ページの画像
PDF
ePub

"There lay she praying, upwardly intent,

Like a fair statue on a monument,
· With her two trembling hands together prest,
Palm agaiust palon, and pointing from her breast.
She ceased, and turning slowly towards the wall,
They saw her tremble sharply, feet and all,-
Then suddenly be still. Near and more near
They bent with pale inquiry and close ear :
Her eyes were shut--no motion--not a breath

The gentle sufferer was at peace in death. pp. 104, 105. The tenderness, the exquisite pathos of these passages, notwithstanding the affectation of quaintness which occasionally deforms our Author's manner, cannot fail, we think, to touch the heart of the most careless reader, and to awaken emotions very different from those which we described in our last number, to be excited by the perusal of Lord Byron's Parisina. It is impossible for us, however, to close this article, without adverting to the flippant and infidel remark which disfigures the last of the above extracts. Whether Mr. Hunt disbelieves in the authority of Revelation, or is only ignorant of its doctrines, we know not; but on either supposition, this empty sneer at the doctrine of the atonement, is discreditable to his understanding, and does not argué well of his principles. Mr. Hunt's talents might procure him the unqualified thanks of the public. Art. IX. 1. The Present of a Mistress to a Young Servant : consisting

of Friendly Advice and Real Histories. By Mrs. Taylor, of Ongar. Author of " Maternal Solicitude,' &c. fcap 8vo. pp. 168. Price

3s. 6d. Taylor and Hessey, 1815.. 2. Friendly Hints to Female Servants. By Henry George Watkins,

A. M. Rector of St. Swithin, London Stone. 18mo. Price 4d. sewed. Hatchard. 3. Hints and Observations seriously addressed to Heads of Families, in

reference, chiefly, to Female Domestic Servants. (By the same

Author ) 12mo. pp. 100. Prise 2s. 6d. Hamilton, 1816. 4. Second Report of the London Society for the Improvement and En.

couragement of Female Servants, Instituted 1813. Price 6d. 1815. N o part of the population has been so generally overlooked, N in schemes for the melioration of society, as Feinale Domestic Servants. As a class, either they have been deemed too unimportant to engage specific attention, or their importance has not been recognised; while their very situation has presented peculiar obstacles to any general plan for their moral benefit. So long as they retain the station of actual servitude, they are placed above immediate want, and almost out of the reach of benevolent interference; and it is not till they descend from that station, through age or misfortune, and merge again in

Author ) 12mo of the London Solinstituted 181

the lower classes of society, that they individually present themselves as objects of benevolence.

If, however, during the time of their retaining the character of servants, they are exempted from the pressure of want, and other evils to which the lower classes are exposed, their liability to be thrown out of that situation by accident or by illness, their dependent condition, and the dreary prospect which for the most part the decline of life presents to those who have scarcely any opportunity for making provision for the future, might seem to render them, in many respects, claimants upon public philan, thropy. There are, it is true, many excellent establishments, in which meritorious individuals of this description obtain a peaceful'asylum; but these can by no means be considered as meeting the wants of the class. The admirable plan of Savings and Provident Banks, which are intended to form the subject of an article in an early Number, is wisely calculated to benefit this description of persons, in common with others in the lower classes of society. But the most efficient way of reaching the pecuniary wants, and of benefiting the temporal interests of any class in the community, is, by operating on their moral character, and making them the agents in the improvement of their own condition.

It is with respect to their moral condition, that female servants become so prominently objects for compassionate regard ; and that the neglect with which they have hitherto been treated, is - SÒ deeply to be deplored, from its fatal consequences on the individuals themselves, and on society in general. As to tbemselves, they are more than any other class in the humbler ranks, removed from the opportunities of moral and religious instruction, while their situation exposes them to peculiar teinptations. Many of them enter upon a state of servitude, before they have had time to undergo any educational process; their minds remaining uncultured, and their prins ciples unformed. They are then placed in a situation that combines, in some respects, the evils of luxury and thosé of slavery: they are without the discipline of "wait, and the stimulus of freedom. Corrupt example in the person of their superiors, is exbibited to them under an aspect which makes it next to impossible to escape from its contagion. And the leisure afforded by many situations for the indulgence of a vitiated imagination, and the incentives which arise from a state of compårative ease, conspire in hundreds of instances to lead the miserable victim of her passions to become, and this while still retaining the situation of a domestic, the seducer and the destroyer of others.

As to religious advantages, how small a proportion, eyen of those who have any disposition to avail themselves of them, have had cause to

smile when a sabbath appeared !

The nursery maid, the housemaid, or the cook,.-whatever, in fact, be the official situation of the female servant,-- is not less in requisition on the day of rest, than on any other day. The probability is, that her services are more called for then ihan usual.' Even in religious families, it is to be apprehended that there exists a considerable, a shameful degree of inattention in this particular; and there are thousands of well-disposed fee. males, who would feel a disinclination from various motives, to sorutinize, if they had opportunity, the religious character of the family in which they engage themselves. Of the welldisposed, those who have imbibed in the cottage or in the Sun day school, some notions of religion, sufficient at least to awaken a general sense of duty, how few can be expected. to persevere in seeking for means of religious improvement, when debarred by inconvenience, ridicule, or example!

When all these circumstances are weighed, it needs not be matter of so much surprise, that the character of servants bas for the most part justified their being placed as the clinix of the miseries of human life; that, they have been condemned as a body, as being improvident, ungrateful, dishonest, and ctissolute; that they exhibit the traces of that. feudal degradaziom ja which they are held. Yet it is to this class; between whom and their masters and mistresses, there seem to prevait a natural' animosity, and an essential separation of interests, it is o persons of this class, that some of the most important duties are consigned, and that means of almost illiinitable influence on society, are heedlessly confided. Not only is the future health of the inan often staked on the prudence or fidelity of the infant's attendant, but he receives the first rudiments of his intellectual education from the same source: he is veryrirequently left to . imbibe his first moral notions from the maid servant; i and when I school has initiated him into some of the mysteries of manliness, the discretion of a female servant is not unfrequently called for, under new-circumstances of trial. It is unnecessary to point out the numerous ways in which the peace and welfare of families are made to depend, in an essential degree, on the moral character of female domestics ; 'and yet it is as obvions, that no subject. appears to have excited so. little serious attention..

