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AND FOR THE COMPANY, BY
LVI.-A Summer Night's Dreaming.–A Poem
THE ANNUAL REPORTS OF THE GOVERNESSES' BENEVOLENT INSTITUTION,
from 1843 to 1856.
In casting a preliminary glance over the vast field of female paid labour in this country, a field which may be roughly calculated to embrace about three millions of women, or half its female population, we are well assured that one department will chiefly interest the majority of our readers ;-namely the Profession of the Teacher. And this for an obvious reason, that it is the only profession open to an educated woman of average ability. Few are aware of the extent to which women of the lower classes are employed in undomestic labour, in the factory, the workshop, and the field ;but while all our lady readers have received instruction from some class of governess, there is probably not one who has not also some relative or cherished friend either actually engaged in teaching, or having formerly been so engaged. We find families who have no link with the army, the navy, or the church ; others, who in all their wide-spread connection have kept aloof from trade ;- but from the highest to the lowest rank in which a liberal education is bestowed, we shall find some cousin or friend who is a governess. Indeed, it is not a question of rank at all, for the unmarried female members of the small merchant's family enter the profession from natural necessity, and the fortuneless daughters of the highly connected clergyman have often no other resource. It is a platform on which middle and upper classes meet, the one struggling up, the other drifting down. If a father dies, or a bank breaks, or a husband is killed,-if brothers require a college education to fit them for one of the many careers open to an M.A., or orphan nephews and nieces are cast helpless upon a woman's heart, here is the one means of breadwinning to which access alone seems open,-to which alone untrained capacity is equal or pride admits appeal.
This brief statement sums up the conclusion to which many melancholy narratives of dire suffering and long struggle furnish