March 15, 1855
My spectacles have been brightened; the nice escritoire, your brother presented to me, lies open. I cannot be contented with all these accidental circumstances so favorable, without presenting you a sketch of my last observation I promised you something about the lady round the corner.
Three years ago she lived in a large building and had her kitchen girl and chambermaid: now she has to do her own work, for a few boarders and hardly feeds her own little family at that. Three years ago she called on the ladies of this village, and proposed that only those who were able to keep help, should associate together. Much credit to the common sense still left, the proposal was rejected and she had to float along, a tolerated gentility.
As for evincing the least interest in the girls who worked for her, it was not to be thought of. At one time her girl was attacked with the measles, and it was the fourth day before she visited her in her hot bed room, off from the kitchen. Poor Jane was taken away by one of those unpretending ladies, whose quiet philanthropy is generally all sufficient for any affliction.
Time passed on, and this very girl married her good friend’s son, which at once raised her to opulence, while her former mistress was reduced to comparative poverty by the death of her husband and the confused state of his affairs. She is now happy if she can but get a bow from her former housemaid. Still, like all coarse minds, under lace and satin, she maintains, that all “adversity to herself, is an affliction, and to her friends, a judgment.”
For my part, I like to see “pride have a fall.” I came from Yankee land where conscience is not a scarce article of commerce in society; where, if woman bears down unjustly upon those whose sphere is a little different, straight way she feels the neglect of her friends, and, if she has any heart, the gnawings of self accusation. I never could see why, if woman wanted to have the name of Christian, she should act far beneath the heathen.
Ah! we have the heathen in our own country when man forgets man, and woman forgets woman. But I will close, for age and scandal makes me garrulous.
You may hear again from,