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Posts Tagged ‘Ladies’ Garland’

One of many reasons why Steam at Harper’s Ferry opened was to offer an opportunity to learn about Harper’s Ferry in all its historic glory. Steam sells many historic newspapers from the Victorian Period, but the one especially loved is The Ladies’ Garland, published by John S. Gallagher. One recent acquisition is dated October 21, 1826, volume 3, no. 37.

Ladies Garland October 21, 1826

This particular edition contains an article on Female Education, reprinted from the Edinburg Review. Here is a sample:

“A great part of the objections made to the education of women, are rather objections made to human nature, than to the female sex ; for it is surely true, that knowledge, where it does produce any bad effects at all, does as much mischief to the one sex as to the other, and gives birth to fully as much arrogance, inattention to common affairs, and eccentricity among men, as it does among women. – But it by no means follows, that you get rid of vanity and self-conceit, because you get rid of learning. Self-complacency can never want an excuse ; and the best way to make it more tolerable, and more useful, is to give to it as high and as dignified an object as possible. But at all events, it is unfair, to bring forward against a part of the world, an objection which is equally powerful against the whole. When foolish women think they have any distinction, they are apt to be proud of it ; so are foolish men. But we appeal to any one who has lived with cultivated persons of either sex, whether he has not witnessed as much pendantry, as much wrong-headedness, as much arrogance, and certainly a great deal more rudeness, produced by learning, in men, than in women.  …

We are quite astonished on hearing men converse on such subjects, to find them attributing such beautiful effects to ignorance. It would appear from the tenor of such objections, that ignorance has been the greatest civilizer in the world. Women are delicate and refined, only because they are ignorant ; they attend to their children, only because they know no better ! Now, we must really confess we have all our lives been so ignorant as not to know the value of ignorance !  … Let any man reflect too upon the solitary situation in which women are placed, the ill treatment to which they are sometimes exposed, and which they must endure in silence, and without the power of complaining – and he must feel convinced, that the happiness of a woman will be materially increased, in proportion as education has given to her the habit and means of drawing her resources from herself.”

Purchase this and other limited editions of The Ladies’ Garland at Steam at Harper’s Ferry.

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The Ladies’ Garland was published by John S. Gallaher in Harper’s Ferry, WV every Saturday evening at the Office of the Harpers-Ferry Free Press. This excerpt is an account of how the Waverly Novels written by Sir Walter Scott changed a farmer’s household.

“I have been compelled, almost in self-defence, to read the novels of Sir Walter Scott. They cost me some ‘days in harvest,’ and I may find the balance against me in the spring ; but it is not the mere loss of my own time that I regret. I brought the novels into the house, and something was directly at loose ends. – The butter did not come – the soap did not come-the wheel stood still – the fire went out-there was neither sewing, spinning, nor knitting – the cows were not milked – the cattle were not foddered – the hogs were not fed. It was catching weather, and I had ten tons of hay down. Some of my hands had gone off – more were wanted-one cart had broke down, and it began to rain. The news was told to me in as quick succession as it was to Job. My wife insisted I must go, but I told her I would wait to see how Jenny Deans came out with the Duke of Argyle, if there was’nt a lock of sweet hay made in the country this season. – But I soon found there was no stopping-place in the book-so I put it down, but was not fairly out of the room before my wife had taken it up, and turned back to a place marked with thread.

I contrived to read it through, and on Saturday night about sundown, I found my wife advanced a little way in the second volume. She is usually a strict observer of Saturday night, but she read till after candlelight. The girls got the tea and cleared it off. My wife put by the book but after musing some time, asked me when it was, on Saturday night, that holy time commenced. ‘Sun-down,’ said I; ‘It seems to me,’ said she, ‘that I have heard some people say it did not begin till midnight.’ ‘The evening and the morning,’ said I, ‘was the first day.’ ‘Ay, but which evening?’ ‘Why,’ said I, ‘if it was the first day, it must have been the first evening.’ ‘That’s true,’ said she, ‘I wonder there ever could have been a question about it.’

By this time one of the girls was peeping into the book. ‘Shut it up and sit down – it’s Saturday night.’

Holy time, however it might begin, ended the next day pretty punctually at sunset, when the reading again commenced, and continued till I know not what time in thei night, for I had been abed and asleep.

