An Easter Greeting

This is the fourth article in March of the School for Housewives 1902 series published on Mar 30, 1902, and is Marion’s yearly Easter message. I very much enjoyed this particular article, especially Marion’s description of a blizzard.

School for Housewives – An Easter Greeting

A Glimpse of Nature, and the Tender Thoughts It Suggests

Hope and Promise Writ in the Budding of Storm-Stressed Woods

“You will have an Easter message for us. I hope?”

I looked up from the letter I was reading and through the window nearest my desk. Blizzard No. 3 of 1902 was in raging possession of the world. The fields were tumbled white sheets, rising and falling in the fierce wind. To borrow Charlotte Bronte’s words – “There was but one cloud in he sky, but that curtained it from pole to pole.” The benignant outlines of the hills I love were hidden behind wavering draperies of snow, now blotted out completely, now grayly traceable, troubled and unfamiliar. The trees rocked and struck blindly at one another with their naked arms, as in a frenzy of pain. The sullen roar of the north wind was like surf upon a rock-edged beach. From time to time the distant shriek of a belated train might have been the cry of wanderers done to their death by the tempest.

Within twenty feet of my window a grey-breasted woodpecker was driving his bill into the southward side of an oak, steadily and confidently as he will drill and seek upon May-day.

He came North with the bluebirds and a robin or two ten days ago. I saw him collecting sticks and straws for the underpinning of his next yesterday. The air then was soft and mild, the wind slept behind the hills, the sky was blue overhead. “A veritable weather-breeder,” said wise human creatures. Top-knot with the gray breast took no thought for the morrow. According to his calendar the winter was over and gone; the time for the singing of birds had come. His duty was to build and to trust. The twittering of a bevy of saucy snowbirds who watched his labors did not lift a feather of his crest. The weather was no concern of his.

It was no more of his business now. Supper must be had in good season, for twilight would fall early and hard. Instinct – or was it faith? – told him that fat larvae and drowsy beetles lurked under the rough bark, and he fell to drilling, nothing doubting.

But he stuck steadily to the southern side of the tree! The opposite side was coated with snow and flying flakes thickened the coat continually. Should the wind veer he would have trouble keeping his hold. The wind was none of his affair, either. He was comfortable and safe where he was. Should he draw that covert blank, the grove was made up of trees, and every tree had a southern side. As for what the morrow would bring, it was as likely to bring calm as storm, the more likely to bring sunshine because this day was inclement.

The cheerful diligence of his “drill! drill! drill! tap! tap!” the very perk of his top-knot said:

“Behind the clouds is the sun, still shining.”

Because there were trees, there would be leaves, and blossoms, and balmy airs, and floods of sunshine in God’s own good time. Meanwhile, he waited – always busily – and always on the southern side of the tree. It would be the sunny side before long. That was the reason eggs, larvae, beetles and borers were most plentiful there.

This, dear Constituents – so many more in number and so much more interesting than at this time a year ago, that my heart grows larger and warmer in thinking of you – this, then, is my “Easter Message.” Know of a surety, because the ways of the Lord of all are equal, that here is a southern side to every tree, and keep upon it. The storm must pass, for the sun is in God’s heaven, and good is ever stronger in the end than evil. As surely as the chilled and shrouded earth is, at heart, quick with life, and

“Underneath the winter snows
The invisible hearts of flowers
Grow ripe for blossoming” –

Shall joy come after your night of weeping.

As the blessed season of promise renews the memory of those we have committed to the warm, dark, sweet earth with the “sure and certain promise of immortality,” let it bring renewed appreciation of the sublimity, the beauty the glorious comfort bound up in those words. They always have to the ear of my soul a tone of the Voice which shall awake the sleeping children of the One Father in the dawn of the Day when he shall really and in truth begin to live.

Gather into smitten and yearning hearts the full blessing of the Easter-tide. Because Christ lives, our beloved shall live also, and we with them when Easter promises shall ripen into heavenly fruition.

Marion Harland


Complete Directions for Making Beautiful Easter Flowers at Home out of Waxed Paper

This is the second article in March of the School for Housewives 1902 series published on Mar 23, 1902, and is a fun article on how to make tissue and waxed paper flowers.

