Domesticity and Otherwise.

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Currie
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Domesticity and Otherwise.

Post by Currie » Fri Nov 13, 2020 7:59 am

I’m not sure what will turn up in this thread. Hopefully there will be something interesting.

Caledonian Mercury, Friday, June 19, 1863

A HUSBAND'S APPEAL.

Sir, —I am one of a great number who are deeply interested in the question to which I invite your attention. I am a married man, Sir. I have long been a married man, Sir. I ought to be able to rule my own house, and have tried, but I cannot do it. I have protested against crinoline, but the reply has only been a great extension of the circumference of the dresses of my wife and daughters, and so I am humiliated, defeated, and silenced; but I have a worse ground of complaint even than crinoline to contend with, and that is long skirts. You may not think much about it, Sir; but there are thousands of your readers who can tell you what a grievance it is to them. I have submitted on the ‘‘skirt question” a long time, because I am in a minority of one when my wife and daughters are consulted; and in fine weather I see the streets swept—I am obliged to do it—with only an occasional ‘‘Do, my dear, take up your dress” exclamation. Two wet days I cannot get over. My wife and daughters accompany me. I dare not propose a coach, because that would at once be suspected as a covert way of accomplishing the object I have in view. So on we walk.

My wife, who is now on the shady side of forty-five, takes up the middle of the pavement; a daughter on each side occupy the remainder of the thoroughfare; and I walk behind. She knows her silk sweeps the pavement before my eyes. She enjoys it. My daughters are a little more deferential to papa, and their dresses only just touch the dirt gently—still they do touch the dirt. If I speak to them, mamma turns round and gives me a withering glance which shuts me up entirely. If I speak to mamma, she threatens to return home and never again be seen out with such a growler as I am; and therefore, as a man of peace, I can only see my own degradation, and sigh for home again. Now, Sir, you have taken up the question of freedom all over the world, do please help one to a little freedom at home. Let South and North alone for a week—for one single week only; tell the Poles and Russians to fight it out as soon as they can, or to wait a little, and do look at home, and take up this question on behalf of the most “patient, suffering, and uncomplaining” of the human race.—I am, &c.,
A SUBDUED HUSBAND.



Evening Telegraph, Dundee, Wednesday, October 15, 1879

THINGS MARRIED PEOPLE CAN'T STAND

There must, we should think, be but few married people who cannot call to mind instances of declarations that something or other cannot and will not be stood. However affectionate and sympathetic two natures may be it is scarcely possible that they should agree upon every subject. The suppression of their divergent opinions and wishes, if long-continued, puts a great strain upon their tempers, and they are hardly human if that strain does not sooner or later prove too strong for the equanimity of one or other of them. Each has long been aware of concessions made, and it is apt to be forgotten that concessions received have to a great extent been accepted in payment. At last an evening arrives when one of the turtle-doves is over-tired, annoyed by some irrelevant circumstance, or slightly attacked by indigestion. At this unhappy moment its mate innocently lays on a small straw, which proves to be the last. “I can bear a great deal,” is the rejoinder, “ but this is a thing which I can’t and won't stand!” Then follows a scene. It may be short. Possibly in half an hour the combatants may be laughing heartily at the absurdity of the whole thing, or a dose of medicine may soon calm the feelings of the injured party; but nature has asserted itself, and has proved the rule that no substance is so elastic as to bear unlimited extension.

There are certain domestic incidents which seem as if prearranged to act as safety-valves to the engine of connubial life. Among these is house-furnishing, an occupation which often affords opportunities of relieving the high pressure of the matrimonial machine. Perhaps everything goes smoothly until either the husband or wife—let us say the latter—takes a special fancy for something of a rather pronounced description. The husband does not quite like it, and when he objects his taste is openly called in question. Bored with his morning's shopping, and irritated at being accused of want of taste, he relieves his mind by saying, “Anything within the limits of human reason I am willing to submit to, but on that gaudy blue damask I put my decided veto. In the first place, it looks crude; in the second, it would soon fade; and in the third, it is atrociously expensive.” The scenic effect which follows this speech when the happy pair are alone is apt to be more grand than edifying. The wife expresses her astonishment at her husband’s exhibition of ill-temper and bad taste, a combination which she considers quite unendurable, “and before the shopmen, too.’’ Let him furnish the house as he pleases, she washes her hands of the whole thing.

