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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

A List of "Don'ts" from 1913...Part 1

I found these cute books in Dymocks recently. One is called "Don'ts for Husbands", the other "Don'ts for Wives" and they were written by Blanche Ebbutt and originally published in 1913!

It's a bit of a laugh to read the advice from early last century. I'll make this a regular thing. Here's the first instalment:

From Don'ts for Husbands

My Dear Sir

You are neither as bad nor as good a fellow as you imagine yourself to be. No doubt you know a good deal about women, but (if you are in the early years of your married life) not nearly as much as you will in another decade. In any case I hope that, when you have read my little book, you will thank me for having told you many things that otherwise you could have learned only by experience, more or less bitter according to the discretion exercised both by you and by your other half.

Women, married or single, are kittle-cattle; and as for men - well, I have a husband myself!

Blanche Ebbutt

From Don'ts for Wives

Art is a hard mistress, and there is no art quite so hard as that of being a wife.

So many women exhaust their artistic power in getting married, which is, after all, a comparatively easy business. It takes a perfect artist to remain married - married in the perfect sense of the term; but most of us have to be content to muddle through.

Imagine a girl called upon without a single lesson to produce a tune - a lot of tunes - in fact, one never-ending succession or harmonies - from the most difficult instrument in the world. Note that the instrument not only gets grumpy in cold weather and skittish in the spring - not only slacks or breaks its strings with every change of temperature - but becomes tempestuous over a tight shoe, broody over an out-of-date egg, and cross, sulky or mirthful for reasons that no sane woman can understand.

That is what the average wife has to reckon with; and if she intends to play the game - humiliating as some may think it - HE will loom largely on the horizon all her life.

I hope she may find it worthwhile to take a few hints from an old hand.

Blanche Ebbutt

I think there's something in that for all of us...don't you?

Until next time...

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