School for Housewives – Complete Directions for Making Beautiful Easter Flowers at Home out of Waxed Paper

Tissue and crepe paper flowers can be made more handsome and durable by waxing them. The process is quite an easy one, very inexpensive, considering the result obtained.

When intending to wax flowers take care to arrange them on a stout wire stem, strongly attached to the flower, as the wax will make the flower heavy, and if the stem is weak the flower is likely to droop or even break at the base.

The paper is not waxed before the flower is made. First finish the flower and tint it as desired. The wax (refined paraffine, retailing at fifteen cents a pound at the drug store) is put in a small, rather deep agato saucepan and melted. Leave the saucepan on the back of the stove, where it will keep melted and yet not boil or get too hot. Add nothing to the wax.

When the wax is ready dip your blossoms quickly into it, one at a time, and when the surplus wax has run back into the pan lay the soft waxed flower on a sheet of blotting paper and proceed in the same way with another flower. While the wax is soft there may be sprinkled, if desired, dip each blossom or leaf a little “diamond dust.” This is procurable at the druggist’s at ten cents an ounce. It gives to the flower a dewy or frosted appearance. The flowers, however, look well without it.

In making lilies or other flowers with large blossoms that must be grouped again on a single stem to imitate nature, do not finish the stem or plant before waxing.

Make all the buds, blossoms and leaves necessary, wax them one by one and group them as desired. Then cover the stems with tissue paper and wax the main stem by pouring wax on it from a spoon.

As Easter is fast coming and many will not be able to purchase hothouse lilies, the following directions for making the different varieties of lilies will be valuable. And if well made, they look quite natural.

The Easter lily has for center one pistil and five or six stamens. The pistil is made by covering a wire with green tissue paper, forming a little mail at the upper end; the stamens are made by covering a piece of wire, about five inches long, with deep orange-yellow tissue paper, having the paper wrapped in such a manner at the upper end as to be flat and one sixth of an inch in width, for about one inch in length.

This wider part is bent over. The pistil and stamens in the tiger lily are done in the same way. In the illustration, both the tiger lily and Easter lily show the arrangement.

For the petals, cut six pieces of white crepe paper, same shape as Fig. S, about ten inches in length, and two inches wide as the widest part. Cut six pieces of white covered wire (green can be used if white is not to be had) about fourteen inches long, and paste one length wise through the centre, from point b to a of each petal. Arrange the six petals around the centre, with the wired side out and about one-third of the petal (end a) bent outward gracefully. Tie all together at base b and make calyx of green tissue to cover ends of wires, and add the leaves, which are out about the same shape as the petals, and of varied length.

If an entire stalk of the Easter lily plant is desired, first made a few buds of various sizes, then three or four blossoms, then the leaves disposed along the length of the stalk, smaller leaves nearer to the blossoms, getting gradually larger when nearing the base. More leaves are arranged at the base, that it may look like the growing plant. Then leave a few inches of the stalk without any leaves at all. This is to play that role of root and be painted in the sand of a flower pot or jardinière.

These directions apply to the making of “tiger-lilies.” The exceptions are these: The stamens in the tiger lilies are covered with a light shade of yellow, while the petals are made of orange-color crepe paper. Some blossoms have the petals only slightly curved, as in the Easter lily, while some others (those supposed to be withering) have the petals rolled as shown in the illustration. The orange-color petals can be left plain or tinted.

Make the spots on the ordinary tiger lily with ink, taking a burnt match to apply the ink. If other varieties of lily are desired, such as the “Japanese,” etc., make the markings to imitate nature, using ink or water-colors.

A small quantity of diamond dye of the correct color, diluted in water, is useful in tinting flowers, and can be made as deep or as light in color as desired.

Even if the petals of the tiger lily are not rolled as shown in the illustration they must be bent outward in a more decided manner than the petals of the Easter lily. In the last named the petals are first brought upward in a cup-like fashion before being bent outward. In nature the tiger lily does not form a deep cup, as does the Easter lily, so the petals must, of course, be bent accordingly.

