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Count me the countless sands
My thought is with thee.
Mete me the arch
Of the blue bending sky,
My love is for thee.
DIALOGUE ON THINGS TO BE LEARNED.
BETWEEN MAMMA AND KITTY.
FROM "EVENINGS AT HOME."
Kitty. Pray, mamma, may I leave off working? I am tired. Mamma. You have done very little, my dear; you know you were to finish all that hem.
K. But I had rather write now, mamma, or read, or get my French grammar.
M. I know very well what that means, Kitty: you had rather do anything than what I set you about.
K. No, mamma; but you know I can work very well already, and I have a great many more things to learn. There's Miss Rich, that cannot sew half so well as I, and she is learning music and drawing already, besides dancing, and I don't know how many other things. She tells me that they hardly work at all in their school.
M. Your tongue runs at a great rate, my dear; but in the first place you cannot sew very well, for if you could, you would not have been so long in doing this little piece. Then I hope you will allow, that mammas know better what is proper for their little girls to learn than they do themselves.
K. To be sure, mamma; but as I suppose I must learn all these things some time or other, I thought you would like to have me begin them soon, for I have often heard you say that children cannot be set too early about what is necessary for them to du.
M. That's very true, but all things are not equally necessary to
every one; for some, that are very fit for one, are scarcely proper at all for others.
K. Why, mamma?
M. Because, my dear, it is the purpose of all education to fit persons for the station in which they are hereafter to live; and you know there are very great differences in that respect, both among men and women.
K. Are there? I thought all ladies lived alike.
M. It is usual to call all well-educated women, who have no occasion to work for their livelihood, ladies; but if you will think a little, you must see that they live very differently from each other; for their fathers and husbands are in very different ranks and situations in the world, you know.
K. Yes, I know that some are lords, and some are squires, and some are clergymen, and some are merchants, and some are doctors, and some are shopkeepers.
M. Well; and do you think that the wives and daughters of these persons have just the same things to do, and the same duties to perform? You know how I spend my time. I have to go to market, and provide for the family, to look after the servants, to help in taking care of you children, and in teaching you, to see that your clothes are in proper condition, and assist in making and mending for myself, and for you, and your papa. All this is my necessary duty; and besides this, I must go out a-visiting, to keep up our acquaintance; this I call partly business, and partly amusement. Then when I am tired, and have done all that I think is necessary, I may amuse myself with reading, or in any other proper way. Now a great many of these employments do not belong to Lady Wealthy, or Mrs. Rich, who keep housekeepers and governesses, and servants of all kinds, to do everything for them. It is very proper, therefore, for them to pay more attention to music, drawing, ornamental work, and any other elegant manner of passing their time, and making themselves agreeable.
K. And shall I have all the same things to do, mamma, that you have?
M. It is impossible, my dear, to foresee what your future station will be; but you have no reason to expect that. if you have a family, you will have fewer duties to perform than I have. This is the way of life for which your education should prepare you; and everything will be useful and important for you to learn, in proportion as it will make you fit for this.
K. But when I am grown a young lady, shall I not have to visit,
and go to assemblies and plays, as the Misses Wilson and the Misses Johnson do?
M. It is very likely you may enter into some amusement of this sort; but even then you will have several more serious employments, which will take up a much greater part of your time; and if you do not perform those duties properly, you will have no right to partake of the pleasure.
K. What will they be, mamma?
M. Why, don't you think it proper that you should assist me in my household affairs a little, as soon as you are able?
K. Oh, yes, mamma,
should be very glad to do that. M. Well, consider what talents will be necessary for that purpose; will not a good hand at your needle be one of the very first qualities ? K. I believe it will.
M. Yes, and not only in assisting me, but in making things for yourself. You know how we admired Miss Smart's ingenuity when she was with us, in contriving and making so many articles of her dress, for which she must otherwise have gone to the milliners, which would have cost a great deal of money.
K. Yes, she made my pretty bonnet, and she made you a very handsome cap.
M. Very true; she was so clever as not only to furnish herself with these things, but to oblige her friends with some of her work. And I dare say she does a great deal of plain work also for herself and her mother. Well, then, you are convinced of the importance of this business, I hope.
K. Yes, mamma.
M. Reading and writing are such necessary parts of education, that I need not say much to you about them.
K. Oh no, for I love reading dearly.
M. I know you do, if you can get entertaining stories to read; but there are many books also to be read for instruction, which perhaps may not be so pleasant at first.
K. But what need is there of so many books of this sort?
M. Some are to teach you your duty to your Maker and your fellow-creatures, of which I hope you are sensible you ought not to be ignorant. Then it is very right to be acquainted with geography; for you remember how poor Miss Blunder was laughed at for saying, that if ever she went to France it should be by land.
K. That was because England is an island, and all surrounded with water, was it not?
M. Yes, Great Britain, which contains both England and Scotland, is an island. Well, it is very useful to know something of the value of plants, and animals, and minerals, because we are always using some or other of them. Something, too, of the heavenly bodies is very proper to be known, both that we may admire the power and wisdom of God in creating them, and that we may not make foolish mistakes when their motions and properties are the subject of conversation. The knowledge of history, too, is very important, especially that of our own country; and, in short, everything that makes