« PreviousContinue »
76-Blue Stockings. R. C. C.-We think you take a wrong view of the matter, and judge the intellectual character of females too severely. The extreme opposite of a Blue is not a scientific or literary professor, but a well-educated gentlewoman. Such there are, and happily not a few, contributing their part to the direct, and still more to the indirect, education of the women and of the men of England. Nor must injustice be done to the general results of female education. Many advantages ladies possess in their natural aptitudes; many from the favourable circumstances of their domestic life; many, even, from that preponderance of modern and cotemporary literature in their reading, to which reference has been made. Judging from conversation of the intellectual condition of the sexes, one would say that women contribute in general more largely to its interest, so far as that depends, not on the material, but on the point of view, on the feeling, on the mode of expression.
we call grammar, mathematics, philosophy, &c., into the intellects of our children, but to strengthen all their faculties, to give them command of their own bodies and souls, that they may, as life opens before them, be able to employ their powers for useful ends. Frequently at sixteen, the girl's education is often considered finished. At the very age, when, if a right system of physical and mental discipline had been pursued, she would have been prepared with a strong mind, in a strong body, to commence serious study, her education is pronounced finished, and she willingly lays aside her tasks to enter society more fully than was possible during the period of schooling. Henceforth pleasure is the chief object; for the plans that perhaps were formed, on leaving school, for reading and study, are never executed; the mind is not prepared to exert its powers alone. The knowledge already acquired has no connection with her present life-her social nature needs companionship; and the temptations of society are too strong to be long resisted.
77-Medical Advice. T.-In answer to your own and other communications on this subject, we profess our unwillingness to offer advice, being too deeply impressed with the importance of such cases. The family physician is alone able to determine these points. We can, however, safely recommend the following directions, for attaining habitual good health to all our friends. For a clear complexion, Rise early; use plenty of fresh water; observe the strictest moderation in diet; and take plenty of exercise in the open air. The same plan will be found beneficial in other respects. Those who regularly pursue it, generally possess coral lips, white teeth, and pure breath. To give brilliancy to the eyes. Shut them early at night, and open them early in the morning; let the mind be constantly intent on the acquisi-sight of God, which is generally detected even tion of useful knowledge, or on the exercise of benevolent feeling. This will scarcely ever fail to impart to the eyes an intelligent and amiable expression. To preserve the forehead from wrinkles. Cultivate contentment, calmness, and benignity of spirit; and never, on any account, indulge a murmuring, a resentful, or a malevolent feeling. By a constant adherence to the above simple rules, many females have preserved their attractions even to the age of fourscore years and upwards.
79-Affectation. G. M. W.-Perhaps the following remarks may reclaim your friend from the absurd practices in which she appears to indulge. We may go farther than yourself, and call such conduct hypocritical. The certain test of affectation in any individual, is the looking, speaking, moving, or acting in any way different when in the presence of others, especially those whose opinion we regard and whose approbation we desire, from what we should do in solitude, or in the presence of those only whom we disregard, or who we think cannot injure or benefit us. The motive for resisting affectation is, that it is both unsuccessful and sinful. It always involves a degree of hypocrisy, which is exceedingly offensive in the
by men, and which, when detected, exposes its subject to contempt which could never have been excited by the mere absence of any quality or possession, as it is by the false assumption of what is not real. The best cure for affectation is the cultivation, on principle, of every good, virtuous, and amiable habit and feeling, not for the sake of being approved or admired, but because it is right in itself, and without considering what people will think of it. Thus a real character will be formed instead of a part being assumed, and admiration and love will be spontaneously bestowed where they are really deserved. Artificial manners are easily seen through; and the result of such observations, however accomplished and beautiful the object may be, is contempt for such littleness.
78-Real object of Education. M. C.-We should recommend you not to overlook the physical treatment of your children, amidst the various intellectual studies you propose for them. The object of education is not to pour a certain amount of technical knowledge which
80-Acidity of Fruits. J.-Fruits are more acid in the morning than in the evening, because the sun's rays decompose their carbonic acid, and make them part with their oxygen, of which they do not gain a fresh supply until night.