When quick work is more to be desired than a close imitation of nature, the Easter lily may be made in the simple way illustrated by the blossom in the upper right hand corner. To make it, cut a piece of crepe paper four inches wide, and six inches long, the lengthwise edges together, and make six rounded scallops at one end for the upper edge of the flower; with the finger spread the wrinkles in each of the six scallops, at the same time curving and bending them outward as shown. The centre is formed of a pistil and five stamens, as in the regular Easter lily. The lower edge is gathered around that centre and the rest of the work is done in the same way as the Easter and tiger lilies. At a distance it looks quite natural and effective.


This flower is, of all lilies, the easiest to make, and whether “dwarf” or “giant” calla is desired, the directions fur cutting are the same. Four or five stalks of calla lilies, planted in a jardinière, look very pretty and natural.

The diagram A D E F B C shows how the white crepe must be cut. The edges are made alike, so that the pattern can be folded over and the line C E laid on a double fold of the crepe paper. The lines A and B from a to d, and d to b, are glued together. A long bud (for centre) is made of yellow crepe, taking a piece five or six inches long and two inches wide, shaping it as shown in the illustration.

Twist the upper end tightly and gather at the base, fastening with a wire. Insert this bud inside the pasted white petal and fasten together as the base G, leaving the ends of the wire for a stem.

Now stretch the edges D E F, flattening and drawing them backward gracefully, and the blossom is complete.

Cut green leaves like Fig. P and arrange them naturally along the stem.


It is incorrect to call this flower the “fleur de lis.” The French name “fleur de lis” belongs by right to the Easter lily, which is France’s national flower. The iris, then, to call it by its right name, is one of the most difficult of all flowers to make. It is, however, so beautiful that the effort will be amply compensated by the result.

The iris is made from white crepe paper, of a heliotrope tint, and is composed of six petals, in two sets of three each. As the crepe is cut on the bias, the petals must be made in half sections, six each (Fig. A and B) so that when joined by gluing around a six inch long petal wire, the grains of crepe will take a V course from base of petal outward. This necessitates replacing the pattern on the paper each time three half-petals are cut.

When joining half-petals hold the piece of crepe, with glued wire between, on the straight edges. Fig. B shows half of the lower petal, and Fig. A half of the upper petal. On the lower petal glue some yellow cotton, as indicated in the illustration.

In putting the flower together, two upper petals should be made to curve upward in the fashion of the tulip, with one curved and bent down close to the stalk. The three lower petals are bent outward, as shown, and the edges of each of the six petals must be pulled or stretched, to gibe a natural ruffled effect. When this has been done tint the flowers; the upper petals must be tinted only slightly, while the lower petals an be tinted from light to very dark. The green leaves are cut from green crepe paper, long, and narrow, and wired on the back at the centre.

Marion Harland

The Care of Children
The Housekeeper’s Exchange
A Pretty Embroidered Net
Recipes for Two Tempting Dishes

The Advantage That Is to Be Gained by Arising Fifteen Minutes Earlier in the Morning

This is the first article in March of the School for Housewives 1902 series published on Mar 2, 1902, and is a short article on the benefits of getting up earlier in the morning.

School for Housewives – The Advantage That Is to Be Gained by Arising Fifteen Minutes Earlier in the Morning

Up in the morning’s early light.
Up in the morning early!

This was the strain of the old-fashioned ditty-maker. There are still writers of “goody” books and works on hygiene who extol the morning mood. According to them, the whole human machine is then at its best. The head is clear, the stomach is vigorous, the spirits are buoyant, life is a joy.

In reality – the reality of the everyday life of respectable people who have not ??? long as the wine or anything else ever night – the hard pull of the day is at the beginning.

A young man of education and breeding who lives in bachelor chambers with three other “good fellows” confesses that, while the 7 o’clock dinner hour is always full of cheer and good-will, the four friends seldom exchange a syllable at the breakfast table beyond a brief salutation at entering the room, and a curt “good-day” in separating to their various places of business.

“Thanks to this sensible silence, we have lived together three years without quarrelling.” He wound up the story by saying “Every man is a brute until he has had his morning coffee.”

A celebrated Judge left upon record the saying that “No man should be hanged for a murder committed before breakfast.”

