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Emory Women Writers Resource Project Collections:
Emory Women Writers Resource Project

The Gentlewoman's Companion: or, A Guide to the Female Sex, an electronic edition

by Hannah Woolley [Woolley, Hannah, fl. 1670]

date: 1675
source publisher: Printed by A. Maxwell for Edward Thomas
collection: Early Modern through the 18th Century

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Instructions for all Nursery-Maids in Noble Families.

You ought to be naturally inclined to love young Children or else you will soon discover your unfitness to manage that charge; you must be neat and cleanly about them, and careful to keep good hours for them: Get their Break-fasts and Suppers in good and convenient time; let them not sit too long, but walk them often up and down especially those who cannot go well of themselves; take heed they get no falls by your carelessness for such means many (the case first being unperceivable) have afterwards grown irrecoverably lame or crooked; wherefore if any such thing should happen, conceal it not, though you may justly incur a great deal of blame therefore.

I knew a Gentlewoman absolutely spoil'd by such a concealment; her Nurse by negligence let her fall (being very young) from a Table, and by the fall her thigh-bone was dislocated, the Nurse fearing the indignation and displeasure of the Childs Parents, who where rich and potent, concealed it a long time, under the pretence of some other indisposition; endeavouring in the mean time the reducing of the bone to its proper place; but by reason of an interposition of a Jelly between | | 209 the dislocations, it could not be done, and then when it was too late, the Parents were acquainted with the said condition of their beloved Child; and hereupon all means imaginable used for its recovery, but all in vain, although they had been at some hundreds of pounds charge for the cure.

She is now as lovely a young Gentlewoman as a ravisht eye can feast upon; but it would break the heart of that body the eye belongs unto to see her go; her back-side-walking would force a man from her to the Indies, and yet her face would attract him to her twice as far.

But to my purpose; be not churlish or dogged to them, but merry and pleasant, and contrive and invent pretty pastimes, agreeable to their ages, keep their linnen and other things always mended, and suffer them not to run too fast to decay. Do not shew a partiality in your love to any of them, for that dejects the rest: Be careful to hear them read if it be imposed upon you, and be not too hasty with them; have a special care how you behave your self before them, neither speaking nor acting misbecomingly, left your bad example prove the subject of their imitation.

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