81-Arithmetic. M. H. I. The following works will be found very useful:-Butler's Arithmetical Questions, Hind's Arithmetic, Tate's Algebra, Colenso's Algebra, Thrower's Arithmetical Questions and Key, Simpson's, or Pott's, or Elrington's Euclid, Whewell's Me1chanical Euclid, Martin's Natural Philosophy.
82-Clerkship in the Custom House. M.-The salaries of the clerks in the Custom-house are ́of various amounts; but it may be sufficient to state as a general rule, that they begin at £80 or £90 per annum, and that if a clerk should calculate his future condition in the following manner, viz. that after ten years' service his salary will be £150, after fifteen years £200, after twenty years £250, and after thirty years £300, he will be tolerably near the truth.
83-Nurses. M.-A light step, quick but gentle movements, and a dexterous use of the hands, are pre-requisites in a good nurse; they seem to be natural endowments, and to belong, in a great degree, to original temperament and conformation; but in this, as in other things, something may be done by cultivation, where Nature has not done the most. By observing the alert movements and nimble fingers of expert persons you may improve your own, and avoid at least that degree of clumsiness which has been described by saying of a person, "he uses his hands as if all his fingers were thumbs, and his thumbs legs of mutton."
84-Bible for the Young. T. M.-You cannot too early teach your child the sublime truths of Christianity. We would recommend a systematic and careful study of the Bible, satisfied, from personal experience, that this book, more than any other, is of itself able to arouse and invigorate the intellect Whether it be considered as unfolding the philosophy of human nature or the course of human events; whether it be adopted as a book for the young child, or for the wisest statesman; whether it be regarded as calling into exercise the reasoning powers, or as nourishing and chastening the fire of imagination, it stands unrivalled in its influence upon the intellectual character":"
"This Book, this holy Book, in every line
85-Fashion. G. R.-We have several objections to publishing Parisian fashions,-want of space may at once satisfy our correspondent on this point. With regard to any specific rules for dressing, we do not pretend to arbitrate in such matters. Let a true sense of propriety, of the fitness of things, regulate all your habits of living and dressing, and it will produce such a beautiful harmony and consistency of character as will throw a charm around you that all will feel, though few may comprehend. Always consider well whether the articles of dress, which you wish to purchase, are suited to your age, your condition, your means; to the climate, to the particular use to which you mean to put them; and let the principles of good taste keep you from the extremes of the fashion, and regu late the form, so as to combine utility and beauty, whilst the known rules of harmony in colours saves you from shocking the eye of the artist by incongruous mixtures.
J. C. H.Our correspondent has favoured us with a statement which we trust will receive due attention from those to whom the management of children is confided. As a general thing, children are allowed to devour confectionery without let or hindrance. Some parents, who have got their eyes fairly open to the evils resulting from indiscriminate indulgence in this practice, have interdicted the whole tribe of candies; but this class is not large. There are confectioneries that are, doubtless, as harmless as sugar: but the great mass of them are poisonous. It is a well-known fact that the greater part of the cheap lozenges is chiefly composed of plaster of Paris, Derbyshire spar, terra alba, and stucco. These are used in the following proportions, according to price: say, to every 50lbs. of sugar, 4lbs. of plaster, at 1s. 4d. per lb.; to 50lbs. of sugar, 8lbs. of plaster, at 1s. 2d. per ib.; to 50lbs. of sugar, 12lbs. of plaster, at 1s. per lb. ; to 50lbs. of sugar, 20lbs. of plaster, at 10d. per lb.; to 40lbs. of sugar, 30lbs. of plaster, at 8d. or 64d. per lb., according to the quantities ordered; and to deceive the public the above is smoothed over and finished with potato starch and burnt shells finely powdered.
