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Title: Folly as It Flies - Hit At
Author: Fern, Fanny, 1811-1872
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Folly as It Flies - Hit At" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

           FOLLY AS IT FLIES;

                _HIT AT_

               FANNY FERN.

                NEW YORK:
       LONDON: S. LOW, SON & CO.

    Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1868, by

    G. W. CARLETON & CO.,

    in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States,
    for the Southern District of New York

    15 Vandewater Street, N. Y.


                           MY FRIEND

                         Robert Bonner,


  _For fourteen years, the team of Bonner and Fern, has trotted
           over the road at 2.40 pace, without a snap
               of the harness, or a hitch of the
                 wheels.--Plenty of oats, and
                     a skilful rein, the


    _Yours Truly_,

            FANNY FERN.



    DISCOURSE UPON HUSBANDS                         11


    WOMEN AND THEIR DISCONTENTS                     50

    WOMEN AND SOME OF THEIR MISTAKES                68



    A CHAPTER ON TOBACCO                           118

    GIVE THE CONVICTS A CHANCE                     127

    A GLANCE AT WASHINGTON                         133

    GLIMPSES OF CAMP LIFE                          142

    UNWRITTEN HISTORY OF THE WAR                   151

    MY SUMMERS IN NEW ENGLAND                      163

    BOSTON AND NEW YORK                            182

    SOME THINGS IN NEW YORK                        188

    WORKING GIRLS OF NEW YORK                      219

    WASHING THE BABY                               230

    CHILDREN HAVE THEIR RIGHTS                     232

    MOURNING                                       240

    TO YOUNG GIRLS                                 244

    A LITTLE TALK WITH THE OTHER SEX               253

    A CHAPTER ON MEN                               269

    LITERARY PEOPLE                                274

    SOME VARIETIES OF WOMEN                        280

    MISTAKES ABOUT OUR CHILDREN                    295


    A TRIP TO THE NORTHERN LAKES                   328



I wish every husband would copy into his memorandum book this
sentence, from a recently published work: "_Women must be constituted
very differently from men. A word said, a line written, and we are
happy; omitted, our hearts ache as if for a great misfortune. Men
cannot feel it, or guess at it; if they did, the most careless of them
would be slow to wound us so._"

The grave hides many a heart which has been stung to death, because
one who might, after all, have loved it after a certain careless
fashion, was deaf, dumb, and blind to the truth in the sentence we
have just quoted, or if not, was at least restive and impatient with
regard to it. Many men, marrying late in life, being accustomed only
to take care of _themselves_, and that in the most erratic, rambling,
exciting fashion, eating and drinking, sleeping and walking whenever
and wherever their fancy, or good cheer and amusement, questionable or
unquestionable, prompted; come at last, when they get tired of this,
with their selfish habits fixed as fate, to--matrimony. For a while it
is a novelty. Shortly, it is strange as irksome, this always being
obliged to consider the comfort and happiness of another. To have
something always hanging on the arm, which _used_ to swing free, or at
most, but twirl a cane. Then, they think their duty done if they
provide food and clothing, and refrain (possibly) from harsh words.
Ah--_is it_? Listen to that sigh as you close the door. Watch the
gradual fading of the eye, and paling of the cheek, not from age--she
should be yet young--but that gnawing pain at the heart, born of the
settled conviction that the great hungry craving of her soul, as far
as you are concerned, must go forever unsatisfied. God help such
wives, and keep them from attempting to slake their souls' thirst at
poisoned fountains.

_Think_, you, her husband, how little a kind word, a smile, a caress
to _you_, how much to _her_. If you call these things "childish" and
"beneath your notice," then you should never have married. There are
men who should remain forever single. You are one. You have no right
to require of a woman her health, strength, time and devotion, to mock
her with this shadowy, unsatisfying return. A new bonnet, a dress, a
shawl, a watch, anything, everything but what a _true_ woman's heart
most craves--sympathy, appreciation, love. She may be rich in
everything else; but if she be poor in these, and is a _good_ woman,
she had better die.

There are hard, unloving, cold monstrosities of women, (rare
exceptions,) who neither require love, nor know how to give it. We are
not speaking of these. That big-hearted, loving, noble men have
occasionally been thrown away upon such, does not disprove what we
have been saying. But even a man thus situated has greatly the
advantage of a woman in a similar position, because, over the needle a
woman may think herself into an Insane Asylum, while the active,
out-door turmoil of business life is at least a _sometime_ reprieve to

Do you ask me, "Are there no happy wives?" God be praised, yes, and
glorious, lovable husbands, too, who know how to treat a woman, and
would have her neither fool nor drudge. Almost every wife would be a
good and happy wife, _were she only loved enough_. Let husbands,
present and prospective, think of this.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Now, I am a clerk, with eight hundred dollars salary, and yet my wife
expects me to dress her in first-class style. What would you advise me
to do--leave her?"

These words I unintentionally overheard in a public conveyance. I went
home, pondering them over. "Leave her!" Were _you_ not to blame, sir,
in selecting a foolish, frivolous wife, and expecting her to confine
her desires, as a sensible woman ought, and would, within the limits
of your small salary? Have _you, yourself_, no "first-class" expenses,
in the way of rides, drinks and cigars, which it might be well for
you to consider while talking to her of retrenchment? Did it ever
occur to you, that under all that frivolity, which you admired in the
maid, but deplore and condemn in the wife, there may be, after all,
enough of the true woman, to appreciate and sympathize with a _kind,
loving_ statement of the case, in its parental as well as marital
relations? Did it ever occur to you, that if you require no more from
_her_, in the way of self-denial, than you are willing to endure
_yourself_--in short, if you were _just_ in this matter, as all
husbands are _not_--it might bring a pair of loving arms about your
neck, that would be a talisman amid future toil, and a pledge of
co-operation in it, that would give wings to effort? And should it not
be so immediately--should you encounter tears and frowns--would you
not do well to remember the hundreds of wives of drunken husbands,
who, through the length and breadth of the land, are thinking--_not_
of "_leaving_" them, but how, day by day, they shall more patiently
bear their burden, toiling with their own feeble hands, in a woman's
restricted sphere of effort, to make up their deficiencies, closing
their ears resolutely to any recital of a husband's failings, nor
asking advice of aught save their own faithful, wifely hearts, "_what
course they shall pursue_?"

And to all young men, whether "clerks" or otherwise, we would say, if
you marry a humming-bird, don't expect that marriage will instantly
convert it into an owl; and if you have caught it, and caged it,
without thought of consequences, don't, like a coward, shrink from
your self-assumed responsibility, and turn it loose in a dark wood, to
be devoured by the first vulture.

       *       *       *       *       *

The other day I read in a paper, "Wanted--board for a young couple."
What a pity, I thought, that they should begin life in so unnatural
and artificial a manner! What a pity that in the sacredness of a home
of their own, they should not consecrate their life-long promise to
walk hand in hand, for joy or for sorrow! What a pity that the sweet
home-cares which sit so gracefully on the young wife and housekeeper,
should be waved aside for the stiff etiquette of a public table or
drawing-room! What a pity that the husband should not have a "_home_"
to return to when his day's toil is over, instead of a "room," as in
his lonely bachelor days!

       *       *       *       *       *

"Oh, you little rascal" said a young father doubling up his fist at
his first baby, as it lay kicking its pink toes upon the bed; "oh, you
little rascal, precious little attention have I had from your mamma
since _you_ came to town. I don't know but I am very sorry you are

Now, this is a subject upon which I have thought a great deal, and
often wished I had wisdom to write about. It is a very nice point for
a young wife to settle rightly--the respective claims of the helpless
little baby, and those of the young husband, who has hitherto been the
sole recipient of her caresses and care. The cry of that little baby
is painful to him. He has not yet adjusted himself to the position of
a father. It is a nice little creature, of course; but why need _she_
be so much in the nursery and so little in the parlor? Why can't she
delegate the washing, and dressing, and getting-to-sleep, to a nurse,
and go about with _him_, as she used before it came. It is very dull
to sit alone, waiting until all these processes have been gone
through; and, beside, it is plain to see that, when he does wait till
then, her vitality is so nearly exhausted that she has very little
left to entertain him, or to go abroad for entertainment; and if she
does the latter, she is so fearful that something may go wrong with
that experimental first baby in her absence, that her anxiety becomes
contagious, and _his_ pleasure is spoiled.

Now, to begin with: it takes two years for a young married couple to
adjust themselves to their new position. "_His_ mother never fussed
that way over _her_ babies, and is not _he_ a living example of the
virtue of neglect?" Now "_her_ mother preferred to do just as _she_ is
doing, and thought any other course heartless and unnatural, at least
while the baby is so very little." Now stop a bit, my dears, or you
never will get beyond that milestone on your journey. You have got,
both of you, to drop your respective mothers, as far as quoting their
practice is concerned. Never mention them to one another, if you can
possibly keep your mouths shut on their superior virtues, when you
wish to settle any such question; because it will always remain true,
to the end of time, that a husband's relations, like the king, can do
no wrong, though they may be in the constant practice of doing that in
their own families, which they consider highly improper in yours.

Now, do you and John--I suppose his name is John--two-thirds of the
men are named John, and the Johns are always great strapping
fellows--do you and John just paddle your own canoe, as they do. It is
yours, isn't it? Well, steer it, day by day, by the light you have, as
well as you know how. Mind that _you_ both pull together; shut down
outside interference, which is the cause of two-thirds of the
unhappiness of the newly married, and you will be certain to do well
enough, _at last_.

When a clergyman comes to a new congregation, or a school-teacher to
an untried school--when a new business partner enters a firm--nobody
expects things to go right immediately, without a hitch or two, till
matters adjust themselves. It is only in the cases of newly converted
persons, or the newly married, that people insist upon human nature
becoming immediately, and instantaneously, sublimated and fit for
heaven. Now in both cases, as I take it, time must be given, as in the
other relations, for assimilation.

This point being conceded,--and I am supposing, my dear reader, that
you are not quite a natural fool,--why should you or the young couple
consider the whole thing a failure, merely because this process
cannot be accomplished in a day and without a few mistakes, any more
than in the cases above cited?

But we have left that little experimental first baby kicking too long
on the bed--it is time we return to him. Now, I am very sorry that
John said what he did to that young mother, even "in joke." _She_ knew
well enough that he meant two-thirds of it. She is not quite strong
yet either, for the baby is but three months old; and it is very true
that it does cry a great deal; and though _she_ don't mind it, John
does; and really, she can't leave it much with a nurse, while it is so
very little. And yet, it _is_ dull for John to sit alone in the parlor
while she is soothing it; and what _shall_ she do? That's just
it,--what _shall_ she do? She really gets in quite a nervous tremble,
when it is time for him to come home--what with hoping baby will be on
its good behavior, and fearing that it may not. Not that, for one
instant, she has ever been sorry that she was a mother--oh no, no! You
may burn her flesh with a red-hot iron, and you can never make her say
that. God forbid!

Now, John, if your little wife loves her baby like that, is not it a
proof that you have chosen a wife wisely and well? and are you not
willing to face like a man--I _should_ say, like a woman,--the petty
disagreeables which are consequent upon the initiatory life of the
little creature in whose veins flows your own blood? Surely, you
cannot answer me no. When you married, you did not expect to live a
bachelor's life. If you did, then I have nothing more to say. I shall
pay that compliment to your manhood to suppose, that you did not so
deceive the young girl, who trusted her future in your hands, and that
you did not expect that _she alone_ was to practice the virtue of

Well, then, be patient with the wife who is so well worthy of your
sympathy and co-operation, in this, her conscientious attempt to bring
up rightly the first baby. When the next comes, and I know you will
have a next, or your name isn't John, she will not be so anxious. She
will not think it will die, every time it has the stomach-ache. But at
present it is cruel in you to say those things which distress her,
even "in joke," because, as I tell you, she is trying faithfully to
settle these important questions, which take time for each of you to
decide, so that you may not wrong the other. _Help_ her do it. Soothe
her when she is nervous and weary. _Love_ that little baby, though at
present it does not even smile at you. If you can't love it, _make
believe love it_, till the little thing knows enough to know you. Do
it for _her_ sake, who has earned your tenderest cherishing as the
mother of your child. _Begin_ right. Know that whatsoever people may
say, _that Love and Duty are all there is of life_. Out of these two
grow all the pleasure and happiness mortals can find this side of the
grave. So, John, don't wear out your boots trudging round elsewhere to
find them, for it will be a miserable failure.

       *       *       *       *       *

I think every woman will agree with me, that it is perfectly
astonishing the "muss" (to use a New Yorkism) which a male pair of
hands can make in your room in the short space of five minutes. You
have put everything in that dainty order, without which you could not,
for the life of you, accomplish any work. There is not a particle of
dust on anything, in sight, or out of sight--which last is quite as
important. All your little pet things are in the right location;
pictures plumb on the wall, work-box and ink-stand tidy and within
hail. Mr. Smith comes in. He wants "a bit of string." Mr. Smith is
always wanting a bit of string. Mr. Smith says kindly (good fellow)
"don't get up, dear, I'll find it." That's just what you are afraid of,
but it won't do to say so; so you sit still and perspire, while Mr.
Smith looks for his "bit of string." First, he throws open the door of
the wrong closet, and knocks down all your dresses, which he catches up
with irreverent haste, and hangs in a heap on the first peg. Then he
says (innocently,) "Oh--h--I went to the wrong closet, didn't I?" Then
he proceeds to the right closet, and finds the "bit of string." In
taking it down he catches it on the neck of a phial. Down it comes
smash--with the contents on the floor. Mr. Smith says "D--estruction!"
in which remark you fully coincide. Then Mr. Smith wants a pair of
scissors to cut his "bit of string;" so he goes to your work-box, which
he upsets, scattering needles, literally at "sixes and sevens," all
over the floor, mixed with bodkins, spools, tape, and torment only
knows what. He gathers them up at one fell swoop, and ladles them back
into the box, in a manner peculiarly and eminently masculine; and asks
if--the--hinge--of--the--lid--of--that--box--was--broken--before, or if
"_he_ did it." As if the rascal didn't know! But of course you tell the
old fib, that it had been loose for some time, and that it was no
manner of consequence; all the while devoutly hoping that this might be
the last mischance. Not a bit of it. "He thinks he will take a little
brandy to set him right." So he uncorks the bottle on the spotless
white toilet-cover of your bureau, spills the brandy all over it,
powders the sugar on the covers of a nice book, and lays the sticky
spoon on a nice lace collar that has just been "done up." Then he
uncorks your cologne-bottle to anoint his smoky whiskers, and sets down
the bottle, leaving the cork out. Then he takes up your gold bracelet
and tries it on his wrist, "to see if it will fit." The "_fit_" need I
say, is _not_ in the bracelet--the fastening of which he breaks. Then
he throws up the window, "to see what sort of a day it is;" and over
goes a vase of flowers, which you have been arranging with all the
skill you were mistress of, to display the perfection of each blossom.
He looks at the vase, and says, "Miserable thing! it was always
ricketty; I must buy you a better one, dear," which you devoutly hope
he will do, though a long acquaintance with that gentleman's habits
does not authorize you in it. Then Mr. Smith goes to the glass and
takes a solemn survey of his beard. Did you ever notice the difference
between a man's and a woman's way of looking in the glass? It is
wonderfully characteristic! Woman perks her head on one side saucily
and well pleased like a bird; man strides in a lordly, dignified way up
to it as if it were a very _petty_ thing for him to do, but meantime
he'd like to catch that glass saying that he is not a fine-looking
fellow! Well--Mr. Smith takes a solemn survey of his beard, which he
fancies "needs clipping," and takes your sharpest and best pair of
scissors, for the wiry operation; the stray under-brush meanwhile
falling wheresoever it best pleases the laws of gravitation to send it.
Then Mr. Smith, says, "Really, dear, this is such a pleasant room, one
hates to leave it, but--alas! business--business."

"_Business!_" I should think so--business enough, to put that room to
rights, for the next three hours!

       *       *       *       *       *

Did you ever hear an old maid talk about matrimony, or a girl who was
trembling on the brink of old-maidism, and feared to launch away? If
there is anything that effectually disgusts a married woman, it is
that. What can an old maid know about such things? As well might I
write an agricultural and horticultural description of a country by
looking on a map. What pitying compassion she has for married men,
every one of whom is victimized because he did not select _her_ to
make him "the happiest of men"--I believe that is the expression of a
lover when on his suppliant knees; if not, I stand ready to be
corrected--by anybody but an old maid. With what a languishing sigh
she marvels that Mrs. Jones could ever be so criminal, as to neglect
to sew on an ecstatic shirt-button for such a man as Jones; for whom
it would be glory enough to hold a shaving-box while he piled on the
soap-suds, which is her particular element. What a shame that Jones
cannot stifle his own baby, if he feels like it, by smoking in its
face, and leave his boots, and coat, and vest on the parlor floor, if
he takes a fancy to do it.

Ah--had Jones but a different wife! (And here imagine a sigh which,
for depth and pro-_fun_-dity, none but a sentimental old maid on the
anxious-seat can heave.) What pleasure to black his boots for him of a
morning; to get up in the middle of the night, and cook a tenderloin
beefsteak; to prove her devotion by standing on the front doorstep,
with chattering teeth, in a cold northeaster, waiting for the dear
coat to come home; to hang up his dear hat for him, to put away his
dear cane, to take him up gently with the sugar-tongs, and lay him on
the sofa till tea was ready, and then feed him like a sweet little
bird, bless his shirt-buttons!

How hot his toast should always be; how strong his tea and coffee; how
sweet his puddings; how mealy his potatoes; how punctually his clean
shirt should be taken out of his drawer for him to put on; how sweetly
his handkerchief should be cologn-ed with her own cologne, and his
cigar-case magnanimously placed by her own hands in his dear little
side-pocket, and how it should be the study of her life to find out
when he wanted to sneeze, and arrest a sunbeam for the purpose.

Do you know what I wish?

That all the die-away old maids, who go sighing through creation with
a rose-leaf to their noses, lecturing married women, and sniveling for
their little privileges, had but one neck, and that some muscular
coat-sleeve, equal to the occasion, would give them one satisfying
hug, and stop their nonsense.

       *       *       *       *       *

I never witnessed an execution; but I saw a man the other day, married
he surely was, trying to select a lace collar from out a dainty cobweb
heap, sufficiently perplexing even to a practised female eye. The
clumsy way he poised the gauzy things on his forefinger, with his head
askew, trying to comprehend their respective merits! The long, weary
sigh he drew, as the shopman handed him new specimens. The look of
relief with which he heard _me_ inquire for lace collars, saying, as
plain as looks could say, "Ah! now, thank Heaven, I shall have a
woman's view of the subject!" The _disinterested_ manner in which,
with this view, he pushed a stool forward for me to sit down, to watch
upon which collar my eye fell complacently, all the while turning over
_his_ heap in the same idiotic way. Oh, it was funny! Of course, I
kept him on the anxious seat a little while, persistently holding my
tongue, the better to enjoy his dilemma. Didn't he fidget?

At length, fearful he might rush out for strychnine, I spake. I
descanted upon shape, and texture, and pattern, and upon the
probability of their "doing up" well, to all of which my rueful knight
listened like a criminal who scents a reprieve. Then I made my
selection; then he chose two exactly like mine, before you could wink,
and with a sublime gratitude, refused to let the shopman consider the
bill that was fluttering in his gloved fingers, "till he had made
change for the lady." We understood each other, for there are cases in
which words are superfluous. No doubt his wife thought his taste in
collars was excellent.

       *       *       *       *       *

Men have _one_ virtue; for instance: How delicious is their blunt,
honest frankness toward each other, in their every-day intercourse,
(politicians excepted,) in contrast with the polite little subterfuges,
which form the basis of women-friendships. When one man goes to make a
man-call on another, he talks when he pleases, and puts up his heels,
and _don't_ talk when he don't please. He is free to take a nap, or to
take a book; and his host is as free, when he has had enough of him, or
has any call away, to put on his hat and go out to attend to it: nor
does the caller feel himself aggrieved. Now a woman's nose, under
similar circumstances, would be up in the air a month, with the
"slight" her female friend had put upon her. The more a woman _don't_
want her friend to stay, the more she is bound to urge her to do it;
and to ask her why she hadn't called before; and to wish that she might
never go away, and all that sort of thing. What she remarks to her
husband in private about it, afterward, is a thing you and I have
nothing to do with. When two men meet, after a long absence, ten to one
the first salutation is, "Old boy, how ugly you've grown." In the
female department we reverse this. "I never saw you look prettier,"
being the preface to the aside--(what a fright she has become).
Then--("blest be the tie that binds")--mark one man meet another in the
street--light his cigar at that other's nose, and pass on--without
knowing the important fact, whether he lives in "a brown-stone front"
or not. How instructive the free-and-easy-and-audacious-manner in
which, after this ceremony, they go their several ways to their
tombstones, without a spoken word. See them in the streets, my sisters,
exchanging passing remarks on any object of momentary street-interest,
looking over one another's shoulders at each other's "extras," all the
same as if they had been introduced in an orthodox Grundy fashion.

See them walk boldly up to a looking-glass, in a show window, and
honestly stare at their ridiculous solemn selves, whereas, you women,
pretend to be examining something else, when you are bent on a like
errand, intent on smoothing your ruffled feathers.

The other day, in an omnibus, a man took a seat near the door, and not
willing to step across the ladies' dresses, "nudged" a man above him
to hand up his fare. Now the nudged creature was out of sorts--wanted
his dinner or something--and so sat like an image, without responding;
another nudge--with no better success--not a muscle of the nudged
man's face moved. At last, with a heightened color, the new-comer
handed it up himself; but he _didn't_ talk to his next elbow-neighbor
about "_some_ people being _so_ disagreeable," or call him a "nasty
thing;" or try to look him into eternal annihilation, for what was
really an ungracious action. He only rubbed his left ear a little, and
put his mind on something else, and he looked very well while he was
doing it, too.

If one woman is visiting another at her house, and the latter goes up
stairs for anything, her female guest trots right after her, like a
little haunting dog. If she goes to the closet to get her gaiters, the
shadow follows; she must be present when they are laced on; and
discusses rights and lefts, and hosiery, etc. When her hostess goes to
the glass, to arrange her hair, or put on her bonnet, the shadow
follows, leaning both arms on the toilet-table to witness the
operation. Without this bandbox-freemason-confidence, you see at once
that female-friendship could not be that sacred intermingling of
congenial natures that it is. Your friend would weep, sirs, and ask
you "what she had done to be treated so."

A mouse and a woman! I know one of the latter, who always gets upon a
table if she sees either coming. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu said a very
witty thing once. I am afraid that not even her discovery of
inoculation will cancel the sin of it. It was this: "The only comfort
I ever had in being a woman is, that I can never marry one."

The moral of all this is, that women need reforming in their
intercourse with one another. There should be less kissing among them,
and more sincerity; less "palaver," and more reticence. But if you
think I am going to tell them this in person, you _must_ needs suppose
that I have already arranged my sublunary affairs in case of accident.
This not being the case, I decline the office, except so far as I can
fill it at a safe distance on paper.

       *       *       *       *       *

But then again what poor creatures are men when sick.

One might smile, were it not so pitiful, to see the impatience with
which strong, active men succumb to the necessity of lying a few weeks
on a bed of sickness. The petulance which they in vain try to smother,
at pills and potions, in place of their favorite dish, or drink, or
cigar. The many orders they give, and countermand, in the same breath,
to the wife and mother, who calmly accepts all this as part of her
woman lot, and who dare not, for the life of her, smile at the fuss
this caged lion is making, because his rations are cut off for a few
days. This "being sick patiently," is a lesson we think man has yet to
learn; but it is a good thing that they are sometimes laid on the
shelf awhile, that they may better appreciate the cheerful endurance
with which the feeble wife-mother bears the household cares all the
same--on the pillow where lies with her the newly-born. Pain and
weakness never interrupt her constant, careful forethought for her
family. Husbands are too apt to take these every-day heroisms as
matters of course. Therefore we say again, it is well sometimes that
their attention should be awakened to it, when the doctor has vetoed
for them awhile the office and the counting-room, and they are
childishly frantic at gruel and closed blinds.

       *       *       *       *       *

A woman's education is generally considered to be finished when she is
married, whereas she has only arrived at A B C. If husbands took half
the thought for, or interest in, their wives' _minds_, that wives are
obliged to take for their husbands' _bodies_, women would be more
intelligent. A missing button or string is often the cause of a bitter
outcry; but what of the little woman who sits twiddling her thumbs in
the presence of her husband's intelligent visitors, because she has
not the slightest idea what they are all talking about, and because,
if she wouldn't mortify her husband, she must forever keep speechless?
The _intelligent_ husband, who, from fear of jeopardizing his
puddings or his coffee, rests contented with this state of things, is
guilty of an injustice toward that little woman, of which he ought to
be heartily ashamed. True, when he married her this difference did not
exist, or if it did, the glamour of youth and beauty, like a soft
mist-veil over a landscape, hid, or clothed with loveliness, even
defects. Because her youth and beauty have been uncomplainingly
transmitted to his many children, whose little mouths must be fed, and
little feet tended, _not_ always by a hireling, through the long day;
and whose little garments must be often planned and made, when she
would gladly rest, while they sleep: should he, who is free to read
and think, he who, coming in contact with strong, reflecting minds,
has left her far behind, _never_ turn a loving glance back, and with
his own strong hand and encouraging smile, beg her not to sit down
discouraged by the wayside--_she_, who "hath done what she could?" It
is a _shame_ for such a man to put on his soul's festival-dress for
everybody _but_ her who should be his soul's queen. It is a shame for
a man to be willing so to degrade the mother and teacher of his
children. It is a shame for him, while she sits sewing by his side,
never to raise her drooping self-respect, by addressing an intelligent
word to her about the book he is reading, or the subject upon which he
is thinking, as he sits looking into the fire. I marvel and wonder at
the God-like patience of these _upper housekeepers_, or I _should_,
had I not seen them dropping tears over the faces of their sleeping
children, to cool their hearts.

I want to hear no nonsense about the mental "equality or inequality of
the sexes." I am sick of it; that is a question men always start when
women ask for _justice_, to dodge a fair answer. They may be equal or
unequal--that's not what I am talking about. Napoleon the Third gives
his dear French people diversions, fête days, and folly of all kinds,
if they will only let _him_ manage the politics. Our domestic
Napoleons, too many of them, give flattery, bonnets and bracelets to
women, and everything else _but_--justice; _that_ question is one for
_them_ to decide, and many a gravestone records how it is done.

An intelligent man sometimes satisfies his conscience by saying of his
wife, Oh, she's a good little woman, but there is one chamber in my
soul through whose window she is not tall enough to peep. Get her but
a footstool to stand on, Mr. Selfishness, and see how quick she will
leap over that window sill! In short, _show but the disposition_ to
help her, and some manly, loving interest in her progress, instead of
striding on alone, as you do, in your seven league mental boots,
without a thought of her, and take my word for it, if you are thus
_just_ to her, and if she loves you, which last, by the way, all wives
would do, if husbands were truly _just_, and you will find that though
she has but average intellect, you will soon be astonished at the
progress of your pupil.

I am not unaware that there are men whom the tailor makes, and women
who are manufactured by the dress-maker, and that they often marry
each other. Let such fulfill their august destiny--to dress. I know
that there are women much more intelligent than their husbands; let
such show their intelligence by appearing not to know it. Still, it
remains as I have said, that there exist the wives and mothers whose
cause I now plead, fulfilling each day, not hopelessly--God forbid!
but sometimes with a sad sinking of heart, the duties which no true
wife or mother will neglect, even under circumstances rendered so
disheartening by the husband and father, of whose praise, perhaps, the
world is full. Let the latter see to it, that while the momentous
question, "What _shall_ I get for dinner?" may never, though the
heavens should fall, evade her daily and earnest consideration, that
_he_ would sometimes, by his intelligent conversation, _when there is
no company_, recognize the existence of the _soul_ of this married


"What can fascinate you in that ugly beast?"

This question was addressed to me, while regarding intently a camel in
a collection of animals. "Ugly?" To me he was poetry itself. I was a
little girl again. I was kneeling down at my little chair at family
prayers. I didn't understand the prayers. "The Jews" were a sealed
book to me then. I didn't know why "a solemn awe" should fall upon me
either; or what _was_ a solemn awe, anyhow. For a long time, I know,
till I was quite a big girl, I thought it was one word--thus,
_solemnor_--owing to the rapid manner in which it was pronounced.
_Where_ the heathen were going to be "brought in," or what they were
coming for, I didn't understand; and as to "justification," and
"sanctification," and "election," it was no use trying. But the walls
of the pleasant room where family prayers were held, were papered with
"a Scripture paper." There were great feathery palm-trees. There were
stately females bearing pitchers on their heads. There were Isaac and
Rebecca at the well; and there were _camels_, humped, bearing heavy
burdens, with long flexile necks, resting under the curious, feathery
trees, with their turbaned attendants. I understood _that_. To be
sure, the blue was, as I now recollect it, sometimes on their noses as
well as on the sky; and the green was on their hair as well as on the
grass; but at the pinafore-age we are not hypercritical. To me it was
fairy-land; and often when "Amen" was said, I remained with my little
chin in my palms, staring at my beloved camels, unconscious of the
breakfast that was impending, for our morning prayers were said on an
empty stomach.

I hear, now, the soft rustle of my mother's dress, as she rose after
the "Amen." I see the roguish face of my baby brother, whose perfect
beauty was long since hid under the coffin lid. I see the servants,
disappearing through the door that led down to the kitchen, whence
came the fragrant odor of coming coffee. I see my mother's flowering
plants in the window, guiltless of dust or insect, blossoming like her
virtues and goodness, perennially. I see black curly heads, and flaxen
curly heads, of all sizes, but _all_ "curly," ranged round the
breakfast table; the names of many of their owners are on marble slabs
in Mount Auburn now.

So you understand why I "stood staring at that ugly beast," in the
collections of animals, and thinking of the changes, in all these long
years, that had passed so swiftly; for now I am fifty-four, if I am a
minute. And how wonderful it was, that after such a lapse of time, and
so thickly crowded with events, that this family-morning-prayer-hour
should come up with such astonishing vividness, at sight of that
camel. Oh! I shall always love a camel. He will never look "ugly" to
me. I am not sorry, nor ever have been, that I was brought up to
"family prayers," unintelligible though they _then_ were to me.

I hunted up those "Jews" after I got bigger, and many other things,
too, the names of which got wedged crosswise in my childish memory,
and stuck there. They never did me any harm, that ever I found out. I
have sent up many a prayer, both in joy and sorrow, since then, but
not always "on my knees," which was considered essential in those
days. As to the "solemn awe," I don't understand it now any better
than when I was a child. I can't feel it, in praying, any more than I
should when running to some dear, tried friend, with a burdened heart,
to sob my grief away there, till I grew peaceful again. And all this
came of a Camel.

       *       *       *       *       *

And _now_ I am a grandmother! and here come the holidays again. As I
look into the crowded toyshops, I think, how lucky for their owners
that children will always keep on being born, and that every one of
them will have a grandmother. Uncles, and aunts, and cousins, are all
very well, and fathers and mothers are not to be despised; but a
_grandmother_, at holiday time, is worth them all. She might have
given her own children crooked-necked squashes, and cucumbers, for
dolls; with old towels pinned on by way of dresses, and trusted to
their imaginations to supply all deficiencies. But this
grandchild--ah! that's quite another affair. Is there anything good
enough or costly enough for her? What if she smash her little china
tea-set the minute she gets it? What if she break her wax doll? What
if she maim and mutilate all the animals in her Noah's Ark? What if
she perforate her big India-rubber ball with the points of the
scissors? What if she tear the leaves from out her costly picture
books? They have made the little dear happy, five minutes, at least;
and grandmother has lived long enough to know that five minutes of
genuine happiness, in this world, is not to be despised. And that,
after all, is the secret of a grandmother's indulgence. It isn't a
weakness, as your puckery, sour people pretend. Grandmother has
_lived_. She knows what life amounts to. She knows it is nothing but
_broken toys_ from the cradle to the grave. She knows that happy,
chirping, radiant little creature before her, has all this experience
to go through; and so, ere it comes, she watches with jealous care
that nothing shall defraud her of one sunbeam of childhood. Childhood!
She strains her gaze far beyond that, away into misty womanhood. She
would fain live to stand between her and her first inevitable woman's
heartache. From under her feet she would extract every thorn, remove
every pebble. The winds that should blow upon her should be soft and
perfumed. Every drop of blood in her body, every pulse of her heart,
cries out, Oh! let her be happy. Alas! with all her knowledge, and
notwithstanding all her chastening, she forgets, and ever will forget,
when looking at that child, that the crown comes _after_ the cross.

Broken Toys! As I picked them up under my feet this morning, where
they had been tossed by careless little fingers, I fell thinking--just
what I have told you.

       *       *       *       *       *

I wish some philosopher would tell me at what age a child's
naughtiness _really_ begins. I am led to make this remark because I am
subject to the unceasing ridicule of certain persons, who shall be
nameless, who sarcastically advise me "to practice what I preach." As
if, to begin with, anybody ever did _that_, from Adam's time down. You
see before I punish, or cause to be punished, a little child, I want
to be sure that it hasn't got the stomach-ache; or is not cutting some
tooth; or has not, through the indiscretion, or carelessness or
ignorance of those intrusted with it, partaken of some indigestible
mess, to cause its "naughtiness," as it is called. Then--I want those
people who counsel me to such strict justice with a mere baby, to
reflect how many times a day, according to this rule, _they_
themselves ought to be punished for impatient, cross words;
proceeding, it may be, from teeth, or stomach, or head, or nerves; but
just as detrimental as to the results as if they came from meditated,
adult naughtiness.

Scruples of conscience, you see--that's it. However, yesterday I said:
Perhaps I _am_ a little soft in this matter; perhaps it _is_ time I
began. So I stiffened up to it.

"Tittikins," said I to the cherub in question, "don't throw your hat
on the floor; bring it to me, dear."

"I san't," replied Tittikins, who has not yet compassed the letter
_h_. "I san't,"--with the most trusting, bewitching little smile, as
if I were only getting up a new play for her amusement, and
immediately commenced singing to herself:

    "Baby bye,
    Here's a fly--
    Let us watch him,
    You and I;"

adding, "Didn't I sing that pretty?"

Now I ask you, was I to get up a fight with that dear little happy
thing, just to carry my point? I tell you my "government" on that
occasion was a miserable failure; I made up my mind, after deep
reflection, that if it was not quite patent that a child was really
malicious, it was best not to worry it with petty matters; I made up
my mind that I would concentrate my strength on the first _lie_ it
told, and be conveniently blind to lesser peccadilloes. This course is
just what I get abused for. But, I stood over a little coffin once,
with part of my name on the silver plate; and somehow it always comes
between me and this governing business. I think I know what you'll
reply to this; and in order that you may have full justification for
abusing me, I will own that the other day, when I said to Tittikins,
"Now, dear, if you put your hands inside your cup of milk again, I
must really punish you," that little three-year-older replied, in the
_chirp-est_ voice, "No, you won't! I know better." And one day, when I
_really_ shut my teeth together, and with a great throb of martyrdom,
spanked the back of that dear little hand, she fixed her great, soft,
brown, unwinking eyes on me, and said, "I'm brave--I don't mind it!"
You can see for yourself that this practical application of the story
of the Spartan boy and the fox, which I had told her the day before,
was rather unexpected.

Tittikins has no idea of "the rule that won't work both ways." Not
long since, she wanted my pen and ink, which, for obvious reasons, I
declined giving. She acquiesced, apparently, and went on with her
play. Shortly after, I said, "Tittikins, bring me that newspaper, will
you?" "No," she replied, with Lilliputian dignity. "If you can't
please me, I can't please you." The other day she was making an
ear-splitting racket with some brass buttons, in a tin box, when I
said, "Can't you play with something else, dear, till I have done
writing?" "But I like this best," she replied. "It makes my head ache,
though," I said. "You poor dear, you," said Tittikins, patronizingly,
as she threw the obnoxious plaything down, and rushed across the room
to put her arms around my neck--"you _poor_ dear, you, of tourse I
won't do it, then."

I have given it up; with shame and confusion of face, I own that child
_governs me_. I know her _heart_ is all right; I know there's not a
grain of _badness_ in her; I know she would die to-day, if she hadn't
those few flaws to keep her alive. In short, she's _my grandchild_.
Isn't that enough?

But all this does not prevent my giving sensible advise to others. Now
I am perfectly well aware, that there comes a time in the life of
every little child, how beautiful, winning and pleasant soever it may
be, when it hoists with its tiny hand the rebel flag of defiance to
authority. You may walk round another way, and choose not to see it,
and fancy you will have no farther trouble. You may hug to your heart
all its sweet cunning ways, and say--after all, what does it matter?
it is but a child; it knows no better; it will outgrow all that; it is
best not to notice it; I can't bear to be harsh with it; it will be a
great deal of trouble to fight it out, should the child happen to be
persistent: it is a matter of no consequence; and such like
sophistries. I say you may try in this way to dodge a question that
has got some time or other to be met fair and square in the face; and
you may persuade yourself, all the while, that you are thus loving
your own ease, that you are loving your child; but both it and you,
will at some future day see the terrible mistake.

"Oh, why did my father, or my mother, _let_ me do thus and so?" has
been the anguished cry of many a shame-stricken man and woman whose
parents reasoned after this manner.

Now, the point at issue between the child and yourself may seem
trifling. It may be very early in its life that it is made. Perhaps
scarcely past the baby age, it may insist, when well and healthy,
upon being sung or rocked in the arms to sleep, and that by some one
particular person. Now, you are perfectly sure this is unnecessary,
and that it would be much better for the child, apart from the
inconvenience of the practice, to be laid quietly in its bed, with
only some trustful person to watch it. But you reason, it has always
been used to this, and I may have to hear it cry every night for a
week before I can teach it. Well--and what then? The child, to be good
for anything, must be taught some time or other that it cannot gain
its point by crying. Why not now? Of course it should not be placed in
bed till it is sufficiently weary; nor should it be frightened at
being left in a dark room alone, or left alone at all, while the trial
is being made. This attended to, if it cry--let it cry. It will be a
struggle of two or three nights and no more; perhaps not that; and the
moral lesson is learned; after that obedience comes easy.

It is a mistake to suppose, you who are so greedy of a child's love,
that it is more attached to that person who indulges its every whim,
than to the one who can firmly pronounce the monosyllable no, when
necessary. The most brutal word I ever heard spoken, was from a grown
man to a widowed mother, who belonged to that soul-destroying class of
parents who "could never deny a child anything" and whose whole life
had been one slavish endeavor to gratify his every whim without regard
to her own preferences or inclination; and whenever you see such a
man, you may know he had just such a mother; or, having one wiser,
that her attempts at government had been neutralized by one of the
don't-cry-dear-and-you-shall-have-it fathers. It is so strange that
parents who crave to be so fondly remembered by their children in
after years, should be thus short-sighted. It is so strange, that when
they desire next to this, that everybody else should consider their
children supremely lovely and winning, that they should take so direct
a method to render them perfectly disagreeable. Strange that they
should never reflect that some poor wife, in the future, will rue the
day she ever married that selfish, domineering tyrant, now in embryo
in that little boy. Strange that the mother of that blue-eyed little
girl never thinks that the latter may curse her own daughter with that
same passionate temper, which never knew paternal restraint. Stranger
still, that parents launching these little voyagers on the wide ocean
of time, without chart, rudder, or compass, should, when in after days
they suffer total shipwreck, close the doors of their hearts, and
homes, in their shamed and sorrowful faces.

       *       *       *       *       *

I think there is nothing on earth so lovely as the first waking of a
little child in the morning. The gleeful, chirping voice. The bright
eye. The lovely rose-tint of the cheek. The perfect happiness--the
perfect faith in all future to-morrows!

We who have lain our heads on our pillows so often, with great sorrows
for company; who have tossed, and turned, and writhed, and counted
the lagging hours, and prayed even for the briefest respite in
forgetfulness; who have mercifully slept at last, and our dead have
come back to us, with their smiles and their love, strong enough to
cover any shortcomings of ours. We who have awoke in the morning, with
a sharp shuddering cry at the awful reality, and closed our eyes again
wearily upon the sweet morning light, and the song of birds, and the
scent of flowers, every one of which have given us pangs keener than
death; we who have risen, and with a dead, dull weight at the heart,
moved about mechanically like one walking in sleep, through the gray,
colorless treadmill routine of to-day, a wonder to ourselves;--ah!
with what infinite love and pity do we look upon the blithe waking of
the little child! As it leaps trustfully into our arms, with its
morning caress and its soft cheek to our face, how hard it is
sometimes to keep the eyes from overflowing with the pent-up pain of
the slow years. Oh, the sweet beguilement of that caress! The
trustful, lisping question, which shames us out of our tears, for that
which tears may never bring back. The unconscious bits of wisdom
stammeringly voiced, and left disjointed, and half expressed, in favor
of some childish quip or prank of the moment, which makes us doubt
whether we have most sage or most baby before us. The saucy little
challenge "to play!"

_We_ play? We swallow a great sob and get obediently down on the
carpet to "build block-houses;" and when the little one laughs, as the
tall structure reels, and topples, and finally falls over, and
merrily stands there, showing the little white teeth, clapping hands,
and peeping into our faces, and says reproachfully, "What are you
thinking about? Why don't _you_ laugh?"--we thank God she has so long
a time before she finds out that grieving "_why_." We thank God that
deep and keen as the child is at one moment, she is so ridiculously
butter-fly-ish the next.

And then, at its bidding, we set up the chairs and tables in the
baby-house, and locate the numerous families of dolls, in cradles and
beds, and in parlors; and answer the mimic questions about how "live
people" keep house; and play "doctor," and play "nurse," and "play
have them die," and see them twitched out of bed five minutes after
they have departed this life, to be dressed for a party. And in spite
of ourselves, we laugh at the absurd whimsicalities carried out with
such adult earnestness and gravity.

And yet there are people in the world who don't see a child's mission
in a household; who look upon it as a doll to be dressed, or an animal
to be fed, or a nuisance to be kept out of sight as much as possible.
Heaven bless us, when no other voice or touch or presence can be
borne, a child is often the unconscious Saviour who whispers to the
troubled elements of the soul, "Peace, be still!"

       *       *       *       *       *

Has it ever happened to you that life's contrasts were so sharply
presented, that you were smitten with shamed pain at being housed,
and clad, and fed, and comfortable, as if you had been guilty of a
great wrong, or injustice, that should be immediately wiped out.

Soon after a deep fall of snow, when fleet horses were flying in all
directions to the tune of merry bells, and the sharp, crisp air was
like wine to the fur-robed riders, I saw a little creature, muffled to
the tip of her pretty nose by the careful hand of love, led down the
steps of a nice house, to a little gaily-painted sleigh, with
cushioned seat, and pretty bells, and soft, warm wrappings, to take
her first ride in the new present "Santa-Claus" had brought her. Three
grown persons were in waiting, to see that she was lifted gently in,
and tucked up, and her hands and feet comfortably bestowed, before
starting on this, her first sleigh-ride. Her bright eyes sparkled with
delight, her voice was merrier than the bells, and the bright rose of
her cheek told of warmth and happiness and plenty. Just three years
old: and as far as _she_ had ever known, _life was all just like
that_. Just at that minute came along another little creature, also
just three years old, and stood by the side of the gaily-painted
little sleigh, looking at its laughing little occupant. _Her_ face was
blue and pinched. A ragged handkerchief was tied over her tangled
brown hair. _Her_ thin cotton dress scarce covered the little purple
knees. _Her_ blue, small fingers held the inevitable beggar's basket,
and the shawl for which the cold wind was contending, left her little
breast and shoulders quite bare. And there she stood, and gazed at
her happier little sister. Merciful Heaven! the horrible contrast, the
terrible mystery of it! Only three years of her sad life gone! So
_much_ of this to endure! and so much still more dreadful that "three
years" could not _yet_ dream of. What had the one child more than the
other done, that each should stand--one with steady, one with
tottering feet--on either side of that dreadful gulf, eying one
another in that guileless, silent way, more terrible to witness than
pen of mine can ever tell?

Well, the little painted sleigh slid away with its merry freight, and
"three years old" stood still and looked after it. She could not
comprehend, had she been told, the sad thoughts that sent down the
shower of pennies from the window above on her little beggar's basket.
But she looked up and said, timidly, "Thank you," with a shy, little
happy smile, as she scrambled them up out of the snow at her feet.
Poor, little baby!--for she was nothing more. And there are hundreds
just like her in New York. There's the pity of it. Your _men_ beggars
don't fret me, unless crippled. If a _woman_ can earn an honest living
in the face of so many society and custom-dragons, surely a _man_
ought, or starve. But these babies--oh! it is dreadful. And the more
pitiful you are to them, the harder their lot is; since the more
_substantial_ pity they excite, the more profitable they become to the
callous wretches who live by it.

And after all, these two little "three years old" may yet change
places. God knows. Often I meet, in my walks, a lady elegantly
apparelled--sometimes in her own carriage, sometimes walking--who
once stood shivering at area doors, like that little owner of the
beggar's basket--_now_ an honored and happy wife and mother. They
don't _all_ go down--down--as inexorable time grinds on. Still the
exceptions are so rare, unless they are snatched away by the
sheltering arms of death, or love, before pollution becomes indelible,
that they are easily counted.

Back comes the gay little sleigh and the rosy "three years old!" Now
she is taken carefully into the house, and some warm milk prepared for
her, and slippers are warmed for her feet, and her face covered with
kisses; and playthings, which are legion, spread before her; and the
whole house is on its knees, listening to her prattle, and rejoicing
in her presence, that fills the house like the perfume of a sweet
flower, like the warm rays of the sun, like the song of a bird. And
the other? Read this from the daily paper: "Yesterday, a little
beggar-girl, three years old, was run over by the street-car,
at ---- street, while attempting to cross, and instantly killed." Better
so. One short pang, and all the suffering over.

       *       *       *       *       *

Walking behind a father and his prattling child--a fairy little
girl--the other day, I heard a bit of human nature. "I mean to have a
tea-party," lisped the little thing; "a tea-party, papa." "Do you?"
said the father; "Well, whom shall you invite?" "I shan't ask anybody
who don't have tea at _their_ houses," replied the little woman.
"There's worldly wisdom," thought we, "in pantalettes. _So young and
so calculating!_" We smiled--who could help it?--at the little mite;
but we sighed, also. We would rather have heard those infantile lips
say: "I shall ask everybody who _don't_ have tea at their
houses,"--not as a mocking-bird or parrot would say it, as a lesson
taught, but because it was the out-gushing of a warm little unspoiled
heart. That child but echoed, probably, what she had listened to
unobserved, from mamma's lips, on the eve of some party or dinner. The
child who sits playing with its doll, be it remembered, oh mothers, is
not always deaf, dumb, and blind to what is passing around, though it
may seem so. The seed dropped carelessly then, may take root, and
develop into a tree, under whose withering influence your every
earthly hope shall perish.

       *       *       *       *       *

Sometimes one thinks what a pity children should ever grow up. The
other day, passing through an entry of one of our public buildings, I
saw two little boys, of the ages of six and eight, with their arms
about each other's neck, exchanging kiss after kiss. It was such a
pretty sight, in that noisy den of business, that one could but stop
to look. The younger of the children, noticing this, looked up with
such a heaven of love in his face, and said, in explanation, "_he is
my brother_!" Pity they should ever grow up, thought we, as we passed
along. Pity that the world, with its clashing interests of business,
love, and politics, should ever come between them. Pity that they
should ever coldly exchange finger-tips, or, more wretched still, not
even exchange glances. Pity that one should sorrow, and grieve, and
hunger, and thirst, and yearn for sympathy, while the other should
sleep, and eat, and drink, unmindful of his fate. Pity that one with
meek-folded hands should pass into the land of silence, and no tear of
repentance and affection fall upon his marble face from the eyes of
his "brother." Such things have been. That is why we thought, pity
they should ever grow up!--"_Heaven lies so near us in our infancy._"


A gentleman asked me the other day, "Why are the women of the present
day so discontented with their lot?" Now there was no denying the
fact, staring, as it does, from every page of "women's books," peeping
out under the flimsy veil of a jest in their conversation, or boldly
challenging your attention in some rasping sarcasm, according to the
taste or humor of the writer or speaker. "Men _can't_ be such devils
as these women seem to suppose," said a gentleman anxious for the
credit of his sex; "and women ought to be able to fulfill the duties
of wives and mothers without such constant complaint. Now my
grandmother"--Here I laid a finger on his lip. Do you know, said I,
that you have this very minute, to use a slang phrase--unladylike,
perhaps, but expressive--do you know that you have this very minute
"put your foot in it?" Do you know that if there is anything in the
world that makes a woman discontented and discouraged, it is to have
some piece of ossified female perfection, in the shape of a relative,
held up to her imitation by her husband--some woman, with chalk and
water in her veins, instead of blood, who is "good" merely because she
is _petrified_? Now, how would a man like his wife constantly to
remind him of the very superior manner in which her grandfather
conducted his business matters? how superior to his was his way of
book-keeping, and of managing his various clerks and subordinates? how
like clockwork he always arranged everything?--and suppose she says
this, too, at moments when her husband had done his very best to be
true to his duties. I wonder how long before he would exclaim, Oh!
bother your grandfather; he did business _his_ way, and I shall do my
business mine.

