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them to do the laborious parts of the dairy work, yet they always aslift their mother in the management of it. As to their appearance, they are every day nearly as you see them now, and on Sundays they are very neatly dressed, but it is always in a decent and modest way. There are no lappets, fringes, furbelows, and tawdry ornaments; no trains, turbans, and flounces, fluttering about among my cheese and butter. And I should feel no vanity, but much mortification, if a stranger seeing farmer Worthy's daughters at church, should Talk who those fine ladies were.
Bragwell. Now I own I should like to have such a question afked concerning my daughters. I like to make people stare and envy. It makes one feel one-self fomebody. I never feel the pleasure of having "handsome things so much as when I see they raise curiosity: and I enjoy the envy of others as a fresh evidence of my own prosperity. "But as to yourself, to be sure,
you best know what you can afford : and indeed there is some difference between your daughters and the Miss Bragwells.
Worthy. For my part, before I engage in any expence, I always ask myself these two short questions; First, Can I afford it?--Secondly, Is it proper
for me? Bragwell. Do you so ? Now I own I ask myself but one: for if I find I can afford it, I take care to make it proper
If I can pay for a thing, no one has a right to hinder me from having it.
Worthy. Certainly. But a man's own prudence, his love of propriety and sense of duty, ought to prevent him from doing an improper thing, as effectually as if there were somebody to hinder him.
Bragwell. Now, I think a man is a fool who is hindered from having any thing he has a mind to; unless, indeed, he is in want of money to pay for it. I am no friend to debt. A poor man must want on.
Worthy. But I hope my children have learnt not to want any thing which is not proper for them. They are very industrious; they attend to business all day, and in the evening they sit down to their work and a good book. I take care that neither their reading nor conversation shall excite any desires or castes unsuitable to their condition. They have little vanity, because the kind of knowledge they have is of too sober a fort to raise admiration ; and from that vanity, which attends a little smattering of frivolous accomplishments, I have secured them, by keeping them in total ignorance of all such. I think they live in the fear of God. I trust they are humble and pious, and I am sure they seem cheerful and happy. If I am sick, it is pleasant to see them dispute which shall wait upon me; for they say the maid cannot do it fo tenderly as themselves.
This part of the discourse staggered Bragwell. An involuntary tear rushed
into his eye. Vain as he was, he could not help feeling what a difference a religious and a worldly education made on the heart, and how much the former regulated even the natural temper. Another thing which surprised him was, that these girls living a life of domestic piety, without any public diversions, should be so very cheerful and happy; while his own daughters, who were never contradicted, and were indulged with continual amusements, were always fullen and ill-tempered. That they who were more humoured should be less grateful, and they who were more amused less happy, disturbed him much. He envied Worthy the tenderness of his children, though he would not own it, but turned it off thus :
Bragwell. But my girls are too smart to make mopes of, that is the truth. Though ours is such a lonely village, it is wonderful to see how soon they get the fashions. What with the descriptions in the Magazines, and the pictures in the pocket-books,
they have them in a twinkling, and out-do their patterns all to nothing. I used to take in the County Journal, because it was useful enough to see how Oats went, the time of high water, and the price of Stocks. But when my ladies came home, forsooth, I was soon wheedled out of that, and forced to take a London paper, that tells a deal about caps and feathers, and all the trumpery of the quality, and the French dress and the French undress. When I want to know what hops are a bag, they are snatching the paper to see what violet soap is a pound. And as to the dairy, they never care how Cow's milk goes, as long as they can get some stuff which they call Milk of Roses. Seeing them disputing violently the other day about cream and butter, I thought it a sign they were beginning to care for the farm, till I found it was cold cream for the hands, and jessamine butter for the hair.
Worthy. But do your daughters never tead?