Live and Let Live/Chapter VII

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Live and Let Live by Catharine Maria Sedgwick
Chapter VII. To cure, or to endure?—that is the Question



"Rise up, ye women that are at ease; hear my voice, ye careless daughters; give ear unto my speech!"—Isaiah XXXii., 9.

Surely the time will come in this country, where the elements of general prosperity have not been destroyed by the foolish combinations and wicked monopolies of men, when the poor will have less need of the passive virtues, and be sure of a field and certain harvest for the active ones; when no father, like poor Lee, will, by intemperance or any other vice—for all vice is more or less destructive—prostrate his family in the dust; when physical, intellectual, and moral education will have raised the level of our race, and brought it to as near an approximation to equality of condition as it is capable of in its present state of existence. One important step to this happy result is in the power of every mistress of a family. She must first enter into the sentiment which was so well expressed by Lord Chesterfield, who, in his last will, in making some bequests to his servants, calls them his "unfortunate friends, his inferiors in nothing but position."[1] When she realizes this, she will make an effort to raise the character of domestic labourers to the position they occupy in a new order of things, and the new relations they sustain among us.

Lucy was received at home with an outbreak of joy that was not calmed till it was found her service was not ended, but only to be transferred to another place; and, as Mrs. Lee could not afford to lose a day's earnings, it was decided that Lucy should the next morning apply to Mrs. Ardley, who might possibly still want her. Mrs. Lee's objections to the place were overruled by her pressing necessities. Early Monday morning Lucy again set forth, and was most cordially received by Mrs. Ardley. "You have come just in time, my little girl," she said; "I have had two in your place; the one went away because the work was too hard! Only six servants in the house, and nothing but odds and ends to do! But she was a lazy little mortal. The other went— I don't know for what—some bagatelle. She and the cook quarrelled, I believe—cooks are apt to be cross, you know—but you must not mind that—I shut my eyes to their faults if they will only cook my dinner well. Do what she tells you, and don't run to me with complaints. If my servants will get into hot water, I beg I may not be scalded with it. I wish you to be civil and obliging to everybody. The waiter may impose a little now and then—he will shirk sometimes—but he is so good I let him do as he pleases. Try and please Sophy—she is very good, though a little old maidish—but I never cross her. Mind your p's and q's with the wet-nurse—everybody must with a wet-nurse. Always be ready to run an errand for Mary Minturn—she hates to move off her chair. And always do what Becky tells you—what she wants done must be done. Be ready to do any little matter for the children, and try to please everybody. There's no hard work, you see—only odds and ends." Lucy had not experience enough to know that to work a little in everybody's field is much harder than to bring to perfection a corner of one. Mrs. Ardley's kindly manner pleased her. "So different," she thought, "from crabbed Mrs. Broadson! so sociable!" Mrs. Ardley's sociability was something like a brimful cup, always running over upon what chanced to be near her; however, to do her justice, she was very kindly disposed, though from the want of judgement and reflection her benevolence, like waste steam, was lost in noisy and useless effusions. Mrs. Ardley was the wife of a rich merchant. She had always lived in affluence. As far as she had thought about the matter, she believed this was the station Providence had allotted her; and she fancied also that there was a certain class born to understand and perform domestic service, while she and all in her category were to enjoy its results. She knew no more of that science which every woman should study, domestic economy, than the Queen of France knew of political economy, when, being told her people were clamorous for bread, she asked, "Why, if there was no bread, did they not give them cake?" Mrs. Ardley believed, in the honesty of her heart, that when she had hired plenty of servants, paid punctually the highest wages, bestowed handsome presents, fed them not only bountifully, but luxuriously, and never scolded, she had performed the whole active and passive duty of a mistress. In common with many others, she imputed the jars and break-downs of her domestic machinery to the imperfect mechanism of our society. "Everybody had trouble with their servants; of course she must expect it," was the general balm she applied to her domestic wounds.

