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and extend their usefulnefs : these are employments congenial to female sympathy; employments in the precise line of female duty; employments which diffuse genuine and lasting consolation among those whom they are designed to benefit, and never fail to improve the heart of her who is engaged in them.
In pointing out what ought to be done, let justice be rendered to what has been done. In the discharge of the domestic offices of kindness, and in the exercise of charitable and friendly regard to the neighbouring poor, women in general are exemplary. In the latter branch of Christian virtue, an accefsion of
has been witnessed within a few years. Many ladies have shewn, and still continue to shew, their earnest solicitude for the welfare of the wretched and the ignorant, by spontaneously establishing schools of industry and of religious instruction; and with a ftill more beneficial warmth of bepevolence, have taken the regular inspection of them upon themselves. May they sted3
fastly fastly persevere, and be imitated by numbers !
Among the employments of time, which, though regarded with due attention by many young women, are more or less neglected by a considerable number, moderate exercise in the open air claims to be noticed. Sedentary confinement in hot apartments on the one hand, and public diversions frequented, on the other, in buildings still more crowded and stifling, are often permitted so to occupy the time as by degrees even to wear away the relish for the freshness of a pure atmosphere, for the beauties and amusements of the garden, and for those “ rural fights and rural sounds,” which delight the mind uncorrupted by idleness, folly, or vice. Enfeebled health, a capricious temper, low and irritable fpirits, and the loss of many pure and continually recurring enjoyments, are among the consequences of such misconduct.
But though books obtain their reasonable portion of the day, though health has been 6
consulted, the demands of duty fulfilled, and the dictates of benevolence obeyed, there will yet be hours remaining unoccupied; hours for which no specific employment has yet been provided. For such hours it is not the intention of these
pages to prescribe any specific employment. What if fome space be assigned to the useful and elegant arts of female industry? But is induftry to possess them all? Let the innocent amusements which home furnishes claim their share. It is a claim which shall cheer fully be allowed. Do amusements abroad offer their pretensions? Neither shall they, on proper occasions, be unheard. A wellregulated life will never know a vacuum sufficient to require an immoderate share of public amusements to fill it.
N the preceding pages, which have had an evident and primary reference to the situation of unmarried women, I have been under the necessity of speaking largely concerning various duties, which appertain equally to those who are no longer single. I have therefore to entreat the reader, if of the latter description, still to regard the foregoing part of this treatise as addressed also to herself; if of the former, to believe herself, even at present, concerned in many of the subsequent observations, though they should seem to refer solely to a condition of life into which she has not yet entered.
It will be proper, however, before the duties of a married woman are particu
larised, to be explicit concerning some points, on attention to which the probability of happiness in matrimonial life radically depends.
The prospect of passing a single month with an acquaintance, whose society we know to be unpleasing, is a prospect from which every
mind recoils. Were the time of intercourse antecedently fixed to extend to a year, or to a longer period, our repugnance would be proportionally great. Were the term to reach to the death of one of the parties, the evil would appear in foresight scarcely to be endured. But further ; let it be supposed, not only that the parties were to be bound during their joint lives to the society of each other ; but that their interests were to be inseparably blended together in all circumstances. And, in the next place, let it also be supposed that the two parties were not to engage in this association on terms of perfect equality ; but that one of them was necessarily to be placed as to various