Feature from awordinyoureye.com


The following articles were taken from the book, “ENQUIRE WITHIN UPON EVERYTHING” published in 1856
Note: This book was the inspiration for the World Wide Web (check it out!)
The articles have been selected because they relate to husbands, wives, mothers, fathers and children

Being hints to each other for the good of both, as actually delivered at our own table

If your husband occasionally looks a little troubled when he comes home, do not say to him, with an alarmed countenance, “What ails you, my dear?”  Don’t bother him; he will tell you of his own accord, if need be.    Don’t rattle a hailstorm of fun about his ears either; be observant and quiet.   Don’t suppose whenever he is silent and thoughtful that you are of course the cause.  Let him alone until he is inclined to talk; take up your book or your needlework (pleasantly, cheerfully; no pouting – no sullenness), and wait until he is inclined to be sociable.   Don’t let him ever find a shirt-button missing.  A shirt-button being off a collar or wrist-band has frequently produced the first hurricane in married life.   Men’s shirt-collars never fit exactly – see that your husband’s are made as well as possible and then, if he does fret a little about them, never mind it; men have a prescriptive right to fret about shirt-collars.

If your wife complains that young ladies “now-a-day” are very forward, don’t accuse her of jealousy.  A little concern on her part only proves her love for you, and you may enjoy your triumph without saying a word.   Don’t evince your weakness either, by complaining of every trifling neglect.   What though her chair is not set so close to yours as it used to be, or though her knitting and crochet seem to absorb too large a share of her attention, depend upon it that, as her eyes watch the intertwinings of the threads, and the manoeuvres of the needles as they dance in compliance to her delicate fingers, she is thinking of courting days, love letters, smiles, tears, suspicions, and reconciliations, by which your two hearts became entwined together in the network of love, whose meshes you can neither of you unravel or escape.

Never complain that your husband pores too much over the newspaper, to the exclusion of that pleasing converse which you formerly enjoyed with him. Don’t hide the paper; don’t give it to the children to tear; don’t be sulky when the boy leaves it at the door; but take it in pleasantly, and lay it down before your spouse. Think what man would be without a newspaper; treat it as a great agent in the work of civilisation, which it assuredly is; and think how much good newspapers have done by exposing bad husbands and bad wives, by giving their errors to the eye of the public.  But manage you in this way: when your husband is absent, instead of gossipping (sic) with neighbours, or looking into shop windows, sit down quietly, and look over that paper; run your eye over its home and foreign news; glance rapidly at the accidents and casualties; carefully scan the leading articles; and at tea-time, when your husband again takes up the paper, say, “My dear, what an awful state of things there seems to be in India,”; or “what a terrible calamity at the Glasgow theatre,”; or “trade appears to be flourishing in the north,”! and depend upon it down will go the paper. If he has not read the information, he will hear it all from your lips, and when you have done, he will ask, “Did you, my dear, read Simpson’s letter upon the discovery of chloroform?”  And whether you did or not, you will gradually get into as cosy a chat as you ever enjoyed; and you will soon discover that, rightly used, the newspaper is the wife’s real friend, for it keeps the husband at home, and supplies capital topics for every-day table-talk.

You can hardly imagine how refreshing it is to occasionally call up the recollection of your courting days. How tediously the hours rolled away prior to the appointed time of meeting; how swift they seemed to fly, when met; how fond was the first greeting; how tender the last embrace; how fervent were your vows; how vivid your dreams of future happiness, when, returning to your home, you felt yourself secure in the confessed love of the object of your warm affections. Is your dream realised? – are you so happy as you expected? Why not? Consider whether as a husband you are as fervent and constant as you were when a lover. Remember that the wife’s claims to your unremitting regard – great before marriage, are now exalted to a much higher degree. She has left the world for you – the home of her childhood, the fireside of her parents, their watchful care and sweet intercourse have all been yielded up for you. Look then most jealously upon all that may tend to attract you from home, and to weaken that union upon which your temporal happiness mainly depends; and believe that in the solemn relationship of husband is to be found one of the best guarantees for man’s honour and happiness.

Perchance you think that your husband’s disposition is much changed; that he is no longer the sweet-tempered, ardent lover he used to be.  This may be a mistake. Consider his struggles with the world – his everlasting race with the busy competition of trade. What is it makes him so eager in the pursuit of gain – so energetic by day, so sleepless by night – but his love of home, wife, and children, and a dread that their respectability, according to the light in which he has conceived it, may be encroached upon by the strife of existence. This is the true secret of that silent care which preys upon the hearts of many men; and true it is, that when love is least apparent, it is nevertheless the active principle which animates the heart, though fears and disappointments make up a cloud which obscures the warmer element. As above the clouds there is glorious sunshine, while below are showers and gloom, so with the conduct of man – behind the gloom of anxiety is a bright fountain of high and noble feeling. Think of this in those moments when clouds seem to lower upon your domestic peace, and, by tempering your conduct accordingly, the gloom will soon pass away, and warmth and brightness take its place.

