Friday, October 3, 2008

Thoughts from "The Complete Home"

Good morning, Dear Readers!

One of my most treasured books is an old copy of Mrs. Julia McNair Wright's "The Complete Home", written in the late 1800s. This book is unique in that it is a domestic "manual" written in story form. The main character is Aunt Sophronia, who dispenses sound advice to various nieces who are making their way into the world. Here are some of Aunt Sophronia's thoughts, which I've copied into my Commonplace Book. Feel free to copy them into yours!
On Economy:

"It is what is saved, not what is made, which constitutes national as well as individual wealth."

"There is no truer economy than a little good taste."

"Seest thou a man diligent in business, he shall stand before kings."

"My meals always taste better for a bouquet, or a moss-plate, or a fern in the middle of the table."

"Parents should realize that by instructing their children in the practice of economy, they are laying the foundations of their future fortunes, the comfort and stability of their homes, and the fortunes of their grandchildren."

"The keys to 'comfortable competence'-Work hard; see and improve all small opportunities; keep out of debt and carefully economize."

"If we try to build a business on show, by seeming to have what we really do not possess, then we are building our house upon the sand, and when the rains descend, the winds blow, and the floods beat, then the Home shall fall into miserable ruin."

"Extravagance should appear as a corrupting corpse, a hangman's rope clutched in its discolored hand; a ghastly wound across the throat; a gibbet behind it, and the pit of perdition yawning in front."

"If wives see that their husbands incline to extravagance, they should hold them back from this brink of ruin with all their power; and they should be aware of extravagance in their own persons, for by it many a wife has become a millstone about her husband's neck to sink him in a sea of misery."

On Child-Rearing:

"The idle child is the mischievous child."

"Happy the child whose mother is his first teacher!"

"While the son must be taught some business in life, there is one business which should always be taught a daughter-the business of housekeeping, in all its departments."

"What a spectacle is this Household at work! The mother amply aided; all things in order; work done beautifully and systematically; intelligence reigning; time is here four books and art and for beauty, and social life, because all have labored willingly; it is not alone the mother's hands which toiled, while daughters lay in bed, but all these are virtuous women whose price is above rubies."

"We must be very careful in setting up our children in their impressionable youth as missionaries: they may be swept away by the stream into which they went down to rescue others."

On Reading:

"We shall find when all the years are told, that nothing has so moulded and fashioned our inner lives-so made us what in the end we shall be-as reading."

"Read first History, then Biography, then travels, then poetry, then essays, then science."

"Do not on the Sabbath read those secular books that may be lawful on other days. Read on the holy day those works which shall help you in the holy life."

"Don't read everything you see in a vain attempt to be called a great reader; be rather a thorough, careful reader."

"A book-less parlor is a howling wilderness."

"Never read a book that robs you of earnestness, nor of that high quality of reverence, without which there can be no truly elevated character. Never read anything which in one whit robs you of purity, for it is only the pure in heart who will see God."

"A home without books is like a garden without flowers, like a forest without birds or sunshine, like a house without furniture."
On Home-Life:

The light in the heart shines out first at the hearth."

"If we do not serve God in our homes, we contravene the Lord's highest purpose in Homemaking, while His tenderest benediction falls on him, of whom He can say, as of his servant of old, I know him that he will command his children and his household after him."

"We ought to esteem it God's choice gift to us that our families may be numbered in His chosen generation and priesthood."

"God says the citizenship of His people is in Heaven, and that we should, as far as we can below, cultivate the manners of our true city. Let us rejoice in our birthright, and teach our children to glory in it."

Ah, that should be enough to soak in for now! If only Aunt Sophronia were here today, to sit at our table and dispense her sound wisdom!

May this day bring blessings, great or small.




  1. What a lovely book! You have selected some great quotes and I will be jotting a few of those down, if not all. :) Thank you!


  2. dear mami,
    the flowers are pretty!!!
    i love you and i like you!!!!


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