Now you see how I have lost patience, as well as what I was going to
say, by the vision of your grandmother, sir. What I was going to
remark when you interrupted me, was this: that, in my opinion, the
root of all this discontent is the prevailing physical inability of
women to face the inevitable cares and duties of married life. Added
to this, the want of magnanimity and _un_wisdom that men show, in
lifting the eyebrow of indifference, or ill-disguised vexation, when
the very fragility they fell in love with, staggers and falls under
the burdens of life. Now were these husbands about to possess a horse,
they would consider first whether they wanted a farm-horse or a fancy
horse--a working animal or an ornamental one. Having chosen the
latter, they would be very careful to choose a carriage of _light
weight_ for it to draw, and not finding one sufficiently light, would
be very apt to have one manufactured on purpose, rather than run the
risk of overtasking the animal's powers. They would treat him
carefully, feed him well, see that he rested sufficiently when weary;
pat him, coax him, instead of lashing and goading him, when, for some
unknown reason, his steps seemed to falter. Now is a man's wife of
less consequence than his horse? Is it less necessary he should stop
to consider, before he marries her, _why_ he wants her? and having
settled that question, make his choice accordingly, after having also
considered what means are at his disposal to carry out his intentions
as to their mutual comfort? In old times, many men married only to get
their butter churned, their cheese made, their clothes mended, and
their meals prepared, their wives raising pigs and children in the
intervals. By this humanitarian process, all that was left of a wife
at thirty, was a horn-comb, inserted in six hairs, on the top of her
head, and a figure resembling the letter _C_. The men of the present
day seemed to have learned no better how to _husband_ their wives.
Their eye is caught by a pretty pink-and-white creature, who steps
about gracefully and gleefully in her father's comfortable,
well-appointed house. They never consider _has she good health_? _Will
she make a healthy Mother?_ nor the good sense to turn resolutely
away, and say, it would be cruelty in me to take her feeble prettiness
from that warmly lined nest, to a home in the performance of whose
duties she would inevitably break down. Nor do they say, when they
have made the irretrievable mistake of marrying her, and find this
weary, discouraged little woman crying over it, "Poor child, I ought
to have foreseen all this, but as I didn't, I must love and comfort
you all the more." Not a bit of it. The more they have been to blame,
the more they blame _her_, and point with exacting finger to that
horrid, stereotyped piece of perfection, "_my_ grandmother." Then they
prate to her about patience--"Job's patience." Now if there _is_ a
proverb that needs re-vamping, it is "_The patience of Job_." In the
first place, Job _wasn't_ patient. Like all the rest of his sex, from
that day to the present, he could be heroic only for a little while at
a time. He _began_ bravely; but ended, as most of them do under
annoyance, by cursing and swearing. Patient as Job! Did Job ever try,
when he was hungry, to eat shad with a frisky baby in his lap? Did Job
ever, after nursing one all night, and upon taking his seat at the
breakfast-table the morning after, pour out coffee for six people, and
second cups after that, before he had a chance to take a mouthful
himself? Pshaw! I've no patience with "Job's patience." It is of no
use to multiply instances; but there's not a faithful house-mother in
the land who does not out-distance him in the sight of men and angels,
every hour in the twenty-four.

Think of the case of our farmers' wives. Now, just consider it a
little. Next to being a minister's wife, I think I should dread being
the wife of a farmer. Sometimes, indeed, the terms are synonymous.
Raising children and chickens, _ad infinitum_; making butter, cheese,
bread, and the national and omnipresent pie; cutting, making and
mending the clothes for a whole household, not to speak of doing
their washing and ironing; taking care of the pigs and the vegetable
garden; making winter-apple sauce by the barrel, and pickling myriads
of cucumbers; drying fruits and herbs; putting all the twins through
the measles, whooping-cough, mumps, scarlet-fever and chicken-pox;
besides keeping a perpetual river of hot grease on the kitchen table,
in which is to float potatoes, carrots, onions and turnips for the
ravenous maws of the "farm-hands."

No wonder that the poor things look harassed, jaded and toil-worn,
long before they arrive at middle age. No wonder that a life so hard
and angular, should obliterate all the graces of femininity--when no
margin is left, year after year, for those little refinements which a
woman under any pressure of circumstances, naturally and rightly
desires, and lacking which, she is inevitably unhappy and coarsened.

Now your farmer is a round, stalwart, comfortable animal. There is no
baby wailing at _his_ pantaloons while he ploughs or makes fences.
_He_ lies down under the nearest tree and rests, or sleeps, when he
can no longer work with profit. He comes in to his dinner with the
appetite of a hyena, and the digestion of a rhinoceros, and goes forth
again to the hayfield till called home to supper. _There_ is his wife,
and too often with the same frowsy head with which she rose in the
morning, darting hither and thither for whatever is wanted, or helping
the hungry, children or the farm-hands. After the supper is finished
come the dish-washing, and milking, and the thought for to-morrow's
breakfast; and then perhaps all night she sleeps with one eye open for
a baby or a sick child, and rises again to pursue the same unrelieved,
treadmill, wearing round, the next day.

Now the uppermost idea in the minds of too many farmers is, _how to
get the greatest possible amount of work out of their wives_. A poorer
policy than this can scarcely be. They treat their cattle better. If
they are about to be presented with a fine calf or colt, they take
pains that the prospective mother is well cared for, both before and
after the event. The farmer who would not do this would be considered
extremely short-sighted. Their cattle are not allowed to be
overworked, or underfed, or abused in any way. Now, pray, is not a
farmer's wife as valuable an animal as a cow, or a horse, even looking
at the practical side of it? Is it not as important to have a sound,
healthy mother of children, as to have a healthy mare or cow? You may
say that no woman should marry a farmer, who does not _expect to
work_. I say, in reply, that woman was never intended to split or
carry wood, or to carry heavy pails or buckets of water. And yet how
many farmers can we count who ever think of the women of the house, in
regard to the distance or proximity of the wood or the water to the
kitchen? while too many grudge to these overworked women that
labor-saving apparatus in every department of their work, which would
prolong their lives years, to a family of growing children. Then, to
grudge such an industrious wife decent raiment, wherewith to make
herself and her children neat and comfortable, is a shame. To oblige
_such_ a woman to plead like a beggar for the dollar she has earned a
thousand times over _in any family but his own_, should make him
blush. Look at our farmers' wives all over the land, and see if, with
rare exceptions, their toil-worn, harassed faces do not indorse my
statement. Every mother should have time to _talk_ with her
children--to acquaint herself with their souls as well as their
bodies--to do something besides wash their faces and clothes. And how
are these hurried, weary women to find it? Of what avail is it to
those children who _come up_, but who are not _brought up_, that
another meadow, or another barn, is added to the family inheritance,
when the grass waves over the mother's tombstone before their
childhood and youth is past? or when they can remember her only as a
fretted, querulous, care-burdened, over-tasked creature, who was
always jostling them out of the way to catch up some burden which she
dare not drop, though she drop by the way herself.

       *       *       *       *       *

Sunday, "the Day of Rest," so called, to many mothers of families, is
the most toilsome day of the whole week. Children, too young to go to
church, must of course be cared for at home; domestics on that day, of
all others, expect their liberty. The father of the family, also, in
many cases, thinks it hard if, after a week's labor, he too cannot
roam _without_ his family; never remembering that his wife, for the
same reason, needs rest equally with himself, instead of shouldering
on that day a double burden. Weary with family cares, she remembers
the good word of cheer to which she has in days gone by listened from
some clergyman, not too library-read to remember that he was _human_.
The good, sympathetic word that sent her home strengthened for another
week's duties. The good word, which men think they can do without; but
which women, with the petty be-littling every day annoyances of their
monotonous life, long for, as does a tired child to lay its head on
its mother's breast. A mother may feel thus and yet have no desire to
evade the responsible duties of her office. Indeed, had she not often
her oratory in her own heart, she would sink discouraged oftener than
she does, lacking the human sympathy which is often withheld by those
upon whom she has the nearest claim for it. To such a woman it is not
a mere form to "go to church;" it is not to her a fashion exchange;
she _really_ desires the spiritual help she seeks. _You_ may find
nothing in the words that come to her like the cool hand on the
fevered brow. The psalm which is discord to your ear, may soothe her,
like a mother's murmured lullaby. The prayer, which to you is an
offence, brings her face to face with One who is touched by our
infirmities. If an "undevout astronomer is mad," it seems to me that
an undevout woman is still more so. Our insane asylums are full of
women, who, leaning on some human heart for love and sympathy, and
meeting only misappreciation, have gone there, past the Cross, where
alone they could have laid down burdens too heavy to bear unshared. A
great book is unwritten on this theme. When men become less gross and
unspiritual than they now are, they will see the great wrong of which
they are guilty, in their impatience of women's keenest sufferings
because they "are only mental."

       *       *       *       *       *

Ladies, many of you attempt too much. I am convinced that there are
times in everybody's experience when there is so much to be done, that
the only way to do it is to sit down and do nothing. This sounds
paradoxical, but it is not. For instance: the overtasked mother of a
family, in moderate circumstances, who must be brains, hands, stomach
and feet for a dozen little children, and their father, who counts
full another dozen. Do the best she may, plan the wisest she may, her
work accumulates fearfully on her hands. One day's labor laps over on
the next, till she cannot sleep at night for fear she shall oversleep
in the morning. And though she works hard all day, and gives herself
no relaxation, she cannot see any result at the close, save that she
"hath done what she could." Of course you say, let her be satisfied
with that, and not worry about it. That is only another proof how easy
it is for some people to bear the troubles of _other_ people. Suppose
her nervous system has been strained to the utmost, so that every
step is a weariness, and every fresh and unexpected demand sets her
"all of a tremble," as women express it, what is the use of reasoning
then about not working? The more she can't work, the more she will try
to, till she drops in her tracks, unless, catching sight of her
prospective coffin, she stops in time. Now there are self-sacrificing
mothers who need somebody to say to them, "Stop! you have just to make
your choice now, between death and life. You have expended all the
strength you have on hand--and must lay in a new stock before any more
work can be done by you. So don't go near your kitchen; if your cook
goes to sleep in the sink on washing-day, let her; if your chambermaid
spends the most of her time on ironing-day with the grocer-boy in the
area, don't _you_ know anything about it. Get right into bed, and lie
there, just as a man would do if he didn't feel one quarter as bad as
you do; and ring every bell in the house, every five minutes, for
everything you want, or think you want; and my word for it, the world
will keep on going round just the same, as if you were spinning a
spasmodic tee-totum, as hens do, long after their heads have been cut
off. Yes--just lie there till you get rested; and they all find out,
by picking up the burdens you have dropped, what a load you have been
uncomplainingly shouldering. Yes--just lie there; and tell them to
bring you something nice to eat and drink--yes, _drink_; and forbid,
under dreadful penalties, anybody asking you what the family are to
have for dinner. Let them eat what they like, so that they don't
trouble you, and season it to their tastes; and here's hoping it will
do them good."

And now having located you comfortably under the quilt, out of harm's
way, let me tell you that if you think you are doing God service, or
anybody else, by using up a year's strength in a week, you have made a
sinful mistake. I don't care anything about that basket of unmended
stockings, or unmade pinafores, or any other nursery nightmare which
haunts the dreams of these "Martha" mothers. You have but one life to
live, that's plain; and when you are dead, all the king's men can't
make you stand on your feet again, that's plain. Well, then--don't be
dead. In the first place, go out a part of every day, rain or shine,
for the fresh air, and don't tell me you can't; at least not while you
can stop to embroider your children's clothes. As to "dressing to go
out," don't dress. If you are clean and whole, that's enough; have
boots with elastics at the side, instead of those long mile Balmorals
that take so long to "lace up,"--in short, _simplify your dressing_,
and then stop every wheel in the house if necessary in order to go
out, but go; fifteen minutes is better than nothing; if you can't get
out in the day-time, run out in the evening; and if your husband can't
see the necessity of it, perhaps he will on reflection after you have
gone out. The moral of all which is, that if nobody else will take
care of you, you must just take care of yourself. As to the
children--I might write a long book on this head, or those heads,
bless 'em! THEY can't help being born, poor things, though they often
get slapped for that, and nothing else, as far as I can see. It is a
pity you hadn't three instead of six, so that the care of them might
be a pleasure instead of a weariness; but "that's none of my
business," as people say after they have been unusually meddlesome and
impertinent. Still I repeat it, I wish you _had_ three instead of six,
and I don't care if you _do_ go and tell John.

       *       *       *       *       *

Women can relieve their minds, now-a-days, in one way that was
formerly denied them: they can write! a woman who wrote, used to be
considered a sort of monster--At this day it is difficult to find one
who does not write, or has not written, or who has not, at least, a
strong desire to do so. Gridirons and darning-needles are getting
monotonous. A part of their time the women of to-day are content to
devote to their consideration when necessary; but you will rarely find
one--at least among women who _think_--who does not silently rebel
against allowing them a monopoly.

What? you inquire, would you encourage, in the present overcrowded
state of the literary market, any more women scribblers? Stop a bit.
It does not follow that she should wish or seek to give to the world
what she has written. I look around and see innumerable women, to
whose barren, loveless life this would be improvement and solace, and
I say to them, write! Write, if it will make that life brighter, or
happier, or less monotonous. Write! it will be a safe outlet for
thoughts and feelings, that maybe the nearest friend you have, has
never dreamed had place in your heart and brain. You should have read
the letters I have received; you should have talked with the women I
have talked with; in short, you should have walked this earth with
your eyes open, instead of shut, as far as its women are concerned, to
indorse this advice. Nor do I qualify what I have said on account of
social position, or age, or even education. It is not _safe_ for the
women of 1868 to shut down so much that cries out for sympathy and
expression, because life is such a maelstrom of business or folly, or
both, that those to whom they have bound themselves, body and soul,
recognize only the needs of the former. _Let them write_ if they will.
One of these days, when that diary is found, when the hand that penned
it shall be dust, with what amazement and remorse will many a husband,
or father, exclaim, I never knew my wife, or my child, till this
moment; all these years she has sat by my hearth, and slumbered by my
side, and I have been a stranger to her. And you sit there, and you
read sentence after sentence, and recall the day, the month, the week,
when she moved calmly, and you thought happily, or, at least,
contentedly, about the house, all the while her heart was aching, when
a kind word from you, or even a touch of your hand upon her head, as
you passed out to business, or pleasure, would have cheered her, oh so
much! When had you sat down by her side after the day's work for both
was over, and talked with her just a few moments of something besides
the price of groceries, and the number of shoes Tommy had kicked out,
all of which, proper and necessary in their place, need not of
necessity form the stable of conversation between a married pair; had
you done this; had you recognized that she had a _soul_ as well as
yourself, how much sunshine you might have thrown over her colorless

"Perhaps, sir," you reply; "but I have left my wife far behind in the
region of thought. It would only distress her to do this!" How do you
know that? And if it were so, are you content to leave her--the mother
of your children--so far behind? _Ought_ you to do it? Should you not,
by raising the self-respect you have well nigh crushed by your
indifference and neglect, extend a manly hand to her help? _I_ think
so. The pink cheeks which first won you may have faded, but remember
that it was in your service, when you quietly accept the fact that
"you have left your wife far behind you in mental improvement." Oh! it
is pitiable this growing apart of man and wife, for lack of a little
generous consideration and magnanimity! It is pitiable to see a
husband without a thought that he might and should occasionally, have
given his wife a lift out of the petty, harrowing details of her
woman's life, turn from her, in company, to address his conversation
to some woman who, happier than she, has had time and opportunity for
mental culture. You do not see, sir--you will not see--you do not
desire to see, how her cheek flushes, and her eye moistens, and her
heart sinks like lead as you thus wound her self-respect. You think
her "cross and ill-natured," if when, the next morning, you converse
with her on the price of butter, she answers you listlessly and with a
total want of interest in the treadmill-subject.

I say to such women: Write! Rescue a part of each week at least for
reading, and putting down on paper, for your own private benefit, your
thoughts and feelings. Not for the _world's_ eye, unless you choose,
but to lift yourselves out the dead-level of your lives; to keep off
inanition; to lessen the number who are yearly added to our lunatic
asylums from the ranks of misappreciated, unhappy womanhood, narrowed
by lives made up of details. Fight it! oppose it, for your own sakes
and your children's! Do not be _mentally_ annihilated by it. It is all
very well to sneer at this and raise the old cry of "a woman's sphere
being home"--which, by the way, you hear oftenest from men whose home
is only a place to feed and sleep in. You might as well say that a
man's sphere is his shop or his counting-room. How many of them, think
you, would be contented, year in and year out, to eat, drink, and
sleep as well as to transact business there, and _never desire_ or
_take_, at all costs, some let-up from its monotonous grind? How many
would like to forego the walk to and from the place of business?
forego the opportunities for conversation, which chance thus throws in
their way, with other men bent on the same or other errands? Have,
literally, _no_ variety in their lives? Oh, if you could be a woman
but one year and try it! A woman--but not necessarily a butterfly--not
necessarily a machine, which, once wound up by the marriage ceremony,
is expected to click on with undeviating monotony till Death stops the

       *       *       *       *       *

I am often asked the question, "Do I believe that women should vote?"
Most assuredly. I am heart and soul with the women-speakers and
lecturers, and workers in public and private, who are trying to bring
this thing about. I have heard and read all the pros and cons on this
subject; and I have never yet heard, or read, any argument in its
_dis_favor, which is worth considering by whomsoever uttered, or
written. Everything must have a beginning, and no noble enterprise was
ever yet undertaken that did not find its objectors and assailants.
That is to be expected. These women-pioneers are prepared for this. It
is not pleasant, to be sure, to see those men in their audiences, who
should give them a hearty, manly support, making flippant, foolish,
shallow remarks on the subject; or thanking God that _their_ wives and
daughters are not "mixed up in it." Meantime their wives and daughters
may be "mixed up" in many things much less to their credit, and much
more to the detriment of their relations as mothers and wives. And
when I hear a woman making fun of this subject, or languidly declaring
that, for her part, she wouldn't give a fig to vote, and she is only
glad enough to be rid of the whole bothering thing, I feel only pity,
that in this glorious year of our Lord, 1869, she should still prefer
going back to the dark ages. I feel only pity, that, torpidly and
selfishly content with her ribbons and dresses, she may never see or
think of those other women, who may be lifted out of their wretched
condition, of low wages and starvation, by this very lever of power.

As to the principal objection urged against voting, I think a woman
may vote and yet be a refined, and lady-like, and intelligent person,
and worthy of all respect from those who hold womanhood in the highest
estimation. I think she may go to the ballot-box without receiving
contamination, just as I believe that she may walk in the public
thoroughfares, and pass the most desperate characters, of both sexes,
without a spot on her spiritual raiment. Nay, more--I believe that
_through her_ the ballot-box is to become regenerated. Nor do I
believe that any man, educated or uneducated, unless under the
influence of liquor, would in any way make that errand a disagreeable
one to her. You tell me, but they _are_ under that influence more or
less on election day. Very well--the remedy for that is in closing the
liquor-shops till it is over.

As to women "voting as their husbands tell them," I have my own
opinion, which I think results would prove to be correct. I think, for
instance, that no wife of a drunkard would vote that any drunkard
should hold office, howsoever her husband himself might vote, or tell
her to vote. Then, why is it any worse for a _woman_ "to vote as she
is bid," than for an ignorant _male_ voter to vote as he is bid. And
as to the "soil and stain on woman's purity," which timidity, and
conservatism, and selfishness insists shall follow the act, it might
be well, in answer, to draw aside the veil from many homes in New
York, _not_ in the vicinity of the Five Points either, where
long-suffering, uncomplaining wives and mothers, endure a defilement
and brutality on legal compulsion, to which this, at the worst
estimate ever made by its opponents, would be spotlessness itself.
No--no. Not one, or all of these reasons together, is the _true_
reason for this opposition; and what is more, not one, or all of these
reasons together, will _eventually_ prevent women from having the
franchise. It is only a question of time; that's one comfort.


But, then, it is not altogether the fault of men, that women have so
poor a time in this world.

If I had a boy, my chief aim would be to make him yield to his
sisters. Why? _Because_ so many boys have been taught a contrary
lesson; their selfishness every day growing stronger and stronger,
till the day when they marry some woman, who is expected to "fall into
line"--toes out, head erect, shoulders squared--at the word of
command, like their sisters. It is a very common thing to hear a
mother say to her daughters, you must do this, or that, or omit doing
this, or that, or some day you will cause the unhappiness of the man
you marry. When was a parent ever known to say this to a _boy_ about
his future wife? The idea, I have no doubt, would be considered quite
ludicrous. But I have yet to learn why it is not as necessary in one
case as in the other. Now, to oblige the girls of a family to be
punctual to their meals, on penalty of displeasure, and cold food, and
to save a warm breakfast for the _boy_, whenever he chooses to lie in
bed an hour or two later than the rest of the family, is making a
fatal mistake, so far as the boy is concerned, and educating a selfish
husband for some unfortunate girl who may be entrapped by him. _Then_
this foolish mother will be the very first to lament to her circle of
sympathizing friends, that "_her_ John" should have married a woman
who is so exacting and unyielding. _Then_, these sisters will mourn
publicly that dear "John" should have made such a terrible matrimonial
blunder as to marry a woman who was not enamored of mending his
stockings every evening in the week, which he spent out doors, in any
kind of amusement that the whim of the hour suggested. _Then_--aunts,
and cousins, and uncles, of the hundredth degree, will join and swell
the chorus, till "dear John," if he has not sense enough to see the
discrepancy between their preaching and their practice, as exemplified
in their exactions towards their own husbands, will believe himself
entitled to honorable mention in "Fox's Book of Martyrs."

The evil, I have said, _begins_ with the boy's home education.
"Sister" must mend his gloves and stockings, and alter his shirts,
whenever he wishes; but "brother" may altogether decline waiting upon
his sisters to evening visits, or amusements, in favor of other
ladies, or may, in any other way, show his utter selfishness and
disregard of their natural claims upon him.

This is all wrong, and boys so brought up must of necessity resist,
when matrimony presents any other side of the question than that of
blind, unswerving obedience.

Now, imagine this selfishness intensified a thousand fold by solitary
years of bachelorhood, and you have a creature to whom "The Happy
Family" would forever be a myth.

Perhaps you think that I imagine selfishness to be peculiarly the vice
of the other sex. Not at all. There are women who are most
disgustingly selfish; wives and mothers unworthy both these titles;
but I shall find you ten selfish husbands to one selfish wife, and
therefore I call the attention of parents to this part of their sons'
education. If half the admonitions bestowed so lavishly upon girls
were addressed to their brothers, the family estate and the public
would be the gainers.

There is one class of women that in my opinion need extinguishing. I
think I hear some male voice exclaim, _One_? I wish there were not a
great many! Sir! know that the foolishest woman who was ever born is
better than most men; but I am not treating of that branch of the
subject now. As I was about to remark, there is a class of sentimental
women who use up the whole dictionary in speaking of a pin, and
circumlocute about the alphabet in such a way, every time they open
their mincing lips, that nobody but themselves can know what they are
talking about, and truth to say, I should have been safe not to admit
even that exception. Their "_ske-iy_" must always be heavenly
"_ble-u_;" to touch household matters with so much as the end of a
taper finger would be "beneneath them," and that though Astor may have
considerable more money in the bank than themselves. To sweep, to
dust, to make a bed, to look into a kitchen-closet, to superintend a
dinner--was a woman made for that? they indignantly exclaim. Now,
while I as indignantly deny that she was born with a gridiron round
her neck, I repudiate the idea that any one of these duties is beneath
any woman, if it be necessary or best that she should perform them. I
could count you a dozen women on my fingers' ends, whom the reading
world has delighted to honor, who held no such flimsy, sickly,
hot-house views as these. Because a woman can appreciate a good book,
or even write one, or talk or think intelligently, is she not to be a
breezy, stirring, wide-awake, efficient, thorough, capable
housekeeper? Is she not to be a soulful wife and a loving, judicious
mother? Is she to disdain to comb a little tumbled head, or to wash a
pair of sticky little paws, or to mend a rent in a pinafore or little
pair of trousers? I tell you there's a false ring about women who talk
that way. No woman of true intellect ever felt such duties _beneath_
her. She may like much better to read an interesting book, or write
out her own thoughts when she feels the inspiration, than to be _much_
employed this way, but she will never, never disdain it, and she will
faithfully stand at her post if there can be no responsible
relief-guard. You will never find her sentimentally whining about
moonshine, while her neglected children are running loose in the
neighbors' houses, or through the streets. You may be sure she is the
wrong sort of woman who does this; she has neither head enough to
attain to that which she is counterfeiting, nor heart enough really to
care for the children she has so thoughtlessly launched upon the
troubled sea of life. I sincerely believe that there are few women
with a desire for intellectual improvement, who cannot secure it if
they will. To be honest, they find plenty of time to put no end of
embroidery on their children's clothes; plenty of time to keep up the
neck-and-neck race of fashion, though it may be in third-rate
imitations. They will sit up till midnight, but they will trim a dress
or bonnet in the latest style, if they cannot hire it done, when the
same energy would, if they felt inclined, furnish the _inside_ of
their heads much more profitably; for mark you, these women who are
above household cares will run their feet off to match a trimming, or
chase down a coveted color in a ribbon. _That_ isn't "belittling!"
_That_ isn't "trivial!" _That_ isn't "beneath them!"

It is very funny how such women will fancy they are recommending
themselves by this kind of talk, to persons whose approbation they
sometimes seek. If they only knew what a sensible, rational person may
be thinking about while they are patiently but politely listening to
such befogged nonsense; how pity is dominant where they suppose
admiration to be the while; how the listener longs to break out and
say, My dear woman, _I_ have washed and ironed, and baked and brewed,
and swept and dusted, and washed children, and made bonnets, and cut
and made dresses, and mended old coats, and cleaned house, and made
carpets, and nailed them down, and cleaned windows, and washed dishes,
and tended the door-bell, and done every "menial" thing you can think
of, when it came to me to do, and I'm none the worse for it, though
perhaps you would not have complimented my "intellect," as you call
it, had you known it. Lord bless me! there's nothing like one's _own_
hands and feet. Bells are very good institutions when one is sick, but
I never found that person who, when I had the use of my feet, could do
a thing as quick as myself, and as a general thing the more you pay
them the slower they move; and as I'm of the comet order, I quite
forget it is "_beneath me_" to do things, till I've done them. So you
see, after all, so far as I am concerned, it is no great credit to me,
although it _is_ very shocking to know that a woman who writes isn't
always dressed in sky blue, and employed in smelling a violet.

       *       *       *       *       *

Then there is another subject to which I wish women would give a
little consideration; and that is the reason for the decline of the
good old-fashioned hospitality. I think the abolition of the good old
"tea" of our ancestors has a great deal to do with it, and the
prevalent and absurd idea that hospitality is not hospitality, unless
indorsed by a French cook, and a brown-stone front. Now, _dinner_
takes the place of this meal. Dinner! which involves half a dozen
courses, with dessert and wines to match. That is an affair which
requires the close supervision of the wife and mother of the family,
even though she may have a cook well-skilled, and attendants
well-drilled. Now, as most American wives and mothers, have about as
much strain on their vitality from day to day as they can possibly,
with their fragile constitutions, endure, they naturally prefer as few
of these domestic upheavings as they can get along with, and retain
their social footing; nor for one do I blame them for this. The blame,
is in a system which subordinates everything lovely and desirable in
the way of hospitality, to the coarse pleasures of show and gluttony.
Who shall be the bold lady pioneer of reform in this matter?

Certainly, ladies have a personal interest in abolishing this state of
things, when gentlemen's dinner-parties, including half a dozen
invitations, to the exclusion of every lady, except the hostess, are
becoming so common. Make your dinners more simple, fair dames, and
make your dress as simple as your dinners. Restore in this way the
power to invite your friends oftener, and let your and your husband's
invitations to dinner, include gentlemen _and their wives_. If the
latter are fools, they will not become less so by being excluded from
rational conversation. If they are _not_ fools, it is an outrage to
treat them as if they were. It would be useless, of course, to hint
that dinner had better be at midday. Fashion would turn up her nose at
the idea. And yet you know very well that _that_ is the natural and
most wholesome time to dine. As to gentlemen "not being able to leave
their business," to do this, I might suggest that they go to bed
earlier, to enable them to go earlier to that business in the morning.
I might also add, that gentlemen generally can find time to do
anything which they greatly desire to do. I might also add, that for
one child or young person who eats this heartiest meal of the day, and
goes directly to bed upon it without harm, thousands bring on an
indigestion, which makes life a curse instead of the blessing it ought
to be.

Where do you ever hear now, the frank, hearty invitation, "Come in any
time and see us?" How is it possible, when a table preparation that
involves so much thought and expense, is considered the proper way to
honor a guest, and conversation and cordiality are secondary matters,
if not altogether ignored? Of what use is it to have a fine house, and
well-stocked wine-cellar, and drilled servants, when the passion for
show has reached such a pitch, that public saloons and suites of rooms
in vast hotels, must be hired, and a man leave his own house, be it
ever so fine, because he must have more room and more parade, than any
private house can by any possibility furnish, without pitching the
whole family into inextricable chaos and confusion for a month.

This is all false and wrong, and demoralizing. It is death to social
life--death to the true happiness and well-being of the family, and in
my opinion, ladies are to blame for it, and ladies only can effect a

Simplify your toilets--simplify your dinners, ladies. There are many
of you who have sufficient good sense to indorse this view of the
case; how many are there with sufficient courage to defy the tyranny
of omnipotent fashion and carry it out?

       *       *       *       *       *

Now, let me tell you how it was in good old-fashioned New England
towns; when people enjoyed life five times as well as now. Then
husbands, wives, and children had not each a separate circle of
acquaintances, and their chief aim was not to regulate matters, with a
view to be in each other's society as little as possible. That fatal
death-blow to the purity, happiness, and love of home.

_Then_ you went at dark to tea. I am speaking of the old-fashioned New
England parties. You and your husband, and your eldest boy or girl;
the latter being instructed not to pull over the cake to get the best
piece, or otherwise to misbehave themselves. There were assembled the
principal members of the church, and, above all, its pastor and
spouse, and deacons ditto. The married women had on their best caps
and collars, and the regulation black-silk-company-dress, which, in my
opinion, has never been improved upon by profane modern fingers. The
young girls wore a merino of bright hue, if it were winter, with a
little frill of lace about the shoulders; or a white cambric dress if
the mildness of the weather admitted. The men always in black, laity
or clergy, with flesh-colored gloves, of Nature's own making,
warranted to fit.

All assembled, the buzz of talk was soon agreeably interrupted by the
entrance of a servant bearing a heavily-laden tray of cups and
saucers, filled with tea and coffee, cream and sugar. This tray was
rested on a table; and the host, rising, requested Rev. Mr. ---- to
ask a blessing. He did it, and the youngsters, eying the cake, wished
it had been shorter. So did the girl in charge of the tray. "Blessing"
at last over, the tea and coffee were distributed. The matrons
charging their initiatory fledglings "not to spill over," often wisely
pouring a spoonful of coffee or tea, from the cup into the saucer, to
prevent the former from any china-gymnastics unfavorable to the best
gown or carpet. The men turned their toes in till they met; spread
their red silk handkerchiefs over their bony knees, and on that risky,
improvised, graceful lap, placed the hot cup of tea, with an awful
sense of responsibility, which interfered with the half-finished
account of the last "revival." Then came a tray of thinly-sliced bread
and butter, delicate and tempting; rich cake, guiltless of hartshorn
or soda, with delicate sandwiches, and tiny tarts.

This ceremony gone through, the young people crawled from the maternal
wing, and laughed and talked in corners, as freely and hilariously as
if they were not "children of damnation," destined to eternal torment
if they did not indorse the creed of their forefathers. Their elders,
with satisfied stomachs, and cheerful voices and faces, seemed to have
merged the awful "hell," too, for the time being; and nobody would
have supposed them capable of bringing children into the world, to be
scared through it with a claw-footed devil constantly at their backs.

As the evening went on, the buzz and noise increased. The youngsters
giggled and pushed about, keeping jealous watch the while, for the
nine o'clock tray of goodies, which was to delight their eyes and
feast their palates. This tray contained the biggest oranges and
apples, the freshest cluster-raisins, and almonds, hickory nuts,
three-cornered nuts, filberts and grapes. After this came a tray of
preserved quinces, or plums, or peaches, with little pitchers of
_real_ cream. Then, to wind up, little cunning glasses filled with
lemonade, made of _lemons_.

_Now_ the youngsters had plenty to do. So absorbed were they, cracking
nuts and jokes, that when the minister, seizing the back of a chair in
the middle of the room, said, "Let us pray," the difficulty of cutting
a laugh off short in the middle, and disposing of their plates,
presented itself in such an hysterical manner, that a pinch of the
ear, or a shake of the shoulders, had to be resorted to, to bring
things to a spiritual focus. After prayers came speedy cloakings,
shawlings, and kind farewells and greetings; and by _ten_, or shortly
after, the hour at which modern parties _begin_, visitors and visited
were all tucked comfortably between the sheets.

_Now._ Nobody can give a party that does not involve the expenditure
of hundreds of dollars. Dinner, or evening party, it is all the same.
The hostess muddles her brain about "devilled fowl," "frozen
puddings," "meringue" things, of every shape--floral pyramids, for
which she has _my_ forgiveness, for fashion never had a more
pardonable sin than this. She must have dozens of hired silver, and
chairs, and hired waiters, and the mantua-maker must be driven wild
for dress trimmings, and the interior of the house must be thrown off
of the family track for days, before and after. And the good man of it
must have a dozen kinds of wines, and as many kinds of cigars; and
there must be more "courses," if it is a dinner, than you could count;
and you must sit tedious hours, while these are trotted on and trotted
off, by skilled skirmishers; and what with the necessity of all this
restaurant-business, and the stupidity that comes of over-feeding, one
might as well leave his brains at home when he goes into modern
"society." Not to speak of the host and hostess, whose attempts at
conversation are fettered, and spasmodic in consequence; for, have as
many servants as you may, mistakes _will_ happen, _crushing_ mistakes,
such as a dish located east instead of west, or wine wrongly placed,
or the wrong wine rightly placed, or a dish tardy, that should be
speedy; all of which momentous things, to the scholastic mind of the
host, or the intelligent brain of the hostess, being sufficient to
make them forget that "the chief end of man" was not to cultivate his
stomach. Now, if one must needs lure one's friends with a vulgar bill
of fare, like a hotel, in order to ensure their presence; if one must
think of the subject days beforehand, in one shape and another, and be
bored, and worried, and badgered with these material things; if
_bellies_, to speak politely, are to domineer over _brains_ this way,
then I say that "society," at such a price, isn't worth having. For
one, I had rather go back to the weak lemonade and strong prayers of
our forefathers.

       *       *       *       *       *

Then, as to the dress of women. If there is one phrase more
universally misapplied than another, it is the phrase "well-dressed."
The first thing to be considered in this connection, is _fitness_. A
superb and costly silk, resting upon the questionable straw in the
bottom of an omnibus, excites only pity for the bad taste of the
luckless wearer. A pair of tight-fitting, light kid gloves, on female
fingers, on a day when the windows are crusted with frost, strikes us
as an uncalled-for martyrdom under the circumstances; also a pair of
high-heeled new boots, with polished soles, constantly threatening the
wearer with a humiliating downfall, and necessitating slow and careful
locomotion, on icy pavements, in company with a very pink nose. Bows
of ribbon, jewelled combs and head-pins at breakfast, either at a
hotel table or at home, do not convey to me an idea of _fitness_;
also, white or pink parasols for promenade or shopping excursions,
whether the remainder of the dress is in keeping or not, and more
often it is the latter. A rich velvet outer garment over a common
dress; a handsome set of furs with a soiled bonnet; diamond earrings
with shabby gloves; gold watch and trinkets, and a silk dress
ornamented with grease pots; sloppy, muddy pavements and pink silk
hose--all these strike the beholder as incongruous.

There are women who are slow to understand these things. The season,
the atmosphere and the hour of the day have no bearing at all upon
their decisions as to costume. A woman with restricted means, and
unable to indulge in changes of apparel, instead of selecting fabrics
or trimmings which will not invite attention to this fact, will often
select such a stunning, glaring outfit, that the truth she would
conceal, is patent to every beholder; an inexpensive dress, provided
it be whole, clean, well-fitting and harmonious in its accessories,
conveys the idea of being "well-dressed" quite as emphatically as a
toilette five times more costly. But what is the use of talking? One
woman shall go into her room, and, without study or thought,
instinctively harmonize her whole attire, so that the most fastidious
critic shall find no fault with her selection. Another shall put on
the same things, and then neutralize the whole by some flaring,
incongruous, idiotic "last touch" which she imagines her crowning
success. She can't do it! and, what is worse, she can't be persuaded
that she can't do it.

After all, what does it matter? growls some believer in "Watts on the
Mind;" what does it matter what a woman _wears_? It is a free country.
So it is; and yet I am glad the trees and the grass in it are green,
not red. I am glad that the beautiful snow is not black. I am glad
that every flower is not yellow, and that the sky is not a pea-green.
Woman is by nature a neat and tidy creature; grace and beauty she
strives for, be it ever so dimly. All that intelligently helps to
this, I affirm to be a means of grace. It would not be amiss to
inquire how much moral pollution and loss of self-respect among the
women in our tenement houses is consequent upon their inability, amid
such miserable surroundings, to appear in anything but their unwomanly
rags. If a woman has a husband who is indifferent whether her hair is
smoothed once a day or once a year, still let her, for her children's
sake, strive to look as attractive as she can. "My mother is not so
pretty as yours," said one child to another. The keen little eyes had
noted the rumpled hair, the untidy wrapper, the slipshod shoe, which
were considered good enough for the nursery, unless company was
expected. Sickness excepted, this is wrong and unnecessary. Nothing
that tends to make home bright is a matter of inconsequence, and this
least of all. How many young mothers, sitting in their nurseries, love
to recall the pleasant picture of _their_ mother in hers. The neat
dress--the shining hair, the beaming face. So let your children
remember you. Be not pretty and tidy, _only_ when company comes.

Then there is the school question, which is never long out of my mind.
The papers are full of "school advertisements," of every kind, "_Which
is the best?_" ask the bewildered parents as they look over the
thousand-and-one Prospectus-es and read the formidable list of
"branches" taught in each, between the hours of nine and three, for
each day, Sundays excepted. They look at their little daughter. "It is
time, they say, that she learned something;" and that is true; but
they do not consider that is not yet time for her to learn
_everything_; and that in the attempt she will probably break down
before the experiment is half made. They do not consider, in their
anxiety, that she should be educated with the railroad speed so
unhappily prevalent; that to keep a growing child in school from nine
till three is simply torture; and to add to that lessons out of
school, an offence, which should come under the head of "Cruelty to
Animals," and punished accordingly by the city authorities; who, in
their zeal to decide upon the most humane manner in which to kill
calves and sheep, seem quite to overlook the slow process by which the
children of New York are daily murdered. That "everybody does so;"
that "all schools" keep these absurd hours; that "teachers want the
afternoons to themselves,"--seem to me puerile reasons, when I meet
each day, at three o'clock, the great army of children, bearing in
their bent shoulders, narrow chests and pale faces, the unmistakable
marks of this overstrain of the brain, at a critical age. And when I
see, in addition, the piles of books under their arms, effectually to
prevent the only alleviation of so grave a mistake, in the out-door
exercise that their cramped limbs, and tired brains so loudly call
for, after school hours, I have no words to express my sorrow and
disgust of our present school system.

It is not teachers, but _parents_, who are to right this matter. The
former but echo the wishes of the latter. If parents think physical
education a matter of no consequence, why should teachers love those
children better than the parents themselves? If parents are so anxious
for the cramming process, which is filling our church-yards so fast,
why should teachers, who "must live," interfere? Now and then, one
more humane, less self-seeking, than the majority, will venture to
suggest that the pupil has already quite as much mental strain as is
safe for its tender years; but when the reply is in the form of a
request from the parent that "another branch will not make much
difference," what encouragement has the teacher to continue to oppose
such stupidity? Not long since, I heard of a mother who was boasting
to a friend of the smartness and precocity of her little daughter of
seven years, "who attended school from nine till three each day, and
studied most of the intervening time; and was so fond of her books
_that all night, in her sleep, she was saying over her geography
lessons and doing her sums in arithmetic_." Comment on such folly is
unnecessary. I throw out these few hints, hoping that one mother, at
least, may pause long enough to give so important a subject a
moment's thought. That she may ask, whether it would not be wise
occasionally to visit the school-room where her child spends so much
of its time; and examine the state of ventilation in the apartment,
and see if the desk, at which the child sits so long, is so contrived
that it might have been handed down from the days of the Inquisition,
as a model instrument of torture. I will venture to say, that her
husband takes far better care, and expends more pains-taking thought,
with his favorite horse, if he has one, than she ever has on the
physical well-being of her child. What _right_, I ask, has she to
bring children into the world, who is too indolent, or too
thoughtless, or too pleasure-loving to guide their steps safely,
happily, and above all, _healthily_ through it?

       *       *       *       *       *

There is another topic on which I wish to speak to women. I hope to
live to see the time when they will consider it a _disgrace_ to be
sick. When women, and men too, with flat chests and stooping
shoulders, will creep round the back way, like other violators of
known laws. Those who _inherit_ sickly constitutions have my sincerest
pity. I only request one favor of them, that they cease perpetuating
themselves till they are physically on a sound basis. But a woman who
laces so tightly that she breathes only by a rare accident; who
vibrates constantly between the confectioner's shop and the dentist's
office; who has ball-robes and jewels in plenty, but who owns neither
an umbrella, nor a water-proof cloak, nor a pair of thick boots; who
lies in bed till noon, never exercises, and complains of "total want
of appetite," save for pastry and pickles, is simply a disgusting
nuisance. Sentiment is all very nice; but, were I a man, I would
beware of a woman who "couldn't eat." Why don't she take care of
herself? Why don't she take a nice little bit of beefsteak with her
breakfast, and a nice _walk_--not _ride_--after it? Why don't she stop
munching sweet stuff between meals? Why don't she go to bed at a
decent time, and lead a clean, healthy life? The doctors and
confectioners have ridden in their carriages long enough; let the
butchers and shoemakers take a turn at it. A man or woman who "can't
eat" is never sound on any question. It is waste breath to converse
with them. They take hold of everything by the wrong handle. Of course
it makes them very angry to whisper pityingly, "dyspepsia," when they
advance some distorted opinion; but I always do it. They are not going
to muddle my brain with their theories, because their internal works
are in a state of physical disorganization. Let them go into a Lunatic
Asylum and be properly treated till they can learn how they are put
together, and how to manage themselves sensibly.

How I _rejoice_ in a man or woman with a chest; who can look the sun
in the eye, and step off as if they had not wooden legs. It is a rare
sight. If a woman now has an errand round the corner, she must have a
carriage to go there; and the men, more dead than alive, so lethargic
are they with constant smoking, creep into cars and omnibuses, and
curl up in a corner, dreading nothing so much as a little wholesome
exertion. The more "tired" they are, the more diligently they smoke,
like the women who drink perpetual _tea_ "to keep them up."

Keep them up! Heavens! I am fifty-five, and I feel half the time as if
I were just made. To be sure I was born in Maine, where the timber and
the human race last; but I do not eat pastry, nor candy, nor
ice-cream. I do not drink tea! I walk, not ride. I own stout
boots--pretty ones, too! I have a water-proof cloak, and no diamonds.
I like a nice bit of beefsteak and a glass of ale, and anybody else
who wants it may eat pap. I go to bed at ten, and get up at six. I
dash out in the rain, because it feels good on my face. I don't care
for my clothes, but I _will_ be well; and after I am buried, I warn
you, don't let any fresh air or sunlight down on my coffin, if you
don't want me to get up.


I can imagine nothing more disheartening to a clergyman, than to go to
church, with an excellent sermon in his coat-pocket, and find an
audience of twenty-five people. I was one of twenty-five, the other
night, who can bear witness, that having turned out, in a pelting
rain, to evening service, the clergyman preached to us with as much
eloquence, good sense and zeal as if his audience numbered twenty-five
hundred. You may ask why shouldn't he? If he believes _one_ soul is
more value than all the world, why shouldn't he? Merely because there
is as much human nature in a clergyman as in anybody else. Merely
because he is, like other people, affected by outward influences; and
a row of empty seats might well have a depressing physical effect,
notwithstanding his "belief."

When I go to church I want to carry something back with me wherewithal
to fight the devil through the week. I don't want the ancestry of
Jeroboam and Ezekiel, and Keranhappuck raked up and commented on; or
any other fossil dodge, to cover up the speaker's barrenness of head
or heart. I want something for _to-day_--for over-burdened men and
women in this year of our Lord 1869. Something _live_; something that
has some bearing on our daily work; something that recognizes the
seething elements about us, and their bearings on the questions of
conscience and duty we are all hourly called on to settle. I want a
minister who won't forever take refuge in "the Ark," for fear of
saying something that conservatism will hum! and ha! over.

One day I heard this remark, coming out of church where that style of
sermon was preached: "Well--what has all that to do with _me_?" Now
that's just it. It expresses my idea better than a whole library
could. What has that to do with me? _Me_ individually--bothered,
perplexed, sore-hearted, weary _me_, hungry for soul-comfort. I think
this is the trouble; ministers live too much in their libraries. If
they would set fire to them, and study human nature more, the world
would be the gainer. They need to get out of the old time-crusted
groove. To stir round a bit, and see something besides Jeroboam; to
know the tragedies that are going on in the lives of their
parishioners, and find out the alleviations and the remedy. We have
got to live on earth a while before we "get to heaven." It might be as
well to consider that occasionally. It is quite as important to show
us how to live here as how to get there.

I don't believe in a person's eyes being so fixed on heaven, that he
goes blundering over everybody's corns on the way there. If that's his
Christianity, the sooner he gets tripped up the better. _I_ saw "a
Christian" the other day. It was a workingman, who, noticing across
the street a little girl of seven years, trying to lift with her
little cold fingers a bundle, and poise it on her head, put down his
box of tools, went across the street and lifted it up for her, and
with a cheery "there now, my dear," went smiling on his way.

       *       *       *       *       *

Oh, if clergymen would only study their fellow men more. If they would
less often try to unravel some double-twisted theological knot, which,
if pulled out straight, would never carry one drop of balm to a
suffering fellow-being, or teach him how to bear bravely and patiently
the trials, under which soul and body are ready to faint. If, looking
into some yearning face before them on a Sunday, they would preach
only to its wistful asking for spiritual help, in words easy to be
understood--in heart-tones not to be mistaken--how different would
Sundays seem, to many _women_, at least, whose heart-aches, and
unshared burdens, none but their Maker knows. "Heavy laden!" Let our
clergymen never forget that phrase in their abstruse examination of
text and context. Let them not forget that as Lazarus watched for the
falling crumbs from Dives' table, so some poor harassed soul before
them may be sitting with expectant ear, for the hopeful words, that
shall give courage to shoulder again the weary burden. I sometimes
wonder, were I a clergyman, _could_ I preach in this way to nodding
plumes, and flashing jewels, and rustling silks? Would not my very
soul be paralyzed within me, as theirs seems to be? And then I wish
that _nobody_ could own a velvet cushioned pew in church; that the
doors of all churches were open to every man and woman, in whatsoever
garb they might chance to wear in passing, and _not_ parcelled and
divided off for the reception of certain classes, and the exclusion
(for it amounts to that) of those who most need spiritual help and
teaching. You tell me that there are places provided for such people.
So there are cars for colored people to ride in. _My_ Christianity, if
I have any, builds up no such walls of separation. How often have I
seen a face loitering at a church threshold, listening to the swelling
notes of the organ, and longing to go in, were it not for the wide
social gulf between itself and those who assembled--I will not say
worshipped--there, and I know if that clergyman, inside that church,
spoke as his Master spake when on earth, that he would soon preach to
empty walls. They _want_ husks; they pay handsomely for husks, and
they get them, I say in my vexation, as the door swings on its hinges
in some poor creature's face, and he wanders forth to struggle unaided
as best he may with a poor man's temptations. Our Roman Catholic
brethren are wiser. Their creed is not my creed, save this part of it:
"That the rich and the poor meet here together, and the Lord is the
Maker of them all." I often go there to see it. I am glad when the
poor servant drops on her knees in the aisle, and makes the sign of
the cross, that nobody bids her rise, to make way for a silken robe
that may be waiting behind her. I am glad the mother of many little
children may drop in for a brief moment, before the altar, to
recognize her spiritual needs, and then pass out to the cares she may
not longer lose sight of. I do not believe as they do, but it gladdens
my heart all the same, that one man is as good as his neighbor at
least _there_--before God. I breathe freer at the thought. I can sit
in a corner and watch them pass in and out, and rejoice that every
one, how humble soever, _feels_ that he or she _is_ that church, just
as much as the richest foreigner from the cathedrals of the old world,
whom they may jostle in passing out. Said one poor girl to me--"I
don't care what happens to me, or how hard I work through the week, if
I can get away to my Sunday morning mass." She was a woman to be sure,
and women, high and low, have more spirituality than men. _They_ can't
do without their church--sometimes, I am sorry to say, not even with
it; for, as the same servant solemnly and truthfully remarked to me,
"Even then the devil is sometimes too strong for 'em!"

       *       *       *       *       *

A fashionable church is more distasteful to me because memory always
conjures up certain pleasant country Sundays of long ago. Ah! that walk
through the shady sweet-briar roads, full of perfume, and song, and
dew, to the village church, in whose ample shed were tied Dobbins of
every shape and color, switching the flies with their long tails, and
neighing friendly acquaintance with each other. Oh! the wide open
windows of the church, guiltless of painted apostles and dropsical
cherubs, where the breeze played through, bringing with it the sweet
odor of clover and honeysuckle and new-mown hay, and the drowsy hum of
happy insect life, and now and then a little bird, who sang his little
song _without pay_, and flitted out again. Oh! the good old snow-haired
patriarchs--who _didn't_ dye their hair or whiskers--leaning on their
sticks, followed by chubby little grandchildren, whose cheeks rivalled
the reddest apples in their orchards. Then the farmers' wives, with
belts they could breathe under, with ample chests and sunny glances of
content at Susan, and Nancy, and Tommy, in their best Sunday clothes.
Then the good old-fashioned singing, with which nobody found fault,
though a crack-voiced old deacon did join in, because he was too happy
to keep silent about "Jordan." Then the hand-shaking after service, and
the hearty good-will to "the minister and his folks." Then the
adjournment to the grove near by, to pass the intermission till the
afternoon service, and the selection of the sweetest and shadiest spot
to unpack the lunch baskets. The shifting light through the branches,
upon the pretty heads of the country girls, with their fresh cheeks and
shining hair and blue ribbons. And after doughnuts and cheese and
apple-pie, were shared and eaten, the ramble after wild-flowers round
the roots of the mossy old trees, or the selection of the prettiest
oak leaves to make wreaths for pretty heads, and the shy looks of
admiration of the rustic beaux as they were severally adjusted. Then
the little group under the trees, singing psalm tunes, as the matrons
wandered over to the grave-yard to read for the hundredth time the
little word "Anna," or "Joseph," or "Samuel," inscribed on some
headstone, from which they pulled away the intrusive grass or clover,
plucking a little leaf as they left, and hiding it in their ample,
motherly bosoms.

All this came to me as I sat in that hot, stifled, painted-window,
fashionable church, listening to the dull monotone about the Hittites,
from which I reaped nothing but irritation; and I wished I was a
school-girl again, back in that lovely village in New Hampshire, where
Sundays were not opening days for millinery; where people went to
church because they _loved_ it, and not because it was "respectable"
to be seen there once a day; where heaven's light was not excluded for
any dim taper of man's lighting, and one could sing though he had not
performed during the week at the opera; and the doxology rang out as
only farmers' lungs can make it. I am glad I had this school-girl
experience of lovely, balmy, country Sundays, though it spoils me for
the formal, city Sunday. Every summer, when I go to the country, I
hunt up some old church like this, which all the winter I have longed
for. Though, truth to tell, what with city boarders who infest them,
with their perfume and point-lace, and rustling silks, my country
church is getting more difficult every year to find. How it spoils it
all, when some grand city dame comes sailing in, with her astounding
millinery devices, to profane my simple country church and astonish
its simple worshippers! My dear madam, for _my_ sake, please this
summer "_say_ your prayers" on the piazza of the grand hotel,
afflicted by yourself and your seven mammoth travelling trunks.

