Friday, October 24, 2014

Wit, Wisdom and Chuckles


Wit and Wisdom from Will Rogers, Red Green and other Suspect Sources

By Alison Bruce

"If you're riding' ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it's still there." Will Rogers
Will Rogers was a rancher, a roper, star of wild west shows, vaudeville, movies and radio. He wrote six books and thousands of columns and was particularly famous for his plain-speaking observations about American politics.
 "On account of being a democracy and run by the people, we are the only nation in the world that has to keep a government four years, no matter what it does." Will Rogers
Despite having been born in the nineteen century and dying before the world-changing second world war, Will Rogers' humor has stood the test of time.
"If stupidity got us into this mess, then why can't it get us out?" Will Rogers
In a thoroughly Canadian way, Red Green might be considered Will Rogers' successor... if you're willing to stretch the definition of successor a bit.
"Be really nice to your friends and family. You never know when you are going to need them to empty your bedpan." - Red Green

Created by comedian Steve Smith, Red Green is a source of wit, wisdom and what not to do with power tools. With duct tape, on the other hand, he's a pro and the official face of 3M Scotch Duct Tape.
 "You need only two tools.  If it doesn't move and it should, use WD-40.  If it moves and it shouldn't, use duct tape."
Red Green doesn't belong in the old west, of course. But, just as Will Rogers' advice can be taken forward, some of Red's can be taken back.
"When you make a mistake, make amends immediately.  It's easier to eat crow while it's still warm."
"Never Interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake."
"Never pass up an opportunity to pee."
Red Green
Take the fishing cap and put a stetson on him and Red would fit in. In fact, there's a lot of us who could or would fit ourselves to the cowboy mold given the chance. Least ways, that's what my children keep telling me.

Strange Brew 8Feb2012


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Favorite Saying and Cliche's we Avoid - Blogjackked

Just a quick note to explain why I've "borrowed" this wonderful post.  I'm leaving for a prolonged trip and don't know when I'll return, so to play it safe, I'm posting this on September 24th so I won't miss my next appointed date.  I know you'll enjoy Victoria's research experience...I know I feel the same way.  I knew most of these from my own "digging in the past," but I'd never heard of Pay On The Nail



One of the joys of writing for me is doing research..  I know some others hate it and others view it as a form of procrastination but I love delving into history.  Apart from the facts I do want to confirm. I frequently come up with oddities that just fascinate me.  Some may be questionable, other folks may have a different versions of where or why a saying evolved.  The following list mostly derives from English history and the terms and sayings have been transported around the world as Britain expanded her trade and borders.

Bringing home the bacon. Having a pig to raise, or the man of the family bringing home some pork, was a sign of wealth. The pork was usually hung in the rafters of the home, close to the chimney, so it was handy for the housewife to cut slices from and to show off to visitors.

Chewing the fat. A term we think of today as people gathering around to have a pleasant conversation and that’s not far from the possible origin of this term. With visitors admiring the ‘flitch’ or uncut side of bacon hanging in the rafters, the householder would cut off a little of the fat to offer his guests so they would sit around and ‘chew the fat’. In addition, a flitch of bacon could be awarded to married couples who could swear to not having regretted their marriage for a year and a day. This old tradition purportedly still survives in some pockets in England.

Dirt poor. While wealthy people may have had slate or stone floors, poor people didn’t. Mostly the floors of their homes consisted of leveled dirt which gives us the saying ‘dirt poor’ to denote someone who really does not have very much of anything.

Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.  Do we really appreciate the luxury of the baths and showers we have today? Imagine living in a household where having a bath consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. By then the water could be so dirty you might lose someone in it. Hence the saying, ‘Don't throw the baby out with the bath water’ meaning not to lose something of value.

Four poster bed.  With only a thick straw thatch above you, there was nothing to stop bugs and other droppings falling into the house and messing up a nice clean bed. So beds with a post at each corner and a sheet hung over the top offered some protection. Over time the sheets became more elaborate canopies, including curtains surrounding the bed which could be closed to keep out drafts and afford privacy.