Lucy one morning was summoned to bring the baby down to show to some visitors, and the little thing being charmed with the furs, feathers, and flowers that decorated the gay guests, Lucy was bidden to remain in the drawing-room, and, retiring to the window, she heard, not inattentively, the following conversation. "Do you keep the nursery-maid you brought with you from Paris, Mrs. Hartell?

"Dear! yes. I would not part with her on any account. She speaks such pure Parisian French. My next baby, I am resolved, shan't get the bad habits of my other children—it shall speak French first, and French always. I am very fortunate just now; I have a French cook, and a jewel of a French waiter."

"But do not your other servants quarrel with them?" asked Mrs. Ardley; "I had a French cook once, and they made a perfect inferno below stairs."

"Oh, n'importe!" replied Mrs. Hartell, shrugging her shoulders, "what signifies an inferno below, if you are in heaven above, as I truly am with French cooking and waiting."

"I am in a higher heaven than any of you," said a Mrs. Stedman, "since I went to board—I live in perfect luxury—nothing in the world to do but get up and enjoy myself."

"Oh, as to that," replied Mrs. Ardley, "I never trouble myself about my domestic concerns; what can't be cured must be endured, you know."

"But can you teach your husband your philosophy? does he not fret when he happens to find you out when he comes home to dinner, and the dinner not ready?"

"Never, dear Mrs. Stedman. My husband is one of the best-tempered men in the world; besides, of course, he knows it's all the servants' fault, and there's no use in scolding them—if you dismiss one set you only get a worse in their place. We long ago made up our minds, that where there was no remedy, it was wisest to submit with a grace."

"There is one remedy, thank Heaven," interposed a Mrs. Linton; "we can break up and go to board, as Mrs. Stedman has done, and as we shall all have to do. I have been trying to persuade Mr. Linton to it for the last year."

"What is his objection?"

"Oh, he says he married to have a home—he got a surfeit of boarding-houses when he was a bachelor, &c., &c., so we shall have to worry on a while longer; but I take special care to let him know all the torment I have. There's nothing like letting these men share the burden, to make them willing to throw it off. So Mary Henry said, and she never gave her husband any peace till he took her to France."

"Apropos!" interposed Mrs. Ardley, "I had a letter yesterday from Mary Henry. They have had a horrible time of it lately—been robbed by their servants."

"Bless me, how shocking! do they intend remaining abroad?"

"Yes, till the girls are grown. She found her housekeeping interfered too much with their education. She was a Martha, you know, troubled about many things."

"Does she intend establishing her daughters abroad?" asked a Mrs. Hyde, who had till now listened in silence.

"No, indeed! She speaks with horror of the state of society in Paris, and says she would rather bury her daughters than marry them there."

"Then there are worse social evils than the household plagues of America?"

"Dear Mrs. Hyde! how sarcastic!"

"I did not intend a sarcasm. If the evils we suffer are lighter than those that exist in other countries, we should, I think, endure them without complaint; and since they belong to a condition of society in which our lot and our children's is cast, it might be well to try to rectify them."

"Excuse me!" exclaimed Mrs. Stedman, rising to go, "I have washed my hands of the whole concern, and never shall voluntarily resume housekeeping."

"And excuse me!" said Mrs. Linton, seconding her friend's movement, "I have made up my mind to dismiss the crew and give up the ship!" and laughing, she followed Mrs. Stedman.

"Chacun à son goût! (each one to his taste!)" said Mrs. Hartell; "mine is not in your line, dear Mrs. Hyde!" and she, too, took leave.

"Now they are gone," said Mrs. Ardley, "I must say, that if my husband was as fidgety as Sam Stedman, I would give up housekeeping too—or hang myself." Mrs. Ardley and Mrs. Hyde were old friends, and, in bygone days, schoolmates, though Mrs. Hyde was by a few years the senior; this made it easy for her to adopt the mentor style without any appearance of assumption, a fault to which there were indeed no tendencies in her character. "No, Anne," she replied, "no, you are of too happy a temper to hang yourself in any extremity, and you are too kind to drive others to hanging; so, if your husband had been as fidgety as Sam Stedman, you would have set about making his home comfortable, and not abandoned it."