       *       *       *       *       *

I strayed into a strange church not long since, chose my seat, and sat
down. Sextons are polite; but they have a way of marching one up,
through a long aisle, under the very shadow of the pulpit, and under
the noses of an expectant congregation, when unfortunately I have a
fancy for a quiet, out of the way corner. The church was plain and
neat, and nicely dressed, with its shining bunches of holly, and its
stars, and its green wreathed-pillars. The temperature of the place
was pleasant, and the bright lights, and the sweet tones of the organ,
were all promotive of serenity and cheerfulness. The congregation
dropped in, in groups and families, and took their places. They were
not fashionable people; evidently they were workers on week-days. The
men and the women, and even the children, had that look, in spite of
their Sunday clothes. So much the more glad was I that they had such a
bright, cheerful church to come to. By and by the minister came in.
Now, thought I, God grant his sermon be cheerful too; for these are
people who lead no holiday lives, and all the more need a lift out of
it on Sunday. The burden of the first hymn he chose was "death's cold
arms;" read in a tone studiedly corresponding to its cheerful
sentiment. A wail from the organ preceded the singing, whose dolor
affected me like a toss-out into a snow-drift. Then the minister rose.
His first salutation was "My _dying_ friends." Then he proceeded to
inform them that the old year was dying. That there it lay, with its
great hands crossed over its mighty heart, and the sepulchre yawning
for its last pulsation. Then he reminded them that very likely many of
those present would be in that very condition before the close of the
new year. Then he told the young folks a frightful story about a dying
young man whose friends sent for him (the speaker.) A young man who
_hadn't_ joined the church. When he got there, he said, "reason had
deserted its throne;" which was his way of saying that the young man
was crazy, and his way of inferring that it was a judgment on him for
not "having joined the church." Then he said, that though they waited
and waited for his reason to come back, his soul fled away without,
and the inference was that _it fled to hell_. He didn't recognize any
charitable possibility that much _might_ have passed between that
young man's soul and its Maker, though _not_ expressed either to
friends or pastor, which might savor of _heaven_ instead of _hell_,
and that--although he had not joined the church;--not a clue was left
for the faintest hope for any of his friends that might happen to be
present, that this young man's soul was not eternally dammed.

What right, indeed, _had_ the Almighty to know more of one of his
congregation than he himself? What right had He to pardon a fleeting
soul, with no shriving from its pastoral keeper? I say this in no
spirit of irreverence. But, oh! why _will_ clergymen persist in
_scaring_ people to heaven? Why darken lives heavily laden with toil,
discouragement, and care through the six days of the week, by adding
to its depressing weight on Sunday? Has "Come unto me ye heavy laden"
no place in their Bible? Is "God is Love" blotted from out its pages?
Is the human heart--especially the _youthful_ heart--untouchable by
any appeal save the cowardly one of fear? Would those young people,
when out of leading-strings, _continue_ to look upon life through the
charnel-house spectacles of this spiritual teacher? Would there come
no dreadful rebound to those young men and young women, from this
perpetual gloom? These were questions I there asked myself; wisely, or
unwisely, you shall be the judge.

"Like as a father pitieth his children," I talismanically murmured to
myself, as I left the church, with the last dolorous hymn ringing in
my ear--

    "When cold in death I lie."

       *       *       *       *       *

How great the change in the temporal condition of the Minister of Old
and Modern Times. The half-fed, ill-paid, scantily-clothed,
over-worked, discouraged "minister" of the olden time is--where is he?
The "minister," before whose pen and paper came the troubled faces of
wife and children; who dreaded the knock of a parishioner, lest it
should involve the diminution of a "salary" which a common day-laborer
might well refuse for its pitiful inadequacy; the minister whose body
was expected to be so Siamesed to his soul, that the "heavenly manna"
would answer equally the demands of both. The minister who must plant
and hoe his own potatoes, but always in a black coat and white
neckcloth. The minister whose children must come up miniature saints,
while all their father's spare time was spent in driving his
parishioners' children safe to heaven. The minister who, when he was
disabled for farther service, was turned out like an old horse to
browse on thistles by the road-side;--_that_ minister, to the credit
of humanity be it said, is among the things that were. Instead--nobody
is astonished at, or finds fault with, paragraphs in the papers
announcing that the Rev. Rufus Rusk was presented by the board of
trustees, in the name of many friends of his congregation, with a
costly autograph album; upon every page of which was found a $10
greenback, amounting in all to $1,000; and that afterward he was
invited to partake of an elegant collation. Or--that the Rev. Silas
Sands received from his church and congregation securities to the
amount of $10,000, as a testimonial of their esteem for his faithful
services for many years. Or, that the Rev. Henry Cook had a gift of a
commodious and pleasant residence from his church; or, that his
health seeming to require a voyage to Europe, the necessary funds were
promptly and cheerfully placed in his hands by his affectionate

The community do not faint away at these announcements, as far as I
can find out. They seem to have come to the unanimous conclusion that
the "minister," like other laborers, is "worthy of his hire." For one,
I could wish this knowledge had come sooner; for I bethink me, in my
day, of the good men and true, who have staggered to their graves
without a sympathizing word, or the slightest token of recognition for
services under which soul and body were fainting; and whose bitterest
death-pang was the thought that their children, too young to help
themselves, must, after all this serfdom, be the recipients of a
grudging charity.

The presence of a clergyman is not now the signal for small children
to be seized with mortal terror; he no longer sits like a night-mare
on the panting chest of merriment. He is merry _himself_. The more
Christianity he has the more cheerful he is, and _ought to be_. He
talks upon other things than the ten commandments. He joins in
innocent games and amusements. If he has an opinion, he dares express
it, though it _may_ differ from that of some "prominent man." He can
fish and shoot, and drive and row, and take a milk punch, like other
free agents without damaging his clerical robe or his usefulness. He
can have beautiful things to make his home attractive, without being
accused of "worldliness." He can wear a nicely fitting coat, or boot,
or hat, without peril to anybody's salvation. He can give a good
dinner, or go to one. He can go to the circus. He can attend the
opera. He can own and drive a fast horse. His stomach consequently
does not, as of yore, cling to his miserable backbone; nor are his
cheeks cavernous; since he draws a free breath, and sneezes when he
see fit, like the laymen. Every day I thank God that the clergyman's
millennium has begun. That his wife looks no longer like a piece of
worn-out old fur, nor his children like spring chickens. That
congregations now feel a pride in their minister, and an honest shame
when he really needs anything which _they_ have, and _he_ has not.
That they no longer hurt his self-respect by their manner of
"_giving_" what he has _earned_ a thousand times over. In short, "the
minister" is no longer a cringing creature, creeping close to the
wall, lest he offend by the mere fact of his existence; but a
brisk-stepping, square-shouldered, broad-chested, round human being,
whom it is pleasant to look at and comforting to listen to, since his
theology is no longer as pinched as his larder.

       *       *       *       *       *

As to "the minister's wife" of the olden time, where is _she_? The
ubiquitous "minister's wife," who must make and mend, and bake and
brew, and churn, and have children, and nurse and educate them, and
receive calls at all hours, with a sweet smile on her face, and thank
everybody for reminding her of what they consider her short-comings;
who must attend funerals, and weddings, and births, and social
prayer-meetings, and "neighborhood-meetings," and "maternal meetings;"
and contribute calico aprons for the Fejee Islanders, and sew flannel
nightcaps for the Choctaw infants, and cut and make her husband's
trousers; and call as often on Mrs. Deacon Smith, and stay as long to
the minute, as she did on Mrs. Deacon Jones; and who must call a
parish meeting to sit on her new bonnet, if so be that the old one was
pronounced by all the Grundys unfit for farther service. The
minister's wife, who was hunted through the weeks and months and
years, by a carping, stingy parish, till she looked like a worn-out
old piece of fur; behold her now!

For one, _I_ like to see her pretty bonnet, _I_ like to see her
children shouting in the sunshine, all the same as if their "Pa"
wasn't a minister. I like her daughters to play on the piano, and her
boys to kick round independently and generally like the boys of other
men. I like to see them live in a comfortable house, hung with
pictures and filled with pretty things. I like their table to have
nice cups and saucers, and table-cloths and napkins, and good things
to eat on it. I am glad the minister's wife can stay at home when she
feels like it; and not be trotted out with the toothache of a wet day
to see if there is not danger of Squire Smith's baby sneezing because
the wind is east; under penalty of her husband's dismissal from his
pastoral charge. It does me good to see modern ministers' spouses
hold up their heads and face the daylight like other men's wives,
instead of creeping round on all fours, apologizing for their
existence, and inviting cuffs from people who, born without souls,
consequently can have no call for "a minister."


A square, solid form, innocent of corsets; a thick, dark
"stuff"-dress, raised high above ankles which are shaped for use;
stout leather shoes; hands red and gloveless; a bonnet of obsolete
shape and trimmings; a face round as the moon, from which the rich red
blood, made of potatoes and pure air, seems ready to burst; great,
honest eyes, always downcast when addressed by those whom the old
country styles "superiors." Such is Bridget when she first steps from
the deck of the good ship "Maria," at Castle Garden.

Bridget goes to a "place." The pert house-maid titters when she
appears, square and wholesome, like a human cow. Bridget's ears catch
the word "greenhorn," and "she might as well be a grandmother as to be
only seventeen." Bridget looks furtively at the smart, though cheap
dress of the chambermaid, with its inevitable flimsy ruffled skirt and
tinsel buttons, and then at her despised "best dress," which she has
been wont to keep so tidy for Sundays and holidays. She looks at the
thin, paper-soled gaiters of the critical housemaid, and then at her
stout, dew-defying brogans. She looks at her own thick masses of hair,
fastened up with only one idea--to keep it out of the way--and then
at the housemaid's elaborate parlor-imitation of puff and braid and
curl. The view subdues her. She is for the first time ashamed of her
own thick natural tresses. She looks at her peony-red cheeks, and
contrasts them with the sickly but "genteel" pallor of the
housemaid's, and gradually it dawns upon her why they whispered
"greenhorn" when she stepped into the kitchen that first day. But the
housemaid, overpowering as she is to Bridget, suffers a total eclipse
when the lady of the house sweeps past, in full dress. Bridget
looks--marvels, adores, and vows to imitate. _That_ hair! _Those_
jewels! _That_ long, trailing silk skirt and embroidered petticoat!
_Did_ anybody _ever_? _Could_ Bridget in any way herself reach such
perfection? She blushes to think that only last night in her
home-sickness she actually longed to milk once more the old red cow in
the cherished barn-yard. How ridiculous! She doubts whether that
sumptuous lady ever saw a cow. The idea that she--Bridget--had been
contented all her life to have only cows look at her! By the way--why
should that curly-headed grocer-boy talk so much to the housemaid,
when he brings parcels, and never to her? A light dawns on her dormant
brain. She will fix her hair the way to catch grocer-boys. She too
will have a ruffled skirt to drag through the gutter, though she may
never own any underclothes. She will have some brass ear-rings and
bracelets and things, and some paper-soled boots, with her very first
wages; and as to her bonnet, it is true, she can afford only one for
market and for "mass;" for rain and shine; for heat and for cold; but
by St. Patrick, it shall be a fourteen-dollar "dress-hat," anyhow,
though she may never own a pair of India-rubbers, or a flannel
petticoat, or a pocket-handkerchief, or an umbrella. Just as if this
wasn't a "free country?" Just as if that spiteful housemaid was going
to have all the grocer-boys to herself? Bridget will see about that!
Her eyes are a pretty blue; and as to her hair, it is at least her
own; yes, ma'am; no "rats" will be necessary for _her_; that will save

And so the brogans, and the dark "stuff"-dress, and the thick
stockings, and shawl, come to grief; and in two months' time flash is
written all over Bridget, from the crown of her showy hat to the tips
of her crucified toes, squeezed into narrow, paper-soled, fashionable,
high-heeled gaiters. And as to her "superiors," gracious goodness!
America is not Ireland, nor England either, I'd have you to know. You
had better just mention that word in Bridget's hearing now, and see
what will come of it!

       *       *       *       *       *

Stealing is a rough, out-and-out word, generally most obnoxious to
those, who are in the daily and hourly practice of it. Now domestics
too often consider that everything that drops upon the carpet is their
personal property, from a common pin to a pair of diamond ear-rings.
"_I found it on the floor_," is considered by them sufficient excuse
when detected in any felonious appropriation.

Now the laws of gravitation being fixed, this view of the case is
rather startling to mistresses; particularly as childish fingers will
pull at belts till buckles and clasps drop off; at chains till
trinkets are dissevered; at hair till ornamental combs or head pins
tumble out; at fingers till rings slip off on sofas or chairs.

When dropped, "has Bridget seen them?" _No!_ though she may have swept
the room ten minutes after. _No!_--though you are sure of having them
on when you came into that room, and of not having them on when you
left. No!--Bridget confronts you sturdily--No! You bite your lips and
pocket the loss, with the pleasant recollection that the missing
article was a gift from some dear, perhaps dead friend. Once in a
while, to be sure, you may be fortunate enough, by making a sudden and
successful foray among her goods and chattels, to seize the lost
treasure; but as a general rule, you may as well turn your thoughts
upon some less irritating subject. According to Bridget's code, it is
not "stealing," constantly to use your thread, needles, spools, silk,
tape, thimble and scissors, unlimitedly, to make or mend her own
clothes. Is it not just so much saved from her pocket, toward the
purchase of a brass breast-pin, or a flashy dress-bonnet?
India-rubbers and umbrellas, too, being merely useful articles, she
cannot be expected to provide them for her own use; therefore yours,
one after another, travel off in new and unknown directions, until
you are quite weary of providing substitutes. Occasionally, your
spangled opera-fan spends an evening out, where you yourself never had
the felicity of an introduction; or--your gloves take a short journey,
and return as travellers are apt to do, in rather a soiled and
dilapidated condition. As to cologne and perfumes of all kinds, pomade
and hair-pins, they disappear like dew before the rising sun. "_Where
all the pins go_" is also no longer a mystery. Of course "real ladies"
never notice these little thefts; but accept them in the light of
Bridget's perquisites, only too thankful if she leaves to them the
private and unshared use of their head-brush and tooth-brush. To sum
up the whole thing, there would seem to be only two ways at present of
getting along with servants. One is to be deaf, dumb and blind to
everything that is out of the way; or else to live in a state of
perpetual warfare with their general shortcomings. A man's ultimatum
is, "just step into an Intelligence Office and get another." Alas!
what this "getting another" implies, with all its initiatory
vexations, is known only to the _mistress_ of the house. To make the
moon-struck _master_ of it comprehend that his wife cannot at once,
upon the entrance of a bran new Bridget, dismiss dull care, would take
more breath than most mothers of young and rising families are able to

       *       *       *       *       *

Then again, if there is anything calculated to "rile" the mistress of
a family, it is this common rejoinder of domestics to any attempt to
regulate the household work. "When I lived with Mrs. Smith I did thus
and so." Will they _never_ be made to understand, be they English,
Irish, German, or Yankee, that Mrs. Smith's way of managing _her_
family affairs can have no possible connection with Mrs. Jones's plans
for the same. That, on the contrary, Mrs. Jones does not care a
d----ime what hour of the day Mrs Smith breakfasts, dines, or sups;
what days she goes out, or stays in; or in what manner she has her
washing, clear-starching and cooking done. In short, that it is not
only totally irrelevant to the subject to mention her, but a nuisance
and an irritation. _Can_ Betty, or Sally, or Bridget ever comprehend
that, when they engaged to work for Mrs. Jones, they were not engaged
to work according to Mrs. Smith's programme, or their own, or that of
any mistress who has ever existed since Eve, who, blessed be her name,
lived on grapes and things that involved no servants. And can any
phrenologist inform us whether a kitchen-bump exists, which, if
patiently manipulated for a series of months, might in time convey the
idea, that while roast-beef, done to leather, may be palatable to Mrs.
Smith, rare beef may be equally palatable to Mrs. Jones? Also, if by
any elaborate and painstaking process of instruction, Sally, or
Bridget, or Betty might be taught, that the hours for meals in
different families may be allowed to vary, according to the different
tastes and occupations of each, and that without endangering the
Constitution of the United States. In short, that it is about time
that the kitchen-traditions, with which domestics usually swathe
themselves round, like so many mummies, were abolished; and every
family-tub be allowed quietly to repose on its own independent bottom.

We often wonder how Mr. Jones or Mr. Smith would fancy it, should Tom
Tiddler, their clerk, answer their orders by informing them
gratuitously of the manner in which the firm of Jenkins & Co.
conducted their mercantile business; and how they would stand being
harrowed within an inch of their lives while busily taking an account
of stock, by any such irrelevant nonsense.

Also: I would respectfully submit whether the petty, every-day
irritations over which Mr. Jones or Mr. Smith smoke themselves stupid,
or explode in naughty words, should not, in the case of Mrs. Jones and
Mrs. Smith, be allowed some other escape-valve than that of the
"Woman's Guide Book's"--_sweet smile_.

       *       *       *       *       *

The other day, in running my eye over a daily paper, I read this
advertisement: "A _genteel_ girl wishes a situation as chambermaid."
Now if there is one word in the English language that I hate more than
another, it is the word _genteel_. No matter where, or how, or to
whom, or by whom it is applied, my very soul sickens at it. It is the
universal and never-failing indorser of every sham ever foisted upon
disgusted human nature. From the "genteel" cabbage-scented
boarding-house, where tobacco emasculated young men "feed," and
mindless, be-flounced, cheap jewel-ried married and unmarried women
smile sweetly on them, to the seventh-rate dry-goods store in some
obscure street, whose clerk sells only the most "genteel" goods at a
shilling per yard; to the "genteel" school-girl who, owning one greasy
silk dress, imagines that she understands her geography better in that
attire than in a quiet, clean, modest "de laine;" to the "genteel"
shop-girl who, pitiably destitute of comfortable underclothes, yet
always owns a "dress hat," and swings about the last showy fashion in
trimming, on some cheap fabric; to the "genteel" cook who goes to
market with her hair dressed as near as may be like her mistress,
fastening it up with a brassy imitation of her gold comb; to the
"genteel" seminary for young ladies, who ride to school in a carriage
with liveried servants, their papa having formerly been one himself.

But a "genteel" chambermaid! Now, why should this patrician creature
seek such a prosaic, vulgar occupation? Could she be aware that
chambermaids must wield brooms, and dust-pans, and scrubbing-brushes,
and handle pokers, and shovel, and tongs, and ashes. That they may
even be asked to stand at the wash-tub, and be seen by the neighbors
in the disgraceful occupation of hanging out clothes. That they may
occasionally have to answer the door-bell in an apron, and usher
finely-dressed ladies into the parlor; or be asked to take a baby out
for an airing, and be stamped at once by the public as a person who
"works for a living." How can a "genteel" chambermaid calmly
contemplate such degradation, least of all perform such duties
faithfully and well? Would not any sensible lady, wishing a
chambermaid, see at once that the thing was impossible? Would she not
know that she might ring her bell till the wire gave out, before this
"genteel" young woman would think it expedient to answer it till she
was ready? And when she sent her up stairs to tidy her chamber, would
she not be sure that this "genteel" creature would probably spend the
time in trying on her mistress' last new opera-hat before the
toilet-glass? And if she sent her out on an errand, involving even a
moderately sized bundle, would not this "genteel" young woman probably
take a circuitous route through back streets to hide her ignominy?

Heavens! what a relief it is to see people self-poised and satisfied
with their honest occupations, making no attempt to veneer them over
with a thin polish of gentility. Such I am happy to say there still
are, in humble circumstances, notwithstanding the bad example
constantly set them by the moneyed class in our country, who are
servilely and snobbishly bent on aping all the aristocratic
absurdities of the old country. "_Genteel!_" Faugh! even the
detestable expression-word "FUST-rate" is music to my ears after it.

       *       *       *       *       *

After all, I am not sure that my sympathies are not enlisted much more
strongly on the side of servants than of their mistresses, who at any
moment can show them the door at their capricious will, without a
passport to any other place of shelter. Their lot is often at best a
hard one;--the best wages being a very inadequate equivalent for the
great gulf which, in many cases, separates the servant from her
employer as effectually, as if her woman's nature had no need of human
love and human sympathy; as if she did not often bear her secret
burden of sorrow with a heroism, which should cause a blush on the
cheek of her who sits with folded hands in the parlor, all neglectful
of woman's mission to her dependent sister. They who have listened
vainly for kind words know how much they may lighten toil. They who
have shut up in their aching hearts the grief which no friendly look
or tone has ever unlocked, know how it will fester and rankle. They
who have felt every ounce of their flesh taxed unrelentingly day by
day to the utmost, with no approving "well done" to lighten slumber
when the heavy yoke is nightly cast down, know what is servitude of
_soul_, as well as body.

I could wish that mistresses oftener thought of this; oftener sat down
in the gloomy, underground kitchen or basement, and inquired after the
absent mother, or brother, or sister, in the old country; oftener
placed in the toil-hardened hand the book or paper, or pamphlet, to
shorten the tedious evening in the comfortless kitchen, while the
merry laugh in which the servant has no share, resounds from the
cheerful parlor above.

I do not forget that there are bad servants, as that there are
unfeeling, inhuman mistresses who make them. I know that some are
wasteful and improvident; and I know, from experience, that there are
cases where the sympathy and kindness I speak of are repaid with
ingratitude; but these are exceptional cases; and think how much hard
usage from the world such an one must have received, ere all her sweet
and womanly feelings could be thus blunted. I must think that a humane
mistress generally makes a good servant. I know that some of the
servants of the present day dress ridiculously above their
station,--so does often the mistress; and why is a poor, unenlightened
girl more reproachable, for spending the wages of a month on a flimsy,
gaudy bonnet, or dress, than is her employer, for trailing a
seventy-five or one hundred dollar robe through ferryboats and
omnibuses, while her grocer and milliner dun in vain for their bills?

Let the reform in this and other respects begin in the parlor. Our
mothers and grandmothers were not always changing servants. _They_ did
not disdain to lend a helping hand, when a press of work, or company,
made the burden of servitude too heavy. A headache in the kitchen, to
them, meant the same as a headache in the parlor, and, God be thanked,
a heart-ache too. The soul of a servant was of as much account as that
of her mistress; her creed was respected, and no elaborate dinner came
between her and the church-door. How can you expect such unfaltering,
unswerving devotion to your interests, when you so wholly ignore
theirs?--when you spur and goad them on like beasts of burden, and
with as little thought for their human wants and needs? No wonder if
you have poor service--eye-service. I would like to see you do better
in their place. Lift up the cloud, and let the sun shine through into
their underground homes, if it is not a mockery to use the word home.
We exact too much--we give too little,--too little sympathy--too
little kindness--too little encouragement. "Love thy neighbor as
thyself" would settle it all. You don't do it--I don't do it, though I
try to. Human laws may require only of the mistress that she pay her
servant's wages punctually; God's law requires much more--let
conscience be its interpreter;--then, and not till then, we shall have
good servants.

       *       *       *       *       *

I suppose the most jealous fault-finders on this subject will concede
that mistresses themselves are not quite perfect; of course, they have
often real causes of irritation and vexation apart from the kitchen,
which, we are afraid, do not dispose them to look leniently upon any
additional trouble there. A "flare up" with Betty or Bridget, is apt
to be the last drop in the bucket, the last feather in the balance.
But, unfortunately, it is not taken into account that Betty and
Bridget, being human, may have their little world of hopes and joys,
fears and sorrows, quite disconnected with your gridiron, and
dustpan, and ash-barrel. They also have heads and backs to ache, and
hearts too, though this may not always be taken into the account, by
employers, who, satisfied with punctually paying the stipulated wages
when due, and getting as much as possible out of them as an
equivalent, consider their duty ended. Some day your dinner is over or
under cooked; that day Bridget received a letter from the "old
country" with a "black seal." She did not come to you with her
trouble; why should she? when she might have been a mere machine for
any sympathetic word or look that has ever passed from your woman's
heart or eyes to hers. All you know is that your dinner is overcooked,
and a sharp rebuke follows, and from the fulness of a tried spirit an
"impertinent" answer comes, and you show Bridget the door, preaching a
sermon on the neglectfulness and insolence of servants. Had you been
the mistress you should have been, Bridget would naturally have come
to you with her trouble, and you would willingly have excused at such
a time any little oversight in her duty to you, even though on that
day you "had company to dinner." Take another case. On some day in the
week, when the heaviest family labor falls due, your girl whose
province it is to accomplish it, rises with an aching head, or limbs,
as you sometimes do yourself, and as you do not, she rises from bed
all the same as if she were well. As you have no use for your lips in
the kitchen, save to give an order, and no eyes, save to look after
defects of economy or carefulness, you do not see her languid eyes, or
ask the cause of any apparent dilatoriness; you simply "hurry up"
things generally, and go up stairs. Now, suppose you had kindly asked
the girl if she felt quite well, and finding she did not, offered to
lift from her aching shoulders that day's burden; _suppose_ that? why,
ten to one, it would have done her more good than could any doctor who
ever took a degree, and the poor thing, under its inspiration, might
actually have staggered through the day's work, had you been so cruel
as to allow her.

I wish mistresses would sometimes ask themselves how long, under the
depressing conditions and circumstances of servitude above alluded to,
_they_ could render faithful conscientious labor? Feeling that doing
well, there was no word of praise; and that doing ill, there was no
excuse or palliation; that falling sick or disabled, from over work or
natural causes, there was no sympathy, but only nervous anxiety for a
speedy substitute.

Again. Many mistresses utterly object to "a beau" in the kitchen. Now
could anything be more unnatural and absurd than this? though, of
course, there should be limitations as to late hours. Marriage, with
many of these domestics, is the heaven of rest and independence to
which they look forward; and even if they are to work quite as hard
"for a living," as a poor man's wife, as they have for you, they may
possibly have, as wives--heaven help them--a little love to sweeten
it; and surely no wife or mother should shut her heart utterly to
this view of the case. As to the girl's "bettering herself," let her
take the chances, if she chooses, as you have. Possibly, some lady who
reads this may say, oh, all this talk about servants is nonsense. I've
often petted girls till I have spoiled them, and it is of no use. Very
true, madam, "petting" is of no use; but it _is_ of use to treat them
at all times kindly, and humanely, and above all things _justly_, as
we--women--in their places, should wish to be treated ourselves. It
_is_ of use to make a little sunshine in those gloomy kitchens, by a
kind good night, or good morning, or some such recognition of their
presence, other than a desire to be waited upon. It _is_ of use, when
they are sick or down-hearted, to turn _to_, not _from_ them. All this
can be done, and not "spoil" them. And how much better, even as far as
yourself is concerned, to feel that their service is that of love and
good-will, instead of mere "eye-service." A lady once asked a servant
for her references. There was more justice and less "impertinence,"
than appears at the first blush, in her reply, "and where are _yours_,


I hate Tobacco. I _don't_ hate all its devotees. Oh, no. In its ranks
are men who would gladly die for their country if need be; and yet no
slave whom they would lay down a life to free, shall be more truly a
slave, than are these patriots to the tyrant Tobacco.

Well--what then? manhood inquires, with his hat cocked defiantly, and
his arms a-kimbo. What then? Only this: we women so wish you hadn't so
disgusting and dirty a habit. Now reach out your hand, take a seat
beside me, and let me talk to you about it.

In the first place, bear with a little egotism. I am not six feet
high; I belong to no Woman's Rights Convention, if that be a crime in
your eyes. I'm just a merry woman, four feet in stature, who would
much rather love than hate everything and everybody in this lovely
world, if I could; who had much rather have friends than enemies if I
could, without muzzling my thoughts, or my pen.

If not--I am going to shut up my umbrella, and let the shower come. _I
hate tobacco._ I am a clean creature, and it smells bad. Smells is a
mild word; but I will use it, being a woman. I deny your right to
smell bad in my presence, or the presence of any of our clean
sisterhood. I deny your right to poison the air of our parlors, or our
bed-rooms, with your breath, or your tobacco-saturated clothing, even
though you _may_ be our husbands. Terrible creature! I think I hear
you say; I am glad you are not my wife. So am I. How would you like
it, had you arranged your parlor with dainty fingers, and were
rejoicing in the sweet-scented mignonette, and violets, and
heliotrope, in the pretty vase on your table--forgetting in your
happiness that Bridget and Biddy had vexed your soul the greater part
of the day--and in your nicely-cushioned chair, were resting your
spirit even more than your body, to have a man enter, with that
detestable bar-room odor, and spoil it all? Or worse: light a cigar or
pipe in your very presence, and puff away as if it were the heaven to
you which it appears to be to him. The "Guide to Women" would tell you
that you should "let him smoke, for fear he might do worse." Suppose
we try that boot on the other foot, and let women drink for the same
reason? Of course you see, to begin with, that I consider woman as
much an individual as her husband. With just as much right to an
opinion, a taste, a smell, or a preference of any kind, as himself;
and just as much right to express and maintain it, if she see fit.
Now, to my belief, drinking would brutify her physically and morally
no quicker than tobacco does him. Because a man is able to stand on
his two legs, it does not follow that his perceptions are clear; that
his temper is not irritable, or morose; that his vitality by long
abuse is _not_ nearly exhausted, and that, when he should be in the
prime and vigor of a glorious manhood. It does not follow that there
are not empty chairs around his table, and little graves in the
churchyard, for which he is responsible. It does not follow that a
sharp answer, a careless indifference, has not taken the place of
loving words and an earnest desire to contribute his share of sunlight
in his home. When I say that tobacco _brutifies_ its devotees, I know
what I am talking about. When a man carries his lighted pipe, or
cigar, into the bed-room of a sick child, to whom pure air is life or
death, we may infer that his selfishness in this regard has reached
its climax. Or when he continues to smoke in the presence of his wife,
knowing that sick headache is the sure result, we may draw the same
inference. Not to mention that your smoker always selects the
pleasantest window, or the best seat on a piazza, or the shadiest seat
under a tree, forcing the ladies of the family, or the circle,
wherever he is, to breathe this bad odor, or remove to some other
locality. Nor does the bland "_I trust this is not unpleasant to you_"
help the matter; while women, so much more magnanimous than men,
receive this reward for their "polite" evasion of the subject.

       *       *       *       *       *

I go into a newspaper store to purchase a magazine; there stands a
gentleman (?) at my side with a lighted cigar in his mouth, coolly
looking over the papers at his leisure. If I beat a hasty retreat to
another establishment of the same kind, I find other gentlemen (?)
similarly employed. If I get into a street car, even if no one is
"smoking upon the platform," five out of ten of the male passengers
will have parted with their cigars only at the moment of entering,
poisoning still further the close car-atmosphere with this hated
effluvia. At places of evening amusement, concerts, lectures and the
like, the same thing occurs; indeed, they often repeat the horror by
renewing the tobacco-smoke in the intervals during the performance. If
I walk in the street, vile breaths are puffed in my face from pipes or
cigars by every second gentleman (?) who passes. I am getting sick of
"_gentlemen_;" it would be a relief if the great showman would
advertise us a _man_. If a "gentleman" comes in to make an evening
call, he deposits his cigar stump on your front steps just before
entering, and very likely lights another in your front entry before
departing. The man who brings you a parcel, often stands in the entry
smoking, while waiting further orders. The emissary of the butcher, or
grocer, perfumes your kitchen and area in the same manner. Your cook's
male "cousin" smokes when he makes his evening calls. In the railroad
car you are stifled with the remains of tobacco-smoke. In steamboats,
in hotels, it is the same, whensoever a male creature enters. If a
lady exerts herself to get up, or oversee, or engineer, a nice dinner
for some gentleman (?) friends of her husband's, they prove their
appreciation of her good dinner and her good company, by retiring to
another room than that the hostess is in, the moment they have eaten
to satiety, in order that they may smoke till it is time to leave her
very hospitable house.

Said a prominent editor one day to me: "You are right, madam, the
moment a man becomes wedded to tobacco he becomes a--hog!" This is a
strong way of putting it, but the subject is _strong_ in every sense.
Physicians will tell you that men who would resent the imputation that
they were not good husbands and fathers, will selfishly poison the air
of a sick-room and distress the breathing of the invalid without
remorse. I repeat it, I am firmly of the opinion, that tobacco
brutifies equally with drink. The process may be slower, but it is
just as sure. A drunkard will sometimes own that drink hurts him; or
that he drinks too much; or would be better without it; a smoker
_never_. 'Tis true, he will admit that Tom Jones, or Sam Smith, smokes
too much; but not that _he_ ever did, or shall. In fact, he is sure
that in _his_ case tobacco is beneficial; "it soothes him when he is
irritable," which, thanks to tobacco, is so often, that the soothing
process is perpetual. A man said one day to his comrade in the street
cars, "Tom, I really think I should have given up smoking long since,
had not my wife constantly said it was so disagreeable." What better
proof could he have given of its brutalizing tendency?

I know no place where "smoking not allowed," is not a dead letter,
except in church. Even there the cigar stump is often tossed away at
the church porch, and men sit impatiently fingering the vile weed
which is destined to console them, the minute the benediction shall
have been pronounced; now, when a gentleman (?) becomes so enslaved by
this bad habit, that neither the disgust of the female inmates of his
own house, or other houses, who suffer by it, fails to move him, even
though they may not, for the sake of peace, complain; and when the
terrible sight of this smoker's own little son, already going to and
from school with cigar and satchel in company, does not shame him;
when any society, how intelligent soever, is distasteful, nay,
_unbearable_ to him, where tobacco is not permitted, for one I would
not toss up a pin for the choice between that man and a drunkard.

       *       *       *       *       *

People say: Whence all these matinées of all kinds, operatic and
other, that are springing up in our cities? I answer--Tobacco! "No
smoking allowed here"--if over the entrance of Paradise--and the men
would prefer their pipe with the accompaniment of the infernal
regions. A man can't very well talk with a pipe in his mouth. If a
pipe he prefers to all things else, from the time he returns to his
house at night till he goes to bed, his wife naturally wearies of
watching that smoke curl, though she may be an angel in his eyes in
every other respect. It is dull music, after the petty little
musquito-stinging household cares of the day, to which even the best
mothers and most capable housekeepers are subject, in a greater or
less degree. "When he lights that cigar every night I want to scream,"
said a lovely woman to me. "I am _so_ tired of the house at night; I
want him to talk to me, or go out with me; I should take hold of my
cares and duties the next day with so much more heart if he did. I
love my home; I love my babies; I love my husband; but oh, he _don't_
know how tired and nervous I often get by night, and that silence, and
that suffocating smoke, are so intolerable to me then." Why don't she
_say_ so? you ask. Why? because women are so hungry for a little love,
and find it so impossible to live without it, that they often endure
any amount of this kind of selfishness rather than hazard its loss for
a day. Now, _is_ this right? Is it what a wife is entitled to, after
trying all day to make home bright and happy for her husband?

"And all this fuss about a little smoke," I hear Tom exclaim.

Not exactly. _It is the injustice of men toward women_ for which it
stands the horrible, nauseating symbol. Suppose your wife, fancying
the smell of asafoetida, should keep an uncorked phial of it in her
parlor and bed-room? How long would _you_ stand it? Suppose she should
smoke _herself_ or "dip" in self-defence? Suppose that sweet breath
were to become nauseous? her curls unbearable in near proximity?
Suppose she grew slatternly in her habits in consequence, as all
smokers eventually do? Suppose her little baby's clothes were
saturated with tobacco? In short, that you were disgusted with its
presence or results every hour in the twenty-four, as you would be in
your wife's case.

Now I ask, isn't it just as much a man's duty to be clean and
presentable and inviting to his wife, as it is hers toward him? Well,
replies Tom, men don't look at the subject in that way, and never
will, and now, what are you going to do about it?

Me? nothing. The men will continue to put up their heels at night, and
smoke till bed-time, and think it a bore to go out, _i. e._ with their
wives, and the disgusted women, who really _want_ to be good wives,
and would, if their husbands were more just and manly, will go as they
have begun to do, to the next day's operatic matinée for relaxation;
and after the matinée, a cup of chocolate or an ice-cream tastes well;
and sometimes one meets an agreeable _male_ friend there, who does
_not_ prefer a solitary pipe or a cigar to a little bright and
enlivening conversation with this tired lady.

Women have a right to protest against that which withdraws husbands,
fathers and brothers from their society as soon as they cross the
threshold of home, or else dooms them to inhale a nauseous atmosphere,
and watch the unsocial puff--puff--which is monotonous enough to drive
any woman crazy who already has had quite too much monotony during the
day, and finds little variety enough, in watching the curl from that
eternal pipe. I blame no woman whose only evening amusement is this,
after her children are put to sleep, for protesting, and roundly too,
against such unmitigated selfishness; I blame no woman, whose husband,
when he does occasionally drum up sufficient vitality to wait upon her
out, for requesting that the omnipresent pipe or cigar may for once be
dispensed with, as she takes his arm, on that memorable occasion. As I
said before, men become so utterly brutified by this disgusting habit,
that they lose all sense of politeness and cleanliness. It is quite
time they were reminded of it.


It seems to me that of all the charities in our great city, none is
more deserving of the attention of the benevolent, than that which
takes the little children of our poor, from the moral and physical
filth of their wretched surroundings, and places them in healthy, pure
homes in the country. No one, who has ever had heart and courage to
penetrate the terrible lanes, alleys and by-ways of poverty and crime
in New York, but asks himself with a shudder, as he looks at the
little ones there, what sort of men and women will these children be?
How far will He who counteth the fall of the sparrow, hold _them_
responsible for the dreadful teachings of their infancy? Infancy? the
word is a mockery. They have none. To feign--to cheat--to steal--this
is their alphabet. As to the fathers and mothers, who fold their lazy
hands and sit down in these pestiferous places to await the "penny"
pittances their children may collect, or their little pilferings which
may be turned into "pennies," the sooner the doors of our jails and
penitentiaries close on _them_ the better. _Their_ case is hopeless;
since sin has reached its climax when it deliberately and
systematically debauches childhood. But the little ones? _They_ might
be saved. They _are_ being saved; that's a comfort to know. Daily they
are being collected, by good men who make it their chief occupation to
wash, feed, clothe and transplant these sickly shoots of poverty, into
the fair garden of the West. Many a farmer's family there has a rosy
face by its hearth, which you would never recognize to be the squalid
little creature, whose shivering palm was extended to you at midnight,
as you returned home from some place of amusement in the city. There
it is being taught useful and _happy_ labor. There is pure air--sweet
food, and enough of it. Good company and good books. _There_ are
Sundays. Blessed be Sundays! for injudiciously as they are sometimes
observed even by good people, be sure that sweet old hymn will go
singing through the future life of these children, like a golden
thread, gleaming out from the dark woof of care and trouble:

    "Nearer, my God, to Thee,
      Nearer to Thee;
    E'en though it be a cross
      That raiseth me,
    Still all my song shall be,
    Nearer, my God, to Thee,
      Nearer to Thee."

No matter where they go, this hymn, and others like it, shall go with
them; cleansing and purifying, like a breath of sweet air, all the
dreadful remembrances of that foul home from which they were rescued.
Think what it were to change the life, temporal and eternal, of _one_
such child! And God be praised, the number of the saved is Legion.
How like a dreadful dream to the girl, in a happy home of her own,
with her own innocent baby on its father's knee, will be the pit of
degradation, where, but for this charity, _she_ might have been lost.
She realizes it fully now, when she looks into her little baby's face,
and grows chill with fear as she kisses it. And her brother! the hale,
sturdy-honest, well-to-do farmer, who comes in of an evening to talk
about _his_ farm and _his_ crops, and _his_ barns full of plenty--can
that be Johnny? once with the hat guiltless of a brim, the coat with
one flap, the trousers with half a leg, and the mouth full of oaths
and obscenity! Can that be Johnny, who dodged policemen so adroitly,
and was on the high road to the gallows in short jackets? This is not
fiction. This is not imagination. The biographies of great men and
women will yet adorn your library shelves, whose childhood had such
rescuing as this. One gets the heart-ache at every step in New York,
if he has eyes or ears for aught save Mammon; and yet how like
sun-beams, now and then, across this darkness, comes some noble
charity, of whose existence you knew nothing, till some unpretentious
sign arrests the eye, in some street never before travelled by you in
your daily rounds--some "Asylum," or "Retreat," or "Home," or
Hospital, at whose gate Mercy stands with outstretched arms, nor asks
the poor unfortunate whom it shelters, its creed or its nationality,
but says only--Here is comfort and help.

This much concerning _organized_ Charities. But of the noble women,
and men, too, who daily and quietly stretch out helping hands, giving
time and money, without other reward than the satisfaction such acts
bring to a kind heart--of them, surely there is One who will keep

       *       *       *       *       *

I see other signs of the millennium. In Massachusetts they have
Evening Lectures for the benefit of the convicts in the State Prison.
I shall never forget my tour through a State Prison, one bright summer
day. The hopeless faces of the men in the workshops. Their sullen
looks when by twos they marched in long procession across the yard,
under guard, to their dinner. I shall never forget the poor wretches
in the carding-room, breathing all day, and every day, the little
fuzzy, floating particles, which set me coughing painfully the moment
I entered the door; and when I asked the attendant if it did not
injure their lungs, the cool matter-of-fact manner in which he
answered, "Yes--they didn't live very long." I remember well the
horrid, contracted cells, against whose walls I know I should have
dashed out my brains, were I locked in long enough. And well too could
I understand what a horror Sunday must be, imprisoned there, _all_
day, with only the interval of an hour of church; alone with torturing
memories; till they prayed for the light of Monday morning and
work--work!--ever so _hard_ work, so that it only brought contact and
companionship with their kind, speechless though it were.

I remember, too, being told, on inquiry, that the convicts were
allowed books to read in their cells on Sunday; but on examination of
the cells, I found many so dark that even at midday the offer of
"books to read" would have been a mere mockery. I remember, too, the
emaciated, hollow-eyed sick men, lounging on benches in the yard, and,
when I pitied them, being told that they often "feigned sickness."
Heaven knows I should not have blamed them for feigning anything, when
humanity so slept that visitors were told _in their hearing_ of their
crimes, as they were severally pointed out, and their names and former
professions and places of residence given; here a doctor, there a
minister, who had fallen from grace.

Surely, thought I, there _must_ come a time when a better way than
this shall be found to "_reform_" men. Surely it can never be done by
driving them mad with unrelieved severity like this. For I remembered
a letter I received from a convict, to whom some printed word of mine
had accidentally floated through his prison bars, and "helped him," so
he wrote me, "to bear up till the time for his release came, when he
hoped to be a better man."

Had I never written but that one word, I am glad to have lived for
that man's sake.

And now what a change! These poor creatures, instead of darkness and
solitude--with hate, and revenge, and despair maddening them--have
evening lectures for their profit and encouragement. Something to
_think_ about in the long hours of wakefulness and sickness;
something to look forward to when the day's unrewarded toil is done;
something to rout the demons that crouch in their cells and wait their
coming at night, till any other hell than this would seem heaven. Let
us hope that the example of good old Massachusetts in this and many
other praiseworthy regards may be widely imitated.

Surely as God lives, there is a window in the soul of every debased
man and woman, at which Love and Mercy may knock and whisper, and be
heard. Nor can warden or overseer or chaplain ever be sure that from
those convict cells is not issuing the stifled cry--No man cares for
_my_ soul.


I have no means of judging what Washington may look like in sunny
weather; sleet and rain having combined on my visit there, for a
"spell" of the most detestable weather ever encountered by a
traveller. The streets were a quaking jelly of mud, filled with a
motley procession of dirt-incrusted army-wagons, drawn by
wretched-looking horses, the original color of whose hide was known
only to their owners. Military men swarmed on the sidewalks, gossipped
on the steps of public buildings, filled hotel entries, parlors and
dining-rooms, and splashed through mud-puddles with a recklessness
born of camp-initiation. To escape from wet sidewalks into street-cars
was to wade to them literally ankle-deep in mud-jelly. To the
resolute, however, all things are possible; especially when millinery
and dry-goods are counted as naught; I went there to see what was to
be seen, and I saw it.

The night before I visited the Capitol there came a heavy fall of
snow; the long avenues of trees leading to it looked very beautiful,
bending under their pure white burden, or tossing it lightly off, as
the wind swept by. Every garden seat had a round white cushion, every
statue a snow-crown. No art of man could have improved upon this
festal adorning of nature. The "prospect from the dome" we had to
take, by faith, more's the pity, the snow-king having drawn a veil
over it. Of course I stared about the Rotunda, like my betters. As I
have never "been abroad," I suppose I am not entitled to an opinion
upon the pictures I saw there; but it _did_ strike me that De Soto,
the discoverer of the Mississippi River, who travelled through the
wilderness for that purpose, thousands of miles, exposed to all
dangers and weathers; who lost cattle and men by fatigue and famine,
and was otherwise harassed to the verge of dissolution, could not, at
the moment, when success crowned his efforts, have been found in a
rich crimson jacket with slashed Spanish sleeves, and silk stockings
drawn over well-rounded calves, and an immaculate head of hair,
looking as if it had just emerged from a fashionable barber's shop. I
say it struck _me_ so, but then I'm "only a woman," and have never
been to Italy. It struck me also that their rags, and their dirt, and
their uncombed locks, and their jaded horses, would have looked quite
as picturesque, and had the added advantage of being true to nature.
It occurred to me also that some of the horses of the victorious
generals in the other pictures were very impossible animals, but that
may be owing to some defect in my early education. I could not help
thinking that our great-great-great-grand children might possibly wish
that we had left the _art-selection_ to themselves. It won't matter
much to us then, however.

How patriotic I felt when I stood on the floor of the Senate! A minute
more, and I should have forgotten my bonnet, and made a speech myself.
It might not have been "in order," but I think it would have been
listened to while it lasted, though when my enthusiasm was over, I
should probably have collapsed into shamefaced consciousness, very
much as do the restored breathers of "the laughing gas." I never heard
a more eloquent or appropriate prayer than was offered at the opening
of the Senate, that day, by a clergyman, whose name I did not learn.
Years ago, and what clergyman would have dared utter such bold words
in such a place? There were no speeches made that morning; and there
was no need; the place itself was inspiration. My breath came quick as
I looked about me.

As to the "White House," I have no doubt that the upholstery and
carpets are all right--also the chandeliers. For myself I coveted the
green-house and garden, and the fine piazza at the back of the house,
with its view of Arlington Heights and the white tents of the
encampment in the distance. The "East Room," with its Parisian carpet,
would have astonished the ghost of Mrs. John Adams, who used to dry
her clothes there, when it was in an unfinished state. How very
strange it looked to see sentinels on duty before the doors; one
realizes that there "is war," when in Washington and its surroundings,
where railroad gates and public buildings are guarded, and at every
few miles of road up starts a sentinel, and camps are so plentiful
that one ceases to regard them with a curious eye.

       *       *       *       *       *

After walking through the Patent Office at Washington, I had several
reflections. First, a feeling of thankfulness that our innocent
ancestors died without knowing how uncomfortable they were,--minus
these modern improvements. Secondly, how many heads must have ached,
hatching out the ideas there practically perfected. Thirdly, did the
_real_ inventors themselves reap any reward, pecuniary or otherwise,
or, having died "making an effort," did some charlatan, with more
money than brains, filch their discovery and, attaching his name to
it, secure both fame and gold?

Leaving these vexed questions unsettled, the place is of rare interest
even to the ordinary curiosity-hunter, destitute either of
philosophical or mechanical proclivities. Looking at General
Washington's relics, one cannot but be struck with the simple tastes
of that time. The plates, knives and chairs, which formed part of his
household furniture, would--apart from their associations--be sniffed
at in any fashionable mansion of the present day. And as to his
camp-chest and writing-desk, every mother's 1862-pet, whose budding
moustache is half demolished by parting kisses, is provided with a
better as he goes to "the war." And Washington's coat, waistcoat and
breeches are of a fabric so coarse, that our present officials would
decline wearing the like except under compulsion. The same may be said
of the coat worn by the immortal General Jackson; at the mention of
whose name I will forever remove my bonnet, for his unswerving loyalty
toward, and manly defence of, his zealously slandered wife. Alas for
some of the pluck and spirit that animated the sometime wearers of
those faded old military clothes. But it is too aggravating a theme;
though I _did_ linger over those military buttons, with divers little
thoughts which I should like to have whispered into the President's
ear, and which, if properly carried out, would no doubt save this

As to the fifteen flashy silk robes presented by the Japanese
government to ours, I had no desire to get into them. A strange
soldier standing near while I was gazing, stepped up, and with camp
frankness said to me: "now I suppose, being a lady, you can form some
idea of the value of those things." "Oh, yes," said I, "they are like
the bonnets of to-day, expensive in proportion to their ugliness."
Penetrated by the wisdom of my reply, he answered feelingly, "_Just
so_,"--and touching his cap, passed on. Among General Washington's
relics I saw a cane presented to him by Franklin, and a chandelier
presented to Washington by some French magnate, so awkward, inferior
and crude, compared with the splendid affairs of the present day, that
one compassionately wishes, for the donor's sake, that his name were
withheld. I saw also, under glass, the original treaties of several
foreign nations, French and others, with our government. The
autographic signatures of great potentates, yellow with time, was
suggestive. The models of steam-engines, revolvers, torpedoes,
mowing-machines and excavators, were "too many for me;" I might have
looked wise over them, to be sure, like other folks, but had I stood
staring till the millennium I couldn't have comprehended them, so
where was the use of shamming? I just said, that's not in my line, and
inspected the different varieties of hoop-skirts; and though the
masculine mind may not recognize the fact, the perfection to which
those things have arrived by gradual stages is comforting to
contemplate. I say "comforting" advisedly; because if one _must_ drag
round so many yards of dry goods, a cage is better adapted to hang
them on than the human hips. It is my opinion that notwithstanding the
torrent of abuse to which the hoop is and has been subjected, it will
never be _dropped_--save at bed-time.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is a melancholy affair to visit public institutions that have
sprung from the legacies of wealthy persons, so often do they fail to
carry out the philanthropic results so enthusiastically programmed by
the donors. This reflection seemed to me not out of place when leaving
the Smithsonian Institute in Washington. The building itself is fine,
and favorably located, and the grounds about it very attractive; but
dust-covered statues, cobwebs, and a general and indescribable air of
inefficiency in the interior, were painfully palpable, and stood as a
type of other posthumous charities which have come under my notice. In
fact, "_wills_" oftener turn out, "_wonts_" than one imagines,
codiciled and guarded as they may be by the best human ingenuity and
foresight. Snakes are not the only wriggling animals, and dead men are
happy in not being able to return to their old haunts. Some of the
pictured celebrities in the place would have leaped from their frames,
had they heard the irreverent bystanders, who here "doing" the lions,
asking who they were, and gaping at the guide-book recital of their
greatness and goodness, from some companion; or turning an indifferent
joke, in the middle of the narration, upon the cut of the pictured
coat, or hair, or beard. It was an excellent comment upon the wearing,
toil and fret of ambition, which eats the heart out of life, and often
sets aside everything worth living for, to gain--_a name_. The
collection of animals there would be interesting doubtless to the
naturalist; but we often wonder who _but_ he, could take pleasure in
bottled snakes, sprawling, impaled bugs, and stuffed monkeys and
baboons. As to the latter, they are too painful a burlesque upon human
beings, to be regarded with complacency. Their horrible and fiendish
exaggeration of some faces, which all of us have, once or more, in our
lives met, is anything but agreeable. The collection of stuffed birds
in this place is exquisitely beautiful. One lingers _there_, oblivious
of wide-mouthed, hungry-looking bears, standing on their hind legs, or
grinning skulls of Indians, or other delightful monstrosities. These
brilliant birds, orange with black wings, or scarlet wings with black
bodies, or drab with bright little heads, or with the whole body of
the loveliest blue, were beautiful as the most brilliant hued
bouquet. So perfectly were they prepared and mounted, that one waited
expectant for a sweet trill, or an upward flight. There was also a
very curious and pretty exhibition of bird's eggs, of every size and
color, some of them "cuddled" comfortably in little nests. I would
have agreed to leave to the Institution the numerous and precious
volumes of "De Bow's Review" which graced it, for the liberty of
appropriating those bright birds and those pretty eggs.