June Bride. Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May so still smelt pretty good in June. But, because many were already beginning to smell again, brides starting carrying bouquets of sweet smelling flowers to hide their body odor.

Pay on the nail. Outside the Corn Exchange in Bristol, England, are four brass tables or ‘nails’. They have flat tops with raised edges to stop coins rolling off. The four nails were made at different times, probably modeled after the portable tables used in fairs and markets, but the oldest nail dates from the Elizabethan period.  So, if you ‘pay on the nail’, you pay in cash and on time.

Peas porridge. You may be familiar with the old rhyme ‘peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old’. This refers to a time when everything was cooked in the same pot over the fire. What wasn’t eaten would be left to get cold. Meat was not readily available to the average family, so when the fire was lit on the following day it was mostly vegetables that were added to the pot.

Piss Poor. To dispose of the overnight waste from chamber pots, many families sold this commodity to collectors who took it the local tannery or woolen mill. The ammonia in stale urine was used to tan animal skins and to set dye in cloth. If you had to do this to survive you were ‘piss poor’, but the really poor people couldn’t even afford to buy a chamber pot so didn’t 'have a pot to piss in’.

Raining cats and dogs.  In an era when houses had thick, straw thatched roofs with no wood underneath, it was often the only place that animals could get warm. Cats, mice, bugs, all lived in the roof, but when it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof, so if it was raining really hard, it might be ‘raining cats and dogs’.

Upper crust.  Picture a beautiful, aromatic loaf of bread fresh from the oven. Guests would get the top, or upper crust, the family would get the middle section and servants and workers would get the sometimes burnt bottom of the loaf. Therefore, someone who is ‘upper crust’, would be considered special or of having some elevated social status.

Salute.  Who is not familiar with this sign of respect used by the military and most uniformed organizations? Especially poignant is the iconic photograph of a young John Kennedy saluting his father’s flag draped casket as it was carried from St Matthew’s Cathedral. The salute evolved from medieval times, when knights in armor raised their visors to reveal their identity.

Saved by the bell.  Today we use this term to indicate a situation being saved or solved at the very last moment, but it has a rather gruesome origin. Being a small country, when English parishioners began to run out of space for burials, they would open graves and coffins to reuse them. It was found that 1 out of every 25 coffins opened had fingernail scratch marks on the inside of the lid, and it was realized that people had been buried alive. A string was then tied around the corpse’s wrist and fed through a hole in the coffin lid, up through the ground and tied to a bell. Someone sat by the grave (hence the term graveyard shift for a night worker) so that if the bell was rung the coffin would be immediately opened to save whoever was inside it.

Threshold.  Wealthy people had slate or stone floors in their homes that, when wet and especially during the winter, could get very slippery. To avoid this they spread straw, called thresh, on the floor to keep their footing. Throughout the winter more thresh was added until, when you opened the door, it started to slip outside or was carried out on peoples’ feet. A thick piece of wood was placed across the door way to keep the thresh inside and became known as a ‘thresh hold’.

Wake.  Our ancestors’ table ware was often hazardous to their health. Plates were made of pewter and any food with a high acid content could cause lead to leach into the food causing death by lead poisoning. Tomatoes have a high acid content, so for 400 years or so tomatoes were considered poisonous.
Ale and whisky were served in lead cups and the combination often knocked the imbibers out for days. Anyone walking along a road could take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait to see if they would wake up. This was the origin of bringing food and drink for guests to partake of after a funeral.

So now you know. Do you have  any explanations for sayings in common use today? 

