« AnteriorContinuar »
is simple and easy of practiceshew them the best way of managing things-but shew them also the advantage of slighting them. Tell them how paltry and contemptible it is to grumble if a dish be badly seasoned, if a curtain be unevenly folded, or a chair be too high or too low.
It is undoubtedly better to be naturally coarse, than to have an overweening delicacy in matters of little moment. This pernicious delicacy, if not repressed in women of understanding, is more dangerous as it regards conversation than every thing else: to females of this stamp, the greater part of mankind appears insipid or fatiguing: the least deviation from politeness is monstrous: and they are always ridiculing and disgusted. Make
such women know betimes that nothing is so injudicious as judging superficially of people by their manners, instead of examining the very bottom of their intellect, their sentiments and useful qualities. Convince them, by a variety of proofs, how much a country woman, with a coarse or even ridiculous manner, but with a good heart and sound understanding, is more estimable than a courtisan, who, under an acquired politeness, hides an ungrateful and unjust heart, capable of every meanness and dissimulation. Observe also, that those characters are always weak which incline to idleness and disgust. There is no one whose conversation is so bad, as that some good may not, occasionally, be drawn from it; and although a
person at liberty choosing the best characters to converse with, yet there is some consolation, when reduced to converse with inferior characters, that we may make them talk on subjects that they understand, from which, perhaps, some information may be gained. But let us now return to those particulars in which a girl should be instructed.
Continuation of the Duties of Women
To the duties previously enumerated, may be added the art of choosing and retaining servants. We should employ such as have honor and religion: their offices should be distinctly ascertained : the time and trouble which each thing requires, the manner of doing it well, and the expense attending it, should also be considered. It would be absurd (for instance) to find fault with a servant if you wished her to dress any thing quicker than it could be dressed; and if you have not some know
ledge of the quantity and price of the ingredients which compose dishes, you will be liable to become the dupe or the scourge of your domestics; so that a knowledge of these matters is essential to a mistress of a family.
It is also necessary to know their humours, to manage their tempers, and to regulate in a christian-like manner this little household republic, which is, in general, sufficiently turbulent. Authority, is absolutely essential in this respect; for the more unreasonable servants are, the more they should be made obedient by fear: but as they are your brethren in Christ, and members of his kingdom, a rigid authority should never be exercised towards them, unless previous persuasion is found to fail.