When once a man has established a home, his most important duties have fairly begun.  The errors of youth may be overlooked; want of purpose, and even of honour, in his earlier days may be forgotten.  But from the moment of his marriage he begins to write his indelible history; not by pen and ink, but by actions – by which he must ever afterwards be reported and judged. His conduct at home; his solicitude (showing interest and concern) for his family; the training of his children; his devotion to his wife; his regards for the great interests of eternity; these are the tests by which his worth will ever afterwards be estimated by all who think or care about him.  These will determine his position while living, and influence his memory when dead.  He uses well or ill the brief space allotted to him, out of all eternity, to build up a fame founded upon the most solid of all foundations – private worth; and God will judge him, and man judge of him, accordingly.

Don’t imagine when you have obtained a husband, that your attention to personal neatness and deportment may be relaxed.  Now, in reality, is the time for you to exhibit superior taste and excellence in the cultivation of your address, and the becoming elegance of your appearance.  If it required some little care to foster the administration of a lover – how much more is requisite to keep yourself lovely in the eyes of him, to whom there is now no privacy or disguise – your hourly companion?   And if it was due to your lover that you should always present to him, who proposed to wed and cherish you, a neat and lady-like aspect; how much more is he entitled to a similar mark of respect, who has kept his promise with honourable fidelity, and linked all his hopes of future happiness with yours? If you can manage these matters without appearing to study them, so much the better.  Some husbands are impatient of the routine of the toilette, and not unreasonably so – they possess active and energetic spirits, sorely disturbed by any waste of time.  Some wives have discovered an admirable facility in dealing with this difficulty; and it is a secret which, having been discovered by some, may be known to all – and is well worth the finding out.

Custom entitles you to be considered the “lord and master” over your household.  But don’t assume the master and sink the lord.  Remember that noble generosity, forbearance, amiability, and integrity, are among the more lordly attributes of man. As a husband, therefore, exhibit the true nobility of man, and seek to govern your own household by the display of high moral excellence. A domineering spirit – a fault-finding petulance – impatience of trifling delays – and the exhibition of unworthy passions at the slightest provocation, can add no laurel to your own “lordly” brow, impart no sweetness to home, and call forth no respect from those by whom you may be surrounded. It is one thing to be a master – another thing to be a man. The latter should be the husband’s aspiration; for he who cannot govern himself is ill-qualified to govern another.

It is astonishing how much the cheerfulness of a wife contributes to the happiness of home.   She is the sun – the centre of a domestic system, and her children are like planets around her, reflecting her rays.  How merry the little ones look when the mother is joyous and good-tempered; and how easily and pleasantly her household labours are overcome! Her cheerfulness is reflected everywhere; it is seen in the neatness of her toilette, the order of her table, and even the seasoning of her dishes. We remember hearing a husband say that he could always guage (sic) the temper of his wife by the quality of her cooking: good temper even influenced the seasoning of her soups, and the lightness and delicacy of her pastry. When ill-temper pervades, the pepper is dashed in as a cloud; perchance the top of the pepper-box is included, as a kind of diminutive thunderbolt; the salt is all in lumps; and the spices seem to betake themselves all to one spot in a pudding, as if dreading the frowning face above them. If there be a husband who could abuse the smiles of a really good-tempered wife, we should like to look at him! No, no, such a phenomenon does not exist. Among elements of domestic happiness, the amiability of the wife and mother is of the utmost importance – it is one of the best securities for THE HAPPINESS OF HOME.

Other articles taken from the same book

Mothers, who wish not only to discharge well their own duties in the domestic circle, but to train up their daughters at a later day to make happy and comfortable firesides for their families, should watch well, and guard well, the notions which they imbibe and with which they grow up. There will be so many persons ready to fill their young heads with false and vain fancies, and there is so much always afloat in society opposed to duty and common sense, that if mothers do not watch well, they may contract ideas very fatal to their future happiness and usefulness, and hold them till they grow into habits of thought or feeling. A wise mother will have her eyes open, and be ready for every case. A few words of common, downright, respectable, practical sense, timely uttered by her, may be enough to counteract some foolish idea or belief put into her daughter’s head by others, whilst, if it be left unchecked, it may take such possession of the mind that it cannot later be corrected. One main falsity abroad in this age is the notion, that women, unless compelled to it by absolute poverty, are out of place when engaged in domestic affairs. Now, mothers should have a care lest their daughters get hold of this conviction as regards themselves – there is danger of it; the fashion of the day endangers it, and the care that an affectionate family take to keep a girl, during the time of her education, free from other occupations than those of her tasks or her recreations, also endangers it. It is possible that affection may err in pushing this care too far; for as education means a fitting for life, and as a woman’s life is much connected with domestic and family affairs, or ought to be so, if the indulgent consideration of parents abstains from all demands upon the young pupil of the school not connected with her books or her play, will she not naturally infer that the matters with which she is never asked to concern herself are, in fact, no concerns to her, and that any attention she ever may bestow on them is not a matter of simple duty, but of grace, or concession, or stooping, on her part?  Let mothers avoid such danger. If they would do so, they must bring up their daughters from the first with the idea that in this world it is required to give as well as to receive, to minister as well as to enjoy; that every person is bound to be useful, practically, literally useful, in his own sphere, and that a woman’s first sphere is the house, and its concerns and demands.  Once really imbued with this belief, and taught to see how much the comfort and happiness of woman herself, as well as of her family, depends on this part of her discharge of duty, and a young girl will usually be anxious to learn all that her mother is disposed to teach, and will be proud and happy to aid in any domestic occupations assigned to her, which need never be made so heavy as to interfere with the peculiar duties of her age, or its peculiar delights. If a mother wishes to see her daughter become a good, happy, and rational woman, never let her admit of contempt for domestic occupations, or even suffer them to be deemed secondary.  They may be varied in character by station, but they can never be secondary to a woman.

