6th july 2004
delighted us long enough

Manilov's wife . . . had been gently brought up, and gentle nurture, as we
know, is to be acquired only in boarding schools, and boarding
schools, as we know, hold the three principal subjects which
constitute the basis of human virtue to be the French language (a
thing indispensable to the happiness of married life), piano-playing
(a thing wherewith to beguile a husband's leisure moments), and that
particular department of housewifery which is comprised in the
knitting of purses and other "surprises." Nevertheless changes and
improvements have begun to take place, since things now are governed
more by the personal inclinations and idiosyncracies of the headmistresses of such establishments. For instance, in some schools the regimen places piano-playing first, and the French language second, and then the above department of housewifery; while in other seminaries the knitting of "surprises" heads the list, and then the French language, and then the playing of pianos. There are all sorts of methods.

- Gogol, Dead Souls