You can find Victoria on:

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

AUSTRALIA'S MOST HAUNTED HOUSE - Susan Horsnell

MONTE CHRISTO

Monte Christo Homestead is an historic Australian property located in Junee, New South Wales. The town is located in the Riverina north west of Canberra. 
It was constructed by local pioneer Christopher William Crawley in 1885. An impressive double-story late-Victorian manor, Monte Christo stands on a hill overlooking the town.
The Crawley family remained in residence until 1948. The house then stood empty under the care of several caretakers until 1963 when it was purchased by Reg and Olive Ryan, who restored it to its current condition. It operates as a museum, antique store and tourist attraction.
Monte Cristo is claimed to be Australia's most haunted house, with reports of ghostly figures, strange lights, invisible forcefields, phantom sounds and animal mutilations. These are attributed to several tragic incidents in the property's past including the murder of a caretaker in 1961 and the imprisonment of a mentally impaired man for many years in the dairy. During the Crawleys' occupation a young child is said to have been fatally dropped down the stairs, a maid to have fallen from the balcony, and a stable boy to have been burnt to death.

THE GHOSTS:
This historic two-story house with its wide verandas and beautiful wrought iron work is now open to thousands of visitors each year - and they all want to know about the ghosts and tragedies associated with this sprawling mansion.
The original occupants were William Crawley and his family in 1884 and it would appear that from the Crawley family most of the stories of ghosts and hauntings and many other tragic happenings seem to originate.
In fact the ghost of old Mrs Crawley has been seen many times in her former room and in recent years. It is believed that after William Crawley died in 1910, from a carbuncle on his neck becoming infected by his starched collar, Mrs Crawley only left the house on two occasions in the remaining 23 years of her life: no wonder her presence still lingers. Then there are the mysterious lights, apparitions. 

MYSTERIOUS LIGHTS:
"We moved into Monte Cristo on June 3rd 1963 blissfully unaware of the Homestead's often gruesome history, those dubious revelations would be some time off.
We had been in residence about three days when we ventured downtown one foggy evening for supplies, on the return trip we turned the bottom corner of the driveway and straightened up towards the house, as we did we saw light streaming out of every door and window; we got such a shock I stopped the car and we sat staring up at the brilliantly illuminated homestead dumbfounded.
Olive didn't want to continue, felt sure there must have been a burglar up there, I replied to the effect we hadn't been away that long and had better go and investigate.
As we drove cautiously through the gateway the lights abruptly disappeared, again Monte Cristo was lost in fog and darkness.
We tried desperately to rationalize it, different people suggested the source of light was our car headlights shining onto windows of the house; but there wasn't a single pane of glass in the entire house, electricity hadn't been connected and the only source of light was a kerosene lamp not left lit.
This was the first of many strange, puzzling and sometimes frightening experiences that have occurred over the intervening years we have not found answers for.
Our first experience was eerily replayed 27 years later when our 21 year old son Lawrence was driving home one night the rest of the family were at a ball in Wagga, as he turned into the driveway he discovered all the lights of Monte Cristo ablaze but as he passed through the gates they disappeared again without explanation."

THE ENTRANCE HALL:
"A local Council worker, I will call John R., came up to the homestead on Council business one afternoon and entered Monte Cristo in good spirits, suddenly he backed out and left. I later spoke to him downtown and his explanation was that he didn't like Monte Cristo and would never go up there again - he never has!"

THE STAIRS:
"On one of the house tours I was showing a mother and daughter through, having covered the ground floor without any problem I preceded to lead them upstairs and waited for them to catch up in the hall.
After waiting a few moments I peered over the banister to see where they were, finding both appearing to have trouble moving and on reaching the landing midway seemed incapable of ascending further. Both said in a worried tone some unseen force was stopping them going up, however once they moved down and away from the steps the problem disappeared.
The stairs often cause us problems, especially with children. Little children around the ages of three or four continually cause an uproar on or near the staircase, I've often wondered since learning about the death of a child on them if there's a connection?"

GHOSTLY VOICES:
"Neil, a nephew of my wife Olive, and his girlfriend attended the 1992 Monte Cristo Ball and after it concluded in the early hours of the morning the lass wanted to use the toilet before retiring, however feeling frightened by the dark house asked Neil to escort her.
After waiting in the hallway for her Neil proceeded to escort her back towards the stairs which lead to their room, suddenly from the top of the darkened stairs a voice seemed to drift from nowhere, looking up they both saw a young woman dressed in white who said softly twice: "Don't worry, it will be all right" and vanished before their eyes."