One feature in the place was quite novel. Specimens framed under glass
of the hair of some of the Presidents of the United States. Either
these gentlemen were not liberally endowed with this commodity, or
inveterate lion-hunters had taught them a niggardly caution on the
distribution of this article, in view of baldness or a future wig; for
under the names of some of them were only four or six hairs. Most of
them were white or grey; suggestive of rather equivalent repose, for
the craniums from whence they sprang. Of course, one's organ of
reverence would not admit in this case the possibility of the trick
adopted by "pestered" celebrities--attacked in the hair--viz: wickedly
substituting something else for the original coveted article. Of
course not! As to the soldiers and military men passing through
Washington, they must be pleased to know how comfortably they can be
"embalmed," should a chance shot render it necessary. Large signs to
this effect, conspicuously placed, and running the whole length of a
block, stare them remindingly in the face, at every turn. As to
Jackson's equestrian statue, fronting the President's house, I opine
that nobody _but_ General Jackson could have sat on a horse's back in
that rearing condition, without slipping backward over the tail.
However, one forgives everything to an admirer of General Jackson; and
the sculptor evidently had strong faith in his omnipotence, as well as
in the wonderful upward, danger-defying curve of his unique horse's


A visit to the head-quarters of an executive General is a means of
grace. I recommend it to all ladies who, year after year, closing
their disgusted ears to what limpingly passes below stairs, accept its
dawdling results as inevitable. For my own part, my back is up. So
imbued am I with the moral beauty of military discipline, that unless
I can inaugurate its counterpart from garret to cellar, I shall return
in disgust to army-life.

The idea struck me forcibly one morning before breakfast as I stepped
out into the bright sunshine, to behold a captain drilling his company
for the day. As each musket was presented for inspection, turned
quickly from one side to the other, and tossed lightly back into its
owner's waiting hands, I rushed back to tent and exclaimed: "General,
can you give any reason why we ladies shouldn't do with our pots, pans
and gridirons, each day, what your captain is doing yonder with the
muskets of his men; and with a 'guard-house' to back us up in case of
default or impertinence." "Why--_don't_ you ladies inspect your pots,
pans and gridirons?" inquired General Butler. "When our cooks are
_out_, never for our lives else," I replied. "Poor slaves!" was his
feeling reply.

"Poor slaves!" I echoed, as I returned to my lovely "drill" and grew
more righteously mad each minute. As I stood there, my dears, I for
one resolved never again to be the pusillanimous wretch to say, "If
you please, Martha," or "will you please, Bridget, bring me this or
that." No--instead, I boldly propose: "Orderly! bring me that baby!"
and when Bridget comes in, with a well-feigned sorrow for the decease
of that stereotyped "friend" who is always waiting to be "waked," and
begs leave of absence, let us answer, _à la militaire_, "Yes--you can
go for awhile; but your 'friend' is not dead, neither are you going to
a wake. I want you to understand that I am not deceived." And when,
after repeated instructions, the roast-beef is still overdone, with
executive forefinger let us touch the bell, and in the _lowest_ but
firmest of tones remark, "Orderly! put the cook in the guard-house."

But stay--women can never manage women that way. They are too cat-ty.
Let us have _men_-cooks, my dears, and science as well as civility
with our sauce. Yea--_men_-cooks, who will not "answer back;"
_men_-cooks who will not need to be an hour at the glass "prinking"
before they can look a tomato in the face; men-cooks, who, having once
done a thing "your way," can ever after reproduce it, and not, with
feminine caprice, or heedlessness, each time lessen the sugar and
double the salt, and vice-versa; _men_-cooks, whose "beaux" are not
always occupying the extra kitchen chair; _men_-cooks, who understand
the economy of space, and do not need a whole closet for every
tumbler, or a bureau-drawer for each towel.

Oh! I have not been "to camp" for nothing. There are no carpets
_there_ to spot with grease. There are no pictures whose golden frames
are wiped with a wet dish-cloth. There are no velvet chairs, or
ottomans, upon which they can lay red-hot pokers or entry-mats. There
is no pet china they can electrify the parlor with smashing, to the
tune of hundreds of dollars. But instead, there are little tents
dotted about, furnished with brave men; and for pictures, long lines
of army wagons trailing their slow length along; and yonder, against
the burnished sunset sky, gallop the cavalry, with glittering arms;
and there are "squads" of secesh coming into the lines, with most
astounding hats and trowsers and no shoes, who hold up the _wrong
hand_ when they take the oath of allegiance, and make their "mark" in
the registry book instead of writing their names, and some of whose
"profession," when questioned, is--"to shoemake;" and there are
grotesque-looking contrabands; and rat-ty looking, useful mules; and
in the evening there are fire-fly lamps gleaming from the little
tents; and of a cool evening lovely, blazing camp-fires, round which
you can sit and talk with intelligent men till the small hours, about
other things than "bonnets;" and there's reveille, and--good heavens!
_why_ did I come back to New York, with its "peace-men" and its tame

       *       *       *       *       *

While waiting at City Point for the "flag-of-truce boat," we sauntered
up from the wharf. There was an encampment not far from the river, and
the first thing that attracted my notice was a sutler's
establishment--in other words, a little shed with a counter, two men
behind it, and a little bit of everything displayed inside. "Now,"
said I, "I will just bother that man asking him for something which I
am sure he has not for sale." "Do it," answered my companion; "I will
wager something he will have it." With triumph in my step, I
inquired--"Have you ladies' fans?" "Yes ma'am," was the reply; "here
is one, made in prison by a Union soldier." In my eagerness to secure
it, for it was a marvel of ingenuity, apart from the interest attached
to it, I forgot to collapse at my defeat--doubly defeated, too, alas!
"as it was not for sale." But there were books, and tobacco, and
combs, and suspenders, and pocket looking-glasses, and everything,
except "crying babies." A little farther on was a soda-fountain, then
a watch-maker, then an ice-cream shanty. Still I was not surprised;
for I lost my capability for a new sensation while staying in General
Butler's encampment. Strolling off, one lovely morning, in the woods,
for wild-flowers, I was overtaken by a shower of rain. Spying a little
shed at a distance under the trees, I made for it with all speed; and
found it full of bottles and a young man. The latter politely rose and
offered me the only stool in the establishment, and when I and my
hoop-skirt had entered, I regret to say that there was no room left,
save for the bottles above alluded to; and _their_ safety consisted in
my remaining quite stationary. "What is this place?" asked I, staring
about me. With a pitying smile the youth drew from a corner some fine
photographic views of "Dutch Gap," the site of General Butler's canal;
and then proposed my sitting for my picture. Had he produced a French
dress-maker from the trunk of one of the trees, I should not have been
more astonished. When the fickle Virginia sun again shone out, and I
had said the pretties, in the way of thanks, I resumed my walk; and
though on my way home I stopped to witness the fascinating operation
of felling trees, and to admire the vigorous strokes of the woodman's
axe, and listen to its far-off echoes through the woods, I still kept
on saying to myself--Well, I _never_! a photographic establishment in
these woods!

While wandering round at the landing at City Point, waiting to take
passage for Annapolis, I saw at a distance some tents, exquisitely
trimmed with green boughs. "How very pretty!" I exclaimed; "I must go
up there and have a peep." "But it won't do to go nearer," suggested
my companion. "I must," said I; "I never saw anything half so pretty.
I must see them nearer." Gradually approaching, I saw that the floor
of the tent was ingeniously carpeted with small pine boughs. In the
middle of it was a round table covered with green in the same manner;
while in either corner stood a small rustic sofa, cushioned with
green leaves. No upholsterer could have improved the effect "How
_very_ pretty!" I again exclaimed, growing bolder as I saw it
temporarily unoccupied. As I said this, two officers made their
appearance from a tent near, and said--"Walk in, madam, and look at
it; it is not often that we see ladies at our encampment." So we
accepted the invitation, and then and there I penitently and publicly
dropped a theory I had hugged for years--viz., that a man, left to
himself, and deprived of the society of woman, would gradually
deteriorate to that degree, that he would not even comb his hair, or
wash his face, much less desire ornamentation in his home
surroundings. And now here was a bower, fit for the prettiest maiden
in all the land, made without any hope that a woman's eye might ever
approve it; made, too, though its owner might be ordered to pack up
his one shirt and march to battle the very next day; made for the
sheer love of seeing something home-like, and beautiful. I bade its
gallant proprietors good-bye, and went my ways, a humbler and a wiser

While absent on this excursion I had several times the pleasure of
observing the fine soldierly appearance of our colored troops. When I
saw them form into line to salute the General as he passed, it gave me
a thrill of delight; because I knew that it was not a mere show
performance, on their part, toward one who has been so warmly, and
bravely, their friend and protector.

       *       *       *       *       *

The farther a New Englander goes South, the gladder he is to return.
Blessed is it to pass the line, where doors will shut; where windows
will open; where blinds will fasten; where chairs will maintain their
usual uprightness; where wash-bowls are cleansed; where one towel for
half a dozen persons is not considered an extravagance, and where the
glass-panes in the windows are not so elaborately mended with putty
that a street view is impossible. In short, blessed is the Yankee
"faculty," as opposed to all this hanging-by-the-eyelids
thriftlessness. In Virginia the grass is too lazy to grow. Now and
then a half-dozen spears poke above-ground, and having done that, seem
to consider their mission accomplished; then comes a bare spot of
sand, until you come to the next five enterprising spears. However,
the North before long will teach Virginia grass what is expected of
grass. The James River appeared very lovely with its soft shadows that
beautiful afternoon I stood upon its banks; and incongruous enough
seemed the murderous-looking black Monitor resting upon its placid
bosom; and the screeching shells flying overhead, with the soft hues
of the rainbow against the blue sky. I said to myself--"Now, Fanny,
you too would have loved this beautiful country, had you been born
here instead of at the North; but, having ever been to the North and
seen what Southern eyes must see there, whether they admit it or not,
could you again have been contented and happy with your Southern
birthright and its accompanying curse? That is the question. _I think
not._" Everywhere now, in that region one is struck with the absence
of all the peaceful signs of domestic life. True, there are beautiful
trees and vines, and the same sweet wild-flowers in the odorous woods
skirting the roadside, that are to be found in New England. There are
houses, but the fences have been torn away; and from the skeleton
window-pane no fair faces look out. No chickens run about in the
yards; no little children swing upon gates; no young maidens stand in
the deserted gardens; but, instead, there are soldiers and sentinels;
and the negro huts belonging to these houses are empty, and on the
walls of the family mansions are rude charcoal drawings of ships, and
well-remembered faces, and _Northern_ homesteads; and there are verses
of poetry, and names, and dates, and arithmetical calculations; and
upon floor and stairway and threshold the omnipresent evidences of
that male-comforter and solace--Tobacco! As you ride miles along,
under the soft blue sky and through rows of majestic old trees,
missing the sight of human faces, suddenly, upon one of the tree
trunks, you are startled with this inscription, "Embalming the dead
here," or "Coffins here," or you see in the distance the creeping
ambulance, or in a sudden turn of the road an "abatis," or some
fortification. One realizes in such scenes the meaning of the word
"war." Strange enough it seems, to come back from all that, to city
theatres and their mock woes.

As to Annapolis--one feels, upon walking through it, as if
Herculaneum and Pompeii after all might be no fable. Going from its
one-horse hotel, to the model hotel of Philadelphia, was almost too
sudden a change even for my excellent constitution. The brass
door-knocker of antiquity, placed high up out of reach of human hands
save those of well qualified adults, exists in Annapolis in full
splendor. The windows, too, are all on the second and third stories;
and one must get up early in the morning if he would ascend their
front steps. I invaded their legislative halls, and got as far as two
huge piles of earthen spittoons, reaching high above my head, awaiting
the advent of their august legislative proprietors, at which point I
expressed myself perfectly satisfied with my exploration, nor waited
to be shown the room in which "General Washington publicly resigned
his commission." With my hand on my heart to the General, I must still
be permitted to say, that being born fatally wanting in the bump of
reverence, I could never lose my breath in any such place if I tried,
and that I am quite willing, after having been assured that certain
skeletons of the past are to be evoked in certain places, to let more
pious hands feel of their bones.

The _present_ only, now seems to me real. In the streets of Annapolis
I could only feel that here General Butler landed the 8th
Massachusetts, and showed the New York Seventh the way to Washington.


What a four years we had of it! And now that our cheeks no longer grow
hot at the name of Bull Run, and peace and victory--terms which no
loyal heart ever wished to dissever--are ours; now that we have laid
down our muskets and stop to take breath, how strange it all seems!
Now that we can snap our fingers at those precious "neutral" friends;
now that we can smile complacently upon croakers this side of the
water, and enjoy the wry faces which suddenly converted patriots make,
swallowing their allegiance; now that we sleep peaceably nights,
without tossing up window-sashes and thrusting out night-capped heads,
regardless of the modest stars and a shivering bed-fellow, to hail
some lightning "Extra;" now that our pockets are no longer picked for
standing gaping on the streets spelling out bulletins; now that
six-foot cowards have done squabbling about the "draft" that is to
tear them from families for which they never half provided, and for
which they have suddenly conceived such an intense affection; now that
our noble soldiers look back upon their sufferings and privations as
some troubled dream, so happy are they in the love of proud wives and
glad children and friends; now that Libby--thank God!--holds only its
jailer, and kindred spirits, and on the prison ground of Andersonville
loyal philanthropy already talks of erecting an institution for the
benefit of our brave soldiers; now that Broadway has time to cool,
between regiments coming and regiments going; now that the rotten
thrones of the old country will have as much as they can do to prop up
their shaky foundations, without making mouths at the new cap-stone of
our glorious republic, phew! _now_ we can untie our bonnets and toss
them up in the air, without caring for their descent. For have not
dry-goods and groceries gone down? and can't we buy needles, threads
and pins without beads of perspiration standing on our faces at the
thought? are not pennies plenty? and won't we soon have the dear
little clean silver pieces back again, instead of greasy stamps? and
isn't there a prospect that when hanging is good for a man he will now
be sure to get it? and if I _am_ a woman, can't I fold my arms and
strut about a little, even though I didn't help fight? Come to think
of it, though, I _did_; I can show you a spoiled dress I got, touching
off a thirty-two pounder Parrot gun commissioned to throw shells into
Petersburg; and I never got a shoulder-strap for it either, like many
another fellow, and never grumbled about it, _un_-like many another,
but was satisfied with that spot on my dress, and none on my soldierly
honor, and when it was told me that "that lady had better leave the
field and go somewhere else," I went there.

We've done so much grieving lately, that it is a relief to be silly;
so you'll excuse me; but deep down in my heart, I thank God that the
dear lost lives, from our President down, have not been in vain; that
the blood the monster slavery would have lapped up triumphantly has
only gone to strengthen the roots of the tree of Liberty.

Ah! think if tyranny all over the world had flaunted more defiantly
for our _uncrowned_ struggle! If every despotic chain, the earth over,
were fresh riveted! Ah! then indeed we _might_ mourn.

But now!--with tender compassion for the bereaved,--for in many a home
that bright flag will _always_ wear its mourning-border--to-day!
Joy--joy to it! I never see its dear folds waving in and out against
the clear blue sky, that my eyes do not fill; I want to fold it round
my shoulders, I want to wear it for a dress. I want to sleep under it
for a bed quilt--and I want to be wrapped in it when I die.

       *       *       *       *       *

Bye and bye what a glorious history of our war may be written. Not
that the world will not teem with histories of it. But I speak not of
great generals and commanders, who, under the inspiration of
leadership, and with the magnetic eyes of the world upon them, shall
have achieved their several triumphs; but of those who have laid aside
the plough, and stepped from behind the anvil, and the printing press,
and the counter, and from out the shop, and with leaping pulses, and
without hope of reward, laid an honest heart and a strong right arm on
the altar of their country; some to languish in prison, with undressed
wounds, defying taunts and insults, hunger and thirst, their places of
sepulture even unknown, and their names remembered only at some
desolate hearthstone, by a weeping widow and orphans, and yet whose
last pulse-beat was "for their country." By many a cottage fireside
shall old men tell tales to wondering childhood, that shall bring
forth their own precious harvest; sometimes of those who, enclosed in
meshes too cunningly woven to sunder, wore hated badges over loyal
hearts, and with gnashing teeth and listening ear and straining
eyeballs, bided their time to strike! Men who planted, that the tyrant
might reap; whose wives and children went hungry and shelterless, that
he might be housed and fed. Nor shall woman be forgotten, who, with
quivering heart but smiling lip bade God-speed to him, than whom only
her country was dearer, and turned bravely back to her lonely home, to
fight the battle of life, with no other weapon than faith in Him who
feedeth the ravens. All these are the true heroes of this war; not
alone they who have memorials presented, and if they die, pompous
monuments erected, but the thousands of brave fellows who know, if
they fall, they will have mention only among the "list of the killed
and wounded." Who, untrammelled by precedents, shall write us _such_ a

       *       *       *       *       *

Let me tell you a story I heard the other day.

He was home at last! It was for three years he he had enlisted. When
his term was nearly out, and just as his heart leaped at thought of
going home, he was taken prisoner. We all know what that word means in
connection with "Andersonville" and "Libby." No shelter from rain, or
sun, or night dew; stung by vermin; devoured by thirst and hunger. So
day after day dragged by, and fewer and fewer came thoughts of home;
for the light was fading out from the sufferer's eyes, and one only
thought, day and night, pursued him--food, food! At last came the
order for exchange, and John was taken with the rest, as he could bear
the removal--slowly--_home_! Oh, how joyful they all were as they
waited for his coming! How tenderly he should be cared for and nursed.
How soon his attenuated form should be clothed with flesh, and the old
sparkle of fire come back to his faded eyes. How they would love him
ten thousand times better than ever for all the dreadful suffering he
had undergone for his country's sake. And when he got better, how they
would have the neighbors come and listen to his stories about the war.
Oh, yes--they would soon make John well again. Nine--ten--eleven
o'clock--it was almost time for him to be there. Susy and Jenny were
quite wild with joy; and mother kept saying "Girls, now be quiet;" but
all the time she kept smoothing the cushions of the easy-chair by the
fire, and fidgetting about more than any of them. Then there was
_such_ a shout went up from Susy, who was looking down the road from
the end window. _He's_ coming! father's coming! and fast as her feet
could carry her through the door and down the road she flew; and Jenny
followed, and mother?--well, _she_ stood there, with beating heart and
brimming eyes of joy, on the threshold. But what makes the girls so
quiet as they reach the wagon where "father" is sitting? Why don't
father kiss and hug them, and he three long years away? He is _alive_,
thank God, else he couldn't be sitting there--why don't he kiss his
girls? He _don't_ kiss them: he don't speak to them; he don't even
know Susy and Jenny, as they stand there with white lips and young
faces frozen with terror. It _is_ father--but, look! he is only a
crazy skeleton. And when they came to him, he only stretched out his
long, bony fingers, and muttered, feebly--"Bread! bread! Oh, give me
some bread!" And when they brought him in, crowded round and kissed
him, and carried him to the warm fire, and, with streaming eyes of
pity, showed him the plentiful table, he only looked vacantly in their
faces and muttered, "Bread! bread! Oh, give me some bread!" And to
everybody who came into the door till the hour he died, which was very
soon, he said still, "Bread! bread!" and this was the last word they
ever heard from "father."

       *       *       *       *       *

And yet they say we must forgive the leader of the rebellion who did
such things as these! Spirit of Seventy-six! Can I believe my ears?
What sort of mercy is this, that sets the viper of to-day free to
raise up a brood of hissing vipers for the future? What is this mercy
for one, and this injustice for the million? This mercy which hangs
little devils, and erects no gibbet for the arch-fiend himself? This
mercy which lets Jeff. Davis glide safely out of the country with his
money-bags, and claps the huge paw of the law upon some woman, for
giving so much aid and comfort to the enemy as she could carry in her
little apron-pocket? What! Forgive Jeff. Davis, with the fresh memory
of Forts Pillow and Wagner? What! because your son, or your husband,
are now smiling at you across your table, are you to ignore that poor
mother, who night after night paced up and down her chamber floor,
powerless to release her husband or boy, who, at Libby or
Andersonville, was surely, horribly dying with the slow pangs of
starvation! The poor mother, did I say? The thousands of mothers,
whose wrung hearts cry out that the land be not poisoned with the
breath of their children's assassinator. To whom the sight of the gay
flags of victory, and the sound of the sweet chiming bells of peace
are torture, while this great wrong goes unredressed. Who can see only
by day and night that dreadful dead-cart, with its unshrouded
skeleton-freight, and uppermost the dear face, rumbling from that
loathsome prison, to be shovelled, like carrion, underground.

Tell me? Is it in nature or grace, either, for these parents to vote
that Jeff. Davis and his like be neither expatriated nor deprived of
the rights of citizenship? In the name of that "mercy" which would be
so burlesqued, let them not suffer this crowning injury. Let them not
be pained with this mock magnanimity which so "forgivingly" crosses
palms with this wrencher of other people's heartstrings. Let it not be
said thoughtlessly, "Oh, we are too happy to think of vengeance." Say
rather, "Let us not, in our joy, forget to be just."

And let me, individually, have due notice, if it be in contemplation
to present these traitors, either with a costly service of silver
plate or an honorable seat in the United States Senate.

       *       *       *       *       *

Overhead floats the dear old flag, thank God! but countless are the
homes where the music of "the holidays" has forever died out; where
sorrow will clasp its hands over an aching heart, or sit down by a
solitary hearth, with a pictured face it can scarce see for the tears
that are falling on it. There seems nothing left now. The country is
safe, the war has ended; that rifled heart is glad of that; but oh!
what shall make its terrible desolation on these festival days even
endurable? _That's_ the thought that can't be choked down even by
patriotism. It comes up all over the house, at every step. It meets
you in parlor, and chamber, and entry. It points where the coat and
hat used to hang; it whispers from the leaves of some chance book you
listlessly open, where are _his_ pencil-marks. Even the dish on the
table you loved to prepare for him is turned to poison. The sun seems
merciless in its brightness; the music and dancing in unrifled homes
is almost heartless. What can you _do_ with this spectre grief, that
has taken a chair by your fireside, and, change position as you may,
insists on keeping you torturing company? You may walk, but it is
there when you return. You may read, but you feel its stony eyes on
you the while; you may talk, but you keep listening for the answer you
will never hear. Oh, what shall you do with it? Face it! Move your
chair up as closely to it as you can. Say--I see you; I know you are
here, and I know too that you will never, _never_ leave me. I am so
weary trying to elude you. Let us sit down then together, and
recognize each other as inseparable. Between me and happiness _is_
that gulf--I know it. I will no longer try to bridge it over with
cobwebs. It is there. As you say this, a little voice pipes
out--mother, when is Christmas? Ah!--you thought you could do it; but
_that_ question from that little mouth, of all others! Oh, how can
_you_ be thankful?

Poor heart, look in that little sunny face, and be thankful for that.
Hasn't it a right to its share of life's sunshine, and are you not
God-appointed to make it? There's work for you to do--up-hill, weary
work, for quivering lips to frame a smile--I grant, but there's no
dodging it. That child will have to take up its own burthen by and
by, as you are now bearing yours; but for the present don't drop your
pall over its golden sunshine. Speak cheerily to it; smile lovingly on
it; help it to catch the floating motes that seem to it so bright and
shining. Let it have its youth with all its bright dreams, one after
the other, as you did. They may not all fade away; and if they should,
there's the blessed memory of which even you would not be rid, with
all the pain that comes with it. Now would you?

So, little one--Christmas is coming! and coming for you. There's to be
turkey and pie, and you shall stuff your apron full. There's to be
blind-man's buff, and hunt the slipper, and puss in the corner, and
there shall be flowers strewn for _your_ feet, you little dear, though
we all wince at the thorns.

But for our soldiers' homes where death has literally taken all; where
the barrel of meal and cruse of oil too has failed; let a glad country
on festival days, of all others, bear its widows and orphans in
grateful remembrance.

       *       *       *       *       *

Speaking of "Unwritten History," reminds me of some curious written
chapters of it that I saw the other day.

I begin now to think that an "All-Wise Providence" spent more time
finishing off human beings than was at all necessary. I arrived at
this sapient conclusion, the other evening, while looking at some
hundreds of specimens of the handwriting of our disabled soldiers.
Before this I had always supposed that hands and arms were necessary
preliminaries to chirography, and _right_ hands and above all arms.
And there I was, brought up all standing, with the legible, fair
proofs to the contrary before my very face. Positively there was one
specimen written with the soldier's _mouth_, both hands being useless.
It was enough to make an able-bodied man or woman blush to think of
cowering for one moment before the darkest cloud of fate. As a moral
lesson I would have had every boy and girl in the land, taken there to
see the power of the mind over the body. The potency of that one
little phrase, "I will try." The impotency of that cowardly plea, "I
can't." I wished, as I examined these interesting and characteristic
papers, with the signatures and photographs of the writers annexed,
that all our schools in order, should be taken there, to learn a
lesson that all their books might never teach so impressively. I
wished that every man in the nation, whose patriotism needed
quickening, (alas that there should be any!) might see that these men
who have fought for the peace we are now enjoying, who have languished
long months in wretched prisons for us, and through all have but just
escaped, maimed and disabled, to reach their homes, are yet
self-helpful and courageous, fearing nothing, hoping all things, since
they have helped save the nation. _Is_ it safe? That is a question I
shall not meddle with here. Meantime I, for one, feel proud as an
American loyal woman that this collection of manuscripts has been
made. I believe it to be purely an _American_ idea. I am not aware
that in any other country such a novelty exists. I think it as highly
creditable to the head and heart of the originator, as to the skill
and patience of our soldiers. I felt as though it should have, like a
great national picture, its appropriate framing and setting in the
most conspicuous spot in the Capitol. How often I think of these
"privates," as they are called, when grand "receptions" and "balls"
are in progress for some great "General" in our midst. All honor to
him; but meantime what of these brave maimed "privates?"

_Therefore_ I was rejoiced when John Smith and Thomas Jones had
succeeded in "making their mark" on paper as well as in battle. I was
glad that they had placed it on record that an American soldier is
still wide awake and hopeful, though he may be so hacked and hewed to
pieces that not half his original proportions remain. I wanted to sing
"Hail Columbia," and "The Star Spangled Banner," and "John Brown," and
"Yankee Doodle," and more than all, I wanted those people who are
sticking pins through curious sprawling bugs, and paying fabulous sums
for shells, and taking their Bible oaths over some questionable
pictures "by the old masters," would just turn their attention to
something not only veritable and unique, but honorable and worthy as a
legacy to every American child that shall be born to the end of time,
or--the end of our Republic, which is one and the same thing.


You should have lived there to understand the delight with which I
linger about an old farm-house, to see if the old familiar objects
were all there. The clump of tall, nodding hollyhocks, many-hued, and
gorgeous in the sunlight; the lovely, evanescent morning-glories,
always reminding me of the clear eyes and silken locks of childhood;
the big tree, the pride of the homestead, under which it nestles, elm,
locust, maple or willow, it matters not; the hen, with her busy brood;
the old dog, of any breed Providence wills, lying with his nose
between his paws, lazily winking at the sun; the row of shining
milk-pans turned up against the wooden fence; the creaking well-sweep;
the old tub under the eaves; the neatly arranged wood-pile; the
honest, homely sun-flowers at the back door, and the scarlet
bean-blossoms; oh, how I love them all!

Let us go in; any excuse--a glass of water--will serve. They are not
ashamed to be caught working.

Bless you, no! One person is as good as another in New England, and
better, too. Observe how stainless are the steps, threshold and entry;
see the little mats, laid wherever a heedless foot might possibly mar
their purity. How white are the curtains and table-covers, and the
napkins pinned upon the backs of the chairs; see how nicely that patch
has been placed over the stain upon the wall-paper; look at that book
shelf hung in the corner. Surely some hand not devoid of daintiness,
arranged those pretty touches of color, in the scarlet cord and
tassels that support it, and the pretty little blue vase upon its top
shelf. Then there are picture-frames made of pine cones, quite as
pretty as any Broadway dealer could show; and the chairs, with their
flowered-chintz coverings, and now you look to see some sweet maiden
trip in, with pure eyes, and soft, smooth hair, and her name shall be
Mary. Nor are you disappointed; and as you look at her, as the
softened light comes in through the vine-leaves at the window, you see
how it is that flowers of beauty are wreathed round the rugged trunk
of New England asceticism. You see how no home, without a foundation
of thrift, can be anything like a home to this New England girl. You
can see how, in her married far-off abode, when reverses come, she is
not the woman to fold her hands and sit down and cry about it. You see
how she can make bread one minute, and ten to one, write a poem the
next; how she can trim a bonnet or row a boat; how she can cut and
make her own and her children's dresses, and keep her kitchen in a
state of polish, to make the haunter of Intelligence Offices stare
with wonder.

I adore it all! I know that wheresoever fortune, in its vagaries,
tosses a New Englander, male or female, that individual will always
come up like a cat, on its feet. Meantime, they can bear your gibes
at their time-honored dishes of "pork and beans," and "apple-dowdy,"
and "fish-balls" and "brown-bread." You can no more see "anything in
them" with all your tasting, than you could imitate the moral courage
of their makers in finding out what a thing will cost before they
order it home; and you will always manifest the same astonishment that
you do now, that these same economical, careful New Englanders are
always ready with open hearts and purses, whenever a fire lays waste a
city, when stormy winds send shipwrecked families upon their coasts,
or when any great philanthropic object challenges their pity or

You can't understand it--how should you? You who think it "mean" and
"unlady-like" to inquire the price of a thing before you buy it, or to
decline buying it, not because you do not like it, but for the honest
and sensible reason that it is beyond your means. You can never solve
the problem how a just economy, and a generous liberality, can go hand
in hand, or how one legitimately follows the other and makes it

Then perhaps you smile when you see what a prominent place has Watts'
Psalms and Hymns, and the Bible upon the table yonder. Oh, if you
could hear the Sunday night singing in that little "_keeping-room_!"

    "Sweet fields beyond the swelling flood,
    Stand dressed in living green."

_You_ remember that hymn? You who had its lullaby sung to you,
countless starry nights by your own mother; _you_, who repeated it to
her in broken accents when she was dying--"Watts' Psalms and Hymns" is
to you as sacred as her memory. And the Bible? _You_ don't think, more
than myself, that mankind have furnished us anything better, as yet,
in the way either of morality or literature. You know that it is not a
mere lesson-book to that soft-eyed girl with the brown hair.

I pity a genuine New Englander, who migrates from a land in which
every inhabitant is born with a faculty of doing everything in the
best manner, and in the very "nick of time," and settles down among a
Penelope race, who weave their webs in the morning, only to find them
irretrievably unravelled every night. _Thriftless!_ You may think
there are worse qualities than this in a person's moral make-up. _I_
believe it to be the foundation of sand upon which any permanently
useful superstructure is impossible. Thriftless! The gods remove _me_
far from this aimless specimen of adult infancy, who crawls a mile on
all fours to pick up a straw; who, forgetting where he placed it the
moment after he gets it, makes a series of circuitous journeys in
search of it; who is constantly placing things on their tops that are
not self-supporting unless set upon their bottoms; and who, though
warned by repeated thumps and bumps, that there are better ways than
those he chooses to crawl in, still persists in scratching and
scarring himself, and driving you wild with wondering what mischief he
_can_ do next that he has not already done. _I_ say that a lunatic
asylum can be the only end of a New Englander who is forced into a
daily yoke-ship with your "thriftless" person.

New England! bless it! _Isn't_ it thorough? Does their sewing ravel
out? Do their shoes rip at the first wearing? Don't their children's
"bought" clothes hang together, at least till you get them home? Isn't
a New England-buttonhole exhilarating to the moral eyesight? Don't
their blinds keep fastened? Don't their doors shut without bringing
them "to" with a bang like the explosion of a Parrot gun? Haven't the
women sense "into" them? Don't the men know what they know? Haven't
their children a backbone, moral and physical? and haven't they a
right to boast of the "hub?" And as to their kitchens, my very soul
yearns for those shining tin pans and pewter pots, and immaculate
dishcloths. I am homesick for an old-fashioned "dresser," with the
kitchen spoons laid in a row after every meal. I long for a peep into
the kitchen closet, where the tea isn't in the coffee-thing, and the
starch mixed with the pepper; where the rolling-pin hangs up, white
and suggestive of flaky pie-crust; where the clothes-pins are shrouded
in a clean bag till next Monday's wash; where the lids of the coffee
and tea-pot are left open, for those vessels to air, and no
yesterday's "grounds" are permitted to repose over night; where--but
what's the use? Gotham is Gotham--Erin always _will_ be Erin--and New
England, God be praised! will always be New England; for were there
not _that_ leaven to infuse thrift through the veins of the
country----Well, you perceive that I am a New-Englander.

       *       *       *       *       *

While in Brattleboro I obtained permission to write in the quiet empty
school-house, during the summer vacation. I thought while seated there
of the probable fate and fortunes of their absent occupants. How many
Senators, how many Presidents, how many Artists, how many Sculptors,
how many Authors, how many men, and women, of note, might make their
starting-point from that very school-house.

I should like to keep the statistics from this time had I leisure. You
must know that it is an article in my creed that a _New England
cradle_ is the safest and fittest to rock a baby in. In other words,
that a New England foundation is sounder and better than any other;
the superstructure may be laid elsewhere--I had almost said
anywhere--this being secured.

With these views, from which I am quite willing you should dissent,
should it so please you, I look around on these vacant seats of our
future men and women, with intense interest. "The war is over," I hear
people say; _I_ say it has just begun. The smoke of battle having
cleared a little, he that hath eyes to see, shall note the dead who
are to be carried out of sight, the maimed who are to be tenderly
cared for, and the vultures who are to be driven, at all costs, from
feeding on that which is as dear to us as our heart's blood. This work
these children will have to do. Pinafores and blouses they will not
wear forever. Balls, kites and dolls are but for now. _Earnest_ men
and women they must be, being New England born. Earnest for the
_Right_, I plead, as I glance at the Teacher's Desk. I do not know
him, who wields a power for which I would not exchange a monarch's
throne--who must face in this world, and account for in the next,
these boys and girls, who look to him for guidance and help; but
whoever he may be, I trust that he holds his office, for sublimity and
honor, second to none. I trust he looks beyond _to-day_, when he gazes
into those clear, bright eyes, where his teachings are mirrored like
the branches and blossoms in the clear, still lake beneath. I trust he
sees in those boys something beyond a trousers-tearing,
bird's-nest-robbing crew, _out_ of whose craniums must be thumped fun,
and _into_ whose craniums must be bored grammar. I trust he sees in
those girls something besides machines for sewing on buttons, and
frying "flap-jacks," and making cheese. I trust he does not expect to
run all these children, like a pound of candles, into the same shaped
and sized mould. I trust he knows a properly developed head when he
sees it, and believes in individuality of character, whether male or
female. I am glad to hear that he does not see only dollars and cents
in the glorious vocation he has adopted.

Schoolmaster! Why, Emperor, King, President, are nothing to it. There
is only one thing before it, and that is--"Mother." Let the world look
to it who are its schoolmasters. Let schoolmasters look to it that
they are God-appointed to their places. If a conscientious clergyman
need ask God's blessing on his Sunday message before delivering it to
his flock, so much the more need the schoolmaster take the shoes from
off his feet; because the place where he treads is holy ground.

Meantime, I sat there in the empty school-house, and watched the birds
flit in and out through the open window, while the breath of the
clover and the smell of the new-mown hay came pleasantly enough to my
city-disgusted nose. So now, dear children all, whoever you may be, I
leave you my hearty and sincere benediction for the pleasant hour in
your school-house, when _you_ had "a vacation" and I had none.

       *       *       *       *       *

Now let me tell you a little story about a Green Mountain Sculptor.
The town of Brattleboro', wrapped in its mantle of snow, looked very
lovely one crisp, cold winter night. There were no operas, no
theatres, no racketing or frolicking of any sort going on. The snow
and the stars had it all their own way. I said it was "quiet," and
yet, from the windows of one pretty little white house, lights were
gleaming; and now a young man, warmly muffled to the ears, crosses the
threshold, and is joined by two or three young companions, who
commence gathering the snow in heaps in front of the house, while he
shapes it with his benumbed fingers into the form of a pedestal;
occasionally stepping back and looking at it, or slapping his hands
together to produce circulation. Now upon the pedestal he commences
modeling a figure; while his companions continue patiently to supply
him with fresh heaps of the pure white snow, one holding a lantern
while he proceeds with his work. Noiselessly and industriously they
toil, no policeman disturbing them with curious inquiries or a
threatened "station house." Occasionally they glide into the house,
where warm flannels, and warm beverages, and a good fire, and
"mother's" encouraging smile, await them, to inspire the party with
new energy. It is near daylight, and still our snow-sculptor toils on,
hour after hour, till, fair and lovely, stands before him, on this
night of the New Year, the form of a Recording Angel, writing upon a
scroll. Now, the party, taking one long look, quietly retire, leaving
the figure conspicuously standing at the meeting of two roads. The
stars gradually fade out, and Brattleboro' begins to be astir. First
comes the earliest riser of all, poor "crazy Jim," who never seems to
weary of wandering to and fro on the earth, and up and down on it. Dim
in his confused brain lie tangled memories of childhood's "angels." He
stands and gazes, awe-struck and wondering, while his busy, chattering
tongue is for the time quite still. Now a farmer from the mountains
glides over the snow with his fleet horse and sleigh, with tinkling
bells, and reins up, and shares crazy Jim's amazement. As the morning
wears on, the news flies that there is "an angel" among them.
Schoolgirls and boys forget that it is "past nine," and stand
spell-bound by the side of their parents, whose wonder at the
marvellous beauty of the figure is only equalled by their curiosity as
to the fingers that so cunningly shaped it. Had Brattleboro', with its
other natural marvels, furnished also a genius? Was Vermont, rich in
so many other treasures, to "keep" a sculptor? Artists were not wont
to swarm in Brattleboro' in mid-winter, how long soever might be the
list of "arrivals" during the balmy days of summer. There was no name
of distinction now on the hotel books. Who _could_ it be? And what a
pity such a beautiful thing should perish, and fade away with the
first warm rays of the sun. Among the crowd who gathered to wonder and
admire came an editor. This editor was intelligent, and what is more,
sympathetic and appreciative. He wrote a glowing account of the
"snow-angel." The paper containing it met the eye of rich old Nicholas
Longworth, of Cincinnati. He immediately sent an order to the young
sculptor, who was then modestly enjoying his first triumph from the
windows of his father's little white house, to perpetuate it for him
in marble, not forgetting to send with the order a generous check in
advance. _This_ was substantial praise. _This_ looked like beginning
the world right. For once, Fortune, too often churlish to genius,
seemed about to take it at once into her ample lap.

But our sculptor did not presume on this. He finished his beautiful
statue to the satisfaction of his patron, and with the proceeds went
to Italy, where he could more easily command the requisites of the
profession for which Nature had ordained him. One lovely creation
after another has succeeded the snow-angel, and are now cherished
household treasures in his native land and State. I am not a
Vermonter, unless strong love for its grand mountains and intelligent
people can make me one; still, though suffering under the disgrace of
not having been born in that glorious old State, I feel just as proud
of that young Green Mountain sculptor and his beautiful works, as if
its lovely valleys had cradled me.

So, lest other States begin to wrangle by and by as to the honor of
producing him, I wish to place it on record that Larkin G. Mead was
born and reared in _Vermont_, and nowhere else.

       *       *       *       *       *

While in Vermont, it seemed to me that every State in the Union should
consider it a _religious duty_ to gather, in some shape, form or
place, every relic of the war with which the people of that State were
in any way connected. The golden moment of action in this regard will
pass, _is_ passing, with each fleeting day. Life presses heavily on
most of us. The shuttlecock of the present is so busy and swift, that
its whirr may well distract us from aught else. But think! to our
children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren what these relics
would be. This coat, torn, blood-stained, bullet-riddled in so many
battles. This shoe, patched with improvised needle and thread in the
horrible prison pens of Andersonville and Libby. This--but time would
fall me to tell of the relics and memorials which every farm-house in
the country might yield, and which might so easily _now_ become a
nation's property and pride. I was particularly awake to this subject
because I lately saw, up here in Brattleboro', a private by the name
of Colt, with his right arm _now_ quite useless, who has in his
possession a fiddle manufactured by himself, while in camp, from a
maple stump, with no other tools than a jackknife, and a piece of
broken bottle, a gimlet and an old file, which he made into a chisel.

It was in Virginia, on the Potomac, below Washington, that his
regiment was located. "Boys," said one of them, as they lounged in
their tents at nightfall, when it will not do to think too long or too
much of the dear faces they might never more see--"boys, if we had a
fiddle here we might have some music." "I could play on it," says one,
(what _can't_ a Yankee do?) "So can I," said another. "Well," said our
hero, "the only way for us to have a fiddle is to _make_ one." No
sooner said than begun, at least. A maple stump was found, and comrade
after comrade, when off duty, watched its transformation to a fiddle
with the intensest interest. Some laughed, some cheered; praise, blame
or indifference were all alike to our indomitable private, who was
bound to get music out of that maple stump.

Still the fiddle grew. Still the chips flew. A good piece of wood was
desirable for what I shall designate as the _lid_;--the bottom and
sides being finished. Our private looked about. There was an old box
in camp, sent from prolific Vermont, with "goodies" for her valiant
boys. He seized upon the best part of it, and shaped it to its
purpose, polishing it smooth with the broken bit of glass. The pegs he
made from the horns of secesh cattle slaughtered by the rebels, when
they didn't dream our boys would rout them to take possession. The
strings for the fiddle-bow he made of hairs from the tail of the
General's horse. Just at this juncture in fiddle-progress, came a
pause. Where are the fiddle _strings_ to come from? Away there in
camp; even a Yankee might well stop, and scratch his head. Up comes an
officer, and gazes with dumb wonder on that improvised fiddle. When he
found his tongue, he offered our private to send to Washington by the
sutler for the desired strings. These were obtained, and straightway
fastened in their places. And now behold a pretty, delicate little
affair, in color resembling the satin wood-fans sent us from Fayal.
But did it have music in it? Most assuredly. There is the beauty of
it. The tone of our Yankee fiddle is irreproachable.

Now I ask, is that fiddle to become the property and pride of Vermont,
and be handed down, as it should, to its future sons and daughters,
with the name of its enterprising maker? As I sat in that low-roofed
wooden house, listening to his simple story, and looking first at the
fiddle, and then at his twisted and useless arm, and then at a little
fat roly-poly of a dimpled baby on the carpet, I thought--well, I
said, Fanny, thank God that you were born a Yankee; and now go home
and tell the world the history of that fiddle. And I have done it.
Now, millions of relics, most interesting, like this, lie scattered
all over the land. _Let each State garner its own._ It is due to the
brave fellows who, modest as brave, will never do it themselves. It is
due to these "_Privates_" to whom no splendid residences in our cities
are presented, ready furnished and victualled. Let _them_ have the
reward of remembrance and appreciation, _at least from a grateful

       *       *       *       *       *

After leafy, lovely Vermont, to come back to the dusty city! To lose
October! the golden month of all the year in the country, that one may
come to town, to see that a dusty house is put in shining order:
that's what I call a trial. Of course, I anticipate your provoking
rejoinder--"What if you had no house to put to rights?" And now, if
you have done interrupting me, I will proceed to say, that to decide
between poultry, beef, mutton or veal for dinner; to make the
disgusting tour of closets and cupboards that have enjoyed a long
summer vacation in company with mice; instead of strolling "down to
the river" and watching the little boats glide on its polished
surface, or gaze at the mist lazily rolling off the mountain; while
sweet odors of flowers, and the fresh smell of grass, make breathing
itself a luxury, for which you can find no words of thanks--this
change, I say boldly, is not to _my_ taste. Not to mention, of a hot
morning, when you innocently thought hot mornings were quite gone till
next season, sitting in Intelligence Offices trying to decipher the
countenances of various applicants for the care of your kitchen-range,
or dining-room, or bed-chamber, when your tantalizing thoughts were
far away on delicious roads, shaded so thickly with trees that in the
hottest noon scarce a sun-ray penetrated, while the cool water dripped
from mossy rocks, or rushed foaming over them, with a glad free joy
that set you wild with longing. To fight rabid _city_ mosquitoes all
night, after a blessed freedom from the wretches all summer; to listen
to the shrieks of infuriated cats, in the intervals, instead of the
whisper of the soft leaves almost within your bed-room window; to hear
the ceaseless click, click, of the tireless street cars, instead of
the solitary musical "peep, peep" of some little bird; to be woke in
the morning, when exhausted nature craves so madly that one little
restoring-nap before breakfast, by the whooping of infuriated
milk-men, and the thumping and ringing of bakers; in short, after
kicking your heels like a colt in a pasture all summer, to be suddenly
noosed, caught and harnessed to a relentless dray-cart which keeps on
going up hill, regardless of your disgusted puffing and panting and
attempts at halting; well--I trust now you understand what my emotions
are on returning to this Pandemonium of a city, after a breezy,
care-free, delicious summer sojourn in the mountains.

What do I care for the "new style of bonnets," when I have found it so
much pleasanter to stroll out without any covering for the head? What
to me are "top-boots" with red and blue tassels and lacings, when any
old shoe served my turn if a lovely country tramp was in prospect?
What to me are new dresses? involving weary hunts for buttons, and
"bones," and hooks, and eyes, and cord, and tassels, and lace, and
bugles, and gimp, and facings, and linings, and last, but not least, a
"lasso" to catch a dress-maker?

That's what I said to myself as I sat down on my dusty travelling
trunk, with my hair full of cinders, and both fingers stuffed in my
ears to keep out the questions that were pouring into them about what
was to be done with this and that and t'other thing; and if I wanted
the windows cleaned first or last; this paint or that paint scrubbed.
Good heavens! said I, what is woman that she should be thus tormented?

That was the first onslaught, you see, and I am not naturally a
patient animal. But now that the wheels are greased and the household
machinery "whistles itself," it is a comfort to sit down again in my
own favorite little chair, which must really have been made for my
particular shoulders and back. It is a comfort to have a nail and a
closet and a shelf for everything, and see my worldly effects neatly
placed away from dust, each in its own niche, where I can find them on
the darkest night without the aid of a light. It is a comfort to have
many rooms, instead of two. It _is_ pleasant, after all, to feel that
you yourself have brought all this order out of chaos, although
man--ungrateful creature--gobbles up the results without any such

After all, I'm going to be proud of myself, since nobody else will
praise me; I'm proud of myself, I say, as I take a cake of glycerine
soap to remove the working traces from my hands and put my fingers in
writing order. And then, after all, this had to be done; and one's
life can't be all play, and I must be woman enough to take my share of
the disagreeables, instead of shirking them like a great coward; for
all that, I like a tree better than a broomstick; a fine sunset better
than a gridiron; also I prefer a flower-garden to a sewing-machine, if
the truth _must_ out.

       *       *       *       *       *

But back again in town, how shall we adapt ourselves to its unnatural
ways? Every thing in the country, animate and inanimate, seems to
whisper, be serene, be kind, be happy. We grow tolerant there
unconsciously. We feel that in the city we are not only hard, but that
we by no means get the most out of life. We wonder if, after all, the
opera is better than the gushing melody which is ours for the
listening, whenever we will. We wonder if the silken sheen of the
Queen of Sheba fabrics, which our splendid store-windows display,
quite comes up to the autumnal splendor of the woods and mountains.
Our bones ache with the necessity of _spick-and-span-ness_
trammelling every movement indoors and out. And if, as Goethe asserts,
"the unconscious are alone complete," what chance do city people stand
of ever being rounded out, mentally and morally, where everybody is on
the _qui vive_ lest his neighbor outshine him? Where the _must haves_
multiply faster than rabbits, and grow so clamorous that we forget
there is a possibility of silencing their tyrant voices? It is so
long, too, since we have seen a drunkard, or a beggar, or a wretched
woman who dare not think of her sinless infancy, that these things
come to us with such an appalling newness, that we are shocked and
pained that we could ever have become accustomed to their presence, or
shall ever grow so again, by daily contact.

We almost dread ourselves. Our life seems puerile, and ignoble, and
cruel. It seems dreadful to take all this wretchedness, and waste of
life, as a matter of course, and that with which we have nothing to
do. We can't get used to the worn faces, the hurried footsteps, the
jostling indifference, the dust, and grime, and shabbiness through
which we plunge at every turn. Visions of moss-dripping rocks, huge
and grand; sweet, grassy roads, full of birds, and darting squirrels;
plentiful orchards and barns; stout, round, rosy children, tumbling
therein. Cows, with their rich burdens, going slowly homeward. The
farmer, brown and happy, sitting with his happy wife, in the low
doorway, at eventide, with _peace_ written upon their faces. Oh, we
had much rather think of these, and close our eyes on all this
maelstrom-misery, and tinselled grandeur. We feel stifled. We throw up
the window, and wonder what can ail us? for unrest, unquiet, and
strife seem to be in the very atmosphere that we breathe.

We want to get out of it, since the times are out of joint, and we
can't help _everything_, at least. We feel a cowardly desire to fly,
and simply enjoy ourselves; somewhere, anywhere, but in this Babel of
odds and ends; where everything is always beginning, and never is
finished; where mouths keep opening, faster than loaves of bread can
be baked; where churches are built so grand, that poor people can't
say a prayer in them; where rulers are elected by whiskey, instead of
wisdom; where, on the other side of the thin wall which frames your
home, the awful tragedies of life and death go on, without a thought
or care from you; where bitter tears fall, which you might, but
_don't_ assuage, because your neighbor, having enough of this world's
goods, is supposed to need nothing else.