A brilliant woman summed up the popular judgment on the subject, in an after luncheon speech before other literary women, in the assertion that “the human machine needs to be wound up and lubricated and regulated by bath and breakfast before it is fit to work with other machines, or, indeed, to go at all. Breakfast, partaken of in the company of one’s nearest and dearest, is a blunder of modern civilization. It is an ordeal over which each should mourn apart.”

Much of this is talk, and some of it is temper. It is not easy for one to get full command of oneself before the relaxed nerves are braced by tea or coffee and the long empty stomach is brought up to concert pitch by food. If we have slept too heavily we are stupid; if too little, irritable.

Nor is it easy to return a smooth answer to a capricious customer, or to smile attentively upon a social bore, or to refrain from snubbing the lounger in your office or drawing room who thinks your time no more valuable than his own, r to return blessing for railing in a business alteration.

We do daily each, if not all, of these things, because it is polite and politic and Christian to do them. Where principle or interest is involved we tread personal prejudice under foot. The man who gulps down his coffee in grim silence and says never a word between his downsitting and his uprising to and from the penitential feast, nods jovially to his neighbors in the street car, throws a cheerful “Hello!” to the boy who sells him his morning paper, and lifts his hat with a bright smile to the woman he meets at the corner. He would act in like manner if these encounters took place before, instead of after, his breakfast. It would be a part of the decent and orderly behavior befitting every gentleman.

I admit that the American’s first meal of the crude day, with the accompaniment of the rush for car, or boat, or train, that turns out – or in – dyspeptics by the hundred thousand yearly, is not conducive to domestic happiness or the preservation of table etiquette. The householder, devouring porridge, two cups of scalding coffee, rolls, steak ad fried potatoes, at discretion, with one eye on the clock and both feet braced to jump for the station he knows is imminent, is in the first or fortieth stage of what a witty essayist diagnoses as “Americanitis.” His children’s railroad speed of deglutition and their scurry for school are along the same lines of discomfort and disease.

Upon the mother’s hands and head rests the responsibility of “Getting them off for the day,” a battle renewed with each morning, until she “fairly loathes the name and thought of breakfast.”

The remedy for the domestic disgrace – for it is nothing if not that – is simple that I have little hope it will be respected, much less accepted.

It is “Get up fifteen minutes earlier in the morning.”

If you rise usually at 7, have the hot water and cleaned boots brought to the chamber door at a quarter before 7, and get up when you are called. A brisk bath and a smart rubbing with a crash towel, preceded by fifty gymnastic strokes, such as arm-swinging and general flexing of the muscles, twenty-five deep breaths that pump the morning air down to the bottomest well of your lungs and clear the respiratory passages of effete matter lodged there during the night, will set your body in good working order.

Force yourself to speak pleasantly if you cannot at once bring your spirits up to the right level. Study to be a man, or a woman, although breakfastless. To be thrown in the first round of the day by the sluggish flesh and the devil of ill-humor, before the world has a chance to grapple with you, is cowardly and sinful.

It is my persuasion that seven-tenths of the twaddle over the horrors of the family breakfast are affectation and indolence. Breakfasting in bed is an imported fashion, and, to my notion, is not a clean practice. The tray brought to an unaired room, a tumbled bed and an unwashed body looks well in French engravings, but is a solecism in an age of hygienic principles, much ventilation and matutional bath. The inability to be in charity with one’s fellow mortals, to smile genially and to speak gently before the world is well started upon its diurnal swing and the complainant’s physical system is toned and tuned and oiled by eating is degrading in itself. The confession of it is puerile.

Marion Harland

The Care of Children
The Housekeeper’s Exchange
Latest Fad Is to Have Your Monogram on Your Soap
Marion Harland’s Recipes

My Knitting Work and the Day Dreams That It Calls to Mind – A Peaceful Reverie

This is the second written article in February of the School for Housewives 1902 series published on Feb 23, 1902, and is a longer article on managing the household.

