Harriet Beecher Stowe.

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WRITINGS OP HARRIET BEECHER STOWE.



Mrs. Stowe's romances are among the most thoughtful, picturesque, and pop-
ular works of modern fiction. Indeed, they should hardly be called fictitious ;
for they treat inimitably, and with unfailing freshness, some of the deepest
themes that engage the attention of earnest minds. They paint marvellously
truthful pictures of the times, countries, and people to which they relate, and
are inspired by a nobility of purpose that lifts them infinitely above the ordinary
novel. Yet they are so humorous, so exceedingly ingenious in depicting the
ludicrous side of things, that they rank with the most charming stories in Eng-
lish Literature. Her essays, juvenile books, and poems are .among the best
of their kind, and bear ample proofs of Mrs. Stowe's genius.



A GNES OF SORRENTO. A Romance of Italy. i2mo % 2.00

THE PEARL OF ORR'S ISLAND. A Story of Maine. i2mo 2.00

UNCLE TOM'S CABIN. i2mo 2.00

THE MINISTER'S WOOING. i2mo 2.00

THE MA Y-FLOWER, and other Sketches. i2mo 2.00

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OLDTOWN FOLKS. i 2 mo : 2.00

SAM LAWSON'S FIRESIDE STORIES. Illustrated. E mo. Paper .75
The same. Boards 1.00

HOUSE AND HOME PAPERS. i6mo ^75

LITTLE FOXES. i6mo 1-7S

THE CHIMNEY-CORNER. i6mo j:. 75

RELIGIOUS POEMS. Illustrated. Gilt edges. i6mo 2.00

PALMETTO LEAVES. A Volume of Sketches. Illustrated. i6mo....2.oo

LADY BYRON VINDICATED. i6mo , i. S o

QUEER LITTLE PEOPLE. Illustrated. Small 4 to 1.50

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%* For sale by all Booksellers. Sent, post-paid, on receipt of price by

JAMES R. OSGOOD & CO., Publishers,

Cathedral Building, Winthrop Square, Boston.



THE



CHIMNEY-CORNER.



BY



CHRISTOPHER CROWFIELD,

AUTHOR OF "HOUSE AND HOME PAPERS" AND "LITTLE FOXES."

5/U? Harriet Breeher-




BOSTON:
JAMES R. OSGOOD AND COMPANY,

Late Ticknor & Fields, and Fields, Osgood, & Co.

1877.



L



TSH-95.0

C2C



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

TICKNOR AND FIELDS,

in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts*



University Press: Welch, Bigelow, & Co.,
Cambridge.



CONTENTS.



PAGB

I. What will You do with Her ? or, The Wo-
man Question ...... I

II. Woman's Sphere ' 27

III. A Family-Talk on Reconstruction . . 63

IV. Is Woman a Worker? ... . . . 100

V. The Transition 123

VI. Bodily Religion : A Sermon on Good Health 142

VII. HOW SHALL WE ENTERTAIN OUR COMPANY? . l66

VIII. HOW SHALL WE BE AMUSED? .... 187

IX. Dress, or who makes the Fashions . . 205

X. What are the Sources of Beauty in Dress 235

" XL The Cathedral 259

XII. The New Year . . . . . . 278

XIII. The Noble \rmy of Martyrs. . . . 297



THE CHIMNEY-CORNER.



I.



WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH HER? OR,
THE WOMAN QUESTION.

"TT 7ELL, what will you do with her?" said I to
» » my wife.

My wife had just come down from an interview
with a pale, faded-looking young woman in rusty black
attire, who had called upon me on the very common
supposition that I was an editor of the " Atlantic
Monthly."

By the by, this is a mistake that brings me, Chris-
topher Crowfield, many letters that do not belong to
me, and which might with equal pertinency be ad-
dressed, " To the Man in the Moon." Yet these let-
ters often make my heart ache, — they speak so of
people who strive and sorrow and want help ; and it
is hard to be called on in plaintive tones for help
which you know it is perfectly impossible for you to
give.