Pets, too, often act as safety-valves. “I really cannot stand that beast in the drawing-room,” says the loving helpmate. “ Which do you love most, me or that dog? Take your choice.” Many a pet has thus helped to relieve the monotony of married life. When a wife says she cannot stand something, it generally means that she is going to cry, and her power of putting an end to controversy by tears gives her a decided advantage over her husband, whose face, when he “can stand no more,” appears more grotesque than tragic. A man rarely looks graceful when he is put out. He is almost certain to do something ungainly. He either pulls his whiskers, bites his nails, or puts his hands in his pockets; an instead of weeping gracefully, as a woman would, he snorts. We believe, however, that there are husbands of the shorn-lamb type, from whom an untempered matrimonial breeze will call forth tears, or at any rate sobs, and it must be indeed terrible to such poor creatures to find themselves in the hands of an enraged virago. To our mind, the meanest of all procedures when patience is exhausted is the use of the phrase, “You will be sorry for this some day, when I am gone.” We regard this as one of the most despicable ruses ever invented by women, and one meriting summary rebuke.—Saturday Review.


Alan

Currie
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Re: Domesticity and Otherwise.

Post by Currie » Fri Nov 20, 2020 10:45 am

A bit more ………..


Evening Telegraph, Dundee, Saturday, July 12, 1890

HOW A WOMAN USES A WATCH.

Perhaps a woman can’t sharpen pencils and throw stones in just the orthodox way, but she can take care of a watch exactly to the Queen’s taste, and her inventiveness as to the number of absurd and ridiculous ways of wearing it is only equalled by that displayed by man in formulating excuses for going out between the acts or getting in late from the club. Her ministrations begin with winding the watch, which she never thinks of doing unless she is going shopping or on a journey. Then, if she doesn’t break the mainspring, she tucks the watch inside of her dress, where the multitudinous hooks and buttons scrape and scratch the case, and where it requires a half-hour’s investigation when she wants to see what time it is. At night when she takes her dress off she forgets all about it, of course, and sends it whizzing under the bed or bureau, as she throws back her bodice preparatory to wrestling her way out of it. If it stops she isn’t at all disconcerted. With a serenity born of long experience she picks it up and

SHAKES IT UNTIL IT TICKS AGAIN.

After all, it is only the unusually careful woman who wears her watch inside her dress, for the intricate fastenings of the fashionable bodices render it well-nigh impossible. She has the happy fashion of tucking it into the pocket of her cloak or dumping it into the bottom of the bag she carries with her, or tucking it away, along with half a hundred samples, her latchkeys, and small change in her portemonnaie. Jewellers have wise instincts, notice quickly, and cater well to sweet woman’s whims. They understand that there is no earthly use in remonstrating with women, and explaining that it is their own fault that their watches never keep accurate time, and are constantly in need of repair. No; they philosophically set about making little purses and card cases with a separate compartment for the watch, and an aperture in the outside through which the hands may be seen; they put them in bracelets to be clasped about the wrist; they introduce them into the handles of umbrellas; they bury them in the heart of flower petals with a pin at the back, and last of all they have produced

THE WOMAN'S DEAR DELIGHT—THE CHATELAINE.

This octopus arrangement of silver or gold pins on at the side, or slides over the belt, or winds girdle-wise about her waist, but in any event it keeps the watch swaying and banging against all the other knives, and smelling bottles, and shears, and things with which she burdens herself in a perfectly delightful way, which is warranted to thwart the purpose of the best disposed timepiece ever manufactured,





Evening Telegraph, Dundee, Wednesday, October 31, 1877

THE NICE FELLOW AT HOME.

It is chiefly as a married man that the nice fellow is worthy of a moment's consideration; appearances and reality are so curiously at variance. One constantly hears surprise expressed as to one lady that she can be so devoted to her husband, who in society is such a stupid bear; whilst the same observer cannot understand why another lady seems so indifferent to her husband, who is universally popular. No one intimately acquainted with the private life of the two households would probably feel any such astonishment. A nice fellow as a husband retains his little endearing ways, particularly in public. He asks his wife if her feet are cold whether it is summer or winter, wraps her up in the hottest weather, and insists upon her eating when she is not in the least hungry. So long as poverty does not make itself felt, things go smoothly enough; but then, alas! nice fellows are scarcely ever rich, nor do they always marry for money, as one might reasonably expect. They constantly allow themselves to be carried away by what they are pleased to call love—a sentiment which might by ill-natured people be described as a selfish fancy.

