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he was suddenly taken away. The nations of antiquity, whose marvels of learning and of art still excite the admiration and wonder of the world, had no homes; there are no homes where the Bedouin slumbers in the shadow of the pyramids, or fodders his steed amid the crumbling magnificence of a longburied despotism ; the gay and glittering Frenchman has no word for home; while the cities of the Continent, to whose monuments the rich, the 'restless, and the wise make pilgrimage, have no homes, the wretched hovel alternating with the palace and the ruin. They may do to admire as works of art, but let us have to show the traveller, to bless ourselves, to help our children, a land of homes, speaking to the eye of the stranger, and dear to the heart of the dweller.
AVING SPOKEN of the house, I have something now to say of the family in the house.
The idea of seclusion, isolation, is still fundamental. As the house should stand alone, so should the family be alone. It is a curious fact that the word home, in its derivation, signifies to enclose. A home is an enclosure, a secret, separate place, — a place shut in from, guarded against, the whole world outside. This idea is essential to it all the way through, and it is because of this seclusion, this shutting in, and the host of virtues which only so are possible, that there cannot be found in the whole range of language, ancient or modern, a word to convey the idea of our English word home. It is the centralizing of the joys, interests, affections of the heart, upon the place of abode, —partly the result of temperament, and partly the necessity of climate, – it is the sacred seclusion in which the family dwells, — which has gradually led
to the establishment in the Anglo-Saxon race of a home, a word in itself suggestive of a variety and a combination of virtues, possessions, and hopes beyond any other. Obliged by climate to seek comfort within doors, our English ancestors gradually accumulated the means of happiness about their abodes, until the home has become, as we have received it of them, the beneficent foster-mother of all that is best in the heart and in the man. It is from the fact that we are an in-doors people, that much of our peculiarity and our advantage comes. As another has said, “Make this whole nation an out-of-door people, teach them to find their amusement, their happiness, away from home, in gardens, in cafés, in the streets, as it is in France and Italy, and it would be as difficult to maintain our Republic as it has been to establish one in Paris and Rome. No one who has ever visited those cities, or Naples or Venice, or who has studied the habits and customs of their population, can fail to see the cause of their violent commotions, and uneasy, restless striving. The mass of the people are without homes and home influences. They live out of doors, in perpetual excitement, and the only idea of home to thousands of them is a place to sleep in.” Even the German, many of whose domestic habits and customs we should do well to imitate, hardly fashions his home after the better English model. He does not so much bring his joys and pleasures to his
family, as take his family with him to his joys and pleasures. You meet a Yankee upon a holiday, and he is either alone or with some one of his own sex seeking amusement; you meet an Irishman, he is stalking onward with his hands in his pocket, while puffing and toiling behind him, with baby and bundle, shuffles and sweats his wife; but the German comes with all his household gods, lending a hand at the babies, good-natured and thoughtful of the good wife, and though, like Mrs. John Gilpin, “of a frugal mind,” determined that the time shall be a good one generally. He takes his home with him where he goes, and so God bless him for that; but I think he and it go too much to make it ever the one great love. Indeed, the German love seems to be rather for the Fatherland than the one home spot, while that Swiss homesickness, of which we hear so much, is largely a pining for the free mountain air and the wild mountain life. Climate, temperament, seclusion, combine to make the English homes, and that of those who are English in descent, the peculiar and separate places they are. However false we or they may be to it, we should all be grateful that we have so pure a model as the ideal Anglo-Saxon home. In ordaining the home the Divine Mind seems to have laid broadly and deeply the foundations of an
institution which should satisfy the wants of the most uncultured, at the same time that it should be capable of stretching itself out so as to satisfy the highest aspirations of the most refined. Doubtless the primeval homes before the flood answered every desire, as those within the Arctic Circle, of which Dr. Kane has given such graphic description, still do. Man at an advanced stage of culture is not content with these. They only offend. His home must be a very different thing, not only outwardly, but inwardly ; not only in all its daily ordering and purpose, but in its very commencement. At a low stage of advancement, that commencement may be of no special moment. Upon what principle the male and female come together may be unimportant. It may be a matter of barter, or of compulsion, or of caste, or of any whim or accident. Where the woman is to be the drudge, or slave, to grind the corn, drag the plough, or carry the burdens, – where the man is the indolent tyrant or lord, the hunter or warrior alternating with the lethargic brute, and the children are to grow only to the same stature, — it makes little odds how the family is brought together. There are no special duties and obligations arising from the connection, to be influenced decidedly one way or the other by it. But as men advance in civilization, and become amenable to Christian laws, the manner in which a home shall be commenced is of first and lasting importance. Every