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Gift of 

College of Agriculture 

Cornell University 

The original of tiiis bool< is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

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the United States on the use of the text. 







Encycmpibia of Domestic Life ai Affm 



Foundation, Order, Economy, Beauty, Healttafnlness, Emergencies, 

Metliods, Cblldren, Lilteratnre, Amusements, Religion, 

Friendships, Manners, Hospitality, Servants, 

Industry, money, and History. 

% iolunte of Irattkal (^^perimtes JPopkIg|Iktrateb. 



'*0 fortunate, O happy day y 

When a new household takes its birth. 
And rolls on its harmonious way 
Among the myriad homes of earth'' 


J. C. McCURDY & CO.,- Publishers, 


Copyriglit, by JuLiA McNair Wright, 1879. 


|ETWEEN the Home set up in Eden, and tr YiKime before u» 
in Eternity, stand the Homes of Earth in . long succession. 
It is therefore important that our Homes should be brought 
up to a standard in harmony with their origin and destiny. 
Here are " Empire's primal Springs; " here are the Church 
and State in embryo ; here all improvements and reforms must rise. 
For national and social disasters, for moral and financial evils, the 
cure begins in the Household. In no case could legislation and 
commerce lead back a day of honesty and plenty, unless the Family 
were their active co-worker. Where sou/s and bodies are nourished, 
where fortunes are builded, and brains are trained, there must be 
a focus of all moral and physical interests. 

Is it true that marriages and American-born children are lessening? 
Does the Family fail in fulfilling its Divine intention ? Why should 
young men fear to marry, and by undue caution deprive themselves 
of the joys and safeguards of domestic life? Why should young 
women, having but little instruction in the duties, dangers and possi- 
bilities of the married state, wed in haste, and make the future a long 
regret ? Why, when the final step is taken, should the young pair 
not know all that it is needful to know to secure their Home in its 
integrity, that it may be happy, orderly and beautiful, that they 
may know how to preserve health, train children, make, save and 
spend money? The author hopes that this book may help answer 
these questions. Every day has its full share of troubles, but, by 
troubles well met, we grow stronger. We rise — 

" By stepping stones 
Of our de»d selves, to higher things.'' 

How then shall the Home fulfill the great duty lying before it — the 
duty of restoring confidence and energy, of eradicating evils, of 



bringing much out of little, and affording to every Family in the 
land an assumed competence? The answer to these questions, the 
indication of the means of reaching an end so grand, will take hold 
on Moral Principles an& their practical out-working. 

This Book — the product of years of careful investigation, of actual 
experiences, and of a profound veneration for the Divinely instituted 
Home — undertakes to show how every sound man and woman may 
safely marry, how every family may have a competence, how every 
home may go on from good to better, and how each household may 
be not only gladsome in itself, but a spring of strength and safety to 
the country at large. 

This book treats of the individual as set in Households : it regards 
the household as a unit in its affections, aims, success. The rights, 
duties, privileges, preferences of every member of the family are dis- 
cussed. The Home itself, in its practical working, its food, clothing 
and shelter, its earnings, savings and spendings, its amusements, 
industries and culture, will be found faithfully portrayed. 

There is no thought more beautiful and far-reaching than this of 
the solidarity or oneness of the Family; here, man is indissolubly 
bound to his fellows. The individual is solitary, but God setteth the 
solitary in families. The stream of time is crowded with the ships of 
Households, parents and children, youth and infancy, age with its 
memories, childhood with its fancies, youth with its loves, maturity 
with its cares. A beautiful picture represents such a life-scene. The 
Household bound for the same eternity, trying the same fates. 

" In Childhood's hour, with careless joy 
Upon the stream we glide, 
With Youth's bright hopes, we gayly speed. 
To reach the other side. 

" Manhood looks forth with careful eye. 
Time steady plies the oar ; 
While Old Age calmly waits to hear 
The keel upon the shor* ." 



AunT SoPHRONiA — Her opinions — Her nieces — Offers of marriage — The Buildia;} 
of a Home — Some modern misses' opinions — Have we capital enough to marry ? 
— What is this capital ? — The rock on which the Home foundation rests — Whaf 
is the Corner-Stone of Home ? — The need of good health to make a Home 
happy — When young persons should resolve upon celibacy — Man builds hi? 
Home from without, woman from within — Intimate knowledge of character 
requisite to a safe engagement — Long and short engagements — What is more 
important than a trousseau ? — A couple may marry on small means — Let there 
be NO DEBTS — The necessity of some fixed means of making a livelihood — Thir 
importance of a thorough knowledge of Housekeeping — No Home safe 
without this — It is equal to a large cash capital — Thorough Housekeeping a 
fine art — Economy — Micawber financiering — Capacity for self-denial — Begin 
moderately — Value of knowing how to sew, make, mend, cut, fit — Burns' 
house-mother — Excellence of culture — Need of good temper in the Home- 
Home our Treasure House — Are two better than one ? — Look the future in the 
face — Count the cost — Make no leap in the dark — A well-portioned Bride — 
Two weddings — A Benediction on the Home 11-31 

CHAPTER 11. ^ 
OHDER — Time-Saving — A suitable age for marriage — What one should study-_ 
When to study music or art — A young wife's studies — How to have time for 
everything — A wedding gift — The great time-saver — Dangers of Disorder^ 
How to manage work — Helen's domestic management — Is mistress or maid to 
blame for disorder? — How a young woman arranged her work — Impoitant 
hints on dress — A word on good I'lanners — A morning call — A new method 
of sending clothes to the wash — When to mend clothes — How to wash lace 
and embroidery— A disorderly house-mother — A place for everything — A 
pleasant sitting-room — A window-garden — A well-arranged kitchen — How a 
young woman can best economize in her kitchen — How to get time for charity 
work — When to do the fall and spring sewing — The 'House-cleaning — Order 
in individuals — Order in a farm-house — A model farmer's wife — Preparedness 
for emergencies — Cousin Ann's method of doing her house-work — A time for 
everything — A place for everything — The month, week, day, hour, minute for 
various kinds of work — Don't crowd -vioxY — A daughter's best dowry. . .32-55 
1 tv) 



EcoKOMY — The Pounds and Pence — Ashamed of economy — How shall we begin 
to economize ? — Reducing u servant's wages — Economy and charity — The 
seamstress' view of hard times — How working-people should meet hard times — 
Where people begin their economies — Servants and employers — Needjiil rise 
and fall in wages — Fit expenses to your station in life — Don't blush at wearing 
CALICO — What constitutes a lady ? — Rights of masters and employes — How to 
meet a reduced income — The real cost of a new silk dress — Need and pride — 
Pride a hard master — Little savings and little wasting^ — Losing a hundred 
one-dollar bills — Paying for breakages — What servants have no right to expect 
— Making-over dresses — Making-over neck-ties^ — To clean silk, velvet, and 
merino — Economizing on the table — A soup relish — Cheese and parsley — 
Ashamed of economy or ashamed of extravagance — Making the best of what 
we have on hand — Aimless savings — What to do with old clothes — Ten dollars, 
worth of clothes for one dollar — "Jumping in a bucket" — A genms for House- 
keeping — A mother's meeting — Charity pays — Foreign economy — Ameri- 
cans are extravagant — Why ? — Extravagance in coffee-making — Rich French- 
men and poor Americans — Foreign Housekeeping — Saving in fuel — Buying 
in littles — Keeping meats and vegetables sweet — Manner of keeping milk and 
butter cool — Neatness in pantries — A home-made refrigerator — Charcoal, cold 
water, and a bit of netting — Ammonia and plaster of Paris — A useful present — 
Economy honorable 56-86 

tHiLDREN — Their Rights and Liabilities — Position of children in a Home — 
Variety in training — Mistakes of good people — When to begin training — 
What is a child's first lesson ? — Teach a child patience — How to teach children 
to cry softly — Noise — Quiet needful to young children — Causes of summer 
diseases — Dangers in nurse-maids— rHow children are treated by maids — Dan- 
gers of baby-carts — What to require in a nurse-maid — Don't burden your little 
daughter — An over-worked child — What every mother should do for her own 
child — Care of a babe's food — Frightening children — How to treat terror in a 
child — English nurses — Teaching children engaging manners — Teach the child 
to be generous — Errors and crimes — Obedience — Truth — Generosity — Respect 
for authority — Early good habits — Common-sense — Worth of the will — Rules 
and rights — Variety in penalty — Accidents — Teaching a boy to raise a dinner — 
Clean speech — Truthfulness — Teasing — Firmness — A root of dishonesty — 
"Mother! can't I go fishing?" — Teasing Anna — Care of a child's hair — 
Developing a child's beauty — A handsome family — Elements of beauty — Clothe 
children plainly — Answering children's questions — Encouraging a love of natu- 
ral history — Mothers must read — Destructiveness and constructiveness — Obedi- 
ence — Plato 87-117 

biCKNESS AND WICKEDNESS — A grain of sense — Where diseases rise — Our bodies 
should be cherished — Too much and too little physical culture — The care of 
Household health woman's work — Why Mrs. Black'? family were ill — Use of 


flannel —Thick shoes^Loose clothes — Exercise — Sunshine — A fine bed-room 
and a healthful bed-room — Beauty and health — The housekeeper is the health- 
keeper — Care of the garret — Care of the cellar — Cellar and parlor — Drains — 
Danger of refuse suds — Spores of disease — The germ theory — Use of sal-soda 
— Sink-pipes — Dangers of decay — House walls — Dish-cloths — Pot-closets — ■ 
Cisterns — The eyes of Argus — How to have a healthful Home — A farm-home 
scene — How shall we have healthy children ? — Dr. Guthrie on long life — Value 
of good rules — Cousin Ann's tea-party — The sleep of children — A child's 
food — When to eat — Care of a child's sight — Infant's toys — Care of a child's 
feet — Care of beds — Exercise and play — Seats and pillows — Preventing curved 
legs — Baths — Boys' sports — What is proper for girls — Nursing the sick — Helpless 
women — Choosing a, sick-room — How to furnish it — Value of a fire-place^ 
Escaping infection — Manufacturing conveniences for a sick-room — Make it 
cheerful — Making a closet — A model nurse — Her dress — Her manners — Her 
authority — Sympathy — A nurse's duties — Harmony between nurse and physician 
— How to sweep-^How to put on coal — Morning cares — Too much medicine- 
taking — Take care of the beginning of disease — A case in point — Another case^ 
Never trifle with disease — Food for Invalids — A neatly served meal — How to 
poach an egg — How to bake an apple — Have a sick-room note-book — Variety 
— Forget nothing — Neatness — ^A beautiful dish — A Salad — Sal^id dressing- 
Sandwiches — Tea relish — Best way of roasting meat — Sleeplessness— Sleep a 
gift of God 118-149 


Home Adornment — Building the walls of Home — What finishes the wall — Good 
taste— Beauty important in a Home — Cash value of beauty — How to ornament 
a country Home — Children who love Home are inexpensive in habits — Why our 
young folks often hate the farm — Secret of hard times — Where national wealth 
lies — Farm-lands should be more productive — Fertility oi Palestine — Egypt — ■ 
Chaldea — Why Cousin Ann's boys love the farm — Youth craves beauty — 
Beauty is cheap — A good start in life — How children can create Home beauty 
— Wonderful boys and a wonderful mother — How a Home increased in money 
value — Hester a hoi^sekeeper — How a poor girl made her Home beautiful — 
A beautiful western cabin — Good taste creative — How to find time for beauty 
— Winter ornaments — Dining-table ornaments — Value of a tasteful table — A 
centre-piece — Bouquets — A hanging lamp — How to arrange a table — Worth 
of little things — Care of table-cloths — Always a way to get on — Trimming 
dishes — Ornamenting a boiled tiam — Cold meat — Stewed meat — Serving boiled 
^ggs — Sandwiches — Costliness is not beauty — Fancy napkins — An ugly parlor^ 
What is needful to a beautiful room — Beauty and eyesight — Care of the eyes — 
How to escape colds — Preventing croup — Loftiness of beauty — Prime elements 
of beauty — How to buy furniture and carpets — Make comfort an aim — Care of 
furniture — Give children low seats — Do not crowd furniture — Let us help 
others to find beauty — Children's rooms — Servants' rooms — Visiting the sick 
and poor — An invalid's window — The power of beauty — An elegant screen- 
Ornamenting glass — Painted windows — A beautiful basket — Home decora- 
tions 150-170 


Industry in the Home — Books — A call from Miss Black — Finding something 
to do — People and their work — Work a duty — A maiden lady of means finds 
work — What Miss Black does — Helping servants — What ought girls to do ? — 
Housework should be learned — Are you making Home happy ? — Duty of parents 
to train children to industry — Home a centre of activity — A family well trained 
— A habit, and an object — Well-directed industry — Making industry pay — We 
should study our children — Working for the future — Give children a share in 
work and profit — Boys' help in the house — A nice pair of lads — Work not an 
end — What is the end ? — How work injures — Fierce work — Work of pride — 
Work for the lazy— Fretting over work — Unsystematic work — Killed by fuss — 
Rest in the evening — -Evening work — Sabbath rest — Holiday rest — Rest in 
change of work — Disease from indolence — Vigor rises from labor — Saving and 
earning — Escaping doctors' bills — Hire your seamstress — Getting a summer 
seamstress — Two little children at work — Mischievous children — Work for a 
small boy — Teaching boys a trade — Every girl's trade — Success from diligence 
— Model family 171-191 

Literature in the Home — How to improve a Home — Homes and books — 
Value of newspapers — A farmer's opinion of papers — An evening scene — On 
a stock-farm — -Brought up on books — A favorite book — Scrap-books — Begin at 
the beginning — Train for the future — An age of books — Hugh Miller's first 
library — Dickens' first library — Child's books — Sabbath books — How children 
are taught to love the Bible — Pilgrims' Progress — How to lead children on in 
literature— Cultivating a love of science — What to read — We must and will 
read — History— Biography — Travels — Explorations — Poetry — When to read 
Milton and Shakespeare — Essays — Scientific reading — When to read novels — 
What novels — The most valuable book — Reading in the line of our work — 
What lawyers, doctors, and farmers should read — Fred's four scrap-books — 
What Thomas and Belinda thought — A letter on what not to read —Good and 
evil of the press — We never forget — Books form our habits of thought — Do 
not read what lessens strength, or" robs of earnestness or reverence — Do not 
read secular books on Sabbath — Do not read what you desire to hide — Do not 
read from foolish curiosity — When to read — Saving moments — Books in 
parlors — Reading saves from dissipation — Systematic reading — Morning and 
evening reading — What to do Saturday evening — Reading and kitchen woik — 
The benefit of a Literary Society — How to read — Rules for reading — Learn 
what you can about authors — Study what you read— Don't be discouraged — 
What Hugh Miller says — Dr. Guthiie's opinions — The morals of the Ice- 
landers — Studious working people — Welsh workers — Seneca's remarks on 

education — Choosing books for children — We must crowd out evil reading 

No excuse for being without books — Lay up a book fund — A Home without 
books 192-216 


Accidents in the Home — How to meet an accident — Presence of mind I>, 

John Brown, of Edinburgh, on presence of mind — Value of this quality Ita 


elements — Instilling children with courage — Boys and bugs — Belinda at a 
wedding — A mortifying act — A little girl's presence of mind — >"red and the 
fire — Better to act than to scream — Cutting a blood-vessel — Screaming murder 
— The child in the well — Martha's wisdom — Mentor's advice to Telemaque— . 
A finger cut off — A burnt arm — A remedy for burns — Accidents by fire — 
Careless use of kerosene — Of powder — A lesson — Care of lamps — Of fires — 
Of ashes — Kindling-wood left on the stove — Clothes drying — Dangers of hot 
ashes — Peter Stuyvesant's fire-law — Carelessness with matches — Insurance does 
not cover loss — Fighting fire — Danger from falls — Glass or cinder in the eye 
— A dog-bite — Sunstroke — A mad dog — Fear of horses — Child on fire — ^A 
child choking — Choking on thimbles — Dye in cloth — Antidotes for poison — 
Screaming and incapacity — Never frighten a child — Careless nurse.. .317-237 

Rbligion in the Family — He did not believe in religion — Morals and religion 
— The state and religion — The Sabbath question — Religion the basis of laws — 
Sanctity of the family — Family founded on the Bible — How the Bible approves 
its origin — The family and the state — Religion and crime — Piety and pauperism 
— Religion and independence — A family anniversary — Home-building fijr 
eternity — Every-day religion — Why cultivate family piety — The comfort 'of 
religion — The finest inheritance — Religion in Cousin Ann's Home — A Sabbath 
well spent — Family worship — No unkind criticisms — An irreligious family; — 
Helen's Sabbath instructions — Bunyan's Mr. Talkative — A church-going habit 
— Religion while travelling — Citizenship in Heaven — Danger of late hours — 
Parental vigilance" — The family guide-book — A word from Plato 238-261 

Hospitality in the Home — A garden of roses — The queen of social virtues—' 
Varieties in hospitality — Ostentatious hospitality — Spasmodic — Nervous — Mrs. 
Smalley's hospitality — Common-sense hospitality — Hospitality without apology 
— Biblical hospitality — Selfish hospitality — Excessive hospitality — Elegant hos- 
pitality — The right kind of hospitality — -A sewing society discussion — What 
our minister said — Bible instances — Plainness in hospitality — Manners of 
guests — As good as a sermon — A home view of hospitality — -A guest-room — 
The mother's room — Abuse of hospitality — Mountain cabin — A western settler's 
Home — Good Samaritan deeds — The poor — A remarkable instance — Valuable 
thoughts — Decrease of hospitality — Old-time manners — A singular incident — 
Choicest form of rural hospitality 262-282 

Friendships in the Home — Boys in the street — Dangerous playmates — A child 
is a social animal — Responsibility of mothers — Gold, silver, and brass training 
— Bringing Tom to order — Friends are a necessity of our nature — A young 
girl's companion — Our minister's sermon on friendship — Sympathy in opinion* 
-Dangers of evil company— Youth has strange grounds of. choice — Safety of 
brothers — Country Homes — Entertain your son's friends — Mrs. Black's despair — 
A wicked child — Mutual aid — Aunt Sophronia's party — Life-long friendships — 
Grounds of friendship — Women's friendships — Men's friendships — Friendships 
of men and women. , 283-J05 



■ Value of Good Manners — How to learn good manners — Books on etiqnttt* 
— Cash value of elegant manners — What Emerson says — Train early in good 
manners — Little children's manners — Manliness of good manners — Advice to 
a. boy — Good manners in conversation — Kindness creates courtesy — How to 
teach children good manners — Dr. Guthrie on manners — French manners-^ 
Manners to our servants — To our children — Life's small change — A polite 
young man — Cousin Ann's rules — Virtue of reverence — Where taught — Man- 
ners of the present age — Saucy literature — Why we exalt the past — A good 
boy to his mother — Manners at meals — Farm-house tables — Take time for 
meals — Children and company — Shy children — Forward childrert — Cultivate 
children's manners — Old-fashioned courtesies — Politeness to mothers — What not 
to do — Waiting on sisters — Be sincere — Be sympathetic— Be self- forgetful — 
Be thoughtful — Cultivate conversation — Politeness the sum of littles — Home 
deserves good manners — Be pleasant in the morning — Little sins — Be modest 
— A model girl — Accept reproof kindly — Chesterfield's opinion — Courtesy the 
flower of Home 306-331 

Methods of Doing Work — Causes of insanity — Insanity and over-work — Why 
is there over-work ? — Religious insanity — Indolence and insanity — Over-work 
and under-rest — Work is a blessing — Dangers of ignorance — Value of resting 
' — Needless work — Hard common-sense — The sewing machine — Saving hours — 
Different ways of doing the same work — John Rocheford's story of pancakes — 
How to get supper — Knowing how to do it— Fear of seeming lazy — We are 
all a little mad ! — Reason applies to baking, boiling, and dish-washing — 
Unfairly distributed work — Dr. Curwen's opinion — Rest by change of work — 
Over-taxed house-mothers — Need of perfect quiet — Need of firmness — Sleep — 
Food — Don't bear imaginary burdens — How to clean an oil-cloth — To clean off 
rust — Cleaning knives — Shells for cleaning pots — Cleaning tins — Paper for 
cleaning — Keeping a stove clean — Paper for glass cleaning — Care of silver — 
. Care of iron utensils — How to clear off a table — How to wash dishes — How 
to teach a servant — How to sweep a room — Care of carpets — Irving's Dutch 
housewife — Let need form the rule — Washing — Babies cross on Monday ! — 
Why we have broken-down women — Cleaning lace curtains — Excellent 
recipes 332-359 


The Unity of the Home — The Home is a unit — A rope of sand — A false Home 
— Dangers of secrets between man and wife — Oneness of aim — Inform children 
of family affairs — Confidence between parents and children — " Women's 
extravagance" — Helpmeet — A criminal's confession — A newspaper paragraph 
— Concealment is criminal — The marriage service — The Doctor in " Stepping 
Heavenward " — A deceived young man — Hiding purchases — Miriam's opinions 
— Relations-in-law — Time an avenger — Mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law — 
An Arab proverb — Need each family live alone? — Paying family debts — 
Attention to the old and aged mother — A large family — A step-mother— 
Excellent testimony — Dangers of partiality — Maiden aunts — Whittier's maide' 


aunt — A step-mother's position — Her duty — Her rights — Her disadvantages^ 
Love and duty — False accusations — My cousin's step-mother — A motherless 
family — A silly prejudice — Children's manners to each other — Unjust charges 
— Quarrels — Miriam's children settling a family dispute — A loving family — 
Keeping birth-days — Yearly holidays — Thanksgiving day — ^Jean Ingelow's 
thought — Scriptural view — Responsibilities of parents — Law of rebound — 
Wedding days — A thirtieth anniversary — A fine farm — Which is dearer, child 
or grandchild ? 360-384 

l"ilB Use and Abuse of Money in the Home — An argument between two 
boys — Aunt Sophronia's decision — Money a means, not an end — The miser's 
Ipve — Unlawful love of money — Evils caused by money-loving — Right love of 
money — The good uf mone^ — All toil means money — Affectation of disdaining 
money — Virtue and poverty — Crime and poverty — Extravagance among the 
poor — Agur's prayer — A man not poor — Three great precepts — Cicero's precept 
— ^Joubert's precept — Loi'd Bacon's precept — The Home's money basis — The 
comfortable position for the Home — Economy a revenue — Economy and 
meanness — Little savings — Two young housewives — Rules for getting rich — 
What is it to be rich ? — What Astor got for his wealth — Four rules for money- 
making — Which is the hardest ?— "Betsy Rourke's riches — Economy in poverty — 
What a cook laid up — Worth trying — When not to save — A field for self- 
denial — Setting out in life — Begin moderately — Living beyond our means — 
What is extravagance ? — A portrait of extravagance — Know your income — 
Mark expenses — Keep accounts — Washington and Wellington as account- 
keepers — How to keep accounts — Value of persistency — Disastrous changes — 
A farmer's wife — Slow and safe — A family experience — Debts shorten life — 
Poverty is only relative — Making haste to be rich — Avoid illiberality — A hard 
bargain is a bad bargain for the proposer — No mortgage on the farm — Give 
the children toys — Don't begrudge flowers — Too much money given children 
— False ideas — Worth of earned money — Monitions given to a boy. . .385-409 

Attention to Dress — Belinda and her new gown — Do we think too much about 
dress ? — The duty of thinking about dress — Authorities on dress — Certain odd 
fashions — Belinda's views — Paul's precepts — Dressing the hair — ^Hearing a 
sermon — How we think too much of dress — Selfishness in dress — The dressy 
dauohter — Reason and common-sense in dress — Vast importance of dress — 
Dress as it regards health, honesty, charity — We must think about dress — 
Fashion tried by laws 6f common-sense — Ear-rings — Beauty of the ear — 
Frizzes — The human head — How to care for the hair — How to dress it — The 
hair in its Home appearance — Oriental and western fashions — High-heeled 
boots — Their dangers — Affecting the spine — Injury to the eyes — Insanity — 
Chinese and American absurdities — The mania for compression — The waist 
— Evil effects of tight-lacing on the appearance — Artists and the natural figure 
— Hindering a figure — Long trains — Modesty and immodesty in dress — Walk- 
ing dresses — Great underlying principles — Dress as it adds to Home comfort 
— Carelessness in dressing children in winter — An extravagant woman — An 


untidy woman — Dress and health — Under-flannels — Care of the feet — CoTet 
the head — Lightness in dress — Fashions for children — Questions in buying 
dress — Dress and honesty — Begging fine dress — Train children to honest judg- 
ments about dress — Sumptuary laws — Curious laws on dress — Beauty and 
taste in dress — Husbands, lovers and sons — -Few clothes, but good ones — 
Rules of beauty — What dress suits large and small people — Colors for dark 
and fair folks — Dress for small companies — For children's parties — For church 
— Durable goods — Flowers as ornaments — Ribbons — Jewelry — Too splendid 
articles 410-435 

Mistresses and Servants — Importance of a servant's position — The Home 
reaches beyond itself — Inefficient servants — Creating paupers — Positive and 
negative losses — In a family and not of it — The Home-tie for servants — The 
common womanhood — Mrs. Black's expression — Miss Sophronia's opinion — 
Frequent change of servants — Trusting our servants — Cultivating trustworthi- 
ness — A model mistress — Good rules — An old proverb — A servant in distress 
— A little love-story — Permit no negligence — No disobedience — Allowing visi- 
tors — •" Followers " — Need of advice — Unjustly particular — The servant-girl's 
guardian — What hiring a maid means — A brutal maid — A generous maid — 
Servants' instruction — Their rooms — A grateful servant — Politeness — See that 
children treat servants kindly — Kitchen conveniences — Good example and 
good advice — A thrifty woman — Mending household linen — Be ruled by prin- 
ciple — Encouragement — Incentive — Praise — Warnings — Good mistress, good 
maid — Dangers of housekeepers' ignorance — A fashion of complaint— Keeping 
too many servants — A new way of increasing efficiency — Decision— Care of 
brooms^What a servant may be — My servant — A wise servant — Her library 
— Martha contrives a filter — How to save sugar — Caring for servants' comfort 
— Three maiden ladies — A widely extended charity 436-459 


,A Young Man who Expects to Marry — A deep question — The secret of Home 
happiness — Conscientiousness — A surprise party — The subject of the evening — 
How to buy furniture — Buy for use — Kitchen furniture — Choice of furniture — 
How to buy a carpet — Harmony in furnishing — How to study effect — A 
compliment to a lady — How to make furniture — How to make a chair — A 
table — A sofa — Window-curtains — Shades — Divans — How to make a bracket 
— A toilette table — A lounge — How to make a paper-carpet — A French 
author's view — How to maintain the happy Home — Care of furniture — How to 
destroy a Home — How to discourage a man-=-How really happy 'children 
played — Small ways of destroying Home — ^Courtesy in the happy Home- 
Punctuality — A punctual housewife — Dinner to the minute — Keep calm tem- 
pers — Have enough to eat — A proper family-table — Where we waste and save 
— How NOT to cook beef — How to use cold meat — Cheap varieties of food — 
Foresight in housekeeping — How to make a luncheon — Need of lunch — A 
mid-day meal — A late supper — How to give a small dinner-party — How to set 
the table — IIow to arrange the dining-room — The two chief elements of a 
• dinner-party — Salad for fish — How to cook potatoes — Nuts and salt — Cabv 


ness — Ease — No haste — Dinners without wines — Calculation — A model hoiise- 
"irtfe — House-plants — Causes and treatment of their diseases — How to keep air 
moist — Care of frosted plants — Let children share their cultivation — Music in 
the Home — Reading aloud — What is good reading — The art of telling a story 
well — Tale-telling at meals 460-483 

AHHENT AND MEDIEVAL HoMES — A Christmas week — Christmas the Home 
feast — ^The first form of the Home — Patriarchal life — Servants — The encamp- 
ment — Their occupations — Diversions — Music — Dress — Jewels — Food — Prin- 
cesses as cooks — Hospitality — The Classic Home — Description of Roman 
house - - Fountains — Draperies — Heating — Ventilating — Draining — Ancient 
family worship — Books — Slaves — Dress — A Roman dinner — The Roman 
table — Cooking utensils — Family life — Holiday amusements — The successors of 
Roman civilization — The Celt and his Home — Character of the Celts — Theit 
places of worship — Beehive huts — Celtic cookery — How they buried their 
dead — Saxons and their Homes — A Saxon tomb — Sources of information — 
The Jews as architects — Saxon houses — The board — Fuel — Larder — Lights — 
Tumblers — Saxon babies — Occupations — Amusements — Education — Guests — 
Marriage relations — Our names for food — Bed-rooms — Parlors — Naughty 
dames — Clothes as heirlooms — Early English furniture — Western cabins — 
Indian wigwam , 484-5 1 ' 

Model HoME-Plato's letter — The sanctity of marriage — Immortality of the Home 
— Its divine origin — Bishop of Winchester on marriage — Building a house — 
General principles — Position — Frame work — Place for bed-rooms and kitchen — 
Chimneys — Closets — Beware of fires — Cisterns and filters — Open fires — Furnaces 
— Color of walls — Paper — Color in furnishing — Decisive hues — The surround- 
ings of a Home — Rustic furniture — Gardens — Convenient houses — Use of 
Homes — Families — Too large families — Home comfort — Religion — Extension 
of Home influence — Home blessing 512-532 

Things that all should know — Soup-making and serving — Meats and their 
cooking — Game — Fish — Frying and roasting — Vegetables — Cleaning and 
cooking — Good recipes for — When to use — What to use — Made dishes — Side 
dishe; — T-wo hundred ways to cook an egg — As many ways of cooking a 
tomato — Cooking for ch'ldren — For the sick — Puddings — Cakes — Something to 
please children- How to make candy — Desserts — How to clean and repair 
clothes and furniture — Cleaning silk — Cloth — Furs — How to make household 
linen last long — How to sew — How to make over old clothes — Very needful 
recipes for bread, yeast — Gruel — Tea and coffee — How to save — Poisons and 
their antidote — Fits and fainting — How to meet accidents — Hysteria — Care of 
children — Amusements in the Home — Safe games — Exercise — Gardening — 
Drains and sewers — Care and cure of diphtheria — Gas and gas poisoning- 
Plumbing — Smoke-houses — Cellars — Management — Economy 533-573 

The Complete ■ Home. 



|UR AUNT SOPHRONIA lives in one of our inland 
towns. She is the relative of many of the townspeople 
— ^the Oracle of all. Firmly intrenched in her own 
opinions, and more than usually self-complacent, she is 
yet ready to give other people their due ; her ideas are broad 
and sound, and she is no doubt a great blessing to our com- 
munity. An indefatigable diarist, she has for many years 
recorded the best of what she thinks and learns on her favorite 
theme — the home. These journals being too voluminous, and 
too full of private affairs, to present bodily to the public, she has 
at our earnest solicitation reproduced part of them topically, 
and with a happy facility in discussing her subject from the 
beginning. — J. M. N. W. 

Aunt Sophronia discusses, First — 


It will be a long day before I call myself old, simply because 
I don't feel old, and I have been much too busy in my life to have 
time to grow old ; but these three girls, who were babes in my 
arms when I was woman-grown, are women now, and talking 



of marrying — at least the two elder ones. I suppose they have 
been going on, while I have stood still ! At least so it looks to 
me, as it does to people riding on fast trains, as if all the world 
were moving and they themselves stationary ! The three girls 
are my three nieces: Miriam I brought up; Helen was brought 
up by her grandmother ; and Hester came up as she chose, as 
her mother, my sister, died when the child was ten, and John 
Rochedale, her father, says, he " thinks every individuality ought 
to be left to develop on its own line." Of all things ! If / had 
married John Rochedale, as once seemed likely, instead of my 
sister, he and I would have had some very serious differences 
of opinion, this subject of " developing " being one of the many 
whereon we don't agree. I am not particularly sorry that it was 
Ellen instead of me who became Mrs. Rochedale ; not that I 
object to the married state : I do not doubt that the Lord knew 
what he was about when he set a married pair at housekeeping 
in Eden ; but the single state has also its advantages, as Paul 
saw. However most people who preach up " Paul on single- 
blessedness " seem to forget that, in the Bible, our great Guide- 
Book, the Lord's opinions for matrimony come a long ways 
before Paul's for celibacy. I don't think that women should feel 
that, merely because they are not wives, they have no place nor 
work in the world, no home-life, no effect on coming genera- 
tions ; and I don't think that women, who, for various reasons, 
have not married, should set themselves up as holier or better 
off than their married sisters. 

I've given my nieces a deal of good advice, and among the 
rest I've advised them to marry, if the matter came reasonably 
to hand, without making it an object in life. 

I saw well enough what Mark Rogers was coming to our 
house so often for, and finally he called upon me, telling me he 
wanted my consent to his marrying Miriam. 

I have no objections to Mark. If I had, I should long ago 


have stopped his coming. I don't believe in putting off any 
duty until its performance is useless. I told Mark that they had 
my consent, provided they were not in too great haste about the 

"Pshaw!" cried the impatient Mark; "never mind the trous- 
seau: what I want is Miriam." 

I replied: "What you want, Mark, is a good wife, and what 
Miriam wants is a good husband. The step you two contem- 
plate is important, especially because it is final : if you make 
mistakes now, you must bear their burden through your joint 
lives. The preparation of the trousseau is the last thing now in 
my mind: I should be sorry to have Miriam. at once .so engrossed 
in dress and fineries, which in two years will be out of date, and 
in twenty quite forgotten, that she will have no calm time for 
consideration, and to prepare herself to face and solve problems 
which shall be of the last importance, not only to herself, but 
probably to many others." 

I had some simple observations to make to my Miriam upon 
the step which she contemplated taking, and I concluded that 
my other two nieces might as well have the benefit of them, so 
I invited them to tea. 

Hester declined, and as she is scarcely sixteen, I reflected that 
I should have plenty of time to advise her about matrimony ; 
however, after tea, just as we had adjourned- to the piazza, over 
came Hester. As usual, her splendid dark hair was carelessly 
braided, and she had forgotten her necktie, pin and gloves ; she 
swung her hat by the strings, her gingham dress had no fit, and 
her shoes were too large. John Rochedale has a theory that 
■ the physical should be utterly untrammelled in its growth. I 
don't know how his theory will turn out for Hester's health and 
figure — at present she looks very slovenly. I have often been 
vexed at the meanness of her attire. John is dreadfully stingy, 
except in the matter of books and education. He thinks btain 


is the only thing worth spending money on. Since my sister 
died, John, Hester, and a servant girl live alone in that large, 
handsome, half-shut house. A splendid library and cabinets are 
the centre of the whole. The servant is careless, John and 
Hester up to their eyes in books, and at nights I see two solitary 
lights, which show where the two are separately pursuing their 
lonely studies. The library is open to Hester, and I think there 
are plenty of books there that a young girl should not read ; but 
John says, "There's no trash in it," and so Hester reads as she 
likes. The only sense he has shown is to get her staid old men 
for tutors. 

Well, up came Hester just as we were seated. I must say she 
walks like a queen. John is a blond man, and Hester is dark, 
yet not at all like my sister. She seems a revival of some old 
type long ago lost out of the Rochedales. I said to her : 

" I thought you were not coming, Hester." 

"Why," says she, "Mrs. was going to lecture-, and I 

meant to go and hear her, when of all things my father declares 
that it is not woman's sphere to lecture — that it is bold and 
L'ldecent, and that I shall not go." 

"Well, isn't he right?" asks Helen. 

"Certainly not," returns Hester, with assurance. "If she 
knows how to lecture, she has as much right as a man. The 
question is, Can she lecture well ? There is no boldness in it if 
she thinks of her theme and not of herself / shall speak in 
public when I grow up. I shall be a lawyer like my father, and 
then I must speak." 

" What folly !" says Helen. "Then you'll never marry. Mir- 
iam here is to marry Mark Rogers, and I shall marry, too; I'll 
•take Frank Hand." 

"How long beforr you will change your mind?" asked 
iMiriam, reprovingly. 

"I won't change; I must stop changing. Grandmother says 


I'll go through the woods and pick up a crooked stick at last. 
Suppose I don't marry? I have not enough to live on; I shall 
get old, ugly and crabbed, and have nothing to do. Yes, I must 

"If you marry on sUch grounds as those, Helen," I said, "you 
will iind your lot worse than to be single." 

"I thought Mr. Fitch was the man," said Hester. 

" O, I was engaged to him for a week, and I w;ished him in 
the bottom of the Red Sea all the while, so I broke it off And| 
then there was Mr. Merry : I couldn't quite make up my mind 
to take him ; and Tom Green I got tired of in two months." 

"I should think you would be ashamed to treat people so 
heartlessly," said Miriam. 

"I should think you would be ashamed to treat yourself so\" 
flamed Hester. "Do you think your affection and confidence 
are of so small value as to be conferred and taken back like 
penny toys ? Have you no respect for your own word, or your 
own dignity? or are you just an animated lay-figure, with reason 
and honor and emotions left out when you were made ? " 

"You speak too harshly to your cousin, Hester," I said. 

"Well, I kate a dunce!" cried she, so like John Rochedale. 

Helen retorted with some spirit: "You, Hester, are so differ- 
ent from what / think it is nice for a girl to be, that I should be 
very sorry if you did like me." 

"O, I like you well enough," said Hester, with her royal 
indifference, "only I don't approve of you; but we'll get on 
without quarrelling, as cousins should. And so, Miriam, you 
are going to many Mark? Do you consent to that. Aunt 

" Yes," I said ; " if Mark and Miriam have capital enough to 
enter safely into the married state." 

" I did not know you were so mercenary," said Helen. And 
Miriam quite sadly said : " But we have no capital, aunt" 


" I will explain myself, girls," I added. " Let me first call to 
your minds the Scripture, ' Which of you, intending to build a 
tower, sitteth not down first and counteth the cost, whether he 
have sufficient to finish it; lest haply after he hath laid the 
foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold begin 
to mock him, saying: This man began to build, and was not 
able to finish.' 

" Now, my children, if it is so important, and so customary for 
those who build, or enter into any business enterprise, to count 
the cost when failure will not be final — when, if they err, they 
can retrieve themselves, or they can give up all, and be, at least, 
the richer for the experience — is it not far more needful to count 
the cost of such a step as marriage ? to consider whether you 
have wherewith not only to lay the foundation but rear the 
superstructure of a Home? Remember that the Home is an 
institution of God himself; it is his ideal of the life of humanity; 
upon it, as basis and model, he builds up nations. A Home is 
not an isolated fragment of life : it is an integral part of society. 
Every home has its influence, for good or evil, upon humanity at 
large. Its sanctity, its honor, its importance, is the care of our 
Creator. Tell me, girls, in thinking of marriage, how far have 
you thought out the problem of your future ? " 

" Why," says Helen, " I have thought of the eclat of the 
engagement, and then the buying lots of things and having 
them made up in the very latest style, and the cards, the cake, 
the presents, and the bridesmaids. I shall have an elegant veil 
and a white silk, and be married in church, and have three 
Saratoga trunks, and a wedding trip, and — well, that's as far as 
I've gone. I suppose after .that one boards at a hotel, or has to 
go to housekeeping, and I'm afraid it would be dreadfully 
humdrum. But no more so than flirting with one and another 
year after year, and seeing all the girls married off" 

" For my part," said Miriam, " I have not looked at all this 


Style and preparation that Helen describes, because I know I 
cannot aftord it. But I have thought I should like a little home 
all to myi.?lf, and I would keep it as nice as I could, and I 
would try and help my husband on in the world, and we should 
have thing-j finer only as we could really afford it. And I 
should waiit my home to be very happy, so that all who 
belonged iu it felt that it was the best place in all the world. 
I should wyint to gather up all the good that I could every- 
where, and bring it into my home, as the bee brings all its 
spoils to its hive." 

"And I," said Hester, " want to make myself a scholar, and I 
shall marry a scholar, and we shall be happy in learning, and 
in increasing knowledge. And he shall be my helper, and I 
shall help him, and so together we shall climb to the top of the 

Vanity, love, ambition. These were the three Graces, which, 
incarnated in my nieces, sat on my piazza. I said to them ; 
"Let me talk to you seriously upon the subject of a Home, 
Two young people marry; they are united until death do them 
part; their union is the beginning of the household; that house- 
hold, in its first members, may last fifty or even seventy years ; ' 
and whenever it is broken by the dea.;h of one or both of them, 
it will most likely live on in other lives and other households, 
which in it have found their origin. The household, then, starts 
in wedded man and woman : the man is a part of society ; he has 
his business in the world ; he goes among his fellows carrying 
the atmosphere of his home with him ; his ideas of honor, of unsel- 
fishness, his objects, his ambitions, his energies, his geniality, 
his sympathy, his physical vigor, are largely derived from his 
home; his acts are stamped with his feehngs; whether he ia 
goaded to grasp all and trample on all by a mad thirst for gain, 
or a wild effort to cover his expenses by his receipts — whether 
he is happy or sorry, hopeful or discouraged, interested in good 


or evil things, depends largely on his home life. Thus the 
various homes among men appear as active but invisible spirits 
in all the departments of business life — with the preacher in the 
pulpit, the doctor by his patient, the lawyer in the court, the 
broker, the trader, the mechanic, the laborer, making or marringj 
insensibly but effectively, in all that is undertaken in the world. 
The wife is also a part of society : she has her friends, her social,' 
church and philanthropic duties, sometimes even some business 
of her own. Into these she brings her spirit as it is fashioned 
in her home; if order, graciousness, good judgment, probity, 
reign there, she goes forth a spirit of graciousness, or abides at 
home a shining light to all who come there, teaching either by 
precept or by silent example. She makes her home a fountain 
of bitterness, or a well-spring of strength, bracing her husband's 
good impulses, or developing his meaner instincts. She makes 
her home a model of economy, beauty and propriety, or it is a 
false light of extravagance, spurring others to waste, or it is a 
head-quarters of misrule. 

" Children are born in this home : they shall be in all their lives 
what this home makes them ; they shall train up their future 
children to be ennobled or warped, as here they learned; they 
shall carry their energies and example into the world for better 
Or worse, as here was taught them. The Home never dies ; guests 
and servants come and go, and carry out its influences ; like the 
souls in whom it began, like God its founder, it abides without 
end. In this home children receive also their instruction : their 
worldly occupations are chosen, and fortunes are laid up for 
them: their moral character is determined. You see thus that 
all the energies, the business, the industries, the inventions of the 
world, have really their centre, their inception in the Home : it is 
the world's animate heart. Erase all homes, all home life, ties, 
needs, joys, and how long would the wheels of labor and com- 
merce move on ? The inventor would drop his useless pursuits, 


the miner's toil would cease, the artisan would no longer ply his 
useless tools, man would find himself without spur or object in 
life. How important, then, is every Home ! what a tremendous 
responsibility surrounds its founding ! how needful to count the 
cost ! What have you in yourself of reserve force to make this 
new home a root of blessing? Count the cost, whether you 
have wherewith to lay a solid foundation and build a goodly 

"Mercy!" cried Helen; "if I faced such responsibilities, I 
should be frightened to death." 

" Let us begin at the foundation," said Miriam ; " tell me, 
what is the first thing needful in starting a home ? " 

" The first thing," said I, " is sound moral principle. Let me 
tell you that I do not believe there are impregnably good prin- 
ciples that are not established on religion as a basis. The heart 
is so deceitful, and temptations are so strong, that unless the 
soul i^ braced with religion, principle is not secure of withstand- 
ing the onset of the world, the flesh afld the devil. The true 
ideal of the home, then, is its inception in two who are Chris- 
tians, and who have a oneness of religious belief True, there 
have been very happy homes where parents held different dog- 
mas ; but now we are speaking of the best that can be brought 
together for the founding of the model home, and we say first a 
oneness of religious principle. Religious principle, which takes 
the 'thus saith the Lord' as an ultimatum, is a family anchorage 
not on shifting sands. The Divine Law is a court of appeal by 
whose decisions all the household will abide, and thus, where 
there is oneness of religious principle, the wedded pair have 
confidence in and for^ach other; they have found a solid rock 
stratum whereon to set up their new Home." 

" Well, aunt," said Helen, " both Miriam and Mark are mem- 
bers of the same church. Now I don't look at that in the light 
that you do, and I shall not refuse Frank Hand because I am 
% church-member and he is not.'' 


"Why should you?" demanded Hester; "have, you ever in 
iny way put yourself out for your church membership ? " 

I hastened to forestall a dispute. "Yes," I said, " Mark and 
Miriam have that oneness of rel> pious principle which I demand 
as the foundation of a good home." 

^ " You are unromantic," said Helen ; " I should have thought 
you would have said love came first. What an idea, for a man 
and woman to set up a model home with love left out ! " 

" If they have sound religious principle they will not marry 
without love, because they will know that God demands deep 
and abiding love in a married pair — love that will not grow cold 
nor weary. Love that has no basis in religious principle will 
often prove a passion, fleeting as night-shade blooms, leaving 
only some seed of discontent. Those who have religious prin- 
ciple, recognizing the sacredness and the lasting nature of the 
marriage bond, will be very sure that they are not marrying for 
whim, for passing fancy, or from motives of convenience, but 
that they are really choosing from the world one whom they 
love better than all the world, whom they can take for better 
or worse, until death do them part. Therefore, having sound 
religious principle as the rock-basis whereon to build, we lay in 
loyal love the corner-stone of Home." 

" Miriam,"-said Helen, mischievously, "have you that love?" 

Hester came brusquely to the rescue. "As Miriam has not 
frittered away her emotions in flirtations, as she has not shown 
her low estimate of love by breaking two or three engagements, 
we will believe that at twenty-two she knows her mind, and only 
accepts a suitor to whom she gives a heart which she has care- 
fully guarded as a thing of worth." 

" Hester," I said, " young as you are, you are older than these 
other girls in your opinions." 

" I have lived with books and not wasted my time with silly 
people," said Hester, scornfully. 


" I'm afraid you are getting hard and cynical, my poor child," 
t said;' "what will become of you !" 

" Never mind me/' said Hester; "continue to instruct these 
other two on the subject of a Home." 

" Love so enduring and ardent as fits it to be the Home's cor, 
ner-stone, must be the result of something more than a hasty 
fancy : love should be built on sincere respect, and this should 
arise from thorough acquaintance. This respecting love does 
not claim the perfection of its object, because those worthy of 
our heartiest and most admiring affection may have many faults; 
but they are what may be called superficial faults — they are not 
the crimes of falsehood, meanness, cruelty, self-serving or unfaith. 
To have a proper groundwork for love in a thorough acquaint- 
ance, young people should not rush into engagements after a 
short intimacy, else in a little while longer they may discern 
that there is no congeniality between them. Neither do I believe 
in engagements formed between the vory yoiing. Young people 
change so between the ages of sixteen and twenty-one, that they 
can hardly be recognized as the same persons. Especially if 
they are parted from each other during this period of changing 
tastes, they will grow into great unlikeness : in ninety-nine cases 
out of a hundred neither will become the ideal of the other, and 
neither will prove to be that manner of persons which they were 
once supposed to be by the other. Under these conditions the 
engagement trammels them, and can only be productive of mis- 
ery. I should say, then, let an acquaintance as long as possible, 
or long enough to promote a thorough understanding of each 
other's character, precede a matrimonial engagement." 

"And then," interrupted Helen, "just long enough time to get 
your trousseau in good order." 

" Not so fast, my dear. I do not advocate what is called a 
long- engagement, but not so short a one as a few weeks occupied 
by shopping, dress-makers and milliners. I should want time 


enough for the young people to calmly lay their plans, furthei 
count the cost of their new undertaking, and grow into greater 
oneness of opinion and object. Life is full of trials and reverses; 
constantly things are occurring to give love a rude shock, and 
care should be had that the love is so well settled in knowledge 
ind esteem, that it will deepen and not lessen by trials ; that it 
will endure with patience; improve with time, like good wine; 
that it will, like the morning and the path of the just, grow 
brighter and brighter." 

" I am afraid," laughed Helen, " that a few months engage- 
ment would give me time to change my mind. I should see 
my beloved's imperfections so clearly as to decline further 

" Better change your mind, if you change at all, before you are 
aaarried than after, and get into a divorce court," said Hester. 

" Why, Mi .s Lawyer, I supposed you were strong-minded, 
&nd did not decrj' a divorce court," retorted Helen. 

" I've a m!nd to shake you! "cried poor Hester, in a rage. 
"A woman who has really strength of mind will be strong 
enough to se'? that all that defies God's law is really weakness. 
Divorce is wicked ; but no wonder it is frequent when so many 
people jest at being variable and fickle." 

" We interrupt aunt," said Miriam. " How shall true love 
show itself in home-building ? " 

" Love, like faith, shows itself by works : now what capital 
have you in yourself wherewith to build up for your love a 
worthy Home? -What material have you in yourself to enablfl 
you to show your love? Love desires the happiness of its 
object. What have you to ensure that happiness? My MiriarK 
has ju?t said rather sadly that she and Mark have no capital 
I think in this counting of the cost of the Home Building, 1 
have just shown you that relig-ious principle whereon to build 
is the first part of the capital needed, and Love as a corner 


Stone comes next. Courage, then, Miriam ; possibly you may 
discover that you are a larger capitalist than you thought' 
Happiness is largely dependent upon health. Here one would 
hesitate to lay down arbitrary rules, for there are so many 
circumstances which alter cases: and yet, as health is so largely 
a spring of happiness ; as sickness or constant feebleness brings 
so much misery into homes ; and especially as so many diseases 
are hereditary, and the unhealthful parent entails a physical 
curse on his children to the third and fourth generation — I should 
say, that where people know themselves the heritors of scrofulous 
diseases — of insanity, or manias," or other hereditary ills — then 
they would do well, early in their history, to choose for them- 
selves a single life." 

" But suppose a woman preferred to care for the last days of 
one whom she loved ? " said Miriam. 

"As I said, rules cannot suit every case," I replied. 

" Pity that her affections should have been entangled by ond 
who ought not to marry," said Hester. 

" Yes ; because the sacrifice of herself may entail the life- 
misery of her children," said Helen, soberly. 

I continued . 

"Is it very heroic or honorable for a feeble young man, 
especially without capital to bequeath to a family, to marry, 
and having been nursed and mourned over by his wife for a few 
years, to die, leaving an impoverished widow, with several 
sickly children? Would it not have been a nobler part for this 
young man to control his expectations and desires, to accept 
the lot which was laid upon him, to mingle only generally in 
society, devoting himself especially to no one, and, bearing 
his own burden, go out of the world glad of this at least, that he 
had not made others sharers in his diseases ? " 

" My father says," remarked Hester, " that this rule should 
hold for those who have a love of alcohol, or who have kleptc 


mania. Who would wish to raise a family of thieves or of 
drunkards ? " 

" I think, on the whole," said Helen, " that more feeble girls 
C:han young men marry, and that men are the ones who igno- 
rantly or intentionally are deceived. It is not so, aunt ? Loot 
it that side of the question." 

"A young man making his way in the world finds the struggle 
bard enough : how much harder is it when he marries some girl 
(vho seems as healthful and happy as others, but who knows 
herself that she has organic disease, some insidious madness 
hanging over her, which, speedily developed by the cares and 
burdens of life, keeps her a helpless invalid, entailing her mis- 
eries on her children ? Such young folks would be likely to 
live longer, and more comfortably, and surely with less anxiety, 
and less cause of self-reproach, if they had remained single. 
Friendships, activities, social pleasures, and philanthropies were 
open to them, wherein they might serve God and humanity. It 
ii. a vile selfishness to marry merely to be taken care of! So. 
Miriam, as you and Mark are, so far as you both have experi- 
ence of yourselves, sound in body and in mind, you have at once 
a very large portion of that capital needful for upbuilding a 
happy and long-enduring Home.'' 

" Thanks to you, aunt, who have prepared me to meet life 
courageously in my new Home." 

"That Home, Miriam, you are to build up within, while Mark 
buildb without. On his part is needed business knowledge and 
ability in whatever line of life he has chosen, and sonne settled 
line of life already entered upon. A man has a right to ask a 
woman to share humble circumstances with him, if she loves 
him well enough to do so, and if he is honest in telling her 
exactly what his means are ; but no man has a right to offer any 
woman half of nothing: he has no right to be a pauper himself 
nor to make other people paupers. A healthy, industrious 


young couple can live on very little money indeed ; they can 
save and they can earn, but there should be something to save 
and some means of earning, and that ' something ' and those 
' means ' should be equally and fairly understood by both 
Especially no young couple should start in life burdened by 
debts. Expenses in a household are likely to increase and not 
diminish. Nothing so breaks the spirit as a load of debt. Let 
every young man clear off the last dollar of his debts before he 
takes a wife. It is safe in very many cases, we might say in 
every case, where the young pair are healthful, industrious and 
economical, to start without any cash capital, if there is in the 
young man's possession some reliable business, with its reason- 
ably settled gains ; but it is not safe to start hampered by any 
debts. 'Owe no man anything — but to love one another.'" 

" Well, Mark has no debts, and he has a business," said 
Miriam, with a sigh of relief 

"While Mark in his daily business, which furnishes him a 
reasonable prospect of support, builds up his Home from without, 
do you, Miriam, know how to build it up within ? What do you 
know about housekeeping ? If it is Mark's to make money, it 
is yours to spend it judiciously : to save it so far as you can, 
without sacrifice of comfort and decency. Will you be able to 
take his income and out of it produce in your home refinement, 
taste, plenty, good order, strict economy, and achieve at least 
Micawber financiering, which will save a dollar out of the year's 
allowance ? That is, will you fall within the income, even if it 
be by never so little, and not fall without the income, even if it 
be by never so little ? This, Miriam, can be done only if you 
are prepared like the wise women in Proverbs to look well to 
the ways of your household ; to look at them understanding^. 
You must know how everything should be done, even though 
you may not have to do it yourself If you rely on telling your 
maid to make good bread, and yet do not yourself know how 


that is to be done, you are likely to have poor bread, or bread 
wastefully made. If you tell your servant to be economical, and 
do not yourself know all the items of economical practice, be 
sure there will be waste somewhere. Streams do not rise higher 
than their source, and first-rate housekeeping is secured only 
where there is a first-rate housekeeper at the head of affairs, 
although she may not personally perform any of the labor." 

" This may be pleasing talk to Miriam," said Helen, " but it 
gives me the horrors. What a delinquent am I ! bread ! 
economy ! financiering ! " 

I ignored her interruption, and continued : 

" Now, Miriam, I consider a true ability for housekeeping, a 
masterly knowledge of it, one of the finest capitals a woman can 
bring into a marriage partnership ; I should set it against any 
large cash capital which her husband had, as without it his 
capital would be likely to be wasted ; it should counterbalance 
grand business abilities on his part, because if it is lacking, 
capital is not likely to increase by his abilities. Don't sneer, 
Helen, and mumble that it is ' vulgar, common knowledge ; ' 
housekeeping is not vulgar : it is a fine art ; it grasps with one 
hand beauty, with the other utility; it has its harmonies like 
music, and its order like the stars in their courses. I fear really 
good housekeeping, which exhibits itself not in occasional enter- 
tainments, or a handsome parlor, but the good housekeeping 
which extends from the attic to the cellar, and through every 
hour in the year, is far from common. 

" So, after religious principle as underlying rock, after love as 
a corner-stone, after health as a foundation, I say, let us begin 
to lay up the walls of your home with really good housekeeping 
on the wife's part, and honest industry in his business, whatever 
it may be, on the husband's." 

"You, aunt, should be able to say whether I am a good house 
keeper," said Miriam. 


"I should condemn myself, Miriam," I replied, "it I had 
allowed you to grow up in ignorance of housekeeping. Fa- 
miliarity, says the proverb, breeds contempt, but it is ignorance 
of housekeeping which breeds contempt for that art; true 
familiarity with all its departments begets profound respect for it." 

"Aunt Sophronia," demanded Hester, " do you consider gooc^ 
housekeeping and good scholarship incompatible ? " 

" Surely not," I replied. " Very many most admirable, prac- 
tical housekeepers are not scholars ; scholarship has not come 
in their way, nor suited their taste ; but wherever a woman is a 
sound scholar, she ought to be therefore the finer housekeeper. 
Reaching toward perfection in any one thing should lift us 
higher in all things ; it should beget a habit of application and 
thoroughness. Housekeeping embraces a very large part of 
our home duties, and we should all feel that nothing is too 
good and beautiful to be laid on the altar of home. Scholarship 
produces logical thought, correct taste, order, sound judgment; 
and all these are needful to good housekeeping, to say nothing 
of the scientific knowledge required, and which many use imitat- 
ively, not knowing that science is concerned. If classical study 
makes a preacher a better preacher, and a lawyer a better 
lawyer, it should make a housekeeper a better housekeeper ; a 
woman who could read the Georgics oueht not to burn her beef- 
steak ; the training which teaches her to construe an eclogue 
should bid her take the steak from the fire when it was properly 

" But her mind might be so absorbed in the eclogue as to for- 
get the beef," said Helen. 

" That is about as reasonable as to say that because the lawyer 
learned to scan hexameters, he would suddenly become absorbed 
in them and forget his business when applying for a writ of 
habeas corpus." 

"You make me think of our Nora," laughed Hester; "fathei 


cried out to her, ' Nora ! your salad is not crisp : it seems wilted ; 
did you have it in water ? ' ' Faith it was floatin' in the pan 
better nor half an hour ; be that token, some lies there yet,' says 
Nora. -I went to look, and sure enough there it was, but in 
picking the leaves from the stem she had laid them all face 
down. I said to her, ' See here, Nora, you must cover these 
leaves with water, or put them bottom-side down.' 'An' why 
will I do that ? ' says Nora. ' Because they have no mouths 
on the upper surface to drink in the water,' I told her. ' If you 
say so, I'll put 'em so,' said Nora, ' but it's not meself iver see a 
mouth in a salad leaf, here nor yet in ould Ireland, where ivery- 
thing is made right.' " 

"Well, Hester," said I, "you see that botanical knowledge, 
did not come amiss in the kitchen ; neither does artistic knowl- 
edge, for I W.1S at Mrs. Burr's lately and saw on her tea-table a 
salad served with a wreath of blue violets around the edge of 
the platter, and a cluster of lilies of the valley in the centre ; the 
dish was as lovely as one of those paintings for which she 
receives such great prices, and as for flavor, it was the finest 
salad I ever ate, while the whole table looked beautiful in its 
beauty. But to go on with our discussion of the capital needed 
for founding a home. In the housekeeping I have included 
order and neatness, for that is half. the whole; merely to know 
how to cook food is not good housekeeping. Economy will be 
especially demanded of young people who have no fortunes but 
in themselves. Are you capable of self-denial and self-sacrifice ? 
Can you be cheerful while others, your friends, make a greater 
display and have more showy pleasures ? Can you be resolute 
to save a little every year, even if it is very little indeed ? This 
strength of character which can attain to self-denial, to persever- 
ance, self-sacrifice, is fine capital for the founding of a home. 
Can you sew? Can you cut out garments? Can you make, 
mend, and re-make ? Rich or poor, every woman should know 


how to do this ; if she is rich, she may be poor some day and 
need the knowledge, or she can now do this work for the objects 
of her charity, and so increase her means of usefulness. Burns, 
in the world's loveliest pastoral, says, his house-mother ' gars 
auld claes look amaist as good as new.' You who begin in 
humble fashion shall move on this road of tasteful, neat econ- 
omy in your clothing toward the virtuous woman's height of 
' clothing her household in scarlet, and making herself coverings 
of tapestry, and her clothing silk and purple.' While in the 
olden time the housewife ' laid her hands to the spindle and held 
the distaff,' now machinery performs for her these labors, and 
she can devote herself to cutting and fitting, darning, basting 
and turning, satisfied that to save is to gain ; and if she saves for 
love and duty's or holy charity's sake, she makes the work 
beautiful and honorable. Every woman should be a good seam- 
stress as well as a good housekeeper, whether she be obliged 
to use her needle herself or not. There is a growing neglect 
of nice hand-sewing, and I know young women who are not 
ashamed to proclaim that ' they don't know how to make a 
button-hole, and their hemming looks like witches.' " 

"Well," laughed Miriam, " I can sew: so that's more capital." 
"Another important item in founding a home is, that the 
young people have and cultivate equable, cheery dispositions, 
that their homes be bright and attractive. A gruff, fault-finding, 
never-pleased man makes his home hateful ; a morose, quer- 
ulous, spiteful woman makes her home equally hateful. If 
such dispositions are in you, you must conquer them for the 
sake of Home comfort, that over your Household may rest the 
blessing of peace. Cultivate also for. your home, intelligence; 
there are other matters of interest needed to converse about 
than the price of potatoes and the draught of the kitchen 

" Stories generally end with the marriage'ring, but here the 


most important story of life begins. After the marriage-ring 
come the greatest beauties of self-sacrifice, the strength of 
perseverance, the heights of courage, the tenderness of sym- 
pathy, the need of patience. Search yourselves and see whether 
you have in your hearts the germs of these things, which need 
may develop into luxuriant growth. Have you in yourselves 
the essentials for the founding of a home? Have you any 
home-making capacity? If not, then, out of consideration for 
the world's already sufficiently great burden of misery, don't 

" But if you can look honestly at the future, see that it will 
not all be love-making and plenty and pleasure, but that 

' No lot below 
For one whole day escapeth care; ' 

that there will be clouds with the sunshine, and want mixed 
with plenty, and sorrow with joy, and pain with comfort ; and if 
you find you have in you ability to 

' Make a sunshine in a shady place; ' 

if you can see two walking courageously together because they 
be agreed, lifting up each other when they fall, standing by 
each other in disaster, and liking good better because it is 
shared — then marry ; and there will be one more true Home 
in the world, one more source of good, one more fountain of 
joy to generations to come ; the state and the world will be the 
better for you and for your Home." 

" Why ! " cried Hester, in her dashing way, " who is sufficient 
for these things?" 

"All honest hearts who are capable of loving, and are cour- 
ageously resolved to do, day by day, their very best, living 
down their disasters, and repairing their mistakes." 

" I see," said Miriam, " why you do not want the whole time 
• of an engaged couple consumed in preparations of dress and 


house-furnishing, that leave them no time to think, when the 
subject is of so great importance." 

"If you take it so seriously, Miriam," said Helen, "you will 
grow as perfect as Aunt Sophronia's model, Mrs. Winton. As 
for me, thinking of so many duties would make me gray in a 
week. I think I shall have to risk the married state without 
finding in myself any particular capacity for it." 

So in this world we walk according to our lights. Does the 
light burn low because we were started in life with very little 
oil in it, or because we have not been taught to tend and trim 
it properly ? Miriam is a very different girl from Helen, and / 
will not say it is my training that has made the difference. 
However, such as they were they married : Miriam and Mark, 
and Helen and Frank Hand. Frank and his wife had the most 
money ; but Mark and Miriam had what I called the most real 
capital for the founding of a home — good religious principle, 
true love, health, knowledge of housekeeping and business, 
industry, economy, courage, intelligence, good dispositions; 
they were not perfect, but very fair samples of humanity. 
Miriam and Mark had a plain wedding and no wedding tour. 
They had a snug little cottage into which they went on their 
marriage day, and I called that evening to bid them "good- 
night." As I went away I prayed David's Prayer : " Let it 
please thee to bless the house of thy servant, that it may con- 
tinue forever before thee : for thou, O Lord God, hast spoken it. 
and with thy blessing let the house of thy servant be blessed 



HAD invited my three nieces to spend my birthday with 

me. During dinner Hester informed us that she wa.1 

going away to school, and expected to remain most of 

the time for four years. 

" Ridiculous ! " cried Helen : " you will then be past twenty, 

without having been in society; at whrt age do you expect to 

be married at that rate ? " 

" I have set no period for that important event," said Hester, 
with her lofty smile. " However, I have in my reading hap- 
pened upon a deal of advice on that subject, and I find that 
physicians and other wise people consider from twenty-two until 
twenty-five the best age for marriage, and they assert that many 
evils of early deaths, feeble health, unhappy homes, sickly chil- 
dren, and so forth and so on, result from premature marriages." 
" If you must go to school," said Helen, deserting the first 
question, as she always does when Hester begins to argue, " I 
hope you will learn music. Every one does, and you will seem 
dreadfully stupid and unfashionable if you cannot play." 

" I shall not study music, as it would be a waste of time 
and money," replied Hester ; " only those who have some apti- 
tude for music should study it ; as for me, I have neither voice 
nor 'ear, and why should I drill on an art where I can never 
achieve success ? Why study music merely because it has be- 
come the fashion to pretend to pursue it? If I spend on music 


t\vo hours a day during my four years' course, I spend two 
thousand five hundred and four hours, and four hundred dollars 
upon music, and then can only drum on the piano, and not play 
with taste and sympathy. All those hours and that money, on 
the other hand, might put me in possession of some branch foi 
which I have real aptitude. Folks should study what is suited 
to themselves, to their own needs and abilities, not merely some- 
thing that other people study. Goethe says, 'We should 
guard against a talent which we cannot hope to practise in 
perfection.' " 

" Well, there is painting, Hester," said Miriam : " you have ^ 
real taste for the beautiful art." 

" I have taste, but no genius," said Hester j " I can appreciate 
what other people do, but I cannot create beauty myself; I 
should be merely a mediocre artist, and there are plenty of them 
in the market. Now, I have ability for scholarship; natural 
sciences and languages are my delight; therefore I shall pursue 
that in which I can succeed." 

" Is it better," asked Miriam, " to know something of every- 
thing, or everything of something ? " 
"Absolutely, one can do neither," I said. 
" Well, within human limitations, understood." 
"It is better," said Hester, "to know everything o* something, 
for thoroughness is in itself a great virtue, and \\ill entei intc 
all your life, making one in all things painstaking and honest." 
" This devoting yourself to one thing, however," said Helen 
" will make you one-idead, crotchety, a hobby-rider, and you 
will be detestable." 

" These people of one idea have been the people who moved 
the world," retorted Hester. 

" The fact is, my dear girls," I interposed, " no one branch of 
study stands isolated ; it reaches out and intermingles and takes 
hold of others. Hester's ideas are in the main correct; study 


that for which you find in yourselves most aptitude ; aspire to 
completeness in whatever you undertake ; value knowledge, and 
seize whatever comes in your way, and put what you acquire to 
use as fast as you can. The Lord found great fault with the 
servant who buried his talent in a napkin." 

" What do you suppose his talent was ? " asked Helen. 
" Time, perhaps : the one talent common to all." 
"And what was the napkin wherein he buried it?" asked 

" Disorder, doubtless ; for you can bury more time in disorder 
than in any other way." 

" I must be very disorderly, then," laughed Helen, " for since 
I went to housekeeping I have no time for anything ; you have 
no idea how behind-hand I am. I have not opened my piano 
except on a few evenings ; I have a whole basketful of accumu- 
lated sewing, and hose for darning ; I haven't read anything but 
two or three novels ; I have not done a bit of fancy-work — " 

" My dear girl ! " I cried, " if this is your record now, what 
will become of you when cares increase ? — say, for instance, if 
there were two or three little ones." 

"I'm sure I don't know," said Helen; "I should have to set 
up another servant or two, and then we should be bags of rags, 
and all our buttons would be off, I expect." 

" Indeed Helen," I urged, " there must be a sad mistake some- 
where if you have reached this result. Living here in the vil- 
lage, with but two in the family, you have a very modicum of 
household cares ; what think you of young wives on farms who 
nave chicks to feed, several hands to cook for, butter to make, 
oftentimes no servant, or but a young girl ? and yet nearly all 
of them would make a better showing than this. I remember 
when Cousin Ann's three elder children wjere little things, and 
she kept but a half-grown girl, there were no rags and no mend- 
ing in arrears, and all the farm-work being done by half-past 


two, she could sit down to make or mend, and in the evening 
pick up a book or a newspaper. She made a point of reading 
as much as she could, so as to be able to interest and instruct 
her children. Her son Reed's wife has a young child and keeps 
no help ; she sends butter and eggs to market, and manages so 
well in all her work that she has spare hours for making pretty 
and useful things for her house, for reading, and for doing all 
her own sewing, and not being behind-hand with it. Depend 
on it, the secret lies in industrious order — in what is called good 

" But I cannot understand it, Helen," said Miriam : " your 
house has only ten rooms beside the bath, and you keep a 
servant: where does your time go?" 

" How can / tell where it goes, when I never can find it ? " 
grumbled Helen. " I dare say j/(?« don't understand it. Why, 
aunt, there is Miriam doing the most of her own work ; no 
matter when I go there, the work is all done ; the house is neat 
as a pin ; Miriam is sitting at her reading or her sewing ; she 
has made perfect gems of fancy things that stick here and there 
in her house ; even in her kitchen she has fancy wall-pockets for 
string, paper and little bags ; fancy holders, a pincushion hung 
by the window, a crocheted scrap-bag, and, if you'll believe me, 
always a bouquet in the window ! " 

" Why not have it nice ? " said Miriam. " I have to be there 
often, and I can work faster where things are handy, and enjoy 
myself better when things are pretty. Why should I run up- 
stairs for every pin I want, or look five minutes when I need a 
string, or have scraps of rag and paper stuffed in corners for 
want of a convenient bag to put them in ? " 

" What amazes me is," said Helen, " where you get the time 
for all these things." 

" I got it from Mrs, Burr for a wedding gift," said Miriam. 

" Do explain : I wish she had been as liberal to me." 


" She sent me a book of her own making, two boards of gray 
Bristol, bound in red satin and painted with one of her lovely 
landscapes. Inside was only a single page: that was while 
Bristol, illuminated with a wreath of flowers, bees and butterflies, 
and this motto within: 'Always be one hour in advance of your 
work.' I saw at once that here was the key to the Order that 
reigns at Mrs. Burr's. If I were an hour beforehand with work 
I should never be hurried nor worried ; if I began at once, the 
habit of being in seasoil would be fixed. I saw also that the 
one hour would by good judgment in planning grow to many, 
and I should always have time to spare. I concluded to think 
the housekeeping matter out and have an exact routine for 
it ; it was little trouble to do that : I had only to copy Aunt 
Sophronia : she always had exact order here." 

" But I hate routine," yawned Helen. 

" Then you hate what you never tried," quoth Hester. 

" I believe," cried Helen, " that it is all my servant that makes 
the difference. You, Miriam, are not plagued with a girl. I 
dare say, Hannah has no order about things, and then, she is so 
slow ! " 

" But you, as her mistress," I said, " have a right and a duty 
to arrange an order, and see that it is maintained ; if there is no 
order, of course she will be slow ; disorder is the slowest worker 
in the universe. Have you any fixed time for anything ? When 
do you breakfast?" 

"When the breakfast is ready," cried Helen, "and the same 
for dinner and tea ; only Hannah is prompter with tea, so that 
she can get out." 

"And on what day do you make your bread ? " 

" Why, when the bread runs out, and usually Hannah ' forgot,' 
or ' didn't know,' or something of that kind, and we have a day 
of baker's brfead." 

"And do you not look after the state of the bread-box and see 


that Hannah minds her work ? Do you not know how many 
loaves you need weekly, and have a regular day for baking, one 
day before the bread is out, so you will not cut hot bread and 
gain dyspepsia thereby, while you waste bread? And what day 
have you for sweeping ? — what day for washing ? " 

" Well, I try to have Monday for washing-day, and Friday 
for sweeping, but sometimes we find ourselves out of all pie, 
cake and bread, and then we have to make a change. And if I 
go off Friday morning expecting Hannah to sweep, I come 
home, and perhaps she has done something else — dear knows 
what ; and then Saturday all is flurry, and I have no decent place 
to sit down to my mending, and it is put off until the next week, 
and then I am tired, and there is a great deal of it to do, and so 
it goes on." 

"All the result of not having a time and a place for everything; 
a lack of plan and energy on your part, Helen, is ruining your 
servant, and your domestic comfort. A Household should have 
laws like the Medes and Persians, which never change ; and 
privileges which are like an Englishman's house, an impregnable 
castle," I said. 

" Miriam," I asked, " what and how much do you read and 

" We take two monthly magazines and a daily paper, and I 
read those regularly ; and Mark and I enjoy talking over the 
news and the various articles at meal-times." 

" Why," exclaimed Helen, " I haven't read a paper since I was 
married, and Frank might as well talk about the affairs of the 
moon as of daily news, for all I know of it!" 

" Then Frank will begin to go from home for company," 1 
said ; " by all means read, Helen, and have something to talk 
about beyond Hannah and the butcher." 

" Go on, Miriam: what else do you read? " said Hester. 

"I arrange for an hour each morning, except oy Saturday, 


for study, and I spend half of that hour on French, and the 
other half on History. It is very little, and would not satisfy 
such a student as you, Hester, but it serves to keep those 
studies fresh, and I gain a little. Then I have always on hand 
a book or two : the popular book of the month, or something 
that Mark has read and likes, or that some one who knows 
about books has recommended to me, and that keeps my mind 
fresh and active. I get what books and articles I can on house- 
keeping, on cooking, furnishing, decorating, repairing, window 
gardening, anything that will serve to improve our home at 
small cost, or save expense, and introduce variety ; and I have 
set up a scrap-book of valuable items." 

" But where do you get the time ? for I often find you at 
sewing or fancy work," said Helen. 

" I took from the very first an hour a day for sewing ; that so 
far does for my mending, and keeps me with work in advance 
finished. When I feel inclined for fancy work, and on rainy 
days when there are no calls, and in evenings when friends drop 
in T can do a good deal, if it is all at hand in my basket. \ go 
out every day, sometimes in the morning, to give the orders at 
the grocer's and market, and as I keep a list of needs in my 
kitchen-book, I am saved the trouble of frequent errands; and 
one afternoon in a week I give to social duties, calls, visits and 
the like ; and so I find time for everything." 

" Because you have a time for everything. Are not youi 
meals at a set time? Don't you have a set time for each kind 
of house-work ? " asked Hester. 

" On Monday my laundress comes early. She washes out 
clothes — of course it is a small wash. While they are drying, 
she scrubs, blacks the stove, cleans, windows, or does anything 
I want her to do. Then in the afternoon she irons the clothes ; 
after tea I mend them and put them away. She is a strong, 
active woman, able to give a good day's work, and I pay her 


considerably over the ordinary price for the sake of thorough- 
ness and despatch. She finds everything ready for her work 
when she comes, and with a cup of hot coffee for her dinner, 
jhe gets done without over-fatigue." 

" Why Hannah dajvdles all day over just our little wash," 
complained Helen. 

I resolved to find out some time the "reason why" of 
Hannah's " dawdling." 

" Friday is my sweeping-day ; and on Saturday I bake bread, 
pies, cake, apples, a variety of things," said Miriam. 

"And you do all your own work besides?" asked Helen. 

" The laundress' boy comes to clean the front-steps and the 
grass-plot — he does any little thinj I need." 

" Dear me ! and your hands don't look any the worse for it, 
either," said Helen. 

" I take care of them," said Miriam. " I have a mop for the 
dishes, and a high-handled scrubbing brush for pots and pans, 
and a cork two inches high for polishing the knives — and 
nothing is so nice for knives as corks for the bath brick and 
the after rubbing — and I use gloves when I sweep and dust, and 
whenever else I can. I shall not sacrifice my hands needlessly, 
nor shall I sacrifice my work to save my hands." 

" Now tell me why you don't keep a girl ? " asked Helen. 

" As a matter of economy," said Miriam. " Mark has only 
a thousand a year. We coidd keep a girl, and he urged it ; but 
I am amply able without the least injury to myself to do this 
work. If we kept a servant, with the wages, the board of the 
sen^ant, and the fact that she would, however well watched, be 
less saving than I am, our living expenses would be increased 
by one-third. Without the servant we can lay up something, 
and we can buy more books, and give ourselves various little 
gratifications. There was, in fact, nothing to sacrifice but a 
little false pride, and I dared to be independent." 


" Why is it that maids are bound to be less economical than 
raeir mistresses ?" asked Hester. 

" Because their money is not invested in the housekeeping," 
iaid I ; " the dollar saved will not go into their pockets ; so, even 
■vith average honesty and economy, they will throw away fai 
more than the mistress. Human honesty is a curious affair, and 
embraces very many degrees. ' The cloak of truth is lined with 
lies,' saith Longfellow's 'Aromatic Jew.' " 

" You' remind me of our Nora," said Hester. " I met her 
going out with a pail of milk : she said, ' Sure the bye left me 
Ann Skinner's pint, and her me quart. Troth I'm on me way 
to change the same.' 'I should think,' I said, 'that Ann would 
have seen the error before now; he left her the milk first' 'An' 
why should Ann see it? ' says Nora: 'she has the quart!" 

" Just give me, Miriam," I said, after we had laughed at Nora's 
logic, " a sketch of your day." 

" We rise at seven ; by eight breaktast is ready, and while it 
was cooking I had set the table and put my bed-room in order. 
Always by half-past nine, sometimes sooner, my work is done. 
Then I take my hour's study. After that I sometimes go out 
for shopping, or leaving orders. If not, I sew an hour. Then 
I begin to get dinner, and intermixed with that comes generally 
half an hour or so, while things are cooking, when I can read. 
After dinner is out of the way I dress up for afternoon ; if I have 
not been out in the morning, I go out then ; if I have, or it rains, 
I have fancy-work or reading to occupy me. I do not usually 
cook anything for supper, except the tea. I have cake, fruit, 
cold meat, sandwiches, salads ; there are plenty of nice, simple 
things ; if there is a salad, I prepare it while I am getting dinner. 
Before I go to bed I go to the kitchen, see that the tea-kettle is 
filled, put the rice, or cracked wheat, for breakfast, to soak, and 
get the potatoes ready ; this takes me only a few minutes and 
saves me a deal of time in the morning. If Mark had to be at 


his business before nine, or did not come home until the five 
o'clock dinner that some have, of course I should only get 
myself a lunch, and there would be a deal more time for the 
books or needle-work, but I have plenty of time as it is. Satur- 
days I neither study nor sew ; I have the baking, which takes al' 
the morning, and I go up-stairs for a while in the evening tc 
sort and mend the clothes for Monday's wash. Friday I sweep, 
and that uses up the time of the walk, the reading and the fancy- 
work. But I always have time to go anywhere with Mark, or 
to see our friends, or for anything extra. I never feel hurried 
at all — thanks to Mrs. Burr's rule, and yours, aunt, of having a 
set time for everything, and a place for everything." 

Our conversation had extended past dinner and nearly through 
the afternoon. 

For some weeks thereafter I was absorbed "by Hester's prep- 
arations for departure. In her own and her father's atrocious 
neglect of proper dress, I feared she would go off deplorably 
shabby. I poured out my complaints to Mrs. Winton. " See 
how Hester looks : her clothes have no fit ; John is so absurd 
in his ideas ; the girl never dresses like other people." 

"The evil is not in Mr. Rocheford's ideas," said Mrs. Winton: 
"he is right in the opinion that the human figure should be 
allowed a natural development, without any compressions ; vig- 
orous health and true beauty of form will thus be secured. You 
have often admired the upright and elegant person and carriage 
of my daughter Grace : she has never worn any article of dress, 
from a gown to a glove, which pressed upon her, or in any way 
changed or hindered her natural growth. The trouble with 
Hester is, that from the extreme of anxiety about dress in which 
some girls indulge, she has made the rebound of entire careless- 
ness ; her clothing is neither properly made nor properly put on. 
I predict for her the soon reaching a happy mean, and being a 
model of taste and neatness, while she eschews extravagance and 


display. The good order which pervades her studies will sooo 
permeate all her life : her cultivated taste will direct her to fit 
ness and beauty ; it is well for her to go away to school : she 
will be brought into companionship with some good and con« 
genial woman, who will become her model. It is most danger 
ous to neglect the greater for the less : Hester has been neglect 
ing the less for the greater; but increased mental training will 
produce harmony in her mind, and she will give less its full and 
proper place." 

I began to think Mrs. Winton was right, when on going to 
see Hester, I found how nicely she had packed her trunk. She 
explained it by stating, that first she had packed her books and 
pictures handsomely, " because she loved them," and then she 
thought that the care which was good for them would serve as 
well for other things, and so I found her surveying with much 
satisfaction the work of her hands. 

As I heartily abhor an untidy woman, I gave Hester some 
advice about clean collars properly put on, neat hair, and the 
excellence of neck-ties and white aprons. I said to her: " Hester, 
there is neither honor nor advantage in the neglecting of little 
things. God makes the flower which is to perish unseen in 
secret nooks as perfect as that destined to bloom before millions 
of admirers ; he carves with the same exquisite symmetry the 
shell which is so small as to be almost microscopic, and the great 
treasure of the sea. God slights nothing. They who love good- 
ness and beauty for their own sakes will slight nothing. An old 
writer says : ' Manners makyth man.' Chesterfield advises : ' Pre- 
pare yourselves for the world as the athletse used to do for their 
exercises : oil your mind and your manners to give them the 
needful suppleness and flexibility: strength alone will not do.' 
Cultivate graciousness as a duty, and cultivate as a duty also a 
harmonious neatness and beauty in appearance and in all that 
you do. People, Hester, judge us by what they see. Let not 


/our good be evil spoken of, but let your zeal for knowledge be 
commended by order and harmony in all that you do." 

After Hester was gone I had more time to visit my other two 
nieces, and as I was lonely I paid more calls than usual to my 
friends in the village. The subject of Order in the Household 
was much in my mind, and I quietly gathered up many hints 
concerning it. I went one Tuesday morning, about nine o'clock, 
lo call upon Helen. As my ring was not answered, I went 
round to a side door opening into the dining-room, and walked 
in. The door was open between the dining-room and kitchen, 
and I saw that Hannah had just finished doing up the breakfast 
dishes, and was preparing to do the washing, which had been 
" put off" from the day before. I always send my washing to 
the kitchen sorted — a bag of coarse clothes, a bag of fine 
clothes, and the colored clothes and flannels by themselves. 
This facilitates the work of the laundress ; she sees all that she 
has to do, and she is not delayed in picking the wash over. I 
trust Helen's style of sending down a wash is peculiar to herself. 
The door of the back stairs was open, and down these stairs had 
been flung an avalanche of soiled clothes — ^towels, sheets, shirts, 
hose and table linen promiscuously tumbled into the kitchen, 
and lying along the steps. Hannah lazily gathered up some of 
these pieces, and dropped them into her tub. A pair of colored 
hose went in tangled up in Frank's best shirt, and I perceived 
that Helen's nicest collar was kicked by the unobservant maid 
into a pile of towels. I saw, also, that the clothes had not been 
mended ; a skirt of Helen's, who wears her white skirts trained 
and dragging upon the side-walks, had half a yard of the ruffling 
torn, and hanging in a great loop ; and one of the sheets was 
also rent. I went up-stairs to Helen. She was rocking in the 
easy-chair in her pretty room, with a face of discontent. She 
cried, as soon as she saw me, " O, I'm glad to see you. I'm sick 
of housekeeping, and I'm dreadfully blue : all things go in such 


a turmoil here ! Yesterday Hannah did not wash, because she 
thought it would rain, and nov/ she has hardly begun, and she'll 
be until tea-time at it, and a helter-skelter dinner too. Then 
Frank has asked two gentlemen to tea to-morrow, and there 
should be cake and floating island made, and the ironing will be 
lying about ; it will be noon before Hannah folds the clothes , 
and only see : I put this lace set in last week, and look how it is 
torn, and I want to wear it to-morrow, and it will take me forever 
to mend it." 

" Now, Helen," I said, " you need a good plain talking to, and 
as I shall give it to you, I hope you'll receive it kindly, and 
profit by it. As for your washing, it should have been done 
yesterday. Then, if it had rained, the white clothes could, most 
of them, have been left in a tub of light bluing-water, and have 
been put on the line early this morning, while a frame full of 
towels, hose and colored clothes could have been dried in the 
kitchen, and Hannah could be ironing them now. Your maid 
is disorderly; but don't complain of that, when her mistress has 
no idea of order." And so I told her how I had seen her clothes 
tossed into the kitchen. 

" Well, aunt, what ought I to do ? " asked Helen. 

" I should say, go right down-stairs, and yourself sort the 
clothes that are lying about, and bring those torn pieces up, and 
mend them before Hannah is ready for them. It takes twice as 
long to wash ragged clothes as it does to wash whole ones. 
Just tell Hannah kindly, that you intend to have a new style in 
the washing, and that she must be brisk, and that all the clothes 
must be neatly folded in the basket, before she goes out this 

Helen, seeing me reach out my hand for her torn lace, with 
evident intention of darning it, started for her kitchen, and 
presently returned with the torn skirt and sheet, and set briskly 
ftt her mending. 


" Do the skirt ^rj^, because she will want to wash that first— 
the starched pieces should have the precedence, as they take 
longer to dry. Now, Helen, I will mend this set, and hereafter, 
do as I do : I always wash my own lace and fine embroidery. 
The best intentioned maids will destroy these things sooner than 
their owner. The maids have neither to buy them nor repair 
them, and human honesty has its varieties ; so docs human igno- 
rance. Hannah very likely rubbed this set on the board, and 
then boiled it. Have a little bag in your bed-room, and throw 
this kind of finery in it as it becomes soiled. When it has accu- 
mulated, put the pieces to soak in weak borax or ammonia 
water ; some evening, wash them up lightly with your hands and 
fine toilette soap ; next morning, scald them. Starch the embroid- 
ery, and iron it on the wrong side, laid on a piece of fine flannel 
The lace, rinse in weak gum-water ; stretch it, and pin it on a 
pillow, though some kinds can be ironed between two pieces of 
flannel. On washing-days you should insist on having Hannah 
rise early, and begin washing before breakfast. Have the 
clothes ready for her in bags ; have a breakfast that is easily 
gotten, and needs few pots and pans. Arrange for a dinner, 
which shall be but little trouble, and give some help about 
preparing it ; you can set the table, and make the dessert ; and so 
you will encourage your maid, and have a better meal, for there 
is no propriety in making, by means of bad meals, the washing- 
day a terror to Frank, as if he were an evil-doer. 

" To-morrow let Ha'nnah get at her ironing as soon as she 
has cleared away the breakfast dishes ; if her clothes are ready 
folded in the basket she can go briskly to work ; and do you 
prepare the cake and floating island yourself: there will be a 
good fire in the range, and you will find it little trouble. In 
fact, Helen, if you do not turn over a new leaf and have order 
in your house, your housekeeping will be more and more a 
misery to you ; you will become petulant and moping under the 


burden ; Frank will find you less agreeable, and will wonder 
why his home has no regularity. His clothes and drawers 
being out of order, and his meals at irregular hours, he will 
have cause for complaint, and become, by degrees, a fault- 
finder. Your servant will go from bad to worse, for it is very 
easy in this naughty world to improve backwards — as cares 
mcrease, the complications of disorder will increase. Tell me, 
Helen, have you a place for everything? Are your bureau 
drawers in order, and has each one its own appointed contents, 
so that you could find what you want in the dark ? In your 
dining-room, has your china-closet a fixed place for everything? 
so of your store-closet, and your tin-closet ? Have you fixed 
places for your bed and table linen ? Are your kitchen towels 
in a drawer of their own, or do you and Hannah consume five, 
ten, twenty minutes here and there looking for things ? " 

" Dear me ! " cried Helen : " very little is in order, and it 
looks a prodigious task to put things in order, and make 
Hannah orderly, or be so myself If I had only begun so 
when I was married ! " 

" But it will be a deal easier to reform now than next year ; 
you had better inaugurate order at once." 

" You see," continued Helen, " grandma is a good house- 
keeper, bnt she did not care to be troubled teaching me, and I 
did not like to be bothered with learning, and we both kept 
saying ' time enough.' So the chambermaid took care of my 
room, and grandma did my mending if it was troublesome, and 
put my bureaus to rights every now and then for me, and now, 
really, aunt, order is not in me." 

" You must attain to it," I said, " or. you will have a very 
unhappy married life. An acquaintance of mine, one of the most 
prematurely aged, fretted, worn-out women I ever saw, wrecked 
her home on this rock of Disorder. When I knew her she had 
six children ; not one of them had a drawer or closet for their 


own clothes ; the stockings were mended or not, as it happened 
and when it happened; when mended, pairs were not rolled 
together, but the family supply tumbled into a basket of 
drawer, and at the cry, ' I want a pair of stockings,' came the 
reply 'to go and look for them,' and the little ones wore odd 
hose as often as mates. Sunday n:\orning was a scene of worry : 
buttons off, hats mislaid, shoes lost. The muff, last worn in 
early sprihg, was tosseJ upon a wardrobe, or on the spare-room 
bed, and found next fall dusty and moth-eaten ; the parasols, 
used last on some Fall day, were stood in a closet, or behind a 
door, or laid on the bureau of the vacant room, and spring found 
them faded, dirty and mice-gnawed. Spasmodic house-cleanings 
availed little, as disorder began again as soon as things were 
put to rights. No one was ever contented nor sure of anything. 
The house-mother was always tired, never had time, was always 
in a worry and nervous. A good cook and seamstress, she 
accomplished nothing by her knowledge, for where she built up 
by ' knowing how,' she pulled down by disorder. Neither her 
husband nor children thought their home a ' nice place : ' it was 
to them no centre of their desires, no model, no 'dear nest* 
whither they would always fly. I tell you, Helen, in a Home it 
must be order or ruin. Order is to the house as morality to 
the human being — a sheet-anchor." 

The next day I went to see Miriam. It was about nine 
o'clock, and my niece was just taking her place in the sitting- 
room window. She beckoned me in. I said : "Ah I this is the 
time when you study." 

" That is nothing," she said ; " I am always learning when 1 
talk with you. Let us have a morning visit ; you shall stay to 
dinner. I can pursue my sewing and fancy work, and the study 
can come in by itself some other hour in the day." 

Miriam's sitting-room was in lovely order. She is trying 
window gardening, and had a jardinet in one window in fine 


bloom. A broad board had been screwed upon the window< 
sill. Mark had made for it a rustic frame three inches high, and 
Miriam had lined that with moss, and planted in the moss com- 
mon vines, as " Love Entangled," " Wandering Jew," " Money 
Wort," and " Parlor Ivy ; " these drooped nearly to the floor. 
Inside the moss lining she had set an old-fashioned square 
dripping-pan, and filled it with rich earth well piled up ; in the 
centre and in each corner was a green flower-pot with a thrifty 
geranium or Begonia; and between the pots grew low ferns, 
blue and pink oxalis, pansies and other things, which did not 
demand deep rootage. It was a very pretty, cheap and easily- 
taken-care-of winter garden, and over it hung a very handsome 
basket of drooping plants. I saw in one corner a rather large 
basket of work folded into neat bundles. I inquired what it 
was. Said Miriam : 

" My time for sewing more than suffices for myself, so this is 
some work for the Missionary Society, and for the Children's 
Home. I have been cutting it out in my spare time for a week 
past, and now it is ready to sew upon, and as it is here at' hand 
I can set a good many stitches at odd moments. See, here is 
some pretty work I am doing for our missionary-box. I like to 
send pretty things away, and I thought the little sums I had to 
give in this way would go further if I bought material and made 
it up. If I have more time after that, I will sew on the material 
of those who have no time to give. After Christmas I shall 
begin on a set of shirts for Mark. He will not need them 
before next summer, but you know Mrs. Burr's rule is to be 
before-hand with your work, and in warm weather one feels less 
like sewing and there is more company, and Mark and I may 
take a little vacation." 

Miriam went up-stairs for some patterns to show me, and as 1 
(icard a knock at the kitchen door I answered it. The kitchen 
was in beautiful order ; the floor was covered with oil-clotb anrf 

— ^- '**^f€^':;^'fw^.:.^ 




1 1 

) i ' 

4 f Ml I 

'Fit—- ^^ ^ 


there were rugs of carpet lying before the table, stove and sink 
The fire had been arranged to burn low until needed for dinner; 
the vegetables for dinner were standing ready in earthen basins 
of water. I wag glad to see that the table and the wood work 
of the sink were covered with oil-cloth. This saves a great deal 
of time and of hard work in scrubbing. Young housekeepers 
should remember that they cannot practise truer economy than 
in investing a little money in things that shall spare them severe 
labor, and save their time, as for instance, coverings for kitchen 
floors and tables. I was glad also to see that Miriam had been 
wise to provide articles for use that were light and easy to 
handle. Young folks often strain themselves by lifting enormous 
pots and water-pails, when small, light ones would be far more 
suitable for a small family. Miriam generally uses white metal 
saucepans and skillets instead of iron. In her kitchen every- 
thing was handy, to spare steps. Mark had been at some 
expense in fitting up an outer shed-room for a snug laundry, so 
that the washing should not be in the kitchen, where Miriam had 
her work. He had had a new drain opened, and bought a stove 
for this work with a stationary copper boiler, beside the clothes- 
boiler. Miriam leaves the clothes-bags there, locks the door 
into the kitchen, and allows the laundress to have one key of the 
laundry door ; therefore, on Monday morning she can come and 
begin as early as she likes, and she always finds soap, starch, 
bluing — all that she needs — ready. Now while I was at 
Helen's the other day, Hannah left her tubs twice to go to the 
store, once for soap, once for blue. I don't wonder that that 
girl never gets on quickly with her work. I saw in Miriam's 
kitchen closet a shelf with plenty of bar-soap cut, and spread to 
dry, as this saves it in the washing ; she never gives the laun- 
dress soap that has been drying less than three weeks. It is by 
small economies and cares, such as this, that large economy is 
attained. One does not, in a household, make some great fifty. 


or a hundred, or two hundred dollars saving, but it is the 
little saving of five, ten and twenty-five cent pieces, of half dol- 
lars and dollars, which in the year mounts up to a goodly sum 
total, and these savings represent not meanness, but care ; not 
cutting down the rations of the hired people, not buying inferior 
tea and flour, and poor butter whereof less will be eaten, but get- 
ting the best, and in quantity, and then allowing no wasting. 
Miriam has in her laundry closet a tea-pot and a little caddy 
with some tea, so that her laundress can make herself a cup of tea ■ 
as soon as she lights her fire, and thus not be forced to work on 
faint and hungry until after the family have finished their break- 
fast ; a plate of rolls or of bread and butter is left beside the tea- 
pot, and thus the working-woman is heartened for her toils, and 
can comfortably wait for her later morning meal. Miriam says 
that next spring she means to have breakfast at half-past seven, 
and as during the summer Mark will have Mr. Cox's place, he 
will be home for a five o'clock dinner ; Miriam says she will then 
have a deal more time to herself, and she means to do all her 
own dressmaking, and plans for many other undertakings. 

On Saturday, about five o'clock, I called upon Mrs. Burr. I 
found her in the sewing-room, rolling up a bundle of fragments 
of cloth. She said : 

" The seamstress has been here a fortnight, and has just gone. 
Congratulate me ! all our winter sewing is finished ; every item 
for household or personal wear is complete ; the last button is 
sewed on, and all articles repose peacefully in their places." 

" You are early," I said ; " it is only the third week in Sep- 

" I always have my summer sewing done in April, and my 
fall sewing in September; then when hot or cold weather comes 
suddenly, I shall not hear my household clamoring for garments 
that are not ready. A careful inventory of our possessions, 
taken in March and in August, shows me what clothing will be 


needed, and I keep supply always in advance of demand. I 
begin by cutting out all the work, doing it by degrees as I can 
spare time. I put the bundles in a large basket here in the 
sewing-room, and with them the thread, silk, tape, buttons — all 
the needed materials. The seamstress comes with her machine 
for a fortnight, and during that stay I devote most of my time 
to superintending or aiding her work. Then we are done, and 
before ms lies only the light work of weekly repairs." 

'■ Suppose that you could not afford a seamstress ? " 

" Then I should pursue the same plan, only beginning earlier, 
and I should put less trimming on the clothes, for I think it is 
foolish in a house-mother to exhaust her health, and deprive her 
children of her company, and herself of improvement, merely 
for the sake of a few tucks, ruffles and puffs, the place of which 
neat hems and plain edgings can very well supply." 

"And when is the House-cleaning coming off? " I asked. 

" Next week," said Mrs. Burr ; " first the sewing, then the 
house-cleaning, and if nothing unforeseen occurs, the first of 
October shall see us ready for winter, our time generally at our 
own disposal." 

"Ah," I said, " with such management I don't wonder that 
your family of three sons always find the mother ready to be 
their guide, philosopher and friend ; that your house looks as if 
Fairy Order held the helm ; and that you have so much time for 
beautiful and lucrative work in your studio." 

" Well,'' laughed Mrs. Burr, " I was born with a mania for 

" Of order," I replied, " it can be said as Shakspeare says of 
greatness. Some are born orderly, some become orderly, and 
others have order thrust upon them. You were born with a 
talent for order. Mrs. Winton says Hester will become orderly, 
and Miriam was, when I first took her, very disorderly, but by 
constant training she had order thrust upon her, and now it 
reigns in her home." 


" Order," said Mrs. Burr, " is called heaven's first law ; the 
Apostle bids us, ' Let all things be done decently and in order.' 
If knowledge is the mainspring of a home, order is the balance- 
wheel ; fully half of Household miseries arise from a lack of 

Pursuing my investigations in regard to Order in the Home, 
I concluded that I could not do better than walk out to the 
Ridge Farm and pay a visit to my Cousin Ann. We do not 
know who sat for the charming portrait of the wise Woman in 
Proverbs : Cousin Ann might have done so, if she had been 
living in Solomon's time. Cousin Ann is some years older than 
I am, and when I was young I often paid her long visits ; also 
once I spent a winter with her. The eight-day clock, heired 
from Cousin Reijben Ridge's father, did not run with any more 
perfect smoothness and regularity than Cousin Ann's household. 
At first I could not understand why it was that accidents and 
unexpected occurrences, guests or sickness, never threw the 
Home into confusion : things went on just the same whatever 
happened. Cold weather came remarkably early : well, no 
worry about heavier clothes, for Cousin Ann had made them 
ready while the weather was warm. Some one was called off on 
a journey : no cries of not being prepared, for Cousin Ann always 
had clothes in readiness in excess of demand. The family 
were hungrier than usual, or an extra hand was called in : the 
bread did not give out and precipitate an extra baking day, be- 
cause Cousin Ann always baked more than she thought would 
be needed. I asked her : "And if that ' more ' is not eaten at 
table, is it wasted?" She replied: " Not at all; then I have 
stale bread for toast, for puddings, for stuflfing fowls ; when all 
the bread is eaten, then I make other kind of puddings, stew the 
fowls instead of roasting them — though they are delightful 
stuffed with mashed potato — and we go without the toast." 

Yes, indeedj the old clock might have got out of order, 


though it never did, but Cousin Ann's house could not get out 
of order. Well, as I said, I set off for Cousin Ann's on a 
delicious May morning, which made the three-miles' walk seem 
a very short one. Sarah, Cousin Ann's daughter, was at the 
machine making summer gowns for her mother and herself I 
asked after Hattie, the younger daughter, who is away at school 
for a year, and then I said : " Cousin Ann, tell me how it is that 
your work never drags or falls behind." 

" Why," says Cousin Ann, " I look ahead and see what is 
coming, and I keep a little in advance of demand. I don't lose 
an hour in the morning and expect to make it up in the evening: 
night is the wrong end of the day to borrow from : work never 
goes briskly in the after part of the day; in the morning it is 
cool : we are rested, fresh and strong, and then is the time to get 
the work out of the way." 

" I suppose you have a regular time for everything ? " 

"I should think so," laughed Sarah :" a regular month for 
house-cleaning and heavy sewing, and meat-curing and fruit- 
drying ; a regular week for gathering herbs, for putting by winter 
bedding, and clothes in the big chests — all mended before put 
by: a regular day for sweeping, cellar-cleaning, baking, churn- 
ing ; a regular hour for milking, hunting eggs, feeding chicks ; a 
regular minute for rising and retiring, for breakfast, dinner and 
tea; give Hattie the day of the week and the hour of the day^ 
and she knows what we are doing here at home." 

" Well," said Cousin Ann, smiling, and setting her pudding 
in the oven, " that is the way to get through. Nothing is for- 
gotten : nothing is left undone. This, for instance, is the week 
when the herbs are cut and dried, while they are green and 
strong ; all the neighbors look to me for simple herbs. This 
week my girl washes the blankets, suns the heavy quilts, and 
I clean, mend and put by furs, thick clothes, winter hats, and 
winter bedding, and Sarah finishes the summer sewing. In the 


fall it will be a pleasure to take out clean whole things which 
have lain packed in camphor and lavender ; we also shall be all 
ready for haying and harvesting with the extra cooking. Just 
now my girl churns every morning ; while she does that, I get 
breakfast, and little Jack sets the table and brings wood for the 
box, and feeds the chicks ; Sarah meantime is making beds, 
filling water-pitchers, getting the sitting-room to rights, and the 
hall and front porch. When we sit down to breakfast the house 
is clean. As soon as breakfast is over. Jack cleans up the back- 
door yard, and gets from the garden the lettuce or young greens 
for dinner : then he's off to school ; I, as soon as we finish the 
breakfast, go to the spring-house to the butter and milk : Sarah 
attends to the pudding or biscuit baking, or on ironing day .sets 
at the fine ironing, and the girl does up the breakfast-dishes, 
cleans the kitchen and makes the vegetables ready for dinner. 
On washing day Dick churns before breakfast so that the giri 
can get on with the wash. It is easy enough, all of it, if you 
know fairly what you want done, and how to do it, and then 
don't dawdle away any time thinking what to do first, and who 
shall do it." 

" I always thought Order was a mainspring in house-work," I 
said, " and now I am sure of it : how could any one get on with 
farm-work without it?" 

" There are plenty who try it," said Cousin Ann, " and they 
are fretted sick and grow old before their time, besides being 
hindered in family comfort, and in making money. And there 
is another thing to be observed in Order: don't crowd work. 
Notice the clock : it ticks one second at a time, and gives 
each second its due. Some folks kill themselves trying to 
wash, iron, bake and clean, all on one day. We bake twice a 
week, and one of the baking days, is also ironing day: that is 
Tuesday, for it saves having such a big fire on an extra day. 
When I was doing my own work and my family was smaller I 


never did any baking but bread on ironing day, so as not to 
over-do myself; now I bake what I please, and Sarah and 
the girl do the ironing. I can tell you; Sophronia, if mothers 
would only look at the matter fairly, they would see that an 
example and habit of Order was one of the nicest dowries 
they could give a daughter : one to prolong her life, to build 
up her home, and be always a source of comfort to hersell 
and family." 



iO>j| DON'T think our little town ever before saw such truiy 
)1;| hard times as we are passing through now. Our bank, 
"^ which we always thought as safe as the Bank of Eng- 
land, has failed. Its fall dragged down two of our 
largest mercantile houses. A fire last autumn destroyed a manu- 
factory, where some two hundred of our working-people found 
employment. The flood in the spring damaged the roads and 
some of our public works, and so our taxes have increased. 
There is hardly any one about here that does not feel the 
pressure of these hard times. Economy must be the order of the 
day. But what especially strikes me is, the various methods in 
which people practise their economy, and the different effect it 
has on their minds. Now some are ashamed of it, and had as 
soon be caught stealing as saving. 

