Monday, March 22, 2010

Domesticity...



Over the weekend, we dealt with the clean-up from our latest adventure in old home ownership (and I'm not saying who or which is the owner or the owned). We painted the dining room ceiling, and set about Spring Cleaning the entire house, which was covered in a fine layer of white plaster dust. In fact, I will be continuing the job today, though the worst is done.

In my evening reading-for-pleasure, I have been reading Cranford, by Elizabeth Gaskell. I had enjoyed it on Masterpiece Theatre, so decided to read it. (I enjoyed the book as much, or more!) At the end of the volume, there are a few letters and essays by Ms. Gaskell. I'd like to share a portion of one of the letters with you:

"One thing is pretty clear, Women, must give up living an artist's life, if home duties are to be paramount. It is different with men, whose home duties are so small a part of their life. However we are talking of women. I am sure it is healthy for them to have the refuge of the hidden world of Art to shelter themselves in when too much pressed upon by daily small Lilliputian arrows of peddling cares; it keeps them from being morbid as you say; and takes them into the land where King Arthur lies hidden, and soothes them with its peace. I have felt this in writing, I see others feel it in music, you in painting, so assuredly a blending of the two is desirable. (Home duties and the development of the Individual I mean), which you will say it takes no Solomon to tell you but the difficulty is where and when to make one set of duties subserve and give place to the other. I have no doubt that the cultivation of each tends to keep the other in a healthy state, - ..."

Elizabeth Gaskell, February 1850

So I am, for a few days now, being 'pressed upon by daily small Lilliputian arrows of peddling cares' - which is a phrase I love and must now use often in daily conversation! But I will try to get some weaving, some escape into 'the land where King Arthur lies hidden' in my day, as well.

ps. While dealing with the 'Lilliputian arrows' of domestic duty, I decided I will probably title the hallway painting, "Winter's Last Light" because I painted it on the last official day of winter. Thanks for all your input!

5 comments:

Julia Kelly said...

that is depressing- but unfortunately has some vaidity. Glad you house is getting back in order-but do paint or weave today!!

Valerie said...

Thanks for that quote. It is one of my constant struggles to keep up with the house, meals, and laundry and still get myself to the loom.

Jennifer said...

It's always a balance isn't it - whether it's domestic duties or those outside of the home! I also enjoyed some of Gaskell's other as well: the BBC version of Wives and Daughters, but my favorite was North and South - it's up there with the 5 hour Pride and Prjudice for me.

I'm glad to hear you are enjoying reading Cranford. I had watched one of the features on the DVD and they talked about the amount of detail she puts into her writing - i.e. on the clothing - and I wondered if reading would drag. Will add it back to my list sinc you are enjoying it!

Love the title for the painting!

K Spoering said...

By the way, the punctuation, etc. in the quote was all hers. Also the use of the phrase 'peddling cares' which I would have called 'piddling cares.' Is the meaning the same, do you think?

K Spoering said...

Jennifer, I enjoyed this book so much, I'll get and read the others. I did see Wives and Daughters, and enjoyed it, but didn't yet see North and South. Will have to look for it on Netflix!