Oh, I dare say I shall ossify in time; but at present these thoughts
keep me quite miserable after the serene, heavenly peace, and plenty,
and content of the country.


To live in Boston is to feel necessitated to wear your "Sunday
clothes" all through the week. To live in New York is to wear a loose
wrapper every day in the seven if you choose, without danger of being
sent to Coventry for so doing; not because Gotham admires your
wrapper, but because it has not time or inclination to overhaul so
minute a circumstance. In New York, you may wash your one pair of
stockings every night; or you may have seven changes of the same for
all New York will care about it. In Boston the pedigree of your
stockings, shawls, and bonnets is, by no contrivance of ingenuity,
hidden. In New York, good Christians can take a walk on Sunday, if it
_does not_ lead straight to the church door. In Boston, one perils his
salvation, and business standing, by taking a breath of air that has
not first blown round a pulpit. In Boston, a rich man or woman must,
in public places, keep within the talismanic circle marked out for
them, nor cross the line of demarkation at peril of non-recognition.
In New York a rich man or woman, by virtue of such position, feels at
liberty to take any loafer-ish jump over the customary fence that
inclination shall dictate. In Boston, the literary knee is not
literary, if it has not knelt before certain shrines. In New York, if
it is a _genuine_ knee, it may kneel or not kneel, so far as perilling
its safe foundation is concerned. In Boston, one who carries a parcel
is supposed not to be able to hire it sent. In New York one may carry
a double armful, without being suspected of living at the Five Points.
In Boston, people settle your claims to notice by inquiring if you
know Mr. This or visit Mrs. That. New York is more interested to know,
whether you are eligible by virtue of good manners, and general
jolliness, without reference to your tailor, hatter, or dressmaker. In
New York, if you choose only to board two servants instead of five,
and decline wasting your life in superintending their neglect of
upholstery, silver, and china, your intelligence, and irreproachable
grammar, are considered an equivalent. In Boston, under such
circumstances, the golden gate turns not on its hinges to let you into
the crystal city.

In other words, well as I love old Boston--and I do love it--I must
own that it is a snob of the first water. It makes a vast difference
what my opinion is, of course; but for all that, when Boston stays all
its life in Boston, it becomes fossilized, mummy-ized, swathed round
and round, from neck to heel, so that growth and expansion are morally

Still, let Boston always be _born_ in Boston; but after it grows
vigorous, if it would stay vigorous, and not get the cramp of
self-conceit till it can't turn its "Boston neck," no matter how
loudly the wheel of progress is dashing past, let it migrate betimes
to New York; where it will get wholesomely thumped and bumped, and
its conservative corns pounced upon by the rushing crowd; who will
knock its respectable shiny hat over its eyes fifty times a day, all
the same as though it was not one of the "highly respectable
citizens," the state of whose kitchen-chimney is gravely reported to a
gaping universe, in their daily papers.

I don't know what would become of New York had it not its Paradise in
the Central Park. I never go there without blessing its originator,
and wishing it might be baptized with a more suggestive and prettier
name. But never mind names. In its lovely October dress, with its
sparkling lake, and drooping willows, its white swans, its lovely
velvet greensward; the myriads of sweet children alighting here and
there, in their bits of gay dresses, like little humming birds or
orioles, with happy mothers and fathers who have left their cares and
frets in the city, and come there to be young again for too brief an
hour, with the little ones; all this is a picture to feast the eye and
gladden the heart. In one respect Central Park might borrow a hint
from Boston Common. There the little children are allowed to run upon
the grass at all times; not on certain days of the month or week as in
Central Park. Said a bright little child of six the other day, when
asked if it would like to go to Central Park: "No! (emphatically)
_no_! I don't want _to waste my time going_ where they won't let me
step on the grass."

I sometimes wish that the policeman on duty there--so Argus-eyed to
arrest the tiny shoe, when temptation is too strong for childhood
which has always been cooped within city limits--would bestow some of
their notice upon the men-loafers who stretch themselves at full
length upon benches, occupying them to the exclusion of the children;
puffing vile tobacco, and making a spittoon of the path through which
ladies pass. It strikes me there might be an improvement on the
strain-at-a-gnat and swallow-a-camel system now in vogue there.

To return to Boston, which I always like to do occasionally: that city
needs not our Central Park drives, with its lovely and easily
accessible environs.

Here in New York one does not get to the environs until it is time to
come home; what with clogged streets and ferry-boats, and
Babel-hindrances too numerous to mention, such as scratched sides of
the pet carriage, and often-recurring "locked wheels," the fright of
prostrate horses, and the music of profanity, from the lips of hurried
and irate drivers of teams, and drays, in every direction. All this is
death to the repose one seeks in "a drive." Therefore we New Yorkers
love our quiet accessible Central Park. May its boundaries be
limitless as our tax bills! I couldn't say more. But my first
love--that dear old gem of a Boston Common! How happy were the
Saturday and Wednesday afternoons, when, under the blessed old school
system, before children were forced with grammar and geography, like
hot-house plants,--and we had short forenoon and _afternoon_ sessions,
with the exception of the above-mentioned holidays; how happy were the
afternoons I spent there, picking buttercups, and blowing off
thistledown, "to see if mothers wanted us at home;" which by the way,
was sure to be answered in the negative. And as to the Frog-Pond--what
was the Atlantic Ocean to that? On the Atlantic Ocean, they had
dreadful ship-wrecks; on the Boston Frog-Pond, we sent out our tiny
ventures, sure to find safe arrivals when we ran round the other side
of the Pond. And the big Tree--hooped all round like a modern
belle--with what big eyes of wonder we looked up into its branches, as
our elders told us wonderful stories of what it had seen in its long,
eventful life. And _now_ there are many big trees where _little_ ones
used to stand. Bless me! it shows how old I must be; just as it does
to go back there and meet in the street some radiant fresh young girl,
"the very image of her mother," with whom I used to play buttercups,
on Saturday afternoons. There are the same bright eyes, and lovely
hair, and smiling lips--bless me, how old I _really_ must be! and why
don't I walk with a stick?

And then I laugh as I look up at Boston State-House and its
awe-inspiring dome of our childhood; and recall the "members of the
Legislature," crawling up and down stairs and galleries like great
black ants; and think of the terrific "_Inquisition_"-doings which we
used to be sure must be going on, inside those wonderful halls, and to
which Blue-Beard's locked apartment was nothing. Oh, it is all very
funny now, when I go there; and though I sit on a seat in the Common,
and try to conjure all the myriad hours, and days, and years, between
then and now, and try to feel like the second Methusaleh I am, I
declare to you I never can do it,--but, instead, catch myself trotting
off home under the trees, as briskly as a squirrel. I suppose, some
day, I shall be dead though, for all that.


The Battery was my first New York love. I shall never forget how
completely it took possession of me, or how magnetically it drew me
under the shade of its fine trees, to breathe the fresh sea-breeze,
and watch the graceful ships come and go, or lie calmly at anchor,
with every line so clearly defined against the bright sky. It was not
"the fashion," even then, to go there; so much the better. It is still
less the fashion now; but there I found myself, one bright Sunday not
long since, as I left the leafy loveliness of Trinity church, with its
sweet choral music still sounding in my ears.

Alas! for my dear old Battery. The sea is still there, to be sure--no
"corporation" can meddle with that; and still the picturesque ships
come and go; but the blades of grass grow fewer and thinner, and the
dirty, dusty paths call aloud for a "vigilance committee." What a sin
and shame! I exclaimed, that this loveliest spot in New York should
present so forlorn an appearance. Is there not room enough in the
purses and affections of New Yorkers for the Central Park and the
Battery too? In good truth, when I reflect upon it, I am jealous of
this new aspirant for the public favor. What is a _horse_ to a ship?
sacrilege though it be to say so. What is the gaudy, over-dressed
equestrian "swell" of fine ladies and fine "Afghans" to the majestic
_swell of the sea_? What are the stylish equipages and liveries, to
the picturesque crowd of newly-arrived emigrants, with their funny
little, odd-looking babies, their square, sturdy forms and bronze
faces, chattering happy greetings in an unknown tongue, and gazing
about them bewildered, at the strange sights and sounds of a great new
city; or sauntering up to Trinity church, and in happy ignorance of
novel steeples and creeds, dropping on their catholic knees in its
aisles, in thankful, devout recognition of their safe arrival in a new
country. What is the pretty toy-lake, and the hearse-like "gondola,"
and "the swans," and the posies, and the "bronze-eagle," and the
blue-coated policemen, who stand ready to handle rogues _with_ gloves,
and _white ones_ at that, to my dear old Battery, battered as it is.

I call capricious, fickle New York to order, for thus forsaking the
old love for the new. I demand an instant settlement of any protracted
dispute there may be on hand, as to "whose business it is" to renovate
the Battery, before it quite runs to seed, like the City Hall Park.
Not that _I_ won't keep on going to the Battery, though they should
build a small-pox hospital on it; for it is not my way to forsake an
old friend because he is shabby; but I _should_ like to be a female
General Butler, for one month, and put this business through in his
chain-lightning executive fashion.

It is a great plague to be a woman. I think I've said that before, but
it will bear repeating. Now the wharves are a great passion of mine; I
like to sit on a pile of boards there, with my boots dangling over the
water, and listen to the far-off "heave-ho" of the sailors in their
bright specks of red shirts, and see the vessels unload, with their
foreign fruits, and dream away a delicious hour, imagining the places
they came from; and I like to climb up the sides of ships, and poke
round generally, just where Mrs. Grundy would lay her irritating hand
on my arm and exclaim--"What _will_ people think of you?"

I am getting sick of people. I am falling in love with things. They
hold their tongues and don't bother.

       *       *       *       *       *

I like also to stroll forth in New York, just at dusk, and see the
crowds hurrying homeward. The merchant, glad to turn his back at last
on both profit and loss. The laboring man with his tools and his empty
dinner pail. The weary working-girl, upon whose pallid face the fresh
wind comes, like the soft caressing touch of her mother's fingers. The
matron, with her little boy by the hand, talking lovingly, as he skips
by her side. The young man, full of hope for the future, looking, with
his eagle eye, and fresh-tinted cheek, as if he could defy fate. The
young girl, rejoicing in her prettiness, for the power it gives her
to win love and friends. The little beggar children, counting their
pennies on some doorstep, to see how much supper they will buy. The
small boot-blacks, who stoop less, after all, than many men whose feet
they polish, singing as merrily as if they were sure of a fortune on
the morrow. The bright glancing lights in the shop windows, touching
up bits of scarlet, and yellow, and blue, and making common beads and
buttons gleam like treasures untold. The lumbering omnibuses, crawling
up and down, heavy with their human freight. The rapid whirl of gay
carriages, with their owners. The little bits of conversation one
catches in passing, showing the depth or shallowness of the speakers.
The tones of their voices, musical or otherwise. The step, awkward or
graceful, and the sway of the figure. The fading tints of the sky, and
the coming out of the stars, that find it hard to get noticed among so
many garish lights. The interior glimpses of homes, before caution
draws the curtains. Now--some picture on the wall. Now--a maiden
sitting at the piano. Now--a child, with its cunning little face
pressed close against the window. Now--a loving couple, too absorbed
in the old--old--but ever _new_ romance, to think that their clasped
hands may be noted by the passer by. Now--a woman for whom your heart
aches; walking slowly; glancing boldly; going anywhere, poor thing!
but--_home_. Now--oh! the contrast--a husband and wife, with locked
arms, talking cheerily of their little home matters. Now--a policeman
with folded arms, standing on the corner, past being astonished at
anything. Now a florist's tempting window, whence comes a delicious
odor of tube-roses, and heliotrope, and geranium. There is a huge,
fragrant pyramid for some gay feast. There is a snowy wreath and
cross, white as the still, dead, face, above which they are soon to be
laid. There is a snowy coronal for a bride. There is a gay,
bright-tinted bouquet for an actress. Lingering, you look, and muse,
and spell out life's alphabet, by help of these sweet flowers; and now
you are jostled away by a policeman, dragging a wretched, drunken
woman to the station-house.

People talk of Niagara, and tell how impressive is its roar. What is
the roar of a dumb thing like that to the roar of a mighty city?
There, _souls_ go down, and alas! the shuttle of life flies so swiftly
that few stop to heed.

       *       *       *       *       *

There are persons who can regard oppression and injustice without any
acceleration of the pulse. There are others who never witness it, how
frequent soever, without a desperate struggle against non-interference,
though prudence and policy may both whisper "it's none of your
business." I believe, as a general thing, that the shopkeepers of New
York who employ girls and women to tend in their stores, treat them
courteously; but now and then I have been witness to such brutal
language to them, in the presence of customers, for that which seemed
to me no offence, or at least a very trifling one, that I have longed
for a man's strong right arm, summarily to settle matters with the
oppressor. And when one has been the innocent cause of it, merely by
entering the store to make a purchase, the obligation to see the victim
safe through, seems almost imperative. The bad policy of such an
exhibition of unmanliness on the part of a shopkeeper would be, one
would think, sufficient to stifle the "damn you" to the blushing,
tearful girl, who is powerless to escape, or to clear herself from the
charge of misbehavior. When ladies "go shopping," in New York, they
generally expect to enjoy themselves; though Heaven knows, they must be
hard up for resources to fancy this mode of spending their time, when
it can be avoided. But, be that as it may, the most vapid can scarcely
fancy this sort of scene.

The most disgusting part of such an exhibition is, when the
gentlemanly employer, having got through "damning" his embarrassed
victim, turns, with a sweet smile and dulcet voice, to yourself, and
inquires, "what else he can have the pleasure of showing you?" You are
tempted to reply, "Sir, I would like you to show me that you can
respect womanhood, although it may not be hedged about with fine
raiment, or be able to buy civil words with a full purse." But you
bite your tongue to keep it quiet, and you linger till this Nero has
strolled off, and then you say to the girl, "I am so sorry to have
been the innocent cause of this!" and you ask, "Does he often speak
this way to you?" and she says, quietly, as she rolls up the ribbons
or replaces the boxes on the shelves, "Never in any other!" It is
useless to ask her why she stays, because you know something about
women's wages and women's work in the crowded city; and you know that,
till she is sure of another place, it is folly for her to think of
leaving this. And you think many other things as you say Good-morning
to her as kindly as you know how; and you turn over this whole
"woman-question" as you run the risk of being knocked down and run
over in the crowded thoroughfare through which you pass; and the
jostle, and hurry, and rush about you, seem to make it more hopeless
as each eager face passes you, intent on its own plans, busy with its
own hopes and fears--staggering perhaps under a load either of the
soul or body, or both, as heavy as the poor shop-girl's, and you gasp
as if the air about had suddenly become too thick to breathe. And then
you reach your own door-step, and like a guilty creature, face your
dressmaker, having forgotten to "match that trimming;" and you wonder
if you were to sit down and write about this evil, if it would deter
even one employer from such brutality to the shop-girls in his employ;
not because of the brutality, perhaps, but because by such a
short-sighted policy, he might often drive away from his store, ladies
who would otherwise be profitable and steady customers.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is an animal peculiar to New-York, who infests every nook and
corner of it, to everybody's disgust but his own. He is a boy in
years, but a man in vicious knowledge. Every woman who is unfortunate
enough to be in his presence is simply a _she_--nothing more. He may
be seen making a charmed circle of expectoration, about the seat he
occupies in a ferry-boat, ferry-house, or car, while she stands half
fainting with exhaustion, in hearing distance of his coarse, prurient
remarks to some other little beast like himself. Pea-nuts are the
staple food of this creature, the shells of which he snaps dexterously
at those about him, when other means of amusement give out. When a
public conveyance has reached its point of destination, this animal is
the first to make an insane rush for egress, treading down young
children, and tearing ladies' clothing in his triumphal march.
Sometimes he stops on the way to "bung out the eye" of an offending
youngster, in so tight a place for a combat that somebody's corpse
seems inevitable. Terrified ladies, who would fain give him elbow room
if they had it, faintly ejaculate "Oh!" as they squeeze themselves
into the smallest breathable space; nor does he desist, till his
adversary is punished for the crime of existing, without this brute's
permission; he then emerges into the open street, settling his greasy
jacket and indescribable hat, muttering oaths, and squaring off
occasionally, as he looks behind him, as though he wished somebody
else was "spiling for a licking."

Often this animal may be found in the city parks; where the city
corporation generously furnishes about one seat to every hundred
children, and selecting the shadiest and most eligible, stretches
himself on it upon his stomach, while tired little children and their
female attendants, wander round in vain for a resting-place. Sometimes
sitting upon it, he will stretch out his leg so as to trip some
unwary, happy little child in passing; or perhaps he will suddenly
give a deafening shout in its ear, for the pleasure of hearing it cry;
or from a pocket well stuffed with pebbles will skillfully pelt its
clean clothes from a safe distance; and sometimes this animal, who
smokes at ten years like a man of forty, will address a passing lady
with such questions as these:

"Oh, aint _you_ bully? Oh, give _her_ room enough to walk!--oh, yes!"
Or, "Who's _your_ beau, Sally?" which last cognomen seems with them to
constitute a safe guess.

When not otherwise occupied, this young gentleman writes offensive
words on door-steps and fences with bits of chalk, which he keeps on
hand for this purpose. Or, if a servant has just nicely cleaned a
window, he chews gum into little balls wherewith to plaster it; or he
kicks over an ash-barrel in passing upon a nicely swept side-walk; or
he rings the door-bell violently, and makes a flying exit, having
ascertained previously the policeman's "beat" on that district; or he
climbs the box round a favorite tree, which has just begun by its
grateful shade to refresh your eye and reward your care, and,
stripping off the most promising bough for a switch, goes up street
picking off the leaves and scattering them as he goes; or he will
stand at the bottom of a high flight of steps, upon the top step of
which is a lady waiting for admittance, and scream, "Oh, my--aint
_you_ got bully boots on?" He also is expert at stealing newspapers
from door-steps, and vociferating bogus extras about shocking murders
and fires, and "lass of life;" and flowers out in full glory in a red
shirt, in a pit of a Bowery theatre of an evening.

Sometimes he diverts himself throwing stones at the windows of passing
cars, and splintering the glass into the eyes of frightened ladies and
children, and suddenly disappearing as if the earth had opened and
swallowed him, as you wish some day it would.

What this boy will be as a man, it is not difficult to tell. He counts
one at the ballot-box, remember that, when you deny cultivated,
intelligent, loyal _women_ a vote there.

       *       *       *       *       *

If there is one sight more offensive to me in New York than another,
it is that of a servant in livery. Daily my republican soul is vexed
by the different varieties of this public nuisance. Sometimes he
appears to me in the sacerdotal garb--a long, petticoat-y suit of
solemn black, with stainless stiff white cravat. Then again he crosses
my path, bedizzened in blue, with yellow facings, and top-boots. Then
again he flames out like a poll-parrot, in green coat, and scarlet
waistcoat. Again, his white gloves, and broad hat-band, are the only
public advertisements of his servitude. Generally upon the hat of this
animal is mounted the "cockade," which his parvenu master imagines is
just the thing, but which in reality is in "the old country" only worn
by servants of _military_ men. Yesterday I saw a vehicle, in which was
seated a gentleman, driving a fine pair of horses, and behind him, on
a small seat, was his man-servant with his arms folded like a trussed
turkey, _and his back turned to his master_. This last fact seemed to
me a very funny one; but, I dare say, it is satisfactorily accounted
for in some book of heraldry, unfortunately not in my library. Now, it
is not for a moment to be supposed, that when but so lately the nation
was struggling for its "God-given rights," that the _men_ of America
are interested in these finikin-equine-millineries. Of course not.
They are to be pitied; they are undoubtedly the too compliant victims
of weak wives and silly daughters. For themselves, I have no doubt
they are sick at their manly hearts at these servile and
badly-executed imitations of old-country flunkeyism, and blush, with
an honest shame, at being obliged to parade this disgusting and
ill-timed exhibition, in the same streets where our maimed soldiers
are limping home, with our torn and blackened flag, which tells so
well its mute, eloquent story.

       *       *       *       *       *

Let me speak of a pleasanter topic: my visit to the newsboys. One
Sunday evening I went to "The Newsboys' Lodging House, 128 Fulton
Street, New York." Few people who stop these little fellows in the
street to purchase a paper, ever glance at their faces, much less give
a thought to their belongings, associations or condition. Oh! had you
only been down there with me that evening, and looked into those
hundred and fifty intelligent, eager faces, numbered their respective
ages, inquired into their friendless past, given a thought to the
million temptations with which their _present_ is surrounded, spite of
all the well directed efforts of Christian philanthropy, and looked
forward into their possible future, your eyes would have filled, and
your heart beat quicker, as you have said to yourself, Oh, yes;
something _must_ be done to save these children.

Children! for many of them are no more. Children! already battling
with life, though scarce past the nursery age. Imagine your own dear
boy, with the bright eyes and the broad, white forehead, whom you tuck
so comfortably in his little soft bed at night, with a prayer and a
kiss; whom you look at the last thing on retiring; for whom you gladly
toil; whom you hedge around with virtuous, wholesome influences from
the cradle; who does not yet know even the meaning of the word "evil;"
who jumps into your arms as soon as he wakes in the morning, with the
sweet certainty of a warm love-clasp; who has the nicest bit, at
breakfast, laid on his little plate; whose little stories and
questions always find eager and sympathizing ears; imagine this little
fellow of seven or eight, or ten years, getting out of his bed at one
or two o'clock in the morning, going out into the dark, chill,
lonesome street, half-clad, hungry, alone to some newspaper office, to
wait for the damp morning papers, as they are worked from the press,
and seizing his bundle, hurrying, barefoot and shivering, to some
newspaper stand or depot, at the farther part of the city. Imagine
_your_ little Charley doing that! Then, if that were all! If this
drain on the physical immaturity of childhood were the worst of it.
The devil laughs as he knows it is not. Big boys--_men_,
even--_cheat_; why not he? If he can pass off bad change--surely, who
has more need to make a sixpence, though it be not an honest one? What
care customers if he grow up a good or a bad man, so that the
newspaper comes in time to season their warm breakfast? Who will ever
care for him living, or mourn for him dead? What does it matter,

That's the way this poor friendless child reasons. I understood it all
last night. All too that this noble philanthropy called "The Newsboys'
Lodging House" meant. And as I looked round on those boys, I felt
afraid when they were addressed, that the right thing might not be
said to so peculiar an audience. For children though they were, they
had seen life as men see it. Untutored, uneducated, in one sense, in
others they knew as much as any adult who should address them.
Sharpened by actual hard-fisted grappling with the world, let him be
careful who should speak to these grown-up children of seven, and ten,
and fourteen years. Thinking thus, I said, as their friend, Mr. C. L.
Brace, rose to speak--pray God, he may take all this into
consideration. Pray God, he may give them neither creeds nor theology;
but, instead, the wide open arms of the good, pitiful, loving
Saviour, whose home on earth was with the lowly and the friendless.
And he did! It was a human address. The God he told them of was not
out of their reach. It was every word pure gold. Bless him for it! He
had them all by the hand, and the heart too. I saw that. Promptly,
frankly, and with the confidence of children in the family, they
answered his questions as to their views on the chapter in the Bible
he read them. And if you smiled at some of their queer notions, the
tear was in your eye the next minute at the blessed thought that they
had friends who cared whether the immortal part of them slumbered or
woke; who recognized and fanned into a flame even the smallest
particle of mentality. Now and then among the crowd a head or face
would attract your eye, and you would be lost in wonder to see it
_there_! The head and face of what I call "_a mother's boy_." God
knows if its owner had one, or, if it had, if she cared for him! And
as they sang together of "The Friend that never grew weary," my heart
responded, aye--aye--why should I forget that?

I hope you will go--and you and you--on some Sabbath evening, if you
come to New York. They love to feel that people take an interest in
them. It brightens and cheers their lives. It gives them self-respect
and motive for trying to do right; and don't forget to ask the
Superintendent, Mr. O Conner, to show you the nice little beds where
they sleep. _Do_ go; and if you can say a few words to them, or tell
them a bright short story, so much the better. They will know you
next time they sell you a newspaper; don't forget to shake hands with
them _then_. And take your little pet boy Charley down there. Show him
the little fellows who go into business in New York at seven and ten
years old, and have no father or mother at night to kiss them to
sleep. It will be a lesson better than any he will ever learn at
school. He will find out that all boys are not born to plum-cake and
sugar candy, and some of the best and smartest boys too. He will open
his eyes when you tell him that without plum-cake, or candy, or a
grandpa, or an aunt, or father or mother to care for them, some of the
newsboys who came from that very house, to-day own farms in the West,
that they earned selling newspapers, and have since come back for
other newsboys to go out there and help them work on it. Tell Charley
that. I think he will be ashamed to cry again because there was "not
sugar enough in his milk."

       *       *       *       *       *

People who visit a great city, and explore it with a curious eye,
generally overlook the most remarkable things in it. They "do it up"
in Guide-Book fashion, going the stereotyped rounds of custom-ridden
predecessors. If _my_ chain were a little longer, I would write you a
book of travels that would at least have the merit of ignoring the
usual finger-posts that challenge travellers. I promise you I would
cross conservative lots, and climb over conservative fences, and leave
the rags and tatters of custom fluttering on them, behind me, as I
strode on to some unfrequented hunting-ground.

That's the way I'd do. Never a "lord" or "lady," or a "palace," or a
"picture gallery," should figure in my note-book. "Old masters" and
young masters would be all the same to me. When my book was finished,
if nobody else wanted to read it, I'd sit down and read it myself. Of
course you know such a method pre-supposes a little capital to start
with, at the present price of paper; but really, I put it to you,
wouldn't that be the only honest and racy way to write a book?

Don't be alarmed--there's no chance of my doing it. I dream of it,
though, sometimes--this deliciousness of "speaking right out in
meetin'" without fear of the bugbear of excommunication. And speaking
of "meetin,'" that's what I have been coming at. The "Fulton-street
daily prayer-meeting." It is one of the most wonderful sights in New
York. In the busiest hour of the day, in its busiest business street,
noisy with machinery of all kinds, even the earth under your feet
sending out puffs of steam at every other step, to remind you of its
underground labor, is a little plain room, with a reading-desk and a
few benches, with hymn-books scattered about. Take a seat, and watch
the worshippers as they collect. _Men_, with only a sprinkling of
bonnets here and there. Business men, evidently; some with good coats,
some with bad; porters, hand-cartmen, policemen, ministers; the young
man of eighteen or twenty, the portly man of forty, and the bent
form, whitening head, and faltering step of age. For _one_ hour they
want to ignore, and get out of, that maelstrom-whirl, into a spiritual
atmosphere. They feel that they have souls as well as bodies to care
for, and they don't want to forget it. How lonely soever yonder man,
in that great rough coat, may be, in this great, strange city, to
which he has just come, here is sympathy, here is companionship, here
are, in the best sense, "brethren." Never mind creeds; that is not
what they assemble to discuss. _But has that man a burden, a grief or
a sorrow, which is intensified tenfold_ by want of sympathy? Nobody
knows his name; nobody is curious to know. He has sent a little slip
of paper up to the desk, and he wants them all to pity and pray for
him. It may be the man on this seat, or that yonder--nobody knows.
Yes--"_pray_" for him. Perhaps you are smiling. You "don't believe in
prayer." Oh, wait till some strand of earthly hope is parting, before
you are quite sure of that. Was there ever an hour of peril or human
agony through which he or she who "did not believe in prayer," was
passing, that the lips did not involuntarily frame the short prayer,
"Oh, God?"

Well, they "pray" for him. He feels stronger and better as he listens.
He has found friends, even here in this great whirling city, who are
sorry for him; of whose circle he can make one, whenever he chooses;
and to whom he can more fully introduce himself, if he cares to be
better known.

_I say it is a good and a noble thing._ It warmed and gladdened my
heart to see it. And all the more, that at every step, on leaving, I
saw the "traps" of the Evil One, sprung for that man's return

One of the pleasantest features of this "one-hour meeting" to me was
the hymns. I don't know or care whether they were "sung in tune." It
wasn't _hired_ singing, thank God! It came straight from orthodox
lungs, with a will and a spirit. Those old "come-to-Jesus" hymns! I
tell you I long for them sometimes with a homesick longing, like that
of the exiled Swiss for his favorite mountain song. You may pick up
the hymn-books containing them, and with your critical forefinger
point to "hell" and "an angry God," and all that. It makes no
difference to me. Don't I take pleasure in looking at your face,
though your nose isn't quite straight, and your eyes are not perfect,
and your shoulders are not shaped to my mind. I don't mind _that_, so
that there's a heart-tone in your voice, a love-look in your eye, when
I'm heart-sore--don't you see?

Oh! I liked that meeting. I'm going again. It was so homely, and
hearty, and Christian. One man said, "_them_ souls." Do you think I
flounced out of the meeting for that? I liked it. One poor foreigner
couldn't pronounce straight, for the life of him. So much the better.
His stammering tongue will be all right some day. I haven't the least
idea who all those people were, singing and praying there; but I never
can tell you how I liked it. That "Come to Jesus" was sung with a
_heart-ring_ that I haven't stopped hearing, yet, though I have slept
on it once or twice. You may say "priestcraft!" "early education!" and
all that. There are husks with the wheat, I know; but for all that--I
tell you there is _wheat_!

       *       *       *       *       *

With submission, to the authorities it seems to me that the Sunday
Schools of to-day are somewhat perverted from the original intention
of their founders. As I understand it, their object was to collect the
children of poor, ignorant parents for Biblical instruction. I look
out of my window, every Sunday morning, upon the spectacle of gaily
attired little ladies and gentlemen, leaving their brown-stone fronts
of handsome dwellings, and tripping lightly in dainty boots to the
vestries of well-to-do churches. As I watch them, I wonder why their
parents, educated, intelligent people, or at least with plenty of
leisure, should shift upon the shoulders of Sunday-school teachers so
responsible a duty? I say "duty," and it is a cold, hard word to use,
in connection with a dear little child whose early lessons on
religious subjects should be carefully and cautiously and judiciously
unfolded. I cannot understand, and I say this without meaning any
disrespect to the great army of well-meaning, good-hearted
Sunday-school teachers all over the land, how these parents can
reserve to themselves on Sunday morning only the dear pleasure of
decking their little persons in gay Sunday attire, and never
ask--never inquire--never think--what may be the answer given by a
Sunday-school teacher, to the far reaching childish question, which
may involve a lifetime of bewilderment, perplexity, and spiritual
unrest, to the little creature, each shining fold of whose garment has
been smoothed and patted into place by these "doting" parents; it may
be treasonable to say so, but it seems to me an unnatural proceeding.
Then again I think these children should not occupy the time and
attention of teachers, while the poor, who are always with us, are
totally uninstructed, far beyond all the humane attempts that have
been made, and are daily making, to accomplish this purpose. Surely no
teacher whose heart is in his or her work, would let the want of fine
clothes stand in the way of such effort. Now when I see the children
in a locality like the Five Points, or in the various mission schools
established for the benefit of children, I say--Now _that_ is "a
Sunday-school" after the plan of the founders. These children, who
have nothing inviting at their miserable homes on Sunday; whose weary
parents have no heart or strength or knowledge for these things;
gathered in here by kind men and women; to whom this weekly reunion is
perhaps the only bright spot in their whole little horizon; who sing
their little songs with real heart and feeling; who believe in their
teachers, because they know they have come down to inodorous,
disagreeable localities, and love them because their lives are not
cast in pleasant places; these teachers who, if the children have had
no dinner or breakfast, _give_ them dinner or breakfast--why--that I
call a practical Sunday School! It is a blessed thing; and no one can
listen to the hearty singing of these little uncared-for waifs of the
street, without a choking feeling in the throat, that, if voiced,
would be, God bless these teachers? If they were taught nothing but
those simple little songs, it were worth all the time, and money, and
self-sacrifice involved in the teaching.

Those words ring in their ears during the week. They sing them on the
door-steps of the miserable dwellings they call home; there is a
"heaven" somewhere, they feel, where misery, and dirt, and degradation
are unknown. The passer-by listens--some discouraged man, perhaps,
whom the world has roughly used--some wretched woman who weeps, as she
listens; and this little bit of Gospel, so unobtrusive, so accidental,
so sweetly voiced, is like the seed the wind wafts to some far-off
rock--when you look again, there is the full-blown flower; no one knew
how it took root or whence it came, but, thank God, winds and storms
have no power to dislodge it. My heart warms to such Sunday-schools;
and, without any wish to disparage others, I cannot but think that, if
the parents who are in condition to instruct their own children, would
not delegate this duty, the hundreds of teachers by this means freed,
might gather in the stray lambs, whose souls and bodies no man cares

       *       *       *       *       *

The stranger in New York will not find that its population affect
Evening Lectures as much as in smaller cities, and in rural districts,
owing to the surfeit of all kinds of amusements there; but it is very
curious to study an expectant audience in New York. Some sit resignedly
upon their seats, comfortable or the reverse, as the case may be;
thinking of nothing, or thinking of something, just as it happens, in a
sort of amiable-chew-the-cud-stupor, oblivious of the slow-dragging
moments. Others pull out watches for frequent consultation, shuffle
feet, and take an affectionate and mournful and fond look at a furtive
cigar, which can be of no possible present use. Others, with an
enviable forethought, draw from the depths of coat-pockets the daily
papers, and studiously apply themselves to the contents, to the
manifest envy of that improvident class who are obliged to fall back
upon the unsatisfactory employment of twiddling their fidgety thumbs.
As for the _ladies_, bless 'em! they are never at a loss. Are there not
gloves to pull off, to show a diamond ring to advantage, and glistening
bracelets to settle, and the last finishing polish to put upon hair,
already groomed to the satin smoothness of a respectable hair-sofa?
This duty done, the first bonnet within range passes under the
inspection of an inexorable martinet, viz: "Did _she_ make it herself?"
or, "Is it the approved work of a milliner?" "Does her hair curl
naturally?" or, "Does she curl it?" "Is her collar _real_ lace?" or,
"Only imitation?" These professional detective-queries, so amusing to
the general female mind, while away the time edifyingly, especially
when there is a variety of heads within eye-range for minute

       *       *       *       *       *

"What can _she_ have to tell us that we did not know before?" I heard
some one say, as we took our seats in the Lecture-room to hear a
Female Lecturess. Have you always, thought I, heard new and original
remarks from the _male_ speakers, whose audiences yawned through
fifty-cents-worth of bombast, and platitudes, and repetition, in this
very place? And is it not worth while, sometimes, to look at a subject
from an intelligent _woman's_ stand-point? And granting she were
wanting in every requisite that you consider essential in a public
speaker, if she can draw an audience, why shouldn't she fill her
pocket? Is it less commendable than marrying somebody--anybody--for
the sake of being supported, and finding out too late, as many women
do, that it is the toughest possible way of getting a living? As I
view it, her life is not unpleasant. She takes long journeys _alone_,
it is true--and very likely so she would have to do, if she took any,
were she married. At least, she circulates about in the fresh air,
among fresh people, makes many acquaintances, and, let us hope, some
friends; instead of gnawing the bone of monotony all her colorless
life. And what if a hiss should meet her sensitive ear from some adder
in her audience? Does it sting more than would a brutal word at her
own fireside, whither she was lured by promises of love until death?

If conservatism is shocked to hear a woman speak in public, let
conservatism stay away; but let it be consistent, and not forget to
frown on its own women, who elbow and push their way in a crowded
assembly, and with sharp tongue and hurrying feet "grab"--yes, that's
the word--the most eligible seat, or who push into public conveyances
already filled to over-flowing, and, with brazen impudence, wonder
aloud "if these are _gentlemen_," as they try to look them out of
their seats. There be many ways a woman can "unsex" herself, beside
lecturing in public.

Not that I see, either, how they can get up and do it. Somebody would
have to put me on my defence; or somebody I loved dearly must be
starving, and need the fee I should get, before _I_ could muster the
requisite courage? but none the less do I honor those who can do it.
So many have acquitted themselves honorably in this field of labor,
that this subject needs neither defender nor apologist; but still,
much of the old spirit of opposition occasionally manifests itself,
even now, in spiteful comments from lip and pen, particularly with
regard to the more fortunate.

_They_ can stand it!--with a good house over their independent heads,
secured and paid for by their own honest industry. They can stand
it!--with greenbacks and Treasury notes stowed away against a rainy
day. _They_ can stand it!--with any quantity of "admirers" who, not
having pluck or skill enough to earn their own living, would gladly
share what these enterprising women have accumulated. May a good
Providence multiply female lecturers, female sculptors, female artists
of every sort, female authors, female astronomers, female
book-keepers, female--anything that is honest, save female
_sempstresses_, with their pale faces, hollow eyes and empty pockets,
and a City Hospital or Almshouse in prospective.

       *       *       *       *       *

Certainly these earnest women lecturers are in pleasant contrast to
many of the young men of the present day, to whom nothing is sacred,
to whom everything in life is levelled to the same plane of
indifference. Nothing is worth a struggle; nothing worth a sacrifice
to them. Evils, they say, must come; and, folding their hands idly,
they say--let them come. In _their_ moral garden, weeds have equal
chance with the flowers; and it is very easy to see which are in the
ascendant. To be in the blighting proximity of such a person is to
breathe the air of the bottomless pit. Every noble aspiration, every
humane and philanthropic feeling, shrivels in such an atmosphere. What
is it to them that the poor bondman points to his chains? What is it
to them that the world groans with wrong that they can and should at
least begin to redress. The mountain is steep, the top is hidden in
clouds, and they have no eye to discern that they are even now parting
that a glory may gild its summit. It is bad enough--humiliating
enough--to hear the aged express such chilling sentiments. One can
have a pitying patience with them; but when masculine youth and
vigor, born to the glorious inheritance of 1864, tricks itself out in
these old moth-eaten, time-worn garments, instead of buckling on sword
and helmet for God and the right, it is the saddest, most
disheartening sight that earth can show.

       *       *       *       *       *

And speaking of young men, did you ever, when shopping in New York,
notice the different varieties of clerks one sees. There is your
zealous clerk, who thinks fuss is impressive. When you enter, he
places one hand on the counter and turns a somerset over to the other
side, with an astonishing agility equalled only at the circus; he
twitches down the desired piece of goods from the shelf and slaps it
down on the counter with a whirlwind velocity that would send your
bonnet through the door into the street were it not fastened firmly on
by the strings. You catch your breath and sneeze at the dust he has
raised, and trust that _this_ part of the performance is over. Not at
all; he repeats it with another elevation of the piece of goods in the
air, announcing the price per yard, just as its second flapping
descent makes said announcement inaudible. You sneeze again as the
dust fills your nostrils, and stoop to pick up your handkerchief which
he has sent flying to the floor. By this time, if you can recollect
what it is you came to buy, or how many yards of the same you desire,
you have more self-possession and patience than I.

Then there is your stupid clerk, who thinks you mean blue when you say
green; who thinks flannel and ribbon are one and the same article; who
gives you short measure and short change if you buy, and impresses you
with the idea that he "don't come home till morning." Then there is
your impertinent clerk, who puts his face unnecessarily close to your
bonnet; who assures you that every article he sells is "chaste," if
you know what that means in such a connexion; who inquires, before you
have even glanced at the fabric, "how many yards _you said_ you would
require?" who leans forward on both elbows and stares you in the face
as if his very soul were exhaling. _He's_ a study! Then there's your
inattentive clerk, who makes you wait for an answer while he finishes
some discussion with a brother clerk, or details to him some grievance
he has suffered with the principal of the establishment, or narrates
to him some personal affair, apart from business; meanwhile tossing
for your inspection, as one would throw a bone to a troublesome dog,
any piece of goods that comes handiest, to occupy your mind till he
gets ready to attend you. Then there's your surly clerk, who acts as
though he were afflicted with a perpetual cold in his head, that
incapacitates him from giving any information you require, save by
piecemeal, and at long intervals, but who has yet a marvellous quick
ear to catch any conversation that may be going on between you and
your companion; who, if the latter ventures to remark to you
confidentially that she has seen the article under consideration at
less cost, at such or such a place, volunteers the civil remark "that
it must have been a beauty!" Then, there's your clerk with a high and
mighty presence. What! ask _him_ the price of a ribbon, or a yard of
silk? Shade of Daniel Webster forbid! The idea is sacrilege. You pass
to another counter as fast as possible, in search of some more
ordinary mortal, capable of understanding petty human wants. Then,
there's your dandy clerk. Isn't that cherry-colored neck-tie killing?
And the sleeve-buttons on those wristbands? And the way that hair is
brushed? And the seal-ring on that little finger? And the cut of that
coat, particularly about the shoulders, and the lovely fit of the
sleeves. Don't he consider himself an ornament to the shop?

Last, not least, there's your sensible, self-respecting, gentlemanly
clerk--young or old, married or single, as the case may be--incapable
alike of officiousness or inattention; who gives you time silently to
look at that which you desire to see; who answers you civilly and
respectfully when you speak to him; who counts your change carefully
for you, and sends you off with the desire to make another purchase at
that shop the very first opportunity.

As to the _female_ clerks, my pen is fettered there; as I always make
it a rule to stand by my own sex in any and every attempt to earn
their own livelihood innocently and honestly, no matter how many
blunders they make in doing it. Suffice it to say that there is quite
as much variety in their deportment as in that of the males. I think
if I were about to join them, I should be sadly puzzled whether to
choose a male or female shop-proprietor. When a man _is_ a brute, he
is _such_ a brute! And when one's bread and butter depends on him,
heaven help the dependent. Now, one could call a _woman_-proprietor a
"nasty thing," and then she'd say, "you are another," and there'd be
an end of it. But a man-brute would "know the law," as he calls it;
and swear that he'd "paid you your salary, and didn't owe you a cent;"
and scare you, if you were not up to such rascality, with what he
_could_ say if you made him any trouble. Or, if you were young and
pretty, you might have to choose between the endurance of his
condescending attentions or the loss of your place. That much I can
say on the subject. Also that I have seen some of the prettiest and
most lady-like women I ever saw, employed as clerks in New York; also
there are some so ill-mannered that they pretend not to hear what you
inquire for, and keep you standing till they have taken a minute
inventory of the dry-goods on your back. Then there are some who look
so utterly weary and homesick and heartsick, that you long to
say--"Poor thing! come cry it all out on my shoulder."

       *       *       *       *       *


It is not often that I treat myself to a stroll into Stewart's great
shop. Mortal woman cannot behold such perfection _too_ often and
live. It is like a view of the vast ocean, so humiliating and
depressing by its immensity and sublimity that little atoms of
humanity are glad to creep away from it, to some locally-big elevation
of their own. Once in a while, when I feel strong enough to bear it,
when the day is very bright, and the atmosphere propitious, I put on a
bold face and plunge in with the throng. When I say "throng" I don't
wish to be understood as meaning anything like a mob. It is a very
curious circumstance that how objectionably soever "throngs" may
behave elsewhere, even that most disorderly of all throngs, a
_woman_-throng--yet at Stewart's so suggestive of order and system is
the place, that immediately on entering, they involuntarily "fall into
line," like proper little Sunday scholars in a procession, and never
shuffle or elbow the least bit. Perhaps they are astonished into good
behavior by the sight of those well-behaved statuesque clerks--I don't
know. Perhaps with the artistic manner in which yonder silky-inky
bearded Italian-looking, red-neck-tied gentleman, has arranged the
different shades of silk on yonder counter; so that, as the light
falls on it from the window, it looks like a splendid display of
folded tulips and roses. Perhaps it is the imposing well-to-do portly
individual who walks up and down between the rows of counters,
snapping his eyes about, as if to say--"Ladies, if this don't suit
you, what in heaven's name _will_?" Perhaps it is the eel-like manner
in which little "Cash" winds in and out, with his neatly-tied parcels,
and bank-bills and change. Perhaps it is the astounding sight of
yonder fur-cape, as displayed to advantage on one of those revolving
lay-figures. Perhaps it is the cloak room up-stairs, where the ladies
sigh as they tumble over heaps of beautiful garments, unable to choose
from such a superfluity. "How happy could I be with either, were the
other dear charmer away!" Perhaps 'tis the thought of the money that
must have been expended in this wonderful Juniper store, inside and
out, first and last, and "if _they_ only had it," how many diamonds,
and laces, and silks it would buy, _all at once_; instead of taking it
in disgraceful little installments from their stingy husbands, so that
they positively blush when Stewart's factotum inquires, "Any thing
more this morning, ma'am?" to be obliged to answer "No." I don't
pretend to comprehend the talismanic spell; but I know that at other
than Stewart's I see those very women, snub and brow-beat clerks, and
put on astounding airs generally, as women will when let out on a
shopping spree.--I see none of it there. Indeed, I sometimes think
that if the great Stewart himself were bodily to order them out, they
would neither mutter, nor peep mutinously; but turn about, like a
flock of sheep, and obediently leap over the threshold. The amount of
it is, Stewart is a sort of dry-goods "Rarey." Perhaps husbands wink
at the thing and give the little dears coppers to spend there on
purpose--I don't know.


Nowhere more than in New York does the contest between squalor and
splendor so sharply present itself. This is the first reflection of
the observing stranger who walks its streets. Particularly is this
noticeable with regard to its women. Jostling on the same pavement
with the dainty fashionist is the care-worn working-girl. Looking at
both these women, the question arises, which lives the more miserable
life--she whom the world styles "fortunate," whose husband belongs to
three clubs, and whose only meal with his family is an occasional
breakfast, from year's end to year's end; who is as much a stranger to
his own children as to the reader; whose young son of seventeen has
already a detective on his track employed by his father to ascertain
where and how he spends his nights and his father's money; swift
retribution for that father who finds food, raiment, shelter,
equipages for his household; but love, sympathy, companionship--never?
Or she--this other woman--with a heart quite as hungry and unappeased,
who also faces day by day the same appalling question: _Is this all
life has for me?_

A great book is yet unwritten about women. Michelet has aired his
wax-doll theories regarding them. The defender of "woman's rights"
has given us her views. Authors and authoresses of little, and big
repute, have expressed themselves on this subject, and none of them as
yet have begun to grasp it: men--because they lack spirituality,
rightly and justly to interpret women; women--because they dare not,
or will not, tell us that which most interests us to know. Who shall
write this bold, frank, truthful book remains to be seen. Meanwhile
woman's millennium is yet a great way off; and while it slowly
progresses, conservatism and indifference gaze through their
spectacles at the seething elements of to-day, and wonder "what ails
all our women?"

Let me tell you what ails the working-girls. While yet your breakfast
is progressing, and your toilet unmade, comes forth through Chatham
Street and the Bowery, a long procession of them by twos and threes to
their daily labor. Their breakfast, so called, has been hastily
swallowed in a tenement house, where two of them share, in a small
room, the same miserable bed. Of its quality you may better judge,
when you know that each of these girls pays but three dollars a week
for board, to the working man and his wife where they lodge.

The room they occupy is close and unventilated, with no accommodations
for personal cleanliness, and so near to the little Flinegans that
their Celtic night-cries are distinctly heard. They have risen
unrefreshed, as a matter of course, and their ill-cooked breakfast
does not mend the matter. They emerge from the doorway where their
passage is obstructed by "nanny goats" and ragged children rooting
together in the dirt, and pass out into the street. They shiver as the
sharp wind of early morning strikes their temples. There is no look of
youth on their faces; hard lines appear there. Their brows are knit;
their eyes are sunken; their dress is flimsy, and foolish, and tawdry;
always a hat, and feather or soiled artificial flower upon it; the
hair dressed with an abortive attempt at style; a soiled petticoat; a
greasy dress, a well-worn sacque or shawl, and a gilt breast-pin and

Now follow them to the large, black-looking building, where several
hundred of them are manufacturing hoop-skirts. If you are a woman you
have worn plenty; but you little thought what passed in the heads of
these girls as their busy fingers glazed the wire, or prepared the
spools for covering them, or secured the tapes which held them in
their places. _You_ could not stay five minutes in that room, where
the noise of the machinery used is so deafening, that only by the
motion of the lips could you comprehend a person speaking.

Five minutes! Why, these young creatures bear it, from seven in the
morning till six in the evening; week after week, month after month,
with only half an hour at midday to eat their dinner of a slice of
bread and butter or an apple, which they usually eat in the building,
some of them having come a long distance. As I said, the roar of
machinery in that room is like the roar of Niagara. Observe them as
you enter. Not one lifts her head. They might as well be machines,
for any interest or curiosity they show, save always to know _what
o'clock it is_. Pitiful! pitiful, you almost sob to yourself, as you
look at these young girls. _Young?_ Alas! it is only in years that
they are young.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Only three dollars a week do they earn," said I to a brawny woman in
a tenement house near where some of them boarded. "Only three dollars
a week, and all of that goes for their board. How, then, do they
clothe themselves?" Hell has nothing more horrible than the cold,
sneering indifference of her reply: "_Ask the dry-goods men._"

Perhaps you ask, why do not these girls go out to service? Surely it
were better to live in a clean, nice house, in a healthy atmosphere,
with respectable people, who might take other interest in them than to
wring out the last particle of their available bodily strength. It
were better surely to live in a house cheerful and bright, where merry
voices were sometimes heard, and clean, wholesome food was given them.
Why do they not? First, because, unhappily, they look down upon the
position of a servant, even from _their_ miserable stand-point. But
chiefly, and mainly, because when six o'clock in the evening comes
they are their own mistresses, without hinderance or questioning, till
another day of labor begins. They do not sit in an under-ground
kitchen, watching the bell-wire, and longing to see what is going on
out of doors. More's the pity, that the street is their only refuge
from the squalor and quarrelling and confusion of their tenement-house
home. More's the pity, that as yet there are no sufficiently decent,
cleanly boarding-houses, within their means, where their self-respect
would not inevitably wither and die.

As it is, they stroll the streets; and who can blame them? _There_ are
gay lights, and fine shop-windows. It costs nothing to _wish_ they
could have all those fine things. They look longingly into the
theatres, through whose doors happier girls of their own age pass,
radiant and smiling, with their lovers. Glimpses of Paradise come
through those doors as they gaze. Back comes the old torturing
question: Must my young life _always_ be toil? _nothing_ but toil?
They stroll on. Music and bright lights from the underground "Concert
Saloons," where girls like themselves get fine dresses and good wages,
and flattering words and smiles beside. Alas! the future is far away;
the present only is tangible. Is it a wonder if they never go back to
the dark, cheerless tenement-house, or to the "manufactory" which sets
their poor, weary bodies aching, till they feel forsaken of God and
man? Talk of virtue! Live this life of toil, and starvation, and
friendlessness, and "unwomanly rags," and learn charity. Sometimes
they rush for escape into ill-sorted marriages, with coarse rough
fellows, and go back to the old tenement-house life again, with this
difference, that their toil does _not_ end at six o'clock, and that
from _this_ bargain there is no release but death.

