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."