For instance, you get a letter in a delicate hand,

I A



2 The Chimney-Corner.

setting forth the old distress, — she is poor, and she
has looking to her for support those that are poorer
and more helpless than herself: she has tried sewing,
but can make little at it ; tried teaching, but cannot
now get a school, — all places being filled, and more
tl an filled ; at last has tried literature, and written
some little things, of which she sends you a modest
specimen, and wants your opinion whether she can
gain her living by writing. You run over the articles,
and perceive at a glance that there is no kind of hope
or use in her trying to do anything at literature ; and
then you ask yourself, mentally, " What is to be done
with her ? What can she do ? "

Such was the application that had come to me this
morning, — only, instead of by note, it came, as I
have said, in the person of the applicant, a thin, deli-
cate, consumptive-looking being, wearing that rusty
mourning which speaks sadly at once of heart-bereave-
ment and material poverty.

My usual course is to turn such cases over to Mrs.
Crowfield ; and it is to be confessed that this worthy
woman spends a large portion of her time, and wears
out an extraordinary amount of shoe-leather, in per-
forming the duties of a self-constituted intelligence-
office.

Talk of giving money to the poor! what is that,
compared to giving sympathy, thought, time, taking



What will You do with Her? 3

their burdens upon you, sharing their perplexities ?
They who are able to buy off every application at the
door of their heart with a five or ten dollar bill are
those who free themselves at least expense.

My wife had communicated to our friend, in the
gentlest tones and in the blandest manner, that her
poor little pieces, however interesting to her own
household circle, had nothing in them wherewith to
enable her to make her way in the thronged and
crowded thoroughfare of letters, — that they had no
more strength or adaptation to win bread for her than
a broken-winged butterfly to draw a plough ; and it
took some resolution in the background of her ten-
derness to make the poor applicant entirely certain
of this. In cases like this, absolute certainty is the
very greatest, the only true kindness.

It was grievous, my wife said, to see the discouraged
shade which passed over her thin, tremulous features,
when this certainty forced itself upon her. It is hard,
when sinking in the waves, to see the frail bush at
which the hand clutches uprooted 5 hard, when alone
in the crowded thoroughfare of travel, to have one's
last bank-note declared a counterfeit. I knew I
should not be able to see her face, under the shade of
this disappointment ; and so, coward that I was, I
turned this trouble, where I have turned so many
others, upon my wife.



4 The Chimney-Corner.

" Well, what shall we do with her ? " said I.

" I really don't know," said my wife, musingly. ,

" Do you think we could get that school in Taunton
for her ? " '

" Impossible ; Mr. Herbert told me he had already
twelve applicants for it."

" Could n't you get her plain sewing ? Is she handy
with her needle ? "

" She has tried that, but it brings on a pain in her
side, and cough ; and the doctor has told her it will
not do for her to confine herself."

" How is her handwriting ? Does she write a good
hand ? "

" Only passable."

" Because," said I, " I was thinking if I could get
Steele and Simpson to give her law-papers to copy."

" They have more copyists than they need now ;
and, in fact, this woman does not write the sort of
hand at all that would enable her to get on as a
copyist."

"Well," said I, turning uneasily in my chair, and at
last hitting on a bright masculine expedient, " I '11 tell
you what must be done. She must get married."

" My dear," said my wife, " marrying for a living is
the very hardest way a woman can take to get it.
Even marrying for love often turns out badly enough,
Witness poor Jane."



What will You do with Her? 5

Jane was one of the large number of people whom
it seemed my wife's fortune to carry through life on
her back. She was a pretty, smiling, pleasing daugh-
ter of Erin, who had been in our family originally as
nursery-maid. I had been greatly pleased in watching
a little idyllic affair growing up between her and a
joyous, good-natured young Irishman, to whom at last
we married her. Mike soon after, however, took to
drinking and unsteady courses ; and the result has
been to Jane only a yearly baby, with poor health,
and no money.

" In fact," said my wife, " if Jane had only kept sin-
gle, she could have made her own way well enough,
and might have now been in good health and had a
pretty sum in the savings bank. As it is, I must carry
not only her, but her three children, on my back."

"You ought to drop her, my dear. You really
ought not to burden yourself with other people's af-
fairs as you do," said I, inconsistently.