Among our other troubles, a railroad, in which a good many 
of us had invested, stopped paying dividends, and so our 
incomes are lessened. I saw that I must reduce my expenses, 
and I sat down to consider how. I did not wish to cut down 
my giving, for the harder the times are the more need there is 
of "charity. I had calculated to lay out about fifty dollars on 
my winter wardrobe, in work and material. I cut that down to 
ten, just enough to make over by myself what I had on hand ; 
it would be a pity if I were ashamed to dress according to my 

means at my time of life. I always had kept a big fire all 


winter in the parlor : it looks well, and I have the room comfort- 
able to see my friends. However, my dining-room is nice and 
always in order — I can see my friends there : that parlor must 
be shut for the winter. I keep only one servant, Martha ; she 
is very efficient, and I have paid her very high wages. I said 
to her : " Martha, my income is much lessened this year, and I 
cannot pay such high wages as I have done. I think, however, 
you are worth all you can get, and if you can find another place, 
where they will give you what you have now, it will be right 
for you to take it." • 

Martha said she would think about it. At the end of a week 
she said she would stay for whatever I could give. She 
remarked that a good home was a thing worth keeping; that 
when hard times pressed on everybody, she did not expect to 
be the only one to escape. She was very sorry that I was 
pressed for means, for her brother had been thrown out of work 
and could hardly feed his large family, and Martha had thought 
of asking me to allow her niece, ten years old, to come to us 
for her board ; that would relieve her parents of her support, 
and would put the child where, by learning to be a skilled 
servant, she could be in the way of making her living. 

I thought this over. Surely it was a work of charity to help 
the poor man provide for his children. The little girl would be 
greatly benefited. In hard times it becomes every one to help 
his neighbor. I called Martha. 

" Martha, if we took Ann, do you think that by a little 
closer economy in the house we could provide for her board ? 
We have never been wasteful, and we must not be mean ; but, 
possibly, we could manage the cooking a little more econom- 
ically, and have it just as good, and it will be an advantage 
for Ann to see the most scrupulous care exercised in the 

Now this was putting Martha in a position where her inteiesta 


would be my interests. She replied: "Well, ma'am, if you're 
so kind as to take Ann, I'll not let her cost you a cent, nor 
make a particle of trouble." 

" Very well," I said ; " bring her here, and train her carefully, 
for my niece, Mrs. Rogers, will want a girl some day, and that 
will be a fine place for Ann, if she is deserving." 

Shortly after this, Kitty Merry, a seamstress, came in. She 
complained of the hard times, and of lack of work. She has a 
dollar a day with her machine. I asked : 

"Do you pay more for your lodging than last year?" 

She said, " No." 

So I said, " Well, as times are hard, why do you not reduce 
your price to seventy-five cents a day? People are ^onomizing 
in everything." 

" But I'm worth a dollar as much as ever." 

" Very true ; but why expect to be the only one who does 
not feel the pressure? You must sacrifice as do the rest." 

" I think it is wrong for folks to begin their cutting down on 
the work-people," said Kitty. 

"All do not begin there. I began on my wardrobe, on the 
number of my fires, and on my preserves and cake, and then to 
the wages. You must reflect that there will be even larger 
demands on our charities than usual. It is better for you to 
lower your prices, and get full work at seventy-five cents a day, 
than half work at a dollar ; when you are out you get your board- 
ing. An employer finds his income cut down from two thousand 
to fifteen hundred, and he proposes to pay his servant two and 
a half instead of three dollars. The servant gets her board 
and washing just as usual, but cries out against losing one-sixth 
of her cash income, when the master has lost one-fourth of his. 
The working-classes refuse to take less wages ; the employers 
presently find that they can get on without hiring servants ; 
suddenly there is a host of the unemployed living on their past 


savings, borrowing of each other, or going in debt ; and then a 
loud cry of need and of working-people in destitution arises, and 
if employers hire them again, it is at a greater reduction than 
was first offered. Wages rose with flush times, and they must 
fall with close times. Masters and servants are virtually in one 
boat, and must share the same storms and calms." 

" Well, Miss Sophronia," said Kitty, " is that fair to divide the 
servant's little, because the master loses of his much? You say 
the hired girl loses a sixth of her wages ; but it costs her just as 
much to buy a yard of merino as it does her mistress ; and 
takes just as many yards for her gown." 

" It appears to me, Kitty, that people should provide for them- 
selves according to their station in life. I don't see that the 
maid must buy merino, because her mistress does, nor that she 
must have three frills and a train, because a banker's wife does. 
Why, Kitty, must you fret yourself to death for money to buy 
two or three button kid gloves, and button boots, and aprons 
with edging, because Mrs. Hand wears them ? She always has 
had these things. In the providence of God she was born to it. 
You can get good thread gloves, neat hemmed aprons, laced 
or elastic boots for half the money, and why not be suited wit"h 
them ? As a child you went bare-footed and bare-handed, and 
wore blue check, and no shame to you ; you were always 
healthy, honest, cheerful, useful and esteemed; why torture 
yourself to keep pace with fashions of a sphere pecuniarily 
beyond your reach ? Some day you may find large means at 
your command : be sure you will know how to spend them 
without any previous practice." 

"And," said Kitty, " you think I'd better reduce my prices ? " 

" Yes, and your expenses. Don't be ashamed of untrimmed, 
turned, or neatly mended clothes ; don't be ashamed of calico. 
You'll always look like a lady, if you cultivate the manners and 
scrupulous neatness of a true lady; and nothing is so unrefined 
as cheap finery." 


Mary Semple came to-day, complaining that she could not 
get laundry work ; people were giving out less ; she was out of 
work, and her expenses were the same as ever. I asked her 
what she had a dozen ; she said, promptly, " a dollar, and for 
rough-dry, half a dollar, and dresses were extra, and when she 
went out, a dollar a day." I said to her: 

"Just give out that you'll take clothes at seventy-five cents a 
dozen, and thirty cents for rough-dry, and reduce your price 
for going out twenty-five cents : you'll get work enough." 

" But I'm worth as much as ever," said Mary. 

" True ; but people cannot give it. Hard times pinch the 
moneyed classes, and they pass your share on to you ; if you 
won't take it cheerfully in lessened wages, it will be forced on 
you in no work. Half a loaf is better than no bread. You 
made no trouble about a rise in wages. I remember when fifty 
cents was a day's wages, and fifty cents a dozen good pay 
for washing. What laundress grumbled when prices doubled ? " 

" I ought to get me work's worth," persisted Mary. 

"You can't get something out of nothing," I said ; " nor more 
cash out of a purse than goes in. What you have a right to 
claim is prompt pay when your work is done. People have no 
right to ask you to take your pay in driblets when you do the 
work promptly, nor to keep waiting and coming for your pay 
when you served them promptly. You estimate people's means 
by houses which they bought and furnished in flush times. 
You forget that they have to pay taxes and keep those houses 
up, and that their property is often an embarrassment in hard 

"I'd take the property and'Ca^e. embarrassment, willing! " cried 

" Very likely ; but the Lord has not given us our own choice 
of evils. If he had we'd manage to make fools of ourselves 
somehow or other." 


"And you don't know any one to help me, Miss Sophronia," 
urged Mary. 

" Yes, you can help yourself by lowering your prices, and 
economizing a little closer ; so doing you will tide over these 
hard times." 

Wherever I go, whatever caller I receive, there is the same 
cry of hard times and of economy, and for the last there are 
dozens of methods. Mrs. Black, for instance, has taken her 
children out of school, taken a poor servant in place of a 
very good one, stopped her contributions, given up her church 
pew, discontinued her magazines and newspapers, while her 
two grown daughters are just as idle, and the family are just 
as dressy as ever. Now she calls that economy — / dorii. 

I went to see Helen. Frank's salary has been cut down, and 
his railroad stock is bringing him nothing. Helen was quite 

" What am I to do ? " she cried. " We have five hundred a 
year less to live on, and I don't know where to lessen expenses. 
Now I must have a new silk dress : that will cost a hundred 

"Yes," I said; "and then you will want a new set of lace and 
a new hat to wear with it, and some other new things, and they 
v/ill be fifty dollars more." 

"And where is the money to come from ? " queried Helen. 

" Why not give up the silk ? Your dark -blue and youj 
brown silks are good." 

" But I've had them ever since I was married, and how it 
looks ! — always the same old dresses." 

" But they are handsome, and with Kit;ty Merry's, help you 
can put them into this year's style. You will then feel no need 
of the little extras which the new silk would demand. Your last 
winter's ihat, rejuvenated by your own good taste, would do very 
Well. With no fine new dress to display, you will care less fo« 


going into society. If you go less, you will be at liberty to 
entertain less company; and if you entertain less company, 
your housekeeping expenses will be lessened. Moreover, if 
you go out less you will have time to attend to your own baby, 
and you can dismiss your nurse-maid, who is very careless, and 
is likely to ruin your child, and the little one will thrive better 
under mother-care. I will lend you my little Ann now and 
then to help Hannah. If you will give up the idea of the new 
silk, you will, in its consequences, save some two hundred 
dollars. You will thus be likely to keep out of debt ; and don't 
hang the mill-stone of debt about Frank's neck : it may ruin 
him ; and with an increasing family, debts will increase instead 
of being cancelled." 

"But dear me, aunt! No nurse-maid! no new clothes! To 
withdraw from going into, and giving companies! How it will 
look ! It would be an open declaration of poverty.'' 

" Not poverty ; but of needed economy, and brave honesty." 

" But, aunt, what will people say? " 

" Then you get the silk, and you keep the nurse for the sake 
of. strangers' tongues ? It is a mere matter of pride ? Now, 
Helen, don't let pride get a foothold in your household. What 
, does Franklin say of it ? ' Pride is as loud a beggar as want, 
.and twice as saucy. When you have bought one fine thing 
you must buy ten more, that your appearance may be all of a 
I piece; but it is easier to suppress the first desire, than to satisfy 
. all that follow.' Come, Helen : to save is to earn : to earn is 
>your husband's part, to save is yours. Frank will be happier at 
home with you and his child than out in society ; he will like 
(privacy more than the company that is bringing him into debt. 
'Every wise woman buildeth her house, but the foolish plucketh 
it down with her hands.' Every house-mother should begin to 
,}ay the foundations of her children's fortunes, and not introduce 
-idebt as the moth and the rust which will destroy all accumula- 


"That is true, aunt, but see how mean it makes me feel. 
There are the Blacks all out in fine new clothes, and Mrs. West- 
cott has bought new parlor carpet and curtains." 

" You mean she has gone in debt for them. Now, Helen, we 
must not measure our expenses by other people's outlays, but 
by our own purse. How would you view Martha's wanting a 
Lyons silk because I wear one ? In home living every one is 
emphatically a law unto themselves. It is a false sentiment 
which demands display: this emulation in domestic establish- 
ments often lays the foundation of ruin. Women ought to be 
able to create a public sentiment in favor of economy and of a 
simple and delicate taste in the administration of their homes : 
they could create such a taste only that they are ashamed of 
practising economy, and hide it as a crime. They respect and 
imitate the showy, rather than the solid. Now, Helen, where 
you stand three roads meet. Indulge your desires, your emula- 
tion of those who spend more than you can afford to spend, and 
you will pass along the road to ruin. . Frank will become a 
broken and discouraged man, and probably die early and in 
debt. If you enter into no debts or extravagances, you may 
keep on just as you are, with a very small margin to work 
upon, and nothing laid up for a growing family, always in appre- 
hension of disaster. By careful economy, living within your 
means, saving a little, and being your own law in expenditure, 
you may enter the road of assured prosperity. The hand of the 
diligent maketh rich." 

" You couldn't get very rich, aunt, with such servants as mine : 
they waste and break so much." 

" Then if you keep one less servant there is so much less of 
this cause of complaint ; if you will go about your own house 
more there will be less breakage and waste : the eye and hand 
of the mistress always present is a great safeguard in these par- 
t.cuh,/-s. As to breakages, they are the result generally of care- 


lessness, and sen'ants have no right to be careless. For their 
own sakes as well as your own, you should talk the matter over 
kindly with them,, and tell them that they must replace what 
they break. It is well to know how to excuse, to forgive, and 
to relax your rule on occasion, but it is no honesty to yourself, 
nor kindness to your servant, to allow her to recklessly destroy 
your property. In your house she should be schooled in care 
and in honesty, so shall she be more fitted rightly to direct her 
own. Talk over matters with Hannah : tell her frankly that you 
must use stricter economy; that you shall do without a nurse, 
and that she cannot have quite so much time for herself; that 
you can no longer afford to replace her breakages, and that as 
you shall not allow your narrower means to reduce her wages, 
you expect her to help you save carefully in your house. Why, 
Helen, as I came up here, I saw Hannah scrubbing the porches, 
with half a bar of fresh soap lying melting in her pail ; and she 
explained a terrible smell of smoke in the kitchen, by saying 
that she was burning up the bone and skin and trimmings of a 
ham, because ' if she threw them out it made the rats worse, and 
the rats were eating up all your potatoes.' Now, child, what 
sort of economy is this ? All that rough fat should be saved in 
a place secure from rats, and Hannah should each month make 
up a little keg of soft-soap for scrubbing and dish-washing; and 
Hannah should be taught not to leave her bar-soap melting in 
the pail ; while, as for the rats, you should with a good trap, 
and caustic-potash laid at their holes, declare persistent war until 
such destructive pests are banished. If you permit mice and 
rats to destroy your provisions, and stray cats to ramble into 
your cellar — as I just saw one doing and returning with the 
leg of a fowl — there will be in your house a hundred little 
leaks, which it will take more than a hundred one-dollar bills to 
"Oh, aunt, what shall I do!" cried poor Helen. 


" Practise economy as a Fine Art: make a duty and a pleasure 
of it ; it is the mortar wherein you lay up the walls of home ; 
if it is lacking, or is poor in quality, the home building will 
crumble. Don't be ashamed of economy: study it; consult 
about it; don't confound it with meanness : economy is the nurse 
of liberality. Meanness is going in debt for luxury: is keeping 
behind-hand the wages our work-people have earned : is making 
a show on the street and withholding charity : is presenting cake 
and confections ostentatiously to our callers, and stinting the 
kmu or quantity of our servants' food." 

Then I invited Helen to take tea with me next day, and meel 
Miriam and Mrs. Winton. 

Then I went over to Miriam's. She was in her spare-room, 
and called me to come up. 

"What, Miriam," I cried, "a handsome new black silk!" 

" No, indeed," said Miriam, " it is the old one that I have worn 
this four years ; " and she took it from the bed to display it. 

"And how ever did you make it look so nicely ? " 

" I sponged it with a teaspoonful of ammonia, mixed in haW a 
pint of warm, weak coffee ; then I pressed it. I sponged and 
pressed it on the right side as I meant to turn it. The velvet of 
the cuffs, collar, pockets, button covers, and so on, is from my 
old black velvet waist." 

" But that was so wrinkled and mussed ! " 

" I steamed it thoroughly, laying it wrong side down on a wire 
netting over the boiler, shaking it a little now and then ; it made 
it look almost like new. See, here is my old black cashmere : 
I ripped it up, washed it in warm water where soap bark had 
been steeped, and irohed it on the wrong side. I shall get a 
couple of yards of silk for trimming, and make it as good as 
new. Here, too, is my ancient brown merino, ripped, sponged 
and pressed, with a small investment in fringe and velveteen — it 
must come out a new gown j so I buy nothing this fall. Yoa 


know Mark expected two hundred dollars advance in his salary, 
and instead, he gets one hundred less, so I must economize 
closer than ever. Mrs. Burr told me how to rejuvenate my 
gowns, and she has taught me several new ways of economizing 
for my table." 

" Mrs. Burr is a perfect Domestic EncyclopEedia," I said. 
" Pray tell me some of her suggestions : I am myself retrenching, 
in my own behalf, and for the sake of my neighbors." 

"The first thing I think of is cheese," laughed Miriam. 
" Mark is extravagantly fond of it, and we pay eighteen cents a 
pound. Mrs. Burr says she cuts two or' three pounds up into 
squares, and puts it in a very dry place ; then it always is grated 
before it comes to the table. Used in this way, it is much more 
delicate than cut in pieces, and one pound of cheese goes further 
than two as generally used. Sometimes she varies the dish by 
mixing a little parsley, chopped very fine, among the grated 
cheese. She says her physician told her that people do not 
understand the virtues of parsley : it is excellent for the nerves, 
and for use in rheumatism, and should be constantly used in 
preparing dishes. I have learned from Mrs. Burr to make 
several new soups ; and a white soup made of fresh bones, with 
rice, a little macaroni or tapioca, chopped potatoes and chopped 
parsley in it, is delightful, if you put a tablespoonful of catsup 
and a teaspoonful of grated cheese in each dish as you serve it. 
The last time I took tea at Mrs. Burr's, she had a very pretty 
dish of bread, cut thin in diamonds or rounds, spread with 
butter, and then with grated cheese, and laid on a little china 
dish, with a wreath of parsley around it." 

"I remember," I said, "that Hester told me she should, in her 
housekeeping, use a deal of parsley, because the ancients did so; 
that both Virgil and Horace note it as holding an honorable 
place at festivities." 

" Mrs. Burr," continued Miriam, " knows how to use up little 


things in her household, in a very appetizing way. You know 
one often has a little jelly left from a meal, or from making a 
cake — only a spoonful or two goes a good way, attractively, if 
bread is cut thin in pretty shapes, and spread lightly with the 
jelly. Mrs. Burr said when her children were little these 'jelly 
breads ' were their delight, and often served them in place of 
rich cake or meat at tea, which- she did not think safe so near 
their bed-time, while the good bread, spread with fruit-jelly, was 
wholesome for them. The last time I was at Helen's, Hannah 
had thrown away half a loaf of bread and a dish of broken 
pieces, which she said were getting mouldy, and were of no use. 
1 sent her two recipes which I had from Mrs. Burr. Here they 

Miriam handed me her note-book, and I copied the recipe 
for — • 

Bread Sauce. — " Cut stale bread in fine pieces ; mix with it 
pepper, salt, sweet herbs, a little fine chopped onion, if desired ; 
moisten with warm water, and stir in meat-gravy or soup-stock 
until it is nearly as soft as bread-pudding ; bake half an hour. 
If more convenient, milk and butter can be used instead of the 

The other recipe was — 

Bread for Breakfast. — " Dry pieces of stale bread until they 
are. hard all through. When needed for use put in an earthen 
dish milk enough to half cover them, a spoonful of butter, and 
one of sugar; cover tight, and let them simmer. Smooth a 
teaspoonful of corn-starch or of wheat flour in a little milk, and 
stir it in ; serve as soon as the bread is well softened without 

" They are both nice for variety, and serve as a good way to 
keep bread-crusts and scraps from wasting. You can do 
crackers the same way as that Breakfast Bread." 

" One good turn deserves another," I said. " I will write ir 
your note-book my recipe for — 


"Mock Macaroni. — Take broken crackers of any kind ; crumb 
them up rather fine, and stir into them sweet milk, a little butter, 
pepper, salt and two tablespoonfuls of grated cheese. Have 
enough milk to bake them for three-quarters of an hour; let 
them be a light brown on top." 

"Apropos of the grated cheese," said Miriam, "last evening 
Mrs. Black walked into my house, and hunted me up in the 
dining-room — a liberty which she allows herself For my part 
I prefer that my dearest friend should knock. She looked at 
the table. 'What! pine-apple cheese! I cannot afford that for 
my family these times.' ' No/ I said, ' it is common cheese 

"She looked curiously at me. 'Why did you say that? 
Now I would have let it pass for pine-apple.' I replied, ' Mrs. 
Black, economy is honorable, and I am not ashamed of practising 
it. I should be ashamed of any extravagance. If I did not 
need, as I do, to economize for myself, I should feel it a duty to 
do so for the sake of others who are in straits.' " 

Miriam and I went down-stairs. I' remarked: "Your work 
basket looks like a rainbow." 

"Another bit of economy: all my neck-ties are getting made 
into the latest styles. This cream silk washes as well as muslin; 
so, washed and ironed, it is getting a frill of nice lace around the 
ends, and appearing in a new character. I think this black one 
will be lovely." 

She had made the scarf-tie into a bow, button-holed the edges 
with rose-colored silk, and embroidered a pair of rose-buds in 
each of the ends. A pink silk tie had also taken the form of a 
knot, and she had transferred some elegant embroidery on the 
ends. I should have thought it had just cost two dollars. 

" Mark Rogers will never be poor with you for a wife„ 
Miriam." I said. " He got a fortune in the wife who said she 
had no capital. Yours, my dear, is perpetual capital." 


I engaged Miriam to come to tea next day, and then intended 
to go home, but Mrs. Smalley called me in. She was com- 
plaining as usual — a woman with many good points, but who 
does not know how to manage, and is chronically indignant 
because her sister is richer than she is. Well, I went in. She 

" I tapped for you. Miss Sophronia, because I never make a 
stranger of you, and you usually manage to give me some 
advice when we are in a tight place — as me and Mary most 
generally are. I do feel vexed about Mary. She's as nice a 
girl, and as pretty a girl, if I do say it, as her cousins, and it 
is hard that they have everything they want, and she gets 

" Pshaw, ma," said Mary. 

"Its so" said her mother. " Now Smalley has just said he 
can't afford for us to have the dressmaJ<er here this fall, and we 
must do our own sewing. 'Twon't be such a heavy job, for 
Smalley is so short of cash we'll get precious little to sew on — 
and there's Sara's girls all out in bran, span, new clothes." 

" Pshaw, ma," said Mary, again. 

"It's so," retorted her mother ; " and we get little enough time 
to sew. We've had no girl since last spring." 

" But you are only three in the family, and of the three you 
two are grown women — perfectly well, also. I should think you 
would get the work done easily, having fully half of every day 
for sewing, or such quiet work." 

" Well, we don't, somehow. I keep things neat as wax, any 
one will allow that ; and nothing in the kitchen goes to waste : 
we make our own soap, and our own bread and yeast; and 
half this house is covered with rag carpets I made myself; and 
just see these rugs — a dozen of them in this house — Mary has 
braided out of strips of old woollen and flannel clothes." ' 

" They are very pretty and useful." I said. " I see the braids 


are made heavy, and_ are sewed together by the edges, either in 
round or oval shape." 

" Yes ; and I must say a girl that is that industrious ought to 
have as nice clothes as Sara's girls. But no — not she." 

" Pshaw, ma ! " reiterated Mary. 

"Its sol' insisted her mother. "And now, Miss Sophronia, 
what would you do in our place ? I want Mary to be nice. 
And she gets invited out with her cousins, and she won't go ; 
because she says they have such a power of nice things, like 
other young girls, and she has none. Her best frock is all out 
of fashion; and she has no fancy aprons, no nice ties, nor spen- 
cers, nor jackets, nor pretty collars ; and if I set out to buy 
them it would take a mint of money, and when Smalley says he 
can't — he can't.' Why the money he has laid out for her hardly 
will buy one good dress, to say nothing of the other things ; and 
what would you do if you were me ? " 

" It seems never to enter your mind, Mrs. Smalley," I said, 
" that you might possibly use what you have on hand." 

" We never have anything on hand," said she. " We wear 
our things clear out, or outgrow 'em, and then they're done 

"Mother never throws away things," said Mary, "and we 
have a whole trunk of bits of things, and a closet solid full of 
old worn-out, outgrown dresses and jackets. But they're none 
of them worth anything." 

" You see, Mrs. Smalley," I said, " when you want something 
in recent fashions, you go and buy one new thing and have it 
made up. You never make over your clothes, or use the 
dresses of past years to remodel for this year. What I would 
do would be to keep that money for something else, and not 
buy Mary a new gown at all." 

They both looked dismayed and astonished. 

" If you'll promise to exactly follow my directions," I said, 


" I'll engage that you shall fit Mary out nicely with the money 
Mr. Smalley gave you ; and what is more, you know I shall not 
lalk about it." 

" Trust you for that, Miss Sophronia," said Mrs. Smalley. 
" I says to Mary the other day : ' I dare say anything to Miss 
Sophronia, for it 'ud take the Resurrection Angel himself to 
aiing out what's once been buried in her ears.' " 

I said to Mary : "As for that closet of clothes, you know 1 
saw it last winter, when I was here while, your mother was sick." 

'And I'll never forget your kindness if I live to be a thou- 
sand," interrupted Mrs. Smalley. 

" So come, Mary," I said ; " you and I will go up-stairs:, and 
if you'll take my niece, Mrs. Rogers, into our partnership, I'll 
agree to teach you what shall be worth a fortune to you." 

Mary and I went up-stairs. Mary said : " Do please show me 
how to be nice on a little money, so that mother will not fret so 
at the difference between me and my cousins." 

I like Mary: she is a friendly, industrious girl. I remember 
once when I was ill she came to my house every day, insisting 
on being of some use, even to helping Martha. I thought I 
might not only relieve her of some present annoyance, but might 
give her a lesson of use for all her life. Mrs. Smalley is one of 
the kind of people who save aimlessly ; opposed to wasting, she 
hoards, but her stores are practically wasted, because she puts 
them to no use. I wished to teach Mary to use what she had 
before purchasing more. 

Mary opened the trunk of fragments, odds and ends of all 
kinds, collected during a score of years, and neatly rolled in 
bundles. I said to Mary : " Here is a parcel composed of silk 
and ribbon : those shall be your neck-ties." 

" There is scarcely anything nice there," she replied. 

" You must take them to Mrs. Rogers, and she will show you 
how, by the aid of a little embroidery silk, to create use .-xnd 


beauty out of these fragments. This Httle roll of embroidery and 
scraps of edging shall be a nice outfit of collars and cuffs and 
under-sleeves. Come and spend Friday with me, bringing these, 
Haifa yard of fine linen, and half a yard of fine lawn, and I will 
show you how by taste, a little knowledge of transfer work, and 
your neat sewing, you can provide yourself ten dollars' worth of 
pretty articles for less than a dollar. It is early in the season : 
let the matter of your dress go until you are encouraged by the 
wonders which you perform in other ways." I opened the closet. 
" Here is an out-grown dress of barred muslin. That shall make 
you two white aprons with ruffles ; get it ripped and washed. 
And here is the pretty embroidered muslin you had when you 
were twelve." 

"The nicest frock I ever had," sighed Mary. 

" Rip it up : with the aid of edging and insertion from that 
bundle, you shall have a lovely fancy sacque to wear to evening 

Mary's face brightened up. " I believe we can make use of 
these old things, and I shall go right to work ripping and 

When I went home I casually remarked to Martha that I 
had been at Mrs. Smalley's. 

" I hope she was redd up, and fit to see you, ma'am." 

"Oh, yes: but really, Martha, I cannot see why Mrs. Smalley's 
work occupies all her time ; she and Mary are neat, good 
workers, and have only Mr. Smalley to work for in that six- 
roomed house." 

" Dear knows, ma'am," said Martha ; " Mrs. Smalley is busy 
enough, if that is all ; she is one of those folks who would stand 
and jump in a bucket all day, and then wonder why they didn't 
get on far, when they kept agoing all the time." With which 
parable Martha left me to my meditations. 

Miriam came early next day^ and I told her about Marv 


Smalley, and asked her to invite the girl to spend a day or two 
with her, and then teach her how to make up the pretty articles 
of dress which she needed. " She will prove an apt pupil, and I 
wish you would show her what you have done for your own 
wardrobe : I know you are not ashamed of your contrivings in 
that line." 

" Oh, by no means : quite proud, on the contrary ! " 

"And then, my dear, do let her stay all day, and help you get 
dinner and tea, and expound to her your ' order ' and your 
method of getting work done. \t may go far to making a happy 
woman of her, and her future home a place of content and not 
of worry. You, Miriam, have a real genius for housekeeping, 
and you should in this way let your light shine on your young 
neighbor: it will perhaps influence all her life." 

" Certainly: I shall be glad to have her, and help her; I will 
write a note now, and let Ann take it to her." 

So Miriam wrote her note, and then began to tell me of a 
"Mother's Meeting" which had been started. Some of our 
ladies meet with poor women who are now in unusual straits 
from lack of work; they give them materials to make up cloth- 
ing, or sell them at wholesale prices what they themselves have 
purchased at such prices; or even lower, things which, having 
funds in hand, they have bought at auction sales. They en 
courage the women to bring clothing for their families to be 
remodelled or mended ; and spend the time of sewing in dis- 
cussing domestic aiifairs, in exchanging recipes, in giving informa- 
tion about domestic economy, and rules for keeping houses 
healthy, and making cooked food yield its full value to the 
consumer. " Cousin Ann is President," she added. 

"That is a great charity," I said, "and very kind in you to 
take part inrit." 

" Indeed, aunt," she replied, " I begin to think charity pays ; 
I am sure I nave learned in those meetings a great deal that has 


saved me as much money as I have contributed to them. Be 
sides, the ladies are showing these women how to repair clothes, 
foot stockings, and do various things, which I had never thought 
of, and I can make my charity-work go twice as far by knowing 
these methods." 

Presently Helen and Mrs. Winton came, and the talk soon 
turned, as I meant it should, on domestic economy. Mrs. Win- 
ton has lived much abroad, and has thus had an opportunity of 
observing the home life of many peoples. She talks fluently if 
she perceives that her hearers are being interested and benefited. 
I presently led her to my subject. She said :" We Americans 
are an extravagant people : our land is so wide for its popula' 
tion, and brings forth, or can bring forth, so much more than its 
inhabitants consume, that we know nothing of the saving and 
careful economy of people of the Old World's thronged States. 
Lavish abundance of common things surrounded our ancestors, 
and they used it lavishly : we inherited the prodigal habit : but 
now our cities and some of our districts have a crowded popula- 
tion, and want is the result of waste. With us a poor laborer's 
family will spend more and waste more than a family in middle 
station in Italy, Germany or France ; our middle classes spend 
and waste what would appall a Frenchman of fortune ; in fact, we 
seem to lack the very means and methods of saving, which are 
open to all in the Old World ; we despise saving; we call careful 
economy penuriousness ; a woman who looks well to the ways 
of her household here is styled 'stingy:' abroad she is a good 
housekeeper doing her legitimate duty. Take our way of 
making coffee: a large quantity of ground coffee is mixed up. 
with an egg or half an egg, as the case may be, and this is 
emptied into a coffee-pot of boiling water, and very possibly it 
is allowed to go on boiling, pouring steam out of the spout. 
The size of the pot has very little reference to the number of the 
family; after breakfast from a pint to' three pints of coffee 


remain over : it may be thrown out, or it may be boiled ovei 
next morning. Abroad, the French pot rules the day: it is a 
pot made with two stories of about equal size. The lower one 
must hold as many cups as the family are likely to use. The 
upper story has two fine filters. The ground coffee, about half 
as much as needed for the other style of making, is put in the 
upper and coarser filter, and slowly over it is poured water 
sufficient to nearly fill the lower pot, when it shall have worked 
its way through the second fine filter. No egg, no mixing of 
any kind is used. The spout and the top have air-tight caps : 
the coffee is thus hermetically sealed up, and is set back on the 
stove where it shall keep scalding hot, but in nowise boil. In 
ten minutes the coffee is all in the lower pot, with every par- 
ticle of strength from the grounds carried with it, and all its 
aroma held in itself, and not diffused through the house. Not 
a particle of grounds reaches the lower pot : you take the cap 
from the spout, and a clear bright stream of coffee goes into 
your cup. Boil those grounds afterwards, and there is no color 
or strength to be found in them. All the coffee is used each 
day : there is none to throw away, and French pots do not take 
kindly to the iniquity of coffee boiled over." 

"But," said Helen, " suppose an unexpected guest is at table." 
" Your Frenchman meets the difficulty by letting some mem- 
oer of the family quietly go without, or what is better, filling up 
the grown people's cups, and then pouring a little more boiling 
water in the pot; and giving the juveniles weaker drink; or he 
makes his original pot of coffee proportionately stronger, and 
pours a little boiling water into each cup ; he will manage some 
way, rather than have coffee to throw out. The foreign house- 
wife does not tnink it mean to count heads, and then count her 
potatoes and eggs. She knows whether her family takes one or 
two apiece of each, and she cooks accordingly; she is wise to 
•eave a oroper margin of one or two in case of somebody's extrt 


appetite. She does not feel embarrassed, if her son calls for 
a third egg, calmly to remark that there are no more cooked; and 
she knows that with his proper quota of eggs and other food, 
he can complete his meal on bread and butter : she would feel 
much Inore embarrassed at having food to throw away." 

"And then," said Miriam, "suppose some one's appetite fails, 
or does not increase to that ' margin of one or two ' ? " 

" Suppose that one egg is left, or one potato. Here, Bridget, 
or the housewife herself, says, ' one is not worth keeping,' and 
throws them into the swill-tub. The French housewife is not 
tempted by that unhappy institution always yawning at hand. 
On the contrary, suppose the egg is soft-boiled. She drops it 
into a tin-cup, and makes it hard-boiled at once. One hard- 
boiled egg chopped fine is what she needs in composing a salad, 
and the French housekeeper is wise in behalf of health, of good 
taste, and of the beauty and variety of her table, to have salads 
innumerable — as many kinds of salads as Bottom had of wigs. 
There is the egg — the salad shall grace the tea-table. Or, there 
is the one potato. Your French housewife knows the value of 
soup ; she does not make a huge soup, and expect her family to 
dine upon it ; she does not have her soup always of one kind — 
she varies the kind ; and she has a small dish of soup as a 
prelude to her dinner: here she serves health and variety. The 
potato nicely ;ut in wedges shall be one of the ingredients of 
her soup. The beginning of her soup is generally of bones. She 
has a stone jat irid the bones are usually trimmed closely out 
of the uncooked meat, sprii;kled with salt and pepper, and put 
in this jar, over ivhich a cloth is tied, and it is kept in a very 
:oo] place. Almost every day, with a few bones and a variety as 
to other ingredients, jhe will concoct a wonderful soup — a white 
soup, a brown soup, a clear soup, a vegetable soup — and the 
spoonful of beans or peas, the few slices of tomato, the remnant 
of the rice or the macaroni, shall not be ignominiously cast out, 


but the soup shall be as is most convenient to the stock on 
hand, and all these fragments, neatly kept, are to go therein. 
The French are not remarkably religious, but they do follow the 
monition : ' gather up the fragments that nothing be lost.' In 
one of our families, suppose that we have a cup of milk left 
from breakfast ; in our closet is a slice or two of sponge or cup 
cake, a small saucer of jelly or preserve. In the American 
household, the milk is frequently thrown out, or one of the 
children is bidden to ' drink it up.' Biddy adds the preserve or 
jelly to her own breakfast, ' so she can have the saucer to wash.' 
The cake is given the children as an interlude to meals, to spoil 
their appetites. Lo, the foreign housewife ! The cup of milk 
with an egg, a little flavoring and a trifle of thickening turns to 
custard ; the cake is cut in thin pieces, spread with the conserve, 
and laid in a white pudding-dish ; the custard is poured over it ; 
it goes for ten minutes into the oven ; the white of another egg 
is, with a little sugar, converted into a meringue, and spread on 
top; now the yolk of the second egg is beaten with a little 
cream or milk, and sugar and spice, into a sauce, or instead of 
the cream, a little home-made wine, or the juice left from some 
canned fruit is used : and here is a sauce for the dessert. We 
eat it. Delicious ! What dainty extravagant things these foreign 
people use ! Instead, we Americans would have thrown away 
the chief part of this dish, and would have provided for dessert a 
huge pie, more costly, and not half so wholesome." 

" You mentioned being freed from the yawning of the refuse- 
pail," I said. "How is that?" 

" There is very little to put in it. The foreign economist has 
nearly all her vegetables scraped, and not peeled — the thick 
parings taking away a fourth of the food ; she remembers, 
perhaps, that the most nourishing and richest part of the food 
lies close to the skin, or she has simply been taught that she 
cannot afford to pare it. An old potato, a yam, a carrot, even a 


turnip and a summer squash, can be' scraped, if Biddy thinks so 
and will take the trouble. Often, also, vegetables are cooked in 
their skins, and then the skin is pulled off with a knife and fork 
before serving: this saves the waste of the phosphates and 
starch in the boiling water. If peeling must be done, the knife 
is sharp and the peel is very thin. The housewife's eyes are 
over all her household ; the cook cannot throw out and waste 
undiscovered. Madame has studied her subject : she knows 
how long the vegetables, the meat, and the condiments should 
last, and they are made to reach that requirement. A very 
small vessel will hold the waste, and if in the country it is at 
once turned to further use. The foreigner cultivates the 
unwholesome pig far less than we do : he prefers chickens. ' 
The housewife, when she has fowls, has the parings and scraps 
put on the fire in some vessel kept for the purpose ; she stirs in a 
handful of meal, and a little pepper, and serves her fowls a hot 
breakfast, to be repaid in more and better eggs, and less cost in 

" In foreign countries the shops expect to sell in littles : a 
penny's worth of this, and two-pence worth of that. Exactly 
what is needed for use is bought, and there is nothing to be 
wasted. So many people live in ' flats ' or in lodgings, and have 
little or no cellar and closet-room, that they must buy as they 
use ; and the shopman does not despise selling in littles : half 
fiis sales are made in that way. 

" In the matter of fuel, we Americans are terribly wasteful 
Wood and coal have been dangerously cheap to us. I feel 
heart-sick when I travel and see grand trees sacrificed for waste 
in fuel, and mighty trunks and branches rotting on the ground. 
Along some of our telegraph lines, you will see lying below 
each pole one or two other poles, moulding and rotting on the 
ground, waiting for the possible ruin of the standing post, and 
often that post is cedar, and will continue to stand until the 


waiting poles on the ground have rotted into uselessness. They 
call this forethought. It is a fool's waste. A shed Here and 
there along the line, with a pole or two laid on trestles, and so 
kept sound and fit for use, would be thrift.. I have travelled in 
Southern Jersey, along swamps and barrens which would have 
been an Italian's fortune in fuel. In Jersey it rots on the 
ground, or is burned over 'to get it out of the way ; ' and, maybe, 
in the burning the woods catch fire, and a thousand dollars 
worth of good timber is sacrificed. In Italy every particle of 
vegetation that will burn is used for fuel. Trunks and large 
limbs go for cord- wood; all the small branches are trimmed up, 
and sold by the load by themselves ; the twigs and slender bits 
are gathered by children, sorted into bundles for kindling or for 
making a light blaze, are tied up with a virte or withe, and are 
considered worth saving and selling, when these little fascine 
go to you from the shop at two or three for a cent. The big 
dead weeds, the mullen and thistle-stalks, the brambles, are cut 
down, raked together, packed solidly on a cart and carried into 
the city, and sold to the bakers for heating their ovens. The 
stumps of old olive trees, the roots of dead olives and vines, the 
prunings of the vine and olive roots are gathered up, reduced 
in a mill to a kind of coarse sawdust, pressed into flat cakes to 
weigh half a pound each, called fumes or smokers, and are sold 
two or three for a cent, to keep a fire which you wish to leave 
very low without having it go out. From the pine woods on 
the hills the cones are gathered ; their resinous wealth does not 
rot on the ground as here ; but they come by wagon-loads as 
kindling, and Sell five for a cent, or so much the bushel or hun- 
dred, as you choose to buy them — great cones, four or five 
inches in circumference, from the dark, poetic heights of 
Valombrosa. Children and aged people, who here would be 
paupers or quarrelling on door-steps, in Italy pick up a spare 
but honest living g3Xh.Qr'mg fascine, or making the vine prunings 


into fagots and selling them through the streets. A rich Italian 
would turn pale at our paupers' waste of wood." 

"And how,'' asked Miriam, " have these foreigners learned so 
much better economy than we?" 

Mrs. Winton replied: "Trouble and sorrow bring always in 
one way or another their compensations. This economy, 
whereby these kingdoms are surviving wars and despotisms, and 
are rehabilitatmg themselves, bearing fruit in their old age, 
renewing themselves into youth, is the outcome of long ago 
schooling in tribulation. They have been scourged by famines, 
by plagues, by ravaging armies, by shameless taxations, and they 
have been forced since neir earliest times to save every particle 
that could be turned to any use, to economize with the strictest 
methods. Now famines have fled before the face of civilization, 
governments have grown less oppressive, plenty smiles where 
want was known, and tbe good habits learned in ages of penury 
will make these nations rich and strong. America must learn 
this lesson of economy, for the noblest land cannot endure the 
drain of waste. If people could only be taught that economy is 
a thing of littles and of individuals, and of every day, and not a 
thing of masses and of spasmodic efforts, then a true idea would 
begin to tell upon the habits of our domestic life, and its effects 
would be seen in general and national prosperity, for the thrift 
and thriving of the individual is the thrift and thriving of the 

"I should think, at this rate," said Helen, "that the foreign 
housewife's existence would be a perfect slavery: she must be 
forever on the watch, sacrificing her time and strength for small, 
poor savings." 

" In this, as in all our lives," said Mrs. Winton, " order is 
everything: system is the grand time and strength saver. The 
housewife inculcates upon children and servants the habit of 
saving; she notes every deficiency; she has her rules, and hei 


order qf using and saving. Wiien she goes through her house- 
hold, if hers happens to be the duty of superintendence rather 
than of execution, she notes all that is on hand, and orders it to 
its proper uses ; she descries and checks every waste. It takes 
no more time nor strength to attend to this thoroughly than to 
go negligently over the house, chafing at wastes and deficiencies 
which she has neither energy nor wisdom to correct." 

" Many things that might be kept to be useful,"- said Miriam, 
" spoil, mould, or grow stale in a temperature a little too warm : 
what is a good method of preserving such things, especially rf, 
saving everywhere, one must save also on the ice bill, and buy 
very little ice, or even none ? " 

"Our foreign economist," said Mrs. Winton, "knows the value 
of three things: charcoal, evaporation, and a piece of muslin. 
A bit of thin muslin tied over pots and jars, instead of putting 
on them a close cover, will keep out flits and dust, and will 
admit air to aid in preserving things. For mould, every little 
fragment of it should be quickly removed, and jars or cans 
where it has been should be scalded and scoured, for mould is a 
vegetable gro^vth, every particle producing spores, whereby, as 
by seeds, it reproduces itself Charcoal kept near meats or other 
food absorbs into itself the germs of decay, and aids in preserv- 
ing what is placed upon or beside it. Evaporation aids like ice 
in lowering the temperature. That stone jar for the bones, for 
instance, is to be kept cool. Tie a bit of muslin over it, pin a 
towel or thick cloth around it, and keep that wet — the evapora- 
tion will reduce the temperature: so by a wet cloth you can 
keep your butter jar in order, or a stone pot wherein you arc 
keeping a piece of cooked meat." 

"All this is very nice to know," said Helen, "and is also* 
reasonable; but to put it in practice seems penurious, a fretting 
about trifles, a saving rather beneath people." 

"That is because we do not look at it in a right light," said 


Mrs. Winton. "Christ, the Lord of all, who could command 
food for thousands at a word, did not think it beneath him to 
set his apostles to gathering up scraps of fish and bread, which 
he had produced at so little apparent effort and cost. He 
showed his power in providing, his liberality in bestowing, his 
tarefulness in saving. ' ' Did he not this altogether for our sakes ? ' 
— to give us a lesson of that economy without which the human 
race cannot be maintained? All that is — the bread on youi 
table, the meat, the egg, whatever we use — is the ultimate pro- 
duct of Christ's creating skill, and the result to us of his benev- 
olence. What divine chemistry in the fruit matured for our 
tables! Economy is a high Christian duty, that nothing be 

Housekeepers in the country are able to avoid waste in keep- 
ing things far better than city housekeepers can do. There is 
usually the spring-house with its running water ; and with the 
freer air and the shade trees, closets and store-rooms can be kept 
cool and sweet. I was talking with Cousin Ann about this: 
she says that many housekeepers do not realize the need of 
keeping the butter and milk in a place where there is no smell 
of cooked meats, or of vegetables or pickles. Some people will 
set a plate of pickles down by a pan of milk, or a dish of ham 
or mashed turnip warm from the table close by their fresh butter, 
and then wonder why their milk and butter taint so fast ! Other 
people do not give air enough to places where they are keeping 
things, and they let in too much light, and are not careful to 
keep out flies. Cousin Ann has mosquito-netting nailed over 
the lower halves of her pantry and store-room windows, and 
she had the boys make latticed shutters for the windows, which 
shutters she keeps bowed all day : thus she has no flies in these 
places, and plenty of air. She now has wire covers to put over 
meat and vegetables set by from the table ; but before she could 
afford these covers she put such things in deep basins of cheap 


red earthenware, and carefully tied pieces of netting over the 
tops. She remarked to me the other day that some people did 
themselves more damage with their ice-chests than going with- 
out ice would do them, for they crowded all manner of things 
into them, and were not careful to cleanse them thoroughly of 
all bits of food that might be scattered from the dishes. For 
people who cannot buy a refrigerator a nice ice-box can be thus 
made : take a common store-box as large as you Want your ice- 
chest; get another box about two inches larger each way; 
sprinkle a layer of sawdust in the larger box ; bore three sma^ 
auger-holes in the bottom of the smaller box, and set it in the 
other, upon the sawdust ; pack the space between the boxes with 
sawdust to within two inches of the top; drive small strips of 
board over the top of the sawdust to prevent its scattering out; 
bore in this outer box three small auger-holes low down, one in 
the side, and one in each end. Take a lid that will fit the inner 
box: nail stout cloth on it rather loosely, so that it can be filled 
in with sawdust before the last end is tacked down ; put a 
handle, made of a strap of leather, in the centre ; now if your 
cellar has rats in it, set into the ground four bits of old stove- 
pipe as pegs for the chest to rest upon, and if this is kept 
properly cleaned you have a good ice-chest, which will 
preserve ice far longer than many patent and expensive , 

I think if any one could give instructions in domestic 
economy it would be Cousin Ann: not a thing is wasted at 
her house ; not a board or bit of wood as big as your hand 
left to rot — all put under shelter for fuel ; every scrap of 
waste grease goes for making hard and soft soap; a leach ol' 
wood ashes is always in use ; old bones do not lie around, un- 
sightly litter, but there is a "bone heap," which is burned every 
year; no weeds overgrow the vegetable garden: Cousin Ann 
starts, in house-boxes, lettuce, radishes, onions and cucumbers; 


she has the earliest vegetables that are raised around here, and 
she says the truest economy in saving health, escaping bills for 
medicine, and even in saving in provisions, is attained by having 
plenty of fresh early vegetables on the table three times a day. 
Cousin Ann is well-to-do, but she says " prosperity came by 
economy, and she will not deride the bridge which carried her 
safely over perilous places:" she says economize in little things, 
and great economies will take care of themselves. Cousin Ann 
always has in each room where there is a fire a box of paper- 
lighters to save matches; her bread-board and pan have no 
dough left clinging to them ; there is no scattering around her 
flour-barrel, and all the scrapings of pots and plates go to the 

" These are such trifles. Cousin Ann." 

"Well, your life is made up of seconds," replies Cousin Ann 
in a parable. 

" Very valuable trifles, after all ; have you no more of the 
kind, Cousin Ann?" 

" Perhaps I have not mentioned to you two bottles in my china- 
closet which I value very highly. One is a large-necked bottle 
of plaster of Paris. It costs me ten cents to fill it, and ten dol- 
lars would be a very small estimate of what that amount saves 
me. If the walls, especially the hard-finished ones, get scratched 
or nicked in ugly little holes, I mix a little plaster of Paris with 
water and cover the injury: all is then as good as new; for 
doing this work I keep by the bottle a thin, handless knife -blade. 
If any crockery is broken, I mix some of this plaster with a 
little strong glue or with some white of egg, fasten the broken 
parts together, hold or tie them in place for a few minutes, then 
they are dry and I scrape off the plaster which has exuded from 
the crack, and the dish is firmly mended. China, glass and 
earthenware can be used in this way. If the dishes do not look 
well enough to come to the table^ they will yet do to set away 


things in the store-closet, or for keeping jelly, marmalade, oi 
preserves. For mending such things I keep an especial glue- 
brush; one must work quickly as the plaster dries so quickly; 
the knife and brush used in it are fit for nothing else; and I 
mix the plaster as I need it in a clam-shell, always keeping two 
or three clam or muscle-shells besides the bottle: the bottle 
must be kept corked. Speaking of clam and muscle-shells: 
they are ten times as good as knives or spoons to scrape out 
pans or pots : some folks spoil table-ware, and waste time, when 
using a shell would be greatly better in all regards. When my 
lamp-tops come loose I don't send them to town : I mend them 
with plaster of Paris. The other bottle I mentioned is for 
Ammonia: I get that at twenty-five cents a quart at a wholesale 
house in the city. Nothing is like it for cleaning looking-glasses, 
windows, silver or paint,- for washing lace or embroidery, for 
cleaning black silk or cloth, for washing your best glass, for 
sprinkling in soap-suds over your house-plants once a week. 
Keep the bottle corked ; mix a little ammonia in warm water as 
you need to use it, making the water stronger of ammonia for 
glass and silver, weaker for flowers or paint or clothes. We 
always clean our combs and brushes well with it about once a 
month : it keeps them white and stiff; and mixing a little am- 
monia with a teaspoonful of bay-rum and half a pint of warm 
water we use it for cleaning our heads : it frees the head from 
dandruff, and the hair from dust, and helps the growth. I don't 
know of anything nicer in a bath, when one is very warm, has 
been perspiring freely, or engaged in hard, dirty work ; add a 
little ammonia to the bath-water, and you feel clean, fresh, and 
rested; indeed the ammonia pays for itself a hundred times 
over. In house-cleaning times it saves soap, brushes and paint, 
and time in washing wood-work or windows ; it is a grand thing 
for carpets: if they look faded aijd soiled, sweep them well; 
then after the dust has settled wipe them with a dry flannel ; 


then put some ammonia, say a dessertspoonful, in two quarts of 
warm water: wring out a clean flannel cloth in it and wipe the 
carpet all over, wringing the cloth out in the ammonia water 
several times. I believe it destroys moths, worms, and carpet- 
bugs, and sets the color, besides taking off" all grease and stains. 
So, Sophronia, / wouldn't keep house without my plaster bottle 
and my ammonia bottle." 

" Well, Cousin Ann," I replied, " I shall give my nieces each 
two of these famous bottles, with their virtues and uses inscribed 
on the outside." 

"Do," said Cousin Ann: "it will be better to them in the 
long run than a silk dress." 

"Yes," I replied, "the dress would soon be spoiled, and 
might encourage extravagance or love of display, but this gift 
will help them to attain that virtue of life-long benefit, Economy 
in the Home." 





HAVE always had the deepest interest in children, and 
a Strong affection for them. They are the very centre 
of the Home ; in fact, a Home without children hardly 
seems to me a Home at all ; and yet, these, who are 
designed to be the Home's choicest blessing, often become its 
heaviest sorrow. I think people have more varieties in their 
fashions of dealing with or bringing up children, than in any- 
thing else; and I suppose there should be differences in 
methods, inasmuch as there are so great natural differences in 
children. But, after all, there seem to be certain fundamental 
rules, which apply to the right training of all children : these 
rules I find entirely ignored by very many parents. 

Children, as human beings, must come into the world with 
certain inalienable rights. A great many parents seem to 
regard their children as mere chattels, without any rights what- 
ever. Children, as sharing our fallen nature, need certain 
restraints. Many parents seem to forget this, and let them 
come up in entire ignorance or defiance of that excellent thing 
—law. Children are the noblest of our possessions. They are 
the only immortal part of our possessions. They deserve, there- 
fore, in virtue of their intrinsic value,- our most vigilant care and 
guidance. But many parents will bestow more training on a 

young colt or heifer than on their child ; more care on a sewing 



machine than on son or daughter ; more time on a piano than 
on their own offspring ; more affection on some pet cat, bird or 
poodle than they exhibit for a child. They will try harder to 
understand the eccentricities of a cooking-stove, than to under- 
stand the human mind, which God has committed to their 
keeping. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. 
Thoughts on the rights, needs and duties of children in the 
home, have pressed upon me more forcibly than ever since 
there are children in Helen's and Miriam's homes. 

I find that people's grandest mistakes and most unutterable 
failures are connected with the training of their children. Thus 
it has been in all time, and even in the families of holy people. 
Isaac seems to have had his hands more than full with son 
Esau ; and Jacob found plenty of trouble among his thirteen. 
David's sons turned out sadly, some of them. It is no wonder 
that Ishmael went out of the ways of Abraham so quickly, when 
Abraham turned him adrift so early ; and while Lot's children 
seem to have been a desperate set, Mrs. Lot was most likely to 
blame for that, especially with Lot's going to live in a wicked 
place like Sodom just for gain, which no father of a family 
should have done. It appears to me that when there is failure, 
Ive can usually go back and put our finger on some error and 
say: " Here is where the wrong began." But then it is always 
easier to see the beginning from the end, than the end from the ' 
beginning. We know well enough roads that we have travelled 
over ! Then when the evil is done, it is often too late to mend 
it How circumspectly then we should go over unknown 
ground, where a false step may be fatal ! 

I remember Mrs. Winton and I went to see Helen when little 
Tom was a fortnight old. Helen seemed to have some sense of 
her responsibility, and she said : " What a charge I shall have 
when it is time to begin to train and educate this child ! " 

Mrs. Winton looked up : " Helen, you should have begun to 


train and to educate a fortnight ago. Education should begin 
with the first hour of a babe's Hfe, and it should from that hour 
have a fixed end." 

" I don't understand you," said Helen. 

" The end of our education should be to develop the child in 
every direction, into the very best and highest which it is 
capable of attaining. We must always remember that the child 
wilUlive forever in another world than this ; that in this world it 
will be a member of a social system, and will have duties to its 
race. It is also an individual, with its private and particular 
nature and emotions, which are to be regarded in its up-bringing. 
So, Helen, begin at once to train your babe : as an individual, 
■ with regard to its rights ; and as a member of society, with 
regard to its duties." 

" But, Mrs. Winton, what can one teach so young a child ? " 

" Patience is the child's earliest lesson. It can be taught to 
wait. Don't give it what it is crying for while it cries. Calm it 
tenderly first, and then promptly give the food or the toy ; as it 
grows older, whatever it is proper for it to have : it soon asso- 
ciates receiving with quiet and pleasant asking. So you can 
teach the child, as a member of society, to cry softly, and not 
disturb the house with wild shrieks. You can calm and soothe 
a very young child to mild crying, and get it habituated not to 
roar and bellow." • 

" I always noticed, Mrs. Winton," I said, " that your children 
cried quietly, and did not fill the neighborhood with shrieks." 

" I always pitied them when they were hurt, not in the ratio 
of the noise they made, as many do, but in the ratio of their 
gentleness about their trouble. Children love sympathy, to be 
petted and pitied — if shrieking like Comanches is the price of 
notice, of course they will shriek. I used to say ' softly, softly, 
and then I shall feel so sorry for you. Ah ! what a good child 
to be so patient ! ' They learned a pride in patience and endur- 


ance. I have seen mothers feeding a child with two spoons, 
nurse and mother feeding together, to keep the child from 
screaming as soon as its mouth was empty. The thing is a fact, 
and ruined the child's temper and digestion. A child should be 
taught to wait patiently while its food is preparing, and while 
itself is being made ready to eat it. Naturally, the little one is 
the centre of its own universe, and believes the world was made 
when it was, and for it. We must early teach the child, in 
patience, gentleness and generosity, to know that it has 
compeers whose rights are as settled as its own." 

Mrs. Burr also called upon Helen with me while Tom was a 
young infant. Helen said to her : 

" Mrs. Burr, your family is considered a model : give me some . 
of your rules for training little children." 

" I esteem quiet vety highly," said Mrs. Burr, "both in behalf 
of the child's health and its good manners. A little child is a 
delicate organization, and its nerves are delicately strung; but 
nurses frequently jounce, toss and tumble it, tickle it, jump and 
scream at it, and take its nervous contortions or forced laughter 
for expressions of pleasure. Do we see cats or birds serving 
their young in this way? No, they supply their needs, keep 
them warm and quiet, and let them develop their faculties natur- 
ally. Grown people could not endure the torments through 
which they put a young child, calling it 'amusing it' I have 
known children given spasms, or fixed in nervous diseases, by 
this folly. Nurses are especially given to this error. They are 
often of a hoydenish, noisy class, and they use these manners to 
a child. If physically the child escapes harm, its manners are 
injured; it is rampant, boorish, disturbing every one with its 
uproar, which is called liveliness and healthfulness by the 
parent, yet is 'really a bad habit. Children disturb their elders 
more by their noise than in any other one way, yet parents delib- 
erately train up their children in a noisiness, which they cannot 


endure, and as a next step drive them out into the street in 
order to be rid of their uproar." 

" But, Mrs. Burr, I have supposed that noise was natural to 
children, and that only feeble children were veiy still." 

" The noise of children," said Mrs. Burr, " has its proper 
limitations of time, place and kind. Ugly noises they should 
be trained to eschew ; the happy noise of their plays, shouts 
and laughter are natural and healthful, but even they must not 
be brought among the aged, the sick, nervous, or where a young 
child is sleeping. Children can be taught to keep their bolster^ 
ousness for their own play-room, the field or the garden ; to speak 
in gentle tones, to choose quiet plays when they play around 
their elders. It is easy, Helen, to begin right in these matters, 
and it insures a happy home ; it is hard to begin later, when two 
or three children have become fixed in unpleasant ways ; it is 
dangerous to family peace and juvenile manners not to begin at 
all. And let me say a word on the subject of nurses. Our chil- 
dren are often permanently injured mentally or physically by 
their nurse. The nurse may have a loving disposition, and may 
grow to have a fondness for her charge, but it is idle to expect 
from her a warm affection for every child whom she is hired to 
attend. Your safeguard then is in good principles; but how 
many of those who aspire to the very responsible office of child's 
maid, are trained in good principles ? It frequently happens that 
the child of well-to-do parents, able to hire a nurse, gets poorer 
care, and has less chance of its life, than the child of poor 
parents. The fearful summer mortality among poor children can 
be accounted for in close, hot rooms, impure air, dirty clothes, 
bad food, and often general neglect. The richer child has good 
food, air, room, clothes, cleanliness, but he has a nurse-maid, 
whose hidden carelessness often forfeits the life of her charge. 
How often have I seen a delicate babe sent out by its mother 
for an airing in its carriage! The nurse, chatting with hef 


friends, or hastening to overtake a companion, dashes the httle 
buggy over curbs and crossings. I have even seen a child flung 
bodily out of its carriage by such a jolt. In our parks I have 
seen maids rushing the little buggies down slopes, ovei drains, 
around curves, in a manner to endanger the spines and brains of 
infants. Or the nurse sits down on a door or a church step fot 
a long talk : the babe, exposed to heat and flies, often the sun 
blazing on its undefended face, begins to wail. Hundreds of 
times have I seen the nurse shake or slap it for its cries. After 
an hour or two of such a ' ride for health,' the child goes home 
fevered, weak — no appetite. Dozens of cases of illness or of 
deaths, which parents and doctors ascribe to "summer heats,' or 
the 'diseases incident to summer,' are the result of exposures and 
excitements which grown people could not endure. The lovely 
babe of a friend of mine died after agonizing illness — the victim 
of a nurse who was very fond of it. After a hot day she sat with 
the child on a porch during a thunderstorm, giving the babe no 
protection for its bare neck and arms, until it was chilled through. 
Many nurses privately administer opiates to their charges. 
Almost all nurses that I ever knew do not hesitate to frighten 
children by noises or tales ; or, to keep them from being ven- 
tui-esome, teach them fears of almost every place and thing. 
The mother, who wants a brave son, begins by handing him over 
to a nurse, who, for the first three years of his life, labors to 
make him a coward." 

"You alarm me, Mrs. Burr," said Helen; "but what is to be 
done? — ought not nurses to be hired?" 

"T think," said our friend, "that mothers often injure them- 
selves and their babes by endeavoring to assume the whole care 
of the child. The mother begins the charge in a weak state of 
health ; she is burdened with family cares, possibly with sick- 
ness in the house, with broken rest at nights; she is feeble and 
uervous, and this nervousness reacts upon the child, while often 


a mother's health is shattered and she dies prematurely, leaving 
her babes to strangers, when by sharing the care of them her 
life might have been prolonged. So, and in an even greater 
degree, the figures and health and tempers of unfortunate little 
eldest daughters are sacrificed to being.made reliable child's maids 
for their juniors. There is hardly a being on earth whom I pity 
more than such a little eldest girl, prematurely old and eare 
worn, never knowing what a jolly childhood is, always with the 
children on her mind or in her arms. Better by far to dress 
this little girl in plain calico, and send her to church in a white 
sun-bonnet, while the money for fine dress pays a maid to carry 
and attend the little ones, than to have the poor creature in her 
own childhood burdened with a mother's cares, and compelled 
by her own grievances and privations to consider children an 
unmitigated nuisance. A lovely lady once said to me, ' I feel 
often horrified at the little love I have for my brothers and sis- 
ters — they are less to me than strangers ; but it was my mother's 
error. Those children were the curse of my early life. I had 
no rights and no privileges, no toys which the little ones were 
not allowed to destroy. I could not have company, because " I 
had enough brothers and sisters," or "company disturbed the 
baby." I could not visit, because the children missed me, or 
should have been asked to go with me. If I went in the street 
I dragged a carriage or led or lugged a child. I spent the even- 
ings until my own bed-time shivering in a cold room, waiting 
for some child who chose to be afraid to go to sleep. I never 
went anywhere with my mother, because when she was out I 
must be at home. I saved the lives of the little things a few 
times by my courage and presence of mind, and I almost 
regretted it, because the more reliable I was the more I was 
laden with a woman's duties. I remember when once or twice 
death came to our crowded circle, my first irresistible thought 
was — now I would get a little more time to rest and read. Even 


my school and lessons were sacrificed to these children. All 
this was pecuniarily unnecessary, but my parents felt that nurses 
were unreliable, and I, alas, was trusty! I often wished I had 
been born without a conscience, so that my parents would 
have been afraid to trust me, but I was so constituted that I could 
sacrifice life rather than duty. The memory of my youth is a 
nightmare. A pestilence broke up our family within a week. 
I sorrowed for my dpad, but I was free from slavery. Now my 
remaining brothers and sisters are to me chiefly associated with 
the long weariness, sadness, sacrifice, and rebuffs of my early 
life. When I was twenty-four my own first child was laid in my 
arms, and there surged over me that feeling of burden and dis- 
tress, that horror of great darkness, that closed my childhood in ; 
but I soon found that a woman's joyous love, her knowledge, 
her skill, her strength for responsibility, her command of the 
situation, for her own babe, is a very different thing from the 
experience of a child so recklessly overburdened as I was.' " 

"Dear Mrs. Burr," cried Helen, "if I ever have a little 
daughter, she shall have the advantage of that little story. But 
tell me what to do. I cannot, it seems, have a nurse, nor do 
without one: where is the middle course here?" 

" If you can afford, by any sacrifices of luxuries or fineries 
even, to keep a nurse-maid, Helen, do so. But first be sure 
about the girl you are getting: know something of her family, 
her history ; see to it that she is healthful, modest, cleanly, kind. 
You cannot be too scrupulously particular about these things. 
Then consider that you get her, not to take your place to the 
'babe, but to relieve you in lesser cares, so that you can with 
•better strength fulfil the rest. A tnother should always bathe, 
^dress, undres.i, and feed her own child : no one else will 
exercise such tender, wise care as she in these immensely 
important particulars. If your child, unhappily, must be fed 
' from its birth, see yourself to the preparing of its food, and the 


washing, keeping and cleansing of the vessels in which that food 
is prepared and administered. If the nurse puts the child to 
sleep in the day time, let her do it in a room where you are 
sitting ; but I should say, always put your own child to sleep, 
and let the nurse take any work that might at that time occupy 
you. At night put the child to bed yourself: then you will be 
sure that it is not frightened nor made uncomfortable. If pos- 
sible, accustom the child to going to sleep itself when laid on 
the bed, and teach it to sleep without a light : a light burns up 
the oxygen of the room, depriving the child of good air, and its 
constant use makes the child timid in the dark. However, some 
children cannot be taught these things : nervous fear is con- 
stitutional. Remember, then, what Horace says: 'You can- 
not drive out nature with a fork.' Keep away the causes of 
nervous fear, and by degrees the child will outgrow it. That 
splendid child, Grace Winton, was from her birth constitu- 
tionally fearful of lightning ; frantic terror took possession of her 
at the slightest flash. No matter where she was, nor how 
occupied, if an electric storm appeared, Mrs. Winton repaired to 
Grace, and she never allowed her to go far from her, or for a 
long time. Grace was ashamed of her uncontrollable fear; 
friends told Mrs. Winton that she spoiled the child in this point. 
She replied : ' No ; I shall solace her unreasoning age, and trust to 
developed reason to control her.' She explained early to Grace 
the reason, uses and theories of storms ; she showed utter fear- 
lessness herself; and from the time she was eight, Grace lost her 
terrors, and is now as brave as her mother in all particulars. 
But to return to the nurse. She can hold, carry, exercise with 
the child, but do not let her go ofiT alone on long perambulations 
with it. If she goes beyond your sidewalk or garden go with 
her; if you cannot go, keep her under your eye and out of 
temptation. The only time I ever broke that rule, my youngest 
nearly died from getting the whooping cough in the midst of 


bis teething; the nurse was a trusty girl, too; she merely called 
on her sister, not knowing the cough was in her family ; but if I 
had been with her she would have made no calls. Nurses, in 
their calls, expose children to foul air, vermin or diseases ; and 
keep them warmly wrapped for hours in close rooms, and then 
go out in the cold with them. Often, in low parts of the city, 
have I seen babes crying in their buggies at doors where nurse- 
maids were inside gossiping, and once I knew of a child stolen 
under such conditions." 

" But suppose, Mrs. Burr, I am too sick to feed or bathe the 
child, or to go out with it, or put it to bed? " 

" Get a friend to go out with it, with the nurse, or keep it at 
home ; and have the nurse feed, bathe and put it to bed where 
you are present to overlook the matter." 

" But in some families nurses take the whole care of children, 
and often in England they bring up the children entirely." 

" God sometimes mercifully confers on children, thus left by 
their mothers, a nurse more faithful than the mother. But I 
don't think we should indulge neglect, expecting Him to make 
up for our delinquencies. One may have a mature, judicious 
nurse many years, and trust her more and more as she shows 
herself reliable : yet, ought a mother "to desire to delegate those 
duties and services which her little child has a right to claim 
from her? In England long terms of service are more common 
than here. Here a nurse is changed once a year, or half a 
dozen times a year ; or as soon as her little' charge can toddle 
she is dismissed. She loses the affection of habit, and does not 
expect to become identified with the family interests. In 
England a nurse spends often her whole life in one family, 
nursing two generations ; the family feel that one who was 
devoted to their helpless infancy has more than a pounds-and- 
pence claim on them. In this respect the feeling of the colored 
nurses in the South, formerly, was like that of the English rather 


than the ordinary American nurse, and resulted in the safety of 
the nurseling." 

I trust Helen profited by this talk of Mrs. Burr; but being 
naturally indolent, she left a good deal too much responsibility 
to her nurse-girl. However, the first one was a good nurse, for 
I engaged her myself; unfortunately she soon left. 

Mrs. Burr's remarks about educating children into noisiness 
and timidity struck me, and doubtless caused me more partic- 
ularly to notice several little street incidents. I walked out one 
day and saw our minister's wife at her garden gate talking to 
Cousin Ann's son Fred, who was in his wagon. She had in her 
arms her babe, a year old. The farmer's horse put his head 
over the gate : the child shrank back to his mother's neck. 

" Pretty horse ! " said his mother, in her musical voice ; and 
taking the child's hand in her own she stroked the animal's 
face. " See his ears : see his nice eyes." Grown suddenly bold 
the child poked his finger at the horse's great dark eye, but the 
watchful mother seized his hand : " Softly ! be kind to the horse. 
Poor horse. No, no ; don't touch his eye." 

The child's next move was to tap the beast's nose as hard as 
he could. ' 

"Softly! gently; so, so; you must not whip the good horse; 
pat him so, softly." 

The child learned now that there was to be neither fear nor 
abuse, and, crooning in a tender tone, he stroked the animal's 
face with his white dimpled hand. A square farther on I saw a 
young woman on the edge of the sidewalk buying vegetables 
from a cart. She had a child in her arms, and as the cart-horse 
turned his head to look, the little one reached out laughing. 
The horse's head was two or three feet from the child, but the 
mother howled : " O now ! owh ! he'll bite you ! " in a voice to be 
heard a block off. The child burst into a shriek of terror, and 
was carried in-doors, having learned that a very common animal 


was an object of mad fear. Near my own home I saw a young 
woman with z. two-years-old boy in her arms, as she stood talk- 
ing to some friends who were in a buggy. The child had a 
Ivillow switch with which he was striking about. The mother, 
k boisterous creature, shouted: "Whoa! get up! Hit the horsey! 
Hit him hard! That's right; crack him good! whoa!" The 
youngster bellowed as loudly as his progenitress, and hit right 
and left as well as he was able. He was getting his lesson : a 
lesson of noise, of cruelty to a domestic animal, of needless 
words, uproar and excited actions — he was in a fair way to 
become hard-hearted, and very uncomfortable to live with. 

When Miriam's little Dora was a few months old, Miriam 
invited Mrs. Burr and myself to tea. Very naturally, our talk 
turned on the training of children, and Mrs. Burr made some 
good remarks on the subject. She said: " Miriam, don't expect 
your child to be perfect. That is our first demand on our chil- 
dren : we expect them to be angelic beyond others, yet, when 
we come to look at ourselves, we shall see how very insufficient 
A foundation we have for such an expectation. Don't feel that all 
faults are equally heinous. Childhood has errors which we may 
reprove or correct very gently, or even ignore altogether, rather 
than to be always condemning, trusting that the whole moral 
training of the child will correct some faults of which individual 
notice has not been taken. Childhood has its crimes which can- 
not be permitted without destroying the child's character. I 
should say the three primary crimes are disobedience , falsehood, 
and selfishness. Of the first, nothing so insures the happiness 
of the child, and the comfort of the Home, as obedience; obedi- 
ence includes respect for all who are in authority; the respecting 
delegated as well as parental authority; true obedience has none 
of the blatant, 'I shan't mind you; you ain't my mother,' style, 
which some parents even think very amusing. If we begm early 
snough with a child, it will acquire the habit of obedience before 


It knows that it is learning anything, and it will grow into 
obedient dispositions, as the plant grows as you have trained it. 
Some parents command and re-command, and then permit the 
child to disregard the order; others are angry and upbraid or 
punish, without stopping to consider whether the child has 
understood the order. I have seen idiots who will tell a 
child a year old to put down or pick up something, and when 
the order is not obeyed, they begin to shake and slap, never' 
questioning whether the new denizen of this world apprehends 
their instructions, or appreciates what it is to do. The child 
becomes terrified and nervous; that is set down as obstinacy, 
and ' a will that must be broken.' What did the Lord bestow 
the Divine Power of the will for, if not to be a stronghold to the 
human being .? It must be guided in the way of righteousness. 
I have noticed Mrs. Winton : she never allows her word to be 
disregarded, and never has a battle. I have seen her tell a 
young child to put down something, which the child, looking at 
her, still clutched. There was no second order; she quietly 
unloosed the little fingers and the thing was put down. She 
said if the child did not understand the phrase "put it down,' 
the act expounded it ; if it did, and concluded to hold on, the 
loosing of its grasp secured the accomplishment of the parental 
demand, and taught it that instant action must follow an order. 
So when she bid a little one pick up something, as a bit of bread 
which it had thrown down, once told, if obedience did not follow, 
she quietly clasped the little fingers over the object and secured 
the performance of the act; her children have grown into an 
assurance that the mother's order must be followed by execu- 
tion, while no bitter antagonisms have been awakened. One 
reason of her strength in government, is that she never demands 
or asserts a thing concerning which she has not herself full 
assurance, and then she never changes : her words are like the 
laws of the Medes and Persians ; and while law is thus inflexible, 


her children have their acknowledged rights, which are to them 
as impregnable as an Englishman's home. I notice, too, that 
while she does not stop to argue things with her children, she 
is always ready to explain, sometimes before, sometimes after, 
the performance of an order: thus her children's acts are estab- 
lished on reason, and sound judgment is developed in them, 
while they are not forever saying, ' Why ? ' Obedience is the 
corner-stone in Home training. The child should not grow up 
feeling that obedience is due only to one parent: that authority 
resides only in one — that father must be minded, while mother 
can be twisted as they choose; that mother rules them, while 
father is a figure-head, or an animated purse. They must not 
find one parent concealing their acts from the other, or one 
parent permitting what the other prohibits." 

I said : " While in our civil laws one kind of penalty meets 
one offence and another another, in domestic training there is 
too often only one kind of punishment for all misdoings : crimes 
or mere errors meet the same reward ; a lie or an accident 
receives equal reprobation. This is the sure way to destroy 
moral sense." 

"Accidents should never receive punishment," said Mrs. Burr, 
" but a child should be always required, as far as possible, to repair 
them : thus carelessness is corrected. True, the child's bungling 
repairing may all need to be done over again by the parent, but 
in giving its time and its labor, the child has learned carefulness. 
A nephew of mine was shamefully wasteful of his food ; his 
mother preached good manners, his father general human needs, 
and depicted poor people hungering for his waste : he wasted 
still. When he was twelve years old, my brother reformed him 
thoroughly : he made him raise, one summer, a quarter of an 
acre of corn, and the same amount of potatoes. Ben planted 
and hoed, weeded and pursued potato-bugs ; he thought it fun 
at first, work presently, purgatory soon after. His father had 


hired the half acre, paid for the seed and the ploughing ; poor 
Ben learned what it costs to produce food He dug his potatoes, 
cut and husked his corn, found a sale for both, repaid his father's 
outlay, and pocketed a dollar and a half for his summer's work ; 
but he pocketed a lesson worth thousands. He knew how to 
raise his dinner out of the soil, and he knew what labor food 
represents ; he is now the most scrupulously saving fellow I evei 
saw, * 

" The children of a friend of mine were remarkable for the 
purity and propriety of their language. She procured this 
niccness by an odd method. Children readily pick up vulgar or 
bad words; whenever she heard such an one, she calmly looked, 
into the little mouth whence it came : ' Dear, dear, what a dirty 
mouth ! Such a word does not leave a clean mouth ! Come, let 
us wash it.' The mouth was carefully washed with soap and 
water, rinsed, wiped. ' Go, now, and be careful ; don't get your 
mouth dirty any more.' No matter how busy she was, the great 
business of keeping clean mouths was always heeded, and her 
children learned a positive disgust for all low language and 
a hearty respect for cleanness of speech. My cousin Ann's 
mother had a custom akin to this. When her grandchil- 
dren dropped an evil word, she rubbed a little aloes on their 
tongue. A bad word was a bitter word to them, and they, 
also, talked as they ought. The same disease requires different 
remedies to suit the patient. I had my eldest at Cape May 
when he was three, and from a family of boys at our hotel, he 
learned to swear. Imagine my consternation ! He picked up 
their speech as he did mine, knowing nothing of its meaning. 
The more I reproved and punished, the more firmly the evil 
language was fixed in his mind. I went home with him to 
escape bad company. I wept over the affair to my mother. 
She said to me : ' The child knows no more harm in those words 
than in a nursery rhyme. All your measures are fixing them 


in his memory; at home he hears nothing of the kind. Ignore 
his use of these words, and he will forget them in a fortnight' 
I took her advice, and in a week the objectionable words had 
faded from his memory." 

Our minister's wife has remarkable success in training hei 
children. I was talking with her one day on the subject, and 
>ve happened to come upon the matter of truthfulness. She 

"Nothing is more beautiful than truth, and we must first 
teach it to our children by our own example, by showing and 
inculcating inflexible principles of honor. Many parents make 
their children liars by a severity which first makes them 
cowards, and by a doubting of their words, and by a readiness 
to accept any stranger's word against the child's statement. 
This is an error as great as that of being credulous, an easy 
dupe, and falling a prey to any misstatement the child may 
make. Parents should study the character of their children to 
see whether they are honest or no, and what are the causes of 
dishonesty. Very vivid imagination in young children causes 
them to state things as they appear to them, which look like very 
false statements to grown people. We must consider how 
small the child is in comparison with his surroundings, h 5W 
new the world is to him, and how little grounds he has for 
forming a judgment, before we call his misstatements lying. 
In early ages, knowing little of scientific fact, people attributed 
to witchcru.ft and the supernatural what are now the easily ex- 
plained operations of nature ; ignorance begot superstition; igno- 
rance may make children appear false ; we should be careful to 
instiuct them, and to let no error of statement pass, so that we 
may obtain a noble clearness and truthfulness in them. A lying 
child is a mean and a dangerous child; and a parent's most 
vigilant and earnest efforts must be given to ensuring absolute 


Our minister preached a sermon to the young on Truthful 
NESS. He does not often quote the old philosophers : he prefers 
to instruct from the Scripture, as getting there the best that can 
be giv^en; but I noted a quotation or two which he made from 
Plato on Truth. " Is there anything more akin to wisdom than 
truth ? Or can the same nature be a lover of truth and a lover 
of falsehood ? The true lover of learning then must from his 
earliest youth, as far as in him lies, desire all truth." " God is 
perfectly simple and true, both in deed and wOid; he changes 
not ; he deceives not, either by dream or by waking vision, by 
sign or word." 

I think Miriam's children should grow up to be blessings 
to their parents and to society, for she and Mark both train as 
they desire the child to develop, and to be when it is mature. 
One evening I was there, and Mark brought home for the child 
some little treat. Dora, seated on her mother's lap, proceeded 
to help herself Mark said : 

" There is nothing more detestable, more cruel, more ruinous 
to society than selfishness. Don't begin now, Miriam, by 
letting Dora think only of her own satisfaction ; teach her that 
nothing is truly blessed until it has been shared." 

" That," said Miriam, " is Mark's rule for Dora, and I think it 
a very good one : always to offer to others a part of what she 
has. She seems naturally inclined to be selfish, but we want to 
teach her a habit of giving, and we always praise her when she 
divides with others. We go through the form of sharing with 
her on all occasions." 

"Some parents," said Mark, "themselves divide the child's 
possessions; but that is not teaching the child to give; it is 
depriving it of the luxury of giving. Children should be taught 
spontaneity in giving. I have seen parents take forcibly the 
child's property and give it to others ; that is merely to incul- 
cate the right of might, and to give a lesson in robbery : a rightly) 


eonstituted child would resent and question such a proceeding. 
If the child's giving to its mate must be final, so should the 
parent's gift to the child be final ; and if it is to be given away, 
the child should be the free-giver. Yet children should be 
taught not to give, trade, or take without honoring its parental 
guide by asking advice. The parent, as judge, can condemn 
some ill-used possession as forfeit, or can adjudge the child to 
make restitution in kind for damage done to its neighbor's 
property; here the parent bases his decree on principles of 
common equity, and here is a grand and not to be slighted 
opportunity for teaching justice between man and man, human 
property rights, and the majesty of law, as guardian over all its 
subjects, and with eye fixed on the common good." 

" Indeed, Mark," I said, " very few parents consider that boys 
should do justice and deal honorably by each other: I have 
Been over-reaching called ' smartness ' — destruction ' playfulness.' 
A child loses his playfellow's toy and says he's sorry, but is not 
taught to give up his own property to replace the loss. And 
how frequently are children allowed to give and then take 
back ! " 

" There," replied Mark, " is the root of much dishonesty 
among men : they began it when they were boys, their parents 
ignoring it, or abetting it, or setting an example. Ingrain hon- 
esty in a lad, arid you are sure of an honest man. Girls and 
boys should be allowed independent property dealings with 
each other; their parents remarking, and advising and care- 
fully insisting on rigid honesty. Girls should not be taught 
that in virtue of their sex they may change their minds, break 
their promises, or deal fast and loose. Upright business prin- 
ciples are as good for girls as for boys, and they should learn 

During these years my niece Hester has several times 
returned home for short visits, and I have seen with satisfaction 


Mrs. Winton's prophecies concerning her proving true. While 
no less decided, she is less aggressive: she is just as fond of argu- 
ment as ever, but proceeds with it by question, rather than con- 
tradiction; she says this is the " Socratic method." Whatevei 
method it is, I like it better than the one which she had formerly 
in use, though I will admit that this Socratic method is rathei' 
hard on her opponents in usually betraying them into contra- 
dicting themselves ! Hester, having graduated, was still pur- 
suing her favorite studies in New York, when she came to spend 
a few weeks with me, her father being absent. He accompanied 
an Exploring Expedition to South America. I don't appreciate 
John Rocheford's studies and explorations, simply because they 
are selfish. What is the use of heaping up knowledge if one 
does not intend to make any use of it ? It seems to me very like 
a miser heaping up money, for its own sake, and not for what it 
will procure : it is merely a more refined kind of miserliness. 
It seems to me that we should put our knowledge, as well as 
our money, to use : keep it in circulation. I think when our 
dear Lord condemned hiding talents in the earth, he meant more 
than mere cash. That is a true scripture : " No man liveth to 
himself, and no man dieth to himself." We ought, indeed, to 
use every little thing we have or know in some way to benefit 
the world; then in serving our fellows we serve our Lord. One 
would not be quite useless in the world, if one even knew and 
taught a better way of cooking a piece of meat. That is what I 
say to John ; he heaps up knowledge, and knows no one will 
gather it — it will go into the grave with him. 

Well, Hester came to visit me, and I had, among other thingt,, 
opportunity to see how Hester applied her common sense and 
her education to the training of children. I have always said 
that if there was one foolish thing above another in training 
children, it was to allow them to stand and tease, tease forever 
about a thing, say "no" half a dozen times, an<5 then give up, 


and say "yes" as a reward of merit for teasing. When a parent 
acts in that way, how much respect is a child hkely to have 
for the parent's judgment and truthfulness ? We should neither 
grant nor deny so hastily that we have not well considered a 
question. There is much which our children must be denied : 
therefore, when we can consent to their wishes, let us do it 
heartily and cheerfully. If we deny, let it be because we must, 
and then not go back on our principles by finally agreeing to 
what we think wrong. I remember once I was visiting Cousin 
Ann at the farm, and I was in the garden with Ann's sister-in- 
law, and this lady's little son Bob came up : 
"Mother! can I go fishing?" 

" Why, no, Bob ; what do you want to fish for? you never 
catch anything, and you'll be sure and get cold." 

"Why, I like to fish, and all the boys are going, and I never 
get cold; say, can't I go fishing?" 

"No, child, I -say; I'm sure you have not weeded the cab 
bages, and you've got your composition to write." 

" Hoh ! I wrote my composition last night: it's all done, and 
I finished the cabbages an hour ago — can't I go fishing ? " 
" Dear me. Bob, what a tease. you are ! no: it's too damp." 
" Damp ! oh, dear: then it'll never be dry; it hasn't rained for 
A week, and the dew's all gone, and it is such nice weather — • 
can't I go fishing? — Dick's going!" 

" Dick's going! Well, he'd stay home if his mother said so.'' 
"But she lets him go— can't I go fishing, mother?" 
"I never s^v^ your like to tease; well, do go along." 
" But, mother, I want some dinner to take." 
" Oh, you'll be home by dinner-time." 

" No, indeed ; why it wouldn't be two hours : I want a iunch."'' 
" Bless me, what a bother ! Well, go find yourself a lunch." 
I went into the house just in time to hear Cousin Ann's 
Dick begin: " Mother! can't I go fishing?" 


Cousin Ann looked carefully at Dick, as if considering his 
health, wants, and various capabilities in the fishing line. Then 
she looked out of doors, as if summing up the weather. Then 
she took a look into the woodrshed, to see if Dick's morning 
chopping and cleaning up had been done. Then she said, 
cheerfully: "Yes, Dick, it is a splendid day for fishing. Go get 
your old trowsers, and your big straw-hat, and I'll put you up 
a dinner : that is first and best part of a fishing in your view, I 

Now I like that straightforward way of dealing with a child : 
know what you mean, and stick to it. I found that was one 
of Hester's cardinal points in child-training. While Hester 
was with me, a cousin of hers was called out of town, and left 
her little girl in Hester's care. The child was used to her -own 
way, and a perfect tease. One day she asked to go to Mrs, 

" No : not to-day," said Hester. 

" Oh, yes ; let me go ; I want to go ; why can't I go, say?" 

" You were there yesterday." 

" Never mind that : let me go ; do please let me go." 

Hester laid down her book and asked, quietly : "Anna, how 
many times do you mean to ask me to let you go? " 

" Why, I don't know ; do let me go ; what did you ask that 

" Because if you have made up your mind how many times 
you will ask, you might as well begin and ask as fast as you 
can, and I can say " no ' all at once, without wasting words." 

Anna opened her eyes in astonishment. Then she cried, 
angrily : " I'll ask you fifty times ! " 

Hester coolly got out a piece of paper and a pencil, and 
said : " Now begin ; ask, and make a mark, and when you have 
fifty marks, you will be done asking and I will say ' no.' " 

Anna caught the paper and began making marks, crying; 


" Let me go ; let me go ; let me go." Finally she stopped : 
" There ! that's fifty." 

But Hester had kept private tally. "No, dear: it is but- 
tAventy; go on." 

Anna went on, but she wearied of asking, and wanted to go 
off. Hester held her left hand firmly. "No; you must keep 
your word. Ask on, until fifty times." Finally Anna had asked 
fifty times. " No, my dear: not to-day," said Hester, smoothly, 
and took up her book. Anna never again asked her twice for 
anything. Anna had been used to going to bed when she chose. 
Hester set eight o'clock for bed-time, and her law was like that 
of the Medes and Persians. Then we had this scene. " Come, 
Anna: it is bed-time." 

" Let me sit up : I'm not sleepy." 

Hester lit a lamp and took the child's hand. 

" Oh, it's too early: I don't want to go to bed." 

The two walked off up-stairs together. All the time the 
undressing went on Anna protested : " I don't want to go to 

" Now, Anna," said Hester, " it is time to say your prayers. 
But we pray to God, and you should think only of Him and 
what you will ask of Him as you kneel down. I cannot hear 
your prayers while you fret in this way." 

A little talk put Anna in a mood for her prayers; she may 
have fancied that yielding thus far, Hester would yield in turn, 
and allow her to sit up. However, the prayer over, Hester 
put her into bed. " I don't want to go to bed ! " screamed 

"Anna," said Hester, " did I promise to take you to see Cousin 
flelen to-morrow? Do you expect I will do so?" 

"You said you would," cried Anna. 

"And I shall certainly do as I said. But if I did not keep 
\^^Y word to you about going to bed and such things as you 


do not like, how could you trust my word when I promised 
you what you do like ? " 

" Maybe you will not take me if I am bad," said Anna. 

" I shall take you whether or no, for I said that I would, and 
I cannot break my word." 

" No matter how bad I am ? If I scream and holla ? " 

" I shall not break my word for any badness. But how well 
would you enjoy going with me feeling that I was displeased 
with you, and that you had been a bad girl? We are not 
happy when we are ashamed : we are happy when we do right." 

Anna made no reply, and Hester came down-stairs. 

" I hope, Aunt Sophronia, that this child will not disturb you 
by her manoeuvres." 

" Not at all," I replied ; " I am interested in seeing how you 
get along with her." 

" It's my view, Miss Hester," said Martha, who came in, " that 
you have the patience of Job." 

"It is not a question of patience," said Hester; "common- 
sense tells me, that if we want to govern children, we must first 
govern ourselves. As to yielding to her fretting, it is impos- 
sible. Decision is a matter of the first importance in training 
children. A ' yes ' should be hearty and unconditional, except 
on those understood conditions of life, health and weather, which 
are not in human keeping. Our promise should be a rock on 
which the child could find unshaken foundation for building up 
its plans. Our 'no' should be a wall of brass, which the child 
shall give up all hope or endeavor of shaking. Of two evils I 
would maintain a foolish ' yes ' and a selfish ' no ' rather than 
shake a child's faith in the fixity of my promises. But one, by 
taking the trouble to consider, can prevent selfishness and folly 
in promises ; and the well-being of these immortal natures is 
surely worth our most earnest consideration." 

In fact, Hester has some very sound ideas about training 


children, and I said as much to her, and wondered at it when 
she had had no experience, even with younger brothers and 
sisters, as many girls have. She said it was merely the applica- 
tion of common-sense, and that she believed the reason people 
trained children so poorly was, that they did not apply their 
common-sense and foresight to the training of their families as 
they did to other things. 

Hester's ideas of training take hold on looks and manners as 
well as on morals. We went one day to see Mary Smalley, 
who married a thriving young fellow named Watkins, and lives 
on a farm a mile from the village. Mary has a little girl two 
years old : a nice child, which she is proud of and worries over. 
The child has straight light hair, pretty enough as nature made 
it ; but Mary's pride leads her to crimp it, by braiding it tightly 
over night, or doing it up over a hot hair-pin. Hester took 
exception to this. She said : 

" Mary, do you suppose little Nettie cares how she looks ? Is 
';he happier for being crimped?" 

" No," said Mary ; " but / like to see it." 

" Now is not that a little selfish, Mary ? Suppose Nettie lives 
to be fifty years old. For the first dozen years of her life she 
cares nothing for her looks ; if you keep her hair smooth and cut 
short in those years, you secure her a fine growth of silky locks, 
•heavy and healthy. From twelve to twenty-five let us say that 
she has a little vanity in dressing-up and looking pretty. You 
'have secured, in this nice hair, one of the most natural and 
admirable ornaments of a young maiden. After twenty-five, 
while she is less vain, let us hope that she will desire to be 

• comely and pleasing in her looks ; she may have a husband to 
admire her; and we know the Scripture says that a woman's 
long hair is a glory to her. Of this glory of womanhood and 
beauty of girlhood, you, a selfish mother, will deprive your 

• daughter, if for your own taste in this first dozen of years you 


ruin her hair with crimping, and weaken it by letting it grow 
long. Only keeping hair well brushed, and growing naturally, 
and cut short will secure a fine growth. Besides, Mary, if 
Nettie must be frizzed and crimped as a baby, how much crimp- 
ing and braiding and foolish decoration will she want in hef 
young ladyhood ? Will you not lead her into those idle vanities 
of dressing hair, which the Scripture reprobates in women pro 
fessing godliness? " 

"Why, I never thought of all this," said Mary; "and is 
keeping the hair short, and letting it grow its own way, the 
only means to have it soft and abundant when one is grown 

"Yes, Mary," I said; "nothing hurts the hair more than tight 
crimping, frizzing on hot pins or rolling up over bits of tin. 
Wash the head in cold water, brush it often and briskly, trim off 
the ends of the hair ; and for a child, keep it cut short." 

" I'll do my best for Nettie's hair then," said Mary; " but now 

tell me : Nettie sucks her thumb. Some tell me to make her 

stop it, others say it is of no consequence. What do you say ? " 

" It is a habit that grows on a child ; it spoils the thumb and 

the shape of the mouth ; I should stop it." 

" But how? I have tied on a rag, but she sucks it still," 
" Fasten on a little glove-thumb, buttoned around her wrist, 
so that she cannot pull it off; and soak the glove-thumb in aloes. 
She will soon tire of putting it in her mouth." 

Nettie had a blue ribbon on her hair. The child's real defect 
,.s, that her ears .stand out too widely from her head. Hester 
had the little thing on her lap, and she took off this ribbon, and 
re-tied it, placing the edges over the upper part of the ears, bind 
(ng 'hem to the head with an easy pressure. She said to Mary, 
vho was complaining that Nettie's ears were not pretty : 

" ) Tature needs a little aiding. Let her wear her ribbons this 
VI ay. flight and day, until she is seven or eight years old, and 


you will have conquered the defect entirely. And this fashion 
of head-ribbon is becoming to her." 

" Hester," said Mary, "you used to condemn dress and vanity 
so much, I thought you would call it foolish to care about good 

" Beauty is a gift of God," said Hester; " good looks are, in 
themselves, a pleasure to all beholders. To cultivate good look; 
or personal beauty is different from cultivating vanity, for in 
proportion as self-conscious vanity comes in, really good looks 
vanish. Since God is right in sending some children into the 
world beautiful, and all with some elements of beauty, we are 
right in doing all that we can to aid nature, and to make the 
personal appearance beautiful. I think there is no finer sight 
than to see gathered about the table a beautiful family; there is 
something elevating and refining in that very beauty if it is 
unmixed with low vanity and self-display; and in every family 
tiiere will be more or less of this beauty, if there is 'neatness, 
grace, gentleness, loving-kindness. Plato says : ' Let our youth 
dwell in a land of health, amid fair sights and sounds, and beaut>', 
the effluence of fair works, will meet the sense like a breeze, and 
insensibly draw the soul, even in childhood, into harmony with 
beauty and reason.' " 

"Ah ! " said Mary, " what a pity that we cannot all be 
beautiful ! " 

" We can," said Hester. " There are three great elements of 
personal beauty: first, healthfulness ; second, intelligence of 
expression ; third, youthfulness. By cultivating, then, health of 
body, developing our minds to the best of our abilities, and 
being too industrious, patient and cheerful to get fretful and 
care-lined and old, we shall always be very beautiful. And in 
this beauty, parents should train their children." 

Helen and Hester have not quite ceased their early disputa- 
iions. One day we were all going to visit Cousin Ann. Heste» 


put on Anna a clean calico frock, a pair of stout shoes and a 
wide-brimmed hat ; Helen dressed little Tom in embroidered 
skirts, wide sash and kid boots. Hester argued that we deprived 
children of their natural right to develop healthfully and free of 
care, when we loaded them with fine clothes which they must 
take care of "A child of Tom's age is a hearty little animal in 
one-half of its nature, and has a right to untrammelled exercise, 
plenty of air and sun, and playing in ' clean dirt ' like earth and 
sand. Parents are unjust who deprive children of out-door life 
for fear that they will mar their complexions, or of exercise, lest 
they shall tear their clothes. We load children unnecessarily 
with the curse of the Fall, when we load them with unneedful 
clothing ; their clothes should not be a care to them, but such 
clothes as they could forget and be happy. What a spectacle 
to make angels weep did I see lately on Chestnut street! A 
nine-year-old miss, in rich silk and lace, and flounces, and 
feathers, watch, fan, chains, rings, parasol, necklace, bracelets, 
Jaced pocket-handkerchief — costing perhaps six or seven hun- 
dred dollars of dress as she stood — mincing along in tight boots 
tind tight waist, pale-cheeked, and tired out. And I thought of 
plump, rosy, little country lassies, in gingham gown and best 
white apron, easy shoes, and sheltering sunbonnet, racing along 
the road-sides, swinging a book-satchel, and able to climb fence 
or tree like a boy or a squirrel, and I thanked God that there 
would be at least a few women left for the next generation." 

The fact is, Helen, while fond of her children, feels that hei 
chief mission is to their clothes : to keep them well dressed, well 
fed, and given nice rooms. She does not realize that the best 
thing a mother can give her children is — herself We were at 
Helen's one day when little Tom ran in with a fuzzy ball: 
" Mamma ! what is this ? " 

" Tom, pet ! your feet ! all dusty, and— don't touch my worJ", 
your hands are dirty — ^pray throw that thing out." 


" But what is it, mamma ? what is it ? " 
" Why, I don't know, child : a bit of cotton, perhaps." 
Tom looked disappointed. " Such a child," said Helen : 
" forever asking questions ! " 

Hester took Tom, helped herself to a plate and tumbler, went 
out on the verandah, made a large spider captive and returneti 
Tom screamed at the spider. 

" Come, come," said Hester, " don't be a silly boy. See here : 
this is Mrs. Spider. She is a mamma, and instead of three 
babies like your mamma, she has about a hundred. To keep 
her babies warm and dry, she spun them this fuzzy ball which 
you brought in : it is their cradle. Come and look what soft, 
yellow silk blankets ; peep in now, while I pull the blanket open; 
do you see all those little squirming things ? Those are Mrs. 
Spider's babies, kicking about because their bed-clothes are 
off. Those little shiny balls are more babies, not big enough 
to kick." 

" Oh, how little ! will they grow big? " cried Tom. 
" Yes, they will be as big as their mamma, by-and-by." 
" But so many ! they'll run all over the house." 
" No, Tom, as they begin to get out, rain and cold will kill 
some ; the birds and big insects will eat a good many, and so 
only very few will live to get as big as Spider Mamma." 
" Poor weeny spiders ; let's put 'em all out-doors now.'' 
" Bless me," said Helen, when Hester returned, " you'd be a 
treasure to Tom, if you'd satisfy his mind that way.' 

" Dear Helen," said Hester, " it is your duty to satisfy his 
mind. If you teach him to take interest in natural things, talk 
to him, and fill his little head with the good and useful and the 
wonders of God's work, you will leave little room in it for vice 
Mid folly that some day might break your heart." 
" But I've no time, Hester," pleaded Helen. 
" Take time for what is so important. Have less ruffles and 


fency trimmings ; and you can talk to him while you sew or 
nurse the baby ; look at his curiosities, and talk of them." 

" But I don't know about all these wonders of nature." 

" You can know easily enough. 'Newspapers and magazines 
are full of articles on natural history ; if you cannot read all that 
is in the magazine, omit the stories. There are dozens of cheap 
little books on insects, birds, shells, animals ; feel it a duty to 
read these for your children's sake. Throw away the novels 
and read these. I think fewer wives would complain of loneli- 
ness ill the needful absence of their husbands, and their own 
severance from society, if they set seriously about being the 
companions and 'teachers and friends of their children, and 
making these children companions for themselves. Have Mark 
put up two or three low shelves in the back of the hall, and 
encourage Tom to make a museum there of his wonderful curi- 
osities; if you talk with him about them, you may make a 
philosopher of him, at least you will make him an observing 
and happy little boy. In all your work it would, if you once 
accustomed yourself to it, be a relief to your own mind and a 
great pleasure also to .iitisfy the curiosity of your child, and 
develop his growing thoughts." 

Helen presently began complaining how destructive Tom was. 
Mrs. Burr had come in, and she said : " Trust me, Helen, where 
there is destructiveness there is also constriictiveness ; you can 
stop children's destroying things by giving them something to 
make. I think all children, but especially boys, should have 
scissors and glue, hammer, nails, knife, boards, paper and paste, 
and let them invent, and contrive, and manufacture : you will 
soon see that they prefer putting things together to pulling them 
to pieces." 

" But what a house it would be with children provided in that 
style," objected Helen. 

"They ought to have a place for such work : a corner of tJid 


wood-shed or barn, or a share of the attic, or a place curtained 
off somewhere if you have no separate room. A small room 
over a kitchen, a room with a stove-pipe running through it in 
winter, is a choice place for a boy's shop. You were glad when 
Tom was born that you had a son : don't now wish that he was 
a girl ; or what is as foolish, wish that he developed like a girl 
into sewing and doll-playing. The boy spirit will out, and it is 
yours to guide it aright." 

" I often think I am foolish," said Helen, "to worry over Tom's 
ways, his noise, and curiosity and mischief. You have no idea 
how mischievous he is." 

"I remember," I said, "that Cousin Ann told me how mis- 
chievous Fred was when he first ran alone. One day his father 
W.1S shaving, getting ready for church ; he had a new high silk 
hat on the table ; he heard a crash : Fred had taken the hat and 
turning it crown upward had made a seat of it. His father 
flew to rescue the hat, and while he tried to straighten it, he 
looked up, and there was Fred, razor in hand, getting ready to 

"What ever did she do with such a child ?" cried Helen. 

" She said she reasoned that here was the result of great ener- 
gies and an active mind. The child must have an outlet for 
these in work, study and play. She kept him employed picking 
up chips, setting the shoes in the closet in rows, feeding chickens, 
observing the habits of birds, making lamp-lighters, even string- 
ing buttons ; and finally secured a habit of directing his energies 
to useful labor, rather than to mischief Believe me, Helen, we 
have not fulfilled our part to our children, when they are fed, 
nursed and clothed: we must teach them. And we have not 
doHe our part in teaching when we have taught them their pray- 
ers, their alphabet, to sew, to count, and have then sent them 
to ."^hool. We must guide their energies into proper outlets^ 
and never wearj' in informing their minds." 


"And," said Mrs. Burr, "we must build them up in honesty, 
unselfishness, kindness, industry, purity of mind and word." 

"And," added Hester, "all these virtues must rest on the 
foundation stone of obedience, regard for law. I remember Plato 
says : ' Our youths should be educated in a stricter rule from 
the first, for if education becomes lawless, and the youths them 
selves become lawless, they can never grow up into well-con 
ducted and virtuous citizens.' " 



HEARD a foolish neighbor once remark, that he always 
felt angry at sick people — that sickness was a mere out- 
come of wickedness. God made people to be healthy, 
and when they were not so, it was because they had been 
violating some plain principle of life, "doing something that 
they ought not to have done, or leaving undone those things 
which they ought to have done — and there is no health in them : " 
he quoted the prayer-book right then and there. I felt quite 
provoked at him, and I said : " My good friend, you'll have to 
carry some of your anger as far back as Adam, to find a suitable 
object, because sickness is part of the curse of the Fall, and is 
the seed of death, which Adam brought into the world. Do 
you remember what Christ said about the man that was born 
blind ? ' Neither did this man sin, nor his parents, that he was 
born blind,' meaning that the blindness was the fruit of no 
especial wickedness in them." 

However, as I calmly consider it, I see that there was a grain 
of sense in my neighbor's observations ; there is in most people's, 
and I must relieve my mind by saying that there is not more 
than a grain of sense in most people's talk. Still the more 1 
think upon it, the more clearly I see that sickness, especially 
epidemics, and diseases of a kind which seize upon whole families, 
or recur frequently in the same families, are often, perhaps nearly 

always, the result of some ignorance or carelessness of our own, 



We do not half understand the laws of health ; we do not study 
half carefully enough the needs and dangers of our own bodies ; 
we do not half enough respect our bodies, which we should 
cherish and regard as homes of immortal spirits, and especially 
because, if we will have it so, God himself condescends to 
iibide in his people, and to use humanity for his service. That 
is a poor form of religion which affects to despise the body that 
God made in his own image. 

When I read the biographies of such men as Martyn, Payson, 
Brainerd and others, who have done great good in the world, 
but, doing it burdened by feeble bodies, finally died prematurely, 
and so deprived humanity of much more good which they might 
have done had they lived to the ordinary limit of human life, 1 
consider their evident neglect of their bodies, their reckless 
exposure to fatigue and storms, their depriving them of proper 
nourishment, a positive crime. Many good men have so lived 
that they made it impossible for God to spare them for longer 
work, except by a miracle, so did they contravene the laws and 
despise the lights of nature. In this present day, possibly, there 
is too much devotion to purely physical culture, and good men 
indulge their bodies too much, and devote to the'r comfort too 
large a proportion of their thoughts and efforts. There is a happy 
mean to be attained, and toward that we should move. Sickly 
bodies very often produce feeble brains, bad manners, and bad 
morals. This is especially true where the feebleness of body 
begins in childhood; the weakly child cannot learn with 
zeal and plcTTure: it is peevish and cowardly; a house full of 
sickly children is a house full of cares, anxious and overtaxed 
parents, -onfusion, and often poverty, induced by the heavj* 
expenses of illness. The Home can only be really bright and 
orderly where there is general health and vigor. A husband 
and father works at a great disadvantage, who goes out to his 
daily toil wearied with a wakeful night by a sick-bed, and bur- 


dened with anxiety for the patients left behind him. In God's 
providence such seasons occur in most homes, but it is also in 
God's providence that we should strive to have them occur as 
seldom as possible. 

It seem.'; to me that the ancients very appropriately had a god- 
Jess as well as a god of health and the healing art, inasmuch as 
Hie care and preservation of health comes so largely within the 
natural sphere of woman. Vigorous constitutions can be built 
up in well-conducted homes, and this even when the natural 
constitution is feeble. I have done in my time a great deal of 
talking on the subject of healthful homes. At Mrs. Black's 
some one is sick half or more than naif the time ; I visited Mrs. 
Black once to offer any service in my power, when two of her 
daughters were ill. Mrs. Black said : " It is impossible to keep 
well in this world where there are so many thmgs to induce 
disease." I replied : "We must not blame the world too rashly, 
Mrs. Black, for we shall find that while there are many things 
to induce disease, there are just as many to produce good 

" Look at our changeful climates : hot one day, cold the next." 