The next day our worthy parson paid us a visit, and surprised my wife with the novel in her hand. She hastily laid it down, but not till she was caught by the parson’s question ‘what book it was?’ which she was obliged to answer not quite so glib as I have sometimes known her. The parson took so fair an occasion to warn against the corrupting influence of novel reading. It consumed time, destroyed seriousness, gave false notions of things, and endangered morals.

I was about trying to help my help-mate out of the scrape, when she did it much better herself, by telling the parson that there was no magic in names, and there was a great difference in novels, as he might be convinced if he would read the book, the first volume of which she offered him. He sent it home, however, the next day, with a civil request for the loan of the second.

I directly perceived that the perusal of the book must go through my family as strait as the small pox : so I determined they should all have a fair chance my laborers and my folks in the kitchen, not forgetting the dogs. I then placed my three boys in a row, and made them read by turns, as they do at school; determined that the audience should have enough of it, and sit patiently till they were cured of novel reading. The youngest boy answered my purpose admirably. He made such work of the Scotch, and the poetry, and the pauses, and the sense, that if the Author himself had been by, I would not have desired to put him in greater pain. And the eldest did pretty well for some time, till he caught the run of the story, when I found myself taken in by my own contrivance. He vaired his tones, noticed the pauses, and came very near the style of an actor. It was with me a moment of weakness, and my unluck y wife suggested the propriety of sending him to college. To make short of a long story, my family have turned heroes, and heroines, and speak Scotch quite broght. The youthful reader is to go to College and be made a master of – Ravenswood – with a small chance of a little learning, and a pretty sure inheritance of poverty.”

The original newspaper, Vol. 1, No. 36, is available for purchase at Steam at Harper’s Ferry. The newspaper is comprised of pages 141-144 of the volume and has several poems and articles.

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Queen of Fairies

The late duchess of Gordon taking an airing in her carriage in a remote part of the Scottish Highlands, observed, at some distance from the road, a neat cottage, surrounded by a garden. Her grace pulled the check-string, and desired the servants to go round with the carriage to a place where she desired them to stop, while she crossed the moor to pay the cottage a visit. The duchess happened to wear a green pelisse trimmed with gold lace, and her hat ornamented with gold spangles.

A girl about twelve years  old, the only person in the cottage, was spinning at the wheel and singing a merry strain. As soon as her eye caught the figure of the duchess approaching, the green dress, the shining appearance of the hat, on which the sun shown, all so worked on the imagination of the little girl, that she verily believed the Queen of Fairies had come to reveal to her some fearful mystery of fate. In great terror she escaped to a back closet, where, thro’ a small aperture, she could see without being seen.

The supposed Fairy Queen entered, surveyed the apartment with a curious eye, and then seeing the wheel, bethought herself of trying to spin. She gave the wheel several turns, but could not make a tolerable thread, though she twisted up all the carded wool she could find. As some compensation for any injury her awkwardness might have occasioned, her grace tied a crown piece in a handkerchief that lay upon the table, fixed it to a spoke of the wheel and departed.

The girl could not summon courage to venture from her hiding place before her father and sister came in, nor till some time after could they extract from her an explanation of the extraordinary pertubation in which they found her.

Their surprise was scarcely less than hers, when they were informed that somebody, who could be no other than the Queen of the Fairies, for she was all in green and gold, and shining bright as the sun, had come into the house, and seeing nobody there, had fallen to bewitching the wheel, which as sure as fairies, would never go again! “And see,” continued the young enthusiast, pointing to the handkerchief, and the sight of the sterling piece of coin which it contained, soon dispelled from his mind all suspicion as to the terrestrial attributes of the lady who had been honoring his cottage with a visit.

The women of the cottage, however, were of a very different opinion. With them the lady could be no other than the Fairy Queen who must doubtless have come to tell poor Isabel her fortune; the spoiled thread was a sign that the first days of her life would be marked with disappointment and sorrow; and the crown piece tied in a handkerchief to the spoke of the wheel, betokened that she would in the end arrive by honest industry at wealth and comfort. Harmless delusion! It lasted but for a day.

Sunday came, and the appearance of the Queen of Fairies in the same dress at church, as the duchess of the manor, convinced even Isabel that she had been deceived.

The original newspaper, Vol. 1, No. 39, is available for purchase at Steam at Harper’s Ferry. The newspaper is comprised of pages 153-156 of the volume and has several poems and articles.

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