" How can I drop her ? Can I help knowing that
she is poor and suffering? And if I drop her, who
will take her up ? "

Now there is a way of getting rid of cases of this
kind, spoken of in a quaint old book, which occurred
strongly to me at this moment : —

" If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of
daily food, and one of you say unto them, ' Depart in



6 The Chimney-Corner,,

peace, be ye warmed and filled,' notwithstanding ye
give them not those things which are needful to the
body, what doth it profit ? "

I must confess, notwithstanding the strong point of
the closing question, I looked with an evil eye of long-
ing on this very easy way of disposing of such cases.
A few sympathizing words, a few expressions of hope
that I did not feel, a line written to turn the case into
somebody else's hands, — any expedient, in fact, to
hide the longing eyes and imploring hands from my
sight, was what my carnal nature at this moment
greatly craved.

"Besides," said my wife, resuming the thread of
her thoughts in regard to the subject just now before
us, " as to marriage, it 's out of the question at
present for this poor child ; for the man she loved
and would have married lies low in one of the graves
before Richmond. It 's a sad story, — one of a thou-
sand like it. She brightened for a few moments, and
looked almost handsome, when she spoke of his
bravery and goodness. Her father and lover have
both died in this war. Her only brother has returned
from it a broken-down cripple, and she has him and
her poor old mother to care for, and so she seeks
work. I told her to come again to-morrow, and I
would look about for her a little to-day.' ,

"Let me see, how many are now down on your



What will You do with Her? J

list to be looked about for, Mrs. Crowfield ? — some
twelve or thirteen, are ' there not ? You 've got Tom's
sister disposed of finally, I hope, — that 's a com-
fort ! "

" Well, I 'm sorry to say she came back on my hands
yesterday," said my wife, patiently. " She is a foolish
young thing, and said she did n't like living out in the
country. I 'm sorry, because the Morrises are an
excellent family, and she might have had a life-home
there, if she had only been steady, and chosen to
behave herself properly. But yesterday I found her
back on her mother's hands again ; and the poor
woman told me that the dear child never could bear
to be separated from her, and that she had n't the
heart to send her back."

" And in short," said I, u she gave you notice that
you must provide for Miss O'Connor in some more
agreeable way. Cross that name off your list,, at any
rate. That woman and girl need a few hard raps in
the school of experience before you can do anything
for them."

" I think I shall," said my long-suffering wife ; " but
it 's a pity to see a young thing put in the direct road
to ruin."

" It is one of the inevitables," said I, " and we
must save our strength for those that are willing to
help themselves."



8 The Chimney-Corner.

" What 's all this talk about ? " said Bob, coming in
upon us rather brusquely.

" O, as usual, the old question," said I, — " .' What 's
to be done with her ? ' "

" Well," said Bob, " it 's exactly what I 've come to
talk with mother about. Since she keeps a distressed-
women's agency-office, I 've come to consult her about
Marianne. That woman will die before six months
are out, a victim to high civilization and the Paddies.
There we are, twelve miles out from Boston, in a
country villa so convenient that every part of it might
almost do its own work, — everything arranged in the
most convenient, contiguous, self-adjusting, self-acting,
patent-right, perfective manner, — and yet, I tell you,
Marianne will die of that house. It will yet be re-
corded on her tombstone, ' Died of conveniences.'
For myself, what I languish for is a log cabin, with a
bed in one corner, a trundle-bed underneath for the
children, a fireplace only six feet off, a table, four
chairs, one kettle, a coffee-pot, and a tin baker, — that's
all. I lived deliciously in an establishment of this kind
last summer, when I was up at Lake Superior ; and I
am convinced, if I could move Marianne into it at
once, that she would become a healthy and a happy
woman. Her life is smothered out of her with com-
forts j we have too many rooms, too many carpets, too
many vases and knick-knacks, too much china and sil-



What will You do with Her? 9

ver ; she has too many laces and dresses and bonnets ;
the children all have too many clothes j — in fact, to
put it scripturally, our riches are corrupted, our gar-
ments are moth-eaten, our gold and our silver is can-
kered, — and, in short, Marianne is sick in bed, and I
have come to the agency-office-for-distressed-women to
take you out to attend to her.

