The Governess [12/12]
M M S, pseud. [Mary M Sherwood] *
Short Fiction, Serial
Botany, Education, Geology, Biblical Authority, Reading, Piety, Gender
The narrator is a governess who has been employed in a series of families. In this final episode, she comes to live with an enlightened Christian family, the Wynnes. Of Mr Wynne she observes: 'I had never [...] been so much associated with a gentleman who united [...] the most perfect manners, real and enlightened piety, and much knowledge of various descriptions'. The 'first lesson of botany' she ever received was as she walked up a hill with Mr and Mrs Wynne, and Mr Wynne promised 'further instruction' if she were 'diligent'. (400) Part of the family routine after tea was for the ladies to do needlework for the poor, and the young gentlemen to draw, while the 'excellent father instructed his family'. In this, he 'took the scripture as his basis, though at times taking occasion to diverge from his text as any peculiar circumstance seemed to point; for instance, when in course of reading he came to the flood, he read one or two of the best theories selected from his library respecting the natural causes and effects of the deluge, and thus he kept the interest of his auditors continually awake, and brought them back with renewed interest to the simple text of scripture'. (403) The narrator claims to 'have often admired the plan, and wished that all learning could thus be made to wait upon the inspired word' (404).
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Printed from Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical: An Electronic Index, v. 4.0, The Digital Humanities Institute <http://www.sciper.org> [accessed ]