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of complaint. The house was always clean, the servants very active and regular, dinner was on the table every day at the same minute, and the ladies of the neighbourhood were frightened when I invited their husbands, lest their own economy should be less esteemed.
During this gentle lapse of my life, my dear brought me three daughters. I wished for a son, to continue the family; but my wife often tells me that boys are dirty things, and are always troublesome in a house; and declares that she has hated the sight of them ever since she saw Lady Fondle's eldest son ride over a carpet with his hobby-horse all mire.
I did not much attend to her opinion, but knew that girls could not be made boys; and therefore composed myself to bear what I could not remedy, and resolved to bestow that care on my daughters to which only the sons are commonly thought entitled.
But my wife's notions of education differ widely from mine. She is an irreconcileable enemy to idleness, and considers every state of life as idleness in which the hands are not employed, or some art acquired, by which she thinks money may be got or saved.
In pursuance of this principle, she calls up her daughters at a certain hour, and appoints them a task of needlework to be performed before breakfast. They are confined in a garret, which has its window in the roof, both because the work is best done at a skylight, and because children are apt to lose time by looking about them.
They bring down their work to breakfast, and
as they deserve are commended or reproved; they are then sent up with a new task till dinner; if no company is expected, their mother sits with them the whole afternoon, to direct their operations, and to draw patterns, and is sometimes denied to her nearest relations, when she is engaged in teaching them a new stitch.
By this continual exercise of their diligence, she has obtained a very considerable number of laborious performances. We have twice as many fire-skreens as chimneys, and three flourished quilts for every bed. Half the rooms are adorned with a kind of sutile pictures, which imitate tapestry. But all their work is not set out to show; she has boxes filled with knit garters and braided shoes. She has twenty covers for sidesaddles, embroidered with silver flowers, and has curtains wrought with gold in various figures, which she resolves some time or other to hang up. All these she displays to her company whenever she is elate with merit, and eager for praise; and amidst the praises which her friends and herself bestow upon her merit, she never fails to turn to me, and ask what all these would cost, if I had been to buy them.
I sometimes venture to tell her that many of the ornaments are superfluous; that what is done with so much labour might have been supplied by a very easy purchase; and that the work is not always worth the materials; and that I know not why the children should be persecuted with useless tasks, or obliged to make shoes that are never worn. She answers with a look of contempt, that men never care how money goes; and proceeds to tell of a dozen new chairs, for which she is contriving covers, and of a couch which she intends to stand as a monument of needlework.
In the meantime the girls grow up in total ignorance of every thing past, present, and future. Molly asked me the other day, whether Ireland was in France, and was ordered by her mother to mend her hem. Kitty knows not, at sixteen, the difference between a Protestant and a Papist, because she has been employed three years in filling a side of a closet with a hanging that is to represent Cranmer in the flames. And Dolly, my eldest girl, is now unable to read a chapter in the Bible, having spent all the time which other children pass at school, in working the interview between Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.
About a month ago Tent and Turkey-stitch seemed at a stand; my wife knew not what work to introduce; I ventured to propose that the girls should now learn to read and write, and mentioned the necessity of a little arithmetic; but, unhappily, my wife has discovered that linen wears out, and has bought the girls three little wheels, that they may spin huckaback for the servants' table. I remonstrated, that with larger wheels they might dispatch in an hour what must now cost them a day; but she told me, with irresistible authority, that any business is better than idleness; that when these wheels are set upon a table, with mats under them, they will turn without noise, and keep the girls upright; that great wheels are not fit for gentlewomen; and that with these, small as they are, she does not doubt but that the three girls, if they are kept close, will spin every year as much cloth as would cost five pounds if one were to buy it.
THE LIFE OF DICK TINTO.
Dick Tinto, when he wrote himself artist, was wont to derive his origin from the ancient family of Tinto, of that ilk, in Lanarkshire; and occasionally hinted that he had somewhat derogated from his gentle blood, in using the pencil for his principal means of support. But if Dick's pedigree was correct, some of his ancestors must have suffered a heavy declension, since the good man his father executed the necessary, and, I trust, the honest, but certainly not very distinguished employment, of tailor in ordinary to the village of Langdirdum in the west. Under his humble roof was Richard born; and to his father's humble trade was Richard, greatly contrary to his intention, early indentured. Old Mr. Tinto had, however, no reason to congratulate himself upon having compelled the youthful genius of his son to forsake its natural bent. He fared like the school boy, who attempts with his finger to stop the spout of a water cistern, while the stream, exasperated at this compression, escapes by a thousand uncalculable spirts, and wets him all over for his pains. Even so fared the senior Tinto, when his hopeful apprentice not only ex
VOL. III. I
hausted all the chalk in making sketches upon the shopboard, but even executed several caricatures of his father's best customers, who began loudly to murmur, that it was too hard to have their persons deformed by the vestments of the father, and to be at the same time turned into ridicule by the pencil of the son. This led to discredit and loss of practice, until the old tailor, yielding to destiny, and to the entreaties of his son, permitted him to attempt his fortune in a line for which he was better qualified.
There was about this time, in the village of Langdirdum, a peripatetic brother of the brush, who exercised his vocation sub Jove frigido, the object of admiration to all the boys of the village, but especially to Dick Tinto. The age had not yet adopted, amongst other unworthy retrenchments, that illiberal measure of economy, which, supplying by written characters the lack of symbolical representation, closes one open and easily accessible avenue of instruction and emolument against the students of the fine arts. It was not yet permitted to write upon the plastered door of an alehouse, or the suspended sign of an inn, "The Old Magpie," or " The Saracen's Head," substituting that cold description for the lively effigies of the plumed chatterer, or the turbaned frown of the terrific soldan. That early and more simple age considered alike the necessities of all ranks, and depicted the symbols of good cheer so as to be obvious to all capacities; well judging, that a man, who could not read a syllable, might nevertheless love a pot of good ale as well as his better educated neighbours, or even as the parson