"But how can a home be made what a fidgety man calls comfortable, with such servants as we have? Now, dear Mrs. Hyde, answer me that," said Mrs. Ardley, with the air of one who had uttered a poser.

"By the mistress of the house doing her duty understandingly and thoroughly. We must begin at the foundation, Anne. In this country, where often, in town, we have ignorant and ill-trained domestics, and sometimes in the country none at all, it is an indispensable duty to give our daughters a thorough acquaintance with domestic affairs. It seems to me we educate them for everything else but the actual necessities of their social condition."

"Oh, we may just as well save ourselves that trouble. It don't depend at all on education; for instance, you and I were brought up as much alike as two girls could be, and you are a pattern housewife, while I make no pretensions that way." Before detailing the conversation that followed, it will be but just to concede what Mrs. Hyde's modesty did not permit her to allow, that she was, in clearness of mind and force of character, greatly Mrs. Ardley's superior. Other things being equal, the woman of the highest mental endowments will always be the best housekeeper, for housewifery, domestic economy; is a science that brings into action the qualities of the mind as well as the graces of the heart. A quick perception, judgement, discrimination, decision, and order are high attributes of mind, and are all in daily exercise in the well-ordering of a family. If a "sensible woman," an "intellectual woman," a "woman of genius," is not a good housewife, it is not because she is all or either of these, but because there is some deficiency in her character, or some omission of duty which should make her very humble, instead of her indulging any secret self-complacency on account of a certain superiority, which only aggravates her fault. Many women of very inferior character make very comfortable housewives, but why? they give their whole power to a single object. All the rays of a feeble lamp thrown on one point will produce a considerable illumination.

"You say, Anne," replied Mrs. Hyde, "that you and I were 'brought up as much alike as two girls could be,' and so we were. We went to the same schools, pursued the same studies, and received the same accomplishments. Great pains were taken to make us attractive in a drawing-room and amiable in our domestic relations. But, as to the actual business of life, we were as little trained for it as if we had been born in the royal family of Persia, instead of being American girls, who, whatever their fortune and condition are, will be sure, in the progress of life, to be placed in situations that call all their faculties into requisition."

"Oh! some are and some are not."

"All—all, Anne. The women of this country, of every grade, are independent, self-directing beings. The employers have certain untransferable duties and the employed certain unquestionable rights."

"Do you mean mistresses and servants by employers and employed?"


"That is too absurd for such a sensible woman as you, Sara. You got that flummery living up in the country."

"Perhaps I did get it sooner there than I otherwise should. How can a person who contracts to perform a certain labour under your roof, who makes her own stipulations, and may leave you with impunity at any moment, any more be called your servant, in the old sense, than the builder who builds your house, or the engineer who constructs your roads?"

"How can they? Why they always have been called servants—my servants do the same work my grandmother's did, who were slaves—the same work that servants do in other countries."

"Yes, but is not their condition changed, and does not that change the relation? Rely upon it, we make a fatal mistake, not so much in retaining old terms as in not fitting ourselves for the new relation—"

"But stay, Sara, don't you call your servants servants?"

"No, I call them domestics."

"Heaven be praised! I expected you would say help, which is quite too countrified, too like mechanics' wives. But, honestly, don't you think servant sounds more natural, and is the more convenient name?"

"Yes; but I think the wishes of those who bear the name should be consulted, and we all know that servant is so disagreeable to them, especially to the best among them, that it requires some courage and a little hard-heartedness to use it in their presence."

"But is not much of this rank pride, Sara? they not discontented with their subordinate condition, and ought they not to learn that a person may be as truly respectable in one grade as another?"