But there are other establishments than those factories where
working-girls are employed. There is "Madame ----, Modiste." Surely
the girls working there must fare better. Madame pays six thousand
dollars rent for the elegant mansion in that fashionable street, in
the basement or attic of which they work. Madame cuts and makes
dresses, but she takes in none of the materials for that purpose. Not
she. She coolly tells you that she will make you a very nice _plain_
black silk dress, and find everything, for two hundred dollars. This
is modest, at a clear profit to herself of one hundred dollars on
every such dress, particularly as she buys all her material by the
wholesale, and pays her girls, at the highest rate of compensation,
not more than six dollars a week. At this rate of small wages and big
profits, you can well understand how she can afford not only to keep
up this splendid establishment, but another still more magnificent for
her own _private_ residence in quite as fashionable a neighborhood.
Another "modiste" who _did_ "take in material for dresses,"
and--ladies also! was in the habit of telling the latter that
thirty-two yards of any material was required where sixteen would have
answered. The remaining yards were then in all cases thrown into a
rag-pen; from which, through contract with a man in her employ, she
furnished herself with all the crockery, china, glass, tin and iron
ware needed in her household. This same modiste employed twenty-five
girls at the starvation price of three dollars and a half a week. The
room in which they worked was about nine feet square, with only one
window in it, and whoso came early enough to secure a seat by that
window saved her eyesight by the process. Three sewing-machines
whirred constantly by day in this little room, which at night was used
as a sleeping apartment. As the twenty-five working-girls were ushered
in to their day's labor in the morning before that room was
ventilated, you would not wonder that by four in the afternoon dark
circles appeared under their eyes, and they stopped occasionally to
press their hands upon their aching temples. Not often, but
_sometimes_, when the pain and exhaustion became intolerable.

One of the twenty-five was an orphan girl named Lizzy, only fifteen
years of age. Not even this daily martyrdom had quenched her abounding
spirits, in that room where never a smile was seen on another
face--where never a jest was ventured on, not even when Madame's back
was turned. Always Lizzie's hair was nicely smoothed, and though the
clean little creature went without her breakfast--for a deduction of
wages was the penalty of being late--yet had she always on a clean
dark calico dress, smoothed by her own deft little fingers. In that
dismal, smileless room she was the only sunbeam. But one day the
twenty-five were startled; their needles dropped from their fingers.
Lizzie was worn out at last! Her pretty face blanched, and with a low
baby cry she threw her arms over her face and sobbed: "Oh, I _cannot_
bear this life--I cannot bear it any longer. George _must_ come and
take me away from this." That night she was privately married to
"George," who was an employee on the railroad. The next day while on
the train attending to his duties, he broke his arm, and neither of
the bridal pair having any money, George was taken to the hospital.
The little bride, with starvation before her, went back that day to
Madame, and concealing the fact of her marriage, begged humbly to be
taken back, apologizing for her conduct on the day before, on the plea
that she had such a violent pain in her temples that she knew not what
she said. As she was a handy little workwoman, her request was
granted, and she worked there for several weeks, during her honeymoon,
at the old rate of pay. The day George was pronounced well, she threw
down her work, clapped her little palms together, and announced to the
astonished twenty-five that they had a married woman among them, and
that she should not return the next morning. Being the middle of the
week, and not the end, she had to go without her wages for that week.
Romance was not part or parcel of Madame's establishment. Her law was
as the Medes and Persians, which changed not. Little Lizzie's future
was no more to her than her past had been--no more than that of
another young thing in that work-room, who begged a friend, each day,
to bring her ever so little ardent spirits, at the half hour allotted
to their miserable dinner, lest she should fail in strength to finish
the day's work, upon which so much depended.

Oh! if the ladies who wore the gay robes manufactured in that room
knew the tragedy of those young lives, would they not be to them like
the penance robes of which we read, piercing, burning, torturing?

There is still another class of girls, who tend in the large shops in
New York. Are they not better remunerated and lodged? We shall see.
The additional dollar or two added to their wages is offset by the
necessity of their being always nicely apparelled, and the necessity
of a better lodging-house, and consequently a higher price for board,
so that unless they are fortunate enough to have a parent's roof over
their heads, they will not, except in rare cases, where there is a
special gift as an accountant, or an artist-touch in the fingers, to
twist a ribbon or frill a lace, be able to save any more than the
class of which I have been speaking. They are allowed, however, by
their employers, to purchase any article in the store at first cost,
which is something in their favor.

But, you say, is there no bright side to this dark picture? Are there
no cases in which these girls battle bravely with penury? I have one
in my mind now; a girl, I should say a lady; one of nature's ladies,
with a face as refined and delicate as that of any lady who bends over
these pages; who has been through this harrowing experience of the
working-girl, and after years of patience, virtuous toil, has no more
at this day than when she began, _i. e._, her wages day by day. Of the
wretched places she has called "home," I will not pain you by
speaking. Of the rough words she has borne, that she was powerless,
through her poverty, to resent. Of the long walks she has taken to
obtain wages due, and failed to secure them at last. Of the weary,
wakeful nights, and heart-breaking days, borne with a heroism and
trust in God, that was truly sublime. Of the little remittances from
time to time forwarded to old age and penury, in "the old country,"
when she herself was in want of comfortable clothing; when she herself
had no shelter in case of sickness, save the hospital or the
almshouse. Surely, such virtue and integrity, will have more enduring
record than in these pages.

Humanity has not slept on this subject, though it has as yet
accomplished little. A boarding-house has been established in New York
for working-girls, excellent in its way, but intended mainly for those
who "have seen better days," and not for the most needy class of which
I have spoken. A noble institution, however, called "The Working
Woman's Protective Union," has sprung up, for the benefit of this
latter class, their object being to find places _in the country_, for
such of these girls as will leave the overcrowded city, not as
servants, but as operatives on sewing-machines, and to other similar
revenues of employment. Their places are secured before they are sent.
The person who engages them pays their expenses on leaving, and the
consent of parents, or guardians, or friends, is always obtained
before they leave. A room is to be connected with this institution,
containing several sewing-machines, where gratuitous instruction will
be furnished to those who desire it. A lawyer of New York has
generously volunteered his services also, to collect the too tardy
wages of these girls, due from flinty-hearted employers. Many of the
girls who have applied here are under fifteen. At first, they utterly
refused to go into the country, which to them was only another name
for dullness; even preferring to wander up and down the streets of the
city, half-fed and half-clothed, in search of employment, than to
leave its dear kaleidoscope delights. But after a little, when letters
came from some who had gone, describing in glowing terms, their
pleasant homes; the wages that one could live and save money on; their
kind treatment; the good, wholesome food and fresh air; their hearty,
jolly country fun; and more than all, when it was announced that one
of their number had actually married an ex-governor, the matter took
another aspect. And, though all may not marry governors, and some may
not marry at all; it still remains, that _inducing them to go to the
country is striking a brave blow at the root of the evil_; for we all
know, that human strength and human virtue have their limits; and the
dreadful pressure of temptations and present ease, upon the
discouragement, poverty and friendlessness of the working-girls of New
York, must be gratifying to the devil. I do not hesitate to say, that
there is no institution of the present day, more worthy to be
sustained, or that more imperatively challenges the good works and
good wishes of the benevolent, than "The New York Working Woman's
Protective Union." May God speed it!


You may think it a very simple thing to wash a baby. You may imagine
that one feels quite calm and composed, while this operation is being
faithfully and conscientiously performed. That shows how little you
know. When I tell you that there are four distinct, delicate chins, to
be dodgingly manipulated, between frantic little crying spells, and as
many little rolls of fat on the back of the neck, that have to be
searched out and bathed, with all the endearing baby-talk you can
command, the while, as a blind to your merciless intentions; when I
tell you that of all things, baby won't have her ears or nose meddled
with, and that she resents any infringement on her toes with shrill
outbreaks, and that it takes two people to open her chubby little
fists, when water seeks to penetrate her palms. When I tell you the
masterly strategy that has to be used to get one stiff, little,
rebellious arm out of a cambric sleeve, and the frantic kickings which
accompany any attempts to tie on her little red worsted-shoe; when I
tell you that she objects altogether to be turned over on her stomach,
in order to tie the strings of her frock, and that she is just as mad
when you lay her on her back; when I inform you that she can stiffen
herself out when she likes, so that you can't possibly make her sit
down, and at another time will curl herself up in a circle, so that
you can't possibly straighten her out; and when you enumerate the
garments that have to be got off, and got on, before this process is
finally concluded, and that it is to be done before a baking fire,
without regard to the state of the thermometer, or the agonized dew on
your brow; when I inform you that every now and then you must stop in
the process, to see that she is not choking, or strangling, or that
you have not dislocated any of her funny little legs, or arms, or
injured her bobbing little head, you can form some idea of the relief
when the last string is tied, and baby emerges from this, her daily
misery, into a state of rosy, diamond-eyed, scarlet-lipped, content;
looking sweet and fresh as a rosebud, and drowsing off in your arms
with quivering white eyelids and pretty unknown murmurings of the
little half-smiling lips, while the perfect little waxen hands lie
idly by her side. Ah me! how shall one keep from spoiling a baby? Ah!
how can one ever give brimming enough love-measure--to this--_the


There is not a day of my life in which I am not vexed at the injustice
done to children. A Sunday or two since, I went to church. In the pew
directly in front of me sat a fine little lad, about twelve years old,
unobtrusively taking notes of the sermon. By my side sat a
man--gentleman, I suppose, he called himself--his coat, pants, boots,
and linen were all right as far as I am any judge, and dress seems to
be the test now-a-days--who occupied himself in leaning over the front
of the pew, and reading what the boy was writing--evidently much to
the discomfiture of the latter. Now I would like to ask, why that
child's pencilled notes should not have been as safe from curious eyes
as if he had been an adult? and what right that grown-up man had, to
bother and annoy him, by impertinently peeping over his shoulder? and
of what use is it to preach good manners to children, while nobody
thinks it worth while to practice the same toward them? The other day
I was sitting in a car, and a nice, well-behaved boy of ten years took
his seat and paid his fare. Directly after, in came the conductor, and
without a word of comment, coolly took him by the shoulder and placed
him on his feet, and then motioned a lady to his vacant seat? Why not
_ask_ the child, at least? I have often been struck with the ready
civility of boys in this respect, in public conveyances--but that is
no reason why they should be imposed upon; the lady who took the seat
might possibly have thanked a _gentleman_ for yielding it to her, but
she evidently did not think that good manners required she should
thank the boy. Again--what right has a gentleman to take a blushing
little girl of twelve or thirteen and seat her on his knee, when he
happens to want her seat. I have seen timid, bashful girls, suffering
crucifixion at the smiles called forth by this free and easy act; and
sometimes actually turning away their faces to conceal tears of
mortification; for there are little female children unspoiled even by
the present bold system of childhood annihilation--little violets who
seek the shade, and do not care to be handled and pulled about by
every passer-by. Again--why will parents, or those who have the charge
of children, make hypocrites of them by saying, Go kiss such and such
a person? A kiss is a holy thing, or should be, and not to be lightly
bestowed. At any rate, it never should be compulsorily given. Children
have their likes and dislikes, and often much more rationally grounded
than those of grown people, though they may not be able to syllable
them. I never shall forget a snuffy old lady whom I used to be
obliged, when a child, to kiss. I am not at all sure that my
unconquerable aversion to every form of tobacco does not date from
these repulsive and compulsory kisses. With what a lingering horror I
approached her, and with what a shiver of disgust I retreated to scrub
my lips with my pinafore, and shake my locks, lest peradventure a
particle of snuff had lodged there. How I wondered what she would do
in Heaven without that snuff-box, for she was a "church member," and
my notions of Heaven could by no stretch of liberality admit such a
nuisance; and how I inwardly vowed that if I ever grew to be a woman,
and if I ever was married, and if I ever had a little girl, all of
which were dead certainties in my childish future, I would never make
her kiss a person unless she chose to do it, never--never--which
article of my pinafore creed I do here publicly indorse with my
matronly hand.

       *       *       *       *       *

Again, what more abominable tyranny than to force a child to eat
turnip, or cabbage, or fat meat or anything else for which it has an
unconquerable and unexplainable disgust? I have seen children actually
shudder and turn pale at being obliged to swallow such things. Pray,
why should not their wishes in this respect be regarded as much as
those of their seniors? Not that a child should eat everything which
it craves indiscriminately, but it should never, in my opinion, be
forced to swallow what is unpalatable, except in the case of medicine,
about which parents tell such fibs--that it "tastes good," and all
that--when they should say honestly, "It is very bad indeed, but you
know you _must_ take it, and the sooner it is over the better; now be
brave and swallow it." I do protest too against forcing big boys to
wear long curls down their backs after they are well into jackets, for
the gratification of mamma's pride, who "can't bear to cut them off,"
not even though her boy skulks out of sight of every "fellow" he meets
for fear of being called a "girl-boy;" or the practice making a boy of
that age wear an apron, which the "fellows" are quite as apt to twit
him about, or anything else which makes him look odd or ridiculous.
There is no computing the suffering of children in these respects. I
dare say many who read this will say, "But they should be taught not
to mind such things," etc.; that's all very well to say, but suppose
you try it yourself;--suppose you were compelled to walk into church
on Sunday with a collar that covered your cheeks, and your
great-grand-father's coat and vest on; to hear the suppressed titters,
and be an object of remark every time you stirred; and you a man who
hated notoriety, and felt like knocking everybody down who stared at
you? How would that suit? Nothing like bringing a case home to
yourself. Just sit down and recall your own childhood, and remember
the big lumps in your little throat that seemed like to choke you, and
the big tears of shame that came rolling down on your jacket, from
some such cause, and don't go through the world striding with your
grown-up boots on little children. They are not all angels, I know;
some of them are malicious, and ugly, and selfish and disagreeable;
and whose fault is it?--answer me that? Not one time in ten, the
child's. You may be sure of it. God made it right, but there were
bunglers who undertook a charge from which an angel might shrink.

       *       *       *       *       *

And now I want to put in a plea for the children about story-reading.
At a certain age, children of both sexes delight in stories. It is as
natural, as it is for them to skip, run and jump, instead of walking
at the staid pace of their grandparents. Now some parents, very well
meaning ones too, think they do a wise thing when they deny this most
innocent craving, any legitimate outlet. They wish to cultivate, they
say, "a taste for solid reading." They might as well begin to feed a
new-born baby on meat, lest nursing should vitiate its desire for it.
The taste for meat will come when the child has teeth to chew it; so
will the taste for "solid reading" as the mind matures--_i. e._, if it
is not made to hate it, by having it forced violently upon its
attention during the story-loving period. That "there is a time for
all things," is truer of nothing more, than of this. Better far that
parents should admit it, and _wisely_ indulge it, than, by a too
severe repression, give occasion for _stealthy_ promiscuous reading.

       *       *       *       *       *

How delicious in these days of hot-house-childhood it is to find a
little one who can relish puss in the corner. To find one who does
not at six years of age turn up its little nose at everything but
"round dances," and a supper of "pâté de foie gras" and champagne.
What a sorrowful sight are those blasé languid little things who are
incapable of a new sensation before they are out of short clothes--to
whom already there is no childhood left--who have turned their backs
on that path of flowers to which they can never return, through long
years of satiety and weariness. What shall compensate them for the
dear, fresh, innocent, simple delights, which to children, naturally
and simply brought up, are so attractive? We are all making grave
mistakes about children. Those who unfortunately live always in a
great city, are mostly the sufferers. Life there is such a maelstrom,
swallowing up every hour so much that is lovely and beautiful.
Fathers, and mothers, delegating so much of the care and oversight of
them to those, whose paid service yields neither sympathy nor
appreciation to the victims under their charge. Toy shops are
ransacked, and small fortunes expended, to supply this lamentable
deficiency; till the weary little one at six or seven has exhausted
the stock, and sighs for "something new;" like a flirt who has put her
slipper on a thousand hearts, or a man of the world, reduced by too
much money and leisure, and too little brains, to caress the head of
his cane, long, weary hours, staring out of his club window. I think
this is very pitiful, both for the child and the man. Indeed it is
children so brought up, who make such men, and women of a
corresponding type. Life seems fast losing its simplicity merely for
want of the brave courage to defy fashion's encroachments. "What will
they think?" is at the bottom of it. Who among us has pluck enough to
snap our fingers at that question, and face the formidable--"_Did you
ever?_" which treads upon the heels of independent thought and action,
even in a right and obviously sensible direction. Nor is it a question
of sex. I find as much of this spirit, or the want of it, in one sex
as in the other, and the children are the victims.

Now children naturally hate fine clothes and the restrictions upon
freedom and enjoyment that they impose. Children naturally prefer live
animals, to the pink dogs, and blue sheep, and green cows, presented
in a wooden "Noah's Ark." Children naturally prefer a garden and a
shovel, to a stereotyped lounge, with a silent cross nurse, over city
pavements. Children should be put to bed by loving hands, and their
eyes closed with a kiss, as our cherished dead pass into the land of
silence. Children should leap into loving arms when they again open
their eyes with the baptism of the fresh morning light.

Children should be kept in ignorance of nearly all that is now as
familiar to their ears as their own names. But, alas! we all know how
different things really are, and the result--is the children of
to-day--children, with rare and blessed exceptions, only in name. Oh!
the perpetual "nurse;" the perpetual nursery! The sad sight of the
spirit-weary little child checked in its most innocent and healthy
impulses; called "naughty," for being buoyant and merry, till
sullenness and defiant mischief are the result. Oh, mother in the
parlor, take off that silk dress which little feet may not climb upon,
and take a seat in your own nursery, and give that little one the
love, without which its whole sweet nature shall be turned into
bitterness. Oh, father, at the sound of whose footstep that child must
_always_ "hush up" or beat a hasty retreat to parts unknown--how much,
how _very_ much you lose, when never that little face grows brighter
that "papa has come home;" when, with your hands thrust into your
coat-pocket, you lounge along toward your door, and never invite with
your love that dear blessed little nose, to flatten itself against the
window-pane, watching for "my papa."

_My_ papa! Good heavens! what is it to be Senator, Member of Congress,
President, _King_, to that? "_My_ papa!" Man! what can you be thinking
of, that the sweet, trustful, blessed ownership in those two little
words, fails to move every drop of your blood? And what can the wide
earth, with all its cheating promises, give you, in compensation for
that which your short-sighted folly throws away? Oh, _sometimes_, stop
and think of that.


It is very strange how differently people are affected by a great
bereavement. One desires nothing so much as to flee as far as possible
from any scene, or association, which shall recall the lost. Every
relic he would banish forever from his presence. The spot where his
dead was laid he would never revisit, and, if possible, never
remember. When the anniversary of death occurs, no person should
allude to it in his presence; he would himself prefer to glide
obliviously over it. Another finds comfort and solace in the very
opposite course. He desires nothing so much as that the little
favorite home-surroundings of the dead should remain unchanged, as if
the owner were still living. He would sit down among them, and recall
by these silent mementoes every cherished look and tone; jealously
recording every detail and circumstance, lest memory should prove
unfaithful to her trust. Everything worn by the form now lifeless,
would he have often before his eyes, touching their folds with
caressing fingers. At the table and by the hearth, rising up and
sitting down, going out and coming in, would he evoke the dear
presence. He would pass through the streets where so often his dead
have passed with him. The place of that friend's sepulture, is to him
the place of all places where he would oftenest go. He plants there
his favorite flowers, and woos for them the balmiest air and warmest
sunshine. He reads over the name and date of birth and burial, each
time as if they were not already indelibly engraven on his memory; and
still, though months and years may have passed in this way, whenever
he catches himself saying, "It was about the time when our John," or
"our Mary, died," he will still shiver, as when the first time he had
occasion to couple death with that household name.

Again: One person on the death of a friend, is punctiliously
solicitous that no etiquette of mourning habiliments should be
disregarded, to the remotest fraction of an inch as to quantity; and
that the quality and fashioning of the same should be according to the
strictest rules laid down by custom on such occasions; considering all
variation from it, although demanded by health or comfort, as a
disrespect to the dead.

Another is scarcely conscious that he wears these outward tokens; or,
if so, knows little and cares less whether all the minutiæ of depth,
width and blackness is punctiliously followed. Attention to these
details seems to him a mockery, from which he turns impatiently away.
The whole world seems to him already draped in sable; what matters,
then, this intrusive pettiness? And that any one should measure the
depth of his loss by the width of a hem or a veil, or the fashion of a
hat, or the material of a garment, seems to him too monstrous an
absurdity for credence. And when he hears the common expression that
such a person is "in _half mourning_" it is so utterly repulsive to
him, that he almost feels that he should honor the dead more by a
total breach of the custom, than by its observance.

In truth, it may be a question whether a genuine grief can exist in
the artificial atmosphere where these slavish mourning etiquettes are
cultivated. The devil himself probably knew this; and contrived this
ingenious way to turn the mass of mankind aside from sober reflection
at a time when the march of life stands still.

When the bolt falls, which sooner or later strikes every man's house,
how philosophically lookers-on reason about it. How practically
unconscious are they, while gazing at the blood-besprinkled door-post
of a neighbor, that the advancing finger of Destiny is already pointed
at their own, as they plan for happy years to come the future of
husband, wife, child, brother and sister, as if _for them_ there was
immunity from dissolution and disruption. No acceleration of pulse, no
heart-quiver, when the funeral train passes by, or the sad face looks
out from its frame of sable; for no sweet bright face is missing from
_their_ little band. No pained ear listens at _their_ fireside for the
light footfall that will never come. No street is avoided in _their_
daily walks, which agonizingly suggests a floating form once watched
and waited for there. Nor may the passing stranger, whose step and
voice stir the troubled fountain of your tears, know by what personal
magnetism he has evoked your dead, and chained you to linger, and
look, and feed your excited fancy, till the impulse to throw yourself
on that strange heart and weep, almost sweeps away cold propriety.

_Ah! the difference, whether the hearse stands before one's own door,
or one's neighbor's._ And yet, how else could we all live on, playing
at jack-straws, as we do, day after day, while a momentous future
little by little unfolds itself? How else would one have courage to go
on planting what another hand than his shall surely reap; and what
pleasure would there be beneath the sun, if one sat crouching, and
listening for the step of the executioner, or clasping wild arms of
protection round the dear ones. Merciful indeed is it, that we can
travel on in to-day's sunshine, trusting to our Guide to shelter us,
when the storm shall gather and break over our heads.


I wonder how many girls tell their mothers everything? _Not_ those
"young ladies" who, going to and from school, smile, bow, and exchange
notes and cartes de visite with young men, who are perfect strangers
to them. I grant this may all be done thoughtlessly and innocently,
for "fun," and without any wrong intention; but surely--surely--such
young girls should be told that not in this spirit will it be
received; and that to hold themselves in so cheap estimation, is
certainly to invite insult, how disguised soever it may be in the form
of compliment and flattery. Imagine a knot of young men making fun of
you and your "picture;" speaking of you in a way that would make your
cheeks burn with shame, could you hear it. All this, most credulous
and romantic young ladies, they will do, although they gaze at your
fresh young face admiringly, and send or give you charming verses and
bouquets. No matter what "other girls do;" don't _you_ do it. No
matter how "ridiculous" it is that you have "never had an offer,
although you were fifteen last spring;" there is time enough, and to
spare, yet. Girls who, falling in love, insist on getting married when
they are babies, will find that studying after marriage is tedious
work. A premature, faded, vacant old age!--you surely cannot desire
_that_. When is your mind to be informed, or to grow, if you place it
in a hot-house, that only the flower of Love be forced into early
bloom, to the dwarfing of every other faculty? And even should such a
foolish school flirtation end in early marriage, how long, think you,
before your husband would weary of a wife who only knew enough to talk
about dress or dancing? How painful for you to be silent, through
ignorance, should you chance to have intelligent guests at your house.
How painful, when your only charm, youth and its prettiness, has
faded, to find your husband gradually losing sight of you, as his mind
expanded, and yours grew still narrower, with the inevitable cares,
that only the _brain_ of a sensible woman can keep from overwhelming
her. How painful, as time passes on, and your children grow up about
you, to hear them talk intelligently on subjects of which you scarcely
know the names.

And this, remember, is taking the most _favorable_ view of the result
of school-girl flirtations. They _may_ end far more disastrously, as
many a foolish, wretched young girl could tell you.

But let us not talk of this. Your yearning for some one to love you,
and you only, is natural and right; it is a great need of every
woman's heart. But there is a time for everything; and it is wisdom
before seeking this to wait. Your choice at fifteen would be very
different from your choice at twenty. A man who would quite suit you
then, would only disgust and weary you when you grew older. Till
school-days are over, therefore, you can well afford to let love rest.
Don't let the bloom and freshness of your heart be brushed off in
silly flirtations. Study all you can and keep your health. Render
yourself _truly_ intelligent. And, above all, tell your mother
everything. "Fun" in _your_ dictionary would sometimes be
_indiscretion_ in hers. It will do you no harm to look and see. Never
be ashamed to tell her, who should be your best friend and confidant,
all you think and feel. She was once a girl herself; she had _her_
dreams, and can understand it. Not having been always as wise as she
is now, she can spare you many a pang of humiliation and regret if you
will profit by her advice.

It is very sad that so many young girls will tell every person before
"mother," that which is most important she should know. It is very sad
that indifferent persons should know more about her own fair young
daughter than she herself. Don't you think so? You find it quite easy
to tell your mother that you want a new dress, or hat, or shawl; but
you would be quite ashamed to say--Mother, I wish I had a lover. Why
not? It is nothing at all to be ashamed of. It is a perfectly natural
wish; and your mother was given you to tell you just that, and a great
many other things, which would convince you, if you would listen to
her, that it was best for you not to hurry into life's cares and
responsibilities till your soul and body were fitted to carry you
patiently, and hopefully through them.

       *       *       *       *       *

Another thing I want to speak to you about: It is very common, at the
present day, for young ladies to accept presents from gentlemen not
related to them, or likely to become so--in fact, mere acquaintances.
It was not so in _my_ day; and with no partiality for old customs,
merely because they _are_ old customs, _I_ confess an admiration for
that feminine delicacy which shrinks from accepting favors from chance
acquaintances of the day or hour. That all young men have not the true
feelings of gentlemen, our young ladies need not be told; nor, that
those most lavish with their presents, are often as little able to
afford it, as they are able to _refrain from boasting that these
presents have been accepted when among their young male companions_.
The cheek of many an innocent but unguarded young girl, would crimson
with mortification could she hear the remarks often made on this
subject among young men. _Don't do it, girls_; don't accept any
presents from a gentleman unless he is an accepted suitor, a relative,
or some old, well-known friend of the family, who has proved his claim
to be good for such a proof of your faith in him. This may be
"old-fashioned" advice, and yet--you may live to thank me for it.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is one point, my dears, upon which I pine for information. Many
an anxious hour have I pondered on it. I never studied medicine, else
I might not now be in the dark. I find no precedent for it in young
people of past ages. It was not so with me, or any of my young female
companions, most of whom, by the way, were boys. I cannot conjecture
what sort of parents, the curiously-constituted young person to whom I
refer, must have had. What time she cut her first tooth, or whether
she cut it at all. Not to harass you with farther conjecture, I will
come at once to the point. I allude to "_the fair young creature of
some seventeen summers_," of whom we so often read. In mercy tell
me,--does she--like the bear--suck her claws in some dark retreat in
winter; or, having "no winter in her year," is her lamp of life
suddenly and mercilessly blown out, not to be rekindled till it comes
time for another of her "_summers_." I beg the philanthropist--I
entreat the humanitarian, to make some inquiry into the circumstances
of this abridged young creature, so long defrauded by unprincipled
story and novel writers, of her inalienable woman's rights to _winter_
in our midst.

       *       *       *       *       *

Do you ever go home pondering over chance conversation heard in the
street? "Don't you wish something would happen?" I heard a young girl
say, yawning to her companion, as I passed her. My dear, thought I,
rather bless Providence _when nothing happens_. However, she had many
years yet to see, before she could take that adult view of things; the
bread and butter period was beginning to get insipid, that was all;
that passed, she fancied all would be blue sky and roses beyond. What
"happens" to one's neighbor is too apt to be no concern of ours, 'tis
true; but one must walk with closed eyes through the streets of a
great city not to see constant "happenings." Yonder poor woman,
followed by a shouting crew of boys, and struggling in the grasp of a
policeman, her lips white with fear, what can have happened to _her_?
And so surely as that knot of crape flutters from yonder door, there
has "happened" in, over that threshold, a strange, unbidden guest, who
would take no denial. And there is a true woman, her eyes bent
earthward with unmerited shame, guiding home the staggering steps of
him on whom _she_ should have leaned. And farther on, a house-painter
sits swinging aloft, brush in hand, humming daily at his work; a
treacherous step, and he lies a mangled heap upon the pavement. Ah,
who has the courage to tell the busy little wife at home what has
"happened" to him? And yonder is a tearful mother kissing her soldier
lad; you and she both know what has and may "happen" there, and as you
look, your heart joins hers in that sorrowful blessing. And at yonder
pier they are busy over a "body." That is all they know of him whose
blue lips keep their own secret well. And peering through the bars of
that locked cart, jolting over the stones, are eyes that looked
innocently into the faces of fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters,
before this "happened." And so, thinking of all these things as I
listened to that young girl, I said, Blessed is that day, when
_nothing_ "happens."

       *       *       *       *       *

Often I get letters from young girls who are perfect strangers to me.
The other day, one wrote me saying, "Fanny, suppose you give us a
chapter on working all one's life, just for the sake of working;
working all the time, just to keep soul and body together; without one
friend; one sympathizing word;--honest hard work, I mean, and no
thanks." This was my reply to her: perhaps some of you may feel like
asking the same question, so you can consider it written also to you.

Well, my dear child, there are thousands who are compelled to do this,
as there are thousands more who will do it, in time to come. This view
of the case may not make you more contented with your lot, but I think
our sufferings are sometimes intensified by imagining that nobody in
the world ever had to endure the _peculiar_ hardships which afflict
our individual selves. You must remember that to this initiatory
school of self-conquest the world owes many of its best and most
gifted children. To learn to wait, to be willing to endure, is indeed
the hardest of all earthly lessons. To wait athirst for sympathy; to
wait for the tardy lifting of the iron hand of toil, which seems
crushing out everything but the grinding care for daily bread _is_
hard. I say _seems_ crushing, for often it is _only_ seeming. The seed
that _seems_ buried is only for a time hidden; some day when we least
expect it, it gives to our gladdened sight verdure, blossom and
fruitage. Persistent discontent is the rust of the soul. They have
half won the battle who can work while they wait. Having measured
one's capacities; having satisfied oneself that at present nothing
better can be achieved; it is wise to do cheerfully with our might
what our hands find to do, though with listening ear for the day of
future deliverance. And it will surely come to such, though not,
perhaps, just in the manner, or at the moment, their shortsightedness
had marked out. A bird that ceaselessly beats its delicate wings
against the bars of its cage must soon lie helpless. Better to nibble
and sing, keeping a bright eye for a chance opening of the door out
into the green fields and blue sky beyond. But this achieved, remember
that the sky will not always be blue, nor the wind gentle; then, when
the storm comes, comes again a struggle to get above the clouds, into
another atmosphere.

Like the child who essays to walk--many a fall, many a bump, many a
disappointment in grasping far-off objects that seemed near, or
finding their shining but dimness when gained, must be ours; till,
like it, we come, gladly, at last, weary with effort, to rest
peacefully on the bosom of Love. So--when to Him who appointeth our
lot, we can say trustingly, "Do what seemeth good in Thy sight;"--so,
when the mad beating of our wings against the bars of a present
necessity shall cease, and the lesson of self-conquest shall be
achieved, then--is freedom and victory in sight!


Tom Jones would like to be married. Tom does not quite relish the idea
of a connubial idiot; and yet, for many reasons unnecessary to state,
he does not desire a wife who knows much. He would like one who will
be always on tiptoe to await his coming, and yet be perfectly
satisfied, and good-humored, if after all her preparations, culinary
and otherwise, he may conclude at all times, or at any time, to prefer
other society to hers. He also desires his wife to be possessed of
principle enough for both, because in his own case, principle would
interfere with many of his little arrangements. He would like her
always to be very nicely dressed, although his own boots and coats are
innocent of a brush from year's end to year's end. He wishes her to
speak low, and not speak much; because he has a great deal to say
himself, and when he has roared it out, like the liberal, great Dr.
Johnson, "he wishes the subject ended!" Tom wishes his wife possessed
of military instincts, so that she may discipline her household; after
that is done, he wishes to turn the key on these military instincts,
lest they might be of use in some emergency necessary to her personal
happiness. Tom wants a wife who loves more than she reasons, because
he intends himself to pursue quite a contrary policy. Tom would like a
wife who adjusts everything with a smile; although he may use his
boots for other purposes than that of locomotion. She must have a
pretty face, an easy temper, and an intellect the size of which would
allow him to consider his own colossal. Any young lady very weak in
the head, and strong in the nerves, and quite destitute of any
disgusting little selfishnesses, may consider herself eligible,
provided she has money; none others need apply.

       *       *       *       *       *

Since the world began, there probably never was a marriage of which
somebody did not "disapprove." That somebody, and everybody, including
relatives, have a perfect right to an opinion on such a subject,
nobody doubts. But how far you prove your greater love for "Tom," by
whispering round "confidentially" your foreordained determination not
to believe that "that woman" can ever make him happy, is a question.
Poor fellow! and _she_ of all people in the world; the very last woman
_you_ would have selected; which of course is sure to get to Tom's
wife's ears, and produce a fine foundation for belief in the reality
of your regard for him, and your good nature generally.

Now as there were seldom, or never, two parties bound together in
_any_ relation of life, whether as business partners, pastor and
people, teacher and pupil, master and subordinate, mistress and maid,
who always moved along with perfect unanimity, it is hardly to be
expected that the marriage of "Tom" and his wife will effect a total
revolution for the better in human nature, any more than did your own
marriage. Perhaps even Tom and his wife, though loving each other very
much, may have a difference of opinion on some subject; but what is
that to you? They don't need your guardianship or supervision in the
matter. It is very curious that those persons who clamor most loudly
when "Tom" marries without their consent and approbation, are, ten to
one, those who have themselves married clandestinely, or otherwise
offended against the rigid rule which they would apply in his
particular case.

Broad philanthropists! Tom can surely be happy in no way but theirs.
They love him so much better than "that woman" possibly can. Poor
"Tom!" He looked so poorly last time they saw him. _Her_ fault, of
course. They knew it would be just so. Didn't they say so from the
first? Poor Tom! such a sacrifice! It is unaccountable how he can like
her. For the matter of that, they never _will_ believe he does, (and
they might add, he shan't if we can help it.) And so, when they see
him, they inquire with a churchyard air, "Is he well?" "Is anything
the matter?" "Ah, you needn't tell us; _we_ know how it is; poor
Tom--we know you _try_ to bear up under it. Come and see _us_. We will
love you. You never will find _us_ changed."

No. That's the worst of it! No hope of their changing. Bless their
souls! How lucky "Tom" has somebody to tell him what a "sacrifice he
has made," or he never would find it out! Well, it is astonishing that
such people don't see that this is the last way to convince any person
with common sense, that they are better qualified to be installed
guardians of "Tom's" happiness than "_that woman_."

       *       *       *       *       *

It is very strange that men, as a general thing, should be proud of
that, of which they should be ashamed, and ashamed of that, which
ennobles them. Now, to my eye, a man never looks so grand, as when he
bends his ear patiently and lovingly, to the lisping of a little
child. I admire that man whom I see with a baby in his arms. I
delight, on Sunday, when the nurses are set free, to see the fathers
leading out their little ones in their best attire, and setting them
right end up, about fifty times a minute. It is as good a means of
grace as I am acquainted with. Now that a man should feel ashamed to
be seen doing this, or think it necessary to apologize, even
jocularly, when he meets a male friend, is to me one of the
unaccountable things. It seems to me every way such a lovely, and
good, and proper action in a father, that I can't help thinking that
he who would feel otherwise, is of so coarse and ignoble a nature, as
to be quite unworthy of respect. How many times I have turned to look
at the clumsy smoothing of a child's dress, or settling of its hat,
or bonnet, by the unpractised fingers of a proud father. And the
clumsier he was about it, the better I have loved him for the pains he
took. It is very beautiful to me, this self-abnegation, which creeps
so gradually over a young father. He is himself so unconscious that
he, who had for many years thought first and only of his own selfish
ease and wants, is forgetting himself entirely whenever that little
creature, with _his_ eyes and _its mother's lips_, reaches out coaxing
hands to go here or there, or to look at this or that pretty object.
Ah, what but this heavenly love, could bridge over the anxious days
and nights, of care and sickness, that these twain of one flesh are
called to bear? _My_ boy! _My_ girl! There it is! _Mine!_ Something to
live for--something to work for--_something to come home to_; and that
last is the summing up of the whole matter. "Now let us have a good
love," said a little three-year older, as she clasped her chubby arms
about her father's neck when he came in at night "Now let us have a
good love." Do you suppose that man walked with slow and laggard steps
from his store toward that bright face that had been peeping for an
hour from the nursery window to watch his coming? Do you suppose when
he got on all fours to "play elephant" with the child, that it even
crossed his mind that he had worked very hard all that day, or that he
was not at that minute "looking dignified?" Did he wish he had a
"club" where he could get away from home evenings, or was that "_good
love_" of the little creature on his back, with the laughing eyes and
the pearly teeth, and the warm clasp about his neck, which she was
squeezing to suffocation, sweeter and better than anything that this
world could give?

_Something to come home to!_ That is what saves a man. Somebody there
to grieve if he is not true to himself. Somebody there to be sorry if
he is troubled or sick. Somebody there, with fingers like sunbeams,
gliding and brightening whatever they touch; and all for him. I look
at the business men of New York, at nightfall, coming swarming "up
town" from their stores and counting-rooms; and when I see them, as I
often do, stop and buy one of those tiny bouquets as they go, I smile
to myself; for although it is a little attention toward a wife, I know
how happy that rose with its two geranium leaves, and its sprig of
mignonette will make her. He thought of _her_ coming home! Foolish, do
you call it? Such folly makes all the difference between stepping off,
scarcely conscious of the cares a woman carries, or staggering wearily
along till she faints disheartened under their burthen. _Something to
go home to!_ That man felt it, and by ever so slight a token wished to
recognize it. God bless him, I say, and all like him, who do not take
home-comforts as stereotyped matters of course, and God bless the
family estate; I can't see that anything better has been devised by
the wiseacres who have experimented on the Almighty's plans. "There
comes _my_ father!" exclaims Johnny, bounding from out a group of
"fellows" with whom he was playing ball; and sliding his little soiled
fist in his, they go up the steps and into the house together; and
again God bless them! I say there's one man who is all right at least.
That boy has got him, safer than Fort Lafeyette.

       *       *       *       *       *

If there is an experiment which is worse than any other for a young
married couple to make, we believe it to be that of trying to make a
home in a hotel. What possible chance has a young wife there to
acquire domestic habits? To do anything, in short, but dress half a
dozen times a day, and sit in the public parlor, or her own, to gossip
with idle women or bandy compliments with idle men. And how--I ask any
thinking person--can a young married woman be fitted for quiet
home-cares and duties, after a year or two of such idleness and
vacuity; Let no young husband expect any favorable result from such an
experiment. Better a house with only _one_ room, in a quiet place by
yourselves--than such a hollow, shallow life as this. Many a husband
has dated from it the loss of all quiet, home happiness; lucky for
him, if no more. _Go to housekeeping_; unambitiously if need be--as
the old folks did before you. But have a place sacred to
yourselves--have a place which your children in after years will love
to think of as home. Do it for their sakes if not for your own. No
sight is sadder than that of a weary little one--wandering up and
down the entries and halls of a large hotel, peeping into parlors,
offices and bar-rooms--listening to what childhood should never hear,
and with no alternative but the small, dreary nursery, whose
only-window prospect, nine times in ten, is a stack of brick chimneys
or a back-shed full of flapping clothes hung out to dry. A father
should hesitate long before he dooms a young child to such a "home" as

       *       *       *       *       *

As to women, men are apt to think, and fall into innumerable blunders
by so thinking, that because they know one woman they know all; when,
in fact, each woman is as much of a study as if he had never seen one
of the sex. Bulwer doubts whether man _ever_ thoroughly understood
woman. Truly, how should he? when woman does not understand herself;
nor can tell why she lives on patiently, hopefully, year after year,
with a brute, whose favorite pastime consists in attempts to break her
neck every time things go wrong with him, indoors or out. That the
better educated husband murders with sharp words instead of sharp
blows, makes it none the less murder. The only difference is in the
duration of the misery, one being as deadly as the other. Who cares to
understand how a woman with bruised heart and flesh can throw over
both the charitable mantle that, "he wasn't himself;" and beg off the
offender from merited punishment, public or private. Let us rather
seek to understand how man, who should be so strong, should fall so
immeasurably below his "weaker" self, in the difficult lesson of
self-control and forgiveness of injuries.

       *       *       *       *       *

Some men profess to dislike coquetry; if so, why do they encourage it?
Why do they often leave a sensible, well-informed woman to play
"wall-flower," while they talk nonsense to some brainless doll, who
can only ogle, sigh and simper? It appears to us that men are to blame
for most of the faults of women. We always regret to hear a man who
has matrimonial views say of a girl, she don't know much, but she is
amiable, has a pretty face, and after all, if I need society, it is
easy enough to find it elsewhere. A man has no right to marry a woman
with intentions so widely diverse from those he professes to
entertain, when he vows to be a husband; he is responsibly blameworthy
for the consequences that result from such an act; besides, it is a
very mistaken notion some men seem to have, that a fool is easily
managed; there is no description of animal so difficult to govern;
what they lack in brains they are sure to make up in obstinacy, or a
low kind of cunning. Then a pretty face cannot last forever, and the
old age of a brainless beauty, we shudder to contemplate, even at a
distance. Women aim to be what men oftenest like to see them; you may,
therefore, easily gauge the masculine standard by the majority of
women one daily meets. Heaven pity the exceptions! they must find
_their_ mates in another world than this.

       *       *       *       *       *

One of the meanest things a young man can do, and it is not at all of
uncommon occurrence, is to monopolize the time, and attention, of a
young girl for a year, or more, without any definite object, and to
the exclusion of other gentlemen, who, supposing him to have
matrimonial intentions, absent themselves from her society. This
selfish "dog-in-the-manger" way of proceeding should be
discountenanced and forbidden, by all parents and guardians.

It prevents the reception of eligible offers of marriage, and fastens
upon the young lady, when the acquaintance is finally dissolved, the
unenviable and _unmerited_ appellation of "flirt." Young man, let all
your dealings with women, be frank, honest and noble. That many whose
education and position in life are culpably criminal on these points,
is no excuse for your short-comings. It adds a blacker dye to your
meanness, that woman is often wronged through her holiest feelings.
One rule is always safe: _Treat every woman you meet, as you would
wish another man to treat your innocent, confiding sister._

       *       *       *       *       *

After all, how any young fellow can have the face to walk into your
family, and deliberately ask for one of your daughters, astonishes
me. That it is done every day, does not lessen my amazement at the
sublime impudence of the thing. There you have been, sixteen, or
seventeen, or eighteen years of her life, combing her hair, and
washing her face for----_him_. It is lucky the thought never strikes
you while you are doing it, that this is to be the end of it all. What
if you _were_ married yourself? that is no reason why she should be
bewitched away into a separate establishment, just as you begin to
lean upon her, and be proud of her; or, at least, it stands to reason,
that after you have worried her through the measles, and chicken-pox,
and scarlet-fever, and whooping-cough, and had her properly baptized
and vaccinated, this young man might give you a short breathing-spell
before she goes.

_He_ seems to be of a different opinion; _he_ not only insists upon
taking her, but upon taking her immediately. He talks well about
it--very well; you have no objection to him, not the least in the
world except that. When the world is full of girls, why couldn't he
have fixed his eye on the daughter of somebody else? There are some
parents who are glad to be rid of their daughters. Blue eyes are as
plenty as blueberries; why need it be this particular pair? Isn't she
happy enough as she is? Don't she have meat and bread and clothes
enough, to say nothing of love? What is the use of leaving a certainty
for an uncertainty, when that certainty is a mother, and you can never
have but one? You put all these questions to her, and she has the
sauciness to ask, if that is the way you reasoned, when her father
came for you. You disdain to answer, of course; it is a mean dodging
of the question. But she gets round you for all that, and so does he
too, though you try your best not to like him; and with a--"well, if I
must, I must," you just order her wedding-clothes, muttering to
yourself the while,--"dear--dear--what sort of a fist will that child
make at the head of a house? how will she ever know what to do in
this, that, or the other emergency"--she who is calling on "mother"
fifty times a day to settle every trifling question? What folly for
her to set up house for herself! How many mothers have had these
foreboding thoughts over a daughter's wedding-clothes; and yet that
daughter has met life, and its unexpected reverses, with a heroism and
courage as undaunted as if every girlish tear had not been kissed away
by lips, that alas! may be dust, when this baptism of womanhood comes
upon her.

       *       *       *       *       *

In my opinion, the "coming" woman's Alpha and Omega will not be
matrimony. She will not of necessity sour into a pink-nosed old maid,
or throw herself at any rickety old shell of humanity, whose clothes
are as much out of repair as his morals. No, the future man will have
to "step lively;" this wife is not to be had for the whistling. He
will have a long canter round the pasture for her, and then she will
leap the fence and leave him limping on the ground. Thick-soled boots
and skating are coming in, and "nerves," novels and sentiment (by
consequence) are going out. The coming woman, as I see her, is not to
throw aside her needle; neither is she to sit embroidering worsted
dogs and cats, or singing doubtful love ditties, and rolling up her
eyes to "the chaste moon."

Heaven forbid she should stamp round with a cigar in her mouth,
elbowing her neighbors, and puffing smoke in their faces; or stand on
the free-love platform, _public or private_--_call it by what specious
name you will_--wooing men who, low as they may have sunk in their own
self-respect, would die before they would introduce her to the
unsullied sister who shared their cradle.

Heaven forbid the coming woman should not have warm blood in her
veins, quick to rush to her cheek, or tingle at her fingers' ends when
her heart is astir. No, the coming woman shall be no cold, angular,
flat-chested, narrow-shouldered, sharp-visaged Betsey, but she shall
be a bright-eyed, full-chested, broad-shouldered, large-souled,
intellectual being; able to walk, able to eat, able to fulfill her
maternal destiny, and able--if it so please God--to go to her grave
happy, self-poised and serene, though unwedded.

       *       *       *       *       *

We often think of the solitariness and isolation of the young man--a
stranger in a crowded city; suddenly cut adrift, perhaps from loving
home influences--finding an inexorable necessity in his nature for
sympathy and companionship--returning at night, when his day's toil is
done, to his dreary, cell-like room, or, if he go out, solicited by
myriad treacherous voices to unlearn the holy lessons taught at his
mother's knee--solicited to show his "manliness" by drinking with
every acquaintance that chance or the devil may send. That youth must
needs be strongly intrenched in the _true_ idea of "manliness" not to
waver and turn aside from his own independent course of well-doing.
Alas! that to so many the fear of ridicule, or dread of "oddity,"
should have power to draw a veil over the swift and sure downfall of
the drunkard or profligate. Alas! that the little word _No_ should be
so impossible of articulation--in a circle, too, whose sneering
condemnation of it were not worth a thought, no matter how brilliantly
the jest or the song may issue from lips foul with the sophistry of
"free-love;" than which _freedom_ nothing is more shackled with
disgust and pain; for try as we will, God's image, though marred,
shall never be wholly effaced: enough shall be left in every man's and
woman's soul to protest against such desecration, though it voice
itself, as it often does, in bitter denunciation of what the soul
knows to be its only true happiness. The holy stars make no record of
the gasping sigh, brief but intense, that their purity has evoked.
The little bird trills out its matins, and vespers, all unconscious
that their sweetness forces the unwelcome tear from some world-sated
eye. Bless God, these moments will and do come to the most
reckless--these swift heralds of our immortality--to be silenced never
in this world; if disregarded, to be mourned over forever in the next;
for the fiercest theologian's idea of "hell" can never, it seems to
me, go beyond the consciousness of god-like powers wasted and
debased--noble opportunities of benefiting our race defiling past the
memory in mournful procession, and the sorrowing soul nerveless,
powerless to bid them stay.

To every young man entering the lists against the vices of a crowded
city, at such fearful odds, we would say: cultivate an acquaintance,
as soon as possible, with some family, or families, whose healthful
influence may be your talisman against evil associations, whose good
opinion may give an impetus to your self-respect, and whose cheerful
fireside may outshine the ignis-fatuus lights which dazzle but to
mislead. To those who see difficulties or impossibilities in this, we
would suggest the cultivation of a taste for reading, which surely may
be compassed in a city, even by a young person of slender means. Good
books are safe, pleasant and economical company. The time spent with
them is an investment which will not fail to yield a satisfying
interest for all future time. Let those who will--and their name, we
fear, is legion--wreck health and reputation, for the lack of courage
or desire to be true to their better feelings; let those who will,
cover their inclination to do evil with the transparent excuse "that
it is well to see life in all its phases." As well might a perfectly
healthy person _from mere curiosity_ breathe the tainted air of every
pest-house in the country. No thanks are due to his fool-hardy
temerity if he escape; "served him right!" would be the unanimous
verdict of common sense if he should not.

To him who, eschewing such unwisdom, chooses to breathe a healthful,
moral atmosphere, it may be a reflection worth having, that he will
bring to his future home a constitution and principles as sound as
those he so properly requires in the wife of his choice and the mother
of his children; and I confess myself unable to see why this should be
more necessary in the case of one parent than in that of the other.
_Such men, and such only, have a call to be husbands._


What constitutes a handsome man? Well--there must be enough of him;
or, failing in that, but, come to think of it, he _mustn't_ fail in
that, because there can be no beauty without health, or at least,
according to my way of thinking. In the second place, he must have a
beard; whiskers--as the gods please, but a beard I insist upon, else
one might as well look at a girl. Let his voice have a dash of
Niagara, with the music of a baby's laugh in it. Let his smile be like
the breaking forth of the sunshine on a spring morning. As to his
figure, it should be strong enough to contend with a man, and slight
enough to tremble in the presence of the woman he loves. Of course, if
he is a well made man, it follows that he must be graceful, on the
principle that perfect machinery always moves harmoniously; therefore
you and himself and the milk pitcher, are safe elbow neighbors at the
tea-table. _This_ style of handsome man would no more think of
carrying a cane, than he would use a parasol to keep the sun out of
his eyes. He can wear gloves, or warm his hands in his breast pockets,
as he pleases. He can even commit the suicidal-beauty-act of turning
his outside coat-collar up over his ears of a stormy day, with
perfect impunity;--_the tailor didn't make him_, and as to his hatter,
if he depended on this handsome man's patronage of the "latest spring
style," I fear he would die of hope deferred; and yet--by Apollo! what
a bow he makes, and what an expressive adieu he can wave with his
head! For all this he is not conceited--for he hath _brains_.

