Friday, September 11, 2009


1. Conscious of the Duties of Her Sex.—A woman conscious of the duties of her sex, one who unflinchingly discharges the duties allotted to her by nature, would no doubt make a good wife.

2. Good Wives and Mothers.—The good wives and mothers are the women who believe in the sisterhood of women as well as in the brotherhood of men. The highest exponent of this type seeks to make her home something more than an abode where children are fed, clothed and taught the catechism. The State has taken her children into politics by making their education a function of politicians. The good wife and homemaker says to her children, "Where thou goest, I will go." She puts off her own inclinations to ease and selfishness. She studies the men who propose to educate her children; she exhorts mothers to sit beside fathers on the school-board; she will even herself accept such thankless office in the interests of the helpless youth of the schools who need a mother's as well as a father's and a teacher's care in this field of politics.

3. A Busy Woman.—As to whether a busy woman, is, a woman who labors for mankind in the world outside her home,—whether such an one can also be a good housekeeper, and care for her children, and make a real "Home, Sweet Home!" with all the comforts by way of variation, why! I am ready, as the result of years practical experience as a busy woman, to assert that women of affairs can also be women of true domestic tastes and habits.

4. Brainy Enough.—What kind of women make the best wives? The woman who is brainy enough to be a companion, wise enough to be a counsellor, skilled enough in the domestic virtues to be a good housekeeper, and loving enough to guide in true paths the children with whom the home may be blessed.

5. Found the Right Husband.—The best wife is the woman who has found the right husband, a husband who understands her. A man will have the best wife when he rates that wife as queen among women. Of all women she should always be to him the dearest. This sort of man will not only praise the dishes made by his wife, but will actually eat them.

6. Bank Account.—He will allow his life-companion a bank account, and will exact no itemized bill at the end of the month. Above all, he will pay the Easter bonnet bill without a word, never bring a friend to dinner without first telephoning home,—short, he will comprehend that the woman who makes the best wife is the woman whom, by his indulgence of her ways and whims, he makes the best wife. So after all, good husbands have the most to do with making good wives.

7. Best Home Maker.—A woman to be the best home maker needs to be devoid of intensive "nerves." She must be neat and systematic, but not too neat, lest she destroy the comfort she endeavors to create. She must be distinctly amiable, while firm. She should have no "career," or desire for a career, if she would fill to perfection the home sphere. She must be affectionate, sympathetic and patient, and fully appreciative of the worth and dignity of her sphere.

8. Know Nothing Whatsoever About Cooking or Sewing or Housekeeping.—I am inclined to make my answer to this question somewhat concise, after the manner of a text without the sermon. Like this: To be the "best wife" depends upon three things: first, an abiding faith with God; second, duty lovingly discharged as daughter, wife and mother; third, self-improvement, mentally, physically, spiritually. With this as a text and as a glittering generality, let me touch upon one or two practical essentials. In the course of every week it is my privilege to meet hundreds of young women,—prospective wives. I am astonished to find that many of these know nothing whatsoever about cooking or sewing or housekeeping. Now, if a woman cannot broil a beefsteak, nor boil the coffee when it is necessary, if she cannot mend the linen, nor patch a coat, if she cannot make a bed, order the dinner, create a lamp-shade, ventilate the house, nor do anything practical in the way of making home actually a home, how can she expect to make even a good wife, not to speak of a better or best wife? I need not continue this sermon. Wise girls will understand.

9. The Best Keeper of Home.—As to who is the best keeper of this transition home, memory pictures to me a woman grown white under the old slavery, still bound by it, in that little-out-of-the-way Kansas town, but never so bound that she could not put aside household tasks, at any time, for social intercourse, for religious conversation, for correspondence, for reading, and, above all, for making everyone who came near her feel that her home was the expression of herself, a place for rest, study, and the cultivation of affection. She did not exist for her walls, her carpets, her furniture; they existed for her and all who came to her She considered herself the equal of all; and everyone else thought her the superior of all.