"Undoubtedly this would be a most valuable lesson learned; but, since the world began, moralists have been teaching, in some form or other, that

"Honour and shame from no condition rise,

Act well your part, there all the honour lies,"

and yet how few have learned it. In our own country, the apostle's rule is reversed; and 'in whatsoever condition you are, not to be therewith content,' is the general experience. If, therefore, all are trying to appear, if not to be something better than they are, we ought not to be surprised at manifestations of this spirit in the most ignorant class, in those who, for the most part, have had fewest opportunities for moral progress. The truth is, we are in a transition state; the duties of which, as it seems to me, are imperfectly understood; and as to the names, he would be a benefactor who should introduce those satisfactory to all parties."

There was a short pause, during which Mrs. Ardley hemmed as if something "stuck i' the throat;" making an effort, she said, "I confess, Sara, to hear you talk only, I should think you the most absurd woman in the world; but then it's true, that in spite of your theories, you do get on wonderfully with your enormous family; but you always have the luck of having such good servants! you are almost the only one of my acquaintance I never hear complaining. You must have a wonderful knack! how have you acquired it? When you were married, you knew no more of housekeeping than I did."

"No one could know less than I did, Anne—but my circumstances since have been more favourable to my improvement than yours. The first three or four years of my marriage were imbittered by my ignorance of domestic concerns. My husband, as you know, is most kind-tempered and considerate, but I saw him perpetually annoyed with the consequences of my ignorance and inefficiency. I was never indifferent to my household duties. I felt my deficiencies and failures, and was perpetually made uncomfortable by them. Still I tried to persuade myself, as everybody else does, that it was my servants' business to understand their work. No one dares nowadays scold a servant; but I remonstrated with them, I changed them, I echoed the complaints I heard on every side, and I verily believed housekeeping the bitterest curse of a woman's existence. My three eldest girls were born within the four first years of my marriage. My cares, of course, multiplied rapidly, and made me all but miserable. My husband was most indulgent. He forbore inviting his friends to his house, because I had, upon two or three occasions, been mortified and made unhappy by dinners ill-served to our friends. We could not afford to hire extra servants, and I had not yet learned to supply my people's ignorance by my own knowledge, and to provide against their shiftlessness by my own foresight. So all the advantages and pleasures of hospitality were foregone."

"I am sure, Sara, I remember your giving parties."

"Yes—one, perhaps two, I did give, because we must keep our place in society, and this was the easiest contribution I could pay. You can hire skilful people, you know, for such occasions, and get through them without feeling disgraced—disgraced, Anne, I confess I did in my secret soul feel, for I was conscious that my miseries arose, for the most part, from my own defects. I look back, even now, with bitter regret to the social duties that my ignorance, my utter incompetency compelled me to forego."

"Dear Sara, that is superfluous misery, I am sure—who ever did perform so many social duties ? I have often wondered how you, with your ten children, could think of taking your two nephews into your family, and that little sickly orphan girl."

"Ah, Anne, we cannot make one duty performed a substitute for one omitted."

"Dear me! then you may as well omit them altogether, as I do. But, pray tell me when this new light dawned upon your affairs? Perhaps it was a northern light, up in that barbarous country you removed to?"

"You are right; it was. My husband's affairs compelled us to remove to the St. Lawrence. My nurse was the only person that I could, for love or money, persuade to go with me. Love was her motive. Love, not only for the children, but for us; for before this time I had got on a little in my domestic self-education, and had learned to treat Clara Lane as my friend."

"Bless me! did mammy live with you so long ago?"

"Yes; she it was who taught me not only to appreciate the virtue, but to estimate the power, and respect the dignity of a domestic labourer. Are you not tired, Anne?"

"Dear! no—pray tell me how you got on in that wilderness."

"At first, badly enough. When we were within six miles of our home, Ella was taken ill. We stopped at a log-hut; she was too ill to proceed. There was but one bed that the people could, for any consideration, spare. I wished to remain with my sick child, but the mistress of the hut said 'No, unless I could cook my own victuals, make the child's porridge, and do my own waiting on—the nurse was welcome to stay, but folks warn't plenty enough up there to run after ladies!'"

