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The Ruins

Part II, Chapter 10
ON DOMESTIC VIRTUES
Q. What do you mean be domestic virtues?
A. I mean the practice of actions useful to a family, supposed to live in the same house.*
* Domestic is derived from the Latin word domus, a house.
Q. What are those virtues?
A. They are economy, paternal love, filial love, conjugal love, fraternal love, and the
accomplishment of the duties of master and servant.
Q. What is economy?
A. It is, according to the most extensive meaning of the word, the proper administration
of every thing that concerns the existence of the family or house; and as subsistence holds
the first rank, the word economy in confined to the employment of money for the wants
of life.
Q. Why is economy a virtue?
A. Because a man who makes no useless expenses acquires a superabundancy, which is
true wealth, and by means of which he procures for himself and his family everything
that is really convenient and useful; without mentioning his securing thereby resources
against accidental and unforeseen losses, so that he and his family enjoy an agreeable and
undisturbed competency, which is the basis of human felicity.
Q. Dissipation and prodigality, therefore, are vices?
A. Yes, for by them man, in the end, is deprived of the necessaries of life; he falls into
poverty and wretchedness; and his very friends, fearing to be obliged to restore to him
what he has spent with or for them, avoid him as a debtor does his creditor, and he
remains abandoned by the whole world.
Q. What is paternal love?
A. It is the assiduous care taken by parents to make their children contract the habit of
every action useful to themselves and to society.
Q. Why is paternal tenderness a virtue in parents?
 
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