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as can be conveniently done; because that will enable your servants to regulate their work accordingly, and it will spare them any confusion or hurry, which must ensue from late orders. Let every thing be done in order, and in the right season, and you will never be inclined to deny the truth that "there is a time for all things."
MRS. L. After the duties of the morning are over, there still remains a considerable portion of time to be filled up before dinner. I do not think that any employment requiring steady attention, or freedom from interruption, could be entered upon with great advantage during this period of the day, which is generally open for the reception of occasional visitors.
MRS. B. There are several occupations to which this part of the day may, notwithstanding, be appropriated; and which may be put aside and resumed without much inconvenience.
I suppose that, during the morning, you have pursued some serious or useful study in private, while your mind remained unoccupied by any of the concerns of the day. Now, then, you will find it expedient to devote the remainder of your time
before dinner to various avocations, such as the perusal of any lighter or amusing volumes which you may happen to have near yon. Many of these publications of the day will increase or renew your general information, will keep up your acquaintance with the world, and will, at least, afford you an innocent amusement. In this kind of light reading, I include some of our best novels, biography, poetry, travels, and several of the periodical works: and, as you will, probably, frequently enter into society, such reading may now and then afford you topics for conversation, when that which is afloat seems either to be declining in interest, or to be turned to disagreeable and painful subjects. If, however, to avoid any appearance of pedantry, you do not choose to avail yourself of literary topics, you will still find your reading useful to you, if it only increase your interest in the conversation around you, and give you a readiness in joining in it, and in occasionally sustaining it your
Drawing, music, or light and ornamental needlework will afford you variety in the occupations of this part of the day: these can easily be resumed after the interruption of visitors; indeed, any needlework with which you may be occupied at the entrance of morning visitors, may be continued without any breach of politeness towards them, provided it be not of a nature to divert your thoughts from their conversation, or to cause you to remit any polite attentions.
MRS. L. I am tempted to abandon music and drawing altogether, from the apprehension that for
want of time to practise both these arts, I shall lose so great a degree of my proficiency in them, that they will soon cease to be valuable either as amusements to myself or to others.
MRS. B.. Were you to do so, I should not think that you determined wisely. You have absolutely laboured, for the greater part of your life, to attain considerable skill in both these arts, and have succeeded in your efforts; and, because you are married, and have more demands than formerly upon your time and attention, you would, in effect, cast away all your previous exertions. Your friend Maria pursues the contrary system, and although she has the arduous charge of a young family, whom she has never neglected, she contrives to keep in practice most of the acquirements of her youth. Perhaps she is making no progress in them; but still, she has certainly skill enough in these accomplishments to gratify and amuse her husband and many of her friends; and, with the aid of her lively conversation, to give a charm to the social parties which often assemble around her. I can scarcely think those persons too severe, who, asserting that women, after marriage, suffer their talents to fall into disuse, conclude that they have previously cultivated them rather for the purpose of attracting notice and admiration, than from the higher view of acquiring powers, by which domestic life may be gladdened and adorned. Many sensible people consider it a grievous mistake in female education, that the most valuable years of youth are spent in acquiring and cultivating arts not essential to the fulfilment of the chief duties of this life; and
which are certainly totally useless in what regards our interests in a future state. Yet, when once this precious time has been given to them, why, — when they may be employed to obtain some desirable end, when they may attach a husband to his home and family circle, or promote the innocent amusement of young people and children, why abandon them, and thus render of no account the hours and the years which have been devoted to their acquirement?
Accomplishments, too, may be of considerable value to their possessors, independent of the use which they may serve within the social circle. The greater part of a woman's life ought to be, and necessarily must be, passed at home; the more sedentary resources, therefore, she possesses by which her time may be innocently and cheerfully occupied, the less will she suffer from any occasional privations of society or even of health. Sometimes, a husband is obliged to be frequently, and for long periods, absent from home; sometimes, there are no children to interest the feelings, and оссиру the time and attention of the married woman;-in such cases, her acquirements and information may be as companions to her, whiling away the hours of solitude, which would, otherwise, be spent in listlessness, indolence, and discontent.
I remember being much struck by hearing, from a medical man, of the almost daily exclamation of a lady of high rank, "Oh! that I could sew!" She appeared to be surrounded with every gift of fortune, and yet was a miserable woman. She had spent the earlier part of her life in the manner