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THE USE OF FEMALE SCHOOLS.
BY A LADY.
“ To learn and labour truly to get my own living, and to do my duty in
LONGMAN, BROWN, GREEN, AND LONGMAXS,
HAVING for several years observed, with regret, that the great increase of merely book learning in our female national schools was gradually destroying the laudable ambition, formerly felt by young girls, to gain the habits and knowledge necessary for those who must earn their livelihood by manual labour it was with much satisfaction I found that the “ Committee of Council on Education" had, in their last annual report, advised " that lessons and examinations in cottage economy, cookery, &c., &c., should be adopted in female schools." *
The propriety of this advice will be at once manifest, when it is considered that, as but a small portion of the pupils educated in the National Schools can ever be teachers, the majority must become needlewomen, apprentices, or domestic servants — and that habits of active industry, and some knowledge of household work, are still expected from every girl on entering service.
In consequence of the expressed want † of a Class Book on such subjects, I have collected the following series of lessons ; feeling strongly how desirable it is that young people should be educated for their probable station in life, and early trained to the habits and du
* Minutes of the Committee of Council on Education, vol. i. p. 11. 1847-48.
+ Ibid. p. 33.
ties which will not only be expected from them, but which tend to the comfort and respectability of their future lot.
While labourers have to earn "their bread by the sweat of their brow - while their families are to be
supported on scanty wages — while house-rent is dear and work scarce
is it that the wife should be able to make the most of her little means, and that children should as soon as possible be made useful. What a benefit to their parents may elder girls become, if they acquire habits of neatness, cleanliness, and order— if they are taught to cut out, mend, and make the best of old garments, so that by industry and contrivance all the family may be decently clothed. When about to begin service, also, what a credit it is to an active, notable girl, to be found in a clean and tidy home.
In the following selection I have faithfully acknowledged the sources whence the lessons have been derived: for many I am indebted to the Female Aid Society, and the Tract Society; for others to a very useful little volume *, which, having reached the nineteenth edition, is well known, and may probably be in many a parish library. I have now only the grateful task of thanking these and other societies, and the various authors and publishers who so kindly permitted me to make this use of their works; and to express the hope that this summary of their valuable labours will not only prove useful in itself, but induce many to seek the more ample and extended information to be found in the different works cited throughout.
1. A. C. Sept. 29. 1849.
* Cottage Comforts, by Esther Copley. Price 2s. 6d. Published by Simpkin and Marshall.