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Acquaintance out of doors are also evils. Often the children are kept shivering in the cold during long parleys, running great danger of taking not only severe colds, but of catching some of the diseases which prevail at different seasons of the year, from those with whom they are thus made to associate. I have no doubt that children often take the complaints to which they are liable, from associating with other servants and children; and perhaps they may receive these diseases at the very time in which their constitutions are least able to undergo them; and, then, a struggle of anxious length ensues between life and death. Yet, is this inconvenience most difficult to remedy in town, where the observation of the mistress can scarcely extend beyond the walls of her house. Great as the inconveniences are in allowing this intercourse with out-door acquaintances, the prohibition is hazardous; for it, certainly, tends to the practice of deceit in your domestics, and to the inculcating of it in your children. The temptation to gossip is powerful, while the prohibition is perhaps regarded as a particularity to which nothing but the fear of discovery would induce attention; and, if the silence or artfulness of the children can be secured, either by coaxing or by threats, I am afraid the prohibition would prove but a slight restriction, in very many cases.
Children, in general, are too long left under the superintendence of the nurse.
should be removed from the
Boys, in particular, nursery at six years
age. The parents have no right to object to
any additional care and anxiety this may occasion to themselves: they owe duties to their progeny which must be performed, and one of these is to lay not only a good foundation of future conduct, but to prevent the force of example from counteracting their intentions, at the earliest age.
CLOTHES AND FAMILY-LINEN.
MRS. L.- I am again desirous of trespassing on your store of experience, to assist my immature judgment on various other points besides those on which we have before conversed. As I must in future study the best mode of purchasing and supplying, not only the various articles of my own dress, but every thing for household purposes, I shall be obliged to you for any information you can afford me on this subject. In the first place, with regard to my personal expenses, I find I shall be obliged to limit them to a certain sum, at the same time my dress need not be otherwise than suitable to the rank I hold, provided I avoid extravagance and careless wastefulness; I have now an ample, well-stocked wardrobe, but how shall I keep it in its present state, with my moderate means?
A woman's wardrobe may be divided into two parts, the ornamental and the useful.
In the first I include all the
various articles which are affected by fashion; every thing, in fact, of external dress. In these a good economist will avoid a superabundance. She will endeavour to check that feminine weakness - the
love of variety, which so frequently displays itself by an ever-varying costume, and will confine the ornamental part of her wardrobe into as narrow bounds as the extent of her general style of living and visiting will permit. Whimsicality of dress is no proof either of good taste or of good sense, but rather results from the absence of both, or from the mistaken notion, that to attract attention is to gain admiration. But whimsicality, whether shown in dress, manner, or opinion, does not deserve, and never obtains, permanent admiration: it is more likely to meet with the smile of contempt or the sneer of ridicule. A claim to superiority and distinction established on such a foundation has nothing to secure it. It is those qualities only that are intrinsically good and useful, that can gain permanent admiration and esteem. It is true that every one who lives much in society must follow fashion to a certain extent, or must be prepared to encounter the laugh, and perhaps the scorn, of those who pronounce judgment on appearances. But it is extremes on either side, that are to be shunned by all who wisely prefer propriety and consistency to notoriety and peculiarity, and among such, I trust, you will rank.
Another disadvantage of possessing too many of the ornamental parts of female attire, is the fickleness of fashion, and the constant necessity which this must produce of altering the forms of dresses, which the means of the possessor do not allow to be thrown aside. For these alterations of dress much valuable time must be wasted, or much money squandered, and, in either case, the very attention
which is requisite for so unworthy an object, takes the mind from more important and rational pursuits. Some women seem to think that life is of no use but to make or re-model dresses, and act as if they were born to be walking blocks for showing off to advantage the workmanship of the riband and lace manufacturer, of the mantua-maker, and the milliner.
The second part of a female's wardrobe, comprehending every article not subject to the laws of fashion, deserves also attention and care; and for your management of this branch I recommend this rule: do not neglect to make each year a small addition to most of the articles of which it is composed. By doing this you will scarcely perceive the effects of time upon your general stock, because the yearly supply will bear some proportion to the deficiencies which that may cause. if you neglect this rule, the consequences may be that all at once you shall find your wardrobe to require a complete renewal, and your annual allowance will then scarcely suffice to provide it. Most of the things to which I allude are of an expensive nature, and sweep away no inconsiderable sum, when whole sets are to be purchased at once. All good economists agree in their approbation of this rule, and enforce it, more particularly, in regard to household and table linen.
In choosing linen or cambric, examine the threads if they are even and close; a raw linen, with uneven threads, does not promise to wear well. Fine linens answer better than the coarse ones, provided they are not unsuitable for the use for