"True; but if, summer and winter, we would wear a flannel 
garment next the skin, varying the thickness of the garment with 
the change of season, we should, provided we kept the feet in 
sufficiently thick shoes, very seldom be affected by the changes 
in the temperature." 

"As for flannel," said Mrs. Black, "my girls won't wear it; il 
makes them look so stout and full about the chest and waist" 

" I hope the day will come," I replied, " when a wasp-waisl 
and a pair of thin shoulders will not be esteemed beauty: we 
have had our ideas ruined by trash novels, praising 'fragile 
forms' and 'delicate beauty,' ' dainty waists,' " snow-drop faces,' 
and a lot of other nonsense. What prospect have such beauties 
of seeing three-score, or what physique are their sons likely to 


possess ? Indeed, Mrs. Black, I think you should have made it 
a matter of course, from infancy, that your children wore flannel 
under-garments. Really, there is nothing cheaper, safer, or 
more comfortable. I knew a young girl whose two elder sisters 
had died with consumption ; symptoms of the disease appeared 
in her : a friend took her to a famous physician. He said : ' She 
had better be sent to the south of France.' The lady replied : 
' Doctor, her parents are absolutely unable to take her away from 
home ; they have not the means.' The doctor meditated : it was 
November: ' Has she flannel on?' No, the young lady did not 
like flannel. ' Take her home,' said the doctor, ' and put her in 
heavy flannel from her neck to her toes, and see that she wears 
it, with some variation as to quality, twelve months in the year.' 
The order was obeyed, and for ten years she has been in good 

"And there is another means of health-preserving, Mrs. Black, 
which we greatly ne^ect— sunshine. Plenty of sunshine is a 
very wine of life. We should let it fall broadly into our rooms, 
especially where we eat, sit and sleep. Nine months in the year 
our windows should daily stand broadly open for a sun-bath 
In our hot summers, our homes seem to get saturated with 
sunshine, unless our houses are very thickly shaded by vines and 
trees, and possibly then two hours of early morning sunshine 
will be enough." 

" But, my dear Miss Sophronia, it ruins the carpets." 
" Better sacrifice the carpets than the health : we are too much 
the slaves of carpets ; if I could not have the carpet and the sun, 
I would give up the carpet. The'sunbeams hold no spores of 
disease : carpets frequently do ; sunbeams have no dust, danger- 
ous to weak lungs : carpets do. But, Mrs. Black, a drugget, or 
a carpet-cover, or even a coarse sheet can be flung over the car- 
pet if it needs protecting ; and then let in those invigorating rays, 
which God meant should counteract disease. I believe many 


diseases can be cured by merely plenty of fresh air and sun 


Mrs. Black was dwelling on my heterodoxy as to carpets. 

"Dear Miss Sophronia! banish carpets! bare floors! What 
would you do? How would you live?" 

" Mrs. Black, it seems to me that we do not sufficiently value 
mattings, especially in bed-rooms. They are free from dust ; of 
a good quality, they wear a long time; they are easy to sweep; 
they look clean ; and the sun does not harm them : remember, 
they grew under tropic suns ; they have no harmful dye-stuffs in 
them. Some object that they are cold, but this can be obviated 
by rugs laid before the bed, washstand and bureau. Let me 
tell you my experience: I spent a year once, while my house 
was being built, with my half-sister in the city. She treated me 
royally; my bed-room was dressed in rose and gray French 
chintz, rose-tinted wall-paper, and had a rose-colored velvet car- 
pet. It was altogether too fine for the sun to shine in : the sun 
would ruin it. A furnace, with air-feeders from out of doors, 
kept the house warm and dry ; but nevertheless I was a martyr 
to rheumatism. Cousin Ann, hearing this, sent for me to spend 
the next winter with her at the farm. My room had white- 
v/ashed walls, white curtains, a white counterpane and white 

"Goodness!" interrupted Mrs. Black, "I should think it would 
have made you think of a whited sepulchre!" 

" Not at all," I retorted : "its conditions were such that it was 
unlikely to have in it either rottenness or dead men's bones, 
Color was lent it by three or four bright rugs and a colored 
set of toilette mats, with a few pictures. I kept wondering why 
that simple room looked and felt so beautiful. I perceived that 
the floods of sunshine, which, during the whole day, poured in 
at one of its three bright windows lent it its chief charm. My 
health was perfectly restored." 


" Well," said Mrs. Black, " my girls would rather be sick half 
the time than get well by wearing flannels and stout shoes, and 
going out in the sun exercising and spoiling their complexions, 
or having their carpets and curtains faded out by having all th« 
blinds open." 

"But as a mere matter of beauty, Mrs. Black," I urged. 
* There is no beauty in a sallow, sickly complexion, and if 
they are sick half the time, what will result ? Medicine and bad 
digestion will ruin their teeth ; ill health will make their faces 
wan and faded; their color will be lost; their hair will be dry 
and thin; at twenty-five they will look ten years older; they 
will have a fretted, disappointed, troubled expression, and will 
always feel dispirited and uncomfortable." 

However, there is no use talking with Mrs. Black. It is no 
wonder that her girls are so captious, and look so feeble. Thin- 
soled shoes, no flannel, no exercise, very little fresh air, and 
almost no sunshine in their house ; and this record might do for 
very many other families. 

When Miriam and Helen set up housekeeping, I especially 
urged on them the advantages of fresh air in their houses, and 
plenty of sunshine. I said : 

" Don't have any shut-up rooms and corners in your homes 
to breed pestilence ; sun and air the rooms that are unused, aa 
well as those that are used. Remember, a housekeeper is the 
health-keeper of her household; her vigilance should extend 
over the whole house from garret to cellar. The housekeeper 
should visit her garret to see that it has ventilation, and is not a 
tight-box to be crowded with bad air and fumes rising from 
the other parts of the house, and being packed there to continue 
their corruption, and come down in uuvixpected puffs; the 
garret should be kept free from dust, ard should have a lattice- 
window always open ; or, if you have not that and cannot have 
it. have a small window, or half a window, with a piece of stouf 


muslin nailed tightly over it: that will secure ventilation and 
sufficiently turn rain. 

" When a wise man goes abroad, he puts a hat on his head 
and shoes on his feet, protecting both extremities. Don't forget 
the feet of your house — feet planted in the cellar : have a clean 
cellar and a dry cellar. I should have the cellar lime-washed, 
drained, and made dry, if I went without a parlor sofa or a best 
•set of china to be able to get the means for these improvements." 

"Upon my word, aunt," said Helen, "I thought Hannah 
•ould be trusted with the cellar!' 

" Not a bit of it, my dear ; she could much more safely be 
trusted with the parlor; she would take more interest in that, 
and could better appreciate the need of tidy dusting to make a 
place fit for callers, than the need of cellar-cleaning to make a 
louse healthful. You have a swing-shelf: suppose a bowl of 
gravy is there upset and left to mould ; that in a corner of the 
floor half a peck of small potatoes are left to sprout long, sickly 
stems ; that on a box a few cabbage-leaves hastily stripped from 
the head lie rotting ; that an odd turnip, carrot, beet, parsnip or 
two are also decaying here and there. All of these things 
generate disease ; from this vegetable decay, housed in a cellar, 
which Hannah never thinks to air, there will float into your 
pretty bed-room, your immaculate parlor, spores of fever and 
sore throat. Your milk and butter, brought from this poisoned 
cellar, are mysteriously corrupted before you eat them, and 
they vitiate your blood. You should visit your cellar at least 
ivery other day. If the potatoes begin to sprout, you should 
,aave the sprouts rubbed off and carried away, not left to die in 
ihe cellar. Every week the shelf should be scrubbed with hot 
soda-water or soft soap-suds, the floor swept, the windows 
opened for a thorough airing; not a scrap of animal or vege- 
table matter should be left there to decay. Trust me, Helen, a 
cel'iar is a very important part of the house, and a house cannc 
Oe healthy whore there is an ill-keot cellar." 


I was very glad that Mark and Miriam realized the necessities 
Di* ventilation and thorough drainage. The drain, which carried 
off the water from the washing, sloped well, and ran some dis- 
tance from the house. I have seen people fling washing sud? 
out close to their houses. " What odds clean suds ? " they cry 
It seems to me that the suds which our soiled clothes are 
washed in cannot be very clean ; and as we know that the suds 
which garments of small-pox, cholera and fever-patients are 
washed in contain the germs of the disease, and cast upon the 
ground are likely to breed that disease in their locality, so we 
might suppose that many of the lesser ailments of our bodies 
contribute their share of disease germs, which can do harm in 
their own proportion, through the decaying suds -of a family 
washing. Again, some very tid)' housekeepers do not realize the 
excessive caution that should be used with sinks and drains 
where bath-water, dish-water and scrubbing- water are cast out. 
More diseases than we now suspect are propagated by minute 
spores. It is about a century since the "germ theory" of dis- 
ease was first announced, and we are daily learning more and 
more, that as the air is filled with spores of cryptogamous 
plants, distributing fungus and all varieties of mould, so is the 
air filled with floating particles of disease, gathered not only 
by swamps and sick-beds, and by sloughs of confessedly and 
notoriously unclean matter, but very often from places which 
we suppose to be clean and safe. Dr. Richardson tells us that 
the spores of small-pox, yellow, typhoid and scarlet fevers, 
cholera, diphtheria, measles, and kindred diseases are so small 
that twenty thousand of them, end to end, would not reach the 
length of an inch ; fifty million might be put in a cubic inch. 
Yet each spore could create its own disease in a human frame, 
falling on some tissue irritated by cold, or inflamed, or weakened, 
or even normally healthy. 

I had a talk once with Miriam on the subject of sai-soda. 


which talk Miriam thought very beneficial to her. I said to her. 
" Miriam," — for I was with her in the kitchen, where she was 
making pies, and I was knitting by the window — " Miriam, there 
is hardly a more valuable agent in household cleanliness than 
sal-soda. It is very cheap, from two to four cents a pound. If 
you put a pound of it in a gallon of water and throw half a tea 
cup of this solution into your dish-water once a day, say at din 
ner, you will find the trouble of dish-washing reduced one-half, 
as the soda destroys the grease : your dish-cloth or mop would 
be kept white and pure with very little rubbing: you would save 
soap, and you could more easily keep your sink and its drain 
clean. Your sink is scrubbed beautifully clean, but you cannot 
so scour the pipe which carries out the water. The particles of 
animal and vegetable matter in the dish-water, the gjease which 
it contains, adhere by degrees to the sides of the pipe, coat it, 
and there corrupt. You scald the sink wkh Iiot soap-suds, that 
pass into the pipe and are a help in removing this decayed 
matter, but cannot remove all of it. If the pipe is metal, the 
decay unites with the metal and produces mineral as well 
as animal and vegetable poison. A current of air drives up 
through the pipe, and carries with it viewless atoms of violent 
poison and dangerous decay, and they tremble in the air of your 
house : or ever you are aware, they have entered your nose, 
throat and stomach. These atoms can produce influenza, diph- 
■ theria, fever. Therefore, at all cost, let us have these drain-pipes 
clean. The sal-soda in your dish-water will here be a great help, 
devouring the grease in the dish-water and on the sides of the 
pipe. Twice a week take some strong boiling sal-soda watei 
and pour it slowly down your sink. Once a month at least treat 
-it in this way with concentrated lye-water; boiling soft-soap 
suds is also very valuable for this use. Cousin Ann, who 
always has a leech of ashes set up, mixes boiling water and 
strong lye, and "pours it through her drains once a week : she 


uses a little lye-water instead of the sal-soda for her dishes also. 
A little sal-soda water used in scouring tables, floors which 
are unpainted, pie-boards, rolling-pins, and other woodenware, 
keeps them immaculately clean at small cost in trouble and 

I noticed what Mrs. Burr said one day in regard to the health 
of Homes. " We have yet to come to a realizing sense of the 
danger to our health that lies in decaying things. Decay is part 
of death ; atoms of decay planted in the tissues of our bodies 
are so many seeds of death. And yet how are we surrounded 
by this decay, and unconscious or careless of it ! We use the 
same wall-paper for years, or leave a whitewashed wall, season 
after season, untouched. In these walls, especially in those 
hung with paper, are planted atoms of corruption breathed out 
by sick people, wafted from beds of fever, gathered out of 
malarious air. Shelves, sinks, drains, wooden vessels are washed, 
and look clean, but buried in their fibre is corrupting animal 
or vegetable matter. Cleanly housekeepers, of course, will be 
sure to have perfectly clean dish-cloths, towels and kettle-cloths ; 
and yet hundreds who would resent being called dirty have a 
mass of filthy rags tucked into corners for use in the kitchen, 
and around cooking vessels, any rag of which is foul enough to 
breed a pestilence. More than half our servants doat on a pot- 
closet as a convenient dust-hole, and few of therti are so cleanly 
that their mistresses may be exempted from a personal inspection 
of that locality. The soap-grease firkin and the swill-pail be- 
come centres of corruption, and before we know it the cistern, 
built, as most of them are, without a filter, becomes deadly. 
A housekeeper needs the hundred(»eyes of Argus to see that her 
home is free from these dangers. And why not ? Argus was 
merely watching golden apples, but the housewife is set on guard 
over the health of husband, children and guests." 

When children came into the homes of Miriam and Helen, 


and other of my young friends and relations, I felt more than 
ever anxious that they should know how to preserve the health- 
fulness of their homes. I was talking to Cousin Ann about this 
one day, when she laughed and said she would make my nieces, 
Mary Smalley, and some other of the young folks, a present. A 
k^ weeks after she sent them each a large card, with a few lines 
handsomely printed upon it, thus : 


Have plenty of sunshine in your living rooms. 

Keep the whole house well aired. 

Have a clean garret, well ventilated. 

Have a perfectly clean, dry cellar. 

Renew whitewash and wall-paper often. 

Have every drain clean and carried far from the house. 

Allow no decaying refuse near the house. 

Keep the walls and floors dry. 

Use freely, in cleaning, lye, ammonia, and sal-soda. 

Use freely lime, especially as whitewash. 

I took one of these cards in triumph to Mary Smalley; it was 
about a year after she married Samuel Watkins, as fine a young 
fellow as one would wish to see. Mary was nursing little Nettie, 
and I sat down with her in the kitchen. It was a lovely June 
afternoon. The honeysuckle vine over the porch was in bloom; 
the door-step and the yard around were clean as a broom could 
make them ; the kitchen floor was well painted in yellow, and 
Mary's favorite mats were scattered about, and a pretty cover 
of her manufacture was over a little stand by the window 
Mary had followed her own good taste in many of her arrange- 
ments, and she had taken example also by Miriam, who had 
been very friendly to her. 

She had taken a girl of about twelve from an asylum to help 
her in the house, and this girl was out under an apple tree scour 


ing tins. The whole house and its environs made a pretty pic- 
ture of comfort, thrift and content. I said as much to Mary. 

"We get on very nicely," said Mary. " I do not get my work 
done quite as easily as Mrs. Rogers; but then she had not tjie 
cows and the chickens and the farm-hands, as I have. But 
thanks to mother's teaching me how to work, and Mrs. Rogers 
showing me good methods of doing it, I succeed very well." 

I gave Mary the card: she read it and was well pleased; but 
after looking at it for a time, she said : 

" This tells us how to have a healthy house ; but is that all 
we need to know to have healthy children ? Let her tell us how 
we must take care of them — to have them hearty and healthy in 
this healthy house." 

I thought Mary's point was very well made, so I said : 

" Truly, Mary, you are interesting yourself in a subject which 
should occupy every mother's thoughts. I will speak to Cousin 
Ann on the matter, and see what information she can give you." 

I went out accordingly to visit Cousin Ann, and as we sat 
comfortably together between dinner and tea, I took from my 
pocket a bit of Doctor Guthrie's writing, and read to her as 
follows : 

" With care and prudence human life may be extended con- 
siderably beyond the ordinary period. The truth is, few pepple 
die a natural death. Some are murdered ; but the greater part, 
who have arrived at years of discretion, commit a sort of suicide, 
through their neglect of the ordinary rules of health, or their 
injudicious use of meat, drink, or medicine." 

"That is true enough," said Cousin Ann, adjusting her sijec- 
tacles; "but a large part of the human race do not arrive at 
years of discretion : those who die in childhood, I suppose Doc 
tor Guthrie would set down as murdered after a sort, namely, by 
the ignorance or indiscretion of parents." 

"A nd doubtless, cousin, the foundation of living in a serene 


old age, 'beyond the ordinary 1-mit of human years,' is laid in 
infancy, by careful physical culture." 

" Be sure it is. I devoted my cares to securing health for my 
children from their first breath." 

"And very likely you found your cares more efficient and 
judicious for your sixth child than for your first." 

" Certainly ; else where would be the good of experience ? " 

"And if, in the babyhood of your first child, some well-expe- 
rienced mother had given you the benefit of her observations, it 
might have been exceedingly useful to you, and yours." 

" Yes, certainly; only in a measure, rules being laid down, we 
must learn to apply them for ourselves. Still, good rules are 
of unspeakable value." 

" Well, Cousin Ann, these young mothers among our friends 
want to gi"t the benefit of your experience, and desire that you 
should g've them some instructions in regard to training physi- 
cally their little ones." 

"Bless me, Sophronia," said Cousin Ann; "as far as that 
goes, you have looked into the subject of health-keeping as 
fully as I have, and can tell them all they need to know." 

"That may be, cousin. Yet, as you have raised six hearty 
children, the advice might come with more weight and authority 
from your lips than from mine, even though the advice was 
identical in both cases." 

So after a little talking Cousin Ann agreed to make a tea- 
party and afternoon visit for our young friends, and I went 
around with the invitations. They came early, and were all 
expectation to hear Cousin Ann's advice. 

" Come," said Helen, " we expect to be packed full of learn- 
ing which shall benefit our descendants at least to the fourth 
generation. Begin, Cousin Ann ; time is not tarrying." 

"How am I to begin?" asked Cousin Ann. "Upon my 
word, I don't know what I ought to say, nor where to com 


"Begin at the beginning," said Miriam. "Here are these 
blessed babies; they are darling little animals which spend 
:.alf their time in eating, and the other half in sleeping, and if 
there is any time left over, they occupy it in staring about." 

" They act as nature dictates," said Cousin Ann, " and which 
(vork — eating or sleeping — is the more important I cannot tell. 
As to the sleeping, strive to promote it, for by it a babe grows. 
Never let rude noises rouse it; let no pride in displaying the 
child, no neighborly curiosity, call it from slumber ; let it sleep 
in silence, and in a room moderately darkened ; have an abso- 
lutely regular time for putting it to sleep at night, whether it 
seems sleepy or not : habit is all-powerful. At that bed-time 
strip off all its day-garments, don't leave for night even a shirt 
worn in day ; and let the child sleep in flannel which is clean, 
and during the day has, been well-aired and sunned. Some 
children thrive on a bath both at rising and at bed-time ; some 
are better only for the morning-bath. If the child is not fully 
bathed at night, wash its head well in cold water, and rub the 
whole body briskly with your hand or a soft towel : this pro- 
motes circulation and induces slumber. Until a child is six 
years old, encourage it to sleep late in the morning, for the first 
years of a child's life need much sleep. After the child is six, 
have a regular hour for rising as well as for retiring ; but never 
fail to send it early to bed until it is thirteen years old. A 
child should be covered warmly, but not too warmly; its 
sleeping place should be well aired, and it should never sleep 
with its head covered up. Neither is it good for. a child to 
sleep sunk in feathers, or in a bed with grown people ; for the little 
creatures sink down and injure their blood by inhaling bad air. 
A moderately hard bed, which daily is well aired and sunned, 
is best for a child. I prefer to any other a straw bed, where the 
straw is renewed at least every three months — better every two 
Little children should sleep much in the day-time; even if 


they do not seem sleepy it is better, morning and afternoon, to 
wash their hands and faces, put on a loose slip, remove their 
shoes, and place them on a bed : they will soon get a habit of 
sleeping at these intervals ; their constant activity when waking 
and the necessities of growth demand much rest." 

Cousin Ann paused, and our party discussed the sleep ques 
tion for some time. Then Mary Smalley said : 

" Cousin Ann, what about the other point — the child's food ? " 

" Nature itself teaches," said Cousin Ann, "that if a mother is 
healthful and able to nurse her babe from her own breast, she 
should do so. If this is impossible, I would prefer feeding a 
child to the dangers of wet-nursing. Some physicians advocate 
goats' milk rather than cows' ; whichever milk is used, a mother 
should prepare it and the vessels in which it is placed herself, 
using most scrupulous care as regards the purity and the 
soundness of the food, its temperature, quality and flavor. You 
ruin a child's health by giving it one while hot milk, again 
cold milk ; now unsweetened, now loaded with sugar ; letting 
the bottle or cup smell of stale milk, or the milk offered be on 
the verge of acidity. 

" I have seen people give a child of six or eight months old 
all kinds of food, even to cucumber-pickle and salt pork. A 
young child should have milk alone for six months at least. 
Possibly then a little well-made, clear mutton-broth or beef-tea 
might be given occasionally. The next addition to diet could 
be ground rice made into a thin giuel, provided you grind the rice 
yourself. By the time a child is ten months old it might be 
allowed a bit of broiled beefsteak or a wing of fowl to suck in its 
own fashion. When it is a year old, boiled oats, rice, a baked 
potato smoothly mashed, a little corn-meal mush or gruel, and ripe 
fruit may find a place on its bill of fare. Never give a child, under 
six years old, cake, preserves, pies, tea, coffee or pickles. Let 
their food be plain, given at regular intervals, well cooked, usin;^ 


little fat, and no fried things, and the variety not very great. 
A child, who has plenty of sleep, plenty of good air, plenty of 
play out of doors, will always be ready for a hearty meal of bread 
or mush and milk, baked potatoes, mutton or rice-pudding. 
Don't fancy every tir/.e a babe cries that it is hungry ; perhaps 
its discomfort is from surfeit. Don't urge a child to eat, pam- 
pering its appclite, and pressing dainties upon it ; and don't 
check its appetite for plain, wholesome food. Remember the 
child eats to live and to grow, and it needs more food in pro- 
portion to its size than a man needs." 

"Should children eat between meals?" asked Mary Watkins. 

"I should never refuse a child an apple or a slice of plain 
bread and butter between meals; for all we know the little one 
may really be faint and hungry ; neither should I give a child a 
hearty lunch just before dinner or just after breakfast. Children 
get a habit of eating at improper times. I have seen children 
screaming for toast or meat, just as they got into bed, an hour 
after supper. Don't give a child pie, cake, or bread piled with 
sugar, honey or molasses between meals. When it asks for 
bread, never refuse it." 

" Now for the baby's third fashion of spending its time ; for 
instance, in staring around," said Helen. 

"There is little to say as to that; never let the child sit or lie 
with light falling across its eyes, nor gazing at a strong light. 
Don't let it have hangings or playthings too near its eyes ; put 
whatever it looks at fairly before it, and let it have plenty to look 
at. Babies like bright things; make them balls or cushions of 
bright-colored worsteds, generally of red, never of green or brown, 
lest there be poison in the dye; little cats and rabbits of cotton 
flannel, and rag-dolls dressed in gay colors, are things to please 
its eye, and cannot hurt it when it knocks them about, or thrusts 
them in its mouth. As the child is older, give it books made 
of pictures pasted on leaves of muslin, sewed in a strong cover. 


Let the room where a child spends its waking hours be bright 
and cheerful; let pleasant faces and voices surround it; don't 
jerk it or startle it; happiness is a large element in health 

"Tell me, Cousin Ann," said I, "do y^J carry out through 
life your rule of changing all one's garments from day to 

" Yes," replied Cousin Ann ; " I think many a fever, many a 
fit of jaundice or biliousness, would be saved if one would 
divest themselves at night of all which they wear during the 
day. Many wear the same flannel vest night and day ; they 
would be far more robust and cheery if the day flannel were 
removed, well shaken and hung up wrong side out during the 
night, and a night flannel were used, served the same fashion 
by day. I have seen people allow children to go to bed in their 
stockings, because they say the beds are cold : that plan is ter- 
ribly unhealthful, and promotive of sore throats and fevers. 
Every child's feet should be well warmed and dried before retir- 
ing; a mother should see to that herself, and if from lack of 
circulation the feet do not keep warm at night, then heat an old 
flannel skirt, or a piece of a blanket, and let the feet be wrapped 
up in that. Many a weary hour by sick beds, many tears over 
coffins would be saved, if mothers looked more closely after 
their children's feet, that they might be warmed when cold, and 
have shoes and hose changed when wet." 

" Many people would say your idea about night and day flan- 
nels demanded too many clothes, and made too large washings," 
suggested Mary Watkins. 

" I should reply, that clothes were cheaper than doctors' bills 
and washing less onerous work than sick-nursing. Besides, a 
set of flannels too thin for further day-use, can be darned and 
mended up for night, and as after all the clothing is worn but 
twenty-four hours out of a day, I cannot see that washing would 
be materially increased." 

s/CArjy£ss in the home. 13a 

" Do you think people should sleep in winter between sheet? 
or blankets?" asked one of Cousin Ann's auditors. 

" Between sheets, by all means : they are likely to be changed 
each week, and blankets, owing to weight and color, are not 
likely to get washed so often. Pounds of insensible perspira 
tion, carrying particles of waste matter, flow off from the pores 
of our bodies during sleep ; this refuse matter fills the clothes 
we wear, and our bedding : thence arises the need of exchange 
between night and day clothes, and of ample washing and airing 
of our beddfng. Some people make their beds as soon as they 
rise. This is a dangerous plan ; not tidy, as they fancy, but 
really very dirty. I think one reason why Germans are sc 
healthy generally is, that they have such a passion for airing 
their beds ; they let them lie airing half the time. However, 
I believe an hour each morning, when the night and bed- 
clothes are spread well out to air and sunlight, and perhaps twc, 
hours on sweeping day, will keep the beds in very good 

Cousin Ann began to bustle about, as if she thought that sh& 
had talked quite enough. But Miriam cried out : " One word. 
Cousin Ann, on exercise and play." 

" Take a lesson from the young of the brute creation— from 
the calves, colts and lambs. They thrive on air, sunshine and 
free gambols. Let your children go out every day, unless per- 
haps in heavy rain. You can soon inure them to cold or damp 
weather, if they are well protected and do not sit down in the 
wet or draughts. Don't fear sun and wind for them : let them 
race and climb and jump, and dress them in strong, easy-fitting 
clothes, so that they may be untrammelled in the development 
of their muscles. Don't force a child to any study before it is 
seven years old ; before that time you can make a play of learning 
to read, to count, and to draw and cipher a little. In the reading 
you provide a pleasant occupation for days of storm or ill health. 


Most bright children, with a box of letter-blocks, an alphabet 
card and a picture primer, will pick up reading before they are 
more than five. Give a child a seat suited to its height, and 
with a back ; let its pillow be very low ; don't hurry it as a babe 
lo sit, stand or walk before nature urges it to do so : this over- 
haste and letting the boneless legs bear the child's weight give 
weak backs and crooked limbs. Each night and morning as 
you dress the young child, firmly and gently rub and press the 
legs straight, doing your part to prevent that ugly curve which 
distorts so many weak legs. If you want your child to be vig- 
orous in play and exercise, give it an abundance of baths : bathe 
it every day, using warm or cold v/ater — never hot, never freez- 
ing, but warm or cold as best agrees with your child's constitu- 
tion. Don't forget that in infancy and childhood you are start- 
ing your child on the voyage of life, which is likely to be long 
and prosperous, or short and hapless, according as you give it a 
wise start — a sound, healthful, physical training. When you 
rear boys, don't be afraid to have them real boys ; know that it is 
natural to them to fish, ride, skate, sled, row, hunt; and so let 
them do it, in honest company and with wise limitations. Don't 
be afraid that your girl will be tomboyish ; if she will coast, and 
ride, climb, and skate, and run, so much the better: to exercise 
vigorously is neither rude nor immodest; we get hardy, health- 
ful girls in the same fashion as hardy, healthy boys, and I had 
much rather see little miss at fourteen jumping a fence, climb- 
ing a tree, scaling the roof and riding barebacked, while her 
cheek knows how to blush at too fixed a gaze, and eyes and 
ears are not greedily hunting for compliments, than to see her 
simpering and small-talking, playing the immature flirt with 
every jacket which comes in sight, her whole soul fixed on the 
set of her dress and the doing of her hair." 

Cousin Ann had quite excited herself on her favorite theme : 
she paused, smiled, wiped her face, laid by her spectacles and 


her knitting, and stepped into the kitchen to give a careful eye 
to the supper. Altogether we had all had a most instructive visit 

To my surprise and I must say my gratification I found that 
my young friends did not yet think themselves perfectly accora 
plished in regard to conserving and procuring family health, and 
that they desired yet further information. I received an invita 
tion to early tea at Mary's, and repairing thither, I found all the 
young circle there. Indeed, the company was a partnership 
affair ; Miriam and Helen had both contributed to the tea, and 
lent their help in preparing; Helen had brought Hannah to 
nurse 'several of the babies out in the garden, in order to leave 
the mothers uninterrupted, and Miriam had brought little Ann, 
whom she had taken from me, to wait on the table. No sooner 
was I seated in the centre of the group, than Miriam, as speaker 
for the rest, said : 

"Aunt Sophronia, we have been instructed how to keep our 
houses healthful ; we have had much advice as to how to keep 
our children healthful, and to build up sound bodies for sound 
minds to inhabit. But even in healthful houses disease makes 
its appearance, and even the most vigorous children sometimes 
fall ill. Now, Aunt Sophronia, we shall be poorly off, if we 
do not know how to meet disease — how to nurse our sick. 
Instruct us." 

" My dear Miriam," I said, " it seems to me that to most sen- 
sible women sick-nursing comes by instinct. It is an instinct 
which falls to the share of some men, and of ijiost women." 

" Instinct is very good," said Miriam, " but reason is better ' 

" I have seen some women perfectly lost and helpless in a 
sick-room," remarked Mary. 

" I'm afraid I'd be very much in that case ! " cried Helen. 

"And you know," added some one else, " that even if we are 
so unusually fortunate as to have little or no sickness in our 
own families, we should be capable of lending our aid to our 
friends and neighbors." 


" Indeed," I said, " a woman who cannot wisely do duty in a 
sick-room is like a woman who has lost her right hand." 

" Begin then, Aunt Sophronia," said Miriam, "at the begin- 
ning. Let us see to the sick-room first, then to the nurse, ther 
to the patient, then to the medicine and food." 

" When you may choose a sick-room," I said, " get one as 
large as possible : crowding, closeness and rustling against 
things distract a patient. Take this room, as commodious a 
one as you can find, and have it thoroughly cleaned : white- 
washed walls are better for it than paper-hangings, and a mat- 
ting, with rugs, than a carpet. You must place the bed so that 
the room can be completely ventilated without a draught pass- 
ing over the bed. A fire-place is a rare treat in a sick-room, 
ventilating it, removing dampness, and making good cheer ; even 
in a summer sick-room a little wood-fire in a fire-place, morning 
and evening, would be useful. Dr. Guthrie gives good advice ; 
he says that he exposed himself freely to infectious and conta- 
gious diseases in his ministerial duties, and never contracted 
any illness because he was careful to insist ' on the door being 
left open while he was in the room, and always took a position 
between the open door and the patient, and not between the 
patient and the fire-place.' A nurse cannot keep the door 
open, but can and should keep the room well aired, protecting 
her patient from a current of air ; and the nurse should be care- 
ful and not stand between her patient and the fire " 

"What furniture is best for a sick-room/" asked Mary. 

" Do not have it crowded ; have nothing that will rattle and 
rustle ; have the curtains of some kind of cloth, not shades ; 
have as easy a chair as you can for the patient's sitting up, and 
with this chair a blanket or quilt, which does not belong to 
Ihe bed- furniture, to wrap over the feet and knees of the invalid 
while resting in the chair. Have also a footstool or heavy foot- 
cushion- this can be easily manufactured from a box padded 


and covered with carpet ; or two circles of wool patchwork maj 
be made, united with a strip of cloth six inches wide, and filled 
with hay or chaff. Do not Jet your sick-room be dull : put a 
picture or two, and a fancy bracket or something pretty, on the 
walls ; have within sight of the bed a stand neatly covered, and 
furnished with a book or two, an ornament, a vase of flowers, or 
in winter even, of evergreens, hollies, or dried grasses, some- 
thing graceful and restful to the eye. I believe in flowers in a 
sick-room, if there are not so many of them as to load the air 
with their smell, and if at night they are set outside of the window. 
Let the bed-clothing be warm enough, perfectly clean, and not 
too heavy : blankets are better than cotton quilts. See that the 
washstand is provided with water, towels and all things needful, 
so that there shall be no annoyance of searching for things, 
flurrying about, and asking ' how,' ' where,' ' what! ' Have a 
closet-shelf for medicines and all disagreeables of that. kind. If 
there is no closet in the room, or in any part of the furniture, 
have a box, neatly covered, nailed against the wall, out of the 
patient's sight, shade it with a little white curtain, and use it a? 
a closet for bottles and spoons. Of all things keep the sick- 
room neat, quiet and cheerful. Even patients who, when well, 
are careless and noisy, when ill are sensitive to the disturbance 
of disorder, and are soothed by neatness and calm." 

"I think," said Mary, shutting her eyes, "that I can now see 
exactly how a comfortable sick-room should look. Now for 
the nurse." 

"One who is taking care of the sick," I continued, "should 
cultivate self-possession, calmness, quiet cheerfulness, patience. 
a gentle, soft voice, a tender hand, and the faculty which many 
characterize as being ' handy ' — that is, taking the right thing a.t 
the right time — never dropping or knocking over things ; also 
a good memory." 

" Who can have so many virtues ! " cried Helen. 


" Love will unconsciously instil them all ; love, a habit of 
striving to do well, and a thoughtful watchfulness over self A 
nurse should be neat in person, clean and plain in dress; she 
should never wear a dirty gown, nor a gown which rustles, nor 
a glaring color, while the more attractive she can make her 
appearance, in the way of simple good taste, the better will she 
suit the sick-room. She should not be grim and taciturn, neither 
a gossip and a chatterbox ; she should not admit too many visi- 
tors ; her authority should be unassuming, and assured. Those 
who nurse sick children should cultivate the power of telling 
pleasantly unexciting stories, and should sing softly to the little 
invalids when they desire it. The nurse should study the duty of 
'put yourself in his place; ' that is, she should be sympc.tlietic, and 
readily excuse fretfulness, crossness, fears, and other sick non- 
sense, because these are a part of sickness, and something which, 
when ill, she might fall into herself A good nurse must know 
how to air a room without chilling her patient; she must be 
skilful to make a bed with the invalid in it, if that invalid cannot 
be moved ; ingenious in airing bed-clothes thoroughly in a short 
time, and without exposing them to dampness; thoughtful to 
screen her sleeping patient's eyes from light : to slielter him also 
from light while sunning the room ; quick-handed in bathing 
and combing, and changing a patient's clothes; very careful to 
avoid using damp bedding, ill-aired towels, or getting garments 
of the sick one wet while the toilette is proceeding. A nurse 
should avoid fretting, bringing bad or exciting news into a sick- 
room, heavy prognostications, or complaining of the physician 
in charge, and striving to shake the patient's faith in him. A 
nurse should know how to sweep a sick-room without raising a 
dust, and to dress a fire without making a noise. A matting in 
a sick-room can be well, quietly and easily cleaned, by using a 
broom with a damp cloth pinned over it; coal can be noiselessly 
put on a fire by having each handful or so of coal.'; tied up 


in paper, or put into little paper-bags ; this is a very valuable 
precaution where an invalid is very low, or exceedingly sensitive 
to noise." 

"And how shall our nurse treat the patient?" asked Helen. 

" She must be kind, forbearing, firm : not leaving the patients 
the trouble of doing their own thinking, or feeling the respon- 
sibility of taking care of themselves. The first thing in the 
morning the patient has a right to be made comfortable ; the bed 
must be put in order; what bathing is allowed should be done; 
the hair smoothed; the room aired. It depends on the patient 
whether this is done before giving the morning meal, or a little 
food is given first, then the putting in order done, and then the 
morning meal. A patient's whims should be studied and grati- 
fied where they are not harmful ; harmful whims should be 
pleasantly put aside. To some patients one must administer a 
little firm reasoning. Medicine should be given neotly and in 
as palatable a way as possible, and the patient should not be 
irritated by seeini^^ it standing about. All disagreeables should, 
as far as possible, be kept out of sight." 

"And what about this medicine-taking, and running after a 
doctor all the time?" asked Miriam. 

"Generally speaking, there is too much of it. Rules of health 

are neglected, and then a heavy dose of medicine is expected 

to set disorganized nature right. The mother disregards a little 

hoarseness, a complaint of sore throat, a slight chill, a degree 

of feverishness, and a restless night : the warnings which nature 

gives of coming ill. No .change is made in food, no simple 

alterative is given, no foot-bath, no external application of 

simples ; the disease grows worse, then heavy doses are given : 

the doctor is called to rectify somebody's blunders, and thel-e is 

a long case of sickness. A mother's eye should be quick to 

note the varying health-tokens in her family, while she should 

be careful not to be nervous, not to fall into a fright at a child's 


sneezing, or sudden pain, or slight feverishness. Some doctoi s 
are called day and night to see families where there is nothing 
the matter but a child's having too late or too solid a supper, or 
having been allowed too hard a frolic. Every woman of good 
judgment and of any degree of observation, with a good physi- 
cian to fall back upon, one whose style of practice she has care- 
fully noted, should be able to treat the simple ailments of her, 
family without fuss, excitement or doctor's help. She should 
know how to use properly a few simple remedies; she should 
understand the value of outward applications, of foot-baths, 
poultices ; the virtues of mustard ; the efficacy of external appli- 
cations for sore throat; the use of baths, local or general; the 
preparation of simple gargles, and she should be able, unalarmed, 
to bring to bear on a case of illness her common-sense, and the 
result of her past experience and observation. There are many 
women who have seen so much of sickness, have read so care- 
fully standard works on nursing and medicine, and have observed 
so closely the symptoms and developments of ordinary disease, 
that they very seldom need in their families any skill except 
their own. And these very skilful persons are, I have observed, 
those who give the least medicine, and attend most closely to 
the laws of health, and the work of prevention. I remember 
years ago I had called at Mrs. Burr's one evening when she 
was absent. As I sat talking with Mr. Burr, their youngest 
child woke with an acute attack of croup. 'John,' cried Mr. 
Burr to the servant, "run for Mrs. Burr and the doctor: but get 
Mrs. Burr first' • 

"I ventured to say: ' Had you not better call the doctor first? ' 
" ' No,' said he, ' I shall feel twice as safe with Mrs. Burr in the 
house. She sends for the doctor now and then, but I pin my 
faith to her, and she's never failed me.' 

" Sure enough, Mrs. Burr had the child relieved and quite out 
of danger before the doctor got in. He looked over at her, with 
a laugh : 


"'O, Mrs. Burr! are you home? Why, then, I might as well 
have finished the nap I was taking.' 

" Once in the winter I spent with Cousin Ann, little Dick came 
home from school one stormy afternoon, looking very ill ; he 
wheezed, his face was swollen, he shook as with ague, yet 
burned with fever ; he had such a pain in his chest that he was 
crying, and was so hoarse that he could hardly speak : in this 
state he had walked a mile in the storm, his feet were soaking 
wet, and his brother Reed said that Dick had been sick all day. 
Really he looked desperately ill. Cousin Ann bid Reed remove 
the child's boo*s and outer clothing. She set a tub in front of 
the kitchen fire, put therein a tablespoonful of soda, and a liberal 
supply of water as hot as Dick could stand. She stripped the 
little creature, and gave him a thorough hot bath, put on his 
woollen night-gown, wrapped him in a blanket, and laid him on 
the lounge, which I wheeled near the fire. She put a hot water 
bottle at his feet, laid a plaster of flour and mustard on his 
breast, and one of the same about his neck, gave him a mild 
dose of physic, gently combed his hair, and laid a cloth wet in 
vinegar on his aching head. In twenty minutes from his miser- 
able and suffering entrance to his home, Dick, feeling perfectly 
safe now that he was in his mother's hands, was lying warmly 
wrapped and comfortably pillowed, his whole aching frame 
feeling the relief of his hot soda bath. Cousin Ann then quietly 
cleared away the soiled clothes, the tub and towels, sat down by 
Dick, sewing in hand, and began to sing him a little song. 
Before long, his breathing grew easier, and he fell into a deep 
sleep. Cousin Ann and I then lifted the lounge into the next 
room where it was warm, and he would not be aroused by the 
supper-getting. Returning then to the kitchen, she took Reed's 
case in hand : up to this time she had made no remark to him. 

" ' Reed, when your little brother seemed ill, why did you not 
at once bring him home ? If he seemed too sick to walk the 


mile, why not have borrowed a conveyance at one of the neigb 
bors ' ? Do you not see how cruel and dangerous it was to let 
him grow worse, and suffer there all day, and then walk home in 
this storm ? It might have sacrificed his life ! ' 

" ' Well,' said Reed, ' I did not know that he was so very sick 
and I did not want to miss my lessons.' 

" ' It is wise to be on the safe side,' said his mother ; ' an 
ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure ; and our pleasures 
and preferences should always give way to another's pain. 
Always remember : never trifle with disease! 

" In less than a week Dick was as well as ever ; but some peo- 
ple in a fright would have put him to bed, and have allowed him 
to get worse for two hours, while they were sending into town 
for a doctor, instead of using the simple. Common-sense remedies 
at hand." 

By this tiipe in our talk we had reached the tea hour. After 
tea we had a little discussion about the food for sick people. 
The substance of our conclusions was as follows : An invalid's 
food should be prepared and presented with the utmost neatness. 
A sick person is more fastidious than a well person ; he eats 
with his eyes as much as with his mouth ; he will take his gruel 
out of a china bowl, when he would reject it slovenly presented 
in a tin-cup. Do not present a patient too much food at once ; 
a large quantity will disgust, where a small amount will tempi 
a sickly taste. Let the food be presented attractively, spread a 
clean napkin on the tray, and use as nice and as small dishes as 
you can, and add, if possible, a spray of flowers ; the capricious 
invalid, needing food, yet indifferent to it, will eat what is thus 
brought, " because it looks so pretty." If the case is in charge 
of a physician, carefully follow his orders in regard to food ; if 
you are both nurse and doctor, use your common-sense, and 
give food light and easy of digestion, palatable and varied in 
quantity and quality as convalescence progresses. Every woman 


should know how to prepare gruel, beef-tea, mutton-broth, toast, 
toast-water, panada, chicken-soup, a bit of broiled fowl or steak, 
and the various other dainties and necessities of the sick-room. 
When you poach an egg for your invalid do it nicely ; do not 
make it hard as a bullet, with edges ragged and streaming, but 
turn the white skilfully over the yolk until it is a smooth 
oblong, lightly cooked; lift it carefully with your skimmer 
until it is well drained ; sprinkle on the centre a little salt and 
pepper ; lay it on four or five green leaves, parsley, if you have 
them — if not, on two or three celery or carrot leaves ; have ready 
a diamond-shaped piece of toast, of an even brown, and carry 
up both hot on a white-covered tray : if you have a spray of 
honey-suckle, a rose or a cluster of violets to lay between your 
two dishes, so much the better. 

When you bake an apple for an invalid, don't have it burnt 
on one side and burst open on the other; prick the skin and 
bake it thoroughly and evenly. Don't send your patient back the 
same bit of butter with, perhaps, a knife-mark on it, or the same 
spoonful of jelly in a smeared dish : a few dishes more or less 
to wash are nothing compared to the invalid's comfort. When 
you hear of a nice rice, sago or tapioca pudding for an invalid, 
write the recipe in some little note-book dedicated to cookery for ' 
the sick, and then using such a book you will be able to keep up s, 
variety in cooking for your patient, and sick people need variety 
more than well people. Don't keep an invalid waiting long fot 
a meal, until they are tired, cross, and past their appetite. 
Don't bring up the tea or coffee and forget the sugar, or furnish 
the pudding and then go to hunt a spoon, and so have the 
dish lukewarm when eaten. Consult your patient's tastes, and 
don't forget to season nicely when you cook. Be so neat that 
the wary patient will have no suspicions of your cookery. 

" Once when I was ill," said Helen, " nothing would tempt me 
to eat. The doctor was quite worried about it ; but eat I could 


not, no matter what was presented. One afternoon Hannah 
brought up ' a present from Mrs. Winton.' The present was m 
a napkin of rose-colored damask ; I unpinned the • corners, and 
there was a little fancy basket, and in the basket a French china 
bowl, with something in it snow-white with little flecks of 
green, and in the middle of this ' something ' a tiny bouquet 
stood up, made of a pale blue hyacinth and a tea-rose ; across 
the bowl lay a silver fork, so all was ready for me to taste the 
' something.' The lovely pink damask, the dainty basket, the 
fragrant flowers, beguiled me to taste what was in the bowl : it was 
a delicious salad. After one taste I told Hannah to bring me a 
slice of bread, and I made my supper at once of the bread and 
~.alad ; my appetite was restored from that time." 

"We must have the recipe for that famous salad," cried 
Miriam, " and put it in our Sick Cookery Books." 

"It is as good for well folks as for the sick," said Helen; 
"and you may copy the recipe for that and two other salads out 
)f my Household Book whenever you choose." 

The young people all agreed that they had learned a good 
deal about sick-nursing, and had had a very pleasant visit. 

As I found that the recipes, to which Helen referred, would 
suggest a fine addition to a tea-table, or to a convalescent's bill 
of fare, I shall add them to this discussion of nursing. 

Salad Dressing. — Boil an &^^ very hard. Mash the yolk and 
chop fine the white. Put in a bowl the mashed yolk, one teaspoon 
white sugar, one-half teaspoon salt, one teaspoon mustard, one 
tablespoon olive oil, two or three tablespoons vinegar, according 
to size of salad; mix well. Stir this dressing well through the 
salad ; pile the salad in a mound on a platter ; put the chopped 
egg-white over the top; set a wreath of celery leaves around 
the edge of the dish ; make a small bouquet of any flowers or 
green things for the centre. For a tea-party in spring, a heavy 
fiolet wreath for the edge and a violet cluster in the centre is 


an improvement ; in the fall, little plum tomatoes cut in halves 
and laid on the leaves at the edge is a fine addition to the dish. 

The Salad. — Peel or scrape six large Irish potatoes. Soak 
in salt water for an hour or so ; boil until barely done ; let them 
get cold. Chop these potatoes fine; chop several stems of 
celery; a little parsley; a circle of onion and a circle of pepper- 
pod may be added if desired ; with or without the celery, bleached 
turnip-tops chopped fine; mix the potatoes and chopped salad, 
also half a small head of fine-chopped lettuce ; stir well into 
this the above dressing, and serve as directed. The chopped 
potatoes alone thus dressed make a good salad, when other 
materials are not procurable ; or use one-half chopped potatoes 
and one-half chopped roast beef 

A Meat Salad. — Chop beef or mutton very fine. Mix with 
above salad dressing. Cut and butter thin rounds of bread ; 
spread evenly on these the dressed meat; lay on each a thin 
round of lemon, and a leaf of parsley under the edge of the slice 
of lemon. Put these meat slices on a platter, and lay a small 
bouquet in the centre — a delightful and beautiful tea-dish. 

In cooking for the sick take particular care not to scorch or 
smoke the food ; avoid all greasiness, and never fry an invalid's 
food. Meat for a sick person should be broiled or steamed. 
We hear many complaints of tough meat, but there is scarcely 
any beef-roast so obdurate as not to prove tender, and well 
flavored, if roasted as follows : 

Take a stone pot, a round pot of the same size in its whole 
height, and without a neck, the top being entirely open: it must 
be low enough to stand in the oven. Rinse the meat, remove 
any very large bones, and gash a little with a sharp knife ; put 
the meat into the pot — if closely crowded, it is all the better ; 
sprinkle it well with salt, pepper, and a little ground cloves ; 
pour over it a cup of catsup, tomato catsup being the best; put 
on a close lid; if the pot has no lid, lay a pie-plate upon it. 


and put a brick on the plate to hold it down firmly. Allow no 
water in the pot, and no escape of steam while the roasting pro- 
gresses. Have an oven as for bread, and roast four or five 
hours, according to the size of the piece of meat. Meat thus 
cooked will be exceedingly tender and juicy: none of its flavor 
will have escaped, and it is equally good used hot or cold, while 
for making sandwiches it is unrivalled. That it may be of a 
handsome shape when served, it is well, before putting it in the 
pot to roast, to coil it into a round, and tie it with a piece of 

I wrote these recipes in Miriam's Household Book ; as I was 
returning it to its shelf, a bit of paper fell out. It was written 
by her doctor, and Miriam said she had forgotten to copy it, 
and must do so at once. As she was nursing one of her chil- 
dren, I copied it for her. The paper was upon that great trial 
of many : Sleeplessness. Thus : If you are troubled by Sleepless- 
ness, do not set yourself to counting, composing, or reciting ; as 
a general thing, this will excite the brain to an activity which 
will defy sleep; to attain sleep, the mind should be restful. The 
cause of Sleeplessness is usually an excited state of the nerves ; 
a simple method of calming these is to bathe the head, neck 
and arms in cold water, and rub briskly with a towel, imme- 
diately before retiring ; this secures action to the skin, and aids 
materially in producing a calm, sleepy feeling. ' Nervous excite- 
ment, producing wakefulness, is often a product of indigestion; 
a remedy for this is: wring out a towel from cold water, fold it, 
lay it upon the stomach, and fold a dry towel, or a large piece of 
flannel, over it, cross the arms lightly over it, and soon a delight- 
ful warmth and glow will send you off to sleep. Another method 
of persuading rest when wakeful is: to rise, rub the arms, chest 
and feet briskly with a coarse towel or a flesh-brush ; a more 
effectual fashion, especially on warm nights, would be to bathe 
the arms and soak the wrists in cold water. A small towel, oi 


a handkerchief, may be wrung out of cold water, and wrapped 
on the left wrist, and covered with a dry towel : the fast and 
feverish pulse soon calms, and sleep succeeds. 

These are all simple, easy suggestions, and I made a note of 
them for my own use ; although having a well-aired room, no 
light, a mattress and not feathers to sleep on, keeping regular 
hours, taking sufficient exercise, and eating a light supper, I am 
not often troubled by wakefulness. A habit of wakefulness is 
very disastrous, and we should use every effort to guard against 
it ; if we find ourselves wakeful at night, we should seek after 
the cause, ^id strive to avoid repeating it, not only for comfort's 
sake, but ici the sake of the^ss of our minds, the vigoi 
of our bodies, and the efficiency of oiir work during the day, 
Sleep is one of the good gifts of God : 

" So he giveth his beloved «leep. 
So he giveth his beloved m deep. 


tpie beauty of the home. 

Aunt sophronia tells how to make home attractive. 

REMEMBER telling my niece Miriam before her mar- 
riage, that good housekeeping builds up the walls of 
Home. In the building of houses I have observed that 
once the walls are up, some sort of finish is put upon 
them : they are painted, papered, calcimined or white-washed. 
Then, in furnishing a house, people generally place pictures, 
ornaments or brackets upon the walls. So I think that if good 
housekeeping builds up the walls of Home, good taste, a thing 
closely allied to good housekeeping, gives them the finishing 
touch and makes the Home beautiful. In my opinion the Beauty 
Df the Home is a very important matter. There are a few 
people who pass it by as " nonsense," say they " have no time 
for it," and that they must " spend their efforts on what has a 
cash value ; " being narrow-minded, or near-sighted, they do not 
perceive that Beauty in a home has a very decided cash value. 
I say this, first, because if we cultivate Beauty in the Home, we 
produce there greater care and better and more cheerful spirits, 
consequently better health, and therefore less outlay for sick- 
oess, besides having more effective working-force. Again, a 
Home, in village or country, where Beauty is created, possesses 
a higher market value. A Home where an outlay of care, a 
little labor and forethought has created beauty in the shape of 
smooth hard walks, neat sodding near the house, a flower 

garden, shade trees, rows of fruit trees, grapes, flowering 


cines, a post or two draped in roses and honeysuckles, with a 
bird-house a-top, a little arbor or summer house — these things, 
created in summer evenings after working hours, in winter 
leisure time, in early mornings, noon-rests, or on holidays, lend 
an air of refinement to the whok establishment, directly and 
indirectly tend toward the good order of the whole, give it a 
higher market value and would secure a purchaser more quickly 
if it were for sale. In another regard the culture of Beauty in a 
Home is of immense value. A growing family will be much 
more likely to remain cheerfully in a Beautiful Home, even if 
that beauty is extremely simple and inexpensive. A family 
who are home-keepers are an inexpensive family. Sons and 
daughters do not waste their money at home : they are tempted 
into rash outlays when they are in the company of strangers, 
hanging about public places and striving to vie with those who 
have either no need of saving, or no honest desire to do so. 

I hear so much complaint that farmers' sons and daughters 
do not want to stay at home — they " hate the farm " — want 
other business ; the girls had rather be mantua-makers or store- 
clerks, than be at home helping their mothers, making butter, 
and raising fruits and vegetables ; the sons want to try their 
fortunes in the city ; the parents find themselves, when their 
children are old enough to be efficient help, left to hired ser- 
vants, who have little care to aid them in making and saving 
money, who are no company indoors, and, meanwhile, the 
parental heart is burdened with fears and anxieties for the absent 
children, and possibly the parental purse is burdened with their 
business failures. 

I was at tea at Mrs. Winton's the other day, with Mr. and 
Mrs. Burr and some others, and Mr. Winton said: 

"We shall have constantly recurring 'panics' and 'crashes' 
and 'hard times' until our people learn that the tilling of the 
soil is the true source of wealth ; that golden corn above the 


ground is really of more value to the country than the gold in 
the earth ; that the soil of our country has abundance for all hei 
children ; it is a mother who never for bread offers a stone. 
When the immigrants who come to us shall be agriculturists; 
when our emigrants and our nvaving Eastern population seek the 
West for farms, and not for gold or silver claims ; when instead of 
our rural population crowding to the cities in a mad zeal for spec- 
ulation and hasty fortunes, which, in ninety-nine cases out of an 
hundred, are fortunes as quickly lost as made ; when every acre 
of land in our farming districts is made to produce to its fullest 
capacity, and not left lying in marsh, or barren, or scrub for 
years, tlien we shall be a solidly wealthy people — these great 
financial convulsions and crises which have kept. us in a state of 
fever and excitement will be unknown." 

" Undoubtedly," said Mr. Burr, " our farming and arable lands 
are capable of producing a far greater amount than they do at 
present ; diligent cultivation, rotation of crops, and care not to 
exhaust the land for the sake of a hasty cash return, would bring 
our crops up to a value thus far quite unknown in this country. 
Consider what a population the small country of Palestine once 
supported : over nine millions of people in an extent of less than 
ten thousand square miles — that is, about the size of the State 
of New Hampshire. Egypt was the grain-house of the world, 
besides supporting over twenty thousand towns and villages, ten 
very great cities, of which one was twenty r. .iles in circumfer- 
ence. The valley of the Euphrates around Babylon formerly 
produced two hundred-fold for seed sown. I believe if land is 
well tilled and cropped according to its nature, there is abso- 
lutely no limit to its power of production. If the population, 
which is now swarming in our cities and towns, fretting in 
poverty and idleness, nursing communism and breeding disease, 
would pour out as workers inl o the country, filling it so that 
swamps must be drained, and d.y wastes irrigated, and hills ter 


raced for grapes, and that barrens must be cleared offj in behalf 
of crops of corn, melons and sweet-potatoes, and the woods 
imcst be cleared of underbrush, and set to growing large timber — 
then we should find a reign of plenty, and all our present 
beggars might be on horseback, at least while they were tilling 
their fields and driving their market-wagons." 

" Instead of that rush to the country," said I, " the rush is 
away from it ; the young folks think they must go to town as 
soon as they are grown. Every one wonders why and how 
Cousin Ann's three boys have stayed on farms." 

" I think," said Mrs. Burr, " that one reason of that restless 
haste to leave the farm is owing to a neglect of making the farm 
and the farm-house attractive. So many of these homesteads 
have" a lonely, desolate look. No trees, no flowers, a neglect of a 
little ingenuity in making a pretty porch and fence for the house- 
front, an over-carefulness which refuses to open the front rooms 
for the use of the family, a neglect of making the bed-rooms 
neat and pretty — things get a sameness and shabbiness, and 
young eyes pine for something more attractive." 

" There is that same error, as far as I can see, in villages and 
towns and cities," said Mrs. Winton. "A great many people 
pile all the agreeable things which they have into one or two 
rooms, which they keep shut up for apocryphal visitors. The 
family sitting-room and the bed-rooms are bare and forbidding." 

"And then," replied Mrs. Burr, " the young folks go to visit 
their neighbors, or out into the streets, and look at the store- 
windows, and so try to compensate themselves ; whether they 
know what they want or not, all youth craves beauty : it is a 
natural desire." 

" But what a pity," I said, " that young folks should not find 
what they crave in the safety of their own homes ! What an 
anchorage for good faith and virtue is the love of an honest, 
pure home ! What a stay to a child in all his life, the memory 


of a home beautiful, upright and loving ! and by beautiful I do 
not mean the beauty which is created by money, in velvet 
carpets, rosewood furniture, fine ornaments and pictures. Those 
are all very well when they fall to our lot, but the beauty which 
I mean can be created anywhere, and out of almost anything, 
by simple good taste. I think that care to make the Home 
attractive is the secret of the farming tastes of Cousin Ann's 
boys. And what a comfort those tastes have been to their 
parents! Reed and Fred are on farms beside their father's, 
Dick is with his father, and little Jack is not likely to wish to go 
away. What anxieties have they all been spared, what tempta- 
tions, what losses, by these home tastes ! " 

"I was a little boy," said Mr. Burr, "when Reuben and Cousin 
Ann, as young married people, moved to that farm. I used to 
think it was the barest-looking place on earth. An old broken- 
down fence, no paths, no porch, no shade, no garden ; there was 
the land, the barns and sheds, a straight wooden house, and some 
field fences. They moved there in the fall. Cousin Reuben, 
as we all call him now, spent a good deal of that winter in his 
wood-lot, cutting and hauling wood, for himself and for sale, and 
on top of his loads we schoolboys saw him bringing home all 
manner of queer-looking and shaped sticks. The old yard 
fence was turned into kindling wood. I remember how that 
place changed, not by money outlay, for they had a mortgage to 
pay off, but by constant industry and good sense. Cousin Reuben 
and Ann worked away at that front yard, and around the house, 
every summer evening for years. Those queer sticks grew in 
two years into a handsome rustic fence. Reuben built with his 
own hands a porch, an arbor for grape vines, and a summer 
house ; in the winter evenings he made bird-houses, and poles 
for creepers ; Cousin Ann got slips, cuttings and seeds ; to give 
her a bit of good shrubbery was to give her a treasure, and 
Reuben carried from the field and wood promising young shade 
and ornamental trees. Look what a place they have now ! " 


"Yes, I remember. Cousin Ann told me she meant her 
children should not grow up in such a desolate place as that 
was when she found it ; and she thought they would love and 
value it more, if tliey helped to create beauty there. She had 
them from their earliest childhood learn to help keep the place 
neat, and make improvements in it. They helped her in the 
vegetable garden ; they planted and weeded flower borders ; no 
old barrel-hoops rotted on the ground there : they were used for 
fences to the garden bed, and for frames for vines. The boys made 
rustic seats, they learned to turn common things to use, they 
made brackets and picture-frames. Every one helped to make 
every one's room pretty, and no part of the house was too good 
for the family. The parents took a pride in making the house 
nice, and the children learned an equal pride in keeping it nice. 
I never saw such children to avoid making a litter, and such 
care in preserving furniture. They liked to sit in the best room 
when there was no company; they enjoyed it for themselves; and, 
boys and girls, they would set to work just before going to bed, 
or very early in the morning, and sweep, dust and polish it up, 
so that the use of it should not increase their mother's work. 
Why if those boys undertook to go far from home, they would 
be going from a place which they had made, froni what was a 
pleasant share and part of their own life-work. They learned 
carpentry on rainy days, out in the barn, making stools and 
stands, shelves and shutters for their rooms." 

"Well," said Mr. Winton, "the whole county knows that they 
are a wonderful set of boys." 

"They had a wonderful mother, to begin with," said Mrs. 
Burr. "And every mother may be just as wonderful, who sets 
her common-sense and energy to work for her family — who 
trains her children's activity to constructiveness and usefulness, 
instead of to riot and mischief What boy will not prize the 
home which he helped make, which was free to him in all its 


best things, which gave him his interests and occupied his 
thoughts ? What boy won't take a pride in making things, when 
even his first exploit in making a stool — a stool a little shaky in 
the legs, and a little uneven in height — is cordially received 
with — ' That is very nice. I have some cloth which will make it 
a splendid cover ; I think I would cut that leg about half an 
inch shorter, and you had better put a nail in here, and one here. 
Then this evening we will cover it in red and black, and you 
can have it in your own room.' " 

"Yes," said Mr. Burr; "the value of that home, of its attrac- 
tiveness and beauty, has been unspeakable to those boys, but it 
has also brought its cash return. Even a hired hand could not 
be careless in a place so beautifully kept, so cheerful, so pretty 
as that was. The beauty of the house, like the gleam of a lamp^ 
widened out over the whole farm. Where are fences straighter, 
walls truer, fields smoother, clumps of trees and single fine trees 
left to better advantage? .Where is every bit of rubbish so 
gathered up and put to use ? What increased value per acre has 
not that farm gained from the beautiful hedges near the front — 
hedges planted and trimmed by the boys — from the choice 
shrubbery, from the grapes and small fruits, from the shade 
before the house, the porches and arbors, the fine flowers, and 
that unsurpassed vegetable garden? If Cousin Reuben hinted 
at selling he'd get a dozen high offers. But he knows too much 
to put that place in market; he will keep it to make Dick and 
Jack rich." 

It is now two years since Hester married. As she said she 
should do, she chose a scholar, a scientific man, often off on long 
tours in government service. Hester usually goes with him. 
They live at John Rocheford's, and John is perfectly satisfied. 
Hester keeps the house. The phrases "wax-work" and "clock- 
work," as applied to the niceness and the running order of that 
house, do not in my view express its perfection; somehow she 


seems to manage the place even when she is gone. I was sitting 
with Hester for an hour the very day after this visit at Mrs. 
Winton's, and I happened to tell her of our conversation about 
Beauty in a Home. 

" What you say about good taste creating beauty from small 
resources," said Hester, "is quite true. I remember a case in 
point. There was at school with me a young girl whose room 
was one of the most beautifully arranged in the building, though, 
as she was poor, she had no money to spend on it, and no orna- 
ments which cost money. A pot of growing ferns, a wreath of 
pressed fall leaves, a basket made of pin:; cones, a bracket curi- 
ously fashioned of lichen-covered sticks, a bouquet of dried 
grasses, burrs and seed pods of autumn flowers, lent a charm to 
the little plain room. Beauty seemed to grow under her fingers; 
she had such perfect order, such neatness, so many useful con- 
trivances, that her room served as a model for all the rest. She 
married a home missionary. I was at her simple wedding, and 
helped her pack her trunks. She had very little to take with 
her for the furnishing of her home, .yet I felt certain it would be 
beautiful. I remember that she had in one of her boxes a large 
bundle of fragments of cloth and worsted stuffs, and that she, 
rather to my surprise, purchased at an auction some remnants 
of paper cambric, chintz and coarse Swiss muslin; they were 
very cheap, but I wondered why she chose them. Last summer, 
when I went with my husband to the Rocky Mountains, we 
passed within ten miles of my friend's Western home, and I took 
a day to drive over to see her, being also the bearer of some 
gifts from her schoolmates. The house was an unpainted wooden 
building, and only one floor had a carpet; but, as I expected, 
the little place breathed good taste, and was beautiful. She had 
trained vines over doorway and windows: the chintz whicn I 
had despised made ruffled lambrequins for the windows, She 

laughingly said she had furnished her house with dry goods 


boxes. Sure enough, two such boxes covered with chintz made 
a pair of pretty divans; the bed-rooms had dainty toilette tables 
made of other dry goods boxes, draped in the Swiss muslin over 
the colored cambric. The bundle of woollen fragments had 
turned into mats and footstool covers ; she had converted a bar- 
rel into a sewing-chair, and another into a work-table. In truth, 
the little four-roomed house was the tasteful home of a lady, and 
the little shed kitchen in the rear was so clean, so handily 
arranged, that she need never blush to invite any one into it. I 
never realized so completely the creative power of good taste. 
Her husband had put a pine board for a mantel in their sitting- 
room, but she had hidden this and a bracket to match with a 
cover of oriental work, which was really elegant, and on these 
she had placed the vases and other souvenirs which her school- 
mates gave her at parting, and with the fresh wild flowers in the 
vases, they lent the room the charm of elegance. I well knew 
where she got time for fitting up things : she is one of those who 
rest by change of work, and who save the moments that other 
people waste." , 

This subject of Beauty in the Home became a favorite theme of 
mine, and it happened that we had it pretty thoroughly discussed 
once, when Helen, Miriam, Cousin Ann, her daughter Sarah, 
and myself, were invited to take tea with Hester. It was ip the 
autumn, and Hester had spent the preceding day with Cousin 
Ann, and with Sarah had been searching " winter ornaments." 

"Did you get holly, juniper and bryony-vine ? " asked Miriam. 

" No," said Sarah: " we always leave those for Christmas, but 
we got grasses of various kinds, and silk-weed pods, and sticks 
covered with lichens, and branches of pine-cones ; if one has a 
' quick eye in selecting, you can gather in fall fadeless winter 
bouquets which are as beautiful as summer bouquets. I got a 
large round of thick green moss, and some squawberry-vines 
mingled with it, and a delicate little fern to plant right in the 


centre; with a pine-burr and a couple of striped snail-shells 
it has made a lovely ornament for the middle of our dining- 

" For my part," said Cousin Ann, " my meals always taste 
better for a bouquet, or a moss-plate, or a pot of fern- in the 
middle of the table. In summer we use fresh flowers. It does 
not take long to gather a few and put them in a little vase or 
glass, and it cheers the whole family up to see them. The men 
come in hot and tired, and the very look of a pretty table com- 
forts them; father and the boys often say just to see the pot of 
flowers and the shining white cloth is better than a meal in some 

" Reed's wife," said Sarah, " got that idea from mother, and 
she has made a pretty centre-piece for her table — just a common 
red earthen flower-pot, a five-cent one, with a thrifty fern in it, 
and a round of moss filling the top of the pot around the fern 
stem ; then on each side of the pot she put a picture, and the pot 
stands in a saucer, so that it will not soil the table ; the pictures 
on the pot were two pretty ones from a fruit-can, and when 
they were varnished, you have no idea how nicely the thing 

" I tried a bouquet for my tea-table, but it got upset so often, 
between the children and the servants, that I gave it up," 
remarked Helen. 

"Manage it as I do, then, Helen," said Hester; "our gas- 
fixture is just over the centre of the table, and I made a net of 
crystal beads; the net just held a goblet which had been broken 
from the stem ; that goblet I fill with water and keep my flowers 
and vines in that. They set off" the table as well as if they stood 
on it." 

"I'm glad you mentioned that," said Mary Watkins, "for 
though we have no gas we have a hanging light ; my husband 
put a hook in the ceiling and hung a lamp by little chains, for 


fear Nettie might pull a table lamp over. I shall tie a little 
willow basket with a dish in it to that, and have a vine in it ; I 
have wanted something of the kind, only I could not keep it out 
of Nettie's reach. I do love to see a nice, tasteful table for 

"Well," said Cousin Ann, "if you'll take care to have a clean, 
well-ironed cloth, and a bit of something bright for a centre- 
piece, and lay the dishes neatly, and have the forks and knives 
bright, you will find that such a table is a great sweetener of the 
family temper; it makes a very homely meal seem like a feast, 
and children can hardly show ill manners before what is so 
refining. Don't forget: these little things tell on the children." 

"The table-cloths are a deal of trouble," said Mary: "they 
get rumpled so very soon." 

" It pays in washing and ironing, in soap and time, to put a 
little starch in them," said Cousin Ann; "iron them in small 
folds, and press them hard; turn the folds back and forth like 
the leaves of a book, not over and over, like wrapping a bundle. 
As soon as the cloth is shaken, or brushed off with a clean wing 
or a table-brush, fold it in the original folds, lay it in a drawer, 
or keep a pasteboard box of the right size for the cloth alone, 
and on top of the cloth lay a stone of exactly the same size, 
or a slab of marble ; if you can't get either, have a little board 
with a brick on it ; there's always some way to get along if one 
is bent on getting along. Take first-rate care of the table-cloth , 
a tidy cloth is half the meal, to my mind." 

"And there's the little matter of trimming dishes," said 
Miriam ; " some plain dish, or something cooked over, looks and 
tastes so nicely with a little trimming. I never saw such a per- 
son as Mrs. Winton for that. If she boils a ham or a leg of 
mutton, she trims the bone end with a ruffle of white paper cut 
in narrow strips and curled on the scissors; the pepper is put on 
io round spots, and either cloves or parsley-leaves are stuck in 


here and there ; the thing becomes beautiful. She has a plate 
of cold sliced meat, and around the edge of the dish is a wreath 
of parsley or celery-leaves, and a few slices of lemon are laid on 
the me^t Does she have a dish of stewed meat, a wall of 
mashed-potato surrounds the platter, the stew goes inside, and 
the whole is trimmed with diamond-shaped bits of carrot and 
beet; if she has for dinner a plate of codfish and potatoes 
mashed together, they are piled in a mound, furrowed, and 
garnished with green leaves and slices of hard-boiled egg. 
Hard-boiled eggs get to her table in a bed of green leaves ; 
and a plate of sandwiches is topped with a bouquet; she makes 
beauty and poetry out of everything." 

" Yes," remarked Cousin Ann, " there is no truer economy 
than a little good taste ; you can afford to economize if you can 
make your cooked-over dishes look handsomer than most 
people's first-hand dishes." 

" Some people think," I suggested, " that they cannot set a 
handsome table unless they are rich enough for French china^ 
plenty of silver and the finest damask, but some of the best-look ■ 
ing tables I ever sat it, cost very little money. I'd know our 
minister's table anywhere I saw it, by some pretty little napkins 
his wife has ; they are laid over the bread, over the cake, over a 
plate of sandwiches or buns, and they are the daintiest little 
things! She cuts a yard of bird's-eye linen into eight even 
pieces, fringes out each piece half an inch deep, overstitches 
evenly with red working-cotton to keep it from ravelling further, 
and then coral -stitches a border, or works a sheaf of wheat, or 
her own initial in the centre with red cotton : she says they last 
for years, and they set off her table wonderfully. She is fond of 
a centre-piece for her table, and she has a dwarf fern growing in 
a large conch shell : it is a very charming thing." 

"All the ornamenting that I have tried," said Mary, " is to 
have parlor-ivy and some other little vines growing in bottles of 


water behind my glasses and pictures, and they succeed very 
well : I must accomplish something further." 

" Many people," I remarked, " seem to think that we can secure 
beauty only by profuse money outlay — that beauty is in the ratio 
of expense. On the contrary, beauty is largely independent of 
expense. The least handsome parlor that I ever saw was a very 
expensive one — not a book or engraving to be seen. Staring, 
ill-painted family portraits, which had cost a good price, deformed 
the walls. It was early summer, and the garden had plenty of 
flowers, but not one was in the parlor ; instead, silver vases of 
wax monstrosities and porcelain baskets of wax fruit ; a gaudy 
assertion of superabundant dollars and deficient good taste was 
the characteristic of the room. Natural objects confer more 
beauty on a room than artificial ones : shells, flowers, vines are 
far superior for ornament to china figures and card-board 
work ; indeed, I consider work on card-board the least beautiful 
of any kind of ornament, and I would it were banished, for it 
consumes much time, and is very dangerous to the eyesight. 
If one knows how to blend and contrast colors, has the good 
taste not to banish books from a room, can train a vine of ivy, 
make a moss plate, and pile up artistically a handful of shells, or 
make a rose-lipped conch the receptacle of a cluster of prim- 
roses, violets or hyacinths, they will have beauty in their rooms." 

" I am glad," said Mary, " that to procure beauty I am not 
to be obliged to make much fancy work, for with my house- 
work and sewing, I have little time, and my eyes are not very 

" We seem," said Hester, " to be talking about beauty, and 
not about eyes ; but what advantage is beauty unless we have 
eyes? So perhaps I shall not interrupt our discourse, if I sug- 
gest to Mary how to care for her eyes. First, don't read or 
work lying dozvn: it strains the eyes by using them at an unnat- 
ural angle ; don't use them on print or work so fine as to make 


rhem feel strained in the use. When they burn, smart or seem 
dim, rest them, if it is only for five minutes, by looking at other 
things or closing them, and by bathing them in cold water. 
Always bathe them freely in cold water, never in hot or warm 
water ; don't sleep, sit or work with the light falling full on your 
eyes: let it fall over your shoulder upon the book or work; 
have your sleeping-room dark, no lamp-light; and grand final 
instruction, just before going to bed, bathe your eyes, behind 
your ears, the back of your neck and the top of your head, with 
cold water, plentifully, and do the same the first thing in the 
morning ; thus you reach and strengthen the nerves communi- 
cating with the eye, and you will be almost sure, by observing 
these rules, to preserve your eyesight, and to strengthen it if it 
is feeble." 

"I have heard," said Helen, "that it is very good to bathe 
the eyes in cold tea." 

" If you use black tea, then, as you are sure there is no 
poisonous color in it, if you use it cold, the tea being cold and 
a gentle astringent may be beneficial; but I never like to try 
on my eyes anything but cold water, and plenty of it." 

" The cold water bathing night and morning," I said, " if 
accompanied by a "hearty rubbing with a coarse towel, is not 
only good for the eyes, but is almost a sure preventive of colds 
in the head, influenza and catarrh. A person who uses thus 
water, of the temperature of the air, summer and winter, is little 
likely to take cold. I have even recommended this remedy to 
those who seemed suffering with a chronic cold, or a close 
succession of bad colds, and they found the cold cured and no 
others followed it. The heads and throats of children should 
be thus bathed, and well rubbed, night and morning, to prevent 
sore throat, croup and kindred troubles. Nothing is more 
ineffectual for these disorders than housing up children. Let 
them be used to cold water, well wrapped, and then let them 


At the tea-table we resumed our conversation on Beauty in 
the Home : a theme from which we had drifted to questions of 
health. Hester made some remarks which I hked very much. 
She said: 

" The pursuit of Beauty is not to be esteemed a whim belong- 
ing to a delicate rather than a strong brain. It is not a conde 
scension of the intellect, not the by-play of vigor, not a trifle or. 
the surface of things — it is in man's mind a reflection cast by 
the mind of the Creator, who made man in his own image. 
Hugh Miller, in his ' Schools and Schoolmasters,' suggests that 
wherever man pursues either utility or beauty, he takes a path 
where God has gone before him; and even in so small a matter 
as painting the panels of a coach, he will find that he has 
followed ' nature's geometric signs,' and combined the hues and> 
contrasted the' colors, as God, in bird, or flower, or insect, 
painted them long before." 

We all concluded that we could not do better than follow in 
the footsteps of such lofty authority, and cultivate Beauty as 
heartily as possible. 

In considering the subject of Beauty in the Home, several 
points have struck me. First, there can be no real beauty with- 
out neatness and order. A stand of plants in fine bloom may 
be an object of beauty in a room, but it cannot create beauty 
over a dirty or ragged carpet. Good engravings are also con- 
ducive to beauty ; but if the husband hangs good pictures on 
the walls, and the wife litters the whole room with the threads 
and scraps from her sev/ing machine, the pleasing is lost to the 
eye in the unpleasing. Parents should make their children full 
sharers in the best things of Home ; but at the same time the 
children should be taught to prize and maintain the beauty of 
their home. Their sports and manufactures, which are rough, 
noisy and productive of dirt, should be kept in some place 
apart, and they should be encouraged to bring their book.', theii 


clean, quiet games, their drawing, where their parents and elder 
friends are; thus family companionship will be secured, without 
provoking that untidiness which is incompatible with beauty. 

Second. I should say that true beauty does not belong to 
things showy and insubstantial. Some people get cheap, showy 
furniture and carpets, thinking that as it is cheap they can 
afford more of it; while the truth is that the more of it the 
ivorse it looks, and that a few good things are far better than a 
good many poor ones. When we must get cheap things 
because we have but little money, then let them be very plain : 
for nothing is uglier than cheap gilding. If we have plain 
things which do not cost much, then the value has been put 
into the material and making, and they are likely to last a long 
time without failing in appearance ; while if the things are showy 
and cheap, the money has gone for paint and gilding, which 
will soon tarnish and crack off, the wood will warp, the glue 
prove treacherous, and our possessions will be a wreck. A look 
of substantial comfort and rest, welcomes you to a room, and 
gives the impression of beauty. When you. give up the idea of 
costliness and fine display, take comfort for your aim. The 
little money which would buy cheap shades, a varnished table, 
a narrow, stiff little hair-cloth sofa, will pay ten times as well 
in use and beauty, invested in good chintz for a lounge and 
chair-cushions, and for lambrequins to the windows, and a good 
cloth for a common table ; or have your curtains of white or 
pale-hued lawn, and buy lady's cloth for your table-cover, and 
embroider the edge in oriental work of some kind. Speaking 
of furniture, children should not be allowed to treat it with 
disrespect; they will be just as happy in proudly helping to 
take care of it, as in destroying it. There is not beaut}' in a 
room where children have daubed the floor and table-cover with 
paste and ink; where they have stood on the chair-seats and 
sofas or lounges, until the covers are rent or faded ; where they 


have kicked the chair-rungs, and table-legs, and base-boards 
until they ar'= all dents and scratches. Let them learn not to 
stand on upholstery. If they must paint or paste in these rooms, 
it is small trouble to teach them to spread a large newspaper 
over the table-cover or carpet, where they are at work ; let them 
have their own chairs and stools fit for their size, and then the 
tired little legs dangling in mid-air will not be tempted to grind 
varnish from adjacent furniture. 

Third. In pursuit of beauty and ornament, don't crowd : 
nothing is more beautiful than breathing room and space to 
turn around safely. Walls covered w'Ah frames, brackets, autumn 
leaves and the like, look patchy: we must not try to turn our 
homes into museums or picture galleries; disgust accompanies 
surfeit of the eye as well as of the stomach, and there is an old 
story that " enough is as good as a feast," may-be better in its 

Fourth. When we seek Beauty for our Home, let us remem- 
ber that every human soul has to some degree a capacity for 
beauty; that what is the choice life of our own Home, flourishes 
well in other Homes. If we love beauty for itself, we shall 
desire to disseminate it wherever we go — to widen its refining 
reign in the world. We shall consider first, that Beauty I'n our 
own homes is not to be confined to our own parlo»- or bed; com, 
or to our children's and guests' rooms; our servants showld be 
made sharers in it. The kitchen, because it is z kitchen, is not 
beyond the influence of Beauty: when we reftcct how really 
beautiful some farm kitchens are, we may conc(ade that village 
and town kitchens may be made beaufiful in t!ieir degree, even 
though they do not open on clover fields in bioqm,on sweet, old- 
fashioned gardens, where hollyhocks tower over currant bushes, 
and hop vines wave tasselled banners m the breeze. Then 
there are our servants' rooms : how often have I heard mistresses 
.comolpm that the maids kept their room so untidy! Did t'^« 


mistress try to beautify it? Did she encourage the maid to keep 
it nicely? The bed is left unmade? Well, were the bed-clothes 
whole and clean, with a decent outside spread, or were they 
worn-out rubbish, too bad for any others of the family to use ? 
Was there a little curtain to the window, a bit of carpet by the 
bed, a stand neatly covered for lamp, Bible, bouquet, or any of 
the girl's little treasures ? Were there hooks for the clothes, and 
was there any attempt to ornament the walls ? Would the Home 
have been poorer for a picture or two, a comb-basket, and a wall- 
pocket? If we cultivate Beauty in our Homes, let us do it thor 
oughly, and let all share in it. 

Again, if we have any new or good ideas of increasing the 
Beauty of a Home, let us not be chary of sharing our wisdom 
with our friends and neighbors ; let us be glad to help make 
other homes beautiful. And when we are visiting the sick and 
poor, let us remember that somewhere in their hearts, dormant, 
may-be, or benumbed under many rebuffs, is the love of Beauty, 
and let us try and revive it, and shed a little of its light on their 
paths. It will be to many medicine to mind and body. I recall 
a case here in point. I had a protegee, a poor humpbacked 
girl, very weakly, confined to her invalid chair in a little bed- 
room opening from a larger place occupied by her mother, who 
took in washing, and her father, who cobbled shoes. She was a 
n'ce girl, and labored painfully at knitting, to help earn her 
living. I had helped the poor family get these two rooms, which 
were well sunned and capable of being well aired. Helen had 
given the invalid a bit of carpet and a white curtain, and Miriam 
had bestowed on her some bedding ; we all helped her get work, 
and now and then sent her soup, biscuits, a paper, or a book. I 
left home for six weeks, and requested Hester to look after Mar- ' 
garet during my absence. When I went to visit my charge on 
my return, I found her whole room brighter, her face brighter, 
and her health better by far; she seemed to have a new interesi 
in things. Presently she said : 


" Do look at my window — isn't it beautiful? Mrs. Nugent 
showed me how to fix all those things one day while I was sick, 
and now when I feel very badly I have only to look at those 
growing things, and I forget my troubles ; you see I did the 
work myself, and it has been so lovely to see the change ! " 

A glass fruit-jar hung in the centre of the window by a red 
cord; in this was a sweet potato, filling the jar with white roots, 
and sending down outside delicate vines. On either side hung 
by cords a carrot and a turnip turned upside down, hollowed into 
little baskets, and filled with water; they had sent out a fine 
leafage, and were globes of green. A shallow raisin-box stood 
on the window-sill ; it was filled with earth, and here the sick 
girl had planted seeds, and set a bulb and a slip or two, herself, 
and rejoiced to watch them grow. She had cut common pictures 
from the papers and pasted them on the box, and it really looked 
very well. Hester had also given her some bits of silk and 
merino, and shown her how to make herself a knitting-bag, a 
pin-cushion, a pair of wall-pockets in which to keep the various 
little things which she needed, and which had hitherto encum- 
bered her room. 

"Don't I look nice!" she cried, leaning back with a sigh of 
satisfaction; "why, I feel almost well, making and enjoying 
these things: it is far prettier work than knitting, and Mrs. Nu- 
gent says if I become handy at it, perhaps she can find some 
shop where they will take a basket of my work to sell." 

I took a lesson from that of the power of beauty, of variety 
and of new interests, over the sick and poor. But all thzft is 
external has its chie/ value as it affects the internal, and the great 
value of the cultivation of Beauty in our Homes is that it tends 
to soften and refine the man«ers, make the heart innocently busy 
and happy, and encourage a Love of Home. 

While this subject of Beauty in the Home has been especially 
occupying my mind, I have noticed in my visits to my friends 






several simple styles of ornament, which are worthy of attention. 
Hester gave her father a fire-screen for a Christmas present ; as 
John uses an open grate — the most beautiful and healthful kind 
of a fire — this screen was very acceptable to him for use, as well 
as for beauty. Hester had procured two large panes of window- 
glass, twenty inches by two feet. On one of these she had glued 
large pressed ferns, a spray of autumn leaves, some grasses, and 
several moths and butterflies, of which she used the wings, and 
painted in the bodies ; she arranged these materials on the glass 
until the whole represented a lovely bit of forest scenery. She 
then cemented the other pane of glass upon this one, so that the 
ornaments were between the two, and the cement at the edges 
excluded air. She had this double glass fiftnly held in a metal 
frame, and fastened to a screw screen-stand. I never saw a more 
tasteful object than this with the firelight shining through it.- I 
admired it so much that Hester came to my house, and made up 
one of the large panes of my sitting-room window, in this same 
style, fastening her second sheet of glass over the one in the 
window, so I have now an exquisite fragment of fern scenery, 
with the sunlight shining through it. 

Miriam also invented a method of window trimming for the 
sash around her front door, which hitherto had been white glass, 
shaded with vestibule lace. She procured for each of the nine 
panes around the .door a picture representing an upright piece 
of statuary : she cut out this picture, and with very clear gum- 
arabic-water glued it with its face to the pane. The next day 
with a damp sponge she removed all the paper on the back of 
the picture, until only the fine film on which the picture was 
stamped remained : this she had been careful not to mar. Again 
she let it dry fully, and then painted all the window about the 
picture with oil paint (artist's, not house paint) ; she laid this on 
evenly and very thin, in a solid color, and when it was dry 
varnished the whole with picture varnish, covering both paint 


and picture. Each pane was of a single bright color : thus the 

lower left-hand pane was orange, the next emerald, the next 
scarlet, the first transom pane indigo, the next gray, the next 
indigo, and the right-hand panes matched the left : the whole 
appearance of the hall was altered by this ornamentation of the 
door, and I told her it was a treat to come down her stairs and 
look at this pretty imitation of painted glass. 

Miriam's window suggested an idea to Mary Watkins for her 
sitting-room. Mary presses flowers very beautifully : she glued 
some delicate sprays of blue flowers upon one of her windows, 
and varnished the window with picture varnish ; the effect was 

Hester has in hef sitting-room a fine aquarium, but she has 
time and money for such things. Still I think an aquarium both 
beautiful, and, in a house full of children, a useful object to 
interest them in natural things. Helen has a row of hyacinths 
in glasses, and Miriam, on a common stand covered with 
oil-cloth, has a bed of moss and a rockery, in which little rock- 
ferns are growing, and where some real snail-shells and some 
stuffed birds look very beautiful. Cousin Ann's Sarah gave 
me, on my birthday, a wire basket with a dish in it where trail- 
ing vines and some tall ferns were growing, and poised on the 
handle was a stuffed robin, looking down at a butterfly which 
seemed to have just lit on a spray of one of the vines. I do 
not know that I ever had an ornament in my parlor which I 
admired more. So do art and nature liberally aicJ us in the 
creation of Beauty in our Homes. 



p7| AM fond of reading, and spend several hours each day 
)1[ with my books. Helen laughs at my library, and says 
"" she does not understand how I can like such old-fash- 
ioned books as I have ; perhaps the very reason that 
they suit me is that they are old-fashioned. At all events, there 
is sound, good sense in the volumes. There is Franklin, for 
instance : what a mine of valuable thoughts in his works ! I 
was reading in my Franklin only this morning, and I paused 
over this passage : " Dost thou love life ? Then do not squander 
time, for that is the stuff life is made of." Shortly after, as I sat 
with my sewing, the second Miss Black called. She cried out : 
"Always busy. Miss Sophronia! Here is your work-basket 
full, and I see your book is open on the table. What in the 
world do you find to do ? I never find anything." 

"Then, my dear," I replied, "you must be living with your 
eyes shut, for I never yet saw any one to whom the •\vorld did 
not offer plenty to do. When God created Adam, he created 
also a business for Adam ; he did not make him a gentleman of 
leisure, with the first years of Creation hanging heavily upon 
his hands ; and so, ever since, when God sends a reasonable soul 
into the world, he sends with it its especial work and round of 
duties, which belong to no other soul : believe me, God investi- 
gates our doings here, and will make inquiry whether or not we 

'^rformed this work which he intends for our doing." 



" You look so seriously at things, Miss Sophronia ; but do 
tell me what you find to do. You have your nice house, your 
good servant, your income : you might sit with folded hands." 

" So I might, but I should hear a voice in my ears : ' What 
doest thou here ? ' And by-and-by God would call upon me : 
'Give an account of thy stewardship;' and being compelled to 
speak the truth, suppose that I must say: 'O, I was in easy cir- 
cumstances, and I sat with my hands folded.' But you ask 
what I do. I have my housekeeping to look to, my friends to 
make comfortable when they visit me, and my sewing to do. 
Next I have my social duties : I am at leisure, and the expe- 
rience of several tens of years is in my keeping; therefore I feel 
an especial call to visit the sick. When a family is down with 
measles, or scarlet fever, or some other epidemic, why should 
they be neglected, or the mother be over-taxed, when I am at 
leisure to help? So, in accidents, I am often sent for; thus my 
work among the sick fills up a good many hours. Then there 
are aged people who cannot go abroad, and chronic invalids 
who get very lonely in their rooms, and feel as if they were for- 
gotten : I visit them. The poor are Christ's legacy to all those 
of his people who are able to help them, and I have my rounds 
among the poor, helping them with gifts, securing work for 
them, advising them, getting them into church and Sunday- 
school. I have also my church work: having leisure, good 
health and a few dollars to spare, I ought to help in the 
benevolent schemes of my church, and I do that. But, while 
helping others, I must not forget my own ; and my nieces 
have young families. I can be a great help to them by taking 
home part of their sewing and mending, taking a child home 
here for a week if the mother is sick, knitting the little mit- 
tens and stockings : these are trifles, but they lighten domestic 
cares for busy mothers. Then once a year Christmas comes, 
and I want to make presents to my nieces and their servants, to 

ikDUS'JRY l.V rilE HOME. " Y7-\ 

my servan'.s and poor friends. So, my dear Miss Black, 1 find 
work for all my time, and I have given you this sketch of it, 
because you asked me, and because, as you say you have 
nothing 1 5 do, I hoped it might be useful to you in suggesting 
lines of work. But, as one of a large family, I should suppose 
you would find work in abundance." 

"Oh, I don't know," replied Miss Black. " Mother keeps the 
house, and then there are the servants to do the work." 

" Did you never see your mother over-worked ? Is she not 
toiling sometimes until greatly fatigued, or when she has a head- 
ache? Pardon me: does not your mother look too old for her 
years? Could not her daughters have saved her some of that 
extra work which wears her out?" 

"Why don't she ask help, then? She never does," cried Miss 

"Some mothers have a false idea of increasing their children's 
happiness by not asking them to work ; and then, help freely 
offered is better than help demanded, or asked for half a dozen 
times, or argued over. I have seen girls scowl at being asked to 
help for an hour a mother who had, been toiling cxhaustingly 
for eight hours. I have seen other girls who, with quick eye, 
sought out every place where they could help, and when finally 
bidden by the busy mother to go dress, walk, read or visit, 
begged to be allowed some other share of work until they might 
both be done together. But, Miss Black, as we are on this 
subject, and you have introduced it, do you never see your ser- 
vants over-worked ? the kitchen-servant ready to drop with 
fatigue, when you might cheer and relieve her by making a 
cake, a few pies, a pan of biscuits or setting a table? Could you 
not find a time when the other maid, who does up-stairs' work 
and sewing, would be saved from really too severe driving, \\ 
you swept and dusted a room or two, or lent the aid' of you! 

needle in the sewing-room ? " 


" Dear me, it never entered my head," replied the young lady. 
" I do as much as my sisters, and we all do nothing. I fix up 
little trimmings, fancy collars and cuffs, or such things, now and 
then, as I need them. I put the flowers in the parlor, and help 
my sister make our bed. I read a book now and then if it is 
interesting, and I practise some, and get ready my dress, if I am 
going to a party, and I sit and look out of the window, or I take 
an afternoon nap: we sit up so late, having evening callers; 
and I go shopping, and I walk around the streets, or make a 
few calls, and — there, that is all I do." 

" But, my dear girl, what of all this is useful to yourself or to 
others ? With what of all this is God pleased ? What of all 
this is the work which he sent into the world for your doing ? " 

"I'm sure I don't know! You quite frighten me asking that." 

" Consider it is a question that must meet you some day, as it 
is appointed unto all men once to die, and after that comes the 
judgment. Reason would say, have an answer ready." 

" Frankly, Miss Sophronia, what could girls like myself and 
my three sisters do ? What ouglii we to do ? " 

" That is asking a stranger a delicate question. But did you 
never hear your mother complaining of pressure of work, 
worrying over bills for sewing, over the complaints of the 
servants ? Now could you not relieve her in these matters ? 
F.ach two of you girls share a room ; why not one of you take 
entire charge of that room ? sweeping, dusting, bed-making, 
mending carpet, towels, bedding — in fact, being responsible for 
absolute order there. The other two could then take care one 
of the parlor, one of the dining-room, keeping all bright and in 
repair. Consider how much better it would be done; how 
much more comfort your two servants would have, and how 
much longer they would be likely to stay ; thus your mother 
would be greatly relieved. Suppose, then, one of you girls 
made all the cake, another all the desserts, another took charge 


of the Stockings of your father and three brothers, another made 
the shirts : you see the two servants, in a family of nine, would 
still find work enough ; and you as interested parties would be 
economical in the cooking which you did, and your mother, 
relieved of a certain share of her mending and making and 
supervising, would feel her vigor renewed." 

" But we don't know how to do these things ! " 

" You ought to know how, and the sooner you learn the 
better. Your mother and the maids would teach you gladly." 

" But with all that we should be worked to death ! " 

" Pray, then, how long do you expect your mother to live ? 
But instead of being worked to death, you would all be in 
better health, have finer complexions, better spirits and a more 
cheerful home — to say nothing of doing your duty to God, your 
parents and your fellow-creatures. Did you ever read a saying 
of Sydney Smith's? — 'Let every man be occupied, and occu- 
pied in the highest employment of which his nature is capable, 
and die with the consciousness that he has done his best' " 

" No," said Miss Black, " I never did. I am half inclined to 
believe you. Miss Sophronia, that we should be happier if we 
were more industrious. Sometimes when we have been actually 
working for a fair, or a festival, or preparing for a party, we 
have really enjoyed ourselves: possibly, it was because we were 
busy. Certainly I don't think work could made us less happy 
than we are : for you never saw such a listless, bored set as we 
are, unless we are putting on our best spirits to entertain a few 
gentlemen callers." 

"And the poor father, and mother, and brothers — they are 
treated to the listlessness and boredom : is that making Home 
happy ? " 

" I fear not. I never thought I was responsible for making 
Home happy ; or that taking hold and doing something was a 
means to that end. I'll tell my sisters what you say, and think 
't over." 


After Miss Black had gone, I sat considering what a sin 
parents commit, who do not bring up their children to be 
industrious, to feel that every home should be a hive of 
industry, that, in one way or another, every member of the 
family must contribute their share of labor to home activities. 
How little do we think of impressing upon the minds of the 
young the fact, that God expects them to do something ! As far 
as I can learn from the Scripture, heaven itself seems a place 
of joyous activity. I never yet read of a good person who was 
not a busy person ; business and happiness seem also com- 
mingled in this world ; and activity, useful activity and good 
health go hand in hand. Cultivate laziness in a child, and you 
cultivate poverty, poor health, unhappiness and crime. What a 
fashion of slow suicide is this much talked of " killing our 
time!" How are mothers left weary and discouraged, who 
have not trained their children to help them heartily and lov- 
ingly ! The hand of the diligent maketh rich ; being "not sloth- 
ful in business " is one of the main ways of serving the Lord, 
who called us to labor. I felt quite stirred up as I considered 
this question, and I made up my mind to get what information 
on the subject I could, and to talk of it very earnestly with my 
nieces and young friends, and urge them to train up their 
children in habits of industry and helpfulness — to have their 
Homes centres of good activity. While I was thinking thus. 
Cousin Ann came in. She had driven in to the village with a 
quantity of eggs and butter for the hotel, and she came, as she 
often does, to take dinner with me. Of course I did not betray 
Miss Black's confidences, nor did I mention Mrs. Black's great 
failure in bringing up her children; but I said to Cousin Ann. 
when she was comfortably seated and had begun to knit on a 
stocking for Helen's Tom : 

" Cousin Ann, you are never idle, and your children are just 
like you in that." 


" Trained them to it," said Cousin Ann. 

" I should like to know how you did it. I have had the sub- 
ject of industry and indolence in Homes brought before my 
mind this morning, and I want to know how you proceeded in 
bringing up all your family to be industrious.'' 

" I made a habit of it, in the first place," said Cousin Ann. 
"and then I gave them an object in it; and meantime I studied 
the children themselves, so as to direct their industry as far as I 
could in a natural bent, and not make labor a bitterness to them. 
For instance Fred always took to gardening, while Reed had a 
natural love of animals, and Dick has always been a terribly 
active child, with big muscles which wanted to be exercised ; a 
boy, who, if he couldn't let off his energy in some honest hard 
work, would be up to all sorts of mischief, just to get a vent for 
his overflowing animal energy. We ought to study children in 
giving out their work, and while necessity rules often in distrib- 
uting employment, we should follow the natural bent, just as far 
as we can. Well, as I was saying, I made industry a habit for 
my children. I taught them to wait on themselves, to clear up 
litter which they made, to get out and put by their own toys. 
You could hardly imagine, Sophronia, how early a young child 
can be taught to help. .1 did my own work when Fred, Reed 
and Sarah were little — that is, most of the time. I taught them, 
first, not to be troublesome to me, and then to help me. The 
little things could bring chips or wood from the wood-house, 
stick by stick, or feed the chickens, or open and shut doors, and 
so on to larger and larger things. To be sure they made mis^ 
takes, and made more work than they did, in the very effort to 
help, and at first I should have saved time and toil doing it all 
myself But I remembered that I was working for the future, 
that I was moulding the children into such men and women as 
they would be, that as I taught them now I should be helped by 
them after a while : so I kept steadily on teaching them. They 


got bruises in falls, ran splinters into their fingers, burnt their 
busy little hands ; but these misadventures taught them careful- 
ness, and through it all they got a fixed habit of being helpful 
and busy, and of not sitting idle when there was work to be 
done, and other people were busy. Of course, you understand 
me, Sophronia. I don't mean that now Sarah would not sit down, 
or take a book, or go dress herself, because there were dishes to 
wash, and the servant was washing them; so long as the girl 
knows how and has the time, her own work can be left to her ; 
but Sarah feels that she owes to God the right use of her time, 
and she would not dare to spend an idle day; she changes work, 
and rests in the change ; she is working while she informs her 
mind, makes her clothes, and takes her part in the homework 
of all kinds." 

"You mentioned giving your children a special interest in 
work, as well as a fixed habit of doing it," I said. 

"Yes, 'in all labor there is profit,' says the Scripture, and I 
wanted my children practically to learn that. I said Fred 
naturally loved gardening. I set him at it early. I had him 
help me in my garden among the vegetables, and I gave him a 
sunny strip of border for himself, where he planted vegetables 
which he sold on his own account — that is, when we sent a load 
of vegetables to market, Fred's lettuces, bunches of onions, or 
radishes, or beets, or his heads of cabbage were counted in, and 
he got what money they brought. He did not rob us of his 
help while he raised these things : he got the time by putting 
Industry against idleness. We were as well pleased when he 
treated himself to a pair of skates as to a nice book, and he 
always gave away a portion of his own. Reed, on the other 
hand, hated gardening; he worked in the garden when I bid 
him, but it was just as easy to set Reed to tending the fowls, to 
making chicken-coops, cleaning the hen-house, putting up roosts, 
feeding fowls, pounding fresh bones for them, or feeding the 


calves and watering the horses : he did these things well. So 
he was given his especial hen, his sheep, his calf, and he worked 
like a hero, to bring them up in the way that they should go ; to 
return him profit, they were fed and housed, and cared for with 
all his might. He learned the care of stock, and you know he 
has a stock-farm now, and many of his brutes are of his own 
raising. Sarah early learned to help me in the house, and she 
had her little share in the butter. She and Fred both gathered 
and sold garden seeds and sweet herbs to the grocer here in 
the village, and as she grew older, when by extra industry she 
hemmed a set of sheets, or made up half-a-dozen pair of pillow- 
cases, she got her pay for them. Not that any of them learned 
to claim pay from us : we gave it and they took it as an encour- 
agement. As we grew better oiT, Sarah got her allowance, so 
that she would know how to use money wisely. Dick was 
allowed to use his energies in wood-chopping, in hauling fuel 
from the wood-lot, in cleaning walks, in ploughing before and 
after school. All the boys were set at helping their father on 
the farm as the two girls helped me in-doors. When they pro- 
posed new plans, as bee-keeping or sorghum-raising, we let them 
try it, and we always kept them in school and gave them all the 
books and papers we could. Indeed, Sophronia, I think they 
have been as happy a set of children as ever lived, and as indus- 
trious too." 

" I've no doubt," I replied, " that their happiness rose in a 
large degree from their industry, which kept them from moping 
and mischief, and gave them the peaceful consciousness of well- 
doing, for idleness is misery." 

"Some mothers think," resumed Cousin Ann, "that they can 
get no help in the house from boys : if they have no daughters 
they must work on unaided. I have seen boys sitting in a 
kitchen when their mother was bringing fuel, or water, or black- 
ing a stove, or when their sisters, tired with washing or baking, 


v/ere performing these tasks. The boys had been at work out 
of doors perhaps, or, out-of-door work being done, they had 
done nothing; if they hung up their caps and put by their boots 
it was as much as they thought they could do within doors. 
Now I hold that nothing is more really ennobling and improving 
to a boy than to learn to do little things to help his mother in 
the house. Where servants are kept, his round of household 
duties is but a small one, but he should be taught to do all that 
he can. Why cannot he learn to set chairs in their places? to 
pick up and fill a spilled work-basket ? to hold and amuse a 
fretting child? to carry a meal to an invalid? to bathe an aching 
head? All these things will not make him 'a Miss Nancy,' but 
will tone down his boyish roughness, ameliorate his awkward- 
ness, make him thoughtful for others, and so truly manly in 
using his strength to aid weakness. I taught my boys to sweep 
and dust a room; to scour knives; to blacken a stove; to set 3 
tabic ; I had them so trained that they would have scorned t<! 
sit by a stove and see their sister or mother filling the stove with 
fuel or bringing a bucket of water. I remember once being at 
a house where the only son was preparing for the ministry; the 
room became chilly; his worship was reading a paper; he 
bawled to his sister, who was in the next room getting dinner : 
' Mag ! bring a scuttle of coal for this stove ! ' I made up my 
mind that that family had not been trained in family industry: 
the industry had been all on one side. Once I went to take a 
firkin of butter to Mrs. Winton. It was a number of years ago, 
and however it happened, she had no girl. It was about eight 
in the morning; little Grace was washing the dishes, and one of 
her brothers was drying them; the oldest boy had just finished 
putting the dining-room in order, and I tell you it was in order. 
Nor was he a bit ashamed of it. He said: 'Cousin Ann, see 
how well I can do up a room ; this is all my work to-day; now 
if you'll wait until I have polished the breakfast-knives, I'll ride 


AS far as school with you;' and Mrs. Winton told me those two 
boys got up, made the fire, filled the tea-kettle, and set the 
breakfast-table, before she and Grace got down to cook break- 
fast. She said they could make their beds, too." 

" It didn't hurt them," I said, " for those two Wintons are the 
very first young men in this town." 

"Hurt them! no," said Cousin Ann: "North Winton will nor 
plead a case less eloquently for having been trained to be useful, 
and I think the way Robert was brought up to wait oh his 
mother will make him a better doctor. In fact, Sophronia, my 
rule is, to have a busy household, and give every member a 
share of work." 

"I'm glad to get your views," I replied, "for I mean to talk 
with my young friends about activity and industry in the House- 
hold. You don't seem afraid of wearing folks out with work, 
Cousin Ann; how is that?" 

"I hope you understand me, Sophronia," said Cousin Ann; 
" I do not look on work as an end in itself, neither as the highest 
human good, and in the word work, as we are now talking, I 
include all that is useful to ourselves or others; we are given, 
as I take it, by the Lord himself, a certain time to live in the 
world, and a certain amount of good, of adding to the sum of 
human happiness and worthiness, which we can do in that time. 
The good done is the end, and the work is the means to gain 
it; we cannot do this good without activity, and, moreover, the 
Lord has given us enough to do to fill up all our time. Con- 
sidering all this, I do not think that work or activity is other 
than man's natural condition, and so it is likely to be a healthful 
condition. People do get injured by severe work, but if you 
will look into these cases, you will see that the injury-doing 
work was not of the Lord's ordering. Persons hurt themselves 
by the fierce kind of work they do to hurry up a fortune : to 
grasp too soon or too much what is going in the way of money. 