                     The Dining Room
THE DINING ROOM:
"The presence of Mrs Crawley is strongly felt in this room by psychic's, when the ABC brought a group here for the "Big Country" we served them lunch and diner in the room. On several occasions during meals medium Van Blerk got up and left the room without explanation, waited outside a few moments and returned to his seat.
He later told us Mrs Crawley had ordered him out of the Dining Room, so for harmony sake he waited until her presence had left the room before returning to his seat."

BREAKFAST ROOM:

"When we moved into Monte Cristo this room served as our kitchen, it was in this room Olive found dead and mutilated kittens."

PHANTOM FOOTSTEPS:
"In the early days I would sew on the front veranda when the weather was fine and on several occasions heard the distinctive sound of a womans' high-heels walking above me on the balcony, this was unusual as there were large sections of floorboards missing and the footfalls never missed a step as they reverberated across the full length of the balcony. Sometimes I'd call out thinking it was a member of the family but never received a reply, on investigation I discovered no one was on that floor at the time or more commonly no one home at all but myself.
Late one night both Olive and one of our daughters heard the French doors that lead off the balcony into the upstairs hall open, close and someone walk along the hall, go down the stairs and then return by the same method 15 minutes later. Being alone in the house both thought the footsteps belonged to the other, until Olive called out to see if there was a problem and to their mutual bewilderment discovered neither had left their bed in hours.
As the years passed we got used to these phantom footsteps, after hearing them so many times could differentiate between footsteps made on lino or wood. Although we have now had the hallway carpeted for several years, the sound was very distinctive although not unnerving it still causes a bit of concern.
Box Room, Mrs. Crawley's Chapel The TV travel show "Getaway" came to Junee in 1992 to film a segment at Monte Cristo. Before the cameras started rolling reporter, Rebecca Harris, entered the Box Room to scout a suitable location to film.
While in there she felt overcome by a strange sensation and compelled to leave the room, that evening while filming the producer could not get her to re-enter the room and finally had to compromise by filming the section on Mrs Crawley's Chapel out on the balcony but within view of the door."


                     The Drawing Room
DRAWING ROOM:
"Unexplained Tears A radio announcer from FM93 in Wagga Wagga brought a friend from Tasmania over to view the Homestead, the tour went normally until the Drawing Room was reached. Upon entering the room his eyes started running for no apparent reason and he felt sad and distressed, also very embarrassed and apologized profusely.

Upon leaving Monte Cristo their next stop was Junee Cemetery to visit the graves of notable Junee pioneers, again he suddenly felt gripped by grief and began crying. Getting his wits about him he looked down and found he was standing on the grave of the child who died mysteriously on the stairs of Monte Cristo, was the sense of grief and sadness felt at the homestead and now on the grave that of a mother for her lost baby?.
Soon after an elderly English lady entered the room and started crying uncontrollably, we took her to the Entrance Building and gave her a cup of tea to comfort her, she was extremely embarrassed and at a loss to explain her sudden and apparent grief.
A Spooked Priest The Catholic Priest who conducted our marriage ceremony, Father Mac, paid us a visit one afternoon and was contentedly looking through the house while we readied lunch. Fifteen minuets later I went to escort him down to the Dining Room and as I approached from behind watched him enter the Drawing Room, abruptly back out, make the sign of the cross and blessed himself before leading me down the stairs in a great hurry. This incident remains vivid in my mind and I regret never having the courage to ask what he had seen or felt and often wonder what caused his premature departure."

