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bers of a family are always pleasing, and afford a tacit assurance of the unchanged affection of each party.
Every mother should, in my opinion, encourage amongst her children little reciprocities of this kind, and accustom them to think of gratifying the tastes of one another more than their own. I have seen most enviable sensations depicted on the countenances of a little family, when, on a birth-day morning, each, with glee, presented his little gift to his sister, which had been secreted with difficulty for many days, in order the more to surprise her. This early cultivation of the social and benevolent affections is the source of much happiness both to the parent and the child in after-life, to say nothing of the agreeable recollections and associations it connects with the word home. Almost at any
period of life these recollections have the power to withdraw the mind from present scenes, and to restore, though only in a trifling degree, and for a fleeting moment, that cheerful state of spirits which belongs peculiarly to childhood.
MRS. L. It is not so decidedly the fashion to make presents now as it was formerly. I have read and heard of marriages and births being the signals for the display of the greatest generosity (or, as you would perhaps call it, ostentation) throughout a whole circle of relations and connections. How changeable, and yet how powerful for the time is fashion!
MRS B. So powerful, that besides governing our inclinations, it may be said to subjugate our Fashion carries us, as it were, in a
perpetual stream from which we make no attempt to rescue ourselves, but are borne along through all its windings, and are drawn into all the shallows into which folly can pilot us. It does not regulate only the form of our gowns or the arrangement of our head-dress, but superior tastes and opinions are equally under its dominion. The works of art, however meritorious, if not sanctioned by fashion are neglected, and the artists allowed to remain unknown. Fashion buzzes its criticisms abroad, and we all admire or condemn accordingly. I cannot avoid comparing this imitative influence on the majority of mankind to the gregarious principle which keeps together a flock of sheep, and induces them, heedlessly, to follow their leaders even to their own destruction. You, perhaps, have never seen a flock of these harmless but necessary victims to our demands of subsistence driven to the shambles. When near the entrance of the slaughter-houses the poor animals instinctively shrink back, and refuse to enter; but if the butcher drag one in by main force all the rest immediately follow. So powerful is the force of fashion in leading us into habits, which we are fully aware can terminate only in the ruin of our fortunes and the loss of our characters.
Opinion, too, is equally under the sway of this arbitrary power. There is hardly any thing of a public or a domestic nature that that escapes it. Fashion, more frequently than good sense, makes us pronounce judgment on the conduct of our governors and legislators; on our clergy and moralists; it regulates our table, frequently at the
expence of prudence; and, even, fills our nursery with systems which, with our judgments unbiassed, we should discard as unnatural and injurious. As you are just entering upon a new career, let me recommend you earnestly, not to abandon yourself to the guidance of this inconsistent deity. Conform in those things which are unimportant, and to deviate from which might give you the epithet of peculiar, but have your judgment in your own keeping, and think for yourself. Thus will you avoid inconsistency and errors which may not be easily retrieved; thus, also, will you exercise and strengthen the best powers of your mind, and prepare yourself for the discharge of those important duties by which you will find yourself surrounded as you proceed on the journey of life.
FIXING THEIR MORAL AND RELIGIOUS HABITS.
SUITABLENESS OF DRESS IN SERVANTS.
GIFTS FROM VISITORS.
DRESS. A FOOTMAN.
A PORTER. METHOD
OF HIRING SERVANTS, WHETHER FROM PRIVATE FAMILIES OR FROM REGISTER OFFICES.
AND RECEIVING CHARACTERS.
MRS. L. My dear Madam, I am full of difficulties, and must apply to you for advice. At the very time in which I had reason to think myself blessed, and have been anticipating happiness almost without alloy, by becoming the chosen companion for life of an estimable man, my mind is harassed and
vexed by many annoying circumstances, and what provokes me too, is, that I have often censured other ladies when I have heard them complain of troubles similar to those which now disturb me: the fact is, my servants are all going wrong. My youth, I suppose, tempts them to take every advantage of me; and my inexperience makes me dubious what course to pursue with them. I fancied that in securing servants for the various departments of my house, whose characters were good, and in giving them general orders, my part would be performed, and the whole business of the household would proceed in the same steady regular manner as in my father's house.
MRS. B. Your time and thoughts were, I suppose, too much occupied, either with amusements or in adding to your various acquirements, to allow of your paying much attention to the system which regulated your former home. As all your wants were constantly supplied, and you saw yourself and others surrounded with every thing which comfort and elegance required, you, perhaps, never thought on the subject at all, and thus you are at this moment without that knowledge by which alone your family can be governed, and its comfort ensured. But tell me your difficulties, and let me see if I can give you a helping hand out of them.
MRS. L. I have certainly been aware, that the business of my household has not been well conducted; but I considered that the servants were new and would improve; yesterday, however, my patience was tried to the utmost degree. It was our first dinner-party, and I was, of course, naturally solicitous