School for Housewives – My Knitting Work and the Day Dreams That It Calls to Mind – A Peaceful Reverie

Just now it is a couvre-pied of shaded crimson, a gift for a dear old friend who, having everything that money can buy, will appreciate the tender memories of a forty years’ intimacy wrought into the warm-colored web. Her initials are to be embroidered on the central strip as a sure seal to set upon the sweet assurance that it was designed for her, her only. If the gift will have its story for her it has a hundred stories for me. Dickens tells us how the demoniacal Madame Defarge knit the names of the victims proscribed by the Republic into the work that went with her to the shop, the market place and the guillotine. A series of home-pictures glows under my eyes as I unfold, one after another, of the strips that will presently be crocheted together with rope-silk, after which the rug will be heavily fringed with shaded wools and silks. The setting and background of all are the same. The long, low library, lined with books; the rich glow of firelight and lamp, and on the other side of a Chippendale table that once belonged to Martha Washington, the reader whose well-modulated tones have given me within six months Lecky’s “Map of Life,” Justin McCarthy’s “Reminiscences” and “History of Our Own Times.” Just now we are deep in his “Four Georges.” It is a habit that goes well with the soothing continuity of knitting-work, to improve our acquaintance with out chosen author for weeks together. After many evenings of this close communion, we know him forever. My couvre-pied is better than a chronological table to me, an album of “snap-pictures,” visible to me alone. I could indicate the vey inch that grew into being under my fingers while Bradlaugh’s six months’ struggle to take the oath of membership was in telling, and the long, bright scroll on which is stamped in (to others) invisible characters the pathetic lingering of Queen Caroline’s last hours.


I learned to knit golf stockings while on the Scheldt, while our steamer was becalmed by the stillest, stickiest, thickest fog that has visited Holland in a century. We lay “As idle as a painted ship, Upon a painted ocean.” for three mortal days and nights, our dreads of famine imperfectly allayed by the purser’s assurance that we were victualed for a fortnight. An English matron, fair of face, ample of figure and low-voiced, was knitting golf stockings for her university son, and cordially offered patterns, wools and needles to me. Being English, she did not see the faint humor of the “situation” when I remarked that the transatlantic athlete would wear the stocking I had begun (if we ever saw land again) was 6 feet 2½ in his stockings, and that I expected to finish one pair before we got to Antwerp. I sent to London from Florence for pattern book and materials, and wrought six pairs than winter. They are written all over with scenes from “Romola,” “The Makers of Venice,” “The Makers of Florence,” Jamieson’s “Legendary Art” and Villari’s “Savonarola.” As they stride past me on bleak winter days, or when November stubble is russet brown. I have sometimes a queer constriction of heart and throat that means nostalgia. I could declare that I smell the violets which overflowed our table from October to March, and the roses so riotously abundant that black-eyed Lelinda strewed my chamber floor two inches deep with the damp petals to lay the dust before sweeping. Some woman, Mrs. Caroline Lee Hentz, I think, once wrote a poem to her knitting work – “My Companionable Kitting Work” the called it in her verse. Mine is solace, and sedative, gentle diversion, and effective guard against ennui and impatience, the confidante of restless discontents and of unspoken dreams. Forty-odd years ago I was guilty of the vanity – pardonable surely in a girl who prided herself upon making all her presents – of displaying the results months of happy occupation that never approximated toil to “a superior woman.” She praised judiciously and satisfactorily, if more gravely, than I had expected, and when the last article had been inspected laid her hand upon my shoulder impressively: “Dear child, do you know what I have been thinking of while this display was going on? That by rights all these things should be dyed as red as blood – the blood of murdered time!” Stunned as I was, I had the presence of mind to offer a word of extenuation, as I would have raised an arm to ward off a blow. “But I have done it all in the gaps left by other things – real duties, you know. I began them more than a year ago. They have been what grandmamma called ‘holding pieces.’ If I had been busy with them I should have been doing nothing in the ‘betweenities.’ When I was hearing my little sister’s lessons, and waiting for the rest to come in to prayers or meals, and chatting with girl callers, and entertaining father and the boys in the evening, and in the long summer days in the country, when it was too hot to practice or to write or study. I have always had a bit of work in my basket that I could catch up at any minute. I can’t feel that I have murdered time. I have only used up odd quarter and half hours instead of keeping my hands folded.” She pursed her lips and shook her had. “The ‘betweenities,’ as you call them, might have been filled with better things, my love. But I was not born ??? the world right. Each of us must account for herself for the talents committed to her. Only – the napkin is a napkin even when covered with the finest of needlework and edged with lace!” I hope – and I try to believe now – that she meant well. She bruised my feelings terribly at the time, and left a raw place on my conscience that was long in healing. As I gained in life’s experiences I worked my way out of the fog she had shed about my perceptions of good and evil, and set up for myself a theory as to “fancy-work” utterly opposed to my mentor’s, and, to my apprehension, quite as dignified.


