Page images
PDF
EPUB

inmates, a girl about eighteen years of age, was removed to the hospital under very dangerous circumstances, and wished to see me. Having a case under visitation in that establishment, I promised to call; they also informed me that they had reason to hope, not only from her own statement, but from her conduct, that an entire change had taken place in her ; she attributes this change to an exposition she heard me deliver in the asylum, from the words, “God is love."

On my first entry into the ward in which she lay I knew her not; her head was shaved and covered with flour, and swollen so large she could not see me: her features, which are ordinarily good and intelligent, presented a mass of unmeaning deformity, which rendered it very painful to look upon her. Knowing how easy it is to believe what we wish to be true, I took Brother Allen with me for his opinion; she almost immediately knew my voice, and stretched out her hand to shake hands with me, thanking me for calling to see one so unworthy. She told me that the night after she heard the exposition before alluded to, she retired to pray, and that was the first time she ever poured out her soul to God in earnest, or felt her wants. I did not deem it

prudent to stop long on this visit, as she was very weak. Some of the medical men entertained no hope of her recovery. She begged me to pray for her. When I asked her if she had any message to send to the matron, she replied, “ What message can I send? I was indeed a stranger when they took me in, they have been more than mothers to me; if I could send my thoughts to them, they would be cold, compared with what they have done for me, and I cannot put those thoughts into words.” It was very

affecting to see the gutters which her tears had made in the flour. Brother Allen is of opinion that she is sincere, and subsequent visits have confirmed this opinion in myself. She is fast recovering

Report of an Agent of the City Mission.

THE MOTHER THE BEST GOVERNESS. UNFORTUNATELY, the present state of things in, what is called, good society, requires an unnatural predominance to be given to a very inferior branch of education,—the teaching of accomplishments; and, what is more unfortunate, it is the interest, whatever may be the wishes, of most governesses, to fall in with this system. The external (and how often mechanical !) actions of playing, singing, dancing, and painting, are held to be absolutely necessary, and consequently to require the most time and attention; whilst the HABITS of thinking connectedly, reasoning soberly, sympathizing properly, and of acting in a manner consistent with the high prerogative of being moral and religious agents, are, for the most part, left to nature, or accident to teach, or else a secondary place is given to them in the course of instruction. Why is this? Because these quiet and internal accomplishments do not give that power of attraction and self-display which those external actions do, when the young lady has to make her début, in society. That event she is taught to consider as the great event of her existence; and to excel therein, in the way the world requires her, is to be the end of the greater part of her education!

Now it is for the interest of a governess that her pupil should excel in those attractive accomplishments, for the simple reason, that they are the very

means on which most governesses depend for advancing themselves into other situations. To have turned out an accomplished girl, the admiration of every party, is found to be much better than advertising and seeking for letters of recommendation. Many a fond mother is dazzled, and anxiously inquires for, and strives to engage for her own daughters, the superintendent, if not the teacher of such attractive qualities. Thus the mischief goes on; mothers do not see the great harm of it, because it is the system or fashion of the day; too easily concluding that it cannot be so very far

wrong, seeing that it is so generally the case; whilst, on the other hand, governesses will not see the harm of it, because, the natural responsibility for such things not resting upon them but upon the parents and on society, in order to meet the demands of the world, in the pressure of emergencies, and with the natural desire to benefit themselves, they endeavour to bring out those acquirements, which will make for their own good, as well as that of their pupils. Of course there are bright exceptions to all this in many a family; but I have to speak now as to what appears to be generally the case.

As there seems to be no chance of this system being materially changed, the question is, how can it be improved ? There is only one way : parents must be more careful in selecting their governess, and must work with them more than they do now. If it were a general practice for mothers to take some share in the education of their daughters, a great change would take place. Things would go on in a more natural course; accomplishments would not be given up, but they would not assume the first place in education. The grand object would then be to form a good, rational, and useful woman, rather than a clever and brilliant artiste. The voice, the finger, and the toe, would still receive their due portion of cultivation : but the heart would not be neglected; and the thinking, eternal mind, would be turned to those uses which become a rational and religious agent.

Having no interest, but what was bound up in the real and permanent happiness of her child, it would be the daily practice, as well as wish, of the parent, to make every thing tend to the essential welfare of her daughter's condition. She would know, perhaps from her own sad experience, that real happiness and mental character cannot flow from the same sources whence flow external accomplishments, but from a proper cultivation and discipline of the mind : hence the formation of her child's character would be to her the prime object of her thoughts and plans, in all her processes of instruction. The importance of this would force itself so strongly upon most mothers, that they would strive to make every thing subservient to it.

[blocks in formation]

“ Give up your

I'do not say to every mother, governess ;" in some cases it would be impossible to do so, and in most cases impracticable; but I do most earnestly impress upon all the very great use and importance of their taking at least a part in the general education of their daughters. There is no excuse for any one, who will honestly set to work after' some such plan as I recommend. Surely, there is no English mother in the upper classes of society who can say that she has neither time nor ability for such an employment! I say English, for mothers should consider what good they may do their coun: try, as well as their children.

Ponder, for a moment, the influence of a welltrained female mind in its domestic and social relations-the good it can do, the evil it can prevent! and it is quite certain, that nothing but a well-trained mind can perform well the duties of a daughter, wife, mother, and in all these characters, and at all times and in all places, the duties of a Christian lady.

Before. I leave this subject, I solemnly call upon all mothers, who are wont to transfer the formation of their daughter's minds to the hands of strangers, seriously to reflect upon what they are about. You have brought your child into the world, and you are answerable for the early impressions its infant mind shall receive. Is it too much to ask of you to make for your own peace, as well as that of your children, by giving an active attention in due time, when the mind is malleable, to the formation of your child's character, moral and intellectual, an account of which will most surely be required at your hands! Remember, your daughters may play well, sing 'well, dance well,—may talk well, about German, or the Opera, or this and that person,-finally, may flirt well, and catch husbands and get establishments, but, if they cannot think well, and act well, as Christian ladies ought to think and act, verily, after all, they are but as sounding brass or tinkling cymbals, sporting along the broad high-way which leadeth to destruction!

Extracted from The Mother the best Governess."

TRIFLES. .. UNSOPHISTICATED nature does not despise trifles: the little birds when building their nests despise not the scattered straws by the way-side, nor the torn

« PreviousContinue »