                       The Boy's Bedroom
BOYS' BEDROOM:
"A husband, wife and 15 year old daughter stopped in on their way from Sydney to Wagga, the family deciding Monte Cristo would be a pleasant diversion. As we entered the Boy's Room the girl started to shake and her skin cover with goose bumps, unable to catch her breath she started having an asthma-like attack and turned purple. We rushed her outside preparatory to taking her to the local Doctor, but as soon as she was out of the house she immediately returned to normal, she had never had an asthma attack in her life.

The conclusion of this particular episode took place two weeks later on the family's return to Sydney, they returned to Monte Cristo and asked if the girl could go back into the room, we did, and she had a repeat of the first visit. It thoroughly shook her parents and I doubt they will ever return again."

PHANTOM FACE IN THE WINDOW:
When our two eldest daughters were young they shared this room for several years, it has no verandah outside just a blank wall dropping away to the ground far below. Many a night they would call us in and whimper about a man's face that kept appearing out side the window. Describing him as a younger man with sideburns, always dressed in work clothes, it happened so often they got used to it and ignore his presence.

FLOATING APPARITION:

In the same room my wife's cousin John and his wife had a bone chilling experience they were reticent to recount for fear of being thought mad, apparently John was laying there awake when a figure all in white appeared, floated around the room and disappeared out the closed window.

BODILESS GHOST:
"Same room again, a serene ladies face appeared at the foot of the bed, this happened to a friend of ours called Mario. It didn't really scare him he told us, startled him a trifle and thought it unusual to see a face appear without a body."

A GHOSTLY VISITOR:
"One night we were holding a function in the Ballroom and I sent our youngest daughter, Shiralee, to check on her little brother asleep in the Boy's Room, she came back quite distressed and explained how as she rounded the corner from the staircase could see a young man in work clothes standing, staring down at her brother Lawrence, she could describe him right down to his work clothed with a hole in the sleeve, it took us hours to calm her down sufficiently.
In the same room we had a guest, a married man in his thirties sleeping there one night, at around 3AM I was awoken by his terrified screams of: "Reg!...Reg!..." Running down the hall I found him standing in the middle of the bed shaking like a leaf claiming there was someone else in the room with him, we had to give him another room before we could all get some sleep."

A MOTHER TO BE
"One young mother-to-be on entering the room recently started to sway and lose colour, on removing her to the Girl's Room she recovered almost immediately.
A few moments later she asked if she could re-enter the Boy's Room and stayed about 5 seconds before rushing out pale and shaken, she apologized to the rest of the tour group and said she had to check if it was just her imagination and now knew it wasn't."

MY EXPERIENCE:
My husband and I, along with our daughter visited this home earlier this year and although walking through it caused the hairs on the backs of our necks to rise, we didn't witness or feel anything out of the ordinary. Until, we entered the old dairy and the room where a young man had been chained up for years. The room was oppressive, cold - even though the day was hot - and eerie. Was there a spirit there? Who knows, but I won't dismiss it just because I don't understand. 

It's a gorgeous home and well worth a visit or stay overnight if your game. 

Reference: Monte Christo website. 


Fall Back in Time By Lauri Robinson






On the weekend of November 1st--which is the end of Daylight Savings Time--more than 200 romance authors of the Historical Romance Network will be celebrating the diversity of historical romances by asking readers (all of you!) to show the world that we love and read historical romances. How do you do that? 

  
Here’s all you need to do:

1. Take a selfie with a favorite/recently read Historical Romance.

2. Post it on your social media sites starting on 10 am CST 1 November 2014. Please include the hashtag #FallBackinTime. If pictures start sneaking out on the 31st and continue through the 2nd that’s okay, too! 

3. Invite others!!! Post your pictures on their sites and ask them to do the same!

4. "LIKE" our Historical Romance Network facebook page and join the event on Nov. 1st!
5. Spread the word about our love for historical romance through tweets and facebook posts. Here are some generic tweets you can use:

#FallBackinTime to your first historical romance! This was mine: (pix)
#FallBackinTime with this historical romance! (pix)
#FallBackinTime Look, it’s me in the [middle ages/regency era/etc]
If I could #FallBackinTime, it’d be to this book, this era: (pix)
Where would you #FallBackinTime to? I'd go here: (pix)
My favorite time machine is a book. #FallBackinTime (pix)
Escape with a historical romance #FallBackin Time. I do! (pix)

OF COURSE YOU CAN COME UP WITH YOUR OWN!!!

