The Wit–or Wisdom–of Ellen Wood

I’m pretty sure that this bit of East Lynne is meant as wisdom, though I find it amusing:

‘Let the offices properly belonging to a nurse, be performed by the nurse–of course taking care that she is thoroughly to be depended on. Let her have the trouble of the children, their noise, their romping; in short, let the nursery be her place and the children’s place. But I hope I shall never fail to gather my children round me daily, at stated periods, for higher purposes: to instil into them Christian and moral duties; to strive to teach them how best to fulfil life’s obligations. This is a mother’s task–as I understand the question; let her do this work well, and the nurse can attend to the rest. A child should never hear aught from its mother’s lips but winning gentleness; and this becomes impossible, if she is very much with her children.’

I appreciate the juxtaposition of high-minded spiritual (and maternal) pretension with the offhand confession that too much time with one’s children makes “winning gentleness” impossible.

New Address

Novel Readings has a new address. Come visit! Please update your RSS feeds and links:

Blog Archive


Comments Policy

Comments that contribute civilly and constructively to discussion of the topics raised on this blog, from any point of view, are welcome. Comments that are not civil or constructive will be deleted.

All entries copyright Rohan Maitzen. If you use material from this blog, please give proper credit to the author.