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In the variety of acquirements which adorn the female sex, domestic occupations stand the most conspicuous, and »re the most useful. A well arranged and steadily con lucted system of domestic management is the foundation of all the comfort and welfare of social life, and of private families in particular; and, where this is wanting, no family can be truly respectable
It is a cause of regret, that in general females, whose families move in the higher circles of life, frequently despise family arrangements, their whole time and attention being absorbed by mere ornamental accomplishments On the other hand, those belonging to the lower classes of society are encouraged to devote themselves to those high and polished branches of education which are utterly inconsistent with the circumstances of their families. This error, so plainly perceptible in the common occurrences of life, is productive of much
In domestic management, as in education, so much depends upon the particular circumstances of each individual case, that it is impossible to point out a system which can be generally applicable. The most that can be done is to suggest some leading principles, and point out certain errors to be avoided, for the assistance of the inexperienced, on their entering upon this Important department of female life.
To persons who possess contracted incomes, a proper attention to domestic concerns will prove highly beneficial,
thereby enabling them to support a neat, nay, even an elegant appearance, reflecting honour on themselves, and causing satisfaction to their families.
Females should be early taught to prefer the society of their homes, to engage themselves in domestic duties, and to avoid every species or idle vanity, to which thousands of them owe their ruin ; and, above all things, to consider their parents as their best friends, who are interested only in their welfare: then indeed we might hope to see all as it should be, and to have daily evidence of real comfort and happiness. Were females thus instructed, they would soon learn to discriminate between the solid enjoyments of domestic peace, and the fleeting phane toms of delusive pleasure.
It is natural to imagine, that when a female marries, she does so from a principle of love. It must surely, therefore, be admitted that her duties then become most seriously important, because her station is more responsible than it previously was. She will then have to superintend the affairs of the man with whose destiny she has united her own ; the domestic part of which falls particularly within the sphere of her management, and the duties of which she ought actively to execute, as far as is consistent with prudent economy; without which even princely fortunes must fail : in which case, her husband will soon discover her merits, and place a proper value on the treasure he possesses.
One family must not be governed in its management by what another family may do. Each one best knows its owu resources, and should consult them alone. What might be meanness in one, might be extravagance in another; consequently there can be no standard of reference but that of individual prudence. The most fatal of all things to private families, is to indulge an ambition of making an appearance above their fortunes, professions, or business, whatever these may be. Their expenses ought to be so restricted within their means, as to make them easy and independent. More evils may be traced to a thoughtless ambition of appearing above our situation than the idle vanity that prompts it ever pauses to reflect on.
The next point both for comfort and respectability, is, that nil the household economy should be uniform, not displaying a parade of show in one thing, and a total want of comfort in another. Besides the contemptible appearance that this must have to every person of good sense, it is productive of consequences, not only of present, but of future injury to a family, that are too often irreparable.
In great cities in particular, how common is it that, for the vanity of having a showy drawing-room to receive company, the family are confined to a close back room, where they have scarcely either air or light, the want of which must materially prejudice their health. Another fruit of evil is the seeing more company, and in a more expensive manner, than is com patible with the general convenience of the family, introducing with it an expense in dress, and a dissipation of time, from which it suffers in various ways.
A fundamental error in domestic life, of very serious extent, as it involves the health «f the whole family, arises from the mistaken notions of the mistress of the house upon the subjects of diet and cookery.
It is very common for persons to have theories of the whole someness and unwholesomeness of diet ; but these are seldom founded upon a real knowledge of the nature of the food, or of the best manner of preparing it, but on the vague authority of some family receipts or traditions, which often prove very fallacious guides. While many more have no thought on the subject, but of indulging their appetites.
It should be the serious reflection of every mistress of a family, that the health of it, in all its branches, depends in a great measure upon her judgment in diet and cookery; but pre-eminently that of her children, from their tender natures. This more especially requires attention in great cities, to counteract as much as possible the want of purity in the air, and the restraints from free exercise. She will then, no doubt, both from duty and inclination, make it her business to inform herself upon these subjects, that she may fulfil this charge so peculiarly belonging to the female sex, with the affectionate duty due to her husband, children, and domestics, that as a wife, mother, and mistress of a family, they have a right to expect from her.
The leading consideration about food ought always to be its whslesomeness. Cookery may produce savoury and prettylooking dishes without their possessing any of the qualities of food. It is at the same time both a serious and ludicrous reflec