Because it has a dignity of its own to keep up, I object to the compound word just used. The dainty devices that have grown under women’s otherwise idle fingers for a thousand generations merit a nobler classification. I do not speak of professional tasks done for money. That is labor. As soon as the work element informs the needles or crochet and netting hook, the graceful play ceases to be recreation and a benefaction. She who appoints for herself a certain number of rounds or a given space to be covered within a set time at once loses the best good of her diversion. But for her “holding piece” many a woman would have gone mad under the pressure of sorrow, the gnawing worry of sordid cares, the racking of suspense. Fancy-work lightens dark days and infuses poetry into the commonplace that but for this “maybe” would be one inexorable “must do.” Ah, the stories that are tragedies, stitched into the holding pieces bequeathed to us by our grandmothers and maiden great-aunts; the comedies, love-stories and poetry laughed and cried over and lived, while we fill in the blessed “betweenities” without which life would be all unparagraphed prose! Men and moralists who decry fancy-work as frippery and wasted time are ignorant of the sedative properties it possesses, so long – upon this I insist – as it is not allowed to degenerate into a task. The flash of the kneedle, the swish of the silk, the click of the knitter’s slender steels, the dart of the crocket hook in and out of the gossamer web it is weaving – symbolize mental and spiritual conductors. They carry off and dissipate harmlessly electric charges from nerves and heart. To secure similar ends our husbands smoke and play billiards, and – if rustic – whittle. Better a plethora of golf stockings, slippers and afghans than nicotine and shavings.

Marion Harland

The Care of Children
The Housekeeper’s Exchange
Making a Neat, Comfortable Pair of Slippers for the Bedroom

Both Sides of the Vexed Question, Who Should Manage the Home, Husband or Wife

This is the first written article in February of the School for Housewives 1902 series published on Feb 16, 1902, and is a longer article on managing the household.

School for Housewives – Both Sides of the Vexed Question, Who Should Manage the Home, Husband or Wife

Who is the head of the house?

The question is seldom put so baldly indulge husbands yield the point in verbal gal-miry. Polite wives make it a matter of conscience and etiquette to speak of their husbands as owners of house and contents and ??? ??? in all entertaining ???. At heart, the complainant Benedict knows his will to be potent, if not supreme in home and family. The added Beatrice is secretly conscious hat she can wind her boastful Benedict about her paper ??? and he will not suspect.

Dismissing classical figures of speech, the case stands thus as nearly as I can judge of it, and set it down:

John pays for house, food and servants, and often works hard for the money that secures these for his family. Upon general principles he has a right to know that the money is wisely spent and husbanded; a right to be well lodged and fed, and made comfortable when at home as his means will allow. If he sees furniture based, provisions ??? – hence, unwholesomely – cooked, and needless waste in any department, he has as unquestionable a right, to direct his wife’s attention to the existing state of things, and insist that ??? be amended. On the other hand, in giving his wife his name, he has made her managing, as he is the financial partner of the firm matrimonial.

She is not his hireling.

Failure to comprehend this vital truth weeks the happiness of more married couples than incompatibility of temper, fickleness and intemperance all put together.

A reasonable good wife earns so much more than her own living that the surplus ought to go to her credit. If not in money, in a hundred other ways. When John stoops to captures surveillance of her methods, and personal inspection of her work he degrades her to the position of a suspected menial and sinks his manhood into Bettyishness. “Bettyishness” according the lexicographers is the synonym for “womanishness” and for John to be “womanish” is to be unmanly. Mary would rather have him savage now and then.


I saw a spotless reputation discounted the other day and many rare, amiable traits of disposition shrivel as water paper in the fire under a single sarcastic utterance of a society woman who had her own reasons for disliking the person under discussion. “Yes,” she said, dubiously, to the praise an elderly matron had given an excellent sun and brother. “But, then, he is such a ladylike person.” he either was apt. Not one of us could deny it. Every woman present, while she laughed, would have preferred to have her husband called a brute.

