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Daughters, are you paying attention too?



from The American Frugal Housewife
by Mrs. Lydia Maria Child
published in 1832

The bride is awakened from her delightful dream, in which carpets, vases, sofas, white gloves, and pearl earrings, are oddly jumbled up with her lover’s looks and promises. Perhaps she would be surprised if she knew exactly how much of the fascination of being engaged was owing to the aforesaid inanimate concern.

Be that as it will, she is awakened by the unpleasant conviction that cares devolve upon her.

And what effect does this produce upon her character? Do the holy and tender influences of domestic love render self-denial and exertion a bliss?

No! They would have done so, had she been properly educated; but now she gives way to unavailing fretfulness and repining; and her husband is at first pained, and finally disgusted, by hearing, ‘I never knew what care was when I lived in my father’s house.’ ‘If I were to live my life over again, I would remain single as long as I could, without the risk of being an old maid.’

How injudicious, how short-sighted is the policy, which thus mars the whole happiness of life, in order to make a few brief years more gay and brilliant!

I have known many instances of domestic ruin and discord produced by this mistaken indulgence of mothers. I never knew but one, where the victim had moral courage enough to change all her early habits.

She was a young, pretty, and very amiable girl; but brought up to be perfectly useless; a rag baby would, to all intents and purposes, have been as efficient a partner. She married a young lawyer, without property, but with good and increasing practice. She meant to be a good wife, but she did not know how.

Her wastefulness involved him in debt.

He did not reproach, though he tried to convince and instruct her.

She loved him; and weeping replied, ‘I try to do the best I can; but when I lived at home, mother always took care of everything.’

Finally, poverty came upon him ‘like an armed man;’ and he went into a remote town in the Western States to teach a school. His wife folded her hands, and cried; while he, weary and discouraged, actually came home from school to cook his own supper.

At last, his patience, and her real love for him, impelled her to exertion. She promised to learn to be useful, if he would teach her.

And she did learn! And the change in her habits gradually wrought such a change in her husband’s fortune, that she might bring her daughters up in idleness, had not experience taught her that economy, like grammar, is a very hard and tiresome study, after we are twenty years old.

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to be continued insha’Allah

text source : Project Gutenberg
image source: Open Clipart Library