But your conventional "handsome man," of the
barber's-window-wax-figure-head-pattern; with a pet lock in the middle
of his forehead, an apple-sized head, and a raspberry moustache with
six hairs in it; a pink spot in its cheek, and a little dot of a
"goatee" on its cunning little chin; with pretty blinking little studs
in its shirt bosom, and a neck-tie that looks as if he would faint
were it tumbled, I'd as lief look at a poodle. I always feel a desire
to nip it up with a pair of sugar-tongs, drop it gently into a bowl of
cream, and strew pink rose-leaves over its little remains.

After all, when _soul_ magnetizes _soul_, the question of beauty is a
dead letter. _Whom one loves is always handsome_, the world's
arbitrary rules notwithstanding; therefore when you say "what _can_
the handsome Mr. Smith see to admire in that stick of a Miss Jones?"
or, "what _can_ the pretty Miss T. see to like in that homely Mr.
Johns?" you simply talk nonsense--as you generally do, on such
subjects. Still the parson gets his fees, and the census goes on all
the same.

I wonder why people decry a masculine blush: I don't know. I
immediately love the man who blushes. I am sure that he is
unhackneyed; that he has not a set of meaningless, cut and dried
compliments on hand, for every woman he meets; that he has not learned
to sniff at sacred things, or prate transcendentally about
"affinities" or any other corruption under a new-fangled name. I know
that his love will be worth a pure woman's having; that he will not be
ashamed of liking home, or his baby, or laughed out of staying in it
in preference to any other place. I know that when he stops at a
hotel, his _first_ business will not be to hold a private conference
with the cook, to tell him how he likes an omelette made. I know that
in his conversation he will not pride himself upon the small fopperies
of talk, in the way of pronunciation and newly coined words, to show
how well he is posted up in dictionary matters. I know that he will
not be closeted two thirds of his time with his tailor; or think it
fine to be continually quoting some dead-and-gone book, known only to
some resurrectionist of scarce authors. I know he will not sit in
grimstarched statuesqueness in a car, when a woman old enough to be
his mother, is standing wearily in front of him, swaying to and fro
with the motion of the vehicle. In short, I know that he is not a
petrifaction; that there's human nature in him, _and plenty of it_;
that he is not like an animal under an exhausted receiver, having
form only--in whom there is no spring, nor elasticity, nor breath of

A fool, hey? No, sir--not necessarily a fool neither. _The fool is he
who, not yet at life's meridian, has exhausted it and himself_; who
thinks every man "green" who has not taken his diploma in wickedness.
For whom existence is as weary as a thrice-told tale. Who has crowded
four-score years into twenty, or less; and has nothing left for it but
to sneer at the healthy, simple, pure, fresh joys which may never come
again to his vitiated palate.

Very likely you have met him: this _blasé_ man, who, though yet at
life's meridian, has squeezed life as dry as an orange. Who has seen
everything, heard everything, ate everything, drank everything,
traveled everywhere, but into his own heart, to see its utter
selfishness. Who is willing, upon the whole, to tolerate his
fellow-creatures, provided they don't speak to him when he wants to be
silent, or annoy him by peculiarities of dress, manner and
conversation. Who remains immovably grave when everybody else laughs,
and smiles when everybody else looks grave; who lifts his eyebrows and
shrugs his shoulders dissentingly, when people who have not like him
"been abroad," applaud. Who talks knowingly and mystically of "art,"
and thinks it fine to showerbath everybody's enthusiasm with
"to-l-e-r-a-b-l-e." Who goes to church occasionally, but owing to the
prevalence of badly-fitting coats and vests in the assembly, is unable
to attend to the service; who don't care much what a man's creed is,
provided he only takes it mild. He likes to see a woman plump and
well-made, but abhors the idea of her eating; likes to see her rosy,
but can't abide an india-rubber on her foot, even in the most
consumptive-breeding weather; thinks it would be well were she
domestic when he considers his tea and coffee, but don't believe in
aprons and calico. Thinks she should be religious, because it would be
a check-rein upon her tongue when his liver is out of order; and keep
her true to him when he leaves her with all her yearning affections,
to take care of herself.

And so our _blasé_ man yawns away existence, everything outward and
inward tending only to the great central I, when life might be _so_
glorious, _so_ bright, would he only recognize the existence of
others. For how much is that education valuable, the result of which
is only this? For how much that refinement which lifts a man so high
in the clouds, that no cry of humanity, be it ever so sharp and
piercing, can reach him? I turn away from his face, on which ennui and
selfishness have ploughed such furrows of discontent, to the laborer
in his red flannel shirt-sleeves, who, returning at sunset,
dinner-pail in hand, has well earned the right to clasp in his arms
the little child who runs to meet him. He may be illiterate, he may be
uneducated, but he is a _man_; and by that beautiful retributive law
of our being, by which the most useful and unselfish shall be the
healthiest, and happiest, he has his reward.


The verdant have an idea, that literary people are always under the
influence of "the divine afflatus;" but, like the curious female who
gazed through the bars of the doomed man's cell to gloat over his
situation, and was told by her victim, that, although the gallows was
impending, "he couldn't cry all the time," they are doomed to

When a literary person's exhaustive work is over, the last thing he
wishes to do is to _talk book_. The last person he wishes to meet is
another unfortunate, who also has been cudgelling his brains for
ideas. The person whom he wishes to see most, if, indeed, he desire to
see anybody, is one who will stir up his mentality least. The
laurel-wreath, which the verdant suppose he settles carefully and
becomingly on his head, before the looking-glass, ere he goes forth,
he would be glad to toss into the first ash-barrel; and, so far from
desiring to regulate his personal appearance, according to the
programme marked out by the sentimental, he feels only an insane
desire to be let severely alone, and "let _Natur_ caper," if, indeed,
she has not forgotten how.

He wants--this wise man--to hear some merry little child sing:

    "Hickory, dickory, dock,
    The mouse ran up the clock;
    The clock struck one,
    And down he ran:
    Hickory, dickory, dock."

Or he wants to lean over a fence and see the turnips grow. It rests
him to think that the fat, lazy pigs never think, but lie winking
their pink eyes forever at the sun. In short, as I told you, he wants
just the antipodes of himself.

The sentimental will perceive, from this, the small chance they stand
for edification, or amusement, from "literary people" when off duty.
Blithe ladies will see, how very jolly it must be to marry a poet or
an author. But what shall we say of "the situation" when a literary
man and a literary woman are yoked? When the world abroad demands the
best of each, and nothing is left for home consumption? When, instead
of writing sonnets to each other, and looking at the chaste moon in
their leisure moments, as the sentimental have arranged it, they are
too used up to do anything but gape? When a change of programme would
not only be a blessing, but absolutely necessary, to stave off a
Coroner's Inquest? When the sight of a book to either, is like water
to a mad dog: particularly the sight of their own books, which
represent such an amount of headache, and bother, and sleepless
nights, to enable a critic to notice _only_ a printer's mistake in a
date, which is generally set down to the author's "want of knowledge
of his subject?" When they wonder, in the rasped state of their
nerves, what life is worth, if it is to be forever pitched up to that
key? When they can't open their mouths on any subject, without
perversely saying everything they _don't_ mean, and nothing that they

Ah! then is the time for them to catch sight of that athlete--the
day-laborer, in red flannel shirt-sleeves, whistling along home with
his tools. Do you hear? _Tools!_ Happy man! He won't have to
manufacture _his_ tools before he begins to-morrow's work. He can
pound away all day, and sing the while, and no organ-grinder has power
to drive him mad.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is a difficult thing for literary people, as well as others, to
tell the truth sometimes. Now here is a letter containing an article
by which the writer hopes to make money; and of which my "candid
opinion is asked, as soon as convenient."

Now in the first place, the article is most illegibly written; an
objection sufficient to condemn it at once, with a hurried editor--and
all editors are hurried--beside having always a bushel basket full of
MSS. already in hand to look over. In the second place, the spelling
is wofully at fault. In the third place, the punctuation is altogether
missing. In the fourth place, if all these things were amended, the
article itself is tame, common-place, and badly expressed. Now that
is my "candid opinion" of it.

Still, I am not verdant enough to believe that the writer wished my
"candid opinion" were it so condemnatory as this; and should I give
it, there is great danger it would be misconstrued. The author, in his
wounded self-love, might say, that, being a writer myself, I was not
disposed to be impartial. Or he might go farther and say that I had
probably forgotten the time when _I_ commenced writing, and longed for
an appreciative or encouraging word myself. Now this would pain me
very much; it would also be very unjust; because when I began to write
I called that person my best and truest friend who dared tell me when
I was at fault in such matters. I have now in my remembrance a
stranger, who often wrote me, regarding my articles, as they appeared
from time to time; who criticised them unsparingly; finding fault in
the plainest Saxon when he could not approve or praise. I thanked him
then, I do so now; and was gratified at the singular interest he
manifested in one unknown to him. I have never seen him all these
years of my literary effort; but I know him to have been more truly my
friend than they who would flatter me into believing better of what
talent I may possess than it really merits.

This is the way I felt about friendly though unfavorable criticism.
The question is, have _I_ sufficient courage to risk being
misunderstood, should _I_, in this instance, speak honestly and
plainly. Or shall I write a very polite, non-committal answer,
meaning anything, or nothing. Or shall I praise it unqualifiedly, and
recommend the writer to persevere in a vocation in which I am sure he
is certain to be doomed to disappointment; and all for the sake of
being thought a generous, genial, kindly, sympathetic sort of person.

_Which shall I do?_

The writer would not like to descend from his pedestal, and hear that
he must begin at the foot of the ladder, and first of all, learn to
spell correctly, before he can write. And that after words, must come
thoughts; and that after thoughts, must come the felicitous expression
of thoughts. And that, after all that, he must then look about for a
market for the same.

This, you see, is a tedious process to one who wants not only
immediate but _large_ pecuniary results, and evidently considers
himself entitled to them, notwithstanding his deference to your
"candid opinion."

But what a pleasure, when the person appealed to, can conscientiously
say to a writer, that he has not _over_ but _under_-rated his gifts!
What a pleasure, if one's opinion can be of any value to him, to be
able to speak encouragingly of the present, and hopefully for the
future. And surely, he who has himself waded through this initiatory
"Slough of Despond," and, by one chance in a thousand, landed safely
on the other side, should be the last to beckon, or lure into it,
those whose careless steps, struggle they ever so blindly, may never
find sure or permanent foot-hold.

"What did I do, after all, about _that letter_?" Well, if you insist
upon cornering me, it lies unanswered on my desk, this minute: a
staring monument of the moral cowardice of FANNY FERN.


Chief of all sublunary abominations is the slatternly woman. I blame
no man for longing to rush from a house, the mistress of which,
habitually, and from choice, pays him the poor compliment of pouring
out his coffee in curl-papers, or tumbled hair, or dingy, collarless
morning gown, and slip-shod feet. If there is a time when a pretty
woman looks prettier than at any hour in the twenty-four, it is in a
neat breakfast toilette, with her shining bands of hair, and nice
breakfast robe, (calico, if you like, provided it fit well, and the
color be well chosen); and if there is a time when a plain woman comes
the nearest to being handsome, it is in this same lovable, domestic

I will maintain that the coffee and eggs taste better, and that the
husband goes more smilingly and hopefully to his day's task, after
helping such a wife to bread and butter. I could never comprehend the
female slattern--thank heaven there are few of them--or understand how
a woman, though she had no eye to please but her own, should not be
scrupulously neat in all the different strata of her apparel.

I repeat it, I blame no man from rushing in disgust from a house whose
mistress is a slattern; who never pays her husband the compliment to
look decent in her person or in her house, unless company is expected;
who reserves her yawns and old dresses for her husband, and strikes an
attitude for his male friends; whose pretty carpets are defaced with
spots; whose chairs are half dusted; whose domestic dinners are
uneatable; whose table-cloth, castors, and salt-cellars are seldom
regenerated; and whose muslins look as if they had been dipped in

Not to speak of the _wastefulness_ of this crying fault: bonnets,
shawls and cloaks will not long retain their beauty if left on chairs
or tables over night, instead of being carefully put away; bracelets
and brooches are not improved by being trodden upon, or ribbons and
laces by being hastily wisped into a corner. To such an extreme do I
carry my horror of an untidy woman, that I would almost refuse to
believe in the virtue of such an one. Not that I admire the woman who
is always at her husband's heels with a brush and a dust-pan; who puts
him under the harrow if he does not place his boots under the scraper
before entering the parlor; who has fits if his coat is not hung up on
the left side of the door instead of the right; who when he has but
ten minutes to spare after breakfast to enjoy the morning paper,
drives him out of his comfortable corner by the fire, to brush up a
spoonful of ashes on the hearth; who is always "righting," as she
calls it, his own particular den, which I am convinced all husbands
must be allowed to enjoy, neck deep in confusion unmolested, if their
wives wish the roof to stay on.

I once had the misfortune to live in the house with such a female,
whose husband roosted half his in-door time on the top of the table,
to keep clear of the mop. How her cap-strings flew through the doors;
what galvanized broomsticks she wielded; how remorselessly she
ferreted out closets, and disembowelled cupboards; how horribly she
scraped glass and paint; and how anxious she looked to begin again
when it was all done. How I slunk behind doors, and dodged behind
screens, and jumped out of windows, to get out of the vixen's way; and
how I sat swinging in the elm tree in the orchard at a safe distance
till the whirlwind was past.

Heavens; how that india-rubber woman would go to baking after she had
done cleaning, and to ironing after she had done baking, and to sewing
after she had done both; how vindictively she twitched her needle
through, as if she wished it were some live thing, that she might make
it feel weariness and pain. How like whipped spaniels her children
looked; and what a reverence they had for washing and ironing days;
how remorselessly she scrubbed their noses up and down of a Sunday
morning, and shoved them into their "meetin clothes," turning the
pockets carefully inside out, to see that no stray bit of string, or
carnal marble, or fish-hook remained, to alleviate the torture of the
long-drawn seventeenthlies of the parson's impracticable discourse.

Still this female gave her husband light bread to eat; his coffee and
tea were always strong and hot; he might have shaved himself by the
polish of the parlor table; his buttons were on his shirts, and his
stockings always mended; but the man--and he was human--might as well
have laid his night-cap beside a sewing-machine. And oh, the weary
details of roasting, baking and broiling to which he was compelled to
listen and approve between the pauses. The messes, which in any other
female hands but hers, would inevitably have stewed over or burnt up
or evaporated. The treasure he had in her, culinarily and pecuniarily,
though he didn't know it!

What I want to know is this:

Must a model housekeeper always have thin lips, thick ankles, a
bolster-figure, and a fist like an overgrown beet? Need she take hold
of her children as if total depravity were bristling out of every hair
of their heads? Need the unhappy cat always take its tail under its
arm and creep into the ash-hole whenever she looks at it? _Is_ a sweet
temper foreordained to be incompatible with sweet cupboards? Would it
be unchristian to strangle such women with their own garters?

I pause for a reply.

       *       *       *       *       *

I don't like to admit it, but there are two things a woman can't do.
First, she _can't sharpen a lead pencil_. Give her one and see. Mark
how jaggedly she hacks away every particle of wood from the lead,
leaving a spike of the latter, which breaks as soon as you try to use
it. You can almost forgive the male creature his compassionate
contempt, as chucking her under the chin, he twitches it from her
awkward little paw, and rounds, and tapers it off in the most
ravishing manner, for durable use. *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Last week a philanthropist (need I say a _male_ philanthropist) knowing
my weakness, presented me with a two-cent-sharp-pointed-lead-pencil. My
dreams that night were peaceful. I awoke like a strong-minded woman to
run a race. I sat down to my desk. I might have known it; "I never
loved a tree or flower," etc. Some fiend had "borrowed" it. Oh the
misery that may be contained in that word "borrowed." When you are in a
hurry; when the "devil" is waiting in the basement, stamping his feet
to get back to the printing-office; when you've nothing but a miserable
little "chunky"-old-worn-out-stub of an inch long lead pencil to make
your "stet"-s and "d"-s. Shade of Ben Franklin! _shall_ I, before I
"shuffle off this mortal coil"--though I don't know what _that_
is,--ever own another two-cent sharp-pointed-lead-pencil?

I have said that there are two things a woman can't do. I have
mentioned one. I wish to hear no argument on _that point_, because
when I once make up my mind "all the king's men" can't change it.
Well, then--Secondly: A woman can't do up a bundle. She takes a whole
newspaper to wrap up a paper of pins, and a coil of rope to tie it,
and then it comes unfastened. When I go shopping, which it is
sometimes my hard lot to do, I look with the fascinated gaze of a bird
in the neighborhood of a magnetic serpent, to watch clerks doing up
bundles. How the paper falls into just the right creases! how deftly
they turn it over, and tuck it under, and tie it up, and then throw it
down on the counter, as if they had done the most common-place thing
in the world, instead of a deed which might--and, faith, _does_--task
the ingenuity of "angels!" It is perfectly astonishing! It repays me
for all my botheration in matching this color and deciding on that, in
hearing them call a piece of tape "a _chaste_ article," and for
sitting on those revolving stools fastened down so near the counter,
that it takes a peculiarly constructed shopper to stay on one of them.

Thirdly--I might allude to the fact that women cannot carry an
umbrella; or rather to the very peculiar manner in which they perform
that duty; but I won't. I scorn to turn traitor to a sex who, whatever
may be their faults,--are always loyal to each other.--So I shall not
say, as I might otherwise have said, that when they unfurl the
parachute alluded to, they put it right down over their noses,--take
the middle of the sidewalk, raking off men's hats and woman's bonnets,
as they go, and walking right into the breakfast of some unfortunate
wight, with that total disregard of the consequent _gasp_, which to be
understood must be _felt_, as the offender cocks up one corner of the
parachute, and looks defiantly at the victim who has had the
effrontery to come into the world and hazard the whalebone and handle
of _her_ "umberil!" No, I won't speak of anything of the kind;
besides, has not a celebrated writer remarked, that when dear "woman
is cross, it is only because she is _sick_?" Let us hope he is right.
We all know that is not the cause of a MAN'S crossness. _Give him his
favorite dish, and you may dine off him afterward--if you want to._

Amiable creatures are the majority of women--to each other;
charitable--above all things _charitable_! Always ready to acknowledge
each other's beauty, or grace, or talent. Never sneer down a sister
woman, or pay her a patronizing compliment with the finale of the
inevitable--"_but_." Never run the cool, impertinent eye of
calculation over her dress, noting the cost of each article, and
summing up the amount in a contemptuous toss, whether it amounts to
fifty cents or five hundred dollars, more likely when it is the
latter! Never say to a gentleman who praises a lady, what a pity she
squints! Never say of an authoress, oh yes--she has talent, but _I_
prefer the domestic virtues; as if a combination of the two were
necessarily impossible, or as if the speaker had the personal
knowledge which qualified her to pronounce on that individual case.

Well-bred, too, are women to sister woman.--Never discuss the color of
her hair, or the style of its arrangement, her smile, her gait, so
that she can hear every word of it. Never take it for granted that she
is making a dead-set at a man, to whom she is only replying--"Very
well, I thank you, sir." Never sit in church and stare her out of
countenance, while mentally taking her measure, or nudge some one to
look at her, while recapitulating within ear-shot all the contemptible
gossip which weak-minded, empty-headed women are so fond of retailing.

Now just let a dear woman visit you. Don't you _know_ that her eyes
are peering into every corner and crevice of your house all the while
she is "_dear_"-ing and "_sweet_"-ing you? Don't you know that her
lynx eyes are on the carpet for possible spots, or mismatched roses?
Don't she touch her fingers to the furniture for stray particles of
dust? Don't she hold her tumblers up to the light, and examine
microscopically the quality of your table-cloths and napkins, and
improvise an errand into your kitchen to inspect your culinary
arrangements, to the infinite disgust of Bridget? Don't she follow you
like a spectre all over the house, till you are as nervous as a cat in
a cupboard? Don't she sit down opposite you for dreary hours, with
folded hands, and that horse-leech--"now-talk-to-me" air--which
quenches all your vitality--and sets you gaping, as inevitably as a
minister's "_seventeenthly_."

Ah, the children! How could I forget the little children? _I clasp the
hand of universal woman on that_; Heaven knows I don't want to
misrepresent them. And after all, do I ever allow anybody to abuse
them but me? Never!

       *       *       *       *       *

There are many kinds of women. Of course I adore them all; but there
is one who excites my unfeigned astonishment. I allude to the rabbit
woman. She has four chins and twelve babies. She has two dresses--a
loose calico wrapper for home wear, and a black silk for "meetin'."
She eats tremendously, and never goes out; she calls her husband "Pa."
She is quite content to roll leisurely from her rocking-chair in the
nursery to the dining-room table, and thence back again, year in and
year out. She knows nothing that is passing in the outside world, nor
cares. She never touches a book or a newspaper, not even when she is
rocking her baby to sleep, and might. She never troubles herself about
Pa, so long as he don't get in her way, or sit on the twelve babies.
She has a particular fondness for the child who cries the most, and
won't go to sleep without a stick of candy in each fist. She has a
voice like an auctioneer, and prefers cabbage to any vegetable extant.

"Pa" is devoted to her, _i. e._, he calls her My dear, and as soon as
he enters the house, before hanging up his hat, kisses all the twelve
children immediately, whether dirty or clean, and inquires tenderly
after her health: keeps her stupid on a full diet, and flirts
desperately, at a safe distance, behind her back.

Secondly, there is the _prim_ woman, with her mouth always in a
prepared state to whistle; who crosses over if she sees a man coming,
and tosses up the end of her shawl when she sits down, lest she should
crease it; who keeps her parasol in several layers of tissue-paper
when not on duty: puts her two shoes on the window-sill "to air" every
night, and suggests more indelicacy by constantly running away from
it, then she could ever find by the most zealous search.

Thirdly, there is your butterfly woman, who, provided her wings are
gay and gauzy, is not particular where she alights. Who cannot exist
out of the sunbeams, and dreads a rainy day like an old gown. Who
values her male acquaintance according to their capabilities for
trotting her to balls, operas and parties, and giving her rings and
bouquets. Who spoils all the good looks she has, trying to make
herself "look better," and turns into a very ordinary caterpillar
after marriage.

Fourthly, there is your library woman, steeped in folios; steeped in
languages, both living and dead; steeped in ologies, steeped in
politics; who walks round a baby as if it were a rattle-snake, and if
she was born with a heart, never has found it out.

Fifthly, there is your female viper--your cat--your hyena. All claws,
nails and tongue. Wiry, bloodless, snappy, narrow, vindictive;
lapping up your life-blood with her slanders, and clawing out your
warm, palpitating heart. Out on her!

Sixthly, there is your woman--pretty or plain, it matters not;
lady-like by nature; intelligent, but not pedantic; modest, yet not
prudish; strong-hearted, but not "strong-minded" (as that term is at
present perverted); no "scholar," and yet well read; no butterfly, and
yet bright and gay. Merry without noise, silent without stupidity,
religious without fanaticism, capable of an opinion, and yet able to
hold her tongue. If married, not of necessity sinking into a mere
machine; if unmarried, occupying herself with other things than
husband-hunting. Liking books, yet not despising needles and brooms;
genial, unaffected, good-natured; with an active brain, and a live
heart under lock and key. God bless her! wherever she is, for she
redeems all the rest.

       *       *       *       *       *

Do you suppose that the woman ever lived who would _prefer_ single to
married life had she ever met with a man whom she could really love? I
have seen cold, intellectual women, _apparently_ self-poised and
self-sustained, gliding like the moon on their solitary path alone,
diffusing light, perhaps, but no warmth; to the superficial observer
looking as carelessly down upon joy as upon sorrow; but no power on
earth could persuade me, that beneath that smooth ice there smouldered
no volcano; no reasoning persuade me that those fingers would not
rather have been twisting a baby's soft curls, than turning the leaves
of musty folios; no negative shake of the head, or forced laugh,
prevent my eyes from following with sorrowful looks the woman who was
trying to make herself believe such a lie. Let her pile her books
shelf upon shelf, and scribble till her pen, ink, paper, thoughts,
eyes and candle give out;--and then let her turn round and face her
woman's heart if she dare! I defy her to stop long enough to listen
one half hour to its pleadings. I defy her to sit down in the still
moonlight and look on, while old memories in mournful procession
defile before her soul's mirror, without a smothered cry of anguish. I
defy her to listen to the brook's ripple, the whispered leaf-music, or
to look at the soft clouds, the quiet stars, the blossoming flowers,
the little pairing birds as they build their nests--and above all,
upon a mother with her babe's arms about her neck--without turning
soul-sick away. She is _not_ a woman if she can do otherwise. She is
not a woman if she can be satisfied with clasping her own arms over a
waist which belongs to nobody but herself. I declare her to be a
machine--a stick--and carved in straight instead of undulating lines;
she's an icicle--an ossification--a petrifaction--an abortion--a
monster--let her keep her stony eyes and cold fingers off me; she has
no place in this living, breathing, panting, loving world. Out upon
her for a walking mummy--leave her to her hieroglyphics, which are
beyond my understanding.

Pshaw--there are no such women; they are only making the best of what
they can't help; they are eating their own hearts and make no sign
dying. They ought all to be wives and mothers. Cats, poodle-dogs,
parrots--plants, canaries and vestry meetings--are nothing to it. No
woman ever has the faintest glimpse into heaven till she has nursed
her own baby; in fact, I half doubt if she has earned a right to go
there till she has legitimately had one.

Now were I an old maid--had no man endowed me with the names of wife
and mother, I would not go round the world whining about it, either in
prose or verse, any more than I would affect a stoicism, transparent
to every beholder; I would just adopt the first fat baby I could find,
though I had to work my fingers to the bone to keep its little mouth
filled. I _would_ have some motive to live--something to work
for--something, in flesh and blood, which I could call my own:--some
little live, warm thing to put my cheek against when my heart ached.
Unprotected!--"A little child" with its pure presence, should be my
protection. I _wouldn't_ dry up and blow off like a useless leaf, with
the warm, fragrant sunshine and blue sky about me, and my heart
beating against my breast like a trip-hammer. My little room
_shouldn't_ be cheerless and voiceless. I _wouldn't_ die till some
little voice had called me "mother," though my blood did not flow in
its rosy veins. I _would_ have something to make sunshine in my heart
and home; my nature shouldn't be like a tree growing close to a stone
wall, only one half of which had a chance to develop, only one half of
which caught the air and light and sunshine--no, I would tear myself
up by the roots, and turn round and replant myself. _Some_ bird should
come, make its home with me, and sing for me; else what use were my
sheltering leaves? Better the lightning should strike me, or the
woodman's axe cut me down.

       *       *       *       *       *

Men who have any physical defect, are apt to imagine that it will
forever be a barrier between them and woman's love. There never was a
greater mistake than this, as has been proved again and again in
love's history. Not a hundred years since, nor a hundred miles
distant, we heard of a young girl who had become strongly attached to
a young man who was blind in one eye; _and for that very reason_! He
was sensitive about his infirmity to that degree, that he shrank from
general society, particularly that of ladies, whose presence seemed to
make him morbidly miserable; so much had he exaggerated what he was
quite unaware would call forth sympathy, instead of ridicule, from any
_true_ woman. The young girl, of whom we speak, knowing what we have
related about him, though personally a stranger to the young man, had
insensibly, through her pity, begun to love, and was then earnestly
seeking some way in which, without compromising her modesty, she could
encourage his notice of her. One thing you may always be sure of. No
woman is in love with a man whom she freely praises, and of whom she
oftenest speaks; but if there is one whom she _never_ names, if she
start and blush when others name him, if she can find no voice to
answer the most common-place question he addresses her, if she avoid
him, and will have none of him, if she pettishly find fault with him
when he is commended to her notice by others, look sharp, for that is
_the_ man.


I believe every one is of the opinion that children should be taught
civility; but there is one way that they are tortured, in the zealous
parental endeavor to teach them politeness, which seems to us
deserving of the severest reprehension. Some person comes to the
house, it may be a valued and worthy friend, who is unfortunately
repulsive in appearance and manners. Mamma tells Johnny to "go kiss"
the lady, or gentleman, as the case may be. Now Johnny, like other
human beings, has his personal preferences, and in a case like this
especially, prefers spontaneity. He may obey, it is true, but it is a
question when a simple recognition would have answered, whether an act
involving hypocrisy were not better omitted. I speak from experience,
remembering well the horror with which I looked forward, in my
childhood, to the periodical visits of a snuffy old person. I think my
uncompromising hatred of tobacco in every form, dates back to those
forced snuffy kisses, followed in many cases by actual nausea, and in
all by a vigorous facial ablution on my part, after the repulsive
ceremony. To this day, a colored silk handkerchief, of the antique
pattern most affected by snuff-takers, affects me as does the sight
of a red shawl, a belligerent rooster, or bull.

That horrible colored silk handkerchief! preferred to a white one, for
a reason which makes one's flesh creep, and one's blood run cold,
fumbled ever and anon from the stifling depths of a huge pocket, and
flourished with its resurrectionized effluvia, under your disgusted
and averted nose. Excuse my speaking with feeling, dear reader, for
even in these later days have I sacrificed many a comfortable seat in
a public conveyance that those infatuated lovers of the weed in every
shape might have a wide berth for their noisome atmosphere. Now, to
force a little child, fresh and sweet, with a breath like a bunch of
spring violets, to contact with such impolite persons, for the sake of
"_politeness_" seems to me an act of tyranny worthy of Nero.

       *       *       *       *       *

Some mothers seem unwilling to recognize a child's individuality. "She
is such a strange child--so different from other children," a mother
remarked in my hearing, with a sigh of discontent; as if all children
should be made after one model; as if one of the greatest charms of
life were not individuality; as if one of the dearest, and weariest,
and least improving, and most stagnating things in the world, were not
a family or neighborhood which was only a mutual echo and re-echo.

"Different from other children!" Well--_let her be different_; you
can't help it if you would--you ought not if you could. It is not
your mission, or that of any parent, to crush out this or that
faculty, or bias, which is God-implanted for wise purposes. You are
only to modify and direct such by judicious counsel. A child who
thinks for itself, prefers waiting upon itself, and is naturally
self-sustained, is of course much more trouble than a heavy-headed
child, who "stays put" wherever and however you choose to "dump" him
down; but it is useless to ask which, with equally good training, will
be the most efficient worker in the great life-field. Suppose he
_does_ question your opinions occasionally, don't be in a hurry to
call it "impertinence;" don't be too lazy or too dignified to argue
the matter with him; thank God rather, that his faculties are wide
awake and active. Nor does it necessarily follow that such a child
must be contumacious or disobedient. Such a nature, however, should be
tenderly dealt with, Firm yet _gentle_ words--never injustice or harsh
usage. You may tell such a child to "hold its tongue" when it corners
you in an argument, often, without any intentional disrespect, but you
cannot prevent its thinking. It should not follow that a young person
must, as a matter of course, though they mostly do, adopt the parental
religious creed. Some parents I have known unwise enough to insist
upon this. A forced faith for the wear and tear of life's trials, is
but a broken reed to lean upon. On these subjects talk yourself; let
your child talk, and then let him, like yourself, be free to think and
choose, when this is done.

Out of twenty violets in a garden, you shall not find any two alike,
but this does not displease you. One is a royal purple, another a
light lilac; one flecked with little bright golden spots, another
shaded off with different tints of the same violet color, with a
delicacy no artist could improve. You plant them, and let them all
grow and develop according to their nature, now and then plucking off
a dead leaf, now loosening the earth about the roots, or watering or
giving it shade or sunshine, as the case may be, but you don't try to
erase the delicate tints upon its leaves and substitute others which
you fancy are better. No human fingers could recreate what you would
mar--you know that; so you bend over it lovingly, and let it nod to
the breeze, and bend pliantly to the shower, or lift its sweet face,
when the sun shines out, and through all its various changes you do
not sigh for monotony. So, when I see a family of children, I like the
mother's blue eyes reproduced, and the father's black eyes. I like the
waving, sunny locks, and the light brown, and the raven; I like the
peach-blossom skin, and the gipsy olive, round the same hearthstone,
all rocked in the same cradle. Each is beautiful of its kind; the
variety pleases me. Just so I like diversity in regard to temperament
and mental faculties. Each have their merits; Heaven forbid they
should be rolled and swathed up like mental mummies, bolt upright,
rigid, and fearfully repeated; no collision of mind to strike out new
ideas, no progress, no improvement. Surely this is not the age for

A public toast recently given runs thus; "Our parents: the only
tenders who never misplaced a switch."

Now you may laugh at that--so did I--but where could you find a
greater fib? Many a time and oft have parents laid the switch on their
children's backs, when they should have applied it to their own; many
a time has the lash which should have descended upon the back of the
favorite, fallen upon his much abused brother's. There is nothing in
creation which parents so often misplace as the switch; and it need
not of necessity be a birchen rod or a ferule; there are switches
which cut deeper than either, of which many a ruined man and woman can
tell you.

I knew two children--one blundering, but honest, sincere,
self-reliant, speaking the plain truth on all occasions without
qualification, making his requests in few words, and smothering his
disappointment as best he might when refused. The other, wily,
diplomatic, Chesterfieldian, ever with a soft word on the tip of his
tongue, to pave the way for the much desired boon, which was never
refused, so winning, so courteous, so apparently respectful was the
seeker. Follow these two children. See the latter in the play-ground,
boasting to his young associates what he has got from the "old
gentleman" or the "old lady," boasting what he will yet get--boasting
that he knows how to do it; rehearsing to them the disgusting
pantomime of the caress, the respectful, deferential attitude which he
uses on such occasions. Follow the other to his little room at the
top of the house; see him sitting in gloomy silence, too proud to
weep, too proud to complain, brooding over the injustice done him--not
hating the fraternal owner of the "coat of many colors," no thanks to
those who gave them both birth, but looking into the far dim future
with that wistful longing which comes of unloved, precocious
childhood; sitting there--with his own hand turning the poisoned arrow
round and round in the festering wound, incapable of extracting it,
and yet knowing no balm to assuage its intolerable anguish.

Follow out their two histories. See the Chesterfieldian favorite sent
to college; contracting long livery-stable, hotel, and tailors' bills,
with a perfect reliance upon his diplomatic abilities to "set it all
right with the old gentleman;" thanking him deceitfully for his
unparalleled generosity to a son so unworthy; alluding delicately to
his pride in him as a father, and trusting some day to make a proper
return for all his goodness, etc., etc. See the "stupid boy" who is
summarily set down to be wanting in cleverness, accepting in silence
this verdict, and the consequent disposal of his time in some
uncongenial, distasteful employment, till at last, wearied out by the
silent drop that descends mercilessly and unremittingly, hour by hour,
on his tortured soul, he rushes from the home which has been a home
only in name, and wanders forth, with the gnawing pain in his heart
for silent company. Merciful God! what is to keep him? His blood is
young and warm, his heart throbbing wildly in his breast for what
every human thing yearns for--sympathy--love!

Years pass on. The college boy returns with more knowledge of horses,
wine and women, than of Greek, Latin and mathematics--returns to
receive the congratulations of partial friends that he has passed off
for pure gold the glittering brass of his showy superficiality. The
truant's name is never mentioned, or if so, with the hope, not that he
may be kept from evil, but "that he may not disgrace us." Meanwhile
the wanderer lies languishing on a bed of sickness in a foreign
country. Woman's heart is the same in all lands, when pity knocks at
it, else had he closed his eyes in exile. Pity he had not--pity he
returned to be asked, with cold tones and averted eyes, why he did not
stay there. Pity that he could not smother that unconquerable longing
which approaching death brings, to look our last upon our native land.
Pity that the errors born of neglected childhood, and forsaken youth,
should have been held up to him by the pharisaical hands which goaded
him into them, even at the tomb's portal. Pity that sinful man may not
be merciful as a holy, pitying God.

I ask you, and you, and you, who have woven the "coat of many colors"
for some one of your household--you who, by your partiality and
short-sightedness, are fostering the rank weeds, and trampling under
foot the humble flowers--you who are bringing up children whose hearts
shall one day be colder to each other than the dead in their
graves--you upon whom shall be visited--alas! too late--every scalding
tear of agony and disappointment from out young eyes, which should
have beamed only with hope and gladness;--I ask every parent who is
doing this, if he or she is willing that his or her child shall grow
up by these means to lose his faith in man, and sadder still, in God?

       *       *       *       *       *

I wonder is it foreordained that there shall be one child in every
family whom "nobody can do anything with?" Who tears around the
paternal pasture with its heels in the air, looking at rules, as a
colt does at fences, as good things to jump over. We all know that the
poor thing must be "broken in," and all its graceful curvetings
sobered down to a monotonous jog-trot; that it must be taught to bear
heavy burdens, and to toil up many a steep ascent at the touch of the
spur; but who that has climbed the weary height does not pass the
halter round the neck of the pretty creature with a half-sigh, that
its happy day of careless freedom should be soon ended?

How it bounds away from you, making you almost glad that your attempt
was a failure; how lovingly your eye follows it, as it makes the swift
breathless circle, and stops at a safe distance to nod you defiance.
Something of all this every loving parent has felt, while trying to
reduce to order the child whom "nobody can do anything with."

Geography, grammar and history seem to be put into one ear, only to
go out at the other. The multiplication table might as well be written
in Arabic, for any idea it conveys, or lodges, if conveyed, in the
poor thing's head. Temperate, torrid, and frigid zones may all be of a
temperature, for all she can remember, and her mother might have been
present at the creation of the world, or at the birth of the Author of
it, for aught she can chronologically be brought to see.

But look! she is tired of play, and has taken up her pencil to draw;
she has had no instruction; but peep over her shoulder and follow her
pencil; there is the true artist touch in that little sketch, though
she does not know it--a freedom, a boldness which teaching may
regulate, never impart. Now she is tired of drawing, and takes up a
volume of poems, far beyond the comprehension, one would think, of a
child of her years, and though she often miscalls a word, and knows
little and cares less about commas and semi-colons, yet not the finest
touch of humor or pathos escapes her, and the poet would be lucky,
were he always sure of so appreciative a reader. She might tell you
that France was bounded south by the Gulf of Mexico, but you yourself
could not criticise Dickens or Thackeray with more discrimination.

Down goes the book, and she is on the tips of her toes pirouetting.
She has never seen a dancing-school, nor need she; perfectly modeled
machinery cannot but move harmoniously; she does not know, as she
floats about, that she is an animated poem. Now she is tired of
dancing, and she throws herself into an old arm-chair, in an attitude
an artist might copy, and commences to sing; she is ignorant of
quavers, crotchets and semi-breves, of tenors, baritones and sopranos,
and yet you, who have heard them with rapturous encores, stop to
listen to her simple melody.

Now she is down in the kitchen playing cook; she turns a beef-steak as
if she had been brought up in a restaurant, and washes dishes for fun,
as if it had been always sober earnest; singing, dancing and drawing
the cook's portrait at intervals, and all equally well done.

Now send that child to any school in the land, where "Moral Science"
is hammered remorselessly and uselessly into curly heads, and she
would be pronounced an incorrigible dunce. Idiotically stupid
parrot-girls would ride over her shrinking, sensitive shame-facedness,
rough-shod. She would be kept after school, kept in during recess, and
have a discouraging list of bad recitation marks as long as Long
Island; get a crooked spine, grow ashamed of throwing snow-balls, have
a chronic headache, and an incurable disgust of teachers and schools,
as well she might.

She is like a wild rose, creeping here, climbing there, blossoming
where you least expect it, on some rough stone wall or gnarled trunk,
at its own free, graceful will. You may dig it up and transplant it
into your formal garden if you like, but you would never know it more
for the luxuriant wild-rose, this "child whom nobody can do anything

Some who read this may ask, and properly, is such a child never to
know the restraint of rule? I would be the last to answer in the
negative, nor (and here it seems to me the great agony of outraged
childhood comes in) would I have parents or teachers stretch or dwarf
children of all sorts, sizes and capacities, on the same narrow
Procrustean bed of scholastic or parental rule. No farmer plants his
celery and potatoes in the same spot, and expects it to bear good
fruit. Some vegetables he shields from the rude touch, the rough wind,
the blazing sun; he knows that each requires different and appropriate
nurture, according to its capacities. Should they who have the care of
the immortal be less wise?

"You have too much imagination, you should try to crush it out," was
said many years ago to the writer, in her school-days, by one who
should have known that "He who seeth the end from the beginning,"
bestows _no_ faculty to be "crushed out;" that this very faculty it is
which has placed the writer, at this moment, beyond the necessity of
singing, like so many of her sex, the weary "Song of the Shirt."

       *       *       *       *       *

One request I would make of every mother. Make your "nursery"
pleasant. Never mind about your "parlor," _but is your nursery a
cheerful place_? Is there anything there upon the wall for little eyes
to look at, and little minds to think about when they wake so early
in the morning; or as they lounge about when a stormy day keeps them
close prisoners? If not, see to it without delay. Don't say I "can't
afford it;" one shilling--two shillings will do it; if you can spare a
few shillings more, so much the better. You know the effect a bright,
cheerful apartment has upon yourself, even with all your mature
resources for thought and pleasure. Think then of the little children,
reaching out their young thoughts, like vine tendrils, for something
to twine about, something to lean on, something to grow to,--in fine,
something to think and talk about. A blank, white wall is not
suggestive or inspiriting. Give the little nursery prisoner something
bright to look at. Can that be called "a trifle" which makes home
attractive? We think not. Therefore we like flowering plants in
windows. There are some houses which make us feel as though we were on
friendly terms with the inmates, through these cheerful, mute tokens.
Mute! did I say? Have our past lives been so barren of incident that
the perfume of a flower never brought before us some bright face, or
loved form, which has made life for us blessed? You must have felt
it--and _you_ and _you_; I am sure of it. Just such a rose as that you
have "seen in her hair;" and you sit dreamily looking at it, as it
sways gracefully on the stem; and you wonder what the dear child, so
many hundred miles away, is thinking of now; and whether her
full-blossomed life has fulfilled its budding promise. And that
reminds you how the whirlpool of life's cares and duties has almost
engulfed these sweet memories; and resolutely turning your back upon
them all, you sit down and write a warm _heart-letter_, which comes to
her in her distant home, like a white-winged dove at the window of a
dreary winter day. And all this came of the little rose in your
window; the old love wakened in _your_ heart, and the gladness to

Eloquent? If flowers are not eloquent, who or what is? Then, why are
so many withered leaves put away with bright tresses and pressed
passionately to lonely lips, whose quivering no eye sees save His "who
wounds but to heal?" Eloquent? Could mines of gold buy them? _This_
was twined in her bridal veil; _that_ was laid upon her coffin-lid. No
fingers but yours may touch the shrivelled treasures. For _her_ sake
you have placed their blossoming counterparts in your window. You shut
your eyes when you go near them, that their perfume may seem her very

Eloquent? Why does the old man stoop, and with trembling fingers pick
the daisy or violet, and place them in his button-hole? Don't question
him about it when strangers are by. It is the key to his whole
life--that little flower.

"My mother liked primroses," the matron says to her little child; and
so they blossom in _her_ home as they did, many years ago, in the
sunny nursery-window of her childhood. Ah, these "mothers!" whose
"rights," guaranteed by the Great Law-giver, nor statute makers, nor
statute breakers can weaken or set aside. Long years after they are
dust, shall some little blossom they loved be placed in a bosom which
yearns unceasingly, over and above every other human love, for her who
gave it these warm pulsations. Blessed be these memorials of "the long

       *       *       *       *       *

There is a class of mothers, _easy_ mothers, who lose much time by not
_finding time_ for imperative duties. We wish it were possible to
persuade some of them, who are otherwise most excellent mothers--how
much trouble they would save themselves, by exercising a little
firmness toward their young children. Of course it takes more time to
contest a point with a child, than to yield it; and a busy mother not
reflecting that this is not for once, but for thousands of future
times, and to rid herself of importunity, says wearily--"yes--yes--you
may do it;" when all the while she knows it to be wrong and most
injurious to the child. Then there comes a time when she _must_ say
No! and the difficulty of enforcing it, at so late a period of
indulgence, none can tell but "easy" mothers of self-willed children.
For _your own sakes_, then, mothers, if you have not the future good
of your children at heart; for your own sakes--and to save yourselves
great trouble in the future, _learn to say No--and take time to
enforce it_. Let everything else go, if necessary, because this
contest must be fought out, successfully, with every separate child;
and remember once fought it is done with forever. When we see mothers,
day by day, worried--harassed, worn out by ceaseless teasings and
importunities, all for want of a little firmness at the outset, we
know not whether to be more sorry or angry.

Again: some mothers are so busy about the temporal wants of their
children that they are wholly unacquainted with them spiritually. You
are very careful of your daughter's dress; you attend personally to
its purchase and fit. You go with her to see that her foot is nicely
gaitered; and you give your milliner special instructions as to the
make and becomingness of her bonnets; but do you ever ask yourself,
_what she is thinking about_? In other words, do you know anything at
all of her inner life? Many who are esteemed most excellent mothers,
are as ignorant on this all-important point as if they had never
looked upon their daughters' faces. They exact respectful obedience,
and if the young creature yields it, and has no need of a physician's
immediate services, they consider their duty done. Alas, what a fatal
mistake! These are the mothers, who, never having invited the
confidence of those young hearts, live to see it bestowed anywhere and
everywhere but in accordance with their wishes. _Is_ it, _can_ it be
enough to a mother worthy the name, to be satisfied that her
daughter's physical wants are cared for? What of that yearning, hungry
soul, that is casting about, here and there, for something to satisfy
its questionings? Oh, give a thought _sometimes_ to this. When she
sits there by the fire, or by the window, musing, sit down by her, and
_love_ her thoughts out of her. Cast that fatal "dignity" or
indifference to the winds, which has come between so many young
creatures and the heart to which they should lie nearest in these
important forming years. "Respect" is good in its place; but when it
freezes up your daughter's soul-utterances; when it sends her for
sympathy and companionship to chance guides, _what then_? A word, a
loving, kind word, at the right moment! No mind can over-estimate its
importance. Remember this, when you see the sad wrecks of womanhood
about you; and amid the sweeping waves of life's cares and life's
pleasures, what else soever you neglect, do not fail to know _what
that young daughter of yours is thinking about_.

       *       *       *       *       *

How strong sometimes is weakness! When a very young child loses its
mother, before it has yet learned to syllable her name, we are
generally struck with pity at what we call its "helpless condition;"
and yet, after all, its apparent helplessness is at once its strength
and shield; for is not every kind heart about it immediately drawn
toward it in love and sympathy? Do not the touch of its soft hand, its
pretty flitting smile, the "cuddlesome" leaning of the little head,
the trustful innocence of its eyes, do more for it, than could all the
eloquence of Demosthenes? I was struck with the truth of this not long
since, upon going into a shop to make a purchase, where I found the
young girl who usually waited there, with a little babe in charge,
whose mother had just died. Looking about the shop, and remarking the
many calls upon her time and attention, as she moved quickly around
with this pretty little burden upon her arm, I said, this child must
be a great care for you. Yes, said she; but oh, _such a comfort, too_.
And so playing with the baby and talking the while, I learned that
before its mother died, it was taken in every night for her to kiss
it, before it was put to sleep. After the mother's funeral, as the
young girl was passing through that room with it, the little creature
_stretched out its hands toward the empty bed for the accustomed
kiss_? Tears stood in her eyes, as she again kissed the baby. I knew
_now_ how it was that the "_comfort_" outweighed the "_care_." No
voice from the spirit-land could so effectually and solemnly have
bound up her future with that orphan baby as that mute reaching out of
its loving arms to that empty bed. _Now_ had that young girl a _soul_
for labor; a motive for living. _Now_ there was something to repay
toil. Something for her to love--something to love her. Every customer
who came in, was so much toward a subsistence for little Annie. Ah,
the difference between plodding on for cold duty's sake, and working
with one's heart in it! The little shop looked bright as heaven, that
cold November afternoon, and I went out of it, wondering what people
could mean when they spoke of "_infant helplessness_;" since all New
York might have failed to do for that little one, what it had
accomplished for itself by that one unconscious, touching little


Women boarders are often called troublesome; but it must be remembered
that all a man wants of his room is to sleep and dress in, but it is a
woman's _home_; and alas! often all she has. She would not _be_ a
woman did she not desire to make it tidy and habitable. This--her
landlady contracts to do. The fruitless ringings for fresh-water,
towels, coal, lights and a clean carpet--and she is not allowed to go
down stairs after them herself--are not unknown to any woman who has
worn life out in boarding-houses. It is not, as I remarked, in the
nature of a woman to be comfortable in Babel; nor does its owner fancy
a cloud of dust, raised in the middle of the day, upon her nicely
smoothed hair, or clean collar, because the chambermaid has an
appointment with John, the waiter, in the entry, or because she enjoys
lolling out the front window on her elbows an hour in every room she
is "righting," instead of attending promptly to her business, and
getting through with it.

Now, man is by nature an unclean animal. I doubt if he would ever wash
his face, were there no women about who would refuse to kiss him if he
didn't. Well--_he_ clears a hole in the middle of his room, and gets
ready for breakfast; which he swallows, and then bolts through the
front-door, (dining down town,) not to return again till evening. What
possible difference, then, does it make to him, whether his bed be
made, and his room swept at ten o'clock in the morning, or four in the
afternoon? _His_ home is in the restaurant, in the store, in the
street, anywhere and everywhere, that temptation and inclination may
lead him; four walls don't bound _his_ vision. He can afford to be
philosophical about brooms and dust-pans.

But let Biddy take them into his _counting-room_. Let him stand round
on one leg while she--having moved his desk and displaced his ledgers
and papers, preparatory to a sweep--runs out into the street half an
hour, under pretence of getting a broom, to gossip with an
acquaintance. Let him, getting impatient, sit down in the midst of the
hub-bub, and drawing up his inkstand, commence writing. Let Biddie
re-enter, just as he gets under way, with a frisk of that wretched,
long-handled duster, which tosses on more dust than she ever takes
off. Let him rise again and make way for her, and then--let her bob
off again--after a little water, and stay another half hour,--and all
the while the merciless clock ticking on, and the perspiration
standing on his forehead at this unnecessary waste of his time and
temper, and the work he _hasn't_ done, and let Biddy repeat this in
that counting-room, to that man, every morning in the year, (365
mornings). How long do you suppose he would stand that?

Well, that's just what women in boarding-houses have to put up with.
That's why they are troublesome. That's why they can't help it. That's
why landladies like men who live everywhere but in their rooms, and
who, provided their mattress is not put in their washbowl, and the
ends of their cigars are not broken by the landlady's little boy, give
her carte blanche as to dirt and other luxuries.