Other people wear out of the over-work of pride ; they must have 
ornaments, fineries, elaborate dress, or furnishings, to out-do 
their neighbors, and they kill themselves for that. Other people 
still are working double shares, doing the work which some 
idle member of their families has left undone; the conscientious 
and busy one becoming the victim of some sluggard's selfishness: 
thus the mothers of lazy daughters. Again, I have seen folks 
who wore themselves out with the strain of fretting, anxiety, 
repining over their work, grinding their minds to pieces with the 
irritation of unwillingness or useless worry to do more or better 
than they reasonably can. Still other victims of work are those 
who work without any system, and so the labor which would 
be healthful and moderate becomes a burden, sinking them into 
insanity or the grave. Most people who are said to die of over- 
work die of misdirected activity, or of neglect of system in their 
work. I should say that system is to labor what oil is to ma- 
chinery : without it all goes heavily and creaking, and wears out 

" Bustle, Sophronia, is not industry, as you very well know ; 
people flutter and bustle about like a hen raising ducks, and 
then complain that their work has killed them, when it was the 
fuss that was the killing cause. To go back to where I started : 
work is from God, and he has told us how to work, so that in 
working we shall be happy and strong and effective. He says 
first for each day : ' The night cometh, when no man can work.' 
He gave the night for sleep, the evening hours for quiet resting 
of body and mind. When folks toil along in the evenings, after 
the brutes have gone to rest, somebody is usually to blame : 
vanity, somebody's selfishness, the avarice of employers who 
will not give living wages for ten daylight hours' toil ; some 
check has been offered to God's beneficent plan. So if we don't 
want to be killed by work, let us take a fair share of sleep ; and 
let us rest, or have some very easy restful occupation for evening 


At our house we have for evenings more reading than anything 
else ; the children spend some time on their next day's lessons ; 
the stocking-darning is evening work, and so, in the season, is 
fruit-paring. Sometimes, to be sure, when we are making mince- 
meat or sausages, the work runs into the evening, and so in 
killing time ; but that is only on distant occasions, and so does 
no damage. The next rule for resting which the Lord gives is 
a weekly rule : ' Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 
Thou shalt do no labor, neither thou, nor thy son, nor thy 
daughter, thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, 
nor thy stranger within thy gates.' The New Testament shows 
that we must on Sabbath ' assemble ourselves together ' for 
worship, give the sick due aid, and bestow needed attention on 
the brutes, and give ourselves our proper food. Outside of this 
we are to rest ; and I promise you, Sophronia, if this were 
observed, no elaborate dressing, no big dinners, no , visits, no 
amusements, but a complete, quiet, family resting, the church, 
the proper books, a nap if one is feeble or weary, and a real rest- 
day from sun to sun, there would be no breaking down from 
overwork, no farmers' wives in mad-houses." 

" But how about the milk, and the butter, and the eggs, Cousin 
Ann?" I ventured to ask. 

"The eggs can be left until Monday morning from Saturday 
evening. The milking must be done for the sake of the animals : 
but if milk that needs churning is churned on Saturday night, 
the rest, if the dairy is properly aired, cleaned and shaded, can 
be left until Monday morning. Don't tell me milk must be 
churned or carried to the cheese-factory on Sunday ; it is clear to 
my mind that if people were compelled to give to the Lord the 
price of all the cheese and butter made on His day, they'd find 
means of keeping the milk over Sunday.'' 

" Very true," I said, " but go on with your views about resting.'' 

" The Lord gave to the people of Israel several national 


holidays each year, requiring old and young, bond and free, to 
share them joyously. From this example we should set a due 
value on certain fixed holidays, and not ruthlessly run our work 
over them, but observe them with our whole families, in some 
such way as shall give the most change to the current of our 
thoughts and cares. We have New Year's, Washington's Birth- 
diy, Easter, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas. As the 
reach between Easter and the Fourth, and from that on to 
Thanksgiving, is pretty long, I should throw, in those spaces, a 
birthday keeping, a picnic day, a festival of some kind, and these 
days will be found^ to strengthen family ties, freshen health and 
interest in work, and give a new spring of vitality to all our 
labors. People who live in this way will not die'of overwork, 

Hester had come in quietly during the conversation. I said 
to her : 

" Hester, you are always busy, and yet always fresh and 
strong. Aside from the care which you take of your health, 
how do you manage your work so that you shall not complain 
of over-exhaustion ? " 

" I find," replied Hester, " that there is great rest in mere 
■ -■hange of labor. It is not so much, when one is tired, that one 
aeeds to drop everything and lie or sit with folded hands : this 
Is sometimes needful ; but there is true and effective rest in 
bringing into action an entirely different set of thoughts and of 
muscles. Thus, one who is tired with sweeping, scrubbing or 
ironing, can rest thoroughly by bathing face and hands, taking 
a footstool and a comfortable chair, and taking up some sewing 
[f I have tired myself by several days of writing, or of study of 
languages, or by the pursuit of aijy one difficult subject, I find 
that I rest my mind and body by an entire change of work : by 
taking up some study in natural sciences, by taking a few days 
for sewing or social duties, or by doing some work in the house, 


IVith this in view I arrange that house-cleaning, preserving, or 
preparing the clothing for a change of seasons, shall come after 
some heavy piece of brain work, when I need the rest of change." 
"The Lord teaches us that lesson, I think," said Cousin Ann, 
" in the change of seasons itself This change, four times in a 
year, necessarily gives us a change in our labors — sov/ing, hay 
ing, harvesting, fruit-picking, fall-ploughing, winter work of 
repairing utensils and buildings, follow one after the other, and 
rest us by the change which they afford. In the house this is 
also true." 

"The fact is," said Hester, "that more diseases arise from 
indolence than from overwork : idleness begets vice, and vice 
fosters disease. One reason why, taken as a whole, city and 
town girls are feebler than country girls is, that they have less to 
do ; they idle about and fix their tastes on luxury and folly and 
amusements ; their minds and bodies lose all spring and vigor. 
Wasting their lives in this wretched way, girls become extrava- 
gant and expensive in their wants, and weak in muscle, nerves 
and morals ; young men become foppish, dishonest and intem- 
perate. Parents, guardians and teachers should wake up to the 
dangers of this idleness, v/hich lies at the root of much mania, 
hysteria and crime. This laziness is creating for us in the cities 
a generation of paupers and hospital patients ; the good-hearted, 
pretty, naturally bright girl becomes the vapid, morbid, chronic 
invalid. Not an invalid by dispensation of Providence, but the 
invalid of her own making; and a hardy and more courageous 
race will take the place of these pining or vicious beings. I 
feel awake on this subject because I have studied it carefully 
ktely, while preparing an article upon it for press." 

" You could not choose a better or more useful theme," said 
Cousin Ann. " But I declare, Sophronia, it is almost three 
o'clock ! I often say I must keep away from your house, for no 
sooner do I get here, than you start me off on some subject 


which I am interested in, and then, as I have to-day, I spend th& 
whole morning doing — " 

" Don't you dare to say ' nothing,' Cousin Ann, for you said 
yourself, that one was always working well when doing any- 
thing for the benefit of others, and to-day you have been very 
greatly benefiting me." 

Since this day's conversations, I have made myself quite h. 
missionary in behalf of Household Industry. The more I think 
of the subject the more important does it appear to me. It has 
been well said that "It is what is saved, not what is made,,' 
which constitutes national as well as individual wealth." Every 
one will allow that labor is a source of wealth ; but one does 
not so quickly see how the individual labors of each member of 
a family will create that saving, which results in comfortable 
circumstances, if not in affluence. But look at this a moment: 
a daughter in a family is brought up in habits of industry and 
not in idleness ; industry establishes her own health, and her 
aid keeps her mother from being worked into a fit of sickness, 
or a state of confirmed ill-health : what a saving is here at once 
in the mere matters of medicines, nursing and doctor's bills ! 
In a family of industrious daughters, skilled in the use of the 
needle, how much longer do clothes last, than where nobody 
has energy to repair, or make over, or neatly mend, and clothes 
fall to pieces to be replaced by new ones ! The delicate taste, 
the interested, thoughtful industry of the family, knowing each 
one's needs, will go twice as far as the hired labor of the seam- 
stress. And here I feel like going off on the word seamstress, 
to protest against the starvation-wages paid to seamstresses by 
the clothing-warehouse owners; and I would entreat ladies 
not to try to save, or to escape care by purchasing ready-made 
dresses and undergarments, every one of which may be at the 
price of blood — as was to David the water of the well ol 
Bethlehem, when he would not drink. No, my dear sisters, if 


you need to hire your clothes made, or if you prefer it, or can 
afford it, have the seamstress in the house; there give her a 
warm, sunny sewing-room ; if she stays at night, give her a nice 
bed-chamber, give her three good meals a day, and don't 
require her to sew on in the evening, just because she is on 
hand, and will do it rather than lose your patronage. 

Don't grind the faces of the poor, my dear wom^. Fortune 
was represented formerly with a wheel, and time has a way of 
bringing its revenges. Who can tell whether you, or your 
child, or grandchild may be toiling for bread at a needle's 
point? In families where all are reasonably and cheerfully busy, 
there is not felt this passion for driving some one ; as Cousin 
Ann said : " The over-work of the one is usually the satisfaction 
offered for the laziness of several." A thrifty country lady once 
told me her method of getting her sewing done for a large fam- 
ily : she was not very well-to-do, and to save money was a 
necessity to her. She found in the city a seamstress, who, with 
hard labor for nine months in the year, barely managed to keep 
the wolf from the door, while she wore herself out. This 
woman was engaged by the farmer's wife for the three warm 
months. The wages were low, but she had first-rate country 
living, change of air, a fresh, pleasant room, kind society, her 
evenings and Sabbaths to herself It was a blessed rest, and 
renewed her strength and courage for the year. She went home 
laden with gifts of butter, eggs, dried fruit, meat — a stock to 
help her little housekeeping on for a long while to come.- 

I am glad that Mary Watkins is bringing her little girl up in 
the same industrious way in which she was herself trained. I 
was there the other day, and the little thing, seated in her small 
rocking-chair by her mother's side, was sewing carpet-rags: 
she is scarcely five ; and this, and a little hemming on coarse 
towels, is her first essay at sewing. Mary's boy, who is about 
three and a half, was shelling seed-peas, and I was amused at 


the way Mary had taken to keep him from making a litter with 
the work. She had set him in a washtub, and he shelled the 
peas into the tub where he was. On one side his tub stood a 
large basket with the dried pea-pods, and the empty husks he 
put into a basket on the other side. Mary said that each of the 
children had thus a half hour's work in the afternoon, an* in the 
morning tli^y each had half an hour with their lessons. Besides 
this, while the breakfast was being cleared away, Jimmy brought 
in three baskets of chips and small wood, and Nettie wiped the 
spoons and tea-cups for her mother. Mary said that the chil- 
dren were much better natured, enjoyed their play better, and 
were more careful and less destructive for this little responsibil- 
ity of having something to do ; and she added, with pride, that 
it was quite surprising how handy and careful Nettie was. She 
was likely to prove an excellent little housewife, and Jimmy 
was very fond of being useful also. 

Helen seems less inclined to instruct her children in being 
useful. She pleads that she has no time to teach them ; that she 
has no patience to attend to their lessons ; that Belle will pick up 
sewing some time, she supposes ; that it is much easier to do 
things herself than worry with children's work, and that in her 
house about one person's time is needed to repair the mischief 
of Master Tom. 

"Ah, Helen!" I cried, " the idle child is the mischievous child; 
k would take far less time and patience to teach Tom useful 
work than to let him turn his energies on mischief" 
" But what on earth can Tom do ? " asked Helen. 
" Hannah is kind ; let him go to the kitchen, and string beans 
and shell peas ; let him learn to rub the knives ; let him be 
charged with sweeping the back yard each day; let him black 
his father's shoes and his own." 

"Goodness!" said Helen, " he would black himself and the 
kitchen floor a deal more than the shoes ! " 


" Helen, many a city youngster of his age makes his own 
Kvui^ by boot-blacking. Let him take the boots to the shed, 
tie a kitchen-apron around his neck, and let Hannah show him 
how, once or twice, and be a judge when his work is properly 
finished. Anything is better than rampant, destructive idleness. 
Get him a few tools and some wood, and let him make flower- 
frames and little stools or boxes : find some use for his manu- 
factures. Then do not give way to indolence, and neglect 
teaching him to read, write and cipher. Happy the child whose 
mother is his first teacher! As for Belle, Helen, don't dream 
she will grow into industry without being taught it. You have 
complained heartily of your over-indulgent grandmother, who 
did not teach you to sew, to keep house, to systematize your 
work : you suffer from that fatal neglect every day of youf 
life; and yet you dare to pass such a legacy on to youi 
daughter. Consider that she may live to be a wife and mother, 
and that as you train her, you make or mar a future House- 
hold, and become a good angel or an •evil genius to your 

"But, aunt," argued Helen, "some folks grow into these 
things without ever being taught. Look at Hester: she taught 
herself to keep house after she had grown up!" 

" Hester happens to be a genius, and a person of uncommon 
cotftcientiousness, Helen," I replied; "she will not neglect any 
work, agreeable or otherwise, which it falls to her lot to do. 
The rule is, however, that we do not learn useful things by 
htuition, but we must be taught them. When one assumes a 
mother's responsibilities one owes it to her children to arm 
them against want and helplessness, by teaching them to be self- 
reliant and industrious. You remember it was among the laws 
of the Jews that a father should have his son circumcised, teach 
him the law and teach him a trade ; even the wealthiest taught 
their sons a trade to secure them against possible want. Thus 


Paul made tents. While the son must be taught some business 
of life, there is one business which should always be taught a 
daughter — the business of housekeeping, in all its departments. 
That sensible people, the Germans, do not neglect, as do we, 
this training in housekeeping; the wealthiest and the highest in 
rank take a pride in practically knowing all about it. This is 
not to be learned in a few theoretical lessons; it can be well 
acquired only by giving children from their earliest years their 
share of home work." 

It is hard to persuade Helen to do even a plain duty of 
this kind, because she is so ignorant of work herself, and 
naturally so indolent. I should think her losses, vexations, 
trials and mortifications from having as a girl been habit- 
uated to indolence, and so knowing nothing of her duties as 
head of a household, would stir her up to have Belle well 
taught. Mark and Miriam had far less cash capital to begin 
life on than Frank and Helen, but the industry and good 
judgment of Mark Have been so seconded by Miriam's skill, 
taste, economy and industry at home, that I find they are 
not only laying up more money than Frank, but are living 
much more handsomely. There, too, were Reuben and Cousin 
Ann : all they had to set out with was a run-down and heavily- 
mortgaged farm, but by the united eftbrt and industry and 
economy of the whole family, now they own the finest farrn in 
the county; the two elder sons own a farm on each side their 
parents; Sarah, who is next year to be married to young 
Winton, will be very handsomely portioned; they have plenty 
for hospitality; they are liberal in giving; it should have 
been written on their doorway: 'Seest thou a man diligent in 
business, he shall stand before kings.' Yes, my idea of a family 
is a family of cheerful, useful activity; a hive of honey-bees; 
not one or two workers — a tired father, a worn-out mother, an 
enslaved servant or two — and all the rest drones. 


What a spectacle is this Household at Work ! The mother 
amply aided; all things in order; work done beautifully and 
systematically; intelligence reigning; time is here for books and 
for art, and for beauty, and social life, because all have labored 
willingly; it is not alone the mother's hands which toiled, while 
daughters lay in bed, but all these are virtuous women whosft 
price is above ruDici>. 



[ T has long been my opinion that one of the chief ways of 
making a home happy, thriving and useful in its in- 
fluence, is to supply it well with books and papers. 
Haying carefully observed and contrasted homes well 
furnished with reading matter, and homes where literature is 
unknown, I find that intelligence, family affection, thrift, economy, 
business habits, and joyous home-loving mark the homes with 
books ; and bickering, wastefulness, general ignorance and idle 
pleasure-seeking, characterize the others. A home without books 
argues at once a lack of educative influences ; it reduces its 
members to find the entertainment and interest, which they will 
inevitably seek, away from home in silly gossip, frequently 
resulting in mischief, in games which are often the beginning of 
quarrelling and cheating, in rudeness and thriftlessness, all far 
more expensive than a large library of books. Such a Home 
without reading is also shut off from a stream of new and useful 
information constantly supplied by daily and weekly papers. It 
is not merely that these papers contain the current affairs of the 
day, the news of church, and of politics, and foreign affairs, and 
the market reports — all valuable, and without which a man can 
hardly be a reasonable citizen or a decent manager of his own 
business — but these papers contain valuable information on 
subjects of health, of farm-work, of fruit-culture, of household- 
work, cooking, cleaning, the care of animals ; any one item of 


which might prove on occasion worth the year's price of a paper. 
Cousin Reuben takes a number of newspapers. He remarked 
to me once, that if he had started on his farm without any 
knowledge or experience of work, or of arranging his house so 
as to keep it in a sound, healthful condition, he might yet by a 
diligent study of his papers, applying to them his own judgment, 
have learned how to manage all his affairs in a satisfactory 
manner. He added : " I've paid out hundreds of dollars in my 
time for my newspapers, for I am not such a sneak as to try and 
steal my information from the editors. I pay in advance, and if 
I've paid a few hundreds out, I've taken a good many hundreds 
in by the use of them. My boys never had to hang around a 
store, or a grog-shop, or a bar-room to learn what was going on 
in the world; consequently they never learned to drink grog 
nor to waste their time. Many is the hint we've got in, stock- 
raising, in fruit and vegetable culture, and many is the poor 
bargain we've been saved from making, by reading a good, 
respectable, law-upholding, honest-dealing paper. We took care 
as to the quality of our papers. We took our church papers, 
too, and then we knew what was being done by the church, and 
where we'd better give when we had a little to spare ; and our 
minister didn't have to talk himself hoarse explaining things 
which it was our business to know ; we enjoyed the sermons 
more, and felt ourselves stirred up and more a part of the church 
for reading all about it ; and the children had Sunday reading, 
and did not find the Sabbath a weariness." 

When I go into Mrs. Winton's of an evening, I usually find 
the family reading. They have the magazines of the month, 
the new books on the table. If Mr. Winton and the two sons 
are free from business cares in the evenings, there is no 
wondering what to do : they know where will be a comfortable 
room, a good light, quiet, beauty of surroundings, and occupa. 
tion for' the mind ; the family-room is a scene of comfort, of 


promise. How can these young folks help being honorable and 
useful ? They are daily filling their minds with things beautiful, 
true, practical ; they have no waste hours for Satan to fill with 
mischief, no vacant brains to be provoked to evil deeds. 

I was at Cousin Ann's son's farm one day, and Reed was 
walking about with me showing his territories; and, indeed, 
they were so well kept that they were a treat to see. The 
cattle all looked like prize cattle. He had names for them all ; 
and one handsome young heifer he called " Books," and a big 
sheep " IVIaga," which he informed me was " short for maga- 
zines," and a family of black Spanish hens ran to the call of 
" Papers ! " I asked what in the world it all meant. He told 
me that when he married, his mother gave him a pair of black 
Spanish fowls, and told him to let their produce keep him in 
papers. He accordingly called them " papers " for fun, and he 
found that the eggs and chickens would supply him hand- 
somely with papers. When the supply exceeded the demand 
he would lay the surplus up to begin a fund for providing his 
children with reading. His wife had proposed that the heifer 
should be dedicated to the cause of a library ; so he, after sub- 
tracting the cost of the animal's keep, meant to use her pro- 
duce in buying books. The sheep had been a pet lamb given 
to his wife by her sister, and she, having paid her board, secured 

' them a magazine or so. 

" Well, well, Reed ! " I cried ; " that is a pretty sharp idea, 
and worthy of your mother's son." 

" Why, Aunt Sophronia," replied Reed, " we were brought 
up on books, and we could not live without them. I expect to 
make a decent fortune here, but I got my first notions of the 
value and care of stock from books and papers. I noticed all 
that I found on that theme :" it interested me ; I carried out 
many suggestions and found them valuable. We boys never 

-wanted to run off in the evenings : we got in hungry and tired ; 


we found all neat, a good meal, a comfortable room, with a 
light on a table where our books were. We made ourselves 
tidy, had our supper, and saw no attraction in village corners, 
or in smoky saloons : for here was room, and company, a good 
story, a book of travels, books which our parents bought us 
with much self-denial, books which we bprrowed, books from 
the school library, books bought out of our own earnings. I 
remember we boys clubbed our savings one fall, and bought 
' Kane's Arctic Expedition ' for winter reading. We had out 
our maps ; we all read the book, parents and all ; we talked of 
it at the table; every cold snap made it more vivid to us; we 
got out our geographies ; we borrowed all we could get on the 
subject of the North Seas. What paltry tavern would have 
tempted us in comparison with those Northern wonders? 
Whichever one knew the most about it was to own the book ; 
but we all knew it so thoroughly that father could not decide 
between us, and we gave it to mother for her birthday. But 
what odds, all that was our mother's was ours ! " 

"I remember," I said, "you children never destroyed your 
books. And what scrap-books you used to make ! " 

" Yes, indeed, we were taught to respect a book. Father told 
us marvels of times before printing and of costly books. We 
were trained to take care even of our toy books, to hand them 
down for the happiness of our juniors; and as for the scrap- 
books, mother thought children ought to grow up with books 
to take naturally to loving them, so we cut out sheets of old 
muslin, and pasted pictures and letters on them, indestructible 
books for the babies — why my little year-old has one of them 
now ! " 

Well, that as I consider it is the secret of Cousin Ann's suc- 
cess. She always began at the beginning, and faithfully built 
up from that. She always felt that she was training her chil- 
dren for ^& future, and that it did make a deal of difference what 
they did when they were little. 


This is emphatically an Age of Books. Children will see a 
deal of them as they go on in life. If you do not teach them to 
choose and love good books, they will skim over bad ones just 
enough to get poisoned by them. I think children should be 
taught to love books. First, by always seeing them around 
them, and by owning them from their earliest years. Second, 
by being taught to respect them and take good care of them : 
a little child should not be permitted to destroy books. For 
very little children, indestructible cloth books, bought or home- 
made, are the best thing that they can have. Third, they 
should be taught to love books and use them, by giving them 
books which they can enjoy — child's books, toy books, so thej 
are pure and genial in matter and manner. We should sympa 
thize with the child's love of the impossible, of the marvellous, 
the amusing. " Fairy Tales," and " Mother Goose," the dear 
old toy books of " Dame Crumb," and " Mother Hubbard," and 
" Jack, the Giant-Killer," and " Red Riding Hood," are a part 
of the blissful inheritance of childhood. 

With what tender love does Hugh Miller in his " Schools and 
Schoolmasters " speak of his first library, kept in a " nine-inch 
square birch-bark box." Here he had "Aladdin ; or. The Won- 
derful Lamp," " Sinbad, the Sailor," "Jack and the Bean-Stalk," 
" Beauty and the Beast." " And by these I passed on, without 
being conscious of break or line of division, to books on which 
the learned are content to write commentaries and dissertations, 
but which I found to be quite as nice children's books as any 
others." So Dickens adds his testimony in his " Recollections 
of My Christmas-Tree : " " Jack Beanstalk — how noble, with his 
sword of sharpness and his shoes of swiftness! Little Red 
Riding Hood comes to me one Christmas-Eve to give me infor- 
mation of the cruelty and treachery of that dissembling Wolf 
which ate her Grandmother! She was my first-love. Hushl 
Nov not Robin Hood, not Valentine, not the Yellow Dwarf: I 


have passed him and all Mother Bunch's wonders without men- 
tion; but an Eastern King, with glittering scimitar and turban. 
It is the setting in of the bright 'Arabian Nights.' Oh, now all 
common things become uncommon and enchanted to me! " 

Children cannot always be reading what we are pleased to 
call useful books. They have their place, but they are a part, and 
not the whole. And how do we know that these crude and 
embryonic books do not have their own great use and fitness, 
assimilating with the child's crude and embryonic powers? 
Children should have Sabbath books. The Bible should have its 
stories pointed out for their reading. Give the young child the 
Bible : he stumbles on the tenth chapter of Genesis, invaluable 
to Science ; upon a Psalm which, to the old tried heart, is as 
water from Bethlehem's Well, or on marvellous Hebrews, or 
knotty Romans, or the genealogical chapters in Chronicles, and 
he says in his heart that it is a terribly dull, hard book; and 
how can you expect him to like it? How can you, indeed? 
Why did you not give him that marvel tale of Samson, or that 
sweet romance of Ruth, or the wonder-book of Jonah on the 
sea, or the thrilling episodes in the life of Daniel, or the pathetic 
history of Joseph, or, best of all, the story of a Babe in a 
manger? He had a right to know what God put there/or him; 
to read of the dead girl raised to life, and the young man 
Kitting upon his bier, or the prodigal who came to himself 

There is no child who will not hungrily take to " Pilgrims' 
Progress." Buy a handsome copy, with plenty of pictures of 
Pilgrim armed, of the giants, of great Apollyon " straddling quite 
over the way," of lions, of the four boys, of Captain Greatheart 
slaying robbers. Keep this glorious book for Sundays, and 
instead of a fretting after " to-morrow," and a restlessness and 
riot, the child will wish two Sundays came in a week. So there 
is the story of the Holy War to captivate the heart of old or 
voimg. Plenty of good Sunday reading can and should be 


found ; stories of missionary heroism, tales of Huguenot, Covft 
nanter and Waldensian, lives well told of the champions of Chris- 
tendom, of Luther, full of force and fire, of Knox, unknown to 
fear, of zealous Calvin and tender Melancthon. Plenty is there 
of attractive and worthy, without being reduced to buy the 
moral dish-water trash, about good boys who stole apples, oi 
maidens who wind off yards of moral sentiments, and end by 
making a splendid marriage. 

As the children grow older the toy-books yield to histories, 
travels, explorations, and the fairy tales of science. Give them 
books on insects, on birds, on flowers, on shells, and they will 
learn to keep their eyes open, and compare what they see with 
what they read. This reminds me of Helen's little Tom. She 
sent him to school to keep him out of mischief, and he learned 
to read. He might possibly have fallen into a ruinous line of 
dime novels and flash papers, had not Hester made up her mind 
that Tom had a taste for natural sciences. To her father's 
private horror, she took Tom home with her for a week, and 
mtroduced him to the museum, and then as he wanted a museum, 
and said his three younger sisters tore up all his things, Hester 
presented him with a mite of a room behind her laundry, where 
he was to put up shelves and make a museum. Mr. Nugent 
took Tom out on some of his long tramps, made in connection 
with his scientific writing, and Tom astounded his father with a 
demand for " money to buy books about bugs and things." 
Frank, glad to have the child interested, gave him the money to 
lay out under Hester's supervision, and I really believe the 
youngster's newly acquired fondness for natural science will be 
the making of him. We all of us save for him any interesting 
fact or anecdote connected with the theme which he is pursuing. 
How many boys there are who could be brought off the streets, 
and out of demoralizing society and vicious readings by having 
their minds turned to some subject of interest, having books 


suited to some taste which they develop, and finding that their 
own interests and ideas are worthy of the attention of grown 
people ! 

This last winter we had in our village a Literary Society, com- 
posed of young and old from the village and county round. 
The Wintons, the Burrs, my three nieces, Cousin Ann's two 
married sons and their wives, Sarah, Mary Watkins and her 
husband, and others. It was very enjoyable; we read; we talked 
on subjects started by our reading; we purchased a few volumes 
in partnership ; we took a magazine ; we had essays on important 
themes. One of these was by Hester, on the subject of — 


Of all the influences about us in the present age, perhaps none is so 
largely educative as that of reading : the press even distances the pul- 
pit in its control over the minds of men ; the paper and the pamphlet 
go where the pastor and preacher cannot find their way. At every 
street corner, and a dozen times along every block of houses, the 
written word appears to the eye. The child from its cradle is sur- 
rounded with some kind of literature. Our education, whether we 
will or not, goes on with all the growing years, and is in them chiefly 
remitted to ourselves. And we shall find when all the years are tol-d, 
that nothing has so moulded and fashioned our inner lives — so made 
us what in the end we shall be — as reading. 

Read we must and will ; it is the passion of the present age. And 
here come up certain questions: What to read? What not to read? 
When to read? How to read? "Why, we all know that!" say 
Thomas and Bertha. Dearly beloved, I doubt it ; it is also even to 
be doubted whether your respected parents have considered it a grand 
part of their duty to give you careful instruction on these points. 

"Read, Thomas, or you will be considered a fool," says father. 
"Bertha, why rt'^ you read such trash?" says mother. Or, when' 
Thomas and Bertha are fourteen or fifteen, the parents take the matter 
in hand, and begin to form the young people's taste. Alas ! they have 
seen and read books now for years, and their taste is pretty well 
formed, or deformed, already. 

What to read ? We say nothing now of the Inspired Book — but 
answer : Let the first reading be of History ; this lays in the mind a 
solid foundation of thinking, judging, and comparing; history belongs 


to the domain of the true, and as truth is fundamental to all that ia 
good and worthy of possessing, history should be read, not merely 
until the mind is in possession of certain facts, but until it has gained 
a bent for sound reading. A young child, given historic reading from 
its first acquaintance with books, will always love that reading, and 
develop a literary taste : those whose taste has been vitiated so that 
they " dislike history," can restore the natural taste for the true by a 
faithful course of twelve months' historic reading. 

Next after history, you should read Biography. You have read of 
great events, and mighty world-changes : read now of their actors. 
Happy the child to whom somewise parent has given "Plutarch's 
Lives!" Read the lives of heroes, literati, philosophers, philan- 
thropists, those masters of the world, who have made history by the 
out-living of their individualities. 

And now when you read of the vicissitudes of the world, and of 
the inhabitants of the world, you need to know much of the world 
itself. Its zones and its productions, its tempests, its harvests, its 
convulsions, its sterility, have done much to make or mar the fortunes 
of its children. Read travels. Oh, glorious possibilities opened to us 
in books of travel ! We follow Kan,e into Northern seas ; we rush 
with Irving along the untrodden West ; we plunge with Livingstone 
into tne heart of Africa ; we march through grim Kamtschatka ; we 
luxuriate in fair islands of the Southern Main. China opens to us its 
immense domain, and its singular promise. India reveals worlds of 
mystery. Along the sands of Arabia, and in stony deserts, we follow 
where once moved a pillar of cloud and flame. Tell me, are you so 
depraved in taste as not to enjoy travels ? 

Twin to this line of reading stands the literature of exploration. 
The earth no longer hides her dead cities: Pompeii and Nineveh, 
Karnak and Babylon, Mycenje and Heliopolis ; Sicily and Syria and 
Etruria give up the story of the past. Believe me, it is more interest- 
ing than Mrs. Southworth or the "Ladies' Journal of Fashion!" 

And now, lest all this solid reading make you plodding, and your 
mental motion cumbersome, sit at the feet of the world's earliest and 
sweetest teachers, the poets. Do not try at first Chaucer, Spenser, or 
Milton : to understand them well, to take them to your heart, you 
must have read the traditionary lore of Persia and Arabia, and Italy 
and Greece, the fairy tales of Saxon lands. Read Tennyson, and 
Longfellow, and Bryant and Jean Ingelow, and Whittier and Words- 
worth — and — but time would fail to tell of Campbell and Coleridge 
and Scott, and many more — and after these you can rise to the sub- 
limer heights of Shakespeare and Milton, and the elder two. 


Thus, by easy and blissful steps, you will find your mind fitted for 
Rie serene plains of critical thought, where dwell the greater essp.yists 
' — and you can read Lamb and Addison and Macaulay, and many 
more who will fascinate you by the harmony of their speech, the just- 
ness, quaintness, and beauty of their thought. Now the mind is well 
in training, and it enters lovely avenues open on every side, the walks 
of the world of science, and reads of the wonders of the flower,' the 
treasures of the sea, and the stories of the stones, and the marvels of 
insect life, the romance of the birds of the air. 

But in all this where is the story, the novel, the delight of modern 
yuuth? Youth should stand on the threshold of manhood and 
womanhood, having read something of each of these many things, 
before the novel is reached. And now, at last, when history has 
given you truth as a basis of judgment, when biography has instructed 
you in human nature, and travels have taught you in scenery, and 
poetry has moulded you in sentiment, and criticism has guided you 
in discernment, now you are at last able to reject the bad and 
choose the good, you will find your book your Mentor, not your 
Circe ; take then the hand of the masters in the novel, and enter 
the charmed circle of romance. Read few novels by fewer authors, 
ivnd read these often. Don't make friends with the whole throng of 
light literature specimens ; take the books of the great brains, the 
criterions of novel-writing; take the novels that are prose epics — 
the kind that in your unread childhood you would have dashed down 
as dry ! Why not mention the magazines and the weekly journals ? 
Simply because these genii of our firesides include in themselves, in 
their best varieties, all the departments of reading that we have 

But hark you : there is one Book which is alone a library in 
itself. He who has not read and re-read the English Bible knows 
nothing of English literature. There is history, there lie biography, 
and travels, and philosophy, and poetry, and depths of science, and 
sweetest romances of youth and love and adventure, that have the 
added glory of being true. This Bible is a standard of pure taste ; 
it is a measure and model of the English tongue ; more than any- 
thing else that has been written it permeates all literature ; if we 
fail to read it, to study it, to possess it — then fairest similes, and 
choicest allusions, and aptest quotations in poet and essayist and 
novelist and historian fall unapprehended upon our stupid brains. 
And I mention this to you simply as an intellectual point, without 
referring to the fact that here flow, as in a blessed fountain, the 
Mfe- currents of the soul. 


We were all greatly pleased with this little essay, and we 
began at once to discuss what copies we possessed of such 
books as we had been recommended to read, or how far we had 
already pursued the line of reading indicated. We had oui 
meeting that evening out at Fred's farm-house, and Fred sug- 
gested that Hester had scarcely dwelt as she might on the need 
of reading in the line of our business or work. Fred thought 
that much of the reading of each person who has a business 
should be about that business. He must read other things for 
rest, recreation, or general information ; but he must read mainly 
in the line of his own duties. A lawyer should read law, histories 
of famous cases, the eloquent speeches and pleas of famous 
counsellors and pleaders, the biographies of the leaders of his 
profession. So the physician, and the minister, and the artist 
must read in their own line ; so the merchant should read of 
commerce, manufactures, of leading merchants, and learn by 
their failure and success. The farmer must read books on 
farming, on soils, on fowls, domestic animals, horticulture. 
Fred thought he had made or saved hundreds of dollars by 
b.uying books on these subjects, subscribing for magazines or 
journals, and taking and reading the daily and weekly papers. 
He showed us four scrap-books, begun when he was a boy — one 
marked Grains, another Fruit, another Flowers and Vegetables, 
and the last Fowls. In these, each subject was alphabetically 
divided, and in each division he put down items cut from maga- 
zines or papers on that subject. He said that they were inval- 
uable to him, and also a great help to his farm-hands, who read 
them and availed themselves of the hints therein contained. " I 
don't follow all I read," said Fred ; " I use my judgment and 
experience ; nor would I like a fool decry ' book-farming,' because 
now-a-days all that is worth knowing has got into print, and he 
who does anything worth the doing is following, whether he 
knows it or not, what is contained somewhere in a book." 


Among those younger members of the society who took an 
especial interest in what Hester had asserted to be proper read 
ing were Mrs. Black's two younger children, Thomas and his 
sister Belinda. They said they had never heard anything of the 
kind before ; that the reading advised was not at all what they 
had pursued, and they meant to make an entire change. Their 
frank interest pleased Hester, and she invited them to come and 
see her library, and she also offered to help them make out a 
book-list. Her husband, Dr. Nugent, said privately to hei that 
they quite as much needed an Index Expurgatcrius, and that 
she should expound to them what not to read. Whether i' was 
because of this hint, or of our young friends' innumerable ques- 
tions, I cannot tell ; but Hester did write them a letter on What 
Not to Read, and they were much pleased with it and brought 
it for me to see. It ran thus : 

Dear Thomas and Bei^nda: 

It was my examination of your book-shelves, my glance at the 
volumes in your hands last evening, my look at the centre-table where 
your favorite works lie, that impelled me to write to you about whal 
not to read. The press, dear children, has, like other good things, 
been largely subsidized by the devil. One tells 'you to read poetry, 
and then there are poets, as Byron and Swineburn, whom you should 
not read ; and Burns, for part of whose works you will be better, for 
part worse. Some novels are our teachers, some our ' destroyers ; 
history is commended to you, and some histories are written in the 
interests of superstition, infidelity, or vice. What shall you do? 
Let us have a few rules for our guidance, that we may not gather 
poisons, nor flowers and fruit whereof worms have eaten out the 

Doubtless we never forget : we may think that we forget, but, as in 
the palimpsest, the successive writings are only overlaid : they remain 
and may start into clearness. The mind is a phonograph which shall 
keep and echo the impressions of the past. Books form in us habits 
of thought which shall live forever with us. Then if oar reading is 
to terminate on the useless or the dangerous, it will be a thousand 
pities that we ever learned to read. 

To begin, then : never read that which, instead of adding to^ takes 


from your mental or spiritual strength. Do not let your reading be 
a succession of examples in subtraction, but in addition to your 
inner life. Never read a book that robs you of earnestness, nor of 
that high quality of reverence, without which there can be no truly 
elevated character. Never read anything which in one whit robs you 
oi purity, for it is only the pure in heart who shall see God, Never 
read what you are ashamed to be seen reading ; the instinct to hidt 
is your heart's own sentence of condemnation. But even what is 
suitable to read at one time is unsuitable at another. Thus you are at 
school, and you are pursuing daily a certain line of studies. There- 
fore, my children, when you refresh your minds by reading, you should 
read in the line of your studies. Let us suppose that you are old 
enough, and well cultivated enough to read Thackeray, or George 
Elliot, or William Black ; yet if you read these in term time, they 
fascinate and distract your mind from your scholarly duties. Leave, 
therefore, these books for vacation, and during the school months 
read history, travels, biography, science. Let the poetry and the 
romance go until the holiday. 

Do not on Sabbath read those secular books that may be lawful on 
other days. Read on the holy day those works which shall help you 
in the holy life. Don't beguile yourself, Belinda, with a religious 
viovel, a piece of namby-pamby stuff, which shall not only bring you 
no nigher heaven on Sunday, but shall unfit you to study logic on 
Monday. No moral dish-water for you, my children ! Consider also 
that the morning finds us with the impressions of the night before. 
So do not let us close with reluctance at midnight on Saturday some 
entrancing book that we would not read on Sabbath; its image will 
be projected on our minds during many of the sacred hours, fore- 
stalling other and higher impressions. Be heedful also never to read 
v/hat is popularly called "stuff" or poor writing, even though it may 
have no evil inculcations, or possibly may aim at a certain moral 
bearing. There is plenty of good writing, standard writing, to be 
found for the asking, and a production of low literary character 
weakens the mind. Do not, like " Silas Wegg " and " Mr. Venus,' 
indulge in "floating your powerful minds on tea." Fix it firmly in 
your brains that the Bible is the measure of excellence ; that the 
Creator of the mind produced a book exactly suited for the nurture 
Df the mind. And, therefore, carefully eschew every work that 
openly or covertly depreciates the Scriptures ; whether it cavils at the 
inspirations, or the statements, or the doctrines of the Bible, when- 
ever // cavils do you condemn and drop it. Some works cry " Hail, 


Master ! " on the first page, give a Judas-kiss on tlie second, and on 
the third you see the shadow of the Roman officers looming behind. 
Keep your eyes open to danger; don't be lured on hidden rocks by 
sirens' songs. The easy faith of youth says : " a book? then a good." 
Not always; it may be, in its " Sunday-best" green, blue or gold, a 
garb of light; but look warily: if there is a cloven foot under tb<- 
blue, or a tail peeping out behind, drop it. 

Don't read from curiosity what good people have condemned. 
Did you say, Thomas, that you had heard the book was not good, 
but you wanted to read for yourself, and see if it were bad, and how 
it was bad? This is not a brave judgment trying all things; this is 
curiosity and a mean love of evil. Better trust these other people who 
condemn ; they were made before you were. I do not know that you 
are so eager to,try if arsenic and vitriol are dangerous, and how they 
are dangerous. We show our best judgment, my children, by taking 
some things on trust. The world is wide, and we cannot investigate 
everything ; a caterpillar on a grape-leaf can investigate the whole of 
his domain, but the eagle cannot try every field of air. And lastly 
don't read everything you see, in an insane desire to be called a great 
reader; be rather a thorough, careful reader. Don't read anything 
just because you "happened to pick it up," but read what there is a 
reasonable prospect of finding worth reading. 

Your Friend, Hester Nugent. 

At our next meeting of the Literary Society, which at this 
time was held at Helen's, an interesting discussion arose as to 
when to read. It happened to be started by the Blacks, who had 
usually been silent members of the band. Mrs. Winton is sec- 
retary, and in reading the report of the last meeting she gave a 
brief resume of Hester's essay. This, when the evening was 
open for discussions, led to the following appeal to Hester, from, 
the youngest Miss Black : 

" You have given me," says Belinda, with a little pout, " such 
an enormous amount of reading to do, and now I should just 
like to know when I am ever to accomplish it. My day has only 
twenty-four hours in it, and half of them are night." 

" Exactly, my Belinda ; I was on the very point of telling you 
When to Read." said Hester, smiling. " Make a habit of read 


ing, and read whenever you can. Count that day lost when some 
moments have not been snatched for reading; and you will 
find this snatching for moments a greater thing than it seems at 
first sight. After any period of years, if you look back, you will 
find that much of your most valuable reading has been done at 
desultory moments, when you might have done nothing at all. 
Let me be practical : you go to call upon a friend ; you find that 
she will see you ' in a few minutes.' Don't waste that few min- 
utes — they may grow to ten — in looking at your gloves or 
poking your parasol-top into the carpet, but take a book. All 
parlors should have books in them, and light enough by at least 
one window to see to read them. A bookless parlor is a howl- 
ing wilderness ; books — standard books — are more important in 
furnishing a parlor than card-baskets, vases and knick-knacks of 
all sorts. Take up a book while you wait, and spend your time 
in reading. Perhaps your book is a blue-and-gold Tennyson; 
and in that waiting space you have laid up a jewel in memory's 

"' I hold it truth with him who sings 
To one sweet harp of divers tones. 
That men may rise on stepping stones 
Of their dead selves to higher things. 

" ' But who can so forecast the years, 
Or find in grief a joy to match. 
Or reach a hand through time to catch 

The far-off interest of tears ? ' 

Or possibly, some one has left 'Trench's Study of Words' 
within reach, and you can set your brain at work upon the far- 
reaching proposition, that ' language is fossil history.' " 

Here Hester paused, feeling that she was occupying too much 
time, but there was a unanimous cry for her to proceed with the 
discussion of this question. It was held by Mrs. Burr that it 
was the very theme belonging to the evening, and likely to be 
the most useful. And as Hester was still reluctant, it was 
cnoved, seconded and voted that fifteen minutes were to be spent 


in hearing Mrs. Nugent explain When to Read. As she could 
no longer decline with a good grace, Hester proceeded, still 
addressing herself to Belinda Black. 

"Again suppose, Belinda, that you are ready to go out walk, 
ing, and somebody keeps you waiting. Now, if you have the 
habit of reading, instead of drumming on the window, and char 
acterizing 'somebody' as 'horrid,' you look for that friend, 
that ' other self,' of all spare moments, a book ; and if by chance 
it is a volume of Jean Ingelow, for poets come most easily to 
hand in odd hours, and you read one of that sweet singer's 
dainty bits of still-life painting — of brown butterflies wavering 
over beds of golden-rod, of dappled shadows flitting over daisy- 
broidered meads, of flushes of purple heather on a sunny rise, 
then you go out to walk with eyes awakened to beauty, and 
heart in harmony with nature, alert to catch the loveliness of 
flower-set waysides, of lichen-spotted rocks, of vines rioting over 
gray fences. If perchance you might have indulged in folly or 
gossip, now you, ' in the love of Nature, hold communion with 
her visible forms.' Have this habit of reading, and you will not 
suffer your mind to be engrossed with trifles. If reading 
becomes a second nature to you, a thing without which you can- 
not live, you will not permit your time to be so taken up bead- 
ing jackets, or braiding cloaks, or embroidering handkerchiefs — 
things which in ten years will be forgotten or remembered only 
as ridiculous — that you have no time for gathering into your 
own life the garnered treasures of those intellectual kings, who 
have been ruling it in the world of thought since time began. 
More than any other, this habit of reading can make us happy 
and independent, and it goes far in saving us from being swept 
away in a round of folly, which we name ' fashionable life.' " 

" But, dear Belinda, do not consider that you have done your 
whole duty as a reading person, when you pick up a book in 
5pare moments. You must systematize your work and you/ 


pleasures, so that you shall have solid hours for reading. Some 
books, they are the weighty and valuable ones generally, will 
not bear to be read in hasty snatches: you must devote to theii 
perusal uninterrupted seasons. Morning hours are golden hours 
for reading; the brain is fresh from sleep; the body is rested; 
here let me say to you, my dear girl, that that day is ill spent 
when the morning does not have some quiet space for reading, 
your Bible, and for prayer; this sanctifies the day; it puts our 
hours at interest with God, and then he makes them bring forth 
with usury. Try by system in all your arrangements to get a 
bright morning hour or two for reading. Evening is another 
excellent opportunity; our work is done; nothing lies before us 
but to seek our rest ; hurry and excitement are over for the 
time being; with good print and a good light, here is a happy 
space for reading. Be careful, then, that you do not make 
engagements for every evening in the week ; keep one or two 
for reading ; and here I would suggest that Saturday evening is 
an especial time to use in the study of works bearing on the 
Bible; jvork on the Sabbath-school lesson; read books or short 
articles that explain it; let 'Biblical Geography' or 'Antiquities,' 
'Josephus,' 'Rawlinson's Illustrations of the Old Testament,' 
form your library for Saturday night. 

" Try these rules for a year, Bertha, and no one will be as 
surprised as yourself at the amount of reading v?hich you wil) 
have been able to do, and no one will be so greatly benefited." 

We were all well pleased with these observations. 

Miriam said : " I have always found that m every day there 
are more minutes , for reading than at first thought we should 
expect. During the first two years of my housekeeping, I 
snatched many minutes for reading while I was cooking my 
dinner, I kept a book on the kitchen shelf, and 1 had a little 
rocking-chair by the window, and could comfortably read -many 
pages in time, which otherwise would have gone by idly. One 


ot' my neighbors greatly condemned this practice; she said I 
would have under-doile beef, and watery potatoes, and burned 
soup, if I allowed books in the kitchen, but her prophecy never 
proved true. I asked her if she never baked a loaf of bread, 
made a pot of soup, and ironed a shirt all at the same time. She 
admitted that she did-, but said that was not a parallel case. I 
could not keep dinner and books in mind, as well as ironing 
and dinner. But I knew I could." 

I was in hopes when we started our Literary Society that it 
would have a good effect upon us all ; that it would destroy 
gossip and slander, by giving us useful and popular subjects of 
conversation ; that it would encourage studiousness and love of 
reading in the young; substitute improving for frivolous pleas- 
ures, and animate our young mothers to instruct their own 
minds, ana so become more valuable teachers for their children, 
more companionable wives, and more intelligent hostesses. I 
have not been disappointed in my expectations ; I find an interest 
awakening in sound, standard literature, a desire to improve 
time, and a new contempt for vapid or flashy reading. Helen 
js waking up very much to the need and advantage of reading. 
She invited Hester and myself to spend an afternoon with her, 
and she and Hester had some improving conversation as to How 
,0 Read. I shall set down the principal points which Hester 
;nade on this subject 

Helen said : " I have been trying, Hester, to put into practice 
what you suggested about snatching time for reading. I feel 
myself slipping behind the age, knowing little of current topics 
or new discoveries: a dull entertainer for my husband, and un- 
able to answer a tenth part of my children's questions. So I 
am resolved to read more, and with my household cares I must 
do it by snatches. Now how shall I tuni these odd moments 
for reading to good account ? I read, and it does not profit me 
weiy much: I forget I read, and then what I read runs out of 


my mind like water out of a sieve. What am I to do? How 
shall I read?" 

"Helen, my dear," said Hester, "you are an admirable pupil; 
you hear, and obey, and develop new problems for yourself. 
Let me give you two or three short rules concerning how to 
read. Merely to hold a book and assort in your mind certain 
letters is not reading. 

" First : read with fixed attention. If you are only reading for 
five minutes, be capable for that five minutes of being completely 
absorbed in what you peruse. If you are reading while you are 
waiting for dinner, do not read wondering ' why that bell don't 
ring,' or whether the roast will be beef or lamb. If you are 
reading, because you have a habit of reading and carry a book 
in your pocket, at your dressmaker's, while you are waiting for 
her to fit your next gown, don't read, let us say, Irving, on the 
' Royal Poet of Scotland,' and muse with half your mind whether 
the dressmaker will cut your train long enough, your sleeves 
tight enough, and your basque a proper shape. Read while you 
read; let whatever your mind applies itself to be seized with so 
firm a grasp that thenceforth it is a part of itself. School your- 
self in this : all good habits are the result of persistent discipline. 
Let us say that you read for ten minutes, in ' Rawlinson's Man- 
ual,' on the subject of Phoenicia. You close the book; you 
have no realizing sense of those old Phoenicians; they are to 
you hardly a name. Open again your book; apply yourself 
again for ten minutes to those same pages, and if you must 
renew that process for ten consecutive days, be resolute enough 
to continue it; and when at last those fathers of ancient mariners, 
with their line of seaboard cities, the busy trade of Zidon, the 
splendid merchant-kings of Tyre, the glory of Carthage hum- 
ming with its industries, are yours, an inalienable mental prop- 
erty, you will have learned how to conquer inattention, you will 
have mastered your own mind, you will have acquired one 
method of ruling your spirit. 


" To read is not merely to run the eye over certain combina- 
tions of the alphabet : to read is to take a book and be so attent 
upon it that it becomes your own mental property. You can 
analyze it, reason upon it, add to it from other sources, make it 
part of yourself 

" Learn all you can about the authors whose books you read: 
this will give you a vital interest in your books, and help them to 
become your friends. Read with sympathy. Throw yourself 
into the age and race of which you read, make the past present^ 
and the distant near ; become, for the time being, part of what 
you are reading. Do not take up the ' Canterbury Tales ' and 
read it with the pervading sense of a modern rocking-chair, an 
anthracite fire, a new dress with knife-pleatings on the upper 
ikirt, and the near approach of a modern dinner. But let the 
opening of the book be as the chariots of Amminadab, carrying 
you back to England's brawling transition age, Becket's tomb a 
real shrine, the journey thither a giant undertaking and beset 
with real dangers; hear that burly miller drunk and piping; see 
the pale scholar, with his Lollard faith, peep under the hood of 
the pretty prioress, a flirt in holy orders ; laugh with the coarse, 
vain, good-natured wife of Both ; behold the Taberd Inn, its sign 
a knight's wrought cloak, its table deal-boards laid on trestles, 
its guest-room the great kitchen, with a fire roaring up the 
chimney, and the joint roasting before it on the spit. 

" If you read of Italy, let go your hold on bustling, modern 
America with its practicalities, and drift away to Tuscan olive 
slopes and purple vineyards, hills veiled in a blue haze, silver- 
threaded Arno sliding seaward, and the great, blue Mediterra- 
nean embracing all. Read with sympathy, and you will read 
well. If a work is not worth the trouble of studying sympa 
thetically its age, its race, its author and its subject-matter, then 
it is not worth the trouble of reading. 

•' Have also a habit of turning over in your mind and review- 


ing your mental treasures. You come upon some striking 
thought in Macaulay, and you recall how Froude, or Burton, 
or Bancroft, or Motley, illustrated the Same thought, or referred 
to the same period. From what fountain-head did the poet 
draw this draught of elixir? Take the trouble to compare, to 
criticise, to generalize ; feel when you are reading anything 
that you are your own steward, and that you will call yourself 
to account some day for these precious things that you are 
putting in trust. 

" Don't be discouraged, Helen, if you forget, and if you can- 
not comprehend, and if you mingle things which do not belong 
together. If I am not mistaken, you learned to sew by picking 
out and ' doing over' many a long seam. Oh, that doing over! 
How vexatious it was ! But it was the parent of all those 
beautiful dexterously set stitches, which now make you a pattern 
seamstress. And so, child, go over your reading. Time is not 
lost if you go over and over again the same thing, if it is a thing 
worth the going over, and if you are acquiring good mental 
habits, which shall hereafter make one reading enough." 

These various suggestions as to how to read were called forth 
one after another by Helen's inquiries and remarks ; but as 
they furnish, as a whole, a good set of rules for reading in a 
manner to improve, I have set them solidly together. 

The more I consider the subject, the more am I struck with 
the important part which books play in our lives. 

I was reading lately a -work by Hugh Miller, and I was 
especially impressed by his remark, that he had found among 
his fellow-workmen that few men who knew how to read 
became criminals or paupers as compared with the men who did 
not know how to read ; while he could recall almost no instance 
in which a man, who was fond of good reading, became either a 
criminal or a pauper. This is a very strong testimony to the 
morally preservative power of reading, and should encourage 


parents to provide their children Hberally with proper, useful 
and entertaining books, even if to do this they must work 
harder, or give them plainer clothes. I have long made a 
practice of choosing books for my holiday and birthday gifts 
to my little friends. How much they are to be preferred to 
noisy toys ! Their effect upon the child is better, they are 
more comfortable in the household, and a well-taught child will 
keep them to add to the happiness of its younger brothers and 

The moulding influence of books upon our minds is illus- 
trated by some remarks yf Dr. Guthrie's about the Book of 
Proverbs. In speaking of education among the Scotch in his 
childhood, he remarks: 

"Having learned our letters and some small syllables, we 
were at once passed into the Book of Proverbs. In crfden time 
this was the universal custom in all the common schools in 
Scotland: a custom that should never have been abandoned. 
That book is without a rival for beginners, containing quite a 
repertory of monosyllables, and pure Saxon-English undefiled. 
. . While learning the Art of Reading by the Book of Proverbs, 
Vve had our minds stored with the highest moral truths, and by 
f advices applicable to all ages and departments in life ; the 
mind while it was supple received a bent in a direction largely 
favorable to future well-doing and success. The patience, 
prudence, forethought and economy which used to characterize 
Scotchmen — giving occasion to the saying, 'a canny Scot' — by 
which they were able so often to rise in the world, and distance 
competitors in the race of life, were, to a large extent, due to their 
being thus ingrained in youth and childhood with the practical 
wisdom enshrined in the Book of Proverbs." 

The high testimony thus given to the permanently moulding 
and impressing effect of the study of this inspired Book of 
Proverbs could in a measure be borne to all good books, In 


them we come in contact with good deeds, good men and noble 
thoughts; we are taught to study understandingly the works 
of God ; good moves on in them before us to perfect consum- 
mation, and evil is portrayed in its course to shame, loss and 
sorrow; we learn to choose the good, and eschew the evil. 

I have heard the morality and thrift of the Icelanders attributed 
in a large measure to their love of books. Each family owns a 
few volumes which are read and re-read, and passed from hand 
to hand. They are a reading people. Their long, cold winters 
afford almost unbroken time for cultivation of their minds, and 
the result is a simple, studious, laborious, contented people. In 
travelling in this country, I have noticed that those working- 
people of our foreign population, especially among miners who 
are given to books and study, live better, have better houses, 
clothes and position in society, than those who spend their 
leisure time in gossip or amusements. The Welsh have nearly 
all of them a taste for reading, and a shelf of books in their own 
houses. The young people are trained to read in their leisure 
hours, and to take part in their yearly Eisteddfodds, or Literary 
Exhibitions ; and along with this taste for books you find the 
Welsh miner well dressed, gentlemanly in his manners, pos- 
sessor of bank-stock, and owner of his Home. 

I picked up, this morning, a " Life of Seneca," and noted this 
remark of his, concerning the education of children : " I would 
prove to you what eager impulses our little scholars would have 
toward all that is good, if any one would lead them on." What 
is a better Leader in a good way than a good book ? The child 
reads in silence : the eye conveys information to us even more 
impressively than the ear. The child reads his book again and 
again ; the story or the lesson is upon the page, unchangeable 
in its form, to be referred to, reasoned upon, until it becomes a 
part of the mind itself I was conversing the other day with 
Mrs. Winton on the subject of choosing books for our families 
She remarked: 


" The little Aphis upon a leaf fills itself and grows like that on 
which it feeds : so the mind, especially the young mind, fastens 
upon its books, and they become part and parcel of itself Now- 
a-days man might be described as a ' reading animal.' Our chil ■ 
dren are born into a world full of printed matter : sooner or later 
they are bound to read. If we do not attract the child toward 
books by giving him those that are interesting, if we do not form 
his taste for the pure and good in literature, he will, by-and-by, 
be wheedled by strangers into reading dime novels and flash 
papers, and what they call in England ' penny dreadfuls.' We 
must inculcate sound doctrine concerning reading; we must 
follow up this teaching by watching carefully over our children's 
reading : it is a subject worthy our diligent investigation. A 
child's temptations are many and greater than we in oiir middle- 
aged assurance realize. Satan is prompt enough to sow evil 
reading, illustrated with startling pictures, to beguile the mind 
and corrupt the taste. We must also remember the homely 
saying that ' an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,' 
and that a full cup cannot be filled fuller. From our children's 
first Primers we must set ourselves to create in them a sound 
and healthful taste that would loathe all poisons of the mind. 
So, before long, as Plato tells us, the child ' praises and rejoices 
over the good, and receives it into his soul, and becomes also 
noble and good. He will justly blame and hate the bad now in 
the days of his youth, even before he is able to know the. reason 
of the thing; and when reason comes, he will recognize and 
salute virtue as a friend with whom his education has long made 
him acquainted.' " 

Mrs. Burr, who was sitting with us, remarked : 

"At this day it is easy to provide reading matter of a good 

kind for our families. Books and magazines are abundant and 

very cheap. Postage on printed matter is low, and publishers 

will generally send their books by mail, post-paid. Expressage 


is carried in most parts of the country at a reasonable rate; 
bookstores are established in all our towns and large villages, 
while the extended publication of subscription-books now brings 
numbers of our most important and valuable works to every 
man's door. A very little self-denial in laying up a fund to pur- 
chase such of these books as will be improving and attractive 
to the whole family-circle, and useful to each one's especial 
business, would be the means of furnishing the Home with varied 
and useful reading, assuring its good taste and refinement, 
promoting its comfort and its economies, making its older mem- 
bers at once wise and genial, its juniors intelligent and contented, 
its servants capable and respectable. A Home without books 
is like a garden without flowers, like a forest without birds or 
sunshine, like a house without furniture. Out of bookless homes 
go the majority of the criminals, paupers, vagrants, maniacs and 
chronic invalids, because the Home well supplied with books 
has inmates whose leisure is well occupied, and not idle time for 
Satan to fill with mischief; their minds are well stored, and not 
left open to preying fancies to drive them mad, or to evil entice- 
ments to make them wicked. They are people who know what 
to do to keep themselves well or to cure themselves when ill ; 
people who have learned how to practise economies to save 
their money, and activities to earn more of it ; people who have 
learned, from the records of the wide observation of many 
intelligent writers, the consequences of things, the results of 
diverse courses of conduct, and so do not dash heedlessly on 
to ruin, but find guide-posts to point them on their way to 
success in the Books in their Homes." 



' N looking over the volumes of my yearly journals, I find 
frequent mention made of accidents that have occurred 
in the neighborhood, and among my acquaintance, and 
of the way in which these have been met. These 
■accidents are forever happening, generally as the result of care- 
lessness or ignorance, but sometimes owing to circumstances 
over which no one has control, and for which no one is to blame. 
There is no family but may in any hour, either as a whole or in 
one of its members, be brought into deadly peril. It is then a 
serious question : are we cultivating in ourselves a frame of mind 
v/hich shall enable us to meet these mischances and conquer 
them? This power over accidents which renders us victors in 
imminent dangers is called Presence of Mind. The phrase is 
suggestive : it denotes a mind at home in all its powers — wits 
which are not off, as people say, " wool-gathering," but which 
are ready to act promptly ; a mind which does not greet danger 
as some people wake up, dazed and stupid, and taking a long 
while to know where they are, or what they are about. When, 
a person lacks Presence of Mind, the appearance of danger, of 
need, puts part of their minds to flight. They might but now 
have been reasonable beings with all their faculties alert, but on 
the appearance of trial, reason, courage, hope, skill, and quick 
ness of thought fly from them, terror takes the reins and drives 

like Phaeton in the chariot of the sun, overturning all things 



Of this excellent quality, Presence of Mind, Dr. John Brown, of 
Edinburgh, speaks thus : " Men have done some signal feat ol 
presence of mind, and if asked how they did it, they do no* 
know — they just did it. It was in fact done and then thought 
of, not thought of and then done : in which case it would never 
have been done at all. It is one of the highest powers of the 
mind thus to act. It is done by an acquired instinct!' Here it 
is not intended that in performing feats of Presence of Mind one 
does not think, for these feats are the product of the most just 
and logical thinking, which grasps at once an entire situation; 
but the thinking is done with electric speed, so swiftly that one 
is unconscious of its process. To act with Presence of Mind in 
danger, requires in the first place courage, because v/ithout that, 
fear will paralyze our thinking and acting ; there must be no' 
parleying with fear. In the next place a soundly trained reason 
is required ; we must have accustomed ourselves to act logically 
and with foresight ; hope, faith, and self-forgetfulness are also ele- 
ments in Presence of Mind ; in fact all that is good in the mind 
seems to be present and in active operation, and all that is evil 
is held in abeyance. These good powers act so instantaneously 
and so perfectly that they seem rather the exhibition, for the 
instant, of an unerring instinct; but, as Dr. Brown says, it is an 
" acquired instinct :" the product of mental training, of rigid self- 
control, of a proper cultivation of our powers. Now it is true 
that some people seem gifted with more natural Presence of 
Mind than others ; that is, those high faculties which make up 
presence of mind are in them naturally of more active operation ; 
thus they have naturally more courage and greater calmness 
and less fear and excitement ; they are more reasonable and less 
emotional. But because a person does not originally possess a 
good degree of Presence of Mind is no reason why he should 
not acquire it. People do not argu? that because they were born 
poor they must always be poor; but rather, that, not havinp 


inherited a fortune, they must with more industry set to work to 
earn one. Every one should face the fact that he is morally 
bound to have, and exhibit when needed, Presence of Mind; 
because it may often happen that on the possession by him of 
this quality, the life, or limb, or fortune of himself or his 
neighbor may depend. A person of a responsible age, who sees 
that he is wanting in a quality so valuable, should take shame 
for the want, and then resolve to possess what he lacks; then 
by cultivating courage, self-control and reasonable thought, by 
resolutely repressing in emergencies, great or small, all excite- 
ment and frenzy, he will become capable of acting wisely in any 

I find a very false notion abroad, that, of course, men should 
have presence of mind, and that without it they are cowards and 
fit subjects of ridicule; but that it is vastly pretty for young ladies 
to fall into a faint or a spasm of hysterics, or a state of insane 
terror as soon as an occasion arises which demands a reason- 
able exercise of their faculties. Young ladies make a virtue of 
screaming at a spider; "having a chill at seeing a toad;" going 
frantic at the sight of a wound, or of blood; boasting how 
frightened they were at some trifle, and as soon as there is 
some great emergency, when they should act, they become 

Mothers should feel it a very important part of the training 
of their children to make them calm and reasonable in emer- 
gencies, and helpful in accidents ; even young children can show 
great presence of mind, and if this quality is to be seated firmly 
in the mind, it should be cultivated from childhood. I remem- 
ier when Mrs. Black's two youngest children were quite small 
I called there, and it happened that a beetle was discovered 
crawling on Belinda's apron; Mrs. Black screamed and made 
ineffectual dashes at " the horrid bug," and Belinda howled like 
a Comanche. I put the beetle out of the wmdow. 


" Dear Belinda is so sensitive," said Mrs. Black, proceeding to 
pet her daughter ; " she is frantic at sight of a bug." 

" I should prefer," I said, " to have her sensible, if sensitiveness 
is to develop in that style. Is Tom also afraid of bugs?" 

" Why, no : he's a boy" said Mrs. Black. 

" But I cannot see if a bug is dangerous that it should show 
my respect to his sex; if it is poisonous, it would poison him." 

"Oh, it isn't poisonous, but — it looks so," said Mrs. Black. 

" Well, has not Tom as good an eye for looks as his sister ? 
If the bug is such a gorgon's head as to throw all beholders into 
spasms, Tom should succumb, as well as Belinda. Excuse me, 
Mrs. Black, I think the trouble is just here, that Belinda has 
found out that you expect her to shriek at a ' bug,' and that you 
regard it a genteel and praiseworthy act in her, quite becoming 
an embryo lady; but Tom knows his boy-mates would laugh at 
him soundly for such folly, and so shows common-sense. As 
to the bug, it is not ugly at all : a beetle is beautiful." I saw 
the beetle crawling on the window-ledge and took it in. "See 
this shell ; the wing-covering is polished more highly than the 
finest rosewood, and is of the exact aiir color which is now all 
the rage; see how daintily these black spots are arranged upon 
it; Belinda, look at its bright eyes; and this pair of curved claws 
in' front of its mouth serve to seize and hold its food; pray, child, 
what would you do without hands to hold your bread and but- 
ter ? Look at its feet, with little prickly points to hold fast and 
climb by; and see here, under these brown, shining shell wings 
are a pair of flying wings, fine, delicate red silk, stretched on 
tiny folding frames, as your fan on its sticks, or your parasol on 
its wires. You could easily hurt it, if you were so cruel, but it 
could not possibly hurt you. Now, touch its smooth back; now 
put it out of doors." 

Indeed, Belinda had become quite interested in the beetle, 
and she has never feared one since ; but her training had culti- 


vated frantic screaming at all creatures of the kind, and this 
came out quite to her mother's mortification soon after. 

There was a wedding at our church, by far the most splendid 
wedding ever in our town. We were all invited, and Mrs. 
Black in all her glory occupied a front seat, with little Belinda, 
flounced and ribboned wonderfully. In the very midst of the 
ceremony, Belinda espied a caterpillar crawling up her dress- 
waist. Instead of picking it off, or asking her mother to do so, 
she gave vent to unearthly yells, which startled every one in the 
church, and stopped for the time the marriage ceremony. Mrs. 
Black, in high terror, turned to see what ailed Belinda; plucked 
off the intruder, and placed her hand over the youngster's 
mouth. All in vain; if it became a daintily-dressed little lady 
to howl at caterpillars, Miss Belinda meant to howl thoroughly; 
she kicked and shrieked, and was carried out of the church 
purple in the face, and her mother'was too much overcome by 
excitement and mortification to return to the wedding party, 
while the whole town was full of condemnations of "that 
dread<Ml child." Why dreadful ? She was acting as she had been 
trained to act. 

Who could expect a child behaving in this way at seven to 
display at thirteen the Presence of Mind of a little girl I saw 
near Niagara ? She had been left in charge of the opening to the 
natural curiosity called the Devil's Hole. On the counter were 
a few jars of candy; she had with her a child of two and a half; 
the rear door of the shop opened upon a wide table-rock which 
overhung the river, boiling perhaps a hundred feet below, over 
its stony bed, in prodigious rapids. While the girl was receiving 
the fees of a party about to descend the ladders at the right of 
the rock, the little child escaped by the back-door. The party 
gone, the young nurse saw the child running toward the verge 
oi the rock; to call, or to pursue, would ensure its destruction; 
she grasped a jar of candy, and shouting "candy!" poured it? 


contents out upon the rock. The child looked back; not six 
feet from destruction it paused; could not resist the lavished 
sweets, and came skipping back to share them ! Here was 
a fine instance of Presence of Mind : the self-control which 
repressed the dangerous call or pursuit; the reason which seized 
the temptation strongest to the fugitive, which in a flash argued 
:iut the dangers and the probabilities of the case, and acted on 
the instant, when to delay would have been death. 

Cousin Ann has always been careful to cultivate Presence of 
Mind in her children. Once when Fred was small I was there, 
and the door of the kitchen stove falling open, the coals rolled 
out upon the floor and began to burn. Fred, about three years 
old, began to scream. " Hush ! " said Cousin Ann, calmly ; 
" put the fire out, and scream afterwards!' She put a little pail 
of water into his hand, and made him pour it over the fire, and 
then gather the quenched coals on a shovel and put them in the 

" It is true," she said, " that the floor is a little more burned 
than if I had left Fred to shriek and had poured on the water 
myself; but I have taught him how to put out a fire, and that 
in emergencies it is better to act than to cry!' 

I replied : " The course you took is better for many reasons, 
as I have noticed that, in families where Presence of Mind is 
cultivated, accidents are few: for the calm, reasonable courage 
which can meet an accident wisely, is the quality which will 
usually prevent their occurring." 

Cousin Ann and myself were going from her house into town 
one day walking, when, as we passed a neighbor's farm-house, 
a woman rushed out, crying, " Murder ! Murder ! he's dying." 
Cousin Ann dashed in, and I followed her. On a chair, just 
within the door, sat a fine young man ; an axe lay beside him ; 
the floor was covered with blood which spouted from his leg 
just below the knee. He had drawn up his trowser-ieg over 


the knee, but nothing else had been done, and his face was 
growing white as his life-blood poured away. On the instant 
Cousin Ann snatched from the mother's waist her apron with 
wide tape-strings, tore off a string, and proceeded to draw it 
round the leg about an inch above the wound. 

" Bring me a little stick, Sophronia! " she cried; and twisting 
this under the tied tape, she turned it around so as to increase 
the pressure and check the flow of blood. 

In a moment or two the bleeding had stopped. The mother, 
who had had presence of mind to do nothing but talk, wanted 
to talk loudly. 

" He was cutting wood ! He struck himself! Oh, me ! I 
thought he was dead ! " 

"Be quiet," said Cousin Ann, with authority. "Bathe his 
face with vinegar and water: he is faint. Sophronia, find a 
fresh egg at the barn and whip it up with a little sugar : he 
needs something to strengthen him." 

MeanwhiJe, she removed his shoe and stocking; bathed away 
the blood; helped the mother draw the injured man's rocking- 
chair away from the sight of the stained floor , arranged his 
wounded leg safely ; quietly told a boy, who was passing, to 
send a doctor from the village to dress the wound; bade the 
woman set her room in order ; gave the young man the egg ; 
and having in these few moments saved his life and restored 
him to comfort, she sat by him fanning him, while he slept from 
exhaustion, until the doctor arrived. Had the poor mother 
been left to her own device of screaming "murder," her son 
would have been murdered indeed. 

When I first hired Martha, she seemed so reserved and 
"dour," as the Scotch say, and had such a blunt style of 
speaking, that I hardly wanted to keep her. An accident 
happened one day which showed me her worth. Our next- 
door neighbor dashed to our kitchen, crying: "My Harry's in 
the well ! " 


"Arrah! and are you laving him there?" cried Martha, 
darting out of the kitchen with me after her. The well was 
between the two yards. " Saze the handle, miss," cried Martha 
to me, letting herself over into the well and catching the rope, 
I caught the windlass, and cried to the mother to hold it with 
me. Martha, with great Presence of Mind, aided her descent 
by the side of the well, so that her weight might not come fully 
upon my arms. Reaching the water she caught the child as he 
came to the surface for the last time. " Fasten the windlass, 
miss!" shouted Martha; "and drop me the end of a clothes-line 
to send him up by." In fact, her promptitude saved the child's 
life. He came up insensible, but we brought him to after a 

I remember a rule which I have heard Mrs. Winton give her 
children : a paraphrase of some of Mentor's advice to Telemaque. 
" Be very much afraid of danger when you are out of it ; when 
you are in it be fearless ; never give up." She was always very 
careful to teach her children to meet accidents with calm 
judgment. I happened to be there one day when her second 
little son nearly cut off the top of his thumb with a hay-cutter. 
Mrs. Winton joined the dissevered thumb, which held only by 
a narrow bit of skin, and held it exactly and firmly in place. 
She held the child on her lap, keeping the wound joined and 
clasped by her hand so that he could not move it. She said, 
calmly, " My dear, screaming will not cure your thumb, but 
keeping quiet may save it. The doctor will be here in a few 
moments and sew this thumb together, and with care it may be 
as good as ever. Come now, courage ; you do not want a dis- 
figured hand." The child took heart, carried himself bravely; 
and his thumb healed with hardly a scar. 

Mrs. Winton's Presence of Mind was of much service to 
-Miriam's little Dora. Mrs. Winton and I entered the house 
one day to find all in confusion : Dora had scalded her little arm 


sadly with steam, from the wrist to the elbow, and was almost in 

convulsions with pain. The accident had just happened. Mrs. 

Winton looked hastily to see that the skin was not broken ; ran 

into the kitchen, where everything was always in order and 

handy; and in an instant mixed half a cup of flour and the 

same amount of table-salt into a thick paste with cold water. 

Miriam has a wall-pocket for string; another for paper. Mrs. 

Winton from the latter took a paper-bag, tore it open, spread 

on the paste, and running back to the sitting-room bound the 

plaster over the whole arm and hand, tied it on with string, 

wrapped over it her pocket-handkerchief, and bound over that a 

napkin. In three minutes Dora's cries were calmed. She began 

to catch her breath softly, and look about for the cause of her 

late agony. Exhausted as she was with pain and terror, she 

was evidently becoming relieved. Mrs. Winton took her on 

her lap; held the burned arm extended, with a little upward 

inclination to keep the blood from pressing into it. She 

bathed her face with bay-water, and began to sing her a little 

song. In ten minutes Dora was out of pain, and in five more 

she was asleep. 

" Where did you learn such a magical remedy?" I asked. 

" I invented it from two old ones," she said. " I have had 
flour and water highly recommended for burns, and also wet 
salt : both are of some use. I burned my own hand badly ont 
day, and concluded to unite the two remedies. I find the flour- 
and-salt paste, laid on plentifully, not so thin as to run, and not 
so thick as to dry quickly, always effectual where the skin is 
unbroken : it relieves pain in two or three minutes ; cures pain 
entirely in ten. The paste is always most useful spread on 
brown paper. When Dora wakes, put on a fresh paste, expos- 
ing the arm to the air as little as possible ; at bed-time, change 
the paste again: keep her arm extended and slightly raised. 
To-morrow morning, wrap it in linen, wrung out of sweet 


or castor-oil, and you will have no further trouble with the 

I suppose that there is no more general cause of accidents 
than fire. Accidents by fire have become more numerous since 
the introduction of coal-oil for lighting — not that the oil is dan- 
gerous if properly used, but it is constantly so improperly used. 
Servants and housewives too are continually using it for lighting 
fires : pouring a little on the kindling to make a quick blaze. 
The flame darts up into the can, and there is an explosion. I 
have even heard of a person sprinkling powder from a keg upon 
a slow fire to expedite it : it is needless to say that the fire, leap- 
ing, followed the rash hand back to the keg to the destruction 
of reckless person and room also. Helen's Hannah had this 
terrible habit of using kerosene. Helen used to say that she 
expected every morning to hear a shriek, and see Hannah run- 
ning about the house all on fire. She got her lesson, however, 
in an easier fashion. Helen's Tom was ill, and I went to the 
kitchen to make gruel. Hannah, in her zeal to quicken the 
cooking, took a bottle wherein was a little kerosene, and 
sprinkled it on the fire. Not knowing what she was doing, I 
turned just in time to see the flame dart back into the bottle. 
Hannah flung it from her, thus sprinkling herself with the flam- 
ing oil. Fortunately, there were but a few drops in the bottle. 
I caught up a bucket, which stood full of water, and dashed it 
over Hannah, and then catching her by the shoulders pressed 
her upon the floor on her face, and wrapped the kitchen carpet 
over her ; she was spared other harm than the loss of her apron 
and her dress-sleeves. The unlucky bottle, breaking on the 
hearth, consumed the rest of the small quantity of oil without 
damage. Hannah has been judicious in her use of kerosene 
ever since. A fruitful cause of lamp explosions is the use of 
lamps in which the oil has burned very low ; or, people do not 
trim the wicks properly, and red-hot snuff falls from them; 


others screw a lamp-top on poorly, allowing room for the air to 
sweep in if the lamp is moved. If lamps are filled too full, or 
until they run over, there is great danger of an explosion : ncr 
should they ever be filled by lamp or fire-light, or near a stove. 
No housewife should retire for the night until she has looked 
after the state of the fires in the house, made sure that no wood 
or cloth is in a position where it may fall on a stove or fire, and 
has seen to it that there is a supply of water on hand in the 
pails. One should not go to bed with pitchers and buckets 
empty, for no one can know what dangers may call for water 
before daybreak. The old saw, " an ounce of prevention is 
worth a pound of cure," should be written in every kitchen. 

How many fires have originated from the insane practice of 
preparing kindling for the morning, and leaving it over-night on 
the top of the kitchen-stove, where fire is yet burning when the 
family retire ! the wood breaks into a flame, falls apart, rolls on 
the floor ; the dry pine boards are soon in a blaze, and the family 
are presently homeless. Another frequent cause of burned 
houses is the leaving a frame of clothes beside the kitchen-stove 
at night to finish drying or airing ; some yielding of the floor, 
puflT of wind, the running against the frame of cat, dog*or rat, 
topples it over, and in a few minutes the burning garments are 
scattering destruction. Millions of dollars' worth of property 
have been destroyed by carelessness in taking up and disposing 
of ashes. Ashes should always be removed in the morning 
before the fire is lit : this should be an invariable rule ; the ashes 
are then cold and safe. Ashes should never be put in a barn, 
wood-shed, beside a fence, or by any wooden buildings. Wood- 
ashes will retain a central heat, and communicate fire long after 
they are supposed to be quite extinct. It is good economy to 
dig a square ash-pit, build a brick wall four feet high about it, 
and cover it with a sloping roof; if the under-side of the roof- 
boards are covered with refuse tin, or with a thick wash of salt 


and lime, so much the better ; if this ash-house is twenty feet 
from any building, safety in this direction is secured. If the 
place for the ashes is so far from the house, or in so exposed a 
situation that it is difficult or dangerous for a person to go to it 
in cold or stormy weather, or for a person suffering from a cold, 
then there is a constant temptation to leave ashes about in 
wooden pails or tubs, or to wait until late in the day to remove 
them from the stove or to throw them out in heaps near the 
house, whence hot cinders could be blown to the buildings. I 
have myself known of the ruin of one hundred thousand dollars' 
worth of property from various fires occasioned by hot ashes, 
and I dare say if the statistics of fires referable to this cause 
alone should be obtained, the result would be appalling. In the 
country the farmer wants the ashes for his ground ; the house- 
wife needs them for lye : such an ash-house as has just been 
mentioned could be made by any farmer and his lads in spare 
hours, and would secure them from the dangerous ash-barrel 
which may be the ruin of his whole fortune. My servant 
Martha's sister lost a snug little house and nearly all that it con- 
tained by taking ashes from her stove at noon, which should 
have been removed before breakfast, and adding to this the 
taking them in a wooden pail. An hour after she found the 
pail on fire, fallen apart, its blazing staves scattered around her 
kitchen and on the rag-carpet. Instead of closing doors and 
windows, dragging up the carpet, and fighting the fire with a 
bucket of water, she fled screaming from the place, leaving the 
door wide-open, which fanned the flame beyond control. People 
whose carelessness allows a house to catch fire are generally 
those who have no presence of mind to use proper means to 
extinguish it. That was a wise law of stout old Peter Stuy- 
vesant. Governor of New York in the Dutch times, which fined 
every man who allowed his premises to take fire, and then he 
expended the fine for buckets, hooks, ladders and other means 
of putting out fires. 


Speaking of fires I am reminded of people's carelessness in 
the use of matches. They leave matches in closets near chim- 
neys, or in places exposed to a strong sun-heat, so that they may 
be ignited by what is called spontaneous combustion. Matches 
are left on shelves, in paper-boxes, where mice can get among 
them ; they are dropped around the floor, and swept into dusty 
cracks and corners ; a burnt match with a red-hot end is dropped 
into a wood-box, or on a floor covered with matting. People 
carry matches about in their pockets, and leave them hanging up 
iri a dusty coat, and then wonder why fires are so frequent 
When we think of the millions of dollars yearly lost in fires, we 
must be sure that there is inexcusable carelessness somewhere. 
A great fire like that in Chicago or Boston astounds us, but 
yearly quite as much property is lost in isolated fires. Scattered 
over all the country one sees the blackened ruins of what were 
handsome or comfortable farm-houses and fine barns. The 
phrase, " loss covered by insurance," seems to deceive people ; 
" loss transferred by insurance " would be a truer term, for the 
loss is a loss, and the dollars burned up are dollars gone, lost 
entirely out of the general purse. The contributions of the 
many on insurance policies have saved the one loser from ruin, 
/he loss is spread out more widely, and so is less felt by a single 
individual ; but it is a real loss of property just as much as when 
one reads " no insurance." 

Nothing is more alarming than an outbreak of fire ; almost no 
accident seems so calculated to " turn one's head," as people say ; 
consequently the damages of fire are greater, because people 
fail in fighting it properly at its beginning. Air should be shut 
out from the burning place as much as possible ; if it is too late 
for individuals to fight the monster with buckets of water, then 
shut the fire in closely, and begin to remove furniture until hose 
can be brought. The most coolly systematic meeting of a fire 
'ihat I ever knew was the case of a widow near our village. 


She returned from church one afternoon with her three grown 
daughters and a ten-year-old boy, and found her house on fire , 
the fire being in the kitchen, and under such headway, that theii 
efforts would be impotent to check it. Mrs. G. saw this at a 
glance ; she bid the boy run back the mile to the village and 
call the fire company ; in a moment closed the kitchen shutters 
and laid a rug against each closed door to shut off all air. One 
daughter then set herself to rescue the goods in the sitting-room 
next the kitchen ; the mother and the two other girls took each 
a bed-room. They did not waste a second : each taking a sheet 
from the bed, emptied the bureau-drawers and the closets into it, 
tied the corners tightly and flung it from the window ; the other 
sheet was in like fashion tied about the bedding and flung out; 
next the carpet was pulled up, the curtains wrapped in it, and 
these went out the window. Two of the girls then ran out of 
doors, dragged these rescued goods to a place where thr wit <\ 
blew to and not from the fire, and piling them up spread a carpet 
over them. Two and two they then carried out ( heir trunks ; 
and while the three girls began on the furniture, the mother, v/ho 
had emptied the room over the kitchen, deluged i1 well with all 
the water she could bring. They left, so promptly that it 
seemed done by instinct, things which were of small value, or 
readily broken ; they threw nothing which would break out of 
a window, and carried down-stairs no- soft bundle which could 
be thrown out. When help came, the house was pretty wel? 
emptied ; and was finally saved with the loss of the kitchen, th< 
scorching of the room above it, and the burning of the wash 
shed. Mrs. G. told me that they would have saved all theii 
goods in complete order, even if the house had been lost. It is 
the part of prudence always, except in severe freezing weather, 
to have plenty of water in every bed-room ; and if there is a 
bath-room, one or two buckets of water should be always 
standing there ready for use. I find in my journals a deal 


about acci^jnts by fires; but fire is not the only cause Gf 
accidents by any means. 

In a house full of children how many accidents are occasioned 
by falls ! Helen says it seems as if some of her half-dozen were 
tumbling off chairs or down-stairs continually ; children should 
not be encouraged to make much ado over small matters, but 
falls where the head or back receives a heavy blow are apt to 
be dangerous; the head should in such a case be plentifully 
bathed in cold water ; a few drops of ammonia in water should 
be administered, heat or friction applied to the hands and feet, 
and the child should not be allowed to sleep within two or three 
hours ; its attention should be awakened, and drowsiness kept 
off by all possible means; if nausea follows a fall, a physicia,n 
should be at once sent for. 

Indeed, the accidents which befall children are innumerable. 
I find record how Master Tom undertook to pound up glass 
with a stone and was nearly frantic from a bit which got into 
his eye.- The case was desperate; Tom, roaring lustily, wanted 
to shut his eye and rub it with his fist, thus making bad worse ; 
moreover, not having been trained to obey, we could do nothing 
with him. I was obliged to tie his arms down with a towel ; 
then Hannah held him firmly back over my lap ; I drew the eye 
open, lifting the upper lid, and Helen, by my directions, syringed 
it thoroughly; I then concluded the most of the glass must be 
out; I slipped three flaxseeds under the lid, tied the eye up with 
a napkin wet in cold water, put Tom in bed in a dark room, and 
sat by him telling him stories until he fell asleep; his eye was 
bloodshot and needed a shade for a few days, but received no 
permanent injury. Another of Tom's accidents was when Hester 
uiid I had him up in the mountains with us. There was no 
doctor within ten miles. Tom, who is a tease, teased a dog and 
had his thumb severely bitten. It was in hot weather, and visions 
of hydrophobia flashed upon us as soon as he screamed. Hester 


seized his hand and made a swift, sharp cut above the bite in the 
fleshy part of the lower joint of the thumb, holding his hand 
firmly downwards; she then washed the wounds thoroughly 
in water pretty strong with ammonia, and made him take some 
ammonia water; after this she gave him a hot soda-water bath, 


administered a good dose of magnesia, and put Tom to bed,' 
keeping the cloths on his hand wet with ammonia water. Her 
patient complained bitterly of this heroic treatment, but Hester 
told him that any treatment was better than hydrophobia: that 
if there was poison in his system there must be help to throw it 
off, and among other good results she hoped her doctoring 
would produce a carefulness about teasing dogs. I do not 
know how dangerous Tom's bite might have been, but he 
never suffered any other ill effects from it than Hester's style 
of cure. 

I have always found ammonia very excellent for bites and 
stings, and of late years I have used, with very good effect, cos- 
moline for the bites of spiders and poisonous insects. 

While Hester and I were at the mountains at this time we 
had another patient; a young lad who was working on a barn 
roof had a sunstroke. All was confusion ; some declared that 
he was dead; others shouted for brandy; we had him laid in the 
shade and poured very cold spring water over his head and 
wrists; I pounded some ice, folded it in a long towel, and, the 
men raising the patient, I placed it under his spine and the 
back of his neck; Hester rejected the proffer of brandy, admin- 
istering instead ammonia water, and bathing his face and neck 
in iced bay-water; she also had the men rub his feet vigorously; 
under this treatment our patient recovered very speedily. 

I remember that was a very hot summer, and one day I saw 
an instance of Mrs. Burr's readiness in meeting danger. I was 
sitting with her in the sewing-room up-stairs, and her servant 
was ironing in the kitchen; Mrs. Burr glanced from the window, 


then sprang like a flash to the entry above the kitchen stairs and 
cried: "Mary! shut that outside door!" Her voice was loud 
and peremptory. 

Mary began : "Why, ma'am — " 

" Shut that door ! " repeated Mrs. Burr, in a tone that admitted 
no disobedience, and the door slammed shut. 

"Are the other doors shut ? Shut the window." 

Down came the window, and then Mary's voice: "Why, 
ma'am, it's that burning hot — " 

" I dare say," said Mrs. Burr ; " and there's a mad dog in the 
yard," and she went down to assure herself about the doors. 
In a few minutes more we heard two shots, and the dog lay 
dead. The open kitchen door was in his direct track, and of 
this Mrs. Burr thought as she saw him turn towards her gate ; 
her quickness in ordering it shut by Mary, who was standing 
beside it, perhaps saved the maid's life. 

"Oh," said Mary, overcome, " what a mercy I shut it when I 
did ! " 

" Hereafter," replied Mrs. Burr, " promptly do as you are told, 
and make your objections afterwards." 

I have observed that those who are remarkable for Presence 
of Mind, for courage in danger, are very little likely to be injured 
in the efforts which they make for themselves and others ; their 
fearlessness, which in a large measure arises from unselfishness, 
their calm bravery and good judgment, teach them to do the 
right thing in the right way; so that, for instance, while a person 
who goes wild wjth terror at sight of some one in flames is 
often burned with them, the possessor of Presence of Mind will 
save both parties with but small injury. So I once saw a slender 
young woman stop a frightened horse, soothe him, tie him 
securely, and relieve two ladies in the buggy, who, while they 
might have controlled the animal if they had controlled them- 
.selves, were only by their shrieks adding to the difficulty. She 


who came to the rescue might very properly have pleaded her 
health as an excuse for doing nothing, but knowing what was 
to be done, and calmly fearless, she prevented a serious accident, 
and that with entire safety to herself I think many women 
positively make a virtue of being nervous about horses ; they 
will leap from a carriage where a horse is curveting or frightened, 
and in the leap get serious damage, when by keeping quiet no 
harm would have ensued ; or, they will snatch at the reins, 
grasp a driver's hands, scream in a manner to increase a horse's 
panic, and so occasion a disaster which quiet might have hin- 

Miriam several times showed great presence of mind in trying 
circumstances, as I remember. As she opened her front-door 
entering her home one afternoon, her little boy met her, his 
gingham apron all in flames. Without a word she threw him 
on his face, and began rolling him rapidly on the hall-floor, until 
reaching for a rug lying by a door, she wrapped that around " 
him, and presently extinguished the fire. At another time she 
was buying shoes in a shop, when a sound of choking was 
heard from the next room. The woman who waited on her 
looked about, and cried: " My baby's dying ! " Miriam sprang 
with her into the next room, and saw a child of a year old on 
the floor strangling. She caught the little thing up under her 
left arm, holding its head partly downwards, and pressed two 
fingers of her right hand firmly downward and backward in 
the hollow of the throat: this forced the lower part of the throat 
to close, and instantly the cause of the chol-yng, a copper cent, 
which the little one had got about half way down its throat, 
came up. This pressing on the outside of the throat at the 
hollow, making the pressure dov/nward and backward, is much 
better, in case of a child strangling upon any half-swallowed sub- 
stance, than the ordinary fashion of thrusting the finger into the 
mouth, which usually crowds the obstruction farther down. 


Too much care cannot be exercised in keeping away from 
young children marbles, bits of money, thimbles or other such 
substances, wherewith they might choke themselves. Astound- 
ing as the statement may seem, I once saw in a grave-yard the 
graves of five infants of one mother, all of whom had come to 
their death by choking with a thimble. Perhaps I misjudged 
that unhappy mother — whose losses finally made her insane—- 
and she had not been careless in this unhappy series of disasters, 
but I thought of the verse in Proverbs: "Though thou bray 
a fool in a mortar with a pestle, yet will not his foolishness 
depart from him." It is dangerous also to give a child paper to 
play with, because it is apt to fill its mouth with paper, and 
presently to choke on the wet lump. Too much care cannot 
be exercised over the things given to a young child to amuse it. 
An acquaintance of mine carelessly handed a child a piece of 
green worsted cloth. After some time she saw that the babe's 
mouth was discolored from sucking this rag ; in fact, the child 
was poisoned with the dye, and after a two months' illness 
narrowly escaped with its life. Speaking of poison, reminds me 
that we should keep on hand some simple antidote. The 
whites of raw eggs, also mustard and water, are often useful 
where poison has been swallowed. When I was spending a 
winter with my half-sister in New York, her daughter-in-law 
rushed into the kitchen, crying that she was poisoned. She 
had carelessly mistaken a poison given her for a bath, and used 
it internally. My sister was baking sponge cake, and had by 
her a plate of whites of eggs, which she was about to beat. She 
promptly administered these, and saved the young woman's life. 

Of late I have been urging upon my young friends the 
importance of training their children in habits of self-control, in 
the exercise of Presence of Mind, that they may act resolutely 
and bravely in emergencies, and meet accidents with calmness. 
It is not worth while to wait for some great crisis to occur to 


give this training : begin it in little things. When anything is 
dropped or broken, let the damage be repaired promptly and 
properly: thus one is accustomed to think reasonably and 
judiciously. The screaming and excitement over small mis- 
adventures, which begin often as a mere affectation, end in a 
real incapacity for rendering effective service in time of need. 
I have noticed that those who exaggerate in their views and 
accounts of things, by accustoming their imagination to super- 
sede their judgment, end in becoming timid, nervous and help- 
less in a crisis. There is no greater folly than to educate 
children into cowardice. Parents do this by showing cowardice 
themselves, by allowing their children to be terrified with 
foolish tales, or made the victims of cruel jokes, or frightened to 
render them obedient. Train them to look reasonably at all 
things, to see that in every danger or difficulty there is some- 
thing that can be done, if it is only to keep calm and wait; and 
let them learn that the real point of danger is when the mind 
has lost the mastery of itself, when reason has given the reins to 
fear or to imagination. How many evils are intensified, or real 
dangers brought out of imaginary dangers, by this wicked 
excitement! A lady in our village was ill, when her nurse 
rushed in, crying, " Harry's drowned ! he fell in the creek ! " 
The unfortunate mother was thrown into a congestive chill, and 
in a few hours was dead; while her child, who had been 
pulled out of the water as quickly as he fell in, had no harm but 
a wetting. If the child had been drowned, the news should not 
have been so hastily carried to the sick mother ; while if he had 
seemed drowned, and had really been near to death, vigorous 
efforts, as rubbing, wrapping in hot blankets, and the other 
known remedies, might have resuscitated him. 

I have heard people argue that they were not to blame for 
lacking Presence of Mind, and so failing to furnish a proper 
conduct in cases of accidents. They say that the courage, 


reason, decision, firmness, which compose Presence of Mind, are 
gifts of God, not to be created by human effort, and he who 
lacks them is rather to be pitied than blamed. Now, I reply, 
that all people, who are not idiots or insane» have in them the 
germs of all these qualities ; these are implanted in their minds 
by God; and whether weak or strong in their inception, they are 
capable of increase by cultivation, and they will dwindle if they 
are not fostered ; therefore, he who lacks these powers is guilty 
in the lack, masmuch as he has not made the best of himself, 
has not developed the good that was in him, and by so failing, 
has really developed fear, feebleness and idle excitement. 
Some people, especially those of delicate constitutions, are 
victims of nervous tremors and terrors ; they tremble and grow- 
faint at a cry of pain, at sight of blood, at the sound of a fall ; 
only by painful efforts can they school themselves to conquer 
these predispositions. They who out of these natural dis- 
abilities develop courage, and helpfulness, and calm self- 
control should be crowned as true heroes. Every effort toward 
this attainment of Presence of Mind they will find worth the 
making in the good they do, the evil they avoid doing, and the 
satisfaction of conscience. Every effort will, in its very painful- 
ness, lift them nearer to rigid self-control. "The angel of 
martyrdom is brother to the angel of victory." 



[NE Sabbath evening in June, I was sitting on my front 
piazza,' reading, when a neighbor of mine, with his two 
httle boys, returning from a walk, passed me. The 
youngest child called to me for some roses that grew in 
my yard, and I bid him help himself The three then came in 
aivl sat down near me on the steps. After a little general con- 
versation, I said to my neighbor: 

" Mr. Carr, you have a promising family of boys growing up 
around you, and I am sorry to see that you do not take them to 
church, and bring them up in the ways of piety." 

" Why, Miss Sophronia," said Mr. Carr, " I don't believe m 

" Is it possible!" I replied. " But you are always esteemed as 
a very industrious, honest, generous, law-abiding man." 

"Certainly," said Mr. Carr; "I hoLd to morals, but not to 
religion. I believe in abiding by the laws." 

" Suppose you were in a country where stealing was not con- 
trary to law, would you steal ? " 

" Why, no ; I have a principle against stealing." 

"As you abide by the laws, and do not believe in religion, I 
suppose you adhere to the statute-book, and not to the Bible." 

" That's about it." 

" Did you never consider that these morals in which you 

believe are originally laid down in the Bible as a part of re- 



ligion, that our statute-books are modelled on the Bible laws, 
prohibiting what it prohibits, and for the most part following its 
penalties ? Countries which have no Bible, no Christian relig- 
ion, have no pure code of morals, no righteous statute laws. If 
you will cast over in your mind the present state of the coun- 
tries in the world, Christian and unchristian, if you will run over 
in your thoughts the history of the world, you will see that 
morality and justice have spread among nations just in propor- 
tion as Bible-light has spread. It is a mere matter of facts and 
statistics, not of theory. Contrast Germany and Turkey, Eng- 
land and India.'HoUand and Siam, the United States arid Africa. 
Then draw the lines a little closer, and look at those countries 
where the Bible has been free in the vulgar tongue and where it 
has been hidden, and contrast the intelligence, the purity of 
rtiorals, the statistics of education, the number of murders, the 
proportion of lawful marriages, the character of truthfulness. 
Take the same country with a free Bible and freedom of wor- 
ship, and without — Italy, for instance, in these two cases — and 
jiee when was the march of improvement, the increase in wealth, 
power, unity and credit among other nations." 

I knew my neighbor was a reading man, and that he boasted 
of a good historic library. 

He pondered a while, hesitating. " Yes,'' he said, " it does 
seem that morals and religion, civilization and freedom in wor- 
ship, the Bible and good laws, go hand in hand. But, Miss 
Sophronia, we might look at religion as an education, which 
states need to bring them up to a point of development where 
they can look out for themselves, as a lad needs schooling, and 
then quits school." 

" But the mind is either going forward or backward ; it cannot 
stand still : if it does not advance, it will retrograde. Suppose 
on leaving school the boy never looks at a printed word, never 
writes a word, lets drop the acquirements which he has made, 


what will become of him ? — he will brutalize. If the state in all 
its individuals cuts loose from religion after it has risen by 
religion, then anarchy will follow. If states rise by God's law, 
they stand by it. You say you hold to morals, but do not 
adhere to the Bible. The morals to which you cling are a part 
of the Bible. Let us take the Moral Law. Here are the first 
two Commandments about worshipping God, and not worship- 
ping images : what do you do with them ? " 

" Nothing. That's religion, and I just let it alone." 

" Take the next — against profanity." 

"Well, Miss Sophronia, swearing is useless and vulgar; it is 
a mark of blackguards, common to men drunk, and men lying, 
and men in a passion. It is also forbidden by the laws of some 
states. I'm against swearing, as a matter of decency and good 

" Try the fourth — about keeping the Sabbath." 

" Well, now, Miss Sophronia, I think every man should keep 
it as he pleases. If I take a walk, I don't hurt my leighbors by- 
doing it. If men prefer recreation to church, why let them have 
recreation. Why cannot Sunday be left like any other day in 
the week, and let those who want to go to church on it go ? " 

" If Sabbath is left like any other day in the week, then oui 
business places must be full of traffic, buildings must be going 
up, boats and cars must be running, the farmer who prefers to 
work can keep his hands haying, harvesting or ploughing, all 
places of amusement must be open, peddlers crying their wares, 
organ-men grinding, auctions going on, factories working. 
Consider in such a case that all men who are employes must 
lose their Sabbath or their situations ; they may have a con- 
science about the matter, and desire to keep the Sabbath holy, 
but they cannot, unless they throw up their business, and stand 
open to beggary. All people who have leisure, and desire to go 
to church, would find their services invaded by noise : they would 


f)e deprived, against their wills, of the calm and rest which Sab- 
bath intends. You, who demand a Sabbath for recreation, for 
amusement for hard workers, say open the Zoological Gardens 
and museums. If these, why not the shows, theatres and beer- 
gardens ? If these can be allowed to make money, why cannot 
the stores, the markets, the factories be open ? If these are all 
open, then that working-class, which in your demand were rep- 
resented as exhausted by six days' work, and needing recreation, 
will be required to work seven days (or lose their bread), and 
they will see neither rest nor recreation. Again, parents who 
cherish the Sabbath as a day of holy resting desire to bring 
their children up so to regard it ; but if the barriers which sur» 
round the Sabbath are cast down, and the day is made exactl)?' 
like other days, there will be no quiet at home in which to 
instruct, the children. As they, pass along the streets to church 
they see examples which their parents believe to be pernicious ; 
their very church service is invaded with din ; the individual 
right of the parent to train up his child in accordance with his 
own conscience is interfered with. You abhor swearing : sup- 
pose it were legal for a man to stand by the hour at your gate, 
and fill the ears of your boys with profanity? " 

" I don't go so far as you think I do about the Sabbath," said 
Mr. Carr. "I don't hold that any one should be allowed to 
disturb his neighbor. Parson can't make me go to church, and 
I ought not to claim a right to disturb parson's Sunday. As to 
the Sunday shows and excursions, I don't want you to think I'd 
go or take my children." 

" Why not ? You don't think them wrong, surely ? " 
" No, not in themselves, but in the way they are conducted. 
If you notice in the papers, they generally end in a row : there 
is always a lot of noise, drinking and swearing; and, as the 
result of the confusion, often an accident. I always look for a 
blow-up of some sort when I hear of a big Sunday excursion." 


" Do you have that feeling about large school, church or 
trades' excursions on other days of the week ? " 

" Oh, no. I sometimes go to them with my boys." 

"Consider, then, Mr. Carr, that you instinctively admit that 
the people who clamor for and indulge in the breaking of the 
Fourth Commandment are the noisy, dangerous, law-breaking 
class ; while the observers of the command are the law-abiding, 
orderly, respectable people : does not that speak pretty well for 
the command, and for the virtue of keeping it intact ? " 

" Now see here. Miss Sophronia," said Mr. Carr, with a fine 
appearance of liberality, " I'll take that command in as a part of 
morals : there's as much morals as religion in it, and I hold to 

I made no remark about the connection of morals and religion, 
but passed on to the next command : 

" What do you think of the Fifth : ' Honor thy father and thy 
mother — ? ' " 

" That's morals, sound morals, and the voice of Nature." 

" But without the enlightening influence of the Bible, it seems 
to me that this voice of Nature often dies away, not only in 
solitary individuals, but in whole nations, and those most widely 
removed in race and situation.. In India, Alaska, and the distant 
islands, I find that parents make a practice of murdering their 
children, and children in turn make a practice of murdering 
their sick or aged parents, casting them out to the sea, to star- 
vation, or to wild animals. I never yet heard of a Christian 
man, or eveii of one nominally a professor and respecter of 
religion, who knocked down his mother, or refused to support 
his aged parents, or • to care for his sick father ; while despisers 
■of religion are often arraigned for these crimes. If you dissever 
religion from this law, you will soon find it disregarded. Also 
you will note that nations ignorant of the Bible lack that general 
respect for the parental tie, this enforcing of the mutual righ*^ 


of parents and children, known to Christian laws. Take the next 
command : ' Thou shalt not kill.' Consider statistics : are murders 
more or less common in Christian lands than in others ? " 

" Oh, there are not an hundreth part so many, in the so-called 
Christian lands," said Mr. Carr. 

" The so-called Christian lands',' I said, " are lands where the 
divinity of Christ is generally recognized, where God is acknowl- 
edged, where his Book of Laws is known, and where there are 
enough religious people to give a tone to public opinion. In 
these lands you say there are not one per cent, of the murders 
in other lands ; it seems to me then that in that admission there 
is a small showing of morals where there is no religion. I 
might question v, where Biblical religion is unknown, morals in 
•any true sen3e arc not also unknown. If that is so, in holding 
as you say to mcrals, and not to religion, you hold to one thing, 
rejecting another with which it is inseparably connected : you 
admit the tree and deny its root. Take the statistics of nom- 
inally Christian countries : what proportion is there between the 
decrease f"f murders and the general diffusion of the Bible ? " 

"It is a fact too well known to question," said Mr. Carr, 
"that as Bible religion increases among a people, murder 
decreases." • 

I was not ready to take advantage of this admission, so I said : 
" Well, nov/, what do you think of polygamy and of divorce ? " 

" I abhor them from my soul," said Mr. Carr, " as the ruin of 
the family tie, and of family life ; and "ihcrefore root of de- 
struction to the state. States, Miss Sophronia, begin in families: 
where the family is weak or impure, the state will be weak and 
impure. There are no two more ruinous, outrageous and dan- 
gerous doctrines at the present day than those of Polygamy and 
Free Love." 