However well good looks and a charming manner may grease the wheels of society, they are painfully inadequate to smooth away the difficulties of making both ends meet upon a small income. The nice fellow is careful to mix himself up as little as possible with the vulgar troubles of economical household management. He professes himself so bad an arithmetician that he cannot add two and two together, so stupid about shopping that he does not know one animal from another when the fur or feathers are off, and so ignorant about expenses that there is no use in asking to apportion his income. As to the allowance his wife is to have for household expenditure, he will consult Robinson, who is in the same office, and who has everything admirably arranged at home. This might be all very well if he would allow himself to know that Robinson helps his little delicate wife in a thousand ways, sympathises with her in troubles which he will not permit himself to think trivial, whilst they are heavy to her, and without making any fuss, finds out countless ways in which to gild the pill of poverty. But the nice fellow’s theory is that everything comes right if you let it alone and don’t “bother.” When his wife foolishly consults him about her difficulties, he tells her that she is morbidly anxious, and ought to have a glass of wine and lie down on the sofa, instead of agitating herself about nothing.

When there is a bad cook in the establishment, a nice fellow does not grumble, but adjourns to the Club or a friend’s house, where he is always welcome. When he returns he has a good story to tell his wife, and, if she does not seem very much interested in his doings, wonders how she can give way to her temper when he finds it always easier to be pleasant. The nice fellow is generally in bondage to appearances; he would rather his wife made herself ill by walking than that she should go in an omnibus, and is more particular about her dress than her comfort. It is disagreeable to him, however, to allow himself to think that she wants for anything; so he is always either buying her things he cannot afford or wondering why she herself does not buy them. When illness appears in the household the nice fellow takes care to keep out of the way, which perhaps is fortunate, as he makes the worst possible nurse, being incapable of that subtle sympathy which supplies ears and eyes and instinctive knowledge to an ignorant person with a heart. Perhaps he does his best when he stands at the foot of the patient's bed and asks silly questions in a pretty manner which charms the maid, and offers all sorts of unsuitable things which he is sure the patient could eat if she tried.


With his children a nice fellow is sure to be as popular as with the outside world, for he does not make himself disagreeable by finding fault except now and then when they do something personally exasperating. All early training, and particularly punishment, ought, he considers, to be in a mother's hands, and she alone should be responsible for the ultimate character of the children, as her influence must be so great. He is, however, always willing to be the giver of presents, or to arrange little treats, about which he will sometimes take a great deal of trouble. True, he never sat up with a child a single night in his whole life, nor would he remain in the room with a crying baby. It would be against his principles. Nor yet does he think it necessary to take any notice of the boys in the holidays, or to make impertinent investigations as to how the girls are getting on with their studies. What are tutors or governesses for if parents are to be troubled about education! It is much better to trust people, and then they are sure to do their best; every one dislikes interference. A nice fellow is always fond of his daughters if they are pretty, and very willing to take them about and leave their mother at home. He makes himself a delightful companion, and is pointed out as a model papa. If, however, his girls are ugly and heavy, he leaves them to take care of themselves, and establishes himself as escort in some family where there are pretty daughters.—Saturday Review.



Maybe another week of this and we’ll have the answer to the mysterious appearances and disappearances that genealogists usually put down to alien intervention.

Alan

Anne H
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Re: Domesticity and Otherwise.

Post by Anne H » Sat Nov 21, 2020 11:31 am

Thanks Alan. Wonder who is writing these articles about the not too sensible woman and their watches and the more sensible men in their lives. :-

Cheers,

Anne

SarahND
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Re: Domesticity and Otherwise.

Post by SarahND » Sun Nov 22, 2020 10:59 am

Anne H wrote:
Sat Nov 21, 2020 11:31 am
Thanks Alan. Wonder who is writing these articles about the not too sensible woman and their watches and the more sensible men in their lives. :-
Not a woman, for sure! :roll:

Currie
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Location: Australia

Re: Domesticity and Otherwise.

Post by Currie » Wed Nov 25, 2020 11:53 am

Hello Anne & Sarah,

Most of it seems to have come from the Dundee newspapers, so that narrows it down a bit.

Anyone disseminating that sort of stuff should be horsewhipped, tarred and feathered, and run out of town on a rail. Although it’s probably not so easy these days to get all the necessary ingredients, at least not where I live, thank goodness.

This thread has just about turned into another shopping thread. This week we’ll start with shopping by post, which is really much the same as shopping online, but with really slow internet.



Dundee Courier, Tuesday, April 29, 1914

SHOPPING BY POST

Is an Essential Part of Modern Business,
And Has Many Advantages for the Country Resident.

