The Family

Cover of book The Family
Categories: Fiction » Action & Adventure

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who are not of sufficient rank to be admitted into the Peerage, nor wealthy enough to have been made baronets, we should find a much larger proportion of younger sons who have been stimulated by their position into eminence in professional or commercial pursuits. So far as this is the case, and so far as they owe their success more to their own abilities and enterprise than to patronage and influence, they are typical rather of the Modern Family, the characteristics and functions of which will occupy the remainder of this book. But the most characteristic survivals of the feudal Family are not the sons but the daughters of the house. In ifeudal days, as we have seen, there were three courses only open to them : marriage, the cloister, or a corner in the eldest brother's house. In families where the aristocratic tradition still prevails, the position is not greatly altered. The main difference is, that at the death of the father it is more usual now for the unmarried daughters, like the younger sons, to receive their portions and to seek a life of their own instead of lingering on in the ancestral home. For many of them, in the absence of either family cares or i professional work, their solitary lives are little less confined and narrow than they would have been in a convent; and it is perhaps not wonderful that this generation has devised a modernised form of the convent in the great Anglican sisterhoods, where so many women now seek an imitation of the family and industrial life which they fail to find in the real world. In the modern Family of thebest type the daughters are prepared for a career as naturally as the sons, and have no need to seek out artificial refuges ; but for women new ideas and new principles work always slower than for men, and a far lar...

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