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Her home was ruled with diligence, and her servants vigilantly superintended ; for she both directed and instructed her maids in "cookery, brewing, baking, dairy, ordering linen, in which her neatness was curious, and such like.' Her system of almsgiving was so prompt, that she would rise in the night to assist a neighbour in sickness. The early dawn found her engaged in prayer; and at six o'clock she called her maids, heard them read a chapter in the Bible, and then superintended their labours : for, though she was neither her own cook nor dairy
maid, yet she was always clerk of her little kitchen. She afterwards occupied herself with her needle until the hour of family prayer, at which all the labourers on the farm, as well as the household servants, were assembled ; and if any worked by the piece instead of the day, she made up to them by an increase of payment what they lost in time. The afternoon she divided between instructing her children and visiting the poor. Only two daughters survived their childhood. They learned from their mother whatever might fit them for family employments. Part of the day was devoted to visiting the sick, and preparing the distilled waters, syrups, oils, ointments, and salves, with which her closet was more fully served than many a country shop; and both in their preparation and distribution her daughters were expected to lend their aid. A portion of their time was, besides, employed in needlework ; and in this branch of their education, their mother, though she was as well skilled as if she had been brought up in a convent, was always assisted by a servant, whom she had trained for the purpose ; but, as far as possible, she kept her children under her own guidance.
“So, from week to week, her life glided quietly on, varied occasionally by friendly visits given and received, by a journey to Tunbridge Wells every summer, and by the festivities of Christmas, when the whole parish, rich and poor, young and old, were feasted for three days at the Rectory. On the anniversary of their wedding-day, Dr. and Mrs. Walker entertained their neighbours of higher degree; and the Earl of Warwick's family were generally included amongst their guests. On one occasion, “three coroneted heads, and others of best quality, next to nobility," were - numbered in the company. For this feast the venison was always supplied from Lees Priory. On the table there was conspicuously placed a dish of pies, prepared by Mrs. Walker, their number corresponding with the years of her married life.? On the last anniversary a perfect pyramid appeared—thirty-nine in one dish, all “made," as we are told, “ by the hand which received a wedding-ring so many years before.”' 1?
THE GOOD HOUSEWIFE.
O be happy at home, it has been well said, is the
ultimate result of all ambition, the end to which enterprise and labour tends, and of which every
desire prompts the execution. It is, indeed, at his home that every man must be known by those who would make a just estimate of virtue or felicity.
Nevertheless, the happiness of home is not unbroken, since such a condition is incompatible with the course of human affairs. "Life consists not of a series of illustrious actions: the greater part of our time passes in compliance. with necessities, in the performance of daily duties, in the removal of small inconveniences, in the procurement of petty pleasures; and we are well or ill at ease, as the main stream of life glides on smoothly, or is ruffled by small or frequent interruptions.' To be happy in the limited sense which Providence permits, let us make home the centre of our enjoyments: the fulfilment of those little duties which are at every moment presenting their claims, is, after all, the sweet receipt for contentment. How beautiful has James Montgomery sung of our country and our home, in these touching lines:
“There is a land, of ev'ry land the pride,
Where brighter suns dispense serener light,
That land thy country, and that spot thy home In what do the endearments of home consist? “The sweet charities of life, sympathy, affection, and benevolence, are the blessings blended with sorrow, sickness, and infirmity; and from the restraints of temper, and mutual forbearance, we practise to each other, arise the kindness and good-will which are the charms of social life.'
To proceed to the duties of the domestic character. The precise nature of these duties must vary, according to the circumstances of each individual; but in the chief points
there can be no difference. Discretion and prudence in the management of domestic concerns, with a well-governed temper, are qualities that ought invariably to adorn her character. All writers on these duties treat of domestic economy as an indispensable part of female education. Madame Roland, one of the most remarkable women of the last century, says of herself: "The same child who could read systematic works, who could explain the circles of the celestial sphere, who could handle the crayon and the graver, and at eight years was the best dancer in the youthful parties, was frequently called into the kitchen to make an omelet, pick herbs, and skim the pot.
One of the most cur portraits we possess, is contained in the journal of Elizabeth Woodville, before her marriage with Sir John Grey, copied from an ancient manuscript in Drummond Castle. After the death of Sir John Grey, Elizabeth Woodville became, in 1465, the queen of Edward
On the accession of Henry vil., , who married her daughter, she was confined in the nunnery of Bermondsey, and died there, but was buried at Windsor. Here is her journal :
Monday, March 9.-Rose at four o'clock, and helped Catharine to milk the cows; Rachel, the other dairymaid, having scalded her hand in so bad a manner the night before. Made a poultice for Rachel, and gave Robin a penny to get her something comfortable from the apothecary's.
• Six o'clock.—The buttock of beef too much boiled, and the beer a little of the stalest. Memorandum : To talk to cook about the first fault, and to mend the second by tapping a fresh barrel directly.
• Seven o'clock.—Went to walk with the lady, my mother, in the courtyard. Fed twenty-five men and women.