Shopping by post is one of the most important time-saving developments of modern life. Not so many years ago worthy people were more than a little suspicious of purchasing goods which they had not personally inspected, such a proceeding savouring too much of the proverbial ‘‘pig in a poke.” With the years this prejudice has been largely overcome. By carefully selecting the best article possible for the money paid, and by unfailing promptitude in forwarding goods, mail order houses have gained the confidence of the public in a marked degree.

Every large shopping establishment now has a recognised mail order department, with a special staff of assistants. In country districts where the inhabitants live far from a shopping centre, almost every article required for the household is ordered through the post—food, clothing, footwear, and the hundred and one other things which the well-regulated household constantly needs. Many remote places are practically isolated but for the welcome visit of the postman.

Benefit to the Country Resident.

To the country housewife a day in town means long planning ahead and elaborate arrangements for the care of her children. When the day’s rush is ended she returns to her distant home, thoroughly exhausted, to find that she has forgotten several essential articles, which, after all, must be ordered by post. Obviously the woman whose family make constant demands upon her cannot afford to neglect the mail order method of shopping. Except in cases where important alterations in clothing must be effected, the country woman may with confidence conduct her entire purchasing at her own fireside.

The customer who orders by post receives the most thorough attention from the special assistants whose duty it is to select the goods. They bring expert knowledge to bear on the matter, and consequently the buyer very frequently receives better value than if the choice had rested with herself. She is not always a keen judge of material, and is very apt to take a wrong shade or a texture unsuitable for the purpose in view.

Satisfaction is Guaranteed.

The advantages of shopping by post are so numerous that every woman who has once tasted the pleasure of such bargaining goes back to it again and again. Satisfaction is guaranteed. To please the customer is the aim of the mail order houses, patrons being encouraged to return any article that does not suit—a benefit that all women appreciate. Going in the flesh to make complaints is almost invariably an embarrassing experience, there being few women who enjoy “taking back” unsatisfactory goods.

The experienced shopper very soon gains confidence in buying through the post. She realises that her requirements are in capable hands, and that all risk is eliminated. The amateur buyer, after one or two attempts, also becomes a fervent devotee of shopping by post, gladly welcoming the chance to have her many needs looked after by those who know how to do it. Again, there is the shy woman to whom a shopping expedition is a positive torture. She starts out bravely enough, with a very good idea of what she wants, but the busy counter, around which her fellow-creatures look so keen and business-like and full of energy, inspires her with terror. With the resulting excitement she is quite unable to give the willing assistant an adequate description of the article she is looking for, and takes the first thing that comes to hand whether it is right or wrong—usually it is wrong. Clearly, the shy woman finds her Waterloo within the doors of a shopping beehive. To her, buying by post is a veritable harbinger of peace.

Man as a Shopper.

Contrary to the popular idea that womankind in general enjoys shopping, there are many members of the voteless sex who thoroughly dislike buying for themselves or for other people. Men are notoriously bad shoppers, as their womenfolk can testify. In nine cases out of ten a man loses his head when on shopping bent. He may choose a necktie or some other trifling thing with comparative intelligence, but give him a commission to execute for the household, and he is a dismal failure. Wrapped in gloom, he approaches the charming young shop assistant who steps forward to wait upon him, and in funereal tones states his errand. He never dreams of asking the price.

In all likelihood he offers a gold piece in payment of a few pence, grudgingly waiting for the change, which he gathers up without counting, and then takes a hurried departure, immensely relieved that the ordeal is over. The unfortunate male who has no women relations whom he can coerce into buying his wearing necessities finds a remedy in a postage stamp. It may truthfully be said that people of all conditions benefit by the mail order business.

In America.

The Americans, who are quick to adopt every new system that saves time, appreciate to the full the advantages of shopping by post. The shrewd people of Uncle Sam's domains buy anything from a cake of soap to a summer bungalow with a faith that speaks volumes for the integrity of the universal providers to whom their orders are entrusted. In Britain, and more especially in the north, we are still a little canny in our shopping. We do not realise to the full in how many ways shopping by post makes its appeal to us all.

The daily newspaper plays an important part in advertising changes of fashion and special sales. By perusing the ‘‘Courier” announcements people in the remotest corners of the district have the same chance as their city cousins of sharing in bargains offered. The expense of making a special trip into town eats very materially into the money saved on sales purchases; indeed, were it not for the help of the daily paper country folk could rarely participate in cut prices.



