A PRETTY CORNER DESIGN.
My Workbox. By the Editor.
My interest in work-boxes dates back to the time when I first read The Wide Wide World, and that was well, it was the first long story book that I possessed for my very own ! Up to that time, my personal library had consisted of children's coloured toy books, fairy tales and the like. The addition of The Wide Wide World (with roses and forget-me-nots on the cover) marked a distinct epoch in my life !
It was after I had read that enthralling chapter, where Ellen goes to the store with her mother and buys delightful things, and a work-box is among the parcels sent home, that I set to and tidied up the small wooden box (and a very inferior bit of furniture I felt it was, too, after the delightful affair Mrs. Montgomery bought for her daughter !) thereby raising great hopes in the feminine portion of my older relatives. They trusted it was an indication that I was going to turn over a new leaf, and be more diligent with my needle; alas ! it was nothing of the sort. As a small girl I detested needlework, and as a big girl I was vastly superior to everything of the kind. Plain needlework I felt was so sordid; and fancy needlework so inane and futile! When I was in my early teens I was quite convinced that I owed it to the world at large, to say nothing of posterity, to devote my intellect to far weightier matters and deeper matters than anything connected with needlework; so you can see that the hopes of my elders were but short-lived. The only reason I tidied up my old work-box was because I was convinced that that perfect child, Ellen Montgomery, always kept hers scrupulously tidy; and as I was modelling myself entirely on her lines, naturally I felt I was bound to pay attention to every small detail.
The article on the left is for a small spool of silk. The next is a carved screw for holding material firmly to the edge of a table. The centre article has a tape and measure at th3 top, bees-wax below, and a pincushion at its base The next is a tape measure, and the ivory box on the right noma glove buttons. The carving on the ivory in each case is very fine.
A Fancy Holder for a reel of cotton. The top is mother-of-pearl. The Ivory Mallet is a pin-cushion.
One of the humours of life as we grow older and leave our teens behind, is to look back and remember what self-opinionated little importances we were at about sixteen! How fixed were our views of life! How we knew everything! How certain we were that our ideas would be precisely the same for all the rest of time! And how original and wonderful we considered those ideas of ours to be! (and, incidentally, what a trial most of us were to our families at just about that age!)
Still, it's a merciful thing that in the majority of cases we gain a little wisdom as we grow older, and learn that there may, after all, be some worth in the things we scorned as youngsters. It's a good thing, too, that our tastes often become quite healthy and normal as we proceed along the "twenties." It was so in my own case, I believe; for it was just about then that I began to develop an interest in needlework. It came to me as a sort of reaction after too much mental work, and the inevitable n e r v o u s breakdown that finds out most girls who are imbued with the notion that their intellectual attainments are of vast importance to the nation!
And after the breakdown, when I couldn't bear the sight of books or the sound of music, I found myself actually doing needlework, and liking it too; and the fascination of it grew upon me very rapidly, till now - I really don't know what I should do if I hadn't needlework to fall back upon, as a recreation, when I get overdone with the wear and tear and strain of work in our great city.
I always feel sorry for the business woman who hasn't found out what a charm and solace there is in doing sewing or crochet work, or knitting, or embroidery, after a day spent in wrestling with the stern commercial side of life. She misses so much.