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you cannot give me what I am asking you for. It is indeed pure poverty not to have a thing to use when you need it; but our present want - not to be able to find a thing when you seek it — is of a less serious nature than not to seek it at all, knowing that it is not in your possession. However,' added I, you are not in fault on the present occasion, but I, as I did not direct you, when I gave you the articles, where each of them ought to be deposited, so that you might know how you ought to arrange them and whence to take them. 3. There is indeed nothing, my dear wife, more useful or more creditable to people than order. A chorus of singers and dancers, for instance, consists of a number of persons; but when they do whatever each of them happens to fancy, all appears confusion, and disagreeable to behold; but when they act and speak in concert, the same persons prove themselves worthy of being seen and heard.
II. “I once saw, I think, the most beautiful and accurate arrangement of implements possible, Socrates, when I went on board that large Phænician vessel to look over it; for I beheld a vast number of articles severally arranged in an extremely small space. 12. For the ship, continued he," is brought into harbor and taken out again by means of various instruments of wood and tow; it pursues its voyage with the aid of much that is called suspended tackle; it is equipped with many machines to oppose hostile vessels; it carries about in it many weapons for the men; it conveys all the utensils, such as people use in a house, for each company that take their meals together; and, in addition to all this, it is freighted with merchandise, which the owner of the ship transports in it for the purpose of profit. 13. And all the things of which I am speaking,” continued he, were stowed in a space not much larger than is contained in a room that holds half a score
dinner-couches. Yet I observed that they were severally arranged in such a manner that they were not in the way of one another, nor required anybody to seek for them, nor were unprepared for use, nor difficult to remove from their places, so as to cause any delay when it was necessary to employ them suddenly. 14. The pilot's officer, too, who is called the man of the prow, I found so well acquainted with the location of them all, that he could tell, even when out of sight of them, where each severally lay, and how many there were, not less readily than a man who knows his letters can tell how many there are in the name Socrates, and where each of them stands. 15. I saw,” pursued Ischomachus, "this very man inspecting, at his leisure, all the implements that it is necessary to use in a ship, and, wondering at his minute examination, I asked him what he was doing. 'I am examining, stranger,' said he, 'in case anything should happen, in what state everything in the vessel is, and whether anything is wanting, or is placed so as to be inconvenient for use. 16. For,' said he, there is no time, when heaven sends a storm over the sea, either to seek for what may be wanting, or to hand out what may be difficult to use; for the gods threaten and punish the negligent; and if they but forbear from destroying those who do nothing wrong, we must be very well content; while, if they preserve even those that attend to everything quite properly, much gratitude is due to them.' 17. I, therefore, having observed the accuracy of this arrangement, said to my wife, that it would be extremely stupid in us, if people in ships, which are comparatively small places, find room for their things, and, though they are violently tossed about, nevertheless keep them in order, and, even in the greatest alarm, still find out how to get what they want; and if we, who have large separate repositories in our house for everything, and our house firmly
planted on the ground, should not discover excellent and easily-found places for our several articles ;— how could this, I say, be anything but extreme stupidity in us?”
18. “How excellent a thing a regular arrangement of articles is, and how easy it is to find, in a house, a place such as is suitable to put everything, I have sufficiently shown. 19. But how beautiful an appearance it has, too, when shoes, for instance, of whatever kind they are, are arranged in order; how beautiful it is to see garments, of whatever kind, deposited in their several places; how beautiful it is to see bed-clothes, and brazen vessels, and table furniture, so arranged; and (what, most of all, a person might laugh at, not indeed a grave person, but a jester), I say, that pots. have a graceful appearance when they are placed in regular order. 20. Other articles somehow appear, too, when regularly arranged, more beautiful in consequence; for the several sorts of vessels seem like so many choral bands; and the space that is between them pleases the eye, when every sort of vessel is set clear of it; just as a body of singers and dancers, moving in a circle, is not only in itself a beautiful sight, but the space in the middle of it, being open and clear, is agreeable to the eye. 21. Whether what I say is true, my dear wife,' said I, 'we may make trial, without suffering any loss, or taking any extraordinary trouble.
Nor ought we at all to labor under the apprehension that it will be difficult to find a person who will learn the places for every article, and remember how to keep each of them separate; 22. for we know very well that the whole city contains ten thousand times as much as our house, and yet, whichsoever of the servants you order to buy anything and bring it to you from the market place, not one of them will be in perplexity, but every one will show that he knows whither he must go to fetch any article. For this,' added I, 'there is no other reason
than that each article is deposited in its appointed place. 23. But if you should seek for a person, and sometimes even for one who is on his part seeking you, you would often give up the search in despair before you find him; and for this there is no other cause, than that it is not appointed where the particular person is to await you.'"
I. “ And what was the result,” said I, “ my dear Ischomachus? Did your wife appear to attend to any of the matters which you took so much pains to impress upon her?” “What else did she do but promise that she would attend to what I said, and manifest the greatest pleasure, as if she had found relief from perplexity ? and she requested me to arrange the various articles, as soon as I could, in the manner which I had proposed.” 2. “And how, Ischomachus,” said I, “ did you arrange them for her?” “What else could I do but determine upon showing her, in the first place, the capacity of the house? For it is not adorned with decorations, but the apartments in it are constructed with such a view that they may be as convenient receptacles as possible for the things that are to be placed in them; so that they themselves invite whatever is adapted for them respectively. 3. Thus the inner chamber, being in a secure part of the house, calls for the most valuable couch coverings and vessels; the dry parts of the building for the corn; the cool places for the wine; and the well-lighted portions for such articles of workmanship, and vases, as require a clear light. 4. I pointed out to her, too, that the apartments for people to live in, which are well ornamented, are cool in the summer and exposed to the sun in winter; and I made her notice as to the whole house how it lies open to the south, so that it is
plain it has plenty of sun in winter, and plenty of shade in summer.
6. When we had gone through these places," he continued, “we then proceeded to classify our goods. We began by collecting, first of all, whatever we use for offering sacrifices; after this, we arranged the dresses for women, such as are suited for festival days; and then the equipments for men, as well for festivities as for warfare; and next the bed-covering in the women's apartments, the bed-coverings in the men's apartments, the shoes for the women and the shoes for the men. utensils there were distinct collections, one of instruments for spinning, another of those for preparing corn, another of those for cooking, another of those for the bath, another of those for kneading bread, another of those for the table. These in general we divided into two sorts, such as we have to use constantly, and such as are required only at festal entertainments. 8. We also made one assortment of what would be used in a month, and another of what was computed to last for a year; for in this way it is less likely to escape our knowledge how particular things are expended. When we had thus distinguished all our goods into classes, we conveyed them severally to the places best suited for them. 9. Afterwards, whatever utensils the servants require daily, such as those for preparing corn, for cooking, for spinning, and any others of that sort, we pointed out to those who use them, the places where they were to put them, and then committed them to their keeping, charging them to keep them safely; 10. but such as we use only for festival days, for entertaining guests, or only occasionally at long intervals, we committed, after pointing out the places for them, and numbering and making lists of them, to the housekeeper, and told her to give out any of them to whatever servant needed them, to bear in mind to which of them she gave any one, and, after receiving them back,