The perfect wife

The most useful science and the most honorable occupation for a wife is home-management. I am aware of more than one wife who is mean but of few who are good managers. Yet to be one is a wife's chief virtue, the one that we should look for first as the only dowry which may either save our households or ruin them. There is no need to lecture me on the subject: experience has taught me to seek one virtue above all others in a married woman: the virtue of housekeeping. I enable my wife to do this properly when, by my absence, I leave the government of my house in her hands. It irritates me to see in many a household my lord coming home about noon, all grimy and tetchy from business worries, while my lady in her dressing-room, dolling herself up and doing her hair. It is unjust and absurd that our wives should be maintained in idleness by our sweat and toil. As far as it lies with me, nobody shall have a more serene enjoyment of my goods than I do, one more quit and more quiet.

Michel de Montaigne - Essays, On vanity (III, 9)