Page:The Daughters of England.djvu/53

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


CHAP. III.
CLEVERNESS—LEARNING—KNOWLEDGE.


In order to speak with more precision of those attainments which youth is the season for acquiring, I must class them under three different heads—cleverness, learning, and knowledge. By cleverness, I would be understood to mean, dexterity and aptness in doing everything which falls within the sphere of ordinary duty. Cleverness of the hand, is no mean attainment in a woman. It is, in fact, of almost as much value to her, as dexterity to the surgeon; for though he may have knowledge to understand what is best to be done, unless his hand be skilful to do it, his knowledge will avail him but little in any case of emergency, where the life of a fellow-creature is at stake.

The cleverness of the hand, therefore, though almost entirely neglected in modern education, except as relates to practice on the keys of the piano, is a qualification which, while it takes nothing away from the charm of feminine delicacy, imparts the additional charm of perpetual cheerfulness, added to a capability of general usefulness, and a consequent readiness for action whenever occasion may require our services.

To know how to do every thing which can properly come within a woman's sphere of duty, ought to be the ambition of every female mind. For my own part, I do not believe I have ever learned anything, even down to such a trifle as a new stitch, but I have found a use for it, and that in a surprisingly short space of time; for either it has occupied what would otherwise have been idle