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Domestic Pleasures, or, the Happy Fire-side   By:

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[Illustration: Frontispiece Eddystone Light House as erected by Lord Bywater 1759.]



The happy Fire side.



Domestic happiness, thou only bliss Of Paradise, that has surviv'd the fall! Tho' few do taste thee unimpair'd and pure, Or tasting, long enjoy thee! too infirm, Or too incautious to preserve thy sweets Unmix'd with drops of bitter, which neglect Or temper sheds into thy crystal cup; Thou art the nurse of virtue; in thine arms She smiles, appearing, as in truth she is, Heaven born, and destin'd to the skies again.




When I was a child, if a new book were given to me, I recollect, my first question invariably was: "Is this true." If the answer were in the affirmative, the volume immediately assumed, in my eyes, a new value, and was perused with far greater interest than a story merely fictitious. Now, as I am very desirous that you should take up this little volume with a prepossession in its favour, I must inform you, that the characters of the children here pourtrayed, are all real characters. The little work was undertaken for the improvement of a family very dear to me, and was, during its progress, regarded by them as a faithful mirror, reflecting both their virtues and defects. You will find in it, among other subjects, a slight sketch of the early part of the Roman history; but you must not suppose, that in offering it to you, I mean my little book to supersede the more detailed accounts that are usually put into the hands of children. I have often found, that even when a volume has been read entirely through, very few of the facts have made any deep impression on the youthful mind; and the improvement to be derived from those facts, is still more completely overlooked. This I discovered to be the case with my little friends: they had read the Roman history, and I had hoped that they had read it attentively; but upon questioning them afterwards, even upon some leading events, I found them exceedingly deficient in information. This suggested to me the idea of the following little volume. I recommended them to begin again the perusal of the Roman history; to take notes as they proceeded, and write, from them, an abridgment for themselves; promising that I would do the same, and give my manuscript to the one who should most deserve it. They were pleased with the plan, and regularly brought their little productions, once a fortnight, for my inspection. I, at the same time, read them mine. They soon discovered in it their own characters, delineated under fictitious names, and took a still more lively interest in their task. By the time I had completed the regal government of Rome, I found my manuscript had attained a considerable size; I therefore had it neatly bound, and as Emily and Louisa equally deserved the prize, they drew lots, and it fell to the former. Several young persons who had perused the little work, united in begging it might be printed, that they also might have it in their libraries. This, my dear young readers, is the origin of DOMESTIC PLEASURES.

The conversations recorded in the following pages, are chiefly such as have, at different times, taken place between my little friends and myself. I sincerely wish you may derive, not only amusement, but instruction, from the transcript; and that it may convince you, no pleasures are so pure as domestic pleasures ; no society so delightful, as that experienced in the affectionate intercourse of parents and children, by a happy fire side .


The Persons.


EMILY, aged Fifteen .

CHARLES, Fourteen .

EDWARD, Twelve .



SOPHY, Five .



The rain came down in torrents, and beat violently against the parlour windows, whilst a keen autumnal blast made the children shiver, even by the side of a good fire... Continue reading book >>

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