Another Instance of Prudence and Providence
(This story is excerpted from the original text, on account of space. – Hentycrew)
Miss Sarah Spencer was the daughter of a gentleman in Sussex, and though her family possessed an estate with some lands, it insensibly dwindled to nothing. On the death of her father Miss Spencer was left with 300 pounds($600). Her sister Mary was similarly fixed. They did not think that they could marry without a fortune; a mere clown would not be happy with them. Yet, living in an age and country were well educated women not born to fortunes are peculiarly forlorn, unable to work and ashamed to beg, they had no prospect but of pining to death with no money. Even the most resolute spirits do not often embrace a life of labour until driven to it by necessity; but it is no ordinary virtue to submit to that life with dignity. This fruit of virtue they possessed. They took a farm and without ceasing to be gentlewomen, commenced to farm. This they carried on for many years, much to their credit and advantage. They were not popular characters, but the gentry respected them; and they were helpful to their neighbours. And before their deaths they had gained the respect of even the most disliked of their neighbours.
Comment: I do not believe this to mean that it is right in all circumstances that ladies should have, what we call today, ‘jobs’; their place is first with their families. We must look closely at what happened in the story: they had almost no money, they had no friends or family, and they did not consider themselves low enough to beg; so they had a right to keep themselves alive. Which they did. That, I believe, is the point of the story, to show that they had presence of mind and used it to their and others benefit. – Hentycrew