Historical Romance Network social media sites:

Here is a copy of the flyer to share with others!


As you can see, I took a picture of me with my latest book, The Wrong Cowboy, which just so happens will also be released on November 1st.  
 One mail-order bride in need of rescue! 

All the rigorous training in the world could not have prepared nursemaid Marie Hall for trailing the wilds of Dakota with six orphans. Especially when her ingenious plan—to pose as the mail-order bride of the children's next of kin—leads Marie to the wrong cowboy!

Proud and stubborn, Stafford Burleson is everything Marie's been taught to avoid. But with her fate and that of the children in his capable hands, Marie soon feels there's something incredibly right about this rugged rancher and his brooding charm…. 

From RT Reviews: (Four stars and the K.I.S.S. Hero Award) Heartwarming and touching, this feel-good Western is perfect for the season.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Colonial Times...Grim.


While writing BLOOD CURSE, book 2 in the Branded Trilogy, I had to do more research than I expected. When I was plotting for this particular book, I actually changed the date three times before going back to my original timeline of 1723. This placed me during the Colonial era. I remembered learning in school a bit about the 13 Colonial States and how they were founded, but that was as far as my knowledge went.

Out came the books, and websites. I needed to know certain facts in order to even begin plotting my story. Where would the events take place? Who lived there? What did they eat? What did they wear? So many questions that only researching could answer.

However, I do not want to discuss the research I did use, but rather the facts I found interesting and appalling at the same time, that I did not use. I cannot lie and tell you I was not intrigued to read everything I'd found on customary lifestyle back then. I couldn't get enough of it...the reason I am a historical writer.

In order for my story to not be bogged down with realisms like uncleanliness, bed bugs, teeth brushing, etc... I needed to either not include some of the details I'd found, or romanticize them so my reader wouldn't be repulsed.

And so...like any historical fiction writer, I did the latter and plotted my story around the gory details of the lives that lived hundreds of years before us.  

Bathing routines: While we bathe at least once a day, back in Colonial times bathing was not as common. In Medieval times people thought bathing caused disease, or let the devil in, some even thought it caused erotic behaviour. The morbid thoughts did not carry into the 1700's. The act of washing ones self was simply not a priority.
The labor and time it took to draw a bath did not appeal to most and therefore was put off as a chore rather than a pleasure. In fact, everyone had body odor back then, so it was unnoticed among each other and became somewhat of a common smell. For those sensitive to the smell a handkerchief doused in perfume was held over the nostrils and mouth.

Bathing rituals when done were often a family affair. The tub would be filled allowing the head of the house to bathe first, then all the other males, the women and lastly the children. The water had to be black by then and I’m sure smelled awful.

Perukes: These were the white haired wigs men wore. Powdered and scented with lavender or orange oil to rid the stale smell. The wigs were curled at the sides and tied at the nape. Some longer than others, but all hung past the chin. Perukes came into fashion during the 1500’s in England because of the syphilis outbreak. Men used them to disguise their STD, which resulted in baldness; open sores on the body including face and head, and could also lead to blindness. The headdress was not looked upon as fashion but rather a necessity at hiding ones horrendous features.

In 1655 the King of France, Louis XIV commissioned 48 wig makers to help hide his balding at the age of 17. His cousin Charles II King of England also did the same thing and the fad caught on. Soon England’s higher and middle classes were wearing Perukes.

The fashion carried on throughout the colonies and most everyone wore a headdress of white goat, horse or human hair. These heavy, and often filled with nits, hair pieces would go unwashed for months.

Disease: Due to the uncleanliness of the people and their belongings disease ran rampant throughout the Colonies. In the early days the people had no knowledge on how to fight the sickness, often being the first time they’d seen the disease.

