The American Pictorial Home Book
or Housekeeper's Encyclopedia - online book

A reference manual of household management in Victorian times.

Home Main Menu Order Support About Search

Share page  

Previous Contents Next

26                      OUR PARLORS AND OUR CHILDREN.
and eternal condemnation for them in that to come. Child-Ten have been known to break the eighth section of the decalogue to obtain the wherewith to appease the demands of the appetite thus engendered and cultivated, and that even from the mother's purse, which leads her to break another commandment by thinking hardly or openly accusing her innocent servant of the crime ; how could she think that the vice—the sin—was committed by the children she had so carefully trained, by the blood which flowed from her own. No ; this dishonest act could not lie at their door. It was done by her faithless domestic, who in all probability is dismissed in disgrace, and sent to seek a home and employment where she could find it, and where this accusation is not known, yet she appeals to her Maker with all the satisfaction of an approving innocent con­science, "Thou God, seest me !" Where does this fault lie?* No • where but with the mother. For to her is given to sow the seed in the child's mind, which springs forth, first the " blade, then the corn, and then the full corn in the ear," her example determines the steps of her child towards virtue or vice, his reeling footsteps, his frenzied brain, his oath-emitting lips, his treatment to her, to his family, and his equalizing himself with the brutes or even below them, or she may by her example, elevate him to the highest standard of moral excellence, as a dutiful son, a worthy citizen, a kind husband and father, a noble patriot, an honor to his country and a blessing to himself and to the world. This has been done, and mothers can perform the glorious work again, and continue to repeat it till time shall be no more. But mothers often leave their children to the care and guidance, and at the mercy of the nurse, who may teach them many things which they should not know. And why do they do this? That they may attend the theatre or other places of amuse­ment with certain friends who are going, or to rtnngle in the pleasure of the ball room for a few hours at most, her face blooming with ar­tificial roses, her hair resplendent with gems, her garments radiant with real or false diamonds, and decked with jewelry flashing with stones, brought from the most distant countries, from the bottom of the ocean, or from the lowest explored stratum of earth's bosom; leaving her little ones in piteous sobs, which perhaps to soothe, the nurse who feels no other interest in them than the amount and pay­ment of her wages, gives them drugs, thus relieves herself of what she considers a bore, or looks upon them with a threat of vengeance if a hint of what she has done is breathed by them. Yet while this is going on, the mother's influence is weakened, the ground into which good seed should be sown is preoccupied by the tares of wicked ex ample sown by .a hireling and an enemy.