John takes ugly risks when he tempts his hitherto loyal spouse to name him to her confidential self “Bettyish,” “Miss Nannyish,” or a “Mollycoddle.” They all mean the same thing. As a sloven he may be forgiven, in consideration of the solid manliness back of personal carelessness. We wink at rusty shoes, and collars awry, and tousled hair, and missing sleeve links. For the same reason we condone crossness, and even a touch of savagery. When he comes home in a temper, he has had a trying day down town, or he is hot, or headachy, or hungry. Womanly ingenuity is set to work to soothe down the inclement mood and womanly love springs to the front with the mantle of tenderest charity to hide the fault from others, and put it out of our own minds when it is past.

I know a man – squarely built, robust and keen-eyed – who carries the keys of the storeroom, and lends them to his wife at night and morning to give out the supplies needed for the daily meals. He registers his day book and ledger every pound of butter and box of crackers and quart of vinegar brought into the house, with the date of purchase.

I know another who ceased from his labors 10 years ago who visited kitchen, pantries and storeroom several times every week to see that everything was clean and orderly. He used to smell milk pans, run a critical finger around the inside of kettles and pots and inquire into the destination of scraps – and all without a blush or misgiving. In each case it was of course, impossible to keep servants who could get any other place. Wives belong to the class that cannot give warning.

If either of these men would have tolerated the apparition in his counting room or office at stated or irregular periods of his wife, bent upon inspection of accounts and sales, the clerks undergoing examination, or standing as witnesses of his humiliation – then he was justified to his conscience for his policy of home rule.

Many would go to prison for her John and to the scaffold with him. She springs to arms in his defense if her nearest of kin dare to intimate that he is not the pink of perfection she would have them believe. His grossest eccentricities are graces so long as they are masculine.

But let him prowl into the pantry, peep into the bread-box, criticize the arrangement or derangement of china shelves, pull open linen drawers, spy out dusty rungs of chairs, take down, sort and hang in better order the contents of clothes hooks and hatracks – and he may shift for and shield himself. With lofty scorn the wife of his immaculate shirt bosom heaves him to the fate he deserves.


In which course there is some reason and a little unreason. For which of us does not ??? upon John’s sympathies in her domestic distress. He must not undertake the management of Bridget, or Dalphine, or Marie. These be womanish matters in which a man should not inter-meddle. It may be the most temperate of suggestions, such as, “My dear, I don’t like to find fault, but if you would speak to Margaret about meddling with the papers upon my table wen she dusts the library?” It is a distinct trespass upon wifely preserves. Margaret is under the protection of her mistress’ wing. The interests and credit of the two are identical. But here comes a day when the league snaps in two, like scorched twine. The maid gives warning, and company is expected, and the mistress “did think she had a right to expect better things from Margaret after all the kindness she has shown her in sickness and in health and the excellent wages she has given her, and here, at the most inconvenient time she could have chosen, the creature is deserting her.”

Thus runs the torrent of talk swashed into the ears of a man who left much worse complication behind him in his office when he set his face toward home and imaginary peace. Had he found fault with Margaret a week ago he would have been a “Molly.” Should he withhold sympathy from the mistress to-day, to the extent of commending the ingrate’s past services and wondering if there many not be possible palliation somewhere for her present behaviour – he is unfeeling, and a man! When a woman brings out the monosyllable in that accent she may as well go a semitone further and say, “monster.”

To be explicit, John must dance when his spouse puts the pipes to her lips and not presume to mourn but at her lamenting. As her sister, my sympathies topple dangerously toward her. As an impartial chronicler, I cannot deny that he has a show of reason on his side, even when he is convicted of womanish meddling. He is but a passenger upon the domestic craft in fair weather, a paying passenger, who is expected, nevertheless, to be smilingly content with his accommodations, to eat as he is fed, sleep upon the bed as it is made, and to complain of nothing until the sea gets rough, and another and a stout hand is needed on deck and in the rigging.

Marion Harland

Marion Harland’s Recipes
Some Primary Lessons in Obedience
Value of Kindness to Dumb Animals