As time passed physicians grew an understanding of how to aid and heal the sick. But death was still a very common outcome to most who suffered from them.

Epidemics of Small Pox, Yellow Fever and Plague killed thousands. These diseases purged the Colonies ceasing all work, closing businesses and caused the people to flee the country or go into hiding.

At one point the death rate for Yellow Fever was so high people had to work day and night to bury the dead. Malaria, Typhoid, and Beriberi were all common diseases that could lead to death if not treated.

Being a historical writer I'd love to travel back in time, however these facts make me want to keep my visit short. 

Happy Friday!

Cheers,
Kat
www.katflannerybooks.com 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Love in Days Gone By

I love writing historical romance, and one of the most fascinating and enjoyable aspects of that career is the research involved to bring characters to life. It's quite an understatement, of course, to say that life in the past was much different from today, yet in many ways, human nature hasn't changed all that much. Women then, as now, have wanted love and happiness, and have appreciated the values of home and family.

In The Wrong Woman, I wrote the following. In this little snippet from the story, Abigail and a friend begin by discussing a man...and end up contemplating what it means to be a woman:

~ ~ ~

“Let’s put our heads together, shall we? Maybe we can figure out why Will is acting so peculiar.”

Abigail pulled up a chair. “He’s a man, that’s why.”

“Men are always joking about their inability to understand women, but it works both ways, don’t you think?” asked Julia. “I mean, men are probably much more of a puzzlement than any woman could ever be. Our wants are so simple, really. We want to be loved and respected. We want to make a good marriage, raise a family of well-mannered children, and grow comfortably old with the man we love. What’s so difficult to understand in that?” The question was rhetorical. It required no response.

What an accurate observation, thought Abigail as she sipped her tea. In a few simple, straight-forward sentences, Julia had neatly summed up the precise nature of being a woman.

Love and marriage.

Home and family.

~ ~ ~
Fortunately, women had many helpful resources to which they could turn for practical advice and down-to-earth instructions on how to achieve those cherished goals.  One popular reference was Married Love, also known as Love in Marriage, written by Dr. Maria Carmichael Stopes. 



I've browsed around a bit and have come up with some very interesting bits of advice from Dr. Stopes.

Marriage and Toiletry

Now, it may enchant a man once -- perhaps even twice -- or at long intervals -- to watch his goddess screw her hair up into a tight and unbecoming knot and soap her ears. But it is inherently too unlovely a proceeding to retain indefinite enchantment.

To see a beautiful woman floating in the deep, clear water of her bath -- that may enchant for ever, for it is so lovely, but the unbeautiful trivialities essential to the daily toilet tend only to blur the picture and to dull the interest and attention that should be bestowed on the body of the loved one.

Pet Him

Men are, at heart, eternally children, and such tender petting as comforts children warms and sweetens a grown man's life. The "good night" should be a time of delightful forgetting of the outward scars of the years, and a warm, tender, perhaps playful exchange of confidence.

Be Always Escaping

Man is still essentially the hunter, the one who experiences the desires and thrills of the chase, and dreams ever of coming unawares upon Diana in the woodlands. I think that, in the interests of husbands, an important piece of advice to wives is: Be always escaping.

Ensure that you allow your husband to come upon you only when there is delight in the meeting. 

Whenever the finances allow, the husband and wife should have separate bedrooms, failing that, they should have a curtain which can at will be drawn so as to divide the room they share.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Yes, life was different indeed in days gone by. Love, too, was different in some respects, yet very much the same in others. I believe we can learn from the past, and I hope to create a home for my family that reflects many of the traditional, "old-fashioned" values which were once taught as part of what it meant to be a woman.

Finding little gems of wisdom through my research always brings a smile to my heart, and I'll leave you now with this sage advice for  loving wives and their husbands:

Never speak loudly to one another, unless the house is on fire.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Until next month...may your lives be blessed with love!

Christina