this only, contentedly, regularly, uncomplainingly all their lives long, as if they had no germs of faculties for anything else—a doctrine as reasonable to hold as it would be that the fathers have no faculties but for eating what their daughters cook, or for wearing what they sew. Could men live so themselves? Would they not be very weary? And, when there came no relief to their weariness, but only reproaches at its slightest manifestation, would not their weariness ferment in time to frenzy? Lucretia, spinning at midnight in the midst of her maidens, and Solomon’s virtuous woman are often quoted as patterns of what “the sex” (as they say) ought to be. I don’t know. Lucretia, I dare say, was a most worthy sort of person, much like my cousin, Hortense Moore, but she kept her servants up very late. I should not have liked to be amongst the number of the maidens. Hortense would just work me and Sarah in that fashion, if she could, and neither of us would bear it. The “virtuous woman,” again, had her household up in the very middle of the night. She “got breakfast over,” as Mrs. Sykes says, before one o’clock a.m.; but she had something more to do than spin and give out portions. She was a manufacturer—she made fine linen and sold it; she was an agriculturist—she bought estates and planted vineyards. That woman was a manager; she was what the matrons here-abouts call “a clever woman.” On the whole, I like her a good deal better than Lucretia; but I don’t believe either Mr. Armitage or Mr. Sykes could have got the advantage of her in a bargain, yet I like her. “Strength and honour were her clothing; the heart of her husband safely trusted in her. She opened her mouth with wisdom; in her tongue was the law of kindness; her children rose up and called her blessed; her husband also praised her.” King of Israel, your model of a woman is a worthy model! But are we, in these days, brought up to be like her? Men of Yorkshire, do your daughters reach this royal standard? Can they reach it? Can you help them to reach it? Can you give them a field in which their faculties may be exercised and grow? Men of England, look at your poor girls, many of them fading around you, dropping off in consumption or decline; or, what is worse, degenerating to sour old maids—envious, backbiting, wretched, because life is a desert to them; or, what is worst of all, reduced to strive, by scarce modest coquetry and debasing artifice, to gain that position and consideration by marriage, which to celibacy is denied. Fathers, cannot you alter these things? Perhaps not all at once, but consider the matter well when it is brought before you; receive it as a theme worthy of thought; do not dismiss it with an idle jest or an unmanly insult. You would wish to be proud of your daughters, and not to blush for them, then seek for them an interest and an occupation which shall raise them above the flirt, the manœuvrer, the mischief-making tale-bearer. Keep your girls’ minds narrow and fettered, they will still be a plague and a care, sometimes a disgrace to you. Cultivate them—give them scope and work—they will be your gayest companions in health, your tenderest nurses in sickness, your most faithful prop in age.’

  By PanEris using Melati.

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