The Domestic Girl

Not necessarily a dowdy.

Do not for a moment imagine that the domestic girl cannot be smart. She can turn herself out as bewitchingly as anybody, and the same cleverness that goes into her delicious entrées, capital sauces, and truly lovely afternoon tea-cakes concerns itself with the ripples of her coiffure, the correct tilt of her hat, and the deft fall of her skirt. The domestic girl need be neither plain nor dowdy. Plenty of exercise and the feeling that she is of use in the world brighten her eyes, keep her complexion clear, and give her that air of lightheartedness that should, but does not always, characterise a girl. How middle-aged is the expression that some of them wear! Both boys and girls in their early twenties have occasionally this elderly look.

Very much domesticated.

Of course there is always the extreme domestic girl, who has not a soul above puddings, whose fingers show generally a trace of flour, and whose favourite light reading is recipes. She has been sketched for us pleasantly:—

“She isn’t versed in Latin, she doesn’t paint on satin,
She doesn’t understand the artful witchery of eyes;
But, oh! sure, ’tis true and certain she is very pat and pert in
Arranging the component parts of luscious pumpkin pies.

She cannot solve or twist ’em, viz., the planetary system;
She cannot tell a Venus from a Saturn in the skies;
But you ought to see her grapple with the fruit that’s known as apple,
And arrive at quick conclusions when she tackles toothsome pies.

She could not write a sonnet, and she couldn’t trim a bonnet,
She isn’t very bookish in her letter of replies;
But she’s much at home—oh, very—when she takes the juicy berry
And manipulates quite skilfully symposia in pies.”

She is well appreciated at meal-times, that girl, but she is not the liveliest of companions. Like the German girl, who is trained to housewifery and little else from her earliest years, she has a dough-like heaviness about her when other topics are started. But why should she ever be domestic only? —and with all the world before her whence to choose delightsome studies and pursuits.

The Blue Stocking.

Then there is the girl at the other end of the scale. Here is her portrait:—

“She can talk on evolution;
She can proffer a solution
For each problem that besets the modern brain.
She can punish old Beethoven,
Or she dallies with De Koven,
Till the neighbours file petitions and complain.

She can paint a crimson cowboy,
Or a purple madder ploughboy
That you do not comprehend, but must admire.
And in exercise athletic
It is really quite pathetic
To behold the young men round her droop and tire.

She is up in mathematics,
Engineering, hydrostatics,
In debate with her for quarter you will beg.
She has every trait that’s charming,
With an intellect alarming;
Yet she cannot, oh, she cannot, fry an egg!”

Royal cooks and milliners.

And let no maiden think that to be domestic is a bourgeois characteristic. Far from it. It is the daughters of the moneyed bourgeoisie who are the idlest and most empty - minded. They think it smart to be able to do nothing. How little they know about it! Were not our Queen’s daughters taught to cook and sew, and make themselves useful? Did not the Princesses of Wales learn scientific dress-cutting? And was not a Royal Princess, not very long ago, initiated into the mysteries of hair-dressing? There is no better judge of needlework in the kingdom than Princess Christian. Many of the designs used in the Royal School of Art Needlework are from the clever pencil of Princess Louise, Marchioness of Lorne. Princess

  By PanEris using Melati.

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