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Westphalian Nobleman Christian Franz Dietrich von Fürstenberg Provides Instructions on the Education of his Daughters (1743)

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What purpose the delights serve, and what everyone’s proper business in the world be

Festivities, delights are to a person’s life as spices are to dishes; someone wishing to dine and feed on nothing but spices would have to go to rack and ruin.

We are born into this world not to hop and dance but, according to our catechism, to honor God and to achieve the salvation of our souls. Apart from this, everyone also has to learn all sorts of things, each according to his or her station, so as not to be superfluous, something with which he or she must keep occupied over the course of life, never to be idle, never to feel as if considered idle.

For the female sex, not being idle means: one moment I am praying, observing, and reading, one moment I am knitting, embroidering, sewing, and spinning, exercising such alternation as to win heaven easily:

One must keep occupied all the time

With this considered carefully, therefore, a young woman must get accustomed from an early age to keeping occupied all the time, never being idle, loving to keep occupied all the time, and hating, however, idleness. In that case, she will always live with happiness in her heart, being cheerful in any place, even if she lived in a wild wasteland.

How one must bring up children successively

The really young children learn their catechism. They are taught prayers and Christian nature; they are taught reading, writing, different languages, working, arithmetic, and economizing. They are also taught dancing, playing, a decent lifestyle; they are instructed how to live secluded, honorably, carefully, how to adapt themselves to anything and to become a nuisance to no one.

How the children have to behave in terms of delights and suchlike diversions

Should occasions arise to dance, to play something, if there are opportunities to amuse oneself by taking walks or other meetings and social gatherings, one takes part in them just as other people do.

Once this ends, one is not grieved by it, nay, one is quite glad that it is over, and one does not allow boredom to emerge, instead devoting oneself immediately again, with all of one’s good and cheerful heart, to one’s usual business, praying, reading, working, economizing, delighting exceedingly in these very ordinary dealings, which must be the soul’s proper food.

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