Page:The Mothers of England.djvu/22
THE MOTHERS OF ENGLAND.
such as it is?—not merely for becoming portions of the general mass, for mixing themselves in with the elements of discord too frequently found there, nor even for swelling the tide of popular feeling, whatever it may be. All this they would learn too readily, if left to take their own course. But the inquiry a mother has to make is, what are the prevailing evils now existing in the world; what are the good tendencies of the present state of society; and by what means can the mind be so moulded, and the habits so formed, that the child going through the process of education, shall be best enabled to assist in counteracting the one, and helping forward the other?
These are serious inquiries, well worthy a mother's attention, and requiring, in order to act upon them to any useful purpose, much of that observation and tact which has been already urged upon women at an earlier stage of their experience. And here I would venture to observe, that everything which appeared to me essential to a woman holding the relative situation of a daughter, appeared so more especially when contemplating the same character in that of a wife or a mother; nor could any faculty of the mind be recommended in its exercise to a young and single woman, which might not be made a hundredfold more valuable to her as a mother.Whence then can have arisen that most absurd and infatuated notion, that woman, while young and unmarried, may with propriety cultivate her mind and improve her character to almost any extent; but that as a wile she has no need to advance any farther, and as a mother she will do very well if she can but superintend the dressing and undressing of a baby! If, as regards the female sex, there should ever have been ground for the establishment of so erroneous a belief, one would suppose that the simple fact of mothers having the training of boys, as well as girls committed to their care, might sometimes startle them into a Consciousness of the vast amount of responsibility resting upon them. That single thought, so alarming in its spirit-stirring interest,—that all the statesmen of the rising generation, all the ministers of religion, all public and private gentlemen, as well as all men of business, mechanics, and laborers of every description, will have