" Oh, indeed," said I ; " and did you ever hear these upheld 
by any upholder of the religion of Jessus Christ ? Have aot the 


Mormon Polygamists got a Bible of their own ? and are not the 
advocates of Free Love howling their loudest against the 
Christian religion and the word of God? If you hold the 
Family Life dear as your own soul, who inaugurated that life 
but the God whom you ignore? If you consider the sanctity 
of the family indispensable to your own happiness and to the 
stability of the state, where is its bulwark but in the word 
of God? where is its defence but in laws which take their 
rise from that word? Lands where there are no Bibles are 
lands of polygamy and divorce, and of no marriage relations. 
You will find Turkey, and India, and Siam, and other heathen 
lands, full of Harems; you may look to lands of Bibles for 
virtuous mothers and wife-loving husbands. Take again the 
relation between a general knowledge of the Bible and the 
personal virtue of the citizens : you must admit from known 
figures that they are in direct proportion. Just in proportion 
as a land is a" land of religion, it is a land of Homes. The 
Home is founded by God, built up by his worship, garrisoned 
by Biblical religion. Show me a Free Lovist, or a Polygamist, 
who takes the Bible for his guide, and Jesus Christ for his 

" Really, I don't suppose that there is such a one." 

"Then, do you not see, that in rejecting God and his religion, 
you reject the foundation and assurance of Home ? " 

" But, Miss Sophronia, I do not reject or ignore God. I 
regard him as the fountain of morals. I suppose that there is 
a God who made everything, who maintains everything, and 
hcis a general rule over everything. I cannot see any other 
reasonable explanation of things." 

" Then, in your view, there is a Being, who holds the general 
relations of a King, a Ruler, a Father. Where is there a king 
who has no laws for his kingdom, expects no service, loyalty or 
recognition from his subjects, and has no order, no appoint- 


inents, no state in his household ? Only a truly great and 
reasonable Being could create, maintain and rule as you admit. 
But such a Being must necessarily have formulated some laws 
for his kingdom; must make some demands in behalf of his 
own honor; he could not foster ignorance, ingratitude and 
anarchy in his subjects. The Bible instructs us how we may 
serve this Being in a method agreeable to his will. Such a 
Being must have been as reasonable as earthly sovereigns, and 
have perpetuated some code of laws and directions for his 
dominions. Among all the books which claim to be Divine 
and the formulation of such directions, only the Bible, as 
judged by its effects among men in promoting their happiness, 
virtue and well-being, is worthy of our credence, that approves 
its origin by being able to secure its end. Biblical religion is 
the serving and esteeming God in a manner agreeable to his 
expressed will. Now if you accept the God and reject religion, 
you admit yourself a rebel and virtually an anarchist, at once. 
Mow would such a proceeding work in our civil relations ? " 

" Why, Miss Sophronia," said Mr. Carr, " you are drawing 
Lhe lines pretty tight." 

" Mr. Carr, did you not say that the state begins in the 
Family, and that as the Family is the state will be ? " 

" Yes, I did, Miss Sophronia ; and that I stand to." 

"And did you not also admit, from knowledge of statistics, 
that those states are stronger, purer, more thriving and hon- 
ored, better every way, where there is Christianity and the 
Bible ? " 

" Well, yes ; that's a fact, toe " 

" Then, where is the point where the family, not needing in 
itself religion or the Bible, must begin to receive them for the 
good of the state? If the state is built up by the diffusion of 
religious light, is it not that that light is held in the families 
of the citizens ? You cannot imagine a state where the families 


rejected religion, avowing, as a state, a religion and maintaining 
itself on Biblical authority. This advantage of Biblical Re- 
ligion in the state is a thing of the Homes. In these homes 
public opinion is manufactured, and legislators are nourished, 
and an executive is trained up. If you reject religion for your 
Home, you must, as far as you are able to do so, reject it for 
your state, and if you think the state needs it and thrives by it, 
then you should, out of loyalty, if from no other reason, cultivate 
it in your Home. You said the state is ruined in the ruin of the 
Family.' If 'Religion is good for the state, it is good for the 
Family. Did it ever occur to you, that just as an increase of 
Biblical religiousness in the state decreases vice, murders, 
thefts, so an increase of religious opinion in the Family will 
decrease the chance of any of its members being murderers, oT 
thieves, or rioters ? All the criminals were somebody's sons 
and came out of Families, and if the parents had maintained 
Family Piety, by your own statistical statement, they would 
have reduced by ninety-nine per cent, the likelihood of theii 
children being criminals. You ought to cultivate Family 
Religion for the mere sake of making it highly improbable that 
any of your promising children should ever be criminals; for^ 
as you have yourself admitted, morals and religion seem to be 

" Upon my word, it does look that way," said Mr. Carr, with 
an anxious glance to his boys who were rolling on the grass. 

" I heard that when you lived in the next county, you had 
served as a juror more than any man in the county." 

" So I had. It became a real burden to me. I tell you, Miss 
Sophronia, it is hard to sit as a juror when a man is up for 
murder, or likely to get twenty years in the penitentiary." 

" Well, Mr. Carr, in those trials, for all kinds of crimes, which 
you attended, were the accused persons men who were esteemed 
religious, professed Bible piety, or advocated the Bible as a rul-' 
of living?" 


"Upon my word, ma'am, I can't remember one that was. 
Now that never occurred to me before.'' 

" This, then, is another reason for maintaining rehgion in your 
family ; out of religious families the criminal dock is not filled 
Were you not for five years overseer of the poor? " 

*' Yes, I was. I'm glad I'm out of that business." 

" Will you tell me whether you found, among your paupers 
generally, members of Christian churches, readers of the Bible, 
regular attendants on divine worship — what are called religious 
people ? " 

• " Bless my life, no ! They were usually a hard set. They were 
many of them drunkards, or had always been incorrigibly 
lazy and dirty ; or had trained up roughly a lot of rowdy, ill- 
behaved children, who would not or could not help the old 
folks. I only remember one really Christian pauper. She was 
a good old woman, but she was not long in the almshouse : the 
parson's wife got after her, and took her away for the church to 

"Another argument for cultivating religion in your family. 
Christian households do not furnish the paupers ; if they are not 
rich, they are not beggars. David says : ' I have never seen the 
righteous forsaken, or his seed begging bread.' Remember that, 
my neighbor, in behalf of your children and grandchildren. 
But you mentioned the unfilial conduct of these paupers' children. 
When you admit God as a universal Father, and so your Father, 
and yet give him no filial reverence, are you not setting your 
children a poor example of father-loving and honoring ? God 
says :' If I be a Father where is mine honor, and if I be a 
Master where is my fear ? ' Now only one question more. You 
know this county well. Setting aside a few rich and notorious 
men, who have gained wealth by speculations and extortions, and 
wild, unjustifiable means, are not the well-to-do men, the tidy 
fortunes, the comfortable little properties, made by diligence, 


honesty and economy, in the hands of the religious people? 
Those who are Hving from hand to mouth, who are in rags and 
d2bt, and on the verge of pauperism in every slack time, are the 
men who ignore religion, reject the Bible, despise the Sabbath. 
The steady church-goers, the decent, religious men, are the self 
sustaining, honest, free-from-debt men: is it not so?" 

" Well, yes, Miss Sophronia, I'll admit that, for it is so." 

" Then this is another reason for your maintaining, in your 
family, religion and Bible rules ; for these are in the way of thrift, 
of competence, of honesty, of independence, of really and 
righteously getting on in the world : is this not so ? Don't you 
owe your children Family Piety ? Does not their future honor 
and success demand it of you ? As an example to your children, 
should you not maintain religion at Home ? As a citizen, do 
you not owe such an upholding of religion to the good of the 
state ? " 

Mr. Carr rose. " Perhaps, Miss Sophronia, if I had not kept 
pretty clear of the parsons, and of the Bible, I might have had 
some of these things set out in this light before. I shall study 
this matter up, I can tell you, and see where it comes out." 
So saying he called his boys, and said " good-evening." 

What is more important in a Family than Religion ? The 
security, the perpetuity of the Home, demands it. If the Home 
is not to be invaded by crimes, by the anguish of children 
departing into ways of vice — if it is not to breed dishonesty, 
unthriftand pauperism — it should be garrisoned by Family Faith, 
by Piety. If I were not a religious person, but merely a carefuL 
common-sense observer of affairs and a student of statistics, I 
should hold this opinion. * 

When my nieces Miriam and Helen had been married ten 
years I desired to mark the time by a Family Gathering. I 
invited the relations for a dinner, but the dinner was to be at 
three o'clock, and I requested my three nieces. Cousin Ann's 


Sara, -who had married young Winton, Mary Watkins, and two 
or three more, to come about half-past ten, so as to spend the 
day with me. 

" Do you remember," said Hester, when we were all quietly 
seated together, " the conversation which you had with Miriam 
and Helen, before they were married, about the Building of a 
Home ? You thought I was not particularly interested, but I 
treasured it all, and I do not know of any instruction which has 
done me more good. Have you not something further to say 
on the same subject?" 

" My dear girls," I replied, " to-day I feel inclined to con- 
verse with you on a theme even more important, namely, 
the Building of a Home for Eternity; the projecting of the 
home which you rear on earth into the future world ; the raising 
of those hornes which you are framing here below into homes 
not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. It cannot be that 
a structure so sacred, so divine in its origin, so glorious in its 
possibilities, as a Home, finds 'its be-all and its end-all here.' 
I told you long ago that the foundation of a Home, its corner- 
stone, must be laid in sound religious principle ; how can we 
better employ part of this day of reunion than in discussing how 
to carry out this religious principle in the every-day life of the 
Home? The Home is the cradle and nursery where human 
immortals begin a life which shall last forever ; therefore, in the 
Home, preparations should be made for that immortal life. I 
wish you would suggest to me some reasons for especially culti- 
vating Religion in the Family." 

" If it is true," said Mary Watkins, " as we all believe it to be, 
that Religion is the highest concern of man, then we should 
cultivate it in our families, as the best thing in which we can 
interest our children ; also becaiAe our homes are worthy of the 
noblest that can be brought into them, and because early im- 
pressions and home impressions are usually more strong and 


lasting than any others ; while, as we owe our children the very 
best that we can do for them, we should not, while trying 
to prepare them for this earthly life, which may end at any 
moment, fail to prepare them for the life which shall never end." 

" If religion, or true piety, is the pervading spirit of the 
Home," remarked Miriam, " then we are relieved of a gnawing 
anxiety for the eternal future of our loved ones; I can imagine 
nothing more painful than for a wife to feel that the husband 
whom she loves may at any moment be hurried unprepared into 
eternity, or for a mother to see her children growing up un- 
godly: to feel that after she has left this world they may be 
living wicked lives, and dying impenitent. Family piety is 
strong and calm in a confident expectation of the reunion of 
dear ones in the eternal world ; thus it takes away the keenfest 
sting of death, and gives us courage in the hour of separation." 

" We cannot for an instant think," said Hester, "that the soul 
going out of this world is lessened in any of its powers; that 
which is highest in it, its love, must be rather intensified. How 
grand, then, to think of family ties strengthened and perpetuated 
in a world of glory ! Family piety, purifying and elevating the 
family relation here, gives the earnest of an eternal reunion of 
the family in a world where nothing can offend. Husbands 
and wives are unwiUing to be parted long in this world ; mothers 
are loath to have their children leave them; how great an 
incentive have we to the cultivation of family piety, giving us 
cissurance of a family forever united, and forever happy 1 " 

" Piety is the finest inheritance which parents can bestow 
upon their children," said Sara. " True, grace is the gift of 
God, yet he has promised to bestow it upon the children of his 
children, to many generations; he takes the whole family of his 
followers into covenant; we |Jo not find in the gospels one 
instance where Christ refused the plea of a parent for a child. 
We may strive to lay up fortunes for our children, and ma;? 


fail in doing so, or left, they may be a temptation and a curse ; 
we may strive to educate them well, and they may not have 
ability to receive a thorough education, or means may be lack- 
ing, or, acquired, it may be misused; but if we strive for the 
salvation of our children, if we consecrate them to God, and 
train them up in accordance with that consecration, we are sure 
of reward." 

"Sara," I said, "your parents, with a large family, a large 
farm, and often insufficient help, could plead little time for 
religious duties, if any one could ever make such a plea. Now 
will you tell us something of their method of religious training, 
for to them, as to the Elect Lady, it could be written: ' I rejoiced 
when I found of thy children walking in the truth.' " 

" Well," said Sara, " we never sat down to the table without a 
blessing being asked; always as soon as the breakfast was ended, 
chairs were drawn back from the table, and father took the Bible 
for prayers; no hurry of work interfered with family worship ; 
all being together, servants and children, when breakfast was 
ended, no one need be waited for, or be absent. Father never 
made very long prayers, but he saw to it that we were attentive; 
he was apt to ask some question while he was reading, which 
we must be alert to answer ; this kept us from dreaming during 
prayer-time. As soon as tea was over -we had evening prayers, 
a little shorter perhaps than in the morning; so, you see, even 
as babies in arms, we were present at worship, and never knew 
what it was to be without it. We were always taken to church, 
even as very little children ; the habit formed of quiet at prayers 
helped us to be quiet there ; from being in church and keeping 
quiet, we soon learned to hear and understand something that 
'vas said or done ; at home father asked us for the text, ques- 
tioned us of what we could remember, and himself explained 
and repeated something that had been said. He never allowed 
any sharp or unkind criticisms of the preacher; even when not 


especially pleased himself, he would not permit any carping. 
He used to say: ' Don't quarrel with the di^h in which you get 
the bread of life,' and he frequently quoted the passage : ' Touch 
not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.' I know 
once our hired man said : ' That was a mighty poor sermon to- 
day,' and father retorted : ' Poor or not, Thomas, if you'll live 
lip to it this week, you'll make an astonishing improvement on 
your past' 

" We were required to be orderly on the Sabbath, and to read 
only Sabbath books ; but we were well supplied with these, and 
could read them on the porch, or in a tree, in the barn or gar- 
den, as we liked, if we would not get into a frolic or foolish talk. 
We had always to learn some verses from the Bible on Sunday, 
and read a chapter, and repeat its substance, and after tea, 
mother always instructed us from the Bible for an hour, and 
, then we read a few chapters, verse about, while father explained 
them to us. We were encouraged to amuse ourselves asking 
each other hard questions, capping verses, making or decipher- 
ing scriptural enigmas, all of which increased our acquaintance 
with the Bible. When we did anything wrong, Bible authority 
was appealed to, to condemn it; if we proposed any course 
which our parents did not approve, they based their disapproval . 
on the Scriptures : they squared their own conduct on the Bible, 
and we saw clearly that they only wished us to walk in the way 
where they went themselves, and that in pressing piety upon us, 
they offered thus that which themselves thought most worth the 
having. They considered us as children of God, because them- 
selves were God's children, and they required us to walk worthy 
of that calling before we had in our own right made any public 
profession thereof. Our mother, no matter how tired or hurried 
she might be, always took us to bed, until we were eight years 
old, heard us say our prayers reverently, and repeated to us a 
verse of Scripture. When we were old enough to go to bed by 


ourselves, as we kissed mother good-night, she almost always 
said : ' Do not neglect your prayers, and think while you pray/ 
We were always carefully kept from irreligious companions, and 
from books which were in any way hostile to piety, and we were 
taught to reverence good people because they were loved of 
God. In fact, our Home Life was a Religious Life: piety was as 
natural to our home as its food or its labors ; we grew into it, 
because we were trained in it, just as the trees in the orchard 
grow into good fruit-bearing, because they had been planted, 
grafted, pruned, cultivated, cared for, all with a view to good 
fruit-bearing. I never heard any one question the quality of the 
fruit, because it was a product of this cultivating, and had not 
developed itself without any help or attention." 

" Indeed, Sara," said Helen, " I am much obliged to you for 
such a plain, simple statement of your mother's religious training 
of her family; it makes things seem clearer and easier to me." 

" We may also," said Hester, " learn or take warning by the 
converse. I visited once in a family where the parents were 
church-members, but living among worldly people, and more 
and more in a worldly way, they retained very few or no prac- 
tices of piety. They never had a blessing at table, never family 
prayer; they went to church or not, just as it happened. The 
mother sent the nurse to take the children to bed, so that they 
hardly heard of saying their prayers. If their mother on Sun- 
day bestirred herself to tell them a Bible story, or that God^ 
made them, or that Adam was the first man, it was as much 
religious instruction as ever they got. If the parents went to 
church, the children were left at home, for their mother said it 
was too much trouble to get them ready, and their father said 
they distracted him by being uneasy : besides their parents con- 
sidered going to Sunday-school — which they did irregularly — 
was quite religion enough for a Sunday ; therefore, if the parents 
were in the family pew, between them, where their children 
should have been, stretched a vacuum, which God abhors." 


" I'm afraid," said Helen, " that some of my training has been 
like that, though I trust not quite so deplorable. However, I 
resolve to do better ; indeed, I have often so resolved, but when 
I get the children about me on Sunday to give them a little 
instruction, they are so restless, and make such insane answers, 
that as often as anything I end by getting provoked. Imagine 
Phil, after I have taught him this two years that God made him, 
when I asked the question, replying, gravely, ' I guess the Presi- 
dent ; ' or insi-sting upon stopping all instruction while he, during 
the story of The Fall, investigated why Adam and Eve, shut out 
at the gate, ' did not climb over the fence,' or why Adam called 
a beast such a name as a Kangaroo : I said, in despair, that he 
did not call it a Kangaroo ; then says Phil, " That ain't its name, 
and I shall always call it a liopper; ' and then off go Tom and 
Phil on a dispute whether the term hopper is not pre-empted by 
a grasshopper, and thus ends my talk. Hester, you ought to 
have them ; you know how to deal with children, and really 
I don't." 

We none of us could help laughing at poor Helen's discomfi- 
tare, and really, as to her children, I think with Hannah that they 
are the " most masterful mischiefs that ever were born." I told 
Hester one day that " the children seemed to have all the decis- 
ion which their mother lacked." She said that was because 
'their mother had never shown any decision in her government, 
and so had encouraged insubordination. 

" However," said Helen, " I did not intend, by the narration 
of my difficulties, to interrupt our conversation on Religion in 
.the Family, for it is a question which I am sure I need to hear 
discussed. Aunt Sophronia, you have said little as yet on the 
subject: give us some plain instruction." 

" It seems to me," I said, "that Sara's account of Cousin Ann's 
method of cultivating Family Piety covers nearly the whole 
.ground, and gives us the picture of a godly home : a home 


which, broken at last here, shall not perish, but shall be trans- 
planted to the skies, to grow in greater and greater beauty, as a 
central sun of a system around which revolve the stars of other 
homes, lit by its light while here below. The fact is, my>chil 
dren, that where there is any vital piety in one or both the heads 
of a Family, it must make itself felt and prominent in the Home : 
the light in the heart shines out first at the hearth. If there is 
no Family Religion, there is no religion at all in the Family; the 
true Christian is never like Bunyan's Mr. Talkative, ' a saint 
abroad and a devil at home;' nor is he pious at church and 
for himself, and indifferent to the spiritual concerns of his family; 
and not only he must be not indifferent, but actively interested 
in their salvation, if he has any true piety, for if religion is any- 
thing to a soul, it is the first and best of everything. God 
setteth the solitary in families that he may preserve to himself 
a righteous seed upon the earth; and if we do not serve God in 
our homes, we contravene the Lord's highest purpose in Home- 
making, while his tenderest benediction falls on him of whom 
he can say, as of his servant of old, I know him that he will 
command his children and his household after him. We ought 
to esteem it God's choice gift to us that our families may be 
numbered in his chosen generation and royal priesthood. 

" ' So boasting not that they derive their birth 
From loins enthroned and nobles of the earth, 
But higher yet their proud pretensions rise. 
Children of parents passed into the skies.' 

' "I would like especially to urge upon you careful and regular 
attendance on the services of your church, both on Sabbath 
and also at the weekly meetings. Take your children with you 
to the weekly meetings, whatever they are. We form our habits 
in youth, so do not let them grow up with a habit of absenting 
themselves from the gatherings of God's people. We can find 
time tor these things, if we will only endeavor to Ho so. You 

25G "^I'tiE COMPLETE nOMi,. 

know, Sara, that the Wintons were once for three years in 
. Europe. I heard of their course there from others who were 
abroad a*: the same time. They carefully arranged their travel- 
ling so that on Sabbaths they should be where there was evan- 
gelical preaching in English, and there they went twice to 
church ; they always managed to find the Wednesday evening 
prayer-meeting, and attend it as regularly as at home ; they 
spent their Sabbaths just as they did in this country, not 'sight- 
seeing,' and then salving over conscience by saying it was 
' visiting churches and cathedrals ; ' they went to no places of 
amusement which they would have judged it inconsistent to 
attend when at home. A lady once said to Mrs. Winton : ' Why 
are you so scrupulous here ? We always think we have a right 
to a little relaxing of the lines when we are abroad.' 

"Mrs. Winton was standing by her dressing-table, and she, 
without seeming to notice the remark, held out a case contain- 
ing a valuable diamond ring and pin, saying : ' I might have lelt 
those at home, I think ? ' 

" ' By no means,' cried her visitor ; ' they are just as becoming 
to you here as there ; they are too valuable to be left behind ; 
wear them, to let people know what you are.' 

" ' Jewels do not make people,' she replied ; ' I showed you 
these as a parable. My religion becomes me as well abroad 
as at home ; it was too valuable to be left behind. I will wear 
it as best I can, to show what I profess to be.' 

"After hearing this story, I did not wonder that foreign travel 
had not injured the consistency, the simple common-sense, of 
that family." 

' You remind me," said Hester, " that some people going 
abroad strive to ape foreigners, to seem other than they are, 
and to lose, eis far as possible, their nationality. This always 
vexes my patriotism. I think this should suggest to us, that 
God says that the citizenship of his people is in heaven, and 


that we should, as far as we can below, cultivate the manners 
of our true city. Let us rejoice in our birthright, and teach 
our children to glory in it." 

" I remember," said Mary Watkins, " that our minister in a 
sermon on Family Piety said, that we should, in setting up a 
new home, begin by whole-heartedly consecrating it to God; 
and as children are born into that home, each of them should 
also be consecrated to him, so that our desire for, and earnest 
expectation of, our child's salvation should be coexistent with 
its life, and our training and example should carefully corre- 
spond to that desire and hope." 

" Yes," said Miriam, " we must be consistent in that training: 
not try and rush toward heaven on Sunday, and then run 
toward the world all the other days. in the week; half-waj' 
doings do not succeed in business nor in housekeeping, ant' 
they will not succeed in soul-training." 

" This," I said, " is the ideal of a safe and happy home : tha't 
it is founded in godliness, vocal with thanksgiving; guarded by 
an entreated Prayer- Hearer ; and having children given from 
their birth to God, the parents and children are found cheerily 
serving the Lord day by day. V/hatever is good for the religious 
growth of the parents — Scripture study. Sabbath-keeping, benev- 
olence — will be good for the children, and they should be 
trained to it; they have a right to have ensured to them the 
blessings which God gives his servants, in this life and in the 
hfe to come." 

" It seems," said Hester, " that Mr. Carr has bought a big 
Bible, and every morning reads a chapter to his family; he has 
hired a seat in church and attends regularly with all his house- 
hold, and has put his boys in the Sunday-school. Some one 
told him that they were glad he had become a Christian. He 
replied that he made no pretensions to that, but that he had 
concluded that a family of children had a right to Relig^ion m 


the Home, inasmuch as it was a safeguard against crime and 
pauperism, and an encouragement to thrift and respectability; 
so he meant to go as far as he could toward securing it for his 
boys, just as he tried to make them a tidy patrimony, and pro- 
cure for them a good education." 

" He has been stealing some of Aunt Sophronia's thunder,'' 
said Miriam, smiling. 

" I trust," I said, " that the truth he reads and hears will be 
blessed to him until he really becomes a Christian ; it speaks 
well for him that he is doing the best that he knows how to do. 
This religion which Mr. Carr thinks will be advantageous for 
his home, must be possessed by himself if he would impress it 
upon his children. Remember, my dear girls, if you desire to 
cultivate piety in your children, you must have yourself some- 
thing better than a formal, cold, cautious, time-serving sort of 
piety. There are no keener critics than the innocent, observant 
eyes and thoughtful hearts of little children ; dare, yes, desire, to 
be warm and enthusiastic in your Christianity if you would com- 
mend it to your families as a thing worth striving for. Religion 
should be shown forth as joyous, free, hearty, hopeful, if it would 
enchain the ardent affections of childhood and youth; from 
the Christian home let — 

" ' The light of love shine over all.' 

Rich or poor in its appointments, it should be cheery and 
kindly, full of common interests and homely self-sacrifices, and 
mutual confidences, and good order. Nowhere else should 
things be more honestly what they seem. It is only by 
home sentiments that home can be made a place whereto the 
hearts of children can be firmly bound; by a happy and affec- 
tionate home, children are held from wandering. There is little 
hope of religious lives for children who are allowed to find 
their pleasures away from their parents' guardianship, haunting 


Strangers' homes, or unknown places of amusement, staying out 
in the evenings and coming in late, unchallenged. If children 
are to grow up godly, they must have the shelter which God 
provided for them — their home. Being out late at night lies at 
the beginning of nine-tenths of the courses of ruin which are on 
record. Parents should insist on their children being home- 
keepers, and then should make happy the home that keeps them. 
How often do we hear quoted : 'Eternal vigilance is the price of 
liberty?' Eternal vigilance is the price of family piety. The 
parent should honorably face the fact, that his position demands 
incessant, kindly guardianship of his child; the child's com- 
panions should be well known to the parent; the home-training 
of these, their morals, manners, mental characteristics, should 
be well understood, and their influence over the child carefully 
noted. If it is true that a man is known by the company which 
he keeps, and that evil communications corrupt good manners, 
can a parent be too watchful over the companionships of his 
children ? So, also, the parents' vigilance must be extended 
over the important matter of the child's reading. A child 
should not be left, in its early simplicity and heedlessness, to 
choose its own books ; not merely the kind of books should be 
regarded, but their especial effects on their young reader, for 
what is only a needed stimulus' to one mind might be danger- 
ously exciting to another, and what might merely properly 
develop the sympathies of one child might make another 
morbid. Consider: do you want your child to be like this 
book? Is its tone that which you desire in your child's 

mind? " 

" Oh, me," said Helen, " what a world of work it is to rear a 
family! What a burden of responsibility!" 

" Consider, my Helen," I replied, " that nothing is a world of 
work which is systematically and earnestly carried on, which is 
begun at the beginning and regularly proceeded with; and if 


it were a world of work, a world of work is nothing when we 
are training for eternity, when we have souls in keeping." 

"And yet," said Mary Watkins, " how very different this 
training thus far sketched is from the usual training of children ! 
If this is the true way to bring children up, then most children 
must be merely allowed to come up." 

And yet is not this the model of the Family life, as God 
designs it ? The Bible is the guide-book, the family code of laws, 
and Christ is the desired Model for all, and he stands illuminat- 
ing parents and children, and children's children ; 

"As the reflection of a light 
Between two burnished mirrors gleams. 

Or lamps upon a bridge at night. 

Stretch on and on before the sight, 
Till the long vista endless seems." 

"There is another thing which we must not forget," re- 
marked Hester : " God sets servants and dependents in the 
religious keeping of the Heads of Families. No home can 
shut up itself in secret isolation; its circle forever widens; 
the servants, the neighbors, the guests, all feel its extending 
influence. Religion in the Family sheds its beneficent light 
on all the homes near — as Shakespeare says : 

" ' How far yon little candle sheds its ray ? 

So shines a good deed in a naughty world.' " 

"There is one thing more which I wish to suggest," said 
Sara. " Children who feel that they are governed in accord- 
ance with God's laws, that their parents are in their training 
responsible to a higher Power, and looking toward the highest 
good, yield the readiest obedience. Children so brought up 
are more thoughtful, have more careful consciences, look more 
narrowly toward the consequences of their acts. This reverence 
for law, as a thing divine, secures them from many of the 
crimes of youth." 


Martha came now to tell us our other guests were arriving, 
As we rose, Hester quoted from her beloved Plato : 

" 'And thus the tale has been told, and may-be for our salva- 
tion, if we are obedient to the word spoken. Wherefore, my 
counsel is, that we hold fast the heavenly way, and follow 
after justice and virtue always, considering that the soul is im- 
mortal and able to endure every sort of good and every sort 
'>f evil. Thus shall we live, dear to one another and to Heaven, 
both while remaining here, and when like conquerors in the 
games we receive our reward.' " 





iCi|| WAS working in my garden one day among my roses, 
J)T| and I was thinking of the very many varieties of this 
"" queen of flowers. I did not particularly notice by what 
chain of association and subtilely linked thoughts my 
mind passed on to the infinite varieties that there are in the 
exercise of hospitality, that queen of social virtues. Nearly all 
these varieties I have seen exercised, even in this one town and 
its surroundings. There is ostentatious hospitality, for instance. 
(Dne of our ladies here says, that she would not entertain com- 
pany at all, unless she could do it handsomely: having a hand- 
some guest-chamber, elegant table-furniture, plenty of servants 
and stylish meals. Now, of course, she entertains for the sake 
of herself, of gratifying her own vanity ; not for the good of 
her guest. I told her so one day. She said : " Of course her 
guest had the benefit of all the nice things." That is true. But 
still if she had not these splendors, she would refuse a hos- 
pitality which her guest might need. There again is spasmodic 
hospitality : that is Mrs. Black's variety. She will branch out 
once or twice a year into a fine, showy party, which the family 
have been tired out preparing for, or for sake of which the 
family table has been scrimped for weeks previously. To this 
gay entertainment Mrs. Black invites all her friends. For it she 

exhausts all her energies ; and during all the rest of the year 


she never thinks of having a relative visit her, asking a friend 
who drops in to stay to tea, inviting two or three acquaintances 
for an afternoon, or a friend for the day. But, really, she and 
her guests get very little gratification out of this spasmodic 
hospitality: it is strained and burdensome. Again there is 
nervous hospitality. I don't know a more striking instance of 
that than Mrs. Smalley, Mary Watkins' mother. When Mrs. 
Smalley is expecting guests, she is in a state of worry and 
flutter for fear her house will not look well enough, or will be 
less attractive than they expected, or less fine than they are 
accustomed to. She does not simply arrange the best she has 
in the best way which she knows, and then rest contented : there 
is no content about it. She frets herself into a state of excite- 
ment over rooms, bedding, table-furniture and food, and as soon 
as her guests arrive this accumulated mass of anxieties falls on 
them like an avalanche. She escorts them to her spare-room to 
lay off their wraps. She discourses : 

" I don't know as you'll be able to turn around here, this is 
such a little bit of a place. I tell Smalley it isn't fit to invite 
any one into. Smalley is so queer. He says : ' Why, if it does 
for us it will do for our friends.' But, la, / want to give people 
better than I have myself Vve always had to put up with poor 
things, but I don't reckon you have. You don't care to wash 
your hands? I wish I had nicer towels to offer you. I've 
always been laying out to get some of those long, wide, 
bordered damask-towels, but I never have. I hope you'll 
excuse these. Shall we go down-stairs ? These are such 
narrow, dark, crooked stairs I'm afraid you'll break your neck 
on them. I tell Smalley we ought never to ask anybody to go 
up them ; but, la, Smalley, he says, ' they're all that we've got.' 
Now, my sister's front stairs are fit to go on. She has two pair. 
But her things are always better than mine. I'm afraid you'li 
find this sitting-room close: it's so low-ceiled; and it's too cold 


for you, of course. I cannot get this fire to act as it ought, 
though I've worked at it all day. Do try this rocking-chair, 
though it is a poor thing to offer you, enough to break one's 
back; but that sofa is so stiff, and hard, and slippery, not near 
so nice as you're used to. I'm sorry I can't make you more 
comfortable, it worries me nearly to death." 

And so she goes on: she is sure her tea is poor, not first 
quality ; she cannot tell what has got into her bread ; the cake 
is not half as good as she wanted it to be ; the preserves are not 
fit to offer you ; the tongue is too salt ; you will not make out a 
meal; she don't expect it when things are so poor; if you stay 
all night, do excuse the fact that she has comforts instead of 
blankets on the bed ; and the sheets are too coarse to offer you, 
but she never can get things as she wants — and so on indefi- 
nitely : really in a worry herself, and getting her guests into a 
nervous state over her evident anxiety, while, in fact, all that 
she has is good, neat and abundant. 

What a contrast to this is Cousin Ann's common-sense hospi- 
tality ? Cousin Ann always, for her own comfort and the good of 
her family, has her house in the best order to which she can 
attain : there is neither dust, litter nor rags. As her means have 
gradually increased, so she has increased the furnishings and 
conveniences of her house : it is none of it too fine to use, and 
it is all thoroughly comfortable. She means to entertain her 
own family nicely, and takes other people in on the same footing. 
A thrifty housekeeper, her larder is never empty, she keeps 
jellies and preserves on hood, and her cake-box is replenished 
with something nice for a treat ; her table-linen is always hand- 
somely done-up, and she has always a bunch of flowers, or a 
moss-plate, or a growing fern as a centre-piece for her table 
Guests, invited or accidental, are always welcomed heartily, and 
Without apology ; they find everything in order ; no one seems 
disturbed by their appearance. If Cousin Ann has not on het 


best gown, she is not rendered miserable and apologetic thereby^ 
for her dress is always clean, and her cap and collar in order, 
and a white apron is always near at hand, and she meets friend 
or stranger with a plain, quiet dignity, becoming to herself and 
reassuring to them. If a surprise party rushes in on Cousin 
Ann, it does not demoralize Jaer domestic arrangements, for if 
the fires are not lit in spare-room and parlor, they are all laid 
and ready to touch off with a matcJi ; people may come to stay 
for a day, an evening, or a week : they are made welcome ; the 
work moves on in the same order as usual. Cousin Ann does 
not make " company ' of them, sitting with them in evident 
anxiety to be looking after things elsewhere; but if there is 
something for her to do, she ej^cuses herself calmly and attends 
to it. She will bring her basket of mending or her pan of apples 
to pare into the sitting-room, and chat merrily with her guests 
while her fingers are flying. She sets before her friends what 
happens to be on hand ; perhaps, if there is time, adding a plate 
of biscuits, or a dish of broiled chicken ; makes no excuses, is 
satisfied herself and takes it for granted that other people are. 

Now, speaking of good kinds of hospitality, there is that kind 
exercised by our minister's wife. It is truly the Biblical hospi- 
tality, without grudging, shown first to fellow-Christians, then to 
the poor, and then to people in general. Just let a colporteur, 
an agent for a religious society, a poor minister travelling for 
his health, a missionary, come to her house, and the house is 
never too full or too poor to entertain him. I have seen her 
take in a little old Indian evangelist and treat him like a king. 
I told her once that with her young family and the constant 
claims made on her time and thoughts, I should suppose this 
hospitality would be a heavy tax; but she said that she just 
made the guests part of the family and shared with them whaf 
she had on hand, and so it did not seem burdensome. Hers is 
Christian or unselfish hospitality, and in direct contrast with 


chat is the selfish hospitality of our member of Congress. I do 
believe that man never invites a guest for a meal, a day or a 
week, unless it is some one who will be of use to himself Let 
any one come along, who will be of political service, and Mr. K. 
opens his house ; nothing is too good ; his servants, his horse and 
carriage, all he has are at his feet. His wife, is never too busy 
or too feeble to have cake and coffee ready for a half dozen 
politicians, or an oyster-supper for members of the bar, or a 
county convention ; but when did any poor, sick, or old relation 
or widow woman without means, or any little child, get hospi- 
tality from him ? He offers what will come back to him in some 
way or another : he uses the hospitality which can be reduced 
finally to a cash return. When I was spending a winter with 
my half-sister, I saw a sample of what you may call excessive 
hospitality. She and her husband were both fond of company ; 
they had a nice house and a nice income, but they taxed both 
to the utmost in their entertaining. The children shared the 
social instincts of the parents. The little ones had a fine play- 
room, a large back-yard, and plenty of toys'; and they brought 
in their little mates by the half dozen to stay all day Saturday, 
or all of an afternoon, or to take a meal, or to stay all night. 
The older children had their friends by the day, week, or even 
month, especially if anything was going on in the city which their 
friends in town or country would enjoy seeing. They had theii 
charade parties, their tableaux parties, their musical evenings. 
The parents gave a party now and then. They opened their 
house every other Friday evening for a reception, with simple 
refreshments ; their dining-room was a sort of hotel for all their 
friends ; whoever was passing at meal-time dropped in ; if there 
was a convention, or literary or ecclesiastical gathering of any 
kind, they packed their house full of guests. My brother-in-law 
would ask business acquaintances, almost strangers even, to 
accept his hospitality for a week or so, while relations came for 


SIX months at a time. Even the servants shared the mania: 
if the cook's sister, or the chambermaid's cousin, or if the boy's 
mother were " out of place for a time, they came to stop for two 
or three days, and help do the work : they would not make a bit 
of trouble ; " and so the kitchen almost always had a visitor. In 
fact, my poor sister was nearly worn to death with her hospital- 
ity ; she never had a week's rest to herself, except when she 
shut the house, and fled. The excessive hospitality so destroyed 
the privacy of their home, and used up their income, that I hes- 
itated to go to visit them, felt uncomfortable in staying, and 
never went again, though my sister said I had been a real rest 
to her, entertaining her company, superintending her children 
and sewing, and keeping her closets in order. 

I often admire the hospitality exercised at Hester's : it may 
truly be called elegant hospitality. There is no show, no excess ; 
everything is in order and in quiet, good taste ; nothing seems 
to be a trouble. The guests are all persons of refinement: 
people of letters, artists, scholars whom it is a treat to meet ; the 
conversation is improving ; the talk of these learned and widely- 
travelled people seems to widen the sphere of one's own obser- 
vation and experience : the very food on the table becomes a 
theme of intellectual conversation. The olives and sardines 
bring up anecdotes of I-taly, or descriptions of famous paintings ; 
a Dutch cheese, like fairy godmother's pumpkin, becomes a 
coach, and in it you ride off to Holland, and hear its thrilling 
history discussed according to Motley ; a plate of dates entices 
some Egyptian traveller to describe to you Pyramids, and to 
elaborate the theories of Bunsen, Smyth and Osborne. 

Mark and Miriam are also very hospitable, after the style of 
Cousin Ann : simplicity, generosity and • a real satisfaction in a 
guest's presence mark the'ir method of entertaining. Helen is 
fond of company, but company burdens her more, as her house 
lacks the thorough order of Miriam's : her children are more 


unruly, and she is always in arrears with her work, instead of 
beforehand with it. She has improved since she began house- 
keeping, but she will never reach the happy having a time and 
a place for everything. 

I think in our village we ought all to know how to entertain 
with grace, liberality and simplicity, from the example we have 
had in Mrs. Burr and Mrs. Winton. I notice that they do not 
give many set entertainments, but they are always ready and glad 
to have a friend drop in unceremoniously to tea, or to accept an 
unexpected invitation heartily given. They have small, informal 
gatherings: a few friends to dinner or tea. Mrs. Burr is so 
ready to pick out strangers — young men come to begin business, 
or study their profession, or lonely young girls come to teach : 
she invites these for an evening to cheer them up, and let them 
feel that some one has an interest in them. She notices, too, if 
these strangers have uncomfortable boarding-places, or are not 
feeling well, and they are asked to her house for a few days, or 
for a week. Indeed, I observe that, with the exception of a few 
chosen friends, the people whom she asks to stay with her for a 
time are those who will receive some good in staying — people in 
feeble health, or lonely, or rather poor. That is the way to 
exercise hospitality so as to receive a blessing with it. 

Considering carefully the subject of hospitality, and observing 
how it is exercised, I concluded that we are liable in it to many 
errors, and fail, from ignorance, in doing by it all the good we 
may to others, or getting all the good we ought for ourselves 
I thought it would not harm our good ladies to have the matter 
well discussed, and I concluded to call it up at our Sewing 
Society. I like to bring up there some useful theme on which 
all are likely to have some ideas ; and the discussion improves 
ourselves, and keeps out jarring, unkind or foolish talk. Accord- 
ingly I managed to introduce the subject of hospitality, and we 
talked it over pretty well, getting new views and improving ou; 


old ones; and then we resolved to lay it before our minister, 
when he dropped in about an hour before tea, aitd to see what 
he had to say about it. Our minister took to the subject ver)' 
kindly, and when he was established in his arm-chair and we 
were all quietly busy with our needles, he held forth in some- 
thing of this style : 

" In the first place, my friends, hospitality is a Christian duty. 
It is not of the indifferent things which we can do or not do as 
we like, but it is clearly enjoined upon us. We owe its exer- 
cise to our fellows, in virtue of our common brotherhood in 
Adam, and of our closer brotherhood in Christ. ' Be not for- 
getful to entertain strangers ;" Use hospitality without grudging.' 
And the law of hospitality is not merely a New Testament 
law: the Old Testament recognized the stranger within the 
gates as a probable part of the Jewish household. We have not 
only * Biblical injunction but Biblical example: Abraham, re- 
marking three toil-worn travellers passing his shady oaks at 
Mamre, exercised a large hospitality, gave of his best, himself 
as a servant waited on his guests, and so entertained the Lord 
of Life and citizens of heaven. Rebecca, finding a wayfarer at 
the well, invited him and his train to abide at her father's house 
and became an ancestress of Christ ; Lot, si|ting in the gate of 
Sodom, showed the hospitality learned of Uncle Abraham; the 
old man of Gibeah shows kindness to the wayfarers in the street ; 
Samuel sets aside the best meat for guests who shall come to 
him in the land of Zuph. The priest of Midian, who entertained 
Moses, lives forever in the annals of his son-in-law ; the house- 
hold of Bethany received everlasting life and glory in enter- 
taining the Lord, and short Zaccheus casts a long shadow over 
the face of time as he runs to make ready for the prophet of 
Galilee. The eSrIy church, as we learn from New Testament 
notices and from early tradition, were given to hospitality, 
and they had their example from their Master, for when two 


young men ' said to him, Rabbi, where dwellest thou ? he replied, 
Come and seS; and they abode with him that night.' Now ii 
hospitahty is a Christian duty, it is incumbent upon all Christians, 
and this according to their ability ; for it is demanded of us ac- 
cording to what we have, and not according to what we have not. 
Christ twice fed a multitude on plain loaves of barley-bread and 
some small fishes ; his blessing went with them and they were 
enough. We do not read that the blessing altered the variety or 
the quality of this plain food; it increased its quantity to meet 
need. We shall none of us be likely to offer then a more simple 
entertainment than our Lord, but let hearty good-will go with it 
and it will be accepted, and we need not repine because our 
ability is not greater. The recipients of our duty of hospitality 
are indicated to us in the Scripture : servants of our Lord, our 
fellow-kinsmen in Christ; and then it is said, ' Ye did it unto me,' 
and we may entertain angels unawares. Our kindred, our 
friends, have a claim on our hospitality, and especially the poor 
who cannot pay it again, but whose account remains to be 
settled by the God of the poor at the resurrection of the just. 
The hospitality of a home should not have a superfluous mag- 
nificence and display which overawes and embarrasses the guest, 
making him feel ilL at ease and self-conscious, while the hospi- 
tality itself becomes to the entertainer a burden too heavy to be 
borne. Our hospitality should be easy, brotherly, ready, and 
oiifered in that quiet simplicity which gives best opportunity for 
the steady conduct of our ordinary home-life. The oriental says 
to his guest, in a flower of speech : ' All that I have is yours ; 
this is your house, command these servants, do as you please.' 
The Christian host makes no such shallow pretension of 
resigning the helm and headship : he intends to make his guest 
happy, and to guide his home in its accustdhied .way. The 
Scripture makes him responsible in a measure for the conduct 
of the stranger within his gates. We should not admit to our 


families those who will not exhibit to our children and servants 
a discreet example ; if through any exigency such must come 
among us, the heads of the household should exercise their right, 
and quietly see that there is no infringement of their religious 

" No Christian family should permit a guest to speak lightly 
of piety, or to carp at the Scriptures, or to profane God's name 
and day. The Christian family has always in its midst one 
choice and sacred guest — their Lord — and so they should allow 
no other guests to do despite to him. This ground is covered 
by the phrase, 'and the stranger within thy gates,' in the Fourth 
Commandment. . This quiet, unostentatious, but unflinching 
conduct of Home Piety in the presence of guests has often been 
made ' an effectual means of convincing and converting sinners.' 
The steady light of holiness shining in the Home has led the 
stranger within the gates to the same clear shining." 

" Well, really," said Mrs. Black, as our minister closed his 
discussion, " that's been as good as a sermon. I don't know 
but it has been better than a sermon, for it was shorter; we 
were all interested in the subject at the very time it was talked 
over ; we heard it sitting at our ease, without a draught from a 
window, or the loss of our footstool to bother us ; we were not 
distracted by anybody's new bonnet. Couldn't you give all 
your sermons in that easy, off-hand way, Domine ? " 

" If it has been such a good sermon," said Cousin Ann, " the 
next question is, 'how much will we profit by it?'" 

"I'm afraid it will be like the rest," said Mrs! Black ; "we say 
they are very good, and show what we ought to do, but we 
don't put them in practice. Indeed, Domine, after so long an 
experience you must have got done expecting us to put the 
theories in practice?" 

" Experience has taught me that there will some seeds grow, 
for I constantly see large harvests gathered on all sides ; and so, 
if many seeds are lost, many must have thriven." 


We were then called out to tea, and the subject of hospitalitj' 
was not resumed ; but I am quite sure its examination has done 
some of us a deal of good. 

As to this exercise of Hospitality, there are several points 
which I have settled in my mind. I think no member of the 
Family should disturb the home comfort by inviting any guest 
especially disagreeable to any other member of the Family. I 
think a husband should not give invitations, or desire to enter- 
tain guests so freely, as to be a tax on his wife's health, or to 
deprive' their children of her care. A wife on the other hand 
should not receive so much company that she cannot properly 
perform her duties in her home, or that she exceeds her 
husband's means. I think that one should never stint, and 
starve, and vex a family for a month or so, to launch out into a 
showy party : the true hospitality is to share what we have 
with a ready heart, that the recipient of the hospitality may not 
feel burdened by it. I think it is foolish to furnish a parlor and 
shut it up for the reception of occasional guests, considering it 
too good for the use of the Family Circle, so that the children 
feel awkward in it : our best things should be for our family. 
Also, I think it is very foolish to pick out the largest, best, 
sunniest room in the house, furnish it so well that we must 
pinch other rooms to make that nice, and then keep it for a 
guest-chamber, where five or six times in a year a few visitors 
go to lay off hats and shawls, and where some guest stays, 
perhaps, five or six weeks out of the fifty-two ; all the rest of the 
year these best rooms are shut up and virtually wasted. Now, 
I think, the b^est bed-room in the house should be the mother's 
room, large enough to bring into it a sick child. The mother's 
room should be airy and healthful, because on the health of 
the parents the stability and comfort of the family depend. This 
"mother's room" should be cheerful, so that the children 
should like to go there and should have pleasant recollections of 
it as a gathering-place. Let it be as well furnished as can be 


afforded, a family head-quarters of good taste, and then, if 
desired, stray visitors can be asked there to lay off their cloaks : 
for mother's room should always be in good order, as an 
example to daughters and servants. Friends who are staying 
in the house will enjoy going for an hour to this pleasant room 
to chat with their hostess as she sews or rests. I think rooms 
that are shut up four-fifths of the time have a forbidding, dead- 
and-alive, touch-me-not look, which repels the stranger who is 
asked into them. 

Another thing as to which I have made up my mind is, that 
people, in striving to be hospitable, are not obliged to allow 
guests to turn their houses upside down and abuse their hospi- 
tality. One would almost think this an unnecessary remark, 
but I have seen people upon whom courtesy was thrown away. 
I know such an one got into our minister's house once, and that, 
too, when the poor lady of the house was ill. Such a man 1 
never saw: he would not sleep on a mattress, and insisted on a 
feather-bed being borrowed for him ; then he said the bed-room 
was too small and that his bed must be put into the study, and so 
our poor minister was turned out of his refuge ; he scolded the 
maids until they threatened to leave, and he complained of the 
noise of the little children in their plays — excellent children 
they are ; he insisted on the best parlor-chair, their handsomest 
piece of furniture, being carried up into his room ; and he was 
angry because he was requested to pay his own washing-bills, 
when his income was twice that of our minister. Things got 
to such a pass that the minister said he must leave the house, as 
his presence was increasing the poor wife's illness. Some of 
our church-members came to ask if I'd have him, and I said : 
"No; I'd sooner take a lunatic." I am ready to exercise hos- 
pitality, but not to utterly unworthy subjects ; if patience ceases 
to be a virtue, so does hospitality. However, I think that was 
an exceptional case. 


When Hester and I were among the mountains, we saw a 
little log-house where a genuine hospitality was exercised. It 
was on the road to a logging-camp, and the wood-cutters passed 
by it on their journeys. Not far from the house was a cool 
spring under some trees. The good woman of the house had 
put in the shade some benches ; she kept some drinking cups 
there, and had had a basin for washing hollowed out of a block 
of wood, and she hung near it a good, long towel, which she 
changed every day ; and here the workmen, hot, and hungry 
and tired, passing by, could stop, rest, wash their faces, eat their 
luncheon, and get a cool drink. When we noticed the arrange- 
ments which she had made for the comfort of wayfarers, she 

"Ah, well, it's little I can do to make the world happier, but 
I just thought Fd like a resting-place on this long, steep road, 
so I fixed up that, and it's done good to others, and the blessing 
of him that was ready to perish has come upon me!" 

Hester was telling me lately of the true hospitality shown to 
herself and Dr. Nugent when they were travelling in the West. 
They were driving by themselves, and stopped at a cabin to try 
and get bait for their horses. It was a plain little place, all the 
furniture having been hewn out of the forest wood by the set- 
tler himself While the horses were eating, the good woman of 
the house came and asked Hester to rest by leaving the carriage 
and coming into her house. She brought her a cup of rich 
milk ; then, unasked, brought a pail of water that she might bathe 
her face and hands and dress her hair after the long, hot ride. 
In all that she did she showed an unaffected, hearty kindness, 
which lent to her acts a grace which would have become any 
lady in the land. When she saw that Hester admired some 
specimens of minerals and some woodland curiosities, she 
insisted on her taking them ; and as inquiries were made about 
the flowers in the vicinity, she hurried off to bring some which 


she thought very pretty, and which proved to be very rare and 
valuable. Hester was very glad that she had in her portman- 
teau a number of articles which she could bestow on her hostess, 
and which were gladly accepted when she learned that, as 
Hester would find her trunks that evening, they could b^ well 

Mrs. Burr, one winter, set all our town an example of charity 
and hospitality akin to that of the good Samaritan. One after- 
noon as snow was falling, a young woman, accompanied by a 
boy of five, asked leave to rest and dry herself at the kitchen 
fire. Mrs. Burr, seeing her enter the yard, went to the kitchen 
to inquire into her case, and ordered her a cup of hot tea 
Seeing that she looked very feeble, and hearing her painful 
cough, the kind lady next insisted on her putting on dry gai- 
ments, shoes and hose which she gave her. Mrs. Burr said to 
her servant : 

" Kitty, if you would give that poor little child a hot bath, I 
have a suit of clothes that Ned wore long ago, which you might 
put on him." 

Kitty agreed with alacrity, and the child, having then a bowl 
of bread and milk, felt very comfortable. The poor mother, 
however, looked exhausted and feverish. The storm increased. 
Mrs. Burr said she could not send so helpless a creature out in 
such weather, so Kitty made a fire in a bed-room, gave the 
invalid a hot bath and some medicine, and put her to bed. 
Twice in the night Mrs. Burr went to visit her patient, and early 
in the morning sent for young Doctor Winton. As the woman 
grew worse, Mrs. Burr waited on her as if she had been her 
sister. After three weeks' illness, the stranger died. She told 
Mrs. Burr that she was a destitute widow going to her early 
home ; and Mrs. Burr wrote to the minister in the village which 
she indicated, asking him to seek out her relatives, and let her 
know if they would take the child. The minister replied that 


they would do so, if he could be sent to them, but they were 
very poor. Mrs. Burr buried the woman decently, and con- 
cluded to keep the §by, training him for a house-sei-vant until 
he was old enough to learn a trsde. All the village became 
interested in the poor stranger, and sent things to her while she 
was ill, and helped bury her. Now that was a hospitality such 
as Christ recommends, which is shown to the poor, the halt, the 
blind, the lame, who can offer no compensation, and so the 
return is left to Him. 

I think the very poor often set us an example of genuine hos- 
pitality — how they divide their narrow meal with a hungry 
neighbor; how they share their fire and their shelter with those 
who lack. One of the most hospitable women in our town is a 
poor washerwoman. I think in winter she always has warming 
at her fire some cold little body whose mother is off for a day's 
work, or some little chap who has nowhere to go after school, 
or some little working-boy who does errands, cuts wood and 
cleans side-walks. There is always a place on her stove to boil 
the soup or meat of some one who must save firing ; she says, 
" it is no trouble to her, for her fire must be kept up." Two or 
three poor neighbors would hardly ever get their clothes 
washed for want of soap and warm water, only she makes them 
welcome to her suds when her washing is done. Indeed, she is 
a public benefactor, and with no means of exercising hospi- 
tality but a small, bare room and a fire, she yet sets us all an 
example of a hearty, thoughtful sharing of that little with those 
who need. 

One of the most remarkable instances of hospitality which I 
ever knew happened thus : I was making a short summer visit 
to a second cousin ; she had a very large house, and a good 
income. As we sat one Saturday afternoon in the front room, 
her husband remarked : " There is Mr. Potter, his wife, his 
mother and his three children. They have come off the boat, 


and are going toward the hotel, but I don't believe he can 
afford to pay his way there. Shall I ask them in to stop over 
Sunday ? " 

"Oh, yes: do," said my cousin, heartily. 

The good man then ran out and brought in his guests. My 
cousin was only slightly acquainted with Mr. Potter; he knew 
that he was a Methodist preacher who had been obliged to 
cease preaching on account of a bronchial disorder. That my 
cousin belonged to another church made no difference to him : 
he felt that all the children of God are one family. He dis- 
covered that, with very little money in his pocket, Mr. Potte;/ 
was looking for something to do ; he thought he had secured a 
school, and, suddenly disappointed, he found himself with his 
helpless family on his hands, strangers in a strange place. My 
cousin kept making him welcome in his home, until their joint 
efforts should secure him a place to labor. In fact, the who'/e 
family stayed a full year, and another child was born to them 
imder this hospitable roof At last Mr. Potter so far recovered 
that he was able to secure a small church ; then my cousin said : 
" Your family is large : leave your old mother here; I can take 
better care of her than you can." So indeed the old lady stayed, 
and stayed nine years. My cousin said she never begrudged 
the hospitality shown her, for she seemed to bring a blessing to 
the house, as the Ark of God to Obed-Edom. I am sure, for 
rny part, that the faithful Lord will never forget to settle such 
an account as that in the mansions higher up. 

After our discussion at the Sewing Society, of hospitality, the 
subject was called up one evening at our Literary Circle. There 
we sometimes give out a theme, and having distributed strips 
of paper, each member writes down a. sentence, either their own 
or some quotation, on the subject, and these being read, the 
various opinions so elicited are discussed. When Hospitality 
was the theme, these are some of the sentences handed in : 


" Hospitality is the reception and entertainment of strangers 
or guests, without reward." — Webster. 

" Hospitality I have found as universal as the face of man " 
— Ledyard. 

"The derivation of this word is from hospes, a guest; thence 
hospital, a place for receiving guests, a refuge for those in need; 
formerly freely applied to schools and endowed institutions of 
learning : thereafter applied to places for the reception of the 
sick or injured. Knights Hospitallers were a chivalric order of 
the middle ages, devoted to the succor of pilgrims to the holy 
sepulchre, and to the promotion of learning. Their head- 
quarters were first at Jerusalem, and then at Malta ; their defence 
of Malta against the sultans was one of the most gallant achieve- 
ments of history.'' 

" Hospitality seems to be of the noblest instincts of the heart; 
a primitive virtue, most warmly exercised in early and un- 
tutored ages. It was especially a virtue of our ancestors, and 
seems to be rather dying out, than increasing, in the light of 

"Hospitality: a charming virtue, perishing gradually under 
the inroads of steam-cars and a hotel system." 

After reading these, and other sentences, we began to discuss 
the question whether the grace of hospitality was decreasing. 
The extravagance of the present age, the emulation in the style 
of living, and the false shame felf at living plainly, were alleged 
as reasons why people now less freely than formerly entertained 
guests. The increased means of locomotion, whereby the cor- 
rupt classes of the cities passed more freely from place tc place, 
rendering people suspicious of strangers, and not willing tc 
entertain them,, was another reason offered for a decrease in that 
genial hospitality wherewith our forefathers received each be- 
lated traveller, and made him welcome to their hearth. Cousin 
Ann told us that her pastor, a holy old man, years ago, when 


two nice-looking young men stopped to ask their way, bad;; 
them, as it was late, dark and stormy, to remain all night. The)- 
came in gladly, were seated at the family table, and spent the 
■-vening in the family circle, chatting pleasantly. They knelt 
It prayers, when the good man asked for a blessing on the 
strangers within his gates. The next day the tempest was 
heavier, and the two were invited to tarry ; on the next day they 
set out. Three days after that they were arrested as notorious 
housebreakers. The minister had in his house and on his table 
a good deal of silver, heired by his wife, his quarter's salary 
lay in his unlocked desk, but these two Ishmaels of society 
found all that belonged to their saintly host sacred in their 

Mr. Burr said that before the electric telegraph, the steam-car, 
and the daily paper, people in the rural districts were so far cut 
off from the news of the world that a passing traveller, judge, 
schoolmaster, day-laborer or peddler was to the family in lieu 
of a post-bag of letters, and a whole file of newspapers; the 
information which he brought, seeming to put them into contact 
with their fellows, largely repaid all favors, in the shape of bed 
and board, bestowed upon him. From the host down to the 
smallest child, and to the maid in the kitchen, a guest came as a 

Hester reverted to yet earlier times, when wheeled convey- 
ances were almost unknown ; highways were infested with rob- 
bers, and roads were full of ruts two feet deep ; when books were 
only in manuscript, or were worth almost their weight in gold ; 
then a travelling troubadour, harper, or tale-teller, was as the 
commg to the house of a whole library. The family welcomed 
him, and gave him of their best, and besought him to remain 
long; they learned his tales and songs to beguile the tedium 
of their winters ; if any of them could write, they made copies of 
his parchments, to keep among their choicest treasures. So 


when the early Lollards of Wyckliffe's day began to go about 
the country, carrying portions of the Scriptures and of religious 
'•orks in written rolls, and preaching the gospel, they were 
received with joy; their little books were copied; they were 
detained as long as possible to instruct the family and the 
retainers, and thus the hospitality which seems indigenous in 
England secured the spread not only of learning but of true 
religion, and the general awakening of mind and independence, 
which finally led to the securing of national liberty. Thus has 
English hospitality been largely blessed to England. 

Mrs. Winton thought that instead of complaining of the 
demands upon our hospitality, we should rejoice in the exercise 
of this virtue, and cherish it lest it should become as a "lost; 
art" to future generations. That is a very lovely story hov/' 
Cowper was entertained for years as a guest, and Dr. WattJi 
going for a short visit remained with his host for forty years. 

Mrs. Black smartly retorted that it "would be all well enough 
if one could be sure of entertaining Cowper or Watts : for her part 
she would not mind having the author of ' John Gilpin's Ride' 
for a visitor. But, now-a-days, if one exercised promiscuous 
hospitality, one might show the most of it to a troop of tramps, 
who were thieves and cut-throats, and to entertain whom, even 
for a meal, was to encourage idleness and pauperism. She did 
not wonder that in the light of so many barn-burnings, and with 
the record of so many murders and child-stealings, hospitality to 
unknown individuals was falling into a decline and like to die; 
for her part she would willingly attend its funeral." 

" The question," said our minister, " is, like many questions, 
typed by the British Shield in the fable, which had one side of 
gold and one of silver, and about the material of which it was 
not well to dispute hotly until one had looked at both sides. 
There is a use of hospitality which, like mercy, was twice 
blessed : blessing him who gives and him who takes. There is 


.ilso an abuse of hospitality, as when one fostered by it itinerant 
idleness, rude, ungracious assumption, or received a vicious 

Miriam reminded us of the beautiful picture of hospitality 
which Milton draws in the Fifth Book of " Paradise Lost," 
where he represents Eve making ready the entertainment of her 
guest, Adam beguiling the day by accounts of the garden-life 
since the creation, and both the first pair seated, attentively 
listening to the discourse of their guest. 

"The relation between a guest and his host," said Mr. 
Winton, " has always been considered very sacred. The Home 
spreads its aegis of protection over all who come under its roof: 
to murder or rob a guest, or a host, has been esteemed the very 
extremity of wickedness. The wildest Arab protects him who 
aas eaten of his salt ; if one of our Indians offered the calumet 
of peace to a stranger and led him into his wigwam, then he 
was that stranger's defender until he went forth in peace. The 
Levitical law forbid returning to his master a fugitive slave 
who had made one's roof his refuge. The most reckless of the 
Afghan robbers will protect to the utmost a man who is his 
guest, even though he should be willing to waylay and assassi- 
iiiite him after he has gone out from under his shelter. I have 
never read of any land or tribe where hospitality was unknown, 
and truly this grace of the barbarian should shine better and 
brio-hter in the civilized man and the Christian. Let us make a 
point to cultivate it, especially in our families, so that this virtue, 
and the blessings attending on it, may descend to our children's 
children, and that Hospitality may revive and not die out in the 
nineteenth century." 

But I think that one of the very choicest forms of Hospitality 
is one that peculiarly belongs to people in the country, or in 
small villages. Of late the charitably inclined in cities have 
been appealing to those living in rural districts to receive into 


their houses, for a little time in the summer, the worn-out, indigent 
workers of the city, or poor little city children. Seamstresses, 
shop-girls, tradeswomen, exhausted, needing a change of air, 
unable to pay for such a luxury, would have minds, bodies and 
hearts revived by being accepted as unpretending guests, readj 
to take the plainest room, glad to lend a hand in home-work 
thankful for a share of the ordinary family meals; city friends 
would pay their travelling expenses ; the farm-house would not 
find itself encumbered by one or two such visitors — incljcd, the 
healthful, peaceful life of the farm would grow more and more 
beautiful to country people's view beheld through these admir- 
ing, wondering eyes of the honest city poor, who revel in a 
dandelion or a daisy, who esteem buttenn 'k the choicest pos- 
sible beverage, and a live chicken a thing to gaze at by the 
hour. What draughts of joy and health these weazened chil- 
dren from crowded, narrow city streets or sunless attics drink in 
the glorious country! They may live to be healthful, cour- 
ageous men and women by virtue of these tumbles in the hay, 
this going after berries, and driving home the cows. Cousin 
Ann every summer has a succession of such guests, and the 
boys fitted up three little rooms over the tool-house, making 
most of the furniture themselves, for the accommodation of three 
more of these strangers sent by city clergymen and friends; 
while for a month every summer the best spare-room is occu- 
pied by some city missionary, to whom costly summer resorts 
would be an impossibility. It makes no matter if Reuben and 
Ann have not met him before: he and his wife and a child oi 
two are welcomed as kinsmen in Christ Here indeed is tru« 



DO not think our village is worse than any others ; but 
surely it is not better than others in the matter of keeping 
children and young folks off the streets, and in good 
comj)any. As I went to Helen's lately, I found Tom 
frolicking in the street with a number of little fellows who havo 
no advantages of home-training, who fight and use bad words. 
I took Tom with me to his own house, and when he was safel3r 
playing in his own back-yard, I began to reason with his mother 
concerning him. Having mentioned the boys with whom I had 
found him playing, I asked : " Now, Helen, does it seem to 
3'ou that God has given Tom, in the birth which he has assigned 
him, any advantages over these children — any better oppor- 
tunities ? " 

" Why, of course, he has," said Helen. 

" And then, are you not recklessly throwing away for Tom this 
birthright, are you not nullifying these privileges, by casting 
his lot in with these less fortunate ones, subjecting him to their 
temptations, putting him in the way of the evil example which 
they find in their homes ? Little Teddy Buck has no yard to 
play in, no home but a grog-shop. Society which is better off 
does owe Teddy a helping hand, but a child like Tom is not the 
proper missionary. Tom will learn evil of Teddy, and Teddy 
will get no good from Tom. Tom has been allotted by Provi- 
dence a nice yard in which to play, but in permitting him to run the 



streets you put him as far as yoH can in Teddy's place, and sup 
jcct him to the transmitted evil influences of the bar-room. Tom 
is happy in having a father who would use no profane nor vulgar 
language, but you allow him to associate with Jim Green, whose 
mouth is full of the vice and blasphemy which he hears from his 
father. You would be shocked at having a gambler like James 
Wall admitted into your society, but here your own son, ' playing 
for keeps ' on the corner, is learning to be what you loathe. 
Mike Flannagan is coarse and dirty. Suppose Tom asked him 
into your sitting-room ? You would be angry, and yet, as we grow 
like our associates, you are allowing Tom to grow like Mike; 
Flannagan, and by-and-by, instead of a son to be proud of, and 
a companion and protector of his sisters, he will be a foul little 
ruffian, fit only to disgrace you." 

" Oh, aunt," cried Helen, tears in her eyes, " you are too 

" No, my dear, not a bit. This is plain, hard truth, which other 
people would not venture to tell you, but in a few years, if Tom 
turns out a reprobate, these same sinfully silent friends would 
say : 'Ah, I knew how Tom would turn out : from the way his 
mother let him run the streets, what else could she expect?' 
Now I tell you in time, so that you may take counsel and 
t'scape trouble." 

" But, aunt," said Helen, putting herself on the defensive, " we 
cannot keep our children always from contact with the world, 
nor from the evil that is in it." 

" Very true, but God gave them homes and parental care, to be 
their shelter, until they are established in virtue, love truth, and 
can resist temptation. The child's training is always different 
from the man's action, although it served to fit him for it. You 
strengthen the child's stomach on milk and on delicate food, 
that it may grow capable later of digesting meat ; you expect 
your child to walk, and because you expect that, you do not set 


a child of a week old to bearing its weight on its boneless, legs, 
or you would have not an athlete but a cripple." 

Hester had been sitting with Helen, and she added : " Plate 
says, 'A young man who is good is apt to be deceived by 
V>thers, because he has no pattern of evil in himself: therefore a 
judge should be advanced in years, and his youth should have 
been innocent, and he should have acquired experience of evil 
hte in life by observation.' What is good for forming a just 
judge is good for forming any man, and here the demand is for 
an innocent youth, segregated from vice, and learning of evil, 
not by crime-committing and remorse, but by seeing its effects 
upon society in general." 

" Oh," said Helen, " I see you are both against me. I only 
wish you knew how crazy Tom is after some one to play with, 
and how hard it is to keep him within bounds." 

" My child ! " I exclaimed, " the very hardness of the task 
shows you how needful it is to perform it. If it is hard now, if 
Tom is left to the freedom of his own will, by the time he is 
fifteen he would be past all control ; and that it i? ' :a does not 
lessen your maternal duty. Consider the usefulness of Tom's 
life: all the happiness of your later years, the credit of your 
family, the well-being of an immortal soul, hang on your per- 
formance of duty. Oh, that you might see that duty now as 
clearly as you will see it if ever it becomes too late to see and 

"Cousin Helen," said Hester, "don't blame Tom for being 
^jnd of playmates and company. Man is a social animal ; the 
child only shares the nature of his kind. You do not desire 
him to be a hermit or a cynic, although that would be 
better than a rowdy or a criminal. If he is to sway men or 
succeed among them, he must begin by leading the hfe of a 
citizen, not of a misanthrope. Doubtless there are mothers who 
have seen sons go to the gallows, or the penitentiary, or have 


followed to a premature grave the victim of debauchery, who, 
if they had been true to their maternal task, might have seen 
their children standing in the highest places of state, or church, 
or science, and dying have been followed by the lamentations of 
a whole people." 

"Why," said Helen, "you speak as if it all rested with 
mothers, but some who have had no mothers or have had bad 
mothers have done very well." 

" We see now and then in nature," said Hester, " unexpected 
or abnormal growths, developments which are exceptions to a 
usual law, but we expect what conforms to the law. From a 
poor stock a better scion may spring ; but rule is, good stock, 
good scion, and we do not trust to poor stock for better things. 
If I tossed a valuable bulb or root out on that garden-bed it 
might take root and thrive, but I should be almost absolutely 
certain of its thriving if I carefully planted and cultured i1 
according to its kind. Do not, Helen, try to escape the facl 
that parents are the architects of their children's future. Socrates 
said : 'A golden parent may have a silver son, and a silver 
parent a golden son, or perchance the son of a golden or silver 
parent may have an admixture of brass or iron.' But all this, 
my cousin, will be because there entered gold, or silver, or brass, 
or iron, into parental training." 

" But," said Helen, " I do try to train up Tom as well as I 

" Helen," I said, " consider this reasonably : you try in the 
house to make Tom a gentleman ; you check a bawling tone, you 
cultivate a polite reply, you reprimand him if he calls names, 
and you are pleased if any one notices that his manners are 
refined. This you do in the house, half an hour or so ; then he 
goes out on the street, he whoops like an Indian, knocks off the 
cap of some passing child, squabbles over his marbles, and flings 
dust in the face of his opponent, and finally relieves his mind by 


yelling at htm that he is " a dumb old blunderbuss ; ' then dodging 
from a stone thrown in revenge for the epithet, he stumbles into 
old Mrs. Petty, hobbling along to visit her daughter, and almost 
throws the dame into the gutter." 

" He deserves a good whipping," cried Helen, indignantly. 

" But, Helen, he was acting exactly like the company which 
you allowed him to be in ; he merely yielded to the temptations 
of the position in which you had placed him. In his own yard, 
playing with lads of your choice, Tom would have done none 
of these things; your letting him run with wild, bad children 
destroys your own teaching. Suppose you do teach him the 
Commandments : if you let him play with children who, in his 
presence, break hourly the third, the fifth, the ninth and the 
tenth, the example will be far more potent than the precept. 
We are members of a fallen race, Helen, and evil seizes on us 
with a far stronger hold than good. Helen, your own conscience 
shows you your duty : do not let pride or indolence ruin the soul 
of your son." 

" But what shall I do ? " cried Helen. 

" Why," said Hester,- in her matter-of-fact way, " here is a card ; 
now write down on it the names of four or five boys who in your 
view are fit playmates for Tom. Then call in Tom : tell him it is 
time you made new rules for him ; that hereafter he cannot play 
outside of his own yard, unless it is in the yard o{ some one 
whom by your permission he is visiting. Tell him these boys 
named on the card are the boys )vhom he is to go with, and if 
the circle is increased it will be by you. Tell him that you 
shall permit no infringement of these laws ; and inasmuch, Helen, 
as you are not very forcible in maintaining your rules, I'd 
advise you to lay the case before Frank, and have him positively 
re-affirm this judgment." 

Helen, with a few suggestions from us, wrote her card and 
dien sent for Master Tom. As he was coming, she said to 


Hester : " You begin the matter : you know how to <get on with 
boys and I don't." 

In came Tom. 

Said Hester : " Tom, I'm going to take a boy out to Cousin 
Ann's to spend the day to-morrow, and I shall pay no regard to 
relationship in choosing him. Shall I take you or Mike Flan 
nagan ? " 

"Take me," spoke up Tom, confidently. 

" Why, what better claims have you ?" asked Hester. 

" I've — I've got the best clothes," said Tom. 

"As for that, I can easily buy Mike as good a suit." 

"Oh, come now, Cousin Hester," argued Tom, "you don't 
want him round a lady like you. Why, Mike swears awful, and 
he uses such grammar you wouldn't know what he was saying; 
and he lies — oh, you couldn't believe one word he said to you 
all day!" 

" Humph, a pretty boy for you to be playing with ! How 
long will it take you to grow like him ? If you run with him 
much longer, are you likely next year to be any better company 
'for a lady' than he is?" 

Tom crimsoned and hung his head. 

" I'm not like Mike yet,'' he mumbled. 

"I did not, think you were acting very kk///^^ him when I 
brought you off the street," I remarked. 

Then Helen showed him her card, and laid down her new 
rules, with more authority than she usually shows. Tom stood 
looking perplexed, but Hester went on smoothly as if it were 
part of the plan. "And as you will want to have a good time 
in your own yard, you . are to have a row of pop-corn of your 
own planting all along the back fence ; and the top room of the 
wood-shed you can clear out for your boys to have shows, pan- 
oramas, and so on, in ; and your father is going to put up some 
poles and such things for gymnastics for you, and when hot 


weather comes, I intend to lend you my smallest tent to set up 
in your yard, for your use, if you will take care of it. But 1 
should be sorry to suggest the dreadful things which are likely 
to befall you, if you do break rules and run the street." 

" Catch me running the street," quoth Tom, " if I can have 
BOYS here to play with, and things to pl^ with, and if I know i 

Off ran Tom to examine the capacities of the top room of the 
wood-shed. Said Hester, smiling: "There is sound philosophy 
in Tom's remark : 'If I know I daren't.' The human heart was 
made to be controlled by law, and it craves law. When I was 
at college, our lady principal, like the knight of old, had a hand 
of steel in a velvet glove. The velvet glove handled all things 
with genial courtesy, but if any one began to slip off into the 
ways of error, the steel hand under that velvet glove settled 
firmly down on the culprit with the grasp of a vice. To rebel 
was bootless : there was that calm, silent authority. One of our 
elder girls, who had lived utterly without restraint at home, was 
telling us one day how different school rule was from home 
rule. One said to her : ' How can you stand such a change, 
then ? How does it seem to you ? ' She considered a while, 
and replied : ' There is a great satisfaction in feeling safe — that a 
law is right, and as long as you abide by it you are easy and 
fre't from danger.' " 

" There is almost no point, Helen," I said, " in which this 
parental or Home authority can be more legitimately exercised 
than in regard to thf; friendships of our children. The family is 
not a unit, cast alor/e into space : it is one of many Which make 
up the grand sum total of the race ; in every department of life 
we touch on our fellows ; we were born social animals, and we 
will exercise our social instincts, each for himself the centre of 
concentric circles, the sacred, inner circle of close friendships, 
the next of daily acquaintances, the next of business acquaint- 


ances, and the wide, outer circle of an unknown world. The 
little child must have friends, but knows nothing how to choose 
friends ; his parents must choose for him. Helen, you must sub- 
ject the moral character, the natural traits, the home-training, 
the manners, the language, the pursuits of your children's com- 
panions to the closest scrutiny.'' 

" Oh, how can I constantly remember so much ! " 

" Why, child, you did all this in making out that card. You 
chose the minister's little son because he was good and so well 
trained ; two little Carr boys because their manners and language 
had been so well guarded ; you rejected one boy because he was 
so notoriously passionate, and you put the son of the tailoress 
on the top of your list because he is known as one of the best 
boys in town. Use always the care and judgment you have in 
making this list." 

On my way home from Helen's I called on Mrs. Black, and 
as I sat with her we saw Belinda passing, with Maria Sellers. 
Mrs. Black exclaimed : " I do wish Belinda would not go so 
much with Maria ; Maria is a bold girl, always running about 
the streets, and talking of young men ; her manners are noisy, 
and she is very silly.'' 

" If you do not like the friendship, Mrs. Black," I said, "why 
do you not break it off? Mothers have a right to choose the 
friends of their daughters. If you do not exercise your right, 
and so give Belinda the benefit of your wider experience and 
more mature judgment, she is in that respect no better off than 
a poor orphan. God gave parents their training in long disap- 
pointments, and broken faiths, and looks down unfathomable gulfs 
of wickedness, that mighty ruin caused by taking false coin of 
friendship for their own sincerity, that they might know how to 
shield their children from temptation, or to deliver them when 
they are tempted. If you had received a fortune you would 
make Belinda a sharer in it, and not turn her out a pauper to beg 


from door to door ; and you have received this fortune of expe- 
rience, and of seeing the effects of certain causes, and certain 
ends from certain beginnings and to know where danger lies, 
and yet you disinherit Belinda from that, and let her take her 
own chance of being harmed by harmful friends. There is 
nothing more important to children than the friendships which 
they form, and parents should look to it." 

This subject of Home Friendships being in my mind, I went 
one day to call at the parsonage, and our minister said : " Miss 
Sophronia, suggest to me a text for a sermon: something of 
popular interest." 

" I cannot si/ggest to you a text," I said, " but I will give you 
a subject on which I really wish you would preach, and that, is 
Friendships in the Home. I do not think people generally know 
how important a part our friendships play in our moral and 
spiritual lives. I do not think parents understand their respon- 
sibility for the friendships formed by their sons and daughters. 
There must be common-sense law, and God's law to govern it. 
So let us have your opinions on it." 

Our minister replied that he would think about it, and a few 
weeks after, he, having announced the theme a week before, 
preached on Friendships in the Home, taking for his text: 
" Because thou hast joined thyself with Ahaziah, God hath 
broken thy works." He enlarged on our Christian duty of 
forming suitable friendships for ourselves and our families. He 
spoke of the instinct of friendship as indigenous in the heart of 
man — a plant of Eden which had not been rooted up by the 
tempest of the Fall, but had bloomed in every age. He spoke 
of the divine warrant for our friendships ; of Enoch, who walked 
with God ; of Moses, who talked with God as a man does with 
his friend ; of Abraham, who was known as the friend of God ; 
of the tender friendship which bound David and Jonathan; of 
Christ loving and choosing the seventy and tJie twelve, and then 


the special three, Peter, James and John, for his particular friend* 
ship, and of that tender friendship with the household in Beth- 
any. God sends his people out two by two', and family by 
family, and gives the social tie; and as "iron sharpeneth iron, 
so doth the countenance of a man his friend." But over the 
exercise of this instinct of friendship God keeps watch: qui 
friendships are amenable to law ; there must be reason in the 
choice ; the natural instinct rises to the higher level of logical 
preference. False friendships distract and torture us ; the friend- 
ship of the wicked betrays us into danger, and brings us to judg 
ment : there was wrath on Jehoshaphat because he loved them 
that hated the Lord. If our friends cannot be bound to be dear 
lovers of our other friends, it is yet impossible that, holding that 
relation to us, they should be their enemies. So a Christian can- 
not choose for a friend the foe of his Lord ; the moral man can- 
not choose the immoral ; the law-abiding cannot choose the law- 
hater. In fact, one of the chief elements in friendship is sympa- 
thy ; and so are we known by the company which we keep, and 
are judged to be as our friends are. The friend of one member 
of the family is brought into contact with all ; this friend then 
should be damaging to none. The parent must not choose a 
friend who would be injurious to his child: the husband, a man 
whom he cannot introduce to his wife; the mother cannot 
choose a foolish-tongued woman who would be a bad example 
to her daughter; the brother, a youth unfit for the society of his 
sister. Friends can bring into our homes moral poison, or honey 
from the hives of Hybla ; there is no law of hospitality which 
would bid us open our doors any sooner to the bringer-in of 
discord, or unfaith, or vice, than to the housebreaker, the murderer 
or the bringer-in of contagious diseases. Keep the sanctuai^ 
of Home inviolate. Satan knows the power of evil friendships, 
and he strives tp destroy innocent youth by evil companionship. 
Are you, parents, on your guard against this device of the devil ? 


Are you choosing the friends of your children, or are you leav- 
ing them in all the reckless confidence, the broad sympathies, 
the boundless faith of youth, to fall in with wicked companions 
whom the adversary of souls has spread as a net at the head of 
every way? Remember that vice is, on the exterior, often allur- 
ing. The evil companion seems, at first flush, liberal, witty, well 
skilled in all the pretty arts of life and society; unwary youth 
seizes upon him as a treasure, this lost one, walking in the hosts 

of light. 

" Behold, how fair on outside falsehood hath ! " 

Young people in their first intercourse with the world have 
very singular grounds for choice of friends. A young lad will 
find sufficient cause for conferring his friendship if a stranger 
has a good suit of clothes, a jolly laugh, or the glory of owning 
a gun, a fishing-rod, a dog or a pony. Fathers should not allow 
their business so to engross their minds that they have no time 
or thought to spend on their sons' friendships ; they are more 
likely than mothers to know the ways of the lads in the neigh- 
borhood, and they should see to it that their sons do not form 
friendships which are likely to nullify any good teaching which 
they may get at home, 

I was speaking of this to Cousin Ann one day, and she said 
that people who live in the country, and have two or three sons 
nearly of an age to be companions for each other, hardly know 
how well off they are. There is a tendency in the young lads 
in the country to flock to the villages to chat at the tavern or 
the corner store, but this tendency can be checked by making 
the home pleasant, bringing into it plenty of books and papers, 
and inviting friends freely, and making it agreeable for them. 
The friends of all members of the family ought equally to be 
invited : that is a dangerous plan which invites the daughter's 
friends, on the plea that young girls are quieter and more easily 
pntertained. and refuses to invite the son's friends because thq,- 


are " too much trouble." Thus, the boys feel slighted, are 
inclined to go abroad to seek more troublesome friends than 
they would bring into the house. By having their acquaint- 
ances rejected from the home circle, they fall into a habit of 
keeping aloof from the society of their homes, say it is too 
much trouble to dress to see people, get shy and awkward, and 
soon sink to a lower plane of companionship than that to which 
they are entitled. Cousin Ann said her children never invited 
friends without consulting her, but that on her part she never 
begrudged a little trouble in entertaining her children's friends 
as freely as her own — in fact, in making them her own ; and she 
always tried to increase the circle of their acquaintances by 
receiving into it all new-comers whose character would make 
them acceptable. • 

Mrs. Black, Mrs. Winton and Miriam met at my house on« 
afternoon quite by accident, and the subject of forming friend- 
ships came up in the course of conversation. 

" I'm sure," cried Mrs. Black, " sometimes I wish we'd all 
been born hermits, or had been wrecked on a desert island, I 
have such trouble with my girls' acquaintances. They get 
desperately intimate with some other girl for no reason in life, 
perhaps, but that she wears clothes which they admire, or has a 
chatty way in society which draws young men about her, or is 
a good hand at getting up pic-nics and entertainments. As long 
as they are friends there never was such a dear, and as soon as 
they quarrel, which they usually do in a little while, there never 
was any one so detestable. And one trouble is that half the 
friends the girls pick out do not suit Mr. Black's views, and he 
frets over the acquaintance." 

"Such intimacies as you describe," said I' s. Winton, "do 
not seem to me worthy of the name of friendship. They are 
mere matters of excitement and sentimentality, and girls who 
allow their minds to be occupied with such feelings scarcely 


know what true friendship is. Real friendship is based on 
respect; on something truly worthy in its object; it is without 
flattery, or jealousy, or selfish ends. We may have many 
acquaintances, but not so very many friends; and friendship, 
which is stable in its nature, sympathizing, improving, is some- 
thing to be cultivated as a very choice element in our lives. I 
think we do not sufficiently try to teach our young people the 
true nature of friendship ; how worthy it is of our best efforts 
in its preservation ; that it is not to be promiscuously bestowed 
on every new acquaintance who pleases us for an hour. And, 
then, we parents should help our children in forming their 
friendships; pointing out what is trustworthy and amiable in 
the young people who are about them. If Mr. Black does not 
approve of these hasty friendships of his daughters, why not 
choose such friends as you esteem, point out their good 
qualities, invite them to your house, cultivate the friendship 
yourself? The impressible nature of the young will soon 
respond to these advances, and you will see your children sur- 
rounded by safe and improving friends. Those of us who take 
pride in cultivating flowers do not allow weeds to grow in our 
gardens, eating up the productive power of the soil, and dete- 
riorating our favorite plants ; but, too often, we take no pains to 
remove from our children those who may dwarf their opinions, 
or poison their hearts." 

" It is a very difficult task," said Miriam, " to choose proper 
friendships even for our young children. Sin is always con- 
scious of its shamefulness, and seeks to conceal itself Hypoc- 
risy is not a product of middle age merely : it often thrives fully 
developed in the heart of children. I think the very worst 
acquaintance I ever had, perhaps the worst person I e\-er knew, 
was a girl younger than myself— indeed, only eight 5'ears old. 
It was before I came to live with Aunt Sophronia; and this 
child, belonging to a respected family, always smii^ig. and 


pretty, and well dressed, was esteemed a personification of grace 
and a pink of propriety, while in truth she was a little bundle of 
lies, and disobedience, and badness. Even a little child I dar^ 
not select to be freely with my child until I know something of 
its true character, as shown out of the restraining company of 
grown folks." 

" Now," said Mrs. Black, " if it is a matter so difficult to aid 
the friendships of so young children as yours, what is one to do 
when there are three or four grown-up children like mine? It 
really seems to me that the more one opposes some new flame 
of fancy which they have picked up, the more they are set on it. 
They will quarrel soon enough if left to themselves, but set 
yourself against the friendship, and it stands like a rock." 

" I should say," remarked Mrs. Winton, " that this might be 
because your children had not grown up expecting any super- 
vision of their friendships, and they resent as an aggression what 
you have failed to exercise as a right. I have never had any 
such trouble with Grac?. I have taught her not to make sudden 
intimacies, but to sift well the character of new acquaintances. 
It has always been understood that not only her approval is 
needed in the choice of a friend but mine. If I say to her, ' Do 
not be very intimate with such an one ; there is only foundation 
there for casual acquaintanceship, not for intimacy,' that is enough. 
She has learned to esteem her affection as a thing too valuable 
to cast away on the unworthy : if she detects the flaw she is 
wary. Sometimes, owing to this hypocrisy of which Miriam 
has just spoken, we have both been deceived ; but when the true 
character is revealed, she slowly and surely but without quar- 
relling withdraws herself. When she has been away at school, 
if she found those to whom she was especially attracted, I have 
been particular to invite them to my house to remain a while, for 
I could not think of my young daughter having an especial 
vriend who was unknown to me. I wished to apply my wider 


experience to the subject, to warn of any dangers ; if there was 
something lacking, to try and improve the friend, that she and 
Grace might be a mutual benefit." 

" I am glad," I said, " that you have touched upon that idea. 
Ought we not to lay hold upon this strong bond of friendship 
to bring people nearer to goodness ? Do you not think that 
many young people who have been without home advantages, 
who have had evil influences cast around them, are rescued and 
taught to desire and attain better things by having the friend- 
ship of happier people conferred on them ? " 

" That is undoubtedly true," said Mrs. Winton, " and yet we 
must be very careful of setting up our children in their impres- 
sible youth as missionaries : they may be swept away by the 
stream into which they went down to rescue others. I have, 
indeed, for my own children fostered rather close acquaintance, 
ships wjiich lacked heart freedom enough to be called friendships 
with those who, as I thought, needed their moral and social 
aid. But in these cases I was careful to have the intercourse 
carried on chiefly in my own presence, that I might so preserve 
my own children from harm, and do my share in influencing and 
improving the others." 

" I think," said Miriam, " that it is not merely positive yicious- 
ness which we are to eschew in our children's friends : folly is 
also dangerous. How many girls, who might have grown up 
simple-minded and self-forgetful, have been made vain and 
affected by friends of their own age who were forever talking 
about appearances, about compliments, and offering extravagant 
adulation! A child who might have grown up attentive to 
studies, and reading such books as its parents choose for it, 
becomes, under the influence of some silly friend who cannot 
write a sentence correctly, and Who devours unlimited novels, 
a despiser of solid education, with a mind enervated by stolen 
trash. We should not allow our children intimacies with those 


who are brought up in a dangerous moral atmosphere. We 
may have in our homes strict temperance principles, and we may 
inculcate these upon our boy ; but if we allow him an intimacy 
at a house where wine is constantly used, with a lad whose 
father esteems temperance fanaticism, and who scoffs at pledges 
and temperance societies, we destroy our own work in our 
child's heart, and give him over to the enemy. So, if we try to 
make our children careful respecters of the Sabbath, and allow 
for their friends those who make visits, give dinners, read idle 
tales, or go out fishing, driving or gunning on the Sabbath day, 
we build with one hand, and with the other tear down the moral 
strength of our child." 

" Well," said Mrs. Black, as the three rose to go, " I wish I 
could put some of all these good things into practice in manag- 
ing the friendships of my young people, but I suppose, as usual, 
I shall end with wishing." 

"In that case," returned Mrs. Winton, "you v/ill not rise to 
the measure of your maternal rights or duties." 

I remember having some talk with Hester on the subject of the 
benefit the friendship of a cultivated and well-regulated Family 
may be to other people, who have not the advantage of such a 
household of their own. I think we ought to take into the 
circle of our friendships those who seem lonely in this world ; 
God is a God of strangers, and for his sake, and for the sake of 
common human sympathy, we should bind to ourselves friend- 
less hearts, because they are friendless and need our kindness. 
A good home owes it, as an expression of thankfulness for its 
own happiness, to try and make up something of the lack that 
is in other homes. Hester said she had often known instances 
where the children of irreligious, disorderly, uncomfortable 
homes, had caught their first flimpse of the beauty, the good- 
ness, the sanctity of home, by being admitted to an acquaintance 
with some member of such a fortunate family. Led by this 


example, they struggled toward that sweetness and light which 

had been thus revealed to them, and had reached a happiness 

which their parents never knew. Many a young man has been 

rescued from destruction, and won on from good to better, until 

he has himself stood as the head of a happy and useful family, 

taught how to attain domestic peace and security by seeing the 

purity and happiness of some young friends' home. 

" In a Christian Home," said Hester, " there is the highest 

type of all friendship, for there we not only entertain, but hold 

in close bonds of communion earth's grandest Guest — that 

home is 

" ' Filled forever and forever with the shining light of Him 

Who redeemed the world, and sitteth throned between the seraphim.' 

Thus every Christian Home becomes a city of God, and upon 
it falls the benediction of the seer of old : Peace be within thy 
walls, and prosperity within thy palaces; for my brethren and 
companions' sake I will now say. Peace be within thee." 

Sometimes I invite to my house for supper and for the even- 
ing all the young people of the neighborhood: the Burrs, the 
Wintons, the young Blacks, Cousin Ann's unmarried children, 
all the young people come to me about once a year, and enjoy 
themselves very much. All the younger children I invite for 
an afternoon in strawberry-time. Lately I had my young people 
together, and after a while they began to talk about their friends. 
Some said they had but one real close friend outside of their 
own families ; others royally laid claim to a dozen or twenty. 
They questioned how long friendships were likely to last. Ned 
Burr said if they were true friendships, not passing fancies, they 
were part of the best things of the heart, and would last forever. 
Some said they had known of friendships lasting unbroken 
through fifty years of constant intercourse, and I mentioned that 
I had once been invited to spend a day where there were three 
cultivated and excellent ladies who for over sixty years had 


lived near each other, and been together engaged in philan- 
thropic work. They were similar in tastes, in sentiments, in 
means, and the fortunes of their lives had been singularly alike; 
each had been left a widow, with one son, who entered the 
ministry. These ladies belonged to the same church ; no jars 
or coldness had ever come between them ; their friendship was 
a crown and glory to their lives, and to see them together was one 
of the most agreeable spectacles which I had ever witnessed. ' I 
told my young friends that absence and the cares of life some- 
times caused a real friendship to seem to slumber, but at the 
call of need, at a demand for sympathy or aid, it rose again and 
was renewed in full strength, and so possibly some honest 
friendships which have seemed to pass out of our lives are only 
slumbering, and will be reawakened in all their vigor in the 
world to come ; • our friendships, like our memories, may be 
of our imperishable possessions. 

Ned Burr, who is fond of argument, maintained that friend- 
ship was a higher and nobler feeling than love, and likely to be 
more lasting ; love was more likely to be founded in whim, or a 
matter of emotions, while friendship must be grounded in knowl- 
edge and respect. 

" Come, come," said Grace Winton : " you are arguing un- 
fairly, for you are comparing real friendship wc^A false love. We 
may fancy a friendship as readily as a love, and both, to be true 
and lasting, demand to be founded in a knowledge which creates 

This called up the question, What was the ground of friend- 
ship? Cousin Ann's Dick remarked that he had not experienced 
a friendship for all the people whom he knew pretty well and 
deeply respected. Though he venerated President Edwards, and 
doated on the poet Longfellow, and regarded Daniel Webster 
as one of the shining lights of the universe, yet if he had been 
living in the same place with them, and all at the same time, he 


could not have expected to count them among his most intimate 
friends ! ! 

Whereupon one held that sympathy and similarity of tastes 
made the chief bond of friendship; while another declared that 
we preferred our unlikes, and that the first bond of friendship 
was to find a person possessing some traits which were lacking 
in ourselves. Gentle natures clung around stronger tempera- 
ments; a heart brave for any fate, and equal to any emergencies, 
finds the less capable taking refuge in its strength ; it is vine to 
rock, and not rock to rock. As soon as some one declared 
that equality in age was needful to true friendship, then a dozen 
were ready vC'ith examples of strong friendship between youth 
and age, and we all agreed that these were very beautiful, and 
should be zealously cultivated ; they were like the roses growing 
on the old gray towers of Alnwick. Some one next started the 
question of sex in friendship; have there been stronger friend- 
ships between man and man, or woman and woman, or man and 
woman ? Ned Burr, who always promptly proclaims his views, 
declared that women were rather capable of love, and men of 

" Ned ! " cried Grace, "you just declared friendship the nobler 
emotion of the two.". And immediately the young girls burst 
forth with instances of woman's friendship. " It is not true," 
said Grace, " as Tennyson hints in the ' Princess,' that woman's 
friendship falls a speedy prey to jealousy and pique, as that 
between Ida, Blanche and Psyche. Look at the friendship of 
Jael for the Israelites : by it she became heroic. Who will ever 
forget the friendship of Catherine Douglass for her queen, when, 
to keep out the angry mob, she made of her own white arm a 
bar for the door until that arm was broken? Shakespeare, 
who best knew human hearts, celebrates the friendship of 
Rosalind and Celia; and what does he say of Helena and 

Hei-mia ? 



" ' Both warbling of one song, both in one key, 
As if our hands, our sides, voices and minds 
Had been incorporate. " 

"Yes," said Sara; "and where did friendship have a more 
complete expression than in those ' Ladies of LangoUen,' the 
Lady Eleanore Butler and Miss Ponsonby? who, forsaking 
relatives, fortune and society for each other, with one faithful 
servant, retired to a small cottage in Wales, where for fifty years 
they lived in unbroken friendship, and were finally buried, 
friends and devoted servant, in one grave. Such a friendship 
we see between Madame de Stael and Madame Recamier: 
these two accomplished women endured for eachrOthcr's sakes 
danger and exile ; by each, self was forgotten for her friend ; 
courageous in adversity, faithful unto death and beyond death, 
they proved true that ' a friend loveth at all times.' " 

" That," said Hester, " is a pretty story told us by an old 
writer, Thomas Heywood, of a fair maiden named Bona, who 
lived in a cloister with a dear friend. This maiden friend lying 
near to death. Bona laid herself by her side, and earnestly 
prayed God to take her life also ; and, in truth, the two died on 
the same day, and were buried in one grave. And Madame 
Swetchine is another instance of a woman capable of enter- 
taining sincere and lasting friendship; and Lacordaire speaks 
thus of her friend, the deaf mute Parisse, in Madame Swet- 
chine's funeral sermon : 'As we watched the sad setting of that 
beautiful star, I saw her beloved mute following her with her 
eyes from the adjoining chamber, the vigilant sentinel of a life 
which had been so lavish of itself, and whose life went out with 
faithful friendship on the one side, and grateful poverty on the 
other.' Madame Swetchine's life was full of friendships." 

"To the rescue!" shouted Ned. "They overwhelm us with 
instances ! Let us retort in kind. Who has not heard of the 
friendship of David for Jonathan, and of Damon and Pythias ? 

F^il-ENDSHirS IN THE HOMh. 303 

Consider the case of Ulysses and Agamemnon, and CEdipus and 
Philoctetes. Who held a staimcher friendship than that of 
Walter Raleigh for Philip Sidney, model of a knightly man ? " 

" Yes," cried another of the young men ; " and what an 
honest friendship united Horace and Maecenas ! The poetic 
soul of Dante leaned on Guido Cavalcanti, and seven years of 
exile were spent by that greatest of Italians in the house of the 
Lord of Ravenna. ' Rare is it,' says Dante, 'for exiles to meet 
with friends.' We see, also, Petrarch flying from a world where 
almost every chord fell jarringly on his over-sensitive spirit, 
and in the shades of Vaucluse finding consolation with his 
friend Philip. It is said of Petrarch that 'his friends idolized 
him, and welcomed him with tears of joy as if he were an 

" I do not remembe- ," said Dick, " of a finer trio of friends 
than Coleridge, Wordsworth and Lamb. Chopin, the com- 
poser, was a man sickly, ardent, irritable, to whose over- 
wrought mind even ordinary life was an intense pain. He was 
a man to suffer until he went mad, unless some shield could be 
interposed between him and the world. Such a shield he 
found in his friend Liszt. For years Liszt sheltered him from 
criticism, and business care, and curiosity; soothed him in 
death; and finally became his interpreter to the world by 
writing his life, showing what, among the jarring discords of 
his existence, had been the tender harmonies of his soul. 
Milton, neglected by his daughters and unloved by his wife, 
bereaved of Cromwell and taunted by the Duke of York, found 
consolation in Andrew Marvel — perhaps better fitted than any 
man of that day to sympathize with his aspirations, his re- 
searches, or his lofty imaginings; while a healthful quaintness 
and quietness of spirit kept him fresh and strong. So many 
and devoted have been the friendships of men, that fnendship 
has been by some asserted to be especially a man's emotion." 


" There is a third party to the contest," I said, laughing. " I 
will tell you of some remarkable friendships between men and 
women. Beyond the natural love of brothers and sisters was 
the tie of friendship between Charles and Mary Lamb, and 
between the poet Whittier and his youngest sister, of whom he 
writes : 

" ' But still I wait with ear and eye 

For something gone which should be nigh; 
A loss in all familiar things.' 

" The element of a lofty friendship entered into the married 
life of Lord and Lady Russel, the Arctic explorer Franklin and 
his wife ; also of Roland and his wife. Shah Jehan, who set up 
over his beloved wife the Taj, that ' dream in marble,' the won- 
der of the world, records in it friendship as well as marital love, 
Auguste Comte declares that the finest ideals of friendship are 
exhibited between man and woman, but Sydney Smith says 
that few of these instances have been shown by Saxons. The 
golden-mouthed Chrysostom was cheered by a saintly Olym- 
pias, and St. Jerome was helped on his way by Paula. Doubt- 
less the gracious Apostle John, was comforted by the friendship 
of that godly mother of a godly household, whom he greets as 
the Elect Lady. Michael Angelo's genius took higher flights, 
inspired by Vittoria Colonna. Dr. Donne devotes his finest 
•verses to his friend, Mrs. Herbert, the mother of the quaint, 
-sweet poet; by the death-bed of Locke bent his friend. Lady 
Mashem ; and Cowper would have been a wrecked man without 
ithe friendship of Mrs. Throckmorton, and Lady Austeft, and 
Mary Unwin. What a contrast of character met in the friend- 
ship of Hannah More and Garrick ! " 

" I have arrived at some conclusions," said Dick, who had been 
diligently dotting down ideas on a sheet of paper. " Listen. 
.Friendship is one of the noblest emotions of the heart; it has 
divine warrant and example, and is needful to our proper moral 


development. It is capable of elevating us by a worthy object ; 
of injuring us by unworthy bestowal. Like love, if entered into 
in haste, it may be repented at leisure. Parents should, with 
care and sympathy, encourage and direct the friendships of their 
children. By friendship, good is brought into a home, and the 
good in the home is given a broader circle of influence. Friend- 
ship is formed between those like, on behalf of similarity, and 
between those who are unlike in very virtue of the difference ; 
it has no limits of age, of race or of sex. True friendship is 
neither selfish, fickle nor established for self-interest and avarice : 
only counterfeit friendship exhibits these qualities. A true 
friendship is rooted in respect and in knowledge ; grows sensibly 
or insensibly, and is lasting as the soul which feels it. Friend- 
ship is the peer, the ' noble brother,' of love. Friendship has 
been equally exhibited by both men and women, and has given 
equally remarkable exhibitions between man and woman, man 
and man, woman and woman." 

And so ended our long talk about Friendship. 



pRACE WINTON came in to see me for a little while 
yesterday, and when she left I fell to thinking (5f the 
remark made by a famous essayist : "A beautiful form 
is better than a beautiful face, and beautiful behavior is 
better than a beautiful form : it gives a higher pleasure than 
pictures or statues ; it is the finest of the fine arts." Grace is 
lovely in face and form, but lovelier still in her manners. Now, 
in what does this charm of manner consist? Is it that she 
understands and puts in practice certain rules of good-breeding, 
which have obtained place by the common consent of society 
for many years ? It is something higher than that— rit is what 
Dr. Witherspoon explains as " true courtesy, which is real kind- 
ness kindly expressed." 

I remember when Mary Watkins was a little girl, Mrs. Smal- 
ley, her mother, came to me one day, and said : " Miss Sophro- 
nia, I want Mary to have good manners, and to know how to 
behave herself when she is away from home ; I wish you would 
tell rne of some real good book on etiquette." 

" If you wish Mary to have really good manners, Mrs. Smal- 
ley," I replied, " don't let her see a paper or a book on etiquette 
It has been well said, ' The effect of books on etiquette is to 
make one think of himself, rather than of others ; while thinking 
of others, rather than of self, is the essence of true courtesy.' 

If you give Mary a book crowded with rules as to how to 


behave herself, her mind will be so occupied with those rules, 
and with wondering how she shall conform to them, or fearing 
that she shall fail, that she will indubitably fail in the best cour- 
tesies. She will be socially tithing ' mint and anise and cumin, 
and forgetting the weightier matters of the law.' Thus, while 
wondering if she has made a proper bow, is holding her elbows 
properly or has entered the room gracefully, she will forget to 
pick up the fan which some elderly lady has let fall, or to reply 
properly in simple kindness to some remark addressed to her." 
" Well, but how will Mary learn good manners ? " 
" Good manners, Mrs. Smalley, are not bred in moments, but 
in years. They are not things which can be taken up and laid 
down at pleasure. They are not a best gown to wear abroad 
and lock up at home.. They are cultivated not out of books, 
but in homes and in our every-day life. They must attend us 
as our atmosphere wherever we are. If Mary is to have good 
manners, they- will only be obtained by putting daily in practice 
at home the best that you know or see, by avoiding for her rude, 
uncourteous companions, and giving her a proper amount of 
siocial life among the truly refined, whom you wish her to be 
like. The first and highest law of good manners is, 'Thou 
shalt love thy neighbor as thyself; ' and the only 1 eally valuable 
book on courtesy is the Bible. An intelligent child, taught 
always to be kindly to others, to restrain all that may disturb 
others, to cultivate the mind, so as to have in reserve suitable 
themes for conversation, and to be able to take a part in dis- 
cussing the ordinary topics of the day, with keen intelligence 
will note the numberless little acts and politenesses which 
make up good manners, and will cultivate them without man- 
nerisms or affectations. The first examples and teachers of 
good manners should be parents, and the child should consider 
its home the first and finest place where it can put in practice 
the courtesies of life." 