87-Canaries. R. There has been some mismanagement on your part. No sooner can the young canaries eat alone, which happens on the thirteenth or fourteenth day, and sometimes even before they leave the nest, than the males begin to warble and some females also, but in a less connected manner, which serves to point them out. As these pretty birds are so docile as to neglect entirely their natural song, and
imitate the harmony of our instruments, it is necessary immediately to separate from his companions, and from every other bird, the young one which is to be instructed, by putting him aside in a cage, which is at first to be covered with a piece of linen, and afterwards with a darker cover. The air which is to be taught should be performed five or six times a day, especially in the evening and morning,either by whistling, or on a flageolet, or birdorgan; he will acquire it, more or less readily, in from two to six months, according to his abilities and memory; if his separation from the other birds is delayed beyond the fourteenth day, he will retain some part of his father's song, which he will always intermingle with his acquired air, and consequently never perform it perfectly.
88-Housekeeping. E. E.-Different persons will pursue different plans; but it is perhaps as simple and efficient a plan as can be adopted to keep a day-book, and a cash-book, or ledger. It is earnestly to be desired that every female intrusted with the charge of housekeeping should have a stated sum for the purpose, whether annual, quarterly, or weekly. If weekly, she should take into consideration the stated or occasional payments to which she is liable,-such as rent, taxes, servants' wages, coals, clothes, medical attendance, &c., and reserve from each week's money a sufficient proportion towards meeting them. If she receives her money quarterly or annually, she should so limit those larger expenses, as to reserve the needful store for current expenses for as many weeks as will elapse before her next receipt. If her supplies are necessarily of a more irregular character, resulting from the profits of a retail trade or the remuneration of uncertain occupations, a double degree of caution and regularity will be necessary to set one season over against another, and reserve from the abundance of a brisk and prosperous week the means of comfort and support during the dull and scanty period that may succeed it. For want of such management, plenty is often consumed in prodigality, and subsequent distress and destitution ensue.
89-Morning Calls. S. F. C.-There are certain conventional rules of society, which should be adhered to by all those who seek refinement and the pleasures of social intercourse. Perhaps the following extract from "The Wives of England," by Mrs. Ellis, will answer the inquiry of our correspondent: :-"Visiting and receiving visits being regarded by some married women as amongst the most important avocations of life, it might possibly, to such individuals,
imply an ignorance of the claims of society, when I venture to hint at the probability of this being one of the peculiar temptations against which women in general would do wisely to be on their guard, especially against acquiring a habit of visiting, as a means of escape from the dulness and monotony of their own firesides. It needs but little acquaintance with domestic duty to know that there must be something wrong in the house of that woman who is always leaving it; although, on the other hand, few persons would recommend exclusive confinement to the same narrow sphere of thought and action in which we exist at home. It is good to go out into society sometimes, in order that we might return with the greater relish; but a still more extensive amount of good is derived from what we may learn in mixed society, and sometimes even from the humblest individuals we meet with there."
90-Pouring out Tea and Coffee. I. C.-There is more to be learned about pouring out tea and coffee than most young ladies are willing to believe. If those decoctions are made at the table, which is by far the best way, they require experience, judgment, and exactness; if they are brought on the table ready made, it still requires judgment so to apportion them that they shall prove sufficient in quantity for the family party, and that the elder members shall have the stronger cups. We have often seen persons pour out tea, who, not being at all aware that the first cup is the weakest, and that the tea grows stronger as you proceed, have bestowed the poorest cup upon the greatest stranger, and given the strongest to a very young member of the family, who would have been better without any. Where several cups of equal strength are wanted, you should pour a little into each, and then go back, inverting the order as you fill them up, and then the strength will be apportioned properly. You should learn every one's taste in the matter of sugar and cream too, in order to suit them in that respect. Delicacy and neatness may be shown in the manner of handling and rinsing the cups, of helping persons to sugar, and using the cream-pot without letting the cream run down from the lip. There are a thousand little niceties which will occur to you, if you give due attention to the business, and resolve to do it with a thrift of a good housekeeper and the ease and dignity of a refined lady. When you have once acquired good habits in this department, it will require less attention, and you will always do it in the best way without thinking much about it.