"What a brute!"

"Not at all. It was the plain truth coarsely told. Oh, how much I would then have given for mammy's faculties—my servants', Anne! There was no alternative, and I was obliged to go on, with the consciousness that I should be as useless in my own home as at the log-hut. However, I had health and unimpaired strength, and the cheerfulness they generate. I was beginning to profit by the lessons of necessity, 'our sternest teacher and our best!' There were no domestic labourers to be obtained. I cannot describe to you my woful condition, nor my family's, when we were first reduced to depending on my culinary skill. Oh, how I broiled over my first beefsteak, dropped it in the ashes, and blistered my fingers, my poor husband standing by the while sympathizing and laughing; my potatoes I served as hard as they were dug out of the earth! The first day we borrowed bread from my husband's farmer, our only neighbour; the next, mammy not coming, I was compelled to make some. I was ashamed to ask directions of our neighbour Mrs. Stone; I thought it must be a simple operation, and I knew, as I supposed, the materials of which it was composed. I kneaded and baked it, after calling my husband from important business to heat and clear my oven. Anne, you would have pitied my consternation if you had seen me when I drew the bread from the oven. It was as solid and as heavy as a brickbat. I cried, my husband laughed, his patience was inexhaustible; I then laughed too, threw away my bread, tied my right arm in a sling, sent for Mrs. Stone, and said, 'You see my condition—will you mix some bread for me?' She set about it with alacrity; I watched every step of the process, and found I had omitted the yeast in my composition! I went a little further in my artifice, for I was in a position to be as much ashamed of my ignorance of the domestic arts as a professed amateur would be if found at fault in the fine arts. Good Mrs. Stone vaunted her emptyings, as the country folk call yeast; she 'always,' she said, 'calculated to have lively emptyings.' 'So do I, ma'am,' said I, 'but I should like to know how you make yours.' 'Oh, I make them like other people, I guess, but some always have better luck than others!' I was determined to secure her luck, if possible, and so I said, 'I should like to know exactly how she made hers—perhaps her way was different from our city way.' I shall never forget her reply, for it was my first introduction to the indefiniteness of unwritten receipts. 'I hang on my kettle of water,' she said, 'throw in some hops and potatoes according to my judgement, and when they have boiled long enough, I strain the liquor into some rye flour, if I have it, and put lively emptyings to it!' Here, as you perceive, was neither time nor quantity; but, by means of a cross-examination which would not have disgraced a lawyer, I elicited the necessary information; and when on my next baking-day I presented my first fair, light loaf to my husband, I was a proud and happy woman!"

"Oh, I have always thought," said Mrs. Ardley, "if I lived in the country, I should like to attend to domestic concerns—there is nothing else there, you know, to occupy you."

Mrs. Hyde smiled. She thought of the rational and elegant pursuits that had occupied her in the country, but she did not advert to them. As all preachers should do who hope to produce an effect by a single discourse, she confined herself to one topic. "Yes, Anne," she said, "I soon began to find pleasure in my domestic concerns. I was often compelled to be an actual operator, for in a new country labour is too precious to be bought with money; but I was every day learning, and in no department is the acquisition of knowledge more certainly power than in this. Mountains were soon levelled down to molehills. Labours that, at first, exacted all my time, strength, and thoughts, became easy by repetition; and I had not resided six months at Hydedale before I was able to despatch my household business within the two hours prescribed by Madame Roland."

"Madame Roland!—the celebrated Madame Roland? for pity's sake, what had she to do with household business?"

"She administered family affairs with a very small income, and she was at the head of an immense establishment, and in both positions she says her domestic duties were comprised within two hours."[2]

"Dear! yes, with French servants; but, if I understand you, you had not even American servants."