Mrs. Smalley suffered herself to be persuaded not to get 
Mary a book on etiquette, which, probably, would have made 
her merely affected and self-centred: a sort of puppet, not 
spontaneously doing the right thing at the right time, but going 
m rotation through the practice of certain half-apprehended 
rules, which would not fit one-tenth part of the circumstances 
in which she was placed. If we went to live in France, we 
would wish to know the French language, so that we could 
understand all that was said to us and know how to reply. We 
should not wish to trust to learning by heart a phrase-book, 
the sentences of which might or might not suit our needs. So 
good manners are to be the language of our homes and of our 
lives, and not a mere phrase-book etiquette which might or 
might not fit our exigencies. 

Parents cannot be too particular in training their children 
into good manners from their earliest years. If such training 
is neglected in childhood, the early want will be patent all 
through life. The parent can hardly give the child an inheri- 
tance which is more valuable, while in itself it costs nothing. 
In the business of life, I know nothing which has a higher pecu- 
niary value. 

" You paid . hundred dollars too much," said a gentleman to 
an insurance agent, who had been settling with a lady for the 
damages of a fire. " It was her valuation," said the agent. 
" She believed it to be correct, and I could not question it : her 
manners were so perfect. It would have been money in my 
pocket if I had been dealing with some rude boor." 

" Manners makyeth men," wrote Wykham, an ancient author, 
and a lapse of years does not make an alteration in this testi- 
mony. We hear Emerson rising up to declare : " Give a boy 
address and accomplishments, and you give him the mastery of 
places and fortunes wherever he goes." 

A wealthy gentleman brought into his library a costly sub- 


scription book. " My dear," said his wife, " you already had a 
copy of that work." "I knew I did," he repHed; "but the 
manners of the lad who sold this were so elegant that it was a 
true pleasure to purchase it." 

If we wish to mould clay, or plaster of Paris, or metal, into 
any shape, we must not wait until it is half-hard before we put it 
into the mould, for then it will be full of flaws and roughnesses, 
and will not well take the desired form. So if we wish to 
mould the heart and mind into good manners, we must not wait 
until a child is half-grown before we begin the training. We 
must begin with the young child. Greet its waking with a 
smile and a loving word, that it may learn to wake up pleasantly. 
Teach it to take gently what is offered it, not snatching, and to 
return the look and word of thanks. Teach it to share its 
treasures, to pity and soothe any one who is sick or sad, to pick 
up what is ^dropped by its elders, to lend its toys, to reply 
kindly, to say " please," " thank you," and " good-bye " — indeed, 
there are hundreds of ways to teach a little one good manners. 

I have observed that boys after they reach the mature age of 
eight or nine generally have a severe attack of z7/ manners; they 
suddenly feel that good manners are girlish, or babyish ; that 
they can only be manly if they stamp, bang doors, contradict, 
bawl instead of speaking, tease, fight for their own way — and 
they call it foppish and dandyfied to avoid these exhibitions. 
Just here is the time when maternal patience in training a gentle- 
man must not fail ; when it must be thoroughly inculcated on 
the boy, that good manners are of the manliest of manly ways ; 
that there are a thousand gentle and engaging ways which be- 
long to true men, and not to fops or dandies — to smile charm- 
ingly, to bow with grace, to be quick and unobtrusive in offering 
a service, to use respectful language, to avoid unseemly noise 
and haste, is to be gentlemanly — not to possess these graces is 
to be a boor. Fraiik, genial, graceful, self-forgetting manners. 


will make up for a lack of fortune or beauty, ana their possessor 
will be welcome wherever he goes. 

Helen has been very particular to train her children to be 
polite, and she was greatly tried when Tom reached the crisis 
which I have just mentioned, and thought when he laid by knee- 
breeches and rocking-horses it was time to dispense with good 
manners. He was fond of teasing, and he teased Hannah and 
his little sisters and the cat and the baby. I had a talk with 
him one day about this. I told him it was a mark of a shallow, 
weak, unmanly spirit to find pleasure in giving annoyance. I 
taught him what Wordsworth says : 

" Never to blend our pleasure or our pride 
With sorrow to tlie meanest thing that feels," 

and then I gave him a little book, where I had him write down 
several sentences on the subject, as: "Fair manners are the 
mantle of fair minds; " "Civility costs nothing, and buys every- 
thing ; " "A true gentleman is recognized by his regard for the 
rights and feelings of others, even in matters the most trivial ; ' 
"A rude man is generally assumed to be a bad man." 

" But, Aunt Sophronia," said Tom, " don't you think that 
people sometimes act worse than they feel?" 

"Yes," I said; "a man's manners may be less gracious than 
his heart is true and kindly, but incurably bad manners are the 
outcome of a bad, thoughtless, cruel heart. Take notice, Tom, 
that the well-feeling man does not try to act worse than he feels : 
he tries to act as well as he can. No station in life, no poverty, 
no lack of cultivation, can force a person to be ill-mannered. 
Some of the most polite and graceful things that have ever 
been said, and some of the most truly polite acts that were 
ever performed, were by poor, unlettered people, whose acts were 
the outcome of generous, sympathetic hearts." 

Hester, who was sitting with us, said: "There are many 


grown persons who need to be taken to task, as much as Tom, 
for finding their pleasure in hurting other people's feelings. He 
calls his way teasing; they call theirs satire; in conversation 
they think themselves very smart and bright when they are 
ridiculing somebody, turning their remarks into trifling, sneer- 
ing at their opinions, or telling some unkindly anecdote, or 
trying to bring into notice some unpleasant circumstance. Now 
these people, either as writers or talkers, are not half so clever 
as they think themselves. It needs only self-conceit and malice 
to discover flaws. Talent and generosity are needed to recog- 
nize talent and generosity in our companions ; all is discord 
to an ear that has no idea of harmonies, but it needs a musical 
ear to delight in music. These satirical people are generally 
really ignorant, and talk sharply about others to prevent 
any searching of their own shallowness; they are cowards, 
too; if you notice, they never attack those whom they know 
to be keen wits, and able to repay them in their own coin, but 
their victims are the timid, the young, the ignorant, the very 
ones whom courtesy would urge us to encourage, to entertain 
and console. The old duellist, we say, with his order of ' pistols 
and coffee for two,' was a coward, but the satirist in society 
sinks below the level of the duellist into that of an assassin." 

" You have touched upon the subject of good manners in 
conversation," said Miriam : " we cannot be too careful to avoid 
themes which will be painful to those with whom we converse, 
and to avoid these requires thoughtfulness. How ill-mannerly 
to discuss deformities before some person who is deformed ; or 
to express dislike of foreigners before a foreigner ; or to com- 
plain that it is too much trouble to entertain those who are 
hard of hearing when such persons are near you ! The truly 
kind, thoughtful heart has none of these selfish evils to com- 
plain of, and so in conversation, as in action, kindness makes 


"A writer so old as Epictetus," said Hester, " gives us some 
good rules for proper manners in conversation. He says : ' If you 
converse, do not let it be about such vulgar things as dogs, 
horses, racing, fighting ; avoid foolish and immoderate laughter, 
and vulgar descriptions of entertainments, impurity, display, and 
all egotistical remarks." 

" I have here," I said, " in one of my favorite old authors, a 
few monitions concerning our conversation. ' Clothe not thy 
language either with obscurity or affectation ; in the one there 
is too much darkness, in the other too much lightness; he that 
speaks from the understanding to the understanding does best. 
Know when to speak, lest while thou showest wisdom in not 
speaking, thou betray thy folly in too long silence. If thou art a 
fool, thy silence is wisdom; but if, thou art wise, thy too long 
silence is folly. As too many words from a fool's mouth give the 
wise no time to speak, so too long a silence in the wise gives the 
fool time to speak, and so makes thee responsible for his folly.' " 

" We must heed all these monitions with regard to circum- 
stances," said Miriam. " We must suit our conversation to those 
with whom we are. If they can talk of and enjoy only dis- 
cussions of domestic animals, and the common affairs of life, 
tht-n we are in politeness bound to indulge them 'n spite of 
Epictetus. Why talk of the books and art for which they do 
not care? On the other hand we must converse with little 
children to teach them to converse : what they say may have 
much of foolishness in it, but by conversation we educate them 
at last to speak iraprovingly. True politeness in conversation 
I think is to try and interest those with whom we converse, 
and if it is our part to improve and instruct, we should not 
perform this in a burdensome manner. It is dangerous to fall 
into a habit of absorbing conversation and talking too much ; 
so also we should avoid a listless manner, as if it were hardly 
*orth our while to talk with our present company." 


"I have seen those," I said, "who prided themselves on 
waving good manners, and who yet were in conversation cen- 
sorious and gossiping : errors quite as much to be condemned as 
the sarcasm of which Hester has been complaining." 

" Then," said Hester, " the rule must be to keep the mind 
well informed, as a store-house filled with treasures, gather up 
what we can upon all subjects, and so we shall be able to suit all 
tastes. Then let us cultivate our hearts that they may teach us 
instinctively to put ourselves in the place of others, to divine 
what will please, pain or benefit, and the heart shall draw out 
from the mind, as a wise almoner, the bounties which are needed, 
and shall distribute them where they shall most benefit. Good 
manners, in conversation as in other things, are a mutual product 
of the head and of the heart." 

One day Mary Watkins was visiting me, and she said that 
the manners of Miriam's children pleased her much, and that 
she was desirous of bringing up her children to be attractive in 
their ways : how should she do it ? 

" The first thing," I said, " will be always to exhibit good 
manners in their presence. If we desire to have children or 
servants mannerly, we must first of all set them an example. 
Doctor Guthrie has some valuable observations on-this point : 
he says in Scotland if you ask a laboring man how you shall get 
to a place, he is as like as not to roar out, ' Follow your nose ! ' 
Hester says she fears the Doctor is libelling his countrymen, 
for when in Scotland she met with the greatest courtesy every- 
where. However that may be, the Doctor says the manners of 
the poorer classes are rude and unkindly, and it is because they 
have been always rudely and harshly treated by their superiors 
in station. He says that when he was in Paris a banker accom- 
panied him to find a boarding-house. A servant girl came to 
the door, and the banker, taking off his hat and bowing low, 
addressed her as ' mademoiselle ' and told his business. The maid 


on the other hand was the very pink of courtesy ; and thus he 
found it in France : the servants, the children, the poor, all 
treated with elegant politeness, and being in return polite. 
If we want anything of our children, or our servants, we should 
not, merely because we have the authority to command, give 
a bold order ; but why not use the gentle ' Please,' ' Will you 
do this ? ' ' I should like you to do that,' ' Oblige me with that' 
When service is rendered, we are not to take it in silence, curtly, 
rudely, because we had a right to the service ; but it is easy to 
say, 'Thanks,' or 'I am obliged,' or 'Oh, that is ven^ nicely 
done.' These little every-day courtesies are called the small 
change of life ; but we should be badly off in trade if we had 
no small change, and must always deal with twenty-dollar bills; 
while the small change mounts up to the great sum in a lifetime. 
If parents have plenty of this small change of politeness on 
hand, it will be put in circulation in the family: the children 
will pay it out to each other, to servants, to playmates, and with 
it family peace and family affection will be largely purchased,. 
I have known Miriam's two servants to refuse a place with 
larger wages, because they said they had rather live where there 
were mannerly children even if pay were less. Cultivate in 
your children the pleasant manners of a morning greeting, 
saying ' Good-morning ' with a smile and a bow ; such a greet- 
ing makes the whole day go more pleasantly. Do not let 
the children go to bed without a good-night kiss ; they are 
never too old for that. And how do we know but during the 
night-watches some one of the family-band may take the long 
and solemn journey to the land that lies very far off? 

" Let the pleasant greetings, morning and night, to all mem 
bers of the family, be a part of family custom ; then your chil- 
dren, going out into the world, will carry these gracious home- 
manners with them, and use them to teachers, employers and 
friends. Teach your children to think for others: to notice 


when one is looking for anything, and to join with alacrity in 
the search ; to carry, unasked, a fan to one who is heated, of 
draw up an easier chair for one who is tired; to bring the 
father's hat or slippers ; to pick up what is dropped. I noticed 
Ned Burr the last time that I was there ; his mother came in 
from a chilly walk, just in time to take her place at the tea-table. 
Ned knew that her feet must be cold ; he said nothing, but went 
into the kitchen, took a hot brick from the back of the range, 
wrapped it in a paper, and placed it under his mother's feet. 
After tea, as he was about going up-stairs, he met their cham- 
bermaid, who is rather elderly, carrying a large pitcher of water; 
he quietly took it from her hand, and carried it to her room- 
door. These are the kind of generous little courtesies which 
make life go easily in families, and if they are to be practised, 
children must grow into them as a second nature. Cousin Ann 
was always very particular in training her boys to show good 
manners at Home. She said if they show them there, they will 
show them everywhere. Home is the place where true politeness 
tells. She never passed by an infraction of good manners in. 
little things. She said : ' If they are guilty of some great rude- 
ness, they will notice it, blush for it, and amend themselves, but 
it is the accumulation of small traits of ill-manners which will 
make them truly disagreeable.' The boys were never allowed 
to speak to or of any one by a nick-name, unless it was some 
kindly, sportive term. They would as soon have thought of being 
profane as of calling their father 'boss,' 'governor' or "old man,' 
or their mother 'old woman' or the 'missis.' They never 
pushed past one to get into a room, slammed a door or shut it 
in any one's face, or broke into a sentence while any one was 
speaking. They dared not come into a room with caps on, 
muddy boots or pantaloons rolled up. If entering a room with 
' any one, they stepped aside to let them pass ; they never took 
the best chair, the best seat by the light or fire, but offered it to 


others. At table they did not reach across to help themselves, 
nor pick for the best or largest pieces, nor return again and 
again greedily to the favorite dish. When spoken to out-of- 
doors, they lifted their hats ; they bowed politely to those whom 
they met, and never left the handles, Mr., Mrs., Sir, off persons' 
names. They were instructed to show their gentlemanly man- 
ners to their mother, their sister and the maids ; to treat age, 
weakness, little children, goodness and station with due honor 
and sympathetic regard. Their fun at home was easy and 
happy, but not boisterous or rowdyish ; they did not shout 
when they spoke nor contradict bluntly if any one were wrong. 
Yet in training them in all these little things, their mother ^as 
genial, while she was firm ; she never forgot or ignored, but a 
witty word, a look, a gentle hint served to recall them to duty, 
or remind them of a neglect. 

I have frequently been pained when I walked abroad to notice 
the lack of reverence prevalent among our young people. I 
had an occasion for freeing my mind on this subject lately, 
and I hold an occasion for speaking clearly your thought is a 
thing to be thankful for. It happened on this wise. I met 
James Frederick Black as I left my front-door. He asked me : 

" What is the grand primary virtue for youth ? " 

I replied to him : " Reverence." 

I met James Frederick again as I returned to my door, and 
he asked me : " In what virtue are young people most lacking ? " 

I made answer to him : " In reverence." 

Then in the evening James Frederick came to see me as 
he frequently does, and -he said : "Aunt Sophronia, it seems to 
me that you find the circle of virtues a rather small one." 

" Yes," I replied ; " I compass it all with — reverence ; and 
what a notable and noble virtue it is ! Look you, James Fred^ 
erick, it is a virtue that is going out of fashion. Without it, 
character is a glittering superstructure, without any strong 


foundation. When I jee a young person who proclaims by 
word or act that he has no reverence, I see one who will not 
stand a severe test of character. 

" This being a fundamental grace, it must be laid early in the 
child's heart by the parents, at home. And here many parents 
fail. They find a saucy sharpness amusing. God has sur- 
rounded the child with the venerable, and yet he is not taught 
to venerate. Around him are the hoary heads of age, before 
which God has bidden him to rise; and, instead of that, he 
tramps in, riding a cane, and roars, 'That's my chair you've got, 
grandma!' or he hits old Betty while she is putting on his 
stockings. God's ministers are venerable, as ambassadors from 
the holy One. The rising youth hear their looks, and manners, 
and peculiarities criticised, their sermons carped at, their failings 
magnified. Experience is venerable. ' Honor thy father and 
thy mother,' is the word, and a smile goes round some giddy 
circle when the youth remarks that ' he could put his father up 
to a thing or two ! ' 

"The house of God is venerable, and idle triflers sit there 
staring, smiling, whispering, irreverent to the place. The book 
of God is venerable, and the flippant jester adorns his tale with 
some misapplication of the inspired word ; the breath of doubt 
blows across the divine pages, the open unbeliever mocks, the 
secret unbeliever cavils, and the soul which should have put 
its sandals off stands booted and spurred to wonder at the bush 
of flame. 

" Pious zeal is to be reverenced, and yet youth dares and is 
permitted to ridicule the teacher's earnest plea, or to disregard 
the teacher's request, or sit inattentive in the class, while the 
heavenward way is being pointed out. 

"And here behold this youth who has no reverence. Ignorant 
of the ways of life, his parents' law should stay his steps ; but 
that law he has not been taught to revere, and he* holds it 


lightly. The commandment of God should be a lamp unto his 
foet, but that he did not write reverently on his heart. The 
teachings and example of the good should be his guide-posts, 
but tho^e he never revered, nor meant to copy. 

" What a grace he lacks ! and instead thereof the flippant leer, 
the affected contempt, when possibly earth holds nothing more 
contemptible than himself There is no dignity in one who 
knows no reverence ; honoring nothing, of course they do not 
honor themselves. Growing . up all one's days in a reckless 
irreverence, it is a strange lesson for them to learn to worship sin- 
cerely the Lord their God ; if saved at all, they must be pulled 
out of the fire. This irreverence sneers at faith ; it thinks it 
foolish to be believing and of a tender conscience ; it is attracted 
by the bold and bad. There is a deal to foster this irreverence 
at the present day ; many parents seem to have agreed not to' 
demand the honor which is their natural right; they do not 
train the child to respectfulness, to yielding honor where honor 
is due. There is a bad tone in young society, and boys and 
girls are allowed to wander out of the safe restraints of home 
into this loose-speaking, and thinking, and impudent (they call 
it bright and witty) company. The land is flooded with a 
literature of sauciness, not to mention here the literature of 
open vice. The literature of sauciness always praises the sharp 
youth at the expense of legitimate guardians; the old are 
treated to light names and ridicule ; decent restrictions are called 
•old-fashioned notions;' pertness always succeeds; the heroes 
and heroines look for no higher guidance than their own wills. 
Fed on such literature as this, youth becomes as weak and 
frothy, but possibly not as harmless, as a bottle of root-beer. 
Lay it up as a principle, James Frederick, that the less you 
respect, the less respectable you are ; the less you honor, the 
\ess in you is to be honored. There are those ' whom not to 
know argues one's self unknown,' so if you have no reverence in 


a world where there is so much that is noble and venerable, 
then there will be something terribly lacking in your own char- 
acter. One is weak, and vain and ignorant — there is more hope 
of a fool than of him. 

" Measure yourself by this rule : ' With what measure you 
mete, it shall be measured to you again.' What! nothing grand 
and noble to be admired, obeyed, copied ? Ah, the lack is not 
without you, but within you! And let me, tell you, this youth 
without reverence is to be followed by an unreverenced and dis- 
reputable old age ; and more than that, my friend, the capacity 
of reverencing something is in us, and if we will not honestly 
venerate what is good, we shall next be fawning and doting on 
the bad. The youth, who will not be reverential to Paul, will 
debase himself presently by quoting Paine! Cultivate with all 
your heart this grace of reverence. 

"And as you know me to be frank in speaking my mind you 
may be the better pleased, James Frederick, when I say to you 
that while you are not as reverent as I would that you were, 
still you do not entirely lack this virtue : you are more reverent 
than many, and I regard it as a token of promise in you, that 
you are interested in learning what virtue is, and desire to have 
it clearly set before you — while you have the grace to come to 
one who is older to be instructed, and not airily to vouchsafe 

Now, while I notice and deplore this lack of reverence, I am 
far from thinking that in these days we have no young people 
who properly respect their elders. I would not utter such a 
Jeremiad over the age in which I live. I think the reason why 
people suppose everything in the world to be worse now than it 
was when they were young is, first, that they remember the 
world as it looked to them in their young days, and not as it 
looked to older people. To the young, all things shine in a 
rosj' light; they are satisfied with themselves and with their 


companions, and looking back all seems to have been very sat 
isfactory. A second reason for this exalting the days of the past 
is, that year by year communication between all parts of the 
country becomes closer; we know of the manners and doings of 
more people ; we hear of all the evil that transpires ; and thus 
becoming cognizant of more evil we hastily decide that there is 
more evil in proportion to the population than there was for- 
merly. Besides all this, I think we are more apt to brood over 
what is bad, than to rejoice in what is good : we sigh over fifty 
young people who are going astray, and we forget to be glad 
over the fifty or a hundred who are doing about as they ought. 
If I begin to think that our young folks now are all wrong, I 
have only to go to Mrs. Winton's, or Mrs. Burr's, or Cousin 
Ann's, or our minister's, or plenty of other places which I could 
name, to find families who are all that the most exacting could 

I was so pleased with Cousin Ann's Dick a fortnight ago. 
I had stopped to see Cousin Ann for a few minutes in the 
morning, and she was seated on the back-porch with a large pan 
of potatoes to pare, as it happened that it was a very busy time, 
and all the other members of the family were occupied. Cousin 
Ann chanced to say, as she took up another Early Rose, 
" Really, if there is one kind of work which I particularly dis- 
like, it is peeling potatoes!" 

Dick was sitting resting on the steps. " Mother, my dear," 
he cried, " there is not the least need of your doing what you 
dislike when I am on hand to do it for you ; behold, how beauti. 
fully I can pare potatoes!" so jumping up he took possession 
of pan, basket, and knife, and began peeling the potatoes as 
quickly and evenly as his mother could have done. 

I said, with all my heart : " Dick, I had rather see that ready 
helping of your mother than to hear that any one had left you 
five thousand dollars; I believe it will be of more advantage 
to you in every way, for a blessing always follows good sons." 


That cheerful bearing of one another's burdens, that ready 
courtesy to each other, has always distinguished Cousin Ann's 
family. Her household is always busy, cheerful and healthful. 
I think much of their health is derived from their cheery activi- 
ties. Every meal there is a sort of festival, and it is a treat to 
sit down at their table, no matter how plain the meal is. The 
neatness, taste and order with which everything is served makes 
it a luxury. I said as much to Cousin Ann several times. She 
replied to me one day: " I have always thought, Sophronia, that 
a deal of healtn and of family affection depended on our way of 
taking our meals ; in a family like ours, where we are all busy 
about one thing and another continually, we do not all meet 
except at meals, and in the evening. Those are then the times 
when we must cultivate our acquaintance with each other. I 
try to have the table, as our meeting-place, very attractive to the 
eye ; to have it orderly, so that our chat shall not be interrupted 
by looking for needful things that are forgotten, or by jumping 
up and running about. I like the food good, and well served, 
and people tidy to eat it. None of our men folks come to the 
table unwashed or unbrushed, sleeves and trowsers rolled up, 
and boots just from the barn. In the entry-room, near the sink, 
where the brushes and towels are, each one has his own nail 
with a coat to wear at meals and a pair of slippers. There is a 
whisk-broom for brushing off their clothes, and while it hardly 
takes more than five minutes to make the change, it sends them 
to the table looking neat, and feeling rested and refreshed. I 
think it is needful to health and comfort to avoid coming to the 
table over-tired ; one cannot then look or speak cheerfully, nor 
digest well. Now, after the work and worries of the field, the 
slippers rest the feet; the washing of the hands and face cools 
and refreshes; the change of the coat, and the brushing, seem to 
give a change to one's feelings, and we all get to table ready to 
forget for a little the work that is going on, and to talk about 


anything pleasant which offers. I try and have some subject foi 
good conversation, just as much as I try to have good food. If 
there is a nice story, a good, kind-tempered joke, some nice 
anecdote, I have encouraged the family in keeping it for meal- 
i^imes; a good laugh, and a flow of cheerful talk, helps a meal on 
wonderfully. I will not have troublesome topics brought up at 
meals, nor any disputing ; as far as possible, we avoid talking of 
the work ; we take time for our meals ; it don't pay to hurry 
one's eating; if you save in every month the time of one work- 
ing day, by cutting down the proper time of meals by one-half, 
you will in a year be -sure to lose more than those twelve un- 
justly-gained working days, by dyspepsia, headaches, fevers, 
cholera morbus, or bilious attacks. Give proper time to a 
proper and cheerful meal, and the day's work will move on with 
as much again of vigor and good judgment. We like to have 
friends at meals with us ; we don't consider it a trouble to put 
an extra plate and chair, and we ask our guest to partake 
of just what we have; a welcome, friendly guest makes our 
meal twice as valuable to us ; we are the gainers and not the 

" You have always been very hospitable, Cousin Ann," I said, 
" and I think, on the whole, you have by hospitality gained as 
much as you have conferred. Your family are accustomed to 
good society; their manners are easy and refined, fitting them 
for any circumstances in which they may be placed. They 
have never needed to run away from home for society; they are 
acquainted with all the popular topics of the day; they have 
formed their opinions, and their opinions are valued by their 
neighbors. They are looked up to as an important part of the 

" When there was company," said Cousin Ann, " I did not let 
some one of the children run and hide ; I never sent them off, 
on the plea that they were not dressed for company, or because 


they were shy and felt awkward. If they had clean hands, faces, 
and well-brushed hair and shoes, they were presentable, and I 
knew that the shyness would grow with indulgence. Reed was 
the most diffident of my children ; he would always have gladly 
run to the barn when he sav/ visitors coming, and preferred to 
lose a meal rather than come into the presence of guests. I 
felt sorry for the child, but knew it would never do to encourage 
the feeling ; it would be harder to overcome the older he grew. 
However, I made it as easy as I could for him, and when the 
dreaded bo\Y and shaking hands were over, he sat by me, and I 
helped on his share in the conversation, so after a time he be- 
came as social as any of us. Dick, on the other hand, rejoiced 
in guests ; his tongue was always ready — too ready ; he wanted 
to interrupt older people; to present his views before his elders; 
to cut his joke no matter who was cut by it, and he had such a 
comical way that he was laughed at and petted by strangers, 
and that made him more forward. It was as difficult to repress 
Dick to proper limits as it was to bring Reed up to them, ana 
both required the care and culture of years. But these things 
are all in a lifetime, and such cares belong to our parental posi- 
tion, and repay us in the end. As we sow we reap ; he who 
sows sparingly reaps sparingly, and he who sows bountifully 
reaps bountifully. Many sisters and mothers who have not 
thought it worth while to cultivate and develop the awkward, 
timid boy, find themselves after a while with no one to go out 
with them when they desire an escort, and no one to help them 
entertain their guests at home." 

While I do not think that the young people are less genial 
and kindly in their ways and feelings than they have been in 
past generations, I do think that there is a going out of the 
dignified grace and scrupulous attention to little things, which 
made old-time manners so beautiful. There is too much of off- 
hand taking for granted that things are right and agreeable. 


When among the crowd of modern youths you see some young 
man carefully formed by his mother, on some stately, gracious, 
old-fashioned model, he is at once a marked man for his man- 
ners and always a favorite. Mrs. Winton's two sons are marked 
wherever they go as " distinguished in appearance " simply in 
virtue of this scrupulous training. They do not make a bow by 
pointing a finger in the direction of the hat-brim and raising 
their eye-brows, but the hat is lifted and a bow full of grace is 
really made, and this by no means in a stiff, self-conscious way. 
They do not take a stranger to a house without asking per- 
mission from the lady of the house. They do not dash along 
the street and pass by some lady of their acquaintance who is 
about to open a gate : they open the gate, hold it open while 
she enters, and then close it. They do not meet one in the 
street, and amiably confer their company for a walk unasked. 
When they see any one leaving a room, they rise and hold 
open the door for them. Leaving church, they do not rush to 
joke with the young girls, and leave some old lady, or decrepit 
gentleman, to hobble down the steps alone, but their best 
courtesies are first for the feeble and the old. So many young 
men have politeness only for dashy young girls, none for the 
elderly, the plain, or the poor. Those Wintons would never 
have thought of leaving their mother or sister to go to and 
from some evening meeting unescorted, while they ran to offer 
their company to some young lady. They attended always first 
upon their mother and Grace. Indeed, their care of Grace was 
charming. They did not allow some lad to accompany her in 
order that they might bestow their attention elsewhere; but as 
long as they thought her too young to enter general society, 
she never went or came under other care than theirs, and now 
they exercise a scrupulous supervision over all the young 
gentlemen of her acquaintance : a young man must be marvel- 
lously well-behaved to be admitted into Grace Winton's society. 
Lately as I was walking along the street I saw North Winton, 


on horseback, looking up at a window and lightly kissing his 
hand with a very devoted expression. " Why," I thought, 
looking toward the window, " with whom is our North so 
enraptured ? " I saw at the window his mother, and it brought 
to my mind the pretty little poem of " De Leon's Fledge." 

Last winter we had a series of lectures delivered in our vil- 
lage. They were all very interesting ^nd instructive, but I 
think I liked best one on social culture. It was very plain 
and practical. Some of the thoughts were these : 

It is in general fondly believed that if hearts and heads are 
right, manners will be right also. And yet sometimes, owing to 
forgetfulness, unfortunate examples, or other minor causes, per- 
sons' manners are less pleasing than their hearts are true and 
kindly. Permit, then, a few words on social culture, in two or 
three rules which will serve equally well both at home and 
abroad. First, Be sincere. It is not needful to good manners 
that we use as current* conversation those common fictions 
which many deem essential to maintaining a place in good 
society. We should not say the thing we do not think, always 
remembering that we are not called upon to say all that we 
think. Why seem to be very fond of Miss Jenkins, whom we 
like the least of all our acquaintances? Why tell Mrs. Jones 
that we shall be charmed to visit her, when we really do not 
mean to go ? Why urge Miss Smith to come, when we wish her 
to keep away? That kindly smile which is due to the human 
tie, that placid grace which is due to yourself, will make you 
polite to these without resigning sincerity. And here be sure 
you do not indulge a hard nature by saying hard things and 
calling it honesty! We are bound by the Golden Rule to 
be both sincere and gracious. This is the first rule in good 

" To seek that august face of Truth 
Whereto are given 
The age of heaven, 
The beauty of immortal youth." 


The second thing is — Be sympathetic. At home and abroad, 
no quality will make one so beautiful and so beloved as 
sympathy. If we cultivate sympathy, we shall be reverential to 
age and tender to childhood. Sympathy is more often the 
product of a strong than a weak nature : people who are half 
educated and imperfectly cultured make the ignorant, the timid, 
and the sensitive feel wretched in their presence, and enjoy 
making them feel so ; while the accomplished scholar, the well- 
balanced heart, throws over such the aegis of his strong pro- 
tection, and first of all succeeds in making them feel comfortable. 

Now this sympathy is akin to another fine social quality, 
which I cannot too highly commend, and that is, self-fo7-get- 
fulness. We cannot be truly sympathetic to others while we are 
absorbed in ourselves. VVe cannot even be self-absorbed and 
be sincere, for self-centring makes us dishonest to ourselves. 
Be self-forgetful. " Seek," says the Apostle, in that best book 
on etiquette that has ever been written — the Bible, "not every 
man his own, but every man another's good." There is nothing 
so graceful as this self-forgetfulness. Egotism is always awk- 
ward ; it blunders, or is stiff, or nervous, or affected. Only in 
self-forgetting can one be interested either in other people, or in 
their subjects of conversation ; and if we are not good listeners, 
we fail in one very important way of making ourselves agreeable. 
This self-forgetting is a good quality which improves with age. 
Whittier paints such a spirit : 

" Who lonely, homeless, none the less 
Found peace in love's unselfishness, 
And welcome wheresoe'er she went. 
A calm and gracious element, 
Whose presence seemed the sweec income 
And womanly atmosphere of home." 

Biing self-forgetful, let us also be thoughtful. Of all things, 
1 jt us not be of those who rattle on without thinking or knowing 
what they are saying. This thoughtlessness is most dangerous 


in society ; it spreads false reports, tells a club-footed man that 
mental and physical deformities accompany each other, and a 
Frenchman that it hates all things French, and then placidly 
remarks that "it didn't think." Not think! One thing is 
certain, social culture demands thought. And this opens another 
point : that of cultivating thought, if we wish to be agreeable 
and useful at home or abroad. We must be able to talk as well 
as listen. "It is a fine day. Miss Medora," says Simpkins. 
"Ah!" smiles Medora, "I think so." Dear Medora, you have 
been thinking the weather is fine these ten years. It is time that, 
from thinking you came to know something. It is time by study 
and wide reading to make ourselves powers in society. Cultivate 
conversational talent. Language has been called the vehicle of 
thought ; but there are all kinds of vehicles, from a Lord Mayor'.'? 
coach to a wheelbarrow. But don't think brilliant conversation 
means a rush of sarcasm. Sarcasm is generally the weapon of 
the keen against the weak. Notice those who use it : they sink 
below the level of duellists into that of assassins ! Don't indulge 
in ungenial words or acts, and trust to your friends to shield 
you with — " It is his way." You are bound to have a good way, 
. that does not need excusing. What ! am I talking of very little 
things ? Social culture is a sum of little things. I trust I did 
not mislead you in saying that the manners might be worse than 
the heart. Incurably bad manners, manners insincere, unsym- 
pathetic, thoughtless or bitter, are the outcome of a bad heart. 
Therefore we may put all exhortations on social culture into 
one precept, and say: Be Christian, and in proportion as the 
gracious mind of the Master abides in you, his disciple, then, 
true and gentle, thoughtful of others, forgetful of self, improving 
every talent to its utmost, you will always exhibit the very best 
of good manners. 

These were the leading ideas of the lecture, and I was glad 
our young people heard them, and I hope that, young and old, 
we shall be apt to put them in practice. 


Belinda Black came to spend a day with me, and we had a 
good deal of discussion as to what was ladylike and becoming 
to a young girl. I impressed it on Belinda, that whatever was 
good and becoming should first be used at home; that fine man- 
ners were not to be kept for strangers, to go on with our good 
bonnet, and be put off with our best gloves; but the grace that 
suited a stranger's table suited our own ; the courtesy which 
pleased friends abroad would please parents and brothers and 
sisters at home. "A woman," I said, " who goes about her house 
slipshod and untidy, in a soiled, ragged gown, and only once or 
twice a year gets fully fitted up in her best clothes, will be sure 
to feel awkward and act awkwardly in those unwonted garments : 
so good manners which are not of eveiy-day use will fit us but 
illy, and we shall be ungainly in their exercise; people will see 
that we have only put them on for show, and it will serve us 
right to be thus betrayed. As good manners are welcome in all 
places, so they are suitable to all times. Some people need to 
be up three or four hours before they can find their cheerful 
civility; they are well-mannered from noon until night, and ill- 
mannered from rising until noon. Never come down-stairs 

"A great many people do," said Belinda. "I often do; all 
things look dull, I feel dull, nothing seems likely to turn out 
well, and I can hardly speak, I feel so fretted." 

"Then," I said, "you must have been sleeping in too close a 
room, or have sat up too late, or eaten too heavy a .= upper; you 
should search out the causes of these things and destroy them, 
and then these unpleasant effects will cease : your gloomy face 
and reluctant words will make all the family dull, and the day 
will move heavily. When you feel in this captious or heavy 
mood when you rise, try and disperse it: throw up your window, 
step about briskly in the fresh air, toss your bed-clothes to air, 
wash your head, arms and chest thoroughly in cold water, and 


rub with a coarse towel; draw and expel deep breaths, so as to 
fill your lungs with pure air, and send 'oxygen through your 
blood. Then you will feel bright and hopeful, and be able to 
speak and act politely when you get into the breakfast-room." 

"Well," said Belinda, "I shall remember that. Now tell me 
of some of the little things which you think especially rude — the 
little things which we are most liable to do." 

"One is a habit of singing and humming in the presence of 
others. I knew a young woman, very nice and well educated, 
too, who, whenever she was not absolutely talking, would go to 
humming tunes. If she walked with you, and a silence fell in 
the conversation, she would hum, hum, hum, in the most annoy- 
ing way. It is pleasant to hear one singing over their work ; 
but where two or three are together this humming like a huge 
bumble-bee may prove very trj'ing to somebody. There, too, is 
that other habit of shrill whistling, indulged in by boys, and 
sometimes by girls. I like to hear a boy whistle and sing in the 
fields or along the road; but it is very ill-mannered for him to 
come whistling into the family room, or to sit whistling shrilly 
vt. the group gathered on a piazza. We are ill-mannered 
\khen we ignore the fact that in this world we are not monarchs 
of all we survey, dwelling in a lodge in some vast wilderness; 
but we are each one of many, and we must act so as not to 
irench upon the rights and comforts of others. We can law- 
fully exercise our own privileges only in a way not to interfere 
with our neighbor. It is rude for children to play, race and 
s bawl on the street corners in a manner to disturb the people in 
all the adjacent houses, and no well-conducted parents, who desire 
to have their children become prosperous and honored citizens, 
will for an hour permit this. It is very ill-mannerly for a group 
of young girls to go ogling, laughing, shouting, loudly talking, 
and calling each other's names along the streets. A true girl, 
Belinda, one who has a right to the name of lady, does not 


desire to call public attention to herself. She must be sought 
for. She does not parade herself to general view. She is care- 
ful not to act or dress in a manner to make herself remarkable 
either for oddity, display, showy colors, or extravagance. Her 
dress and her manners are simple and refined. Her good taste 
regulates her tones, her words and her actions as well as her 
bonnets. She quietly does what she thinks she ought, and has 
a large reserve power of intelligence, wit, accomplishment, kind 
feeling. She does not show forth at one glance all her posses- 
sions, as some people who set all their silver forth on their tables 
at once, but .she has an untold inheritance and acquisition of val- 
uable things, which will only be discovered by a long acquaint- 
ance, when day by day she will surprise you by having a depth 
of strength, and culture, and lovingness beyond your previous 
discerning. Such a girl is like an inexhaustible gold mine, 
while many girls are like the bogus mines, started by some 
crafty speculator, who has scattered a little gold and quartz 
along the surface. 

"Another point where young people often exhibit great ill- 
manners is in a restiveness to reproof An older friend rebuke? 
them for some awkwardness or rudeness, and instead of accept- 
ing the reproof in kindly spirit as meant for their improvement, 
or as a thing which can be used for their good, even when 
given irritably, they are vexed, and proceed to justify them- 
selves, or are forever angry with the reprover. They forget that 
open rebuke is better than secret love; that the wounds of a 
friend are better than the kisses of an enemy. This restiveness 
to reproof I think often hinders elder friends from making to 
the young such suggestions as would be of service. I knew a 
young girl once, who from carelessness, bad example, and a lack 
of watchfulness in her teachers, had fallen into several bad 
habits which were ruining her manners. A wise, elderly lady 
look her apart, and said to her : ' My dear, you have some rude 


ways which will much injure you. When spoken to you often 
cry, " Hey ! " or " What ! " You often nod or shake your head 
by way of answer ; you fail to look at the person who speaks to 
you, or to whom you are speaking, and you are too bold in your 
manner of expressing a dissenting opinion.' 

" Now, the young girl might have been vexed at this reproof, 
though kindly given and wisely intended by one competent to 
instruct. However, she took it in the kindest spirit. She fell 
that if one person saw these flaws, more must see them, and 
that it was well to know of them in time to check them. She 
thanked the lady, told her that she hoped she would always 
suggest to her when she was going wrong, for that hitherto no 
one had noticed these errors of manner in a way to correct 
them. She desired to be a true lady in her ways, and gladly 
laid hold on any means of improvement. As you may fancy, sp 
eager and docile a pupil made rapid progress, and she became 
soon graceful and thoughtful in her manners." 

I have no doubt that Belinda, who is ready to learn, wa-^ 
benefited by this talk on good manners. It is a theme which I 
often pursue with my young friends. Good manners are to a 
lad what beauty is to a girl, at once attracting an interested 
and kindly feeling ; while to a girl good manners are infinitely 
more valuable than fine dress or showy accomplishments. 
Chesterfield says that the art of pleasing is the art of rising, 
and this is largely true : for some must rise in life in every 
generation, and naturally those will rise who are ready to aid 
and please others and so become respected and popular. We 
will not give our business, our votes, our aid to one who treated 
us surlily; we will strive to push him down to make room for 
the man of courtesy. And this flower of courtesy, choice 
as Arabian Spikenard, should be planted, cultivated and gathered 
iii the Home. 



p COUSIN of Doctor Nugent, a surgeon who is in charge 

[ 'j of a State Insane Asylum, lately spent several days in our 
village, and Hester invited me to meet him at tea. 
During the evening the conversation turned on the 
causes of insanity. 

"What," inquired John Rocheford, "is the chief root of the 
madness of your patients ? " 

" It would be hard to say," replied the Doctor, " for causes 
are so many, and often so nearly equally distributed. We have 
many whose mania is hereditary ; as many more, perhaps, who 
are victims of alcoholic, opium or nicotine poisoning. Severe 
illness has dethroned reason in some, and sudden shocks, losses 
in business or family, or deep sorrows, have sent us other unfor- 
tunates. I notice that when any one passes, from excitement on 
religious subjects, into insanity, the unbelieving make a loud 
"outcry over it, insinuating, more or less boldly, that religion is_ 
in itself dangerous and unsettling to the mind ; ignoring the 
fact that victims of 'religious insanity' are those whose natural 
tendency is toward madness, which excitement of any kind is 
likely to develop ; and that the disturbance of their mind has 
been not a true religious idea, but abnormal or moody fancies; 
while there is nothing more soothing to the mind than real 
piety, and doubtless it yearly preserves their reason to thousands 

of minds, which would be thrown off their balance by the 


painful circumstances of their lives, were it not for this fountain 
of hope and refreshment, this rock of strength." 

" How is it about students ? Have you many literary people 
among your patients ? " asked Doctor Nugent. 

" Less of severe students, perhaps, than of any other class. 
The mind occupied with questions of science, or philosophy, or 
history, has no time to become introverted, and brood to dis- 
traction over its own developments. I have many patients who 
are victims of what I am inclined to call paralysis of the reason : 
indolent young women most of these, whose minds being unfed 
gnaw on themselves and shrivel away." 

" How is it about work ? " asked Hester. " Docs hard work 
send you many victims ? " 

" Work, like religion," said the Doctor, " has been called to 
endure many false accusations. I have had more patients sent 
to me by idleness than by hard labor — :of these, girls especially. 
Boys brought up in the terribly dangerous position of idlers, 
social drones, by the very muscular activity of their make find 
something to do : they become amateur boxers, boatmen, ball- 
players. Society does not profit by these things particularly, 
nor will eternity reap much harvest by them ; but at least they 
will serve to keep these young fellows out of the mad-house, 
where many of their sisters may go. The young girl witb 
nothing to do begins to dwell upon herself in nervous intro- 
spection ; she becomes hysterical : hysteria makes her an object 
of notice and sympathy in the family ; she indulges more and 
more her predisposition to it ; it masters her, by degrees passes- 
into mania, and she is fit only for an asylum. I have had more 
than one or two cases of this kind, where the pains, and what we 
may call the social disgrace of madness, would have been 
escaped, if the girl had been brought up to sweep and dust, to 
make her clothes, to bake the family bread and pastry, to be her 

mother's housekeeper, or her father's book-keeper. 



"As to work, Mrs. Nugent, it is the normal estate of man 
since Eden : we may say it is man's natural condition, as Adam 
was provided with occupation even in the blessed garden. Now 
what is natural can be borne : God did not establish us in a lot 
in life of which lot the natural tendency is madness. Work, 
lawful work, does not dethrone reason : it strengthens both brain 
and body. Over-work and under-rest do send many patients to 
us ; but man must blame no one but himself when he destroys 
the proportion which God ordained between our time and our 
labor, our working and our resting. Suppose I hire a man to do 
a week's work, and I give him food for the week ; inspired by 
avarice he sells the food, and works fasting , before the week is 
out he drops exhausted and soon dies, when it was open to him 
to use both work and food, and reach the end of the week a 
sounder man than when he begun it. If I hire a man to move 
some iron, and to save time, as he calls it, he piles it all in a big 
barrel and, lifting it at once, incurably injures himself, who is to 
blame for all the crippled years, when he might have been 
hale and tougher from his work ? 

"A man goes to work in a field in midsummer : at noon he is 

warned to take one or two hours of rest, to cool himself, to eat, 

and then resting again, go moderately at his work for an hour, 

increasing his toil with the cooling day; instead, he presses on 

m madder and madder haste, taking no noon rest, but panting on 

I in the hottest sun, with some vague idea of getting done earlier in 

I the day, as people do who work themselves to premature death, 

striving in haste to accumulate a fortune for their age, an age 

.which they never reach. So the man whom I am imagining, 

over-hurries his task, and dies of sunstroke before the evening 

ifalls The trouble is not that people must work — not even that 

m the sweat of their brow they must win their bread — but that 

;they set themselves tasks which neither God nor man required 

.of them ; they sequestrate for their absurd ends the hours God 


gave for rest; they deprive themselves of food, or, what is much 
the same, of time to digest their food — they die, or go mad. The 
trouble is not work, but over-work." 

"But," said Hester, "are there not some mothers of large 
families, say, or wives of farmers with lartje dairies and too little 
help, who are forced to over-work?" 

"There may be some such," said the Doctor, "but now we 
are coming down to a still finer point, and I tell you that over- 
work generally means, ignorance of right methods of work. You 
may quietly ascend the stairs of a tower a hundred feet high ; 
you reach there but little fatigued ; you seat yourself; look at 
the scenery — rest — return ; you are none the worse for the climb ; 
but start at the bottom and run with all your might up those 
stairs; stand purple and panting in the wind on top ; turn and 
run down — if you can — and very likely you will soon drop dead, 
or die of a congestion, or lie all the rest of your life the in- 
valid victim of your folly. You go over the same space in 
either case ; you lift yourself but the hundred feet either way 
you do it, but the result depends on how you doit. I doubt if 
there is one case in five hundred of so-called victims of over- 
work where the evil has not arisen rather from the way of doing 
the work than from the amount of it. People do not know how 
to divide between the needful and the needless ; they forget how 
minutes of rest lessen the total of the day's fatigue ; how little 
needless motions, liftings, frettings, increase it. I have had vic- 
tims of over-work brought to me ; mothers whose large families 
needed their presence ; whose daughters' lives would be blighted 
by the story of the crazy mother; these women would have been 
saved by having each day one hour's rest in rocking-chair or on 
a lounge, and fifteen minutes each day with an entertaining or 
soothing book, and fifteen minutes for a short walk. Why did 
they not have this hour and a half? They could not: they spent 
it at the sewing-machine, putting six-pin tucks in the frills of 


pillow-shams; sixteen narrow tucks intrieir daughters' petticoats, 
edged ruffles on the little girl's aprons ; frills on the baby's 
frock ; puffs, tucks and inserting in best night-gowns. And here 
is the result : the baby has no mother to put on its frilled frocks; 
the little girl in her ruffled apron gets cuffed by a stranger; the 
eldest daughter, whose tucked petticoats wore out the mother's 
powers, and robbed her of rest, is a girl marked ' as perhaps 
inheriting insanity;' the fancy pillow-shams and night-gowns 
are stolen by the kitchen maid and torn by the laundress ; the 
whole catastrophe was caused by a lack of common-sense ; a 
forgetting the evident fact that the human machine, like other 
machines, cannot stand perpetual motion ; that it must be rested, 
repaired, and oiled; that mothers are worth more than tucks 
and ruffles; that a long, hearty, good-bestowing hfe is better 
than a little out-doing of the neighbors in the matter of dress 
and furnishings. I heard, by accident, good, sound sense on 
this point, in this wise : a gentleman, fearing for his wife's state 
of mind, sent for me, and, unknown to the wife, we were in the 
study, adjoining her sitting-room, when a lady friend came to 
see her. Thinking the conversation would afford me good 
opportunity of judging of his wife's mental condition, I signed 
to her husband to keep silence, and, sure enough, in a short 
time the poor mother confided to her friend the fear that she 
was going crazy. The guest was known to fame as a poet, and 
I did not expect the burst ol hard common-sense which followed. 
The door was ajar, and I saw her with keen eye measure her 
hostess' malady, and the style of tonic needed. 

" ' Go crazy ! ' she cried ; • don't you dare to do it ; you would 
luin these five little girls; what prospects have the daughters 
of an insane mother? There is not the least danger of any 
insanity for you, if you will every day ride out for an hour, lie 
down for an hour, and read for an hour; air, rest, and ne-w 
interests are ■^V' need.' 


"'But I have no time; you don't begin to know the time our 
Bewing takes ; why I spend two or three hours each day at the 

" ' I'll engage to get you a young woman to do the sewing that 
J^ou do for two dollars a week.' 

" ' Yes, but tliat costs money, and I feel that I ought to lay up 
all I can for our children.' 

'"Look at the matter practically: call in your arithmetic. If 
you die of over-work, a housekeeper will cost five dollars a 
week ; if you go to an asylum, consider the expense : the seam- 
stress would be cheaper. If you kill yourself by under-resting, 
you drive your husband to a second marriage, and three or fouf 
litrie half-brothers would materially reduce your daughters' por- 
tions. The rest and the seamstress by whom you get it ars 
cheap in comparison with any other alternative. Mothers are 
not to be bought in a market at five dollars a head.' 

" These sharp remarks were a revelation. The lady agreed to 
the seamstress, and to her friend's prescription of the three 
hours ; and beginning the use of her remedy at once, the two 
went off to walk. I said to the husband : ' This case is in good 
hands ; these three hours daily, spent as arranged now, will save 
your wife ; ' and they did." 

" Yet there are many cases," said Hester, " where three hours 
could not possibly be saved by the mother of a family, and 
where it would be also impossible to hire a seamstress." 

" That is true," said the Doctor ; " but three hours each day 
may not always be needed. It was the last ounce, you know, 
which broke the camel's back, not the last hundred-weight. 
What I contend for is, that people generally do not know the 
priceless value of their physical and mental health, until they 
have squandered it ; nor do they realize that a little saving in 
care and labor, a little rest, a little change, would prevent their 
being mentally or physically ruined. An easy-chair, an occa 


sional quiet hour, a day's visit, a pleasant book, the being re- 
lieved from some petty, oft-recurring task, may save a brain or 
a heart just on the point of exhaustion. I think all over- 
worked women, if they examined their tasks, feeling that there 
must be a saving made, and that saving must be in their own 
favor for their own recruiting, would be surprised at the result 
of their scrutiny. Why, I have seen thin, haggard, worn-out 
women, who were perishing for rest and recreation, instead of 
taking that needed rest which would spare them to their fami- 
lies, actually sitting for two or three hours each day darning 
into fine, fancy patterns the quilting of a bed-spread! This 
fanciful quilting would not make the quilt warmer nor make it 
wear better, but it would make it fine. A million times better 
spend that time in the garden raising flower-seeds, or in the 
yard raising chicks to sell, and buy counterpanes, if they could 
not be had without such management. I have seen women sit- 
ting up late at night knitting lace for their parlor curtains, or 
ornamenting children's clothes, when the hours thus stolen from 
rest would soon send them under the church-yard sod, where 
neither lace nor ornaments would benefit them. I have seen so 
many of these foolish sacrifices that I feel hotly on the subject. 
This ignorance is a Moloch destroying hundreds of our house- 

" Some one," said John Rocheford, " ought to write a book 
on the subject, and tell women how to do what they must do, 
so that it shall be most easily done; and how to discern 
between the needful and the needless, that they may spare 
themselves for better things, and live out their rightful days." 

" The book," said Hester, " would be well enough, if people 
would read it or heed it, but it is very hard to bring folks to 
give up rooted and perhaps inherited notions. We do not 
take much warning of our own mortality in seeing others die, 
nor of our own weakness in seeing others break down : we think 


wc feel the springs of life stronger in us. We strain and bend 
the bow until it snaps, and then leave others to repeat for them- 
selves- our folly." 

"I have often wondered," said John Rocheford, "at the dif- 
ferent ways in which women do their work ; at, indeed, the very 
different ways in which work can be done, making or saving 
toil and fatigue. I remember once I was out with a party of 
gentlemen on a survey, and we happened on a rainy summer 
week ; the first evening we took refuge in a farm-house. As we 
were wet, and . there was no stove up but in the large, neat 
kitchen, we were seated near that to dry ourselves, while the 
housewife got supper. Wishing to give us something hot, she 
made flannel or griddle-cakes. By the time the cakes were 
mixed she had a bowl, a couple of saucers, a fork, spoon and 
pan in use, and her baking-table pretty well covered with sifted 
flour; her griddle then being greased, she brought her pan of 
cake-batter, and with a large spoon dipped some upon the 
griddle ; despite her care, some drops fell on stove and hearth ; 
every time she greased the griddle she went to and from her 
table with the greaser, and then to and from the table with her 
pan of batter ; in the meantime she darted hurriedly around lay- 
ing the tea-table, a cup, a plate, a knife at a time, between whiles 
of putting on and turning and removing her cakes. She was 
nearly an hour in preparing her supper, and an hour in clearing 
it away, for some flecks of batter had fallen on floor, stove and 
table ; she had soiled a good many dishes ; her table was to 
scrub ; her stove to rub up, and before all was in its accustomed 
order the good woman was hot and exhausted. 

" The next evening our fate was almost exactly similar ; an- 
other tidy kitchen sheltered us from the rain, and its "mistress 
baked cakes for our supper. First she went to the china-closet 
with a tray, and putting the tea-dishes on it, in but two journeys 
to the closet her table was nicely set. Then with her tray she 


visited her store-closet, and brought to the table at one trip 
butter, bread, cream, preserves, cold meat, and so on. That care 
being off her mind, she put her griddle on the stove and opened 
the draught. Next she went to her store-closet for material for 
her cakes. She mixed the cakes in a large pitcher, with a 
strong egg-beater. First she put into the pitcher the buttermilk 
and soda; then she beat the eggs on a plate and turned them 
in; then put in the flour, salt, and other ingredients; when the 
batter was ready the baking-table was unsoiled, and only a 
saucer and an egg-beater lay on it for washing. She set open 
the oven-door, and stood within it two plates for her cakes, and 
the dish with her greaser ; then she rubbed the griddle well with 
salt, and so only greased it about one-fifth as much as the other 
housewife, saving smoke and trouble. She poured the cakes 
upon the griddle from the nose of the pitcher, so saving all drip- 
ping, and between whiles she set the pitcher on the hearth, so 
that she had no journeys to and from the table; in fact, she never 
left the stove while she baked, but stepping back a little from 
the heat she chatted with us, and in half an hour from the time 
when she began to get supper she had the meal all on the table 
in an orderly room, and when supper was ended she cleared it 
away in half an hour. There was no stove to polish; no table 
to scrub ; no spots on the floor were to be wiped up, and the 
work ended, she resumed her white apron and sat down on the 
porch in her rocking-chair, evidently knowing how to rest, as 
well as how to work." 

" That's it; that's it," said the Doctor; " the thing is to know 
how to do it. Mothers should not be content to teach theii 
daughters" housework, but how to do it in the quickest, nicest 
way ; not merely instructing in the ingredients that form a pound- 
cake, but how to use the fewest utensils, and the least time and 
irouble in compounding it ; some women, and delicate women 
top. have a fear of seeming lazy in work. Whose business is if 


how they seem if the work is properly done, and their own health 

and comfort are cared for? Are health and comfort things of 

small account ? We have societies for prevention of cruelty to 

animals and to children : I wish we had a society for preventing 

housewives and house-mothers from being cruel to themselves. 

They think it ' looks foolish ' to lie down in daytime ; it ' looks 

lazy' to sit while they pare vegetables, or mix cake, or wipe 

dishes, or polish knives ; it ' looks extravagant ' to cover their 

working-tables with oil-cloths, and to use plenty of hiats and 

rugs, and ammonia, or borax, or soda for cleaning, instead of 

driving all their own failing vitality into scrubbing-brushes. 

And by these false ideas of ' looks ' — I wish the word had never 

been heard of — they reduce themselves to invalids who must lie 

down all the time, or the over-active life ends in premature 

death, or the extravagance runs into doctors' and druggists' and 

asylum bills. How illogical we humans are! as I look at my 

patients, I often think we are all a little mad!" 

"You impress me," said Doctor Nugent, "with the enormity 

of an evil which I never before realized. The book which Mr. 

Rocheford suggests should be written, and Aunt Sophronia, 

who knows how to do all kinds of housework in the very best 

manner, must write it." 

" Thank you," I replied; " I am quite too old to turn authoress, 

but I feel the great importance of what has been said, and I am 

resolved in my little sphere, here in the village and the country 

around, to try more and more to impress on my young friends 

the need of taking care of themselves ; of having a little reserve 

strength laid up for emergencies, and not every day over-drawing 

our account on vitality. As has been said, the trouble lies in 

ignorance, not in labor. It is not that there is too much in the 

world to be done, but that we do not know how to do it ; we 

make our work less by having a right way of performing it 

Method is the time and strength-saver, and reason is to be applied 

to baking, boiling and dish-washing." 


How much and how often have I thought of that evening's 
conversation ! What important themes it touched, and themes 
so often under-estimated ! We do not live in a lazy age ; it is 
an age of activity, and yet of poorly distributed activity often- 
times, where a few members of a family are striving to do the 
work of all, and fathers and mothers, or conscientious eldei 
daughters, are doing the share of work lawfully belonging to 
indolent and over-indulged juniors : the one party getting toe 
much and the other too little rest. I notice that these active 
people, when they are really over-worked and worn-out, attribute 
their weariness to any cause but the right one ; they will not 
face the fact that they are over-wrought and need repose, that 
the nerves kept at their best tension for too long a time must be 
relaxed by amusements like little children's. I remember once 
hearing some one ask a famous authoress how she managed ta 
execute such a prodigious amount of work ; and she replied 
' Merely by knowing how at proper times to rest and to play,' 
and a friend of hers told me that she believed this was the 
secret, for she had seen her when tired drop into a state of such 
perfect quiescence that she seemed rather like a piece of restful 
Statuary than like a living organism ; and that out in the woods, 
in the mountains, by the sea, or by some mountain stream, she 
could entertain herself with all the abandon of a child. 

One of the most famous of the superintendents of our Stata 
Lunatic Asylums says : " We all know that a steam-engine, 
calculated to do a certain amount of work in a day, will wear 
out very rapidly if forced to do double that work. And as thft 
human body is composed of a varietj'- of the most delicately 
constructed organs, each designed to perform a certain amount 
and character of work within certain limits, and in a specified 
time, so every effort to compel these organs to do more work 
in a given time than they were designed by their Constructor to 
do, will speedily derange their action and give rise to disease." 


And Still there comes that cry, especially from house-mothers, 
that there is a certain amount of work that they must do, and it is 
an amount which is wearing them out. The question is first to 
sift the work. to the really needful and the fairly required, and 
then to know how to do in the very best time-and-labor-saving 
methods that which remains. For instance, when it comes to 
this closest question of labor-saving, when only one pair of 
woman's hands are ready to do a family's work, and that 
woman must have resting time, let her cut off scrupulously all 
labor that is for mere ornament, in dress and furnishings ; let 
there be plain hems now ; by-and-by these little girls will have 
grown up, and . these boys will be old enough to help more, to 
bring in less mud, and to wear out less clothes, and then you 
can have fancy quilts, and toilettes, and pillow-shams, and aprons, 
and underclothes. Only try now to spare the mother to train 
up her children in helpfi|ilness, kindness, courtesy, home-loving, 
and it will seem after all but a little whilp until the problem has 
solved itself; and to-day's little hinderers will be to-morrow's 
little helpers, and you can have <vhat you now crave of pretty 
things, and are now by your common-sense denied. Again, 
*hese over-taxed housewives forget that there is rest to be gained 
in many ways : First, by change of work. Don't stand at the 
ironing-board until you are ready to drop, but go out on the 
porch, or into the sitting-room and peel the potatoes and turnipp. 
Again, there is rest in exercise : you have sewed, and nursed 
baby, and washed dishes, and have not looked out-of-doors this 
long while ; go out-of-doors, walk about your garden, or go to 
see your neighbor, or take a friendly look at the cov/s in the 
pasture, or at the poultry in the yard. But there is a fatigue 
that is not to be healed by change of work nor by walking : it 
needs perfect quiet. Don't always fancy that you can rest by 
changing or by out-of-door exercise. When you feel languid 
and weak, unattracted by out-of-doo's, ind when to move eyes 


or hands seems as hard as to move feet, be wise in time : go and 
rest. Smooth your hair, rinse your face and hands, take off 
your shoes, he down on your bed or on a lounge in a shaded 
room, or rechne in a big chair, and shut your eyes and your 
ears, and be resolved to rest. Do this even if it deprives the 
family of their dessert at dinner, or their warm biscuits for 
supper, or their cake for over Sunday ; it will be much better for 
them to lack these things for a few times than to go to your 
funeral, or endure a six months' reign of Biddy in the kitchen. 
Even if, as I can hardly believe possible, some uncomprehending 
masculine grumbles at the lack of his wonted luxuries, never 
mind : people often do not understand what is for their real good 

Some women wear out their vitality in doing work not fairly 
required of them. They, by a foolish yielding to unjust en- 
croachments, not only shorten their own lives, but aggravate 
the selfishness or ignorance and future remorse of others. 
Thus, while there is a husband and a farm-hand or two, even a 
son, possibly, the housewife may be left to get her own wood, 
tD cut or pick up her own kindling, or be expected to carry a 
Ijnch to workers in the field — this, too, when she has a family 
to wash, iron, cook, bake, scrub and nurse for. To submit to 
such demands is absurd. The ones who make them, do not 
realize what they are asking; to set the matter plainly before 
them, and positively refuse to go beyond a decent limit, would 
bring all things right. There is a deal of difference between 
firmness and quarrelling. 

Another thing that is to be considered in regard to ovei- 
working and under-resting is, that as all clocks need winding, 
so all human brains and bodies need to be wound up by sleep- 
ing. No one ever gained a permanent advantage by depriving 
himself of needed sleep. Regular and abundant sleep at night 
is needful to maintain the health of all ages and conditions. 
Sleep before midnight is more refreshing than after. No one 


who is active in brain or body during his waking hours will get 
too much sleep. Let him sleep all he can. Don't steal sleep 
hours for doing little extra things which had better not be done 
at all. Get to bed regularly at an early hour, and do not rise 
earlier than you need merely to be called an early riser, a great 
worker, and to boast of having half your work done before your 
neighbors were up. 

Some people not only fail to give their exhausted energies 
sleeping time in which to recuperate, but they fail to give them 
plenty of easily digested food on which to recuperate. They 
get too tired to eat, or they go to their meals over-exhausted, 
and as soon as they have swallowed a little food, for which they 
did not half care, they ^'ump up from the table and go to work 
again. The stomach cannot assimilate the food ; the veins are 
not filled with good blood ; they have no vitality to distribute to 
nerves and muscles, and flesh grows flabby and pale ; the nerves 
twitch and tremble; the muscles do not half work ; the whole 
frame is dropping to pieces for want of what God has offered to 
it and foolish humanity has neglected — food and sleep! 

I was discoursing somewhat in this fashion one day very 
energetically to my three nieces, with Mary Watkins, and Sara, 
and Grace Winton, who had come to tea with me. 

" Still," said Mary Watkins, " granted that we rest as we can, 
sleep and eat as best we may, cut off" the superfluous, reject the 
bringing of wood and drawing of water — yet, after all, we find a 
deal of work which we must do, work enough to make us very 
tired; especially with two or three or more little children on 
hand, poor maid or none, and churning, pickling, preserving 
lard-rendering, house-work, daily and weekly cleaning, mend- 
ing and making, we stand a fair chance of being over-worked 
and under-rested, do the best we may." 

"Unless we know some very superior methods," said Hester. 

" Just what I positively insist on having Aunt Sophronia tell 
us," said Miriam. 


" Before I say anything else," I remarked, " I must impress 
it on you that mind and body are so closely connected, that 
mind can tire body out by carrying burdens even if they are 
only imaginary. We wear out minds and bodies by enumer- 
ating to ourselves our future toils. To-day we are ironing ; and 
if as we iron we forecast how hard it will be in the fall to put 
up twenty jars of pickles and jellies, and as many more of 
preserves, and how very hard the fall-cleaning will be, and how 
weary the work at killing-time will seem, why, then, taking 
trouble in advance of need, and paying heavy interest for it, 
we exhaust ourselves. Listen to what John Newton says : 
' We can easily manage if we will only take each day the 
burden appointed for it. But the burden will be too heavy for 
us if we add to it the weight of to-morrow before we are called 
to bear it.' " 

" That suits me," said Helen, " for that is one way in which I 
am always tiring myself Counting, for instance, in my mind 
how many clothes the children will require to have made in a 

"Now," said Miriam, "we have laid up in our minds that 
good counsel, and the theory of not forecasting trouble. And 
now we must come to the practical part. There is work to he 
done: now how to do it; what' method shall make the burden 
light? how shall we gather the rose of duty done without 
tearing ourselves on its thorns ? " 

" I do not see," I said, " but you had better, if you have any 
especial work in your minds, come to the point about that at 
once, and we will all make the best suggestions that we can. 
That will at least be fully practical." 

"All right," spoke up Helen. " I've put a new oil-cloth on 
my two big halls. The last one wore out too quickly by hili] 
and took so long to scrub that I dreaded having the chamber- 
maid get at it. She spent all the morning on it." 


"No scrubbing," I said, "if you want a nice oil-cloth, and one 
to last a long while. Let it be swept with a soft broom ; then 
on sweeping-day, after the dusting is done, tie up your broom in 
a bag of old flannel, and dry-wipe the oil-cloth : it can be done 
in a few minutes, and will make it look clean and bright. 
Treated in this way, it will be long before the cloth needs any 
washing ; if it gets a spot on it, wipe it off in warm skim-milk. 
When it must be washed, mix a little borax and hard soap in 
part of a pail of warm water ; rub it well with this, but use no 
brush; have ready half a pail of warm water and skimmed milk, 
and wipe oiif the oil-cloth with this and a flannel ; set open the 
doors, and let it air-dry. Wash it as little as possible ; when, 
after two years or so of use, it begins to look dim and wear a 
little, have it well washed and dried, and varnish it thoroughly : 
you will have to keep the hall unused for two or three days 
while the varnish hardens. Cared for in this way a good oil- 
cloth will last for years." 

My auditors had all been taking notes in their pocket-note- 
books. When they had finished, Mary Watkins said : 

" That is very satisfactory ; now tell me something. This 
morning I spent more than an hour, and nearly scrubbed off 
the ends of my fingers in cleaning off" some rust from my best 
knives, which had been put by for two or three months. Now, 
I want to know first, how I could have prevented the rusting ? 
second, how to clean it off" well and easily ? and third, how to 
clean my knives?" 

" First, then, the knives were possibly a little damp when put 
away, or were in a damp place. Before putting by your knives, 
they should have been well rubbed with a bit of newspaper. 
Then you should have laid down a piece of paper, and folded 
the edge of it over a knife; then another knife, laying them 
handle to blade with the paper covering each one. Put up each 
half-dozen in a separate paper. Then wrap up these papered 

348 '^'^'^ COMPLETE HOME. 

knives in a piece of chamois leather or a strip of flannel, and 
shut them up in a paste-board box ; put this in an ordinarily 
dry place, and your knives vill never rust. Second : how to 
clean off rust. Wrap the rusted article in a cloth, soaked in 
kerosene oil, and let it be for twenty-four hours ; then scour 
with bath-brick; rub with whiting or the old-fashioned rotten- 
stone; then rub with sweet oil, and after this, wash in hot 
suds; dry well with paper, and put by as just directed. Very 
deep spots of red rust can be eradicated by rubbing them with 
salt and vinegar. Third : how to clean your knives. Use bath- 
brick or a little well-powdered ashes. Have a board for the 
purpose, with a box of your cleaning-powder and two large 
corks, say an inch and a half in diameter, and two inches high : 
use one cork to rub the moistened powder on the knives, being 
careful not to bend the blade, but keep it flat to the board ; then 
rub with the other cork and dry dust or powder ; after this, rub 
the knife well with a scrap of newspaper. Many people ruin 
their knife-cleaning b]' wiping on a cloth or towel, which is sure 
to leave dampness or a streak of some sort. Two or three times 
weekly, spread your knives on a tray in the sun for an hour. 
Knives should be washed in clean water, and scoured as soon as 
washed — it spoils them to lie wet; also never throw them in 
a pan of hot water: that spoils alike handles and temper. 
Hold them by their handles while you wash the blades in warm 
suds ; then if the handles need water, shake them through warm 
water, holding the knives by the blades. Keep knives in a dry 
box by themselves. Always have for use in the cooking, lead 
or iron spoons and certain forks and knives, which are not used 
on the table. Many people use their table-cutlery and spoons 
in stirring cooking and in pot-scraping, and consequently never 
have anything- nice for the table." 

" Speaking of scraping skillets and saucepans," said Miriam, 
' let me tell you that shells, a 1 ir^je clam or muscle shell, are 


worth ten knives. I have some shells kept in the kitchen 
always for this use ; they save time, and make better work of 
that part of the cleaning." 

" Possibly," said Helen, " you can make some suggestions 
about cleaning tins. Every once in a while I find that our tin- 
cups, pails and basins look like dull lead ; I say they must be 
scoured, and the kitchen-maid spends half a day at it, covering 
the table with brick-dust and ashes, getting behind-hand in the 
work, and losing her temper." 

" This is one of the ways," I said, " in which a litde daily 
neglect doubles our ordinary work ; tins need particular care, but 
it takes very little time if regularly given. The tins must not be 
washed in water where greasy plates or meat-dishes have been. 
The common plan is to suds them out after the dishes; wipe 
them with a towel, and hang them up ; in a week their bright- 
ness is lost. Tins must be washed in strong, hot suds, where no 
other dishes have been put; rub them hard in the suds; then 
shake them out; dash a little scalding water, with a cup, on them 
and turn them to drain in a warm place. As soon as they 
are dry, take half a newspaper, and rub them vigorously outside 
and in : they will shine like new. About once a week, set them 
in the sun for an hour after they are rubbed with paper. Sedu- 
lously treated in this way, weeks or months may pass without 
their needing an especial scouring. When more than this 
cleaning which I have indicated is needed, take a flannel well 
sprinkled with dry whiting, and rub them hard with that, and 
finish off with paper. Paper is one of the best materials for 
cleaning that we can have in the house. Knives and tins 
rubbed with it preserve their brightness ; if the stove is polished 
twice a week, and rubbed hard with paper on the other days, 
with ordinary care it will always look clean and bright. Paper 
is better than a cloth for rubbing windows and looking-glasses 

and table-glass " 

350 ^-^^-^ COMPLETE HOME. 

"As we are on the subject of cleaning," said Sara, " I might 
remark that people give themselves a deal of needless trouble 
about taking care of their silver. The silver is washed in water 
with other dishes, is washed perhaps in water that is half cold ; 
then it lies for ten or fifteen minutes before it is wiped ; and is 
wiped possibly on a damp towel. This usage keeps it always 
dim in its color, and it needs a weekly scouring with whiting : 
in this Way it is nearly rubbed to pieces. The proper way to 
wash silver is, to wash it by itself in scalding hot suds in which 
nothing else has been washed; if the silver is much soiled, hold 
the forks, spoons and so forth by the handles, and pour a stream 
of clear, hot water over the soiled parts to free them ; then put 
the silver into the clean suds ; rub it well with a sponge fastened 
to a stick ; drain it out, and without rinsing, wipe it very vigor- 
ously on a clean towel: it will shine as if newly polished. Once 
a week after the suds, drop the silver into a pan of hot water 
pretty strong of ammonia; wash it well in this; wipe, and then 
rub with paper. The silver will need no scouring, no silver- 
soap or whiting cleaning for a six months ; will look better, and 
liist longer." 

" Thanks," said Mary Watkins ; " that will save me some 
trouble. Now, .how shall one wash iron-pots, saucepans and 
griddles quickly and easily? They are heavy, and take a deal 
■of time, and are very hard on one's hands." 

" It is well," I said, " to use a wooden-tub, large enough to 
manage them in; have plenty of hot water, and a small, thick 
scrubbing-brush with a high handle. Keep on hand some 
strong sal-soda water or some fine ashes; dip the brush into 
either of these, and scrub the pot inside and out. The brush 
protects your hands, and cleans twice as well and quickly as a 
cloth ; rinse in hot water, and dry on the stove. Of course 
before putting into the tub, the inside should be scraped, if any- 
thing is adhering; and they should be rinsed, and the water 


thrown out. The practice of washing pots and pans in soiled 
dish water, wiping them with a wrung-out dish-cloth, and hang- 
ing them up all black and shiny within is dirty and unhealthful. 
Clean iron has a gray look." 

" Nothing saves labor so much," said Sara, " as thoroughness 
and doing things in the right way. It is much less trouble to 
scour pans and pots and griddles well, than it is to half wash 
them ; if they are not well washed, they will burn, and the next 
thing cooked in them is likely to stick, and cause increased 
labor. Some people spend three times as much time as they 
should on clearing off tables and washing dishes. Mother 
taught us very carefully how to do those things, and I never saw 
any house where both tasks were performed more speedily and 
neatly. Some people pick up their dishes, and carry them off 
promiscuously to sink or kitchen-table — knives,- silver, glass, 
unscraped plates, cold meats, set down together, just as it hap- 
pens : cups, platters, plates, tumblers, knives, spoons, go into the 
dish-pan as they are picked up ; the confusion embarrasses the 
work, and a long time is required to get it very poorly done. 
We were taught, as soon as the meal was over, to put away 
bread, meat, butter, milk — all the eatables which were left — in 
their proper places, and on proper dishes. Next the salts were 
refilled, the caster was wiped, and these were removed. Then 
the knives were gathered into a tray, the forks and spoons into 
a deep dish, and they were carried off; then the cups and 
saucers were drained, piled up together, carried to the sink, or 
wherever they were to be washed, and set in order there. Next 
the glass-ware was drained and removed ; then the plates and 
sauce-dishes were scraped and piled up. The refuse was at once 
carried off; the cloth shaken and folded into its box : then all our 
work was at the sink. We did not make ourselves work by spar- 
ing hot water : first, the glass-ware was washed, wiped and put 
away ; then the silver was well rubbed in clean, hot suds, pol- 


ished with the clean towel kept for it, and put by. The knives 
were washed after the silver; were at once scoured, and laid, 
when rubbed with paper, in the sunshine. A fresh pan of dish- 
water and a pan of hot rinsing-water were provided, and cups 
and saucers were invariably washed first; next followed the 
sauce-plates and vegetable-dishes ; then the plates, and then the 
meat-platters — if needful, we changed the dish-suds when we 
came to plates and platters. The dishes were rinsed through 
the clear water, and put to drain, and when all were washed, we 
began at those which had drained the longest, wiped them and 
put them in their places. The tins were washed alone, and 
then the cooking utensils in clean suds. Next, the dish-cloths 
and towels were washed in clean water, and laid in the sun, or 
hung up on a little frame behind the stove. The dish-pans and 
sink were well cleaned, the table wiped ; and really it seems as 
if we did' the work nicely in the time which I have used in 
describing its order." 

" Dear, dear," said Helen ; " if I could get Hannah to use 
such order^ our kitchen work would be lessened by one-half" 

" Write it out fairly, and hang it up over the kitchen-table," 
said Miriam. " I did that, and my servant improved wondet- 
fully. I told her to try it thoroughly for a month, and if it did 
not save her time and work she could try some other way. 
She tried the plan of exact order, and prized the advantage too 
highly to relapse into carelessness." 

" I think," said Sara, " that our Grace must tell us how to 
sweep a room. She makes a fine art of that bit of work." 

"Why, no," laughed Grace, "I only sweep and dust in a 
natural and proper way as any one does." 

" Indeed," I replied, " there are dozens of different ways of 
dusting and sweeping, and some of them will be good and some 
very bad. Let us hear yours. Sweeping and dusting are a 
li'ge part of our housework, and can be a heavy tax on time 
and strength." 


"' Well, then," said Grace, " I begin by opening as many 
windows as the weather will permit. Next, I dust all chairs, 
stocls and small furniture, and set them out in an entry or in 
the next room. Then I remove all books and small ornaments, 
dusting them as I do so, and generally putting them on some 
light stand which has been carried out. Then, I shake the 
'table covers and take them away, shake the curtain folds and 
pin 1 aem up, and with a feather-duster brush loose dust from 
mani ;ls and heavy furniture. Next, I look after cob-webs, and 
with 1 short hand broom I brush out the dust from the corners 
and idges of the carpet. If there is large furniture, as bed, 
bure lu, piano or sofa, left in the room, I cover those pieces with 
covej-s kept for the purpose, or with sheets. I pick up all large 
scraps, as of paper or cloth, all straws, broom-wisps or long 
threads, for you may sweep a carpet half to pieces trying to get 
these up with a broom. After this, I sweep from the sides 
toward the centre of the room : if you sweep toward a door, or 
the side of the room, there are cracks, and angles, and seams in 
which the dust lodges. After the dust is all swept together I 
use the hand-broom to collect it upon the dust-pan. Before 
sweeping I dip my broom in a pail of thin warm suds, and then 
beat out all the water from it : this is good to keep the broom 
froin wearing, good to keep the dust from rising, and good to 
brighten the carpet. If a carpet is very dusty, so that the 
broom becomes dirty during the sweeping, it is well to wash it 
out when the room is half done ; but a room properly cleansed 
every week does not become so dirty. When the sweeping is 
finished I dust all the wood-work with a feather-brush or a 
wing. Then I wipe the window-sills and around the door- 
handles with a sponge squeezed out of ammonia water. I dust 
the pictures with a feather-brush; rub the windows with a 
newspaper, sometimes damping it in ammonia water; then I 
shake out the curtains; remove the covers from the standing 


furniture and dust it; sometimes I take a very light broom 
tied into a cotton bag, and with it lightly wipe off the wall- 
paper ; then I bring back the furniture and ornaments which were 
carried out. With such a cleaning once a week, a room only 
needs a little setting in order each morning to keep it nice ; the 
curtains, carpets and furniture last at their best for a long while. 
If furniture is left in the room and uncovered while sweeping is 
going on, it gets loaded with dust; in wiping this off, much is 
rubbed into the furniture, giving it a dull, grimy look, and it 
soon fades. It is not any more trouble to clean things and set 
them into an adjacent room, than it is to keep moving them out 
of your way and then having a thick coat of dust to wipe off. 
If our carpets get stained or spotted, we wash the spots carefully 
with a flannel and ammonia water. You can make a carpet 
look very bright and fresh in winter by sprinkling it well with 
new-fallen snow and sweeping it rapidly, only there must be no 
fire in the room to melt the snow. To sweep the carpets now 
and then with coarse salt is very good to brighten them and 
destroy insects. But the best cleaner and freshener is a pail of 
ammonia water, wiping the carpet well with this and a flannel, 
and leaving the windows open to air and dry it for an hour ; 
rugs and mats are much rejuvenated by such a rubbing. It is 
also a good plan to save tea-leaves, and with them, not too 
moist, to sweep dark or green carpets occasionally ; they are 
not good for light carpets." 

" You know," said Hester, " what Irving says of the good 
Dutch housewives of ancient New York, that they kept a parlor 
apparently sacred to nothing but a weekly ceremony of clean- 
ing. Weddings, christenings and funerals were permitted to 
take place in this beloved apartment, but for the rest it stood 
closed, except for its owner's weekly visit with broom and 
duster. I am no advocate of shut-up rooms. I think all parts 
of our house should be open for the comfort and pleasure of the 


family. Still there are rooms which are used comparatively- 
little, and for these we should not be enslaved by the Dutch 
housewife's idea of a weekly cleaning. They may not need to 
■ be cleaned so often, and we should not, as a mere form, encum- 
ber ourselves with needless tasks. If rooms, that are not in 
regular use, gre sunned and aired and looked after each week, 
it is enough to give them a thorough cleaning when they need 
it. We must control our house-work, and not allow it to con- 
trol us. The less is made for the greater." 

" I am glad you mentioned that," said Miriam, " for I have 
often seen people needlessly fatiguing themselves to perform 
work done to suit a rule, and not to fill a need." 

"Washing," said Mary Watkins, "is a great burden, and often 
a family bugbear; let us hear if there is any way to lighten that 
burden. Sara, what was your mother's wisdom about washing- 
day? She will be a prime authority." 

Just as Sara was about to reply, Cousin Ann herself entered, 
a;id was at once requested to give us the fruits of her experience. 
She said that she had lately given some advice on this subject 
to her daughters-in-law, and she would repeat the substance of 
it to us. " If possible, have only one washing-day in a week ; 
have one every week, for if clothes lie long soiled they are harder 
to wash, and wear out faster. Have, if possible, the washing- 
day early in the week. Remember that washing is very hard 
work ; more young women break down their strength with wash- 
ing than with any other toil : therefore, go at it reasonably. As 
it is such hard work, be sure, in the first place, and do not undet.. 
take too much other work on washing-day ; have, then, as little 
extra work to do as possible. Don't churn and bake, and clean 
and wash all on one day. For this reason I should say if the 
young housewife does her work alone, she had much better 
wash on Tuesday than on Monday. You see, often over Sun- 
day the pies and the bread come short, and will not hold out 


until Tuesday, and there is nothing on hand for dinner, and if 
no churning was done on Sunday there is churning for Monday, 
and all these duties are too much for one woman, especially 
when we consider that on Mondays the house needs a little 
extra setting in order, and generally there is a baby or small 
child to need attention. If the house-mother bakes, roasts, 
churns, nurses baby, and washes, she gets exhausted ; her vital- 
ity is sapped; she is laying the foundation of disease and inviting 
premature death. How many such over-working mothers tell 
you that the baby is 'always cross on Monday! ' No wonder; 
not only must care be hastily bestowed, but the over-heated, 
tired, worried, excited mother sits down to nurse the babe, and 
he draws poison and not health from her fevered veins ; the child 
sleeps poorly, and cries loudly; his nerves and veins are sharing 
the maternal unrest ; he is wakeful all night to help wear out 
his mother, and half the week passes before the natural tone of 
the outraged little system is restored. 

" Now suppose on Monday the young house-mother makes 
tidy her house; sees that bread is prepared to last at least until 
Thursday; churns, gets pies or some dessert ready for next day, 
and roasts or boils a piece of meat also for wash-day dinner; then 
in the evening, if there is a press of milk, it will be better to 
churn again, so as not to start washing-day at the churn. Then 
when the babe is in bed the mother prepares the clothes for the 
wash. The white clothes are divided, coarse and fine ; get ready 
for each lot a tub half-full of pretty warm water, with a large 
tablespoonful of soft-soap and a teaspoon of borax, or half a 
teaspoonful of sal-soda powder, stirred in it. Into this put the 
clothes to soak, pressing each piece well into the water ; if any 
pieces are very much soiled, as, for instance, socks, or working 
shirts, put them in a pail alone. In the morning take a pounder, 
not a large, heavy, old-fashioned affair, but one about twice as 
large as a potatoe-masher, and pound your fine clothes a little; 


then wring each piece out into your washing-tub of hot suds ; 
you will be surprised to see that half the dirt is already out of 
your clothes, and the other half yields very easily to a little 
rubbing. The advantage gained in time and hard work by this 
soaking of the clothes is an additional reason for having the 
washing done on Tuesday. Clothes should not be boiled much, 
as it yellows and rots the fibre ; often they will look as well for 
being put in a tub and having boiling water poured over them, 
lying in it until it' cools, instead of being boiled in a tin boiler. 
After the boiling, the clothes should pass through warm, clear 
water before being put into a light-bluing water, as unless all 
soap-suds is taken out of them before the blue, they will have a 
dull, yellowish look. Clothes should be turned in the washing, 
and should be hung up wrong-side-out. If young women would 
only remember not to mix other work with washing; if they 
would not hurry too much to be "smart about getting done;' if 
they would lighten the task by soaking the clothes, and by using 
a clothes-wringer, if they could possibly get one, and if especially 
they would remember that haste makes waste, and instead of 
straining their chests and ruining their backs by lifting whole 
tubs of water, or boilers of clothes, or by carrying to the line a 
basket heaped with wet clothes, when by lifting water by pailsful, 
and by carrying part of their clothes only at once, they could 
spare the dangerous strain, we should have fewer broken-down 

Martha came to call us to tea. 

"Oh," cried Helen, "do wait one minute until I ask Cousin 
Ann how to iron lace-curtains : mine must be done up." 

"You do not iron them at all," said Cousin Ann; "have 
ready some long strips of wood — like quilting-frames — as long 
as your curtains. Wind them with cloth, and lay them on 
chairs in the sun ; stretch the curtain and pin it to these frames, 
pulling every scallop and curve even; be careful to take new 
pins that will not rust." 


"Thank you; and now just one word : why did my red break 
fast-cloth and napkins fade sooner than Miriam's?" 

" Because, first, too much soap was rubbed on them ; and 
second, they were dried in the sun : colored things should be 
dried in the shade." 

After tea. Cousin Ann was again assailed by her young friends 
with questions, but secured her release by promising them 
certain new recipes. These I obtained from Miriam's book, al 
follows : 

The Uses of a Pan of Bread Sponge. — i. Take one pint of 
the sponge, add one tablespoon sugar, one tablespoon meltj" 
butter, one egg, and set it to rise for biscuits. 

2. Take another pint of the sponge, one cup of molasse.s. 
three tablespoons sour milk or cream, one-half teaspoon each ot 
soda and cream of tartar, two eggs, one nutmeg, and set it to 
rise for doughnuts. 

3. Knead the rest of the sponge as for bread. 

4. When the dough for the bread is light, cut off a piece tn^ 
size of a small bowl. Make up the rest into loaves. 

5. Take the piece of reserved dough and cut it up fine in a 
pan, add one cup brown sugar, one tablespoon of cinnamon, one 
cup raisins or currants, one-half cup sour milk, one spoon soda, 
two or three eggs well beaten, mix these into a smooth paste, 
and steam four hours in a buttered dish, and' you have a 
delicious pudding. 

Scrapel. — The head, knees, or part of the neck of a pig; an 
amount of beef from the neck or knuckle about equal in weight 
to the pork. Let these boil together all day. When the meat 
has boiled into ft igments, carefully sift out all the bones, chof 
very fine, add salt, pepper and sweet herbs to taste. Let there be 
water enough to receive about half as much corn-meal as there 
is of meat. Set the pot back on the fire, and stir in the corn- 
meal until it is as thick as hasty-pudding, which will be solid 


when cold. This is a delicious breakfast dtsh cut in slices and 
fried. As it is very much thicker with meat than the ordinary 
scrapel, it will last good in a cold place for some time. In 
winter it can be kept four or five weeks. The meat must be 
carefully cleaned, and well skimmed while boiling. 

Pressed Meat. — This a delightful relish for tea or luncheon. 
Take of veal, lamb, or beef, or mutton, the knuckle-pieces, with 
very little fat upon them. Put into cold water and let them 
boil for a number of hours until the meat is reduced to small 
bits. Skim out the bones, and chop the meat very fine ; season 
to taste. This should have been boiled down to such consist- 
ency that when cold it will be a solid jelly, which will slice like 
head-cheese. This is very delicate in the spring made of veal 
and chicken ; an old fowl, if not too fat, is better for it than a 
young one. In cold weather it will keep perfectly good ten 

A Dressing for Cold Sliced Meat. — One-half cup vinegar, one 
teaspoon salt, one teaspoon sugar, one tablespoon mustard, one 
tablespoon olive oil ; mix well. 

Cake Cream. — Slice stale cake and put in a pudding-dish in 
layers with preserves or with stewed raisins. Pour over this 
half a cup of sweet cream well sugared, cover the top with a' 
layer of cake, and spread on this a frosting as for cake ; put in 
the oven for a few minutes. Serve cold. 

Frosted Fruit. — Take peaches, berries, currants, or any summei 
fruit, and stir well through it frosting, prepared as for cake, of 
whites of eggs and powdered sugar ; spread it on a platter and 
set it on ice until sent to the table. 

Cranberry Cake. — Put in layers, first cranberry jelly strained 
and smooth, then slices of stale white cake, then custard made 
of the yolks of eggs, then cake, then cranberry, then cake, then 
a frosting made of the whites of the eggs. Serve cold with cream. 





WISH it were written over the entrance of every Home, 
"A house divided against itself cannot stand." If the 
Home is to be durable and prosperous, there must be 
unity between its members. A true Home is not a 
boarding-house where people come and go, are glad or sorry, 
prosperous or unfortunate, just as it happens, for themselves 
alone, without affecting the other members of the household. 
The units, which make up the home, in a great measure stand or 
fall together : the prosperity of one is the prosperity of all ; the 
disgrace of one is the disgrace of all. I have seen homes 
where it was assumed by the husband that his business was 
• entirely his own business, that his wife or children were entitled 
to know nothing about it ; he might reach profit or loss, con- 
tract or pay debts, and it was no concern of his wife or children. 
The wife, proceeding in the same fashion, spent or saved as she 
liked in her dress, housekeeping and in rearing her children. 
The children made their own plans, friends, engagements, bar- 
gains. The servants were sedulously kept apart from any 
family interests, were fixedly shown that they were hirelings 
with certain work to do for certain wages, and oftentimes the 
work was shirked or slighted, and sometimes the wages were 
long unpaid. Such a household is a rope of sand: the least 

touch of disaster breaks it asunder; its parts fly far from 


each other to meet no more. The son errs and is bidden never 
to cross again the parental door; the daughter, in whom httle 
personal, interest has been taken, contracts a marriage which her 
parents disapprove, and is ignored; the sisters and brothers drift 
to different cities and neglect to correspond : they grow in time 
to forget each other's faces ; the parents are left alone in. a love- 
less age. Here has been a Home but in seeming ; it was but 
the false shadow of the real Home; there is nothing in this 
gathering of diverse tastes and aims to project itself into the 
future world as having in itself the deathless germ of immor- 

When by two young people a household is established, it 
should be clearly understood from the start that there is a com- 
munity of interest ; that what concerns one concerns all ; that 
secrecies are disastrous. The man who keeps all his business 
relations, and prospects, and undertakings, to himself, not only, 
by keeping his wife a stranger to his business, loses a coun- 
sellor whose natural keenness of wit would be sharpened by 
personal interest in his success, a counsellor whose oneness of 
aim with his would be unquestionable, because not only she 
loves him well, but with him she must stand or fall, but he 
risks having one in his own home ignoranily working against 
him. If the wife is in darkness as to her husband's affairs, she 
may, by a too cautious saving, cause his business prcsperitjr 
and stability to be undervalued ; or by a too lavish expenditure,, 
when he is in straits, she embarrasses him ; or, unconscious of 
the pressure of his cares, she additionally burdens him with 
3mall anxieties or duties which she. would, if better informed 
assume herself The wife who concludes that the health, 
morals, dispositions and doings of the fanfiily are no concern of 
the husband and father, and so leaves him uninformed of what 
is going on, deprives herself of aid, of the advice of one whose 
out look is quite as wide and whose real interest is as deep as 


her own, and suddenly the poor father is overwhelmed by some 
physical or moral domestic catastrophe of which he was entirely 
unwarned. People go on in families each in a divided and 
separate way, heedless that what God has bound together in the 
Home, man cannot really put asunder, try as he may; and 
.suddenly in some great shock of disaster he experiences what 
is thus described by a recent French writer: " Then this poor 
wretch knew in all its wide extent the sentiment of family 
responsibility, of that solidarity which causes esteem or reproach 
to descend from father to son, or rise from child to parent." 

Where children are allowed to understand and take an interest 
in family affairs, where they feel that they have their partnership 
in the household, then they will be early enlisted as helpers ; 
their judgment will be strengthened and developed; a proper 
reticence will be educated into them. It is children, who by 
secrecy are constantly stimulated to pry into secrets, who become 
tattlers; the child who is taken into honest confidence is not the 
blatant gossip to publish home affairs, but is the staunch home 
co-worker. I remember in that charming prose epic of the 
French Telemaque, the young hero states that he learned to 
keep his own counsel, and never betray another's confidence, by 
having made known to him in his early childhood the cares and 
embarrassments of his mother Penelope. By knowing the dangers 
v/ith which his home was environed he became thoughtful, brave 
and judicious. Parents excuse themselves from taking their 
children as interested partners in home affairs on the plea that 
they will betray confidence accidentally, or in the fervor of 
friendship. Pleading this, they deprive their children of train 
ing in trustworthiness, and drive them to fervid friendships with 
strangers by refusing the children their own confidence. An- 
other plea is that these affairs do not concern the child. This 
we cannot see: the child in its physical and mental conditions 
must be concerned by all that affects the prosperity of the family 


its shelter, dress, food, position, means of education, concern it 
just as nearly as any one. Suppose the parents explain frankly 
to their sons and daughters business entanglements which 
distress them: at once their sympathies are enlisted in retrench' 
ments ; they submit cheerfully to privations at which they might 
grumble if they did not understand the needs be : the sons earlier 
jee the value of developing their energies and improving their 
opportunities that they may be their father's efficient helpers. 
What young people, if told by their parents that while freely and 
cheerfully accorded the means of education, yet those means 
were obtained by a struggle, and must be made to bring their 
best and speediest return, so that younger ones could have their 
share of advantages, would not be by far more diligent and 
zealous students ? Some people say that it is unkind to make 
young folk sharers in anxieties and responsibilities ; but this may 
be God's very way for training them for usefulness; if he sends 
the cares and anxieties into the family, it probably is his way; 
we deprive our children of what may be to them a fountain 
of strength, a reservoir of power, a ladder to ultimate success. 
The Scripture says. Blessed is the man who has borne the yoke 
in his youth. 

Another point to be considered in this community of interests 
in a family is, that where knowledge of all business interests is 
confined to one — say to the father of the family — he may sud- 
denly die, and the wife and children be utterly at a loss to know 
how their affairs stand, what they should do, or what plans are 
half carried out for them to fulfil. If, on the contrary, the father 
has instructed his wife and children as to his business and his 
plans for the future, they, instead of being at the mercy of 
strangers, perhaps of sharpers, can arrange for themselves on 
the basis of a complete understandmg of their resources and 
prospects; the sons are not helpless idlers, but understand ho^s 
to carry out their father's views. 


So also if a mother has made her daughters her companions 
arid true yoke-fellows in the household, they know her plans, 
and her methods, and if she is laid aside by disease or taken 
away by death, they know how to hold the helm and fulfil her 

The world is full of this dangerous division of interests in 
the family. Men sedulously conceal their prospects or losses; 
their wives go on in ways that once were safe, unconscious that 
now these ways lie along the crumbling edge of ruin; all falls 
m some terrible bankruptcy, and people cry : " Woman's extrav- 
agance !" where they should cry: "Man's dangerous secrecy!" 
God in the beginning proposed, as it was not meet for man to 
be alone, to make a helpmeet for him. If men would only be 
ready to make their wives helpmeets by confiding to them their 
Dusiness, consulting them, expecting to work together with them 
for private and public interests, then not only would fast living 
be far less common, but the lives of women would be less 
anxious, less frivolous and more useful, and commercial dis- 
asters would be far less common. Two are better than one, 
says the Scripture, but can two walk together unless they be 
agreed? Who more likely to be Argus-eyed to business 
dangers, who more likely to be resolute and courageous, than 
the woman who knows not only her own comfort and happiness 
to be at stake, but her husband's honor, and perhaps life, and 
her children's future? 

"Ah," said a great criminal recentlji, "all my affairs would 
have gone on better, and this terrible denouement would never 
have occurred, if I had told my wife and children all my en- 
ianglements ; they v/ould have saved me from myself I could 
not have become a criminal with their honest eyes fixed upon 

I found lately this paragraph in a paper : 

" It is very common to hear the remark made of a young man 


that he is so industrious and so economical that he is sure to be 
thrifty and prosperous. And this may be very true of him so 
long as he remains single. But what will his habitual prudence 
avail him against the careless waste and extravagance of an 
uncalculating, unthinking wife ? He might as well be doomed 
to spend his strength and life in attempting to catch water in a 
sieve. The effort would be hardly less certainly in vain. Habits 
of economy, the ways to turn everything in the household affairs 
to the best account — these are among the things which every 
mother should teach her daughters. Without such instructions, 
those who are poor will never become rich, while those who are 
now rich may become poor." 

Now this is all very true, but if during five or ten years the 
young man desires his wife to maintain a certain style of living, 
and then his income narrowing, does not explain matters to her, 
and ask her to retrench, who is to blame for the too lavish 
expenditure? Wives are as ready to save as husbands to gain, 
if they only are allowed as clearly to understand a " needs be." 
To my mind this concealment in domestic life is criminal. The 
marriage partnership is as sacred as any partnership ; but what 
kind of business fealty would it be, to take a partner, and con- 
ceal from him a mass of bad debts, rsky speculations and dan- 
gerous entanglements? "With all my worldly goods I thee 
endow," says the groom, in the marriage-service. Now, if these 
worldly goods are- at present nothing at all but a figure of 
speech, and he and she so understand it, and bravely expect to 
create the goods by their joint industry, well and good ; but it 
is not well and good, when the worldly goods are expressed by 
a series of debts of which the bride has been told nothing, while 
she must feel their burden. Unhappy the new-made house- 
hold which starts having, as' the French say, " its debts for its 

Probably no right-minded woman ever without indignation 


read in " Stepping Heavenward " the atrocious conduct of the 
Doctor, who amiably introduces into his family two perpetual 
inmates, without ever consulting his wife ; assumes debts for 
her to help carry ; and when she has staggered on year after 
year, burdened thereby, forgets to tell her that they are paid 
until six months after the happy event! One would say that 
such a man was very far from the divine idea of the hom.e, 
and making very poor progress in the Heavenward Way. Sup- 
pose a wife had thus invited guests, assumed debts, and forgot- 
ten to state when the scrimping and toihng to carry the burden 
might end ? But is not this a partnership of equal interests ? 
Shall not these two stand or fall together? Is not the loss or 
prosperity of one the loss or prosperity of both ? 

But I am far from thinking that these selfish deceits and with- 
holdings are all on the masculine side of the question. I once 
knew a young man who was engaged to a girl who had ten 
thousand dollars. She, in apparently the frankest manner, 
agreed that he should make arrangements to invest this in a 
particular way for their mutual advantage, and as soon as they 
were married the money was to be forthcoming. The trustful 
■youth accordingly entered into business engagements which he 
.could not cancel. The marriage over, the bride's uncle paid her 
;the ten thousand : but before one penny of it could be used as 
^proposed, seven thousand dollars were called for to pay the lady's 
debts — debts of foolish extravagance, for lace, jewelry, flowers, 
"Confections, mantua-makers and similar demands ; thus the poor 
■husband, miserably entangled by his business arrangements 
struggled in debt for ten years, until his health was nearly 
■ ruined, and his youth was quite lost. I remember that a year 
or two ago, Miriam and I spent a week in the city at the board- 
ing-house of an old acquaintance. Entering her room one 
.day, and seeing a large number of parcels on the bed, Miriam 
•said : 


"Oh, Mrs. Graham, you have been out shopping?" 

" No," said Mrs. Graham, " those belong to Mrs. Lester, 
•fhey are to lie here until Mr. Lester has gone out ; you know 
ladies do not always care to have their husbands know every 
little thing that they may purchase." 

Miriam looked confounded ; a flush of indignation rose over 
her face. " No," she said, clearly, " I do not know any such 
thing! I am sure I should not stoop to conceal anything 
which I bought or did; and if I thought my husband would 
in the least question the propriety of a purchase, I would not 
make it." , 

" Oh, well," said our hostess, a little embarrassed, " you and 
Mr. Rogers are different from the most of people." 

" Indeed, I hope not in this particular," said Miriam. 

It is true that I have not myself had the experience of 
married life, but I have studied married life closely in many 
homes, and I think I have good grounds for certain opinions 
which I have formed concerning it. The reference just made to 
a popular book, and to the Doctor bringing home two perrnanent 
members for the family, calls to m.y mind one point where unity 
in homes is often disastrously lacking : I mean in reference to 
relations by marriage. Why are certain women another woman's 
natural enemies, merely because the words " in-law " are added 
to the terms sister and mother? I have heard enough of the 
remark that one marries a man or a woman, but not their family. 
Now marriage is not an example in subtraction but in addition. 
It is not to destroy past ties and natural affections, but to add 
Tew ties and new affections. That a man takes a wife is not a 
reason for dissevering 'him from the sister who is of his own 
blood, who was his childhood's companion, pet or mentor. 
Marriage is not a Lethe in which are to be lost the memory of 
childhood, gratitude for past favors, and the fifth commandment 
True, the Bible does say that a man is to leave father and 


mother and cleave to his wife, though in this age it is usually 
the wife who is required to do the leaving, often not seeing hei 
early home and friends for a decade. The husband and wife are 
declared to be one flesh ; but the making of the new tie does 
not sunder the old : it is not that, loving one more, we are to 
] jv; others less. The very fact that husband and wife become 
oni flesh should serve to draw them in tender and forbearing 
unity to the close kin of the one to whom they are so near. 
We must learn to put ourselves in other people's places. As 
we measure to others shall inevitably be measured to us. Time 
is a singularly exact avenger — the trup avenger of blood, ever 
with fleet foot and uplifted arm following the evil-doer with hi.s 
exactions, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, life for life. Think then, 
mother, so jealous, so easily offended, so hardly to be won by 
your mother-in-law, this babe on your knee shall take a wife, and 
how would yoii like to be viewed as a mother-in-law ? Would 
you have your cares, your toils, your long devotion ignored ? 
We have no right to expect the families into which we marry to 
be so much better than our own that they have no faults. The 
days are gone by when the sons of God wedded with the daugh- 
ters of men. Doubtless there will be more points of difference 
between us and them than between us and our own families ; but 
to be unlike ourselves is not necessarily a crime. I think there 
is less common-sense showed about relatives by marriage than 
about any other subject. A mother-in-law is astounded at 
seeing imperfections in her son's wife. Pray, are her own 
daughters perfect, or is her son an angel ? If not, the new 
daughter would be poorly placed among them if she were 
perfect ; and — there is nothing more efficacious in curing imper- 
fections — than good example ! The sisters must not be jealous 
because their brother holds his bride dearer than themselves, 
for they expect when they marry to love husband better than 
brother ; nor must the wife desire her husband to love his sisters 


less than before, for when her own toddling boy and girl are 
grown, will she desire the love-bands between them to be rudely 
broken? Why must a young man be instructed that his 
mother-in-law is his natural enemy ? If she loves his wife, and 
is solicitous for her welfare, she loves and guards what is his 
dearest treasure, and thus has a claim to his gratitude, as in that 
wife's well-being is freighted the happiness of his home. If 
there are some of her ways which are not pleasing to him, very 
likely that account is squared without any effort of his own by 
some of his ways being unpleasant to her. Has she not loved 
and nourished the being dearest to him ? If the daughter is 
charming, does she not probably owe it to her mother ? Must 
not that be a praiseworthy woman who has raised up for him so 
good a wife? If he is a true husband, does he not owe his wife's 
filial love some sympathy ? Why must a wife's mother and a 
husband's mother be foes ? Are not their interests centred in 
one household ? Has not each made a sacrifice for the other's 
child ? Will there not be a line of grandchildren in whom they 
will be mutually interested? 

