|1860 Home Front
Return Home Page Second Wisconsin
June 16, 1860
Women More Secretive We Suppose
All the year Round promulgates a new doctrine on this subject: "We laugh at woman's tongue, and wonder when a woman keeps a secret; but every true woman keeps a secret; every true women keeps a box of choice preserves for her own indulgence.
The man's mysteries are not hers; if he cannot keep them himself let him expect them to be blown abroad.
Her own secrets of love, of loss, of self-denial, of unsuspected suffering, no woman exposes altogether even to her dearest friend. There never lived a husband happy in the true love of his wife who fairly knew all the depths of her mind about him.
Every man profits stupidly by the wise little perception that arise so quietly and have no utterance except in deeds, of which we vaguely ascribe the fitness to a special faculty called woman's tact. Women in short keep to themselves four-fifths of the secrets of society, and with a winning air of frankness all their own.
A man with a secret will be stony or portentous or provokingly suggestive; he will keep his mouth shut ostentatiously. A woman is too absolutely secret to set up a public sigh over whatever may lie buried in her mind - gossips, prattles, pours out what she does not care to hold, with such an air of unreserved simplicity that all mankind is mystified, and says in friendly jest, "A woman only hides what she don't know." Among the uneducated poor, this difference between the woman and the man is the most conspicuous. The innate powers of the sex place her at once upon an eminence which man can only reach by education. She must needs often be tied to one in whom there is not the grain of understanding requisite to the formation of true sympathy - By far the greater number of the wives of unskilled laborers and mechanics live more or less happily, and more or less conscious of the hidden life within them having such a seal upon their minds and hearts.
My Wife's Piano
The deed is accomplished. My wife has got a piano, and now farewell the tranquil mind - farewell content and the evening papers and the big cigars that make ambition virtue , oh farewell!
"And on ye mortal engines whose rude throats the immortal Jove's dread clamors counterfeit!" But stop, I can't bid them farewell, for one of them has just arrived. It came on a dray. Six men carried it into the parlor and they grunted awfully. It weighs a ton, shines like a mirror, and has curved Cupids climbing up its limbs. And such lungs - whew! My wife has commenced to practice, and the first time she touched the machine, though we were in the midst of a thunder storm, and the lightning had struck the crockery chest. The cat with tail erect, took a beeline for a particular friend upon the the back fence, demolishing a six shilling pane of glass. The baby awoke, and the little fellow tried his best to beat the instrument, but he couldn't do it. It beat him.
A teacher has been introduced into the house. He says he is the last of Napoleon's Grand Army. He wears a huge mustache, looks at me fiercely, smells of garlic, and goes by the name of Count Run-away-never-come -back again-by. He played an extract de opera the other night. He ran his fingers through his hair twice, then grinned, then cocked his eyes up at the ceiling like a monkey hunting flies and then came down one of his fingers, and I heard a delightful sound, similar to that produced by a cockroach dancing upon the tenor string of a fiddle. Down came another finger, and I was reminded of the wind whistling through a knot hole in a hen coop. He touched his thumb, I thought that I was in an orchard listening to the distant braying of a jackass. Now he ran his fingers along the keys, I thought of a boy rattling a stick upon a store box or a picket fence. All of a sudden he stopped, and I thought something had happened.
Then came down both fists and, oh, Lord! such a noise was never heard before. I thought a hurricane had struck the house and the walls were caving in. I imagined I was in the cellar, and a ton of coal was falling about my head. I thought the machine had busted, when the infernal noise stopped and I heard my wife ejaculate: "Exquisite!" "What the duce is the matter?" the answer was " Why dear that's La Somnambula!" "D-n Somnambula!" thought I and the Count rolled up his sheet of paper. He calls it music, but for the life of me I can't make it look like anything else then a rail fence with a lot of juvenile monkeys climbing over.
Before that instrument of torture came into the house I could enjoy myself, but now every darned woman in the neighborhood must be invited to hear the new piano and every time the blasted thing shrieks out like a locomotive with the bronchitis, I have to praise its tone, and when the invited guests are playing I have to say "Exquisite!" "delightful" "Heavenly!" and all such trash, while at the same time, I know just as much about music as a blind codfish. There are more turning hammers than comforts in our house, sad - and I wish the inventor in our house, and I wish the inventor of the piano was troubled with a perpetual nightmare and obliged to sleep in one of his instruments all his life. As for myself, I had rather put my head under a tin pan and be drummed to sleep with a pair of smithing irons than hear "La Somnambula" or any other La thumped out of a piano.
Scatter pennies in front of my house and draw together all the wandering minstrels in the city, hand organs, banjos, fiddles, tambourines, rattling bones and fish horns, let juvenile monkeys crawl in at my windows in search of three cent pieces, let me be awakened at midnight by the cry of murder, ring the bells and have a devil of a time general - do all this and I will not complain, but banish the pianos. My piano had got to go. I am going to launch the infernal machine out of the window, the first dark night, and my friends, I advise you to sleep with cotton in your ears, or when she gives her dying grunt you will think you've fallen out of bed or a fallen star has fallen to roost on the house-top. For the information of "Young America," I will state that all the pieces of brass wire and ivory keys they are welcome to, but the skeleton I want for a refrigerator.
River Falls, The Democrat Journal
December 25, 1860
Fall in Negro Stock - A valuable young negro man was sold in Upper Marlboro, Md at a public sale on Monday the 26th for $860. A month ago he would have brought $1500.
Gunpowder by the Hogshead - Twenty five hogsheads of gunpowder was received in Montgomery. Ala last week, also several tons of lead
South Carolina Ion writes to the Baltimore Sun - Some efforts have been made to induce South Carolina to avoid a collision with the federal government until the other States shall have time to confer upon the exigencies of the crisis. But there is but one thing that can prevent the State of South Carolina from secession by the 20th inst. and that is the interference of Georgia, Alabama & Mississippi, which states might desire to secede simultaneously with South Carolina.
In Music the slaves of the south are greatly proficient, as everyone knows, but in Art they have the bad taste, when once they run away, not to show any partiality for the "old masters."
"Fare You Well Ladies" - At a ball held recently at Clinton, South Carolina, the women universally resolved "that this is the last ball we will attend in these United States."
Women love to find a man in "difficult combination- a gentleness which will always yield with a force which will invariable protect"
Baltimore Item - On Friday afternoon an elegantly dressed lady was observed to be in the act of passing the corner of Calver and Saratoga Streets, Baltimore, at which a palmetto flag had been thrown to the breeze. The gentlemen who were standing on the pavement moved in order to allow her to pass, when the lady in question suddenly halted, and looking at the emblem of disunion, remarked with emphasis "I will not pass under such a flag - it is treachery." and deliberately walked through the mud in the street in order to pass."