"You forget. Mammy was always with me; and when I could get no one else, she insisted on relieving me from the roughest of the work, though she had only contracted for the duties of nurse. But she was my friend—my help in all things, and I treated her accordingly. If she had been treated as many ladies think it necessary to treat their domestics, she would not have stayed with me a month; and why should she? The money we paid her could have been far more easily earned elsewhere; but our gratitude and our affection were make weights against which no scale would have preponderated, though heaped with gold. I remember a circumstance which mammy certainly never will forget, that occurred one day when we had some New-York friends with us. Sabina Rayson was one of them. I was baking a pudding, and my dish was nearly as large as my bakepan; in that case, you know—no, you do not know—for I suppose, Anne, you never baked a pudding in your life."

"Bless you, no—and I trust I never shall."

"Well, if you ever had, you would understand the dilemma I was in. I could not take out my pudding without risking the burning of my fingers. Sabina passed through my kitchen just as I was worrying over it. Mammy stood by, looking on. Sabina stopped to watch my progress, and exclaimed involuntarily, 'Why do you plague yourself with that, Sara? Why don't you let mammy burn her fingers?' Now, you know, Sabina has both sense and kindness; but she had always looked upon domestics as half the world do, as persons created expressly to minister to our pleasure, to burn their fingers for us; and when I replied, 'If anybody, Sabina, is to burn her fingers with the pudding that my friends and I are to eat, it should be me, and not mammy,' she said, 'Well, you are the oddest woman!' and retreated to the parlour to laugh at my peculiarities."

"I do not wonder it struck Sabina as strange—but in the situation you were in—so dependant on mammy—you were quite right."

"I should have been right in any situation, my dear Anne. Sabina's exclamation is a most apt illustration of the abuses of nine tenths of the world of this relation. It has passed into a proverb with me, and scarcely a day goes by that I am not reminded of those unlucky words, Why don't you let mammy burn her fingers?"

Mrs. Ardley did not quite admit her friend's inferences, but she was entertained with her facts. "Had you no one but mammy," she asked, "all the time you lived at Hydedale?"

"Yes, occasional services I could always procure; for though, as I told you, money would not buy labour, yet our farmers' girls said, 'Mr. and Mrs. Hyde had such friendly ways that they loved to work for them,' and mammy, always a favourite, was a sort of decoy bird to them. You may have seen my seamstress Paulina."

"The nice girl you told me made the children's dresses?"

"The same. She was a poor child whom I took, in country phrase, 'to bring up.' A treasure she has proved. She is now so accomplished that she can earn more than I can afford to pay her, and she is about leaving me to go as a first hand to a dressmaker."

"Then you do meet with ingratitude as well as the rest of the world?"

"I have, certainly, no ingratitude to complain of from Paulina. I have had hard work to persuade her to leave me, and she consents only on condition that I permit her to return if she cannot learn to content herself away from us."[3]

"What a pity!" said Mrs. Ardley, whom the common way of looking at such subjects seemed to have rendered incapable of seeing them in Mrs. Hyde's point of view, "what a pity she did not keep to plain sewing—could you not prevent her learning dressmaking."

"Certainly. But a poor girl has it hard enough getting her living by her needle at the most profitable work; so I made her avail herself of every opportunity of learning of my dressmaker."

"Do you never consider yourself?"

"Yes, Anne, most effectively. I most certainly benefit myself by promoting the improvement of those under my care. I have often wondered that housekeepers in the country do not more frequently secure help by taking children 'to bring up.' Young children may always be obtained; and care and kindness, while they are too young to render much service, is amply paid afterward. A child taken from a vicious family, or from a shiftless, ignorant, or overburdened mother, may thus be saved not only as far as concerns the self-preserving virtues that are brought into action in this world, but, reaping the fruits of a moral and religious education, she may be saved in a higher sense. In getting new domestics I prefer young ones—young subjects can be remoulded and taught. You can inspire them with confidence, and make them zealous fellow-workers with you in their own improvement. Those who have come to years of maturity, especially foreigners, have minds so stinted, and such inveterate bad habits, that it is very difficult to make them comfortable members of a little family community, regulated upon principles of reciprocal affection and confidence."