On the other hand I acknowledge that a man-boarder eats four times as
much as a woman, and often keeps his landlady waiting weeks to have
her bill paid, if indeed he ever pays it. Then he tumbles up stairs at
midnight in an oblivious condition, thumping against all the doors as
he goes, frightening the single women into fits, and waking up hapless
babies, to drain the last drop of the milk of motherly kindness? Then
he brings his comrades home to dinner or to tea, and expects his poor
struggling landlady to omit all mention of the same when she makes out
her bill? Then, notwithstanding this, he sniffs at the eggs, cracks
stale jokes on the chickens; rails at the beef, looks daggers into the
coffee-cup, and holds his supercilious nose when the butter is too
near; and by many other gentlemanly tokens shows the poor widow, whose
husband once would not let the wind blow roughly on her, that he will
grind her and her children down to the last fraction, that he may
spend it on cigars and drinks, while the gray hairs gather thickly on
her temples, and she goes to sleep every night with a "God help me,"
on her lips.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is a self-evident fact, that all women are not ladies, in the best
sense of the word; _i. e._ by virtue of behavior, _not_ dress; no
doubt landladies as well as others have often discovered this. It is
very easy to tell "a lady" by the standard of behavior. Ten women
shall get into an omnibus, and though we never saw one of them before,
we shall select you the true lady. She does not titter when a
gentleman, handing up her fare, knocks off his hat, or pitches it awry
over his nose; nor does she receive her "change," after this
inconvenient act of gallantry, in grim silence. She wears no flowered
brocade there to be trodden under foot, nor ball-room jewelry, nor
rose-tinted gloves; but the lace frill round her face is scrupulously
fresh, and the strings under her chin have evidently been handled only
by dainty fingers. She makes no parade of a watch, if she wears one;
nor does she draw off her dark, neatly-fitting glove to display
ostentatious rings. Still we notice, nestling in the straw beneath us,
such a trig little boot, not paper-soled, but of an anti-consumption
thickness; the bonnet upon her head is plain, simply trimmed, for your
true lady never wears full-dress in an omnibus. She is quite as civil
to the _poorest_ as to the _richest_ person who sits beside her, and
equally regardful of their rights. If she attracts attention, it is by
the unconscious grace of her person and manner, not by the
ostentation of her dress. We are quite sorry when she pulls the strap
and disappears. We saw a lady do a very pretty thing the other
morning. Our omnibus was nearly full of ladies, going down town, when
quite an elderly man slowly mounted the steps, and clambered in,
taking a seat by the door. The lady next him, observing him take out
his fare, smilingly extended her hand to the venerable man, passed the
money up to the driver, and returned the change. It was a _little_
thing, but, oh, how _lovely_! more particularly, as the old man's hat
was shabby, his coat seedy, and he had every mark of poverty about
him. That woman will make a good wife, said we, and we had half a mind
to ask her address, for the benefit of some young man; only that we
reflected that unless her virtues were backed by "a fortune," they
might possibly go a-begging.

       *       *       *       *       *

The "term" lady has been so misused, that I like better the
old-fashioned term, _woman_. I sometimes think the influence of a good
woman greater than that of a good man. There are so many avenues to the
human heart left open to her gentle approach, which would be instantly
barred up at the sound of rougher footsteps. One may tell anything to a
good woman. In her presence pride sleeps or is disarmed. The old
child-feeling comes back upon the world-weary man, and he knows not why
he has reposed the unsought confidence which has so lightened his
heart. Why he goes forth again ashamed that one so feeble is so much
mightier. Why _he_ could doubt and despair where _she_ can trust and
wait. Why he could fly from the foe for whose approach she so
courageously tarries. Why he thinks of the dagger, or pistol, or
poisoned cup, while she, accepting the fierce blast of misfortune,
meekly bows her head till the whirlwind be overpast,--believing,
hoping, _knowing_ that God's bright smile of sunshine will break
through at last.

The world-weary man looks on with wonder, reverencing yet not
comprehending. How _can_ he comprehend? He who stands in his pride,
with his panting soul uncovered, in the scorching Zahara of _Reason_,
and then complains that no dew falls, no showers descend, no buds,
blossoms, or fruit cheer him. How can he who faces with folded arms
and defiant attitude, comprehend the twining love-clasp and satisfied
heart-rest which come only of love? Thank God, woman is not too proud
to take what she so much needs. That she does not wait to comprehend
the Infinite before she can love. That she does not plant her foot,
and refuse to stir, till her guide tells her why he is leading her by
this path instead of that; and though every foot-print be marked with
her heart's blood, she does not relax her grasp or doubt his faith.

Well may her glance, her touch, the rustle of her garments even, have
power to soothe and bless; well may the soft touch of such upon brows
knotted with the world's strife bring coolness and peace. Oh, woman,
be strong-minded as you will, if only you be pure and gentle-hearted.

       *       *       *       *       *

While on the Woman Question I wish to say that my sympathies have
always been strongly enlisted for female teachers. Of all who go
fainting by the roadside of life, heart-sore and heart-weary, none are
more utterly so than the majority of our female teachers. A
male-teacher is, generally, able to overawe the misgoverned young
girls committed to his charge; or, if he is not, his tougher
organization precludes the possibility of that exquisite degree of
torture which _she_ endures from it. The female teacher must withdraw
to her room when the day's toil is over, quivering often with nervous
excitement, worn out, body and spirit, with the struggle for daily
bread, hungering more for sympathy and a kind word than for that;
taking to her dreams the rude superciliousness of pupils, spoiled to
her hand; the only answer possible to whom has been the burning blush
of degradation, the suppressed tear or sob.

I shall be told that there are teachers who abuse their
trust--mercenary, ungrateful, impervious to any moral considerations.
Of course, in all professions there are those who are better out than
in it. Plenty who are trying to regulate delicate microscopic springs
with an iron crowbar. Teaching is not exempt from its bunglers and
charlatans; but, outside of this, there is the long, pale-cheeked
procession of female teachers, stretching out feeble hands from the
jostling crowd, trembling lest by some unintentional oversight of
theirs they lose the approbation of employers, and with it their means
of subsistence; bearing patiently the petty insults of willfulness, of
selfishness, of arrogance, all uncomplainingly, day by day, week by
week, month by month, as the slow years roll on; nor, is there any
help for this, as many young people are at present educated; when a
teacher, though often possessed of double the native refinement of the
taught, is considered by them merely as an upper servant, to be
quizzed, to be cheated, to be tormented, at every possible
opportunity; and with all her earnest and conscientious endeavors, to
be held responsible for the consequences of natural dullness and
premeditated sloth; and all for the grudging permission to keep soul
and body together. Many may think this an overdrawn picture. Would
that it were!

Not long since, a young girl apologized to her private lady-teacher,
for the necessary postponement of several lessons, on account of
illness. With much feeling the teacher answered: "Do not mention it, I
beg. That is nothing. That is unavoidable. Meantime, you are always
respectful to me, always kind, always polite. _You never hurt my
feelings, mademoiselle._ Some of my pupils are so rude, so insolent;
it is very hard to teach such." Comment is unnecessary. _How_ "hard"
it must be for a gentle, refined and educated woman to endure these
things, my readers can judge.

If any young girl should read this who has hitherto supposed that
money gave her the power to treat with disrespect such a person; that
money could remunerate her for the agony she made her endure, let her
remember that money sometimes takes to itself wings, and that there
may come a time when, seeking her daily bread, _she_ too may hunger
for the respectful appreciation she now so heedlessly withholds.

We believe it is generally admitted that a woman of even average
acquirements can write a better letter than a man. We think there are
two good reasons for this. First, they are not above narrating the
_little_ things which bring up a person or a scene more vividly to the
mind than anything else. They write _naturally_, as they talk; while a
man takes his pen too often in the mood in which he would mount a
platform to address his "fellow-citizens," using big words, and
stiltified language. Hence a man's letters are for the most part stiff
and uninteresting. Commend us to a woman's letter when information
about home matters, or any other matters, is really needed. In making
these remarks, we do not forget a sentimental class of female
letter-writers; they are the exceptions, and any one who has patience,
may read their wordy, idea-less effusions. We cannot. Still every one
of us must remember, when absent, letters from some female member of
the family, which were worth more than all that the collected male
intellect of the household could furnish. You, and you, and you--have
them now we dare say, stained by time and perhaps tears, yet still
precious above rubies.

There are sometimes women who develop a smart business capability
worthy of a man; but as a general thing there are few people who speak
approbatively of such a woman. No matter how isolated or destitute her
condition, the majority would consider it more "feminine," would she
unobtrusively gather up her thimble, and, retiring into some
out-of-the-way-place, gradually scoop out her coffin with it, than to
develop the smart turn for business which would lift her at once out
of her troubles; and which, in a man so situated, would be applauded
as exceedingly praiseworthy. The most curious part of it is, that they
who are loudest in their abhorrence of this "unfeminine" trait, are
they who are the most intolerant of dependent female relatives.
"Anywhere out of the world," would be their reply, if applied to by
the latter for a straw for the drowning. "Do something for yourself,"
is their advice in general terms; but, above all, you are to "do it
quietly," unobtrusively; in other words, die as soon as you like on
sixpence a day, but don't trouble _us_! Of such cold-blooded comfort,
in sight of a new-made grave, might well be born "the _smart business
woman_." And, in truth, so it often is. Hands that never toiled
before, grow rough with labor; eyes that have been tearless for long,
happy years, drop agony over the slow lagging hours; feet that have
been tenderly led and cared for, stumble as best they may in the new,
rough path of self-denial. But out of this bitterness groweth
sweetness. _No crust so tough as the grudged bread of dependence._
Blessed be the "smart business woman" who, in a self-sustained crisis
like this, after having through much tribulation reached the goal, is
able to look back on the weary track and see the sweet flower of faith
and trust in her kind still blooming.

       *       *       *       *       *

A good honest soul once said that "all she wanted, when she got to
Heaven, was to put on a clean apron and sit still." After all, the
idea is more profound than funny. There are times in every
housekeeper's life when this would be the embodiment of Paradise. When
the head throbs with planning, contriving, and directing; when every
bone aches in the attempt to carry the programme into successful
execution; when, after having done one's best to draw to a focus all
the infinitesimal cob-web threads of careful management, some new
emergency is born of every last attempt, till every nerve and muscle
cries out, with the old woman, for Heaven and a clean apron! Of
course, after a period of carefree rest, this earth seems after all a
very nice place to stay in; but while the fit lasts, no victim of
unsuccessful love, or of sea-sickness, is more truly deserving of that
which neither ever get--_heartfelt pity_. It is well that is not the
prevailing feeling, else how could we all toil and moil, as we do, day
after day, for six feet of earth to engulf it all at last! It is well
that to painstaking mothers and delving fathers, earth seems so
_real_. Were it not so, the wheels of this world would stick fast, of

The men would hang themselves because there are three hundred and
sixty-five days in a year, and every morning of all these days, they
must button their shirt-wristbands. The women would think of nine
children and one at the breast, and every one to be worried through
the measles, scarlet fever, chicken-pox, and whooping-cough; while
Bridget and Betty would incontinently drown themselves at the
never-ending succession of breakfasts, dinners and suppers, to be
gobbled up by people constantly ringing the bell for "more." Heaven
and a clean apron! the idea is delicious. Let us hope the old woman
got it.

       *       *       *       *       *

Speaking of Bridget and Betty, let me ask the women who read this one
question. How do you treat your household servants? "None of my
business." But it is yours; and for fear you should forget it, I take
the liberty to call your attention to it. Are they overworked?
underpaid? indifferently fed? Do you ever give them a holiday? Do you
ever lend them a book to read of a leisure evening? Do you ever give
them a leisure evening? Do you care for them when they are sick? Do
you remember that they, like yourself, have fathers, mothers, sisters,
brothers, toward whom a good word or kind action from you, might be
the pivot upon which their whole life should turn, for good or evil,
joy or sorrow? Perhaps some young girl among them, dependent and
oppressed, despondent and discouraged, to whose side you might step,
and to whose heart you might bring that delicious joy, _the sense of
protection_, for the want of which so many despairing feet turn astray

None of my business? Make it yours, then: for a woman's heart beats in
your kitchen,--over your wash-tub,--over your ironing-table,--down in
your cellar,--up in your garret. A kind word is such a little thing to
you--so much to her. _Your_ cup is so full to overflowing,--_hers_
often so empty, so tasteless. And kindness so wings the feet of Duty.
Think of it.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is one thing that puzzles me about our women who live in the
country; as a general thing they might as well, it seems to us, be
without feet, for all the use they make of them, out of doors. We
cannot but think they make a mistake in tackling up old Dobbin to
convey them a mile, or a mile and a half, as the case may be, to the
village store, for any little articles of home consumption. Why not
array themselves in thick shoes fit for rough roads, and stir the
blood by a little healthful exercise? We do not believe, how active
soever their indoor occupations may be, that they can ever entirely
supersede this necessity for _out-door_ exercise. We have often
marvelled, when chance has thrown us among them for a few days, at
their slavish subserviency to horse-flesh on every trifling occasion.
They seem to regard the city visitor's preference for walking, as a
sort of lunacy, harmless perhaps, but pitiable. They see "no object,"
in going over the threshold "just for a walk." Well--every one to
their taste--notwithstanding the currents of "fresh air" always to be
had by every one who lives _inside_ a country house, _we_ would not,
voluntarily, surrender the privilege of snuffing it _outside_, and
snuffing it _on foot_, too. This is our advice to both the _country_
and the city wife.

       *       *       *       *       *

Wife! There are no four letters in the language expressive of so much
that is holy and sweet. Wife! that is a word claimable only by one. A
man can have but one _wife_, in a Christian community! That is _her_
proud, undisputed, indisputable, title. Let her hold on to it.

The other day we overheard this exclamation. That _his_ wife! and a
long sigh, and ominous shake of the head followed it. The object of
this commiseration had "a genius" for a husband. Crowds of worshippers
had he--male and female, known and unknown, declared and silent.
According to them, he never opened his mouth without scattering
word-pearls. All were desirous to know him; some because they really
admired his talent; many because it made them of consequence to be his
friends. Presents of all kinds were laid at his feet and just enough
enemies had he to convince the most skeptical that he had made a
success in the world.

And that was his wife! Good gracious! That little, plain, unpretending,
quiet body, with not even a "stylish" air to recommend her! It was
awful. _Why?_--didn't she love him? Oh, yes; how could she help it? Was
she not a good mother to his children? Oh, yes. Was she not a careful,
orderly housekeeper? Oh, yes. Was she not sensible and well-informed,
and able to take a creditable place as conversationalist at his table
and fireside? Oh, yes all of that; but _he_ should have had an elegant,
talented, brilliant wife. _No he shouldn't._ He has just the wife he
wants. A practical, common-sense woman, proud of her husband in her own
demonstrative way. Smiling quietly at the world's estimate of the
unostentatious virtues, which make his home a pattern of neatness,
order and comfort. Smiling quietly, as the conscious possessor of his
heart could afford to do, at the meddling short-sightedness which would
displace her "brilliant, talented woman," whom ten to one, even had she
good sense with her brilliancy he never would like half as well,
because God has endowed few men with magnanimity enough to rejoice in
those qualities which make a wife--like her husband--resourceful and
self-reliant. No--no, my friends, let them alone. What affair is it of
yours, if they themselves are content? Ah--but we won't believe they
_are_ content. We persist in pitying him. We could pick out twenty
splendid women with whom he would be better mated. Very like--my dear
madame;--and yourself, first of the twenty, no doubt! Pshaw! leave him
with his patient, quiet, unobtrusive, sensible, good, little, homely
wife. "A male genius"--my sentimental friend--likes a good
dinner--plenty of _kicking_ room--and a wife who, if she differs from
him in opinion, won't say so.


I trust that it involves no disloyalty to Queen Victoria to dislike
Toronto; it is the last of her Majesty's dominions that I should
select for a residence. Its tumble-down, dilapidated aspect, its
almost total absence of adornment in architecture, or ornamentation in
shrubbery, was, I confess, very repelling to me. One excepts, of
course, what is called the "College Walk," leading to the fine new
University buildings and grounds, consisting of an entire mile of
handsome shade trees, but alas! a line-and-plummet, undeviating,
straight mile, innocent of the faintest suspicion of a curve. Still,
on the pleasant afternoon we walked there, we enjoyed it, as well as
the sight of the crowd, dressed in holiday attire, sauntering past us.
I saw no beauty in their faces, but a look of jolly health, which, to
my eye, was quite as pleasing. The young girls, perhaps, looked a
trifle too theatrical, in the little straw crowns of hats without
brim, a large ostrich feather being curled over the forehead, instead.
This head-dress, worn with quite ordinary dresses, seemed to me
incongruous, and not in good taste; but one forgives much to a sunny,
bright face, and this would be a very monotonous world, were all
individuality destroyed. It struck me that there was an immense
number of sixteen-year-old young girls in Toronto; perhaps their
mothers and aunts don't go out, or _they_ may be youthful mothers and
aunts--who knows? It struck me, too, that the Torontonians enjoyed
themselves; every face wearing a smiling, care-free expression, rare
to meet in larger places; so, if they like their pigs to run loose in
the street, who shall say them nay, provided they don't trip up the
Prince of Wales?

It was funny to see the "beadle" standing in the cathedral porch on
Sunday morning, with his scarlet cloth collar and pompous air. If he
had the usual cocked hat belonging to his office, I didn't see it, but
he found us a good seat, and I trust we prayed for "the Queen and
Prince" after the minister, with as much zeal as any of her subjects.
The church service was indeed the best part of the performance, the
sermon being very harmless and rigidly respectable. Perhaps that was
the reason my thoughts wandered to a lad of twelve or thirteen near
by, who was starched up in a white cravat, and dressed like his
grandfather. There were some stylish equipages round the church door
as we came out, and many that were not stylish, but seemed comfortable
enough for all that. If I thought Toronto rather a "slow" place, the
fault may be in my quicksilver temperament, which sent me off by
railroad through the backwoods to Detroit, after one day's sojourn in
it. Ah! that I liked! Those grand old woods, those primeval trees,
towering and stately as "cedars of Lebanon;" those log-huts with the
bronzed mother standing in the door-way, and a group of rosy little
children about her; the woodman near by, resting on his axe at the
sound of the shrieking whistle, all unconscious how pretty a picture
he and his were making. And so on, for miles and miles, through that
bright day, we never wearied of gazing till the sun went down. When it
rose again it found us in Detroit, and quite as comfortably settled as
we could have been in the best hotel in New York. Breakfast, and then
a carriage to see the place. _Detroit will do._ There are flowers in
Detroit; there are pretty gardens and vine-festooned windows; they
make good coffee in Detroit, and grow peaches, or at any rate _sell_
them--which answered my purpose just as well. Some of the streets and
buildings are very pretty. There are funny little market carts,
similar to those one sees in Quebec, driven about by women who sell
apples, beans and potatoes. There are plenty of stores there, and
civil salesmen. One need not cut his throat in Detroit, said I, as we
took a farewell glance from the deck of the propeller, on which we
were to glide up Lake St. Clair. It seems so strange that people will
go, year after year, through the tiresome monotony of watering-place
life; the same unvarying, uninteresting round of dressing and dancing,
when a tour of a week or more on our Northern Lakes would be so
soul-satisfying and healthful. It must be that many of them only need
reminding of its superior advantages, and the ease and comfort with
which so many hundred miles may be traversed, to undertake it. But to
enjoy it, it must be done on the right principle. If a woman, you are
not to dress up, and, striking an attitude in the ladies' saloon, take
out that everlasting crochet-work, with which so many women martyrize
themselves and their friends, to pass the time. You are to array
yourself in a rough-and-tumble-dress, with the plainest belongings;
then you are prepared to scramble up on the upper deck, to promenade
there and look about; or go into the wheel-house and ask questions of
the jolly, gallant captain; or go "down below" and see emigrant life,
among the steerage passengers; or, when the boat stops to take in coal
or freight, to jump out on the landing, and make your way, through
boxes and barrels, up into the town during the brief half-hour stay of
the boat. You are to do anything of this kind that a modest,
dignified, independent woman may always do, without regard to Mrs.
Grundy, or her numerous descendants on sea and shore. That's the way
to make the Northern Lake trip.

       *       *       *       *       *

Eleven days without a newspaper! and yet we ate, and drank, and slept,
and grew fat, as our boat carried us farther and farther from all
knowledge of the "horrid disclosures," and "startling developments" of
fast Gotham. We were blissfully ignorant how many men choked,
poisoned, and were otherwise attentive to their wives, during those
bright days when we sat on deck, basking in the sun, with our
fascinated gaze fixed upon the bright foam-track, or upon the
sea-gulls, that, with untiring wing, followed us hundreds of miles,
now and then laving their snowy breasts in the blue waves; or, as we
gladly welcomed the smaller, friendly birds, that flew into the cabin
windows, and fluttered about the ceiling, as if glad to see new faces
in their trackless homes. We were ignorant--and contented to
be--during this tranquil period, of "mass-meetings," and "barbecues,"
and "pugilistic encounters," and scrambles for office, the baptismal
name of which is "patriotism." Meanwhile the fresh wind blew on our
bronzed faces, and we glided past lovely green islands, on which
Autumn had hung out, here and there, her signal flag, warning
us--spite of the pleasant breeze--not to linger too long where the
fierce winds would soon come to lash the waves to more than old
Ocean's fury. Who could dream it, "with the blue above and the blue
below," and we so gently rocked and cradled? Who could believe
it--that heavenly evening, when we watched the sun sink beneath the
waves on one side of us, as the moon rose majestically out of them on
the other, while before us the beautiful island of "The Great Spirit,"
was set like an emerald in the sapphire sea? Now and then an Indian in
his fragile canoe, with a blanket for a sail, gave us rough welcome in
passing. How could we realize on that balmy evening, that for eight
months in the year, he saw those green pines covered with snow, or
that he guided huge dogs to carry the mail, through paths accessible
only to Indian feet, or that spring and autumn were there almost
unknown, so rapidly did winter and summer, with their intense heat and
cold, succeed each other. Entranced and spell-bound we asked, Can it
_ever_ be dreary here? Hark! to that sound of music, as another boat,
homeward bound, plashes past us, with its living freight. One moment
and away! Heaven send them safety! And now picturesque little huts are
dotted in and out among the trees, along the line of shore, and the
solemn mysteries of life and death go on there too. And now, as if
every illuminated page in Nature's book were to be turned for us,
flashes up the Aurora! in long, quivering lines of light,--rose-color
and silver--till earth, sea and sky are ablaze with glory! Oh, let us
go home and gather together all who love us, (this boat would more
than hold them,) and let us _always_ live on these waters, said I;
such nice, quiet sleep in the cosy little state-rooms where one cannot
lose anything, because there is no room to lose it; and then the
pleasant surprise of the new landing-places with their Frenchy-Indian
names, and the strange but friendly faces on the pier; the mines too,
to explore in this rich country, often held by residents in the old
world; oh, you may be sure, even without Broadway, there would be no
lack of excitement on these Lakes, no more than there would be lack of
culture, refinement and intelligence among their residents; for it
must needs be men of mark who are the pioneers in these wildernesses;
men who will stand strong as do its rocks, when the waves of
discouragement dash against them, waiting the lull of winds and
storms, for the fore-ordained sunshine of prosperity. There are
_women_, too, here; not flounced and be-gemmed and useless, but
bright-eyed and fair-browed, for all that, and loving appreciatively
the wild, grand beauty of these lakes and woods, even when laggard
Winter holds them ice-bound. Nor need the traveller be surprised, on
stepping ashore, to find here a large, well-appointed hotel, with a
bill of fare no epicure need despise, especially when the far-famed
fish of these regions is set before him.

The Indian, when asked to work, points significantly, and with
characteristic nonchalance, _to the lake_ for his answer! Spite of the
poets, I found no beauty among these people, save in the bright eyes
of one little child, who was playing outside the door of a wigwam, on
the shore of that lovely Sault River, so rich in its clustering
islands, so beautiful with its foaming rapids; miniaturing those of
Niagara. The Indians dart over and about these rapids in their
egg-shell boats with startling fearlessness. I am sorry to inform you,
by the way, that the "_nymph-like Indian maid_" wears a hoop! In this
vicinity--for one instant--I wished that I were a squaw; particularly
as she was a chief's widow, and was being rowed in a pretty canoe by
fourteen Indians, whose voices "kept tune as their oars kept time." A
nearer inspection of her opulent ladyship might have disinclined me to
the exchange, but at that distance, as her picturesque little canoe
safely coquetted with the foaming, sparkling rapids, her position
seemed enchanting.

Homeward bound! and now we must leave all these beautiful scenes, and
say Farewell to the kind faces which greeted us so many happy "good
mornings" and "good nights." There are mementoes now before me:
mignonnette from the bright-eyed girl of "Marquette;" specimens of
"ore" from "the Doctor," of sterling value as himself; and
recollections of at least one member of the press, glad, like
ourselves, to escape from pen and ink. Ah! who has not hated to say

"We must come again next summer," said we all--so said the Captain.

Ah! the poor Captain. My eyes fill--my heart aches, as if I had known
him years, instead of those few bright, fairy days. Poor Captain Jack
Wilson, with his handsome, sunshiny face, cheery voice, and manly
ways! How little I thought there would be no "next summer" for him,
when he so kindly helped me up on the hurricane deck, and into the
cosy little pilot-house, to look about; who was always sending me word
to come "forward," or "aft," because he knew I so much enjoyed seeing
all beautiful things; who was all goodness, all kindness, and yet, in
a few hours after we left him, found a grave in that cruel surf!

The _afternoon of the day_ we had said our _last_ "Good-bye" to him,
on the Chicago pier; we had taken a carriage to drive round the city,
and reined up at the "draw," for a boat to pass through. It was the
"_Lady Elgin_," going forth to meet her doom! We kissed our hands
gaily to her in the bright sunshine "for auld lang syne," and that
night, as we slept safely in our beds at the hotel, that brave heart,
with a wailing babe prest to it, had only that treacherous raft
between him and eternity. The poor captain! How can we give him up? As
_his_ strong arm sustained the helpless on that fearful night, may God
support his own gentle ones, or whom our hearts ache, in this their
direst need.

       *       *       *       *       *

I never fancied going up and down stairs, nor did I like to see only
the _ankles_ of the Chicago people on a level with the carriage
windows, while riding through their streets. How any mortal gets about
those breakneck localities in the evening, with the present
insufficient means of illumination, (I except of course, the lighting
of the principal thoroughfare,) I am at a loss to conjecture. I advise
all young doctors to emigrate to Chicago; stumbling strangers at least
must yield them a rich harvest. Having lightened my conscience on this
point, I wish to add that I was delighted with Chicago; delighted with
the fine architectural taste displayed in the new buildings already
finished and in process of building. I very much admired one of the
churches in Michigan Avenue, composed of variegated stone. Some of the
private residences may safely challenge competition with any in New
York, on the score of magnificence. The principal stores are narrow,
but of an immense length, and full of choice goods; they only differ
from ours of the same class, in the fact that a little of everything
may be purchased in _each one_; instead of the usual "dry goods"
limitation. Religion and tobacco seem to be the staple products of
Chicago; the shops for the sale of the latter, having a wonderful
prominence and attractiveness, and as to churches, their name is
legion. The handsome mammoth hotel now being built, we only hoped
might be monopolized by the landlord who made _our_ stay so

Notwithstanding a persistent rain, our ride through alternate woods
and prairies, from Chicago to Cleveland was quite delightful. The
luxuriance of vegetation was a constant source of pleasure to me.
There were giant trees, festooned with wild vines, and beautiful
spikes of purple and yellow flowers, tantalizing my itching fingers as
we shot past; the cars always stopping, of course, where nothing but
"Groceries" was to be seen, except in one instance, where "_Groceries
and Boarding_" made a pleasing variety. Quantities of prairie-hens
fluttered out of the long grass, as we passed, safe enough from any
gunpowder tendencies of mine, while wonderfully prolific families of
spotted pigs "took their time" to pay attention to our shrieking
whistle. _Abundance_, indeed, seemed to be written on everything, even
to the jetty coronal of hair on the head of a young, barefooted girl
of eighteen, who, alas! was smoking a long-nine in the doorway of her
log-hut. I dare say, though, that the poor thing did it in
self-defence, as I am convinced all women in this country will be
obliged to--sooner or later,--as men grow more and more selfish in
regard to the tobacco-nuisance, the _churches_ at present being the
only place where one is sure of escaping it, and I am expecting every
Sabbath to see the "curling incense" rise there.

Political meetings had been held that day, all along our route, and
a great multitude of the unwashed, uncombed, and, for all I could
see, unshirted men, entered the cars at the various stopping-places,
shaking the rain from their manes like so many shaggy Newfoundlands;
"fust-rate fellows"--fearful at spitting and the quill-toothpick
exercise!--evidently unused to the curly specimen of female,
judging by the looks of blank astonishment with which they
regarded--open-mouthed--your humble servant. Of course, we did not
see a "rolling prairie" on this route; however, as we had just done
a little extra "rolling" on Lake Superior, perhaps it was as well
deferred till another summer.

There is no person who has such rigid "go-to-meetin" ideas of
propriety, according to her own formula of expounding it, as your
countrywoman who seldom ventures beyond the smoke of her own chimney;
I had the misfortune to shock one irretrievably by transferring from
one of our scrambling way-station dinners an ear of corn, upon which
to regale at my leisure in the cars. If eyes turned inside out, in
holy horror could have moved me, then would that ear of corn never
been eaten; but alas! I was both hungry and independent, and Mrs.
Grundy could only turn her back and weep over one more unfortunate,
lost to all sense of decorum. A little salt however, with one's corn,
is not amiss; so I lived to chronicle it.

It would, and did, keep on raining till we reached Cleveland, at ten
on Saturday evening. On the following Monday, unfortunately for
belated travellers, was to take place the inauguration of the Perry
monument, to which all the country for miles round were flocking, not
to mention any number of military companies and strangers from a
distance, bound on the same patriotic errand. Every hotel, and even
private residences, were crammed to the last possible extent; this, of
course, we did not know till our trunks were dumped on the wet
sidewalk, and the hackman had made his grinning exit. Ladies, wet,
hungry ladies, sat eying each other like vampires, (bless 'em!) in the
hotel parlors, while despairing cavaliers, brothers, lovers and
husbands, mopped their damp brows in the halls, after vain appeals to
demented landlords, who had turned billiard tables into couches, and
shutters into cots. These agonized fair ones, at each fresh
disappointment, could only ejaculate, faintly, "Good gracious, what's
to be done?" as they flattened their noses against the window-panes,
and took one more look into the muddy streets; and another train _yet_
to arrive at that late hour, with four hundred more moist, hungry
wretches! Thanks, then, to the landlord, who immediately turned, for
us, his own private parlor into a bed-room, and surrounded us with
every possible comfort.

The sun shone out brilliantly on Monday upon the beautiful city of
Cleveland, swarming with red coats, and rustics, and civilians, to see
the statue, of which they may well be proud, both on account of its
intrinsic merit, and because it is the work of a native artist. It
stands conspicuously in "Olive Park," its fine proportions in
beautiful relief against the dense foliage. We saw Cleveland in
holiday attire, it is true, but apart from that it impressed me most
agreeably, with its gigantic shade trees and pretty streets and
gardens. It is said that women surrender their hearts easily to a
military uniform. If so, it is because it stands to them as an
indorsement of the wearer's bravery and chivalry, qualities in men
which all women adore. I must confess, at any rate, to the pleasure of
looking on a large, well-filled hall of red-coats, at dinner, in our
hotel, the evening before we left. The "wait--a--a--h--s," to be sure,
seemed of the flying-artillery order, but even they seemed to take a
glorified pleasure in wearing out shoe-leather in such service! Truth
to tell, the inevitable suit of _solemn black_ worn by the universal
American masculine in this country, is getting monotonous. I noticed,
speaking of this, that every countryman who came to the show had
caught the infection, and had apparelled himself in the same
sacerdotal manner, although a suit of that color is not only uglier
and more expensive than any other, but looks infinitely worse when
dusty or worn. Who shall arise to deliver our American male population
from this funereal frenzy.

       *       *       *       *       *

If our entrance to Cleveland just before the Perry celebration was
fraught with peril, our exit, on the day after, was a little more so.
The wise ones foreseeing the rush, anticipated it; the unwise, among
whom we were of course numbered, slept on it, and started on the
following morning, just as if nothing had happened. As a natural
consequence, when we reached the depot with our baggage there was
scarcely even standing-room, either in the long train of cars just
leaving, or in those preparing to do so. Now it is bad enough to get
up and put on your clothes inside out by gas-light. It is still worse
to eat, not because you have an appetite, but for fear you _shall_
have, but after being "put through" this experience, and taking a last
shivering farewell of the warm bed, where you _should_ have "cuddled"
for hours, to crawl into a dark car, in a dismal depot, and tumble
over women who are already seated on portmanteaus on the car floor,
and find barely a place to stand, why it----_is_ trying? Not the
whispered consolation--"wait till the _light_ shines into the car, and
_you'll_ have a seat fast enough," (from a male friend, well versed in
railroad travel, from a masculine point of view) consoled me for the
weary five minutes I poised on one foot, at that early hour, with not
a hook to hang my basket or my hopes on. Good fortune came at the end
of that time, through annexation, in the shape of two more cars, into
one of which I was hurried, with a haste more necessary than decorous.
Ominous muttering of "half an hour behind time," met my ear, from male
mal-contents. Happy in the possession of a seat at last, and
thoroughly disgusted with such "hot haste" at daylight, I faintly
remarked that I should be content, did they not pull my seat from
under me, to sit there till doomsday. It is not the first time I've
made a rash remark: _nettle_-rash this turned out! But how was I--a
woman--to know that "half an hour behind time," meant "no right to the
road?" that it meant subservience to freight trains and every other
train, from seven o'clock that morning, to seven that blessed
evening?--that it meant, we were to sit weary hours and half-hours at
a time, in some Sahara of a country road, sucking our thumbs because
there was nothing else to suck; the previous overcrowded train having,
like locusts, devoured not "every green thing," alas! but every other
munchable edible? How did I know that, to crown the horror, the rain
would pour down in torrents at just those compulsory stopping times,
thus cutting us off even from the poor consolation of stretching our
limbs? How did I know, when I madly rejected transporting food from
the hotel, that a branch of "rum-cherries" from the hill-side, would
be my only bill of fare on that road? Ah, the babies on that train had
the best of it, on the dinner question! I borrowed one, and played
with it awhile, not with any cannibal ideas, though it was wonderfully
plump. A strange gentleman who had strayed off into the woods while we
were waiting, came in and graciously offered me "a posy for my baby;"
I glanced at the mother; her eye was on me! so I replied as I took
the posy, "It is not my baby, it is borrowed, sir;" which was a pity,
for it really was a miraculous bit of baby-flesh!

Meantime, as there was no food for the body, and no prospect of any,
till evening, I tried to improve my mind by listening to the
conversation of two old farmers near, by which I learned how to choose
"a caow;" and how, even with the greatest caution, the buyer may be
awfully taken in on the milk question; also I learned "how to treat
_medder_ land," and "how to keep _them_ skippers from getting into
cheese;" after which, I heard the speaker's touching experience, in
escaping, after many year's captivity, from the thraldom of king
_Tobacco_--which came about in this wise: that "when his _woman_ did
him up a clean shirt, the bosom would allers be spiled after the first
mouthful;" also "that his neighbors' wimmen-folks, didn't like to have
their carpets spotted up, and were not overglad to see him come into
their houses, on that account; and so it came that he got disgusted
with himself, and _giv_ it up altogether"; and "it was _his_ opinion
that it was all nonsense for any feller to say he _couldn't_ break
off, when the fact was that he _wouldn't_."

If I didn't pat the old farmer on the back, for the common sense of
that remark, it was not because I didn't fully indorse it; nor did I
fail to sympathize with his chagrin afterwards, when he remarked with
a sigh, as he looked out of the car window, "it is such a pity my farm
aint down this way. I might make my independent fortin now, selling
small notions; for instance, look at them flowers in that
_gardin_--it is astonishing how much money can be made now-a-days,
just selling _bokys_." Our farmer was very human, too, for, just then,
as we stopped for a minute, a young girl rushed up to the car-window
to say a hurried "how d'ye do," to an old man. "That's a very nice
gal, _only to get a shake of the paw_" said he, compassionately. Well,
we worried through that long day as best we might, the poor children
in the company half beside themselves with fatigue and hunger; and the
men talking loudly about "swindling railroad companies," and
threatening "to make a noise about it," when they reached their native
Frog-town. After stopping about dark at a miserable place to get a
miserable supper, we proceeded on the few remaining miles to
Pittsburg. The glowing red lights of the great smelting furnaces,
across the river, as we approached the city, looked very cheerful,
through the fog, and gave promise of the warm reception of which we
stood so greatly in need. Our troubles were over, as soon as we landed
at the principal hotel, where solid, substantial comfort as well as
luxury awaited us; in the shape of immense beds, with pillows whose
sides did not cling together for want of feathers, as is too often the
case in very pretentious hotels; in plenty of towels, in plenty of
bed-clothes, and in a lookout from the window on the "levee" and
across the river, upon the heights of Mount Washington, which we
sleepily remarked we should be sure to explore the next morning.
Fortified by a splendid night's rest, and a luxurious breakfast we
_did_ do it, spite of fog and threatening clouds. Up--up--up--till it
seemed as if, like aerial voyagers, we were leaving the world behind
us. But what a sight when we reached the summit! How like little
birds' nests looked the houses dangerously nested beneath those rocky,
perpendicular cliffs! Nor was "the solitary horseman" wanting,
"winding round the brow of the hill," for there were houses and farms,
and overhanging fruit-trees, and above all, a placard on a fence, with
the announcement that the hours for this school for the young were
from nine till twelve in the morning, and from two till four in the
afternoon. Thank heaven! said I, that there is _one place_ where
health is considered of some importance in education. Seeing a coal
mine near, my companion proposed we should penetrate a little way into
its dark depths. A lad with a donkey-cart had just preceded us, with a
small lamp fastened to his cap in front. He looked doubtfully at my
feet, and mentioned the bugbear word "dirt." I replied by gathering my
skirts in my hand, and following the donkey cart. Smutty enough we
found the reeking pit, as we inhaled the stifling, close atmosphere.
Its black sides seemed closing round me like a tomb, and when the last
ray of daylight from the entrance had quite disappeared, and only the
rumbling of the cart-wheels could be heard, like the roar of some wild
beast, and only the glimmer of the miner's lamp could be seen, like
the glare of its wild eyeball, all the woman came over me, and I
begged humbly "to be taken out!" With what satisfaction I emerged into
the daylight, and greeted the bright sun which just then shone out,
and plucked from the overhanging mouth of the dark pit, which
compassionate nature had draped fantastically with a wild vine, a
pretty blossom, which looked so strangely beautiful _there_, some of
my readers can imagine. With what zest I tried my limbs, scaled
precipices, and jumped from cliff to cliff, to make sure of, and
assert my vitality, both present and to come, in this breathing,
living, sunshiny, above-ground world of flowers and fruits and blue
sky, my astonished fellow traveller, who for the moment doubted my
sanity, will bear witness.

And now, as to Pittsburgh itself, apart from its romantic bluffs and
their surroundings, and out of its principal hotel, which is decidedly
one of the best I ever entered, it is the dismalest, sootiest,
forlornest of cities that I ever stumbled into. Let me do justice to
the enormous peaches and very fine fruits found in its market-place.
Let me do justice to the independence of a female we saw wending her
way there, on horseback, with a basket on each side of the saddle,
beside another on her arm, not to mention a big cotton umbrella and a
horsewhip. We were to rise again, wretched fate! in the middle of that
night, to proceed to Philadelphia, on our way home. On reaching my
room, and glancing into my looking-glass, I perceived the necessity
for the unusual outlay of towels in our bed-room; for what with the
visit to the coal-pit, and general atmospheric sootiness of
Pittsburgh, my most intimate friends would scarcely have recognized
me through the black mask of my complexion. Let me, however, do
Pittsburgh this justice: it is a most picturesque and interesting
town, and well worth the intelligent, or even the curious, traveller's

       *       *       *       *       *

Oh, the unutterable dreariness of an hotel parlor at two o'clock in
the morning, as you sleepily tumble down stairs at the call of the
inexorable "waitah" to take the midnight train of cars. How your
footsteps echo through the long, wide, empty halls, you thought so
pleasant the evening previous, with their bright lights and flitting
forms--tenanted now only by spectral rows of boots and shoes before
the doors of still happy sleepers, or by the outline form of the
swaggering Hercules who bears your trunk. Shiveringly you draw your
blanket-shawl about your shoulders, and sink down on the drawing-room
sofa, deferring till the last possible moment your egress into the
foggy, out-door air. Julius Cæsar Agrippa enters the drawing room, and
placing upon the cold silver salver a cold silver pitcher of
ice-water, politely offers you a glass. Good heavens! your hair stands
on end at the thought of it. "If it were hot coffee, now!" you faintly
mutter at him, from beneath the folds of your woollen shawl. His
repentant "Yes, ma'am, wish I had it for you," rouses you from the
contemplation of your own pitiable situation, to ask the poor wretch
(confidentially) if he has to stand there on one leg _every_ midnight,
in that way, contemplating cross travellers like yourself. Whereupon
he tells you, with a furtive glance over his shoulder, that "it is
every third night;" and just then you notice that a gentleman in the
hall, with a valise attached, has just slipped something into Julius
Cæsar's hand; and pretty soon you see another gentleman go and do
likewise, and so, gradually, it gets through your curls that it mayn't
be so bad after all, for this perquisited Julius Cæsar "to sit up
every third night:" and humiliated at having been caught the
forty-hundredth time throwing away your sympathy, you sheepishly obey
the summons to "come," and forthwith pitch into the "Black Maria" that
is waiting at the door to jolt your shivering bones to the depot.
Everybody in it looks sullen, and everybody's shoulders seem to be
buttoned on to their ears. Not even a grunt can be extorted from a
mother's son of them, by the roughest pavement. Silent, stoical
endurance is written on every Spartan! And so you are all emptied at
last, pell-mell into the cars, after kicking at offered peanuts and
cold, slimy oranges, and one by one, ties himself (you notice I use
the masculine gender) into double knots on his respective seat.

Daylight creeps gradually on, after weary hours of twisting and
turning. Your strange male vis-á-vis has overslept himself, and you
have been, meanwhile, maliciously watching to enjoy his discomfited
waking from that awkward posture, knowing, as you well do, that vanity
has no sex. He starts, and takes a look at you; then he rubs his
eyes--combs out the pet lock of hair on his forehead with his
fingers, gives his disarranged moustache a scientific twist,
straightens out a wrinkle on his coat, turns down the collar, which
has all night harbored his nose, gets up and gently stamps his pants
down over his boots, settles his hat at the accustomed knowing angle,
draws on his gloves and looks at you, as if to say, Come now, you see
I am not such a bad looking fellow, after all! Of course you don't
notice the varlet; you are very busy just then with the "prospect."

Between our midnight leave of Pittsburg and daylight, I was conscious,
as we darted through the fog, how much we were losing in the way of
scenery. Oh, those sublime Alleghany Mountains, and that lovely
Juniata winding round and through them. I have no words to express my
sense of their beauty, and my unalloyed delight. I trust the coroner's
inquest will be deferred on me till I drink that draught of pleasure
again. Of course, through the narrow limits of the car window, and
where one can only see one side of the way at a time, too, my
tantalization was next door to lunacy. In vain I twisted my neck, and
bobbed my bonnet, and, in child fashion grabbed at so much that I
nearly lost all. Not _all_! for enough is left to dream over with
closed eyes, when the dreary winter snows shall drive against the
windows. Had I not been strictly enjoined by _Mr._ Fern never to jump
a judgment, of a town, from a bird's-eye view out of a car window, I
should quarrel with Harrisburg, situated in that gem of a valley, for
resting so satisfied with nature's work, as to ignore any adornment
of art, as well as with some _other_ places near, and for the same
reason. Come to think of it, I _will_ assert my feminine right to
declare that it is a shabby little town, and a disgrace to those
kingly mountains, and Mr. Fern may like or dislike it.

Profiting by our experience of a day's compulsory fast from Cleveland
to Pittsburg, we bargained with the head-waiter at the latter place,
to fit us out with a lunch-basket, thus rendering us independent of
the way-stations, where half the time is spent in fumbling out your
money, and the rest in making change, the whistle sounding just as you
get possession of your knife and fork. As hot tea and coffee are now
sold _on the platform_, quite independent of the general scrambling
feeding-room, if your luncheon-basket is furnished with a cup or mug
to put it in, you may of course snap your fingers at fate. Railroad
people and way station providers have jointly themselves to thank for
being outwitted by the well-provided "luncheon-basket;" the
convenience of which, especially where there are children in the
party, and about one waiter in the feeding hall to two dozen people,
and ten minutes to fight for food is plainly manifest; not to speak of
the economy as it regards temper and digestion. Let me do justice,
however, to _one_ obscure way-station, where a friend and myself were
the fortunate discoverers of a squirrel-pie, with which, alas! we had
all too brief an acquaintance. A certain "Oliver Twist" near us,
scenting the secret, called for "more;" whereupon the buxom young
woman in attendance replied, "that she was sorry, but the _squirl_-pie
was all _out_." It struck me that the word _in_ would have been more
significant, but I didn't mention it.

       *       *       *       *       *

I don't think my worst enemy can say that I am often betrayed in
showing politeness to females. I trust I know my own sex too well, so
miserably to waste my time. Once, on my journey, I waived this well
known article in my creed, in favor of an unprotected one who was
seated next me at table. Every woman but herself, had one of the male
species to stand between her and the--"how not to do it"--landlord and
his satellites;--to have been more truthful I should have put this
last word in the singular number. There was nothing preposessing about
the woman; she was wiry and angular, and had a horrible trick of
snuffing; perhaps it was all these that made me insane enough to pity
her, as she sat there gazing into her empty plate, with a sort of dumb
despair. What goodness may be enshrined in that repulsive face and
form, I said to myself; how tenderly she may, in happier days, when
younger and more attractive, have been watched and cared for; and how
wretched to have only the _memory_ of such things in this solitary
place; so I just snatched some eggs that after unheard efforts to
obtain, Mr. Fern had fondly hoped to regale himself upon, and offered
them to her. Did that female thank me by a word, or even a glance? Ye
gods? Didn't she take those eggs as if she had laid them herself?
"Good enough for you Fanny," muttered I; "one would think you were old
enough by this time, to know better." I didn't say any wicked words;
it is not my way. Shortly after, the damsel who waited on us, and who
employed the intervals when dishes were preparing in running up stairs
to attend to her toilet:--First course being, no hoop, and
bread-and-butter. Second course, crinoline and poached eggs. Third
course, ear-rings and mutton-chop. Fourth course, ringlets and
apple-pie;--this girl, I say, sat before me, at my own private,
personal request, a plate of tea-biscuit. The unprotected female
looked at them--so did I. Presently she poked me in the ribs and
imperatively requested "_them_ biscuit." Shade of Lindley Murray! you
should have seen how civilly I informed her that they were destined
for my luncheon-basket, but that doubtless the damsel in waiting would
attend to any of _her_ orders for food, as she had to mine. You should
have seen the "unprotected female" at that moment. She was a panting,
panther-like, gasping monument of philanthropy ill-directed.--Peace to
her irate bones.

The butter, cheese, and other dairy (I wonder if the type-setters will
print this _daily_) delicacies of Philadelphia, are no longer a matter
of marvel to me, after travelling through Pennsylvania, and viewing
its admirable farms, unencumbered by a weed or stone or thistle, and
as far as foliage and fruit gave evidence, by any noxious vegetable
insect; and enclosed by fences in perfect order and repair. Not an
unsightly object about barn, house or garden; the very genius of
thrift and neatness seemed pervading and presiding over all. It was
indeed a delight to see them, although I was not unaware of the years
of patient, careful tillage which had brought them to such a point of
perfection. True--there might have been more flowers and vines, about
their very neat dwellings, without endangering the Quaker's title to a
seat among the blessed in a future state; for I never _will_ believe
that if He who made this bright world, approved of universal drab, he
would have tinted the rose such a beautiful pink, or the morning-glory
such a heavenly blue, or the grass such a cool, eye-satisfying-green;
but for all that, were I queen of the country, the Quakers should
believe and wear what they pleased, as I would myself.

We entered Philadelphia just at sunset, and rattled through Chestnut
Street just as it was looking its brightest and best with its
well-stocked shops, its belles and its beaux, and its bran-new
Continental, where we longed to stop, had we not given our word to
reach New York that night. I liked Philadelphia from the first moment
I put my foot there, some years ago.

It always seemed so cosy, home-like,--and comfortable; one might, one
thinks, be so domestic and sensible there, while in New York it is
next to impossible to be sensible, with the very best intentions. So
I left Philadelphia with real regret, thinking of friends to whom I
would gladly have said, even a brief "how d'ye do." May I be allowed
to ask who invented the torturing style of cars from Philadelphia to
New York, with wooden panels where windows should be, and seats
divided off into spaces, narrow as a bigot's creed? It may be all very
well for spinsters and bachelors, but as I don't belong to either
class, and as I like a shoulder to sleep on when I have travelled
since the previous midnight, it was just simply infamous to shut me
off, and bar me up from it by that ridiculous partition; in vain I
bobbed my bonnet, and got a crick in my neck, trying to reach the
shoulder to which I was legally entitled without a permit from any
railroad company. In vain I doubled my travelling shawl and piled it
on that shoulder, and tried to annex my head to it that way; in vain I
rose in my might and looked viciously at the wooden pane which should
have been a window, and whimpered out, "Oh I'm _so_ tired!" in vain
Mr. Fern and I corkscrewed ourselves into all sorts of shapes, and
asked each other, with a grim attempt at jest, "if they called that an
accommodation train." Thank heaven, said I, if we _do_ live to reach
New York, a hot supper and a warm welcome awaits us! And now, seated
at ease in mine inn, I wish to wind up these articles with a whisper
to landlords generally:

First:--Don't _always_ fasten the looking-glass in a lady's bed-room
in the very _darkest_ corner, or attach it to some lumbering piece of
furniture incapable of being moved, save by an earthquake.

Secondly:--Give ladies four bed-pillows instead of two, until geese
yield more feathers.

Thirdly:--Banish forever, with other tortures of the Inquisition, that
infernal "gong," (excuse the expression,) which has had so much to do
in filling our Lunatic Asylums.


       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes:

A few obvious misprints have been corrected, but in general the
original spelling has been retained (for example, "of tourse,"
"beneneath," etc.). Inconsistent use of hyphens was also left

Contents page: "MOURNING" p. 240; This was treated as a chapter in the
text, but was missing from the Contents Page. It has been added. Other
slight variations between the Contents list and Chapter headings were
left as in the original.

P. 284, paragraph immediately before "Last week a philanthropist"
ended with in-line asterisks and an extra blank line--the only case in
this text, and not an apparent thought-break. I have included those
asterisks and blank line as in the original for the reader's

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