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All this was new and strange doctrine to Helen Armitage, but she was enabled to see, from the manner in which Mrs. Milnor represented the subject, that it was true doctrine. As this became clear to her mind, she saw with painful distinctness the error that had thrown disorder into every part of her mother's household; and more than this, she inwardly resolved, that, so far as her action was concerned, a new order of things should take place. In this she was in earnest—so much so, that she made some allusion to the difference of things at home, to what they were at Mrs. Milnor's, and frankly confessed that she had not acted upon the kind and considerate principles that seemed to govern all in this well-ordered family.
“My dear child !” Mrs. Milnor said to her, with affectionate earnestness, in reply to this allusion—“ depend upon it, four-fifths of the bad domestics are made so by injudicious treatment. They are, for the most part, ignorant of almost every thing, and too often, particularly, of their duties in a family. Instead of being borne with,
a instructed, and treated with consideration, they are scolded, driven, and found fault with. Kind words they too rarely receive; and no one can well and cheerfully perform all that is required of her as a domestic, if she is never spoken to kindly, never considered-never borne with, patiently. It is in our power to make a great deal of work for our servants that is altogether unnecessary—and of course, in our power to save them many steps, and many moments of time. If we are in the chambers, and wish a servant for any thing, and she is down in the kitchen engaged, it is always well to think twice before we ring for her once. It may be, that we do not really want the attendance of any one, or can just as well wait until some errand has brought her up stairs. Then, there are various little things in which we can help ourselves and ought to do it. It is unpardonable, I think, for a lady to ring for a servant to come up one or two pairs of stairs merely to hand her a drink, when all she has to do is to cross the room, and get it for herself. Or for a young lady to require a servant to attend to all her little wants, when she can and ought to help herself, even if it takes her from the third story to the kitchen, half a dozen times a day. Above all, domestics should never be scolded. If reproof is necessary, let it be administered in a calm mild voice, and the reasons shown why the act complained of is wrong. This is the only way in which any good is done,”
“I wish my mother could only learn that," said Helen, mentally, as Mrs. Milnor ceased speaking. When she returned home, it was with a deeply formed resolution never again to speak reprovingly to any of her mother's domesticsnever to order them to do any thing for her,and never to require them to wait upon her when she could just as well help herself. In this she proved firm. The consequence was, an entire change in Hannah's deportment towards her, and a cheerful performance by her of every thing she asked her to do. This could not but be observed by her mother, and it induced her to modify, to some extent, her way of treating her servants. The result was salutary, and now she has far less trouble with them than she ever had in her life. All, she finds, are not so worthless as she had deemed them.
A MOTHER'S DUTY.
I CLOSE my volume of rambling sketches, with a chapter more didactic and serious. The duties of the housekeeper and mother, usually unite in the same person; but difficult and perplexing as is the former relation, how light and easy are all its claims compared with those of the latter. Among my readers are many mothers-Let us for a little while hold counsel together.
To the mind of a mother, who loves her children, no subject can have so deep an interest as that which has respect to the well being of her offspring. Young mothers, especially, feel the need, the great need of the hints and helps to be derived from others' experience. To them, the duty of rightly guiding, forming and developing the young mind is altogether a new one; at every step they feel their incompetence, and are troubled at their want of success. A
young married friend, the mother of two active little boys, said to me, one day, earnestly,
“Oh! I think, sometimes, that I would give the world if I only could see clearly what was my duty towards my children. I try to guide them aright-I try to keep them from all improper influences—but rank weeds continually spring
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up with the flowers I have planted. How shall I extirpate these, without injuring the others ?”
How many a young mother thus thinks and feels. It is indeed a great responsibility that rests upon her. With the most constant and careful attention, she will find the task of keeping out the weeds a hard one; but let her not become weary or discouraged. The enemy is ever seeking to sow tares amid her wheat, and he will do it if she sleep at her post. Constant care, good precept, and, above all, good example, will do much. The gardener whose eye is ever over, and whose hand is ever busy in his garden, accomplishes much; the measure of his success may be seen if the eye rest for but a moment on the garden of his neighbor, the sluggard. Even if a weed springs here and there, it is quickly plucked up, and never suffered to obstruct or weaken the growth of esculent plants. A mole
A may enter stealthily, marring the beauty of a flower-bed, and disturbing the roots of some garden-favorite, but through the careful husbandman's well set enclosure, no beasts find an entrance. So it will be with the watchful, conscientious mother. She will so fence around her children from external dangers and allurements, that destructive beasts will be kept out; and she will, at the same time cultivate the garden of their good affections, and extirpate the weeds, that her children may grow up in moral health and beauty.
All this can be done. But the right path must be seen before we can walk in it. Every mother feels as the one I have alluded to; but some,