I have seen households where the mother was carping at the 
father's relatives and the father was condemning the mother's 
kindred, stirring up in the breasts of the children distrust and 
hatred of those who were equally their kin ; forgetting that these 
to whom they made the children hostile were those whom God 
had bound to them by blood ; that their strife would introduce 
an element of lovelessness into their own homes ; that they were 
weakening the bonds that tied their own children each to each. 
I never yet knew a case where, by coldness, quarrelling, censo- 
riousness, the parents lessened their children's love for relatives 
on either or both sides of the house, that the evil did not 
rebound by having the children grow up loveless between them- 
selves, jealous, captious, assigning evil intentions to trifling acts, 
and ending by drifting widely apart. The old Arab proverb 


says, " Curses, like chickens, go home to roost," and the cursa 
of family dissensions never fails to get home to roost. Parents 
should think of this when they are carping at every little oddity 
and folly in their relations by marriage, so their children will 
carp at and vex each other. Suppose, my good young woman,' 
that your mother-in-law finds some fault with your style of doing 
things. Perhaps you are to blame in having withdrawn confi- 
dence from her, and riot explained why you did thus ; or, as she 
has twice as long experience as you, possibly her way is better 
than yours, so you will do well to try it ; or, granted that she is 
fretful and exacting, behold the root of the same in her passion- 
ate mother-loving of your husband. Did you forget that the tie 
between him and her is just as close as between you and the 
babe you are nursing at your breast, and even stronger, because 
it has bad years in which it was annealed in love and care and 
service? You, busy young head of a family, are angry, because 
your wife's mother criticised your business or family doings? 
What impelled her, but desire for your family prosperity and 
happiness, and the future fortune of your children? 

It is dangerous and disadvantageous, people say, for families 
to live together : let each household be alone. Doubtless the 
rule is good, but Providence sometimes interferes with it. It 
would be well if every man could provide for his own, and if all 
ate the bread which they earned ; but many cannot do this, and 
tht poor we have always with us, and by this alteration of the 
normal order of earning and providing, we may exercise the 
grace of Christian charity. Thus, when it is needful in God's 
providential arrangings for us, that families should live together 
—that the part of one family should find refuge in another — this 
may be a means of developing new graces in ourselves and 
our children. Therefore, people should not complain, and look 
on it as a great evil, that aged, poor, infirm or homeless relatives 
must be received into their families ; but rather feel thankful 


that they may repay past debts of love and tenderness. The 
Apostle John doubtless received into his house, as a great 
blessing and favor, the mother of our Lord; and Christ himself 
just as surely sends now his servants as inmates of other homes, 
as then he sent Mary to John. What should be more grateful 
to the feelings of every true heart than to be able to establish 
in one's home, and wait upon with affection and respect, an 
aged parent? What finer opportunity could offer of teaching 
to children filial piety, respect for the aged, self-control and 
unselfishness, besides laying up a store of regard and attention 
to be enjoyed in our own old age, for as we sow we shall reap. 
I remember a very pretty fragment on this subject which runs 

" Our mother, who now lies in death before us, was a stranger 
to me, as are all of these her descendants. All I know of her 
is what her son has told me to-day : that she was brought to this 
town from afar, sixty-nine years ago, a happy bride; that here she 
has passed most of her life, toiling, as only mothers ever have 
strength to toil, until she has reared a large family of sons and 
daughters; that she left her home here, clad in the weeds of 
widowhood, to dwell among her children, till health and strength 
left her. God forbid that conscience should accuse any of you 
of ingratitude or murmuring on account of the care she has been 
to you of late. When you go back to your homes, be careful 
of your example before your own children; for the fruit of your 
own doing you will surely reap from them when you yourselves 
totter on the brink of the grave. I entreat you as a friend, as 
one who has himself entered the evening of life, that you may 
never say in the presence of your families nor of heaven: 'Our 
mother has outlived her usefulness; she was a burden to us.' 
Never, never ! A mother can never live so long as that ! No ; 
when she can no longer labor for her children, nor yet care for 
herself, she can fall like a precious weight on their bosoms, and 


call forth by her helplessness all the noble, generous feelings o1 
their hearts." 

There are no more beautiful and more richly repaying les- 
sons to be taught our children than those contained in the 
Scripture : to rise up before the aged, and to honor the face of 
old men, and to see in the hoary head a crown of glory. Lif. 
with all its burdens and its bitterness lies behind the old, and 
vve should make their age a time of peace. There is but a 
short space left them wherein we can show gratitude, tender- 
ness, and that sympathy for infirmity which becomes all of us 
v.'ho are moving on toward like age and infirmity. 

Mrs. Winton's aged and paralyzed mother lived with her for 
several years — indeed, until her death. Being quite helpless 
Mrs. Winton fed her. One day while she was thus giving her 
her dmner I was there, and being a little tired and nervous, Mrs, 
Winton spilled some of tne beef-tea. I said to her, with a 
smile : How much more skilfully she fed you when you wers 
little ! " Mrs. Winton has since told me that those words never 
left her; that during wakeful nights, and days of ceaseless 
watching, during the feeding, bathing and dressing needful, 
came to her the constant thought, " How skilfully and tenderly 
she did this for you when you were little!" She prized and 
taught her children to prize this opportunity of ministering, not 
only to a revered and beloved parent, but to a saint of God on 
the verge of paradise. 

I have often heard people speak as if where there was a 
mingling of households, and of diverse elements in a family, 
there must be discord and jarring. This is a dangerous feeling, 
for where we expect discord we are likely to have discord. 1 
was myself a member of a large family. My mother, a 
widow with children, married a widower with children ; children 
were also born to this second marriage; my mother's mothei 
and my step-->father's sister also belonged to the family circle ; but 


in all this large assemblage of different elements there was no 
discord nor jarring. We were taught to seek for the virtues 
and not the failings of those about us; to be grateful for favors, 
and ready to grant them; to put ourselves in other people's 
places; to respect other people's rights; to feel honored by 
opportunities of waiting on the old and helpless. I am sure I 
hardly knew whether the full brothers and sisters, or the half 
sisters, or those who were such only in name, had the higher 
share in my regard; and this experience has shown me that 
family unity can be attained anywhere and in any circum- 
stances, if people will only unselfishly resolve to have it. 

A dear friend of mine, when almost in middle life, married a 
widower with a family of half-grown children, with whom the 
first wife's mother was living. The family not only recognized 
thc'ii' father's right to choose a wife for himself, but were 
rejoicod that his happiness was to be added to in the choice of 
a lady, in age, education, position and piety, so well fitted tc 
grace his home. The wedding over, the children with simple 
sincerity welcomed the bride to a mother's place in their hearts 
and home, and the aged grandmother folded her in her arms 
as a true daughter. The record of the years of this family life 
was thus told by the second mother : " No own children could 
ever have been dearer or more loving to a parent than these 
were to me, and it was a true blessing from heaven to live in 
the house with that dear old lady. It seemed when she died 
that I could not live without her.'' 

From such instances we see that unity does not rise from 
nearness of relationship, nor from smallness of families, but from 
d right direction of the heart. As quarrelsome families as I 
ever saw were small families, where none but parents and one 
set of children lived. If parents show partiality among theii 
children — if they always give up to the one who makes the 
loudest noise or tells the most angry tales — if they do not cul- 


tivate strict justice and loving-kindness am//'/^ their children— 
if the mother is always showing up the fiults of the father's 
relations, and the father devotes himself to complaining of the 
mother's relatives, while the kindred on both sides strive to 
make the children their partisans, no matter how small the 
family may be, it will be large enough for disunion; as says the 
Scripture, they will be divided two against three, and three 
against two. 

I think the three classes of relations most abused have been 
mothers-in-law, maiden aunts and step-mothers. If all maiden 
aunts fared as well as I have, they would have very little of 
which to complain, for I have yet to receive an unpleasant act, 
word or look from my large family of relations. Often because 
a person is a maiden aunt she is therefore supposed to be. a 
legitimate subject of sneers or censure, whereas her position 
ought to make her a public benefactor. If she bestows advice, 
she is old-fashioned, too particular and censorious. If she gives 
no advice, but drifts with the present current of affairs, then she 
is foolish, giddy, trying to be girlish. Whittier describes the 
maiden aunt as she might and should be anywhere, and as I 
have no doubt she always would be if properly received : 

" Who lonely, homeless, none the less 
Found peace in love's unselfishness. 
And welcomed whcresoe'er she went. 
A calm and gracious element, 
Whose presence seemed the sweet income 
And womanly atmosphere of home." 

However, maiden aunts are generally independent. If they 
have no private means they are -able to take care of themselves, 
and, if needful, they can make their own place in the world 
With the step-mother it is different; once married, she must 
abide in the state wherein she tinds herself, even though a 
meddle.some neighborhood excite against her the children's 
hearts which she desires to win, and though relatives on botl- 


sides of the house league against her, as if in virtue of her 
arduous position she were the common enemy. Probably, 
there are very foolish, weak, harsh or indifferent step-mothers, 
because there are foolish, weak, harsh and indifferent own 
mothers. If there is a selfish or silly streak in the nature, -it is 
likely to come out either in the own mother or the step-mother, 
but not as I can see more in one than in the other. The own 
mother may feel more passion of love, the step-mother m.ore 
the grave bonds of duty, but whether the spring is the one 
emotion or the other, the result is an honest seeking of the 
best good of the family. 

It is taken as a popular statement of fact, usually given in a 
martyr-like tone, " Well, you know, there is a great difference 
between own mothers and step-mothers." Yes, I do know that 
there is, and sometimes the difference is in favor of the step- 
mother. I have seen a good many step-mothers, and I never 
yet saw one who was not doing the very best that was possible 
for her husband and his family. The person of all that I knew 
who talked the loudest against step-mothers, and the miseries 
which she had suffered from one, when pressed to the point, 
could lay no fault to the unhappy woman's charge, except that 
she had married her father. I said to her: "Well, if that was a 
crime, your own mother was guilty of the same. To hear you 
arraign step-mothers one would think you had been cruelly used, 
but that is impossible, since you were eighteen years old and 
largely and powerfully made, before you had any step-mother. 
I fancy, if one heard her side of the story, we should learn 
something of the painful prejudice which exists in the minds 
of step-daughters." How absurd this family quarrelling is! 
How cruel to greet a woman's entrance to a new home with a 
bitter feeling, and acting as if her position were usurped and her 
nuptials only Jialf legal ! 

A cousin of mine, a good girl too, was deeply aggrieved that 


Iier father took a second wife — a lady suitable to him in every 
way. I said to her : " Rhoda, you expected to be married, youi 
brother is in California, your father is of a long-lived race : why 
■■hould the poor man face his age alone?" 

Rhoda could give no suitable reason for her pique, but she 
■would speak of the new wife as " my father's companion," until, 
my patience was exhausted, and I spoke out : " If you don't 
choose to say ' mother,' no one will complain, though in declin- 
ing the word you lack a very attractive grace ; but I am quite 
tired of ' my father's companion', as if she were a hired servant, 
or living in illegal bonds. She is your father's wife as much 
as your own mother was, and you insult all three, father, mother, 
and step-mother, by this ridiculous phrase." 

Rhoda did not use the objectionable term any more, but she 
gradually stopped corresponding with me. I suppose she did 
not like my speaking my thoughts so clearly, but it is a great 
comfort frankly to free one's mind. 

How often have I seen step-mothers who were the very mak- 
ing of their families, bringing the children morally, mentally and 
socially to something better than had ever been expected for 
them. And this is heroic, when we consider against what 
difficulties and prejudices they have often to struggle. The 
restrictions and reproofs which would be cited as a mark of an 
own mother's judiciousness are called tyranny in a step-mother. 

I visited once the children of an early friend and schoolmate. 
This lady, dying suddenly, left a large family, which at the end 
of a year passed into the hands of a step-mother. Some six or 
eight years after this marriage I visited the family. The excel- 
lent judgment, principle and management of this second mother 
left nothing to be desired. Her life had been one of devotion 
to her step-children, which found itself well repaid in their 
remarkable advancement in life. And yet, surrounded by 
friends, luxuries and gratifications purchased by the step- 


■ nother's money and abilities, one of the daughters said to me, 
'.v'ith a sigh: "And yet, of course, there is so much to put up 
with, for you know a step-mother is different from an owl 

"Yes," I repHed, "and sometimes the difference is in the 
feivcr of the step-mother. Your own mother was a charming 
person, of high family and much genius. However, she married 
far too young — before her education was completed, and she was 
always a martyr to ill health. Her inexperience and feebleness 
of constitution, together with an unusually yielding disposition, 
rendered her quite unable to exercise that decision, that activity 
and ability which your father's business entanglements and 
large family demanded. She could not have done for this family 
what her successor has done. I know that your step-mother's 
achievements for you have surpassed your own mother's best 
dreams, and that she herself would have asked nothing better 
than to see you in the hands of such a wise, kind and capable 

I wish the public would come to see that this prejudice 
against step-mothers is weak, foolish and unfounded, unworthy 
of an age of Christian common-sense. People should stand or 
fall, be condemned or praised, on their own proved merits or 
demerits, not upon the strength of a name. 

I have talked a great deal with my nieces on the need of 
Unity in the Home. Disunion in families is a sort of lineal 
inheritance; it runs down from gt..eration to generation, like 
the chin of the house of Hapsburg. We should try to make 
our homes calm and united, that Unity may bless the homes 
of our descendants to the third and fourth generation. How 
shall this Unity be encouraged ? By example ; by precept; by 
practice. Children should see that their parents show this 
lovingness and forbearance to each other, and to their relatives, 
in very virtue of the tie of relationship. They should be taught 


that the tie of brother or sister gives a claim upon their patiencs, 
and kindpess, and not liberty to be captious and exacting. Verj' 
small children can be taught to be tender and loving in their 
ways to each other, and to recognize the claim of little brother 
or sister. Children should not be allowed to quarrel, to strike, 
or tattle. Very little children often show their fallen disposi 
tions, ;^nd will tell tales, or even make up tales to get anothei 
child into trouble. People sometimes think a child will have 
sense to defend itself from a false accusation, but this is not 
always the case; some children think slowly, are easily alarmed, 
and have a certain reticence in rebutting charges, so that often 
the loudest and seemingly most innocent complainant is the real 
culprit in a household. It is dangerous for parents to be taking 
sides between their children, for thus doing they leave thorns 
of injustice to rankle, and thus weaken the bonds of love. The 
danger of allowing children to go on quarrelling, and squabble 
out their difficulties, is still greater: for the longer that they 
quarrel the frailer become the love ties between them. The best 
way is to condemn the quarrel as a thing evil in itself; to exalt 
the beauty of self-sacrifice and forgiveness, and to change the 
current of the combatants' thoughts and feelings by some new 
occupation or some pleasure. 

I was at Miriam's once when her three children seemed in a 
very uncomfortable frame of mind, and in a loud dispute and 
accusation ran to their mother. 

"Dear me," said Miriam, "you all seem to be right, and all 
to be wrong, and you certainly are very hot and tired, and have 
played too long. Run, put away your hats and wash your faces, 
and come and see what a nice thing I have for each of you." 

In their wonder over the " nice thing " the squabble ended. 
they returned in peace, and Miriam gave Dora three fine sugar- 
plums to distribute. These eaten amicably, she said : " Now 
you must go to work ; " and set Dora to hemming a towel, Bob 


to ripping an old waist, and little Harold to cleaning up the shoe 
closet. We heard no more of the fray which, in charges of 
" names," " stories," " faces " and " blows," had seemed likely to 
be a serious affair. 

" So, " I said, laughing, to Miriam, " they get candy for quar- 

" .(Anything is better than a long quarrel, temptation to false 
statements, and probable injustice in settlement. They seldom 
quarrel, for it always stops the play for the time being, though I 
try to stop it as agreeably as possible." 

Cousin Ann has always been particular to foster affection in 
her family. She was talking to me of this lately, and she said : 
"There is nothing which more promotes unity in the family 
than the keeping of little family festivals. I always kept all the 
birthdays. We looked forward to the birthday keeping. The 
children prepared their little gifts; I made the birthday cake, 
which the hero of the occasion cut and distributed. Sometimes 
we kept the festival at home, sometimes we went on a picnic or 
a trip to town. The one whose birthday it was chose, and the 
choice must be for a treat in which all the family could share. 
We sometimes invited strangers, and sometimes kept the festival 
by ourselves, for I did not-wish my children to feel that they 
could not be happy within the circle of their own family. But 
we recognized the social instinct as a part of our nature con- 
ferred by God for wise ends, and we did not cry out against a 
desire for other companions and friends than those of our own 
fireside as if it were a crime. Now that my three elder children 
are married and away from home, we keep their birthdays still 
as a family-gathering, and they come home with their house- 
holds; as they are settled near me. If they were far away I 
should send them gifts and greetings, for I never want the ties 
between us to weaken so long as we all shall live. As we kept 
the children's birthdays, so Reuben's and mine were kept ; and 


every such occasion, with its good-will, good wishes and little 
offerings, served to draw us closer to each other. We also 
kept the yearly holidays together, in a way to please all. Christ- 
mas was looked forward to. The children saved their money, 
and taxed their inventive powers, and their industry, in the 
preparation of gifts. We often gave them presents — as a set of 
books, a game or a puzzle — which belonged to all, so that 
common rights and common property should exercise their 
honesty and self-sacrifice. Thanksgiving was another festival 
especially a Home festival, when we thanked God for gracious- 
ness to us as a household, for blessings on household labors, and 
for increasing our common store. We taught our children to 
have an interest in each other's preferences, and if they had 
rivalries that they should be generous ones, and without 
jealousy. If one child enjoyed flowers and gardening, all were 
interested in procuring seeds, bulbs, roots, or new information 
in horticulture. Where another was fond of fowls or stock, all 
were alert to hear of or obtain fresh varieties. Thus the very 
diversities of tastes in the family were incentives to kind acts 
and bonds of new affection. I have heard people say that their 
children were so unlike in tastes and dispositions, that the}' 
could not expect them to be companionable to each other; but 1 
found that, ruled by love, these differences of taste and opinion 
only increased their mutual happiness in each other, giving 
\ freshness to their intercourse, and a breadth to their thoughts." 
" Yes," said Hester, who was sitting with us ; " Jean Ingelow 
has put that thought into very beautiful verse, thus : 

" 'As heaven's high twins, whereof in Tyrian blue, 
The one revolveth : through his course immense 
Might love his brother of the damask hue. 
For like and difference, 

" ' For different pathways evermore decreed, 
To intersect, but not to interfere ; 
For common goal, two aspects and one spcei. 
One centre, and one yesir ; 


" ' For deep affinities, for drawings strong, 

That by iheir nature each must needs exert ; 
For loved alliance, and for union long 
That stands before desert.' " 

" I remember that," said Cousin Ann ; " it is very beautiful, 
I think in that same poem is the Hne : ' For human love makes 
aliens near of kin.' If human love can do that for aliens, what 
can it not do for those of our own blood ? The ties of blood 
are, we say, of nature ; but use and cultivation must make 
them strong, or they shall drop asunder like burned tow. It 
rests with parents to make their children true yoke-fellows and 
friends, staunch to each other's interests, dearest friends and best 
helpers in adversity ; or whether, in youth left to slip farther and 
farther apart, knowing no mutual interests, sympathies, affections, 
they shall in time drift from the home, like dead leaves from 
the tree in Autumn, never to know or care more for each other. 
Ho'v much better the home where each child indissolubly held 
in loving affiliation shall, like the shoots of the banyan, but 
reach out to take fresh root, and growing each in its place, 
increase the strength and stately beauty of the whole." 

" The Scripture tells us," I said, " that a brother is born for 
adversity, but many parents seem to forget that these family 
relationships were provided by God to be comfort, defence and 
strength to us in all the days of our lives, and fail in childhood 
to weld the bonds of kin." 

"Some parents of my acquaintance," said Cousin Ann, "think 
that I am very hard on them in holding them responsible for 
the characters of their children, and for all that occurs in their 
families ; still, I do hold that if there is evil in the house, the 
springs of it will be found in some evil of commission or omis- 
sion in the parents. The parental error may have its excuse? 
and its ameliorations in the fact that their parents before them 
erred, and failed to instil right views and set a right example ; 
wrong descends from generation to generation, and we cannol 


too clearly impress on parents' minds the sense of their respon- 
sibility. I have noticed that where there has been in one gen- 
eration excessive severity, in the next there is likely to be 
lawlessness, and likewise the rebound from lawlessness is sever- 
ity. In this matter of lack of unity and home affections, the 
evil seems not to rebound into sentimentality, or passionate 
ioving, but coldly to run on from generation to generation in 
its own kind. Some families are remarkable for their strong 
affections; others for their indifference to their kindred. Parents 
should feel that lovingness, like other good growths, needs to be 
cultivated, and it is their duty to take every measure to make it 
thrive in the garden of their children's hearts. Visits between 
different members of the family should be exchanged ; presents 
should be sent ; no matter how busy the life is, correspondence 
should be kept up. Some husbands ignore the fact that, when a 
right-minded woman marries, she does not forget her own kin- 
dred and her father's house, but retains love for her parents, 
brothers and sisters, and this love should be respected ; at what- 
ever sacrifice, intercourse should be maintained; years should not 
be allowed to pass when the wife sees no face that surrounded 
her childhood. So, on the other hand, the wife should delight 
to invite to her home her husband's parents and brothers and 
sisters, making them the friends of her children and cementing 
the natural bonds of the family. It is a grand misfortune when, 
by uncontrollable circumstances, an individual or a family are 
forced to dwell alone, isolated, as some tropic palm transplanted 
to a foreign climate. Think how time and distance were unable 
to sever the strong ties between pilgrim Abraham and his father's 
house ; and after seventy years of absence he sends back to his 
native land to secure a wife for his son, confident that his kin- 
dred there have not lost their loving interest in him, and will 
not say him nay." 
Among the other means which Cousin Ann takes to establish 


the unity of her family is that of keeping the wedding days. 
Her children inherit the custom, and each of them celebrates 
their own marriage anniversary in his own house, and they all 
go back to the homestead to commemorate the beginning of 
their family life, in the marriage of Cousin Reuben and Ann 
Generally other relations beyond the" immediate family are in^ 
vited, sometimes more, and sometimes less. There was a large 
gathering on the thirtieth anniversary, and all of the immediate 
relatives were present, as well as especial friends from the neigh- 
borhood, the daughters-in-law's families, the minister ^nd his 
family, and relations of Cousin Reuben from a distance. That 
farm-house seems elastic in its power of accommodating people. 
The children who are at home had improvised rooms for them- 
selves in the attic; the servants took possession of the rooms 
which in July and August belong to the pensioners from the 
city; the whole house was in festal attire. Sara had been at 
home for several days helping in the preparations, and Martha 
had been there with me, also lending her aid. 

It was in June ; the farm was in such order, and showing such 
a splendid prospect of crops, that one might have supposed it 
especially prepared to contend for a county prize; that the 
beautiful acres which framed it on either side belonged to the 
two elder sons, did not make the prospect less pleasing; the 
large, comfortable, unostentatious farm-house, draped in vines, 
surrounded with fine gardens, blooming shrubbery and fragrant 
grape-arbors, appeared to have a vitality of its own, and to be 
able to rejoice in the joy of this large family, which had grown 
up in its shelter, and returned there constantly to give token of 
their love and happiness. The six little grandchildren frolicked 
around, so evidently to the admiration of the grandparents, that 
I asked Cousin Ann, in all seriousness, which was more satis- 
factory, the child, or the grandchild ? and she replied that she 
" could not tell : both had their advantages." 


Friendship, frankness, generosity everywhere abounded. At 
sunset many of the young people were in the parlor singing, 
while Sara played; the children, in perfect concord, enjoyed 
a game; along the garden walks paced white-haired Cousin 
Reuben and his whiter-haired elder brother arm-in-arm. Cousi,: 
Ann, her sister-in-law, and three nieces were conversing on th< 
front piazza; the minister was sitting by me in one of the arbors, 
and glancing, well pleased, on the whole picture, he exclaimed: 
" Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell 
together in unity; like the dew of Hermon, and the dew which 
descended on the mountains of Zion, for there the Lord com. 
CTianded his blessing, even life forever more" 





pa WAS quite amused lately by an argument which I heard 
^ between two of Mr. Carr's boys. They were sitting 
close by my fence, where a large willow casts its shade 
on the side-walk. The subject of their discussion was 
money. One of the boys said it was the root of all evil — ^that hi? 
Sunday-school lesson had givjn it that bad pre-eminence; he 
also supported this position by facts, as that money caused 
quarrelling, and bought whiskey. The other boy maintained 
that money was a good ; that it bought us all the nice things 
which we had ; that people were more respected for possessing 
it; that nations who had money were civilized, and had all 
manner of improvements, and only barbarians did not possess it 
About at this stage of the argument they decided to lay the 
case before some, umpire, and looking up they saw me. Ac- 
cordingly they came near my window, and the elder boy said 
that the " big fellows " in his school had a society, and were 
about to debate the question whether money or woman had had 
the greater influence over men ; he and his brother on hearing 
the question had found that they differed greatly as to the 
merits of money. 

" I think," I said, " that you have, both of you, right views, 
but they are not clearly before your minds. You say, Joe, 
that youj lesson declares money to be the root of all evil 



There you mistake : it says the Ime of money is the root of all 
evil. Money is not to be prized as an end, but as a means : it 
is not valuable for what it is, but for what it will procure. We 
have no right to love money in itself Misers love money; they 
hoard it; it does them nq good; they prevent, in their hoarding, 
the good which it might do in circulation; money is not to them 
a means of doing or getting good, but it is the end of their 
desires. We may also love money unlawfully as a means, when 
the end which we desire to obtain by it will be selfish or wrong. 
If we crave it to surround ourselves with luxuries, refusing hos- 
pitality, charily and help to others, then we love money or its 
equivalent, and it is a root of evil to us. The love of money is 
the root of all evil, because it tempts men to break all the Com- 
mandments : they worship money instead of God, and so break 
the first and second Commandments; for money, men have 
sworn falsely; have perjured themselves, and so have used in 
vain God's holy name. To increase their property, men labor 
on the Sabbath; for love of money, people have refused to help 
their old or sick parents, to give fair wages to workers, to aid 
the poor, and to bestow charities; and in these ways have 
broken the fifth Commandment. You boys have doubtless 
read and heard of plenty of instances where people have stolen, 
lied, murdered, coveted, for love of money, and the love of 
money has caused them thus to break those" two great Com- 
mandments — to love God and our neighbor — which Christ said 
included all the law and the prophets. Thus you understand 
that the love of money is the root of all evil. Therefore, we 
must not love money, but the good which we may do with it. 

"On the other hand, Samuel, you are right in claiming that 
money is needful and useful, and that by it immense good is 
accomplished. Great geniuses have invented, but moneyed men 
have put the inventions into practical, active use. Money has 
printed our books, established hospitals, endowed colleges, 


turned swamps into grand cities, deserts into farms, forest-wilds 
into valuable town-lots. Money has sent out missionaries, has 
multiplied Bibles, has encouraged discoveries and inventions; 
it is a bond between nations, produces commerce, maintains 
railroads, pushes on the world in all its civilizations and 
advancements. The Bible bids us be diligent in business; says 
if ^ man will not work, he shall not eat; promises wealth as a 
reward of honest toil ; so money honestly earned, used for good 
objects, not engrossing our souls from good things, but used to 
promote good, is a good thing to have, and we should receive 
it as a gift of God. So you see the good or the evil lies not in 
the money itself, which is merely a bit of metal fixed upon as a 
medium of exchange, but the good or evil lies in our own 
hearts, in our method of using or abusing it." 

Now, when the boys had run off, I sat thinking about this 
question of money and its influence. What a power it is in the 
world ! If in the world at large, then in the home, which is the 
world in niniature, and the root of public and national life. 
How do people in their homes regard money? What is the 
manner of its Use? what the fashion of its Abuse? I said to 
myself, money lies behind all our bread, our clothes, our shelter, 
our education — every man gets it and spends it; at some 
point all his toil means money; at some point all his relaxation 
reduces itself to money. I will this very day get out my jour- 
nals, wherein I have noted for so many years all that I have 
seen and thought of Homes, and I will see how money is 
making or marring in domestic life. 

Every year money becomes a larger and larger factor in the 
problems of human existence. It was once the fashion to 
express a lofty disdain of money, to condemn its importance ; 
but this disdain exists only in theory. It is idle to quarrel with 
{acts, and our contempt of wealth does not extend beyond the 
hour when we can get it in possession. While very lofty virtues 


have flourished in the midst of destitution, we must not con< 
sider that they are the legitimate products of destitution, but 
have thriven in spite of it, and shone all the more splendidly 
from the unfriendly nature of their surroundings. The pos- 
session of money not only opens to a man many new avenues of 
doing good, but it closes upon him the door of many tempta- 
tions. If we examine even those errors to which money is 
supposed to render a man especially liable, we shall find that 
they consort equally with a desperate poverty. In proportion 
to their numbers, there are more debauched beggars than mil- 
lionnaires, more criminals among the very poor than among the 
very rich. Extravagance, the living beyond one's means, and 
lightly dissipating our money, whether it be more or less, 
belongs as much to the poor as to the rich — indeed, no class so 
readily squander their earnings as those who have gained them 
with very great difficulty. Gluttony and drinking are supposed 
to be of the crimes into which the very rich are betrayed, but 
even when the proportion of numbers is adjusted carjrally, 
there is more indulgence in these faults among the moneyless 
than the moneyed. The prayer of Agur covers the case : " Give 
me neither poverty nor riches : lest I be full and deny thee ; 
lest I be poor and steal." Here each state has its danger, and the 
sin of the rich is more likely to be covert, of the poor overt. 
The one errs of self-confidence, the other of desperation. What 
Agur desired was that safe middle-ground, where happily so 
large a proportion of people stand. He who owes nothing, and 
has his daily bread, is not poor. Great wealth could put him 
in no better position, except in making his cloth a little finer, 
and spreading more butter on his bread. To lack a large bank 
account is not to be poor, if, on the other hand, there is no 
dead weight of debts. As long as courage, activity and knowl- 
edge of some useful occupation remain to us, and we owe no 
man anything but to love one another, then we are not indigent 


"Forgive me, poverty!" cries a French writer, "that I con- 
founded thee with indigence. To weahh man fastens himself as 
one grown upon a rock, but in contented poverty, which is not 
neediness, one sits as in a skift", where one may easily cut the 
cable and drift away to the better land." 

Now I find that as to money in the Home, three writers of 
diverse nations give us three precepts which may be well applied. 
Cicero tells us, that " Economy is in itself a great revenue." 
Joubert, a Frenchman, warns us, that " Debts abridge life." 
While Lord Bacon gives us this counsel : " Seek not proud 
riches, but such as thou mayst get justly, use soberly, dis- 
tribute cheerfully, and leave contentedly: yet have no abstract 
or friarly contempt of them." 

Now among all its other havings, the Home must have a 
money basis. Money must build its shelter; feed, and clothe, 
and school its inmates ; provide for their old age ; and as new 
members are added to the family, parental foresight discerns 
their coming needs, and reaches out for means to supply them. 
To provide this money basis of the Home, Providence has 
bestowed upon us humans, acquisitiveness, or an ability for 
getting. The bestowal of this impulse is beneficent ; for, setting 
aside a deal of absurd declaiming on the incompatibility of 
wealth and virtue, we face the facts that pauperism prevents a 
man fulfilling his duty as a man and a citizen, and in nine cases 
out of ten is the child of laziness and twin-brother of crime ; 
while though wealth does not create virtue, it is obviously not 
inimical to it, and dwells with it very peaceably in the same 
nest; and between these two is that safe middle-ground, afford- 
ing living room, scope for useful labor, where, as on a plain 
removed alike from burning heats and biting cold, the Home 
may be happily established. To reach this position of comfort 
should be the aim of every family; such a position should be 
desired and labored for with a tenacity which never relaxes into 


inertia, and with a quiet hopefulness which will keep us froii 
being over-anxious about the morrow. In this proper pursuit 
of family independence, we must consider the means to employ, 
the dangers to avoid, the /rlime of mind in wliich to live. 

I tried to impress upon my nieces from the time when they 
set up housekeeping for themselyes that saying of Cicero , 
" Economy is in itself a great revenue." I had the sentence 
illuminated and framed, and presented it to each of them, as also 
to others of my young friends: I desired to create in our village 
a feeling that economy was creditable. Now just as there is a 
wide difference between poverty, or the state of ujiwealth and 
indigence or neediness, so there is a great difference between 
economy and penuriousness. Economy builds up the home; 
penuriousness saps' its strength. I warned my young friends 
that the great danger of beginners is a contempt of littles. 
They would see that a saving of a hundred or a thousand 
dollars was reasonable, but they do not appreciate the virtue 
of saving as many cents. As says the old proverb, " Many a 
little makes a mickle," but we elderly people, who have seen the 
littles grow to mickles, and have outlived long examples in 
compound interest, understand much more clearly than the 
)-oung the value of small economies; therefore, while with the 
eld:rly these economies are matters of reason and experience, 
with the young they must be matters of habit. Young people's: 
habits are of course matters of education, and parents should 
■ realize that by instructing their children in the practice of econ- 
omy, they are laying the foundations of their future fortunes,, 
the comfort and stability of their homes, and the fortunes of 
their grandchildren. I saw very clearly this difference in habits 
of economy between Helen and Miriam as young housewives. 
Helen had never been trained to consider her small expendi- 
tures; she would lose or spend numerous little sums, and 
remark that such a little made no difference — a few shilling.s, oi 


cents, or a dollar or two; "it would be all the same in a life- 

I replied to her one day, " Indeed, my dear girl, it will not be 
all the same in a lifetime. You are but little past twenty; you 
haidly look forward to living less than thirty or forty years 
longer, and it will be far from all the same in that lifetinje 
whether these littles are saved or wasted. Suppose, in littles, 
you waste less than one dollar a week, say fifty dollars in a 
year : put that out at six per cent, compound interest, and in 
forty years you have seven thousand seven hundred dollars, 
Now it would make perhaps a deal of difference to you whether 
at sixty-two you had that much more to live on or to bequeath. 
It might be a deal of good to one of your children to have that 
much additional." 

Shortly after Mary Watkins was married, Miriam invited a 
small company to meet her at tea. The conversation happened 
to turn on this question of building up domestic finances ; and 
some of the young womefi said to me : "Aunt Sophronia, what 
are the rules for getting rich ? " 

" Come," I said, "do you suppose the answer to that question 
will be short or long, hard- or easy? " 

Said Helen, " I should think it would be very long, as there 
are millions of ways of getting rich, and people have been 
busy for several thousand years in discussing them. It must be 
a very hard question to answer, also, inasmuch as most people 
find "it so very hard to get rich." 

"All that has been said can be boiled down to a very short 
and simple answer," I replied; " and all the difficulty in the work 
lies in the needful self-sacrifice. The question first is. What do 
you mean by getting rich ? Do you wish to know how to lay up 
an immense superfluity — to become millionnaires ? Or will you 
be content to call honest independence, enough to live upon tr.ste- 
fully without fear or favor, enough to keep away the wdlve/ 


of debt and want, and to send out from your door, on youl 
errands, the full-handed angels of benevolence — will you call 
that being rich ? " 

" I will," said Miriam ; " more would be a useless burden." 
" You know," said Helen, laughing, " that it is said that Astor 
gets only his ' keep ' out of his wealth, so that all beyond the 
keep is really a burden and not a help to him." 

" Then as' you will call modest competence, comfortable 
assurance, wealth," I replied, " I will give you the rules, which 
are few and simple, and easily performed by self-sacrifice. 
Work hard ; see and improve all small opportunities ; keep out 
of debt and carefully economize. That is the best that all the 
wisdom of the world has been able to digest and formulate as 
rules for getting rich. The matter is simple and lies in a nut- 
shell : have the end definitely before you ; do your own work 
toward it and do it honestly, and don't give up until you have 
reached your goal ; the same plain, straight, unadorned and yet 
passable road is open to all." 

" I don't know," said Miriam, " but the seizing of small oppor- 
tunities would be the hardest to me, for I do not see things 

"And I do know," said Helen, "that the 'work hard ' and the 
'economize' would be equally difficult to me, for I hate both, 
and yet — I want to help Frank get on in the world, and our 
children must be provided for." 

"The 'keep out of debt' seems the hardest part to me,"*said 
Mary Watkins, "for there is a mortgage on our farm, and 
we think of buying more land, and that will mean more 

'' These same difficulties," I said, " confront the man with ;l 
hundred thousand, which he is striving to make a million, and 
Betsy Rourke, whose husband earns thirty or forty dollars a 
mofith. The result will depend on now we manage the difficul- 


ties ; the millionnaire may manage so as to get into the peniten- 
tiary, the poor-house, or be a pauper on the hands of his friends ; 
Betsy Rourke may manage so as to secure a tidy cabin of her 
own for her old age ; put all her children in the way of earning 
a better living than her own; have never a debt; always a little 
laid up for a rainy day, and die respected. Each of you may 
manage so as to live under a perpetual fear of being pushed into 
ruin by the first touch on you of "sickness, loss, a death in 
the family, or by sudden hard times; or you may walk con- 
fidently inside of a safe, strong margin wherewith you have 
hemmed your affairs." 

" Your mention of Betsy Rourke," said Mrs. Winton, " re- 
minds me that we who visit a good deal among the poor in this 
town, and among the workers in our shops and factories, are 
not doing our duty by them in giving them clear, practical in- 
structions, and a little encouragement in regard to the manage- 
ment of their money affairs. We could do it in a friendly way, 
without seeming to intrude on what is no concern of ours. The 
poor know nothing of political economy, and very nearly as little 
of domestic economy. The most of them in this town manage 
little more than to be one day in advance of starvation. They 
use up their earnings as they go ; a little extra earnings does not 
mean a nest-egg for future savings, a pleasant addition made to 
the little balance in bank, but it means a day's pleasure excur^ 
sion; some bit of finery; a grand dinner. It is harder for them 
to be prudent than to be industrious ; they expect to work hard, 
but they do not expect to save carefully. They toil laboriously, 
and spend the money as recklessly as if it grew in their pockets." 

" They think," said Miriam, " that what they can lay by is so 
little that it is not worth the trying to accumulate." 

"And yet these littles can grow into a handsome reserve. My 
mother-in-law had the same cook for thirty-five years. My 
father-in-law left this old servant five hundred dollars ; she her- 


self saved every week a portion of her wages; she dressed com 
fortably; always gave her little contributions at church; helped 
some of her poor relations; was thrifty without being mean; ai 
the end of the thirty-five ■ years' service she had thirty-five hun- 
dred dollars laid up ; at this time she became crippled and retireo 
from work, living in modest ease for ten years on what she haa 
saved, and finally providing for her burial and giving some littie 
legacies to her friends. Her savings had made her independeni 
in age, when she might have been a pauper." 

"Our working-people," I said, "receive wages which make 
them comfortable as long as they are earning them, but owing 
to their habit of using up all as fast as they earn it, as soon as a 
slack time comes, or an accident happens, or an epidemic is 
abroad, they are reduced to straits. They would lay up four or 
five dollars a week if they had the chance, but they despise the 
little which it is in their power to save." 

"But, aunt, it is so little. There is Hannah's brother: he 
gets thirty dollars a month, and that is as little as they can 
live on." 

" If they can live on thirty, by a little management they can 
live on twenty-nine. What is one dollar a month saved ? Very 
little ; but put out the twelve dollars at interest, and keep on 
adding to it at like rate, and in two years he has twenty-six dol- 
lars and a half, and it goes on increasing ; in a few years he has 
the comfortable, self-respecting feeling of a man with a decent 
little balance in bank. It is worth trying." 

"There is avast difference," said Mrs. Burr, "between thrift 
and avarice or meanness. True, the line between thrift and 
greed is so closely drawn that some people overstep it without 
being aware. Our little savings should not be made at the 
expense of strict honesty, of charity, of sympathy, there aro 
things far more useful and important in a home than saving, 
We are not to make our small savings, or oi.r great savings, b) 


grinding the faces of the poor; by depriving ourselves of rest, 
and of things needful to our health and for the prolongation 
of our lives ; nor by restricting our children of proper grati- 
fications and recreations, making the memory of their youth a 

"The question seems to be in order," said Miriam, "how are 
e to economize? where shall we make our savings, small and 

" Here," I said, " is field for self-denial. We must not expect 
to set out .in life as lavishly as we should like to end. We can 
only do that if some amiable ancestor has endowed us with a 
fortune. The sons and daughters leave homes which the exer- 
tions and carefulness of parents have built up into a degree of 
luxury; mother has her two or three servants; father his horse 
and carriage; the house is large; furnishings are handsome; the 
summer affords a long vacation. The young folks fancy that 
the new home wherein they set up must have all these appoint- 
ments. They are not extravagance for the parents, who have 
the results of years to fall back upon, but they are extravagance 
to the young folks, the results of whose years are yet to come. 
They forget that father and mother began in the narrow way; 
that they had a small house, and economized as to fires, and 
waited a year before they furnished the spare-room ; and mother 
did the most of her own work, and father walked to his place of 
business, and they went to no costly ent&rtainments; looked at 
fine goods through shop windows, and not over counters purse 
in- hand. The veteran may rest on his laurels, the tyro must earn 
his. If our young people wish with no capital to live like people 
who have capital, the result will be debt, disaster, disgrace. 
Who can count the homes kept in constant gnawing misery by 
living beyond their means ; debt pressing; exposure menacing, 
credit slipping away! Life is shortened by extravagant living, 
\i we try to build a business on show, by seeming to have wha< 


we really do not possess, then we are building our house upon 
the sand, and when the rains descend, the winds blow, and the 
floods beat, then the Home shall fall into miserable ruin. 

"This extravagance in living does not necessarily mean a 
coachman in livery ; a bay span ; a box at the opera ; velvet and 
point-lace, and a splendid house ; extravagance in living is to be 
living beyond our means, be they large or small. If bur means 
are equal only to expending nine hundred, and we live up to a 
thousand, then we are extravagant, although we hired no cab ; 
wore no silk gown ; bought no pine-apples ; kept no nurse-maid, 
We were extravagant where another would have been very sav- 
ing, because we went beyond our means ; he kept within his. 
Extravagance in living stands before our mind's eye a gorgeous 
creature : plumed like a bird of paradise ; glittering like a Dam- 
ascene blade; splendid if dangerous. Extravagance should 
rather appear as a corrupting corpse, a hangman's rope clutched 
in its discolored hand ; a ghastly wound across the throat ; a 
gibbet behind it, and the pit of perdition yawning in front ; for 
this extravagance, equally common to men and women, equally 
criminal to both, stands at the back of ninety-nine one-hun ■ 
dredths of the suicides, defaulters, murderers, forgers, delinquent 
guardians and trustees, plunderers of widows and orphans. This 
e:xtravagance leers at us over the wrecks of homes and reputa- 
tions and brains ; it gibbers at us from the mad-house ; creeps to 
the penitentiary cell ; sweeps slowly by in the dishonored bier ; 
lies ghastly in the morgue; goes down darkly and rises festering 
from the waters in the " unknown drowned.' 

"If wives see that their husbands incline to extravagance, they 
should hold them back from this brink of ruin with all their 
power ; and they should beware of extravagance in their own 
persons, for by it many a wife has become a millstone about hei 
husband's neck to sink him in a sea of misery." 

" You are so earnest that you frighten me," cried Helen. 


" I feel that she cannot be too earnest," said Miriam ; "' and I 
eschew extravagance with all my heart from this time forth. 
But, Aunt Sophronia, one may be extravagant — ^that is, be living, 
although but a little, beyond their income — without knowing it : 
they may be sinking in a quicksand before they are aware that 
they have stepped upon it. How shall we know that, while 
striving to be economical, we are not becoming penurious, and 
that, trying to be fair, we are not extravagant? " 

" In the first place, know your income ; and in the second 
place, mark your expenses. In other words keep accounts. As 
to avoiding penuriousness, we must remember that over all we 
have God holds a first mortgage, and humanity a second. Of 
these two mortgages we must pay the interest honestly : they 
are our first debts, and when they are fairly attended to, then 
we must mark our accounts. We shall have avoided the Scylla 
of penuriousness, and we must steer clear of the Charybdis of 
extravagance : we shall do this by means of a diligent studjr 
of our account-books. Great men have not despised careful 
account-keeping; indeed, their carefulness in this particular 
was one token of their greatness. Washington and Wellington 
were both very particular in account-keeping. We should dare 
to look resolutely at the state of our affairs: bankruptcies 
oftener arise in a neglect in scrutinizing our accounts than in 
any other ons :;ause. England and France have laws obliging 
all business people, io keep proper account-books. Every house- 
wife should have her account-books. When a servant enters 
her employ, she should put down the coming into service and 
the rate of wages ; every payment should be scrupulously set 
down in the servants' presence as they receive the wages. All 
the daily expenditures should be set down; each month the 
account should be footed up ; the monthly proportion of rent, 
lights, fuel, wages, be added, and the amount compared with the 

month's income. If the amount oversteps the income, or so 



squarely meets it that there is not that needed margin for the 
small savings, then revise the account and take warning. 
Where needlessly was spent the dollar ? What costly item for 
the table can be replaced by one more suitable to our means ? 
Where was the useless inciulgence, whicn, denied, would have 
brought this account into proper shape ? Where shall our next 
saving be Scrupulously made ? Let us discern between the need- 
ful and the needless. Can next month be brought to settle the 
deficit of this, so that the year shall not tell the story of our folly ? 
Let us now take, by a month of self-denial, the consequences 
of our carelessness, and we shall arise and do better." 

" We must surely keep accounts," said Miriam, " but these 
things which you have suggested to us seem rather in the way 
of preventing expenditures than of making money I suppose 
it is true that we are enriched not so much by what we make as 
by what we save ; but let us have at least one rule for gaining." 

" I do not know any rule for gaining," said Mrs. Burr, " which 
would come before persistency in a course well begun. Do not 
become restless, think that you accumulate too slowly, that 
some other line of life would be better, and so change your 
business. A woman has much influence over her husband's 
business. If she constantly finds fault with it, undervalues its 
efficiency or respectability, contrasts it unfavorably with others, 
she will presently move him to some change which may be 
disastrous. I knew a young woman whose husband owned 
a nice farm : she began to crave town life ; she did not want to 
be a farmer's wife, to bring up her children in the country ; 
finally she persuaded him to sell the farm, and set up in the city 
as a real estate agent. At that business he has starved along 
ever since ; his children are unhealthy and ill-provided ; while the 
purchaser of the farm has a nice home and competence. I know 
another young woman who took it into her head that her 
husband had better study a profession than be a village grocer. 


He had a nice trade, but the couple went mad on a false idea of 
gentility. He gave up his business, studied medicine, did not 
succeed in getting a practice, and has lived from hand to 
mouth. We cannot say that change is never advisable : most 
rules have exceptions; but the safe rule is to persevere in the 
line of life upon which one has entered. Often the safest 
business is the slowest. This is particularly true of farming ; 
almost no farmers who attend faithfully to their own work and 
avoid speculations are ever bankrupts ; but as their gains are 
very slow, especially in the beginning years, when they are 
making repairs, building, fencing, perhaps paying a mortgage, 
they think that they will never do better, and they want a 

" One danger in making these changes," said Mrs. Winton, 
" is that you throw away the progress made, and the knowledge 
acquired in the business already begun : when you change you 
go back to the beginning. Having half learned farming does 
not put you half through with the grocery business, but if you 
go into groceries you must begin at the ABC. One business 
does not furnish us the alphabet for others : each has its own." 

" That fits our experience," said Cousin Ann ; " for the first 
five years that we were on the farm, we could not see that we 
had made anything but our keep and improvements: we had 
not paid a dollar on the principal of the mortgage. But 
though we felt discouraged, we looked at the matter squarely : 
we had gained much experience; our buildings were in order; 
our fences we're in order ; the land was in far better condition 
than when we got it ; our young cattle were beginning to be of 
value ; we were in a much better position to go on and make 
money than when we began ; and, indeed, from that time our 
former work began to tell, and we made money fairly fast. 
Father has always warned our boys not to be changeable. He 
said to Fred and Reed, when they thought they might find a 

400 :r^^ complete home. 

more profitable way of using their farms : ' Don't change from 
fruit and vegetables to sheep. You have been working at the 
fruit and vegetables until you understand them ; no one can 
cheat you in them ; your start is made ; you have run for your 
jump; your momentum is gained — you lose all that by changing. 
Don't try to turn your stock-farm into a sorghum plantation, or 
go into beet-sugar or tobacco. That might all do if you 
started at it, but you have made your start in another line: 
you have raised stock ; studied stock ; arranged your farm for 
stock-raising. Don't throw away five years' work; stick to what 
you are at.' " 

These remarks of Cousin Ann closed the conversation for 
that time, but, a few days after, Mary Watkins came to see me- 
She said that she had been much struck with the saying, 
" Debts shorten life." A debt made a heavy burden to carry, 
and toil was harder for such a load. There was a mortgage on 
their farm. She wanted some advice as to how she could help 
pay it, and whether she had better encourage her husband to 
buy more land under a mortgage. She said a scrap of poetry 
kept ringing in her head — 

"There is no use of talking, Charles, you buy that twenty more, 
And we'll go scrimping all our lives, and always be land-poor. 
For thirty years we've tugged and toiled, denying half our needs. 
And all we have to show for it is tax-receipts and deeds." 

" Well, Mary," I replied, " I cannot give you any advice 
about the purchase of land, for I do not know how you are 
situated, and I do not wish to interfere with your "business ; but 
I can give you a little advice as to the dangers to avoid in the 
getting of money, which advice may be of use to you. As 
debts do abridge life, avoid debts as you would poison or con- 
tagion. To do this you must live rigorously within your 
means. To live within our income, even if it be only by a six- 
pence, is to escape the degradation of neediness. Poverty is 


only relative. If you can keep out of debt, you are relatively 
rich : a man with five thousand a year, who gets yearly two 
hundred dollars in debt, is relatively poor. When by over- 
stepping your income you get into debt, you purchase the worst 
evils of poverty — shame and fear. Haliburton says : ' No man 
is rich whose expenditures exceed his means, and no man i.; 
poor whose incomings exceed his outgoings.' Your first effort 
in paying off your mortgage will be to bring all your expenses 
within your income, and by all that you bring them within you 
can lessen your indebtedness. I should wish to be very sure of 
the propriety of getting more land, if I got a new debt with it. 
Again, Mary, do not be in haste to be rich. This haste is that 
taking thought and care for to-morrow which the Scripture con- 
demns. This over-zeal for riches abridges life as much as debt 
does. People, in their hurry for increase of money, coin their 
very lives and souls. All the goodness and capacity for enjoy- 
ment dies out of their lives while they are striving for wealth. 
People in this pursuit of money deny themselves the comforts 
of life ; they keep their children out of school to avail them- 
selves of their labor; they deny them books, newspapers, 
society, decent clothes ; they make them feel shame-faced and 
mean — all for what? — to roll them up a fortune which they 
will not be able to enjoy. They" make their children coarse, 
ignorant, greedy, unloving, in order to have more money to 
leave them. But what good will this money do without friends, 
without the confidence and respect of the community ? In spite 
of their money they will see all the prizes of life carried off by 
those whose parents were careful to give them those things 
which are better than money : /. e., social qualities, education, 
good manners, affectionate feelings, general information. In 
over-haste to be rich, the energies, and sympathies, and cares of 
the parent are withdrawn from his children to the money- 
getting. The home devoid of attraction is a jail rather than a 



' dear nest ' to the children. The intercourse between them and 
their parents has been hard, brief and cold; there is nothing 
to regret in leaving them. No tender recollections of sunny 
hours, of gratified tastes, of mutual enjoyments, bind them to 
home; as soon as they can they fly off to strangers and strange 
places, lacking that strongest tie to morality, a loving thought 
of home. If the children are worth laying up money for, they 
are doubly worth cultivating in all that is best in them ; and in 
devoting ourselves too intensely to the pursuit of riches, we for- 
sake the greater for the less. Don't, in your desire to save and 
to earn, descend into meanness. Avoid illiberality to servants, to 
children, to the public. As a mere matter of business, liberality 
pays well. Meanness hardens the heart, narrows our views, 
dries up our social instincts : men naturally hate and antagonize 
it. The child, treated illiberally, loses love for the parent. The 
servant, illiberally dealt with, loses all zeal in service, has no 
encouragement to render that faithfulness and energy which 
are beyond all purchase; meanly treated, deprived of even just 
gains, he retorts by doing for his master as little as he can. 
Neighbors miss the kind, neighborly act ; the church comments 
on lack of charity ; the dealer detects the scanty weight, the 
poor quality, the narrow bargains ; and as we sow we reap ; we 
get back our own coin, and can we complain if it is counterfeit, 
or has been clipped? A good deed done in a kindly temper is 
never thrown away : the bountiful sowing makes the bountiful 
harvest. Says the Scripture : ' The liberal man deviseth liberal 
things, and by liberal things he shall stand.' We can provoke 
unto love and good works. In the ' Vicar of Wakefield ' 
Farmer Flamborough grew rich, although he was so honest, 
kind and unsuspecting that Mr. Jenkinson was always cheating 
him ; while Mr. Jenkinson, shrewd enough, and mean enough 
to cheat, fell into poverty and prison. Bunyan tells us in a 
little rhyme : 


"' There was a man and some did count him mad : 
The more he cast away, the more he had ; ' 

and this riddle is thus unravelled : 

" ' He who bestows his goods upon the puur. 
Shall have as much again, and ten limes more.' 

"Again, the wisest of men tells us that: ' There is that maketh 
himself rich, yet hath nothing ; there is that withholdeth more 
than is meet, and it tendeth to poverty. There is that maketh 
himself poor, yet hath great riches.' A hard bargain is a bad 
bargain for the proposer ; he may appear to gain, yet he will 
eventually lose. Be generous and unselfish in your endeavors 
to accumulate property ; if you get it in a mean way, you will 
use it in a mean way ; the habit of meanness will be stamped in 
your soul, and you will have made money itself your end, and 
experience that love of money which is the root of all evil. 
Nothing is more unhealthful, more life-shortening, more soul- 
cramping, than to be engrossed in money-getting ; the Mammon 
worshipper is a mean man. Milton tells us that Mammon him- 
self, in heaven, could not look up, so fastened were his eyes on 
the golden pavement ! Therefore do not consider accumulation 
your chief good. You accumulate in order to strengthen, pre- 
serve and improve the Home; therefore don't let your Sccu- 
mulating be the destroying of the home. Don't accumulate in 
such a fashion that some day you shall wake to find your home 
gone ; its hopes perished ; its loves dried in their fountains ; the 
children fled in disgust and soul-sickness ; your hopes of heaven 
darkened ; God forgotten ; your so-called Home merely a whited 
and gilded sepulchre, full of rottenness and dead men's bones. 
Carry the vitality, the honor, the joyfulness of your home on 
with you in your course of accumulation. The story of King 
Midas is a parable which we should all lay to heart. Remem- 
ber, Mary, all things are for our immortal part; for mind; for 
soul; the life is more than raiment. What is raiment to a corpse? 


What is money to him whose soul, body, heart, mind, celestial 
crown, have been sacrificed to gain it?" 

"Thank you," said Mary, "for what you have said; I think I 
was beginning to consider accumulation a chief good, and money 
a chief end, instead of merely means to the end of true home 
building. I see money is as likely to be Abused as Used in the 
home. In the poem which I quoted are two other verses which 
I remember: 

" ' Our life is short, and full of care : the end is always nigh ; 
We seldom half begin to live, before we're doomed to die. 
Were I to start my life again, I'd mark each separate day. 
And never let a single one pass unenjoyed away. 

" ' If there were things to envy, I'd have them now and then, 
And have a home that was a home, and not a cage or pen. 
I'd sell some land, if it were mine, and fit up well the rest; 
I've always thought, and think so yet — small farms, well worked, are best.'" 

I fancy Mary persuaded her husband to her view, for the)' 
did not buy more land for some time. 

The day that brings us into debt is a dark day; that is a light 
day — glad as the going out of Egypt — when one gets out of 
debt. I was at Cousin Ann's one day, when she read a little bit 
of poetry called " No Mortgage on the Farm," from the village 
paper. She said she appreciated it from her own experience; 
she remembered it was a glad day when Reuben paid off the lasl 
dollar of the mortgage, and though years had passed, the joy 
was yet fresh in her mind: 

" While our hearts are now so joyful, let us, Mary, not forget 
To thank the God of heaven for being out of debt ; 
For he gave the rain and sunshine, and put strength into my arm. 
And lengthened out the days to see. No Mortgage on the Farm ! " 

* If any one can tell us what is a right state of mind in regard 
.© Money in the Home, I think you can, cousin," I replied, "for 
you have had a large family for which to provide ; you have had 
your narrow beginnings; your long days of struggle to free 


yourselves from debt; the constant, daily, arising needs to meet; 
and have at last reached a time when means are comfortably 

" The main thing is," replied Cousin Ann, " to keep in view 
that we are getting the money not for itself, but for the good 
which it will secure ; therefore we must be on the watch to take 
the good as it comes. We may say we are laying up the for- 
tunes and securing the happiness of our children, but we must 
remember that childhood has its fortunes and its happiness as 
well as middle-life. Why deny our children the happiness and 
fortune of a few toys, in order that we may add dollars to other 
dollars for their future ? The few toys may let in a whole flood 
of sunshine on the child's life. How do we know but they will 
be all the fortune that we can give it — that the little child may 
never grow up to claim its portion of goods — that all our be- 
stowal of fortune on it must be limited to a doll, a tin-cart, and 
a yard of daisied sod ? We deny the little girl a doll and play- 
time, and she prematurely becomes a hard-faced woman who 
never had a childhood. I have seen men who begrudged the 
time which they said their wives wasted over a stand of flowers ; 
rnen who complained that a few pots of geraniums and verbenas 
cost too much ; if their wives wanted flowers let them wait until 
they were rich, and they should have a garden full, or a hot' 
house. But the wife died long before riches came, and flowers 
in plenty went into her coffin and upon her grave ; it would have 
done her far more good if they- had been put into her livin*» 
hands ! 

''A very little outlay will often procure for some member of 
Dur families some gratification of taste, which will be 'richly 
repaid in love and happiness. Besides, we sometimes forget that 
these small gratifications have a positive effect on health and 
spirits, renewing both, and, in very truth, producing a bette 
return in money and saving than almost any other outlay. The 


little token of thoughtfulness, of kindly remembrance, renews 
the courage — reminds one how much there is yet left to live for. 
We must know when to spare and when to spend. It is not 
well to have all the scrimping and saving done in one series of 
years, looking to have all the lavishing done in another decade. 
We must save and spend at the same time ; pay as we go, and 
^uild up our home in taste, in comfort, in intelligence, in propor- 
tion as we are building it up in fortune." 

"And when we are speaking of the use of money in the home, 
we must not forget," I said, " that while one form of its abuse i.i 
in penuriousness, another form of abuse is lavishness. Children 
get too much money to spend which they never earned, and of 
which they do not know the value. I heard of a man who said 
that he just put some money in a drawer, and let his children go 
there and help themselves. There would be account-keeping, 
saving, good judgment, when all the youngsters had to do was 
to get out the money and use it, and no questions asked ! I 
have seen a child of ten, going off for a three days' visit, handed 
five dollars to buy candy and nuts. A young school-mate of 
Miriam's was so liberally supplied with pocket-money that she 
really did not know what to do with it. One day she bought a 
dollar's worth of candy ; then opening the paper, and finding the 
first bit flavored with peppermint, a thing which she disliked, 
she tossed the whole parcel into the mud of the street. Another 
girl whom I knew, received from home a pair of pretty ornaments 
which cost ten dollars ; she wore them a day or two, then pre- 
sented one to her room-mate, and the next week lost the other. 
Girls thus recklessly given dress and spending money are really 
driven into extravagance, and are at last the women whose hus- 
bands become bankrupts, defaulters, suicides. Boys who may 
lavishly spend money out of the paternal pocket learn to smoke, 
drink, play cards, race horses : they apply themselves to no 
useful occupation, have no high principles, learn nothing v/hich 


shall make them self-dependent. Money which comes to young 
people so easily, of whose bitter earning they know nothing, of 
whose deprivation they know nothing, is a snare and a curse. 
Better the chances of the little bootblack earning his dimes, and 
respecting them as proceeds of his labor ; better a million times 
the farm-boy, whose dollar represents the potatoes he planted 
and dug, or the chickens he fed and tended for a six months, 
than the boy who gets his twenty or fifty dollars, to spend 
unquestioned, and to whom that money is just so much green 
paper out of father's pocket. 

" Children should be taught to earn money ; to save reasonably 
their money; to spend it judiciously; to give out of their own 
funds, not merely going to father with the cry, ' Give me a cent 
for contribution ! ' and then putting it in the box, and calling it 
their own giving : shall we give of that which costs us nothingn? 
Children should be taught to take care of their money, not 
losing it heedlessly here and there, laying it down and forgetting 
where they put it ; so they should be instructed to keep accounts ; 
this forms the habit of method and of reasoning in their busi- 
ness : the spendthrift boy will be the spendthrift man. 

"Another abuse of money in the home is to keep all the money 
for that one home and its needs and luxuries, forgetting that 
the one home is but a unit among many; that as we are human, 
humanity has its claims on us all; that in the civilized state 
every man is more or less dependent on his neighbor, and must 
do a share for others while he is working for himself There are 
human beings without homes ; human beings sunk so in degra- 
dation, so steeped in indigence, that knowledge and means 
of home-making are out of their reach ; there are in the world 
plenty of stray waifs, childless, widowed women, relationless men, 
friendless children, hopeless invalids : for these society must make 
homes and provide teachers and refuges. One of the abuses of 
our money is to gather it all into our own circle, centre it upon 


ourselves, desire to surfeit our own appetites, to crowd our 
own lives with pleasures, and our own homes with luxuries, and 
refusing to distribute as we have opportunity to those who are 
in need. A grand use of money in the home is to give us to 
taste the blessedness of doing good. The hundred busy hands 
which have gathered in the fortune should be ready to com- 
municate ; the hundred eyes which have looked for opportunities 
®f increasing our store should look wisely abroad, to see what 
fields can be watered by it, what waste places sown, what deserts 
made to become gardens. 

"And here, as said our minister the other day, arises the much 
vexed question: ' How much have we a right to use for selves? 
What is a rational and proper style of living for a Christian? 
And to this it can only be answered that every man is a law to 
himself If no one used any luxuries, trade, and manufacture, 
and invention would be at once crippled. He who has many 
servants, justly treated, wisely governed, before whom he sets a 
right example, makes his home a home to many, supports just 
so many more of his fellows. More physical luxuries are 
needed by some than by others : one man's nature only gets its 
development in a great library ; pictures are another man's 
natural mind-food ; let him thank God for money to buy them, 
and so support artists. The only thing needful is to realize that 
in our money we are God's stewards and our brother's keepers. 
I^t us feel that in earning, in keeping, in spending our money 
we are those who must give account. And so as Bacon warns 
US, let us not hasten so to be rich that we cannot get honestly ; 
let us not so spend our possessions on ourselves that we cannot 
give liberally ; let us not love our means so well that we cannot 
spend cheerfully ; let us not spend so recklessly that we begin 
to live selfishly and greedily; let us not love money so well 
that we will be loath to leave this world because of leaving 
our worldly belongings ; and let us profess no scorn of money 


like that professed by the begging friars, who, be it remarked, 
were always especially eager in getting ! 

"And here I would only add a few monitions which I 
impressed on Helen's little Tom. 

" If men are to hate debt, boys must hate debt ; let them be 
taught not to borrow, and not to beg: -it is training a boy in 
pauperism to allow him to hint or boldly ask for money from 
guests and relations. 

" If the man is to be upright in business, the boy must be 
upright. Do not think it is no matter if you neglect to return 
your mother's change ; if you take, half by force or by calm 
assumption, your little sister's or brother's money. Boys who 
3;ct in this way will not be honorable business men. 

"-Don't be a boy-miser — hoarding your own money, never 
making a present, never giving in charity of your own, always 
rager to receive and never ready to give. 

"Take a pride in earning money: you will respect money 
more, and be more likely to be honest in your dealings, if you 
have learned how to earn money for yourself 

" Don't make hard bargains with your mates, taking advan- 
tage of their need or of their ignorance. 

" Don't be lavish, spending to make the other boys stare, 
buying things which you do not need merely to show off. 
Remember the boy is what the man will be." 





;1| ELINDA BLACK came in to see me one autumn monv 
ing ; she often drops in, but that day she came espe 
cially because she had on a new Fall suit. Whenevei 
Belinda has a new gown, she is seized with a mania 
for walking through all the streets, and for visiting her friends 
until all have had a view of the new apparel. Indeed, she takes 
a bland, innocent, unconcealed delight in new clothes, a delighl 
which has so much childish simplicity in it that it is mainly 
amusing. And yet Belinda is quite old enough to be reasonable; 
a great many women never do become reasonable on the subject 
of dress. Well, as I said, in came Belinda, and chatted away, 
careful that she sat in a good light and in an advantageous 
position to display her last dress. I chanced to ask her why 
she had not been in her place as one of the sub-teachers in a 
class for sewing, which I have for poor children, and she said 
that just at that hour she had an engagement with the dress- 
maker, and so forgot. " That is it, you see," said Belinda, with 
a little laugh, " the dress-maker puts everything else out of my 
foolish head ; I suppose I am even worse than other people in 
that folly ; but we all think too much about dress," concludes Be- 
linda in a judicial tone, while secretly smoothing out a ruffle and 
regarding the trimming on her sleeve with great complacency. 
" I differ from you, indeed," I replied ; " I conclude the 

trouble is that we do not think half enough about our dress." 


" Oh, Miss Sophronia ! " cried Belinda, " I thought it was a 
waste of time and a token of a weak mind to think of dress." 

" It depends entirely upon how you think of it, my dear. In 
the way of imagination, I grant you, we may think a deal too 
much about it; in the way of reason and common-sense, 
generally not half enough. As to weak minds only occupying 
themselves with this matter, some of the very finest minds have 
lent themselves to its consideration. The Bible itself gives us 
various rules about it ; great legislators have passed laws concern- 
ing it ; physicians have written much on the subject ; and divines 
have preached sermons and written books, also, about it." 

" Why," says Belinda, opening wide her eyes, " I did not 
know that the Bible had anything about dress, unless you mean 
about the fig-leaf aprons, or how the Lord made Adam and 
Eve coats of skins — Eve must have been very beautiful to stand 
such dressing as that without a ribbon or a bit of lace — or 
perhaps you mean about the priest's dress as we had it once in 
our Sunday-school lesson." 

" I meant none of those. I fear you have never read your 
Bible through, my child." 

" Oh, yes, I have ; straight through, and got five dollars for 

" Then, while you were going through it, I fear the five dol- 
lars must have been more in your mind than what you were 
reading. Read it through again, Belinda ; not for five dollars, but 
for the sake of knowing what is in it. However, I will tell you 
what it says of dress : Isaiah says, ' Because the daughters of 
Zion are haughty, the Lord will take away the bravery of their 
tinkling ornaments, and their cauls, and their round tires like 
the* moon, the chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers ; the 
bonnets, and the ornaments, and the head-bands, aiid the tabLl i, 
and the ear-rings, and the rings, and the nose-jewels ; the 
changeable suits of apparel, the mantles, and the wimples, and 



the crisping-pins ; the glasses, and the fine Hnen, and the hoods, 
and the veils.' " 

" Why," cried Belinda, much interested, " what a quantity of 
things, just such as we have now, it mentions ! I did not dream 
that we were so old-fashioned in our ornaments and styles ; only 
to think, all these things about twenty-three or four hundred 
years ago ! As for the nose-jewels it would be a blessing to lose 
them, and the glasses — I suppose it means little glasses to carry 
around with them, possibly hanging at their waists, made of 
polished metal, but used for looking-glasses — those would be 
ugly too, for if one does spend a deal of time looking in the 
glass, one does not want all the world to know it, nor wish to 
be doing it in public." 

"And yet I have seen ladies' fans with little glasses set in the 
side, and I have seen their possessors very sedulously gazing 
into them— say at church." 

■" Why,' cried Belinda, flushing, " I have one of those very 
fans ! I never thought of it before, and maybe / sit looking in 
it! I'll paste a picture over the glass the minute I go home; I 
never before thought how ugly it was. But how very odd ! rings, 
veils, head-dresses, bracelets, and tablets, such as we carry to 
parties, to put down our partners on ! Who'd have thought it ! " 

"Another prophet complains of the women sewing pillows 
into the sleeves of their dresses." 

" How hideous ! " cried Belinda. " No one would think of 
such a fashion now-a-days." 

" I should not like to be security as to what folly one would 
not think of But as for pillows in the sleeves, I remember very 
well a pair of little pillows stuffed with down, which my mother 
had, and which she told me were worn in her early married 
days, fastened in the upper part of the sleeve, to make the arm? 
set out widely. They may come in fashion again." 

" I'd never wear them — never," protested Belinda. 


" I used to hear people say, in looking at the portraits of 
Queen Elizabeth, where her majesty's waist and head look as 
if rising out of a hogshead-^wherein she is standing, that if 
hoops came in fashion again, they would never wear them; and 
yet they did, great reed-filled skirts, as big as hogsheads, or 
even bigger ; absurd as Queen Elizabeth's." 

" I suppose," responded Belinda, meekly, " that there is no 
telling what one will do, when a fashion comes in. What is 
there more in the Bible about dress ? " 

" Paul writes in 2d Timothy : ' that women adorn themselves 
in modest apparel, not with broidered hair, or gold, or pearls, 
or costly array.' "• 

" Why," said Belinda, argumentatively, " one would not want 
their hair hanging straight behind their ears like a wild Indian's : 
and I can't see what harm there is in gold, or pearls, or costly 

" I do not fancy that Paul v/ould have approved of the wild 

Indian style of hair-dressing. You notice he says adorn, which 

suggests that he desired neatness and good taste, with a certain 

, gravity and simplicity ; and as he suggests good works instead 

of the gold or pearls, or costly array, I presume that he meant to 

hint that as. there is so much poverty and pain in the world to be 

relieved, so much ignorance to be instructed, so many souls 

which need a preached gospel, and so much money required, to 

feed the hungry, clothe the naked, nurse the sick, and send the 

teachers to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, 

that the means of a Christian woman might far better be employed 

thus in behalf of doing good, and laying up treasure in heaven, 

than in procuring gold, pearls, or costly array. As to the hair, 

you will see yourself, Belinda, that there is a vast difference 

between dragging it negligently into a tumble-down knot, and 

puffing it, stuffing it, giving here a friz, there a braid, there a 

ringlet, there a plastered curl, there a braid of another style^ 


that excessively ornate method of hair-dressing which is not for 
elegant comfort, but is for attracting attention — that attention 
not the loving pleasure of our friends, but the insolent stare of 
passers on the street." 

" Now," said Belinda, uneasily, as she was not v/ithout fault 
in this respect, " what do some of those wise, good people — those 
divines, for instance — say about dress ? " 

I took down one of my " old-fashioned books " and read a 
fragment from good Bishop Hall. " In thy apparel avoid pro- 
fuseness, singularity, and gaudiness ; let it be decent, and suited 
to the quality of thy place and purse. Too much punctuality, 
and too much moroseness, are the extremes of pride. Be neither 
too early in the fashion, nor too long out of it, nor too precisely 
in it. What custom hath civilized hath become decent; until 
then it was ridiculous. Where the eye is the jury, the apparel 
is the evidence ; the body is the shell of the soul ; apparel is the 
husk of the shell, and the husk will often tell you what the 
kernel is. Seldom does solid wisdom dwell under fantastic 
apparel ; neither will the jester fancy be inured within the 
walls of a grave habit. The clown is known by his motley 


"Why, how simple, easy, and full of common-sense, that 

-sounds ! " said Belinda. " I wish folks preached like that now-a- 

. days : I would learn so much more than I do." 

" Would you ? Now tell me, what was our minister's text 

.yesterday, and what was his subject?" 

" Why — y — y — I don't believe I know. In fact, I was looking 

■ most of the time at Grace Winton's new bonnet, and at Mrs. 

i Burr's .lovely new tie." 

"Then perhaps our minister was giving us just as simple 
common-sense as Bishop Hall, and you missed it ; and if you 
had been one of Bishop Hall's hearers you might have been 

^considering the extent of somebody's farthingale, or the velvet 


in their mantle. The fault is less in the words of preachers than 
in the ears of hearers." 

I suppose Belinda concluded that she had had instruction 
enough for that morning, so she soon went home. She did not 
forget our talk, however, but at the next Sewing Society detailed 
much of it to the roomful of young people who were working 
together in Mrs. Burr's back parlor ; and just as I had finished 
distributing the work to the seniors in the front room, Grace 
Winton called me. 

"Aunt Sophronia, you are to come and sit with us, and answer 
for this new heresy you have been inculcating in Belinda Black. 
She says you have absolutely been warning her that she ought 
to think more about dress; that we all ought." 

I went in with a child's apron which I was making. 

" You all think too much about dress in the way of imagina- 
tion," I said. 

" There, Belinda ! " cried Cousin Ann's younger daughter : " I 
was quite sure that you were mistaken." 

" For instance," I continued, " you spend hours in considering 
how you would look in a new walking-suit, or which of the new 
colors is most stylish, and would best suit your complexion. 
You spend whole days in trying to arrange a dress for a party — 
a dress which shall be just a little prettier than any one else 
would have ; you spend all church time wondering how you 
would look in somebody's new hat ; you spend on new trinkets, 
which you do not need, the money which you ought to give to 
the Missionary Society; you spend on over-doing your hair, time 
when you ought to be helping your mothers with the mending ; 
you stay away from prayer-meeting to embroider you a jacket, 
or put another ruffle on a petticoat; you tease your fathers for 
more money than they can afford to spend on your winter outfit, 
and you coolly let your mother wear her old coat one winter „ 
more, so that yoii can spend more money on the decorating of 
one of your gowns," 


" Oh, now, Aunt Sophronia ! " cried the girls, indignantly. 

" Well, I knew a girl once who insisted on having one more 
dress in her winter outfit, although she knew that if it were 
bought, her mother, instead of buying for herself one new and 
handsome dress, would be forced to get a very shabby thing for 
her only new gown ; and yet this girl needed the extra dress sc 
little, that in packing up her trunk for school, she absolutely 
forgot it, and left it hanging in the closet, where it hung until 
after Christmas." 

" Now, Aunt Sophronia," said Grace Winton, energetically, 
" that was as much the mother's fault as the girl's ; no mother 
should be so weakly yielding, should so pander to the selfish- 
ness of her child ; she should have brought her up better." 

" No doubt,' Grace ; however, this girl did not live here in our 
town. Let me proceed to observe to you, that you do not think 
half enough about your dress — " 

" There ! what did I tell you ! " cried Belinda. 

" In the way of reason and common-sense. It is our duty to 
think about our dress ; to apply some of our very best thoughts 
to it. Next to the question of food, that of dress is the most 
important of physical questions which can be put to us. On our 
proper dressing much of our good health depends ; if we do not 
have good health, we cannot have our brains in the best work- 
ing order; we shall be also captious, selfish, exacting, fretful, 
desponding ; demanding much of others, and able to do little 
for them. He who is an invalid, in God's providence, is filling 
some niche made for him, and performing some part in creation ; 
a part which may in the revealings of the next world shine out 
very beautifully ; but those who are invalids in virtue of their 
own folly, of their own disregard for plain laws of health, are 
leaving undone the work which God meant them to do, and are 
adding to the burdens of humanity. If you admit that health is 
a matter of high importance, you must admit that the question 


of dress, which so much concerns that of health, is also very 
important. Therefore we must think about dress as it concerns 
health. But we may also see the question of dress lifted out of 
the range of the merely physical and put into the domain of 
morals. We are bound to think about dress as it concerns hon- 
esty — honesty to God and to our neighbor. Another way in 
which we are to think about dress is as it concerns charity. Now 
if you faithfully debate with yourselves the question of dress as 
it has to do with health, honesty, and charity, and you uprightly 
carry out the convictions of duty at which you arrive, I think 
there will thereafter be no fault to be found with your dress, and 
that for thinking about it you will be more attractive in your- 
selves, more helpful in your homes, and more useful to the world 
at large." 

" Shall we begin by disregarding fashions ?" asked Grace. 

" That old preacher from whom you read said not," said 

" Fashion must be brought to the bar of common-sense, and 
must be tried by the laws of health, honesty and charity; if she 
has transgressed none of these, in a new device, then she has a 
right to promulgate it." 

" But I thought dress was a mere matter of good taste," 
observed the eldest Miss Black. 

" Good taste will be secured when we meet the requirements 
of health, honesty and charity." 

" Do you think," asked Miss Black, " that it is a sin to wear 

" Not a sin," I replied, "if they are paid for. But I do not 
think that they a/e in good taste." 

"And in what respects not ? " 

" First, they are a relic of barbarism, which pierces the flesh 
to introduce ornaments. The grossest form of this injury of the 
body to ornament it, is in tattooing. Next, the piercing- the ear 


all around its rim, piercing the nose and the hps to introduce 
rings or bars of jewelry — indeed, the fashion described by some 
African travellers, of stretching the lips entirely out of shape for 
rings and bars of metal, must be more hideous than any 
tattooing. Second, if the ear is beautifully made in itself, it is 
an ornament to the human head, which will only be marred by 
piercing it: the ring will injure its shape or otherwise detract 
from its beauty. Third, if the ear is less than perfect in its 
shape, then the ring simply attracts attention to its lack of 
beauty. If there is any coarseness in the skin, or lack of grace 
in contour, then the jewelry makes this more apparent; while 
if complexion and outline are perfect, then 'beauty unadorned 
is adorned the most ; ' anything violently intruded upon them, 
as the cutting of the flesh for the reception of a bauble, takes 
away something of their perfections. It is said that the Chapel 
of the De Medicean Tombs, in Florence, is more beautiful 
than beauty; if that is true in that case, it is in no other." 

"Aunt Sophronia," said Grace, "we are always quarrelling 
here, in a mild way, about frizzes. Do settle that for us." 

" If I settled it for you to-day, you would be all back to your 
own opinions to-morrow. However, I am quite ready to give 
you my views as to hair-dressing in general. First, then, great 
neatness should be observed in regard to the hair. Nature 
intended it as an ornament. It is several times mentioned in 
the Bible as a rare beauty. All the painters and sculptors have 
delighted in portraying it in grace and luxuriance. We should 
respect our own personal adornments and appearance, and try 
to improve them lawfully. All dyes and articles, to change the 
color of the hair, should be avoided as both dangerous and in 
bad taste. Nostrums for increasing its growth, restoring it, 
and so forth, are generally dangerous, as having in them lead 
and other poisons which are bad for the health, and in a variety 
of cases have produced skin diseases, paralysis, or disease of 


the brain : avoid all these restoratives, renewers and invig- 
orators of any kind. Use on the hair cold water, plenty of 
brushing, and clean it when needful with a little tepid water and 
ammonia, rinsing it with tepid water and bay rum, and wiping 
and brushing it dry. All very tight or small braiding, all 
curling dH irons, or with hot tongs, all crimping it on wires, 
bits of tin, hair-pins, or with hot pencils, is very injurious; it 
stiiTens the hair, robbing it of its natural gloss and flexibility, 
and it burns and splits the ends, preventing further growth. 
The snds of the hair should occasionally be trimmed off with 
the scissors, and the hair of children should be cut short until 
they are ten or eleven years old. After fevers, or cases of. 
severe illness, it is well to cut the hair short to produce a fresh 
and E.ilken growth. Every person in dressing the hair should 
regard the method which will be becoming to their own faces, 
whether that method is the fashion or not. The fashion may be 
to roll the hair back from the face, but some people with very 
high, broad foreheads and prominent eyes, would have their 
appearance much injured by this fashion. Now beauty is a gift 
of God, and we should be glad to look as well as we can. 
A.gain, '4ie fashion may be to bring the hair well down over the 
forehead, but with some people the forehead is the prettiest 
feature, which it is a pity thus to conceal. So let every one 
arrange their hair to suit their own faces. People should 
always take time enough to dress the hair neatly ; but I put it 
to your common-sense, is it right for a reasonable soul, set by 
God in a world full of work, to* stand for hours before a glass 
dressing the hair ? What good will the time thus spent be to 
them, or to any one else ? I also commend it to your thinking, 
how deplorable it is for any woman, old or young, to come 
down among her family in the morning, her front-hair twisted 
up in colored papers, or over strips of tin, her back-hair 
unbrushed, drawn hurriedly into an ungainly bunch, ends 


dangling, stray hairs flying, dust lying on the hair, and thus 
made hideous, she sits a sort of spectre at the family-table, 
spends the morning cv.t iKr work, and by afternoon, or perhaps 
at nearly evening, she takes out tins and papers, frizzles and 
braids, curls and elaborates for strangers, possible guests, as 
she would not do for her own family; and she comes to the 
tea-table looking very fine, while at breakfast she was a most 
untidy spectacle. Is breakfast so unworthy a meal ? Is the 
image to be left for the day in the mind of father, husband or 
brother of so little consequence ? And, lastly, as to dressing 
the hair — is it right, is it becoming to modest maids, to women 
professing religion, to elaborate and tower up their hair, their 
own and quantities bought, filling it out with rats and cushions, 
folds, puffs, bands, braids, curls, loops, frizzes, to attract the 
gaze of people, kin and strangers, promiscuously, to the face ? 
Behold the extremes: the woman of the Orient hides her face 
under a big veil, as if to be seen were pollution ; the woman of 
the Occident draws her hair far from her face, decorates it in a 
fashion to attract all eyes, sets her hat as far as possible from her 
countenance, and goes out, intent on being stared at." 

The girls all laughed, and some of them blushed. 

" What have you to say about high-heeled boots — real high, 
narrow, French heels ? We are always disputing over them," 
said Belinda. 

" They are among the most dangerous things in the world." 

" Oh, they're not dangerous when you are used to them. 
You can soon walk on them without trippin^j." 

" It is when you have got used to them that they are most 
dangerous. The human figure was meant to stand erect, well 
planted upon its ifeet: whatever throws the body out of this 
ordained equipoise disturbs nearly all of its functions. These 
high, narrow heels — placed not under the heel, but far forward 
ander the foot — destroy the proper position of the spinal column 


in walking. With this column you must know that our nerves 
are closely connected. To these high and ill-placed heels, 
which destroy the balance of the body, may be attributed much 
of the prevalent spinal disease, a very large proportion of 
the diseases and weakness of the eye, and not a few cases of 
Insanity. A famous oculist, one of the most famous in the. 
world, when a patient goes to him, instead of first looking at the 
eye, says : 'Allow me to see your feet ; ' and if he sees a high- 
heel, a narrow, ill-placed heel, he says: 'Go and get a pair of 
shoes with low, squarely-set heels put under the heel of your 
foot, and then I will examine into your eye trouble, and begin to 
prescribe. I can do nothing for eyes where the spine is so 
thrown out of place by improper shoes.' The posture of the 
figure, forced upon the wearers of these shoes, is ungraceful in 
the extreme, and so is the gait. None of the old art masters 
ever chiselled or drew such figures as topple above a modern 
boot. The poets did not mean this plunging, tottering pace 
when they said : 

" 'And in her step the goddess was revealed.' " 

" These high-heeled boots are generally too tight, among their 
other faults," said Mary Watkins. " We laugh at the Chinese 
for squeezing their feet, and then we squeeze our own ; and 
between putting the foot in a false position for its work, 
throwing the weight on the front of the foot, and then cramping 
that, I think the, feet of many American women are as badly 
treated as those of Chinese women." 

" I think," said Sara, " that this propensity of human beings 
to pinch and compress some part of their bodies must be a 
temptation of the evil one to harm that which is made in God's 
image, and which he has pronounced very good. There is a 
tribe of Indians which presses the head out of shape; the 
Chinese devote their deforming proclivities to the feet;- and 


nations Called civilized, especially the English, French and 
Americans, crowd and compress the waist. Which is worse ? " 

"To compress the waist is .surely worse than to squeeze the 
feet," said Mary, " for there we displace and hinder the action of 
organs more vital ; we interfere with circulation, digestion and 
breathing, destroying possibilities of good blood ; the com- 
plexion is ruined, being made rough and broken from watery 
blood, or is sallow and bloodless ; the gracefulness of the step is 
destroyed by distorting the muscles of the sides and hips ; 
people are languid, short-breathed, faint and hysterical, all 
because they think they are better artists than God, and know 
better how a human figure should look." 

" You cannot too strongly decry this practice of compressing 
the waist," said Hester. " Physicians condemn it as destructive 
of human health, and artists scout it as ruinous to human 
beauty. When I was abroad and visited all the famous galleries 
of pictures and statuary in France, Italy and Germany, I noticed 
how very different the artist's idea of beauty is from that of 
the modern mantua-maker and the modern young lady. The 
artist draws or sculptures hair lightly waved or gracefully bound 
about the head, conforming to its contour, and not soliciting 
attention; the figure is erect, the shoulders thrown back, the 
head well poised, not thrown forward from the hips at an angle 
of thirty degrees, with the chin thrust into the air, as modern 
high heels demand ; the waist has its free, natural curves, well 
developed, no narrowness, no sudden drawing in like the 
hideous body of a wasp, which many women apparently con- 
sider a model of beauty. One would think humanity had been 
striving to render itself, as far as possible, unlike the ideals of 
the old masters." 

" It is all very well, Hester, for you to talk," said Miss Black, 
" when you have a figure which needs no helping : you and 
Grace Winton can afford to let your figures be as they were 


" Perhaps the whole secret of that is," said Hester, " that 
Grace and I have never given our figures any hindering; they 
grew as God made _ them, as anybody's might do. I doubt if 
there is any one in this room, except Grace and myself, who. 
from childhood, never had any tight or compressing article of 

" Now," cried Belinda, " I want to hear what Aunt Sophronia 
thinks of trains, long-trained gowns — things I doat on ! " 

" I'm sorry that you do," I said, " for I shall condemn your 
hobby at once. If trains are ever admissible, they belong to 
elderly ladies of somewhat stately figure, who use them for 
afternoon wear in their own houses, where there is no dust and 
dirt to make them revolting, or for such ladies at evening 
parties. The train is, from its weight and from its dragging 
upon the back, owing to its resistance as it sweeps over objects, 
a very disadvantageous thing for health. It impedes free 
motion, and falling about in wet weather in the streets, collects 
dampness around the feet and ankles. The train is wasteful and 
extravagant ; it is seriously in the way of its wearer and of other 
people, while, as it becomes draggled, dirty, wet, and frayed 
from wear, it is an object abominable to behold. It Is one of 
those styles of dress, like huge hoops, enormous bustles, and 
great chignons, designed to attract attention, a thing which no 
womanly woman should desire to do. Besides, I think a train 
is not modest for street wear. The train is caught up in one 
hand ; in so doing, the train and the side of the dress are lifted 
often far above the ankles in a way really immodest. If a 
person appeared on the streets with a dress as far from the 
ground as the dress is frequently lifted by the train-wearer, she 
would be liable to insults, possibly to arrest. A dress hanging 
easily and gracefully, and clearing the ground in its entire cir- 
cumference, is the only reasonable style of walking-dress for a 
lady. Such a dress is healthful, clean, does not weight the 


wearer, does not impede the step, nor occupy the hands; the 
chest and arms can be freely and naturally carried. The trouble 
i"^, that women do not stop to consider what is suitable to its use, 
to their own means, and to their own appearance ; but they are 
carried away by an idea of fashion, so that women professing 
godliness are ruled in so very important a matter as dress by 
fashion which knows no godliness, and which may promulgate 
styles which were invented by very ungodly women indeed. 
But, my dear girls, do you not see that you might question 
what I thought of this, that, and the other item of dress, and 
my opinion would simply be an opinion ? In a few hours your 
preferences or your prejudices would forget my arguments, even 
if they had at first commended themselves to you : you would 
furnish yourselves with new reasons for your previous course. 
What we need, is not to clip at externals, at branches, but to 
strike at roots. There must be great underlying principles upon 
which to rest; we must, as I told you, argue of our dress on the 
grounds of healthfulness, honesty and charity, and when in all 
these respects a fashion is unimpeachable, then we are right in 
adopting it." 

It was now tea-time, and Mrs. Burr came to the back parlor, 
saying : " Miss Sophronia, you have abandoned us elders to-day 
to fall into scandal, gossip, slander, to quarrel over our minister, 
to devour each other : the evil will lie at your door." 

I am not afraid," I replied, " for in these respects all of you 
ladies are a Committee of the Public Safety." 

Shortly after this my nieces were spending an afternoon with 
me, and this subject of dress was renewed. I said that it was a 
subject which concerned greatly the happiness and well-being 
of home. Dress had much to do with health, and health was 
one of the most important home questions. Extravagance in 
dress had a sad effect on the prosperity of a home ; households 
had been ruined in reputation and in fortune by extravagance, 


ambition and emulation in dress; neatness in dress added much 
to the cheerfulness and beauty of home ; a thoughtful avoidance 
of over-dress made our neighbors, especially those of narrow 
means, more comfortable in church, and in companies or social) 
gatherings where we met them. I have known women who] 
were confirmed invalids, from a foolish, dangerous style of 
dressing. I knew of a mother who lost five of her children 
with croup, death constantly shadowing her household ; and this 
mother, while in good circumstances, yet applied so little com- 
mon-sense to dress, that her delicate children wore no flannels, 
and went with bare neck and arms in the winter! Another 
mother of my acquaintance lost all her six children with scarlet 
fever, losing them two by two in several successive winters ; 
these children, elaborately dressed, went around the house and 
out walking, with two or three inches of bare blue leg exposed 
between the short stocking and the embroidered band at their 

An acquaintance of mine was so mad after extravagant dress 
for herself and daughters that, without the knowledge of her 
husband, she ran up a debt of two thousand dollars at one store, 
for dry goods, and to settle this her husband was obliged to 
give up a lot which he had toiled hard to purchase, and which 
would within six years have been worth ten thousand dollars to 
him. This woman's daughters all married, and the husband of 
each one became a bankrupt. Another person whom I have in 
my mind was of a saving, industrious turn, with very little idea 
of fitness or beauty. She would go about all day with her hair 
rough and untidy ; no collar or cuffs, a soiled kitchen apron, or 
an ungainly frock, her shoes broken and trodden down at the 
heel. Her husband became afraid to invite a friend to go home 
with him, being almost certain to find his wife too untidy to be 
seen ; her children, as soon as they were grown, experienced the 
same shame ; all began to stay away from home to find friends, 


and the household was entirely destitute of family comfort or of 
home-feeling. Such instances as these should show us that 
dress has much to do with the happiness and prosperity of home, 
and consequently we should make it a study regarding its 
bearing on health, honesty, charity. 

"I wish," said Helen, "that you would discuss it practical'\ 
for my benefit as regards health." 

" Dress," I resumed, " is designed for covering, for main- 
taining a proper warmth in our bodies, and in so doing to leave 
our muscular action free and unimpeded. If we look at the 
lower orders of animals, we shall see that the clothing which 
grows upon them is altered in its warmth from season to season : 
the horse thins out his hair, and the bird his feather-coat in the 
hot weather; not an animal has a covering which checks 
growth, motion, respiration, circulation. Did God mean man to 
be worse off in his clothing than a brute ? He is left to provide 
his own clothing, and given facilities for so doing, that this 
clothing may scrupulously suit his conditions. We should 
change our garments with the changes of season : not fancy that 
we can harden ourselves to going all the year round with the 
same amount of underclothes. We should reason that a kind 
of underclothes which would prevent our feeling sudden changes 
in temperature would be suitable to us, so that the falling dew, 
a thunder-gust, a cold wind, would not chill us, producing, 
possibly, a dangerous congestion. In winter, we should wear 
heavy flannels; in autumn and spring, those that are lighter; 
in summer, a thin, gauze flannel, but some undergarment of this 
kind should be always worn. The feet should be well pro- 
tected. Fashion may prescribe thin shoes, but common-sense 
says. No : shoes must be thick enough to keep out dampness, 
and the chill of cold pavements. The head needs a screen. 
Fashion says. Put the bonnet far off from the face, leaving the 
top of the head and the ears exposed to the heat, light or cold. 


Deafness and weak eyes prevail marvellously, and people com- 
plain of their misfortunes. Rather, this is their fault, because 
they did not regard their dress in its relationship to health. 
Clothes should not be too heavy, dragging on back and hips, 
and producing spinal and other diseases. They should be 
made of fabrics warm enough without being weighty, and there 
should not be loaded upon them a mass of trimming, which 
wearies the wearer more than to do a day's work. The weight 
of the clothes should be borne by the shoulders, which in their 
formation are fitted to sustain burdens, and will not be harmed 
by a reasonable amount. Our dress should be more plentiful 
out-of-doors than in-doors, and when riding than when walking. 
The throat should be protected in cold, damp or windy weather. 
Some seasons fashion allows a throat to be dressed high, and 
other seasons demands that it should be open and exposed to 
all inclemency of the temperature. But the throat does not 
vary with these changes, and needs as much protection at one 
time as at another. In-doors, too, in stormy, penetrating 
weather, we should add to our clothes. It is idle to say 'it 
looks foolish ' to get an extra wrap on a day when we do not 
feel comfortably warm : it looks wise to preserve as far as pos- 
sible an even temperature. The fashions for children vary in a 
way reckless of infantile life. One while, they wear reasonable 
stockings, high over the knees, and dresses up to the throats, 
and sleeves down to the wrists, and high boots ; then, with 
chests, and legs, and necks well covered, they are comfortable, 
and their health is in a large measure secured. At other times, 
bare legs, necks and arms are the style, and the little unfor- 
tunates shiver into croup and scarlet fever. Dress your chil- 
dren warmly and healthfully, no matter what fashion says. 
Even in summer do not expose bare necks and arms to evening 
air. Also, keep a pair of long, woollen stockings on hand, so 
that if a cold comes to them in summer, or they are attacked 


with any disease of the stomach, or anything akin to cholera 
morbus, the woollen stockings may at once be put on. Dress 
should never compress the part of the body it covers : tight 
arm-holes, tight boots, tight waists, tight bands and belts are all 
njurious. They hinder the free circulation of blood, the action 
Df heart, lungs and digestive organs ; cause headaches, dyspepsia, 
lung diseases and other complaints. Let any person, who has 
worn tight clothing, put on for a week loose but well-supported 
clothes, not garments which slip about and feel as if they would 
drop off, and as soon as the first discomfort of change is gone, 
the relief from pressure will be so marked and delightful as to 
assure one of its usefulness. When you intend to buy, or have 
made, any article of dress, ask yourself whether it is suitable for 
its purpose in covering, whether in lightness and easiness of fit 
it will ayoid all compression or dragging of the muscles, 
whether it will be warm enough for the season and place where 
it is to be worn." 

Mary Watkins had not come with my nieces that day, but 
she heard from them something of the talk; and as I was 
dsiting her within a week or two, she told me she would be 
glad to have me give her my views of dress, as it regarded 

"Our honesty," I said, "concerns our dealings with God and 
with our fellow-men. We owe God a part of our substance -, 
however little we have, we owe a par': of that little to God. 
Among the Hebrews poverty did not exempt from offering 
sacrifice; but i'j regulated the value of the sacrifice: the prince 
could offer a bullock, the poor woman a young pigeon. We 
give according to our ability, but we must give something. 
This is a duty; we should also feel it to be a privilege. Thei^- 
fore the first proposition concerning dress as it regards honesty 
will be, that we must not spend so much in proportion to our 
means, on our dress, that we cannot give something to the 


service of God. Honesty to our fellow-creatures in our dress 
demands first that we shall not dress better than we can afford, 
so that we shall be in debt for our dress. What right have I to 
wear a velvet cloak at the expense of the storekeeper for material, 
and the dressmaker for making it ? I might as well be a beggar 
out-and-out, and go and ask them to give me a coat ; indeed it 
would be far more honorable to squarely beg for it, than to obtain 
it on false pretences, pretending that I am able to pay for it, 
and mean to pay for it, when I cannot. Honesty in our dress 
demands that all that we have in material and making should 
be paid for promptly, but it requires more than this. If I 
am possessed of no capital, and am earning three, five, seven 
hundred dollars a year, I have no right to lay out that much 
each year. If I spend all that I have, and do not get in debt, I 
am not dealing really honestly with the community, for every 
hour I am liable to meet with an accident, to fall ill, to become 
blind or crippled, and so be a pauper on society, forcing my 
fellows to take care of me. Even if through all the ordinary 
working years of my life I am a bread-winner, still age is likely 
to come; few able-bodied people die in harness, and for age, 
honesty to our fellows demands that we should make a pro- 
vision. Therefore, we are not regarding scrupulous honesty in 
our expenditures when we live up to the limit of our income, 
without overstepping it, for we are bound in honesty to con- 
stantly prer-erve a margin, to lay up some proper provision, 
although it may be a slender one, which will provide for us in 
old age, or in incapability from any cause. 

" So you see, Mary, you must, when you consider your dress 
on the ground of honesty, dress so that you can give something 
to God's work, so that you can pay for all that you buy, and 
that you shall not dress so well as to prevent your frugally lay- 
ing by something for time of need. If people scrupulously 

regarded honesty in their dress, they would be removed from 


this painful emulation in fashion, which makes so many people 
miserable. The question with them would be — not what every 
one has or does, but, ' What is suitable to my own means and 
position ?' People would get on that honorable ground of being 
laws unto and judges for themselves. The young clerk in a 
store would not feel that she must dress like the banker's wife 
who comes to her counter ; the young girl in the safe, sensible 
society of the country, whose walks lie through rural roads, or 
in quiet village streets, would not feel possessed to get those 
flaunting styles which some fashion paper declares to her are 
worn on Broadway or Chestnut street. Let her consider that 
she is not to appear on those streets ; that she fortunately has 
something to do in this world more than to idle, worry and grow 
old before her time ; that her father's means are represented 
in land and cattle, and not in bank stock, and that it is not 
needful for her to spend every cent of her ready money in 

" Now, Mary, these sober, common-sense views of what we 
shall wear are not likely to be assumed in a day when we are 
grown up ; they should grow up with us. If our women are to 
dress healthfully, honestly, charitably, then our girls must be 
brought up to have right views of dress, and to think right 
thoughts about it. Begin with your children, in precept, 
example, and practice. Don't bring up the little girl to value 
people for what they have on ; to centre all her little thoughts 
upon clothes ; to make dress the staple of her conversation. Let 
her think with simplicity about dress, and then she will dress 
with simplicity, and simplicity is a thing beautiful in itself, like 
clear light. Let your child's dress be so comfortable, so plenti- 
ful, so suitable to the time and place and need, so tasteful, and, 
urithal, so plain, that it will seem to her a part of herself, a matter 
of course, and she will not think of it in fretfulness, or vanity, or 
Dver-carefulness, but by the time she has grown up it will have 


become a habit with her to apply her reason, her common-sense, 
to her dress, and to have it in accordance with the laws of health, 
honesty and charity. Mothers little think when they lavish, in 
the hearing of their children, praises on people's clothing, admi- 
ration on 'children who are so elegantly dressed,' envious wishes 
that they could procure thus and so for their children, that they 
are training these children to make of dress and fashion an idol, 
on the altar of which they may, in saddest truth, offer them- 
selves in sacrifice." 

Belinda Black had come in to see Mary while we were talk- 
ing, and had taken her place beside me. She cried : " Still this 
vexed question of dress ; what a worry it is ! Don't you think 
it is a pity that there are not some laws to govern it — state laws, 
say, and then we would all know just what we could and should 
wear, and if we put on a thing, we should not be accused of 
extravagance, nor if we left it off, of penuriousness. Suppose, 
for instance, the law was that where people had a thousand a 
year, they might have such and such things, and where they had 
two, five, ten, twenty thousand, such other things. There is 
something like that in my Telemaque, where Mentor at Salente 
has the citizens divided up in orders, each order to wear such 
and such texture and color of clothes. What a saving of 
worry ! " 

" I told you lately," I said, " that legislators had passed laws 
about dress. You have reverted to the ancient idea of sump- 
tuary laws, such as were passed by Henry VII., Henry VIII., 
and other sovereigns, ordaining whether a man's coat was to be 
taffetas or velvet or woollen ; how many gowns, and of what 
material, his wife was to possess ; how many leathern breeches 
were lawful to him, and how long might be the toes of his boots, 
with other rules relating to his household expenses. Thesi? 
laws fitted rather the childhood and youth of the race than its 
sober maturity; we cannot make laws to fit the thousand and 


one causes and exceptions of our lives, but we can find govern- 
ing principles whereby we are bound to try and guide oui 

My next conversation on dress was with Miriam. She said 
to me: 

"Auiit Sophronia, is not the question of beauty to be largely 
considered in regard to dress? Ought we not to cultivatf 
beauty in our apparel ? " 

" Certainly we ought," I replied. " It is important indeed." 

"Then, where in your argument of dress, under the heads of 
health, honesty and charity, does beauty find its place ? " 

" Under the head of charity I' I replied, promptly ; " we owe it 
to charity to be all of us as beautiful and look as beautiful as 
we can." 

" Let me hear something, then, if you please, of the way in 
which you would reason of dress as it regards charity." 