Half way through the above I realised that I’ve again been sucked into posting what is probably just another one of the Dundee Courier’s paid for advertisements. This one being on behalf of the mail order industry, with a bit of newspaper promotion thrown in as well.

I wonder how many people really would have left it up to the mail order company to make all those choices for them. It would be a bit risky in the case of mail order brides, or husbands even. I don’t think I would want any online retailer deciding for me what my purchase will be.




Dundee Courier, Thursday, March 15, 1923

WHEN A HUSBAND GOES SHOPPING.

There are three kinds of husbands when it comes to shopping.
The husband who goes with her and goes in, the husband who goes with her but waits outside, and the husband who doesn’t go with her at all.
The reason for this classification is the inexplicable wish on the part of nearly every wife to have her helpmeet with her when she goes shopping.
Women who are not ordinarily conspicuous for their connubial affection reveal, when shopping time comes, a most unreasonable desire for the company of their lawful wedded spouses.
The third type—the one who doesn’t go at all—is, of course, the kind of person every married man would like to be but rarely is.
Nor is the second to be scorned. He compromises, it is true, but it may be, as he would argue, that this compromise is justified.
The Little Lady really needs somebody to help her carry all those bundles and things, and only a boor would refuse to help his own mate when he had the chance. So he consents to trotting around with her.
But here his concessions end. At the entrance to each shop his obligations are temporarily dissolved. He takes one look in at the seething, shrilly chattering mass of bargain seekers and says quietly but firmly, ‘‘I’ll wait out here for you, dear.”
He is not to be shaken from this stand. It is all very well to be polite, he contends, but there comes a point when politeness begins to bear a suspicious resemblance to lapdogism, and just short of this point the husband of the second class stops and declines to be budged further.
Thus you will see them, on Saturday afternoons particularly, in front of the women’s shops, grimly gripping previous purchases and keeping a keen weather eye open for the expected return of wifie.
This last is especially important since not even the oldest veterans among the husbands of the second class can estimate how long a given woman will remain in a given store.
Some are self-conscious, but most of them are accustomed to it. Often the beginnings of friendships are made during the time the all-powerful Mrs takes to decide between the short ones with the blue border and the long, plain ones.
No doubt the store of the future will contain a smoking-room near the entrance, where husbands may be conveniently checked and a sort of an electric carriage call system whereby they may be reclaimed when needed.
As for the first types of husband, dragged around from counter to counter, he has but one justification. He supplies the humorists with a large slice of their material.



Hope that was interesting,
All the best,
Alan

SarahND
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Re: Domesticity and Otherwise.

Post by SarahND » Wed Nov 25, 2020 12:38 pm

Currie wrote:
Wed Nov 25, 2020 11:53 am

Half way through the above I realised that I’ve again been sucked into posting what is probably just another one of the Dundee Courier’s paid for advertisements.
Pretty obviously!!
Currie wrote:
Wed Nov 25, 2020 11:53 am
As for the first types of husband, dragged around from counter to counter, he has but one justification. He supplies the humorists with a large slice of their material.
Again, written by a man. The real reason is not to have someone to carry the parcels, but someone with whom to share the blame if the purchases don't turn out well.

[cheers]
Sarah

Anne H
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Re: Domesticity and Otherwise.

Post by Anne H » Wed Nov 25, 2020 4:20 pm

I agree with both of your sentiments! :D

[cheers]
Anne

garibaldired
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Re: Domesticity and Otherwise.

Post by garibaldired » Thu Nov 26, 2020 11:35 am

=D>

Considering these were written nearly a hundred years ago, things haven't changed much have they? :lol:


Best wishes,
Meg

Currie
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Re: Domesticity and Otherwise.

Post by Currie » Fri Dec 04, 2020 11:22 am

Thanks Sarah, Anne, & Meg,

I had a item I didn’t post, that I thought was much worse than those, or maybe it was much better, I’m not much of a judge.

In between heat waves I’ve been rounding up some stories about a particular crime that would have had an impact on genealogical research. However we’re about to be swallowed up by Christmas and those stories aren’t a bit Christmassy. So I’ll see what I can find that’s a bit more suitable and leave the crime stories until later. Maybe I'll have to resort to shopping ones again.

All the best,
Alan

SarahND
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Re: Domesticity and Otherwise.

Post by SarahND » Fri Dec 04, 2020 12:42 pm

Hi Alan,
Looking forward to hearing about it in January!
Sarah

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