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part of the discourse of rational and well-educated people ought, in some degree, to be studied by every one who has proper opportunities.
K. Yes, I like some of those things very well. But pray, mamma, what do I learn French for-am I ever to live in France ?
M. Probably not, my dear; but there are many books written in French that are very well worth reading; and it may every now and then happen that you may be in company with foreigners who cannot speak English, and as they almost all talk French, you may be able to converse with them in that language.
K. Yes, I remember there was a gentleman here that came from Germany, I think, and he could hardly talk a word of English, but papa and you could talk to him in French; and I wished very much to be able to understand what you were saying, for I believe part of it was about me.
M. It was. Well, then, you see the use of French. But I cannot say this is a necessary part of knowledge to young women in general, only it is well worth acquiring if a person have leisure and opportunity. I will tell you, however, what is quite necessary for one in your situation, and that is, to write a good hand, and to cast accounts well.
K. I should like to write well, because then I should send letters to my friends when I pleased, and it would not be such a scrawl as our maid Betty writes, that I dare say her friends can hardly make out.
M. She had not the advantage of learning when young, know she taught herself since she came to us, which was a very sensible thing of her, and I suppose she will improve. Well, but accounts are almost as necessary as writing; for how could I cast up all the market bills and tradesmen's accounts, and keep my house-books without it?
K. And what is the use of that, mamma?
M. It is of use to prevent us being overcharged in anything, and to know exactly how much we spend, and whether or no we are exceeding our income, and in what articles we ought to be more saving. Without keeping accounts, the richest man might soon come to be ruined before he knew that his affairs were going wrong.
K. But do women always keep accounts? I thought that was generally the business of the men.
M. It is their business to keep the accounts belonging to their trade, or profession, or estate; but it is the business of their wives to keep all the household accounts; and a woman in almost any rank,
unless, perhaps, some of the highest of all, is to blame if she do not take upon her this necessary office. I remember a remarkable instance of a benefit which a young lady derived from an attention to this point. An eminent merchant in London failed for a great sum. K. What does that mean, mamma?
M. That he owed a great deal more than he could pay. His creditors, that is, those to whom he was indebted, on examining his accounts, found great deficiencies, which they could not make out; for he had kept his books very irregularly, and had omitted to put down many things that he had bought and sold. They suspected, therefore, that great waste had been made in the family expenses; and they were the more suspicious of this, as a daughter, who was a very genteel young lady, was his housekeeper, his wife being dead. She was told of this; upon which, when the creditors all met, she sent them her house-books for their examination. They were all written in a very fair hand, and every single article was entered with the greatest regularity, and the sums were all cast up with perfect exactness. The gentlemen were so highly pleased with the proof of the young lady's ability, that they all agreed to make her a handsome present out of the effects; and one of the richest of them, who was in want of a clever wife, soon after paid his addresses to her, and married her.
K. That was very lucky, for I suppose she took care of her poor father when she was rich. But I shall have nothing of that sort to do for a long time to come.
M. No; but young women should keep their own account of clothes, and pocket-money, and other expenses, as I intend you shall do when you grow up.
K. Am I not to learn dancing, and music, and drawing, too mamma?
M. Dancing you shall certainly learn pretty soon, because it is not only an agreeable accomplishment in itself, but it is useful in forming the body to ease and elegance in all its motions. Music is a highly ornamental accomplishment; but, though a woman of middling station may be admired for its possession, she will never be censured for being without it. The propriety of attempting to acquire a practical acquaintance with music must depend upon natural genius for it, and upon leisure and other accidental circumstances. For some it is too expensive, and many are unable to make such progress in it as will repay the pains of beginning. Drawing, on the other hand, is of far more value than music, even as a mere accomplishment; and in point of utility as well as of interest, it is infinitely more important. There
is hardly a station in life-hardly any mechanical art, howsoever humble-in which drawing may not occasionally be found serviceable. In the making of patterns for all sorts of fancy-work, in the designing of draperies for the decoration of an apartment, and in various other
household affairs, it is extremely useful; and, while in the country, or when travelling abroad, to be able to sketch a remarkable building, a rare bird or other animal, or a beautiful landscape, is an elegant and highly intellectual attainment, that, for its intrinsic value, can hardly be appreciated too highly. It is soon enough, however, for us to think about these things, and at any rate, they are not to come in till you have made a proficiency in what is yet more useful and necessary.
But I see you have now finished what I set you about, so you shall take a walk with me into the market-place, where there are two or three things I wish to purchase.
K. Shall we not call at the bookseller's, to inquire for those new books that Miss Reader was talking about?
M. Perhaps we may. Now lay up your work neatly, and get on your hat and tippet.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
In Bethlehem, in Jewry,
This blessed babe was born,
And laid within a manger,
Upon this blessed morn; The which his mother Mary Nothing did take in scorn.
O tidings, &c.
From God, our Heavenly Father,
O tidings, &c.
Fear not, then said the angel,
Of virtue, power, and might,
The shepherds at those tidings
O tidings, &c.
But when to Bethlehem they came,
Whereas this infant lay,
Now to the Lord sing praises,
And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace;
This holy tide of Christmas
All others doth deface.
O tidings, &c.