" The fact is," continued Bob, " that since our cook
married, and Alice went to California, there seems to
be no possibility of putting our domestic cabinet upon
any permanent basis. The number of female persons
that have been through our house, and the ravages
they have wrought on it for the last six months, pass
belief. I had yesterday a bill of sixty dollars' plumb-
ing to pay for damages o'f various kinds which had had
to be repaired in our very convenient water-works ; and
the blame of each particular one had been bandied like
a shuttlecock among our three household divinities.
Biddy privately assured my wife that Kate was in the
habit of emptying dust-pans of rubbish into the main
drain from the chambers, and washing any little extra
bits down through the bowls ; and, in fact, when one
of the bathing-room bowls had overflowed so as to
damage the frescoes below, my wife, with great delicacy
and precaution, interrogated Kate as to whether she
had followed her instructions in the care of the water-
pipes. Of course she protested the most immaculate



io The Chimney-Corner.

care and circumspection. ' Sure, and she knew how
careful one ought to be, and wasn't of the likes of
thim as would n't mind what throuble they made, —
like Biddy, who would throw trash and hair in the
pipes, and niver listen to her tellin' ; sure, and had n't
she broken the pipes in the kitchen, and lost the stop-
pers, as it was a shame to see in a Christian house ? '
Ann, the third girl, being privately questioned, blamed
Biddy on Monday, and Kate on Tuesday ; on Wednes-
day, however, she exonerated both ; but on Thursday,
being in a high quarrel with both, she departed, accusing
them severally, not only of all the evil practices afore-
said, but of lying, and stealing, and all other miscella-
neous wickednesses that came to hand. Whereat the
two thus accused rushed in, bewailing themselves and
cursing Ann in alternate strophes, averring that she had
given the baby laudanum, and, taking it out riding, had
stopped for hours with it in a filthy lane, where the
scarlet fever was said to be rife, — in short, made so
fearful a picture, that Marianne gave up the child's life
at once, and has taken to her bed. I have endeavored
all I could to quiet her, by telling her that the scarlet-
fever story was probably an extemporaneous work of
fiction, got up to gratify the Hibernian anger at Ann ;
and that it was n't in the least worth while to believe
one thing more than another from the fact that any of
the tribe said it. But she refuses to be comforted, and



What will You do with Her? n

is so Utopian as to lie there, crying, ' O, if I only
could get one that I could trust, — one that really would
speak the truth to me, — one that I might know really
went where she said she went, and really did as she
said she did ! ' To have to live so, she says, and bring
up little children with those she can't trust out of her
sight, whose word is good for nothing, — to feel that her
beautiful house and her lovely things are all going to
rack and ruin, and she can't take care of them, and
can't see where or when or how the mischief is done, —
in short, the poor child talks as women do who are
violently attacked with housekeeping fever tending to
congestion of the brain. She actually yesterday told
me that she wished, on the whole, she never had got
married, which I take to be the most positive indica-
tion of mental alienation."

" Here," said I, " we behold at this moment two
women dying for the want of what they can mutually
give one another, — each having a supply of what the
other needs, but held back by certain invisible cob-
webs, slight but strong, from coming to each other's
assistance. Marianne has money enough, but she
wants a helper in her family, such as all her money
has been hitherto unable to buy ; and here, close at
hand, is a woman who wants home-shelter, healthy, va-
ried, active, cheerful labor, with nourishing food, kind
care, and good wages. What hinders these women



12 The Chimney-Corner.

from rushing to the help of one another, just as two
drops of water on a leaf rush together and make one ?
Nothing but a miserable prejudice, — but a prejudice
so strong that women will starve in any other mode of
life, rather than accept competency and comfort in
this."

" You don't mean," said my wife, " to propose that
our pi'otegee should go to Marianne as a servant ? "

" I do say it would be the best thing for her to do,
■■ — the only opening that I see, and a very good one, too,
it is. Just look at it. Her bare living at this moment
cannot cost her less than five or six dollars a week, —
everything at the present time is so very dear in the
city. Now by what possible calling open to her ca-
pacity can she pay her board and washing, fuel and
lights, and clear a hundred and some odd dollars a
year ? She could not do it as a district school-teacher ;
she certainly cannot, with her feeble health, do it by
plain sewing ; she could not do it as a copyist. A ro-
bust woman might go into a factory, and earn more ;
but factory work is unintermitted, twelve hours daily,
week in and out, in the same movement, in close air,
amid the clatter of machinery ; and a person delicately
organized soon sinks under it. It takes a stolid, en-
during temperament to bear factory labor. Now look
at Mirianne's house and family, and see what is in-
sured to your protegee there.



