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ANSWER TO THE ABOVE
'In the Characer of a Lady; but really by
I have lately seen a letter upon the subject of white-washing, in which that necessary duty of a good house wife is treated with unmerited ridicule. I shuuld probably have forgot the foolish thing by this time, but the season coming on which most wo:nen think suitable for cleansing their apartments from smoke and dirt of the winter, I find ihis saucy author aished up in every family, and his flippant performance quoted wherever a wife attempts to exercise her reasonable prerogative, or execute the duties of her station. Woinen generally employ their time to better purposes than scribbling. The cares and comforts of a family rest principally upon their shoulders; hence it is that there are but few female authors; and the men, knowing how necessary our attentions are to their happiress, take every opportunity of discouraging literary accomplishments in the fair sox. You hear it echoed from every quarter.My wise cannot make verses, it is true; but she nakes an exct!lent pudding; she can't correct the press, but she can correct her children, and scolds her servants with admirable discretion : she cau't unravel the intricacies of political economy and federal goo vernment; but she can knit charming stockirgs. And this they call pra:sing a wife, and doing justice to her character, with much nonsense of the lika kind.
I say, women generally employ their time to much' better purposes than scribbling; otherwise this face. tious writer had not gone so long unanswered. We have ladies who sometimes lay down the needle, and take up the pen; I wonder none nf them have at. lempter sume reply. For my part, I do not pretend to be an author. I never appeared in pririt in my life, but I can no longer forbear saying something in answer to such impertinence, circulate how it may Only, sir, consider our situation. Men are naturally inaitentive to the decencies of life; but why should í be so complaisant? I say, they are naturally filthy creatures. "If it were not that their co...exion with the refined sex polished their manners, and had a happy infuence on the general economy of life, these lords of the creation would wallow in filth, and populous cities would infect the atmosphere with their noxious vapours. It is the attention and assiduity of the women that prevent men from degenerating into mere swine. How important then are the ser. vices we render; and yet for these very services we are made the subject of ridicule and fun. Base in. gratitude' Nauseous creatures! Perhaps you may thirik I am in a passion. No, Sir, I do assure you I never was more composed in my life, and yet it is enough to proynke a saint to see how unreasonably we are treated by the men. Why now, there's my husband--a good-enough sort of a man in the main but I will give you a sample of him. He comes into the parlour the other thie day, where, to be sure, I was cutting up a siece of linen. “ Lord !" says he, * what a futier here is! I can't bear to see the par lour look like a tailor's shop: besides, I am going t make some important philosophical experiments and must have sufficient room." You must know my husband is one of your would-be philosophers Well, I bundled up my linen as quick as I could, and began to darn a pair of ruffles, which took no room, and could give no offence. I thought, however, I would watch my lord and master's important busi. dess. In about half an hour the table was covered with all manner of trumpery; bottles of water, phiala
drugs, pasteboards, paper and cards, glue, paste, and gum-arabic; files, knives, scissors, needles, rosin, wax, silk, thread, rags, jags, tags, books, pamphlets, and papers. Lord bless me! I am almost out of breath, and yet I have not enumerated half the articles. Well, to work he went, and although I did not understand the object of his maneuvres, yet I could sufficiently discover that he did not succeed in any onc operation. I was glad of that, I confess, and with good reason too: for, after he had fatigued himself with mischief, like a monkey in a china-shop, and had called the servants to clear everything away, I took a view of the scene my parlour exhibited. I shall not even attempt a minute description; suffice it to say, that he had overset his ink-stand, and stained my best mahogany table with ink: he had spilt a quantity of vitriol, and burnt a large hole in my carpet: my marble hearth was all over spotted with melted rosin: besides this, he had broken three ching cups, four wine glasses, two tumblers, and one of my handsomest decanters. And, after all, as I said before, I perceived that he had not succeeded in any one operation. By the bye, tell your friend, the white-wash scribbler, that this is one means by which our closets become furnished with halves of china bowls, cracked tumblers, broken wine-glasses, tops of tea-pots, and stoppers of departed decanters. I say, I took a view of the dirt and devastation my philosophic husband had occasioned; and there I sat, like Patience on a monument, smiling at grief; but it worked inwardly. I would almost as soon the melted rosin and vitriol had been in his throat, as on my dear marble hearth, and my beautiful carpet. It is not true that women have no power over their own feelings; for notwithstanding this provocation, I said nothing, or next to nothing: for I only observ, ed, very pleasantly, what a lady of my acquaintanco had told me that the reason why philosophers are called literary men, is because they make a great litter : not a word more : however, the servant cleared away, and down sat the philosopher. A friend dropped in soon after Your scrvart Sir, how do
you do ?” “ O Lord' I am almost fatigued to do winy t have been all the morning making philoscphical experiments." I was now more hardly put to it to smother a laugh, than I had been just before to con. tain my rage ; my precious went out soon after, and I, as you may suppose, mustered all my forces: brushes, buckets, soap, sand, limeskins and cocoanut shells, with all the powers of housewifery, were immediately employed. I was certainly the best philosopher of the two; for my experiments succeed ed, and bis did not. All was well again, excepts iny poor carpet-my vitriolized carpet, which still continued a mournful momento of philosophic fury, or rather philosophic folly. The operation was scarce over, when in came my experimental philo. sopher, and told me, with all the indifference in the world, that he had invited six gentlemer. to dine with him at three o'clock. It was then past one. I complained of the short notice; " Poh! poh!" said he, “ you can get a leg of mutton, and a lcin of veal, and a few potatoes, which will do well enough." Heavens! what a chaus nust the head of a philosopher be! a leg of mutton, a loin of veal and potatoes! I was at a loss whether I should laugh or be angry; but there was no time for determining : 1 had but an hour and a half to do a world of tusiness in. My carpet, which had suffered in the cause of experimental philosophy in the morning, was destined to be more shamefully dishonoured in the afternoon by a deluge of nasty tobacco juice. Gentlemen sinokers love segars better than carpets. Think, Sir, what a wonen must endure under such circumstances; and then, after all, to be reproached with her cleanliness, and to have her white-washings, her scourings, and scrubbings made the subject of ridicule, it is more thanpatience can put up with. What I have now exhibited is but a small specimen of the injuries ve sus tain from the boasted superiority of men. But we will not be laughed out of our cleanliness. A woman would rather be called any thing on a sku,
as a man would rather be thought a knave than a fool. I had a great deal more to say, but am called away; we are just preparing to white-wash, and or course I have a deal of business on my hands. The white-wash buckets are paraded, the brushes are ready, my husband is gone off-so much the better; when we are upon a thorough cleaning, the first dirty thing to be removed is one's husband. I am alled for again