We trust that these observations, trite as they may be thought; will have the effect of giving force to our recommendation of the excellent little works at the head of this Article ; and that they will lead our readers to appreciate the value of every meritorious exertion to instruct the minds, or benefit the moral condition, of this neglected class of the community. Mányvad mirable little works have indeed been published by different

writers, as 'materials for the Kitchen Library; in which the Cheap Repository Tracts of Mrs. More deserve to hold a distinguished place, by the side of the Pilgrim's Progress, and Doddridge's Rise and Progress. The Rev. Mr. Cecil's Friendly Advice to Servants, has been distributed with extensive benefit. The preHent publications, however, are of a nature that claim particular attention.

Mis. Taylor of Ongar, as the “ Author of Maternal Solici«tude," and “ Hints to Young Females," has already received the meed of our warm approbation for her judicious and affectionate method of conveying simple practical truth. The present work is of the same character; it puts forth the same modest pretensions; and is not less adapted to be importantly beneficial to the class for which it is designed The 'real his'tories' with which this little volume is enlivened, are, with one exception which we shall notice, well-told, pertinent, and sometimes touching pieces of humble biography. We shall extract the following as a specimen of the Work.

• There was a little building in the yard, which was furnished with a bed, a table, and a chair; and here, because he took up too much room at the parlour fire, James Marshall placed his father! The chimney smoked, the room was damp), and the walls were mouldy: for neither the father, nor the son, of any human being, had lived there for many a year. His food generally consisted of the cold scraps, that had been left the preceding day. Of a hot joint he never partook, and there were continual remarks made upon the amazing quantity he devoured.

• He soon became so very lame, from the rheumatism, as to be unable to walk to his bed; and an unfeeling apprentice used to assist him, by running him across the room, and throwing him down violently, leaving him to cover himself as he could. He had enjoyed a warm house, a comfortable fire-side, a soft bed, and nourishing food, at a time when he could have endured hardships much better than at present.

• In this way he spent his lonely hours, never hearing his son's, or daughter in-law's voices, but to chide him. He could hear the children playing about the yard ; and they would sometimes put their heads in at the door, to abuse and torment him, in imitation of their

parents.

* He had a grand-daughter, the child of another son, long since dead. Her visits were always rendered miserable by the forlorn situation of her grandfather. She had no relish for their good dinners, while she knew that he was dining upon cold scraps in an outhouse. She could not notice him as she wished to have done, from fear of offending her uncle; though she sometimes stole in, and con. soled him in the best manner she was able. She might have been seen once, standing with her arm around his neck, while his aged head lay on her bosom; he looked up in her face, with an expression of silent sorrow, her tears fell, and mingling with his, rolled down his furrowed cheeks; he raised his swollen hands, and by signs told her all his sufferings; but she heard her uncle's voice, she kissed her grandfather's cheek, and bid him a hasty farewell. She saw him no more! A few weeks put a period to his sorrows, and gave his dear Jemmy full possession of his property. Let us see how it prospered in his hands. .• He made a grand funeral (for people of his class are apt to be fond of show, but this did not prevent the murmurings of the neighbours, whose disapprobation was expressed loud enough to be heard by the chief mourner, as he rode slowly along, behind the feathered hearse. They said, among other things, that such expense would have been far better bestowed upon his father while living, than when dead! But these reproaches could have little effect upon a heart like his.

And now he had reached the summit of his wishes, and expected all to go well No such thing; -for though he enlarge it his shop, and increased his stock, and procured more assistance, his stock did not sell, for his custom failed: by his assistants he was cheated and plunderer: persons broke in his debt and at length he became a bankru: 't himself, for he was “cursed in hi basket and in hi store." His children, however, proved the chief instruments of divine displeasure His only daughter, after very irregular conduct, became the wife of a poor (and what is worse), of a wicked man. One son enlisted for a soldier, another went to sea, and those who remained were neither able nor willing to afford their distressed parents any assistance; nor did they leave any room for questi vning their inclination, to place them in an out-house, had the opportunity offered. .

James Marshall died, unregretted by his family No leathered hearse carried hiin to the grave; but while he was hurried along on the shoulders of four poor neighbours, his shabby family, paced after him with unconcerned and vacant countenances for his death was unaccompanied by either gain or loss to yiv: them any expression.

His wife, who had been a dressy lady in her time, was seen wandering, and muttering, about the streets, in an old red cloak, and leaning on a crook stick. Glad would she have been to have sheltered her bead in the out-house, and to have eaten of the cold scraps, which she - once thought too good for her husband s father. pp. 145-149.

The account of · Jane Batson, the girl at the King's Arms, whose good-natured smile induced a rich London merchant' to fall in love with her, and marry her, though probably very true, might we think have been suppressed without disadvantage to the work. Mrs. Taylor attempts to guard the story, so as to prevent its making any false impression; but we still think that the beneficial effects of good temper and agreeable manners, might have been illustrated by some anecdote less liable to misconstruction, and more useful as an example. ..

The Contents of the volume relate to Keeping in Place; Teachableness ; Good Temper; Speaking the Truth; Honesty and Sobriety ; Gossiping and Holiday-making; Frugality; Industry; Management, Cleanliness; Observation and Memo

« 前へ次へ »