They should daily observe what passes before them; they should consult prudent and experienced mistresses of families; and should enter in a book every new piece of intelligence they acquire; they should afterwards compare these with more mature observations, and make additions and corrections as they see occasion.
The first and greatest point in domestic economy, is to lay out your general plan of living in a just proportion to, your income. If you would enjoy real comfort in the management of your affairs, you should lay your plan considerably within your income, either to prepare for conti!, gences, or to increase your funds of chariiy, which are in fact the true funds of pleasure.
In order to settle your plan, it will be necessary to make a pretty exact calculation, and if from this time you aceustom yourselves to take an account of all the little ex, penses entrusted to you, you will soon grow expert and ready at them, and be able to guess very nearly where certainty cannot be attained.
Regularity in paymenis and accounts is essential to ecosomy. You should also endeavour to acquire skill in purchasing; and in order to this, attend to the prices of things, and take every proper opportunity of learning the real value of every thing, as well as the marks whereby you are to distinguish the good and the bad,
In your table and dress, and in all other things, aim at propriety and neatness, avoiding all extravagances. It is impossible to enter into all the minutiæ of the table; but good sense, and observation of the best models, must form your taste, and a due regard to your circumstances must restrain it.
Needle-work is generally considered as a part of good housewifery. Many young women make almost every thing they wear; by which they can make a respectable appearance at a small expense. Absolute idleness is inexcusable in a woman, and renders her contemptible. The needle is, or ought to be, always at hand for those intervals in which she cannot be otherwise employed.
Early rising, and a proper disposing of time, are essential to economy. The necessary orders, and an examination, joto household affairs, should be dispatched early in the day. If any thing that is necessary be deferred, you may afterwards, by company or unforeseen avocations, forget or neglect to do it. There is a strange aversion in many, and particularly in youth, to regularity and punctuality.
Be assured it is of more consequence than you can conceiye, to get the better of this procrastinating spirit, and to acquire' early habits of constancy and order, even in the most trifling matters.
The neatness and order of your house and furniture, is a part of economy which will greatly affect your appearance and character. The decent order of the house should be designed to promote the convenience and happiness of those who are in ii, whether as domestics or as guests.
The chief end to be proposed in cultivating the anderstanding of women, is to qualify them for the practical purposes of life. Their knowledge is not often, like the learning of men, to be reproduced in some literary composition, nor ever in any learned profession; but it is to come into conduct. A woman learns that she may act. She is to read the best books, not so much to enable her to talk of them, as to bring the improvement which they furnish to the rectification of her principles, and the formation of her habits. The great uses of study to a female are to enable her to regulate her own mind, and to be instrumental to the good of others. That kind of knowledge which is rather
fitted for home consumption than for foreign exportation,
A woman of good sense will never forget, that while the
For instance, women whose natural vanity has been aggravated by a false education, may look down on economy as a vulgar attainment, unworthy of the attention of her cultivated intellect; but it is the false estimate of a shallow mind. Economy, such as I would inculcate, and which every woman, in every station of life, is called to practise, is not merely the petty detail of small daily expenses, the shabby eyrtailments and stinted parsimony of a little mind, operating on little things; but it is the exercise of a sound judgment exerted in the comprehensive outline of order, of arrangement, of distribution; of regulations by which alone well-governed families, great and small, rich and poor, subsist. She who has the best regulated mind will, other things being equal, have the best regulated family. As in the superintendance of the universe, wisdom is seen in its effects ; and as in the visible works of Providence, that which goes on with such beautiful regularity, is the result not of chance, but of design : so that management which seems the most easy, is commonly the consequence of the best concerted plan; and a well concerted plan is seldom the offspring of an ordinary mind. A sound economy is a sound understanding brought into action : it is calculation realized; it is the doctrine of proportion reduced to practice: it is foreseeing consequences, and guarding against them; it is expecting contingences, and being prepared for them. The difference is, that of a narrow-minded vulgar economist, the details are continually present; she is overwhelmed by their weight, and is perpetually bespeaking your pity for
her labours, and your praise for her exertions; she is afraid you will not see how she is harrassed. Little wants and trivial operations engross her whole soul: while a woínan of sense, having provided for their probable recorrence, guards against the inconveniences, without being disconcerted by the casual obstructions which they offer to her generad scheme.
In the following most interesting story the advantages of domestic economy are fully exemplified; and though it is not every female who will be called, like Mrs. Clermout, to save a husband from distress and ruio by its exercise, yet it is desirable that every one should acquire the habits and dispositions which would lead her to the same line of conduci, if called to the same difficulties and trials.
THE UNCLE AND NEPHEW;
AT the early age of two and twenty, Charles Clermont, by the death of his father, becaine possessed of an estate of two thousand pounds per annum. Unfortunately his father's babits had been so parsimonious, and bis ideas on the subject of expenditure so narrow, that his son had never been allowed by him an income adequate to the common wants of a gentleman. Therefore when he saw himself possessor of a large estate, and a considerable suin of ready money besides, the sudden change from poverty to wealth had the pernicious effect of making him deem his riches so, great as to be inexhaustible, and his heart and his hand became as open, as his predecessor's had been the contrary.
Generosity and fine feeling marked indeed all his actions ; but he wanted judgment, he wanted reflection. Each quick and benevolent impulse he eagerly obeyed, nor waited to consider bow far ihe meditated action was, or was not, pregnant with good or evil.
But of soine of bis benevolent impulses he had no reason to repent. The impulse which led him to introduce himself to an oppressed orphan, the daughter of a clergymnan, in order that he might offer her his purse and interest, to enable her to defend an unjust $uit instituted against her by a man whose addresses she had rejected, was the means of making him the husband of one of the best of women.
For the orphan, whom he first visited from pity, he revia sited from love; and when she modestly reminded him of the difference of their fortunes, and that his friends and family would disapprove so disproportionate' an union, he wisely observed, that he considered money not as happiness, but as the means of happiness; that he had inoney, she had none; but then she had beauty, sense, aud virtue-qualities, the possession of which was, exhibited as they appeared in her person, essential to his felicity.
The man who talked thus was young, handsome, eloquent, and impassioned. The woman who listened was equally young, still handsomer, and had as, inuch secret tenderness in her heart as he had avowed passion in his. Nor did her reserve and her scruples hold out long against the pleadings of Clermont's affection and her own; but after a few weeks of courtship they were united ; and the grateful Augusta, having in the course of their acquaintance discovered that Clermont had every virtue but those necessary ones af prudence and economy, wisely resolved, that as slie did not bring him a fortune, she would, were it necessary, endeavour to save one; and that she would try to make amends, by her care, for his pernicious want of management.
In the mean while Clermont's marriage had, though he kept it a secret from Augusta, done an irreparable injury, to some of his expectations in life.
The brother of his mother, a gentleman of the name of Morley, went to India at an early age, in order to make a fortune; and he succeeded so well, that he was able very soon to send considerable remittances over to his less prosperous relatives in England; and amongst these, though she was married to a man of landed property, he considered Mrs. Clermont, for he well knew the parsimonious disposi- , tion of ber husband; and all the litile indulgences which Charles Clerinont could boast of in his childhood and early youth were the result of his uncle's bounty to his mother. But on the death of Mrs. Clermont, an event which had a fatal effect for some time on the health and spirits of her affectionate son, the bounty of Mr. Morley was continued to Charles : and if ever he was observed to be dressed like a gentleman, or to make a present to some indigent neighbour, equal to the generosity of his heart, it was immediately after a remittance from India; and Clermont had