Abbildungen der Seite

for he lost not only his suit of clothes, but his suit at law.

These smearings and scratchings, washings and dashings, being duly peniorined, the next ceremonial is to cleanse and replace the distracted furniture. You may have seen a house raising, or a ship-launch, when all the hands within reach are collected together: recollect if you can the hurry, bustle, confu. sion, and noise of such a scene, and you will havo soine idea of this cleaning match. The inisfortune is, that the sole object is to make things clean; it matters not how miany useful, ornamental, or valua. ble articles are nititilated, or suffer death under the operation ; a mahogany chair and carved frame un. dergo the same discipline; they are to be made clean at all events; but their preservation is not worthy of attention. For instance a fine large engraving is laid flat upon the floor; smaller prints are piled upon it, and the superincumbent weight cracks the glasses of the lower tier ; but this is of no consequence. À valuable picture is placed leaning against the sharp corner of a table; others are inade to lean against that, until the pressure of the whole forces The corner of the table through the canvass of tho first. The frame and glass of a fine print are to be cleaned ; the spirit and oil used on this ocr:asion are suffered to leak through and spoil the engraving; no matter, if the glass is clean, and the fraine shine, Mt is sufficient; the rest is not worthy of consideration. An able Arithmetician has made an accurate calcu. ation, founded on long experience, and has discoversd, that the losses and destruction incident to two white-washings are equal to one reinoval, and threr reinovals equal to one fire.

The cleaning frolic over, matters begin to resume hain pristine appearance. The storm abates, and all kould be well again, but it is impossible that so great i convulsion, in so small a community, should not produce some farther effects. For two or three sweeks after the operation the family are usually afflicted with sore throats or sore eyes, occasioned by the caustic quality of the lime, or with severe

colds from the exhalations of wet floors or damp walls.

I know a gentleman, who was fond of accounting for every thing in a philosophical way He considers this, which I have called a custom, a real periodical disease, peculiar to the climate. His train of reasoning is ingenuinus and whinysica): but I am not at leisure to give you a detail. The result was, tnat he found the listemper to be ir.curable ; but after much, study he conceived he had discovered a methodi tivert the evil he could not subdlue. For this pur! pose he caused a smail building, about twelve feet i square, lo be erected in his garilen, aad furnished with some ordinary chairs anıt tables; and a few prins of the cheapest sort were hunig against the walls. His hope was, that when the white-washing, frenzy seized the females of his family, they might repair to this apartment, and scru!), and smear and scour, to their heart's content; and to spend the violence of the disease in this out-posi, while he enjoyed : himself in quiet at head-quarters. But the experie: ment did not answer buis expectation; it was impose sible it shouil, silice a principal part of the gratifica. tion consists in the lady having an outroilec: nght" to tornent her husband at least once a year, aud to turu hini out of doors, and take the reigns of govern. ment into her own hands.

There is a much better contrivance than this of'. the philosopher's; which is, to cover the walls of the house with paper: this is generally done; and, though it cannot abolish, it at least shortens the period of seniale dominion. The paper is lecorated with Aowers of various faucies, and made so orna." mental, that the women have admitted the fashon without perceiving the design.

There is also another alleviation of the husband'o * distress; he generally has the privijege of a small room or closer tor bi:s books and papers, the key of which he is allowed to keep. This is considered as a privileged place, and stands like the land of (moshen ainid the plagues of Egypt. But then he inust be ex. vremely caution, and ever on his guard; for should

he inadvertenty go abroad and leave the key ir vis door, the housemaid, who is always ou the watch vor such an opportunity, immediately enters in triumph with buckets, brooms, and brushes: takes posseseion of the premises, and forthwith puts all his books and papers to rights—to his utter confusion, and sometines serious detriment. For instance:

A geutleman was sied by the executors of a trades man, on a charge found against him in the deceased' books, to the amount of 301. The defendant wa strongly impressed with an idea that he had discharg ed the debt and taken a receipt ; but as the transaction was of long standing, he knew not where to find the receipt. The suit went on in course, and the time approached when judgment would be obtain. ed against him. He then sat seriously down to examine a large bunde of vid papers, which he had untied and displayed on a table for that pursose. In the midst of his search, he was suddenly called away on business of importance; he forgot to lock the door of his room. The housemaid, who had been long looking out for such an opportunity, immediately entered with the usual implements, and with great alacrity fell to cleaning the room, and puitting things to rights. The first object that struck her eye was the confused situation of the papers on the table; these were without delay bundled together like so inany dirty knives and forks; but in the action a small piece of paper fell unnoticed on the fivor, which happened to be the very receipt in question : as it had no very respectable appearance, it was soon after swept out with the common dirt of the room, and carried in a rubbish-pan inio the yarıl. The tradesnan had neglected to enter the crerlit in his book; he defendant could find nothing to obviate the charge, and su judgment went against him for the debit and costs. A fortnight after the whole was settled, and the money paid, one of the children found the receipt among the rubbish in the yard.

There is also another custom peculiar to the city of Philadelphia, and nearly allied to the former. I mean that of washing the pavernent be fore the doors every Saturday evening. I at first touk this to be a

regulation of the police; but, on further inquiry, find it is a religious rite, preparatory to the sabbath ; and is, I believe, the only religious rite in which he numerous sectaries of this city perfectly agrec. The ceremony begins about sun-set, and continues till about ten or eleven at night. It is very difficult for a stranger to walk the streets on those evenings; he runs a continual risk of having a bucket of dirty water thrown against his legs; nut a Philadelphian horn, is so much accustomed to the danger, that h

voids it with surprising dexterity. It is fronı this circumstance that a Philadelphian may be krown any where by his gait. The streets of New York are paved with rough stones; those indeed are not washed, but the dirt is so thoroughly swept froin before the doors, that the stones stand up sharp and prominent, to the great inconvenience of those who are not accustoined to so rough a path. But habit reconciles every thing. It is divering enough to see a Philadelphian at New York ; he walks the streets with as much painful caution, as if his toes were Avered with corns, or his swet lamed with the gout; agile a New Yorker, as little approving the plain masonry of Philadelphia, shuffles along the pavenient like a parrot on a mahogany table.

It must be acknowledged, that ihe ablutions I have pientioned are attended with no small inconvenience; but the women would not be induced, from arv consideration, to resign their privilege. Notwithstanding this, I can give you the strongest assurances, that the women of America make the most faithful wives and the most attentive mrothers in the world; and I am sure you will join me in opinion, that if a .narried man is made miserable only one week in a whole year, he will have no great cause to complain of the matrimonial bond.

I am, bc.


In the Chararer of a Lady; but really by


I Havi lately seeri a letter upon the s: hject of white-washin s, in which thai neressary duty of a good house wife is treated with unmerited ridicule. I shuuld probably have forgot the foolislı thing by this time, but the season coming on which most wonen think suitable for cleansing their apartinents from: smoke and dirt of the winter, I find ihis saucy author wished up in every family, and his flippant performance quoted wherever a wife antenipts to exercise her reasonable prerogative, or execute the duties of her station. Wonen generally employ their time to better purposes than scribliling. I'he cares and comforts of a family rest principally upon their shoulders; hence it is that there are bui few female authurs; and the men, knowing how necessary our attentions are to their happiness, take every oportunity of tiscouraging literary accomplishments in the lair yox. You hear it echoes froin every quarter.-My wife cannot make verses, it is true; but sha nakes an excellent pudding; she can't correct the press, but she can correct her children, and scolds her servanity with admirable discretion : she eau't-upravel the intricacies of political economy and federal ga verument; but she can knit charming stockings." And this they call praising a wife, and doing justice w her character, with much nonsense of the like kind.

« ZurückWeiter »