" There is no person," I said, " without some ideas of beauty 
and fitness. All eyes rest with comfortable approbation on the 
neat, graceful and harmonious. They may be pleased without 
knowing why, but they are pleased none the less. The little 
child's face lights up at sight of the ribbon-knot at its mother's 
throat and the flower in her hair. The little boy's first knightly 
gallantry awakens in his satisfaction at his little sister, fresh, 
clean, smiling, though her tiny gown may be only of the poet's 
' sprinkled pink ; ' and in viewing his mother neat and tasteful 
in her work, though the hair may have no ornament but its 
own shining smoothness, and the gown may be a cheap calico, 
if only the colors are in good taste, if fit and fashion are good, 
if collar and knot relieve the throat. The husband, weary from 
work in field, or office, or store, comes to his home, and sudden 
rest falls on him like a mantle, when he sees by a neat hearth 
children with smooth heads and clean pinafores, and the wife, 
who has not forgotten the pretty wiles of dress wherewith she 


first pleased his eye. If the lover has a pleasure in seeing^ 
shining teeth, well-dressed hair, neat hands, a well-shod foot, a 
throat tastefully arranged, has the husband necessarily so 
deteriorated that he will care for none of these things? We 
owe it of dear charity to the taste of our households, that when 
we dress in the morning we shall put our clothes on neatly, 
and make our persons acceptable to the eye, that when we 
come to the table, from whatever work, wc shall come clean and 
respectable ; not with sleeves rolled up, gown open at the throat, 
and dirty apron. Cousin Ann has always had plenty of Work to 
do and often hard work, but she always kept her hair and feet 
neat, a clean collar on, and a white apron, and a knot of ribbon 
on hand in a table-drawer, to slip on before sitting down at a 
meal, or meeting a guest. We owe it to this family charity not 
to sit on Sabbath, between services, arrayed in a frayed wrapper 
and ragged slippers, on the plea that ' we are tired and nobody 
coming : ' we shall be no more tired if we are decent. Indeed, 
when very tired, a change of clothes and a bath are very resting ; 
and we should always feel that our charity in dress begins at 
home, and dress as suitably and tastefully as we can for the 
family satisfaction. This is an example that mothers owe to 
daughters, and mistresses to maids; a courtesy due to hus- 
bands, fathers, sons, brothers. Pursuing this charity of decency 
in our dress, we should beware of getting gaudy, tawdry, slazy 
goods for clothing — things which will be soon frayed, spotted, 
faded, and make us deplorable spectacles as we are ' wearing 
them out.' It is better to have few clothes than very many — 
few, but enough for all needs ; having many dresses, they 
become old-fashioned, and we are encumbered with a quantity 
of half-worn things. Let us be careful in keeping our clothes 
well repaired, renewing them in style and trimming, so that 
they will look decent as long as we wear them. A good, sub- 
stantial article can be used respectably as long as it lasts,. and 


will pay for making over. Let us consider thai it is a true 
charity to gratify good taste, and there are certain almost 
universal laws of taste which we can gratify in our dress 
without extravagance, or over-devotion of time and labor to 
the subject. In buying our clothes we should buy what is 
becoming in color, pattern and style. A large woman, or a 
very tiny woman, looks absurd in thick, rough, heavy cloths, 
which need a tall and moderately slender figure to carry them 
well. A little lady looks pretty in delicately sprigged or 
spotted lawns and linens, wherein a big lady becomes a dowdy. 
A tall woman can wear plaids and flounces : they reduce her 
apparent size and become her well, while they give the little 
woman the shape of a butter-tub. Short, thick women look ill 
in shawls, and stout women should not venture on wearing furs. 
A fair woman is lovely in blue, but her dark sister is made ugly 
by that beautiful color. A big, red, double-chinned face should 
not wear a small, light, airy, delicate hat, even if such hats ' are 
all the style : ' for the white lace, the dainty, drooping plume, the 
spray of forget-me-nots, or hyacinths, brings broadly into relief 
the redness, thickness, or freckles of the skin ; the small hat 
makes the big face still more like a sunflower, or a pumpkin 
blossom. Let the large face be framed in a hat large enough to 
become it, wide or high to suit figure and feature ; and let the 
dark, florid face beware of scarlet, pink or blue placed near it ; 
so surrounded by what becomes it, the large face is handsome, 
matronly, reposeful. Gaudy colors should not be worn in the 
street. They are ill taste in spite of fashion. The young lady 
can wear brighter and lighter fabrics than the mature matron. 
Children should wear small-patterned goods. The prudent 
housewife, intent on charity to her husband's resources, will buy 
for herself what can possibly be afterwards tastefully used for 
her children ; for older girls, what may be made over for their 
juniors. A black silk, a good black alpaca, a brown linen 


«ind a nice merino, are dresses always safe to buy, suitable to 
almost any age, to any complexion, and to almost any circum- 

"Another view which we can take of dress as it regards charity 
is, that when we go to social gatherings we should consider the 
circumstances of the host, and of the company which we are 
likely to meet, so that by a superfluous elegance of dress we 
shall not make some plainer neighbor feel awkward and ill- 
dressed. If you send a child, elaborately decorated in silk, 
embroideries and jewelry, to some child's gathering, where the 
other little ones are in lawn or linen, you foster pride in your 
own child, prevent its hearty play and enjoyment, and provoke 
envy in the others. So in our church, we should take care not 
to go notably more richly dressed than the other worshippers. 
Indeed, for church, I admire quiet, neat, simple dress; forsaking 
th,e pomps and vanities, the world, the flesh and the devil, and 
appearing in the Lord's courts laden down with the world's 
trappings, are hardly consistent. Don't dress a child or young 
girl so gorgeously that, when she is grown up, all fashion is 
exhausted for her, and she must weep and perplex herself for 
more worlds to' conquer. For ornaments use many flowers: 
a spray of leaves or flowers is in order anywhere, from the 
family breakfast to the evening party. Ribbons of becoming 
hue, and fresh and unsoiled, are also suitable everywhere, with 
the calico wrapper or the evening silk. Wear little jewelry; a 
piling on of gold pins, rings, tinkling bracelets, ponderous chains, 
is decidedly barbaric taste. Don't wear a watch to do house- 
work. A small bow, a pearl arrow, or other ornament of jet, 
pearl or shell, is tasteful in the hair. Neither be lavish in 
small ornaments nor despise them, and by taking care of 
what you have you will always be able to appear suitably 
arrayed. Lastly, never get an article too splendid for the rest 
of your wardrobe." 



HE more that I consider the affairs of Home, the more 
am I impres.sed with the importance of the servant's 
position. How much of our home-order, health, econ- 
omy, cheerfulness, is dependent upon the domestic! I 
think the interest, value and duty of this relation are too seldom 
appreciated, its permanency is undervalued. Not only is our 
relation to our servants, or our discharge of duty to them, a 
matter of irriportance in our own especial households, but it is 
of moment to society, to the state. In this relation, as in the 
rearing of our children, the Hon.f; reaches beyond itself, and 
builds or destroys in other home.s. 

If we take a young girl into our house for a servant, and 
find her ignorant, careless, untidy, generally the first impulse is 
to discharge her, and find better help. But stop a moment. 
Do we not owe this girl something — a debt of our common 
humanity ? Possibly she is an orphan, and has had no one 
interested to instruct her ; or she may have parents and friends 
who are ignorant and shiftless, products of the lack of training 
of a former generation, and they have known no good habits to 
impart to this girl. Suppose we do send her away : who is there 
upon whom she has a greater claim, who will take up the task 
ihat we reject and make this girl a useful woman ? If no one 
does this, what is to be expected ? She will be the dirty and 

Wasteful wife of some poor man, confirming him in all his evij 



habits, and bringing into the world a brood of semi-beggars, 
filthy, ragged and unschooled, to be the criminals and paupers 
of a generation to come. How much worse is every town for 
one such degraded family? They are drunkards, thieves, mur- 
derers, incendiaries. What will it not cost the public to look 
after them, from the hour when charity accords to their child- 
hood cold victuals and cast-off clothes, through years of pau- 
perism, tramping, criminal prosecutions, jails, hospitals, the 
potter's field? Besides this positive loss, there will be the 
negative loss. How much better might not the state have been 
for these half-dozen sturdy rascals, if they had grown into 
intelligent citizens, law-abiding heads of families, taxpayers, soil- 
cultivators, mechanics, inventors ? We who, from indolence or 
vexation, fail to take the part of making a young woman what 
she should be, if there is in herself any quality to second our 
efforts — a quality which we can elicit by persevering, kindly 
care — are neither doing our part in the world as good citizens, ■ 
nor as good Christians. 

Again, we often have in our houses girls who are pretty good 
worlfcrs, cleanly, pleasant ; they suit us very well, and we keep 
them : but while they are in our family they are not ^ it; we do 
not interest ourselves in them ; we give them no friendly counsel ; 
we do not look forward to their future, and help them to provide 
for it; they are lonely in our houses — that tie of home and 
friendly interest which every woman craves is lacking to them. 
Our daughters, young friends, and relatives, who are in them- 
selves better instructed by reading, example, and observation, 
we carefully prepare for their future home-life, guard their ac- 
quaintanceships, are anxious lest they marry too hastily, or throw 
themselves away ; but we do not think of these things for our 
maid. So presently, left unwarned and uncounselled, without 
confidants or guardians, she marries when there are no savings 
wherewith to start a home; when she has no substantial ward 


robe; no little store of bedding, and household linen, and 
crockerj.-; when she is indeed too young to assume the cares of 
married life ; when the one small room which will be her home 
is but half-furnished; and so before her will lie a life of poverty, 
toil, discouragement, children for whom she cannot provide, 
possibly beggary ; and again by our negligence the home, which 
might be a blessing and a tower of strength, is never built ; the 
town has one less flourishing household, and one more family 
perpetually on the verge of ruin; the state just so many less 
efficient citizens. The trouble is that we forget in considering 
our servants our common womanhood ; they are viewed by us 
as chattels, as animated machines to perform for us such and 
such offices, and, in regarding them, we forget the human tie, 
that God has made of one blood all the nations of the earth; 
that in Christ we and our servants may become kin ; that the 
believing servant may be received by us as Onesimus by Phile- 
• mon — as a brother beloved. 

There are differences, it is true — differences in station, in habits 
of thought, in associations, in methods of pleasure ; these differ- 
ences are neither for our making nor for our abrogating, nor are 
they necessarily for discomfort, and regretting on either hand, if 
each, as mistres^ and maid, does duty honestly, and cordially 
respects the position of the other. 

I often hear Mrs. Black using the expression, " Nobody but 
the servants," very much as if she would indicate nobody at all. 
Now Mrs. Black is not an unkindly woman, but she regards her 
servants and speaks of them very much as one would of a horse 
or a cow; she seems entirely to forget a common humanity. I 
told her once that this struck me painfully; I thought it was un- 
just to the servant as an individual, unjust to ourselves who had 
the same organs, emotions, manner of birth, human ties, prospect 
of death, and possessed immortality; and unjust to God, who 
made us all of one blood, and in one image — his image, in fac-v 


and the image is His, whether cast in clay more or less lefined, 
as a statuette might be a copy of the Venus of the I.ouvre, 
whether the statuette were moulded in common clay, in iron- 
stone ware, in china, porcelain, or best Sevres. 

I said : " Does it make Martha less human, less an individual, 
to be respected and sympathized with, that the Lord gave het 
to begin with larger hands, stronger muscles, and more simple 
tastes and surroundings than mine? so that these largely 
developed muscles and narrower tastes, united to her sturdy 
honesty and valiant common-sense, have put her for years in 
the position of an invaluable maid, to whom I try to be a reason- 
able and sympathizing mistress." 

" It is easy enough for you to talk that way. Miss Sophronia," 
said Mrs. Black : " everybody knows what a model servant 
Martha is; if you had my servants to deal with, you would 
change your views, I fancy. Here's Martha — been with you 
fifteen years or more, and my girls I get so exasperated with 
that I rush into the kitchen and discharge them about once in 
six months, and new ones prove no better." 

" If I had discharged Martha at the end of six months, she 
would not have been here for fifteen years," I said. " She was 
not half as valuable to me the first year as now. Six months is 
hardly enough to get thoroughly into the ways of a household; 
certainly not enough to attain a fixed, vital and affectionate in- 
terest in it and all its members. These virtues in a domestic 
are matters of natural growth ; they do not spring fully armed 
out of her head as Minerva from the head of Jove. Do you not 
think some of .ttie defects which irritate you in your servants 
might be conquered by your keeping them longer, and educat- 
ing them in your ways, and also by your feeling more human 
sympathy with them; showing that interest; trying to interest 
them in their work and in you ; letting them feel as if they had 
a friend in the house ; as if the house was, while they remained 


in it, their home? Perhaps they see that you do not expect 
them to do very well ; that you ^re on the watch for faults rather 
than for virtues. Suppose you treat them with confidence and 
consideration; do not blame them hastily; something that ha^ 
been done wrong — some breakage, or loss, or careless act — may 
not be theirs at all, and it will seem hard to them to be regarded 
as naturally the ill-doers — the black sheep of the household. 

" More or less, we must trust our servants ; they come into 
the inner life of the home in such a manner that, by all the 
members of the family, they must, in a measure, be trusted ; it 
cannot be helped that they shall hear what we say ; see what we 
do; understand our circumstances, our losses, our possessions; 
suspect many things which perhaps we thought quite out of the 
range of their knowledge. Now thus placed, no quality in them 
is more valuable than trustworthiness , and there is nothing which 
more develops this than to be trusted. If we persist in regard- 
ing our servants as spies, gossips and foes, it is likely that they 
will continue spies, gossips and foes "to the end of the chapter ; 
more than we fancy, we are able to create that in which we be- 
lieve. True, believing a servant honest does not always make 
them so, and very trustful employers have often been egregiously 
deceived; but we never yet made any one better by believing 
them to be bad, and good treatment, good example, and good 
instruction, will go far toward creating for us good servants, 
even out of originally poor materials." 

I have always considered Cousin Ann a model in her manage- 
ment of her servants. I tell her this sometimes, but she says it 
is much easier to have good servants in the country than in the 
city. There is less temptation there for them to hurry their 
work, so that they may run off They have less intercourse 
with companions who may be idle and injurious. When their 
work is done, their time is occupied in reasonable occupations, 
fts reading, and making and mending their clothes; and this 


gives thoughtfulness and stability to their character, and puts 
them on the road to thrift and thoroughness. This is doubtless 
all true. But I have seen excellent servants in the city, and 
very poor ones in the country, and I believe in the old adage, 
'A good mistress makes a good maid." 

I have, when visiting Cousin Ann, and especially when I 
passed a winter with her, carefully observed her ways with hei 
servants, and I have arrived at certain rules by which she guides 
her sway. 

First. She intends to respect her servants in their places, 
and so she clearly gives them to understand that they must be 
respectable. Lying, rudeness, uncleanliness, vulgarity in word 
or act, are not respectable, and, therefore, the servant must 
eschew all these. 

Second. Cousin Ann sets herself the example of what she 
would have her servant be. She .never deceives nor equiv- 
ocates. She is never rude nor ungracious in her order or her 
reproofs. She is exquisitely tidy and orderly. While respecting 
others, she means herself to be respected. She has a quiet 
dignity, removed alike from familiarity and from haughtiness. 
She is calm and kindly. 

Third. She makes obedience to her wishes possible. She 
does not hurry the servant, so that she cannot get tidily- 
through with her work. She does not bid her be cleanly, and 
so crowd her with labor that there is no time for her to bathe, 
comb her hair, dress neatly, make, wash and mend her clothes, 
and set in order her room. 

Fourth. She makes her servants feel how important to the 
well-being of the whole house their good conduct and good 
work may be. She does not hector them with trivial directions, 
but she teaches thoroughly and once for all what she wishes 
done, and she gives them fundamental rules. 

Fifth. She remembers that, like other people, her servants are 

442 "^^^ COMPLETE HOME. 

imperfect, that human bodies, and minds, and hearts may get 
out of order. When they are ill, or even a little ailing, she 
bestows rest, freedom from work, nursing and doctoring, as she 
would to any other member of the family in proportion to the 
needs of the case. She does not ask needless questions. She 
awaits confidence rather than demands it, respecting individual 
secrets and sorrows. She yields ready sympathy with their 
troubles, is not easily offended by accidents or by little nervous- 
ness; and when the usually kind-tempered, willing servant 
appears in a new character, as flustered, cross, hasty of speech, 
she quietly arranges a change of work, a holiday, a little treat 
of some kind, to relieve the unknown pain lying at the root of 
this exhibition. I remember once when I was there, Cousin 
Ann's servant seemed pettish and careless for several days, and 
finally spoke very impertinently to her mistress. Some ladies 
would have reproached her, told her that she had been put up 
with for days, and have then discharged her. Cousin Ann, on 
the contrary, said, calmly: 

" Harriet, you are quite forgetting yourself You have 
seemed to feel worried at something for several days. You do 
not usually act in this manner. Possibly, if you told me what 
the matter was, I could help you. I should be glad to do so. 
It is much better to be helped to do right, than to allow our- 
selves to do wrong." 

Harriet sat down and burst into a flood of tears. Having 
cried for a while she became quieter, and Cousin Ann said, 
kindly : 

" Well, Harriet, what is it ? " 

Then out came the trouble. Harriet had a lover. She had 
supposed him to be a decent young man. She had found out 
that he drank, and had been off on a wild spree. He wanted to 
be taken into favor. " If I give him the cold shoulder," sobbed 
Harriet, " he'll go off and marry Mary McMannus. And I da 


care for him, but I'm afraid of drunkards! Didn't my own 
lather drink, and break my mother's heart, and chase m.e out in 
the snow, until it was well for us that he died i But, oh, what 
will 1 do, disappointed as I am ? " 

Only a servant girl's little love-story and bitter disappoint- 
ment ; possibly some would have passed it by carelessly. 

Cousin Ann sat down by her maid and said, in true sym- 
pathy : " Harriet, I am very sorry for you, and I will advise you 
as I would my daughter. Don't marry a man who drinks. If 
he does not love you well enough to reform for the sake of 
securing you, he will not love you well enough to be kind, nor 
to provide for you, nor for your children. It is hard to be 
disappointed in a lover, but much harder to be disappointed in a 
husband. How would you repent marrying a drunkard, ii you 
found yourself a beggar, perhaps maimed by him in some 
drunken row, or saw little children starved, beaten or driven out 
into the cold night! Be brave, Harriet, to do what is right! 
Now you can be self-supporting, safe and respectable. If you 
married a drunkard, nothing would be left you but misery and 
regret. Now, Harriet, you are tired and excited with your 
trouble and crying: suppose you go to your room and lie down 
a while. And on the table in my room there is a little red 
book which I will give you, and I wish you would get it as you 
go by, and read it through before you make up your mind on 
this matter." 

This little book, as I learned, was a story of a girl who 
married a drunkard. 

Cousin Ann's womanly kindness not only saved her a good 
servant, for Harriet lived with her for four years after this, but it 
saved Harriet to herself Her lover did not reform. She 
discarded him. A miserable sot, he is now in jail for arson; 
while Harriet has married a very good man who works for 
Reed, and has as nice a home and two as pretty children as are 
to be seen anywhere. 


A sixth rule with Cousin Ann is to require obedience to hei 
orders, and an adherence to her plans and wishes in her house. 
She holds the reins and guides her household, and allows no 
contravening of her plans. She does not permit negligence to 
pass unrebuked, or, finding a thing ill done, do it herself, and so 
confirm in her maid the careless habit. When a fault is com- 
mitted, she is prompt on the spot to set it right. She does not 
wait a week and then cast it up. 

These rules of Cousin Ann's I have tried to impress upon my 
young friends for their guidance in managing their servants. 
I remember, when Miriam first hired a grown servant, she came 
to me in a great deal of perplexity. For two years Miriam did 
her own work ; then she took little Ann from me, Martha's 
niece, who had become a very useful maid, and a year and a 
half later she hired a grown girl. She came to consult me, 
saying : 

"Aunt, I don't want to have trouble with my servants, and this 
perpetual changing. How, shall I manage them ? Mrs. Black 
has just been warning me that I must not allow any visitors." 

"What are you going to hire," I asked — "a machine or a 
human being ? " 

" Why, a very respectable young woman," said Miriam. 

"And where is the respectable young woman," I said, " who 
was made without a heart or capacity for friendship ? If she is 
a good young woman, she will have friends of some kind to love ; 
because p-eople are servants they are not made without parents, 
sisters, aunts, or other relatives to care for. They have their 
little interests : they want to know how the neighbor's sick baby 
is, and what new dresses the cousin, who is to be married, is 
making, and if the little nephew looks well in his first trowsers, 
and whether the grandmother's rheumatism is better. It is 
barbarity to take a young woman into your house to work, 
jrourself meanwhile not expecting to be her companion, and 


then saying to her : ' I do not approve of servants having 
friends.' " 

" What shall I do ? That does seem cruel, but Mrs. Black 
says if I am not careful that my kitchen will be full of visitors, 
that the work will be neglected for gossip, that there will be 
diseases brought to the children, that the visitors will be 
constantly taking meals and carrying off things. You know^ 
aunt, I do not want to be stingy, but I must economize, and I 
cannot allow waste." 

" That is all true, my dear, but there is a happy mean in all 
things. You expect to give your servant a part of Sunday, 
and a part of Thursday afternoon, unless something unforeseen 
interferes now and then with this liberty. Thus she will have 
twice a week to see her friends. She will have occasional 
evenings out. When you engage the girl, tell her strictly and 
clearly at what hour you wish her to return on these occasions, 
and tell her this hour must not be overstepped. Tell her that 
you do not like much company, nor company during working 
hours ; but that she is welcome to see her relatives and nice 
quiet friends at proper times, if they leave at the hour which you 
sei for closing your house, and there are not too many at once, or 
those who are noisy. Tell her, also, that you will rely on her 
to see only those friends of whom her near relatives and her 
conscience will approve. You can then kindly notice how 
matters go, and see that your rules are obeyed. Don't establish 
unnatural conditions and needless restrictions : they force people 
toward deceit and disobedience." 

"That calls up another question. Mrs. Smalley visited me 
yesterday, and she warned me solemnly not to allow any 
'followers:' she said xt^z-s, positively ruinous!' 

" What is a follower ? Pray tell me." 

" Why, she meant a lover, a young man paying attention to 

her, I suppose," said Miriam, laughing. 


" Mrs. Smalley allowed her own daughter a follower ; is the 
servant-maid above or beneath such an adherent ? The servant 
girls marry, Miriam, just as frequently as their young mistresses. 
Indeed, I think there are fewer unmarried women among the 
working classes than among those a little better off The maid 
has a heart, the natural affections of a young woman ; she likes 
to be admired, to think that there is some one who esteems he: 
above all the world. For fear of losing her place and her means 
of livelihood, she m?.y agree to have no ' follower,' but she will 
have one none the less. Prohibited receiving him in her neat, 
warm, well-lighted kitchen, in the protection and respectability 
of the household, she will hang over the back-gate, hide in an 
area, make an appointment at a street-corner, or at some not 
first-class eating-house. A young Lzdy who did this would be 
condemned at once and lose her credit ; is it any less dangerous 
for the servant-woman to put herself in such a position? 
Mistresses who claim to be very particular, perhaps even by thus 
being unjustly particular, are often responsible for the ruined life 
and character of some servant, whom their womanly sympathy 
and guardianship might have saved to be a happy wife and a 
good mother. The compliments which your servant appreciates, 
the little gifts which she accepts, the amusements to which she 
is escorted, are not those which would suit your taste; but so 
long as they are decent and honest, we have, underlying all, the 
common womanhood, the common sentiments and instincts God 
implanted, and those we should recognize and respect in our 

1 treatment of her." 

"Then I had better allow a follower? " laughed Miriam. 

" You can tell your new maid frankly, that you do not think 

. it suitable for any young woman to have the calls of a promis- 
cuous troop of young men; you should not allow your own 
daughter, if she were grown, liberty for anything of this kind; 

• neither do you approve of a young man coming every evening. 


or staying late ; if she has any particular friend, approvea. by her 
relatives, and of such character as could frankly come to a 
gentleman's house, then she can receive him, and you will trust 
her to treat you openly and honorably in regard to him. It will 
not be hard for Mark to find out something of the real character 
of this friend ; if it is vicious, you cannot allow him to come tc 
your house; you owe it to yourself and to your maid to forbid 
him the premises, and to warn her of her danger in the acquaint- 
ance. You are the girl's God-ordained guardian while she is 
with you. If her friend is of the right sort, try, by the advice 
which you occasionally drop, and by the reading which you put 
in her way, to give her a sense of her duty : of the need of thrift 
and careful preparation for married life." 

"Why," said Miriam, looking very grave, "this hiring a maid 
means then a good deal more than simply to get some one tc 
wash dishes, bake, iron, sweep and dust." 

" Indeed it does," I rejoined ; " it is taking into your family 
band another pilgrim bound for eternity; here is another human 
soul come into your keeping; not white and unwritten like the 
soul of the little child, all open to your inscribing, but much of 
false teaching and evil habits, of preconceived notions, of fixed 
opinions, may be there to combat your efforts to lead them in 
the right way." 

"What a responsibility!" cried Miriam; " but give me one or 
two plain and simple rules, so that I may feel, resting on them, 
that I have some solid ground beneath my feet I want some 
starting-point for my new work." 

" I give you the same which possibly I have given you in 
regard to children — for in many respects our servants come to 
us on the plane of children. Have laws like those of the Medes 
and Persians — unalterable laws, so that they shall know what to 
depend upon ; and have privilegfes like an Englishman's house, 
frhich is his inviolate castle. Don't let servants think that you 


do not mean the thing which you say, either in your own be- 
half or in theirs. When you promise them a favor, keep your 
promise; respect their privileges; be cordial in giving them their 
holiday afternoons; all work, unrelieved by amusement, makes 
any one dull and listless ; it is bad for morals, health, and foi 
brains ; uninterrupted work is intolerable : it comes at last to tor 
ture us, like that famous dropping of water. I have known i. 
maid so heartless, that after two years of service, where she was 
kindly treated, she coolly walked off to take her Thursday half- 
holiday, asking no questions, making no apologies, and leaving 
her mistress bending over the bed of a dying child. That was 
one instance of brutality. I have known many instances where 
the servant voluntarily and cheerfully changed her afternoon 
out, or gave it up entirely because of guests, or sickness, or be- 
cause of some work which she saw it would be a pleasure to 
her mistress to have out of the way. Where there is kind con- 
sideration shown on the one hand, it is usually reciprocated on 
the other, and in virtue of her position the mistress must take 
the initiative in this interchange of good offices." 

It is a cardinal point in the creed of some persons that servants 
are a trial and a nuisance, and that it is a great cross to be 
obliged to keep them. This is a false idea. To take service is, 
and always must be, one of the ways in which a large number 
of human beings get their living; other human beings who have 
house-room, money, and work, must then take these people in ; 
this is one of their duties to the world at large, and one of the 
things which the Lord set for them to do, in the way of provid- 
ing for their fellows, as he provides for them. 

I think the next person with whom I conversed on this sub- 
ject was Mary Watkins. She came to me one day saying that 
she had made arrangements to take a girl of fifteen from a city 
institution, and keep her until she was twenty-one. 

Said Mary: " I hope she will be a good girl to me, and I Wcint 


to be a good mistress to her. I should be sorry if she finished 
her stay with me without being in every way better for it ; what 
main methods shall I take for her improvement? You know I 
have very little experience with servants, for hitherto I have 
had none but a little ten-year-old from the village, and my 
mother did not keep help after I was twelve years old." 

"The foundation, Mary," I replied, "of good character and 
efficiency in service lies in sound religious principle ; this stim- 
ulates zeal, unselfishness, honesty that is above eye-service ; h 
furnishes something in the servant to be relied upon. We 
should give our servants all the religious help possible. A Bible 
should always be furnished for the servant's room ; the work 
should be managed so that she can go to church at least once 
weekly ; she should always be at family prayers. If you see he) 
indulging in unchristian conduct, give a Christian admonition ; 
endeavor to furnish good reading for her leisure hours on Sab- 
bath ; do not expect the maid to enjoy a volume of sermons, nor 
Baxter's 'Saincs' Rest;' the young, robust, and partially edu 
cated, do not take to writing of this kind, but they will enjojr 
' Pilgrims' Progress,' a religious magazine, a church paper, the 
' Tales of the Covenanters ' or of the Waldensians. Show youf 
friendly interest in your maid by giving her a decent room. 
Don't give a mass of ragged bed-clothes, a poor tick and pillow, 
and begrudge a clean sheet and pillow-case each week. Don't 
ask her to be neat, and then give her no appliances for hei 
toilette, so that she must wash and comb in the kitchen. Put a 
bowl, pitcher and comb-case in her room ; a chair ; a stand for 
her light and books ; a pincushion ; at least one strip of carpet 
by the bed ; put up hooks for her clothes, and do not deny her 
the decency of a curtain to the window ; if you can spare her a 
little bureau, or a chest of drawers, so much the better, and a 
shoe-box. Her room thus tidy and well equipped when she 
goes into it, you can impress upon her the need of keeping it a« 


nice as any part of the house ; and where there is any neglect, 
remark upon it immediately. 

" Girls who have a comfortable room furnished thcni generally 
appreciate it. I remember a girl coming to iVIrs. Burr and 
being sent up to her tidy room, where there was, among other 
things, an illuminated text on the wall, and a pot of flowers in 
the window. She came straight down before laying off her 
bonnet, and said, with tears in her eyes, ' I came to thank you 
for such a nice room. It looks just as if you wanted to make 
me comfortable and self-respecting, and I shall try to do my 
very best for you.' 

" Be careful, also, and treat your servant kindly, while you do 
not forget or fail in your own position. Don't think because 
you have a rigid to command that it is best to be forever 
issuing orders; there is no law against your nttcring requests. 
Another important point is — not only for the good of the ser- 
vants, but of your children — see to it that the children treat 
your hired help with courtesy. Teach them to say ' please ' 
and 'thank you.' See to it that they do not wantonly make 
work, and that they heed requests and remonstrances, and dc 
not allow them to hinder the girl when she is busy. I have 
seen children so shamefully ill-bred, that they would come in 
when a girl had just finished a weary scrubbing of a floor, and 
tramp about on the wet wood with dirty feet, j ust for the sake of 
soiling it, or throw mud on a newly cleaned window, or slop 
water over a stove or table, merely to vex the doer of this hard 
cleaning work. Do what you car. to lighten work : not in the 
way of allowing neglect, for that never really makes anything 
easier, but by furnishing any possible appliances to make the 
work easier. If you can afford a clothes-wringer, and a box- 
line protector for the clothe.s-line, and a drain for suds opening 
near the washtubs, have these things to lighten toil. Have 
posts set firmly for your clothes-lines, with bars or hooks for 


fastening the line; for what is more vexing or exhausting 
than to spend a long time in sun, frost or wind trying to tie up 
a line for which no proper provision has been made, or, after ail 
one's tedious efforts, to have the clothes tumble down in the 
dirt, and all needing to be rinsed over again ? 

" Try to set your maid a good example, and give her good 
advice in matters personal to herself Teach her how to make,, 
mend and cut out clothes : what a blessing and saving this' 
knowledge will be in her future home ! Do not set her an 
example of untidiness by sending ragged clothes into the wash, 
and letting her see yo7i using things that need mending. Let 
her realize that you think it a positive duty to darn your 
stockings, mend all your clothes neatly, and turn all that you 
have to the best use. 

" I commended a poor woman once for being a nice house- 
keeper, and said : ' You seem to have some witchcraft in making: 
things last long.' 

" She answered : ' It is all owing to a good example that I had 
when living out. My mistress never let anything go to waste. 
When the sheets began to wear, they were turned ; as needed, 
they were darned and patched; and when large sheets gave 
out, they were made over into narrow ones for single beds. 
Table-cloths were darned in every little break, and when too 
much worn for the table, they were cut into towels and fringed 
or hemmed for use over bread, pies, cake and so on, in pantry 
and cellar. The pillow-cases were darned neatly where they 
cracked ; so were towels ; and old towels were doubled and 
sewed into neat wash-cloths. An old crumb-cloth, long darned 
and mended, when finally worn out, made us first-rate kitchen- 
towels. Nothing was wasted or neglected. As with the house- 
linen, so with the family clothes. You should have seen the 
neat mending ; the fine darns in stockings and handkerchiefs ; 
the rough edges of petticoats turned in and over -sewn; the 

462 'J'iJE ^OMl'LETE HOME. 

worn edges of collars and cuffs trimmed with a ruffle of lace. 1 
learned there that things take a long while to wear out : they go 
from use to use for years.' 

" Now this woman on very narrow means was rearing a family 
of children in decency, and making her little girls as wise and 
thrifty as herself. How far had the example of that faithful 
housekeeper extended for good ! And, finally, for I am talking 
altogether too long, and telling you more than you are likely 
to remember, govern your own conduct to your servants by 
principle, and they will be influenced by your example to be 
well principled in their conduct to you. Nothing is so potent 
as good example in securing respect and imitation. Don't lose 
your temper; reprove with firmness, calmness and moderation.'' 

When Sara set up housekeeping, her mother-in-law, Mrs. 
Winton, gave her some good counsel about her maids. She 

" Let them look for your coming where they work as an 
encouragement, because you will help them to see their work 
more clearly, and you will be able to suggest good methods for 
doing it well and quickly. Let them expect your presence as 
an incentive, because you will kindly commend what is good. 
The kitchen-maid has been scrubbing, polishing, window- 
washing, until she is really tired and uncomfortable. You 
come in and remark: 'Ah, it is a pleasure to come into such a 
neat kitchen as this.' You happen to go to the tin-closet, 
orderly and shining ; you remark : ' This closet is a treat to look 
at : it does you great credit.' The girl is saving. She tries out, 
clarifies and strains drippings ; saves bread-crumbs for dressing 
cutlets or fish ; makes a nice white bone-soup ; takes pains with 
your property as if she had .herself paid for it; and you say: 
' I am pleased that you are so thrifty : it is useful to me, and will 
be very useful to you. The young man who secures such a 
wife will be fortunate.' Now these commendations go a great 


ways : they pay for over-weariness. The maid feels rested and 
refreshed by a good word, and is stirred to go on to better and 
better things. Again, the servant should look for your pres- 
ence as a warning against carelessness. Don't go into a kit- 
chen, find things going wrong, and, sighing hopelessly, retreat 
discouraged. You go into the kitchen and see that after break- 
fast the dish-towels were not washed ; the sink has been wiped 
out, but is not really clean; there is dust left in the corners; 
the hearth is untidy ; the broom stands on the brush and not 
on the handle. Speak promptly to the point. 

" ' Catherine ! see how you have left your broom ; hang it up 
when you are done with it ; but now, before hanging it up, take 
it and sweep your kitchen nicely — see the dust left in these 
■ corners. I see you have forgotten my rule about washing these 
towels ; now I shall put them into this pan, and put hot water 
and soft soap on them ; as soon as the kitchen is swept, wash 
these towels well and hang them up ; then add some sal-soda to 
the suds left and scrub out this sink carefully ; if you rub your 
finger on the inside you will see that it is greasy. Never think, 
Catherine, that time or strength are saved by carelessness. I 
hope I shall not see this neglect again.' Let the servants feel 
that your quick eye will note every omission, and that you will 
not fear to correct it." 

One day, when we were visiting Hester, she said to Mrs. 
Winton : " Why are servants so poor and so much complained 
of now-a-days ? The race of reliable maids seems dying out. 
I have excellent servants, but most people complain." 

"The ueason is," replied Mrs. Winton, "First, that of late 
young women have grown up in ignorance of housekeeping, and 
do not understand how to manage either house or maid : poor 
mistresses make poor maids. 

"Second. It has become the fashion to complain of the hired 
help; mistresses have fallen into a habit of exaggerating faults 


and making themselves out to be martyrs : little comes whence 
little is expected. 

" Third. We have fallen into an emulous habit of keeping too 
many servants; several maids, none of whom have full occu- 
pation, quarrel, neglect their work, assigning it to others, and 
realize the proverb that Satan finds mischief for idle hands. 
Better to have too few servants than too many ; don't call in extra 
help because the neighbors have more maids than you, but 
because you absolutely need more help. A friend of mine with a 
large family, finding that with four servants her work was nevei 
done, and could not get done, instead of hiring a fifth, discharged 
one of those which she had, and remarked that then if the work 
were not properly done she would try keeping but two servants; 
there was no more trouble, the work was done on time, well 
done, and no one was overtaxed. 

"The fourth reason for our poor servants is, that they are 
discharged on small pretexts; one does not try to mend 
matters by keeping and teaching them, but by dismissing them. 
They half learn the ways of a dozen or a score of families, but 
never wholly master those of one. Families go into the country 
or to the coast for six months, or four months, and turn off the 
help, or some of them, and expect the next fall and winter to 
hire others who will look to a similarly short term of service. 
Who can expect good help in such circumstances ? 

" Fifth. We have poor servants because we hire them too 
hastily ; we do not scrutinize their antecedents and characters, 
and we are not particular enough to tell them exactly our 

" Sixth. We are often too indolent to have household laws, oi 
if we have them to execute them. Our domestic judiciary and 
executive are both weak and insufficient. If we would only say 
what we mean, and mean what we say, our servants would obejf 


"The seventh reason for our having poor servants is, that 
we do not reaUze the blessing and comfort there is in good 
ones; we say we Hke a good cook, a nurse who keeps the 
children clean and quiet, a housemaid who dusts thoroughly, 
ooaks her brooms once a month in boiling suds, hangs them up 
'jvhen she has finished using them, and sweeps with a long, even 
stroke, keeping her broom to the floor, and not flinging the 
dust into the air; but we mention our liking these good 
qualities much as we say we like a horse that does not shy, a 
cow that does not kick, a chicken which is fat and tender. We 
do not comprehend that this servant may be in sorrow a self- 
forgetting sympathizer ; in sickness a devoted nurse ; in losses a 
staunch adherent ; that her devotion being deserved may become 
as intense as that of our nearest relations, that she may serve 
our children with almost maternal self-abnegation." 

If there is any one who can appreciate these remarks about 
a faithful domestic, I think I should be able to. Martha 
ha!s for years been with me, devoted to my interests, regarding 
all my joys and sorrows as her own. She takes the greatest 
pride in my nieces' children, and is constantly thinking of some 
way in which she can benefit them or their mothers. When 
Miriam has had sickness in her family, or her servant has been 
obliged to be absent for a day, Martha has risen early and 
retired late, that she might not only do my work, but bake, or 
iron, or cook for Miriam. All that Hannah has of efficiency as 
a servant she owes to Martha, who took her in hand, taught her, 
instructed her to consider Helen's interests as her own, helped 
her, persuaded her to remain in her place and not run from 
family to family; and really Hannah is now a very good maid, and 
a great blessing to Helei., who could hardly get on withput her. 

Martha, besides having good habits, a good heart, an 
conscience and a readiness to learn, has also good brains, and 
she invents things for herself; meanwhile, she reads and remem- 


faers. She has culled recipes and hints about housekeeping 
from numerous papers and books, and has pasted them in 
several scrap-books, which she kept in the kitchen on the shelf 
with her Bible, her hymn-book, and perhaps some other book 
which she was reading. Seeing her interest in these things, and 
anxious to gratify her, I went to Mr. Smalley, and had him 
make me four little book-shelves, swung on a stout cord : they 
were made of white wood, and stained dark. These I hung up 
in the kitchen between the windows, and then I carried in and 
placed on them various books which I have on house-work, 
cooking and the like — " Mrs. Glasse's Cookery,'' good if old, 
"The British Housewife," "Blot's Lectures,'' and a number of 
others. Martha was highly gratified by this attention, and I 
often find her, when her work is done, poring over these vol- 
umes. I have frequently given Martha books — religious books 
— a story or two, and once I took a magazine for her for a year 
or two. It was not exactly such a magazine as I would have 
preferred for myself, but it was simple and varied in contents, 
and suited Martha so well that she had the numbers bound. 

I have found the good of Martha's brains in various little con- 
trivances. One year I thought our well-water was not very 
good, and I meant to have a new well dug. I said I must 
get meanwhile a filter ; there was none in the village, and before 
X could send to town, Martha made a filter. She bought a very 
'Urge common red earthen flower-pot, with a hole in the bottom. 
She set this in the top of the water-cooler, where it just fitted 
when the lid was taken off; she put in the flower-pot, first, a 
layer of nice brook-pebbles, then a layer of sand from the brook, 
then one of charcoal, broken pretty small : she repeated these 
layers until they filled the pot. Then on the pot she set a 
water-bucket, with a small augur hole bored in the bottom ; in 
the pail she poured the water for filtering: it percolated the 
various layers in the flower-pot, entering the cooler pure, as it 


it had passed through the best patent filter. Mary Watkins was 
much pleased with this piece of ingenuity. She said : " If I 
only had a cooler, I would arrange a filter in that way, for our 
well-water is poor." 

Martha's ingenuity extended over Mary's case. She said r 
" Except for a little trouble in lifting when you want a pitcher 
of water, Mrs. Watkins, you can do just as well, if you set the 
flower-pot in the neck of a four or six gallon stone-jar ; and if 
you pin around that a piece of an old blanket, or several thick- 
nesses of crash towel, and keep that wet, the water will be 
nearly as cool as ice-water." 

Another time I went into the kitchen, and found Martha sur- 
veying, with much pleasure, several rhubarb pies and a dish of 
green currant sauce. She said, with an air of triumph : "Ah ! 
I've got the better of the sour things this time!" 

" How is that, Martha ? " I asked ; " did you put in extra 
sugar ? " 

" No, indeed, ma'am ; they've always used too much sugar for 
my fancy. No; I'll tell you what I did : I pui the fruit to stew, 
and when it was half done I put in each pot-a small, even tea- 
spoon of carbonate of soda (baking soda), and that, ma'am, 
somehow ate up the sourness of the fruit, so it wasn't mu/;h 
Ciiore sour than dried peaches, or black cherries, or blackberries, 
and I've saved about half the usual sugar, and I've got a pie that 
tastes fairly elegant — indeed it do." 

"Why, Martha," I said, "you are quite a chemist." 

" La, ma'am, I saw how to do it in a book, and 30 I tried, and 
it's turned out quite. beyond my expectations." 

"As you have been so saving, you had better carrj' one of 
those pies to your sister-in-law for her Sunday dinner, and tell 
her of your new way of sparing sugar, and it may help her 
in her housekeeping; we should teach all the economy we 


A servant so faithful and thoughtful, one would say, deserves 
all the little aids and conveniences that can be given her ; I have 
been careful, since Martha, like myself, is growing elderly, to 
have a comfortable rocking-chair in the kitchen for her to rest 
in; and I have placed her in a room over the kitchen where 
there is a drum from the kitchen stove, so that in cold weathei 
she will be comfortable. Much of Martha's faithful thought- 
fulness, however, comes from the instruction and good treat- 
tnent which she has always received from me ; she would say 
so herself 

As an illustration of the good which one can do to the public 
at large by faithfully training their servants, I will mention the 
case of three maiden ladies whom I knew in my youth. In 
those days we received many Irish emigrants, young girls come 
over to seek service — " raw Irish " they were called, and indeed 
tbgy were very raw. Wages were then very low; a dollar or a 
dollar and a quarter a week was a large price in the towns, and 
in the city a dollar fifty and a dollar seventy-five was handsome, 
while two dollars was enormous pay. In the small towns wages 
sank below a dollar to seventy-five, fifty, forty, even twenty- 
five cents for " the raw Irish." In those days dry-goods were 
low, and eight yards of calico made a maid a decent frock! 
These ladies of whom I speak were admirable housekeepers ; 
being in narrow circumstances, they could not aiTord to give the 
wages of a skilled servant, besides they felt that they had a duty 
to the strangers on our shores, and that one of their modest 
ways of doing good might be to take some of these emigrants 
and make them useful women. Accordingly, they always took 
a new Irish girl; she could not be so ignorant as to damp their 
zeal. They taught her personal neatness; saw to it that she 
bathed, combed her hair, and cleaned her teeth ; they taught her 
to mend her clothes, put in order all that she brought with her, 
which was little ; and though they gave but thirty-seven cents 


in wages, they were able, among the three, to provide her many 
good garments by teaching her to make over their own laid-by 
clothes ; they taught her to fit and make her dresses ; to make a 
neat bonnet ; on Christmas she got a good new shawl or coat." 
she was taught to read, and, if she had any aptitude, to write ; 
she was also taught plain cooking, bread-making, housework, 
'aundry work — all of the best variety. No girl left service with 
them without knowing how to read, sew, and do general house- 
work ; then when a year and a half or two years had put her in 
possession of these arts, the good ladies sought among their 
friends, who always were eager to get a girl of their training, 
and found her a place, where she got a dollar or a dollar ano 
a quarter a week, while they took another case of raw help to 
develop into industrious, capable womanhood. Doubtless they 
had a score of these girls, some staying less time than the others, 
all leaving them well equipped for life ; and these servants, in- 
stead of being shiftless, vicious, dirty pauper-makers, finally 
settled into decent and thrifty homes of their own. Who can 
estimate the value of these good ladies to the town in which they 
lived, to the state, to humanity at large? 



|AMES FREDERICK BLACK is by no means the least 
promising of our young men. He has been very inti- 
mate with the Winton boys ; our minister thinks a 
great deal of him ; he is fond of asking deep and far- 
reaching questions, and he tries to improve ; so, in spite of 
various disadvantages in Home-training, I think James Fred- 
erick will turn out very well. I hope so, I'm sure, not only for 
his own sake, but he is paying attention to Cousin Ann's 
younger daughter, and I think a great deal of her. Speaking 
of the questions which James Frederick likes to ask reminds 
me of one that he put to me recently. Mrs. Burr had a very 
large gathering at her house celebrating her silver-wedding. 
She usually invites a number of friends on each of her wedding 
anniversaries, but on this especial occasion almost every one in 
our village and in the neighboring country was asked. Of 
course there was a good deal of talk about family life, home 
duties and so forth. By-and-by James Frederick and one of the 
Wintons came to me, and said : 

'Aunt Sophronia, you are to tell us how to make Home 
happy, and give the means of doing so in one word." 

I thought for a minute or two what phrase would cover the 
most ground, and said : " Good management." 

They went off to a group of young people, apparently to 

report my answer, and James Frederick returned, saying, 


"That word would include a great deal, would it not?" 

"Certainly," I replied; "the good management must extend 
to health, finances, order, the training of children, our sooieu 
duties, the making the best of our possessions, so that we shall 
secure from them the largest amouiit of comfort. You may 
have in your pantry, or on a table, all the component parts of a 
pound-cake, but unless thtey are judiciously put together you 
will have no cake. So you may have this, that and the other 
element of happy home making, but unless they are wisely 
brought together and blended you will not have a happy 

" Homes where all these elements are so nicely blended," 
said James Frederick, "are so few, that I fear some great, 
exceptional, overpowering genius, some Michael Angelo of th<? 
Home, is needed for the infinitely varied task." 

" No, James Frederick ; it is merely conscientious persever- 
ance in little things which is demanded. It has been well said 
that 'To do common things perfectly is far better worth our 
endeavor than to do uncommon things respectably.' " 

About a week after this Martha suggested that Miriam had 
desired me to spend the afternoon with her. She artfully con- 
trived that I should wear my best gown and head-gear. About 
half-past six Martha came after me, saying that a friend wanted 
me. I went home and found my house warmed and lighted 
from top to bottom, and I caught sight of the dining-table, 
drawn to its fullest length, with all my silver displayed, and a 
great pyramid of fancy cakes and macaroons, for which Martha 
is famous. The Blacks and Hester were in the parlor. I saw 
that Martha had joined a surprise-party conspiracy. Presently 
other guests came until there were about twenty-five young 
people, and James Frederick informed me that they had come 
expressly to hear me expound how to make Home happy. No 
Pther conversation was to be allowed. The young ladies had 

462 mE. COMPLETE i:OME. 

brought baskets of their best culinary samples, to prove that, as 
far as cooking went, they could make home very happy indeed. 
In an instant the chairs were drawn around me in a double 

" Begin," cried Dick, autocratically. 

" Where shall I begin ? You have taken me so by surprise, 
that I begin to feel as if I never so much as heard of the insti- 
tution called Home, nor how it could be made happy." 

" Give us some hints about buying furniture and putting it in 
a house," said James Frederick, saucily, whipping out his note- 
book. " I'm going to buy some soon, and I want to know." 

Cousin Ann's daughter grew very rosy, and hid behind her 
sister, Sara Winton. 

" Well," I said, " if a heterogeneous mass of hints will be of 
any use to you, you are welcome to them. You give me no 
time for better presentation of the subject. 

" First, as to providing furniture, be most liberal in providing 
conveniences for rooms which you will use most. Do not stint 
the kitchen to trick out the parlor : do not deprive yourself of 
proper pots and pans of a good, durable carpet for your bed- 
room, and a side-table for the dining-room, in order that your 
parlor may have a great looking-glass. A housewife -spends 
much time in her kitchen : let it be neat, tastefully arranged, 
provided with conveniences which shall save disorder. Get 
solid, substantial furniture : don't be deceived by pretty sounding 
adjectives. It will be no advantage to your dining-table to be 
light and elegant: it might break down under your first big 
dinner. Neither should chairs be light and elegant: they might 
crush like an egg-shell under the first fat man. It is better to 
get less furniture, but of a good, firm quality, than a deal of 
flimsy stuff Do not get showy carvings and colorings, unless 
expanse is of small account to you, and you can change your 
■ furr. ishings frequently: black hair-cloth of good quality, spite of 


all the revilings cast at it, is far better than a cheap red or 
green reps which will soon fade or crack. If you do not 
expect to refurnish frequently, avoid getting furniture of odd 
forms ; get plain shapes, not with dozens of curious curves : in a 
little while the eye wearies of these, the fashion changes, and 
they are a source of disgust. Get carpets of solid quality, 
subdued tints, small patterns, that are like knov/n things : only a 
Turkish carpet can venture to lead the mind into the weary 
mazes of a crazy man's dream of things unknown to creation. 
Remember and not crowd your house over-full at first : there is 
use and pleasure in buying things as a need for them develops : 
the eye is refreshed by a new picture on the wall, and a new rug, 
ottoman or stand, put just where a lack had seemed to be. For 
woods, in a parlor or handsomely furnished bed-room, you are 
always safe in getting a good oiled walnut ; for bed-rooms where 
you desire to avoid expense, cottage sets of painted bass wood 
are neat, pretty and enduring; for a dining-room, oak, and it 
pays to get oak chairs seated with maroon leather. . Don't forget 
when you are buying a table that it is for use ; that a chair is to 
sit in, and so should be comfortable ; that a bureau is for use, 
and that its drawers should be strong, with good locks, opening 
and shutting easily, and deep. Let there be harmony in your 
furniture : don't get one fine and huge article which will stare 
all the rest of your simple surroundings out of countenance ; a 
fine, carved, tall, marble-topped buffet would look ill-placed in a 
small dining-room, with an old-fashioned, leaved table, and thin- 
legged, cane-seat chairs. When you are furnishing, from the 
beginning, any room, consider harmony : get a carpet, a wall- 
paper, and furniture, which harmonize; don't have a wall- 
paper in pink flowers, a bright red carpet, and a cottage suite in 
light blue. When you add furniture to rooms already partly 
fitted out, get what harmonizes with the rest, and supplies a 
felt need. When you put your furniture in your rooms, let the 


rooms mean something ; don't let them have a dreary, soulless 
look, as if human emotions had nothing to do with producing 
them, and they had been set in shape by machinery. Group 
your furniture comfortably; put chairs, stands, books, pictures, 
where people would naturally use them. Study artistic effect : 
this study increases the beauty of present possessions, and trains 
the taste of the family. A gentleman paid his wife a grand 
compliment, when, looking into the pretentiously dreary quarters 
assigned him as a government officer, he* remarked : 'Well, it 
does look frightfully, but it will be all right when my wife 
comes ; she could create beauty and a home, out of a fragment 
of the Sahara and a half-dozen newspapers.' Finally, don't 
crowd your rooms: we all want breathing space." 

" Tell us, if you please," said Grace Winton, " some ways in 
which we can make articles of furniture for ourselves, if we have 
not much money to lay out in our houses?" 

" I suppose you all know," I said, " how to make a chair of a 
barrel, sawn into shape, and covered with chintz, over stuffing. 
So also an hour-glass stand is an article often made of two 
round boards, nailed at either end of a stick' two and one-half 
feet high, and two and one-half inches in either diameter. Let 
your board-top be as large as you wish your stand ; cover first 
with old muslin, and then with fancy chintz or muslin ; furnish 
the top with a central pin-cushion and a circle of pockets ; and 
tie the draping muslin, at the centre of the support, into the 
form of an hour-glass. Foot-cushions are pretty, and easily 
made of patch-work. You can have a lovely bracket by fasten- 
ing to the wall a board of the right size, and putting on it a 
cloth cover with a depending edge cut into leaf shapes or trian- 
gles, and the whole embroidered with silk in Oriental applique: 
the skirts of a worn-out black or blue coat will furnish you this 
covering. A dry goods box, some colored cambric and white 
Swiss, with ribbon, will make a toilette table. A good lounge 


can be made of a frame, a cushion, stuffed with hay or husks, 
evenly tacl<:ed, and the whole nicely covered with chintz, or 
indeed with calico. Chintz^ lambrequins are pretty and simple 
for windows ; full curtains of buff, white, gray or pink lawn to 
suit the general tone of the room are pretty, but not especially 
cheap. You can make shades by stretching unbleached muslin 
on a frame, rubbing evenly into it melted beeswax and rosin, 
and when that is dry, putting on a coat of paint and one of var- 
nish. However, the only curtain cheaper than bought shades — 
and a pretty curtain it is — is made of fine unbleached, with a 
binding of red or blue plain calico,- and a bias of the same an 
inch wide, set one inch from the border ; these, frilled at top and 
bottom, are very tasteful, cheap and durable. A very good car- 
pet for a library or room not to be roughly used can be made in 
this way : paste over the floor a thickness of heaviest coarse 
brown paper ; when dry, paste (not glue) another layer, and so 
on for three, or even four. Cover with a coat of cheap gray ©r 
yellow paint. Then all around the edge, paint a heavy inch- 
wide line of deep reddish brown ; match that line fifteen inches 
farther in if the room is large, ten inches or a foot if of medium 
size. Between these lines paint in a solid color to suit yourself 
and when dry lay on it, in some other color, arabesques or 
leaves. There is your border. Fill the centre in of a solid 
color, say deep blue or dark green ; if you choose, you can 
paint a central medallion or some corner pieces. When well 
hardened, lay on a heavy coat of varnish. This carpe*: must not 
be swept or washed, but carefully wiped off with a woollen cloth, 
pinned over a broom. Lay mats where the heaviest wear 
comes ; and if varnished once a year, or repainted where dam- 
aged, it will last for years. Indeed, love and need united will 
teach us very many ways of furnishing comfortably our homes 
at small expense. Necessity in the Home, as elsewhere, is the 
mother of invention." 

466 "^^^ COMPLETE HOME. 

"And how shall we keep this cosy, tasteful home when wo 
get it?" asked Miss Black. 

Hester, who sat by me, thinking me a little tired, said: "Let 
me preface Aunt Sophronia's remarks, by giving you a quota- 
tion from a French author, Sauvestre : ' I hate an aspect of dis- 
order, because it indicates either a scorn of details or inaptitude 
for interior life. Arranging the objects in the midst of which 
we live is establishing between us and them bonds of appropri- 
ateness or convenience : it is fixing habits without which man 
tends toward the savage state. I should be suspicious of the 
good sense and morality of people, to whom disorder costs no 
vexation, or who could live at ease in Augean stables. Our 
surroundings reflect more or less our interior natures. If tastes 
did not betray character, they would be no longer tastes, but 
merely instincts.'" 

" Hester," said I, " has struck the key-note of my answer to 
your last question. We shall preserve and enjoy this happy home 
by good order. We must take care of our properties : worn^ 
out carpets, soiled and ragged table-covers, broken-springed and 
dented furniture, windows mended with paper and putty, marred 
walls, cracked dishes, give a forlornness to our homes. We 
must ourselves be methodical, orderly, careful in our use of 
things, and see to it that servants and children are so also. 

" I have seen homes which children were permitted to turn 
into kingdoms of misrule. I remember one such, very well 
furnished to begin with : the children played with everything in 
the house ; they played that the chairs were horses, cars, carts ; 
these conveyances, to increase the general joy, overturned 
occasionally ; as you may fancy, there was hardly a chair in the 
house uncracked and undented. They took the family umbrellas 
and spread them, for caves and dens of the earth, on the dining- 
room floor, in their hilarity rolling over in them, and bending 
the wires and ruining the handles. They took all the shawls in 


the house, pinning them together to drape the dining-room table 
for a wigwam. This topsy-turvy play left neither table, nor 
chair, nor rest for the sole of an adult foot. The tranquil 
mother never woke up to the need of stopping it, until her 
husband, cold, wet or weary, appeared at one door, and the 
remonstrating maid at another, vowing that supper was being 
ruined because she could get neither table nor chairs, 

" If these children chose to play Chinese laundry, they tied 
strings all around the bed-room, and pinned thereto every towel 
in the house. Their father, come to make his toilette, stands 
with face and hands dripping, finding the stand plundered of 
napery, and shouts for a towel, losing his temper. The servant, 
coming to set things in order, cries ' she never saw such 
children,' tears down the lines, and thrusts away the towels 
promiscuously : clean ones, half-folded, in the drawers, other 
clean ones among the soiled clothes, dirty ones on the stands, 
and for days confusion is produced thereby. 

" The fashion for sofas then being a long sofa with high arms, 
these children had a favorite game of sitting on the arms and 
letting themselves roll violently back on the seat. Imagine the 
way springs would break and covers wear out in that sport! 
They draped themselves in the embroidered piano and table 
covers to play charades, and tried gymnastics by jumping up 
and down stairs, as hard as they could piound, over the nice 

"As you may guess, things wore out in this house. The 
mother vexedly declared she had not a decent room, and could 
not keep a thing in order. The children played snow-bank in 
the feather-beds as soon as they were made up, and when beds 
were negligently left to air until noon, they trampled the clothes 
around, making tents of them. The mother desired money for 
various uses : the father, an orderly man, sourly remarked ' that 
there was no use of laying out money j nothing was taken care of 

468 "^'^^ COMPLETE HOME. 

in that house.' The bed-linen, towels and shawls were ruined 
by pin holes, the furniture was worn and marred, anything was 
good enough for a menagerie or a monkey-house ! Meanwhile 
the children were not happiei for this license and disoidei 
They missed dainty taste, and nice furnishings, and the repose cl 
good management ; especially as they grew older they found 
themselves dwarfed, fretted and discouraged by this lack of 
order and thrift in their home. 

"Contrast such a house as this with Cousin Ann's, wheie 
children were taught that all things were to be put to theii 
proper uses, and that the children themselves must help take 
care of things. I never saw a child there making a horse of a 
chair, or playing the coffee-mill was a steam-engine. Cousin 
Ann knew that children liked to play horse, and each child had 
a pair of knit reins, a broom handle with a famous horse's head 
of cloth on it ; and Cousin Reuben sawed, hewed and painted a 
grand hobby-horse, with hair ears, tail and mane, and a red 
leather bridle — a hobby-horse which served each child in turn, 
and has gone to a grandchild. 

" The children did not play den, wigwam and cave, in the 
house : they had for the house suitable plays and enjoyed them; 
but I have often in fine weather seen Cousin Ann, even when 
very busy, take time to teach her children how to make, in the 
yard, a wigwam of branches, or of old palings, or a tent of some 
discarded rug or cloth. If your neat, tasteful furnishing is to 
avail you anything in making home happy, you must take cars 
of it, for unthrift and disorder are the ruin of homes." 

"And what," demanded Belinda, "are some of the small ways 
in which, without thinking of it, we destroy home happiness ? " 

" One is in lack of courtesy, in failing to use the refinement 
and politeness at home which we think suitable abroad. But 1 
nave talked to you a deal' on that head. Another error is lack 
^punctuality. This is a serious drawback to home happiness, 


Wid is utterly needless. We can be punctual if we make up our 
tpinds to it. There should be an exact minute for ringing the 
bell for each meal ; an exact minute for setting out for church ; 
when we plan to go out, we should set an exact minute for 
going, and we should be ready on time; we have no right to 
waste other people's time; to rile their tempers; to keep affairs 
<rom going smoothly by being behind-hand ; it is as easy to be 
five minutes too soon, as five minutes too late ; lack of punc- 
tuality is a domestic crime. I do not believe Mrs. Winton ever 
kept any one waiting in her life. She exalts the social virtue of 

" I don't think," said Grace Winton, " that mother ever did 
keep any one waiting ; I thought once that she had kept me for 
five minutes, but I found that my watch was wrong. Once she 
hired a servant — very good, except that she was unpunctual. 
Father said to her: 'My lady, you've got more than your match 
in this woman ; if you get her nearer the mark than any time 
within an hour, you'll work a miracle.' 

" But in a month that woman was punctual to the minute. 
The way mother accomplished this change was making a main 
object of it. For instance, the time for dinner came ; into the 
dining-room walks mother and bids the boy ring the bell. 

" ' Oh, ma'am, dinner is not quite ready ! ' 

" ' I'm truly sorry : it ought to be ; ring the bell : it is time for 

" So the bell rang ; in we all came, and solemnly waited foi 
the dinner. Not a word more of reproof; that waiting was as 
weighty a reproof as any words. 

■' Then in her zeal the woman got the meals ready too soon, 
and mother would say : ' Luke ! why is that bell ringing ? it is 
ten minutes before the hour.' 

" ' Please, ma'am, dinner's on the table.' 

" ' Then carry it back to the kitchen ; ring the bell at the 
Tiinute, and we will come.' 


" She never kept the meal waiting ; if the woman sent word, 
'Shall I serve supper? the young gentlemen are not in yet,' 
mother responded, ' Set on supper at the minute, and the young 
gentlemen can take their chance.' 

" Our servants soon rejoice in our household- punctuality, and 
it reaches out and pervades the gentlemen's business ; they 
know jusi when they shall get to their offices, and they know 
just when they should leave. They arrange their work with a 
view to this, and find it as easy to be on time as to be irregular, 
and it is much better for health." 

" Much obliged, Grace," I said ; " we will all try to profit by 
that leaf from your mother's housekeeping book. Now I think 
of another thing needful in making Home happy. Don't get 
excited over small matters. Every one is liable to make mis- 
takes,, and \s& should not treat a mistake as a capital crime. 
We should not cast a gloom over the whole house because the 
sugar-bowl is broken, or the butcher did not bring the beef 
The broken bowl may make somebody more careful, and a little 
ingenuity can compass a fine omelet folded over some minced 
veal or beef, or oysters, while a half pound of cheese, cooked in 
cream and crumbed crackers, will be a side-dish, and we shall 
have a decent meal after all. There is no use condemning the 
terrified maid who has spilled the gravy, as if she had murdered 
our best grandfather ; we shall perhaps grow to be unlucky if 
we always whine over our ill-luck ; let us clear up our faces and 
see where the joke comes in, and mingle a little comedy with 
our high tragedy, and our homes will be much the happier 
for it." 

"Another way to make Home happy, and a very common- 
place way it is, is to have enough to eat ! " 

" Yes," cried Dick ; " that's what I like — let us hear about 

" Give you ten minutes on that, aunt," said Hester, " and then 


it will be time for our supper, which Martha, Ann, and .Hannah 
are laying out in fine style." 

"A family table," I said, " should always be provided with an 
ample supply of palatable, nourishing, well-cooked, and well- 
served food. The expense of this food must be graduated by 
the fulness of the family purse; some people can afford the first 
strawberries and green peas ; can eat game and fowl when these 
are dear, and can take the best cuts of beef and mutton ; they 
are not obliged to be economical in providing for the table. 
Other people must study the strictest economy in their family 
marketing ; unless one has a hobby — as costly books, rare coins, 
jewels or lace — the table is apt to absorb the greater part of the 
]iving-money, and our wastings and our savings are alike most 
marked in our larder. But while we undertake to economize in 
our meals, we must, as an old man was wont to say, do it 'Judg- 
matic ally ; ' it is no real saving to buy too little, or unwholesome 
food, for what we save in this direction is likely to be taken off 
by doctors' and druggists' bills. However, there are very many 
cheap articles of food which are quite as nourishing and pala- 
table as those which are more expensive ; if we cannot buy sirloin 
roast, or the finest porter-house steak, there are on the beef nice 
boiling pieces, which sell for about half the price of these choice 
cuts, yet are to the full as nutritious when well cooked ; if we 
put the boiling-piece into cold water, and let it boil as hard as 
it can, uncovered, we shall get little in vigor or flavor for our 
money; but if, tightly covered, and well seasoned, it is put into 
boiling water, and then kept gently simmering for several hours, 
according to its size, you have a piece of meat which is relish- 
ing and wholesome the first day ; will be nice when cold, slicea 
thinly and covered with salad dressing; will cook over with 
vegetables into a fine Irish stew; or minced fine, with seasoning 
and potatoes, and poured over toast, will make an excellent 
hash. A little parsley, a lemon or two, with rice for curry, or 

j72 the complete home. 

mashed potatoes and sliced carrots, will afford almost endless 
methods of cooking over such a bit of meat, and each time it 
^^''ll be agreeable to eye and palate. Samp, hominy, cracked 
wheat and cracked oats, are invaluable articles of diet, and are 
all cheap and capable of being cooked in many ways. In all 
Dur country districts milk is cheap, and is in itself one of our 
finest articles of food. If we cannot afford preserves, jellies and 
canned fruits, we shall find dried peaches, apples and black- 
berries very cheap, and even more healthful. 

" In order that at each meal there shall be abundance, variety 
and attractiveness, and this within the scope of our means, we 
must have foresight in our housekeeping, and be provided in 
advance of demand. Some housekeepers never ha\'e anything 
ready in advance: they are always on the eve of bankruptcy 
in the larder. Now it is not only as cheap, but much cheaper, 
to have things made ready in advance of need, and in large 
enough quantities. If you keep plenty of bread on hand, you 
have the means of making milk or butter-toast, bread-pudding, 
or you can steam the bread and set it on the table as nice as 
when fresh from the oven ; you can make a well-seasoned 
stuffing and re-dress with it, and roast the meat left cold from 
yesterday, and, ornamented with parsley and lemons, it is a dish 
for a queen. If you provide little jars of jelly and marmalade, 
little pots of pickles, have cheese dry ready to grate, and meat 
enough for a salad, or a dish of sandwiches, you can set a 
luncheon before guest, or member of your family, without con- 
fusion or delay. It detracts much from the happiness of home 
ro feel that the unexpected appearance or invitation of a friend 
will be like a bomb-shell flung into the domestic camp. And 
yet when people have never anything ready, and the entrance 
of a guest means a mad chase after a Shanghai and a frantic 
mixing of biscuits, welcomes can scarcely be of the most 
cordial. That mother of a household is a treasure indeed, whg 


is always able to offer a lunch to friend or family, to pack a 
delectable basket for a pic-nic on an hour's notice, to prepare, in 
hot haste, a tasteful luncheon for a traveller to take on boat or 
cars. Speaking of luncheon, you remember somebody says that 
Pitt died of not eating luncheon. Where the dinner hour is late 
people should not fast from breakfast until dinner. The system 
runs out of supplies and begins feeding on itself; the brain 
burns up the body ; like the fires of a distressed ship, where fuel 
is exhausted, it burns up cargo, and wood-work, and lining to 
keep itself going, and, if the craft continues to float, it is a mere 
wreck. If we have dinner at four or five o'clock, then we 
should not go to bed without supper : for the fast of fourteen or 
sixteen hours until breakfast is too great a tax on our vitality, 
[f we play tricks on our physique, and like the man famous 
among fools, try to make our working beast live on a straw a 
day, we shall, like him, find the brute, dying just as the experi- 
ment reaches its climax." 

"And what shall this luncheon be ? " asked Mary Watkins. 
" Chocolate is very nice in cold weather, and lemonade in hot 
tveather, if you can afford it. Where rich milk is plenty, 
nothing is more delicious than a dish of brown bread and milk, 
and a plate of fresh berries. Sandwiches, either of ham, beef or 
tongue, are good. A salad is always in place. A delightful 
salad can be made of white lettuce, bleached turnip-tops, and 
celery finely cut, and wel' -dresser^ with the salad mixture 
already recommended to you. A good white soup and stale 
bread make a fair lunch also. Cold chicken; biscuit sliced 
thin ; plain ' training-day gingerbread ; ' a plate of thin bread 
and butter to accompany a plate of sardines laid out whole 
and dressed with thin rounds of lemon, or of cucumber-pickle ; 
a dish of crackers, and another of mixed figs and raisins — aU 
these are good for luncheon. Have little cake or pie for that 
I'leal, but plenty of fruit" 


"And what is reasonable for supper, if one dines at four of 

"A glass of milk and some sponge-cake ; a thin slice of bread 
and butter, and a baked apple ; a sandwich of grated tongue ; a 
sandwich of very thin bread, buttered and seasoned ; and boiled 
&^^ sliced very thin and used instead of meat. Perhaps, for 
cool weather, the very best supper of all is what we borrow from 
the Scotch : a dish of oatmeal porridge, eaten either with new 
milk or with butter and sugar. Figs and fresh grapes are always 
in order : one can hardly eat too freely of either ; and for most 
people a small cup of cream and a slice of brown bread is a 
treat fit for the gods." 

We were now called out to a supper which was beautiful to 
the eye and delectable to the taste, and very joyfully received 
by the whole party. I thought my guests would, after supper, 
branch out to more general subjects, and consider that they had 
had instruction enough for one day. But, no; when we were 
again in the parlor the insatiable James Frederick returned to 
the charge, saying : 

"Aunt Sophronia, you hinted that we should try to be in 
order at any time to receive a friend at our table, without bein? 
put to extra trouble, or begrudging the entertainment. People 
also sometimes want to ask half-a-dozen friends or so to a little 
dinner. Give us some hints how to do this in simple good 
taste, when there is no one to prepare the feast but the lady ol 
the house and an inexperienced Biddy or two. One would 
not wish to make much display, nor to be in danger of being 

" Neatness, simplicity and hearty good-will are never ridicu- 
lous," I replied; " and we must call these to our dinner-party. 
In the case you suggest, I would recommend that as many of 
the preparations as possible be made on the preceding day, so 
that the hoste-;s will spare herself fatigue and hurry on the day 


when she must entertain her guests. Let the table-cloth be 
spotlessly white, and ironed to a high polish ; ditto the napkins : 
and the cloth and napkins must be ironed in folds to match, 
whether straight folds, diamonds, triangles or boxes. Be careful 
to stand the table straight, and lay the cloth exactly straight : a 
side-table must have a smaller cloth, ironed to match. Have a 
centre-piece of flowers, plain or elaborate, to suit your means and 
taste ; a pair of clear glass-bowls, filled with lumps of ice, set at 
matched distances, are an addition in ornament, and have the 
■ advantage, thus used, that when they begin to show their melt- 
ing they can be removed with some course, while if the ice is 
mingled in the centre-piece, it must stay, and become sloppy. 
If the table is very large, a couple of small boats of flowers can 
be added where there is room. There should also be a bouquet 
on the side-board. On the side-table should be placed the 
plates and other dishes requisite for changing the table. Every 
dish and every article of glass should be brightly polished; 
the silver should shine, and everj'- shining salt-cellar should be 
freshly filled and printed in a small stamp. The soup-ladle 
should be placed where it is to be used : so with the fish-trowel 
and the tablespoons. Accurate table-setting is needful to pre- 
vent confusion, and unless the servants are skilful the mistress 
of the house had better spread the table herself before she goes 
to dress. Where the first course is soup, a square or oblong 
piece of stale bread should be laid on the napkin at each plate, 
By every plate place two forks, a knife and a spoon : where there 
is soup that is first course, and nothing else should be on the 
table; but remember to have your caster polished and well 
filled. When the soup or other plates are removed, do not let 
them be piled together, but that of each diner removed sepa- 
rately on a little server. During the serving of the soup the 
waitress will stand with a small server at her mistress' left hand 
to take the soup to the guests. Have your side-table in order* 


a dish of butter neatly stamped and two goblets, with spare 
nat'kins with colored borders folded in points, improve its 
ap:)earance. When the fish is set on, warm plates must be laid 
be'bre each guest — no one wants fish on a cold plate. A boat 
of fish sauce and a dish of salad come on with the fish. Most 
cooks say, no vegetables with fish ; nothing but an appropriate 
sal id; but some people like potatoes with fish, and the best 
rule for dinner-giving is to please your guests' taste. Therefore, 
you may, if you choose, send potatoes on with fish, dressed in 
this wise : pare them evenly, and soak in cold salt water for an 
hour ; wipe and slice as thin as paper ; have a sauce-pan of lard 
as hot as can be without burning ; drop the slices in, a handful 
at a time ; skim out with a skimmer in a couple of minutes, or 
as soon as you see that they are done ; sprinkle with fine salt, 
and pile on a platter, whereon is a fine napkin laid diamond-wise 
with corners turned in : properly cooked, these potatoes will 
not grease the napkin. Around the edge of this dish should be 
parsley leaves, and lemon-peel chopped fine sprinkled over the 
farsley. The broiled fish is improved by slices of lemon laid 
wver it. Before removing the fish, carry away the fork and trowel 
on a clean plate to the side-table. After the meats come fowls 
and vegetables, for which hot plates must be served round. The 
table must be finally relieved of all used dishes, of casters, and 
unused silver and salt-cellars. If nuts are placed on the table 
with dessert, salt-cellars should be passed around to each guest, 
as nuts are always unwholesome eating without salt. After this 
removal of dishes the table should be brushed with a curved 
crumb-brush upon a small tray, or a large plate if you have no 
tray. Let there be no haste nor confusion in making the 
changes ; let the host and hostess converse easily with their 
guests, and show no nervousness ; if any accident occurs, the 
!ess said about it the better, and restore tranquillity as soon as 
possible Extra napkins and a damask towel, also a wide knife 


and a soup-plate should be in reserve on the back of the side- 
table, quickly to repair any spilling of water or gravy. When 
you use finger-bowls, they, with their colored damask napkins, 
should be set at each plate as soon as the cloth is brushed : it is 
well to sprinkle a few drops of cologne or of patchouli upon the 
water of each bowl, but never any musk, as that is very, offensive 
to some people. If such a misfortune happens as that any dish 
is spoiled — as a burned fowl — and cannot be brought to the 
table, let the hostess give no hint of the disaster, and make no 
apologies. However, if she has given to the last possible min- 
ute a wary eye to her kitchen, such disasters are unlikely to 
occur. I have said nothing of serving wines ; I only mention it 
now to assure you that a dinner can be served in good style and 
in perfectly good taste without a drop of wine, or other fermented, 
malt or alcoholic liquors used in preparing it or served with it, 
and I entreat you all heartily to set yourselves against the 
drinking customs of society, and avoid putting on your tables 
that which may be the ruin of your own households and a snare 
to the soul of your neighbor." 

" I'm a temperance man from this out," declared Jamps Fred- 

" I'll give a dinner next week," laughed Sara ; " it looks so 

"Yes, it looks easy," cried Belinda; "but after all there is a 
tremendous amount of work to be done in a well-ordered house- 
hold, and how is one ever to do it?" 

" I suppose that is where the good management conies in," 
said her elder sister. 

" That is it exactly," I said : " good management makes all 

this work move easily in its proper order; it takes away the 

attrition and drag caused by disorder, people see their way 

through each day, and know that for another day's work there 

will be another day. Now I cut lately from a newspaper a 


paragraph by an observing correspondent, and I pasted it in my 
scrap-book. Grace,,it is worthy of being well read, and there- 
fore you shall read it." 

I handed Grace my scrap-book, and she read as follows : 
" We see so many farmers working hard from the beginning 
of the year to its end, and that year after year, till life ends, 
with such small results, that we do wish to impress upon the 
community the true principle of economy a farmer's wife once 
expressed to us in one word — calculation. We found her a 
slender-looking woman, surrounded by a flock of children, and 
having the care of a dairy of a dozen cows, with no Bridget to 
assist her, and still everything moved on like clock-work. The 
children were tidy, the house neat, the cooking nice, and the 
butter of gilt-edged quality. We watched her to study the 
secret of her economical management. She never seemed to be 
in a hurry, certainly never in a fret, but went from one thing to 
another as calmly and pleasantly as the butterfly goes from one 
^ower to another. We noticed that she had every convenience 
for her work. Water flowed constantly in her kitchen and 
dairy-room, and her churning was done by dog-power. We 
A^ere satisfied, however, that the secret of her efficiency was not 
in churns, dogs, water, nor any other conveniences for labor, 
and we finally asked, ' How do you accomplish all your work 
with such apparent ease ? ' With a toss of her bead and a 
pleasant smile she replied, ' By calculation. Before I go to bed 
I set my table and make all arrangements for breakfast. Before 
I get up in the morning I think over the labors of the day, and 
plan everything out, assigning each duty its time, and when 
the time comes I attend to the duty — and now the time has 
come for me to skim my milk ; so please excuse me.' Upon this 
she bowed herself out with the grace of a queen. We could not 
help thinking, happy is the farmer that has such a help-meet." 

After a little discussion of the theme of good management in 
domestic work. Grace said: 


" H,ow time flies, and there are dozens of things which I 
wanted to ask Aunt Sophronia to give us a few suggestions 
about. There are so many little ways of adding to the hap 
piness of home." 

" Yes," said Ned Burr, " and one of my favorite ways i 
keeping house-plants. I dote on them. They make a hous 
twice as handsome, and there is always something fresh, curiou* 
and interesting in them to look at. I mean to have plenty of 
them in my house. What say you about them, ladies ? " 

" Some people have the knack of keeping them, and have 
splendid luck with them," said Miss Black ; " but as sure as I 
try to have any, they die of a hundred diseases unknown before, 
somebody runs into my stand and knocks it over, or a terrific 
freeze reduces them all to black stalks." 

" Diseases are often occasioned," replied Ned Burr, " by the 
green plant-fly which sucks out their juice, or by worms in the 
pot. For the fly, soapsuds or weak tobacco water syringed 
over the plants, or washing leaves and stems in ammonia water 
with a camel's-hair brush will be a means of riddance ; for 
worms in the pot, wet with weak lime water ; the red spider is 
a vile plague, but a shower-bath and moist air will settle him. 
If your flowers mould or mildew, blow a little sulphur powder 
on them through a quill." 

" Some plants fall ill," said Sarah, " from too dry air ; a pan 
of water should stand on the stove, or a wet towel should be 
hung over the register to moisten the air. Sometimes the fee- 
bleness of the plant is caused by lack of nourishment : ammonia 
water supplies this ; at other times the earth gets packed too 
closely in the pot, and no air meets the roots : it is well to stir 
the earth lightly with a fork. Each pot should have drainage, 
and flowers should not be kept too wet, especially in cold 
weather, for it causes them then to frost more easily. We 
should remember the ways of nature: leaves and stems are 


wet and washed by the summer shower, and often a spaking 
rain penetrates even to the lowest roots and ' fills all their veins 
with coolness ; ' but the earth is not all the time sodden on the 
surface. Plants need fresh air several times a week : if the sun is 
shining and the temperature is not too low, open the window 
upon them and let them breathe ; give them sun according to 
their kind. If they get frost-nipped, set them in a dark place 
and shower them daily with cold water, gradually raising their 
temperature. When the plant promises to bloom too early, nip 
out the flower bud. When a branch or leaf cluster puts out in 
an ungainly place, nip it off Sometimes when the plant is 
sickly, a close pruning and removing it to another pot will help 
it. Pick off dead leaves : do not let them exhaust the plant by 
hanging on half-withered. If plants are to add to the happiness 
of home, let the home have a share in them : let the children 
own some and cultivate them, let them be used to decorate the 
table, and to send to the poor or tlie sick. The plants will look 
better for all the good they can be made to do. Let each 
member of the family have his favorite flowers ; some prefer one 
kind, some another. Plants should be on a strong stand that 
cannot be readily knocked over, and which is on casters so that 
it can be moved occasionally in cleaning the room." 

" Speaking of house-plants, and of their care in winter," said 
Hester, " reminds me of that long, cold season when the day. 
light flies early. If home is to be happy, we must have some 
entertainment for these long evenings. Even where the family 
are engaged in study, there are some free evenings, and an hou^ 
or so each evening to spare. A home is not fulfilling its mission 
where the family must go abroad to find all their entertainment." 

" That is true," I responded ; " and first, one thinks of music 
as a family entertainment. Where young people have musical 
taste, and . can sing and play together, and are able to have 
two or three instruments, as piano, organ, flute, violin or guitar, 


rfiey will pass many hours in innocent happiness, entertainiag 
themselves, and pleasing the friends who come in. Another 
very charming accomplishment — one, indeed, which has no 
superior — is that of reading aloud well.. As some families are 
all good musicians, so there are some who are all good readers ; 
in either case the faculty should be sedulously cultivated. Some 
families are happy in possessing both readers and musicians. 
By good reading I do not mean loud, excited, tragical tones — 
these often strain and weary the hearer ; but good reading seizes 
the spirit of the piece read, understands its heart meaning, and 
through the ear translates it to the listener's heart. It gives the 
fun, the pathos, the excitement, wonder, logic, or confusion and 
quaint turn, which were in the author's mind. 

" In good reading there is nothing mechanical. It is not 
droning over a certain set of sounds, which mean nothing to the 
heart of the reader, and, consequently, not to that of the hearer. . 
The reader must be in a certain sympathy with what he reads, 
and by some subtle magnetism he will compel the sympathy of 
his listener. This is an accomplishment which seems to be 
always in place. There are in many households some whose 
eyes will not permit them to read much for themselves ; or 
there are some who can illy spare time to read. The busy 
mother finds herself in a strait betwixt two : she wishes to read 
and enjoy the last book, or to take the paper and find out what 
is going on in the world ; but she has the family mending to do. 
How much more swiftly will her needle fly through rents and 
darns when a good reader is filling her ear with sweet sounds 
and fascinating descriptions, adding to the ' charm of the poet, 
the music of the voice.' By reading, many can be gratified at 
once. Little children are generally fascinated by the reading 
even of things which they do not understand, and there is no 
finer and surer way to develop mind than this. Young people 
may be led, by the charm of being read to, to follow such works 


as Bancroft, Motley, Macaulay, Rawlinson, and other weighty 
writers. The siclc, unless they are very siclt, find the hours of 
illness beguiled of their tedium by a good reader. He who 
reads well can bring in their full impressiveness to the invalid's 
ear some suitable passages of Scripture. Nothing more culti- 
vates good taste, intelligence and family affection, than this 
accomplishment. Be sure, then, and all learn to read well 

"And," said Miriam, " next to the art of reading well, let us 
set the art of telling a story well. What can make the family 
table more genial, than to have some one tell, really well, an 
appropriate and not too long story? It persuades the mind 
from care, and awakens that jolly laughter which promotes 
digestion. No art is more needful to a mother than this of 
story-telling. It charms away the pain of a sick child ; dis- 
sipates a fit of sulks, or a quarrel, as the sun pwts to flight a 
cloud ; while children's minds seize best the moral lesson con- 
tained in a short story. We have in the Parables an example of 
conveying teaching in a tale." 

" I never could tell a story well," said Helen. " I begin, 
' Well, once upon a time,' but I come to the end of everything 
almost immediately. The middle of my narrative is exactly 
like the beginning, and the end is just like the middle, while all 
the parts are as near each other as peas in a pod. My story is 
just like that horrible thing they used to torment me with when 
\ was little : 

" ' I'll tell you a story of old Mother Gorey, and now my story's begun i 
I'll tell you another, about her brother, and now my story's done.' " 

We all laughed at Helen's description of her truly Arabian 
powers ; but Hester said, briskly : 

"You can tell a story well if you only think you can, Helen. 
You have made a very nice little story of your trials in this line. 
Forget that it is a story that you are telling ; put out of your 


mind everything but what you are talking about. When you 
read, or hear a nice thing, go over it in your mind several times 
thinking how best to tell it. Tale-telling is an art worthy of 
cultivation. A good story-teller is a good talker, and a good 
talker is always welcome. Like a new Curtius, he throws him- 
self into the awful chasm which will open in the midst of con- 
versations, and so rescues, if not his country, the company." 

" If it is lawful to compare small things to great ; as said the 
shepherd, talking of great Rome and Mantua," said Ned Burr. 

And as it was now quite late my merry guests departed, 
declaring that the evening had been as profitable as it had beea 



|UR last Christmas week proved a very agreeable and 
instructive occasion to many in our village. We re- 
ceived a great deal of information about the Homes of 
Other Days. It happened that at a church sociable, 
held about the middle of December, Mr. Winton made some 
remarks about Christmas as peculiarly a home festival ; not only 
is it the festival which with gifts and games seems especially 
dear to children, and most warmly celebrated in homes where 
there are young people, but it commemorates the birth of the 
Christ Child, the setting up of the family of Joseph and Mary, 
the coming near to men of God as a Father, and Christ as an 
elder Brother. This led to some talk about the various lands 
where Christmas is celebrated, and about the various centuries 
in which this holiday has been observed, and so on to talk of 
Homes in different ages. 

I think it v/as Hester who finally proposed that Christmas 
week should by us be dedicated to a set of sociables at various 
houses, whereat our host should tell us whatever was possible 
of some ancient fashion of home, using whatever illustrations 
of picture or relic might be convenient. 

" The first of these homes which we discuss," said Mr. Burr, 
" must be the patriarchal, and I propose that we hold our first , 
meeting at the parsonage, and our minister shall tell us what he 
knows of man's earliest home-life." 

" It is probable," said our minister, when we were all seated 


in his parlor at our first Christmas sociable, " that the domestic 
life of Terah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was very much like 
that led by the patriarchs before the flood. We must remember, 
first, that the very long lives of men in those days would be 
likely to advance rapidly art and invention, and we must not 
look upon these early fathers of our race as living in a gross or 
barbaric state, but surrounded by the simple comforts of life ; 
and next we must remember, that while these patriarchs lived 
a wandering life in tents, continuing probably much of the 
manner of living of the Antediluvians, in Chaldea, and Egypt, 
and possibly in other countries, men were- living in cities, 
raising great buildings, tombs, palaces and temples ; were going 
to war, and devoting themselves to manufactures, and agri- 
culture, and all the arts of life. But the tent-life of the 
patriarch is our earliest model of the Home. Before the Flood 
the children of Seth most likely abode in the territory called 
the Land of Eden, and worshipped God before the fiery presence, 
or Shekinah, which kept the gate of Eden. After the Flood 
we find the patriarchs building an altar for worship and sacrifice 
wherever they made a stay of a few months. The chief prop- 
erty of the patriarchs consisted of flocks, and herds, and droves 
of camels, and asses. The enumeration of Job's wealth gives 
us an idea of these possessions of an eastern rich man. These 
required a vast number of servants to attend them. ' Servants 
born in the house' represent master and dependents clinging 
together for generations. If the master were childless, the chief 
of his servants was likely to become his heir. The master of 
the family was both its king and priest: he administered the 
Jaws and offered sacrifices. Chief over the servants stood the 
steward, who was to his master a faithful, confidential friend, 
as Eliezer to Abraham, given even such business as selecting a 
wife for his master's son. The extent of the family retinue may 
be guessed from the fact that Abraham could arm three hundred 


men from his own trained servants. Such an immense estab- 
lishment moved slowly through a country. The choice of a 
resting-place depended on certain natural advantages : a grove 
for shade, near lying pasture and water. Finding these, the 
tents were pitched, an altar built, a well or two dug, and the 
servants, with the different flocks and herds, scattered themselves 
in suitable locations at greater or less distance. So Job's flocks 
and herds were stationed over a large extent of country, and 
Jacob's sons removed with their flocks to a distance of several 
days' journey. On the line of march the camels and asses 
were laden with the tents and furniture ; the women and 
children sometimes rode and sometimes walked, and the pace 
suited the needs of the flocks and herds accompanied by their 

" It seems," said Mr. Nugent, " that I now get a clear view of 
su':h a cavalcade moving slowly through the land ; and now that 
they have found a grove like that of oaks at Mamre, how does 
their encampment look ? " 

" Their tents," said our minister, resuming his theme, " were 
of skins, or of cloth of woven hair. The coarse black hair of 
the camel made a dark tent, referred to in the expression, 
' black as the tents of Kedar.' These tents were supported by 
poles. The master and mistress had large ones ; the servants 
smaller, according to their position. Often in summer the ser- 
vants, especially the flock-tenders, slept in the open air, or in 
booths made of branches. The tents are pitched in a circle 
generally, and if the camping is for a long period, a light watch- 
tower is erected a short distance ofi". The patriarch had a tent 
for himself; his wife had her own, where her younger children 
remained with her ; a tent was often reserved for the reception 
of guests ; the principal women-servants had their tent ; the 
grown sons had theirs, and as the sons took wives, new tents 
were added to the camp. The large tents were divided by 


curtains into three apartments. The furniture was simple : mats 
and rugs, pillows and coverlets, in use at night, were piled up 
by day for seats; the camels' furniture also served as seats, 
Hand-mills for grinding wheat, bottles of leather, pots and 
basins, a portable oven, and flat plates or trays of metal, were 
among the principal belongings, with cups, pitchers, and knives. 
People generally ate from a large common dish, using their 
hands or a cake of bread to dip up their food; hence, fre- 
quent washings of the hands." 

"And," I asked, " what were the occupations of these fam- 
ilies ? " 

" Many of the servants, also the sons of the family, led out 
the flocks to pasture, and guarded them night and day. The 
steward oversaw this work, and morning and evening ' told ' or 
counted the flocks. Some members of the family hunted, 
bringing in game for food. This was Esau's favorite occupa- 
tion. Sometimes the nomades remained long enough in a 
locality to raise a crop of grain, or harvest fruit, or gather a 
vintage, drying grapes and dates, and making wine. The 
women spun and wove the garments for the family and the 
curtains of the tents. The men made sandals and camels' 
furniture, and dressed skins. When guests came, the master 
and mistress showed their hospitality by themselves serving 
them, preparing food and so forth, instead of delegating these 
offices to servants. Their principal diversions were in music, 
having a number of simple instruments, usually accompanied 
by the voice ; also the telling of stories and reciting of poems : 
these are yet the chief diversions of Oriental lands. Writing 
was practised, and astronomy was a favorite study." 

"And what about their dress ? " demanded Helen. 

"Travelling caravans supplied them with the fine linen of 
Egypt, and the dyed stuffs of Phoenicia, and the splendid cloths 
of the Assyrians and Chaldeans. The women spun, wove and 


sewed. The veil was a customary and often elaborate article. 
Jewels, as rings, bracelets, anklets, head-tires and necklaces, 
wore purchased from caravans, and much property was invested 
in these and in mirrors of polished metal. They also wore 
elaborate embroideries. Perfumes were in constant use, and 
much time was occupied in preparing them. The staff, the seal 
and the amulet were choice personal possessions. Combs and 
pins of metal, highly ornamented, were also among their treas- 
ures. Scarlet and white were the choice hues; black and deep 
brown belonged to servants and to mourning." 

"And what were the chief articles of food?" asked Miriam. 

"Vegetables, especially varieties of beans and melons; fruit, 
the fig, date, grape and olive being chief; wheaten cakes, olive 
oil and honey ; milk, cheese and curds ; fish, when obtainable ; 
locusts, game, birds, and the flesh of goats, sheep, and kine, 
but flesh was sparingly used. The killing of an animal for food 
was regarded in a half sacrificial light. The animal was chosen 
and killed by the patriarch himself, and the blood was poured 
out in sacrifice. The wife, even though a chief princess, 
esteemed it her proper duty to prepare the food, leaving but 
minor parts of this work to her attendant maids. .Water, milk, 
the juice of dates, and a sour thin wine of grapes afforded their 
drink. Sweetmeats of fruit and honey were in use." 

" Hospitality was freely exercised, I think," said John Roche- 

" Yes, the orientals were always noted for this : a guest was 
always in some sort an angel unawares, breaking the monotony 
of their lives. They had also family feasts and festivals, as on 
the naming or weaning of a child, or his coming to man's 

After this information given by our pastor, we spent the 
remainder of the evening in general discussion of the theme, 
and appointed our next meeting at Hester's, where she and 


Doctor Nligent must be prepared to expound to us the Classic 
Home. We expected something rather nice at Hester's, because 
there they have plenty of money, and their house is full of 
curiosities and antiquities, while we knew their hearts were set 
on entertaining us as well as possible! We were not disap- 
pointed. We were received in the front parlor, and when the 
hour for the Home discussion came, the folding doors were drawn 
back, and we found hung across the whole width of the back 
parlor a large painted canvas, representing the interior of a 
Classic H/3me. Before this picture stood a low table with various 
curiosities piled upon it. Doctor Nugent began the discussion. 
" We hjive concluded to discuss, under the head of the Classic 
Home, both the homes of. Greece and Italy, without dividing 
between them; especially as in an evening like this, one can only 
describe chief points without going into particulars. The pic- 
ture which we have here represents the restoration of one of the 
homes in Pompeii, and from it we gather a general idea of the 
home of z, rich citizen of Greece or Rome about the time of 
Christ. In Rome, the home of the Empress Livia has been 
found find laid open; also, in Greece, we have found the remains 
of both palaces and private homes, and we find the same general 
plan in all. Observe that the rooms are small, the ceilings are 
low, the walls are painted in brilliant hues — orange, scarlet and 
blue being favorite; and pictures are not framed and hung on 
the wall as with us, but painted upon it. The chief floors are 
mosaiced — that is, made of small cubes of stones of various 
colors, bedded solidly in mortar to form a pattern as a border, 
corner arabesques, and a centre-piece, as a pair of doves, a dog, 
a group of figures, or flowers. These rooms enter upon a 
central court, open to the sky, but screened by a pavilion from 
the sun. Here plays a fountain, the delight of the whole 
family ; here vines grow, and jars of plants are in bloom. The 
floor of the court is in mosaic; around the sides and around 


the fountain are seats or divans in marble or stone ; the ancients 
delighted in statuary, and choice works of art are placed in the 
court or in the rooms opening from it. These were supposed to 
create beauty of body and mind in the beholders." 

" I observe," said Mrs. Winton, " that these rooms have not 
doors, but draperies hanging from their door-posts." 

' Yes," said Doctor Nugent, " and notice the elegance of the 
effect. walls are of white marble, or the pillars are of 
polished jJ'one or carved wood. Here hang these heavy cur- 
tains in blue, purple or scarlet, with gold embroideries or deep 
fringes : they can be dropped for privacy or looped back, throw 
ing the whole house into one apartment. For windows we have 
only these smnll, high-up, latticed openings; for fires the bra- 
zier full of glowing coals ; or possibly some of the apartments 
have a raised floor under which beat is introduced, and that is 
called the liypocMist — a Greek word meaning a fire beneath. I 
wish to say that the Classic Home carefully attended to three 
important points : heat, drainage and baths. The drains were 
supplied with metal or clay-pipes running to the cloaccs or 
drains of the city ; the houses also had deep, covered rubbish 
pits, and water was freely introduced. When one looks at frag- 
ments of ancient plumbing, one wonders at so small present 
advance in the plumber's art. The bath-rooms had tubs, seats 
around the sides and gayly painted walls. The beauty of the 
painted and frescoed walls, the elegance lent by open jars oi 
vases of perfume, the presence of elegant statuary and the abun- 
dant use of flowers gave these homes a marvellous grace and 
refinement, and we do not wonder that they produced painters,, 
poets, sculptors, orators. Notice also that the Classic Home is 
a religious Home in its way : the fire on the hearth-stone is 
sacred to the household lares, or hearth-gods ; this shrine with 
images is the place of the penates, or household divinities, and 
here they offer flowers, incense and prayers. In this corner of 


the largest room you see a carved wooden chest, something like 
■1 little wardrobe : that is the family book-case. In that are 
kept the precious parchment books, rolled and tied, wrapped in 
silk,- and scattered with perfumes. Books were not then given 
to children to tear up: books were venerated and treasured, and 
were choice heirlooms. Here is something else which was an 
heirloom: this elegant vase and bowl of Samian ware: these 
and crystal goblets were choice treasures. We are told of one 
Roman noble who condemned a slave-boy to be eaten alive by 
carp, because at a feast he bi'oke a crystal goblet. The emperor, 
who was present, for his cruelty, freed the slave, and ordered 
all this master's goblets to be broken." 

" I should like," said Mrs. Winton, " to hear something of 
these slaves." 

" They were," said Doctor Nugent, " both captives taken in war 
and slaves born in the house. Power of life, death and torture 
lay in the hands of the masters, and often this power cruelly ex- 
ercised, so that this slavery was often a terrible thing. Another 
view of it is, that slaves being made free could take any rank in 
society to which they had genius to attain, and reached often 
very lofty positions, being friends of emperors and nobles. They 
were adopted and made heirs by childless masters ; they were 
often educated to be the family schoolmasters or tutors. The 
famous philosopher Epictetus was a slave. They were often the 
scribes and readers of the family ; if the master were too lazy to 
learn his letters, he had his slave learn in his place. Many of 
these slaves were artists and artificers." 

" Let us hear something about dress and social customs," 
said Mrs. Burr. 

" That is Mrs. Nugent's part of the discussion," said the Doc- 
tor ; and pulling a cord, he let down over the large canvas of 
the home three smaller ones — the picture of a Roman woman, 
one of a young boy, and a central picture of a dining-hall, with 
guests seated at a supper. 


We all considered the dress very beautiful : it was a white 
robe, with wide sleeves falling back from the middle of the arm; 
the skirt hanging in easy folds to the ankle, and showing the 
ornamented sandal ; at the hem of the dress, and at the waist, a 
band of purple indicated the wearer's noble blood ; the hair, not 
frizzed and twisted out of shape, but gathered up into a loose 
knot, following the contour of the head, was held in place by a 
large ornamental pin, and by a narrow fillet of gold, passing 
about the head. The fillet was not the only jewel, for she had 
rings, bracelets and a chain ; also a mirror at her girdle. The 
lad was represented as crowned with a garland, and going to a 
feast, having just assumed his toga virilis, or man's dress. The 
picture of the table next attracted us. 

Said Hester: "This table occupied three sides of a square; 
the fourth was left open so that the servants could freely enter 
to wait on guests. The host and his family occupied the places 
on the lowest or left-hand sofa or couch — all reclining on one 
arm at the meal. The place of honor was the lowest on the 
middle couch. Guests were sprinkled with perfumes : it was the 
custom for the servants to pour perfumed water from urns over 
the hands held above a basin, and towels ' with a soft nap ' were 
then offered for wiping them. The guests wore garlands of 
flowers — myrtle, parsley and olive were favorites at feasts, 
Songs and conversation enlivened the progress of the feast; a 
deal of wine was used, and the feasting was carried through 
many courses and several hours. Fruits, flesh, vegetables, 
sweetmeats of all kinds loaded the tables. Fortunes were spent 
upon a single meal, and such dishes as peacocks' brains and 
nightingales' tongues were used for their costliness rather than 
for their flavor. Honey, used alone or made into cakes, was 
much prized. The slaves cooked and served the meal, entering 
in a long procession, bearing the dishes. These slaves waited 
on the table with their tunics kilted up out of the way, and 


Horace ridicules a man who, to be fashionable, has his slaves 
bind their robes very high." 

"And did they use cooking utensils like ours, and dishes like 
ours?" asked Mary Watkins. 

" They had tripods or square frames .or holding pots over a 
fire ; they used ladles, skimmers., with draining holes in them 
knives, long flesh-hooks, spits for roasting; a mill for grinding, 
this mill being made of two stones, with a handle in the upper 
one, and a groove out of which the flour may run ; they used 
mortars for pounding fruit and spices; chopping bowls also. 
They had bowls, goblets, platters, deep dishes, from which 
several ate at once ; pitchers, usually of elegant shape ; also 
baskets for bread and cakes. They had table-cloths, and nap- 
kins for the hands. All household utensils, clothes, draperies, 
couches, bed furniture, chairs and foot-stools were expected to 
last longer than with us ; they were handed down from father to 
son ; much property was invested in elegant jewels and in choice 
robes. This properi.' was cared for by the head slaves." 

"And what was the family life of these people ? " asked Cousin 

"The young children remained in the care of their mothers; 
at eight or nine the boys began to go to school, when a slave, 
called a pedagogue, followed them to and from their master, 
carrying their books and guarding them. Girls also learned 
reading, writing and music, but were more usually instructed at 
'home; they were also adepts in weaving, spinning and embroid 
ery. Mothers seem to have had a large influence over their 
sons. These Roman and Greek ladies were generally much 
devoted to their religion; were deeply attached to their children, 
and looked well to the ways of their households; they were 
often very cruel to their slaves, and this indulgence in bad pas- 
sions hardened their whole natures, so that often deformed or 

*eeble children were deliberately cast out at their birth to die ; 


or, if more children came into the family than the family prop- 
erty would be likely to endow, these were cast out to perish, or 
be picked up by strangers. Daughters were often dedicated 
from infancy to be priestesses at shrines, especially to those of 
Vesta and Diana. Vestal priestesses had high honors." 

"What were the holiday amusements of these families?" 
inquired Belinda Black. 

" The theatre, where plays or poems were recited or sung in 
the open air, was a favorite resort; gladiatorial games; triumphal 
processions ; beast fights ; shows given by candidates for political 
honors, or by the emperors ; the singing or reciting of long 
poems — all these called out the people by thousands. The Col- 
osseum was a magnificent circular building many stories high, 
dedicated entirely to such displays. They also loved gardens 
and rural festas ; had many supper parties ; entertained their 
callers with refreshments, and with exhibiting their jewelry, and 
the rich garments brought from foreign lands." 

" Were they not very extravagant an^'. luxurious ? " asked 

'■ They became so by degrees as they grew rich and powerful; 
they then indulged madly in gaming, drinking and feasting ; the 
softness and effeminacy of manner that was once despised be- 
.came the prevailing style. Immediately the nation began to 
■weaken; their poets sang no more of gods and heroes, but of 
I lovers and of wine ; their reverence for their gods perished ; they 
: grew too lazy to labor, too weak to fight ; corruption, bribery 
and murder became common, and these niighty nations fell be- 
:fore the strong barbarians of the North." 

"And," said Doctor Nugent, "it is the home of these Northern 
t barbarians, our ancestors, the home of Celt, Saxon and Norman, 
at which we must next look. Mrs. Burr, we go to you at our 
■next meeting to hear about the Celt." 

We now had opportunity to examine the curiosities on the 
•table. Belinda Black picked up a little glass vial. 


" What is this ? " she cried ; " a perfume-bottle ? " 

" No," said Mrs. Winton ; " that is a lachrymal or tear-bottle, 
where mourners were supposed to treasure up their tears as 
memorials of their woe. You remember the verse in the 
Psalms : ' Thou puttest all my tears into thy bottle ? ' These 
lachrymals wet;e often buried with their dead." 

"And what is this largest piece in the centre ? — it looks sortie^ 
thing like a marble soup-tureen," cried Dick. 

" That is another funereal relic," said Doctor Nugent ; " that 
is an urn for the ashes of the dead. After the body was burned 
the ashes were quenched in wine and gathered into an urn. The 
body was burned with treasures and spices." 

A number of Roman coins, medals, rings and amulets were 
also on the table. We especially admired two lamps: swan- 
shaped bowls, with fanciful recurved heads, which served for a 
handle, were to be filled with oil, and in this ^ wick floated ; we 
thought, however, they would be but a poor substitute for our 
present lamps, to say nothing of gas. There was also a beauti- 
ful wide, flat bowl, ornamented with winged heads and wreaths 
of olive, which Doctor Nugent said was a bronze patera, from 
which priests poured libations of oil, wine or milk, in o^ering to 
the gods. A drinking-cup, shaped like a horn, some combs 
and a little metal hand-mirror completed the collection. 

" Now," said Grace Winton, when we had gathered at Mrs 
Burr's, "we shall hear how our great-great-greatest grand- 
fathers, the Celts, lived and behaved themselves." 

"They must have been horrible beings," said Miss Black. 
"I read that they went without clothes, painted themselves 
blue, and ate people ! Is that true, Mrs. Burr ? " 

"Doubtless," said Mrs. Burr, "the barbarism of the early 
Celts has been exaggerated for the sake of magnifying the 
races which came after them. The Celts in a full dress of blus 


paint must have been either the representatives of the very 
lowest tribes, or Celts decorated for war in a style to horrify 
their enemies, just as Indians paint themselves for battle. 
Probably the Celts of Ireland, in some tribes and instances, did 
eat men under an idea of vengeance, or to increase, as it was 
fancied, their bravery. The Celts were very brave, hardy in 
body, strong of mind, and with a fine capacity for education. 
When religion and education were introduced into Ireland, the 
Celts of that "country soon became the saints and teachers of 
the world. The Celts were religious in their natures : their 
ideas of God, the soul and the future were vague but sublime ; 
they had none of the trifling prettiness of the classic mythology. 
Wisdom they reverenced greatly. Their most promising youths 
were sent to school to the Druids to learn to become priests : 
they sometimes spent twenty years in their education. This 
time was employed by them in committing runes and hymns. 
The Celtic women were strong in body and fierce in spirit; they 
frequently went to war with the men ; they also loved the chase. 
The weapons of the Celts were of stone and bronze." 

'' What kind of places of worship did they have ? " asked 

" Great circles of stone, open to the sky, with an altar in the 
centre ; on this altar they often sacrificed human victims." 

"And what kind of houses did they have — are any left?" 

" Three or four remnants of such houses exist : some on the 
shore of the Irish Sea, one or two in Scotland. These are 
beehive huts, with low, circular stone walls; they were about 
fifteen feet in diameter, and possibly as many high in the 
centre — no fires, no separate rooms. The fire was out of doors, 
a great bonfire in the centre of the hut circle, where they 
roasted their meat on spits before the fire, or making a great 
hole, lined it with red-hot stones, and putting a whole boar 
therein covered it with cinders and hot ashes, and so baked it" 


" Then, did they never boil food ? " asked Mary Watkihs. 

" Yes ; they had clay-pots which they set in hot ashes, and 
made the water boil by dropping in red-hot stones." 

"A fine way to boil potatoes ! " cried Belinda Black. 

"They had no potatoes, for they have been but lately 
discovered and cultivated. They had beans, and they ground 
meal in a quern, such as our minister described to you as a mill 
in patriarchal times. What a trouble it was to strike a fire, 
when there were no matches, and flints must be struck together^ 
or sticks rubbed on each other to elicit the wonderful