If it be true that “home scenes are rendered happy or miserable in proportion to the good or evil influence exercised over them by woman—as sister, wife, or mother”—it will be admitted as a fact of the utmost importance, that every thing should be done to improve the taste, cultivate the understanding, and elevate the character of those “high priestesses” of our domestic sanctuaries. The page of history informs us, that the progress of any nation in morals, civilization, and refinement, is in proportion to the elevated or degraded position in which woman is placed in society; and the same instructive volume will enable us to perceive, that the fanciful creations of the needle, have exerted a marked influence over the pursuits and destinies of man.
To blend the useful, with the ornamental and to exhibit the gushing forth of mind, vitalised by the warm and glowing affections of the heart, is the peculiar honor and sacred destiny of woman. Without her influence, life would be arrayed in sables, and the proud lords of creation would be infinitely more miserable and helpless than the beasts that perish. To render then those “terrestrial angels” all that our fondest wishes could desire, or our most vivid imaginations picture, must be, under any circumstances, a pleasing and delightful employment; while for a father or a brother to behold her returning all the care bestowed upon her, by the thousand offices of love, to the performance to which she alone is equal, is doubtless one of the most exalted sources of human felicity.
Providence has, in a remarkable manner, adapted woman’s tastes and propensities to the station she was designed to occupy in the scale of being. Tender and affectionate, it is her highest bliss to minister to the wants, the convenience, or the pleasure of those she loves; and hence, her inventive powers have been, in all ages, called into early and active exercise, in the fabrication of those articles calculated to accomplish those desirable ends. Amongst these, Useful and Ornamental Needlework, Knitting, and Netting, occupy a distinguished place, and are capable of being made, not only sources of personal gratification, but of high moral benefit, and the means of developing in surpassing loveliness and grace, some of the highest and noblest feelings of the soul.
To become an expert needle-woman should be an object of ambition to every fair one. Never is beauty and feminine grace so attractive, as when engaged in the honorable discharge of household duties, and domestic cares. The subjects treated of in this little manual are of vast importance, and to them we are indebted for a large amount of the comforts we enjoy; as, without their aid, we should be reduced to a state of misery and destitution of which it is hardly possible to form an adequate conception. To learn, then, how to fabricate articles of dress and utility for family use, or, in the case of ladies blessed with the means of affluence, for the aid and comfort of the deserving poor, should form one of the most prominent branches of female education....