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In some cases native Christian widows and others too old to do hard work, have earned a little by sitting with a basket of books in a market or near a courthouse, Even although they sell few books, this is greatly preferable to supporting them in idleness.
If possible, no money allowance should be given ; liberal commission is greatly preferable. In many cases hatives will live in idleness on a small salary, though they might double it by a little exertion. Sales would thus be very limited.
Native Booksellers and Book-Hawkers. It has been mentioned how much more numerous such persons are than those employed by Missions. Every effort should, therefore, be made to circulate Christian publications through the regular native channels. Liberal discount should be allowed. English booksellers frequently obtain one-third. Not less should be given in India, if success is looked for. *
XVII. EFFORTS FOR FEMALES. A volume is required to treat adequately of this very important branch of labour. Only a few scattered hints are given, as the reader may consult an admirable little work, “ Female Missionaries in India," by Mrs. Weitbrecht.
THE MISSIONARY'S WIFE. Proper Choice. It is of the utmost consequence that the Missionary's wife should be of the right spirit. Even when surrounded by all the Christian
privileges of England, the pious man who marries a worldly woman places himself in a condition of great danger. Woe betide him whose foes are of his own house. The
* The Missionary should read the Report on the Native Press in Bengal by the Rev. J. Long, (See List of Books); and the papers on Christian Literature in the various Conference Reports.
peril, however, is much greater in a heathen country, where, perhaps, the Missionary's wife is the only one from whom consolation and encouragement can be expected. Still, there have been a few instances in which Missionaries have followed the sad precedent, " The sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.” Probably the delusion has been cherished, " True, they are not decidedly pious, but they are welldisposed ; more advantages, it may be hoped, will bring about a change.” Long experience has shewn the falsity of such expectations. It has often been remarked, that when either husband or wife, both being before worldly, is converted, in many cases the other is impressed. Not so, however, in the great majority of cases, when a professor of religion marries a person who is not pious. Then the reverse process usually takes place--the former is assimilated to the latter. The Missionary who choses a worldly partner, in general, either discharges his duties in a very perfunctory manner, or soon retires from the field.
The spirit of the Missionary's wife is important, not only on account of its bearing upon himself; but from its effect upon measures for benefiting the women of India. Little can be expected from unmarried female labourers. The Society for Promoting Female Education in the East is popularly known in this country as the “Bachelor's Aid.” Pleasing, well educated Christian young ladies are sent out, who even before they master the language and can be of any real use, often marry, Where, as is not unfrequently the case, they are united to Missionaries, it is of much less consequence; but others marry officers of the army. Though the passage money is refunded in the latter case, yet this Sisyphean labour is disheartening *
* A cynical Missionary proposes that no lady under fifty years of age should be sent out ; but of course the vernacular could not be acquired.
The compiler has the highest admiration for the Society above-mentioned; and he feels deeply the vital importance of its aim. Remarks are made solely to render efforts as productive as possible.
From the circumstances of India, it may be fairly assumed that, for many years, the demand for really good wives will exceed the supply. Notwithstanding professions of zeal for female education on the part of young ladies, it may also be taken for granted, that past experience will be repeated.
In sober earnest, the compiler thinks that in few ways can the Committee do more to further their object than by putting young Missionaries, not yet provided for, in the way of obtaining wives of a right spirit, and in some measure acquainted with education. It is not necessary to enter into details. The Managers of the Female Education Society and the Secretaries of Missionary Societies might concert measures, if none already exist. All the wives of Missionaries* might, with the greatest advantage, pass through a short course of educational training before they leave England. An acquaintance would be formed which would be useful in after correspondence, and plans would be much better carried out.
Although a few unmarried female labourers have worked nobly, the compiler thinks that the great reliance must be upon the wives of Missionaries, at least for a long time to come.
Both on this account, and from its bearing on his own work, the young Missionary, of all men on earth, should marry “only in the Lord.” As it is utterly useless to remonstrate with a man deeply in love, the only safe course is to avoid entirely the company of one who would be an unsuitable match.
Domestic Affairs.- The Missionary's wife should
* The compiler has been told that all the students of the C. M College, Islington, attend a Normal School for a few weeks. This is an excellent plan.
remember that a tropical climate weakens the strength. At home she could do many things, while others were not left undone. In India this is impossible; a choice must be made. The question is, shall her time not taken up with her husband and children, be devoted to sewing, cooking, &c., or to efforts to benefit her native sisters? All the sewing, &c., necessary may be equally well done by a person earning a few pence a day, while the other is of priceless value, and if not attended to by the Missionary's wife, must be neglected. No woman of a true spirit will say that she must sew herself, because means will not allow a tailor to be employed. If necessary, she will economise in other ways rather than be deprived of such a privilege. By adopting the plans recommended in Chapter IV., very little time will be taken
with household affairs.
Study of the Language.- Usefulness will depend largely upon the acquisition of the Vernacular. "The first year is of even more importance than in the case of the Missionary. As a rule, the care of a family and diminished strength, are some great drawbacks. Copious directions have already been given about study. It need only be added, that as her work will be nearly all oral, it is not necessary for the Missionary's wife to attend to many grammatical minutiæ and classical peculiarities. A thorough knowledge of the colloquial is the main point. She should be able to read and write ; but the language should be picked up chiefly by the ear.
Duty to her Husband.-The Missionary's wife should make herself acquainted with every department of her husband's efforts, and take a deep interest in all his plans. To accompany him occasionally in his itinerating tours, will be of great benefit to health, and may be productive of much usefulness. Relying on God's promises, she should always cherish a hopeful spirit. When her husband returns from bazar preaching, per
haps exclaiming in the bitterness of his soul, “Who hath believed our report ?” let it be her part to comfort and animate him. Above all, let her seek that they may maintain close communion with God. Let this be the object of her most anxious solicitude.
1 Duty to her Children.- From the state of society in heathen countries, the children of Missionaries in India require still more attention from their mothers than at home. Heathen nurses and servants give way to the vilest language, and children left to them suffer grievously.. Improvement in Native Christians proceeds only gradually. Great caution must, therefore, be exercised even with respect to them. Mrs. Mullens adopted the following plan :
" In one respect she found her (boarding) school not a hindrance but a help. As her children began to require companionship and help, she sought it not among the usual run of Indian servants, from whom they learn so much that is evil, but amongst her girls.
She was thus able to keep them from harm, and yet in confidence and without anxiety continue her labours in the School. The little service required was highly prized, because it furnished so many opportunities of intercourse with herself and of learning from her conversation the information on a thousanı! things which she was so ready to impart, and which was not called up by the ordinary routine of life in school."*
In the hot season it is difficult to amuse children within doors. Lacroix taught his children to make their own toys. His daughter says :
* We never possessed a Noah's ark; but we owned a fleet of paper boats, and had a whole menagery of birds and beasts, cut out in pasteboard by my father and painted by ourselves; the great advantage of this plan being that it gave us employment, and enabled us to revel at will in the gorgeous colouring that children love. Instead of the dingy brown which is the prominent characteristic of animals in a true ark, our tigers were green, our lions blue, and our elephants a bright scarlet !"+
* Life of Lacroix, p. 480, + Ibid, p. 335.