No trait of character is more agreeable in a female than the possession of a sweet temper. Home can never be happy without it. It is like the flowers that spring up in our pathway, reviving and cheering us.  Let a man go home at night, wearied and worn by the toils of the day, and how soothing is a word dictated by a good disposition!  It is sunshine falling on his heart.  He is happy, and the cares of life are forgotten.  A sweet temper has a soothing influence over the minds of a whole family.  Where it is found in the wife and mother, you observe a kindness and love predominating over the natural feelings of a bad heart.  Smiles, kind words and looks, characterise the children, and peace and love have their dwelling there. Study, then, to acquire and attain a sweet temper.

If you wish to cultivate a gossiping, meddling, censorious spirit in your children, be sure when they come home from church, a visit, or any other place where you do not accompany them, to ply them with questions concerning what everybody wore, how everybody looked, and what everybody said and did; and if you find anything in this to censure, always do it in their hearing. You may rest assured, if you pursue a course of this kind, they will not return to you un-laden with intelligence; and, rather than it should be uninteresting, they will by degrees learn to embellish, in such a manner as shall not fail, to call forth remarks and expressions of wonder from you.  You will, by this course, render the spirit of curiosity, which is so early visible in children, and, which, if rightly directed, may be made the instrument of enriching and enlarging their minds – a vehicle of mischief which shall serve only to narrow them.

1634. H should always be sounded except in the following words: -
heir; herb; honest; hospital; hour; humour and humble, and all their derivatives, such as humourously.

(Mrs Hitching is looking for a house in Hampstead with her friend.)      On the way to see the house, Mrs H explained to me that she should like to take the house as tenant from ’ear to ’ear – but she thought landlords would hobject to such an agreement, as when they got a good tenant they liked to ’old ’im as long as they could. She expressed an opinion that ’Ampstead must be very ’ealthy because it was so ’igh hup.

When we reached the house, she said, “Now, there’s a helegant little place – just suited to my hideas – about height rooms, and a horiel hover the hentrance.”
We knocked on the door. The servant opened it.
“I see that this ’ouse is to let.”
“Yes, ma’am it is. Will you walk in?”
“’Ow many rooms are there?”
“Eleven ma’am. But if you will step in, mistress will speak to you.”
As we did, a very grateful lady came over to us.
“The house is to let – and a very pleasant residence we have found it.”
“’Ave you hoccupied it long?”
“Our family has resided here for more than nine years.”
“Then, I suppose, your lease ’as run hout!”
“No! we have it for five years longer; but my brother, who is a clergyman, is going to live in Yorkshire, and for his sake, and for the pleasure of his society, we desire to remove.”
“Well – there’s nothing like keeping families together for the sake of ’appiness. Now, there’s my poor dear ’Itching - ’e’s ’itherto been hat ’ome so seldom, that I’ve ’ardly hever known what ’appiness his.”
As we then went through the rooms, she always seemed to have an hobjection to this or a ’atred for that or would give a ’int which might be useful.

4. Omnibus driver
“This ’ere young hoss has only bin in ’arness once afore, and if I leave ’im, he’ll be a-running ’hoff, and a smashin’ into suthun.”

6. By the sea-side
“Hey Blanche, there’s a fella shwimping. S’pose we ask him if he can get us some pwans for breakfast to-mowaw mawning?”

11. Two Cockney boys
“Jack, whereabouts is ’Amstid-am?”
“Well, I can’t say exacerly, but I know it’s somewhere near ’Amstid-eath!”

12. Domestic-servant girl (very refined)
“You wish to leave? Why, I thought you were very comfortable with me.”
“Ho yes, mum! I don’t find no fault with you, mum - nor yet with master - but the truth his, mum – the hother servants is so ’orrid vulgar and hignorant, and speaks so hungrammatical, that I reely cannot live in the same ’ouse with ’em – and I should like to go, if so be has it won’t illconvenience you.”

14. Cockney hairdresser
“They say, sir, the cholera is in the hair, sir”
“Indeed! ahem! Then I hope you’re very particular about the brushes you use.”
“Oh, I see, you don’t hunderstand me, sir -  I don’t mean the ’air of the ed, but the hair hof the hatmosphere.”


If you have any jokes, comments or suggestions, email me at david@awordinyoureye.com