91-Salary of a Governess. J. M.-s re- late has become general, and, with such, lunspects the salary of a governess, she never cheon becomes a necessary meal. It should be receives too much ; she has not merely clothing | taken about five hours after breakfast, and to buy, as we generally understand the term, though called by another name it may be conbut she cannot clothe herself economically; she sidered a light dinner, taken to allay the cannot mend, turn, dye, as even can be done for cravings of nature, but not entirely to destroy her pupils : she has no time for mending, and the appetite. her clothes are consequently put away half- 95-Rewards to Servants. J. I.-By all means worn. The lady may wear a faded bonnet, or a adopt the plan you propose. When servants soiled dress, but the governess must be always have spent a reasonable time in your service, weil dressed, But, setting aside this considera- and behaved commendably, you ought to prefer tion, and granted that a governess receives a them, if it is in your power, or to recommend salary amply sufficient for her personal expenses, them to a better provision. It is an excellent let us remember there are her utensils of busi- plan to give them a trifling increase of wages, or ness, books to purchase, &c.
an annual present. The hope of this keeps 92-Difficult Music. J. R.-It is a great alive attention and gratitude, and is the proper mistake to suppose that the best music is the support of industry. Like a parent you should most difficult of execution. The very reverse, keep in view their establishment in some way generally speaking, is the case. Music of a high that may preserve their old age from indigence; order certainly demands high gifts and attain- and to this end you should endeavour to inspire ments on the part of the performer. But the them with care to lay up part of their wages, gifts of nature may be possessed by the amateur and constantly discourage them from expending as well as by the professor; and the attain- their money in frivolous articles of dress, and ments of art may be the result of moderate other vanities. Whenever servants begin to study and application. A young lady possessed place money in the savings' bank, the desire of of a sweet and tunable voice, a good ear, intel- increasing their hoard grows upon them, and ligence, and feeling, may cultivate music in its this desire you should encourage by all means; grandest and most beautiful forms, and may above all things endeavour to persuade them render its practice a source of the purest enjoy- to make a commencement, if it is only with a ment, not only to herself but to her domestic single pound. and social circle.
96-Want of Punctuality. T.--If the habit 93-Mental Qualifications of Woman. W. E. is confirmed in your young friend, we are afraid -History, philosophy, political economy, logic, that all reasoning against it will be useless. criticism, and all the higher and more strength. Young ladies, who are not punctual, think it a ening branches of knowledge, should be studied sufficient excuse to say they could not be ready
The neglect of these studies by sooner, because they had to mend a glove, or them has much to do with that helplessness put on new strings to a cap, or to get something which either really disables them from forming out of their trunk after they had fastened it their own opinions on things about them, or down; but all such excuses are wholly inadmis. makes them afraid to express those opinions sible. Our determination to be true to our engage
And the same erroneous theory ment should be so absolute as to make us proof female training, which would confine women vide against all such contingencies, by beginning to particular classes of books, or subjects of our operations so early as to leave us time for study, lies at the root of that moulding of accidents, or time to spare. The unpunctual their habits which makes them frequently so never allow themselves time enough, and the deplorably helpless in even the simplest busi- only way to cure themselves of this fault in ness of life.
judgment, is to begin by allowing themselves 94- Luncheon. C.--This meal is admissible double the portion they think they shall need; only when either the interval between the and if, when entirely ready, they have any time breakfast and dinner is very prolonged, or when left, to use it in the best way they can. Nothe quantity of food taken at breakfast is thing wears more on the spirits of those who very small. The lower classes, as well as the are the heads of the party, than want of puncchildren of the higher classes, dine early, tuality in the younger members of it. We and thus with them luncheon is unnecessary, have known the whole pleasure of a day marred, and accordingly is not usually taken. Not by the fault of one. This sad habit occasions so, however, with adults of the middling constant disquietude in a household, and is very and higher classes ; with them, either from often prejudicial in the highest degree to the business or other eauses, the practice of dining young person who may regard it as merely trivial.