"But, dear Sara, what a task must all this teaching be!"

"And what a harvest, Anne! Depend upon it, my dear friend, there is no happiness like that of energetically employing our faculties to achieve some good end?"

"Yes, you are very right; but then the object must be worth the exertion. Now, to confess the truth to you—do not be offended, Sara—I do not mean to apply it to you—you are so superior to most women, that it is different with you—but in general, I mean, it does appear to me very vulgar for ladies to—to—to work—sweep a room, for instance—roast a turkey! horrible!"

"There will seldom be occasion for a lady to perform drudgery herself who thoroughly understands it, for this very knowledge will enable her to direct the services of others. But I would have every girl practice enough to be able to help herself in the emergencies that are constantly occurring, and to teach the ignorant, whose ignorance, mark, if she cannot enlighten, she must endure. A woman may employ a vast deal of talent in the administration of her family affairs. I think it was Paulus Emilius who said it required as much genius to order an entertainment as to draw up an army. And, Anne, if our young ladies want the example of heroines to redeem domestic offices from their vulgarity, to idealize the housewife—let them remember Andromache, and Desdemona, and sundry others. For a champion to my cause, there is the old Roman Cato, who, Plutarch tells us, was followed to the wars by only one servant; and when this servant was weary, Cato would cook the dinner—'roast a turkey,' perchance—if he could get one. Seriously, my dear Anne, do not let us consider any occupation so vulgar as indolence and inanity. How many lives are consumed in utter frivolity! A little light reading, a little needlework, a little shopping, visiting, dressing, and undressing, and so day after day passes away. You and I, Anne, know a great many who perform well their domestic duties without their interfering with what are called higher pursuits. But I do not know how there can well be a higher pursuit than the improvement and happiness of those who are placed by Providence in those little primary schools, over which we, in virtue of our characters as mothers and mistresses, preside. Let us try to train our girls, for this their happiest sphere—to prepare them to be the ministers of Providence to the more ignorant children of the human family."

Mrs. Hyde was interrupted from an unexpected quarter. Lucy Lee had, unobserved, listened; during the last sentences she had drawn nearer and nearer, and now she involuntarily exclaimed, "How like mother she does talk!"

"A compliment!" cried Mrs. Ardley, laughing, and she bade Lucy take the baby up stairs. The simplicity of the girl pleased Mrs. Hyde, and her sweet countenance was stamped on her memory. "It is fortunate for you, Anne," she said, "that my harangue was interrupted; when we mount our hobbies, we are apt to jade our friends. The truth is, I often think reflection would bring others to the result to which necessity brought me."

"It may be, Sara. You have certainly given me some new ideas. I have heretofore thought only of enduring the evil, never of curing it."

  1. An instance of almost unparalleled magnanimity in the discharge of a duty to one of these "inferiors in position", occurred here at the time of the horrid shipwreck of the Bristol. A Mr. Donelly, his wife, and children were among the passengers. The small boat was putting off from the ship with a bare possibility that it might return. Mr. Donelly's wife, children, and other relatives were in it. There was still one unoccupied place; this he insisted on giving to his nursery-maid, saying, "this girl has left her home my service and protection." She was saved. The boat never returned to the snip. Did not Mr. Donelly do more for the cause of virtue by this last act of his existence than many men achieve in a lifetime?
  2. Madame Roland says of herself, "The same child who read systematic works, who could explain the circles of the celestial sphere, who could handle the crayon and the graver, and who at eight years of age was the best dancer at youthful parties, was frequently called into the kitchen to make an omelette, pick herbs, and skim the pot!" We have known a few Yankee girls who might make a similar boast.
  3. We have known Mrs. Hyde's principle acted on, where the disinterestedness and the sacrifice were much greater than in her case.