What will You do with Her? 13

" In the first place, a home, — a neat, quiet cham-
ber, quite as good as she has probably been accus-
tomed to, — the very best of food, served in a pleasant,
light, airy kitchen, which is one of the most agreeable
rooms in the house, and the table and table-service
quite equal to those of most farmers and mechanics.
Then her daily tasks would be light and varied, —
some sweeping, some dusting, the washing and dress-
ing of children, the care of their rooms and the nur-
sery, — all of it the most healthful, the most natural
work of a woman, — work alternating with rest, and
diverting thought from painful subjects by its variety,
— and what is more, a kind of work in which a good
Christian woman might have satisfaction, as feeling
herself useful in the highest and best way ; for the
child's nurse, if she be a pious, well-educated woman,
may make the whole course of nursery-life an educa-
tion in goodness. Then, what is far different from
many other modes of gaining a livelihood, a woman in
this capacity can make and feel herself really and
truly beloved. The hearts of little children are easily
gained, and their love is real and warm, and no true
woman can become the object of it without feeling
her own life made brighter. Again, she would have
in Marianne a sincere, warm - hearted friend, who
would care for her tenderly, respect her sorrows, shel-
ter her feelings, be considerate of her wants, and in



14 The Chimney-Corner.

every way aid her in the cause she has most at heart,
— the succor of her family. There are many ways
besides her wages in which she would infallibly be
assisted by Marianne, so that the probability Would be
that she could send her little salary almost untouched
to those for whose support she was toiling, — all this
on her part."

"But," added my wife, "on the other hand, she
would be obliged to associate and be ranked with
common Irish servants."

" Well," I answered, " is there any occupation, by
which any of us gain our living, which has not its dis-
agreeable side? Does not the lawyer spend all his
days either in a dusty office or in the foul air of a
court-room ? Is he not brought into much disagree-
able contact with the lowest class of society ? Are
not his labors dry and hard and exhausting? Does
not the blacksmith spend half his life in soot and
grime, that he may gain a competence for the other
half? If this woman were to work in a factory, would
she not often be brought into associations distasteful
to her ? Might it not be the same in any of the arts
and trades in which a living is to be got? There
must be unpleasant circumstances about earning a liv-
ing in any way ; only I maintain that those which a
woman would be likely to meet with as a servant in a
refined, well-bred, Christian family would be less than



What will You do with Her? 15

in almost any other calling. Are there no trials to a
woman, I beg to know, in teaching a district school,
where all the boys, big and little, of a neighborhood
congregate? For my part, were it my daughter or
sister who was in necessitous circumstances, I would
choose for her a position such as I name, in a kind,
intelligent, Christian family, before many of those to
which women do devote themselves."

"Well," said Bob, "all this has a good sound
enough, but it 's quite impossible. It 's true, I verily
believe, that such a kind of servant in our family
would really prolong Marianne's life years, — that it
would improve her health, and be an unspeakable
blessing to her, to me, and the children, — and I
would almost go down on my knees to a really well-
educated, good, American woman who would come
into our family, and ; take that place ; but I know it 's
perfectly vain and useless to expect it. You know
we have tried the experiment two or three times of
having a person in our family who should be on the
footing of a friend, yet do the duties of a servant, and
that we never could make it work well. These half-
and-half people are so sensitive, so exacting in their
demands, so hard to please, that we have come to the
firm determination that we will have no sliding-scale
in our family, and that whoever we are to depend on
must come with bona-fide willingness to take the posi-



1 6 The Chimney-Corner.

tion of a servant, such as that position is in our house ;
and that, I suppose, your protegee would never do,
even if she could thereby live easier, have less hard
work, better health, and quite as much money as she
could earn in any other way."

" She would consider it a personal degradation, I
suppose," said my wife.

" And yet, if she only knew it," said Bob, " I should
respect her far more profoundly for her willingness to
take that position, when adverse fortune has shut
other doors."

" Well, now," said I, " this woman is, as I under-
stand, the daughter of a respectable stone-mason ;
and the domestic habits of her early life have prob-
ably been economical and simple. Like most of our
mechanics' daughters, she has received in one of our
high schools an education which has cultivated and
developed her mind far beyond those of her parents
and the associates of her childhood. This is a com-
mon fact in our American life. By our high schools
the daughters of plain workingmen are raised to a
state of intellectual culture which seems to make the


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