97-Hortus Siccus. B. G.-The best way of forming a Hortus Siccus (which, to those who are earnest in the pursuit of botany, is a very essential matter) is to procure five or six quires of proper botanical paper, which may be purchased at some stationer's in London, also a quire or two of white soft paper, for the more delicate flowers, and two strong well-seasoned boards of the same size as the paper; the weight employed for pressure may be bricks, heavy books or pieces of lead kept for the purpose. These materials form a good press, but the cushion of a chair or sofa, in constant use, answers the purpose as a temporary conveniA proper botanical press is of course the best. Plants for drying are better gathered in the middle of the day than either morning or evening, when they are wet with dew; and, if possible, they should not be put into water before being submitted to the press, as they by that means imbibe much moisture, and do not retain the colour so well. Those must be selected for drying which have some flowers expanded, others gone to seed, and some of the lower leaves should always be preserved, and also the root of small.
98-Enigmas and Riddles. E. B.-We have received a long letter against the introduction of "pastime" matter into the Family Friend. We must beg leave to differ with many of the arguments urged by our fair correspondent, especially that which treats of the frequent loss of good-humour by young persons engaged in this amusement. Those who feel disposed to treat such matters with contempt, should read Mrs. Barbauld's paper on Riddles, as the high authorities she quotes in their favour may reconcile them to this sort of play of the mind. In order to enjoy this sport, a few rules of politeness should be attended to, like the following. Be as willing to puzzle over a riddle as to give one out. If you are previously acquainted with the solution of a riddle, do not tell it; but let the person who gave it out have that privilege. If you do not know it, and do not like to puzzle over it, do not insist on being told what it is before the rest of the company. If you have no readiness in guessing charades, &c., you can amuse yourself with their ingenuity, when they are explained, and not feel mortified at your ill success, and then try to hide it, by speaking contemptuously of the pastime.
99-Home Economy. S.-Whatever economy it is right for you to practise, you should never be ashamed of. If at any time you find yourself trying to conceal your thrift, you had better pause and examine your motives; for either you are possessed of that absurd weakness, a desire
to appear richer than you really are, or else the piece of economy in question is not necessary, and therefore it is that you are ashamed of it. It is very possible to manage, by a prudent and judicious arrangement, to spread a charm over even the most plain and homely establishment. The elegant and accomplished Lady Mary Wortley Montague, who figured in the fashionable as well as in the literary circles of her time, has said that "the most minute details of household economy become elegant and refined, when they are ennobled by sentiment;" and they are truly ennobled when we do them, either from a sense of duty, or consideration for a parent, or love to a husband. "To furnish a room," continues this lady, "is no longer a common-place affair, shared with upholsterers and cabinetmakers; it is decorating the place where I am to meet a friend or lover. To order dinner is not merely arranging a meal with my cook, it is preparing refreshment for him whom I love. These necessary occupations, viewed in this light by a person capable of strong attachment, are so many pleasures, and afford her far more delight than the games and shows which constitute the amusements of the world."
100-Light Reading. E. S.-You cannot do better than seek the advice of those who can recommend to you suitable works for reading. There is much pernicious trash circulated under attractive titles; consisting of highly wrought fictitious narratives, calculated to pollute and poison the youthful mind with scenes of levity and folly, with expressions at least bordering on profanity, by inculcating sentiments of contempt of everything sober and serious, exciting impatience of parental control and religious restraints, encouraging extravagant and ungoverned passions, and giving false views and expectations of life and society. If a young person once imbibe a taste for this kind of reading, the ordinary duties of life will become irksome, and its pleasures insipid. The mind will be excited with desires after the false splendour and sentimental softness of the novel heroine. The simplicity and frankness of youth will be lost amidst plots and contrivances for carrying on some imprudent acquaintance and eluding parental vigilance. Love will be regarded as the great business of human life; and even vice, by its decorations and disguises, will lose half its deformity, and will double its dangerous attractions. At any rate, time, feeling, and property will be unprofitably expended; a sort of unreal existence will be carried on; and a state of listlessness and discontent induced, which will disqualify for the duties and enjoyments of domestic life.