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PREFACE.

12

HE history of an English household presents so

large a portion of the leading features of our

national character, that it can scarcely fail to be interesting to a proportionate class of readers. It takes them through centuries of civilisation and through 'pictures of periods, which show the progressive means by which has been secured the well-ordered English dwelling. Ву aid of this retrospect—this glance at the past, linked to the improvements of the present-has been produced the volume of Practical Instructions and Duties, Counsels and Experiences, Hints and Recipes, here submitted to the reader.

The book has been named from a character in our domestic history, whose name has become familiar as a household word, indicating the active benevolence of one of the best of women;' beloved by her neighbours for her sweet sympathy with the wants of others, and her unceasing anxiety in ministering to them, and thus enjoying the luxury of doing good. Happily, however, every age, as well as that of Queen Anne, has its Lady Bountiful;

and benevolence is as rife in the Victorian era, with the

advantage of increased means of adding to comforts and

enjoyments by the improved state of the social arts; while

there is a Lady Bountiful in every parish to administer

such means.

Practical in its object and details, the main subject is

illustrated by anecdotical examples of excellence in the
practice of the social virtues; and the localities of the
pictures are frequently sites as well as periods of celebrity,
endeared to us as the abodes of persons of high worth.
A glance at the Table of Contents and the copious Index,
will, however, best show the nature and variety of the
methods and suggestive means by which is here sought to
appreciate the happiness of the English home.

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